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Archive for December 2010

1. I love how affectionate you are, your cuddles and kisses are so nice, especially since you actually attempt to kiss with your lips now and not just lick me with your tongue!

2. Like your brother, you are now getting so good at talking. You are starting to put three, sometimes even four, words together. Some of my favourite phrases are: “A hurty bottom”; “Are you aw-right?”; “One, two, three, nor, nine!”; “Breakfast! Eated a weet-bix. Jam?”; and “Bye. (See you) In a morning!”

3. I love our tea parties in your room. You are always warning me to be careful because the tea is hot. One day I got a little too much into my character (Drinker of Copious Amounts of Tea), and pretended to burn myself a little. You took it literally and got quite upset that I was hurt. I had to let you nurse me back to health. I haven’t attempted to expand my role since then, but I do still enjoy a good tea party with you.

4. I love your feisty independence (“No! I do it!”). You want to do everything for yourself, and I can only stand back and let you try, because: a) a rather spectacular tantrum usually follows my intervention; and b) I don’t want to squash your independent spirit. I think I know where you get it from… me! So you go, girl. Okay, I will admit that your (stubborn) independence does sometimes (okay, often) irk me a little (a lot), when you want to do it yourself but really just can’t, even after trying and trying. At such times, you not only don’t let me help you, you fly into a rage. However, I am willing to look at the positives here: it has helped you master such skills as threading cotton reels, putting on your sandals, taking off your nappy (not so helpful), and putting your dishes in the sink. Plus, lately you have started to admit defeat and actually ask for help when you realise the task is beyond you, and that’s an important skill too.

5. I love when you give us the ‘silent treatment’ when you are cranky with us. I don’t think you realise yet how much we prefer it to your tantrums. It’s pretty perfect – you get to express your disgust with us/the situation, while we don’t have to put up with your screaming. What’s even better is that you don’t actually stop communicating with us, but respond to questions with nods or shakes of the head, so we can still carry on as normal and get on with the day. When it’s all over, you announce, “I talking now!” 

6. I love your pretend phone conversations. You usually ring Nanny, and the content is usually along the lines of, “Hello Nanny…. yeah… yeah… yeeaaah!… um, yeah… no!… no, no… yeah! Byyyyeeee.”

7. I love hearing your first words in the morning, “Muuuu-mmmmmmyyyyy…. Muuuuuu-mmmmyyyyy. Mummy, Mummy. Muuuuu-mmmmmyyyy.” I’m often still in bed when I hear this, and I think you’re really cute on purpose so that I can’t take too long to get up and let you out of your cot… but still, it’s nice that I’m your first thought in the morning.

8. Your singing and dancing is very sweet. Like your brother, you’re quite musical and I love hearing you sing nursery rhymes, leaving out half the words and mispronouncing most of the others. Amazingly, they’re still easily recognisable because you get the tune pretty much right. You also love a good bop to the radio after breakfast.

9. You are much more fussy than Tiernan when it comes to eating, but I am going to give you credit for trying. You used to reject all fruit and vegetables that weren’t in puree form, but now you have started to actually try things again, and we have discovered that you like carrot, mashed potato (sometimes), apple, banana, mango, pear, watermelon… that’s about it, but we’re working on it. At least you’ll eat food from all of the other food groups!

10. I love that, while you absolutely adore Tiernan, you are not afraid to stand up to him (even bully him at times, which isn’t so good). You spend a lot of your day following him around and copying him, and he is mostly happy to let you, until it gets too much and then he locks you out of his room. Then you find something else to do.

Not so lovable…

1. Please stop screaming! Whenever you don’t get your way. Whenever you do get your own way but not soon enough. Whenever someone looks at you the wrong way. Whenever you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Whenever it looks like someone might do something you don’t like… You have words now, start using them please!!!

2. The hitting/biting/scratching/pinching that often accompanies the above-mentioned screaming. I know it’s just a phase and most toddlers go through it, but you are particularly vicious about it. You also attack Neave for absolutely no reason, which I really hate. I can’t wait for you to grow out of it.

