Wednesday, May 05, 2010

First Impressions

Some things that may happen if you take your high-need toddler with you on the organised tour of the prestigious local primary school which you are hoping he will attend:

  • in the staffroom during the boring adulty-talky bit, he will spot a pile of coasters and hand them out like biscuits to other bewildered parents (who, brilliantly, haven't brought along their offspring) and an amused deputy head.

  • when Mummy decides it's going to be all too much to let him run wild and deposits him in a sling in a quiet classroom, he will shout "OSH! OSH!" all through the next boring-talky bit until I get him "off".

  • he will attempt to steal dice from the first classroom we visit, the class teacher of which used to teach me.

  • he will use every single opportunity to run away.

  • he will squeeze through adult legs so that I can no longer see him.

  • He will not be impressed or amused with a plum from the bottom of my bag, but instead will roll it around in sand and then eat it.

  • he will paint all over children's drying paintings when you take your eye off him for ONE SECOND (ironically to express your concerns to the deputy head about how a "lively" child will fit into school life)

  • he will shake up the little pots which are home to caterpillars that the class are hoping will be butterflies before long, unless you stop him in the nick of time!
  • he will sit himself down in the empty dinner hall on the way out as if you never feed him, and stack empty cups, nodding forlornly when people ask him if he's hungry.

Well, I think he made an impression anyway.


Monday, April 12, 2010

All is quiet....

So you know somethings going on. I take the baby and nip upstairs to the loo, and this is the scene of devastation that awaits me on my return.

I've never been more glad that I chose the tesco value oats, and not organic-such-and-such. He will turn his bath to porridge tonight. It was in his hair...even in the turn ups of his jeans. I'm thinking cupboard locks. Tonight. Shame HID spent an hour last night cleaning the the house while the kids are still growing is like shoveling snow while it's still snowing!

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Well, a happy belated Easter to all! We had a bit of a crazy time, including mine and Missis' longest ever separation so far....planned of course. It was a friend's hen do, the one who you all voted for to win her wedding! She had an evening out planned, which I'd politely declined, sadly, knowing it was impossible at the moment, due to me being an all night snack bar. But, she also planned a spa day. Well, it was tough to refuse lunch, lazing around in robes, a facial, and full use of the facilities for a mere £35, so I took the plunge. Knowing that while Missis is still breastfed and most available babysitters point blank refusing to believe in the power of the sling as a calming tool, there was no way one person, not even sling-convert HID, could look after a high-need baby and a high-need toddler. So I split them up. Boy off to his Aunties to decorate hard boiled eggs, and Missis with Daddy for almost 5hrs solid of slinging. I did enjoy myself, but I felt like I was missing something the whole time. And when HID brought her back to me, I felt I just needed to feed her, even though she wasn't really interested, and I wasn't especially full.

Easter Sunday was spent with the same friend and her same-age-as-Boy daughter; they had organised a huge egg hunt for all the children they would usually have bought eggs for. I wasn't sure Boy would understand, so we'd done a practice run with his hard boiled eggs in the garden on Saturday, and he enjoyed it much more than I had thought. But on the day, he just wasn't in the mood for trekking round fields to look for eggs. Although he wasn't the youngest, he trailed the furthest behind, and if it wasn't for other parents being extra-kind and coercing their children into leaving one or two eggs behind, he's never have found any! Being a bit of an anti-junk-food household, we were secretly pleased he had just a few small eggs, some children had 20 or so! It would take him all year to eat that many with the amount of chocolate I'd let him eat in a week. We'd asked relatives not to get him chocolate. Only my Nanna ignored this, and she also attempted to buy seven month old Missis an egg, I managed to talk her out of it. Apparently, white chocolate is suitable for babies! The party tea after the egg hunt was lots of fun. It was a jacob's join, but I'd only been informed the night before, so I brought cheese butties. Not exactly fancy, but I was glad when I realised almost everyone else had brought some form of Easter cake! We decided to let Boy eat what he wanted, it was a party after all. He liked the idea of having the cakes, more than eating them, oddly. He ate one, but had many on his plate. They did look yummy! HID and I ate far more junk than he did. And Missis enjoyed trying lots of different savoury things.
On Monday we went to a friend's son's 5th birthday party at a local soft play place, taking the same friend that we'd spent most of the weekend with, since her and her partner don't drive. Halfway through the day, the Easter Bunny arrived! It was a total surprise to my friend who had organised the party. Boy LOVED it. He went straight over and wanted to touch the person in costume, and then started giving him high fives, much to mu amusement! All of this was before he even realised the Bunny was handing out chocolate eggs, well that just made his day. My friend's daughter had the opposite reaction to a costume-d man, and sat, shaking, at the other end of the room in Mummy's arms, poor thing. Neither of the toddlers were at all interested in the party tea, having gorged the previous day, but Missis was well up for it. With her tiny frame in a highchair next to all the huge toddlers, she shocked all the parents by managing four or so tuna sandwiches before deciding she'd had enough. I loved watching their faces, totally bemused at this tiny thing stuffing her face while all the toddlers pushed a few chips round their plates til the cakes came out.

