24 Jan 2017

Toothy Pegs - Brushing

** Update **

When I was first sent Brush baby bits to try, my girl had already graduated to a toothbrush and so my nephews did the test for me instead. So by the time Cub came along I knew exactly what to use when those pegs reared their sleep defying little stumps. He suffered with teething and like his sister, those pegs were raring to go and he had almost a full set by the age of one (there were a few you could see under the skin from birth). He loved nothing more than chewing on the toothbrush and it helped relieve the pain, so I would not hesitate to recommend the toothbrush to all little people.

Brush Baby Chewable Toothbrush Review

I recently got sent this set of goodies through a twitter competition and seeing as Bubba is a fully fledged toothbrush girl (we kept the toothpast to use), I thought I'd pass onto my nephew to test out for us as he is just under a year old. First we had to wait until he had some teeth to test on the soft chewable toothbrush and also the dental wipes.

This is their verdict: 
Little M has two teeth and more on the way and we started using this a week ago. I was sceptical at first and M didn't seem keen but a week in and he loves a good chew on it each evening. It's an odd shape but as its quite big it gives him plenty to chew on and I think the silicon makes it really squashy so no chance of jabbing himself. 

I think this is really useful for babies when teething although as M gets a bit older I'd definitely switch him to an early toothbrush as I think he needs to get used to bristles and the shape of a normal brush.
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19 Jan 2017

He is growing up...How life looks at Two and a half

I took Bubba to a soft play party and cub came along too, it was the first time ever that my boy went it along. I spent some of my time walking the length of the soft play checking on him, part of it perched on a seat scanning the equipment to see where he was and part of the time telling his sister off for leaving him and running away from him. All he wanted to do was follow her!

I felt a rush of pride followed by an odd sense of impending doom, it meant I could go drink a cup of coffee but it also meant that I was leaving my two to look after themselves in the crazyness that is soft play. I love my kids but I'm not so keen on other peoples kids, what if one of them pushed my boy over or his sister went off and left him to bang his head. I know these are extreme reactions as most parents wander off without a backwards glance and don't seem to look up from their phones until the session has finished (I don't much like parents like that either).

It's so strange to let him go and do things now, I don't want to be one of those helicopter mums who hover over their child, he is more than capable of doing things himself. He is still a little fearless but I'm told that's very much a boy trait and plus he's got his fathers sense of adventure - lick a battery just to see what may happen!

I wanted to get down on paper all the changes, I know they don't seem much when you've got older kids but when you are in the thick of it you think your child is a genius...so here goes his greatest achievements so far.

Well first up and by far the best is his disregard of the dummy, he still has it at night time but during the day we no longer use a dummy. It was far easier than his sister who had to be bribed until she gave it up, he sort of forgot about it almost straight away - even to the point I was still saying 'do you want your dummy?' before realised I was becoming a pusher!

He gave up his nighttime bottle pretty much the same way...without looking back and I shed a little tear as I threw the last of the teats in the bin. He just outgrew them, really quickly and quietly! No screaming but just an acceptance of that's not how things are done anymore.

He also gave up vegetables in much the same way, which is a less helpful development, now if he sees vegetables he will say yuck and have an extreme reaction as if I'm trying to poison him!

Getting undressed is his new trick and hes fairly good at taking socks off and trousers and putting one arm and his head in a t-shirt before giving up and screaming at me to help. But he has a willingness to try and that is all that matters at the moment. I know of some mums who still dressed their 5yr old son as he was so slow at getting himself dressed! I don't want to be that mum.

We are at that danger stage where daytime naps are becoming a thing of the past yet he still cannot function without one. I can only give him 10 minutes maximum before it totally disrupts bedtime so now he usually crashes as we go on the school run to pick up his sister and this is his usual look.



His language is coming along nicely (copies his chatterbox sister on that front) and his favourite thing to do is chant a poo song, along the lines of "mummy's head is a poo poo" before dissolving into a fit of giggles. Funny at home but not so much as we are in the middle of tesco or worse....in the quiet doctors surgery!

Jumping off things is his other favourite thing to do and I loose some of my nerves every time he does it, if its a dangerous jump he will just scrunch his eyes closed and go for it with full gusto. As I said earlier...no fear! But I love him for giving it a go no matter what.

