The dreaded grandparents

8aa0adbf9aa3c17457c6b52e9149c642It’s not too far off my son’s second birthday and that coincides with the arrival of the mother in law, who prior to the birth of my son was a dear, sweet, allbeit slightly fluttery woman who would do anything for me.

Since the child has come along, however, this dear, sweet lovely lady has become rather… ‘judgy’ and slightly… ‘aggravating’.

As a mother who suffers from a rather intense case of obsessive compulsive cleanliness, my house is very tidy on a regular basis (I know, it’s pretty sad) and most people would be hard pressed to find much wrong with the standard of living at our house. Until the mother in law turns up and manages to find an amazing amount of dust with the help of her handy-dandy broom…….

The broom of doom manages to bring up some amazing little finds such as dust, old food and dead flies, all of which I am certain were not there previously, in fact my partner often jokes that she brings these things in a small vial and pours them around the house so she can show me up… It’s a joke but sometimes I wonder?

carpenter-ant-topThe other thing that always happens when she stays is there is a sudden infestation of ants. I don’t know where they come from but they always turn up when she moves in.  And of course she can’t help but mention how bad our ant problem is, the same ant problem which never exists any other time of the year!!!

And you’d think my partner would turn around and say “no, we never usually have ant problems or I don’t know where all that dust came from?” but no, he will revert back to being the sweet cherub she remembers from yesteryear and he will say something like “yes, we do have an ant problem” or “oh thanks mum, we did need a bit of a spring clean.”

But nothing compares to my mother who truly outdoes the ‘well-meaning grandmother’ stereotype, by undermining my every move.  Apparently he don’t have enough breast milk and need to stop breast feeding because it’s not good for my son. “When you were a baby my milk was creamy and I could shoot it across the room” I kid you not, she actually said that…

Or of course there are the moments whenever my child has a great breakthrough, like he might learn how to walk, talk or pick his nose. Every single time, without fail, my mother has already seen him do it.

maxresdefault.jpgAnd then there is the food situation.  Apparently, when I was a baby the food that I ate was hand-made by my mother in a loving fashion. She didn’t use an oven or a mixer, instead she milked the cow, hand made the cheese and milled the grains, lovingly cooked the bread and made every sandwich by hand… while I feed my child out of sachets and tins… HEATHEN!

Yet, while I cringe at both of the grandmothers and wonder where I went wrong on a regular basis, I can also see where they are coming from. For years, they were the bosses and they did all the loving and caring and cooking.  Now they have to watch on from afar, while the new mother makes mistakes, nothing will ever stand up to their amazingness.

Let’s not forget the fact that one of the mothers managed to drop her child out of a car while driving with him on her lap, without a car seat belt… It was a long time ago and it must be hard to let go of control. I will try my best to bite my tongue this time around, in fact I may end the week with a mouth full of blood but I will try my best to enjoy my son’s second birthday and not say a thing when both of those old birds try to control the party. “they mean well…” according to my dear partner.

 

 

 

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Toddler tantrums

downloadI’ll never understand why parents take their kids to activities or events then proceed to ignore every other kid and every other parent at that activity?

Today I took my wee, sweet cherub to a gymnastics class for toddlers.  I was very excited because for the last two years I’ve been dealing with some pretty intense post-natal depression and my little bloke had been badly suffering from reflux and colic and has been in and out of hospital, so we both needed to get out of the house and start meeting other people.

We arrive way too early (in pure excitement for what was to come) and my dear, sweet angel begins to get frustrated and runs around causing havoc.

Finally the other mums turn up with their angels…. all well behaved little girls. They even sit next to their parents and don’t move!??? What sort of sorcery is this? While these dear, sweet darlings behave impecably, my son runs around jumping on all the carefully laid out gym equipment.

Finally, the class begins and my son decides to throw a tantrum.  The teacher tries to placate him and I decide to sit on the side and let my partner deal with the mess. All the time, the same parents are continuing to ignore each other and the other children.

While the little girls patiently make their way around the class and do what they are told, my son screams every time he doesn’t get his own way, runs the wrong way and just behaves like a wee animal. I try to make up for his behaviour by commenting on how cute the other children but I get blank stares from their strange parents.

judgy-parentsThen a grandmother turns up and sits on the side, I try to make small talk with her, to no avail. Which is about the time my son decides to have a complete melt-down, throwing himself on the floor, tears running out of his eyes, all while the other two sit quietly paying attention to the teacher.

