Thursday, 11 August 2016

Life and death in toddler world

Toddler found a dead bumble bee. He said very excitedly "I have a new pet. I have a pet bumble bee. I love my pet." My heart melted and I felt a tiny bit bad he doesn't have a real pet. Not bad enough to get one. He loves bugs. He had a 'pet' ladybird too until it disintegrated and then he was utterly bereft on and off for almost two days. Cannot imagine the level of bereft if a real pet died.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

What happens if you screw with a toddler's routine

As if today wasn't tough enough (a very overtired toddler and a puking infant, I blame teething for the latter), the doctor's only appointment (for the toddler's infected BCG scar) was at toddler teatime, so we had an early tea.

Started fine, then the pharmacy didn't have his prescription because it's apparently out of stock. This meant going back to the doctors, where my lovable (and very overtired) toddler ran around the waiting room, arms flailing and ripping off all the important laminated posters, and constantly threatening to run out of the wide open (and non closable) doors into the road.

I then had to take this toddler to another pharmacy (in Waitrose, the only place with the medicine in stock), where he proceeded to relieve the shelves of their contents.

All this took so long that it was now into bath time and already overtired toddler was at mega tired levels. On top of this, infant missed her teatime nap and was starting to get rather irate (and hungry). Thankfully she was in the sling so I could feed and walk and comfort all at once. Cue to toddler to run as fast as he could from me, arms flailing, aiming for the automatic doors into the busy carpark. Cue me running as fast as my flip flopped feet could carry me, while trying to stop infant bobbing out of sling or tearing off my nipple.

Finally managed to get toddler's hand in an iron grip, when infant decided the outside world was far too interesting to feed any more. Smiled sweetly (and very cutely) up at me, thus revealing a boob I was not able to put away until toddler was safely in the car.

I managed all this with only one shout (necessary to get the attention of toddler across the other side of Waitrose), but it took all my energy to not bawl my eyes out driving home. A crash due to inability to see would have been just too much after the day I've had.

I love my children dearly, but tonight is one of those nights where absolute bliss = sitting on the sofa in my PJs, all alone, surrounded by toys I can't be bothered tidying away.

Friday, 22 July 2016

First world problems

Screaming baby (teething...?), poorly son with fever who just wants hugs, and the 8th day of no washing machine, so I'm resorting to washing very stinky nappies from pre washing machine breakdown by hand, while feeding a baby to sleep in the sling and hoping desperately son doesn't run in screaming just as she falls asleep (happened twice today already). At least the dishwasher now works. At least it's sunny. At least I have a roof over my head and food to eat. At least I have clean running water.

#firstworldproblems #50sHousewife #oneofthosedays

Saturday, 16 July 2016

The moments after waking

Well that was a better night. By far. My little (almost) 5 month old pumpkin actually slept. Back to normal, I am hoping.

She woke at 5am and played happily with the sheet for a bit, kicking her little legs and gurgling. I pretended to be asleep for a little longer, squinting at her through half closed eyes. Then I could see her staring at me and she lay still. As soon as I opened my eyes, she smiled and started kicking her legs again. My heart melted.

My son used to do the same thing. How quickly he has grown, almost 3 years now. He woke from his nap yesterday, confused, saying he wanted to go downstairs to daddy. I smiled and said "it's not morning, you've just woken from your nap". He laughed. Looked sheepish. I told him that tomorrow was Saturday and daddy would be home then. "Oooh, the weekend," he squealed, "We can go to a dinosaur museum and look at dinosaur bones!" Not this weekend, but I promised soon. I told him this was something we could do one day a good few weeks ago. And he remembered. He started telling me about the dinosaur round the corner that roared. I think it was a dream.

I love the moments just after waking the best, with my beautiful, sweet, quickly growing babies.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Bliss in motherhood

Bliss bliss bliss! Not only did both kids nap at the same time (still asleep), no one has knocked at the door during this timeframe either. I napped too! Small things are actually huge things when kids don't sleep at night. 

(Awake every 90 minutes to feed a 4ish month old, wide awake 3-5am with wriggling toddler then chatting infant, then joyously hit over the head by toddler at 5.30am because "it's not night anymore" - thanks to kind husband, I managed another hour sleep after that. In summary: not enough sleep.)

Friday, 24 June 2016

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade

Post EU referendum. 