We've had a great time this weekend too in the sunshine, even though my SPD has been really bad. HID had to take Wednesday as a sick day because I literally couldn't walk when I woke up. We misguidedly went to the zoo yesterday, I was too sore really, and was really hobbling when we came out. We only stayed an hour too! We did a little planting in the garden, it was lovely just being outside with the children. And choosing summery clothes for my little girl is the most fun. Hats, how I love hats! I took so many photos for her sitting in the grass. (And pulling it up. And eating it.)
Next weekend is my friend's wedding! My mum was asked to have Boy overnight, and is now taking him for the whole weekend to their cabin in the lakes, which he will love, and I'm sure we'll enjoy ourselves too. And HID has his mock motorcycle test, for a BIG bike, on the Sunday. I wasn't keen on him having a small bike, but when the little one got stolen while we were on holiday, he used the insurance money as a "silver lining" and booked his test. I know he'll do great. He's a very sensible rider. So busy busy once again!


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Not what you think

A message to the nosy old biddy that stared into my window at 11.20am this morning and shook her head in horror, in a "the youth of today" way when she saw me in my pajamas.

This morning I got up at 2am with my symphasis pubic dysfunction pain, leftover from a pregnancy that ended six months ago. I could no longer lie in one position, so here's what I did instead: folded all the children's washable nappies (yes, I use terries, just like you did with your children!) then folded and prepared the newborn sized nappies to be sold at the next NCT sale. Folded all my dry washing, put another load on. Went upstairs to feed my daughter. Left her asleep and crept downstairs for painkillers and to put away the washing up.

At 5.45am, my two babies got up. Then I cooked the whole family a hot breakfast and hung out the load of washing on the line. I tidied the kitchen and changed and dressed my two children. I played with them, then fed my daughter to sleep for her nap and stole forty winks myself while my son went food shopping with hid Daddy. When you saw me, I was changing my 5th nappy of the day, although you couldn't see my baby. The beautiful house you saw is ours, not our parents. We work hard. Don't judge me if you don't know me.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Baby Led Eating

Missis is seven months old. She is just sitting. When she was five and a half months, she started to grab food out of my hand, HIDs hand, Boy's get the picture. And if you tried to take it back, oh, it was utter meltdown. So we started babyled weaning a bit earlier than I was comfortable with. We havn't yet come across a foodstuff that she hasn't grabbed and attempetd to devour with a gusto. The only problem seems to be her frustration at not being able to do it accurately/quick enough/soon enough. Perhaps it's her firey red hair coming out in her personality! It has made me realise that Boy and I had been totally stuck in a rut food wise. Cereal, cheese butty, pasta. Most days! Boring or what. Missis had become a bit constipated, I think due to the bread, so we've been shaking up the family meal rotas and doing some proper planning and shopping, and EATING! I've been going for things that are easier to hold for the sake of avoiding mealtime meltdowns when she just CAN'T DO IT! So tonight it was risotto fingers, recommended by a friend. Delicious, but what a faff and mess to make. Breakfast can be a toughie, fruit is good, but often to slippy to hold (and thus avoid meltdowns), cereals seem a bit little in the absence of a pincer grip just yet, and toast all the time is dull!
She's doing really well. She's so tiny that it shocks people when we are in public (two people in the last week have said she looks three months old, not seven), and it's prompted many people to ask me about baby led weaning, even via my photo albums of her eating on facebook! A few nights ago, we took her along with us to our favourite Italian restaurant. She was amazing. We leisurely ate our meal, and had an adult conversation, while she tucked into pasta and pizza. I loved this stage with Boy. And Missis, aside from her fireyness, is powering on with food. It took Boy ages to realise it wasn't just play and fun, she knew just a few weeks in! She shakes with excitment as her little hands shakily deliver the food to her wide, "O" mouth!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Family holiday

Gloves are the essential item of the holiday. The UK in March. Not exactly warm.

A moment to catch their breath in the sunset.

It's bedtime, but Boy is begging for five more minutes outside! He even managed to put his own boots on to stress the importance. Didn't have the heart to point out he might be a little cold in just boots.

It's 7am. The perfect time for pottering around outdoors on your holidays in your pajamas and a pair of boots.

A preferred mode of family transport: the mai tai. Sadly, Boy is getting very big and I can't carry him anymore, and HID isn't far behind me on that one. This may have been Boy's last ride. HID is devastated.

It's never too cold for an ice cream from Twentyman's shop! Needless to say, the coat went in the wash.

Back to the car very cold and wet. The picture of a Daddy's love.

It rained overnight and the car was wet, so it had to be dried. Well, Mummy dried my little car!

On our way to the local park.

On the beach. Thank goodness for wellies!

