Being pregnant the second time around is so much harder than I ever expected it would be. I am, of course, over the moon that we are having another baby and that Leo is going to be a big brother, there are just times when I feel a bit overwhelmed. The fact that in a few short months a newborn will be joining our family and things are going to change (big time!) really does stress me out sometimes. Things are already starting to change now and baby hasn’t even arrived yet. Being pregnant and having a very energetic two year old don’t really work together harmoniously, there have been times in the last 23weeks where I have worried that my second pregnancy is turning me in to a bad Mum. View Post
Any parent out there will know what the terrible twos are, right? Oh you know, it’s that phrase used to describe the idea that when your child wakes up on their 2nd birthday they suddenly become a complete nightmare and will throw tantrums and act like a demon until they turn three and suddenly they become little darlings again. Many parents will agree with me when I say this, what a load of crap! The terrible twos can start way before your child hits 24 months and can, unfortunately, last way longer than just a year. I have written about my experiences of tantrums before and how I really struggle to cope when Leo’s being naughty. Leo is approaching 3 and his bad behaviour shows no sign of slipping away, if anything, it’s getting worse. I am starting to wonder if his behaviour is not just a result of the dreaded terrible twos, what if it is something more? What if my boy is just, well, naughty? View Post
In July, a brand new phone app is being released in the UK and, if you are a parent, you are definitely going to want this on your smart phone. Club Hub is an app that helps parents find groups and activities that are going on in their local area and, if you run a group, it is a great way to advertise your business too.
Ever since moving to Hampshire I have struggled to find groups for Leo and I to join. I go to a couple of parent and toddler groups and I even brave a weekly bouncy castle hour with Leo at our local leisure centre but I can’t help but think there must be more going on? View Post
The brand new seires of Game of Thrones starts on Monday and it is safe to say that I am more than a bit excited. Although I am still reeling from the end of series 5, #forthewatch #heartbroken, I can’t wait to see what this series has in store. My favourite thing about Game of Thrones is not the violence, the sex or the creepy White Walkers, it is following all the different characters and their messed up little lives. Most of my favourites have now fallen victim to the cruel writing of George R R Martin and been brutally killed off (sob) but one person who is still going strong is the woman of too many names to list, Daenerys Targaryen.
As I watch Daenerys conquer city after city I can’t help but think motherhood would be a lot easier if I was the Mother of Dragons. Confused? Let me explain.. View Post
Potty training, it is something all us parents dread isn’t it? The excitement of not having to dish out the big bucks on nappies is overshadowed by the fear of having to clean wee stains off the sofa and scraping poo from the lovely white carpets. As soon as your little one starts showing those all important signs that they are ready to ditch the nappies, it is the time to psych yourself up and get into the potty training, super mum zone. View Post
It has been 2 years and 6 months since I first began my journey through this crazy thing called motherhood. There are some days where I feel like I am totally nailing this mum gig, days where I feel like being a Mum is what I was put on this planet to do. There are also the bad days though. The days where nothing is going right, the tears won’t stop and the tantrums are relentless. Those awful days that make me feel like a complete and utter failure and not worthy of the prestigious title that is ‘Mummy’.
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Leo started play school today. I can’t believe the time has come for my baby boy to fly the nest. Well, not really, but that’s how it feels! Oli and I have been debating the idea of Leo starting play school for a few months now and as he is now two and half, we decided now is as good a time as any. Leo has been asking to go to school for quite a while, he has older cousins who go and every time we stroll past the local primary school he always asks excitedly if he can go in.
|Ready to go!|
Like most other children his age, Leo loves a tantrum. If we can get through the day and he only has two meltdowns then I consider that to be a very, very good day.
The biggest parenting challenge I have faced so far is getting Leo to eat healthily. Yes, the sleepless nights, breastfeeding and temper tantrums have all been difficult in their own way but nothing worries me and frustrates me more than Leo’s fussy eating.
