10 articles Tag toddler

3 Simple Tips for Moving House With Babies & Toddlers

Proudly brought to you by Brisbane’s #1Removalist Platinum Furniture Removals

Months of sleepless nights, tantrums that leave you questioning how such a creature came from your own body, finding inexplicably sticky objects everywhere you go – if you’ve got kids under five, there’s no doubt that these things have made you fairly accustomed to dealing with a certain level of stress.

Now, take those day-to-day dramas and add moving house to the equation – an event that’s been rated more stressful than death and divorce. Feel your cortisol rising yet?

Relocating your home with little kids in tow can be tough, but there are three simple steps you can take to mitigate the stress your family experiences.

1. Maintain Sleeping & Eating Schedules

While your normal schedule might be up in the air from house hunting, packing and time taken off work, it’s important that your kids’ routines stay the same.

Make sure that your kids are sticking to their regular schedule of meals, naps and bedtimes as much as possible before, during and after the big move.

And, while it’s a good idea to get them out of the house on moving day, don’t forget to give your kids an opportunity to say goodbye to their old room before they go. A sudden relocation without any warning can cause a huge sense of loss in young children.

2. Don’t Redecorate Rooms Straight Away
It’s tempting to take a two-birds-one-stone approach to redecorating and moving. After all, why not avoid double handling and just swap out old stuff you no longer want with new items for your new home on the same day?

Kids crave normalcy and having familiar furniture and objects around while they learn the layout of your new home is crucial to reducing their stress.

Young children have a genuine fear of being alone, and this can be heightened if you’re moving into a larger house where it’s more difficult for them to find you when you’re in another room.

If you find your kids getting particularly clingy during the first few weeks at the new house, don’t admonish them. Their anxiety is natural, and it will pass as they get more and more used to their surroundings.

3. Take Care of Yourself
No matter how much you try to hide it, when you’re feeling stressed out your children are bound to pick up on it!

Practicing self-care is particularly vital while moving house. A few pointers for keeping yourself (and your children) emotionally balanced during this time include:

Rely on routine and planning: Help yourself relax by budgeting for your move early (with a financial buffer for unanticipated expenses), making checklists with realistic deadlines and having a backup plan in case things don’t go as expected.

Get support: Seek help from family, friends and even organisations early and often. Whether it’s financial, physical or emotional support you’re after, find out who you can count on to be there for you before you start to feel like you need help.

Be kind to yourself: Remind yourself that you are doing your best. Stop the cycle of continually feeling like you can be doing more by planning out your days in advance and talking about your worries with friends and family.

For more info and tips please visit our website and blog
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When Your Last Baby is No Longer a Baby

Burrito Baby is growing up. For many people, January is a time of new beginnings, however I always feel like September is that time for me. Summer is over and we move into a new school year and a new season of cooling weather and falling leaves. I always start September feeling inspired to do more, and my creativity seems to rekindle itself in Autumn for some reason. This September has been no different, and a lot has been happening in our house. Husband and I have both had new projects at work, Sausage went into Year 5 and 11+ prep, but perhaps the biggest change is BB starting nursery.

I’ve been adamant for months that nursery was the right thing for BB as she has some shyness that she needs to get over as well as some attachment issues, but it’s been a lot tougher than I anticipated. She was fine for the first two days of her settling-in week, then had tears on the Friday. The next week was hard too, with tears on Monday, culminating in almost-hysterics on the Wednesday which led to me taking her home early. The following week, she got tonsillitis so missed a whole week of sessions, and she even said to us that she was glad she felt ill because it meant she didn’t have to go to nursery. To say it was breaking my heart is an understatement.

For us, it’s a really fine line between getting her used to being away from us in preparation for school and traumatising her when she’s barely ever been away from us. Helping her confidence to flourish is a big part of the growing process. However, I also don’t want to give her the idea that she can have a tantrum and get out of ever doing anything outside of her comfort zone, and the point about her getting prepared for school still very much stands.

When Sausage started nursery, she was always quite happy to go, so leaving her was a lot easier;  it was only by the time she got to Reception that she started to hate it, and by then it was compulsory, so I didn’t have the option to just take her home again. Nursery isn’t compulsory, and I can’t shake the feeling that I’m losing out on precious time with BB which I won’t have the option to have back once she’s at school next year.

