How things are different with number 2…

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Things with a second baby are so different than with your first.  Might sound like an obvious statement, but one month in, and it is is strikingly obvious to me when I look back over the first four weeks of Malachy’s life and realise how we have done things so differently this time around.  This is partly led by Malachy, as by nature he is a different baby to what Lylah was in so many ways, but also partly by us, because as parents we have approached the newborn days with a different attitude.

It’s still a world of unknowns…even though you do go into it with a certain air of cockiness and an ‘I know it all attitude’, a second baby will present many differences to the first.  For example, unlike with Lylah, the breast feeding is going really well this time, and has done from day one.  So I thought I’d got away with it scott free; he’s putting on weight, feeding well, etc etc.  But no, he has developed oral thrush, something new and unknown and which has already had an impact on his feeds.

These are a few things I’ve noticed that we’ve done differently with baby round two:

Google.  We hardly use it!  With Lylah, I recall us being up at all hours in our bedroom, the only light coming from Chris’ iPhone as he frantically Googled how to get this wind out of our little girl!  We Googled everything, from breast feeding (I saved every page I could find on breast milk storage), colic, methods to relieve colic, ‘why is our baby crying’, ‘why is our baby still crying’, and the old favourite, ‘how to stop my our baby crying’.

Going out.  I didn’t properly leave the house for some time after Lylah was born.  I was happy to stay in, dressed in PJs, feeding on the sofa and perhaps freshening up for the occasional visitor.  This time, I was taking Lylah to pre-school, baby in tow, by the end of week two, and had ventured out lots before this with Chris’ help.  A month in and we are out and about most days, Malachy just being dragged along for the ride of our pre-existing toddler routine.

Soothing.  Uh Oh, the baby’s crying!  What, you mean your second baby, who you can’t actually get to because the toddler is having another meltdown whilst hanging from her swing set?  Oh, the baby has stopped crying already and settled himself?  That’s good then!  As soon as Lylah made a sound when she was a baby, one or both of us would be there in a flash.  No such luck for Malachy, he gets to soothe himself while Mummy is pulling her hair out over number one.  This isn’t to say we don’t ever comfort him (I can imagine you’re thinking this poor child is left to fend for himself!), it’s just that it might take a little longer to get to him than it did the first time round!

Cuddles.  On the other hand, Malachy does get a lot of cuddles.  When Lylah is tucked up in bed, and we can spend some one on one time with the little man, we cuddle him, a lot!  We would never have dared done this with Lylah.  When she was settled that was it, we didn’t dare touch her for fear of her never sleeping again!

Bathing.  Washing Lylah as a baby was two person job, filled with the dread that we were going to accidentally scold her/drown her/drop her.  It was a long time before I bathed her confidently on my own.  With Malachy, I can easily bathe him in his baby bath, while Chris is bathing Lylah in the tub, simultaneously chatting away to them, with no fear about whether I’m going to accidentally dunk the baby.

Photos.  We haven’t taken as many photos or videos or Malachy as we did Lylah.  Everyone says this happens, but I didn’t think it would apply to me.  It will save the computer memory.  Please note; I have still taken A LOT!

Socialising.  I would NEVER have taken Lylah out to a restaurant/party/meal, somewhere public, at one month old.  But last night we took our two year old and baby to a birthday meal, in a restaurant with actual people, whilst attempting to have adult conversation and a hot meal.  It was pretty much a success, and just made us realise even more, that number two just takes it in their stride, and slots in to family life.

So, as Malachy continues to settle into our lives, we realise how blessed we are to have such a relaxed little boy, who seems to be becoming as much of a social butterfly as his sister!

In Malachy news, he weighs a whopping 1 stone.  Yep, we’ve started wearing his 3-6 month clothes today, and now he actually looks comfortable!

In Lylah news, today she corrected me and then asked “understand?”  She also told me I was bossy this week.  Our conversations are getting funnier and she is getting cheekier!  We also went bowling, but it was too busy so we ended up just playing in the arcade.  Now Lylah thinks that going bowling is mummy and daddy frantically trying to win her a Sven cuddly from the grabber machine.

