Henry, our first born, you are four.

Henry you are four our first born son you made us parents

Henry, you made us parents and you have given us the biggest challenge in our lives as we learnt to become your Mummy and Daddy. Now that you are four you are becoming such a clever little boy, we can have really interesting conversations together and you amaze us every day with everything you know. You make us laugh with silly little jokes and your imagination is so active now and we love to watch all the games you make up and play.

Henry you are four our first born son you made us parents pre school boy

Henry you are four our first born son you made us parents pre school boy

Henry you are four our first born son you made us parents pre school boy

You love to bake, to paint, make smoothies and to create chaos with messy play & activities. Your favourite things to watch are Paw Patrol, Transformer Rescue Bots and Dora the Explorer!

You are still as strong willed as when you were born, with a quick temper and you suffer with serious hanger but you are so loving and love to kiss and cuddle and snuggle on the sofa to watch a film (Lion King, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs & Moana), you love playing with older children and always love telling us all about what you have been up to and what their favourite things are.

Henry you are four our first born son you made us parents pre school boy

Your best friends at Pre-school are Olivia and Harry and you adore your cousins Freya, Lottie and Emma – you have a thing for older girls!

You are fast becoming fiercely protective of your little brother, George, and he is becoming the best little play mate for you now that he can be involved more in your games – on your terms of course! You guys are going to be such trouble – you’re already leading each other into mischief and you can often be heard whispering mischievous things into George’s ear to get him to join in. But you will always look out for him and tell me if he is doing something which could hurt him, you often go over to him for a cuddle and little pat on the head.

Henry you are four our first born son you made us parents pre school boy

Henry you are four our first born son you made us parents pre school boy

Henry you are four our first born son you made us parents pre school boy

You love spending time as a family and are happiest when we are all together. No matter how cross or emotional you are your Daddy can make you laugh and make you forget why you were sad. I love watching your bond grow, your first best friend.

Henry you are four our first born son you made us parents pre school boy

Henry you are four our first born son you made us parents pre school boy

This year you start school. I am emotional even thinking about it and have been making each day count in the lead up to it, reminding myself each day that soon you wont be there with us during the day, my little best friend. You are going to grow and change so much over the next year and I have such mixed emotions about that. There are lots of adventures which lay ahead this year, and lots more fun to be had.

Happy Birthday our beautiful, curly haired, blue eyed boy. I made this video to celebrate the past year and it’s been a total pleasure to put it all together. This is why I do YouTube, this is why I love to capture our memories and adventures. We love you.

Henry you are four our first born son you made us parents pre school boy

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Those baby milestones. Special firsts captured the moment they occur. Then, once the photos have been taken, video captured and messages sent to granny and grandpa to let them know of this great feat just performed by your amazing little human, they’re written straight in the book.

siblings second child second best

Fast forward to second or third baby, you might catch them doing it out of the corner of your eye and offer fleeting congratulations, but immediately your mind gets switched back to the everyday business of disarming the toddler who is coming at your little one ready to wheel a Thomas train across their head.
siblings second child second best

I worked out of the local library the other day and next to me was the sing and sign group, heaving with little tiny dots all gazing around at the beaming faces of mummies enthusiastically singing verses of Old MacDonald and energetically being lifted during the chorus of Humpty Dumpty.

Second child, second best?

It dawned on my that I don’t think I ever quite made it to a single group designed for just babies. Sure, George comes along to the great community groups & play dates I go to for Henry and he gets on with whatever activity set out for the toddlers, but gone are the days I can dedicate to Baby Sensory or baby massage. Those days, which at the time seem pretty difficult and all consuming, now feel like I’m having a day off when I only have George with me, and guilty that I should be doing more than only looking after one small person.

siblings second child second best

But there’s something to be said for subsequent children. Not only are we as parents so much more relaxed with our youngest and therefore in general, but our’s spends his days curiously watching and learning from his big brother; being entertained by all the fun and interesting things he finds him doing, inquisitively looking and listening. On the occasion Henry isn’t with us George is totally lost without him, he almost pines for him.

 

Yes, I might be able to count the number of new outfits our second child owns on one hand, and maybe I did only get him weighed about three times because it just wasn’t practical to drag a wild 2 year old along with me. But by no means does that make him second best. He is loved. As much as our hearts can love anything, and if not more because he has his big brother ever doting on him, caring for him when he has a bump, who knows when to tell me he’s doing something unsafe. Learning from us the unconditional love we have for them both.

siblings second child second best

I still find him fascinating to watch. The way he chews his food within his gummy mouth, each mouthful an adventure. A tired yawn, which I find to be one of the cutest things he does. Watching his face light up when Henry excites him with the smallest of attention and the uncontrollable excitement, hands clapping, when he knows food is being given to him.

siblings second child second best
Those memories may not be written down in that book, the one I am pretty sure has been coloured all over by his older sibling, but they are ingrained into my mind. Cherished pieces of the jigsaw of what makes us whole and the family that we are because of him completing us. And I’m not sure any book can convey those memories.

