The Baby Forgot How To Sleep

From fairly near the beginning with both of our children, we have been blessed with good sleepers. Alexandra slept through from a few months old and has never, aside from the odd night of teething, looked back. When Max followed suit we were pretty pleased and, although I’d still been getting up to express and we had the eternal ‘putting the dummy back in the baby’s mouth’ momentary stirring regularly, things seemed like they’d all gone the right way again.

Then about two months ago, Max started getting up in the night. And by getting up in the night, I mean sometimes being unsettled for an hour or two at 10pm, sometimes being awake for three hours from 1am and sometimes never really settling for the majority of the night. He had a bout of bronchiolitis, we knew teething was starting and he was also rapidly outgrowing his Moses basket so we thought it was a combination of all of those. Knowing what to do wasn’t easy: you try the usual teething gel, more blankets, fewer blankets, rocking, shushing, patting. He spent a fair amount of time in our bed. It then came time to put him into the nursery his sister had just vacated – we wondered whether it might make things worse because he does like the comfort of being near to someone, or whether not having the disturbance of us coming to bed or getting up for the loo would make things easier for him.

Well the result wasn’t great. He had a few of his worst nights when we put him in his own room (he also had another cold, about his fifth of the winter, which wasn’t great timing but he was about to burst out of the ends of his Moses basket and if we waited until Max wasn’t snotty he’d have been in with us for years). I read an article one morning at 4am about the timings of naps and concluded that his afternoon nap needed moving backwards so he was waking around 4pm and that we needed to ensure he was in bed by 7.30pm at the latest. The first few nights of this new routine were much better, we were only up to him a couple of times in the night and that was just to replace his dummy rather than spending an hour or two trying to calm him with every and any baby soothing method we can think of.

Then two nights ago (Sunday), he didn’t have a great night. Last night was pants too – he was up for a while around the time we went to bed and then again in the early hours then there were about three hours where I never got the chance to get fully back to sleep in between getting up and down to him.

I’ve read articles saying if you can get them to self soothe then they’ll sleep better. Not so – Max now goes down sleepy but awake and gets himself to sleep almost immediately. But if he wakes up in the night then he needs us to come and settle him back down. I wonder whether weaning him off the dummy would help but I think it might make things worse at this point – and I really can’t face the few days of awful, awful crying that we know it’s likely to take to break the habit.

I wonder whether it’s related to the fact he has a lot of colds so his nose is blocked a fair amount (although we use Snufflebabe, nasal spray and have his cot at an angle in an attempt to help), whether it’s reflux (which is fairly under control on his meds although we tried to reduce them last week on the doctor’s advice and have gone back up to three doses as he’d started being sick more), whether it’s teething (two have popped through and he’s potentially showing signs number three is on its way), whether it’s separation anxiety (although he’ll sleep for the first few hours of the night absolutely fine on his own) or whether it’s his allergies (in which case we’re doomed until he grows out of them!).

Of course, the alternative is he read the article I wrote for the Motherload about baby sleep and decided to make me look a fool.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

A Big Girl Bed

For so, so, so, so long we’ve been talking to Alexandra about her big girl bed in her new big girl room and we finally made the transition over the Christmas holidays.

We knew as soon as we found out we were expecting baby 2 that we would move baby 1 into the bigger bedroom (she had been in the nursery ie the box room since leaving our room at six months) and then I think had we had another girl, they would have shared and we’d have used the third room for storage and/or a study. Anyway, Max is very much a boy so it was decided unfortunately as he was the second child he’d have the smaller room.

What with work, two children, various other commitments and a multiple of problems along the way, it took until a couple of days post Christmas for the room to be ready. We’re really pleased with it – we decided to use the light green and pink accessories already up in the nursery so picked green walls, white furniture and pink curtains (as an aside I’m SO glad we didn’t pick pink paint as I think it would have just been too girly and saccharine sweet). During the day, Alex really enjoyed playing in there (lots of her toys and books are now in there alongside her new dolls’ house).

And then it came to bedtime.

