Milestones (the second time round).

I don’t know what it is about the second time round, maybe it’s the not knowing whether you can convince your Husband to having another baby (I definitely could!) or just because, you realise everything really does go so fast, just like everyone warns you- “Oh it goes so fast”. IT REALLY DOES.

Watching your Children grow & develop is, to me, the most rewarding & amazing thing to experience. I never feel so proud as I do, when I watch my babies succeed in something. Whether it’s learning a new skill, doing something out of their comfort zone or just watching them play. I always feel so proud.

The Milestones

Camilla is 6 months old now and so far she has;

◦ Mastered sitting up

◦ Mastered rolling

◦ Sleeping in her own room

◦ Weaned off the dummy

◦ Weaning journey has begun

◦ Two bottom front teeth are brewing

◦ Smiling & laughing

◦ Blowing raspberries

◦ Babbling

I feel like Adeline didn’t do this much this soon so I think it actually is going so much faster the second time round!

Truthfully, I’m an emotional wreck at the moment. Kinda why I’m writing this. It always helps, makes me feel better somehow. And I like to look back and remember. Every little detail. Even if it’s painful.

It’s been a rocky few weeks with a lot of changes. I’ll get to it now..

Breast is best bullshit.

Look, we know ultimately yes breast is scientifically- best. Hence why so many women (including myself) give it a go. Hell, more than give it ago. Some of us go through a really hard time with it, especially the sore cracked nipples and the endless night feeds.

And then we experience the judgement and of course the pressure. I mean the pressure starts from the get go doesn’t it.. when you see the Midwife. I know it’s their job but they love to throw the leaflets at you about breast feeding. The health visitors are worse, or maybe just in my experience. I always planned on breast feeding, right from the get go with both babes. That was my personal choice. I can imagine some people who choose not to feel the pressure or certainly judged by their decision.

So last week I decided to stop breast feeding. There’s lots of reasons why and I’ll soon come to it. I’ve been in a world of pain & discomfort over the past few days.

I’ve also been super anxious, felt poorly and emotional. No one ever tells you about how your body reacts to weaning from BF. I feel like it’s my bodies way of telling me ‘serves you right for stopping.’ I have never felt so tired and bleurghhhh. I did some research and so many so many women have felt the same. So it’s best I leave my hormones to it and try take it easy.

Come on ladies…

Its only just been breast feeding awareness week and I feel like so many women were bitching and complaining about each other. I felt guilty posting on Instagram about how proud I am of my experience, but then got backlash from Mums. What’s that about? Aren’t we all meant to be supporting each other? Through whatever journey we decide. Not judging & making each other feel like shit. I know it’s only a handful of people but it doesn’t matter if you get 10 nice comments and 1 crappy one, the crappy one will always stick.

I did see breast feeding mums being way too pushy, leaving formula fed mothers feeling shitty. And then I saw (and experienced) breast feeding mums being slated sharing their breast feeding experience. When really, no one knows anybody’s ; mind, body & baby. Why can we (women) be so foul to each other. Honestly! #BEKIND

My Bf Journey has flown & honestly, I’m tempted to give it all another go and pump, but then I remember Camilla isn’t satisfied after the boob, she will often have the breast then take 6oz of formula. I tried to feed her after weaning for two days (just incase she has really has had enough).. she had. I just wonder if there’s something more I could of done.

It got to the point where she wouldn’t BF in public & she wouldn’t even take expressed breast milk in a bottle from me AND she would feed for about 2 minutes & then cry. All in all it began to be challenging and upsetting for both. She (just like Adeline did) has done their 6 months and now want to be fuller.

Own bedroom

We also hit leap 5 the same week and Camilla wanted to feed every hour on an evening which wasn’t good for anyone. I asked for advice and lots of people I spoke to said try putting her in her own room and that it may make a difference.

I didn’t even know if I was ready! She was however 6 months and the next to me cot was looking pretty snug for my leggy little babes.

I thought fuck it, I’ll do one night and if she doesn’t like it, I’ll suck it up. Well.. she only went and slept so much better feeding only twice! So that was it another Milestone thrown into the bag (this has all happened within a week) breast & bed move. Can you see now why I’ve been emotional. And still are! I wasn’t ready for it.

Cold Turkey

Then became the ultimate test and sacrifice. The dummies. Now the reason I introduced dummies was mainly because Camilla had reflux really badly as a newborn and it was the only thing (except the nipple) that would help. FYI I have nothing against them, Adeline always had one, right up until she was 2.5 years old. Camilla rejected dummies for weeks and it took me about 7 different kinds until I found one she would take (FYI Avent Philips)

So why did I get rid you ask? The second night of Camilla being downstairs in her own room, we had a night of doing the ‘dummy run.’

Now our house is on 3 floors , we are on the top the babes are on the second. Resulting in ol’ muggings over here going up down up down every 15-30 minutes. Just as I would fall asleep I’d be up again: it was a nightmare. So again, I turned to my fellow Instagram pals for advice: remove the dummy altogether. WHAT? NO WAY. FUCK THAT. All things I said aloud.

Well I was shitting myself obviously. But long and short of it; we are a week in and she’s done it. No more dummies! We went cold turkey (as they call it), we did a gentle approach where I would leave her crying for 3-5 minutes go in, hand on chest and shhh. I did that only a few times and she would settle. It just showed really that she wasn’t that attached. She was always spitting it out!

So that’s that. No more dummies, I even feel sad when I see one on the side. Like she isnt a baby more, even though she is!

Sister sister!

And lastly my two little girlies are developing what is going to be a magical bond. Camilla constantly searches for Adeline. Her little face lights up when she sees her. Adeline first thing on a morning wants to go see her. After nursery she wants to sit and cuddle her and she’s always fetching her toys and making sure she’s ok. It’s amazing. It’s taken Adeline about 6 months to get used to the idea of her being here, part of the team, but finally she’s settled into her big sister role perfectly.

Making the most of it.

Some days can be really hard. We all know that. Some days I can’t wait for them to go to sleep so I can just chill, only to just spend my evenings either talking about them or editing pics or videos for them (not all the time obv).

What I’m getting at is. They are only young for such a short time. These milestones FLY by! Soon they may not want to cuddle you, they may not want you to pick them up, help them.

Make the most out of absolutely everything. Take all the pics, all the videos. You’ll treasure them forever. We (and Adeline) love looking back at all of our adventures. Enjoy time together. Our lives don’t always need to be so busy.

If lockdown has taught me anything it’s that you can have fun with your family anywhere. You don’t need to spend money or go to places. No need to put pressure on yourselves. We love weekends away and visiting places but some days or weekends we just want to play at home. As long as we have each other.

Thanks for reading as always.

Charlotte

Becoming a Mum of Two

The best way to drink a coffee + the first few weeks survival technique.

The first 12 weeks: real talk!

Well well well here we are. I did a poll on Instagram, asking what to write about next, either ‘becoming a mum of two’ OR ‘breast feeding’. This won the votes by a mile. So here I am.. I’ve been writing it, editing for the whole 12 weeks, so I didn’t forget how I felt at that exact moment in time.

I’ve actually found it really difficult at times to write this. Partly because there’s been some really low points. But once i’ve reflected, the high points have out- weigh the low ones – that’s always the case isn’t it?

And truthfully I’ve also felt a bit silly at times reading back through this about how I felt. I think because we have come out of that stage now and it’s in the past, it’s almost like it wasn’t that bad once you’ve been through it. Oh how the mind works. Like child birth. Hell at the time but you do it again!

I could of obviously edited parts out and write a bullshit blog about the first 12 weeks being a breeze. But Let’s be honest I think you would much rather read something truthful and relatable wouldn’t you? Because guess what, It was a really difficult time for me and I’m not ashamed to admit that. Weirdly bringing a newborn home wasn’t the difficult part, it was the adjustment of becoming a Mum of two. So here I go..

Introducing Camilla

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I already couldnt wait for the day when Adeline would meet her baby sister. How would she react? What will she do? Will she be bothered? So many questions going around in mind. And also everyone would always ask me ‘How do you think Adeline will be.’ It was hard to ever know/guess!

Obviously we told Adeline what was happening, but we didn’t want to talk about it constantly for the next 9 months. It was about making the most out of the next 9 months with each other and gently introducing the idea of having another little person moving in!

