So. How was my first day. My first week? I want to be candid but certain people read my blog. Ha! Must be careful!
First day. I didn’t feel overly welcomed which is sad and disappointing but I’m a big girl, so let’s move on.
The rest of the week has been better. Even though I had to wrangle the kids single handed on my first two mornings, they did well and so did i. I took my time with them Tuesday. Wednesday was similar but we were at the childminder’s by 7.30am which is a personal mini victory. I think that’s the difficult bit. Mornings aren’t horrendous as long as you have enough time to do everything… never rush the children! Lol. Then the rest of the 4 days I worked this week, mainly I felt like a grown up. Everyone’s at Cannes this week so actually it’s a great week to come back as it’s a bit calmer. The wonderful part is having lunch you have not prepared yourself and… Reading the Stylist. Oh yes, it has been missing from my life (especially love the top picks page). I had my first late night on Wednesday, it was odd but not as bad as I thought. Thankfully I’ve had a few night’s practice at not being there for bedtime so I didn’t feel overwhelmingly guilty. With Lolo, the first night I worked late after mat leave with her, I had called her to say night night. She was so cute on the phone that i started crying whilst stood in the queue at Chilangos (great mexican food). This time, no call. But i did spend an extra hour with them in the morning. Today is Friday and hopefully we’ll be finishing on time!
It’s been toughest on me I think. The kids don’t really care although on the first morning AJ hugged me a little too tight, a little too long. I cried at the childminders and another two times before I’d even got on the train to work. I care. And I love them a little bit longer and stronger. Two cute kids. So proud.
Weaning is so interesting because it’s all about the children growing up, developing and exploring new tastes. But of course if is also often coupled with super messiness, constant cleaning/washing/preparing. Personally I did a little pureeing but mainly it was small chunked stuff, graduating to larger chunks. Now at 1 year he: can spoon/fork feed himself certain things, has great hand eye co-ordination with picking up smaller food bits pomegranate/peas/sweetcorn, he’s also not put off chewing on sweetcorn from the cob or eating large chucks of chicken – despite him only having 2 bottom teeth and 3 mostly off centre teeth. He’s done well. Most of it just takes time, development comes both gradually and in leaps BUT there are a few things that I loved whilst weaning;
The Munchkin spoons and forks. Big and chunky so they’re easy for the little hands to grab hold of. Fork is effective enough to learn to eat with but blunt enough not to cause major injury. Fab fab fab.
OXO plates. They come with a detachable ring to help stop the food from getting out of the top but in honesty I never really used that bit. I found it was more of a hindrance for both kids to see into the plate and to get the food out. However what I LOVE about these plates is that they are good quality, heavy with a rubber base to stop them slipping, they have coloured bottoms so you can get different ones for different children, finally the plate itself is white which I personally think is great for kids as they’re developing their tastes as they can clearly see the food and its colours.
Bibs (Popper/waterproofed/terry toweling): My favourite are ones with poppers (Velcro becomes ineffective and is scratchy), water proof lined (the ones without lining don’t do enough for me), terry toweling (tends to be better quality) & not the full top with arms, just the bib (neither really liked the faff of putting the whole outfit on, plus I like to think it teaches them to be a bit cleaner – I know, I’m delusional). Truth is I’ve never found anything decent in this country, the ones I have are from Carters in the States, I have never found anything even half as good. My husband is totally baffled as to why I still keep them even though they are stained, but when literally you cannot find a good enough replacement, I’m hard pressed to part with them. They are 3 years old. You can imagine the state of them.
Storage pots: Not very exciting but total life saver and means you can make and store and travel about with different things. Personally I prefer glass jars but the truth is they are heavy. Gerber & Oxo do some great ones with partitions & rubber lids. I just use old Bonne Maman jam jars as they are thick glass, short and stout. But for practicality being out and about, we use plastic Tupperware pots. Love these ones, brig colours, tight lids and a perfect size for me.
You may have read yesterday’s post. My last day of mat leave was a sad affair. But as if to prove a point that I was making a mistake going back to work – the kids were fantastic! AJ woke at 6.40am which is unusually late for him. Lolo got up as soon as the sun was up on her grow clock. Hubby hung around for a little bit to help with the kids and I had a shower and got the porridge on. Both kids ate perfectly. AJ all but inhaled his porridge and then fed himself some yogurt and some pomegranates. Even Lolo ate well, eating her porridge and then pomegranates, in a timely fashion so my blood pressure didn’t go through the roof. Then they played perfectly together for 30 mins! No intervention from mummy was needed until Lolo pushed AJ over. He went well for his nap and I got to cook and get the washing on.
The late morning involved food shopping and lunch. Again, no dramas at lunch! More playing well! I even took a cheeky nap with my daughter. Lovely, yummy, scrummy time as.
In the afternoon Lolo and I went to Bluewater to pick up another pair of jelly shoes for her and some other bargains on the way. Daddy stayed at home with the little man so I could have some Lolo time. I suddenly realized this was the first decent chunk of time I’d spent with her… since Austin was born! It was a welcome treat.
