10 things I have learned since having a second child

Ever since LM was born (nearly a year ago, eek!) I have had a vague idea that I would at some point write a post about coping with 2 kids. That post hasn’t ever materialised though as in truth I have no words of wisdom to offer and no idea how you cope. You just do. You have to get on with it as what choice do you have? I have learned a few things since having a second child though and I thought I would share some with you.

second child

(I have read similar posts to this but I swear I have had this post in drafts for a while and am not copying anyone – I think it’s just inevitable that we write similar things sometimes!!)

1. All kids really, really are different. We thought we knew what we were facing after 1 but then LM came along and was totally different to her big brother. Things that worked with Monkey did not work for her, and things that never worked for him did with her. It was like starting from scratch all over again.  After Monkey we thought we had got parenting down and that we were doing a pretty good job. Now though I think we were just lucky with him and any smugness has well and truly evaporated. Not only do I think LM is going to be far more challenging but Monkey’s behaviour has also gotten worse now he is fighting for our attention!

2. You can’t be everything to everyone. I know I haven’t been the best friend at times over the last year and I feel terrible about it.. but there is only so much of me to go around and sometimes in order to be the best wife and mummy I can, I have not been able to be the best friend. I know some friendships have suffered as a result and I can only hope they are strong enough to survive.

3. I could really do with an extra pair of hands. That would be very very useful on the occasions when I am feeding LM and Monkey decides he cannot wait to do a poo… or the time when Monkey started pooing on the floor and LM came crawling into the room. Two arms really was not enough in that situation!

4. Eyes in the back of my head would be handy too.. and on each side. Then I would know if baby fell or was pushed, or who had the toy first and who took it from who!

5. I love “Baby Jake” almost as much as I hate him. It is a freaky programme but it has saved my sanity on more than one occasion. The TV in general is on far more than I would like but you seriously have to pick your battles when you have 2 kids.

6. Having one kid can put a strain on the strongest relationship. Having a second seriously tests it! Finding babysitters willing to look after both of them so you can get some couple time can be a serious challenge too which doesn’t help. One friend said her and her other half hated each other for the 1st year of their 2nd baby’s life, and another has said it’s a good job she loves her husband so much as she wants to kill him at times.

7. Getting both kids ready to get out of the house will always take longer than you think. I hate being late so almost never am but it can be stressful getting out the house on time.

8.It is possible to feel more tired than you already do with 1 child. You may not think it but oh yes it is possible – the exhaustion can be immense.

9. It is absolutely possible to love no.2 every bit as much as you love no.1. I know many mums wonder about this before no.2 comes along but there is no doubt that no matter how challenging it is and how their screaming brings you to the brink of your sanity… you will love them as much as your first born.

10. Seeing your kids play together and watching their bond grow is so precious and makes everything worthwhile. Those moments may not last very long before one pulls the other’s hair or the whinging starts… but for as long as they do last they are amazing and will melt your heart.

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So there we have it, 10 things I have learned since having a second child. I am not sure if this would convince you that having a second child is a terrible idea and it’s not, but you do have to be prepared for how challenging it can be. I really had no idea but now I get it and I have no idea how people cope with more than 2 kiddies I really don’t!!

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Proud of my Monkey

I only wrote an update on what Monkey is up to at the moment last week, but then he went and did two things that made me so darn proud to be his Mummy that I just have to share them.

Standing up for himself

We went on a playdate to one of our fave soft play places last week with good friends. Monkey and his friend were having a lovely time going up the steps and down the slide while us Mums were having a natter and playing with LM. Then to my right I suddenly saw an altercation.

A little boy, younger than Monkey but walking and talking (so difficult to gauge age) hit Monkey. I’m not sure why but Monkey was half climbing the step and had turned back and the little boy was standing on the floor and had hit him. Instead of hitting back, Monkey loudly and clearly said “Stop it!” to the other little boy (I hung back, it is always good to see if things can be sorted between themselves). Unfortunately the other boy then spat in Monkey’s direction and actually slapped him in the face.

Of course I intervened and started to say “Excuse me, that is not nice” but the boy’s daddy ran over and told him off and made him apologise. The point though? My lovely Monkey didn’t hit back, didn’t retaliate, but he did stand up for himself, using words, not violence.

