31 Aug 2012

18 Month Mark - What I've learnt

Whilst Bubba has been busy learning how to walk, talk and generally make herself heard, I've also found out some things in the last 18 months and this is what I've learnt...

I've found that I'm not good with change. (I've never been good with change to be honest) but I'm really not good. It throws me every time. For instance, when bub started walking, I was happy and excited for her and then I got really anxious...would I be able to control her, how would we do things, do I still take the buggy everywhere...the whole ball game changed as she was now independent.

My neighbour gave me two pieces of advice when bub arrived. Don't rush into having another baby (I have resisted this) and don't get used to anything as it's constantly changing.  I've found this to be very true, I get used to one thing and it goes and changes.

I like (and need) more sleep. I can be ok for a couple of days with little sleep (if bubba is ill or teething) but if it goes on any longer than that I start to get very down, very quickly. I become the mother of doom. Hubby is more even keel and keeps us all afloat but left alone I don't want to dwell on where my mood would drop to.

It's the simple things that matter. I can get very tied up worrying about whether I'm taking bub to the right classes or doing enough things with her on my days off. I then calm down and take a moment and watch her in pure ecstasy running free in the park on a windy day. She can be engrossed in watching a leaf in the wind or a pigeon walking past. It's only then that I remember some of my best memories are being over the park and exploring (not the expensive, geered up for toddler places...although these can be good too).
I love having someone little to hug and kiss, although bub doesn't feel quite the same any more. She will allow one cuddle and then she is off and running.

I'm fairly good at my swan impression. On the outside I look calm and unfazed but below the surface my brain is frantically paddling to keep up. I'm really good at being organised and this helps me but most of the time I really don't have a clue, I'm just getting good at faking it.

No one really knows what they are doing and we all forget what we did know really, really quickly. I already can't remember all the sleep training tips, weaning advice and general baby advice. You start to live in the moment.

I picked a great man to be my husband and the father of my baby. He wades into the mess of toddler tantrums and lack of sleep with a shrug and a smile. He reassures me and picks up the slack (although on a bad day, this annoys the hell out of me). He is what you'd call 'a good egg', liked by everyone and really easy going.

I couldn't do this without help. My parents are a constant source of inspiration and help to me. Bubba adores them too.

Lastly I've realised I am very patient (guess we all do that when kids come along). I pick my battles but really they aren't even battles...just a small push and shove of boundaries.
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29 Aug 2012

Food loves and hates at 18 months

As I sat yesterday and witnessed Bubba eating her third breakfasts of the morning, seriously it was awe inspiring, I thought it would be nice to document what she does eat (a lot as it turns out) and what she doesn't like. Yesterday she started with a big bowl of porridge which she polished off within minutes so Hubby followed it with Weetabix (she ate 3/4 of this). I then came down and had a slice of toast and Bubba also had a slice and sat nicely on the sofa eating it. She had a late lunch and dinner as normal - at the moment she is an eating machine which makes a change from late. 

She did become fussy after the age of one, disregarding food she had previously loved but it wasn't a fussy 'not each much' but rather a 'I know what I want to eat'. Bubba has always had a nice big appetite which is great but I'm never sure where she puts it as she is only a slight little thing.

Bubba is also known as a food stealer, if we are at a party or someone else's house, she is happy to help herself to food off other children's plates as she passes. I've seen her eyeing up other families picnic food when we've been at a teddy bears picnic.

Stealing another child's food!
Bubba's Fave Foods: beef casserole, pea risotto, smoked salmon, cheese triangle. Mackerel fillets (eats whole one in a sitting), pasta, rice. Eggs - omlette's or scrambled (doesn't really do boiled or fried)

Snacks: rice cakes, animal biscuits, blueberries, strawberries, banana loaf

Hates: tomatoes, cucumber, carrot (although she used to eat this with gusto).

Usual day:

Breakfast (7.15am) of weetabix, toast, waffle or scotch pancake.

Followed by fruit - usually strawberries or blueberries (although doesn't really go for blueberries like she used to).

Around 8.30/9am second breakfast of (weetabix & toast at nursery). Waffle or pancake (at home) also usually has some of mine.

