Tag Archives: toddler

Does that mean I have a normal baby?

image

I took the little ones to play group today and handed the baby’s red book in to the health visitors for weighing. She was weighed last week, but I’ve been on a bit of a detox (or, not eating lots of rubbish all the time) and I wanted to check that it wasn’t affecting her weight gain. It would be so fantastic awful to have to revert back to a diet filled with whatever I like.
Anyway, we were last in the queue but once I had waited that long I sure as hell wasn’t going to give up. And anyway, it was soon our turn! Yes, everyone else had left but the toddler loves an empty room to run around and I can be stubborn at times.
So the baby is now 10 lb 8! I am astounded. I had just fed her, bit still… that’s 11 ounces in 8 days!
Of course, I panic.
“she seems to be putting weight on really quickly,” I say, hoping I don’t sound too panicky. “its about half a pound a week on average!”
“thats absolutely fine!” The health visitor responds.
She looks curious so I explain that my eldest daughter never really fed much, slept through at 5 weeks and was still only 10 at 6 months. Then my son… he wasn’t thriving at all so by 4 months our consultant had him in formula and baby rice. I think the confusion I’d subconciously come to was:
” I always assumed my breast milk wasn’t all that good…”
“your breast milk is good stuff!” She laughed. “half a pound a week is exactlybwhat we want. It’s.completely normal.”
Um, ok. I’ve got a normal baby then? What does one do with one of those then? I’m used to the extreme. Average is alien to me! From one baby who slept so well, potty trained so early and easily and has never had a tantrum… to one who still doesn’t sleep, regularly has dirty protests and is currently on his 7th tantrum of the day… to now have one that does things by the book?
Goodness, what pressure!


Graco Symbio b: “I’m just like Samantha Brick..

… except my troubles are no fantasy”

It’s really hard being such a good looking pram. Before you switch off, let me explain with a scenario or two. There was one time when I arrived at the school gates ahead of schedule (since I am so easy to push) and to celebrate I did an extra circuit or two of the playground. Ok, I admit- I did catch a glance of my shiny wheels reflected in the mirror but I was not posing. Honestly. Another pram appeared up the hill and saw me standing there (perhaps I was gleaming in the sun?) and that’s when the bitching started.

‘Oh, look at the Symbio! Arriving for the school run looking like she’s ready for a royal parade!’

Things like this happen all the time; jealousy permeates from other prams like a bitter fog most days. Another occasion, a  sightly older pram arrived at the school gates wheezing and creaking and I couldn’t help but wince. Like a flash, this older, much much shabbier pram clipped my wheels in a blatant attempt to derail me.

Other prams have tried to derail the Symbio b

Of course, I’m made of tougher stuff than that old wagon- the vicious attack did not harm me one bit. I’ve been built to last, built to physically withstand such brutal and un-provoked attacks.

I wish I could say the same about my emotional strength.

I know why other prams hate me. They don’t have the same qualities as I do, but it’s not my fault I’ve been made this way. Other prams dread new mums buying a Symbio b because they know they’re going to be outshined. They know their day has gone- there’s a new pram on the block.

Perhaps it is my shiny, strong chassis? I’m sleek and agile. Perhaps that is why they hate me so? Or maybe it is my bright, bold, chilli red coat? Admirers have pointed out that I do come in other colours though (the super sleek Urban and the gorgeously sublime Boysenberry) and sadly these models are just as envied by other prams.

Fast asleep- she is in there, honest!

The beautiful Symbio b says her fiery red coat makes other prams jealous

Setting my obvious physical attraction aside, it has to be my unique intelligence that makes all the other- dare I say it- *ordinary* prams quiver with rage when I enter a room. I mean, if they could reverse direction as easily as me, or fold as swiftly and smoothly as me, then I suppose they too would be shunned from parks and play groups as I am.

I’ve learned to live with my superiority. I am proud to be such a smooth ride and to provide a safe, comfortable place for my precious baby owner. I know that all the other prams are jealous old carts who can only dream of being as fantastic as me.

It can be lonely at times, when rooms fall silent and lift doors close when there is more than enough space to fit me in (I’m super compact, you see. Unlike many other models). It can be terribly isolating too, when I speed past slower prams with my easy to control wheels and super-light frame. It’s hard being the only pram on the market with such obvious skills and talents.

