28 Feb 2014

Fussy Eater or just stubborn

I recently posted this picture of Bubba's dinner that I spent a while preparing and she took one look and shook her head, removed herself from the table and demanded a cracker. The food (which I ended up polishing off) was lovely and full of the foods she loves. But just by looking at it, she deemed it not worth her while and so ate a cracker instead.
I know she is hungry and I fully appreciate she doesn't like everything but it's so frustrating when she won't even try food. This isn't new to her food, it's the stuff she used to eat with gusto. Now she refuses to even try it, I'd at least be slightly happier if she tried it. But no, she will eagerly approach the table, take one look at what's on offer and either push the plate away (this aggravates me more than anything) or just say 'no' and walk off.

I/we have tried everything from ignoring it and giving her a slice of toast instead, bribing her with offers of pudding (which often works) or feeding her like a baby - spoonful by spoonful. Often it's just the first mouthful that she refuses, once I've got her to eat that, she realises she likes it and often polishes off the rest.
Vegetables took a nose dive awhile ago and now it's dinner in general. She eats well at breakfast and lunch but although hungry (because she asks for her dinner) she never tucks in.

I can't hide vegetables in tomato based sauces because she doesn't go for them. She has never been a girl who likes sauces (well since she has been walking) so that's spaghetti bolognese out the window, fish pie and the like. When younger she would eat anything and everything and I was rather smug that my girl loved things like mackerel and smoked salmon, strong cheese and most vegetables. Now not even magic sauce (tomato sauce) does the trick, she avoids it like the plague!  I now even give smaller meals (like the one above), it was a proper small portion, I'm not sure you could get smaller and call it a meal, so that she didn't look and think 'blimey there's a lot for me to eat but it still didn't get eaten. Two weeks ago I gave her the same homemade cottage pie and she polished the lot off - this was however, if I remember rightly, when I bribed her with ice cream afterwards.

I don't want to or can't really bribe her at every meal because I don't think it gives her a healthy perception of eating and besides I think I'd loose the will to live. I just want her to eat a fairly healthy meal once in a while!


26 Feb 2014

Going Backwards...the curse of the dummy

For a while now we have been having problems with our nearly three year old, it feels like in lots of areas things are regressing and as she gets older behaviour and habits are slipping.

I remember conversations with Hubby around September where we confidently discussed getting rid of the dummy for her. She was only having it at nap time (as soon as nap was over she would give it back) and also we put a precautionary dummy on a string in her bed in case she woke up.

It was this night dummy we were considering getting rid of because we'd often find the dummy at the bottom of the bed or down the side or unused. The day time dummy had been on the wane for a while too and she didn't need it to get herself to sleep.

Over the last three weeks the dummy has returned during the day, almost all day, every day! Bubba had a cold and the dummy seemed to help her breathe but now she will whine almost all day to get the dummy and even when we are out she requests it (this for me was a big no no as she is nearly three and I vowed she would be rid of it before then!).

The other night we even had trouble when hubby forgot to attach the dummy to her comforter - she woke properly, came to her door and dropped the comforter over the safety gate and demanded her dummy and then he spent the next hour or two trying to get her to go to sleep. This included rapid returning her to bed for over an hour...in my heavily pregnant state I think I sort of slept through most of the worst of it.

We feel a bit of a loss as to why she now wants it all the time and if you suggest that only babies have dummies she happily agrees (after months of saying "me's not a baby, me is a big girl") it seems where the dummy is concerned she doesn't care.

I'm not going to try getting rid of it until after the baby is born because I think we may have an uphill struggle otherwise. It's also not fair as this is her only comfort and a new baby is going to be a massive shock to all our systems.

But why oh why doesn't she now want to be rid of the dummy?? Don't even get me started on the lack of sleep and the fact that three out of five nights she wakes up and it takes one or the other of us is spending most of the night trying to get her back to sleep.

24 Feb 2014

Winter Blues - Olympic Hangover

We've really enjoyed watching the Winter Olympics the last few weeks and can't believe it's ending so soon. Bubba hasn't much enjoyed us watching the Curling (I feel old for admitting I've been gripped by this but it's so darn watchable) but she likes a bit of skiing and skating.
She pretends to ski on a couple of squidgy ice cube trays that she used to use as skateboards!

