Wednesday, September 01, 2010

1.9.10 ~ 970 word diary (yes it's long, but there are pictures at the end)

Having talked this morning in counselling about how (throughout my childhood and into my teens and beyond) my parents routinely gave me nonsensical reasons why I couldn’t do something, particularly if it meant going out, either with or without them, to do something that wasn’t planned or anticipated by them in advance, and how it ruined most of my summer holidays growing up and probably instilled a sense of unfounded anxiety about the outside world within me, I was even more aware than usual of any tendencies I might have to do that with Jake. So, this afternoon, when he was crying and asking repeatedly to be held (Cuggle now, cuggle now) – much longer and more persistently than usual – I let go of my plan to get him to fall asleep during our walk through Walthamstow marshes and got him out of the pram and cuddled him. Nap times have been difficult to predict anyway lately. Some days he hasn’t napped at all. Other days, he’s had shorter naps than usual. And all at different times. Just yesterday I’d been preparing myself for the fact that he might be dropping his naps altogether and then he dropped off for an hour and a half.

Lately he’s also been wanting to be held a lot more, both at home and when we’re out and about. So much so I’ve been wondering whether I should start using the sling again, dodgy back or not. And lately when I’ve taken him to nursery, he bursts into tears as soon as we get to the entrance. Sometimes he even starts whimpering as soon as we turn left as we leave the house. This morning he was crying well before we got there and when we did get there, he cried harder and kept saying, “Mummy now, mummy now.” It’s the only time I can’t make it better. It’s the only time I walk away, leaving him in tears.

So, when I stopped the pram and we sat on the pavement and I thought about why I needed to get him to sleep by a certain time or why I felt we had to head back home by 2pm, I was aware that these timeframes came from something inside me – a belief that if things went according to these timeframes, then they were controllable and I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed. And then Jake interrupted my thoughts. He was busy pointing up at the sky and saying “Wow!” and seeing dragonflies and airplanes and birds and asking me, “Mummy happy now?”

Structure is important. Trying to get them to sleep when they’re tired is important too. But I don’t want to be dogged about it. I don’t want to be inflexible. Most of all, I don’t want to act out of fear.

So I let the day be what it was. The 1st day of September, but still late summer. If he was older and going to school, it might be the last day of his summer holidays. As it was, we were both free. We didn’t have anywhere we had to be. No obligations. Paul wasn’t even going to be home till way after Jake’s bedtime.

It was a beautiful day. The kind of day I’ve always loved. That late summer light. The warmth of the sun without the scorch of it. The way there seems to be a feeling of things settling down, like sitting down to read a good book in the garden. The frenetic-indolent extremes of summer had passed.

So I followed Jake's lead. He agreed to go back in his pram to go look at trains. We found a nice spot on some grass with a good view of the train lines. I think he’d resigned himself to being strapped in there because he was really surprised when I asked him if he wanted to get out. We lay the picnic blanket out and he ran around happily, eating clementines and chocolate cake, turning around every now and then to give me a hug and point at me saying, “Mummy happy now!”

After a while, he decided he wanted to go. I let him lead the way. We went under the bridge and then through a kissing gate into another bit of the marshes. Lots of people were out walking with their kids and their dogs. We stood and then sat watching the trains for a bit longer, till he asked to go home. So I told him that if he got in his pram, I’d give him my camera and he could take pictures. He agreed.

On the walk home, I kept telling myself that it was okay if he didn’t fall asleep. Then he yawned. Near home, he said, “Tired. Go seep now.” I just said, “I know darling, Mummy’s tired too.”

I then decided that I would try and persuade him to lie down for a nap with me when we got home rather than pushing the pram till he fell asleep. Just as we turned down our road, his eyelids started drooping. I knew that if I let him fall asleep then, I’d have to be pushing him round for another 15 minutes otherwise he’d wake up as we got home and I tried to get him out of the buggy. So I took him out of the pram and decided to let him fall asleep on my shoulder. As I did he said, “Cuggle now?” then fell asleep.

He’s now been asleep for nearly an hour. To lessen some of the anxiety I have about being with Jake for the rest of the day without Paul, I plan to order in some Chinese food and watch last night’s Eastenders and Holby City whilst Jake plays with his trains. Then again, who knows how the evening will go.

Walthamstow Marshes, taken by Jake


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, he's gorgeous! And a pretty good photographer too!

I too get hung up on times, especially for naps, and have to remind myself to chill out a bit.

I didn't get the nonsensical reasons from my parents (that sounds frustrating) but things did (and do) have to be planned in detail and in advance. It's hard not to be that way myself sometimes but on the other hand, it's so liberating when I can!

Theodora said...

I love Jake's photos!

Zac stopped napping soon after his first birthday, and has never had particularly regular bedtimes. He's a natural night owl.

Jake might be one of those too?

Heartful said...

I think his not napping recently was a glitch. He seems to be back to his daily 2 hours now. Fingers crossed! Though he does stay up late, doesn't get to sleep till 10pm usually.

changapeluda said...

omg! the hand on hand pose coupled with the photos he shot!!!

he's a little genius! hee hee