7 month baby update

It has been a rather stressful month – perhaps one of the most stressful of my life, when I come to think of it. Though – thankfully – it’s more administrative stress than anything unsolvable. I always think that health is the biggest priority, and we are all of us fit and well, bar a week-long incident for me with my wisdom tooth, so everything else has to be put into perspective.

I haven’t really gone into this on A Model Recommends, mainly because I haven’t had a moment to stop and write about it, but we are on the move. Not just a small move, either – a total relocation. We were supposed to be moving into Epping Forest, just a few miles away, to start on a new house project, but it fell through at the last minute. We decided (crazily, perhaps!) to still go through with our house sale, and so we find ourselves cast adrift, unable to find a short-term let and so moving to Somerset to rent a house from a friend.

7 month baby update

It’s all a bit emotional, because I have no idea where we will end up, and we have made great friends where we live now and have an amazing nanny, who has become part of the family, even if it is just for a couple of days a week. But I’m also quite excited. New chapters, and all that – perhaps living further from London will be absolute heaven. We might stumble across our idea of a rural idyll, we might go stir-crazy, we might hot-foot it back to the smoke as fast as you can say Relocation Relocation. But for now we are embracing the adventure. The fact that we are somewhat tied to London for work does keep crossing our minds, but in a pesky way that is easy to brush under the carpet. Ha! Commute? What commute? It’ll be easy!

But never mind the house stuff – what’s been going on with the little cherubs?

7 month baby update

Toddler

Angelica’s main news, now that she is two-and-two-months, is that she has almost conquered the potty training. I know I’ll jinx it by writing this, but she has started to go on her potty (or on the big toilet with her potty seat) in the morning when she wakes up and at night before bed. She’s not so keen to do it during the day – she knows when she should be on the potty and instead hides behind a chair and does it in her nappy. Always the same dining room chair – the poo poo chair, I’m going to name it. We’ve been using this potty from Bumbo* – it’s brilliant. A three-in-one affair, you can use it as a potty but also take the comfy rubber seat and pop that on the adult toilet (which Angelica prefers) and then, when all of the potty stuff is done and dusted, you can change the potty into a step so that they can stand at the sink and brush their teeth and so on. Shave. Pluck their ear hairs. Put their rollers in.

Angelica’s favourite game: hiding. She’s obsessed with it! “Play,” she says, “hide.” “Mummy hide. Daddy hide. Ready? Two…four…six…TEN!” I’ve never seen anyone play hide-and-seek so badly, but enjoy it so thoroughly. I mean, she doesn’t even close her eyes when we hide, so she knows exactly where we are, but the glee when she “finds” us! (My favourite thing to do is actually hide properly, behind the door or whatever, and do a big BOO when she comes in. Her feet leave the floor she jumps so high. “More, more!”)

7 month baby update

And we have sentences, now. Not particularly complex ones, but we can have conversations and make ourselves understood. There’s a lot of talk about animals, especially whole families of animals – “Daddy Giraffe? Mummy Giraffe? Babby Giraffe?” – and they are always going home, or going to sleep, or going on trains. Some of our chats are really quite bizarre! And sometimes, Angelica really surprises me by coming out with little phrases and ideas that she’s picked up from goodness knows where – I told her, the other night, that Daddy was already asleep in bed and she asked if we could go and wake him up by beep-beeping his nose! “Beep beep Daddy’s nose? Daddy awake?”

7 month baby update

God, sorry – it’s very boring listening to people bang on about their kids and which words they’re saying. Sometimes I put Angelica on the phone to “say hello” to Granny – my Mum must want to kill me! I’m there saying “tell Granny about the tractor!” and Angelica just hold the phone and says “tractor” and then stays silent until the next instruction. My Mum must be biting on her fists by the end of the call. Especially the ones that last for over half an hour. (Joke.)

Sidenote: I know every single episode of Peppa Pig. Test me. I reckon I could write out each episode word for word. I often finish people’s sentences with a sentence from Peppa Pig. It’s like an illness. Same with nursery rhymes – someone was telling me a tale of health-woe about their friend, and they said “he went to the doctor and the doctor said -“, and I jumped in with “no more monkeys jumping on the bed!” I swear I will have NO friends left by the time Angelica starts school.

7 month baby update

Baby

Baby Ted, ah, gorgeous, smiley little Baby Ted. What a mite. Or not – he eats like a horse. He’s on about three pouches a day already. And yes I measure his food in pouches, because that’s what I feed him. Ella’s Kitchen, Piccolo or Babease, at the moment. If our nanny is here, he gets lovingly steamed veg blitzed up and heated to a perfect, warm slush. If she’s not, out come the pouches. I bloody love them. All of the aforementioned brands seem to use great ingredients, and some of the flavour combinations are really unusual and exciting. (I use the term “exciting” pretty loosely, here, because it’s baby mush we’re talking about, but it’s a far cry from plain apple sauce.) Now look, before people go off on one about the pouches, the only downside I can see is that they are a pretty pricey way of feeding a baby, longterm. But I’m not planning on using them longterm – as soon as Ted can deal with chunks and hunks, he’ll be on what Angelica has, just mashed up a bit more. I just think that the pre-done mushes are so convenient – they’re well made, very smooth (my blender never seems to get anything that smooth!), completely portable and they don’t require any effort whatsoever.

