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Things That Are Not Ideal To Do With A Toddler AND Baby

I started writing this a while ago “Things not to do with a toddler”. But now I have a baby, there is a whole different perspective on the matter. Sometimes the logistics just don’t work?!

Get A Filling At The Dentist
Bless my Dad, he had been roped into sitting with the baby and toddler in the waiting room whilst I “nipped” into get a filling. The clock was ticking away, then a panicked text arrived from my dad saying he was caught in traffic. The dentist called me through. He took one look at me, toddler hanging off my legs, baby hanging off my boobs and said “ooh”. Yeh Ohh indeed, there was nothing I could do, they were both just going to have to come in with me. There is nothing worse than being constrained to a chair with your mouth wide open, looking at a peaceful fish painting on the ceiling, whilst hearing your toddler running riot through the dentist draws and pressing buttons on the chair (“wow mummy up”), and your baby crying frantically as you’ve taken him off the boob too soon. Then trying to “shush” and “no don’t touch that” whilst the dentist is sucking the excess spit out of your mouth. Perhaps karma for eating too much chocolate?

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Go To A Gynecoloy Appointment
Another similar medical scenario, but with a different area of the body. I wont go into details, but as the doctor is saying “the more you relax the easier it will go in”, you are trying to access snacks from your bag to stop toddler climbing onto the doctors chair and get “digger” (stethoscope), hearing the keys on the keypad type as he goes (prob accidently perscribing a 2 year old Nicotine Patches). There is nothing more disconcerting than whilst baby is crying (again) the doctor is trying to shush and sing “twinkle twinkle little star” whilst inserting a certain metal instrument into nether regions. Just altogether a weird experience.

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Loose Phone In Foam Pit
My friend and I took 3x toddler plus one baby (mine) to I-Bounce (massive trampoline place with foam pits). We thought “we’ve got this”. And we HAD got it, it was all going swimmingly. No toddlers had been catapulted, not babies had been lost in foam pit (worse than phone??) and we were all pretty stoked with our free (ish) socks. We took it in turns holding the baby (car seat). I had been taking lots of photos (for my Instagram Stories obvs.) and then suddenly realised that my phone wasn’t in my pocket anymore (big gaping open pocket of hoody), it was in fact somewhere in the foam pit. It came down to a choice, concentrate on finding my phone…..or keep track of toddlers/ baby….luckily due to some strapping toddler fathers, we managed to do it all. Everyone pitched in and it wasn’t long before it was made into a fun game for the toddlers/ parents involved. Thank god to a pink glittery phone case, the phone was retrieved from the dark depths of despair and peace was restored. I did feel like a complete DICK, I mean, who takes a phone in a into a foam pit??!

Soft Play
Joyous places. My toddler is at the age/ the type that he wants to go into the soft plays but he wants me to go int with him. Fine if there are others there to hold the baby. A juggle if not. Usually ends up with me carting the baby round with me, taking it in turns to lift toddler/ baby up and through the tower of mesh netting, then crawl through tiny tunnel hooshing baby along on his back, then along wobbly beam holding toddlers hand/ baby clasped awkwardly into boobs, navigating ball pit in similar fashion, finishing up with both of them sitting on my lap to go down the wiggly slide that launches you off into the air (due to weight?!). Next time I’m wearing my gym gear.

Changing Synchronised Poos When You Only Have The Sling
The baby carrier is amazing, I’ve used it so much, way more than the pushchair this time. Leaves your hands free to (control) toddler. But there are certain situations where it just doesn’t work. One of these times I’ve found is if you are out and about and BOTH toddler and baby have pooped. Who do you do first? I’ve tried changing the toddler with the baby in the sling, but just can’t seem to get the right angles and ended up with the toddlers poo covered winky (gets everywhere) smearing a brown patch onto the babies back in the sling. So change the baby first, he comes out of the sling, then where do you put him whilst you change the toddler? Balance on the changing table at same time as toddler change? Do toddler standing up whilst balance baby on changing table (poos are hard do standing up!). I normally end up making a little make shift “cave” on (skanky) toilet floor out of empty sling and backpack to prop the baby up whilst I attend to toddler. Harder now he wriggles more (see photo, not on toilet floor but a reconstruction of events).

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Life With A New Born And Toddler……

I’m back!!!

I’ve been rubbish and haven’t posted for a while, mainly because I was fat, hairy, swollen, sometimes dribbling, sweaty pregnant mess. But all is well now, albeit I cant remember what sleep is and I still look like I’m “with child” (no sorry, I’m not pregnant, I’ve actually had the baby now, its just cake)

I’m going to share my Birth Story with you in my next post, but for now I just wanted to update you all on the first few weeks of life with 2 children…..totally different ball game. Some days I feel like I’m getting it….most days I feel like I’m drowning. Sure i’ll get used to it soon? Help? Worst thing so far, what on earth do you do when both children cry at once??? I must say, not sure why God (???) didn’t invent Women that grew another arm with each child they gave birth to?!

Your Body
First of all I have a serious problem, I’m so chubby now but I just can’t for the life of me stop eating. I think I actually looked better pregnant (how long can I wear my maternity clothes for?/!) I’m not pregnancy fat now, I’m fat fat. My fat clothes from post pregnancy last time don’t even fit me:( Im actually quite upset about how rounded I am but I just cant stop shovelling chocolate in my face. Whats wrong with me??!! And it’s definitely WAY WAY worse second time round. Im afraid there is definitely no snapping back for this sack of spuds. So I have now decided I’m just going to roll with it until my 6-8 week check (maybe 8 weeks, give me more time??!). No point doing anything drastic until the doc says I’m ok right??!

Miss The Bump
Brings me onto my next point, I really miss my bump. I know now I have the real thing, but I keep waking (haha from “sleeping”) in the night and thinking I feel kicks in my belly. I still stroke it like there’s something in there (again, now just cake). Maybe it’s because I know it was the last time EVER I will be preggers (yes really), but I look at other pregnant ladies and I’m finding myself getting really jealous! You get soooo much attention when you are pregnant, such a talking point, now I’m just a normal fat person.

