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The small milestones

Obviously, a baby’s milestones are big deals. Their first steps, first words, first time they sleep through the night etc etc.

But now I’m starting to notice Isla’s smaller milestones that make me well up just as much.


This was the first time Isla slept under a duvet instead of her sleeping bag. She was in a sleeping bag up until she was almost 2 because she wriggles in her sleep so much, but we thought tucking her in nice and snug in a proper duvet might help keep her a bit more still. She slept absolutely fine that first night and we only had to tuck her back in once after she wriggled her legs out at about 10pm. She looked so cute I couldn’t resist taking a photo!


Then there’s the first time I watched Isla use a knife and fork. Without making a mess. We were at her best friends birthday party in July and she had some chicken nuggets with chips and peas. She not only gobbled the lot (and turned down ice cream in favour of finishing all her peas!) but used a knife and fork properly, the first time I’d seen her do it. I have to admit I did well up!

There’s also the times she’s said things that make me so proud. We’ve been teaching her to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ but she still needs prompting from time to time. So when I plonked a yogurt in front of her at tea time a few weeks ago, and completely unprompted, she looked up at me and said “thank you mummy!” for the first time I could have burst with pride!

I had a similar reaction last week when I was tucking her in to bed and said “night night Isla Bear, love you” and she said “love you mummy”. I just wanted to smother her with kisses!

All these things are just reminding me that she’s growing up so fast, and soon we’ll be celebrating milestones such as her first night in her big girl bedroom (stay tuned to see how that turns out!) and then before long, her first day at school. Oh god, here come the tears again…

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Our two year old

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Today is Isla’s second birthday, and as cliched as it sounds, I can’t believe how fast the time has gone and how quickly she’s growing up. Our laid back little red headed baby girl how grown into a laid back but spirited and cheeky little girl. She loves nursery and all her little friends, and she’s incredibly sociable.

 We’re amazed every day at how intelligent she is. She’s speaking in three or four word (mostly coherent!) sentences and understands everything we say. She loves reading and knows the names of most every day objects, the favourites are currently Piggy Wiggy, chocolate and dawberries (aka strawberries)! She’s also quite good at counting and knows her numbers, but will sometimes miss out 4 and 7 just to tease us!

We’ve found that she’s very bossy, and if she wants to read or have us read to her she’ll demand it. One of her favourite things to do in the morning is to have us all snuggle up in our bed (she’ll demand “mummy/daddy/Piggy/Isla sleep in bed!”) and we have to pretend to sleep and snore, just so she can jump on us and shout “wake up mummy/daddy!” She also loves her food and eats huge amounts considering how small she is.

I was worried that she was a late walker (she didn’t take her first unaided steps until she was 16 months old)  and this might be because of future mobility problems, but as it turns out, she was just lazy and once she discovered how much fun it is to be walking and stomping about, she is now making up for it! She runs around with the other kids and has no problems keeping up with them, and one of her favourite things to do is go swimming. She loves wriggling around in the water with her armbands on and will swim back and forth between Hubs and I if we stand 10ft apart.

So far, Isla very rarely throws tantrums and seems to have learnt that throwing a hissy fit doesn’t work on us and that if she throws a strop, she won’t get what she wants. If she throws a tantrum we simply walk away from her (only into the next room and if it’s safe!) and after a few minutes of whimpering, she comes in and climbs onto our laps for a cuddle, like she’s saying sorry, and then she forgets all about it. Gradually her hissy fits seem to be getting shorter so hopefully the terrible twos won’t be too traumatic!

Ok I’ll stop gushing now. I know we’re very lucky to have such a happy, placid little girl who’s a joy to be around (her grandparents’ words, not just ours!) and that if we are lucky enough to have another one, we’re very unlikely to be blessed with such a “good” baby next time around so we’re just enjoying it while it lasts!

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I wish it was me

My baby girl isn’t a baby any more – she’ll be two next month and I can’t believe how much she’s changed in these past few months.

Her vocabulary is brilliant as her teachers at nursery have commented on many times, she’s putting together 3 or 4 word sentences and understands everything we say. She also repeats everything we say so we have to be so careful now! Isla is great with colours and numbers, even if she does tell us every colour we show her is red sometimes, and on her occasion her number sequence sometimes goes 1,2,3,5,8! She loves animals too and will happily tell us the right names and sounds of every animal we see.

