children-in-need-fundraising-nursery
Parenting, mum life, nursery

Children in Need Week at Nursery

It’s that time of year again folks; the Children in Need Appeal takes place this Friday. It must be an age thing, but it feels like it really wasn’t a whole year since the last one.

For the uninitiated, Children in Need (CIN) is a UK charity which supports disadvantaged children and young people in the country. Their goal is to ensure every child feels happy, safe, and has the chance to reach their full potential, no matter their circumstances. Every year, an appeal show is held on the BBC on the third Friday of November, to encourage donations from across the UK. The appeal show usually starts around 7pm and lasts all evening, with special episodes of soaps and popular TV programmes, musical performances, and lots of short clips from some of the children who have benefitted from CIN, which are sure to make you cry.

Above this, many organisations of various sizes take part too, from retailers like Greggs and ASDA to schools, youth clubs, workplaces and more. As the charity focuses on children, it makes sense that Travis’ nursery would be involved, with a week of fundraising activities for him to take part in.

I never thought I’d be the type of mum that got excited at the prospect of all the different activities and things you have to do for your kids to be a part of something, but I actually bloody love it. I think part of me is genuinely excited because I loved those days myself as a child, and probably wish I could still join Travis at nursery with his dress up, parties, baking and so on. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when it feels like we have to remember to do something, wear something or bring something extra to nursery every other week, which gets hard to keep track of. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. Besides, how can you be upset at a whole week of fundraising activities for disadvantaged children when your son attends a private nursery and has all he ever needs (and more besides!) at home?

Here’s how our week of fundraising looks to be shaping up: (I hope to add photos from each day as we go!)

Pyjama Party

Travis doesn’t attend nursery on Mondays, so we missed the Teddy Bear’s Picnic day, but there are still 4 fun days for him to get involved in, starting with Tuesday’s Pyjama Party! Really though, could there be a more perfect fundraising activity for mums? Literally just send your child out in their jammies, meaning you don’t have to think about an outfit for the day.
Bonus for them: they get a comfy nap at that time of day
Bonus for mum and dad: slightly less laundry

Playroom Theme

I’ll be honest, I didn’t have a clue what this theme was meant to be to start with. I thought playroom themes were things you searched for on Pinterest, offering a world of dreams for kids, but something which you couldn’t actually afford to implement. Turns out in this instance it simply means dressing up like your favourite toys, teddy bears in particular as Pudsey the bear is the CIN mascot. We opted for some Pudsey ears, socks and top, though as you can imagine the ears lasted about 1.5 seconds!

Crazy Hair Day

I think this is is probably another ideal theme for parents. I mean, just don’t brush your kids hair in the morning, right? Travis is in desperate need of a haircut, as he is currently sporting some curls around his neck, despite still having about 4 strands of hair on the top of his head, so his hair already looks crazy enough on a daily basis. However I might get a bit creative with some of his dad’s hair wax or maybe some hair makeup which can easily wash out.

Superhero & Princess Party

This one we might have a little trouble with. Travis had a Thor outfit for Halloween, kindly bought for his birthday by his uncle. Said Thor outfit was made a little on the neat side, but it worked for a Halloween party we went to the weekend before Halloween. By the time actual Halloween rolled around (a whole 4 days later) Travis had outgrown the outfit, so much so we couldn’t even fasten the poppers around the crotch. Delightful. And unfortunately now since Halloween has passed and Christmas is a mere 6 weeks away (I can’t wait!), there doesn’t seem to be any glimpse of a superhero in sight in any of the shops! And the superhero clothing that does seem to be on offer is few and far between in Travis’ size. Stay tuned to find out how this one ends up!

October-firsts-unlikely-mum
Baby M's firsts, Parenting

September Firsts

11 months into his wee life, and we are still experiencing so many new firsts. September brought a lot of firsts and happy memories, with quite a few of the big “important” (well, what people regard as important or milestone) firsts happening this month. There will be nothing new left to do soon!

First holiday abroad
This was a first we knew was coming since booking it in January/February time. How fast those few months flew! On 5th September we headed off to Fuertaventura as a family, with my bestie, Travis’ bestie and his dad (who is Travis’ new bestie!). We were there for 10 days and honestly he took to it so well. There was no sunburn, plenty of naps, lots of hydration and no bother trying new foods. His sleep overalls as really good but I think it helps that there’s no time difference in the Canary Isles which makes things simpler. Being around his bestie so much he also picked up a lot, like playing with wheely toys like cars, planes the like, and he also quite easily cut out his morning bottle which was a surprise to us all. I would definitely recommend taking an infant away in September when most schools seem to be back, the temperature isn’t unbearable and it’s generally calmer and more relaxed than the peak months.

First feeding animals
Ok so he had help from his dad and we made sure no animals would bite Travis (and the other way around), but he still managed to help feed a giraffe (His favourites) and camel while at the Oasis Park on holiday. He wasn’t very impressed, particularly as the giraffes eat the same snacks as him- carrots and other veggies!