 

 

 

 

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As the time got closer for our adventures in North America to begin, one of my main concerns after Henry’s overall safety abroad was the flight. Flying with a baby isn’t exactly something that fills any parent with much joy, after all. But it is a necessity of course, so my search began trawling through the internet to find tips to help me prepare for our 9.5hr flight to Chicago with a 10 month old.

tips for flying with a baby or child

Our little Henry is by far the most strong willed baby I am sure I’ve ever met, and I’m sure this will stand him in good stead as an adult, however as a baby it means a situation such as our impending flight and our having to restrain him for most of the waking day was a serious worry for me. He doesn’t sit still for more than 30 seconds at home, gets bored of toys immediately and never watches TV. And when he is made to do something he’s not keen on, my gosh do we know about it! (a phase, right??) As you can imagine not the ideal ingredients for a stress-free flight.

We flew with American Airlines, despite booking with British Airways, and I would be complaining about their terrible service with a frown, lack of refreshments, being made to wait an hour to disembark while Henry wailed his little heart out, the seat belt light being on for 4 hours and constantly being told Henry needed to be restrained  despite zero turbulance…IF they had not given us the bulkhead. This was a Godsend!! I had been frantically trying to get it secured on advanced check in which I was continuously calling & being passed around to no avail. But I could have kissed the check in lady at the airport after she managed to secure it for us as I knew just how much difference this would make to us. It meant he had loads of room to crawl about on the floor and play with lots of exciting things whilst flirting with the ladies on our row.

Setting off from Heathrow!

 

If you are reading this, I am sure you too are looking for help and advice so here are my tips for what helped us with a relatively stress-free flight!

Tips For Flying With A Baby Or Family;

Don’t let the pre-flight stress get to you;

The thought of flying with a baby, or taking a baby on holiday may scare you from even attempting it until they are older. But let’s be honest, a trip down the road isn’t what it used to be when you think of all the paraphernalia you need to remember, how much milk or food they may need and timing it around feeds and nap times. So don’t be put off by it, if you set your expectation that it’s going to be horrendous, then I am positive you will be pleasantly surprised. most airlines really cater well for families with young children.

Get the right flight;
The ideal flight time for long haul is over night to fit in with your baby’s schedule. Unfortunately there wasn’t this option for us so we had to go for a midday flight. try your hardest to get a non stop flight as you not only want to get there as soon as possible, but having to get your child in and out of the aircraft, through terminals and customs adds so much more pressure to you all.

Tips For Flying With A Baby.

Book the “best” seats;
These may not be the best for everyone else, but if you can book ahead then go for seat at each end of a 3 person row (if the flight isn’t full it’s highly unlikely a solo traveller will book the middle seat) this will give you more room to play with and them to play in! If the flight is full then book the aisle if you have a baby who wants to walk or crawl everywhere, or the window seat if you want privacy to nurse or a leaning post to set up camp for them to sleep on you. You then have the added bonus of having a bassinet which clips on for them to sleep in, but beware this isn’t a failsafe; Henry was too big at 10m so they aren’t going to fit most babies above around 9 months.

Take a bag of tricks;
Buy new, small toys to entertain your little one; the excitement of these being unplayed with before may keep them entertained for longer and keep them small so you can take quite a few.
Pack as many snacks as you can, all sealed so they don’t get taken away at customs! Brands such as Organix and Kiddylicious make some organic, sugar free selections; I bought everything on offer as Henry certainly has an appetite on him.

Milk is your saviour;
Regardless of if you’re breast or bottle, milk will soothe and satisfy your baby throughout the flight. Make sure you have it at the ready for take off and landing as it will take away the pain of their ears adjusting to the cabin pressure. I’m still breastfeeding Henry and my nipples were shredded by the end of the flight and there was certainly no milk left, but they definitely helped with his ears. A dummy or pacifier would work too if your baby takes one. Make sure you pack more milk than you think they could need as it having too much isn’t half as much of an issue than running out! – while we’re on this, make sure you pack more of everything you need such as nappies, snacks & clothes as you never know how long you may be delayed along the line.

Dress them for comfort;
It may sound obvious, but you really don’t want to be fussing with intricate outfits with tights and shoes or similar when dealing with a dirty nappy in a miniature aircraft toilet, so make sure your dress baby in something easy and comfortable.

Tips For Flying With A Baby.

Take the right equipment;
Some people choose to take a car seat to fly; which would mean the child will need their own seat on the plane, but for us that just looked like far too much to pack and carry with us, so we are renting one along with the car once we arrive at the destination.
Depending on how many flights you are taking (6 in our case) your stroller is going to need to withstand some serious throwing about. Chances are you also aren’t going to want to travel with your big, special pram from home. We bought a Mamas & Papas Barnie stroller for the trip, which compared to my beloved Sola pram I really don’t like much, but it is lightweight, small and ideal for taking on holiday. These days pushchairs like the BabyZen YoYo can fold small enough to put into the overhead locker so you know they aren’t going to get trashed in the hold.