Lunch: around 12.30pm
Tiny pitta, smoked salmon and cheese
Cheese or ham sandwich
Breadsticks and pate

Fruit pot or yoghurt (& fruit)

Snack: 2.30pm or 3pm: raisins or little biscuits / rice cakes

Dinner: 5pm - Usually a hot meal
Pea risotto - loves anything with rice
Bolognese with pasta
Chicken risotto (Little Dish)
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26 Aug 2012

London Zoo - Our review

We've never taken Bubba to the Zoo and Hubby had the week off so we decided to get up early and go for it.

We headed out with our two for one rail tickets and made our way to London Zoo, I seemed to have packed every available outfit choice for Bubba and so the stroller was fairly weighted down. 

I was excited but this hadn't rubbed off on Bubba as she moaned all the way to London on the train - which wasn't so much fun on a fairly packed train. We got off at Waterloo East and she moaned some more, getting on the bus was a little easier as she sat on my lap (for about 10 minutes the moaning subsided).  At Camden we got off and had a great walk to Hyde Park and went past the Lollibop festival preparations (we are so going next year). It was at this point that Bubba fell asleep and stayed asleep as we queued to get into the Zoo which was lucky as this took about twenty minutes.

We got a good deal with the tickets, as to take a family in normally it would be a fairly hefty sum of money. Instead we paid £23 between us and not each (Bubba went in free). She was still asleep at this point and we went to get a coffee and relax, it was nice and empty in the cafe so we watched the world go by until Bubba woke up. If you don't want to get stung for food, it's a good idea to take your own picnic as there are lots of places to pitch up and enjoy the park life.

Bubba, once she woke up, loved all the animals and especially liked the pigeons that roam around and also a funky looking hen we saw near another little cafe. We were a little sad that the elephants, camels and rhino's had been moved to another Zoo but on the whole the animals were all visible.

A warning! It's fairly brutal going through the Zoo shop to exit as everything is child level and it's hard to get out without buying anything. We got a magnet and keyring and Bubba carries them both everywhere now we are home but i'm not sure I'd get off so lightly next time we visit.

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20 Aug 2012

Easy Meals - Australian Damper bread

I was watching Lorraine Pascale's cookery programme the other night and she featured some Australian Damper bread. It's a traditional type of soda bread created in the outback and cooked on a camp fire and uses the most basic ingredients - flour, oil (sometimes milk), salt and that's it.

I have a huge (huge) bag of self raising flour which I got by accident as I already had a small bag still unused - thought I didn't already have one so it's just been sat there waiting for the right recipe. Today was the day and it was so simple to make and cooked in 30 minutes. I'm going to make more so I'll probably crack open the big bag sooner than expected.

We had it for lunch with cheese and pickles and even Bubba liked it.




Australian Damper Bread

450g Self Raising Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
225ml warm water

I then added the following although can leave them out.
3 Sprigs finely chopped rosemary
75g Olives or sundried tomatoes

Stir all together with wooden spoon and then make into a smooth dough, add markings and put in oven on 200 degrees for 30 minutes until nice and brown.

Score with end of wooden spoon
End result, a yummy soda bread


 
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18 Aug 2012

Mummy Matters

Real mums telling it how it is...

Name: Gemma 
       
Bubba name: Elizabeth

How old is your little one? 6 months

How has motherhood changed you?

I have learned how to be late having a baby in tow as before I was always 10 mins early and used to get really uptight if I was going to be late for anything.  The day I got married I had to wait up the road (as some guests drove past!) as I was early. 

I am a lot more relaxed as a person since Elizabeth was born.  I am much more of a go with the flow now whereas before I was a complete stress head.   I put some of this down to the break from work but mostly just realising that some things really are out of my control. 

I also appreciate my own Mum in a way I never did before and would never have if I had not become a mother.

What items are in your handbag (baby related)?

What handbag!!  I have my beloved Yummy Mummy bag and that doubles up as a handbag.  For Elizabeth I have a change of clothes, emergency carton of formula just in case I am caught short, anti bacterial gel, bongela (total must at the moment) and the most essential piece of equipment, a dummy! 

What things could you not live without?

My microwave steriliser has been brilliant as in 6 mins have a sterilised bottle with no hassle.  Also it does not take up any room in the kitchen as can live in the microwave and I have not got loads of space.

