Friday, 20 February 2015

Half term

Motherhood can be really hard sometimes. I think the hardest part is the pressure we put ourselves under. For me it's to ENJOY EVERY MOMENT. I am conscious my children will only be so young for such a short period of time. I'm also conscious that, having chosen to have children so close in age, the baby years are already behind me and the toddler years will follow in the blink of an eye.

Which means these times now are all the more precious and I want to enjoy them all, I really do. But it's so hard sometimes! We've had a rubbish half term. I was so hoping to enjoy this holiday.

We had a few playdates planned and some outings and trips, the obligatory visit to Granny's house and a day out at Wisley and some fun in the butterfly house. February half term is always my favourite as it usually kicks off with or incorporates my birthday. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, Violet got sick.

Then I did.

Then Cherry did.

Then it was Tuesday already and all I'd done was wipe up sick and smell sick and deal with sick and generally been surrounded by sick.

We did make it to Granny's house for a very lovely afternoon and night, but the next day our trip to Wisley was a complete disaster. Cherry, still not 100%, fell asleep in the car on the way. That's always a bad sign these days. She rarely, if ever, naps any more. If she does sleep during the day it's really heavy sleep, she's groggy and upset when she wakes up and it can take her a good hour or two to really orientate herself again - then she won't go to bed again til 9pm. All in all, naps are BAD.

But she fell asleep, which meant she woke up groggy and disoriented and proceeded to scream and cry for the 50 minutes we were actually at Wisley. One thing after another - she was cold, she didn't want to wear her coat, she was hungry, we had to wait for a table, she didn't want apple juice, she wanted orange juice AND SO ON.

Eventually I took pity on everybody (myself included) and just took her home.

It's hard to know how to deal with Cherry sometimes. Much is made of ages and stages - terrible twos, threenagers - but I tend to just think kids will be kids and that as parents we tend to over-apologise for what is often completely ordinary and normal behaviour.

Some children breeze through the early years without so much as a blip, others hit every 'stage' going full throttle and stay there for ages. Cherry is a challenging, emotional, passionate child with a very defined personality and a clear sense of who she is. She is not malleable, easily influenced or obedient and she is prone to resistance, especially if tired or unwell - the more run-down she is the more resistant. She's a wonderful untamed spirit and I wouldn't change her for the world but sometimes she is completely exhausting and there's only so much I can give.

Today has been a struggle, although it did end very happily and positively. One thing I will say for Cherry, she always lets me know when things need to change. I've never really prioritised one-on-one time with either of my children thus far, it's basically been completely unviable other than the odd bit here and there with one of them.

But Cherry's made it clear that this has to change, and I can see that there is a need to carve out a small portion of time every day for just me and her. I'm not quite sure how we will manage this yet, my preference would be to get Violet into bed nice and early and have half an hour or so with Cherry before she turns in. But both girls are super-early risers and Violet is often tricky to settle, meaning Cherry could be left waiting for up to an hour for her 'Mummy time'. Plus after an hour of settling Violet and 12.5-13 hours of parenting I'm usually ready for a bit of child-free time to be honest!

The other option is the morning, we're all usually up some time between 5.30 and 6.30am and Noel doesn't usually leave until gone 7, so there is potential there. Mornings are not my preference, Cherry usually wants to play with Violet and is full of the joys, so really it's in the evenings that she could benefit from a bit of quiet, close, loving time with me.

The other thing this half term has once again highlighted is how much I need to be looking after myself. I actually struggle with that concept overall - I know I need to look after myself but realistically and practically speaking what does that actually mean? Cliches of massages and bubble baths abound, I love massages and yes I love a bath too but I am increasingly feeling it's my emotional and spiritual needs that could do with a bit of focus. More on that soon no doubt, in the mean time I found this an interesting read on that subject. And this, from the same site, on changing the shape of your mornings, which has become something of an ongoing quest for me.

I hope your half term was better than ours! Still, there's always Easter…fingers crossed.

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