Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Baby no2: 5 things I thought I'd do differently during pregnancy

I stumbled across this old blog post in my drafts where I wrote about things I wanted to do differently if I was blessed with carrying baby no2. Its funny that although I wrote this before conceiving again, much of it remained true...

1) I will add 2 weeks onto my actual due date. Last time, I was overdue by 8 days...8 looooong days! The loooooongest 8 days of my life!!! What made it worse was the well meaning but constant texts, calls, facebook wall posts, all asking 'is she here yet', 'when will I meet my niece?'
Kind of followed through on this- I just told people 'May' ; )

2) Not find out the sex. Last time we were less prepared for what happens when you have a baby, we wanted the heads up. We were very lucky to have been showered with gifts and Little Miss O had lots of clothes, toys, books, equipment before she arrived. It really was good for us to see all the girly stuff and prepare for our little girl. Next time though, we'd like to have a surprise. It is one of the few things in life that is truly a secret, that nobody can share (unless they are looking at an ultrasound picture with a magnifying glass!)...we want to experience the surprise too. If no2 is a girl, we'll be happy to have a little sister close in age (ish) for Little Miss O and if we had a boy, we'd be happy to have one of each! Either way, we feel we don't 'need' to know this time around...
Yey, we resisted the temptation and were happy with our decision to wait until the big day! 

3) Not bother eating pineapples... I did some research and I'd have to eat a ridiculous amount of pineapples to get enough of the labour inducing chemical into my body, by which point I figured I would be sick. Next time, I wont bother with all that inducing stuff... none of it worked, not curry (I'm used to spicy foods), not sex (no further comment necessary), not walking - unless you count the final day of walking round the shopping centre in labour! Instead, I will just plan activities for each day - regardless of my due date. I think this will be easy next time around as Little Miss O wont want to be stuck with me on the sofa feeling sorry for my over-pregnant self. Perhaps I'll tell her we have to do fun things to entice her brother or sister to come out and play!
Definitely did this! Went to a wedding, birthday dinner and photoshoot a few days before baby arrived and my proper labour started whilst sitting in a local park playing with Little Miss O! There was no 'feeling sorry for myself' this time! Yey!

4) Eat as though its going out of fashion. Last time, I had morning nausea. I was only ever sick a few times, but the nausea was horrible- feeling sick all day without the relief that comes after you've physically vomited! I could hardly eat and had to be force fed by Mr O. I went off all my favourite foods and was reduced to satsumas and apple juice. Seriously, my sister recalls me being rather tearful when someone in the house drank the last glass of my waitrose apple juice. I think on one day I ate 10 satsumas or so ..possibly more! Hormones I tell you! Anyway, next time, I really really REALLY want to be able to eat lots of food. Not least because on labour day itself, I only ate an apple and a handful of mini-oreo cookies...and then went on to deliver a whopper of a bouncing baby!
Definitely did this, though my cravings were very much healthy ones and I managed to squeeze in a blackcurrant tea whilst in the labour pool! Good times!

5) Enjoy the last few days/weeks/months of life as it is. When you're pregnant, other parents tell you to enjoy your sleep now, enjoy popping out to the shop now, enjoy life as it is NOW. They tell you that your life will never be the same again...and being pregnant of course you think you know what they're talking about. I thought 'of course I know - doh!' Well, I certainly had NO idea how much such a small person could change every single aspect of my life...practically, emotionally, everything has changed for me. I imagine that it will be the same with a second child. You think you know what it means...sure perhaps you'll need a double buggy instead of a single carriage one, you'll have twice as many nappies/food/daycare/mess to sort out...these things I think I know. Sure, I'll be excited about meeting baby no2 and praying for a safe delivery. but I'll also be enjoying our final days, just the 3 of and Mr O and Little Miss O...
We really did enjoy our final days as a family of 3! 

Finding this post makes me feel like I knew myself and my heart; which makes me feel like a real grown up ; ) if 1 husband, 2 kids and 2 jobs doesn't do that- I'm not sure what will!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Parents aren't reading to their kids anymore... really?

In the news today, they're saying parents aren't reading to their kids. I always wonder if they surveyed parents of 14 year old 'children' because all the parents I know DO read to their kids - they didn't ask many of us then!

As a child, I was never into Roald Dahl or Enid Blyton or Dr Seuss. I wasn’t what you would call a big reader, I didn't like ‘fantasy’ or anything that required too much imagination.  I only really liked stories about everyday things; Dennis the Menace, the Sweet Valley High series and ‘Are you there God, it’s me Margaret’ that sort of thing. That was until I discovered poetry and limericks and learnt what a simile was. I found this love my Mum took us to the library - regularly, where I wandered, discovered, borrowed and learnt to explore literature that way instead. 

2008 - when Little was just a bump!
Secretly though, I wanted to be swept into alternate universes and feel the story and when it comes to Little Miss O, I don't want her to miss out. My good friend planted the seed at our baby shower back in 2008 when she gave us all manner of books to start Little's library - and she hasn't stopped since. This has been supported by lots of  our family and friends too. Little's library is growing. So, much like her unofficial GodMother, Little is a girl who loves reading - everything from road signs, ingredients lists, magazines, books and even my text messages! And much like myself, she loves being in the library.

Little Miss O in 2008 - starting early!
From day one, we’ve snuggled up together to read, gone to story time at the library, borrowed books etc. At first I would read other people's blog posts to her (before she was old enough to understand!), then she gained interest in her touch and feel books; anything I was reading, I read to her. Little has always been interested in books and turning the pages.

