Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Preparing Your Toddler for a New Baby

It's a massive shock when you have a baby and suddenly your life as a couple is thrown into chaos by a little bundle of craziness! You have to adjust in so many ways and let go of a lot of those perks of being just 2 adults. Living as a young married couple in Balham, South London we spent a lot if our time out for drinks, meals and lazing in the parks reading newspapers on sunny Sundays. We actually convinced ourselves the baby would fit into our lives rather than the other way round but how very naive we were! 

Nearly 3 years on we've moved out of London, swapped out trendy lifestyle for family life and we're expecting baby number 2 in September. The extra addition to our family doesn't seem too daunting for me and Mr R but there is one person in our family who is about to have her little world turned upside down. D has been the centre of our lives for nearly 3 years and we're a very content little trio so the thought of pulling the pin on the baby grenade and turning our calm to chaos sometimes feels like a crazy idea. 

However at 30 weeks pregnant that fourth member of our family is definitely on her way can't and I can't avoid the inevitable distruption, having a new baby in the house can be pretty mad but what we can do is try to prepare D for the changes that are just around the corner in a hope that she'll see having a new baby as both exciting and an opportunity for her to enjoy a new role as a big sister rather than having to share her life, home and most importantly mum and dad with a squealing little creature who quite frankly isn't anywhere near as much fun as everyone said she would be! 

From the moment we felt it was safe to do so we've talked to D about the baby and how she will soon come and live with us, we've bigged up the idea that D is going to be a very important big sister and tried to involve her as much as possible when buying new things, choosing clothes etc. So with that in mind who was better suited to tell the world about the new baby than D herself! 

As we started buying things we were careful to allow D to help us make choices and have never treated the new things as something she can't touch or look at, it was really important to us that she doesnt feel pushed aside by the new baby and all the 'stuff' that comes with it. In fact Upsy Daisy had already tried out the Shnuggle Moses basket and bath we bought last week! 

I doubt that D really understands what's happening at the moment but predictably in her usual laid back way she's accepted everything without any bother, we've even had a few belly cuddles and she kisses and chats to Baby Pip trying to get her to move. I have no doubts there will be more than few bumps along the way, particularly when baby arrives and the reality of sharing mummy kicks in but I hope that as long as we keep ensuring she's as important to this change as everyone else she'll soon accept things and love her little sister as much as I know they will love her. 

So if your in the same boat and wondering hot to limit the impact a new baby will have on an older sibling here's a few things we've done / plan to do to help with the transition from 3 to 4!

  • Big brother / sister books - we've been to the library and chosen a few books about having baby brothers and sisters - D loves a read so talking about these at bedtime will hopefully start to normalise the situation and reassure D.
  • Let your toddler choose and buy some items for the baby and really be a part if them joining the family
  • Try not to make the baby stuff off limits as this will create a barrier between baby and toddler and again make them feel ikea this baby is taking over their previously perfect life with Mum and Dad
  • It's a popular one but remember a hello gift from baby to toddler - there's nothing like a princess dress or Peppa house to convince a fickle toddler they can be best friends! 
  • When you first bring baby home and introduce them to their big sister or brother try not to be holding the baby so you are free to give your toddler a cuddle and let them say hello to you without baby being in between. 
  • Ask visitors to go to toddler first when visiting for the first time and congratulate them on being a big brother / sister first rather than heading straight to the new baby and potentially leaving toddler feeling left out.
  • When baby is here they will inevitably take up a lot of your time especially in the first few weeks so try to involve your toddler - get them to help with nappy changes, bathing baby and show them how important they are and how grown up they are being
  • Equally it's key to ensure you have some alone time with your bigger sibling. If this is hard for you in the early days with feeding, Dad could treat them to a trip to soft play, swimming or just an ice cream at the park
  • Finally try not to leave any old boxes lying around just in case toddler decides this new arrangement really isn't for them and packs baby off back to where they came from - not that my little angel would ever consider that......

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

29 Week Bump Update

I can't actually believe I'm writing this, it doesn't seem like five minutes since I found out I was pregnant again and here I am third trimester, home stretch and 3 months from our little family of three becoming a chaotic family of four! 