3. The way you take particular delight in destroying my bedroom – every single book within your reach on the floor, every single nappy on the change table screwed up and stuffed into the bin, every single item on my bedside table in your mouth… all this achieved within a minute of you sneaking in there behind my back!

4. When you are in a bad mood and don’t let me sing, it makes me sad. You say, “No! Stop it!” and scream until I can’t hear the song anymore. Poor Mummy…

5. When we go to the park and all you want to do is be pushed on the swing. The whole time. Without a break. And then we have a fight when it’s time to go, and I have to prise your fingers off the swing, one at a time, and carry you, kicking and screaming, all the way home. It always makes me think twice before saying, “Hey, let’s all go to the park! Won’t that be fun?” (No, it probably won’t).

6. Your bedtime ritual that involves kissing every sticker/picture/character/photo in your room good night. It used to be cute, but I’m over it, because it makes ‘going to bed’ take an extra 5 minutes when alI just want you to go to bed right now so I can sit down!

7. Please stop eating the nappy rash cream! Every time I turn around, you’ve got your hand in the jar again, cream all over your face and smeared all over the furniture. I’m sure it can’t taste good and that you only do it for my reaction (which I can’t help – it’s BUM cream, for goodness sake!)

8. The way you totally destroy books! I can’t even borrow library books anymore. Well okay, that may be because I’m hopeless at returning them on time, but it is extra embarrassing bringing books back that are two months late AND ripped to shreds.

Well, that’s all. Despite your more annoying traits, you are still one beautiful and amazing little person, and I am so proud of you.

Love Mummy xxx

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Blue Milk is one of my favourite bloggers. She writes about a diverse range of topics, but mostly to do with feminism and motherhood. I find her posts very interesting, thought-provoking, clever and often funny. I especially like the series she has written about each of her two children at different ages, called ’10 things about…’. I love her honesty in including some of her least favourite things about their behaviour, as well as her favourite things. Blue Milk makes it okay to not love everything about your child all of the time, which is healthy!

So, I hope Blue Milk doesn’t mind if I copy her idea and start my own lists…

10 things about Tiernan, aged 3 and a half (almost)

 

 

Picking mulberries

 

1. I love that you are so good at speaking, and expressing your ideas, however random! I love hearing what you think about things, and seeing how your mind works. Some of the things you say are so clever. I wish I had a photographic memory, because I am hopeless at writing them down.

2. I love that you are getting better at staying with me and listening to what I say when we go out. Not perfect, by any means, but definitely, definitely improving! A year ago, I couldn’t walk out of the front door with you unless you were wearing your giraffe harness (shock, horror!), but now you are pretty reliable.

3. I love watching you interact and play with other kids. You seem so ‘together’ and mature around other kids, and you usually try to be kind and friendly. I love that, when things go wrong, you usually manage to stand up for yourself without resorting to violence, even in retaliation. You’re even pretty good with Molly at home, but I get that it’s harder not to fight with her, especially when she starts hitting/biting/pinching/scratching you first!

4. I love that you finally, finally have stopped having ‘accidents’ all over the house, and are even wearing undies to bed now. I love your cute little bottom in your undies, too.

5. I love hearing you sing. You don’t do it very often, but you’re pretty good at it, and you usually get the words right. You are also an amazing dancer – it is so fun to watch you confidently bust a move when the moment takes you. I especially love your break dancing, which you have discovered all by yourself, clever kid!

6. I love how you remember everything! Although, sometimes it gets me into trouble. Like when you reminded me of the time I said ‘Shit!’ when we drove down a particular stretch of road, six months after the event.

7. I love that you will go and play trains in your room for up to an hour without needing any input from me. However, sometimes you do like to show me the big, long train you’ve built, or you tell me what Toby and James are up to, and it’s nice to feel included at these times. I do wish you would include your sister a bit more when she wants to join in, but I guess you’re only three.

