Thursday, 5 May 2011

If I'd known then what I know now...

My little boy is 18 months old and blows my mind on a daily basis, I've been looking back at his little life and the emotional rollercoaster it's been for me too. When he was born I hadn't really thought about my parenting choices having been too focussed on the birth and just assuming he would do all the things I had somehow gleaned babies were meant to do. Well it quickly became apparent that he had his own idea and the Moses basket became a decorative item and he came in to our bed. I found this a difficult choice initially as I had my own preconceived ideas about what was "right" and so therefore felt wrong. Me, being me, I read as much as I could on cosleeping and SIDS and quickly fell in love with it. It was so lovely having him with us and we all got loads of sleep. He never cried at night which was far from the case in the day. But, I don't know whether I would have been like this anyway or because of this additional insecurity, I was so sensitive to people's comments and judgemental looks. I am very stubborn and once I have made my mind up I won't change it without very good reason, so the comments didn't change my approach they just broke my heart a little bit. The comment that was bandied around was the "rod for your own back" thing which is so annoying! It's my back so why should anyone else care! All this succeeded in doing was make me worry about the future- that he would still be sleeping on my chest at 42, instead of really enjoying the present.
18 months on and he has happily transitioned, from me to a cosleeper to his own cot and now in his own room. Each of these stages were led by him, way more than I had thought possible and I believe helped by the fact we were happy and in no way trying to rush him.
So if I had known then what I know now I wouldn't change anything and I would have much greater confidence in our choices. I will plan to do the same if we are lucky enough to have another baby, but I know how much our parenting style has also been dictated by our little one's personality so nothing will be set in stone.
I had never realised what a minefield parenting choices are and how every choice you make is somehow perceived as a judgement or criticism on someone else's. A friend said something that really rang true to me, she said your parenting approach is a faith and as with all faiths you don't want other peoples shoved down your throat, but alongside that you are passionate about your choice so it is a very difficult balance. I pretty much think all my mum friends are amazing and all of us have made very different choices, after all we are different people with different babies.

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Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Summer on the Southbank

Well, due to me being a stay at home mum and my husband starting his own business, holidays are looking unlikely for a while, but no need to worry as I have all I need a short train ride away at the Southbank! I have always loved the Southbank and this had already grown since having the baby. The Royal Festival Hall is a life-saver. a big open space where the babies/toddlers of the world can be set free after a day often trussed up in their buggies. When he was tiny I used to go up for the free lunchtime music on a Friday (which they set up a carpeted area with toys for!) We went up to the Imagine children's festival but I think the area has out done itself for the summer.
We went up on Saturday and had an amazing day. Arrived for lunch at the Slow food market- it was a street food affair this time. So we all got to try some yummy foods we hadn't had before. Then we had a wonder around before nap time. We went on the carousel (happy toddler), saw the Purple Udderbelly cow (unhappy toddler "no like cow" repeated for the rest of the long weekend),

Climbed on some traditional dry stone walling (very happy toddler, slightly nervous parents due to excited wobbly running very close to weaponised rocks!)
Hung out with Billy Brag and over 300 other musicians at the Big Busk- slightly randomly New England is one of the toddlers favourite songs so it was very cool to hear it live.

And as if that wasn't enough there is a beach!! Very difficult to top a big pile of sand when it comes to making small children happy.

And appearing rooms should be open now so, what with sand, water loads of free cultural events and many yummy places for food (not to mention nice baby changing facilities) I think it will be our holiday destination of choice this year.

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