At that point, I’ve reached the end of my tether and I tell my partner we are leaving. I turn around to the grandmother to smile and try to make my exit polite and she glares at me with pure judgement in her eyes. I walk out the door, get into the car and both my son and I cry our eyes out all the way home.

Suffice to say, we won’t be going back, but not because the class was bad, or because our child is bad. He’s a great kid usually, it was just an off day.  The teacher was amazing. What really got to me was the attitude of the other parents.  No, your kids aren’t well behaved because you are great parents and I am not. You just have quiet kids, they are all different.

Also, when you see a kid misbehaving and the guardian is trying so hard to keep him under control, and they look like they are on edge and they apologise profusely, don’t make them feel worse by tut tutting, don’t glare at them. Just give them some support.

It’s not easy parenting a toddler and it’s about time we all had each others backs and realised that we all have bad days and it is not a time to sit there judging but rather a time to pat someone on the back, smile and say ‘you’re doing the best you can Mumma/dadda/grandma etc’.

 

 

Reflux, colic and irritability

gettyimages-471306103-5707ff925f9b581408dcbb54So you have a baby who won’t stop screaming or won’t feed properly, or doesn’t seem to be able to calm down, or won’t sleep or is just generally unwell.

You look at your friends calm, relaxed babies and you wonder where you went wrong?

Take it from me, a mum who had a baby with acute reflux, colic and irritability. You are not doing anything wrong. You are coping the best way you can and, as I’m sure many people will tell you, this too soon shall pass.

Reflux:

If your baby is frequently spitting up/vomiting or looks like they are burping but can’t bring anything up (silent reflux), they may have GERD. Reflux is when the baby throws up quite a bit and silent reflux occurs when the stomach contents only go as far as the esophagus and are then re-swallowed, causing pain but no spitting up.

Your baby might also be very irritable and may not feed well on the boob or the bottle.

For us this was pure HELL. In fact, I got to a point where I often dreamed of throwing my baby out the window or hurting him. Of course I never did it but I was lucky to have a partner to help.

At first, the doctors didn’t listen to me and said it was normal. I didn’t feel like they quite got how bad it was. I mean my baby would scream for eight hours non stop and would never sleep. But try to explain that to a doctor. Or at least my doctor.

download-3One afternoon, we had been trialing different formula types as we suspected my son was dairy intolerant. I was still breast feeding but it was quickly obvious that he would need formula too as he was constantly on the boob and I didn’t have the time or energy to get the breast pump out to make a bottle.

I put my son down after feeding him and then decided to pick him up and hold him while I did the dishes. Which was lucky. He had been projectile vomiting for a while and suddenly went limp in my arms.

We rushed him to the hospital and luckily he had woken up and was back to his screaming self. It was then that we were finally taken seriously and the doctors started to do tests on him and have him stay the night at the hospital. They quickly saw that I was not coping and got me some help with counselors, medication and help from home (I didn’t have family members or friends who would offer to take him so I was in a bit of a mess as my partner did shift work).

I ended up getting free child care as well and it wasn’t long before the lady who looked after him was also struggling to cope. She was just about to stop taking care of him when he hit eight months old and suddenly stopped screaming and became the loving, sweet boy he is now.

He still doesn’t sleep well and by the time he was old enough to be able to move himself around, I decided to put the cot next to the bed and co-sleep with him as I had enough of getting up 20 times a night.

No, I won’t be letting him cry it out. He’s my miracle child and he’s been through enough.  He now sleeps most of the night and he sleeps most of it in his cot. We have done a great job and so have you (if you are reading this, I assume you are struggling with your own issues).

download-2My suggestion is to get help. Harrass your doctor, ask for gaviscon or losec, ask about tongue tie, ask about lip tie. Find out if they are allergic to anything and check out your local reflux/colic support website. (google is great for this).

Best of all, pat yourself on the back. You don’t have an easy baby and no one else knows how much you are struggling except for you. Don’t listen to family, friends or associates who think they are parenting experts. We are all doing the best with what we have.