Toddler, Baby and Me: The Four Month Update

Toddler, Baby and Me: The Four Month Update

Well, we’re almost at the point where I’m saying goodbye to “two under two” – Angelica is two in two weeks’ time. All the twos. It has been difficult at times, having a toddler and a newborn, though not quite as bad as I had anxiously thought it might be. But I have an inkling that the fun is only just getting started. The other day, Angelica tried to help change a nappy and almost catapulted liquid poo around the room, and she’s wont to try and mimic me, attempting to lift Ted out of his baby bouncer and things like that. It’s very sweet but I need eyes in the back of my head at the moment.

toddler blog

I have to say, I didn’t ever anticipate having two babies relatively close together (I didn’t even think I’d be lucky enough to have ONE baby!) but whether you have a tiny gap between children or a huge one, you just have to get on with it, don’t you? I don’t think there’s a magic formula to achieving some sort of “easy ride”, because each and every child is completely different, but maintaining a sense of humour is a must. That would be my number one tip, if anyone is interested: sense of humour. And also accepting as much help from other people as possible, that’s a good one – sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how proud you can be when you have a baby. You feel as though you’re failing unless you do absolutely everything yourself – this time around, I’ve had no qualms about taking naps here there and everywhere and letting other people take up the slack.

Anyway, on with the update: Ted is four months old today and Angelica is 23 and a half months.

Toddler, Baby and Me: The Four Month Update

Toddler

Well, Angelica is a total hoot. I sit there chuckling away at her as she potters about in her own little world, breaking into impromptu dance routines and looking for bees in the cupboards. (I have no idea either.) Her favourite things at the moment are her “backpack” (this monstrosity*) and the paddling pool (bought it for a tenner from Tesco) and a little bee hotel that I was sent with a beauty sample mail-out from Burt’s Bees. It’s like a little wooden birdhouse but with tiny cardboard tubes in it for bees to hide away in – she looks down each and every hole checking for inhabitants.

I find the whole child development journey fascinating – I keep meaning to read some actual child development books to, y’know, have a clue what’s going on, but I never get around to it. I’m hoping that as long as you keep feeding their desire to learn and occupying them with new and interesting things, the development part takes care of itself. I mean my Mum didn’t read a load of books, and look at how I turned out! Ha.

But watching a toddler grow and develop is simply amazing – every day there’s a new word, a new skill, a new little mannerism. Not all good, admittedly – this morning saw a little sulk about the wrong song coming out of the plastic Fisher Price backpack (see link above) and there have been a couple of minor meltdowns over food. I’ve been working on my patience levels, because I’m not actually a hugely tolerant and patient person when it comes to kids – I have a tendency to be a bit snappish when things really kick off, and when the baby is screaming and Angelica isn’t playing ball I sometimes find myself wanting to scream. I think it’s the feeling that everything is stacked up against you, isn’t it – you can’t see a way to easily solve things because you only have one pair of hands, can only soothe one child at a time, and then they are screeching away and it’s so BLOODY NOISY!

So yes, I’ve been working on my deep breathing at stressful times, and also trying to concentrate on one thing at a time rather than aiming to tick off a million things on the to-do list. For example, at lunch I would usually try and get some emailing done when Angelica is eating, or scoot about the kitchen clearing stuff up, but now it’s impossible to do that with Ted there as well. So I just take my high expectations and mentally toss them out of the window. One thing at a time, no matter how absolutely tedious it is trying to get a toddler to eat lunch. (Unless you do what my husband does, when under duress: stick Peppa Pig on the iPhone and prop it up against the salt and pepper grinders!)

Toddler, Baby and Me: The Four Month Update

New words that I adore: backpack (beckpeek), mole, moon, pool, sticker (dicker), ice-lolly (elolly), squirrel (urrel), cake (cake – that one’s easy). She can now string two or three little words together into very, very simple sentences – “no Mama” or “Dada’s tea” or “no bed”. And she loves speaking to Granny on the phone – she hasn’t quite understood the telephone concept, and thinks that Granny can see her as she nods and dances and pretends to jump in puddles, but it’s very sweet and she does a jolly “bye bye!” at the end before cutting off the call by pressing the red button… I swear today’s toddlers will be able to use iPhones better than us before they’re even at school… On that note, I’ve really been trying to cut down on the amount of time I spend looking at it in front of her, because I don’t want her to think that it’s the norm for people to be glued to a tiny handheld screen. Except, as I realised the other day when I went into London, it is the norm. Scary.

