Friday, August 20, 2010

Emma and Will

William sleeping in his pram: froggie style

Emma and Will after breakfast - Emma is driving the train ;-)

Monday, August 16, 2010

William's voice

On Sunday William suddenly found his voice - no doubt thanks to all the singing and other vocal entertainment Emma has been providing - and started chirping, singing, cooing and grunting as if he were having a proper conversation.

It seems we have yet another chatterbox in the family!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Emma update

Emma on the mend after knocking her head
(such a drama queen I tell you! she likes to have a "bussi" a "flaster" or some ice to feel better!)

Emma also went to see her beloved Dr. G (for her 3 year old check-up), insisted on seeing him first (before William) even though she was due to have a booster shot.

Emma in Dr. G.'s waiting room (he loves antiques!)

Dr. G found that Emma weighs 18kg and measures 99cm. She is healthy but has flat feet (recommended to walk barefoot as much as possible) and slightly in-turned knees.

Unfortunately, Emma and her gang of girlfriends at kindergarden are not napping at the moment so she tends to want to go to bed at 6h30 pm! and worst of all can be cranky as of 5... hopefully this is a summer-phase that will pass. (On the week-ends Emma naps for 90-120 minutes!)

Because of Emma wanting to go to bed so early, I often have to feed her before us or she will skip dinner entirely... So recently the two of us even managed a couple of early alfresco dinners (while William had his 5 o'clock pre-bath cat-nap) at our local market's Tuesday buffet which is right opposite a little parc which was nice!

Emma's favorite: pasta!

Also, sometimes we meet other Mums and we share a prosecco together while the children play.

Last July, as the heat encouraged ladies to show their toes, Emma fell in love with nail polish.
She particularly liked an orange I was wearing at the time but requested a blue one for herself. Since then she received a green one for her birthday (at her request) and has launched a blue/turquoise/green nail polish trend at kindergarden including the teachers!

Pedicure time!
One of Emma's favorite activities (but it's really hard to get her to keep still!)

Friday, August 13, 2010

My little ones and me

William and I at Parc B. in Geneva

I am often the one holding the camera in our house and so there are not so many pics of me with my little ones... Looking through albums I sometimes feel frustrated because I am simply not there.

So here are two pics taken within the same week (unfortunately it was an exhausting one and you can tell) but what the hell.

I'll try to take more pics by myself from now on.

Emma and me on her 3rd birthday

Thursday, August 12, 2010

William - 3 month update

A slightly late 3 month update:

Eating and sleeping
  • During the day, he now roughly sleeps 1,5-2 hours hours and is awake about the same amount of time. At night he sleeps from 7h15 pm to about 6h30 am. Unfortunately he still wakes for a feed about 3 or 4 am and sometimes just wakes and needs a tap on the bum to fall back to sleep (on top of that he has a dream feed just before 11pm which means he has a total of 7 feeds in 24 hours! 5 in the day, a dream feed and one night feed).
  • Thankfully, his naps are now better (less wakings) and he has started to sleep less fitfully in his pram (even when you stop walking).
  • We've thankfully been able to get him to sleep without the swaddle a few times - it broke my heart to need to swaddle him up in this terrible heat! Hopefully this trend will continue.
  • He is now mostly able to burp on his own (without being burped) but when he has trapped air, he let's you know! and hiccups seem to occur less frequently.
  • He eats loads as long as he is not distracted by noise, people interacting with him or new places. Sometimes, I cover his face (and my breast) up so he can focus on eating and then we can play. He eats best in the quiet of his room.
  • When he screams, he seems to be even louder than before if that is even possible!
  • His smiles are getting bigger and his "talking" louder and more varied with sounds like "aiii" "eiii" "whaiii" "wééé" "huh" and "gré"
  • He is increasingly able to communicate feed-back and to interact more with the world around him.
  • He rolled from his tummy onto his back all by himself 3 times! but since that one time - nothing.
  • It sometimes seems as if he wants to stand/sit up by himself
  • He is chewing on his hands a lot - could he be preparing his gums for teething?
  • He is now able to grasp toys and towels by himself and he is very strong (but he doesn't hang on to them for very long except if he is clutching my necklace or t-shirt)

Physical attributes
  • His size of clothing is already 74cm-86cm depending on the brand and he is really quite a big boy!
  • At his 3 month check-up he weighed 7,340gr!!!
  • Apparently he has ears like mine (the tips stick out a bit) and we yawn in the same way.

