This morning as I hauled myself out of my warm cosy pit I thought about the day stretched out in front of me, and I breathed a sigh.

Life is running by so fast at the moment. Our days and weeks are a carefully pieced together working mechanism. We have so much happening that sometimes I wonder how long we can sustain the pace. I was fast running out of steam in the lead up to Christmas and limped into the holidays with tonsillitis. The break was much needed!

So I thought I’d write down a typical Thursday which is usually our busiest day.

6am – BBRRRIIIINNGGGG!!! I have precisely 19 minutes from my alarm going off to get out the house! I shower on a Wednesday evening so that’s ticked off my list. A quick face wash and spray in the right places gets me feeling ever so slightly more awake. I pick up my pile of neatly folded work clothes and go downstairs to get dressed. Under the cover of winter this is easy however when the mornings start getting lighter I’ll have to rethink my strategy. I don’t want to go scaring the milkman! I then run the straighteners through my hair. Now that I have REALLY short hair I can’t just scrape it back into a ponytail, I have to DO something with the birds nest! Once I’m looking presentable I down some water, brush my teeth and then haul ass out of the house whist pulling my shoes and coat on.

6:20am – I take the bus to the train station and aim for a specific train. Without fail I always have to leg it from the bus to get the train. I’m beginning to recognise fellow sprinters from my bus! It’s a 50/50 chance that I make the train, this week I have missed it twice. It’s a sweaty 15 minutes into Victoria and I often don’t get a seat. I used to spend the time with my crochet however now that I’m working on a different project it’s a bit too big to bring on my commute. Now I tend to flick through the pages of the Metro or check out some blog linkys on my phone. I arrive into Victoria just before 7am and navigate the tube, arriving at the office at 7:10am. Believe it or not, I am not the first person in the office!

7:15am – check emails and clear off any work that I can do very easily. I then go to the ladies and quickly put a bit of make-up on. Don’t want to go scaring my colleagues! Then back to my desk where I eat a small bowl of cereal and a banana while working.

7:45am – Joe calls me to let me know how the drop-off has been with the kids. He has his own mission in the morning; getting the children up, nappy changed and into the car. He drives 25 minutes to my parents’ house where he leaves them and then walks 15 minutes to the train station. Usually there’s something that’s happened like Ezra filled his nappy as Joe was putting him in the car, or Violet has been too busy running in the front garden to get in the car. Today’s drama was that I had left with the car key in my pocket. Cue a frantic hunt for the spare all the while Violet is hollering for her vitamin sweet! In the mayhem of leaving the house Violet ended up in the car with no shoes on. Ah well it’s raining today, they probably wouldn’t have got to the playground anyway! Is it just me, or does it feel like your head is just full to bursting with so many things to remember that sometimes the fundamentals just seem to go out of the window!?

WORK

11:15am – is it lunch time yet?

11:45am – is now an acceptable time to get lunch?

Midday – Lunch time! By this point I’m hungry and feeling tired. I need a good lunch to see me through to dinner. I’m on a bit of a healthy eating kick at the moment so try to avoid all the snacks and chocolates!

WORK

15:45 – I’m out the door faster than you can say “see ya tomorrow”. I now have a sprint on. Thankfully I wear trainers on my commute. But if you see the girl legging it through Covent Garden around this time…well it’s me. I have a train to catch and the rest of our militarily planned evening hinges on me making this train! I’m noticing that as my fitness improves, the more spare time I have.

16:35 – If I made the train then now I’m getting off and walking to my parents’ house. This is the house I grew up in and I know the route like the back of my hand. I make it to their house and find my 2 happy kids waiting for me. They will have had a fun day with their grandparents; playing, going to the park and sometimes to the library. I have a 15 minute breather where I get loads of cuddles and hear what they have been doing. We then load ourselves into the car and drive home.

17:10 – hello traffic. I try to chat with Violet about what she’s been up to and our plan for the evening. I find that she is less likely to lose her rag if she knows what’s going to be happening, well doesn’t everyone?

17:30 – we are home! Pile out of the car. Usually Ezra is starting to get quite agitated. He is tired and he just wants cuddles. He is very attached to me at the moment and even finds not being in the same room as me quite alarming. I try my best to divide myself in 3 but my focus once we are through the door is to get dinner on. I’m getting better with my organisation and usually have something home cooked defrosted in the fridge.

