The six month evolution

This week Taylor hit six-months – a big milestone in a baby’s life and the point when everything (I can confirm) does get a lot easier. In some ways it’s flown by – it seems like only yesterday when I started to have those contractions leaning over the sofa in the living room and being told at the hospital that I was too late to have an epidural (whaaaat????).six month baby

Yet I can’t imagine our lives now without her – she has completed us in so many ways and every day she brings more fun, love and happiness to our lives and excitement about what the future holds for us as a family.

I’ve also discovered that I’m actually quite a good mum. I did have my suspicions pre-baby that I might turn out to be a bit useless, but I’ve actually taken to motherhood pretty well *big pat on the back*. I’ve had to become much more organised with a baby and I actually quite like the new me – I’m even on time for appointments and meetings, which (those who knew me Before Taylor will appreciate) is a somewhat spectacular achievement. Or perhaps it’s just that those meetings and appointments are now much more pleasurable lunch dates and play groups…either way, I’m enjoying this new chapter in my life and have discovered that I’m far better at looking after someone else than I ever was at looking after myself. Continue reading

8 things that will happen when Dad babysits

leaving dad to babysit

1. Dad will call you within 10 minutes of you leaving the house to ask “where do you keep the….?”

2. Baby will be fed something they ‘aren’t allowed’ to eat

3. A takeaway will be ordered

4. Bedtime will be two hours later than usual because “baby was really enjoying Star Wars”

5. At some point in the night, baby will end up in bed with Dad because “she started to cry.”

6. When you get home the following morning, your child will have been either:

  • a) the most difficult they’ve EVER been (“They must be ill, definitely not usually this bad…”) or
  • b) An absolute breeze (“I don’t know why you make out it’s so hard!”)

7. The house will look like it’s been shelled

8. You will be missed

Mummascribbles</div

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“Is she sleeping through yet?”

As soon as you realise that sleep deprivation is the root of all evil – which pretty much occurs the minute you come home from the hospital with your little miracle – your greatest aspiration in life becomes getting them to ‘sleep through’ (*translate* – you want to sleep through).

baby sleeping through the night

It becomes a bit of an obsession in fact, an ongoing quest to seek out that magic formula as though there’s some ‘cure’ to get your baby to ‘sleep through’ – if only you could work it out. The idea that your baby is actually capable of sleeping through – but just isn’t doing – becomes all-consuming. You quiz your friends who seem to have sussed it – they must not be telling you something. You change your mind about what the magic formula must be on a weekly basis. Our journey has gone something like this:

One week: “Perhaps she’s sleeping too much in the day, let’s try cutting her naps”
The week after: “Sleep most definitely breeds sleep”

One week: Let’s just top her up with as much milk as possible before we go to bed”
The week after: “She still wakes up at the same time anyway, let’s not disturb her”

One week: “Just keep putting her dummy back in, she’s not hungry”
The week after: “Now she’s just crying for her dummy – I think we should take it away”

baby sleeping through

Just a pipe dream

One week: “Maybe she is hungry after all, perhaps we should just offer her a feed again every time she wakes up”
The week after: “She’s definitely not hungry, let’s try hot water.”

When Taylor hit five months we thought we had finally cracked it. She actually slept through. And I’m talking 7pm to 6am sleeping through, so definitely something to celebrate. We started to stay up past 10.30pm to watch ‘just one more episode’ of House of Cards and even indulged in a second glass on wine on some nights. We thought we were one of the lucky ones.

This lasted for an entire six nights…

And then on the seventh night, Taylor woke up and exclaimed “Ha! Not really! I was just playing with you guys!” Not quite, but she may as well have done. And now we’re up every couple of hours again, adamant that we’re not going to feed her (“she’s not even hungry!!!”) until I finally give in (following nappy changes, cuddles, teething powder, hot water, Calpol and every other remedy in that book), knowing that a little milk is the only thing that will get me one more hour of sleep (“but she’s not hungry – look she’s just fussing.”) Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

And it’s not the first time she tricked us. At three months she went for a whole two weeks of just waking up at 4am, feeding and then going back to sleep until 7am. I felt normal again. Fresher than ever in fact. Until again, she decided that ‘actually mum, I quite liked being fed every three hours afterall’. What the hell????

So my dear friends, do not let them trick you. Just when you think you’ve finally cracked it, your little bundle will probably have other ideas. I’ve finally accepted that I just need to go with it, not over-analyse and enjoy those good nights while they last.

Who needs sleep anyway?

Super Busy Mum
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Parenting fails

Being a new parent is no easy feat. Despite getting by on four hours’ sleep a night and having to adjust to a whole new way of life, there’s an expectation that because you are now a mother/father you should all of a sudden become the most organised, responsible and capable person overnight.

parenting fails

Alongside this, there are also those ‘rules’set out by the healthcare professionals that put the fear of god in you from day one – if you don’t abide by them you are a very bad parent. Not to mention your baby eyeing your every move with suspicion and wailing whenever you don’t quite understand her needs – ‘seriously, what kind of mother are you?’And to top it all off, there seems to be a whole host of very organised, responsible and capable parents everywhere you go – the ones with four kids in tow who don’t seem in the slightest bit flustered and smile at you with pity for not knowing that your pushchair wouldn’t quite fit in the lift.

So here is my list of those times (so far) I’ve been very aware of my ‘newbie mum’ status:

1) I realise baby has been in her car seat for a whole 2 hours and 10 minutes. I’m not quite sure what’s happened to baby during those extra ten minutes, but I know it’s really bad.

