Things I Wish I Did When I Was Pregnant

Baby Pink is my last baby, so no more waddling around for me (unless I put on a few more pounds)! My family is complete, but looking back, I sometimes wish I did this when I was pregnant…

1. Kept a pregnancy journal.
All of those thoughts that go round your head when you first find out the news, all of the weird dreams, deciding over names, the hopes and dreams for the future, even the small everyday conversations, could all be recorded in a pregnancy journal and revisited at any time. In future they’re also great gifts to give to your babies when they’re all grown up. There are so many of them available these days I can’t believe I never had one! I think I was so busy looking after my two boys that I just didn’t think to do this, but it’s such a lovely idea and I’ll definitely buy them as gifts for friends and for my sisters if and when they get ‘knocked up’.

2. Had a gender reveal party.
A gender reveal party, for anyone that doesn’t know, is a party for all friends and family to find out the gender of the baby at the same time as you. At the scan the sonographer is asked to write the baby’s gender on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope, then a cake is commissioned and the envelope is given to the baker to fill the cake with either pink or blue buttercream (or sweets) depending on the gender. At the party the cake is sliced in front of all of the guests. Surprise!
I really wanted to have a gender reveal party instead of a baby shower. I’ve never really liked the idea of a baby shower, I would have been embarrassed by everyone fussing over me, but a gender reveal is less about celebrating the mum-to-be, and more about celebrating the baby, with the mother and the father. Plus men and children are allowed to attend!
I planned it all on pinterest; the invites, cake, games, everything! But unfortunately my husband wasn’t too keen on the idea. He’s more private and wanted to find out the gender at the scan (he just wanted to know the gender of our baby before anyone else!), so I didn’t push for it to go ahead. But I wish I did. Too late now!

3. Told my parents face to face.
It’s not that I was too nervous to tell them, it was the opposite, I just couldn’t wait (all three times)!
Looking back, I think they would have preferred a nice sit down meal and a glass of champagne rather than a “guess what” text followed by a picture of a positive pregnancy test! Hanging head in shame.

4. Finished the nursery.
My husband and I started getting the nursery ready a little late. We managed to paint it, assemble the cot, put up photos, stock up on nappies, and fill the dresser with newborn clothes, before Baby Pink arrived. We didn’t get time to put up the shelves and the curtain rail for her pretty frilly curtains. Where are the shelves and curtains now that Rosie is almost six months old? On the floor in the corner of her room waiting to be put up!
There is hardly any time to do DIY in the first six months when you have three small children to look after! And as my husband has a very demanding job and I look after three children all week, all we want to do at the weekend is have fun! So if I could rewind the clock, I wouldn’t have left it until the last minute to complete the nursery.

5. Bought some weighing scales.
Our weighing scales went missing when we last moved, and we never got round to buying another set. At the time I thought it was probably a good idea because I didn’t want to get too obsessive about pregnancy weight, but now I have no idea how much I weigh, how much weight I’ve lost, and how much weight I need to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. It’s on my list of annoying things along with how I don’t have photos of my teeth before braces.

6. Had a professional photo shoot.
I have one selfie of myself showing off my baby bump for every week of my pregnancy. But it would be nice to have some professional photos of myself in all of my naked pregnancy glory to serve as a memento of the amazing job my body has done creating my wonderful three small children.

(If you’ve read this before it’s because I pinched it from my old blog – I haven’t stolen it from anyone else! x)

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First Date Since Baby

On Friday evening I went on my first date since having Baby Pink six months ago, with my husband of course! We tend to get a little excited when we’re out together, as it doesn’t happen often, but as it was our first date and I’m still nursing we kept it nice and quiet with a table booked at a fancy restaurant in the next town. And besides, we’re saving our energy for New Year’s Eve!

I love spending my evenings at home with my husband but it still feels great to get dressed up and just spend quality time together. Let’s get it on! Even if you do it at home, it’s important to make an effort with each other, especially when you have a baby, because it’s easy to take each other for granted.

We’re quite lucky because my family live close by and they’re happy to help out with the children. But not having family or friends around doesn’t mean one can’t go out once in a while, there are qualified childminders that provide babysitting services for evenings out, or at weddings, etc, and their credentials are all published at ofsted.com (in the UK). So there’s no excuse not to make an effort with each other!

