2nd January 2017

10 Things To Consider Before You Have Number Three

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-16-21-431. If you thought your pregnancy flew by the second time, you will be shocked by how quickly it goes with your third. After all, you are far too busy refereeing sibling scraps to focus too much on the baby growing inside your tummy. You are unlikely to bother downloading pregnancy apps either – you’ve already maxed out the memory on your phone downloading apps for the kids, after all.

2. You may not notice the weeks ticking past – but by god, you will notice the bump. You will pop earlier, fit into maternity clothes quicker, and master the perfect fake smile for when passers-by ask if it’s twins. And by the end? You probably won’t be able to walk more than a few steps without feeling like the baby is going to fall out, which is ironic considering you have two small people under your feet who expect far more entertainment than just a few steps.

3. You don’t fear birth. Oh no. In fact, you daydream about that bit in the hospital after the baby is born from the moment you see that positive pregnancy test. You may have a demanding newborn to tend to, but they won’t be able to move – and what a luxury that will be!

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-22-21-344. You will have an argument with your other half about to fit all your children into a car. It’s unavoidable. And it will go on for months.

5. You always knew it would be a challenge to leave the house in the early days, but you will still be  shocked by how long it takes to move three small people through a front door. If it isn’t explosive newborn nappies, it’s toddler tantrums and last minute dashes to the loo. And you may as well accept now that you will forget something crucially important every time you leave the house. In fact, if you remember all three children, you should count that as a win.

6. Once in a while, however, you will get to leave the house with just two of your brood and the feeling of freedom will surprise you. One hand for each child? What luxury! You’ll have to stop yourself hop, skipping, and jumping through the streets in celebration. And rare occasions with just one child? That is classed as a holiday.

7. If two children scrambled your mind, wait until your third baby arrives home. From the moment you walk through the door clutching a car seat with a sleepy newborn, your mind will start doing funny things. Lunch boxes will get muddled up, weekly timetables forgotten, birthday parties missed – and, most disturbingly, you will have to run through every name in the house (including the one belonging to the cat) before you strike lucky and match the right name to a child.

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8. If you thought the comments about your ginormous bump from complete strangers were annoying, wait until you venture out with all three children in tow. Despite a good chunk of the adult population coming from families with three or more kids, it will quickly become apparent that 99% of those you pass in the street are shocked at the sight of your brood.. ‘You’ve got your hands full!” they will quip, as you glance up, force a smile, and promptly manage to trip over a child.

9. They do have a point though, as there will be moments in the early days when you stand back, see your other half with three little people, and feel genuinely shocked by how many children are now in your care. And when travelling with those children, you will watch young, single ladies in high heels and perfect lipstick glancing in horror and the general noise and chaos coming from your direction – and you will want to scream ‘I WAS LIKE YOU  A FEW YEARS AGO! JUST WAIT! IT WILL HAPPEN TO YOU TOO!”

10. But despite it all, you will not regret having that third child for a second. Not one single second. You never doubted that you would love this child – after all, you have done it twice before and know that your heart swells with every child you grow – but you did find it hard to imagine how this tiny human would fit into your family. But right from the moment you cradle that warm newborn on your chest, you will see that you had nothing to worry about. And when their older brothers and sisters get the chance to gaze into their baby sibling’s eyes for the first time, your heart will skip a beat. And that is the very moment you will realise it was the best decision you ever made.

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1st September 2016

Questions to ask yourself before you plan a third baby….

14159943_10157427272385607_1192498732_n1. Where will the child sleep?

Remember when you spent hours planning and decorating that nursery for your first child? Oh the pastel colours, the wall décor, the personalised prints, and the pretty bedding! Lucky first born. And then you did the same for your second, albeit on a smaller scale (or at least planned to re-arrange the furniture so they could share a room). But get that positive pregnancy test with your third – and one of the first thoughts to flash through your mind is ‘do you think the baby would mind sleeping in the airing cupboard?” And 9 months on, you’re still wondering…

2. Do you want to drive a bus?

It is feasible to fit three car / booster seats across the back seat of some cars, of course – but if you don’t want to play referee to fist fights as you drive in the fast lane of the motorway, it makes sense to buy a bus. Well, I say a bus, but that’s mainly because I’m still convincing my eldest child that it’s all fun and games in the back row and is exactly like a bus journey. And thank goodness for parking sensors now I am a bus driver. Thank goodness for that.

