My boy and my worries

Before having children I don’t think you can ever quite comprehend just how much you will love them, or how much you will worry about them! My boy. He’s such a lovely boy, he’s so kind and caring. He’s like a sponge and is learning so much at school, his reading, writing and maths are brilliant for his age. He is so good so much of the time and I know we are very lucky with him. 20170228_201952

He has his moments of course, he doesn’t always want to eat his dinner, but we can usually get him to eat these days thankfully. There’s the usual stuff, arguments about getting in the bath, about getting out of the bath, going to the toilet before we go out, etc.

They don’t worry me… But other things do. I know we are so so lucky with his behaviour and he’s lovely… But he can be hard work in other ways. I sometimes describe him as being very linear, which isn’t really fair as he is empathic and thoughtful and I don’t believe he is on an autism or aspergers spectrum (any more than we all are I suppose). But he has his ways for things. He’s grown out of a lot of it but one example is his swimming and getting water in his face.

Learning to swim is hugely important in my mind, and hubs.’ because of that we took Monkey to swimming lessons fairly young, and carried on with them for a long time, even though it was actually a bit of a nightmare. He screamed the whole session and clung to his daddy. Hubs started to dread Saturday mornings because of the misery it caused both of them.

I’ve written lots about our swimming journey since then and he is much better than he was. As long as the water is warm he isn’t too bad, and by taking things slowly with him we have got to a point where he will swim now with armbands on. I am proud of what we have achieved with him.. But then I see other kids his age or younger who are swimming without any floats or swimming aids, and I know all kids do thing at their own pace, but that doesn’t stop me worrying. Are we ever going to be able to get him confident enough to swim unaided, let alone underwater? Is he going to be behind the other kids at school when they start swimming in a couple of years? Are we failing him by not paying for 1 on 1 swimming lessons? Would he drown if he fell in the water? (not sure when that would happen but I can’t help but imagine the worst case scenario.)

It doesn’t help that he is such a tall boy for his age (at 4 he’s wearing age 7 clothes) . I see people looking at him with his armbands on and I try not to worry about the judgement of others, but it does affect me and I want to justify it, to justify him.

It’s not just his swimming that worries me of course but lots of little things. He can be very clingy, he likes to stay firmly in his comfort zone and doesn’t like trying new things at all. We try to encourage him as much as possible and get there with small things these days like trying new foods (a huge step if you knew what a fussy eater he was) but with other things he is too stubborn for us to win round. I know that all of this is probably just who he is, and I feel guilty for trying to change him, and I wouldn’t want to push him to do something he really doesn’t want to do. But what if we push him to do something he turns out to love? What if we don’t and he never finds it?

I guess it’s the eternal parenting question… Am I doing the right things for my child? Am I being a good parent? The answer is that I still have no idea what I am doing most of the time.

So, I worry. Then I convince myself that he is fine and I’m being daft and he will do things in his own time. Then something else pops up, or someone asks if Monkey does any clubs outside of school and I remember the dance class fiasco. Where he was fine when he was dancing with one of us, but when he had to move up to the next stage and go on his own, and he spent the entire 30 mins crying, every week and the teachers basically ignored him the whole time. Then I worry what he will be like at a different group and if I am a worse parent if I let him not do these things or if I make him go to things.

I’m sorry to anyone still reading, I know this post isn’t really anything more than a jumble of thoughts. I don’t have much of a point, other than that I have no idea what is for the best. This boy of mine is not a straightforward easy to please child, and I’m sure that is a good thing. His stubbornness and intelligence will probably stand him in good stead for the future. But his unwillingness to try something new, and the way he gives up on things so quickly without really trying, won’t, so, I worry. About his entire life, even though he’s only 4. Am I the only daft parent who over thinks and over worries about their children?

Answers on a postcard, please, (or, you know, in the comments below) they are very welcome!

Monkey and his swimming, August 2016

I don’t know about you but since becoming a parent I worry all the time. Am I doing a good job? Is that the right decision? Am I doing something that will come back and bite me later? Swimming is something that has caused me a lot of worry over the past 4 years. I love swimming and I think it’s such an important life skill so I always thought I would get Monkey swimming early on.