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New Born Phase
I must admit, I am slightly enjoying the new-born phase more this time. Apart from the relentless crying/ literally NO sleep, I’m quite enjoying having a little baby. I think the first time is such a shock to the system, but second time round I think you try to “enjoy” it more and savour it as you know how quick it goes. First time I was wishing away the new born phase as it was so horrendous. You know when you’re pregnant you kind of “round-up” the weeks…more impressive to be more pregnant ( eg. when you are 35+1day….you are 36 weeks pregnant), but I’m finding now with a new born I’m rounding it down (eg. he’s 1 day off 5 weeks but I still say “he’s ONLY a month old). People love a new born, I love the way people look at you like “awwww look at that tiny new baby”…..I don’t want him to grow and that to stop.

Life Goals
You’re new life goals become: syncing naps/ keeping 2 children alive/ brushing teeth/ clean underwear. My friend said to me you have to totally lower your expectations with 2…..that I have now done. I’m literally stoked if I’ve managed to put on one eye of mascara. I’m learning to set myself low targets….today I managed to tan my mum-tum for 15 mins outside….on my own! (Whats the expression?? Cant polish a turd?!)

Multi Tasking- Next Level
If you need to be somewhere are say 2pm…..you will need to start getting ready at 9am. S*it just takes so long now and someone always poops. I literally feel like I’m on some crazy fair ground ride constantly flitting from one thing to another like Meerkat on speed. So much coordination and JUGGLING (baby in swinging chair whilst change toddlers nappy, toddler watching Peppa Pig whilst feed baby, restrain toddler in cot whilst dress baby, baby on boob whilst YOU go to the toilet, feed toddler snacks whilst you put baby in sling to pack the bag (suitcase now actually). The list goes on. NB: Gets even more difficult when you are actually “out out”. I have a friend that used to use a toddler leash to lovingly tie her toddler up whilst she breast-fed her baby, I thought this was a wonderful idea and I’m definitely saving that for a rainy day! You remember what its like to do everything one-handed again, but you kinda feel rusty at it again. The feeling once you have both kids strapped into the car is AMAZING, I always take a min to enjoy it before actually starting the engine.

Your Toddler
Now lets move onto your toddler. First of all he WILL regress. Mine has started drinking out of baby bottles, sitting in baby chair (now broken), watching TV in the baby car seat….and insists on being swaddled?! Plus I swear he cries more than the baby? And it seems more annoying when he cries now for some reason.

When you first get home from the hospital and see your toddler again, he will seem HUGE. Like his face will just seem like a massive Elephant face. Has it always been that big? And whats happened to his head? It’s like a football! And those massive hands. It’s really like they have grown over night.

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But that moment when they first meet is honestly one of the most amazing and emotional things EVER!!

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And you must never ever ever leave your toddler in a room with your new born (not sure of that’s just my toddler?!). The first morning I learnt this after I caught him trying to feed the baby Shreddies (out of love obviously). The toddler just loves the baby SOOOO much he wants to give him kisses (eat is face), cuddle him ((belly flop on top of him), pick him up (drag him across the room by his feet), clap his hands together (pull his hands off) and tuck him up (put the blanket over his head so he can’t breath). Really don’t think he means it, but its scary sometimes. You really need something safe to put your baby in to protect him from your toddler (padded cell?)

Your toddler will become feral (like he wasn’t already??!). Discipline goes out the window and you definitely find yourself turning a blind eye to things. I misplaced my toddler at a birthday party recently, he was found underneath the party table eating crumbs off the floor. Debatable if they were actually from THAT party. Out and about breastfeeding a new born, you notice out of the corner of your eye that your toddler is grabbing fat fists full of mud and putting it down his shorts……you just have to make a decision to “deal with that later”. Better that than run across the park, new born suckered onto your nipple, other nipple standing alert in the breeze as you’ve only just realised you forgotten to put it back in from earlier.

Neglect
Your second/ new baby will become neglected. With my first baby I lovingly laid out his clothes in his BIG wardrobe, cut up all of his baby cards to make beautiful collages to go on his wall in HIS room, plastered the house in baby photos, brand new play gym/swinging chair/ cot etc, even a personalised wooden skate board to go on his door……….this time I’ve barely had time to take photos, the cards have been shoved in a draw, his (hand-me-down) clothes scrunched up in a small draws and there is no room on Arlos bedroom door for another wooden skateboard (the boys will have to share a room soon). Im still not used to having 2 children that I almost sure that at some point I WILL forget the new one. Also remember all that time you spent looking at your first born child (ie.wow we made him, isn’t he beautiful etc) you just don’t get that 2nd time round. Sounds awful but sometimes I cant even remember his name half the time…..Arlo, Rich…Lottie (the dog)??? So many names to remember.

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Mum Guilt
leads me onto the next point, MUM GUILT….it’s at an all time high. The main thing is I feel MASSIVELY guilty about throwing my toddlers world upside down by having a new baby. These are the other things I’ve felt guilty about in the last few weeks….having a baby (obvs); paying more attention to the baby; if toddler thinks I love the baby more: if baby thinks I love the toddler more: not being able to play with toddler as much; hours upon hours of breast feeding; my patience being less; less time spent cuddling toddler; more time spent feeding toddler snacks to keep quiet: a million hours of TV to keep toddler quiet; telling toddler off about touching (gentle gentle gentle….repeat) baby when he’s only trying to show love: when the baby cries; giving new baby old toddlers car seat/ baby gym/ swinging chair etc (bad on baby for old things, bad on toddler for giving baby HIS things); having to sit in the car (to contain toddler) to feed baby: not doing my silly voices at story time; not being the one to get toddler up in the morning and the first one he sees; guilty that I’m tired all the time: guilty that I keep hiding in the bathroom to eat chocolate; guilt if I’m spending time with one and not the other; forgetting new babies name; calling new baby dogs name

A Break
I’ve been very lucky and my Dad/ Mum gives me a break by taking out my toddler. I think its funny how a break becomes still having one child. If your baby is boob feeding, you literally are surgically attached to your baby for the foreseeable future. But it does actually feel like a break being left with just your baby, when did that happen?!.….makes you realise how easy you had it with “just one” the first time round…and why didn’t you find having a baby “a break” when you had your first baby?! I actually find it quite relaxing taking my baby around town now!!! When 2 children are there, you literally don’t get a chance to do anything, you’re just bouncing back and forth from one to another. IF your partner is there, then you have a child each. So basically you always have at least one child now to deal with and NEVER get a break, ever.