I think the fact that she’s my last baby is having an impact on my mindset. Husband and I agree that two kids are enough for us and that we like the dynamic of our family the way it is, and besides, having the health conditions I have mean it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to have another pregnancy anyway. However, it means that I’m having to deal with the fact that this is the last time I’ll do nursery drop offs, the last time I’ll have a three-and-a-half year old, the last time I’ll do any of this. Our family is growing up and while I love that in many ways, it doesn’t mean I don’t feel slightly sad about it, too.

BB is pretty advanced in a lot of ways and having a big sister means she’s probably growing up a bit faster than Sausage did, so coming to terms with the fact that our last baby isn’t a baby anymore is tougher than I expected. She still loves a snuggle and still holds onto my ear when she’s tired. She still asks for help eating her porridge and putting her shoes on, and still wants company while she’s on the loo. But she also refuses to watch Paw Patrol anymore, because it’s “for babies”, and wants to be a “big girl” all the time. It’s an inbetweeny stage for all of us and she’s charging towards school-age a lot quicker than I ever expected her to.

She went to nursery again today after her week off ill and went in with minimal fuss – I waited around the corner and spied on her after five minutes and she was all smiles. She came out full of beans, having baked a cupcake and made a new friend, so we’re hopeful that this positive experience will help going forward. I guess I need to just enjoy the little remnants of her baby-hood while they last, because I don’t think they’ll be sticking around for too much longer.

Review: Little Dish – My First Pizza

Little Dish My First Pizza

Burrito Baby is a really good eater these days and since we’ve discovered that she can now have dairy, she happily eats things with normal cheese without any issues and is a huge fan of pizza. So when Little Dish got in touch and asked if we’d like to be some of the first people to try their brand new range of pizzas, My First Pizza, aimed at toddlers, we jumped at the chance. Here’s the blurb on the new products:

Our new range of My First Pizzas have been created in partnership with our nutritionist to ensure that they are not just yummy, but also nutritionally balanced. These tasty pizzas are made with 100% natural ingredients, contain 35% less salt than the average children’s chilled pizza* and have no added sugar, additives or preservatives. Plus, each mini pizza contains 1 of child’s recommended 5 a day thanks to the yummy toppings and hidden carrot puree into our unique pizza bases.

*35% less salt when compared against the average salt content (per 100g) in all children’s chilled pizza found in UK supermarkets

We were sent all three varieties of pizza; classic margherita, mini meatballs and veg, and pesto chicken and veg. The pizzas by themselves were the perfect size to give to BB for a hearty lunch and because they contained one of her 5 a day, as well as 35% less salt than conventional “kids” pizzas, it didn’t feel like we were giving her something unhealthy.

One of my favourite things about all of the Little Dish meals, not just the pizzas, is that they don’t patronise when it comes to ingredients. There seems to be an accepted wisdom that there are certain things that kids just won’t eat, and while there are plenty of fussy kids in the world, my two are really open to new flavours and textures and BB absolutely loved the butternut squash and spinach on the meatball pizza.

Little Dish My First Pizza

Obviously, there are some days when most toddlers decide to be difficult, which why these pizzas are so great – even the plain margherita contains carrot, peppers, onions and tomatoes, all hidden in the base and sauce, so you have the peace of mind that they’re eating a nutritious meal while they get to exert their toddler will and think they’re getting away with being fussy!

If you wanted to make a larger meal out of the pizzas, I’d wholly recommend serving them with sweet potato fries or wedges, for added calories and nutrition, or some steamed veg such as broccoli. We’ll definitely be buying these pizzas for BB in the future as they went down an absolute storm. Thanks, Little Dish, for sending them to us, along with the adorable little hamper and goodies to go with them.

Potty Training with Thomas and Friends

Hey, you. Yes, you over the there. The one with the haunted look in your eye and the bucket of tiddly toddler clothes soaking in your laundry room! Let me tell you a secret:

Potty training does get better!

Seriously. I know it feels like a really daunting prospect to think about beginning the potty training process, or if you’re already in the middle of it all it can feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel but for the vast majority of kids, it will just “click” one day.

