Being A Mum

Becoming a mother was always very important to me. As a teenager I knew I wanted to be a mother eventually. And as a ‘grown up’, becoming a mum and the idea of motherhood was very prominent in my thoughts.

While I knew I wanted to be a mum, I knew there were parts that I wouldn’t enjoy. Just like every parent, right?

And there are bits I didn’t/don’t enjoy. The waking up several times a night, the disgusting nappies, packing the changing bag at least an hour before leaving the house because you know how long it will take to get everyone ready and out on time – those kinds of things. And now that Vin is older, the constant negotiating is doing my head in. I must add that I usually give in – just for some quiet time! Yes – I am aware that I’m doing the wrong thing and that I mustn’t give in – but you don’t know him. You don’t know how he just drones on and on and on and on. And he sticks his face right up into mine and cries and it drives me bat shit crazy.

Anyway, moving on…

So the things I expected to enjoy, I don’t. I hate bath time. And I hate bed time. Is that wrong? Am I the only one? I know bath time is meant to be all fun and relaxing and stuff. And sometimes it is – but other times… It’s a battle. A battle to get clothes off. A battle to get in the tub. A battle to get out of the tub! It’s not that he doesn’t want to have a bath – he just takes SO long to do anything! I have to ask him at least three times to take his clothes off. And another three times to put his clothes in the hamper. And another three times to get in the tub. ARGH. And it’s usually because he’s too busy talking or he’s too busy pretending to be a transformer (I don’t know why this means everything has to be in slow motion). Sometimes, he pretends to be some kind of construction vehicle. ‘Activating excavator’ (in a robot voice). Sometimes, the laundry can only be picked up if the excavator has been activated. And only in slow motion.

And bed time… UGH. It should be a good bonding experience for us. But by the time he usually gets into bed, I’m irritated. And I’m hungry. We read a story and I sing him some songs – Dream A Little Dream, Hush Little Baby, Twinkle Twinkle, I Love You (Barney), Mr Sandman, Fly Me To The Moon and Goodnight Sweetheart. And always in that order. If it’s not in that order I have to start all over again. So while singing, I have to pat him. And when I finish singing, I have to continue to pat him until he falls asleep. I am aware that this is also my fault. I should not have let him get used to this patting to sleep nonsense. I’ve told him that once the new school year starts, he will get his story and his songs – but once that’s over, mama will leave him in his bed to fall asleep himself. I got puppy dog whining.

I love my boys – and I wouldn’t change them for anything, but does this make me a terrible parent? That I don’t enjoy some of the bits of being a mum that others do?

 

The Same. But Different.

I’ve had over nine months to get used to being a mum of two. There have been ups and downs – but I think we’ve all settled quite nicely.

One thing that I can’t stop thinking about is how different my two boys are. I know V1 (Vin, from now on) and V2 (now known as Booni) are four years apart so there will obviously be differences. What I mean is how different Vin was as a baby. Obviously they won’t be the same, and they’re both their own person. And I’m not saying I prefer one over the other – they’re just different!

Vin and Booni were both born on their due dates – Vin by emergency c-section and Booni by an elective c-section.

Vin was 5.8 lbs and Booni was 7.3 lbs. Vin was still wearing ‘tiny baby’ size at two months and Booni was in 3-6 months clothes by the time he was two months old.

They both put themselves into a four hourly feeding schedule early on.

Vin always needed cuddles to fall asleep. And he still prefers to sleep cuddled up with someone and sleeps better when he is. Booni has only ever slept on my chest once. And he’s only ever slept in my bed once. He hates being cuddled to sleep. Instead, he prefers to be bounced to sleep in his chair!

At twelve weeks I used the Gina Ford book to put Vin into a routine. I guess it didn’t work that well (I didn’t follow it very well) because he continued to wake at least twice a night for milk until he was three years old! Booni put himself into a routine by eleven weeks. And started sleeping straight through the night – sometimes for thirteen hours. That all changed at about seventeen weeks and he started waking quite regularly again. And now, at nine months – he still wakes.

