It’s the end of July, well, it was when I wrote this, and I’m determined to stick to my promise of sharing our monthly escapades with you. Even if most of them have been us hiding inside from the sunshine. That’s right, we’re those people. The ones who ask for a bit of nice weather ‘so the kids can play outside’ before declaring it an absolute nightmare. This is the month that we’ve declared we could never live somewhere hot – it’s the suncream debacle each morning that clenches that one for us – and the one where my newsfeed filled up with photos of people dancing in the rain when the Great British Summer finally appeared.
It’s also the month we’ve gotten to grips with life as a family of four. Some of us more than others. When people ask me how he’s getting on with her I almost always use the term ‘enthusiastic’. He loves her, a lot, I think. Unfortunately he chooses to show that as physical affection which borders on abuse. His favourite trick at the moment is either to stroke/smother her mouth or to insist on holding her before promptly losing interest and letting her fall off to one side. What a cute photo of the two of them! I can hear you thinking. Remember, behind every cute shot is a dropped baby…
Dropping aside, things are going well. It feels like we’ve got into our groove with things, even if that groove is slightly more manic than before. I’m not sure if that’s down to the addition of a new family member or the fact that we’ve entered that stage of toddlerhood. I swear, this boy has a death wish. His latest way to entertain himself around the home is to pile up cushions and jump off of things. Whether it’s the sofa or the bed, he’s not fussy, he just walks straight off of the edge. The other afternoon he spent an entire afternoon climbing onto the back of the sofa and sliding ‘down the fire pole’ aka. our lamp. You know what’s worse? I just let him. Some battles aren’t worth fighting. That said, I did draw the line when I found him on the coffee table on his bike. There have to be some boundaries after all.
As for the baby, she sleeps like a trooper. Did we forget that bit or did it just not happen the first time round? She’ll happily go into the moses basket or our Nuna Leaf during the day awake and put herself to sleep. It’s insane for us given that we spent the first nine months last time just permanently bouncing. In fact, I think we still have the knee injuries to prove it. At night, she’ll sleep a long first stint followed by a couple of shorter ones. I can guarantee I’ll jinx it by sharing but last night she slept from 10pm until 4.45am. Hello rock boobs. Most of the time it’s more like 9.30 – 3am which is pretty awesome for people who were subjected to 90 minute sleep periods the first time round.
The poor girl is suffering a huge case of second child syndrome contrary to what we had planned. We passed on a newborn photo shoot (something I hugely regret now I have to find a photo for the thank you cards), we’ve decided not to take her to swimming lessons, we even managed to forget to bathe her for the first month. That last one was regrettable. You’ll be pleased to know that since then she’s had plenty of baths and actually loves them. She’s even been swimming for the first time. Turns out this one is a complete water baby unlike her brother which makes our swimming lesson choice rather ironic.
Luckily she’s a very chilled out little thing. She’s full of smiles, chats away to us in her own little language and can normally be found attempting to suck her thumb. She flew through her six week checks, is incredibly strong and is bang on the 75th centile for both height and weight meaning she’s almost out of 0-3 months already! She seems to really be coming in to herself at the moment, there’s already a whole heap of personality right there, just look…
Time seems to be going so fast and I’m determined to make the most of it by getting us out and about as much as possible. July saw us go fruit picking on the hottest day of the year. We’ve been to the zoo, explored Dartmoor, climbed waterfalls… anything that wears out the toddler. We’re guilty of filling our weekends with nothing and whilst it’s nice to have home time, I’ve had a real urge this summer to get out. It’s also allowed us to realise just how grown up our little guy is getting; he managed a walk around Becky Falls before climbing up Hay Tor and back and still had energy on the way home.
We’ve had plenty of celebrations as well; a baby shower, a family christening, bbq’s with friends, birthday parties. It’s been a nice mix of family and friends, children and not, every weekend has had something going on and we’ve loved it. Dave’s had the opportunity to see how our son interacts with others his own age, something which I take for granted. He rarely comes to playdates as they tend to be during the week so it’s a whole new world for him, especially when the sharing battles commence!
