Monthly Archives: July 2010

Bog bloggy blog

Scary potty rawwwr

The potty has been lying around the house now for several months being used as a seat for teddies, a container for toys, a basin for catching balls etc. Olwyn had taken a particular shine to it, knocking it over and banging it on the ground. Seren would hover around it, threatening to sit on it. But her little bottom never made contact with it until last week.

I suppose Pete and I had been putting toilet training on the long finger. We have heard the stories of it going horribly wrong and taking forever. We thought best leave it until Seren is older and more ready. Time was a-ticking though and I was starting to get worried that she would not be trained by September and therefore not be admitted to her new playgroup. It’s terrible what pressure will do to someone! All the signs were there but Seren just did not seem too pushed to sit on the potty. We would let Seren run around for a few hours at home without a nappy on and there would be the occasional accident. However, on Sunday week ago, Seren held in her pee for the entire day until about 6pm. She got so upset and we could not figure out why. She was hopping around and bawling. Was she sick? Did she have a urinary infection? (It was only later in the week that we figured out what was wrong.) So Pete put a nappy on her and read her a story. After this, she was like a new person. She had done a pee in the nappy.

The next day I dropped Seren into the creche and noticed that two of her friends were being trained. Now before this, we had just been trying at home and had not mentioned it to the staff. So on seeing her pals taking the leap, I asked if Seren could join in on the fun. Kathy said sure and it would help Seren along seeing her friends at it too. Seren was in the creche for three days only last week. There was lots of accidents on day one and day two. Seren did not seem to grasp the new concept of her bodily functions and was so anxious and afraid of what was happening to her. She was unable to understand, the poor thing.

So on Tuesday evening, Seren and I came home. The nappy came off and she started her little dance again. She was not willing to sit on the potty to do a pee. But she was well able to hold it in. I eventually had to cuddle her while she was sitting on the potty and the urge became to strong for her to hold it in and she let it go. Well, saying she was amazed would be an understatement. She had to have a good look at what was happening and where the pee was coming from!

The next day, Seren went off to the creche. Kathy was all set with the patience of a saint. An hour later I got a call to say that maybe Seren did have an infection after all as she wanted to be picked up constantly. So we marched off to the doctor’s office. The doctor was brilliant with Seren. Unfortunately, she wanted to get a urine sample from Seren to rule out an infection. Now, trying to get an urine sample from a toddler, who wears a nappy, into a little tub is not easy, people!! Seren had only just wet her nappy but the doctor insisted we try. Attempt one was unfruitful. I tried the tap running, bribery, patience. It was not happening. Back in the office, we hummed and hawed as what to do. Then Seren started to do her little dance and we knew this was an oppurtunity. Off we trotted to the loo again. This time Seren was distressed again but she could not hold it in and did it half on the floor and I managed to capture it in the little pot. Oh, the ordeals of motherhood. The poor child.

Anyway, the sample was clear and we were sent home. I made a big sing-song to Pete how Seren used the big toilet at the doctor’s and that afternoon Seren did another pee in the potty with a little gentle persuasion from mother dearest.

From there on in, it got easier for her the more she learned that this was not something to be afraid of. Seren got more and more proud of herself.

The next day, there was nothing stopping her. The day after that, Seren even did a poo. Pretty much after three days she got the hang of it. I am so impressed with her. Eventhough she was fretting at this huge life change, she took it head on and embraced it. She was so good at it that two nights ago she woke in the middle of the night, took her nappy off, and asked to go to the toilet.

So now all I have to do is wean her off the Smarties, which we used as a reward for her achievements. Baby steps…

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Sleep slaughter

Inner monologue – “In an ideal world, children under the age of five could put themselves to bed”. This thought runs through my mind presently. Does every night have to be a disaster? Why, oh why, do toddlers and babies feel the need to wind up their parents at bedtime. I know this attitude seems selfish. Of course, I chose to be a parent and this is all part of the territory. But I swear, sometimes it just gets a bit too much.

 I am sitting downstairs, frustrated, as I type this. I can hear World War 3 erupt on the monitor. Pete is upstairs wrestling Olwyn to go to sleep. Tonight is a nightmare. Sometimes I dread bedtime. We had a real rough time for a while about a month ago where it could take up to two hours some nights to put the girls down. Then it all calmed down and we had the best girls in the world. Happy days. We have the usual routine – brushing teeth, pyjamas, and story time. Yet when it comes to lights out, either one or the other acts up and decides to go bananas. I am trying to laugh at the situation and find the hunour in it. But I have to admit, there are times when there are very dark thoughts going through my head.

It’s getting heated up there now. Olwyn is having a fit that I am not there. She had kidney beans for dinner. Maybe that’s what has given her the energy! I can hear Pete pacing the floor. I wonder is Olwyn going to give in? Seren is in and out from under the covers like a yoyo. Of course, she thinks this is a game and laughs her head off at the situation.

Well, Pete is back down now with no luck had. He is pacing the floor down here now, stressed out, and we are sniping at each other. We have left them in the room to their own devices. They are crying intermittently but it is quieting down. Pete thinks we will laugh about this one day. I hope that is the case. Maybe when we are 55 years old and our grandchildren are causing our children the same heartache!

The plan was to go out and garden, but that, alas, is a no go for me. Pete has gone out to dig a hole in frustration! I think I will go up and face the war again in a minute. Wish me luck!

