Friday, 28 May 2010

Mama Birth

A little while ago I came across Sarah's blog Mama Birth. She teaches about natural child birth and her blog is full of useful links, experiences and advice. Alice's birth went well, but I'd like to be more prepared next time. and I'm very interested in natural techniques to help in labour.

I introduced myself through filling out Sarah's interview questions which she has now posted on her blog. As a relative newcomer to blogging, I find it incredible that connections like this can be made across continents. Ah, the wonders of the modern age!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Not taking it for granted

Yesterday, I had one of those moments where you feel that you wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Alice was sitting on a picnic rug in the garden watching me plant some beans and she was chewing on the first of our home-grown salad leaves. It felt like everything I dreamed my life could be had all come true. It sounds very saccharine, but I can't believe how lucky I have been.

Feeling so happy can also be scary. Since Alice was born, awful thoughts have popped into my head. All the 'what ifs'. In the early days I had thoughts that were so powerful, it was almost as if I was actually seeing situations happening in front of me in sickening detail. When I would pick her up, I'd imagine falling with her. If I let myself, I would begin to get paranoid about letting anyone else hold her. Sometimes as I cuddled her, a fierce fear would well up inside me and I'd wonder how I would manage if anything were to happen to her. Newspaper articles, documentaries and even fictional stories dealing with sickness and loss had me in pieces. In those moments, I have had to remind myself that worrying about the future won't change it. All I can do is enjoy the present.

Now, I think I am managing the feelings much better. I am learning to enjoy the moment. Whether my life remains this blissful for years, or if it all changes tomorrow, I am grateful to have experienced the happiness being a mum has brought me.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Life will never be the same again.

On Sunday, without any warning, Alice started crawling. It looks like she's got the hang of it now, and I'm already exhausted!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Thoughts about home education

Ever thinking ahead to the next stage, I've recently been thinking about Alice's education. I gave up my job as a primary school teacher to have children, and by the time I left, I was feeling pretty disillusioned with the education system as it stands in the UK. As far as I can see, the theory is fantastic. Throughout my training I was encouraged to base learning on practical applications, to take note of children's differing learning styles and to get outside as often as possible. In reality, I was faced with assessments from all angles, months of teaching to the test and having to have full and detailed planning submitted well in advance.

Since then, I've discovered more about home educating. Had you mentioned it to me this time last year, I'd have said it was decidedly dodgy and certainly not something I'd consider. Now however, it is starting to feel like the only real option. I decided to find out more and read How Children Learn at Home. As I read it, I began to realise that my major concerns were more to do with my own hang ups and prejudices. I thought I was going to be a mum who never put pressure on her children. I thought I would be totally accepting of whatever academic 'level' they turned out to have. Apparently, that wasn't quite true. The authors noted that some home educated children don't learn to read until they are 12 or even older. The thought of that terrified me, and not just out of concern for Alice's development. I worry what people will think. There is a large part of me that wants Alice to do well academically so I can feel vindicated in the choices I've made for her education.

When I was 14, I chose 10 GCSE subjects as we were all expected to in the girls' grammar school I went to. A couple of years later I passed them all with fairly high marks. The same story with A-levels and a degree. Deep down, I feel proud of this achievement, but why? I took them because I had to, not because I needed that learning. It is a scary idea that some day Alice might take only a few qualifications, but they will be the ones she actually needs. I learnt for learning's sake. I'm starting to wonder if this wasn't the best way. Hopefully, I will be able to straighten out the snobbish mindset I've developed and focus on what is best for my daughter.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

One thing after another

No common coughs and colds for my baby. Oh no. After her bout of German measles, which I have since found out has become quite rare since the vaccination programme started, she's now developed an abscess.

I thought it was just a swollen gland behind her ear, and even the doctor assured me it would go away, but two days later it's the size of a large marble and is pushing against her earlobe. It is very painful for her even if she brushes against it. Another trip to the doctor followed (so much for trying to live without medical intervention) and he said as she's so little, it will have to burst on its own. If it's still there by Monday, she'll need a general anaesthetic to have it drained. I guess we just have to wait and see now.

She's on antibiotics, although getting them into her is hard. She screams blue murder, and blows bubbles as we syringe it in. More ends up on me than her. I hate the idea of using medicine with her, and I'm praying that we avoid thrush. As ever, all we can do is wait and see.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Separation Anxiety

I have heard that separation anxiety is common in babies around Alice's age. What I haven't heard of is mothers feeling it. Although her rubella rash has faded, Alice is still in quarantine, and now her daddy is poorly too. Having no food in the house meant I needed to make a quick dash out to the shops. Creativity with tins at the back of the cupboards can only get you so far before you start developing scurvy. I got Alice to sleep, and left her to nap with Daddy before setting off into town. My entire journey from start to finish lasted just under 40 minutes, but I have never been so glad to get home. Every step I took I found myself thinking about the baby and how much I missed her.

I have only left her once before, on a misguided belief that all new mothers should have 'me time'. That turned out to be a miserable evening out and I didn't want it repeated in a hurry. Now she is 8 months old and breastfeeding less in the day, I'm wondering if it would do us both good to occasionally spend a little time apart. I'm not quite sure why. It could be that I've heard the well intentioned advice to separate myself from the baby so often that I've started to think it is crucial. However, she was awake when I returned and apparently had been perfectly content. Maybe I should let her be my guide in this. At any rate, I'm appreciating our cuddles just a little bit more today.