Alexandra at 2.5

Alexandra bossing around her cousin Zachary.

I stopped writing monthly updates for Alexandra when she turned two, mostly because there’s only so many times you can say ‘yeah her routine is the same, she still has the same amount of teeth’ etc before it gets a bit boring! I mean, you might find these updates boring anyway, but I enjoy having them to read back on and maybe the kids will even read them one day too.

Alexandra is doing marvellously. I do regularly stop and think how lucky we have been with her – not in a whole ‘ah she never cries’ kind of way. Don’t get me wrong, she is a stubborn, bossy, wilful little creature and I have my fair share of battles with her every single day. But I feel like she sailed through the ‘big’ things in babyhood and early toddlerhood – the things like weaning and sleeping and stopping having bottles and dummies. So that’s what I mean when I said we lucked out.

We haven’t started potty training yet, which is the big thing a lot of people ask about once baby turns 2 (can I call her a baby anymore? Probably not, ah well). She’s showing little signs here and there and we have had a grand total of TWO wees on the potty. But honestly, I’d much rather wait and deal with nappies for a little while longer until she seems more eager to be out of them. I don’t really get why some people are so keen to potty train early – obviously, I’m not going to hold her back and I realise it’s a big step in their development, but actually pushing them to train as early as possible seems a bit bizarre especially as you still have to deal with disposing of the wee/poo and wiping and all that faff. If they took off their nappy one day and mastered using the proper toilet, wiping, flushing and washing their own hands on that same day, then maybe – but it still seems like a lot of hassle! Plus there’s the whole thing of being somewhere and them going ‘I need a wee’ and having to get to a toilet in about 2.4 seconds. I already do that myself but I probably have just a slightly better ability to hold in a wee than a 2 year old does!

Alexandra has pretty much dropped her daytime nap now, which coincided with her moving into the bigger bedroom and into a proper bed – as I could no longer contain her in the cot she’d just get up and come back downstairs if I tried to put her in bed in the afternoon. I did a lot of driving around to try and get her to nap but now I’m not actively trying to get her to nap anymore as it just seems to use up all our effort and patience! Sometimes she drops off in the car or the pram if we happen to be out but apart from that she goes to bed around 7.30 and seems to be getting better at not becoming a total nightmare to deal with in the few hours before that!

Her speech is the one thing which has really developed over the last six months – we have proper conversations with her now and it’s lovely. One of my favourite parts of the day is when we sit down and tell daddy what we’ve done when he comes home. Not least because sometimes she just absolutely makes it up – for example telling him her thumb was on fire, the fire engine came and then she went to the hospital and saw a doctor. Dylan’s looking at me like WTF and I’m like yeah I probably would have called you had that happened, don’t worry our kid has just become a complete liar!

Alex remains very strong-willed and independent which is something I love about her but it can also be slightly exasperating when you’re trying to get her to do something! I’ve found if she’s just having a strop about something, just ignoring her for a while can be quite effective. Recently she’s started saying she doesn’t like her dinner so I’ll just leave it on the table and let her get on with playing or whatever. About 80% of the time she’ll take ten minutes and then come to the table and start eating.

We’re having all the usual pushing, kicking, being mean, throwing herself on the ground wailing that you expect from a two year old – nothing that really worries me in any way but of course it’s frustrating to deal with at the time, especially with a nearly one year old needing your attention as well.

My favourite thing is now when I say love you Alexandra, she says ‘lub you mommy’. Cute.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Baby 2: 11 Months

Not going to lie, I am slightly freaking out about the fact my tiny little baby is one in under three weeks!

I feel like he’s really progressed in the last months and has come on leaps and bounds. We are so proud of him. I know everyone is proud of their children, and I know a lot of children have things going on which affect every single aspect of their lives in a much more profound way; but our little boy has faced every challenge with the biggest smile on his face and to look now at his pictures in the very early days when he was so tiny, fragile and poorly: he’s unrecognisable now. We’ve never shared any of the pictures of him when he needed help breathing or was having jaundice treatment or was surrounded by wires (I think the earliest ones which have gone on social media or here are when he still just has his feeding tube in), but looking back at them now shows us how strong Max was and is! He’s a dude.

