Party Season Has Begun

Sadly I’m not referring to nights out for me during the festive season but something altogether much more crazy (but without the alcohol, not that the onlooker would know).

The three year old party season has begun.

When I was pregnant first time around I met two amazing ladies who I have stayed friends with ever since. We all had little girls during November and December 2008, who are also good friends too (thats when they are not arguing over bags, bangles and buggies).

On saturday it was the first of the girls birthday parties. This year we’re doing separate celebrations, the last two we did a single party for the three of them. Glutens for punishment? Umm yes. But the girls are big enough now to want their own fanfares. So we duly oblige. What better opportunity to meet up and eat lots of cake? Lets face it, for breastfeeding mamas like me, cake is as good as it gets at a party.

The host friend had decided to let the little ones draw on the wall (don’t worry she had covered it in paper before). I did wonder if this might be a recipe for disaster but it turned out the kids weren’t overly interested anyway. But we were, we mamas loved it and took the chance to show off our not so advanced drawing skills. Mine stretched to a tree and a snail – I didn’t inherit the drawing gene from my mum.

All in all the party went pretty well, despite the near meltdown with balloons. Have I mentioned before that Babe has a fear of balloons? Anyway, let’s skip the balloon popping story for another day…

Back to the party…

Then it’s home time, which went well until my friend offered the girls a balloon to go home with (momentarily forgetting the balloon fear). Poor Babe retracted and couldn’t get out the front door quick enough. At which point baby Boyo decided he too, wanted to let his sleep need be heard. Ah, they must have been so glad to be shot of the bawling baby and toddler (not to mention the near bawling mama).

So next it’s our turn, my time to play host and let the girls trash our house. Hmmm, let’s just say, I have mixed feelings about the occasion 😉

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Nursery Taster for Toddler

Yesterday we attended our first nursery taster session for Babe, who starts with the free 15 hours in January. I’ve mixed feelings about this, I’ve been enjoying our extra time together but in the same vein I’ll be glad to have more one on one time with baby Boyo.

It’s a very different environment to what she’s used to, having been in childminder care or at home with me. Naturally I was apprehensive about how she would respond. Would she come out refusing never to step foot in the chaotic zoo like establishment again?

Nope, she couldn’t get enough of it. Which oddly gave me more mixed feelings – sad about my baby growing up, but ever so happy that my sometimes shy little girl was embracing the mayhem of nursery.

We arrived at the school reception to have to wait for other little people and mums, so that we could be escorted through the corridors of the school to the ‘foundation unit’. Which is basically one big play fest. There was so many different things to play with, I even saw kids rolling tyres down the bank side.

Something’s were a big hit from the start. As soon as Babe spotted the dolly and buggy and then it was relinquished from one of the other little girls, she was won over. If there is a buggy in the building she just HAS to have it. Get between her and a buggy and you’ve found yourself an enemy with fangs at the ready.

She was so taken with the little people’s toilet that we had to go twice in an hour. And finally the water play area, really sealed the deal. And that was only skimming the surface.

We have two more of these hourly sessions this week, then I think I will have had my fill of the fun house and hopefully it will leave Babe chomping at the bit and pawing at the ground in anticipation for January to come.

Big Sister & Baby Brotherly Love

My daughter is almost three and my son is nearly 8 weeks old, she adores him and luckily for us the novelty has not yet worn off. I’m not looking forward to the day it does (if it does). It’s hard enough keeping her our of mischief with him now, if she’s feeling resentful about his presence I dread to think.

Being so small she simply doesn’t get how fragile babies can be. She wants to show her love and get involved but sometimes it goes a bit, well wrong. Like rocking him so intensely in his rocker that any second he might bounce out and go flying across the room (ah he can fly…erm NOT). Or attempting to put hair clips in his very short downy hair and accidentally drawing blood on his forehead.

I work hard on trying to set reasonable safe limits of interaction with her baby brother to avoid resentment, but keep her from doing dangerous things that may harm him. I think generally we do OK, but the hairclip moment last week upset me. My poor little boy. Yet my poor little girl didn’t quite comprehend either. To be honest, the boy was over it in about 10 seconds, it was just me wishing that maybe I’d been firmer about not trying to put pink butterfly clips in his hair.