  • William is losing his hair like Emma did. Soon he will only have the little collar at the back that makes babies look like monks.
  • He sometimes looks exceedingly wise for his age.

Other stuff
  • We tried giving him a bottle of milk (both mine and formula) but he vehemently refused!
  • He is gradually getting used to noise (Emma's and other) and wind and light so that he jumps a bit less and cries a bit less frequently. Phew!
  • Generally Will can be very sensitive to the environment (positive and negative) and I hesitate in between sheltering him as much as I can and wanting him to adapt to it. I guess he will adapt when he feels more secure and as he grows.

He's a nice guy and we love him to bits!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


A big heart-felt thank-you to all of you who texted, emailed, called or commented to show your support and let me know that you too have felt (or are feeling) the same at some point in the face of mothering your children. Thank-you also for reminding me that things will improve. It really made me feel better (that and a little more sleep)!

Often, I have felt it is a tabou to voice such feelings of overwhelmingness (yes, that's a word! I just looked it up!) in the face of so many mothers seeming calm and collected, happy to be with their kids all the time and apparently never wanting to be anywhere else even just for a second.
(let alone working a Prosecco into the routine at 5pm so as to cope with bath and bed-time!)

But then, sometimes, you open up and admit to feeling fed up and overwhelmed and tired and in need of some "me-time" and you discover you are not alone and that it's ok and that it doesn't mean you don't love your kids nor that you are a bad mother... just that you are human.

There's a lot of guilt tied to what we perceive as our shortcomings in motherhood and a lot of frustrations as we wish to do better and more. A neverending subject tied to one of the most difficult "jobs" in the world; mothering.

During my first few weeks of pregnancy (of William) I read a book that I really enjoyed on the subject by Ayelet Waldman - and googling the title so as to post the link to Good Mother/Bad Mother, I have just discovered there is another book with the same title by Gina Ford which has good reviews... maybe another book to add to my reading list.

To read a bit about Ayelet Waldman's thoughts on "Bad Mother (A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Moment of Grace)"
click here

Happy Reading & thank-you again ;-)

Monday, August 09, 2010

Before we left for a week in Geneva last July, I wrote the below post (on July 19th) but did not post it. Was it perhaps too difficult to own up to? Had I not yet decided what to do with it?
Now that we are back and have survived the week in Geneva (more on that perhaps in another post) here are my thoughts on some of the difficulties of being a family of 4, on Emma's poo and my fear of becoming only a disciplining Mum that has no time & energy for fun.

Sometimes being a family of four is great. Most of the time at the moment it's just plain exhausting. I feel stretched. At the end of the day I feel drained and I find there are way too many tears for my taste. Often we joke we are turning into Sue Ellens and that Prosecco has become a crutch to lean on that lightens the load at the end of the day.
I try not to feel bad about the fact that my weekly hour of freedom for myself (my Pilates class) is the highlight of my week. Steph fights the guilt of enjoying time at the office more than time at home, something he has always thought was awful when other people admitted to it.

I often think of moments when I was quick to judge other families or mothers living in messy environments or cutting corners that to me seemed non-negotiable. I now realize how important it is to choose 30 minutes of fun with your family or a nourishing chat on the phone or walk in the park over a tidy living room. And yes, often you have to prioritize. I'm learning to live with the mess and tolerate a bit more chaos although it still makes me suffer. It's tough for me to learn to say "tant pis!" and let go. And luckily we have a good cleaner twice a week.

Our life has changed us a lot. The lack of sleep, the stress and the lack of attention for some has brought out the less positive sides in each of us.

Emma has become more difficult. She can be utterly adorable one moment and so utterly complicated, uncooperative and totally stubborn the next. I cannot count the times we have repeat "No!" although she fully knows that she is not allowed whatever it may be, run after her as she dashes off or ask her to lower her voice when she shouts as William is just drifting to sleep. So much naughtiness and provocation to catch our attention despite our best efforts to compliment her successes, dispense loads of hugs and I love yous and spend time with her and listening to her chatter away or sing.

