Take #2 ( but actually #3)

11 weeks and 5 days ago, the small, windy human currently lying next to me, decided he had had enough of being snuggled up in my womb and made a rather abrupt appearance after 30 hours of getting himself “just right”. 

The last 3 ish months have been so very, very different to those we experienced with his sister. The fact that he came out 2lbs heavier than her and 12 days late probably played a part in it.

Things haven’t been perfect, dont get me wrong, but it’s better. It was only a 30 hour labour instead of 72 this time, so I was already 2 night’s sleep better off going in to it. I had a planned home birth, instead of an accidental birthing of the baby on the spare bedroom floor, and I was as prepared as I could have been. I learnt to feed lying down from day 1 which was so much easier than trying to hold up a 10 and a half pound baby and not fall asleep sitting up. In essence, I’d worked out what I didnt like from the last time round and changed it.

Everybody told me that it was a given that Elsie was going to start acting out because the new baby was here and that she’d resent him. I planned for that too. I filled a box full of things for us to do together on the sofa whilst I was feeding the baby. It worked. We played, we played with the bits in the box and we played make believe that the sofa was a train taking us to the beach. We played during nap times and we got to have sling cuddles again becuase Mummy wasn’t broken any more.

What I hadn’t planned for was that”resent” was the wrong word and I had utterly failed to realise how it would affect me. She wasn’t resentful, she was hurt. The person that was always there without hesitation when she was scared or lonely or over whelmed or really, really excited, suddenly wasn’t. She wasn’t there to cuddle up with in the middle of the night when bad dreams came, she told her to be excited a bit quieter please when the baby was sleeping or feeding, she couldn’t give her a spontaneous cuddle because she was elbow deep in poo filled nappy/covered in baby spew/ holding the baby/ trying to drink a cup of scolding hot tea in under 19 seconds before someone started yelling.

I know that these things are normal and I know that I haven’t broken my daughter by having another baby but it’s a very big thing for a little one to deal with. I am struggling at the moment not to get upset by it. I miss my little big girl. I miss my night time snuggles and I hate that she’s pushing away from me because she’s sad. I hate that the person she goes to now when she has had a bump is Daddy because as soon as I cuddle her Ed starts crying. 

I don’t resent having another child, I wouldn’t swap it for the world. I am overwhelmed though by trying to work out how you can be two people’s absolute everything without upsetting one or both. I guess the answer is that you can’t but it’s all about trying to minimise the impact on everyone until you’ve all adjusted to the change. It’s the same when any big change occurs, there is a period of adjustment and unsettlement whilst you work into a new routine and mindset. The only difference is that you are doing this change whilst sleep deprived and with people who’s emotions and wellbeing  are so intrinsically connected with your own that you can’t help but feel their feelings with them. As well as your own.

I had started writing this because I was listening to Elsie asking my husband if he could come and get me for a mummy cuddle. I had Ed on the boob and he was just drifting off . I couldn’t be in two places at once and I find having to let one of them down heart breaking. I took a break from writing and was ambling through Facebook during the 10pm feed and I came across Giovanna Fletcher’s post about Baby Loss Awareness Week. I realised it wasn’t just my Little Big Girl in the next room I miss snuggling, it’s my baby I never got to snuggle.

In 2011, I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks. I didn’t know I was pregnant until I realised that what was happening meant I wasn’t any more. I hadn’t been trying for a baby but there was still an enormous feeling of loss. It was such an overwhelming and incomprehensible thing to feel for something I didn’t even know I’d had but it was gone and there was nothing I could do to get it back. I still feel guilty about it and more so, when, like tonight, i remember I should be kissing 3 children goodnight instead of 2. Then I feel awful, because I forgot. 

I went through both subsequent pregnancies utterly terrified that I was going to lose my baby again. I checked and double checked the chances of micarriage as we ticked another week off. I panicked about the kicks in the last few weeks.

Up until now 5 people knew I’d lost a baby and two of those were midwives at my booking appoinments. No one knew about how worried I was with the other two. 

We don’t talk about this. We should. Whether it’s very early in the pregnancy or post birth, the loss is huge and has an enormous impact on people’s lives. Not talking about it compounds the feelings and leaves you dealing with them alone. 

This wasn’t the direction I planned to go with this post and I wasn’t sure that I felt comfortable sharing but we need to start talking about the big things. We need our village and we need to know we are not alone. 


Kid’s activities when Mummy is poorly No.3 – Busy Bags

These bags are great not only for keeping the kids entertained if you are feeling under the weather but also for taking out with you as they are small enough to fit in the change bag or your handbag. We trialled these two at Beardy’s birthday meal last Saturday.

There is no hard and fast rule for these and I wouldn’t recommend going out and splashing the cash on special items to make them just gather what you have from around the home.

If you do wish to purchase anything, (I LOVE my popper widget) then I will link to some in the post. Please note that these are affiliate links, there is no charge to you but a small amount of money comes my way for referring you should you purchase.

If you like the ideas but don’t have the time to make them then here are some ready made alternatives for you to purchase:

Paper chains with sticky bits on them
Super Sorting Pie

“Paper” Chains

These are a slightly more robust version of paper chains that you can put away and reuse another day. There is also no reason why you can’t cut some paper strips up and pop a small stick of glue (think UHU or Pritt Stick not school glue) in your bag either.

