Baby, toddler

Rice, rice, baby.

About a week ago, a lovely friend of ours offered TJ a rice cake while we were at a baby group.

I say offered – TJ stared as she gave her daughter a little tasty treat so the mum must have felt obliged to extend her generosity.

I didn’t know what this was the start of.

Coinciding perfectly with TJ showing some typical toddler traits, he’s now got me feeding him rice cakes on demand.

At first, I thought it was great as they are (reasonably) healthy and a good finger food for him to practise biting and chewing with.

I quite enjoyed how I could magic up a rice cake snack for him and be rewarded with an excited wiggle and beaming smile.

That’s until TJ has started to point to the kitchen on a very regular basis. If I ignore him or try and distract him, a meltdown occurs.

On one such occasion when I ignored him, he wriggled out of my arms and (finger) walked with me to the kitchen cupboard where he knows they are kept and looked at me in expectation.

I tried to carry him away, but the tears and throwing himself backwards moves quickly came.

So I gave in, of course.

And now I know it’s all going to happen again, and again, and again.

Baby fat falls off when they start to move more right?!

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Mums, Parent

Nearly 365

November 1 and apparently now Halloween is over, we’re allowed to get into the Christmas spirit. Which means it’s nearly the end of another year (I am using a little artistic license here).

Sometimes, when the festive season approaches, I am blown away by how fast the year has gone.

Not today. Not this time.

Instead of feeling a little like an under-achiever, this year has been very different.

I’ve done loads!

I’ve raised a tiny little baby into a rather large toddler.

I’ve been to job interviews – one of which led to a change in career path.

I’ve blogged – both here and for the fabulous Kiki Blah Blah.

I’ve lost two and a half stone, fitting back into my pre-pregnancy jeans.

I’ve made new friends – but also lost contact with one or two as well.

I’ve nearly died when crawling into a Welsh waterfall (but that’s another story!)

Although we’re not quite ready to hear Big Ben lead us into 2017, I reckon I can tick a good few things off my 2016 to do list.

What about you?

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Motherhood, Parent

Dancing to your merry tune

Last night, in a bid for TJ to let us brush his tooth (singular), I found myself jumping around the bathroom with my toothbrush in my mouth whilst attempting to write and perform the “let’s brush our teeth” song.

It’s come to this.

It did work as a good form of distraction while TJ’s Dad wielded the baby brush. And I don’t blame TJ for wondering why we’re shoving a bit of plastic in his mouth (although he does it himself every 15 seconds).

But it’s a new level of parenthood when you realise your one-year-old has turned you into a performing monkey.

Ten minutes later, TJ’s Dad is skidding across our laminate floor in his socks. This, we have found, is the only way to keep TJ happy as I get him dressed for bed.

On the up side, I reckon I can count the “let’s brush our teeth” song as my daily exercise.

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Motherhood, toddler

The truth.

I never want to lie. I haven’t intentionally perpetuated any myths about parenthood. I’ve actually gone out of my way to be real about all of it.

But, just to be clear, here’s the facts.

Motherhood is hard.

I’ve just spent two days with TJ and they were much more tiring and testing than the prior two days in the office. I feel like applauding myself for getting through the 10 months of maternity leave if this is what it was always like.

Of course, it wasn’t always like this. TJ has changed, developed and grown both in size and personality. It’s easy to look back at those newborn days through rose-tinted glasses but I know that’s not the case – I’ve still got the bags under my eyes to prove it.

Yesterday, I willingly did a big food shop just for something to do.

I’ve also gone to two baby classes a day just to get out of the house as TJ is apparently bored at home. He loves other people and children and I’m prepared to indulge him in that to avoid meltdowns, to give us some fun time together and also to keep me sane.

During these outings, several people have commented on how happy my baby is. My stock answer is that he’s happiest when we are out of the house.

At home, the following are currently a battle:

Feeding – spoon feeding is off the menu for TJ so I’m ransacking Annabel Karmel for finger foods which my limited cooking skills and budget can take on.

Nappy changes: This particular battle starts around 7:30am, the first change of the day. This is usually a code brown, and I have to forcibly pin TJ down so I can clean him up.

Sleeping: as always. This one has never changed for us. Thank God TJ’s Dad usually looks after bedtime so it’s just those precious day naps which are the issue for me.

