31st May 2017

10 things to expect when your baby learns to crawl…

18902645_10158801528805607_1012090826_n1. Coffee shops will not be your friend for a while. Coffee is still wonderful – but learning to enjoy it at home / at other people’s houses is recommended. Remember; practice makes perfect – and if your now-moving baby still isn’t a fan of sleeping (yawn), you will have plenty of opportunity to nail the perfect cup at home.

2. Baby toys will no longer be interesting. The best things ever will now be the remote control, your mobile phone, the cat, the dog, anything that belongs to an older sibling, glasses of water, glasses for your face, and old raisins / biscuits that fell down the back of the sofa a few months ago. Hide everything. Or consider investing in a baby cage.

3. Any feelings of broodiness for another baby will now disappear for a while. Consider a crawling / walking baby as Mother Nature’s natural contraceptive. If you are already pregnant, it is very normal to have nightmarish visions about being stuck on the sofa feeding a newborn, while an older sibling wreaks havoc on the house. And nine months later, that is exactly what will happen.

4. The toilet will no longer be your ‘safe place’. They will follow you.

5. If you ever make the mistake of handing your crawling baby a snack, be prepared to still be finding crumbs weeks later. Alternatively, trail behind with a dustpan and brush / mini hoover. Or just trap them in the high chair – every. single. time.

6. Consider filling a kitchen cupboard with unbreakable objects for your baby to quietly empty on the kitchen floor. And then watch as they ignore it completely and make a start on unpacking your fine china instead.

7. You will seriously consider designing a baby outfit made from bubble wrap. Or covering the floor of your entire home in soft padding. And maybe the walls too. But just as you sit down to start designing a prototype, your baby will take their first big tumble and you’ll realise you missed the boat.

8. You will find yourself shouting ‘Noooo!’, ‘Come back!’, “Stay there!”, and ‘‘Wait!’ more than you’d like to. And if you’ve ever owned a dog, the similarities won’t be lost on you.

9. Kiss goodbye to long baby cuddles in bed in the morning. Finding their way to the end of the bed, in order to ‘base jump’ to the floor will be the single most important mission of the day.

10. If a friend suggests a play date in a park, you will laugh hysterically, ask her if she’s mad, and then promptly suggest an alternative venue with four walls, super safe baby gates, and strong coffee on tap instead. And that is the very point when a wild love affair / absolute hatred with soft play areas begins. And you will stay there for the next 10 years.



14th May 2017

A love letter to my second baby…

Dear second baby,

You arrived in my life like a whirlwind.

A whirlwind scented like newborn baby, sweet baby shampoo, and whiffs of strong coffee turned cold in my mug.

I thought I knew what to expect. After all, I’d done it all before. But right from the beginning, you taught me that it would be different.

I studied your face, as I cradled you there on my hospital bed. Your face rounder, eyes wider, and lips plumper than I had imagined, along with a shock of dark, black hair. So unlike your brother. So unlike the clone I had imagined growing in my tummy. Everything seemed different – and when you started sleeping long stretches through the night at just a few days old, I knew for certain that you had your own agenda.

It was your brother that made me a Mummy – but it was you that taught me to slow down and try to enjoy it. After all, I couldn’t possibly keep juggling at the pace I had been before. I tried for a while, of course, but I kept dropping balls. That night I plopped the baby monitor in a glass of water in a half-asleep state wasn’t my finest hour. Neither was the time I was running the bath and watching a toddler, when you suddenly learnt to roll – and practiced it expertly, over the side of the bed.

I couldn’t run around any more. Literally. That double buggy took brute force to move from one place to another. But more than that – I couldn’t give you the same things I’d given your brother. Music sessions, swimming lessons, baby massage, sensory classes… All off the agenda, choosing instead to stay at home or join your brother on play dates. His friends became your friends (you barely had any of your own). I felt guilty occasionally – no, I felt guilty most of the time – and I craved some time for just the two of us. I craved the time to cuddle and bond.

But I didn’t need to feel guilty, as I had forgotten you had something your brother never had. You had each other. And when I saw your relationship bloom – like a couple of wild flowers, petals and thorns intertwined – it made my heart jump and sing. Right from that first afternoon, where I watched you crawl after him, howling with laughter as he chased you on his hands and knees – to the little chats you had together as you learnt to babble and talk – to the long conversations you went on to have in your bedroom together as you fell asleep, like two little old men putting the world to rights.

