It’s Just A Phase

Hopefully making a mess is a phase too.

If you’re a parent, how many times have you heard the phrase ‘it’s just a phase’? I’m willing to bet if you times your child’s age in seconds by infinity you still would be way off. In fact, I said it in a group chat with my NCT friends less than 24 hours before typing this post.

It got me thinking. It’s probably one of the most common parenting phrases (alongside ‘they grow up so fast’ and ‘why is Bing such a knob?’) but in my experience, it’s also very true. It’s not just one of those things old ladies have learned to say so that they sound like a herd of sheep all bleating together ‘it’s just a phase’. Every single thing ends.

That means the lovely things: like that newborn smell, the way they curl up like a little Quaver crisp on your chest for the first few weeks, the little snuffling noises they do (I can’t carry on with this list or I might cry thinking about the cuteness of that early time). But it also means the shit things too. I remember Dylan saying to me before Christmas when we were going through that awful time when Max just forgot how to sleep and sometimes the only way we could get through a night was having him in our bed for a bit, that he was worried we’d get into a habit that we’d never get out of. I replied that even if we did, I’ve never ever heard of a 15 year old boy wanting to get into his parents’ bed overnight so eventually we’d get out of the habit (as it was we somehow muddled our way through that time and he hasn’t been in our bed for months).

The whole sleep thing was awful. We knew it would end and we knew that while we could try and influence it in some ways – adjusting nap times, making sure we were consistent with our approach at night – some of it would just be a matter of time. Time to get over the constant colds he was experiencing. Time to cut those first teeth through. And time to just get past that developmental stage.

The same goes for the horrendous toddler tantrums we had at the start of the year. For a few weeks, pretty much every day with Alex made me want to cry. There were glimpses of the funny, intelligent, lovely little girl but there were also hours each day where I just wanted to run away! Again, a developmental stage I think as she got noticeably better (not cured: the tantrums are still there like you’d expect from a two year old don’t worry!) the day her speech got dramatically clearer and her sentences got longer.

Every single thing that happens in their life is just a phase, some of them you barely get through by the skin of your teeth, some of them exhaust you, some of them make you cry so much your face hurts constantly. Some of them delight you, some you never want to end.

It’s not actually that reassuring at the start to hear ‘it’s just a phase’ as you want to do something to fix them, to hurry past that time of them being unsettled or unhappy (or making you unhappy!), but I think certainly for me the more phases you go through, the more you learn to try and not get as wound up by them. To let them pass. To just get through them the best way you can.

However, for those offering up the phrase ‘it’s just a phase’ perhaps you could add on another phrase which will offer more comfort? For example:
‘It’s just a phase…but here is some chocolate to help you get through it.’
‘It’s just a phase…but do you need a couple of hours off? If so, I can look after baby.’
‘It’s just a phase…but here is what helped us get through that phase.’
‘It’s just a phase…you’re doing a great job.’

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Baby 2: Seven Months Old

Such a happy chappy!

Max turns seven months old today and I think there’s been a real difference in him during the last month. Looking at his six month update, he was only really starting to get to grips with rolling – whereas now he flips from back to front and vice versa all the time. He’s also able to commando crawl along the floor so he’s easily moving around the room. Gone are the times where you’d put him down and he’d stay in one place!

He doesn’t seem to have as much interest in sitting up, he’ll do it supported but he’s not really trying hard to do it unaided. I remember with Alexandra, she’d constantly be trying to pull herself up into a sitting position if we lay her down, but it doesn’t really seem to bother Max. At this rate, I think he’ll be crawling before he sits!

He was weighed a few weeks ago and was 14lb 1, so he’s probably still 14 something. Clothes wise, we’ve just moved up to his 6-9m stuff as everything else was getting too short. He’s a long baby but still very skinny so everything looks a bit baggy. He’s still in some of his smaller t-shirts and his 0-3m coat still just about fits him! But he’s definitely making progress and going the right way with everything.

No teeth yet, but I’m fully expecting a late teether if he’s anything like his sister. His hair is growing back beautifully and he’s still very blond, although I’m sure it’ll go darker over time as no one else in the family is blond.

