Parenting is tough

The sun is shining but I have been anxious. I have tried to catch up with work, and I did something stupid for which I was told off by my boss. I’m clearly not ready to do any work yet. However this triggered all sort of worries in the last few days, from world politics gone mad and the elections approaching, to Pallino’s behaviour. I can’t even vote at these elections, so let’s not think about that. 

We’ve been to a few birthdays parties lately, and Pallino spent them mostly playing on his own. The little time he was with other children, he ended up in a corner while the others threw things at him. Today he broke some toys at the nursery, with other three children. He seems to be struggling to make friends and take a positive role in the group. I used to struggle too. Is there anything we can do to help him? He’s probably just immature in terms​ of social interactions, but how do we help him take his time, without feeling isolated, which is what is happening now? 

For his birthday party, knowing all this, we hired an entertainer to do some storytelling and games. It’s something he enjoys, and everyone could take part in a structured way. It went well. So it’s all good as long as there is an adult to guide the activities. But I can’t make sure there is always an adult with him, because at the nursery the children play on their own as well as doing guided games. To be fair, there is only just over a month to go at the nursery, and then in September he will start school. Will it be better?

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Today started nicely, with the sun shining, LittleOne following the EASY schedule spontaneously (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You-time) and me sorting out admin stuff while getting ready to go out. However, just when I was about to leave, it started hailing… so I ended up dressed and with make up on, at home all day. I did sort out quite a few things, like applying for LittleOne’s passport, ordering printing paper, doing my online food shopping etc. 

In the afternoon we had the visit of our priest, to discuss LittleOne’s baptism. He’s a sweet old man, with some sense of humour, I liked listening to him. L has showed off his knowledge of the Saints, readings and what have you, as he always does when he speaks with men of the church. He was very much into the church for a few years in his life, and has a good memory, so can’t help it I suppose. On the contrary, I don’t even remember the basic prayers properly, certainly not in English, and I’ve never been close to the church when I was younger, but I am religious in my own way. I hate showing off though, so I felt quite uncomfortable. I wonder what the priest thought. 

Anyway, we counted how many people will come to the baptism and it’s about 10 adults and 4 children, all Italian. We could also invite the ladies from the nct group and a couple of mums from Pallino’s nursery (one in particular is catholic and we’re getting on quite well, and her son will be in Pallino’s school next year) – this would be 4-6 more people probably. After the ceremony we’ll have a drink in the church hall. 

It will be a busy weekend, with Pallino’s birthday party on Saturday and LittleOne’s baptism on Sunday, and all four the grandparents coming from Italy, as well as a family of friends. Also my oldest sister will come, and another family from London. I’m looking forward to seeing them, actually. 

The (overwhelming) return of the things-to-do

Time seems to fly, the things-to-do build up and “taking it easy” is difficult, some days. I feel quite well, physically, and I love to go to the seafront and breath the salty air and just walk and be peaceful. It makes me feel good and think I should do things. Tidy up the house. And sort out my documents. And maybe start looking for a house to buy. And dial in to that work meeting. And arrange Pallino’s birthday party. And bake a cake for our guests on Saturday. And load the washing machine again. And write. And meet people.

I try. But sometimes I stop and try to remember what I was trying to do. Or I sit in the car with the wrong key and wonder why the engine doesn’t start. Or L sends me a text asking if I called xyz and I don’t know what he’s talking about. Yesterday I was in bed at 9pm, I had not finished my dinner, I had not brushed my teeth, I had not changed the baby. Pallino was finally sleeping, and I just didn’t want to move anymore.

