My Child Is A Cat

Just a quick one today: it’s been one of those days where you’re here, there and everywhere and you feel like it should be bedtime when in reality it’s not even 2pm.
Also no picture because the laptop I’m working on won’t let me go on any other website except my own or access my emails! Not very helpful when you’re trying to work.

Because my sister and I have all sorts of weird and wonderful conversations, we ended up discussing the other day the fact that if my nephew Zachary was an animal, he’d definitely be a puppy. Mostly on account of the fact he’s very cuddly, wants to be as close to you as possible and is obviously adorable.

In the spur of the moment, I said Alexandra would be a cat. But the more I think about it, the more I realise that I’ve probably hit on the truth there and I did actually give birth to a kitten. Mostly because of, but not limited to, the following reasons:

  • Most of the time she doesn’t want to know you, unless there’s food then she’s all over you like a rash.
  • But you get the feeling she’d probably move in with the neighbours if they fed her.
  • She prefers to poop seconds after you change her nappy (I suspect this would be the same if she used a litter tray).
  • She loves climbing and spends a large amount of time on the windowsill looking out.
  • You just want to cuddle her all the time but she’s really not keen unless it’s on her terms.
  • She’d quite happily wonder around for hours looking at people’s gardens if we let her.
  • She loves grooming her own hair.
  • She won’t let you go to the loo by yourself.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

18 Months Old

One of my favourite recent pictures – how happy can a toddler look in a trolley?!

On Tuesday, you had an update about how the smallest member of the EE clan is growing, now it’s time for a review of how the biggest one is getting on. Alexandra turned 18 months old this week (although in the absence of a leap year was denied the actual day!) – I asked her if she felt responsible now she’s a whole year and a half but she said no.

Speech: Her favourite words are no, oh dear, nose and daddy. New ones this month include uh oh, eyes and she’s also attempted shoes a couple of times. Still talking much more at home than she does while we’re out.

Nursery: Alexandra absolutely loves nursery still and has been getting up to all sorts, she came home the other day with a stack of pictures they’d taken of her doing various things, which was really sweet to see. She runs in and barely looks back at me/Dylan as she knows it’s breakfast time as soon as she arrives.

Activities: She’s definitely enjoying colouring (and predominantly using her left hand, which has been her preference since she was tiny and first started grabbing things. I’ve probably mentioned it before but we’re fairly sure she’s going to be a leftie), she loves playing with her dolls both at home and at nursery, has now done some baking for the first time, loves finding different facial features (on herself and others) and thinks Tumble Tots is the best thing ever.

Teeth: We think her bottom two molars have come through now (but we have to pick and choose our times to check!) so that would make 12 teeth in total.

Also this month, Alex has: helped granddad in the garden, been to Llandudno, stayed at nana’s house, played football in the park, continued enjoying swimming with her armbands on, enjoyed patting mommy’s tummy where the baby is a lot.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

 

17 Months Old

So here we are again, another month on! Alexandra turned 17 months at the weekend. I was thinking recently how lovely it’ll be to have these posts as a record of her life to look back on, alongside all the photos of course.

Last month saw huge progress in terms of her talking and I feel like this month has been the same. She’s definitely much more understandable than she was before and is also making great use of hand actions to direct us when she doesn’t know the word. She’s a complete bossy boots, at the weekend she was telling her dolly off and then told daddy off (including shouting ‘no no daddy’ and waggling her finger at him) because he was drinking his drink which clearly she didn’t want him to do.

Alex is definitely catching up on the teeth front which is a relief as we thought she was going to remain a gummy bear forever! We’re now halfway there. She’s got all eight of her front teeth plus the first two molars at the top – to be honest we didn’t notice they were there for a while as she just bites us if we try and put our fingers in her mouth, so there’s a chance the bottom ones might be there too. I’m really glad she doesn’t appear to be suffering too much with them.

She’s still loving nursery and we had a good report from her key worker at parents’ evening, they’ve got no concerns about her really. She doesn’t seem to talk much while she’s there even though she’s chattering away all the time at home.

