nomi highchair

*UPDATE: the winner of this giveaway has been announced (as promised!) on the Nomi social media platforms. Their Facebook page is here.

Well this is rather good news: I have an amazing Nomi Highchair to give away to one UK reader! You’ll remember from my Nomi review post that New Baby Ted is virtually glued to his Nomi when we’re in the kitchen – it keeps him high up and out of the way of the dog, the cat and Angelica the toddler. And as well as being infinitely practical, it looks so stylish: a smooth, curved stem and ergonomic seat.

nomi highchair

And I have one to give away.

Rather than the newborn set-up shown in my review post, I’m giving away the version that suits all babies, toddlers and children from 6 months until around twelve years of age, pictured above. (It seemed a bit limiting to give away something that could only be used by newborns – though if you win, and have a newborn, definitely get the baby addition, it’s brilliant!) So the winner will receive the curvy wooden stem and seat, the extra part that restrains babies and toddlers, the harness and the tray.

nomi highchair

This prize is worth a minimum of a whopping £320, depending on how the winner decides to customise their prize. Oh, did I not mention that bit? The winner can customise their chair, choosing from any of the woods for the stem (including premium woods), any of the plastics for the seat and one of four tray colours!

All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is leave a comment in the comments section below. Make sure that your entry is in before 12 noon on Wednesday the 17th May 2017 – the winner will be announced on the Nomi UK Facebook and Twitter accounts. Please make sure to leave your email address in the comments form where prompted so that you can be contacted. Full T&Cs here – good luck, may the force be with you, etc…

Many many thanks to Nomi UK for this generous prize – their website is here if you’d like to find out more about the Nomi.

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newborn baby

I’ll start by saying that this isn’t a post about potential causes of manic crying episodes in newborn babies – I honestly don’t have a clue what sets them off and, on a more serious note, if you think that there’s actually something wrong with them then always seek medical advice. Better to be safe than sorry, I say – I took Angelica to A&E when she was tiny because she cried for about eight hours, on and off; there was absolutely nothing wrong with her but I was glad I checked. And she slept for about six hours after the car journey, so…silver linings and all that. You get to know your baby’s usual cry, I think, and their little periods when they’re unsettled – anything out of the ordinary tends to be quite noticeable.

So anyway, yes, this post is more about things I do during those niggly hours when the baby cries for ages. Usually in between short periods of frenzied, spluttering feeding, so that you both start to lose your cool with one another. The “fussy” hours. Angelica had them every evening from around 5pm until 11pm when she was a newborn; Ted has actually been much better, and his crazy evening sessions only lasted for a few weeks. Whether that’s because I started following my little routines (see below) or just luck, I have no idea.

Here’s what I do (did) during crazy-frenzy crying sessions – once illness, trapped wind and hunger have been ruled out:

Change Nappy

Sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many times this has worked for me, and also surprised at how many times it needed changing but I had totally forgotten to do it. I don’t know whether newborns are really old enough to know when their nappy needs changing, but they must know “discomfort” and so changing a wet nappy can’t ever be a bad thing. Maybe it’s the change in sensation and position, too, but Ted loves having his nappy changed and it usually seems to calm him right down if he’s in a tizz.

Take off a Layer, Skin to Skin

They bang on about this all the time when you’re pregnant, don’t they? “Don’t forget skin to skin in your birth plan!” Nothing complicated here, it’s just letting the baby feel your skin against theirs. Because it doesn’t really happen naturally, that often, during a usual day – normally one or both of you will be dressed, at least partially. So if they won’t stop ranting and raving then try holding them against you wearing just a nappy (them, not you, ha!) and see if they quieten down.

Pass the Baby to Someone Else

Ah, this is the best one in my opinion. When you’ve been shushing and rocking a baby for an hour and you’re ready to poke out your own eardrums with a hot, sharp kebab skewer, passing the baby to Someone Else (someone you know, obviously, not just a random person who’s passing the house) is possibly the definition of Absolute Bliss. And, as well as being sanity-saving, it is often quite effective, for some reason, at suddenly making the baby fall asleep. Maybe it’s because they sense how fraught we are with nerves and frustration, or maybe it’s the change of rhythm. Who knows. Who cares. Pass that baby over. And if you can’t pass the baby to someone else then..

Take a Few Minutes Out

Place the baby in the crib, safely, and then walk away. Shut the door, have a tea or a glass of water, or – as I have been known to do on occasion – a Magnum ice cream. Stretch your legs and arms. Remind yourself that the crying won’t last forever. I think that it is so important to step away from the baby when you’re starting to lose your cool. I think that a crying baby could make you lose your sanity if you sat there for too long, so if there’s nobody to help out then you have to help yourself and that means giving yourself a break. I felt so guilty with Angelica if I ever needed to just get away for a few minutes, but better to do that than sit there shaking with frustration and (can I say this?) anger. Just a brief period of near-silence is very rejuvenating and gives you the will to go on. I often find, too, that the baby is asleep on my return!