That made me HUGELY proud of him. So proud it brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. His skin is like mine and turns red very easily so he had a bright red cheek for a while and the thought of him being hurt by another child also makes me quite protective!

I was also proud as he didn’t let it bother him. He didn’t get upset by it or stop playing. In the not too distant past an altercation like this would have really rattled Monkey. He would have been scared of the other child and of all other children for a while. This time last year he was terribly afraid of other children after being knocked over. So the fact that he was absolutely fine afterwards is just another sign of how grown up my little Monkey is getting. Definitely a proud mummy moment!

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Naming his drawings

Slightly less dramatic but another proud moment was when Monkey was doing some painting at the weekend. He actually started to tell me what he was drawing. In the past when i have asked him what he is drawing or painting he has sort of looked blankly while he splodged paint around and said “I don’t know.”

This time though I didn’t even ask but he proudly announced that one painting was a plane, “Dusty Crophopper” from the film Planes to be precise, and that the blue splodges were footprints.

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Then, my favourite, he painted a rocket ship with fire coming out of it!

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His imagination is really growing lately and he is coming on leaps and bounds all the time and may be a daft one but again I was just so so proud of him for drawing actual things and telling me what they were.

Oh yes and here he is really proud of his “rainbow finger” too.

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I love being his Mummy :)

My word of the week this week is, proud.

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Little Miss at 6 mths

I’m a little late with Little Miss’s 6 month update as we were away on holiday when she turned 6 months, but here she is on the day she turned 6mths old. Our little beauty! I can’t believe we made her, I just can’t!

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I got her weighed this week at 6mths 1 wk and she is doing really well. Despite losing a little weight when she had Bronchiolitis and didn’t want to eat, her love of solids and her milk has meant she has put the weight back on and more, which is obviously is wonderful news and she is now 15lb8oz

So yes the weaning is going really well, for the most part. We have gone for the traditional puree style weaning as we started at a little younger than 6 mths, and because we found it worked well with Monkey. (I will go into more of this in a future post). Initially I made purees for her and just had jars on days out but while we were on holiday, jars were the easiest thing as I didn’t fancy making purees on my holidays! The problem being that now she mainly wants to just eat the jars and won;t touch any of the lovely healthy purees I am making at home. Which is really frustrating! So, for the sake of less stress, while we will keep trying her on homemade purees, we are using a lot of jars… so bring on the orange food I guess!

WP_20150425_10_15_26_ProMeanwhile she is the oddest child when it comes to drinking her milk. She hates being held to feed and is much happier lying down while drinking (?) where she can wriggle around to her hearts content and have a good nosey at what is going on around her. Seriously, we get into the oddest positions while feeding her!

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She also has a serious aversion to socks and they get pulled off all the time. We tried sock-ons but she pulls those off too and shoves them (and the sock) in her mouth and well the sock-ons felt like more of a choking hazard than anything so they have gone by the wayside now :?

So what else is she doing? Chatting. Lots and lots of chatting which is adorable. It stopped for a bit but has come back with a vengeance again and is adorable. Here is a little clip of her chatting away in the bathy :)

She’s laughing a lot more now too and we have a gorgeous video of that but it has been vetoed as we make her laugh by saying her name over and over!

She’s not sitting unsupported yet, which is totally normal, but we had hoped she would be by now. Monkey was very stable sitting by 6 months and it is difficult not to compare… although he was a tummy sleeper from a few mths old so I guess he built up his muscles sooner than she has. We are eager for her to be able to sit properly though!

She still loves grabbing and Daddy’s ear is very much a target for her little hands at any opportunity. She also likes grabbing anything and everything that is in reach too, so we are having to be careful about where her little arms are heading! SHe is so inquisitive though and just loves grabbing and eating anything she is able to get her hands on!WP_20150423_18_12_54_Pro

Still no real routine in sight and actually it was ok while we were away as she was flexible and fit in to our plans easily. Now we are home it would be lovely if she settled down, but so far she is more up and down than ever and one day she barely slept at all! She is so good at night though (apart from the 530am starts some days) so we can’t really complain

Another exciting little development is that we have discovered today that our little lady has her first tooth! Very exciting. Not sure why I feel so proud of her about it… but I do :)

She also loves her walker now and is starting to scoot about in it, especially when trying to reach a toy she can gum (now semi-chew) to death!