To celebrate turning 17 months, we put on Wizard of Oz. For some reason, Dylan started playing the songs to her to calm her down whenever she was crying when she was tiny but she’s never actually seen the film. We expected her to watch maybe half an hour at most but she actually watched all of it! Just shows she can concentrate when she wants to.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

Your Second Pregnancy

So you get pregnant for the first time, it’s great, you spend hours languishing in the bath, you sleep in, you spend most of the time eating and eating and eating, you wander in and out of the nursery just to touch their tiny little baby clothes, you spend hours in that middle part where you can feel the baby kick but no one else can getting your other half to put their hand on your belly ‘that was a kick’ ‘I didn’t feel anything’ ‘that was definitely one’ *repeat a trillion times*. That was my experience anyway. As a mother of a bump, you have all the time in the world to revel in your pregnancy, to wallow in sorrow or immerse yourself in the joy of it all. Your focus is the baby, a lot of conversation revolves around the baby, you probably have one of those little chalk boards to count down the days.

I’m heavily editing out all the time you spend rearranging pillows – at least 50 per cent of your pregnancy, and moaning about various aches and pains – probably another 40 per cent, with baths taking up 9.9 per cent of the remaining time. I also didn’t have a stereotypical pregnancy in that I wasn’t working from 12 weeks onwards so there was a lot of extra time for baths.

Now, roll on to your second pregnancy. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m positive this child is trying to claw his way out through my spine currently (I’m now at the stage where every moment has to be accompanied by a dramatic sound akin to the sound I imagine a pensioner would make if they ever had to run for the bus) I would barely notice I’m pregnant. I mean yes, I attend more than my fair share of hospital appointments and I have to pee A LOT all night. But gone are the wistful days of standing in the nursery looking at all the baby’s stuff – I sorted out Baby 2’s wardrobe as quickly as possible while Alexandra threw coat hangers everywhere (incidentally, is it just my child who goes gaga for a coat hanger?). Gone are the two-hour baths, instead I try and manage a half an hour one a couple of times a week.

I spend more time than I’d like to on the floor picking up toys (and all 300 of the balls from the ball pit which regularly gets tipped up, because it’s a HILARIOUS game!), lugging a toddler in and out of the car or up and down the stairs when she’s having a grump or we’re in a rush, oh and did I mention picking stuff up?

All in all, it’s crazy how different the two pregnancies have been. In some ways, I’m slightly envious of my first pregnancy self, who was just completely selfish for nine months, but in other ways being so occupied with a toddler is probably helping this pregnancy go much quicker!

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

Questions For My Toddler

Toddlers are an alien entity. They can communicate fairly effectively with us using a complicated system of words, sounds that aren’t quite words, nods, shakes, pointing and generally stamping their feet until they get what they want. Nevertheless, I have many questions I’d like to ask Alexandra on a daily basis, and I wish I could live inside her head for a while to fathom out exactly what goes on in there. For now I have recorded some of these questions here, in the hope she might remember in a few years about some of the things she did as a toddler, and I can finally get some answers!

  • Why are you not delighted when given the opportunity to nap in the day? I would be.
  • Why is my food better than yours, even if it’s exactly the same?
  • Is Mr Tumble REALLY that entertaining?
  • Where is your radar which attracts you to expensive, breakable things and how can I switch it off?
  • Why do you feel the need to go to the toilet 20 seconds after I’ve changed you? Is it the same reason as cats pooing in a fresh litter tray?
  • Have you ever considered just sitting still occasionally?
  • Does the TV look better standing with your face three centimetres from the screen? Are we all missing a trick sitting across the room on a sofa?
  • Why do you wake up incredibly late on days we need to go somewhere (even later if we’re relying on you as our alarm clock) and early on days where we have no plans?
  • What’s the obsession with taking your shoes off as soon as we get in the car? Why, if you don’t want them on in the car, do you present them to me to put them on your feet as we’re leaving the house?
  • Why are you so adorable?

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

16 Months Old

Having fun at Erddig in Wales.

Time for another update as Alexandra turns 16 months today. I feel like she’s really come on this month, especially in terms of her speech. Maybe she was due a leap anyway (I never use these apps where it tells you when they’re going to do x, y and z just in case it makes me paranoid if she’s not doing something on the exact day it tells me she should be!), maybe it’s starting nursery, or maybe a combination.

It’s now pretty clear to work out what she wants at all times, whether she can vocalise that or use other actions – we’re getting a lot of head shaking (and a little nodding) whenever she doesn’t want something, and she’ll go and stand and rattle the stairgate in the mornings when she wants to go downstairs for breakfast.