7 month baby update

I’d like to use the excuse that I already have a toddler to deal with, I don’t have the time to be standing around steaming veg for ages and faffing with ice cube trays and the like, but the truth is that I did the same with Angelica. She was like an astronaut, the number of pouch-meals she used to eat! I bloody love pouches, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. All credit to the people who painstakingly home-cook every mouthful of baby purée, I’d quite like to be that sort of person, but I’m not. I’ll admit something else: I haven’t used an iron since 1997. Sue me.

clothes to breastfeed in

Me

Apart from being at my limits, stress-wise, I’m actually alright. Oh hold on, that’s not what I wrote in my notes for this post! Ha! WRITE ABOUT EFFECTS OF SEVERE SLEEP DEPRIVATION, it says.

OK, so in my state of severe sleep deprivation, I have in fact temporarily erased my state of sleep deprivation from my short-term memory. But yeah, it has been quite bad. Ted is in bed from about 7.30pm-6.30am, but on a typical night he will wake up at 10.30pm for a feed, then 1.30am, 4.30am, and up at 6.30am. It’s hardcore. Even though I feed him through a dreamy little haze, I still have to wake up and sit upright. (I’ve never really managed to get the hang of the lying-down breastfeed. It feels like trying to post a water balloon into a letterbox.)

I looked back over Angelica’s monthly updates, and it seems that she did go through a phase of waking a lot through the night, immediately before she began sleeping through. So I’m grasping onto that little shred of sleep-hope. When we move, Ted will go into his own little room, so I think that will make a difference. On the one hand, I absolutely love having him next to me, but on the other I do believe that he senses me and I probably feed him to readily. I pick him up at the first little whimper, because I’ve just become accustomed to doing that – I did the same with Angelica. It wasn’t until she was in a different room that I could block out the smaller noises and very soon the space between the feeds grew longer and longer.

7 month baby update

I very nearly stopped breastfeeding last week, by the way, because Ted kept clamping down on my nipples with his two bottom teeth. Angelica gave me a few nips (hoho) but stopped after I screamed each time – Ted seemed to be enjoying making me screech a little too much. It started to get to the point that I dreaded latching him on. But (fingers crossed) he seems to have calmed down now and hasn’t bitten me in a couple of days, so our little partnership may continue for a while longer. I did a year with Angelica and always said I wouldn’t mind doing the same for Ted, but I’m quite casual about the whole thing. I’m not going to beat myself up over it if Junior Hannibal Lecter can’t stop chomping on my flesh!

I’ve just done the before-bed feed, so must dash and get some sleep before the next one. No sense in sitting here at my computer when I could be having forty winks on my silk-encased pillow! (Got sent one of those silk slips, haven’t had a face-crease since! I will do a review on A Model Recommends.) I’m sure I’ve missed off loads of stuff, like Ted moving into a pushchair rather than a pram, and Angelica doing full-body cuddles with the cat, but I’d be here all night if I had to remember everything. Make sure you’re following my @uphillbaby account on Instagram to get little extra life snippets here and there…

 

Follow:

june baby and toddler favourites

Do not adjust your television sets: the title at the top of this page does indeed show that this video post should have been published in June. I’m afraid I have been feeling a little overwhelmed, recently, with regards to work – I constantly feel as though I’m chasing my tail, and the idea of a “work-life balance” is almost laughable. So apologies for being rather absent here on The Uphill; I have so many things I need to catch up on and there are dozens of posts in my drafts folder waiting to amuse/delight/bore you.

I’ll keep this intro short and sweet – here are the Mum, Toddler and Baby Favourites for June. I filmed the video at the St Martin’s Lane Hotel in London, hence the slightly odd lighting – the rooms there are bright white and quite stark (literally, designed by Starck) but with crazy lighting systems that change colour and what-not. You know when you just want to get into bed at a hotel and turn the bloody lights off? Not happening here. I cycled through at least four different “moods” before I reached the “total darkness” option. Anyway: cup of tea and hit play.

(Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored or paid-for post or advertorial.
Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Products are press samples unless otherwise stated in video or description and are provided with no obligation to review.)

Martian print GroBag at Mothercare: http://fave.co/2temlN4

Mothercare Plane Print Baby Stuff: http://fave.co/2uRDD4k

Sophie The Giraffe Teether: http://amzn.to/2tf0tkA

Kerikit Bag: https://kerikit.com/product/black-lea…

Weleda Calendula Nappy Cream: http://amzn.to/2teA9XG

Follow:

toddler and baby update diary

Wah – six whole months! The time is flying by far too fast. I keep finding myself getting very weepy every time Ted the baby does something remotely non-newborn-ish, like, er, growing a tooth. I don’t know whether it’s a hormonal thing, designed to keep us procreating, but every time I fold up a tiny sleepsuit to put it in the charity bag or the “keepsake drawer”, I go to absolute pieces.

Anyway, here’s what has been going on in our crazy, nappy-strewn household:

Toddler

Angelica is two-years-and-a-month old and is now babbling away, stringing together mini sentences and soaking up new words like a little language sponge. I watched a video of her from a month ago and I can’t believe how much more she is talking – it’s really quite astounding how her language develops from day to day. Yesterday she pointed out of the window and said “Justin’s black car!” which I thought was pretty good.

One thing that I’m sort of glad that I never did: obsess over those books and online features that tell you when your child “should” be hitting certain milestones, like walking and grasping spoons and doing basic algebra, etc. I mean, I think it’s important to know if there’s a potential problem with your baby – for example, if they’re not supporting their head properly or they don’t seem to be very responsive or interested in anything – but developmental issues aside, it seems pointless to worry about whether your baby is going to walk at ten months or eighteen months. I’ll admit that I did stress a bit about Angelica walking late, but babies seem to do exactly as babies please, so what’s the point in worrying?

