Siblings are not personality changers

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Lake

“A brother or sister will be SO good for her.”

That’s a sentence I’ve heard a lot in the past nine months. It’s always meant well, coming from a place that refers to the excitement my four year old will feel at becoming a big sister. But, in some cases, I think there’s another meaning too. One that alludes to sharing, not always being centre of attention and having to accept a shift in the family dynamic. In short, “It will be good for her not to be an only child”.

Only children can come in for a lot of stick. Spoilt, egotistical, unable to share, doted on too much, opinionated, loud, unable to socialise… these are all some characteristics that I’ve seen associated with only children. You only need to think of Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to get the idea.

There have been times in the past when my daughter has displayed one of these traits and I’ve had a, “Time for a baby brother or sister!” thrown in my direction. As if her behaviour isn’t just normal toddler stuff, or part of her personality, but is a direct consequence of being an only child.  Continue reading »

Another milestone

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Britax seat

When my baby grew out of her first car seat it seemed like a very big deal. Accepting that she was too big for the seat we brought her home from the hospital in felt – at the time – like another milestone we’d reached all too quickly.

Last week that baby, now four years old, started school. Again, it felt like a very big deal. And it kind of overshadowed the other, smaller milestone, we’d passed a few weeks earlier: another new car seat.

Frog has now graduated to a “big girl” booster seat when she’s in her dad’s car. It’s a Britax Adventure seat, for children aged four to twelve years. And she loves it.  Continue reading »

Blogger Bump Club Week 18 #BlogBumpClub

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Blogger Bump ClubThis week’s #BlogBumpClub comes to you from a place of serene calm. I know – I’m as surprised as the next person. It turns out maternity leave is good for the soul. I’m positively floating on clouds and flying with unicorns at the moment.

I filed copy for my last big deadline on Monday morning and sent my maternity allowance claim form off on Tuesday (I’m self-employed, so maternity leave is a bit different to last time I had a baby). Apart from the odd bit of blogging I really have no need to be near my laptop at the moment, which is an enlightening experience.

Frog started school on Monday – mornings only this week – and loves it so far. Which means *touch wood* we’ve had no morning tantrums, no stressful dragging her out of the door episodes and she’s generally been in the best mood ever. Life is so much easier when kids are happy.  Continue reading »

My grandmother’s chair

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There’s one piece of furniture I always wanted but never had as a new mum last time around: a nursing chair. Telling myself it was a waste of money as it wouldn’t be used long enough to warrant the expense, I never splashed out on one. Instead, I’d sit perched on the edge of the bed, or on the futon in Frog’s bedroom, feeding her in the middle of the night, trying not to get back ache.

This time around I was determined to have a chair in our new baby’s nursery. Even though the baby won’t be sleeping in there at first, I wanted a quiet place where I could do feeds without having to find a corner of a bed to perch on.

The thing is, I’m not a huge fan of new furniture. I like pieces that tell a story and, if it’s personal, then all the better. All of the nursing chairs I’d looked at online seemed ludicrously expensive or just not to my taste – too bulky, too mumsy, too ugly, or just not quite right. I know, I’m possibly a little too fussy.

And then I remembered my grandmother’s chair. My beautiful Nana died earlier this year. She was funny, kind and the best baker I’ve ever known. Time spent at Nana’s house in Derby was always fun. When my Dada was alive they would bicker with each other and he would make us all laugh. He’d tell Nana off for the occasional swear (“Ooh you naughty bugger!”) and she’d scold him back for having the telly on too loud.  Continue reading »

Dear School

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Dear School,

I know you probably get this all the time and I expect you’re over the whole “WAIL! My child is too young for school!” thing. But if I didn’t write this on the eve of my daughter starting school for the first time then I wouldn’t be much of a mum blogger would I?

I’m also aware that this whole starting school thing isn’t about me. It’s about my child and her readiness for taking on a new adventure, not about my readiness to accept she’s no longer a baby.