Making the most out of US time

In the last few months of my pregnancy we did however crank up the baby talk more, just so she was more mentally prepared.

Adeline is really clever & was always aware of what was going on around her. She understood I had a baby in my tummy and loved helping me sort through her clothes & her bedroom, ready for her arrival. It all was very sweet.

We bought and were bought, story books which focused on becoming a big sister, Peppa pig even has an episode where Rebecca rabbits Mummy has twins (Is it sad that I know that? Who am I kidding I think all parents with a 2 year old know that.. right?). Adeline did seem excited about the idea & always expressed how she couldn’t wait to cuddle her.

FYI See below for book & Peppa series for those who are interested!

Coming home…

As I mentioned in my previous blog I found it so hard being away from Adeline whilst in Hospital, so when I walked through the door with Thom and baby Camilla, Adeline came running down the stairs holding my Mums hand, a few things went through my mind;

1. OMG how big is Adeline

2. OMG how much I missed her

3.OMG I’m going to cry. I was hit with a sudden rush of emotions which were dying to escape.

Adeline was so excited- in her own little Adeline way. We gave Adeline a present from Camilla to Adeline (a baby & pram) and cuddled a lot as a three, for the next hour or so. I was in my element and in that moment I couldn’t believe how lucky I was and also how well Adeline was coping.. initially!

THE NEXT 4 DAYS.. of HELL

Yep I said it.. hell. Now I didn’t get the emotions with my first pregnancy. You know, the 4th day depression the ‘blue day’.

Well I did this time. Not helped with the fact that I hasn’t slept in about 4 days and Adeline pretty much hated me. Ok ok, hate is strong, but she just wanted Thom all the time for things that usually she would turn to me for- comfort, bedtime, cuddles. The rejection was tough to take. I felt like I had done something wrong. I felt alone.

Adeline decided to have a regression in sleep and potty training. Not ideal obviously but very common and expected. She started waking up extremely upset, getting out of bed (she’s NEVER EVER done that) and was suddenly afraid of the dark and talking about monsters in her bedroom (to be fair she’s still afraid of the dark and refuses to have the lights off.)

The worst part for me was, one night she got out of her bed and came in our room crying her eyes out wanting us and we (me, Thom, Camilla and even Bonnie) were all together in our bedroom. I felt terrible. Oh the guilt. Kills ya! Thom spent a lot of time in Adeline’s room over the next few weeks. I had to stay with Camilla as I was the feeding machine and that made me feel helpless and guilty.

It was the worst time for me. I felt so unbelievably guilty on both parts. I wanted to cuddle and kiss Camilla constantly, our shiny new baby girl. But I was also very aware that I didn’t want to make Adeline jealous or hurt her feelings. But then I would feel bad on Camilla!

I did all the things people say, like for example when you are breastfeeding (which in the beginning is constant) involve your first born, perhaps offer to read a book together, do something where you don’t have to move. I found puzzles & drawing a winner too. Adeline never seemed bothered or jealous about me feeding Camilla and she seemed to actually hate seeing Camilla cry so much she would always say “I think she needs milk Mummy”.

The guilt was the worst

I just felt so guilty that I had played such a big part in why Adeline was so upset & struggling with her feelings. At one point I wondered if we had made the right decision, having another child. That’s the gods honest truth. I wanted to go back in time so it was just us the three of us again. Obviously I don’t feel like that anymore! I can’t even imagine Camilla not being here now. She makes the team!

Anyway, In the end I suggested Thom set up camp in the spare room so he was closer to Adeline when she was upset in the night. Plus I was co-sleeping and feeding all night, having Thom snoring next to me just made me angry. So it was the best thing for everyone!

So I spent my evenings alone and would sit upstairs feeding Camilla constantly (the cluster feeding days, god help me) and watching Adeline downstairs via the baby cam upstairs.

Some evenings I just cried & cried & cried. That, in all honestly, is the lowest I have ever felt. That week I cried. A LOT. Thank god for my parents & Husband for all their support! And also my friends & the Instagram community. So many wonderful parents reaching out to me to offer support! They all made me feel less of a crazy person and actually explaining that it’s very normal, on all accounts. What a relief that was.

Co sleeping

I didn’t mind co- sleeping (tbh I didn’t have a choice) what I found difficult was when I would see newborn babies sleeping on their own. What was I doing so wrong? I also always feel like people judge you when you explain you co-sleep. People who perhaps don’t have children or are of the older generation anyway. They didn’t mean to, but you could see what they were thinking.

I tried everything to try and get Camilla to sleep on her own. But do you know what it came down to… she’s a new baby, new to this scary big world. She didn’t want to be left alone or put down AND she had reflux, sometimes she would actually go down but would then wake up in pain. I just decided after a lot of anxiety to co- sleep safety, I checked out the safe sleep positions, had a team talk with myself where I said to myself that it wasn’t forever and it was the best thing for us because it meant I actually got some sleep and what’s better then snuggling your new baby all night? Nothing (well maybe sleep..)

Our favourite co sleeping feeding position

Looking up

I think after about a week in, Adeline let me put her to bed & read her stories and once she had fallen asleep I just stared at her, tears rolled down my face. I can’t even explain to you how awful I felt for her. The little pained look in her eyes. I just wanted her to feel safe & loved. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. She looked so grown up and innocent. I know this all sounds so mellow & dramatic but it’s just honestly how I felt at the time.

The turning point..

I would say week 4-6 was a real turning point for both myself & Adeline (and I guess Thom for his sleep.) We all started to get used to the ‘new norm.’ I think that’s what it is you know, it sounds obvious, but your routine is completely thrown up in the air and that’s what is so hard.. change. I hate change!

Anyway, yes things were looking up, Adeline began to take responsibility helping me with nappy changes & telling me if Camilla had thrown up (which was a lot- damn reflux) and leaving the house even started getting easier.

We enjoyed time together on the sofa, snuggling and watching tele and even leaving the house started to get easier!

Adeline loves cuddling Camilla and she loves sofa chill time, where we would all snuggle up together and watch Frozen.

It’s funny what you forget..

I thought, yep second time round will be a doddle. I mean it’s easier in someways. Thom is definitely more hands on as he is more confident with a newborn. I kind of know what I’m doing- again more confident. The sling is your saviour if you plan on getting anything done and even more so with a toddler demanding snacks every hour.

We have the Boba sling, so comfy and you can carry front and on your back up to nearly 3 years old I think! Anyway link is below if you are interested.

https://uk-boba.com/collections/boba-carriers/products/boba-4gs-constellation

The witching hour has been horrendous, I mean the clue is in the name. Camilla had reflux which has just been horrific, co sleeping and lack of sleep, always a challenge. But I swear I’ve second guessed everything and worried even more; “Did I do this with Adeline?”, has been a regular question.

I’m annoyed at how much energy I have wasted worrying about co sleeping because now she will sleep on her own just fine, she sometimes falls asleep without any rocking or shushing as well which Adeline NEVER did. Top tip: do not buy sleep aid books. They panic you, make you think you’re failing and if you have anxiety it sets that off too!

Milestones

We had our first smile at 6-7 weeks which I couldn’t wait for. Even more so this time. I knew Adeline would be excited and it so happens she got the first smile! I mean from all the sleepless nights & witching hour hell, I think I deserved the first smile but hey! All was forgiven when I did get one. Those dancing eyes. Best feeling ever!

By Week 11

I’m in a much happier place right now, lockdown restrictions have eased- at a pretty perfect time. I loved the newborn bubble & not being able to have constant visitors (sorry not sorry). I think because it was such a big deal (to us & especially Adeline!) having another baby. It meant we could all just try and survive those first few weeks together as a family. I think having tonnes of visitors would have made it even worse for Adeline. So thank you lockdown? Jesus I never though I’d be saying that!

Camilla is in a really good routine at the moment *touchwood*and sometimes I just put her down with the white noise machine on and she falls asleep. Her reflux is better, colic is still around most evenings and acid dump during the night usually 3-4am is a pain.

She is feeding about every 3 hours, but I can live with that. I’m a lot more confident breastfeeding this time and pretty much whip it out anywhere. I was NOT like that the first time. I dunno why the sudden ‘ I don’t care who sees my burger nips’ attitude, but I love it! Makes it easier for everyone! And we want BF to be normalised don’t we!

