Let's find out what's been going on in the world of 3yr old Little E...
Little E had been: Sleep training
After a few hellish weeks of 5.30am wake ups we invested in a Groclock. It is a sleep trainer clock which allows you to set what time the sunrises on the clock. In night mode stars count down the passage of time so children know how long they have left in bed. A little book comes with the clock explaining to children why they need to stay in bed until they see the sun using a story about farm animals.
Does it work? So far so good. First few mornings were a nightmare as we had to keep putting Little E back into bed with lots of tears (hers and mine) but by night four she was staying in bed until the sun came up at 6.30am. We have since pushed the sunrise back slowly to 7am. Little E loves it because she gets such a great reaction from us when she gets up at the right time. In fact she insists we both go into her room to see the sun on the clock. There is one huge drawback though; if you unplug the clock (easy to do) it freezes the clock at the time it was unplugged so you have to reset it when you plug it back in and put the clock back into night mode. This is a pain if the child unplugs it during the night. It is also not the most instinctive to program! It should be on the Krypton Factor. £29.99 (Currently £19.95 on Amazon) www.gro.co.uk
Little E has been: Swimming
We haven't been swimming for a while as I felt towards the end of my pregnancy that I'd sink but this month my Stepmum has been taking Little E to the local pool. She had grown out of her suit so we let her choose a new one in Tesco and she went for this Disney Princess number complete with mini tutu. Coupled with her Princess armbands and pink goggles she looks the part. I think I need to get her professional lessons now as she is very confident in the water but needs to learn technique.
Little E has been: Using her Oxotot Big Kid water bottle
This has been a hit mainly due to the colour! Little E also really likes that it is a straw top. The top section twists closed sealing the liquid inside which makes it perfect for out and about. It is also nice and big (300ml) so less shouts for refills. The only problem Little E has is it is quite stiff to twist the top so she is forever asking me to twist it open! £8 www.oxouk.com
Little E has been: Getting to know her Little Sister
Now the reality that Little I is here to stay has sunk in, Little E has been enjoying playing with her and watching her grow bigger. She is obsessed with making sure her hands aren't caught in the sleeves of her babygrows and always makes sure she has a cuddly toy in her cot during naps. She is also trying to help during nappy changing, her main job being passing the cotton wool and putting the dirty nappy in the bin. Often we have to change her Dolly's nappy afterwards!
The Oxotot Big Kid water bottle featured in this post was sent for review purposes but all opinions are our own.
This post is linked to #triedtested linky on twitter with @lollinski and @familyfever and the #sharewithme linky with @letstalkmommy
It is Mother's Day and I am being spoiled by my girls. Since having them I am in awe of my Mum who did such a great job of raising me and my brother.
If I had to pick the most memorable day with my Mum it would have to be the day we went wedding dress shopping. It was just the two of us and we went on a couple of trips but the day we went to Mamfii bridal was very special. It was a very small boutique style store and we picked out loads of dresses which met my brief - silk and sparkly! Mum waited for me outside the curtain and each time I appeared she looked so emotional and proud.
Being so amazing, Mum never said anything negative about each dress allowing me to form my own opinion before she commented. But I knew when she really liked a dress, I could tell by her eyes. We narrowed it down to two dresses; one of which I was pretty sure was her favourite. We decided to think on it and came back a couple of weeks later to make the decision. After some deliberation I chose the dress which had the most sparkle - once the decision had been made it felt perfect. I got Mum to admit the other dress was her favourite but she knew that I would choose the sparkly dress from the minute I put it on because it was my favourite. That meant I had chosen the right dress. That is how amazing my Mum is.
I aspire to have this kind of relationship with my two girls. Helping guide them in life but allowing them to make their own decisions and do things to please themselves rather than to please me. Hopefully we'll all go wedding dress shopping together in the future.
Happy Mother's Day Mum
I have managed to read three books this month on my iPad and phone mainly during night feeds.
The Seven Stars by Simon Leighton-Porter
This book is a Da Vinci Code kind of story centering around an archaeologist who whilst on a dig in Pompeii gets caught up in a conspiracy which dates back to biblical times. The story regularly flashes back to tell the real story behind the rise of Christianity following the revenge of Josephus, whose Father has been falsely represented by the apostles in their biblical writings.
This book was very clunky. The story felt predictable and unoriginal. The archaeologist being an ex-secret agent was a terrible decision and made the plot ridiculous. The flashback chapters worked the best and were more believable and I would rather have read the story from just that perspective.
Overall score: 2/5
Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell
This is our current book club read and we are meeting to discuss next week. Set in London, the story revolves around an Irish catholic family (mum and three children) who are searching for their Husband/Father who appears to have left the house one day and disappeared without a trace.
