X-ray Vision: A Parenting Necessity

X is for ‘X-ray’ Vision: A Parenting Necessity

‘What’s in your mouth?’, ‘Where did you get that from?’ can be parenting nightmare questions. You know those situations where your crawling baby or toddler is chewing something you haven’t given them, or reaching for an object you didn’t know was there?

O yes, those situations … those ones, when you grab your child and ‘gently’ squeeze their cheeks to encourage them to open their mouth and give up its unwelcome inhabitant. Yeah, those kinds of situations … those ones, when you quickly open their palms to remove what shouldn’t be in their grasp.

I think I can safely assume that most parents know what I’m talking about.

Two of the things I’ve learnt since becoming a mother are:

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Working Mum: My Struggles

W is for Working Mum: My Struggles

Working full-time after becoming a mum is much harder than I thought. I actually didn’t think it would be hard. I grew up in an environment where my mum worked; so, working and being a mum wasn’t an issue for me. However, the nature of my mum’s working environment was such that she could see us often when we were little. She worked for my dad and she had help; so she was able to take us to work for a period of time after her maternity leave.

I wish I could take Precious Sparkle to work, but I can’t. I have to leave him every morning during the week to help other children on their life’s journey.

His goodbyes

I don’t remember the date but I remember the first time he bid me goodbye; oh, how my heart rose and sank at the same time! I was at once delighted to hear him say another word, but also sad that he knew I was leaving him and that he could verbally acknowledge it in a way that I understood. 🙁 I find it intriguing that he still says, ‘bye’, or ‘bye bye’ on days he can’t see me leave, and just before I get to the front door. ‘How does he know I’m leaving the house’, I’ve wondered at those times.

He has grown increasingly alright with me leaving in the morning and we’ve learnt to manage it better to soothe away any sadness. I suppose it’s partly my fault when he gets upset about it. I have a tendency to linger at my goodbyes to him. I find it so hard to tear myself away from his side, and to stop holding his hands and looking at his cute little face. I sometimes feel my heart breaking as I walk away from him to leave the house; what a heart-sink moment!

Playing catch-up

Unlike before, bringing marking and planning tasks home to do in the evenings and on weekends are not guaranteed options of making progress with my school work. It’s hard to do much when Precious Sparkle is awake; and you know, I’m glad this is the case. I’m glad for him to have a lot of my attention. He is only going to be at this stage for so long, and sharing it all with him is so enriching; what a privilege!

This of course means that I play ‘catch-up’ more than ever before; and I’m constantly looking for pockets of time to get things done. Not as much gets done as I would like :-(. The middle of the nights are also not free from interruptions; mummy’s milk is called upon quite a bit, sometimes more than mummy would choose. 🙂 And of course there is sleep; yeah … sleep … it has to happen sometime … it needs to happy much longer than it currently does.

New words and actions without me

I enjoy hearing him say new words and do new things, but I feel so disappointed when I find out that he has been saying or doing some of them for a few days. It makes me feel like crying sometimes. I want to be there at the start of all his new words and actions BUT I can’t. I can’t be there for him at ALL the moments I consider to be important in his development, and I’m learning to come to terms with this.

I am learning to stop feeling denied of what seemed like my right as his mum. I’m learning to really cherish ALL our moments together, even more so now that I’m not in most of his moments during the week. I’m learning to accept that this is our lives at this point and that it’s best to make the most of what we have instead of focusing on what we don’t. I remind myself that the time I have outside of work should not be wasted on wishing I was there, but rather invested in being FULLY there.

Some respite

I’m very fortunate that I work really close to home, and I’m able to leave work at lunch times to breastfeed Precious Sparkle. On the days his afternoon naps run over, I’m of the view that it’s better not to wake a sleeping baby; I instead go home earlier after school finishes.

His attempt to run into my arms with loud giggles when I arrive home at lunch and after work helps a lot; they are massive heart-rise moments. They make my leaving home feel that much better. Seriously, I’ve never known anyone so happy to see me over and over again. It amazes and amuses me, and I can’t get over it. It makes me feel so important and so very special; and it makes our ‘reunion’ full of so much joy.