On this occasion I asked my youngest sister (ten years younger in fact, so unfair!) to come over before 8 pm, which was late but that’s what time I knew Baby Pink would definitely be asleep. She always goes down at 7 pm and then wakes up half an hour later for another cuddle. Of course on date night when she woke up at 7:30 pm it took ages to get her settled. If you’re thinking “she magically knew you were going out”, you could be right. Or maybe it was because I had foolishly decided to put on a dress, a necklace, and a couple of sprays of Chanel No. 5 (which converts to half a bottle of any other fragrance). She was probably wondering where her comfy mummy was and who is the stinky, clangy necklace wearing, imposter? We made it out of the house at 9 pm!

Thoughts that went through my head on the drive to the restaurant:

  • I hope she doesn’t wake up before I get into the car because if I hear her I’ll want to stay.
  • I can’t remember checking her nappy, I hope it’s clean!
  • Did I check the gas hob was definitely off?
  • I better put my phone on loud just incase.
  • It’s too early to leave them, I’m so selfish.
  • I hope i didn’t leave anything embarrassing out in my bedroom.
  • I hope sis doesn’t go in my bedroom!
  • I miss the kids I wish they were here.
  • If I have a small glass of wine at 9:30 then I can safely feed baby pink when she wakes up at 1am.
  • I hope the house isn’t on fire.

Once we got to the restaurant all of my worries, like the candle sticks on each table, melted away. Finally, a date with my husband. It’s really easy to spot a couple on their first date since having a baby because of the amount of time they spend looking at their phones. They’re either looking at pictures of little Flynn or Amelia, checking up with the babysitter, or checking in on Facebook to show their friends that they have left house. Well, that’s how to spot me and my husband anyway.- But it was really nice to know that we could spend our time together uninterrupted, and we celebrated by ordering three courses, because if we’ve made a nice meal at home then just as soon as we sit down to eat someone wakes up.

When we finished our meal we talked about what to do next, but as soon as we got in the car I received a text from my sister saying Baby Pink had woken up and she wouldn’t go back to sleep. Ah, she must be missing me! I told her that I was on my way and to take Baby Pink downstairs to settle her until I got back. I just hoped Baby Pink wasn’t too upset. I tried not to think about the heartbreaking little sobs and the little tears on her cute little face.

As we were coming up to the back door I listened out for any hysterical screaming noises, nothing. Then I raced to get the key into the lock and open the door, silence. “Hello?” I call. “Hiya!” chirps sis bouncing into the kitchen holding a smiley Baby. Maybe she’ll be upset when she sees me and remembers I wasn’t there when she woke up? Nope, she looked at me and smiled. Not bothered then! Oh.

Not that I wanted her to be upset, but she could have at least pretended she had missed me!

Stay At Home Mum Problems

I’ve got 99 problems but going to work ain’t one!

Actually, I have 9 problems that I can think of. And I’ll probably be going back to work this time next year, unless I can think of a money making scheme that will enable me to work from home. In the meantime, these are the struggles I face on a daily basis as a stay at home mum.

1. I can’t treat my husband.
I stay at home to look after the children, my husband works. So my husband makes all the money, so I can’t treat him to anything like meals out, surprise gifts, etc. It just sort of feels like I’m spending his money. It makes birthdays and Christmas’s really awkward! And I can’t treat myself either, no matter how lovely my husband is about spoiling me, I feel a bit like a child asking for pocket money.

2. Everyone works.
Being a stay at home mum would be amazing if I knew more stay at home mums, all of the children playing together while we sip tea and gossip about stuff. But most people work, so I have to just wait for them to have babies! And all of the stay at home mums at the toddler groups I’ve been to would rather chat about where they’re summering this year how many times they’ve been to Waitrose this week than have a good gossip (yawn!).

3. I feel guilty when friends on maternity leave go back to work.
I’ve been at home with the children for three years, and in that time I’ve seen a few friends have new babies. I just feel guilty when they have to go back to work, as if I’m making it harder for them. “But Jayne doesn’t have to work!” they’ll say to their husbands, “well, why don’t you marry Jayne’s husband then!” their husbands will snap back. I’m sorry!