Birthday Fun!
This year, Little chose Eric Carle's 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' theme for her birthday. The kids ate the food that the Caterpillar ate and decorated their cupcakes, it was really cute. Little just loves stories and her new favourite pastime is reading to her baby sister. It’s amazing and it makes me feel proud and encouraged that maybe (just maybe) we're doing something right.

For any parents who aren't into reading (yet)- I get it! One thing I've learnt is that reading to my children is sooooooo much more fun than reading to myself :) You can use different voices (be careful because if you use the Gruffalo's voice at the wrong time, they will notice and rock your flow! I went in to read to Little's friends at nursery once and the anticipation on their faces as you turn the page was just adorable!

I feel that with reading, it opens up a world to her that exists outside of her own, it opens up space for us to spend time together, quietly which every Mum surely craves for(!)

Now that we're starting again from scratch on this parenting ride with Mini Miss O, I'm finding myself reflecting on the things I wish I hadn't done with Little or the things I wish I could have done more of. I'm also looking at the things I'm proud of too and fostering a love of reading and thirst for knowledge is something I'm really proud of. 

I guess we'll do just the same with Mini and see how it goes for her.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Mind the gap: the benefits of a 5 year age gap!

Little Miss and Mini Miss O are 5 years apart in age - almost to the day. For us, this spacing was God's handy work and having spent the last 3 years fending off people's well-meaning advice to 'hurry up and have another', 'get it all out of the way' etc, I'd be lying if I wasn't a little apprehensive awaiting this supposedly 'big' age gap. Would it be as hard to readjust to having a baby baby in the house again as everyone suggested? Would we even have time to buy everything all over again whilst enjoying our final days as a family of 3? Would I love 'the baby' as much as Little Miss O? I mean, I loved my first child soooo much, surely there was little left for another person?!

I did a some googling in an attempt to make myself feel better and came up with very little. Most of the tips were relating to coping with 2 under 2 or starting again after a decade.

So, I've decided to compile my own list of benefits based on what we've experienced so far from our aux naturale 5 yr gap. It's still early days for us but I can see benefits already!

* Our undivided attention
We got 5 whole years to get to know Little Miss O and now, because Little is at school, I get the pleasure of spending 9am-3pm giving my undivided attention to Mini.

* Elder sibling can express their feelings
Little Miss O is so very vocal and has been raised by us to share her feelings. The transition from solo to duo is so far going well. When Little has felt a little displaced by the constant baby care, she has been able to say so.  In the first week, when I lived between the bathroom and the bedroom and didnt even go downstairs, Little Miss O asked 'why is nobody taking care of me!' Bless her! We were able to address her feelings when she needed it most.

* Elder sibling can busy themselves whilst Mummy is busy
When there's a Mini around, there are times that I have to focus on her needs first and promptly. This means that Little has to wait. Thankfully, Little Miss O is well capable of doing simple tasks which really helps me. She gets and puts away her own toys, ties her own shoe laces, moisturises and dresses herself, gets herself safely into the car and fastens her belt and she can play without direct assistance too. 

* Elder sibling  has their own social calendar
For Little Miss O, everything doesn't revolve around 'the baby'. She has her own friends, play dates, extra curricular activities and school - all independent of her sister and these have continued for her. For Little, Mini is an enhancement to her lifestyle and she loves it.

* Gets you up and out!
Since I need to leave the house at 8.30am to do the school run, I am up n dressed n out of the house early. It's a good thing for us as I do school run, chores, fun, nap and then school run again ; ) it breaks up the day and an early start means more fun! What is they say- the days are long but the years are short!

* Little Helper
Little Miss O is a fantastic helper! She willingly fetches things, holds my handbag whilst I hold her sister, buckles herself into the car seat, lets Mini hold her hand in the back of the car, runs like lightening to get a muslin when Mini milks up EVERYWHERE. Little has even told visitors through the letterbox to 'hang on-Mummy's coming' when I've been caught unawares mid-poop explosion! Little loves her new status.

* Little Entertainer
Little enjoys entertaining Mini and seems to do so better than Mr O or I do. Perhaps it's a sister thing but Mini just LOVES Little's made up songs that switch melody midway through! Little can also read well now and has been reading to Mini from the womb. 

Whilst no doubt, every family makes their circumstances work for them, our  '5 year gap' is working brilliantly for us. I suppose it will be different when I'm spending 4 years doing a double nursery/school run but hey ho for now it's all good and we hope it'll make things easier  when we're just paying 1 set of uni fees at a time ; )

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Return of the Mel : )

It's September 2013 and what started as a virtual siesta turned into a full on and shamefully impromptu hibernation!  I've decided to make the most of my new-found 'leisure' time and return to blogosphere. 

Don't all cheer at once now! ; )

Recently, I'm feeling reenergised by friends, family and several communities of women in my life. Its all about the circle of love. I (think I've) found my mojo and its about time I shared some of the positivity that has come my way lately, including our lovely new addition Mini Miss O.

My new blog mission statement (Mr O is clearly rubbing off on me!) - to question, reflect and share as I embrace a spiritual, loving, happy and healthy culture in our home and within our family. That seems all encompassing right  ; ) this appears to be how I roll...

Please make no mistake, I'm not promising one of those manicured blogs, showcasing glossy photos of my chocolate button kids (which I happen to have and really should take better photos of). What you see here really will be what you get, a no-frills, rice and stew, Ronseal experience.

I'm hoping to be 'back for good'- or at least for the foreseeable future - to post funnies and sentimentals, food and crafts and to keep the 'famble' up to date when I don't get round to calling you all - we are many oh.

So, post..share..and comment away and join me as I continue planning, praying and playing!

Until next time!
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