The Best Thing About Being a Pessimist…

…is that I’m constantly delighted by people and events.

Example 1: Childcare

This morning was the dreaded abandoning of baby R at the drop-in creche while I did some serious physio work (diastasis recti and a bad back.  I don’t give 2 hoots that I have an upside-down 6 months pregnant stomach, but I care deeply about not being strong!).  My last bunch of posts show that I’ve been fretting about leaving Mini Minx for weeks, especially since I visited the place.  The Boss shared many of my concerns and last night we discussed whether I should listen to my (suspicious, cynical) gut-feelings or drop her off after all.

Well, the actual experience was the direct opposite of my fears.  The Light of My Life loved the 90 mins we were apart and only cried when she saw me again.  I swear she was thinking, “Oh pants, now I remember – I forgot to miss you!  Doh!”  Honestly, I didn’t feel jealousy at how happy my Angel-pie was in someone else’s company – just relief!

I now have to sing the praises of the 2 ladies looking after the kids.  Before and after all my internal check-boxes were ticked.  As well as the standard ones, these won me over:

  • On arrival, J came straight over, remembered who we were, and immediately engaged Grumpy Cling-on (Mini Trout, obviously) with a toy and some chat.  I’ve never seen my mini Grumpy Trout so quickly charmed by a stranger.  It was mutual, too.  The whole time I discussed R’s care with J, she kept eye-contact with R, but was obviously listening carefully and attentively to me (focussing on the baby)
  • J asked all the right questions (experienced at this childcare malarky, knew what was important to me)
  • J was almost psychically responsive to R’s squeaks and noticed what R wanted (good at interpreting babies’ non-verbal language – I was very, very impressed and a bit jealous at that skill)
  • baby R was giggling as I left and smiling when I returned.  The first comment on her session when I returned was, “Oh, R loves being tickled, doesn’t she?” (so you took the time to tickle her and make her laugh – thank you so much!)

So I guess my precious little baby will be abandoned more regularly for me to do some physio.

Example 2: Physio

Yeah, I know I feel a bit Pollyanna about my lovely physio because I had a great session today, but I’m really feeling good about my bits and bobs.  I just might be climbing by summer after all.  I can feel the increase in control and strength in my various abdominal muscles and my physio commented on my progress.  I’m also feeling quite humbled by how much help and encouragement she’s giving me.  I like to think that I don’t need or seek other people’s approval; that I am content to exist within the bounds of my own sense of self-worth.  Phooey – I purr like a cat with just a little bit of praise.

Separation Anxiety

Mini Minx is in full-blown separation anxiety phase.

Lucky for me, this is coinciding with The Boss’s Christmas and New Year leave.  It’s easier on my jangling nerves to leave her crying pitifully at least knowing that she has a loving parent holding her.  She wails as soon as our physical bond is broken, to put her down in a chair, or a change mat or into someone else’s arms.  I met up with another Imaginary Friend today, who just exudes warmth and caring.  Even though I was sat right beside her, Mini Minx crinkled her mouth and mewled as soon as she sat in Friend’s lap.  It wasn’t because my friend was a stranger to her – baby R does this when I pass her over to her Daddy for a cuddle / some respite.

I’m not too sure how to handle this.  I could tough it out, and just go to the bloomin’ bathroom on my own!  But it’s hard to ‘go’ when you’re so tense and uptight from R’s piercing shrieks.  No, I don’t think I can physically do it – my chest feels as if it’s crumpling up like tinfoil under the hammering stamps of my heartbeat when R cries like that; I literally cannot think coherently.  So I suspect I’ll have to just live with it and let her stick to me like a little cling-on.  However, that’s easier said than done!  Example, I’ve got to go to the physio a week on Friday for a bit of repair work on my baby-broken stomach and back, so have enrolled R onto the local drop-in creche.  I don’t know whether that’ll happen now, as I’m getting deja vu from our first baby:

The Boss reminded me of what it was like when Maxi Minx was going through the same stage.  He had found a local climbing wall within a gym that had a creche attached.  Fantastic!  We could drop the baby off for some one-to-one care for an hour while we got some fun and fitness at the end of the corridor.  The staff reassured me as to how experienced they were with 9 month old babies.  “She’ll cry until you’re out of sight, then she’ll settle”, they soothed.  “You need time to yourself.  Have a climb.  Have a coffee!  Relax, we’re in control”.  Right.  Fifteen minutes later they were dragging me and The Boss off a route to collect P “and take her away”, as she wouldn’t stop screaming.  Around the same time, P’s Grandma watched her for the day as me and The Boss moved house 2 counties away.  P’s screaming went on so long and so loudly, along with a milk refusal, that her poor Grandma took her to the doctor’s (whether to check P over or to stem her own bleeding ears I know not).

R has a worse separation anxiety than P.  What are the chances of me actually getting to the physio, do you think?

Slow Down and Taste the Snowflakes, Woman!

