Inlaws or Outlaws…

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I’ve never really had much of an issue with my inlaws, they live in a different country and don’t speak English…so whilst that creates some problems it also eases many of them.

The only real frustration arose during a visit with our baby, who was 5 months old.  It turns out that the Turkish parenting style is massively slightly different to my own.  Whereas in the UK there are several main themes of parenting, people tend to pick a style and then go along with this to some extent whilst incorporating bits of other styles and advice from others so they end up with a system that best suits their own family, because as far as I can see every child is different and there’s no “one size fits all” solution unfortunately.

Before we went away we had a pretty decent bedtime routine, Jem slept through the night or woke once for milk, he still fed a lot during the day but it was manageable and he napped pretty well although did have a tendency to cry when put down.  He has a cousin who lives in Turkey who is almost exactly 1 year older which is nice, and although the difference between a 6 month old and an 18 month old is huge it was interesting to see the effect of our different parenting styles.

The first issue was feeding, my inlaws were pretty convinced that I was effectively starving the baby.  Every whimper would result in enquiries of “are you going to feed him, he’s hungry”.  I found this really puzzling, he doesn’t cry that much but he was in the process of teething and on the verge of crawling so sometimes he would cry for reasons other than hunger…

The second issue was napping.  Apparently napping is unnecessary, and there’s no word for “overtired” as far as I can establish.  Jem would nap in the car but my inlaws thought I was being cruel by trying to put him down in his travelcot for a nap.  “Rock him” they said, taking him and rocking him to sleep.  I tried to explain that the reason I didn’t do this was because I was trying to encourage him to fall asleep in his cot so we could nap at home…it didn’t go down well.

If he cried in his cot he would be immediately picked up.  If they got chance loud singing and clapping would be employed to distract him from tiredness…whilst I tried to maintain our habit of quiet time.  I tried explaining that he often cried for a couple of minutes as he fell asleep, but again I was speaking a foreign language.

As we are about to venture to my inlaws again they are confused as to why we are again taking a cot when he could just sleep in our bed.  Issue 3: bed times.  In Turkey our nephew goes to bed when his parents go to bed, as they are often out in the evenings and don’t like to stay in.  He also has no nap routine but if he’s getting particularly tired they will rock him to sleep and then put him down on a bed.  Jem goes to bed at half 7 and as a VERY active 1 year old without something to contain him we are asking for trouble.  The inlaws think he can just stay up with us and really that napping is unnecessary so he could manage…I disagree!

Food will be an interesting issue this time, Jem was only just about to wean last time we went and although he will eat pretty much anything I still dread mealtimes there, we will have no highchair and from what I have seen soup is the primary food source for children (not his favourite thing!) and they tend to eat very late whereas I like Jem to have eaten an hour before bed.

*sigh*

It may be find, I may be overreacting – keep your fingers crossed for me!

(and don’t get me started on showering and bathing babies….)

 

Reflections on a year

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It is Jem’s first birthday today, so I thought it was worth a little reminiscing, particularly as I will return to work in a month, so my “lazy” mornings will be a thing of the past.

The first few months were challenging, I didn’t feel much of a connection to my baby, I was alone most of the time feeling lost and helpless.  Breastfeeding was horrendous and didn’t settle until 4 months so every feed (and there were a lot) was excruciating and took a lot of effort.

He also didn’t really sleep.  I expected this to some small extent, but he really didn’t nap during the day at all.  He was a pretty decent night sleeper, I had a few weeks of very warm weather when I would wake at 2 or 3 am and worry that he was dehydrated and wake him up for a change and feed…with hindsight I regret this.  It was fueled by fear from his first night at home when the midwife told me off for leaving him to sleep as newborns are advised to be fed every 3 hours.  At the stage when he was sleeping better he was a month or two and I feel had I been more confident I could safely have left him and he would have awoken for food.  I needn’t have worried too much as any sleep routine was short lived, by the time we went to Turkey at 5 months he had been sleeping through, by the time we returned to the UK he was waking every hour and I was in pieces.

All in all it has been a challenge, but the birthday has made me look back to the good times from this past 12 months.  Although I felt there were few and far between I will really miss feeding him to sleep in our bed, then lying next to him playing Bubble Witch Saga whilst he napped.  I already miss our hours in the sun last summer with the rest of my NCT group.  I will miss being the one there for him when he cries and chuckling when he does (as he is right now) something amusing like wearing a curtain on his head.

I won’t miss his chewing the walls or following me to the toilet, but I will miss the smile I get when I tell him off.  I remind myself that I will still get to see these things, but less often so they will be even more special.

I could never understand how anyone would forget the bad things, the pain, the stress, the lack of sleep and the horror of childbirth.  I still remember these things, and I dread the birth should I be fortunate enough to have another baby, but I finally understand why it’s all worthwhile.

Jem's first birthday 3 May 2014 030

Lucky boy ended up with 3 birthday “days” and two cakes!

