Talk About Cheesecake

Musings, meanderings and meditation for my mind.


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Starting the day with a smile

Who ever coined the phrase ‘the terrible two’s’ was wrong. It’s not the two’s that’s bad, ‘ it’s the ‘tantrumming threes’ that wear you down.

Talk about a level seven meltdown, Botboy can screech with the best of them. My morning starts something like this most days –

I’m on a beach, enjoying the sunshine. There is no noise. A waiter comes over, bringing some multi-coloured, umbrella and  confetti emblazoned coconut filled with a delicious, soothing, chilled beverage. A large dark cloud stabs me in the eye and a shooting white light pierces through the cloud into my brain. . .

Botboy pulls back my other eyelid, leans in front of the morning light aimed directly into my unprepared eyeballs and grins. ‘Playstachun’.

‘G’way. Bedtime. Sleeping,’ I grumble.

‘Playstachun, mummy.’

‘NO’ – be warned, this fantasy that we mum’s wake up bright and early and ready to play is a lie perpetuated by tampon adverts.

‘Playstachun, mummy. I want it.’ An edge of demand enters the tone.

‘What time is it? It’s 6 o’clock! NO. No playstation, go back to bed.’

‘S’morning mummy. I want the Playstachun. I want it. Now.’ Decibels are rising, there is a definite screech in the voice.

‘Get in bed with mummy and go to sleep.’ This is my attempt at distraction. Admittedly it is not that enticing or effective when you are a wide awake 3 year old who has scented desperation in the air and is now building to a crescendo, but hey, I am still three quarters asleep and grasping vainly for my cocktail.

Cue explosion. I put my head under the pillows and let the melt down carry on for a while. Sometimes if you ignore them, they go away. Sometimes they don’t.

This particular morning there is a short outlet of noise, followed by silence. I feel a small body climbing over me. Something hard hits me in the head, much like the corner of an iPad. Then there is silence again.

I relax.

The persistent, repetitive ‘bing, bing, bing’ of Sonic the Hedgehog, with music, drums into my eardrum. Over and over and over and over and . . .

You get the picture.

‘Turn the music off’.

‘No. NO, no, no, no, no. Muuuummmmmmyyyyy.’ A long involved whining wail ensues, while I wrench the iPad from his hands and flip it to silent.

This is just the first 15 minutes of my day. We then have the ‘refusal avec screech’ over getting dressed, wearing red instead of blue pants, wearing Mickey over Superman T-shirts. Cleaning the teeth is accomplished by mixing cajoling with threats.

To wash Botboy’s face, I surreptitiously warm up the flannel, sneak up behind him and smother his face while fending off waving arms. Getting him to eat his breakfast requires negotiation over which bowl, spoon and cereal to use.

I am sure this makes me sound like a horrendous mother. I don’t remember Sackgirl being this difficult. I know she used to have tantrums, but Sackgirl was much more organised about them. She would pick her time and place with care – middle of the supermarket aisle, the doorway of a busy shopping centre, the bathroom door while I was trapped on the toilet – and let loose with gusto. If I walked away she would stop, follow me until she had my attention and then resume. It was calculated, which meant she could be reasoned with.

Botboy appears to completely lose emotional control. He is stubborn and determined. There is no reasoning with him. Distractions rarely work. Sometimes the only thing to do is leave him to it. Sometimes I join in, screeching back an stamping my feet in time with his – the noise and release is quite enjoyable and it might surprise him into silence.

This temper began when he was three. We passed the two’s with pretty much no hassle. It seems that as his speech and understanding developed, so did his temper. I wonder whether this is inherited (his grandfather can be a right grumpy bugger!) or the difference between girls and boys.

I hope he grows out of it soon!

 

 

 

 


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Daily Prompt – I do believe in fairies, I do, I do.

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – the White Queen, Alice in Wonderland.

What are the six impossible things you believe in? (If you can only manage one or two, that’s also okay.)

I seem to have had a day of writing today – which is great. Well, from the writing side, not so much from the work side. Anyway, then I saw today’s Daily Prompt on Impossibility and I had to have a go.

So – six impossible things I believe in.