3. Do you want to be outnumbered?

Two adults. Three kids. I can’t get my head around how that will work. Not yet. I need more time.

4. Are you prepared to be heavily pregnant with two crazy humans running around?

You’ve done it before with a toddler / small child and remember it being brutal towards the end – but you managed, right? What you didn’t consider is that with double the fun at home, the exhaustion is also doubled. Especially when the oldest one no longer naps and thinks it’s funny to poke you in the eyes when you nod off on the sofa at lunchtime.

5. Have you checked the hand-me-downs?

Having a third baby seems like it won’t be an expensive thing, as you have hand-me-downs, right? Until that is, you check through the boxes in late pregnancy and realise the vests are now yellow, the trousers have holes in the knees, and the moses basket has been squashed under a box for the last 3 years and is now flat as a pancake. Oh and so many lovely new things have gone on sale since you last shopped for a baby – so an entire new wardrobe, stroller, cot, and bouncer won’t harm anyone, will it? (ker-ching).

6. Do you like holidays?

It’s a while until we attempt to travel as a five-some – but I recently did some investigations into the additional costs of another bum on an airline seat (not that she’ll put her bum on a seat for a while, but you get my gist). Let’s just say that after snorting my cup of coffee in shock, I have decided we will probably won’t be travelling again until at least a couple of the children have left home (and that’s not even taking into consideration the extra luggage…)



31st May 2016

If there were Facebook groups for small children…

11295567_842409605795469_213738139259765631_nWilfred: Worried about my Mummy’s face. Not sure whether it’s a rash or something, but it doesn’t look right.
Jacob: Tell her to go to hospital
Thomas: Lots going round.
Betsy: Have you got a photo?
Wilfred: She won’t stay still long enough. I think it’s spreading.
Jacob: Don’t want to worry you, but she should go to hospital.
Primrose: You’re trusting a bunch of babies on the internet for opinions? See a doctor!
Wilfred: Panic over. It was chocolate.

Stanley: Bike. Blue. 50p. Pick up today.
Delilah: Do you have one in pink?
Eddie: I’ll give you 2p?
Joey: Sent a PM
Rosie: Next in line please.
Eddie: Will you take my 2p?
Joey: Did you get my PM?
Stanley: Not for sale anymore. In trouble. Belongs to my brother.

Wilfred: Anyone want my dog?
Emily: What colour is it?
Primrose: This is terrible. You can’t give away your dog!
Frankie: How much?
Wilfred: I will swap it for a cat.
Primrose: You are a bad person!
Emily: Is it pink?
Wilfred: Can make it pink. Do you have a cat?
Primrose: Reporting you to admin.

Stanley: Does anyone know a small boy with yellow hair that lives near here?
Jessica: Why?
Rupert: My hair is yellow. Why?
Stanley: He stole my spade in the play area earlier and I want to tell his Mummy.
Jessica: Same thing happened to me last week. Sent a PM.
Betsy: Have you got a photo?
Jacob: This is bad. Put up posters.
Lily: Going tomorrow. Will look for him.
Wilfred: Thanks.
Rupert: Sorry don’t know him.

Wilfred: What age did they take your dummy?
Emily: Still got it.
Honey: Never had one! So bad for you! You’ll never talk properly! You’ll be stupid!
Emily: Not true. I can count to 10.
Wilfred: Not true. I know 6 colours.

Stanley: Helper needed. 20p an hour. Needs experience with Playdoh.
Rosie: Interested. More details please.
Jonny: Sent a PM.
Emily: I am good with Playdoh. Let me know please. Need pocket money.
Stanley: Thank you for all the messages. Especially interested to hear from anyone that knows how to get blue Playdoh out of a white rug.
Jonny: Ignore my PM. Thanks.

Wilfred: Anyone tried Baby Jogger City Select?
Felicia: Yes. Recommended. Comfy.
Thomas: Tried it. Prefer Bugaboo Bee.
Honey: Baby carriers are so much better for you!
Eddie: You can try mine tomorrow. I’ll push.
Emily: Like it, but doesn’t come in pink.
Wilfred: Anyone selling?
Eddie: Maybe.
Wilfred: How much?
Eddie: Can I have your dog?