So, having looked at last month’s update there are a couple of quick things to say and then certain things I’ll go into in more detail:

  • Three new teeth, making a total of five!
  • Sleeping really well – we’ve had two nights where he’s not stirred at all for around 12 hours and most of the other nights it’s only been once or twice for his dummy. We need to get rid of it soon but I’m trying to put it off for a little longer! (Except I wrote this last week and then we had a couple of awful nights thanks to cold number 27464749 of the winter)
  • Routine is pretty much the same except he’s dropped his 11am bottle so just two left now.
  • He’s pulling himself up to standing and climbing constantly now! He can go from lying down to sitting up and has also cracked sitting up totally now. Still commando crawling although he can move forward for about a second on his hands and knees before going back to commando style again.

The first thing I wanted to talk about a bit more extensively is his speech. We noticed from very early on he had a great range of sounds and ‘talked’ a lot more than his sister did at that age. I’m still not totally sure he realises what certain words mean but he’s definitely learning that he gets a reaction from saying sounds at particular times. Having said that, in the last week or so Max is saying ‘daddy’ a lot when Dylan comes in the room or in his general direction, and he doesn’t say it to me, so it could be that he’s learned who daddy is. He also says ‘hiya’ a lot which is super cute (especially when accompanied with very enthusiastic waving) and ‘yeah’. I’m totally okay with him saying daddy first, especially when I hear ‘mommmmm mommmmm mommmm’ a trillion times a day from his sister.

 And lastly, the big one with Max is always how his food is going! In his ten month update, we were trialling pear which was a pass. Also added to the safe lists this month are some really good foods: rice (so handy as it opens up some cereals and rice cakes as well as – of course – rice itself and he LOVES it), banana (again handy for snacks, he eats an entire one at a time because he loves them so much) and eggs (a high risk food but another great one for him). We have a tentative pass on chicken because it caused some nappy issues (although we are now thinking it could have been teething?) but no sick so we think it might be okay but will need to keep an eye on it when he has it in future. Last week he passed oats – this was on the request of the dietician who thought he could benefit from more calcium so he’s been having Oatly custard – and beef. This week we’re doing peas and then in a few days we’ll try corn.

We saw the dietician two weeks ago and she was very pleased with him – he’s got a very long list of safes in their eyes and is passing medium and high risk foods which is great news. They want him to trial dairy in hospital when he turns two rather than at home, which would be my preference too and they also want him to carry on having formula until he’s two. He now weighs 18lb 4 which is still on the smaller side but he’s putting weight on consistently so they are chuffed with that!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Finding It Hard To Write

Not in any way related to the post, but this is my toddler dressed as a monkey in a rather nice little tea shop eating a banana.

We all go through phases don’t we, where the blank page never fills up, where inspiration to sit down and type just doesn’t come. I’ve been feeling a bit like that about this blog recently, which is a shame as it’s intended to be a record for when my kids are older and they (or more likely, I) can read back at all the things they did, the highs, the lows and the inbetweens too.

Life has kind of kicked up a gear from the franticness of the early days of having two under two. Two whole babies to look after compared to one of me (with two of us of course during the evenings and weekends!). Nine months of that and then all of a sudden it was time to think about that four letter word again – work. I’m massively enjoying being back into the world of work but the dynamics are very different again.

Up until I was 12 weeks pregnant with Alexandra, I worked full time (and overtime! And time over that too!) and life was very full with not only my real job but also the volunteer work that I did in my spare time (running a mental health group). Then I upped sticks and moved in with Dylan and suddenly I had not a fat lot to do. I spent a lot of my first maternity leave napping, eating and watching pointless television. Now, I wish I’d done something more productive with that time. But equally I’m happy I had that wind-down time that I probably won’t get again until I’m 80. Then I had my time off with Alex where I learned how to be someone’s mom before I started freelancing – doing bits and bobs while she was napping, occasionally taking her along to a work meeting and she’d sleep in the pram or smile at everyone, setting up stuff for her to play with so I could work at our dining room table.

