Forming Bad Habits

Last night, for the third night in a row, little Strawbug ended up in the big bed with us from around 3am until it was time to get up this morning.

I say “ended up in the big bed” like she’d woken up, wandered through and climbed in between us. Clearly, at 8 months old, she didn’t wander through by herself. And given the height of the “big bed” is such that I sometimes need a leg-up myself, even if she was able to toddle through from her own room, she’d unlikely be able to climb in unaided.

Yes, our baby girls progress towards sleeping through the night is not linear to say the least (and that’s my version of sleeping through and not the ‘scientific’ definition of 5 hours sleep). It has characteristics of the good, the bad, the downright ugly and the cute as hell.

The Good: She now goes to bed “drowsy” and with little complaint she takes herself off into the land of nod. She no longer needs feeding between going to bed in the evening and waking in the morning. She also sleeps pretty soundly until that 3am witching hour.

The Bad: She has a period of wakefulness around 3am which, if left unattended, results in murderous screams. 8 month old lungs are extremely powerful (I know, this shocked me too!)

The Ugly: Me/My beloved falling out of the princess and the pea “big bed” and bouncing off the walls as we stumble through to play “get the dummy in the baby’s mouth, and not in her eye, whilst blindfolded” (well, not blindfolded exactly, but by the power of night light). And then caving in when it doesn’t work, picking her up and putting her in our bed.

The Cute As Hell: Strawbug, lying on her side in the middle of the two of us, reaching out to hold on to you so that she feels safe enough to go back to sleep…

I say go back to sleep, in reality the sleep part is preceded by about an hour of talking to herself, laughing and kicking the hell out of my neck, throat, tummy, chest, back, head… (never my beloved, always me – why is that? But, then I do seem to get all the cuddles when she does eventually go back to sleep, so I can’t really complain).

Now I know that she doesn’t know any better. And I know that it’s our job as responsible parents to teach her. But it’s so hard when;

a) you’re shattered because you haven’t had a full nights sleep since your 1st Trimester when you couldn’t stay awake
b) she’s shrieking so loud you can’t work out if she’s possessed by an evil spirit or she’s totally playing you
c) she looks at you with those big, loving eyes and cuddles into you like you were the only thing in the world that matttered

So, tell me (genuinely, I need the advice!)… I know that we are forming bad habits on her behalf and we’re also making a rod for our own backs. But, how is it possible to get your precious little bundle to sleep peacefully all night long, all on their own?

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Sleep, Glorious Sleep

Phew! What a week!

I had my first really “critical” day at work on Monday with back to back “important” meetings – all the time feeling quite flu-ey and run down. I was set my first short, highly visible and business critical deadline since my return and I was nervous about colleagues thinking I couldn’t cut it anymore.

Then on Monday night the brothers grimm showed up for a 24 hour visit (I came down with a tummy bug), which completely wiped me out. On Tuesday night, my little Strawbug hardly slept because she was really miserable (and therefore, neither did we). We couldn’t work out what was wrong with her, poor wee scone.

On Wednesday I was playing catch up to hit my close of business deadline but pushed myself so hard I passed out about 2pm then was awoken by the nursery calling to say Strawbug still wasn’t right and could I come pick her up. Well, that was my deadline out of the window and down the lane!

On Wednesday night Strawbug and I slept in the big bed whilst my beloved slept on the sofa. He had to be up at silly o’clock on Thursday for a gargantuan round trip drive to the shortest meeting in history… (honestly, some Company decisions really do not make any sense at all.) And we weren’t really sleeping, more just cuddling all night because she just wouldn’t let go of me. Still miserable. Still couldn’t work out what was up.

Yesterday, we both felt a bit brighter in the morning, so off she went to nursery and off I went to work. Still playing catch up… but managed to get all my actions completed only half a day late. Go me!!

Strawbug on the other hand, decided yesterday was a day of rest and slept for nearly 4.5 hours at nursery. I wasn’t holding out much hope for last night I can tell you. And then the strangest thing happened…

My beloved got home about 9:30pm. “How has she been?” he asked. “Well”, I said… “she had lots of sleep today and then fell asleep at 7″… I wasn’t even sure I wanted to say the next bit out loud for fear of jinxing the situation but I did… “She hasn’t stirred once. I haven’t even had to put her dummy in”. Highly unusual.

So we lay there, each of us with one eye open, waiting… And nothing. She didn’t stir. Not once. Until 1am, for some milk. After which she promptly went back to sleep. And we lay there for a bit, each of us with one eye open, waiting… And nothing. She didn’t stir. Not once. Until 6:45, when she woke up singing and talking away to her teddy bears.

