Category Archives: Baby care

Potty training or testing?

I am a bit of a geek on the quiet and love looking at what new gadgets get introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This year didn’t disappoint – combining my love of tech and my current focus on getting my eldest into (dry) big boy pants.

The iPotty for iPad is genious – a simple brightly coloured plastic potty but with an integrated stand for an iPad (with essential splash cover sheet!). Anyone who has tried coaxing, encouraging, motivating, dragging… their toddler onto a potty – and keeping them there! – knows the importance of keeping them entertained while they sit waiting for the big moment. I spent many an evening before my son’s bathtime sitting on the floor reading up to six books waiting for the ‘wee’ to come. Whilst a nice bit of bonding time and educational for my son to have so many books each night, crouching on the floor for over half an hour did start to wear thin after a few weeks.

The idea of an integrated screen in the potty to keep them entertained is brilliant and so simple!

Downsides are that I don’t have an iPad or the budget for a hi-tech potty, but hey, you can’t have everything!

Luckily my son has decided that his big boy status includes being potty trained – problem solved. Well, at least until my youngest is ready to come out of nappies…

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Too old for a mid-day nap?

I am not ashamed to say that I would gladly shut my eyes for a short siesta at the weekends if I was given the chance. This does not happen often – if ever – since we’ve had children. I wasn’t even very good at following the midwife’s advice of taking a nap when your baby does when they are young!

Today I was reminded though why it is still a good idea for a two year old to have a short nap!

We had a quiet morning at home, followed by a late lunch. We had a party to go to at a neighbour’s house so a nap just didn’t happen for our eldest. We had a lovely time at the party with plenty of children and toys for my eldest to play with. The journey home went fine until we reached our front door.

In short (and with a few less tears), he wanted to go back to the party. After a good ten minutes of upset, we re-opened the front door and offered to let him go back to the party – there was a brief silence, followed by “it’s a bit dark”. I have to admit to having a quiet smile at that.

His coat was quickly taken off, hung up and a cheerful voice asked “where are my snacks?”. Normal service resumed.

Bedtime came and despite the busy afternoon, lack of sleep and a nice big tea, sleep didn’t come earlier than any other night.

I’m always amazed by the resilience of children and I’m glad for it! But wow, do I value an early night myself!

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I’m a big boy now – well almost

My two year old is increasingly saying that he’s ‘a big boy now’. It is frighteningly true as he is quite tall for his age, has quite a good range of vocab, is potty trained, etc. However, he is still two.

He also has a baby brother who he loves, but…

The youngest is increasingly getting attention as he enters the very cute stage of not being able to move or talk – beyond a range of Ga Ga Gas – but can smile a smile that takes up his entire face… you know the one!

There is no doubt that we love our sons equally, but as the younger one gets more interested and able to reach toys, books, etc., the older one feels he is sharing more than he wants to.

This week he has started to suck his thumb. He has not once sucked his thumb before, but funnily enough his younger brother always has.

I only hope I manage to split my time and attention to ensure they both know how much they are adored – and that they continue to care and look out for each other throughout their lives.

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Anything but routine kid

It has been a while since I last blogged as the four of us have been learning a new routine now I’ve returned to work full-time. The morning schedule seems to work, although it does involve me waking up naturally about 5am! Argh! At least it normally gives me time to prepare all the bottles my youngest will need for his day at nursery (a fun series of bottle sterilisation, water boiling, etc.), wash up, hang washing out and prep breakfast.

No matter how efficient that hour is though, as soon as the boys wake up I seem to enter a time warp. It’s a magic time when they are both drinking their morning milk, then the oldest asks for a book to be read to him – or two, or three. The cheerful gurgles from the youngest and the excitement of the oldest listening to the story being told are hard to disrupt and this only happens when a look at the clock reminds me that we need to get moving if we have any hope of getting to our respective destinations on time.

I’m still getting it wrong though as the boys are changed, fed, washed and dressed before I even think about getting ready myself. Then it is a quick game of catch up to get out of the door.

I remember trying to work out the morning logistics before my second child was born and thinking that it was never going to work. It – like an awful lot of things related to caring for children – is just one of those things that is easier to do than plan for.

