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

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

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

Dear One-Year-Old Max

Max, it’s your birthday! You may not be able to read this right now but I hope in years to come you will and you will realise how utterly loved you are.

A year ago today, on Mothers’ Day, I was in a delivery room at Birmingham Women’s Hospital with your dad, a fabulous midwife and various other health professionals buzzing in and out of the room. Although you were a little early, we were desperate to meet you. We didn’t know how well you’d be when you were born, but you surprised us all by not only being born very quickly, but also breathing completely by yourself.

Things took a turn for the worst and the next three weeks were a rollercoaster of ups and downs as your little lung collapsed twice, you yo-yoed between intensive care and high dependency, you were looked after by phenomenal people, no one quite knew what was wrong with you and then all of a sudden there was a hospital transfer to the Children’s and you were taken down to surgery to close the hole in your diaphragm which was the cause of all the problems.

At every step of the way, and every day since, you amazed me with your utter strength. You were 4lb 13, had the skinniest legs I’ve ever seen, you were so tiny and fragile. And yet you showed you were a force to be reckoned with – from your repeated attempts to pull your own ventilator out to your absolute refusal to lie with your legs tucked into the little comfy nest the staff would lovingly create for you – instead you wanted one leg draped over the nest at all times.

We took you home a week post surgery, a phenomenally quick turnaround. And then of course you were admitted to our local hospital where your allergic condition was diagnosed. Eventually your hollow features filled out a little, you gained weight, you thrived, you became the beautiful blond boy turning one today.

And I can’t explain in words how incredible I think you are. There are people in this life who think they have a raw deal, who whinge and whine at every opportunity, who think ‘why me?’ and then there’s you – this tiny being who’s had to fight to be able to eat anything at all, to be able to breathe freely, to catch up with his peers. And yet you have the biggest smile I’ve ever seen.

I’m not pretending you’ve been an easy baby this past year! Your sleep has been somewhat erratic for the last four months or so, and sometimes you just scream and scream for something as silly as me leaving the room! But my god have you excelled in certain areas. The list of foods you can eat is so substantial the dietician was shocked when she saw them. Your latest x-ray caused the surgeon to remark what a wonderful job he’d done operating on you. And no one who looks at you would ever suspect how much you have panicked us and the healthcare world at times!

The way you look at and interact with Alexandra makes me so happy. When you were tiny you would turn your head to look the instant she made a noise – and now you are desperate to join in all the games she plays. You have learned to toughen up thanks to the rough treatment you sometimes receive at her hands, but I have also seen the two of you in fits of giggles so many times, I have seen you beam from ear to ear at the sight of her and I have witnessed so many cuddles and so much love between the pair of you. I hope you always adore her as much as you do now.

I never realised that you can miss something you don’t have yet until I missed you so fiercely in that time when you weren’t going to be a possibility. Throughout my pregnancy with you, I kept positive because I had to believe that you had fought the odds to even get to week 1 of that pregnancy – so maybe you were meant to be. A lot of odds were stacked against you but you have not only defied them, you have defeated every obstacle in your way and you have shown the world how tough you are. How ironic that the name we picked for you, Max, means ‘the greatest’.

I said when you were born that there had been a Max shaped hole in my heart and you’d come along to fill it. Baby boy, you have made my heart so happy.

Mommy x

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