Too Much Affection….

I love my child.  I don’t necessarily love that she’s a light-sleeper and a chronic cat-napper to boot.  Nor that she is hard to entertain in the car and likes to express her disdain loudly.  Nor do I love it when she poops in the bath.  But I love her.  Her personality.  Her smiles.  Her quirks.  Everything that makes her, her.

Most parents will tell you that when you have a child, your cleanliness radar adapts.  When bubba was a baby, we sterilised her bottles, her pacifiers, her utensils, everything within a 5km radius of her.  Then we decided that cleaning her things in hot, soapy water was enough.  Later, I thought, if she’s licking our hardwood floor anyway, why do we bother?!?  It’s a slippery slope.

Lately, I’ve taken to wiping her mouthful of porridge with my fingers and eating it myself (hey it’s much quicker this way and I don’t like things to go to waste).  That is until this morning.  There was a dollop of porridge on her chin. I swiped it off with my index finger with a flourish.  And put it in my mouth.  It tasted salty.  I realised it was her booger.  I’m coming close to the outer limits of my affection 😉

 

When Parenting Get Easier

When bubba was one month old, I reached for my mobile phone during one of her 3am feeds and typed one-handed into the google search bar, ‘When does parenting get easier?’ I felt ashamed to ask this, because I didn’t want to be ungrateful.  I was grateful.  Grateful for an uncomplicated birth, grateful for a beautiful daughter, and grateful for the overwhelming love and support from my hubby, family and friends.  But if I had to describe the first three months of bubba’s life with only one word, ‘hard’ would be the honest answer.  Though it wasn’t without its beauty (namely, the sweetness of many firsts which passed too fleetingly), it was also flippin’ hard.  Feeding issues, two to three hourly feeding cycles, lots of washing, lots of fear, lots of tears, lots of take-away food (and then feeling guilty for eating take-away food)…..

My google search that night/morning tells me that there is no consensus on when parenting gets easier (surprise, surprise).  I think Bronwyn McCahon sums it well here:

Motherhood is a constant challenge, just in different ways. When you’ve got really young kids the demands are very physical (getting them dressed, wiping bottoms, helping them eat) but I can already feel things slowly shifting from physical to emotional demands as they get older and have to navigate different issues at school.

When the going gets tough, it’s important to remember.  Remembering does two things.  One, it reminds you of your own strength, of how you have overcome difficult circumstances in the past.  Two, it reminds you that things will pass; everything is in a constant state of flux.

I remember that bubba would scream at the top of her lungs for the whole duration of car trips.  Nowadays, she sits happily with her book and sometimes even sings and claps along to the radio (and only screams when she’s tired).

I remember that bubba would scream whenever she was put in the pram.  Nowadays, she lets us sit her there for longer periods of time and can be distracted with food if all else fails.

I remember that bubba would cry every night from 5pm onwards for a couple of hours.  Nowadays, we can even take her out for dinner (and she is only a bit grouchy sometimes).

I remember that bubba used to scream whenever we changed her diaper or her clothes.  Nowadays, she only screams for half of those times 😉

I remember that I barely had time for breakfast or lunch, and that I would often have to make and eat sandwiches one handed.  Today I took her out to a proper restaurant, she sat across me in a high chair, and we shared a meal together.  She was officially my lunch date.

So on all those counts, parenting has gotten easier.  I think that’s what’s important: to remember where you came from, and compare it to where you are now (not to anyone else or anyone else’s baby).  The parent-child relationship is unique, we all have different temperaments and personalities and no one’s story/ journey is the same.

And when the going gets really really tough, sniff bubba’s head.  I swear there’s pheromones or something there – it makes you sigh and go, oh never mind that you don’t sleep and wants to party at 3am, I will always love you anyway.

If you feel anxious or depressed, do seek professional help from the good folks at the following links or speak to your Doctor:

PANDA Perinatal and Anxiety Depression Australia

Lifeline

On Babies and Sleep

The four-month sleep regression.  I don’t know if it’s a “real thing” or if it’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby if you think about it too much, you attract exactly what you fear will eventuate.  Whatever the theory, our little bubs went through it to some degree.  We also transitioned her to her cot from her bassinet around the four month mark AND transitioned her from her muslin swaddles to her sleeping bag (as she was rolling a heap!) at the same time, so maybe it was too many changes at once.  Childcare was looming in the not too distant future and I didn’t want her to not be able to sleep on her own.  It hurts me to think that she might have to cry herself to sleep in an unfamiliar place for her naps.  So I was determined to help her to sleep.

Sleep is one of those touchy subjects, somewhat emotionally charged (like breastfeeding I find).  I read up on ‘cry it out’ methods, controlled crying methods, responsive settling methods, no-cry sleep solutions to everything in between.  We even got a sleep consultant (who was very helpful).  In the end I found that no one solution worked for us.  It really depends on your baby’s temperament and your own temperament (what you’re comfortable with) and a lot of trial and error.  I know that the mantra is that consistency is key, but for us understanding our child in a particular moment was the key.  Some days, she would ache to be held — I could see that she was insecure and scared, we would rock her to sleep on those days.  Some days, she didn’t want to be held or rocked and just wanted to be left to ‘do her thing’ — so we let her whinge a bit and she self settled.  If there was anything I learnt, putting a baby to sleep is more of an Art than a Science (just like everything else baby-related really).

I found these lines from a blog post useful:

In my experience of parenthood, these things have been consistently true: 1) Nothing changes completely overnight. 2) Nothing stays the same for very long. 3) Everything takes more patience than you think it might but usually it’s patience you manage to find. 4) Keep chugging along for long enough and you’ll eventually get to pat yourself on the back for having a tiny human who’s taken to sleeping, or eating, or peeing in a pot.

Full blog post is from Reading my Tea Leaves here. 

PS. I’m happy to note (that for the time being), she’s sleeping a lot better now at the six months mark and would put herself to sleep for most naps!  Maybe she’s finished her leap.  Or teething doesn’t bother her as much.  Or I pulled back on the dairy.  You know what?  I don’t know why.  It’s unlikely anything I did 😉