Joie Twin Aire Review

I’ve never been keen on the idea of spending a lot of money on prams. The idea of shelling out nearly £1,000 for a travel system makes me feel a little bit ill – although I appreciate for some people the pram is a massive deal. For me I’d rather spend that on, well, everything. If you take into account £300 odd on a car seat you can get most if not all the other things you need with the rest of that grand.

So when it came to choosing a pram for Alexandra we firstly used a second hand Hauck system (from good friends so we knew it was fine!) and then we purchased a Joie Nitro which has never let us down. It’s still going strong, we use it now if we only need a single and we’ll be buying Max one once Alexandra is too old for a pushchair.

So when my nephew Zachary was born and we decided to buy a double pram for Alexandra and him, I was won over by the Joie Twin Aire which Max now uses as well. It’s essentially two Nitros stuck together with some nifty reversible blue and pink inserts (I’m not bothered about gender colours and will happily reverse them if the kids want a different colour when they’re old enough to choose – you’d be amazed how often people still ask what gender the kid is though as if the blue pram insert and blue outfit isn’t giving the game away).

I’ll start with the cons because there are so few:
– It’s quite wide so often you’ll find doorways and shop aisles a little bit of a challenge. If you’re really worried about that then you might want to look at a different option which isn’t side by side.
– When you fold it down it needs to be lifted rather than dragged along because of the positioning of the basket. A minor point but at first we thought the basket was faulty because it sits so low and drags along the ground in the folded down position.

The pros:
– Each seat lies completely flat so it’s suitable from birth. We bought an insert off Amazon for Max just so it’d feel a little bit less roomy in there but I haven’t been using it when it’s been super warm. I’ve also slightly inclined him because of his reflux which works really well to allow him a comfortable sleep.
– It is so light weight. Once you add two children and all their stuff, it’s obviously fairly heavy but the pram itself isn’t bulky so it pushes and corners beautifully.
– The basket is massive. I can fit everything I need in it. The only slight drawback is if I pop the entire changing bag in there I need to have the seats upright to get it back out but I just take Max out first to save having to move his seat while he’s in it.
– The price. Lots of places do it for £120 but if you shop around some do it for £99 which is the price we got it for doing a price match at Mothercare. You can’t really complain about getting a double for less than £100!

Have you used a Joie? What do you think?

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Taking Two Under Two Out

Getting ready to leave the house is a day’s work in itself.

When Alexandra was tiny, leaving the house seemed like a massive feat, like a trauma that would surely involve tears (from both of us) and probably a poonami or two (hopefully just from her). Over time I gradually learned to become more confident about taking a tiny human being everywhere with me.

As most the time I’m going to fairly busy civilised places rather than travelling to the jungle or desert, I’ve learned you can pretty much always buy whatever you’ve forgotten or the baby’s ruined. Yes sometimes that’s meant buying an emergency pair of leggings from the supermarket or borrowing a nappy from a friend but clearly neither of those options are the end of the world.

What do you do if the baby cries? Well the simple answer is to have enough food on you to rule that out as the cause any time they cry and then to carry on like you would at home. Work your way through the list of possibilities until you stumble upon the correct one.

I quickly realised that everyone has run home in the rain having forgotten the pram cover, everyone has left a bottle top open and leaked liquid all over the change back, everyone has coped with a baby meltdown so bad they’ve just had to give the sorry eyes to anyone passing.

And then the game changed. I fell pregnant with number two. I then spent a lot of time worrying about how you could possibly take two out when there’s only one of you.

But just as I did with my first, you learn to adapt and you pick up tips along the way. Things like always ensuring you’ve got a snack for the toddler to have during baby’s feeds, even if they wouldn’t normally eat at that time, because they will get bored being strapped into the pushchair not moving for that length of time. Things like taking a blanket for the toddler so they don’t steal the baby’s because they will even if they don’t normally have one anymore. Things like what order to put them in and out of the car to avoid any issues.

