Tag Archives: New baby

When one becomes two: what I should have told my toddler

When one becomes twoWe’re now getting to the stage where Scrip asks where baby D is if he’s not in the room (it’s usually that he’s napping – not that he’s lying on his own somewhere!) She loves our morning routine of making silly faces through the cot bars, playing with him on our bed and lying next to him for nappy changes. And she’s very proud when I bring him into nursery to collect her and her friends crowd around and touch his little fingers and toes.

But there are still adjustments to be made and it certainly hasn’t always been straightforward. She struggled at the start and sometimes reacted in ways that surprised me. I don’t think you can ever be sure exactly how introducing a new baby will go. Although I thought a three year-ish age gap would work well for us, it has also meant that Scrip has had three years of us on her own and she understands so much more than a smaller child would. 

With the benefit of good old hindsight, here’s what I wish I’d told her before baby D came along:

She knew about the newborn crying (I warned her a lot about that!) but she didn’t know about all the waiting. There’s a lot of her having to be patient – waiting while I feed D, waiting while I change (another) nappy, waiting while I re-figure out the raincover (I’ve always struggled with that one), waiting when we go for his baby check ups. I read somewhere that you could introduce a specific activity for your child to do every time your baby needs a change or a feed – great idea (but Scrip would have been doing a lot of it!)

The sheer tiredness of mummy and daddy. She was too young to remember our zombie-like states first time around but she can see them clearly this time! From encouraging her to play ‘sleeping’ games with me (yes, seriously – they work sometimes!), to the large coffees that accompany every playground trip to lots of playing whilst I’m lying on the floor or sofa she can clearly see the effects of sleepless nights. Plus I’m probably more likely to be snappy which I’m trying hard to avoid. That’s where the effervescent Sofia the First and Henry Hugglemonster come in handy.

Having to be quiet. Whilst I’ve tried to make sure D gets used to background noise – which is hard to avoid in London – I’ve found three year olds have a certain pitch that’s almost guaranteed to wake a soundly sleeping baby. I find myself asking her to be quiet a lot. I want to let her run, dance and sing but maybe not all at the same time and not when he’s just settling for a nap (or in his face when he wakes up).

Gentleness. She has always been a gentle little girl – playing gently, stroking cats and rabbits softly and brushing my hair so delicately I can hardly feel it. But there’s something about having a sibling that brings out her ‘enthusiasm’. She rocks D vigorously, pinches his cheeks and tickles him like she’s scratching an itch! Unless he’s visibly upset I like to let her play with him but I have to keep a close eye and I’m always using the ‘g’ word.

How to enjoy being independent. Although a little shy, Scrip is a pretty independent girl. She’ll play on her own and will now happily race off at soft play and will join in with other children at playgrounds. But I probably didn’t do enough beforehand to encourage her to help dress herself, brush her own teeth, tidy her own toys away etc. It’s so helpful for her to do that when we’re all trying to leave the house and now she’s a lot better at it she’s starting to take real pride in it (as well as being now dry at nights – yey!)

What did you wish you’d told your little one when you had a new baby?

Have a little patience – learning to love the randomness of the baby months

Randomness of babiesI remember most of Scrip’s baby milestones but, although they were very real and exciting at the time, I can’t now pinpoint exactly when they were. I mentioned to a friend recently that I wish I’d written a diary or even a few handy notes at the time – she suggested it should be mandatory if you were at least contemplating having more than one. Maybe an NCT exercise?!

The problem is, having a new baby means I’m ready and impatient to reach those milestones again – particularly the ones which will help order our lives a bit more. When can I get him into an (unforced) routine? When should he really be napping in the cot? When do his bedtimes start regulating? Don’t get me wrong, I love his gorgeous smiles, little chuckles and chubby babiness and I feel like I’m able to enjoy this time so much more second time around. It’s just that I know what’s coming and am keen to embrace it – but I don’t know when it’s coming.

Babies and particularly baby timing is random during these first few hazy months. Even now, 9 week old D’s sleeping in his pushchair and I’m not sure if he’ll wake up in 40 minutes or two hours. 

So although I’m keen to get on to the next stage I’m trying to encourage myself to wait until at least we reach three months to start thinking patterns and routines. And in the meantime, especially with the backdrop of a warm summer, enjoy as many of the small details along the way as I can.

The New Parent Olympics – could you compete?

