Lightbulb Moment #1 – Epilogue

It worked! The little man sleeps once more.

The wonders of what a little heat can do. Now I keep my fingers crossed that it wasn’t a fluke….

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Lightbulb Moment #1

So as it turns out, 2.30 in the morning is apparently as good a time as any for a lightbulb moment. How do I know this?

I was lucky enough to experience one this morning and I don’t mind telling you it caught me a little off-guard. A sleepy stupor, fighting fatigue all the while trying to serenely rock my son back to sleep is not the scenario that immediately springs to mind when I think,

When would I most likely experience a moment of clarity?

But, hey, I’m not complaining, I’ll take them when I can get them.

We’ve been having ‘fun’ over the last couple of weeks with our beautiful baby boy who had been previously sleeping like an angel all night, suddenly waking up at 1.45am pretty much every morning. To add some extra excitement to a fairly mundane evening, the last couple of nights have been every couple of hours from midnight on. Now I know I really can’t complain that much because we’ve had an exceptionally good run when it comes to getting a decent night’s sleep. However, as my husband so aptly pointed out, once the standard has been set,

A disturbed night is a disturbed night

Anyway, as I’ve previously mentioned, I have a penchant for mulling over the unexpected changes and surprises ad nauseam and I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out why the little man is so disturbed. He survived a dinner out the other night, not stirring while we got him into the car, not stirring while we took him out of the car, not even stirring when we put him in bed, but at 1.45am sharp, the little whimpers started to resonate from the baby monitor and by about 1.47am they had escalated to a most unimpressed statement of displeasure.

Fortunately and unfortunately, the only way I’ve been able to settle him and recover whatever is left of a good night’s sleep is to bring him back to bed with me. Now I say fortunately because the cuddles are truly lovely and there’s nothing like waking up to a big, beaming smile to erase the fatigue-driven crankiness, but it’s also a tad unfortunate in the sense that a) it would be nice to be able to settle him in his own bed. He’s done it before so I know it can be done and b) for such a little person he can really take up a fair whack of a king size bed.

So, in my usual borderline-obsessive way, I’ve been wondering whether the solids we’ve been introducing are playing up with his system, or whether the new bedtime routine is somehow to blame or even whether there’s some secret sequence of events that will guarantee a good night’s sleep that I’m somehow missing. And yes, I’ve even been trolling through the online baby forums to see whether a spark of inspiration could be found.

Then it dawned on me at 2.30 this morning, while I was sitting in his room, teeth-a-chattering….hmmm….it’s pretty cold in here. I wonder what the temperature in the room is? 13 degrees (thanks to the wonders of modern technology and our digital baby monitor). Well that probably has something to do with it.

Perhaps there’s not some secret conspiracy at play to rob me of my sleep, perhaps he’s just feeling a bit cold?

It would even explain why he’s been so settled nestled in the warmth of our bed.

I tell you, it seems so obvious now, but gee that realisation felt good! An added bonus is that there’s even something I can do about that…winner!

Fingers crossed my lightbulb moment works this evening…..otherwise what currently feels like a flash of brilliance may just be the hazy delusions of a sleep-deprived Mum.

Watch this space.

Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net & Microsoft ClipArt

Just When You Think You’ve Got the Hang of It

One of the many wondrous, challenging and surprising parts of having a baby is how adept they (quickly) become at keeping you on your toes. In fact, it feels like I’ve spent so much time on my toes as a new Mum that I could moonlight as a prima ballerina – except of course for the general (and somewhat overwhelming) lack of grace, poise and elegance.

Sometimes it seems like there’s an in-built sensor that monitors just how comfortable you are as a parent and as soon as it looks like you’re getting a bit too confident an alarm sounds that brings with it a subtle (or not so subtle) change to the status quo as if to say

‘Don’t relax too much, we wouldn’t want you snoozing on the job now!’

Or perhaps there’s some sort of internal feedback system that monitors your progress so that when you’ve ‘mastered’ one task it triggers the next? And yes, that is a tongue-in-cheek use of the term mastered!

Either way, whenever it happens it throws me just a little bit and I wonder whether I have what it takes to adapt and meet the new suite of needs. OK, so it actually throws me into a tail spin complete with shallow breathing, wakeful nights and incessant mulling over what’s caused the latest change (and whether there was something that I had done, could have done differently, should be doing now etc, etc, etc), but then again I have always been a little bit drama-prone!