People Help
After countless comments of “oh you’ve got your hands full there”…people do help you when you have 2 plus children. I do feel like whenever I leave the house with both boys I have fear written all over my face,: heart punding; my eyes are bulging, I’m sweating, I’m red, my jaw is clenched, all my movements are really jerky and fast like a rabbit in the headlights. Pure focus and determination in my eyes. So thank you to the man in the doctors waiting room for bringing my toddler out of his depths of despair by showing him his walking stick… and thank you to the lady in Sainsburys for helping me pack my bags as my toddler tried climbing onto the converter belt and my babies head was flopping at a weird angle out of the sling and dangerously near to the raw chicken packet. My worst nightmare and hardest thing so far, is literally not knowing what to do when both kids are crying at once….I normally cry too.

So I’m sure it will get easier once I find my own grove and routine. After all, I’m not the first person in the world to have 2 children!!! Hats off to mums of 2 plus children!

PS.A little secret, I now keep chocolate in my bag for “incentives”….(bribes) mother of the year. You’ve literally gotta do what you’ve gotta do to survive and make things a bit easier on yourself.

PPS. And I can confirm you CAN love more than 1 child;)

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Do I Look Mumsy In This?

Why is it whatever I wear these days makes me feel Mumsy??!! “Well Katie you ARE a Mum “is the simple answer my Husband (man of few words) will give me. Well there you go, that explains it all, no need to write this blog then.

But WHY do I feel Mumsy when I’m wearing pretty much the same wardrobe I had pre motherhood (give or take a few….BILLION…. items bought on impulse after having a baby, jacked up on hormones and in my “super Mumsy identity crisis” phase). This is a question I’ve often pondered whilst picking dry crusty Wheetabix out of my hair, simultaneously frantically digging through mountains of clothes exclaiming I have NOTHING to wear.

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Do other Mums feel like this???

Is this a midlife crisis?

Am I screaming out “MUM” even when I am without child??

Is it time to re-invent oneself?

Reality check…….have you possibly just let yourself go? Chocolate cake for breakfast is actually NOT a good idea/ example to set?

So many questions.

Right, here’s whats been going on:

Your body has changed
Lets start with the tummy. Try as you might it will never be quite the same as it was. Even if you are back to your pre pregnancy weight and same waist size, it will never be quite as tight as before (was it ever tight or is this just a rose-tinted version of yourself you have created, actually you looked the spitting image of Miss Universe 2016). That gap in-between your tummy muscles is STILL there, your tummy skin is unfortunately like a deflated pink balloon and your belly button looks like ETs finger. Anyway, no more crop tops (??!!) or skin-tight tops (apart from those ones that have secret structural scaffolding). Tops that flow nicely over (hide) tummy are the style of choice these days. I’m sure I have shrunk height wise a little too?? Maybe when you are a pregnant WHALE it compresses your joints together?? To hold the baby inside you ( WE ARE SO CLEVER), hips also get wider. And goes without saying, you look a lot more tired these days and on some particularly bad days, you have even aged by 50 years. So with all these changes to your appearance of course clothes are going look different on you now. Well that is a good excuse to buy a whole new wardrobe if ever I heard one!!

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Boobs
For starters, you’ve gone from average size boobs, to monster-cant-even-be-contained-in-a-bra breast-feeding boobs…….to disappointing empty Tetley Tea bag boobs. Clothes look totally different with different boobs and you just cant keep up with it. You feel you should take the opportunity to flaunt your newly enlarged BF boobs, but then feel extremely guilty as this is perhaps wrong (??) and they aren’t real anyway ie: filled with milk. Then you realise, even though you have Jordan type boobs, the rest of you body is more likened to a Sloth. You just look odd. And no matter how hard you’ve tried to be consistent with BF sides, you are still lopsided, not such a great look. Then once all this palava is over, you are left with nothing. The expressing machine cant get anything out of them, your baby has given up trying and unfortunately there is nothing you can do to “cheer them up”. The thought may even cross your mind to have another baby just to get them back….are you crazy??!

See your body in a different way
YOU’VE GROWN A HUMAN IN THERE….RESPECT. I look in the mirror sometimes (after the self loathing and tugging at excess skin has finished) and think “wow, I grew an actual baby in there”. Just knowing what you can do, well what women can do, makes you feel your body is less like a sex machine (!!!) and more like a holy shrine to be worshipped and appreciated. It sometimes feels bad flaunting this serene “temple”. It becomes less important to look good and more important to realise what we are capable of.

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Mutton Dressed as Lamb
You are constantly in this grey area of “am I dressing too young/ am I dressing too old”. The balance just never feels right. I fear I have been over compensating since becoming a Mum and trying to dress younger. Its like I need to make a statement that I am still cool and down with the kids??! Backward baseball caps and tie dye shoes sometimes make me feel like mutton dressed as lamb. Its like I am in total denial that I’m over 30 (21 to those who ask), have a child and a house. Should I be dressing more respectfully now I’m a Mum? My skirts should be a little longer, no flaunting of cleavage (what cleavage), swimming costumes over bikini, no rips in jeans and defo no tops with side boobs??! I do feel like I can’t carry certain items off now I am a mum. Might be me over thinking things, but  do people almost expect you to dress more appropriately now you’re a mum. ANYWAY, we need to come to terms with the fact we ARE Mums and in a new category now…..The MILF Category. Accept it and work it!

No time to dress
Dressing is no longer a pleasurable thing. It’s a necessity. You have to wear clothes to go to Tescos. Spending hours deliberating on what scarf to wear with what top, what jeans flatter you the most and what necklace brings out your eyes, are days of the past. Most of the time its a case of just grabbing whats on the top of the unwashed/ unfolded/ scrunched clothes pile (BTW that you have worn for the last 3 days) with one hand, whilst trying to retrieve your favourite earrings from the nappy (possibly poohy) of your toddler with the other hand.  A lot of the time this could lead to accidentally standing in front of your bedroom window (that faces the road PLUS neighbours) with no bra on. Yes you could be more organised and devise an outfit the night before once your child is in bed, but who can be bothered with that?! So in my eyes, if it hasn’t got puke (visible) or sh*t (smellable) on it, its ok to wear.

