8 things I loved about last week 

I loved getting my December weekly spreads and my 2018 year at a glance spreads all prepped in my bullet journal.

I loved getting the kids’ stockings sorted – yes already! Maternity leave means I need to spread the cost of Christmas carefully this year.

I loved being completely done with swaddling Piper. She’s so sweet in her cuddly sleeping bag.

I loved taking advantage of John’s night shifts to catch up with Great British Bake Off and the Apprentice.

I loved singing five little monkeys and wheels on the bus with Tom and taking it in turns to complete each line.

I loved seeing our friends Jon and Betsy for lunch on Wednesday. John and Jon have been friends since primary school and were each other’s Best Men. Jon is also one of Tom’s godfathers. They live in America so we don’t see them often and now they are expecting their first child so it will be even harder to get together in the future. It was especially lovely to see Jon and Tom playing together.

I loved eating loads of Moroccan food – I made a ton for lunch on Wednesday so there was enough to do three more meals.

I loved doing the kids’ 2017 photo books. I’ve done one every Christmas for Tom and will do the same for Piper so that they can look back over the years and see all the fun things we did.

This post covers w/c 16 Oct. 

Piper – 16 weeks 

Piper turned 16 weeks on Thursday 14th September, making 14th September to 20th September her 17th week of life. Here’s what was going on for her this week.

What we did: after moving house on Tuesday, we spent the first few days unpacking, hanging curtains and assembling flat pack furniture. Piper was great at amusing herself on her playgym as we got on with sorting things out.

Sunday we went to my in-laws for lunch, along with my sister-in-law and her family, two of her friends and my brother-in-law. John stayed for lunch but then had to go to work. Piper grabbed some sleep in the arms of my sister-in-law’s husband, but otherwise was awake and playful. She especially enjoyed our walk to the South Bank in my arms (I had forgotten the sling). 

On Monday I had to go into work for a training session. My mum came to look after Tom, but I hadn’t had enough time to pump for all the feeds we’d be missing so I had to take Piper with me. She did amazing. Slept in the sling for the first session and then alternated between dozing and chatting for the second. My colleagues were very impressed!

Tuesday we spent the morning back at the old flat. John took Piper with him and Tom to get a haircut (they got a haircut, not Piper) so I could concentrate on cleaning. She napped briefly in her buggy and then in the car seat while I finished up cleaning.

Wednesday she accompanied Tom and I to Tom’s new nursery for his first day of settling. I tried to fit it into her awake time but she did fall asleep in the sling on the way back. Then my sister-in-law came round in the evening to see the new flat and have dinner. Piper treated her to a few smiles before obligingly going to bed a bit early.

Feeding: another good week. She missed a few days of having her bottle whilst we were sorting the flat but returned to it with no issues.

Sleeping: never smooth is it! I had gotten complacent because Piper seemed to be doing OK settling in the new flat. Then it all went wrong! Thursday night she screamed for almost an hour at bedtime. I tried everything: checked nappy, burped, removed blankets, jiggled, patted, picked up, put down… Nothing worked. Finally I just stroked her hair (because I really wanted someone to be doing that for me at that moment) and she suddenly spit up a bit of milk and fell asleep. John wasn’t home so I had this to deal with on my own. A big glass of wine was needed after I finally got out of the room at 20.30! Fortunately she then slept until 4.15 and went back down after her feed with the dummy.
I had a few issues settling her for naps Friday afternoon and even resorted to the dummy for the cat nap as I was short on time to get her down and Tom bathed before she needed to be up again. Friday bedtime was another shocker – I was in the middle of settling her when Tom started crying. Rushed to him to find he had broken a music box he has and there was glass everywhere. So I had to put Piper on the bed and go clear up. By the time I got back to her she was very upset so I shh patted in my arms and then jiggled her down in the cot. She was asleep by 19.45 so a big improvement on Thursday night.

Saturday night she again wouldn’t settle, despite my attempts to shh pat and jiggle her down. Finally she fell asleep at 20.30 after an hour and a half of trying. She just didn’t seem very sleepy.