We'd love to take her to a winter resort next year (not this year as I'm fit to burst and don't fancy lugging a newborn around in snow). Hubby hasn't been skiing before either and with his lack of coordination it would make great blog fodder! I will definitely be taking her ice skating around Christmas time this year as she is reaching the right age to give it a go (and she is turning into a daredevil).

I've been both dry slope skiing and also to Switzerland where I first learnt to Ski and look forward to going again in the future with my little family. My dad and brother also enjoy a bit of winter sport but haven't been able to get away as much due to both being self employed so I'm going to suggest they work on holiday and then we could all hit the slopes together (or I could leave them to it, find myself a hot chocolate and watch some live curling)!

This is a collaborative post

21 Feb 2014

Baby Shower Power

Baby showers have been growing in popularity in recent years. First time around I had a lovely lunch with my two besties (& one offspring bestie). Since then I've been to a couple of friends showers and it's always been lovely.
Image: Sweet Sundae, Chislehurst
There is something special about sitting with your friends and either lamenting the pregnancy woes and using cake as a means to numb the worries of the lack of sleep. Or laughing at the male 'foot firmly in mouth' faux pas along the pregnancy journey.

It's nice to be with women who have one baby or more who can sympathise or at least remind you of life after pregnancy.  Well my girls really came good and arranged this wonderful surprise last weekend. I was greeted by friends, decorations, food and tea until it was coming out of our ears. Bliss. Just look at that victoria sponge cake, it was as delightful as it looks and we all had to take some home because there was so much.

The cakes were amazing and I really got in the spirit of realising this is happening and soon I'll be a mother of two! One pink and soon to be one blue. (Let's hope that sonographer got it right!!! There's a lot of blue in my world at the moment). We chatted about how things would change and I got some wonderful presents - including a memory stick of advice from my friends on how to manage with two children.

I managed to defeat my smaller than small stomach capacity and wedged enough cake and tea in to make most people proud. It was worth all the heartburn in the world. When I got home the toddler greeted me with 'yey it's cake' rather than my preferred 'yey it's mummy!' Oh well I've created another cake addict like myself.

If you are looking for a venue in the south east then check out Sweet Sundae in Chislehurst, Kent, as it was really a perfect venue, decorations and cakes!

I had so much fun that I had to go to bed at 9.30pm...super rock n roll behaviour!

This is how I spent the following day, nursing a rubbish cold and feeling worn out!


17 Feb 2014

Hormonal musings - 34 weeks

I'm now fast approaching 34 weeks pregnant which is daunting to say the least.

My emotions have been a slight struggle but nothing like before. When I get seriously tired things start to fall apart more but think it helps that I haven't got long left because I spend my time worrying about that instead. I'm off to see the consultant again next week for a check up and also seeing the midwife every two weeks and the health visitor is coming for a home visit before baby arrives. So it's all a bit busy on the appointment front.

Bubba hasn't been sleeping well, we've both had bad colds (which I'm really struggling with at the moment) and hubby has spent three out of the last five nights sleeping on her floor just so we all get some sort of sleep. She has been waking a few times a night and not going back to sleep unless someone is in the room with her. She has also been more clingy to her dummy (something we were thinking of getting rid of because she'd lost interest in it). It feels like a real regression on the whole, I'm guessing she anxious about all the changes too.  Not a good situation at all. If I wasn't so tired, this would of had me in spasms of 'omg this is the worst thing in the world!' But I seem to have kept my cool a bit more which is unnerving. Guess in the next few months it's going to get a lot worse on the sleep front anyway.

I've also developed pregnancy insomnia which is a delight! I'm bone weary tired at night but cannot sleep or I'll wake between 4-5am and not be able to go back to sleep. This is on top of waking every time I turn over. I'm getting used to the level of sleep deprivation at the moment but find it a cruel part of the process. Just when I need the most sleep, I'm getting the least!

