Pregnancy, Week 23: Ethics and Questioning my Sanity

You know you’ve been binge watching too much of Netflix’s “The Good Place” when just about every thought that pops into your head, you manage to somehow link back to moral ethics. And this week/last week… we watched the whole two seasons (again). So now, I’m sitting here questioning the ethics behind feeding my toddler left over roast veggies because I couldn’t be arsed grocery shopping, again.

Don’t get me wrong, the veggies are healthy and she LOVES them so it’s not the act, more or less the laziness behind having zero groceries in the house for about the 6th day in a row.

At 23 weeks, my brain is mush and the absolute last thing I want to be doing is grocery shopping. It’s always crowded, and about 8 degrees colder than I find mildly comfortable. PLUS last time I went grocery shopping I got stank-eyed by a 2 year old (not my child, surprisingly. Though she has got a good stank face) and its really just something I don’t have the strength to face again just yet… He was a MEAN looking 2 year old.

little bean is now big enough to show easily in pretty much anything I wear. Which is both good and bad. Good because it’s more obvious now that I’m having a baby and its not just pudge from my last one. And bad because pretty much all of my non maternity pants no longer fit, including my favourite tights. But alas, this bump will only grow bigger so I’ve again reached the crossroads between sucking it up and continuing to wear the same wardrobe week in and out, or buying more maternity clothes. Which is never really a good idea if we’re being honest, they’ll only be needed for a few months longer, then they just become baggy house clothes that you spent too much money on.

My memory is currently about as awful as my bladder capacity. And whoever said you should have less frequent trips to the toilet in the second trimester is a LIAR. Swift kicks to the bladder make it pretty difficult to go any longer than about an hour between loo visits. I forget where I put my phone, my keys, my wallet, Violet’s nappy wipes, the TV remote… pretty much anything smaller then a carry-on bag you can bet I’ve misplaced. It certainly doesn’t help that Vi tends to hide these things regularly, but you know, you can’t blame everything on the kids.

Beyond losing things and stretching clothes, the last couple of weeks have been super all over the place for me, emotionally. I tend to swing wildly and randomly back and forth between “everything is okay, we’ve got this” to “holy crap what the hell are we doing”, and although both feelings are pretty normal, I’ve felt myself internalising them a lot more than usual this pregnancy. Which means bad news when the bottled emotions come spilling out all over my coffee in the form of panicked wails.

Dan and I are no strangers to this whiplash kind of emotional rollercoaster, just seems to be heightened for the both of us at the moment which can be both stressful and confusing. We do have big things going on in our life beyond the baby and Vi that are obviously contributing, it’s all reached quite a pivotal peak and we’ve just been left clinging on to faith that we’ll reach the other side relatively unscathed and hopefully in a better place as a family.

The irony of life really rears its head in moments like these, the most challenging things often come around at what feels like exactly the wrong time. But then again, is there ever really a good time to face trialling adversity? Probably not, much like there never really being a good time to go to the dentist or call Centrelink *shivers*. But we push forward, whether it be by choice or by the force of change and time.

The one thing I am sure of is my love for Dan and the family we’ve created together, beyond the crazy hormones and shitty life situations. They give me my sanity, a constant in a world that is so uncertain for us at the moment. They’re all of my good mornings and all of my goodnights, and soon we’ll have one more little person to cuddle for all of those.

These 23 weeks have certainly been wild, and very very fast. In fact, I really can’t believe we’re here already. We’ll be seeing you soon little bean!

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we truly are.

-Arthur Golden

Xo Emily @ LovingLittleOne.com

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“Mudging” (Mum-judging)

If you’re yet to join the ranks of motherhood “Mudging” would have to be one of the weird made up words you’re yet to involve in your day to day vocabulary. Mainly because I made it up, but thats besides the point.

But the act of “mudging” or “mum-judging” is VERY real, in fact, so real that I’m surprised it hasn’t become a common hashtag or catchphrase yet. The reality of it tends to be quite hidden, that is until the day you, as an unsuspecting first time mum join the “mummy groups” that are the hidden forums of the judgy-mcjudge dark side of the internet.

At first you’re delighted by the empowering and basically utterly adorable posts… “#normalisebreastfeeding” and “#fedisbest”, Babies everywhere, milk teeth on show, wrinkly bums out for the world to see. There are threads on postpartum advice, advice on the best bottles, a plethora of info on where to buy the best baby things at the best prices. I mean, I could go on ALL day about the beautiful thing mothers pages appear to be, but thats obviously not what you clicked on this title for.

