Category Archives: Family

Talking to Mum

One of the things I have always admired about my sister’s relationship with her eldest daughter (who is now a grown adult) is the fact that they are able to talk about anything – genuine, open, honest communication. I’m pretty sure they’ve had their moments but by and large they have always been close and talked about everything.

It’s something I aspire to with Ellie and I do believe we are really close but, at age 8, Ellie has developed two bad habits when it comes to communicating with me.

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First – I have caught Ellie telling me little white lies more and more over the last few months. It can be anything from saying she’s brushed her teeth or combed her hair when she hasn’t, to telling me she put something away when she clearly hasn’t. It’s always small things and ridiculously easy things to spot (at least the ones I know!) – often that’s part of my frustration – why lie at all about something so silly! I can’t help but worry that it seems to be setting a horrible pattern for the future.

Second- she is fond of saying ‘I don’t want to talk about it’. This has usually been the line given when I want to discuss what she did wrong or why I sent her to her room, so I haven’t worried too much as I figure that’s pretty normal. The other weekend however, something happened that upset her when she wasn’t with me and whilst the responsible adult she was with told me about it, Ellie tried everything to avoid discussing it.

If I’m really honest – this is the first time I’ve felt truly frightened about how things will be when Ellie is older – I don’t want a teenager, going through all the stuff teenagers do, who doesn’t want or feel able to talk to me. I might of course be overthinking this (it wouldn’t be the first time) but I can’t help but wonder what I can do to make sure she always talks to me.

I’ve already had a conversation with Ellie where I reminded her that she can tell me anything, that I love her always and am always there for her – no matter what. I’ve also reminded her on several occasions that she must always be honest with me and we’ve talked through a version of the cry wolf story several times. So far though, that’s all I’ve got and that doesn’t quite seem enough.

So as ever – any ideas or similar experiences you’re willing to share are most welcome! Please comment below.

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Welcoming the summer holidays…

Well we are officially now just three days away from the school summer holidays. At the start of this 14 week term it seemed such a long way away but, it’s here in a flash. Of course the end of term always seems to be incredibly busy with sports days, assemblies, reports and especially so this year because our biggest boy is finishing primary school and Ellie is going on her first residential with school tomorrow.

On top of that of course there is Finn who is having his own end of term excitement as lots of the baby groups stop over the summer, so there are parties and goodbyes all round. He even got a little present from one of our favourite groups which has gone down very well…

pop in and play present for the summer 15 Jul 16

So with the holidays literally almost upon us I’m pleased to say that my initial feelings of ‘what on earth will we do with all those days’ have now been replaced with feelings of excitement and anticipation – who would have thought! It’s all down to some detailed and nifty planning, offers to meet up and do stuff from some wonderful friends and family, and the fact that I can now more often than not put Finn down for naps without having to go out for a walk.

So I am raising a glass (literally) to the last week of term and look forward to seeing if best laid plans and all that……I will obviously let you know!

#randomthoughts 2 July 2016

Back in 2013 I published a series of posts entitled #randomthoughts (see here for the first ever one). It was my way of sharing my thoughts on the blog which which I felt were worth sharing but didn’t justify a whole post to themselves.

I had intended to produce a random thoughts post every week but life got in the way and after a few weeks I wasn’t able to keep it going. This week though I happened to re-read one of those original posts and realised that despite only being short snippets they actually gave quite an insight into my life at the time. So – as you might have now guessed, I have decided it is time to resurrect #randomthoughts and whilst I am not promising weekly, I do plan to share more #randomthoughts posts in the future.

Here then are my latest #randomthoughts…

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1. School mornings are like herding cats. Just 3 of them, including one that can’t move on his own, but it really does feel like more.

2. I love bananas. Filling, healthy, zero preparation and most importantly – can be stuffed down quickly when lunch seems impossible.

3. Just occasionally I want my life back – the one where I could lay in, drink a hot cup of tea and eat at a pace that didn’t give me indigestion.

4. Six week summer holidays = six weeks with none of our usual stuff to do and three children at home. Detailed planning is already well underway.

5. I squealed in Aldi this week. Literally – couldn’t help myself when I discovered the Mamia Organic baby food pouches!

As always, I hope you enjoy reading this post and I also hope it gives a fair glimpse into our family life at the moment. So – how about you – what are your random thoughts at the moment? Please do share by leaving a comment!

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A bit ‘mental’

About 2 years ago one of my closest friends came to visit and as we walked around a lovely National Trust House my now husband told her that he wanted to have a child with me, but that I didn’t seem to want to. My friends reaction was to turn to him and exclaim ‘really, she’s goes mental when she has a baby you know’.

Although there was a little tongue in cheek to it when it was said, it is true that when I had my daughter I did somewhat struggle. For me, the baby stage of having a child is quite frankly the hardest. It’s particularly intense and in my experience my hormones go nuts. It’s also fair to say that having a baby is somewhat at odds with the fact that I like predictability and order to my life. Finally, there is the simple fact that I need my sleep.

