Toddler, Baby and Me: The Thirteen Month Update

toddler and baby update

I must stop writing these updates at the last minute – although, why change what is now such an established habit? I think that the majority of the monthly updates I’ve written (and I’ve done one a month, without fail, since July 2015) have been hurriedly typed at a minute to midnight, cold sweat trickling down my back and my fingers flying furiously over the laptop keyboard. Tonight I have started at nine pm, but only because I want to finish a Netflix series I’m watching (Manhunt: UniBomber, or something) and I can’t fully relax knowing this needs to be done!

Actually I started at eight, but I got distracted listening to John Martyn songs on Youtube. I had never (shamefully) heard of John Martyn, but my Dad died recently and both my sister and uncle were saying how eternally grateful they would be that my Dad had introduced them to him. This song in particular has had me in floods of tears – isn’t music such a powerful thing?

And so my Dad has gone – although the coroner has been very slow so we’ve had no funeral yet – but life otherwise has strangely and sadly and slowly been moving on without him. Babies have been growing up, snow has been bringing the country to a halt and we have been on the same wheel of breakfast-lunch-nap-Sainsburys-playtime-Frozen-dinner-Magnum-Netflix-bed that we’ve been on for months. I have the odd debilitating stab of grief, but have been trying to keep it deep down for the moment, until I can say a proper goodbye and allow my heart to – probably completely – break.

But enough of sadness for now. What has been going on in the (totally oblivious to grief) lives of little Angelica and Ted? I’ll tell you!

toddler update


Angelica (2 years and 8 months) has taken to demanding we act out little roles all day. I’m going to write a separate post on this, but the demands on my theatrical skills are both relentless and unrealistic. “Be wizard! Be dragon! Be Mr Tumble! Be DADDY!” The characters I am forced to play are often quite abstract – “BE PROPELLER!” – but it keeps me on my toes.

The other thing that Angelica has started to do, which requires far less of me, is sing songs. She likes Wind the Bobbin UpRow Row Row Your Boat and Let It Go from Frozen, which we have to watch on a daily basis. (“Be Sven! Be Elsa! Be Olaf! BE ICICLE MUMMY!”) I love listening to her monitor crackle on when she’s in bed and knowing that she’s having a little sing-song to herself – she’s quite tuneful really, although she gets a bit shy when I ask her to sing for someone else. God, I’m a pushy Mum! I’m one of those mums I used to hate! “Darling, do the song from Annie for our guests. Go on! No, do it properly – you’re not hitting the high notes!”

On the down side, Angelica has had a terrible little skin rash that won’t go away. It’s pretty much all over, so I think it’s either dermatitis or eczema, but the nurse at the GP’s didn’t know and wouldn’t refer to a dermatologist or even a doctor (“all kids get something and it’s not infected”) so we’ve had to try and eliminate possible causes one by one until the private dermatologist appointment. So far, we’ve changed washing detergent to Surcare, cut out all cow’s milk products including yoghurt, cheese and milk (swapped for goat’s), cut out tomatoes, cut out potatoes and now we’re going to see if it might be citrus fruit. It’s both frustrating and boring, not least for Angelica who has been slathered in a load of different creams (Cerave seems to be the best so far – better than the one given by the nurse at any rate) and deprived of her favourite pasta sauce! But not long to go until the appointment, so hopefully we’ll know more then.

Potty training is almost complete (she says!); we changed Angelica from nappies to “big girl knickers” and she has done quite well for the past three days, with only three accidents. The first accident she hid in the shower for, which I was rather pleased about! Very convenient. No poo accidents, just wees so I do think we’re almost there. To be honest, we should have made the leap to knickers around six months ago, but what with moving and everything, there just never seemed a good time. I have to say that the Bumbo potty has been absolutely brilliant – the seat that swaps from potty to toilet is so foamy and cushiony, and the base of the potty becomes a step for the toddler to climb onto the toilet. Very clever. You can find it online here – it’s £39.99, which is pricey for a potty, but the step is excellent so you can use it for years and years.

