Saturday, 31 March 2012

'Party Boat'

'Party Boat' is what my son calls the Nottingham Princess river cruise boat that carries passengers along the River Trent.

We celebrated my Mum's 'big' birthday on the Princess with family and friends and we had a great time. The tables inside the boat were set beautifully and we all sat down for a yummy meal once the boat had set sail. We travelled along the Trent passed some beautiful scenery starting at Victoria embankment and cruising all the way towards Stoke Bardolph.
The journey takes you passed Colwick Country Park and Holme Pierrepont so there is lots to look at.

Our little one was very excited about being on a boat with his family and we shared our time between sitting inside the comfy restaurant/bar area and standing on the deck taking in all the sights and spotting wildlife. Our toddler loves anything to do with pirates so you can imagine the games to be played!

I also had my hen party on the Nottingham Princess and had such a great night. The cruise included lovely food from the BBQ, a disco and then transportation from where the boat docked to a nightclub in the city centre. I couldn't have asked for a better night. It was such a good laugh including some rather silly dancing, lots of yummy cocktails and some embarrassing impressions of the 'I'm the King of the World' moment from Titanic!

The above link takes you to the Princess River Cruises website where you can see all they have to offer. I really can recommend these cruises, either for celebrating a special occasion or just for a different kind of treat for the family.

Family Favourites

Entertaining children at the same time as enjoying yourself can sometimes seem impossible.
You'll find here some of the places we've been to and activities we've taken part in that have proved to be sources of great entertainment! 

Jo Jingles

I took my oldest son to Jo Jingles as soon as he could sit up and we sang and danced away until pre-school and baby number two meant we could no longer attend. I can't wait to start classes again very soon with my youngest.
It was always a close call between who enjoyed the class most -me or my son. The classes are age appropriate and involve singing, dancing, musical instruments and games.
The above link will take you to the Nottingham Jo Jingles page where the classes are run by the lovely Gaynor and her ladies. Classes can be found throughout the UK and Ireland and if you've got little people to entertain its well worth giving them a try.

Center Parcs

We have had some of the best family holidays to date at the Sherwood Forest Center Parcs. Our toddler has been lucky enough to visit the winter wonderland at the village a few times and last year we had both boys to share the fun with which was fantastic.
Despite the fact that we have been a number of times the holiday never seems to lose its magic.

There are so many activities to get the family involved in such as swimimng, ice skating, pony rides to santa's grotto, pantomime, disco's and lots more!

The accommodation is lovely and last year we stayed in one of the two-storey lodges complete with games room and steam room!

Center Parcs has never failed to provide us with a holiday full of happy little faces and fun-filled memories to keep forever.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Easter cometh...

Our eldest monkey man hasn't started 'big school' yet (although September is getting far too close for my liking). 
Despite him only attending pre-school three mornings a week, without those sessions the thought of keeping him entertained (and looking after a baby) during the holidays can be rather daunting. 

Having said that I do get rather giddy when it comes to any sort of holiday/celebration and Easter is no exception. It's almost the start of the Easter hols so the chocolate nest cake making has begun! We couldn't decide which was better - chocolate covered rice krispies or corn flakes? So we went with both. Yum.
This is the first year I have been challenged to help the toddler make an Easter bonnet for preschool. He was told he would get a certificate so there was absolutely no getting out of it! I chickened (sorry) out a bit and bought an Easter bonnet making kit from The Range. The kit came with a ribbon to go around the bonnet and egg and animal stickers to stick on. Simple enough, I thought, until I saw the pipe cleaners and the tissue paper. I was instantly intimidated! It's not a secret that I have never been the most artistic person and my brain failed to conjure up any new life related creative masterpiece using said materials. 

However, I reminded myself that it was all about the little man and let him loose with the kit and and some glue! The outcome was this triumph of a bonnet and I was very proud. The chick sitting on top of the hat scares me a little but he was very pleased with himself. The hormones kicked in once again when he sat in front of his class at pre-school with his bonnet on and got a round of applause (weep). Seriously starting to be concerned about how many tears will be shed on a daily basis with all school related experiences and achievements. 

