Sunday 30 December 2012

Saturday 22 December 2012

My Top Mummy Fashion Accessories

There are a number of new fashion accessories that have made their way into my life since I’ve become a mummy of a young baby again. What’s more, they are unisex so not just to be worn by the ladies. Here are some of the items I just can’t live without…

Dummy Ring

Forget those dazzling sparklers or chunky costume rings, this is the latest ring on the block. Makes a statement & slides over any finger no matter the size. (Try to read this item’s details without a childish snigger!!!)

Muslin Scarf

Can be thrown around your neck, your baby’s neck, over your shoulder, tied around your belt buckle, left dangling from your pocket. Can come in a variety of colours and some with added embroidery or motives.

Change Bag

IMAG5748Forget your big designer handbags or your chic little clutch, push them aside as there’s a new bag in town – the Change Bag. Many different styles and you can find yourself spending just as much as those designer numbers but here’s my bargain tip. Just join Boots Parenting Club & you can get this stunning sexy little number. What’s more, it comes in the perfect colour to match any outfit, black. This also means your partner wont be embarrassed to carry it into the baby changing room – so no excuses guys!

Rattle Bangle

What better bangle could you display donning your elegant wrist than this fabulous, colourful twisty teether rattle. Rather than having to wear a number of bangles to achieve that satisfying jingle jangle, just give your wrist a shake to hear the wonderful shing shing of this rattle bangle.

Eau de Baba Pooke

You’re a mummy and proud so why not share that joyous baby smell that everyone loves with this delightful perfume. What’s more its free, Just jiggle your baby after a feed and voila. Works perfectly with the Muslin Scarf as can be applied directly to the scarf before wearing!

Eau de Baba Poop

By the maker of Eau de Baba Pooke, comes this fragrant scent can be worn on its own or works perfectly in conjunction with Eau de Baba Pooke to give that well rounded much sort baby smell.

What Mummy Fashion Accessories can you not seem to live without? (however much you want to!).

Friday 21 December 2012

Four Month Sleep Regression

You may have noticed I’ve been rather quiet about Millie recently – that’s because I’ve been in the depths of hell with The Four Monthlies. If you are not familiar with this phenomena it is when your 4 month old decides to start waking up more frequently in the night (so if you were lucky enough that they slept through, they wont be anymore and if they only woke once, they can now wake up to 3 times) and when they do wake they are AWAKE! The professionals call it the Four Month Sleep Regression. Google it and you’ll find parent after parent screaming for help on the various parenting forums.

From what I understand, its a combination of a growth spurt and their brains becoming more active. Also, it is about this time their sleep changes from being like a newborn to being more like an adults. The 4-5am part of the morning is when we have our lightest sleep – its the most common time for insomniacs to suffer too. Which is great when Millie wakes up for a feed, decides to lay awake chatting and then when she does finally go back to sleep, I have insomnia. Sigh!

Many parents will mistake this period for thinking their baby is starving hungry and needs to be weaned. However, if you weather the storm, they will get better and will continue until much later to be satisfied on milk alone without the need for solids.

I remember Callum going through this stage just after Christmas and I had thought it was the upset of routine over Christmas. It was only from going on forums myself that I later learned about the Four Monthlies. It was hell then too but it did get better and a couple of months later he slept through the night 7-7. But at least this time I was i) expecting it; and ii) had faith that it was ‘just a phase’. And, for the record, we didn’t wean Callum until after 6 months and he wasn’t really interested in food until much later.

So, at the start of Millie’s Four Monthlies, we had feeding every 2 hours again through the night – Yawn! She was only drinking 2-3 ounces at a time and then she would puke it all up requiring a complete outfit change (both of us!). If she didn’t puke, the other end exploded in a watery mess and, again, requiring an outfit, grobag & bed covers change! Then just as we were getting over that – well getting towards every 3-4 hours, not quite the 6-8 of when she was teeny tiny – and she started increasing her milk intake again, she started waking for 1-2 hours at a time. Chatting and cooing to herself.

