Affectionate boy

Over the past few days, Oscar has been showing me some super sweet affection. He seeks me out and wraps his arms around me in a full embrace, head on my shoulder and everything. After a few seconds, I kiss him on the cheek and thank him for the beautiful hug at which point he returns to what he was doing before. It’s enough to make my heart explode. Like, BOOM.

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that when Oscar is having a meltdown, I gently ask him if he is okay and if he would like a hug. I also admitted that he rarely did accept my cuddle offer. I have continued to do that but now I also try to sit with him while he’s having a hard time dealing with his emotions. When he’s upset and in the middle of an epic meltdown at home, I’ve started to get down on his level, do my usual “Are you okay, want a hug?” bit and I just wait. I just be there. I don’t try and distract him with something loud, bright or sparkly, I don’t walk away and ignore him, I don’t force affection on him. And guess what has started happening? He realises I’m there and puts his arms out for a hug. I really think this way of parenting works for our kid. Now I just need to put it into practice all the time. I need to keep calm and not get stressed. Because sometimes I can get really stressed.

I struggle big time when Oscar has tantrums in public. I don’t do any of the things I would do at home. I basically pick him up (at which point he arches his back and screams louder) and try to quickly remove him from the situation. I try to distract him with something. I’m instantly put in a bad mood and feel stressed. Basically it’s not good for either of us. Why, oh why do I care what strangers think? Everybody knows that toddlers aren’t easy. That they throw tantrums and can become unreasonable over the smallest things. As he gets older, we will be able to teach him how to behave when we are out and about but for now, he’s simply too young to understand. It’s really hard and something I need to work on.

With oscar being 20 months old now, he is becoming covers in bumps and scratches. His little legs are polka-dotted with bruises and his need to climb everything is out of control. I now ‘kiss better’ all his bumps and he loves it. It actually seems to help! This morning I was chasing him around the house, trying to convince him that putting on socks was actually a really good idea, when he tripped and fell. He hit his arm on the corner of his bedroom door and started crying. When I reached him, he held up his arm for me to kiss and then went off on his merry way. I clearly have a magical healing kiss.

So that’s where we’re at for the time being. I’m going to soak up all the extra love I’m getting from Oscar because who knows when he’ll decide that he’s too cool for it.

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Changing my attitude towards Monday.

Monday. Is there a person on Earth that looks forward to it? Doubt it.

I usually wake up a little grumpy on the first day of the work week and today was no different. I was greeted by a ripped up tissue box and tissues scattered all over the living room, courtesy of our 2 dogs. Oscar was in a whiny mood. I was sleepy and annoyed that I always seem to feel more tired after a weekend than I do before it. Five days of work ahead of me. I got an email to say that our daycare fees are increasing next month. Then the wind blew over my mini greenhouse (for the 2nd time) and squashed the poinciana seedling that I’ve been treating as my second baby for the last 6 months. It was cold and looked miserable outside. I was feeling over this week before it had even started.

Then I took a moment. A deep breath. You see, a friend has recently started a sort of gratitude project to help her through a rough time she’s going through and I decided that I need to take a leaf out of her book. I don’t need to feel so annoyed with life. I need to remind myself of all the wonderful things around me and change my perspective.

Gratitude is one of those things that is so often forgotten about and looked over. I’m definitely guilty of not always appreciating the life I have.

So instead of being grumpy about Monday, I’ll be grateful for it.

Three things I’m grateful for today:

I’m grateful that I have a job to go to as it means we are able to pay our mortgage and plan for fun things in our future.

I’m grateful for the 3 steaming cups of tea I’ve had so far today.

I’m grateful to be on afternoon shift this week as it means more morning playtime with my son and even a few park visits.

It’s so easy to become overwhelmed and bogged down with negative feelings. Sometimes it can actually be really hard to pull yourself out of it. Even harder to not shrug off all the most important things. Good health, a roof over our heads, clothes on our back. And all the simple things like sunshine, music, running water.

With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy? – Oscar Wilde

And you know what they say,

It’s not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.