But when Monkey was a baby I struggled so much with the day to day that swimming went to the back of my mind. With his colic and sleep troubles I couldn’t conceive it. Then we discovered that a routine worked so well for him and I didn’t want to do anything that mucked it up for him.

As he got older we checked out swimming lessons at a fabulous specialised pool near us, but they were so expensive! And I guess we were not convinced about the long term as it felt like once we started we would have to keep on going in order for him to keep the skills and that was looking like a phenomenal amount of money over the years. After our first holiday abroad where he loved the pool I was determined to start lessons. We found cheaper lessons at a local pool and hubs started taking him every Saturday… With varying degrees of success. To be honest sometimes it was a nightmare. The water in the pool wasn’t that warm and for the most part Monkey absolutely hated it and would scream for most of the session.

Loving swimming on our first holiday abroad

Loving swimming on our first holiday abroad

It was on a Saturday morning and it got to the point where every Saturday hubs would come home in such a foul frustrated mood with a tearful shattered Monkey and it was just not the way to start the weekend. So the lessons were shelved for a bit. On holiday last year I had hoped for a repeat of our previous holiday fun, but it was not to be as the pools there were so cold and Monkey absolutely refused to get in. LM loved it so at least that was something.

Very chilly Monkey after trying out the pool on holiday last year

Very chilly Monkey after trying out the pool on holiday last year

It may sound crazy but as honestly felt like we were failing Monkey. He needs to learn to swim and I want him to enjoy it but it just felt like noyhijg we did worked. I looked again at the expensive lessons but he is now too old to go to that pool. It didn’t help that in checking it out I saw them so proud of children Monkey’s age who were swimming 5 metres unaided etc. I felt like we had missed a window of opportunity.

Earlier this year we started taking the kids to a local baby pool a bit irregularly but on Sunday mornings. It is a love warm pool and I wrote how we were having a bit of success. Monkey was happy to go there for one thing and didn’t spend the whole time screaming. LM loved it too so it was lovely for all of us.

We have still been going, fairly intermittently but I have still been nagged by doubt and feeling we should do more. I have gone round and round in circles with it and felt like I was making both kids miss out by not taking them to lessons but felt I couldn’t take LM to lessons while Monkey was still not swimming. It just highlighted how little he could do.

Anyway, I am writing this having just come home from probably the best experience swimming with Monkey ever. He was kicking his legs and arms while we held him, and then instead of insisting on walking like a spaceman the rest of the time, he independently learned that he could float with his armbands on, and spent ages floating and kicking his legs and just having so much fun with it.20160726_131852

I’d also taken our swimfin along with us. After reading loads of great reviews last year I bought one, but other than once at home I have never been able to persuade him to put it on. It took some doing and LM had to wear it for a bit first, but we did get Monkey wearing it… And he swam! With the swim fun and arm bands he swam all by himself, a good doggy paddle and he just did it. Everything we have been saying to him and doing with him has clearly paid off.

We were so proud! And relieved, as it feels like we are finally on our way. We will carry on with what we are doing and when he is much more confident in the water we will start normal swimming lessons. For now though it feels like we have overcome a major hurdle!

Ethans Escapades
Best of Worst

An emotional week

This week the word I am going for is emotional. It has been full of emotions, both happy and … less happy this week.

P1040196Starting with the happiest, we were at a wedding last Friday which was just beautiful. You can read more here but it really was wonderful and they had so many personal little touches to their day that it was a bit emotional. During the ceremony I teared up right at the start as  instead of walking down the aisle to meet him at the alter, the groom left the alter and came and got her. He took her hand and they kissed before walking up the aisle together. I just thought it was a beautiful moment and makes me tear up even thinking about it. I hated walking up the aisle at our wedding, with everyone staring at me so I wish we had thought to do this at ours!

Hubby and I were also full of pride when we came home as Monkey handled our absence amazingly well. Our little man really is growing up right in front of our eyes.

