Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Day in the Life Summer 2013

I have wanted to do a day in the life post for a long time probably since Joss was small but everytime I tried  something came up or halfway through the day everything collapsed.  So when I saw that Navigating the Mothership was doing her summer DITL post and inviting her readers to join in and link up I jumped on the band wagon.  It has been a great process and really allowed me to look from the outside at how we spend our days and to also look at what I like and what I would like to change.  I know a lot of days Philip will ask what have you guys done with your day and I just stare at him with a blank look shrug and say "kept two kids alive" and while that is how it feels it is good to actually be able to see the day as a whole.  So here goes the good, the bad, and the ugly:

As I hear Jasper stir I grab my phone to check the time, as it light so early I have been guilty of at times getting up to start the day at the slightest noise.  As Jasper nurses I check social media and read blogs on my iPhone (seriously what did women do while they were nursing before smart phones?).

While I am doing this Philip is showering then gets Joss from her room where she has been patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for him to finish so they can go down and do her breakfast.  I can hear her non stop chatter as she helps him make her breakfast and I doze off as Jasper finishes feeding.

6.50 Philip comes up to say good bye to Jasper and I.  I get up and go to change Jasper before heading down to get Joss to finish her breakfast.  On this particular morning she decides to come up while I am changing Jasper so I go ahead and get her dressed for the day.  She knows it is Thursday so it is "Seb Gym Day" (she does Gymnastics with her best friend Seb and some how over the last six months it has come to be know as "Seb Gym Day")  as she gets dressed she goes through the days of the week which goes something like this."First Wednesday then Tuesday then Wednesday then Tuesday then Wednesday then Thursday which is Seb Gym Day" Yes our whole week rotates around "Seb Gym Day" and on Friday she will ask "When is Seb Gym Day" and I start a week of going though the days of the week till "Seb Gym Day".  I figure at least she is learning her days of the week.

She knows she has to have a pony tail for Gymnastics and decides on the day she wants "Two Pony Tails" or piggy tails. As I start the process of parting her hair she changes her mind and decides she wants one pony tail I confirm her choice at which point she decides no it is a two pony tail day.  She does not want to sit still while I try to part her hair and we end up with a small melt down but pony tails are finally in place.  Jasper chills on the bed while I watch her get dressed and do her hair for her.

7.15 Jasper goes on his play mat and I turn the TV on to Joss' TV programs while I quickly eat and do my hair.

7.40 Jasper is getting tired so I set up Joss with her water and the potty in the living room and let her know that if she gets hungry her toast is still at the table and I am going up to get Jasper settled for nap.  I get up to the bedroom with Jasper and can tell he is going to settle easily and almost give a sigh of relief as I hear Joss at the bottom of the stairs "Mummy I have done a wee in my knickers"  This is Joss' new thing when she is upset I am spending time with Jasper.  I set Jasper in his Moses basket with fingers crossed as he has that drowsy look, grab a change of clothes for Joss, and head down to have her change herself.  I get the mess cleaned up and her reset up and let her know I am going to finish settling Jasper.  I peek in and while he is not asleep yet he is heavy eyed and almost there.  I start a bath as it is early and with Jasper easily settled I will have time.  I tidy Joss' room and grab a load of laundry to throw in while I wait to make sure Jasper is going to fall asleep on his own.

8.15 After starting a load of laundry I quickly jump in the bath leaving the door open so Joss can come in if she wants.  I actually get a bath and get dressed before she wanders in while I am brushing my teeth and joins me.

8.30 I quickly grab the laptop and pay the bills that don't come out direct debit as it is payday for me and switch loads of laundry.  As the weather looks iffy and we are heading out soon I hang it on the racks indoors seriously there is ALWAYS laundry in the machine, drying, and in baskets waiting to be put away.

As Joss' is happy playing I quickly jot down a grocery list thinking if all the planets align this afternoon and there is a good time between nursing and Joss is in good spirits I MIGHT hit the shops (it never happened)

8.55 Hear Jasper stiring on the monitor and know he will be ready for a feed so tell Joss that it is time to feed Jasper which elicites squeals of delight as she knows that it means she gets to play her games on my phone.

9.02 realize I didn't close the notes I had been making for DITL and Joss has deleted them in the process of trying to get into her game as she won't allow me to do it any more this girl is all about "do it myself". Take a few deep breaths.

