Six months passed and I’m back at work. Yep. Retraining my “goo goo ga ga brain” into “business cat” mode. First day was a killer – all stress and guilt – will my mum cope with Ghaya or is she packing her bag right now. Am I a shit mother that I leave my baby for long hours, will I manage at work, will I deliver? All that whirling like in a broken thumping overloaded washing machine. Turns out Ghaya is absolutely fine, first day at work was a novelty to me (had to read to myself aloud to understand and process and it felt funny to have a luxury of being able to focus on anything for more than an hour AN HOUR!!!! without any disruptions), my mum survives and I can still breastfeed Ghaya as soon as I’m coming back. Small successes. Small steps.
Arya: Mummy, I don’t want to watch this pwogwamme
Me: What do you want to watch then
Arya: I want to watch a pwogwamme about me.
Sanj to Arya: I’ve got two sweeties in my pocket and mummy gives me two sweeties. How many sweeties do I have now?
Arya to Sanj: Show me your pocket, dad.
Why strain your brain if you can gain
Face painting lady: Do you want to be a princess?
Arya: I want to be a bat.
My daughter… real bat-ass!
It’s been two weeks and two days since my second beam of love, life and joy greeted this world and I feel myself again. My mind and my body have been recovered and I feel fulfilled. Although I do admit, I look at this peaceful tiny face and I think to myself: “This is the last time I’m holding such a tiny thing in my hands. Surely we won’t have another one. This is it. Now watch them both grow and no turning back time. So remember each cell, each gesture, like this one: each facial expression, like this one 🙂
The other day, when I had a chat with my work colleague about children she announced: “I do want to have children but not yet because I don’t want to be boring”.
I laughed with endearment and thought at th first split of the second that I should feel offended or at least defensive. But I didn’t.
I certainly didn’t consider this an insult but this one little innocent statement definitely made me think.
Now, that I am a mother, am I boring? Am I really boring? And I can answer this with absolutely no hesitation. Yes I am. I am perceived as boring. My days of partying are over, I go to sleep at the same time as my daughter, I skip company’s drinks because I rush to my daughter, I don’t remember when I last went to the cinema with my husband, let alone friends. What friends? I already have had a handful and now I don’t even make an effort to go for an occasional girls night out.
Socially I am dead! I also lost my mojo one could think. I would rather say on the other hand – my mojo transformed. Yes, it transformed. Now I have a mummy mojo and although there’s still a hole in my soul unfulfilled wig the things that I love and either sacrificed or lost energy to re- take up, I devote myself to my long awaited mother persona.
And I am the least fun human on the planet at the moment but it is so worth it…
I’m Polish. Bred and raised. Yet my daughter (now almost 2.5 years old, as she says: she’s “two o’s”) wields only her own mother tongue (aka English) , except a few occasional: “kocham”, “czesc” or “dzieki”.
Since Arya’s day one, I have been feeling guilty about this fact although I consciously made a choice not to speak to her in Polish mostly out of of convenience (I don’t have Polish speakers around me to converse on a daily basis). The guilt is coming from the societal (and sociolinguistic) view on raising children in a bilingual family. I’ve heard million times: “You should speak to Arya in your language, it’s really bad you don’t”.
And for the whole list of the reasons I have learnt when studied linguistics I do know they are right. Yes, Bilingual children are smarter, geniuses and they know a second language by default.
For years now I t has been hard for me to speak Polish. I don’t speak Polish daily. My family doesn’t call me regularly for chats in my native tongue, I don’t work with Polish people, I don’t have many Polish friends who I meet often. I breathe, think and speak English (far from RP, but I still do). I have been for over 12 years now (even in the Uni before than we spoke English all the time because we studied in English). How am I supposed to suddenly switch?
And yes the dark cloud of guilt follows me every day and I don’t need gurus on trains and occasional encounters telling me “YOU SHOULD” like I’m depriving my daughter of her basic rights. Go back to your lives and let me live with my guilt in my own world. I promise, Arya will speak Polish before I die.
For some reason Arya for months now has been a big fan of Nemo and Dory without even seeing a single frame of either of the animations. She has her Finding Nemo treasure book with the characters and plays with them every day.
Come Saturday, the Moodleys plan is to watch a movie together (symulatig cinema with popcorn and large Coke) while Arya sleeps. Yesterday afternoon while browsing Sky store we noticed there’s Finding Dory. BLOODY £5.45 it was for later and a crappy programme for us during the afternoon nap.
In the evening after Arya’s dinner I put Arya next to me and Sanj put the movie on.