First proper hands and knees crawl
Another first which happened on holiday was the first proper crawl! On 12th September, the wee man was no longer bum shuffling or army crawling, he actually used his knees to move himself forward! I was beginning to think he’d never crawl and go straight to walking, but in the last month, he’s been unstoppable on all fours.

First steps unaided
We thought we had a good month when the crawling began, but it was shortly followed by walking! I say walking, but I mean taking a few steps unaided. On 14th September (still on holiday!) he took a quick 1-2-3 towards me from the table he was stabilising himself on. Since then, he has been building his confidence, strength and balance, and has been taking more and more steps on his own. Now, in October, he can pull himself up, position himself and walk across a room no problem.

First sharing
Firsts appear to be like buses (no pun intended!) as we welcomed another first the very same day as those big boy steps. As we were on holiday with his bestie, Travis spent a lot of time learning from his buddy who is 7 months older than him. They played a lot with the same toys, but unfortunately my munchkin hadn’t yet become accustomed to the concept of sharing. However he did manage to pass his toy to mum and to bestie and to dad in some form of sharing on 14th September. This quickly moved onto food – he will mostly put it in your mouth and make you eat it – and he’s now becoming a sharing pro.

First foods:
So many to mention! As we were on holiday in an all inclusive resort, there were plenty of food options each day, and Travis was actually really good at trying most of them. Notable firsts include scrambled eggs and baked beans (think this might be a new favourite breakfast!) custard, jelly, and many fruits and veg in their whole form rather than pureed or mushed into a jar.

Lists, Parenting

Things to do in the summer with an infant

There’s no shortage of information online about things to do with kids in the summer holidays, but unfortunately most of those articles revolve around kids of school age. It can be a little more tricky to find or think of things to do with an infant in the summer, as some of the activities suggested in other articles simply aren’t age-suitable.

Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with, handily split into rainy-day and sunny activities:

Sunny day activities

Feed the ducks
This is a great one that gets them out and about, seeing animals and doesn’t involve spending a lot of money! Most of us tend to find ourselves with with stale ends of bread at the end of the week, so rather than throw them away, pack them up and head to the nearest pond/lake/loch/seafront and feed the ducks. Remember to watch out for the seagulls, and don’t anger the swans!

Go to the farm
Another fun animal-based idea is to head to the nearest farm, pointing out the different animals you see. Of course this can be a bit smelly, but it’s usually a great experience teaching your little ones about the animals and the noises they make. Singing Old MacDonald is optional.

Safari Park/Zoo visit
Can you see a theme appearing here? Obviously zoos and safari parks tend to be more expensive than farms and feeding ducks which is usually free, and they tend to be further away too. However, you may find that kids under 1 get in for free. The major selling point is that it’s an activity you can make a whole day of. Take a picnic and enjoy spotting the animals, playing in the play park and maybe even petting or feeding some animals if you’re allowed.

Get out in the garden
Who said outdoor activities had to cost a fortune or take you far away? Little infants get just as much enjoyment from the outdoors whether it’s in their own back garden or at an attraction 70 miles away. You can plan different activities in the garden for different days – playing in the paddling pool, having a big picnic outside, practising kicking and playing with balls or if you have a lovely, well-kept garden why not walk around pointing out the different flowers and their colours, trees etc? There’s scope for playing peekaboo, bringing toys outside and even buying your own slide or swing, depending on what stage your infant is at and how confident they are.

Rainy day activities

Learn a new thing
Days indoors needn’t be boring, filled with the same toys and cartoons routine. Why not make a plan to try and teach your infant a different new thing on rainy days? This can be anything from helping with speech and recognition to improving motor skills. Simple things like naming items in the room and pointing to them, using “my first…” books, playing with building blocks or stacking cups, naming colours, singing nursery rhymes and more will do the trick.

Become rockstars
Why not turn your kitchen into your very own concert arena with your rock and roll baby? Pots, pans and wooden spoons make a great drumkit and drumsticks, whilst filling plastic tupperware with rice or pasta makes for excellent shakers. Bonus points if you use teddies as your captivated audience!

Have a sensory day
I’m sure there are plenty of items in your home that you probably haven’t thought of for sensory play. Sponges and different textured cleaning cloths are great for their little hands to explore, as are hair rollers, hairbrushes, and much more. If your little one has a nightlight or projector, this can be great for sensory play, along with other light-up objects like glowsticks. (I realise the last one may not be an everyday object for some but I always have spare glowsticks lying around thanks to my love of Clubbercise!)

Go to soft play
If all else fails, or the weather is permanently bad and you feel like you’re getting cabin fever, you can always go to soft play. Also known as UFC for kids, soft play can be a pretty scary experience for first-time mums on arrival, particularly in the school holidays! The plus point is that those under 1 usually get in free, and all that play will surely tire your little one out. An added bonus is that you could make new mum friends, which is always welcome after days stuck inside with no adult company!