I really enjoyed this book. It is clever because all of the action happens in the past and we are on a journey with the children uncovering pieces of information and pasting them together to form a true picture of who their father is and where he may have disappeared to. Along the way we get pulled into the lives of the three very different siblings and their neurotic mother making for a highly entertaining glimpse into the world of a disfunctional family. The drama which prompts the disappearance unravels slowly keeping your interest but it is the narrative between the remaining family members which is the real subject matter of the book. I would highly recommend.
Overall score: 4/5
A Beautiful Lie by Tara Sivec
I was tricked into reading this book! iBooks said it was a suspense novel and the tag line 'What do you do when you find out your whole life has been a lie?' intrigued me... It turned out that iBooks was the one lying and this novel was a cross between James Bond and Mills & Boon.
The plot had promise: Three friends are as close as friends can be. When one of them dies tragically it is up to the other two to find out what happened - whatever the cost. As they slowly start to uncover the nature of the deception, they begin to question everything, including themselves.
Turns out the two remaining friends have secretly been in love all along and spend most of the time fantasising about sleeping together. Oh and of course they are tall, beautifully perfect anatomical specimens. Oh did I mention that the girl is actually an undercover CIA agent who speaks eight languages and uses her job as a world renowned photographer as her cover story? No? Silly me.
The plot twists were predictable (of course dead friend isn't really dead and that is obvious from page one) but I did want to finish the book to find out how on earth the President of the Dominican Republic was wrapped up in it all. The answer (spoiler alert!) he's the father of course! How original. That has never been done before *cue Darth Vader style heavy breathing* Saying all of this it was easy to read and very fast paced so I didn't really have the chance to get too annoyed with the ridiculously silly story. The writing was a lot better than a most of these Fifty Shades style erotic fiction novels but I got really bored of reading how hard he gets when she stands next to him and found myself skipping past the repetitive sex scenes. If you are looking for some reality free romance to zone out to and give your brain cells a night off this is the book to go for.
Overall score: 2/5
So you may have noticed I haven't finished City of Glass the third book in The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. It is paperback so I am struggling to find time when I have two hands free!
On the iPad/phone I have started reading The hundred-year-old man who jumped out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
This post is linked to #ThisMonthIRead with @mutteringmummy
I'm sharing an ordinary moment from this week. Husband having a snooze on Little E's lap. This is a common sight at the weekend in our house!
Husband loves to sleep whilst others watch TV. In fact I think he'd rather sleep on the sofa than in bed. He often naps with baby spread out on his chest like a frog and Little E curled up in the crook of his arm. Afternoon snoozing all round.
Linking up to #FamilyPhotoFriday with @oneformybaby12 and #theordinarymoments with @mummydaddyme
I am very excited to announce that Chicco have invited me to be one of their new 'tested for happiness' bloggers!
This week I can't stop eating. The baby has been constantly attached to me like a limpet and I have been working my way through our cupboards until they are bare. Breastfeeding apparently burns an additional 500 calories a day but I am definitely eating in excess of that increase. It wouldn't matter so much if I was eating healthy food but I'm craving sugar which they say is more addictive than crack. Cake, biscuits, chocolate, ice cream... I am literally stuffing my face.
It must be karma as I didn't really experience any cravings during my pregnancy apart from an increased desire for dairy products. First time round I ate a giant bar of Dairy Milk each day so I was feeling optimistic this pregnancy that the weight gain would be minimal. I didn't weigh myself at all during the pregnancy but if my clothes are anything to go by I put on a lot less.
When Little I hit 4weeks I decided that enough was enough. I wrote on the blog that I was starting a healthy eating regime. It lasted about a day before I found myself manically making apple crumble to satisfy the craving. Things have gotten noticeably worse this week and I even had to snack during a nightfeed, something I have never done before.
So I have formulated a new plan. My 6week check is on Tuesday and I am going to take the plunge and weigh myself. I'll stock up on fruit and healthy snacks so I have something to grab when a sugar craving hits in an attempt to break the cycle. Withdrawal here I come!
This post is linked to #WotW over at www.readingresidence.co.uk
Life with a newborn can be tough! This post features the products we are finding super helpful during the first few weeks:
OMG Little I is a sicky baby. She is possibly even worse than Little E was and that is saying something! We have to take a stack of muslins out with us and Husband and I seem to have over our shoulder at all times. I even woke up in bed wearing one.
As an alternative to muslins we have discovered the gorgeous fleese lined burp cloths from Clothies (£11 for 3) which are super absorbent and look really stylish in the changing bag. They are shaped perfectly for draping across the shoulder and the fleese side is so soft against baby's skin. www.clothies.co.uk
Back seat mirror
Driving with a newborn can be disconcerting because the design of rear facing car seats means you can't see what your baby is doing. This can easily be solved by a baby view mirror but you need to buy a good one. First time round we bought one which stuck on the rear window and kept falling off and crashing into baby. Not good.
