Heartbreaking 

The one thing I am forever grateful for, is the approach to parenting that Tom and I have taken. I appreciate our experience is incredibly limited to one little bundle of joy, but when we use the techniques we learn about every day on other children, it basically never fails. Calm, respectful interactions where clarity and confidence is key to peaceful and positive interactions: even when there is something that poses a less enjoyable learning opportunity.

We were out at the zoo yesterday and Leo was merrily downing some fruit pouches whilst being thoroughly engaged by some ducks that aren’t actually an ‘attraction’ but he loves them. Tom and I were Sat at the benches whilst he chatted away and then I sadly had to witness something that is still haunting my soul today. There were a family with twin boys, about Leo’s age and one of the little boys desperately wanted to play on the grass in the middle of the section where we were and the mother was having none of it. They were both on lead reins and this child was absolutely distraught, screaming and struggling to breath: he was that upset. She physically dragged him along and up by the reins during this protest and when her husband asked what was going on, she stated that he was just being stupid and wanted to get to the grass. Queue the shattering of my already pained heart. 

So they swapped twins and the father was less rough housing but the child’s woeful screams could be heard for some time. The other twin was clearly distressed by this also but was turning insular and walking along looking at the floor.

Now, I know one should not judge by a single event out of context. However, in this case I judge that as bullying and unacceptable. How the fuck would she feel if someone treated her like that. How would we as spectators have handled it if her husband was dragging her along by a bag strap and calling her stupid?! The kid just wanted to play on the grass ffs, not a busy motorway.

I wish I knew what to do in those situations, I think if she had been a lone parent then I would have offered to help, but how the hell do you intervene in that kind of situation? It seems to be something that society accepts, the total and utter disregard for a child’s place in the world and utter, shameful lack of respect. I know full well that she wouldn’t have been receptive if I had approached her, should that have stopped me? 

Above everything else, I want to be able to give her the gift of enjoying her children. Of seeing their little acts of what she perceives as defiance as being an act of their journey through brain development and freedom of choice, of being interested and engaged in the world around them. She is missing the opportunity to be absorbed by the little things we now overlook as adults. She may think the tigers are amazing, but at that very moment in time that little boy wanted to run on the wet grass and most likely roll around in it.. He might get wet, he might get dirty.. So what? As long as you go home if they get cold, who the fuck cares? Will the world stop spinning if you spend some entry money and look at grass the whole time? No, it won’t. What might happen is that you experience a magical moment with the little gift that you have right there in front of you.

I want to find a way to be better in an instance, put my fear aside and do something positive for that one little child and his scared brother and potentially give a tired and lost woman a new magic to enjoy.. 

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Just stop looking 

Purely unintentionally, I have managed to remove my time obsession. My fitbit strap keeps breaking, to the point that it has bored me and I can’t be bothered to replace it. This means, no more sleep tracker and no more clock watching.

I’m obsessed with time, I absolutely hate being late and I have it in my head I have to have 8 hours sleep a night or I break. I used to find myself getting stressed at night because I couldn’t fit everything in before I had to go to bed at 9.30. If Leo woke me in the night, the first thing I would do is check what time it was and calculate how much that will impact my day if I can’t get back to sleep, and to top it all off, I would always check my sleep tracker first thing in the morning.

I now don’t have the means to fulfil the above impulses, so I simply don’t care. I don’t feel any more tired than before, that’s for sure. For some reason, I haven’t replaced checking my watch with checking other clocks either. It’s very odd. I always thought the problem was lack of time when it was actually a weird obsession I had created for myself.

Horror

This morning I had the unexpected opportunity to test out what I had learnt during our baby first aid classes, many, many moons ago. I was changing Leo’s nappy whilst he was playing with what I incorrectly assumed was just a screwdriver end. He had found a screw somewhere (I didn’t know what it was at the time)

He made an horrendous noise and then stopped breathing and was clearly panicking. I whipped him up and turned him over and hit him hard enough between the shoulder blades to bring up his heart. I had no idea what was in there, so I just kept hitting him (that sounds unnecessarily mean) with the heel of my hand until he started to cry. Crying is good, crying means breath and life! I then cuddled him so hard he was probably hindered in his breathing once again.

