No more baby days 

I’m on the sofa this morning, after dropping my biggest girl at nursery. The smallest one is fast asleep on me after a rough night of wide awake snuggles and sore teeth. I’m suddenly overwhelmed by how big and clever and grown up the two of them are now. And it hurts. 
I don’t have a baby anymore. The days of having two under two are long behind me, and Iris is very nearly three. She starts nursery class at a school this September, with a tiny school uniform and everything. She’s excited. I’m excited too, because I know she’s going to have such a fabulous time, but I’m also sad and a tiny bit terrified. Astrid is 16 months old now, and like a tiny wrecking ball. She is sturdy and speedy, and charges through life at 100 miles per hour. She climbs and runs and has no fear of hurting herself. I can’t leave her alone in a room for even a minute. Not even if I can’t see a single hazard. She will find one. It’s not unusual to catch her dancing on tables or scaling window sills. 
They are not babies. 
The first year after Astrid was born I went to bed every single night feeling like I’d been hit by a bus. Seriously. While they pleasantly surprised me often and it wasn’t always as hard as I’d imagined, it was exhausting. Iris needed constant interactions at the time, too young yet to create games and play alone while I fed Astrid. Little one was a screamer, and a complete mystery to me a lot of the time. I didn’t instinctively know what she was crying for like I had with Iris. I had PND (I can see now in hindsight) and was having a huge identity crisis when I should have been focussing on my babies. 
I really feel like it’s over now. The hard bit. Obviously I know there are many many many hard bits to come. I’m not daft. But I can’t imagine it being that consistently hard again for such a long period of time. I can’t imagine slipping back into the black cloud I lived in for a long time either. I’ve been making sure I look after myself too, and I plan to keep it up. 
Besides some health issues (for another day) life is really very good at the moment, but I can’t help but feel some sadness at the baby days being behind us.

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Astrid is One!

Astrid’s birthday was almost a month ago now. I’ve been writing this a little bit here and there for weeks! It’s so hard to find time to sit and write these days.  

It’s so weird that a whole year has gone by since my second beautiful little darling daughter arrived in the world. Last year was such a difficult year for me, and so I feel like I didn’t give her the first year of life that she deserves. I fully intend to make up for that this year. 

She’s a funny little creature. Mostly she’s an incredible bubbly little bundle of joy, with a big cheeky grin and an infectious laugh. She loves music, and sings in babble at the top of her lungs while swaying from side to side. When she hears music she dances, and even if there’s no music she usually starts dancing on demand. 

When she’s unhappy, she lets you know too. With an ear piercing scream followed by wailing that sometimes seems endless. She’s mostly been a bit of a mystery to me. With Iris I always seemed to just know why she was crying even if I couldn’t actually make her stop. Most of the time with Astrid I have no idea whatsoever. I don’t know if she’s a more complicated baby or if it’s because I’ve not been myself for most of her babyhood. When she was really tiny she often became completely inconsolable in public, and I couldn’t handle the judgemental stares of strangers or the stress of trying to get us all home with her shouting. It happens far less often now, but it still happens. 

Her first word was ‘cat’ and I wasn’t surprised. She loves the cats. Margot isn’t interested in human affection at all and avoids her, but Galahad loves a snuggle and she loves nothing more than stroking him and laughing at him (and tugging his fur a little bit). He seems to know how she feels about him and he likes to hang around her. She also says ‘hiya’ regularly and loudly. When she spots a big sister, or when people walk into a room. Lots of objects have become toy phones, which she holds around the back of her head (nowhere near her ear!) and shouts HIYA at. ‘Dada’ is said in context, mostly called out when he leaves the room and she’s not sure why or where he has gone. Most recently she’s started saying ‘yeah’ when you ask her a question. She seems to sense the tone of a question even if she has no idea what you asked. 

She’s crawling at high speed, and there’s no escaping her now! She follows me all around the downstairs and the days of being unable to go to the loo in peace are back. She also climbs, and it’s often really scary. I don’t want to be right behind her undermining her all the time, because climbing is clearly her thing and she’s good at it, but it terrifies me! I have to secretly cringe in fear from a bit further away. Rearranging furniture to stop her from climbing anywhere really dangerous takes up a lot of my day. I think walking is a little way off, which I’m a bit relieved about. She took her first steps on the afternoon of her birthday, and the odd step since, but doesn’t seem particularly bothered. She does let go and stand unaided for a long time quite often, and she whizzes around at high speed pushing a sit on ladybird that she can’t sit on because her feet don’t reach the floor. She’s my last baby, and I’m happy that she’s in no rush to stop being a baby! 

