Some sayings, like “have your cake and eat it” make no sense! Of course I’m going to have my cake and EAT it, what else would I do with it? However, whoever said “misfortune comes in threes” pretty much hit the nail on the head. This past couple of weeks have been a shite storm of crisis after crisis. As much as I love motherhood, and truthfully as cheesy as it is, a smile, a laugh, a hug from either of my babies can usually take me out of my darkest moods, the collective power of mastitis, terrible twos and teething almost broke me. Almost!
Although Aasiya isn’t two yet she’s been exhibiting signs of behavioural changes for a while. As toddlers become older and more aware of their surroundings they start to assert themselves more. As annoying as it is for us adults it’s an important part of their development: recognising their role in their environment and trying to negotiate boundaries and situations. In Aasiya’s case she likes to say “no” so if I ask her to tidy up her books, or tell her it’s nap time, she’ll say no to me first. In most cases I’ll give her a furrowed brow look and she’ll smile and get on with what Ive requested. On the occasions she doesn’t listen she really doesn’t listen! There’ll be screaming and slamming of fists on tables followed by tears and rolling around on the floor. If you were to see her you’d think something awful has happened, and the first few times I was honesty worried for her, I thought maybe something had happened, maybe she’d hurt herself and was in pain, but it quickly dawned on me that my little girl was playing me, and playing me well. All children go through this phase, and if I didn’t also have a baby I think I’d even find it amusing, as it goes I find it incredibly stressful. As soon as she kicks off Idris often decides to join in. I can’t soothe both of them and I certainly can’t shout at them! I don’t want to appear to soothe Idris while being upset with Aasiya, it’s a real parenting conundrum! My method of dealing with her tantrums is to remain as calm as possible. I won’t raise my voice and I won’t keep talking at her, she’s too busy screaming to listen. When there’s a pause in her outburst, I’ll repeat what ever instruction I gave her I.e. Aasiya please pick up your crayons, and eventually, through breathless tears, she does as she’s told and them we hug it out. If she’s done something that’s dangerous, like thrown something, or recently she’s taken to biting sometimes, I ask her to go and sit in the other room or on the stairs and I’ll go get her within the minute and we’ll have a short talk about what she’s done and why she can’t do it.
In many ways I can relate to Aasiya’s tantrums, sometimes I want to do the same. She actually has the patience of a saint as I’m always expecting her to wait until I’ve finished doing whatever it is the baby requires before turning my attention to her. With teething Idris has been incredibly grumpy. Often times he wants to comfort suckle and I’m obliging but then for a while he didn’t drink anything except at night. As a result I had engorged breasts and mastitis. He didn’t have a temperature and was still wetting his nappy as before so I wasn’t really worried about his reduced milk intake. I could feel my boobs where much heavier than usual and leaking (oh the joys!!) but it was only after they started to burn up that I got worried. Turns out there is such a thing as breast temperature and it’s a sign of mastitis! A little while later I was in bed in pain exhibiting all the signs of someone with a fever! I was having hot and cold sweats, my body aching, my head pounding and my boobs were a lumpy leaking mess! It was horrible and really uncomfortable. As Idris wasn’t interested in drinking milk, or helping his mama out, I had to massage out the extra milk. This of course is a double edged sword as my body assumed my baby was drinking the milk and thus went on to produce more! Thankfully Idris got his appetite back a day or two later, but I had a repeat episode on the one and only occasion I decided to go out with friends and express for him! The next day my breasts were engorged again and I had to spend a while manually milking myself!
I’m not giving Idris anything for teething, no calpol or bonjela as I don’t like medicating unless it’s entirely necessary. He does have a load of teething toys he happily bites away at and more recently I’ve given him a fruit dummy (it’s a giant dummy with holes and you can pop a fruit into it and the baby just chomps away at it. It’s supposed to be both soothing and helps with weaning). So far no teeth have popped out but this has been going on now for almost 2 months. I don’t recall Aasiya teething for such a long period but she did also get her teeth much later. I suspect Idris won’t get his teeth until after 8 months, which as I’ll still be breastfeeding is fine with me.
As tough as the last couple of weeks have been there have also been many high points. Idris is rolling about and enjoying tummy time a lot more and Aasiya really loves getting involved with his play. She crawls into his jungle gym and plays with him, shows him the owl, the bird and the nut as well as anything else she can name. Sometimes she picks up books and pretends to read to him, it’s really heartwarming to watch them together. And Idris for his part is comforted by her, she’s almost as familiar to him as I am. I hope and pray that they always stay close and have a strong bond of love and kindness towards each other, siblings are the greatest gift I feel as a parent I can give my children.