I had originally thought that she was struggling with the move, but, as it had lasted several days, I began to think she might need a longer awake time at this time of day, since she seemed to be extending her wake times generally. The next four days we were away from home and off schedule anyway, but I decided to try making both the third and fourth naps catnaps and therefore extending the final awake time to two hours. I’m trying to preserve our current bedtime as it fits with Tom, otherwise I’d have dropped the fourth nap altogether and moved bedtime earlier. The days we were out and she missed naps she went down fine which supported my theory that she was simply not tired enough.

Several nights this week she woke up because she’d managed to get her arms out of the swaddle and then struggled to get back to sleep even after I reswaddled her. I searched the Internet for solutions and decided to try this “secret swaddling” technique. I used a receiving blanket and our love to dream swaddle and so far it is working well.

Working on: she’s getting better and better at self soothing with her hands during awake time and often finds her thumb. She seemed a little less interested in trying to roll back to front this week because she was so busy with her hands. Now we have more space we have her playgym permanently out and she is loving exploring the different toys. She still loves nappy off time and is at her most active during it.

Other things: She’s up to size 3 when she wears disposable nappies.

She has suddenly extended her awake times and can now manage an hour and a half for most, though it depends how well she has napped.

I have started putting her down in the room she will share with Tom for her first nap, so they can both get used to her sleeping in there. The first time I tried it he woke her up twice! Now I am trying to keep him out of there so she can sleep well.

I’m introducing her to a muzy comforter in the hope that she will eventually adopt it as a transitional object. So far she just has it at story time and I am sleeping with it so it picks up my scent. Soon I plan to move onto having her hold it during feeds, especially at bedtime, so she associates it with comfort.

Schedule: since her awake times have extended her schedule changed again this week. Since we were out and about so much it wasn’t actually like this any day but in theory it is now as follows:

6.00 – awake and feed

7.30 – nap 1 (this and next nap interrupted at 45 minutes and extended with dummy)

9.30 – feed

11.00 – nap 2

13.00 – feed

14.30 – nap 3

15.15 – feed

16.45 – nap 4

17.30 – feed

18.00 – nappy free play

18.30 – bath and pjs

18.45 – stories

19.00 – feed

19.15 – cuddles

19.30 – bed

Once swaddle issues were resolved, one feed sometime between 2.00 and 4.45. Occasional early morning wake up around 5.30 but back to dozing with dummy.

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!

Tom monthly summary – August

What we did: What a crazy busy month August has been! We completed on our new flat on 31 July so spent a lot of this month over there doing the work needed before we move in. Tom was a great help in stripping off the statement wallpaper but found the days we spent there quite boring as everyone was too busy to play with him and his attempts at helping with painting were not fully appreciated…

Tom, Piper and I spent the first August weekend at my parents’ house. Tom had a great time helping grandpa in the garden and loved playing with his new sandpit. We also attended a little rowing regatta near Henley. Tom has been every year since he was born. He behaved beautifully despite some issues with tantrums earlier in the day and had fun getting to know my friends. I’m the only one of the group with kids so there is no one else for him to play with yet, but he did really well with the long day.

The next weekend we went up to Suffolk for a friend’s wedding. More details on that here. Tom really enjoyed all the adult attention but especially seeing his cousin Rose, who is just 5 weeks younger than him. They really adore each other. We let them sleep in the same room on Saturday night, which they loved, although it did take quite a while before they stopped playing and dropped off to sleep. He also went swimming with John.

The Wednesday after we returned to my parents’ house before driving down to Somerset on Thursday to stay in a National Trust cottage before my cousin’s wedding on the Saturday. Tom did brilliantly with the long drive, though he did have a bit of trouble at the end on the way back – he was just really over being in the car at that point. He discovered board games for the first time, played in WW defenses on the beach, and bonded with my parents’ new puppy. He also behaved brilliantly at the wedding despite the late night and lack of a nap.

The final weekend we were back up to Suffolk for the funeral of Tom’s great grandmother. Again, the highlight for Tom was seeing Rose. We were fortunate to have beautiful weather and the two of them spent whole days outside in the courtyard playing, just returning to the house for food and sleep.