Sausage was by no means a picnic to potty train, despite being a beautifully well-behaved kid. I remember the hair-tugging frustration at sitting with her in our lounge and watching her stand literally RIGHT NEXT TO her potty and wee on the floor instead. I remember how I’d take her out without a nappy to go on the shortest of walks and ask her a hundred times before we left if she needed to lose the toilet, only to get 100m up the road and hear “uh-oh!” from Sausage, who’d be standing in the street with soaking wet leggings!

Worryingly, Sausage is actually the more compliant of my children. Burrito Baby is firmly in the “NO” stage of her life (yes, we’re calling it a stage and NO, we won’t be mentioning that, at last count, that stage has lasted for approximately a year of her 19 months of life…). When we were asked if we were considering potty training BB, my blood ran cold. However, I’m going into this armed and dangerous!Thomas & Friends Potty Training

We were sent a copy of the Thomas & Friends “My Thomas Potty Book” and “Well Done, Thomas” Activity Book and I’ve been reading the Potty Book to BB almost daily. The whole thing is intended to normalise the process of potty training, which is something I really see the benefit of. As adults, I think we often underestimate how bizarre potty training can be for kids. They go from ranging around and ‘going’ where they please to sitting down and being confined to a potty. I remember, when my youngest nephew was potty training, he took to it like a PRO, using the potty for wee with no bother at all. However, whenever he needed to poop, he’d ask for a nappy to be put back on because he was so used to going whilst standing up!

The thing I love about the “My Thomas Potty Book” is the way it gently introduces potty training paraphernalia, such as potties and pants, and makes the whole thing seem like a big, new, fun adventure. It also has a built-in reward chart which can be used for positive reinforcement when they manage to use the potty and, to be fair, I think my kids love stickers more than they love me, so the inclusion of stickers is a great idea. The activity book is a little advanced for BB at the moment although, at just 19 months, we’re starting the potty training journey quite early and I’m sure the book will come into its own in the next few months.

We’ve actually been lucky enough to be given another set of books to give away to one lucky reader – all you need to do it enter through the Rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We’re VTech Toot Toot Friends Ambassadors!

A few weeks back, Burrito Baby and I received the awesome news that we’d been chosen to be VTech Toot Toot Friends Ambassadors and would be receiving all of the new range to play with and review. As you can see, BB was over the moon! The smaller characters retail for around £8.99 each, while the Trot and Go Pony is £15.99. The Hospital playset is a very affordable £29.99 and even the Discovery Sounds House, which is the bigger of the two playsets, is only £44.99.

VTech Toot Toot Friends

What we discovered, being Toot-Toot Friends noobs, is that all of the playsets can link together, forming a big town, and each character can be used in all of the different areas. Want to take your horse to the hospital? Go right ahead! These areas are called ‘Magic Points’ and allows kids to use the individual  characters to interact with the play sets. There are also points within the Busy Sounds Discovery Home where characters can sing to one another, something that BB seemed to regard as being akin to magic!

BB has really good gross and fine motor skills for her age (I mean, the kid is NEVER still, even when she’s sleeping!) but all of the elements of the characters and the playsets were solid and easy to hold, even for the tiniest hands. It also feels like it would stand up to a whole lot of toddler punishment, too; BB has developed a habit of throwing things when she’s in a mood but I can’t see even the biggest toddler tantrum being able to do damage to the Toot-Toot Friends! That’s why when buying toys parents should always look at the sturdy toys. Durable gifts for 2 year olds that can endure hits and tantrums is important. Less money wasted, and more time for fun.

I really like the fact that these feel like “next level” toys in more ways than one; in terms of BB’s development, they feel more in-depth than all the other ‘flashing lights, ABC, 123’ toys that she has and they also feel like they incorporate all of the things that babies of this age love with the technological expertise the VTech is famous for. They’re interactive, educational and intuitive, all things which I think are important for development through play.

If I had ONE minor complaint, it’s that the stickers are a little bit fiddly to apply when you’re assembling everything, especially as some of them are located behind or inside certain parts. If you’ve got a steady hand, you’ll be fine, but the best advice I can give you is to assemble everything when you don’t have an excited, slightly tyrannical toddler climbing all over you.