Largely she is brilliant though, sometimes a little over enthusiastic about caring and attending to her baby brother, but I don’t want to squash that, I do my best to redirect it the best I can.

I also work hard on helping them bond, I’m sure our tandem breastfeeding helps (if they both nurse together she might hold his hand or stroke him). I get her involved in most activities, like nappy changing (which she loves…crazy child). “Let me see the poo,” she bellows and beams with excitement. What is it with toddlers and wanting to see poo? Or is it just mine?

Today there was a delightful moment when she turned around and said “I love Boyo”. I shall cherish that forever. Almost as wonderful as two days ago when she first told me “I love you”, unprompted and totally out of the blue.

So how do your young siblings show love for one another?

Co-sleeping With a Toddler & Newborn

It’s not a practice that I want to become the norm in our house, but it’s something we do when toddler bed transfer is repeatedly failing or there are night wakings.

Don’t get me wrong, it all works remarkably well but I personally don’t like my space being invaded by not just one little person but two – assault from both sides. Come on just back off little people, this is actually MY bed.

How it works
Baby Boyo sleeps in his cosleeping crib or on my mattress on the left. I sleep in the middle and then Babe my toddler sleeps on the right. We all have enough space this way.

Sleeping through the noise
Much to some people’s disbelief (yes I can say I told you so), Babe usually sleeps through Boyo’s cries. Which is pretty amazing given he is only a couple of feet away and has a powerful pair of lungs on him.

Occasions it doesn’t work
There have been a few nights when Babe has woken a couple of times to the noise of Boyo at the other side of the bed and wanted nursing while he is kicking off – but that’s when she has been light sleeping because of a cold. This had resulted in some crossed words between the two of us, something like this:

“No you can’t have num nums”

“But I want num nums mummy”

“Arggghhhh go on then (or no no no followed by tears from Babe)”

At this point I’m tired and focused on the needs of the baby. Resentment sometimes creeps in, and I’m left fighting with the thoughts that she doesnt NEED the milk. But maybe it would help her cold, maybe like me she too has a sore throat that she needs soothing? Even if it’s not a physical thing, what about the reassurance and soothing she is longing? So sometimes I give in, other times she has been happy to simply snuggle or have her hair stroked.

Something that has started to cross my mind is night weaning Babe. Any thoughts? Tips?

Thankgoodness It’s Friday…Er I Mean Sunday

Friday was my first proper full long day without anyone popping by or hubby coming home for lunch. That is, first full long day taking care of the two and a half week old and two and three quarters year old. It was never going to be a walk in the park…

The day started with Babe refusing breakfast and insisting on a mummy milk tank up. Some people might be scorning me for pandering to her. But I’ve been quick to realise that if I say ‘no’ she wants it all the more. And this is not just about nutritional physical hunger, but emotional security hunger. She’s having to go through the biggest change of all, and she needs me to make this as easy as possible. Never the less it infuriated me a little until I gave up and resigned myself to it, and took the time to be thankful for the hug and peace and quiet.

After a steady start, at 9.10am (ish) I decided it was high time I showered and dressed. I was feeling a little irritated because hubby had explained he had a parcel due to be delivered and asked me to wait in till it arrived. I wasn’t relishing the prospect of entertaining the needy toddler in the house all morning.

So shower it was. I really needed it despite the bath the night before. I just seem to stink of milk all the time, fresh milk, stale milk, regurgitated milk, snot infused milk (yup we got colds), milk any which way you can think of. I had a small window of opportunity to exploit, with which to shower and get dressed before baby Boyo called for me to tank him up some more, scrape some poop off his bum or simply be there to hold him. After setting everything and everyone lined up in the doorway to the ensuite, I dived in to attempt to have an enjoyable shower. Well that was a bit delusional, Babe decided part way through that she wanted to join me in the cubicle and started stripping off and attempting to open the doors while I tussled with her to keep the door shut and rinse off my shower gel. Then baby Boyo decided that he wanted ‘in’ on the commotion and began groaning and getting generally fussy. So I sped up, and gave in to the idea of still smelling milky even after a shower (albeit a very short one) and attempted to dry and dress in record breaking time.