17:50 – Normally Joe gets home by now and the kids are eating their dinner. Hopefully all is calm!

After dinner we try to get a little bit of play time in. Even 5 minutes to just sit and mess around. Violet usually has a dolly she needs to get to bed or a treasure map she needs to draw, and Ezra is either playing peekaboo in his tent or clambering over me!

18:10 – Kids are in the bath

18:30 – kids are clean, in their pj’s and we start the bedtime routine.

19:00 – we flop on the sofa and breathe a sigh of relief!

What a day. If every day was like this I’m not sure we would be able to keep it up! But needs must, we need the pennies.

Do you work? How do you juggle your days?

 

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My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

 

This will be Violet’s first time capsule on my blog.  Pre-kids if you had asked me what kind of 3 year old daughter I imagined I would have, I’d probably have said:

    • Fairly quiet
    • Straight, white blonde hair
    • Average height
    • Pretty good behaviour
    • Love of animals
    • Unisex tastes

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I look at my Violet and often wonder how on earth we made her and quite who she takes after.  I’ll take my list above and update it:

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    • At home she is the noisiest, wildest little terror.  If she’s not being loud because she’s having fun, she’s being loud because she is ANGRY!  Out and about she is a timid creature, very wary of others and quite nervous.  She hates loud noises and covers her ears at the sound of cars, hand dryers, chairs scraping on the floor, echoy rooms etc.  It’s quite a contrast!

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    • Her hair is a real mystery.  For the first 9 months of her life she rocked a bald head!  Then she grew bright ginger whispy hair.  I love that she was at the height of her ginger phase at our wedding.  And all of a sudden those whisps turned into ringlets and changed to dark blonde.  We haven’t cut her hair yet, and I have no plans to!  The curls are just so beautiful.  I’m getting to grips with styling her locks and so far am going for the wet brush and scrunch technique.  I really hope she keeps her wonderful curls.

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    • Violet is tall.  Well, her red book says she’s on the 75th centile and certainly among her pre-school friends she seems like a tall one.

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    • Behaviour….well I have learnt fairly quickly that 3 year olds are a force unto themselves!  Joe and I are trying very hard to instil good behaviour in her and without a doubt I think we have left the dark days of 2.6 – 3 years behind!  But she is a hot-head.  Once her flip switch goes there’s very little we can do to prevent the fallout.  I admit I get frustrated and downhearted sometimes but I constantly remind myself that she is still very young and still processing her emotions.  Thankfully her manners are good and outside of her home environment she is impeccably behaved.

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    • She loves every animal going.  I was right about this prediction.  Violet has a spider which lives in the garden called Brian.  We often go to the bush he lives in to see if he is in his web.  Granted, some days Brian is a tiny weeny spider, other days he is the massive chunky one bouncing in his web, but it doesn’t matter; they are all Brian to her!  Sometimes I wish we could have a pet, or more specifically a cat!  I love cats and think she would really enjoy looking after it and stroking/playing with it.  But now just isn’t the right time, we have enough on our plates.  Hopefully one day.

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  • I have been quite deliberate in my toy and clothing choices for Violet.  She has dresses and dollies but also trucks and dungarees.  When buying toys I have shied away from pink and opted for the green/red/yellow version.  I didn’t want to put a label on her gender.  But as much as I have nurtured her in this way her nature is to be a typical girly girl!  She always wants to play with dollies and set up tea parties.  She will find my scarf and tie it round her head and say she’s a princess.  She gets her blanket and asks me to tie it round her and make sure it drags along the floor like a Cinderella dress.  Last week I found myself playing mermaids with her!

Violet is maddeningly wonderful.  Complex in so many ways.  Imaginative and dramatic yet prone to anxiety.  Articulate and witty.  Fiercely independent yet hates being alone for a moment.  She fills our days with laughter, twirls, singing and boogying.  She rules the mood of the house.  She adores her brother endlessly yet has really struggled to share the limelight.

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I think the next 6 months will be key for Violet.  She will really leave the toddler phase behind and mature.  Pre-school is doing wonders for her confidence and socialising but soon we will begin to prepare her for reception class.  I hope the next few months will see her behaviour mellow with less extreme highs and lows.

Above all I just want her to be happy.