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The sky is falling in!

That is how I felt! Completely overwhelmed and scared with my life, when at a time everyone thinks I should be at my happiest. My second daughter is now 8.5 months old. But about two months ago, things began to get the better of  me.

For one who is usually pretty laid back and non-judgemental, enjoys family occasions and socialising, likes a good giggle and a smooch with Pete, I was turning into a monster. Or so I thought anyway.  I was irrational, could not focus on my studies or work, had no mojo, couldn’t sleep soundly, did not want to be with people, felt like crying, felt no self-worth, oh the list could go on and on. I think the final straw was one morning when I had gotten up and felt in fine form, and within 30 minutes feeling like there was a dark cloud above me and that my life was just hopeless and there was no point to carry on. I think  Pete and I just had a silly argument about whether or not to water our basil plant ( we differ in opinion on this :)!) and though he had moved on, it brought me totally down. So I went to work and did a bit of soul searching. I admitted to myself that I needed help.

Pete had no idea I was feeling all these things and was very surprised when I sat him down on the couch one evening after the girls had been put to bed. I just blurted it out. I had been giving myself pep-talks the entire evening. It was hard trying to pluck up the courage to admit something was wrong. There is so much pressure on mothers today to be perfect. He was very supportive and said that I hid it very well. This is funny because I see myself as being a complete wreck behind the facade I have put up.

I booked myself in to see our family doctor a week later. The funny thing is that I felt such a sense of relief telling Peter. During this week, many thoughts went through my mind. Maybe I was fine; sure I was only making this up; I had no reason to be depressed. But deep down I knew I had to listen to my body. When I finally arrived into my doctor’s office and told him, he said he knew straight away as he could see it in my eyes. I was not too keen to take anti-depressants as I am nursing Olwyn. However, he did a lot of ringing around to find an appropriate drug that did not affect the baby. He was pretty adamant that I take it and give it a chance.

I did not understand this type of depression and that after pregnancy women can have an hormonal imbalance. I did not suffer from this after my first daughter was born. I did the Edinburgh test after Olwyn was born, but I was on a high after the birth. I wonder why this is not carried out at a later stage after birth when it is more likely to be picked up.

The doctor questioned when I would stop breastfeeding, which I thought a bit strange. My reply was that the decision to stop would be my baby’s choice. He also questioned the need for me to do my Ph.D. as being a mother is a full-time job as it is. I answered that I wanted to do this. If I were to stop, I will regret it in the years to come. Besides, having two young children, there is a  certain flexibility to doing my research now. Some days are more productive than others. If the children are sick, I can stay home with them.

Besides being on medication, I have taken a holistic approach to this also. I have changed my diet. For example, I eat four or five brazil nuts a day. Brazil nuts contain tryptophan which helps in the production of serotonin. This is a happy chemical that the body uses. Also, I have tried to increase the amount of fish I eat. I take a B-vitamin complex supplement. My downfall is sitting down with biscuits/chocolate/anything sweet after the kids are in bed. I am attempting to cut this out. The trick is not to have any in the house. This is an absolute killer. So I have another substitute. This blog!! The whole exercise thing is a hit and miss too. I started jogging but that is on hiatus at the moment.

At first, I was so ashamed and embarrased that I was suffering from post-natal depression. Slowly but surely I began telling those closest to me. Surprisingly, it gave me a confidence and confidence admitting to it. I would just kind of blurt it out. People would be surprised but supportive. The most supportive of course is Peter. Without him, I don’t think I would see the light. He is my rock.

The medication is starting to kick in. I find myself having a giggle and think “wow, that feels good, it’s been a while since I did that” or I have a special moment with my kids and think “they complete me”. Slowly but surely the sky is beginning to lift…

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Wandering Yarrow

Common Yarrow

My walk to work usually takes about 40 minutes and it takes me through suburbs and a park. I always admire the foliage, flowers, trees and the birds singing. I love to watch the changing colours as the seasons turn.

This morning, I discovered common yarrow growing on the side of the footpath. There is nothing common about this little beauty. Not knowing at first what this plant/weed was, I picked a sprig and crushed the leaves. Wow, the smell was deliciously sweet. I looked it up and identified the plant.

Yarrow, or achillea millefolium, has a long extant history. It is said that Achilles, the greek warrior, used this herb to heal his wounded soldiers in the Trojan War. It has gained the name herbal militaris for its properties that aid the staunching of blood flow from wounds. It grows as a wildflower throughout Ireland and flourishes in sunny areas. Its leaves are green and feathery and it has little white daisy-like flowers from June until August.

Yarrow was a popular ward against evil. As a result, it has also been called the devil’s plaything.

Its medicinal properties make it a useful herb to use to fight colds and flus. It is good combined with elderflower in tea infusions as it can help promote sweating to rid fevers.

Its modern Irish name is athair taluin and in old Irish it may have been referred to as eimer. It is thought that the name of Cu Chulainn’s wife, Emer, may be derived from this plant.

Yarrow is a great plant to grow in an allotment. It attracts aphid eating insects such as ladybirds and lacewing. Therefore it would be ideal to plant it beside broccoli. I’ve read somewhere that, supposedly, yarrow leaves aid in a more rapid process on the compost heap.

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see the world through my eyes…

and accompany me as I live, love and learn.

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