8. I love that you still enjoy cuddles and kisses, especially right before bed (unless it’s one of ‘those’ nights when you are being horrid and crazy because you are over-tired).

9. I love that you are such a good sleeper, at night (you’ve dropped your day sleep, but you can be coaxed into having a rest anyway). I don’t even mind that you come into our bed most nights, when you do it quietly and don’t insist on sleeping on the edge, which drives me crazy. You usually go straight to sleep and then sleep right through your Daddy getting up and ready for work, as well as whatever noises the baby makes. You don’t take up too much room, and lying next to you always reminds me of how small you still are, even though you’ve grown so much.

10. I love how un-fussy you are when it comes to eating. You have always been happy to eat just about anything. You even eat your veggies first at dinner time, and you’re the only pre-schooler I’ve ever met who does this.

Now for the not so lovable…

1. Okay, I really do love that you will eat almost anything I put in front of you. What really irritates me is the way you constantly ask me for food all day long! Even if we have finished a meal together literally five minutes ago, you will say “I’m hungry, can I have something to eat?” I spend all of my time trying to figure out whether you are actually hungry, whether you have worms (we’ve done the treatments several times, so I don’t think so), whether you are bored, or whether you are just completely obsessed with food. I still haven’t figured it out. What annoys me even more is that, after a day spent with me giving you food every hour or so (against my better judgement, but at your absolute insistence), you then don’t eat your dinner! But I have to make it because you tell me you’re hungry and you really want it.

2. I love chatting to you, but you don’t seem to have any volume control attached to that voice box of yours, and I am constantly reminding to use your ‘indoor voice.’ Problem is, I don’t think you have one.

3. This is probably (hopefully) yet another three-year-old thing that you will grow out of (please God), but what have you got against getting ready? You are perfectly capable of dressing yourself, putting on your shoes and grabbing your barty (blanket) so that we can go out, but you simply refuse to do any of those things for yourself, and you also refuse to let me do them for you when we end up running so incredibly late that I have to force you. I could sort of understand it if it only happened when we were going somewhere you don’t want to go (shops, doctor’s, etc.) but when I try to take you to the park, the pool, playgroup, a friend’s house, it’s still the same. What the?

4. You have a vivid imagination, which I love when you use it to entertain yourself (and me). But when you tell Molly there are dinosaurs coming to eat her every single day (which actually isn’t very imaginative now that I think about it), purely for her reaction (which may or may not be genuine, but it’s big) then I get cranky and I wish you would go back to using your imaginative powers for good.

5. Sometimes you are incredibly rude and hurtful to me, and to people who are only trying to help you and make you happy (like your Gran, the last time we visited her). I know you don’t really mean it, but you know that what you are saying and doing isn’t nice, and you don’t care. Yes, I realise you’re only three and have the empathy of a stick, but it’s hard not to take it personally when you attack people in this way. I can handle it (to some extent) when you do it to me, but it’s very embarrassing when you do it to others as well.

6. Lately you have been quite rough with Neave. You used to be so gentle and loving towards her. You’re still very loving, actually, but while you used to gently pat and cuddle her, now you think it’s appropriate to also lie on top of her, put your feet on her, tickle her rigorously and generally rough her up a bit. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I explain to you that all these games will be lots of fun when she’s bigger (like Molly, so go do it to her!), you just don’t listen.

7. In fact, you don’t really listen to much of what I say at all!

8. Where are your manners, boy??? Didn’t I teach you anything? Well actually, I must have because you are very polite when you want something from anyone who is not me, but I get “Mummy, I’m hungry”, “Go and get my barty”, “I want to watch TV”, “JUST DO IT, MUM!” I do remember a time, not so long ago, when you used to say please and thank you to me without prompting, so what happened?

9. I really hate the fights we have over getting into the car. Could you please just climb into your seat (“Your seat, Tiernan!”), and wait for me to buckle you in, without jumping all through the car, hiding behind the seat, climbing into the front and pressing all of the buttons, getting out of the car and running around it, and then kicking and screaming while I physically put you into your seat myself. Please???