I don’t feel any guilt for working; the bills have to be paid and working is a good thing. When the time comes, I want Precious Sparkle to know the value of work and I intend to cultivate a very good work ethic in him as the opportunity arises.

Nonetheless, I must say that I work because I have to work; there isn’t much I can do about it. Perhaps my dream of becoming a pro-blogger will come true someday, and I can then run my business from home 🙂 . If I didn’t have to work, I might still work part-time in my teaching job anyway. I enjoy teaching though there’s also much I don’t like about it. I’ll confront the ‘want to work’ issue if and when it happens.

I continue to work through my working mum struggles.

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Do you struggle as a working mum / dad? If not, do you struggle with juggling work with other important things in your life?

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My April 2015 #AtoZChallenge: Considering my Motherhood journey from A – Z

Introduction                                                    || Theme reveal

A is for Ardo Calyso Breast Pump: Top 5 || B for Breastfeeding: Top 5   || D for Dry Skin not Eczema  

C for Crawling baby Climbing Toddler      || E is for Exploring Toddler    || F is for Frugi: Top 5

G for Grapes in Baby Led Weaning            || H is for Hiccups                     || I is for Immunization

J is for Judging and Being Judged: 2 Key Lessons                      || K is for Keeping Up With Motherhood

Q is for Qestions To Ask Before Having  A Baby

Linkup: #PoCoLo | #MaternityMondays Wk 18 | #MBPW 2May15
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Questions To Ask Before Having a Baby

Q is for Questions to ask before having a baby

Motherhood happened to me before I cottoned on to it; it pretty much caught me unawares. I was not interested in learning much about the new journey I’d embarked on when I got pregnant. The physical changes I went through astounded me, but work and housework kept me occupied enough to not really think much about what was happening to me.

And then the baby arrived … and I had to woman up and deal with it. Boy, was I unprepared or what? I had bought some pregnancy related books from a children’s charity shop, but I never made time to read them.

In hindsight, there are so many questions I wished I had asked and found out the answers to. These would have made the motherhood road in the early days, weeks, and months a bit easier.

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Indeed, considering the humongous resulting life changes, you would think that ALL parents would invest time in getting prepared for the parenting road as much as possible.
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Below are a few questions that I considered, and many that I wish I had investigated before having my baby; knowing their answers would have definitely made a difference to my experience of mothering after giving birth. I would have felt informed and somewhat empowered. I would have had a lot more idea about some of what to expect.

Having a baby is one situation where knowledge is definitely power. The knowledge of key facts most definitely reduces the shock to one’s system, and takes some edge of the feelings of vulnerability and helplessness.

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Knowing about the pain, tiredness, confusion, sleepless nights etc that awaits doesn’t reduce them, but it can help to be more mentally prepared to deal with them.
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About my changes in my body

  1. What should I know about the physical changes my body will go through?
  2. When and where should I go for a bra fitting?
  3. What kind of bras could I use pre and postnatal?
  4. What kind of clothes should I wear as my bump grows?
  5. Should I wear bras if I’m breastfeeding every few hours?

About Breastfeeding

  1. How does breastfeeding actually work?
  2. What is ‘normal’ in breastfeeding and what isn’t?
  3. What breastfeeding support is available in my area?
  4. What breastfeeding resources are helpful to be aware of?
  5. What are some common breastfeeding problems and their solutions?

About giving birth

  1. What are my birth options?
  2. What is a birth plan about and should I write one?
  3. What happens if I go past my due date?
  4. What’s the labour process like?
  5. How does my midwife support me when I’m in labour?

 

About Postnatal Care

  1. What happens after I have my baby at the hospital?
  2. What NHS support is available to me when I return home?
  3. What happens with my midwife appointments after I give birth?
  4. Who are health visitors?
  5. What interaction and support should I expect from my local health visiting team?

