We had two visitors today; a lady from Home Start came to review our situation with D, and a nursery nurse came to chat about S’s sleeping and eating.
B is the Home Start co-ordinator for the area, and the person who “matched” D to us a couple of months ago. She came back to do a review, which they do periodically to check everything is ok, the volunteer is being useful/helpful and still needed, and that everything is ok. They do a lot of paperwork. S was busy playing with her toys when B got here, but soon decided she’d rather be part of the conversation so came and sat on my lap playing with a book while we chatted. B wanted to know how things were going with D, so I told her the truth: I look forward to her visits but worry that she must feel she’s wasting her morning, since all she does is drink coffee and play with S while I make a couple of phone calls and maybe do the washing up. B said no, that’s what a lot of her volunteers do and they come round to be company and reliable as much as to help with practical things. She had a good old chat with S, and held her while I filled out a questionnaire. It was one of those ones where there’s a statement and you ring a number from 1 to 5 for how positive you feel about it. I did one before D started coming, and despite the fact S has given up sleeping, the house is a mess and my bad hair day has lasted 2 months, my scores have improved. It reminded me of the depression questionnaire my GP makes me do every now and then: they ask you a bunch of questions, tot up your score and tell you how you’re doing at life. I suppose they have to do something to justify their work though, and show they’re being effective. She marked down on her paperwork that the “goals” we set when she first came (I don’t remember them, but hey ho) are “partially achieved” so that there is a reason for D to keep coming, which was nice because I enjoy her visits and think it’s good for S to have someone constant and reliable in her life. D turns up every Wednesday at 10:30, she’s always in the same chipper mood, she always smiles and plays with S, and gives me good advice for my myriad problems. Of course, we have other visitors and S sees other people, but I think D is the only one who has a set day and time that we stick to every week.
B saw my nice pile of fluffy clean nappies (I’d just done a load of washing and stacked them neatly in the corner) and commented that I’m her ideal mother. Then she asked if I was breastfeeding still, and we had a conversation about how more people should do it because it’s best for baby (in most cases) and easiest. She told me she complained to the Advertising Standards Agency about a Cow & Gate advert because she felt it was promoting the use of formula over breast milk. The ad is amazing, but she has a good point. It was refreshing to meet someone who seems to have the same views as me. B is a single mother herself, so she understands why it’s so important for us to have D visit once a week, even if she’s only there as someone to chat to. She doesn’t need to be told about how difficult it is to keep up with housework and everything else when you’re the only person there to look after a baby, and you’re hell bent on doing not just a good job but the best job possible. She got on really well with S and told me she thinks I’m a great mother – which is always good to hear! My feedback will be passed on to D as well, which is nice because when asked how things were going I looked at her and said “the woman is a legend, I really look forward to Wednesday mornings!”
Once B had gone, I just had time to put together a lamb casserole and stick it in the oven (from scratch, with no packet mix, get me!) when C, the nursery nurse, came to visit. She was sent to see us after I called the health visitor begging for some help with the sleep situation, and came last week to discuss weaning and sleep plans. This week she came back to see how we were getting on. The truth is that S is still not sleeping fantastically, but her naps have been improving, and it’s just the hours between 6 and 10pm that are a problem now. Also I think my attitude to the situation has improved as well, in that I’m less bothered by it and more inclined to just take the time to get her settled to sleep even if it takes two hours. Hopefully the fact she’s eating lots more will help her to sleep more too. S sat in her bouncy chair and had a nonsense conversation with C, which they both enjoyed. She also showed off her mad skillz at bouncing the chair with one leg whilst casually slouching in it like a teenager. I have absolutely no clue what I will do with her when she finally gets too big for that chair! We discussed the local children’s centre, and she left a leaflet with me, suggesting I go to their baby group and also that I could go to the breastfeeding group to be support for new mums. At first I laughed at the idea I could offer advice to anyone, since I still spend a lot of my time feeling completely out of my depth. But even I can see that I’ve come a really long way and since I feel so strongly about breastfeeding I’d like to be able to share that. I might even take S to the baby group to make some friends!
I chatted to C about being a single mother, and how in the evenings once S is asleep I will creep downstairs for my tea. I often sit on the sofa, shovelling food into my mouth as quickly as I can because if S wakes while I’m eating I can’t afford to just throw food away, but I also can’t leave her to cry, and it’s times like that I really don’t enjoy the fact I’m doing this on my own. She seemed to understand what I was talking about, but also pointed out that as it’s just the two of us, we can do as we please, go where we want, eat when we want, and don’t have to follow anyone else’s schedule.
So there we are: one day, two visitors, one inflated ego. Having had two professional people who know what they’re doing tell me they think I’m doing a good job, and that S is doing really well, has made me feel a lot better. On the nights where S is not at all interested in sleeping, and I’m knackered and desperate for the loo but she cries every time I leave the room, I tend to have an attack of “omg, I’m rubbish at this, he was right, I can’t do it on my own, S is going to grow up damaged because of meeeeeeee…” it’s nice to have someone who knows what they’re talking about, and sees this sort of situation all the time, tell me I’m doing ok.
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