baby-showWhile I was pregnant Carl and I had great plans for my maternity leave. He’s self-employed so has almost complete freedom when it comes to taking holidays so we were going to make the most of my new found freedom and take impromptu trips away, should it take our fancy. Well I can report that eight months in, all we’ve managed was a pre-arranged trip to Norfolk with my family.

So when an invite to the Baby & Toddler Show landed in my inbox, I thought I’d throw caution to the wind and include an overnight stay. The northern show just happens to be in Manchester, which holds a special place in our hearts as it’s where we spent our first non-wedding-night night as a married couple before jetting off on our honeymoon – sorry if I made your brain hurt with that mouthful – so I’m very excited to return to our second favourite city as a family.

The show runs 7-9th October and has a pretty impressive line up of brands, including Bugaboo, Cybex, Joolz, Mamas & Papas, Silver Cross & Maxi Cosi to name but a few – we’re in the market for a new car seat so the timing is perfect.  There are expert speakers, products to test, a midwife drop in and, if that hasn’t sold it to you – a goody bag for all new mums and mums-to-be.

If you’d like to win tickets to the show, I have two to giveaway, valid for any date you chose. All you need to do is hit the Rafflecopter link below, and leave a comment telling me what your all time favourite baby / toddler products is!

If you don’t win tickets you can purchase with 1/3 off with the code BTN31.

If you’ll be at the Baby and Toddler Show let me know, it would be great to meet so fellow mamas!

I wish you the best of luck, but never fear, as if you don’t win you can book adult tickets for 1/3 off with the code BTN31

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mummuddlingthrough

 

Diary of an imperfect mum
The Pramshed

 

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Hold. The. Phone. I’m not starting this post by reporting a brunch date. On Saturday and Sunday we ate breakfast at home. What is this sorcery?
Following our very understated porridge breakfast enjoyed in our own kitchen, we went out for ‘a drive’. I have many memories of my parents hoarding us into the car on a weekend and spending an hour or two driving around. I always wondered why they did it. And now I know it’s because it’s easier than entertaining children at home. In our case that wasn’t entirely true. Carl and I have been debating moving for a while but the problem is that we don’t know where to move to. Which is a bit of an issue, so we went to scope out some places, returning home nonthewiser so I guess we’re staying put for the time being.
I then came home and ate a punnet of cotton candy grapes, I know they’re fruit but I’m not sure I should’ve eaten so many in one sitting…. They are yummy though.
Anyway, I then took myself off to the hairdressers for a little spruce up of the ol’ barnet before coming home to a slightly stressed looking Carl. I’m not going to lie, although I wouldn’t want to trade places with him and go out to work everyday as I love spending the days with my boy, I did feel quite satisfied when he admitted parenting solo isn’t quite as easy as he’d imagined. I think until Saturday he had visions of me laid on the sofa all day drinking coffee after coffee while Henry napped peacefully. Which is funny because that’s how I’d imagined spending my maternity leave days at home myself….
On Sunday we went into town to buy a mirror. And returned with no mirror. All the while Henry whinged so all in all a pretty unsuccessful trip, although I did pick up another punnet of cotton candy grapes which I ate before we even got home. We ended the day with a meal out with family where I ate my body weight, leaving me feeling like I’d undone some good work being so virtuous with food and exercise in the last few days. A mama deserves a treat though, right?
So I’m off for a hot bath, where hopefully I’ll sweat out some of the lbs I’ve undoubtedly gained earlier on today…
What did you do this weekend?

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When I first started this series many moons (8 weeks) ago, the lovely Frenchie Mummy suggested I open it up to other bloggers, and what a great idea that was. So how could I not feature my favourite Frenchie first? 

The Frenchie Mummy is one of my favourite reads – honest, witty and throughly entertaining, so I’m delighted to introduce Cécile, aka Frenchie Mummy as my first ever guest blogger….

Guilt. We call it la culpabilité in Frenchie language.

I had many guilty moments since we had Baba. The time I dressed him up with totally unmatched colours and he didn’t look cute as usual. The other one when I dropped his dummy in some wine in hope to make him have a nap in the afternoon (I needed to blog so badly I was desperate!)