She was truly reluctant to get into bed at first, wanting me to lie down instead and then running off. Eventually Dylan and I swapped places and he went in to get her sorted. There were some tears (from her) but around an hour later she’d finally settled and that was the last we heard of her until 8.30am the next day when she burst into our room (she can now open the doors in our house even though they’re the twisty knob type handles that I struggle with!) shouting TAA DAA. The entrance was hilarious, cute and I feel well deserved given the fact I fully expected to be in and out with her all night.

The next day it took even less time and now she’s fairly happy with trotting off into bed, although she demands an extra story in her room. The first couple of nights there were a few times when she escaped onto the landing but that’s stopped now and so far, touch wood, she hasn’t got up in the middle of the night. In the morning, she’s either been coming into our room (but at a decent time so that’s fine!) or playing quietly.

Our one issue is I have no idea how to get her to stay in bed and go for a nap? As a result she hasn’t had her eyes shut during daylight hours (except once when she fell asleep on her trike the other day). Do I pop her back in the cot in the nursery? What if Max needs to nap at the same time? Do I just accept she doesn’t nap anymore? Do I have to drive round and round for two hours each afternoon so she can sleep in the car?

Of course, our other issue is now Max is in the nursery and he has completely malfunctioned and decided to sleep like a newborn – except he was a regular ‘up every three hours’ newborn so this is even worse. I shall save the sorry tale for my next post!

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

Baby 2: Eight Months Old

Smiley boy!

I almost forgot to do this update! Max has been eight months old since Sunday. Just look at his smiley face!

Movement: Still commando crawling and rolling around everywhere.

Sitting: Making good progress here and he’s sometimes now able to sit unaided for a couple of seconds.

Teeth: None but potentially some signs that he’s starting to teethe.

Brain: His MRI results came back and they’re confident it’s just a blood vessel anomaly and absolutely nothing to worry about which is reassuring.

Cough: Max is just getting over a bout of bronchiolitis which has been tough for him – lots of coughing, disturbed sleep, coughing so hard he’s sick, he’s been off his food, just not a good week at all.

Bottles: He’s only really having three now and it’s been a real struggle to get any milk into him, that may be the illness so I haven’t cut down expressing yet just in case he goes back up to four once he’s fully better.

Food: Potentially there was a reaction to lamb or turnip so we took both of those out of his diet and were due to re-try lamb on the dietician’s advice, but then he got ill so we haven’t added anything as it’d be difficult to tell if he was reacting or just poorly. He’s now having Neocate Spoon supplements to add some more calories into his diet. We’ve really struggled getting much food into him recently but hopefully his appetite will come back. We’re now down to: cauliflower, broccoli, parsnip, avocado, blueberries, strawberries, peach, plum, Nutribrex cereal and coconut milk/yoghurt.

Toys: He absolutely loves some pom poms Alex won in a game of Halloween pass the parcel. Also liking his Nuby teething toy that goes in the fridge, his inflatable ring he can sit in (kindly donated by his cousin), jumparoo and anything that Alex plays with too, so he spends a lot of time ‘helping’ her build towers with her Lego!

Weight: He weighs 16lb 12 which puts him just above the 9th centile which is great news! We go back to his consultant in January who will be thrilled if he’s still following the same curve. Max is wearing mostly 6-9m clothes now and although most of his tops and t-shirts are fairly roomy, I think he’ll move up to the next size trousers roughly when he turns nine months if he carries on growing at the same rate.

Naps: Normally, Max has a nap in the morning from around 9.30am (slightly later sometimes) til approx. 11am. Then in the afternoon he’s most happy if we can get him to sleep from about 1.30pm to 3pm. This all varies of course depending on what we’re doing that day.

Babbling: He’s much more talkative than I remember his sister being at this age. He babbles constantly and it sounds like he says ‘okay’, ‘yeah’ and ‘hiya’ quite a lot although clearly he has absolutely no idea he’s doing it. He’s very expressive and one of those babies who ends up making friends in the queue at the supermarket as he’s normally very smiley.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Balance? Where Are You?

If I stopped going to Asda, I reckon I’d have about 89 extra free hours a week.
Kids are not dressed as it was pyjama week at baby class, not because I’ve given up.