Clearly I’m not perfect, I don’t have this parenting thing sorted just yet (does anyone?), mostly I’m just winging two under two. But my point is there is absolutely no need to worry. Parenting is suffocating at first but if you try to remain as calm as possible and not let the fear take over, you CAN get out of the house on your own. There is no need to be trapped. One day everything will click and you’ll look back and wonder why you worried. You got this!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Mother Of Two

The cutest little monkeys.

Being a mother of two is…
– Spending weeks thinking about what you’ll do when they both nap at the same time and then wasting it looking at instagram when it finally happens.
– Sometimes counting the ‘high point’ of your day as the time when the babies poo at the same time so you can use one nappy bag for both. Economic!
– Nodding and smiling nicely about 58 times a day when people tell you you’ve got your hands full.
– Trying to ram the double buggy through doors that aren’t wide enough, down aisles that it clearly doesn’t fit down and around people who have no concept of where it’s appropriate to stand and have a chat.
– Attempting to make important phone calls while feeding the baby, helping the toddler create a crayon masterpiece, eat your breakfast (at 2pm) and change somebody’s nappy.
– Wondering if you could squeeze into a nappy yourself so you save time having to go to the toilet.
– Being more tired than you ever knew possible but also more happy (had to throw a nice one in there cause I do really like my children!).
– Wondering if it looks twee or cute if you’ve accidentally matched the kids’ clothes but going with it anyway because changing one would be more hassle.
– Deciding if going to the loo, eating or sitting down for two minutes are the priorities. Deciding you can actually combine all three!
– Trying to stop the big one squashing the small one.
– Being tempted to write a Facebook bragging status when you get to the bottom of the laundry basket.
– Wondering how baby always has a bigger pile of clean clothing in each load than anyone else despite being much smaller than everyone.
– Deciding you’ll have bulging biceps in no time when you’re carrying round baby in his car seat and toddler at the same time.
– Trying to get both of them to look at the camera simultaneously just once.
– Feeling really responsible when you realise you’re in charge of two human beings.
– Giving yourself a mental high five when you get to the end of every day and they’re both still alive, fed and changed, even if they (and you and the house) are covered in sick, bogeys and food.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

21 Months and 2 Months Old

I thought I’d combine a monthly update for both children, mostly as Max turned two months on the 26th and Alexandra turned 21 months on the 29th so we’d have two similar posts on the trot otherwise. Also because once she turns two I’ll probably do less frequent updates about Alex so it seemed to make sense to do it this way.

Alexandra:

This little one’s personality seems to be growing every day, she’s full of sass and is much too smart for her own good. We’re definitely experiencing the full force of tantrums now but on the flip side she’s also very loving and caring. She’s delightful with her brother and loves giving kisses to everyone, whether it’s us or her teddies.

Her vocabulary is expanding daily with new words including star, heart and circle (there’s been a new focus on shapes in our house!), blue, spoon and efforts to say Max, car (sounds like dar) and moo (she says boo instead!). We’ve been doing a lot of counting but that mainly involves shouting the number two which is her favourite number by far.

Alex is excellent at pointing out different objects, animals and people in her books and particularly enjoys playing with her farmyard animal matching game (they played something similar at nursery and the staff were very impressed with what a whizz she was at it).

She’s getting much better at feeding herself and eats 95 per cent of her meals without assistance. Fruit is still one of her favourite things, although strawberries have overtaken bananas this month as her ultimate fave. Alexandra had her first proper fringe trim at the hairdressers this month, has spent loads of time in the garden and at the park, has lots of new books thanks to both nans and is still obsessed with stars, flowers, playing boo and saying hello into the phone (or any object she wants to pretend is a phone).

Max:

Little Maxi is now two months old although people still think he’s just a few days old when they see him for the first time. He was 7lb 8.5 on the 23rd and is still wearing newborn clothes. He began smiling at seven weeks old which we were really impressed by as we were told it could be six weeks after his due date (which would be when he’s 11 weeks).

