Parenting in pain

I hurt. Right now every part of my body from my chin to my mid thigh. If I were a horse they would shoot me. I’m lame, I limp, I’m broken.

My left hip has always hurt.  Over the years injuries and my limp causing referred pain. Pregnancy wrecked my hips further. Motherhood has strained my body to it limits. So I hurt.

During the night feeds. Trying to get comfortable whilst bed sharing. Carrying two babies up and down stairs. Being a human climbing frame. Sitting on the floor to play.  Bending, lifting, carrying. It all hurts.

The pain makes me a bad mum. I get short tempered. I get tired. I often just want to be still, to try and get comfortable. Taking pain relief I’d a constant battle with my guilt as Beatrix gets exposed through my milk. So I try to avoid the painkillers and their side effects.  But it’s hard. I hurt, a dull constant ache. Occasionally sharp stabbing pains.

It’s hard. It’s only going to get harder now Beatrix is on the move. There are years of lifting, bending and carrying ahead of me. I worry how my hips will cope. I worry how long I can walk for. I worry how long I can carry two children up the very steep stairs in our house.

I keep going though. I try to do as the Dr told me and exercise more to try and lose weight. I take the children out. I smile. It’s a struggle though. I sigh. I am snappy and I am sorry. Everything hurts you see and that’s exhausting on its own, let alone when you are a toddler climbing frame.

I had injections into my hips. They didn’t help. I try to do stretches but I struggle to find the time. I make excuses because I don’t want to do all the right things and much hips still hurt. To know this is the beginning of the end of them working. I dream of riding again, though right now just sitting in less pain would be great.

So sorry if I’m snappy. I apologise to my children for not being the mum I want to be. I will try harder and push deeper to go through the discomfort and pain. Please, and it’s a big ask, bear with me if I seem short, tired and snappy some days all my energy is in just keeping walking through the pain.

Twinkle Twinkle Daisy Star

Today was a sad day. It was little Miss B and my last Daisy wrigglers. We started at Daisy tinies when Beatrix was 3 weeks and 6 days old. She was tiny. I was in shock. I didn’t know how to get to know this tiny person when. My heart ached for my boy who needed me but I was unable to do so much. I knew I needed some time with just her so we could get to know each other.

Daisy tinies and Tara gave us that. A safe haven once a week where I was just a new mum. When I could focus on this tiny little girl who was so different from her brother. Learn to love each other. For though I had carried her and delivered her safe into the world via c section I was yet to know her.

Dutifully each week we went, even when it felt more effort than I had fuel in the tank. I knew I would feel revived and reconnected from the time with my daughter. It was such a warm and supportive environment, every week I would close my eyes and listen to Tara’s affirmations and try to hold them for the next week.

Teenies became wrigglers and I loved watching all the babies get on the move. I loved watching Beatrix glow in solo attention once a week. We loved the interaction with babies her own age and seeing what was in the box each week.

Now on the move and swimming once a week our journey with daisy and Tara is over. We are sad but grateful. Grateful for such a safe place. Grateful for the time and laughter. We will miss all our Daisy friends but look forward to our next adventures.

6.30

It’s 6.30pm, it’s at least half an hour until reinforcements in the form of Laurence arrive, I am at the end of my tether. I’m tired, sore and the babies are screaming.

It’s 6.30am, I’ve been awake two hours, I just want to put the baby down and get dressed. I’m dripping from my interrupted bath. I’ve had an hours sleep since 2am.

In between I’ve felt every emotion of motherhood available. I’ve sworn under my breath and I’ve marvelled at their beauty. I love them, I am in awe of them, I am touched out and tired. I wonder if I’m cut out for this as I try to bath them both alone as they are desperate for bed and covered in dinner. Beatrix screams as I dress Edward.  Edward cries as she touches his train book. Frustration mounts. Tears form.

I bundle them into my bed, boob for one, bottle the other. Peace. Calm. Rhythmic breathing and soft snuffles. Love.