baby and toddler update

Oh, one more thing before Ted – Angelica has suddenly become very interested and loving towards Baby Ted. I think because he can react and interact, he has become an adequate plaything. He copies her, coos at her and (much to her annoyance) destroys her brick towers just when she’s built them. Ted sometimes seems a little wary of Angelica’s ever-growing enthusiasm towards him. Sometimes she grabs his cheeks in both hands, grits her teeth and says “AAAHHHH TED! TEDDY! I love you Teddy!” I wonder who she’s copying? Ha.

baby thirteen months update


Apart from trying to escape Angelica’s love demonstrations, Ted (thirteen months today) has had a very busy month of almost-walking and tipping over the dog’s water bowl. My husband can’t fathom how I can be next to the dog’s bowl for thirty seconds and not anticipate the fact that Ted is 100% going to put his hand in and tip it over, but he obviously hasn’t been sleep-deprived for 48 hours before. (It was work stuff, not babies waking up, but still! I was like a zombie.)

Ted is walking very strongly with just a little support on one side. He absolutely hurtles along! Solid little chap and such an absolute joy to be with. He has started to mimic loads of the things I do, which he carries out with a wry smile, making me thing he’s totally taking the piss. “Nonononono” he goes, shaking his head from side to side, and he does this after doing something naughty before I’ve even said anything! Cheeky monkey. Weirdly, because he can’t actually walk by himself yet let alone perform complicated dance moves, he knows every part of the Hokey Cokey, including knees bend, arm stretch and Rah Rah Rah! He actually pulls me along backwards and forwards and his “turn around” spin is something to behold.

He’s not so keen on Frozen, but I’m pretty sure he knows all of the words inside his head. Oh – I’m sure he said Mama the other day too. I had to provoke him (four hours, straight-backed chair, etc) (haha) but the sounds were there. Dada is well-established. Hahahahah is his favourite, along with Aaaaaa-tchoo and Quack Quack. He’s a terror though, compared to how Angelica was – always into everything, poking about in holes and putting things in his mouth and falling over constantly. The other day I opened his mouth in the garden and he was sucking on a big stone! He was in the pram!!! It’s as though dangerous objects gravitate towards him – maybe he has telepathic powers. Is it telepathic? The one where you can move objects. God, I’d make great use of that power. Power: fetch me a Magnum from the freezer! And some wine, whilst you’re at it.

toddler update blog


Oh, don’t you worry about me. I’ll be alright. I never know what to say in this section – originally I included it to keep track of my breasts when I was breastfeeding, or my postpartum body changes, or general ups and downs I was feeling. But it seems so self-indulgent and I always feel a little embarrassed to harp on. After all, I honestly do feel like the luckiest person alive. Despite the recent loss, which weighs heavily in the back of my mind almost constantly. In a way, losing my Dad has made me feel braver about the world, but at the same time I have a dread, a horrifying dread, about the fact that life is so fragile, and the life that you build around yourself can be changed with a single tick of the clock. That has made me massively anxious and jumpy but – strangely – I also feel calm at the same time. That change is inevitable and there is very little you can do about it. You just have to set your course in life and hope for the best, love the people around you as much as you can possibly manage and appreciate each and every day as it comes.

Over and out, friends, for another month.

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  1. Hels
    March 3, 2018 / 10:50 pm

    You write so beautifully. Just keep loving beautifully and holding those babies beautifully and feeling beautifully and spring will come again. X

  2. JW
    March 3, 2018 / 10:54 pm

    So sorry about your dad.

    In case it’s helpful – I’m reluctant to post unsolicited advice so I apologise in advance- my daughter reacts to goats milk as well as cows milk, and our dietician said that many children who react to one animal milk will react to all animal milks (and half will react to soya too). It could be worth trying her on plant based product, like oat milks or coconut yoghurts and see what happens…. just to truly rule out dairy before you end up cutting out everything. Good luck, I hope you get it sorted. We’ve been there and it’s so confusing!

  3. Alex
    March 3, 2018 / 10:57 pm

    La Roche-Posay’s Lipikar Baume is great for sensitive skins. I started using it after what the doctors and nurses kept prescribing for what they thought was eczema/dermatitis on the back of my hand wasn’t getting any better, and it cleared the rash/itchiness/flare-ups etc up within a month.