Weaning has been, and continues to be, a challenge! Poor Max is very into his fruit and veg and is always keen to try new things – but as much as he likes food, food doesn’t seem to like him! I’ll update more soon but wanted to share his rough daytime routine: wake up any time between 7 and 8, breakfast and bottle at 8/8.30am, nap around 9.30/10am, bottle some time late morning, lunch around 1 but can be any time between 12 and 2 depending what we’re doing, longer nap in the afternoon, bottle some time in the afternoon, dinner around 5.30/6, then a bath every other night, bedtime routine, bottle around 7.30pm.

Max is incredibly vocal, he ‘chats’ away constantly and sometimes likes to talk to himself early morning in the Moses basket which is incredibly cute. He’s discovered he can do a weird clearing his throat/cough thing and also that he can scream very loudly. It’ll be interesting to see whether his speech develops well or if it’s just these early noises that he’ll be so competent with.

He’s got an MRI next week which should (fingers and toes crossed) be the last time they need to scan his brain. I can’t remember how much I’ve updated about that on here, but essentially post surgery they detected an area they thought may be a bleed on a cranial ultrasound. He then had an MRI when he was a couple of months old at our local hospital where they (and the radiographers at the more specialist hospital they checked with) concluded it was probably just an anomaly in a blood vessel, which wouldn’t affect his development. They suggested a follow-up MRI done under sedation so they could just confirm – if they think again that it’s this vessel anomaly then there’ll be no need for further tests. Max then goes to see the dietician the week after where they’ll be able to give us some advice about his allergies. Then we’ll await an appointment at the hospital where he had his surgery for them to do another chest X-ray and see what his diaphragm is up to these days.

For a baby who’s had quite a lot thrown at him in his seven short months here, he’s absolutely lovely and he charms everyone he meets! He’s a wiggler, a giggler, a smiler and a joy to be around. Yes he has his moments! But on the whole we are super proud of our little boy and how well he’s withstood all of the challenges which have come his way. Hopefully next month we will have some positive news regarding his brain and then we don’t need to worry about that!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

20 Months Old

Alexandra has now reached the grand old age of 20 months old – just four months til the terrible twos arrive (but isn’t it nice that she’s been practising for about a year already!).

The main thing which has developed since her last update (which was actually at 18 months due to the early arrival of her little brother) is her speech. We’re now hearing her say new things every day and just this week examples have included star, Dipsy (while watching Teletubbies) and bubbles. She’s attempting to say brother and now regularly says words in context including night night, hat, hot, nana (for my mom and said more like narna for banana). Animal noises she can do are ack for a duck’s quack, sss for a snake, aaah for a lion and oooo for a cow.

Activities –

She loves her new game which involves matching the baby animal to its parent, is constantly playing hide and seek (with accompanying shouts of boo and giggles while she’s hiding). Alexandra’s favourite thing is being outdoors, whether she’s helping daddy plant flowers in the garden, running round the park or visiting a National Trust place or farm (these are a particular hit given her love of animals).

Other changes including becoming much more aware of when she’s got a dirty nappy (which makes me think I need to do more research about potty training for when the time comes), becoming OBSESSED with bananas (I’m talking up to four a day) and of course the main one has been becoming a big sister. I’m going to talk about that in its own post so I won’t dwell on it here but suffice to say we’ve been very pleasantly surprised at how great she’s been with Max on the whole.

She’s definitely got her own mind and sometimes can be very challenging, like every toddler, but she’s also now becoming much more loving – offering cuddles and kisses more often, she’s very funny and she’s so inquisitive and smart. Aside from the tired tantrums, she’s a delight to have around at the moment!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

The N Word


I’ve spoken on this blog in passing before about my desire to keep Alexandra with me for as long as possible. I’m in a hugely privileged position in that we haven’t needed to send her to nursery as yet because I’ve been working from home. Although with each passing month, it gets harder and harder to juggle her increasing needs/mobility and  decreasing amount of naps and I find myself doing less work, we’ve still kept her at home full time.

For the last few weeks, Dylan and I have been discussing the fact maybe she needs some outside stimulation, maybe being at home with me all the time (although obviously we do go out and do things!) isn’t enough, maybe it’s selfish to have her here when I can’t give her my undivided attention which is what she would get from nursery staff. There are lots of different factors to think about and clearly cost is one of them, it seems such a waste to have her in nursery for a morning and then spend half that morning working just to pay for her to be there. But then you can’t be all things to all men as they say, and perhaps trying to spread myself too thin is more crazy than paying strangers to look after my child while I return back to our home for the day?

