Monday, 4 February 2013
At the weekend I actually had to wake the Monkey because his nap went on so long.
I don't know what to do with myself. I can now finally start to do all the things I've been meaning to do since having a baby. Wash the floors. Find the bottom of the laundry basket. Start my freelance career.
Instead I sit dumb-founded, scared to move in case I break the spell.
When his familiar little coughing cry finally sounded, I rushed into his room and gave him a blissful feed in the rocking chair. I didn't really know how to feel. Part of me wanted to sing from the roof tops and post something suitably smug on Facebook - I'd finally joined the STTN-club. The other part of me felt...well...a tad offended and a bit daft that we'd waited so long to move the Monkey to his own room. Had we endured months of sleepless nights for no reason at all?
But after the following night - when I did manage to actually get my first good night's sleep in half a year - I realised just how wonderful the STTN-club was. And I felt very proud of my little Monkey for managing so well on his own.
Of course, S-ingTTN didn't last long. And now the Monkey's sleep is pretty unpredictable. But I know it's possible - the Holy Grail of Motherhood has been discovered - so every night there is now hope.
Friday, 4 January 2013
Thursday, 22 November 2012
Here's an update:
Amazingly, the Monkey is now 5 months old. He's discovered he has thumbs. He likes singing. He loves whacking his toys and hanging from the bars in his baby gym. He has a penchant for rattles. Fake sneezes really tickle him.. He's rolled over a grand total of three times.
And believe it or not...the Monkey now loves the car - hurrah!! In fact, I find myself taking detours to prolong naps these days. Who would have thunk?!
What I'm learning more about being a mum is to accept that the Monkey has 'phases'. His car aversion was just a phase. I wish someone had told me this.
The recent 'phase' is to wake up and demand food every couple of hours in the night. Oh boy. This is a particularly trying 'phase' but I have to accept that it won't last forever.
If you don't accept this, then it's very easy to get caught up in the panic that sleepless nights might be a permanent fixture...for the rest of your life. Or that you might be creating a little monster with terrible terrible habits. One such night when this panic set in, I tried to 'train' the Monkey. 'I will NOT give you the boob,' I thought with determination. I will toughen you up and force you to learn about the essential life skill of self-soothing. Needless to say, we had a miserable night. The next day my sister - who has two small boys and survived two years of sleep deprivation - assured me that Tom was just going through a 'phase' and by Christmas things would be better. The next night the Monkey slept pretty well. Harmony was restored.
I think our fear of bad habits is responsible for a lot of agonising and over-analysing amongst new mums. The voices start...
'You know having your baby in bed with you is creating a rod for your back.'
'If you don't let him cry, he'll never learn.'
'He's got you wrapped around your little finger.'
HE'S A BABY FOR GOD'S SAKE. Chill out and leave me alone!!!
Whether it's a dummy, or the bed, or feeding to sleep, or rocking to sleep, or too many naps in the pram and not enough in the cot, they will grow out of these phases eventually...if you want them too. Your baby won't turn into a dummy-sucking, middle-aged man who demands a boob with his morning paper. So CHILL OUT! Give us a break!! And stop the guilt.
There is no greater pleasure than snuggling up with the Monkey for an afternoon nap in our bed...or sneaking him into it in the early hours of the morning. Yet, a niggling voice makes me feel bad about it somehow. So what if my baby doesn't come with a timetable? So what if he prefers napping in my sling? So what if he needs help to fall asleep? It won't last forever but while it does I'm going to enjoy the cuddles and the closeness that is so precious in these early months.
Saturday, 8 September 2012
Babies love cars. Everyone knows that. It's the one guaranteed way to get a baby to sleep - jump in the car and drive.
Wrong. It appears we have created the only babe...in history...that hates the car.
We've tried everything. Mummy in the back holding his hand. Turns out it isn't separation anxiety. Mummy in the back jiggling toys. Turns out it isn't boredom. Giant muslin as a sunshade. Nope, not the sun's glare. Soothing lullaby music played at top volume. Big fat fail. A mirror with bizarre animations. £25 down the pan. We even tried playing 'In the night garden' on my Smartphone. Square eyes would be better than tears. Sneaking him in asleep (he wakes after 15mins max). Putting him in right after a feed. Travelling just before a feed. Nothing - nada - works.
Last week my neighbours will have seen me passing, windows wide open, baby screaming and me singing, no, yelling 'Old Macdonald' at the top of my voice. It worked for 5mins so I persisted until I could pull over, hoarse and exhausted.
I've lost count of the number of times Bubba and I have arrived at a destination both inconsolable. It's like a form of torture for a mummy. I can't bear the look of desperation when you extract him from the seat, his cheeks wet with real tears.
But living in the countryside, you have to get in a car. Or become a hermit.
It got me thinking, could the Monkey be car sick? So I observed him and I am convinced this is the problem. And no wonder. His dad gets terrible car sickness. Maybe he inherited it.
So this weekend we wound down the windows and I sat ready to mop his brow with a cold flannel as soon as he started to look a bit green. And sure enough the fresh air and tender mopping worked. He lasted 30mins. What he loves most of all is when you have one window open in the back and it makes that god awful flapping noise that hurts your eardrums. Dad is not best pleased with this.
Tuesday, 4 September 2012
Had my first experience of a baby singing class today. It was a little taster...and boy did it taste good.
I remember my sister turning into a happy clappy nursery rhyme singing diva - a slight manic look in her eye - when she had her first babe. And I would wonder whether this would ever happen to me. Monkey Music sounded like my idea of hell.
But how wrong I was. Nevermind what the Monkey thought, I loved every minute. And it felt like time well spent because I had the chance to double my meagre nursery rhyme repertoire. Now I know the actions to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and have learnt a song about frogs, which includes frog facial expressions. Joy. The Go Bananas song is still my fave. I'll teach it to you sometime. And to think that I used to spend my days in front of a computer and going to meetings. I heart maternity leave.
The Monkey thought it was very funny too. Although he did spend more time flirting with the pretty lady next to me, than appreciating my smooth moves.
Thursday, 30 August 2012
|Everyone needs a bosom for a pillow|
The Boob is the only thing guaranteed to stop tears, or send him off to sleep. Sometimes just having his head resting on my ample bosom - the nipple just in reach - keeps him calm. The Boob is even better than the miracle sling (which seems to be losing its magic touch recently) and comes up trumps against Mummy's Fat Friend's dulcet tones singing George Michael's 'Faith'. Sometimes I catch The Monkey sleep sucking as if he's dreaming of it.
Consequently I have a tendency to shove The Magic Boob into the Monkey's mouth whenever he grumbles. And I think The Monkey may now have an addiction. I swear he gets withdrawal jitters. And he's mastered the art of doing his 'hungry' sign, even when he's clearly full to bursting. I fall for it every time. Like a dummy...
I'm starting to wonder if he'll ever be able to sleep without a quick suckle on the nip. The sensible thing would be for Bubba to suck to his heart's content on a dummy. But, oh no, a dummy isn't nearly as warm and squidgy and comforting as Mummy's boobies. Am I destined to whip the baps out every time he melts down in public? Breastfeeding is one thing. But negotiating the supermarket with a nip poised in wee one's mouth to stop him screaming, is that socially acceptable?