So there we have it, our little lady at just over 6 mths old – how the time flies eh?

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A few fun (and not so fun) firsts for LM at 5 mths

This was originally going to be an entirely happy post celebrating some of LM’s lovely firsts this week… and I am going to include those but I can’t not mention another first which is less happy. 

LM had her first trip to A&E :(. She has had a horrible cold all week and Saturday afternoon she seemed to get worse and was not feeding well at all. Sunday morning her breathing was a little laboured and we noticed a distinct wheeze. She was also hardly eating at all, barely drinking 40ml (about 1 oz) of her milk compared to the 140 ish she usually has in the morning. Being the bank holiday weekend we didn’t want to wait until Tuesday so called the out of ours GP service who wanted to see her because of her age and let’s face it, you don’t mess around with breathing! We wondered if it was a chest infection and assumed we may be home with antibiotics or something.

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Monkey Says at 34 Months

I feel like I want to write down every word that Monkey Says at the moment as most of it is really adorable! His vocabulary is coming on leaps and bounds all the time and his pronunciation is getting so much clearer too. He can pronounce his L’s now sometimes and is learning th rather than f. There is still plenty of cute mispronunciations though and some very cute sayings and phrases.

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Manners

We have been working  a lot on his manners over the last couple of months. I was always bought up to believe that manners were important (Manners Maketh Man my Mum always said :)) and actually because most of my day to day conversation is between Monkey and I it became really important to me to be treated with a bit of respect. Obviously when little ones first learn to talk the things they say are simple – want this, need that, give me this. After a while though as the main carer I started to feel like I was more of a slave. Being shouted at and ordered around by my toddler every day was not enjoyable. We had obviously been working on please and thank you for a long time but we have started to elaborate on it now and he is doing really well.

Now when he would like something he knows he has to ask nicely (sometimes he needs reminding but he is saying it more and more on his own too) “Please can I have some milk?” “Please watch Toy Story again?” etc. etc. He is doing very well and also says “thank you,” “no thanks” and when we thank him for things it is “You’re most welcome!” It just makes our home a nicer place to be and I think it is so important to ask for things nicely and say thank you. One of my friends always says that Monkey doesn’t have to say thank you to her if she gives him something, but I don’t think there are any exemptions to the rule, personally.

It is so cute hearing him be so polite though he is learning to try it on – saying please over and over when he wants a biscuit “twease can I have a biscuit, twease, twease, twease” and “no fanks” when he doesn’t want to do something, like eat his vegetables or have a nappy change! We try not to let him get away with it but occasionally he does get something because we can’t resist him asking for something so nicely.

Conversations

We have some lovely little conversations with him at the moment. I was getting LM ready for bed and listening to Monkey and Daddy at bathytime and heard this cute convo.

Daddy: Its teethy clean time then story time
Monkey: And sleeping time and wake up and playing and eating
Daddy: Is that your day?
Monkey: (very happily) yeah

I just felt it was a really nice indication of how much he loves his little life at the moment!

We’ve also noticed how we are really having little conversations. Now when we pick him up from playgroup and ask what he has done, he doesn’t always say “I don’t know” and will now often tell us what he has got up to.

Mr Potato Head

WP_20150318_13_05_58_ProHe has such an imagination now too which is lovely and since watching Toy Story a few times he is now in love with his Mr Potato Head toy and is currently carrying him everywhere. He couldnt find  his hat the other day and kept asking for it. I said he should look in his toy boxes, to which he replied ” I can’t, I not a good looker” really despondently. I helped him look (and he decided he was a good “looker” after all and once Mr Potato head was completed he shouted “Look! Like on the TV!”

Then we were sat at the table and he was chatting to Mr Potato Head and then he got cross and said “he not talking Mummy” lol. Despite the lack of response he is talking to him a lot “Come a me Mr tato head” and “it’s ok Mr Tato head, Mummy gone to get Monkey’s drink.” He is such a cutie with him!

