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Toddler Proofing A Toddler Proof Home

You’d think it’s  easy, right, having toddler play dates in your home when you have a toddler already. We have safety gates, door catches, plug covers, no exposed wires, radiator turned down/off, etc, etc. Yet it really isn’t that easy. Or I’m too much of a control freak.

In the week after Christmas, Elvis was off nursery for the week so I thought it would be good to have some toddler playdates (and mummy catch ups). I feel bad during a normal  week that I put Elvis’ naps (and rest time for me) before him socialising. But he socialises at nursery. I miss out on seeing him interact with children though. And I wonder how he will be with children in his home.

We had 3 in total in that week — I was 38 weeks pregnant so everyone happily came to me! And I learnt quickly after the first. Just because I have the safety issues covered, it does not mean that toys are safe. We have a fireplace in our living room (never turned on but has edges that could hurt a child). Elvis knows not to touch it, that it’s hot so I don’t think about it. Elvis has a play desk that he knows not to climb and he knows not to take the chalks and crayons away from the desk. He has jigsaws that  he knows not to chew.

I’m not saying these things to say “my son is perfect” these are simply my house rules and I’ve taught him them. Sometimes he’s cheeky and disobeys one. We have had to take away a few pop up books as he wasn’t careful enough with them (that’s what library books are for!) That’s our rules. There is nothing wrong, nothing right about our rules, friends’ rules or anyone’s rules.

But I do need to chill out when guests come around. Or, as I quickly learnt, tidy up and hide questionable toys. I now hide the chalks and crayons, the bouncy horse that can be climbed on, the wooden jigsaws that can have their picture chewed off, the books that could be damaged by toddler hands, the more delicate pieces of train track. I considered hiding the garage with extra track that took hours to figure out a configuration, but then realised no toddler could damage it, only break it up so Daddy and I would have to spend hours refitting it all!

I was much calmer on the second playdate. And there were two toddler guests! I didn’t even mind the mess – some toddlers play with everything all at once, others tidy as they play. Just like some toddlers happily play alone, others need someone to interact with. As with all things there is no right or wrong. There are pros and cons to both. The first playdate saw Elvis share brilliantly (except his Santa hat that no one else can touch ) which is my primary concern for an only child. The second playdate saw Elvis throw a mini fit whenever I passed a toy to another child (what’s mummy’s is mummy’s which doesn’t bode well for the baby!) And saw him push another child over.

Elvis isn’t at the stage yet where punishments work. Normally when he’s naughty he gets a time out to stop crying and then has to cuddle whoever he disobeyed/hurt/upset. Well, he was never going to cuddle his friend. I really need to work on “telling off” and discipline when it comes to others! He did then play brilliantly with both boys – they were giggling and playing away and we had no idea what they were doing!

I love seeing him play with other children! But I also need to figure which are his toys – toys that he just won’t share. Which I’m fine with. Everyone has a few things or one special thing that is theirs and I don’t think they should be forced to share everything. During the week of playdates, Elvis’ special toys were his bouncy horse and Leeds Santa Hat. Fair enough. Now, when he refused to share his cars (he has 7), that is not fair and I will make him share.

And those toys that he refuses to share (because they’re special to him) will be removed from the room so no one can play! Along with the chalks, crayons, jigsaws and other delicate/damageable toys!

Here’s to more sharing and more playdates!

~ P

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Monthly Update: Month One

Weight, Length, Height: Okay so at 39 weeks pregnant I was 14 stone, and had 2 weeks of growth left. At birth, Robin weighed 9lb 1oz, dropped to 8lb 4oz before starting to gain again. At 4 weeks old she weighed in at 10lb 12.5 oz. And I weighed in at 12 stone.

Routine: Haha! That’s a lie actually we do have some routine. She feeds every 2.5 to 3 hours in the day and is already having a 4-5 hour gap overnight. Nothing else. Yet.

Bedtime: We go upstairs about 9pm,have a feed and are asleep by ten. Other than waking for feeds, she then sleeps until about 7am. Wake up time depends on how light it is outside. Apparently both of my children knew day from night pretty quickly, it just depends on when the sun rises!

Naps/Length: She refuses to sleep properly during the day so she can have very quick naps or mammoth daytime sleeps. Mainly only on me. With a nipple near her mouth. I’m finding it quite difficult really. If she decides she wants to be awake after a feed (which is fine in principal) she can’t make it to the next feed being awake so just screams. I jiggle her, rock her and she calms but fights sleep so much. And she’s so heavy now. Even in a sling I can’t carry her all the time. I might be getting good sleep (we are bed sharing) but I still tire very easily. I find myself crying a lot.

