I thought it was well time that I did a Charly update. Our Charly bug has grown and changed so much over this past few months. There have been some big milestones reached along with all the challenges they bring. But you guys, she is just amazing.
I should probably say a Charly update overview, because each of the big milestones have their own stories that need to be told. I can’t only share half way. Anyway, here are a few of the biggest shifts in our lives…
Charly Sleepovers at Granny
These are a thing in our world now! On 27 August, my birthday “gift” to Brett was letting Charly sleep at my mom. We went to dinner at the Hoghouse, then spent 24 hours in bed binging on junk food while watching back to back series for hours. I struggled a little that first time. We went shopping and I had to buy her a gorgeous Simply Child bunny pillow from Kids Emporium to
ease the guilt celebrate her being a big girl.
Since then, I have gotten used to her being with my folks and knowing she is safe and happy, so we revel in the silence and relax pre-parent style doing as little as possible with at least one delicious meal out. This weekend we even did dinner and a movie! Though we did it old-people style and were home by 9:30 to watch more series in bed!
Charly LOVES her sleepovers with granny and Grampa. They generally build imaginary trains with chairs, racetracks out of boards, turn the sunken shower at the back into a bubbly swimming pool where she plays for hours and take her to the playground on the beach. It has gotten a million times easier since 1 October, because…
Charly is fully weaned!!!
You know we tried this around this time last year. Most of you know that I failed. Mom went into hospital, came out just before Christmas and then we started preparing Charly for her first year of school. Not too many changes at once… so we were waiting for her to settle. But she kept getting sick and she struggled to separate from me every morning.
One thing led to another and at 2 and a half I realised she was ready. I started giving her less feeds in the night, reintroduced singing the songs I sang when she was tiny and broke the feed before she fell asleep. Just before the school holidays I started telling her that she was about to be a big girl because the boobies were finishing the weekend after break up day.
I organised to drop her at my mom after her nap the Saturday morning. We had our last feed, with her knowledge. I asked her if she could have anything in the world to celebrate her being a big girl, what would it be. Her answer… an elephant! Yup, no small dreams here. (And today I made that dream come true with the help of the amazing Melissa of Rumplestiltskin! Will definitely share more on that soon!) We dropped her at granny after her nap and we only went to collect her late Sunday evening. So she was asleep in the car on the way home. And just like that we had made it around 36 hours and 2 bedtime with no feeds.
She was a little angry for about two days when I said no, but was easily distracted by small bribes of stars and little gifts and spoil days. Every media drop made my day because it felt like she was being rewarded. Extra special deliveries related to sleep like the Parental Instinct sleeping bag and the Sebastian Baby Wear‘s new range of Sebastian Sleep Time Bath Salts and comforter made a huge difference. The day at Bugz Playpark was just mind blowing and I think that bought me a ton of goodwill from her too. We take what we can where we can!
Because I had been gently phasing her off feeding for around 2 weeks without her knowing, I didn’t struggle at all with my milk either. One day my boobs were just mine again.
Looking back at the horror that was our first try at weaning, I knew she wasn’t ready yet. I pushed because of constant external pressure and my own anxiety issues. I wish I had spared us both all of that. Now was the perfect time. And while it wasn’t easy on an emotional level, she understood clearly what was happening and she was on board around being a big girl.
I miss it sometimes. I miss that effortless bond we shared. The bond is still there, but it is ephemeral now. Breastfeeding was hard, really hard; but also completely a part of the motherhood experience for me… A physical bond that literally nobody else could replace. It reached a point where it was becoming detrimental to us both though… She needed to start properly bonding with others, and it seemed like she struggled to do that right up to the time we weaned. And the sleep…
She sleeps through sometimes!!
Most of you have followed along on this insane journey of becoming a mommy with me… From my terror of not being able to cope without sleep, to having that terror realised in a child that woke every 45 minutes until January of this year. There were a few celebration-worthy stretches of between 4 and 5 hours during this year, but within 2 weeks of weaning, she started sleeping through every few days.
There is a part of me that believes that the Badger Night Night balm that I got in a media drop and used the night she first slept through (10 October 2016 for the official record) was responsible. It may have been a fluke though, as she has slept through without it and she has woken with it… Worth a try if you are desperate.
She goes to school with no tears
This may not be much to some, but to me it is everything. Before I weaned her, she couldn’t handle being separated from me. She was 100% happy and thriving once I was gone, but every single day when I dropped her at school, she would cling and scream and cry and howl. I was utterly traumatised every morning. I never let it show. I kept calm and kissed her and handed her over without fuss, but it KILLED me inside every time. My adrenalin would be through the roof and I would feel like I had lived a whole day in those 10 minutes before 9am in the morning. I knew that she was beyond happy once I left, the teachers sent me photographs and videos to prove it; but it did nothing to stop the mom guilt.
Since the first day of the third term, she has turned the trip to school into the best time, with her being “cool” and bopping her head along to music. She happily skips into class, kisses and hugs me goodbye and lets me go. Going home knowing I have left a giggling toddler with her friends means I now start my day smiling! I couldn’t have even imagined that 2 months ago.
She is toilet training
Why did nobody tell me that this is the WORST part of parenting?!?! I now know why this is the one thing that I have no memory of from when I au paired – PTSD. Seriously, I potty trained a toddler when I was 20 and the ONLY thing I remember is a particularly traumatic incident in a McDonalds bathroom sink. So, Charly’s school does the toilet training here. They started later this year due to all the kids being sick all the time earlier in the year, followed by winter… They tentatively started once or twice at the end of last term, but week 2 of this term saw Charly being officially introduced to the kiddie toilets at school and wearing panties during the school day. There were a few whoopsies in the first few days, but then she happily peed in the toilet regularly.
The trauma came when she needed a number 2… Everybody nods and says, just let her use the nappy… Well, here is where my child is different to others. She wouldn’t use the nappy… or the toilet… or the potty. She held it in so long she got progressively more agitated and tearful until she started to shake and sweat – after HOURS of hysteria and taking the nappy on and off and going on the toilet and then on the potty and then back to the nappy. The first time it happened, my mom and I were in tears too eventually. We have only had two more occasions of it being that bad since then.
Number 2 remains a problem and she still tries to resist it as long as possible. The introduction of the Baby Throne has really made a difference though, because as opposed to letting her clench up and hold on, it is literally designed (and patented) to put your little one in a squatting position that encourages the instinct to push naturally. I WISH I had known about it when Charly was little (you can use it from the time baby can hold their head up around 4 months). I feel like it could have relieved all of the trauma around this, because she would have known what to do naturally. I will share more about it soon, but not today.
Meeting Granny Thailand
Brett’s parents moved to Thailand a few days after we got married. They came home for a short while when we were pregnant and then left the month before Charly was born. They came to meet Charly right after her first birthday and spent some time with her then, but she was still little and although she enjoyed her time with them, she couldn’t fully bond with them. They have chatted a lot on video chat, so she “knows” them, and Granny Thailand has sent her some very special videos over the past year.
Last month was different though. Charly is a whole little human now. Pam arrived for 3 weeks and Charly spent some great quality time with her. Charly is besotted and, even now a few weeks after Pam returned home, she asks after her every day. I am so glad they got to spend this time together. I believe the memories they created will stay with Charly always.
I’m going to hit publish now to get this out there and then I am hoping to share our Build-A-Bear experience with you too!
Sending all the love xx