The big development of the month is potty training: we’ve had a number of successful poos and wees in the potty (sorry Angelica-of-the-future, if you’re reading this later on in life! These reports are only going to get more embarrassing for you, so I’d stop reading now) and we’ve moved up from nappies to pull-up pants. Quite honestly, I wasn’t even going to get started on potty training until later on in the summer, but Jodi the nanny got started and Angelica cottoned on really quickly. It helped that we were spending a lot of time in the garden, so she ran around without a nappy on – although there were a couple of poos on the grass one day and a little wee on the patio…

Weirdly though, she seems to have regressed and now won’t do anything on the potty. We’re just being very relaxed about it, but my God it’s annoying having to run backwards and forwards to the potty all the time, taking off the clothes and socks and what have you, then keeping an eagle eye out for them running off without a nappy on. I didn’t ever appreciate how absolutely convenient nappies were until I had a bare-bummed toddler on the loose!

Toddler, Baby and Me: The Four Month Update

Baby

Ted is an adorable chubby little cherub. He’s starting to be properly alert and characterful and sits there chuckling away at us – he’s very readily pleased and easy to get a laugh out of. I can’t remember Angelica ever laughing this early on (you can read her four month update here) but then I can barely remember anything about her newborn days. It’s as though your brain just wipes clean after every stage, isn’t it? I mean, I have a really good memory, but ask me anything about how Angelica slept or fed as a baby and I wouldn’t have a clue. Good job I wrote it all down!

Things that are different about Ted (apart from the fact that he’s an entirely different human!): he hates having a full nappy, or even a half-full nappy, and so if he’s crying it’s the first thing I check. Angelica couldn’t have cared less. Ted snack-feeds a lot, whereas Angelica used to latch on for hours and hours. (Though maybe that’s a second baby thing – he senses that I don’t have the luxury of constant feeding sessions?) Ted dribbles constantly and goes through babygrows and vests like the clappers – Angelica didn’t ever dribble or drool, really. My washing load was light with her – Ted needs changing multiple times a day, even if he’s been bibbed up.

I’d say that their sleeping patterns at this age are similar – still regular feeds throughout the night. Although there was one surprise night, last week, when Ted went to sleep at 7pm and didn’t wake up until 7am. I was very disorientated when I woke up and then had a bit of a panic when I realised that he’d slept through, but all was fine and he had a big old feed and I felt rather sad that he had grown up so quickly and no longer needed me in the night. HAHAHA. Well, needless to say that was a standalone occurrence: it’s been every two or three hours again since then. I’m bloody knackered. Though I do love waking to the sound of him chewing on his hands and knowing I’m about to pick up a little warm bundle for a nighttime cuddle…

ruth crilly newborn baby

Me

Yes, let’s talk about me. Slightly deranged, perhaps, but I’m still here and (mostly) unscathed. I have good days, when I feel on top of it all and I bang out emails in nap time and eat salads and pay bills whilst the babies are playing on the floor and then I have bad days, when I wonder whether I’ll ever be “on top” of things again, or whether it will always be this big administrative/domestic ferris wheel of clearing-up and bill-paying and telling the dog to shut up when he barks at the doorbell. Sometimes it feels like Groundhog Day. But mostly it feels as though I’m living fractions of my old life stuck between huge sections of a new life. I love the new life, I loved the old life, it’s just trying to get used to the two lives melded together!

The old bod is faring ok – apart from my knees, weirdly. You’d think it’d be any other body part, wouldn’t you, but my knees are really giving me trouble. The joints feel as though they’re made of chalk. I need to really up my game with my nutrition – I crave milk all the time, but I can’t have it and I think those nut milks are dire. Really: dire. I understand why people have them, whether it’s for eco or health or political reasons, but please don’t tell me they’re tasty. Bloody hell. It’s like water with a speck of cream mixed in. Perhaps they’re an acquired taste.(I’m not drinking milk because when I stopped, Ted stopped throwing up all the time. Recently I tested again and started taking Lactofree in my porridge – the same day, Ted re-started his vomming! It can’t be a coincidence, surely? Though it’s open to discussion..)

What else? Postpartum body is alright, my stomach still looks like one of those half-cooked, lumpy omelettes from the omelette challenge on Saturday Kitchen, but it’s gradually shrinking down and pulling back in. I’m guessing that me cutting out my daily Mini Magnum would help it on its way, but to be quite frank, I have no vices apart from my evening iced treat and I’m not about to give it up. So there.

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26 Comments

  1. Linda
    June 3, 2017 / 8:16 pm

    Really like your honest updates, I really can relate on a lot of things. Especially asking for help, I’m so used to everything myself and find it hard to accept that I can’t do it alfl by myself.
    The first selfish thing that I’m doing after 5 months is taking 30 min every 2 days to get on the rowing machine , best investment ever, so meditative , starting to feel myself again.

