Maternity Leave is Here

Soap bubble
Image by Raphael Quinet via Flickr

Was I ready or what, the challenge of working full-time and being a hands on mama to Babe, my 2.5 year old was taking its toll. I enjoy my job, but it’s a bit manic at the moment so I’m kind of glad to be handing over the reigns during this period. Although it’s arguably going to be one of the most exciting times at work, it will be pretty full on too. So I wave so long to it till 2012 and focus on the real exciting stuff of introducing a new little person into the world.

In the meantime I’ve been enjoying the moment, of spending more time with Babe and getting all those must do jobs done that have been mounting up over recent months. I’m loving being a full-time stay at home mum, devoting my life to entertaining my toddler and cleaning…yes together Babe and I are embracing the cleaning. As I explained yesterday I don’t think this is nesting, just getting the necessaries done before I take leave of bothering about the house. One day last week within an hour we had cleaned all of the hall walls. Admittedly the carpets got a good soaking too, but it was warm enough not to be bothered.

We’ve also had more time for baking. We’ve made scones, cake, onion tart , quiche and more cake to date. I’m feeding my prego grazing habits, trying to stock the freezer up, while trying to find ways to keep Babe entertained. Admittedly it gets messy, in fact we had scone mixture all over the table. So what did I do? Scoop it back in the bowl and splat it altogether. Hey ho, only Babe and I ate them anyway. If I can’t let her have fun while baking, then why bother? Despite their journey to existence, they were pretty yummy too.

Much needed respite
Two days of the week Babe continues to go to the childminders. I like to say this is to allow me to rest, which it partly is; but it also enables me to get certain jobs done that I struggle to do with her under my feet. As she enjoys going so much, I’m also reluctant to take this away from her.  And at the same time, I want to keep this up when the new baby comes and I really need a break from her demands. So generally its a win win, apart from the dent on the bank balance.

Toddler more settled
Since being home more, we’ve found that Babe seems to be so much more settled. The evenings are so much more chilled out, as she is spending less time grappling for my time.  And I in turn spend less time trying to fit her in around doing chores. I am getting her up earlier too, which means that she goes to bed earlier, so hubby and I get to have some much-needed catch up time, even if it’s just to discuss jobs to be done for the rest of the week or concerns we might be having when Boyo enters our lives. There is no doubt that this has also taken the strain off hubby a bit.

We are all so much better for me starting maternity leave.

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Pregnant, busy week and then food shopping – err why?

Portrait of a Shopping Trolley

Image by Thristian via Flickr

Tell me everyone does this now and again, makes a bad judgement call and bites off more than they chew. The result is that you’re coughing and spluttering up your failed attempts at what ever you’d planned to achieve.

As the pregnancy progresses well into the third trimester I risk this scenario more and more.

Last night was a classic example. I’ve had a busy week at work, up early everyday, plus a trip into the office some 80 miles away. Add a hubby who is dying from man flu and a toddler snotted up with the leftovers of the cold she had so delightfully shared with us all = one tired Mama. My body was fooling me though, at 5/6pm I was going strong. Tea time had gone smoothly, Babe had eaten a plate full of food (ok well plain pasta but it was a full belly), so I set out to do a half supermarket shop.

I say half a shop, because I can’t manage a trolley full of the full stash of food…and I’m eating a lot at the moment as a nursing pregnant mummy.

We got to the supermarket and all was going well…ish. I’d had the debate with Babe in the baby aisle over the dummies, new sippy cups, new cutlery etc. I’d placated her by putting the cutlery in the trolley to later hide on another shelf, which worked. Then I went to the deli counter, fed Babe up on cheese samples, relieved that she was having an opportunity to get her daily protein intake. At the point of ordering the sliced turkey, she asked to come up and see what was going on. I obliged by explaining that she could sit in the trolley. While conversing with the deli man, I reached down grabbed Babe and went to place her in the trolley. As I was resting her down into it the man asked if these particular four slices were ok. I didn’t give a damn but looked round to check, as I did that while lowering Babe, her foot must have moved the trolley and she fell on the floor and burst out into tears. I felt like a terrible mother, and almost sobbed with her. The deli man looked on and asked if £2.08 for the turkey was ok. Oh course it was, I didn’t give a flying fig….he could have said a fiver and I would have taken it. I was feeling guilt ridden and stood hugging Babe whispering how sorry I was. Turned out two minutes later she was fine, but I still felt nasty pangs of guilt.

The rest of the supermarket shop proceeded to be positively hard work, running too and from the toilets, sweetie aisle, while I attempted half heartedly to get just the basics.

By the time I got home my back was killing me, I was exhausted and in a foul mood. I was so tired I went to bed without cleaning my teeth and having not put all the shopping away.

All I can say now is, roll on the weekend!

Teething Toddler and Thoughts of Chicken Pox

Grumpy

Image by Maralinga in WA via Flickr

Today I’m jaded, I just want to sit and eat crisps (current prego craving) and sleep. But I have to work…but that’s life. It’s the hum drum of parenting with young children, but it doesn’t stop me moaning.