Among the many glib cliché phrases used around/to/about mothers is this idea of ‘finding the balance’.

When you’re younger, finding the balance maybe means not getting completely off your face every weekend so that occasionally you can spend a Sunday doing something other than watching Netflix and crying cause your face feels like it’s going to fall off. Or sometimes not working late and coming home to actually cook something in your own kitchen.

Then you have a baby, and you’re encouraged to spend all your time gazing at this little tiny newborn because you’ll NEVER have this time back again and who cares about having clean pants anyway? But in reality did any of us heed this advice and stop doing the housework completely?

And then you get to a point in life where you have two children who basically take up 100 per cent of your brain space and most of your time, energy (and patience of course). And you find yourself wondering whether you’ve got the balance right?

I mean sure, on the face of it, we’re swimming along kind of okay and nothing has sunk yet and we all normally get fed and washed during the course of any one day. Some days the baby naps on me and I get to watch mindless television for two hours while also looking at Instagram because there’s nothing else you can do when squashed beneath a quietly snoring infant. Some days I cook something vaguely presentable for dinner that isn’t beige and has more than one vegetable in it. Some days I wear make up. I’ve had a shower every day since I got home from hospital with Alexandra, my firstborn, because I decided not showering dipped below my ‘lowest acceptable standard’.

But the thought of all the things I didn’t do again – well I try not to go there else I’d never switch off and go to sleep at the end of each day.

Between feeding (a lovely mixture of bottles, weaning and food for the toddler too, as well as eating ourselves), expressing, changing bums, getting dressed, going out and actually doing something with the kids, nursery drop off, nursery pick up, baby class, endless shopping trips for avocado and parsnips (because the baby can actually eat them), rocking to sleep for naps, baths, washing up (I have no idea how we manage to use the entire contents of our kitchen cupboards approximately 46 times every single day), I feel like there are so many things which get pushed to the bottom of the list.

I agreed to write a press release for someone weeks ago and only just did it today, I have more ironing than I’d like hanging on the back of the bedroom door, the house is vacuumed fairly regularly but jobs like wiping down the skirting boards and cleaning the oven get left or just half arsed very occasionally, there are all sorts of other things languishing at the bottom of my to do list which may just never get done.

And yet, I do have spare time. Maybe if I used the time while I’m expressing more effectively, or didn’t watch as much Netflix in the evening, or maybe got up a bit earlier, then I could achieve so much more with my day. I’ve joked before that when Dylan comes home and asks me what I’ve done, my stock answer is: ‘kept the children alive’. Sometimes, I’m actually deadly serious and I couldn’t tell you anything else I’ve managed.

Have any of us really got the balance right?

Does anyone go to bed thinking: yep done everything without burning myself out? Does it matter that some days I look like I got dressed in the dark? That I’ve been to the gym three times I think since Max was born back in March? That I have utterly no idea how I’m going to squeeze any work into this scenario once I finish my maternity leave at the end of the year?

I would put ‘try and find a balance’ on my to do list, but we all know it’d end up right at the bottom somewhere between ‘learn how to make soup’ and ‘pluck your eyebrows – they’re a state’.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Baby 2: Six Months Old

(You know when you think you’ve posted something then suddenly remember at 4.30am while expressing that you totally didn’t? I can still use the baby brain excuse, right?)

Tuesday was a milestone in our house as the baby turned six months. Yes, Mr Max has been around for half a year now – and what a half year it’s been!

He’s doing so well and we’re really proud of the leaps he’s taking each day and the new things he’s learning. Of course, anyone is proud whenever their child achieves something but considering how poorly he was we often look at his progress in amazement!

Weaning:

I will no doubt post many times about his weaning journey, but I can’t update you at six months without talking about food. He’s not sitting up unaided yet but we decided to try him on some solids when he turned six months to see how things go. We’re doing the traditional purée route as well as giving him some bits and bobs to try and pick up and gum and starting off with two weeks of just veg before moving on to the fun stuff like fruit and the really fun stuff (carbs).