Lylah is currently staring at me repeating ‘mum’ ‘mama’ and ‘mummy’ over and over again and the baby has just started crying.  Time for me to go!

First Smiles

Well, our baby boy is one month old today.  I can’t believe these past four weeks have gone so quickly; they have been full of amazing and special moments, as well as the expected tired eyes and lack of sleep!

Can I still say I’ve just had a baby?  Can he be referred to as a newborn?  It makes me feel a little sad that he isn’t the brand new baby he was four weeks back, but as he starts to show us his little personality, it makes me excited for the weeks and months to come.

And to celebrate his one month birthday, Malachy has been treating us to special first smiles this week.

It makes all the hard work worthwhile. Lots more of these to come!

 
Now we are about to enjoy a weekend together as a family, no work, just fun with our little people.

No Tea For Me…Thanks to Malachy!

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Oh Malachy, Malachy, Malachy
I’m in desperate need of a cup of tea
Preferably hot, and straight from the pot,
The perfect tea moment for tired old me.

But every time that kettle boils
My tea time plan you are ready to spoil
Your little lips they start to shake
As your little tummy starts to ache

Your achy tummy tells you its time,
along with the teapot giving you the sign,
That its time for you to have your grub
And my pot of hot tea I have to snub.

The sound of the water starting to rumble
Must make your belly start to grumble,
and prompt your regular milky fix
No time for my tea or a teatime Twix.

The sight of the cosy keeping it hot,
Means that you are allowed, but I am not,
To settle down for an afternoon snack
And signals the caffeine that I now lack.

The clink of the cup against the saucer
Means that really I know I ought to,
Put down my drink and prepare to feed
After all, its just tea, am I really in need?

On the odd occasion when I get the tea poured,
And biscuits are retrieved from the cupboard
I settle down on the sofa ready to drink,
Well then what happens, what do you think?

I’ve just delighted in the first biscuity dunk,
The gingery snap soaked as it’s being sunk,
Into the deep tea flavoured pool
The moment that awaits me is making me drool.

Just as the biscuit starts falling apart,
(This dunking lark is really an art)
I’d better eat quick, as a familiar sound,
Starts to fill the room all around.

You’re soft little cry starts nice and quiet,
Just time to continue with my ‘biscuit tea’ diet.
But the volume increases, and as the cry becomes shrill,
I’ll forget my tea, its not a big deal…

Because I’d rather cuddle you close to me
Than drink a cup of hot, tasty tea.
But how about we make a deal?
I can have one after your milky meal?

Photo on 28-05-2015 at 14.37

Supermarkets require Supermums!

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I did it!

I set myself one challenge today alongside generally keeping myself and my two children clean, fed and watered.  To go to the supermarket and buy ingredients for a Sunday roast tomorrow.

And I did it!

I could end this post there, as I am so flipping happy with myself, but I won’t, because the first outing with my two little people to our local Lidl and Sainsburys was pretty eventful.

I was pretty sure, as I arrived back home, with the newly acquired shopping haul and still with the two children (thank goodness – leaving one in the meat aisle would have been a bad first trip), that it wasn’t at all stressful and I was feeling pretty good about myself.  Then as I snapped at Lylah for the fifth time over lunch at my nans, I realised that actually it may have taken a little toll.

Today started well, and I managed to shower, de-fuzz, dress, and actually put on some make up, all whilst Lylah played and Malachy stared at me, waving his arms about from his vibrating chair (best baby thing EVER).

So I confidently left the house, two children strapped into their car seats, all the necessary transport adaptors on hand, and minimal baggage in tow.  I was praying we would have no wee or poo incidents from Lylah on our outing, nor an explosive nappy from Malachy whilst strapped into the Lidl trolley.

I was maybe being a bit ambitious doing both Lidl and Sainsburys, but one was for food, and one was for the 25% off clothing sale, not to be missed when you have an ever growing toddler!

Lidl first.  The initial thing that came to my attention is just how much I need the mother and baby parking spaces now more than ever.  Having Lylah off a leash makes my stomach leap every time she walks further than an inch away from me, and I really need to be close to the trolley park if I’m carrying my handbag, the car seat and child, as well as guiding a toddler away from moving vehicles.