New Parent OlympicsI know strictly speaking we’re not new new parents, but having had a gap of three years, at tricky times and in the early hours it certainly feels like we’re doing all of this for the first time. Some things come flooding back (the only way to treat nappy rash is to reach for the Metanium, always make sure the frills at the side of the nappy are facing out or face the consequences, no room should be without a muslin) and some feel like we’ve never experienced them before.

Much of it is logistical, fuelled by sleep deprivation, and a lot is about making the most of small windows of time. So I’ve been mulling a few new parent challenges that could be worthy of including in next year’s Olympics:

The five minute supermarket dash. Contenders need to collect at least ten items, spanning both sides of the giant supermarket with a grizzly baby and/or whiny toddler before either fully melts down. Bonus points for not knocking anyone flying en route and not giving into pester power for cheap toys or cheap sweets.

The service station nappy change. Contenders need to change a nappy on a dubious surface (often wobbly, rarely spotless) whilst avoiding baby touching any part of the changing table. Bonus points for negotiating the (often broken) straps and managing to have a toilet break yourself.

The me-time challenge. Contenders need to make the most of a rare child-free hour, courtesy of partner/in-laws/fool-hardy friends, by fitting in as many household tasks as possible – aim for at least 15. Bonus points for anyone who actually manages to rest during this ‘rest time’.

The cup of tea challenge. Contenders need to finish at least one cup of tea (which could be classed as lukewarm or above) fully, within a 24 hour period. Sounds deceptively simple but not many have succeeded.

The getting ready alone challenge – baby vs shower. Contenders need to wash, brush teeth and dress without the baby crying. Bonus points for using a variety of apparatus such as baby bouncer, crib with mobile, moses basket and fluffy towel on the floor and for singing nursery rhymes/nonsense songs continuously.

And the New Parent Olympics gold medal? A lovely smile from your baby…and a hot cup of tea.

I’ve been practising all of these in the last few weeks and would rate my chances. Could you compete?

Life with a newborn Р#winning or #failing? 

 Ten days in and having sent my mum my standard morning sleep progress report text – a positive one – she replied ‘#winning’. Which made me smile. I’d had a few hours’ sleep strung together not once but twice. Result. 

It made me think. These last few days of starting to get grips with a newborn again as well as becoming a mother of two have had their ups and downs. Those winning moments are brilliant – you feel you can achieve anything. But as with anything, they’re balanced out by the little challenges (or fails) along the way. 

And that pretty much sums up the first week and a half (in between all the lovely moments and staring in amazement at our gorgeous little boy):

#win – putting him down and him settling straight away in the Sleepyhead
#fail – next wake up was a five hour feeding session. Who knew they were even possible? From one side to the other on and on (ouch) and grizzling in between

#win – soundly sleeping all the way around our first shopping trip
#fail – then taking 45 minutes to latch on…

#win – first time in proper clothes (including Little Brother top, obviously)
#fail – changing after 5 mins due to suspect yellow stains appearing

#win – figuring out the Ergo Baby carrier and having a nice stroll 
#fail – struggling with playground/swing pushing logistics with carrier on (frustrated Scrip)

#win – calmness in first bath – we use a Tummy Tub – and a helpful Scrip to sponge him
#fail – D inconsolable after leaving the water

#win – Scrip being curious and loving with him (mostly)
#fail – her enthusiasm bubbling over as noisy toys piled on top of him, waking him up (instant wailing)

I expect the pattern will continue like this for a little while, but the wins of being a family of four definitely outweigh any of the bumps in the road so far. 

Introducing our newest arrival 

 

Little D arrived on 15th April – the day before my birthday and the best early present I could ever have. I say early – he was 12 days overdue in the end and although it was all pretty intense and quick I was able to have a water birth in the birth centre and avoid an induction planned for two days later. 

Scrip is everything all at once – excited, proud, confused, a bit jealous. I guess it’s all to be expected but we’re involving her as much as we can whilst making sure it’s not all about D. She suddenly seems so grown up and even more loveable. 

And as for him, he’s pretty perfect. We’ve already had a tongue tie diagnosed and snipped, poor mite. So feeding is challenging but we’re getting there. He’s also very hungry so very little sleep but what did we expect?

Mostly I just can’t believe we have a new addition – and a male one (Scrip’s freshly washed baby clothes are largely redundant!) and we’re enjoying these special early days as much as we can. I know all too well they don’t last long. 

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?

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.