More aware of brand clichés
There are certain brands that are considered “Mumsy”. These brands I actually really love and before becoming a Mum would not of hesitated to buy (if I had lots of money). But now I think twice about whether, for example, a Joules rain coat or Kath Cidson bag would make me look Mumsy. I guess they are tailored to suit Mums and fulfil our needs at this time (Cath Kidson= wipeable bags, Joules= practical/happy rain coats/ flattering fits). PS. I have a Cath Kidson Bag AND Joules Wellies. You do somehow just feel more drawn towards these Mumsy brands.

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Personal grooming/ different priorities
The “other things” that make clothes look good and YOU look good is personal grooming eg. actually brushing your hair, remembering to brush your teeth, shaving your gorilla (extra layer to keep warm) legs, completing your make up routine thus achieving TWO eyes of mascarra, wearing jewellery that isn’t going to be used as a rope swing, DIY on your mono brow, showering, considering shoes you don’t have to run in  …..non of this matters now. It’s all about being quick and practical with your decisions and personal grooming. Your priorities aren’t your appearance anymore, its stopping your child drinking toilet water and painting the dog purple.

Shopping
The past time of shopping itself isn’t an enjoyable activity AT ALL with a toddler in tow. You need to be focused. It’s about knowing exactly what you want and GRABBING. Knowing that you maybe have a window of 15 mins to do EVERYTHING makes shopping a different mpre stressful ball game. Super Market Sweep anyone?! However you’ve realised actually its way more fun shopping for your child anyway. This can be done quite nicely from your I-Phone in the comfort of your own home. And have you thought about the reason you may now be attracted to younger clothes??? Perhaps not an identity cries, but you are spending a lot more time surrounded by kids clothes these days you have actually forgotten that there’s a whole other universe out there (including Topshop, HM, Urban Outfitters etc).

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“Twinning”
You do lose confidence in your own judgement of dressing yourself when you become a mum, so an easy and FUN option is to just dress the same as your child. Then it’s just seen as cute (cheesy) and you can’t be blamed for dressing to young and your child cant be blamed for dressing to old. You just look awesome!!

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In mourning
You cant help but always compare yourself to your pre baby body/ life and try as you might, you just cant let go. Don’t torture yourself, don’t put a pre pregnancy bikini photo up of yourself on the chocolate cupboard, don’t troll through FB looking at younger/slimmer pictures of yourself (and FB stop “reminding” me of these skinny memories), don’t reminisce over old fancy dress items (why did you always have to make everything slutty?!), don’t keep prodding at your skin and considering chopping parts off and don’t whatever you do, weigh yourself……whilst shovelling carrot cake into your moth (technically vegetables). Easier said then done but just be amazed at what you have achieved (grown a real life human- GIRL POWER) and how your kid is the most important thing now. Once you stop trying to be the old you, you should feel more content. I’m still not there yet and in my “mutton dressed as lamb” phase….for the foresable future.

CONCLUSION
So as this is a very confusing time for us new Mums, it totally justifies excessive purchasing (online preferable) to experiment with our new identity. This is for your mental well-being therefore well-being of your child. Their future is in YOUR (credit card) hands so you MUST buy that new dress.

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“It’s Just Phase”

“It’s just a phase” is an explanation I hear over and over again when referring to babies/ toddlers weird and wonderful habits they develop. Each of these behaviours WILL eventually pass, soon to be replaced with another. Some seem common for most children to encounter at some stage, whilst others are lets just say “quirky” and really make you question if it’s something you have done to provoke it. For example, I have never eaten dog poo in front of my child (or indeed without him there, or ever in my life) but yet, this was “a phase” he unfortunately went through.

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Whilst you are in the midst of The Phase it can be frustrating. Very frustrating. They vary in length and severity. So here are some of the phases I have experienced so far and possible ways in which you could deal with them:

The “Refusing to eat but will eat food off the floor” phase
You do everything the right way, you follow the Annabel Karmel book like a bible, you make all the appropriate mmmmmm noises with food, but still, your child goes through so many phases of not eating. Freaks me out because: 1. I think he’s going to wake in the night hungry therefore NOT SLEEP: 2. Confirms my fear that I am actually the worst cook in the world: 3. He’s going to be a fussy eater and IT’S ALL MY FAULT. I’ve found myself doing anything to try and get food into my son. So if he would ONLY eat it off the floor underneath his high chair, then so be it. Has this come from seeing me do the “5 second rule? Ok 10 seconds?? Who knows.

Solution: Clean floor before meal time. Casually drop some nice nutritious food on the floor after he point-blank refuses to eat anything you are trying to feed him. Try again to feed him. Give up, take him out of high chair and turn a blind eye to the fact he is delving into the 3 course dinner you have left on the floor. Make sure he’s had his fill then suddenly “catch him” and explain that it’s dirty to eat food off the floor.  NB: Does create bad habits with floor food eating and a confused child.

The “Not wanting to be fed but not being able to feed self” phase
Another frustrating phase surrounding food, actually the bane of my life these days. At the ripe old age of 8 months (age varies), my son decided that he was totally old enough to feed himself. Non of this food however made it successfully into his mouth, resulting in a grumpy hungry child (and a poor dog cover in food). Grumpy hungry child will put up resistance if YOU try to feed him, no matter how hungry he is. This does get better as they get older and their hand/ eye co-ordination improves. But then comes the “wanting to only feed self by spoon” phase, whole different ball game.

Solution: The only thing for it is to make 20 times more food than you actually need in the hope that maybe 5% of it will make it into their mouths. The “one spoon for them one spoon for you” technique to try and sneak food in whilst they are concentrating on fondling the spoon/ food. Raid all cupboards in the house frantically cooking all food possible to see if it’s actually your cooking they are refusing to eat.