27th May 2016

Reasons why the ‘terrible twos’ are nothing compared to the ‘frightening fours’

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 21.39.001. Dealing with a two year old mid-tantrum is nothing compared to negotiating with a four-year-old that doesn’t agree with the plan. Tantrums eventually end. Negotiations, however, can still be going on three weeks later.

2. Keeping your cool when a two-year-old responds to everything with ‘NO!’ is far easier than keeping your cool when a four-year-old responds to everything with ‘NO” and then adds “POO POO HEAD!”

3. They do not nap. That is all.

4. There is an unwritten rule of being a four-year-old that the very moment of bedtime is the very best moment to sit on the toilet for 20 minutes and do a poo. While commentating loudly through the process.

5. Two year olds like to run away when you need to get them dressed. Four year olds like to do exactly the same – but when you catch them, they flatly refuse to wear your outfit choice and spend the next 20 minutes demanding to dress as Batman instead.

6. You get away with nothing. Thought you could slip that scribbled masterpiece from school into the bin? Think again. They’ll suddenly remember a few days later and fruitlessly search the entire house for evidence.

7. They are no longer trapped in a cot or confined to a sleeping bag, which means they can join you in bed whenever they want to. And they will – especially at 5am.

8. They can’t drive. But they think they can. And they’ll bark instructions from the back seat to ensure you do it properly.

9. Just when you didn’t think life could get more complicated, they make their own plans. From birthday party guest lists, to friends coming for play dates, you’ll be informed of their decisions roughly 3 minutes before they are supposed to take place.

10. The noise. You were so proud when your two-year-old started stringing words together. It couldn’t be more adorable! But two years later, they just won’t stop. In fact, if someone invented a volume switch for children, you’d be the first to invest.

 



19th May 2016

Things that make me irrationally angry as a parent…

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 21.22.591. People that get lifts when they don’t need to… 

In my mind, lifts (or elevators, if you like) are for people that can not use stairs or escalators. This is namely people with buggies and people with disabilities. Anyone else can hop on the escalator and have a little daydream while they climb a few floors – unless they are feeling lazy, that is. Waiting in a queue with these people makes me irrationally angry. And the main thing is that I just don’t understand why they want to be in a queue with my children? If I was them, I’d be on that escalator in a second, laughing at the queue or poor people that have to squeeze into a tiny lift with a two-year-old having a tantrum as he wants to ride the escalator. He belongs to me, of course, which is part of my anger issue.

2. People that glare at you when your child has a meltdown…

Talking of tantrums, I find it very hard to keep my cool when somebody in the vicinity expresses annoyance when my child is screaming. However annoyed they are by my child’s presence, it is guaranteed that I am even more annoyed by it. If they’d like to swap, I’d happily sit and listen while they wrestle an angry, red-faced, sweaty toddler. In fact, it would be my absolute pleasure.

3. Children that reject a perfectly yummy home-cooked meal…

“Oh Mummy, you spent an hour in the kitchen cooking, peeling, and chopping? I honestly don’t care as this mashed potato isn’t to my taste. My mouth is on strike until you produce something sweet. That is all for now” *Mummy explodes*

4. People that park in Parent Parking Spaces when they have no children / have teenage children…

This is a UK gripe, as we don’t have parent spaces in Dubai (sadly I think I’d be even more irritated if we did, as they’d be the most convenient spaces and therefore the first ones that would be taken, every time). But when I am back in the UK, I just don’t understand why these people can’t get to grips with the premise that getting children out of car seats, pulling buggies out of boots, and getting toddlers safely through a dangerous area full of moving vehicles requires a little more work than it does for the general population to pull up, climb out, and reach the supermarket. If they’d like to swap places and take my children around the supermarket for the pleasure of a short walk from their car, I would definitely be prepared to hire them out for an hour.

5. Children that rip books…

Books are precious. Books are sacred. Books only work when they are in one piece. So when I hear the awful, gut-wrenching sound of a page of a book ripping in two, I feel blood rush into my ears and my anger explode. I don’t care if my son is two and hasn’t yet appreciated the role of books in the world. It’s the Gruffalo – and now it’s missing the bit about the snake.