When I was pregnant with you, I worried about my heart being split in two. It didn’t seem fair on either of you to have to share my love. But what I didn’t realise is that the very second you were placed in my arms, my heart would grow again. The same crazy, powerful, unconditional love – all over again, for you.

I don’t know what I expected from being your Mummy – but it probably wasn’t this. I expected your brother all over again. I never expected this little boy, with eyes the colour of a deep ocean, cuddles that wrap right around your heart, a fiery temper, and a sense of humour that has the whole family rolling around the floor. There have been hard times, wonderful times, heart-warming times, and times when I wondered how I was going to make it through until bedtime.

Yes, you arrived in my life like a whirlwind.

And how thankful I am to have been in your path

Mummy xx

Photo by Lidiya Kalichuk – www.lidiyakalichuk.com



28th April 2017

How has life changed with a third baby?

18190916_10158637440150607_875274830_n1) I’m winging it like never before…

I still felt fairly organised when I had one baby. After baby two, I was clearly beginning to lose my touch – but things weren’t yet crashing down around me. But with baby three, I threw the rule book on everything I knew out of the window and started winging it. I honestly think you could throw another few babies at me now and life would remain pretty much as it is.  I have gone to make a bottle several times in the last few months, for example, only to discover we don’t have enough formula left in the jar. This would’ve horrified me with my first and even probably my second baby, but somehow didn’t shock me with my third. I basically just wing it to get through the day in one piece. And thankfully we somehow always get through the day in one piece. That’s something, at least.

2) I ache physically…

A friend with three children told me a few years ago that it was her third baby that put her body under the most strain – and knowing I’d quite like a third myself one day, that conversation always stuck with me. And she was right. My third was a big baby, which I don’t think helped, but my back is damaged, my stomach muscles still haven’t come back together (quite a bad case of diastasis recti, I am told by the experts, which I need to fix) and I still feel like I am pregnant sometimes with my lack of core strength. I’ll get it back to some extent, I’m sure – but I can’t imagine ever feeling or looking like I used to. She’s all worth it, of course.

18191159_10158638114990607_1596110698_n

3) It’s so noisy at home – but it’s usually laughter…

Having a baby in the house with two older brothers has filled our house with squeals of laughter throughout the day. They like to play the clown, while their little sister laughs and squeals in agreement. She’s an incredibly quiet baby compared to her brothers at the same age, but that third baby joining the gang still seems to have tipped the balance. The adults are outnumbered now i guess. In fact, I truly understand the meaning of the phrase ‘I CAN’T HEAR MYSELF THINK!” since Mabel has arrived on the scene. And I can’t – until they are all in bed in the evening, at least.

4) I barely sleep…

It was kind of OK in the beginning. Mabel was a good sleeper and I guess I was surviving on adrenaline. But then she went through a bad case of sleep regression at 6 months and has woken several times a night since. I can cope with the middle of the night stuff, funnily enough – but it’s the early starts that kill me. She wakes anywhere between 4.30am and 5.45am to start her day –  averaging at around 5.15am. And when she wakes, she makes these loud squeals and immediately wakes up her eldest brother, who bounds into the room like a puppy on a sugar high – and the silence is well and truly broken until they all head to bed again that evening. I am drinking way too much coffee at the moment…

18197523_10158638115075607_1858574626_n

5) It takes us hours to get out the door…

I am surprised by what a gigantic difference having a third baby has made to our ability to get out of the door in the morning – but that small human has stumped us. And it’s not just physically getting them into the car in their respective car seats – but it’s everything that comes before it. Packing the bags, dealing with last minute wees and poos, making sure we have everything we need for each different age (from bottles of milk for Mabel, to snacks for the boys). Sometimes I really can’t be bothered and we make no plans at the weekend – but by 9am, the boys are running up the walls and we do something anyway. And I’m guessing we’ll get better at this with time.