Happy days. I do feel bad about going back to work but mainly because I’d like to spend more time with them. Realistically who can afford not to work and have 2 kids in childcare?! But I guess that’s the point, they’d be at home with me and not at the childminders, which in turn would drive me stir crazy. I wish there was a middle ground, but with my job, there really isn’t and I just need to make my peace with it. The truth is there have been times during my mat-leave where I have felt claustrophobic, unable to do anything, angry at the kids, impatient, annoyed with all the crying. Either with 1 monkey or 2 monkeys – clung to me, no break. And you get a bit like that with your thinking too – unable to think past their immediate needs and demands. So in that respect I’m looking forward to working – I just wish there was more of a middle ground.
Some great parenting here with Ben & Holly on the tv
Giggles at breakfast
Some sushi with mummy in the evening
And if you didn’t see my earlier post, Lolo rocking the flowery headband like Glasto ain’t no thang
It was a sombre day yesterday. Literally a bit like a funeral. Highly emotional, all just a bit… sad. Constantly on the brink of a tear. As if to underline the mood, the heavens opened up and we had rain all. What a perfectly timed pathetic fallacy. Knots in my stomach as I know I’m going back to enduring & tumultuous times at work. It isn’t just separation from them, it’s a complete change in the way my life has been for the last 13 months. They will no longer be the centre of my world. In some ways that’s good and in others very saddening.
Lolo’s been going to the childminder continuously whilst I’ve been on mat leave which has allowed me to spend time bonding with AJ. So no real change for her. We’ve been settling AJ in for about 6 months, an afternoon at a time here and there and over the last 2 weeks he’s had: 2 whole days and then 3 whole days respectively. My first week back will start on a Tuesday which actually, is a fab idea. So this week AJ will be at the childminder for 4 days in a week. A nice settling in period. I think it helps that he sees the child minder at our house from time to time and that his big sister is there whenever he goes. So from this perspective I think he’ll do well.
It’s just me, I think. I’ll have the largest issue dealing with all of this. On the surface of it all, it all looks the same for the kids and hubby. It’s just massively different for me. I’ll go from having a baby attached to me, to nothing all day except for an hour at either end of the day… if I’m not overrun with work. Who knows, It might help me appreciate them more. But for now, it’s all just sad. Let’s be realistic about how this feels; I’m mourning the loss of my children in a way. Sounds over-dramatic, but it’s true. Second time round it’s no easier.
Posted in Childcare, Women, Work
Tagged #matleavemourn, adult seperation issues, childminder, getting ready to go back to work, mourning, returning to work, sadness, seperation, settling in
She has the crazy, disheveled look down to a T. Carrying a random pair of jelly shoes. One trouser leg up, hightops out… flower headband thingy in. Match that! Glasto ladies!
Happy Father’s Day for yesterday Mr husband, Daddy-ship. We had one of those days which was just right. He got up early and I had a lie in – ha! Then I popped to church w Lolo whilst you chilled and Mr AJ had a nap. When we came back, Lolo made you ‘coffee on the sofa’ (/it was meant to be breakfast in bed but we see what happened) we got the children ready and off we went to Greenwich! The park was awesome. Great weather so the kids were in their element for running around, not too cold, not too sunburned! Lolo was practising her scoot, AJ practised his walk and ‘point, get all over excited and run towards the doggies’ walk. We walked through the rose garden where daddy was having a mega hay-fever-off, so off to Boots we skipped. AJ & Lolo passed out en route. Eventually we made our way to The Union Pub… ‘OH MY GOD BEST PUB IN THE WORLD SERVING THEEEEE!!!!! BEST ribs I think either of us have ever’. And yes – really good beer. Meantime Indian Pale Ale anyone? We eventually made it back to the car, with a stop off for a flake ice cream. At home they had a bath and went to bed early, then daddy cracked open a bit more pale ale and we watched Transformers… 4… I think. Who really knows. He got a great photo frame and sweets from the kid’s/childminders and Deadpool, freshly ground coffee from the Algerian coffee shop on Old Compton Street. Perfect fathers day though. Even I enjoyed it! I think he may have too
It’s just one of those moments. Your child turns 1. It’s emotional for so many different reasons. They’re growing up. They’re detaching from you. They’re becoming more independent. They’re moving from ‘your baby’ to a toddler, the first steps to themselves. It makes me so proud when people express how friendly and open both my children are, even AJ who is a complete momma’s boy. This kid literally cries if anyone picks him up, but, exploring on his own terms with momma or poppa at his back – this kid isn’t scared of anything and LOVES meeting new people, connecting and befriending dogs!
On Friday he spent the day with his sister (3 y.o.) at the Firepower museum in Woolwich, then the soft play round the corner. I was pushing them both in a pram so they both had a pretty good nap. Then the golden oldies congregated at our house and we all went the the local ‘Guard House’ gastro pub in Woolwich for some great food and wine. In bed for an early night as the following day was going to be a busy one.
On Saturday, AJ’s actual birthday, my baby turned 1. We went to the local soft play: Under 1 roof, just amazing for kids. A few friends and their children turned up to share the morning. We all had lovely finger food from the Menagerie and home in time for an afternoon nap. In the afternoon we treated ourselves to Byron burger and, bought Austin his first pair of shoes.
You know they’re growing up, but these events (walking, buying shoes, teeth) just accent these moments and make you have to deal with the passing of time. He’s such a beautiful boy. I’m so glad we made it to 1.