Baby 2: 20 Months Old

90s rave Max

Baby number two is now 20 and a half months old, meaning we’ve had two babies for longer than we had one. Max has got the funniest little personality, he is a proper character. You know those kids that everyone says ‘wow he’s got a lot of energy!’ about? Yep. That’s Max.

Food: He’s still dairy and soya free and has now had a skin-prick test which confirmed he’s got an IGE (instant) reaction to dairy as well as his delayed (FPIES) reaction so he’s the proud owner of antihistamines and adrenalin pens which have to go everywhere with him to be used should he accidentally ingest some milk and go into anaphylactic shock. We’re now not trialling soya until the middle of next year probably, and will trial once a year until he’s 9/10 upon which it’ll be declared he’s got a life-long allergy (or he’ll start tolerating it, but no one thinks that’s very likely). He’ll have an annual skin prick test to confirm the dairy IGE reaction but won’t ingest it unless that comes back negative and he starts being able to eat soya. So milk is probably off the menu forever – but he absolutely loves his food so I don’t think this will hold him back. He now realises when he’s eating something different to other kids and gets a bit frustrated but hopefully this phase will soon pass once he gets some understanding of the fact we’re not just being mean by denying him the food others are having! He’s doing so well that the dietician has said she no longer needs to see him, although we can call at any point in the next year for another appointment if we’re worried about anything.

Nursery: After a shaky start, Max has settled in really well at nursery and is now enjoying the one day a week he goes. He’s very active there too and I think the staff are probably glad he’s not there all the time as they all need a nap by the time I pick him up! He’s now eating and sleeping really well there, which he didn’t for the first few weeks, so that’s lovely – and we get some great pictures of him doing arts and crafts or sporty activities with his little pals.

Teeth: His canines are currently coming through so we are in grumpy tired toddler and mountains of drools land. He definitely suffers more than Alexandra ever did with hers!

Speech: football, kick, goal, dinner and animal names and sounds are all among his latest words. Can you tell he is massively enjoying his football sessions?! He’s so funny when he talks, he says words really deliberately and slowly trying to make us understand what he says!

Favourite toys and activities: pushing round the pram with his ‘babby’ in it, going for adventure walks in the woods, bathtime/shower time, just starting to take a real interest in books, building towers, Lego, cars (saying ‘nee naw, nee naw’), slides/soft play/anything active.

Max is the funniest little bundle of blond hair, skinny legs and so much energy it’s unbelievable. He sways between cuddling up and wanting to give kisses and be really loving (and he ADORES Alexandra) to tearing around the place, climbing and causing havoc.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Baby 2: 18 Months Old

Both of them love being out and exploring, Just getting some more use out of his 9-12m coat from last winter!

Better late than never eh? Max turned 18 months old on the 26th September. Alexandra was 18 months when her little brother was born so it’s kind of weird that he’s now at the same age! I feel like he’s still very much a baby (although people keep commenting how grown up he’s got lately!) whereas I felt like she was a proper little girl by this point. Maybe it’s just me misremembering how grown up she actually was.

Anyway:

Nursery – This feels like a big one to start with. Max has now started going to nursery one day a week, I was always a little worried about this (more so than I was with Alexandra anyway) because he’s much clingier and hasn’t spent as much time away from me as she had. The settling in sessions went fine then the first couple of weeks were rough. I didn’t feel guilty when I went back to get him at the end of the day because I know it’s so important for them to reach a stage where they are happy being without you (mostly to save you having to sit at the back of the room while they sit their GCSEs). But it’s hard to hear it’s been unsettled! Thankfully the last couple of weeks have been a little easier and although he’s still crying when I initially leave him, they said last week that lasted for five minutes then he was fine all day.

Food – Max has suddenly started wanting to feed himself a lot more and is doing really well using a spoon (rather than just shovelling in food with his hands!). He has a great appetite and would eat all day if I let him. We’ve had a couple of reactions lately to accidental exposures without being able to identify what happened, which has been tough. But he is doing really well! At the moment he really likes ham and chutney sandwiches/wraps, cheerios, eating apples whole (copying Alex!) and the Kiddilicious wafers.