4. Most people think I’m work shy and lazy.
“Have you got a job yet?” I get asked. Er no, I’m a stay at home mum. Then I get the look, or the laugh. I’ll get a shove next! It saddens me that so many people think that everyone should work and all children should go into child care. “She should get off her arse and get a job!” they say. “I plan go back to work next year when the boys start school” I tell them politely. But what I want to say is “Well maybe I should just go to work to pay for someone else to look after my children, then you’ll like me and society will accept me!” and then stomp off to my room and slam the door!

5. Some people think I’m only with my husband for money.
Regardless of the fact that I met my husband when we both at university, and I had a job before I had children, I still see the odd dodgy comment, “A real woman doesn’t see a man as a step up the ladder” on facebook. It probably isn’t about me. But it probably is. And besides, my husband has loads more going for him that “just a pay packet”. I mean, what am I? A prostitute?! But in all seriousness, there is no way I’d stay at home if I didn’t have my husband’s support. No, I don’t mean financial support!

6 You don’t know what to write on forms.
Job title…?
Erm, stay at home mum? Housewife? Housekeeper? Childminder? I’ll just choose my old job title, but I might not go into that line of work after this… Jedi Consular?

7. People assume you’ll be at home at the time.
Who’s that at the door? Wait a minute, I didn’t arrange for the window cleaner! Or the bin cleaner or a plumber. I don’t remember asking for a quote from the decorator, and I didn’t order anything to be delivered. Ahh, maybe we should be called “stay with child mum’s that are mostly at home” instead!

8. You do a lot of cooking and cleaning.
“How do working people manage to clean their houses”, I used to wonder until it dawned on me that they’re at work all day, so the house stays clean. Dur. Whereas I’m constantly making food, cleaning up dishes, tidying toys, etc. I still wonder how working mums manage to do the laundry though.

9. You’re not an independent woman.
I’d like to sing along to Destiny’s Child, and throw my hands up with all of the independent women, but I’d feel a bit silly. All the women who change the nappies, throw your hands up at me.

But don’t get me wrong, I love being at home with my children really. But when the time comes for me to go back to the 9-5, I hope I can come back to this list to remind myself why I’m doing it. And sometimes you’ve just got to laugh at yourself!

Half A Twirl Around The Sun

My little Baby Pink is six months old! Or half a twirl around the sun, as I like to say. The best advice I’ve ever been given is that “they grow up so fast”, I remind myself of this every day, and it really is true in many ways for Baby Pink.

Firstly, she’s huge! She’s already filling size 9-12 month clothes snugly, and she weighs the same as an average 18 month old. She definitely hasn’t been skipping any meals. But, like her older brothers, the extra padding will all drop off when she starts moving about. I hope my extra padding will too!

The best thing about having a big baby is that I know that she’s healthy and developing well. The worst thing is that my back really hurts! And I just wish she would slow down so that she can be my baby for a bit longer, although I’ll probably think that no matter what size she is what with her being the ‘baba’ of the family.

Secondly, I’ve noticed a big change in her this week, she must have timed her six month growth spurt exactly right (she’s come out of a rough week of wakeful nights), because she’s a lot more playful and seems to be more aware of the world around her. Welcome to our world, baby! Nice of you to join us!

All About Six Month Old Baby Pink

  • Her favourite things to do are bouncing in her Jumparoo (as long as someone is either watching her or jumping), and grabbing her toys on her play mat.
  • Her favourite toy is her Little Tikes’ yellow lion, her other favourite toy is whatever toy her brothers are playing with.
  • She can roll from her back to her front, and she did this today for the first time!
  • Her favourite food is broccoli, it’s also the messiest food.
  • She’s still waking up twice every night, which means so am I.
  • She started drinking formula milk this week, today she took three ounces which doesn’t sound like much but I’m really proud of her!
  • She’s wearing size 9-12 month clothes but she has some 12-18 month vests that fit fine! She’s made me cut off the tags so that no one knows so don’t tell.
  • She’s noticed the cat and loves to pet her. The poor cat doesn’t mind.