The reaction was priceless. The first scene with little Dory and Arya’s face lit up. She covered her mouth with excitement like a celebrity on hearing her name at the announcement of the winner of the best actress Oscar Award. I have never seen this reaction before. She smiled every time little Dory was on and stayed tuned throughout the whole movie (another new thing in the world of our hummingbird). I watched all emotions coming out of this little soul. Happiness, worry, fear, surprise, excitement…
It was amazing. It was amazing that our baby matures emotionally, connects with characters and feels for them.
Milestone… this one’s huge.
I’ve got two jobs, my husband is a management consultant, our baby is in a nursery and as much as there’s only benefits of the latter I cannot digest the thought that I pay £1500 each month for this. She’s having fun there and very much enjoying the time spent with her teachers and peers but almost each day I cry over this £1500 per month.
Do you realise… DO YOU REALISE!!! that nurseries charge more than an average university for an MBA degree and yes, some mothers will jump on me saying that my child is the most important to me and money has no meaning when it comes to happiness of your child. Well, fuck it does because for this money I could get my daughter lots of things that inspire her, or, what would most of you say I could SAVE for her “real” education.
You have to be realistic about the costs. Wake up and realise that the government is f***ing you like a prostitute (what? A mother shouldn’t use a language like that? Oh oh oh let me tell you something, who are people to judge?)
Let’s see… If I pay £1500 per month she either comes out from it with a secured pension plan for me and my husband or
she knows Chinese and AT LEAST basic programming
she knows how to figure out what the next Euro millions results will be.
I cannot comprehend it – the newborns are our pension providers, mothers are some of the kegs in the economy wheel (still undervalued and underpaid but they are) and yet they fucking charge the FAMILIES for that.
W-T-F?!!! I say?
Do you know, parents, we are being ripped off, big time. FUCKING BIG TIME (and although I’m a parent I will fucking swear here, just because I’m a human. Not a woman, not a baby… but a fucking human… who has a brain, who is believed to have a brain, as opposed to women and babies).
There I had my rant.
And I’m actually considering moving out of this country – as a mother. #brexit to the win (short-term win)
And you know what – I know lots of women with babies who, with their families, decided to move out too.
Families, babies, women are not wanted here.
Hm, if most of us leave who will pay for your pensioner holiday, Britain?
I don’t know where you came from and why chose me.
I was ready then and I am ready now
Thank you for trusting me that I would be a good mum of yours.
I promise I will be back as soon as summer is over. I’ve been in too lazy mood for the past couple of months but this will have to change.
Now however I wanted to write about the topic that has been a part of my life since Arya was born – involuntary macabre visions.
Yes, everyone has heard about mother instinct and that the mind of a woman changes as soon as they become mothers but to me this was just a piece of dry information until I (FINELY, sorry but I cannot stress that enough) became a mother myself.
Since Arya was little those horrible flashes of images hit me out of the blue, when I was walking with Arya in a buggy or leaving her for a second in her seat while turning my head to reach for something. Gruesome figments of my imagination where I saw Arya in exactly the same situation as we were at that moment and an accident or a scary incident with the most vivid details of this horror – all in the split of a second. The scenes were so horrid they were bringing chills on my skin and heart palpitating faster as if I was getting panic attacks. And each time different (because the actual situation was different) and each time as intense and lucid that it became my massive worry. I also started thinking that perhaps on some level I wanted these things happen or enjoyed them. Felt so embarrassed, scared but at the same time intrigued. I sort of knew what they were referring too, but as I always question everything about myself this was not an exception.
I once told Sanj about all this and he said in the most causal way as if I was trying to share with him that the we are married or that the rain falls from the sky: “Of course. This is mother instinct. You are a mother and you love your baby so much that your brain is constantly alerted.”
From then on I have understood it more and more and at the same I became so fascinated with it.
I always proclaimed how much animals we humans are and how amazing it is. But since Arya was born the experience of all this is so much more transcending me than ever.
The fact that I have these gruesome thoughts is the higher level of intelligence which to us humans is still not fully explored. The fact that my mind puts the worst case scenario of the moment I am in with my baby in front of me especially when I’m completely oblivious of any possible danger around me and my baby is perfection. Not very pretty one but these signals simply keep a mother on her toes.
Our primeval nature is more intelligent than we think and I can bet all my money that female primates have far more of such intelligent apparatuses in their minds.
If all that was only combined into one…
If your philosophy of upbringing your baby is to make sure they have what you didn’t have as a child (irrespective if it’s material or spiritual), rethink your objectives. Your child needs tools for the future, not the fulfilment of your dreams from the past.
Sending Arya to a nursery was the best thing I had done for years. Yes, that best thing instantly flushed our savings and pleasure expenditures down the drain but this is the very example of money well-spent.