Number of feeds in 24hrs: We’re averaging 8 or 9 over a day with my food intake not having actually increased at all. Unlike last time.

Favourite toy/objects: My Boobie!

What she hates: wet wipes on her bum. I think it’s the coldness of them as she doesn’t scream at cotton wool wipes. She hates when I go for a bath and she can scream for the whole 20 minutes. And other baby basic hates like being put down, mummy taking more than 2seconds to get a boob out and sometimes the scary man who everyone calls Daddy.

Clothing age: outgrown newborn and definitely in 0-3 clothing. And I reckon we’re going to stop size 1 nappies. Just in case she has a growth spurt and then we havea load she can’t fit in!

Foot length/Shoe Size: Born with a foot measuring 8cm, today it is 8.2cm.

Milestones: She can track me/my finger and can now turn her head left to right whilst lying on her back. She also has moderate neck strength already. I also, honestly, think she’s trying to smile. She likes looking up at her dragonfly swatter on the Fisher Price rocker. Major milestone of having had 3 baths in a month! Already within 4 weeks she’s awake slightly more and happy to be under her gym, in her rocker or on her change mat.

What I’m reading/Favourite Books: She fell asleep to me reading Tabby McTat one night. I’m nowhere close to reading anymore of Storm of Swords at the moment but am about half way through The 100 which is on my Kindle. I’m really enjoying it, but it’s making me torn on my “ship” in the show.

Parenting Revelation: It is soooo odd going from routine to none at all over night. Because we have a toddler in tow and I can’t seem to remember the first few months at all. From 4 months, Elvis had formed a routine that I worked with. I have no idea about the first 4. It’s so odd to still have Elvis and his patterns and then Robin who sometimes dozes for 10 minutes and then is ready for another hour. I can only hope that she falls into his routine!

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I’m Happy For You

There is probably an element of shame and guilt in this, but, hey, it’s my blog and my feelings. I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve and only realised earlier that I seem to finally be happy with other people’s pregnancies. And I genuinely am. I learnt of two summer-due babies recently and I genuinely felt happy with no undercurrent of jealousy or bitterness.

It confused me when I got pregnant with Elvis, that I still felt bitter at friend’s announcements. I put it down to not actually having my child, that it could still go wrong. Then even once I had Elvis, pregnancy announcements would make me fakely smile and then cry in private. Why? Because they had done it naturally? Because they had all decided to get pregnant and did?

Then I got pregnant without trying. Looking at the maths, I probably still took far longer than any of them. But it still happened. And now I finally seem to be less bitter and jealous. I by no means think I’m over my infertility, I still identify myself with those struggling to conceive (I cannot wipe away 3 years). But I don’t get upset afterwards.

Except it has been replaced with a bitterness and jealousy over birth. Yep, all those mums that can go into labour, that don’t need drugs to start or enhance it, all those mums that can actually labour and, shock, horror, can even give birth through the natural hole. Each and every one of them sends a pang of jealousy through me.

And, as I have no idea, what’s in store for me, I have no idea if a second c-section will make this jealousy and envy worse, or if a VBAC will heal me? Or perhaps, with all of my increased research and knowledge, I will be at peace however Robin comes into the world.

I just hope that I can continue to be happy for friends and the future pregnancies they’re destined for.

~ P

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Monthly Update: Month 21

Weight, Length, Height: Still 2 stone by our inaccurate scales, 78cm tall so there’s been a little spurt!

Routine: Up at half 6 or 7, when there’s nursery, home by half one and nap by 2. Later wake up on weekends but napping by 1. Dinner between 4 and half 5, bath at 6.15 and bed at 7.

Bedtime: 7pm but he can talk to himself for a bit. Or go straight to sleep.

Naps/Length: Two-three hours in the afternoon. He wakes and often has a tantrum now which could be because he’s tired still but he can’t have longer due to nursery. Maybe it’s a blood sugar issue and he needs a snack before napping.

Number of feeds in 24hrs: three meals, 1-2 snacks and a second breakfast at nursery!

Favourite toy/objects: NiNi his bouncy horse, his desk which he calls a car and climbs under to drive it.