Beatrix wakes frequently to feed. I eat dinner whilst she nuzzle’s. I wonder when, if ever, my evening will be mine again. Frustration, arms aching. Rhythmic breathing. Love.

Edward wakes from a nightmare screaming my name. Mummy comes the cry, mummy, mummy. Tired, aching, I gently delatch Beatrix and slide from bed praying. Rhythmic breathing. Sleep baby girl.

Snuggles, cuddles, song and soothing. Ease those night fears my baby boy. Screams turn to Sobs turn to gulps turn to Rhythmic breathing. Love.

Gently, so gently. Into bed my boy. ‘Mouse’ you whisper as I tuck her under your sleep heavy arm. Rhythmic breathing continues. Sleep.

I sneak downstairs. Washing on, dishwasher loaded. I grab a drink and sneak back into bed. Beatrix wakes, routing for milk. Soft snuffles on my cold tired skin. Draw her in. Breathe her in.

They are sleeping. So is the cat. My mind races with thoughts of the day past, the day to come.  I drift. I feed. I drift.

4.30am Edward shouts. I wait breath held. He returns to dreams unknown. I slowly steal from my comfortable bed. So much to do in these wee small hours whilst babies breathe slowly and softly in sleep. Some precious minutes to myself.

It’s 7.30am. Beatrix lies in my arms. Rhythmic breathing.  Love. Edward is stirring. His morning bable begins. Another day starts. I pray today I am better. Today I am a good enough mum.  To keep my breath even and my love strong.

Dreams, screams and porridge!

Ah its been one of those days. A day I could never have imagined before children for its moments of hilarity and sheer toddlerdoom.

Edward has grasped no. Oh has he grasped no. I should have guessed he was going to be contrary today when the normal morning request for his dummy was met with a violent ‘no’. (Add here my customary mum guilt that at 21 months he still has a dummy at bedtime. We did take it away but he needed back when Beatrix was born and he’s not ready to say goodbye to it yet).

Crumpets were devoured, though they took too long to toast. Toast was then demanded. The plate was wrong. The plate was swapped. The toast was ‘no’. He gave the toast to Beatrix. He tried to sweep up. He cried because I wouldn’t let him mop the floor. It wasn’t even 9am. We weren’t even dressed! Instead of getting in a flap because we ‘needed to do x,y,z’ I decided to be more in the moment and roll with him as fighting him this morning wasn’t going to work.

It ended up with three in a tub whilst I washed. Edward climbed in then insisted I bring his sister in too. He then refused to get out. I left him to splash about. I mean it meant the bathroom got cleaned from all the splashing!

He dressed eventually (45 minutes after choosing his favourite caboodle onesie). He ran around a lot. He cuddled Beatrix.  He laughed. He chased the cat.

We had lunch and a play with friends and then went to meet the amazing Paula from EcoRoos to talk cloth nappies. I was so proud of how he behaved. Sitting for juice –  he is the master spiller of all things liquid, waiting when asked. Better I thought.

He sang all the way home but I don’t know what on earth he was singing about! I made him dinner.  He stole the snack I’d made for myself. He insisted on all his clothes coming off after dinner. He ran around with his cars ‘car, beep beep’ starkers giggling. I was struck by how I love him, how he challenges me. How to nuture this new found independence of mind and ensure we ever get anything done.

As an aside. I slept long enough to dream. The sensation of which left me feeling quite weird. For those in the middle of sleep deprivation know it will pass to a more manageable stage. Beatrix is now only up 3 or 4 times a night now and Edward is sleeping more consistently too. It’s weird waking remembering a dream again. I hope it gives me the fortitude to deal with the onset of the no.

Splish Splash

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First swimming lesson

Splish, splash, a round in a circle and up in the air. A funny little rhyme that helped me to learn to love my first born. Edward was not an easy newborn. It had been an awful pregnancy. 3 day failed induction and emergency section. I was reeling. PND took me with abandon. I didn’t know what to do. I had swum all pregnancy and in the bath was the one time of day Edward didn’t scream. We decided to try swimming lessons.