Her sleep is fantastic compare to Iris as a baby. Compared to Iris now actually! She mostly sleeps all through the night, unless she’s got a cough or something or she’s disturbed by Iris being noisy. To the parents out there with babies who never sleep, please don’t think I’m boasting. I’m not. I haven’t done any sleep training or tried to make her sleep through. It’s just who she is. I can’t say I’m not relieved, but I do know your pain at the lack of sleep. Iris never slept as a baby and is still rubbish at 2 and a half. Unfortunately Astrid is an early bird and I am not. When she pokes me awake at 5am I am not amused. 

Day time naps are down to two, usually around 10 and 2 but currently less predictable, which I think may mean they are about to change. If she’s up early (she usually is!) she’ll sleep at 9am and on a day when Iris goes to nursery in the morning there’s no noise to disturb her, meaning that sometimes she gives me a full two hours to get some housework done without her ‘help’. 

Astrid eats like she’s got a bottomless stomach. Iris was the same but I think Astrid’s appetite is even bigger. She will literally eat all day if there’s food available. I have to be careful that she doesn’t, because when she overeats she gets tummy ache and trapped wind which really upsets her. Thankfully she will eat all of the healthy stuff. Apart from bananas, which she won’t even consider eating, I’ve not found another thing she doesn’t like. Over Christmas she even enjoyed a pickled onion or three. 

Astrid loves being outdoors, especially now she can crawl. I’ve let her down a bit by not being outdoors enough lately, but I plan to rectify it. I’ve invested in waterproof trousers for her, and have no problem at all with her crawling around in the mud and wet grass. I was so looking forward to the crawling stage so she wouldn’t have to be restricted to the sling or pushchair while we were out, but I haven’t made the most of it at all. 

She has just two teeth, the bottom front ones. The same two Iris had when she turned one. It seems I make slow teethers. It doesn’t hold her back from eating crunchy foods, and they came through without too much of a struggle. I’m half expecting her to get a whole bunch more all at once now, like Iris did. Her hair is getting long now, and hangs in her eyes. I can’t decide if I should trim her fringe or keep trying to sweep it to one side until it tucks behind her ear. She will not tolerate a clip for more than a few minutes! I was expecting another bald baby like Iris, who has only really grown hair since turning two. I’m amazed at how blonde Astrid is too! 

She’s a much bigger baby, and is wearing clothes that Iris was wearing this time last year at 18 months. Unlike my long limbed Iris, she’s sturdy and more compact. She was weighed when she had her vaccinations recently, and weighs 20lb. That’s her first weigh in since she was tiny and probably her last for a long while. I’ve never really understood the point in constantly weighing babies unless you have concerns about them. She’s energetic and eating well and growing. 

I really hoped we’d still be breastfeeding, but yet again we didn’t make it to the first birthday. It went exactly the same way it did with Iris, only I couldn’t blame it on pregnancy this time. She just lost interest. She was down to one feed in the evening at around 10 months, and then gradually lost interest in that feed too. Her last feed was a few days before her birthday, and I had no idea it was going to be her last feed. I offered several more times but she just didn’t care. I’m gutted but also relieved. I have so many friends who would happily wean their older children off the breast but can’t without a battle and upsetting the child. At least I won’t have to go through that. I think feeding older children is amazing, but I’m not sure I could handle it. Once they start wriggling I start feeling uncomfortable. It feels like an invasion of my personal space when they start trying to put their big toe up your nose during a feed. Astrid also liked to attempt to pick a mole off my neck while feeding which was painful, and she’d get cross and cry if I tried to get her to stop. She scratched too, and hit me several times. Our no-boob cuddles are much nicer. She’s a very snugly girl and loves a cuddle! 

I hope that being in my dark cloud for the whole of her first year hasn’t affected our bond forever. She seems pretty attached to me, which is a good sign. I will forever feel awful that I’ve been here physically but not really in spirit for her months as a baby. 

She’s a joy. She really is. Her big round squishy face makes me so happy, especially when she gives me one of her big beaming smiles and shows me her dimples and her two teeth. She’s lots of fun and already has a great sense of humour. I can’t imagine life without her. I barely even remember what it was like to just have Iris. 

I’m determined that this next year will be a much much better one, and so far it’s going well. 

