Sisters

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SistersJust a few short weeks ago people were looking at my bump and taking bets on whether the baby inside was a boy or a girl. Whenever anyone asked me if I had a preference I was honest: I just wanted a healthy baby. My four year old regularly changed her mind when asked, which was the reason we decided not to find out the sex at the 20 week scan.

Even so, the moment when I held my baby up from the water and saw that she was a girl was a shock. Although we’d decided to wait for a surprise, I’d become pretty convinced I was carrying a boy. So many people (including my mum and husband) were sure the baby would be a boy and Frog often referred to the baby as a “he” when talking about becoming a big sister.

Mum, bump and daughter

Once we were out of the water and I was lying on the bed cuddling my brand new baby girl I rang my mum and sobbed down the phone that she had another granddaughter. My husband rang his mum and told her the same. Another girl. And then it clicked into place: I have two daughters.

The (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine and I were chatting about Christmas the other day. “It’ll be so lovely with the girls,” I said. The GIRLS. Plural. Still sinking in.

And yet, it’s only been three weeks but it feels like our newest baby girl has been here forever. She has just slotted in. Shared bath times with Frog sitting in the bath helping to wash her baby sister. Early mornings with me feeding the baby while Frog clambers into bed with us trailing her beloved blanket. “Aw she’s SO cute Mummy! I love her SO much!”

Sisters

It’s exciting to wander how this pair will relate to each other as they grow up. They are four years apart, the same as my own sister and I. There are not many memories I have of childhood that don’t include my sister. From her winding me up and doing handstands in front of the TV as I tried to watch Heartbreak High (remember that show?!) to us teaming up if someone had been mean to either one of us. We were (and are) fiercely protective of each other and extremely close. Will my own two girls be the same? I hope so.

Already Frog is proving a bit of a lioness when it comes to her baby sister. “Don’t say that to her Mummy, you’ll hurt her feelings!” She chided me the other day, as I joked that the baby was stinky after she produced a particularly ripe nappy.

In three weeks we haven’t yet had a “When is the baby going back?” moment. Frog repeatedly tells us how much she loves her sister and has accepted her arrival as if she’s always been here.

Of course in the case of all siblings, there’s one rule for Frog and one for everyone else. You call the baby stinky and you’re in trouble. Frog is the only one allowed to pass that verdict on her baby sister…

Sisters

Five easy pumpkin recipe ideas

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Pumpkin carving

We are big fans of Halloween in this house. In fact, this time of year is one of our favourites – log fire burning, crisp autumn walks and cosy nights looking forward to Christmas. Halloween sort of signals the beginning of that delicious period of anticipation for us.

I’ve carved a pumpkin every year since Frog was tiny. In fact, even before she was born I used to buy a pumpkin and carve it, before lighting a candle inside and putting it in the window. The picture above was taken when Frog was around 15 or 16 months old (before anyone chastises me for leaving a baby near a lit candle – it was moved out of her reach as soon as this photo was taken).

Anyway, one thing I’ve learned over the years is that pumpkins have a lot of flesh. And, if you’re not careful, once you’ve carved your pumpkin you can end up throwing a heck of a lot of it away. In keeping with the Organix #NoJunk Challenge I thought I’d share some of our favourite recipes for the bits of the pumpkin that could end up in the bin. These are tasty, delicious and – most importantly – healthy. Plus, our four year old loves them as much as we do.  Continue reading »

The A-Z of Post-Birth Recovery

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Post Birth Recovery

Just over two weeks ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She’s my second baby, so you’d think I’d be familiar with the tender post-birth recovery period by now, having gone through it all before. Well you’d be wrong.

What I remember from last time around appears to have been filtered through a rose-tinted memory box in my head. It’s all newborn cuddles, quiet naps, endless bouquets of flowers and snuggles on the sofa. The actual body bits – the rather gross bits – have all been blanked out.

So in the interests of keeping it real, I’m sharing my A-Z of post-birth recovery symptoms with you. Be warned, much of this is TMI, but if you think we all bounce of bed looking like super-model Gisele Bundchen after having a baby then you’re in for a shock.

A is for… After-birth pains

Newsflash: contractions don’t end the moment you’ve had your baby. Annoying but true, the uterus has to shrink back to its pre-baby size. This means after-birth pains which feel like a cross between a contraction and an intense period pain. They get worse the more babies you have, so this time around I was shocked by how uncomfortable they were compared to with my first baby.  Continue reading »

Five activities to avoid after-school meltdown

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With just a week to go until half term it’s fair to say my four year old is more than ready for a holiday. She has loved school since starting in September. But one of the side effects of school – a side effect I hadn’t bargained for – is that she’s both hyper AND exhausted at the end of the day.