You're never too young to appreciate this view. On a clear day, you can see Scotland and the Isle of Man!

Baby boot, Daddy boot.

Choosing a stone for Daddy from the beach. I'm a big fan of wellington boots, can you tell?

Last week was spent in Cumbria, enjoying Missis' first ever family holiday. We set off on Mother's Day, which was also HID's birthday, and it was forecast rain all week in the Lakes. We were staying in a tiny village on the Solway coast, in a field with chalets around it's edge, belonging to my parents. It's a very special place to me, I've been visiting since I was about seven years old, and it is where HID popped the question. I still can't believe our luck; it only rained for a few hours on Thursday afternoon! Yes, it was cold, and as soon as we left the field we were on the coast road and the biting wind was a price to be paid for being so close to the beach. But it was fine and dry, and there was room to run around and be outdoors. Blissful.

A week of being able to go for a shower, brush my teeth and have a wee whenever I wanted never lost it's appeal! And since Missis has decided that during her naps every single noise wakes her unless we walk for the full hour each time (xs 3 per day), my SPD leftover from pregnancy had flared up again, it was great to say to HID, "Actually, can you take her for a walk?" or "I'm going to bed with her, will you do something quiet with Boy?", so I feel well rested too.

We took Missis swimming for the first time too in Carlisle. HID hates swimming, which is the main reason we have lesft it so late (six months!) with Missis, as I can't take both on my own. I'd been nagging him and my mum (who also hates swimming) to come with me for aaaaaages. HID has feebly pointed out that he finds it stressful. Well, I hate to say it, but I do plenty of things on a daily basis that I find stressful but that enrich the children's lives, or are for their own good; learning to swim ticks both boxes. Jabs? Dirty nappies? Putting two children to bed on my own? Yes, having children can be stressful, get over it. I was desperate for it to go smoothly, Boy has grown so much since last time HID came with us, he's not so much of a handful anymore. I do sort of begrudge having to practically beg my husband to do something nice with us. Does this happen to anyone else?

So I feel like it was destined to go wrong from the start. All the local pools were shut during the week, as the "season" had only just begun, lucky I thought to check. Then we went to the "Sands" leisure centre in Carlisle, would you believe it, they don't have a pool. Why call yourself "Sands" then?? (This had happened to us before. Turns out "The Wave Centre" was a museum about coastal life). So we abandoned our expensive parking space and drove across the city to a small and packed carpark at the pool, and ended up parking a five minute walk away, not great considering we had two babies and two huge bags to carry. On arrival, we were informed that all children pay adult prices, even our six month old! We bit back our protests and went in.

What a relief. The pool was great, lovely and warm. Totally separate from the big pool, which couldn't even be seen, an important factor if you have a toddler with uncontrollable urges to throw himself in the big pool at every opportunity at our local pool. Lots of toys for us all to enjoy, and not to many other swimmers! Missis was fascinated, and didn't cry or fuss at all, as I'd expected. Boy was (finally, after months) persuaded to wear armbands, and swam unaided by us for the first time! When we got home, I signed them both up for a water babies swim class, and Boy refused to have any help at all during the class, swimming all by himself for the full hour. And I breastfed in a swimming pool, which was a bit weird, but fun.
We had such a great time on our holidays, and I was very glad to be part of Cumbria's tourist industry as they are still feeling the shock waves after the flooding.
The thing I loved most about the holiday was eating together as a family, 3 meals a day. On a week day, we are very luck to all eat together once! Missis has started baby led weaning (more on that to follow) and it's important to me that she sees eating as a pleasurable family occasion. We have no mealtime battles in our house! So that's been the thing I've most missed since we got home, to the point that I'm cooking tea for the children at 4ish, and eating a little with them, and cooking tea for everyone and serving it up at 6.45pm when HID arrives home, and hoping we've all finished before 7pm, which is bedtime! It's a bit of a rush, but I love all sitting round together.
I also managed to wangle one lie in. (He got 4, plus a night our when he stayed over at a friends and didn't get back timelunchtime the following day.) It wasn't on Mother's Day ("It's my birthday! Can't I have a lie in?!" He did) but the following Sunday. We'd been home for a few days, and he had promised! The babies had been getting up at 5am all through the holiday, and at 5.40am, Missis had HAD ENOUGH milk and wanted to GET UP. So I prompted him, and he got up with her! And then Boy too. I was so cold without them I couldn't really get back to sleep, so I got up at 7.15 to have a shower. When I came downstairs, they had gone out! I pottered aroundtidying up and drying my hair, and got a text at 8.15am asking to be picked up from the park, whenever I was ready. How fab is that!? And Missis went 4 hours without a feed, a new record. All ready for when I go on a spa day next month for a friend's hen do (the one that won her wedding after you all voted for her!). Can't wait!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Love that dress

Do you have a favourite outfit of your child's? This goes straight on Missis as soon as it's dry from the wash :-)