He still loves his cuddles and is happy for ages lay on anyone’s chest. He’s also a very hungry boy and has around 120ml every three hours, a mix of expressed milk and Neocate. He now spends time in his bouncer and his baby gym and enjoys having new things to look at.

He adores his sister and spends a lot of time looking at her and listening to her. Max’s eyes are starting to go a lighter blue and his hair is still a mid brown and hasn’t started falling out yet. He’s still got the strong grip so many nurses and doctors commented on when he was first born and he’s much more active now, getting to grips with moving his arms and legs.

All in all, both of them are doing amazingly and we are super proud parents!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

A New Sibling

Alexandra talks Max through how to use his new baby gym.

Bringing a new sibling into the equation is always going to be tough. Whether you’re nine months or 19 years old, you’re going to be affected in some way if there’s suddenly a new tiny thing living in your house that demands attention 24/7 and gets loads of cuddles from not only your mom and dad but from all your visitors too.

But there are ways to minimise the green-eyed monster (although you’re always going to get one or two jealous moments!).

Alexandra was 18 months when her brother was born so her understanding of what was happening was fairly limited, although she obviously knew something was happening.

Before baby’s born:

– Keep them involved is my main advice. Alexandra came to some of my scans to see her brother on screen before his grand entrance. We showed her things we’d bought for baby, talked to her a lot about her brother and she spent a lot of time patting my tummy and talking to him through my belly button.
– Spend time with them. Sounds silly but it’s easy to get caught up in the pregnancy whirlwind and also to want to rest up as much as possible, especially in the third trimester. However I tried to use my pregnancy as a time for Alexandra and I to cement our bond and spend plenty of time playing, knowing my attention and time would be divided very soon.

Once baby arrives:

– Keep the status quo. Don’t switch up the older sibling’s routine to fit in with the baby, do the opposite if you can. For example we’ve incorporated Max into Alexandra’s existing bath and bedtime routine. We still eat meals at the same time, even if it means one of us has to cuddle or feed Max during dinner. We’ve been going out as much as we can and Alex has still been attending nursery even though I’m on maternity leave. So yes things are different now she’s got a brother, but we’ve tried not to turn her whole world upside down.
– Get them involved. Their age will dictate how involved they can be, but simple things like asking them to fetch a nappy and wipes for changing time, or helping them hold the bottle during feeding time, can help them feel like they’re doing a great job supporting you and bringing up their little sibling. Alex is chuffed whenever she gets praised for helping Max.
– Get visitors on board. Luckily our friends and family have been amazing about ensuring they give Alex plenty of fuss (does that phrase make her sound like a puppy?) when they come to our house, and many of them have brought a little something with them for her if they’ve been bringing a gift for Max which is incredibly sweet. Having people pay her plenty of attention means Alexandra doesn’t really get jealous when we have visitors.

I’m not painting the whole two under two, new baby, new sibling scenario out to be amazing and all rainbows and butterflies – but it is working out much better than I envisaged when we found out we were having a second baby. It helps that Alex is incredibly independent and has a good comprehension of lots of things we talk to her about – and that Max is a fairly chilled baby. But it also helps that we work as a team and ensure both of us spend time with both children. We’re getting the odd moment of jealousy but it’s so worth it to see the sweet moments where she holds his hand and kisses him, or the way she now hi fives him before bed as well as her dad and I.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Two Under Two Survival Tips

We’ve now been the owners of two children under the age of two for eight weeks. So far, so good in that all four of us have survived the experience and the children have at least been fed regularly. I’d like to offer up some advice based on the small amount of two under two experience I have under my belt for anyone utterly mad enough to sign up for the crazy experience that is the newborn/toddler combo experience:

