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Respectful parenting

“Look, leave her in the pram. She’ll be fine. You need to stop picking her up all the time. She should be feeding every three hours,” the doctor told me at my eight-week check up with my first daughter. I felt embarrassed. Actually, I felt humiliated, like I was being told off for doing the thing I felt helpless to stop doing. I picked newborn Talitha up and breastfed her. I told the doctor that I literally could not hear what she was saying above the baby’s crying. I couldn’t

Dear children, May the times I am serene outweigh the times I get stressed. I pray that you remember my patience and sense of humour more than my melodramatic huff. May the silly power struggles over selective eating and my disproportionate anxiety over your bordering on bizarre diet pale next to memories of us peeling carrots together, “painting” chicken and chowing down on hearty roasts together. I hope you’ll remember our snuggles on the sofa more than our rushing around to get anywhere vaguely on time. I do hate that

“I’m just going to go upstairs for a bit to see if she’ll go to sleep, alright?” I repeat myself. Talitha’s lost in whatever is on TV. I promise her, multiple times that I’ll be back down once her baby sister is asleep. Then we’ll turn the television off and do something together. She murmurs agreement, probably just to get me to go away. I don’t feel I’ve given her much today. I was up too late working, then Ophelia woke up more than usual, chatting and squealing and rolling

I remember, with surprisingly clarity, a phone conversation with a breastfeeding counselor (now a friend) in the early weeks. It may have been week two after Talitha’s birth and I was in a bit of a state from utter sleep deprivation. She was waking something like every half an hour and the midwife thought it was a breastfeeding issue. Looking back, I think it may have been related to her tongue-tie, actually, but this wasn’t something on the table just yet. What remains with me was the question over the

We decided early on that we would home educate our children or at least give the option a good look-in. The choice is finally starting to feel real. While other parents with children who’ll be four next academic year are starting to look around at schools, we’ll be ignoring the letter inviting us to apply. You might assume that this meant we wouldn’t consider preschool, either, but we did. From 18 months, Talitha went to a childminder one day a week. It gave me a chance to work, her a

I never planned to have my first child sleep in bed with me. I thought it was a bad habit. I thought it would spoil my baby and ruin my sleep. Sure, she might come in for the odd night when she had a nightmare. After all, I remember lying in my parents’ bed, looking up at the patterns the watermarks made on the ceiling. It would never be a habitual thing, a lifestyle choice. Then Talitha was born. She would not settle. I rang the midwife on the ward

Lately, I’ve been in conflict with my older daughter quite a lot. That’s a lofty way of saying I’ve been picking fights with an almost three-year-old – as ridiculous as a lot of the stuff we’ve actually been clashing over. Three things are going on here. One is that Talitha is going through enormous leaps in how she reasons things, views herself and understands the world. I can scarcely get my head around the emotional and neurological changes taking place before my eyes. She’s in this amazing space between baby

With both my babies I somehow figured things would be messiest in the first few weeks then would calm down ’round about say three months – Ophelia is eleven weeks old today so ’round about now! It didn’t work out that way last time and I’m not sure how but I managed to forget between then and now! With Talitha it was hard around now because of her breastfeeding problems and because she was my first, the lifechanger. With Ophelia, breastfeeding is so textbook and she’s such an easy baby

So I got up this morning somehow 28. It’s my birthday today. Really, 18 does not feel a decade ago, even though everything has changed in that time. I’ve been reflecting on what’s changed and what hasn’t. It’s made me think about what I want my daughters (who have been the biggest change in my life) to know about what maturing means. Ten years ago, I was learning to drive. Today, I’m still learning. In fact, I have another driving test tomorrow. I’m actually in a pretty good place with

For ages I’ve been telling people that I’m reading this fantastic book by Sarah Ockwell-Smith called ToddlerCalm: A guide for calmer toddlers and happier parents. She sent me a copy as a thank you for providing a quote at the book’s start. Yet I hadn’t got around to finishing it because I have an unrealistic reading list at the moment. Instead, I read the introductory chapters and would dart in and out of other topics as I hit times of stress with my toddler. Talitha, at two years and eight

I recently read Rebecca Welton’s Baby Sleeping Trust Techniques – Alternatives to Controlled Crying, and as infant sleep is a topic that seems to keep coming up in my conversations these days (both because I’m supporting others and because I’m looking toward the long neck of sleep deprivation once more), it seems timely. It is an accessible read and, to be sure, a compassionate, sincere and often sensible one too. I fully embrace her much repeated assertion that night waking is normal and that sleeping through is a learned skill

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