Life Lately: The Calm Before the Storm

With less than one month to go until Baby Button-Nose’s due date, I thought it would be nice to sit down and just write. Not about anything in particular but whatever springs to my mind in a period that I’m currently calling the ‘calm before the storm’. Before our lives change again. Before we become a family of four.

Yesterday we had our house deep cleaned in preparation for a homebirth and regardless of whether or not that’s the kind of birth I end up having, I’m glad we’ve had it done. It’s just another one of those things that make me feel a little more ‘ready’. I’m a bit of a clean freak at the best of times so you can only imagine what I’m like when I get into nesting mode. However, I’ve realised that I need to start taking it easy – this pregnancy has been so much harder on my body. Some days, walking up the stairs is a real struggle due to hip and back pain so scrubbing walls and floors myself isn’t an option. I have been going crazy with my label maker though – now that’s my kinda nesting!

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As the cleaners were working in our house for 6 hours, I decided it would be best for me and Jasmine to go out somewhere, to get out of their way. I thought it would be fun to take Jasmine to the cinema for the first time (if you don’t count the Big Scream showings I took her to when she was a baby). I was a little nervous as although I know she is able to sit and watch a whole film at home, I’m wasn’t sure how she’d behave at the cinema. Especially as she seems to have developed a fear of the dark. I booked tickets to a Junior showing of Ice Age: Collision Course which only cost £3.60 for the both of us (bargain!) so I figured if she played up or wasn’t keen on being there – we’d just go to the park instead and there was no real loss.

I needn’t have been so worried because she was as good as gold – sat through the entire film perfectly. She’d occasionally get excited and shout something like “Look mummy, a hotcano! Look everybody, a hotcano!” (That’s a volcano to you and me.) She munched her way through a big bag of popcorn whilst I spent most of the film watching her watch the film. I couldn’t stop from smiling. I also felt a little sad that our days alone together are numbered. Having another baby is so bittersweet. On the one hand, I cannot wait for Jasmine to meet her sibling and become a big sister but on the other, I will miss our time together, just the two of us.

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We had our annual visit to Undley Pumpkin Patch at the weekend (we’ve gone there every year for the last 3 years). It’s only when I look back at our photos of our visits that I realise just how much Jasmine has grown and changed. This will probably be our last ever visit to this particular pumpkin patch as we are relocating back to the South West early next year. I’m sure we’ll be able to find somewhere just as awesome to pick our pumpkins!

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I’m not sure how much Jasmine understands about the ‘baby in mummy’s tummy’. We try to talk to her about the baby but it’s a lot to take in for a 2.5 year-old. Hell, sometimes I can barely get my head around it. To think that I’m growing a brand new human inside of me – it boggles the mind. I do think Jasmine understands more than I give her credit for though – the other night she pointed at my tummy and said “baby”, completely unprompted. When asked “Do you want a brother or a sister?” which tends to be something that family, neighbours and strangers ask her a lot. She’ll either reply “no” (oh.), or more often than not, “a baby brother”. No pressure then.

She’s also become quite protective over me, shouting “my mummy” at strangers in the supermarket. As if she suspects the lady buying milk and baked beans is going to pick me up and carry me away. To be fair, she reacts the same way with the toy cars at playgroup. (“My cars!”) But at least there, the threat is real. You’re gonna have to learn to share real soon, baby girl!

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I should probably touch upon my mental health, seeing as I’ve written about it a fair amount on blog over the last few months. I’m still taking my anti-depressants and I feel like I’m currently in a good place. Yes, I feel quite anxious at times but at 36 weeks pregnant, I think that’s perfectly normal. On the whole, I am excited about meeting our newest addition and whilst I know it’s going to be a big adjustment. I feel I will be able to cope – and if I can’t, I won’t be afraid to ask for help.

I ordered our last few baby essentials last night. I’ve packed our ‘just in case’ hospital bags. Put a box together for my homebirth. Bought biscuits for the midwives! Written a birth plan.  And so I’m feeling as ready as I’ll ever be.

There are a few things I’d like to do before baby arrives such as have a dental check-up (joy!), get my bump Henna’d and treat myself to a haircut and some reflexology. Time is of the essence so I need to get a move on!

Any advice for a soon-to-be mummy of two?!