Clothing age: mainly 18-24 but still in smaller for trousers due to his waist, not his leg length.

Foot length/Shoe Size: size 6 but he refused to be measured properly!

Milestones: a three word sentence – baby sit chair. And loads of other speech ones. His imaginary play is improving too. I guess his desk/car is roleplay and he loves his little doll house and putting animals/people in bed, on the toilet, cooking dinner, driving a car. He can also walk pretty much all the way home from nursery (a 15 minute walk for me).

Our swimming ability: he hasn’t been since before Robin was born. I haven’t since September!

What I’m reading/Favourite Books: He loves Bizzy Bear books, Tabby McTat and Gruffalo. I’m still reading Storm of Swords and also The 100.

New Foods: He tried pulled pork and, bearing in mind he’s not too keen on meat, he ate some and went back for more!

Words: Sleeve, sheep and numbers up to 10 (not in order) are some of this month’s new words. He also now calls our family friend MoMo. He can also name most of the main crew of Thomas Trains. Except Thomas. And he copies quicker now – money after I said it and also “funny haha”. He says night night but with this amazingly funny accent so it sounds like noight and Daddy and I laugh so he says it more!

Signs: he can sign zebra after I showed him it once!

Number of Teeth: No new ones – still 10.

Fears: nothing in particular. Or at least nothing new or that scared him this month!

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Pregnancy Yoga: A Time for Counselling

I’m not going to go into details even though I don’t know any of the mums in question and they have no idea about this blog, but I wanted to discuss how much my yoga classes have felt like counselling sessions.

The best counselling I’ve ever been to!

There were 5 of us there the other day, varying in gestation; I think I was actually the most pregnant but only by 1 day! Three of us are on second pregnancies and the 4th is having a problematic pregnancy. Before we start the yoga we have a discussion about how we’re each doing. I’m sure this isn’t normal for yoga but it is important for pregnancy yoga.

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Poxy Chicken Pox

When Robin was 5 dayd old we noticed that Elvis had an odd spot on his shoulder. Then there were more and more spots. It was clear that he had chicken pox. I didn’t bother, or even consider, taking him to the doctor. I rang nursery, they told me how long he had to stay off and then Daddy took him to a local pharmacy and came home with Piriton and Eurax – antihistamine and soothing cream. We already had bath emollient from my pregnancy rashes but baths didn’t seem to relieve his itching.

I also rang the midwfery center where I was reassured that Robin was covered by my pregnancy plus I’m breastfeeding.

Yep. Well, at 21 days old, we noticed a few odd spots in her hair. I hoped they were simply some hormonal thing. I knew they weren’t.

Sure enough the next morning she was pretty much covered and some had already blistered. After her first feed, I rang my GP where the receptionist told me I had to come in for a walk in appointment, waiting up to an hour. I tried to explain to the incompetent woman with zero medical training that I had surgery 3 weeks prior, walking is difficult, that my newborn was contagious, that my newborn was susceptible to all the other patients germs. Tough luck, I was given the option to make the walk in clinic or wait a day to get a GP phonecall.

Apparently on clinic days with a walk in, GPs refuse to do home calls. Even for an at risk, vulnerable, 3 week old? According to the stupid woman who refused to budge and even try to ask a doctor, yep. It’s a joke.

So, I sped my way there to not miss the end time of the walk in slot. Then had to fill in her paperwork as Robin isn’t even registered. And I’m in floods of tears – worried about her. And what if she wakes, feeding no longer hurts but she’s dribbly and it’s awkward still.

55 minutes of germ exchanging and we get to see a doctor. Robin stays asleep during the exam and everything! Then the doctor starts talking to herself about possible treatments. Out loud she’s discussing how Robin might need oral medications. Or even intravenous ones. Now I’m trying to stay calm.

She calls the hospital, the consultant paediatrician says nope, no meds needed. So I leave and head to my mum’s as Robin is about ten minutes away from a feed and my boob has felt like exploding for over half an hour. Half way there the doctor calls me. The paed changed their mind due to Robin’s age and I need to get to the hospital. Take a change of clothes she says. For both of you.

Well, that’s nice – I’ll be allowed to stay because I was already panicking over feeding her. I continue to mum’s – Robin needs a feed – and call my husband to get what we need and come get us. I ask mum to get Elvis from nursery, ring the nursery, feed Robin, have a cuppa and then head to the hospital.