 

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My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

 

Christmas started early for me this week with the wonderful annual Scandinavian Christmas street market on Albion Street in London.  This market has been going for about 10 years now and this year was the biggest yet.  Stalls selling Norwegian knitwear, Swedish seeded rye bread with scrumptious smoked salmon pate, Estonian warming fast food and of course cool Finnish design and our lovely Joulupukki (Father Christmas himself!)
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Rotherhithe in South London is a bit of a Nordic hub.  There’s the Swedish church on Lower Road, and the Norwegian and Finnish churches on Albion Street.  All churches are Seamen’s churches and where seafarers and immigrants during the late 19th Century from Scandinavia could congregate and maintain their unique Nordic identity.  I have been going to the Finnish Seamen’s Church since I was a baby – I was Christened there!  My mum then took me fortnightly to the Finnish Saturday School which was held at the church.  The lessons were very informal and although we did read and have homework it was more about chatting in Finnish, drawing, playing and have a few hours of being little Finns.  I did love it.
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I have been going to the Christmas Market at the church since I can remember.  As a teen I helped out in the kitchen peeling potatoes and prepping other veg.  One year I worked on the confectionary stall selling my favourite Fazer chocolate and delicious liquorice.  Nowadays I’m there to support the church and stock up on Finnish goodies.
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The church stocks all of the staples a Finn would need:

That really is a very limited list, there was so much more!
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We started off by going outside to the grill.  They were serving grilled sausages, mashed potato, reindeer, pea soup and a selection of soft and alcoholic drinks.  All were accompanied by delicious dark rye bread and lingonberry jam.  I had reindeer and mash (sorry Rudolph) and the children shared a sausage and mash.  We discovered that Ezra loves rye bread.  It’s nothing like bread as Brits know it. Finnish rye bread is dark, strong and fairly chewy.  I think it tastes best when lightly toasted with some melting margarine spread over the top.  Ezra took the whole piece and over the space of about 20 minutes devoured the lot!
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Next we went inside to the café upstairs.  We shared a Scandi smoked salmon open sandwich which is rye bread with lettuce, cucumber, smoked salmon and dill, a filter coffee and 2 cinnamon buns (‘korvapuusti’ which is a cinnamon and cardamom swirl bun).  Once we had eaten our fill we went back downstairs to shop.  The prices aren’t cheap.  Already expensive food is marked up due to the transportation and import costs and to raise money for the church.  We treated ourselves to:

  • Ruisleipä (rye bread)
  • Karjalanpiirakka (savoury rice pudding parcel)
  • Muumi toothpaste (Moomins!)
  • Felix Sinappikurkkusalaatti (pickle mustard salad)
  • Auran Sinappi – tulinen (strong mustard)

I could have filled my basket over and over again but this was enough for us.  We still have some supplies left over from our trip to Finland this summer.
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Whilst we were shopping we bumped into Muumipeikko (Moonintroll) and Pikku Myy (Litte My).  The Moomins were created by Swedish-speaking Finn Tove Jonsson.  She created the Moomin characters and wrote books which were published in the mid-late 1940s.  The stories are so typically Finnish with an absolute focus on family and the natural world.  Moomins are more popular than ever, both in Finland and the world over.  I tried to encourage Violet to agree to have a photo taken.  As interested as she was in the giant Moomin Troll wandering around the fair she did NOT want to pose for a photo.  So here’s me grinning with Muumipeikko with Violet’s face buried in my neck and you can just about see Ezra’s foot peeking out from my back!
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We left the church with our tummies full, our senses topped up with Finnishness and bags full of treats.  I am so proud of my Finnish heritage and hope that my children will one day also feel that stamp of unique Finnish identity in their hearts.

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I absolutely love babywearing.  Being able to respond immediately to the baby, smell and feel their soft skin, feel their breath and enjoy the closeness.  I have carried both Violet and Ezra from the beginning, favouring wraps over the pushchair.  Both children were not keen on the pushchair until they were in a sitting position so wrapping them was my only solution for getting out and about without a drama.  I’ve also found with babywearing that I cart around a lot less stuff in my bag so I don’t feel like such a pack-horse!

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I started out carrying Violet in a stretchy Moby wrap.  The first time I took her out at 7 days old I felt like I was walking on stilts.  I was so proud of my daughter!  As we walked around town so many people smiled and stopped me to say how sweet my baby looked cuddled up close.  She slept the whole time, so peacefully.  Whereas my instant bonding with Ezra came from skin-to-skin at birth, I would say that my bonding with Violet came from carrying her in the sling.  Her arrival into the world wasn’t easy.  I felt so traumatised over it.  I was in so much discomfort and had flashbacks to her being yanked out of me.  I didn’t feel the instant love rush I had expected.  When I started to carry Violet the memories faded.  She was so happy to be close to me and the maternal feelings within me grew and grew.  Every time I wrapped her in the sling I felt at one with her.  Protective.  Powerful.

