Potty Training Little Miss

I’m no parenting guru by a long shot and generally have no clue what I’m doing, but one thing I know is that potty training is all about when your child is ready. It’s not because you think it’s time, or because your friend thinks so or because so and so down the street who is 6 months younger is potty trained. Every child is different and the best time to do it is when your child is ready.

With Monkey we tried at 2 1/2 but he was in no way ready. After about 13 accidents the first morning we gave up. At age 3 we tried again and it was instantaneous. He got it and it basically took no work at all.

I’ve had a feeling that LM was ready for a few weeks. She’s been telling me when she’s done poos and even when she’s done a wee and needs a change. She’s also been going for a while with a dry nappy. Then last week we had our first ever wee wee in the potty. So with half term approaching I thought it was a good time to make a start. A time when we don’t have school runs to worry about and could just focus on it properly. The amazing weather really helped too as we were able to spend a the first two days in the garden, with her running around in the nude.

We aren’t using any specific method, or product or gimmicks. We are just heaping on the praise and positivity and helping her learn about her body and learn to recognise the feeling. I personally think having nothing on for the first day or so really helps as they are more aware of their body that way. Seems to be working with LM anyway but again every kid is different!

I’m not going to go into the details of every wee and poo, for her sake, but she has done so well. We’ve obviously had accidents and a couple of puddles inside but there hasn’t been many in the grand scheme of things and less over the few days we have been doing it. She is showing great control and does a wee on the potty when we tell her too, so before bath, before we go out, and that kind of thing, which is really good. We went to the shops yesterday and had no accidents so took that as being very positive for day 3!

With Monkey he basically used the toilet straight away but LM is all about the potty and she’s not translating it to the toilet yet. I don’t know how to do that really but I assume we will figure it out and she will get there so I’m not worried.

We still have a way to go, and no doubt there will be more accidents to come, I am under no illusions about that, but she’s doing so well so far. I’m really proud of this girl of mine, she really is growing up!IMG_20170527_190611_048

Motherhood

It’s Mother’s Day coming up, and the lovely people at Ollie and Leila asked me to share my experience of motherhood. We are all different and our kids are all different, so I think it is inevitable that we all experience motherhood differently.

WP_000183I always knew I wanted to be a mum, but only in a vague way really. I wanted to live a bit first and then assumed it would happen when it happened. Ah the arrogance of youth eh? I was one of the lucky ones, I know that now, as it did happen for me, and pretty easily. Far more easily than I thought it would actually. I came off the pill (that I had been on for over 10 yrs) and was pregnant by the next month.

We were a bit shocked but it was what we wanted and we were ready for it… Or as ready as you can be. I don’t really think anyone can truly be ready to be a parent and no matter how much you talk about it, or how many friends and relatives you have seen become parents, it is still such a shock to the system when it is your turn.

DSC_0552I haven’t always found motherhood easy. We’ve dealt with colic and lactose intolerance and silent reflux. We’ve had fussy eaters and late talkers. The constant wondering ‘am I doing the right thing?’ can be so hard and I’m finding that doesn’t really stop. Nearly 5 years on I still have no idea much of the time whether I am making the right decisions or doing the right thing. But, my kids are happy for the most part and healthy so I guess I must be doing ok.

It’s exhausting too, especially so since our Little Miss joined us and made us a family of four. Going from one child to two is not an easy step. In many ways you know what is ahead of you, and I guess some mums are more relaxed second time around… But there a whole host of other challenges. First time round you didn’t also have a toddler to deal with while you were cluster feeding a newborn or changing outfits thanks to a pooplosion.WP_20141030_09_21_13_Pro

With two children, I have found it so difficult to find a balance between the needs of both children. At different ages and stages they need different things from you… But they both still need you. There’s jealousy, squabbles and bickering. Sometimes it is easier to tell Monkey to give in to LM when she wants something, to keep the peace. But that isn’t fair on him and actually doesn’t give her the right message either. That doesn’t mean I haven’t told him to do it though, because sometimes you just want an easy life.

Then there’s trying to find time for yourself, to still be you, when you have the constant demands of children. To make time for your partner when you’re both so so tired by your day. Making time to see friends, to have a hobby, to take care of yourself. It’s all too easy to let one or more of those things slip.

Motherhood is hard, it’s all consuming and it’s exhausting.

But.

I wouldn’t change it for the world.

