Learning New Skills

I’ll be honest. When I thought about what it would be like with a newborn I thought it would be slightly easier than when you have a toddler, for example. Not easy by any means. Easier. I thought my day would consist of three main things; changing, feeding, sleeping. Everything in between would be a bonus. I thought I’d be able to whip up a gourmet meal whilst he slept and have it ready for when S came home AND eat it. Newborn babies sleep loads, especially after eating, right? Wrong.

Over the past 5 weeks, because of T’s love of being awake for longer, I’ve learnt tons of new skills, a very special set of new skills…

• I’ve learnt when projectile urine is imminent.

• I’ve learnt how to cook a Thai Curry/Chilli Con Carne/Lasange/Stir-Fry in under 20 minutes.

• I’ve learnt what mess T has made by the smell of his crotch.

• I’ve learnt how to make a cup of tea with one hand.

• I’ve learnt what type of day it’s going to be going on how T has woken up.

• I’ve learnt how to pull a pram up stairs.

• I’ve learnt what T wants going on his cry.

• I’ve learnt to play fetch with the dog whilst feeding.

• I’ve learnt T prefers setting 4 on his play mat.

• I’ve learnt how precious and valuable time is looking at how quickly T is changing already.

These skills will no doubt be regular life savers over the next few weeks, if not months, and on top of this I’ll hopefully acquire a few more.

What skills did you/have you learnt?

When Being Mum is Not Enough. 

We’ve had a rough few days, recently. T has been having issues with trapped wind, resulting in restless evenings and constant feeding after every new burp.


T looks to be in so much pain and it kills me that nothing I can do as mum, or what S can do as mumma, can help. His little belly feels so hard at times and it can often take what feels like hours before the wind passes – I wish I could take the pain for him. No amount of singing, swinging, or cuddling can sometimes help – we just have to wait out the gas with the help of Infacol before every feed and lots of patting and rubbing. It is slowly getting better, though.

I always knew the day would come where being mum sometimes wouldn’t be enough to soothe or reassure T, I just didn’t think it would be this soon.

K

Me, Myself, and I… and a Baby…

So after 3 weeks off, S finally went back to work. We knew it would happen, maybe not so quickly, but it would happen.

We had made preparations before hand such as cooking a few dinners to stick in the freezer in case I wasn’t able to sort dinner out due to feeding, and made sure larger tasks that couldn’t wait until the weekend (like picking up dog poop in the garden) were done. We were all set.

From around the end of week 2, however, I started to feel a little nervous about the prospect of being alone with a baby. It sounded ridiculous, as I dealt with plenty whilst S was around without needing help, but I started to think about the times when I would genuinely need a hand; like when I needed a wee, cooking (a decent) dinner, answering the front door during a feed, etc. I was nervous about it as I had no idea how to approach those scenarios without S. Thankfully, I quickly learnt one thing… Babies won’t hurt themselves crying. It sounds stupid, I know, but as a new parent you don’t want your baby crying for too long so when nature calls and all of a sudden baby starts crying you kinda put going to the toilet to one side. I’m not saying or suggesting leaving your baby to cry whilst you cook a full on roast, or leave them mid meltdown. I’m just saying that leaving them during the first niggles/grumbles for the time it takes for you to go to the toilet won’t hurt (as long as they’re safe!). Saying that, still try and time your breaks and go before the crying even starts – it’ll make the experience a lot easier and you won’t drop your phone down the toilet.

We’re quite lucky that T is quite a calm and content little boy – we rarely (at the moment) have full crying melt downs where he won’t stop crying or we don’t know what’s wrong, so I was pretty confident that I would be able get on with my day once T was fed into his usual milk coma. Right? Wrong.

Newborns don’t come with a schedule,  although I thought I had a pretty sweet one set up with T. The day starts at around 5am with his first feed (although technically the day pretty much started at 1am, but you know what I mean) and I feed him every 2-3 hours. I change him before a feed so he can go straight to sleep, and after falling into said milky dream, I put him down in his travel cot so I can get on with tasks around the house. Perfect. This schedule worked well as I could get on with stuff like washing, preparing bits for dinner, even blogging.

My “perfect” day soon went off piste from day 3 of my first week between 2pm and 3pm when T suddenly wanted to cluster feed every 30-40 minutes until 6pm. I had no idea why. I imagine it’s because he has a massive nap from 10am until 2pm, and upon waking is incredibly hungry. You would think his body would just keep his 2hr feeds going but no, he stays asleep from 10am. I’ve tried waking him for a dream feed at 10am to keep to the 2hr schedule but this doesn’t change a thing – it’s bizarre. I’ve left half made sandwiches on the side, washing up half done, and clean clothes half hung. On top of this, dinners have been hit and miss as I can’t guarantee T won’t want a feed or that he’s not already feeding by the time S comes home. It’s certainly taking some getting used to. 

Apart from the feed timings, I’ve been really lucky. As long as T is fed, I can pretty much take him with me (apart from the toilet) and he’s happy. I’m really tempted to get a wrap so I can do even more, like walk the dog (I haven’t quite grasped walking the dog with a buggy). I’m also slowly learning his limits re stimulation. Some days I can get away with him on my pregnancy pillow whilst I put clothes away, other days I can’t. 