The good news is that both boys seem to be enjoying nursery – the youngest getting loads of cuddles from all members of staff. I think it’s mum that finds the morning drop off the hardest.

Routine is good, but the unforeseen can make a huge difference – whether it’s an extra big hug, toothless grin or impromptu dinosaur impersonation. What’s certain is there’s nothing routine about being a mum and that’s half the fun!

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Starting nursery – ‘settling in’ stage

My youngest has started going to nursery this week in preparation for my return to work next week.

I thought it would be easier this time around, having done the same with my older son just a couple of years ago. Surely knowing how happy my eldest is at the same place and seeing how well he is growing up in terms of speech and social skills would mean the morning drop off would be a piece of cake?

Seems not. Good job the sun was shining and I could wear my big sunglasses as I couldn’t hold back a few tears. To be fair, having been the main carer for my baby since his birth five and a half months ago, it was hardly a surprise that it was an emotional time.

I had learnt enough from the first time around to know that I would be the one needing a few days ‘settling in’ period rather than my baby – being close to the nursery in case of any problems, being able to drop off late and pick up early, as well as not being an emotional mess when returning back to the office (not helpful for anyone!). My baby on the other hand seemed to have had great fun being cuddled by all the staff, playing with loads of new toys and getting to see his big brother throughout the day.

This week’s survey results that show 75% of new mothers would stay at home if financial pressures allowed has sparked a lot of comments on news sites such as the Daily Mail from mothers in a range of circumstances. It was not surprising to see this story run in the DM. However, I truly believe that everyone has to find out what works best for them – emotionally and financially. There is not always the ‘perfect’ scenario for all concerned but as long as the children are healthy and happy, what more could I ask for?

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Growing up (too) fast

When my first child was born, I spent a lot of time reading the ‘what to expect’ style books so I could find out what my baby should be doing by when. I often found myself thinking, ‘won’t it be good when they can roll over / sit up / crawl / etc.’. Each milestone was something to work towards and I felt personal pressure to ensure my child reached those targets about the same time as their counterparts. If not, I felt I had failed as a parent.

Only now they are walking, talking, eating on their own do I realise that children develop at their own rates and sort themselves out when they are ready – maybe with a little encouragement ; )

Of course, I still find myself worrying about the next stages of development, such as whether they will ever get excited about potty training!

The second time around, I haven’t seemed to have the time or drive to read the books. And rather than looking ahead to the next phase, I’m permanently shocked that my second child has already got there.

This has been a week of firsts for my five month old – sitting up in the bath (with a protector support), sitting upright in the pushchair and this morning sitting in his own high chair. He has had strong neck and back control very early on which has enabled all of this to happen, but I can’t help thinking he’s growing up too quickly.

Is this a result of him being the second child – copying what his older sibling is doing? Is he just advanced? Or is it that I know this is likely to be my last child and so want time to slow down a little so I can really enjoy his time as a baby.

I am sure there is an element of my being a bit more relaxed as a second time mum – I remember being petrified the first time I gave my first child a bath for example! Now, two bath times each night is just what happens.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and also to hear whether you think time goes by faster the more children you have. In the meantime, I’m off to stop the clocks!

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Nursery vs Nanny

In the last week I’ve been told by two people on separate occasions that they would drop their current jobs tomorrow to nanny for my children. Dedicated attention, cheaper, additional home support were just some of the mentioned benefits. They were tempting offers.

After the initial flattery of the offers had worn off, as well as the excitement over the potential benefits, the reality of our current circumstances kicked in. Without family in the vicinity to help out, how would we cover nanny holidays / sickness? Also, what is required to become an employer in terms of insurance, tax, etc.?

When you’re working full-time for whatever reason (vocational career, financial demands, etc.), it is reassuring to know there is a team of qualified professionals caring for your little ones.

Both my children also love socialising with others – they gain a lot from being around a wide mix of people of all ages, having all their senses stimulated. Nursery is a great environment for this.

If you know more about the ins and outs of employing a nanny, I’d love to hear from you. Also, it would be great to hear your own experiences of nursery vs nanny.

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