1. Dragons.

I love dragons. I totally believe in dragons. I believe that they existed once – else why would they appear in various guises in so many cultures and mythologies across the world. I remember arguing with my older brothers as a child while they mocked me for saying dragons did exist. “How come no one has ever seen one then?” they would say. “How do you know they haven’t, just because you haven’t” I would counter. OK – not the most sophisticated argument. I was very young.

2. Magic

I did read somewhere that scientifically dragons could not exist or fly as their body weight was just too much for their wings to support. Hello! Magic. Dragons are magical beings, they clearly use their magic to fly. And to hide from humanity. Which explains why we don’t see them about.

Cultures throughout the world refer to mystical powers. Well, why not? Five hundred years ago or so we thought the world was flat, but now we think we know it all?

3. Fairies

Do you remember the scene from Peter Pan when Tinkerbell appears to be dead? Peter Pan starts to chant “I do believe in fairies, I do, I do.” The Lost Boys join in and Tinkerbell recovers. OK, I know it’s a movie, but I do love that particular bit for the force of the belief it portrays.

So – I do believe in fairies. Not so much the twinkly little things living at the bottom of the garden. But fairies, elves, sprites, gremlins – the fae. Well why not? How arrogant are we to believe that humans are all that exist in this world? Existed, at least. Whether they are still about, whether they have survived in hiding or have melded with the hunan race, who knows? But again, myth must have some basis in truth.

4. Ok, running out of ideas here, so let’s see . . . the more mundane perhaps

This diet will work.

Yes – this time, I will get the weight off (I can do it, I have done before). This time though, I will keep it off.

5. I will finish my coursework and get a job as a writer somehow.

6. My kids will get ready for school this morning without moaning!

 

Nah – that last one is far too impossible, it can’t be done.


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Mummy flu.

Wake up, head pounding. Sinuses are throbbing. Breathing is hard.

Forcing my body out of bed, into motion. Trousers on, t-shirt pulled over aching head. Tramp downstairs to let dog outside. Wellies on, trudging through the mud, hunched up against the driving rain.

Chickens jump squawking from their house. Fill pellet holder, check their water, trudge back to the house, dog jumping up my leg, sloughing muddy paws across trousers.

Mini Monster 2 comes downstairs, shouting as he comes. ‘Milk mummy. Want breakfast. Milk. Milk. Milk.’

Place bowl on table filled with cheerios and milk. More milk in a cup with a straw. MM2 starts to eat, dripping milk and wheat circles across the table and his knees on the journey to his mouth.

Mini Monster 1 wanders in quietly. ‘I’m hungry’.

Weetabix in a bowl with milk, splash of sugar. Drag chair closer to table, MM1 eats.

The cat miaows.

Squeeze lumps of sticky, drippy meat product from a sachet. Shuffle through to the hall, place plastic bowl on the floor, stroke cat from head to tip of tail.

Respond to demand to provide MM1 with yoghurt.

Flick kettle on.

Pour water onto lemsip. Sit down, relax backwards. Acknowledge drumming in head and stuffed ache running across my face.

MM2 requests a yoghurt. With emphasis on requests.

The dog whines.

Mr G enters the kitchen.

Time passes in a dozy haze. Sausage and egg, dosed in ketchup, held between bread. Placed in my lap.

Scoop dry, coloured shapes into the dog’s bowl.

The clock ticks. MM2 slides through the doorway. ‘Want food. Want biscuits. Want food mummy.’

Back to the kitchen, shoulders heavy, head down. Bread, cheese, cucumber, no butter. MM1. Bread, butter, no filling. MM2. Salt and vinegar crisps. MM1. Quavers. MM2. Fizzy water. MM1. Tap water. MM2.

More lemsip.

Remove the plastic cat bowl from the dog’s bed before she crunches through the plastic completely.

Waiting for 6pm.

Cottage pie and green peas. Cake and milk for the children.

No more meals to provide. Mummy chores complete. Bed calls.

The cat miaows.


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Teaching plus children equals insanity

I’ve been trying to spend more time doing homework with my daughter. She comes home each week with some spellings and some maths.