6) Travelling takes on a new spin…

Being an expat, I have travelled on a pretty regular basis with all of my babies. In fact, I’ve just added it up and Stanley has now travelled on 29 long-haul flights in his just-turned-5 years, while Wilfred has flown on 15 in 3 years, and Mabel on 4 in her 7 months. That’s not to mention the regular weekends away to hotels – and the dashing around and staying in so many different places when we are back in the UK. And whilst I know we will keep doing it (as we are expats and we really don’t have much choice if we want to visit the homeland) it now exhausts me to even think about it… I’ve cancelled weekends away recently, as even the packing is too much at the end of a long week (let alone having three excited kids refusing to sleep in hotel beds). And whilst we are still planning to head home in the summer, I wouldn’t be devastated if it didn’t happen (for the first time ever). Home, our own things, our own car, and our own routine is more important than ever.

18191740_10158638115355607_2108231928_n

7) It feels like she has been here forever…

As one of three children myself, I always dreamt about having three children of my own. It was always my magic number.  But if I’m honest, there was a time a few years ago when I had the two boys and was more than happy with my lot – and I wondered for a while whether we were ‘done’ after all. Life was getting easier and the two boys together just felt ‘right’. So when I was pregnant with Mabel, worries constantly flitted through my mind about whether we were destroying this precious  family unit unnecessarily. But I realised that I had no need to worry from the very first night that Mabel was born. Within hours, she felt like she fitted in. Now I feel like I have known this beautiful little soul forever – and that her brothers have always been alongside her.

8) But it’s really hard getting rid of the baby things…

Having had the three babies I always dreamt about, I really thought that I’d feel ‘done’. I wrote blog posts about it, listed maternity clothes for sale, and promised cots and buggies to friends when Mabel had grown too big for them. But whilst I am still 99% sure we are done, the other 1% wants to hoard baby clothes, keep my maternity clothes hanging up in the wardrobe, and cling onto cots, toys, and buggies for dear life. I expected to feel relieved to be done with them and totally ready to pass them on – but the truth is that I still feel pangs of sadness about the newborn days being over. I am hoping that time will convince that 1% of me that I am utterly bonkers. After all, I may eventually get to sleep again as they all start growing up. Hopefully, at least…



6th April 2017

10 things that make us feel unexpectedly emotional as parents…

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 22.21.471. Packing tiny clothes away. We are obsessed with our children growing from the moment they are born. Regular weight checks, plotting them on a growth chart, cheering when they reach milestones. Growing is obviously a good thing. It’s obviously what we want to happen. But when the moment comes to pack away tiny outfits into a storage box, we hold each one up and feel like blubbing.

2. Watching performances at nursery and school. Standing on a stage singing (or possibly not singing – it doesn’t really matter) in front of parents shouldn’t be a tear-jerker – but from the moment they walk into the room with their classmates, you seem to have something in your eye…

3. When they tell us they love us. We’re not entirely sure they understand the meaning of the word ‘love’ at their age, but that doesn’t stop us soaking up every second (and shedding a tear or two as we recount the story).

4. When they tell us they hate us. We know they don’t really mean it. We know they don’t understand the meaning of their words. But still – the first time your child tells you they don’t actually like you very much, it stings.

5. First smiles. Rewind to those first delicious moments when your little baby meets your eyes and breaks into a giant smile. It’s the best feeling ever! So why are you wiping away tears?

6. Getting ready to have another baby. We are giving our kiddies the ultimate gift in a new sibling, but as the bump grows and excitement builds, we can’t help dwelling on the fact that our time together as a tight little unit is coming to an end.

7. Their first day at the childminder, nursery or school. You always thought you’d jump for joy and relish the freedom – but when it comes to saying goodbye and walking out the door, you are a crumpled mess on the floor.

8. When siblings begin to bond. It happens slowly – but over time, you notice your children fall in love with the new little person in their life. And then one day, out of the corner of your eye, you catch a moment between the two (or three or more) of them. A tender kiss on the head, a giggle together, a moment playing together. And that is enough to make you sob with happiness.

9. When you are handed your first masterpiece. The moment your little one toddles out of nursery or runs out of school grasping a painting or picture just for you is a momentous one. And who ever thought painted macaroni could give you the feels?

10. Birthdays. Hooray! Another year old older! The day I gave birth! Let’s celebrate! Let’s party! Order the cake! Send the invites! (Where has my baby gone? Blub).



17th March 2017

Dear Mabel, you are six months old today…

17327911_10158426069295607_1072781804_nDear Mabel,

You are six months old today.