I couldn’t see a spare space to start with, then I spotted two older looking people getting out of their car in what I thought was the last spare space.  I was about ready to wind the windows down and unleash my fury, until a child popped out of their car.  She was a big child though, and they probably didn’t need to park there as I’m pretty confident she could’ve walked the extra few feet alongside two fully grown adults.  Luckily for them, I spotted the empty space next to them, so proceeded to park up and chill out.

Once Malachy was strapped onto the trolley, which by the way are the biggest trolleys there due to the fact they need to accommodate babies in car seats atop them, we set out on our journey through the aisles of Lidl.  Lylah was being good and staying by my side, but one downside to not having her strapped in somewhere is that she takes great pleasure in throwing whatever she fancies into the trolley!  So I spent half the excursion taking things out of the trolley!  My first main obstacle was that I kept banging into people, especially old, slow people on my travels.  I was trying to keep it swift because there are no toilets in Lidl, and this can be disastrous with a not long potty trained 2 year old.  But the constant manoeuvring and reversing meant that everything was taking a lot longer than intended.

We made it to the checkout with a full trolley, but as I was starting to pack things away, Lylah announced she needed a wee wee.  The panic in my voice came out in a shriek like tone which said “you need to hold it sweetheart, just squeeeeeze really tight, squeeeeeeeze it, and we’ll go when we get to the car”.  I momentarily panicked that I hadn’t packed the Potette, but thankfully I remember seeing it in the boot.  There were always drains I suppose, would just have to hover her over one of those if not!  As I packed the remaining items and frantically paid, I kept glancing down at the floor beneath Lylah, each time imagining a pool of wee, soaked little pink leggings and white shoes covered in yellowy liquid.  There was time when I brought the actual potty into actual Lidl, in the actual trolley, in case of times like these.  Have I become too confident in my child, who does tend to ‘p*ss like a racehorse’?!

Bless her heart, she held it all the way to the car, and without even the slightest of leaks, waited patiently until I had put the stupid flipping Pottete liner in the stupid flipping Potette (sorry, although it has saved me on many an occasion, anyone that has tried to use one will understand me), then sat astride it on the pavement and did her thing.  Phew.

Once the car was packed up with shopping and kids, I turned to take the trolley and liner full of wee wee to the trolley park and bin.  Only to be greeted by a lady (whom I’d not met before), who proceeded to tell me about her recent travels to Spain.  I don’t mind talking to strangers in Lidl car park about their holidays, in fact, its something we don’t do enough as a society, and this lovely lady obviously felt like she could talk to me just from the look of my backside bent over the boot of my Golf, but when you have two children in the car, one probably due another wee at any second, and one a three week old newborn who constantly pukes out of his nose, its hard to not need to hurry things along a little.  After a good five minutes, she went on her way, and I managed to get the trolley back, the wee bag dumped and get on our way to supermarket number 2 for some clothes shopping.

As we got out of the car in Sainsburys, I noticed the same lady strolling towards the main entrance, so I subtly hovered back in order to keep things swift before she started telling me about her next Mediterranean adventure.

This time, as there was no big shop to do, I opted to pop the car seat on top of the pushchair chassis, which meant I could at a least see where I was going, and Lylah again walked.  I forgot though that Sainsburys is a little more interesting to a child’s eyes than Lidl, and once we were in the children’s clothing section, do you think I could prize her away from the Frozen hair clips and Sofia the First tiara selection?  After a few “but I neeeeeeed it” moments from Madam Boyd, I persuaded her to leave with some half price hair clips and a sun hat in tow.

Then as we left the cosmetics aisle, Lylah insisted, at the top of her voice, that she push Malachy and not me.  When I tried to assist her in the steering, she went into mini meltdown mode, and I had to assure her that I was simply “helping you push him the right way” whilst actually pushing and steering with one hand so she believed she was doing it.  I should’ve gone straight to the nearby checkout right then and there, but my favourite raspberry cheesecake was calling me from the chilled bit by the bakery at the far end of the store, so we had Lylah ‘pushing’ Malachy for quite some time, just so I could get my cheesecake fix.