Spellings I can do. She writes them out, I ask her to spell them back to me and then I show her how to use them in a sentence. We can discuss the meaning of words and how the same sounding word can have different spellings and meanings. I started her off early learning her to, too and two’s and there, they’re and theirs.

Maths is a whole different conundrum. Obviously I can do the basic level of maths. But how to explain it, that is the problem. Take for example, your times table.

Me: 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 15

Which is the same as saying

5 times 3 is 15.

Mini Monster 1: I don’t get it.

Me: You have five lots of three. Count them. The number three is written down five times. So five lots of three are fifteen.

MM1: OK

Me: So what is 6 times 3?

MM1 : I don’t get it.

I am left banging my head on the table in frustration. Homework time is not an enjoyable place for MM1 or for me. In addition (get it!) there are other factors to consider.

Take language. I say ‘subtract’.  I may also use ‘minus’ or ‘less than’. MM1  has been taught ‘take away’. I asked her what she had learnt in arithmetic yesterday, she told me they didn’t do that at her school.

Methods change as well. MM1 was carefully drawing something called a number line to do some basic addition. I couldn’t help her – I didn’t have a clue what she was trying to do. Instead we spent a painful hour learning how to add up in columns, the way we did when I was a child. I am reliably informed that they don’t learn the time tables anymore, or at least, not the way we did. No more rooms of chanting children learning ‘three times three is nine, four times three is twelve.’

Don’t you think parents need lessons these days to update us in whatever it is our children are learning, so that we can do homework with them?

The biggest issue with doing our homework together, however, is patience. I apparently have absolutely none.

I mean, I already knew that I had very little.

But apparently, when it comes to explaining homework to my own child, I have none.

We both get fed up and irritable. There are tears and tantrums, on both sides. Six year olds cannot learn without climbing up and down from their chairs, lying half across the table, fiddling with whatever they can reach. Seriously, they cannot sit still.

Grrrr.

I have come to the conclusion that teachers are very special people. They are blessed with deep wells of patience. Clearly they took my share and possibly yours as well. Teachers are able to explain magical things like why two plus two does, in fact, equal four.

Teachers are amazing. They are very clearly also, absolutely, completely and utterly, no doubting it, totally insane.

Which brings me to my last discussion with my darling daughter.

Take a deep breath!

Me: Something minus 16 is 11. What is something?

MM1: What does minus mean?

Me: Take Away

MM1: What was the question?

Me: It’s written there. Something take away 16 is 11

MM1: I don’t get it

Me: You had some apples. I took 16 of them away. Now you have 11 apples. How many did you have in the beginning.

MM1: I don’t get what you want me to do.

Me: You had a lot of apples. I took some away. How many did you start with before I took them away,

MM1: My feet hurt.

Me: What?

MM1: I can’t think, my feet hurt.

Me: You had some sodding apples, I took 16 of them. Now you only have 11. What are you doing now?

MM1: Drawing a hand.

Me: Why are you drawing a hand?

MM1: So I can count the fingers.

Me: Why do you need to draw hands, you have hands?

MM1: I want to do it this way

Me: What are you counting?

MM1: I dont know.

Me: Sod the apples.  I need a drink


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Embrace the Silly Inside

I have always been a fairly self-conscious person. Whether this be third child syndrome, being English, being the odd one out – who knows? We could ‘shrink’ it out and come up with some deep rooted issues I am sure. I bet we could run up a fairly huge bill. But, no need, because I am finding a ‘cure’ all on my own. Well – not quite on my own. . .

My worry has always been having other people laugh at me. A vague paranoia has followed me through life whispering in my ear that ‘they are making fun of you’, that ‘it is all a set up to make you look stupid’.

This paranoia monster has stopped me from chatting to strangers. Because in my head I know my mouth moves before my brain engages and I am bound to say something weird, rude, stupid. I am clearly going to appear foolish or ignorant. Who knows? Safer to stay quiet!

The paranoia monster prevented me from being spontaneous and outgoing throughout my school life. I admired the hippies at school for wearing bright, multi coloured, mismatched clothing. I thought the piercings and green hair were outrageous. How gutsy! OK, I didn’t want green hair and holes in my eyebrows. But still – they did it. I couldn’t.