Staying at home with my baby, all by myself (because all the relatives – overseas), I would never be able to ensure so much play&learn variety, social interaction and perfectly guarded routine as the nursery does. Parenting is challenging, especially in countries like this one, where “family” buzz word is far behind “business”, “money” and “entertainment” and don’t even get me started on the meaning of mothers in the western word. I therefore need to charge batteries for evenings, nights, weekends and mornings. The problem is where and how do I do that? I work – 5 days a week, most days I take Arya to crèche and collect her, all must be done on time (not a minute too long at work), running up the underground stairs with the buggy (equality London my ass), on the train I turn into an entertainment centre by feeding Arya with snacks, singing, reading, holding my iPhone in a video position watching Bing, Mickey Mouse of Sofia the First. Sleep time is at 21:00 and she still wakes up at 6:00 (there is no “weekend” in the vocabulary of a child). There’s probably a 30 minute window when my husband and I are alone and TV is our saviour. We, very likely, tell each other how our day was but I very vaguely register his stories and vice versa. That’s why we started going on dates (I will write about it in another post)…
I don’t remember when last I cooked a meal. Oh wait, I lie, I made a cauliflower pizza and energy bombs on Sunday. But I must regretfully say – I lost my cooking mojo and my husband is currently holding the baton doing an amazing job as a family chef. And here I must add that the father’s contribution is amazing! I would say we both are awesome parents and are doing a great job. Sanj is engaged in Arya’s life and upbringing 100% and I hope all mother have or will eventually find a partner like that. Arya will better turn out great:-)
Being a working mother means that you’re charging your batteries while spending your energy sitting in front of the computer. But I need it. For my own sanity, development and household budget. I need it for Arya’s sake too.
Here’s the list of cons:
£1500 a month is out of your pocket.
Can the government do something about t, please?m
And here’s the list of all the benefits of being a working mother with a baby in a nursery :
- We both cherish the moments with each other more and as a mother I’m less frustrated if something goes wrong (because it doesn’t happen often during the day)
- Arya is stimulated socially, intellectually, emotionally and god knows how else
- Arya learns from the early age about work, work-life balance and routine
- I progress in my career (although coming back from maternity leave hinders this objective, which I will write about soon)
- Cash and more cash (if the above is happening)
- I’ve got more energy to spend quality time with Arya
- I’m less frustrated if something goes wrong
Arya slept in her own bed, on her own for the whole night. Not a single wake-up in between until 7:15. So I guess it’s another milestone for us, for me rather than for Arya as she probably doesn’t give a squat unless she gets milk once she’s up.
It’s one of those “happen when ready” moments again – for all this time I was simply not prepared to let my baby lie stranded in a big bed with no one beside her, checking if she’s breathing. The thought of sleeping snug with my husband while my poor daughter is out there, in another room with no one beside her. No one wants to sleep alone. Right…
But last night, we just put Arya to HER bed, (it took a while because this girl refuses to sleep) and returned to the sleeping arrangement from the time before Arya was born. Husband and wife reunited. And survived.
This is another era ending. I remember each milestone and having to let go. Very likely have been doing all this completely off the book and later than any other parent but I-DO-NOT-CARE! “Ready” is the magic word. Remember that!
It’s been a hard time recently. An end of an era, a transition time… Transition time is a substitute word for tears for every mother – tears of frustration, sadness, uncertainty, confusion… But after all this there’s always a smile and a sigh of relief. Until a moment of nostalgia sneaks in.
This is exactly what’s going on right now in my life.
I’m all a bundle of nerves. It’s the second week (a three day-er) of my baby girl attending a nursery and I’m so proud of her but at the same time stressing every morning I drop her off there. The “bye, bye”got a big impact on her. Such a huge impact I can’t even watch. The horseshoe on her face when she hears these two words – I can’t stand it. It made me think that, no, saying “bye bye” to her when I’m leaving is the worst idea. I will just give her a hug and say I’m coming back.
These two words “bye, bye”… Even a grown up has issues digesting them when parting with a beloved person. Why would you expect more from a toddler.
She’s been brave for the past few days but no smile on her face still kills me. And here’s the selfish thought – it’s me who leaves her there and her daddy is still the best. He comes home and plays with her.
Now I’m tasting the bitter taste of motherhood – will I ever be the one who A appreciates. Yes, call me selfish but I’m just a human.
It’s Arya’s first week in the nursery. Let’s face it – I was dreading it for a year, slightly calmed down last week when the settling in days were rather OK with Arya taking them quite well but this week – I’m all shattered, sick with stress and slightly down.