We were served by the lovely Sue, a relation of ours, and Lylah was her usual friendly self whilst sat on top of the checkout, showing off her hat and baby brother.  Its moments like this that make the stress of these things all worthwhile.  You would never know from her cheeky little grin that just moments earlier she was emptying her bladder in Lidl car park.

We bundled into the car and I was hugely pleased that it was all over.  Lots of money, a panicked wee wee, a nice conversation with a stranger and a lot of struggling with heavy things later, and we were done.

Next time I’ll do it when Lylah is at pre-school.

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Welcoming Baby Malachy to Jugglehood

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There are moments of peace and quiet, the baby settled and Lylah enjoying playing with something for more than 20 seconds.

There are moments where the screaming from both of them is so loud I literally don’t know who to deal with first.

There are moments full of love and overwhelming happiness, where my little family is all together, cuddling on the bed, giggling and playing, and most importantly, not crying.

There are moments when everything is so chaotic that pulling my hair out seems like the only reasonable option.

This is day 6 after Chris going back to work, although today doesn’t count, as he has a day off.  But days 1-5 have been…interesting.

I should firstly officially give my baby boy a Jugglehood announcement.  Baby Malachy Christopher Boyd arrived with us on 30th April 2015, at 12:14am.  He is absolutely wonderful, and if you’d asked me in the first 2 weeks (funnily enough while Chris was still at home with us), then everything was going swimmingly, and I was finding the whole experience of 2 children surprisingly calm.

I have been feeling great, he is feeding really well and gaining weight, he is sleeping between feeds with very little fuss and Lylah responded really well to our new addition and adores her “baby brudder”.  Then Chris went back to work…

To start with, things were going well.  I’ve basically worked out that as long as one is a) asleep or b) occupied for more than 5 minutes, then I can deal with the other one.  It’s the needing me both at the same time scenario that I’m not quite sure how to deal with!  It can’t be that hard, I know a lot of people with 2 or more babies, and they all make it look so easy!

I can deal with the night feeds, I can deal with the tiredness, I can cope with the 2-3 hour feeds, I can even cope with the reality that with baby number 2, there is no going back to bed after their early morning feed while they sleep on, because of a certain two year old shouting for their Weetabix!  But I am struggling to manage the double screaming episodes.  The tantrumming toddler (who has become so defiant since daddy’s return to work that I feel stupid for thinking that she had adapted to the whole scenario like a dream) VS the new addition (who is so cute and cuddly that it surprises  me when he screams so loud and shrill that it hurts my ears).

The first episode occurred on day 1 of daddy’s return to work.  Lylah needed a bath, but I didn’t have the time to give her the whole bath time fun we normally have, so we opted for a quick shower while Malachy was settled in his chair watching the fun.  She went in okay, but then the showering fun turned quickly into the mother of all tantrums when she refused to have her hair washed.  Amidst this tantrum consisting of throwing herself around the slippery shower tray and crying so hard she was starting to cough and choke, the baby started to scream.  Just out of the blue, no real justifiable reason that I could see or think of, just screaming.  This made me panic beyond reason, as my instinct was to go to him and calm him down.  But then I had the realisation that if I did this I would be doing a couple of things.  1) Lylah would probably slip and injure herself and 2) I would be going straight to him when Lylah was clearly in need of the attention.  Agree or not with giving your attention to a tantrumming toddler, but in the time when a new sibling has been introduced to the environment they are used to, I have felt that ignoring her tantrums may have a longer lasting negative effect.

Anyway, I had to leave Malachy to cry, which was hard, but he was strapped into his chair and I could see that he was safe, and I managed to calm Lylah down.  The miracle was that as I was sorting Lylah out, Malachy just stopped crying and fell back to sleep!  And then it was all fine and calm again.

These daily blips are, I suppose, only to be expected, but they have increased my stress levels and I’ve noticed that in 5 days, my grey hair count has gone up.

But with time, this will be a breeze.  2 children?  Easy…she says!

Welcome to Jugglehood, Malachy Boyd.  I’ve got a feeling this is going to be fun!

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Driving Me Potty

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Yesterday marked one week of full time potty training for us.  Lylah is 2 and 3 months (nearly), and we felt like she was more than ready.  My nan has always told me that most kids are ready around the age of 2 and 3 months, which is very specific, but seemed to be right in our case.