Speech – This has come on so much in the last couple of weeks! I have been doing flashcards with him every day and he has learned to say doggy, ducky, pig, apple and then he already knew banana and ball, and he does raa for the lion, baa for the sheep and a hilarious meowowowow noise for the cat. He hates the tree card for some reason? And puts his little feet in the air when he see the shoe card. Other words he’s saying include mommy, daddy, Alex (he says it like Ali), yes, no, ta, please, oh dear, uh oh, there, mine, Max (again says it without the x).

I just looked back at Alexandra’s 18 month update (I know you shouldn’t compare but just out of interest!) – she was colouring using her left hand a lot, whereas I haven’t noticed as much of a preference with him. Max is just starting to show an interest in crayons too, although mainly to throw them on the floor. She loved playing with her dolls – Max sometimes grabs one to have a cuddle with and really likes pushing the pram around and finding facial features (which we’re slacking teaching Max although he does point to the relevant place whenever anyone says winky!).

Max’s favourite things – Throwing (apparently if you shout ball as you throw something which is totally not a ball, it’s all fine), football, food, just starting to show an interest in books, cuddles, throwing the water on the floor at bath time, getting the dustpan and brush out of the cupboard and ‘helping’ clean up, dancing, waving at people.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

A Catch Up

I know, I know. My children have pretty much grown up and moved out since I last blogged. Well not quite but I now own a THREE year old. Three! And the other one is hurtling towards that 18-month mark with gusto. There have been some big changes over here and there have also been some lovely days out and a little holiday.

Holiday: We popped to Bournemouth for the week (‘popped’ implies it was a casual jaunt rather than requiring about 64 suitcases, enough clothes to cover a small city full of children for a year and the downloading of umpteen episodes of Paw Patrol on to the tablet). It was a really fantastic holiday involving plenty of beach time (child 1 got braver in the sea as the week went on until she was tummy-deep in the water, while child 2 preferred to throw a football into the waves and then shriek until someone fetched it back for him. Constantly), getting our money’s worth out of our annual National Trust membership (matching anoraks and socks and sandals not compulsory), visiting Peppa Pig World and the Oceanarium. And child 2 was so worn out by the sea air he slept soundly all week which would be my top reason for moving to the seaside immediately.

Birthday: Alexandra turned three at the end of August and had a whale of a time celebrating. Of course at that age opening cards and presents is basically the best thing in the world, and she also went to soft play with her friends and ate cake with her nana and grandad so her whole week was full of fun. Also it’s been better for me because since about June she’d been reminding me at least 10 times a day that ‘I’m going to be three on my birthday’ which was starting to wear thin. Now she only reminds me every other day of her age. Normally when she sees the number three.

Nursery: Now she’s three she’s eligible for the funded hours at nursery so we’ve increased her time there and this week she’s been 8.30 til 4 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday. It’s quite a leap up from two mornings a week and she’s been very tired after a day there but is absolutely loving it. In fact the first thing she said to me after pick up on Monday was ‘can I live at preschool please mommy?’

Other child is less keen on nursery. Max had his first proper day there on Tuesday and was unsettled all day and wanted to be cuddled constantly. Hopefully next week will be an improvement although his schedule is all out of whack at the moment and I think it’s going to take a while for him to get used to the changes of when his sister is here and being away from me for a whole day.

Well I’ve just about found time to squeeze writing a blog for the Motherload and typing this before what should have been a nice long nap for Max has come to an abrupt end! More soon I hope. By soon I mean in the next decade!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

We Hate Soya

We hate soya, we love sand.

I don’t think I’ve updated about Max’s allergies in a while and everything is sort of whizzing by in a big fog of crazy days and nights, so I thought I’d better commit pen to paper – or hand to keyboard – before he’s 30 and I’ve forgotten all about food trials and nappies and all that faff.

