Category Archives: New beginnings

Going back to work – 6 tips I’ve learnt

Toddler spilling pensBeing 31 weeks’ pregnant (it still doesn’t seem real – even when it’s there in black and white) work should be something I’m thinking about winding down rather than starting afresh. But a few things recently have made me cast my mind back to when I started again post-mat leave just over two years ago. I had a difficult time back then, partly down to issues that I hope I don’t ever have to face again. And that’s without factoring in missing your little one, parental guilt etc. etc.

But there are definitely also positive learnings to be made from my experiences and if I could help my younger self to cope and can also remind myself for next time, here’s what I’d say. Continue reading

Pink or blue? Our toddler colour clash

Pink and blue footprintsThere’s a colours theme in my home at the moment. Much of it revolves around pink and blue. It’s not all about the new baby – although we don’t know if it’s a boy or girl – it’s more about Scrip and her sudden insistence of which colours are her favourites and which are appropriate for her and her friends.

Starting at the end of last year she’s very clear that her favourite colours are pink and purple, and her  nannyshare buddy’s favourite is blue (he’s a little boy). I’m asked if I like pink and purple, as are most females, and same with blue for Daddy and males.

I’m not quite sure where this has started. Maybe it’s the drip drip effect of cartoons and clothes and toys (particularly those advertised on TV). We’ve never deliberately set out to buy her lots of pink things but she has ended up with her fair share. But by no means is her room a frilly, pastely assault on the senses. And we’ve actively tried to buy a mix of ‘girls’ toys’ and unisex ones.

Of course it might be a phase, as most things are (or at least we tend to reassure ourselves they are). Or it may be that her favourite colours are genuinely pink and purple and may continue to be. But what started with requests for a pink teddy and pink vests just before Christmas has now turned into pink everything (‘can this Lego cat be pink?’, ‘can muzzy be pink?’, can I have pink play doh’).

In the meantime I have a feeling I’ll have to learn to love the colour. After all, blue is for boys.

2015: welcoming a year of change

Hello 2015 beach sceneI’m not as anti-New Year’s resolutions as some people seem to be, but I rarely make a firm list (and even more rarely, stick to it). However, I do believe in fresh starts and new beginnings each new year, and this will be particularly true of 2015.

As December turns to January baby number two becomes something that’s actually going to happen this year – and even this spring. Suddenly everything seems more real. The bump is bigger, the clothes need to be stretchier and unfortunately, my SPD is back with a vengeance.

People I work with are starting to ask if I’m on a countdown now. Not yet – I’ve still got around two months to go there (I think) so it’s business as usual. Same with Scrip. Even though she’s shortly going to become a big sister and her nannyshare buddy’s family is gearing up to move out of London, it won’t be until at least May, so I’d like to keep things normal for her for as long as possible.

We’re also going to put her name down for nursery soon, so she can go when she’s three, even if it’s just for one day a week. There’s one just across the road which is quite new, is Montessori and seems good. I went one afternoon to see the classes in full swing (pretty different to a more clinical nursery open day) and I got a great feeling from it. Scrip’s understanding more and more each day and she knows that she’ll be going there at some stage, and she seems to be looking forward to it.

So everything’s on the verge of changing, but not just yet. And although some of the changes will be pretty dramatic, I’m hoping to keep the ride as smooth as possible.

I hope your 2015s have started well. What changes are you expecting this year?

Half way through: a second pregnancy

Half way through pregnancyHalf way there – in fact, just over half way. The bump is discernible, the aches and pains are back but my taste for coffee still isn’t. Even though I can see and feel all of that – not to mention tiny kicks and punches even as I type – I still can’t quite believe it’s real. We’re going to be a family of four and one of those is going to be a tiny baby. Wow.

In some ways things are very familiar, and in some ways there are surprises. This is what I’ve found so far, second time around: Continue reading

The truth about having a new baby – what it was really like

baby handsAs I sit here, one ear on the monitor to check Scrip really is napping and not chatting away to herself, I know that we’ve got a good routine going. We’re living family life with one toddler and managing OK. That’s not to say it’s easy – it’s never easy – but this is our life now and we’re in a pattern. So just the time to throw it all off track by introducing number two into our reasonably balanced equation.