And I know that you have lots of other kids to worry about and mine isn’t the only one meeting a huge milestone tomorrow.  Continue reading »

Blogger Bump Club Week 17 #BlogBumpClub

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Blogger Bump Club

“What’s it like being pregnant?” asked my husband the other day. At the time, I gave a totally unsatisfactory answer. Something like, “It feels like there’s a baby inside you,” before getting on with whatever I was doing. But I’ve been thinking about that more this week and have a better answer now.

Being pregnant is like running a marathon while being made to watch a series of tear-inducing films (think Beaches and Marley and Me) and listening to the most uplifting and joyful music around. In short, it’s long, requires endurance and is an emotional rollercoaster.

If being pregnant is like running a marathon then I’ve got to the mile before the penultimate one. The end is in sight, but there’s still a bit of a slog. I’m tired but incredibly busy, although I know that very soon the adrenaline will hit for that final mile.

36 weeks pregnant

Anyway, enough of the similes. You get the idea. Pregnancy is amazing but also hard work. I’m tired and busy. There – could have just summed the whole thing up in ten words.  Continue reading »

Packed lunches for parents who have better things to do

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When my daughter started pre-school last September the thing she was most excited about was her lunch. Ironically, this was also the thing I was least excited about. Making a packed lunch regularly was never going to make it to the top of my list of favourite things to do with my time.

pre-school

This is her this time last year, on her first day at pre-school. The night before I’d made her a packed lunch to take with her. It was my first foray into the realm of lunchboxes and it’s fair to say I didn’t enjoy making it. Call me a bad mother, but I think there are SO many things more exciting than putting together a packed lunch. Continue reading »

Why losing my baby weight is the last thing on my mind

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36 week pregnant bump

At 36 weeks pregnant I’m feeling pretty huge. As you can see from the bulging belly, my baby’s getting bigger and, by dint of being pregnant, so am I. My feet are puffy, my backside is wobbly and my hips are full. I also have bigger boobs, a bigger pocket of flesh under my chin and bigger thighs.

It’s fair to say I am big with a capital B.

But you know what? That’s OK. BECAUSE I AM GROWING A HUMAN.

The other day I got a press release. It was just the latest in a long line of bombardment about body image and guilt that made me roll my eyes before waddling off and eating a piece of cake. The press release started something like, “If you’re pregnant or have just have a baby and are worried about losing that extra weight then….. ” and there it lost my attention. Because, you know what? At 36 weeks pregnant the LAST thing I’m worried about is losing weight.  Continue reading »

Blogger Bump Club Week 16 #BloggerBumpClub

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Blogger Bump Club

There are some things about being pregnant that I’ve only just recently remembered since last time. The feeling of wanting to “do it right” is one of them.

I didn’t want to be a moany pregnant woman. I wanted to be a pregnant woman who got on with it and looked glowing in the process. But towards the end, when I started to worry about the birth bit of being pregnant, and my feet were swollen and I couldn’t sleep for longer than two hours at a stretch, that “perfect” pregnant woman kind of disappeared.

I’m remembering that aspect of being pregnant now. Up until a couple of days ago I was still feeling pretty good. We went to a wedding and people were kind, saying I looked well. I felt it too. And I felt it for most of our trip up to see the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine’s family. Continue reading »

My School Meal Memories

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I can still remember my first day at school. I was almost a whole year older than Frog will be when she starts school, having been born at the other end of the academic year. But I was still nervous, gripping my mum’s hand tightly on the short walk up the road.

As we sat on the floor for registration our new teacher asked us who was having school dinners. I had my lunch money in a special coin holder. I’d been given it on a family holiday to North Wales on a day trip to Anglesey Zoo. It was bright red and had a cord that went round your neck. My shiny coins clinked as I walked to the front of the classroom and handed the cash over. “Bring it in an envelope with your name on tomorrow,” said my teacher.

I wasn’t too bothered about school dinners. I can remember soggy pizza and semolina and being told to “eat it all up” by stern dinner ladies. We didn’t have the “clear your plate rule” at home, so it all felt a bit… scary. My prevailing memory of school includes packed lunches made lovingly by my mum, often including notes or stickers. School dinners became a rare occurrence, and I was OK with that.  Continue reading »