Staying in is the new going out?

When you have two kids under three getting out of the house is nothing less than a saga. It’s positively hellish a lot of the time, especially when you’ve begun potty training. We basically spent the whole of June under house arrest due to potty training and nap issues, because at the moment, no matter what time of the day we leave the house I’m depriving a child of a nap, or risking a late nap on our return, which either makes for a miserable outing or a hideous bedtime, or both.

Anyway, I digress.

While we’ve been staying in a lot I’ve been trying to do some more regular messy play to add a bit of variety to our days. I’m still learning what works for us, in particular trying to meet the needs of both a 10 month old and her brother who is almost 3, and It’s been a bit hit and miss (I’m still finding red lentils all over the house and spaghetti in the garden) and sometimes it’s the daytime bath after the messy play that my two enjoy the most!

What I’ve learnt so far, in no particular order, is:

– a little food colouring can go a looooong way

– run a bath before you begin anything really messy (small people can make A LOT of extra mess while waiting for the bath to run, and have dark coloured towels at the ready to effect the transfer of mucky small people to said bath (see above!)

– a small outdoor sand/water table is excellent for indoor sensory play, especially if you’re short on space

– confine the mess! We do our messy play in the kitchen and I’ve learnt the hard way to shut the door to the rest of the house. I will be cleaning up smears of green mashed potato for days after the littlest made a break for it (man she can crawl fast when she wants to!)

– clothes – this hot weather is excellent for messy play, I have my two in pants/nappy. Easy peasy. But don’t forget to think about what you’re wearing too because you’re gonna get messy as well! And if you have long hair? Might want to make sure it’s tied back… *picks more green mashed potato out of hair*

– when catering to a baby and toddler it’s much easier if you literally cater and go for edible messy play because everything is going to go in baby’s mouth at some point.

Here’s some photos of today’s indoor adventure, ie. what I’ll be cleaning up for days to come! 🙂

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Blue ice in water, red pasta bows & yellow instant mash

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By the end we were left with a cold, green, squishy swamp

If nothing else, we all learnt that blue and yellow most definitely make green!

Night all x

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Posted in Baby H, Being a Mum, Blogging, Photo, Toddler J | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Muddling through and not blogging about it

Well, it really has been a while. I’m still about on Twitter and on Instagram under the same user name but here, not so much for now. My ‘Twitter overspill’/blog is being sorely neglected but life, as as it is at the moment, has severely limited my ability to do more than post a photo, or bastardize the English language in 140 characters or less!

There are days when I would love to record here the beautiful, funny, sweet,  moments of parenthood. Days when I badly need to vent about the hard stuff, the endless tantrums, the dirty protests by the toddler, our dilapidated home, the impossibility of getting out of the house, how much I miss my husband and the complete lack of any childfree time, but the only time available to me to do this is time in which I should be trying to sleep. I can’t remember the last time I slept more than two hours. I should be sleeping right now but it’s beyond hot and sticky in our room, so I’m blogging about not blogging. Blerg. Cue cute baby photo. Night all.

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Change One Thing Challenge: Swapping things around & getting fit

I’m still here and still plugging away at my Change One Thing Challenges, unfortunately I’m not finding much time to write about them. As any parent to young children is all too aware, free time is not something abundant in our lives at the moment. That’s one of the reasons I was hoping to improve the sleep situation in our house a little. For Challenge #8 I was hoping to trade down Baby H’s sleep association from breastfeeding to sleep, to holding and rocking. It had some promising effects for the first 5 days or so but then she got her hearing aids, she was teething/had oral thrush/mouth ulcers (we’re honestly not sure which but pro-biotic yoghurt helped and there are no new teeth so…) Anyway, my little girl knows what she needs and when things got rough for her she let me know in no uncertain terms that she wanted to be at my breast as she fell asleep.

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We’re all about letting our children lead the way in showing us what they need and so circumstances (a solo-parenting evening) led me to swap my Challenge #8 focus onto Toddler J and his bedtime sagas. Being by myself meant switching things around a bit, and it worked, so we’ve kept up with it. He now goes to sleep by himself (usually within 15 minutes of a goodnight kiss) and sleeps through the night about 50% of the time. The rest of the time he cosleeps with his Daddy. This is beyond our wildest dreams. This is the child who used to wake every 40 minutes all night every night even when co-sleeping. The situation isn’t perfect. Mr S takes him up to bed once Baby H is asleep but he then can’t get out of the room (J hangs on to his arm – he misses his Daddy on work days something rotten) and I have to go in and do the last goodnight so Mr S can leave. This normally takes 5 – 10 minutes and J knows we can see and hear him. We talk to him on the ‘walkie-talkie’ (baby monitor) if necessary and go to him if he asks. It feels gentle and developmentally appropriate, and a little weird not to spend out whole evening helping him to sleep! When they’re ready, they’re ready.

