Behaviour, General Parenting, Uncategorized

How Can I Tell If It’s Just Temperament or Something More?

I’ve started reading “Raising Your Spirited Child” and it’s like someone’s turned on the lights. I can finally see what is right in front of me. My child. I see him from a whole new perspective.

I am also realising that I too could be described as spirited, which explains why I react the way I do to the behaviours he exhibits. Of course, the same characteristics can also be explained by anxiety. There is a lot of “is it this or that?”ing in my self-reflections.

Intense

Spirited children (and adults because, well, children grow up) are particularly intense. They feel things more deeply and react more strongly. A small inconvenience will mildly annoy most people, who will then move on with their lives. A spirited person will feel a seething rage inside and rant/tantrum about it for an hour. Anyone who has experienced a delayed train with me can vouch for this one.

Persistent

Caide and I must absolutely finish whatever we are doing before moving on to the next activity. He must finish his episode/puzzle/tower/jumping etc before he will move on to something else, or he will lose the plot.

So do I.

If I am in the middle of something and a baby cries, the phone rings (not that I plan on answering it anyway) or someone asks me to do something else I can’t cope. I have to finish mopping the floor before I can go to the baby, answer the phone etc. (Unless it is a “serious” cry obviously, I don’t leave my baby in pain/danger etc, but I’ll be thinking about that floor while I cuddle him).

To help myself with this aspect of my persoanlity I break tasks down into smaller chunks. “Clean the bathroom” becomes “clean toilet”, “clean bath”, “clean sink”, “clean tiles”, “clean windowsill”, “clean mirrors”, and “clean potty”. It helps me leave a task unfinished without feeling (too) overwhelmed.

For Caide I give him a warning. “Last episode then it’s lunchtime”, “we’re going to the post office after you finish that puzzle,” etc. Then he knows the current activity is about to end, and what’s going to happen next, ahead of time. It (usually) helps.

Sensitive

Overly sensitive (but not in an SPD sort of way) to sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures. I have an Asperger’s diagnosis in part because of this. And Caide has been putting his hands over his ears a lot lately. And has always seemed to get generally overstimulated in busy places.

This sensitivity extends to other people’s moods. Spirited kids often act out more the more stressed their parents get. Caide definitely does this. And I’ve noticed that my mood can change (up or down) when Phil gets home, depending on his mood.

Perceptive.

They notice everything. Everything. “What’s that noise Mummy?” “What noise?”. “Look bird Mummy!” “What bird?” “What’s that Mummy?” “What?” Picks up tiny piece of plastic from between two blades of grass, “This!”

Everything.

It makes decision-making difficult because every possibility, with its pros and cons, is visible all at once. And well, I changed University course 3 times. I can’t even decide what to have for dinner. And we have a meal plan.

Adaptability

This is a big one for me. I am not at all adaptable. I like being at home. If I am anywhere else I want to go home. If something changes my routine I literally want to give up on the entire day. Recently I’ve noticed that a change of routine is probably necessary to prevent the period from 2-5/6pm that is basically a perpetual tantrum. But I haven’t yet made a single change.

It’s hard for me to tell if Caide is adaptable since I never change anything about his environment or routine.

But adaptability includes adapting from awake to asleep, which we both suck at, and asleep to awake, which I definitely suck at, Caide less so.

Regularity

Eating/sleeping/pooping at the same times each day. Nope. I’ve always hated mealtimes. I’m either ravenously hungry by 10am or can completely forget to even have lunch. I can finish dinner and be hungry an hour later. I can have no appetite for dinner and eat 3 bowls of cereal an hour later.

Caide too is difficult at mealtimes. Sometimes he sits and eats and I’m surprised to look up and find he’s finished. Sometimes he just arses about and it’s WW3 to get him to stay at the table, or even in the kitchen. Maybe this is why.

Energy

Ok, here is where me and Caide differ vastly. I am very much on the “can sit for hours at a time and not step foot outside the house for weeks and be fine” side of things and Caide is on the more spirited “does not stop ever and needs regular fresh air and exercise, like a dog” side of things.

He exhausts me.

First Reaction

Spiriteds are either all-or-nothing here. Either jumping right in over-enthusiastically to a new situation, or hanging back, wary, immediately saying no to any hint of a suggestion of doing something new. There’s no “healthy skepticism followed by giving it a go” here.

