Since my boys are still so young, just 40 months and 8 months there are going to be many ‘firsts’ for them. I want to make sure they are documented so that we can look back on them together in years to come. So I’m kicking off this series of posts with one about the boys first time Ice Skating.
Where – Bolton Town Centre
When – 14th December 2014 (Daddies birthday)
What – First Time Ice Skating
We booked the ‘Slippy Sundays’ toddler session a few weeks ago and so with tightly crossed fingers for the weather to hold out we set out towards Bolton town centre. I had explained to you lots of times that we were going ice skating so that you were prepared for what to expect. We turned up a little early and got your skates on, they were double bladed ones that had to be strapped to your own shoes. I got my skates on too and the cheerful guy who was working there offered you a penguin to push around for balance. While we waited for our time on the ice to begin you noticed the penguin only had one eye so we decided to call him ‘Blinky’!
At 10 o’clock it was time to get on the ice, with a little nervousness we stepped on. I have been ice skating quite a few times before and although I’d prefer to be skiing I quickly got my ice feet back on.
Once we’d been around once we got the hang of going a little faster. You were shouting over to daddy “Mummies teaching me how to skate” I could have hugged you so tight then. I kept checking you were ok and you kept replying that you were having a fun time.
There weren’t enough penguins for each child so we had to share them around. Being able to hold your hands up gave my back a rest.
We came off the ice a little before the end of the session as I think you had had enough and I wanted to end on a high before either of us fell over! So that was it over in a flash you’re first time ice skating and you’d loved it!
Love you xxx
As part of my weekly list post to focus myself, at this special time of year I’d like to do a mainly gratitude focused list, I have so much to be grateful for in life and it’s important to remember this everyday.
Gratitude – This Week
1) Boys – I count my blessing everyday that I have two wonderful healthy little boys. We truly are blessed to have been given the gift of the two of them. They brighten up our lives each day with their smiles and giggles. Of course they are hard work too but work every sleepless night.
2)Husband – He works so hard for us as a family in a job that at the moment is a challenge, he comes home and helps out around the house with housework and the boys. He puts up with me day in day out and I know I can be a challenge! He loves me unconditionally and is always there for me when I need him to be my rock.
3) Our Home – We have a roof over our heads, which is safe, warm, cosy and comfortable, which is far more than many people in the world have.
4) Food in our tummies – We are thankfully in a position to be able to feed ourselves each day
5) Our Families – We have supportive family around us who help out if they are needed, we love them all dearly and are grateful to be close to them.
6) The boy went to the toilet all by himself upstairs, did everything alone and also washed his hands.
7) Flixster pulled up all by himself in the cot to standing – the little monkey is growing so fast
Funny things the boy has said this week
1) “Mummy why did the chicken cross the level crossing? Because he got hit by a train and it was an ouchy and he died.”
(I wasn’t sure how to respond to that??)
2)”Mummy why did the chicken cross the waffle maker? Because he wanted to get squished and be a waffle…and die”
(Again there’s a theme here….)
3) Bolcano – “Mummy its not volcano with a V its Bolcano with a B” – He’s insisting that its Bolcano and there’s no telling him otherwise
So it’s a short post but it makes me realise again what I have in life and that I certainly have nothing to moan about.
The first I heard about Winter Wonderland was when I saw an advert for it last year. the boy was only 28 months though and so I thought he’d be a bit too young for it. When I was invited to have a preview of this years event I thought I’d go and see what it was all about. As it was an evening event I didn’t take the boy because he’s usually asleep for 7pm but I will defiantly be buying some tickets to take him to a day time session, he’d love it!
Its advertised as ‘The Uk’s Largest Indoor Christmas Theme Park’ and its located within the Event City complex which is right next to the Trafford Centre. Event City does have its own car park but it’s easily walkable from the Trafford Centre itself so a combined trip is very possible. The sessions run from 11am-3pm or 4:30pm-8:30pm most days from now until Sunday 4th January. You can book online or pay on the door.The entrance ticket includes all the rides and attractions as well as visit to Father Christmas. There are also some pay to play fairground games. On entering I was surprised at how much there was to do. I have been to other shows at eventcity and hadn’t realised just how much floor space there is available. You certainly couldn’t see all the rides and attractions from the entrance area. I was given a map which was nice although you wouldn’t need it to get around. I liked how much space there was between rides and attractions, I can’t imagine it would ever feel crowded in there. There was defiantly space to bring a pushchair if younger siblings were to attend. Under 3’s are free which is great to keep families together, I’m really not keen on places that charge for babies who wouldn’t be able to go on any rides. I wasn’t able to count how many rides there are as there were so many. There is something suitable for all ages, adults too! I know the boy would have been able to go on quite a few rides there and he’s now 3 years and 4 months. He would have loved the carousel and the bouncy castle amongst others.