Strange milestones…

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Have you seen this picture…it’s my son’s first hole, here’s a close up in case you missed it:

Knee hole

Shockingly, up until this week (the week before his first birthday) his clothes have all remained intact, ok so a little bobbled, but perfectly usable for the next baby (…or two…shh nobody mention the possibility of number 3 to the Turk…) but in the space of 5 days two pairs of leggins have finally given in and torn.  I didn’t mind this pair particularly, but sadly the second pair were my favourites but I have managed to salvage them into a pair of shorts.

It should be no surprise, despite being able to stand unaided (we know he can do it, occasionally he lets go and stands still perfectly competently but he just doesn’t seem to “want” to do it) and walk with his walker (again only for the amusement of his parents, he has no interest otherwise) he can reach unbelievable speeds on all fours, reach anything he wants and climb stairs (actually climb anything pretty much…)  Whilst our money pit is slightly less of a building site now, we do have fairly harsh floors with cracked tiles, splinters and the occasional nail to navigate, in fact the nail at the top of our stairs is single-handedly responsible for putting a hole in every pair of socks I own…yes, I know.

I feel I should be noticing when he says his first recognisable word (cat, months ago but I forgot to write it down), cuts each tooth (written down, vaguely) or stands (last week, this post is the closest I will probably get to writing it in the red book) but actually the hole is a milestone that really struck me, I feel it symbolises the changing of a baby into a small boy…not sure how I feel about that!

Now for number two…?

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We have agreed we definitely want another baby, the Turk wants another 1 and I would like another 2 (more on this another time).  Anyway we definitely want another one at least.

I return to work when Jem is 13 months old, and there was a time when my plan was to attempt to be pregnant by the time I went back to work.  Following the birth, I began to rethink this…having a baby and being pregnant are hard.  For a long time I have had all my belongings and clothes packed up, first for moving, then building, then pregnancy, in fact I only unpacked my non-maternity clothes when Jem was 10 months old.  It might sound silly but it was like saying hello to old friends!  Quite a few things I hadn’t missed and am trying to sell/give away.  Other things fit me differently due to my changed shape, but it was like discovering new things!

It may sound shallow, but I quite like my things, and I’m looking forward to going back to work and going out socialising dressed up, wearing clothes and jewellery, but if I’m pregnant when I go back I have to be prepared to put this off for another 2 years.

I’m also rather concerned about babies being too close together for us to be able to cope…I have a friend who has 13 months between her kids, I always thought it was cute and good to have them close in age…but now I wonder how on earth I would manage if I was just about to have another baby knowing how active Jem is.

The other issue is a professional one, taking 14 months off work has left me feeling very daunted about returning…how will I remember all the rules, will I still be able to serve my clients, how will I manage being away from home both in the office (my application to work from home has been declined) and also when I have to travel away from home usually for a week at a time.  If I am back at work for only a short period of time I am worried I will not thoroughly adapt to being back at work and will then find all these issues even more difficult to tackle the next time I return.

Ideally I would like our babies two years apart (the Turk thinks this is an awfully big gap!) which will give me a month back at work before I fall pregnant, time to get into it before the exhaustion hits and time to get dressed up whilst my clothes still fit!  It will still irritate my manager (who refused my application for flexible working…so the annoyance is good) but also I think mean the children are close enough in age to get along well.

At 42 the Turk is keen to complete the family quickly, which I can understand, and he is concerned that just because we fell pregnant at the first attempt (literally…and I’m being generous calling it an attempt, it was actually a lapse…) we might not be so lucky this time and therefore 2 years could easily turn into 3.

I don’t know what the answer is, I’m still pondering, part of me is excited about being pregnant again but part of me is dreading the months ahead, yet another time in parenthood of being torn between two worlds!

Woo hoo nappage success

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Whilst I am fairly sure it’s not the done thing to double blog in one day, something so exciting happened today that I just have to share.

I put the little man down for his morning nap, nothing unusual there.  I leave the room, wait, there’s no screaming so I do my little “successful nap” dance and wander off to clean my teeth (it’s only 10.30am…don’t judge me he’s tough work).  In our house no screams when I leave the room = successful nap time (aka “nappage”) for anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours (obviously only long when we need to go out…)

After teeth cleaning I peek through the door to Jem’s room…he’s not asleep…he is playing with the toys on his mobile…which I thought he couldn’t reach…

What to do?

Do I go in and lay him down?

Do I ignore him and head downstairs?

Surely either option will immediately lead to screaming…so I choose the latter, which means I can put the kettle on 😉

Anyway a short time later the Turk is heading up the stairs so I ask him to stick his head around the door (ahha, excellent trick, that way if Jem screams it’s not my fault and/or I can blame him for ‘waking up’ the baby)…

The Turk: “He’s asleep with his bottom in the air”

Me: “what?”

The Turk: “He’s asleep”

Me: “He can’t be…”

The Turk: “But you put him down…?” *puzzled face*

Me: “Yes, yes I did”

WOW

So, he occupied himself, then simply lay down and went to sleep…how did this happen…what parenting trick did I use…how can I replicate this…?  Amazing nappage, love it 🙂