Caide and I both fall on the wary side of things for this one. My immediate reaction is to say no to any suggestion of doing anything outside my routine or trying something new, even if I want to do it. Caide also does this.

Mood

Generally more serious and analytical, seeing the flaws in things and improvements that could be made. Even if the experience was overall a positive one.

Yup.

Honestly I think we’re just setting each other off. He reacts strongly to something then I react strongly to his strong reaction and before we know it we’re both screaming and/or crying.

I don’t want it to be like this.

I’m hoping this book has the answers.

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General Parenting, Uncategorized

What A Week

I’ve been quiet on here this week. Oops. There goes my 30 day challenge.

It’s been one of those weeks where you feel like you haven’t stopped but at the same time nothing has really happened.

So no time for blogging. And nothing worth blogging about anyway.

Same old same old here.

The weekend was amazing though. Visiting family always bring a welcome break from being my kids sole source of entertainment.

And adult conversation. Actual adult conversation. About things other than small children.

And alcohol. That’s fun too 😛

#day19 #30daychallenge

General Parenting

Unsupervised minutes

It’s amazing how much a toddler can accomplish in an unsupervised minute.

Caide has had 2 such minutes today.

Minute 1: While I was settling the babies for their nap he helped himself to an icecream and hid under his bedcovers to eat it.

He wasn’t even subtle.

And he didn’t even try to hide the evidence.

Minute 2: While I was putting away the laundry he dipped a Calpol syringe into some Vapor rub and sucked it off. There was also Vapour rub on Theo’s sippy cup.

Yes, there is a baby gate on the kitchen. No that doesn’t stop him.

#day18 #30daychallenge

General Parenting, Uncategorized

Life With 3 Under 3

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m finding this parenting thing difficult because it IS difficult.

Few people have twins. Even fewer have 3 under 3. This is not the norm.

Evey time I go out someone comments, “you’ve got your hands full!”

Yes, I do (thanks for letting me know – I hadn’t noticed!).

There’s a lot of total and utter chaos and me running around muttering/shouting how I’m “sick of this shit”, but overall I kind of love it.

(Which is easy to say when they’re all asleep. Ask me again tomorrow 😂)

It’s adorable,

wild,

and messy.

It’s my life.

#day17 #30daychallenge

General Parenting, Uncategorized

Reflux

The more I read about reflux in babies, the more I am convinced that Caide suffered from it, despite everyone telling me that it was normal.

I remember constantly thinking ‘how can this be normal?!” on pretty much an hourly basis. But being a first time Mum I believed the health visitor and GP over my own instincts. And being a Mum with anxiety I didn’t push the issue. I didn’t advocate for him.

But I know now that just because a baby is gaining weight, doesn’t mean they don’t have reflux. They can still be in pain.

So what made me think it wasn’t normal?

1. Frequent spitting up. Like, really frequent. He’d soak through 2 large muslins at every feed, then another 2 in the time between feeds. I timed it and wrote down every time he puked to see if I was overexaggerating it in my head. I wasn’t. He puked at least once every 15mins. And not just a little bit. I was told this was normal.

2. Frequent feeding. He ate every 2hrs, presumably because he was spitting up most of what was going down. I think the only reason he was still putting on weight is because of the sheer volume he was drinking in order to replace what was coming back up. I sometimes wondered if he was puking so much because he was eating so much so I did an experiment and found that it was definitely the other way around. He ate because he puked.

3. Fussy feeding. There was lots of wriggling, grunting, back arching and stopping and starting. While still trying to breastfeed, several lactation consultants and my health visitor were baffled as to why he was coming on and off all the time. He had a good latch and was sucking correctly, but every 2-3 swallows, he’d back-arch off me and scream. And puke, of course.

4. Comfort feeding. It was like he found it soothing in some way but would throw it all back up again and scream and it would start all over again. A dummy just didn’t do it for him, there had to be milk.

5. Back arching. All. The. Time. We’d say he was “doing his best ‘C’ impression” or “going for the full ‘O'”. Sometimes there was accompanying screaming, sometimes grunting, sometimes nothing.