I did wonder if the food choices would be limited to burgers and fast food but I was pleasantly surprised to see there was lots of choice including a noodle bar and wild boar burgers! There was a coffee hut and a bar selling mulled wine, if I hadn’t been driving I’d have got into the festive spirit and enjoyed a nice hot mulled wine! There wasn’t a huge amount of seating but there’s far too much to be seeing and doing to sit down for very long and since its indoors even if all the seating was taken you could always picnic on the carpeted floor!
I didn’t get chance to check out the toilets but when I’ve used them in the past there, they have been lovely and clean. I did pop my head in the baby change area and noted it had a sofa which would be ideal for breastfeeding if you wanted to get away from the main hustle and bustle.
I’ve not even mentioned the attractions yet, there is a love Sooty show, a large circus inside a traditional circus tent and princess meet and greet. As I was walking past the princess meet and greet they were singing the songs from Frozen which the children were very much enjoying, I could barely see the characters as it was very popular, so I’d advise getting there early if your children are fans! The times for each show are displayed on a board on the way in.
I certainly can’t wait to go back and take the boy, I love that it won’t matter what the weather is like because it’s all under cover!
I was given two tickets to the press evening but most importantly all the opinions are truthful and my own.
When the boy was a baby over 3 years ago, sleep time was a massive source of anxiety for me. I’d not had much experience of babies and I certainly wasn’t prepared for how little sleep was involved. Other people had warned me but I never really knew what sleep deprivation was like until I had a baby! The worse piece of advice ever given to me was “Sleep when the baby sleeps”
So the few minutes that he decides to nap if it’s not when I’m driving then it means the only time in the day when I can eat, drink, go to the toilet, tidy up a few things as the house usually looked like an explosion in a nappy factory. So sleeping when the baby sleeps in my case was impossible. A couple of my mummy friends were blessed with sleepy babies, meaning I hardly ever saw them awake. Now that really would have been like a ‘dream’ for me! I had the opposite, my baby was always awake! Like always! He’d occasionally nap in the pram if I was pushing it – so again no sleep for me! And if I dared to stop pushing it then he’d be wide awake again…..within seconds. The same with the car, he’s eventually fall asleep and as soon as the car was stopped, even at traffic lights then he’d be awake. It was whilst reading a baby book when the boy was little that I came across the idea of using white noise to help babies sleep. So I got an app on my phone and tried it one day, it certainly had a calming effect! The problem came of course that it wasn’t just the boy who could hear it, it was everyone. And the second problem was that it was my phone. I needed the phone so couldn’t leave it in the pram or in his bed at night, I wish the Gro-hush had been out back then!
When Flixster came along I was prepared. I was prepared for the lack of sleep this time, I was prepared for the lack of daytime napping and so I embraced it. Instead of worrying about when and how he was going to nap if he looked tired I’d pop him in a baby carrier or sling and let him nap on me whilst I got on with regular everyday stuff and while he was still small this worked like magic. It was great to be able to know where ever I was I could just pop him in the carrier and he’d have a nap. No he’s older though I’d really love him to go for naps in his cot so that I can do things a little easier. I’d also like him to sleep in his cot at night, which he currently doesn’t as we co-sleep.
I am however not open to the idea of cry it out or any type of ‘sleep training’. I am and always will be a gentle mummy who believes in patience and very gentle ways to help my babies sleep. I know in time that this phase with Flixster will pass and until then I will be there for him whenever he needs me. At night-time we have always had white noise playing beside the bed from the phone so he is used to hearing that sound. When I was offered the chance to try the Gro-hush it made perfect sense to me. I loved the idea that it was portable and especially that only he would be able to hear it, I didn’t actually believe that claim but having tried it quite a few times now I can testify that it’s true. It really can only be heard by the baby and no one else! It comes packed inside a lovely travel box which is not much bigger than the unit so would fit easily into a changing bag. It uses 3 x AAA batteries to make it work which aren’t supplied with the unit. They are fitted under the removable cover and you’ll need a screwdriver to install them. I was pleased to see the soft cover is washable, a great feature in my opinion. Its super easy to operate and only has three buttons with an elastic strap to hold it gently to babies ear.