These little people who run me ragged, who drive me crazy and who push me to my limits. These little people are amazing, and I’m so lucky and so grateful to be their mama. It sounds twee and cliche but it’s the truth. My little boy tells me that I’m the best Mummy ever and I melt. My little madam snuggles in for a cuddle, or gives me her cheekiest look and I just adore her. I watch them playing with their daddy or just messing with each other and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. It all happened so fast and my life has changed so much, but I couldn’t imagine life without this little pair, I really couldn’t.PhotoGrid_1489340144996

Motherhood is hard, but worth it.

Disclosure: I was gifted a beautiful necklace in exchange for writing this post however all thoughts, feelings and photos are my own.

Reconnecting as a couple at Y Spa Wyboston Lakes

Being parents is wonderful but it is also seriously hard work. I’ve said it before but anyone who things having a child will save a relationship is usually wrong. Having children pushes your relationship to the limits. You’re tired, snappy and the needs of the little people can take over. Household chores can become battlegrounds and it is so easy to feel disconnected and like two people sharing a house and sharing children rather than the couple you are. So as much as me-time is important so is us-time for hubs and I. Getting that us-time can be easier said than done though.

When hubs’ Grandpa passed away last year he got a little inheritance and we decided to use some of it to treat ourselves. To do something that we wouldn’t normally do. So after a bit of research we chose a spa package at the Y Spa at Wyboston Lakes. Nanny & Pops kindly agree to babysit and we have been so looking forward to our weekend together.

With Monkey coming down with Chicken Pox last week it did hang in the balance whether we would still be able to come, but thankfully as he wasn’t too bad in himself (just covered in spots bless him) Nanny & Pops are saints and were still happy to babysit.

We headed off on Saturday and arrived in time for a two course lunch overlooking the lake which was lovely. We treated ourselves to a glass of prosecco to start of the relaxation as we were still thinking and worrying about the kiddies a little, even though we knew they were in capable hands, feeling guilty especially that our little man was not feeling 100%.PhotoGrid_1457257167281

After lunch our room was ready which was perfect timing and we settled in to our room before heading to the spa. It was really luxurious and there was even a tablet in the room that you could order room service on!  PhotoGrid_1457257246551

The package we bought included lunch, dinner, bed, breakfast and 4 hours in the spa from 3-7. We had also booked a treatment beforehand. So at 2 we had an amazing couples hot stone full body massage. It was funny being in the room together but kind of nice to do it together (and slightly cheaper than doing it separately) and the massage itself was amazing! Both our backs are terrible to the massage was brilliant for that and there is something soo lovely about having your hands and feet massaged as part of a full body massage!

Feeling very relaxed it was time to head into the spa itself. One of the reasons we chose the Y Spa was because the spa itself looked amazing. With a steam room, salty steam room, hot sauna, milder sauna, chill out room complete with ice and the piece de resistance, the hydrotherapy pool outside. With the cold weather this was amazing as the steam was filling the air, there was a fire blazing by sofas at one end and there was just such a wonderful ambience.PhotoGrid_1457257384476

There are some wonderful chill out spaces too, including one entitled the big sleep which we took advantage of too. Lying in bed in the middle of the afternoon felt seriously decadent and wonderful. The hot sauna was seriously hot but the milder sauna was really lovely and my favourite room was the steam room. I don’t often like steam rooms but this one was fabulous and hubs actually really liked the chill out room with a wall of ice as he is such a hot bod and it really cooled him down.

We spent the most time in the hydrotherapy pool though. With big underwater beds, jacuzzi bubble and some wonderful water jets it was just amazing. We copied a few other guests and treated ourselves to another glass of prosecco which we drank surrounded by bubbles as the sun went down. Feeling lovely and happy we snuggled under a blanket in front of the fire before heading back to our room to get ready for our evening meal.PhotoGrid_1457257464513

We took the opportunity to dress up a little and had a glass of wine in the waterfront bar before heading to our restaurant for a 3 course meal. The food was amazing and the ambience lovely, with low lighting and just a lovely atmosphere. We really felt spoiled and so well looked after.PhotoGrid_1457257669997

One of the best bits for us though was the next morning and having a lie in. We never ever get lie ins past 7am (and even they are rare) and though we still woke up pretty early (hard to change your body clock) the feeling of not having to get up was heavenly. We lay in bed and watched TV. We don’t even have a TV in our bedroom at home so this felt very luxurious and we watched something they than cbeebies! Shocking haha. A yummy slap up breakfast in the restaurant and then it was back to our room to chill again and for hubs to get a political fix watching the Andrew Marr show while I just enjoyed blogging in bed.