I never enjoyed nightclubs. I am not a fan of loud music anyway, but I was always conscious that despite there being a few hundred other people waving their arms about and jumping around like crickets, everyone would immediately stop to notice how uncoordinated and boring my dancing was. I spent my years at uni propping up the bar, guarding the drinks from spikers.

It’s not that I wanted to be an extrovert or that I was really an introvert. I was just hiding.

And then I had kids.

A few moments in time spring to mind.

* Sitting on a stack of catalogues in a well known and busy store entrance, watching as your child writhes on the floor, shouting and shrieking and screaming at a pitch just below bat hearing, having an all out tantrum. Smiling in the face of elderly disapproval and teenager smirks. Sometimes, it’s easier to let them get it out.

* Carrying your child from the supermarket, slung over your shoulder whilst they kick you in your flaming red face and thump you in the back, because you wouldn’t buy whatever it was, leaving your entire trolley of shopping in the checkout lane, half emptied onto the conveyor belt.

* Sitting on a plane for four hours where the only way to keep your toddler from sprinting up and down the aisle or kicking the grouchy old man in front is to read out their favourite book, complete with funny, squeaky and growly voices, sound effects and large arm movements, to the entertainment of other travellers.

* Watching your eldest in their first ever nativity, only to realise that your youngest has not only concussed the people around you with the stench coming from their nappy, but also that the sound effects of an milk intolerant stomach reacting to a new food are louder than the play and nappy leakage has occurred, visible by the trail running out of the bottom of their trousers and across the floor behind them.

It is moments like these when you realise that the worst thing that could have occurred at that moment has happened – and you survived. Not only that, but the other parents around you are laughing with you. In mutual sympathy.

For the sake of my kids I have danced at school discos, dressed up for Halloween, worn a pasta necklace and cardboard pink crown to the shops and more. I have done a lot of things that I would never have thought I could.

And I realised, no one is paying me any attention. Or, if they do pass over a five second glance, it’s quite nice to bring a smile to their face and share a mutual eye roll at the antics of your children. It’s ok.

Thank you kids, for bringing out out the silly in me


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Shall I tell you a secret?

This is going to come as a bit of a surprise to you.

I know – it is a worrying concept to get your mind around.

But listen – I am not Supermum.

Or even, Superwoman.

No – really.

And – what is even more shocking, and believe me when I say that I don’t want to offend you – neither are you.

Sorry.

Shall I tell you how I know?

Because, unless you fell to earth from a planet far far away, locked in a crystal capsule and wearing spandex, you are human. Just like me.

Which is good for us really, because it means we are allowed to make mistakes. To not be perfect. To need help occasionally. To get grouchy with the husband and the kids. To shout at your own mum (she will understand, she isn’t supermum either!). To scowl at your in-laws. To be late, have a messy house, forget to iron the school uniform until Monday morning, lose the remote and eat chocolate for lunch sometimes.

Seriously, it’s written down in a rule book somewhere.

Phew.

Isn’t that a relief to know?


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Project Optimism – A Glimmer of Hope

For Project Optimism this lovely Monday morning, I thought I would touch briefly on how there is invariably a glimmer of hope to be found in every situation, whether it be big or small.

I have mentioned before that I do like Mondays but I have to admit I was not looking forward to today. My weekend had had a number of components to it that had just zapped my expectations of a happy day, starting with the normal Saturday morning screeching and wailing that is my 6 year old being told that she has to tidy her room.

‘But WHY?’ she wails.

‘I don’t mind the mess.’ she cries.

He did it!’ she accuses her 3 year old brother (there may be some truth in that, but it’s not the entire story at all).

‘Why won’t anyone help me.’ she demands.

‘It’s not fair.’

Yes – at 6 we have reached that well known childhood phrase. It’s not fair. Teenagerdoom lurks ahead. (no, that is not a spelling mistake!)

We have tried reasoning, arguing, impassioned sobbing (both her and me). I have attached star charts to fridges, offered pocket money as an incentive, threatened to bin everything on the floor.

On Sunday I ‘helped’ tidy her room and in doing so made a pile of yet more broken toys.

‘Why don’t you look after your things?’ I demand.

She shrugs.