I think some of it stems from spending so much time away from her in the first three months, almost like I feel I ‘owe’ our relationship and myself that time with her now. Maybe if we’d been together 24/7 in that early bonding time I would have been desperate to get away from her by now! (I mean I still am some afternoons when she’s refused to have a nap!) I hate the whole ‘I didn’t have a child for strangers to look after it’ because that’s just a terrible thing to say when so many families don’t have that choice and both parents need to work to keep a roof over their heads, but I guess the principle is that we both want to spend as much time with Alex as possible and I’m very fortunate that so far that’s meant me being at home 24/7.

Anyway we’ve loosely agreed that we may have a look at some nurseries with the possibility of her going a couple of mornings a week. I know the reality of dropping her there and coming back to an empty house will not be something I relish but maybe if we do go down that road then hopefully I’ll see benefits for Alex in terms of her development and socialisation that will outweigh my negative feelings about it all.

Harriet and Alexandra x



My favourite pregnancy picture, nine days before I gave birth.

Tomorrow, Alexandra is 37 weeks and six days old. What’s the significance in that, you ask? (Well I hope you’re asking because I’m about to tell you so it would be a bit awkward if you didn’t want to know.) Well, I was pregnant for 37 weeks and six days so that means in a few hours she’ll have been in the world for as long as she was cooking for.

I mean technically that doesn’t work out right because you’re not actually pregnant for the first couple of weeks and because she was early the whole phrase I could have used of ‘nine months in, nine months out’ doesn’t apply – she’s not nine months til the 29th. But still, it’s quite weird to think about it.

In all the time I was carrying her, her little body was forming: her fingers, her toes (even the adorable one that bends behind the others, her organs, her skin, that perfect haircut she was born with! And yet really, despite all that growing she was a blank canvas at birth. It’s only in the last 37 weeks and five days that she’s developed a little personality (very nosey, smiley, boisterous around other babies (yeah she’s a bully!), loves her daddy). She’s learned to roll over, sit up, eat, laugh, make a variety of wonderful noises and so many other things in between.

It’s crazy to think back to my pregnancy, from that first day back in January 2015 when we found out Alex existed, through the extreme first trimester tiredness (poor Dylan sat on his own night after night while I slept from early evening til morning), the barfing, the first signs of a bump. Then it was an expectation things would be amazing in the second trimester (they weren’t!), finding out she was a girl, going off to Thailand six months gone! Then the final few weeks of waddling like a duck, having a persistent headache and then going into the hospital one morning to have my blood pressure checked and ending up having my newborn baby handed to me the following day.

Despite pregnancy seeming like the – longest – thing – ever while it was happening, it definitely feels like she’s been here with us for a lot longer than I was expecting her for. I can’t even imagine what life will be like and what she’ll be up to after another 37 weeks and six days have passed!

Harriet and Alexandra x

Alexandra’s Half Birthday

Pretending to be a grown up and standing up and stuff!

Pretending to be a grown up and standing up and stuff!

Yesterday, my lovely baby turned six months old. Jeez, a whole half year (if that’s not too much of an oxymoron!) Where has the time gone?

Alexandra can…

Roll over (when she feels like it)

Make a whole load of noises which sound like words (she has a brilliant habit of saying ‘hi’ repeatedly to people)

Hold her own bottle (again when she feels like it)

Gnaw on a range of veggies (more on her introduction to weaning soon)

Pull her socks off and chew them until they’re soggy

Kick her legs in the swimming pool or when she’s on her tummy to try and move herself along

Reach the floor in her jumparoo now without anything placed underneath it

Alexandra loves…

Her daddy, her little friends and just spending time with people in general!

Putting everything in her mouth

Bath time and swimming

Going out in the pram

An afternoon nap

Miss Polly Had a Dolly, Wheels On The Bus and Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Alexandra is…

Well over 15lb

68cm long at last measure

Using her new ‘big girl’ car seat which she’ll be in til she’s four

Still in our room but likely to move into the nursery very soon

Always being praised for being so content and such a happy little girly!

Harriet and Alexandra x