  4. Rebecca B
    March 3, 2018 / 11:01 pm

    Well this has just made me have a little weep as I feed my 6 month old. I’ve been following you since you started the uphill as we had our first babies around the same time and I can’t tell you the comfort you’ve brought me in your realistic, helpful and humorous posts as I’ve navigated life wiith my two little ones. I’m a few months behind you with the god awful zombie like sleep deprivation that I’m so pleased has passed for you. I shall be re-reading all your tips on that which I know we need to start to do but for now your closing paragraph has just put everything into perspective. Thank you as always Ruth for always saying just the right thing, if only I know what those words were for you right now. Sending much love xxx

  5. Lissy
    March 3, 2018 / 11:04 pm

    Dear Ruth, you write so beautifully because it’s from the heart. I don’t have kids and never thought I would voluntarily read about other peoples’ but you humanise every subject that you write about. My mum died on 4 Feb this year. It’s really hard. I read a beautiful poem at her funeral. It is called ‘Hold out your arms’ by Helen Dunmore. One reader to another. Be kind to yourself. x

  6. Jessica G-P
    March 3, 2018 / 11:10 pm

    Sorry to hear about Angelica’s rash problem, I don’t have kids but have struggled with psoriasis for years, and have heard absolutely fabulous things about the Child’s Farm brand for (especially kids) eczema prone skin. I recently bought a bottle of the baby moisturiser, and it is quite lovely (not hardcore enough for MY dry patches, but then again I need a cream with so much Shea butter in it, I’m greasy and fit for nothing except holding myself awkwardly until it sinks in 2 hours later!) But for topping up throughout the day without feeling sticky afterwards, it’s brilliant! Almost totally organic ingredients and supports an awesome UK (lady-owned, yes!) business.

  7. Martha
    March 3, 2018 / 11:31 pm

    I know everyone has their own ‘best eczema cream ever’ story, and that all little people are infuriatingly unique, but the thing that really works on my 5-month-old is Eight Hour Cream. I used it one night in desperation when I couldn’t find anything else in the dark and it’s like magic. Obviously the cost is extortionate and now that we’ve got things a bit more under control I only use it on her ankles, wrists and face (which was so bad at one point that she’d wake up with bloody cheeks having scratched away all night, the poor tiny thing). It’s also ridiculously inconvenient and sticky, I have to wait until she’s asleep before putting it on her face otherwise she smears it everywhere. But worth a shot if you’re desperate!

  8. Katie Dunne
    March 3, 2018 / 11:49 pm

    So sorry to hear about your Dad. Im sure he will be watching over you all and will be very proud xx

  9. March 4, 2018 / 7:36 am

    Hi Ruth
    We tried the child’s farm baby moisturiser for our daughters eczema (the one with the duck on the front) and it works brilliantly!
    Hope Angelica gets sorted soon, love these monthly updates.

  10. Emma
    March 4, 2018 / 7:38 am

    My Dad loved John Martin too. We went to see him together on his last tour. I found it very difficult to listen to John Martyn after my Dad died suddenly three years ago, too painful. This is one of my favourites, you are going to need a tissue:

    I’m so very sorry for your loss x

  11. Anja
    March 4, 2018 / 7:53 am

    Thank you for the lovely update! I still cannot believe that Ted is 13 months old already, where has the time gone? I also want to say I love the section about you. Again you chose such eloquent words for your situation/loss and how it changes ones perception of things. And let’s face it, you deserve a little bit of self-indulgence now and then! You are a busy Mum and working hard, so be selfish and self-indulgent now and then!