After a second trimester which bought us some ups and downs I am now feeling very very pregnant and dare I say enjoying it! Bump is definitely there now and growing on target and the little bubbles and bumps have become full on kicks and jabs. I'm even coping with the heat although I really wouldn't say no to a bit more sleep at night. As someone who normally sleeps on their front trying to get comfortable on my side in this heat is tricky to say the least

I have however started to feel a tiny twinge of sadness as the last couple of months loom. We had always intended to have 2 children which essentially means this might be my last pregnancy. With working full time, commuting into London and looking after a toddler I'm finding that I don't always have time to appreciate being pregnant and that fear that it will all be over soon and I'll never have a baby bump again is getting more and more real. Yes it has been tougher this time and I can't wait to see my beautiful little lady but it will be bittersweet as I realise it may be the last one.

Unless I can convince Mr R that he'd hardly notice another one once we have 2. 

Friday, 4 July 2014

Surviving a 5 hour car journey with a toddler!

As you know we've just returned from a week in Cornwall and although I couldn't wait for the holiday I was a bit more than apprehensive (mildly terrified) about driving all that way wuth a 2.5 year old. The furthest we've done is just under 3 hours and to be fair that can be a trial at times! 

So after returning relatively unscathed from our journey I thought I'd share some pearls of wisdom that helped us along the way! 

You can never had too many snacks - If your little one is anything like mine nothing keeps her quiet like a box of raisins or couple of breadsticks! Howeve as D has got older she's started to recognise the familiar riddle of Mum and Dad sneaking some Haribos so you might have to abandon the heathy kids treat and share for the sake of peace and quiet - there's only so many lies you can make up to that 'Mummy what in your mouth?' question.

Think about timing your trip - if you can (and if your small person still naps) try to plan the journey so that they can nap mid way through. D is fairly happy for the first hour or so then will inevitably fall asleep - if you can throw a lunch break into the equation even better!

Take lots of Music - this is often a bone of contention in our car and music choice is often down to who gets their order in first between Dad and D. As I would rather have a peaceful journey than listen to credible music I'm often on Ds side and therefore many a long journey is made with Mr Tumble joyfully singing us on our way "hello hello......" Don't pretend you don't know the words!

IPads - I'm aware this will be a controversial one but quite frankly if I'm expecting a toddler to stick out a 4+ hour long car journey in the middle of summer I'm happy to let a few standards slip. I'm not at the stage of trusting my beautiful Pad to D as we drive yet so we bought a holder for the back of my seat so that she can watch a few cartoons along the way. Believe me 4 hours into a hot car journey with a fed up tired toddler it's a massive relief to let them chill out to a few episodes of Mr Tumble or even that blooming Pig! Whatever it takes parenting is a must sometimes.

Share the driving (If you can) - now D is older gone have the days when not driving means relaxing and catching 40 winks while your beloved takes the wheel. Now being the non driver involves a barrage of requests of food, drinks, toys, and in Ds case hand holding! You're the one who is responsible for pointing out every interesting lorry, car or landmark along the way to keep your little one amused as well as then having to explain several times why that car has no roof, where the horsey lorry is going and why that particular wind turbine isn't going round! Believe me when it comes to your turn to take the wheel you'll bresth a huge sigh of relief.

Finally allow lots of time, yes it will extend the total travel time but have a thought for the small person strapped in a chair, not able to move or stretch their legs - the occasional stop to run around or have some food will make life so much easier for them and might even tire them out so they sleep - everyone's a winner

Good luck folks and enjoy your holidays! 

Monday, 30 June 2014

Sun Care without the Nasties!

We've just returned from a week in beautiful St Ives and found it was the perfect opportunity for us all to try out the Sun lotion we had recently been sent by Organic Lifestyle company Green People.

Green People sent us some of their childrens and Adults sun lotion to review as both myself and my daughter have quite sensitive skin and we're always keen yo try products which a kind and have no unnecessary nasties. Green people lotion is exactly this, Organic, fragrance free, kind on little peoples skin and with nothing added which doesn't need to be. 

The lotion was really easy to apply and as promised didn't have that lingering sun cream smell. It also left our skin feeling super soft and I loved knowing that D's sensitive toddler skin was protected from the sun as well as any chemicals or ingredients which could irritate it. It had the added bonus of being Water Repellant so could handle plenty of dips in the pool.

The weather on our Hols was particularly hot and D does have very pale skin so I would normally use higher than a 25 SPF but this was perfect for Mr R and I. Otherwise I would highly recommend the cream, particularly if you or your little ones are prone to eczema or skin conditions. 