6. Won’t go down. Awake or asleep. I had to hold him all the time. As someone who gets touched out pretty quickly this was a nightmare. If awake, I could sometimes put him in his bouncer/rocker chair but never on the floor. He had to be upright, even when being held, or there’d be screaming. Even as a tiny baby with no head control.

7. Coughing, gagging, sneezing, hiccups and congestion. I was also told this was all normal (and especially for c section babies), as babies are still learning how to use their digestive/respiratory systems. In hindsight, it was more likely due to irritation in his airways and throat due to reflux.

8. Wont sleep more than 2hrs at a time (If I was lucky. His naps were always 30mins. Exactly 30mins. If he napped at all). He didn’t start sleeping longer until he was old enough to sleep on his tummy.

He’d also puke in his sleep. We layered muslins under his head so we could just remove one at a time.

9. Wet burps. It was never just a burp. Ever. There was always puke. It didn’t always come out (silent reflux) but it was there. I could hear it. We grabbed a muslin and held it under his mouth quicker than you can blink every time we heard it. We were never wrong.

Health professionals need to take a mother’s instincts more seriously. I knew it wasn’t normal but was brushed off by my health visitor and 2 doctors. Caide’s babyhood was pretty miserable as a result, for all of us.

20161102_140809

*this pic is from day 2. I’d already learned to always have a muslin under him. And hold him upright. I haven’t slept since before his birth.

#day16 #30daychallenge

anxiety, General Parenting, Mental Health, Stay-at-home-Mum Life, Uncategorized

Getting My Life In Order

I am a lover of lists. And spreadsheets. And space-saving storage solutions.

I like things organised.

Things have felt a little hectic and chaotic lately. Cleaning has been neglected. Meal plans have been non-existent. We’re running out of food towards the end of the week as a result. Our routine keeps changing.

Kids need a stable routine.

Anxious mummies need a stable routine.

When we’re all getting antsy at the same time it does not make for a good household atmosphere.

So the past few days I’ve been getting back to my lists and spreadsheets.

I’ve written a list of all the dinners we eat in such a way that if we choose one thing from each row we’ve got a full month’s meal plan with plenty of variety.

No more “what do you want for dinner?” “Don’t know, what have we got?” “No idea.”

No more shopping list fails. We’ll have enough food to get us through the week.

It’s going to take so much stress out of our lives. (Hopefully).

I’ve also been planning educational activities and games to play with the kids. And working out a toy rotation.

No more stagnating about the house.

I’ve also been (gradually) deep cleaning everything. And decluttering (again).

It’s awful how gross things have gotten around here. And how quickly the clutter builds up.

I feel like there is always something that needs to be done but there isn’t time. Maybe that’s just home ownership mashed up with parenting.

I struggle to get out when there’s things to be done in the house, so getting back to a routine where things get done will hopefully help with that too.

We went to the aquarium on Father’s Day and it wasn’t nearly as stressful as I thought it would be. Now that the twins are a little older it’s getting easier.

I think the hardest baby days are past.

#day15 #30daychallenge

anxiety, depression, General Parenting, Mental Health, Stay-at-home-Mum Life

Changes

I think one of the most frustrating parts of parenting is when you finally manage to get everyone into a routine and then it changes.

Because just before each change there’s a few weeks of bliss. When you feel like you’ve finally nailed this parenting 3 kids thing. When we get out the house every day. When tantrums are fewer. When we get time to do activities/art/messy play. When the house is clean. I start to think I just might be a Pinterest Mum after all.

Then something changes and we’re back to total chaos.

Back to not getting a chance to shower. The house being messy. Nap times going to hell. Lots of shouting, frustration, crying. Not getting out of the house. Tantrums galore. The change in routine makes my anxiety skyrocket. I stress and stress and stress.

Then depression starts to kick in.

It tells me that life has always been like this and it always will be. Same shit, different day.

I can’t face waking up in the morning. I can’t see an end to the endless shouting, tantrums and crying. Of being trapped in the house because I’m too afraid to take my screaming, tantruming, crying kids out in public.

Since anxiety makes it difficult for me to settle into a routine, it is too easy to just get stuck here.

But I write lists, and I make spreadsheets. I time-block around naps and mealtimes. I start over.

I wont let myself get stuck here.

#day14 #30daychallenge