 

Most days I also sit with him whilst he’s on his play mat for stimulation and/or tummy time but it’s completely up to him whether he wants to be there, however nowadays it’s more often than not that he does want to be there – it’s great. 

 

It’s only been a few days but I can already see changes in T. He’s more alert and he’s even holding his head up for longer periods of time. His eyes are bright, and he chats quite regularly. I’m also sure that he’s starting to smile that isn’t gas/urine related!

K

Living With a Nightmare – An Open Letter to my Wife. 

Sharon,

Over the past two weeks I have been living with a nightmare. It’s not you, it’s not T, it’s me.

I’ve been a royal pain in the backside – not just for you, but for me. I’ve been stressing myself out over the smallest of things; such as getting the washing done and making the most of our time, and it’s probably stressing you out. I’m sorry.

This time is meant to be a time where we’re relishing in the fact we have a son – and we are relishing, a lot, but I’m still also expecting to carry on as we were before and as expected, it’s not happening quite as planned.

Long before T even came along I’ve always struggled with the thought of being looked after – my mum raised me to be extremely independent. I’m happy to work as a team when it comes to big tasks like DIY and gardening, I just hate not being able to do simple tasks or anything at all for that matter. So when T arrived and I was pretty much useless to anyone because he required almost constant feeding, it was up to you to do the majority of the cooking, washing, and general organisation of our day – and I hated it as I had no control whatsoever. I also couldn’t offer anything back. Before, I would cook and you would wash up, for example. Simple. Now you’re doing everything and I feel rubbish about it. I’m not the super wife I expected to be. I expected to be able to feed, cook a meal, eat it, and then maybe feed again – who was I kidding?

Please don’t take this as me sounding ungrateful, I appreciate everything you do, I’m just finding it very difficult to cope with being off my game. This week I’ve cooked half a Thai curry, been half dressed most of the time, got piles of washing prepared but never been able to put them in the machine. There’s a basket of clothes that still requires putting away, and washing up that’s still soaking but not completely washed – all because someone needs a feed. I’m not angry with him, honest – I just didn’t want our time remembered by me just being a milk maid and you being the maid. I hope you understand. I know it’ll get better eventually or I’ll get used to it – this is what every new patent goes through. Hell, we’re not even a month in yet! I guess I just expected a lot more from myself.

I know I have no choice, he needs feeding – so I have to stop. You tell me every day that I’m being silly, that we are a team, and that you couldn’t care less about who does what around the house, and I believe you, honest – I just don’t want to accept it. I want to be able to do so much more. Our friends have accepted it, they automatically knew to contact you instead of me as they knew I would be occupied with T. The only person who didn’t know this or want to accept it was me. I’m sorry. 

Every time I have a mini meltdown I promise myself to chill out, but I need to start promising you. Maybe it’ll actually take effect. So…

I promise to just let you look after me (without complaints).

I promise to not let the little things bother me anymore. There are bigger things to worry about – about 9Ibs worth.

I also promise to accept that whatever I can do/provide would have been my very best (even if I have only accomplished cooking beans on toast).

I cannot thank you enough for what you’ve done over the past two weeks – You’ve helped me and been there in more ways than I can tell you and for that I will be forever in your debt.

You are a wonderful mumma and an amazing wife – I’m so very lucky to have both of you in my life.

I love you.

Hunger With a Side of Insecurity

As mentioned recently, I’ve had a bounty of questions come my way during pregnancy, the worst ones coming from women I rarely know – women who probably only found my name out a few weeks ago. During said week of stupid questions, I got this whopper:-

Her: “So how much weight have you gained?”

Inner monologue me: HOW MUCH WEIGHT HAVE I GAINED?! Seriously? 

That’s right.

To be honest, I expected this question a lot sooner, so 22w3d isn’t bad. I’d also like to think that any weight I have gained isn’t noticeable (apart from the bump) which is why they’ve asked, but for all they know I could have one hell of a bump band on that nicely conceals everything.

S will tell you that since about 12w, I’ve been quite self-conscious about my weight. I would ask her whether I looked pregnant yet and whether I had this “bit” before. See, I lost 3-4 stone last year and I aimed to keep it off until I fell pregnant at least, and even then I wouldn’t be gorging under the pre-tense of “well I’m going to get fat anyway”. I aimed to eat normally albeit make some small changes for the sake of beansprout. However, an unexpected hunger where I want to rip my arm off and eat it, that attacks every few hours, has meant that I eat a lot more than I would have done previously. It’s very frustrating as whatever I eat sometimes is not enough and I have to raid the kitchen for more!

Early on, I started with dried fruit and nuts, fresh fruit, or popcorn as snacks between meals but they now don’t cut it – I’m hungry an hour or so later despite drinking a regular intake of water on top of eating. So, I’ve now moved onto snack pieces of cheese, rice crackers, and cereal bars (Nak’d bars are one of my faves but can be quite expensive) as snacks in addition to the current snackage – which is helping in comparison to before, but I now can’t avoid and think how much of a difference they it’s making to my general waistline, especially as I can’t do anything about it.