It appears the one thing they forget to give you in your “pregnancy and motherhood” gift pack you receive at your first antenatal appointment is the pamphlet that apparently almost every other mother out there has read stating:

“MOTHERHOOD IS A COMPETITION! DON’T TAKE LAST PLACE!” 

But I’ll tell you now, you’ll find that pamphlet plastered passive aggressively in the comments section of almost every single post on your friendly neighbourhood “mum’s page”. You wouldn’t believe it but the drama we thought we all left behind in high school is surprisingly alive and well in the same “empowering” posts we all thought were here to make us feel better about ourselves.

But it doesn’t begin and end with disagreement. There is name-calling, blatant shaming, gang-up type behaviour, unsolicited advice, posting of articles that are completely biased and mostly entirely unreliable used in order to “educate” people on what they should be doing with their OWN children.

Post upon post made in spite of other posts because people are too passive aggressive to address issues on the original conversation. But commenting their opinion on the post would be disregarding the “scroll on” rule that almost every single one of these pages has, so better to create an entire other post on the matter right? So it doesn’t appear as though its a response to something that’s not agreed on, rather a new “topic” to discuss.

Yet no matter how many rules are made, or how many people are “removed” from these groups the issue is still there. The people that are removed simply create their own “NEW GROUP!” that is somehow better and more positive then the last. Spoiler alert, it never is.

The reality of it is, in most situations people just can’t help feeling they know better then someone else. And motherhood just so happens to be one of those things that people who have experience in, think they know ALL about.

There is no doubting women are strong, incredible creatures. Not only for what our bodies are capable of, both in pregnancy and childbirth, but also in our remarkable ability to carry on through the struggles motherhood itself can bring beyond the womb. But with our strength comes a fire we are using against ourselves; fellow mothers who are not only experiencing the same difficulties motherhood presents us with, but women with their own life struggles and hardships.

There is no denying the beauty behind women who support one another, and we all know that these groups are started with that intention. But FAR too many times we let our ego and our hunger for “knowing best” get in the way of our ability to empathise.

So much time is wasted dragging one another across rock hard ground without ever stopping to contemplate the fact that we are all just women who love their children with every ounce of who we are and who we ever will be.

I am sick of reading and hearing about women purposefully hurting other women for the sake of an argument. And if it were as simple as leaving the “mums groups” I don’t think I’d see enough reason to write this post. But in all honesty it is everywhere. It is facebook posts on public profiles, and in the comment sections of public videos, its in the judging remarks of one woman to another on the street (even if one of them never actually hears it), it’s in the looks we give and the sounds we make, the messages we send, the phone calls we make… even in the thoughts we think of ourselves as we stand in front of the mirror questioning our own ability as a mother.

And if that isn’t the saddest part about all of this then I don’t know what is.

Our inability to consider one another with empathy and love is hurting our ability to consider ourselves with empathy and love. And how can any mother can be the best they can for their children without first being the best they can for themselves.

#StopMudging

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xx Emily @ Lovinglittlone.com

Our experience with bedtime and crying

Notice how the title doesn’t say “controlled crying” or “cry it out”. Yeah, I did that on purpose. Mainly because the method we use doesn’t have a name, we just did what felt right and what worked for us. If you read this and think, hey that actually is a method written about feel free to let me know! I’d love to read it.

Now this is a touchy subject. I’ve seen MANY heated discussions on bedtime methods and what people think is right and wrong for children. And I won’t deny the science or the methods out there in books and in documentaries but we decided quite early on that we would take parenting as a day to day thing, do what feels right and if and when it stops feeling right for us or our baby, we’d stop.

Until our daughter was 6 months old we had a pretty easy run, she would fall asleep in our arms and then we would move her to her cot and she would stay asleep until the next feed, whenever that may be. She never slept through but this is something we were and are still ok with. She would wake up at night, have a feed and nod straight back off to sleep. I’d either shift her back into her cot or enjoy a bit of co-sleep cuddles for the night, whatever felt right at the time.

After 6 months we started noticing her “bedtime” was getting later and later, because no matter how hard we tried, if she was being held around a light or tv or conversation, we was too curious to fall asleep. This posed an issue for us, because it meant I either had to go off to a dark room in silence and hold her until she fell asleep OR switch up our method. I endured 4 months of the first option before I’d decided enough was enough. And that’s when we introduced a proper, scheduled night time routine.

