Losing a parent

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This really isn’t something I’ve ever wanted to think about, I’ve still got a 96 year old Grandma – we’re made of stern stuff. Until this week when my old dad (not so old actually) was admitted to hospital for emergency heart surgery. He’d had a few pains and had some tests with inconclusive results, in hindsight for too long. Last week he was advised not to fly to Barbados on holiday in 2 days time and was booked into see a consultant instead. I did ask whether the fact he was flying Upper Class and could sleep all the way would help, ah no!

Consultant one day, heart op the next. Yesterday my mum, sister and I sat in his room waiting for his return from the op, we were all anxious and chatted about nothing, whilst all thinking the same thing. I worried about the outcome for mum but also for me and my sister, life without dad – we’re not ready to give the grumpy legend up yet. The surgeon said it would have been catastrophic if he hadn’t operated, no child needs to hear that.

I’m 46 soon and would obviously cope without my dad not through choice but it did make me think about how Rockstar would cope without me or his daddy.

When I am my dad’s age Rocco will be in his early twenties, he could be just out of Uni, finding his feet, house hunting, girlfriend issues, having all those wonderful experiences that I will want to be part of; whether he likes it or not. How would he cope with parents that aren’t fit and well? If I’d had him when I was 20 at least he’d be an adult when I’m in my ‘later years’.

I wouldn’t want him to have the burden of worrying about us if we got sick. He’s not here to look after us, we are too look after him. My parents have always been there for us, poorly or not.

This week I have had my sister to lean on, cry and whinge too, work out a plan to look after the folks and support mum. Rocco wouldn’t have that, so it made me re-question the whole ‘one child’ question, how would he cope in situations like this?

So Mr S and I are going to work a bit harder at getting fitter and eating better. We don’t know why my dad’s heart has given him this scare but I know it’s been a wake up call to us all.

Starting on Sunday I’m on a juice diet and digging out those trainers, after I have cried my way through Children in Need tonight and drank a bottle of mulled wine.

Thanks to The Spire for looking after all of us yesterday.

My fave wedding pic from Marcus Dodridge Photography

A Calming influence

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The little man has been a bit temperamental lately, not sleeping, few tantrums, lots of ‘No Mummy’ and ‘Aggh Disgusting’. Not sure there is a reason these challenges are being thrown at us, I keep hearing it’s just a phase. That said I have been thinking about how to overcome some of the issues. One of my worries is that we are too chaotic, well me actually.

The days Rocco is with me we do stuff, we go out a lot, we are a busy pair – do we do too much? should we have more downtime? educational time? movie time? I am sure he has lots going on in his little head and is constantly inquisitive.

I love the adventures me and the little man have, this week we picked Pumpkins and Sweet Corn http://www.sloaneandthedragon.com/single-post/2016/10/18/Half-Term-Fun I don’t know if I cram loads in with him because he’s not with me every day, it’s my duty to fill his life with experiences. I’ve been thinking about my age and how I may not beable to give him as many cool experiences when he’s older. Does cramming his day help or hinder him?

When Rocco needs a stern word said to him, I go down to his level, talk firmly (sister says I’m not firm enough) no finger pointing, no shouting. Mr S and I don’t have heated discussions infront of him (infact Mr S is so laid back we don’t have heated discussions at all). If we’re at home I try hard to calm things down from about 5.30pm, we put some toys away and start the chill time. Then DADDY comes home and obviously wants to play and have some rough and tumble with the little man. The volume goes up, energy levels are high and I’m the one being the nag telling daddy to calm things down, reminding them it’s bed time soon.

We’ve bought a oversized egg timer to use for downtime / sharing time when it’s needed, they use it at nursery so he’s already familiar with it. I don’t think a naughty chair will work for him. I can’t take toys off him as a punishment, we’re not at the negoiation stage yet. We’ve been sitting in with him til he nods off at night, we had 22 months of him self settling so this is a new one on us. I do worry we’ve been a bit soft on him and need to tighten those reins quickly before he runs away with his old mum!

My side of the family are loud, we talk a lot, we ask a lot of questions, we’re a bit full on. Mr S’s side are calmer and quieter. I wonder whether our own household should be calmer but there is only three of us, how full-on can we be.

I want him to be sociable, independent and have a voice. Should we have more days at home, just he and I. He’s an only child, I don’t want him to be a lonely child. But I also don’t want him to be a nasty boy, I hope for him to be calm, fair, respectful and kind. I can’t see our fab adventures stopping him being the boy I want him to be.

Maybe I need to read some more books and blogs on how to have a calm 2 year old – as if there is such a thing!