I like to think that Angelica was reserving all her energy for developing her near-genius brain. HA!

toddler and baby update diary

The most brilliant thing about this talking business is that we can actually communicate effectively. If she wants toast, she can ask for toast. (In the “blue bowl” no less.) If she wants to go to soft play, she can tell us that. (Not that I have ever been to soft play – nanny Jodi gets that beautiful task. Hohoho. I’ve managed to get out of it every time, mainly because I’ve been looking after a newborn, but now that Ted is more portable and predictable, I still don’t go because I like to think that soft play is Jodi and Angelica’s “special thing” that they can do together. You’re welcome, Jodi, if you’re reading! I know how much you love going there…)

Angelica’s favourite thing at the moment (apart from chatting to her dolls and teddies in bed for about two hours before she drops off) is spinning. Spinning, and running in circles. I don’t know how she does it – it makes me want to be sick just watching. Oh, and she’s getting hair! Finally! It’s still so fine (and very blonde) but there’s almost enough to scrape into the world’s tiniest little ponytail on top of her head. Bam Bam style.

A word on potty training, because so many people have asked: a few months ago, we had a modicum of success with Angelica using a potty. Just two or three days when she called for the potty when she needed to go, sat on it, did her business and got back off without any fuss whatsoever. We were both pleased and surprised – she just seemed to get on with it, there were no accidents, we couldn’t believe our luck! Fast-forward to the present day and – despite many encouragements – there have been no more potty sessions. I have no idea what happened – she just point-blank refuses. I think that it may have been too early, but then she took to it so well, it seemed like a very natural progression. I have to be honest, I don’t really put much effort into potty training at the moment – I was intending to do it more when the weather was hot again, so that she could run around the garden without a nappy on – but the weather has been shocking. So. I’ll keep you updated.

Baby

Baby Ted, six months old. He’s getting chunkier, but I get the feeling he’ll be a slim, tall baby like Angelica was. Is. He does have little fat rolls on his legs (so tempting to bite them) but I couldn’t describe him as a chubby baby. Despite the fact that he feeds from me all the time. It’s incessant at the moment, which has led me to the paranoid thought that I might not be producing enough milk for him. I’m trying to really get on top of my expressing, to increase my supply as well as building up a little store of milk in the freezer. He finally took a bit of expressed milk from a bottle this week, which meant that I could do a few hours on my laptop working without interruption – breakthrough! I’m going to start solids this week too, seeing as though he’s six months – I know you can start weaning earlier, but to be quite honest I’d not even thought about it until this week! Ooops. What is it you start with again? Apple puree? Baby rice? I need to get organised. I think he’s definitely hungry for some extra food!

Oh, on the hungry thing – Ted has started to physically wrestle me when he’s hungry and wants to feed. It’s quite funny, though I shouldn’t laugh, because he’s obviously starving and upset when he does it. He has no tolerance for hunger – one minute he’s jabbering away with a smile on his face, the next he HAS TO EAT RIGHT NOW. He pulls at my top with his little fists and beats at my chest and it’s actually quite hard to grapple him so that I can undo my bra and release the mammaries!

toddler and baby update diary

Sleep-wise, things haven’t been ideal, but I remember that Angelica was the same at this age – there was a definite rough patch before she started sleeping through. It’s not that Ted cries a lot through the night, but he feeds at about 10pm, then 1am, then 4am, then he might wake up at 6am and not go back to sleep. Or (like last night) he might feed at 11pm, then 3am, but even with this nice spacing he will still be awake by 6am. Eight hour sleeps just feel like a total myth at the moment – I can’t remember how it feels to get a proper rest. Which leads me to talk about…

Me

I have reached peak fatigue, I think. It’s not that I can’t function, I just feel as though I can’t do anything except survive. I live for the nanny days (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) but when those days come along, I find that it’s still difficult to get motivated enough to do solid days of work. I just sort of lounge about piddling with admin jobs that don’t require much in the way of brain space, and then I eat lunch whilst staring at my to-do list, which contains monumental tasks such as “finish editing novel” and “completely re-vamp both websites”. I know: ridiculous. I’ve always been this way. Apart from in my mid-twenties when I was too busy getting drunk.

Oooh – one good thing though: in the last month, my stomach has sucked itself in by about (rough guess) an extra 40%! Really noticeable! It’s as though a pissed, partially-sighted plastic surgeon has come along in the night and given me a really, really, really badly executed tummy tuck. There’s still a pouch, it still has the texture of cottage cheese, but there’s definitely less of it. Hurrah! By lying flat on the bedroom floor and utilising a plastic shoehorn, I managed to actually squeeze into some pre-Ted jeans. For a laugh, I tried to pull on some pre-Angelica jeans but the thighs were having none of it – progress stopped around the knee area. Off to the charity shop they go!

Follow:

personalised baby kids gifts

I’m a total sucker for a bit of personalisation; whether it’s a suitcase with a fancy monogram or gold initials embossed on the front of a dainty little notebook, things just feel that much more special when they’ve got your name on them.

(Disclaimer: I don’t actually have a monogrammed suitcase, but it’s on the list.)

