Yesterday I had the task of solo bedtime for only the third time since Felix was born. Now, I know this is pretty good going seeing as he is almost 9 months old! My first attempt back in December was a disaster. Ezra was sick in his bed. Felix woke up and I had them both downstairs wide eyed at 11pm!! Then the second time I got Ezra and Felix to bed but Joe came home before Violet went up so he took her.

Since both of those attempts, Ezra has moved out of the cot into a bunk bed and shares a room with Violet. So there’s the whole escaping possibility and also the 2 of them often enjoy a good giggle and shout before sleep.

I had to wear them out! So at 3.30pm we went for a woodland treasure hunt. We are lucky enough to live a 5 minute walk from some lovely woods and we go there often as it’s on the way to a good playground.

Violet and Ezra had their buckets and I set them challenges to find things on our walk. They collected:
Round stones

Sticks

A feather

Twigs with leaves still attached

Daisies

Grass

A big leaf

Something curly

Sycamore seeds

Crunchy leaves

A V shaped twig

Bark

Violet was so enthusiastic! Ezra was too but needed his big sis to help him find things. They walked and ran so much! Violet has said she wants to go on a treasure hunt again very soon!

The success of our impromptu hunt was that Violet and Ezra went to bed so easily! Felix wasn’t too bad either! And I got a lovely evening of peace. Yesterday I definitely won the day!

I really hated potty training Violet. If I look back now I think we started her before she was completely ready. It seemed to take forever. So I vowed to leave Ezra til he was completely and utterly ready. I practically wanted him to slam-dunk his nappy into the bin and holler “NO MORE!”

For weeks and weeks we’ve had the potty down from the loft and Ezra would sit on it while watching a bedtime tv programme. More often than not he would do a wee in it. When wearing a nappy he would tell me when he was doing a wee. So last week I asked him if he would like to learn to use the toilet and he said yes!

Ezra has taken to it so well. Hardly any accidents. I remind him often during the day about using the potty but it’s him who comes running to me to say he needs a wee. I just can’t believe how well he is doing.

So today I decided to take all 3 kids to Tesco. Ezra did a wee before we left so I figured I had at least an hour before I’d have to seek out a toilet. Easy peasy! Violet and Ezra did their usual thing and went a bit bonkers in the supermarket (not naughty, just a bit hyper!). Shoppers were looking at them smiling. I felt like we were doing good! I even asked Ezra as we went past a toilet,

“Do you want to go for a wee, Ezra?”

“NNNOOOOO”

The children enthusiastically helped me select fruit and veg and we got a huge haul of ice cream thanks to this weather.

Then we got to the pasta aisle and as I was deciding between Fusilli and Rigatoni pasta shapes I heard,

“I done wee Mummy”

So I clean up the puddle as best I can, all the while Violet is talking a little too loudly about the WEE THAT IS ON THE FLOOR. I tell a shop assistant and then hot foot it to the toilets. Thank goodness I had a change of clothes with me! Get to the disabled toilets but I can’t shut the door because Felix is sat in the trolley! Change Ezra and have a big chat about where wee wees go. Meanwhile Violet is prancing around singing about wee and Ezra has half knocked my glasses from my face in an over enthusiastic embrace!

So I’ve learnt that when we are out I definitely should not go past a toilet without taking him in to try. And my hour window is a pile of shit!

Still, he’s been in pants a week and has only had 3 accidents! We shall keep going!

When Violet got her first wobbly tooth after Felix was born I couldn’t believe it!! She wasn’t even 4 and a half. It came out, followed by 4 more! 2 adult teeth have grown through beautifully but I cannot see any sign if the other 3 yet.

One of her top middle teeth was so wobbly yesterday it had gone crooked! Joe tried to twizzle it out but it was hanging on. Then this morning it came free!! But we weren’t met with her usual excitement that it had dropped out. Instead she said to Joe;

“I have some bad news Daddy”.

She had swallowed her tooth!! To say she was distraught was an understatement. She even asked Joe to check it hadn’t dropped into her bowl of rice crispies! He actually had to sieve her breakfast!!

We reassured her that all she needed to do was write a note to the Tooth Fairy to explain what had happened and she would still get a coin. She set to it immediately. Even claimed she could feel the tooth in her tummy, just to the left of her bellybutton!

Here’s what she made:

Isn’t it brilliant!?

There’s the Tooth Fairy at the top carrying the coin (just in case she forgets what she’s meant to be doing!) and Violet looking shocked as she swallowed the tooth!!

I think the Tooth Fairy is very happy the new £1 coins are in circulation now as they are extra shiny! Very much deserved for writing such a beautiful note!

I’m celebrating a huge milestone in my journey of motherhood….6 months exclusively breastfeeding my baby. It’s a target I always hoped I would reach. My breastfeeding experiences with Violet and Ezra were not easy at all. So for my third child to take to it as easily as Felix did has been such a gift.