As a family we love our day's out and will hopefully sneak a couple in over the Easter break. I picked one of these booklets up the other day and I think it is going to be a valuable resource in our house for the year to come. I think often we overlook the places closest too us when it comes to planning a day out. It's surprising how much there is  to see and do so close to home that we didn't know about.
We have started filling our Easter weekend with family visits and egg hunts which will be lots of fun.
 I did have a thought whilst making the nest cakes with the toddler today though - I haven't actually talked to my little man about the reason for why we celebrate Easter. He is nearly four years old and no longer just accepts that things are the way they are, he wants to know why. The embarrassing truth is I'm not sure I could explain to him in any kind of coherent detail why we have Easter. Other than when I was in the 'Brownies' and Girl Guides' Easter has only ever been about the chocolate eggs and the time off school. 
It made me wonder how many of us without looking it up would be able to explain the origins of Easter to our children?

Monday, 26 March 2012

eau de baby...

I love the dramatic change in seasons that we see here in the UK. 

My favourite season is autumn with the smell of the fallen leaves bursting up when we're crunching through them hunting for chestnuts. Spring is pretty amazing too, the sunshine arriving bringing with it all the scents of the new flowers, the cut grass and even the odd brave soul firing up the BBQ!

This post is all about smells because I have made the executive decision that baby smell, if bottled, would be a world wide best seller!

Having children in the house can sometimes be a bit of an assault on the nostrils. Little ones can produce some rather unpleasant odours! 

I still love the smell of my toddler obviously but he doesn't have the baby smell any more and I wonder at what age kids lose this?

When our baby was born last year and had to stay in hospital for two months I remember being convinced that I wouldn't get to know his smell and that he would lose it by the time I got him home.

This is what our littlest one smelt of for the first eight weeks of his life. Stellisept.

I (or the nurse) had to squirt some of this into some warm water and use some gauze to clean our tiny little man twice a day. It doesn't really smell unpleasant but I felt like I was washing away his natural baby smell. 
Usually we give our babies a bath in some lovely soft bubbles which just adds to the deliciousness of their odour but I'm afraid this stuff just didn't have the same affect. 

I made the mistake of opening the bottle to have a whiff when I took this photo. Its amazing how our sense of smell can provoke such strong memories and emotions in an instant.

Thankfully I was very wrong and when the happy day arrived when we could take our baby home I learned his smell in no time. 
I think being on solid foods slowly starts the process of them losing their baby smell and our little guy is seven months old now so I'm making the most of it while it lasts.
What makes babies smell so yummy?
Maybe a combination of the sweet smell of milk and the gentle products we use to keep their skin lovely and soft? 

I genuinely wish that it could be bottled so I could always have it to remind me of when the boys were just chubby little bundles of loveliness. 

Thursday, 22 March 2012

How not to be a domestic goddess...

Recently I have received compliments from a lovely lady regarding my ability to keep on top of all things domestic whilst looking after two young boys (always lovely to hear).

Previously when someone was praising this ability of mine to my hubby his response was: "It's like the whole swan thing - she may look calm on the surface but I get to see the mad effort going on under the water to keep things going!" 
As much as I would like to deny it the other half was spot on. I'm not afraid to admit I'm an organised person and like to look completely in control at all times. The truth of course is that the majority of the time at home I'm flapping like a maniac just to get the necessary done! 

Here are my tried and tested methods of ensuring a complete disaster on the domestic front..

  1. Tidy the house and hoover through just before a scheduled play date at home with friends. Toddlers tend to be tidy when in groups.

 2. Ignore the bad smell coming from the kitchen. It will rid itself eventually.

 3. Let your toddler roam free around the house with jam sandwiches. Jam wipes off very easily.

 4. Repeatedly ask your other half to help with jobs. They will be done immediately and in exactly the same way you would do it. 

 5. Ignore your instincts that the cat is acting strange. Its very unlikely she has bought a mouse in the house.

 6. Leave the water on when you go away. The chances of there being a leak are very slim.

 7. Omit to put the sugar in the fruit cake. It tastes lovely without it anyway.

 8. Begin some arduous domestic task when the baby is taking a nap. They always stay asleep until you have finished the job in hand.

 9. Use polish to clean the laminate floor. Kids are born with grippers on the soles of their feet now aren't they?

10. Never remind yourself that looking after children is a full time job. 

Even superwoman would struggle to keep little ones entertained whilst maintaining a tidy house and getting tea on the table on time!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to!

