A poxy birthday

  C turned two yesterday, and apparently that means that she no longer counts as a baby, instead she’s a proper little girl.
A little girl who knows her own mind and makes damn sure you know it too, even if she doesn’t always have the words to explain it.

Who gives the best hugs and kisses (if she doesn’t blow raspberries in your face first) after demanding ‘hug-ups’ (pick up).  

Who gives as good a rendition of ‘Let it Go’ and the My Little Pony theme tune as she does of ‘Wind the Bobbin Up’ and ‘Heads, Shoulders Knees and Toes’.  Usually when you’re trying to get her to go to sleep.

Who starts counting from 8 at least 80% of the time (8, 9, 10, 8, 9, 10, 8…) and still insists on calling her big sister ‘Ah’ even though she’s perfectly capable of pronouncing ‘G’.

In other milestones that show how she’s growing up, she has chicken pox. 

But this isn’t just chicken pox – this is full blown, head to toe, more skin with spots than without chicken pox.

Her birthday marked day 6 of being poorly, which Dr Google reliably informed us meant she’d be feeling much better and almost back to normal. Which obviously wasn’t the case given that on day 5 we’d ended up at an emergency doctors appointment with a stubborn fever, concerns over possible dehydration and a diagnosis of an infection.

So what little she ate of her birthday cake (which I must say I was pretty proud of – thank you Pinterest!) ended up being washed down with antibiotics, poor lamb.

After having felt incredibly sorry for herself – with every reason, to be fair – she thankfully had brightened up for the big day, but was still dozy enough not to mind missing what was meant to be our annual trip to the aquarium.

Instead we all spent the day playing at home, with birthday pizza for tea. Which, you know, turned out to be not such a bad way to spend it, all things considered.

One positive of all this has come – where you might least expect it – in our bedtime routine. 

All of a sudden C’s decided that she doesn’t want one of us to climb in bed with her and hold her hands until she decides it’s time for sleep (all the while singing and shouting randomly – her, not us). Which as you can imagine didn’t stay cute for very long. 

Instead she climbs into bed, waits to be tucked in, drinks her milk and dozes right off, saying ‘no mama in!’ if I try to cuddle up next to her.

I might miss her being my baby, but if this ‘little girl’ habit means fewer lost hours spent trying to get her off to sleep then I reckon I’ll be content with that.

I’m not counting my chickens (or, indeed, their pox) just yet though.

Down the big slide

 It’s fair to say that I don’t blog as often as I’d like to. 

There’s lots of reasons for this, and one of the lamest is not taking enough of the ‘right type’ of photos to put in my posts. I take lots of photos – like many mums probably too many – but just not enough of the ones that feel good enough and nice enough to sit on the top of a blog post.

It can be easy to get trapped behind the camera, forgetting to enjoy the moment because you’re too busy trying to capture it.  And sometimes you’re just too busy watching the scene unfold before you to think to grab the camera and capture it.

A couple of months ago now we were up in Aberdeenshire for a few days for a friend’s wedding, and spent a slightly hungover post-wedding morning exploring the fabulous Duthie Park in Aberdeen. The wedding itself had taken place in the Winter Gardens there so we thought it would be nice to have a proper look around and check out the playgrounds while we were there.

The girls got stuck straight in with Daddy whilst I nipped back to the car to pick up something I’d forgotten.  Crossing back over the car park, Tunnocks Caramel Wafer halfway into my mouth (a freebie from the hotel room – I’m all class), my stomach gave a lurch that wasn’t hangover induced.

A small figure was sliding towards me at a rapidly increasing speed, straight down the (not even exaggerating) 30 foot long slide on the hillside. Hey, it could even be 40 foot – I wasn’t measuring it and for once Google doesn’t seem to know, so in the absence of evidence to the contrary I think we can all agree that it was at least 50 foot long.

Ok so now I’m exaggerating, but you get the idea. It was a big slide, far too big for a one year old to be conquering on her own.

With visions of a crumpled, battered toddler screaming at the bottom of the slide I lurched towards it to rescue her. Only she was none of the above.  I’d go as far to say she was quite pleased with herself, albeit a little surprised by the extent of the ride.

Daddy insists that he was trying to get onto the slide with her on his lap, the sensible father way. And knowing how she can contort herself to get out of your grasp when she has her mind on something I can believe it. 

Suffice to say we’re staying away from excessively tall slides for a while, and there was no photographic evidence of the event.  Instead the picture shows her reprising her stunt on a far more appropriately sized slide a few days later.

The incident clearly hasn’t put her off slides just yet.

