I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

It's Not Right

I often feel I dont read Ellie as well as I should or could and then in the interest of removing self-guilt I rationalise that she doesn't let me in as much as I would want.  She finds it hard to tell me how she is feeling either this is something to investigate or she doesn't know herself yet, can't put it into words,  is only three and has a lot going on for her.  I'll go for the latter, just because the former takes way too much exploration just now and will probably be due to MY mother-daughter relationship and I don't need to go there just now or at 4am in the morning when I was a teenager and my mother decided was a good time to 'chat' about difficult things. And anyway I am exploring MY daughter-mother relationship.

It's not easy to articulate your feelings but you can let someone know something is not right by your behaviour.

Ok, so what does Ellie do to let me know that things are not right...aside from telling me and 'using her words' which she often does, she often doesn't and does something else instead. 

She starts off trying to connect and let me know something is not right but if I miss these cues, it can escelate into other forms of communication...She screeches, she whinges, she whimpers,  she cries, she screams....or she does them all by which point my brain can only take so much haranguing and shuts down.

Maia can spend her entire trying to get back to sleep without the boob time pitifully saying 'its not right' meaning the blanket is not on properly but I can't help answering her 'no its not right' and marvelling on the  merits of the phrase.

So we have a  multitude of  missed behaviours which can lead to meltdown.  Which can after an either particularly long  meltdown or a series of seemingly 'random' ones ( there is always a reason but sometimes I am just too 'not there' to quite get it) lead to me losing the plot which is basically the point where she can't cope I cant cope no-one can cope and its all out of control.  Scary place to be in for all of us. 

The trick is, to cut it off at the pass...to recognise before it becomes a meltdown.  To be on the ball and open  and ready for everything that comes our way.   To be able to negotiate and confer throughout the day on a manageable level.  This takes communication, skills and tools. Sometimes I have them and I know exactly what's going on and am able to work out exactly what the best thing to do is, sometimes I don't. Sometimes that's the answer because doing nothing, being a passive observer is what's needed. They can work it out for themselves, all be it with some frustration.  The accomplishment is worth the pain.   Sometimes doing very little is what is needed, being an active observer, providing words that are needed, having some frustration but knowing I am on hand to offer support or facilitation eases the anguish.   Sometimes doing a lot is what is needed, being an active participant, getting right in there and doing it because the whole thing is just too overwhelming to possibly endure.

I remember the days when cues were generally about boob, sleep or poop and Barry would say wow, isn't it hard work being a baby....WOW its complicated work being a toddler and  blimey its challenging work being a toddlers mum.

Meltdowns - several
Losing the Plot - one massive one
Breastfeeding - not today thanks

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