Children's birthday parties; fun and exciting or just hard work and expensive?

Boy numero uno is going to be four this year and as he grows so to does my concern for how to celebrate his next birthday.

Since starting pre-school the toddler has been invited to and we've attended numerous birthday parties and the invitations keep coming in. The boy always has fun at these parties and we're so grateful to be invited but I do sometimes wonder why as mum's we put ourselves under so much pressure to entertain other people when its our little persons special day?

Since our eldest was born we've been invited to parties of all sizes for children as young as one. Most of these parties are held in church/community halls, leisure centres or at home. Some have been lovely and simple and fun whilst others have been rather hectic and exhausting (Obviously the scale of loveliness is down to my own personal preference and I appreciate everyone likes different things).

My perfect kids party consists of the classics: cheesy kids disco music, balloons, sandwiches, jelly and ice cream, pass the parcel and a party bag!
Give a child a balloon on a ribbon and shove on the bob the builder theme tune and usually they're running round chasing each other having the time of their lives.

We live in a lovely family friendly town and everywhere you are look there are young families which is perfect for us. This does however seem to increase the pressure we put upon ourselves to provide a party of Elton John post-Oscar proportions for a grumpy toddler who would probably be having more fun playing on the garden with a few friends.

The cost of holding these big kids parties is as much a reason as our personal preference for why we have so far only had small gatherings for the toddler.  

This summer we are having a naming ceremony for our littlest one and we have invited family and friends that are coming to join us afterwards for a picnic on the park. I can't help but feel like its a bit of a cop out on my part though! This ceremony isn't until later on in the summer and I'm already stressing about what people will think about the fact that we aren't putting on a party. It seems crazy but it comes back to the pressure we put on ourselves to 'keep up with the Jones's' in a sense.

It really should all come down to the child who's birthday it is. What they enjoy doing and their character. Our toddler is a sensitive boy who will join in but it takes him a while to come out of his shell in situations that are out of his comfort zone. I've seen so many children look completely overwhelmed by the drama and excitement going on at their own party and more often than not this leads to tears and them not wanting to join in. 

Holding a 'joint party' is something I've been involved with every year since boy number one arrived. I met some lovely ladies at the local antenatal class I attended when pregnant first time round. We've done the joint birthday party thing but it proved very difficult to find a date that everyone could make (ten families!). We have continued to have a joint Christmas party every year which is always completely hectic but lots of fun. Sharing the responsibility of putting on a party takes the stress away brilliantly. I have to say though since the majority of us have had second children we have opted for the soft play organised party option - the food and entertainment is provided and we don't have to tidy up! 

At four years old I know our biggest little man will be more than happy with his birthday celebrations as long as it involves the following: close family and friends, a birthday cake with candles, being sung happy birthday too (most likely twice if not more), lots of sugary treats and the obvious one - brightly wrapped presents!  

Sunday, 18 March 2012

I love you as much as a cupcake...

My Mothers Day Weekend

We have an unwritten rule in our house that special occasions must last longer than a day. It's the law. So, mothers/fathers days are worthy of a whole weekend, you get a week for your birthday and the build up to the next Christmas starts on Boxing Day.

This is my first mothers day as a mummy to two little monkeys rather than one. Given the trauma of our little fighters arrival last year I don't mind admitting that I felt like a bit of spoiling (of me) was completely necessary and deserved.

I haven't been disappointed and the loveliness started on Friday when the hubby arrived home from work with a big bunch of mumsy flowers complete with 'Mothers Day' helium balloon! The toddler has found much delight from walking round the house with 'my' balloon bobbing above his head.

Toddler had a birthday party to attend Saturday lunch time. Boy numero two has been a bit grizzly of late. The prime suspect for the cause of his distress being some teeth trying to poke their way out. It was thus decided that I would take toddler to the party and hubby would stay at home with the grizzly one! This meant I got to spend a couple of hours just be and boy number one which was a rare treat.