I’m still finding it hard to have any time for myself however. Baths are a distant memory, dry shampoo is my best friend and thank god for my cleaner Magda. Ideally I’d have her everyday but once a month is better than nothing!

Week 12!

We made it!!!!!!! The fourth trimester done! It’s true what they say about babies being more settled. What a difference two weeks make. I am loving this stage. I’ve felt mean wishing away the first few weeks BUT my god it was hard.

We bet so many smiles, her little personality is coming out and the best thing is Adeline loves her! No kidding though, when Camilla see’s Adeline she smiles & coo’s so much! It’s adorable.

I’m still breast feeding so she’s waking every 3-4 hours still, but like I said I can live with that now she sleeps in the next to me after (if I haven’t fallen asleep). She also loves the bottle so I can have a break if I feel I need one.

We have been on loads of days out recently. Making the most out of lockdown restrictions easing and Camilla loves it as much as we do.

She is so chilled and now she’s more alert she’s taking in everything. I remember with Adeline I always found the best thing for me was to get out and keep busy. My bestie even said to me yesterday “I feel like your never home”. I mean I think after over a year of lockdown we are all desperate to be let out!

These past 12 weeks have been a journey. Something I’ll never forget. I was lucky enough to have my Husband with me the whole time (as we have taken shared parental leave). Truthfully I needed him. We needed each other. We have achieved so much as a team and it’s made us better parents for both Camilla and Adeline.

THE TEAM

Things I’ve learnt.

1) Try not to overthink everything (you will anyway but it’s not really helpful for anybody!). Take 1 day at a time.

2) MumGuilt hurts. A lot. But you do get through it and you’ll feel close with the firstborn again.

3) it’s often actually easier to get out the house – go for a walk / to the park… generally just get out of the house if you can.

4) related to 3) just getting out the house with two kids is an achievement in itself

5) extractor fans make fantastic white noise machines to soothe your hysterical baby

6) don’t be afraid to just hold your baby and enjoy the snuggles. they’ll always be jobs to do, but they really do change so quickly

7) your partner should be more skilled with newborns. A baby cries and it’s chuffing loud – that’s just how they communicate give them a chance!

8) you CAN survive the first 12 weeks. It can be horrific at times but before you know it it’ll be over and suddenly ‘issues’ really do settle down quickly

9) having a 2nd baby doesn’t mean you have less love for the 1st – it actually makes you love them even more and realise how far they’ve come

10) share it all with your partner / loved ones (where appropriate) – the frustrations, the worries, the craziness. It really is good to talk.

Charlotte X

My Birth Story

Giving birth in a pandemic

I have been dying to write my birth story but sometimes I find it so hard to begin, once I get going and into the flow it’s ok, but when you have so much to say it can sometimes be overwhelming! And also pointing out the obvious of having zero time to myself to write anything (currently I have Camilla attached to my breast).

The Beginning

Camilla’s due date was February 16th and I did have a feeling from the beginning she would be early. I kept warning Thom! I dunno why I just had this feeling.. anyway I was correct!

I was feeling pretty nervous about giving birth again, I mean who isn’t? The first time you’re nervous because you have no idea what’s going to happen and the second time I was nervous because I knew what was to happen! Maybe it’s better to be in the dark about these things?

I was also extremely nervous about when it was going to happen and making sure I had childcare in place for Adeline. Because of the pandemic we haven’t left her side for a year so for me the worst case would of been it happening the middle of the night and having her wake up in the morning with us gone. Luckily that wasn’t the case!

I woke up on Wednesday 10th feeling pretty tired after another uncomfortable night sleep- honestly the third trimester prepares you for the lack of sleep once the baby is here because I barely slept! My pelvis was agony & getting up and about was getting harder by the day.

Anyway I was talking to Thom whilst he was brushing his teeth in the en suite and when I sat up, POP my waters broke! Let me back pedal to the evening of the 9th before I forget- I did loose my mucus plug but obviously you can lose that weeks before you start labouring. I did however warn my Mum as she was my childcare bubble for when it happened! She basically stayed over at our house from that evening, incase we had to go!

So the waters had broken WOOOO- I was so excited, I rang my Mum to tell her and then the hospital. In my head I’m thinking, yes second baby, this is going to be quick. She could be here tonight! The hospital told me to come so they could check my waters had broken & check the baby (I hadn’t felt her move for a while).

So we went to the hospital had a check over. All fine & confirmed about the waters breaking. I suggested they took my covid test whilst I was there as I was nervous about having it whilst in active labour (no one wants a stick up your nose & down your throat during a contraction) so they did that and then I was sent home.

Now I was surprised they sent me home, I dunno if it’s because everyone kept saying it will happen so much faster the second time round, so I just expected them to keep me in as, but apparently not.

I was booked in for an induction first thing the next morning so it was home I went. To cut all the boring stuff out so we can get to the main event nothing happened for the whole night. I had minor contractions, enough to keep me awake all night but I knew she wasn’t on her way as they kept stopping and starting. It was all very similar to when I was having Adeline..

The Middle

So I wake up Thursday morning (11th) vomiting, I was waiting for this to happen because it did with Adeline. The vomiting wouldn’t stop. I was already due in to hospital that morning for an induction as they didn’t want to leave me longer than 24hrs after my waters had broken (turned out I was left 48 hours). In I go, with all my bags, waving Adeline & my Mum off. That was weird and quite emotional. I told Adeline I was going to hospital but didn’t go into much detail, I honestly didn’t expect to be gone two days. I missed her so much!

In hospital

So everyone always says two births are never the same but honestly the build up was exactly the same I was even in the same bed! And when I got there the same thing happened where the hospital was too full so I wasn’t able to have my induction as it wouldn’t of been safe to do so. They were even turning people away to another hospital- thank god they didn’t turn me away!

The image below is the day I went into hospital and shows exactly how busy it was! Harrogate hospital posted this on their Facebook page.

The Waiting Game

So the waiting game began. I didn’t stop bouncing on that bloody ball to try keep things going, I went for a walk, anything to keep the contractions going. We had so many snacks & drinks (something we didn’t prepare for last time) I had to listen to Thom bang on about when his next meal was for 3 days.. honestly

We were pretty much left in a private room from 8am until 5pm ish as they were waiting for my covid results (which they ended up losing and I had to do it again!), but it worked in our favour as we had our own room. I talked through my birth plan and basically told them I wanted an epidural. I was pretty insistent. My birth plan wasn’t as detailed as the first time but I thought it was good to have one anyway. As you never know! I had an epidural last time after a 3 days Labour so I thought this choice was the safest for me.

Poor Thom had to wear a visor & a mask the whole time (he has the scars to show for it) I have the pictures..

besides the mask & visor wearing I wouldn’t of known any difference really. And don’t you agree now people should wear masks in hospital anyway, regardless of Covid.

Thom was allowed with me the whole time-thankfully. The staff were incredible and it felt pretty normal! I know that wouldn’t of been the case months ago so I count myself lucky!

Is it happening?

So off I went to the Maternity Assessment Ward where there was… nobody. I expected after them saying it was so busy to be jam packed, but by the sounds of it everyone was giving birth- which made me jealous. Weirdly I didn’t feel scared. I just wanted to get on with it and meet our baby girl. COME ON CAMILLA!!

THE END

So I had my induction/ sweep at 10pm ish and after that my contractions were intense!!! I had hardly any time in between the contractions to compose myself, they were constant. I kept buzzing the midwives to tell them but they didn’t seem to take any notice. They just offered me paracetamol. You can imagine the look on my face.

I did hypno-birthing with my first pregnancy and felt like it worked initially so instead of going in completely unprepared I did look over it once or twice to remind myself and honestly- this time round was so different. I only did the up breathing (breath in 4, out for 8) but it helped me so much. Every- time I felt like I was ‘losing it’ I concentrated on my breathing which made me feel like I was in control of my body. Don’t get me wrong Thom had to remind me here and there to breath! Why is it when you’re in pain you want to hold your breath?

By this point I was on my third anti vomiting injection, god knows how many paracetamol. I asked for gas & air but they couldn’t give me it in that room. They offered me a bloody bath which was horrendous, I think they thought it would ease the pain. I was in & out in about 5 minutes.

Here we goooo!

