The potty training bond

So we reached the age of potty training slightly before our second child arrived. How did we know? Well my child told me when she needed the toilet and if she was naked would just take herself off to do it.

We didn’t really have a magic formula for it but there was an amazing book we read called “Oh crap potty training”. It brought some humour to it along with practical tips. What we found most helpful was:

– Give it your all. Don’t do it half heartedly. It won’t work. Your child will sense it and you’ll give up at the first hurdle.

– Be patient. It’s a hard skill to learn.

– Be relaxed. If you’re too uptight your child will sense it and probably have more accidents and be nervous. Don’t expect too much. They are only small and won’t always get it straight away.

– The more open your family are about their toilet habits the easier your child will find it. Thankfully this is quite easy in our house as I never go to the toilet alone anymore and Beatrice is always wanting to help mummy on the loo. Also they’ll very likely scream across the playground to you that they need a poo so I hope you’re not too shy.

– Find a potty that works for you out and about. We took our potty from home out once and after she insisted on carrying it in her arms I decided we needed something smaller, more discreet and easier to transport. Enter the ‘potette plus potty!’ It is small, compact and so easy to use. We don’t buy their bags to go on it. We just use compost bags that are a lot cheaper and do the job.

– And finally, make sure you have a good carpet cleaner or hardwood floors and don’t be too precious about your furniture.

Something I’ve also learnt is the bond it builds with your child. You really don’t know love until you’ve had to sit holding your child’s hands as they gaze lovingly into your eyes whilst trying to do a poo. It’s a rather unnerving experience particularly as they go red and the eye contact becomes more fixed but your love for your child gets you through it and it also brings a lot of humour into catch ups with your other half.

It’s a big step in your toddlers life and a fascinating and eye opening journey as a family, so strap in for the ride and enjoy.

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The kindness of strangers

This week we went away with my parents and brother to Wales for a wedding. Our first holiday as a family of four. It was lovely if you ignored the tantrums from our 2 and a half year old but I’ll put those down to her new brother.

We had a wonderful week with many happy memories and the wedding we were there for was beautiful. But 2 experiences we had whilst there have truly touched me.

With an 8 week old baby who I’m breastfeeding quite often I will have cold food as he wants feeding as my dinner is ready or won’t settle so needs a cuddle and a finger in his mouth. It is just one of those things, but whilst on holiday the kindness of 2 women truly touched me.

– At the wedding, the venue owner, a lovely lady called Joanne, came over and asked if she could hold him so I could eat (cue his very own photoshoot with the wedding photographer, sorry Sam and Dom). It meant I could enjoy some food whilst he was happily entertained.

– the second experience came on our final night in Wales. Ian and I had gone for a date night with baby in tow. Unfortunately he decided not to sleep through our meal and wanted feeding as our food arrived. Once he’d finished I was then left holding the baby with my finger in his mouth glaring at Ian hoping he would get the hint to hurry up eating his dinner so I could hand him the baby so I could eat mine. Before I’d had long enough to even think about being angry with Ian’s slow eating a lady sat on the table behind with her teenage children and husband tapped me on the shoulder and said “please tell me to go away if you want, but could I hold your baby so you can eat? I’m only sat here so you can see him still”. I was so surprised and although her teenagers were embarrassed I was so thankful.

To have someone who has been through it,who spots a new mum who may welcome an extra hand and then to be brave enough to ask if they can help was amazing. I understand handing your baby to a stranger may make some people nervous but I could see them the whole time and could see from their living children that they knew what they were doing.

Everyone’s heard the phrase ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ but not everyone has that village. If someone is brave enough to offer you help and you’re happy to accept then go for it. Whether it’s someone holding your baby so you can eat, someone packing your bags at the supermarket whilst you deal with your toddlers meltdown, rocking your baby in the pushchair whilst you try to pack your shopping or just giving you a sympathetic look and nod whilst your child screams in a restaurant. It’s these little things that make a huge difference.

For those with the children don’t be afraid to accept help. It doesn’t make you weak or a bad parent.

For those who see someone who could do with a hand don’t be afraid to offer your help. The worst that could happen is they’ll say no and the best thing is you’ll get baby cuddles.

Those strangers were kind and had a huge impact on my day. I only hope I can pass this kindness along to others when they need it.