Half a year.

This morning, our day started at 5am. Your biggest brother woke up – and minutes later, the entire house was awake too. As I lay there, with heavy eyelids and feeling groggy with sleep, I decided to flick through the photos on my phone. I went right back to the beginning of my pregnancy with you – and as I flicked through those photos with sleepy eyes, so many happy memories came flooding back.

A silhouette of a tiny bump in a hotel mirror. The scan pictures with you sticking out your tongue. The note scribbled by my obstetrician that read simply ‘Girl’. The final pregnancy photos, where I cradled my bump protectively in the knowledge it would be the last time I’d feel a baby under my ribs. The first photos of you, staring peacefully into the watery eyes of your Daddy. Meeting your brothers for the first time – you curled and sleepy, they with just-washed hair in their printed pyjamas.

And then the photos since those precious first days in hospital – photos taken almost daily, with eyes that get bluer, thighs that get chubbier, and a dimpled smile that gets sweeter by the day.

You grew so quickly, Mabel. But I’ve done this mothering thing twice before and I was prepared for that. I soaked up every second of the early days. I didn’t allow the pace of life to sweep me away. I sat still for hours, nursing you, holding you, letting you sleep in my arms. I drank in every second of your newborn days – and when you grew, I was ready for it. I was ready to get to know the person you were becoming.

I embraced every little milestone, I enjoyed pulling new clothes out of your drawers when poppers got too tight, and I looked forward to taking your photo as another month ticked over, documenting your change into a little girl.

And what a wonderful little person you have become!

You are still so quiet, so thoughtful, and so serene. You spend most of your time watching your brothers, playing quietly with your toys, or seeking me – your Mummy –  in a busy room. You adore being held, being tickled, being kissed, and listening to me singing songs. You are wary of strangers, burrowing your head into my chest for reassurance. You are happiest at home with your family, rolling around on the floor, practicing sitting in your ring, and jumping happily in your jumperoo.

Soon you will be weaned. Soon you will crawl. Soon you will walk. Soon your hair will be long enough to be scraped into pigtails. Soon you will wave me goodbye on your first day of school. I know it’s coming – I’ve been there before, which is exactly why I’m enjoying every second of these baby days.

I enjoy leaving you in a spot and knowing you’ll be there when I return. I enjoy the fact you still sleep beside me in your bedside cot, so I can hear your breathing as I drift off to sleep. I enjoy your gurgles, your giggles, your chubby rolls, your delicious slobbery cuddles.

I enjoy everything about you.

6 months, Mabel.

Half a year.

It’s not a long time really – but already, I can barely remember life without you. When I look at pictures of the four of us before you were born, the photos seem incomplete. When I think back to holidays, or day trips, or celebrations, I wonder where you were, before realising suddenly you were yet to exist.

We never knew it back then, but you were our missing puzzle piece, the last pea in the pod, the little girl that we’d all fall in love with from the second she was placed into our arms. Everything seems right now, with you alongside us. Neat and tidy. Exactly how it should be. Just so right.

And you know the best bit?

This is just the beginning.

Your beginning.

And I can’t wait for the rest.

Love from Mummy x



8th March 2017

Dear Mabel, I want nothing to hold you back…

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 14.28.09Dear Mabel,

Today is your first International Women’s Day.

And the truth is that I feel differently this year, because this is the first time I have been mother to a girl.

So I thought I would write you a letter to tell you about my hopes and dreams for your future. And how I say this as not just a mother of a little girl, but as a mother of two beautiful boys too.

I hope – like me – you grow up truly understanding your worth. I don’t want you to ever feel inferior to any man. I want you to feel just as strong, just as capable, and just as ambitious. If you decide you want to fly planes or fight fires or join the army or save lives on an operating table, I want nothing to hold you back.

But here’s the thing; it doesn’t have to be like that if you don’t want it to be.

For me, being a feminist means you can be whoever you want to be.

It means you have a choice.

So if you grow up and decide that you want to be a hippy, or an artist, or to be a barista, or to stay at home with your babies, I want nothing to hold you back either.

With the world of your side (and mothers raising a generation of little boys that see their sisters, and female colleagues, and girlfriends as their equals), you can be whoever you choose to be.