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Jasmine at two and a half years old

I’ve been meaning to write an update for Jasmine for a few months but every time I sit down to write it, I feel a bit overwhelmed by how much she has changed and developed. She’s a little sponge and is learning new things everyday, especially when it comes to her speech and language. She seemed to get off to quite a slow start in terms of learning to talk but the words and phrases are coming thick and fast now. She cracks me up with her little retorts and she’s getting a little too smart for her own good!

Jasmine wears age 2-3 sized clothes, although I think some people would be shocked to know that. Almost every time we’re out, at the park for example, somebody will comment on Jasmine’s size.

“How old is she?”
“Two and half.”
“Oh… she’s tall for her age, isn’t she?”

Clearly she gets her height from her daddy… not her 5ft1 mummy!

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One of the main things that has evolved over the last few months is Jasmine’s imagination. She loves pretend play and will often be running around the garden shouting “Ruuuuuuuuun, Dinosaur Rex coming!!” I also spend a lot of time pretending to eat ice creams she’s made for me. It’s a good job that imaginary ice creams contain no colories!

Coinciding with this wonderful imagination is a fear of the dark. Jasmine’s recently been requesting to keep the lights on and have the door pulled ajar at bedtime – not every night, but fairly often. Once she’s asleep I will go and shut the door and turn off the main light (she had a nightlight in her room) so we don’t disturb her when we go to bed.

We did attempt potty training in the summer and although Jasmine was really keen at first (went and did a wee in the potty, completely unprompted) the novelty wore off after a few days and she refused to wee or poo unless she had a nappy on. I decided to leave it a little while and try again at a later stage. I’d love to have her out of nappies before baby number two arrives (due November) but I’m not going to force her to be potty-trained for my own benefit. We’ll see how it goes but for now, she’s still in nappies full time.

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Jasmine can recognise many shapes including ‘heart’ and ‘star’ as well as colours. For a while everything was “pink” but now she’ll walk along the street and name the colours of cars as she walks past them. She likes counting things but still doesn’t say numbers in order. Her counting goes a bit like this: “2…4…4…5”.

She’s always interested in looking at clocks and asking the time, she even pinches Daddy’s iphone so she can ask Siri what the time is! (Of course, Siri doesn’t recognise her voice but that doesn’t stop Jasmine from trying!)

About 3-4 weeks ago I decided do away with Jasmine’s afternoon nap. She had become less and less interested in going to sleep after lunch and it would often take her over an hour to settle. And whilst she did eventually fall asleep, and usually nap fro up to two hours, she would then take ages falling to sleep at night. The evening bedtime routine started getting longer and longer. It’s been difficult for both of us to adjust – I miss the break and she does get tired and grouchy in the afternoon but to be honest, it was no where near as bad as I thought it was going to be. The days are longer and tiring for us both (especially with me being pregnant) but pretty much as soon as her head hits the pillow at 7pm she’s fast asleep and, more often than not, doesn’t wake up for 12.5 hours!

Instead of having that nap after lunch, we tend to snuggle on the sofa and watch a DVD – it means we both get a bit of quiet time and a chance to recuperate from the morning’s activities before round two!

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Being a typical two year old Jasmine has plenty of tantrums. Tonight she was in an angry fit of rage for about 10 minutes because I put her PJ top on. She was yanking at it, biting it and shouting “I don’t like it t-shirt”. Once she calmed down she walked over to me and said “Sorry, mummy – I tired”. Those kind of tantrums I can deal with but it’s the ones where she bites/kicks/scratches at me or her dad because she hasn’t got her own way – I find them mega hard work.

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She is still obsessed with playing hide and seek and makes me hide with her from ‘Dadsy Poopy Pants’.

She often gets mistaken for a boy because she wears clothes with dinosaurs on (grrr!) and she’s very particular about what she will wear. I tend to shop for her clothes in the ‘boys section’. She’s very rough and tumble – not remotely interested in princesses and such like. She likes cars and dinosaurs!

In July, I decided to do a little video portrait of Jasmine. I take a lot of photos of her but there’s nothing quite like video to capture her little expressions and quirks…

The way she ‘helps’ hang the washing out to dry, kissing my knickers before hanging them up(?!)

How she loved to (over)feed our guinea pig, Dexter. (Who is now in guinea pig heaven… due to old age… not being overfed!)

When she’s having a quiet, contemplative moment whilst hugging her giant teddy bear.

The way she blows dandelions… without actually blowing the dandelions.