    While I had a sleepless night with countless feeding I was thinking about my delivery story, and after we have a great community on this blog, I wanted to suggest if there would be a possibility to do a series of birthstorys from your readers. I think that those stories are so individual that It can really help other people with their own experiences.

    Enough from me, baby needs me.
    P.s. Caved yesterday by 1 pack magnum get 1 free 🙂
    Love
    Linda

    • June 3, 2017 / 9:36 pm

      What a lovely idea! I have something in the pipeline that is VERY exciting and this could be a good way to do it, bear with me, but such a good suggestion. I have it noted on my big to-do list!

      • Kathryn
        June 4, 2017 / 12:30 pm

        I love this idea too! It’s amazing how everyone’s experience of giving birth is so different. I find it really interesting, especially now that I’ve done it myself.

  2. Laura
    June 3, 2017 / 9:52 pm

    I’d love to know how you arrange the toys in your house. Sorry if that’s weird, but I’m moving soon and need ideas! Do you have a playroom?

    I just love reading your blog updates!

  3. June 4, 2017 / 7:53 am

    As stressful as the time with the two little ones is, the reward comes when they are older. My daughter is three now and my son 14 months, and they keep each other occupied all the time, allowing me to get chores done. I have a no electronics rule when they are around, which of course hinders me greatly in catching up with work, but helps me have everything else sorted should they decide to nap.

  4. June 4, 2017 / 11:33 am

    I love this so much. It rang VERY true…..not the two under two, I have one two month old. But Ted chewing on his hands (why is it so cute when they turn into feral monsters at night!) and the damn dog barking at the damn doorbell. I have a similar ‘guard dog’ who is ancient with about two teeth, so precious little guarding help really.

  5. Sarah
    June 4, 2017 / 12:00 pm

    Aww Ruth I love your honest updates from your beautiful family!! BIg love from Belfast Sarah x c

  6. Sk
    June 4, 2017 / 1:08 pm

    Hello Lovely Ruth
    Just what I needed today after the evil in the news etc.
    Two points really, the first one being that my birth story was incredibly positive, quick and brilliantly managed by the stellar staff at Basingstoke hospital (Obviously still the most powerful thing for your body to go through) . Anyone who is going to be induced – don’t panic!!! I really did and in the end I’d do it all over again- bar the slight emergency of getting her out (Still charging her 10 months rent, cheeky madam, overstaying her welcome until the very end)
    Secondly I’m drinking oat milk and it’s had a good effect on her, I was a bit worried to cut out my lactofree, bit now we BOTH fell better so amen to you Ruth.
    Xx

  7. Karen
    June 4, 2017 / 1:23 pm

    I have 8 month old boy and girl twins….imagine!!
    So I can empathise and I know each situation has its one challenges
    It is fun though!!

  8. Laura
    June 4, 2017 / 3:23 pm

    Try the Oatly barista edition milk. I’m off dairy at the moment for the same reason and this actually makes a decent latte – it’s a lot thicker and creamier than any other non-dairy milk I’ve tried.

  9. Rachael
    June 4, 2017 / 5:12 pm

    Hi Ruth,

    Totally agree on most of the nut milks BUT have you tried the Rude Health Cashew Nut Milk? It’s much creamier than most. May be worth trying?

  10. Therese
    June 4, 2017 / 5:21 pm

    Honestly, YES dairy free drinks are acquired tastes. I hated soy milk when I first had it. Now I’m all about the oat and almond milks. It takes a little while, but your brain sort of reroutes how milk is “supposed” to taste.

  11. FloJo
    June 4, 2017 / 7:26 pm

    Ruth – this blog and your posts are SO good for the soul. My friend told me about your blog when I announced my second pregancy, noting some obvious similarities (my daughter is about a month older than Angelica and my son just under a month older than Ted) and I’ve been avidly following ever since (and catching up on old posts). I love how so much of what you write is relatable, even if there are elements which I remain utterly in awe of. I keep threatening to start a blog myself – The Downhill – a sort of parody, with articles on the skin cleansing properties of baby boy wee that sprays everywhere, or the latest fragrance in baby vomit, or how flattering newborn poo is as a nail colour… Needless to say, I hardly find time to brush my hair let along write anything down, so it’s never going to happen! How you manage to look so gorgeous, write two blogs, film vlogs, and raise two beautiful kids is beyond me. You are such an inspiration. F x

  12. Julia
    June 4, 2017 / 7:57 pm

    I noticed the drooling and then you talked about milk and vomiting. When I cut all milk and dairy from my diet, my babies never drooled again, not even when teething. They got horrible rash and that was why I tested for dairy, but the drooling was a nice side effect. The rash would come back with even a bit of chocolate, so I was on a no-traces diet.

