It all started when we were running behind schedule. We were to drive down to Edinburgh for one of our friends daughters birthday party and as usual we were running late. As I scampered around the house trying to get everything together, I felt the stress rising. I needed to get Gabriel dressed and fed, pack his and my own bag, get my self ready, wash my hair and do my make up. SIGH!
The thing is when you have a young child you cannot just pack a few outfits and thats it. You need to bring the whole house! In addition to outfits and spare outfits in cases of leaking nappies or food spills. Its bottles, bibs, snacks, milk, nappies and toiletries. I was cursing myself for not preparing everything the night before. After a few mad dashes, I finally got the last things together while my husband strapped Gabriel in the car. Are we ready? He asked. Yes I replied and off we went to spend the weekend in Edinburgh.
We would usually do the whole 2 and a half hour journey in a oner, but that was no longer an option now with Gabriel who needs to kick his legs and have some food. We stop off and go to unstrap our baby out of the car. Where are his shoes? “I thought you packed them” I said to my husband. “I thought you did” he replied. FUUUUUUUUUCK!
We had forgotten Gabriel’s shoes! Luckily for us there was a Tesco nearby. What was a “quick buy any shoe” situation. Ended up being the day we found one of our favourite pairs. They have become his go to shoes along side his clarks, and he loves them.
With the weather getting colder, they go really well with this duffle coat from John Lewis. He has a few coats for different occasions but this one is by far our favourite. It is so stylish yet casual, and makes him look like a mini adult. Here is his outfit during one of our outings.
*Jumper is from Primark, Hat is from the titanic boutique in Ireland.
I would like to think I am a very switched on mother. My son always comes first with everything, and I always make sure he is safe from harm. I walk into a situation and assess the surroundings to make sure there is nothing he can get his hands on. But despite my constant vigilance, my son still got hurt. My Toddler Burnt His Hand On My Hair Straightener, and the guilt is killing me.
Now that Gabriel is a toddler I feel like he is changing and growing every single day. Every day he seems to have learnt something new. Whether it is suddenly speaking new words, or showing off his sporty side by playing golf and kicking a ball around. Yes he plays golf. However fascinating it is to see them quickly learning, it can also be a challenge. They suddenly are able to do things you didn’t realise they could do.
It was all my fault
It was another Tuesday as normal and Gabriel and I were getting ready for playgroup. Usual routine. Get Gabriel dressed first, then quick shower while he plays in my room watching me get ready. We have done it a thousand times. And we will probably do it thousand times more. However this time ended up with me rushing to A & E in a panic as my son screamed in pain.
As I was getting ready I looked at myself in the mirror. My hair was a mess. I am sick of looking like a frumpy mum so I decided to style my hair. Gabriel was across the other side of the room playing with a book when I took my hair straightener out. I quickly straightened a few stray strands and then unplugged the straightener and put it in the middle of my bed to cool down, out of reach and view of Gabriel, or so I thought.
He didn’t let go!
Talking and singing to Gabriel while I quickly put on some makeup. I heard him scream. Strangely it was not the pain stricken scream I would have thought. It was a scream he does almost every single day, and at first reaction I thought he had just fallen over or gotten frustrated with his book. Peering out to see what the fuss was about I saw him with his hand on my hair straightener. Fingers right on the hot plates. SHIT!
He had burnt his fingers on the hot plate, and to make it worse he didn’t have the reaction to let the plates go. He held onto them while screaming, making the burn worse. Panic took over me as I tried desperately to keep his hand under cold water while he wriggled and kicked around. My Poor baby who was so happy just a few moments ago was now shaking his hand and crying in pain.
I hated myself for letting it happen
Heading to A & E, panic turned quickly to guilt and I hated myself so much for letting this happen. Were all the nurses going to look at me and deem me as an unfit mother and call child services? How could I have let this happen? How the hell did he get hold of it?
Luckily the plates had already significantly cooled down and he got away with just a bandage on his hand for a week. When we got home I couldn’t shake the guilt and the wonder of how he reached it. Sitting at home after the ordeal I looked up to see Gabriel playing with my phone. How did he get my phone? It was on the counter top! Realisation kicked in. He can reach the countertop, hence he can reach onto my bed. He had grown faster and taller than I had realised.
Moral of the story. No matter how vigilant you are or how good a mum you are. Your child can still get hurt. Don’t underestimate your kids. They are more resourceful than you can imagine. This mama has learnt her lesson the hard way.