 

From NICU to NOW

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So the little man is 2 today and has recently been letting us know he’s a determined, strong willed kind of guy! I know there were babies more poorly in Nicu when we were there but our two weeks there was still tough for us and him. I remember him being delivered, getting a quick glimpse and him being rushed off. Daddy went with him. I knew it was the best thing but still hard. I didn’t see my son until much later in the evening, in fact most of the family had seen him before I was well enough to visit and then only got to push my hands through the holes in the incubator for ten mins before I was sent back to bed as I wasn’t well.

Fast fwd two years to last night where Rocco was his usual self at 1am – screaming out for Mummy ( he alternates between the two of us) crying for a cuddle, or ‘hand,hand’. I lay in bed as I have done for many nights willing him to go back to sleep when I am suddenly taken back to that day of becoming a mummy and not seeing or holding my baby. Sod the controlled crying and willpower tonight. I go into his room, he holds his arms out to me and I lift him out and hold him tighter than I have ever held him.

Within minutes he is asleep in my arms, his hand on my chest and his head nestled in. I remember his tiny hand being so small, as I grasped his fingers,  now he is on my lap filling it, with his legs cuddled in tight. Tears roll down my face, I’m exhausted but tonight I don’t care. I lift him back into the cot, I’ve held him way longer than I needed too.

As I lay him down he opens his eyes and says ‘ mummy hand’ and pokes his hand through the cot bars. More silent tears as I sit on the floor holding his much larger but still as precious hand through the bars.

Matt comes in to send me back to bed and I am in tears, he thinks my patience is wearing thin but actually my tears are of gratefulness and thanks. My patience is being tested too though!!

I rarely think back to the start of our journey, more so around his birthday but I realise how lucky I was to have great doctors to care for me and for him. It also makes me understand that time is precious, so if he continues this run of waking in the night I will try and remember those first 2 weeks I wished he was at home keeping me awake instead of us being apart.

That’s not to say I’m not desperate for him to sleep through again so I can too but this week, I’ll take every cuddle I get, whatever the time.

 

All cried out..

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When I was in my twenties I could live on 4-5 hours sleep if it included a few really good nights out, some vodka and a guaranteed lie in and Sunday roast at the end of it. Now in my forties it seems that the only similarity is the living on 4-5 hours sleep!

The little man has always been a good sleeper, when he came home from NICU he didn’t like it too quiet so we went about our evenings as normal and that’s the way its been. He has self settled after milk and a story and slept through. Teething gave us a blip but other than that we’ve been lucky. I’ve not been too ‘in your face’ about it and thank goodness I haven’t because it’s all changed.

I’m glad to say my son has our determination and staying power but he’s chosen to show it by screaming in the middle of the night. He practices all the great words he knows will pull at my heart – Mummy, Daddy, Cuddle, Out, Milk, Nappy. We have tried to stay strong and let him cry it out, whilst I have led in bed watching the baby monitor through my tears but last night hit all time low.

1.23am  Awake, screaming, tears, words. I whizzed in to pop his dummy back in, cover him up and pop on the lullaby sound track, along with a little ‘good boy, night, night’

2.33am He is still screaming out, he’s attempted to get out of the cot, he’s thrown out one of dummies, infact everything in the cot. In-between the crying he hears the music and stops and I hear him yawning whilst I’m led in bed willing us all to go back to sleep.

2.45am I know Mr S has gone in to his room because it’s silent. I don’t know how long he was in there with him because I went back to sleep. I praise our strength it would be easier to take him into our bed, we’ve never done it and I don’t want to start now.

Mr S and I have been going to bed (asleep) at 9pm after we’ve put the baby down, eaten and cleared up – that’s our evening, because we know what’s to come.

I believe the almost 2 yr old is pushing us to our limits but how long can we do this? I am exhausted, I try and catch a few hours sleep when he’s at nursery two days but I have chores and work to do, plus the guilt factor kicks in as Mr S is at work and he’s as tired as I am.

I’ve had lots of advice and right now I’m taking it all on board, change the bed time routine a bit, feed him before bed (he has milk but maybe porridge), wrap him up, do NOT enter the room at all.

Maybe the advice should have been not to have a baby at 44!

 

Rule Book?….