We probably could have started a little while back, but when you’re a working mummy, juggling a toddler, a job, pregnancy and twenty million other things, with your child being transported all over the place for various childcare, there isn’t enough consistency in their daily routines to get it done properly.

In my opinion, there is no right age, or right way to toilet/potty train.  The strongest sign for me was that Lylah started to tell us, not all the time, but she did enjoy the occasional sit on the loo, so we didn’t want to miss the wee wee boat.

I’ve got some friends who started this process months ago, and some who haven’t started yet, some who went straight to loo, and some who didn’t.  The truth is, that you HAVE to not only work out what’s best for your child’s life, but also for yours.  For me, I wanted the ‘training’ experience for Lylah to be one on one with me, taking her through the process, and doing it in a short time.  In order to do this, Lylah needed to be able to communicate effectively for the task, be able to follow simple instructions, and do little things like pull down her own pants and trousers.

I’m not a follower nor a fan of Gina Ford usually, but her book, potty training in one week, makes a lot of good points.  I followed it pretty much to the tee, and (I think) I can safely say, that after one week, Lylah is pretty much there.  Yes, she will have accidents, like two days ago when she hid inside her wardrobe and wee’d on her shoes, and there will be times when she just doesn’t make it in time, but on the whole, she’s telling me when she needs it, and against Gina’s advice, we’ve even ventured out a bit this week, and Lylah has been fine and kept up the good work.

Poos are a little more difficult, and it’s hilarious how your child finally sitting down and producing one outside of a nappy can make you feel immensely proud.  It’s also brilliant how talking about weeing and pooing all the time makes you slightly obsessed about the subject.  Our group of mummy friends are sharing pictures and stories of our potty training progress, a true, stick together approach to the task!

The first morning was a complete disaster.  I was keeping a log (tee hee) of Lylah’s movements, and after her first accident, Chris completed the log with the line “complete failure in the lounge as Lylah wee’d all over the sofa” (on towels might I add, I’m not that stupid).  I was so disheartened by three accidents in a row plus a poo in her brand new sparkly pants, that I rang my mum and told her I didn’t think Lylah was ready.  I was taking her to to the toilet every half an hour, which Lylah hated.  My mum made the good point that training her should be about her telling me when she needs to go, and she needs to have accidents to realise this.  So I chilled out a bit, and by tea time, she was telling me.  After 2 days we had 3 days straight where she was completely dry, including an afternoon at my mums.  We’ve had the odd accident since, it’s only been a week after all, and I’m sure there are many to come, but I’m incredibly proud of our little girl.

I was petrified to start this process, the whole thing seemed completely mind baffling not to say stressful, but now we’re past the starting post, I am confident that my little girl has turned a corner and is going strong.  My best piece of advice is to listen to your child, watch for when they’re ready, and don’t be disheartened if they’re not.  It’s not a race, let them lead you and let nature take its course.

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50 Shades of Poop

So…if you were desperate to see Fifty Shades of Grey, then you probably have by now, so it’s unlikely that me telling you not to bother is going to save you 2 hours of your life.

However, if you haven’t, really don’t bother!

I don’t know why i am surprised, the book isn’t exactly enthralling, but it did captivate a world-wide audience through the My Grey phenomenon, so I thought I’d see if the film was any good, plus it was a really nice excuse to go to the cinema with my mum and sister.

I was silly, however, to think that being nearly 34 weeks pregnant and sitting still for 2 hours was even a possibility.

If you were watching this piece of movie magic (sarcasm) at 730pm last night in Screen 2, at Wells Cinema, then I apologise for the amount of noise coming from the back row (REALLY no pun intended).

From the minute we sat down, I started to have the niggles of back pain and wanting to move to get comfortable, never a good sign when about to embark on a 2 hour film.