I didn’t even need to read the instructions to see how it worked. There are a choice of three sounds, white noise, heartbeat and rain on a tin roof. Once the button is pressed the relevant button is illuminated by a gentle white light and the sounds begins playing, once pressed the sound then continues for 10 minutes before stopping and the unit turns off.
Now for the big question – does it work?
It’s called the Gro-hush baby calmer rather than a sleep device and I think this is a genuine description. It really has managed to calm Flixster down. I’ve been giving it a good try over the last few days in various situations. As Flixster has been getting a little moany and groany the way babies do when they are tired, sometimes crying a little, I have reached for the Gro-hush putting it up to his ear and the distraction combined with the soothing sounds has given him the opportunity to relax himself and gently ease him off to sleep. It’s certainly shortened the time its taken him to drift off. I love also that it’s so portable. I’ve been able to use it in the car at times when I am unable to pick him up for a cuddle. At the moment I sit next to him in the back seat when we travel as without being able to see someone he screams, so it was nice that when he got a little upset I was able to soothe him gently while still continuing our journey.
Blurry action shot!
I love how soft the brushed cotton cover is and I know given the level of sound that it’s not doing his ears any damage. I have certainly been surprised at how well he’s taken to it. The Gro-hush can be used perfectly safely from birth, I think it would make a great new baby present and I wish I’d know about it back when Flixster was a newborn, I think it would have made the early night times a little easier. Even while using it on my lap one night this week I was still able to hear the television, something I wouldn’t be able to do with other white noise. It’s far easier than trying to use an app on the phone that’s for sure!
I was given a Gro-hush for the purpose of this review but most importantly the opinions are truthful and all my own.
Right now I’m sat in Starbucks typing this alone as my lovely hubby has given me some baby free time so I’m going to start with my gratitude list.
Blessings and Highlights
Being able to sit alone in Starbucks alone for a couple of hours with my laptop typing away to my hearts content (thanks to my hubby) after a hard day stuck indoors with a baby who just wants to be stuck to me all the time (This too shall pass)
Enjoying a breakfast out with my parents and the boys – it was quite chaotic but the boy really enjoyed himself!
Having a lovely day at my mums house with the boys on Monday – watching ‘The Snowman’ with my Mum
Attending the first home birth meeting being restarted in my area
Meeting up with old friends for an afternoon/night out in Manchester – it was lovely to have some good food and drinks and a proper girly chat! One too many mulled wines and some prosecco later and I was in bed for 10:30!
Watching the boys having interactions together under the Christmas tree
Challenges of the Week
A beautiful 8 month old baby who’s only happy when stuck to my side – its hard, really hard
A beautiful 8 month old baby who feeds every hour or so throughout the night, every night
Trying to find the time to make all the handmade bits I want to get done in time for Christmas
Trying to find the time to do some things I need to do for work
Things still to do before Christmas
Post the Christmas Cards – They are written, they just need posting now
Wrap the children’s and family Christmas presents
Put the marzipan on the Christmas cake and leave it to settle
Write a list of food we are going to buy for Christmas
Get in touch with people we are going to see over crimbo limbo time to schedule a meet up
Make a CD of festive music for my mums car, for when she’s driving to see us on Christmas eve
Visit the Manchester Christmas markets one last time before they are gone for another year
Find and buy a 2015 diary I like so that I try to get organised for the new year as I’m going back to work after maternity leave – I’m fussy with diaries, I like to have somewhere each day or week to write notes so it has to be just right.
Breastfeeding its a journey!
If you’ve read any of my other posts about breastfeeding you’ll already know that before I had the boy my stance on breastfeeding was quite neutral. I thought I’d give it a go and if it didn’t work then I didn’t think I’d be that bothered. After all there are other options out there.
So when he came along I carefully tread on the first steps of my breastfeeding journey which took me to feeding him to around 18 months and I’m now feeding the Flixster who is 8 months.