Why do I insist on a nursery? – you ask. I can present you a handful of reasons, for example:
- I simply lack the entertaining power to a growing toddler and she needs stimulus and other children around
- I always believed that if one wants to have a child one must provide for them and hence I need to go back and earn dosh
OK, that’s just two but I’m sure if I spent more time thinking over it I would probably find 10 more but I have no time now (well, when do I?). These two, however are the most essential in this decision making process which has now been completed.
The nursery is just around the corner from my office and the plan is to have Arya there for three days when I go the office. The remaining two days – she stays with me for the time being.
Monday was great, considering the circumstances, which is getting up at 6am, rushing to the busy Bloomsbury area and hearing Arya’s cry behind the closing door was just a beginning of an on and off activity, which luckily I didn’t whiteness for Theresa of the day but which I could spot on Arya’s face in the photos sent by the nursery teacher.
My stomach was churning for the whole 8 solid hours, tears secretly wiped off my cheek now and then and 4pm sharp I was at the nursery door missing my baby.
The second morning looked pretty much like this:
I’m constantly stressed. The teacher doesn’t help continuously saying that when Arya cries the whole day, she puts other children in distress and she [the teacher] doesn’t want that. I felt like this is not a very pleasant thing to say. As a nursery teacher she could be more supportive and speak about how we all could work on this problem rather than make me even sicker with stress. I’ve got a feeling that someone (moi) will speak up here.
Currently I’m in shreds…
It’s been 11 months now since Arya is in our world. I have no recollection, not awareness of the time that passed. I have experienced a timeless bubble of baby development. My baby. There has been no time. It’s only been an indicator of the duration of Arya’s feedings and sleeps. It hasn’t mattered if it was 01:00 or 15:00, day or night. Ever-changing sizes of Arya’s clothes have been happening. Shorter feeds and fewer sleep breaks have been happening. Cooing, grabbing, growing hair, walking have been happening…
I’ve lived in this bubble beyond time and my mind has no ability to frame this whole (almost) year into a memory of a passed days and months.
Recently I catch myself more frequently staring at Arya while she sleeps and going back to the picture of her in that first snowsuit of hers. The one that I was so dreading to buy before she had been born to not jinx it. That very snowsuit that was too big for her on the very first day, when we were taking her home. She was such a little stranger from the universe, somewhere out there, with her mind completely blocking the memory of who she was and where she was coming from, so lonely, thrown into this world on her own… She looked so much different from what she looks like now and it is so hard to comprehend that it’s the same little creature.
It’s not been a journey, it’s not been a year time… It’s been a bubble where nothing else exists. Just me and her being together…
December was like a roller coaster ride – things happening quickly and unexpectedly. Arya started walking, I decided to go to Poland earlier, Sanj surprised me coming to Poland for a short visit at the weekend before coming there for Christmas, Arya got sick and completely ruined the weaning off plan, two stays in spa hotels booked randomly, First Christmas and New Year, our 9th anniversary (well, the last three didn’t of course come unexpectedly). And now things are getting back to normal. New normal – because my baby will be turning 1 year next month and her routine will be sharing her routine between nursery and mummy time. I’m trying not to think too much about it because for months now it has caused only anxiety and heart palpitations. I’m still dreading this breakthrough moment of putting her in a nursery. I’m scared out of my mind. Scared and worried for her and for myself. For her because of course I don’t want her to feel anything negative, I’m worried that she would feel sad, lonely, betrayed, terrified. I can’t prepare her for this and I can’t explain it to her – that’s the frustrating part. And I’m worried for myself because I might feel lonely, guilty and/or sad without her for most of the day. All that keeps me sane is the thought that millions of babies around the world have done that and they are ok. OK in such a way that there’s no data that leaving a baby in a nursery can cause trauma or negative effects of some sort.
I’ve left my daughter with Sanj again just to go out with my friend. Just coming back home now and for the whole time I have been torn. So much was looking forward to this meeting and immensely need some me-time but at the same time I feel awful leaving Sanj with her. A bad mother – that’s what I am. A Polish mother should do everything for her child. Everything meaning looking after them ALWAYS and sacrificing friendships, me-times and other activities not involving the little ones. Torn. That’s what I am. Between what I want and deep down think is OK and what my upbringing and my gender stereotype expectations.
Is this why parents bring children presents when coming back home?
Is this why spouses keep scores who can go out next because the other one owes them?
I know one thing – I missed my baby painfully and seeing her smiling face at the door when we saw me was absolutely awesome!