We often hear about the struggle some parents have with their children who are fussy eaters. You just have to type fussy eater in google and almost a million results pop up. Fussy eaters tend to be every new parents worst nightmare. Who chooses to have a kid who refuses to eat anything but french fries? But what about the opposite? Is your child eating too much?
My partner and I both come from big eater families. We love our food, maybe a little too much. I grew up in a culture where food was a way of life. My grandmother would slave away all day in the kitchen and we would all come together to bond over food. The more you ate the better it was in my family. ‘Eat’ my grandmother would say. ‘Eat, eat eat’. Even though I was already about to tumble over in a food coma.
” I was worried my child would be a fussy eater”
So when my son was born, I was adamant that he was going to be a good eater and have a healthy relationship with food. I didn’t want a fussy eater. I wanted a healthy little boy who would enjoy eating broccoli. The thought of having a child that only wanted to eat junk terrified me. What would I do? How do you make someone eat when they don’t want to?
I wanted a child who would be happy with fruit for dessert and love his veggies. So I made sure that Gabriel was fed healthy food packed full of veggies. No dessert pots, just fruit. And I was delighted to see that he gobbled it up with no protest.
“The struggle wasn’t to get him to eat. The struggle was to stop him from eating”
What i didn’t realise was that Gabriel would just about gobble anything up that was edible. My fears of having a fussy eater quickly went out the window. The struggle wasn’t to get him to eat. The struggle was to stop him from eating. Today I was told at Nursery that he ate all of his lunch (no brainer there). However he also ate another kids lunch, plus the vegetarian option and a few pieces of toast that they make for the fussier kids. I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing to be honest but apart of me felt like I needed to apologize.
Do you try to stop it? Or do you just accept that he eats a lot. To be perfectly honest I wasn’t bothered. He isn’t overweight for his age and he eats a very healthy and varied diet. But other peoples comments started to make me doubt myself.
On a playdate with a fellow mummy, my boy ran up to me holding a biscuit and saying TAAA. I opened it and gave it to him. The other mum was shocked and said “You let him eat snacks so close to dinner time”. The thing is, I don’t have to worry that he will not eat his dinner because he will eat it…..and mine….. and his fathers.
“Is my child eating too much?”
But when I kept getting comments from people about his eating habits I felt like I was somehow mum failing again. So i decided to try and limit his food consumption. However he seriously seemed to outwit me at every move. He knows where the snacks are kept and regularly digs out a biscuit or rice cake. Even when I hide them he finds them! I once couldn’t find him anywhere and then found him inside the cupboard desperately trying to reach his snacks. So I stopped buying his snacks, only to have him start opening the fridge and bringing bananas to me to open.
He is very resourceful. My partner and I find ourselves trying to hide while we try to eat our breakfast (or anything we don’t want to share) but he always finds us. I don’t even know how on earth he knows that we are eating. He can tell at any given moment and he is quickly on the move to hunt us down. He is so resourceful that I took him swimming and put him in the play pen while I changed. When I came out he was eating a rice cake!!! Where the hell did he get a rice cake from? Turns out he had stolen it from another kid. Sorry!
” I accept he is a mini muncher”
So what do I do? Trying to limit his consumption wasn’t working and to be honest, it made me feel horrible having to say no to him all the time when he asked for food. So i decided to accept my son for what he is. A mini muncher.
The day he refuses to eat his dinner because he snacked too much will be the day I limit his consumption. But right now he is doing just fine. He is healthy and happy. Everything I could want for my child. So if you see me giving Gabriel snacks before dinner time, please don’t judge me.
As a child I never fully appreciated my parents. How could I ? I never truly understood the sacrifices they went through to have me. Everything was taken for granted. Don’t get me wrong I had respect for my parents but respect and appreciation are two different things in my view.
When I look back now at some of the things I pulled, I cringe. The days I faked a headache so that I could go home from school resulting in my mum or dad having to leave work to collect me. The times I would say ‘ Whats for dinner mum” as soon as she walked through the door after a long day at work. The automatic assumption that I would have clean clothes in the wardrobe . I really had no idea.
When mum would fall asleep on the couch my brother and I would roll our eyes. Whats wrong with you? You always fall asleep. Little did I know that I would be doing the exact same thing years down the line. It never crossed my mind how hard it can be to be a parent. How much they really sacrificed for me and my brother. Not until I become a mother myself.
