Battle scars of parenthood

Battle scars of parenthood

I know most mums will say their body changed during pregnancy and some warn that it never really goes back to normal afterwards either, well I’ve been keeping notes and can report the following are the four biggest mummy battle scars after producing two children. (This is the stuff they don’t advertise about motherhood!)

1. Your tummy will continue to look like it’s been lived in, which technically I guess, it has. Mine currently resembles my old stomach encased in an oversized baggy holdall. Am thinking it could be used as a weekend bag, although that would only really be useful if I were ever to go away for the weekend, which after two kids is unlikely. I like to kid myself that this will eventually go away (normally whilst eating some form of chocolate or cake..)

2. Your hair falls out. Big time. I think this actually gets worse with each pregnancy as it’s seriously coming out in handfuls at the moment. Gross. And very annoying when cleaning the shower. I keep finding little clumps firmly grasped in my baby’s fists which can’t be a good thing and I think the Hoover might be about to go on strike. If only I could sell it to wig makers, I’d make a fortune out of being bald! In the meantime I’m planning a big chop.

3. Your knees get their very own calluses. Lush I know, I am truly the envy of gardeners everywhere. These delightful things have been gained from 3+ years of kneeling on floors constructing train tracks, changing nappies, crawling with a child on my back, putting together jigsaws, zooming cars around and playing games. I seriously don’t know why we bother even having sofas in this house!

4. The dark rings around the eyes that develop through lack of sleep. I thought I had these before I had kids from late nights out and the occasional hangover, but now they’re an even darker grey from not sleeping more than a couple of hours at a time. I do console myself that smoky eyes are “in” right now, it’s just a shame mine are on the wrong eye lid!

Attractive, no?

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Me, before the hair started falling out!

Are there any others I’ve missed, or should be looking forward to?

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Granola bars (almost healthy!)

Granola bars (almost healthy!)

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I made these last week, in a bid to get more dried fruit into Elliot. They are so yummy, I’ll be adding them to our list of regular bakes!

Ingredients:
100g butter
200g porridge oats
50g walnuts
150g mixed seeds (pumpkin, sesame, poppy… you choose)
100g sugar (light brown)
100g dried fruit – I used a mix that included cranberries and apricots as well as sultanas and raisins)
3 tbsp runny honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon

To make, firstly heat your oven to 160C/fan 140C and get out a roasting tin. Put your oats, nuts and seeds together in the roasting tin and toast these in the oven for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, line and grease a 18x25cm tin.

Next, measure out the butter, honey and sugar and heat in a pan over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Once the oats, nuts and seeds have toasted, add these to the pan and then add the cinnamon and dried fruit. Stir really well to get everything coated fully, then tip into the prepared tin and press down into the corners.

This then needs to be cooked for 30 mins in the oven.

Cool in the tin and cut into 12-15 bars (depending on how generous you’re feeling!)

They keep pretty well in an airtight tin, if they get the chance!

Yum yum!

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Siblings – March

Siblings – March

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I’ve cheated a little with the Siblings project this month, as the photos aren’t just of the boys. We’ve been trying to photograph us all together as a family, and the selfies we ended up with are so funny I thought these should be the photos I’d use.

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The boys are definitely getting more used to each other now. Ignoring a recent unfortunate incident with a toy engine (Diesel 10 for anyone interested in engines) and Alexander’s head (!) Elliot is generally very kind towards Alexander, and is always comforting him whenever her cries. He gave him one of his precious muslin squares this week when Alex was crying waiting for me to open the front door and can often be heard saying “it’s okay Alexander, mummy’s coming” It’s enough to make my heart melt a little…

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These three months seem to have flown by and I can’t believe we’re on month three of this project. It’s scary really. Hope 2014 slows down a little now the spring is finally making an appearance. For now I’m going to make a cup of tea and check out the other Siblings posts for this month. To do the same, click on the icon below (it won’t make you a cuppa but they’re good reads!)

dear beautiful

See my other Siblings posts:

January
February

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A letter to my children on sleep, or the lack of

A letter to my children on sleep, or the lack of

To my beautiful sons,

I’m sure you’re right in your current belief that mummy was getting a bit too much sleep lately. After all, being woken every three hours to feed a newborn is almost the same as the halcyon days of getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep pre-children (a time which I now believe is actually just fictional)

I’m sure you’re just thinking that waking so infrequently could have been said to have been getting a bit dull, so your exercise this past week of “let’s wake the big ones more often” has been especially welcome. It’s been interesting to see the world through the sleepy fug that waking every hour brings, so thanks for that!