So, as Finn moves past the three month mark I find myself inevitably reflecting on how it’s been this time around…

1. I definitely do not do well without sleep. I get emotional, snappy and generally a bit miserable. In short if I don’t get enough sleep I do indeed go a little … er … mental. This has not changed from when I had my daughter but this time I’ve been more aware of it and much more open about it.

2. I’m a sharer – probably a bit too much. I’m really not one for pretending and so when asked how things are I really do struggle to do the ‘yeah fine’ line and instead tend to dive headlong into how knackered I am, how hard work it is and whilst Finn is just amazing – I really can’t wait for him to be a little older. Sometimes I really do fear that people are getting a lot more than they bargained for or wanted.

3. I’m a wimp. I truly thought I was from the school of tough parenting but alas it turns out that I am a total wimp. Listening to Finley cry makes me feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach.

4. I’m a joiner! I have started going to a couple of regular baby groups and already started booking things like music groups for when Finn is older. I simply love the contact with other parents, the easy entertainment for Finn and the cup of tea that’s offered!

5. I cannot understate the joy I am getting out of being Finn’s Mum. Chatting to him, seeing his smiles, watching him roll over and play, listening to his coo’s – literally every single moment like this makes me incredibly happy. Sadly Ellie had colic when she was first born and that definitely impacted on my ability to enjoy our first few months – this time around I feel lucky that Finn is generally a happy little baby. I’m less keen on the fighting to get him to nap and night time waking for comfort but hey – you can’t have everything and we’re working on it.

6. I’m really conscious of the milestones that come and pass as time passes – and I’m determined not to miss any of them. For Finn it’s the obvious things like – the first time he smiled at me, the first time he rolled over and as I look ahead – when he starts solids, when he starts to crawl and so on. For me it’s been things like – when I could drive and stop the medication after the emergency c-section, when I could fit into some of my old clothes, when I finally felt comfortable enough to bin my post c-section big pants! All little steps but all important milestones for us both – for me because I feel like I’m getting back to my normal and for Finn because since we aren’t having more children these are things we will never get to see and experience again.

So there you have it – my friend wasn’t wrong about how tough i find the baby stage, but I have to say that even she has since commented how different I seem this time around. There’s simply no doubt that whilst I’ve definitely had melancholy moments they have been very much in the minority across our first 3 months.

mummy n finn

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Our first 8 weeks

As Finley hits the 2 month mark the newborn haze has finally lifted, my hormones have settled and I have found a few minutes to actually reflect on how it’s been. Plus I’ve managed to write this post! *Pats myself on the back*

The first thing I have to say is that despite having done this before I have been on a crash course in newborns yet again. Clearly I’ve forgotten everything from last time (well it was 8 years ago!!) but also, and I’m sure you’ll be as shocked about this as me, it turns out that all babies aren’t the same. Who knew! Seriously – Finley couldn’t be any more different to my daughter so even when I thought I remembered things it hasn’t helped.

So, what has my crash course taught me?

I can ‘go with the flow’
Despite my being a self confessed control freak I have actually managed (with some struggle I admit) to go with the flow. I am amazed at myself. I haven’t tried to get a routine and I haven’t given myself the opportunity to worry about what problems I’m storing up for the future (It’s the ‘best not to think about it too much’ approach). In fact, I’ve done all sorts of things I never thought I would! For starters I have enjoyed rocking, feeding and cuddling Finn to sleep. A lot. I have breastfed him for comfort and shocked myself by being ok with it. I have also driven out in the car for no reason other than to get him asleep and I don’t care because he slept!

Crucially though, we have survived the first few weeks, Finn is doing well and even finding his own flow to the days and nights.

March 11 - sleeping at last

It’s the hormones!
In the first 5 ish weeks I was incredibly emotional – crying a lot and feeling very much like I was mad to do this again. I had totally forgotten what I’m like when I’m hormonal and sleep deprived.

With the passing of time, support from some amazing friends and family, the settling of my hormones and a little more sleep, I am now on the other side of those mad few weeks.

I have also stopped feeling guilty about the fact that when people tell me ‘time flies’ I’m actually ok with that! Having a newborn is bloody hard work so as far as I’m concerned it’s ok that the first few weeks fly by – it really is possible to enjoy them at the speed they are without feeling the need to slow it down. I for one have enjoyed watching Finn learn to control his limbs, learn to smile, learn to coo and ‘chat’ and learn to to bat things … see I didn’t miss anything.

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Cluster what?!
Whilst I had never heard of, or experienced, cluster feeding before, Finn was apparently born familiar with it and every evening all he really wanted was to be latched on for a good couple of hours. Is this about hunger and him getting lots of food? Well maybe a bit, but I’m pretty sure that it is mostly about comfort when he’s tired at the end of the day and the fact that he just likes it. My initial instinct was that there was no way I was sitting with him chomping on me for hours in the evening but there is no denying that when I went with it, I had a happy, sleep boy who goes to bed really well and when I didn’t – well it was a more stressful, screamy type of evening. I can now say that as he turns 9 weeks old this has started to slow down a lot.

So there you have it – my reflections on our first 2 months. I wonder what the next two will bring!

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