Baby H is still waking regularly though, but she’s passed through the phase of needing to be in my arms to sleep and so things are looking up for getting a little time to ourselves. I even managed to fit in a session on the exercise bike around H’s wake-ups last night, and this brings me to Challenge #9 Fitting in some exercise.

When you’re chronically sleep deprived, have carried and delivered two kids in two years, been breastfeeding continuously for 32 months and counting, 8 of those months tandem feeding, had major surgery twice and been through the birth trauma/special care/Great Ormond St journey, it takes its toll on your body. I am not feeling healthy, comfort eating is a BIG thing for me and with no free time, exercise isn’t something I’ve managed to do a lot of for a long time and I am really feeling it. So, the next challenge is for me to get on my (exercise) bike 3 times a week for 30 minutes. It’s a tall order, it means sacrificing some of the little time I have with Mr S but I desperately need to do something for me. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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The Rules: Change ONE thing in your life. Commit to maintaining that change for 14 days. At the end of the 2 weeks decide if the change worked for you. If it did, keep it. If it didn’t, ditch it and move on. Either way, decide on a new change to begin on Day 15. Lather, rinse, repeat. Document what works and what doesn’t (use the #changeonething hashtag) and see how many changes you’ve made by the end of the year!!

Change #1: New Morning Routine: Started 07/01/13 – KEEPER

Change #2: Reduce Telly Time: Started 21/01/13 -DITCHED

Change #3: A Room for Baby H: Started 04/02/13 – COMPLETE

Change #4: Moving baby naps & evening sleep to H’s new room: Started 18/02/13 – KEEPER

Change #5: Eat more veg/’Cooking Mondays’: Started 04/03/13 – KEEPER

Change #6: No Caffeine!!! : Started 11/03/13 – KEEPER

Change #7: Find a Family Meal Solution: Started 25/03/13 – 07/04/2013  – COMPLETED

Change #8: Trading down sleep associations: Started 08/04/13 – 05/05/13 Bad timing for H, winner for J = KEEPER

Posted in Baby H, Being a Mum, Breastfeeding, Change One Thing, Me Time, Photo, Toddler J, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So far, so good: Feeling Positive

Today was the day that Baby H got her first hearing aids. I was feeling quite emotional about it yesterday and I wasn’t sure what the day would hold but it turns out, getting us of out of the house by 8am was the toughest part of the day! We did it though. All four of us made it to the audiology appointment with time enough to have a cup of tea in the canteen (which smells of boiled cabbage all day every day). We brought J with us because after everything that happened last year he worries when Baby H has medical appointments. Her audiology appointments could be as frequent as fortnightly while she’s still a baby, so we wanted him to meet the audiologist and see where H will be going so regularly.

The appointment itself was crazy busy, there were 5 adults, toddler J and Baby H in the tiny sound proofed room. J behaved amazingly and the staff were ace at including him in everything. They had plenty of toys for him to investigate and he was really good at being quiet when we needed him to be. So, an hour after arriving, we left with the tiniest pink hearing aids, programmed to meet H’s particular hearing requirements, and all the maintenance gear that goes with them in the funkiest bag ever.

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On the way home from the hospital I treated us to a trip to our favourite local toy shop and a trip to the park. I wanted to make lots of positive memories and associations today for the whole family today and my two favourite little people did not fail to deliver!

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In the afternoon Harriet wore her hearing aids (or ‘ear pocpocs‘) for the first time. They were a bit fiddly to get in but when I turned them on she laughed. And I think I fell in love with her even more, because I understand that many children cry, or go very quiet. Some children pull them straight out because, let’s face it, they must feel pretty strange. But Baby H laughed and then she set to making her ususal noises and investigating the toys, paying extra attention (I thought) to the ones with more subtle sounds which she may not have been able to hear properly before. She was particularly impressed with J’s Leapfrog toy, Scout, who (quietly) talks and plays music. Her reaction tells me she may not have realised this before because she was fascinated with him in a way she hadn’t been before.