I also think that selling all of the characters and sets separately is a great thing. It means that you can still buy Toot-Toots friends toys even on varying budgets, and if a birthday or Christmas comes around, the playsets can be bought as a main present, while the smaller components can be bought by friends or relatives to build a full and comprehensive collection.

BB and I feel like we’re off to a great start as ambassadors for VTech Toot-Toot Friends – we already love the toys and can seem them being a great source of fun and education for BB in the months to come.

Toddler Tantrums

toddler tantrumsIt’s safe to say that Burrito Baby, although only 16 and a half months old, is going through that pre-Terrible Twos phase. You know, the one where parents (half-bald from having pulled handfuls of their hair out…) can be heard muttering “I thought we had months before these tantrums started” whilst trying to restrain a caterwauling toddler smeared with what you can only HOPE is Nutella. She’s a gorgeous little girl with a huge personality and kindness in absolute buckets, but when she wants to kick-off, BOY, does she kick off.

Here’s a list of things she’s done just THIS WEEK:

  • Tried to climb inside my knickers while I was doing a wee and then slapped the bath when I gently removed her
  • Used her own foot as a club to hit herself in the face with when I told her all the strawberries had gone
  • Headbutted a wall, sofa, mattress, plate of scrambled egg and the dog in response to the word “no”
  • Poked herself in the eyes and yanked her own eyelids when I stopped her from climbing the kitchen steps by herself
  • Hit me, Husband and Sausage, all at different times, for not bending to her will

The thing is, I’m not a hitter. I’m not judging other parents who’ve used that as a method of reprimand, but it’s just not my cup of tea. I never had cause to smack Sausage, even once, and I tapped BB on the back of the hand after she hit her sister once, and then spent hours feeling sick about it.

Shouting doesn’t work – my voice is generally like white noise, unless I’m saying the word “biscuit” or “Skips” to my daughters, so raising my voice above her own tends to just leave us all with a headache. Also, poor Sausage inevitably gets drowned out in the crossfire, and I see her sitting there amongst all the shouting and feel horrendous for her.

Having said all of this, Burrito Baby is an amazing kid. As I said above, she’s kind and sweet and she’s also got a killer sense of humour. She’s already got a sense of what makes us all laugh and loves nothing more than tweaking our funny bones. Just recently, we had the following conversation:

Me: “BB, can you can ‘purple’?”

BB: “TURTLE!”

Me: “Okay, BB, can you say ‘turtle’?”

BB: *said with a super cheeky grin and an eye roll* “NO!”

She also does random acts of affection; BB is never happier then when all five of us are in the same room, and she’ll do this thing where she goes around the room giving us all kisses, over and over again, first Mummy, then Daddy, then Sausage, then Chuck, then back to Mummy. She feeds off of how happy it makes us and how we all laugh along together and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

So, while I may moan and sometimes wonder what the hell I’m going to do with my little hooligan, especially as we’ve not even reached the Terrible Twos Proper yet, I think about the way that her personality is developing and the lovely little things she does and I know we can all weather the stormy parts together.

We love you, BB.

Clarks Shoes for Babies

Up until recently, Burrito Baby only ever wore socks on her feet when we left the house; more often than not she was in her snowsuit, which covers her feet and doesn’t allow for shoes, but now that the weather is warming up slightly, she’s happier in a coat which meant that the time was here to buy her first shoes. We didn’t want to just go for soft pram shoes, as they wouldn’t be useful if she wanted to be on her feet, so when Clarks asked is we’d take a look at their cruising range, we were happy to oblige.

At first, I wanted to go for something like the Halcy Pop, which would be pretty and comfortable for BB.

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However, Husband being the wise fellow that he is suggested that we go for something with a little more ankle support for our new little walker, so we considered these cute pink desert boots:

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In the end we opted for the Alana Erin, which we felt would give the best combination of comfort and support for BB, along with style and practicality. These boots go with pretty much every outfit BB owns and look like they’ll stand up to a good bashing from our toddler!