Anyway, I thought where better to share this video than in her latest update post so here it is:

 

Likes: Bunny (still her most prized possession), Peter Rabbit, tractors, pirates, ride-on toys, playdoh, water play, being outdoors, going to the park, trike rides, animals, ‘huggles’, having showers, drawing/painting, Go Jetters,

Dislikes: being in her carseat, nappy changes, getting dressed, bedtimes, brushing her teeth.

I will finish up this post with a Jasmine quote that really made me smile…

*Jasmine is searching for something in the front room*

Me: “What are you looking for, Jasmine?”
Jasmine: “I looking for trouble, Mummy.”

I guess the next time I write an update on Jasmine, she will be a big sister. Something I’m excited and nervous about in equal measure. Wish us luck!

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A Toddler Wish List:
Our favourite play shops & accessories

Jasmine’s current obsession at the moment is playing ‘shopkeeper’. It’s so lovely to watch her develop a love for imaginative and role play games . This has meant that I’ve found myself googling ‘toy shops’ as I think it would make the perfect Christmas gift for her (yes, I’m thinking about Christmas already). I’ve come across quite a few lovely play shops for sale in range of prices to suit every pocket. I thought I’d show you some of the ones I really love the look of… plus some the play shop accessories that caught my eye too!

I found myself steering clear of plastic toy shops as I personally prefer classic-style wooden toys. Don’t get me wrong – some of Jasmine’s favourite toys are plastic and we have lots of them (believe me!) but when it comes to bigger items that are going to be on permanent display in my living room – I want them to look nice! ;)

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Play shop and theatre – GLTC // £112

I’m a huge fan of The Great Little Trading Co so it’s no suprise that their 2-in-1 play shop and theatre is a top contender! I’ve been told by Jasmine’s keyworker at nursery that she really enjoys doing puppet shows with her friends so the fact it can also be turned around and used as a theatre would definitely go down a treat. This item (also available in pink) is currently in the GLTC sale so there’s no better time to buy it.

Oh and you know what else? GLTC’s Play Shop & Theatre has just won PLATINUM for Best Interactive Toy 1-3 yrs in the LovedByParents awards. Pretty impressive!

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Wooden Cherry Shop & Cafe – George Home // £35

At only £35 this play shop is an absolute steal and it would be particularly ideal if you’re tight on space. I did wonder about the quality of the item, given that it’s such a low price. Although, after reading lots of the reviews, it would seem that many people who have bought this play shop are raving about it!

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Playshop and theatre – Tidlo // £66.99

One of my favourite wooden toy brands is Tidlo – we had one of their baby walkers for Jasmine and I’m still holding on to it for baby number two! They have also created a 2-in-1 play shop and theatre which is smaller than the GLTC one. I love the little basket shelves and strips of chalkboard to write prices etc.

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SKYLTA – Ikea // £10

Fancy something a bit different? Then check out this awesome cardboard market stall from Ikea. At just £10 it certainly won’t break the bank. I love the the little fold-down shelves and I think little ones could really go to town on making this play shop their own. Draw on it, paint it, use stickers – not only can you use it for imaginative and role play games – it’s a good item to get creative with.

And not forgetting some of my favourite play shop accessory finds…

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1. Wooden Checkout Register – Hape // £18.99

2. Play shopping baskets (set of two) – GLTC // £12.00

3. Wooden shopping trolley – Plan Toys // £49.95

4. Wooden lollies – GLTC // £12.00

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5. Cake stand with 10 cakes – BigJigs // £14.50

6. Food groups play food set – Melissa & Doug // £12.80

7. x2 Wooden milk cartons // £3.45

8. Shop scales // £13.50

All prices are correct at the time of publishing this post.

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Do your little ones enjoy playing shop? 

Which toy shop and accessories do you most like the look of?

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Jasmine’s 25 & 26 month update

It’s been a little while since I last wrote an update on Jasmine and I have to say, the first couple of months of parenting a two-year-old have been very, erm, interesting! I’ll get the negative bit out of the way because I don’t want to dwell on it. The couple of weeks leading up to and after Jasmine’s 2nd birthday (so we’re talking a month or so in total) almost broke me. She was having tantrums almost constantly throughout the day – and I mean full on screaming/kicking/biting tantrums. She could go from zero to ten in a split second and we both (my husband and I) found it very hard to deal with. Thankfully, after a few weeks of this behaviour it seemed to peter out – she still has her moments, don’t get me wrong – but the tantrums are far less frequent and intense.