Making sure your children get their 5-a-day is something we are constantly being told to do, be it by television advertisements, articles in the media or health professionals. There is so much pressure to make sure our little ones are getting all the nutrients they need and they are eating foods full of those all important vitamins. When your child turns their nose up at an apple and instead happily munches on biscuits, it can be hard to not feel like you have failed in some way.
I have learnt now not to beat myself up about Leo’s fussy eating, I offer him healthy foods every day, sometimes it ends up in his tummy, more often though it ends up on the floor. He went through a really long, infuriating phase of only eating beige food: toast, pasta, chips were all happily scoffed down, while his broccoli was left lonely and neglected on the side of his plate. I tried all the little tricks people suggested, I covered his veg in cheese, chopped it up really small, arranged it into little green sculptures on his plate, everything. Nothing worked.
In more recent months though, Leo’s vegetable intake has slowly increased. It is still nowhere near as much as I would like but we are definitely making progress. Slowly but surely more vegetables are going in to his mouth and not left to rot away in the bin. It has taken a lot of improvisation and patience but, at last, my fussy little eater is starting to eat, and enjoy, more vegetables.
For anyone else struggling with a veggiephobe, here is how I got my boy to start eating the healthy stuff. I can’t guarantee these will work for your little one but it is worth a try.
How I got my toddler to eat more vegetables
So there you have it, how I got my two year old to eat more vegetables. I can’t say any of these are 100% fool proof, toddlers are flighty creatures, what works one day may not work the next but anything is worth a try when you have a fussy eater, isn’t it? I hope this post is helpful. I now have the toddler equivalent of bugs bunny, that boy is always chomping away on a carrot!
|Picnics are also a great idea, by the way!|
The terrible twos, it is something us parents dread, right? We see kids screaming on the floor, parents carrying them out of shops kicking and screaming and we pray one day that won’t be us. It is inevitable though, one day your baby will turn into a screaming, stomping, patience testing toddler and there’s not a lot you can do to stop it.
Brr, it is getting cold out now isn’t it? The in-laws have been staying with us this week and on Wednesday morning I decided we should all go out for a nice walk and enjoy the crisp fresh air. It was really frigging cold out but there was white frost coating the grass and it looked so pretty outside, it would have been a shame to stay in. I decided to take them to see Titchfield Abbey, it is not too far away, it is free and the Abbey was bound to look impressive surrounded by a gloriously blue sky, with a sprinkle of white over the ground.
We all got seriously wrapped up (I think Leo had about 5 layers on!), I scraped the ice off the car and we headed off down the M27 to check out Titchfield Abbey – or the Thomas Castle, as Leo insisted it was called.
|What is behind the massive door?|
|Finally starting to look like winter.|
|I want to live in a castle…|
|Facts about the tiles.|
Leo loved running around the Abbey grounds, hiding in the ancient chimney flues and opening and closing the massive door. We lost sight of him at one point, we ran around in a frenzy shouting his name only to find he had managed to get down the extremely warn away staircase all by himself. He was really pleased with himself but I was so mad at myself for loosing sight of him as he could have so easily fallen.
|Going down stairs with a worried looking Nanny.|
In the grounds surrounding the Titchfield Abbey there is a funny looking path. My mother-in-law and I decided it must have been a maze once upon a time, there was no other explanation for the way it was set out. Leo enjoyed running around the ‘track’, crunching the frosty grass as he went. We found a small icy puddle and Leo was quite confused when no splashing occurred when he jumped up and down.
|Walking around ‘the maze’.|
We were wandering around Titchfield Abbey for about 45 minutes but we were all starting to get really cold, I definitely could have done with some gloves and an extra pair of socks. We said goodbye to the Thomas Castle and popped in to the garden centre next door for a nice hot coffee and Leo got to feed the fish.
|Feeding the fish.|
Titchfield Abbey is a lovely place to visit if you are looking for something free and fun to do in Hampshire. It is open 10am-4pm from October to March and then from April to September it is open 10am-5pm. Leo really enjoyed exploring the Abbey, I think he would have stayed there for hours if we hadn’t have bribed him away with milk and biscuits!