Yes, sometimes I do not cook wonderful meals and I feel bad about ordering a pizza. So bad indeed that I also get some ice cream (a full tube of Häagen-Dazs doesn’t scare Frenchie Mummy when Grumpy Boyfriend is out) and a good bottle of wine.

But you know what is the thing I am the most guilty about? Baba’s sleeping routine. Or the lack of it should I say? It’s just something we have not really nailed with Grumpy Boyfriend…

Here are some of my best successes with mon bébé:

But sleeping time? C’est l’horreur in the Frenchie household! Just thinking about it is giving me an extra grey hair

This baby doesn’t like sleeping! And I feel like it’s my fault.

When he was very little, I read a lot about it and the importance of good habits. ‘Give him a bath, then a nice cuddle while you read your baby a book. Eventually, put him to bed giving him a kiss’. A fairy tale! Un conte de fées that is quite not happening for us. A book? Did you try to read a book to a 6 months old? I did and all Baba cared about was to eat the bloody livre!

The thing is, I bathe Baba at around 6pm every day. When it was time to implement a sleeping routine, I thought it was a bit early to put him to bed, especially when he was always having his last bottle at 8.30pm. And my mum agreed with me. ‘Just do it the French way.’ English people tend to have dinner quite early before 7pm (or am I wrong?). I thought that was why my health visitor told me to put him to bed at that time.

Grumpy Boyfriend and I always have dinner around 8pm (sometimes even later). So to cut a long story short, I would not put Baba in bed before 8.30pm. Correction! To be totally honest, he would have his last bottle and then would fall asleep in my arms. I know massive mistake!

Now evenings are a pain in the bum (to say the least…). I am dreading to get him to sleep. I tried to use some routines: give him some milk, sing him a lullaby (a made up song as Frenchie Mummy is not a very good singer) and then put him gently to bed.

He would start making a kind of a whinge, a weird noise that I can’t even describe. Then a louder roar and the cry, endlessly. It could last up to 40 minutes if I let him do so. He rolls over in his bed, ends up knocking his head and then c’est la tragédie! He screams so loudly that we have to put subtitles on to make sure that we follow on the movie we are trying to watch!

So I give up, pick him up and he stays up with us until he falls asleep either on the sofa or in his bouncer chair… Yep, that’s life. When you fail at doing something, well you get to endure the consequences…

All I am hoping for now is that we will not be struggling so badly to put Baba to bed once I am back to work in January. So this is my big #mumguilt; the thing I am not proud of as a super Frenchie mama.

What is yours? Do you also struggle to put your kids to bed? If so, please tell me it will get better! And if it’s not the case, just keep quiet or lie ludicrously!

P.S: the examples at the start of this post are totally fictive. I never ever gave some wine to my dearest Baba to get him to have a nap! I just bore him with cartoons on the laptop or sing with the worst voice ever some Frenchie songs from the 60’s. Some part of me thinks that I am like a modern Brigitte Bardot or Vanessa Paradis!

You can find more of Frenchie Mummy here….

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Thank you so much to Frenchie Mummy for such a wonderful post. If you’d like to share your #mumguilt woes please get in touch, I’d love to here from you!

 

 

 

A Mum Track Mind

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Henry exploring, checking Mummy is still following

‘You’re still there Mummy, yes?’

I know what you’re thinking… there’s no time for sleep. That’s why we’re all walking around with matchsticks propping our eyes open, delirious from a combination of multiple night wakings and a third coffee before 9am, but hear me out…

The past few weeks have been reminiscent of the newborn days in terms of how utterly exhausted I feel. Henry’s changed so much in the last few months with teething, weaning, becoming mobile, there’s no wonder he’s up in the night, he’s adjusting to life as he’s never experienced before, which must be overwhelming, and he wants to explore.

While I can’t pretend I’m not finding spending the night in and out of bed difficult, it has occurred to me that one day I’ll long to be needed by him in the same way he needs me now, to be the one he wants when he’s upset, for him to be happiest when he’s being cuddled to sleep and when he spends everyday learning something new right before my eyes.

