Monday, April 30, 2012

teething and talking

It has been a funny old couple of weeks. I am shattered from restless nights of teething hell and days are zipping by so fast it has started to feel quite scary. It's also been raining for what seems like forever and though most people I know have spent the whole time moaning about it I have tried to make it fun for B by letting him splash in puddles and get wet. He is picking up words quite quickly now, though his 'garden' sounds like 'daddy' and sometimes he will say a word and then never say it again like 'Joobs' (boobs), 'Ready'. He says 'bye bye' when we put his coat on and 'garden' all day long as he is obsessed with getting outside.

We are having some work done out the back to slightly extend the kitchen so it can be a bit tricky getting him out there but when he does he loves it. D is doing all the prep work for the building-work himself, knocking down the outside loo and shed, taking bricks to the dump, preparing a trench for the foundations and so on. We'll get about a meter extra space and are planning to have big double doors leading out to the yard. It is just a yard, about 2 metres of concrete, but it will make everything so much better and hopefully create more light and space in our existing tiny kitchen. We are off on holiday at the end of June and I think the plan is to have the new walls and roof built by then so that the tiling and walls can be done while we are away, plus the job of knocking through into the new extension bit. Here's hoping the whole house isn't full of dust when we get back. I have been sorting through the Ikea Kitchen I bought years ago but never installed into my house in Newport. Most of it is salvagable thankfully. Our long-term aim is to rent this house out and move somewhere with better schools for B and all this is a part of that plan.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

General ranting about feminism and breastfeeding

Apparently, as a breastfeeding mum, I am supposed to be judging mums who bottle feed their children.

I am supposed to be thinking they are cruel for not doing their very best for their child, that their bond with their child is not a great as the one I have with mine, that they are setting their children up to be obese and to suffer from allergies. I am supposed to be smug and judgemental, disapproving and unkind.  

What am I really thinking? I am thinking that maybe the mother bottle feeding her child wanted to breastfeed but her child was ill and she did not get the right support or encouragement. I am thinking how determined I had to be when my baby was born and placed in special care; pumping every 3 hours and attempting to breastfeed in-between while the nurses offered bottles instead. Perhaps she wanted to breastfeed but her supply dwindled because she got the wrong or conflicting advice. Maybe she was advised to give her baby top-ups in the hope that it would sleep for longer and perhaps she was unaware that it is natural for a small baby to feed every one or two hours. It could be that the mother doesn’t know that babies have several growth-spurts during which it’s normal for them to feed more and that her supply will adjust to provide the right amount for her baby and that a hungry baby does not need formula. Perhaps she is unlucky to have a midwife or health visitor who has failed to update her training and believes that a baby should be in a strict routine. It’s possible that the mother was pressured by family to get the baby off the breast because “that’s what I did”, or because they believe the only way a father can bond with the baby is through a bottle. Perhaps she read stories about women who have been asked to move to the toilets to feed their child while out in public, maybe these kinds of tales made it all sound like too much effort? Could it be that she was frightened by anecdotes about blisters and blocked ducts and didn’t realise that, with the right knowledge and help, the breast-feeding experience need not be a difficult and painful one. Or, I think, maybe the mother just didn’t want to breastfeed because she has been told it’s weird or sexual. I think how sad it is that some people think a breast’s primary function is a sexual one and that a baby should be given milk meant for calves rather than the milk of its own mother; that advertising and the media can make something so natural seem so wrong. I am thinking perhaps she has never been around people who breastfeed, never seen it positively portrayed on TV or in the press so now she thinks it’s something odd that only hippies do. She may even not realise that it is pregnancy which changes breast shape, not breastfeeding.


Yes, I am thinking what a shame she is not breastfeeding but, knowing all the reasons why breastfeeding can be scuppered, I am not judging her. I am judging the system which results in so many women not even trying and even more women not continuing beyond a few weeks and that’s the real shame.

infertile me?

Oh Heck. I think I just got my period. I am in work and went to the loo and seem to have a little red mucusy discharge. Here's hoping it is my period and not implantation bleeding. My sex life is in decline but it does happen and lately I have been worrying about it because I haven't sorted out any contraception because i am barren. Heck! I have just about decided that I am fine with one child and that two would be far too hard financially and emotionally. I need sleep for a start.

So... it took me two years and a round of IVF to get pregnant and I have basically accepted that I am infertile and lately I have thought a lot about if I want another child. I came to the conclusion that I don't. I am happy with one; the one I never thought I would have. Aside from the financial and the emotional I just don't think I can cope with the whole introducing the idea of a sibling thing. I have seen so many friends and family deal with it and I think it would stress me out. There are lots of good reasons to have a sibling but I don't know I can go through the whole birth thing again.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Determined attachment parenting

I am a full time working mum; or if I am being terribly PC I am a working out of the home mum. I don't know if this makes me a part time mum and a full time working mum but no one ever questions that D is a full time working dad do they? I am also following an attachment parenting style, I have my baby in bed with me every night, I am still breastfeeding, I won't do controlled crying and I respond to my baby when he needs me, I will also never hit my child. Some people tell me that my child will be clingy and insecure, demanding and spoilt. I say - if you can't be clingy and demanding when you are 16 months old - when can you be?