9.20 Jasper is fed and dressed and I get Joss into our going out routine of sitting on the potty and getting her shoes and her hand bag which keeps her sunglasses and what ever small toys she can shove in it.  At the moment it is play food ham, bread, and knife so she can make ham sandwiches.

Putting her shoes on is all a bit much for my little drama queen

Poor Jasper gets roped into carrying the tax disc I realize I need to put in the car

We are actually out the door earlier than I thought so on top of picking up nappies because I am down to one, and I know if I risk going out with only one Jasper will have a run of blow outs, I decide we have time to stop and get diesel as well at the petrol station which is right next to the grocery store.

With two small kids there is no such thing as popping into a shop for nappies and in true fashion there is a melt down at the check out when I tell Joss no to getting a Bob the Builder magazine.  

10.00 On the road for Seb Gym which is actually in two parts the first is an optional Parent and Toddler session which is open to anyone and as Joss is enrolled in the lessons after we can attend for free.  Jasper has fallen asleep in his car seat and our favorite coach Debbie offers to keep an eye on him so I don't have to risk waking him when tranfering him to his Mai Thai sling.

Joss seems all about the balance beam today which is out of character for her, usually she wants to spend the whole 45 minutes swinging on the rings or waiting for turns on the trampoline.  I am so amazed at how much she has grown since starting gymnastics she has never been one to be afraid of trying things and is quite the dare devil so no fear of heights or swinging around, but her ability to sit and wait her turn and follow direction has gotten so much better even at the parent and toddler session. As soon as she walks into the gym she knows "the rules".

10.45 There is a 15 minute break from the parent and toddler session and the stuctured lessons so Joss and I set up chairs for Seb, his mother Fran, and another mother who we have made friends with and Joss has snack.  As soon as Seb arrives they are off running around like crazy loons.

11.00 Joss goes in for lessons, I love the fact that in a few short months Joss has gone from being shy and not sure she even wanted to go in to standing in the queue and waiting for her name to be ticked off the role as she goes in all by herself.

While Joss is in lessons I feed Jasper while chatting with Fran and the other mother we each have two children ranging in age from four years down to Jasper at 2 1/2 months and it is so nice to chat about how the kids are doing and to share milestones and also chat about challenges and realize that actually our kids aren't so bad, other kids throw tantrums in the middle of the grocery store and refuse to put their shoes on.

12.00 Joss comes out and I chat with her about what she did in lesson while I help her with her shoes. We start the journey to the car park which is huge and busy and I always have a heart in my throat moment as I worry she will run off and get hit by a car as she is so excited by walking out with Seb.
One hot sweaty mama after running after Joss with Jasper in his car seat but two kids safe and buckled into the car.  

12.15 Joss decides about two miles from home that she HAS to wee and she can't make it home. Luckily I have a potty in the trunk of the car and whip into the nearest parking lot.

12.00 Home again, on Thursdays after gymnastics I always feel like I have put a full day in by the time we get home but it is so worth it for all the skills Joss is picking up.

Jasper has fallen asleep in the carseat so I carry him in and leave him in the hall where it is quiet and quickly throw together sandwiches for Joss and I.

Ham and cheese oh yeah we are gormet around here!

I make the mistake of thinking that I can open the mail while Joss and I eat only to find out that a bill we changed last month is no longer coming out direct debit and I have the final notice and that when we changed car insurance that our old insurance did not forward on some of the details and if we don't update the information we will loose our good rate.  

I make the second mistake of thinking I can multitask and deal with paying the bill over the phone, who ever invented voice automated systems did not take into consideration having a three year old in the back ground yelling that she wants to talk on the phone.  

I txt Philip as I am unsure of where the car insurance details are and thus begin a crazy hour of Joss not doing quiet time after lunch as usual, Jasper waking and wanting to be fed right as Philip is trying to ring me an give me the info for the car insuranc,e and having my phone die as it is out of battery, while the cat pukes.  I didn't take a photo of the cat puke you can thank me later.

2.00 Joss finally goes in her room for quiet time favourite story choice at the moment is Daisy the Donut Fairy.  I try not to whip through it in record time as this is the 967th time I have read it this week.

 Jasper finishes nursing and a small amount of order is resumed.

2.45-3.00 Jasper settles for nap, again he is quite happy to go in his Moses basket drowsy and settle himself.  I am greatful for such a chilled baby but on Thursdays especially I feel like he get forgotten and just has to "get on with it". Joss comes off quiet time about 2.45.