My fondness for personalised goods has only become more profound since having Angelica and Ted; it’s an absolute joy receiving a little fluffy toy, or a soft, knitted blanket and then realising that your baby’s name has been embroidered onto the teddy’s jumper or printed onto the fabric of the blanket. There’s something that feels really special about it – I suppose it’s the fact that the gift can only have been meant for one person, but also it’s just so nice seeing your baby’s name in print! I never tire of getting letters through the post addressed to Ted or Angelica, even if they are only ever from the NHS or the bank.

Since Angelica was born I’ve had some absolutely beautiful personalised presents from friends and family that have been ordered from My 1st Years. my1styears.com is an absolute treasure trove of personalised delights – everything from wooden ride-on aeroplanes to tiny high top trainers and gingham-trimmed robes, and things you’d never even think of personalising such as xylophones and jigsaw puzzles and pram liners.

personalised baby kids gifts

I’ve always felt a little surge of glee when one of their distinctive blue gift boxes peeks out from beneath the wrapping paper and so I was delighted when My First Years got in touch about doing a post on bedtime routines. What I didn’t tell them is that our “routine” consists of basically muddling through from 6pm until 7pm without anyone crying, but I’ve tried to give a realistic overview whilst giving some semblance of order to the proceedings.

personalised baby kids gifts

Ted isn’t really in a routine at all, yet, but I do try to put him to bed as soon as possible after Angelica goes down so that we get some peace in the evenings! I’d probably start getting him into bed earlier in an ideal world, but I don’t like to miss that lovely hour with Angelica when she has her milk and sits and cuddles.

So here we go: the bedtime routine.

personalised baby kids gifts

6pm: bath time, depending on what time dinner ended. We’re not great at sticking to a set time for meals and so sometimes things run over, sometimes bathtime doesn’t happen at all! Angelica has to be coaxed into the bath with various bribes as she’s not naturally a bath-lover – bubble-makers, coloured soaps and wind-up monkeys have been previously brought into play, but the current favourite things are the embroidered bath towel sets from My First Years.

Angelica calls them “Daddy towel, Mummy towel and Baby towel”. Baby towel is the flannel and is, in fact, just the right size for drying off her bath baby. (Bath baby has been specifically made for the bath but weirdly, fills up with so much water it ends up weighing about five thousand kilos. Trying to lift it out of the water is like trying to heave up the wreckage of the Titanic! Also, it has one weird, wonky eye which totally freaks me out.)

6.30pm: Angelica will usually have her milk in hand and be sitting down to watch a little bit of Peppa Pig or whatever. Our particular favourite is In The Night Garden for that crazy dancing session they all do. Angelica makes us get up and “do the dance”, so my husband and I try to let go of any dignity we thought we had left and we pretend to be Macca Pacca and Iggle Piggle. (What is this life?) Dancing is done either in pyjamas or pyjamas and dressing gown, depending on outside temperature.

personalised baby kids gifts

6.45pm: just before bed, a kind of “crazy moment” happens and Angelica has a burst of energy. Books get pulled from the shelves for us to read, the wooden rocking horse is suddenly mounted by a yee-hah-ing toddler, puzzles are tipped out over the rug… You may wonder what Ted is doing for all of this time, answer: chilling on his play mat and watching on with a look of mild disdain.

personalised baby kids gifts

7pm: bedtime. This is probably the only time that is actually set in stone – unless we’ve been out and dinner has been very late, but that’s really rare. Angelica likes to do a checklist of all of her dolls and teddies (she’s commandeered Ted’s personalised teddy as well as her own ballerina doll!) and then she has to say goodnight to lots of individual things, including her giant giraffe and the baby and the dog. We all get kisses, the light goes off and then I get started on Ted’s routine!

personalised baby kids gifts

Ted is far simpler, at the moment: I change him into a little sleepsuit and then feed him until he drifts off. He’s still exclusively breastfed, so no bottles to prepare or anything like that, but he does wake up at about 11pm, 2am and 5am (YAY) so, swings and roundabouts…

After both babies are asleep, I pour myself a litre of red wine into one of those massive joke wine glasses and then get into the bath to read magazines and stare at my perfectly manicured toenails. CORRECTION: this has never happened. After both babies are asleep, I open up my iPhone to-do list and get cracking on all of the work I needed to do during the day! No wine involved, as I’m up through the night like a jack-in-a-box, and I haven’t painted my toenails in around three months. (Just about to do them, actually, because writing this has reminded me that my feet look as though I’ve spent two years walking through a jungle with no shoes on.)

Sorry there are no particular words of wisdom when it comes to bedtime routine – I’m pretty sure most people just try and muddle on through too. Any tips or tricks or things you do that you think might be quirky or amusing? As always, answers on a virtual postcard and posted into the comments box, please!

personalised baby kids gifts

You can browse the wonderful things at My First Years by clicking here and you can shop the items in the photographs using the “shop the post” section below. You can choose different fonts and colours for most of the personalisations – I’ve honestly lost hours on there, creating various things for Angelica and Ted! At least they’ll never forget their names…

[show_shopthepost_widget id=”2762916″]

This post has been sponsored by My 1st Years.

Follow:

breast milk expressing

Just a little life update that I know you’ll find absolutely riveting: I’m back on the old “breastmilk expressing” regime. Which means that the (approximately) one spare hour that I get every day (between 9pm and 10pm) is spent connected to a wheezing, vibrating gadget having my nipple repeatedly sucked down a funnel. You might think that this sounds like a good night in (it takes all sorts) but it’s altogether a thankless task. I know from reading my previous posts that it gets better, but honestly: it’s like trying to collect unicorn’s tears.

