For the last week month I have been a sentimental sap. There’s been tears and loads of smiles and laughter. I cannot believe that our solstice babe is enjoying his second summer solstice! What a trip. And I’m told the best is still to come! How lucky am I?
How exciting! My mum has had Squeak at her place for a few hours so I could get secret 1st birthday stuff done today. They’ve had such a lovely day that she’s offered to keep him a bit longer so that Ducks and I can have a dinner date. In 11 months we’ve been out at night twice. Both times, in those lovely, early days when he still slept. April 5th is the last time we went out in the evening without him. I remember it vividly because is was the day after my 30th birthday when we had to cancel my birthday dinner because Squeak was super fussy. We went to see Janeane Garofalo who is vehemently childless by choice and very funny.
The most delightful bit about all this excitement is that we already have a planned day date on Friday. 2 dates in 3 days. I may just survive until toddlerhood after all.
New blog coming, just as soon as I come up with a name for it!
I’ve spent a lot of the last few weeks naval gazing and feeling generally unsatisfied with my lot. Nothing has changed – I am still struggling but in a effort to work all this stuff out, I think I’m motivated to get a new project going…and with it, a new blog.
PLUMP has served us well and the support and community that came with it, especially in those torturous TTC days, could not be replicated. I thrived on it. And appreciated it more than could ever be expressed. But if I keep going down the same path with PLUMP, it’s going to get very boring, very fast.
So, without forgetting my roots, I’m going to keep some of the fun PLUMP bits, and work on something new and fresh. The Aries in me needs this. So does the frustrated feminist, stay-at-home mama.
Watch this space.
We’ve been co-sleepers since Squeak was born and until the 4 month sleep regression hit, it served us all beautifully. At 4 months, Squeak went from waking once or twice a night to waking between 4 and 12 times a night. As I’ve said before, most of the time I can be zen about it, and given that I only have to stick a boob in Squeaks mouth and he’s back to sleep with ease, I feel as though it’s not the worst thing in the world… but the zen is fading, Ducks moved into the spare room months ago and my back is a mess from sleeping in bizarro twisty breastfeeding poses. It’s time for a change. I want Ducks back in our bed, more sleep and less trips to the osteopath.
So how do we make change when we’re not big fans of sleep training and will absolutely not leave Squeak to cry? I don’t think there’s an easy answer but we’re hoping that moving him onto a mattress beside our bed will help. We have no expectation of him to sleep through – co sleeping babies rarely do. But perhaps with a bit of distance from my boobs, he’ll be better able to sooth himself back to sleep, more often, during the night.
And if this doesn’t work, then I don’t know what next? Ducks may have to get involved in the night time parenting and some sleep training may be in order.
What are the experiences of others? Any suggestions?
I’m always reluctant to call myself an attachment parent, mostly, I think, because I don’t like some of the evangelism, dogma and judgment that sometimes comes with it. Of course, the evangelists are in the absolute minority but in my pre baby days, they were certainly the ones I noticed most and to some degree, have left a sour taste in my mouth. I’m also not super excited about labeling or branding parenting philosophies, like they are some kind of fad. Surely, parenting in the way we try to – gently, with conscience and connection and intuition is what most parents aspire to. Nonetheless if you want to put us in a parenting box we do tend to observe the principles of attachment parenting, quite intuitively, in the way we approach our mothering.
For the most part, it’s not a challenge to parent in the way we do, and though I often feel tempted to try a less gentle sleep solution, it’s balance that we really struggle with. Clark’s recent post really resonated with me and came not long after I had decided not to return to my job. For the first week or two after I handed in my notice, I was pretty thrilled with my decision to stay at home with Squeak for the foreseeable future but as the days and weeks have passed, I’ve felt less sure and more desperate for something more. When I’m home with Squeak, I’m rarely productive – Clark helped me realise that this makes me feel like shit. I don’t have a kid who sleeps much so naptime has never provided me with much solace but for a couple of weeks, somewhere between sitting up and crawling, Squeak was happy to entertain himself, for long enough for me to grab crafty moments with my sewing machine here and there. I was so excited and motivated in those weeks because I was finally doing something for myself. Mobile Squeak ended all of that for me. He is adventure baby and not one who can be left alone for, nor allow me, the kind of time it takes to do much more than. If this kid isn’t getting his fingers jammed in drawers and eating the cat food, then he’s hanging onto my leg and desperate for attention. In other words, he needs constant connection and supervision. And that’s fine. He’s a baby. But I’m starting to lose my zen. And although I know it’s balance that I need, I’m having trouble finding it.
Despite having an amazing, accomodating and considerate partner and co-parent, who is 1000% supportive in my strive for balance, I just can’t work out what will make me happy. Retail therapy helps but it’s not sustainable and is waaaaaaay too close to spinning out of control, more often than I care to admit. I should add here that Ducks also struggles for balance also though by virtue of the fact that she gets to be an adult and go out to work most days of the week, I don’t think her mental health is as tenuous as mine. Nonetheless, she’s responsive. When I meltdown, she snaps into action. She is constantly trying to find the answer, to give me what I want – the problem being, I don’t know what I want…
…but I’m really starting to regret quitting my job…
…remembering of course, that before Squeak was born I was overworked and burnt out in a social justice job that looks awesome on paper but rarely stood up in reality. So is it work that I really want or just am I just unbalanced and desperate to use my grown up brain a little more than I currently do?
