Monday, 4 July 2011

loose ends and lost in transit

You have probably caught up with the news that we have bought a house! Well we are in the process and hope to go unconditional in the next week. It has been such a relief and definitely not as stressful as the other house we put an offer on but didn't get. This house ticks all our boxes and we are so excited about it.

But we have a couple of months before we move in and in the mean time we are returning to our life, which has been left to look after itself a bit with all the house hunting that has been going on. We don't need to pack immediately but there are quite a few things I have been putting off because things have been so busy and uncertain. So I want to sort out some loose ends over the next wee while. There are dentist and optometrist appointments to have, decluttering and getting rid of things and reorganising so we don't move stuff we don't want. But there are also some quite hefty things that I have been hoping would sort themselves out, but they haven't.

Ella has just turned 2, which she proudly tells anyone who will listen. Each birthday is such a celebration of her growth and development but I also see it as a celebration of me and the effort I put into being her Mum. And 2 was the vague goal I had for how long I would like to breastfeed. I have struggled with it on and off over the last 6 months. Christmas and the depression relapse led to moving her into her own bed and trying to get her to stay in her own room for most of the night. That has had limited success. She goes to bed in her own room most nights but by midnight is usually back in with us. At times this has suited me but I can't sleep when she is feeding anymore and when she is sick or just out of sorts she can wake multiple times in the night. She has never woken less than twice a night in her whole life and twice feels like a great night's sleep. During the day she is keen to have a "little mama" any time I am sitting or whenever she is feeling a bit out of sorts. This gets pretty jading. At times it is lovely to be able to sit still and cuddle but at other times I just want to actually have cuddles rather than feel like a drive thru with a customer who is never satisfied. As we have rounded the two year corner I have found myself starting to really resent it and to feel a little desperate as my efforts to put her off with distraction, food and just saying no don't seem to be working.

I also keep wanting to say to people that this is a destination we have found ourselves at. It is not a statement about what anyone else should do and though I am pleased she has breastfed this long in some ways, in other ways it means she really understands that mamas are really quite nice and not something she wants to give up. And it is really tough saying no to your child in the middle of the night when they beg you for "just a little mama", through tears.

So I have been feeling a bit lost in transit, thinking about how we ended up here and how to meet my own needs so I can be a good mother to Ella but also to take responsibility for the choices we have made in parenting Ella which means "mamas" are still an important part of her life. It feels like a dance where every so often I found myself too close to the edge or teetering on the brink of a boundary where I have to choose again whether to compromise or whether I need to keep that boundary firm and steer Ella back to where it feels right again. And it just keeps changing as her needs change and our relationship shifts. She is a little person now who loves to say "No!" and do things herself but still wants reassurance and security.

I can say with great certainty that I do not want to breastfeed a 3 year old but it is definitely not as simple as blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. Weaning is a process and as long it is heading in the right direction for me I think I can be patient with Ella's timing, which may not be totally mine.

1 comment:

  1. It might be some consolation to know that 2 years seemed to be about the age when both of my children started sleeping deeply for longer periods, and settling back into sleep without really waking up.

    Each of mine had different bed situations, and it is a tradeoff (I think) between a settled baby in another room (bliss!) for a shorter time, or a baby sleeping with you the whole night (kick, snort) but perhaps not needing to rouse so fully as she can sense she's not alone.

    And breastfeeding a 3yo is not like bf a 2yo - but there are still plenty of days when I want to turn and run in the other direction instead of sit down with my daughter because the part of her that's still my baby has decided nothing else will do...