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The “Not wanting to walk but not wanting to go in buggy” phase
This normally ends up with huge/ heavy/ wriggly toddler in one arm, whilst pushing buggy with other arm. Loosing count of how many times you have switched from buggy-walking-carrying-buggy. Just nothing is quite right for them.

Solution: Don’t leave the house.

The “Not brushing teeth” phase
Still in this phase.You’ve got to brush your teeth mate or else you’ll end up with dentures by the age of 5 and you will bankrupt the Tooth Fairy.

Solution: Keep buying a million different toothbrushes/ tooth pastes to keep things interesting (also as they keep throwing them down the toilet). Close toilet lid. Use YOUR toothbrush if he refuses his own (make sure you haven’t got any diseases). A toothbrush with a little sucker on the end so it sticks to things makes it more appealing somehow. Get everyone in the whole family to brush teeth at same time making it look like a really fun, happy activity. Distract child by any means possible whilst you try and sneak a quick brush in. One person pins down child whilst other person brushes, this does seem to make it worse though, so actually wouldn’t recommend this. Just try and get at least some tooth paste into the mouth, that must at least do something right?

The “Pulling up top and poking belly button” phase
All fun and games learning where your belly button is and showing how mummy has one too, and daddy for that matter. Child must then check every other person IN THE WORLD to make sure they have one also. The technique for this is pulling up a victims top to reveal (flabby, white) tummy. At home, ok no problem, out in public not so fun, other people/strangers……hopefully ground will open up and swallow me.

Solution: Make sure everyone you could possibly come into contact with that day is in fact wearing a body suit that can’t be lifted up and buttons underneath.

The “Weaning off Ice-cream” phase
I’m not sure if others have fallen into the trap of their child point-blank refusing to eat anything but Ice-Cream? When my son gets poorly with a sore throat/ cough I like to help soothe it with Ice-Cream. Medical reasons. Sometimes this will be the only thing I can get him to eat. Better than nothing at all I figured? But then we go through the awful stage of when he gets better and he has become totally addicted to Ice-Cream. So begins the Ice-Cream weaning.

Solution: Cold turkey is not a good plan, after all they have somehow discovered where the Ice-Cream lives, how to open the freezer door, and how to get the Ice-Cream out. So advanced. You need to do the weaning gradually. Mix the ice cream with what ever food you want them to eat, gradually decreasing the quantity of Ice-Cream. Can also feed them their dinner out if the Ice-Cream tub to confuse them. Change hiding place of Ice-Cream, better yet, be a good parent and eat it all the Ice Cream in the entire house to remove the temptation from you child.

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The “Bin obsession” phase
Where on earth has this one come from? I guess it must be intriguing for them as to where stuff goes once its purpose has been served. Why do we keep putting things that THEY WOULD HAVE PLAYED WITH in that forbidden place. It basically must be another toy chest in a parallel universe that they must investigate. And what is that word “dirty”. That must mean it’s REALLY good in there. When the Bin Men come here on a Friday it’s like the Oscars. Big event. Bought me 10 minutes on Friday whilst my son watched them from the window. Bins are just the best, any bin, anytime, any where.

Solution: Buy toy bin? Say word “dirty” like a trillion times? Move location of bins. Remove child from bin. Stop buying toys and give child rubbish instead. Spend loads of money on a child proof bin. Take child to re-cycling centre, baby bin heaven. Call local council and see if Bin Men will come everyday to take bins so you can have a HOT cup of tea in peace.

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The “Discovering willy” phase (only applies to boys)
Wow the amount of things they can do with it once they find it is impressive. I had no idea they were that stretchy! Any opportunity seriously. As soon as that nappy comes off, slapping, pinging, wanging, twanging, swatting, twirling, swinging and twearking: fun times. Even tries to get to it with nappy on and looks like Micheal Jackson.

Solution: Let them go wild I guess?!

The “Putting everything in the toilet/ bath/ any water” phase
Nothing is safe. Not only do you have to baby proof your house. You have to remove all objects that could possible get damaged through being immersed in water. And these toddlers are quick, before you know it they have whisked Teddy Dumpling off the bed and into the front crawl position in the bath. As I’ve mentioned before, toothbrushes and other items of dislike regularly meet their fate in the loo. So paranoid about my phone going swimming, or as we had a close call with the other day, our passports. Try explaining that to immigration.

Solution: Obvious solutions, close toilet lid, buy padlock for toilet lid, only have showers, buy a bath cover, like a swimming pool cover, do these exist? Give up and let them go wild but remove valuable items. NB: sometimes toilets already have “deposits” in. Must always flush toilet (thank you Lauren for the photo and the inspiration).

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The” Dog poo eating” phase
As mentioned before, this was a most unfortunate phase. It only happened twice (I’m aware of) and actually caused slight panic and a desperate call to 111. The really worrying thing with this incident was that my son really seemed to be enjoying it, and was most upset when I took it off him. Then went back for round 2 the next day, seemed to have developed a taste for it. Such a bad mum, how did this keep happening? Doctors are going to think I’m an awful Mother and husband will definately divorce me (good job he never reads my blogs).

Solution: Cook food in dog poo like colour/shape? Maybe that was the appealing thing? Clean out mouth with soap and water, defo wont be doing that again in a hurry. ALWAYS check any outside area for dog poo. NEVER take your eyes off your child, ever (quietness is a bad sign). Make sure all dogs in the world have been wormed just incase. Teach dogs to poo in the toilet and flush.

The “Growling” phase
Did he in fact pick this up from the dog? I don’t remember growling that much in front of him. Obviously he would pick the best times to perform his party trick (ie. in a deathly quiet Library, no I haven’t bought my dog in here). They do experiment with their voices, some noise are cute, whereas others are kind of embarrassing and I never quite know what to do when it happens.

Solution: Growl back, they are trying to communicate with you. Take dog everywhere with you to cover up noise in public (dogs aren’t allowed in Library though). Congratulate child for being so clever and discovering new noise, but encourage other noises instead, maybe a sheep?