We are now encounter the most terrible tantrums and most are borne out of hunger as far as I can tell, also food is the only thing he can be persuaded with. He has a very very stubborn streak that runs deep (apparently that's from me...but I don't know what they are talking about!!!) and so has the most ear splitting outbursts if he doesn't get his own way or hasn't eaten recently!

But most of all, he is turning into such a little clown and he knows he is funny and plays to his crowd regularly. He is also very loving and such a little mummy's boy (which I love) yet very boisterous and has a 'have a go' attitude which has seen him get stuck down the back of the sofa but all in all he is very much a typical boy as far as I can tell. Wouldn't change him for the world.

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17 Jan 2017

When you want another baby....

Walking out of the school playground this morning, I heard another mum telling her mummy friends that she was having another baby in June. They all congratulated her as her toddler ran around her legs, after dropping off her daughter who is the same age as mine and it got me thinking. Why couldn't I have another baby, her two are the same age as my two so if she can manage why can't I? I'm jealous as I want another baby but I don't even think it's the baby I want, I realised that my little boy is going to be going to school nursery in September, my five-year-old will soon be a six-year-old sassy as ever and where does that leave me?

I really don't want sleepless nights -  we get enough of those already, I don't need the extra washing and tidying and mess but I feel lost! It's more the thought of who is going to want to hold my hand, who is going to need me to cuddle them, who is going to coo over my little baby at the shops? No one, the most I get now is raised eyebrows from other mother shoppers and rye smiles and sometimes even the comment "oh I remember that age, tiring but such fun". My boy is at a great age and I love my kids and I love everything they do but they are growing up fast and what do I do once they are grown-up?

My maternal instinct is strong right now and  I just want to cuddle someone little, who needs me. Now I don't feel I'm needed and it's really challenging my identity, obviously I know they do still need me but its changing. Sometimes slowly, for instance I have realised Bubba no longer goes straight to sit on my lap but will sit on her own instead. Cub has started getting himself undressed and dressed again which is really great but leaves me wondering what my on going role is.

I don't think I could have any more children I don't think I can cope and my family doesn't either. They've made this very clear and so it makes me jealous that other mothers do you feel able to have more children and do things, what's wrong with me, why can't I cope and they can? How is their life a better match to increase whereas mine isn't. The worst bit for me is that for years I've wanted my own job and to go out to work, I didn't mind not doing all the school drop offs and pick ups but since bubba got picked on I've wanted to be there all the time. Luckily we've been able to make that happen and my work hours have changed to fit it in but now they don't need me there all the time I feel like I want to be!

I cry now when I think of it but I really don't want to go through pregnancy and childbirth again, the last time was dicey enough for us and it nearly all went a bit wrong. I guess I need to grieve and then move on, I do want my own life back but it's trying to find out where I fit into that life. These two cuties are probably more than enough for me....




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8 Jan 2017

Finding My Happy Place


Being Brilliant

This weekend I've been at my company Gala where we learnt about industry news, had  a big fat feed and a connected with other organisers.  Whilst there we were treated to a session from the amazing Andy Cope (he has written several books on happiness - the Art of being Brilliant is his best seller. He spoke at our gala last year and was brilliant and again this year he did not disappoint. He recapped on the fleas in a jar mentality....google YouTube if you don't know what I mean, talked about his happy chair and at one point asked us all who was the happiest person we knew. A room of 500 women came to a general consensus that our children were the happiest and then he asked us "if nothing changed could we be happy?" We all agreed we should stop waiting for the perfect time to wear an outfit or do something as now is the only time we have!

Real sage advice and so simple that you can't believe you didn't already think it and I arrived home yesterday full of ideas and goals. The kids were really pleased to see me and it was a hero's welcome which was nice and I vowed to be a slightly more awesome version of myself her on in.

Then today I was listening to some online training from a mindset coach and she was reviewing the year we'd had. It dawned on me that I hardly do any self improvement or have much 'me time' whatsoever, the best I could come up with was that I make a conscious efffort to spray perfume every day! She then asked us all what our definition of happiness was as lots of people don't know, as I sat staring at a blank sheet of paper I realised I'm one of them!!! I spend so much time saying how I just want to be happy but I don't even know what that is so no wonder I haven't found it yet... the best I could come up with were lots of little things that as a family we do anyway so I should already be happy.