– Consider becoming a Pampers shareholder or finding out if Aldi offer staff discount and joining their workforce. The amount of nappies we’ve got through is hideous.
– Save your voice by recording the following phrases and playing them on repeat to your toddler through the day: gentle, careful, no that’s the baby’s, give that back to the baby, please don’t tread on/kick/sit on the baby.
– Accept that everybody leaving the house in some form of clothing is a bonus. If the baby’s in their pyjamas, the toddler has banana in their hair and you have sick down your leggings then it’s fine. You made it out the house and that’s some sort of minor miracle considering the likelihood of someone needing to eat, drink, have their nappy changed, nap, have a tantrum or any combination of the above at any one point in time.
– Just don’t even bother attempting to nap. You probably discovered about a week in to life with baby 1 that sleeping when the baby sleeps is some sort of bullshit advice given to you when you’re pregnant to lull you into a false sense of security about how easy this is going to be. If the planets ever align and you find both of your children are napping at the same time then do not under any circumstances bother closing your eyes (not even a long blink) or, heaven forbid, lying down. They will know. They will both wake up within seven milliseconds even if they’ve only just gone to sleep. They will both begin crying like they’ve never cried before and you will have to choose which one of them to console first while praying the other doesn’t explode they’re crying so hard.
– As above, don’t bother starting to cook some food you intend to eat hot, getting the iron out or dialling someone’s number for a chat. The best you can hope for is you manage to speed eat a packet of crisps and half write a text that you’ve been meaning to send for the last week and will forget all about for at least another month before finally sending.
– Don’t be afraid to let other people do things. With baby 1 you might have been mildly possessive and insisted on doing EVERYTHING. Now you have two, if someone wants to assist in any way then thou shalt bite their hand off and be forever grateful. Whether this comes in the form of occupying toddler while you feed baby, making you a cup of tea or just having a cuddle with baby so you spend some time playing with your firstborn. If you can find someone willing to do nappies (thanks mom!) then consider holding them hostage in your house.
– Pick a child each and sort that one out. Regularly swap which child you each entertain, otherwise one of you will be on a constant feed, wind, nappy change cycle while the other is forced to talk on repeat about dogs, ducks and stars (current favourite in our house – I never noticed how many stars there are on everything until it was pointed out to me every day).
– Let Mr Tumble babysit. There’s no shame in plonking the toddler in front of the TV, having a cuddle with the baby and just not doing much for a while.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

20 Months Old

Alexandra has now reached the grand old age of 20 months old – just four months til the terrible twos arrive (but isn’t it nice that she’s been practising for about a year already!).

The main thing which has developed since her last update (which was actually at 18 months due to the early arrival of her little brother) is her speech. We’re now hearing her say new things every day and just this week examples have included star, Dipsy (while watching Teletubbies) and bubbles. She’s attempting to say brother and now regularly says words in context including night night, hat, hot, nana (for my mom and said more like narna for banana). Animal noises she can do are ack for a duck’s quack, sss for a snake, aaah for a lion and oooo for a cow.

Activities –

She loves her new game which involves matching the baby animal to its parent, is constantly playing hide and seek (with accompanying shouts of boo and giggles while she’s hiding). Alexandra’s favourite thing is being outdoors, whether she’s helping daddy plant flowers in the garden, running round the park or visiting a National Trust place or farm (these are a particular hit given her love of animals).

Other changes including becoming much more aware of when she’s got a dirty nappy (which makes me think I need to do more research about potty training for when the time comes), becoming OBSESSED with bananas (I’m talking up to four a day) and of course the main one has been becoming a big sister. I’m going to talk about that in its own post so I won’t dwell on it here but suffice to say we’ve been very pleasantly surprised at how great she’s been with Max on the whole.

She’s definitely got her own mind and sometimes can be very challenging, like every toddler, but she’s also now becoming much more loving – offering cuddles and kisses more often, she’s very funny and she’s so inquisitive and smart. Aside from the tired tantrums, she’s a delight to have around at the moment!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

My Child Is A Cat

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

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

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

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

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

18 Months Old

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

 

17 Months Old

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

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

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

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

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

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x