Finding my groove

Becoming a mum of two, being on maternity leave, and moving house has meant that my old routines and familiar life has undergone a complete transformation in the last few months and, to be honest, I have struggled at times. There’s been a lot of choosing convenience over ethics around here just lately, a lot of shouting, and a lot of days when I have questioned whether I would ever be able to do more than just survive to bedtime.

But Piper is now five months and, the last few weeks, I’ve noticed that things are feeling much easier. I’m getting back to myself as a person – reading more (and not only about parenting), engaging with new ideas, wanting to socialise, eating more healthily, choosing to walk rather than take public transport, buying second hand or not at all rather than going straight onto Amazon. I’m also getting back to myself as a parent – shouting less, being more patient, coming back to the compassionate, respectful, connected way of communicating that used to be how I predominately interacted with Tom.

Part of it is simply that Piper sleeps better and plays more, so I’m less tired and feeling less intensely needed by her – giving me more time, energy and physical presence to share with Tom, John and myself. But it has also been meeting mums locally and settling into the area, seeing friends and family, and feeling more settled into the new flat.

I’ll be back to work in January and things will change again, but for the moment I am enjoying having so much time to spend with the children and getting to know our new home.

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Goodbye to you

It’s moving day! We’ve been working towards this ever since our offer on the new flat was accepted in April and, up until a few days ago, I was looking forward to finally living in our own place with nothing but excited anticipation.

Ever since Tom’s last day at nursery last week though I have been feeling surprisingly emotional. Although I am excited for this new chapter in our lives, we will be walking away from the flat and area that have been our home for 4 years now.

Goodbye to the flat which has been our longest home since we got married. Goodbye to the flat we brought both our babies back to after they were born, where we have navigated sleepless nights, cloth nappies and weaning.

Even more painfully, goodbye to the landscape that has been such a big part of our son’s life. Goodbye to the marshes where he took his first steps. Goodbye to Leyton Jubilee Park where he first went on a swing, down a slide, and tasted a blackberry. 

Goodbye to our walk to nursery, to our doctors’, to the library. Goodbye to my commute, my tai chi class, our NCT group.

Tom won’t remember this place that was his first home. But I will. And I will miss it.

Days with two

Someone seems to have pressed the fast forward button on my life. I can’t believe how quickly the time goes now. How can Tom be three? How can Piper be 3 months? Surely it was only yesterday I was bringing them each home from the hospital.

Day to day, it feels like we achieve very, very little. We are often still in pyjamas past 10 am. Unless John is home or I have to drop Tom at nursery, we rarely make it further than the garden. And yet the days fly by. Though having said that, some individual hours can last for years. I seem to spend my whole time cooking, cleaning, changing nappies, and putting someone down for a nap! An average day now looks something like this:

6.00 – my alarm goes off and I immediately press cancel before it wakes Piper or John.

6.05 – alarm two goes off. I quietly wake Piper if she’s not already awake and take her to the living room for a feed.

6.20 – Piper is done nursing and Tom is up. I change her nappy, pop her on her fleece to play, and get him breakfast. Whilst he eats and she plays, I get my own breakfast and a cup of coffee.

6.45 – breakfast is over and Tom “plays” with Piper which requires very close supervision. I distract him by brushing his teeth and bribing him to go to the potty.

7.10 –  Piper is getting tired but I’m trying to extend this awake time, so I get down on the floor with her to try to keep her happy a little longer.

7.20 – time to settle Piper for her nap. Tom gives her a kiss and I take her to our room whilst he amuses himself in his bedroom.

7.30 – Piper is asleep. Tom and I play in his room or the living room. 

8.00 – leaving Tom to play, I go to load up the washing machine for the day’s first wash and start to clear the breakfast things. 

8.15 – washing up done, I look over my to do list and start knocking off any admin tasks. Piper wakes up and I go to give her the dummy so she will go back to sleep. This will need repeating roughly every 20 minutes until she gets up. One of these waking typically wakes John and he’ll get up to get breakfast and a cup of coffee. 

8.45 – Tom is bored of amusing himself. We play a game, do a puzzle, or sit him down for some colouring. 

9.00 – I jump in the shower whilst John looks after the kids. 

9.20 – time to get Piper up for her next feed. I wake her if she’s not already awake. John goes for a bath. 

9.35 – Piper is done. I take her nappy off and lay her on the floor on her change mat for some nappy free play. John and I take it in turns to distract Tom from “playing” with her. 

9.50 – first wash is done. I unload the machine into our washing bag ready to be hung out later. 

10.00 – The kids play. I keep an eye on them whilst tidying the living room, putting away dry nappies, or checking my emails. 

10.15 – Piper is beginning to get a little fussy so I get down to play with her. We sing songs, do baby massage, or work on her grasping skills. Tom usually joins in. 

10.30 – I put Piper’s nappy on and take her to settle for her nap. 

10.40 – Piper is asleep. I take the washing outside to hang. Tom comes with me so he can play in the garden. John keeps an ear on Piper, though I can hear her from the garden too. On the rare days there is no washing to hang, I might get Tom dressed and head to the park with him for an hour or so, leaving John to look after Piper. 

11.20 – Piper is awake. One of us goes to give her the dummy so she can sleep more. We get Tom dressed if this hasn’t happened earlier. 

11.40 – I start to prepare lunch whilst Tom and John play. 

12.10 – lunchtime. John, Tom and I sit down together to eat. 

12.30 – lunch is over. John does the washing up. 