But what’s it really like? A question I often get asked by pregnant friends or mums to be that I meet. I’ve thought about the answer and there isn’t just one answer I can give. Its beautiful, easy, hard, amazing, lazy, cuddly, addictive and fabulous all at the same time.
It certainly wasn’t easy for me to begin with. As with all new skills it has to be learned. Baby is born knowing how to find the breast and how to suckle. If you haven’t seen any videos of a newborn’s first breast crawl (yes they really can crawl to a breast all by themselves when they are born) then go and have a scout around youtube. There are some amazing tear jerking videos showing newborns finding their own way to the nipple once placed skin to skin on a mothers chest. For mummies however its a skill to be learnt and getting a good position and attachment of baby is key to everything. In years gone by this knowledge was passed from mother to mother, but in recent years this skill has been lost which is why breastfeeding peer supporters, volunteers and specialists are vital in the success of mothers who may be having a difficult time, or may be in pain whilst feeding. Getting that right position and attachment is everything. With that skill cracked I’d say you’d be well on your way to a successful feeding journey for however long you chose to feed for.
The Early days of Breastfeeding
The early days of feeding aren’t just about the right position and attachment they are also about establishing a good milk supply for the baby. Babies are born with tiny little stomachs that can’t hold much milk, which is why they feed so frequently. The milk may be of little volume at first but it’s of such great value to the newborn, packed with everything they need to survive. Don’t think that because you are feeding so little and often that you’re not making enough milk for baby. Newborns feed so often because they need to, because their tiny little tummies can only hold small amounts at a time. When the boy was little I’d set myself small targets. First I wanted to get to 10 days, then two weeks then four weeks. People would tell me that if I could get to 6 weeks then I’d have broken the back of feeding and things would get easier. They weren’t wrong. Six weeks seem like such a long time away when you have a newborn and you’re surviving on very little sleep, but in the grand scheme of things it’s such a short time.
So fast forward to now, I’m quite an experienced breastfeeding mum and peer support volunteer. I love breastfeeding because I’m quite a lazy person when it comes to routine jobs, I love that if Flixster needs milk there’s no washing and sterilizing of bottles. No boiling up the kettle then waiting for it to cool again and finding the powder to add. Theres no need for me to think ahead to how long we may be out of the house for and how many bottle I need to take. Anytime he needs a feed I just lift my top and latch him on. There’s not, as many people think any need to expose anything, as long as you plan ahead slightly with your outfit then its pretty easy to feed discreetly if you need to.
The thing I love most though about breastfeeding is the feeling of love you get when you feed, the oxytocin high not long after baby latches on. It must be the same feeling people get who are addicted to exercise, I wouldn’t know though, I’d love to find time to exercise, I miss running. I love looking down at Flixster who’s hand is usually waving wildly or stocking my face gently knowing he feels comfortable and at home whilst feeding, he feels safe and secure, it’s the one place in the whole world that he is most familiar with. He’s so tiny still just 8 months and he’s not going to be feeding forever, so for now while he still does I’m going to try to remember every single minute because before I know it (and I won’t know when) he’ll have finished his last ever breastfeed and it’ll all be in the past.
As the festive season is upon us I wanted to tell you what Christmas was like when I was a child. I know it’s probably hard to imagine mummy as a child herself but it doesn’t seem very long ago to me at all. Once you are all grown up yourselves you will realise why I say that. Christmas as a child was magical and it still is up to this day but the magic is now seen through your eyes. My mum had a tradition of not putting up the decorations until a week before Christmas and we weren’t allowed to put up the tree until Christmas eve itself. I understand now why she did it as she didn’t want us getting over excited I guess but at the time I never understood. All my friends had their trees up and we weren’t allowed until the day before. It did I suppose make putting the tree up all together a very exciting time. As a child we always had an artificial tree, in fact I’m pretty sure we had the same tree throughout my childhood, I remember us getting a new one when I was in my early teens. I loved the smell of an artificial tree. As daft as that sounds they always have a certain smell and to me that was the smell of Christmas. Year after year we used to get out the same decorations and I loved them. They all felt familiar, felt like Christmas had arrived. It made my heart leap with excitement.