And then came maternity leave with Max and then came, well, now. Each and every day is so full on because even if we don’t go anywhere, there’s two bums to keep clean, two mouths to feed (constantly!), arguments over toys being MINE, washing to do, a house to keep clean, more snacks, more food, bottles, baths, bedtime routines. And that’s without nursery drop offs and pick ups, baby groups, play dates, errands, doctor’s appointments. So I’ve resigned myself to the fact the daytime is not going to be my friend in terms of work and I’ve generally been starting my working day at 7.30pm. It’s going well so far, I think. No one’s emailed me back to say THIS IS SHIT so I’ve either been writing okay or everyone’s too polite to say anything! I should hope it’s the former seen as they’re paying me to do it.

So in between my 12 hour days working as ‘mom’ with the kids, the couple of hours working at night, writing the occasional blog for the Motherload and occasionally talking to my husband, I’ve not had much headspace for this blog.

This whole thing comes across a little as a moan about how busy I am (which it’s not intended to be, I actually think I function better being busy and I love both my work and my homelife even if both can be challenging at times) or just a whole heap of excuse about my lack of blog writing. Which again, is unintended. I hope to always carry on this blog. I hope to be talking about my grandchildren on this blog one day (although of course my two are going to stay little forever and never fly the nest and have kids of their own!).

Anyway, it’s very late and I’m about to go to bed. Max is stirring a little so I’m hoping the murmuring over the monitor won’t turn into a full blown cry!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

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

The Cost of a Nap

Remember in the ‘good old days’ when you used to just go for a drive aimlessly? Quite often my first boyfriend and I would just get in his car and drive around of an evening, even though we were absolutely skint. Now you need a ridiculous amount of money to be able to indulge in such luxury and I feel like suggesting going for a drive without a destination is akin to asking if you fancy an impromptu holiday! Myself and Dylan hardly ever get in the car unless we have somewhere to go.

There is a point to this, I promise.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about switching the kids around so that Alexandra was in the bigger room in a single bed (here) which all went very well. However, I’m at a bit of a loss as to how you get a toddler to willingly get into their bed and nap. Alex has once, ONCE, got into bed and said ‘I tired mommy’ but by the time I’d closed the curtains she was back up again and couldn’t be persuaded to go to sleep. Once in desperation, I put her back into the cot in the nursery for a nap. But this just isn’t sustainable – I need the cot for Max’s nap and also if she really wanted to Alex could get out of the sleeping bag and out of the cot which clearly isn’t super safe.

So I’ve resorted to going out in the car and just driving around until I think she’s asleep, and then attempting to transfer her into the bed when we get home. This has varying levels of success:

About 20 per cent of the time, she falls asleep and stays asleep when I put her in the bed.

About 20 per cent of the time, nobody falls asleep and I just get two very confused faces when I stop the car like ‘why did we just drive round in a massive circle?!’

Around 40 per cent of the time, the wrong child falls asleep.

And the other 20 per cent of the time, Alex falls asleep and then wakes up when I try and take her out of the car.

So essentially, my new ‘desperation drive nap attempt’ technique is a little bit rubbish. However, as my success rate of getting her to fall asleep in her own bed is currently 0 per cent, it’s better than that right?

If Alexandra was ready to give up her nap then I wouldn’t be too bothered (although now Max has a regular nap schedule it would be lovely to have an hour child-free to work or do something productive in!) but she’s clearly very tired and her behaviour hasn’t been the best since the New Year when we swapped the bedrooms. It could be that she was going to take the Terrible Twos up at notch at this point anyway, but I’m sure tiredness plays a part in the silly behaviour we’re experiencing.

