Category Archives: Growing up

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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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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I’m super proud!

Last September Ellie started swimming lessons. For a variety of reasons I hadn’t been able to start her in lessons sooner but I’m incredibly proud to say that she’s really taken to it and enjoys it alot. This week Ellie successfully got her 50m badge – I am so excited and so proud. Unfortunately however, due to a combination of knowing what badges some of her friends have already got, and having very high expectations of herself, Ellie isn’t nearly so excited or proud.

It didn’t help much that at the end of the lesson the teacher was encouraging Ellie by saying that she’d done well and her strokes were good, so she should definitely go for her 100m badge next week. On the car journey home I repeated this saying how well she’d done and that ‘you should try for your 100m, your teacher knows you can do it’. What was meant to be encouraging and positive turned out to be quite the opposite for Ellie – who promptly burst in to tears and said ‘I can’t do it, I’m not very good at swimming!’

In trying to be encouraging about next week I had clearly failed to express strongly enough how proud I was of her achievement this week and that it doesn’t matter if she tries for her 100m badge next week or not. Although I had said both of these things, Ellie clearly was focussed upon what in her view she couldn’t do. I quickly repeated to Ellie that it was amazing that she had her 50m badge, that she should be proud and that I was very very proud. We soon agreed a treat she could have for getting her 50m badge, and I repeated with some force how proud she made me.

Unfortunately, even after that she only reluctantly agreed for me to text her Dad to tell him and has point blank refused to take her badge into the ‘celebration assembly’ at school because ‘the others will laugh’.

All in all – it seems to me that Ellie isn’t very proud of herself, when she really should be. This is a clear reminder of something I already know about my little girl – she has incredibly high expectations of herself and puts herself under pressure in everything. Funnily enough her school parents evening highlighted this exact same point with the teacher commenting that Ellie doesn’t like to get things wrong and never needs motivating.

I can only hope that if I keep telling her how wonderful she is and how proud of her i am that she might, eventually, believe me.

swimming

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