Drawing Board

So I’ve unleashed the crayons on Lenny, and I wasn’t expecting anything more than scribbles to be honest. What I wasn’t expecting however, was how protective I would be of my crappy little crayon drawings. As a person of an arty nature, I was very distraught when Lenny brandished his crayon over Gerald the Giraffe, and squiggled a line through his head.

That creation had taken a good five minutes, and I was immensely proud of it. But, alas, it is no longer destined for the Tate Modern, I will simply have to find somewhere else to hang my masterpiece.

Also,crayons are incredibly difficult to blend, I wonder if Crayola have ever thought about this?

I have since managed to hide my disappointment from Lenny, and am now focusing on outlines of drawings for him to add his own stamp to. I think this is suiting us well.

There is no way he is coming near my very own colouring book though, that only makes an appearance after his bedtime. And I have my very own pencils which actually blend (oh the joy!) so I can unleash my creativity elsewhere.

Up and Down

I’ve been a bit touch and go when it comes to my blogging, mainly because I’ve had a tough couple of weeks mentally as I transitioned between medication. I had a bad reaction a couple of weeks ago, which resulted in a very scary breakdown, which I don’t remember much of.

I’ve reached out for a bit more support, so I’ve been in touch with my local Wellbeing Team, and I can also get some sessions of counselling via work. I’ve gone back onto my old medication, as I don’t want to go downhill again.

Hope everyone else is doing ok, I will do some more posting soon as and when I feel up to it.

Take care x

Work work work work work

We’re having a bit of a change around at work, and I’ve applied for a couple of internal jobs. Nothing major, I still have my job if I don’t get one of the new ones.

They asked me today about my hours, and stated that it would be a full time position. I work 30 hours a week currently, mostly because I value time with my family.

I didn’t really think about it at first, but a realisation has crept in that I might not actually be able to progress in my career, unless I go back to full time. Its upset me a bit, and I feel slightly discriminated against.

Its also made me think, that it might stand against me if I am working part time. I might not be considered for roles unless I guarantee I will be working full time.

I’m feeling a bit disheartened about it all, I shouldn’t have to choose between my family or my career.

Break on through, to the other side…

So I see its been a week since my last post. This is due to the fact that Lenny has still not been sleeping very well until the weekend. Unfortunately, he now has a cold, but this is only causing minimal disruption.

I have to be honest, but the end of last week, I seriously thought I was losing my mind. I was sleep deprived, emotional and going through a transition with my medication. No wonder I was all over the place.

I felt like I was failing and not able to cope. The hourly wake ups, sleeping on the floor and subsequently getting up for work was killing me.

I could’ve fell asleep on my desk every day last week, and was struggling to find my motivation and keep my temper. It was a scary time, the sleep deprivation and the medication change do not go well together. I’m surprised no one noticed the struggle.

Feeling slightly better now that the routine is subsequently returning to normal. Nothing prepares you for a sleep regression like this, you can read as many help blogs as you like, but nothing will solve it. You just have to persevere, and hope that you survive!

Another Sleep Regression

I haven’t posted for a few days, frankly because I’ve been too tired. Lenny has hit another sleep regression patch, and I’m feeling a bit sleep deprived.

He has decided that he will not go to sleep unless I stay in the room with him. He has also taken to waking during the night again, and wont go back to sleep again for two hours (and of course, I have to stay in there).

One night I even slept on the floor, just to get him back to sleep. Obviously, I don’t want to get into the habit of doing these things, because I don’t want him to come to expect it. Its just so bloody difficult when they are screaming and crying, and you just want to comfort them. I feel guilty for letting him cry, but he only stops when I’m there.

One thing I found last night that worked, what a guided sleep meditation video on You Tube. I played it to him whilst I was in there, and after 20 minutes of it, he fell asleep. I’m hoping to try this again tonight, but chances are, it wont work this time!

It could be anything, but I suspect that it is teeth and a growth spurt. He did sleep through last night, but woke with the birds at 6.30am.

It is testing me mentally and physically, Im just praying to wont go on too much longer for all of our sakes. I want my happy little Bean back.

Post Natal Depression and Me.