Symbio's obvious fantastic features, such as the handbrake, make her an easy target, she says

I will learn to live with my excellence. After all, I am truly gifted and it is only right to celebrate what is great in life. One day, all the other prams will accept this and will be beating on my door begging to go on extended pram walks and the like. And do you know what I will do then? I will open my arms in welcome- for I am truly great. I am one of a kind.

 

I am the beautiful Graco Symbio b.

The ever modest Symbio knows that she is a keeper- transforming from newborn to toddler mode. She is proud to be one of the family


Graco Symbio b: the challenges

We’ve been having some family fun with the Symbio b this weekend. As part of my testing, I decided to set a few challenges which involved the whole family. They are a bit of fun, but they also serve a purpose too. Each challenge has been filmed so for the first time ever I can introduce

Ghostwriterdaddy

Ghostwritermummy

Ghostwriteraunty

Ghostwritertoddler (briefly)

Ghostwriterbaby (even more briefly)

So what are the challenges?

First we have the Blindfold Challenge. This is where I put Ghostwriterdadddy to the test, to see whether or not he could set up the Symbio b with a blindfold. The aim of this challenge is to show how easy (or not) the pram is to set up.

The next challenge is the Instruction Manual Challenge, starring Ghostwriteraunty. Being young and carefree, she does not have kids herself and has only limited knowledge of prams and setting them up. The test here was to see whether or not the instruction manual that comes with the Symbio actually makes sense or not.

Ghostwriteraunty’s second test was the Toddler Seat Challenge, to see how long it takes to convert the Symbio b from newborn mode to toddler mode. I followed the instructions for this and found it a little tricky, so I wanted to see how a ‘complete beginner’ would find it too.

Lastly, we have the Race Challenge. Ghostwriterdaddy and I are both well practised in setting up the Symbio b but I wanted to see how quickly we could do it. This would give an indication as to whether or not the pram can be set up in a rush, such as when its raining or when you need to make a sharp exit… Anyway, we were given two minutes to see how many time we could unfold and set up, then fold the pram back up again.

We had lots of fun making these videos but I think they are quite informative too. They aren’t supposed to be instructional, more a chance for you to see how the pram works and how easy it is to use. Enjoy!


Graco Symbio b: the toddler’s review

We’re half-way into the Symbio b testing and so far its a huge hit with the baby and I. I must add that other mums at school have also been admiring our wheels and one mum-to-be has just ordered one for herself, which just goes to prove how valuable personal recommendations really are.  Anyway, I decided it was time to convert the Symbio b and let the toddler have a turn…

symbio b toddler seat

Before I start, I have to point out that I am terrible at following instruction guides. I find the diagrams tricky to interpret and I have to read the written instructions several times before I can actually do the task. I am a kinaesthetic/ visual learner so I need to see something being done, whilst at the same time actually doing it myself. I think this is why it took me 20 minutes to convert the Symbio from newborn to toddler mode. Subsequent practises have been much faster and once you have the process under your belt its really quite easy.

The best thing about the fitting of the seat is that it is all secured with poppers. This means that it is all snug and secure and that there is little chance of getting things in the wrong place. Yes, first time you do it will take  a little longer than normal, but once its converted, the majority of us won’t need to do it again.

The baby nest is removed quite easily and the zips need to be done up again. Then its just a case of following the instructions to construct the seat. The seat cover is well padded and soft and as it is easily removed with the poppers, it can be easily washed if needed. This is a huge bonus for me as my last pram seat fabric was fitted to the seat unit and never really got clean again once the toddler had been let loose with a sausage roll!

symbio b toddler hood

There are three different height options for the harness so the seat really grows with your child and will last right up until they are ready to walk more. Another great point is the hood- its massive! The toddler doesn’t like having the hood up at all but if he was to fall asleep, I would be happy that the hood would provide more than ample shade for him- great in the summer, and it eliminates the need for an extra sun shade or parasol.

The seat can be reclined easily by pulling the handle at the back of the seat and again, you can swap the direction of travel with one easy motion.

Another important point- looks. As a buggy, the Symbio b is just as lovely to look at as it is in pram mode. It’s stylish and compact and moving it is just as easy. The only drawback, once more, is the size of the basket. It’s easier to access with the seat unit in toddler mode, but its still rather small, especially once the raincover is in the basket. Also, the foot rest at the bottom of the toddler seat seems to be a little short. The toddler’s feet already reach the end but I suppose he can always rest his feet over it when his legs get longer.

symbio b toddler side view

I can’t wait to use the Symbio b in toddler mode. Once the baby is 6 months, she is ready for the conversion, but until then we are perfectly happy using the newborn mode. Which brings me nicely to my last point. Converting the Symbio b from toddler back to newborn is so easy. Simply lie the seat unit flat, un-popper the seat fabric, unzip the zips at the back and insert the baby nest. You also need to re-attach the hood. That’s it!

