This week everyone went back to work. (Not me… ha ha) I was so smug as Daddy set his alarm and I was secretly glad that the festivities were over and I could get back into my routine. Weirdly, I even had the traditional Sunday Night insomnia even though technically I wasn’t going back to work. Hmm… by 10.30am Monday morning I would have happily swapped my morning clean-up of Banana Blasted puke for Year 10 English! (Note to self – baby doesn’t like lumps of banana, but is happy to smush it in most other crevices). In my rose-tinted, sleep deprived memory work is easier… isn’t it?
At least at work (I’m a teacher) you get designated breaks, can drink a hot drink and can tell the kids to go away as you’re on your break! I’ve tried that with the baby… it doesn’t work! And the best thing of all about work is… you get to go to the toilet in peace. These days I either have to plan wees around nap times, rocket up the stairs and force out a blast and be back down within 90 seconds or just give up drinking drinks so that fewer pee breaks are needed (this is probably why I have ended up with cystitis).
Yesterday I had to take the baby with me to the bathroom as she was on a sponsored cling and scream and the cat also decided to join us. I had the baby propped up on the floor and the cat decided to pop his head up between my knickers! He is like a character in a horror film – if he wants feeding he literally stalks me until I feed him – everywhere I turn he is there staring at me. I am the feeder of all things in this house and they all scream and stalk me until they are fed. I on the other hand had half a banana and a packet of hula hoops… as I say… work is looking like a rosy option right now!
These last few weeks have been awful. Yes it has been magical and we have loved her first Christmas… I had every ‘Baby’s first Christmas’ themed item going and she was festively dressed for all occasions but we have had a killer few weeks. My routine has been shattered, teething has set in, she has been going through one of the so-called wonderful leaps and quite frankly I feel like we have all regressed to week three again!
We don’t have a strict routine. Or at least I didn’t think we did until Christmas sneaked up on us and ruined everything. We do have a routine… of sorts but much to my surprise I have gone with the Baby led style of parenting. When the midwife first mentioned this to me I thought she was some do-gooding hippy… I wasn’t going to let my baby decide our routine. The midwife warned me that professionals, especially teachers can find it hard to adapt to the flexibility needed in motherhood as babies do not stick to a timetable. I thought she was patronising and unsupportive. She claimed a strict four hour feeding plan was barbaric and advised that I just let the baby lead the way. I thought she was mad… turns out she was right, (who’d have thought it?)
We tried to instil a routine… I decided that I would get up early, and feed her at 7am 11am 3pm 7pm and wake the baby for a dream feed at 10pm before starting our night time routine.
Ha ha ha ha ha … as all you Reflux veterans will know… with reflux the plan is there is no plan! Be prepared for every eventuality and chuck the ‘How to’ guides away! As the Reflux Demon maps out your day for you!
The ‘routine’ lasted two days and majorly backfired for us on the first 10pm wake up – Turn on the lights, unwrap the blanket and allow the baby to stir… ERM more like Disturb the lovely quiet baby and reap the consequences with hours of crying and disturbed sleep for the rest of the night! Perhaps she sensed the negative vibes as we had a whispered argument in the Nursery… you can’t beat passive aggressiveness can you? “Isn’t Mummy a silly Mummy…” “Is Daddy a k**bhead? Oh Yes he is!”
We also had fun trying to plan nap times… trying to keep a two week old awake in the morning before the designated nap time was impossible. Anyone that can do this deserves an award… we had no chance, there was no way that baby was staying awake no matter how many toys we waved at her, rattles we rattled or songs we sung. And as for the four hour feeding pattern… six months in and I’m still waiting!
As I say, I didn’t really think I had a strict routine… that is until Christmas came along and totally destroyed it sending us into disarray. That coupled with the uninvited guest that came to stay for Christmas…. Teething and needless to say it has been an exhausting few weeks. She has also been going through a growth spurt and according to my new Wonder App a leap and so we have truly regressed to the dark days of her waking every few hours throughout the night.
I had enjoyed a WHOLE week of the baby sleeping through. Yes, every single night she went down at 8-9pm and slept ALL the way through until 7am. I was like a new woman. Practically springing out of bed singing ‘Oh what a beautiful Morning.’ I no longer fantasised about naps, I didn’t cry and crumble into an emotional wreck over the slightest thing. It was like living in a musical where everything sparkled (except my teeth aren’t nearly white enough to be in a musical)
And then it arrived.
