Friday, June 8

A Day of Two Halves

If ever there was a day of getting out on the wrong side of bed, today was it. I only have one side of bed, but obviously today it was Wrong. 

I had a rare lie-in until 08:20 (thanks Wriggles!) but awoke in grouch-mode and it got worse and worse. I intended to get ready early and go out before 10 to take Wriggles to soft play before lunch in the hope of tiring her out a bit so she might re-take up napping in the daytime and thus start sleeping a bit more normally at night times. Partly due to the rain and mostly due to my ineptitude, we weren't both ready until gone 11. Wriggles was driving me up the wall, only content to throw everything off my bookshelf constantly ad shriek at me if I dared correct her from reading books upside down (not a deliberate attempt to spoil fun: she can and has for months read them the 'right' way and now her upside-down-and-back-to-front method is very rough, breaks the spine of all the books and thus makes the pages likely to fall out. She has developed superhuman strength and can easily destroy a board book) or suggest that she could do something, anything, other than book flinging either with or without me. I discovered I had missed a series of payments on things so had to do some organising and grovelling which is never nice, and finally wrapped up a parcel to post to a dear friend who is having a baby shower this weekend, which I cannot afford to go to (WHY do airlines charge practically an adult fare for infants who will after all, only be sat on your lap with no luggage?). There wasn't a proper reason for getting cross, especially with Wriggles who after all was only being a toddler, but I found myself getting increasingly wound up and stressed with everything. The washing up pile haunted me, reminding me that I was rubbish at doing things when I knew I should and I felt tired and a bit overwhelmed by just life.

By the time we left, it was pouring down but I could not stand to stay inside. I know from prior experience, being couped up with a full of beans Wriggles in destroy mode is not a recipe for a happy day. We had a nice hour where we go some jobs done, called in on our recently retired childminder who was delighted to see the Wriggly one and had some lunch . Then the trouble brewed again as I tried to persuade the baggy-eyed and yawning child to have a nap. Just five minutes (or preferably twenty if you're asking). She looked sleepy. She has until very recently, had a hour or longer nap after lunch to recharge her batteries. This has suddenly turned into a battle meaning by 5pm she is a whining and exhausted child and bedtime is frankly a miracle when it eventually occurs. We walked around the park. We walked around the park again. We had some top-up milk. We walked around the park some more. In the rain. An hour later, with a very frayed temper I gave up. 

It is very rare I am grumpy with Wriggles or tell her off seriously. I do employ "No!" at appropriate moments ("NO Wriggles do not turn the TV on or off/grab plug sockets/climb onto the toilet/throw your dinner on the floor") but partly I've never really had cause to tell her off and partly I'm terrible at it as I instantly feel terrible. I'm not talking about dodging discipline, but shouting for the sake of a bad or frazzled mood over something that doesn't warrant that level of reprimand. I know it was wrong to snap at her, but snap I did. What with working and managing everything on my own from baby things to finances to the sodding washing up (where, where does it come from!) when it gets to the end of the week, a hard week of sleep regression, a frustrating previous day at work, then to be honest I need Wriggles' nap as much as she does. Just to get fifteen minutes or so to me. Just to sit down without guilt and breathe a sigh of relief. Just to know that the whining will almost-probably be cut out later. Just to have a cup of coffee that is still hot. Just to stop being two parents rolled into one with eyes in the back of my head and enough patience to shame a saint, for a tiny tiny fraction of time. I was cross and I told her off. I'm not proud of it. At all. But it was that or burst into tears. Needless to say, it did nothing. With defeat and now over an hour lost, I gave up and chalked it up to my list of failings and headed into soft play. As I paid the entrance fee, I knew full well that she wouldn't last the two hours it gives you but by now we both needed somewhere neutral and shrieking friendly.

And actually it did the trick. I chilled out and relaxed especially as Wriggles clambered over me. Seeing her cackling away to herself trying to climb the wrong way up the slide reminded me why I love her completely. I helped her perfect her clambering skill, which I suspect I may regret. It was rather hot in there, and as time passed Wriggles began to concern me slightly. She was getting very sweaty and clammy; I removed her t-shirt and clipped her face back. She was still very hot. In horror, I watched a bright rash spread across her arms and chest. It was very red and very spotty. Whether fever or heat rash it was hard to tell. Gradually it faded as I tried to cool her down and my bed time it is as if it had never been there. It is horrible moment though when your heart leaps into your mouth and panic is suddenly everywhere! We came home without even and had a cuddle that put the world, or at least mine, to right.

This week has been a little ray of bliss in terms of Wriggles' feeding. We have tried:
  • Mummy's sandwich
  • Mummy's cake
  • Strips of pitta bread
  • Wafers
  • A bit of buttered roll 
  • A vegetarian sausage 
...which have all gone down relatively well. I'm not talking huge amounts, but just tasting and Wriggles voluntarily putting them in her mouth is such an enormous step. I decided to bite the home cooking bullet today and make some sweet potato chips. To my amazement, as I deposited some on the highchair, Wriggles abandoned the strips of toast she was dribbling on and took one. And put it in her mouth. This was a beautiful moment; it was the first thing I have made she has touched*. Obviously I am delighted she now will try toast and sausages, but was giving up hope of ever being able to nourish her myself! Alright, I know it was just a bit of essentially fried potato. I imagine I could have possibly obtained some from the frozen aisle as the supermarket. But I cooked it. 

It dawned on me that I am enjoying food times with Wriggles. For the last 14 months I have been very much trying to enjoy food times zen to a fine art, but enjoy it? No way. Would you enjoy your offerings refused for months and months? Every day, several times a day no matter what you do with it? Would you enjoy seeing your child make herself sick with distress because she caught sight of a not her spoon, your spoon you intend to eat your yoghurt with? Would you enjoy finally revelling in her trust that fromage frais is actually yummy only to see her stomach contents cover the entire kitchen because of one little gag? No, thought not. Live with, yes. Accept, yes. Chill out about, very almost yes. Enjoy? No. But now, now Wriggles is trusting food enough to at least make sensory discovery and her own mind up and at best actually use her oral skills and digest it, now there is variety and her enthusiasm matches my own, now it is fun. Now if she just put on a little bit of weight so I couldn't play the xylophone on her ribs...!

Getting a bit cocky with the "climbing" malarky...


  1. She's doing brilliantly and you are doing brilliantly as a single mum. It's a hard task and all us mums get ratty at times , I have seen brilliant mums being reduced to tears, tantrum throwing, begging episodes and blackmail.
    Being a mum is a hard job and I've never met a single one who doesn't cringe at times when they are being honest about their parenting during those difficult moments. Rest assured you are not alone.

    1. Thanks for your kind (and rational!) words hun. Sometimes you need reminding the rest of the world isn't perfect either :)

  2. Hugs and more hugs to you ... I think you are doing a fab job with wriggles. I am all inspired!