My mum always tells me the first six months are the hardest, and that’s right for all the obvious reasons. The next six months are the time that you start to notice a personality. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely to have a new baby and every baby is different, but I think the fun starts now.

You’ve Got Your Hands Full!

I can’t go anywhere without a stranger informing me that I have got my hands full. But it’s the way they say it that troubles me (yes, I’m very troubled about this!).

I have a four year old, a two and a half year old, and a six month old (I was on the fast baby track, plus you’ve got to strike while the iron is hot!), but it would seem that to others this is completely mad! There are other families with more children, closer aged children, naughtier children, than mine! My children are really well behaved (most of the time), I can take Baby Pink out in the pushchair with Big Blue and Little Blue walking at my side without screaming or pulling my hair out! But since I’ve had Baby Pink strangers have started stating, either informatively, jokingly, or bewilderedly, that I’ve got my “hands full”.

For example:

  • I pick up Big Blue from nursery and one of the mums looks at us and says “Wow! You’ve got your hands full!” (Yes I have more than one child!)
  • I receive a grocery delivery, and my two boys start to help me take the items out of the shopping bags, and the delivery man laughs and says “well, it looks like you have your hands full!” (Yes I know, thank you).
  • An old colleague mentions a mutual acquaintance saw me at the shopping centre but I “looked like I had my hands full” (How rude of me).
  • One time at the supermarket, an elderly gentleman waited for me to cross the aisle in front of him (bless him), I thanked him and he said “You’ve got your hands full!.. sort of!” Yes! I like to think that he added “sort of” because he decided that actually, I didn’t have too much work on my hands. Or maybe he said it and then realised how annoying it sounded.

    I think most people feel sorry for me, and assume that maybe I can’t afford a babysitter, when actually I’m very happy looking after my own children, and I consider myself very fortunate to do so. And maybe I just like to keep busy! So when people tell me I have my hands full, I usually blurt out “YES, I LOVE IT!”, because I do! I have three beautiful, funny, intelligent, barmy little friends and I love keeping my hands full with them.

    I Love Making Christmas Pudding

    Over the weekend I finished making this year’s Christmas pudding. If you’re thinking “calm down, it’s only November” then I’ll tell you this… the earlier it’s made the more brandy you can feed it! Only joking (partly), the length of time allows the flavour to develop.

    Our Christmas traditions:

    • I make a homemade Christmas pudding.
    • We all choose a new bauble for the tree (this year Baby Pink has a personalised first Christmas bauble).
    • Well, that’s it so far, our family is young!

    I think that Christmas pudding tastes so much better when homemade. It’s really easy to make at home, it’s just a case of getting in all of the ingredients and spendinh most of the day indoors to steam it.

    If you’ve never made one before then how about giving it a go this Christmas? And if you have made one before then why not try something different this time? I usually make Delia Smith’s Traditional Christmas Pudding Recipe but this year I’ve opted to make one with a whole candied orange at the centre, like Heston’s Hidden Orange Christmas Pudding. It took three days to make the orange as it had to be boiled and cooled twice, so I’m hoping the extra effort pays off!


    How To Make A Candied Orange

    You will need:
    1 orange
    1 litre of water
    1 kg white sugar
    ½ cinnamon stick
    1 tbsp marmalade

    Tip 1: Start the orange 3 days before you plan to steam the pudding.

    Tip 2: Use a large pan because the sugar will rise, I found this out the hard way when it spilt everywhere! In the end I used a steam cooker because the pan is really high.

    candied orange

    Nothing is spilling out of this pan!

    • Pierce the orange several times with a pin or toothpick (don’t use a skewer because it will just open up when you boil it), then boil the orange in the water for 30 minutes to soften it.
    • Remove the orange from the pan. Add the sugar, cinnamon and marmalade to the water and bring it to the boil again, then add the orange. Heat on medium for 45 minutes.
    • Remove the orange and cool overnight.
    • The next day bring the syrup back to the boil and boil the orange again for 30 minutes.
    • Remove the orange and allow to cool overnight. And now the orange is ready to use the next day.