Without boring you with detail, I eat quite healthy meals – not too big, not too small – but I know I now have to eat a little extra to compensate for beansprout as they’re taking everything from me first. With this, I eat a lot more bread than before (although it is still wholegrain) as it holds me a lot longer, as well as a lot more dairy (which has been changed from skimmed to semi-skimmed). I’ve moved back to white pasta and rice from brown, as the taste of brown is now disgusting to me, and I’m eating lean red meat more regularly than before. On top of this, I’m not as active anymore as I get out of breath, become tired, or my sciatic pain kicks in, so with all this it’s expected that I will put on a bit of weight but I can’t help but worry at the same time.

It’s getting me down, I’m not going to lie – and I really don’t want this to come off as a moan as I have wanted this more than anything in the world. I really do enjoy being pregnant and in comparison to other people I’ve spoken to, I’m having quite a nice pregnancy apparently, but there are some things I didn’t count on during pregnancy – and this hunger with insecurity on the side is one of them. I don’t want it to be there – I want to have fun and go “what the hell” but at the same time, I worked hard to lose the weight, I don’t want to put it all back on.

I’m sure this is a normal feeling, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I doubt there is anything that can be said or done to help – I just need to deal with it and reassure myself that what I’m doing is fine as long as I’m gaining weight at a steady rate (I really do need to get on those scales) but I can’t help but feel insecure about the changes in my body. Beansprout won’t give a monkey’s what I look like, and S sure as hell doesn’t – so why should I?

K

An Invitation to Questions

Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed odd behaviour when it comes to how people react to me when I’m around them as well as what they talk to me about. It’s not everyone, but it’s more than I would expect.

When I walk into the office every morning, for example, some people will stop and go “there she is!” as if it’s my birthday, other people will be sweet (kind of) and ask me questions about how everything is going at the moment (I wouldn’t mind this so much if they hadn’t asked the same question literally the day before), and others are caught just staring at me.
One lady at work approaches me EVERYDAY I SEE HER and says; whilst pointing at my belly, “there’s a baby in there” in a voice similar to how you would speak to a new born puppy. It was cute the first few times but now it’s just annoying and I just fake a laugh.

When I’m out and about in general, people will take a double look, which I imagine is because I’m with S and they’re trying to work things out (I do, however, tend to find this funny when I’m on my own in the booze aisle of the supermarket). Other times, I just attract the small talk – I find this most frequent in shops or when I’m on the bus.

I don’t know if the bump is now a sign that I’m open for conversation but I do remember being almost invisible to people I didn’t know, before pregnancy.

The weirdest and most personal aspect of pregnancy that I have found though are the questions. I find it even stranger when they’re asked by ladies I rarely spoke to before pregnancy or never even met!

“Have you got nipple cream yet?”

“Have you noticed hair sprouting from weird places?”

“You’ll need <insert item> later on DEFINITELY.”

“How often have you been sick?” 

“How much weight have you gained?” (I know! This is a whole different post).

“Are you eating again?”

“Should you be doing that?”

“You won’t be able to that that soon!”

When I fell pregnant I was warned early on that people will want to touch my belly and that they WILL ask questions, however I expected on a daily basis the usual questions regarding when I’m due and how I’m feeling, and I’ve even prepared myself for touchy-feely people, but these ones are a whole new experience. Some really shock me.

Is it not enough that people feel comfortable to ask me questions all at – I don’t mind normal questions – but to go that extra mile and then ask quite personal ones? I don’t understand it. When did my pregnancy become an open invitation for people to ask me very personal questions?

I enjoy chatting to people, especially when I’m stuck in an office all day – I’ll chat to almost anyone I meet on the street, but I don’t dig these questions at all – and how do I even answer them? Do I even answer them at all?

Do I tell them I’ve sprouted hair? That I actually haven’t been sick at all during pregnancy? That I don’t own and don’t intend to own <something> yet? I feel that whatever answer I give it will open the table up for a discussion on said topic, invite criticism that I don’t want or need, or make me feel like I have to justify why I have/haven’t done this or that yet… or worse – ENCOURAGE MORE QUESTIONS!

“You haven’t been sick? Gotta watch that one”, “You’re not actually eating for two y’know” are but a few responses I have to my answers. (It does make me laugh though when said mum-with-personal-question later on sympathises with me about how many questions she got during her pregnancy and how annoying it was).

I really do appreciate the warm and welcoming feeling I’ve received from other mums over the past few weeks – I know how open mums can be and I really love that – but I really don’t love trying to answer some particular questions. Maybe I just need to get over it and go with the flow, but I’m just not there yet.

I’m pregnant, and by all means ask me if you can do anything for me (I’ve submitted and do let people ask this now), or ask how I’m feeling or whether I know what I’m having, but unless I ask you – don’t ask, or at least think before you ask or ask yourself whether what you’re asking is actually quite personal for me.

K