A time for reflection

So today is exactly one year since two things happened. Firstly I went back to work…and secondly my little one started nursery. Naturally it’s made me feel a little nostalgic – thinking back to simpler times – as I’ve found the last few months incredibly hard. I realise now that the things that came easily and that I thought I had nailed, such as my boy loving every bit of food you put in front of him, or travelling longer distances with no problem, could change without a moments notice.

He was…is…a happy baby. He absolutely ADORES nursery. From that very first day he’s loved being there and I feel proud that we have raised a confident and independent little boy. He will happily kiss me goodbye and wave me off without a moments hesitation. If anything it’s me who is left feeling a bit lost and missing him. Almost 2, going on 22!

In the baby room he played nicely with others or on his own. He would lie down happily to let the staff change his nappy and he would eat practically everything put in front of him. A few months in he got Hand Foot and Mouth and he refused to eat anything. He didn’t even want his milk. We regressed and started feeding him purée pouches as it was all he would have. Then after a couple of weeks he finally started to eat solids again.

However it seemed that the damage was done, as when a short time later he moved up to the toddler room he would eat literally nothing. We would pick him up in an evening with the same report every day of ‘he’s not eaten anything today’ and it started to worry me. When we got home he’d eat a jar of cauliflower cheese and a couple of pouches or maybe a bowl of cereal. I took him to be weighed and his weight was spot on. I was told not to worry, which is easier said than done! It’s true his weight was fine, but when your child is refusing to eat anything except puréed fruit pouches or cauliflower cheese it can get very stressful. Too much fruit and he got the runs and too much cauliflower cheese he would end up with stomach cramps and windy as hell! Throw in a bit of lactose intolerance and you have a difficult combination.

Then came the car sickness. At first we thought it was possibly because he was now facing forward, but even when we turned him back around he was still sick. Anything from 10 minutes into the journey to going a full 2 hours without being sick. There was no rhyme or reason to it – you just had to hope for the best! After about 6 months of it we finally had it down to a fine art of catching the sick in his blanket. This definitely makes for more stressful car journeys…take driving to Scotland for instance. He was sick 7 times on the way up. Seven!! I was ready to give up except short of camping on the side of the road there was nothing we could do but keep going. But then we had the trip back to consider as well and I can’t say I was looking forward to it. The brave little guy seldom complains and just sits there with his little face all scrunched up and waits for mommy or daddy to help him. It’s heartbreaking.

So I resigned myself to the fact I have a child who won’t eat…although again there is no rhyme or reason as today he may love beans, but tomorrow he will cry and push you away if you even so much as show him a bean. Same goes for blueberries, and bananas, and yoghurts…and pretty much anything. Even the cauliflower cheese was getting refused! Also I was resigned to having a child who gets car sick. But at least he plays nicely with others…

I honestly was one of those moms who think to themselves that kids who hit or push or bite (mine does all three!) are not disciplined and allowed to run riot and that is why they do it. It’s not. I mean there are kids out there who are left to their own devices for sure, but I have rules. I have the naughty step. My child will say sorry and give you a cuddle after his time on the naughty step. But he still does it. It makes play dates super stressful. You feel judged. You want to shout out but he’s not even two he doesn’t know any better! Or sometimes it’s their child who pushed first and because yours stands his ground he looks to be the bad guy as no one saw the first push! But you can’t say anything without looking petty so you just have to pull your child aside and tell them off and pray to God they don’t do it again within the next five minutes.

Luckily the biting seems to only coincide with teething spells and usually the hitting or pushing is only once or twice and then he seems to settle into what’s going on and play happily alongside his friends. Still the tension is there and you are on constant high alert. It’s almost enough to make you want to bypass play dates altogether!

So today my child ate a handful of snacks at nursery, and once he got home he proceeded to cry and roll around on the floor saying no to anything I suggested. He asked for juice…I made him juice…I handed it to him and he threw it down crying noooo juuuice. He then asked for a nana…I peeled a banana for him…and again he cried saying no nana noooo and threw it into the sink! I can’t seem to please him no matter what I do. I’d give up…but you can’t. You can’t quit. You can’t take a day off. You’re it for the next however many years it takes until they can look after themselves!

Sometimes I long for the days of a simple baby who only drank milk and slept through car journeys. Who woke like clockwork every three hours for a feed, but you knew it was coming and you were meant to be giving them a feed so you didn’t have to have that internal battle of whether your almost two year old should be having night feeds or not and if you could just find the energy to get through one night it may break the routine and he’ll stop wanting milk.

I thought I had it sussed! And maybe for a split second I did, but then everything changed and tomorrow it will probably change again. On one hand the first year is the hardest because you have no idea what you are doing. But the second year feels just as hard…yet by now you should know what you’re doing right? So for now I’m just trying desperately to cherish every moment. Every tantrum. Everything about this precious soul who is growing up just too damn fast…

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