Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Where there's a will, there's a wee...

I haven't felt very confident about starting potty training. (Mind you, I didn't feel very confident about weaning but that turned out OK!) However, it recently became apparent that it might be time to have a go.

I've never really bowed to peer pressure but half of the mums from my antenatal group are well underway with potty training and, having read "Potty Training Girls the Easy Way", I realised that my daughter has been exhibiting signs of readiness for a few weeks now. She is steady on her feet, has good language skills, and can concentrate for quite a long time on complicated tasks, such as jigsaw puzzles. She also understands the toilet routine (having observed me and my husband over the past year or so) and will happily play with and sit on her potty fully clothed.

So, I bit the bullet about a week ago and decided to have a crack.

We'd had a couple of discussions about big girl pants and bought some pretty ones (different colours, with stars and kittens on them), so I put them in a basket in easy reach and plain sight in my daughter's bedroom. I said that we could have a go at wearing them and trying to wee on the potty if she wanted to. A few days later, I suggested that we might have a go after nursery (we have about an hour between getting home and going upstairs for the bath/bed routine) and she said yes.

So, we took off her nappy and put pants on (no trousers). I laid out a play mat, in case of accidents, and put the potty in plain sight. We got a jigsaw puzzle and enjoyed some quiet 1:1 play time. I gave her a drink and a snack. Although she did sit on the potty a couple of times, we had two accidents (one on the play mat, one on the carpet). She got a sticker for sitting on the potty and we talked about what it feels like just before you need to wee. (We'd already established that doing a wee feels hot!)

The next few days, she wasn't in the mood to have another go, so I didn't push it.

Last night, she took me by surprise and, as soon as we got home from nursery, asked if she could wear her big girl pants. "Of course!" I said and set everything up as we had before. This time, there were no accidents and three (count 'em - three!) successful wees in the potty! Lots of stickers were awarded and my daughter telephoned her Auntie H to share the exciting news and receive some praise. Daddy was duly impressed when he got home from work.

We had another go at nappy-free time this morning and she did another wee in the potty. The phrase "There's something in my fanny!" seems to indicate that she has a wee coming!

I think I'm going to stick to offering an hour a day for potty practise for the next few weeks and see how we get on before extending the length of the sessions. It may be some time before we venture out without a nappy on but I'm pleased with her progress so far.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Gender stereotyping

Well, I learned a thing or two about gender stereotypes today. We were having a discussion about 'our baby' and I asked my 2-year-old daughter whether she thought the baby will be a boy or a girl. She wasn't sure but demonstrated for us the differences between boys and girls:

"Boys do running around, like this..." [cue: mad dashing about the lounge] "and kicking a football."
"What do girls like to do?" I asked
"Staying at home."

My husband and I were amused but perplexed by her answer because we have tried not to promote gender stereotyping.

We don't dress her exclusively in pink, for example, but have a rainbow of clothes for her to wear. The toys she has range from a train set and cars, through jigsaws and farm animals, to dolls and a kitchen. The books we read cover a variety of topics and include heroes and heroines in equal measure. Mummy and daddy both work and share the household chores and cooking. Daddy even took her to Music With Mummy classes when he was working part-time.

So, it's interesting to ponder how she came to this conclusion - boys like running around and girls like staying at home.

Perhaps she has observed a difference in behaviour in the children at her nursery? I don't doubt that there are quiet and boisterous children of both sexes there but maybe the boys tend to be more energetic and noisy than the girls? Certainly within our antenatal circle it would be hard to stereotype the children in this way. Or perhaps she has picked up subtle differences or messages from the programmes she watches on TV or from some of the books that she reads?

I don't think we'll ever work it out but it's interesting that she should form her opinion so young.

We responded by finding her (pink, Hello Kitty) football and encouraging her to score goals against the hearth for 5 minutes. She certainly out-played us both and was rewarded with a sticker for her sporting efforts! Then we went for a walk to feed the ducks and buy the ingredients to make rice-crispie cakes.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Ready or not, here I come...?

With less than two months to go until my EDD and this being my second time around, I would have expected to feel more prepared than I do for my new arrival. Instead of feeling generally relaxed and confident in my mothering abilities, I am actually starting to get a bit anxious about how I'll cope with a new baby and a toddler - both of whom will be very needy but in different ways.

I should say that my daughter is extremely excited about the prospect of becoming a big sister. She talks about 'our baby' quite often and practises with her doll, giving it milk and wrapping it up cosy and warm in a blanket. She takes it for walks around the house in its pushchair and sits it up in the bouncer chair that I got down from the loft to air off before the baby is born. She likes to 'tickle' our baby through my bump and says sorry if she forgets to be gentle! She can't decide if she'd prefer a brother or sister and likes to talk about what a big girl she is now. Although she never used one, she has a fascination with dummies and points out other babies that are sucking them. I have explained that she has always sucked her thumb instead (and still does!) but for some reason dummies are objects of interest. We haven't started potty training yet but she is showing signs of readiness so I think we might have to have a go.

I have started to put the nursery together. It has a chest of drawers and a rocking chair (the one I nursed my daughter in) and a basket of my daughter's first toys. I got all the baby clothes and cot bedding down from the loft, washed them and folded them neatly in the drawers ready for use. We have a moses basket, borrowed from my sister, but no mattress. After some deliberation (and two fruitless trips to mothercare to buy a moses basket mattress), we have decided not to bother with it but just to use the cot from day one. So we have bought a new cot mattress (current advice is not to pass mattresses from one sibling to another) and will have to erect the cot in our bedroom once the baby is born.

