Calamity Jane

If it’s going to happen to anyone it will be me, or the children.  As lovely as we all are (scrummy indeed) we are a cocoughany of allergies and problems. 2017 hasn’t been kind… there is the never ending chest infection for me, milk exposure for the children, leading to allergic conjunctivitis, to which edward had an allergic reaction to the eye drops. We’ve also had the pox for Beatrix, colds, I fell and hurt my foot, I’ve hurt a rib coughing and Edward currently has a tummy bug. It’s been fairly relentless.

Poorly babies.

On top of this I’ve been processing a life altering diagnosis. I have fibromyalgia. It makes sense. It frames the last few years differently.

If you don’t know what it is in simple terms it’s chronic global pain, fatigue and mental processing difficulties (memory etc.). It’s not going away. It’s to be managed not cured. 

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It explains a lot but I’m not sure it’s diagnosis helps. 4 hours, a large portion of which I was sitting down, out to buy some bits left me needing codeine and 4 early nights and cafinated days. I’m not young but I’m too young for this. My children need me too much.

It feels like it’s always us. That somehow luck doesn’t flow our way and yes I’m calamitous but also so lucky. Edward has been playing doctor whilst I’ve been poorly, he’s also helped looking after Beatrix giving her medicine and gentle cuddles. I have THE most amazing family and spectacular friends a person could ask for. Im proud of what I’ve achieved and oddly thanks to Sirius the wonder dog and a ton of hard work im mentally better than I have been since Edward was born.

The good thing about being a calamity is you develop a level of resilience and quite a weird sense of humour. Always a source of amusement I can fall off my own feet. So whilst so far 2017 has frankly, not been my friend, I’m sure that we will grow on each other. If nothing else I am looking forward to watching Edward and Beatrix continue in their quests to climb the highest, run the fastest and be the first to turn the page.

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Going to miss it really.

You could write a book on all the ‘wrong’ ways my daughter breastfeeding feeds. Bad latch, frequent feeding even at 14 months, chewing, bobbing on and off so often the world has seen my boobs. It drives me mad. A lot.


Yet I’m lying here after an amazing Christmas party and we’re snuggled in the dark whilst she naps. She so needs this nap. I breathe her in. Her tiny hands cupping my breast as she doses. I know I shall miss these moments.

B is my bittersweet last child. She’s probably going to be the end of my sanity but I cherish being able to meet her needs fully and easily. At least physically easily. Meeting her needs is emotionally one of the hardest things I’ve done. 


Yet. As another night has passed where she’s refused to leave my side I know this determined young lady will fly high and far away from me, secure from the cuddles and needs met. Until then, pass the coffee.

10 minutes of play

So Edward and I have been assigned a family support worker. I’ve had a parenting assessment and areas of support have been identified. There are concerns with his behaviour and ASD traits.

At first I was outright hostile. I felt judged and I hated every second of it, even though Carla was lovely.  Looking at it differently, as support to help Edward be Edward I embraced it this week with a different attitude.

With that in mind I was set home work. 10 minutes of unstructured, focus play with Edward and then record my feeling and his reactions. I quaffed. Thought the time stupidly short. I spend all day with him. We are always playing. But we’re not. I found it hard to fit in. His response to it was magical. I realised how often I am ‘doing’ rather than ‘being’ around them.

So here are our activities and reflections from what’s been a surprise eye opener of a week.

Friday:


Card and garage. Lots of discussion and round where the cars could go and they lift. E loves the lift. His problem solving makes me smile. I felt proud of him and warmth from his smile. At first reluctant to let me into his game Edward blossomed and was calmer for the rest of the day.

Saturday:

TRAINS. We built and epic track. We raced trains. We crashed trains. I let Edward lead the play and enjoyed his story telling and insight into his world. I felt we were able to create a real sense of connection. Edward asked for me at bedtime. He was more willing to be directed afterwards.

Monday:

I work all day Monday leaving little time for fitting in play alongside everything else. Edward joined me in the bath as I washed before work and when I got home we reconnected over some lego. he was quicker to bring me into his game and his laughter was infectious. His tower and tractor building skills are to be admired. Edward struggled at bedtime that night and wanted a lot of reassurance. I hope the play helped him feel connected. 