It was coming. On foot. Tiny little feet. In fact, I actually thought it would happen earlier and before crawling. That said – it happened. On Monday, 23rd November 2015. I stood Arya in the middle of the room, moved one step (my step) away from her and called her to come to me. And she did. All by herself. Four steps. Her first four, UNASSISTED, steps. Wobbly and shaky like Bambi’s legs (it’s just he made his first steps right after he slid off his mum’s uterus, it took Arya 9.5 months to reach this milestone). I did my victory dance (Im lying, I don’t have a victory dance and probably whatever I did to celebrate my baby’s accomplishment could be compared to a mouse wiggling after consuming a large portion of poison; there was a lot of squeaking too. I never knew a human being is able to produce such sounds and still hear them). Arya, after a tiring journey of four steps, fell on me and started feasting on my neck flesh (possibly trying to get to the milk; I don’t understand that after 9.5 months she still confuses different body parts for a nipple and I do not have warts that could potentially be mistaken for a nipple; unless she thinks that whatever part of my body she sucks milk will automatically flow to her like through a straw).
Being a demanding parent, I must say I have been practising the walk since Monday trying to catch the moment and send the video to every known human being (I lie again – just to Sanj and my mum and sis; this lying thing becomes a pattern you think but I can assure you I’m not a pathological lier; I just like to exaggerate for dramatic purposes). And today, I can confirm, this whole walking thing has caught on. I believe, by the end of this week my daughter will stroll on her own. As braking, turning and other tricks are covered in more advanced levels of this chapter so I realise there will be lots of bumping into walls and other vertical and horizontal surfaces. Shall I get her a helmet? I swear I’ve seen such gear on some baby website. It is tempting.
I was looking forward to this event for months. Planned the outfit weeks before and changed it entirely at the last minute. The makeup artist was booked and ideas exchanged on a regular basis. The evening finally came. My husband’s cousin kindly agreed to come and watch Arya while I was undergoing a facial makeover so all was sorted and planned to the very end. Yeah right, planned my ass. You can plan as you want but when you have a baby you can take this plan and shove it deep into your… Well you know where I’m getting to. Surely not to a rosy fields with unicorns strolling freely. As soon as the make up artist came Arya turned on “cry hard” mode and no distraction, no ignoring strategy worked. The crying was unbelievable. Sorry, I meant unbearable. To me. Everyone was nodding their heads calming me down: “It’s fine. She’s going to be ok. All babies are like that”. But I can’t. I simply can’t go past that. You see your baby all covered in tears, sniffing her nose, so sad and upset, turning her head from left to right trying to find you and you’re not there, her heart pumping hard. No one can convince me that such moments don’t affect them. I will not believe that. Yes they don’t remember that one day their mummy left them for a few hours and they were scared she would never come back. But the feeling, the emotions – they must affect them when they are older one way or the other. Subconsciously. Without knowing their source. I’m sure every single emotion felt since the conception (or the first time their nervous system can transport any impulse) does have its record and representation in our behaviour.
So I was getting palpitations. The makeup artists says: “close your eyes” I’m staring at her blankly, completely melted and itchy to run to Arya. Guilt is nothing comparing to the feeling inside me but at the same time I do want to go. I can’t compromise myself so I must be brave.
Arya joined me for the most part of preparations in the form of a lump stuck to my leg or on my lap very much not helping the situation. Thank you Ana for being so patient and understanding. And to have a result like this with all these obstacles – it’s simply talent.
I left without even saying goodbye to my baby and spent the whole evening texting Sanj every five minutes asking if she was ok. Of course she was. She was with her daddy – a master of putting babies to sleep.
No sooner did I arrived at the London Coliseum my baby had already been in bed and didn’t even wake up when I was back at midnight. That said, never have I been so torn in my entire life. Just a year ago I would have gone crazy at the British Fashion Awards, so excited as if I drank 10 coffees (I know because I’ve already been in such a state and yes it was related to fashion ), last Monday though my emotions were all over the place. And my poor friend, who attended the event with me had to put up with my texting and worrying. You would think I’ve got a text template: “Is she Ok?” And Sanj: “Yes” on our iPhones. Or we have programmed Siri to send these auto messages to each other every 5 minutes. But I missed her. That was it. I missed her. I watched Stella McCartney receiving her award and at the same time I was imagining Arya sleeping cozily in our bed and I wanted be near her, to hold her hand or just watch her sleep (as creepy as it sounds).
I made it to the final though and even drinks after.
I guess that’s how my life will be from now on – torn and never enjoying anything fully unless with her. How long does this phase last? A few more months?18 years? Half of a century? Anyone? Please tell me. I need to prepare myself for it.