My folks came over Saturday afternoon and enjoyed some cuddle/play time with the boys. Being the lovelies that they are my Mum had made me a card thanking me for being a great Mum to their grandsons (weep) and they also gave me a book called I want my Mum to read to the boys. Mum had seen the book and thought of me. The Little Princess's favourite saying of "I want my Mum" reminded her of both my toddler, who is very much a mummy's boy but also of me (very much still a mummy's girl). At the end of the story the Little Princess is finally brave and leaves her Mum for the night which causes the Queen (Mum) to say "I want my Little Princess!" Ha so true!

Saturday afternoon quickly turned to Saturday night (as it usually does) and once the boys were in bed it was curry and booze time. After far too much curry and far too much wine and far too much reminiscing about embarrassing drunken youth behaviour and far too much losing at the game of perudo (on my part) it was time for the parental's to go home (obviously my dad being the designated driver had not participated in the far too much wine). It was a great night. 

The boys were obviously unaware that mothers should get a lie in on mothers day and were awake before six Sunday morning. However we did manage to get them to stay in their own beds till almost seven. When officially allowed to be awake the toddler gave me a big kiss and cuddle and a bag full of mothers day goodies which included...

            Breaking Dawn, chocolates, sweets and wine!!! They know me so well. Was rather pleased. 

It has been the most bizarre day weather wise and we woke up to heavy rain which turned to snow but that did not put a dampner on the morning as we spent the majority of it in our pj's and enjoyed a lovely later than usual breakfast. 

When the sun decided to show its face we got out for a nice walk...

I shed a few secret tears when I was getting baby boy dressed this morning. Seeing his surgery scars just reminded me of how close we were to losing him and how different mothers day could have been. These moments don't last long though when there is a toddler running round playing 'Lightening Mcqueen'  you are quickly thrust back into the present. Thank goodness for that. 

A perfect mothers day weekend.

p.s. 'I love you as much as a cupcake' because that's what one of the stickers said in my lovely mothers day card decorated by boy number one and it made us both giggle! 

Friday, 16 March 2012

Mother of all questions

I was tagged on twitter by Gemma at Alwaysamummy to answer 'The mother of all questions'. With Mothers Day around the corner I thought it was good timing to have a go at answering them. After I've answered them I'm supposed to think of some new questions and tag some lovely mummy bloggers so here goes...

1. Sum up parenthood
The most rewarding experience I'll ever have. Also the most physically and mentally demanding job I'll ever do!

2. How has your relationship changed with your partner since your first arrival?
We certainly argue more than we used too but that's because when we do finally get a bit of time together at the end of the day we're both shattered! I think our relationship is stronger than ever because of how much we needed each other when our little one was so poorly last year.

3. Are you going on holiday this year? If so what type of hols are you taking your little one/s to?
We're going to Newquay in Cornwall for a week in the summer, staying in a caravan. We've already started on our attempt to get in lots of little weekend trips to the seaside (see post)

4. What do you think of Gina Ford?
We've only ever referred to Gina Ford when our oldest was a baby and we were desperate to get him to go to bed better. (See next question)

5. Do you agree with 'controlled crying?' If so did it work?
Yes and Yes! 

6. Whats one piece of advice you would give to an expectant first-time mum/dad?
My practical advice would be to put your baby down for naps in its cot/basket from an early age as we didn't with our first and that is how the problems with him going to sleep started. 
I know everyone does but I would also say make sure you really take in those quiet moments with your baby when your just staring into each others eyes - they don't stay babies for long!

7. What's your child's/children's favourite food?
The littlest one has only just started on solids so has yet to choose a favourite but the toddlers favourite without a doubt is spaghetti bolognese! Messy.

8. It's lunch time and your dining in a restaurant . There aren't many diners. Your excitable baby is babbbling/screaming and blowing raspberries loudly on their high chair. How do you react?
I wouldn't take my young children anywhere for dinner that wasn't family friendly so I would just laugh it off and most likely join in with the raspberry blowing!

9. Whats your biggest worry?
That my youngest sons health problems with affect or restrict his life as he grows up.

10. What makes you smile?
When my toddler says somethings so grown up and unexpected. For example when my husband asked him the other day how he thought we would get to the seaside his answer was..."we'll use the sat- nav daddy." Classic. 

I'm keeping some of the original questions in because I enjoyed answering them (and I'm being lazy!) Here goes...