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We were really impressed with how extensive the Clarks range is for babies and toddlers and will definitely be going back for BB’s next pair of shoes. She’s still finding her feet in her new boots, unable to decide whether they’re the best thing ever or the weirdest thing ever, and she does look a little bit like Bambi on ice when she first puts them on, but it’s all a learning process!

We can’t wait to see BB’s proper first steps, where she’s not holding onto anything for balance and we feel confident that Clarks shoes will be a great help to her as she starts her new walking adventure.

Earth Friendly Kids – A Review

I’ve become a bit more fussy about doing reviews on my blog lately, only taking products which interest me, and I’ve also made a point of spending time actually using the product before I write about it. Yes, I love getting free stuff and trying new things, but if I’m going to recommend something, I want to be able to do it with at least a shred of integrity.

A few months ago, Sausage was sent the whole range of Earth Friendly Kids toiletries in Zingy Citrus, and I really do think it’s important to use these things for a period of time before making a decision about them, especially when it affects our kids. So we’ve faithfully used the range and the verdict is in! We were sent a  bodywash and shampoo, hand soap , moisturiser and bubblebath, which all have a wonderfully zingy smell (just like it says on the bottle!). One thing you should know about my kid, if you don’t already, is that she has very thick, very curly and very unruly hair. You can get lost in that hair, and I’ve found the occasional Subbuteo man nestling at the back. Not every shampoo will cut it with Sausage’s hair and we need something with a pretty heavy-duty foaming action to get through the mass of curls. The Earth Friendly Kids Bodywash and Shampoo did us proud! It dealt with Sausages hair wonderfully and her hair didn’t dry out, like it does with Johnsons Baby Shampoo. The handwash has been a particular favourite as it comes in a handy pump, which has been invaluable for us now that Sausage is using the toilet.

The bubblebath is very watery when you pour it out and you’ll think that it won’t give a very good lather, but it really does and it doesn’t disappear after five seconds like many bubblebaths, it’s foamy and rich and again, smells fantastic. The moisturiser is creamy and easy to apply, it soaks in well and doesn’t feel at all greasy. Another really important thing for you to know is that Sausage has very sensitive skin. Using anything vaguely harsh on her skin will bring her out in a red, pimply, dry rash which can last for days, and that even extends to being caused by certain ‘sensitive’ brands of  baby wipes. The whole range of Earth Friendly Kids products has been very kind to her skin and we’ve seen no sign of irritation or redness since using them.

So, we’ve been pretty chuffed with the range and though things couldn’t get any better.

Then, we were sent the other scent in the range, Minty Lavender. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the Minty Lavender range is the single nicest smelling children’s  toiletry we have EVER used. Seriously. It’s that nice that Husband and I have been using it too! Husband shaves his head and has been using the moisturiser after shaving as it feels and smells so amazing, I adore the handwash as it makes my hands smell incredible every time I use it, and Sausage just loves it all. You wouldn’t think that a combo of mint and lavender would smell so good, but it really does smell good enough to eat!

The earth friendly kids products all promise to be:

  • mild & gentle
  • natural ingredients
  • appealing to kids
  • no artificial colouring
  • no testing on animals

Best of all, they’re affordable too, ranging from £2.49 up to £4.99. If you want to see the range for yourself, you can have a look at their website and their Facebook page. We’ll definitely be buying more when this lot runs out, once you’ve had Minty Lavender, everything else pales into insignificance!

Something’s COT to give…

So, after my post about Sausage sleeping in our bedroom, our situation has now officially morphed into a co-sleeping one.

For the last week or so, Sausage has been sleeping really badly. On the worst night I was up with her FIVE times. We’ve come to the conclusion that it’s her cot that’s causing the issues.

Sausage is a serious wriggler in her sleep, which means she spends more time on top of her duvet, than actually under it. I’m a pretty light sleeper these days and I hear the ‘rustle-rustle-thump’ which means that she’s successfully managed to extricate her legs from the covers about 5 times a night. The trouble is, it’s getting colder. When she would kick her duvet off in the summer, it wasn’t a big deal, she runs quite hot anyway, so she was generally okay. But a couple of nights ago she was actually calling out “I’m coooold” in her sleep. So Husband and I have been up and down like the preverbial yo-yo, covering her over and tucking her in.