Super quick summary for the uninitiated: Max was diagnosed with FPIES at six weeks old, a condition in which there’s a delayed internal reaction to food proteins. His initial trigger was dairy which caused us a five-day hospital stay. We were also advised to avoid soya. I stopped eating both while I expressed for him – he was combi fed so he also had special formula. When we began weaning after a while we were advised to do food trials where one new food is introduced each week. Thankfully we had lots of passes so while there are a few things he hasn’t tried, we haven’t been trialling for a couple of months as he eats a fairly ‘normal’ diet aside from soya and dairy.

We had two goes when he was first weaning of introducing soya, both unsuccessful, so we decided to hold off a bit and then the time came when everyone was happy for us to begin trialling again. The idea was to use a ‘soya ladder’ where you begin with foods which have a small amount in, building up to soya yoghurt/milk. First time of doing this was around three months ago perhaps and resulted in some horrendous, horrendous poos and disrupted sleep. Fine said the dietician, try him every other month with it.

I have been putting this off and putting it off. Partially because he went through a huge phase of not sleeping so we wouldn’t have been able to tell if he was reacting or just going through this leap he had been going through anyway. Anyway we bit the bullet last week and bought some Pom-bear type crisps which are step one of the ladder.

Day one there was a weird poo, which happens with babies from time to time so we didn’t think much of it. Day two he slept appallingly – again it’s been known to happen without any cause so we kept on. Day three and as soon as a horrible poo happened, we called off the trial straightaway (and whaddya know he slept terribly again that night! Slept isn’t even the word for it. He was thrashing around all night next to me on the sofa like an eel being tortured). The constant crying, moaning, being grumpy and clingy was also not a great side effect.

So for now we want to say ‘enough’. He has such a varied diet because he’s got so many safes that we don’t feel there’s much, if anything, to gain from him being able to eat soya – and if the professionals want to contradict that then they should find ways to give him whatever magic nutrients soya is supposed to give without him having to suffer going through trials. Now we want to wait until he’s at least two (end of next March) before we try again – at least then he might be able to give us an idea of whether his tummy hurts if it does.

We often follow health professionals’ advice because they do know best in a lot of situations. But I really struggle with the idea that he’s going to be magically ‘cured’ and be downing soya milk by the pint in two months. If he starts doing well with step one of the ladder when we try again next year then great! Fab! We’ll be chuffed. Avoiding soya as well as dairy is awkward so it’d obviously be happy days if he gets over these reactions. But when your child is screaming at 2 in the morning because they’re uncomfortable it’s not hard to see why you wouldn’t be keen to repeat the process in eight weeks’ time!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Baby 2: 16 Months Old

A whole month has gone by and I haven’t even got round to writing anything on here. Max is 16 months old today and life is as hectic as ever (plus I’ve kind of been prioritising watching Love Island!).

  • Teeth: 12 now with just the canines and back molars to come through.
  • Walking: Walking fairly steadily now and trying to run all the time!
  • Toys: His absolute favourite thing to do at the moment is to play football or throwing a ball around. He’s utterly obsessed and if I had to take away all his toys and leave him with just one, it’d definitely be a ball.
  • Food: Still haven’t trialled dairy or soya again but eating LOTS apart from those two things.
  • Routine: We’re just in the process of dropping down from two naps to one – although I always find that drop awkward because you can either stick with a morning nap and then they’re tired and cranky in the afternoon, or do the opposite, or do what we’re doing and try and do a middle-of-the-day nap, which then messes with lunchtime!
  • Sleep: Last month has been tough. He did not like the heatwave. He did not like his teeth coming through. He did not want to be apart from us overnight. He also was going through a developmental leap I think. Hurrah for caffeine.
  • Speech: He’s started ‘talking’ a lot more. 95 per cent of it isn’t understandable but he’s definitely trying to tell us stuff! The other day he did say ‘hi Alex’ which I was super impressed by (well Ali rather than Alex but that’s how his cousin says it too!).
  • Size: A few people have commented this month that he’s got much bigger! I haven’t had him weighed (Last time I took them to baby clinic there was an hour-long wait and he’ll get done at the hospital in October for his next appointment anyway), but the amount he’s eating he should actually be about 30 stone by now.
  • Sister: Now he can hit back there are lots more squabbles! They absolutely adore each other and play so nicely sometimes, but other times it’s like a wrestling zone and I’m sure it’ll get worse over time!