And believe me my darling, I hope the world is always on your side.

And if it isn’t?

You show it exactly where it should be.

Love Mummy x



26th February 2017

I’m more of a “Netflix and Diet Coke” than a “Boot Camp and Kale” kind of girl…

16997324_10158329875845607_502937731_nIt’s taken 36 years to work out that I’m just not that into exercise.

I’d love the hot beach body – but I’m just not prepared to head out to boot camps at 6am to get it.

And I like food.

I mean, I really, really like it.

And I know that healthy food can still be tasty – but I’m sorry, it can never be as tasty as a bowl of rich Italian pasta, a large glass of red wine, and a large slab of chilled chocolate for dessert. It just can’t. Not possible. Definitely not. No way.

I’ve tried, though. I really have. I’ve bought the snazzy trainers. In fact, for one 6-month period when I lived in London, I convinced myself I was a jogger.

I lived in Blackheath in London back then – a part of London located on a vast expanse of grass – and I used to run around it coughing and spluttering, with LMFAO on repeat… “Girl look at that body, Girl look at that body, Girl look at that body, I work outttt!”

I even applied for the London Marathon once. I mean, seriously. WHAT WAS I THINKING?

With dodgy knees and hips from way too much gymnastics when I was younger (see, I was sporty once), I soon realised that jogging was doing more harm than good. Trainers went back in the wardrobe, cool running iPad bum-bag-contraption went back in the drawer, and exercise was forgotten for a little while. When the rejection arrived from the London Marathon, I collapsed in hysterical (relieved) giggles on the floor.

Then I discovered Pilates – and that was far more successful. With flexibility part of my make up (all that gymnastics worked in my favour, after all), I actually enjoyed the classes. But still, when I had those evenings when the UK got dark way too early and I fancied a takeaway and a glass of wine on the sofa instead, even that hit the bumpers.

And now, fast forward 8 years – and here I am. Now a mother of three – and a size or two heavier than I was when I was jogging around that expanse of grass, coughing and spluttering.

And whilst I know I need to up the fitness levels, I’m kind of cool about my body shape.

For the first time in my life.

I’ve started Pilates again and occasionally swim a few laps in the evening in our community pool. I want to be fit and healthy for my children – and of course, I want to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes comfortably without them hugging my post-pregnancy tummy.

But supermodel-esque hot beach body? It’s never going to happen.

And it’s taken me to the age of 36 to accept that.

It’s OK.

Because as a child, I don’t remember hearing a single woman tell me they were happy with their body. I don’t remember seeing celebrities say that. Or political figures. Or family members. Or family friends. Nobody said: “I wasn’t made to be a size 8, rocking a bikini in Ibiza with the supermodel set – and I AM OK WITH THAT.” Nobody said that.

Nobody.

And I want Mabel – and her brothers – to hear otherwise.

I will never be a keen jogger. Or a marathon runner. Or a supermodel.

But I am a very proud mum of three, who’s body has done incredible things.

And yes, I enjoy Pilates. And yes, I enjoy swimming the odd lap in a pool. And yes, it’s important to be healthy bla bla bla.

But I only want to do it a few times a week.

The rest of the time, I’ll be on the sofa downstairs with the Netflix control in my hand and a can of Diet Coke next to me, while my babies sleep peacefully upstairs.

Because that’s who I am.

And I want them to know I’m proud of that too.



15th February 2017

Dear Mabel. Time is passing so quickly…

16780004_10158275668270607_337425883_nDear Mabel,

Time is passing so quickly.

I was lying in a hospital bed one moment, running on pure adrenaline with the most delicious newborn curled on my chest. And the next? I am listening to you shriek with laughter, watching you roll over, and communicating with kisses, songs, tickles, and smiles.

You have changed – but caught up in a fog of sleeplessness, endless nappy changes, and everyday life, I just didn’t notice.

Until that is, I was queuing at the supermarket check-out this morning and somebody sneezed in front of me – and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a newborn baby jump out of his skin in his pram.  The kind of jolt where the baby’s entire body moves, before their fingers twitch in shock. “Ah look”, I thought, “Another newborn!”

I made eye contact with the mother and smiled, glancing down at you in your pram as if to say ‘Look! Me too!’ But as my eyes met you – now 4 months old and dribbling as you chewed your own foot – the truth hit me like a ton of bricks. Because you aren’t a newborn anymore.