I was in two minds as to whether I’d even bother expressing this time around – I only have two weeks or so until I start weaning Ted, and I did just think that I’d whack him some formula if I needed to be away from him for short periods of time. (The only reason I expressed with Angelica, and the same for Ted, is so that I could get out and about and do meetings in town without having to lug a baby with me.) But then I started getting Mum Guilt, because I breastfed Angelica for a year and I felt as though I should do the same for Ted (give me strength, the things we beat ourselves up over!) and before I knew what had happened, I found myself rooting about in the back of the utility room cupboards, trying to find the attachments for the breast pump.

Interesting note: I’m using the Medela again, because the Avent stopped working and I can’t find the other one that I reviewed. Both of those actually had much more comfy funnels (if funnels are what they are called) but the machinery part apparently couldn’t cope with my enthusiastic usage.

So I’ve expressed four “bottles” of milk now (truthfully, I’ve collected about four ounces in total!) and it all seems like such a faff. Sitting there like a cow in a milking parlour, the indignity of it all, the fact that you have to watch Game of Thrones with the annoying murmur of the breast pump constantly in the background. The fact that you have to sit unnaturally upright, or even tilted forward a bit, so that the milk doesn’t run down your body rather than into the bottle… Le sigh.

The most soul-destrying part is that Ted doesn’t even want to drink the milk out of the bottle! I know that this happened last time (read From Boob to Bottle: The Second Hurdle) but nothing prepares you for how ridiculously precious you are over your hard-won expressed milk. I carry it to the fridge like I’m in possession of the Elixir of Life. Even if I spill a drop onto my boob as I take the funnel (?) off, I’m disproportionately annoyed. I actually rolled a large drop from my skin back into the bottle yesterday, which is a new low in the “Ruth’s Bizarre Behaviour” books.

Anyway, I’ll keep you updated on my progress, boobs, bottles and all. Anyone else in the throes of milk-pumping boredom at the moment? Also, has anyone tried one of those crazy bras with holes cut out so that you can “wear” your breastpump and keep your hands free? Report back, please…

Things in the picture: Medela Swing Pump, here*, brilliant book on breastfeeding The Food of Love, here* and an unexpectedly delicious snack thing from Deliciously Ella. I found it mouldering in the back of the spice drawer and decided to snack on it. Risky, as I hadn’t even checked the sell-by date, but it seemed the sort of dense texture that would never go off…

Follow:

pregnancy products

I’ve been filming some videos with the very lovely (and highly amusing) Poppy Dinsey from poppyd.com. Poppy is pregnant with twins and so we thought we’d start off with our favourite pregnancy products to see how they differed. Mine (single pregnancy) are very much still fresh in my mind, mostly because I’m still using all of them, five months later; Poppy’s are obviously current and she has found some great things that I really wish I’d known about, including a pregnancy book that tells you all of the things you actually want to know rather than the samey-samey stuff that you tend to see time and time again.

I’ve posted both videos below, but please do subscribe to my channel as well as Poppy’s for more videos.

Ruth’s Pregnancy Favourites:

Poppy’s Pregnancy Favourites:

Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Products are press samples unless otherwise stated in video or description and are provided with no obligation to review.

My Pregnancy Favourites:

BabyMoov B Cushion: http://amzn.to/2sZmWVO

Burt’s Bees Mama Body Oil: http://amzn.to/2u6XLz9

M&S Massive Knickers: http://www.theuphill.com/maternity-kn…

Paige Verdugo Maternity Jeans: http://bit.ly/2s9RWQ7

Seraphine Leggings: http://www.seraphine.com/maternity-cl…

Follow:

toddler baby 5 month update

This is the very first time in just over two years that I’ve very nearly missed posting my baby update on the proper day. It used to be on the 17th of every month, now it’s on the 3rd (Ted was born on the 3rd February and it made more sense – at the time – to swap to then, seeing as though he’d be changing faster. Or so I thought!). It has become almost a compulsion that I must get my update published on the set day and so here I am, bleary-eyed, slightly tearful (one of those days) trying to get this written before the clock strikes midnight.

(What is wrong with me that I can’t put any sensible limits on myself with regards to work and all of the other stuff that I take on? It has got to stop. It’s almost at crisis point. I’ve reached peak fatigue!)

Let’s get started on the baby and toddler updates before I stop making sense – I’ve already typed the wrong birthday for Ted and edited it twice and written “tiddler” instead of “toddler”. Without further ado, then…

toddler baby 5 month update

Toddler

Almost as though a switch was flicked: we now have a two year old, a two year old with many mannerisms that wouldn’t seem out of place on a teenager. Eye rolls, hands on hips, cheeky retorts, screaming matches – what happened? Overnight? No longer does my baby want to sit with me (“no!” “there!”) and cuddles have to be worked for. Bribed, even. The wrong dolly brought down to breakfast spells disaster and woe betide anyone who tries to make her have her nappy changed if she isn’t fully on board with the idea. I shouldn’t start with this, really, because alongside the little – and infrequent – tantrums, we have the most joyful and characterful little person. And I can understand where the tantrums come from, because it must be frustrating being told what to do and when to do it, when you’ve only just started to learn how to be independent. You can walk, and you can open cupboard doors and you can play puzzles and work the TV remote (!) but so many of your plans are scuppered by the large people. Bastards!

