Alfie First Day at Pre-School

So I always said when I was thinking about having children that I wanted to bring them up, I wanted to be the one that looked after them every day until they went to school. Not that I have anything against mummy’s that go out to work, sometimes it has to be done but luckily for me I could work and bring up Alfie at the same time by Childminding at home. I was never not going to work because one when I was with Alfie’s dad he didn’t have a good enough job to support me and Alfie on just his wage and two I am like you working mums who would go insane not having jam packed day or adult things to do. So for the past nearly three years I me and Alfie have been together every day and its been amazing.

I’ve been able to watch him reach his entire milestone and help him to achieve these, while allowing him to be able to socialize with other children at the same time in a kind of nursery setting at home. I don’t really think Alfie has missed out on going to nursery and the fact that he is very advanced for his age in many ways then one I don’t think that this has held him back at all. That being said he is know turning three and in September the time has come for him to go to pre-school. I knew form day one I wanted Alfie to go to this pre-school so a week after he was born his name was down on there waiting list and can I say the day I receive the phone call asking if I still wanted his space has come around far to fast.

It only seems like yesterday that he was a little baby, how can my little boy be going to pre-school already, this cant be fair. So obviously I told the pre-school that yes I still wanted the place and I would be happy to come to there open day so Alfie could come and have a look around. After this phone call I started to panic, know you mums who take you little one to nursery at 1 are going to think I’m mad, well even I think I’m mad I look after children 6 months and younger but honestly I don’t feel I’m ready to let my little man go he cant be old enough. I do know though that I have to put aside the fact that I’m not ready and focus on Alfie so I brushed off all my feelings and went to tell Alfie.

I told him about his pre-school and the fact that he will be going there with his friends and that he will be staying for lunch, how much fun it would be, which he seemed really excited about until I said about mummy picking him up later. Know this is where it turns bad, he turned to me with a worried expression on his face ad said “no mummy you cant leave me you have to play with me”. Well can I just say this was my worst fear but I put a brave face on and smiled and said you’ll be fine well go see your pre-school and see what you think and go from there, which he was pretty happy about. Me on the other hand was worried from then until the open day a week later. I don’t know how I will handle a screaming Alfie as the pre-school staff drag him off me in tears, how do you mummy’s do it?.

Then came the open day and even thought I was really worried I put on a brave smile told Alfie I promised I wouldn’t leave him there and we went in to have a look around. It was so lovely they had set up toys for the children to play with and tables for the parents to sit at to have a cup of tea and a biscuit, while we filled in forms. Alfie went off to play with the toy happily knowing that I was on the other side of the hall which I was pleased about because I was afraid he wouldn’t even do that. While I was filling in the papers I kept glazing up to see if he was ok and he was happily playing in his own little world. Well while I was sat there minding my own business filling in forms I hear the pre- school teacher coming in and asking Alfie if he would like to go and have a look around with her, straight a way I though you’ve done it know he going to freak out and be sown to my side for the rest of the visit, but then there he went grabbing hold of her hand waving at me shouting “bye mummy I’m going to look at my pre-school with Barbra”. I was shocked to say the least, but relieved and the shocks just kept on coming. Alfie played happily in the pre-school room for a good 20 minutes, not asking for me or wondering once where I was, I was so proud of him that he was so independent and unlike me was sad about leaving me at all. Finally when I went in to go and get him I had to bribe him with an ice cream to get him to come home because he just kept saying you go home mummy and Ill just stay and play here.

I honestly think if he hadn’t acted like that I would be sat here today really worried about him going in September and I would have worried all summer long. I would have been really upset leaving him and found it really hard to drive out of the car park. I still do think I will find that bit hard if I’m honest because even though he’s not bothered I am. Anyway he didn’t stop talking about it for a good week or two and kept asking if he could go back and play, so I was very brave and decided to take the plunge and put him in for one morning a week until the summer holidays. Even though this kills me because really I wish he could stay with me for ever and this is sooner then I was expecting I think I really need to take the bull by it horns and run with the fact that he’s excited about it because if I leave it till September and he forgets it then I might have the problems that I have been dreading all along. So I’m being a brave mummy and Alfie’s first day of pre-school is today. Wish me luck and hopefully I wont be sat on the car park the entire time he’s there.

Being a Mum With Anxiety

Being a mum is a difficult task as it is: having to look after a little person at the same time as look after yourself, I mean come on, it was hard enough looking after yourself when you were a teenager. Am I right? But now your what? A few years older, you’re in your twenties and we are expected to have matured enough to look after two people, or even three or four depending on how many children you have. But, us mums do it. As soon as that little boy or girl takes their first breath it’s like we ere born to do it. All the things we thought we wouldn’t be able to do, like survive on 4 hours sleep, feed a little person at the same time as eating your own meal, juggle 55 thousand bags and a toddler just to go out on a trip to the park and find the time to do all the house work and hold down a full time job while caring for a little one. We manage to do it and I take my hat off to all you mummies out there with one, two, three or more children. We are doing an awesome job, even if we don’t think we are.