Development:

Max is a little wriggler and he’s very confident at getting from his front to his back. He can roll from back to front but spends a lot of time on his side and somehow managing to move across the floor using a complication system of lying-down lunges and half rolls.

His head strength is much better and he’s also enjoying being sat up more, although he still needs some support with that. He’s now reaching out and grabbing toys and he LOVES bouncing in his jumparoo and being on his playmat surrounded by toys.

Routine:

It’s still 150ml bottles every three hours from 8am to 8pm roughly. He’s up any time from 7am and is the chirpiest morning person I’ve ever met. He’s just started having solids at 12pm and 6pm. Naps are variable but he tends to have one approximately 9.30am for anywhere up to an hour, then another one mid morning or early afternoon then perhaps another one before dinner.

Growth:

Max is set to be weighed next week so we’re not 100 per cent sure how much he weighs but he’s definitely gaining so that’s positive. He’s fitting most of his 3-6m tops now although a lot of them are still a little baggy. He’s about ready to go into 6-9m babygrows in the next couple of weeks and he’s also rapidly outgrowing most of his trousers. Unfortunately we either have the option of horrendously baggy waist and the right length or less likely to fall down but way too short when it comes to his trousers! He’s still very skinny and people are quite surprised when I tell them he’s six months.

We think he may be teething as there’s a lot of dribbling and hand chewing going on, but I feel like Alexandra did this too and she was nearly 11 months before her first tooth came through so we may be in for another long wait if he takes after his sister!

All in all, he is still so happy and cheery. Yes he has his grumpy moments and he cries and he grumbles (don’t we all) but if he’s fed, not tired and not in pain from his reflux then he is just the loveliest little boy. The kids do this thing where most days at least once they lie together and get the absolute giggles and just spend five minutes laughing at absolutely nothing. Looking at them and how much they love each other is honestly the best feeling and makes any and all of the hard bits of his pregnancy and the early days more than worth it. I wish I could share that moment with anyone worrying about having two babies close together!

Here’s to the next six months and all they have in store for us.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Becoming A Mother Then Adapting To Two

There’s always a lot of talk on ‘mommy forums’ about what’s harder – the leap from no children to one, or from one to two (obviously higher as well but I have no experience of that and the thought of four/five children is a little hive-inducing to say the least).

Personally, the leap from being childless to having a baby was huge. It completely tilted my world on its axis and made me think, behave and feel totally differently about pretty much everything. I think that may have been amplified by the fact I hadn’t been with Dylan for very long (Alexandra was born 13 months after we began officially dating, although we had known each other for years beforehand so he wasn’t a stranger!) so in the space of little over a year I had gone from single journalist, living in a house share, doing pretty well what I wanted with my life, seeing friends ALL the time – to being engaged, living with my partner and now having a brand new baby.

Of course, add a two and a half month hospital stay into the mix, the emotional aftermath of an intensive care stay and the long recovery and struggle to get my body back to as ‘normal’ as possible, and things were never going to be easy. I was so incredibly lucky, especially given a history of mental health issues, to not get post natal depression or become unwell with anxiety and depression again. But it was hard.

Like any new mom, I had days where I just thought it’d be easier to stay in the house than try and transport this whole other person and all the things she needed around. I had so many days where I just wanted to hand Alexandra over to her dad when he got home from work and let him deal with the bath and bedtime routine to enable me to have some space and time.

I didn’t really wear make up or do my hair much, a real change from before when I was working and had nice nails and made an effort most days. I would scroll through past instagram pictures and feel a bit nostalgic for that old person. And then I got to a point where I thought you know what, I can get some of that back. I can make time to wear make up or do something I want to do. But I’m never going to get it all back. I’m never going to be Harriet first anymore, I’m always going to be Alexandra’s mom first.

And so as our bond grew I tried to relish it a bit more, to enjoy my new life rather than comparing it to my old one. And I still had days where it was rough – it’s NEVER going to be easy when you’re a parent. This was our new normal.

Then the world tilted again, we found out we were expecting our baby boy. Max’s arrival certainly came with its own set of problems. No one can watch their child on a ventilator or get diagnosed with a condition with a 50 per cent mortality rate or go down for surgery at 11 days old and not feel like a different person.