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So I’d love a little book that tells me when the following Starts or Stops …

  • Leaving your child for more than two nights without guilt- well you know my view on this.
  • Kids Parties – you know my views on this too!
  • Eating a full meal on their own, no assistance (surely sometimes it’s easier just to sit and spoon a few in!)
  • Not using baby washing tablets and throwing it all in together (he’s two, still doing it)
  • Not taking the buggy when you go into town (can’t bear the thought of him getting tired and having to carry him, I’m 45 after all)
  • Introducing the Potty (bought one, it’s in the bathroom, he’s sat on it once)
  • Stop justifying how you parent, mostly to your parents (Never)
  • Introducing movies in hope you’re child will sit through one so you can have a warm cuppa (I watched Paddington the other day, he took no notice)
  • Leaving your child to roam free upstairs ie; not in an enclosed space while you jump in the shower (Never)
  • Bottle of milk and a cuddle at night (He likes it and so do we)
  • Forcing him to have morning milk in a cup not a bottle (as long as he drinks it should I care)
  • Believing them when they say they aren’t hungry and stop force feeding them (fed up with him spitting that last spoonful out so I believe him now)
  • To let your baby cry it out when he wakes in the night and you know nothing is wrong (tried it this week not sure I’m any good at it)
  • From Bed to Cot (currently he’s not trying to climb out of the cot so he’s staying there)
  • Not feeling bad about having normal TV on in the background when you’re child is playing happily (I forget he’s gone to sleep sometimes and it’s still on)

I could go on, but there will never be a book and I know every child is different but sometimes it would be quite helpful!

Do we have a party?

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When I wrote my blog about when is the right time to… leave your baby for the night it got me thinking about how many scenarios to ask the same question.

The one that has cropped up recently is ‘When is the right time to introduce kids parties?

The little man is 2 next week and we aren’t having a party. We aren’t ignoring the fact it’s his birthday but he doesn’t know it’s his birthday. I’ve invited the family around for a glass of fizz to celebrate how amazing I was 2 years ago! 2 of his little playdate mates and cousins will come round and obviously the family will buy him loads of presents but as far as a party goes, does he really need one?!

When he was 1 we had a ‘Glistening’ to celebrate his arrival to our family. We celebrated the fact we’d got through year one after our rocky start, had afternoon tea and fizz with 50 wider family and friends, combing that with embarrassing his ‘Odd Parents’ and letting loads of kids run riot in the grounds of a venue. It wasn’t cheap but it was fun. Rocco couldn’t even walk at this stage so it was all about us!

Now he is 2 we have been invited to his playmates parties and they have been fun.  If I start organising parties for him now, as an Event organiser I have to go all out. It won’t be cheap, it will be over the top and I’m not sure I will know when to stop. Then next year I will have to top that and so it goes on.

So this year we will have a few friends round over the weekend, Rocco will think it’s a normal play date but with cake. No party bags, no games, maybe a balloon or two. I’d go without a cake but Aunty J is a professional cake baker so why waste the talent!

On his actual birthday Daddy is at work so Rocco and I will pop up to NICU Bath with cakes and a thank you card – I think this will be an annual thing for me, mummy can’t help but regress at this time of year. Then we will go to his swimming lesson as normal and maybe have lunch at the farm shop.

I may tie a balloon to his wrist just so everyone knows he’s the birthday boy!

 

When is the right time?….

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So over the past week I’ve asked myself a lot of questions that I have now learnt there is no right or wrong answer.

The one that’s cropped up between me and some friends is – When is the right time to leave your baby for more than one night? When Rocco was 6 months I had to leave the Rockstar for 5 nights due to work, but he was with daddy each night and during the day at nursery or with nanny as he normally would be. So not much upheaval for him. I did miss him but I knew he was totally fine.

Mr S and I have had some one nighters away from the boy, we are lucky enough to have some gorgeous hotels very close and everyone has survived but recently I have suggested a two nighter away for Mr S and I and it’s not gone down very well with him. I know that the little man will be totally fine with which ever family member we leave him with, it’s Mr S that has the problem!

With this reluctancy it makes me worry about my opinion of ‘ he’ll be fine, he’s versatile and as long as he’d fed, played with and cuddled he’s happy’ does this mean I care less about our boy. NO I don’t think so. Is it because I spend more time with him on a daily basis and need a break? Do I think it will make the boy a stronger little man?

I worry that Mr S and I will never have any ‘us’ time again. With one night away you just want to sleep, you already talk about what time you’re picking the boy up tomorrow, you don’t have time to relax, we don’t get too drunk because we pick the little man up the next morning. With 2 nights we could be ‘grown ups’ again.

This weekend Mr S is off to Barcelona for the weekend, on a rugby tour – read that as one game of rugby, four days of drinking. I don’t begrudge him a weekend away, well not much, but it’s the fact he’s happy to leave the Rockstar because he’s with me.

I am sure Mr S would let me go off for 4 days, I fancy Mallorca! but really I’d like to go away with him. Will we ever get to do that again?!

We have a special event coming up soon and I have already said I will be away two nights, if Mr S chooses to stay behind for the first night and join me the next day then that’s down to him. I’d rather he didn’t but I guess we all have to do what’s right for us. Watch this space!