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The “obsession with feet/ socks/ shoes…normally other people’s” phase
For us this started off with the nibbling of his own toes. Swiftly moving onto other people’s toes. Funny at the start yes, not so endearing when he did the rounds at the baby groups to have a taste of everyone’s feet. Then the obsession with pulling socks off begins, starts with theirs, moves onto others. Soon you have a small gathering of odd socks in your washing that you have never actually seen if your life, how on earth did they smuggle all these little cheesy souvenirs home??! None of their socks match anymore (yours haven’t for years but you started your child’s life with all good intentions) and you’ve probably single-handedly keep Tescos in business through your sock purchasing. This then moves onto shoes, same deal, more expensive, more anger involved. Then they start using shoes as a tool to tell you things ie: TAKE ME OUT. Then they start hiding your shoes, insisting taking a shoe out with them, eating shoes, throwing shoes, any chance to hold a shoe, sleeping with a shoe, it’s just all about shoes, SHOES SHOES SHOES (a man after my own heart it would seem?!)

Solution: Don’t leave any shoes of value within reach/ sight of child. Resign yourself to the fact that you may have to, on occasion, go out with odd shoes (no one will notice). Never spend much money on shoes (yours, theirs). Hope this isn’t some weird foot fetish. Get child into Reflexology Training asap. Might as well make it into a career.

Are any of these yours……

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The “Posting” phase
Following on from the loosing of shoes/ socks. Have you ever considered they may have been “posted” somewhere. A term used for the hiding of an item by your child by posting it through a gap/ hole. So many things have been lost to the other side. Forever fiding things in unusual places: knickers in the peg bag, remote control in the watering can and half eaten rusks in shoes. Once you have been clever and discovered their favourite posting place, they change it. Always one step ahead of you Mum.

Solution: Cover all gaps/ holes in house. Put tracking devices on ALL items. Again, watch child at all times.

And lastly the “Taking off nappy” phase
Only just entering into this phase and I fear it could be a tough one re: nap/ bedtimes- undressing oneself to become comando in cot, which in turn could lead to a very dirty/ wet/ smelly cot and or child. Also leads to lovely little surprises left around the house for you if this happens during the day. Tip: follow the smell.

NB: Can come hand in hand with the “Discovering Willy” phase

Solution: Complicated clothes. Gaffa Tape?!

I’m sure there are many many more phases to come, but lets look at it in a positive way: it keeps things interesting, keeps us on our toes and prevents us from drinking too many hot cups of tea….which would obviously be bad for us.

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Devonshire Dartmoor Dabbling

I just wanted to tell you briefly about our little adventure the other week up onto the Devonshire hills known as Dartmoor.

Now if you asked me how to get to this place again, I honestly couldn’t tell you. So maybe this blog wont actually be much use to anyone (although you could ask my Dad, he’s pretty clever and knows all the secret gems). Dartmoor is this amazing landscape of open barren hills, wild cattle, coarse nature, huge rocks, winding rivers and little hidden streams. And if you are lucky, you will find one so hidden that no one else is there (and you can’t remember EVER how to get there again). You will have your own little private lagoon for the day; hence the skinny dipping (see photos, more Arlo than me). But we will get onto that in due course.

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After ticking “finding Sheep/ wild Horses” off the list, we were lucky enough to find some Highland Cows. Ginger. Arlo was fascinated…..of course. In all honesty, I think he thought he was a part of their family. Really could not understand why he had to be kept in the car and couldn’t go and play with them.

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Off to location number 2. Less animals, more water. Arlo in fact loved to water so much he couldn’t wait to get in and forgot to take his clothes off. And obviously as a very responsible mother I was way too busy taking photos to change my child into his swimmers. So after retrieving my child from the water in his sodden clothes, there was nothing else for it. Stripped off to his birthday suit. A chance to be at one with nature and to give his clothes a chance to dry on the bushes in the baking sun.

It says in all the baby books that you should give your child some naked time anyway so they get comfortable with their body? Once Arlo had finished examining himself (!!!), he quite got into the nudist thing. He was so relaxed by the end, I found him crouching behind a bush. Thank god no one was there and thank god I had some doggy pooh bags with me (originally for the dog funnily enough)!! Naughty boy, but good potty training stuff I guess?

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Playing with sticks (ironically pooh sticks), throwing stones, wading in the water, splashing and even a bit of rock scrambling were all on the agenda (must be careful if child is still without clothes with “dangling” bits). Finished off with a naked picnic (again, just Arlo….may well have joined if my parent hadn’t been there too).

Clothes dried, nappy reluctantly re-applied, it was time to go. Arlos first taste of Dartmoor and the Dartmoor Fishes first experience of a little naked red-headed boy.

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So if you get a chance, bundle your baby/ toddler/ kid up and take them for a Dartmoor adventure. Don’t forget the swimmers. We are so lucky to have this on our doorstep…..even gets snow in the winter;) Hopefully you can find your own little hidden treasure up on the Moors, and fingers crossed you don’t end up in the same place we went to and find any of Arlos “treasure” accidentally left behind!!!!!

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A Day in the Life of Arlo (15 Months)…..

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4.30 am
I can hear the birds, Mummy calls them the bloody birds? Hope they aren’t hurt. Must be time to get up. I’m going to use this time to experiment with my voice and make lots of weird and unusual noises.

5.30 am
Finally Mummy comes in. I know she’s been trying to ignore me for as long as possible, but the banging my fists on the cot really loudly always gets her attention. She picks me up and tells me i’m a “stinky boy”. Well Mum, if you’d been sitting in your own poo for at least an hour you would be stinky too.

5.45 am
mmmmmm milk in bed. But there’s nothing really coming out of these saggy sack things anymore? Not like the good old days.

6.30 am
Right, I have 20 mins to roam free around the room whilst Mummy puts that stuff on her face. I like to start by taking all my nappies out of the draw, then emptying my clothes from the cupboard, then finishing off by hiding things around the room for Mum to find at a later date. Once I’m done, I like to go and sit really close to Mummy whilst she tries to distract me with these black wands (?). Stop palming me off Mum, you know what I want. That little fluffy brush that makes your face go orange. When she’s not looking I like to use it to tickle the part of my body that Mummy calls “my bits”…..she really doesn’t like that. Should’ve put my nappy back on huh?! Hmm, she looks all flustered. I wonder if she realises she has only drawn one eye brow on again today?

