Saturday, 21 December 2013

Ophelia's wishlist

I have some vouchers and paypal money to spend, plus Ophelia is nearly outgrowing her clothes so I figure now is as good a time as any to have a think about what Ophelia might like me to spend my money on:

Ophelia's wishlist

Ditsy Floral Baby bootieg Baby Girls Booties | Joules UK
$16 -

Friday, 20 December 2013

5 months old update!

I think this month has been my favourite month to date! This kiddo's personality just gets bigger and bigger! Her expressions are just hilarious, having now developed a frown and "WTF?!" expression-which she seems to like to flick between very quickly! Just before bedtime we all danced around to Christmas songs which she absolutely loved!

Sleep: Generally she goes to bed between 6pm and 7pm then has been staying asleep until at least 4:30am.  On a good night she even goes up until 5:40am/6am.  A few nights ago she stirred and awoke about three separate times, soon after going down but I have a feeling this may have been due to her teeth hurting.  She also now mostly goes to sleep straight after I put her down in her cot (only moaning very occasionally for a short time!)- If you have been reading this blog since she was born, you will know what a MASSIVE achievement this is!  After all the previous techniques laying the path to success, adding to this, I find it helps when I put her down in her cot soon after her cues telling me she is tired but before she gets TOO tired-that way she now soothes herself to sleep with ease.

Feeding: Four weeks ago we swapped one of her feeds (lunch time) to formula and this has made such a difference to her behaviour, sleep and hunger.  I took her to be weighed this week and she is in the right centile and always has been so it turns out! She is just below the 25th centile so is likely to be petiteite like me! In terms of what she's having, it's probably half breast and half formula at the moment.  We will probably increase to another formula feed in the next few weeks- after having a discussion with the health visitor we shall do the first feed of the day.  The Health visitor recommended to do this one, because she said that eventually you wean them down to just three meals a day; so the aim would be to keep this one and drop the mid morning feed.  


Development: Physically she has got a lot longer-I notice this especially when she sits up on my lap now-she'll be taller than me before I know it (not hard!).  Her gripping skills have developed further; she is now able to pick up and hold items (then drop them whenever she wants to!-I have lost my keys this way numerous times!).  She loves to reach out with her hand to touch everything and anything, when she does she does this weird scrunchy thing (which usually destroys whatever she is touching!) which I think is her discovering different textures and feeling the world around her.  The pattern she follows is usually; spot something she wants to explore, reach forward/jerk towards said item til she can touch it, reaches hand to it, pick it up, put in mouth!   Her other favourite thing to do is to grab her mobile as I get her out of her cot and bring it with her! I put her cot straight on the lowest setting but she can now reach up and touch it when laying in bed. She is now able to roll in a controlled way, e.g. she'll go from sitting and roll onto her front and then pick her head up.   She continues to want to touch (grab) Inara, poor Inara has been pulled a little bit, but has been SO tolerant with it and actually allows her to touch her now-how far she has come!

I can see why people say you lose years quickly with children-these five months have definitely been the quickest I can remember.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Nursery: Woodland

At the moment Ophelia is in her cot in our room but when we have our own place we shall be putting her in her very own room.  She already has a mobile with toadstools and some animals on it, plus my Mum has saved my old baby cupboards and dressing table which were passed down from my Nan-they happen to have rabbits i'm gonna go with a woodland animal theme I reckon (lazy!).

Here are a few ideas for how to decorate the Nursery:

owl nightlight

Clockwise L-R: Owl lamp, bookcase, knitted fox, nursery woodland art, nursery woodland artwooden quote.

There is also a rather fabulous toadstool nightlight from White Rabbit England that i've got my eye on too!