Watch: A Day In The Life Video

I wasn’t prepared for just how fast toddlers learn and develop – every day there’s a new word, a new action, something mimicked or discovered. Today Angelica surprised me by counting to four! I have no idea whether that’s “good” or not, as I’ve still not read any books and we don’t go to many classes, but it impressed me! And we’ve got mini sentences going on – “no Doodle shoe!” which is what she says when Dexter the dog (Dexter Doodle) has a slipper, or “Mummy car home”, which is what she said after Tumble Tots when we got to the car park. Bravo, my little information sponge! Thank God you absorbed that particular information and not my road raging. “WHERE ARE YOUR INDICATORS YOU BLOODY MORON?!”

I’m guessing that’ll have to stop.

I always thought that I’d be a baby person and sort of “mourn” the baby stage once Angelica passed it by, but I have to say that I’m in love with the toddler phase, tantrums and all. I don’t want to sound like one of those sickeningly twee and positive people, but I think that the giant leaps in communication skills more than make up for any boundary-asserting tantrum sessions. I mean, they haven’t been that bad so far so maybe I’ll eat my words, but it’s amazing being able to finally converse – albeit in a stilted manner – with the being who has been my whole world for two years. It’s like we’ve made alien contact! It’s not as though we sit there discussing poetry –  it’s one or two word attempts at conversation, usually involving “squirrels” or “trees” or “poo poo” or “bears” – but it’s a start. And I get a disproportionate amount of joy from seeing Angelica suddenly work out how to stick a magnet to the washing machine or stack boxes in the right order or even find something funny in a cartoon she’s watching. To see that she’s understood and remembered something – it’s like witnessing the cogs in motion.

Oh man, am I becoming one of those gushing people? I hope not! I just find it all so fascinating and funny. I’ll shut up now.

toddler baby 5 month update

Baby

The baby is also conversing and counting to four. JOKE. He dribbles loads and smashes me in the face with his big head if I stand him up on my lap. Seriously, how many people must go to A&E with broken noses or shattered teeth as a result of babies head-butting them? If anyone has stats on that…baby-caused injuries. Ted is holding himself upright, but still needs support when he’s sitting. I reckon he’s almost there – just in time for six months, hopefully, and a spot of weaning. Is it me, or has that gone really, really fast? I still remember typing up the 39 week pregnancy post, a few days before I had him, and now he’s almost weaning! I’m still breastfeeding him exclusively and still haven’t managed to get around to expressing – I’m almost thinking that I’ll never get around to it. I want to, because I’ll get a bit more freedom to do stuff, but I don’t know whether I can cope with the whole pump and sterilising thing again. It was a major faff. Or maybe I’m just remembering the bad parts – I do recall getting a lot of satisfaction from watching the jets of milk shoot into the bottle. Maybe I’ll give it another go; I need some entertainment to get me through the evening.

Read the Four Month Update

Ted is sleeping from around 8pm until 6am, he wakes at 11pm for a feed and then at 2/3-ish (that one’s the killer session!) and then at around 6am for his wake-up feed. Six AM. That’s still classified as nighttime in my books. I try to stay asleep until about half past, but I can’t resist the little coos. Mind you, if he’s had a feed at 3/4am, there’s no way I’m getting up at 6 and so I stick on the sound of the vacuum cleaner on my iPhone and he normally drops off after ten minutes or so. I find it difficult to sleep through white noise, but if I turn it down low enough and shifty over to the other side of the bed…

Compare to Angelica’s Five Month Update

 

toddler baby 5 month update

Me

I’m going to whizz through my update, with a view to doing one in more detail on both mental and physical state. Nothing to worry about, that sounds ominous doesn’t it? I’m in tact. Just tired. Still got my Mini Magnum addiction and therefore gut, however if I breathe in I look like a sort of version of my old self, if a little blurred and soft around the edges! Boobs still massive, scar itches in the heat, hair is falling out, mind is sharp for some of the day and non-existent for the other part. If you want any kind of sensible interaction you have to catch me in the good bit, but who knows when that will be.. Usually after 8pm and before 11.30pm, which is when I do the lion’s share of my time-sensitive work. Admin is taken care of in the mornings, during Peppa Pig, and videos are done during the 11.30-1.30 nap-time. If Ted is asleep as well as Angelica. Now and then I have a nap too, if both are down – but it’s always the time the postman comes so it’s hard to relax.

Ooh err.

Right, midnight is almost upon us and I will turn into a pumpkin if I don’t get to bed. I haven’t even proof-read this, which is a first – I seem to recall that I’ve inserted a joke about the postman – so please do forgive any spelling or grammatical errors. I should really leave it as a draft and edit tomorrow when I’m not propping up my eyelids with matchsticks, but – as I said at the start (I think?) – I have a sort of superstition, or compulsion, when it comes to posting on the right day for the update. So here it is. Warts and all. Goodnight!

 

Follow:

ruth crilly baby blog the uphill

I have officially survived having “two under two”. For new readers, I had a new baby (Ted) nineteen months after having my first baby (Angelica) and so, for the past few months, (five to be exact), I’ve had two children under the age of two. I didn’t even know that “two under two” was a thing until people started banging on about it when I was pregnant; I’d certainly never considered that it would be a possibility. It took around six years for me to have a successful pregnancy and so being pregnant again so quickly was never something I’d prepared for!

