I’m aware I’ve done a lot of moaning about my son lately.
I would apologise, but that is basically what this blog is for. I don’t make money out of it, it eats up the majority of my very limited spare time, it’s way more complicated than I ever anticipated, but it’s a place I can moan. It’s cathartic, it’s my therapy.
Don’t get me wrong; of course, I love my kids. Lots. The most. They’re the best little people in the world. It’s just that, like every other mum on the planet (and if you disagree you’re lying or you’re Topsy and Tim’s mum) I don’t necessarily like them every single moment of every day.He has so many good qualities. He has awesome hair, and is unbelievably cute. He’s bright, he tries to do everything himself and he even likes to tidy up. He eats whatever he’s given (so far). But he is crap at napping, and is a whingebag too. To make the hat trick, he’s also really clingy.
I hate the term ‘clingy’ when referring to babies.
All babies are clingy. Their parents are all they know and all they need. It doesn’t mean that it’s easy, or fun (it’s not fun), but it is what it is. However, I now know what it means to have a clingy toddler and it is hard work. Not being able to answer the door to the Ocado delivery man without an epic meltdown occurring is draining stuff.
We thought that maybe he should start going to a childminder.
So far, he’s gone for about two hours a week. It’s not a lot, but the idea is that as well as helping him to get used to not being by my side 24 hours a day (literally), and giving my ears a much-needed break, I can gradually take on a bit more work and eventually become a fully-functioning member of society again… I do love stay at home mum life, but it’s not brilliant financially, and it’s definitely easier to work when you don’t have a small person bashing the computer screen with a magnetic rocket, as I do right at this moment.
To be honest, it’s not going as well as I’d hoped.
I thought, based on the two weeks that I went back to work, he would manage to surprise me and pull it out of the bag. Not so. The separation anxiety is strong. So far, he has whinged and/or cried the entire time, starting from the moment we enter the house. On the bright side, I suppose at least I don’t have to listen to it.
Now this is no stranger; we are using the same childminder that previously picked up and dropped off his older sister twice a week from before he was born until she started pre-school in September. You’d think that passing familiarity might count for something… But no. What it does mean is the big one throws a tantrum when we leave because she isn’t allowed to stay, so I get a double whammy of the mum guilt. Spiffing.
It is completely and utterly different to my first experience of leaving the big one at the same age with the very same childminder to skip off to work. She too had never experienced life outside of mummy and daddy, and yet upon being left for the first time she took it all in her stride and when I went back to work full time, she adapted perfectly.
She was a very different child indeed.
OK so her sleep was crap for the six months or so (one word: reflux), but she really was a delightful baby with an excellent temperament. Yes, I realise that makes her sound like a puppy; she was like a happy little puppy. Once she got the hang of it she liked to nap for hours and never once tried to escape from the cot. She smiled at strangers until they smiled back, and it wasn’t until a respectable 17 months or so that she started having public meltdowns and began to morph into the stubborn wilful teenager toddler we have today.
It was her happy-go-lucky nature that made us think a second baby would be a good idea. Damnit. Oldest trick in the book.Whingelet number two is not as easy going a child. He’s cute, he’s clever, but he does not enjoy a nap. He is no puppy. Unless it’s one of those puppies that gets his head stuck in everything, whinges constantly and flaps his arms and screams when he wants (or doesn’t want) something and then throws himself off a chair. It continually amazes me how two siblings that have the same genetic make up and the same parenting can be so entirely different.
It could be a boy/girl thing. It could be a first/second child thing. It could just be the way they are.
Now it would of course be easier to admit defeat and take him out of childcare. I do after all have the luxury of choice; many do not. But I so desperately want him to get on well. It would be so nice to occasionally have some time to myself even if it is just to work. If it went really well I might be able to get my hair done; hell, I might even be able to go to the gym, although let’s be honest, I most probably wouldn’t.
We’ll keep trying, and if necessary, I may have to buy the childminder ear plugs too, but we will get there. We will. He will conquer his separation anxiety, because Maman has just been invited to attend a three-day conference in Paris at the end of November, with travel and fancy hotel included… and I’m going whether he likes it or not.