Those are just a few suggestions of things to do with your little one in the summer. I’ve tried to avoid things that cost the earth, and hopefully include a mix of busy attractions and one-to-one play/experiences. If you can think of any other great activities I might have missed, let me know!

Mum's finds, Parenting

How to Make the Most of a Baby Event

With regular baby events throughout the year, it can be difficult to navigate your way through them, whether you’re a first time parent or have experienced the events before. With online and in-store events, exhibitions and shows, there’s no doubt all the information and products available can be a little overwhelming. Speaking from experience – and with a lot of hindsight in mind – I’ve come up with a few tips to follow to ensure you make the most of a baby event.

Make a list before you go
The best way to make the most out of the day is to make a list of the things you need or want from the day. Are you still looking for big items like cribs and car seats? Or are you looking for travel items, everyday essentials, or feeding equipment? Perhaps you’re looking for something specific like a Sophie La Giraffe or Ewan the Dream Sheep that your friends have told you that you simply can’t live without? Either way, it makes the shopping and navigating much more efficient if you know before you go. Plus you’re less likely to miss anything than if you go in aimlessly without having specific ideas in mind.

Know what you need
Similar to tip one, know exactly what you need and what you don’t. This helps to avoid getting suckered by any so-called deals on offer. If there’s a steriliser that’s half-price, but not suitable for your needs, for instance if it’s a microwave steriliser or perhaps just too big for your kitchen, or indeed microwave, then actually the deal isn’t worth it at all. Similarly, there are always great deals on clothes at in-store baby events, with promotions at bigger shows too, so you can get distracted by pretty patterns when actually you have everything you need in that size, and really should be buying clothes in 6 months or above, if at all at this point! Maybe this point should be called “know what you don’t need” as this is probably a better way of looking at things. If you know you don’t need a 3 in 1 changing system, or state of the art changing rucksack before you go, chances are you won’t then be talked into buying one.

Be open minded, but not gullible
On the flip side of this, I would say that you have to be open minded when going into baby shows. There may be products or services which solve problems you hadn’t thought of, or which may be more useful further down the line as your baby starts to grow. It can be useful to go and collect business cards or leaflets to keep just in case (again, only for things you may be interested in, rather than collecting cards from every stand at an exhibition).

I would be open-minded but cautious to any “new to market” products. There are only so many times you can reinvent the wheel to make it better, so it’s worth being harsh and really questioning whether the new products serve any purpose.  Or do the products you already have, serve those purposes just as well? For instance, are wet wipe warmers necessary (yes they are a thing)? Do you need a Gro Egg if you have a room thermometer, nightlight and/or cot mobile already?

Stock up on essentials
This is probably the best tip I can give for in-store baby events at the likes of Boots, Mothercare or any supermarkets. By essentials, I mean the things you know you will get use of regardless of the size/weight/stage your baby is at. For example, Craig and I thought we were doing well by stocking up on loads of on-offer nappies before the wee man arrived. However what we didn’t bank on is that he would grow so rapidly that we would end up giving half those nappies away. So while yes it is good to get a pile of nappies organise pre-baby arrival, don’t go mad at baby events for these. Instead look at things like baby wipes, cotton wool, barrier creams, feeding equipment, long-life foods and things like bibs and muslin squares which have either very long shelf life or no expiry (lest your child’s neck outgrows the bibs!).

Question offers available

Quite often at in-store baby events, there will be promotions such as 3 for 2, BOGOF etc. Like with supermarket deals, these might not always be the great offers they initially seem. For instance, do you really need 3 of something when you were just after the one? Often, with things like wipes and baby toiletries, these offers can be useful. But you may only be saving pennies; say for example that wipes cost 60p, but you get 3 packs for £1.50, you are really only saving 30p, so its worth checking if that’s the best deal on offer. It’s also good practice as it means you won’t fill your boot or pram with unnecessary things on offer, leaving room for the things you came to the event for. Similarly, whether you’re at an exhibition or in-store event, it’s worth checking whether these kinds of offers are available online, meaning you don’t have to humph too much around – a godsend when you’ve got the littlies with you. Also question any 10% discounts or similar offers – like with black Friday, some sellers inflate their prices before baby events and then sell them at “discount” during the event, when realistically you aren’t saving that much (if anything) at all. Having said that, most discounts are genuine and it’s worth asking if they are available exclusively at the event, or can be applied either online or until a specified later date.

 

If there are any other baby event tips you can think of, please let me know below, I’d love to hear them!