  13. Sigal
    June 5, 2017 / 9:29 am

    Hi Ruth,
    try to eat lunch with Angelica. my 21 month toddler hates eating alone, but if we all sit down to eat. he eats nicely and happy with the parental interaction. my husband work from home so him joining us to meal time is really a nice plus to the toddler.
    we are also trying potty training, he has used is potty mostly after seeing his friends pee in the bushes, he comes home all excited to use his potty. the name of the game is patience with everything the toddler do. we see him throwing his toys trying to get us to get mad, but we just tell him to pick it up calmly and that seems to work.
    about the non dairy, try oats milk from this cool Swedish brand, it’s one of the best alternative milks i have tried.
    really enjoying reading you.

  14. Karolina
    June 5, 2017 / 1:03 pm

    Hi Ruth

    Loved reading your update and happy birthday to Angelica for a couple of weeks time. I can wholeheartedly recommend Plenish Cashew “milk”. Much less odd tasting than almond and not sweet (which I hate). The best one I’ve found for whacking in coffee and on cereal.

    Much love to you and your family!

  15. June 5, 2017 / 6:36 pm

    I love the candid honesty of your posts! I’m expecting my first so I’m sure I’ve got all this to come! Also, mini magnums are amazing. I just paused having them during my GTT test, but now back to indulging!

  16. Ruth
    June 5, 2017 / 7:32 pm

    I noticed “glued to the screen” thing very obviously, when my then 4 year old dayghter played and pretended to be a kindergarten theacher. She give whatever instruction session to “kids” – toys,then turned around, turned her palm to her and did “phone checking” finger motions. Repeated this couple of times. Which means, that this is what she sees in the kindergarten, what theacher does. Theachers were young girls and I was absolutely happy with them. Well, this is what our time is containing, and I do not think, that constant “screen time” is all that bad.

  17. June 5, 2017 / 8:26 pm

    Hi Ruth,

    It’s so nice reading your post. I was following your beauty blog and now the uphill and I love it!

    I just thought to give some professional advice re your body- have you tried postnatal Pilates? I remember you have had a diastasis recti with Angelica. (And maybe a over stretched Pelvic floor from the long labour with her as well? Very common). I really think some postnatal Pilates will help you destress and get some tone back into your abdominals. It’s actually a very good time to repair it now that you’re breastfeed and the body is still malleable for change and restore.

    I am based in se London so probably no where close to you but happy help you find a good teacher if you’re interested.

    You’re doing very great though and I hope you’re not offended!!

    Much love xxxx

  18. littlemissnaughty
    June 6, 2017 / 1:19 pm

    Oh how I understand the dairy conundrum. I’m not lactose intolerant but my body and my skin just don’t like dairy in large quantities. Bit of cheese is fine, drop of milk in my coffee too. But god forbid I ear yoghurt or porridge with cow’s milk. Apparently soy in larger quantities isn’t great for weight management either because it can affect your thyroid (not sure if that’s true but why risk it) so I finally arrived at coconut milk. Not the creamy kind for cooking and not coconut water. No, the milk specifically for drinking (organic, unsweetened). I can’t with the almond or rice milk.

    • littlemissnaughty
      June 6, 2017 / 3:41 pm

      Nope, ignore the soy/thyroid thing. I looked it up and apparently, there’s no research suggesting a connection. … This is what happens if you listen to people on the internet. Sorry!

  19. Ruxi
    June 7, 2017 / 3:49 am

    I have the same problem with my knees since Îve given birth six months ago, and I don’t breastfeed. My therapist said it has something to do with having to reajust your posture from pregnancy to after. But don’t know for sure

  20. Rosiephysio
    June 9, 2017 / 7:58 pm

    Hey Ruth, love your blog! I’m a physio with two under two also, crazy times! Your knee issue is common, it’s change of hormone’s, it will ease when your finished breastfeeding. In the meantime avoid high impact exercise and good footwear is a must x

    • June 12, 2017 / 1:25 pm

      Oh good to know, thanks so much. So there’s no point going for physio? x

      • Maggie
        June 13, 2017 / 1:02 pm

        I had the same thing, Ruth – though it was mostly what felt like my hips (but was probably the pelvis) hurting. I was really worried thinking I was falling apart but it went away after about 5 months. Hope yours does too! x

  21. Katherine
    June 25, 2017 / 8:58 pm

    Keep writing Ruth. I wish your baby blog had been around when my daughter was in the baby/toddler phase. What you write brings back so many memories, and expresses so much of what I would have said too, had I written anything down (wish I had). I can tell from the comments of your other readers’, who are going through similar things, that it helps them so much to read about your experiences. You are thoughtful and honest in your observations, often so funny, always full of feeling. xxx

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