Alex is very much (and has always been) of the mindset that if she doesn’t want to do something, she won’t do it. And you could say well you’re the parent, just make her. But how do I persuade a child to sleep when, short of installing a lock on the outside of her door and barricading her in to her room (where let’s be honest she’d just throw everything out and scream the place down), I have no way of physically keeping her in her bed. When she was still in the cot, she’d protest about nap time then realise she might as well just lie down and go to sleep as that was the only option open to her. Now, just leaving the room and coming downstairs is her preferred option.

So a couple of times a week you’ll find me just aimlessly driving around trying to get my child to sleep while pretending I’m not paying through the nose for the pleasure!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Baby 2: Nine Months Old

Three quarters of a year! Max is now nine months old which means it’s time for another monthly update about what he’s been doing and the new skills he’s learned. I’m finding it really interesting to go back and read what I was writing about Alexandra at this point in her development (her nine month update is here) – not because I want to pit them against each other but just because you forget so much, even in the space of 18 months, and it’s hard to remember that she didn’t pop out as this walking, talking, sassy toddler. Anyway, I digress. Onwards with the update:

Teeth: I’m starting here because there’s actually something to report! Max has one tooth now and potentially the corner of the second – although he won’t let me near to check properly. His sister didn’t pop one through til nearly 11 months so it was a surprise to me when his came through a couple of weeks ago. However, also in contrast to Alexandra who never seemed overly bothered with teething aside from a few restless nights, Max is really struggling. If all of them are like this then we’re in for a long and tiring ride!

Sitting/crawling: He’s been practising lots and can now sit for a few seconds unaided but he’s definitely not at the point where he can be left to it. Max’s crawling is also coming along and he’s able to get around really quickly with his commando type crawl on his belly. He does now get on to his hands and knees occasionally for a few seconds so he’s making progress in the right direction.

Playing: Max loves playing with his sister’s Lego and cars, some pom poms (I think I spoke about them in his eight month update but he still loves them) and still spends time in his jumparoo and bouncer. Among his Christmas presents were a Nuby police car with lights and sounds which he loves, and some little sea creature themed soft building blocks which he’s also enjoying.

Eating: We had some really good progress with that this month and have passed three new food trials bringing him up to a total of 13 foods I believe. New on the menu since the last update are lamb (which we thought he might have reacted to previously), salmon and pineapple and we’re now trialling white potato which is slightly higher risk but we think would be a good addition to his diet. So everything was going as smoothly as it can with an FPIES baby until he had an accidental exposure to dairy on Boxing Day. Unfortunately half a teaspoon’s worth was enough to send him to A&E as he was as white as a sheet, very lethargic and vomiting like nothing you’ve ever seen. Luckily after a while there must have been nothing left in his stomach at all and after a sleep he woke up looking much brighter so they let us go home. We obviously didn’t record any of it as we were focused on him but I almost wish we had so we could show people who are likely to be around him and food how ill he can get from just the tiniest bit of cow’s milk.

Sleeping: You know when you write a blog about people’s reactions when you say your kids are good sleepers – and then karma turns round and bites you in the bum? Max’s sleep has been awful since he had a bout of bronchiolitis a month or so ago. We made the transition yesterday from our room to the nursery (as his sister has now vacated it for her big girl room) and he lasted until half 10 before I brought him back in with me after getting up six times in the preceding half an hour. He seems to want different things each night: sometimes it’s clearly his teeth bothering him, sometimes he wants a cuddle, most the time he will settle a bit more if he’s in the bed with us but sometimes nothing works at all. Dylan wants to just leave him in the nursery to cry it out but I’m concerned firstly that he just wouldn’t settle and the long-term effect of that, and secondly that if he wakes Alexandra we then have two crying children to deal with (third reason would be we’re not exactly getting any more sleep than we would be if he was crying in the same room as us.

So that’s the round up of his nine month update. Let’s see what this month brings!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

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

All I Want For Christmas Is…

Having an under-table party. I wasn’t invited.