The only time anyone took any notice was when I buzzed them and told them I was struggling, then suddenly all in the space of a minute I went dizzy, vomited (A LOT) & nearly passed out, I was so hot and just remember feeling really sleepy. FINALLY they buzzed the emergency button to try and get me to the ward asap.

As I was wheeled away they asked what pain relief I wanted and something inside me was telling me that I didn’t need the epidural and I just wanted to get on with it (I had also previously had a conversation with my Mum who told me Adeline was really upset at bedtime so I just felt like if I didn’t have the epidural I wouldn’t delay it any longer). The midwife told me she thought I could do it without as I seemed like a ‘tough cookie’ (or something along those lines) so in I went at about 3am to begin active labour. HERE WE BLOODY GO!

Active Labour

I can’t even explain what a positive experience this was. So much different from the first time, I didn’t turn into the exorcist, my head didn’t spin round. I was in control of my body. I started with gas & air which didn’t do much, it was more a comfort, it did make me super light headed though, I felt like my eyes were rolling to the back of my head, not ideal, but I felt like pain wise it wasn’t doing much so now what?

The contractions this time were in my back, the pain was like nothing else, it was like someone had a red hot poker on my back, Thom was under strict instructions not to remove his hand from the bottom of my back and every-time I had a contraction he had to rub it. I felt like we were in it together this time more so than last time I. I couldn’t of done it without him truthfully. And the fact he wore a mask and visor the whole time which may I point out gave him sores behind his ears was pretty impressive!

Banter & birthing

After a few hours I decided to have diamorphine after being explained what it was.. it was bloody amazing. If you know you know. It was like I was drunk. I knew what was happening, I was still in-control but I was bantering whilst birthing. I was cracking jokes, asking the trainee midwife about her studies. Very different from the first time. I even decided to put some music on!

I decided to birth stood up, the pain in my back was too intense & when I laid down it was so much worse. So I was lent over the bed, Thom at my head and I pushed little Camilla out. I said to Thom that I weirdly enjoyed it. Like a super intense work out. Feeling every single part of it which was different to my birth with Adeline. When her head came out that was such a relief as you can imagine that’s the burning ring of fire everyone talks about. Now I get that.

I felt so proud of myself that I managed to do it. ALet me point out- there is nothing wrong with having the epidural! I just loved how in-control I was, it was a really positive experience and the fact the whole way through my pregnancy I was adamant I was having an epidural. I’ll just never forget it, it was a really special and positive experience.

As soon as Camilla came out I felt a sudden rush of love for her and my Husband. We all did it together. Born at 6.37am weighing 7lb 8oz. Our perfect little girl.

The aftermath

Are you still there? Still reading? Sorry if this is long & I’m going on but I told you it wasn’t quick, I’ve even tried to miss details out as I feel like I’m rambling.

So Camilla had arrived & I enjoyed two lots of toast and a shit load of tea & coffee. It was honestly the best toast & tea I’ve ever had. I think that’s why they brought me seconds. Thom was sent home & I was sent to the ward to stay overnight- not ideal as I imagined I was going home that night. Thom hated leaving me and I think if Adeline didn’t exist I would of hated it too, but I knew Adeline needed one of us home.

On reflection I’m glad I had the time at the hospital to get the hang of breast feeding and also have some time with Camilla. I had zero sleep obviously with being in a ward. I had a curtain around me at all times (covid regulations) so I was in my own little bubble.

I missed Adeline like mad- the most time I’ve spent away from her since lockdown so I was eager to get back! After one night there I asked the midwives about going home, they laughed at how keen I was and sped all the necessary checks up for me, making sure I was seen first. I did explain It wasn’t personal and I wanted to get back to my other daughter.

We were done and ready to be collected by 10am. Thom collected me and I was so excited to get home to Adeline. I had no idea how she was going to react. So off we went, as a 3. Stepping into our new life as a family of 4.

I couldn’t wait to see the look on Adeline’s face and to hold her and tell her how proud I was of her. It was in all honestly so emotional, I didn’t w/‘t to ever let go of her, I also swear she turned into a proper big girl in those 3 days away from her, she looked so much bigger!

To summarise..

Once the excitement was over. I settled down on the sofa with my daughters and I couldn’t believe how incredibly lucky I was. This was it.. the beginning of a new chapter, a new adventure and bugger all sleep.

To be continued..

Social Media- What is real anymore?

I’ve started to write this sentence for the 4th time now, I keep deleting it and if I’m honest I’m actually struggling with how to begin,where to start, and how to explain/ express what i’m feeling and thinking. Let’s start from the beginning as that may be the easiest place to start (see what I did there?)

So I began my Instagram journey on April 25th 2012 and it began as a photography page. Just me messing around with my new Nikon camera, taking photos of anything and anyone. Harmless stuff!

Then as instagram grew, it changed and it began to be more about you and your life, didn’t it? You know showing our nights out, what you were doing, wearing and documenting everything pretty much. At that point the focus wasn’t so much on how many likes, shares, friends, followers you got- like it is now. I think the pressure of that came at a much later date.

So my page began to be shaped around me and my life, travelling, my dog, selfies- oh the endless selfies. Who knows when people started to earn money through it, influencers, small businesses, etc etc. But a few years back 2017ish when I was pregnant with Adeline, I started to use it to share my experience with pregnancy life, I loved it because it was a little community, speaking to other mums who were pregnant or have experienced pregnancy, so really it was a place I went to for support, reassurance and to also to share my story. I noticed I started to get more likes, engagement and loved it that people were generally interested in me and enjoyed watching our life.

I’m not sure exactly when it started to happen but I started to get more likes, followers, I was then asked by friends i’d met online if I wanted to join an engagement group- a great way to support other mums. I began to meet mums from all around the world and it was an amazing and supportive community to be part of (and still is). I have met so many genuine people in these engagement/ support groups, people I can genuinely call friends.

I’ve read amazing blogs, creating my own blog and received true honest advice which has truly helped me as a parent.

But recently I started to think about the concept behind it, was it actually just about getting more likes, shares and exposure at the end of it. Did people only comment and like because they felt like they had to so they could then receive the same back. Some engagement groups haven’t been as authentic and if you haven’t followed the rules you’ve been kicked out and everyone instantly unfollows you. So really no one actually gave a shit? Did they?

So fast forward to 2020 where I’m pregnant again and I started to use Instagram a lot more during lockdown, I joined more groups, getting more followers la la la – all that i’ve said above. Everything became a game, a mission and there we have it, my page quickly then seemed to be taken over. I was/have/am being invited to various engagement groups, follow groups, I get constant messages from AMAZON SELLERS- asking to trade 5 star reviews for a refund. I started to wonder then, is this what instagram has become? You’re probably reading this and thinking WELL DUHHH or you are thinking I’m a hypocrite. Well give me a chance to keep explaining.

So instagram started to improve for me with various brands getting in touch wanting me to collab- WHO ME? COLLAB? HOW EXCITING! I have friends who do this as a living! I always stay true to myself and if I loved the product/brand then I would only accept. If it was something I wasn’t bothered about or passionate should I say then I wouldn’t bother because then I’m just being false. As that happened and I was being noticed on Instagram it kind of became a little addictive, I became part of maybe 8 different engagement groups just so I’d be noticed more. For those of you who don’t know what an engagement group is here is an easy way to explain;

  1. An engagement pod is a group (or ‘pod’) of Instagram users who band together to help increase engagement on each other’s content. This can be done through likes, comments, or follows. Whether you’re looking for something more general, or even something exclusive, chances are there’s a pod to cater to

It’s all good fun at first but when you realise that it’s having a genuine impact on your life you know something has to change.

The Realisation

I recently moved house and created a home account. I absolutely love it and I have generally met so many nice people, all interested in the same thing; homes, interiors, design. It’s very different to my personal account as I don’t actually give anything away about myself on the account really. It’s all about ‘my home’. It isn’t about who I am as a person. It feels different and I found myself going onto my home account more and dreading the meaningless, repetivitness of my personal account. Something that may I point out I have caused myself. No one else is to blame! It’s addictive. And I’m to blame for the way I’ve let it run away.

Do you know it got to the point where I would have to take time out of my day to do as I would call it ‘ADMIN’- going through my instagram engagement groups and spending sometimes up to an hour trawling through posts/pictures. Liking, saving, etc etc. And for what? To receive the same back. But why? I keep asking myself now, why!