And the toddler’s review? He told me that he likes his ‘fire engine’ pram (its bright red, like an engine) but on this particular day he was more interested in digging up the soil from my Yucca plant in the hallway- hence the grumpy face!

 


Cosatto You2 twin stroller: a review

Before the baby was born, I was extremely lucky enough to be sent a Cosatto You2 twin stroller to review. I even got to choose the design and since we didn’t know the gender of the baby, I went for the scrumptious Owl and Pussycat model:

It truly is a gorgeous looking pram. But I wasn’t totally convinced that the side-by-side design was the right one for me . The fantastic Emma at Cosatto had a few things to say about this and so I shall quote directly from her if I may:

I must admit I was one of those parents wanting to cut corners and convince myself I didn’t need a double side-by-side pushchair! However 4 months of baby in a sling breaking my back and then having to disturb baby and take out of the sling when got home convinced me a double buggy was indeed a necessity. Aswell as having a toddler that still enjoyed an afternoon nap, a twin side by side seemed a ‘no brainer.’  I am a huge fan of babies being stimulated by the environment and seeing the world, and the relationship building between an older sibling is second to none when they are’ journeying’ side by side… Side-by-side strollers are essential and ‘oh-so’ convenient… us mums need convenience!”

She puts across a very good argument,doesn’t she? I’d been thinking on a purely selfish level about this type of stroller. I didn’t want to have to bash granny ankles in the supermarket with a wide vehicle, when actually I should’ve been thinking about the benefits for the children instead.

On our first outing, it did take some getting used to as the stroller is inevitably wider than any pram I have used before. BUT- and this is a massive but- the toddler really enjoyed seeing his sister in the seat next to him and decided that he was going to look after her. And just as Emma promised, he took great pleasure in pointing out cars, trees and mack-macks (ducks, to you and I). He also became a little concerned when the baby slept through it all and actually complained that she wasn’t talking to him!

SO yes, the You2 twin stroller is fantastic for encouraging siblings to converse and certainly helps with the bonding between todders and newborns. This was the best thing about the stroller and something you just don’t get with the tandem designs.

The toddler also loved the owl and pussycat designs and I think the cosy-toes etc are just beautiful- fun, bright and really cosy. The only problem I had with the stroller over all was the cosy-toes themselves, despite them being so gorgeous. We found that the toddler was unable to sit with his legs straight when the zips were fully closed. Luckily, the weather is warming up so cosy-toes aren’t a necessity, but it is a shame because they are so lovely.

In conclusion, this is a gorgeous stroller and it has some really lovely details- the cosy-toes, the seat belt covers and the bottles bags, for example. The shopping basket is of ample size and the stroller itself is really lightweight and easy to push. It also folds like an umbrella so would fit into most boots easily. I think that the stroller is fairly wide but it isn’t bulky with it, which is another good point. The only fact I feel should be noted is the size of the seats if you are thinking of buying this stroller for a toddler and a newborn. In my opinion, it is better suited to twins so that you can get the full use of the cosy-toes.

Since recieving the Cosatto You2 twin stroller, I am definitely a side-by-side stroller convert! It really is lovely to see the two little ones sitting next to each other and I think our pram walks will help them to bond as siblings- that can only be a good thing!

 

 

 

*I received a You2 twin stroller for review; no other payment was received and these are all my own views!


37 weeks: officially full term and panicking…

Today I am 37 weeks pregnant and here are the things that are kept me awake last night:

 

1. The toddler. Top of the list, since I was sleeping fine until he decided to wake up and whine for a couple of hours. He didn’t want to get up, but he didn’t want to sleep either. I even went down to prepare a bottle at 5.30, thinking it was get up time finally and figuring that since he went to bed with no dinner and no bottle, he was probably starving. By the time the bottle was ready, he was asleep. And I was awake!