12.40 – time for Piper’s next feed. John reads Tom stories and puts him down for his nap whilst I feed her. Sometimes John gives her a bottle instead and I put Tom down.  

13.00 – Piper is done and Tom is in bed. John and I have a quiet moment to drink our coffees whilst Piper plays on her fleece. If she had a bottle I pump to replace the feed. 

13.45 – John starts getting ready for work and I change Piper’s nappy. 

13.50 – I say goodbye to John and take Piper for her nap. 

14.00 – for a brief moment, both children are in bed at the same time. I read a book, write a blog post, or spend some time browsing baby forums. 

14.30 – Tom is up from his nap. We play games, tidy his room, or tell each other stories. Piper wakes around 14.40 and I resettle her with the dummy. 

15.30 – I get Piper up for her next feed. If she didn’t have a bottle earlier she has one now. 

15.45 – Piper is done and goes down on her fleece to play. If I’ve given her the bottle I do a quick pump session to replace the feed. 

16.15 – I put a nappy wash on, then play with the kids. 

16.40 – I take Piper for her nap whilst Tom plays in his room. 

16.50 – Piper is asleep. I make dinner for Tom and I  and we sit down to eat. 

17.30 – dinner is over. I run Tom a bath and he plays with his bath toys. 

17.45 – Tom gets out of the bath and puts on pyjamas. I put a cartoon on the computer for him to watch. 

18.00 – I get Piper up for her next feed. 

18.15 – Piper is done. I put her on her change mat for some nappy off play and do the washing up. 

18.30 – I run Piper a bath and turn off the cartoon. Tom helps me bathe her. I get her into her sleepsuit ready for the night. 

18.45 – all three of us snuggle in Tom’s bed to read stories. Piper is often a bit fussy so I bounce her on my knee or give her a dummy while I read to Tom. 

19.00 – I tuck Tom in and say goodnight, then take Piper to our room for a top up feed. She often drops off to sleep during it, but will usually wake up as I burp her. 

19.15 – feed over, Piper and I cuddle for at least 10 minutes before I put her down. Sometimes she fusses a little, others she falls asleep before I put her in her cot. I aim to put her down heavy lidded but still awake, so she can fall asleep on her own in her cot. 

19.30 – Piper is asleep. I sort out the bathroom, tidy the living room and hang the nappies to dry. 

20.00 – me time! I make a snack and sit down to watch some TV or read a book. 

21.00 – time for my evening pump session. I watch TV whilst I pump. 

21.30 – milk goes into the fridge. I wash and sterilise the pump and the day’s bottle, and do any last washing up, then wipe down the kitchen. 

21.45 – bedtime for me. I sneak in quietly to avoid waking Piper. 

00.45 – Piper wakes for a feed. 

1.15 – Piper back down. John usually is home by now and sneaks into bed. 

4.00 – Piper is up for another small feed. 

4.15 – Piper back down

5.15 – Piper is awake again and wanting to start the day. I give her the dummy and she falls back into a light doze, but wakes every 10 mins or so when the dummy falls out. 

6.00 – my alarm goes off and we start all over again!

Everything Changes

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When I last wrote on this blog, Tom was less than two years old. A lot has changed in the last 18 months. Tom is now almost three, chattering away in full sentences, potty trained, learning to dress himself and with very strong opinions on what he will and won’t do. And most importantly of all, he is now a big brother, since the arrival of our daughter Piper on 25 May 2017.

With two children to house, there are some big changes for Mr Techno and I too, and we bought our first flat in East Ham last week. We are still living in Leyton in our rental flat for the moment whilst we replace floors and paint walls, but hope to be in by the end of September. This means more big changes for Tom – not just a new home but a new nursery too. He’s been at his current nursery since he was 6 months old so we will all be sad to leave that familiar environment behind. We’ve found a lovely new one for him in East Ham though and I hope to get him registered this week. Piper will join him once she’s 6 months old, as I’ll be returning to work around then.

Outdoor time has been suffering, what with a new baby and lots of work to do on the flat. But I’ve missed having this blog as a record of our lives. I’d love to have had a written record of the early days with Tom, so I’m starting again so that I will have a record of Piper’s babyhood, as well as to chart life for Tom as a preschooler (and beyond?) This is going to be much more of a diary than it was previously and far less focused on outdoor adventures, though I hope we will continue to have many of those too. After all, a new neighbourhood means new parks to explore and a new baby means we have another child to introduce to this wonderful world.

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“No, No, No!”

Tom may only be 19 months old, but it’s clear that toddler-stubbornness is already setting in. Handily, he has decided to learn the word ‘no’ in order to explain to us exactly what we are doing wrong. Which currently seems to be everything!

To add to the already long list of things Tom doesn’t like, which includes things like getting dressed, having his nappy changed, having his teeth brushed by other people, having his face wiped, having his hair washed, vegetables… we now have to add baths without bubbles, getting into the high chair, getting out of the high chair, and having to take his shoes off.

I have to assume that being sick so much lately is partly to blame – we certainly have a huge step up in tantrums when he’s tired, and his response to being ill is to sleep a lot (I know. We are very lucky. Don’t hate me). Sadly though, I suspect much of this is just the wonderful world of self-assertiveness that is toddlerdom.

Fortunately, one of the few things Tom doesn’t say no to is outdoor play. In fact, I narrowly diverted a tantrum on Saturday morning when he brought me his shoes, and then his coat, so we could go play in the garden. He was still in his pajamas, wasn’t wearing a nappy, and refused to put his blanket down…but we rolled with it anyway. After all, next door’s cat was sitting on our fence so clearly needed it’s peace interrupting!

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