Now don’t get me wrong not all engagement groups I’m in have been like that, some I have met genuine people/friends through them and have shared stories and experiences and have been able to talk to them about things perhaps I haven’t with my best friends. So i’m not saying it’s all all bullshit. I’ve valued a lot of peoples opinions and what better platform to get help with parenting then that. Part of my profile has always being about being true to myself, being raw and real, NO bullshit, kind of like my blogs.

Over the past few weeks I just got to thinking out of all the comments I was receiving (200-300 plus) how many of these were true, how many cared and really how many gave a shit. And that’s when I realised that my personal account had become less authentic and meaningless to me. That is not what i’m about.

So what now?

I decided, i’m having another baby, Adeline is growing up so fast. Family is so important. Is this what I want? Need even? Answer is no. None of it really matters, the likes, comments etc if it isn’t real and genuine it doesn’t mean anything. I want it to go back to what it’s really all about. Which I’m still actually looking for the answer to that if I’m honest..

I’m no longer part of 8 engagement groups, I no longer feel like I HAVE to go on instagram, sure i’m still using it because i’m an over sharer and as i’ve said before lots of good/friendships HAVE and ARE coming out of instagram.

But now I know it will be real and authentic. 20 LIKES over 200 fake likes i’d take that any day. It’s also interesting because since removing myself from these groups yesterday i’ve already lost a handful of followers but also on the flip side received so many nice messages with people who feel exactly the same, so it isn’t just me. And it shows that it wasn’t all a waste of time.

Over to you..

So this is where I turn to you.. what is your intention on instagram? What kind of followers do you want? Does it matter to you? Let me know if you agree or disagree! Please let me know! No judgement here. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions/experiences.

A Different Christmas.

Another year done! Why is it Christmas just flies by? There’s so much prep towards it and then boom it’s done. I think I’ve realised that I actually prefer the build up. It’s been a nice distraction this year from all the craziness.

Usually I get so depressed at this time of year, once the build up to Christmas is over, but I feel different this year. Maybe I’ve learnt that just because a good thing has ended it doesn’t mean that it’s all over and there’s more to look forward to in life than one event a year (even if it is one of the most exciting events)- for me anyway.

Adeline’s learning fast though, just this morning she asked where Santa was and her presents. Thom brutually broke it to her that Christmas was over. I’m glad I wasn’t there to see the look on her little angelic face. So I think it’s safe to say I’ve nurtured my love of Christmas onto Adeline just as my parents did to me!

A different Christmas

How was your Christmas? I don’t know if it was the pregnancy hormones, but after the tier 4 announcement I was so emotional. It didn’t effect us as such, but my brother & his wife were unable to join us as planned which broke my heart (they are down south). So our plans did quickly change.

I was so excited to host Christmas for the first time in our new home! I put a lot of time and effort into planning it, buying all sorts for the Christmas table-scape, planning the food, drink, games and gifts! To be then told (after previous announcement said that If we locked down before Christmas we would be safe to have Christmas with our family) to then be told they actually couldn’t join (only days before) it was a massive shock and it felt like an arrow through the heart.

Now before you think ‘it could be worse’ I know that, but I’ve also learnt that just because your situation isn’t as bad as somebody else’s that doesn’t mean that you can’t be upset either. So I allowed myself to be upset and I did shed a tear or two… mainly I was just angry and fed up with it all. I still can’t believe how long we have all been adapting our lives to this pandemic. It’s crazy, and I’m sure they’ll be some movie made about it in years to come.

I mean this whole situation has been nearly a year long, we all have our own personal situations going on, but at the end of the day it’s hard to put on a brave face whatever the situation is after this long. I’ve come to realise that you are allowed to be angry, and upset and quite frankly pissed off. It’s healthy to feel that way and important to express that. We all have a breaking point. And we all have our up days and down days. The only positives are is that we are ALL going through this and it’s been nice to have a supportive network of people pulling you up when you’re down and vice versa.

Carry on..

So through the tragic news, tears shed and anger shared the only thing to do was carry on. Children are a great distraction and they’ll always help you forget, after all Christmas really is even more magical when you have Children. So we did just that, we kept the Christmas cheer in full swing and carried on and made the best out of the situation.

It was a different Christmas, relaxing but still magical & it was also a weirdly emotional day- for me anyway. Watching Adeline open her presents in the morning was so heart warming, and ending the day with her saying to- and I quote;

I’ve had a lovely day today Mummy”.

Nothing could make me happier then those simple words. It melted me!

To have both sets of parents in our house surrounded with love, laughter, food and drink was something I’ll never forget. It’s like I forgot that we used to do that, didn’t we? You know socialise, have a house full. It’s been so long I almost forgot! I feel like we took it all for granted. Adeline was in her element, having so many loved ones to play with in the same room! I’ll never forget the joyous look on her face and everyone else’s!

QUESTION: Do you find yourself (when watching tv or a movie) that when people are in rooms together in close proximity, or hugging, kissing, shaking hands, you know the simple things and find it weird or odd or think wow you’ll get corona! I think it’s crazy how you can get used to something pretty quickly. And pretty sad as well.

A New Year

So as 2021 approaches and the new news of an even better vaccine I am filled with hope and optimism that 2021 will be a whole lot better. We have our new baby due in February and lots to look forward to.

Even though 2020 has been one hell of a year it’s also had its positives. I think we will all have learnt to appreciate those around us. Family and friends. I will be seizing every opportunity I get thrown at me in the new year and hoping that as things go slowly back to ‘normal’ we will enjoy every minute just that little bit more than before! I’m excited and I’ll never look back again.

I would love to hear your New Year Goals. So drop me a message.

Thanks for listening!

Charlotte xx

#newyear

Potty Training 2.0

Hey guys! You must be reading this blog post because you’re about to, or thinking about starting Potty training. I thought I would write about our experience and discuss some important key talking points to do with Potty training. I will talk about; The signs, the preparation, the equipment, the task in hand, regression, patience and perseverance, the rumours and the highs and lows. I’ll be completely honest as always and if you have ANY questions you can totally message me or follow me on Instagram where I’ve posted all about it too!

The Signs

I think it’s always good to start a Potty Training blog with the signs. I did buy two Potty Training books, one by Gina Ford & another more relaxed approach by an author I have no recollection of. So what I’m writing is pretty much what I followed and what I found worked for us. Some bits I’ve obviously made up myself due to what worked for Adeline and what didn’t. You know your own child so you’ll work that one out on your journey.

Let me also point out that this is my second attempt to Potty Training, we did try just after Adeline turned two in the Summer but she was no where near ready (plus it was a heatwave and truth be told we couldn’t be bothered to stay in and commit to being indoors) because in the beginning when you do first start you do need to stay indoors really. So we waited a few more months and here we are!

Adeline is 2 years and 7 months and my bun in the oven is 29 weeks old. Part of the reason that I knew that I was certainly ready was because it would be ideal to have it done and dusted before the new baby arrives (in plenty of time may I add.) But it isn’t obviously all about YOU being ready (but I do feel that it does play a big part in it) if you aren’t ready to put the graft in you may as well quit whilst your ahead.

Signs to look out for include;

1. Your child has dry nappies for at least an hour or two at a time. 

2. They understand when they are having a wee and may tell you they’re doing one.

3. They recognise when they have a wet or dirty nappy and may pull at it, take it off or ask you to change it. 

4. There may be visible signs your child needs to go to the toilet, like fidgeting or going somewhere quiet or hidden.

5. They know when they need to wee and may say so in advance. 

Adeline ticked all of these boxes so I knew she was ready.

The prep & equipment

I gave Adeline advance warning we would be starting to learn how to use the Potty (like a big girl) a few weeks before and how exciting that we will be getting rid of nappies! I always brought it up as we were changing her nappy. I read this was really useful for children to then understand what was about to happen and I guess it’s less of a shock when they wake up one day to the task in hand.

So I showed Adeline her potty weeks before, her big girl knickers and introduced her to some books on Potty Training so that we had some really positive chats about it as a lead up to the big day! I do think this made a huge difference because she was super positive and I even asked her to help me create a reward chart, talked about it and asked her what stickers she would like- she picked dinosaur ones!

So I bought the books for myself & for Adeline, created a reward chart, bought the stickers and bought plenty of chocolate coins.