Sleepless in Salford

Just a few, short nights ago we were sat in a hot tub on the last night of our holiday, under a canopy of trees and stars, debating what our next holiday should be.

Scotland? The Shetland Islands or Orkney perhaps?  Italy? Spain? Hell, why not an all inclusive on a Mexican beach? With a kids club of course, so we can sip cocktails at a swim up bar all day while the kids have a whale of a time with all their new friends…

Of course, that was after we’d been there long enough to forget the joys of the flight over, and before the even bigger joys of the flight back.  

I was actually going to write a post of tips for flying long haul with a fifteen month old. I even drafted it… It was pretty short and sweet. It simply said “don’t do it”.

But enough of that. We’ve now been back nearly 3 whole days, and whether it’s the attempt to return to a normal routine, or jet lag, or a bit of both, but among the holiday souvenirs we brought back with us, it appears our children no longer sleep.

Usually, if C’s really unsettled, an emergency episode of In The Night Garden is enough to remind her that it’s bedtime.  A sign of just how bad things have become: tonight, it took that plus half an episode of Mr Selfridge (she wasn’t a fan), a partial lap of the M60 and the entire Radio 4 shipping forecast… and still no sleep.

Seriously? The shipping forecast nearly sent me off!

I actually made it back home at one point with what appeared to be a sleeping baby, but she could clearly sense what was going on and promptly started wailing again.

To that point, it’s currently 1:40am and I’m sat in the car in one of the more salubrious neighbourhoods of Salford (I figure I’d rather come up against Worsley’s neighbourhood watch than some of Salford’s more colourful nightlife), writing this blog post.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention – the last time I saw Mr Jones, he was blearily trying to coax/bribe a tearful and very awake 5 year old back into her bed.

Last night both kids were asleep by 3:30am. Tonight’s looking like it won’t be that far behind. And of course we’ve both got work in the morning.

Who ever said having kids was a good idea?!

Long haul

 

We’re currently on holiday in Canada, where friends of ours got married this weekend (congrats again Sarah and Jon!).

This of course means that C has been on her first aeroplane. Two, in fact. Although given she slept right the way through the first one I’m not entirely sure it counts?

The prospect of entertaining two little ones for upwards of 12 hours wasn’t one that I was overly excited about, but needs must and we packed accordingly with two Trunki suitcases (genius products, for what its worth!) full of everything I could think of.

It turned out that whilst G was more than happy to be occupied by the in flight entertainment (she now has a new found love of My Lttle Pony), the main thing to entertain C was being allowed to sit and stand on my seat.

  

This in turn meant that much of the journey for me was spent sitting on the floor or standing up. Well, they do say you should keep mobile when flying long haul, and I’m sure C was only thinking about my health.

Despite everything we made it to Toronto in one piece, albeit tired and minus a couple of bags. The latter was, at least, an excuse to hang out in our Airbnb apartment for most of the following day, waiting for the bags aka slobbing about in yesterday’s clothes.

Although the girls have coped with the jet lag admirably, poor C has come down with some kind of stomach bug which meant I got back from the wedding on Saturday night to find a small child not only awake but vomiting all over the apartment. 

Cue another day in the apartment nursing her / recovering from the festivities.  Whilst there’s never a good time to be ill I guess it’s better this way than being on a day when we had to travel or had things booked.

She’s much better today, and although she’s not quite herself still she did polish off a pizza this evening and managed some smiles at the Toronto Aquarium we visited earlier.

I’ll save that for another day though as it definitely deserves a post of its own!

Happy Mother’s Day!

 Happy Mother’s Day!

What’s that you say?  Mothers Day was last weekend?  Yeah, I know. But to be honest I’ve only just recovered.

As you can see below, things started off well with a rather impressive haul of cards and gifts!  A combination of school, childminder, Rainbows and a trip to her favourite next door neighbour meant that I’m fully supplied with homemade goodies and decorations for the foreseeable future.  

  

Oh, and I got a huge chocolate cake with a sparkly sprinkles love heart on the top too.  That didn’t make it into the picture, I’ll leave you to guess why.  Even C got in on the act, crafting some surprises with what I suspect was more than a little adult help.

So why have I only just recovered? Well it wasn’t down to the excessive consumption of chocolate cake, although there was a clear risk of that.

No.  In our wisdom we decided to take two kids on a day trip that involved a total of 4.5 hours in the car. Which, with iPad, colouring books and DVD player packed would have been fine, until we hit the classic ‘I need a wee!’, ‘no I can’t wait’, ‘I really REALLY need a wee, now!’ stage.