Her social skills are pretty great too, she’s very friendly with anyone she sees and will shout “hello!” at anyone who stops to see her, and she’s really good at sharing her toys.

Honestly, this blog post isn’t just a brag about how proud I am of my beautiful, cheeky daughter. It’s about how sad I am that all the credit for my little girl’s development isn’t down to me, it’s down to the lovely ladies at her nursery.

As we work full time, Isla is in nursery from 8.15 to 5.30 Monday to Thursday and til 5 on Friday, and I’m well aware that all of her skills and development is due to the amazing care she receives at nurseryas they’re the ones who are with her full time. We do our best to offer her as much of a well-rounded and educational but fun environment when we’re together at home, but I’m well aware that her teachers at nursery have worked wonders with her, and I wish it was me.

As we don’t see much of her grandparents due to living so far away from our families, every time we see them they gush at how well she’s doing, and I feel bad that I can’t say I’m the one who’s taught her to count or that cows say “moooo”. I know I’d’ve done my best, but had I been a stay at home mum, I’m sure I wouldn’t have done as good a job with her as her teachers have.

And while I know it can’t be helped, as Hubs and I both have to work, I wish I could be the one to teach Isla her ABCs and 1,2,3s. I take my hat off to the lovely ladies at nursery for being so wonderful with my baby girl, or toddler as I now have! Gulp.

  • I’m delighted that this blog post was published on The Motherload! You can read it here…

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Trusting your instincts

If I ever had a piece of advice for new mums (not that you’d need any more as I’m sure everyone and  their dogs have had their two penneth by now!) it would be to always follow your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t.

This week Isla has been really off since Sunday, refusing her food and just not being herself. Then on Monday morning she started being sick and pretty much didn’t stop for two days. She couldn’t even keep water down and by Tuesday lunchtime, she was so weak and lethargic she wasn’t showing any interest in playing, reading, dancing, anything.  She just wanted to cuddle, which isn’t like her at all, she’s normally too busy, even when she’s poorly she still wants to play but this time, nothing.


We took her to the doctor who just said it was a viral bug and to keep an eye on her. But by Tuesday her temperature had gone up and I was worried sick, and when she threw up again, she brought up bile and what looked like coffee granules. I rang NHS 111, who just told us to take her back to the doctor, but I just knew that she needed more help. She was getting weaker, wasn’t interested in anything and wasn’t saying a word (we normally can’t shut her up!) – this wasn’t our daughter at all. I rang the GP back, but there were no doctors available for two hours so I took her straight to A&E instead. This photo was taken in that evening and look how poorly she looks.

The doctors there were brilliant and gave her a good check over, and it turned out her blood sugar was low and she was dehydrated, so we were taken by ambulance to another hospital 20 miles away where there was a paediatric ward. She was diagnosed with gastroenteritis and put on an IV drip with anti sickness drugs, and we stayed in over night while the fluids did their work.

The difference in her when she woke up was remarkable. She woke up and started singing to her favourite cuddly toy Piggy Wiggy as she normally does, and soon after she was demanding her drink and breakfast. Once she had scoffed down some cornflakes and toast, she was back to her old self, playing with her toys and colouring, chattering non stop!


We were discharged that afternoon and now we’re back home, slowly building her back up with plenty of water and bland food.

I’m so glad I listened to my guts, the doctors at the hospital and the ambulance crew said we’d done exactly the right thing as we know our daughter best, and if we’re worried, it’s normally for a good reason.

Morale of the story? If you’re worried in any way, if your little one isn’t themselves, or if something is amiss, definitely get them checked out. One of the lovely doctors said they’d much rather see a poorly child and be able to sort them out with Calpol or fluids than parents leave it too late and things to have deteriorated too much.

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Conceiving with PCOS

To be told that you may struggle to conceive and that you “shouldn’t leave it too long” to have a baby isn’t something any woman wants to hear.

But to be told that you “shouldn’t leave it too long” to start trying when you’ve been in a relationship for just over 6 months is just plain awkward.

I’ll take you back to October 2011, I was 24 and my boyfriend (now husband) and I had just got back from our first holiday when a routine ultrasound scan of my bladder to try and solve the mystery of why I was suffering from so many UTIs (which to this day, remains unsolved) revealed I had polycystic ovary syndrome. The symptoms had always been there (I had, on average, three periods a year that lasted weeks and were insanely heavy) but I hadn’t even thought about trying to get to the bottom of it, at the time my constant UTIs were the more pressing issue.