To treat or not to treat?

Now one of the books I read said “Do not use treats as rewards”. But Gina Ford herself (and if you know you know she’s a pretty sassy lady) said yes to all treats & rewards especially if you have stubborn child. Adeline isn’t necessarily stubborn BUT she is excited by the idea of a treat and It did work especially during the regression stage- which I discuss further down.

I also figured this is a pretty big deal for any child to learn how to control their bladder & bowels and to recognise their bodily functions, so a reward or a treat for doing this is massively worth it (we are at the point now where she just gets a sticker and she’s happy with that). In my experience the rewards made Adeline extremely proud, she knew that when she was given a sticker it was for her efforts & a chocolate coin for her poo efforts (I of course also used lots of praise and did a little song and dance on every successful wee or poo.)

Never shout..

May I point out the obvious but also sometimes I think we all need reminding because it can be difficult to hold back when you’re frustrated and especially if you have been doing the same thing for some days but DO NOT make the accidents a big deal. And don’t ever mention the accident later on in the day or before bed. Once I knew Adeline understood it and had an accident I would just remind her to go in the potty and not on the floor but I never shouted at her or told her that she was naughty. I feel like thats an obvious one- but you never know. Better to mention it. At the end of the day we would always count her stickers and say how clever she was going on the potty (like a big girl) but I didn’t mention the accidents ever.

What you’ll need

  • Books for toddler
  • Book for you – Gina Ford potty training in one week was the one I got
  • Potty – if you buy multiple I advise you to make sure they are identical
  • Potty ladders
  • Portable potty- for outside.
  • Reward chart
  • Stickers
  • Pants
  • Chocolate coins
http://Why Do We Need A Potty? (Very First Lift-the-Flap Questions & Answers): 1 https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1474940625/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_Q08YFb0TD79C6?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
http://No More Nappies: A Potty-Training Book (Big Steps) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1509836314/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_h48YFb08MGSZS?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
http://Potty Training In One Week https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0091912733/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_d38YFbBTSHY3J?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
http://BabyBjörn Potty Chair, Powder Pink/White https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07X53MKTL/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_N98YFbX22VXX6?psc=1
http://KEPLIN Potty Toilet Seat Adjustable Baby Toddler Kid Toilet Trainer with Step Stool Ladder for Boy and Girl (Pink) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZKY6N7J/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_oZ8YFb06ZKFDV?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
http://My Carry Potty – Ladybird Travel Potty, Award-Winning Portable Toddler Toilet Seat for Kids to Take Everywhere https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00MBFWMZI/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_q88YFbBJ8WHRW?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
http://Dinosaur Foam Stickers (Pack of 120) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07QHD43HS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_118YFb4ATHJ0Y?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Quick Recap

1. Sticker chart/ reward chart- mine was really simple and I used a template on Pinterest. It simply said wee – poo- washed hands and you’d stick the sticker in the right column. And it goes without saying praise praise & more praise goes along way.

2. Potty- we went with a potty chair which she finds comfy and a good height

3. Toddler potty seat with steps- I bought this once she had mastered the potty as it was an upgrade to the potty. Also bare it in mind that your toddler may prefer going straight to this than the potty. And this will also help them not be scared of the toilet. So try both!

4. Books

5. Underwear to try on and get used to!

The Task In Hand

Step 1: introducing the potty and making sure you take them to the toilet as much as possible. I found that every-time I needed a wee I would say ‘Come on, let’s go for a wee’. This encouraged her to sit on the potty each time and I would sing songs so she would sit longer! I think the important thing at the beginning is that they learn to sit still on the potty while you explain what you are doing and to you use clear and simple language and always remain really positive. Lots of praise!

Day 1-2

On the first day of training, once Adeline had finished her brekkie I would put her in her ‘big girl knickers’. We decided to start with knickers because a the book I was following and a blog I was listening to both pointed out that if you start potty training naked they’d only then have to start again by getting used to training with knickers on, so I just went for it with knickers on.

The book also advises that once you’ve started with knickers DO NOT at any point put them back in nappies even to go out or in the car. The only time you can put them in nappies is when they are sleeping. And to make it clear that they are just for sleeping. I called them her special bedtime nappies. Unless your child is dry everyday for two weeks at night-time then remove nappies at bedtime otherwise don’t worry!

I don’t need to go into much detail on our day 1-2 because it was pretty constant with accidents and not much in the potty. I just remained calm and super positive. I took her to the bathroom with me whenever I needed a wee- which is pretty much every 20 mins with help from the baby!

During the first couple of days they will need frequent reminders to sit on the potty and just reminding ‘what a big girl you are in your big girl pants’.

After day 2 and not much success, I was like- “…but what happened to it taking 3 days?”- then I remembered EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT and to chill out.

HOT TIP: Don’t loose faith. I created a little chart on my notes page on my phone just so I could try notice a pattern of when she went. On the first day I was surprised at how little she went!

HOT TIP 2: Buy some nice juices so they are inclined to drink more and then you can crack on without waiting hours & hours for them to go.

Day 3

By day 3 we were having less accidents and more wees in the potty. I did find myself constantly asking Adeline all the time ‘do you need a wee?’

To be honest I was pissing myself off, I can’t even imagine how Adeline was feeling. We were still in just knickers at this stage just FYI. I definitely needed to chill out more as I think I was putting too much pressure on her and it was almost having the opposite effect.

Day 4-5

Things were looking up, lots of potty wees & we even mastered the poops at this stage which I heard are even harder. We had a slight regression when I tried to put leggings on her as she seemed to just wee herself in clothes (common though apparently). I also felt like I still had to remind Adeline at that point or get her to sit on her potty to either sing nursery rhymes, play puzzles or read a book- it’s good to try get them to sit on it little and often because at this point they don’t know the sensation of needing it, it just happens very suddenly.

Day 6-7

This was a nursery day and an absolute disaster. I kind of expected it as its a new surroundings and lots of distractions. The day before she had done so well, as she had few accidents so I was feeling really positive but she actually refused to sit on their potty at nursery so just wet herself all day. By this point the regression was looming.

Honestly it’s so hard. For them and for you. It’s constant and intense – the amount of parents I’ve had as my ‘wing man’ throughout this, cheering me on, was amazing. I needed it though, I hadn’t even been outside for 6 days and thought we would of mastered it by now. I say WE because yes ultimately it’s your child learning but It is a proper team effort from both of you. Neither of you can have a day off, you have to keep the positivity up constantly & never take your eye of them. Worth it? Absolutely!

Day 8-onwards

You may have noticed the Gina Ford book was called – Potty Training in one week. I now look at that as a basic guide line because I truly believe all children are different and just because it took Adeline over 7 days doesn’t mean she wasn’t ready at all. They are just all different! From day 13 (lucky for some!) she was DRY and has been ever since. She now goes to the Potty and or toilet (using her ladders) on her own and I don’t need to remind her.

Rumours

In various books, on social media and the internet people suggested it could take anywhere from 3 days – 3 months so if like us it takes a little longer than your pals toddler don’t worry. Every child is different- I know I’ve said that but I know as parents it’s so easy to compare all the time.

Regression

It does happen and it’s a real kick in the balls. Between day 10-13 I was about to sack it off, trying to convince myself; she isn’t ready it’s taking too long. But actually my mind was telling me to suck it up and my gut was telling me to man up.

It’s so easy to throw in the towel because YOU are tired or YOU are fed up. But suddenly.. something happened. I read that you can really frustrate your child if you are asking them all the time if they need the potty and to try and get them to take the lead with it. Because Adeline had 2 days where she had no accidents and then the regression happened I knew she essentially ‘got it’ and that this was the regression everyone tells you about. Here to test you.. and believe me it does.

The Highs & Lows

My worst day during the process by far was when Adeline started ‘holding her wee’. This was partly because I think she didn’t want to go outside in her portable potty & she was perhaps feeling pressured. She started to get upset more and wanted her dummy as a comforter, by this point I felt so guilty. I think she held her wee for 7 hours at one point as I felt like I’d pushed her too far. But apparently it can be very common and that was only one day. I’m not ashamed to say i didn’t sleep that night and I cried to Thom- I do think pregnancy hormones played a part in that too!

So I had a sleepless night thinking all about it saying to myself that ‘I’ll give it to the end of the week’. Honestly you should of heard me, losing my shit I was!