Green People stock a large range of products using organic and natural ingredients which can be ordered via their website, we've been really happy with the products and would certainly use them again. 

Green People products can be found on their website www.greenpeople.co.uk

We were kindly sent these products for the purposes of this review but all opinions are my own

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Carbis Bay, The Traditional British Summer Holiday

We've just got back from our Summer Hols with Mr Rs parents in (very) sunny St Ives and couldn't resist a little share as I truly believe if you've not been you really should as it's without doubt one of the prettiest places I've ever been.

We stayed in a cottage belonging to the Carbis bay hotel which gave us the perfect combination of having our own space with the luxury of the hotels facilities. The hotel is highly recommended, family friendly with heated outdoor pool, fab spa with views across the whole bay. 

The beach at Carbis bay is truly beautiful, touquois sea, golden sands and nestled between the cliffs is lovely and sheltered.

D LOVED the beach, she would have easily spent the week in the 'massive sand pit' after the pitiful sobs when we told her we would be leaving I feel like we definitely have to return! 

At 6 months pregnant the hills in both Carbis Bay and St Ives were a challenge, particularly as D has a habit of having 'tired legs' at the moment but I made up for it with lots of relaxing by the pool and a surprise pregnancy massage at the spa from Mr R at the hotel Spa. It wasn't cheap but was without doubt a highlight of the stay.

This was my first visit to St Ives and I'm suitably seduced by the galleries, cobbled streets and beautiful boutique shops. We spent a lovely morning at the Hepworth gallery and Tate, D really enjoyed looking at the art and I was so proud as she wondered around the Tate talking about the colours she could see and telling us which paintings she liked. Admittedly I could have done without the hour long discussion about why Jackson Pollock 'not do painting anymore' but the Art student in me couldn't help but fall for her enthusiasm! 

This will probably be our last holiday as a three and really feel D has enjoyed herself, it was every inch what the traditional English Seaside holiday should be sun, sea, sand, ice creams, picnics on the beach with a bit of sunburn thrown in for good measure! (Mr R I hasten to add)

Sometimes it's all too easy to forget how beautiful this little island of ours can be! 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

25 Week Bump Update

It's been a while since I did a Bump update but after the ups and downs of the 20 week scan things feel like they are settling down and at over 6 months were on the home straight now. 

Baby Pip is finally moving quite a bit but with having an Anterior Placenta I'm not feeling her kicks as much as I did with D at this time but I've come to accept that's just how things are this time round, hopefully I'll start to feel them more as she gets bigger but even the little pops and bumps are amazing and so so reassuring that she's doing okay. 

Thankfully I'm also starting to feel a bit more like myself and despite the occasional bout of morning sickness I'm really enjoying the pregnancy now, I've started going to Pilates once a week and have more energy than I've had for weeks. That said I still feel like an 80 year when I have to climb the stairs but you can't have it all! 

So here we are, bump growing, almost glowing and thoroughly looking forward to meeting my little girl. 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Help, my house has been taken over by a tiny drunk!

Remembering back to the day we arrived home from hospital with our perfect little human, she was so innocent, full of promise, I truly had no idea that in little over 2 years my life would feel a lot like I was sharing my home with a tiny, slightly feral being, reminiscent of a drunk. Fast forward 30 months and here she is -  irrational, illogical, bonkers but with enough love and kisses to drown a mummy. It would appear I really do own my very own drunk, albeit a very small one!

Not convinced? Allow me to explain....

She stumbles around the house, bumping into everything randomly dropping or throwing things she's finished with

She has sporadic emotional outbursts and can be crying her heart out one minute then laughing hysterically at her feet another

She can't eat without smearing food all over her face and clothes

She has no social graces and will Quite happily will ask entirely inappropriate questions very loudly about strangers - 'why that man got funny hat on' 

She has no sense of embarrassment, shame or indeed remorse and can never remember anything she did 5 minutes ago

She talks gibberish at best, moans and cries over the craziest things at worst! 

She literally takes every opportunity to take her clothes off. I had no idea I would have to state on so many occasions that we must wear underwear when we leave the house!

She has no sense of personal space at all.

She has no volume control

It's completely normal for her to be chatting away one minute and passed out the next!

I rest my case, wish me luck......