1. Sum up parenthood
2. What is your favourite part of the day?
3. Are you going on holiday this year, if so what type of hols are you taking your little one/s to?
4. Have you tried baby led weaning? If so what did you think?
5.Whats one piece of advice you would give to an expectant first-time mum/dad? 
6. If anything what would you do different during the first few months of your first-born's life?
7. What's your favourite 'me time' activity?
8. Whats your biggest worry?
9.  What makes you smile?
10. How do you make your little one/s smile?

Here are my tags for some lovely mummy bloggers on twitter:

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


"The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."  - Dr Seuss

We love books in this house. This is my toddlers book case as of this evening (its appearance can change on an hourly basis given his love of scattering and rifling!)  
I have to regularly cull his collection and move some into storage ready for his younger brother for fear of him literally getting stuck in literature.

I don't remember a time when I found reading a chore as a child and I'm sure this was mostly down to my wonderful parents - big thanks to you guys! 
It absolutely breaks my heart when teacher friends of mine tell me how common it is for children to reach secondary school age without the ability to read. 
My mum likes to have a giggle (on my dad's behalf) reminding me of the time when on one of my childhood family holiday's my brother and I were lying in the sun completely lost in our books whilst my dad was building sandcastles on his lonesome (ahh sorry about that dad). 

 A friend of mine recently gave my boys a new book each as a gift:

We've had these books in the house less than a week and they have already made the 'favourites pile'. Our littlest little man is only six months old and yet he already sits mesmerized when we read these books to him. 
Freddie and the Fairy is a short and sweet story about a little boy who meets a hard of hearing fairy who keeps misunderstanding his wishes. My toddler giggled his little head off when Freddie gets a frog instead of a dog and a carrot instead of a parrot. I absolutely love that there is an important message to be heard throughout this quirky, funny story, which is the importance of speaking clearly. Next time our little one is mumbling I can remind him of Freddie's story and I know he'll understand. 

Tyrannosaurus Drip takes a bit more concentration from the toddler but this is easily achieved due to its strong rhythm and rhyme and unique characters. The story revolves around two groups of dinosaurs who live across the river from each other - the vegetarian duck-billed ones and the meat eating T-Rexes. A duck-billed egg ends up in a T-Rex nest and the little dinosaur is outcast by his accidental family. He incidentally ends up saving the day when the meat eaters find a way across the river with the intention of eating the duck-billed dino's! 

Julia Donaldson is a genius...

Obviously her books are extremely popular in our house! They all make the toddlers 'favourite pile' and many an evening has been spent giggling over the hilarious, witty and meaningful stories. I love to see the little man's face when he is completely absorbed in a story - magic. 

Donaldson quote that has so far extracted the largest number of giggles from toddler:

"...Take in your cow said the wise old man. Take in my cow, what a curious plan. Well the cow took one look and charged straight at the pig. Then jumped on the table and tapped out a jig."
- A squash and a squeeze

Other non-Donaldson favourites include:

I challenge you to not feel sorry for and fall in love with Mog, the forgetful cat. 'Bother that cat' becomes a regular saying with Mog's family until she stops a burglar in his tracks. 

Peter Rabbit is a firm favourite of mine. The stories of naughty Peter and his sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail are classic children's tales. 
My toddler has had this book since he was a baby and Mr McGregor still proves to be a terrifying foe.

"How well he's read to reason again reading!" - William Shakespeare

Perhaps a tad early to introduce this family treasure to the three and a half year old.....I'll wait till he's four. 

Monday, 12 March 2012

I do love to be beside the seaside...

This weekend the family four ventured to Blackpool for some fun in the sun (well maybe the cloud) but it was lots of fun none the less.

We've decided not to go abroad on holiday this year; partly due to financial circumstances and partly due to not wanting the stress of taking baby boy overseas. I'm sure he would be absolutely fine but I think we would be rather nervous about his health. Hopefully with time confidence will grow and we'll be jet setting soon enough!

Cornwall is our summer holiday of choice but we're going to try and get lots of weekend breaks and days out in between now and then. 

I have to say there is not much more I enjoy than the sights, smells, tastes and thrills of the good old British seaside. 
This weekend we did all of the classic seaside past times: walks along the promenade; sand castle building and donkey rides on the beach; arcades and rides on the pier; a trip to the life boat station; fish and chips!