In thinking about this blog post, I had a little dig around to see what other attachment / stay at home type parent types say about achieving balance and I have to say I was left wanting. Balance is about more than just ‘me’ time. Or at least, it is for me. I go to the gym. I get the odd coffee alone. I get my haircut or see a movie or walk aimlessly semi regularly. None of that stuff is feeding my soul though and then I feel guilty for taking that time and still being unsatisfied.
Does anyone have any thoughts, advice, stories, sympathy? How do I reconnect with my adult self? How do others achieve balance?
Shamelessly cheating. Shamelessly pinching this from vee and jay. Do yourselves a favour and don’t read the comments on the article.
Tomorrow I shall speak about balance.
If only it could always be this good. Squeak has just gone to bed after a lovely, loungey summer afternoon and evening spent at the local pool eating dinner in a local beer garden. I’m not looking forward to the extremes we’re expecting this summer but for now, I’m pretty happy with hot sunny days and long balmy evenings…and the super sleepy, all-pooled-out kiddo is a great bonus.
There are so many things about this stay-at-home gig that I’m wrestling with – days like today are what will keep me going.
Do you recognise that sublimely cute kiddo hiding behind the bright orange stars?
That’s my kid! In just over a month, he’s going to be 1. I cannot believe it. So much has happened since I last blogged that it’d be futile to try to catch y’all up. Bullets should suffice in getting you up to speed on the key points.
- Crawling happened about 6.5 months. Cruising, minutes thereafter. Standing unsupported happened at 10 months, and now, at 10 months and 3 weeks, we are moments from walking. In the last two weeks he’s spent a lot of time stringing 2 and 3 steps together. We’ll be sprinting after him within the week, I’m sure.
- Parenting an almost toddler is really hard and really exhausting. I think we’ve got a massive tantrum thrower on our hands but am desperately hoping that the temper and screaming will stop when the walking starts.
- He’s still not much of a sleeper. I’m pretty grateful for the nights where he sleeps in 2 hour chunks. The nights with 3 hour segments of sleep are luxurious. There are many nights with 45min-1hourly wakings still.
- He says Mummy (Ducks), Mama (Me), dog, and cat. He also says a lot of DaDa – never with any real intent but often in the company of happily childless gay boys who freak right out!
- My love for this kid grows every day. There aren’t enough cliches in the world to express how soul full of love I am.
- My maternity leave ended. I resigned. I am not at peace with this decision. I may talk more about this at another time.
- My close Mama friends are all going back to work so I’m making a big effort to befriend more stay-at-home mums.
- To that end, with a friend, I’ve started a local natural parenting playgroup. I’ve also gotten serious about attending lots of Australian Breastfeeding Association meetings and am getting involved in the Maternity Coalition http://www.maternitycoaltion.org.au
- I spent a lot of time thinking about studying midwifery next year. In the end, I decided to train as a doula in 2010 and hold off on midwifery until we are done making babies. I’m very excited about the doula training.
- TTC #2 is on the cards. Not just yet, but soon!
Of course there’s more but I’ll leave it there with the promise of daily blogging on the home stretch of NaBloPoMo.
Our beautiful boy is 6 months old now. I cannot believe we have come so far. Like all the cliches, it feels as though he’s been with us forever and for just moments, all at once. What’s amazed me is just how much changing he’s done in the last couple of months. He doesn’t just exist now. He is present and engaged and so very curious. He has grabby hands and an inquiring mind. He learns so fast and demonstrates that he understands complex ideas and negotiations to the point that I’m blown away on a daily basis. I know my kid is no more a genius than any other kid but wow, these little things are so clever.
His sleep is still crappy in the scheme of things but has improved. Removing caffeine has erradicated the nights of 20 minutes sleep stints and he’s not nursing all night long anymore but we’re still awake every 2hours. Everything is relative though and I’m feeling loads better – actually, I felt quite a shift after taking sorenson‘s response to this post on board. I am, nonetheless, boiling with frustration as I listen to Ducks enter the 3rd hour of trying to get the boy to sleep tonight. We had a blissful week of 7 o’clock bedtimes recently but a nasty, lengthy case of bronchiolitis seems to have completely messed all that up and we’re back to crabby, sleep fighting boy who won’t sleep unless I’m in bed with him! I’m really crossing my fingers and toes that once he’s fully recovered, he will once again embrace bedtime. It was so nice to sit on the couch with Ducks in the evening. I miss it.
The other big change, which may also be impacting the sleep/bedtime thing is that the boy is now playing with real food. We’ve chosen to go the baby led weaning route of introducing solids and for the last few weeks we’ve been having as awesome time with food. Certainly, it’s been bittersweet. I’m sad that it’s one step toward him needing me less but given that we can’t change it, I’m delighted that he’s so interested and adventurous already.
Photos to follow.