Happy first birthday Beanie. We love you.  

Leggings from Lidl and my lowest parenting low

Right now, as I write this, my children are both sleeping. I have a cup of coffee that I’ve just made, and it’s hot. It hasn’t had the chance to go cold, like all of the other cups of coffee I’ve made today. I’ve got my laptop out, instead of drafting this on my phone while breastfeeding or sitting on a bus. From my perch, right in this moment, parenting two under two seems pretty good. We’ve baked cakes and even done some painting today. We’re doing ok.

Alright, it’s not perfect. I’m sat at Iris’s little play table and chairs because the children have taken one sofa each. I’m not comfortable. I’m trying really really really hard not to eat the packet of chocolate chip cookies in the cupboard, and actually I would have quite liked to venture out somewhere today. I just wasn’t brave enough. And it’s just way too bloody hot. Also, I’ve already posted a blog post today and posting more than once a day feels weird. I can’t explain it.

I am so bloody tired.

I get sick of hearing myself complain about being tired. I get sick of the sound of my own voice. Iris, please don’t lick the dog. No, don’t eat his food either. Yes, we do need to change your nappy. Must we watch the same Bing DVD again? What do you want for lunch? No, ice cream doesn’t count as lunch. If you climb up there you could fall and hurt yourself. Please don’t poke Astrid. Yes, I know she’s biting you but she doesn’t have any teeth so it’s ok. No, you can’t bite her back. You have lots of teeth, very very shiny teeth.

Well that didn’t last. Astrid was up, and now she’s back down. I didn’t even finish my coffee.

Let’s talk about Astrid actually. I’ve come to the conclusion that she hates summer. She’s cried almost non-stop since the weather got nice. It’s not nice now. It’s grey and dark and overcast but BOILING HOT. After spending the first chunk of the year counting down the minutes until summer arrives, I now want it to just get lost. Give me snow, blizzards, heavy rain and sub-zero temperatures. Anything to stop my baby crying.

Yesterday I reached an all-time parenting low.

Monday was rubbish. Really awful. Astrid cried all day long. I really needed to do some housework because it’s so messy in our house it’s making me itch. I just can’t relax while it’s like this. I achieved nothing. Not a thing.

So yesterday I came to the conclusion that if I am to achieve nothing at home apart from being grumpy and being screamed at, we may as well go out. Nothing adventurous. I wanted to check out the bargain exercise wear in Lidl, and Iris has library books that are due back.

Oh wow, was getting out of the house hard. The screaming! Iris kept running away when she was supposed to be getting dressed. I couldn’t find my clothes because I haven’t put any laundry away in about a year or something. Iris got out pretty much every toy we own, and I can’t go out with toys out because the dog will bloody eat them.

Anyway, we got out around lunch time. I thought I’d feed Iris from Lidl’s bakery and she could eat in the pushchair from there to the library.

HA!

The bus journey was horrific. Iris wanted out of the pushchair, but judging by Astrid’s screams so did she. An old man commented on the crying. Yes, she has been making that horrific noise since she woke up this morning and I have noticed she sounds quite sad thank you very much. I ended up juggling two children and a bloody great big empty double pushchair. Not easy.

On arrival in town, I convinced Iris to get back in, and strapped in a screaming Astrid because holding her wasn’t making her happier anyway. Every few feet I had to stop, try to console Astrid, try to convince her to take a dummy, sit on a curb and try to feed her. Nothing. Nothing works. She’s red faced and furious and I have absolutely no idea how to make that better. Half an hour later and we’ve walked about quarter of the way to Lidl. I give up and dive into a cafe we go to a lot, but stopped going to because Astrid is always screaming and we never go out anymore.

Iris wanted spaghetti hoops, until they arrived and she didn’t want them anymore. They ended up all over the floor. The cafe manager held a screaming Astrid while I scoffed a sandwich as fast as I could. I tried to make a break as soon as I’d finished eating, but the cafe manager insisted on coming to Lidl with us.

So she pushed the huge tank of a pushchair and I carried a nearly naked Astrid (I’d stripped her off because she was red hot from the yelling). My pushchair takes some getting used to and she crashed a lot.

After a doughnut from the bakery, Iris nodded off. I thanked the cafe manager (who is so lovely!) and made a break for home  Screw the library. I’d rather be fined than take my horrific children in there. I almost got back to the bus station. Almost.