2. The pram situation. Some of you have very helpfully recommended some fabulous double buggies/ double buggy substitutes over on Twitter this week. I have left this so late. I assumed I would be fine with a buggy board or sling and I might have if a) it didn’t rain a lot where I live (wrong side of the Penines, some would say) b) the toddler wasn’t a feisty little mr. who I just know will jump off and into the path of on-coming traffic and c) I know that I will want to take them both for long pram walks soon. So I need a double buggy. BUT

I don’t want one that has a low seat at the back and it’s occupant has to stare at it’s sibling’s back all day. I also don’t want one that is too wide to get through doorways. I want a tandem one with a view. I want one that will convert to a single buggy once the toddler is a little bit older and more able to understand why he needs to stay on the buggy board. Plus the weather will be nicer then and the sling a better option for the baby. SO

this gives me the option of 2 models: the Baby Jogger City Select double and the icandy Pear. None of which I can get my hands on in less than 2 weeks and for less than it costs to pay my mortgage. In other words, this is keeping me awake!

3. The bed. I decided to co-sleep and I ordered a baby bay co-sleeper cot, delivery of which was promised before the baby’s section date. It is now promised for the day after the section date- cutting it fine, but should be ok if they stick to that date.

4. The decorating. Why do I always decorate numerous rooms right before babies are due to be born? This weekend we shall be stripping (wallpaper) and generally living in chaos. Not good for the nesting instincts and the next item on my list…

5. My back. OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW. It hurts. Yes, I’ve been ‘over-doing’ it perhaps but MAN it hurts. I don’t like just sitting but you know…

6. My baby. Yes, I saved the best for last. I am so excited! In less than 2 week’s time I get to find out if I have a new son or daughter! I get to come home with a new baby to hold and to love. I can’t wait and it’s keeping me awake! But that’s a good reason, isn’t it?


And they said he would be sleeping by now…

Ok. So I have less than four weeks before my nights will once more be interrupted regularly by a small person needing milk. By this point I was promised- yes, promised-  that the toddler would be sleeping through the night, no problem. For a while, it all looked so good. Over Christmas he was, indeed, sleeping. So much so that we enjoyed a few nine o’clock lie ins. Bliss. But strange. Almost like the calm before the storm…

He is back to his best now. The toddler is no longer sleeping in. He’s no longer sleeping, in fact. Last night I was up with him again at 2.30 and he managed to self settle the rest of the times. Thing is, the walls in our house must be made of super thin parchment paper or something, because I heard every single toss and turn last night. And every call for mummy!

I know what the problem is. We moved his bedroom. He’s now in a big boy bedroom and although he goes to bed ok, I think its really affected him. I also know he will be ok. He’ll get used to it. Then I’m going to disappear for a couple of days and come home with a baby.

How will he react? The big one was five when he was born and her naturally easy going disposition posed no real problem. The toddler is different. He is still the baby. He is held. He is picked up. He is cuddled. He will still get these things, but so will the baby. He will have to compete for the attention he has always had first dibs to. That’s going to be a problem, right?

Nursery are being great. They have a special pack they’re going to send home, with baby dolls and books and accessories designed to prepare him for the new baby. We’re talking as much as we can about the baby but it just doesn’t seem to be sinking in. This morning he asked to sleep in the moses basket which has been set up in our room for want of somewhere else to put it. I explained it was for the baby, so he asked where this so-called baby was exactly. I told him it was in my tummy, to which he replied:

‘No mummy. Baby in there.’ and he pointed to my shoulder…

I won’t lie to you. I think we have our work cut out here. How do I get him to understand it all, when I am struggling myself? I don’t know myself how I am going to make him feel secure and loved and happy with a new baby attached to me at the same time. My mum assures me it will all work out, and I know it will. It’s just the getting to that point that concerns me.

In the meantime, for those of you who told me he would be sleeping by now- what have you got to say for yourselves now, eh?


New Room

Shh! As we speak, the toddler is taking a nap in his new room. It’s a big boy room, to go with the big boy haircut he finally received this weekend. Oh and did I mention the big boy pants we bought too? Blimey.

Am I really ready for the toddler to be a big boy? In a month’s time, he has no choice. He’ll be a big something- a big brother. And you know what? He likes being  a big boy. Its just me who wants to keep him little for a while longer. *sniff* We decided that the baby should move into the nursery and the toddler should have the next spare room. Makes sense, right? I just never knew it would be such a wrench.

We moved into this house just over four years ago and since then we’ve been playing musical rooms with a vengeance. First the Big One had the room at the back but around four weeks before the toddler was born, we decided to move her to the room at the front. We painted it pink, at her request, and put up pink venetian blinds. Then around three months ago, we moved her back into the back room and changed the pink room into a play room. Now, with just four or so weeks until the new baby, the toddler is moving into the pink room, which accordingly needs to become a blue room and…aaaggghhhhh!!!