Two things happened recently. I posted this picture onto my pinterest page:

and a complete stranger commented 'ridiculous'. I deleted the comment and can't imagine what she got from making that judgement or why she thought I would want to know that she thinks hitting children is ok.
I have always loved the following quote:

"When a child hits a child, we call it aggression. When a child hits an adult, we call it hostility. When an adult hits an adult, we call it assault. When an adult hits a child, we call it discipline" -Haim G. Ginott

Then today I was talking to a (childless, male) colleague who ranted on and on about his ex-girlfriend's three year old who should be left to scream and cry rather than tended to by her mother (when he was staying over) because she is going to grow up spoilt and needy and she 'needs to learn'. I asked him exactly what she needed to learn? That no one will come when she is upset? That no one will respond to her cries? That emotions should be kept in check? 'She will be insecure' he frothed back at me. Well actually there is evidence out there that an attachment parenting style actually leads to more secure children and I fail to see how leaving young children in a state of upset, uncertainty and fear can make them into secure adults. Re my colleague, I think he sounds rather spoilt - a 40 year old man pissed off with his girlfriend's three year old for interrupting his time with her mother. I wonder what kind of parenting he had?

I am realising more and more that attachment parenting is not something I have fallen into by accident, it's not something that has happened to me or that I have let happen to me. It is something I feel is best for my child and something I want to be able to speak positively about. So when people say 'are you still breastfeeding?' I want to respold with 'yes, isn't it great!'. When the nursery workers say 'is he still feeding a lot at night' I should be saying 'yes he is, I keep him in bed with me so he can - I get much better sleep that way' rather than giving the non-commital answers I do, or lying - which I have done on occassion. I worry about how the older members of my family will be judging me for 'making a rod for my own back'. I think I worry more about my inability so far to be positive about the choices I make and to speak out loudly against those people who are rude to my face about my choices. I have been practicing ways in which to say I am positively persuing the path of attachment parenting.

I have been doing a tumblr thing for B - things about him - you can read it here if you like

Monday, April 16, 2012

everyday sexism

If you don't like Facebook (and my updates) why don't YOU give it up?

Facebook knows my business. I know this because if I were to change my status from married to single I have no doubt it would start flashing up adverts for divorce and single women - maybe even dating sites. Everyone on my facebook friends list knows my business too, well apart from those I exclude *. So they know as much about me as I choose to give. Sometimes I choose to give too much, I can be rather volatile and finger happy with my status updates. If I am pissed off you may very well know why, equally if I am happy you will know that too. Problem is that people always seem to remember the negative or if not that it's the volume of updates which is a problem.

In recent months I have had to twiddle with my facebook settings quite a bit - it has always only been searchable by those on my friends list, purely because I didn't want my ex to be searching for me. I could relax that a bit now as clearly I have moved on given that I am married and have a small baby and time is a healer and all that stuff. Certainly it would mean that old friends might be able to find me and old enemies could block/stalk me if they wanted. Apart from that block on searching I also limit the audience for many of my photo albums and pick and choose who sees my status updates depending on who I don't want to offend and so on. Sometimes I have posted something but excluded someone from seeing it only for another person to tell tales on me so now I use my group lists carefully - stupid really but that's the way it goes. I don't want it to sound like I spend all my time on facebook slagging people off either. I do spend a lot of time posting pictures of my sono though, so much so that perhaps it seems endless to the people on my friends list?

Which brings me to the point of this blog. I was at lunch today and someone told me that perhaps I should stop using Facebook for a while, they also asked me if I thought it was ok to put so many pictures of B on the internet. Well... of course I think it's ok otherwise I wouldn't do it. I know that there are tales out there about paedophiles looking at pictures of children on the internet but (a) I am not stupid and (b) as my albums are not public do I really need to worry? Or perhaps they wonder if B 'is ok with it'? Well I haven't asked him - he's 16 months old and what does he know? Perhaps when he is old enough to have an opinion on it I will consult him. What really irritated me about the conversation (which other people who were there and also happen to be on my friends list joined in with) was the suggestion that because the frequency and volume of my updates is too much for them, I should be the one to stop posting!  Well forgive me but if YOU don't like it they YOU are the one in control. At the very least you can block my updates or stop looking at my page; at the most you could just de-friend me.

It really does piss me off when the implication is that I am not allowed to use facebook but they are. So it's ok to be a 'facebook user' so long as you only use it infrequently but it's not ok for anyone else to use facebook the way they want to? One thing I really find odd is the amount of people who on the one hand tell people they really don't get people who use facebook so much and yet on the other they seem to know all about whatever everyone else is posting. Doesn't this mean that they are literally sat on facebook stalking everyone else while smuggly sitting on their hands and refusing to join in? These people annoy me, all smug and perfect and judgemental about how they don't 'do' facebook and telling other people who do that they are on it too much. Pah. get a life you losers.