Friday, 6 December 2013

My idea of the perfect Christmas day

After years of driving between between the many parents' homes on Christmas day, this year we have decided to have Christmas as our family of 4-our  first one as a family of 4! Some might see this as depressing/anti social/insert opinion here but it makes the most sense for us and I cannot wait! Don't get me wrong, I love our families but it has always been pretty tiring stretching ourselves so thinly and I just can't imagine how much more difficult that would be with a five month old too! Last year Christmas was so close to perfect but i'm hoping this year will be even more so and here are the components that make up a perfect Christmas for me:

  • Waking up to these two faces and Ophelia 
  • Starting the day in our traditional way with a flute of Bucks fizz.
  • Mum's amazing stuffing! My mum really does make the perfect stuffing- filled to the brim with carrots, chesnuts, garlic and thyme. I would be quite happy just eating this by the bucket load on Christmas day! Mum kindly made us a batch up for our little Christmas last year and has already said she'll do the same this year .

  • Spending most (if not all) of the day in my pjamas and dressing gown! I really am most comfortable in my pjamas and love the fact I could potentially not have to get out of them all day!
  • Popping on our favourite Christmas films (Arthur Christmas and Rare Exports). 
  •  Relaxing in front of the Christmas tree with only the twinkling fairy lights for light. 
  • Finishing the day with a glass of wine and cheese and crackers!
What does your perfect version of the day look like? 

 Merry Christmas! This is my entry into the Tots100/Argos 12 days of Christmas competition to win a PS4-Fingers crossed! 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Favourite kid online stores part 1: Millymog

I started this post with a list of the new online stores I have fallen in love with and thought i'd put my top favourite items in the post.  That was, until I started with Millymog, and realised the post would be far too long! So instead, I am turning this post into a series; featuring some of my favourite baby things from these frankly gorgeous stores.

First up is Millymog, a store based in a part of Manchester where i've actually been: West Didsbury.  The name is based upon a nickname for one of the owner's daughters and they stock all manners of different brands:

What are your favourite independent kid's stores?  

Sunday, 1 December 2013

19 weeks update

I think Ophelia is 19 weeks old, but i've lost track of how old she is in weeks to be honest and I just remember her date of birth anniversary!

This kid has developed her personality so much over these weeks since my last update; she is evidently going to be a stubborn, particular, humorous child person!

What has been keeping me happy:

The way:
she stares at you until you smile and then plays a game hiding her face and then smiling again.
she looks at her Dad and I now with such admiration and love.
she watches the cat and smiles or reaches for her.
she reaches for my mug (and spits in it), moaning if I don't let her hold it.  Luckily she has her own sippy cup which work gave us as a gift, so we let her hold that whilst we drink our hot drinks safely!
she holds onto your hair if you put her above your head.
she wakes in the night chatting away then grins when she sees me, and I can't help but smile and laugh at her.
she loves holding onto her books and flicking through them-staring and smiling at the pictures.  Of course they inevitably end up in her mouth too!
she kicks her legs and wiggles her arms still when she is excited.
she laughs when she sees her reflection in the mirror still.
she is less grumpy at bed and wash down time.
she smiles after she poos.
she likes finding her words and gets excited when she discovers new mouth formations-her latest ones are DA and MA but she is also chatting using "th" now.
she smiles (almost) every night when I lay her down in her gro bag ready for bed.   
she is spitting up her milk far far less and thus needs less burping.
she continues to be so active and always wants to be on the move and doing something.

Fuelling the downwards smiles:
The way:
For numerous weeks she woke at least 3 times a night and stayed up for an hour at a time.
She still mostly refuses to nap more than two lots of 20minutes so then gets over tired and is a grump monster.
She seems to have increased the amount of clothing she destroys due to her bodily functions.
She still likes to put her legs in it ^
She is harder to burp since able to sit on her own.
She dislikes sitting in her chair or playing independently at the moment, which is annoying when I have things I need to do without holding her.  

So really the downsides aren't all that bad! The last few nights she has only woken once in the night and then woken at her normal 6am wake up for the  day-i'm really hoping this continues! We decided to start giving her a bottle of formula in the middle of the day as well as her usual one at bedtime, not only because of her weight and me feeling like I wasn't producing enough milk, but ready for my return to work and keep in touch days.  I have my first keeping in touch day next week which should be interesting, it sounds like they're all mighty stressed and the place is falling apart!  