Finally, I’m hoping we are reaching the other side. I hate to jinx it and I’m sure the next ‘phase’ will be along soon to mess it all up again but for the last 2 nights she has gone back to having a 5-6 hour stretch - feeding just as we go to bed then only waking one other time around 3-4am. The night before last, I was still up an hour but she chatted to herself for a bit then went to sleep and was mainly only up for that time because she did a poo & needed her nappy changed (but no outfit change – whoop!). Then last night, she was up for about half hour and as soon as I laid her down, she did struggle to sleep but she was trying rather than just chatting. She also got herself off to sleep without me needing to hold her or anything.

I’m hoping this is the beginning of the end. Just in time for Christmas. If it is, it will probably be my best Christmas present this year – Sleep! (Sorry Stuart!)

Thursday 20 December 2012

Too Cool for School!

It has come to that time when Stuart and I need to make what feels like to be an incredibly important decision with lots of responsibility – which school we would like to send Callum to.

I say we make the important decision but one thing we have come to realise is that we don’t actually have much say! I didn’t realise that you only get one school per catchment and as it will be another high intake year this year, most of the schools (the good ones anyway) are oversubscribed and rarely take outside their catchment area.

Typically, our catchment area is for the school that is ‘under review’. It was one of the reasons I was trying to avoid this area when house hunting but I thought there would be other options.

So I’ve been through all sorts of emotions and turned into the dreaded neurotic parent worrying about my poor wee boy and how will he cope in the big bad world of school!! I’ve stropped and moaned and ranted, much to the suffering of the poor people of Twitter, only to realise that our catchment school is probably the most sensible school for Callum to go to!

The school was the first one we went to visit and we were actually quite impressed with their attitudes to developing certain skills. They have student councils, playground mediators to work through playground altercations and Assistant Secretary to the Head. They were undergoing a lot of work to expand and modernise the work so they were quite cluttered and felt a bit manic but that was about to change. The new school design was lovely and the new classrooms lovely and airy. The developments were going to be an amazing change so I had to look past that.

In addition, have many have said to us, schools under review often have to work harder than those that have been awarded outstanding or good status as they are being closely watched by Ofsted. I’ve been told of many stories where a school was under review one year and went on to be outstanding the next & one of the best schools in the area so I know this can change & am not too hung up on its Ofsted grading.
My concerns were two-fold. One silly one and one very serious one. The silly one was regarding a muddy play area the children spend quite a lot of time in. The teacher said they were going to be keeping an element of the muddy area as the children really learnt from it and enjoyed it. I am normally for a bit of messy play but my fear is for the washing and replacement of uniform!

The second worry was about Callum and whether his personality and character would fit in at the school. Callum, like many children, can be quite shy at first but will overcome his shyness to an extent but still gets very intimidated by big groups. It is something that has been picked up at nursery and they have placed him into a small cluster group to work on giving him confidence. I worry that Callum will be lost in this school and would either be bullied or led into trouble. A lady that teaches at the school who I met sociably said lots of positive things about the school but said it was possible this could happen with Callum at the school. 

However, the nursery will write a transfer note about Callum including a note from the lady that has been working with him in his cluster group. The school also go to the nursery to see the children that will be going there. If I am still worried then I can speak to the school myself. What’s more, my fears could be unfounded and he could get on brilliantly. Only time will tell of course.

We do have a preferred school which we are currently trying to decide whether to put first or second. We are about 300 yards outside its catchment area but the school is 2 miles away so if they do take children outside their catchment area, we are highly unlikely to be granted a place. If it was closer, I would be putting it first without a doubt and 2 miles away in the right direction wouldn’t be a problem but it is likely to be in the opposite direction to where I may work in the future. I would have to go away from work to drop Callum off and then back the other way again. That said, I have done this before when Callum was at nursery full time in Godalming and I worked full time so it is still achievable. The school has an after-school club on the land, right next door to the school too.

But the catchment school is a very close 5-10 minute walk across the park behind our house.

Like I say, it is probably all a waste of time anyway as there is only one school we will get regardless of choice, and that is the catchment school. At least, through all my strops and panics, I’ve worked it through in my head now and will accept that decision when it comes.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

A Follow-up to Why?: ‘What’s it called?’

In a follow-up to my last post all about the ‘Why? phase’, there is another question that Callum is regularly asking. Thankfully, not as irritating as ‘why?’ but can require a degree of thought before answering.