 I’ve been thinking about some tips I’ve learnt in my varied experiences of breastfeeding my children, so here goes….
1) At the beginning you need gel for those nips while they toughen up! Felix was born at home as planned but we were then transferred to hospital. I had a basic hospital bag packed but hadn’t put in my Lansinoh gel. By the time he was 12 hours old my nipples were raw and blistered. Joe brought in a tube of gel for me and I religiously applied it after every feed. Thank goodness! I think I addressed it just in time for me to be able to carry on feeding. I think I used the gel for the first 2-3 weeks before it was no longer necessary.

2) Breastfeeding groups are worth their weight in gold. In the first 2 months I went about 4 or 5 times. I had some specific questions and wanted help with positioning. I also went along when we were feeling ready to introduce a bottle of expressed milk. The ladies who ran the groups were so welcoming, informative, helpful and encouraging. They supported me at the beginning of my successful breastfeeding journey and I’m enormously grateful.

3) Drink. Always have a drink on the go, even better, have 2 on the go! I have a sports bottle which I take to bed to see me through nightfeeds. If I’m about to feed him I make sure I get myself a drink first. Even if Felix is getting upset waiting for a feed I know how important it is for me to stay hydrated. Dddrrriiinnnkkkkk!

4) I have an electric pump which is good, but a total faff to clean and assemble. There are so many small parts! So when I came across a silicon suction pump from Nature Bond with rave reviews I decided to give it a go. I cannot even begin to say how much I love this thing! I find I get best results when Felix feeds from the other breast. It’s perfect…super easy to clean, small and works so well. I easily get 4oz from this in less than 5 minutes whereas the electric pump would take me far longer. I also don’t need to hold the cup as it stays on with the suction.

 

5) Teeth doesn’t have to spell the end of breastfeeding. I had never previously breastfed a baby with teeth so just the thought of having to go through this sent shudders down my spine! Trust my only exclusively breastfed baby to get his first teeth before he was 3 months old! Today he sprouted his 7th!! I have noticed that he tends to bite more often when he is just about to pop another tooth through. I am also reading his signs and know that when he is coming to the end of a feed he is more likely to bite, or when he is bobbing on and off in a playful way. If he does bite I swiftly unlatch him (which in itself is enough to grab his attention) and then firmly say “ouch! No biting”.

I’ve experienced the heartache and joy of breastfeeding. When it’s not working it’s just soul destroying. But when it goes right it’s one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.

I have reached 6 months now. Bring on the next 6!

I am now mum to a school aged child.  I find this really astounding that I have a child who goes to school!  It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was at school, but time flies and here we are!

Over the summer Joe and I spent a lot of time carefully and gently preparing Violet for school.  She was not looking forward to leaving pre-school and the thought of going somewhere new with new people essentially terrified her.  Also there was the fact that none of her close friends from pre-school were going to her school.  I felt immense pressure to strike the right balance getting her school-ready mentally whilst not freaking her out to the point she would refuse to even entertain the idea!

The school were really great with the preparations.  She had a 90 minute session in her classroom with her teachers and peers in July whilst us parents were ushered to a separate building to await feedback.  She hesitated at the door but somehow agreed to stay without upset.  I walked away from the classroom in amazement.  As I collected her she seemed relaxed and happy.  I could not have asked for a better outcome and told her how proud I was!

One of the mums set up 3 meet-ups in the local playground so that the children could familiarise themselves with eachother and hopefully form the beginnings of some important friendships.  Undoubtedly Violet gained some confidence from her little brother being there – she likes to be protective of him when out and about – and again she amazed me by playing a little with some of the girls.

We chatted to Violet about what her teacher would be like.  We almost created an image of her in Violet’s head and talked about her as if they were already friends.  We were trying to make her teacher familiar to her despite them only having met briefly.  The hope was that this key person in her life would be someone she already liked and felt comfortable with.

Then there were practical things like getting herself dressed and going to the toilet independently, being able to carry her plate with food on it and being able to use a knife.  All things that for a summer-born child are quite challenging.

We shopped for her uniform together and let her choose her own shoes.  We were hoping that it allowed her to feel like she was in control of the process rather than having it done to her.  She was genuinely excited about wearing her school uniform and proudly showed it to friends and family.

Everything seemed to be going really well.  She had gone from huge anxiety and worry about school to more acceptable and understandable nerves about starting a new phase in her life.  Joe and I kept putting ourselves in her shoes to try and imagine how she was feeling.  We talked positively, were up-beat but also discussed her concerns with true empathy.  It wasn’t right to just dismiss her genuine emotions as ‘being silly’.

The first day of school came.  Violet was prepared.  We were prepared.  And I’ll fill you in on the start of infant school in another post.

 Have your kids started at a new school this year?  Did you feel like you had to go through the same level of careful preparations as us?  How have they settled into their new routines?