Seriously though, ad-libbing is not one of my strengths. I’m the queen of arriving at the perfect response 3 days after the event when I’ve had plenty of time to weigh up all the pros and cons, run the worse-case scenario, talk it to death with anyone in earshot and then changing my mind about 14 times before settling (usually quite comfortably) with the chosen course of action. Complicated and a touch unnecessary for sure but it works for me.

On the up side though:

I’ve survived and lived to tell the tale and what’s even better is that he’s survived too! So far….

In case it wasn’t obvious, this week has been one of those weeks and, just like all the other times before it, things are settling down and the confidence is returning. For at least another day or two anyway 🙂

But it does feel good to get it off my chest!

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thought of the Day

Women do not have to sacrifice personhood if they are mothers nor do they have to sacrifice motherhood in order to be persons ~ Elaine Heffner

It is funny how sometimes these do seem mutually exclusive. It’s all too easy to start compiling the ‘things-we-used-to-be-able-to-do’ and the ‘things-we-never-used-to-do-but-have-to-now’ lists when a baby enters the household. There are so many things that we’ve had to wave goodbye to and so many things that we’ve had to welcome in but it’s good to stop and remember that being a person and being a mother can and do happen all at the same time!

Motherhood and the Various Shades of Grey

It’s a constant source of surprise and amusement when I look back on strongly held beliefs I had about being a parent before I had actually become one. Things seemed so straight forward and, in hindsight, so black and white…I’ll never use a dummy, of course I’ll be able to breastfeed and it goes without saying that I’ll be a beacon of patience and inner light. I mean really, how hard could this ‘yummy mummy’ thing be? Ha!

I reminisce on what I now recognise as delusions and chuckle. How naive I was. Now that I’m a Mum I realise how few things about being a parent are straightforward – ‘duh’ you might say but a lesson learnt it’s been. Instead of what used to seem like clear-cut, obvious ‘right or wrong’ choices, there are now about 1,000,001 shades of grey on pretty much any parenting topic you could possibly think of.

I remember how easy being a parent seemed when you didn’t actually have to be one

It was so easy to judge parents with crying babies who were sitting at cafes. Why weren’t they doing whatever it took to keep their baby calm and content? It never dawned on me that perhaps that was exactly what they were doing. Now I know that sometimes the only way I get to eat lunch is to suffer through a few grizzles because, until the human race evolves with mothers who have four arms, I can’t make a sandwich, eat it, drink a cup of coffee and cuddle my baby at the same time.  I also know that a cranky Mummy resulting from food deprivation and caffeine withdrawal is not a good outcome for anyone. Cranky Mummies certainly don’t make an appearance in the ‘yummy mummy’ paradigm!

It was so easy to view dummies as the ‘lazy option’ or the demise of the amazing communication prowess of an infant. Now I think “if it helps and makes life that little bit easier” then why wouldn’t you make use of it? At times the only thing that brings comfort to my son is to suck and that, if given the chance, he would spend the better part of a day permanently attached to my breasts achieving said comfort if it was on offer. Now while, for the most part, his needs do come before mine there are inevitable limits. And for me, a happy and content baby makes for a relaxed mummy. Cranky babies also don’t generally feature in the ‘yummy mummy’ montage.

But then this is just what works for me, and what works for me may not work for any other parent but that doesn’t make it better or worse…just another shade of parenting.

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt as a parent is that nothing is ever as it seems

I realise now just how much the saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’ applies to parenting. I’ve loved exploring the various shades of grey in the big and small decisions so far and look forward with anticipation to all that lies ahead….

This, of course, doesn’t mean that I still don’t have my opinions (and I certainly do) but at least nowadays I feel like they come with some perspective and they generally appear in the context of my own experience…but that’s a topic for another day.

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Having Your Cake and Eating It Too…

Among other things, one of the things I love most about finishing a semester of study is being able to get my thoughts back to myself. No longer is my mental capacity maxed out by trying to recall the diagnostic criteria for various personality disorders or distinguishing between mood, anxiety and eating disorders – riveting stuff I know! In all fairness this semester was pretty engaging for me but it does take its toll.

For the next few weeks I get to focus on my family, read for pleasure (for the few minutes of bedtime reading that I get before passing out) and generally just enjoy the lack of pressure and deadlines that come with assignments and exams. Bliss!

On reflecting what it was like for the past 4-5 months juggling study with a newborn I can’t help coming back to the old adage of having one’s cake and eating it too.

For the most part, I really can “have it all”.

I have a wonderful husband and son which make for a very rewarding family life, I’m fortunate to be able to be a stay-at-home-Mum, I’m finishing my psych degree so  that I can open up a range of new work opportunities for my future and I’m starting to think about what sort of work from home I might be able to do later in the year to bring in a few extra dollars. Clearly I have no complaints!