She’s also understanding a lot more of what we say (I asked her the other day if she wanted me to put her leggings on for her and she went and fetched them without any prompting from me about where they were and came to me holding them out so I could dress her) and sometimes listens when we ask her to do something!

Eating wise she’s still doing fab, we still haven’t found anything she won’t eat – Alex is a bit of a grazer and I think she’d be more than happy if we just put a huge buffet out for her every morning and let her constantly eat through the day. She’s getting better at trying to use her spoon to eat and even had a go with a fork and spoon together on Boxing Day morning because she was watching us use our forks and knives.

Alexandra’s now got six teeth and we’re wondering if number seven might be close as she’s had all the tell-tale signs. She’s definitely starting to get more wary of people she doesn’t know but is still really friendly and will wave and chat to people when we’re out and about. She loves exploring and has enjoyed visiting a zoo with her nana, cousin and aunty Henrietta this month as well as trips to the park – ducks and penguins are her favourite animals at the moment and she’s obsessed with dogs, she’ll follow them round if we see one while we’re out.

All in all, I’d say it’s been a really good month with her, lots of progress, fewer tantrums now she’s gone back to napping more in the afternoon and she’s busy with nursery and other things, and she’s able to make us understand what she wants so she’s less frustrated.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

15 Months Old

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Alexandra is 15 months old today, and I’m not going to do a spiel about how quickly time is passing because I do that every time! This month has been a pretty hectic one in terms of development.

Teeth: We’ve now got four! Alex is obviously working on the theory that slow and steady wins the race and we’re hoping she may have most of her milk teeth by the time she turns 25.

Walking: She’s pretty pro at walking now and has developed a hilarious diagonal run where she’s looking in a completely different direction to the one she’s going in.

Talking: This is where she’s made the most progress this month, this time last month we had daddy, mommy, nana, yes and no but now a whole host of words have been added to that list including there, oh dear, oops (which she says in a really high-pitched voice and it sounds more like oats, hilarious), hi, bye and didi which is how she says baby.

Social life: We joined Tumble Tots this month, which means every Wednesday Alex gets to go and be a budding gymnast for 45 minutes, she loves it but we both find it tiring! In my other posts I’ve also talked about how she’s also in the process of starting nursery, so she’s definitely got a lot busier!

Tantrums: We really struggled through a couple of weeks of this month – I don’t know whether it was teething pain, having a cold or she just generally wanted to be a nause for a bit but we were considering relegating her to the shed. Luckily she seems to have got a little bit better, I don’t know if that’s because of the new much busier schedule I mentioned above or what but I’m thankful either way.

Toys: Her favourite toys to play with at the moment are her shape sorter, dolly and pram and her new train set. She also loves lots of her teddies, especially her bunny and Piglet who both get snotty kisses multiple times a day. Lucky them! New games also include finding mommy’s eyes, nose and mouth (rather enthusiastically, so if you see me wearing a patch a la Gabrielle that’s why).

Overall a busy month with lots of ‘oh she’s never done that before!’ moments…

Harriet and Alexandra x

You Know You Own A Toddler When:

Alex getting told she was annoying by the magician at her cousins' birthday party as she kept wondering round!

Alex getting told she was annoying by the magician at her cousins’ birthday party as she kept wondering round!

You know you own a toddler when:

  • You can’t name any of the songs in the charts but hear THAT’S MY TUMMY, TUMMY BEGINS WITH T, T, U, M, M, Y, SPELLS TUMMY at least 50 times a day.
  • Everything in your home that isn’t secured down is situated above 1m.
  • You haven’t tasted any food properly since they were six months old, as if you eat it too slow they’ll want it too.
  • On a similar note, you hide in the bathroom to eat chocolate.
  • You used to just have an angry voice, now you have a variety including the ‘stop throwing things now, I really don’t want to have to tidy up again’ voice, the ‘if you break that I will actually sell you on eBay’ voice and the ‘I’ve actually lost my shit now, I’m not talking to you until daddy gets home’ voice.
  • You’ve cried more than once because your husband’s stuck in traffic and will be late home.
  • Walks now take ten times as long as you have to chase every pigeon, leaf or piece of litter you encounter on the way.
  • Everything you own has mucky fingerprints on it.
  • You automatically name the colour and shape of everything you pick up, whether the toddler’s with you or not.

