Suffocation

It was my son’s first birthday yesterday. We had a lovely time showering him with presents, dressing him up at Kermit the Frog and eating cake. As with all major milestones, we were inundated with visitors – namely the Grandparents.

Given that we knew they would be here, involved in the whole weekend, we decided to get away on Good Friday to the beach and have some simple family time.  While stocking up for the beach, the local shop were asking what our plans were for the weekend. I joked that at least this year I could tell them all to go home at the end and know they wouldn’t be showing up again a few days later.

I love my parents and my mother-in-law. They are lovely people. But there is a limit to how much solid time I can spend with them and when something involves my son, it usually tests that limit.

I keep saying that I can cope with pregnancy and childbirth again, I can even cope with the sleepless nights. What frightens me more than anything about having any more kids is the Invasion of the Families. When I had my son a year ago, all I wanted to do was sit, relax, get the hang of breastfeeding and work out how to be a Mum.

Instead, every other day was someone coming to visit, giving advice, telling us what to do and how to do it. It drove me up the wall. I don’t take advice well anyway but less so when it comes to my child. Before I knew it, he was 3 months old, I was exhausted and hadn’t felt married for a very long time. We had to get it under control.

The birthday was different, granted. Although there were a few ‘moments’ where I was having serious flashbacks of last year and silently screaming: “Give me my home back!”

Our little routine was all out of synch, I couldn’t find things I needed and last night we had so many bath toys that my husband decided a big bath was better than the mini-tub we usually use. I was asked multiple times where a flannel was while I was trying desperately to restore order to my home, we were berated for not having a slip-mat (we didn’t know we were big-bathing that night) and were constantly told how dangerous it was. My husband and I exasperated, I snapped and then went to hide until it was all over. I missed my son’s first big bath.

Then there was the battle of the discipline. My well-intentioned mother kept taking over when I was doing my usual ‘you know you’re not allowed that’ to stop my son eating soil or playing with a wire. When he was standing against the plant pot this morning, I put on my stern voice and he gets down. Only my mother decided to direct me to how she wanted it doing and then spent the next 5 minutes wagging her finger while repeating no-no-no in some weird, scary voice. It sent shudders down my spine.

It turned out this was not the first time this weekend she had directed how the discipline was going and had interrupted my husband too. We know have to find a firm way to tell her No. That is not as easy as training a one-year-old to stop eating the plant. I suspect she doesn’t appreciate our laid-back approach and the phrase ‘rod for your own back’ made a showing again.

I have finished the long weekend exhausted and in need of a holiday. There were hints from both sides that they want to come down on the next bank holiday. We need to plan something in quick before that happens. I can’t take anymore for at least another year.

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