I had the fantastic misguided idea that a Grobag would be the answer to all of our problems.

No.

This made things worse. When my sleeping child realised that she couldn’t kick her covers off she started to panic and I was awoken by a flapping, kicking baby, twisted up in a stripy straight-jacket.

Back to the drawing board.

Then we started to worry that it might be mine and Husband’s snoring keeping her up. A few nights ago, I’d got up with her in the early hours, and laid her on the settee whilst I went and made her a bottle (Yes, I still give my two-year-old a milk bottle, wanna fight about it?!), and when I came back, she was sound asleep on the sofa, and stayed that way until I put her back in her own bed an hour later (I do find that 2am is a good time to catch up on my V+’ed Gilmore Girls and Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals).

So then the panic set in.

OH GOD.

So…if it’s our snoring keeping her awake…does that mean…she’ll have to sleep in her OWN ROOM?!?!

In a last ditch attempt to work out the issue, without banishing Sausage to a different room, we cut her bed out altogether. And yes, I woke up this morning totally numb down my right side, and I have a crick in my neck which I suspect is now here for life.

But she SLEPT.

I didn’t have to get up once.

(Well, I woke up a couple of times to give her dropped dummy back to her. And yes, she does have a dummy. GET OFF MY BACK!)

So now, we truly are a three-in-the-bed family. We think the issue is that she’s getting too big for her cot, and she’s thumping herself into the bars when she thrashes about. We’ll replace her cot with a bed, in time. But for now, she’s in with us.

And I couldn’t be happier about it!

There were three in the bed, and the little one said…

…well, not literally in the same bed, but the same bedROOM.

You see, Sausage still sleeps in the same room as Husband and I. Well, okay, sometimes she sleeps in our bed, too!

I say ‘still’…as far as I’m concerned, she can sleep in our room until she can say “Mummy, I’m sick of listening to you and Daddy snoring”. But I’ve noticed lately a few ‘looks’ if it comes into conversation with other parents. We’re aware that most two-year-olds sleep in their own room, in fact plenty of parents put their kids straight into a nursery, but Husband and I were never able to do that.

After a horrendous labour and traumatic birth, Sausage was in intensive care for the first eight days of her life, and once we got her home, neither of us were keen to be away from her. To this day, I have only spent one night away from Sausage, and that was because I was kept in hospital for suspected appendicitis. That was one of the worst nights of my life and I cried myself to sleep, aching for my little girl. They tried to keep me in the next night, too, but after spending the day being ignored by the doctors and nurses, I discharged myself and got a cab home. (And it wasn’t appendicitis, by the way!)

Her start in life isn’t the only reason that she’s still in with us. Part of it is that Husband will still wake up every hour or couple of hours and sit listening to make sure she’s breathing. I’m not sure if that’s an after effect of Sausage’s shaky start,  I suspect he would have been like it anyway! Part of the reason I love Husband is that he cares and worries about stuff that plenty of other parents just don’t even consider.

Speaking from a personal angle, the thought of Sausage sleeping in a room, all by herself, despite there being only one wall separating us, gives me an actual physical ache in my stomach. My little girl spent too long sleeping by herself (albeit in a room full of incubators housing other babies), and I don’t intend to make her do it again.

I do wonder, when I notice the glances from other parents, whether they think I’m judging them for letting their kids sleep in their own rooms, and I must emphasise that I’m really not. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt since becoming a parent, it’s that every family must do what is best for them. No judgement.

I also wonder, what do other parents think of our decision? I mean, I know there are arguments for claiming your bedroom as a grown-up space, but when I became a parent, I feel like I relinquished any right to claim certain space as a child-free zone. And in all honesty, why would I want to? When Sausage falls asleep in the evening, I actually miss her!

I know I’m a clingy Mum, and I’m not putting it all down to Sausage’s birth. I’m sure there will be a day when we decide that Sausage would be better off in her own room. And if I’m being totally honest, I dread that day, I really do. But I also want my girl to be brave and strong and independent, which means putting my own fears and anxieties aside.

But, I think that’s what parenting is all about isn’t it? The power of experience and hindsight, plus the courage to let our kids do things which scare the absolute crap out of us.