The consultant then said I shouldn’t leave it much more than a couple of years to try to conceive as the condition would only get worse over time.

So no pressure then…

I then had to go and discuss with my boyfriend that his new girlfriend was “reproductively challenged” to quote Sex and the City, and let’s face it, having THAT conversation so early on could very easily produce a man-shaped hole in the door.

Luckily Now-Hubs was great about it and suggested I get a second opinion, and I’m so glad I did. At this point, all I knew of PCOS was that women who had it really struggled to get pregnant, so all I could envisage were bleak years ahead of us with an endless stream of negative pregnancy tests.

But the wonderful consultant at our nearby Park Hospital not only reassured me that there were plenty of options for women with PCOS, but that the original doctor was irresponsible and out of line for telling me  to hurry up and have a baby when I might not be ready.

We discussed my options and decided to try me on fertility drug Clomid, which I had to take on days 5 to 9 of my cycle and would essentially make me ovulate, when we were ready to start trying. We decided we were ready to try in July 2014 and after the second cycle of Clomid, I took a pregnancy test on Christmas Day that year and it was positive!

My point is that PCOS doesn’t necessarily mean infertility. It might not be easy to conceive, but there are so many treatment options out there now, it’s absolutely not hopeless. If it worked for me, it can work for anyone – although my husband is convinced he’s just got super strong swimmers!!

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Ladies, we need to stop the b*tching!

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Whatever happened to solidarity and sisterhood?

I recently found myself being, I suppose you could say ‘body shamed’ and I must confess, it’s really got to me. Like most mums, my post-baby figure has been a thorn in my side for months as I’ve really struggled to get my pre-Isla figure back. I’ve hated my wobbly bits and have been wearing lots of loose-fitting clothes and pairs of Spanx to conceal my ‘mummy tummy’ and for a long time, actually felt very shitty about myself.

In a bid to give myself a kick up the backside, I bought a gorgeous size 8 dress back in March for my step-brother’s wedding, which was this weekend, with the view to shedding a few extra pounds to fit into it comfortably. After much hard work, it fit and for the first time in years, I actually felt like my old self again. I’m a member of a Facebook group of mummy bloggers and I posted the above photo into the group to celebrate my achievement with a group of like-minded ladies, feeling pretty damn good about myself for once.

Yet less than 24 hours after the wedding, I was bought crashing back down to earth by one snide comment, which simply said: “Not an 8 though is it”.

I know I shouldn’t have let it get to me, but it has. Was this person implying that I was lying about being a size 8? Was she implying I was delusional? I have no idea, but it really upset me that a complete stranger felt it necessary to say something like that to me. The responses from other members of the group were lovely and they called this woman out big time, and she’s since been removed and blocked from the group by the admin team. My post, at the time of writing this, has had 457 ‘likes’ or ‘loves’ reactions and 28 lovely, supportive comments from fellow group members, yet that one bitchy comment is the one that’s stuck. I even felt the need to prove to this cow that the dress was in fact an 8 by posting a photo of the label.

Ladies, enough! Life is hard enough without tearing each other down, especially complete strangers. Even if I had been lying/delusional and my dress wasn’t an 8, the fact that I felt confident enough to wear it, and was happy with my body for the first time in years, was surely the important thing here? Why did this person feel the need to knock me down? What had I done to deserve it?

Being cat-called by a group of lads in a souped-up Peugot while I was out running (“hey fatty bum bum!” how original…) is one thing, but this from a fellow mummy? Not cool. We need to support each other, not kick each other, especially when we’re down. I heard a great expression recently: “Just be kind. You don’t know everyone’s story, be kind to them, you don’t know what they’re going through” and it’s exactly right. This woman had no idea what I may have been through in my life, so she had no right to comment.

So come on ladies, let’s play nice!

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The Adventures of Piggy Wiggy Part 2

He’s been a very busy boy…

As I mentioned in a previous post, Piggy Wiggy is Isla’s favourite cuddly toy and even though there’s been more additions to her cuddly toy collection (including Baa Baa the sheep and Dave the elephant), Piggy has been number one pretty much since he accompanied her to hospital when she had a chest infection.

 

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Isla love looking at photos of what Piggy Wiggy gets up to, so whenever I’ve been able to, I’ve started taking photos of him in various places. He’s been into the office a few times and I’ve also photographed him playing with his friends and she loves it! So here’s more of Piggy’s adventures…