I hate hospitals.

We got seen very quickly and shown to our own room. Well, Robin was contagious. We saw a nurse and then a doctor. Both of them made it clear that, even in a newborn, chicken pox is not a huge problem itself. Obviously it is a viral infection so she would be tired and fighting it even with my immunity but the problems are side effects. I believe pneumonia and brain swelling were mentioned.

Then the doctor started describing the 2 to 5 days course of meds that she’d need. Two days of IV drugs via a cannula in her wrist and then see how she’s responding. And off went the doctor to check with the consultant. At this point, her temperature and heart rate were all normal.

I lost it, however.

I was relatively ok with the thought of being in hospital for two nights. I didn’t want to go that long not seeing Elvis but Robin needed it. I’d already discovered that a parent is encouraged to stay, they get free parking, there’s free TV unlike on the maternity ward and breastfeeding mums get three meals a day (luckily I got a lunch as I was starving). But she mentioned cannulas. And how small her veins are. Now, I’ve had cannulas at both c-sections and they hurt.

And I had two this last time as the midwife couldn’t find a vein. How wete they going to find hers? The doctor even started looking at Robin’s ankles. She said it would be best for us to leave as they did it because Robin would take no comfort from us and she wouldn’t remember. We would.

I kept trying to reassure myself that at least she wasn’t actually ill, at least we knew what was wrong.

But a cannula… she’s too tiny.

The doctor came back. She and the consultant had done some research. Apparently the recommendation for IV drugs is when the mum catches chicken pox close to birth. I guess because the baby wouldn’t have any immunity through the pregnancy. That wasn’t our case. The doctors decided that when awake, Robin was alert and happy. Clearly she was fighting the pox relatively well. Or my body was for her.

So they agreed to discharge her, after taking my bloods to check my immunity (although 2 days later and they haven’t told me my levels) so no drugs, no overnight stay and no cannula, but a kind of wasted day. It left me knackered! But it was emotionally draining and how much am I fighting the pox for her without me having the virus?

We’re snuggly at home, she’s spotty and blistery but generally okay. I’ve gone back to co-sleeping as she was mucousy at night. It sounded awful, like she couldn’t breathe. But it doesn’t seem to be hurting me. Yet.

I hate chicken pox!

~ P

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Craft Corner: Card Saving

This blog was started probably about a year ago, but got lost in the craziness of babies growing up, however, with the house move and a proper little craft area just for me, I’m able to do crafty things myself on a table without worrying about when Elvis is going to wake up. I don’t have to mind where I leave the craft knife, toxic glue or tiny pieces of card that would make perfect choking hazards! So, the original idea was from From 2 to 3 Kids about saving New Baby Cards. Which I read and did, as said, over a year ago. I never got around to taking pictures or documenting what I did, however now I have his first birthday cards to put through the same treatment! I think it’s a really nice thing to do for those cards that you do receive – although for Elvis’ first birthday I had requested no birthday cards as I made a guest pinboard instead. He still received cards.
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Feeling Like a Success

The other night, before the three days of Daddy working full time, I was in the bath once Elvis was in bed and I had this very thought: I’m doing this. I’m parenting two.

Then Wednesday happened.

Daddy got Elvis from nursery, left me alone with The Toddler and The Baby. I suddenly became really tired and although we’d planned that I wouldn’t put Elvis down for a nap (I’m not supposed to lift him for another 3.5 weeks) but after an hour I just gave in and convinced him to go upstairs.

Then I managed to kinda winch him into the cot, climbing up a chair and swinging in – probably not the best parenting lesson for me to teach!

I was sooo tired and he woke up only about an hour later. An hour and a half before Daddy got home. Well, lifting (yes, I lifted him) him out of the cot, he then preceeded to have a temper tantrum. He was hysterical. Then Robin started crying downstairs. She was safe in her pushchair and, although I knew I could stop her crying with a simple nipple, I couldn’t abandon a tantrumming Elvis to get her.

I don’t agree with leaving anyone to just cry let alone a newborn but I couldn’t leave Elvis. I consider that would have translated as me telling him that she means more to me. No matter how psychologically damaging leaving to cry may be for a newborn, surely he will be equally as damaged by me choosing her over him.

How do parents not leave one child to cry? And if extended crying, controlled crying is so bad, how do you avoid it with multiple children? Which do I pick to damage?