I'm not happy right now, but it's in my nature to find the best in life. We don't know the outcome. Something has needed to change in this country for a long time. This isn't what I'd have chosen, but let's wait and see. Let's unify with everyone who calls this country home of some kind or another, and let's do our damnedest to make the best of what we have. I read a post recently about when life gives you onions, and how onionade sucks....but chutney is nice. Especially with cheese.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Cheeky monkey

Still not eating, my cheeky monkey says pitifully (and hopefully), from the living room floor, "how about a bottle of milk...?"

Toddler requests

Not having eaten anything all day and not having eaten properly for most of the week, my toddler now wants a triangular egg.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Nomadic hearts...?

Feeling sad my mama left this morning. What a lovely week and so delightful to see the bond she has with my son. Our family was split by geography as a child and still is. My heart hurts with the separation, but I know we're a family of individuals who travel to find their homes. I'm looking forward to travelling to see her again in summer, to the second of my homes.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Meditation for mothers

I wrote this partly with a friend in mind and partly as a reminder to myself (we're both stay at home mothers of two). My initial motivation was to help increase calm and positive reactions in the face of a demanding, hugely unreasonable, struggling or overwhelmed toddler (or self!!)

Mindfulness and meditation practices are about training your mind and yourself to be more alert, aware and conscious as you go about your daily life. This is so that you learn to consciously choose your behavioural reactions, rather than the reactions taking you over. Practice leads to reduced stress, reduced negativity, increased energy and motivation, greater calmness and a sense of control, and more compassion for yourself, perhaps most importantly, especially as a mother we're alone a lot of the day and can be so tough on ourselves; but also for others, including our little people.

There are loads of different ways to practice.

Some people find passive activities like massage and Reiki help, but you'd have to have sessions at least weekly. I used to go to yoga classes, but I also found running, mountain biking and dancing left me in the same state of mind - writing and colouring in too, as well as washing dishes if I'm on my own and it's quiet! Interestingly, also giving counselling was meditative for me. Anything that allows you to focus your mind on one thing to the exclusion of other intrusive thoughts - about daily life at one end, or negative thoughts about yourself at the other.

So, think about any activities you already do where you have even two minutes alone. Showering sometimes? In bed while little ones are asleep, perhaps after nursing... Or maybe even while nursing overnight - the precious quiet of the night!

One technique is focusing on what you're doing in detail - so with showering, the temperature and feel of the water on your skin, the sounds as water fills your ears, any patches of cold skin, the taste on your tongue, the feel of the floor beneath your feet, the sound of water falling etc... I find for many that eyes closed help me, but sometimes earplugs are more helpful!

A specific version of this is to focus just on breathing - the cool temperature of air around the nostrils when you breathe in and the warm air through your nostrils on the out breath. The sensation of your ribs expanding and collapsing. Feeling the air fill you and leave you.

Another is the body scan. You focus on each part of your body in detail from bottom to top, each toe, foot, ankle, shin, calf, knee etc. all the way to your face (muscles of neck, cheeks, lips, ears, around the eyes, forehead, scalp). You can choose to simply focus on relaxing each muscle, imagining blood flow, imagining filling each part with light or a colour, or cleansing each part with water. This can be five minutes or an hour. You can find stuff on YouTube I'm sure, or you can get CDs to listen to.

Then there are other mindfulness exercises. I like one about food, which is to think about all the work that went into your food as you eat it. This is a good one to do with kids. For example, rice - workers in rice fields, those that plant the rice, the people who harvest and bag it, the drivers and pilots who get it to us, shopkeepers, delivery driver, mama cooking it, water companies for the boiling water etc ...

I've also got a mindfulness bell app on my phone. It chimes randomly throughout the day and when you hear it, you just stop and take a moment to notice how you feel at the exact moment or what you're doing, maybe go a step further when you're good at that and ask if you're doing things the way you'd like to be, what you might change in that exact moment. I like it.

Finally, there are visualisations. There are loads I have done and could describe, but starting out it's often easier to hear someone else's voice. My absolute favourites (about 20 minutes each), are by The Honest Guys on YouTube. Visualisations based in Hobbit land. Gorgeous!

The trick is to spend a little time trying out each one and see what you like best or what works best... Then, try to do five minutes every day. You can do different ones each day. If that feels really unmanageable, do two longer sessions a week and work up until it becomes habit and a pleasant ritual. It is work, it is exercise for the brain and mind, but like any exercise, it pays off.

Anyway, I hope something in here has been useful to someone.