I’ve got tonnes of photos of Vin – lying on the bed or propped up on pillows – in all his little clothes. The reason I’ve got all these photos? He stayed still while I took them. I’ve got a lot of Booni too – just not nearly as many as of his brother. The reason why? He can’t stay still for a minute. With Vin I was able to put on a Baby Einstein DVD and he would sit and watch it. For at least ten to fifteen minutes. With Booni? Forget about it. He barely sits still long enough to notice that the television is on!

At nine months, Vin was able to identify a few animals by pointing to them. Booni doesn’t know any. Vin could point to his nose and to the light. Booni is more interested in the ‘click’ the light switch makes than actually looking (noticing of) at the light.

Vin loved looking at books. Booni loves chewing and throwing books. He’s not interested in listening to stories.

He can wave goodbye. He is quite marvellous at chewing and throwing things. He does understand ‘no’ (especially when accompanied with a wagging finger). And he understands ‘come back’. So he knows something at least!

I know he’ll learn things in time. But I’m wondering if it’s because he hasn’t had the same input Vin had – you know – first child and all. Or does is he just not bothered? I started feeling a bit guilty about it a couple of months ago and decided I’d sign him up for playgroup. So we’ve started going to playgroup. Again. He loves it. He’s so happy to get out of the house and to go somewhere that has different toys for him to chew.

LagosDad and I were discussing how we thought Vin would be book smart and Booni would be street smart. I know it’s too soon to know what they’ll be like in the future – but we still talk about it.

I wonder if they’ll always be so different to each other. And will it work in their favour? Or against them? Will they be close? Or will they be too different to get along?

I suppose I shouldn’t think about all those things now because:

a. Vin loves Booni to bits (Booni is the name he came up with and now we all use it).

b. Booni adores Vin. His face lights up when he sees him.

c. I love them both more than anything.

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Growing Up

Yesterday…

V: Mama! Soon I’m going to be in pre-k (pre-kindergarten)!

Me: Yes! That’s right! Not long to go now!

V: And then I’ll be in kindergarten. Then first grade. Then second grade. Then third grade. Then fourth grade. And then fifth grade! And then no more school!

Me: Umm. Yes more school. You forgot sixth grade. And seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades.

V: Oh. And then no more school?

Me: Well… then you’ll go to university.

V: What’s that?

Me: That’s where you go to learn how to be something. Like a doctor or a teacher or a vet.

V: Oh wow! I’m going to learn how to be a transformer! Or a rescue vehicle!

Me: V – people don’t learn how to be vehicles. But you could be a policeman or a paramedic.

V: I know. How long will I be there for?

Me: Mmm. You’ll probably be about 23 when you finish.

V: Twenty – three? Gosh that’s old!

Today…

V: Mama you know that universary you said yesterday? After that no more school?

Me: University? No more school after that. Then you have to get a job.

V: A job?!

Me: Yes. And go to work every day. Like papa.

V: But I don’t want a job.

Me: But how will you get money?

V: From the bank of course!

Me: But you’ll have to get your own home. You can’t stay with mama and papa forever!

V: I don’t want my own home! I will stay with you! Why can’t I stay with you? I don’t want to grow older!

Me: It’s ok. Calm down. There’s still many years before we have to think about this!

V: How can I stay a small boy?

Weaner

We are weaning Baby V at the moment.

He is loving his meals – whether fresh or out of a jar – and always wants more. Fruit, veg, meat, fish, whatever – he wants more.

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I think this is a good thing. But I’m a bit confused…

I’m tempted to feed him until he doesn’t want any more. I think it’s a good thing to load him up so that he’s full and doesn’t wake at night. No? But, if he eats so much he won’t finish his milk. And then doesn’t take in the recommended daily 600 – 700 ml.

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What do I do?

Field Day

Last Friday was V’s Field Day (Sports Day) and he was so excited to go to school in the morning.

His class had practised the skills needed in each of the five races. There was an obstacle course, a carry the beanbag on a bat race, wet the sponge, run with the sponge, squeeze the sponge and run back with the sponge race, a sack race and a couple of others.

V knew that LagosDad and I were going to watch him take part. And he had been talking about healthy eating and running fast all week – so he was all set.

On Friday morning we dropped him off at his classroom and made our way out to the field. When his class came out, he was ok. Refusing to wear his hat, but ok. I think it was a few minutes later when he had a chance to look around that everything changed.