I remember when Gabriel was born. The pure joy and unconditional love that took over me. The motherly drive to provide and nurture this child to the detriment of myself. Nothing else would ever be more important than him. I was willing to do anything to protect this child and give him the best in life. As I felt these emotions it dawned on me. This is how my parents feel about me.
This realisation is like having a lightbulb moment and very awkward moment at the same time. Everything that happened in your childhood seems to make sense. The reason why you were never allowed to go out late at night to join some of the other kids. The reasons why they were so strict. It is awkward to think that during all of these years I never got it.
I remember getting so angry with my mum because i didn’t understand why she was always worried. I would go out with friends she was worried. I would speak about boys she was worried. I would walk down the street to the shops, she would worry. It used to drive me crazy. I didn’t understand why someone would worry so much over seemingly mundane things. It was not like we lived in a war zone. But then I became her. I became the worried mother and I cannot help but laugh.
Now it is my turn. The child has grown and has now taken the place as the parent. Now I will be the one to watch as I try to shape my son into a respectable person only to have him resent me for it. I will be the strict uncool parent that will be viewed as the fun sponge. I will be the one running around in circles to make sure they have everything they need even though they won’t appreciate it yet.
Even though I know I have many years to go before Gabriel will one day appreciate what we do for him. I stand here ready to take on the challenge. My heart is filled with gratitude towards my parents.
When I was pregnant I was so clueless. I had all of these ideas of how I wanted to raise my child. Everything would be organic. Snacks would all be homemade. He would play with educational toys and my god, never would I ever let him play with my iPhone or iPad.
I didn’t want to have a child addicted to a phone so young. To be honest I didn’t want to have a child addicted to a phone period. No matter what age. For some reason I had deluded myself in to thinking that I could raise children in the age of technology without them actually using technology. I got up on my high horse and said I wouldn’t be one of those parents. Ohhh how I have eaten my words.
I am not even sure how it happened. It just happened. Somehow my iPhone landed right into the hands of my little one. Then all of a sudden Youtube was on and was playing a string of songs and cartoons especially catered to my son. I really have no idea how this happened, honestly. All I know is that it started to happen more and more frequently than I had ever planned.
A trip in the car where Gabriel would scream for attention, out came the iPhone. The times when mummy was trying to cook, clean, work and Gabriel just wouldn’t give me 2 minutes. Oops out came the iPhone. When nothing else would distract him, out came the iPhone. Until it started to become a problem
I was in the kitchen trying to get dinner ready which, if you know my son, is an absolute nightmare because whenever he sees any sight of food he goes mental. You would think I had been starving him for days. Anyway as usual my little one started making a fuss. Getting a little bit flustered I gave him the iPhone and he sat there happily while I continued to cook. Then I stopped in my tracks. ‘Did he just scroll through Youtube and change the video’?
I must have been imagining things. He must have changed the song by accident. He is only 1 years old. But as I continued to watch him I was horrified to see that my 1-year-old son had mastered the iPhone better than my 52-year-old mother! There he was with his tiny finger casually scrolling youtube and choosing which videos he wanted to watch.
Later that night my horror continued. I received a text message telling me I had successfully signed up to Bounce Games ( I will never get my £1.50 back), had realised that Gabriel had sent gibberish texts to 2 of my friends and found a whole bunch of baby selfies in my photos! Selfies!!!!! Heres me thinking he was just watching Tinky-winky and Lala prance around a garden. I had no idea that my 1-year-old was posing for selfies!!!!
I didn’t think I would have to worry about iPhone usage until my son was at least 14 years old but here I was with a toddler who all of a sudden started demanding for it. Whenever he saw it he would point and say Ta. When he managed to get his hands on it, he would immediately come to me asking for Youtube then would proceed to roll around the floor if I said NO. It came to the point where we had to stop using phones around him because as soon as he saw one, he would make a beeline for it.
We are trying now to limit his exposure to the iPhone and Youtube. But its a tricky situation. I feel like I am trying to fight a battle I cannot win. I am torn between not wanting him to be so tech savvy at such a young age. At the same time I love the instant peace and freedom it brings.
I would love to say that I will never let him use or play with an iPhone again. That I am taking a stand against screen time for kids. That I am not a lazy mum who sold her soul to the devil that is technology. The truth is I am. I don’t have the patience nor the courage to fight it. I just want 5 minutes to myself so I can shovel that last piece of cake down my face without having to share it with him.