Nil By Mouth

I made the mistake with Angelica of thinking that she was desperately hungry, during those long and irritable hours. I’d try and make her feed when she was red-faced and screaming, and she’d claw at my chest with her sharp nails and my nipples would get sore and we’d both just be ridiculously cross. What I didn’t realise was that she wouldn’t feed when she was crying like that, but also, she wasn’t actually that hungry. I’d be trying to get her to eat, but she was overtired and wanted to sleep – as soon as my husband rocked her then she’d be out like a light within minutes and wouldn’t wake for a feed for ages! So if feeding isn’t working, then forget it and switch to “helping them to sleep” mode. Rocking, bouncing and any of the below…

Change of Scenery

If you’re stuck in the dimly-lit bedroom like some sort of horror movie Grandma then get out of the bed, stand up and move to a different room. Hard when you’re knackered, but it’s actually quite re-invigorating! If you’ve been trying to watch Netflix on the sofa and the baby is getting crosser and crosser, then try climbing into bed. A new room, a new position, a new movement – all of these things seemed to work wonders on both Ted and Angelica. I can be trying for ages to calm Ted down, but as soon as he’s flat in the pram – hey presto. I think there’s only one rule here, and that’s to keep trying something new. It also stops you from dying of boredom. And if you’re pushing a pram about in the kitchen rather than stuck in the bedroom, you can make yourself a cup of tea, eat a slice of cake and chat to the dog/cat/fish/hamster.

I Like to Move It, Move It

OK, so lunges are the last thing you want to think about when you’re trying to comfort a shrill-screaming red-faced bundle of joy, but if you’ve got to shush and rock and bounce the baby anyway, why not fit in a bit of exercise? Tell me to fcuk off, but I did a few lunges last week whilst getting Ted to sleep (whilst also watching Broadchurch on the big telly) and they were quite satisfying. It gave me a focus to my baby-bouncing and the movement seemed to send him off. I only did twenty before my left knee gave out (have I ever told you about my crap joints? It’s like I’m held together with pipe-cleaners) but it was twenty more than I’ve done for about two years, and I did feel proud of myself for getting a bit of fitness in.. Take it or leave it, this one – I’ll forgive you for rolling your eyes!

I Drove All Night

I’ve written about the miracle of car journeys before (here), but if you can manage it and you’re not so tired that it’s dangerous then a quick trip in the motor can soothe the most fractious of babies. Obviously if someone else can do it then LET THEM DO IT! I tried to do so much myself with Angelica, I had it in my head that she would somehow self-combust if I wasn’t with her 24/7, but if they’re in the car seat then you can’t feed them anyway, so delegate, let them go off on a drive and get some sleep.

Right, I must be off – the baby is crying. Oh, the irony! At least I have a Dominos pizza en route… As always, please do add your own hints and tips in the comments section below.

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ruth crilly and family

Sometimes, as I write these updates, I think to myself my kids are going to absolutely hate me when they’re older, for sharing these things! But you’ve got to hate your parents for something, so here we go: Angelica did her first poo on the potty yesterday! To be fair, I can’t take any credit for it at all because it’s actually Jodi the nanny who has been encouraging the potty thing. (We have her for two days a week, and in that time she basically manages to do everything that we are totally useless at. She’s amazing.)

Anyway, yeah – poo on the potty. I don’t really think she realised what had happened, and she looked pretty disgusted at the poo itself (don’t blame her: it was massive) but it’s a good start. We’re intending on embarking on Potty Training Proper when the sun comes out and we can let Angelica run around the garden with no nappy on. I know this is terrible, but the carpet in our house was the last roll of that particular carpet ever produced (it’s like a gold-flecked shag pile, very seventies!) and we don’t want turds all over it. So garden-based potty training it is.

What else has been happening? Let’s find out!

newborn and toddler

Toddler

Angelica, now 22.5 months, is now really pretty enamoured with her little brother – “babby”. If he’s on my lap then she wants him to be on her lap, if he’s on the floor on his mat then she surrounds him with “gifts” and/or tries to insert various things into his ears/eyes/nose/mouth. So she has to be watched at all times, but it’s fun. Having two under two is hard, but I can see how it’ll get easier once he’s a bit older. I can already see how she wants to teach him things, even though she doesn’t really know much herself! Though her growing knowledge and understanding is a constant source of wonder to me – she’s like a little information sponge, soaking it all in. You can almost see the cogs turning.