I have to say that I really think it’s great how the two of you are developing a sense of team work so early in your sibling relationship. You have clearly devised a plan between you to make sure that you’re not both awake at the same time so you both get to benefit from some one-to-one parent time, and I’m sure the worlds greatest mathematicians would be interested in how you’ve worked out the optimal time between wakings:

For those that are interested this works out as:
Time of your brother returning to bed/sleep + 32 minutes (approximately the time it takes mummy to become completely settled, warm and cosy under the duvet and be drifting off to a lovely sleep)

3 year old, I think you’re doing especially well at this given that before the baby came along you were sleeping through routinely and not waking at all, so you must have had to work hard to get into the new routine of night waking and crying. And let me take this opportunity to say that I totally agree with your many and varied stated reasons for waking up. My favourites from the past few days include “I don’t need anything, I just wanted to see you”, and “I don’t want orange juice” (none was being offered, it was 2am)

And to you, littlest one, I must say I really appreciate how you’ve waited until you’re almost 12 weeks old to experiment with waking more often. After all, knowing that you CAN go 4 or even 5 hours between feeds at night makes it even more delightful when I get to see your beautiful face more often than that. I know this is just a recent experiment, but I think we’ll all be happier (or is that just me?!) when you go back to your lovely blissful previous routine.

So, my darling children, thank you for your consideration and thoughtfulness, but I think maybe we should try to see each other a bit less between the hours of 7pm to 7am. It’s not you, it’s me, and to be honest that way you’ll have a much nicer set of parents the rest of the time. Deal?

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Trying to win me over with his “I love Mummy” t shirt whilst sleeping LIKE A LOG during the day!

Being a mum of two, or how to develop a stretchy heart

Going from one to two children is a big step for most parents. Certainly during my pregnancy with Alexander people seemed to like to tell me horror stories of their lives with two children and how difficult/stressful/tiring it is. Some even looked at my growing bump and said “ooh, you’ll wish you’d stuck with one!”

We had been so lucky with Elliot, he was a relatively easy baby, and slept, ate and grew well, seemed to hit all development milestones pretty much when he was meant to (though was late walking, and don’t even ask about potty training!) He is now an easy going toddler, and is (mostly!) a joy to be around.

As we got closer to Alexander’s birth, I did start to wonder about whether we had made the right decision. Elliot was going through a really cute phase of coming in to our room in the mornings, to climb in to the middle of the bed and cuddle/play with the iPad. It was a lovely way to wake up and I just knew that was going to be difficult with a newborn.

I worried about how I would cope with the two of them on the days I’d have both on my own. Elliot had developed the three year old whine (for the uninitiated this is a very specific, monotone whine, which seems to go on for ages prompted by the smallest of incidents!) and I couldn’t fathom how I’d be able to rationally persuade him to stop whilst keeping a newborn asleep. How would I occupy a three year old during those long feeds that a newborn needs? And more importantly, how could I ever love another child as much as I loved my firstborn?

It turns out, like with many things, there was no need to worry at all. It really hasn’t been that difficult. We’re 11 weeks in, that’s nearly 3 months, and I can’t think of a single incident where we’ve felt like it’s all too much *touches wood*

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What I’ve realised is to a large extent newborns are rather dull. Ours is anyway (sorry Alexander!) Until recently his routine tended to follow the sleep, feed, poo, sleep circle. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve had more awake time, where he loves playing on his playmat, watching Elliot/whoever is around or staring at his hands!

Newborns can be left waiting (within reason) which is something that first time mums rarely attempt. Alexander often has to wait if we’re trying to get Elliot to finish his tea, or if Elliot wants to have help with building a “fantastic track”, and do you know what, he really doesn’t seem to mind. I tend to vocalise this to Elliot “Alexander has to wait while mummy helps you Elliot, isn’t he doing well?” so that he realises that Alexander isn’t taking first priority all the time.

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We’ve had no tantrums from Elliot relating to Alexander, he genuinely seems to like him, and though the whining is still there and occasionally gets pretty loud and high pitched, Alexander seems to have been born with an ability to sleep through anything (again something that as a first time mum I don’t think I realised!) and I don’t get as cross as I had imagined I would.

I’ve also learnt that I am able to survive on less sleep than I thought possible. There are many nights where, between them, the boys wake us every hour or two, but this doesn’t seem too difficult. Certainly not as tough as the first few weeks with Elliot. (That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the weekend lie in when it comes!)

The main difference I’ve found is a lack of “me time”, I used to enjoy a few minutes peace while Chris bathed Elliot, but I’m now occupied with putting Alexander to bed. We’re also honing our super-organised skills to make sure we have everything that both children need whenever we go out.

Of course I really needn’t have worried at all about how I would find space in my heart to love another baby. Literally the moment Alexander was placed in my arms my heart stretched to fit him in, and to my delight I found that somewhere in there resides a whole other pot of love dedicated to him. This doesn’t detract from the love I have for Elliot, if anything I love my amazing three year old even more as he’s coped so well with being a big brother. My heart swells when I see him playing with Alexander. Being a mum to two is not a walk in the park, but it really is the most amazing thing.

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