My overnight bag is packed (subject to a few last-minute additions, such as snacks), ready and waiting for the big day.

So, in practical terms, I guess I am ready but it struck me the other day just how much hard work it was when my daughter was born, how tired I felt and how long it took me to get back on my feet - how am I going to manage with a toddler as well?!

I suppose the answer is that I just will. I'll have to get on with it, try to keep my daughter's routine as normal as possible, juggle the competing demands of two children, ask for help from family and friends and muddle through as best I can!

I'm re-reading "The Second Baby Survival Guide" and I'm going to flick through the first chapter or two of "Your Baby Week By Week" (which I found extremely helpful last time) just to remind myself about newborns but then I guess it's just a case of waiting to see...

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Autumn stroll

We have had a lot of rainy weather recently but, although the ground was wet, this morning was lovely and sunny and warm. Over our eggs and bacon breakfast, my daughter said she wanted to put on her sunglasses and a hat and walk "all the way over there!" (pointing out of the conservatory window and over the fields).

So, all three of us put our wellies on and went on a family walk. We took a plastic bag to collect autumn treasures that we could make a collage with later on. 

We jumped in loads of muddy puddles (so much so, that two of us had to get completely re-dressed after we returned home!) and found conkers, feathers and leaves of various shapes, sizes and colours. We played pooh sticks when we got to the river and saw some horses and cows. What an adventure!

My husband and I were amazed and very pleased with how far our 2-year old managed to walk before she asked for a shoulder ride. The whole route was probably about a mile and a half and we were more than halfway round before she started to flag.

When we got home, we had warm drinks and biscuits and then started making our collage. Here is the result - a sparkly, autumn treasure picture!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Packing my bags!

With only ten weeks until my EDD, I have decided it's time to get my hospital bags packed. Like last time, I'm packing on the assumption of spending one night in hospital. I really wish I'd taken the time to make a note last time of what I used and what was a waste of space in my overnight bag, but I didn't. So I'm trying to do it from memory and with pointers from the NetMums list.


  • breast pads (5 pairs) 
  • maternity pads (one pack)
  • hairbrush, comb and two hair bobbles
  • disposable nail file
  • lip balm
  • toothbrush
  • travel-sized alcohol hand rub
  • Bio oil
  • deodorant
  • hand cream
  • lanolin 
  • travel-sized shampoo and shower gel
  • earplugs (I didn't use any last time I was in hospital but they don't take up much space in the bag!)

Things for me:

  • slippers
  • fluffy socks (2 pairs)
  • large cotton pants (much more comfortable than disposable knickers!)
  • nursing bra (a crop-top style one because I'll get properly fitted a week or so after the birth)
  • cheap, old nightie to labour/birth in
  • nice, new nightie for after the birth
  • soft, jersey jogging bottoms (in a size larger than I would normally wear)
  • wrap cardigan to wear over nightie
  • going home outfit (long-sleeved nursing top, maternity jeans [not pictured] and socks)

Things for baby:
  • vests x3
  • baby-gros x2
  • cardigan
  • cotton hat
  • socks (1 pair)
  • scratch mitts (1 pair)
  • muslins x2
  • nappies
  • cotton wool
  • blanket, woolly hat and snowsuit (for going home in)

There are a few extra items that I need to buy before my packing is complete: extra pairs of pants; travel-sized toothpaste; notebook and pen (to record baby's feeds and nappy changes); bendy straws; a packet of hob-nobs (I got really hungry doing night-feeds last time!) and some other snacks. I'm also going to buy a present for my daughter from the new baby.

I need to remember to pack my maternity jeans (but I'm wearing them at the moment!), a plastic jug, my maternity notes, camera, mobile phone and some cash to cover car-parking charges at the hospital.

I'm planning to borrow a TENS machine from the local midwifery unit, as I did last time, but I won't be able to collect this until a fortnight before my due date. Finally, we will have to get the baby car seat down from the loft and fit it in the car a few weeks before I'm due.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

30th week blues

I've been struggling this week because what I thought was just another cold has turned out to be acute sinusitis and bronchitis! After two days of cold symptoms and extreme tiredness, I developed a wheeze and chesty cough, which made it hard to breathe. The weekend was horrible, with me feeling poorly, my husband tired from a week at work and my daughter clingy and whiny because mummy wouldn't play properly.

It all came to a head overnight on Saturday/Sunday. I had just two hours sleep! Every time I lay down, my nose blocked and the wheezing worsened. I tried to sleep sitting up but couldn't. At 7am, I got up and phoned the out of hours doctor. Thankfully, they gave me an appointment at 9.30am.

We all went to the out of hours clinic. My daughter said "Doctor will make mummy happy." She was right. The doctor diagnosed the two problems and prescribed some drugs, which have made a huge difference. I'm signed off work so that I can rest and recover properly and I'm gradually getting back on my feet.

Obviously, the past week hasn't been particularly enjoyable but it has made me think about a few things. Firstly, I'm glad that I'll be taking 5 weeks off work before my due date. I'm getting heavier and finding it harder to move around so I'm going to need that time to gather my strength for labour. Secondly, I realised just how much my family relies on me to be 'normal'. They don't like it when I'm running on half-speed or disorganised! Thirdly, I realised just how much I do each day and that I probably ought to work out ways of making some things easier - the cooking, for example. Although I'm hoping not to be unwell after giving birth, I remember how long it took me to recover last time and how much help I needed from family to keep the house running and food on the table. It's going to be very important to maintain as much normality a possible for my daughter when her new sibling arrives.