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

Your Second Pregnancy

So you get pregnant for the first time, it’s great, you spend hours languishing in the bath, you sleep in, you spend most of the time eating and eating and eating, you wander in and out of the nursery just to touch their tiny little baby clothes, you spend hours in that middle part where you can feel the baby kick but no one else can getting your other half to put their hand on your belly ‘that was a kick’ ‘I didn’t feel anything’ ‘that was definitely one’ *repeat a trillion times*. That was my experience anyway. As a mother of a bump, you have all the time in the world to revel in your pregnancy, to wallow in sorrow or immerse yourself in the joy of it all. Your focus is the baby, a lot of conversation revolves around the baby, you probably have one of those little chalk boards to count down the days.

I’m heavily editing out all the time you spend rearranging pillows – at least 50 per cent of your pregnancy, and moaning about various aches and pains – probably another 40 per cent, with baths taking up 9.9 per cent of the remaining time. I also didn’t have a stereotypical pregnancy in that I wasn’t working from 12 weeks onwards so there was a lot of extra time for baths.

Now, roll on to your second pregnancy. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m positive this child is trying to claw his way out through my spine currently (I’m now at the stage where every moment has to be accompanied by a dramatic sound akin to the sound I imagine a pensioner would make if they ever had to run for the bus) I would barely notice I’m pregnant. I mean yes, I attend more than my fair share of hospital appointments and I have to pee A LOT all night. But gone are the wistful days of standing in the nursery looking at all the baby’s stuff – I sorted out Baby 2’s wardrobe as quickly as possible while Alexandra threw coat hangers everywhere (incidentally, is it just my child who goes gaga for a coat hanger?). Gone are the two-hour baths, instead I try and manage a half an hour one a couple of times a week.

I spend more time than I’d like to on the floor picking up toys (and all 300 of the balls from the ball pit which regularly gets tipped up, because it’s a HILARIOUS game!), lugging a toddler in and out of the car or up and down the stairs when she’s having a grump or we’re in a rush, oh and did I mention picking stuff up?

All in all, it’s crazy how different the two pregnancies have been. In some ways, I’m slightly envious of my first pregnancy self, who was just completely selfish for nine months, but in other ways being so occupied with a toddler is probably helping this pregnancy go much quicker!

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

Questions For My Toddler

Toddlers are an alien entity. They can communicate fairly effectively with us using a complicated system of words, sounds that aren’t quite words, nods, shakes, pointing and generally stamping their feet until they get what they want. Nevertheless, I have many questions I’d like to ask Alexandra on a daily basis, and I wish I could live inside her head for a while to fathom out exactly what goes on in there. For now I have recorded some of these questions here, in the hope she might remember in a few years about some of the things she did as a toddler, and I can finally get some answers!

  • Why are you not delighted when given the opportunity to nap in the day? I would be.
  • Why is my food better than yours, even if it’s exactly the same?
  • Is Mr Tumble REALLY that entertaining?
  • Where is your radar which attracts you to expensive, breakable things and how can I switch it off?
  • Why do you feel the need to go to the toilet 20 seconds after I’ve changed you? Is it the same reason as cats pooing in a fresh litter tray?
  • Have you ever considered just sitting still occasionally?
  • Does the TV look better standing with your face three centimetres from the screen? Are we all missing a trick sitting across the room on a sofa?
  • Why do you wake up incredibly late on days we need to go somewhere (even later if we’re relying on you as our alarm clock) and early on days where we have no plans?
  • What’s the obsession with taking your shoes off as soon as we get in the car? Why, if you don’t want them on in the car, do you present them to me to put them on your feet as we’re leaving the house?
  • Why are you so adorable?

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x