The film opened, and for the first 45 mins or so, I sat through the most monotone and flat dialogue I have ever witnessed in film form.  Honestly, it is SO bad.  As the film wasn’t worthy of my attention, I started focusing on my bump and baby’s movements, which were a bit quiet at first, until he started booting me around, which made me more uncomfortable.  I’d had enough of my salted popcorn by this stage and had finished my 7Up, so off to the loo I toddled.  It says a lot about a film when you find reading the film line up advert on the back of the toilet door more interesting.  I considered how long I could realistically sit there until mum got worried and would come looking for me.  I waddled back in and took my seat, at which point my mum was coming out.   She offered me a drink, so I ordered a hot chocolate, and she asked me to find out what Kay wanted.  Kay couldn’t hear me so I had to go back to the seat to ask.  Coke please.  Right, “mum…Coke” (whispered).  “Mum…Coke” a little louder.  “MUM…COKE” said much louder!  Nope, she still couldn’t hear and was on her way out the door, so I waddled back down, stomping the steps as I went, into the toilet to relay Kay’s drink order.  Then I went back in, took my seat, shortly followed my mum rejoining us and me having to move.  All this during a rather raunchy, quiet, scene!  No, we weren’t annoying at all!!

The next few minutes were like torture for me.  The hot chocolate gave me a warm flush, I felt sick, dizzy and a bit like I was going into labour!  My mum rubbed my back, which helped, but I needed a stretch and some air.  So out I went again!  I had a nice little chat with the girl on the front desk whilst stood outside cooling down.  I spied some very comfy looking sofas in the foyer, and seriously considered setting up camp there until the film was over.  Perhaps I could have a little snooze?

I reluctantly went back in, in the hope that mum and Kay would want to leave, but they were at least watching the film and getting their £7 worth!  Mum offered to rub my hand, and proceeded to give me a hand and arm massage, at which point, I fell asleep!

I was nice and relaxed after this, and managed to watch the remaining scenes of this awful film.  Jamie Dornan was very nice to look at, but not worth having to sit through the whispery monotone voice of Dakota Johnson, whilst she annoyingly bit her lip!

I was relieved to get out, and enjoyed getting home, putting my feet up and watching an episode of House of Cards to re-stimulate my brain.

I will not put myself through a pregnant cinema trip again, or pay money to watch any more of the fifty shades franchise.  I’m far more excited about the fifty shades of baby poop that my little boy will be producing – oh how things have changed!

By the way, if you are reading this and would like to read more, have a look at my past posts, and come and find me on Facebook.

I had a shower…of the baby kind

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Yesterday, my amazing mum and gorgeous little sister surprised me with an intimate baby shower to celebrate the forthcoming arrival of our little boy.

It was a much needed get together of my nearest and dearest, where we had a giggle and ate a gorgeous Guinness cake made by my nan (thanks Nan – it tastes good the next day too!)

My mum asked me a while back whether I wanted a ‘baby shower’ this time, and I said no – not because I didn’t enjoy my first fabulous one, but that I felt guilty about people coming along and bringing gifts etc, for the second time.  My mum admitted yesterday that at first, when I’d said this, she was relieved, as it meant no party planning, but then once she’d had a chat with my sister, they changed their minds and excitedly started planning a little surprise, as they wanted to celebrate this baby as well as my first.  My first baby shower was big and a lot of special people were there, which was amazing and touching, but mum kept this one smaller and more manageable for them, which makes me feel less guilty about them having to host one!

I was secretly really happy that mum and Kay did this for me, and it means I now have some lovely baby boy things – before now, he would’ve been dressed in a lot of pink flowery things from day 1, and wrapped in a soft pink, fluffy blanket!

It also showed me how important it is to celebrate these amazing moments in your life, whether it be with loads of people, or just a few, it’s nice to mark the occasion and take some time to appreciate the amazing thing thats about to happen to your family.

In the midst of potty training (update coming soon), de stressing from work, and feeling slightly ill prepared for this baby’s arrival, yesterday afternoon was a really special moment.  Plus, it was a surprise, so it meant I didn’t have to do anything (slightly unsettling for control freak me, but a nice change!)

I also had a moment where pride surged through my body, as Lylah joined me on the sofa when I was opening some presents, cuddled in to me, then proceeded to show everyone what I just opened for ‘baby brudder’.  Having her there made it even more special.

Plus there was cake, and that’s always a winner!

So thank you mum and Kayleigh, I had a lovely afternoon, and I really appreciate your efforts.