Baby M's firsts, Exhibitions and shows, Mother and Baby classes, Parenting

April Firsts

I was beginning to think the “firsts” would start to dry up by now, or at least thought there would be much less of them as the year went on. However we managed loads of new firsts again this month.

first-easter-bunny-baby
My Easter bunny with his haul

First Easter
Easter may have started in March, but Easter Sunday and April fools day collided. I thought the wee man might be a bit young to prank so we opted to give eggs and Easter themed toys instead. By eggs I mean a tiny white chocolate buttons egg which is still unopened as yet, for all you judgy folks out there. It was far too cold and miserable here to go to the park or anywhere to roll eggs downhill (snow was still forecast at this point) so we opted to play indoors instead – maybe next year little man!

First hospital trip
It wasn’t for anything serious and actually he’s already been discharged but we had a wee trip to the Royal Children’s Hospital on 9th March. We found a strange mark and bruising under his arm that didn’t go away over the course of a couple of months. After a referral to a dermatologist, our mind was put to rest when we were told it’s perfectly normal and present in 1 out of 10 babies. Apparently it should fade and disappear before he goes to school so we’re not worrying about it!

First Circus!
To coincide with the school holidays, the circus came to town at the beginning of April. On Friday 13th of all dates, we headed along to the circus with best friend Evan and his mum. Although he fell asleep for most of the second half (it was running late and the second half started at about 9pm in fairness), he was mesmerised by the lights and, in particular, the dressed up heroes. The Madagascar animals were a highlight (because there are literally 0 real animals at the circus these days, not even rogue pigeons) though we didn’t fancy paying a fortune for a photo with them. I think the circus will definitely be more of a must-do as Trav gets older.

farmer-dress-up-hartbeeps
my little farmer at Baby Beeps

First baby beeps
Travis loves his Hartbeeps, which he started going to in January (more on that here) but had become a bit too advanced for the Baby Bells class. I say advanced, but what I really mean is that he was starting to roll about and grab other happily laying babies, not to mention he was starting to try and sit up on his own. These are all indicators that he would be more suited to the Baby Beeps class, which is for babies in the sitting and crawling stages.
What a difference we found in that class! Its certainly a lot livelier, as babies don’t just lie there patiently, only smiling, moaning or grabbing at things. Instead, some babies are up and off like a shot, crawling across the floor whilst others are trying to stand and walk, some stealing or sharing toys with other kids and every mum on edge ready to grab her kid should they fall/run/cause some mischief. The class is also much more interactive (though there is still a dress-up portion which I’m thankful for!) with puppets, ball pits, bubbles and more.

First dentist appointment
It was a busy month for appointments and since we saw the appearance of the first tooth in March (closely followed by the second about 10 days later) we thought it would be best to get the little fella registered with a dentist and make his first appointment. On the 19th April we headed along to the dentist so she could see the two spectacular gnashers for herself. She examined his pretty bare mouth and explained all about oral hygiene in babies. It was really informative and helpful (we left with leaflets too) and hopefully allows us to give Travis the best start in life with his smile.

First swimming
I’d been wanting to get the wee guy along to swimming lessons for a while, as I didn’t want him to end up with the same fear of the water as I had as a child (and still do tbh, the deep sea is scary!). We tried to book him into Baby Splish sessions in February, but had missed the first few weeks of lessons, and were told the next block didn’t start until April – after the school Easter holidays. After some confusion from the first lady we spoke to at the local pool, we managed to get the wee guy booked onto a block on Fridays (our original day had been Monday’s but that class had booked out because we were told the wrong information about booking), starting on 20th April. Unfortunately, he had a terrible cold and cough that week so we decided not to take him on he first lesson. However there is a spectators area which we went along to see what the class was all about, as mum would be doing the whole thing solo the following week. He ended up loving his first lesson on 27th April, although I was far too scared to dunk him all the way under water on the first go. In fact, he loved it so much he slept for about 2 solid hours afterwards.

First baby and toddler show
When I was pregnant, there weren’t really many baby and toddler events around. Aside from the odd Mothercare expectant parent event, or big shop events at the likes of Asda, Argos etc, there wasn’t much in the way of shows or exhibitions where everything was contained in one place. So I was delighted to find that there was one being held at the SEC across the last weekend of April. The Baby and Toddler Show, which is supported by Emma’s Diary and Made For Mums, happened to be on the same day as our first Baby Splish class so Travis actually slept through a chunk of it, but it was interesting all the same. There’s more about the show on my recent post here, but if you don’t want to read the whole thing, then at least take away the main point that it’s heavily geared towards expectant parents. There are a good few stalls relevant to babies and toddlers, but at least half to three quarters of the event is made up of things like nursery furniture, prams, car seats, baby chairs/swings, newborn toys etc.

