parenting

Oliver at 31 Months

Saying 31 months is ridiculous but effective in these circumstances. I guess I’m just trying to hold on to the baby stage for as long as I can, even though he is almost 3!

Time has passed so quickly, especially since Oliver turning 2 in April, it’s quite scary that in five months time I will have a 3 year old! I fear the years will slip away even more quickly from then, which absolutely terrifies me!

Let’s not get ahead of time though, here’s how Oliver is doing at 2.5 years old.

Oliver has slept from 7pm to 7am (sometimes longer!) since he was a few months old, we have been extremely lucky in that department. He was also napping during the day from 12pm-2pm – but the naps are officially dropped. He is still sleeping in his cot, we don’t intend to introduce his toddler bed (which Santa is bringing!) until after baby girl is born. Simply because it’s working well for us and he hasn’t yet tried to escape, so safety isn’t a concern.

I don’t want to jinx it but Oliver has always been a pretty good eater, not overly fussy, however of course this could change at any moment. His favourite foods include curry, pasta, mince, cucumber and peppers! He must be going through a growth spurt at the moment as all I ever seem to do is make snacks for him. I try to keep them as healthy as possible but I do give the odd treat. He’s also loving having a ‘picnic’ at the moment, we just chuck a throw down on our living room floor and have a picnic lunch together – great for a rainy day!

Oliver has been going to playgroup for a few weeks now and he is thoroughly enjoying it. He’s had a couple of sick days which then knocks him off the next time he goes and he does get a little teary when he realises mummy is going home. But when I pick him up he is beaming! He’s only going a Tuesday and Thursday morning from 9-11.45am but I think that’s long enough – for me ha!

He is still such an outdoorsy little guy, he absolutely loves being outside. The weather in Scotland has been freezing recently but we still get outside every day, even for a quick run around. He loves the swings at the park – once he’s in one, he’s not coming out!

Music and dancing is another of Oliver’s loves – we regularly have a boogie together. He’s not one for sitting in a circle singing songs at groups, but loves the radio and having a dance with his mumma!

At the moment he is obsessed with trains and cars, we very rarely leave the house without first stuffing some in his pockets. It seems all I do these days is put together train tracks and tidy them away over and over again – but he’s happy so it’s all good. He’s also still loving puzzles which is brilliant as it’s another activity we can do together and puzzles are top of his Christmas list this year.

His speech is coming on so much and some of the things he says is just hilarious. His personality shines through more and more each day and he’s just a total dream of a boy. Of course he has his moments just like the rest of us but as a whole he has a brilliant temperament. I can’t believe I have a 2.5 year old, that’s just crazy!!

x

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parenting, pregnancy, Uncategorized

Bringing Your Newborn Home

I’m thinking ahead this pregnancy so I can be as organised as I possibly can! It’s definitely different this time around with having a toddler to entertain, time isn’t as much of a luxury this pregnancy. So, I’m trying to tick as much off my baby-to-do-list as possible. Which got me thinking about bringing newborns home from hospital.

I’d like to think as I’ve brought a newborn home once before, I know what I’m talking about – sort of? I have definitely learned things from having Oliver and know what I’d do differently this time; so I thought I’d share them with you. These are just a few little things that I think make a huge difference when bringing a newborn home.

Wash & Organise Clothes –

For your newborn I would recommend washing all of their clothing and bedding. Once I washed everything I then organised Oliver’s wardrobe and drawers. I found it helpful to store outfits together, so a bodysuit and sleepsuit rolled together. It takes the stress out of changing as I could just grab and go, especially if I was dealing with a poo explosion in the middle of the night!

Batch Cook & Freeze –

This is something I didn’t do before I had Oliver, to be honest I didn’t even think about it. A family member as part of their gift brought round food for us which was a complete god send. This time around I will definitely be batch cooking and freezing meals, and also buying quick and easy foods I can store in the cupboard.

Pack Comfy Clothes –

Each to their own (and you should pack whatever you want!) but all I wanted after labour and birth was comfy clothing. I had packed a few tops for hospital which were quite tight and they really irritated me; mainly due to the ward being so warm. This time I’m making sure to pack baggier tops and bottoms for ultimate comfort. I will also be packing sleepsuits for baby as I find babies appreciate being comfortable too! It also makes life much easier when it comes to (multiple) changing. I was also discharged at 9pm with Oliver, so a ‘going home outfit’ would have been on him for about 20 minutes – useless!

Quick House Tidy –

Ask your partner or someone to give your house a quick once over before you arrive home with baby – it will make you feel less stressed walking into a tidy home. This time around I will be giving my house a deep clean near my due date (i love nesting!) and then making sure to keep on top of it over the following weeks.