Other sayings

Another thing that he says all the time is “Got that at…” pointing at objects, books, toys at home, in the shops, on the TV. Most of the time it is “got that at playgroup” as they have some of the same books and the same step for the sink, and various other bits. Then there is “got that at Nanny Pop’s house!” and “Got that at home!” which is very cute.

We are also very much in the “Why” phase at the moment. There are lots of “why” and “who not” though I am sure we are only just entering this phase and will have more um fun with this over the coming months!

He also likes to talk basically all the time and narrates everything he is doing  and often will repeat things over and over until we say it too, which drives me potty. We can answer him in a hundred different ways but sometimes unless we repeat what he says he will keep going!

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Siblings March 2015

LM is now 4 months old and for the most part she and Monkey sort of co-exist without really interacting much. For her part she still stares at him as much she can but he is a little whirlwind and ball of energy flying past, barely pausing to give her the occasional smile.

But there are the odd moments of magic which I try and capture. They are fleeting so the photos are not the best but it is nice to capture them nonetheless.

The moment where I sat them side by side on the sofa and one of her hands tickled him prompting a fit of giggles from him while she merely looked perplexed.

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The moment where she was propped on the sofa and he ran over to take her hand and tell her she is his best friend (yes my heart melted!) and give her tummy a tickle.

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The moment he decided he wanted the phone she was looking at, but (after a little conversation about sharing toys) decided she was allowed to play with his Percy train.

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The times he wants to see what she is up to on her playmat and lies down alongside her.

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The moment where he ‘helped’ her play with the toys on the jumperoo, and said “Well done” when she turned it herself.WP_20150309_07_45_01_Pro

The moment when we were sat taking family selfies on the bed, where he kissed her, cuddled her, told her she was his best friend…then started patting her on the head saying “it’s a drum!” (Massively cute moment that ended with Mummy in a fit of giggles!)

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The last few weeks have been tricky with a lot of illness and chicken pox and I have struggled at times to meet both of their needs with the added complications of poorliness. But we have survived and I am grateful to have my lovely happy children back and I look forward to seeing them grow together, and catching more of these lovely moments :).

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Adapting to life with a newborn

The word of the week this week is definitely “Adapting.” We are all adapting to the changes that bringing our newborn girl home has brought.

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Rubbish shot but Monkey going in for a kiss :)

Monkey is doing amazingly well at adapting to being a big brother. We have been so proud of him from the get go and he just gets better and better. After a few days of playing up a little more and being more demanding (which is not at all surprising when his little world had been turned upside down and he barely saw Mummy or Daddy for days) he has settled down a lot. We are trying to find the balance between giving him plenty of attention, and not over-indulging him, as he does need to learn that he is not the only one that needs our attention now.
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Evenings at the beach

We had a lovely little holiday at Overstrand, just south of Cromer on the Norfolk Coast at the weekend and we really had such a lovely time. There was a lovely beach at the village itself, walking distance from the cottage we were staying at. It is very much a tidal beach and unfortunately this last weekend there were high tides in the morning and low tides later in the day. With Monkey still very much napping most afternoons we weren’t sure how much time we would get to spend at the beach.

Thankfully with it being so close though we managed to pop down every afternoon/evening for a play in the sand, and had a lovely time. Of course being September it wasn’t the warmest time of day to be on the beach but that didn;t stop us having a lovely time, and making the most of the last of the suns rays!

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Monkey loves playing in the sand, doing lots of digging and helping daddy make castles… then promptly knocking them over again! Daddy was aso having lots of fun digging and creating moats, because of the tides he didn’t have to dig the sand too far before it started filling with water. Perfect to make a moated castle :)

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He also just loves running around barefoot on the sand, and I have to admit I love to see it. There’s just something about running on the compacted sand that means he can be entirely free. No shoes, no stumbling over, just running carefree. I just love to see it. Maybe it’s because I know that if he falls he will have a pretty soft landing. Yes he may get covered in sand but much better than falling over on tarmac!