Monday, 25 November 2013

Returning to work

There is a horrible amount of stigma and judgement attached to mums (from the moment they give birth in my opinion!), especially when it comes to being a stay at home mum or a working mum-whichever choice you make-people will judge you! I highly suggest you read this Daily Mail article just for amusement-I particularly like the "blimey not you again.." section!  The perfect balance for me I think would be to work part time, and I think this is likely once at school age, but for the near future at the very least-I will be going at it full time! The plan at present is for me to return to work doing full time hours condensed into fewer days. 

What i'm looking forward to:
  • Getting my brain working again.  
Whilst off on maternity leave I have felt my brain gradually turning to mush.  This could be something to do with the dreaded baby brain and lack of sleep but I'm someone that enjoys learning and feeling purpose-work gives me both of those things. 

  • Furthering my career:
I know that post children people say it is hard for women to further their careers but I'm not sure how heavily I buy into that.  Surely if you value that part of your life and want to find your way to the top whilst juggling a family you'll find a way? My work is not a job, it really is a career and one that can still take me so very very far if I choose it to-for example the heads of Adult social care in my area are both FEMALE OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS- That could be me! Not just that, I get great interest in geeking out on the ins and outs of policies and new research which affect my role and client group-I miss that whilst i'm on maternity leave.

  • The money!
Of course this is a shallow one but it is a no brainer on so many different levels! I won't go into the ins and outs of why it is so so important to us as a family in the "right now", however I will go into the immediate future and further future.  We currently rent a 1 bedroom flat in Brighton, needless to say we have far outgrown this poor little flat-funnily enough we didn't anticipate an addition to the crew when we first rented it! The original plan when we found out our landlord would let us stay here, was to just stay until January 2014, or July at the latest and then rent a 2 bedroom flat in the area.  As time has gone on, we are lucky enough to be in the position to buy our next property, however we need my income in order to get a mortgage for the size property we are after and in the area we desire.  It means we need to buy asap though because once Ophelia starts crawling we really won't be able to stay here much longer!   In the long term, whilst money has never been important to me, I am now keen to be able to properly provide for my daughter and save for her future-whatever that may be, without us being stretched. 

  • Socialising Ophelia.
Whilst I am at work, the idea is for Ophelia to spend one day with each Grandparent and then two days at nursery-that way she isn't spending too long at nursery but long enough to get the socialisation and stimulation that is so important, whilst at the same time getting valuable time with her grandparents. 

What i'm not looking forward to:

  • Working after very little sleep!
Obviously, the wishful part of me is hopeful that Ophelia might be sleeping better by then (HA!), but I have already seen (and heard) first hand how my colleagues with young children cope! Of course, this is a difficult part of any working mum's life, but our job really is life or death at times and requires such high level of attention to detail that an urgent visit after a bad night's sleep is a recipe for disaster and could result in injury or death.

  • Leaving Ophelia.  
Whilst I definitely wish to have a clear identity away from only being Mum, at the same time I love her dearly and of course do want to spend so much time with her-I can imagine there being a lot of days at work when I sit and miss her deeply.  I think it will be especially hard getting up in the mornings and leaving her, especially if she is crying or unwell. 

  • Work/life/child balance.
I dread to think how exhausted I am going to be; working all day, getting home doing the bedtime routine, making dinner, doing chores, going to bed, waking up in the night and then waking in the morning and doing it all over again.  In fact, i'm exhausted just thinking about it! The good news is that once we move I am DEFINITELY getting a tumble dryer and dish washer-these will mean evenings spent hanging out clothes and doing PILEs of washing up are a thing of the past. THANK GOD!

Are any of you working mums or did you go back to work after having your children? Any words of advice?

