"In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony."

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Crying Game - can someone explain the rules please

A crying baby is one of the hardest things about motherhood.  They can’t tell you what is wrong and yet all you want to do is fix it.  You have fed, changed, winded and cuddled your baby, yet nothing seems to work.  All you can do is try to remain unstressed and get through it.

Hannah used to cry a lot when she was little but only when she was put down.  It was hard to do anything as she was in your arms all day but then with three other children at school, it wasn’t the end of the world to sit and cuddle her all day (and evening). 

Nathaniel on the other hand, is a completely different baby.  For the last six weeks (he hardly cried at first), it seems that he has done one of three activities – sleeping, eating or crying – and nothing in between.  Thus, this blog has been a bit neglected as it was a lower priority than five children, housework, shopping, business research, getting out of the house to health visitors etc.

The one thing that has made the crying bearable is that Nathaniel sleeps well, both in the day and night, which gives time to recharge my batteries.  However, I would still love to spend my time with Nathaniel being happy rather than being distressed.  

You would have thought that having four babies already, I would have all the answers but this goes to show that every baby is so different and that you have to learn from your baby what he/she needs.  I am still learning about Nathaniel - who he is, what his likes and dislikes are, his different cries etc.  And as soon as I feel we have reached that point of understanding, I know something will change and I will be on that learning journey again.  I know this because I have done it four times before.  So while having five children doesn't give me all the answers, it does give me the knowledge that each new baby is different and individual - from the moment he/she is born.  To me, this is amazing - that babies have their own unique personality and needs from birth (or, as I believe, from the womb).

So, while I don't have all the answers, I am prepared to listen and hope that I can understand Nathaniel over time.  Already, I know there are toys he strongly dislikes and ways that he doesn't like to be held.  Finding out what he doesn't like seems to be easier than what he does like though as he tells me (loudly) when something doesn't meet his expectations.  

My Mum tells me that I was a demanding baby (as I didn't stop crying) yet I feel that I have always been determined and independent.  My crying was just an aspect of my personality.  In the same way, I believe that Nathaniel is strong-willed, energetic and  resilient- traits that can be positive in today's world.  I will try to remind myself of these positives when he is having a long crying spell - easier said than done but I will try.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

My Business

I am so excited to be writing this.  I have been getting itchy feet for some time now and wanting to do something more.  I know what you will say to this – “Janette, you have five children, a husband who works shifts so is often not there and a job (which involves working from home as well as going out to work), so why would you want to take more on?”  I guess, it is just something in me that loves a challenge and loves to keep busy. 

In April, I was lucky enough to inherit some money and it got me thinking – I could do one of two things, either put it in the bank in case something happens to the house etc in the future, or, I could use it now.  To be honest, it was a hard decision as we have no savings but I started to look at franchises on the internet.  My search revealed that there are lots of bad ones out there that I could not see making back the money that you pay for them and that want a high annual fee on top.  But, finally, I found one that looked right up my street and for which I had the main skills for already.

Finally, I realized that if I didn’t go for it, then I would regret it.  So I rang up the founder/owner and on discovering that we both have five children, are the same age and love dance, decided that it was meant to be and within 24 hours of this telephone conversation, I had bought a franchise!

So what is this franchise?  It is a company called Lazy Daisy and it provides birthing classes that are different to anything else out there but which fit in perfectly with my beliefs and experience of childbirth.  And of course, I am a bit of an expert in giving birth.  But just having experience isn’t enough as you also need to do 100 hours training to be registered an insured with FEDANT.  So, I am off on two training courses – one in October and one in November.  The training was the only doubt that I had as it means sorting out childcare and possibly even leaving Nathaniel for a few days both times.  I still need to sort this out and also the childcare while I am teaching (due to Laurie working weekends and evenings) but there are options that I am exploring.

For now, I am already impatient and can’t wait to start my new venture.  I have found and booked a venue (well, two if there is the demand) and it is just perfect – very yummy mummy and a popular location for shopping and eating so mums-to-be can combine my lessons with other fun activities.  I have also got a facebook page to begin advertising and hope to start getting business cards and flyers produced over the next two months ready for when I start advertising around Exeter.  My first class will be on the 3rd of December, which means August/September is the perfect time to target mums due in early 2012.  Not sure if I can wait until then though!!

I can’t ever see the business replacing my teaching as I love teaching children (and like the guaranteed monthly wage) but it will be great to use my teaching skills in a new way and to be able to talk pregnancy and birth as much as I like (while being paid!).  I hope to expand the business into the Daisy Babies in the future though but I feel that this will be another year or two down the line.  For now, I am going to keep busy while on maternity leave and juggle a few more things.

To support my business, go to my facebook page (see link on the left).

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Seven weeks old already!

I simply can not believe that my little boy is 7 weeks old now.  The time has gone by far too quickly.  He is no longer that tiny wrinkly, curled up baby anymore.  He has filled out and definitely grown longer in the last 7 weeks, well, the last 4 and a half weeks really as it took him 2 and a half to get back up to his 7lb 5oz birth weight.  I was just beginning to think that he would never put it back on as he was only gaining an ounce or so every other day, when he suddenly put on 8 ounces in 4 days.  Since then, there has been no stopping him and he is now a bouncing 9lb 12oz boy.

At one week old and tiny - being cuddled by big sister

Three weeks old and starting to fill out

Six weeks old and a lot bigger

So, apart from feeding Nathaniel lots to get this large weight gain, what have the last 7 weeks involved?

Two days before Nathaniel was born, the car dramatically broke down and a week after he was born, we found out that it would cost too much to repair due to the nearest part being in Japan!  So, we had to find another car, and quickly due to me already taking my car off the road as we couldn’t afford to run two cars while I was on maternity leave.  Amazingly, two friends of ours were thinking of selling their eight seater people carrier and by the end of the day, we had a car sat outside our house.  Please note, that it wasn’t on the driveway as we had two cars on there already – one SORN and one broken.  We looked very greedy with three cars!

My other son, Michael, has been taking his GCSE exams since Nathaniel has been born.  It has been a little strange to have one son finishing his secondary education while my other son is a newborn.  It certainly emphasised the age gap between them and made me feel both old and young at the same time – after all, there are not many 34 year olds with a 15 (nearly 16) year old and a newborn.  Things are certainly different from when I had Michael though but that is a whole blog by itself.

Nathaniel’s early arrival messed up our paternity leave plans as it meant that Laurie went back to work at the start of half-term when he should have been off for that week to help me out.  It was a difficult week with five children, the youngest being only two weeks and without a car to get out and about.  But we all survived and used our legs and a double pushchair to get fresh air.  In fact, there is nothing more therapeutic than fresh air and sunshine.  Of course, it would have been better to see the sun more over the half-term but did I really expect good weather during a school holiday?!

One weird thing that happened in the first couple of weeks after Nathaniel was born was that the nesting instinct kicked in.  There I was, supposed to be resting, when all I had the urge to do was scrub floors and clean cupboards.  My house sparkled!  Unfortunately, with five children and a husband, the house never stayed clean and tidy for long.  And, unfortunately for whoever made the mess, my ‘new mum’ hormones and sleep deprivation meant that I would certainly let them know that I wasn’t happy.

Overall, the last seven weeks have passed so fast that in many ways, I wish I could relive them, especially as Nathaniel is my last baby (despite what everyone else says).  We have had some lovely times, like all going to the zoo on Father’s Day, watching him playing on his playmate, sharing the bath with his sister and going for walks along the river.  Then there’s the cuddles that are unique to a newborn baby and the lovely smell.  If I could just stop time, it would be lovely but then I would miss out on him growing into a child with his own personality and that is just as enjoyable.