First safari park visit
After a miserable start to the month, April ended spectacularly with a warm, sunny Monday where the temperature soared from an average of about 8 degrees to 18. Any other Scottish folks reading this will know exactly what this means – taps aff. And ok so while it was possibly slightly chilly for that, it did mean there was a single sunny day, not to be wasted in case we never seen its likes again. In a bid to enjoy the sun but also give Travis a new experience we could all enjoy, we decided to head to Blair Drummond Safari Park in the afternoon (after his Baby Beeps class, can’t be messing with the boy’s social life you know!). It was fairly empty, aside from a school trip, some tourists and other parents of under 5s, so we were able to get about freely without stress or panic or running anyone over with the pram. Travis loved it, especially the boat ride out to the chimp island, and of course the chimps themselves. We were disappointed that the drive through enclosure was closed when we went to leave, but that just gives us an excuse to go back when the wee fella is a bit bigger.

Baby M's firsts, Parenting

March Firsts

It’s been another surprising month of firsts for us, especially with things like Mother’s Day and Easter both falling pretty much in the same month this year! Here are the new things we did/discovered/experienced first in March:

First christening
Although he made an appearance at his best friends christening in December last year, Travis didn’t actually enter the chapel (it was nap/feed time and the echoes of screaming and tantrums were not what I had planned for the church). So his first time through a whole christening service was on 4th March through in Ayr. We braved the snow in Balloch (nearly bloody 2 feet I’ll have you know) to head about 45 miles away where there were no remnants of winter left at all. The only clue we were still in Scotland was the fact it rained constantly. I was pleasantly surprised at the wee man’s behaviour – barely a peep from him in the church, with the exception of the odd goo, and just being a general bright and nosy baby at the gathering afterwards. Even on the car journey there and back he was on best behaviour, sleeping or taking in the scenery (well as much of it as you can see in a rear facing car seat). My only concern was whether or not we’d have to take half the table decor with us as he seemed to be highly amused with the helium balloons floating from the table top.

First toothbrush!
We had a visit from an oral health worker on 5th March, whose purpose was to give advice about oral health in babies, and in particular, the child smile program in Scotland. Along with the advice, leaflets and coupons (more for weaning than anything else), we were given some toothbrushes and child friendly toothpaste to use. There were a couple of small toothbrushes, which are supposed to let your child get used to the idea of holding the brush, the sensation and so on, as well as a bigger brush to be used the minute a tooth pops through. We were advised to practice brushing, even just the sensation and motions without any toothpaste, pretty much right away, and even to register Travis with a dentist, despite not even having any teeth!

First trip to the aquarium
On 9th March, our usual Hartbeeps class was cancelled (you can read more about the wonder that is Hartbeeps here) so we decided to make the most of the day and do something different. After a nice wee stroll down to Loch Lomond shores in the crisp spring sunshine, we decided to go and see all the colourful fish and playful otters in the aquarium. I didn’t expect Travis to stay awake throughout the whole visit but he did! Mum and dad signed up for annual passes (under 2s get in free anyway) so we can make more trips in the future as he becomes more aware and interested in what’s going on. Plus we might actually time it right for him to catch an otter or shark feed one day!

First mothers day 11th March
Mother’s day is always around about my birthday, so I was delighted to learn that my birthday fell on a Wednesday this year, making it impossible to clash with Mother’s Day. I know there’s a whole bunch of logic about Easter and lunar calendars and whatever to determine the date, but I was chuffed to find out they would be separate celebrations for the wee man’s first year.
It wasn’t how I would have planned it (dad was working so mum didn’t get breakfast in bed, but I did get woken up with a big poo to clean up), but I got to spend it with my growing, happy, healthy baby and that’s all that matters. Plus, I got a card with the Rock on it, so how can that be bad?

Mummy first – first birthday as a mum
So this is supposed to be about the wee man’s firsts, but really there are some firsts that I’ve been experiencing too – like my first birthday as a mum. Slightly better all round than Mother’s Day as dad was off and let mum get some extra Zz’s, open presents in peace and even get a bath! All this after my usual clubbercise class and being spoiled by my parents with a steak dinner. I think Travis enjoyed the tissue paper the most out of the whole thing.

First tooth!
He had been threatening to cut one for a couple of weeks but we all know the teething process can be a long and laborious one, so I didn’t hold out much hope of finding one any time soon. Finally, though, at teatime on 23rd March, one little jaggy line was poking through. Had I not given him a dose of Anbesol I would have been none the wiser. But there was no mistaking that jag when my index finger entered his mouth. Usually he clamps down and his squishy gums put pressure on your fingers, but nothing more. This time there was a definite jag, so I tried to inspect the situation. Note ‘tried.’ Any mother will tell you that it’s an effort to investigate a baby’s mouth at the best of times, never mind when they are licking you like a Labrador because they think you’ve got the good stuff (Anbesol, really, it’s magic) on your fingers.

First soft play!
A new soft play centre opened up in March, within a few minutes walking distance from us. At first I was a bit unsure about it as Travis is still so young, but since kids under a year get in free, and all his friends were going, we thought there was nothing to lose. In typical Travis style, he fell asleep about 10 minutes before we went, and slept for a good hour in the soft play centre. When he woke up though, he had a wee play in the baby/toddler section, figuring out toys, looking at himself in the mirror and even having a shot of the slide (on mum’s lap of course).