Clearing my head

So I woke up the next day with a clear head. I wasn’t going to ask Adeline if she needed a wee, I was going for the cool & calm approach with just a little reminder telling her where the potty was. And that was it.

Suddenly she would just say ‘I need a wee’ ( those 4 magical words) and it was like something switched. Since day 14 she has been dry and I could literally cry. She seems so much happier as well and she is so proud of herself.

So it’s true patience & perseverance goes along way.

HOT TIP: If you have a partner try and get them to help you out to release you of the load for a bit and also don’t be afraid to ask for help from nursery too. We were really lucky that they helped out and had our back.

I now feel like a huge weight has been lifted and when your little baby has suddenly mastered the skill, the proudness you feel really does make it all worth it. We are at the point now where she just goes on her own and before we go out she will always try and go and usually is pretty successful (I call it pee on command). So utterly proud of my little Adeline. And myself! Battling Potty Training at 29 weeks pregnant. I reckon I need a lay down and a medal. I would say bottle of Prosecco but unfortunately no can do.

Hot tips

◦ Don’t ask them all the time if they need a wee wee. It’s annoying for them… and you!

◦ Let them take the lead

◦ Sit on the potty and make a game out of it with nursery rhymes

◦ Learn to watch the signs- Adeline would always stand suddenly still and look at me before she had an accident

◦ Go to the toilet together

◦ Ignore the 3 day potty training guides (unless of course your child smashes it in 3 days)

Do not put them back in nappies once you’ve decided to start potty training except for sleep time- I called them bedtime nappies.

AND FINALLY

GOOD LUCK! You got this! STAY COOL CALM AND COLLECTED! You and your child will have good and bad days, don’t beat yourself up when this happens. Try and remain positive. It’s not like any other milestones i’ve been through, but we got there and a truly believe you can too! I’d love to know how you get on and if you found my blog helpful in anyway so please leave a comment.

Love Charlotte and Adeline

xxx

The Little Wooden Toy Company – Best Christmas Gift ideas for boys and girls 2020.

I had the amazing opportunity to do a spot of Christmas shopping at The Little Wooden Toy Company. And what a treat it was. If you are anything like me, I always like to research gifts for others and my daughter. When I look for presents I will always look for items that are suitable for her age group, something that reflects her personality and something that is educational whether that means role-play or problem solving .

Quality over Quantity?

Usually before I begin to shop online, I will research high and low for the best gifts, not just for the price (that obviously does come into it, let’s be honest) but I also look for quality over quantity and to realise that children don’t need many toys, they just need good toys. The Little Wooden Toy Company are 100% committed to sourcing out new, traditional and innovative toys and accessories that engage children’s physical and cognitive development. They have curated a collection of beautiful toys that are predominantly handmade with attention to every detail.

Now I will hold my hands up and admit I have bought plastic toys that don’t even last a minute and also hide away in a box, because let’s be honest, plastic toys don’t look that aesthetically pleasing whereas something made from good quality materials i.e. wood and are beautifully decorated with tasteful pastels is worth the extra. I have the gorgeous bistro tea set and now the Bistro Mixing set, along with a wooden kitchen – I have to admit, it all looks rather gorgeous. I even display the toys out in her room because they look THAT GOOD!

Cya later plastic toys, be gone!

I say – gone are the days of filling your house with plastic, we have to do better than that. Teach our children also about what is good for the environment and how to be more sustainable. So this year why not spend a little extra on something that is better for the planet, aesthetically pleasing, looks good in rooms, better quality and of course a little something extra special?

Forget the big stores, shop independent!

This is where The Little Wooden Toy Company comes in. They have it all. I need to also make it clear that i am not being paid to write this, I would never write about something that I didn’t feel passionate about or products that I didn’t generally like. So during this blog I will write about which items I have chosen as my TOP CHRISTMAS PRESENTS from age 18months old. I will share photos and do an honest review for you. Hopefully you will get some ideas for gifts and appreciate how really unique and special this little company is – no need to not hit the big stores this year and perhaps time to shop a little more individual and bespoke for something that is extra special and will last for years.

A Seamless Shopping Experience..

When I entered The Little Wooden Toy Company website I found that it’s extremely clear and obvious what is in each tab. The one that caught my eye was the ‘Brands’. I am a sucker for a branded toy, because cheap toys, do not last. They also have a ‘Collections’ tab so if you’re looking for a certain toy you don’t have to scroll through countless products to find what you’re looking for. It’s what i like to call a seamless shopping experience for parents, which is kinda what we want isn’t it? No one has the time anymore, plus time and hands are not always available! They have selected a special collection that is infused with a sense of style and engages every stage of “the parenting experience”. I personally found the whole experience effortless. I found just what I wanted and each item gave me plenty of detail about the product. If you do have any questions you have they are always available via email and instagram. I have found the customer service excellent. One of the items I wanted for example was out of stock and they replied within 4 hours. Can’t really complain about that can ya?

Delivery Service.

When you order your items you receive an email with an invoice and then after a day or so you receive your DPD tracking. The delivery was super quick and DPD sent me a tracking & 1 hour time slot on the day. I always find couriers a nightmare but this was fine, they were clear on timings, and speedy with delivery.

My Top Christmas Choices for Christmas!

1) Bistro Wooden Mixing Set £45.95

https://www.littlewoodentoy.co.uk/products/bistro-wooden-mixer-set?_pos=1&_sid=f05dada55&_ss=r

I absolutely LOVE this product. It is so gorgeous, it is well- made, with such attention to detail. I don’t know any child that wouldn’t love to play with this mixing set. The set includes a mixer with mixing bowl, one egg and three packs that look like flour, milk and sugar.

The mixer and the knob can be turned and raised up. Designed in Scandinavia and lovingly hand crafted using the finest wood, this beautiful wooden set is the perfect kitchen accessory for children who love role play. Adeline (my daughter) had so much fun pretending to bake a cake, we especially love the egg concept where you can pretend to crack & open the egg (the yolk comes apart from the shell) very cute and very clever. I feel like the Kids Concept (the brand) really think about every attention to detail which make the experience even funner and realistic for the child.

The age is recommendation for this toy is 3+ but my daughter is 2 and a half and manages perfectly well with this toy. An absolute winner for this Christmas i say!

2) Xylopone Plywood Toy £24.95

I come from quite a musical family. We have all played musical instruments before and love the joy it brings, it’s a huge part of our life and what child doesn’t love to enjoy music, especially when it means making it themselves? Adeline loves to get the stick and bash it against the instrument to hear what sounds it makes. It makes her so happy and she really enjoys playing with this beautiful Xylophone.

It’s beautifully hand-made and will provide hours of musical fun for your little ones, as they explore different sounds and rhythm. Musical instruments are a great way to develop hand-eye coordination. I think it’s a perfect gift for an aspiring musician. From age 18months+. We love this item and i think it’s a Christmas must have!

3) Baby Pram with Bedding (sold separately) £103.95/Bedding £28.95

This is the the winner in our house. This pram is an absolute treasure.  It is made entirely of wood, with the exception of the tiny tires on the wheels. I am so excited to give this to Adeline for Christmas. It is the WOW of all prams.

We have a small pram already but Adeline’s baby doesn’t fit in properly, and the wheels don’t turn. This is like a step up from any toy pram i’ve seen and the cutest!

It is made by a company called ‘Ooh Noo’ and the care and attention to detail put into creating this pram is obvious. As i mentioned before about toys looking aesthetically pleasing, this hits the nail on the head and it is one of those rare toys that delivers on both in style and functionality.

It is so fun to play with as well as fitting in with your home decor. It is appropriate for all of her dolls, including stuffed toys! Adeline literally throws in as many as she can and feels like a proper ‘big girl’ with her ‘posh pram’. An absolute upgrade from her small plastic pram.

Pair it with their beautiful ladybird tiny blanket and pillow, and you have yourself the cutest little bed on wheels ever seen that your child will treasure for years!

So there you have it, if you’re looking for a beautiful, sustainable and special gift this Christmas then look no further The Little Wooden Toy Company have it all.

