Here we are at the end of week two of the big spring declutter. I’m feeling a bit better this week. Despite being ill and the injury, I achieved a lot last week. Although these two weeks have been about a general sort out to help things run a bit smoother, there has been another reason. It has probably been the big underlying reason of all of my recent crazy mood swings. It’s time to let go of the baby years.
Three was the magic number
When we decided to try for a third baby we had already decided that if we were lucky enough then that was going to be it. No more babies after number 3. I knew that physically and mentally that was my maximum. I’ve never felt uncomfortable with that decision and an extremely difficult third trimester actually sealed the deal. I stopped feeling broody when I saw or held new babies. Maybe a little nostalgic for a time when my own were tiny. Then I remember the hard work, sleep deprivation, being pooped or vomited on, then I heave a huge sigh of relief.
Now was the time
We had just reached the stage where Middle Monkey was becoming sufficiently independent and Tops difficult behaviour had really turned a corner. If we were having a third, now was the time. In fact it would have been a perfect time to stop too. We gave ourselves a window of opportunity and we were lucky enough to fall almost straight away. And so, along came Little Miss.
Because I knew this was going to be the last time, I harnessed all of my knowledge gleaned from the many many mistakes made with the other two. I gave myself a break, I was firm but flexible with what I wanted. It wasn’t plain sailing and it most definitely didn’t go to plan (that internal examination in the hospital car park will live with me forever (shudder)). A third baby was hard work but from the moment she arrived certain things just fell into place.
Finding a balance
As I knew this was the last time I would do this, I threw myself into being mindful of things I had maybe rushed or been numb to first and second time round. I took my longest maternity leave and committed myself to being the best that I could be for them. This meant finding a balance between us all. Not easy to juggle three monkeys all at once. But I didn’t put pressure on myself. I’m not going to say I loved every minute but I found myself enjoying the whole process more. I felt more confident and capable. Even on the darker days.
As she was our last, I was brutal though and began throwing out clothes as soon as they were outgrown. Out they went as soon as a charity bag came through the door. Save for a few outfits that I put aside in case any other babies might turn up elsewhere in the family. I felt ready to let these things go as I felt comfortable with my decision.
Becoming one of my best friends
In the last few months Little Miss has really started to grow up. Firmly within the toddler years now, no longer a tiny baby. She knows her own mind and has no problems communicating her intentions or objections these days. She’s stubborn and determined and agreeable and hilarious. She is becoming one of my best friends. I love watching her grow and change.
I breastfed all three of my monkeys to over a year. The last thing to go was the bedtime feed. Every time without exception it has been a relief to stop. My breastfeeding journey wasn’t always easy or enjoyable but for us it was the right choice. Little Miss had been hanging on to that last feed recently, but it was becoming hit and miss. Demanding it one night then not bothered the next. It’s effect on my hormones was chaotic, contributing to mood swings, exhaustion and general unhappiness. It was time to let it go.
I knew it was time
As my two weeks of leave started I enlisted the help of Mr LMR and we gave up the boob. I did have a moment of wanting to give just one more but I knew it was time. At 20 months she was ready too. I decided that it was also time for some other changes too. It was time to embrace the little girl that was growing up and take away the sides to her cot. This would be the last time we would have a cot in our nursery.
It was time to let the baby years go. To finally bag up the last of the baby clothes in the loft and make a fresh start. By the end of my first week off I had changed Little Miss’ cot into a bed. She loved it. Climbing on top of it immediately and doing a little happy dance. At bedtime she went down no problem. She hasn’t slept all the way through yet but I don’t think this has anything to do with the bed.
My favourite place to be
So at the end of my two weeks off I may not have filed that paperwork or sorted out the garage, but I have moved past some emotional hurdles. I’ve made physical changes that have lead to mental changes. I am hoping that going forward these changes will steady the ship a little. That the better weather will slow down the bugs and virus’ and I might have a few months at work without incident. (Fingers crossed).
Little Miss’ bedroom is currently my favourite place to be in our house. I sit in the rocking chair and just take it in. The changes have given her more space in the smallest room in the house. She collects up all her toys and changes their nappies and puts them to bed in her new big bed.
I cannot say that these changes are not tinged with sadness. However, as I watch all three of my monkeys grow up and change, I am far from sad. I am proud. Proud of them, proud of me and proud of what our little family has become. In fact maybe I’ll do a little happy dance too. I’m sure that there is more crazy, screwed up, monkey madness to come and I for one am ready to take it with confidence and a smile.