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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Child superstar

Child developmentI was able to walk my children to nursery today rather than the usual frantic piling into the car on the way to work (a story in itself!). My eldest (at the grand old age of two) scooted to nursery. As I looked at him then my seven month in his pushchair, I couldn’t help thinking how amazing children are. Within just two years my eldest has learnt to walk, talk in almost sentences, feed himself, get out of sleeping bags (argh!), use the potty and so much more!

I can only imagine what he can achieve in the next two years, let alone twenty.

Every parent is proud and believes their child is a superstar or even a child prodigy. I don’t believe that my children are going to be winners of a Nobel prize or Prime Ministers, but I do think that they as children are amazing. They absorb so much knowledge, develop so many physical abilities and experience a whole host of emotions within such a short space of time. If they throw in the odd tantrum alongside the smiles, well, who can blame them!

I’m jealous of my son’s energy and ability to learn and retain information and skills. I try to remember (no pun intended) that I was a child once too with similar abilities asa part of natural child development, but watching it happen in my own child is a sobering experience.

I’ve a while to wait before seeing what my children decide to do for a career, but I’m enjoying seeing the people they are becoming every day.

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Be prepared – then wing it!

Preparing for parentingI started this blog because I was getting apprehensive about my ability to cope with a second child as my due date got ever closer. It’s not that I was changing my mind about having a second child, but rather I was going over every possible scenario in my head and trying to work out how I would manage it when two children were involved. Everything from bathtimes to nappy changes – how would I keep both of them happy and safe?

Friends kindly gave me parenting survival guide books to read with guidance, but the more I read the more I became convinced that I would just have to wait and see what happened.

Every child is different – how they sleep, eat, cry, smile and develop – and there is no way to pre-plan for looking after a tiny character you’ve not yet met. Apart from that, every day and mood is different so no one set rule will work all the time for every child.

Having had our second child, it became clear that you do just manage. Some days are easier than others – for you as the parent as well as the child. Planning works well when it comes to what to pack in bags for a trip out for the day, but for day to day care I truly believe it’s a case of one step at a time. The good news is that every day I’ve learnt a little bit more about my children and myself.

What I love is that through the stress, worry, craziness, there are the most amazing smiles which make it more than worthwhile!

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Digital generation

childsplayI can’t help being impressed by how adept my two year old is at using my husband’s tablet computer. He can get to the menu screen, find the games we’ve saved for him, select ‘play’ before knowing his letters, as well as navigate his way around. Using a touch screen is second nature to him.

It’s not a surprise that our children are a digital generation – social media will be the norm for them.

What I did find surprising were some statistics I read in the paper this week, such as 4 percent of toddlers go online while they are at nursery. While I think it is great that they get exposure to technology (a part of our everyday lives now) so early on is great- it will make life easier for them in their education and career.

However, I would hate this to stop children spending time playing together, having creative play and looking at books.

Last weekend, my husband’s family parents and aunts / uncles came for lunch. They were reminiscing how no such technology was available to them when they were young and, not coming from a wealthy background, they had to create games for themselves to play. Thinking about the creative things they did – the imagination they used – made me slightly concerned that some of that wonder and inspiration will be lost in this digital world.

I only hope that having the whole world at your fingertips (literally with the World Wide Web) will not stop children using their imaginations and wanting to play with others.

For now, I have to admit to using an episode of my two year old’s favourite programme on the tablet as a bit of negotiation at bedtime, but it is followed by milk and books before bed – I hope the balance of tech and social play will continue.

 

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Protective big brother

One of my biggest worries when my due date for my second child got ever closer was that my older son wouldn’t like the new arrival or would feel jealous of them. So I can’t tell you how happy it makes me when I see my eldest going for kisses and cuddles with my youngest and the look of joy on my baby’s face when he sees his big brother – fascinated by his antics!

I don’t think it’s bad that my husband and I can ask our two year old son to ‘look after his younger brother’ while we pop into the kitchen for a minute only to return to see the youngest surrounded by a huge selection of toys and being told a story from a book his big brother has memorised.

I have a number of friends who have got children of a similar age gap and they tell similar stories. I don’t know if there is a difference between brothers and sisters or whether it is down to an individual’s personality. I’d love to hear your experiences.

I’m hoping my children stay close as they get older, although I have no doubt there will be some highs and lows! It should be an interesting ride though!

 

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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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