Three Years Breastfeeding & Three Months Tandem Feeding

Ask me three years ago about breastfeeding, and I’d have told you I didn’t know much but I’d be giving it a blooming good go. Three years on, Babe is three and still nursing (about two/three times a day) and baby Boyo is three months old and nursing strong. Who’d have thought it (not me) that I’d be nursing a toddler and doing tandem feeding too. In those dark nights during the early days I thought I’d be lucky to last three weeks or three months, let alone three years.

The truth is, despite the health benefits, my babies and I love num nums…erm, sorry, I mean breastfeeding. A pet name comes in handy when out in public. The last thing I wanted my toddler saying at the top of her voice out in public is “I want boobie now mummy, give me boobie!” I’m brazen about nursing in public, but that would have just been a bit too forward for me.

Some people ask when I plan on stoping Babe (the 3yo) from having num nums, and I’ve declined them an answer. I want her to make that choice. I just don’t know what the cut off is either. I originally thought a year was enough, my opinions have changed and I’ve learned not to forecast this situation – but let it evolve. I ask people therefore in the meantime not to cast judgement and respect that I am doing what I feel is physically and emotionally best for my children. Call me a hippy if you will, but you might be better to call me dedicated and focused, I’d like to think that’s a more accurate description.

I did ask Babe yesterday if she thought she was too old for num nums. I got a firm ‘no’ 😉

So I’m not looking at the end, because I don’t know when it will be. In the meantime the three of us are enjoying the journey and daddy’s appreciating the peace.

Battling Willfullness

Over the last month Babe (nearly three), has suddenly got so much more confident and willfull (aka little sod).

This takes parenting patience with two young children to another level. I wonder how people in the childcare profession get on without going totally nuts?! Maybe because they’re not their own kids, and as a result it doesn’t get to them so much (like a pride thing)? Perhaps cause they get to hand them back at the end of the day and don’t have to endure the hell that is bath and bed time (oh how I hate that time of day).

I adore the fact that Babe has a new found confidence and knows her own mind but I wonder if I’d have rather kept my shy little fairly amenable girly for a bit longer.

A prime example – getting in the bath has become the kind of negotiating challenge that I’d never encountered before (except with one of my old german bosses who was amazing at bringing you to his way of thinking without you realising it till afterwards). In all seriousness I think when I do go back to work my negotiating skills are going to be so much better. At the same time, I might be more likely to back down on many more occasions, choosing to select my battles more carefully. I confess I am using bribery with the bath “you can have a farmer sweet if you get in the bath now”. The problem is that I’m still saying ‘now’ 20 minutes later, when I’m spitting the words out between my teeth and pawing at the ground in an attempt to dig a hole in the carpet to retreat into.

Another example, this morning when baking cappuccino cupcakes for her second birthday party in three days. Babe was determined to add the vanilla essence, which resulted in a tussle over the bottle and a potent amount being sloshed into the Kenwood. Could have been worse, like the addition of garam masala to the carrot cake last year.

I’m struggling a little to be honest…

When Babe also does things specifically to be naughty, what now? I’m moving away from the idea of the naughty step, she knows it’s naughty, what’s isolating her gonna do to improve the situation but exacerbate it? So finding gentle disapljne approaches is now my new challenge. I’ve got Alfie Kohns book on Unconditional Parenting, but what else should I be asking Santa (aka Amazon) for?

This Advent Calendar Will Be The Death of Me

Many years ago hubby’s sewing whizz mum made us a lovely fabric advent calendar. This year I decided to fill the pockets for Babe (nearly three) and daddy. They each get a treat in the daily pocket with the intention that it is a nice morning ritual for them both.

I’ve filled the pockets (thx to my friends for suggestions) with a mixture of hair bobbles, hair clips, Christmas tree ornaments and chocolate lolipops. There are still some pockets to fill, with which I plan to put in some dried fruit and nuts. In the same pocket there is a gold truffle sweet for daddy.

Yesterday I hung the calendar up in Babes room and during the evening (after the long pleading for child sleep), snook in to fill the pockets.