And yes, once again I feel like a total failure as a parent because I have tried bribery and everything else known to parents all over and still my child refuses to clean her room and shows no appreciation for the many things she has.

(I don’t think my child is any more spoilt than the average kid in the UK, but perhaps all of our children these days just have too much!)

She doesn’t understand the time it takes to earn the money to buy the frippery in her room that she so casually stands on, snaps, kicks under the bed or uses as a doorstop.

Is 6 too young to learn this?

I don’t think so. I just am not sure how to go about instilling it.

So – I banned use of my iPad, my phone, daddy’s PS, the TV. All screens were off in this house.

Sunday was a day of play. With actual physical toys. (NO, this does not count as child abuse.)

I issued a new decree in the land of Mummy Rules! And it was thus –

You shall earn your gaming time by doing something good every day that shows you value and care for your things. There shall be no screen until your bedroom is tidy every day.

Yep – I didn’t really expect her to listen either. Or Mr G, or myself for that matter. Because let’s face it – throwing them at a screen is an easy babysitter for us too.

On top of this I have been having some down time about family/friends. I mentioned it briefly here. So I went to bed last night feeling quite tired of it all. Flat.

Which is not like me.

This morning I woke up ready to attack the day, starting with the morning screech and shout to get the kids moving, dressed, fed and ready for school. (Good god, I sound like an awful mother. Perhaps I should give up now.)

I went into my daughter’s room to wake her up.

But she was not in bed.

No – she was tidying her room.

*gasp*

Then, whilst I was in the shower, she dressed herself, brushed her teeth and attempted to brush her hair.

Whilst I was dressing Mini Monster 2, she went and voluntarily  washed her face. Voluntarily!

We ate breakfast, early.

And then Mini Monster 1 turned to me and said ‘Did I do something good now mummy?’

“Yes darling, very good this morning.” I smiled.

“And did you notice I tidied up Mini Monster 2’s toy box too.” she questioned.

“Yes honey,” I lied. Mental note, must go check the box.

“And have I earned some time on the iPad now mummy?”

Yes – it is bribery. Yes – it is materialistic. Yes – it is a computer game.

But I have found a carrot and stick that works and I’m keeping it.

So – the point to this is that just when you think it is time to give up, to stop trying, a glimmer of hope will appear! Just a calm start to the day can make all the difference.

Now – you might think that that is all there is to say.

But no – I have yet to tell you where the optimism comes in.

And this is it – despite all evidence to the contrary, despite knowing that my child has the attention span of a gnat . . .

I am optimistic that this particular carrot will last for at least two whole days before that room is a tip again.

This is all about optimism as part of Project Optimism. Find out more here.


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My first failure as a parent.

As I commented on a post about being A Mum in Hiding – about how we mums try to hide the many things we do that would label us as a Bad Mummy – I was reminded of one of the first times I felt like a Bad Mummy, the first time I had failed my child and proven that I lacked the ability to be a perfect mum. I talk of the very emotive issue of breastfeeding.

Although I have put the whole issue of breastfeeding long behind me and no longer worry that I got it wrong and let my children down in the worst possible way I am aware that this remains a major debate for all mummies. You only need to visit a parenting website or view a forum that mentions the subject and up jump the different sides, ready to argue for their cause. 

Generally it comes down to benefits.

We have the side who will argue that breastfeeding is scientifically proven to be better for your child healthwise, that it prevents obesity as they grow older and those children who are breastfed are going to be smarter, fitter, stronger. Basically all round super children. We will call that side Boobs.

In opposition are those who argue that they were not breastfed and they are not couch potatoes wallowing in their own ignorance. They turned out ok. We call them Bottle.

“Look at the children walking down the street and see if you can tell which one was breastfed,” Bottle argues.

“But it is free,” says Boobs. “It is natural. Women were made to breastfeed. That’s why we have boobs.”

“We have evolved,” says Bottle. “My boobs are my own, I will choose who gets to suck on them.”

“It is so convenient. No carrying about of paraphernalia, no large bags and having to look for microwaves. My boob produces the perfect food, nutritionally balanced and full of flavour, pre-heated to the right temperature. It is there on demand, no waiting for the baby.” Boobs says.