He has realised that something can have multiple names. Such as a ‘flower’ could be called a ‘rose’ which could then be called ‘Autumn Sunset’. Or that I’m a lady (arguably, I know) and my name is ‘Mummy’ to Callum but I’m also known as ‘Debbie’ to others.

So we now have questions of “what’s that car called?” – oh good, a fairly easy one (assuming I know); or ‘what’s this fork called?’ – hmmmm!

Although, it can be difficult trying to explain why sometimes a fork is just called a fork (my answer: “it hasn’t got another name, its just called a fork!”; Callum: “Why?” – aaaaaahhhhhhh!), I don’t mind these questions as they make me think a little.

I think the reason why the ‘why?’ questions frustrate me so much is because I naturally give a reason when I answer. For example: “Why aren’t we walking Mummy?” “because we have to drive as it is too far to walk”, “Why?”. Then I’m trying to think up reasons for my reasons. Headache alert!

These questions make me stop and think, does it have another name? Is the name we more commonly know it by, its ‘other’ name and it also has an ‘object’ name? I’ve often said, something doesn’t have another name and then corrected myself a minute later. I find these nicely challenging and my answer is usually accepted and the conversation moves on rather than being stuck in an eternal cycle of whys!

I can see where he is coming from in asking them and think its quite interesting. For now, anyway!

Sunday 16 December 2012

Why, oh why, oh why?

I apologise for being so smug! It was never my intention to come across as smug but looking back I guess I was a little. I thought I was so clever! I thought by using my training experience, I had successfully outwitted my child and therefore avoided the much feared ‘Why? Phase’.

Oh how I was wrong! A little later than expected but it is definitely upon us in all its frustrating rahness! (its a word! its my word!).

About a year ago, Callum moved from ‘what are you doing?’ to the occasional ‘why?’ & I rather cleverly, so I thought, would turn the question back on him and get him to suggest the answer first. It actually seemed to work too! He would usually know the answer or would be happy to suggest something and then I would be happy to correct or lead him to the right answer.

As fast as they arrived, the why questions appeared to stop except once in a while where it was appropriate.

I know that it is all about learning and we should encourage the questions and feed their brains with knowledge. But the questions are just utterly infuriating, as I am sure many of you that have been through this yourselves already know.

“Why is it raining?”

“Why is it a 5p?”

“Why is it dinner time?”

“Why is that tree there”

and its non-stop. It doesn’t end with one question it becomes a continuous barrage of why questions, one after the other getting increasingly more complicated to answer or even just pointless! I have actually told Callum he isn’t allowed to ask pointless questions – don’t ask me what a pointless question is, I couldn’t tell you, I just know it when I hear it.

I tried the technique I mentioned above again but there are just too many questions you can’t actually do this to.

Stuart was confident in the beginning that he was going to embrace the ‘Why? Phase’ and take on the challenge to come up with an answer to every question.

However, we have both found ourselves saying why back as our answer to Callum to which he replies in a whine “no, I said whyyyyyyyyy”.

Please let this phase be short! I can feel myself gaining a new grey hair for every ‘Why?’.

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Sunday 9 December 2012

Saturday 8 December 2012

The forecast for the foreseeable future is wet, wet, wet.

Callum has been dry in the day (except the odd accident) for some time – probably about 18 months.

When we first moved to Bournemouth, which was shortly after we started potty training, Callum would get up in the night to go to the toilet and  a couple of times he had a dry pull-up by morning - but not consistently so I did not push it or attempt to take away the pull-up.

I’ve been advised and the information you find on Google is that it is not unusual for children of 6 to still be wet during the night and that they will naturally progress to dry nights on their own. It is best not to attempt to try to take away the pull-up until they have had several consecutive dry nights.

Because of this, I’ve ignored pressure from my mum to try to get him dry at night as I was confident he just wasn’t ready.

As time has gone on, Callum’s pull-up has got heavier and heavier and fills so much it leaks – meaning a change of bed sheets. This can happen 3 times in a week and is making keeping on top of washing impossible and I wondered if Callum was in fact just being lazy!

