D – You are five months old (A letter to my son)

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My beautiful boy. Where have the last 5 months gone? It’s a question I’ll probably ask each and every month as time with you and your sister goes so fast. I love being a mummy to you both but I think being a mummy to you has taught me more about myself than what it did with your sister. I was a sea of unsurety with K but I am stronger, smarter and more confident this time round and I think it has rubbed off on you. You are such an easy going baby. We got off to a bumpy start when you were born and our idea of a happy family of 4 didn’t quite get going straight away, but you are strong, you are a fighter and you were determined you were to become a part of our family and I’m so blessed that it turned out that way. You are my hero and my survivor. We will always have a special bond because of that. Your such a happy little baby D, forever smiling and giggling. Your sister can make you smile and giggle the best. Your bond is so strong and I know you will grow up to be really close. She loves you so much, as we all do. K spends time with your grandparents on Mondays and Fridays, this has been her routine since I went back to work when she was 1 years old so Mondays and Fridays are “our time”. Just you and me. Together. I love this time. It’s my time to shower you with attention and do things just for Mummy and son. But don’t worry, you will get your grandparent time too. Just when you’re a bit older and Mummy goes back to work. But for now, I will cherish you. You moved in to your own bedroom around 2 weeks ago. We wanted to keep you in our bedroom by our side for as long as possible but my darling boy, you’ve found your voice and you aren’t afraid to use it…even if it is 3am! For that son, it was time for you to move as Mummy and Daddy needed to sleep. I felt sad by this, but excited that we are moving on to a new chapter.  You’re starting to wriggle a lot more now D. Before, when you were a tiny baby, I would lay you down and you would still be in the same spot as I left you but now you are twisting and turning and stretching over on to your right side. It wont be long before you can roll on to your tummy!

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Your teeth having been causing you some pain for the last few weeks. You’ve been dribbling a lot and you love to chew on your fist. You are not a massive fan of Calpol and refuse to open your mouth when Mummy or Daddy give it you. So for now, we have to use only teething gel. I’m pretty sure I felt one of your top side teeth cutting through the other day. We bought you Sophie La Giraffe as a Christmas present and you are currently learning to grasp and chew that. It’s really funny because K has a Sophie from when she was a baby too and now she carries hers around everywhere just so she can be like her baby brother! You sleep reasonably well for a 5 month old. We can’t really complain. You usually have a feed around midnight then again at around 4-5am. It’s a bit hit and miss at the minute whether you go back to sleep after that last bottle or whether you just shout and babble until me or daddy take you downstairs. We can’t be cross with you when we are up watching TV at 5am as you just smile away. You are so content. Weekend is our family time and we look forward to that as Daddy works all week. We try to do as many activities with you and your sister as possible. Swimming is a keen favourite of K’s and we’ve took you swimming 3 times so far. Honestly, it’s probably not your favourite past time at the minute as you find it cold and noisy but we are hoping you will soon change your mind and become a water baby just like your sister. The last 5 months have been amazing D, you’ve slotted in to our family. It’s like you’ve always been here. We are so blessed to have you. Here’s to another great month ahead!

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XOXOXO

5 things I wish I could tell myself as a first time mum

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Having a baby is the most wonderful, stressful, exhausting and mind blowing thing ever to happen in your life. I am one of those people who genuinely loves being a mummy and everything that comes with mummy territory (soft play and everything) but how I am now with D is completely different to how I was when I had K. The whole “second baby, second nature” quote really rings true and I wish I could almost rewind back to when I had K and give myself the advice that I know now. Second time round you are a lot more flexible, a lot more relaxed and you do what you want to do.