Bottle laughs. “I don’t see carrying round a bottle and a bit of powder as hard work. It’s not difficult.  I don’t want to get my boobs out in public. I don’t face the embarrassment of strangers unsure where they are allowed to look.”

“You should try it at least. Every mother should try to breastfeed her baby.” said Boobs.

“But it hurts. You get mastitis. The baby chews the skin from your nipples. They are sore and it is painful.” worries Bottle.

Boobs smiles, “The more you do it the easier it becomes. Your nipples harden up. The soreness goes. You are rewarded for your pain by being incredibly close to your baby. As one. There is no deeper connection. If you do not breastfeed you are missing out.”

“I want my partner to be able to help too. He wants to feed his child and feel close to her too. He can do nothing but watch if I breastfeed,” argues Bottle.

“He can bring your towels. He can help in other ways. He can change nappies and connect with the baby that way.” says Boobs.

 

 

 

 

When I was pregnant with Kid 1 I met my own Boobs. A close friend and a very strong willed person who may not have realised how very forcefully she pushed the notion of breastfeeding at me.

“Thou shalt offer up thine boob, or know that thou hast failed thy child!”

Of course, there were others who were keen that I should breastfeed. The midwife made it clear that I should try. Everyone who had a child, thought of having a child or had ever seen a child seemed to have an opinion. But it was the pressure of Boobs, combined with her ‘I did it till mine were 9 months old’  commentary, that made me feel most obliged to do it. Maybe I am an easily influenced person but I did not want to fail where apparently everyone else had succeeded.

“I must do what is right for my child” was the mantra.

(Interestingly, my own mother was not pushy at all. The opposite in fact. She had not breastfed her children and she was not keen on the idea at all. But she stayed quiet and let me make up my own mind.)

When they handed my daughter to me for the first feed right after she was born, she latched on and sucked away. It was easy. It felt fine. I could do this. Of course, not taking into account that I had been awake for over 24 hours, she was barely 20 minutes old and not up to a full feed and the midwives were actually controlling her body and my boob, I didn’t realise that she and I had not really been in control of the feed, purely the apparatus the midwives used to complete their role.

The second time, a few hours later after we had both been asleep, was very different. She cried, I panicked, a different midwife came to see what was happening. And that is where it began to go wrong.

This midwife was very stern, not so warm and slightly condescending. I asked for help, after all I had never had a child attached to my nipple before and I had no idea what to do. They don’t come with instructions you know. By her very demeanour I could tell the midwife was thinking “Stupid woman. What is so hard? Stick the child on your boob.” I didn’t ask again.

I left the hospital with child and with only a vague idea of how I was meant to feed her. The first day at home was horrendous. In-laws popping in to prod my baby and the moment she whimpered I was told to feed her while they all watched expectantly. Was I being rude leaving the room to breastfeed her, as if implying they were all trying to see my breasts? At the same time I resented having to leave my nice warm sofa and have to plod up to the cold bedroom for privacy because the house was full of invaders.

On day 3 another midwife stopped by. She very casually informed me that she wanted to see the baby feed to be sure it was all going ok, picked up my child and rammed her onto my boob. My daughter choked. Somehow we found ourselves hustling to the car with the midwife telling us that ‘she had stopped breathing for a second and we had to get her checked over’.  Cue panicked parents hurtling back to the children’s ward. Of course all was fine, but we were only told that after 24 hours of worry and beeping machinery monitoring her.

The next thing that happened, my milk came in. Oh my, the pain!

Water Balloon explosion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suddenly my boobs stuck out, swollen and solid and as big as the famous bra Madonna once wore. The pressure was incredible, it felt that at any moment they would explode. One touch and milk was gushing out.

From then on trying to feed my baby girl was a nightmare. I would try to get her to latch on. She would arch away from me screaming hysterically. My breasts were agony, a straining balloon that needed release. My baby would not perform her part of the bargain and take the pain away. If I could get her to latch on she chewed my nipples until they were raw and bleeding.

This was not fun. This was not bringing us closer. There was no mummy-baby contentment here. Every time I thought of her next feed I felt resentment, fear of the pain, tense about how much she would scream. I cried because it hurt so much, because she clearly hated me, because I was failing as a mother.