“Take the time to be kind. You can make all the difference in someone’s life. -Lucy Macdonald

And now there were 4……

We’ve had a very busy month since I lost wrote on here. We welcomed a baby boy called Albert which has been a dream and a challenge. Who knew…..

Firstly I thought I was prepared for having 2 children but I was not prepared at all. I knew it would affect Beatrice but I hadn’t given it much thought about how. She loves him to bits and is so caring with him but sleep and mealtimes have taken a hit. I was also not prepared for the guilt I would feel for not being able to give her the attention she’s been used to.

Secondly I love the newborn phase as they just sleep and eat, give snuggles and stay where you put them, yet having an older child has meant this isn’t as ideal as I’d hoped. It means that as soon as he’s awake he wants feeding so I’m slightly tied up which makes play with the older one a lot harder. Particularly as he feeds a lot!

Thirdly I get nothing done which thankfully is not too bad as I’m not particularly precious about a spotless house or being on top of everything. I did have a go at cooking a meal from scratch this evening though and I can reliably inform you it was hard. I managed to burn the food to the bottom of the pan due to trying to feed a baby, play with a toddler and cook at the same time. Thankfully I was able to salvage the meal even if the husbands complaint was it had no meat in.

And finally what do you need when you’re already juggling everything?! It turns out a toddler with a fractured collarbone from falling out of bed. My next few weeks just got a whole lot more challenging.

Shoutout to all you parents who make this all look so effortless! I applaud you. Maybe by the time they’ve left home I’ll have figured it all out. It’s a lot harder than I imagined but I wouldn’t change a thing.

Being a mother………

Being a mother is one of the best things I’ve ever done but it’s also one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. You know that it will be tiring as you have a little human depending on you for everything but no one tells you how isolating and lonely it can be. I’m not writing this to complain as I’m aware I have been very blessed with my children (one 2 year old, one in heaven and one due next week).

As a young mum I’ve chosen that I want to be at home to look after my children until they are older as I don’t want to miss precious time with them but also I don’t see the point in spending my wage on childcare (I do one day a week as an agency neonatal nurse). But as a stay at home mum for the rest of the week it is completely a full time job but is often viewed as a job where you just laze around at home, so why haven’t you don’t the dishes or cleaned the house completely. Looking after a little person is exhausting, great fun, time consuming, and at times lonely and isolating. If you do not have friends who have children or don’t engage in groups you can often spend the day alone with only a toddler for conversation which is enough to drive anyone insane. I am so thankful for my friends and their children and the groups I attend as they keep me sane and give me adult company that I desperately need. We may never finish a conversation or have an uninterrupted chat but they are my lifeline.

As a stay at home mum you can also feel like you lose you’re identity. Suddenly you are just so and so’s mum and everything you were before seems like a distant memory. Doing my one day a week at work has helped keep me in touch with my identity as a nurse but at times I even forget this. Recently since starting the bible in a year I’ve been reminded as my identity of a daughter in Christ! This helps remind me of my purpose and that my current role as a mum is the most important one I can do as I shape minds of the future. There is no job more important that I can do at the moment and soon enough I will regain my identity as other than a mother when my children are grown and no longer need me as much.

So for you stay at home mums you are amazing and doing a brilliant job! For those who choose to work you are also amazing and doing a brilliant job! No matter how you choose to raise your kids you are wonderful.

Ch-ch-ch changes

It has been absolutely ages since of posted on here and in that time a lot of things have changed and continuing to.

We’re still working on the house and trying to get it sorted. Ian decided to get started on ripping out our fireplace so our front room currently looks like this:

Thankfully on Monday the guy who is coming to finish it all will start so only one more week of mess from that source. I can’t guarantee from the toddler though.

I’ve been busy making clothes for the little one and having a great time doing so all the while trying to manage in this glorious heat. We’ve got a huge change coming in August as we welcome an addition to the family. I’m almost 32 weeks pregnant and although very happy to be am finding the heat a bit much.

And finally something I’ve not mentioned much is the vegetable patch. It is going strong even with the hot weather. We have 7 foot sunflowers, tons of potatos and my pumpkins are loving the dry weather.

And thankfully we have a very willing helper in our 2 year old although she does tend to eat a lot of the crop before it even reaches our kitchen.