The jumperoo has been a good investment as it means I can have a cuppa while it is still hot!
I go to a couple of baby groups and it has been great to ask other mums for advice as there is always someone who has had the same problem and found a solution. 

Any good advice you received (or could give)?

Trust your instinct as it is (nearly) always right.  If you think something is wrong, then it usually is.  I was told this by a friend and it is the best advice I received when Elizabeth was born and to this day have had none better. 

There are a few times where I have doubted myself but in the end I did know best and was right in my initial thoughts.

Do you use any good books or websites that you’d like to share to help you?

I have found Annabel Karmel 100 purees book invaluable as I am an awful cook and it has good clear instructions for the basics and also some interesting receipes to get her eating a wide variety of foods.
  
Describe your life now in one word:

Complete
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14 Aug 2012

She won't stop talking!

Words...now I'm a girl that likes words. Books are my thing, the look, the smell of the pages and the words inside. I'm also interested in listening to what others say (or don't say when they speak). Words can take you anywhere in your mind, they can influence others and help you on the journey through life.

I've always talked to Bubba (I've even been known to talk to her when she's not there! Walking around a supermarket talking to yourself doesn't help make friends but its such a habit to talk to her, I forget sometimes she isn't with me!) Ive always shown her books and read to her every night, both Hubby and I like a good read. Words are important in our house, so it's no surprise that she won't shut up.

So at 17 months I thought I'd list her current words. This is without the constant singing and shouting (and dancing that accompanies it).
D'at (that)
'at (cat)
Dadii (said in a squeal)
Mmuma (mum)
uck (duck)
'is (this)
Yeash (yes)
Bye
Hiya
Row row row (doesn't know rest of song!!)
Up
Cheese (said similar to 'please' but not so pleadingly)
Look
dem (them)
 
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12 Aug 2012

Daddy's Girl

Isn't it funny how we all take bits from our parents to make us who we are, Bubba for instance has always looked like her daddy but is like a little dolly (which I was when tiny). Since she was tiny, everyone would say how she looked like Hubby but I hadn't seen a photo of him as a child to know how much they look alike...until now!

My lovely sister in law sent me a photo and I just couldn't believe how much my little person looks like her daddy when he was little.

I was a bit more dolly like when I was little and Bubba has that from me, she is petite with little feet but she has got her daddy's hair, general look and cheeky attitude (I was such a good little girl...honest).

Me about the same age as Bubba

I can't stop looking at the photograph and seeing more similarities, I hope as she gets older she may look more like me but who knows. For now she is definitely more like him than me!
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10 Aug 2012

Five Things - I find myself saying

As Bubba gets bigger and more aware of the world around her, I often keep up a running commentary on life for her. She is like a sponge, taking in more information and talking more each day and with that she seems more daring and wanting to try more things. So these are my top five phrases that I say every day.

1) Come on, mummys going this way

Along with this daring spirit is a wayward streak (as with all little ones). I often have to cajole her into going the same way as me and reminding her where she was going before she saw a dog/cat/small child etc going in the opposite direction.

2) Please don't stand on that...

I don't know what it is but Bubba will try and stand on anything and everything left on the floor. So today she has stood on a pile of magazines until she slips off, a fitness dvd case and her chair. I caught her trying to stand on the back of the push along dog Pete the other day, hubby thinks she may become a trapeze artist!

3) Oh look did you see that doggy?

I usually employ this when Bubba has been on the loose in the shops and I've just got her back in the buggy and trying to strap her in whilst she remonstrates. It makes her stop and look for a dog (she loves looking at dogs at the moment).

4) I don't think so...lets do this instead.

I'm trying not to say 'no' to everything as it's tough on Bubba, nearly everything she tries or wants, I usually shake my head and say no. So I try and say 'I don't think so' more and give her an alternative so that she doesn't end up copying and saying 'no' to everything. So far so good but I am aware it's early days.

5) Don't touch that please..

This applies to the grubby dustbin lids in the front garden, the wheels of her buggy, the yucca she likes to shake. Really applies to most things, most days. I do get sick of the sound of my own voice sometimes!
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8 Aug 2012

A wonderful little Book

We recently got given this book and it's already one of my favourites. The first time I read it, I had tears in my eyes as it's very sweet and moving.