I really hope these tips help you relax a little about your flight, honestly I was really panicking about ours but it was brilliant in the end. Henry actually only slept for 45 minutes in the whole 9.5 hours and I can still say it went really well, we were so proud of him.

Happy holidaying!!

tips for flying with a baby or child

 

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So we all know toddler tantrums are weird, right? I mean, there’s just nothing like it.

We’ve just come out (barely alive) of a particularly horrific 8 days of tantrums and illness and suddenly my sweet, loving boy, who wants to cuddle and kiss me just because, has returned! Until the next round of course…

During this inexplicable week, Henry was an emotional wreck. I mean, off the scale. Genuinely I didn’t know if I was going to be greeted with a tearful, loving cuddle or the Hulk.

toddler-tantrums

One morning, at the height of this nervous breakdown (him not me, although I was close) over the course around an hour, he gave me this short run down of all the things he “didn’t like/want” in his most cross voice;

  • The heating on.
  • The blue cup
  • The green cup
  • The white cup
  • All of the above again when given the red cup
  • Juice
  • Water
  • The light on
  • The new lounge (?!)
  • Me looking at him
  • Me yawning
  • Every conceivable breakfast option.
  • The cushion under him
  • The cushion taken away
  • The cushion near him

There’s a pattern right – yes, they are all bloody insane. But, that’s the point. Toddlers are walking, talking, crazy hot messes who are irrational, emotional & damn right difficult to be around sometimes. But they can also be the sweetest, most loving, caring & clever little humans on the planet. their immature brains are learning all the things we take for granted – social skills, emotional responses, rational, communication, emotional self regulation, empathy – the list goes on!

It makes me well up when I think of how fricken hard it must be for Henry in this crazy world where he is learning so much about himself, us, life…each & every day and how hard it must be sometimes. I really try to take a step back & not react when he throws himself on the floor in a rage or shouts in my face, anger flaring in his eyes like pools of lava, and just assure him that I am there for him, explain the emotions he’s feeling & try and see it from his perspective…easier said than done, WAY easier! Some days I’m the shouty Mum, and I hate that. Every evening I find myself doing that creepy Mum thing where I sneak in before bed just to watch him sleeping, to kiss his soft head and promise I won’t shout ever again. Until at breakfast at least, after he’s launched his cereal on the floor because it was in the wrong colour bowl.

Obvs. I’m sure you’ve all heard about the lady who was asked to leave John Lewis a while back – I’d love to know if the person who complained has ever had children – I mean, honestly, what is wrong with people?! A knowing nod is all a Mum wants to see when facing the wrath of an angry toddler – we’ve all been there, and if you haven’t, you know you’ve got it to come. That’s the joy of toddlers; the good the bad and the damn right embarrassing. I wouldn’t have mine any other way.

Toddler-tantrums

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I’m asked all the time what my top baby essentials are, and it’s so hard to narrow it down to just 5, however when you’re about to become a parent for the first time, or even subsequent times, the lists of stuff you think you need is just craaaazy. Now obviously somewhere for them to sleep, nappies, milk etc are all essential, but there are so many gadgets and “must have” accessories to this whole baby lark that you can get overwhelmed as to what you really need.

Having had 2 little boys, I have found out the hard (expensive) way, that you just don’t need all. the. stuff. So here is my run down of the things I use most days which make my life as a mama that little bit easier!

baby-essentials

Baby Carrier – Hands free is the best way – especially when you’re busy or have other children to run around after. They love being close to you and you can get on with the housework, dinner, play with your other children while they contently rest on your chest listening to your heartbeat. The benefits to the baby of baby wearing are incredible – it’s a double winner.

Movement monitor – Now I know there are 2 camps on this one, and yes it might be a bit too much for some people, and I totally get that. But personally there is complete and utter peace of mind once this gets switched on and wherever baby is (cot, moses, travel cot etc), I know that he is breathing and well. I would go as far to say that this is my number 1 baby product ever…ever.

Milk preparation machine – Ok, so this one is new to me. Having BF’d both boys for 2 years collectively once it was time for George to move on to formula, I literally didn’t have a clue how to make a bottle up. No idea. There seemed like so many rules, the water had to be a certain temperature or they couldn’t be made up in advance, the list baffled me so we just went the easy route and spent a fortune on pre-made formula. Then we decided to invest in a Perfect Prep and life was suddenly a whole lot easier. If you’re looking to bottle feed I would definitely pick one of these bad boys up in the sale.

Muslins – Take the amount you think you will need, and triple it. Enough said.

Lansinoh – 2 years on and I still can’t bloody pronounce it, but honestly if you’re considering breast feeding you need this tube of wonder in your life. Nothing compares. Yes, you are rubbing some kind of sheep fat into your sore, swollen, engorged boobs but if you really want to give yourself the best shot at breastfeeding then don’t let cracked nipples be the reason you stop!

Check out my video for my top 5 baby essentials.

baby-essentials

 

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