Harriet and Alexandra x

 

Q&A First Few Months of Motherhood

Alexandra and Zachary

Alexandra and Zachary

You may have noticed if you’ve read a few of my posts that my sister Henrietta had a baby in May this year. Zachary is now nearly five months old and, as we did a question and answer post while Henrietta was pregnant, we thought it was time to update on her experience of motherhood so far.

How would you sum up your first few months of being a mother?
Tiring, lots of crying and lots of poo! But great overall.

What’s been the biggest surprise for you in terms of becoming a parent?
I feel like I sort of knew what to expect because of being around a newborn baby a lot when Alex was born. I prepared myself for the worst of everything and so far there’s not been any massive issues with him so I don’t think anything came as a massive shock to me.

Zachary was diagnosed as having silent reflux when he was six weeks old, what advice would you give to parents who think their child might have it?
Don’t delay getting them checked out. When we noticed there was something wrong, we went to get him checked within 48 hours. You know yourself if there’s something up and they’re not going to turn you away because you know your baby best and you know if there’s a problem. Also don’t trust everything you see on Google, they will be fine!

What’s been the best thing so far?
Smiles and laughs! Also newborn cuddles.

What did you buy which you’d recommend for any prospective parents?
The Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep has 100 per cent been the best thing. At night time, it makes everything so much easier. You don’t have to put up with a screaming baby for long. Also the bouncer we got, the Baby Bjorn one, was quite expensive and he didn’t really like it at first but now he does it gives you five minutes to get on with jobs you want to do as he’s quite happy to sit in there for a while. And muslin cloths. We’ve bought loads and they’ve been a daily essential.

When we talked about your pregnancy in a post back in January (here), you said you thought people treated you differently because you’re fairly young. Have you found this to be true since having him?
I think a little bit, more from older people to be honest. When we go to get him weighed or see midwives or health professionals they always comment how well he’s doing and that we’re doing a good job with him; so I think that proves you don’t have to be older to do well. I do sometimes miss the freedom I had before but I’ve got a good support network to have Zach when I’m ready to start going out again without him.

Harriet and Alexandra (and Henrietta and Zachary!) x

Baby On Board The Plane

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Last week we took the plunge into a whole new parenting experience. We figured we’d done pretty okay in keeping our small thing alive for a year and a bit at home, we’d ventured to Wales and Scotland fairly unscathed. Now it was time to test out our parenting skills by sitting in a box full of hundreds of other people for hours on end and adding dangers like sun stroke, overdosing on Magnums and cockroaches into the equation. Yes we set off on our first holiday as a family. We’ve all come back alive with our limbs intact and actually had a rather nice time. But I have learned a few facts on the way which I’d like to share with you now.

Things that will happen when you take a one year old on holiday:

– You will spend every waking second fearful your baby will be burned to a crisp instantly the second they walk outside, no matter how many layers of factor 50 you’ve applied.
– Because of your deep concern for baby’s skin, you will apply sun cream to yourself approximately zero times.
– Despite this you won’t actually get burned because you will never step anywhere near a sun lounger. You will be the odd one out on the plane home as you sit there with milk bottle legs among those who resemble varnished furniture.
– The absence of ironing, work and various other distractions means you might read more than a paragraph of a book that isn’t Dear Zoo or Guess How Much I Love You (I read a whole two and a half books, none of which had a single picture or ‘lift the flap’ page. Incredible!)
– You’re not any less pissed off about the screaming kid on the plane when it’s your own. Only difference is you have to battle to calm them down for FOUR AND A HALF HOURS instead of just tutting and turning your headphones up as you would if it belonged to someone else.
– Your child will push past exhaustion levels previously unknown to man to stay awake for 4 hours and 20 minutes of your 4hr 30mins flight before eventually falling asleep ten minutes before you arrive at your destination.
– When your child gets swept to the shore by a rogue wave, you will panic, potentially scream, cry, rush to their aide. They will simply blink a couple of times and wonder why there’s so much sand in their nostrils.
– Wipes are €2.25 (or at least they were at the local shop which we had to use after forgetting to buy them at the supermarket). €2.25. You could purchase Aldi’s entire stock of wipes for that.
– If you’ve got a pushchair with you, you get to go to a special security scanning area and get on the plane first. We’re taking ours with us on every holiday until Alex is at least 15.

Harriet and Alexandra x