In other news, official first day of Mat leave is today!  It’s been great so far, and Lylah keeps shouting ‘no work for mummy yay’ – did I make it that obvious to her that I couldn’t wait to finish ;)

Next post – potty training…watch this space!

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Mat Leave – Round 2

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A bit like the Carl Frampton match last night, I can feel the next round of a long ol’ slog coming on in the shape of maternity leave round 2!

Tomorrow morning marks the start of the last week of professional work for another year or so…and relax…or not.

In all honesty, I am completely blessed to be able to have 7 whole weeks off before baby number 2’s arrival. First time round, that amount of time would have been spent getting pampered with my feet up, whilst occasionally doing something nesty in preparation for my little princess’ arrival.

So I keep saying that I’m about to have 7 weeks off for a much-needed rest for when baby arrives, but in reality it will be far from that. I will spend my days crouching down over my massively awkward bump to pick up toys off the ground so I don’t slip on them and injure myself, I will be up and down off the floor in various playing stints with Lylah, keeping her busy and occupied for a few minutes at a time, so I can sit upright supported by twenty cushions on the few occasions where she will happily occupy herself. I will be preparing weeks of food for Lylah, which I can freeze down, and bung in the microwave whilst I am busy breastfeeding number 2. I will be attempting to be somewhat organised and pretend that I am a little bit ready for this baby, and pack my hospital bag, wash the newborn clothes, make up the Moses basket and organise the nappys/wipes/cotton wool/creams/infacol/nappy sacks etc etc.

I will be also starting the dreaded, I mean, delightful, toilet training, in the hope that my 2 year old will grace the toilet seat with ease and be an obedient wee’er and poo’er in one week, Gina Ford stylee.

I will mainly be praying that Lylah doesn’t give up her daytime nap just yet, so that for those precious couple of hours, I can actually lay still, close my eyes, and sleep.

But at least I won’t be at work. I will be spending precious hours with my little girl, breathing in those special moments, where for the last time, it will be just me and her.

And then for round 2! Those first few weeks and months of sleepless nights, looking grey and tired in the eyes and face, zombified for all to see, the potential of emotional outbursts for Lylah, followed by the guaranteed emotional outbursts from me.

I don’t mean to turn the maternity leave experience and spending all of that amazing (and tiring) time with your baby into a negative thing, that’s not my intention at all, as it really has been one of the best periods of my life so far, it’s just that its is long hard slog, where you need real stamina, both mentally and physically, a fighting attitude, and one where, especially if co-sleeping is involved, you do actually get punched quite a lot!

I’m looking forward to experiencing the whole thing again, and finding out what’s it like doing it with 2 in tow. The whole premise of this blog was that I would record my experiences of juggling work and being a mum, and all of our adventures along the way.

Well, now that one type of work is nearly over, let the continuation of my work as a mother continue and grow, juggling 2 pooey bums, juggling 2 tantrum wielding little monkeys, juggling a 2 year old and a new born, and juggling all of the things that come with it.

And guess what? I can’t wait for any of it – insert big fat smiley happy face here and a number of posts saying the complete opposite to follow! Jugglehood – round 2!

Minnie Mouse Mascot Madness

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Donna and I were busy planning Stacey and Lylahs’s 2nd birthday party over a cup of coffee. Donna had already been extremely organised, and had ordered napkins, balloons etc all in the desired theme of Minnie Mouse for our Minnie crazy little beauties.

Looking at everything you can order for a birthday party can be overwhelming, and it all starts to add up rather quickly, and at 2 years of age, they just want to run around, eat a few cocktail sausages and stuff their face with cake! Mum was geared up to make the Minnie Mouse cakes, and we were going to dress our girls in Minnie inspired outfits for their big day.

Whilst having a peruse around the online pages of Amazon and eBay, I came across some Minnie and Mickey costumes. Not just the basic, plastic masked fancy dress type get ups, but full on, Disneyland style, mascot outfits, with the massive heads! Brilliant! What better thing to add to a Minnie themed party than the real (ish) thing appearing from behind some curtains and surprising our little ones. Of course they would be delighted, all smiles and cuddles for Minnie, and amazed to have met their favourite Disney character in ‘real life’!

