No Two Are The Same

I read a really interesting Instagram post from Poppy Dinsey the other day – she’s got newborn twin boys (who are ADORABLE) and she wrote about how fascinating it was that they were so different when they’re being raised exactly the same way, at exactly the same time. I think it’s very easy to place a massive focus on what we as parents are doing when it comes to raising the children, and to almost forget that the child also has a say in how they’ll turn out. Some of it has got to be nature rather than nurture, right?
So many of us are obsessed with whether our baby will be a fussy eater, whether they’ll sleep through the night, whether they’ll have colic or reflux or any number of other common tiny person ailments. We read baby books and consult others who are further along in their parenting journey, and worry and fret constantly about how we’re bringing them up. And yet from day one they have their own little personality, very quickly they have likes and dislikes. And I guess part of the joy of parenting is discovering their little quirks? (Unless their quirks are just enjoying crying ALL the time).
Certainly for me, it’s very true that you can have two children who can be really different. And while no doubt there are some things we’ve probably changed in terms of our approach this time round, like maybe being more relaxed or caring less about whether it’s ‘okay’ to rock the baby to sleep, some of it is definitely influenced by them.
Cuddles is the area that springs to mind when I talk about this subject. Now, you could say my babies had very different experiences when it comes to cuddling. Alexandra had hardly any with me in the first few months of her life, although clearly had plenty with other people, and as a result whenever I tried to get her to lie on my chest or snuggle up with me later on down the line, she normally tried to head-butt me and squirm away as fast as possible. Max was in an incubator for a lot of the first two weeks of his life, so whenever we had the chance he was out and having cuddles. Now at nearly nine months old, I still spend a lot of time cuddling him. He likes to be rocked to sleep if he’s overtired or teething or just because. We are making progress with Alex though and she now asks for cuddles before bed! And sometimes she runs up to us and throws her arms around our knees or gives us kisses. Very cute.
Our teething experience has also been different. Alexandra didn’t pop a tooth out until she was nearly 11 months old and hasn’t ever really struggled so aside from a couple of sleepless nights there hasn’t really been any issue. Max has had a really hard time with his – the first one popped through this week and the second is nearly there. You can tell they’re really bothering him.
Max will be on first name terms with the doctors as soon as he can talk. Alex on the other hand has been to see the GP once (for a rash that I was pretty sure was viral but wanted a second opinion on). I hope I’m not jinxing that!
And Max definitely started babbling earlier than his sister and is much more vocal. Only time will tell if that means he’ll start talking sooner!
Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Take Two: The First Trimester

I’m writing this at the start of November at 14+6 so almost a week into my second trimester, but due to ‘announcement’ timings will be a few weeks further on before it gets published, just to clear up any confusion if I’m referring to being further along in other posts.

Back in April 2015, I wrote a blog about how I’d found the first trimester of my pregnancy with Alexandra (you can read it here). In it, I spoke a lot about tiredness and sickness and I sound generally like a very grumpy pregnancy lady (I was about 18 weeks when I wrote it). So when it comes to an update about this pregnancy and how the first trimester has been, it’s refreshing to be able to confirm it’s completely different!

We found out at five weeks, around the same time as we confirmed we were pregnant with Alex and, as before, I started feeling quite sick around that time (including a few actual vomit episodes. If you’ve ever been crouched over a toilet bowl chucking your guts up with a toddler stood next to you crying then I feel your pain!). I thought here we go again! But actually about a week later I stopped feeling sick and I’ve barely vommed since. Hurrah!

Food wise I haven’t had weird aversions like last time. Mostly with Alex I was disappointed I suddenly hated the thought of Diet Coke despite drinking it religiously beforehand. I’ve never actually gone back to drinking it so we don’t have that to contend with now.

I am always tired of course, but show me a toddler mom who isn’t! Luckily I’ve definitely got more energy than last time round. I don’t know whether it’s a baby gender thing, just because it’s a different pregnancy, because I’m on meds this time, or just because life decided I didn’t need two shitty first trimesters, but whatever it is I’m full of gratitude.

Obviously the first 14 weeks were a little more medicalised than last time. With Alexandra by this point I’d had one booking in appointment and one scan, with baby two I’ve had three scans, two booking in appointments, two haematology appointments, one cardiology appointment, one echocardiogram, one ECG, one rheumatology and obstetrics appointment and about ten blood tests. And this list is set to increase weekly during the second trimester. But clearly for good reasons.

 There’s not a whole lot else to report but I’ll definitely update at some point during the second trimester.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

A Chatty One

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A bit of a chatty blog today. I sat down yesterday to write something, as I normally post on a Thursday, and quite honestly there was nothing coming to my brain. There’s not a whole lot more today hence probably just a bit of a ramble.