On Christmas eve one year mum surprised us with duvets, I must have only been about 5 or 6 at the time but up until then we had traditional blankets on the bed, I remember having to pull them up, we’d have a sheet and them maybe two or so heavy blankets. But that particular year we went up to bed on Christmas eve and Mum had bought us both a duvet and duvet cover. Seems daft ow something so simple but I remember it so clearly.
We’d always leave out a mince-pie, a glass of milk and a carrot near the tree for Father Christmas and his reindeer, alongside our neatly folded pillow case then head on up to bed. I never tried to stay up late to see Father Christmas but I do remember the sleepless nights, I’d toss and turn all night waking up every so often to see if it was morning time. That night always felt so magical, like there was glitter in the air. There were never present put under the tree until that magical night. I’d sometimes get up to look out of the window to see if I could see the big man himself flying through the air. In my childhood there was no internet so we couldn’t track his journey like we do today!
Each Christmas morning Father Christmas would leave a stocking on mine and your Uncle’s door handle, which would have small wrapped gifts inside. We still have the same stockings today from mum (your grandma) There was always some smells and without a doubt I’d get marshmallows as well. Often there would be some chocolate which would have been eaten by breakfast time! So we’d get our stockings and head to Mum and Dad’s bedroom and sit with Mum (dad would hide under the pillow snoozing!) and open the stockings. Once that was done we’d have to get dressed before we were allowed to go downstairs. That rule used to frustrate me as it seemed to stall the proceedings but obviously that was the quickest we’d get dressed all year! Once we were dressed we’d head downstairs to see if he’d been. We were very lucky children as he’d always make a stop off at our house. I remember marvelling at the half eaten carrot and crumbs of mince-pie and the empty glass of milk. It felt very exciting to me that the big man himself had taken the time to eat the goodies we had left him, I could never quite believe he’d come into our house. I remember loving the sight of a pillow case full of presents just for me, I still do!
Your Uncle was always a fast present opener, he’d be tearing at the paper on gift number 3 whilst I was still carefully removing sellotape from the first present. I really like to take my time. We were allowed to open our present all morning long while mum popped in and out of the kitchen to cook the dinner. When we were much smaller we would go to church on Christmas morning with my Grandma, I remember coming back from church one year to a big box, it was my pram. I loved that pram, it was a miniature silver cross coach build one. I wonder what happened to it, I’ll have to ask my mum about that. I’d love to get you a pram boys but you’ve never been interested in playing with dolls, I wouldn’t hesitate if you did ask for one though! As we got a little older and Grandma wasn’t as mobile we used to stop by her house for a while instead of her coming to us.
Christmas dinner was usually served in the middle of the afternoon and was turkey with all the trimmings. There was always pigs in blankets or sausages, all the veggies, roast potatoes, gravy, bread sauce, apple & cranberry sauce. The table would be heaving. We’d have crackers and wear the hats – although my head is massive so the hat always tore (I’m afraid you may have inherited this from me – I wonder if they make big head crackers these days?!) After dinner we were allowed to have the special tree presents, these were always hidden in the tree. Usually just a small gift, some socks, or a magazine etc. I don’t know where this tradition came from but it was something our family did and still do today. Some years we’d watch the Queens speech but not always, in the evenings as if we hadn’t eaten enough already mum would always do a buffet with cheeses and party nibbles. I looked forward to this every year. Dad would always moan that it was over the top and unnecessary but being a bit like Victor Meldrew we’d come to expect it. We’d carry on enjoying ourselves as we always did. By the time that was over it was time to collapse in a heap and go off to bed, sad that Christmas day was over but thankful for a lovely family day together.
As a young child I thought all people’s Christmas days were the same. It was only as I got older that I realised everyone had their own traditions and some people of course didn’t celebrate Christmas at all. I however looking back am thankful for the effort my mum must have put into our Christmas each year. All the unseen things I now realise she must have done for us. I remember Christmas as a child fondly, I wish I could go back and be invisible just like Scrooge does and watch on silently in the corner. There are a few back and white video clips of Christmas day when I was very young but nothing like we have today. I hope that when you are all grown up boys that you look back and remember magical Christmas’s in our house. I hope that you look back and remember the love most of all. The love we have for you and each other at this special time of year.
Please always remember I love you unconditionally ….forever.
Love Mummy x
P.S Don’t grown up to quickly and always, ALWAYS believe!