Tuesday:

We have group then I work on a Tuesday. Edward and I played with the lego train at group and he helped me make his lunch. We also built some lego. These were much bittier activities and I felt guilty that he hadn’t had the time.

Wednesday:

Today the lights went on. instead of rushing to get dressed I listened to what he was trying to say. We played garages and cars before we went to get dressed with the promise of trains once we were dressed. he dressed without protest. Engaging with me. Not beating up his sister. He napped. I felt good. It’s working.

Thursday:

Today we painted (and bathed) with a friend. Went to group and then instead of going to Grandma’s Edward asked to come home. We spent some time building a train track, predicting where it would stop and engineering crashes. After dinner we did some stickers and be made and be general mess with the craft box. I feel we are starting to get somewhere. Edward is  climbing on me less, I believe because he realises he is getting my time. 

I am proud of us. It’s not been easy to accept help. It’s not been easy to realise I need it. Small things are working. I look forward to the next session.

Daily Prompt: Miniature

via Daily Prompt: Miniature

Today’s daily prompt made me giggle as I thought of ‘miniature dictators’ otherwise known as toddlers.

E has turned two. Oh me oh my has he turned two.  Everything is NOPE! Or No. He is pushing every button I didn’t know I had. It’s like I don’t know how to parent him anymore.  I reason with him.  The other morning I stopped short of pleading with him to just put some shoes on.

Life is hard for my miniature dictator. He wants to do things for himself, but he can’t. He wants to play, but we need to go out. He doesn’t like clothes, not one bit, or nappies. Yet he can’t quite figure out the potty. He just wants to play trains, naked, at home, without his sister stealing them.

I can’t provide this world for him. As much as I wish I could. We have errands to run, friends to see. He is often happy once we are out.  I can feel my world shrinking around me, becoming smaller, as I try to avoid his meltdowns and calm his frayed nerves. 40 minutes of screaming because I took off a nappy, 30 to get one back on.

My tiny man has such big emotions. He feels things so strongly. How can I help him? As he levels up I lean on the bonds of friends and family. Hoping those bonds are strong enough to support this latest challenge. My world in miniature, Edward, Beatrix and I. A little threesome surviving each day.  My mini Drapers, so full of their own plans for the day.

I celebrate the miniture moments, of joy as a cuddle is given with gusto, of impatience as shoes are refused. Knowing each of these moments are fleeting.  I hope to keep my frustration miniture. To help these little people learn about these oh so big emotions.

 

Daily Prompt: Reach

via Daily Prompt: Reach

So today I decided to take the Daily Prompt (what a fabulous idea) and post on Reach.  It is a word that resonates with me at the moment, as I reach in many directions.

Rather than wax lyrical about them all, I decided first to list, what I as a Mum of a just turned two year old (how did that happen) and a soon to be 10 month old, felt reach meant to me:

  1. Milestones.  With babies and toddlers there are milestones to be reached.  With Edward I willed them to come and eagerly checked each one off. With Beatrix, a baby in a hurry, I am willing her to slow down.  Wishing each milestone would delay. At 10 months and nearly walking, I wish she would stay a baby a little while longer.13872819_10154115880894279_643525235753062676_n
  2. The wall. Of tiredness. Of patience. Of joy. I reach all of them, everyday. Realising the wall won’t crush you has been one of the hardest, and most worthwhile, lessons of parenthood.13450243_10154015132394279_5002226341065293682_n
  3. For friends. Its true it takes a village. I reach for mine daily, on bad days hourly. They always give. I am eternally grateful for them.11232129_10153344969849279_2161995625351641282_n
  4. My limit. Then exceed it. I am more than I ever knew I could be. I have felt worse than I knew possible. I have felt happier than it should be possible to be.12138315_10153466063214279_3239538760509812675_o
  5. For the future. It now means more to me than I knew it could. I want to live in the present, but I am reaching for a better future for my children, further for them, a safer world for them, happiness for them.13501969_10154017327479279_738851009054459128_n
  6. For myself. In the first year of Edward’s life I lost myself, Tori to Mummy. Add Beatrix and I was truly lost. Now, I am finding myself within Motherhood. Working, friendships, therapy. They are all helping.13103542_10153886999359279_6173658691921692100_n

Half a dozen thoughts inspired by one word. What a lovely reflection for a Sunday afternoon. I do know, as Edward turned two yesterday, I have reached a new place of contentment with myself.  I am proud of the little boy he is becoming, of the work I am doing both with B.E Administered and Carry Together. This place as been a fight to reach. I am proud to be here.  I am grateful to be here thanks to such amazing friends and family. A depth of gratitude I will never be able to fully express but I hope they know.