The last day of August was Tom’s 3rd birthday. Since Thursdays are a nursery day for him, he helped me to make a cake to take in to share with his friends. We celebrated as a family on Friday which will be part of the September summary.

Behaviour: Tom has had some challenging behaviour this month, not helped by how busy we have been and by us having a new baby and a new flat to concentrate on. He really struggles with listening to us and doing what he is told. He also had some major meltdowns early in the month, mainly to do with bathtime. However, I do feel like he was improving on this towards the end of the month, with frequent reminders to listen to mummy and daddy. John and I are trying to be more consistent with our response to trying behaviour which seems to be helping, though being sleep deprived means we are less patient than we should be.

We’ve also been working on him saying ‘please may I have’ rather than ‘I want’. Currently he still needs the reminder and will rarely get it right first time, but he’s getting better. He is great at saying thank you for things.

Working on: Tom really made a big shift in his independence this month. Perhaps having a little sister makes him feel more of a big kid? He has started getting in and out of his booster seat by himself, started putting on his own shoes, and is trying to master pants and trousers. He also has been much braver about getting in the pool and about my in-laws cat, who he has always been afraid of.

He also became interested in letters and has really improved his counting. He has great communication skills and has started telling us stories. John is teaching him left and right and he can identify which foot and hand is which and gets it right every time.

Playing with: He was loving the sandpits at both grandparents’ house this month. He still loves cars but plays with them less than he did. He also loves his plastic animals. He will often pretend to go to the shops. He still loves books and will ‘read’ to himself after we tuck him in at night. He also enjoys colouring and play dough and is trying to master using scissors.

He is getting better at playing with Piper now that she is more interactive, but has issues with being too rough (not unexpected for a 3 year old but difficult to manage). Sometimes he will play nicely for a while giving her toys and things, but often will push the boundaries by lying on top of her or trying to move her head around which means I have to be very vigilant when he is wanting to be involved with her. Rose is still his favourite playmate, though he does get a bit frustrated that she often won’t do what he tells her (boy, do I know how that feels…)

Sleep: bedtimes are much improved and he is no longer feeling the need to test our resolve. He’ll play quietly in his room for a while after we say good night and then go to sleep. I rarely hear him up past 8 anymore. He is still waking early but I think he was actually doing this for a long time and just lying in bed waiting for us to get up. Now that I’m up with Piper at 6, he will usually get up then too. so I have to make sure I open his door gate on the way past so he can come out if I am feeding her

He is still napping almost every day but we have moved the nap to after lunch which means he sleeps much longer and goes down much faster. If he’s tired earlier in the day he will sometimes go and quietly put himself to bed. Very rarely he will just play instead of sleeping at nap time, but I figure this is part of the transition to eventually having quiet time instead. 

Eating: Good as always! We are making him try a little of everything on his plate now before he can have anything else, so he is making real progress in eating his veggies. He still loves fruit, yoghurt and, of course, ice cream. When John has an evening shift I will now eat dinner with Tom which means he is being exposed to a wider range of foods.

Potty: still days where we have a lot of accidents but he is completely dry most days now and has even managed a few number twos in the potty. He still wears a nappy for naps and bedtime, though is dry for naps at nursery where he will only sleep an hour instead of two. He’ll have the odd day now when he will just take himself to the potty without me reminding him.

Tom is three!

I cannot believe that my little boy is three already. The last year has been a complete whirlwind for him and there are even more changes to come this year. Not only are we moving house and finding him a new nursery, but we’ll have to start looking at schools for him since he will be starting this time next year!

Tom, you are my lovely, crazy boy. It’s not always the easiest dealing with you as you move into being a ‘threenager’ but I know a lot of it comes from your inquisitive nature and fierce need to explore and understand the world. You are so bright and energetic, but can also be sweet and gentle (though we are working on you showing this side to your little sister). You have gained so much confidence this year and are my little chatterbox, always asking questions and telling stories. I love your imagination and your love of books, your kind heart and generous nature. Happy birthday my Tom bear!