I can’ stop smiling. I feel like a whole new woman! I’m sure it was a fluke, a one off, a blip on the monitor. But I have to say it was a blip I needed this week. Sleep, Glorious Sleep, how I’ve missed you!

My Top Tens

Today, I bored my followers to tears on Twitter with my Top Ten Smells of all time. I was about to then begin listing my top ten other sense pleasers but thought that they’d probably read enough for one day. So I decided I’d list them on the old blog-a-doodle.

So, here they are, in no particular order (and I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know that for completeness I have also included my Top Ten Smells);

[caveat: like most things in my transient mind, these things will probably change from time to time, do feel free to leave a comment and remind me of what I’ve missed :-)]

Top Ten: Smell

  • Freshly brewed coffee
  • Just cut grass
  • Fresh Basil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Freshly Baked Bread
  • A Barbecue
  • Fresh Coriander
  • The Christmas Tree in your home
  • A new car
  • Fresh Mint
Top Ten: Sound

  • Waves meeting the beach
  • Birds tweeting/chirping/singing
  • Acoustic guitar
  • Silence
  • My baby girl ‘chatting’
  • Tall grasses ‘swishing’ in the breeze
  • Thunder
  • The distant rise and fall of thrill seekers squeals at a theme park
  • Loved ones voices at the other end of the phone
  • The word ‘Brilliant’
Top Ten: Feel

  • Freshly laundered sheets on the bed
  • Water on the skin
  • Hugs
  • Grass under your bare feet
  • Silk
  • Taking your heels off after a long day/night
  • A warm blanket on a cold night
  • Popping candy on your tongue
  • Kisses from my beloved
  • My baby girl in my arms
Top Ten: Taste

  • Ice Cream
  • Apple & Cinammon anything
  • My beloveds Lasagne (the BEST, I swear!)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Milk & Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Lobster/Langoustines from the barbie
  • Caprese Salad on a hot day
  • Creamy blue cheese
  • Mint tea
  • Apple Martinis
Top Ten: Sight

  • My baby girl
  • Blue blue sky
  • Smiles
  • A twinkling blanket of pure white snow
  • Tigers (such majestic animals)
  • Flowers in full bloom
  • My little cat snoozing
  • Dancing (anyone, any kind)
  • The haze of heat you can see on a hot hot day
  • Rain on the window (when you’re dry on the inside!)

An Oasis In The Desert

Today, I am spending the day with my little Strawbug 🙂 Just the two of us. Like old times. I can’t believe it’s been only 6 weeks since we spent our days together like this. Feels like a lifetime.

It already feels a little strange to be taking the afternoon walk and to have the time to read books and sing rhymes. And the fact that it feels a little strange makes me sad. But not in a helpless way, like I felt before I went back to work and was dreading it. In a motivational way.

A few weeks ago I sat down and worked out a “plan” to get us to a place, financially mainly but with a few life choices thrown in, where I could reduce the number of hours I work. The end game takes the plan a few steps further… But, I figure, one step at a time is best.

Worst case, the plan will take a year to come to fruition. A year I don’t want to miss. But, better one year than two, three or more.

So, today has been like a little oasis in the desert. Harbouring in the joy of spending precious time with my baby girl and a taste of things to come.

Wish me luck?! Although, I’m not sure I’ll need it. This time, I’m pretty sure this is one thing I CAN stick to!

Always

Image by Anna Cervova

Inspired to try to capture the extent of my feeling, I penned this for my Baby Girl:

From the moment
That you came into my life
I have been immeasurably thankful

From the moment
That I laid eyes on you
My soul has been deeply humbled

Every moment I am wakeful
Every moment that I sleep
My heart is forever hopeful

Every moment of our future
Every moment of our past
I know that I am blessed

Your happiness is my everything
My everything is you

My dear little Strawbug,
Precious and true,
Know in your heart, my love for you
Always

Progress?

Easter Sunday is upon us and Lent is drawing to a close. So, I’ve been thinking about the promise that I made almost 40 days ago to refocus on positivity by “looking for small ways each day in which I can help others through the power of positivity”. I also remember writing that I’d keep you posted with updates on Twitter and possibly even a blog. Well, this would be that blog.

As is the norm in my apathetic life, I was extremely enthusiastic about and committed to my latest venture for the first 2 or (at a push) 3 days and then it kind of dwindled…

And so, moving swiftly on, I thought I’d also take a look at how I was doing on my longer term objectives, my New Year’s Resolutions, to see if I am faring any better.

Resolution: 1. Lose 2 stone
Current Status: I’ve lost 1 stone (nearly). So that’s a pretty positive start!