Starting Over

So.  Whilst on maternity leave with B I have been made redundant.  I loved my job.  I loved the people I worked with, but these things happen.  I started to look around and it became clear that there was not part time work that a) was even vaguely similar to what I had been doing for the last ten years and b) close to paying the childcare costs for two little people.

Without getting into the several rants I had at anyone who would listen about how we are excluding women from the workforce and that I should be able to have some time with my children and work, therefore contributing the economy, as that will only fire me up again.  Safe to say it makes me very cross and more than a little sad.

Suffering from PND this felt like a final nail in my ‘pre Mummy’ identity gone. Bella had been put down, I didn’t have a job to go back to, I felt I no longer ‘contributed’ to the family pot.  I didn’t know what to do, the prospect of working evenings and weekends so Laurence could watch the children saddened me, but seemed the only option.  I had no confidence in the fuzz I called a brain working at its new, sleep deprived state.

So it seemed, it was time to take the future in my own hands.  With some serious encouragement and points in the right direction from an inspiring WAHM Mum (Jennifer J who runs the amazing Little T’s textiles and haberdashery – check her out) I decided to see if I have what it takes to join the ranks of these amazing women juggling running their own businesses with caring for children.

With absolutely no creative or craft skills, I can’t even colour in the lines I knew what I could offer, something I am good at. Admin! You may love to paint, or knit or sew.  I love a good spreadsheet and a well ordered filing system.  I love research, I love helping and organising.  I miss the validation of being a vital cog in a machine.  For the first time in a long time I could feel the fires starting to burn and the excitement grow within me.

I spent a lot of time reading, making sure I was happy with what I was doing. I spent FAR too long trying not to use the first business name that came into my mind. Which was a pointless endeavour as I ended up using it anyway. So here I am, on my first day of trading as B.E Administered. Terrified and excited and actually just a little bit proud.  Full of cold, on 3 hours sleep but I am here, I am doing and I can say, I got this.

I would love to hear your views on returning to work post baby/babies.  Have you gone back to your old job? Have you struggled with finding work to fit around your new commitments? Are you a WAHM? Would love to know more.

 

 

 

 

When pudding makes you cry.

As an allergy mum I am that awkward customer in a restaurant.  I am used to staff staring at me blankly when I ask for their allergy book or them responding with ‘we have gluten free’ or ‘that has eggs in, isn’t that dairy?’. The best we get on most occasions is a hard to read (well it is for a dyslexic like me) folder where I have to look up every ingredient for a meal and order. Then hope there is no cross contamination. It’s exhausting.

We are in Norwich visiting my nana before our first holiday as a family of four. It’s a horrid journey from home, full of a roads and tractors. We arrived, late, with tired and grumpy children. After some time with Nana Edward started to demand food. With trepidation we made our goodbyes and headed to the premier Inn and their restaurant to get the children food.

Imagine my surprise when the manager comes over to go through the book. She asks about the children and their allergies.  She gets the kitchen manager out to go through the options for the children. He explained how it would be cooked separately and by himself. I was feeling good

The food was good and the children and we enjoyed ourselves.  Imagine, however, my pure delight when the manager came out to tell me they had come up with PUDDING! pudding is normally at best some fruit. This was sweet, looked like pudding pudding. We delighted. Their kindness brought tears to my eyes. I felt normal for one meal. Edward had pudding. I feel from here a picture says a thousand words.

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My delight
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Edward getting stuck in
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Yum
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Even Beatrix got some

This won’t mean much to many, but as eating out with children is stressful enough let alone when you have to take into account food can make your precious bundles poorly today was a good day.