7.00 am
Downstairs for breakfast. Same sh*t, different day. You really need to mix things up Mum. And no, using Thomas The Tank on the Ipad will not make the Banana Wheetabix any more appetising than yesterday. GIVE ME THE COCO POPS.

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7.30 am
Breakfast done. Why do I have to go in the sink after every meal time? Oh well, great opportunity to investigate everything on the draining board. Why does Mummy go pale when I grab the long sharp silver thing? Just wanted to touch it.

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7.45 am
Play time in living room. Good time to play one of our favourite games. I take all of the wet wipes out of the packet, then Mummy puts them all back in again. She then hides the packet, I find them and take them out again. We keep playing this over and over, she loves it.

8.00 am
Oh no, the other one’s going. Please don’t leave me with Mumma all day.

8.30 am
Pretty sure we are getting ready to leave the house. OMG I’m so excited. If I bang on the front door it really hurries things along. Also discovered that If I throw this minty bristle thing in the toilet, I don’t have to do whatever Mumma wants me to do with it. Saves time. I’ve picked out my outfit, Mum helped. It’s always good exercise playing the chasing game around the living room whilst she dresses me. Sometimes we play the “shhh dont tell Dadda game” and she styles my hair and puts little clips in it to see what I would look like as a girl. Right, all ready to go, must just go “one last time” before we leave the house. It’s a big one. Oh, why has Mummy given me a change of outfit?

8.45 am
Right, into that huge machine that I seem to spend half my life in. Space Ship?? She’s put a mirror on the seat in front so I can look at myself. Heeeeey Good Looking!!  Mum, stop playing that lullaby music so loud with the windows open, people are looking at us and it’s definitely not going to help me sleee…………zzzzzzzzzzzzz

9.30 am
Oh time to wake up! We are at that place again where Mum comes out looking all hot and sweaty. Sweet I get to hang out with my mates for an hour. Oh lord, I want the ground to open up and swallow me, my mate has turned up in the same T-Shirt as me. HOW EMBARRASSING!! Why on earth is Mummy taking photos of us and saying “awwww” This is so humiliating. On the plus side, I get to mind sweep the other kids food at snack time. Mum keeps sending me in with this healthy cr*p that taste like cardboard. Whatsits are way more me.

11.00 am
Off to the park again it seems. Hope there’s a slide………….

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Oh no, it’s that girl that Mummy calls “my girlfriend” and always makes us kiss. In fact, she calls every one of my girl mates my girlfriend or future wife. I’m not a pimp Mum. Please don’t make me kiss her again, she always has her mouth wide open……actually no that’s me. Need practice.

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12.00 pm
Picnic time. I like to eat my lunch whilst running around, just to maximise time you know. Mum knows this so why does she always make me try and sit down “nicely on the matt”. I’M SO BORED.

Why is mum so cross? I was only trying to paint you a lovely picture on your white top with the red berries you keep trying to shove in my mouth. I’ve heard you say a million times you want me to be creative. Oh well, just give her one of my smiles and a cute giggle and she forgives me for anything. Haha sucker!

Oh a little sing-song, how lovely. Lets make Mummy feel better by smiling at her and clapping. I wont tell her that she’s never going to make the X-factor. Argh she keeps clapping back at me, so then I have to carry on clapping, then she claps more, more clapping from me…it’s never ending this clapping malarkey.

2.15 pm
Glad I’ve managed to figure out how to use these stump things attached to my body, so much more independence these days. Right, now I want to investigate the kids attached to the seats that go into the sky. Mumma calls them Weeeeees?? Wow that made Mum run fast.

2.30 pm
I’m having so much fun. Found a stick that’s good for bashing. I want to keep it forever. Mummy doesn’t seem to be enjoying herself anymore? She is saying to her friend “when he gets tired, he gets naughty”. That’s not true, I’m just amusing myself so you can chat to your mates. Plus I’m not tired AT ALL………

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3.00 pm
Oopse think I must have drifted off again in that big space ship again. But looks like we are back home now. I’m going to pretend I’m still asleep, Mum likes to look at me like that, sometimes take a photo. In fact, she takes A LOT of photos. Been telling her for ages I need my own Instagram account.  I can tell now she is psyching her self up for what she likes to call “the transfer”. From the space ship to my cot, all the time saying shhhhhhh in my ear as if that’s going to keep me asleep. She’s left my shoes on, my clothes on and hasn’t even bothered to change my nappy. LAZY. Oh and it’s that stupid sheep thing again, Ewrin? Euan? Eagor? It sounds like an aeroplane……this is never going to work……….zzzzzzz

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4.00 pm
IM AWAKE!!!! IM AWAKE!!!! LETS MAKE SH*T HAPPEN!!

Mum’s playing with food again. She keeps trying to distract me with different toys and making weird animal noises. Thank god we are at home as she sounds ridiculous. She finally gives in and passes me her other baby that she always carries with her. There’s this man that sometimes talks to me if I do a certain thing to it. Mum calls him Syree. Is Syree my Daddy?

4.30 pm
Bored of Syree now, time to investigate the cupboards……she really needs to put child locks on these. But wait, what is that weird fluffy thing following me around the kitchen, how did she get in here? It’s kind of like a human but smaller. I think they call it a Woof? or a Woof Woof? Mumma often tells me that it’s the only little sister i’ll ever have. Ah bonus, as now I get some little treats put out for me in a bowl on the floor. Taste like sh*t but I like to give them a go anyway. However, back to the Woof. I’ve never quite understood that long waggly thing hanging off her body, I really want to pull it……oppose that made Mumma moved really fast again.

5.00 pm
Dinner time….she seems to have spent a long time on this. Is that why she gets cross when I try to blow raspberries and and refuse to eat it when she tries to feed it to me? Silly aeroplane noise, that’s never going to work Mum. You just need to let me do it myself, I know what I’m doing, I’m 15 months old now for gods sake. Plus this awesome little plastic thing make a greeeaaat Catapult. And the round thing with the food in a great Frisbee. Feel like I’ve done some of my best work this evening. I like to finish off with that award-winning smile again and Mum is putty in my hands.

5.30 pm
Oh thank god, the fun person is back.

