It feels like everyone who has a baby thinks they have something new to say about it and starts a blog. So, why should I be any different? Actually, the truth is that the market may feel saturated, but everyone has their own experiences of motherhood, its challenges and its successes.
Tonight, my primary challenge is that we are on day three of my husband working away for two weeks, I am tired, a little bit grumpy, and it is unlikely that I will have 1) an undisturbed night’s sleep and 2) the opportunity to sleep past 6am even though I won’t technically need to get up until 6.25. We are generally lucky with the boys in that they sleep fairly well most of the time, but the lighter mornings are taking effect and you can’t argue with a toddler that it’s still night time once they see the sun come up.
Tonight’s major meltdown came courtesy of Theo, who was distressed to discover that we didn’t have any cheese and he would have to settle for olives alone as an evening snack. Theo started having tantrums when he was around 12 months old, which was certainly a bit earlier than we expected. For a long time we had to just leave him to it as he twisted, writhed and smeared snot across his cheeks. (One of the worst things about having a dog who sheds lots of fur is the added stress of seeing a toddler who is not only monumentally losing his shit, but also doing so with fur plastered to his cheeks courtesy of snot paste.) However, in the last few months I’ve discovered that sometimes I just have to sweep that snotty kid up in my arms and cradle and rock him. He calms down so much faster now, and often says that he wants to be a ‘baby’, so I cradle him and hold him close to my chest until he’s moved on. It felt counter-intuitive the first few times I did it. Everything I’d read said to let them work it out and leave them alone unless they asked for a cuddle. Often Theo seemed to squirm away or recoil from my touch when he was mid-tantrum and I was trying to do the whole ‘respect his bodily autonomy thing’. But one day when the meltdown seemed interminable, I just scooped him up, held him close, rocked him, sang quietly and he snuffled and gasped, then leaned into me and that was it.
I’m not really a trust-your-instincts kind of mum when it comes to the big stuff around sleeping, feeding, and illnesses (I’d rather trust medical professionals, thanks very much), but sometimes it’s worth dismissing the advice of the books, websites and blog posts and just giving your baby (and yes, even at two and a bit he’s still a baby) exactly what he needs.