So, what happens when you are a mother who suffers with anxiety? I’m not saying talking about a mild case. I mean full-blown panic attack anxiety. Before I had Alfie my anxiety was bad enough. I would panic about going on a plane, just incase something awful happened; I would panic about myself getting different disease’s, like honestly, I would be in the doctors so often that my own doctor would say, “what is it now Tara?”; I would panic about driving down the motorway because you can’t control all the other drivers that are around you; and I would panic about animals, from the smallest things like a hamster to much bigger things like a dog. I have struggled through with this since I was about 10 years old. Back then when I was younger it was a lot harder. I used to struggle to sleep; scared something would happen to me in my sleep. I’d have out of body experiences during my sleep because my body was just so exhausted.

It got so much better as I became a teenager and other things became more important. I filled my time with my friends, socializing and, let’s be fair, going out like all teenagers do. I didn’t really have time to think about my anxiety and when I did I was too embarrassed to show anyone so I would either flood it and just do the things I panicked about or I would just avoid those things. Like when I went on holiday with my friends down to Newquay I told them that I wasn’t interested in surfing, when really I was just so scared of drowning or being eaten by a shark or attacked by anything else that lives in the sea. The anxiety slipped away and I didn’t really think I had it anymore until the day I got pregnant.

Don’t get me wrong, getting pregnant with Alfie was the happiest I had ever felt. His Dad and me had really thought about it and had decided that this was what we really wanted. I found out really early, at around 2 weeks, that I was pregnant with Alfie and had heard all the horror stories about miscarriage etc., but I decided that I wouldn’t worry about this and just have a calm pregnancy. This stuck for around 9 weeks and then it happened. I hadn’t really noticed that I was pregnant up until around 9 weeks; either that or I wasn’t paying any attention to it. I think I chose to forget about it so that I wouldn’t get excited or worry, but as I hit 9 weeks I started to bleed and, as you can imagine, this is when my anxiety came flooding back. Honestly, I didn’t really expect the love I would feel for an unborn baby and it hit me like a ton of bricks that day and I realised how scared I was. I then panicked from 9 weeks until 40 weeks and 3 days exactly, which was when Alfie was born. Thankfully the bleeding was nothing serious and Alfie was fine, but this didn’t put my mind at ease. It felt like the longest 9 months of my life and due to my anxiety and constant worrying I didn’t enjoy my pregnancy at all. The day he came I can remember being in tears in the delivery room because I was so scared he wasn’t ok. It even got to the point where the mid-wife enquired as to whether I needed to stay in for a few days to help me realise that everything was okay, but being scared of hospitals I declined and went home

The first few weeks were the worst, as even though your maternal instincts kick in and you practically know exactly what to do and if there is something up with your baby, I still worried. This was made worse by the fact that Alfie was rushed in to hospital at 2 weeks old with a rash all over his body and he wouldn’t stop crying. It wasn’t a normal baby cry, it was an ear-piercing scream and I knew something was up. The worse part was that I was in the A&E waiting room for a grand total of 5 minutes before a nurse called me in and practically straight away swooped Alfie away telling me to follow quickly. Those next 72 hours were the worst hours of my life. Alfie was dehydrated so had to go on to a drip and they suspected that he might have meningitis. They did a series of tests, including a lumber puncture to see if it was meningitis and he was put on antibiotics straight away as they didn’t want to leave it until they had the results, because if it was meningitis then it could have been too late. Luckily it wasn’t, the rash was just a heat rash and the fact he was dehydrated and not drinking was all down to really bad colic.

So this made it even worse as during that time in hospital I was told to prepare myself for the worst and that they couldn’t promise me he was going to be ok. This obviously sounds so dramatic now given what was actually wrong with Alfie, but I don’t blame them at all for being that way as they didn’t know what it was. I had now experience the utter fear of loosing my precious little baby and, honestly, I cannot tell you how horrific that was. I felt that this episode made me even more protective of him and I will admit that for the next year we were in and out of A&E a fair few times due to Alfie’s temperature. Now, I wasn’t being stupid and wasting the hospitals time, on all occasions I went to the doctors first and yes, the doctors told me nothing was wrong. But, Alfie always got worse at night and I ended up in A&E and coming home a good 5 hours later with antibiotics. This was all due to my job and him being around children all the time who brought in all their lovely colds. With Alfie being very young at the time he got everything. He now has quite a good immune system because of this and doesn’t get every cold that comes in to the Childminding setting. I don’t think I’ve had to take Alfie to the doctors for a good 6 month, but now I’m sure I have jinxed him and we’ll be there in the next couple of weeks.