Suddenly we were back to square one. I had been warned … She’ll never sleep through, teething is next… You’ll never get into a routine, the next leap will see to that!… I know they mean well, but really I don’t want to hear that the life that I currently think is the worst it could be is likely to get worse by the day… Say goodbye to sleep (with a chuckle) is another… yes I know… I never envisioned how bad the sleep deprivation would be, but come on… give me a break. A white lie never hurt anyone. So, our uninvited visitor arrived proving the smug joy spreaders right and setting us up for a Christmas that would be not so merry and bright.
So we were already dealing with Teething and then the madness of Christmas descended on us. Which leads me to the question… Did Christmas Break my Baby? Is she teething, having a growth spurt? Or is she just being a madam? Suddenly we have gone from a baby that sleeps well to one that will not nap (again) we have had our fair share of nap strikes but I thought we’d cracked it. We had got ourselves into a nice routine and then suddenly we are back to square one.
Christmas consisted of the usual floods of visitors and passing around of the baby. I was more than happy to share her around. Photos, presents, kisses, cuddles… she was a delight to be with and made our Christmas extra special this year. But, she didn’t nap properly. She fed sporadically… too nosey to finish a bottle… I didn’t keep proper tabs on her sleep, her bottles… ah well it’s Christmas… yeah that’s great until she’s so tired she has screamed for two hours straight and been majorly sick ALL OVER YOU. I didn’t really think about how three days of family visits would affect her. It was like the early days again. It was so nice to have people helping, but clearly she didn’t agree and eventually it all got too much for her and Mummy had to pick up the pieces! Well wipe up the sick to be precise. And then just as we started to get back to normal New Year’s Day arrived and another family party… needless to say that didn’t end well either! She beat her own record of number of wake ups that night… so we started the New Year zombie style!
And of course on top of all of this there was still the daily grind of reflux to deal with. Since we have started weaning her she has been much better, but it is still very much hit and miss. Christmas Day we had two major spews. Her piece-de-resistance had to be whilst sitting at the table for Christmas dinner. I was just about to tuck into my dinner and was encouraged to let her try some veg. She dabbled with broccoli, then cast it to once side. The carrot was smudged, poked and discarded. She honestly didn’t seem that bothered and had already inhaled her My first Sunday Dinner jar. (I would have bought a Christmas edition if they’d made one!) I am well known for being festive and liking to get involved with all festivities… so why not try her with a sprout? Hmmm big mistake. The sprout all but grazed her lip, she took a teeny tiny lizard lick and then it started. The all too familiar wretch. The gag reflex. And then the Christmas Spewzilla popped up to wish us a Merry Christmas. True to usual form she managed to cover my arm even though I caught most of it in her giant festive Santa bib! My Christmas dinner had hardly been touched, so I enjoyed it with a side portion of spew and the gentle aroma of baby puke. Cheers! Merry Christmas!
That night after several hours of pass the baby combined with a crazy concoction of teething gels, anbesol, powders and calpol (all at the recommended dose obviously. Check with your Health professional for guidance.) She was again sick. She’d been changed into her My First Christmas Babygro and after almost two hours of screaming writhing and refusal to sleep we attempted to give her the calpol. This was an instant regret as the whole of her insides projectile vomited out with a slight hint of strawberry… thank god for the easily distinguishable reflux rattle as it does give you that all import two second head start to grab anything in sight to catch the puke. This is one definite advantage of being untidy as there is always some discarded towel, blanket, muslin, vest or pair of tights within grabbing distance which can (and have) been used to catch a Spewzilla special.
I didn’t think we had a routine until it was well and truly trampled on. So I was glad to get back to work this week to try and get me and mini-me back into our routine. Yes, Motherhood is a job and just like my other half I am shattered after being back at work for three days!
Last night I’m pleased to report that she slept through again, so maybe it is Christmas that broke us. I don’t want to let routines rule my life and as anyone dealing with a refluxer will know you have to be flexible, but I am more aware of how important it is for all our sakes that she eats and sleeps when she should. So, I will enjoy the naps when they come and will keep the muslins on hand as with a refluxer it’s business as usual no matter what day it is! I will enjoy the sleep when I get it and just be thankful for what I have and will actually enjoy doing nothing for a while!
Here’s to a Happy and Healthy New Year.
Come and join the Spewzilla Chronicles.
Next week will be the first edition of your Spewzilla Chronicles. I will be publishing hilarious anecdotes from real reflux veterans who have been there. (Thanks to the many people that have already sent me their stories.)
The mantra is… If we don’t laugh, we’ll cry.
I’d love to hear your comic stories of Living with Reflux and (the not so silent) Silent Reflux. Please add to my Spewzilla Chronicles with your own hilarious anecdotes and let’s share the joy of reflux babies together.
Email your stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org