Monday, 24 June 2013

Tiny Temper

So Daisy graduated from babydom and has enrolled in the school of mischief as a fully fledged toddler. Along with the amazing and frankly awe inspiring changes in her personality and understanding of the world around her, we have also started to witness some early examples of the so called ‘terrible twos’

The thing is, Daisy is generally a pretty chilled out little lady and the Robinson household is normally a fairly calm place, so I guess I didn’t feel entirely prepared for full on tantrums when they suddenly appeared (seemingly out of nowhere!). I have read that the brain goes through almost the same changes as a toddler as it does through adolescence so it looks like I may have to deal with this for some time yet and I guess I should just consider this training for the inevitable and slightly terrifying teenage years ahead of me. 

What has occurred to me during this emergence of the Poppet's personality that we can spend so much time concentrating on the negative outbursts of toddlers that we don't realise they invest equal effort to their wonderful positive outbursts. 

Daisy has a heartbreaking, tears-streaming-down-the-face sob that literally erupts from nowhere when things don’t go her way but then she also reacts with extreme (and sometimes seemingly disproportionate) excitement at the things which please her. A few nights ago Mr R asked her to show him her hair so they could wash it during her bathtime, I could hear the screams of delight from downstairs as she proudly showed her daddy she knew exactly where her hair is.

Her emotions are extreme at both ends and it puts that meltdown at not being allowed to eat stones in the garden into perspective when you realise the good things get the same heightened reaction.

I have always felt sad when parents use words like manipulation and control to describe a toddler's behaviour, I know for a fact that when Daisy is mid tantrum, she’s not thinking about me. At that point in time how her behaviour makes me feel couldn’t be further from her mind, she is simply overwhelmed by feelings which she hasn’t yet learnt how to deal with, and as her mummy I feel it’s my job to help her manage those feelings and get beyond them in a way which tells her it’s ok to feel sad or angry or upset and that I understand why she feels this way but we need to do x, y or z. I try not to overload Daisy with too much information but equally I feel just saying no doesn’t strike the right balance either.

I also find that allowing her to be upset and show her anger means we get over that moment quickly so the day can be filled with those ear piecing squeals of delight when we see Billy the cat on the way to the childminder, those amazing happy feet she gets when she's allowed to help load the washing machine and my favourite of all, the big belly rub she does when she's overcome with excitement at playing catch!

We’re in the early stages of toddlerdom and I am sure I have much more to come and a lot more to learn so watch this space – I may not be so confident in 6 months time!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Carrot Cake Muffins

I thought I would share one of mine and Daisy's favourite cake recipes. These muffins are pretty healthy (if you don't count the sugar) and are the perfect for The Poppets snack times or a quick breakfast.

Makes about 12 large(ish) muffins

You will need...

6oz / 175g Dark Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
4floz / 120ml Sunflower oil
200g Self Raising Flour
1.5 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
3 tsp Mixed Spice
6oz / 175g Sultanas
7oz / 200g Grated Carrot

Preheat Oven to Gas Mark 4 /180 Degrees C

Whisk Sugar, Eggs and Sunflower Oil until light and fluffy.

Mix together Flour, Bicarbonate of Soda and Mixed Spice and add to Eggs mixture.

Fold in Carrots and Sultanas.

Place in large Muffin cases about 3/4 full

Bake for between 10 - 30 minutes depending on size.

(If you're not baking for tiny people these are great with Walnuts or Pecans)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Like A Baby...

I thought I would get the sleeping blog out the way early. Discussing sleep with the very people who aren’t getting any seems a little foolish but hey let’s give it a shot.

During my pregnancy public focus on mums to be seemed to centre around one thing, well two things to be precise – Boobs! Breastfeeding was back on the agenda with a vengeance. Now I happen to completely agree and feel that where possible breastfeeding should be attempted, however that’s a discussion for another day. Once my little one came along and I had successfully satisfied the breastfeeding police that I was following all orders a new obsession took over - sleep!

Suddenly complete strangers were no longer interested in my bosoms, they wanted to know the intimate details of nighttimes in the Robinson house. ‘Is she sleeping?’ ‘Going through the night yet?’ and my favourite ‘Is she good?’ What on earth good has to do with sleep is beyond me but I quickly came to realise that I had to work out how I would bat off the barrage of questions and disbelieving silences when I explained to those who felt it their duty to enquire – that my daughter slept fine thank you – like a baby in fact!

Very early on we decided we would allow Daisy to guide us in terms of when she felt ready for certain changes in her life, She slept a lot on me and Mr R and for us this was absolutely fine, we were all (not least Daisy) dealing with a massive change in our lives and we needed all the love and comfort we could get.

Sleep training wasn’t for us, we wouldn’t be letting Daisy cry it out and our goal would be to offer her love, support and closeness until she started to feel ready to sleep by herself. This time with Daisy was so short and so precious it felt crazy to want to rush her into independence. As a mummy I feel my job is to keep my baby safe and hold her when she needs a little shield from the world, leaving her to cry alone defies that role and compromises the trust she has in me. After all no messed up 16 year old ever stood in front of their psychiatrist and complained their mum loved them too much.

We were all in the same room for well over the 6 month mark so we could easily attend to Daisy in the night and like many parents this was about the time I developed the first of my mummy superpowers and could be at the side of Daisy’s cot within a mili second of a change in breath, a teeny cough or one of those little truffle pig snorts I remember fondly from the early days.

Fast tracking through 18 months of patting, singing and story times we still attend to Daisy at night when she needs us, I’ve encountered lots of differing views to babies sleep over this time and have generally chosen to keep my opinions to myself, parenting can be strangely competitive and often parental agendas are very different. For me it’s about what is right for you, your baby and your family. We are crazy obsessed with babies sleep, sleeping through the night and getting babies into their own rooms as early as possible and at times that makes me quite sad. It’s simple she needs to be close because I’m her mum and being close to her mum makes her feel safe and happy.

I love the night time cuddles and despite the lack of sleep I know it will be me missing the snuggles as Daisy grows up and needs less and less mummy time. Cue Broodiness!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Being Mummy

Gentle parenting, instinctive parenting, attachment parenting, cry it out, wait it out, baby led and parent led. As a new mum holding the most terrifyingly delicious bundle of perfection in your trembling arms you suddenly realise you belong to the greatest club in the world – you’re a mummy and you have experienced something only mummys can experience. However you soon realise you’re also expected to make what could be one of the most important decisions of you and your little poppet’s life – “what kind of mummy am I?”

Do I want to be like my own mother? As I tragically try to cling on to what’s left of my hip young self, the answer would be a resounding NO, but curiously as I sit and watch my daughter drifting off to sleep or I stroll around the park with her in the winter sunshine, I find myself again and again revisiting some of the wonderful times I spent as a child with my own mother.

I remember the baking, the crafts and the trips to the library. I remember standing up at the huge library windows waiting for my dad to come and collect us after story time. There wasn’t anything she couldn’t make, bake, sew or build but most importantly she had an endless supply of love and cuddles. This is so clear in the way she loves my daughter and it made me realise that I do want to be like my mum – I want to mum like my mum!

What mum didn’t realise is that she was a gentle parent, an instinctive parent. She followed many the aspects of attachment parenting without realising it, she just did what mums do – she loved, she protected, she cared and she watched as we grew the confidence to leave her, knowing that she would always be there when we needed her. It made me think about how desperate we are to belong to something, a trend, a group, a movement and how that need is purely our own – our children just want us to be mummy and that’s what I hope to write about, Being Mum.

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