It’s amazing how drastic in changes the whole maternity year is (from the 1st day you welcomed your baby in this world until they become 1). One day of this whole crying and feeding and sleepless nights and smiles and play time drags for eternity but then you go to bed and you wonder how come over 9 months already have passed. 9 months! How?!!! When?!!! And you remember the mile stones, the moments, the “shrinking clothes”but you don’t remember the face, the gestures, the feeling of holding a tiny treasure in your arms. She was 3.250 when she was born. Bastian felt like a lead sculpture comparing to my little baby, too small for her newborn snowsuit. What did her face look like???? I don’t remember. I can’t see it. And you reach for your phone with a gazillion of photos you have taken from the time she was born. You flip through them and smile and get sad and smile again and maybe a tear shows up in the corner of your eye and you smile again…
Arya is almost walking on her own now. Just a few more weeks, I recon and she will be chasing me, galloping on her little Bambi feet. It’s been such an intense time. And I can see how my “mummy persona” has developed together with Arya.
When she was born, for about 4 months I was like a mother hen laying an egg. Do not even come near me. No one. This is my baby and only I can hold her. Sleep deprived, swaggering on my feet but still standing – never let her off my sight. NEVER!!! Not even for a nanosecond. I also felt very lonely at that time. Lonely and spaced out. And I thought Arya was feeling lonely too. All by herself in this world. Came to me and Sanj on her own with no friends, not even a safety blanket or a favourite teddy bear. Alone. Unaware of anything around her. Brutally pushed into this world. I had this constant feeling of sorry towards her; I wanted to protect her and surround her with all the love and care I had in me. That was when I overdid with holding her. She slept between us (or on one of us a time) in our bed, she as carried by us and never left on her own – now I’m paying for it. But I don’t mind because I would never do it differently if I had a second chance.
The next four months I would call “proficiency time” – when I had my breast-feeding mastered, my senses mustered and the ability to judge Arya’s behaviour and emotions developed. I started going out with her to play groups and mum meetups and enjoyed her ability to socialise. This was also the time when I was the most exhausted, when not enough sleep was taking its toll and my body ached from constant carrying my baby (who was rapidly getting heavier each day) and pushing the buggy at the same time. A few outings without Arya were a torture (to me, because she probably was absolutely fine) but a must and each time I made it I patted myself on the shoulder because to me it was quite an achievement. As within those four months Arya grew into a quite inquisitive, impatient to walk and quite a foodie baby I had to learn to manage my energy, my patience and of course my day in order to survive until Sanj came home. The decision to wean off breast-milk was hard (funny how, before Arya was born, I had thought that I would breast feed only for 6 months; 8th month came and I was loving it) – it was hard because I so much wanted to keep this last ritual. I couldn’t part with it, say farewell and be free. I think I also wanted my baby to want me (aka my boob).
Now I’m in the third phase (from 8 months until, possibly, when she’s 1) and again it feels so much different. I no longer have issues with weaning, in fact I actually want Arya to not be dependant on me for m to be able to “be me”, a singular. My energy level has never been higher and I am so looking forward to seeing my Bambi mature. Very often I have these dreams when she walks or talks to me or is simply a grown up girl and I love each and every bit of that dream.
I go out so much more often now and without any feeling of guilt or anxiety. I even have a part time nanny now. I have a nanny. Someone else stays with my baby. SOMEONE ELSE! It’s like a new era for me – a totally new me, out of the cocoon. Out of all the cocoons (first one was the depression cocoon, then pregnancy sickness and fear cocoon and then the challenging new mum time cocoon). Excited and strong, I embrace each day. And at nights I still secretly browse the photos from the past with a smile and a sad face, a smile and a sad face…
Recently the amount of energy that suddenly bunched up in me is so abundant I even struggle to fall asleep (my mind and body wants to keep on going). I wanna go out clubbing or to a theatre, for a late dinner, anything. Even on my own. I’m sure I will make friends with strangers because with a surplus of this energy you just run out of normal things you can do so then you turn to the crazy and the dangerous and the unheard of. It cropped up on me, literally, overnight – I wake up rested or at least without this “absolutely horrible sleep deprivation, mind debilitating sleepiness in my brain” , at nights Arya needs two or maximum three short breast milk top-ups (think tequila shots in a night club to keep you partying – this works exactly like that but in the opposite direction) and the same at daytime. There are therefore two explanations to my “new, reborn me”, possibly related – one: I breast-feed substantially less which means not everything I eat gets sucked out of me hence the energy; second: as Arya wakes me up fewer times I have more sleep ergo the surplus of energy.
I got so excited about this change that I started telling everyone that I’m feeling better, that hopefully this is another chapter in my life when I regained my brain functions and the power to survive throughout a day without falling on my face (although my body is still aching and don’t even get me started on my back but I try to do everything I can to not carry Arya since she’s now in the mode of mastering her walk). I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m OK now and that they will be ok too. It’s just a phase. It will pass. It will.