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6.30 pm
Bath time. Mumma and Dadda have spent a long time teaching me to splash. But now I’ve finally got it, why do they get cross when I give them my greatest splashing rendition yet. I just don’t get it. Ooooo look at those pretty little bubbles I’ve just made in the bath. Bugger, think I might have just followed through. But look at those lovely little floaty things, I’ve created some new bath toys. Although Mummy is calling Daddy in quite an urgent voice. Maybe she just wants to show him how clever I’ve been.

7.00 pm
Bedtime. I do like to have a little tipple just before bed. If I start crying and pulling one of my ears, I get some of that sweet tasty liquid. Works every time, persistence pays off. Time for the milk. Mumma and Dadda are looking so lovingly at me. I just don’t get it, 5 mins ago they were saying they might try to sell me on Ebay. They must suffer from Bipolar, poor things.

7.30 pm
Well that’s me done for the day. Cant wait for tomorrow. In actual fact I’ll just keep calling out all night long just incase its time to get up and play again. I don’t want to miss out.

I wonder where Mumma put my stick

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Baby Beachin’

Picture this……stretched out relaxing on a towel, toes wriggling in the warm sand, evenly tanned body adorned in a tiny bikini, cocktail in one hand, book in the other, listening to the waves lap gently at your feet. Pondering life with not a care in the world (apart from when you need to turn to tan the other side). Breathing in the summer beach breeze, at one with yourself and nature.

Well that’s not you……that’s the lady next to you.

Maybe that was you a few years ago pre children, but this is you now……….

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A trip to the beach is a totally different experience for me these days. Still fun, but different, oh so very different. Here are some “trouble” areas to be mindful of now you have a baby/ toddler in tow:

Luggage Allowance
Why have you got a small van full of stuff for one afternoon at the beach?? Now you have to figure out a way to carry 5 bags, tent, towels, beach blanket, toys, lunch box ….AND TODDLER (who refuses to walk in a straight line) down to the beach. Everything is perfectly balanced around your body, god forbid if you drop anything. Must even leave nipple that has accidentally popped out the side of your bikini top, sure no ones looking anyway.

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Picking a Good Spot
Important. As close to the car as possible, far enough away from the sea so your toddler doesnt feel the need to go skinny dipping, close enough to other families so you don’t feel alone, but far enough away so your toddler isn’t constantly trying to become part of another family. Not next to volley ball pitch, not close to rock pools so you have to go crabbing allllll day, not next to “lads on tour” gang or young/ fit/ business lady peering disapprovingly through her dark sunglasses as you turn a blind eye to your toddler bashing seagulls with a spade (you get ’em boy).

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Sand
Pre baby, LOVED it, couldn’t understand why people found it annoying. Now I understand. Literally gets everywhere, sure i’ll still be finding 2016 sand in 2020. At least when it’s just you, you can control the sand, but when its down to your free-spirited toddler, the sand knows no bounds. It gets into every orifice, yours and theirs. I found a sandcastle in his nappy and a crab disguised as sand in my bag. Also, due to the sand, Thomas The Tank was sent to an early grave. RIP. As if chucking him in the paddling pool the day before wasn’t enough.

Beach Picnics
Someone told me that a baby will try to eat sand once and then never again. Not true. In my experience so far, babies/ toddlers LOVE eating sand, over and over again. If you take a picnic to the beach, they even like to use sand as salt to season everything. In fact, sand can even make a lovely alternative to a peanut butter SANDwhich. Note to self, don’t take any “sticky” food to the beach.

Good for their immune system?!! That old chestnut

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Suncream
Following on from the sand theme, I would recommend applying suncream BEFORE you get to the beach. We had an unfortunate/ funny- wished id taken a photo- incident at the beach. A healthy layer of suncream was applied to my sons face, he then wished to exfoliate by falling face first into the sand. On the plus his face looked extremely brown! On the minus, it made him very unhappy and he was totally embarrassed in front of his mates. Poor lad.

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NB. Don’t forget to put suncream on yourself too, easy to miss when you are chasing your toddler around with the bottle.

Hat/ Sunnies
How on earth do you keep these on for more than 1 minute (enough time to get a pic of course)? Cue ridiculous suncream styled hairdo if cute striped beach hat has failed.

Burying Stuff
Great fun game to play with the little ones. Hours of entertainment. But then totally backfires when you start loosing stuff: phone, purse, Thomas The Tank (was he actually digging his grave??!), sunnies and even a tampon (Mummas special sweet in a wrapper!!!)

Ps. Can bury child to keep in one place

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Collecting Shells
Another good game to play, but then you’ve given them the “addiction” that they have to pick up EVERY SINGLE SHELL. Takes ages to get anywhere. Small shells always seem to find their way into their mouths.

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Feeding Seagulls
“Small white round thing, that’s not a human, must be a dog, i’ll feed it my lunch”. Now whole family of Seagulls have come visit our spot as they think it’s a free sunday roast.

Ice Cream
Would you like sand with that??!

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The Sea
Not interested in going in it when you want them to (don’t blame you, its bloody freezing), but love throwing things into it and trying to run out to sea when you’re not looking. Pretty funny when Mumma has to wade half way to France to retrieve a flip-flop huh?!

Rain

Due to the english weather, there is a chance you may get caught in a downpour. Two choices here……..quickly get sand off EVERTHING, dry/ dress toddler, pack 5 bags, roll towels/ beach blanket, retrive floating flip-flops, un-bury phone/ purse/ sunnies/ Thomas/ tampon, empty crab/ sticks/ a billion shells from bag, fend off seagulls tucking into left over food, put nipple back in bikini top (oopse forgot about that) and remember how on earth you managed to carry everything to get down here in the first place (why have you got more stuff now??!)…..OR sack it all off and put a towel over your baby/ toddlers head and beach blanket over yourself and wait for the rain to pass.

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So once you have changed your mindset and realised that beach time now is less about relaxing and more about exploring/ building/ burying/ eating/ catching/ collecting sh*t, the experience becomes a lot more enjoyable and somewhat more adventurous. I actually feel so lucky that we live so close to the beach and my son can grow up loving the beach life and all it has to offer, including sand eating!

Can also experiment with pebble beaches.

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