  12. Alicka
    March 4, 2018 / 8:05 am

    I am glad to hear Ted is a little rascal and it does not apply to my son only. He often has something in his mought. In the summer I asked him to spit something out as he was unexpectedly munching on something. I was expecting a stone or a stick. I did not expect to receive a half chewed snail!!!! The horror 🙂

    If Angelicas dermatitis started after moving into the new house, it maybe be there are mould spores somewhere iritating her skin. It could be the winter too.
    Excipial Kids always works best on my boys dermititis, they both suffer with it from time to time. I only use 100% olive oil soap by all natural soap on them, Petit Pai cream day to day. Excipial for flares up. It helps to relieve itching too. And no fabric conditioner on any of our linens. Good luck! Skin issues is a battle even with private dermatologist… I have suffered my whole life. Doctors like steroid creams and they are quick to help but weaken the skin in a long term…

  13. Pen
    March 4, 2018 / 9:06 am

    I think it’s “kinetic” rather than telepathic? So so sorry about your Dad… I know exactly how you feel about the anxiety you feel after such sudden and life-altering events.. as you say, all you can do is keep n keeping on and counting your blessings. Loving all your recent output despite your loss. Stay strong Xx

  14. Ziggycat
    March 4, 2018 / 9:35 am

    Hi Ruth,
    I am glad you have cut out potatoes from Angelica’s diet …. l to had a terrible rash and a tummy ache when l ate potatoes, actually all … DEADLY NIGHTSHADE FAMILY … veggies. It took a long time for me to work out these were the cause, l eliminated a lot of things before hand and added things back in and so on. It took a short time for the rash to go and all tummy problems to right themselves.
    Good luck ! ……..

  15. Bookgirl_12
    March 4, 2018 / 9:35 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss and that you are going through this tough time.
    Your posts on this blog are so useful and so entertainingly written. I wish there had been similar when I had my baby (now 14).
    My daughter had a ‘rash’ from head to toe as a baby. The health visitor was spectacularly unhelpful however we had a brilliant GP who diagnosed infantile excema. His daughter had also suffered with this and he told us it was trial and error finding a suitable cream to ease it. As luck would have it the one he had used for his own daughter worked for mine. We used Doublebase. I used to slather it on face to foot morning and night. She has mainly now grown out of it and just gets the odd patch for which we now use hydrocortisone cream or La roche posay cicaplast! I hope you manage to get it sorted out for Angelica.
    Best wishes x

  16. Vic
    March 4, 2018 / 9:50 am

    Love John Martyn. ‘May you never’ was written for his brother. It was the song we chose to walk out the registry office to when we got married. Such a beautiful song. Your father had great taste

  17. March 4, 2018 / 1:03 pm

    Health care in the UK sounds strange to someone from Germany, I can´t imagine being send off with just a cream and without seeing a specialist if my child had an all over rash, at least not if the rash persisted for more than two days. It is just so different here, especially when kids are involved, you have access to almost everything anytime.
    I don’t take my kids to the doctor very often, only for vaccinations and yearly checkup, as they are pretty healthy, but it is reassuring to know I could.

  18. Monique
    March 4, 2018 / 4:30 pm

    My daughter at 2 had a rash that started on the belly and spread from there. I, too, tried the detergent changes, doctor’s, dermatologists, & food changes. Through trial & error (over a years time) we found the culprit – pineapple. Of course her favorite beverage was an apple, pineapple, & orange juice mixture – nightmare!! We have since been told that citrus is often an issue for young children. She is now 19 & still has to avoid all pineapple or the rash is back. Cortisone creams were the most effective for controlling the spread & symptoms for her. My thoughts and prayers are with you & your family in the loss of your father. Time is a healer but no amount of time ever fills the void that is left behind. Soon though smiles replace the tears in your memories.

  19. Felicity
    March 4, 2018 / 10:12 pm

    Hey Ruth I follow you on your other blog and thought I would come on over and see what it was about. I suffered terribly as a baby/young child with eczema ( and still do sometimes when I’m feeling naughty and eat something I know I shouldn’t) and I found that all dairy be it cows or goats milk made me flare up, as do all citrus fruits as well as strawberries and tomatoes. I have also found that bathing every second day as opposed to every day is much better for my skin but that is probably because I love to laze about in the bath haha! I know that as a baby/child my parents struggled with the no dairy thing for me as I was addicted to my bottle so despite knowing about the way my skin reacts I was allowed a little before bed each night as my derma had also raised concerns about me going dairy free without having an allergy. I hope you are able to get it all under control with the help of a derma and I am shocked the nurse wouldn’t let you see a GP as surely “catching” these things early and learning how to manage them is much more beneficial especially for poor Angelica.