Even that would have been ok if our emergency stop in a layby hadn’t caused the youngest child to wake up and scream blue murder until we got to our destination.  Or should I say screamed on and off for another 6.5 hours until we got back home again.

I blame teething. It’s surely not anything to do with the parents…

To her credit, G was a star for at least 90% of the time. And C managed some smiles and giggles inbetween her crying fits.  But next time, we’re staying over somewhere.

All set for our long haul flight for our holidays then? 

Er….

New shoes and tantrums



I’ve written before about C’s baby anger management ’issues’. Well, today they came to a head.

Yep, at a tender 14 months old, the so called terrible twos have begun. And today I was that Mum in Clarks in the Trafford Centre with the screaming, thrashing, kicking baby, all because I decided to stop her from pulling all the shoes off the shelves.

It was actually the second meltdown of the day, the first caused by not allowing her to draw all over herself and the furniture with her big sister’s felt tip pens.

I know, mean Mummy, right?

This is a whole new world for me – G was always easily distracted by something like “ooh, is that a dog over there?”.  Not so C.  But I was at least heartened to find that most of the looks I received from other parents appeared to be ones of sympathy and not judgement. Or at least that’s what I took them to be, whilst C yanked on my hair and slapped me repeatedly in the face.

Thanks to some very patient staff and a few surprisingly smiley breaks in the whole episode we eventually got the shoes. Cute, aren’t they?

But, covered in snot (both of us), and still teary eyed (C, although I wasn’t far behind), we passed on the opportunity for a ‘my first shoes’ framed photograph.

Maybe next time. 

If there ever is a next time…

Peas please



Turns out C is a big fan of sugar snap peas. Seriously, huge.  Who knew?!

She clung hopefully on to this particular pack of peas all the way around our local Aldi, all the while gurgling, laughing and occasionally shouting at our fellow shoppers, and brandishing her precious peas.

See that little tear in her eye? That’s from when I cruelly prised the packet from her hands in order to pay for it at the till.

Yeah, I’m mean, aren’t I?!

It’s ok though, the tears disappeared quickly as soon as the peas were back safe in her hands.

I guess I should be grateful that she takes a shine to a humble (if slightly middle class), healthy vegetable, instead of the sorts of things I take a shine to in Aldi – craft books, kids jodhpurs, wetsuits…

One thing’s for sure, if I could keep my purchases as modest and practical as this we’d have a lot more space in our house!

Stairway to trouble

C is 14 months old now and although she’s not yet walking she’s definitely asserting her dominance in our household.

A couple of weeks ago, her latest ‘thing’ was stair climbing.

It was as if she had some kind of magnetic attraction to our – steep, somewhat dangerous – stairs.  There’s a room full of toys downstairs, but no, it’s got to be the stairs.

And to be fair to her, she’s pretty good at it. If a person could forge a career from infant stair climbing, she’d have it nailed.

But now we’ve foxed her.

One trip to our local major supermarket chain and a little bit of elbow grease later, and voila! One shiny new stairgate was in place.

I promise you C, I won’t always spoil your fun in such dictatorial fashion. 

Well, maybe just a little bit, sometimes.



All night long

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C has never been a great sleeper. That much is true.

In fairness the main challenge for us as parents has been a lack of consistency – some nights she will wake just once or twice and go back to sleep easily, others she’ll wake every hour and cry no matter what you do to comfort her.

After a string of not-great nights, however, last night C did something I don’t think she’s ever done before.

SHE SLEPT THROUGH!!!!

And I mean properly slept through – from a little after 7 in the evening for a full 12 hours.

I’m under no illusions that this is going to be a new habit, but the childminder has been told that whatever she did with her yesterday she should do every single day from now on.

And obviously whilst she might have slept through, I still ended up going to check on her, amazed and slightly aghast at her sleeping prowess, no fewer than three times in the night.

Of course people forget that babies aren’t necessarily meant to sleep through the night; that it’s normal for them to wake a few times, and in fact it’s pretty normal for adults to wake in the night too.

But that’s not stopping me doing a little happy dance this morning and heading to work with a new found spring in my step.

Long may it continue.

Baby anger management

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We’ve joked since C was little that she needs to go to baby anger management classes.

She certainly has a way of letting us know what she wants, complete with staring, pointing, shouting and thrashing of arms when she gets really serious. I’ve had many a clout round the head from her already.

Today, she wants my lunch.

The lovingly picked out healthy baby’s lunch with a nice balanced range of fruit and veg that we’ve offered her just isn’t good enough: she wants my juicy, yummy, spicy Nandos chicken with chips instead.

To be fair, I can’t blame her. It really is quite yummy.