A lot of money has been spent on attracting visitors back to Blackpool and it shows. The promenade is very modern and clean and new sculptures and attractions are going up all the time. The beach was looking great and despite my toddlers disappointment that he couldn't swim in the sea he enjoyed playing on the sand immensely.

We stayed at the Travelodge hotel (South shore), I booked the room a few months ago and got a savers rate so it cost just under £25 for a family room. The room was basic as expected but comfortable and clean and an excitement in itself for the biggest little man. All you can eat breakfast was an added bonus for us all....Yum!

Here are a few of our other favourite UK seaside destinations that I would recommend to anyone at the drop of a hat:

Robin Hoods Bay, North Yorkshire. 
Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire.
Sherringham, Norfolk.
Scarborough, North Yorkshire.
Crantock/Newquay, Cornwall.

These weekends are all about spoiling the kids, and ourselves. I don't mind admitting that our toddler has always been spoiled. We have rules and routines at home but when we are away those go out of the window! Its quite a concern how much the littlest monkey man will be spoiled given it wasn't always a certainty he would get to see the seaside. 

Building memories, good times. 

Friday, 9 March 2012

Life is like a box of chocolates....

Pre- motherhood I spent many an evening enjoying the latest releases at the cinema or working my way through the dvd rental chart.
I've always loved films. Growing up I'd regularly cosy up with my folks and my big brother with a bag of sweets and enjoy a couple of hours of entertainment. When I was a teenager, dates or nights out with friends often consisted of a trip to the pictures. Whilst at university I actually went to see the first Lord of the Rings film twice - I can't remember what it feels like to have that much time on your hands??

When it comes to genres I have to say I'm more into thrillers than rom coms. I like 'classic horror' compared to  a lot of the over the top gory horror films that are made these days. There isn't a genre that I don't like to be honest, I've seen some great Westerns (Tombstone is a classic), Sci-fi (Minority Report was great) and fantasy films (obviously a Lord of the Rings fan). 

When it comes to actors my favourite without a doubt is Leonardo Dicaprio. I swooned over him as Jack Dawson in Titanic when I was a teenager but since then I think he has had such an amazing acting career (and he's still only 38 years old). I have honestly never been disappointed by a film he's starred in. My favourite Leo film is still Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet, who wouldn't fall for that Romeo! Other great Leo films are: Gangs of New York; Catch me if you can, The Departed; Blood Diamond and Shutter Island

Being a Mum certainly reduces the number of hours available for film watching so apart from Leo films here are some of my must sees: 

  • Ridley Scott's Gladiator -  What's not to love about this film? My all time favourite. Beautiful cinematography, fantastic powerful acting including that of the undeniably sexy Joaquin Phoenix. A dramatic story about loyalty and revenge that has brought me to tears many a time.
  • Robert Zemeckis's Forrest Gump - What a heart wrenching story. Tom Hanks is so believable as the intelligently challenged Forrest. His character goes to war, becomes a millionaire, runs across the country, becomes a ping pong star and meets the president on several occasions and yet his thoughts are always on his home and his childhood sweetheart. Waterproof mascara definitely needed for this film. 
  • Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge - This is a compelling, exciting and fun musical. Nicole Kidman and Ewan Mcgregor make a great couple and are fantastic singers. All round entertainment.
  • Gillian Armstrong's Little Women - Girly films aren't often at the top of my list but I absolutely love this one. Full of strong female characters I love the bond portrayed between the sisters and their 'Marmee'. The book is fantastic and the film definitely does it justice. A young Christian Bale is an added bonus!
  • Wes Craven's Scream - Classic horror at its finest. The sequels were a real let down but the first Scream film will always be a favourite of mine. Genuinely terrifying I remember watching this film when I was younger and not being able to sleep (When I say younger I actually mean last week!) 

I've just realised that I haven't mentioned any comedies which makes me sound very serious and miserable. Comedies are a fantastic remedy for a low mood and my husband and I have giggled away time and again at some very silly films. Anything with Will Ferrell gets my vote, Old School and Anchor Man are particularly ridiculous and hilarious at the same time. 