I used poppers (snap fasteners/ KAM snaps) but you could use buttons (see here for a quick alternative to buttons) and cut slits for button holes or use sticky velcro. The chain links can be made from anything really, strips of old clothes, felt, thick ish card.

You will need:

Felt, fabric, strong card or other similar material for the links
Poppers, buttons/fasteners, velcro to secure

You will need to cut your links into 1″ by 8″ strips.

For poppers, pick a backing piece and a “female” piece (it’s the bit that isn’t super sticky out), sandwich them into the widget according to the manufacturer’s instructions and SQUEEEEEEEEEZE! Your strip should now be sandwiched securely between a smooth piece and a bit with a hole and a dot. Repeat for all strips.

If you are using buttons/velcro or similar, stitch or stick a button/ piece to one end of the strip. Repeat for all strips.

For poppers and velcro you now want to flip the strips over and repeat the process for the other end, this time using the opposite piece, the “male” popper bit or the hook velcro if you used the loop part first. These bits should be at the opposite end and the opposite side of the strip to the first ones. This means that when closed, the strip makes a bracelet rather than a twisted loop.

For buttons and similar fastenings, simply cut an appropriate sized slit at the opposite end. Make sure the slit is big enough for little fingers to easily push the button through but not so big that it doesn’t hold. Start small, you can always make it bigger.

That’s it! All done. Wave them gleefully at your children and hope they are as excited about your lovingly made gift to them as you are.

Colour Matching

I used left over bits of felt and raided our button box for these but you can used coloured bits of anything really and small objects from around the house. Think pen lids, milk bottle tops, small toys, natural objects. The idea is that you lay the coloured squares out and the child matches the objects to the colour spots.

If you are lying upon the sofa in a snotty, flu filled stupor (you are allowed) then make yourself a brew, grab a coloured tupperware lid, sit back on said sofa and send wee bairn on a treasure hunt of the lounge to see how many object of that one colour they can find.

Children are inquisitive and excitable little creatures and don’t need big fancy toys to keep them occupied. They just need a bit of encouragement from us and something to stimulate their little brains.

The age of your squiglet will determine how long they can sit doing one task for, so if they are little little ones then be prepared to have a few activities up your sleeve if you need more than 5 minutes to rest.

Next week we’re talking about every child and cat’s favourite plaything.



Alternative fastenings

Following on from the Busy Bag post, here’s a tutorial for making alternative fastenings out of scraps.

You can use any fabric/felt scraps you have. Off cuts from making the strips are perfect. You will also need some string/thread.

Take a scrap strip of chosen fabric, roll up from the short end and tie in the middle.

Cut two small slits in the link strip, thread an end of string through each one and tie off in a double knot. Trim the string ends.

Once you have cut a slit in the other end you can push your new toggle through and voila!



Made by Hand

Stressful day at work? Do you come home and slip into your running shoes, put the beats in your ears and disappear into a world where the only thing that matters is the pounding of your feet on the pavement and the cold breath in your lungs? Maybe you prefer to turn the volume up loud, dance around in your pants and sing I Will Survive at the top of your lungs. Or maybe, it’s cracking open a bottle of something cold and inebriating, sticking your feet up and watching your favourite soap.

What ever your method, we all have a preferred way to unwind after a hard day. Sometimes that hard day lasts for more than 24 hours and you feel yourself becoming more wound up and disconnected with things. This, for me, is where making things comes in.

I have to be doing something with my hands. Not fiddling with something but doing something that has a purpose. It can be a task as simple and small as making a cup of tea. Holding a cup in my hands and then turning teabag and milk into the perfect brew.

Feeling something solid, like a cup, in my hand helps ground me and gets me out of the little world of lists and worries in my head. The act of making a cup of tea and drinking the final product is enough to allow me a little check off the list. I’ve managed to finish doing something I started. This may seem like a ridiculous thing to cheer about, but when you have eighty billion things to do and some of them take weeks or you keep getting interrupted, then it can be quite rewarding to take the small victories.

If I need more than a quick fix, I turn to crafting. There is something very therapeutic about putting pencil to paper or hook to yarn. The movements involved are soothing in themselves, the smooth application of paint to canvas or the repetitive click clack of knitting needles. You can’t really focus on anything else at the same time either, so it is a wonderful way of getting the mind to switch off and focus on just one thing. The end of your project could be hours, days or weeks away, but there is a huge feeling of achievement when you do finish. You can sit back and look at it and think “I did that and there isn’t another one anywhere.”.

Small person and I were chatting in the car the other day about things we like doing. I realised that nearly all of mine involve some kind of sensory experience and few of them were visual. Surprisingly (to me) they were nearly all touch based too, making things, baking things, walking on grass or paddling with my shoes off, hugs and a nice hot bath.

For me, a wind down/destressing activity should be something you enjoy. If you have to drag yourself to do it or feel grumpy once you’ve finished, maybe it isn’t the right choice for that particular moment. Make yourself a list of things you like doing and choose one off the list. Just ensure that you have some small, practical things on there as “jetting off to the Bahamas” when it’s Wednesday, you’re in the middle of a mammoth work project and it’s still a week until pay day is likely to just make you more grumpy.

Stick the kettle on, feel the weight of the mug in your hands and enjoy a little sit down. This too shall pass.