So, not only with the different illnesses there is to worry about with your child, and trust me there’s loads, I mean I paid £300 for Alfie to get the meningitis b vaccinations that he missed out on because he was too old by the time it came to be free on then NHS, there is also the fact that your child can hurt themselves really badly. Alfie seems to like to test me and has hurt himself a number of time already, like when he had just learn to walk and decided to try and run and ended up falling head first in to the corner of a windowsill. His head began to bleed and seemed to go on and on. One time he was sat on my knee and threw himself off sideways and banged his head on the corner of the skirting board, that also bled a lot. It is like this boys head is drawn to the corner of things. Now-a-days we scrape our knees and scuff our hands and every time it breaks my heart even though they’re all really small.


There’s also the fear of loosing your child, your child choking and now, because of this day and age your child being caught up in something horrific. I, honestly, wish I could wrap him up in cotton wool and keep him at home with me all day long, this would definitely help my anxiety. My anxiety runs wild with all theses different things and I find it so hard to try and not show Alfie when I am afraid. To be fair he’s at an age now where I know he knows if I’m scared so I have to man up. Like on the weekend when he was too scared to go in to the sea, I had to flood that fear of mine, take off my shoes and paddle in that damn sea like I just didn’t care. Finally he was in there with me as happy as can be. In a way I can say that Alfie is helping me with some of my fears but others I have had to fight with myself.

We all know what’s going on in the world today and the fact that it is a risk going to events, going to big city’s and even going on holiday, but do we stop our children and not let them live their lives to the full? Or do we grit our teeth and panic the whole time we are doing the thing we think is not safe? I have sleepless nights due to my anxiety. I get so worried sometimes that I make myself feel ill because of it, but I just have to grit my teeth and not show it to Alfie. It’s really difficult being a mum with anxiety and I can’t tell you how I cope with it I just do. Not many people know I suffer from it because I don’t let them know about it as I don’t want people to think I’m weak or can’t cope because I think I have proven that isn’t the case. It’s harder being a single mum, because it means that I don’t really have a choice but to cope and unlike people who have someone else to fall back on I don’t, so I can’t just give up. So, for all you mums out there who are in the same boat as me all I can say is if you’re keeping your head above water and taking each day as it comes, like I am then you’re doing an awesome job. I have no advice for you on how to deal with it because I honestly don’t know how I am doing it. All I know is that you have to listen to yourself, you know best and you know how you’re going to be happy. You know what is acceptable for your children and if someone thinks you’re wrong well, you need to take time to consider that they don’t really know the full story or understand what you are going through. In addition you know your child best so do what you want. As long as like me you are not limiting your child or holding them back, even though we all want to keep them safe and do that, then you’re doing amazingly and hold your head up and smile because you are strong.

So, yes mothers have to cope with anxiety and god only knows how we do it, but we do.

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A Little Candle Goes A Long Way

I became a single mum a year ago for reasons that neither I nor Alfie’s Dad could help. Now, unfortunately Alfie’s Dad is not in his life. This fact has made me want to prove a point that even though I am a single mum I can make it on my own; I can have a future. One of my main aims was to buy my own house and, a year on from the split, I am purchasing my first house and I am so proud of myself and Alfie for how far we have come. So, with the excitement of a new house I started to think about what I might need for my new house? I went through the normal items: things for Alfie’s room, my room, the kitchen, the lounge, the bathroom and my last thought was: candles. I have an absolute obsession with candles. So, I went in search for a small shop that sold really nice candles. I found a few, but nothing stood out and I really wanted a small shop on Instagram that I could support. Then I came across the amazing shop: The Little Vintage Candle Company. Straight away I was excited because I have a thing for candles in jars and these candles came in a jar. I began to work my way through their page and low and behold they had my ultimate favorite smell, Cassis and fig. I was sold.IMG_7224

I messaged the company asking about the candles and got such a lovely response. The lady who messaged me back informed me that she followed me on Instagram already and that she also read my blog. She explained that she too was a single mum. If I’m honest, being a new blogger and hearing that someone actually takes the time out of there day to listen to me ramble on about different things that me and Alfie get up to was so exciting. And so, we got talking and it turns out that she is possible the friendliest woman I have ever met. I am so glad to have met her. She has two boys and, like me, never planned on being a single mum. In fact her story is a lot sadder than, and yet somehow as equally happy as, mine