And last night – there it is. For some reason Arya got back to her restlessness. Although stripped down to her body shirt (and a nappy, of course) she felt boiling hot but not feverish. Constantly demanding the boob, not happy to sleep on her own. So we were back to square one. Brilliant. Obviously frustration sneaked in (to our whole trio). Sanj tried to walk around with her or to sleep in the other bedroom, hoping that if she doesn’t smell milk she will sleep fine. In my dreams! Well, not really in my dreams from last night because last night it was not only a horror in reality but also in my night visions – I had some terrifying hallucinations that some psycho murderers in hoods were threatening my family, that when I styled my my client, she suddenly left unhappy without even saying goodbye, and that I was out in shops without make-up. All SCARY!!! No joke.
Both Sanj and I had been waking up probably every 15 minutes for approximately another 15 minutes to pacify Arya. On top of that, Bastian (as it ALWAYS is the case at nights like this) was scratching the window to get in. How the hell he scratches the window I have no clue. Does he spread his paw fingers, shoots out the claws and DJs on the pane some cat music? And how is it possible that the window has absolutely no marks. Yet, the sound it unbearable and so irritating that you want to punch someone but it’s a night and you’re in bed and you can’t even scream because Arya will get even more upset. So then Sanj gets up , opens the window for the Lord and that vicious creature turns back waving his fluffy tail at you and leaves. Cruelty to animals my ass. It’s this monster who’s keeping us his hostages and tortures us for his own nocturnal entertainment…
I had some sleep (she said miserably). Sanj is knackered too I believe (I don’t know because I haven’t heard from him – his work is killing him; I sometimes wonder is it work or Arya at nights, or both the same amount; some men prefer to stay late in the office to avoid the baby drama but poor Sanj has such a hectic time at the moment that he probably wishes he could come back home to the crying, moaning daughter). And since this morning I might have seen Arya playing once… For 5 minutes. Not happy as she usually is. Constantly demanding the boob and being carried. Never see her like that before. Even when she was sick. It’s rather worrying but on the other hand I’m telling to myself that it’s just one of these odd days for the development. Some tuning of hormones, neurones and other “-ones” . In the meantime I barely ate and can’t move of the couch. Or perhaps I can, but I won’t risk it. I can’t afford to risk it. Just for the biscuit? Can’t risk it. My back and my energy level is on stake. This stake that burns for me as a witch in my past life.
Ok, I’m pretty sure I’m losing it now so I’d better end this post before some reader will call 911 thinking that i really need a psychiatric help.
I’m fine! I’m fine. It’s just a phase. There’s always “just a phase”.
The number of times I have been away from Arya you can probably count on one hand. The number of times when I have been away from Arya for more than 2 hours you can count on no hands, (until yesterday). Because it’s 0. The first time I left Sanj with her I probably sent a googlilion (yes, it is a number… Made up by me… And it refers to as many searches as Google can come up with for all the searched words and phrases ever searched on Google) texts to him asking if she’s ok. The first time was one of those: “I don’t wanna!!! I DON’T WANNA!!! I DON’T WANNA. But I have to” psycho moments which you can compare to the situation when your arm is chained to a block and suddenly you see a swarm of zombies approaching you, hunger in their dead eyes, and you grab a saw that just happens to lie there… casually… nearby and you come up to a conclusion (in a split of a second) that you either save your hand or your ass. And you choose the latter because according to the English idiom your ass is a metaphor for your life which is so philosophical in many ways but I won’t elaborate on that in this post. (This whole saving your hand or your ass is actually a thing, and it did happen, not to me personally, but as an observer… An audience, more like it, of the Walking Dead series, which I’m a massive fan of, by the way).So I went. For 45 minutes. 45 minutes and not a second longer. Phone in my hands and fingers warmed up to type. It was the day of Vogue Fashion Festival when Charlotte Olympia and Roksanda Illincic (my muse) talked on How to Make it Big in British Fashion and I, both excited and scared, was sitting there thinking How to Make it Big in Being a Mum and not to Feel Shitty about Yourself When You enjoy the Fashion Event.
Fashion has been my life since I was a teenager (before that not so much, unless you consider dressing like a tomboy throughout my whole primary school period a brave style move and my baby years – my mum’s amazing dressmaking skills, by the way – my mum was the biggest fashionista of all times when I was little, nowadays… I would say she’s better at planting her beloved plants whose names I cannot even pronounce), I have stacks of Vogue magazines in every corner of my house (Every now and then Sanj threatens me that he would burn them all because they take most of his precious space but quite frankly he even has issues with furniture taking too much space) and now do I have to choose between fashion and my greatest love of all – my daughter? Do I have to choose? Can I not love both and never feel guilty about it?