The weird thing about “two under two” is that it’s so hyped up – or at least it seems to be – like it’s this crazy, mysterious phase that only certain people will experience. It’s true that having a newborn and a toddler – or older baby – at the same time presents some logistical challenges, but I’d imagine that having two or more children with any combination of possible age gaps presents certain logistical challenges. Older children get more jealous, perhaps, or maybe it’s slightly harder if they’re at school because you actually have to drag yourself out of bed (and get dressed, and get everyone into the car) to do the school run twice a day. I don’t know: tell me your experiences in the comments section!

Anyway, I thought I’d put together some ponderings on the matter, now that Angelica has turned two and I’m out of the proverbial woods. Not that anything automatically changes once the older one turns two – I actually think it is getting a bit easier, but mainly because Ted is more awake and is feeding less frequently and sleeping for longer periods. But here are my musings, with a couple of survival tips thrown in, in case you’re in the “two under two” boat. Or about to be. Or thinking of planning it that way. Nutter.

ruth crilly baby blog the uphill

The only way I can really describe having a newborn and a toddler is this: imagine you’re a head chef at two different restaurants in an incredibly expensive hotel. Three Michelin stars for one restaurant, one Michelin star for the other. (Not relevant, but I like to embellish my analogies with a bit of detail.)

One of these restaurants is an Asian Fusion restaurant – there’s lots of wok-frying going on, lots of naked flames setting fire to bits of expensive fish, lots of sharp knives preparing sashimi. This, my friends, is the toddler. Always in trouble, needs constant watching in case your credit card gets posted into the bottom of the sofa – danger danger!

The other restaurant, same hotel, is the one Michelin-starred Italian. The signature dish here is a very delicate lemon, parmesan and white asparagus risotto. It needs constant attention and love, lots of slow stirring. If you leave it for too long, it will all go terribly wrong. The rice will be hard, the sauce will burn, the asparagus tips will go soggy. The risotto is your new baby. Little rice baby in the snug little saucepan.

But how wonderful to be the celebrated head chef of TWO amazing restaurants! The reviewers love you, you have a big flash car to drive and a nice house. You don’t get any sleep (because, two restaurants) but that’s OK because you love what you do and it’s incredibly rewarding.

The one problem is that sometimes you’re the only chef at the hotel. You have to do it all. If your sous-chef is away, as he sometimes is, then you’re absolutely buggered. Half the world wants Asian Fusion, the other Italian. So you’re there flash-frying fresh tuna, but at the same time you’ve got twelve orders for risotto. And the restaurants – get this! – are at opposite ends of the hotel!

That, my friends, is two under two. You’ve got your wok and your risotto, and both need entirely different types of attention. Both are a million miles away, but you still have to perform and meet the expectations of your demanding customers. You can’t let the wok catch fire, and you would hate to leave the risotto, even for short periods of time, so you basically need to run around like a blue-arsed fly all day (and night) making sure it all gets the attention it needs.

ruth crilly baby blog the uphill

My advice for surviving as head chef? Hire as many kitchen porters as you possibly can and keep the menus small! By that I mean (in case you’ve forgotten we’re in analogy land) take as much help as you can find and don’t try to do too much. Just the basics.

And, lots and lots of stair gates. Zone off your areas. Create a series of holding pens for the one that’s walking/running. We have a gate in the corridor between the kitchen and the stairs, so that Angelica can’t even get anywhere near the stairs on her own – or the front door for that matter. We have a door to the utility that can be closed off, and then upstairs we have a lounge with doors coming off it, all of which remain closed for most of the day, and a gate at the top of the stairs. Zoning. It just makes life easier.

When Ted was a newborn, if and when I was on my own with both of them, I just lay on the sofa with Ted and had all of Angelica’s toys on the floor in the living room, and we could while away a few hours like that.

Read: What To Do When Your Baby Won’t Stop Crying..

The most difficult times were feeding times and bed times. I suppose that they’re the parts of the day when your toddler would be used to getting the most attention and then, suddenly, you’re there with your baps out and a newborn attached instead. And the thing is, is that if you try to not feed the newborn and deal with the toddler first, the newborn cries and the toddler gets distressed and you want to go and slam your own head between two paving slabs.

The health visitor told me, “always deal with the toddler first”, but I found that having a quiet, fed newborn meant that I could then concentrate fully on Angelica. If I had a screaming newborn, I was not only stressed, I could tell that Angelica was too. So I was a little more flexible with routine when Ted was newborn – if Angelica had to have twenty minutes of Peppa Pig before bed to let me feed the baby and quieten him down, then so be it. Same with feeding: a bit of CBeebies on the iPhone at the table did wonders now and then, if I desperately had to feed Ted but also supervise Angelica’s dinner.

What else? Oh! Don’t try to actually do anything. And don’t you dare feel inferior when you see others doing stuff. You know these people who go out to coffee shops all the time and Instagram it, and then they’re in the museum with the double buggy, before jetting off to Australia for a long weekend to eat mashed avocados? They’re lying. I can barely get out of the bloody door. It takes me three hours to negotiate dressing the toddler. I’m certain that a lot of people just photoshop themselves (plus double buggy) onto various backgrounds. “Here we are at the Eiffel Tower!” “Here we are wild foraging for our tea tonight – I do love a bit of the great outdoors before Baby Yoga!”

Sod. Off.