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Unfortunately, in 1999 Lesleyanne was widowed. Her 36 year old husband died very suddenly from an undiagnosed aneurysm on his brain and a subsequent fatal brain hemorrhage. She was left alone with her two gorgeous little boys who were only 12 years old and 6 years old. For Lesleyanne life was hard, there was the grief and on top of that there were the practicalities of being a single mum. But, despite everything, she kept on going and worked full-time as an Intensive Care Nurse, a job she still does. She juggled her career and her life, and somehow ploughed on through it all. Whilst is all seemed at times utterly impossible, this beautiful family did it and this inspirational single Mum brought up two amazing boys, who are now 30 and 23. I love to hear her talk about her sons, you can tell when she does how proud she is of them and of herself for bringing up two exceptional young men. I honestly admire this lady. If I can sit there in 20 years time and say I did it, I pulled it together for me and my boy like Lesleyanne did, I will be very proud of myself.

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But it doesn’t stop there. As her boys grew up and Lesleyanne found herself with some free time she decided to take up a hobby. She had a passion for painting and up-cycling furniture and so she began pursuing both. Unfortunately, however, she suffered from a serious back injury at work which meant that she was unable to continue with the furniture restoration. In search for something else she began to make candles. Lesleyanne, like me, has a love for candles and after carrying out some research she was horrified to find that paraffin, which is in candles, can be harmful. So, she set out to make a healthier candle for her customers and the Little Vintage Candle Company was born.

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Lesleyanne continued with her research into healthier alternatives to paraffin and finally settled on an Eco Soy blended wax, a natural soybean oil extracted from soybeans grown in the U.S.A. The wax is manufactured from non-petroleum renewable resources and is produced with consideration and care for the environment. I’m sorry, but all I could think was: does this woman have no end? She’s a superwoman. Not only has she survived the trials that come with losing the love of your life at such a young age and brought up to amazing boy’s, but she has also now decided to start a company that focuses its ethos on producing products that are healthy and environmentally sustainable. She has the environment and her customer’s health in the forefront of her mind when making these candles and that in a company is admirable. I doubt there are many companies that can openly say that they live by the same values. She is still to this day juggling a full time job in the ICU and producing her candles, but is looking to lower her time at work so she can focus more on her growing business. Her vintage range of candles use reclaimed vessels that are sourced from regular visits to antique shops, charity shops and flea markets.

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Whilst I don’t really know Lesleyanne very well, I have a massive amount of love for her company, her candles and her story. She is such a great role model for me and all the single mums out there. This is why I wanted to share her lovely story with you today. I the candles I have received from her and look forward to filling my new house with them, when I finally get it. She has a full range of different scents and different types of candles from wax melts and a luxury boxed range to a honey jar range and a cupcake range. Best of all, they all come in such amazing smells (I will write a list at the bottom of this blog). I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my first candle that I did not even have to light it for the smell to fill the room. My room smelt absolutely divine in a matter of minutes despite the fact that I hadn’t even struck a match yet and that is what I like most about the candles: they give off the most amazing smell when they are lit and when they aren’t.

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In addition to your everyday candles, Lesleyanne also does wedding themed candles for the mother of the bride or as a gift for your bridesmaids. She even does candles that allow you to ask your chosen people to be your bridesmaids in a very special way, which I also love. I will be a life long customer and I can’t actually find the words to express how happy I am that I met Lesleyanne, albeit virtually. Please go on to Instagram and take a look at her beautiful page and her amazing range… you won’t be disappointed.

If you want to find her on Instagram search IV_candlco.

Aspromised here is the range of gorgeous candles she does:

Ranges
Luxury boxed range, available in 4 fragrances
• Raspberry and Peppercorn
• Black Pomegranate
• Sweet Fig
• Lime Basil & Mandarin

Honey jar range, available in 9 fragrances
• Raspberry and Peppercorn
• Black Pomegranate
• Sweet Fig
• Lime Basil & Mandarin
• Cassis & Fig
• Jasmine & Patchouli
• Fresh linen
• Blueberry & Vanilla
• Lemongrass & Ginger

Cupcake range available in 9 fragrances
• Raspberry and Peppercorn
• Black Pomegranate
• Sweet Fig
• Lime Basil & Mandarin
• Cassis & Fig
• Jasmine & Patchouli
• Fresh linen
• Blueberry & Vanilla
• Lemongrass & Ginger

Wax melts, available in 15 fragrances
• Raspberry and Peppercorn
• Black Pomegranate
• Sweet Fig
• Lime Basil & Mandarin
• Cassis & Fig
• Jasmine & Patchouli
• Fresh linen
• Blueberry & Vanilla
• Lemongrass & Ginger
• Zesty Orange
• Sweet Pea
• Wild Mint
• lavender
• Thai Lime & Mango
• Sweet Vanilla

They are about to launch our mini travel tin 150ml candles to match our luxury range that will be available in 4 fragrances to match
• Raspberry and Peppercorn
• Black Pomegranate
• Sweet Fig
• Lime Basil & Mandarin

They produce a range of Luxury boxed Wedding candles with personalised labels and a range of 25ml tin wedding favours.