So very true.

Anyway, I feel better now. Yay, Monday!

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Baby number 2

I think I mentioned early on somewhere in this blog that Candice and I planned to wait until Oscar was 4 years old before we tried for another baby so that he would be about 5 by the time we had another newborn at home. For several reasons.

  1. We wanted to leave enough time with just us and Oscar so we could give him one on one attention while he was young.
  2. It would mean he would have started prep/preschool by the time the new baby would be born.
  3. Everything would simply be a whole lot less stressful and difficult as Oscar would be old enough to communicate well, able to help out and he would (surely) be sleeping through the night.

That was our plan up until about Christmas. I guess I was feeling a bit baby crazy at the time as I started talking to Candice about what it will be like when we have other. The newborn bubble, the milestones, the whole starting from scratch again. It was at this point that she said, “If we are going to have two kids I think I would prefer to have them closer in age.” At the time, I was a little taken aback. It wasn’t what we had planned but I instantly got butterflies at the idea. But good butterflies. I became swept up and was onboard within minutes. I love the idea of Oscar having a sibling close in age as it would mean that they can be playmates in a few years. My own younger sister and I are 2 years apart and I loved having her around when I was a kid. Sort of like a best friend that never went home.

However, there’s another reason that we want to have our two kids closer in age. It’s more of a practical, almost selfish one and it’s that we just want the ‘baby years’ over and done with. I know, it sounds terrible. Candice figures that we’re already tired all the time, we’re already unable to go out or go on stress free holidays, we’re already living the life of parents to a very young child. By the time Oscar is 5, we would have gotten back a lot of our freedom. We will have gone through all the hard yards, reaching the end of the tunnel only to then have to start again and go through it all once more. Meaning it would be another 5 years before we tasted that freedom again. That’s a whole decade of our lives!

I have entertained the idea of actually not having anymore children and just stopping with Oscar. He could be an only child like his Mumma is. I think about how much more money we would have. How much more time we would have. The idea that the worst is now over and that things will only ever get easier from here on in. But every time I do think about it, my heart aches so terribly to imagine that we won’t have another. This tiredness we feel right now will eventually pass and when it does, I can’t even deal with how much I know I would regret not having another baby.

So we’re doing it. Not right now but later this year, perhaps early next year we will start making the necessary appointments. Last time it took 6 months to get pregnant and we’re hoping it won’t take any longer than that the second time around.

I already know that everything will be completely different the next time. In the lead up to having Oscar, we were so excited and ready. While I didn’t have an easy pregnancy, I just took it in my stride, not wanting to complain too much because I was too grateful simply to be pregnant. During my year of maternity leave we didn’t feel any financial stress because we were so prepared. I’m not so sure that we will be as prepared next time. I know we will be fine but things will definitely be tighter.

Another concern that I have is my work. I’ve been back for about 9 months now and I’m only just starting to adjust back into it. Many of my colleagues left while I was on maternity leave so I’ve had to try to fit in with a new group of people and it hasn’t been easy. I worry that by the time I finally settle back in and feel comfortable again, it will be time for me to go on maternity leave.

All these worries are small in the big scheme of things though. I’m sure all our fear will melt away the minute lay eyes on our second born. Thinking back to the newborn bubble… yep, there are those wonderful butterflies again.

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Playing catch up

It’s been a few months since I’ve done this sort of update so I better write all my thoughts down before Oscar moves on from this age. In a little over a week, our little guy will be 20 months old. On that, does anyone else really struggle to remember their kids age? When people ask us, we tend to look at each other thinking way too hard before finally  answering with “Oh he’s like about, oneish, I think one and half..?”. Just now, I had to count on my fingers to see how many months he actually is! And to my shock, he’s going to be two in FOUR months.

Since my last post, Oscar’s tantrums have really calmed down. Not surprisingly this has coincided with his vocabulary absolutely exploding. Every day there are more and more words coming out of his mouth, it blows us away. He’s not exactly having conversations with us yet but chatty enough that we can understand most of his needs and wants.