30 minutes later, dressed and nappy changed (obviously the baby not me) and enjoying a momentary minute of sanity, we went down stairs to muster up some creative activity to wile away the morning. Then Babe announced that the postman had been, handing me a card. “We missed you”

I missed the delivery man, oh poop…in all honesty it was something a lot stronger than that. I was so frustrated. Damn that stupid temperamental door bell, damn that stupid delivery driver for not trying harder to get my attention and damn him for not leaving it with a neighbour. DAMN! After a few irrational post labour, tiredness induced tears I looked on the bright side. We could go out now at least, yay!

The plan was to catch the train to go do a bit of wine and nibble shopping as we had friends coming around in the evening (yes a social life, this is quite impressive for us) and feed the ducks, geese and swans. My intention to leave by 10.15 for the 10.30 train was dashed when Babe decided to pee herself again and Boyo made it clear that some last minute milk was in order. So we left at 10.30 instead to have plenty of time to walk to catch the next train. That was after baby Boyo had milk sicked-up down my top and bra as I put him in the wrap carrier. Indeed it was effective winding, but kind of defeated my shower and change of clothes. Really why did I bother? I stank worse than I did an hour ago. But I’d showered for the day, so psychologically I felt better and ready to face the day.

The trip was going well, we’d not been eaten alive by the birds we were supposedly feeding with bread, (although I’m sure they had designs on the three bears handing the stale crumbs over). That goose was virtually sitting on my lap.

As I said, going well until Babe announced she needed to pee and gestured to squat down by one of the church walls or on one of the graves. “Nooooo not here” I blurted out, “that’s disrespectful”. I assumed this was one of her outdoors moments of boredom which she was hoping to spice up by squeezing out a tiny pee. So I distracted her with a trip to the cheese shop.

So in true tag team style, it was now baby Boyo’s turn to test my coping skills. Mid order, just about between asking for that blue cheese I’d been craving for the last 10 months and passing down a handful of tasters off the counter to keep Babe quiet. The man pipes up, clearly wants a bit of milk. So I jumped to action stations and whip out the milk supply, all while grabbing Babes coat (she’d decided it was now too warm) and attempting then failing to answer a call from hubby. Short feed over, cheese paid for, husband called and toddler weather proofed, we headed on our way to the deli. This was the most successful part of the trip, all went smoothly and I even got to eat some of the free cake samples. I now had fancy stuffed peper thingies and falafels. And was able to press onto the wine shop without a hitch.

Aha, we were on the home straight now, the park, the train and the final walk home. But I’d forgotten something, and so had Babe. Then we got a tough reminder in the park, as she peed herself again (for the third time in the day but sadly no where near the last). Baby Boyo needed nursing and we had no change of clothes. We had about ten minutes to faff around with removing knickers, nursing the baby and then headed off to the train station, with Babe walking like a cowboy from soaked trousers.

Upon getting in the door home I then had the mad dash to get Babe sorted before baby Boyo was due his next feed.

Thankfully it all got a bit better from there, until Saturday which was the day from hell with colds, exhaustion and grumpiness from all.

Thank goodness it’s Sunday! I hope everyone is in better spirits when they get up today. If I’m honest it’s not boding well for me, it’s been a bad night with a snotty unhappy baby.

Tandem Nursing & Bedtime

Most parents of little people (I think) must feel the love hate feeling of kiddie bedtime. The tantrums, the cries and the down right frustration that comes from trying to get the tired little ones off to sleep.

On the other hand, there is the joy of when they are off in the land of nod and you can claim just a few minutes as your own – glug down that wine and gorge on chocolate. If your breastfeeding like me, its less about the vino and more about the chocolate, biscuits, left over dinner (basically anything that looks remotely edible).

I have always nursed Babe, my toddler to sleep at night. She can get off to sleep without me, but if I’m around then there it’s not up for discussion in her book. I embrace this mostly, it’s our special snuggle time – just me and her.