Friday, 22 November 2013

Book start

Upon going to our first weigh in at the "healthy clinic" children's centre (this week-oops!), we were asked if we had our "book start pack".  HUH?! Was my response as I had no idea what this was.  I was handed a purple folder which I swiftly put under the buggy, assuming it would mainly be a folder of vouchers and other trash.  When I got home I had a look through and much to my surprise it had books inside!

Book start is a scheme designed to help get pre school aged children interested in books from a young age including stories, rhyming and songs.  We have been reading to Ophelia since day one as we are both really keen readers, although she didn't pay much attention for the first month but she really loves looking at books already! We have some really tiny ones that were given to us- "I can..." share/say thank you etc and she stares at the pictures and laughs when I do stupid voices.    Anyway, I think this scheme is a really great idea for encouraging both children and adults to get involved. 

 Have you heard of this scheme? What do you think about it?

Thursday, 21 November 2013

What Ophelia wants off Santa

We have decided not to get very much for Ophelia this Christmas mostly because she is faaar too young but also due to our lacking of space! We want something to mark a special "1st" though so we're on the lookout for a good Christmas keepsake.  In the meantime this is Ophelia's current Santa wish list...

Ophelia's 1st Christmas wish list

Monday, 28 October 2013

14 week update

Brighton Mumma parent blog baby update
11 weeks old-trying to crawl and getting frustrated when she can't.
Brighton Mumma parent blog baby update
11 weeks- core strength 

Brighton Mumma parent blog baby update
12 weeks-grabbing things with bilateral hands and bringing to her mouth.
Brighton Mumma parent blog baby update
13 weeks-grabbing and pulling a vibrating toy.
Brighton Mumma parent blog baby update
12 weeks:chewing on anything and everything, all day every day.

Brighton Mumma parent blog baby update
13 weeks-dexterity holding things with more precise grip

12 weeks-focusing on things with real purpose.

13 weeks:Dexterity-different types of grips developed.

13 weeks:Exploring toys in more detail-e.g. putting hand through hoops on her Katie doll.
 Although it has only been a few weeks since the last update, Ophelia has developed so much in those three weeks that I really need to document it! She has developed heaps even in the last week although i've noticed she is getting quite frustrated when she can't do the things she wants to do.  The biggest example of this is that she is so nosy and explorative; when you sit her up she purposefully pushes herself forward slowly towards her toys until she is on her front holding her head up and moving her arms and legs around trying to crawl.  She loves this and chatters away at first, she even manages to do a commando style move forwards pushing up off her hands and legs.  After a while she soon realises that she can't move much and gets frustrated and starts crying-this pretty much sums our Ophelia up.  She still barely sleeps in the day, which is because she is so keen to look around and take everything in but means that she gets overtired and cries. She is notoriously worse between 4pm until bedtime, although a little reading around and I discovered this is quite common for children.  She has also started being quite grumpy at bath and bedtime; she is fine in the bath and loves it, but the getting in and getting out of the bath she hates! We've tried everything: graded de-clothing, steamy bathroom, different bath etc etc and some seem to delay the crying but not for long.  The only explanation we can think of is that's because she is now aware of the routine and knows that it means bedtime.  Nothing has really helped in this respect because she really does just need to sleep, so we end up having to put her in her cot and leave her to moan-she usually falls asleep after 5-10 minutes but it's a horrible thing to have to do! We don't want to get stuck in the trap of using techniques such as rocking or putting her in our bed because those habits are hard to break! At least this way she is learning how to get herself to sleep without any help.   

Sleeping wise, at 11 weeks she had three nights of 12 hours sleep through (after generally sleeping 7pm-6am with one wake up in the middle), which we hoped was the sign of things to come.  Unfortunately that has not happened since and in fact the last three nights have been awful! The clocks going back really messed with her night and she got up at 1:30am, 3am and 5am-the 1:30am involved her doing her usual trick of waking up babbling to herself but at the top of her voice! I couldn't help but laugh and this then made her laugh.  She  has been a chatty baby from a young age but these last few weeks seems to have enjoyed exploring volume, tone, pitch and sounds.  We have nicknamed her "Phely Sealy" because the first noises she made were like a seal! Since then, she has developed a wider range and today she copied the speech patterns of how I said "YEAh!" but without the right sound coming out!  It's fascinating because she actually watches us as we speak, you can see her looking at how you form your mouth for certain words and then trying to copy it with her mouth.