Instead I broke down. Properly lost it. I took Astrid out of the pushchair, sat on some steps and rang my mum in a hysterical mess. There wasn’t much point. She couldn’t really hear me over the screaming. While mum consoled me, a tall man with a ginger beard approached me and said “perhaps if you put your phone away you’ll be able to calm your baby…..” and I thought oh here we go, you want a fight Mr Judgeypants??

Then he showed me his police badge. Oh.

I hung up on my mum (sorry mum) and tried to explain that I just wanted to buy some leggings to wear to the dance class I don’t actually go to because my baby never stops crying, but it had all been really hard work because my baby never stops crying and I haven’t slept for two years, and we never leave the house anymore which isn’t good because the house looks like its been ransacked and it’s all just got a bit too much.

His expression told me that he was concerned for the safety of both my screaming baby and my fast asleep toddler. Oh crap.

While I tried to convince him that I wasn’t a danger to my children without implying that that’s what he was thinking just in case he wasn’t thinking that at all, he pushed my pushchair and sleeping toddler to the bus station. Astrid finally stopped screaming in my arms. He told me he has four kids, a bit older than mine, and that he knows what screaming babies can do to a usually capable person. Despite my insistence that I’m fine, reeeeally I am he called a couple of PCSOs to help me get home. Yes really.

They helped me onto the bus, sat with me on the bus, helped me off the bus, and helped me into my house. For real. I don’t even know where they went after that.

Loads of people who I don’t actually know but who I see all of the time saw it all. I felt like a bit of a wally.

But I arrived home with a sleeping toddler in a pushchair and a sleeping nearly-naked baby in my arms.

I was ashamed.

Today, I am not. My faith in humans is restored. Well sort of. The news is full of stupid politicians and entitled men getting away with the worst of crimes. But my faith is restored a teeny bit.

And I’m not leaving the house alone with these two monsters again for a while.

When you can’t hear yourself think 

Yesterday was quite a day. Actually, all days are kind of like that now. Especially the days in this week. 

Astrid is going through a phase or leap or something. Whatever it is, it’s making her cross. Her angry screaming has been nearly constant and now it’s making me cross too. All week. It’s been like this all week. 

Iris is having tantrums too. Not even big ones, but big enough that they require me to get down to her level and have a little chat about how she’s feeling and why, and how we can fix it. 

While a baby screams at me. 

It’s not much fun, as you can imagine. Getting out of the house has been virtually impossible. It takes until midday to get dressed. I’ve given up attempting to wash. If you’re in Pontypridd and you smell something bad while walking around town, it’s probably me. Sorry. 

My hair looks a bit like a haystack. 

In the morning I had a conversation with Iris that went like this. 

Iris: mummy we go to big shop 

Me: what for? 

Iris: big boy pants 

Me: you want to buy some pants? 

Iris: green ones 

Me: ok, but if you wear pants you have to use the potty. 

Iris: no 

Me: you don’t want to use the potty? 

Iris: no

So now we have pants. They aren’t green and they’re from the girls section, but we have pants. We also have a potty, but as Iris doesn’t want to acknowledge that aspect of pants-wearing, I guess we are also going to have a lot of puddles. 

She also asked for a sausage roll, but chucked all of the pastry on the floor. So really she just wanted a sausage. 

It took all of my strength to get us out of the house and to the supermarket for those pants. I don’t think Astrid wanted to go because she screamed All. Morning. Long. 

She screamed half way from the supermarket to town too. Then she fell asleep. 

Then, after we went to breastfeeding support group just so that I could have at least one cup of coffee before it went cold, she screamed most of the way home. 

Why is my usually jolly baby so sad? And so loud? 

She would not sit in the pushchair. Iris was shouting for an ice lolly. I attempted pushing the huge double pushchair with one arm while holding Astrid. Nope. Can’t do it. 

Bought a rocket lolly for Iris. She chucked it on the floor after one bite. 

At the bus station several people told me my baby was crying. Thank you, helpful people. I hadn’t noticed. 

I arrived home like this. 

I have no idea how I even got them off the bus like that. 

And there we stayed until Trevor got home. 

Please let today be easier. 

The siblings project (May)


I’ve just decided to start taking part in the sibling project link up again. I have no pictures taken especially for this, but maybe it’s better that way. I take pictures of them together whenever I get a chance anyway. 