By my update next month he’ll have done his settling in sessions at nursery. Eek!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Baby 2: 15 Months Old

Today Max is 15 months old (anyone else feel a bit weird at this age when someone asks you how old your baby is. Like I don’t want to say ‘one’ cause it makes it sound like he’s just 12 months, but then I feel a bit too specific saying 15 months! Hurrah for when they get to 2 and you can just be like two/two and a half/nearly three.)

I have hardly any time because he’s been super clingy and finally gone down for a nap so I’m going to whizz through bullet points so at least I get this done and all down on the record!

  • Teeth: Definitely ten already but looks like he’s getting another molar through which would explain the clinginess.
  • Eating: Humongous appetite! Would actually sit and eat all day if I let him. Often known to eat his dinner and then whatever Alex hasn’t eaten of hers. Still no dairy or soya but everything else pretty much is a pass.
  • Walking: He’s suddenly gone from not even standing up to being able to walk in a couple of weeks. He’s still in the stage of drunkenly wobbling around a bit but is doing really well and he even got his first pair of shoes at the weekend. It’s amazing how quickly he’s come on.
  • Talking: He says the odd word after us like ‘sheep’ the other day but the words he uses regularly are mommy, daddy, nana, banana (but without the ba sound!), yes, no, ta and there.
  • Hair: He had his first haircut the other week! He looks so grown up now with his hair cut and his little shoes on.
  • Size: No idea what he weighs! He’s in 12-18m clothes although still wearing some 9-12m t-shirts. Still in a size 3 nappy (which says newborn on the pack, so he’s definitely still a baby not a toddler right!) He’s a size 4F in shoes. He still hasn’t had that chubby stage most babies go through! Although how I don’t know because the kid is all about carbs.
  • Toys: He’s discovered how to throw toys and still prefers playing with harder toys like the blocks rather than soft toys. Loves playing in the water outside and throwing the football around.
  • Sleep: Last few days have been rocky, fine when he’s asleep but getting him down is a pain. Hopefully just a combo of it being really warm and his tooth coming through.
  • Sibling love: Alexandra and Max are fully fighting these days! Slapping, kicking, the lot. But he still absolutely adores her. She got put in time out yesterday for hitting him in the face twice and next time I looked he was sat next to her keeping her company and giving her Rubble (her favourite toy). Like kid she’s in time out for hurting you! Don’t feel sorry for her! She’s also very sweet with him and plays nicely with him when she wants to – and sometimes goes all mommy on him ‘don’t do that Maxi or I will be very sad’.

And that probably covers the main points! Time is whizzing. It’s basically Christmas next week and then it’ll be his second birthday.
The next milestone for us will be starting nursery which happens in September – I am so not prepared for it!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

The First Year Is The Hardest?

When I was pregnant with Max and even when he was born, I read and heard a lot of people talking about how the first year with two small children is the hardest. That once you’ve got past that then you’ll be home and dry, pretty much.

It makes sense. The more independent they get, the better things should be. You’re in a routine and you kind of know what you’re doing. But I think I’m genuinely more tired right now than I’ve been at any point of having two – even the very early newborn days. Maybe it’s just me forgetting what the first few weeks and months were like, but even as I write this (at 10.54am) I feel like my eyes are closing and I could quite happily go to bed!

Maybe some of it is because I’m doing more now. In the early days, it was all about just keeping the kids fed and their nappies changed and trying to get at least one of them to nap. Now there’s work to think about, and we try and get out as much as possible. Now Max is on the move (nearly walking!) I feel like he requires so much more attention. Alexandra is pretty good at playing independently so I can get on with washing up or hanging out the clothes to dry, or whatever needs doing, and when Max was tiny I could just plonk him in his bouncer for a few minutes. However now I’ve constantly got him hanging off me! And then Alex will have a request – probably for a snack – and then before I know it, it’s taken ten times longer to get something simple done!