10. I’m going to leave it there, with more “I love’s” than “I don’t love’s”.

Phew! That’s quite cathartic, actually. There’s something to be said for venting, especially when I can’t tell you any of this really, because a) you wouldn’t understand much of it, and b) it would be pretty damaging to your self esteem, probably. I will try to remember to tell you the things I really love about you (in fewer words) as often as I nag you not to do the things I don’t love.

I do love you, lots and lots,

Mummy xxx

It’s been ages since my last post… I’ve made a few attempts but they were mostly unintelligible. There’s nothing like sleep deprivation to take away one’s ability to make any sense at all. I’m still sleep deprived, but I’m putting in a special effort because there’s something I need to get off my chest…

Am i a co-sleeper or not? It seems that the time has come for me to decide one way or the other with Neave, as she is making my nights (and days, for that matter), rather miserable at the moment. Somehow Neave and I have fallen into a pattern where I breastfeed her to sleep, day and night. It worked beautifully up until about two months ago, when Neave was supposed to start eating solid foods. But as it turns out, 6 – 7 milk feeds per day somewhat spoils the appetite, and she hasn’t eaten more than a spoonful, ever. This is very unfamiliar territory for me – Tiernan and Molly are big eaters, and always have been. Even Molly, who was two months premmie, had no trouble whatsoever with starting solid foods. So it’s no longer appropriate for Neave to have unfettered access to the boob (damn shame, too – I’ve been losing so much weight lately!)

Which means we have to go through the horrible, horrible process of teaching her to ‘self-settle’. There are those who would suggest that the process is horrible because babies aren’t meant to be separated from their mothers for any reason, so there is no need for them to settle themselves. The guilty part of me agrees (who can listen to that crying and not feel guilt? Well, actually, my husband can!) However, the more honest part of me doesn’t want to be strapped to a baby 24 hours a day with my boob out, thanks. There are definitely times when being able to place a tired, but awake, baby into the cot and walk away while they calmly go to sleep is the best feeling in the world (I know – I’ve been there with my older two). The problem is that you can’t have it both ways – the baby either settles him/herself every time, or none of the time.

Which brings me back to co-sleeping. I’ve dabbled in the past. All three of our babies slept in our bedroom for at least the first six months, which, I’m told, is a watered-down version of co-sleeping. I’ve fallen asleep feeding each of them many, many times, leading to part-time co-sleeping. Plus, for the last year, Tiernan has been finding his way into our bed in the early hours of most mornings (Molly can’t yet because she’s still in a cot). So, I guess I really am co-sleeping already. But sleeping with a baby is different to sleeping with a child – I don’t have to worry about squashing Tiernan, or smothering him, or pushing him out of the bed accidentally. Well, the last one does happen occasionally, but he survives it.

But while co-sleeping might mean more sleep at night for both Neave and I (albeit an uncomfortable sleep for me, while I try not to squash, smother or push her), it won’t solve my problems with her during the day. The reason we got into this mess is because I simply don’t have hours to spend trying to settle her to sleep while the other two run amok and try to kill each other. The quickest and easiest option, up until now, has been to feed her and let her fall asleep that way. I spent ages kicking myself for allowing this habit to form, when I knew it would eventually cause issues, but I’m learning to just do what I have to do at the time, and deal with the consequences later. Which is now…

So it would seem that I’ve already come to the conclusion that teaching Neave to self-settle is the way forward for me. I’m not looking forward to it. There is nothing more heart-rending than being unable to comfort your screaming child. I usually break the rules a bit and give pats and cuddles along the way, but deep down I know this only makes them cry for longer. On the positive side, hopefully Neave will respond quickly (she did used to self-settle when she was tiny, once upon a time); hopefully I’ll be getting more sleep soon; and hopefully she’ll drop some breastfeeds and then start eating real food soon…

Wish me luck!