They are such a twosome already. I thought I’d be waiting quite a long while for them to really interact with each other, but they already do. They’re so close. Iris insists that ‘baby’ (she rarely calls her Astrid) joins in with everything, even though she can’t really join in yet. Astrid beams whenever and sees Iris and clearly adores her. I love to see them together.  Iris is forever kissing and cuddling Astrid and it’s just far too cute. 

*Linking up with The Siblings Project. Click the image below for more details*

The Me and Mine Project

Matching pears 

I never thought I’d be a mum who dresses her children the same, but occasionally I just can’t resist it! Iris and Astrid were lying together on the floor at my Grampy’s house today, Iris chatting away to her little sister, and I got some lovely pictures. I just had to pop them here to look back on. I can’t believe Astrid is seven weeks old tomorrow!  

    
    
   

My mum bought the pears leggings and cardigans from TU at Sainsburys, in case anybody was wondering. 

Our week in pictures #15

Well it’s been a much better week than the last one, which is definitely a huge relief. It’s still had its moments though. I think I’m feeling a little bit blue, and I need to fight it because LIFE IS GOOD. 

After writing my last weekly update we trundled off in the pouring rain to the sling meet. I so love our local babywearing group! I sold the first woven sling I bought, back when Iris was really tiny. I feel a bit sad about it, but I never use it anymore. I have prettier slings now, and it’s too long for me anyway. I made up for it by buying a brand new sling. A gorgeous Firespiral in greeny-grey that has been converted into a ring sling. It’s amazing for getting babies up and down quickly, and I’ve already used it for both kiddos. My sister used it with my niece who is nearly 4! I even managed to walk around breastfeeding Astrid in it at the weekend. Definitely a good purchase. 

On Saturday we got up early and headed off to Bristol for a cafe breakfast with my closest friends (I miss you guys so very much!). Our kids played with their kids and we all had a great time. Then we met my sister and her family at Bristol Zoo. I absolutely love Bristol Zoo. I worked there years ago and miss it very much. I know people complain because it doesn’t have very many big animals but I can only see that as a good thing. The little creatures are just as much fun. We particularly like Bug World! Iris is a huge fan of the aquariums and aviaries. It was cold and wet, and we forgot the rain cover for the new pushchair, but we had a really fantastic day. There’s nothing I love more than seeing all of the kids together having fun. We stopped for Nandos on the way home, and it was the perfect way to end a fun day. A great early birthday treat for me! 

Sunday was spent visiting Grandma, where we had lunch in a lovely cafe followed by enormous slices of cake. Then we took the big two back to their mum. Sometimes it feels like they’ve only been with us for 5 minutes and we all feel quite sad when they’ve gone. Iris has learnt to say the biggest one’s name and keeps repeating it as if that’ll make her reappear. 

On Monday I turned 31 and it was not my best birthday ever. Looking back from the other end of the week I can see that I’d just let everything get on top of me. A busy weekend meant the house was trashed, I hadn’t slept, the babies were shouty, and I was completely overwhelmed. I just felt like crap. I definitely need to take better care of myself. Trevor took Iris out to the supermarket for a bit and me and Astrid went to bed. I felt a bit better and Trevor produced an enormous chocolate cake. After a big slice and a gin and tonic, my birthday was looking up a bit. I have the best boyfriend ever! 

On Tuesday I really wanted to spend my birthday money. I totally forgot that a new playgroup started in the village and took the  bus to one in town. Then I went shopping. And bought nothing. I’m terrible at buying clothes and shoes. I desperately need them but I can’t decide what I like and what suits me. My body has changed so much and I haven’t changed my wardrobe with it. I’m so confused about what to wear that I just give up. I need help! Instead I used some of Iris’s Christmas money to buy some new wooden puzzles. 

On Wednesday we went to crochet club again, but it wasn’t as cheerful as usual. A friend’s little baby boy is in hospital with meningitis, and we’re all worried sick. I cannot begin to imagine how they are feeling. I’m terrified and he’s not my baby. It’s just awful. I hope he recovers fully and quickly. 

Yesterday I got my haircut, while Trevor pushed the girls around the park trying to keep them asleep! Then we went to breastfeeding support group, where we all talked about meningitis and how terrifying it is. Iris had fun running up and down with her friends. 

Today is a pyjama day. The health visitor came to check up on Astrid, then we came upstairs where I am writing this in the middle of my bed with a sleeping baby on either side of me. A friend is coming over for a cuppa in a while. In the meantime I’m enjoying a moment of quiet. 

It’s Friday! Have a good weekend!