 

About bathing my baby

  1. How do I bath my baby?
  2. Where should I bath my baby?
  3. How often should I bath my baby?
  4. What bath products should I use or avoid?
  5. How long should I wait before my baby’s first bath?

 

About changing my baby

  1. What should I know about baby poo?
  2. What should I consider when choosing wipes?
  3. What should I consider when choosing nappies?
  4. What should I know about changing my baby when I’m out and about?
  5. What other products are worth getting to make the changing process as smooth as possible?

 

About my baby’s nappy?

  1. How do I put it on a nappy?
  2. How do I know if the nappy is too tight?
  3. Would the nappy always contain everything?
  4. How do I know when to move up a nappy size?
  5. How long should I leave each nappy on my baby?

 

About my baby’s sleep

  1. What is sleep training about?
  2. What can I do to support my baby’s sleep?
  3. How does sleep work for babies after they are born?
  4. What basic things are helpful to know about baby sleep?
  5. What impact might the sleep pattern of my baby have on my sleep?

 

About my baby’s crying

  1. Why might my baby cry?
  2. How do I deal with my baby crying?
  3. What if my baby’s crying gets too much, what do I do?
  4. Can I recognise my baby’s different cries for different things?
  5. What do I do if my baby cries when I’m around other people?

 

About my baby’s clothes

  1. What baby clothes should I buy?
  2. How many baby clothes should I buy?
  3. Is it okay to buy preloved clothes for my baby?
  4. How do I know when to move up a clothe size?
  5. Is it okay to buy baby clothes made from coloured fabric?

 

About buggies

  1. How do I navigate stairs with a buggy?
  2. What are the main kinds of buggies available?
  3. What should I know about travelling with a buggy?
  4. What should I mainly consider when choosing a buggy?
  5. Where I’m I going to store my buggy when I’m not using it?

About key items to buy

  1. Where should I buy from?
  2. What should I avoid buying?
  3. What should I definitely buy?
  4. What is handy to buy that isn’t essential?
  5. What should I keep in mind when buying?

Over the next few months, I plan to share what I have since learnt about these questions; and I’ll definitely review them next time round.

This list is of course not exhaustive.

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Which questions would you add to this list? Which questions are you glad you knew the answers to before having your baby?

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My April 2015 #AtoZChallenge: Considering my Motherhood journey from A – Z

Introduction                                                    || Theme reveal

A is for Ardo Calyso Breast Pump: Top 5 || B for Breastfeeding: Top 5   || D for Dry Skin not Eczema  

C for Crawling baby Climbing Toddler      || E is for Exploring Toddler    || F is for Frugi: Top 5

G for Grapes in Baby Led Weaning            || H is for Hiccups                     || I is for Immunization

J is for Judging and Being Judged: 2 Key Lessons

K is for Keeping up with Motherhood: Top 5

Linkup: #TheList 33 | #MaternityMondays 17 | #MaternityMondays 9 
Mums' DaysMaternityMondaysMaternity Matters~ Ghostwritermummy

Keeping up with Motherhood: 5 Ways

K is for Keeping up with Motherhood: 5 Ways

Motherhood is a foreign country I chose to permanently emigrate to …
… a world-wide club I decided to join …
… an outlook that I’m getting my head around …
… an inclination that didn’t come naturally to me …
… a juggling act that I’m not sure I can ever master …
… a word whose definition is hard to capture …
… a reality that billions of women live …

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Judging and Being Judged: 2 key lessons

J is for Judging and Being Judged: A Mother’s View

“O my word, can he not keep his child under control? …. ‘Sorry about this, he’s screaming because he can’t have what he wants.’ Can you relate?

Judgement is all that came to mind when I considered my motherhood J. It’s so easy to judge others, isn’t it? It doesn’t take much to come to conclusions about people whose shoes we are not walking in; those whose lives we are not living. Continue reading

Immunization: to or not to?

I is for immunization: to or not to?

I can’t remember when I learnt about the immunization process and schedule in the UK, but at some point after Precious Sparkle was born I had to consider this issue.