Finally my friend Boobs came to visit me a few days in. She took one look at my baby crying because she couldn’t feed, whilst I tried to make her and she said “Why don’t you try to express it into a bottle?”

What? I was allowed to do this? Why hadn’t this occurred to me? Why had no one told me of this option?

I got my breast pump attached and expressed a good 6 ounces within minutes. Oh my word! The relief. The pain was gone, the pressure released. My boobs were no longer straining, my child was feeding peacefully.

Boobs remarked, “You must have a lot of milk. It used to take me 2 hours to express just an ounce or two.” It was this comment that gave me the clue I needed, although I didn’t realise it until my son was due three years later.

In the meantime I carried on expressing and feeding my child breast milk via a bottle for a week or so, until I had such severe mastitis I couldn’t take anymore. I gave up, I went to formula.

When my son was due I took time to look into the mechanics of breastfeeding before hand. I learnt that if a woman produces a lot of milk the initial release  when the baby sucks can be too fast. In other words, when my daughter had tried to suck she had been instantly drowned in milk instead. A simple solution, the book said, was to just gently massage to get the milk flowing first and then latch baby on once the flood had slowed.

So simple. So much clearer. My son was born and after some help in learning how to latch on, he breastfed without issues. I had succeeded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The irony here was that, having discovered that I could breastfeed, having experienced calm feeds with contented baby, after a week or so I realised that I don’t actually like breastfeeding.

I don’t like the feeling of the child sucking the milk from me. I don’t like feeling like a cow. I find it a little gross.

If that offends you, well I won’t apologise for that. These are my feelings. I don’t object to breastfeeding in general. If you want to, that’s fine. If you enjoy it, great. If you want to carry on having your child sucking on your boob up to the age of 4 (or more) well I guess that is your choice.

I don’t like it.

So, both my children had breast milk for the first two weeks of their lives. Then they had formula. I chose to take my son off the boob and I do not regret that. It was right for us. I do not feel that I missed out on any connection with my child and Mr G enjoyed the time he got to spent in quiet contemplation feeding his children too.

My advice to anyone who is not sure if they want to breastfeed or doesn’t know where to start – go to your midwife and ask her for information on how to do it. Go to a breastfeeding group, they have them at most hospitals, and watch. Ask questions. Know what you are doing before the baby is born. Get all the facts and if unsure, well there is no harm in trying it out.

But don’t feel forced.

And above all, do what suits you, not everyone else.


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How much do you tell them?

Something happened on our week away this year that freaked me out a little. I have always been aware of the many dangers that face our children today. I think most parents are more protective, more frightened maybe, than they were just when we were children.

Besides all the obvious dangers that you can teach your child about – traffic, crossing roads, climbing off windowsills (surely its not just mine that do this) – there is that hidden danger: stranger danger. How far do you go in explaining to your child that some people are mean and nasty and she mustn’t talk to people she doesn’t know. A conversation that goes something like this.
‘What, children too?’
‘Well no, you can talk to children. Your age. Not older children.’
‘So I can’t talk to seven year olds?’
‘You can, but not much older.’
‘How will I know how old they are if I don’t talk to them?’

We were in the bar of the hotel with another couple we had met. Our two were sprinting round the foyer with their two. They zoomed in and out of sight regularly, through the many other hotel guests and children having the exact same evening as us.

Then they are gone just a little longer. I start to worry. I stop listening to the conversation and start peering around the bar like a meerkat. The other mother we are with does the same.

And then they all come rushing round the corner and we can sit back with a sigh of relief. And my daughters first words were ‘we went in the lift with some boys and got stuck’.

Maybe I over react, maybe I am overly negative. But the many different panicked thoughts of what could have happened ran through my mind at that point. My daughter is six. Too young to know what could happen if she is left alone with the wrong random older boy. So what do we tell her?

After some more questioning we did establish that the lift was not stuck, just stopping at every floor as these kids were pressing every button. And we did explain that she was not meant to go in lifts without us. Or to go out of sight.

So, is it just me. Or is anyone else also permanently worrying when their little girl wants to go off and play and wondering at what age we need to expand her education, and at the same time maybe take away some of her childhood.