But crucially this time round I didn’t have to learn to be a mom. I was already well practised in the practical side of things – the bath time routine, the nappy changing, the changing bag packing. There were places I simply had to be with Alexandra like nursery or Tumble Tots or just getting out the house for a walk to stop her chucking all her crayons on the floor for the 95th time that hour.

So it was no longer a case of sitting there thinking about how different life was and building up the confidence to not think someone in Starbucks is going to judge me if my kid starts crying. It was all about adapting to being outnumbered. I’m not going to lie, two instead of one is an adjustment. You have to think about the logistics of everything – and sometimes you just have to let one of them cry.

If you’ll excuse the language, I said to Dylan the other day: sometimes one of them is being a dick, sometimes both of them are being dicks, sometimes neither of them are being dicks. If no one is being a dick it’s great, if one of them is then it’s manageable, if both of them are then it’s terrible!

Do I feel differently being a mother of two? Yes absolutely, but mostly in positive ways (except the fact my hair has genuinely started going grey). I’ve been finding time to do my make up most days and indulging in as much TV that I want to watch when Alexandra is napping to counteract all the CBeebies I watch these days. I haven’t yet managed to use any of the bath bombs I got for my birthday in early July but I will at some point and right now a cuddle with Max or reading a book with Alex is much better than a soak in the tub.

There is something so magical about watching your children interact with each other and I feel so content that we’ve created two babies who will always have each other, who will grow up side by side and – although they may fight and may not get on as adults – will always have that sibling bond that you can’t get from anyone else in life. To me that’s a fair trade for any of the sanity, hair or free time I may have lost by having two children.

The leap from zero to one was monumental and probably the biggest change I’ve ever made in my life. But in a lot of ways one to two felt natural and the learning curve this time was less steep. Life with two is busy, manic, stressful, nonstop but I have at least one moment in every day where I look at them and feel so so glad that we have two. It just feels right.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Two Under Two: Real Survival Tips Part Two

I’m back after a small hiatus during which I was in sole charge of two tiny beings for eight days. I’ll talk more about that soon but for now I’d like to share the second half of my survival tips for two under two (first part here):

– Be proud. It’s so easy to beat yourself up because your oldest ate something that wasn’t organically grown and picked by monks singing Mozart, or whatever it is that we’re meant to be doing with our food these days, or the baby has watched more television in one day than your toddler was allowed to watch in their entire first year on earth. But having two children, especially two so close together, is really tough. So try (and the irony of this advice is that I find it ridiculously tough to actually do this) to feel proud when you get to bedtime and you haven’t sold, broken or dropped either of them. Whether it’s getting out for an hour, teaching one of them something new or simply just remembering to feed and change them – there will be something positive that you’ve done that day if you think about it hard enough!

– Be your kind of mom. Basically do it your way. If you want to hire a nanny, babywear, helicopter parent, attachment parent, send them off to boarding school the second they’re old enough, never let them out your site, as long as you’re not harming them in any way (kind of goes without saying) then it’s all good. Having your first baby is a steep learning curve and you generally get advice from every person in your life. By the time that baby becomes a toddler you’ve probably sifted out the bad and ugly advice and only taken on the good. So when you’re doing it second time around – and so soon after the first! – you should absolutely own it and just go with your own flow. Certain things my friends, family and random strangers I follow on social media (creepy) do aren’t for me; I’m sure those people are looking at what I’m doing being all HOW MANY times has she taken them to soft play this week? WHY won’t she let the baby go to nana and Grandad’s on his own yet? WHY do the kids not go to bed at 6pm? But you know what, it’s working for us right now. That’s all that matters.

– Last piece of advice: enjoy it. Look at the two humans you created laughing and smiling at each other and savour the moment. I’m not going to get all hashtag blessed on you but despite its many, many difficulties, rearing two monkeys is incredible because you get to watch their relationship bloom and blossom. Yes sometimes they might be smacking the shit out of each other or trying to roll the baby off the sofa – a new trick in our house – but sometimes you’ll watch them giggling together and your heart will be so incredibly full.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x