They produce a range of barber shop candles for Squire Hair a vintage style male grooming range.
• Tobacco and Oak
• Sandalwood and Musk

 

Aveeno

So, this blog is a little different from the rest of my blogs. I wanted to share with you some information about the products I use on Alfie’s skin, I can promise you this is all genuine, this isn’t an advert, well it kind of is because I love the product so much. I think this will help other mums out there that may be at the end of their tether with their baby’s sensitive skin. I was at this point with Alfie’s. As a baby, from day one, Alfie had sensitive skin. It’s really weird because he didn’t react to different wipes it was just soaps. The only thing I could use was Johnson babies’ soap, but unfortunately this still made his skin dry. So I started the search, I went through so many different products, trying everything with his skin, but everything made it worse. My next port of call was the doctors to try to get some cream to help. I really didn’t want to have to use steroid cream on Alfie’s skin so asked for something else to start off with and we went through lots of different creams, most of which made it worse.

I continued to try different soaps to see if any would help his dry skin but nothing did. I was completely at a loss, so I went back to the doctors to ask for the steroid cream he told me we needed at the beginning. I was really reluctant to use it even when I had it and would only put a small amount on his skin. The steroid cream worked but not completely and his skin was still somewhat dry. It made it better I will admit, but the minute I stopped using it, the dry skin would be back in full force the day after. I honestly wanted to cry and all Alfie did was itch, bless him.IMG_2413

This was until a friend of mine introduced me to Aveeno cream. This stuff is a miracle cream. I put it on after Alfie’s bath one night and, no word of a lie, the next day his dry skin had got so much better and was barely even there. Within 3 days of using this cream the dry skin, redness and itchiness had gone altogether and I was over the moon. I had to use it every night because I was still using Johnson’s baby which made his skin flare up, but it was keeping away his painful dry skin which was heavenly.

For a long while I was completely caking him in Aveeno cream every night after the bath, until a few months ago. I was at Tesco and saw one of these product testing stands where the people show you the products and I noticed that it was Aveeno that they were showing. So, being nosey, and if I’m honest wanting a voucher or free product, I went over to take a look and there it was Aveeno baby. I felt like jumping up and down screaming, they had bath and shower wash, barrier cream, soothing lotion and eczema therapy. I didn’t need to know any more, I bought them straight away. I didn’t tell you that as well as bad skin, Alfie also gets flakey, itchy scalp due to the shampoo. So, now not only did I have a soap for him but a shampoo too.IMG_1434

This cream is perfect, it is made out of all natural ingredients, like colloidal oatmeal, that have all been tried and tested to ensure that they are the best, safest skin care ingredients for babies and toddlers. I will list at the end of the blog what is in Aveeno so you can see yourself what goes in to it. I would honestly recommend this product to anyone who has any type of irritation to their skin, adult, child, toddler or baby, it’s great for everyone. Whenever my eczema flares up all I need to do is use this for two days and it has gone again, the itching stops within minutes of putting the cream on. I honestly don’t know how they have made such an amazing product. Me and Alfie are over the moon about having these to use and not having to have the irritation of trying different creams and soaps anymore. The amount of soap I have had to waste or give away is ridiculous, and not only that the amount of money. So, not only has Aveeno saved both mine and Alfie’s skin, it’s saved me a lot of money.DSC_0177IMG_1436

Here’s some information from the website about each of the products that I have mentioned in my blog:

AVEENO® Eczema Therapy for Baby & Toddler Soothes like a parent’s care. Relieves itch with our most gentle care.

AVEENO® Eczema Therapy treatment for babies & toddlers is clinically proven to help relieve dry, itchy, irritated skin with eczema. The formulas, either with ACTIVE NATURALS® Oat or Colloidal Oatmeal, intensely moisturize and help strengthen the skin’s natural ability to protect against moisture loss and prevent recurrence of extra-dry skin. It’s steroid free, fragrance free and allergy tested. For grownups with eczema,

AVEENO® Baby Daily Care

You know your baby has sensitive skin. We’re extra sensitive to that.

AVEENO® Baby Daily Care products are formulated with ACTIVE NATURALS® Oat blended with rich, moisturizing ingredients to help protect your baby’s delicate skin for a full 24 hours. Hypoallergenic, phthalate and paraben-free, and gentle enough to use every day – even on newborns.