Rather than wish away the days, I’m trying to embrace these moments, some of my favourites being:

  1. How he puts his hand in my mouth when he’s having a feed, he likes to flap my lips, he likes it when I suck his fingers and pretend to bite his little hand. I love to see his little mouth curl into a smile and take a break from sucking to let out a little giggle.
  2. When he cries* out in the night and breaks into a smile, immediately consoled by a cuddle from his Mama.
  3. How keen he is to be off, but how he’s always looking back to see if I’m still there, and how much he smiles when I ask him where he’s going.
  4. How singing ‘five little ducks’ (almost!) always remedies crankiness.
  5. When he’s exploring, gets a little carried away and smacks himself in the nose with one of his toys. He pauses, a little confused, then his bottom lip pops out* and he looks at me for a cuddle which obviously I’m always happy to oblige, and then he’s back on his way and I’m close behind.
  6. We go for a walk, but he’s eager to be as close to the action as possible so wants to be carried, making the it tougher on my arms than my legs. Obviously the only time he’s happy in the pushchair is the one time I remember the baby carrier….
  7. When he’s been dodging sleep all day, then when it all gets too much he falls asleep nestled into my neck.
  8. When he grabs my cheeks with his whole hands, smiles, then bites my chin.
  9. How hilarious he finds it to be thrown in the air, even better if we sing ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ to him at the same time.
  10. How even when I’m at my tiredest, when I feel like I could sleep for a week and when I can feel myself becoming ratty, hearing his giggle or seeing him smile makes me feel a million times better.

So I’m embracing these moments, they’ll be over too quickly. There will always be time to sleep.

*Obviously I don’t like it when he cries,  I’m not a sicko, but it’s just nice to be able to make him feel better.

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Since my last weaning post, we’ve made some progress. Henry now has three meals a day, and a snack and we’ve reduced his milk feeds to just two or three times a day. That’s if you don’t include the gazillion times he’s currently waking in the night but that’s another story….

I’ve found the simplest thing to do is if he just eats what we eat. I’ve found it easiest – and better for my nerves after he choked on a rice cake and a babycorn in the space of a few days- to give him finger foods for lunch, when I can watch him like a hawk for any over enthusiastic food-shoving-into-mouth, and give him his tea by spoon so that I can eat at the same time.

Just at the right time, last week OXO TOT and Riverford very kindly sent me a Mash Maker* along with an organic veg box from Riverford Organic Farmers*. I do my food shopping online – spending a morning in the supermarket trying to do the food shop whilst simultaneously discouraging Henry from chewing the trolley is not my idea of a good time – so I’ve been toying with the idea of ditching the supermarket fruit and veg and replacing it with organic, seasonal deliveries for a while. I think the veg I received lasted as long, if not longer than what I’ve had from the supermarket and I received a nice, useable selection.


Anyway, rather than puree the whole lot I decided to incorporate it into what we were already eating, including this lightly spiced veg stew adapted from a Madeleine Shaw recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A thumb sized piece of ginger
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, garam masala, ground coriander, ground cumin and 1/2 teaspoon mild chilli powder

Method

  • Finely chop the onion, garlic, and ginger and add to a saucepan with a little oil. 
  • Once softened throw in the remaining ingredients, including the chickpea water and bring to the boil, before simmering until the squash is cooked. 
  • I served the adults with a drizzle of natural yoghurt, which Henry then had for dessert. 

I found the OXO TOT Mash Maker really useful when used to mash a baby sized portion of a family meal. It’s quite small, so it would take forever to puree large batches but it was great for mashing up a Henry sized portion quickly so we could all eat together. Because of its size it’s also really portable, I took it to my mums this weekend where it mushed up some cheesy broccoli pasta (which I always find a complete pain to chop into small enough pieces) and chicken and potatoes.

I’ll definitely be placing another order with Riverford, the selection was great and the small box was just the right size for us, so we didn’t waste any – since I’ve become a mum I’ve become much more conscious of waste and I hate throwing away food these days.

Do you have any family meals that can easily be adapted for early weaning? Have you ever tried vegetable box deliveries?

*The Mash Maker and veg box were kindly sent to me by Oxo Tot and Riverford Organic. All purée and vegetable based thoughts my own.

Mummuddlingthrough
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