Leaving the house for a car ride or pram trip: This is when I also have to forcibly get TJ strapped in and endure a few tears from him before we can go on our way (usually to a baby class).

Moving around: TJ is constantly on the move – finger walking being his preferred mode of transportation. So, I spend my life crouching down to hold him upright by his wrists. I would hold his fingers (as the name suggests) but TJ has taken to carrying some random treasure around with him, like my shoes. Or a coaster. Or a toy which he doesn’t play with.
If he’s not walking, he’s desperately trying to crawl but then he just ends up frustrated, crying, face down on the floor, resting his face on his arms in a proper toddler tantrum style (which I thought he was too young for!)

That doesn’t leave much time for anything else does it? Well, yes it does. This I must remember.

It leaves time for cuddles, which he has learnt to climb into my lap for.

It leaves time for uncontrollable giggles when I tickle him by his ears or on his tummy.

It leaves time for how he insists on holding a bit of my hair when I give him his bottle whilst he’s sitting on my lap.

It leaves time for me to love TJ more than I thought possible.

Motherhood isn’t easy. Despite what TV, Instagram and all the rest of it make it look like through a good filter, it really is the hardest job in the world.

But would I change it? No. Well, I say this whilst TJ is snoozing. Ask me again at a nappy change.

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Motherhood, toddler

Stick a needle in me, I’m one.

I no longer have a baby – I have a toddler. TJ turned one yesterday and we celebrated with a trip to an aquarium. He spent the day showing some true toddler traits – both the good and the bad!

Today, he had his one-year-old injections. And he’s reverted back to baby. He’s been in my arms for the last two hours – tired but not sleeping but refusing to stop the cuddles. He’s being simply delicious.

The injections weren’t fun – he cried and I cried (and cursed myself afterwards for not being the strong grown-up parent he needed). His little chubby legs swelled up red and sore. He’s been clinging to a chunk of my hair all day.

I would never, ever not have TJ vaccinated. We’re incredibly lucky to have some fabulous medical care available and I simply can’t understand anti-vaxxer mentality.

But today has been hard. I know my baby (sorry, toddler) is suffering for short-term pain and long-term gain reasons.

And I know that an afternoon filled with only cuddles is pretty special.

I just wish I could still feel the arm he’s been resting his head on since 3pm (it’s now 5pm)

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Baby

Walk walk walk walk walk

When you all gon’?
Learn, learn, learn, learn, learn
He no care if I’m
Hurt, hurt, hurt, hurt, hurting

Rihanna may not have been singing about teaching a tiny person to walk – but she definitely could have done.

TJ has very much found his feet and the huge novelty of being able to stand (almost unsupported) and walk (while adorably holding my fingers) is showing no signs of wearing off any time soon.

It’s a pure delight to see TJ show such an active interest in the world around him and he’s clearly relishing his first small taste of independence.

But it’s quite literally back breaking work. Stooping to hold his tiny little hands while he toddles along is likely to end up with me needing to see a chiropractor.

I tried some of those kiddie reins but he won’t go for them – yet. I’ve tried getting TJs dad to share the workload – TJ won’t have it. I’m his cruising companion and no one else – yet (hopefully)

I’m not knocking it as it’s a joy which touches every part of me seeing him develop in this way.

And it won’t be long before he’s running around without the need for my physical support. So I’ll cherish it while it lasts.

I may just need to book myself in for a massage first.

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Baby, Parent

Rock a bye toddler

Not another one. Please not another one. Just when we thought we had got through the worst of the sleep-related battles, another regression appears to have come along.

TJ is nearly a year old, which according to Google, is a common age for them to decide sleep isn’t for them. Again.

It had been going so well. A reliable 90 ish minute cot nap in the morning, and another nap of varying length in the afternoon. He was sleeping at nursery. And sleeping at night.

Something has to give – and it’s the day naps at home.

I think someone at nursery – a kid from an older group – whispered to TJ “hey, you know you don’t have to do this napping stuff”. And TJ relished the thought.

This has resulted in three days (and counting) of battles for morning naps and a regular-as-clockwork 30 minute wake up with a will he/won’t he go back to sleep few minutes of tension thrown in for good measure.

I’m going to keep going as TJ may feel like he doesn’t need the break – but I sure do.

In years to come, I’ll laugh at this even being considered an issue. Probably.

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