To immunize or not to immunize?

I bought a book at a Mum2Mum Market’s nearly new sale about reasons why not to immunize babies. I was however told by the family who sold it to me to take it with a pinch of salt. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to read the book.

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Hiccups in the Womb

H is for Hiccups in the Womb

I get hiccups, you get hiccups, we all get hiccups; what’s the big deal? There is none really. Indeed, ‘hicupps in the womb’ is the lightest of my motherhood Hs; nonetheless, an important part of my journey.

I can’t quite remember the first time it happened when I was pregnant with Precious Sparkle. I do however have memories of feeling the jerk and hearing the sounds though they were not … audible. If you’ve experienced pregnancy, you probably know what I mean. I think it happens to all pregnant women; well, I assume it does anyway.

I wasn’t prepared for them, I didn’t know they could happen; in fact I thought it strange when they did. I mean, fancy feeling a notable movement without actually feeling it. You know something moved inside of you, you know it’s from your baby … but it’s not like your baby’s typical movements from one point to another. Do you know what I mean?

And then you hear it; almost simultaneously … but this is not a sound someone near you can hear. You don’t even hear it with your ears, but you think you’ve heard it. Do you know what I mean?

It was just weird. How in the world was my unborn baby hiccuping? I thought that was reserved for people ‘on the ground’; not in the womb.

It’s worth noting that I find hiccuping in the womb easier to get my head around, than peeing in the womb. I was shocked when I learnt that babies pee in the womb, and then drink it with the amniotic fluid. Okay, I know their pee is not like an adult’s pee; but even then … man! woman!

It’s just all counterintuitive really, isn’t it? I find it to be, anyway.

My heart went out to my Precious Sparkle every time he hiccuped in the womb. I eventually got used to him doing it, but I always felt sorry for him. I used to lament about it to my husband and I couldn’t wait for it to stop every time. I knew it wasn’t harmful, but I still thought, ‘o no, poor baby’. I felt he shouldn’t have to be dealing with it so early in his life … my, before the age 0!

I suppose I don’t like hiccups and so, unconsciously assumed that it was inconveniencing him and making him uncomfortable. Added to this, I couldn’t offer water to soothe him or help rid the hiccups. Simply put, I felt powerless!

I wonder if there were some lessons beyond the hiccups … a reminder that I was entering a phase in my life when so much more will be out of my control …  a place where I have to learn acceptance and find peace with feeling powerless, whilst hoping for something better … a time when I can’t make everything better for someone I really love, and where this is okay … a  realm of even more dependence on God for so much more which is unknown.

I’m glad Precious Sparkle rarely hiccups now, but when he does I hold him and give him some water to drink. I can’t switch the hiccups off but I stand with him in it; he doesn’ t have to walk the hiccup road alone, for a while at least.

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Have you given this much thought about hiccups before? How do you deal with hiccups?
How did you deal your baby’s hiccups when you were pregnant?

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My April 2015 #AtoZChallenge: Considering my Motherhood journey from A – Z

Introduction                                                    || Theme reveal

A is for Ardo Calyso Breast Pump: Top 5 || B for Breastfeeding: Top 5   || C for Crawling baby Climbing Toddler  

D for Dry Skin not Eczema                          || E is for Exploring Toddler    || F is for Frugi: Top 5

G for Grapes in Baby Led Weaning

Grapes in Baby Led Weaning

G is for Grapes in Baby Led Weaning

Gratitude is one of my motherhood Gs and I particularly reflected on it in my #1000Speak posts:
5 ‘Compassion’ Encounters of a Breastfeeding Mum
5 ‘Compassion’ Encounters of a 1st-Time Mum

I also write a weekly gratitude list post; it’s so therapeutic! I have unfortunately missed some weeks but I should be back on track soon. 🙂

So for this post, I’ve decided to focus on another one of my motherhood Gs, grapes in our weaning journey. Seriously, grapes did take up a lot of my mothering thinking, watching and prep time!