Off we trotted to our first water babies lesson. It wasn’t the best start (I had to borrow a costume because I just wasn’t that organised), but a light switched on. For us both. I felt connected. He smiled. Here, finally, after failing to get feeding sorted, screaming at baby yoga because E didn’t believe in relaxing, was something we were good at, together.

Edward and I swam with Water Babies every week. When we could we swam in between.  It was our time. After Beatrix was born he and I still went for our weekly swimming lesson. 30 minutes of normal in our newly chaotic world. Marie helped soothe my fears as my once confident swimmer clung to me and cried. Change, she told me, was hard for them. As I battled with my mind again, those minutes in the pool were vital for us.

It broke my heart, but being made redundant and our desire for Beatrix to have the same swimming experience meant that Edwards lessons have come to an end. We were so sad. I decided that what we needed was just to get in the water, just us. I left Beatrix with Grandma. Off we toddled just us. We swam. We splashed. He giggled. We connected and that night for the first time in a long time he asked for me at bedtime.

Today Beatrix and I started our Water Babies adventure and I felt the same connection as we splish splashed. I’m excited to watch her confidence grow in the water. I also promise my little fish that he and I will splish splash as often as we can and need. The time will always be precious to us.

Crafting

So… about once a fortnight or so my mum guilt tells me I’ve not done anything creative with the littles and we should craft. Before we go further information should make it clear a single cell organism would have more creative and artistic flair than me! I can’t even colour in between the lines.  It’s just one of those things I can’t do. But I feel I SHOULD!

Today after what can only be described as an epic morning, involving a 3 in the tub bath, tour round the local hospital trying to locate a dietician appointment and Edward scaring me witless on a giant climbing frame, the guilt got me. I dutiful dug out pretty cut shapes and pom poms. A bit of glue. Edward climbed to the table excited… we’ll decorate some eggs I thought.

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Not going great we decided to go for a spider.

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Actually all we succeeded in was making a mess.

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But we had fun. And we tried. Normally after such a disastrous attempt I would chastise my rubbish mother status unable to do those picture perfect things so many clever people do. But I didn’t. See I wantf my children to enjoy having a go and not worry if it’s perfect. They will learn that from me. So we giggled. We felt the textures of pipe cleaners and pom poms and then we had stories. Time will come soon enough when they are ashamed by my inability to craft but for now we’ll keep our date with the craft box – just don’t expect anything to actually get made!

Accepting less than perfect and to try even though it won’t be good is a challenge for me but one I want Edward and Beatrix to overcome so we’ll start small.

When it all gets too arty we can always retreat to a story line.

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Service of Thanksgiving

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Today was a special day filled with special people. It was a day to give thanks for the little people we have  made and the community in which we are blessed to raise them.

For me it was an emotional day. For a long time I was not thankful for my blessings. I couldn’t be. The fog was too thick. But today I truly was for my beautiful, challenging children. For my supportive, fix it all friends and family.

We were lucky enough to have friends agree to be supporters to the children. That means they (some might say crazily) have agreed to help us give the children a moral compass and steer them through life. That’s pretty amazing.

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Edwards supporters
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Beatrix's supporters
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Cake!

We had a totally dairy and soya free party and no one complained. The children played on soft play and the adults mingled. There was cake, jelly and sausage rolls. The thing that struck me though, the moments of love and quietness in a room of rowdy children

Edward took his Daddy’s hand and led him off to play.

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Come with me daddy

Thomas played with Beatrix softly and gently.

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There was a lot of bouncing though.

I was touched by people’s kindness, by acts of family and friends.  More than that I revelled in this two tiny people I made and the joy they were bringing.

So this evening as I sit with B asleep on my knee I feel the full force of the day thankful. And more myself than I knew I was capable of feeling again. Lovely day.

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Mother and daughter moment