The reason is not sleepless nights from needing to pee for the nth time, restless legs, heartburn or back ache from being 28 weeks pregnant – but my poor little sausage who is teething with the mean ol molars. She’s a grump in the morning, a grump in the evening and restless at night. This has been brewing for a while, she has had good and bad days over the last month or so, but it’s come to a head this week.

Just to start my week off on a not so good note, Sunday night Babe had a temperature all night. Strangely while she was restless and wanted mama and the comfort of num nums (mummy milk), she was surprisingly chipper. Come getting up in the morning and tea time later, she was in a needy grumpy way. Last night was an improvement but still not great. This morning is no better, grumpy and whiney. Poor thing.

There are times like this I am thankful to still be nursing my toddler…the nighttime instant cure-all. 

If I was to count my blessings, which I should be I know, I’d be thankful that this is not happening in three/four months time when I also have a new baby to contend with.

Should we go hunt down chickenpox?
So this brings me around to another topic. Babe has not yet had chicken pox, it’s going around. Should I take her to go hang out with some pox ridden other poor child so she can get it out the way before we have a baby in the house or just let fate do its worst? My midwife yesterday mentioned that it might be something worth considering and a colleague last week said that at 2.5 years old, now would actually be a good time – if there ever is a good time to get chicken pox that is. For reference both hubby and I have had it, that was a childhood illness I will never forget.

Troublesome Toddler Evenings

chorizo sausage.

Image via Wikipedia

The other night was one of those evenings that really tested my patience. I am kinda proud, my patience has really come on leaps and bounds, I just wish the rest of the household had personally developed in the same way.

Babe was troublesome the whole evening. From picking her up from the childminders to nursing off to sleep late on in the evening. If you are a parent some of this will be all to familiar to you. If you are yet to be or still contemplating the child thing, back away now. This could create some significant mental blockers to the idea of child rearing.

Nap time unbetweenies
Babe is currently in the process of transitioning from not needing a nap at all, but not quite. She can often get to 4pm – 5pm and then conks out. This is a nightmare time for a nap, right next to dinner and late enough to make her stay up till way gone 9pm. Not good for a pregnant mama that needs her sleep and would appreciate a bit of chill out time too. Last night was the same, I did manage to wake her up after 35 minutes to eat some tea and then she went back to sleep for another 20 winks. But that meant she didn’t settle down till way gone 9.30pm.

Dinner cooking chaos
Cooking dinner with a toddler around at the best of times can be challenging, even when hubby is around to keep her distracted. But when all the wee one wants is mummy, then it gets tough. Yes daddy can cook, but I guess I’ve just slipped back into doing it most of the time (no fault of his). But to put an end to this I have bought him Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals for Fathers Day.

Monday night was one of those evenings when it got tricky
I’d already opted for quick and easy omelette with potatoes, that I also know is a sure thing with Babe.

I had done all the chopping and grating, scrubbing and washing in advance while Babe slept, but was waiting until hubby got in the door before throwing it all in the pans. I had tried to rouse Babe from her nap, unsuccessfully. When eventually I did get her to wake up, she was a grumpy little monster that would only be placated by nursing.

Sadly with the big baby bump I can no longer nurse and cook tea with her in the Ergo or Mei Tai carriers.

Instead picture this, Babe perched on the kitchen side stooping down to me to nurse, while I leaned over and hurled an omelette into the pan. In between she would catch sight of a mushroom or some chorizo and yomp it down…non nom nom, she lurves mushrooms and chorizo. So that was her tea, pretty much all of the organic portabelo mushrooms (which I’d be saving to really enjoy), half the chorizo and later on some boiled potatoes with mayonnaise – with every other mouthful washed down with some mummy milk.

I know some of you will think we are mad…but I would rather do this juggling act, than let my grouchy sleepy toddler wail for 20 minutes and be wound up for the rest of the evening. At least after the tea time juggle she was a happy bunny.

The childminder has been given strict instructions today, if you can get her to sleep 30 minutes before mama comes along, do. If not, I guess the same is in store for me tonight.

The reality of a pregnancy migraine

Stethoscope

Image by tjmwatson via Flickr

Is a place I don’t want to go back to in a hurry!

Last night I can confidently say I experienced my first ever migraine and it wasn’t pretty. I had the works, intense roving pain around my head, sun spotted vision, tears, topped off by being violently sick.

Where did it come from?
No where, I was enjoying a nice chilled out evening and had just got Babe off to sleep when it kicked off good and proper.

I can’t say nowhere entirely I guess. I’d suffered from a headache of varying intensity throughout the day but had managed to get it under control and even do some good work. I though the headache haze was passing until the sun spotty vision started after my bath with Babe.

The vision alone was no biggy, I lay down on the sofa and took it easy. Then took Babe up for her bedtime nursing session, which was delightfully relaxed and she dropped off early. I descended the stairs to enjoy a bit of tv and by the time I reached the living room the pain in my head was taking hold. After crashing on the sofa for a matter of a few minutes I realised that I needed to do more to resolve this and went up to bed. By this point I was getting ready to pull my hair out (in fact I think tugging on my hair even seemed mildly soothing momentarily).

