How Much Do Children Really Understand?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently – how much do children really understand? Things haven’t been the easiest over the past few months for various reasons but trying to gauge just how much Jack really understands or comprehends can be quite difficult.

We’ve had a lot go on in the past year or so – family bereavements plus the deaths of close family friends, my missed miscarriage. In recent weeks we’ve had about five deaths of close family and friends plus my Dad hospitalised with an infection – it has been a very stressful time. This culminated on Saturday morning when I received a panicked call from my Mum telling me she needed to get to the hospital NOW – they wouldn’t tell her why. I got Jack up and dressed and my in laws came and picked him up before I joined my Mum at the hospital. I wasn’t sure on how much Jack had really and truly understood of the situation until that evening when he was home.

He asked what had happened with Grandad (he knew Grandad was in the hospital poorly with an infection) and why I had to rush there. I explained that his heart had become a little poorly (my Dad had suffered a minor cardiac arrest) and we had to go see him at hospital but he was doing much better. The clarity with which he replied shocked me – he seemed to understand just what had happened and how serious the situation was – something I totally didn’t expect.

He’s been talking about life and death a lot recently and he seems to have finally understood about the baby from our missed miscarriage, his Nan and Grandad’s pet dog who was his best friend and my friend’s two cats. He understands they aren’t here anymore and that they’ve passed away but takes comfort in the fact that they’re looking after each other.

how much do children really understand?

We’ve always been keen to shield him from bad news. We don’t mean lie to him – we do tell him what has happened but at a reasonable point in time and not when it could really affect him – his Nan and Grandad’s dog actually passed away at the beginning of the week that he started Reception but we waited until the weekend to tell him as we didn’t want his first memories of school tarnished with sadness. We’ve also had a family bereavement in recent weeks which we’ve waited to tell him about due to Christmas – we are adults and can deal with our emotion accordingly, it wasn’t fair to put that on him just before Christmas and make that a horrible memory for years to come.

But how much do children really understand? I don’t claim to think for Jack or think I know what he’s thinking – or in fact, any child – but we do like to believe in the innocence of youth, don’t we? In fact, they often have much more clarity on certain topics we don’t expect them to and gauge and take in a lot more than we perhaps think they do – just yesterday I had various phone calls with family members about my Dad being steadfastly adamant that he wants to get out of hospital – I didn’t realise Jack had been listening in to these calls but he told me yesterday that when he sees Grandad, he’s going to tell him off and that he needs to stay in the hospital until he’s properly better – I’d never even mentioned anything to him about his Grandad’s behaviour so it showed me just how much he is taking in – how much of the world around him he is beginning to understand.

Whilst it is of course important to preserve our children’s innocence as long as possible, it is clear to see we are not living in an innocent world and our children are clocking onto things a lot more – and a lot earlier – than we would possibly have expected them to. How to deal with this, I don’t know – I guess it is just another path our parenting journey will take us down with lots of twists and turns that we need to figure out for ourselves.

What are your thoughts?

The (Not Big Or Fat) Quiz of The Year | My Answers

I’ve been tagged by the lovely Vicky from Being Tilly’s Mummy to complete The (Not Big Or Fat) Quiz of The Year. I love answering quizzes like this as they are a great way to look back at the year just gone.

What was the highlight of 2016? 

It would have to be getting pregnant with our rainbow baby girl. After some horrendous months, she was just the light in the dark that we needed.

Name one thing you are most likely to remember about 2016 if asked in five years time?

Hearing Jack talking about his sister with such love even though she isn’t even here yet – he’s so excited and I can’t wait to see how he is as a big brother.

Sum up 2016 in one word.

Stressful

Name one pearl of wisdom from 2016 that you will carry with you through 2017.

Believe in yourself. I started believing in myself more towards the end of 2016 and I’ve found myself feeling much more positive and seeing many more positive changes because of it.

Do you have any new year resolutions? 

Not really – losing the baby weight before the start of 2018 is probably the only one. I have set goals though.

How are you seeing in the new year/did you see in the new year? 

I saw in the new year with Steve, Jack and my friend Laura.

What would you most like to do in 2017? 

Achieve as many of my goals as possible.

What are your main goals for 2017?

I actually wrote a whole post about my goals here.

I tag Emily from Love Emily xox and anyone else who would like to complete the quiz! What would your answers be?

My Pregnancy Diaries | Weeks 34-36

I have just hit my 37th week and was about to sit down and write up my 36th week of pregnancy diaries when I realised…I hadn’t yet written my 34th or 35th, whoops!

I think the reason I probably didn’t realise I hadn’t written one for so long is because the last time I updated you was after my last appointment. I haven’t seen anyone since then due to the Christmas holidays but am due to be seen next week for another scan and consultant appointment. I haven’t been informed that they want me to come into hospital a week earlier for a scan or an ECV so I am hoping that baby girl has turned around by 38 weeks as I don’t fancy having to book in for an ECV for another day when I am already at the hospital! I never had to have my ECV in the end with Jack as he had turned and was engaged by the time they scanned me just before attempting the ECV so hoping the same happens with baby girl too!