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I love this little video of Monkey running around on the beach. Note I am perched at the back of the beach as we forgot a chair (d’oh!), I managed the walks but couldn’t stand too long and would have got a soggy bottom if I sat on the sand! ANyway we just love this video of Monkey enjoying the beach so much :)

We had a bit of an achievement on the beach too on one of the days. On our holiday in June we couldn’t get Monkey to enjoy paddling and this weekend looked set to be the same as he didn’t want to go anywhere near the sea. Then Daddy had a good idea of drawing numbers in the sand. I have mentioned Monkey’s love of numbers before and believe me it has not dimmed, if anything he loves them even more!

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Anyway, by drawing numbers in the sand he slowly and gradually coaxed Monkey closer to the waters edge. We wouldn’t force him if he really didn’t want to do it but with lots of positivity and encouragement he gradually got closer and closer to the waves.The sea was quite gentle on that particular day, and ater running bare foot on the wet sand for a while the water felt quite warm.

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It took a little while but once he was in he was in, and actually got quite brave and went pretty deep (for him)!

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The sun was starting to go down behind the cliffs so it was time to head back to the cottage, we were very glad we got to make th most of being at the seaside though with lots of beach play!

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Linking up with Mini Creations for the joint Monkey-Daddy effort on the moated castle, Small Steps Amazing Achievements and Loud n Proud for Monkey’s paddling bravery, and Savouring the Season for making the most of the last bit of warmth on the beach :).

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Family Friday

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Aeroplanes!!!

I love it when traditions get carried down through families, when we do something with Monkey that we remember loving as kids. I love it even more with grandparents carrying things down things that they loved doing as kids. My Mum and Step-dad (Aka Nanny & Pops) were round on Monday after Rhyme Time and we were all playing in the garden (well, I was sat watching mainly).

Pops said he wanted to do aeroplanes with Monkey, and I wasn’t sure what he meant to start with, but it turned out they had done it before on their day out with Monkey.  It is something Pops remembers his Granddad doing with him as a child, and how much he loved it, and he wanted to carry it down and do it with Monkey. Which is just lovely!

Monkey took a tiny bit of encouragement to start with (he is a 2 year old after all, and takes a bit of encouragement with most things at the moment!) but then he absolutely loved it.

It was hilarious, and a tiny bit hair raising to watch, but seeing the glee on Monkey’s face was priceless.

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And of course hearing the “Aaaa-gain” repeated over and over afterwards until Pops gave him another whirl..

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The angle of this is weird and I know it looks like Monkey’s leg is at an odd angle but I promise it’s not!

and another…

WP_20140908_13_37_24_ProNanny & Pops then tried to get him to do wheelbarrows, and I have to admit we have tried to show Monkey this before and we failed… and unfortunately they failed too, though he did enjoy it I am pretty sure he didn’t have a clue what was going on!

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Just a lovely bit of fun in the garden :)

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Playing with friends – 27 months

Monkey made a really lovely big step last week, and one I am really proud of. All babies and toddlers start off playing pretty independently from other children, sort of sid by side, without interacting with them. Monkey has always been particularly wary of other kids, especially after a knock earlier this year. He has been getting a lot better and there have been signs of improvement over the past few months. For example he stopped launching himself off the side of a climbing frame whenever he saw another child nearby!

Pretty much every week we meet up dor a play date with my friend S and her little girl E, who is almost exactly a year older than Monkey. They get on pretty well for the most part though do bicker and snatch toys from each other at times. E though has been very excited by the development of Monkey’s speech over the past few months, often exclaiming “he can nearly talk as good as I can!!”

There has just been little more signs of interaction between them over the last few weeks and then last week they really actually played together. They were lying on the edge of the ‘baby’ zone in the soft play and after watching E roll of a few times (making Monkey chuckle a lot) they then started counting together and trying to roll off at the same time. Sometimes they managed it, other times they were way out of sync, but they were taking it in turns counting down and really trying to do it together.

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WP_20140903_12_24_36_ProThey looked so cute playing together S and I really had a moment! E is a really sociable little girl and loves playing with other kiddies whereas Monkey has always been much more reserved. We spend so much time together and S was as proud of Monkey as I was. It may seem small but actually a huge step for him and one fo the many signs recently about how much he is growing up and getting more independent from me. Just so lovely :)


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