From bed-rest I tried garden fresh air, but couldn’t face the exposure of being huddled up on our very exposed garden steps rocking back and forth as tears streamed down my face. Back to bed rest, to the dash for the paracetamol. Even if it hadn’t helped my previous headaches I felt I need to try everything again.

Then the sudden sickness
Nausea from the pain had been welling and then just when I thought I might be making a small amount of progress, it notched up a gear. The OH was a little concerned at this point and was worrying about my well-being (yes he is sweet like that) and miscarriage. A quick google a few minutes prior had quelled my concerns and made me realise that migraines in pregnancy are quite normal/common. I also recalled one of my twitter pals telling me recently that she had experienced such an intense stress headache that she threw up.

Sitting it out
After barfing up my delightful homemade pizza (what a waste and sorry perhaps a bit too much info there), things slowly got better and I managed to go to sleep. Funnily enough my bedtime backache was not bothering me at all.

So what’s the cause?
From my Internet research on migraines in pregnancy, they can be caused by various things:

A) exhaustion/tiredness – but hold on I wasn’t overtly tired, no gland aching issues and I’d slept really well the night before.
B) stress – but I’d not been feeling stressed that day. I’d been careful with work and Babe had not flipped out into a pre bedtime hissy fit to put me in a bad place.

What the doctor said
This morning I trundled back to the doctors and she asked whats my concern. Erm I’m in pain and don’t seem to know what to do about it, surely simple? She was not my regular doc and I didn’t feel like we had a good rapport going on. The upshot is, blood pressure normal, eyes look normal and her conclusion was that’s its a hormone induced headache. She reassured me that I could just be going through a phase and to continue doing all the good stuff I already was.

Not sure if I feel good about that conclusion or not…good I guess…

Pacing yourself through pregnancy is easier said than done

Photograph of abdomen of a pregnant woman

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been very conscious while having a demanding lifestyle of working full-time and having a toddler in tow, to pace myself throughout this second pregnancy, but it’s so much easier said than done. The fact that because its your second child and people seem to take less notice, doesn’t help the situation – it just infuriates me.

Being super-pregnant-woman
Second time around, you can no longer sit back and relish in the joys of being pregnant. If I’m honest being pregnant is not as enjoyable this time around. I don’t have time to relish in every kicking moment and relax as much as I need to. The honest truth is, its b***dy hard work working full-time, having a clingy toddler that senses something is going on, and trying to take care of yourself and the baby you are growing. The truth is, doing this all day every day without a faultless step is never going to happen.

The well-meaning worriers
Maybe you know what it is like when you have well-meaning worriers or people who are overly sympathetic and gushing when you are going through times of difficulty? On one hand you want people to understand that you are not finding it all so easy, on the other side you don’t want people unnecessarily worrying and causing you more stress – as a result you end up shielding them a little from your struggling reality. The truth is you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Its harder with a toddler in tow
Yes it is so much more tiring being a busy pregnant mum with other children to take care of. Some people expect you to find it easier because its your second, but don’t factor in everything else that you now have to take care of.

Clingy toddler issues
Babe is about two and a half years old and she has always been a mummy’s girl – we have a wonderfully close relationship, which I wouldn’t trade for the world. But she has recently got more clingy again, and guess what gets the blame – the breastfeeding! It’s always the scape goat. But from what I understand its normal for toddlers to get clingy at this age, and particularly if mama is pregnant.  It’s tough for onlookers cause they want to help me, and its tough for me because I want help – but not at the expense of upsetting my daughter and causing her more separation anxiety issues. Someone even muted to me that I was inflicting this upon myself.

Some rest
It is natural for people who care about you to want to solve all your problems, but the truth is you are still a mummy and still work and life goes on. Sometimes it’s just important to take a step back, see the bigger picture and have a break.

Early #2 Pregnancy Fears

Cats Eyes

Image by doug88888 via Flickr

When I first found out I was pregnant I was stricken with mixed emotions. Yay, no more end of cycle thoughts of “oh damn the monthly lady has come back and there’s no bun in the oven”. Well I only had a couple of months like that, so I can’t moan.

Then the reality dawned on me, I was going to have to share my attentions given to babe with another. I was stricken by guilt at just the very thought of dividing my attention.

Argh the hours I wittled away in the middle of the night (in between my gazzillion pee trips) worrying…

– what if I get so consumed by the new baby that my babe gets pushed aside?

– on the other hand, what if I don’t bond with the new baby in the same wonderful magnetic way that I have with babe? And then don’t give baby enough loving attention?

– how am I going to fairly divide my love and attention between the two?

After some googling, (my where would we be without google?) I realised that I wasn’t some freak mother, all these thoughts were normal. Oh to be normal, sometimes it’s such a nice feeling to know that you conform. Yes this was one of those parenting normal comforting moments.

People tell me that it’s suprising; you have an endless amount of love, it’s time you’re short on.

Now my biggest concern is jealousy, how to keep this at a minimum. I’ve read lots of stuff, but what are your top tips?