What next

Well it sounds all new age I know but I'm going to give myself permission to actually feel happy, I'm working on daily affirmations and self care...no more negative talking to myself. I'm finally going to get rid of this last stone of weight to lighten up my mental health and also my actual waistline (I'm great at beating myself with a negative stick of self talk which will stop).

You know when I asked Bubba what makes her happy and what nice things I do (we had to write about ourselves) she said "cuddles with you mummy, they are the best" - as simple as that's!

It's a fabulous reminder of how to keep it simple and to appreciate even the small things and probably the reason kids are so happy - they keep it simple and they appreciate the small things.

So I'm working on these goals this year :)
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6 Jan 2017

Correcting Sleeping Patterns for a 5yr Old

Right I'm sorry if you've come to this post hoping to be offered the solution to sleep problems in five year olds as the title may allude to. I haven't got the answers but I do have some things to try and a view from the middle of the chaos to show you what you could be up against and what you may want to avoid!

A little background for you, I have a five year old daughter who never had sleep issues (apart from the usual waking for no reason every now and again). Over the last....well we aren't really sure how long its been going on as it's crept up on us, the realisation that its a real problem...so probably over the last six months it's got progressively worse.

By 'progressively worse' I mean she's been waking up at least once a night and most nights now she is on about three or four times a night and it ends with one of us sleeping on her floor for the remainder of the night because we are so exhausted by it all.

I used to be a very smug mother because I had a relatively good sleeper when she was little, I could put her down anywhere and give her a muslin and she'd roll over and go to sleep. Other mums would comment and say how lucky I was....I just thought I was good at training her and it sort of was really because we read all the books and employed the procedures to allow her to get herself to sleep without aides or us. My husband would comment that I was holding her too much (which sounds bizarre now) but the sleep expert book we read had told us that when she was drowsy and showing signs of sleep...put...her...down... before she got used to being held to sleep! It worked and she was fine, I was also smug because up until she was about three, she had never slept in our bed - in fact she would shun our bed and the few times we tried to get her settled in our bed through those long and lonely teething nights, she would scream and defiantly point at her own room as if to say 'take me back where I belong loser!'

So how exactly have we broken her?!?

Well all I can say is, I don't really know! It sort of happened slowly and through love...my first insight is that she got scared of the dark so we would employ a night light - which is left on all night for her. She really freaks out if she wakes and it is not on. Then came not just walking away from her room at night once the door was closed, I had to sit outside the door - this I didn't mind as it only lasted about five minutes at most. Then recently came some challenges in her little life where she was bullied at school and she became clingy and fractious at home, she didn't want to be parted from me and at bed time requested that I sit in her room. Sometimes I'd stroke her head as she fell asleep, marvelling at her beauty and I loved being able to watch her drift off to sleep, it started to become a bit more annoying and time consuming as dinner had to be made and work to be done downstairs. But I did it because I felt sorry for her and we didn't get much time alone together with cub around, it sort of became our thing...a few moments to be close to each other.

This brings us to our current predicament and being slaves to the night wake ups, she sites nightmares, feeling sick or just not being able to sleep as her reasons for wandering in to us. I'd say a couple of those times each night she is zombie like and will easily be shepherded back to bed and be asleep within seconds again...these wake ups she doesn't even remember the next morning. The challenge comes when she takes a little longer to go back to sleep, gets panicky if you leave her before she is asleep and then you end up falling asleep on her floor and waking an hour later, cold and very tired!

Just to add into the mix, cub has been waking more and in our dazed state we have been letting him into our bed to sleep and it was only a few times but he seems to have got used to it and he too over the Christmas break has been coming into our bedroom every night. Just after new year we realised that we need to take action as none of us could continue like this, the adult who dealt with Bubba's wake ups would be tetchy and annoyed for the day (usually the husband as it's his side of the bed she gets to first (whereas Cub makes his way around to my side and we snuggle up together...he's not stupid that one!)). So I'm not sure why we decided to tackle it now but I think I was stood in the kitchen after putting them to bed (separately) and googled sleep problems in a 5yr old.