This morning when she reluctantly began to wake, I reminded her that it was the 1st of December and time to get a treat. So upon instructions she duly dragged daddy out the shower so they could find number one and retrieve the surprise.

She was over the moon to get a hair bobble. After a close examine of it, she was happy for me to tie her scraggly mop back in it. Not that the sweet pony tail look lasted long. In Babes world she is not satisfied with hair bobbles and clips in her hair where she can’t see them. She must hold them at all times.

So this sodding bobble has been with her everywhere. On the bus home from town we had a near loss incident. You might think – pah, it’s just a hair bobble. But to a three year old this is like loosing your wedding ring or mobile phone. I compare with these items, because I myself would be near tears if I lost either of these items.

As a result of the bobble being dropped on the floor while on the back seat of the bus. Yes, she already loves to hog the backseat. She might never be cool enough to earn the social status to do this when she is an adolescent so I need to let her live the glory days now. As I was saying, as a result I spent half the bus journey with my bum in the air scrabbling around on the dirty floor being jolted back and forth as the bus lurched forward in the traffic. Less yummy mummy, more scrubby slummy.

I had lost all hope and our bus stop was nearing. I told Babe that it was gone for ever (not letting on that December 2nd has the other one to the pair), and she started to cry. So I flung myself on the floor in one last gasp attempt to locate the cheapy tacky piece of hair dressing tat from Poundsaver. My persistence paid off, with seconds of needing to pelt down the gang way to get off the bus, I was able to retrieve the sodding thing.

Them it’s home safe and sound, so the knot comes undone and the plastic pink cubes drop off. We thread them back on and I re-tie the knot (really really hard). Later Babe thinks cube threading would be fun, so I spend ages trying to undo that knot I’d yanked on so firmly earlier.

With two to play with tomorrow, I’m sure to have gone insane by the weekend.

Party Season Has Begun

Sadly I’m not referring to nights out for me during the festive season but something altogether much more crazy (but without the alcohol, not that the onlooker would know).

The three year old party season has begun.

When I was pregnant first time around I met two amazing ladies who I have stayed friends with ever since. We all had little girls during November and December 2008, who are also good friends too (thats when they are not arguing over bags, bangles and buggies).

On saturday it was the first of the girls birthday parties. This year we’re doing separate celebrations, the last two we did a single party for the three of them. Glutens for punishment? Umm yes. But the girls are big enough now to want their own fanfares. So we duly oblige. What better opportunity to meet up and eat lots of cake? Lets face it, for breastfeeding mamas like me, cake is as good as it gets at a party.

The host friend had decided to let the little ones draw on the wall (don’t worry she had covered it in paper before). I did wonder if this might be a recipe for disaster but it turned out the kids weren’t overly interested anyway. But we were, we mamas loved it and took the chance to show off our not so advanced drawing skills. Mine stretched to a tree and a snail – I didn’t inherit the drawing gene from my mum.

All in all the party went pretty well, despite the near meltdown with balloons. Have I mentioned before that Babe has a fear of balloons? Anyway, let’s skip the balloon popping story for another day…

Back to the party…

Then it’s home time, which went well until my friend offered the girls a balloon to go home with (momentarily forgetting the balloon fear). Poor Babe retracted and couldn’t get out the front door quick enough. At which point baby Boyo decided he too, wanted to let his sleep need be heard. Ah, they must have been so glad to be shot of the bawling baby and toddler (not to mention the near bawling mama).

So next it’s our turn, my time to play host and let the girls trash our house. Hmmm, let’s just say, I have mixed feelings about the occasion 😉

Nursery Taster for Toddler

Yesterday we attended our first nursery taster session for Babe, who starts with the free 15 hours in January. I’ve mixed feelings about this, I’ve been enjoying our extra time together but in the same vein I’ll be glad to have more one on one time with baby Boyo.

It’s a very different environment to what she’s used to, having been in childminder care or at home with me. Naturally I was apprehensive about how she would respond. Would she come out refusing never to step foot in the chaotic zoo like establishment again?

Nope, she couldn’t get enough of it. Which oddly gave me more mixed feelings – sad about my baby growing up, but ever so happy that my sometimes shy little girl was embracing the mayhem of nursery.