After a particularly bad bedtime one night I realised I needed to come up with a plan to get through those tricky hours between school pick-up and bedtime. My friend Katie (hi Katie!) is a primary school teacher and she texted me a load of ideas to help. So this post is largely down to Katie – I can’t claim credit for these ideas.

5 after school activities to avoid meltdowns

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My baby sleeps in a box

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There are some old school baby practises that I’m pretty relieved don’t still exist. Putting your baby in a pram and leaving it unattended outside the front door, for one. That’s an actual thing they used to do in my grandma’s day – if you don’t believe me just watch Call The Midwife.

I’ve also heard of some families making up a drawer for their baby to sleep in, rather than splashing out on a moses basket, crib or cot. And, occasionally, if drawers are scarce, the baby would just have been put to bed in a box lined with blankets. Cosy.

However, as much as the thought of leaving my baby in a pram on her own on the doorstep doesn’t appeal, the sleeping in a box thing doesn’t bother me so much. Why? Because my baby sleeps in a box. It’s an upmarket box, granted, but a box still the same. Interested? Let me introduce you to www.TheBabyBoxCo.com.
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Things I’d forgotten about life with a newborn

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Me and babyThis time last week I’d just had a baby. It’s been seven days of life with a newborn – a life full of things that have slipped my memory since last time. I’ve been shocked at how much I’ve forgotten about these first few days of new motherhood.

Time takes on a new quality

While the night hours can stretch on into an interminable length until you crave the daylight, the daylight hours can pass in a blink of the eye. The effect is that time kind of blurs into one until you forget what day it is and have no idea if it’s morning, afternoon or evening. It’s disconcerting, especially when you realise your baby is already a week old and has changed so much already. It probably answers why I can’t stop taking photos of her, I want to freeze every image before it speeds on by and she’s at school already.  Continue reading »

The final #BlogBumpClub from me

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Blogger Bump Club

This week has passed by in a blur of cuddles, nappies and very little sleep. I’ve spent most of the week in my pyjamas gazing at my brand new baby girl.

I’ve loved hosting the #BlogBumpClub over the last few months and finding lots of new blogs to follow. It’s not the end of #BlogBumpClub though, as Becky from The Mummy Adventure will be taking over. Whether you’re newly pregnant or about to pop, it’s a chance to connect with other pregnant bloggers and share the highs (and lows) of pregnancy.

Because I can barely string two words together this week I’ve made a little picture video instead for my final Blog Bump Club. Kind of amazing to think what started as a tiny bump is now a hiccuping, milk guzzling cute bundle of gorgeousness currently keeping me awake all night… Continue reading »

The day I had a baby

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This is a long post. Forgive me.

I wasn’t going to write about the birth, once this baby eventually made an appearance. I’ve always thought birth is an intensely personal experience and I hated the idea of being self-indulgent with a birth story plastered all over the internet. Throughout this pregnancy, though, I’ve gradually changed my mind. Reading about other women’s labours has helped me stay positive and balance out all the screamy birth scenarios you see on films and TV. I still wasn’t sure if I’d write about my own labour, but my mind is now made up. So, here it is. The day I had a baby… Continue reading »

Blogger Bump Club Week 21 #BlogBumpClub

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Blogger Bump Club

So…. I’m still here!

Still no baby and I’m quite pleased about that. It’s my birthday today and, call me Mariah Carey, but I’m a total birthday diva. I didn’t fancy a) spending my birthday pushing out a baby and b) sharing my birthday forever more with a more important member of the family. I know, shallow. What can I say?

Anyway, it’s now just gone 7pm and still no baby so I think it’s pretty unlikely this baby is going to make an appearance tonight. Don’t get me wrong though, I am MORE than ready to have this baby now. The baby’s head is so low it feels like I’m wandering around with a bowling ball permanently in my pants (who says pregnancy isn’t dignified and glamorous?).

40 weeks pregnant

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Should new dads get gifts too?

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Photo credit: CP Photography

Photo credit: CP Photography

When Frog was born four years ago, I was inundated with gifts. Along with all the cute tiny baby clothes, cuddly toys and snuggly blankets there were huge bunches of flowers for me, beautifully smelling pamper goodies and a couple of bottles of champagne. The (self proclaimed) Northern Love Machine, however, didn’t get anything.

At the time we joked that I was the one who’d done all the work, so it was only fair that I got all the presents. But, looking back, I think this tiny aspect of new parenthood was just another contributing factor to making him feel a bit overlooked and like a spare part at the time.

It’s no secret that the NLM didn’t find fatherhood easy at the beginning. Unused to newborn babies, overwhelmed by responsibility and still reeling from the birth (despite it being a straight forward labour he found the whole thing pretty traumatic), he withdrew into himself and we had a few weeks where I questioned if he was really happy.  Continue reading »