Credit where credit’s due, I’m lucky enough to have amazing family support which is the only reason I’ve survived this semester of study. Without it there’s certainly no way I would be sitting in my lounge room on the evening after an exam feeling cool, calm and collected. It’s because of their generosity of time and energy that I’ve managed to avoid turning into a bug-eyed monster propped up by caffeine running off of vapours (not a pretty picture let me tell you).

As I start to mull over potential work ventures, it dawns on me that for every new thing I take on, there’s at least one guaranteed consequence – I keep getting spread thinner and thinner. Unfortunately, these grand undertakings don’t come inbuilt with an extra store of attentional capacity so it stands to reason that the more I take on, the more I split my focus. Sure, that’s the juggling act we all manage on a day-to-day basis, but for the first time I have an extra variable that I haven’t had to deal with before: What impact does all this have on my son?

Don’t get me wrong he’s not being neglected or suffering in any way. Quite the opposite in fact. His grandparents have been more than happy to spend as much time as they can get with their grandson and there are plenty of arguments to be made about the long-term benefits of all this for my son but the question remains: Where do I draw the line?

Sure I can have my cake and eat it too but should I?

I don’t have all the answers yet but it’s certainly given me pause for thought.

Image courtesy of Microsoft ClipArt

Do Parents = Technological Dinosaurs?

Well it’s finally happened, I’ve crossed over from being the ‘young’ generation to being one of the ‘older’ generations.

Alright, in all fairness that probably happened a little while ago but not having spent a lot of time around young people I’ve been able to live in blissful ignorance. That is until I started living with one full-time.

I’ve come to realise that, in time, my son is going to have the same type of reactions to my stories of ‘days gone by’ that I had to my parent’s stories which I’m sure is the same reaction they had to their parent’s stories and so forth and so forth.

You know the rolling of the eyes and bemused facial expressions that roughly translate to ‘Good on ya Mum’

It strikes me that, as is usually the case, the stories that are going to elicit the strongest reactions and make me seem ‘so old‘ to my son are those that involve technology.

We chuckle about the fact that the technology that our son is going to come to take for granted hasn’t even hit the mainstream yet and I don’t mind telling you that’s just a little bit weird. My husband and I are both reasonably technologically savvy (my husband probably a little bit more than me) and like to keep up-to-date with new technologies but it’s an inescapable truth that at some stage, in the not so distant future, our son is going to far surpass our understanding of technology and the student will inevitably become the teacher. Hopefully that day is still a little way away but like it or not it is coming.

There’s no denying you’ve moved up the generational ladder when you start reminiscing about ‘how things were in your day’ and when you start looking at the kids of today thinking to yourself ‘we were never like that’.  When I see kids who look like they’re about 7 pulling out the latest smart phones I can’t help but be a little bit amazed.  Never mind the kid I saw recently in the doctor’s surgery who couldn’t have been more than 4 asking her Mummy for her iPhone.  I know I didn’t get my first mobile phone until I was 19 and let me tell you, there was nothing overly smart about it and I really only had it for emergencies.  I had limited credit, calls were so expensive and there was no such thing as SMS conversations (this is the part where you’d expect the eye rolling to start).

There’s no denying how far technology has come in the short time since I was that age (well shortish anyway).

Not to mention the wonderful world of computers. I smile to myself thinking of my childhood when I used to get excited about playing the Commodore 64 on the weekends and the hours of fun during my teen years that were spent playing games like Carmen San Diego and the various Quests (Kings, Police and Space). It’s strange to think that my son is not going to understand a world where you don’t have constant access to some form of personal computer 24/7. He’s most likely going to laugh when we tell him about our first computer lessons in primary school where, once a week, you’d all file into the computer lab where there were maybe 10 Apple Macs that were to be shared amongst a class of 25-30. A world where word processing was innovation, email didn’t exist and the internet was only used by intelligence agencies is going to seem positively ancient.

So in the spirit of embracing the harsh realities of life (yes, the ageing process will continue despite these miraculous technological advances) I’m enjoying the strolls down memory lane as I start to catalogue the golden oldies that I’m going to be able to pull out to tell my son.  While I’m in no particular hurry to get there, I do think I’m going to enjoy imparting my little snapshot of history and hopefully, just because I continue to age,  it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll turn into a technological dinosaur in the process.

We’ll see!

Image courtesy of Microsoft ClipArt & FreeDigitalPhotos.net