Arrange Childcare –

We live about 10 minutes from the hospital, but our family stay at least an hour away. We need to think about whether we will chance waiting (I had a very quick labour last time), plan a home birth just incase (not 100% sold) or ask a family member to move in near my due date. Whatever you decide, make sure you have something sorted well in advance and it’s one less thing to worry about.

Sleeping & Changing Areas – 

With Oliver I found it helpful to keep our moses basket downstairs to use for naps in the day, and his cot in our bedroom. Keeping a stash of changing supplies both upstairs and downstairs really helped, it made life so much easier rather than running up and downstairs.

Formula

As I found with Oliver, some times breastfeeding just doesn’t go to plan. Scott had to make a late night dash to pick up some formula as we left hospital with an almost-exclusively formula-fed baby. This wasn’t our plan hence the late night ASDA trip but just incase you find yourself in the same boat, the readymade formula bottles are great for night feeds. It does work out quite expensive in the long-run but for those first couple of weeks they are ideal whilst finding your feet! Also make sure you have some sterilised bottles ready-to-go.

Car Seat & Blankets

Definitely fit your car seat before bringing your baby home. My hospital didn’t check our car seat was properly fitted and I’m not sure if many UK hospitals actually do this? So, to save faffing around make sure you know how to fit it securely! Also, keep a couple of blankets inside the car seat for bringing baby home. I had packed a lovely padded snowsuit for Oliver but it was far too thick to wear home. Luckily one of our visitors gifted a blanket which we were able to use! This time I will keeping a couple of blankets in the car seat.

x

lifestyle, parenting

Starting Playgroup and One Emotional Mummy

Oliver has been going to playgroup for two weeks now and I can talk about it a little more easily now. We had a few settling-in sessions together where I played along beside him for the first couple, and then I would go into a different room so he couldn’t see me – he didn’t even look for me once!

Of course as a parent you want your child to not be upset, I would hate for Oliver to be inconsolable when I drop him off in the morning’s; even if they calm down five minutes after the parent leaves. But he didn’t look for me ONCE! Joking aside, I am so, so proud of him. I hope he carries this confidence throughout his nursery, school and working, general life.

The playgroup itself was the only one that was a short enough distance to make it worth our while using, as Oliver attends two mornings a week from 9-11.45am. But as soon as I stepped inside and spoke with the staff and seen the other children interacting with them and giggling; I knew this was the place. Of course, if I didn’t get good feeling about the playgroup – he would not be going.

I know some people will think I’m crazy getting upset about Oliver being away from me for under 6 hours a week, but it really is a massive thing for me. He’s been by my side for his entire life so far, just about every single day, so it is a bit of a shock to the system. It’s also a massive change for Oliver being away from familiar family faces and socialising with strangers, lots of new faces and trying to build trust and relationships, and finding his “safe person” whilst he’s there.

Today I witnessed Oliver going up to his key worker and showing her the trains he wanted to play with and laughing with her and it completely melt my heart. I hope he builds a strong relationship with her and feels safe in her company.

His first day on his own went so well, I had a midwife appointment that morning so luckily Scott had taken the morning off to watch Oliver as we didn’t know when his first day would be. So, mum and dad got to see him off to playgroup. He did cry a little when he seen us leave, which did make me unbelievably guilty but by the time we got to the car the manager had knocked on the window and gave us a thumbs up to say he was completely fine – only 30 seconds later! When I picked him up he was grinning from ear to ear and sitting eating a snack with his little buddies and I was told he was non-stop all day. He’s taken a real liking to the house area, he’s known as the “cutlery thief” and makes lots of tea and chocolate cake (pine cones!).

I know deep down that this will benefit him in so many ways, development, confidence and social skills. I hope he meets a few friends – he’s growing up and it’s bloody scary!

x

parenting, Uncategorized

How Could I Bring My Child Into This World

The tragic incidents which affected and killed many in England recently, really struck a chord with me. One incident especially where children were targeted horrified me. How can you attack innocent children? What could they possibly have done to deserve that? And how could I bring my child into a world where things like that happen?

The increasing hatred in this world fills me anxiety for the future, my son’s future. Will there be more attacks? Will ‘they’ come to Edinburgh? Will attacks become the norm here? I pray they won’t.

The hatred attempts to divide us, our communities, we can’t and shouldn’t allow that to happen. If there’s anything I can teach my son, it’s inclusion and kindness. Include and be kind to everyone. We must remember these people are a very small minority and the world is a pretty big place. There’s a lot of good around.