Sleep. It’s still a struggle but I suppose it’s gotten a little better. He sleeps around 7pm to 6am, waking around 4 times through the night. For about a month now we’ve been in the bad habit of giving in and taking him for a short drive in the car to get him to sleep. We started doing it because it was just taking way too long to get him to sleep and he’s now too big and heavy to rock to sleep. He would thrash about on the bed, he would cry, he wouldn’t let us touch him. We would stay with him in the room for hours some days before he finally fell asleep. It was just so hard. We don’t like having to depend on driving him to sleep though and it’s quite ridiculous that we started doing it but you know, you do what you need to do sometimes. We have made the decision to stop doing it but we really don’t want to go back to the way it was before either. We don’t want him to cry and be upset as it’s not fun for him or for us. We actually aren’t 100% sure on where to go from here but I’m thinking we’ll keep the first part of his sleep routine which is reading him 2-3 books in bed while he drinks his bottle, post bath. After that if he doesn’t want to sleep and is happy to play quietly, we will allow him to stay up until he starts showing signs that he is tired. Basically, we want to avoid tears. As soon as we see any tired cues, we will take him back to the bedroom and lay with him until he falls asleep. The last thing we want is for him to associate bedtime with crying, being upset and having his control taken away. Sleep is amazing and should be a pleasant time and I want him to learn that! I think it’s taken this long to relax about his bedtime because I’ve always felt pressure to have him in a strict bedtime routine, forcing him to sleep when he may not be ready. The length of his naps at daycare differ daily yet we have still been expecting him to be tired at the exact same time of day. Maybe because I’m a shift worker, I can sympathise with him as I know just how hard it is to force your body to sleep when it isn’t ready. Hopefully our new plan will be successful and bedtime will be a happier time and a lot less stressful for him (and us).

At daycare he has moved up to the Toddler 1 room and after a month of settling in, he has finally found his feet. His confidence is soaring and I’m happy to report that he is absolutely thriving in his new environment. Candice and I don’t feel as connected to the carers in his new room though and we don’t think Oscar does either. The bond he had with his nursery carers was amazing! I can’t quite put my finger on it as it’s not that his new carers aren’t attentive or anything, it’s just different. I think it may be the lack of confidence coming from the room leader. She’s sort of mousey and soft spoken and doesn’t seem to have as much control or presence in the room as the leader in the nursery. Whenever I have questions for her, she seems unsure of herself. I think what is also lacking is the connection between his home life and his daycare life. No longer does it feel that they want to know what Oscar did on the weekend in order to incorporate it into an activity to share with the other kids, which happened a lot in the nursery. Maybe I’m being fussy. After all, it was an amazing nursery room. Plus it’s only been a month and I imagine the toddler room would be a lot more hectic with kids throwing epic tantrums left, right and centre. I’ll give it some more time before I mention anything to them.

Play time is more fun than it’s ever been. He loves playgrounds and sandpits. He loves pushing trucks around and riding his car every where. He can’t get enough of nursery rhymes. It feels like just last week that he would climb so cautiously onto his ride-on car and unsuccessfully try to push himself around. Now he runs up, throws his leg over and zooms all around the place, cutting corners and doing wheelies. He runs everywhere. He loves books and painting. He is in his element when he’s outside and playing in the dirt and basically just getting as dirty as he can. We are in the process of painting an outdoor mud kitchen bench that Candice’s dad made for Oscar so that he can play in the dirt and mud to his heart’s content.

At the moment he is really into the stars and moon. Every night after his bath he says, “Staaarrrrs… Moooooon… Staaaarrs” and we take him outside and look up at the sky. Candice points out the southern cross and he looks with such wonder. I can hardly believe how interested he is. I’m a big star gazer myself so I absolutely adore that he is showing curiosity towards the night sky. I can’t wait to take him camping in summer when he’s a bit older.

To wrap this up, I just want to say how much I am loving hanging out with him lately. I miss him so much when I’m at work and weekends go too quickly. But it is what is it so we’ll make the most of it and squeeze in play time whenever we can.

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