Unfortunately then the week turned a little gloomy. I was really tired and in quite a lot of pain with my pelvis after standing a lot at the wedding and spending about 6 hours in the car there and back. Tiredness and soreness sadly makes me a tad on the mardy side so there was a grumpy couple of days at the beginning of the week! Poor hubs!

By Wednesday I was feeling a lot better and a day catching up with friends while the kids all played made me feel back to my normal happy self. Then that night, disaster struck. I have no idea how it happened, I was in the kitchen getting the last bits for dinner, hubby and Monkey were sat at the table. then I heard some very odd scuffly noises and saw hubby leaping in a panic and then scooping Monkey off the floor. Somehow, Monkey had managed to fall off his chair.

This is the boy that loves climbing and scampers up climbing frames and is running about all day without coming to any harm. He sits on his chair in the dining room, the chair he sits on at least twice a day, and manages to fall off. It may not sound that bad yet, but he must have landed right on his face as he is a mess the poor lamb. Hubby scooped him up for a cuddle and then we realised there was blood everywhere, it was pouring out of his little mouth and even after we managed to slow the bleeding we really struggled to console him.

Twitter2893c65Honestly we haven’t seen him so unhappy for so long since the days of colic as a baby. Of course he cries sometimes, and has cried a lot during illnesses but we always manage to soothe him with a combination of cuddles, singing, stories, tv but on Wednesday none of these worked and we were really worried. It was clear he was in a lot of pain and was really stressed out by the fall.

I then had a bit of inspiration and we gave him an ice lolly, in the hope that the ice would help his wounds, make him a bit numb, take the taste of blood out of his mouth and hopefully take his mind off of it.Thankfully that and a bit of Postman Pat on the TV worked and soon enough he was back to his usual happy self again. Phew!

His poor little face though is so swollen and sore looking. He seems to have bounced back from his ordeal but hubby and I are taking a lot longer to recover from the stress of it all. I’ve honestly been an emotional wreck and couldn’t stop crying the next morning. I’m partially blaming my preggo hormones but seeing his swollen little face just broke my heart and I have just been worrying non stop. Rationally I know it is fine and he will heal but it just looks so awful and painful. It really is horrendous seeing him hurt and that’s only a bash on the face. I can’t imagine what a wreck I would be if anything serious happened to him, heaven forbid!!

I’ve also been well and truly on over-protective mama mode, not like me at all, but I am terrified that he will bash his lip and re-open the wounds so have been insisting on a lot of calm indoor play at home to avoid any more dramas while it heals. Not easy with a hyper toddler who loves to run around like a little loony!!

I also know it’s daft. He’s a toddler. He’s clumsy and sometimes he is going to hurt himself. I am not one for wrapping kids on cotton wool as I know it is part of the rough and tumble of childhood. I also know that you can’t protect them every second of every day, it’s just not realistic. Who would have ever thought he would do so much damage falling off a chair that he climbs up on and gets down from by himself multiple times every day? I just don’t want him to have another knock that reopens it or makes it worse!

It has definitely been an emotional week in our house, how has your week been?

The Reading Residence

A Toddler’s Anxiety

It’s not the most positive word to sum up our week, but unfortunately there has been a lot of Anxiety in our house this week.

We had such a lovely weekend last weekend and started off the week feeling good, tired, but good. On Monday hubby had taken the day off from work to help me catch up with a few house jobs, (my pelvis isn’t helping me at the moment so I really appreciated it!), plus it was nice for him to have an extra day off after a busy weekend before going back in to work. My parents came and took Monkey to his usual Monday Rhyme Time session at the library and all seemed well.

Continue reading

Looking to the future..

I have been thinking about the future a lot this week. I have now hit my 2nd trimester and thankfully seem to have got a bit more energy back. I still have very tired patches and my pelvis problems sadly haven’t magically evaporated, but I definitely have a bit more of my usual energy. Thank goodness! Hopefully this sticks around, or even improves over the next couple of months!

This has meant that I have started thinking a lot about things to come. I am trying to decide what to do about a buggy when baby no.2 comes along. I actually thought I had made decision and started a post about it…. then realised something I am not 100% happy with and am now up in the air again about what to do! A post for another day it seems!