My next try is defiantly this one, apparently it helps to calm your baby before bed and I really need something to help Alfie sleep:

 

AVEENO® Baby Calming Comfort®

A little comforting care can help baby have a restful sleep. (And you, too.)

When combined with a warm bath, AVEENO® Baby CALMING COMFORT® Bath is clinically shown to comfort your fussy baby before sleep with relaxing scents of lavender and vanilla. The soap-free, tear-free bath formula contains ACTIVE NATURALS® Oat Extract, and the lotion softens skin too. Both leave skin feeling clean, soft, and healthy.

Finally here is the ingredients that is in Aveeno products:

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Mummy’s Guilt

Now, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that only single Mums experience Mummy guilt, because that is definitely not true. Every Mummy who has to get up in the morning and only spend an hour, at the most, with their little one before taking them to nursery or to a family member and going to work; who then comes home at night and only has chance to feed, bath and put them to bed has Mummy guilt and really we shouldn’t. We shouldn’t feel guilty for working to support our children or buy them nice things, to be able to feed our children and give them a warm loving home, but we are all human so we do feel guilty. We should really feel proud that we get up each morning even though we have had barely any sleep because the little monster decided that he needed to be cuddling Mummy’s head all night or kicking her in the back. We should be proud that we rush around in the morning getting him ready so he looks lovely and forget completely about ourselves, then do a full day at work but then come home at night and fathom the energy to cook the tea, bathe him, read to him and put him to bed, getting ourselves ready for round two of the sleepless night. Now let’s be fair, it’s not just us Mummy’s I’m sure you Daddy’s feel the same, but I can only talk from my perspective as someone who struggled with Mummy guilt.

I was brought up by my Mum and from the day I was born till the day I went to pre-school my mum looked after me. She and my Dad struggled on just one wage so that my Mum could bring us up the way they wanted us to be and can I say? They did an amazing job. With this in mind I always wanted to do the same, be a stay at home Mum even if it meant just one wage, but even before Alfie was born this wasn’t to be. Alfie’s Dad and I couldn’t afford just to live on his wage so I had to work. I used to work in a nursery so I thought of the next best thing to being a stay at home Mum and that was being a Childminder. This meant I could still bring Alfie up every day, but also get paid and the added bonus was that Alfie would grow up with loads of friends around him each day. It’s been amazing, Alfie has come on so much due to the fact that he has grown up around older children who show him new things every day.

I have never really, in the nearly 3 years that Alfie has been here, experienced mummy guilt because I was never that busy. I had a steady flow of children and could focus quite a lot of time and effort in to Alfie as well as the other children and it was great. The only problem now is Alfie is growing up so when his friends are here he is more interested in playing with them than hanging out with Mummy. In addition, I have become a bit busier meaning that I cannot focus much of my attention in the day is on him. I really hadn’t noticed this at all and was quite happily plodding along with my days watching Alfie having the time of his life, learning new things and building such amazing friendships with such amazing little children. Not to be big headed but all the children I look after are such adorable little children and so kind hearted. I absolutely love them being in Alfie’s life. Then it started, I went on holiday for 2 weeks to Poland and Alfie and I got to spend the whole two weeks together in each other’s pockets. It was the best two weeks ever. We grew so much closer, got to sit and have amazing conversations and for a two year old this boy can have some amazing conversations. We got to play and mess around with each other for hours on end and explore lots of new things, just him and me. It was amazing, such a good holiday and we had such a good time, but now I’m back I’m really struggling. I really didn’t think I would ever feel like this but having all the children back and not being able to focus 100% on Alfie gives me major mummy guilt.

Today I took Alfie to the toilet and he sat there telling me a story about what he was playing with with his friends and what was happening. I was just sat there listening, amazed. I was missing being able to sit and have a conversation with him. I then realized that since getting back to work and normality I actually hadn’t sat there with him and had a chat, which made me feel really sad and guilty. I sat there for a while thinking that it wasn’t fair that I don’t get to spend that quality time with him, just him and me, even though we are technically together each and every day, I miss him so much. I don’t know how you Mum’s and Dad’s do it. How you go to work for the full day. I honestly take my hat off to you, you’re amazing. I had to sit there and regroup. I watched Alfie and saw the smile on his face while he played with his friends and thought I may be feeling guilty, but he’s happy, he’s healthy and there’s nothing I can’t provide for him, because I get up each morning and work. I should be proud of what I do for him and not feel guilty for not having every second to give to him. So, from now on, as weird as it sounds, I’m going to saver those trips to the toilet and the catch up we have and look forward to the weekends where it’s just me and my little guy.