Here is the advice I wish I had given myself two years ago…

  1. Pay absolutely no attention to Google or Netmums. I don’t think it mattered what K did as a baby, whether it be spitting up after her milk (obviously reflux or a milk allergy!- cheers Google) or how old they should be when they hit a certain milestone. I looked for reassurance in one of the above websites on the internet. I’ve come to realise that actually, Google nor Netmums doesn’t hold the answer you are looking for. Usually the answer lies within your instinct. They don’t look too well? they probably aren’t -take them to a dr. They haven’t sat up yet? They will in their own time. It really is hard as a first time mum not to search the internet for answers to everything as these little humans don’t come with an instruction manual but if your unsure of something use your instinct or ask a professional.
  2. Savour every tiny little second of that newborn stage as it really really goes in the blink of an eye. Something that I didn’t quite realise with K. I was forever wishing her life away in one respect or another. “oh I can’t wait for her to sit up” “oh I can’t wait for her to walk” “oh it will be amazing when she talks”. Little did I know, all those stages come super duper fast and before I knew it, my little newborn is a stomping two and a half year old. Please – cherish it whilst you can. Let them lie on your chest just that little bit longer.
  3. The night feeds suck…really suck – but you wont be doing them forever. As hard as it is to imagine, this little milk machine WILL stop wanting feeds during the night at some point. Get through it by whatever means possible (a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit helps *ahem*)
  4. Sleep when they sleep. This is the biggest piece of advice I give to new mums now because when they are asleep we feel that’s our chance to catch up with TV/housework/whatever….NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SLEEP!!! I never took that advice 1st time round but I would kill for it now. Having your second baby means you can never sleep when they sleep because you have a toddler to look after and some times it’s painstakingly exhausting. I sometimes long to go back to the one baby days so I can sleep when they sleep! – Please, let the cobwebs lie and get some rest.
  5. You’re doing OK. You are a kick ass woman that has grown a tiny human being in your womb for 9 months then got them out again (by whatever means possible). They’ve tipped your world upside down, left you sleep deprived, probably a stone or two heavier, made your nipples bleed and they’ve made you question your sanity. But at the end of the day when the night draws in, you are both here to tell the tale, your baby is safe and happy and they are loved. YOU ARE AWSOME. High five yourself.

What advice would you give to yourself as a first time mum? I’d love to hear from you!

XOXOXO

 

 

Me and mine (January 2016)

I am so excited to be apart of the me and mine project this year as I absolutely love the idea of taking the time out to take a picture of my family all together. It’s something that doesn’t happen very often as, although I take lots of photos, I’m very rarely in them due to being behind the camera!

It’s such a lovely project to look back on and see what we were doing or loving that particular month.

January, I think, has been such a long gloomy month. The weather has been awful and has seen us spend more time than usual squirreled away in the house. Although I must admit, with the hustle and bustle of December it has been nice to have a few restful lazy days to recuperate. Although it has been a long and gloomy month January has seen us through potty training and nursery placements so it has been a busy month in that sense.

This months photo of us was taken last week when the snow was with us. (I was trying to take a photo of us this week but I’ve been too busy!) but it was quite nice to capture the weather and us all being wrapped up outside. It probably isn’t the best photo I’ve ever taken but the wind and snow was against us plus I had to be quick and take it in one shot as D wasn’t particularly impressed about being out in the cold! But some times in life things are less than perfect and sometimes you have only one shot to nail it. I think I strive to much for perfection and perhaps need to take a step back and realise that being perfect isn’t always possible and the end outcome is still as beautiful.

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This month we are loving…

 K being independent with he potty

 Lazy days in the house

Organising and decluttering

Spending time organising our family holidays for the year

Being together as much as possible

That’s it from me this month. I aim to take a few more pictures of us next month! What have you been up to with your family this month? I’d love to hear from you!

XOXOXO

Tropical butterfly house – A mummy & daughter morning

Over the last few weeks and particularly over the last few days I’ve noticed a slight change in K’s attitude. She has gone from being a happy-go-lucky pleasant little girl to a tantrum throwing, emotional little terror! I feel myself lucky that I think I skipped the whole “terrible twos” stage as K has always being a dream to look after. I loved spending time with her. But recently, her little outbursts, her tantrums and general attitude has been slacking slightly. So much so that I’ve been counting the hours down to bedtime every night and thanking the lord that the day was over. I do genuinely think this is a little stage she is going through especially since we are nearly hitting the “threenager” milestone and I’m sure it will pass as quick as it came on. (Please, for the love of all things sweet, let it pass soon) That said, I am also aware that there has been a lot of adjustments in our household of late. One being the arrival and sudden illness of D which takes a lot of our time up and attention away from K who is used to being the centre of attention in our universe. Therefore I arranged a morning where it was just me and K again, like old times. It was me giving her my full attention and the morning being all about her. Which, both she and I absolutely loved.

I left D with grandparents for the morning and I took K to the Tropical butterfly house wildlife and falconry centre in Sheffield. We are really fortunate as this little gem of a place is about 15minutes away from where we live. It’s basically what it says on the tin. It’s a tropical butterfly house which is situated on large grounds within a wildlife and falconry centre. It is home to lots of animals including Lemurs, Meerkats, Wallaby’s and Otters and also has farm yard animals and a falconry area which houses owls, ravens, parrots and other birds of pray. The butterfly house is a warm tropical hut which has butterflies and reptiles within it. The grounds are lovely and there are some decent nature trails within it where you can spot local wildlife and different species of birds. There is also an outdoor play area and splash zone but it was far too cold today to experience those! It is such a good day out. We only spent the morning there as we were on a time restraint but you could quite easily spend the day there and it enables you to purchase food and drink within their café or there is an indoor and outdoor picnic area if you want to bring your own packed lunches. They also give you a timetable of what is happening throughout the day including different talks and animal feeding times. It costs £9.75 for adult entry and £8.50 for child entry (over 2yrs old). In all honesty, I do think it’s worth £9.75 for an adult but I think it’s slightly expensive for a child admission. Most Zoos and wildlife centres charge a fraction of the price for children and most places allow under 3’s free admission. It can make it quite an expensive day if there are two adults and two or more children visiting. But that’s just my opinion.