Still with me?

The short story is that we have made the move and the toddler is in a big room. A big boy room. Only still in his cot- installing a big boy bed at the same time would just be asking for trouble.


Separation Anxiety?

Every day with my son is a brand new learning curve. I know only too well that each and every child is so different, even those with the same parents. In this case, especially those with the same parents. My two are like chalk and cheese and there is hardly ever a time where I can, hand on heart, say: oh yes, his sister was just like that.

The big one never really suffered with separation anxiety, whilst the toddler has it bad. Since returning from Florida, his little world has turned upside down and everything he once knew to be constant is not so much anymore. In his eyes, anyway. We went away with several other family members and I guess we didn’t really anticipate how much it would affect him. Looking at it through his eyes, one day he was living in a big house with a pool and lots of people to play with, the next they are all gone and he has a new set of people to get used to at a new nursery. The result is this: lots of screaming, lots of tantrums, lots of hitting and lots of clinginess to daddy.

That’s the other part of my son’s separation anxiety. He is struggling to understand why daddy isn’t here to play all the time like he was on holiday. As soon as my husband gets home from work, the toddler becomes a bit of a demon child and the tantrums begin. My poor husband only sees this side of him from day to day. And don’t even talk about weekends. It’s such an awful feeling to get to bedtime and realise you have waited all day for that time.

Oh yes, and sleeping. It’s not good. He is waking in the night screaming “Daddy gone!” and I can tell you now, it isn’t easy to calm him down. He also isn’t sleeping at nursery so the tantrums are becoming a lot more frequent, as is the unsettled sleep at night. The whole thing is a bit of a circle of frustration to be honest.

Where did my confident boy go? Is this just an age thing? I know that there are a lot of changes happening for him at the moment and this only intensifies the guilt. What will his reaction be when the baby is here? How does one prepare a 22 month old for  a new sibling? I don’t even know how to get him to understand that I am coming back for him each day I wrestle his little fingers from my arms in the mornings I have to work.

I know I am not alone with the terrible twos phase (thank goodness for weekly catch ups with @Minty_b!) but I really wish someone would come and wave a magic wand for me here!


How to keep older kids amused in the great outdoors

Following on from my previous post about kids and why they love being outdoors, I thought I would quickly post this beore we actually go out. We all know that toddlers seem to spend their days being constantly amazed by all the small things in life. Like, WOW a stone or WOW a leaf or WOW a cigarette butt.. You get the idea. So how do you keep older kids amused outside, away from the playgrounds, amusement arcades and toy shops? Well, I’ve got an idea!

My daughter has a friend over to play today and we are going for a walk around Jumbles. Not the jungle as she originally thought today (and panicked because she doesn’t like snakes), it’s a reservoir and you can have a really good walk around it. Fascinating for a toddler, but perhaps not so much for a six year old. That’s why I decided to introduce a bit of healthy competition.

My daughter and her friend shall be armed with a clipboard (yes, I am a teacher!) and a list of things they must find whilst we are on our walk. Things such as ‘s stone shaped like an object’ and ‘a leaf with two different colours on it’. This will hopefully keep them amused for a while, until the inevitable ‘Look how big this stick is!’ and ‘My feet hurt now!’ exclamations.

We will also have a picnic. Why not? Kids love roughing it on a centimetre piece of blanket with their hair whipping into their eyes as they try to eat sandwiches and keep ants away from them at the same time. Again, this will be a competition. Look how so and so is eating their crusts, etc.

Finally, we will use natural items to construct an obstacle course and perform a Krypton Factor style finale. Yay! Hope my daughter wins (I’m very competitive…). We will of course be on the look out for interesting items to add to the craft box back home and things to dangle from the wind chime we’re making. Oh and flowers for the book we’re pressing them in. Oh and then there’s the poo game: first one to spot poo on the floor has to yell REALLY loudly that there is poo in the vicinity. They love this game.

That’s not it. When we get home we will have a quiz, with prizes, about things we’ve seen.

So that’s how I would make a walk around a reservoir interesting for older kids. What would you do? Sometimes its nice to get away from the TV and the soft play and all of that.

 

This post is being linked to the Tots 100 Outdoor Adventures blog hop and I will be posting an update as to how long I kepe boredom at bay….

 

 

*There is still time to vote for me in the MAD blog awards, for most inspiring blogger! Ah, go on! You want to really…


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