Mummy and Daddy guilt is real, but we shouldn’t be sat here feeling it, we should be happy that we are making our children happy with the effort we put in each and every day. We should look forward to the weekends and the holidays where we can spend that precious time with our little ones and cherish all of them. So, if you feel guilty, just take a moment to be proud of yourself. If you’re feeling guilty, it hopefully means you’re doing the right things.

 

Potty Training

I need to be honest with you all and I don’t want you to be mad with me, but potty training was easy for me. I know you might be sat there right now with a 2 year old who refuses to sit on the toilet or keeps having accidents asking, “What? Easy? Yeah right” but it really was. Don’t worry, I didn’t get a completely free ride. I might have had it easy with Alfie, but I have been in the childcare profession for a good six years so have gone through potty training a fair few times and yes, there have been struggles.

I really feel that I learnt from my years of trying to potty train children and with a little help from my mum, who had done it three times before, Alfie was potty trained pretty seamlessly. I had a plan of how I was going to potty train Alfie before he was even born, too soon you say? No it’s really not. The sooner you think about it the more ready you will be when the time comes, the sooner you think of a plan of action the better you will feel when you decide to take the massive leap and potty train your little one.

So, it started for me and Alfie at only 4 months old and, trust me, it couldn’t have come sooner. I was always planning on starting by holding Alfie over the potty at 4 months old and the day I did it was a sigh of relief for me and Alfie. Alfie, as you have heard in one of my previous posts, suffered from really bad colic, so point blank refused to drink anything other than milk and was a hungry baby. At 4 months old I had to put him on food and yes, it made him constipated straight away and the nappy being there wasn’t helping. So, I decided to try holding him over a potty with a little bit of hot water in it, the hot water helps because the steam helps to ease their bum and surely enough he went to the toilet with ease and he was so happy.

So, every nappy change and every time he looked like he was trying to poo I put him on the potty. It was really easy. It didn’t bother Alfie at all because at that age they don’t have a good enough memory to realise that this is something different or scary to them. He loved going on the potty. The only problem I had was when I went to get him weighed and the health visitor used to shout at me, telling me that I was training myself not Alfie. I really don’t understand that comment still to this day, as I don’t know why me trying to potty train my son was resulting in my training myself or what I was training myself to do.

It went really well and at 6 month of age Alfie had stopped pooing in his nappy. Obviously, at this stage he couldn’t talk so he use to signal to me by straining a little and waving his hands about like a mad man when he needed the toilet. I really think if I hadn’t put him on the toilet that day when he was 4 months old I would be sitting here today with a child who would be scared to poo. I carried on putting Alfie on the potty every time I changed his nappy and I put him in pull ups in between nappy times to try to help him to gain the bladder control. Soon he stopped needing nappies at all.

At 10 months old Alfie started to walk and started to say a few words, one of which was “poo”, which I quickly worked out meant he needed the toilet. At 11 months I brought Alfie his first pair of big boy pants because he started to have dry nappies and that was it, he got a big boy toilet seat for the big boy toilet a few weeks later and he was over the moon. The first 2 weeks of being in big boys pants wasn’t easy, as you can imagine it’s warmer in nappy’s so when we went outside we had an accident and when we were too busy playing we had an accident. Every time he had an accident he would be mortified, he hated the feel of being all wet and he also felt sad that he hadn’t made it to the toilet. I honestly do believe though that children experiencing wet clothes after having an accident helps them to understand that they have to do it in the toilet. By his first birthday Alfie had been dry through the day for 2 weeks and I was so proud of him.IMG_7813

Now I’m really not rubbing this in, I promise you, but soon after we started to focus on ensuring Alfie go through the night dry. I would put Alfie on the toilet just before bed and he was dry in his nappy through the night at one and half. So off came his nappy, on went his mattress protector and his big boy panties and off we went. He has had a few accidents, I’m not going to lie, and it’s not as easy as when they have an accident in the day. You will be pleased to hear the night Alfie has accidents he wakes up and stays awake for a good 2-3 hours, but this is due to having to change him, clean him down and change all his bedding. It is bound to wake him up. Now at nearly 3 years old he rarely has accidents at night, I cant actually remember the last time he did, although I have probably jinxed myself there, haven’t I?

I’m so glad I did what I did with Alfie and started at such a young age because like I said, he now knows nothing different. He doesn’t remember wearing a nappy and going to the toilet is normal for him. He does ask me sometimes why other children wear nappies and he doesn’t, but I don’t think for one minute that is because he’s sad he doesn’t. I just think it is his curiosity. It probably confuses him why they wouldn’t use the toilet. The funny thing is, I went back to the health visitor for Alfie’s two year check and they asked about my plans for potty training. When I informed them that Alfie was out of nappies at the age of one the health visitor sat there and congratulated me on what an amazing job I had done. This obviously made me laugh due to the comment I got from her when he was just 6 months old.