It was snowing this morning as I herded cats (not literally – just my 3 squirmers) into the car.  Big deal.  It’s snowing all over the country.  Ah, but I live on the coast, it normally never snows here.  And it was Baby Trout’s very first sight of snow <fanfare>

I have gigabytes of photos and videos of her elder sisters’ first reactions to snow.  I have none showing my baby’s little face lit up in wonder / screwed up in confusion at the white stuff.  I have failed as a doting mother.  I couldn’t even describe to you her countenance upon meeting snow – it was, alas, one of Those Mornings…

I’d finally been referred to the physio about my ballooning shelf stomach (not from cake or beer.  But on the plus side it props my saggy boobies up), but meeting the appointment meant dropping Minxes 1 & 2 off 30 mins early at nursery.  They knew I was stressed and in a rush, so (shocker) were good about not spilling breakfast over each other (just the floor – fine, I can sort that out tonight, though any burglars would have been horrified at my slovenliness), letting me put hair up in bunches / lashed down in a plait as appropriate.  They even got dressed in the clothes I chose for them with only a token show of defiance (“Why can’t I wear my wellies with my ballet skirt, Mummy?  Why?  Why?!”)  The morning routine was going too smoothly, so Minx-in-training asserted her presence and pooed long and hard just as I wedged her in her car seat.  I thought about just leaving it (well, that’s what nappies are for!) but the memories of her horrific nappy rash as a newborn still haunt me.  That, and the realisation that I’d not get a chance to change her for 2 hrs meant that I had to un-layer her from all the outdoor kit, take off my muddy shoes, threaten her sisters with toy confiscation or worse if they moved from the spot, and raced up the stairs to win the 100m Nappy Dash Hurdles.

Just as I uncaked the nappy and released the pong, I heard the ominous sound of the front door opening.  With a roar that would frighten your average gang of tough hoodies, I leapt downstairs, gingerly holding the semi-clad, still gungy, baby in front of me.  I yanked the 2 wannabe escapees in with one hand, waggled a cross finger with the other hand, locked the door then ran back upstairs to de-gunge the now mildly-surprised looking baby (she’s very chilled-out…).

5 mins late now.  Try again.  Outdoor clothes onto protesting baby, shoe-horn into car seat.  Cram wellies onto one minx.  Replait hair of other minx.  Cram wellies onto first minx again.  Zip jacket up of second minx.  Threaten to sellotape wellies of first minx to her knees if they’re removed again.  Open front door, step out into blast of snow and wind.  Wet foot.  Shoe failure.  (Shoe forgotten)  Slam door shut.  Curse at snow trail.  Put on shoes.  Curse at trail of mud.  Open door.  Drag out 2 minxes.  Lose hold of both as they make for the snow in a practised “break, break” Red Arrows manoeuvre.  Open car door with teeth and dead-arm both inside.  Slam door while they rattle about inside the car, finding sunglasses, pulling on hats, pulling out plaits, discarding jackets.  Run back for car-seated, wailing baby.  Heave into car.  Run back for armful of bags (nappy change bag, bag of things to post, bag of things to return to shop because I was over-charged, bag of change kit for Minx 2, bag of packed lunches, bag of bags (shopping day – Save Our Planet)).  Strap 2 minxes into seats.  Negotiate nursery rhymes CD or silence (nursery rhymes – I can screech to it louder than the volume control goes, saving me the misery).  Run back to house to double-check door (Still unlocked.  Damn).  Start car.  Skid off drive.  10 mins late.  Realise it’s going to be a long journey…

Even at the nursery, things go into go-slow.  My fingers are too cold to strap the baby into the sling, and she’s hyperventilating at the cold windy gusts.  One sister runs to the door, the other waddles.  ?  Looks like they’ve moved the little kids to the big kids’ room, so drag everyone to the *other* side of the building.  Nope, they’re just hiding.  Settle one minx in her classroom.  Discover Duck minx has wet herself.  Waddle back to first room and haul out a change of clothes.  Consider crying at the lateness but get distracted, so don’t.  One nursery teacher smiles benignly at my fast-approaching-vortex levels of stress; the other offers to change Wet Duck for me (I love you – thank you!).

At the physios, it takes me a further 9 mins to find the stupid place, running back and forth in the pelting snow with my little but very unstable car-seat-on-a-pram-chassis, baby minx’s eyes not leaving my face for a second (Oh right.  *That* portacabin with the sign in letters 6 feet high.  Didn’t see it.  Oops).  But on the bright side, the physio thinks she can help not only my rubbish stomach and subsequent perma-backache, but she wants me to join in with the group fitness thing going on in the New Year.  “Take the baby with you, it’s fine”.  Wow!  I am now overwhelmed.

So.  I know it’s a rubbish excuse for missing my infant’s reaction to snow.  It’s further evidence to my current theory that time spent on myself is time soon sabotaged.  My back will be painful, stiff and useless for a while longer, whether I’d made it to the physio on time or not, but the baby will never see snow for the first time ever again.  I’m sure I will feel guilt over even more substantial things in the future, but tonight it stings a bit.  Sorry, R.  I’ll take a video tomorrow and pretend it was the first time.  No one will ever remember or know that you weren’t a real Snow Virgin in years to come.  Honest