We like the Diono easy view mirror (£12.99) which straps around your headrest. It pivots on a ball so you can get the perfect view of baby from any angle. www.uk.diono.com
My babies have always slept best at night in sleeping bags which keep them snuggly and warm all night. Most importantly make sure the bag is suitable size for your baby. Often the 0-6mth bags are actually too big for newborns as their head can fit through the neck hole potentially causing suffocation. So make sure your bag is small enough. The other factor to consider is tog. You don't want your baby to overheat. Generally speaking you want a 2.5tog for winter and a 1tog for summer. We found a 0.5tog bag for the height of summer which kept baby cool but helped her to feel secure at night.
If you are struggling to drop off to sleep yourself and find your mind racing with all the new emotions parenthood brings try a weighted blanket which can help you feel more secure and less anxious.
Nappy rash cream
Prevention is better than cure. This is definitely true with nappy rash. Urine is full of harsh chemicals including ammonia and baby's skin is a lot thinner than ours making it sensitive. We have been protecting Little I's bottom since she was born with new Sudocrem Care and Protect (£3.99 for 30g) which is a lotion to help prevent nappy rash. It is in a tube which makes it really handy for the changing bag.
She did develop a bad case of nappy rash after I ate a punnet of strawberries (yes, nappy rash can be caused by other factors including illness, food intolerance and teething) so we switched over to the standard Sudocrem in a tub which is thicker and used to treat cases of nappy rash. It is also antiseptic so helps prevent infection. Luckily this case of nappy rash cleared up within a week and I'll now be avoiding strawberries whilst breastfeeding! www.sudocrem.co.uk
Bedside co-sleeper cot
I am not a fan of co-sleeping. I am too paranoid about squashing baby and on the odd occasion my babies have come into bed with us I simply cannot sleep. With Little E we had a Moses basket next to the bed but the fact that I couldn't see her during the night meant I was forever sitting up to check on her. I knew I would struggle doing this after the C section so we invested in a bedside co sleeper cot which is basically a 3 sided cot which attaches to the side of your bed and raises to match your matress height. You can see your baby sleeping and have easy access to them but they are safe in their own area of bed. Perfect.
To buy a bedside cot in the UK is an expensive business with the average cot costing £200+ (ouch!). After some investigation we discovered that these cots are very common in Germany so we bought a brand new one on eBay direct from the German manufacturers for £80 including delivery. All we had to do was purchase a matress to fit the cot (£12.99 from Kiddicare) The cot comes with the fourth side so you can convert it to a standard crib if required.
To search for a bedside cot on eBay simply search for 'bedside cot'. Ours was from the seller oskar-design based in Germany who always has them available. Here is the current link: http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/231075562419?nav=SEARCH
Some of the products featured were sent for review purposes but all opinions are my own.
Drama this week. Little I had her first visit to A&E. Her big sister decided it was a good idea to stick something in her mouth. I couldn't tell for sure but it looked like one of Little E's metal hair slides. Little I gagged and I immediately went into panic mode and whipped her out of her bouncer chair. She didn't choke and I soon realised that either she had swallowed it straight down or it had come out of her mouth. Despite being asked repeatedly what she put in her mouth Little E was not forthcoming. She decided the best course of action was to repeat 'it was an accident' over and over again... That was her story and she was sticking to it.
I found a hairslide in the bouncer chair and rationally I could see the most likely scenario was that Little I had spat the clip out as I rushed to help her but I just couldn't shake the worry that maybe she had swallowed something despite not choking. I knew this was unlikely due to the size of her throat but a Mum in shock isn't always rational! So Husband took us to A&E. He was so calm and obviously wasn't concerned about the incident. He later informed me he took us to hospital to calm me down not because he was concerned. In fact he was so relaxed he fell asleep in the cubicle!
The hospital staff were wonderful and very reassuring that we had done the right thing bringing her in but agreed that is was very, very unlikely she had swallowed anything the size of a hair clip due to the size of her throat plus she was relaxed and feeding well. I felt immediately calm.
The upside of our A&E visit was getting Little I weighed and she tipped the scales at a whopping 9lb 9oz. No wonder my arm has been going numb during feeds! That is a weight gain of exactly 2lb in two weeks. We've had to go up to size 2 nappies already.
In other news this week, our GP diagnosed Little I with reflux explaining her sickness and trapped wind after feeds. We were given infant Gaviscon to thicken the milk in her stomach but this resulted in constipation which just made her even more unhappy. So after a few days we have decided not to continue with the Gaviscon and instead to try more regular winding and keeping her as upright as much as possible after feeds and raising the head of her bed at night.
She is getting so much stronger and is holding her head up much more. Her little arms and legs really get going when she is in a mood and she has begun pulling at my hair during feeding. Today my Dad was sure she smiled at him so Husband and I are now in a competition to get one.