I wanted to write a post about my experience with PND. I’ve read other peoples stories, and they vary wildly in terms of symptoms, and reactions. If you’ve ever experienced it, or are still struggling like me, I would be so glad to hear your experiences too.
PND doesn’t always start straight away. Sometimes it can take days, or months for it to manifest itself. I found that, due to my history of depression, I was likely to be more susceptible to it. So whilst I was surprised when it happened, part of me expected it and almost embraced it. It was almost like welcoming and old friend you hadn’t seen in ages, and it was like they’d never been away.
Whilst it was familiar, it was also strange and scary too. I had never wanted to end my life before, but suddenly, I was presented with an overwhelming urge to walk into a lake and not come out again.
The only thing that stopped me was having my son with me. I couldn’t leave him there on his own, so young and so helpless. I didn’t want him to grow up believing his mum didn’t want him and couldn’t cope with him. Nothing was further from the truth. I adore him, but something inside me wanted me to go.
I look at photographs taken of him last year, and some of them I cannot even remember being taken. They are so alien to me; they could be someone else’s child. There are huge gaps of time missing from last year, where I cannot remember anything that happened. It scares me that I cannot remember, and that I cannot share those memories with him when he gets older.
It was never a case of me not wanting to look after him, I wanted to protect him. It was me I couldn’t look after. I couldn’t wash, eat properly or find joy in anything. I still struggle with these things now.

There was a bonding issue that I never noticed, but other people picked up on. It really hurt for people to think that. I had never looked after a child in my life, so it was a very daunting prospect for me, which I imagine is the case for a lot of new parents.
When the GP put me on Sertraline, it was a relief knowing that in a way, I had embraced my illness. I could fight it, and hopefully regain some of my life back. It’s not been easy, and it still isn’t easy now. I’ve never wanted to kill myself again, but there are days when I just want to stay in bed and not have any responsibilities. It sounds utterly childish and selfish to say that, but if you’ve ever suffered from depression, you will know how that feels.
Knowing that I suffer from PND and depression is overwhelming, but I know when I am becoming ill again. The scariest part is the delusions, something I’m too embarrassed to discuss with anybody. To explain it, it’s like constantly living in a daydream. You can function normally, but it feels robotic. When you are not engaged in a normal activity, you slip into this fantasy world, and it consumes every single minute of every single thought.
No one will notice it. But you can. You would rather be in this world where you make the future and can control what happens. Sounds great doesn’t it? Yep, until you realise it’s not real and it’s never going to happen. You come crashing down into the real world and it’s scary, horrible, dark and utterly terrifying.
I am also a chronic paranoid. Everyone is talking about me, making fun of me, generally being mean to me behind my back. Every problem is caused by me, people hate me, I will never get anywhere in my life. It makes me anxious, it makes me panic and I can’t function properly. It’s exhausting being me, and I know it’s not just me who feels like this.

I bet a lot of people could relate when I say I wish I had a switch in my head, so that I could turn off my thoughts at night to get some sleep. How blissful a quiet head would be?
Lenny is 20 months old as I write this, and we’re lucky to have got through this time (relatively) unscathed. I do wonder if deep down, any of my emotions have embedded themselves inside him, but if I worry about that, it’s just another thing to add to my list. I won’t analyse him, he is just a little boy who needs a guiding hand through the world.
I look at him now, and I wonder how I could ever have considered killing myself. When you have a child, it is the most amazing and fulfilling thing in the world, and it’s an absolute honour to be his mum. I am lucky that I corrected myself so that I am able to see what the future holds for him.