Yes, they had practised. But he didn’t know that they would be doing Field Day with four other classes. He didn’t realise that there would be other parents (apart from us) there and none of us knew there would be very loud music in the background.

Once they started, parents started moving from the viewing area next to where the races were taking place so they could cheer on their children. LagosDad didn’t know if we should or not. On one hand, V was likely to play up if we were too close. And on the other hand, he might feel bad that all the other parents were there cheering on their kids and his were just plonked on the bleachers.

As soon as he did his first race (the beanbag on the bat one) we knew the rest of the morning was going to be a disaster. The other children understood that they had to run, that they had to get back to their line as fast as possible. V walked. Slowly. His beanbag slid off the bat as soon as he started moving. He didn’t stop to pick it up. He kept walking. LagosDad and I shook our heads in resignation.

The second race was an obstacle course. We decided to cheer him on from next to where the race was.

And that is how enthusiastic he was.

After that race, all the kids went back to their area to have a rest. And LagosDad and I went back to the parents’ area. Next thing I know, a teacher comes to get me because V is crying. I went over to him to see what was wrong, but he was sobbing away and couldn’t talk. All I could make out from his hand gestures is that he wanted me to sit with him. And then hold his hand while walking to the next race. And hold his hand DURING the race. WTF? Not LagosDad. Me.

So for the next three races, I held his hand and tried to guide him through whatever he was meant to do. And he was extremely unenthusiastic about all of them. I was irritated with him. None of the other kids were crying to hold their mum’s hands. None of the others were refusing to participate. He was letting his team down. Luckily none of them saw it like that – it really was all just for fun. No one was keeping score (thank goodness).

Just look at his face!

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I don’t think I was much better during my Field Days though.

So once it was all over, we were free to take our kids home. I asked V if he wanted to come home or stay in school for another hour (ridiculous to ask him when we all know what the answer is!). His face lit up. He collected his bag from the classroom and he was immediately a different child.

He was animated and chatty. LagosDad looked at me with a WTF expression on his face. I could only shrug.

On the way home, I attempted to bring up the drama of earlier that day. ‘V, why did you cry? Why didn’t you want to do Field Day?’ His reply? ‘Because of you.’

What does that mean, because of me? Does it mean he will always play up when I’m there? Does it mean that I’m not supportive enough? Does it mean he doesn’t want me there? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

I told him that if he’s going to cry ‘because of me’ and not participate ‘because of me’, then I wouldn’t go to school for any more events. He said ok.

I don’t understand. Does he not want me there? Won’t he feel sad if he sees that his friends’ parents are there, but not his? Doesn’t he realise that we love him and want to experience these things with him (stupid question – he’s only 4)?

Maybe next year will be different? Perhaps I will go in disguise…

Wasn’t To Be

I’d seen a couple of babies wearing little black and gold beaded bracelets and decided I wanted one for Varun.
I never got any for Vinay when he was a baby as he never liked to wear anything around his wrists or his neck.
The bracelet is to protect the wearer. Protect them from anyone who may be giving them “the evil eye”.
Anyway, since my mum was in India I asked her to get me one. She very kindly did. And she sent it to me through a friend of hers. I received it last Tuesday.

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See the bracelet? It was a bit too big for Varun. And the next day I took it off him. Vinay asked if he could wear it.
I happily put it on him.
When I collected him from school on Thursday, he was carrying it. He said it had fallen off.
I put it back on him as I didn’t have any pockets or my handbag. And I made a mental note to give it to LagosDad to have the clasp changed when he goes to India.
After being at home for a couple of hours, Vinay went outside to play. I could hear him and his friends running around, shouting and bouncing on the trampoline.
He came upstairs a sweaty, dirty mess. And I said to him, “Where’s the bracelet?”
It had fallen off in the garden. And we still can’t find it.
I was very cross. But quickly realised it wasn’t the poor boy’s fault. It’s mine.  We’ve been out there every day looking for it but have had no luck.
And I can’t tell my mum.
It has taken me this – losing an expensive gold bracelet – to realise that Vinay is not meant to wear anything.
Let me explain.
As a newborn baby we tied a black thread (same reason as the lost bracelet) around his wrist. It fell off. We tried again. It fell off. We tied one round his ankle instead. Also fell off. This went on for months.
When he was 13 months and we had to shave his head, I put a gold chain with a baby Krishna pendant on it round his neck. The chain broke. I tried a slightly thicker chain. The clasp broke. And when I was sure I’d found the perfect chain, the pendant broke!
So that’s that. My son is not “meant” to wear any of that stuff.
What will I tell my mum??