The next day, Thursday, I simply took him up for the nap at the normal time and Daddy was home before Elvis woke. Somehow we then avoided the current standard 4pm temper tantrum but I have had to carry him again.

Up and down stairs a few times. I’m sure I’ll be fine.

But Thursday there were no tears from me at least. Friday there were no tears from me during a new random early morning tantrum as I fed. And all this after two nights of barely any sleep because my daughter makes far too much noise! I need white noise. Or a wet nurse!

~ P

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Post Christmas Crafts – Christmas Eve Boxes

I first heard about Christmas Eve boxes through, yep, of course, pinterest and I know that some people do it with pre bought boxes and there are variations on the contents. I even know a local company that sells fully made up Christmas Eve boxes. Well, I decided that I’m poor this Christmas and so needed to make 4 boxes (4th is for Nanny) and I decided that not everyone’s will be exactly the same – I hope that in the years to come, the adults each go and buy certain things so it isn’t all me! Haha!

Here’s what I needed/used to make the boxes:

  • 4 shoeboxes
  • Red paint
  • Foam Letters – to name each box
  • Christmassy tissue paper – for the inside

Somehow, incredibly surprisingly, I managed to find 4 empty shoeboxes scattered through my house in the run up to Christmas. I assume some are from the house move and some were just from hubby’s trainer addiction. Two of the boxes were red in colour to start with — even better! The other two were very dark boxes so needed a lot of red paint!
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My hope is also to get the kiddies to help out decorating them, adding a few things each year. I also might get them to decorate the interiors as I doubt the tissue paper will last too many years!

As for the contents this year (I’m hesitant on how much Elvis will actually understand), I’ve opted for –

  • New pyjamas for all 4 of us to wear on Christmas morning for present opening
  • Christmas socks to wear on Christmas Day
  • Popcorn for the adults to eat on Christmas Eve night and I’ll find something snacky for Elvis
  • Santa key for Elvis. I’m not sure if he’ll understand that or reindeer food
  • A DVD for Daddy (we have Ice Age 1, 2 and 4) but none for Nanny, Elvis or me
  • Hot chocolate gifts, Elvis not included
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What do you put in yours?

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Mummy and Daughter Mornings

There comes that time after every baby is born that everyone fears, everyone expects and maybe very slightly some people look forward to. Daddy has to go back to work.

With Elvis, I was petrified. I was so sleep deprived and was in some form of denial about being a mother, I hated being a mum at the beginning and didn’t want to be alone with him. Especially not for whole days! I think it didn’t help that Husband’s hours at work then were awful. He’s been in a new job for a year and it is much better!

Plus with Elvis being off nursery with Pox, Husband’s paternity leave wasn’t as bonding between us and Robin. But with Husband’s paternity leave ending so does Elvis’ being home bound. I’d like Husband to have some alone time with his girls, but I can’t change Elvis catching pox! And due to my emergency section, he is taking afternoons off where he can so he can help out with Elvis after nursery.

Who knows when I’ll be able to lift him?

I feel plenty of guilt about that.

Well, on the first girls only morning, I got up to help make lunches and then went back to bed for an hour until Robin awoke. Then I sat in the nursing chair, feeding as I used my Kindle to read The 100. Robin was content after that so I got washed, dressed, sorted some washing. When she started to grumble I took her downstairs. The change of scenery made her happy enough for me to eat breakfast, make a cuppa and grab the cake tin, setting up the sofa.

We set up camp on the sofa until Daddy got home and then we walked (very slowly) to get Elvis from nursery. His chants of mummy! as he runs to me when I turn up helps me feel better regarding my inability to pick him up.

Second day of being just the two of us and I didn’t sleep too well so Daddy let me stay in bed. Robin had other ideas and didn’t want to stay asleep. She was however happy lying there wide awake as I got washed and dressed again. Robin very kindly let me have breakfast and make a cuppa. We then had an hour of feeding/napping (as I drank tea) before we needed to head off to our first baby group – a breastfeeding support group that we both enjoyed.

She screamed the whole way home so feeding her was more important than feeding myself and then Daddy arrived for the nursery run. Again, Elvis ran to me across the room chanting mummy! I love it!

We do quite well, the two of us.

Tomorrow we get the morning alone and then the afternoon with Elvis and without Daddy. I am petrified. He won’t be able to nap, I can’t lift him into the cot and I’m scared he’ll have one of his new temper tantrums.

Wish me luck,

~ P x

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