I was going to work up until a few weeks before baby is born but I'm scaling that back just to try and get some rest inbetween. Everything about this pregnancy seems more of a struggle. Baby is still breech and although still has time to turn, something in me believes he may not so gearing myself up for the alternatives. He moves happily still and Bubba loves nothing more than putting her head on my belly and laughing when he kicks (or rather when I make him fake kick).

I've been getting carpal tunnel syndrome in my hands which leaves them numb, tingling and puffy. This is usually when I wake in the morning. It's another thing that's new to this pregnancy. I'm not sure if it's because I'm three years older than last time and closer to 40 that I'm more falling apart this time or because it's just a different pregnancy.

I seem more anxious about birth this time, worried how I will cope with a toddler and early contractions. Worried about leaving Bubba at home whilst I'm in hospital, worried I won't be any good at labour and birthing my baby. All things I realise aren't things I can control now and things will happen as they will!

On a nicer note, my lovely friends gave me a surprise baby shower.
It was wonderful and we ate, drank too much tea and tucked into an amazing array of cakes and sandwiches. A very special day indeed and I felt spoilt (& very full afterwards).

After weeks of struggling through a trying not to let bubba sleep at dodgy times because she's gone all array on naps and feeling frustrated by her non eating. I came home to bubba eating chilli (with veg) and having asked to sleep on the sofa at a reasonable hour! Guess I'll just have to go out more often!!!
Sorry this isn't a particularity positive post but it's as good as it gets at the moment!

7 Feb 2014

Things I'm now good at

I could win competitions for finishing off my child's dinner in record time. I tell myself that tonight I won't touch her plate and hoover up all the leftovers. Then I crack and think, well just one mouthful, then before I know it I've polished the lot off. I've even been know to cook a bit extra...you know, just to make sure it's not poisonous!

I can now answer any 'why' question with "I don't know" or "because I said so". Consequently I've managed to make my toddler believe I'm thick and she loves nothing more than telling me I got something wrong or asking daddy if mummy is right!

I'm really good at that annoying double conversation lark. You know when you used to phone a friend with a child and mid conversation she would suddenly start talking to her child or worse...put them on the phone to speak to you just as you wanted to offload your relationship woes. Well I'm that annoying woman now, hubby phones and I'm mid negotiating a potty break for the child, I then tell him in graphic detail what she is doing. All he wants to tell me is that he is on the way home. It's not just hubby I do this to either.

I'm a great trampoline/climbing frame. At any opportunity, as soon as I sit down, bubba will use me to either get somewhere else or try and climb on me.

I finish sentences, mainly for Bubba but I have been known to do this to other people too. She will start saying something and I'll either pre empt it or 'suggest' what she was going to say. More often than not she doesn't really seem to have a clue what she was or is saying so this has come in helpful when eliminating options for us both.

I can wake up for the smallest, faintest of sniffles in the night and lay in the dark listening and trying to decipher whether I need to get up. I'm also fairly good at a covert nudge in hubby's ribs to wake him up and then I can pretend snore so it makes him get up rather than me.

It's easier to ignore the whining and fidgeting that a small child can do, it used to grate on my nerves when kids did this. I can carry on cooking dinner whilst my girl whines about wanting chocolate whilst simultaneously hanging off my leg to make sure she gets maximum attention.

I can now wave goodbye and smile at my girl when she heads into preschool and make it look genuinely like I don't want to run back in and bring her back out. Don't get me wrong, I like my time at work but it's just leaving her with others and not knowing what's happening that gets me. Nobody can look after my girl as well as I can...


5 Feb 2014

Muddy Paws' New Friends - Book Review

We received our January Parragon Book Buddy review which was 'Muddypaws' New Friends' by Steve Smallman & Simon Mendez.

My girl went mad for this book, at Christmas we had the Muddypaws book which duly went back in the loft until next year. We read this book every night as Bubba loves dogs so you can imagine the effect a new book about puppy's was.

It was even better timed because this book is all about new friends, the lovely muddypaws goes to puppy school and meets two other little dogs and makes friends as they all play around. It also acts as a reminder that although you make new friends, your old friends are just as important.