Have you visited Titchfield Abbey before? Does your little one like castles? I can’t wait to take Leo to a proper castle, one where you can climb up twisty staircases and have lots of rooms to explore.
We love a chat us Mums, don’t we? We talk about everything going on with our kids and we love to reassure and support each other through all our parenting woes. However, there is one thing all parents love to talk about, Mums and Dads alike. This particular topic of conversation is most frequently heard amongst parents with very young children. Saying that, my boy is two and I still find myself chatting about this on a very regular basis…
Leo has always been really good at going to bed. He has not always been good at going to sleep, but ever since he was about 12months he has been happy enough to go in his cot at bed time and not make too much of a fuss. In the last few weeks, bedtime has started to become quite hard work. Leo has been demanding more stories to be read and asking for all his toys to come in his cot. He seemed to be doing everything possible to keep me in the room with him so he didn’t have to settle down and go to sleep.
After a few particularly stressful nights in a row, last week I decided maybe he would be happier if we changed his cot into a cot bed. So, one evening last week Oli got to work and took the side off Leo’s cot (this was more difficult than it sounds!) and Leo was introduced to his big boy bed. It has not all been plain sailing but the first week in the big boy has gone much better than I was expecting, Leo seems to be happy to be out of his cot – I on the other hand am I bit sad, how is my baby in a bed already?!
Over the past week I have jotted down how everything is going, so if you are thinking about transitioning your toddler from the cot to a bed, here is some idea of what to expect…
Leo was very excited about his new bed. He enjoyed jumping in and out of it and repeatedly declaring ‘my bed, my bed!’. He had his bedtime story like normal and settled down perfectly. I was feeling super smug at this point and had convinced myself all our bedtime troubles were over. How foolish of me..
The second night in his bed was similar to the first. There was a tiny bit of moaning for another story but nothing too bad. We could hear Leo playing with his toys for about half an hour after we had put him to bed. I was happy to leave him play for a bit as it was all new and exciting and a room full of toys with no cot side stopping you, well that’s just a bit too tempting isn’t it? Leo did fall out once but I managed to get him back into bed and he settled down happily after that.
Again Leo went to bed Ok. He played for a bit again and managed to pull his mattress half off the bed when I went to check on him but apart from that he was great and in the morning I was woken up by the sound of him running to our bedroom, so cute,
Well, this is where it all started to go a bit downhill. As Leo had now figured out how to open his door, he thought it would be fun to keep coming into the living room after we put him to bed. He came in saying ‘mummy wants to read’ and then ‘Daddy wants to read’. Oli and I took it in turns to take him back to bed and when we refused more stories he screamed the house down. Eventually he got bored of shouting ‘READ!’ and we could hear him playing with his toys until nearly 10pm. Absolute nightmare, by this point my smugness from the start of the week had completely vanished.
By day 5 I was officially regretting my decision and contemplating putting the side of the cot back on. Thankfully, Leo went to bed fine and didn’t come sneaking into the living room once. He played with his toys for a little while and started crying. Oli went to see him and Leo was just sat in the middle of the room sleepy crying – I think he forgot he could get into bed by himself now.
Things were starting to get better again by day 6. We had the usual moaning for more stories and lies of being hungry to get me to stay in his room but I managed to settle Leo down quite easily. We heard him playing with his toys again (how do we stop this?) but when we went to check on him he got himself back into bed, all cuddled up under his blankets.
So, last night things went downhill again – ahh! Leo settled down OK but then proceeded to come in to the living room about 20 times. At first it was funny because he was acting like a little ninja, sneaking in and then grinning at us from the door. This routine got old really fast though and I had to delve deep in to my brain and retrieve all those little tips I had learnt from watching countless episodes of Super Nanny when I was younger. I remember her saying no talking or eye contact are key in showing your child that you mean business and you are not playing games. Have you ever tried ignoring your toddler when they are trying to talk to you? It is so hard, I felt so mean. Anyway, it seemed to work as I managed to get him to stay in bed after over an hour. As usual we went to check on him and we found him asleep in the middle of the floor with a book on his face! It was hard getting him back to bed without waking him but, between Oli and I, we just about managed it.