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As Violet grew I started to venture into the world of woven wraps.  It was a slippery slope but I got to try so many wonderful brands and blends.  Every wrap brought about a new experience for me; be it the look, the support, the love or the texture.  I traded wraps, always on the look out for the wrap which would do everything I wanted.

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My favourite brands have to be Oscha Slings and Artipoppe.  My bank balance only allows me to have 1 Artipoppe in my collection but I count myself very lucky that it’s there!

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So I have a lot to thank babywearing for.  For helping me achieve my close bond with my daughter, for giving me those moments with her where we would chatter and laugh about what was going on around us, for keeping my hands free when the baby just needs to be held, for giving my children much needed comfort and love from their mother, for building my strength and fitness post-partum and for bringing out the mama-bear within.

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n.b. always practice safe babywearing and follow the T.I.C.K.S guidelines.

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My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

 

October was my first full month of blogging.  I have thoroughly enjoyed developing this little space of mine.  It’s been fun chatting to other bloggers and reading some really wonderful posts.  I like the idea of a monthly round-up so here goes.

Family life

October was the month of germs in our house.  Both kids had chicken pox, Ezra got Hand Foot and Mouth, I had sinusitis and now Ezra has a cold.  We have had very little routine to our weeks with the children needing to be off nursery at various times.  I really hope November will mark the start of a healthy family!

Ezra learnt to cruise along furniture.  It’s so sweet watching him shuffle over to see you (and try and pinch something off your plate!).  Next I guess he will learn to stand without support and then take his first steps.  Sometimes it seems as though his development is moving along so fast that the next milestone is imminent.  However I would be very surprised if he took his first steps by his first birthday.

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Violet has been loving pre-school so much.  She has some really good friends there and the staff tell me she is totally relaxed now and no longer anxious.  This makes me so relieved as I do worry about her nervousness.  In the new year we will consider sending her in for another day as she enjoys it so much and in the lead up to starting school I think this will be really beneficial.

I had a fabulous time on my 2 day crochet course.  I am putting my new skills into practice and have been trying to interpret patterns I am finding online.  My aim in the next couple of months it to make a teddy.  Please don’t laugh when it turns out looking more like a slug or something!

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Joe and I are very overdue some time together.  We have booked in babysitters at the start of December so that we can go out for a meal and to the cinema (Daniel Craig as James Bond anyone?!?!)

 

Blog life

I’ve been trying to work out what I want my blog to do for me.  First and foremost I want it to be an online journal of our life.  Time moves so fast and we will no doubt forget many things so I hope I can preserve some of those memories here.  I am trying to work out which posts get the best response and why they were successful.  I’m not yet happy with the ‘look’ of my page.  It needs a lot of improvement and currently I am trying to develop a nice banner for the top.  This will all come in time, I’m still settling into the blogging groove!

The most read post: The Promise Fairy – a tactic for toddler tantrums  – I got a really good reaction to this post.  Lots of people saying they hadn’t heard of such a tactic and it could work for their own children.  I even had a few mums sending me photos of their new Promise Fairy Doors in their homes!  The idea could be adapted in many ways to suit a child, I just hope it helps any parents out there who are looking for new ideas!

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My favourite post:  Skin-to-Skin from Birth  – I felt very emotional writing this post.  Remembering Ezra’s birth was really special and I am pleased I have it written down.  I doubt I could ever forget meeting him for the first time but I am glad I have it recorded here forever.

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My favourite blogger:  My Kid Doesn’t Poop Rainbows  – A hilarious blog written by Mama about raising Baby in Thailand with Mummy.  Mama’s little drawings accompanying each post never fail to make me smile and perfectly capture the slightly crazed look parents can get bringing up their kids!

My targets for November

  1. To continue enjoying writing posts and taking photos
  2. To improve the look of my page with new banner and logos
  3. To make more time for my Facebook page

 

Thanks for reading and supporting Another Mum In London during October.  I hope you’ll come back for more in November!

Vix x

 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows