Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Subsistence Parenting

Yes I admit it.  Guilty as charged.

Yes I did put the baby in the car seat to sleep while I had my lunch.  And we weren't in a car.  And (voice drops to a barely audible whisper) I didn't even fasten the straps.

Surely God will strike me down with a lightning bolt.  Or at the very least a crack team of virtuous mothers will be sent from Mumsnet to chase me with torches and drum me out of town.

In other news, hot on the heels of the two hours sleep I had last night, Mother (my own mother, that is) is constantly hassling me to call the doctor/health visitor/anyone else who might be susceptible to a bout of new-parent hysteria to report all crying episodes.  Anyone would think it wasn't normal for babies to cry and prevent their parents from getting any sleep.

She is also trying to get me to go to a breastfeeding support group in the local area.  Not a bad idea, you might say, except that I am basically Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances and refuse to associate with anyone from the immediate surrounding area as all are plebeians who fail to understand the difference between "your" and "you're."

Anyway, Piglet is waking up now and about to start screaming for food...

Friday, 15 August 2014

Piglet: On First Name Terms with the NHS

Well yesterday's post (the Secret Weapon, by the way, was about to be revealed as a baby sling.  Regrettably it turned out not to be such a vote-winner later that evening, when Piglet bawled non-stop for ten minutes in it, and I took it off, thinking maybe it was too tight and crushing his little testicles) pretty much sums it up.  You start doing something productive; cooking, eating, drinking a cup of tea, writing this blog, sleeping...and immediately Piglet starts screaming and whatever necessary life task one happens to be engaged in is abandoned, never to be returned to, whilst all one's energy is taken up with trying to halt the bawling.

Last night it got so bad that my mother, who had sworn that she would be sleeping tonight and I would have to cope with Piglet's squealing alone, burst into the room and announced that his persistent crying was not normal and I should phone NHS Direct.  This then led to a 1am dash across Bristol to the only walk-in centre that was still open, in order to get him checked out by a nurse who pronounced him "colicky," which was exactly the diagnosis my mother had already made (I had gone for "acid reflux," but the nurse reassured me that this was not the case).  The good news (other than that Piglet was not, as my mother seemed to have feared, dying) was that when we finally returned, he actually went to sleep.  Hallelujah.

Give that this was the fourth time THIS WEEK that Piglet and I have accessed the services of the NHS in one form or another, I think we can now safely say that for probably the first time ever, I am definitely seeing a good return on all the tax I've paid.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

He's Wailing, He's Wailing Again...

Well, he is here.  And you know who I mean by "He."

The promised messiah.

In fact, it's not far off.  I have started singing Away in a Manger to him at night and switching the name "Jesus" for His name.  To all extents and purposes, he will henceforth be known as Piglet, the moniker I chose for him in the hospital when I discovered that when he wants feeding he snaffles like a pig.

Piglet is currently in his bouncy chair, in the early stages of crying.  I am guessing that he feels abandoned as his mother has forsaken him in favour of the Internet.  He is, however, starting to look at the shapes on his bouncy chair with interest, which at least suggests that he is not, as I had feared, blind.  One worries about such things, especially when people (my brother) are all too keen to point out how cross-eyed he is, and the midwife encourages me to take him to the doctor to check out his "sticky eyes" (the doctor didn't seem too concerned, although he did hand me a printout from the internet explaining how sticky eyes could be caused by chlamydia caught from me.  Let's hope that's not the case).

Anyway, much as I would love to write a long post explaining the birth and everything that has happened since in excruciating detail, Piglet has now decided to go to sleep and his every sleeping moment is what I call a Mummy Sleep Emergency, meaning that I have to go to sleep as quickly as possible so that I can be alert when he is, which is usually at 3am.  Just so that you can get a feel for an average night, the following is a rough synopsis of how the events of last night unfolded.

10pm Mummy thinks it might be time for bed, and gives Piglet to Granny to bounce about and try to soothe following three hours of solid breastfeeding.  Meanwhile, Mummy starts moving all the things she needs for the night ahead upstairs.  This takes about half an hour, as the list of necessaries is enormous, and includes two tupperware bowls of water (one to bathe his sticky eyes and one to wash his bum), a bag of cotton wool, lanolin ointment for sore nipples (mine, not his), Sudocrem for nappy rash (his, not mine), changing mat, nappies, Infacol (medicine for the mysterious ailment known as "colic" or, in the colloqiual, "windy-pops"), mobile phone, ipad (for keeping myself sane during night feeds), glass of water.

10.30pm Piglet and I settle into bed.  Granny fusses around for ten minutes wondering if Piglet is intermittently "too cold" (closes windows, proffers extra blankets), or "too hot" (opens windows again, unbuttons babygro).  I argue that he is neither and tell her to stop fussing.  Granny eventually leaves.

10.41pm The wailing starts.  I pick Piglet up and feed him.  This takes about an hour.

11.42pm Piglet is back in the cot, following a half-hearted attempt to "wind" him by throwing him over my shoulder into a fireman's lift and patting his back enthusiastically for five seconds until I start worrying I'm going to damage him and put him down, praying that sleep will follow.  I take the opportunity to send a few emails whilst observing Piglet to check he is still breathing and not about to start wailing.

12.00  Sleep!

12.57am Woken by Piglet starting to stir.  Upon peering into the Moses basket, I see that he is violently shoving his fists into his mouth.  This means he wants feeding.  Again.

12.58-2.25am Constant feeding, interspersed with five minute intervals where Piglet lies in my arms studying my face carefully, probably wondering exactly who and what I am.

2.26am Back in the Moses basket, light off, lie down.  Bliss....

2.27am Wailing again.  Pacing up and down the bedroom bouncing Piglet around, singing every nursery rhyme I can remember, along with a few Christmas carols and some of the songs from Grease 2.  Nothing works.

2.35am Granny re-enters the fray, snatches Piglet and does the exact same thing.  I lie in bed with the duvet over my head.  Am officially Useless Mother.

3.37am Granny finally leaves, having failed to settle Piglet.  I feed him again.

4.20am Put Piglet in Moses basket and start praying.  We both finally fall asleep.

6am Wailing again.

See what I mean.  He is already starting to stir again from his brief nap, which commenced 15 minutes ago.  I may never sleep again.