Aside from hairclip-gate, Little E has been much better behaved. If we have visitors she tends to act up to get attention but overall we have seen an improvement and she is sleeping later using the Groclock (much to sceptic Husband's surprise) which is helping the sleep deprivation. Blackout curtains are arriving next week which should help even further as the mornings get lighter. Speaking of sleep Little I seems to think three hours is a good gap between feeds at night so if I time it right I am averaging 5-6hrs total most nights which is bearable. Saturday night was shocking with Husband and I barely sleeping but fingers crossed that was an anomaly.
Linking with the Share with Me blog hop over at MAD blog award finalist www.letstalkmommy.com
Our washing machine never stops. Before Little I was born we averaged two loads a day and I have been told once or twice that I am OCD about my laundry. I always sort washing into eleven different loads:
6. Little E colours
7. Little E whites
10. Football kit/sports gear
11. Jeans/denim inc. Little E's
I've always washed Little E's clothes separately for two reasons; I don't want the perfume, deodorant, hair gel etc from our clothes to pollute hers and it makes sorting the clean washing back into the right rooms so much easier. Now we have Little I she has her own load (mainly muslins and babygrows) which goes on every other day. So now we are in excess of 2 loads a day. As you can imagine we go through a fair amount of washing products! I'd say we are the perfect household to test out the Ecoegg range of laundry products.
The Ecoegg completes replaces normal washing detergent - no liquid or powder is required. You simply fill the egg with washing pellets which are scientifically proven to lift dirt and stains off your clothes as they bang against them during the washing cycle. You pop it in the drum with your clothes and let it do it's job. Don't overfill the machine as the egg needs room to work. You don't need to add fabric softener as the pellets soften clothes too but if you choose the fragrance free egg like me, you may wish to add fabric softener to give a nice smell to your laundry as the pellets do not fragrance the wash. Approximately every 50 washes you need to replace the washing pellets but they can easily be bought from Tesco or online.
We only use non-bio washing products because Little E and I have sensitive skin. The Ecoegg is fab because it doesn't contain chemicals so it is super sensitive and the fragrance free version is approved by the National Ezcema Society and Allergy UK. This means I am confident washing Little I's clothes with it. It is super cost effective too. I was sent the 720 wash pack which is approx 3yrs worth of washing for the normal household (2years if you are OCD like me). At £20 that makes it less than 3p a wash. And if that wasn't enough the laundry egg case is guaranteed for ten years! Huge financial saving plus you are helping the environment by using less packaging and expelling less chemical pollutants in the waste water.
What did we think? Well, mixed results. The lightly soiled clothes were cleaned really well and I was especially pleased with how our purple towels came up but it wasn't as effective on the whites or stained toddler/baby clothes. The whites looked dull after a couple of washes with the egg and really lost their brightness. The tough stains I pre-treated with the Ecoegg stain remover which uses minimal chemicals but often the stains (especially the exploded nappy vests) did not come out. When I repeated the wash with my usual detergent it worked.
So to sum up I will be using the egg on my general, coloured and dark washing but will be reverting to my usual non-bio detergent and stain remover for whites and stubborn stains. It will save us a lot of money as the majority of our washing will be cleaned with the egg.
One product I particularly liked are the Ecoegg detox tablets. They are clever little chaps. Because the Ecoegg doesn't use chemicals the smells from the build up in your machine aren't masked and you start to notice it more. One of these tablets cleans your machine for six months, ridding it of unpleasant odours. I really noticed a difference to my machine after using these.
The Ecoegg 720 wash pack, £20, Ecoegg stain remover, £3.99 and Ecoegg 6 detox tablets, £3.99 can be purchased from Tesco, Lakeland or online.
I was sent samples of the above products for review purposes but all opinions are my own.
Post contains affiliate links
This post is linked to the #TriedTested linky every Tuesday on twitter
Taking the babies out for their first walk in the pram is always special. It may seem a simple thing but when I had Little E my recovery was so slow it was months before I could push her in the pram relatively pain free. I was so upset that I couldn't join my NCT friends on buggy walks and I felt like a failure because taking your baby for a walk should be the most ordinary thing in the world but for me it was a struggle.
This week I felt strong enough to take my two girls for a little walk around the town. I can't say using the buggy board was the easiest thing to negotiate but it felt amazing to be out and about with them on my own for a bit. We also managed a walk to Grandad's round the corner with Little E in charge of her own dolly pram. This was slightly more challenging as she hasn't got the hand of steering yet and keep crashing into me or the grass verge. We did eventually make it there and Little I slept through the whole thing.
I can't wait until we can go out for proper walks and enjoy the coming summer.
Linking up to #theordinarymoments over at www.mummydaddyandmemakesthree.co.uk
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.