I try and be as organised as I can, get as much done as possible while Max naps, and not worry too much that there are jobs like cleaning the skirting boards or tidying out our shoe cupboard that have been at the bottom of the to do list for weeks and weeks. But I’m someone who likes getting things done!

Part of the issue is in the early days I was quite happy to maybe get out the house for 20 minutes for a walk, and that might be the only time we ventured out that day. Now the children are much more demanding of activities to do, and need wearing out a bit each day! So we’re physically out of the house much more – and when we are home I’m rushing around trying to tidy or clean up, or quickly send some emails, or pack bags and lay out clothes for the next day.

I’m also not helping myself as I’ve started watching Love Island so now I need an extra six hours a week on top of all the extra time I could do with for chores and productive things.

Red Bull are rubbing their hands with glee though as I’m basically treating it like water these days!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Baby 2: 14 Months Old

For the first time last month, I managed to miss a monthly update! Things have been CRAZY round here and time has been precious (and I’ll be honest sometimes when I have an hour or two to myself, I use it to aimlessly scroll through Instagram or just sit and watch television!). People told me the first year with two under two is the hardest but honestly they’re both at (cute but) exhausting ages right now!

Max is 14 months old now and is doing really well, as ever, we are massively proud of him.

He’s got nine teeth (or maybe ten by the time this is published as I’m writing this a couple of days in advance and one bit of his gum is so lumpy there must be a tooth just under the surface ready to escape!)

He’s cruising super confidently, getting better at standing independently and taking the occasional step by himself. Who knows, by next month we may be reporting back that he’s walking. But it may take a little longer, we’re in no rush.

Max is insanely good at climbing, just like his sister has been from an early age, and now takes anyone opening the front door as I sign that he should bolt out there and crawl up the drive as fast as he can – it’s a good job we don’t have a door that opens out onto a busy road!

Food-wise he’s doing really well, we have a few food trials left to try but it’s mostly stuff we’re fairly confident he’ll pass and also mostly stuff we don’t eat often at home so that’s why they’ve been left til last. We had a failed soya trial a couple of weeks ago that resulted in mountains of poo and horrible sleep. We have to keep trying though so no doubt there’ll be future updates about that. Portions are huge! He can eat and eat and eat.

His sleep is still very variable. We seem to have a few days where he’s really good and we start feeling like we’ve cracked it, and then all of a sudden he goes back to being a real pickle overnight! I must say, he’s back to settling himself when we put him down to bed which is fantastic after weeks of having to rock him to sleep like a newborn. But as I say, we’ve been through this cycle multiple times before and by the time this comes out we might be subject to hours of rocking and hours of watching Netflix at 2am again.

I’m not sure what he weighs at the moment as he hasn’t been weighed recently, but he’s moved into 12-18m clothes, although some of it is a little baggy.

When he’s not tired or hungry, Max is just the happiest little boy! He likes to get on his knees, clap and do this weird ‘jumping’ thing where he goes across the floor on his knees! It’s very funny and cute. He absolutely loves giving kisses and he still likes his hugs too.

Words-wise he is definitely saying yes, mommy, daddy, nana, banana, ta, there and digger. He also says something that sounds like Alex (without the x, same way his cousin says it!).

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Using Their Images

There seems to be a lot of hoo-ha at the moment surrounding people using images of their children. It’s more specifically around the ‘influencers’ who include pictures and videos of family life, and a lot of the time benefit from freebies or even sponsorship by doing so.

But it does get you thinking about your own approach to your children’s privacy. We have always been fairly open about what we share on social media and I clearly have no problem with images of my children being online. If they turn round to me when they’re older and decide they don’t want any more images of them put out there, then I would be more than happy to comply with their requests. Or once they’re old enough to decide which images or videos they do, and don’t, want online then again that’d be something I’d leave up to them to decide.