That was a massive wake up call. During the process I had a glimpse of losing my angel and I have to keep pushing that out of my mind for fear of implosion with horror and guilt. I had become complacent in ensuring I know what he has hold of, especially when he is on his back. It is not something I ever need to witness again.

Would I have done the same without first aid training? I’d imagine so, I may not have tipped him up at the same time but I reckon I may well have done. I have no idea what I would have done if it hadn’t come up, probably legged it around to my neighbours house as she is a paediatrician and her husband is a nurse. Thankfully, I didn’t need to find out.

In the blink of an eye 

Our little boy is 2! I haven’t blogged for ages either, it’s just been a whirlwind of everything recently.. Changing jobs, studying for my wellness coaching, birthday parties and now: poorly baby. Coughing his head off so time for some blogging!

He just gets more and more amazing as every day goes by. The capability of children just blows my mind. They are these wonderfully receptive, uninhibited little bodies and they are just amazing. 

I am so glad we made the choice to be respectful parents, there is never a time that approach has
 let us down, and I really feel it’s worth the hours and hours of reading and the hard work it takes to not default to the easy reaction, to not give in to your triggers.. Especially when you are shattered and feel bad for leaving them all the time.

We have been in the wars this weekend. New wellies = inability to judge how high feet need to come when running at full kilter. He had his first experience of properly scratching his knees, and it won’t be his last. He fell flat on his face at nursery and got a nose bleed, that won’t be his last either! 

I am gutted that I didn’t get a single picture of his birthday or the cakes I made! That’s basically unheard of for me but I was so busy running around and Tom was being Leo’s comfort blanket for the first couple of hours. It went well though. Tents, balloons, food, water and chalk, what more do you need! 

So glad 

We decided some time ago, that we wanted Leo to go to forest school. Our reasons at that point were that we wanted Leo to be able to run free and feral as much as possible, because who doesn’t love being filthy and running around! 

We found one that was a little out of our way, so we couldn’t go for it logistically until either Tom or our found a new job or adjusted our hours. I have a new job, we got a second car and Tom has had more working from home days authorised, which meant we are good to go. 

When we went to meet the team, I was absolutely blown away. They handle with children in all thewya I want. Their approach is that of trust and respect, everything is explained and discussed and no matter what occurs, it is a positive learning opportunity for them. They do home cooked, proper vegan food every day and easily accommodate refined sugar free requests. They only use reusable wipes rather than disposable and just basically match all I can dream of. My only regret is that he can’t go for all of his sessions! 

Children of all ages mix together and it’s just so idilic, I’m so excited. 

He had his first settle in morning on Friday, Tom stayed and Leo basically legged it off to our play and didn’t come back until food time. Everything Tom experienced whilst he was there was so refreshing, even when there was a disagreement between clan members, it was takeout and handled in the exact way that we want. As much as I am dreading the thought of having to do difficult drop offs, I now feel that it will become a positive learning experience for Leo. 

Whilst his other nursery is brilliant, it isn’t forest school and I feel so bad that he is palmed off at nursery every day for long hours, I feel considerably better knowing that he will now have such hugely positive people to help him along. 

F%&k off with the labels 

Leo is naturally cautious with new situations. He likes to take it all in before he decides whether or not he is interested. If he is, he’s right in the thick of it. If he’s not, he’s not. 

In today’s society, there seems to be a stigma around the word shy, it seems that it is something you should be ashamed of, something you should rid yourself of by immersion and forced exposure. 

We were at a children’s party on Saturday and as expected, it was pretty frenetic. One of our more exuberant ‘friends’ was there and he came over to me and with the most pitying look and tone, ask me if Leo was OK, is he just shy? 

Mamma bear fury kicked in and he was lucky I didn’t slap the stupid out of him, there is a turbulent history that we share (I think he’s a total cock) so this won’t have helped my response a great deal. I found myself defending Leo, like there was something wrong with him. This did not help my mood. 

The fact that I let some short sighted neanderthal back me into doing something that then makes feel like I have an issue with any element of my wonder angel, infuriates me more than anything. I feel like I have let him down. 
I don’t like people labelling my child for something that is just him and nothing to be ashamed of, the thought of that hurting him is like a knife through the heart. 

