Be kind to yourself

This week is one I was dreading. We had a poorly child and after a 12 hour shift on Monday being up through the night with a screaming toddler was not a welcome experience. Luckily my amazing husband took over initially, particularly after having me throw the crackers Bea had asked for at her (not a moment I’m proud of). Fast forward a few hours and our roles had reversed and suddenly I had the patience of an angel (tag teaming works wonders, no point you both being awake all night). Upon waking Tuesday morning we discovered the blisters of hand, foot and mouth and suddenly my carefully made plans to get through the week disappeared. I was looking at long days of just my child and I. Thankfully the week was great and Beatrice and I had a wonderful time together and by the end of the week she was back to her old self and no longer needing quarantine, and thankfully this time I didn’t catch it either.

As a parent it’s easy to feel like you have to perfect or you’ll be judged. Well all I can say is who cares, as long as everyone is alive and happy do what you need to survive. This week we’ve watched lots of television, Bea has had days of mostly surviving on milk as eating hurt too much and upon getting her appetite back ate cheerios stood in her high chair with one foot on the table (I was not going to risk her tantruming and refusing to eat by telling her off).

And even when they aren’t poorly you won’t be perfect. I tried arts and crafts with Bea and it took every ounce of my strength to let her make her pig with his legs above his eyes, I made a putting hole for us to roll balls into and she just threw them around the room and today playing with her water table I found her playing with a dead fly (I thought I’d scooped them all out). We can’t all be Pinterest perfect and who would want to be. These little moments of imperfection I find are the ones that make the best memories. And your child will never care that it wasn’t exactly as you’d hoped. All they care is that you’re there. So give yourself a break. Forget who may be watching and judging and get lost in the moment. You won’t regret it.

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Toddler tantrums

We appear to have now entered the phase of toddler tantrums. And although they can be funny to watch they can also be terrifying. The intensity and passion that a tiny little person suddenly has erupting from them is a sight to behold.

Some days we get by with none but other days everything I do or even don’t do is a reason to lie screaming on the floor. It may be I put her shoes and then take them off when she gets mad which is even worse or give her teddy cat but she doesn’t want him so I take him away but suddenly she does want him. Today it was going into an area that was out of bounds for little people at a toddler group. I was pretty amazed she’d managed to get herself and a pushchair into the space but rules are rules and upon attempting to move her she became a rag doll and screamed. When I put her down she proceeded to throw herself on the floor and cry and then push over the pushchair and throw the doll. It was her longest ever tantrum by far. I just sat by her and reassured her and when she was ready gave her a hug, a drink and some cheese (because cheese fixes everything!).

It’s easy to forget that tantrums are a toddlers way of expressing emotions and that although they may be frustrating and difficult to manage there really isn’t anything wrong with them. Allowing them to express their emotions is the best thing you can do for them. I don’t want Beatrice to grow up ashamed of how she feels and like she has to squash her feelings. That helps no one; but as she grows holding her through her upset and anger and telling her it’s okay and eventually helping her to express her emotions in better ways will hopefully help her to become a well rounded young person and adult. I hate seeing her upset but if that’s how she communicates how can I stop her. Once she’s bigger and can talk she’ll move on to other ways of expressing herself (hopefully).

The magic of toddlers

At this time of year we’ve been hearing all about the magic of Christmas which is great. I love Christmas (and my birthday 3 days later) but it’s never been quite the same as when I was a child. It’s not had the magic it once held for me, which is fine because now instead of father Christmas and presents my priority is just being with those I love. But having a child has suddenly brought that magic back. Now Beatrice is older she gets it a bit more and I love seeing the amazement and excitement in her eyes. She still doesn’t fully understand it but the childlike innocence she has is amazing to watch and it begins to rub off on you again. Therefore I say the reason Christmas is magic is because of toddlers/ children.

Over this Christmastime filled with toddler magic we have learnt some new things that as a parent I wish I’d known before.

1) Just don’t bother with chocolate advent calendars, they won’t miss it if they’ve never had one before and it will save you a lot of tantrums as they don’t understand why you can’t eat it all at once.

2) They may learn new words as you go through the Christmas season which is wonderful. Beatrice learnt ‘star’ and they are now her favourite thing.

3) Toddlers don’t care if it’s the most delicious meal they will ever come across they will probably still tantrum and refuse to eat a Christmas dinner so save your stress and give them pasta.

4) At this young age of 18 months Beatrice actually slept longer than anyone else on Christmas morning and we were all waiting for her to open stockings. I know in years to come I’ll wish she still did this but we were so excited to see her open her stocking.

5) Christmas day will be planned around your toddlers naps. No present opening is worth a grouchy, tired toddler, it’s better too wait.

6) You will never be able to open a present without your toddlers help. They don’t understand that it isn’t for them.

7) And finally if you hear Beatrice say ‘ready, steady, go ‘ and you can’t see her run as fast as you can to find her as she will be flinging herself backwards or forwards and expecting someone to catch her.

We hope your Christmas was as magical as ours and a Happy New Year!

Grief

Grief has been a very private thing for me. I don’t want to make people feel awkward or uncomfortable so I keep it inside. The only problem then is people assume I’m okay when I’m not and to the world I look like I’m carrying on fine. And until recently I’d actually been managing to keep up with the world but then as grief does it came crashing back over me in a wave.

The smallest things set me off like seeing my friends baby bumps (they’re due when I would have been) or hearing about my pregnant friends being kept awake by baby kicks. Now don’t get me wrong I’m so happy for my friends and I don’t want them to have to sensor themselves when around me and I know being kept up by a kicking baby when you’re tired and have a toddler is exhausting; but it also kills me to think I would have been feeling my baby kicking by now and I would do anything to be kept up by that.

It’s the small mundane and at the time annoying things that hit me hardest. All the things I’ll never get to experience with them. This poem sums it up.

‘I will never’ – Clark-Coates/Fosberry

I will never get to hold your hand through a storm

I will never get to wipe your sticky fingers

I will never get to teach you to tie your shoelaces

I will never get to know who your best friend would have been

I will never get to see you fall in love

I will never get to hear you tell me ‘I am going to be a grandparent ‘

But always know…..

I will never be too proud to ask for help

I will never be too scared to say this hurts

I will never be too frightened to declare you matter

And I will never forget you

I will never stop saying your name

I will never stop loving you

I will never stop remembering the sound of this bell, rung in memory of you.

Life on fast forward

I don’t know about anyone else but 2017 seems to have gone by in a blur. And particularly since our miscarriage everything seems to have sped up again. At a time when my world stopped everything around me seemed to go at warp speed. Never before have I been torn between wanting to wallow in my grief yet also keep up with the world around me.

I’ve been kept busy by my 18 month old which has been a blessing mostly. She’s been teething and poorly so is glued to me (the bonus to this is a lot of Disney movie cuddles). During this time our extension on our house began. We had a conservatory that leaked and was freezing so it’s almost now a proper building.

Along with our extension comes the joy of our kitchen and living room being knocked into it to make one big open plan kitchen diner. While this is all very exciting that it is moving so fast it does mean a few weeks of no kitchen, no washing machine, no living room and no Beatrice and I at home during the day. Thank God for our amazing friends who we will be house hopping between and hopefully we won’t outstay our welcome. At least the constant company and play mates for Beatrice will make days easier and more fun. And I’m really hoping that during this inconvenient time for us that time will continue at the fast pace it has been. Roll on Christmas, family time, fun with friends and a new kitchen and living space. Wish us luck!