3.11 Mama collapses on the couch to try and chill for a few minutes while Joss is playing but as usual this happens

3.30 Afternoon snack of strawberries from our Strawberry Picking Adventure the day before

4.00 Jasper is up from nap and Joss and I head up to play with him on out bed. All starts out nice until Joss decides that the flannel I have given him to play with in his hands as I can't find his taggi is hers (techniquly it is but she never uses it).  After a small fit Joss grabs my Lola's Cupcake cookbook from the side of the bed and decides to read Jasper and I a story. It goes something like this "Here is a yummy cupcake *turns the page* and another yummy cupcake *turns the page* look mummy a yummy cupcake".

4.30 We all head downstairs so I can start Joss' dinner and I manage to quickly sweep the kitchen floor.  At some point here Jasper has gone down for another nap.

4.45 Joss sits down to eat while I chat with her the chosen topic is how everyone gets to work.  Daddy rides a push bike to the train, Uncle Richard rides a push bike to work, Grandma drives her vroom vroom car.  I unload and reload the dishwasher as we chat.

5.05 Joss gets in the bath while I nurse Jasper, joy of joy he does a deadly nursing poo that requires a wardrobe change for the both of us.  Luckily the upstairs is set up so I can see the bath from Jasper's changing table and I grab a new pair of pants from the pile in a basket in the hall for me.
I am gosh darn cute even if I poo all over you!

5.45 Jasper chills on Joss' bed while I help her get her PJs on and comb her hair.  Then start the bedtime ritual of "Two Pat" or the two episodes of Postman Pat.
How else would one watch TV?

6.20 Good Night call to Daddy and Joss places her breakfast order of toast with Marmite for the following day.  Good night kisses from Mama and Jasper.  I take Jasper into our room to "whisper sweet nothings" to him and enjoy a few precious minutes with just him.

6.35 Joss is passed out and I get Jasper in his PJs as he is sleepy

6.45 Call with Philip to chat about the day and discuss details of our flat that is finally in the process of being sold.  Jasper falls asleep while we are chatting an I transfer him to his Moses basket.

7-7.25 willfully waste time looking at blogs, Facebook, and instagram.

7.25-7.40 Take advantage of the fact MIL is on vacation I was able to park on the drive and attack mess in car and repack the changing bag for our Friday morning activities

I know I have two small children but it amazes me that it get so bad so quick

7.40 Jasper stirs and it is time for a feed

8.00 Jasper in Moses basket drowsy from feed fingers crossed he will drift off.

8.00-9.00 My mad house cleaning hour.  I deep clean the kitchen and wash all the hand wash items that can't go in the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, organize a cupboard that always spills it's contents as soon as you open it.  I grab all the dry clothes off the racks and do a marathon folding and organizing session so that I can quickly put it away in the morning.

9.00-9.30 look up recipe for refrigerator oatmeal and make a batch for the morning, general shut down of the house windows and blinds closed last quick tidy up while I obsessively check Skype to see if my mom is on.

9.45-10.15 ME TIME! A bath in which I get to shave and exfoliate followed by putting on lotion oh to the small pleasures!

10.15 Dream feed

My work here is done because *in whispered voice* Jasper has been sleeping through the night for almost three weeks. I am almost afraid to type it out after Joss not going longer than 4 hours until she was almost 9 months.

11.15 somewhat drowsy and almost asleep I hear the garage door as Philip puts his bike away and I feel secure enough to fall asleep.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Special Ice Cream

December time last year mainly driven by the fact that I was SO over diapers I set about potty training Joss. We'd had a potty for her for a while and as any mother knows she usually followed me into the bathroom and we had been talking about how mommies and daddies do wee wee and poo poo in the potty. I had read a few books but nothing really fit us completely so took what I like from the books and in true Emma style decided to informatively wing it.

While we had great success as long as I sat her on the potty at regular intervals she never asked to use it and if I didn't regularly insist on her sitting on the potty an accident was a sure bet.

The combination of a stressful pregnancy, impending move, and knowing potty training with the arrival of a new baby is a bad idea I stepped back. While I knew that it was unlikely that she would be the five year old still not potty trained there is certainly lots of pressure from others and self pressure when it comes to potty training. Well meaning grandparents who recount the fact that their children were potty trained at 18 months (congratulations here's your trophy) to the play group mothers who proudly announce their little Einstein potty trained in two days and before their second birthday as your child shouts from across the room "mom I did a poo in my diaper"

In my head I figured if by August Joss was showing no interest we would broach the subject again but in the mean time I needed to survive the first crazy month or two of a newborn.