Weeks 34-36 have been fairly boring but extremely busy. We’ve been getting everything ready for Jack’s last Christmas as an only child, attending all of his Christmas events at school (he was a narrator in the nativity, so cute!) and we’ve also had major stress with my Dad going into hospital on the 23rd and having to spend his Christmas there.

Pregnancy symptom wise, I’ve still been suffering with heartburn and the occasional pelvic pain and she’s been very active as she prepares to make her big arrival. I’m constantly feeling exhausted and struggling to sleep. I’m planning on getting my hospital bag ready in the next few days ready for when she decides to make her arrival, I feel she may be early!

For now though I’m going to enjoy the last few weeks I’ve got before I have another newborn in the house…

One Year On

It seems strange writing this now, one year on from what I would probably say was the most devastating time of my entire life. Whilst this is going live in the morning of the 22nd, I am writing this the evening before after a discussion with my friend where we realised that the 21st of December 2016 is exactly one month until my due date with baby girl and exactly one year since the most terrifying experience of my life.

I’ve spoken about my missed miscarriage before – I mentioned it in my post about why I was glad to leave 2015 behind and I also published a post during Baby Loss Awareness week. However it just seems so bizarre that its been a whole year since it all happened and within a month, I’ll have my rainbow baby in my life.

I do think of the baby we lost, I will never stop thinking about him or her. Its tough not knowing whether it was a boy or a girl as it happened too early on to tell – I was 11 weeks when we found out I had suffered a missed miscarriage but 8 weeks is when it actually happened. It doesn’t make my grief any less or any more but I do sometimes find it difficult that I don’t necessarily know what I am grieving for though. With Jack, I always felt he was a boy and with baby girl, I had an instinct she was a girl so going by my instinct, I believe that the baby would have been a boy but of course, I can’t ever know that.

I find it much easier to talk about now (if easier is the right word, it probably isn’t) and am open to discussing it with people who may not understand what a missed miscarriage means. Jack has shown some understanding of knowing what went on as he gets older – he recently asked if his grandparent’s dog who had to be put down was in heaven looking after the poorly baby – we’d never mentioned the actual word ‘death’ to him so he’s come to this conclusion seemingly on his own and it seems to give him some comfort believing that they and other family, friends and pets who have passed on are together looking after each other, playing and waiting to see us again one day.

This time of year will always be difficult for obvious reasons but I’m also looking forward to this Christmas where I can relax and enjoy myself a little more. Last year I felt very self conscious and uncomfortable due to obvious reasons (the symptoms can continue for a few days) and the wine slipped down a little too easily last year – I think I just wanted to forget.  This year Steve is working in the evening but we are going to his parents for Christmas dinner in the afternoon and even though I can’t drink, I’m looking forward to being relaxed and enjoying myself with family and making the most of our last Christmas as a family of three.

I’m not too sure where I am going with this post, I just felt the need to write it after a little chat with one of my friends who was here exactly one year ago, helping me and Steve through everything and who, without having her by my side, I would have probably fallen completely to pieces. Situations like these really do show you who your true friends are – and I am so grateful for mine.

My Pregnancy Diaries | Week 33

Week 33 was a bit of an eventful one. I hit 34 weeks on the Saturday just gone so here is the run up to that day, my 33 weeks update. I yet again didn’t have a midwife appointment but I did have my growth scan at 33+6 (the Friday) and have been suffering a lot with various things these past few weeks.

I’ve been struggling with a lot more things these past few weeks. Getting up out of bed, getting off the sofa, managing the long walk to Jack’s school in the morning to drop him off and the afternoon to pick him up. Heartburn has made a comeback with a vengeance and the broken sleep is really starting to get to me – the constant need to go to the toilet, the inability to find a comfortable position to sleep in.

At my growth scan, they yet again confirmed that baby girl is growing perfectly so not SGA like they originally thought. At the moment she is currently still breech so we’re discussing what to do next – I’m due another growth scan at 38 weeks but they may bring that and the consultant appointment forward one week to 37 weeks in order to fit in the scan, the consultants appointment and the potential external cephalic version. An external cephalic version is where your obstetrician places firm but gentle pressure on your tummy to encourage your baby to turn a somersault in your womb to be head down rather than feet down.

I’m currently not too worried as Jack was breech from around 30 weeks onwards, I went in at 37 weeks for my ECV and he’d turned head down and was engaged, ready for when labour eventually happened. I’m really hoping that the same is the case for baby girl but if not, I will be having the ECV. If that then doesn’t work then we will be discussing the other options which would probably be a c-section, something I am keen to avoid.

This week I plan to write my birth plan (updating my one from when I was pregnant with Jack if I can find it on this ancient PC…), I’m planning to avoid the pethidine this time and instead go straight for the epidural should I need it – I am no good with pain and my pain threshold is rubbish. I will be opting for gas and air too.

This week is quite quiet for pregnancy related things but I am sure I can expect heartburn, being unable to get up from things and lots more in the weeks to come…yay!!