This (as promised) is not about sewing OR cooking. I know. Amazing. (Although I have done both of those in the last week and totally recommend that if you want oh-so-yummy pancakes go *here* if you want to make something unexpected that your baby will devour go *here* and if you want to make a top you totally and utterly loathe into the cutest little dress and headband for your bub go, well, there and there)
So. I might have mentioned in the last post, possibly even the one before that life hasn’t exactly been simple for me of late. Imagine a sundae if you will- the ice cream is the general state of being- I’m not well. (For those into labels I have PTSD, Genralised Anxiety Disorder, Post Natal anxiety, Specific phobias including illness, Agoraphobia & Borderline traits.) In addition to the mind stuff I have IBS, Chronic Fatigue and a rubbish immune system. So yeah. There’s that. The topping would be two teenagers with various mental illnesses of their own which lead to *school* being a huge issue instead of a normal everyday activity & living on a stupid income that I am enormously greatful for but think the government forgot to adjust at some point (like the 90s) (NB to avoid the wrong idea being given – when I say enormously greatful, I mean it. I am so lucky to be living in a country that is generous enough to support me when I cannot support myself. I am so lucky to have received this support when there are now so many in my situation who won’t. It just makes life a little more difficult living on such a fixed and comparatively low income)
So- still with me- ice cream sundae? Yup. Cool.
Add to the topping the crushed nuts of my parents (many issues there) & my ED coming back. On top of that pour the 100s and 1000s of day to day problems (eldest going interstate, bills we forgot, immunizations for bub etc.) and you get – my life. In sundae form.
Then you take the spoon and stir. A lot. To “make it soft serve” Which is what I always used to do when I ate such things.
What you end up with is a grubby looking pile of mess in a pretty glass with far too many melty bits and unexpected crunches.
(It does taste good though- should have maybe gone with a different metaphor…)
Life being like that leads to a stressed mum. Which leads to a stressed bub. Who is changing in a not good way- disturbed sleep, more crying & very wound up.
So back in time a month and a bit when I found this pin :
Which I will be ever greatful for. I know my bub isn’t this small but I read the post and thought that the ideas just might help & couldn’t hurt.
Its written by Hannah, a child therapist from the UK , whose blog I really wish I known about before now.
Thank you Hannah. You rock.
The suggestions included Candle Time, a Relaxation Corner, Outdoor Relaxation, Family Cuddle time and Baby Massage.
Now my first thought was baby + candle = Er- Nup. Yeah?
Turns out it’s manageable.
What the blog suggested :
“Light a candle and put on some relaxing music, then sit with your baby quietly and watch the flame together. “
What I did was light a tea light and put it in a glass. Last thing pre dinner/bath/bed bub & I looked at the candle for a while then I read her a story.
At first it went something like:
“Look at the flame- isn’t it pretty- orange and blue”
“No you can’t hold it hon, it’s not safe. Isn’t it pretty though- let’s put it on the…”
“No, I can’t put it down on the bed- no don’t look in the top that’s hot- owch- you’ll hurt yourself…lets put it on the table”
“No hon- you CAN’T touch it…lets read Hairy Maclary now, ok?”
(I’m not even going to try to transcribe bub. Anyone who has met a just speaking child will know writing can never do them justice)
Then we discovered lanterns at winter solstice. That seemed to be a turning point. No more lunging. Still wanting to touch and hold and kiss candle but far more time spent watching the flame and then the lantern when the paper was wrapped back around the glass.
Since solstice we’ve had paper snowflake lanterns and the last two nights the ‘invisible cat’ lantern. Bub currently has an invisible cat living with us so I took the Diwali lantern idea (two posts back) and turned it into a cat we can only see at night.
I don’t know if the candle itself has helped her relax yet- but I’m not following the guidelines letter for letter- it’s certainly given bub several beautiful new experiences she wouldn’t otherwise have had and given her a pre-dinner settling ritual.
There is definately more eating and less food flinging going on than before I started. Plus I love the one on one cosy candlelight book time.
The blog suggested
” Babies really benefit from a ‘relaxation corner’ in their room, ideally visited before naps to help calm them before sleep. The focal point of a relaxation corner is a light feature. Bubble tubes are ideal, but a simple lava lamp will also be effective. Focus on making your relaxation corner as multi-sensory as possible. Include anything that calms your baby such as a basket of story books, soft fabrics and a diffuser that will disperse the smell of organic essential oils, such as lavender or chamomile. “
Yep. I’ll get back to you on that one. I’ve looked at many pins about making a tipi tent thing and many about making a lava lamp. I have developed a desire to make a spinning lantern. I just haven’t had the impetus, the time or the money to do it. I did however FINALLY get bubs’ paddling pool up so she has a safe, soft, small dog free place of her own to play and wander and get mum to make snowflakes and lick the floor if she wants without me then totally freaking out. She loves it.
I also found calming glitter bottles.
They are part if this new (is it new? I’ve been out if the game 14 years) sensory toys idea.
I love them. Very simple to make and can be very pretty. I also adore the idea of using them as a “time out” when bub gets bigger. Feeling grumpy? Go shake a bottle if water and glitter glue and once all the glitter has settled you can come back a calmer, distracted child. (I wonder if we’ll make it to 1.5 litres…)
We’ve made three. Two tiny travel size and one 600ml. The 600ml has been most affective at calming bub during wakeful nights, the travel size were the most fun & interactive. Bub learnt a new word “shake” & used it freely.
So no relaxation corner just yet. Soon though. Promise.
However because of pins that the idea led me to I’d have to say it has definately helped Bub calm & relax
The blog suggested
“Give your baby some time in nature as frequently as you can. Go to the park, a field, woodlands or sit in the garden and let them crawl around.”
Last year we were living in the Dandenong Ranges. Walks became a regular morning activity with bub in a sling off we’d go. But we had no garden (Don’t ask)
Now we are in slightly-more-suburban East Geelong. I tried to keep up the walking and for a while it was Torquay beach twice a week and East Geelong cemetary on the days in between (really not as morbid as it sounds). That slowly stopped as first I got sick, then it got wintery.
We have a garden. Unfortunately the back garden is a bit of a mire or an ant hill (depending on the temperature) so that leaves the front which has a ‘fence” so low I could hurdle it. But we’ve had some nice feeling-like-everyone-is-watching picnics.
On days when we don’t go outside there is a definite change. I don’t know if it comes from bub or me but just ten minutes of walking up and down the driveway, looking for the moon or visiting our potted plants seems to help.
The whole ‘touch anything’ thing. That is challenging. Really challenging. But when bub checks if the plants need water now I’m not rushing in with a Wet One.
Yes. It makes a difference. It’s sometimes so hard though and at the moment it’s one of the last things I want to do. I miss the space in the Dandenongs. It felt easier there. It also felt like bub got more out of it. We need somewhere like that here. Also a taller fence. (Watching bub voluntarily hug our ‘seasons tree’ in the cemetary is something I’m not going to forget. Nor is the fact she’s befriended a grave statue. Beautiful bub)
…..leaving it there for now, I’ve rambled too much, if I’m getting tired, you must be too- tomorrow part two….