Each time I left my Arya it was something related to fashion (for my work – to be honest, but yes, for fashion). And each of these times, when I came back to her I could only see this judgement on her face. The imaginary (I hope) judgement – just a reflection of my own perception in her eyes. In reality it was probably a look of “give me milk, woman, it’s high time you give me your bloody boob to suck on and hurry up, woman. “
Today, when Arya is almost 9 months old and I can see she’s doing absolutely fine when staying with her daddy I somehow feel that this fear is slightly subsiding. And last night I went for a consultation with one of my clients and it seemed, as freaky as it sounds, like I’ve never been a mum, like I’m back to the times before pregnancy. Without a bump in front of me. Without a worry. About the bump or the crying. So frikking awkward but so liberating. A time of freedom. A time of me. In singular. As one unit. It felt so good. I needed it with every cell of my body, mind and heart…But I knew she was there in my life, that I was coming back to her (I didn’t lose my marbles, don’t you worry about that) and that was the difference from before. The purpose. The fulfilment. THE PEACE!
I think it’s a new era that is coming. The love while regaining myself.
Just as I’m allergic to colour labelling babies, the very common and so rooted generations feedback of “good girl”or “naughty girl” is also a “no no ” in my family. To me – it’s also negative branding that can result in long lasting harm.
Although Arya is still a baby and probably not understanding the difference, we use (Sanj tries, cause linguistic nuances are his Achilles heel) “well done” instead of “good girl” and I refuse to call any baby or child “naughty”.
Just because a baby cries, has a tantrum or pulls the tablecloth off the table he is far from misbehaving and every person who reads a bit on psychology knows that. The first two are the results of frustration or pain. The latter one – parent’s negligence. When a child “ACTS” naughtily this is a representation of a glitch in parenting, lack of communication between the child and parents, child’s confusion about parents/society expectations. Because what does it mean “naughty”? We very often use it too causally towards our children or others but what we consider “naughty” is not necessarily seen “naughty” by society and vice versa. Moreover, probably we do mean: “you act naughtily” and it’s just a semantic shortcut. I’ve heard “You’re such a naughty boy/girl” far too many times. In my eyes, the comment: “You are being naughty” causes much less harm than “You are naughty” as it refers to a current moment rather than a trait of a child. Although I’m not a biggest fan of this phrase either as every statement with “You ARE” is still assigning an attribute with a adjective that follows. I know it seems petty and while reading this post you feel like you were somehow redirected to some blog on linguistics but no, I have always understood the power of words (and how much I myself have to learn in this department from the application point of view). Having studied communication and information management, children psychology and teaching methodology and having experience as a teacher, nanny and now a mother, and, let’s not diminish the role of this – having been a child myself, I have observed and studied a huge impact of words on the behaviour of a human. No, I don’t consider myself an authority in any shape and form – I’m far from that. What I’m trying to say is that throughout years my hobby sort of interest has been focused on the correlation between communication and language on people’s behaviour and I shaped my opinions based on my various observations. I’ve noticed (among my family circles as well as my ex students of different ages) that the more the child heard “You are so naughty” the more he/she was engrossed in this label. Because think how hard it is for all of us to suddenly start acting differently when we already have an opinion coined about us. How hard it is for us to apply for a job in a completely different field than the one we’ve been in for years? No one is interested in the fact that you have a certain set of skills that you were mustering outside your job – the social perception is that if you have been an accountant for 10 years you probably are only good at that and that one thing only.
When one hears “YOU ARE NAUGHTY” repeatedly – most likely they will develop one of the two extreme patterns:
they will accept it and will expect it so if they are doing something wrong they are not disappointing anyone. They might wish to change it but don’t know how so they give up and continue “doing naughty things”.
Or they will persistently try to “be a good boy/girl”, by excelling in everything or trying to excel in everything and never be happy about the result. In the most extreme cases – this will understandably cause frustration, self-depreciation and constant dissatisfaction with ones life.
Both of these routes, however, will stem from one very same belief: “I AM NAUGHTY HENCE…”.
It’s a bit more complicated and a topic for a book but I hope this post gives at least some idea. Of course – this is only my point of view, which I admit, I imposed on San-Jay in regards to bringing our daughter. I want to stick to it and verbally reward or criticise the ACTION (explaining the reason) rather than tell Arya what SHE IS or what SHE ISN’T. Therefore she won’t hear from us: “good girl” or “naughty girl”.
I would love to hear your opinions and comments on this.