Since Boyo arrived just over two weeks ago, I tried to retain this exclusive mama and daughter time. But often failed. With an evening cluster feeding newborn to tend to, it was stressing hubby and I out. I felt pressurised to get the toddler asleep ASAP so I could go downstairs and tend to baby. It made me tense and that relaxed time I used to embrace was something I started to resent. Things soon came to a head when Boyo needed to feed while I was settling Babe down for the night. As I’ve explained before, with a loud piercing cry like his, no one wants to argue.

So I had to get creative and start practicing those acrobatic tandem positions I’d read about.

We’ve figured it out now, I mostly take Boyo up to bed when settling Babe down for the night. I don’t need to stress about how long it takes and she is more than happy to have him join in the bedtime reading and nursing session. We’ve found a a body pile up kind of tandem nursing position that everyone is comfortable with. Which involves Babe and I sitting up/lying down on three pillows. I kind of lie part of my side towards Babe while she nurses on the left and then I cradle hold Boyo on the right, with his legs lying across her and sometimes her legs tucked under mine. It’s a real mingled body pile up, but it works.

With the toddler asleep, I can later transfer her into her own cot bed. Theoretically that is. Tonight I’ve been unsuccessful on the bed transfer and as a result it’s the three of us in my double bed with cosleeping crib for Boyo. Babe sleeps through everything, thank-goodness.

The Boy is Two Weeks Old

I can’t believe it, Boyo is 14 days old today. How did that happen? They say time flys when your having fun and they’d not be wrong. These last two weeks have been so amazing, we have had the best family time together – just Babe, Boyo, hubby and I.

I know it’s not the same for all families, but having a second child has been so much easier for us than having the first. Mind you, I’m probably speaking waaaay to soon.

Perhaps much of this is down to the fact that Babe, our toddler of three in December, has not experienced one bought of jealousy and has generally been an awesome big sister. There is no denying it, she has had her two year old tantrum moments, but they have been far less frequent than I anticipated given the circumstances.

She loves most things about her little brother, even the pooie nappies and the nursing sessions. When I’m breastfeeding the boy, she often takes this as her queue to also join in on the milk fest. Sometimes I’m thankful for this, no entertainment challenges while nursing. Other times it irritates me massively and I desperately try to find ways to distract her from latching on to the other side.

She’s not ordinarily big on doling out the kisses, but for Boyo that’s a different story…kisses all round for the wee man.

The developing character
It’s true what they say about every child being different. I tell you what, this boy has a set of lungs on him. Upon testing these he usually doesn’t limber up, it’s all of a sudden; screams that are enough to make anyone jump out their skin. What the… where did that come from? Sometimes there is some grumpiness before hand or possibly some whimpering. We have nick named him the ‘puppy dog’ as he is very fond of whimpering like a puppy in his sleep. Very cute, but I’m not sure he’ll thank us for that when he’s older.

Yes it’s true he is generally very content and chilled. My gosh, with his vocal cords I’m mighty glad.

He has also developed the cutest little mannerisms, which can also look slightly creepy. Like the slanty side mouth lip sucky motion he makes when he’s hungry. “Come on people, where’s the booby?” When he does this, or tries to snog you in an attempt to root around for something that will give mama milk, we know not to mess. All action stations, he needs food. Drop everything, don’t push your luck, or try to buy time. Unless you can tolerate that full on piercing cry. I’ll be honest, unless I really have to delay, it’s not a risk I’m willing to take.

But he’s not overly demanding, so when he wants something now, we can usually accommodate him. I’m not sure how this is going to work as I juggle the toddler and him full time. A perforated eat drum wouldn’t surprise me in the future.

Family time and clear roles
This time around not having to embark on that big steep learning curve has made things so much easier, communications are great and we’re all cutting each other some slack. We each know where we can and can’t help, so no one is left feeling frustrated or useless.

So hubby goes back to work tomorrow, and so comes a new challenge for all of us. Let’s hope the next phase goes as smoothly as the last.