I also haven't mentioned any of the Twilight films here because I know for a fact that they aren't the best films ever made (rather large understatement). However, I'm not ashamed to admit that I am a massive fan of both the films and the books. I love a bit of vampire fiction (why not eh!) and these films have provided such solace when I'm feeling like an over-worked, over-stressed and over tired Mummy! 

I'd love to hear what some of your favourite films are and if you agree/disagree with any of my choices? 

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Layman's terms please

I must start this post by saying how massively grateful we are to all of the NHS staff who looked after our baby when he was born in emergency circumstances and with so many health problems. A special thanks goes out to the specialists at Glenfield hospital for their general genius and expertise.

 Discussing our youngest son's health problems with medical professionals became a daily if not often hourly occurrence during the first few months of his life. I have gone from sitting in an intensive care unit clinging on to a conversation with a porter just for a few minutes of distraction to being shut in a waiting room with a surgeon and his staff desperate for him to shut up so I can breathe again.

I don't think I'll ever get the hang of speaking to these intensely intelligent people about things that I feel I should understand given they are happening to my son!

I must have magically gained a medical degree in the space of five minutes when speaking to a specialist one morning because I found myself nodding and agreeing with everything he was saying. The reality was a chicken might has well have been playing a ukulele whilst tapping out a jig in my head because I didn't understand anything being said. It was after this meeting that through sobs and tears common sense prevailed from ones mother (as it most usually does) when she said "perhaps best not to pretend to understand and maybe ask them to explain again...slowly."

My advice for anyone having to discuss their child's health with a medical professional is as follows:

  • Take a few deep breaths before you begin and have a drink of water or cup of tea to hand.

  • Take full advantage of any leaflets/paperwork available on your child's illness as they can be referred to later.

  • Although it looked like a rather sick game of Pictionary the surgeon in question drew diagrams during the discussion to help us understand the procedure to be carried out. 

  • If your head is spinning and you need a break tell them. I made the mistake of battling through a panic attack whilst being talked at by a doctor which resulted in hyperventilation and feeling like passing out was the only option.

  • "Do you have any questions." Doctors etc always ask this at the end of a discussion and I have lost count of the number of times my mind has gone completely blank and I have forgotten things I had wanted to ask. Therefore, I started to write these questions down as they came to mind and take them into the meeting. I now do this with all medical discussion whether it be with the GP the health visitor or the specialists. 

  • Above all don't be afraid to say you don't understand. As genius as they may be these doctors are only human and of course they appreciate that your thoughts are all over the place as emotions are running high.

Monday, 5 March 2012

"I get so emotional baby...."

Since having kids I've found my emotions are majorly heightened and I'm sure most parents would say the same.
Don't get me wrong I didn't have a heart of stone before giving birth to my first child but since his arrival and then the arrival of his brother it takes very little to make me cry whether they be tears of happiness or sadness...

This masterpiece was created by my oldest at pre-school. His key worker came rushing over to tell me that she had never seen a child concentrate on drawing a picture as much as he did. Its the first time he has drawn a picture with all four of us on and it actually made me cry! I was rather embarrassed by my insane outburst of emotion so we made a sharp exit out of the building that day. 
Later that day I was also quite emotional about how rotund the picture of me is. Zumba is obviously not paying off yet. Might have something to do with all the cake (see previous post!)

Example of times when I regretted choosing superlash instead of waterproof:

  • Older child's first participation in the Christmas nativity (Cutest and also tallest three year old donkey I've ever seen)
  • One Born Every Minute - Every episode. 
  • When Nemo is reunited with his Dad/ The majority of 'The Lion King'/ The beginning of 'Up'/ Basically most Disney films.
  • Every time I hear the song 'Wires' by Athlete
  • Seeing my oldest son's bottom lip wobble as he tries to be brave when I leave him at preschool

Our baby's traumatic start to life and his illness has been and will continue to be a trigger for many emotions.

 Parents that we speak to about our experience when our youngest was born that haven't had to deal with anything similar often exclaim that they don't think that they would be able to cope. The fact is you do. I've cried at random old dogs with limps, old people that look lonely and television charity appeals to name but a few. And yet when it comes to it you are braver than you think and the instinct of having a responsibility to stay strong for your child really kicks in. 