Kids LOVE routine. And we’d always had a rough routine of what order things are done in but never really set times. So we decided, start cooking dinner at 5:30, she eats by six, bath time by 6:30-7, book and bed before 7:30. “Bed” was into the cot with me beside her but not touching or talking to her.

The first few nights were tough. She sat and cried and cried at me, every 10 minutes or so I would give her a short little pat on the back and a reassuring “I love you” but I wouldn’t pick her up… she was tired and me picking her up would only prolong sleep. The first few nights it took about 30-40 minutes of crying. Not terrified crying, not hurt crying, not hysterical crying, just whingey tired crying.

Slowly but surely, the amount of time she would spend crying got shorter and shorter. After about 4 nights of the new routine she was only crying for 10 or so minutes. And by a week and a half I could walk into her room with her in my arms, place her down in the cot, pat her quietly for about 10 seconds or so, say I love you and leave the room with absolutely NO fussing or crying.

I was astonished. This was a child that hardly ever self soothed, now going to sleep almost entirely on her own, no fuss, and almost HAPPY to be going to bed.

Now I’m not here to preach, every baby is different and every parent will do things differently so I’m definitely not going to tell anyone what to do or that it will work for them. And I didn’t walk into this new routine thinking we’d see that much of a difference but HOLY, it has changed our lives. Our night times are almost completely stress free, beautiful in fact. My partner and I can enjoy alone time without fear of having to listen to tears, or trying to be quiet so she would go to sleep in my arms.

She doesn’t sleep through. She never has, but she’s easy to get back to sleep, so that’s never been a problem with us. I am just so surprised at how well this has worked for us.

I’d love to hear stories of bedtime success! No judgement from me either as to how you got there! It’s a long and tough journey but such a feat when you finally reach it. So share away in the comments!

Violet Rae 10-11 months

I feel like I say this every single time I write a post but it’s been a while so I’m going to say it again, where has the time gone?! The last few months have been so incredibly busy. As everyone would know we had Violets first Christmas just last month, but something that is new is SHE IS WALKING!

Her first steps happened on the day she turned 10 months, I mean, I’m not going to lie, they were a tad encouraged! However it only took her a month to figure out the whole balance thing and now nothing can stop her! Our house has become a madness of running and squealing and mess and just an entire bundle of fun really. I have to say it, we now officially have a toddler *sobs*.

Watching them learn and grow and take in the world around them is SUCH a gift. And I’m so incredibly thankful for it, but it’s gut wrenching how quickly the time passes without you even realising. I feel like it was just yesterday I was lying on an uncomfortable old hospital bed watching the most beautiful little baby I’d ever met sleeping right next to me for the first time.

I remember going to the shops with my mum without Violet for the first time since having her. I nearly bawled my eyes out. And now she’s an independent little miss, who’s quite happy to go to her grandparents without question for a few hours, or her Aunties or her uncles. Heck she’s even great with strangers if she sees me smile at them first. It’s crazy how much she has grown, and how they evolve from tiny, fragile little people who need you to hold their necks up to rampaging, enthusiastic little characters in only 12 months.

She knows what she wants and she lets you know it too! She’s absolutely food obsessed and is doing such a great job transitioning to her solids through the day, but is always up for a booby and a snuggle at midnight (and you read right, she’s not sleeping through yet, but I really don’t mind).

I really feel like I’m just spewing information at you all, but I have so much to say that I just can’t put into words. The last few months have been such incredible, challenging and honestly life changing months. Not only am I learning the ropes of toddler parenthood but so much is happening in our social lives as well surrounding our friends and family. This month we made the rash decision to send dan to FIJI! with his best friend Jeremy in only three weeks time. And although unfortunate events lead to it all happening, we’ve just taken the baton and started running full speed with it.

Not only are we planning last minute holidays but we are beginning to organise violets FIRST BIRTHDAY. That’s right, she is one in less then a month. Someone hold me upright… among present brainstorming and party planning ideas I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed and just over all losing it a bit. So I also chopped all my hair off 🤣 but don’t worry I’m not regretting it.