First good Friday
So March didn’t quite see a first full Easter, with Good Friday falling on 30th March, but it was the first half of the Easter bank holiday weekend. We spent the day going to Hartbeeps and dressing up like a bunny (the ears lasted about 0.5 seconds at a time), coming home and being dressed like a bunny, and chilling out watching rubbish TV as there seemed to be no good bank holiday films on!

Of course April will see the end of first Easter shenanigans, but it will hopefully bring some other great firsts like swimming, as well as more teeth and trouble no doubt!

mum life, Parenting

Springing into a new routine

As the saying goes, this is the time of year where the clocks spring forward an hour. Normally this fills me with joy and motivation for the sunnier (not guaranteed in Scotland) seasons to come. This year, however, with a 5 month old in tow, I was filled more with anxiety of the prospect of an hour’s lost sleep.

I say an hour like it’s just one flippant thing, but what I really mean to say is another hour. Sleep is the most valuable commodity as a new parent, and as the clocks changed this year, daddy was trading highest. He was on the night shift at work and actually managed to wing a shorter shift than usual. That was great for him, but it meant that mum had a gamble on what time the wee man would wake up, and would have to bumble by on an hour’s less sleep whilst dad thrashed out zzz’s after his jammy shift.

Everyone knows that daylight savings or British Summer Time is complete robbery (I’d say daylight robbery, but actually, well, you know..) and does most hard working folk out of an extra hour of rest at the weekend. To the average Joe that hour is sorely missed never mind for parents of tiny humans. There are all sorts of things to factor in, aside from that other hour of much-needed sleep missing.

Routine rejig

We have just about got a routine of sorts down, especially when it comes to morning classes and feeding times. Recently (about 3 days before the clocks changed) Travis started eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, and all at reasonable times (around 7am, 12 noon and 5pm) give or take a half an hour here and there. Those 3 days were golden till the clocks changed and then suddenly everything was an hour later.

Don’t get me wrong, at least 5 people have told me I’m mad for being annoyed that he’s lying in longer in the morning, which is probably fair dos. But really that isn’t the annoying part. The tricky bit is trying to rejig our morning routine so I can get 2 people washed, dressed, fed, watered and out the door before 9am a few days a week. It’s like going to work for 9am since you started your job, then someone deciding you need to be in for 8am instead. Let me tell you this Tuesday (and that was a 10am class!), Wednesday and Friday were challenging. I may have turned up in my PJs on at least one of those days if Craig wasn’t around.

Sleeping with the light on

The most important thing we’ve fought for Travis is to learn night from day. Whilst other attempts at routine may go out the window at times due to unforseen circumstances, baby tantrums, jobbiegeddon or worse, we’ve always made sure the little man knows night from day in a bid to get him to sleep better (and more importantly, to let mum and dad sleep better!). So you can imagine my horror at having to contend with daylight creeping into our lives earlier in the morning and later in the evening. Sure, a few blackout curtains might do the trick for the light situation, but you try telling 19,000 birds to shut up at 5am because your kid is sleeping and doesn’t yet know this is an unacceptable waking hour. They don’t listen. Or at least they pretend they don’t hear you over their chirpy little morning song.

Plus I’m sure there’s only so much that blackout curtains can do when it’s still 100% light at 10pm and all the weans are still out playing because it’s the summer holidays and their parents have had a boozy BBQ (and why not?) and the wee man wonders why they are allowed to be outside shouting and having fun and he’s not!

Teething troubles

The little guy’s first tooth came through recently (more about that in March firsts, coming soon!) and so understandably he’s been in a bit of pain. To remedy this, there are all sorts of teething pain relievers on the market, each coming with their own usage instructions regarding time, number of doses in 24 hours etc. Let me tell you that lost hour (and my lack of mental maths skills) caused havoc last week, trying to remember when he could get something and if that had been too soon, and if he got it at 5 o’clock, wouldn’t that really be 4 o’clock? It was a confusing time and I’m glad we’ve got there now, but I can only imagine it being 10 times worse for parents of prem or ill babies who need permanent regular medication and/or care.

But now, over a week later, I think we are just about recovering from the missing hour (probably jinxed it now) and are looking forward to springing into the new season and all the fun and sun it brings. You know, once it’s stopped snowing…

mum life, Parenting

Oh no, the sleep regression has started!

So I feel as though I’ve been a bit spoiled lately, compared to some other mums. Our little man was starting to sleep through the night on and off from about 8 weeks old, which was way back at the end of November.

It wasn’t every night at first, but when it started becoming more regular, there was a simultaneous relief between myself and Craig that things did in fact get easier, even with a colicky baby. As the hours of continuous evening sleep slowly seeped back into our systems, we began feeling more human again. I especially enjoyed regaining my ability to finish sentences and not break concentration/yawn in the middle of important conversations.