Donna was up for the idea, so I proceeded to find the best priced mascot on the internet. Unfortunately, the reasonably priced ones to buy would all have to travel from China and wouldn’t make it to us in time for the party. I then found some that you could hire. The faces weren’t quite as good as the China ones, but they were still pretty fab looking, and compared to some of the scary attempts at Disney mascots I’d already come across, these were looking like a winner. Seriously, whoever designs some of these things really don’t have the children in mind when doing so! I ordered the hire of Minnie, and shortly after, received an email from the supplier, who convinced me to take Mickey as well (I’m a sales person’s dream!)

The two ginormous heads and their costumes arrived in the post a couple of days before the party. As we were having lots of work done on the house at the time, there was no where to store them, and it wasn’t long before Miss Lylah nosey pants had dug them out. I thought perhaps this was actually a good idea, it would get her used to them. Someone had already asked me wouldn’t she find the mascots scary (Lylah has cried at every Father Christmas she has seen so far in her life), but as she had quite a nice meet and greet with Peppa and George earlier in the year, I was pretty confident about this one. She cuddled those Minnie and Mickey heads all the time, threw them around, played with them, tried to put them on. This, I thought, was the best idea I’d had in a long time – the mascots were going to be a winner! I dragged my sister Kayleigh, a natural entertainer who loves the spotlight, in to perform as Minnie, and managed to persuade her husband Adam to be Mickey! I told them it was their duty as Godparents to do things like this for Lylah.

The morning of the party, I stuck the heads and costumes in the car and took them to the hall. Lylah wasn’t amused by this, but we told her that she would see them at her party later, which kept her happy for while. So, a few hours later, the party is well under way, Lylah has had a good nap so isn’t to grumpy. All the kids are running around and playing like mad things, getting stuck into the food and having a great time.

Donna and I took to the mic to announce the arrival of two very special guests! Kayleigh and Adam were behind a curtain, getting into their costumes, blinded by the misplaced eye holes, and off balance from the size of the heads. They made their grand entrance…Lylah was in my arms, I was proudly holding the birthday girl, excitedly anticipating her reaction. I looked at her face, exclaiming, “Look Lylah, it’s Minnie and Mickey”, eagerly awaiting her delighted expression, expecting her to struggle out of my arms in a race to run to them. But no. The grip to me got far tighter. Her face dropped and her lips quivered, and she let out a howl of upset and poured frightened tears. Her now bright purple face lit up with pure fear as Minnie and Mickey entertained the birthday crowd, and my heart sank. The next five minutes of trying to calm Lylah into at least looking in their direction didn’t work, so Chris and I resorted to taking her behind the curtain and explaining who the mascots in front of her actually were. Kayleigh came back with us, head still in tact, which only frightened her more, as Lylah seemed convinced Minnie was going to come back behind the curtain and eat us all, and when she removed the head, Lylah’s screams grew even more hysterical, as if she couldn’t make out what weird decapitation had just occurred in front of her young and innocent eyes.

Meanwhile, the other birthday girl Stacey was loving every second, and gave Minnie and Mickey lots of hugs. Most of the other kids were fine, some tentative, some loving it, but none screaming like birthday girl Lylah! We gave up trying to convince Lylah that these two monsters in front of her were actually the loveable Disney characters that she plays with every day, reads about, and watches on the TV.

Once Kayleigh and Adam emerged as their true selves, Lylah calmed down and the party continued as it was before. She enjoyed some singing from Aunty Kay Kay, and loved the birthday cakes, as well as picking at the icing from the top when no one was looking.

We got home that night, and I brought in the Minnie and Mickey heads, diverting Lylah in an attempt to avoid upsetting her again. But no, she spotted them. This time however, instead of screaming the place down, she proceeded to play with and hug them. So, she likes the mascots in head only, scary decapitation form, but not in full motion, human body like form.

The lesson learned from this? Don’t force your child to like something. Be prepared that anything will scare them. Avoid Minnie and Mickey mascots even though your toddler is obsessed with them on a normal daily basis. But always try to bring a smile to your children’s faces, even if you fail, and never stop trying to make their dreams come true.

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