New words? Table (babble), apple (babble!), balloon, mole (don’t ask), fruit, juice, hat, Doodle… Had she learnt dolly last time? I can’t remember! Airplane, car, walk, spider (sort of), poo poo. She says poo poo a LOT. And she watches absolutely everything – nothing escapes her beady eye. Try to eat a naughty chocolate in the utility room with the door shut and she literally sees it through the wall. Superbaby. She also puts breast pads down her top, trying to copy me, and shushes the baby and pats him on the back in exactly the same way that I do! So funny. It’s hard work, but I get so many genuine laughs throughout the day – really gleeful, silly times that make me feel about ten – that I sort of forget that it’s hard work. Admittedly, at about four I’m starting to think about bedtime…

The routine is: 7.30am wakeup, but my husband usually does this part and I wake up with Ted, as he’s still feeding through the night. Milk, then breakfast at about 8.30am, then snack at 11.30am and nap. She naps for between 1 and 2 hours, which is simply marvellous! Lunch, dinner at about 5.30pm, milk at 6.30pm and then bed at 7. If this routine could just stick for another couple of years then that would be great thank you very much indeed.

ruth crilly and family

Baby

The baby has no routine whatsoever, so thank God that Angelica has one! It’d be chaos otherwise. He sleeps for a solid five or six hours, though, from about 8pm until 2am and then has a feed at 2 and another at around 5am before waking up properly at around 8am. The rest of the day – who knows? Sometimes he’s awake for a few hours at a time, other times he naps through until around lunchtime…we just play it by ear. He’s always been a fast feeder, around ten minutes maximum, but now and then he does a good half hour. With Angelica I used to sit for hours and hours and she’d just keep on going – Ted is more to-the-point! He’s also very good at just settling back to sleep, now – not like the early weeks when he required all of the burping and comforting. That seems like years ago already. Funny how the time flies.

Ted has started to really interact now, with smiles and gurgles and lots of kicking and arm waving. It’s all very cute and I’m properly in love with him – it’s a joy to wake up and have his little eyes staring out at me from the Snuzpod! He’s really quickly grown out of all of his 0-3 month clothes – they are way, way too small, so I need to get my act together and order some new bits. I’ve found that Frugi come up quite large, so I have a few sleepsuits to tide me over, and I bought some amazing Peter Rabbit stuff from Mothercare last week, so I’ll crack that out now that he’s big enough.

What else? Vaccinations done (minimal crying, thank goodness) and feeding seems to be going well, though I need to go and do a weigh-in as I haven’t done that since week six! I could just do it on the bathroom scales, but it’s quite nice to go and see the health visitor, I always think – we lucked out with ours, Dorothea, she loves a good chat and is infinitely sensible and open-minded.

ruth crilly and family

Me

I’ve been very fortunate, so far, that my husband has been at home for quite a lot of the time since Ted’s birth. Or, actually, I should re-phrase that: luckily, his work days have coincided with the days we have our nanny! So I haven’t often had both baby and toddler on my own. I have to say that the times I have, it’s been pretty full-on. Not “lose your mind and start drinking gin” full-on, but I can see how that happens… Just getting everyone up the stairs is a mission! Don’t even start me off on car journeys. Things are additionally complicated by the fact that we also have a dog and a cat, so it’s like some sort of strategy game trying to work out who can be left alone with what. Basically, nobody can be left alone together apart from the dog and the cat, and even that’s debatable!

I feel as though I’m doing okay, though – I’m learning to just take each day as it happens and not have ridiculously high expectations of myself. At first, I tried to WORK in the spare moments that they were napping or when Angelica was occupied, but I soon realised that it was madness to try and do too much. And at any rate, two under two requires total concentration. Otherwise you turn around and there’s a wooden salami poking out of your newborn’s ear, or your toddler is trying to straddle him, making horse sounds.

I’m starting to feel as though I really want to do some exercise, so that’s on my list of important things – even if it’s just a few moves in front of a fitness DVD in the living room. My body feels as though it has lost it’s stuffing. Or actually, it has plenty of stuffing, but none of whatever it would be that holds the stuffing together. I’m about 67% Magnum, 33% cheese and onion quiche. Something has to be done that doesn’t involve cutting down on my treats! Ha. I’ll let you know how I get on. Maybe I’ll do a little fitness series. The other day I was lying on my side, and the raised hip caught my eye. Ooh! I thought. My tummy is totally flat and smooth! I was so pleased, until I realised that the entire midriff was actually pooled like a big flesh puddle on the mattress. It’s as though it’s entirely separate to my person – it needs its own little tote bag to be carried about in. Like a pac-a-mac. How the hell do you exercise that away? Answers on a postcard…

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