I don’t want to sound smug, as I know we were very lucky that the wee man started developing that routine so young. I know mums that have 8 and 9 month olds, even 2 year olds, that still don’t sleep through the night and need to wake up for a feed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all plain sailing either; the first few nights saw us both remain sleepless as we expected baby M to wake. And 99% of nights see us getting up to find a dummy 2-3 times, but believe me there’s a world of difference between semi-consciously shoving a dummy into a stirring baby’s mouth and going straight back to sleep, than being woken up twice a night for almost an hour at a time as baby cries, feeds, winds and changes.

So it’s fair to say we’ve enjoyed some sort of variation on normality for the last couple of months. Sure it’s less sleep than we got pre-child, but it’s something we’re managing well. Or at least we were until this last week. Aside from the initial shock of broken sleep in the first few weeks as a new parent, nothing else deals quite such a devastating blow than having to wake up for random and unexpected night feeds when you’re used to almost getting your 7 hours a night again.

It honestly felt like we were going back to square one again, and I felt far from thrilled about it. First it was 2am, then 4am the next night, with no warning or level of hunger or alertness to gauge. It was like being a new mum again, only dad was back at work and couldn’t catch up on his sleep the next day. Neither could mum to be honest, but that was more down to the wee one’s social calendar being fuller than a TOWIE cast members.

I’d heard about sleep regression from friends, and had read about it in the baby books and apps and countless online articles that exist to simultaneously put our minds at ease and fuel our anxiety as new parents. Basically, it’s thought that from around 4 months old, babies can develop what’s known as sleep regression, i.e. they start waking up again through the night where they may otherwise have slept through. There’s no known reason for it to happen, and is referred to as something akin to growth spurts or teething pains – unpredictable and something we just have to ride out. However with growth spurts and teething there are usually little tried and tested methods to fix it, such as upping the volume of milk/food for baby or offering a form of pain relief. But there’s no such magical cure for sleep regression.

So I guess I’ll continue to function on little sleep for now, whilst rambling along and not making any sense by the time I reach the end of my blog post…

Lists, Parenting

2018: A Year of Firsts

Happy New Year! How did it get to 2018 already? In fairness, the last month has flown by in an unexpected rush, with Christmas and lack of laptop (and other things which I’ll get to later) taking most of the blame for lack of posting in December.

But, it’s a new year so to new beginnings and all that. Whilst I’m not exactly proclaiming any specific resolutions as such, I am preaching positivity and fairly excited for the year ahead. There’s a lot to look forward to, including many firsts to come.

2017 had its fair share of ups and downs, but also many firsts along the way, like having my first baby and all the wonderful firsts that come with the first few months of parenthood. Sure, first dirty nappy and first hospital trip weren’t exactly highlights, but they were necessary and all part of that new parent experience. However there’s still plenty to look forward to in 2018, both with baby M and without.

Here are the firsts that top the list:

First swim, massage and yoga
There are a wealth of great baby classes out there which both help baby’s development and allow mum’s to meet other parents. The most popular in my area are baby yoga, baby massage and baby swimming lessons. Due to baby M’s birthday falling at the beginning of October, he was unable to start any of these classes in 2017, as by the time he was old enough, everything was beginning to wind down for the festive season. I’m excited for him to experience these classes, in particular massage, as this is meant to be extremely useful for colicky babies. I’m also open to any other fun and useful classes that would help with baby’s development, stimulation and just generally to make him some baby friends!

First sleep in his cot
Due to some pretty unforseen circumstances, we haven’t been able to try baby M in his big boy cot bed yet, not even just for a trial. However, he’s growing at such a rapid rate, I can’t see him fitting in his moses basket much longer. By the end of January he should hopefully be sleeping in his cot bed, and finally getting to enjoy the mobile attached to it too!

First tooth
Already baby M is teething, with dribble and soaking mittens a constant factor of daily life. If those were the only symptoms of teething, I wouldn’t care if he didn’t cut his first tooth till 2019! Unfortunately his teething also comes with pain, meaning a routine of discomfort, bonjela and unexpected cries of pain in the middle of the night, which are, quite frankly, heart breaking. He’s too small for teething rings as they don’t quite fit in his mouth yet, so seeing his first tooth appear and knowing that’s the beginning of the end of his mouth pain will be a great moment.

First day back at work
Ok, so this first won’t officially happen till June, but I’m both excited and terrified of the prospect of it (much the same way I felt about labour and the anticipation of motherhood if I’m honest!) On the one hand I can’t wait to get stuck back in, catching up with colleagues, clients and cracking on with the workload. Yet on the other I’m worried I’ll have more separation anxiety that the wee one will! Hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze in some KITT days, meaning I can ease back into the workplace in a less dramatic or stressful faahion.