    How To Make The Pudding

    1 carrot
    1 Bramley apple
    500g mixed dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants and mixed peel)
    50g glazed cherries
    115g suet
    115g plain flour (sifted)
    100g ground almonds
    1 ½ tsp mixed spice
    115g dark brown sugar
    100g ale
    1 tbsp black treacle
    3 eggs

    Tip: Make the pudding mixture the day before you will steam it because it will need to be left to sit overnight.

    • Grate the carrot and apple and put in a bowl with the mixed fruit and cherries.
    xmas pud fruit mix

    I could eat this as it is!

    • Add the suet, sifted flour, ground almonds, spice and sugar and stir.
    • Add the ale, black treacle and eggs, and begin to mix very thoroughly.
    • Leave to sit overnight.
    • The next day grease the pudding bowl and fill half way. Add the orange, then add the rest of the mixture.
    orange filled pudding

    Burying the treasure!

    xmas pudding

    Christmas pudding or chilli?

    • Cover the bowl with a double sheet of baking paper and a sheet of foil. Tie tight with string.
    Wrapped xmas pudding

    It can’t escape now!

    • Tie a piece of string across the top to make a handle so that it’s easy to take out.
    • Place the bowl in a steamer over a pan of simmering water and steam for 8 hours, making sure you keep the water topped up from time to time.
    steaming pudding

    Only 7 hours 59 minutes to go!

    • After 8 hours turn off the heat and when the pudding has cooled remove the cover, prick a few holes at the top and pour on a teaspoon of brandy. Put new cover on and store in a cool dry place.
    • Once a week remove the cover and feed with brandy.
    feed the pudding

    “Feed me!”

    • On Christmas day steam again for 3 hours, then go around the inside of the bowl with a knife and tip upside down into a plate.

    So now my pudding is sleeping in my kitchen cupboard, and I’ll wake it up once a week to feed it brandy. Hopefully it is the best christmas pudding ever, but we’ll have to wait for Christmas day to find out.

    I’m Thinking About Switching To The Bottle

    I’ve started thinking that it might be time for me to start bottle feeding Baby Pink. I’ve been breastfeeding for almost six months now and I’ve loved every minute of it, it’s the best feeling knowing that I’ve given her the best start in life, and I’ve done really well if I must say. So much so that she is right at the top of the baby weight chart in her red book!

    IMG_7059.JPG

    She loves milk!

    Yes, she is very big for her age (she’s been in size 9-12 month clothing since she was four months old) and my back has really started to know about it! Which is one of the reasons why I’ve been thinking about making the switch. My husband has wanted to feed her for a while now, which will help. I could pump but what with two other children under five to look after I can’t imagine I would ever have the time! Another reason is that she has started to get very interested in her brothers when they have their milk before bed and she tries to grab their bottles (they have baby bottles before bed, I need to change them to cups). She just wants to be the same, bless her!

    I’ll be dropping one feed at a time starting on Saturday so that hubs can help. And I’ll just see how it goes. Big Blue wouldn’t take a bottle until he was thirteen months old, and because of this we started bottle feeding Little Blue earlier, at around four months old, and he took to it straight away.

    To prepare I’ve purchased a pack of Tommee Tippee bottles, mainly because the marketing blurb stated that they were close to the real thing, and also because came in such pretty colours! We’ve chosen Cow and Gate follow on milk because I think it has a similar taste to breastmilk (don’t ask me how I know!). We haven’t purchased a steriliser yet because I’m on the look out for a bargain, so we picked up a pack of sterilising tablets which should keep us going for a while.

    I’ve written all of this and I’m still not 100% sure whether in actually going to go through with it! It’s a big deal for me because Baby Pink is my last baby. I’m getting a bit sentimental! But I guess I don’t have to drop every feed just yet.

    For anyone that’s thinking about breastfeeding, I would say just take it one day at a time. It can be hard at first but after the first couple of weeks it really is wonderful. For anyone that wants to bottle feed, I think that’s fine too, as long as mother and baby are both happy then that’s the most important thing. I was bottle fed and I’m pretty healthy. But then maybe if I was breastfed I’d be healthier? Who knows. I just feel bad for my mum that she didn’t get to experience it.

    Some breastfeeding info can be found at http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/why-breastfeed.aspx. Just reading the benefits makes me want to do it forever! But ouch, my back!