In preparation for the weaning road, I read and heard about different foods to avoid and different ways to give solid food. Weaning to solids was the last course on my health visiting team’s post-natal course and I was reminded that grapes are one of many food items that could cause choking because of their size, shape, and skin texture.

For a range of reasons I will be discussing in another post, I decided that baby led weaning was the way for us. So when I first offered grapes to Precious Sparkle, it wasn’t pureed. Instead, I peeled their skin cut them into 4 pieces, and put them on his tray.

A while after we started weaning, my hubby and I took a first aid course offered by one of our local Children Centres; it was delivered by the Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance. We also had a refresher from the Red Cross at one of the Baby Shows a while after. These informed me more about the choking and gagging process and prepared me better for managing their occurrence.

G is for Grapes in Baby Led Weaning | PS taking grape |Adventures of a Novice Mum | Considering my Motherhood Journey from A to Z in April 2015 | #AtoZChallenge | @aNoviceMumI also continue to grow in my confidence about reading my baby – one of the best things I learnt and embraced since becoming a mum. I noticed that Precious Sparkle didn’t freak out like I did when he gagged; he is actually pretty good at sorting it out. And so my confidence about offering those potentially choking inducing food items grew; he has to learn to eat them sometime, right.

So I experimented as I felt comfortable, with the way I gave him grapes. I offered it to him with skin on, and then in halves. Then one day, I thought I’d give him a small whole grape and see what happens … nothing happened that was unexpected; he put it in his mouth, processed it, and swallowed it. I then dared to give him bigger whole grapes when Tesco didn’t have smaller ones; guess what … all went well. And so it became the norm for us to give Precious Sparkle whole grapes inspite of their size; and sometimes a surprise to others on the parenting road.

G is for Grapes in Baby Led Weaning | Collage |Adventures of a Novice Mum | Considering my Motherhood Journey from A to Z in April 2015 | #AtoZChallenge | @aNoviceMumPrecious Sparkle’s reaction to grapes has varied over time: … spitting it out … squashing it between his fingers … playing with it … throwing it on the floor … refusing to pick it up or accept it … eating it. To my surprise, the way he eats it has also changed with time; he doesn’t always just put it in his mouth at once anymore. He now often manoeuvres it with his fingers so that he can gradually take bites out of it and enjoy it in small chunks. I find this so intriguing. Thankfully, he still only has one at a time.

There you have it, one of my motherhood Gs; grapes in baby led weaning with my very Precious Sparkle.

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Do you like grapes?
What was your attitude to grapes when you were weaning your child?

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My April 2015 #AtoZChallenge: Considering my Motherhood journey from A – Z

Introduction                                                    || Theme reveal

A is for Ardo Calyso Breast Pump: Top 5 || B for Breastfeeding: Top 5   || C for Crawling baby Climbing Toddler  

D for Dry Skin not Eczema                          || E is for Exploring Toddler    || F is for Frugi: Top 5   

H is for Hiccups in the Womb

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pre style=”text-align: justify;”>Linkup:

Adventures with a Silly Baby

Frugi: Top 5

F is for Frugi

There are a few motherhood ‘Fs’ I could consider, but I’m going for Frugi, a really fabulous green and ethical clothing brand in the UK. Frugi did not ask me to write this post, they don’t even know about it (I’ll probably tell them later). So, what have they got to do with my motherhood journey? Continue reading

Exploring Toddler

E is for Exploring Toddler

I was stuck on one word for my motherhood ‘E’ and I had to pick my hubby’s brain for more ideas. When he said, ‘Exploring’, I knew that was it … I wondered why I didn’t think of it earlier. Does that happen to you sometimes?

To explore is to learn … discover … grow … enjoy … live. Exploration ignites our imagination, fans our amazement, satisfies our curiosity, and makes life so much more refreshing and exciting. Exploring helps us to discover our strengths and limits. It helps us to identify qualities and abilities we wouldn’t have known we possessed otherwise.

The desire to explore seems to be an innate human quality, and it’s definitely one we should take care not to stifle in our children. Continue reading