Over the course of the weekend we really reconnected as a couple. We had so many conversations that we never have time to have, either because the kids are jabbering over us or because we are too tired in the evenings. Other than a bit of TV on Sunday morning we really switched off from technology and enjoyed each others company, rather than both sitting with our phones as so often happens at home.

It was an expensive weekend, at nearly £400 in total (including drinks and treatments on top of the hotel package which was £228), so definitely a one off luxury (thank goodness for that inheritance) but at the same time it was worth every penny to really relax and spend time together.

We didn’t hang about too long before going home though as we wanted to see our kiddies and make sure Monkey was Ok, plus it was mothers day so we needed to see our mummies! We had a wonderful time though and hope to go back one day, even if just for the day!

How do you stay connected as a couple? Do you find it hard to make time for each other?

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5 Surefire ways to fail at Messy Play

Messy play. For many of us parents it’s a love/hate thing. Either you enjoy doing it with your kids or you point blank refuse to deal with the mess. I do like doing messy play but it doesn’t always (or even very often) go the way I hope. I have in fact had some disastrous messy play experiences over the last week or so, so I feel suitably qualified to share with you a guide to ensuring that messy play goes very badly indeed and stresses you out enormously.fail at messy play

1. Do zero preparation.

Tell your kids about a fantastic idea before you have even thought about how possible it is, whether you even have the right ingredients or considered how long it takes to prepare. Cue kids whining and clinging while you try and gather ingredients and get it all ready. This does not get messy play off to a good start and you are stressed before you even begin. Brilliant.

2. Don’t think about your child and whether it is right for them.

Even if you know your child doesn’t like getting sticky or wet, set then up with some jelly messy play and see how it goes. Why not eh? Of course there’s no chance they will act true to form and refuse to participate because “I don’t like it” or will try their best before yelling “my hands are all yucky” while screaming and throwing themselves at you with said yucky hands.

3. Believe what you see on pinterest and social media.

Of course there is no chance that those smily faces you see are merely a snapshot and the one happy moment of messy play before the whining started. As for those picture perfect results and amazing creations as a result… Yup zip chance a parent has contributed at all and of course your children will also create similar masterpieces. No doubt about that whatsoever…a picture tells a thousand words? Or a thousand LIES!?

I posted this picture on Instagram.. looks idylic huh? Nicely glosses over the fact that within seconds Monkey was demanding to get out kicking off an uber tantrum and LM wanted to get out shortly after...

I posted this picture on Instagram.. looks idylic huh? Nicely glosses over the fact that within seconds Monkey was demanding to get out kicking off an uber tantrum and LM wanted to get out shortly after… Don’t believe everything you see folks!

4. Expect it to last more than 5 minutes.

Because of course they will enjoy it so much that they will still be engrossed in half an hour or an hour allowing you to have a cup of tea or write a blog post. There’s no chance that they will prod it for a few mins then announce “I’ve had enough now. ” Or if they are too little to talk then of course they won’t suddenly make a break for freedom trailing spaghetti/jelly/paint throughout the house the second you have turned away because you think they are happily playing. If they have previously enjoyed an activity then you can guarantee that they will like it again…  Yup absolutely zero chance they will be a contrary little so and so and refuse to join in…. ahem.

5. Underestimate the clean up operation.

Can you say uh oh?

Can you say uh oh?

Got a pack of wipes. Yeah that’ll do. Until you see both you and child are up to your arms in black goo which is dripping all over the floor which you haven’t put any protective covering down on… Cue holding a child at arms length as you run through the house to the nearest sink, screaming “don’t touch anything” while you hope nothing drops anywhere that it can’t be removed by vanish or bleach!

 

See, failing at Messy Play is very very easy!

If for some reason you don’t want to fail at Messy Play, perhaps take care to avoid all of the above faux pas… And yes I have done all of them more than once…

 

Because it is worth it. Sometimes, just sometimes, you are rewarded with scenes like these and that makes it all worthwhile :) even if the smiles are very shortlived. Even when there is a ginormous clean up operation to come. As long as you don’t expect too much from them or yourself it will be fine.PhotoGrid_1456409504007

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