She still refuses to nap most days, having said that, at the moment she appears to be teething and the last two days has had 3 or 4 naps!! Kinda hope this continues! On a good day It gets to 10am and she gets tired so I try to put her in her cot so that she stays down longer-sometimes she sleeps for 20 minutes but other times she wakes straight up.  She then tends to stay awake all afternoon until about 3pm and will again have a 20 minute nap.  On a bad day (quite regularly!) she will refuse to sleep, get over tired and cry. Lots. I find putting her in her gro bag now tends to result in a longer nap-after weeks of not getting on with the gro bags!

Seeing Ophelia interact with her surroundings has become more interesting recently, she is evidently more aware of her surroundings-she now looks at the cat when she is sitting next to her and will look around for her toys.   She goes through phases and at the moment really gets bored if left to her own devices-for example whereas before you could pop her on her mat and she would keep herself entertained, she now needs you to interact with her and the toys in order for her to find it interesting! The one toy which she doesn't need interaction with is her Katie doll.  She will sit in her travel seat on her pram and mess around with all the different textures on the doll-putting her hand through the rings, crinkling the material, holding her hand, holding the rings. She is also still totally in love with Sophie Le Giraffe, although mostly just to tuck her under her arm!

14 weeks on it's hard to think that this time last year that baby had just started growing in my belly! My recovery has felt like it finished about week 8 although i am now keen to get back to how I want to be physically.  Mentally I think we're coping generally quite well and try to keep positive, it is really tough at times especially with the amount that Ophelia has been known to cry but you just have to draw a line under that day and move on to the next day-doing whatever you think is best on that day to get through it.  What I find really reassuring is that most people I know with children have been through all the trials that we are (crying, teething, bed time difficulties, etc etc!) and it reminds me that it isn't my daughter being difficult or us being bad parents- perhaps the best way to look at it is us all finding our feet with our new life as a family!  Sleep wise, I try to get to bed at 11pm in order to get at least some sleep before her first wake up, unfortunately I still have constant bags under my eyes- anyone got any miracle cure for that?! I've also been getting my night terrors on a near nightly basis and poor Callum has been at the brunt of them! I used to get them quite often and I think it's because of the types of sleep I am getting- i.e. never getting into a deep sleep.  I've woken up most nights panicking that she's in our bed and suffocating under the duvet: i've been known to cradle the duvet thinking it's the baby or worst still, the other day I tried to pick Callum up  thinking he was Ophelia and hurt him in the prcoess! Again, if anyone has any tips for how to avoid this, they're welcome! If only she slept more in the day then I could actually "sleep when she sleeps"".  I refuse to go to bed any earlier, I want to enjoy my evenings and would rather sacrifice the sleep then lose my much needed winding down time/time to do the washing up, put the washing on etc etc!

So there we have it, I am rather enjoying watch our daughter's personality developing into a strong, confident and charismatic child.  :)

Thursday, 24 October 2013

How to make an Autumn outfit out of Summer clothes

I would say 90% of Ophelia's clothes were generously handed down to us. This has helped us out unbelievably, although inevitably some of these aren't season suitable.

So today's outfit of the day is converting summery outfit into something suitable for October.

Dress: Tesco
Multi polka dot Bodysuit: Tesco
Leggings: Tesco 

Monday, 21 October 2013

Hi, I'm Sophie

I have a confession to make; I haven't joined a baby group.  Not only that, but I have no desire to and I haven't even been to the clinic to get the babe weighed. GASP, I hear you cry.