The middle of June Joss started talking about how Jasper did his wee and poo in his nappy but (insert every adult she knew) did their wee wee and poo poo in the potty. She would even occasionally ask to use the the toilet usually at the most awkward moments like in the grocery store as far away from the toilets as possible or at the play ground where the toilets are across a huge field. While I fulfilled all request to use the toilet they were few and far between and with a small baby I didn't push to move the process along.

The last week of June we spent a Saturday night at friends who have two girls one six and one a few months older than Joss. The younger one had just recently potty trained and Joss was amazed watching her go use the toilet on her own and commented on her big girl knickers.  We spent the night there and after a horrible night of about two hours of sleep Joss was up and marched to their bathroom and in true Jocelynne style announced she needed a wee and she was doing it ALL BY HERSELF. My somewhat snarky sleep deprived response was fine but leave the door open so if you fall in the toilet I can come get you out. The rest of the day she asked to use the potty at regular intervals. 

Monday morning after a bad night with Jasper and completely sleep deprived knowing daddy was off to work I made a really tough decision to capitalising on Joss' interest in Amelia's big girl knickers and pulled hers out from our earlier foray into potty training. I will be honest it was HARD not because I was pushing Joss to do something she wasn't ready for but more due to a not yet six week old baby to contend with as well but Joss was more than ready and willing. There were many times when Jasper had to fuss for a few minutes before getting settled for a nap or a feed as Joss' need to go potty eerily almost alway coincided with Jasper's need for attending to, Jasper had more than his share of nursing sessions with me sitting on the bathroom floor. The learning curve was quick with few random accidents after the first couple of days. Joss however remembered that treats were offed for wees and poos and insisted after her first success. She was easily weaned off of treats for wees but not so for poos. After about a week of success in both categories I pulled out the big guns and offered an even more tempting offer than chocolate buttons of "special ice cream" for a whole day with out accidents. On a whole it works well and Joss knows that after diner we will make the slow walk up to the corner shop to pick up her treat and if the stars all align it tends to be the right time to wind Jasper down for the night and the push chair ride is just the right length of time to get him to drowsy and transfer him into the cot.

There is still the odd accident when mummy gets pre occupied or when Joss gets too engrossed or is afraid she will miss out. There is also still the need for mummy to help if I am attending to Jasper when all other times she wants to DO IT HERSELF. 

As with EVERYTHING else in her short three years Jocelynne did it her way but this mama is breathing a sigh of relief that she won't be turning up to the preschool gates in September with her eldest still in diapers

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Summer Bucket List - Picking Strawberries

Strawberries were late to ripen this year due to a long cold spring followed by weeks of rain. When I first added strawberry picking to our Summer Bucket List I thought is was something we could do the end of June but each time I would check the website for an update the opening date was pushed farther and farther back. As we moved into into July our days and especially our weekends became busy with birthday parties and inset days for preschool and the idea moved out of the my mind. A friend mentioned it on Monday and I quickly asked my mother in law if she would join us on Tuesday. We woke to violent thunderstorms early in the morning that continued until lunch time on and off. As I was afraid it was a two adult activity and mother in law was back to work today and then on holiday and our weekend planned I decided to write it off for the year.

When I woke this morning with no set plans and a dry sunny but cool day forecast I quickly decided that if I could get everything to fall into place I would give it a go. Jasper settled well for a long early morning nap allowing me to organise everything quickly to set off right after he woke and nursed.

I am slowly learning to have no set expectations on how activities "should" turn out and just roll with it and it seems to be much better at the moment than setting unrealistic expectations. I am also learning to find a balance between telling Joss what our plans for the day are so she can feel secure in our routine and being a bit vauge so not to have to deal with her disappointment. So once Jasper was awake and fed I only told her we were going bye bye so we could start the routine of getting out the door.
The drive was long enough to for Jasper to fall asleep in the car and then be tranfered into his push chair. This allowed me to focus on Joss and pointing out which strawberries were ready for her to pick.

Her attention span was short, I had hoped to get more than two punnets but as mentioned above I am trying to realign my expectations and learn not to push an issue to melt down point. In the end it worked out well as it meant we had been out a short enough period I didn't have to try and entertain her while nursing Jasper in public which can sometimes become a hurculean feat.