We’ve all got something we’d like the big bearded man from the North to bring us on the 25th, right? This year my Christmas list is depressingly short. I don’t want clothes because the fanciest place I go to is baby group. I don’t want books cause the last time I read a book was during my first pregnancy. Alcohol and chocolates are both out of the equation. And I have far too many socks already.

So I got to thinking, what would I REALLY like as a mother this year? Aside from all that guff about cheer and happiness and world peace. What would make my life about a zillion times better? Here is my by-no-means-exhaustive-at-all-I-just-wrote-this-while-they-napped-SIMULTANEOUSLY-for-once-HURRAH list:

The ability to go for a shower and not have to stop the water at least five times because I can hear imaginary baby cries. Or just to learn that they’re never crying and it IS just my imagination.

To go to the shops without coming back with some sweets that I had to bribe the toddler with and a new outfit for the baby even though he has more clothes than the Kardashians.

To go out and come back with all the baby socks, dummies and sippy cups I left the house with.

A Sunday morning where you look at the clock and say ‘nah, it’s only half nine, I won’t get up just yet’.

Naps to continue until both children go to school.

Delivery drivers to never arrive when either child is sleeping.

The toddler to decide she wants the first thing I suggest for lunch, not the 47th.

A washing up fairy.

Never to have that awful feeling when you lose sight of your kid at soft play, frantically search for them for a minute and then they suddenly appear in a place you’ve already looked five times.

For them to finally make the episode of Bing where Flop finally flips and tells him what an ungrateful, whiny little nause he is.

Failing all that, just no tantrums for a week.

Failing all that, just no tantrums for a day.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Leaving The Kids

Who wouldn’t want to spend all their time with these adorable things?

If there’s one thing you learn when you become immersed in the world of motherhood (mothering? Motherdom?) apart from how to cut grapes correctly and how to poo in front of an audience, is how different we all are when it comes to our preferences and the way we bring/drag up our offspring.

Never is this more true than when it comes to leaving the kids. And by that I mean having someone babysit them while you have a break, not abandoning them on the steps of a local church when they’re being little shits. There are some women for whom dropping them off at the gates on their first day at school will be the longest they’ve left them for the entirety of their existence. For others, they’re jetting off on a kids-free holiday before the cord’s been cut.

I like to think I’m somewhere in between although I do veer more towards the ‘I made these children so I might as well spend some time with them’ camp.

With Alexandra we were forced to spend a lot of time apart in the first three months while I spent all my time lying around contracting near-fatal illnesses (dramatic I know!). When I finally made it out of the hospital, Dylan and I went on a couple of ‘dates’ while my mom looked after Alex and then there was a bit of a gap as I’d kind of bonded with this little thing and was happy to spend all my waking hours with her.

Then nana started having her for a couple of hours some weekends to take her to the park or to eat cake and whatever other glorious things grandmothers spoil their grandchildren doing. When I got pregnant with Max, we decided it’d be a good idea to get her used to sleeping at nana’s so she went there – and still does – perhaps every month for a sleepover. Other than that she’s had some time with my sister when I’ve been off at hospital appointments and she obviously was looked after by a few different people when Max was in hospital and I was by his bedside every day.

In terms of social events I’ve been to without her, there’s probably been a handful in her life. I went to a theatre show once, went for a morning at a spa with my sister and went out for my second hen do last summer.

Since Max has been here, I’ve spent most my time with him or both of them (Alexandra goes to nursery twice a week and that’s the longest time I spend without her normally). I haven’t yet got to the stage where I feel the need to have a break from him so apart from when he was in hospital the first time round and I slept in parent accommodation nearby, we’re pretty much together 24/7. I’ve been to the gym a couple of times and once or twice popped to the doctor’s just taking Alex with me and leaving Max with my sister.