I was reminiscing with a friend this week about the early days and about how hard we both found it – especially with the first (she has three). It’s funny but it’s a Continue reading

More New Mumblings: a second baby

Hand on baby bumpIt turns out wanting a second baby is just as intense a feeling as wanting a first. Then there’s the added considerations of being older, growing age gaps and parental worry. So I’m delighted to be at 12 weeks with three scan pictures and lots of mental images of a back flipping, finger sucking tiny new being on the screen.

It also turns out that it’s harder than you’d think to surprise a 2.5 year old. When we told Scrip this week she took it all in her stride – she seemed to know exactly where the baby was and understood that it was her little brother or sister. She took a look at the scan pictures, pointed out the baby’s head and then turned away to carry on playing with her Lego.

Still, it’s a good start and I know there’s a long way to go and a lot more to talk about with her. Although it feels like the first trimester has dragged on I keep being told how much more quickly the second and third go, so that’s something to bear in mind.

The final initial revelation is that it seems not all pregnancies are made equal. At least for the first few months – I’ve felt more sick, more hungry, craved carbs more and had more food aversions this time around. I know you can’t read anything into it gender-wise but it is strange – feeling the same but different. I’ve also dug out my maternity jeans already – probably a combination of those carbs and that hunger so hopefully both will subside pretty soon.

Tips for turning your blog into a business – a Vonage Workshop

Blogging in a coffee shopEvery now and again I go to events which give me real food for thought and also practical advice. Last week’s was a ‘Blog to Business’ sponsored by Vonage – the business phone company which gives one man bands or small businesses a dedicated business line over the internet, via their home phone. Vonage offers plenty of clever and helpful tools (more

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From 12 to 24 months: a year in pics

One year old in fieldI’ve been putting together invites to Scrip’s second birthday ‘party’ this week (less party, more calm gathering I’m hoping). The terrible twos are fast approaching and she’s definitely more ready to welcome them than me, having been carefully honing her tantrum techniques for Continue reading

Chitter chatter

Fourteen months old and Scrip is starting to understand more of our language, which is great. But she’s also starting to reply in her own, sometimes familiar but mostly baffling, language. My husband and I find ourselves deciphering constantly – ‘did she mean cat?’ ‘I think that was “more”‘ ‘I think she’s asking for some of your toast’ and so on.

PointingThere are some words the three of us all seem to agree on, but also some that we were very clear on before – such as her first ever word, bubble – that now seem to have morphed into something quite different. She’ll still point at the bottle excitedly, and mimic blowing the bubbles, but she’s decided to change the word.

I’m dutifully repeating things when I think I know what Scrip means, as I’m told to in my email updates (‘ask your toddler if she means she wants some “water” as you clearly point to the glass’), so hopefully eventually she’ll repeat something similar after me. At the moment she’ll happily answer in her own language, with her favourite words being anything that starts with ‘b’. Even ‘apple’ and ‘open’ seem to work quite nicely with bs in the middle instead of ps.

I now realise how many times I’ve deferred to parents in the past when their toddlers said something apparently indistinguishable – and how many times they must have been almost as in the dark as me.

I’m sure it will get easier as Scrip gets older and realises we have to meet somewhere in the middle with language. In the meantime, hopefully it won’t get too frustrating for either of us as I’m constantly offering her water when what she’d really like is to play catch.

(Un)hired help

If having a baby brings you closer to your partner (which I’d say it has done overall, but maybe not during the third wake up call of the night, with Calpol all over your carpet and a screaming baby in your arms), it also brings you closer to his family.

Scrip and NanaI know this is a difficult terrain to navigate, but although I’ve always got on with my in-laws, I’ve also always had a very clear line dividing my family and my husband’s. Which I’m sure is normal. I’m a version of myself with them – I wouldn’t be as honest or free with my opinions as I would be with close friends and the family that’s surrounded me my whole life. They’re quite different and I’m aware of the differences.

But having a baby has changed that. It’s made me relax a bit and appreciate them more. I’ve needed them more than I have before – they’re closer in distance than my own parents, and being retired, they were able to dedicate quite of bit of time to helping us in the early weeks, and looking after Scrip for us nowadays.

They really were particularly helpful when we were acclimatising to being new parents. For the first time I couldn’t move the pile of washing or polish the bathroom taps before they arrived – I didn’t have the energy or the focus during the hazy early days. And I couldn’t even refuse when they offered to cook or tidy the kitchen – in fact, I was grateful.

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