Exhaustion

For the last two nights, Baby V (now 5 months old) has been… Troublesome.
I complained a few weeks ago that he wasn’t sleeping through the night anymore. But you know what? At least he bloody slept!
Now he just won’t sleep!
He was up every five minutes from 5 am until 6.30 am yesterday morning. And last night he’d sleep for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. But only until 11 pm. From 11pm, he was awake until 1 am. Not just lying in his cot and gurgling to himself awake, but whinging and whining awake. He didn’t want to lie down, he didn’t want to be carried or walked. He wasn’t hungry. He wasn’t windy, he was just… Awake!
I don’t let him sleep for more than 3 hours during the day, so it wasn’t that he wasn’t tired. He was yawning and rubbing his eyes a lot. But still… Awake!

At some point during the night I made up a little song (which I only sang in my head) for him. Thought I’d share it with you. Sing in tune to Hush Little Baby.

Sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep,
Sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep,
Sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep,
Go the f*ck to sleep.

Repeat as many times as necessary.

Seriously though – what should I do?

Not So Sleepy Head

I knew it. I just knew it.

I knew if I talked about it, I’d jinx it.

But what are you supposed to do when people keep asking questions like, ‘Is he a good baby?’ ‘Does he sleep well?’ ‘Is he sleeping through the night?’ ‘How many times does he wake up?’

I was feeling quite smug about the fact that Baby V put himself into a routine and started sleeping through the night at eleven weeks.

Alas – it was not to be.

He got a slight cold just before Christmas and that threw everything off. Then he went through a growth spurt (at least that’s what I’m telling myself), which didn’t help.

So now he still sleeps at 7 pm. And I still dream feed him (timing depends on his last feed), but he’s started waking. He spent a few nights getting up at 5 am. A few at 4 am and some at 3 am.

I took to waiting up until 1 am and feeding him and then going to bed at about 1.30 – 1.45 am.

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Awake at 1 am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I became exhausted and unable to function properly.

Then I thought I’d try the Gina Ford book. That lasted about a day. Maybe half a day. It was my fault. I just wasn’t ‘feeling it’.

And now I’ve just left it. If he wakes, he wakes. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t.

Last night he had a feed at 8.30 pm and then woke at 5 am for another feed. And then slept again until 8 am.

So he’s still sleeping well – it’s just that his timings have changed.

I think I’m the sleepy head.

Sigh

Yesterday evening V decided that we were going to have cuddles. Him, me and LagosDad. Three of us at the same time. It’s been a long time since he’s instigated the cuddles, so we were happy to comply.
What usually happens is that we all lie in bed with V in the middle. And when he gives the command (he’s good at that), LagosDad and I roll inwards and put our arms around each other. And V gets squashed in the middle.
We were having a lovely time. Giggling and hugging.
Then…
V: Mama, why is your tummy still so big?
Me: Mmm. Because I need to exercise. *wanting to die*
V: Yes you must exercise. Look at papa’s tummy. It’s become so teeny tiny because he exercises.
Me: *avoiding LagosDad’s smug look* Yes. He does exercise a lot, doesn’t he?

So now… I have to start.
Soon.

Family Complete

Last week a friend of mil’s came to visit Baby V.

The two of them hadn’t met in a while and were having a catch up.

Talk turned to someone they know who has a two (I’m guessing) year old daughter and just recently had a baby boy.

One of the women says, ‘Oh, so now their family is complete?’

And the other replies (while shaking her head from side to side (Indian style)), ‘Yah yah – family complete.

I sat there becoming more and more irritated.

WTF.

Since when does having one boy and one girl make a family ‘complete’? Is my family incomplete because I have two boys? If I had a third child and that one turned out to be a boy as well, would my family still be incomplete?

I find these archaic views of life so frustrating that I wanted to just scream.

But I didn’t.

I just shut up and smiled. This time.