Our plan of Action


So the article said that if you take out all the external factors of wake ups like change of circumstance where you would need to consult sleep specialists, it would probably be due to them using you as a sleep aide. Suddenly it all made sense and we decided to tackle in the following night - by the time you read this we will be five nights in (& I hope in a better place with it all).

What are we doing?


Letting her fall asleep alone : Well first off we have gone back to doing the bedtime routine and saying goodnight and leaving the room. The first night I started in the doorway and then the last two nights I've sat outside (tonight she had a wobble but a cuddle and reassurance that I was outside was all it took). We've made the room and surrounding area the same as when she is waking up in the night - so hallway lights are out as is the bathroom light.

Next (this is the killer at the moment) we are putting her back to bed when she does wake and again sitting outside her room. Before we relied on that little sleep on her floor to get us through although it hurt when you woke up and the next day it did us no favours. Going back to the first time saying 'it's bed time baby' and taking her back, next wake up just guiding her back without a word and carrying this on for all future wake ups.

The first night was a total disaster as she got up five times and complained of feeling sick (the usual we thought) but when I took her back time four she was really unsettled and writhing around, so take back number five I got the sick bowl and she was actually sick (something she had ate I think) so I ended up camping out on her floor for the evening.

Last night it was only three wake ups and hubby and I both slept in our own bed alone for at least three hours together. So it seems to be progress!

I must also add that at the same time we've been sleep training the toddler too and this is why we are so exhausted. He seems less willing to be fobbed off with sleeping alone in his own bed, we have been following the same process with him but he puts up a fight when I return him to bed. So I've had to do lots of rapid returning and then trying to sit outside the room again. Last night I was so tired that Hubby took over the last wake up but he sort of lay down in the gap between our two bedrooms so Cub could see his feet but nothing more. We took that as a win!

I'm very anxious tonight to go to bed and feel rather weepy with it all but know we couldn't carry on as we were any longer. It's not nice to know you'll be woken and that you'll have to spend at least 20 minutes awake each time (well so far anyway). I've got jaw ache as I seem to be clenching it a lot throughout the day and my shoulders are somewhere up round my ears.

I just need to remember that we are doing this out of love and not malice and it's the best thing for them to get a good nights sleep (& us). It's just really hard work with them both and I feel really down that I have broken them both so easily and that we have got to this point. I know the external factors of bullying have made me more easy on her and made her more fearful and anxious causing sleep problems. I just really want the best for them both, wish us luck tonight.

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4 Jan 2017

Mummy goals 2017



I've had a lot on this year what with the new job and looking after two small children, bubbas problems at school being bullied and the little boy making a transition from being a baby into a toddler. Life has been busy. 

Im a big dreamer, I've got lots going on and I make big goals and get really motivated by them. But I've spent most of this year feeling guilty and underprepared and not good enough. I've compare myself to others and come away thinking I should be in the same position as them, my blog should be that good, my business should be growing and my family life should be better. This leaves me making unrealistic goals and feeling let down and useless when I don't hit them.

Today I dropped cub off at nursery for his last day this year and I took a day off to spend the morning with my bubba. I felt guilty beyond compare to doing this and felt sad as we left him crying for mummy. Us girls headed for the shops to get the last few things we needed for Christmas. We stopped for a coffee waiting for the shops to open and I sat watching her colouring in and chatting away. I realised my one goal for next year, to spend more time with Bubba, listening to her and spending quality time just the two of us. I'm big on including everyone and our little family moto is 'nobody gets left out' but today felt a bit alien as it was just the two of us. I was a bit shocked that I could feel like that as she's been my life for the last five years. But I looked around, waiting to tell my little man to get down or stop running like a mad thing.

As we sat there I asked what she liked most about me

"You are beautiful mummy"

What do you like that I do?

"I love your cuddles mummy"

What don't you like me doing?

"Shouting at me mummy"

So we had a big cuddle and I promised next year there would be more cuddles and more time together (notice I didn't promise not to shout but I did say I'd try).
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