Sunday, 21 August 2011

Suppose I'd better do some uni work really


So, the Phd. That thing. That thing which constantly sits and niggles in the back of my mind every time I sit down to relax when Alfie has a nap or has gone to bed (after I've done whatever housework needs doing, fed the cats, fed myself etc). The thing which wakes me up in the night with cold sweats due to the nightmares I've just had about messing up the whole thing and having to pay back my stipend. The thing which is is the constant source of arguments between me and OH. The thing which I worked so bloody hard for and will complete no matter what...

I had to submit my annual review on august 12th - thank god I had the sense to write most of it before Alfie was born. I had a few bits to do on it, which normally I would have got done in a day, but because I have such little time now, it took me over a week to do, and that was before I had to do the final edits before submission. I did it, I had to, but it meant leaving Alfie to entertain himself by sticking him in the door bouncer or on his play mat with a load of toys. I don't like to do it, he's still so little and I feel so bad just dumping him while I do something else. The guilt is horrendous. It won't be so bad in a few months time when he's more capable of playing on his own, but that still makes me feel like a bad mother.

I'm at the point where the intense data collecting stage is about to begin. I'll be spending hours/days at a time in the hospital mainly observing but doing a few interviews, both here in Nottingham and in Lincoln. The logistics of it all is a nightmare. Alfie is 100% dependent on me for food so I can't leave him for more than 3 hours. We have to go to lincoln together, I have to get someone to take us and watch and him while I'm in the hosp. Its very frustrating and I've had to miss several meetings so far as I couldn't get anyone to watch him.

I'm terrified of the work load, not just the actual data collecting bit, but the work that goes with it, logging it, reflecting on it, all the paperwork, all the reading and analysing. I'm constantly getting emails from my supervisor and the team with thing to read, stuff to do, more meetings, more stuff and it just makes my brain hurt. I hate to say it, but right now, I don't want to do a PhD anymore. I want 6 months off completely so I can get Alfie on solids and less dependent on me, so I can get used to leaving him with other people. I don't trust anyone. I worry about Alfie constantly when he's not with me and it makes it very hard to concentrate on the meetings etc. I'm seriously doubting my ability to complete this Phd. At the moment my thinking is just get on with it, just do it and once it's done, don't worry about finding a job. Save lots of money so we've got a safety cushion and then I want to home educate Alfie, and probably have a second baby.

So many people said I was crazy for doing it, and that I should give up the Phd. Right now, I think they were right.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

5 months of Alfie-baby

Gosh, 5 months already! Time has flown, and I've clearly been far too busy with Alfie/uni/housework/life to update regularly, says a lot about how things have changed now.

I can't get over how fast Alfie is growing up, everyone told me it would go quickly but I didn't believe them and now I wish I could get that time back. I look at pictures of him from the first couple of weeks after he was born and I don't remember what it was like, what he was like. I seemed to watch a lot of television, and spent a lot of time sitting on the sofa just holding him as he didn't really do much else. Well now, I only get cuddles when he has a feed! I feel like I gave birth to a toddler he's just so grown up.

He's just about crawling now, he can certainly move around quite a bit on his hands and knees, you can't really take you eye off him as he'll go quite far (including off the edge of the bed the other day, poor little man), and he can roll over from front to back too. He can very very nearly sit up on his own. He does it for a few seconds but hasn't quite got his balance, or lower back strength to do it for much longer. He's a very happy baby, always smiling and laughing. He recognises me and OH, and a few other people too and he loves 'that baby in the mirror'. He gets the best smiles :)

Alfie has his first tooth! It came through last week (21wks exactly). One day I noticed a littleblister type mark on his gum and the next day there was a sharp little tooth which seems to have had very little effect on him at all. His sleep was slightly more disruptive than usual, but other than that, he's been his usual lovely self. The one next to it is trying to come through too I think, but seems to be slower than the first.

We took Alfie to the park at the weekend when we visited Grandad and Beth. He had a wonderful time on the swings and on one of those little tractor on a spring type things that rocks forwards & backwards. He also went down the slide with daddy but we weren't to sure about that. We'll definitely go again soon, he laughed his little head off, it was lovely :D

We're still going strong with breastfeeding. My supply has dropped quite a bit so I'm not donating anywhere near as much as I was but I'm still donating some which is good. I find it very rewarding, and its brought me into contact with lots of lovely people. The first lady I was donating to has now emigrated, and for various reasons, couldn't take her cats with her, so we have them. Minerva and Ginevra have made themselves very much at home, Ollivander isn't too sure about them but he's getting there, slowly. The girls are house cats and are very friendly and cuddly, although Ginny has been getting a bit adventurous and I caught her stalking round the garden this morning. I don't mind if they want to start going outside, as it means we don;t have to have litter in the house, but I'm worried they might get into a few fights with the other cats that are around, or that they might wander too far. I'm sure they'll be fine though :)

I met another lady through milk donation who had her second child when Alfie was 3 months old. She's really lovely, I've seen her a few times now and we're building a great friendship. She shares a lot of my parenting values, she babywears, uses cloth, responds to cries rather than letting baby cry it out, co-sleeps and we get on really really well. Through her, and another one of my lovely mummy friends (who I knew at school but lost touch with and then rediscovered through facebook) I've become part of a great parenting forum full of like minded mummys, and the odd daddy, which is great as I don't have many real life friends with children and it does get a bit lonely and confusing sometimes. Its great having a place that I can go to with my silly questions about parenting, and to seek information on things I might like to try or things I'm not sure about. OH isn't that keen on it as every now and again I read about something I'd not considered before, like extended rear facing with his carseat, that no doubt sparks a new bout of healthy debate between us. The forum is fabulous though and I feel like I'm making some great friends through it.

Alfie went on his first holiday in June with me and his granny (my mum). We went to Wales, our second home, and stayed in the same cottage we were in last year when I suspected (and my mum worked out) that I might be pregnant. It was really lovely being able to go back with Alfie and he had a lovely time. We went for lots of walks on the beach and on the cliff tops, and went to visit some of our friends there. He handled the change of routine very well although by the end of the week he was sick to death of being in the car.

He is a wonderful little boy and he makes me incredibly happy. I don't remember what my life was like before he was born and I wouldn't change that for anything :)