This week has been a bit of a learning curve and a struggle at times but I am glad we have stuck with it and not gone back to using the cot. Just like it took time for Leo to adjust from being in the moses basket to the cot, I know this transition is going to take a while for us all to get used to. Although I am not loving the struggle in the evenings, I am quite enjoying staying in bed until 9, as Leo just gets himself up and starts playing with his toys in the morning. Now all I need is for him to learn how to change his own nappy and get himself breakfast and I won’t have to get up for hours!
How old was your little one when they moved into a bed? How did you all find the transition? Please let me know any tips you have on encouraging your toddler to stay in bed at night time, I would love some advice.
This morning I read an article on BBC news titled The ‘perfect’ parent. The purpose of this article, from my understanding, is to reassure parents that there is no perfect parent and it discusses different parenting styles from the worlds many cultures. The article also features a video from American comedy sketch group The BreakWomb. The sketch tells the tale of 3 mums at a ‘Mom’s support group’, admitting to lies they have told to their friends and family, in a hope to come across as the perfect parent.
I found reading about how parents do things in other cultures very interesting but it was the title of the article that really got me thinking. What is a perfect parent? Is perfect parenting an unrealistic goal for parents to have? Am I perfect? Do I care if other people don’t think I am perfect?
I have lots of questions but not many answers. I have no idea what a perfect parent is, the aforementioned article claims a love of broccoli and our children’s ability to recite Shakespeare are good examples of where Mums and Dads have done a top notch job. Frankly, I couldn’t care less if Leo is able to read A midsummer nights dream to me from memory when he is older. Yes, I would be extremely impressed but I can’t do that and, as it goes, I am a happy, round rounded adult who can think for herself; I don’t think my bad memory when it comes to the work of The Immortal Bard is a result of how my parents bought me up.
To me, my parents are perfect. Well, actually, they are perfectly imperfect and that is why I love them. I had a lovely childhood and I always knew they loved me, they still do of course. Yes, they made mistakes but I am glad they did. They taught me it is OK to get things wrong and how to deal with life when it doesn’t go to plan. My parents would both admit they are not perfect and I am glad they aren’t. I would much prefer to have the parents I’ve got than ones who stressed themselves out beyond recognition to try and achieve the, in my opinion, unattainable dream of perfection.
As for me? No, I am not perfect. How could I be? I am a first time Mum, it would be a miracle if I just knew everything and never made a mistake. I frequently suffer with mummy guilt, if I thought I was doing a perfect job these feelings would not exist. I do my best for Leo, some days I do better than others but I am always thinking of him and do what I can to make him happy. I love him unconditionally, as does his Dad, and it is very clear he loves us too. We are doing all we can to bring him up to be an independent, polite, respectful and happy child.
I never lie about my parenting to others. Yes, sometimes I might feel bad for not being able to get Leo to eat vegetables or for letting him spend hours in front of TV but I would rather talk about these things than pretend I am the type of mother people think I should be.
Will Leo think Oli and I have done a perfect job when he grows up? I don’t know. As long as he looks back on his childhood how I remember mine and is happy then I will be happy too. I don’t know what the perfect parent is, I really don’t think there is such thing. Parent’s bring their children up in all kinds of different ways. Yes, there are, unfortunately, people out there who don’t make good parents but the majority of us, well, I think we are doing just fine.
What do you think? Would you say there is such thing as a perfect parent? Or, do you think we all just need to give ourselves a break and just be happy that our children are happy? Let me know 🙂
p.s In case you are having a bad day, here is a funny video I found a few months ago from The BreakWomb..enjoy!