So why am I sharing all this? I guess to promote the fact everyone is different and that’s fine. I know people with babies younger than mine who’ve been on nights out already and equally I know parents with babies older than mine who wouldn’t even dream of going to the gym for an hour at this stage (and some who would take their baby with them to the loo. I say pee in peace until they’re old enough to follow you there and ‘help’ with the loo roll in the style of an Andrex puppy).

I think you just need to have the courage of your convictions so if family ask to look after your little one and you’re not ready, then tell them ‘thanks but no thanks’. Approach them and ask weeks, months or years down the line when you ARE ready. Equally you need to respect your partner’s views when it comes to leaving the kids.

Dylan’s off on holiday in September for a week by himself (our children will be two years old and five months old at this point). He’ll have minimal, if any, phone contact with us as he’ll be diving off a boat in southern Egypt. The thought of leaving our children for an entire week brings me out in a cold sweat but the point is he’s happy to do it and so that’s fine by me. However I may decide to jet off somewhere sunny by myself when the kids are teenagers as I have a feeling I really will want some time apart from them by then!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Names I Love But Won’t Be Using

Max showing off his personalised cushion from J&PR. Thanks guys!

I’ve seen lots of people recently talking about names they love but won’t be using for their children, mostly on YouTube. I love the idea and really enjoy thinking about baby names so I thought I’d join in on here! If you have a blog or YouTube channel then please share your list too!


Georgina – when I was six months pregnant with Alexandra, we went to Thailand and while we were bobbing around in the pool, we had a theoretical discussion about what we’d call a second baby. We quickly decided we loved Georgina and that it went perfectly with Alexandra, who we’d already named at this point. We loved the nicknames, especially Georgie, although did worry people would hear Alex and George and assume we had boys! When we got pregnant with Max, we knew straightaway that was our girl name.

Imogen – this was one of the names we discussed during the pool times and was probably our choice for the third girl we knew we’d never have. I love the nickname Immy and think it’s a beautiful name.

Zara – I regularly use a baby names board on a popular pregnancy/parenting website, just for fun, and I’ve seen Zara discussed a few times. I absolutely love it but as Dylan has an older daughter called Cara it would have never been on the cards for us.

Avie – Avie is the name that I probably would have called my daughter had I had one at any point in my very early 20s. It was the name of Dolly Parton’s mom and I remember falling in love with it the first time I read it. She was called Avie Lee but I loved the sound of Avie Cavanagh as I’d already chosen my little girl’s middle name at the time. I love it as an alternative to the more popular Ava/Evie type names. However I’m so glad now we didn’t use it for Alexandra as I don’t think it would have suited her.

Quinn – this is a unisex name but I’ve always imagined it on a girl, maybe because I grew up watching the American cartoon series Daria and that’s her sister’s name. I think it’s a really lovely name that works well for a baby and an adult.


Oscar – this has always been one of my favourite boy’s names but Dylan doesn’t like it so it was discounted both times. I think it’s really cute and again works for a small boy and an adult. My sister had it  on her list too as we have a fair few joint boy favourites (but differ quite a lot on girl options!)

George – this was a name I put forward as an option when we were pregnant with our second, but again Dylan wasn’t keen. I guess as I love Georgina so much it makes sense but it wasn’t to be!

Noah – just like Avie, this was a name I was a huge fan of when I was a bit younger. Isn’t it weird that had I named my children five years ago on my own without any input from Dylan they would be Noah and Avie, but I actually own an Alexandra and a Max which are pretty different styles.

Ace – even though we’re quite traditional with our name choices, we stumbled upon Ace in the early days of number one pregnancy and it was on our boy list for a while. We ended up deciding our boy would be called Max and then obviously didn’t need the name anyway when he turned out to be a she. I still harbour a love for the name but Alexandra’s initials are ACE so I guess that’s the closest I’m going to get.

Clark – I don’t like all of the American surnamey type names but I do like Clark, and again it was on our boy shortlist the first time round although not the second time as we felt we needed a less modern name to go with his older sister’s. I also love Blake but as it’s the surname of one of my best friends it would have been a little weird!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x