We arrived at the school reception to have to wait for other little people and mums, so that we could be escorted through the corridors of the school to the ‘foundation unit’. Which is basically one big play fest. There was so many different things to play with, I even saw kids rolling tyres down the bank side.

Something’s were a big hit from the start. As soon as Babe spotted the dolly and buggy and then it was relinquished from one of the other little girls, she was won over. If there is a buggy in the building she just HAS to have it. Get between her and a buggy and you’ve found yourself an enemy with fangs at the ready.

She was so taken with the little people’s toilet that we had to go twice in an hour. And finally the water play area, really sealed the deal. And that was only skimming the surface.

We have two more of these hourly sessions this week, then I think I will have had my fill of the fun house and hopefully it will leave Babe chomping at the bit and pawing at the ground in anticipation for January to come.

Nightime Changing

Some nights are meant to try us…

Boyo wakes about 2am for a feed so I lift him over from his cosleeping crib onto the side of my bed to nurse. As I wriggle around to wind him part way through the feed, I realise that Babe (my nearly three year old) who joined me in my bed a couple of hours ago refusing the toilet, has gone and released her bladder next to me in my bed.

Mind my language, but FFS! My plan was to get her to the loo during this baby feed window (just a few hours later) and she’d beaten me to it. In my defence I’d tried, and even planted her on the toilet, but she refused to pee. She was clearly keeping it back as a special surprise. The middle of the night is no time for surprises in any shape or size.

Fortunately the bed wetting mat which I’d originally bought for her, but now use under me to protect against breastmilk splurges, had caught most of the pee. Thank goodness she had her bum shoved over into my space. I’m thankful for the space invasion on this occasion.

So mid feed with a grizzly, still hungry baby I have to strip MY bed, the toddler and change.

I remained calm and got Babe back to sleep. I’d resumed the baby feed. Just in time before he lost his patience and practised his jungle holler. Then I realised I’d dripped milk all over his shoulder, so he has a change.

The fun continues…baby Boyo spits up loads of milk and soaks himself through, calling for another change.

Eventually all are asleep and I’m feeling like chocolate and writing…typing up my moan by tip tapping on my phone (at 3am on a Saturday morning). I’m so very tempted to go and gorge on the Christmas cake I’ve just baked, nom nom nom – but wilfully I resist.

This is not how I like our night feeds to go! This is not how I like the weekend to begin.

To top it off, I now have lots of washing to look forward to and am starkly reminded by the dirty dishes that still sit waiting for me in the sink.

But I’m still happy, my two babies lie either side of my contentedly asleep. And then its my turn. Zzzzzzzzzz

Getting Out The House Is Essential

If we don’t get out for at least an hour in the day, we all start getting double vision and thinking everything looks like a steak (think starved lion in the film Madegascar). But in our case we are starved of things that keep us sane. I start to believe I might never see the light of day and Babe begins to think the walls could be closing in on her.

Since hubby returned to work after his paternity leave it didn’t take me long to realise that the easiest way to cope, even with a young frequent nursing baby, is to get out the house for a while (preferably in the morning). On the days I have to wait in for parcel deliveries, all hell lets loose. By the time hubby gets home from work, I have bald patches (from pulling my hair out) and Babe has chewed the corners off the door frames, eaten the carpet and pooped in the corner of the room like a home alone puppy dog.

Many people still say I’m brave being out the house this early on in Boyo’s life. But come on, he is eight weeks old now. Plus I don’t think they appreciate what it’s like staying home all day – it is by far the harder option. Honestly, its harder work staying in the house (besides I’d rather she trashed somewhere else rather than my living room).

Getting out of the door is not the straight forward thing it used to be, which frustrates us all. And the person least able to cope with this is Babe. Her whining and general mama terrorising in the run up to leaving drives me mad. When we do eventually get out, there is such a sigh of relief. Peace at last. I can gather my self, take some deep breaths and get back to feeling mildly normal. That’s usually when I realise there is baby puke down my back or I’ve forgotten a spare nappy…grrrr!

Guess what, we have a parcel due to be delivered today so until it arrives we are house bound. I can sense it’s gonna be a tough one.