Among my worst, my "controlling" side comes out as I fear family holidays will disrupt our still fragile routine that our precious sleep depends on. I often gasp for air as I seek a moment of quietness so as to be able to think. Music and singing helps. Even cooking and doing the dishes, I have discovered, can offer a good break. Also, I find that by the end of the day, my patience is scarce, my temper short and I cannot face having to repeat the same requests over and over again. I wish I had the perspective to find the right attitude and words and not and whatever it is that would help me not get angry. I realize anger and impatience do not help in getting things done with Emma, but I find it so hard to keep cool in the face of her testing. With hindsight, once she is in bed, I can see that she is only fighting for attention now that mine has to be divided between her and William, but on the spur of the moment, it's hard for me not to react with this perspective. **

Steph's overly-expeditive side and impatience is triggered as he tries to eliminate any non-essential information when his brain overloads between work and family. Not great when you want to talk...

The thing I regret the most is that it's really hard to find the time and energy to have fun especially with Emma once we're done with the dressing, feeding, disciplining and getting wherever we are going and all the other logistics.

Will is the sweetest when he is awake - but at night or when he is about to drop off - whoa! I know he is just de-stressing from the activities of the day, but his cries are so loud and his feeding can be so voracious it's sometimes hard to calm down myself.

At the moment Emma is constipating herself, clinging on to babyhood in the form of poo. One moment she is shooing us away telling us that she can do whatever it is on her own and the next she screams she is a baby and "ich kann nich alleine!". Watching her make herself suffer so much, I have literally wanted to shake the poo out of her. She cries "caca Mama!" as she holds it in and we have not yet found a way to help her other than giving her a glycerin suppository (laxative) to ease the pain after three days of no-poo. (I am so scared she will become dependent on these!) We repeatedly give her a nappy to poo in when she asks for one and tell her it's ok to use a nappy if she needs to (the rest of the time she is in underpants and pees in the toilet - even at night time and no accidents). And still, she fights the need to go and cries and cries and all I can tell her is that she "will feel better after making caca", that "it only hurts when you keep it in", that "everyone's caca goes into the loo", etc. For a day or two, things improve and she will poo in her nappy and then we are back to the same.
For sure this is self-inflicted. She drinks plenty and eats enough fruit and fiber and has not ever been constipated until she started voluntarily withholding this summer. Our pediatrician has told me his son constipated himself for 8 days when his sibling was born and that he would hide under the table claiming there was a crocodile in his bum.

Our couple? no time.
Conversations? no time and no energy.
Social life? non-existant.
Sometimes we go on walks to tire Emma out and so we can talk a bit. Doesn't that sound awful? But it's true.
Often the best moment of the day is when both kids are asleep and we can just collapse on the sofa in front of the telly or the Internet and actually manage to drink a cup of tea (until the end) or make a phone call.
Do we feel guilty? Of course we do sometimes. Other times I find the perspective to tell myself it's temporary. Soon enough, William will be big enough to play with Emma and both of them will require less logistics. Then I'll have more energy to play with both of them and not only the time to do all the things they need doing and that are good for them but that they don't appreciate, don't see and don't enjoy. It's actually really hard having enough time and energy to also be the fun parent and enjoy your children.

It's really hard to love them so much and yet to also to feel the need of a rest from them so often.

Anyway, it's hard but it's far from being all bad so here's a little video of a fun time this week-end. May there be many more.

** Since then, I spoke to my Dad who suggested I pretend I am employed to take care of Emma and William so as to gain the necessary perspective and emotional distance when I feel I am about to get too impatient or loose my temper. I think it's a good idea, sort of like asking yourself what you would advise a friend to do in your situation, it enables you to "do what I say and not what I do" which is so often the wiser route.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sunday crafts with Emma

Landscape with a pink balloon flying away (felt and wood & string and glue)

(you can see William peeking behind Emma on the left from his chair in the background)

Thursday, August 05, 2010