I finally took the plunge today and booked us in to visit a nursery for a little look round next week. Immediately I wanted to hold Alex and never let go but seen as she’s 14 months and much more interested in trying to dismantle her dolly’s pram (and anything else she can get her little hands on), that lasted all of about 0.0005 seconds so now I’m just sat looking wistfully at her while she plays slightly hoping she hates it and cries from the second her toes cross the threshold so I can whisk her away and go SEE I TOLD YOU IT WAS A TERRIBLE IDEA. In reality (based on what happens every time we go anywhere new), what will actually happen is she’ll run off to play with all the new children and toys she can get her hands on and probably never want to leave. If she learns to talk in the next six days she’ll probably ask us if we can book her in full time.

We’ve had a very stroppy few weeks with her and I’ve uttered the sentence ‘why won’t you just give me a break’ more times than I care to remember. Which is why it’s a miracle that I actually feel slightly emotional about the whole nursery thing. Life has involved a lot of tears (both hers and mine), refusing to nap (just her, I’d utterly welcome one), destroying everything (her again) and Googling ‘why has my sweet angel baby turned into Satan overnight’ (me).

In the midst of this, she’s been growing a fourth tooth, running EVERYWHERE, developing a liking for playing with washing up sponges?! and she also appears to have had a growth spurt while at the same time her hair’s grown loads too.

We’ve enrolled in Tumble Tots which essentially involves her trying to go on the seesaw for 40 of the 45 minutes we’re there and then mooching around look at the rest of the equipment for the other five. It’s horrendously tiring running round after her and getting up and down off the floor repeatedly but on the plus side it might be making up for all the gym work I’m not doing.

Right now Alex is now happily banging the patio doors and shouting ‘ohhh’ into the garden. In the time it’s taken me to write this sentence she’s started shaking the plant in the corner of the lounge and throwing the placemats on the floor. Excellent.

Harriet and Alexandra x

How To Prepare For Motherhood

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They say nothing can prepare you for the whirlwind of motherhood and I wouldn’t like to claim to be an expert since I’ve only been in the job since last August. But here’s a few of my thoughts on ways you could prepare to become the mother of a nine-month-old baby.

Attempt to wrestle a live octopus into an item of clothing with at least 500 buttons, poppers and zips. Extra points if you button it up right the first time, or even the seventh time.
Grow a third arm.
Balance something very delicate, perhaps an egg, somewhere where it’s likely to fall to the ground and smash. Practice turning away for a second, turning back and then using some sort of superhuman skill to run back to the egg and catch it before it smashes.
Chew everything you own to check you prefer it slightly dog-eared, torn and battered.
Play the same ten-second segment of music to yourself on repeat over and over again until you hear it in your dreams.
Smear sick, dribble, yoghurt and snot on all of your clothing.
Carry about a 20lb weight all day, while getting someone to poke your eyes, put their fingers up your nose and pull your hair.
Start eating all your meals in secret so they don’t get stolen.
Get someone to follow you around all day saying ‘dada dada dada’ and ‘nana nana nana’ repeatedly to check it won’t send you insane.
Grow a fourth arm.

Harriet and Alexandra x

This Year…

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This year…I found out I was pregnant, carried a baby for almost 38 weeks and gave birth!

This year…I experienced the joy of being a mother and having your baby smile at you for the first time!

This year…I moved in permanently with my other half Dylan.

This year…I spent more time than I would have liked to in hospital – although I did get to meet the amazing maternity team at the Princess Royal.

This year…I became a Mrs but not a wife (yet!).

This year…I made some wonderful mommy friends in addition to my lovely friends and family.

This year…we became a family!

This year…was tough but ultimately very amazing.

Happy New Year!

Harriet and Alexandra x

Massive Milestones

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These baby milestone cards seem to be all the rage these days – with people getting them so they can document not only age milestones (one week old, one month old etc) but also other events like first smile, sitting up unaided and so on. We haven’t got any yet although I think they’d be really lovely to have for photos – but seeing them so often got me thinking a little bit about what milestones I’m most looking forward to in the first weeks of our baby’s life.

First daddy cuddle – I absolutely cannot wait to see Dylan hold our little girl for the first time! I think I’m almost as excited to see that as I am to cuddle her myself. I just think it’s going to be one of those magical moments you remember forever.

First night at home – I’m actually dreading having to stay in hospital after the birth, even though loads of people have told me they really benefitted from being there for a couple of days. Maybe I’ll feel differently when she’s here and really want that professional support on hand but right now I’m looking forward to her coming home for that first night where it’s the three of us together – no matter how exhausting it might be!

Meeting my goddaughter – Of course I can’t wait for her to meet my entire family and all my friends too, but my goddaughter is almost four and the way she talks about the baby is so cute! Seeing them meet for the first time is definitely going to melt my heart.

First swim – Both myself and Dylan are definitely water fans – we love swimming, both have sailing qualifications and Dyl is also a regular diver. So for us it’s important to take our little one swimming and get her used to the water as soon as possible! We hope she’s going to be a little water baby and as she already has three swimming costumes she’s definitely got the gear already!