You’d think I could do one thing after each feed. Feed, put the baby down, have an hour for myself, feed again. But the reality is that I have to hold the baby for a while after each feed to help him burp. After that he sleeps in my arms and I’m quite sleepy myself. The moment I put him down, he wakes up and starts crying. So I have two alternatives: I leave him there, telling him that I have something to do, and he keeps crying; or I pick him up again, and I have only one arm to do whatever I wanted to do, and no will to move from the chair anymore. Now, it must be some trick of nature, but hearing your baby crying starts some ancient response in your mind that stops you from concentrating on anything else. You mum HAVE to do something. That’s hard (but necessary for survival: it’s the same mechanism that wakes me up at night to feed the baby; dads don’t wake up). After a while, I give in and pick him up. Maybe after I had a shower, or some breakfast. And then it’s time for another feed. A whole day can go on like this, and at the end I haven’t done anything (well, technically I had kept a little human being alive and safe and well fed). If I go out, I need to time it well: I leave just after a feed, I take the bus (it takes about 40 minutes to get to the town centre), I walk for about an hour or a bit longer, I go to a café to have lunch and feed LittleOne, I walk slowly back to the bus stop and go home, I feed him again at home. Luckily, when we’re walking or on the bus he sleeps, so it’s tiring but manageable, and I feel much better when I do go out. Sometimes we go to the nursery in time to pick up Pallino and we walk back home together. It’s about 1.2 miles, and Pallino loves it. At the end I’m tired though.

Is this “taking it easy”?

This helps a lot

Taking it easy

Life with a newborn is quite monotonous. He wakes up every 2 hours during the night, so I often spent the morning in bed trying to catch up a little bit. However, the weather is getting better, and I have to go out. My father in law stayed with us for two weeks. He helped a lot with Pallino (they adore each other) and cooked for us. And we went out a few times. I was afraid of going by myself at first, so being with him helped. This is a friendly city, however most of the restaurants and shops in the city centre are small and wouldn’t be suitable for a buggy, which made me a bit nervous. But we found a few places where we could sit without problem, and I could breastfeed with some privacy. And I managed to walk for up to an hour. 

Now I’m alone with the baby. Still in my pj at lunch time. And nothing gets done… 

Up, up, up on a leg

LittleOne made his appearance a week before the due date. He must have heard me when I said I was ready, because he spared me another week of pregnancy and was born very quickly! 

It was a very different experience from the first. I had a sweep at the hospital and the waters broke. The day after I woke up with mild contractions. I had an appointment at lunch time for a check and possibly an induction of labour. The consultant performed another sweep and, less than two hours afterwards, I was in labour spontaneously… No time for pain relief other than gas and air, and the baby was born that afternoon! It was brutal, but at the same time I was aware of everything and somehow more in control. I stayed off the bed as much as possible, and gravity really made a difference – the first time I gave birth, it was after a long initial stage, I got there already exhausted and had an epidural. Things went a lot more slowly and I was in bed the whole time. This time I had asked for an epidural, but when the doctor came in and asked me to sit still for a while, I just couldn’t. And I couldn’t stay on the bed. Suddenly all the things I learned at the nct classes in 2012, about the breathing, and visualisations, and positions during labour, made sense. 

LittleOne was born. I had a heavy haemorrhage at the end, so the last stage was “actively managed”, which means that now yes I had to stay in bed and had an IV drip while the doctors tried to stop the blood, but I also had a little perfect baby in my arms and didn’t care. We stayed at the hospital for a few days, to make sure there wasn’t any infection and we were both well. I recovered quite well without the need for a transfusion, and every day I feel better.

The pelvic pain is gone, so now I can stand on one leg (you don’t know what you have until you lose it, believe me), the stitches are healing well, the baby is well and I’m breastfeeding him. I still have lower back pain and my wrists are sore when I had the IV needle, but I’m still convalescent after all. 

Here is a little baby, and he seems so fragile and defenceless, but at the same time he had the strength to stay alive, to wait in a freezer for four years and to grow and come to this world despite everything. And I’m amazed at what science and medicine had done for us, because people say that women’s bodies are made to give birth, but in my case there would have been a few significant steps when the process would have stopped, or I would have had serious complications or worse…   

The cat in the hat, Dr Seuss. Now I’ve got to juggle family life with two boys 😉