First family trip
I’m not visualising Disneyland or anything yet. In fact, we haven’t even got anything planned. But I’d like to take a trip with the other half and baby M this year, even if it’s just for one or two days away at the other end of Scotland. Every time we leave the house it feels like we’re packing for a holiday anyway, so we might as well take a wee break before I make that proper return to work.

First family home
This one is more of an ideal world scenario rather than anything. At the moment we have a 2 bedroom flat, which is absolutely fine, but not what either myself or other half visualise when we picture “family home”. The flat itself was great for the first 2 years but you never know how un-family friendly your home is until you have kids! Clunky old external stairs make for less than fun pram time, complicated bathroom layouts make for difficult bath time for baby M and just generally we’ve found that there isn’t anywhere near enough storage space for all the stuff that comes with babies. So, if all goes to plan and we can both save and see somewhere we fall in love with (front and back doors with a kid-friendly yard are goals), then hopefully we will have our first proper family home.

Other exciting firsts I’m looking forward to are baby’s first steps, first words and first experience with food! Although I’m not looking forward to the first new nappies after the latter! Plus each child grows at their own pace so if my boy wants to be lazy, or doesn’t find anything worth talking about in 2018, I won’t sweat it.

Hope you all have a great year of firsts or new experiences too, however big or small!

Lists, Parenting

7 Things I’ve Learned in my First Month as a Parent

1. You can sing pretty much anything to a baby
And you will. Starting off quite sensibly with nursery rhymes, I quickly realised I’d forgotten many of those a long time ago. This resorted in singing some of my favourite songs, then singing a basic running commentary of life. It’s amazing just how much singing about wiping drool or putting on shoes can calm a baby.

2. Poo is a hot topic
I can honestly say I’ve never talked about poo so much in my life – and I suffer from IBS! Pre-arrival of baby M, we were warned by a friend that all myself and the other half would find to talk to each other about would be baby M, and his bowel movements in particular. We didnt believe her. Not only is it something which we both discuss, it seems like an open topic of discussion amongst grandparents, relatives and fellow parents. From first poo (an experience in itself) to different consistencies and even times or places to poo, I have found myself talking about the poo of someone else far more than I ever thought I would.

3. It’s easier to tell your partner off through your children
Not very practical, helpful or mature, but it’s quite therapeutic to the sleep deprived new mother. Things like “don’t cry because daddy hasn’t done the dishes” or “we can’t do X because daddy has left Y dirty/a mess” are favourites. Bonus points for also turning into a song a-la point 1.

4. You may call your child names
In a state of exhaustion, parenting confusion or frustration, you may find yourself calling your child names. Or maybe that’s just me. A particularly hard-going evening saw me call baby M an arsehole when he wouldn’t stop crying after a 5am feed,  and decided to skite his dirty nappy across my bed.

5. Sleep is currency
Another thing we were warned about was the daily sleep debate that would ensue as we tried to get used to a sleep deprived life. After a couple of weeks of bickering over who’s had most sleep, the other half and I have learned to use sleep as currency. This goes something along the lines of me exchanging a lie-in in the morning to get up with baby at 6am, letting daddy sleep on while we get up and start our day. In return, he will exchange an early night for a later feed while I take my weary ass to bed, or vice versa. It’s all about working together and realising that actually it’s just not practical to always wake, sleep or even watch TV together any more.

6. It’s not always possible to sleep while they are sleeping
The advice given from countless health professionals, books and well-meaning relatives is unfortunately not always practical. Yes, by all means sleep when your child sleeps if you can. But in the first few days, possibly weeks, you will find your home turn into a local Starbucks as friends, family, colleagues and friends of grandparents all pop by for a cuppa and a cuddle. While it’s lovely that everyone wants to meet your bundle of joy (who doesn’t love a cuddle from a newborn?) It can also be frustrating when they come at the only time your baby is willing to sleep soundly for more than half an hour. It’s not the fault of visitors or anyone really, as newborns are so unpredictable, but it doesn’t stop you wishing you could trade places with the little angel in the Moses basket as they snore while you prop your eyelids open with matchstick trying to entertain visitors that don’t want to waken said angel.

7. Babies make the weirdest noises
Like, really weird noises that I hope my baby eventually grows out of. I’m not just talking sighs or whimpers in his sleep either – those may be annoying, but they’re not that weird. It’s the smacking sounds with the mouth, clicking, nasal noises and more that will inevitably wake you up and see you hovering over their crib using the light of your phone to make sure all their body parts are still in the same place, and that they are still, in fact, breathing. Meanwhile, they couldn’t care less, probably dreaming about swimming in a bath of milk.

Of course every day as a new parent is a learning curve, and there’s far more to wrap your head around, adapt to and learn from – no matter how many books you read or fellow parents you speak to. So no doubt there will be another similar post when baby M has reached 2 months and uncovered at least 7 more unexpected changes to our lives.