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Vi really has just become such a little girl in these last few months. I had felt so determined in the beginning to film everything and write everything down, but the truth is, enjoying the moment is so much more important. I’m still taking videos and photos, and when I get the time, like now, I love sitting down and reflecting on violets first few months. I’ve learnt over time not to promise anything on writing posts and whatnot, but what I do know is I have always enjoyed writing them. And although they may be inconsistent as hell at times, there will always be more to write and share with you all.

I can’t believe we’ve been on this journey for nearly two years. Blogging through my pregnancy, and about Violets birth and now we’re almost at the end of her first year! It never ceases to amaze me just how many of you beautiful people love hearing about our journey. We may have been young when we first found out we were expecting, but we have grown SO much, in ways almost impossible to explain, and parenthood has done nothing but make us stronger and happier people. So thank you all so much, for your constant words of engagement and endless love and patience. It means the world to me, I can’t wait to look back on this all one day and share it with Violet, to show her just how lucky we are to have a life full of so much love.

Xx Emily @ LovingLittleOne.com

Violet Rae: Nine Months (of mischief)

As per usual, it astounds me what these short months of Violet’s life have brought us. So many beautiful moments of peaceful cuddles and smiles. Nine months have passed and I’m struggling to believe that she’s now been out in the world longer than I carried her inside of me. Is it just me or is pregnancy SO MUCH SLOWER than any other time period? I’m pretty sure we’ve discovered a way to slow time, it’s not for everyone but if you’re really desperate, fall pregnant!

I want to take a moment to be real with you, this month has been… testing. Her curiosity is at it’s peak, tied in with the new found mobility of crawling and climbing and grabbing, I find myself spending every waking moment making sure she isn’t strangling herself or throwing herself off of high furniture onto hard tiles. Naturally, I find myself saying “no” a LOT, and then shaking my head as I realise that she doesn’t understand “no” and even when she eventually does understand it she will probably ignore it anyway. She is cheeky to the core, and meets every scold with giggles and clapping no matter what ‘cranky face’ you pull. No area of the house is off limits, she has discovered everywhere from the bathroom to the laundry, with the kitchen being her favourite (more cupboards to open and random objects to play with).

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But despite what appears to be naughtiness, our baby girl really is starting to become a little girl, and dare I say it, a toddler. She is discovering the world around her, including the boundaries she likes to tip toe around. And somehow no matter how frustrated you get with her, she can still make you smile and your heart melt inside. She’s constantly talking, mostly about “dada dad” and never afraid to giggle for the sake of it. Food is still basically the centre of her world, whether its your food, her food or the dogs food, she wants it and will try he best to get it, even if she has to climb over a few things to get there.

Breastfeeding is still a very big part of our routine, and I am hoping to keep it that way for as long as I can in an effort to avoid formula and cows milk until her stomach is more matured. For the moment the comfort it offers her is irreplaceable and I feel as though I would miss the midnight snuggles that happen with ease when there is booby involved. I can see nothing but benefits of extending our breastfeeding journey, from both a physical and psychological perspective for the both of us.

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Along side Violet’s milestone of 9 months my 20th birthday has come and gone and I am now no longer considered a “teen mum”, however thats not to say have any better idea about what I’m doing. It does thrill me a little to think that by the time I am 40 I will be long past my last nappy change and hopefully getting a full nights sleep while my babies are off finding their own place in the world, which is sad, but very exciting. I’m getting very good at treasuring every moment, they are only small for such a short time.

Now is around about the time when people start to ask questions about a sibling, usually by asking the baby (who has no idea what they are saying) “when are you going to have a little baby brother or sister?”. Our answer at the moment is “we have no idea”, in my head I feel as though getting Violet through toilet training would be easiest before another little one joins us, but we all know that things don’t always go to plan, so for now we are just rolling with the punches. (if you want an explicit answer: I’m not pregnant and not planning on it for at least another 6 months to a year, but we will see how we go)

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However! Violet did obtain a furry little sister this month, Mila. Mila is a domestic kitten who is just on 3 months old, she is from a great rescue in Brisbane called Best Friend Felines. We welcomed her into our home on my birthday and are very proud of the way Violet has taken to both her and Moey in the last few months. Can definitely see an animal lover shining through. If you’re after a cat or kitten please don’t hesitate to check out Best Friend Felines on their website or Facebook, or any other similar rescues before heading to a pet store or breeder. Little rescue babies and big loveable cats need love too, and there are so so many of them out there who need homes before it is too late for them. You can view profiles of cats and kittens available for adoption through their website (here). Because who doesn’t love looking at photos of cats and kittens right?