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She wore them for about 90 minutes and then I took them out for her nap. She did so well and it all feels very positive. We’re back to audiology tomorrow to check a query I had about the amplification levels (how fab is it that when I called this afternoon they straight away booked us back in for tomorrow morning to check the hearing aids over?) and then over the next few days and weeks we just work out how to add in regular times for H to wear her hearing aids every day until it becomes our new normal. Easy Peasy, as J would say!

 

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Tomorrow is a big day

About 3 weeks ago we found out that Baby H has moderate high frequency hearing loss. The problem is with her inner ear and so it’s permanent and it means she needs hearing aids and everything that goes with that (a Teacher of the Deaf, Speech and Language Therapy, fortnightly audiology appointments and further tests to investigate the cause of the deafness and whether anything else is effected.)

We have our next audiology appointmet tomorrow morning, meaning today was the last day Baby H had without hearing aids. I feel quite emotional about it. Tomorrow she will hear things she has never heard before. From tomorrow she will begin to wear something that may act as a daily reminder of our birth trauma. Tomorrow we begin the long journey to ensuring that our wonderful chatty, happy girl gets all the opportunity she needs to develop speech and listening so that she can continue to talk her happy talk to us, and the world, and be understood. There are both practical and emotional elements to this new element of our lives that we can only begin to appreciate. In the scheme of everything she’s been through, and overcome, it’s nothing. But it still feels a little like standing on the edge of a cliff.

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A wonderfully messy end to the day

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Change One Thing Challenge: Eating and Sleeping

Challenge #7 was to Find a Family Meal Solution and I’m pleased to say I’ve found a workable solution almost immediately and we’ve all been eating together at the table (not the breakfast bar) for the past 14 days. The solution was a travel booster seat (which we already had tucked away) to enable our toddler to seat on a dining chair, freeing up the highchair for Baby H. The only other challenge has been to keep the dinning table relatively clear of clutter during the day so that it’s simple to set when dinner time comes. It’s helped that Mr S has been home for dinner every day these last two weeks, the extra pair of hands has definitely helped with the transition. I think Baby H has been enjoying the change, and given the recent news about her hearing (something which will no doubt be the subject of a separate post at some point), it is a change which can only help her language development. J however is taking some time to get used to it, he’s messing around more in an effort to gain more attention now that H is sharing mealtimes with us. It’s hard learning to share your people. He’ll get there. And Change #7 is absolutely a keeper.

Change #8 relates to a touchy subject in this house. Sleep. J has never been a sleeper, he’s still high maintenance in this area (I’m writing this as I listen to Mr S stil trying to get him to sleep – it’s 9.20pm). Baby H on the other hand seemed to be a much better sleeper. Until about a month ago that is, and then it all went to shit. Waking every 40 minutes or less and occasionally sleeping 90 minutes if we are lucky. Her naps are pretty good. She has a fairly consistent pattern but night-times are exhausting. We co-sleep from her first wake-up after I go to bed, or at the moment, from the point at which I give up trying to get her to sleep as few hours in her cot. This is the long way around for saying, while I understand the many, many, many reasons why she wants to only sleep on or with her Mummy at the moment, I want to try a few gentle things to encourage her to sleep a little longer without me, because I am Exhausted. Mr S is Exhausted. And we are heading into more medical turmoil over the next few months. And we need some rest. So, thanks to the fab Nancy Holtzman (seriously, go find her on Twitter, you wont regret it) and the ISIS Parenting Webinars, I’m going to try a little bit of gentle ‘trading down’ sleep associations for the next 14 days and see where this gets us. In Plain English, I’m going to try and switch things around a little so that (illness & other upsets not withstanding) I don’t breastfeed H to sleep for the next 14 days. I started this today and so far she seems amenable (I’m sitting downstairs writing this on my laptop for once rather than painfully typing it on my phone with H in my arms!)  This one I’ll persist with for 5 days and review, and then take it day by day until day 14, because 14 days is a long time for a 6 month old. I let you know how it goes!

 

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The Rules: Change ONE thing in your life. Commit to maintaining that change for 14 days. At the end of the 2 weeks decide if the change worked for you. If it did, keep it. If it didn’t, ditch it and move on. Either way, decide on a new change to begin on Day 15. Lather, rinse, repeat. Document what works and what doesn’t (use the #changeonething hashtag) and see how many changes you’ve made by the end of the year!!