Disappearance 

It’s been a while since I last posted. I’ve been in the process of finding a new job and that seems to have taken up all of my spare headspace recently. I start at the new place in two weeks so it’s going to be a while before I find a good routine again. It’s quite good that I have struggled to settle into a routine since going back to work since Leo, it means this is going to be far less of an unheavale. 

Leo starts at forest school about a month after I start my new job, this isn’t ideal as I would have loved for him to have longer to settle in whilst I was on  my shorter working hours, but I don’t have that luxury so I am just having to be really strict with my internal control freak and just go with it for once in my life. The only thing I am achieving by stressing about it is stress! 

We were at a family wedding yesterday, Tom’s cousin, so we left Leo with my parents as he never sleeps well at Tom’s mums due to it being in the centre of town and really noisy with the windows open. We were in bed before 9pm! Leo has 3 molars coming through, so we haven’t had the best nights recently, not that we ever really have great nights! 

Give me time 

We know our little man likes to take his time to warm up to crowds, and that’s just how it is. It’s no surprise as Tom and I are totally the same. I battle with the fact that I feel it has restricted me sometimes, yet Tom doesn’t feel this way at all. It’s up to me to fight my personal demon’s and not press them onto Leo, but at the same time I don’t want him to watch life through a window: unless he wants to of course! 

We went to Geronimo Festival yesterday, he had an early snooze so that was perfect but he woke up just as we arrived. We got him out of the car into a pretty busy car park, lots of noise, people getting ready, more cars driving in, and of course the noise of the festival. He was immediately unhappy and I think it was exacerbated by being hungry, after some resistance he ate something and calmed a little but had to be carried. Once we got through bag check, we were into some animal displays and a very noisy parrot caused some upset. He stroked a ferret and stared at a massive tortoise, which helped a little, but he still wasn’t a happy camper. 
 

I’ve been happier mummy
 We moved away and over to an arena display, which he watched intently. Tom then left us to go a find our friends, just as it started to rain. I went to put his rain coat on and that opened the flood gates. He just didn’t know what to do with himself, he threw himself on the floor, threw himself out of my arms and general just unleashed all of that tension and upset. I had to just hold on to him in the end and restrain him from harm whilst I talked gently to him. After a couple of seconds in my arms, he released and cuddled in. Poor little man. 

After that, he was a different boy. Running around and going over to everything he wanted to. 

Put the f@#*ing drill down 

I fell into a trap that I swore I never would. Pushy parent with an idea that your child should be involved in something because you want them to be. I also know full well that Leo likes to take his time with things, he just doesn’t respond well to a frenetic environment. 

Yet I still felt myself getting pissed off that instead of wanting to climb, he wanted to play with a little plastic drill. I did correct my behaviour, but it was really quite a struggle for me. He came out of his shell once the rest of the kids were doing the cool down and he had space to just take his time, and he was great at it. No fear and just took to it. 

Definitely another lesson learned for me in the journey of parenthood, and possibly the one I have beaten myself up for the most.. Yes, I know I shouldn’t. But hey ho 

Mean Mummy 

We have been taking Leo into nursery this week as mum and dad are on holiday. Every morning he hasn’t wanted to go. Tom took him on Tuesday as I was in bed with a migraine from hell, I don’t believe it was a nice experience. 

Tom had then fallen foul to whatever has got me (unsurprisingly, as Leo is sleeping terribly because of snot!) so I took him on Wednesday and today. 

I’m sure the nursery staff think I am indulgent, I sit with him whilst he cuddles me and I let him settle down on me before I encourage him to have breakfast, play with things and then eventually leave me. I worry immensely about the nursery impact, whilst I know that he gets so much positivity from playing with his peers and learning important life lessons about communication, bargaining, problem solving and conflicts to name a few: I also know that research shows a child’s cortisol levels are elevated whilst in nursery as it is, so the last thing I want to do is elevate them higher than is necessary if I can help it.  I don’t know if it works like that, trust me, if there was some way of monitoring it, I would do so obsessively! 

The main thing is, I stick to the process I am comfortable with and it works for us (I think!) and if I have learned one thing about parenting, it is this that matters, not what other people think you should do because that’s what’s been done for years. I like to understand the science and apply behaviour accordingly, so far we have a happy, chilled out little man who loves life and that’s good enough for me.