But, for all of you going through the dreaded potty training please believe me it won’t last forever. They will get it one day, don’t rush them and make sure they know that you’re proud of them at every stage. Even just sitting on the potty for the first time, act as if they have just won a gold medal at the Olympics because trust me it will be so strange for them to get their head around. As for the dreaded potty training, I don’t think it is dreaded and I would do it the same if I ever have more children as I did with Alfie.IMG_0159

The Bitter, Sweet of Growing Up

So, I’m in this constant battle with myself at the moment whereby I sit there and watch Alfie play and think, “oh my gosh, this time is going too fast. Where has my baby gone?” and “I really can’t wait to see him learn new things”. I feel watching your child grow up is very bitter sweet. You don’t want them to grow up, you want them to stay that cute little chubby baby who loves cuddle and kisses forever, but on the other hand you can’t wait to see them grow into a smart little adult. I constantly sit there and look back at pictures of Alfie and wish for just one more day with the little bean he was, to hear his little baby laugh, to have them lovely long sleepy cuddles during the day where you’re really meant to be doing house work, but they fell asleep on you and you can’t possible move.

I, like most mums I’m sure, am struggling quite badly with how quick these first three years have gone. It only seems like yesterday that I was giving him his first ever cuddle after he tried to swim away from the midwife in the birthing pool; changing that first nappy; giving him his first bath. I feel you take the first things for granted and don’t really think about them until you’re three years down the line and you look back. Whoever warned me that there would be a last with everything, the last time they would need help to eat their food, a last time they would fall asleep on you during the day was right. I didn’t understand or realize that there would be that last or even know that last was coming until its been and gone within the blink of an eye and I didn’t even get the chance to cherish it. Don’t get me wrong I have a lot of lasts to come: I still carry Alfie and will do until he stops asking me to. I will still climb in Alfie’s bed at night after he’s screamed the house down with a night terror until the night he has no more. I will still sit on the stool in the toilet while he does a number two and have the amazing conversations with him that we have on frequent occasions until he can do it himself. These things, although they seem small, are the things I will miss the most, but it is always the little things, the things you don’t think about that you miss the most.

I use to hate it that Alfie played with my hair, that my hair was his comfort because I have such a sensitive scalp and any little pull would absolutely kill me, but now its getting less and less that he’s playing with my hair I find myself putting it in his hand when he needs comfort, encouraging him to play with it. Yet a few months ago I would tell him that he could only hold it not play with it, the poor boy is going to end up so confused. Not only am I going to miss the little things, but also the big things. As silly as it sound I miss his dummies and I know he does too. I was always on the mind set that I would get rid of the dummy when Alfie didn’t need it any more or if he was getting to old, but that was not how it went down. Just after Alfie’s second birthday we went to the dentist and he said that the dummy was miss-shaping his teeth and had to go. Both Alfie and I were mortified to have to give it away. I personally hate it when things like this are taken away just like that so god knows how Alfie felt. Needless to say neither of us liked that “last” and it was thrown right in our faces. I still haven’t binned his dummies, they are in my draw in a plastic bag and every now and then when they catch my eye I feel all sad that my little boy is growing up so fast.

Then there’s the other side, where I sit there and think of everything that the future is going to bring. His first day at pre-school (not that I’m looking forward to leaving him for a whole day), his first day at school, the first time he writes his name unaided, there are so many thing that I look forward to and sit here getting excited about experiencing with him. My family and friends think I’m mad because every year as soon as January comes I start to plan Alfie next birthday party even though it is at the end of July. I make sure that I have bought everything I am going to need over the next couple of month and have a deadline that everything needs to be sorted by the 1st of May. I get so excited about planning the big things for him and making them so special and magical so that when he’s older he can look back and go my childhood was amazing. I have already planned his 10th birthday party, as ridiculous as that sounds, but it is something I have to save up for. I want to take him on a trip to Disneyland Florida.

I do wish time would slow down and my little man wouldn’t grow up too fast. I am not ready to let pre-school have him for the day and even though I know he is ready and he will walk in ready for an adventure, because that is what Alfie is like, I will be standing at the door holding back the tears and the sadness that my little boy isn’t just mine anymore and I have to share him with people, to let him grow. The bitter sweet of it all is that yes, we look back at the past and think I wish he could stay little for ever and yes, we look at the future and think I’m not ready, but we also have the fact that we are so excited to see what they will get up to and achieve that it is ok. We realise it’s ok. I miss the past, but the future is going to be just as awesome. That all being said, I do have one favour to ask: please don’t let the next 3 years go as fast as the first 3 years.

I’m going to savour every moment of the bitter sweetness of growing up and cherish every moment I have with my gorgeous little boy.