Bubba started preschool in January so for her at the moment its all about making new friends but I'm hoping she doesn't forget her old friend (that's me!).

This book comes every where with us, in the car to preschool, a nice before bedtime read, during the day when she makes me sit and listen to her retelling her story and it's even come to the supermarket.

She has named us all as the main characters - I'm Muddypaws, daddy is Patch (the cheeky little dog) and my girl calls herself Droopy (the little beagle with long ears). It's a very cute and family friendly book and I'm looking forward to reading more in the Muddypaws' series.

For more book reviews and news head over to the Parragon Book Buddy Facebook page.

3 Feb 2014

Shackled - Prenatal Depression

We've all had it drummed into us that postnatal depression can strike, your health visitor or home visit midwife ask probing questions on your mental state whilst you are knee deep in sleep deprivation and nappies.

It's a horrible and dark illness that many mothers struggle to recover from. It can often go unseen or the right help not given at the right time which is made harder whilst looking after a newborn.

But no one really mentions prenatal depression. It too is a dark and scary place and can also strike anyone at any time. I thought I was strong and knew what I was already doing with a boisterous toddler in tow. I felt ashamed and very weak that I of all people couldn't cope and I only had one child to look after. What would I be like with two!!

This is a post I didn't want to write, I thought I was strong so it surprises me as much as anyone that I got sucked into the hole. I still can't call it depression...I don't want to label myself like that. I drafted a post when I was in a dark place that I find shocking to read myself, it was a very raw introspective look at myself.

I found it's also a disease that you can start to cover up. People help you do this, I'm not sure they are aware they are doing it and often it's only to be nice but these are some of the comments I've had when I admitted I was struggling...

"You aren't mad"

"It's hard looking after two children as it is"

"Oh bless, it's your hormones"

"Motherhood isn't easy"

"Second pregnancy is never the same, it's harder"

All of these things are true and I'm aware of my own emotions, I always have been finely tuned. But I needed help, someone to listen but even when they did I didn't feel any better. I just kept getting deeper into the black hole.

I can only describe my experience as feeling shackled. I would cry at anything and everything, questioned my ability as a woman - let alone a mother, I resented my role as 'pregnant' lady. I hated going to bed because I'd have to get up the next day and my hubby often heard me saying 'but it's only going to be the same shit but a different day.' The guilt made me feel worse because I had wanted this, we had planned this longed for second baby and now all I could do was resent our situation. I'm lucky, I know I am but even that didn't help change my feelings, in fact it made me feel more ashamed to be feeling like this.

The only reason I got up each morning was because of my girl. I had to keep moving or I'd sink. My day would involve crying at some point in front of strangers, family, privately in the kitchen and feeling desperately overwhelmed by almost anything. Yes we all get a bit hormonal in pregnancy but this would involve me breaking down uncontrollably in front of my two year old most days. That's something I never want her to see again because I really wasn't the adult in control. She would ask why I was sad and more often than not I couldn't tell her.

I'm only talking in the past tense here because although not completely out of the dark place, I'm starting to see light. I'm starting to feel something for becoming a second time mother, something close to excitement. Before it was a dark cloak of dread and overwhelming responsibility. I could only see the negative in a situation, I wanted things to change but didn't know how.

After two routine visits to my midwife where all I seemed to do was cry, I got referred to a specialist midwife who took one look at me (crying again for apparently no reason) and kindly suggested I see a specialist at the hospital. Perhaps my hormones have changed a gear again but between the referral and actually being seen I'm able to control my emotions more. I was going to be put on antidepressants but instead I'm being monitored and will get extra care after the baby is born.

For this I am grateful, perhaps it's the realisation that there is some support that  has helped me. I'm still close to the edge and tired a lot but I'm aware I'm doing much better than I have the last few months. I'm confident now that I can and will cope, I have down days but my hope surfaces a lot quicker now.

If you or someone you love is struggling, then please visit Panda. At the very least, talk to someone, every time you admit it's a struggle, the pieces of the jigsaw start to come together.
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