If you manage to get them both fed and dressed and you’re all happy and relatively sane by the end of the day, you’ve done good. Even if you don’t feel particularly happy or sane, you’ve still done good. Anything else is a total bonus. A cooked meal is verging on miraculous: a trip to Tesco to buy emergency nappies (hint: use that Amazon fast one-hour delivery thing instead, it’s amazing) is foolish but to be highly praised. Well done you.

ruth crilly baby blog the uphill

When Ted was just a few weeks old, I went back to work. I say “went back” but I work from home, so. Anyway, it was far too soon. I tried to do exactly what I had been doing before, at the same pace, and I think I almost gave myself a minor nervous breakdown. In the end, I realised that I needed to chop my expectations in half, in half again and then divide them by about twelve. My daily to-do list went from ten, fifteen items to ONE. One item per day. I’d put down a work goal (as small as “load images into computer”, which is a ten minute job) and then I’d also, if I could be arsed, write down a domestic sort of task. “Post letters” or – if leaving the house was too much effort – “sort baby clothes”. I liked things that I could do upstairs, in carpeted areas, with the baby on the floor and Angelica clarting about with her toys. And being able to tick things off my list, no matter how small, gave me great satisfaction. If I managed to do actual, proper work that wasn’t on my list, it just felt like the biggest achievement ever. So: reduce expectations, remember that what you’re doing – looking after TWO SMALL BEINGS – is already a massive amount of work. Anything on top is, quite frankly, heroic.

Oh, a note about dogs. Randomly. And cats, but mostly dogs. I bloody love my dog, he’s amazing. I’d be very sad if he wasn’t part of my life and he gives the best cuddles after the babies are in bed. Dexter the dog was in our lives before the babies and, at the time we got him, we didn’t know whether we’d ever be lucky enough to even have a baby. We were sort of at an all-time low about it. So along came Dexter and now, years later, he’s still great – he plays with Angelica, he’s gentle around Ted, he’s generally low-maintenance and gorgeous and we love him. However, he’s also basically an extra child. He needs attention, he needs walking, sometimes he throws up weird shit on the floor that Angelica then tries to pick up… He barks at odd things and wakes the baby, which makes me disproportionately cross, and he chews toys. All the time.

ruth crilly baby blog the uphill

So if you have one baby, and there’s a possibility – even a slight one – that you may have another in quick succession, DO NOT GET A DOG! I promise you’ll thank me when you’re trying to calm a screaming toddler and your newborn is projectiling over the floor and you think to yourself, oh my God, imagine if I had a dog! He’d totally be licking up that baby vom at the moment and then I’d have to let him outside for a poo and he’d pick up a dead blackbird and bring it into the house just as I was about to carry two small humans up the stairs in a possibly treacherous manner! 

Ha. Poor old Dex. He and Mr Bear the cat often look at me with great sadness in their eyes: “why is our home filled with chaos?” But they are so tolerant – I don’t know whether we just lucked out, or it’s the gentle nature of Cockapoos and British Shorthairs, or what. They are very much part of the gang, often joining in when things get heated and stressful – sometimes I’ll be preparing dinner and look down and there’ll be a cat around my ankles, the dog dancing about like some sort of demented court jester and Angelica running in circles with her dolly as baby Ted kicks off in his little high chair.

Read: A Day in my Life, Two Under Two…

I don’t think I’ve really been that useful here, have I? Survival tips for “two under two”: zoning off areas with stair gates, getting all the help you can possibly muster and smashing your high expectation levels into smithereens. Try to go to bed early, as naps are a thing of the past (they will rarely go to sleep at the same time in the day, and even if they do someone will phone you or knock on the door and you’ll want to kick them in the kneecaps very hard), cook double portions when you make things like pasta so that you have a quick and easy lunch for the next day. I often eat lunch straight from the fridge, standing there with a fork – it’s surprisingly peaceful – so things like pasta salads are ideal.

More tips? In the comments, if you please – and amusing anecdotal material is always welcome here.

 

Follow:

mum toddler and baby favourites

I’ve been doing a “monthly favourites” feature on A Model Recommends for years and years – it’s usually solely beauty products, but now and then a book creeps in, or a pair of shoes or something random. Recently I’ve found myself wanting to talk about more baby and toddler things, but it just didn’t feel quite right to bundle them in with beauty and so I’ve decided to do a dedicated Mum, Baby and Toddler Favourites feature here on The Uphill.

Here’s the first one – five exemplary things that caught my eye during the month of May. Enjoy, comment, share; the product links, if you don’t mind a spoiler, are below the video pane.

Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer.

Bloom and Blossom Baby Balm: http://bit.ly/2s2qUgY

Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns: http://tidd.ly/e978d678

Weleda Breastfeeding Tea: http://fave.co/2snTHd1

Bloom and Blossom Robe/Shorts: http://fave.co/2sz3Y5g

Eddie & Bee: https://www.eddieandbee.co.uk

Follow:

two under two vlog day in the life

I filmed this video months ago – Ted was only nine weeks old! – but forgot to edit the footage. So here it is, better late than never, a whole day in my life with “two under two”. Just in case you were curious to see what I get up to when I’m left toute seule with the babies. (Spoiler: feeding them and getting them up/down the stairs takes me pretty much the entire day.)

I’ve actually done an updated Day In My Life, so I’ll edit that as soon as I can – as you’ll know if you read the last Toddler/Baby Update, there are only two weeks to go until Angelica turns two, and then I will no longer have two under two. It’ll be two under three, I suppose, but it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

OK, here goes – cameo appearances from cat and dog to look forward too, as well as my exploding left tit.

 

Follow: