White Cotton Peonies

Surviving the first months of nursery

Parenting / Sep 19, 2017 / 0 Comments
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Dickie and I had always agreed that when Bells turned 9 months old, we’d send her to nursery for a couple of mornings per week. We thought that it would be good for her to socialise, to learn new skills, to share…. and of course it meant a few precious hours to get done all of the jobs that we’d been putting off. We could do this, we were ready.

After what felt like a never-ending search (more about searching for nurseries in another post), we finally found a nursery that we loved and so the time came after many settling in sessions for Bells to take the big step into the world of nursery land.

After many tears (all mine) and having resigned myself to the fact that she was growing up far quicker than I’d like, the big day came. Of course, I was expecting the first day to be tough, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. However, nobody warned me that this was the start of a tough few couple of months. I’d thought that I’d share with you some of the challenges that we faced so that if you’re going through it, you know you’re not alone and if your little one is about to start, you know how to prepare….

THE NURSERY BUG

No, I’m not talking about an obsession with going to nursery sadly… I’m talking every illness under the sun for 4 months solid. Everybody will tell you that it’s good for their immune systems, but there comes a time where you think enough already. Not to mention that they often can’t go to nursery if they’re sick and so it takes longer for them to settle as a result. Fun. However, after month 4, you’re generally all good and things get much better, so hang on in there.

SHARING IS CARING

Whilst you might have thought one benefit of your little Munchkin going to nursery was them learning to share, you didn’t expect the first thing that they’d go and share was their illnesses! Whilst our immune systems have definitely developed, having noses wiped on you and surviving on very little sleep means you stand no chance of warding off the nasty bugs.

FOOD STRIKE

This certainly doesn’t go for everyone, but sadly we were blessed with a fussy eater who isn’t great at the best of times. Of course, they’re in a strange environment and so their usual eating habits will be thrown out of sync for a while. However for us, aside from Rice Krispies in the morning (there’s no keeping the girl away from them), she refused all meals and alternatives for 5 months straight. I’d have to collect her from nursery at lunchtime and take her straight for something to eat before we could get on with our day. However, with persistence, an increasing desire to copy her nursery buddies and with me withdrawing alternatives upon pick up, she caved and now eats better there than at home. Have faith that it will come good and don’t be afraid to talk to the nursery to come up with some different solutions.

SEPARATION ANXIETY

Nobody can prepare you for the physical heartbreak that you feel when you leave your Mini Human sobbing in the hands of a stranger for the first time. However, before long, I soon realised that the tears soon stopped when I left the room (I’m pretty sure they were for my benefit). Trying to squeeze in as many settling in sessions as possible before they start (which are usually free, BONUS!) will definitely prepare them and make them feel more familiar when the time comes. It’s also important to build their trust that you’re coming back, so I always give Bells a kiss, tell her I’ll be back at lunchtime and leave the room as quickly as possible to prevent causing a fuss. Bells now squeals with delight when she gets to nursery, which I can’t say I’m overly impressed about…. #jealousy

SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK

As any parent will know, sleep is often the first thing affected when there’s a change in the baby’s life (or the day ends in Y). Nursery is a massive change for them, a new environment and probably the greatest period of time that they’ve spent away from you and so often when they come home they’re super clingy and not keen on sleeping in case you aren’t there when they wake up. With mum guilt at it’s peak, it’s easy to feel like the best thing that you can do is to allow them to sleep with you, but this will only prolong the problem. The sleep situation will rectify itself and by sticking to your usual routine, you are providing them with some familiarity, which is so important in such a period of change.

NAPS SNAPS

Speaking of sleep, it’s not unusual for your dearly beloved routine to go out of the window when your Mini Me starts nursery and there’s far too much going on for them to nap. Fear not, your hard work hasn’t been wasted. Within a couple of weeks, the novelty will have worn off and they’ll be begging for naps having had sensory overload from everything going on around them. Once again, communication is key and so speaking to the nursery to help educate them about your usual routine will really help. Bells has a muslin and a toy horse that she takes with her for naps from home, which helps her nod off too.

Before you know it, your little one will be settled and you’ll be wondering what all of the fuss was about… how many times up until now have you found yourself sleep deprived or worried, wondering if it will ever end? Plus, there’s the best bit… the pick up… spying them before they spy you, watching them play and then seeing their faces light up when they spot you…  That is of course, unless you’re Bells and your mum walks in to find you giving your Key Worker a cuddle that you’ve never given your parents EVER. We’re not bitter about it at all, honest.

I hope that helps. If you have any other tips or advice, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

M xox

From Poland with love…

ParentingVideo / Sep 4, 2017 / 0 Comments

Firstly, my sincerest apologies for being so slack at the weekly videos! I haven’t given up on them I promise, a combination of things have just gotten in the way recently. The good news is, that I’m making up for lost time, so there are plenty of videos to come…. and lots of different locations too, so you won’t just have to stare at our ugly mugs.

This week’s video features a trip to Poznan in Poland for a friend’s wedding. I left out the part where one of the group got insanely drunk and went missing for 12 hours… because, well, that wasn’t fun for anyone… However, I hope that you enjoy the rest of it.

Don’t forget, if you enjoy it, please take the time to give it a big thumbs up and if you haven’t already, to subscribe.