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Her nighttime sleeping has been a little all over the place and for a while she woke up crying several times a night. Lately, that hasn’t been such a problem either but now we’re having issues when we put her to bed. She seems to have some kind of separation anxiety in the evenings. The moment we leave the room at night she starts to cry – we often have to go back in and settle her 5-10 times but eventually she does fall asleep. She seems to be (mostly) fine at nap times and still sleeps from 1pm until around 3pm.

Jasmine’s been a lot better at meal times lately, too. There are still days where she will flat out refuse to eat dinner (in which case she goes without) but on the whole she has returned to eating well. She nearly always has double helpings of lunch when she’s at nursery. I find that she is hungriest in the morning and can often end up having 2-3 breakfasts (and then still wants to steal some of mine!)

She still has 5oz milk in the afternoon and another 4oz at bedtime. We had to cut her quantity of bedtime milk down because she was waking up with a leaky nappy almost every single morning.

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Jasmine is still infatuated with a little boy called Owen (from her nursery). And talks about him every single day. Even whilst we were on holiday in Lanzarote and she hadn’t seen him for over a week, she would still mention him every day. It must be love?!

Aside from the tantrums we had on holiday (and there were LOTS) we had a really lovely time. Jasmine’s favourite thing to do was go swimming and over the course of we week we watched her confidence grow. We’re trying to keep up with swimming regularly now that we’re back at home to keep the confidence and enthusiasm going. She loved going to the beach too but was very fearful of the sea. Instead of paddling in the water, she much preferred to chase birds around, trying to feed them fistfuls of sand (?!)

Jasmine’s current obsession is playing “hide seek” – all she wants to do is hide around the house from mummy and daddy. The only problem is that she giggles far too much and gives the game away – either that or she puts her finger to her mouth and goes “Shhhhhhhh”… really loudly. We pretend not to find her, of course, and eventually she cannot take it anymore and jumps out from wherever she’s hiding whilst shouting “FOUND YOU!”. She often asks to hide from Daddy an hour or so before he’s even due to leave work. This means I’ve spent a lot of time under tables and down the side of sofas recently.

Jasmine has recently taken a dislike to brushing her teeth. She does have her second set of bottom molars coming through which could explain why…. or it could just be another way for her to assert her independence. I bought a battery powered toothbrush for her after somebody suggested it. Now I have the opposite problem – I can’t get the damn thing off of her!

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In the last update I mentioned that Jasmine hadn’t really started putting words together yet but since then her speech has come a long, long way. She’ll now put 3-4 words together. For example, the other day we were having a insect hunt in the garden and she called out “Bugs, where are you?!”

She loves to count. But her counting goes like this: “Two… Nine… Six… Six”. Every single time.

She also likes to point out colours of things – she gets ‘blue’ and ‘green’ right most of the time but everything else is ‘pink’ according to her.

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Here’s some phrases and words Jasmine says a lot at the moment…

“Awww cute…. hug?” – about pretty much anything we see. This morning she wanted to hug her t-shirt before putting it on.

“Catch?” – Jasmine often wants to chase things she sees – unfortunately, that includes birds, planes and buses.

“Wakey wakey, Mummy!”

“Climb it?” – typical two year old – she wants to climb on everything.

“Me do it, Mummy!” – Little Miss Independent! ;)

“I don’t like it” – Oh, I’m absolutely thrilled she knows how to say this. NOT!

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Likes: Playing in the garden, her bubble machine, Owen, Bunny, Peter Rabbit, dinosaurs, swimming, pasta, playing hide and seek, jumping (another new trick), reading books, ‘washing up’.

Dislikes: Being in her pushchair or carseat, brushing her teeth, the sea, bedtime.

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Jasmine’s 23 & 24 month update

I’ve never missed writing one of Jasmine’s monthly updates before but when it came to her 23rd month, well, not a lot had changed since the month before. In the end, I figured I’d do a combined update of her last two months as a one year old!

The last couple of weeks have been rather testing to say the least. We’ve had illnesses, picky eating (more on that in the minute), lots of night time wake ups and tantrums galore. In amongst the chaos of all that, Jasmine has become such a sweet little girl and her current ‘catchphrase’ is “Awwww, cute!”. She says it about animals, insects, babies and teddy bears. The other day we were walking home from nursery and I pointed out a ladybird to her – she waved at it and shouted “Hi” (She gets quite enthusiastic about bugs. Read: loud) and waved at it. As it crawled away under a leaf she said “Soon” (as in, see you soon).