I can imagine a lot of mums are shaking their pretty heads at me right now. However I think we need to accept that this is the age of technology and that our kids are going to grow up a lot differently than we did. Smart phones, iPads, and social media are apart of this generation and there is nothing that anybody can do about it. All I can do is embrace this new way of life, and pray that I am not screwing them up somehow.
Whats your thoughts on this? What do you do in your household?
As I continue to recover from my recent surgery, I have realised in the last week how important my partners role is for our sons development. Of course, I have always known that my son needs his daddy but when your partner works offshore and you are the one running the household, often alone raising your child it is easy to forget. My partner has always been a great hands on dad, but when it came to the nitty gritty of caring for our son, I have always been the decision maker. Everything is run by me, his routine, his meals, his sleep times, his feeding times, you name it, I have it down pat!
But with my recent Endo crisis, my partner was forced to take charge while I was in hospital, meaning that he would spend his first time alone with his son since he was born, almost a year ago. Wondering how he will handle having to get up all night for our son who still doesn’t sleep through the night, I felt anxious for my boy. He wasn’t used to being way from me, how would he react? Unfortunately for my partner, the day that I had been admitted to hospital was also the day that Gabriel developed a high fever and was diagnosed with tonsillitis. Our baby was at his worst and with me not there to calm the situation my partner had to do his best to soothe our son on his own.
Anxious to get home and see how my baby was doing, I was taken aback when for the first time ever my son seemed to prefer being in his fathers arms than mine. What was this? Surely he hasn’t forgotten me in 2 days? But as the day progressed, I noticed that Gabriel seemed to be more independent than usual and instead of feeling joy and relieve, I had a ball in my stomach. Does this mean he doesn’t need me anymore?
Have I gone from being his number one to his number two or worse? Months of moaning about how clingy the baby was to me, when he started to show signs of becoming more independent , I hated it. However despite my feelings of rejection, I noticed something that I had never seen before, a calmness and silent understanding between by son and my partner. It was clear that their relationship had stepped up another level, and I could see in Gabriel a confidence he had not had before. They had bonded
Of course, they had bonded before. Gabriel knew who is Daddy was and was always eager to play with him whenever he arrived home from offshore but this was different. It was as if the absence of me had paved the way for them to connect with each other on a deeper level. Without me being there, my partner had had to step up and care for our son in a way he had never done before, showing him that he was not just a fun toy to play with but that he was also a parent, capable of loving and caring for him just like Mummy.
When I arrived back from the hospital I have to admit I struggled. As happy as I was to see this positive change, I found it difficult to let go. As a mother my life is now centred around my darling baby, I carried him, breastfed him, wake up every night for him, do everything for him. I didnt want to step back, I didn’t want to be put aside.
After a few days with me back in the house and slowly getting back into routine things seemed to adjust between us. Going to pick Gabriel up from nursery I wondered if his usual reaction when he saw us would be different given his new found confidence. As soon as he saw us walk through the door Gabriel cried and made a beeline to me, covering me in baby kisses and cuddles, just like he always does. I felt elated and special again! But as I tried to pass him over to say hello to his father, Gabriel refused to go or even acknowledge him and I felt a sadness for my partner. His dad was yet again non existent and for the first time I felt and understood the pain it must cause my partner.
All those times when Gabriel clearly preferred me to his daddy, how he would only sleep after having one last cuddle with mummy, how when he was unwell or out of sorts he would come straight to me for comfort, all those times I took for granted unaware of how painful it can be to be parent number 2, I thought it was normal, I am his mother after all. But as I look over the last few days I can’t help but ask myself if I had unknowingly hindered my partners and my sons relationship. I have always been there, in the background ready to sweep in when necessary, never really giving my partner an opportunity to take hold of the parenting wheel.
As mothers we often resent the pressure to be super mum without realising the perks that come with being the ‘go to’ parent. It is easy to get caught up in our selves and our own needs, especially when you are tired from being with your child all day and night but we need to step back and learn to let go.
After these last days I have seen how important it is for me to let go and let my partner take over once and awhile. Not only for him, but also for our son who has learned to see his dad as a parent. I know as a mother that it is hard to let go, we grew them in our bellies, birthed them, fed them, loved them, that bond can never break but we also need to step aside to allow our partners to feel that special connection we have with our children once in a while.
So go out tonight Mummies, take some time to yourself, or organise a weekend away amongst the girls, it will truly benefit all three of you.