2) Baby wakes up from her nap early and I realise I haven’t even sterilised the bottles, let alone boiled the kettle and waited for the water to cool down. Shit, shit, shit!parenting fails

3) Those pesky vests are sooo difficult to put on, especially when baby’s screaming and throwing her arms and legs all over the place. After a particularly stressful episode, I finally get it on. Only to realise it’s on BACK TO FRONT.

4) I forgot the red book – again. The health visitor, nurse, doctor asks encouragingly, ‘has it been a bit of a stressful morning?’ No it hasn’t actually, I’m just a terrible mother.

5) I’ve been winding baby for at least 20 minutes now and she hasn’t burped yet. I convince myself that I must have just missed it and put her back in her crib and crawl back into bed. She’s immediately sick all over herself.

6) I was sure I tucked baby’s blankets into the mattress but wake up to find that she’s pulled them up over her face. I’ve been lead to believe that she will die if this happens. Luckily she’s alive and smiling.

7) I decide to go out for a nice walk. Half way through it starts to piss it down and I didn’t bring the rain cover for the pram. Baby is not happy.

8) I momentarily forget I have a baby and plan a night out…

The List

A belated apology to my dear mum

lesson

Dear Mum…

I don’t think I ever thanked you for those months at the beginning of my life when you doted on me no matter what. I confess that I was just testing you, trying to see how far I could push you – you were just so nice to me all the time…So  I played a few cruel tricks on you. Just for kicks really.

Now that I’m experiencing this first hand myself (karma hey?) I think a few apologies are long overdue. So here goes…

I’M SO SORRY FOR:

Taylor pretending

Taylor pretending

  • Throwing the dummy out of my crib for the seventh time that night. I decided I didn’t want it after all.
  • Letting you change my outfit and then weeing all over it in the 4 seconds you took to swap my nappy. I thought I was being funny. You clearly didn’t.
  • Pretending to be asleep every time the health visitor, midwife, friends, family visited so that you would look like a big fat fibber.
  • Letting you take ages swaddling me and then breaking out of it as soon as you put me down. I thought you were testing my motor skills.
  • Waiting until you settled down to watch the next episode of that drama you were in to and then screaming for you. I just wanted to see whodunnit.
  • Eye-balling and smiling at you during the night feeds. I knew you were trying not to look at me.
  • Crying for food for two hours and then falling back to sleep once you got up to make the bottle. I was just playing with you.

Please forgive me, I knew not what I did.

The List
Mummascribbles

Becoming mum: The part they don’t tell you about

becoming new mum

If I’m honest, I thought I would adapt to motherhood fairly easily. In comparison to working full-time and being out of the house for 12 hours a day Monday-Friday, I was actually looking forward to having a bit more free time. I had visions of finally doing all of those things that I never had time for – clearing out the cupboards, starting an exercise regime and trying out that recipe I pulled out of BBC Good Food over three years ago. After all, babies sleep a lot of the time, right?

WRONG! Parenting is hard work. Not only is it a ‘full-time job’, but it’s the type of full-time job that would have you running to the HR department if there was one – expected to work 20 hour shifts on under four hours of sleep, getting screamed at if you don’t stand to attention quick enough, and absolutely no prior training provided to ensure that you’re fit for the job.

Now, don’t get me wrong, being a mum is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but why the hell didn’t anyone think to warn me about the first few weeks??

At first, we thought that perhaps we had a challenging baby. Taylor takes at least an hour and a half to settle to sleep after a feed and quite often doesn’t go to sleep between them, so waking up at 3am for a feed can mean that we’re still awake by the time the 6am feed comes around and then it’s hello to another day. Surely this isn’t normal? SOMEONE WOULD’VE WARNED US…

We attributed her restlessness to reflux (she screams after feeds), colic (she cries a lot), constipation (she poos very little), too much sleep in the day (yes she does sleep in the day), spoiling her (she just wants to be held all the time)…until finally accepting that she is just a NORMAL baby.

So here is my warning to you, since other parents may not be completely honest. Following the first couple of days out of hospital thinking that you have a little angel, things get pretty tough. Forget that you just went though the pain and exhaustion of labour and just want a good night’s sleep – your baby does not care.

In addition to the lack of sleep, the part I found particularly difficult to accept was the passing of days and not getting a single ‘productive’ task complete. Again, I caveat this by saying that I love spending my days with Taylor – feeding her, changing her, cleaning her, bathing her, playing with her. But I was kind of hoping (fully expecting) to be able to fit Taylor Time in between my other tasks (maintaining a spotless house, visiting friends, walking Max, cooking wholesome meals…)

The old me wrote To Do lists for fun, so realising that these are now redundant in my new life was difficult for me to come to terms with – getting to 5pm and realising that the house was still a mess and I hadn’t even bothered to put a bra on that day made me feel like a bit of a failure. Mr M would return from work and I was certain I’d see a glimmer of disappointment on his face as he critically assessed ‘what I had done all day’ (he assures me this was not the case). I even ignored the midwife’s advice to ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ and instead adopted the ‘do as much as possible when baby sleeps’ approach, but still couldn’t get 10 minutes to myself.

However, the very fact that I’m writing this post, is evidence that it DOES GET BETTER. Taylor is five weeks old tomorrow, and I do feel that we are starting to turn a bit of a corner. We’ve got more accustomed to her wants and needs and understand her better. Her night-time demands for feeding are gradually stretching past the three-hour mark, and we ourselves have accepted that we do actually need to be in bed for 9pm if we’re to get anything near a functional amount of sleep.

I’m sure I will look back fondly on these days in months to come and wish for my little oh-so-cute-when-not-crying newborn again. But for now, roll on week six.