#childrenstoys #woodentoys #shopindependant #christmasshopping

The Little Wooden Toy Company

I had the pleasure of working with The Wooden Toy Company! I chose this beautiful wooden tea set which is the perfect accessory for any tea party at your place and great for inspiring pretend play. I knew Adeline would love this and boy does she! It’s probably the nicest tea set I’ve ever seen. It’s designed for small hands, and is so dainty and pretty.

I love the little touches of lemon and the cute little milk pot. You can even choose between four different tea bags. The set comes with a teapot with a lid, four teacups with saucers, a milk jar, two lemon slices, four tea bags, a storage box, two spoons and a tray with room for everything you need. The box contains 21 parts all for £37 which I think is a bargain! We have only had it 3 days and Adeline has played with it everyday on her own , with us and with her dollies.

Adeline is at the age now where she loves to role play and will spend a lot longer focused on one toy- this is perfect to do just that.

Overall a beautifully made, charming, little tea set for little minds. I say ditch the plastic and spend a little more money on the wooden toys because they last longer and overall better for the economy! Win win!

#thelittlewoodentoycompany #gifted #toyreview

Toddler tantrums!

Well f**** me. I once read a book that said ‘there’s no such thing as terrible twos’ well. I know what I think to that…

So let me catch you up. I was living at my mother in laws for over a fortnight whilst we waited for our new house and it’s been.. well.. eventful, interesting.. I can think of a polite way of saying HARD. I guess it’s better than being homeless and we didn’t have any other choice if we wanted to keep our buyer happy (which I heard she hasn’t even moved into our house that we sold her).

So we were, living with the in-laws and dealing with the terrible tantrums- maybe we could call them that if apparently the terrible twos isn’t a thing. I can’t remember what book i read that in, if I had to guess I’m going to say Gina Ford- sounds like something she might say.

The Tantrums

So have you ever seen a Mother trying to deal with their child whilst they are screaming & crying, the endless stream of snot coming down their face (the child that is) The Mother looking sweaty and exasperated. Well if you were in Otley the other day you may of seen me, sweaty top lip, frantically trying to get Adeline across the bridge, the stand off and then the classic over the shoulder whilst Adeline screams. Honestly, no one, I repeat NO ONE can prepare you for that. It came out of nowhere. At one point I thought, shit what do I do!

How to deal with it?

So I’m on about tantrum 10 and I’m still learning how to deal with it. And I’m no expert but I am a sucker for reading books and as it was happening my little brain was going through the pages I’d read ticking off each one. (some may not of appeared in any books).

◦ Ignore them- didn’t work. ‘Cya Adeline I’m going now BYEEEE’. I was left with a blank expression and almost a wave off!

◦ Calmly ask if she’s ok and try and understand. This method works only at the end of the screams and ultimate anger!

◦ Ride the fucker out. Then retreat to explaining what she did wrong and help her understand

Now there was a point where I got angry and cross and that back fired for sure. So it is true stay calm!

I actually think i’m starting to get the hang of it – Adeline now hates getting dressed & or nappy change so everyday we have an ‘episode’ and the key seemed to be distraction before it escalates and also pick your fights!

I know they can’t help it and they don’t understand, it’s definitely a test for us all on how we cope with such moments. Adeline is very strong willed and fierce and once she blows she blows… sounds kind of familiar actually.

Pregnancy number 2- the first 12 weeks.

So I always think the first 12 weeks are one of the hardest & so much so because you have to keep it secret from everyone when you feel at your worst!

I didn’t blog during my pregnancy last time which I regretted, because I enjoyed blogging after birth so much! So, as soon as I found out, I started making notes about how I was feeling etc. And here we are! Better late then never. So if you’re interested read ahead…it has taken me ages to get this blog together mainly because I’m so busy with moving into our new house & juggling that with being a Mama to Adeline & crazy Bonnie lady (spaniel).

What you should know- quick recap

My last pregnancy wasn’t easy, it was actually really hard and really shit. I had severe sickness & then severe SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) i was off work for months and at its worse i was in a wheelchair. I had Pysio half way and managed to manage with just crutches by the end. Everyone kept telling me that once you’ve given birth, it goes instantly- that’s bollocks. It took my body so long to fully recover. May I point out I am hyper mobile which means you can be more prone to problems in the pelvis/ hip area. So I was really nervous to put my body through it all over again but we wanted Adeline to have a sibling and it’s all worth it in the end. Right?

SIDE NOTE: Please don’t think for one minute that i am not grateful to even be able to get pregnant & carry a child because believe me i am. It breaks my heart to know that it doesn’t come so easy to some people. I am extremely lucky to be able to conceive and carry a heathy baby but my body does struggle in other ways. I had to say the Side note because i don’t want you to think that I don’t realise that- I hate complaining and bitching about pregnancy because for those of us who can, we know we are incredibly lucky- just wanted to clear that up before anyone thought I was being ungrateful.

The first 12 weeks

So the first 12 weeks- the secret stage but also one of the hardest stages. You’re pregnant, feeling your worst, looking your worse but your lips are sealed until you get the all clear that your baby is safe and happy. I was very nervous (as you can image) with regards to my sickness but i did do some research and my research summarised that you should get on sickness tablets as soon as you find out you are pregnant and HALLULAH that i did because i can count on one hand how many times I’ve been sick and I’m now 15 weeks. In the beginning I did feel nauseous 99 precent of the time but even that is getting better (as long as I take the pills) if I miss a pill I soon know about it- so it does show how much effective they are! I totally forgot about the lack of going to the toilet (if you know what I mean) my record was 5 days. Oh and i also never felt tiredness like it and you don’t have the luxury to nap the second time around do ya? It’s all about sucking it up and getting on with it! It does make the whole 12 weeks fly though where as i remember it dragging so much last time.

 More about the first 12 weeks

So as I was saying it is going so much quicker this time, probably because i don’t have time to really think about it as I’m busy with Adeline and also moving house. I haven’t even taking a bump picture yet- something i need to do as i loved my bump week by week pics! I had a scan reassurance at 9 weeks because who can wait 12 weeks? Plus I knew Thom wouldn’t be able to attend my nhs one- #covid. So the gender scan is tomorrow, I couldn’t wait 5 weeks- and again Thom missed out on the 12 week scan so we booked an early one! We are already convinced we are having a girl as the pregnancy is very similar to my previous. And the scan looked weirdly like Adeline’s. We have a tonne of girl names and zero boys so fingers crossed a girl!

CRAVINGS

So my last pregnancy i didn’t have the luxury of cravings because i lived on toast. This time round I’ve had all sorts of food cravings. Here is just a few.

  • Mcdonalds- i think i had 3 in one week.
  • Lemons and sour foods in general.
  • Ice cream
  • CURRY- may i add from my last pregnancy i went off all meat and didn’t touch curry for a year after i vomited up a 3 course indian we had. My husband didn’t let me see this craving through as he said i may regret it.
  • Callipo ice lollies – mmmmmm refreshing
  • Veggie sushi
  • Puddings in general

Loving food this pregnancy I think the only problem is I’m going to be packing in the pounds! I’m staying away from the scales this time round- what’s the point?

SPD – I hate you

I’ve had a bit of an spd scare since week 9 and my midwife has already referred me. Those of you have had experienced the pain of SPD you will get me, for those of you haven’t just image a burning hot knife stabbing your groin/vagina every time you move. Or even when you don’t move! I’m hoping I can get it sorted quicker than last time because I’m not sure how I would cope with not being able to move & looking after Adeline. I’ve currently just been sent Pysio exercises due to covid so let’s just hope they help. It’s so annoying but again i feel like I’m managing with the pain more, mainly because I have no choice.

The news is out!

So we literally moved house two weeks ago and didn’t get the chance to ‘tell the world’ or should I say ‘baby announcement on social media’. So at 13 weeks plus I did it and it was really lovely to have so many congratulations. Makes it more real! Plus I can stop bumping into people with the worry of them thinking how much lockdown weight I’ve gained! Seriously though I look 20 weeks plus pregnant already and I’m only 15 next week! It’s true you do pop quicker the second time round.

Here’s our announcement pic!

I will keep blogging & updating you on pregnancy with a toddler but as I’ve mentioned before I only really write these blogs for us (the family), so we have a little diary of our life which I think will be really fun to look back on in years & also for Adeline too. I’m not even sure anyone really reads it? But if you do- drop me a comment i’d love to hear from you!

My curry is currently burning so I’m going to skedaddle!

🤍