How to Survive a Wedding with a Toddler (or at least, just get through the day)

This is an honest and realistic guide of what to expect if you’re taking a child under two to a wedding.
If you’ve been invited to a wedding, and so has your child, chances are they actually want them there, or they don’t have kids themselves and have no idea of what the fallout will be.
How they behave at a special event like this, is purely how they behave the rest of the time. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a toddler that would sit quietly and patiently throughout the service and speeches? Well yes it would be, if said toddler was like that at home.
It our case, this was not applicable.
If your toddler is cheeky, active, with a tendency to be naughty on the verge of you having a breakdown, then this is what will happen at a wedding. Don’t think for one second they will appreciate the enormity of the occasion, as they will probably use the silence to practice their vocal skills (echoey rooms are hilarious for them, and will only increase their vocal volume).
I had read a few survival guides for weddings, and they made it sound idyllic. However, I wanted to put together my own, as the chances are, the results will probably be like mine.
1. Take the pushchair – ok, this is an obvious one, and you will find it on any other list. It is handy if you need to walk any distance, or at least have a seat to put them in. They are also useful to store any additional crap in the bottom. It is great if your child likes to stay in their pushchair – but mine doesn’t. Take it anyway, you never know, they might actually stay in it at some point.

2. Food – take plenty of snacks that are easily accessible (no crinkly wrappers), and have the ability to cause as little mess as possible. You may think that fruit is a good idea, but not if it’s gooey and has a tendency to stick to things (such as someone’s hair). Take your own cutlery and plates, as ‘adult’ utensils are very noisy, especially during the speeches.

3. Toys – again, take things that create as little noise as possible. I took our tablet and already had some children’s apps downloaded onto it. Don’t feel bad about using technology to distract your child – it is a godsend. Crayons are also good, but as long as they don’t tend to chew them. Potentially, attach bungee cords to any toys; you will get sick of picking the bloody things up, trust me.

4. Plan an escape route – during the ceremony, make sure to sit at the back in the aisle seat. Scope out your escape route before the ceremony starts, you don’t want to be tripping over looking for the exit. If your child is fidgety like mine, chances are, you are going to have to leave the ceremony at some point. So, best to expect this beforehand.

5. Change of clothes (possibly two) – you have no idea how important this is, and is probably the best thing I took with me. If they have been in a suit etc. all day, take something comfy to change into for the evening. Lenny decided to have a rice pudding fight with himself during the speech, which was hilarious and mortifying in equal measures (and trust me when I say it was everywhere). A change of clothes was an absolute life saver. I don’t like wearing formal wear, and could quite happily have changed into my leggings. The same will apply to your child, they will appreciate it.

6. Other people – don’t expect other people to be quite so gracious and understanding of your child (this is especially true when other children there are very quiet and behaving themselves). I found some people at the wedding were a bit ‘stuck up’, and didn’t appreciate that a 20 month old does not want to sit still. I will not apologise for him being a child, and if people have a problem with this, then just ignore it.

7. Take it as it comes – because there is no way you’re going to be able to predict what happens. Plan for the worst, and that is what will happen. You know your child better than anyone, and you will know what you need to do in any situation. Don’t expect them to be perfect, it’s never going to happen. Kids are loud, messy, entertaining and thrive on other people’s attention and will attract it however they see possible.

It really is as simple as that. But if you get the offer of someone looking after your child whilst you attend the wedding, don’t feel bad about accepting it. If you know your child isn’t going to sit still or keep quiet, let them stay somewhere familiar where they are free to be themselves. They won’t miss the occasion, and probably don’t understand what’s going on anyway.
If the worst does happen, like a rice pudding fight, chances are the bride and groom will find it equally hilarious as everyone else, and will be glad that the child enjoyed themselves.
Just remember to take a tonne of baby wipes; you’re seriously going to need those.

Wedding Update

So the wedding went according to plan – a complete stressful nightmare.

I’ve only just recovered from the saga, and can honestly say that I don’t wish to do it again in the near future.

I am in the middle of writing my experiences, and will post in great detail a survival guide for you all.

Meanwhile, I’m currently sat at work with a terrible headache, feeling like I’ve got a hangover when I haven’t drank since New Years Eve.

Happy Tuesday!

Wedding Bells

We are off to a wedding today, our first one as a family.

Not going to lie, I am totally bricking it. My stomach is doing somersaults and I feel a bit sick. I’ve been panicking about this all week, and now its here.

I cant wait to see my friend get married, but I’m honestly more concerned about how Lenny is going to behave. Will he be noisy? Will he scream during the ceremony? Will he play up during the meal?

I’m just praying its all going to be ok, and everything will be fine. I want to come home and wonder what I was worried about.

Watch this space!