I do promise, I haven't forgotten about my blog. This was my first proper full week in college, and I'm trying to get back into a routine that hasn't existed for months. Instead of getting up at 9am, as I normally would, we're having to get up at 6am. It's a bit of a shock to the system when you're not a natural morning person in the first place. I used to always function at my best when I could stay up until 4am, and sleep until noon, but that doesn't work when you have a child.
I guess a bit of an update. The Imp and I are back to being a team again now that we're having some time apart. The three days that I'm in college, she spends in nursery. When I first came across realising that it takes somebody else taking care of her for a brief time for us to remain stable without all of the screaming and drama, it felt like I was a let down for a mum. We've been inseparable since she was born. But after she turned three, we started getting more and more frustrated with each other. I never have wanted to be a shouty mum, yet I didn't want to be a soft touch, either.
My intentions when she was born was to do all attachment parenting to the fullest extent, and to carry it further. I was going to strictly breastfeed until she self weaned....we succeeded with that one, and she breastfed until 19 months. I wanted to do baby-led weaning...we succeeded with that one, too. She nabbed a roast carrot off a plate at about 6 months old and carried on from there. I'm now getting lovely comments from her nursery that she is an amazing eater, and not the least bit picky (except with cucumbers).
I was going to babywear. Again, we succeeded in that, and she was in a sling until just before she turned three. We did briefly own a stroller in May, but that was because we couldn't expect her to walk all over London for three days, and my back and hips can't handle the extra weight any more. Freecycle is a good thing...we were gifted a lovely little stroller, and as soon as we were finished with it, we gifted it on to another family. (to find your own local Freecycle network, go to www.freecycle.org )
I was going to do home schooling. This is where we have tripped up. When things went wrong when she was 10 months old, I had to go onto government benefits. Home school curriculums are quite expensive, on top of I would have to be looking for work when she turns 7. To be completely honest, we can't afford for me to continue to be on benefits. We currently survive by me keeping very strictly budgeted. If we want something, I have to be able to work it in or we don't get it. Another issue is socialisation. I struggled to even take her to mother and toddler groups. I think it's such an artificial environment, and so political. Yes, I said political. I have a couple of really awesome friends that I met through those various groups that we used to attend, but they are the exception rather than the rule. The rule is referred to, if you've not heard of it before, the Baby Olympics. Everybody is constantly judging you and your child. And when you're going to a general public mother and toddler group with any sort of alternative opinion, well, you will be judged to be beneath them. Let's see...Pagan, attachment parenting (which goes against the mass marketed books that they all have to use as gospel), not from the area (obvious by my harsher accent), etc. You get the picture. So, if I can't cope with a group like that, how am I going to be able to put us forward to the inclusive home school groups of the city?
On top of all of that, it is just now the Imp and I. Sometimes, we can go a fortnight without any adult contact outside of popping to the shop, which doesn't count. As she's started coming into self-realisation, we started clashing more and more. I was becoming Shouty and Really Angry Mum, because we're both as stubborn as each other. And in the lifetime that I get a job, what would happen then?
When she turned three, I came to the realisation that we needed some time apart. I don't mean shipping her off. I mean just a few hours a day that we can do our own thing. It probably sounds like I'm talking about a teenager, but one big thing for me is to acknowledge that even a three year old has a mind of their own. They are humans within their own right, with opinions, feelings, thoughts, and views. We work really well together when we're both respecting each other. If I'm just shouting, I'm not listening, and it works the same in the other direction. I did a lot of research, and found a nursery that was a perfect fit for both of us. They are very child-led, without talking down to her, and encourage a lot of independence. The Imp adores it. Last week was the first three days that she's spent the whole day there. She comes home extremely tired, but laughing and giggling. She adores her teacher, and she has a circle of friends.
Given this, and starting to research primary schools, I no longer feel the guilt of not being able to home school. I think that the Imp is so much happier with this decision. That's what the point actually is...she is happy. I am happy, as well. I now have the opportunity to take a course to prepare me for university properly...I went to university straight after High School, but I don't think that I was properly prepared, and I bombed out. I'm now 35. I have finally decided what I want to do, and a career that I actually want to do, for me. It wasn't an opportunity that I've had in the past. In the future, it will give both of us a lot better quality of life, and more opportunities.
I apologise for being so slim on the ground for posts, and it might take me another week or two to get back into a routine, but I am still here :)