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She hasn’t really started putting many words together yet, in fact she quite often shortens words to the last syllable. She often says “mon Heidi” or “mon Mummy” which is short for “come on”. She will also pass me the “mote” (remote control) if she wants to watch something on TV. That something nearly always being Peter Rabbit. Although, she’s also quite fond of The Good Dinosaur since we bought it on DVD last weekend. In which case, she will ask us to watch, yep – you guessed it “Saur”.

Her favourite toy is still Bunny. Or “Monny” as she calls him. In fact, I think she’s more attached to him now than ever before. Last week Jasmine threw herself to the ground headfirst (cutting her forehead), in a fit or rage, because Bunny wasn’t in her nursery bag. Daddy had gone to work with Bunny still in the car. Let’s just say Daddy won’t be doing that again in a hurry.

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Some days, just about everything can set Jasmine off on a tantrum and it can be truly exhausting. I can’t do right for doing wrong and nothing pleases her. It’s all about her wanting to assert her independence, I know. The little things that she wants to do herself oh-so-badly – for example, putting on and doing up her shoes. She isn’t physically able to do that just yet and it makes her incredibly frustrated. It’s a tough life being a toddler, eh?

Jasmine’s also been testing the limits when it comes to meal times. For a few weeks she refused almost every. single. meal. that I offered her. She wouldn’t even try it. She’d turn her nose up, push the plate away and say ‘no’. She’s been through phases like this before but I was beginning to think this wasn’t going to be such a short phase. I kept giving into her demands for a ‘snack’ because I hated the thought of her going to bed hungry. Suddenly, I realised she was taking me for a complete mug. I now offer her a piece of fruit between meals and stopped giving her those beloved cereal bars (which was the only thing she ever wanted to eat). She eats the meals I give her or goes without. She’s not going to starve herself so if she’s truly hungry she will eat her dinner. I don’t expect her to like and eat everything but I do expect her to try it. Thankfully, there’s been a significant improvement over the last few days since I changed my own behaviour towards meal times. We’ve had a lot more ‘happy plates’. :)

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Jasmine was quite poorly a few weeks ago – she had an absolutely hideous cold and cough. She also developed conjunctivitis for the second time! As before, the drops she was prescribed by the doctor cleared it up within a couple of days.

There was also the night she threw up in her cot… three times. Not quite sure what that was about. But obviously something didn’t agree with her!

Jasmine’s sleep at night has become quite disrupted of late. She wakes frequently during the night and cries out ‘Mummy’. It’s not every night but seems to be happening more nights than not at the moment. Usually if I go and lay her back down, she settles back to sleep quite quickly. I wish the same could be said for me! I’m not sure what it is that sets her off – she doesn’t seem particularly scared, just a bit confused.

She naps in the afternoon, after lunch, for around 2-3 hours. I’m wondering if perhaps I need to cut these naps a little shorter in order to get her sleeping through the night again. She also seems to be waking up a lot earlier in the mornings too. It’s all seems quite random at the moment, and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to whether or not she sleeps through OK or not.

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We’ve changed up our toddler groups again (we get bored easily). We recently started going to a new music group on a Monday, which is basically a man and a guitar singing lovely songs to us. We dance, play with ribbons, shake shakers, crack out the bubble machine, play parachute games (see photo below!) and generally have a ball. It is by FAR the best toddler group we’ve ever been too – and we’ve tried lots. :)

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On Wednesdays we often go to a toddler group based in one of the church halls in town. There’s a mix of freeplay, singing and story time, snack time and craft. The group of volunteers are so friendly and welcoming but we mostly go for the biscuits. :)

Jasmine still goes to nursery on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and really seems to enjoy it there. I love spying on her for a few moments when I pick her up – she’s always busy doing something. There’s a little boy called ‘Owen’ in her nursery room who she’s quite fond of – she’s forever talking about him at home. It’s quite sweet, really. Over the next few weeks she’ll be making the transition up to the toddler room for 2-3 year olds. I’m sure she will take it in her stride.

Likes: Peter Rabbit, Bunny, playing outside, hugs, going on the swings, playing Egg Hunt (which we’ve played every day since Easter), apples and oranges, breakfast cereals, animals, soft toys, car shopping trolleys, Mr M’s music club, bathtime.

Dislikes: Being in her carseat or pushchair, green vegetables, having to leave the park to go home, loud noises, bedtime.

Now that Jasmine is two(!), I will continue to write her updates on the blog, but probably every 2-3 months or so, as opposed to every month.

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Want to read more of Jasmine’s monthly updates? Click here.