Harriet and bump x

Am I Ready?

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The title to this blog post – Am I Ready? – is something you’d think I’d have thought about before actually deciding to have a child. Well I did obviously. I felt like I’d put plenty of thought into the decision to become a mother, and looking back it wasn’t something I felt I rushed. It just felt right, if that makes sense. I’d always known I wanted to have children at some point in the future, as soon as I was with Dylan I knew I’d found the person I wanted to be the father of those children and there were a whole host of reasons why it made sense to do it sooner rather than later.

But now I feel I went into that decision armed with only about five per cent of the facts, if that. Now please don’t get me wrong, I am 100 per cent totally not saying I regret getting pregnant or I’m not looking forward to our little girl’s arrival or I don’t already love her a ridiculous amount. But I feel like thinking ‘am I ready?’ for motherhood is an entirely different concept once you’re actually in the position of becoming a mother.

For starters, you learn a whole lot more about the process of pregnancy and having a baby. Beforehand, sure I’d spent time with friends who had children (and the children themselves) but you don’t really get an insight into the totality of their situation, the 24/7 daily life they lead and how that’s flipped upside down by a baby. You know your life will change, and I felt sure (and still do) I was well past the days of wanting to be stood inside a grimy nightclub of a weekend. But it’s only once you approach the latter stages of the pregnancy that you start really taking notice of what you do now and what you’ll be doing then. One night last week, Dyl and I decided on a whim to go out for dinner at 9pm. I’m not saying we’ll never go out for dinner again – we obviously will! – but that kind of spur of the moment thing surely has to be dampened for at least the first couple of years. Taking a baby or toddler out til 11pm without any prior preparation or planning just isn’t feasible!

Then there’s the emotional side of things. After a pretty turbulent start to 2014 (playing it down massively), the summer last year was a real turning point for me and I feel like since I’ve really levelled out and probably been the calmest I’ve been in my life. But now, armed with a whole host of pregnancy hormones, I’ve started worrying whether I really can become a mother. Whether I won’t just sit in a corner and cry a lot! Whether the first day Dylan goes back to work after paternity leave won’t just involve me looking at the baby and wondering what the hell I do now.

People tell me instinct kicks in, you just get on with it, you form this amazing bond and you look back one day and realise you are a mother. I’m massively hoping this is true and that actually, all of the thought I’m putting into the process and the question of ‘how do you become a mother?’ is unnecessary, it’ll just happen.

Harriet and bump x

The Magic Moment

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It seems only logical to start this blog with an explanation of the ‘magic moment’ (not the conception for those with their minds in the gutter!) – when we found out I was growing a tiny person inside me. That sounds ridiculously twee but if you’re not allowed to be twee about creating a new life, when can you be? Dylan (bump’s daddy and my husband-to-be) and I weren’t really expecting things to happen so quickly. *Look away now mom, TMI coming up* We’d started trying to conceive in October last year (2014) but weren’t doing the whole testing, using apps, knowing when I was ovulating, me doing handstands for hours (do people really do that?) thing. It was more a ‘when it happens, it happens’. Although I did go a bit neurotic about it for a while, more on that in a separate post. *You can come back now mom*.

So whilst we weren’t actively trying to prevent a baby, it wasn’t a massive focus in our life and it was very much being left to whatever Mother Nature decided. So much so the following month (November) we booked our wedding for September this year and we kinda carried on as normal really, just occasionally doing a test just in case. January rolled round and I had been feeling really out of sorts, but just put it down to a variety of other reasons and didn’t want to be too over hopeful. On Friday evening mid-month we found an amazing honeymoon deal and booked it, swooning over the beautiful pictures and talking excitedly about all the things we would be seeing.

Less than 48 hours later Dylan was due to leave my house for the week (we were still living in separate houses at this point) and we decided it would probably be a good idea to see why Aunt Flo hadn’t turned up (three days late). I happened to have a pregnancy test in my bedroom so into the bathroom I went. I didn’t even need to wait three minutes, that line was there clear and bold for anyone to see within seconds. Yep, I was definitely up the duff, with child, bun firmly in oven.

But with honeymoon booking fresh in my mind and the clashing dates potential, the first thing I said to Dylan was ‘don’t be angry’ – as if he would be able to be irate at me. After all, I keep reminding him it IS his fault. Anyway, I laugh/cried hysterically for a while (read: probably an hour). Then we realised we had all sorts of practical things to do so off we went to Aldi and to drop a wedding invite round at his friend’s house. It was all very surreal. I don’t think I even took in at that point we were having a baby – I was still trying to process the whole ‘being pregnant’ thing. It probably doesn’t even make sense that those two things were separate in my mind but I think even now 13 weeks on I’m struggling to get my head round the concept of becoming a mom, although bump doesn’t let me forget the fact I’m actually pregnant.

So that about covers the finding out part, much more to share soon!

Harriet and bump x

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