You see, I have no desire whatsoever to meet "new mums", or, more specifically, I have no desire to only meet "friends" through the fact they have children.  I can think of nothing worse than it. That may sound unfriendly and unkind (anyone who knows me knows I am the opposite of these things), but the reason is simple; I do not want to be defined by my child.  Yes I have a child, but I also have a name (Hi, i'm Sophie) and a life, and that is something that I don't want to lose.  Don't get me wrong, if I happen to meet people who have children i'm not going to discount them outright, but i'm also not going to go out of my way to find friends with children.  It turns out a fair amount of my friends already have children, thank you very much.

At the same time. I'm also not desperate to forget I have a child because I love that kid to pieces! I think my feelings stem from my mum, who spent her whole time chasing around after us, driving us to dancing,singing, drama etc lessons every single day of the week and had no identity away from that.  I now see the results of doing this and the impact on her life: whilst she does go for weekends away and go out for meals, sometimes she makes comments suggesting she's lonely and a slight indication it's due to the fact we children have grown up.  I feel strongly about trying to bring my daughter up to be independent but at the same time know that we are both here for her to talk to at any time.  I want her to know that we love her and would do anything for her, but I also want her to see our lives before and around her so she can respect us and understand us as people not just parents.  Of course, on the flip side I am fully aware how important it is for my daughter to socialise and she does get that social interaction already.   

As a new mum, of course, especially at first, your life is completely turned upside down and that little life takes all your time and energy.  But as you all fall into a pattern and routine, those moments of flickering "you" return and you can piece together your psyche so that you are "Mumma" and "Sophie".   

Part of this for me, is returning to my hobbies and work.  My job is so important to me and having that other part of my life-using my brain in a way that isn't to simply work out the best way to burp the baby or keep her entertained.  I miss really solving hard problems and having a tough day using my brain! I've often heard people say that it is actually easier going to work and I can imagine it is, for a start you get to have your lunch in peace and quiet!

Having a child of course does change things, it is inevitable but for me it is about minimizing that change as much as possible.  We moved to where we live because we want to enjoy city life, three months later we got pregnant and recently that has started us questioning about where we want to be.  Moving further out of the city would give us a garden and more space thus being probably the best thing for us as a family, but part of us still wants to enjoy that city life and bring up our family living in a bustling diverse and creative city. 

I have a feeling these are the kind of decisions that we will be faced with as parents throughout the rest of our lives, never having a right or wrong question or answer but ensuring we do it with our heart in the right place and getting through it together whilst maintaining our sense of self. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Birdy Bear review

Birdy Bear cot accessory

As I previously mentioned, a recent addition to Ophelia's cot is the Birdy Bear which we currently only use on the cot.  Ophelia appeared a bit perplexed by it when it first appeared on the side of her cot but she now seems to like it.  I even caught her smiling and giggling at it when she woke up the other morning.  When changing her on the over cot changing mat, I often pull the cord to make the tune play and I think the tune is growing on her too.   Once the tune begins, there is approximately 30 seconds of song before you need to pull it again.  I would say that personally this length is slightly too short and could be lengthened to keep the child interested for longer.  I don't tend to use it before putting her to bed or in the morning because I don't want her to think of the cot or bed time as playing.  Due to the attachment, it hangs off the side of the cot, and at the moment I don't think Ophelia is old enough to appreciate it fully, she is much more engaged with the mobile that hangs above her head, although I do think the mirror and colours grab her attention.  I do think however, that this will change as she gets a little older and explores her surroundings more, I can especially see her reaching for it soon and in the future, pulling to turn the song on, herself.  I can really see us getting use out of it for many months to come.

As I mentioned before, the Birdy Bear can also go on the pram but I haven't used it on there because she already has quite a lot to play with on there.  But it could go on there and come off again so easily thanks to the felt and velcro, which makes it a great multi purpose toy and value for money.  

I also have my eye on this beauty:
This gorgeous rocking horse is called Doodle (and crumb); I love the colours and style and although out of my price range, I think it would make a really nice present for several people to club together to buy.