Before having my son, I wouldn’t allow it to affect the way I live my life. But with a child thrown into the mix, I’ve felt that change slightly. The thought of putting Oliver in an unsafe situation unsettles me, but in the real world, how do I know what an unsafe situation is? Getting into my car and driving the same road daily, could potentially become an unsafe situation, who knows when and where hatred will strike.

The future is unknown, I have no way of controlling it and I refuse to allow such a tiny minority of brainwashed cowards to dictate how I should live my life; in fear or with reservations. With recent events in mind, the feeling of community is extremely overwhelming, showing solidarity and resilience to such terrible acts of violence. I hope humanity holds on to that.

I hope this world becomes a more positive place, I hope we manage to funnel out the extreme negativity, and although I will not shied the hatred when the time comes, I will do my best to show and have Oliver experience, the good. The beauty is there, sometimes you just need to look that little bit deeper.

My heart goes out to all those affected by the recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and London; and all over the world.

Natalie x

lifestyle, parenting

Fairy Trail Archerfield Walled Garden | North Berwick

One of our favourite things to do is explore the outdoors. Oliver loves being able to run free and collect treasures and at Archerfield Walled Garden, he can do just that.

The grounds and surrounding areas are beautifully kept, the cafe offers a lovely range of food and drinks and it won’t be difficult to pick something up from the deli and shop. You can enjoy sitting outside on the benches whilst your little ones play in the enclosed play area.

The trail leads you past several willow structures for kids and adults alike to explore and play. You can tie your ribbon, purchased from the shop, around the wishing tree on your way to the fairy trail.

The magic begins with a little red door for the children to enter and begin their search for fairies. Unfortunately, no fairies have been home whilst we’ve been there, but we’ll keep looking! As you follow the trail, you find out who lives behind each door and what their jobs are. Oliver gets so excited running up to open the fairy door to check if someone’s home. The magic and excitement of it all in his face is truly wonderful to see.

I would definitely a visit whether it’s to enjoy the fairy trail or a dog walk in the woods, there’s something for children and adults alike.

You can find more info here on the Archerfield Walled Garde website.

 

Natalie x

 

lifestyle, parenting

Briarlands Farm | Stirling

As fellow parents will understand, I spend a lot of time outdoors with my son Oliver and we are always on the search for new places to visit. We decided to meet up with friends at Briarlands Farm in Stirling, about an hours drive from our home in Edinburgh.

There are plenty activities to suit all ages and although we were there almost four hours, we didn’t see half of the park – but that’s the norm for us parents of toddlers! The farm boasts wide open space for kids to let off steam; jumping pillows; toddler trike tracks; sand pits; feeding the animals using feeding tubes and tractor/trailer rides amongst others. You can even meet some of the furry animals throughout the day.

Here’s some photos from the day:

Cred: @raimonda_days

Cred: @raimonda_days

Some activities and animal feed bags incur an additional charge (around £1 each), but with the low entrance fees you can’t complain. As Oliver is under three years and therefore free, I only paid one adult at £5.50!

We enjoyed a quick coffee and scone in the cafe whilst the boys played in the soft play. The cafe offers a soft play climbing frame as well as a large kids area filled with toys, play equipment and books. It’s free to play in the inside play areas – another perk. Oliver allowed me my full hot cup of coffee as he was having so much fun – result!

I would definitely recommend this farm to friends and it should go on your must-visit list.

We are always looking for new places to go, please leave your recommendations in the comments below!

Natalie x

 

lifestyle, parenting

My Priorities Have Changed

The second Oliver was placed in my arms, my life changed. My outlook, priorities, everything changed. I no longer wanted to rush into a career, all I wanted was to be a stay at home mum to my beautiful son.

Becoming a mum has most definitely given me a sense of purpose. I’ve been at home with Oliver for two years now and I’m honestly loving every minute of it – even the challenging parts. To me, there’s nothing in comparison to seeing first-hand your baby grow, achieve each milestone and experiencing new things together. Being at home with my child is extremely important to me and I’m so lucky to be in a position that enables me to do that.

My decision to stay at home attracted mostly positivity but I have had some negative comments along the way, mainly surrounding my future career. The way I see it is I’m only twenty-five, I will no doubt be working way past my seventies, probably eighties! so I have plenty time to find a career. For now my main priority is raising my child.

Every parent is different, some work some stay at home, we do what we feel is best for our family. I will never understand those who judge other parents decisions on the subject. How can my choice of staying at home to bring up my son be such a negative? From where I’m standing, there’s absolutely no negative.

Apologies for such a sporadic post, but I needed to vent. I’m interested to hear if anyone has encountered negativity with whatever decision you made; whether it be staying home or working. Us parents have a lot of guilt as it is, without other people adding to it. Do whatever works for you and your family, that’s all that should matter at the end of the day.

 N x