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It’s safe to say, after 9 months, life is finally starting to set into rhythm again. A beautiful sense of normality has returned, and although I might have some loose skin here and there I am mostly back to my pre-baby body, only I now have a cute little girl to hold my hand wherever I go. What an epic 18 months we have had! I honestly cannot wait to see what the next 18 months hold.

 

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

 

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Violet Rae: 7-8 months

If I could sum up the last 2 months for Vi in one word, it would be mobile. She is crawling, climbing, sitting, standing, pulling things down, pushing things over and putting things in her mouth she probably shouldn’t. Turn your head for even a second and she’s off in a completely different corner of the room to before.

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You don’t realise how busy parenthood is until these months. Prior to this I could sit her down in one spot and be confident that after I’ve been to the loo and come back she’d be in the same place. Now if I leave her to go to the loo she follows me, with great enthusiasm, which quite frankly is a little intimidating when you’re doing your business.

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Nothing is private anymore, and nothing is just yours. If you’re on your phone, Violet wants your phone, if you’re changing the channel Violet wants the remote and god forbid if you’re eating without her and not giving her any. \

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Food is currently the centre of Vi’s world, besides booby of course. Never in my life have I seen an 8 month old as enthusiastic about food, ALL food, as Violet. Generally, anything you put in her mouth she will eat, and before she is even done chewing she is asking for more by flailing her legs and grunting.

Saying Dad, Bub and blowing raspberries is what she spends most of the day doing with her mouth (when she’s not eating). And the milestone of “mum” has been achieved, but only comes out when she is crying. To be honest I’m not sure whether to be flattered or offended by this, but at least she’s saying it right?

Her two uncles came to stay for a couple of weeks as well, they got to know the ins and outs of ALL of the new wiggles songs while they were here, and couldn’t shy from a dirty nappy. Violet was very happy to have their company, and took a few days after they left to adjust to how quiet the house is now.

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In the last 2 months Violet has also made great friends with another baby boy who is only 6 days older than her. Tarver and Vi do swimming lessons twice a week together and are thoroughly enjoying the company of one another after the lessons as well, even if they weren’t I think we would still hang out, having the company of his mum Lilly has been such a breath of fresh air. Since moving to Wynnum I haven’t had much of an opportunity to catch up with mummy friends, But since these guys are just around the corner it has been absolutely fantastic.

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We really have been caught up in the moment of it all. At this age time seems to fly by so quickly, and I spend most of every day captivated by the adventurous, mischievous and beautifully happy little girl she has become. It’s often hard to have the time to sit down and write, but I am very glad I am still doing it. Being able to reflect on previous blogs is already something I truly treasure, so look forward to many more!

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

She Hasn’t Napped Today

She hasn’t napped today; Code phrase for, brace yourself, sh*t could hit the fan at any minute.

One thing people who aren’t parents are yet to grasp is, napping is the key to happiness. If baby naps, baby is happy, if baby naps, mummy can nap too, if baby naps and all the crankiness of both parties disappears.

However if baby doesn’t nap, baby is tired, baby is frustrated, baby isn’t sure why baby doesn’t feel happy and that makes baby ANGRY. Mummy doesn’t have time to clean up the mess from the morning, the sweet potato all over the bench, the pile of dirty baby clothes that need to soak or the toys scattered from the front door to the back.  And on top of this, mummy doesn’t get to nap either, even though she only had 3 hours sleep and last she ate was probably 11 hours ago.

But the world still goes around, despite the crankiness of both mummy and baby. And all of the other people in the world who are yet to have babies smile and say “it’s okay, it’s only a nap. She’ll sleep longer tonight now anyway”.

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Well actually there is this crazy thing that happens, believe it or not baby actually wakes up regardless of how many naps she had because she is HUNGRY. And because she hasn’t napped when she wakes up because she is hungry she is more cranky because she is still exhausted from not napping. Which is entirely baby’s fault, but she will blame you, and the world, and anything that makes any slight noise at her at 3am.

So if you happen to come across a parent who cautions you with the word of warning “She hasn’t napped today”, don’t be surprised if baby wants none of your cuddles or smiles. She is mad at the world for giving her this curse of ‘tiredness’, it steals her awake time and all the joys that it entails. So if baby can’t be happy then neither can YOU.

Yours and tired always, Emily @ Loving Little One

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