After all, my Mum, like lots of parents, had us all dry at night in a week after being potty trained! Surely, it was worth a try at least! I was already having to do the washing of sheets and was already up in the night for Millie – actually, was I mad? They could tag team!!

Anyway, I got prepared – I layered Callum’s bed with waterproof mattress protector, waterproof pad, bed sheet, another waterproof pad & 2 towels. I explained to Callum that he was going to go to bed without the pull-up that night. He was apprehensive but I explained we would go to the toilet just before bed and he was to go to the toilet if he needed it or hold until morning.

I checked him at 12.30am when I fed Millie and he was dry. Then again at 5.30am I suspected he was already wet. Sure enough, when he woke after 7 he was wet. He didn’t want to get out of bed and seemed embarrassed.

I told him not to worry, we could just try again the next night. When he did get up, he was up beat and said enthusiastically he would try again. Encouraged by this, I explained this time I would take him to the toilet when we went to bed (as in Stuart and I), which I did. He was still dry at that time.

By morning, he was wet again.

He went into Stuart while I was getting Millie up and said he wanted to wear pull-ups and didn’t want me putting him to bed anymore.

It broke my heart and I realised he really wasn’t ready. Normally, I always give these things at least a week and within 2-3 days he’s got whatever it is we are ‘training’. This time, I knew, if we tried again that night we would be putting too much pressure on him too soon.

So we are back in pull-ups but I am hopeful this little exercise has at least reminded Callum that the aim is to try for a dry pull-up rather than being lazy & going for a wee in his pull-up just because he can. At least this might stop me from having to make quite so many bed changes & sheet washes!

Its all about trial & error this parenting lark!

Monday 3 December 2012

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Its getting to that time of year again. Christmas! I blogged about my thoughts on Christmas over on t’other blog which is here if you want to read it.

Like the majority of children that celebrate this time of year, I loved Christmas growing up. When my siblings and I were kids the excitement started on Christmas Eves when we would have a bath and get dressed in our brand new Christmas ‘jimjams’, eat our chocolate money in front of the Christmas tree while my Mum took her annual catalogue of photos for the Christmas album.

Then we used to go to bed nice and early (had to be before midnight or Father Christmas wouldn’t come) and lay there willing ourselves to sleep so he wouldn’t pass our house by but the excitement being all too much.

On Christmas morning, it would be a competition to see which of my brother, sister or I could wake up first and whoever it was would run into the others’ bedrooms shouting “he’s been, he’s been” wielding our stockings. It used to really annoy me that I could never wake up first and my brother or sister always used to win until the year, I finally woke up first…but because my brother and sister are 7.5 and 8.5 years older than me, respectively, by this stage they were well into their teenage years and used to start the ‘cheer’ on Christmas eve and lay in as long as possible on Christmas morning. So there’s me running in to wake them up and they weren’t bothered any more and shooed me away!

Then, as we all grew up and moved away from home, Christmas lost a bit of its magic for me. Instead of sharing it with my family I chose to share it with my friends and/or my boyfriend for a few years.

But now that magic is back – now that we have our own children. Especially this year, as Callum will be 4. Christmas meant something to Callum last year, he got the excitement and Father Christmas but this year is even better because he remembers last year and knows what is about to happen again. On top of that, he has a baby sister to share it with – not that Millie will have a clue what is going on or will remember for next year.

We have already taken Callum to see Father Christmas. We took him to see him at Stewarts Garden Centre in Somerford, Christchurch, yesterday. It was the first year that Callum hasn’t been scared of him. He was a little shy but he stood there on his own in front of Father Christmas (we were about 2 ft away in the room with him) and nodded to all of his questions. He happily went to sit next to him for a photo and said “and then you’ll come to my house” as we were leaving. He voluntarily spoke to Father Christmas! This is huge! Callum was absolutely thrilled with his helicopter present too!

Aside from the bar humbugness of the Christmas shopping (which I’ve very nearly finished thankfully) and the fear of whether I am going to survive cooking Christmas dinner for 11 (6 adults, 2 older children and 3 younger children), I can’t wait for Christmas day and seeing Callum’s excited eyes once he has seen Father Christmas has been, eaten his mince pie and drunk his Baileys (yes, Baileys in this house!!) and filled his and Millie’s stocking full!