First week on my own with two under two...
Week before husband's leave is over and he goes back to work.
1. Right, I’m going to meal prep on the weekend so I don’t have to cook during the week.
2. I’m going to make sure I get out the house and do some gentle exercise.
3. Going to start eating healthy – I have a bridesmaid dress to fit into in a few weeks.
4. Won't get stressed or swear in front of kids.
5. Try not to tell Rafe off as much, even when he pokes Elijah in the face for the 50th time.
1. Haven’t had a proper meal all week. For my tea every night, no joke. I’ve either eaten a full pack of biscuits or a large bar of chocolate, sat in bed, in the dark, trying not to wake baby.
2. Walked to the shop – to buy more chocolate.
3. See point 1 and 2. Epic fail.
4. Oh for f's sake has been thrown around a few times...
5. “Rafe don’t poke Elijah in the eye.” “Don't eat my nipple cream.” “Or the infacol...or your book. Why are you eating your book?” “NOT THE SUDACREM!!!!”
But hey. They were fed and dressed every day. So pretty happy with that.
So my husband being away has been slightly challenging. But also the thought of it was worse than it was. Because at the end of the day, I’ve just got to get on with it! When my husband left on Sunday night there were many tears. As well as knowing I would miss him, I felt so sad for him. He’s had five weeks with us which is like a year in military terms and him and Rafe had bonded so much, it was so lovely to watch them together. Proper best pals. And I knew they would both miss each other. We Facetime everyday so we are lucky we can do that. I remember when we first got married, we moved up to Scotland, where I knew nobody, a week after we moved, my husband was away for what was a three month deployment, that turned into 6. It was pretty tough – but now with children in the mix, even if it’s for a few days, it is equally as hard and lonely as that long stint. Because you are feeling it for them too. Although they are still so young to really understand, Rafe has definitely felt it more than he has before. And has been crying for dada at night as he is used to him putting him to bed. But he has been back this weekend so lucky it was only a super short stint - he's away now for two weeks but in the scheme of military life that’s nothing. Though not looking forward to it!
So it’s only been four days (and had help with Rafe through the day - grandparents/nursery) so it’s not like I deserve a medal or anything, although Elijah has been particularly challenging this week so if people want to give me a medal, then I won't refuse. He has gone from being a nap king, to well no offence son – but Rafe. Not napping great, getting over tired. Not able to settle him. On Monday he literally cried all day. Not sure whether it is reflux, or just being fussy/over tired as it isn’t after every feed he is unsettled or sick - so just going to mention it at 6-week check next week and see what doctor says. He has stopped (for now) the epic 6 to midnight cluster feed which is a blessing. Still feeding every couple of hours through the day and on an evening (a good one) - cluster feeding from 5-6 to 8ish, goes down till 11.30-12, then between 3-4, then wakes between 5.30-6. So not horrendous but a few sand in the eyes moments at 3am. And still have rough nights which will continue I'm sure. What I’ve found most difficult this week is the bath and bed routine. I can distract Rafe with books, TV, YouTube when on my own with them both and feeding Elijah – but at night it's all about survival (such a drama queen). And the fact I have to more than likely leave one to cry for the other one to settle. It's hit or miss whether Elijah is going to be awake during Rafe’s bath, only ever been asleep once which was a dream. So he pretty much cries through Rafe's bath, book and bed. Then Rafe cries when I put him down as can hear baby crying and that upsets him and knows I’m going to leave him. When I put Rafe down, put Elijah on my boob I then have to listen to Rafe cry (thankfully not for too long). Makes me feel pretty shit to be honest but not a lot I can do. I’ve tried feeding Elijah before Rafe's bath (I try and bath Elijah earlier in the day for now) and bed routine, feeding him during, trying a dummy (he is refusing it a lot of the time) but because 6ish is the time he starts to get fussy/that delightful witching hour he just doesn’t settle. I’m going to get him in the sling to see if that helps. I feel guilty for leaving Elijah but also guilty for rushing through Rafe's bath and story time but we will get there. In the morning I just pray they don't wake up at the same time which inevitably means they do. It's just about winging it for now – well forever really. Thank fuck for Mr Tumble and YouTube.
My plan to prep meals before husband goes away was a pie in the sky idea. And no word of a lie I have lived off biscuits and chocolate for days. But got to be done. Going to try and be more prepared over the next two weeks as I am bridesmaid at my brother's wedding at the end of August (in Portugal) so don’t want to look like a teletubbie.
Back to mum guilt – I do feel like I’m telling Rafe off constantly as hard to keep him entertained all the time and feed/comfort Elijah. And Rafe is naturally starting to push boundaries so it’s a constant battle to stop him covering himself in sudacrem. Rafe has been amazing with Elijah though, there has been a few jealous moments when I’m feeding him and he wants attention or he looks a little sad (well I think he does) when I’m feeding Elijah and can’t give him a cuddle. He does love him though as his face lights up when he sees him which is so cute. And the photo of him cuddling him, he was smiling and laughing - he was so happy. And he tries to help by bouncing him in the bouncer/give the poor lad whiplash.
Had some back pain and a really sore tummy as think I’ve just been doing too much. But can’t not pick up Rafe (I had to basically drag him into nursery on Wednesday which I think caused the pain, he is hating it at the moment but think he is just unsettled with all the change. Only in one more week, then a break for 3 weeks) and do things around the house but have tried to take it easy this weekend.
Could write another essay but will stop for now as Elijah is crying and refusing to nap so losing the will. Love them – but hard bloody work! People who raise children with no support network around them are superheroes.
Till next time,
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.