Resolution: 2. Attend a Zumba or a Dance class (something energetic to assist with #1)
Current Status:  I went to two classes. Yey! and then soon after I started back at work and now I’m too tired to go (OK, I just can’t be bothered, BUT I’m trying to find a new rythm which includes working full time AND spending time with Strawbug and my Beloved – a girl can’t do it all!! If you need any more excuses, I have a list as long as my arm. I’ve been practising this for years…)

Resolution: 3. Re-start Yoga (again)
Current Status: Hmmmm, I looked at a timetable. (For excuses, see above)

Resolution: 4. Write retrospective “diary” of pregnancy and mummyhood
Current Status: Now this one, I have been doing…. Sometimes… I’ve written approx. 4,000 words. Yey! What? That’s not a lot?

Resolution: 5. Save up for a mac (for documenting #4)
Current Status: Having recently reviewed my budget, this item has had to plummet down the priority list… On the positive side, I was given a pre-loved mac as my work machine when I returned after maternity leave. So, I’ve kind of achieved this goal, just in a way I hadn’t expected.

Resolution: 6. Try, really try, to post regular, meaningful, interesting and humorous ditty’s on my blog.
Current Status: 4 blogs in 4 months. No idea if anyone finds them meaningful, interesting or vaguely humorous… Hmmm. Could do better!

Resolution: 7. Spend as much time with my baby girl as possible (she’s growing so fast and she is so much fun to be around!)
Current Status: Well, now, this is a tricky one. If you follow my Twitter feed, you’ll know that I spend Monday to Friday distraught at being away from Strawbug and Saturday and Sunday ecstatic just to be in the same room as her! What I can say is that a) I spend all my waking and sleeping hours thinking of her, b) any time that i am not working I spend with her, c) we make the absolute most of that time as a family which consequently means that d) none of the housework, boring chores or any of the above resolutions get a look in. But, then, who in their right mind would choose vacuuming over peek-a-boo?

Nurserycam is the new Twitter

Today marks the close of week number 3 back at work. And I have never been so glad that it’s Friday!

I knew going back to work would be difficult. It’s a major gear change having a baby but you get used to it very quickly and I, for one, didn’t want to shift back into work mode.

So, I set a handful of days to go into the office and some to put Strawbug into daycare as a practice run for both of us. I’d been warned that I’d cry every day for approximately 3 weeks when I went back and had to leave her every day. I was advised to keep a big box of tissues and a make up bag in the car to clean myself up before going into the office.

The “practice” days were extremely hard. I honestly felt a dull ache in the middle of my chest as if someone had reached in and ripped my heart out. It was a physical feeling as well as a deep emotional sadness. And there was me thinking it was the baby who was supposed to suffer from separation anxiety!

The first “real” day at work was awful. I cried the minute I got in the car after dropping her off. I thought I just might throw up. I cried all the way to work and thought of nothing but Strawbug until I picked her up at 5:30pm.

I’d returned to a new, slower paced role and to get started I had some learning to do. So, I spent most of my day reading. I say reading. What I was actually doing was looking at a book with my iPhone hidden inside constantly logged into the Nursery Webcam watching my baby girl. I’d been warned to avoid this specific activity for some weeks also, for obvious reasons. But instead of making my pain worse, it strangely made me feel better. After all, I’d spent the last 6 months just looking at her constantly. Marvelling in her beauty. Amazed at her presence. Obsessive, maybe. But I didn’t care. I still don’t. And now, through the magic of the internet, I could still look at her. I could see that she was still breathing, still alive, crying but alive, so she was OK…’ish.

I started to write this blog 2 weeks into returning to work, my iPhone lay between my arms still permanently logged into the Nurserycam watching Strawbug playing around on a playmat. I’d stopped crying every morning after dropping her off. Although I was still extremely sad to say goodbye. And it hurt like hell.

This week, we’ve both been a little under the weather. I’m not sure if it’s that or if it was destined to be a bit of a rollercoaster ride, in any event. But, it’s been hell. There have been tears again most days. I’m completely shattered both physically and emotionally. To the extent that I’ve been in bed by 8pm every night this week.

I’m not the only mum in this position. Almost 30% of Mothers work full time (Office for National Statistics). Whether it’s because they want to or they need to is another blog entirely. For me, it’s definitely purely a financial need and I would stay at home with Strawbug in a heartbeat if I could.

And as I update the post now, I’m still not doing much work. And I still think of nothing but Strawbug 24/7/365.  And I can’t help thinking, which will go first… nurserycam or my job. After all, something has probably got to give!