Watching the parrots

Watching the parrots

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A working ant within the butterfly house

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Feeding the fish

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Trying to spot the butterflies in the tropical house

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It was too cold to play in the outdoor play area but we did sneak a quick ride on the bull

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There is a lot of food and drink to choose from in the café. Katie is enjoying a children’s meal box

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The Meerkats were her favourite but it was very windy outside!!

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I think they thought I had food!!!

Overall, both K and I had a fantastic morning. She loved seeing all the animals and butterflies. It was nice to spend some quality mummy-daughter time and in all honesty it was much needed by both of us.  I have made a promise to myself to spend some alone time with her on a more regular basis and just touch base with her a little bit more as it is quite easy to let every day life become the focus of everything. It’s also hard when a lot of my focus and attention is based around D at the moment.

How do you all cope when there is more than one child to focus on? Do you spend time with each child individually? I’d love to hear what you think. Feel free to leave me a comment!

XOXOXO

Potty training hints and tips

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I was going to write a post on “how to potty train” but realised that this wouldn’t be helpful to anyone given that everyone’s potty training experience is different. So rather than a “this is what we did” post I am going to write down hints and tips that I felt were useful to me and helped K to become dry during the day.

It’s taken K around two weeks to become dry during the day, granted we still have the odd accident but that is usually in the evening time when she’s starting to become a little tired from her day. So far (touch wood) we haven’t had an accident whilst out and about. But I am prepared for it if and when this happens.

Just as a note – K isn’t dry at nap time or during the night just yet so for these times she still wears a nappy and it comes straight off the minute I get her up.

My potty training hints and tips

  1. Make sure they are ready to potty train. This sounds so obvious but actually I find so many people say “Oh, s/he’s two years old now, I must potty train” – no. It really doesn’t work like that. Some children are going on 3yrs old when they are ready to train. They will let you know they are ready by telling you when they are having a wee (or a poo) and that’s usually a good indication that they are ready. Trying to train them any earlier will leave you both stressed out and it will make it an unsuccessful attempt. If you try and train when they seem ready but they just don’t crack it, don’t worry. Leave it a few weeks (or months) and try again. I tried training K a few weeks before Christmas and it just didn’t work so I stopped and left it until after Christmas and by this time she grasped it much easier.
  2. Try and clear your schedule and stay in for the week. Granted, this doesn’t work for everyone and was my idea of hell but it really did work for us. There were no distractions, no moments of “Goodness me she needs the toilet NOW and I don’t have one to hand”, no public puddles and no stressed out toddler.
  3. Ask them if they need a wee every 15/20 minutes. You end up sounding like a broken record, but asking them regularly makes them remember that they need to go.
  4. Put them on the potty every 30-40mins even if they say they don’t need to go. More often than not they did actually need to go they just didn’t know it and even if they didn’t need it, it gets them used to sitting on the potty.
  5. Bribes, bribes and more bribes. Am I a bribing mum? Yes. Am I ashamed of it? No. Does it work? Yes. Offering out rewards (or bribes – however you see it) works wonders. It gives the child something to aim for and makes them feel like they’ve achieved something. Tailor the reward (bribe) to your child whether that be a little chocolate, a sticker or a new book/toy. We had daily rewards of a little chocolate every time K successfully went on the potty and then at the end of the 1st week we went to the toy shop and she chose a small toy for being such a big girl. Those treats have completely trailed off now because using the potty or toilet is just the norm but it really did work for us in the beginning.
  6. Have a potty in every room. We bought K a potty with a high back support to make it more comfortable when she sits on it and this is her main potty in the house but I also went to a £1 shop and bought 4 or 5 cheap plastic ones and placed them in different rooms in our house because I found that when she needed to go, she needed to go NOW. Having a potty in the room she was in helped to reduce accidents. I also bought a child training seat that fits over the normal toilet so she can practice using the big toilet as well as the potty.
  7. If you go out – bring plenty of spare pants/trousers/tops/socks. You will have an accident at some point. Don’t be caught off hand when this happens.

So these are my hints and tips. I hope they were useful. I’d love to hear if you have any hints or tips that worked for you. Let me know in the comment box below.

 

XOXOXO