6. Any noises that wake up my children from a nap…

Cars that beep when people lock them (who designed that?), people that ring on the doorbell at inconvenient times (I mean, the cheek of them), random things that fall off chairs in bedrooms (inconsiderate ghosts clearly pushing them), air hostesses that knock arms on long-haul flights with trollies (stupid trollies). Anything that causes my child’s eyes to pop wide open after I’ve tried so hard to send them off into a peaceful slumber is worthy of my wrath…



29th April 2016

10 giveaways that you are a Mum

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 21.41.281. You offer to give someone a lift, then experience a sense of panic as you remember the state of the car.

2. On days without the kids, you reach into your bag and pull out snacks, spare pairs of child underwear, handfuls of furry raisins, and several small toy cars.

3. When trying to remember events in the past, the first thing you do is work out the age your child was at the time – and finally, it all clicks into place.

4. You walk out of the house feeling a million dollars – before discovering a sticky handprint / snot smudge down your front and wanting to turn back around.

5. If you were given a whole day to shop until you dropped, you’d return with bags full of clothes, toys and treats for your kids – and very little for yourself.

6.  7am feels like a lie-in.

7. When heading out with your brood, you can risk assess any room, place or space in less than a second.

8. A relaxing bath means sharing the water with floating foam letters, plastic ducks, and miscellaneous squirty toys.

9. You used to look at mums with newborns and think ‘oh look at that tiny baby!” Now you look at them and think ‘that lady just gave birth, kudos to her!”

10. Your first thought when there is a spillage is ‘GRAB THE BABY WIPES!’ – even if you’re nowhere near your kids.



11th February 2016

We have an imposter in our midst…

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 20.25.25Stanley, I don’t quite know how to break this to you…

But we have imposter in the house.

For nearly 4 years, your blue bunny has barely left your side (not that he is blue anymore, but more of a grubby grey).

You slept with that bunny every single night, your fist clutched tightly around him as your chest rose and fell with each sleepy breath.

I have lots of pictures of you with bunny; right from the first day you arrived in the world.

Bunny came on aeroplanes and you held him up at the window to show him the snow-capped mountains below.  Bunny went to nursery when you were little, in case you needed comfort or were tired. Bunny came on long car journeys to visit friends and relatives. And Bunny  was clutched in your hand when you came to hospital to meet your baby brother for the very first time.

Always your sidekick.

Always your favourite.

An extension of you.

A reminder of your babyhood.

Until something happened.

We innocently picked up ‘Puppy’ during a trip to IKEA.

You spotted him and held out your arms like you’d found a long-lost member of your family. The look in your eyes was unnerving – but we agreed you could keep him as you’d been quite well behaved (and quite frankly didn’t want that to stop in the middle of a shop that causes more arguments than any other shop in the history of the world).

Your brother got a similar model – and you were both thrilled with your cuddly dogs, clutching them all the way to the checkout area. However, we fully expected them to be relegated to a shelf in your bedroom shortly afterwards and quickly forgotten about. After all, every other soft toy you have ever owned (bar Bunny, of course) has been discarded in a pile at the end of your cot or bed in a fit of ‘why are you trying to make me love these stuffed things?‘ rage.

In your brother’s case, that was very true. In fact, I don’t think he’s even looked at his stuffed dog since that morning – unless it was used as a ramp for his remote control car, that is.

But Puppy is different.

He has practically become a member of the family.

And I don’t like it.

You think it’s all very innocent, the ever-increasing presence of this floppy brown dog.

But let me enlighten you; he is an imposter.

Where was he when you were crying for milk as a newborn? When you felt unsettled at nursery as a toddler? When you were scared at take-off on an airplane? When you were frightened of the dark and needed something comforting to clutch?

I’ll tell you where he was! He was on a shelf in IKEA!

But Bunny was there. He never let you down.

Yet whenever I walk into your room at night to check on you after you’ve fallen asleep, it’s not Bunny lying across your little chest.

It’s Puppy.

The new sidekick.

And Bunny lies at the end of the bed, discarded and unloved, face-planted in the duvet.

It’s like the story of Woody and Buzz all over again.

I know you’re growing up Stanley.

You are nearly 4 years old and let’s face it; the bunny rabbit with a grubby blanket attached was never going to make it to your teenage years.

But replaced so soon?

Cast aside without a second thought?

I’m not ready for that.

And I’m blaming that dog for everything.



10th February 2016

How to infuriate your sibling in a matter of seconds, by Wilfred aged 2

DSC_50671. Snatch one of his snacks from his bowl when he isn’t looking and run away with it in your mouth.

2. Lean over his shoulder when he’s playing a game on Mummy’s phone and jab at the screen repeatedly.

3. Wait until he’s built the tallest tower from his blocks – and then shriek with excitement as you knock in down.

4. The same goes for sandcastles.

5. Ruin a game of ‘hide and seek’ at a playdate by standing next to his hiding place and shouting ‘BROTHER! BROTHER! COME OUT!’

6. Walk casually past him clutching his favourite cuddly toy.

7. Grab the remote control and manage to switch off the TV when he’s watching Team Umizoomi.

8. Dare to go anywhere near his latest school library book with grubby hands.

9. Pour water over his head in the bath and laugh.

10. Interrupt him repeatedly when he’s trying to tell Mummy about his latest ideas for his birthday party in 3 months time.

11. Grow big enough to fit into a pair of pyjamas that he deems to be his.

12. Sit at the top of the slide at soft play and refuse to come down, even though he’s behind waiting for his turn. And when you do eventually slide down, refuse to move from the ball pit below it just to annoy him for a little longer.

13. Drink out of a cup labeled with his name.

14. If he thinks he’s won a race and shouts ‘I’M THE WINNER!” just keep repeating the words ‘NO I THE WINNER!” over and over again.

15. If Mummy says “No pudding until you both finish your tea!”, make a special effort to eat very, very, very slowly.



4th February 2016

A warning about smugness

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 20.30.34My first baby didn’t like sleep.

It started with milk.

His favourite time to request it was about 20 minutes after I’d fallen asleep, so I was woken from the kind of deep sleep that leaves your heart pounding and mind confused when it is suddenly snatched from you by a screaming newborn.

Then it was the dummy.

However many I left in the cot, he’d wake up demanding one. My hand would stumble blindly into the cot in the darkness, feeling around with increasing panic, cursing under my breath that the longer it took, the less likely he’d settle back to sleep. At that moment, I hated those dummies. But as soon as it was back in his mouth and the screaming stopped, I bloody loved them again.

Then it was his new room.

Essentially, I wasn’t in it. And whenever his eyes snapped open and was reminded of this fact, his screams demanded that it was rectified immediately. I spent a lot of time during those long, exhausting nights stood over a cot, with one hand contorted over the top and place on his tummy, weighing up exactly how I could extract myself from the situation without his eyes shooting open again.

Then it was a love of early mornings.

And I mean 4.30am. Every day. My hazy memories of that exhausting time are permeated with the theme tune of Peppa Pig. And I remember drinking coffee. A lot.

And then, praise be, he finally realised that he liked sleep. Sleep was good. Sleep was precious. I raved about what a wonderful sleeper I had (before you shoot evils at me through your phone or laptop, let me just add that I had another sleep thief by now – and it was far worse than the first time).

I became pretty reliant on my eldest sleeping. In fact, I counted on it. And for a few years, I really could. He slept like a dream.

Then a few weeks ago, something happened.

Monsters.

They crept into his bedroom in the middle of the night, shook him in his bed, hid in his tent, and shouted in the darkness.

And understandably, he was terrified.

So he started dragging his duvet into Mummy and Daddy’s bed to escape them (much safer place, granted). At 4am. At 2am. Sometimes even before we’d gone to bed and were still in the lounge (much to his squinty-eyed confusion).

And weeks later, the monsters are still causing trouble. Sometimes they even wake up his baby brother too (or maybe that’s the yelling from the toddler bed). Oh yes, it’s fun and games in our house when darkness falls.

And if this sorry episode has taught me anything, it’s that I should never, ever be smug as a mother.

Absolutely nothing is guaranteed.

And if you make the mistake of being a little bit smug, the monsters will come.

The monsters will come and shake some sense into you.

You have been warned.