  20. Lizzy
    March 4, 2018 / 10:43 pm

    Hi, I’ve been reading your everything for a couple of years now and tonight I read your words about your dad and finally wanted to comment. Only to say that yes music is amazing for memories and keeping you close to the ones you love. My dad and I share a love for John Martyn too and this version (Transatlantic sessions) of your favourite song is my favourite song. Kept me going through 3 rounds of IVF and a worried pregnancy but was my grounding song that with good family around you, everything will be alright. All my love, Lizzy x

  21. Gaby
    March 4, 2018 / 10:46 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Ruth. This is so heartbreaking and sad. And indeed, it is scary to think about the inevitability of death and fragility of life. But I believe that part of your Dad will always live in you – in your DNR, in your thoughts and memories. Just like part of your will always live in your children.
    As for Angelica’s rash – my niece who is similar age as Angelica had a similar ‘non-infected’ mysterious rash that no change of diet or creams would make go away. It turns out she had vitamin D deficiency. As soon as she was put on supplements the rash went away- somaybe this is smth worth checking out.

  22. Rosemary
    March 5, 2018 / 9:30 am

    Love your updates. my two are similar ages to your two so I love to hear how they are doing. My 3 year old also had skin rash gave doc was very little help with, we tried surcare detergent but ended up trying cutting out detergent all together (after random googling all night as you do) and use a soap based washing powder now (liquid soap flakes) (can get from Waitrose/ocado but not sold everywhere), and that seem to do the trick though whites are not very white using this. Just thought I would suggest incase it helps you.

  23. Elly
    March 5, 2018 / 11:26 am

    So sorry for your loss! It’s good that you have your sweet babies to distract you and keep you going. And whenever you need to shed some tears I hope they surround you with hugs, love, and laughter! Because 13 month olds can be pretty entertaining 🙂
    My daughter is the same age as Ted and she gets a bit of eczema now and then. I’ve switched to QV cream and it has made quite a difference. When she gets a flare up I have to moisturize her skin twice a day and I’ve also reduced the bath temp to 36ish. On very stubborn patches/rashes I use a teeny tiny bit of hydrocortisone for a few days (GP recommended it). Hope Angelica’s skin clears up!

  24. Jennifer FP
    March 5, 2018 / 5:43 pm

    My son just turned 3 months, so I know in a few short months, I should be on the lookout for rocks in his mouth. Terrifying. I know y’all have had a bit of cold weather recently. Do you think the eczema could be weather related? A bit of Cerave with a thick layer of Aquafor (do you have that in the UK?) has helped eczema spots.

    Glad to hear you’re doing ok with you’re loss.

  25. Amy
    March 6, 2018 / 4:11 pm

    Hi Ruth,
    I really enjoy your real life take on motherhood. I’m in the market for a new travel buggy and was wondering if the one in the pic with Ted and the snow is the yoyo+ and if so how did it fair in the snow?
    Thanks loads in advance xx

  26. Stefanie
    March 10, 2018 / 10:54 pm

    Oh yes please if you could ask about catnapping and night time sleep. Basically will my little one (7months) learn to link sleep cycles on her own?! During the day she naps on me at the boob, in the pram, sling or carseat. Definitely not her cot! At night she starts off in her cot (breastfed to sleep) then wakes after around 3 hours (if I’m lucky) for a feed then 2hours (if I’m lucky) then it all goes tits up and she ends up in bed with me for the all night buffet. She goes to bed between half 6 and 7pm and wakes for the day around 7am. Altho from 4am she is pretty much attached to the boob and would most definitely think it was time to get up if she wasn’t! I’m exhausted and can’t really see any light at the end of the tunnel. I won’t sleep train as I can’t bear to let her cry. I mean I’ve tried to see how it goes for 10mins but she sobs and I hate myself so it just won’t work. Will she get there on her own??!!

    Thanks Ruth xxx

  27. April 29, 2018 / 5:19 pm

    Thank you for this post. I am also in the middle of a night time feed and enjoying every moment. A far cry from week one when I would see her feeding cues and almost run for the hills! Ugh, day 3. The worst of them all.

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