You no longer jump out of your skin at loud noises. You no longer curl on my chest and sleep peacefully between feeds. You no longer gaze at me with cross eyes as you try to focus. And devastatingly, I can’t even remember the last time I breathed in the scent of your skin and smelt that familiar, milky newborn scent.

Time has passed – and you are a baby now.

A wonderful little baby.

A baby that has started to burrow into me with the sweetest shyness when you don’t know the person you are meeting. A baby that adores her brothers, giggling at the funny dances and songs they perform just for you. A baby that rewards us with long chunks of sleep through the night, but enjoys sqwarking loudly at the crack of dawn to wake everyone up in the house. A baby is that is becoming a little girl.

You are wonderful – but you are not a newborn any more.

And today, I realised that.

I am not sad about you growing up –  how could I be? But this morning’s supermarket sneeze was a stark reminder that time is set to fast-forward. Because as a Mummy of three, I know that I will blink and you will suddenly be a little girl, ready to go to school, asking 300 questions a minute, and getting to grips with the joy of phonics (oh lord, I have just realised I am going to have to deal with phonics three times over…) And when that happens, I know I will look at pictures of you as a 4-month old and wish I could go back for just one cuddle.

So Mabel, you may not jump at loud noises anymore – but you are still so very little.

And I fully intend to slow down and soak up every second.

Mummy x



30th January 2017

How my boy pregnancies differed to my girl pregnancy…

GIRL BOY PREGNANCIESI want to start this blog post by saying that there is absolutely no scientific reasoning in what I am about to say… It’s just a comparison of how my personal pregnancies differed – and it might be fun to read if you are trying to guess the sex of your baby or have had different girl/boy bumps too. But if your pregnancy is completely different to mine and it turns out to be the other sex, please don’t blame me… So here goes. This is how my pregnancies differed when I was expecting two little boys and a little girl…

The Early Days

Stanley and Wilfred – With Stanley, I had no sickness at all. Not a jot. I don’t know how I managed to escape it, but I felt amazing from the day I found out I was pregnant. With Wilfred a few years later, I did experience some mild nausea (enough to prompt me to buy some ginger teabags for first thing in the morning) – but by about 10 weeks, it had completely disappeared. I think the nausea I did feel was down to tiredness more than anything (with an active toddler on my hands) and it never lasted for more than 10/20 minutes a day.

Mabel – Bleurrrghhhhhh! I was never physically sick with her, but I pretty much felt sick from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed. And when 12 weeks arrived, I really thought I’d get some relief – but no, it continued until nearly 20 weeks. By that point, I had so many food aversions – and most of those things I still can’t think about without feeling very queasy (I can’t even look at raw ginger, for example, which I chucked into a smoothie one morning thinking it would pick me up – and then felt the most sick of my entire pregnancy).

Cravings

Stanley and Wilfred – The saltier, the better! Marmite toast was my breakfast of choice. I also seriously craved burgers, chips and pretty much any fried food. I felt so unhealthy sat there chomping on packs of chips in food courts when every other pregnant woman around me seems to be treating their bodies as temples – but I needed it. I had no interest in sweet food at all. Savoury all the way.

Mabel – Sweet, sweet, sweet! Crunchy nut cornflakes for breakfast, platters of fresh fruit (especially mango and juicy apple) as snacks, chocolate, pick n mix sweets, stodgy sweet desserts like sticky toffee pudding and custard… I lived for the sweet stuff… In fact, I’m still craving sweet stuff 4 months after her birth (I’m blaming the breastfeeding…)

Feeling the babies

Stanley and Wilfred – Both very, very active – always wiggling around, jabbing at my ribs, and performing somersaults that made my tummy completely contort. And in the early days when I used to find their heartbeats on a home Doppler, they were always on the lower right hand side – always in exactly the same spot – in fact, that spot became so familiar that I can find it in a second with my finger even now.

Mabel – Much quieter, right from the beginning. I felt her later and she just wasn’t as active throughout pregnancy – I still had lots of movement, which occurred regularly throughout the day, but she definitely felt calmer from the beginning. And the home Doppler? She was always on the other side to the boys, meaning it took me ages to find her at the beginning. She was on the left lower side, exactly opposite where the boys had been. I don’t know if this is a total coincidence, but it was my first clue that she may be a girl.