We’ve also had Monkey accepted into the local playgroup we want him to go too when he is 2 1/2 in November, which is very cool. Only for a few hours a week but hopefully to get him ready for pre-school, and then school as I know it comes around so quickly. It also has links to the local school we hope he will go too and it would be lovely for him to make friends at playgroup that he then starts school with in a couple of years time.

I’ve also been thinking about the future in a totally different way. I haven’t blogged about it before as it wasn’t my story to tell and we didn’t know what the outcome was going to be, but one of my best friends has been really quite poorly lately. I won’t go into details about it but it got a bit scary and she was very very badly messed around, and, I feel, neglected, by the NHS. It’s taken about 6 weeks of being messed around, with a lot of worry for her, her family, and us as her friends. She has finally had some good news this week which has revealed that she doesn’t have the brain tumour she had been warned she may have. Phew.

She does however have a very serious condition affecting her brain and her vision, but now that a tumour has been ruled out they have started some medication and she can look to the future and to hopefully getting her life back to normal. It may not be the easiest of journeys ahead but it is not the worst case scenario and we are all immensely grateful for that and as ever, once you have a diagnosis you can at least work out a solution. All of the hanging around and being passed from pillar to post, while also being told how bad it could be, was very stressful and worrying, as I am sure you can imagine.

It’s worth saying (as I know she reads this sometimes) that she has handled the whole situation remarkably well and I really admire her for not letting the situation get her down and for not thinking too hard about worst case scenarios. She has a 3yr old so some terrible things must have crossed her mind, but she has not allowed them to drown her. And she’s taken the news this week with such a positive and practical attitude and, well, I love her to bits.

It hasn’t been the most perfect of weeks, in fact the weather has been downright cold and miserable for the most part, but, there has been some positive changes. Changes that give a bit of hope for the future.

My word for the week, is future.

The Reading Residence

Starting to worry about the lack of speech…

I mentioned a couple of months ago that Monkey hadn’t started speaking yet, and unfortunately the same is still true. He’s not silent by any means, in fact he spends most of the day chatting, it’s just that there is no discernible words yet, and most of it is just ga ga ga, though there all sorts of other sounds too. On one hand I am not too worried as he understands a lot of what we said. He will go and pick things up when we ask him too, he knows to sit down, and understands all sorts of things… but we just aren’t any nearer talking. No that’s not fair, he is speaking more than he was a couple of weeks ago, but I just wish there was at least one word. He doesn’t even say Mummy or Daddy, though he can definitely point to each of us.

I try really hard not to worry but I just can’t help wondering if there is something else I should have been doing with him to encourage him. From day one we have been talking about everything and narrating things we do. We sing a lot and he can do hand movements to some of his favourites songs. We’ve also been reading books with him since he was very small and he just loves being read to and flicking through the books himself. We label things as we point them out and have started asking him if he can say simple words, like cat and ball etc.  But so far, nooothing.

I wonder if I haven’t done enough, do I not give him enough attention? Do we watch too much TV? Has that slowed his development? Do we talk too much so he can’t get a word in edgeways?

Like I say I try not to worry, I have researched into it a lot and read lots of things telling me that it isn’t abnormal. He’s very big and as he started walking earlier has been a little advanced for his age, and I read somewhere that if they are more physically advanced, sometimes speech can take a back step and be a little slower to come. I have spoken to so many people who say their child/sibling/friend/nephew was a late talker and then one day they just started speaking and never looked back. There’s lots of people and things telling me it is too early to worry but I can’t help it.

I think that maybe worrying is just part and parcel with motherhood. I know he’ll get there when he’s ready and the last thing I want to do is put pressure on him and make him retreat further. I just hope I haven’t done something wrong and slowed his development down. It’s a lot of responsibility!

Does anyone have any words of comfort? Any late speakers who are now, oh I don’t know, brain surgeons. or astro physicists? (haha) Any advice welcome too, how did you encourage your little ones to say words?