We’ve done a lot of family time over the last few weeks; both with my family and Dave’s. We are incredibly lucky to have everyone so close to us, it just takes the pressure off most of the time. Both Dave and I grew up with our extended families around us and loved it; it’s like having a mass of siblings and additional parental figures all at once! We’ve been so aware of ensuring that the toddler doesn’t feel put out by his sister’s arrival that we often end up focussing on him during the day and missing out on that lovely focussed newborn time we had the first time round. So it’s lovely when family come round and we can palm a child off on them to entertain for a couple of hours!
This maternity leave has felt quite different for me. Last time I was fortunate enough to have friends who were off at the same time to hang out with. I packed us off to classes and met another circle of friends who all had babies at the same time – giving us a little toddler pack to manage these days. But this time, I’m tired and sometimes it can be quite lonely. I know I should get out more and make some ‘newborn’ friends and yet, honestly, I just don’t have the energy to do it. On the days when I have both children, I focus on seeing toddler friends to keep him happy and on the other days it’s a blur of trying to sort our lives and soaking up some precious quiet baby time.
This month, I’ve found the hardest so far in terms of postpartum life. I’d forgotten how confidence destroying having a baby can be. The maternity clothes have been packed away as they’re too big and yet my ‘normal’ clothes either don’t fit or aren’t conducive to easy boob access for feeding. I’m still proud of my body and what it’s done/doing but that hasn’t stopped the odd cry when I can’t find anything to wear that fits nicely – ridiculous isn’t it?! And yet it doesn’t stop me focusing on it from time to time. Anyway, after having a particularly good wallow I’ve decided I need to prioritise me a bit more; eat properly (I love cooking proper meals but that had gone by the wayside!), get back to doing some exercise (I hate it but I always feel so good afterward) and sort out the wardrobe. Oh and stop being so hard on myself. I made a baby recently. I’m keeping that baby alive. Oh and a toddler. And most of the time they even go to bed happy and exhausted. That’s a whole lot of wins right there.
How about Dave? The poor guy rarely gets his own mention on here but he’s been bossing it this month. He did a triathlon in the middle of the month; no training to speak of and he still managed to beat his time last year. I still find it funny to see how different he is with the children. He’s the third child in our household when it comes to the toddler – thanks for teaching him how to jump off of things – they’re boisterous, loud and permanently laughing. Yet when it comes to his little girl, he couldn’t be more gentle. The guy is smitten. Over the last few weeks our relationship has taken a back seat and I’ll often find us bickering over silly things, namely who is the most tired, and yet I couldn’t ask for a better team mate. Not that I’d say that to his face, obviously. I like to keep him on his toes.
And that’s pretty much it for this month, July feels like it’s flown by already and we’ve got a busy August ahead of us. We’re starting the month with birthdays for both my parents, including a big birthday for my mum. That means a big party with all of our family and friends to kick the month off. We’ve got a long weekend away as well to celebrate. Somewhere in the middle we’re off to Peppa Pig Live (with front row seats, no less!) and then we’re rounding the month out with Dave’s birthday. I’d still like to cram in a weekend away over the bank holiday as well but we’ll see. I may have tired them all out by then!
Finally, I’ll leave you with these gems. I’ve been trying to capture a few more family shots which always seem to end badly. I love this shot of my little fam-a-lam above; Dave’s fixed grin that’s masking him telling me to hurry up, the toddler’s latest ‘cheese’ face which graces all of our photos currently, the baby’s wild-eyed terror/refusal to ever look at the camera and finally the dog. My first baby. The one who’s clearly wondering what on earth she did wrong to end up in this household at the mercy of two children. Oh and this last one below from our day out on Dartmoor – we’re sweaty, one’s eating, we’re both trying not to drop children and the phone was balanced on a dirty nappy whilst Dave controlled it from his watch. Ahhhh memories…