I have a lot of respect for people who choose to keep their children completely off Facebook or Instagram – I think if that works for your family then it’s a really honourable thing to do when you must be tempted to pop up a cute snap from time to time! But for me personally, I think providing you’re not silly with it then it’s also fine to make the decision – as we have – to share images of our children.

I also wonder where people have complete blanket bans on their child appearing on social media, how that’s adhered to when they’re out in public. I know I try and be vigilant about what (or who) is in the background of any pictures I take at soft play or baby groups. Not so much on my Facebook as that’s private, but on my public Instagram I try and pop an emoji over the faces of any children who happen to be running around in the background of pictures I’ve taken. But I’d imagine many others wouldn’t even think twice about putting the picture up without checking if there are any identifiable faces in it?

As I mentioned before, I do think it’s important to have certain limits when it comes to posting images of child. For example I’ve never taken, yet alone shared, a picture of my children naked. You’ll find ones of them in their nappy or in the bath where only their top halves are visible. But I do cringe a bit when I see totally naked pictures of babies on social media.

For me though, sharing images of my children is a lovely way to share with family and friends who may not live round the corner and see them all the time – and getting Timehop notifications about what we were doing this time last year or the year before is really uplifting too.

I think it’ll be interesting as we go forward what our children decide for their own children – who will presumably be even more tech-reliant than we are!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Tantrums: Not Everyone is Judging You

My child having a tantrum on a town-centre bench, because she wanted to go home for lunch and we were going home for lunch…

You know when you’re out and about with your little darlings and one of them absolutely loses it. You’ve probably been dealing with this all day (or since their first birthday, terrible TWOS my arse) and you’re probably absolutely sick of it. You want to lie right down on the floor next to them, scream 20 decibels louder than them and flail about like a dying octopus. Except you don’t have the energy, so you grit your teeth and try to work out how to get them into the car without making it look like you’re snapping them in two as they alternate between making themselves completely rigid head to toe and trying to kick/punch/poke you.

And then you happen to catch a glance of someone giving you the look. The look you’re dreading. In a split second, your mind tries to work out if they’re judging you, and what the hell you’re going to do about it.

Let’s be honest, what you’re going to do is try and pretend you haven’t seen them while continuing with the task at hand: stopping the tantrum. You’re going to go home and think about their judgey look all night, and maybe into the next day. But soon enough you’ll forget about them and their furrowed brow will be history.

However, I have a theory to propose. And that theory is that, no matter what it feels like at the time, not everyone is judging you. Now, back when I was a teenager and probably into my early 20s (probably even when Alexandra was tiny before she learned to talk and be difficult about stuff for absolutely no reason), I probably did look at other people like WTF why can’t they control their child?

I can pretty much forgive myself and anyone else who hasn’t experienced the full force of a toddler tantrum that THEY have to sort out rather than getting to merrily stroll on by and live their day without having to deal with a mini meltdown about yoghurt or some other ridiculous shit. I also think some people whose children have way passed the tantrum age (at least 30+) have probably forgotten what it’s like so, while their judgement is unwarranted and they should pipe down, we can just ignore them.

However, there’s a whole section of society out there who either owns or has recently owned a toddler. That means there are a whole load of people who know exactly what you’re going through. Because anyone who says their toddler has never cried for the world’s most ridiculous reason is lying.

So, if you get ‘the look’ from someone in that category, I’m willing to bet the look is actually a transmission of the following thoughts: ‘ah no, I am SO glad that is not my child today/I’m so glad my kid is at nursery so I don’t have to deal with them today/I hope that kid stops wailing soon cause that woman looks like she’s had enough/shall I go and help? Would it look like I was being an interfering busybody?/Why the hell are toddlers so difficult?/Does she need a hug?’

I have thought all of those things multiple times when I’ve seen someone experiencing their toddler being a dick. And I’m willing to wager that other moms have thought the same things too. It’s so easy to think everyone is judging you when you’re having your worst day ever with the kids. And it’s easy to feel alone (especially if there’s more kids than adults and they’re all having a cry). But actually that look might be one of solidarity.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x