I have recently said to my husband that I couldn't cope if we were told the little one needs more surgery. Deep down I know that this is not the case and that whatever he needs to go through  I'll be there every step of the way.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Rainy Day Cake

Entertaining our toddler on a rainy day has always been a challenge but even more so now his baby brother has arrived and our attention has to be shared!!

So when rain struck today I spent some quality time with the biggest little man whilst the husband looked after the chunky monkey and this was the outcome....

Chocolate sandwich cake with runny chocolate icing covered with chocolate buttons!! Yummy. The toddlers favourite bit was definitely putting the choc buttons on top although suspiciously the number available for cake topping significantly diminished whilst the cake was in the oven! Can I blame the boy?

Since our new addition has arrived these random grasps of quality time spent with the toddler seem so much more special as they are few and far between. 

Thursday, 1 March 2012

To lie or not to lie?

Is it me or as children get older are we confronted with the decision as to whether to lie to them or expose them to the often harsh reality of the truth becoming a much more frequent occurrence?

I honestly thought as our toddler creeps ever more rapidly towards school age I would insist on telling him the truth about situations as often as possible rather than trying to create elaborate cover stories!

Here are a few of the lies I have found myself having to tell in order for an easier life:

"The squirrel is just having a little sleep sweetheart, it's tired from all the nut collecting..."

"Yes we're nearly there..."

"spiders aren't scary..."

"Yes that was the biggest jump I've ever seen anyone do..."

"Nanan and Grandad's cat has gone on a really long holiday..."

"Simba's father is just tired..."

"The swimming pool is closed."

You get the idea.

My husband and I were confronted with the very difficult decision of what to tell our three year old when his baby brother had to be in hospital for a long time when he was born. 
In all honesty at first we just went for the easy option of telling him that all babies have to stay in hospital for a while. After that we progressed to the fact that the new baby was very small and so needed extra care. 

I wanted to avoid using the word ill and poorly when talking about his baby brother. With so many questions and phone calls to and from family and friends and with a very bright and attentive toddler listening in when you didn't realise, it was not long before he had cottoned on to the fact that things were not as they should be. 

It's so hard to know whats right and wrong when it comes to truth telling and children. Its our job as parents to protect them from things that they should not have to deal with until they are adults. 

We didn't have to lie to our toddler for long and maybe we underestimated his ability to cope with his brother being ill. He talks about visiting the hospital as if it were a very normal thing to be doing and he knows his baby brother needed the doctors help. He seems to take it in his stride when baby's check ups come round and actually said to me just as we were leaving for the last hospital visit; "let me know how he gets on Mum". I found that hilarious, he sounded like my dad rather than my three year old. 

'Un-break' my heart

Bringing things up to speed...

My hubby and I have two lovely boys, the first is now three and a half years old going on thirteen. My pregnancy with boy numero uno was without complication and labour was relatively straight forward. He weighed in at nine pounds two and was a perfectly healthy baby and till now (touch wood) has never suffered with anything more serious than a nasty bout of broncholitis and sickness.

In between having our boys I suffered a miscarriage at eleven weeks which meant when I fell pregnant with the most recent addition the early stages were filled with caution and anxiety. However, after getting passed twelve weeks I started to relax a little. At twenty weeks I was told I had placenta previa and would need a later scan to assess whether or not the baby would have to be delivered by cesarean section.

We never got to have that scan because at thirty-one weeks plus six I had a bleed and after less than an hour at hospital the doctors had made the decision to deliver baby by emergency c-section because they were very concerned about his heart after hooking me/him up to the monitors.

The doctors had seen that baby's heart was beating far too fast and when he was delivered he was whisked away before we got to see him and before my husband had even heard what sex he was!

Our little man was in three different hospitals for the first eight weeks of his life. There were numerous occasions when we did not know if he was going to survive. We went through the most distressing time of our lives and at the same time had to care for and try to explain the situation to our toddler.

Having had one baby who was perfectly healthy you naively assume your next is going to be the same. What a shock to the system and what an eye opener. Before we were thrust into the world of poorly babies and children we were fortunately ignorant to the distress families can go through and the battles some babies and children have to go through for their lives.

Ignorance is bliss.