'When the World Was Waiting for You' - Gillian Shields

It's all about a family of bunnies who are getting ready for a new arrival. Each page has a small rhyme and it is a lovely book to read to Bubba at bedtime (gentle and calm time). The pictures are very cute and the bunnies are cuddly looking.

"When the world
Was waiting for you.
The air was bright,
The sun seemed new."

I would give this as a gift for a newborn and I know that if we are blessed with more babes then a copy will definitely be given to them too. It's just a really lovely read.

"Now the world
Still waits for you,
To grow, and bloom,
And be, and do."
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5 Aug 2012

Our Olympic Experience

I've tried to steer away from anything Olympic on here because we are all living the Olympics and all have our own experiences of it. I then thought again and realised that in a year, five years or longer I might not remember it in as much details and Bubba may want to know more.

So I've put together in photo's our Olympic experiences from watching the flame pass the end of our road (and I nearly cried as I felt so emotional and proud) to Hubby and I going to Greenwich park with 50,000 other people to watch the cross country equestrian event. We had a great day, the sun was shining, the company brilliant and those horses are both powerful and majestic to watch. Some of the jumps they have to do and racing down hills was just thrilling to watch. 

When we got home (my lovely dad came and picked us up from the station) my mum and Bubba were sitting out front waiting for us. Bubba had a gold medal around her neck and waved her flags like a woman possessed and she apparently also liked watching the horses on the tv. We did have a ticket for her but as she is fully mobile but lacks a certain amount of control (and her attention span isn't great) we felt she'd have more fun going to nanny and grandads for the day.

Who knows, one day that ticket could be valuable or she may want to keep it to show she was (almost) there.


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3 Aug 2012

What to get done in your maternity leave

A friend recently asked (she has a lovely little newborn) what I would have done whilst on maternity leave before going back to work (in hind site). I thought it was such a brilliant question and a few of us answered (it was a facebook message) with completely different answers.

Almost without thinking, I'd replied that I would have taken a small holiday with Bubba and Hubby - I think for the first few months I was a bit too scared to go anywhere but near the end it would have been good to really go somewhere daring, just the three of us because once work comes back into the mix, things start to become a real juggling act of who, what, where and when!

Another friend said she would recommend taking advantage of all the different baby groups available as when you go back to work these can either be on the wrong day for you or difficult times (especially when you are trying to fit everything in to a few days). It also helps you to stop going out of your mind and makes the days not lead all into one long changing, feeding and sleeping session.

Someone else said she would have made more mummy friends and to go places during the week as they get more crowded at weekends. If you've ever been to a softplay venue on a weekend...it's utter bedlum! It's also one of the things you don't really understand or realise before having a baby but it can be a very lonely and self doubting exercise to be alone with a baby. So often I have had an issue or problem and gone out and told another mum only to be told it's normal or that happened to them. Instantly it helps you to feel normal.
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1 Aug 2012

Bean Bag loving

A lot of Bubba's clothes that she grows out of either get put away (in case we get another pink one), passed on to friends with little girls or get taken to the charity shop. There are a few things that I feel I cannot throw away yet I cannot recycle as they are a bit tatty or stained and unsuitable. I have a hard time putting her little baby sleep suits in the bin (don't want to pass on as they are faded and jaded) so I got rather excited when I saw on Little Flower Baby's blog the idea for beanbags.

I decided to cut up the cute sleeping suits and make some beanbags, now I am not an accomplished sewing machine user. In fact I've only just inherited my nan's old Singer sewing machine (and I'm already in love with it) so I'm not very good at straight lines or anything too complex. 

I cut out the squares of material, allowing room around my paper template to sew, I then pinned them together on the reverse ready for sewing. 

The best thing about these is that my sewing didn't even have to be that neat as when turned the right way they are very forgiving.

I filled the first couple with dried peas (which I've also used here) and then the next few with dried chickpeas - I prefer the normal peas but there isn't a massive difference. I sewed up the small hole and here you go...beanbags.

Bubba loves them already and they were fairly simple to make (I'd say a couple of hours all in from cutting out to sewing up). They are great to stack on top of each other, throw around and to balance on Bubba's head, hours of fun really.
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