Change #1: New Morning Routine: Started 07/01/13 – KEEPER

Change #2: Reduce Telly Time: Started 21/01/13 -DITCHED

Change #3: A Room for Baby H: Started 04/02/13 – COMPLETE

Change #4: Moving baby naps & evening sleep to H’s new room: Started 18/02/13 – KEEPER

Change #5: Eat more veg/’Cooking Mondays’: Started 04/03/13 – KEEPER

Change #6: No Caffeine!!! : Started 11/03/13 – KEEPER

Change #7: Find a Family Meal Solution: Started 25/03/13 – 07/04/2013  – COMPLETED

Change #8: Trading down sleep associations: Started 08/04/13 –

Posted in Being a Mum, Breastfeeding, Change One Thing 2013 | Leave a comment

Still making changes

Just a quick update on my #ChangeOneThing Challenge. I’ve been keeping up with it but haven’t had any time to write about it. Among many other things going on right now, Baby H’s sleep has gone to shit and so I have almost no child free time, so while I hold her as she sleeps I’m going to try to list (from my phone, so it won’t be pretty) the changes I’ve made in the time I’ve been away from here. In writing them down I notice two have overlapped, oops! Not quite changing just one thing, but hey ho. That’s what happens when I don’t write stuff down when I’m this tired! Anyway, here they are:

Change #4: Moving baby naps & evening sleep to H’s new room: Started 18/02/13 – KEEPER

Change #5: Eat more veg/’Cooking Mondays’: Started 04/03/13 – KEEPER

Change #6: No Caffeine!!! : Started 11/03/13 – KEEPER

I’m not going to go into the details of each one now, hopefully I’ll get a chance sometime soon, but I will say that Change #6 was the hardest of them all. Anyone that knows me can tell you I’m quite the caffeine fiend, diet cola is my biggest weakness but I damn well did it people! I’m really quite proud of this one. Not only that but I ran down all the flavoured drinks in the house (squash etc.) so that I was only drinking water, herbal/fruit tea or homemade smoothie most of that time. In effect it was kind of  a beverage detox. I can say I craved flavoured drinks pretty badly and felt quite strange at times.This really made me think more widely about my choice of beverages, not just caffeine, and their effect. I’m surprised to find myself saying that I plan to stick with the new healthy beverages regime. I can’t say that I’ll never have caffeine again but I’m   to stick with not having diet cola in the house anymore.

What next? Well, we had some bad news last week which means Baby H will be back to lots of medical appointments over the next weeks and months so Change #7 needs to be a flexible one while we work out what the future holds. My #ChangeOneThing for the next 14 days will be to Find a Solution for Family Mealtimes. I want Baby H to sit with us properly at dinner time but we only have one highchair that fits at the breakfast bar where we usually eat. I’m not ready to move the toddler from it because I quite frankly need a few moments in the day when I know he’s contained. We can’t afford another one (it was not cheap) and we don’t really have room for two. Moving to eat at a normal table will cause some logistical issues as well. Our house isn’t very big when you fill it will two small people and all the stuff that goes with them. Particularly the laundry which, in this never ending winter has to be dried indoors and in our house the only space left is the dining area of our living room. Hmmm. So my goal for this challenge is to find a workable solution to this conundrum. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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The Rules: Change ONE thing in your life. Commit to maintaining that change for 14 days. At the end of the 2 weeks decide if the change worked for you. If it did, keep it. If it didn’t, ditch it and move on. Either way, decide on a new change to begin on Day 15. Lather, rinse, repeat. Document what works and what doesn’t (use the #changeonething hashtag) and see how many changes you’ve made by the end of the year!!

Change #1: New Morning Routine: Started 07/01/13 – KEEPER

Change #2: Reduce Telly Time: Started 21/01/13 -DITCHED

Change #3: A Room for Baby H: Started 04/02/13 – COMPLETE

Change #4: Moving baby naps & evening sleep to H’s new room: Started 18/02/13 – KEEPER

Change #5: Eat more veg/’Cooking Mondays’: Started 04/03/13 – KEEPER

Change #6: No Caffeine!!! : Started 11/03/13 – KEEPER

Change #7: Find a Family Meal Solution: Started 25/03/13 –

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