Thank you! M xxx

Our smarTfold Adventure | REVIEW

ParentingReviews / Aug 10, 2017 /
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Last week the guys at smarTrike kindly got in touch to see if we’d be interested in taking their latest wheels for a spin. It took the whole of two seconds (I’ve never been good at playing it cool) to respond excitedly to say that we would.

Bells first used a trike on her birthday back in June and absolutely loved it so I knew that she was likely to be a fan. However, previously, she’s been in control of steering and it’s been somewhat of a burden to pack away in the car and therefore has not made an appearance at as many family days as we would have liked. Queue the smarTfold.

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Unlike the other trikes that I’ve come across, this one literally took no assembly, just pop the wheels on and arrange the bag and you’re pretty much good to go! There’s also handy red buttons which act as a dummy reminder for people like me who can’t remember to fold the thing, although it’s so easy to do that once you’ve done it once, it’s a breeze… and super quick too.

One of the best features that I’ve found however, is the rotating front wheel which you can click into place choosing whether your little monkey has control of the steering or you. Before now, on other trikes, I’ve been forced to put Bells on the back two wheels to avoid us being steered into oncoming traffic (once again). However this swifty little feature means that she can feel like she’s steering as much as she likes but I’ve got ultimate control, mwahaha.

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We took the smarTfold on an adventure to one of our favourite spots, Odds Farm to put it through it’s paces. I’m pretty sure the team would be a little bit mortified if they realised that within 5 minutes, I was pushing her through long grass and over rough terrain as I managed to get us lost, but I’m happy to report that Bells’ new wheels dealt with the challenge like a trooper… Bells looked positively comfy in fact.

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With an increasing desire for independence (mum who?), this is the perfect solution for getting out and about quickly and allowed Bells to get up close and personal with the action. I’m pretty sure that none of the goats appreciated this but Bells was in her element. It was great to see her really embracing everything going on… she grinned like a cheshire cat from start to finish (although her camera poses would have you believe otherwise!!).

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Our adventure was such a success that we’re considering taking the smarTfold to Poland with us next weekend. Thankfully it folds down small enough that we’re able to take it as hand luggage onto the plane and means we won’t be left lugging the heavy monkey around as we try and locate her pram. Obviously the only drawback is that she can’t take daytime naps in it as it has no way of lying flat (that would just be a damned miracle) but we’re planning to get around that by taking the baby carrier for her to snooze on the go.

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We were super luck to be gifted this amazing trike by the guys at smarTrike as part of their #smarTdiscoveries campaign, but I can hand on heart say that I’ll be recommending it to all of the mamas that I know. Retailing at £130, I’m pretty sure it’s just made our expensive pram redundant. AWKWARD.

You can check it out for yourself here or if you haven’t already watched, we made a little video.

M xox

Our toughest week yet.

ParentingVideo / Aug 6, 2017 /

Hey guys,

We’re so sorry for the radio silence last week, life just got in the way. Dickie was on a stag do and Bells and I have been poorly. We love creating these videos for you, we really do, but they also take a lot (both in terms of shooting and editing) and sometimes when you’re running on empty, it’s just impossible, so please forgive us.

ANYWAY, normal service has resumed, so expect more fun from next week. I really want to get more into roughly shot vlogs where I can include you guys in a lot more of our lives, but I seem to be getting in my own way of doing that… the drawbacks of being a perfectionist. Hopefully you’ll see more of that to come. If you enjoy the videos, please take the time to subscribe to our YouTube channel and you can always check out our 1 minute snippets over on Instagram searching for #KentishDiaries.

Thanks as always for your continued support.

M xox

 

My daughter, the flirt.

Parenting / Aug 3, 2017 /
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Bells had been in this big scary world for precisely 10 minutes before Dickie took it upon himself to warn her about the danger of boys. I wish that was a joke, it really isn’t. I can only imagine the years of pain that we have yet to incur.

Therefore, you can understand my hesitation to break the news that our daughter is the biggest flirt that I’ve ever met… and no, she doesn’t get it from me.

The flirting started a few weeks ago. Up until her first birthday, Bells showed no interest in interacting with anybody other than us. Attempts from strangers to make her smile would be met with a deadpan expression, or as we endearingly named it “resting bitch face”. At the time, I was so embarrassed, I’d apologise on her behalf explaining that it was nothing personal, that’s just how she was.

Then her first birthday came and it was as though a switch had been flicked. Yay, our daughter could finally show the world that she was ACTUALLY happy.

Now, onto the flirting. It started with a coy glance, progressing to a display of her gums and tiny teeth. Fast forward a month and Bells flirting techniques have developed somewhat.

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Her displays usually take place when we’re queuing to pay for something and are therefore unable to escape. Bells will spot a hot guy in the queue behind me (the girl has a radar) and a naughty grin appears before she reaches for her toes, bringing her foot over her head displaying her physical prowess. If the poor unsuspecting chap hasn’t spotted her, said foot is placed in her mouth before loud sucking commences. Fabulous.

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Of course, the piece de resistance is the blowing of kisses as we finally leave. Naturally.

So yeah, our daughter everyone. For now, I just have to hope that Bells doesn’t find anyone that takes her fancy whilst she’s in daddy day care. Can you imagine what the school discos are going to be like?

M xox