The Bumps

Stanley and Wilfred – Both pretty neat and at the front – people would always comment that it was very definitely ‘a boy bump’.

Mabel – Actually pretty similar in shape – but much bigger, right from the beginning. However, I think this is down to it being a third pregnancy and the fact she was much bigger (born at 9Ib 8oz).

The third trimester

Stanley and Wilfred – I didn’t really struggle with either of the boys in the later stages, apart from the obvious aches and pains that you get towards the end. I had no Braxton hicks with Stanley – and only very mild ones with Wilfred. However, I think both of these factors are down to them being a first and second pregnancy, with the gender playing no part.

Mabel – I had so many Braxton hicks that I felt like I was in labour for a good month before she was finally evicted. People said to me ‘It’s girls! They do this!’ but I’m sure it’s down to her being a third baby too. And I really, really struggled – I felt sick again, I ached everywhere, and I felt like she was going to fall out at any second. Because she was a girl? I doubt it, but it was very different to my first two pregnancies.



26th January 2017

Is it time for us to get a dog?

Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 16.21.13We have a dog in the UK – and the boys love her. In fact, since our holiday home at Christmas, Stanley has mentioned his dog Lily about 30 times a day. He’s even woken up crying her name and has taken to bringing a fluffy dog that closely resembles Lily to bed every night. We miss her too – so this is all a bit heartbreaking.

And next week, we move to a house with a garden – and whenever I mention to the boys that they are getting their very own garden at last, Stanley replies “So now we can get a dog?” I’d love to say yes – especially as there are so many dogs here in Dubai in shelters needing homes, but there are so many other things for us to consider. So when is the right time? And what questions do we need to ask first?

Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 16.22.43

How much will the dog cost?

It isn’t going to be cheap to add a fluffy family member to our brood – and with mouths to feed, and school fees to pay, and rent to conjur up, we probably don’t need the extra financial commitment. In fact, a recent study conducted by Voucherbox revealed that a dog can cost over £15,000 over a lifetime (that’s nearly 70,000 AED if you are reading this in Dubai). Wowsers. And that doesn’t even count the cost of getting the dog in the first place either (which is nothing if you rehome, of course), but just the day to day cost of food, snacks, bedding, toys, collars, tags, insurance and vet treatments… The list goes on.

Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 16.23.56

Who will walk the dog?

I keep telling Stanley that somebody has to walk the dog – and whilst he enthusiastically volunteers, obviously we aren’t going to allow a 4-year-old to head off on his own, which means one of us will be waking that dog at least twice a day too. As if we didn’t have enough to do already. And when the weather heats up in Dubai during the summer, I can see us falling out over this. In fact, I recently read that in a study by the insurance company esure, the average family dog causes 2,000 family arguments during their lifetime – and yep, I can believe that.

Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 16.23.29

How much does it cost to fly the dog back to the UK?

I don’t know how long we are going to be in Dubai – so factoring in the fact that we would have to fly that dog back to the UK if we repatriated is also really important (after all, we definitely wouldn’t be leaving a furry friend behind). And how much would it cost? In a recent feature by The Guardian, Nick Foden-Ellis, Airpets managing director, says it is “rarely less than a business-class ticket for the same route”. And a business class ticket from Dubai to London? Not cheap. And if we did fork out that kind of money, it’d be me riding up the front of the plane…

Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 16.47.53

Is it the right time?

And of course, the biggie – is it actually the right time to add another demanding small thing to our family? And with a 4-month old baby in the house, I am pretty certain the answer is no. But when is the right time? I don’t know – but I think when she’s out of the toddler tantrum stage, possibly even at school, I may begin to consider it. I’ve had a puppy before – and they don’t wear nappies, they bite, and they can move (fast) – so yep, not yet. Definitely not yet.

Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 16.48.48

I jest – but the thing is, I am keen for them grow up around animals. I think having pets teaches so much to a child – about responsibility, about love, and ultimately, about loss. We aren’t cat people, so I want my children to have a dog to love, to walk, and to cuddle. But it’s pretty obvious that it’s not happening yet – so Stanley is going to have to enjoy his cuddly dog for a bit longer, at least.