Now if I can just manage to keep her from eating them all before Daddy and Grandma Kay get home from work! 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

This time around-weight loss

This time around the weight loss has not been so easy.  I know it has only been 9 weeks since Jasper was born but with Jocelynne I was pre pregnancy weight with in a few week of giving birth granted I was 50lbs over a healthy BMI.  This time around 9 weeks after birth I am 20ish lbs heavier than I was when I fell pregnant and I was sitting right at the top end of my healthy BMI then.  I am back to attending regular Weight Watchers meetings and following the plan which allows for nursing mothers.  I have to say it is HARD this time around.

Planning meals and finding time to cook especially as Joss has become some what of a picky eater take a lot of fore thought.  I will not lie most nights when Philip is working I tend to have a ready meal for dinner. Also living with my mother in law means that there is stuff in the house that I just wouldn't buy and having to think about her likes and dislikes when we cook as a family.  While she is not a picky eater she tends towards the meat and potato and two veg style of eating where Philip and I very much enjoy ethnic food and we like a lot of spice which isn't her thing.  While she would never complain and would be happy to cook her own food if we were having something she dislike I find food a social experience and feel that when at all possible all should be included in the meal.

Fitness has also been really hard for me, I was quite active at the gym before I fell pregnant with Jasper and while the pregnancy came as a surprise it was my initial intention to carry on while my normal classes and work outs as long as I was comfortable and augmenting them as and where needed to continue for as long as possible. Unfortunately dealing with gallstones during the pregnancy took a lot of my physical energy and would take 3-5 days to recover from an attack and in the beginning I had 6 attacks in 8 weeks and then further attacks at spaced out intervals. By the time I attack free around 28 weeks I felt I had missed to much of my normal gym routine to jump right back in so used walking as my main source of exercise. So I feel like I am pretty much starting at square one again as far as fitness levels.

I don't know if it was the fact that I was back to pre pregnancy weight so quickly after Joss that I didn't really suffer with body image issue but this time around it is hard to see my flabby tummy as a badge of honour and a sign of the beautiful children I have made and carried for 9 months.  Being in this in between time as I again try and build my fitness levels has been a lesson in self love and patience truly giving into the "season of life" I am in right now and acknowledging that I can't just pop out to the gym every night (not that I would have the energy at the moment).  I have started a Pilate's class on Saturday morning, am trying to fit in as much walking as possible and thanks to a supportive husband this means 2-4 long walks each week either on my own or with just Jasper in the push chair (we do have a Phil and Ted's Vibe which easily converts from single to double but after a few attempt I have leaned that while it is good for getting around to run errands it is too heavy for me to do major walks with both in it).

Fear is also playing a huge part in setting me back, I don't want to be that person in the back of the class who can't keep up and to be honest I am still unsure how and when to incorporate ab exercises back into my work out which makes me shy away from the normal aerobics classes I use to enjoy.

I am grateful for such a supportive husband who knows that the key to me being a more content person which means a better mother is to be able to get to the gym and do the long walks.  He also thinks outside the box and suggests ways to fit in exercise when I don't.  A huge key to getting back at it quicker this time is the fact that Jasper will take a bottle meaning I have time to get to and from the gym and do my work out with out worrying that I have an unhappy baby at home.  I have also realised that if I want to be able to leave Jasper in the creche at the gym I have to start early as I waited till Joss was over a year old and she never settled and after a few disastrous attempt I gave up. At the moment I am leaving Jasper for one one hour session a week while I take Joss swimming and once Joss starts preschool in the fall I will use that to do a class and may up it to two sessions a week.

I did it after Joss and to be honest that was harder because I didn't know I could do it I had been over weight all my life and afraid of the gym and by the time I fell pregnant with Jasper two years later I was a healthy weight and felt good about my shape and my fitness levels.   I just have to remember I was not there 9 weeks after she was born and that the greatest gift I can give myself is kindness and acceptance of where I am at the moment.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

My People

Tonight I wrapped 7 gifts and wrote out 7 birthday cards.  The end of May through the the first of August is busy on the birthday front for us.  These 10 weeks we celebrate the birthdays of the babies born in our NCT birth class.  This year we mark our children's third year and it amazes me that just over 3 1/2 years ago 8 woman who when we met had nothing in common other than due dates from the end of June the end of July have grown into good friends.  Since then we have celebrated the births of our first children, second children and soon to be third children in some cases, we have offered comfort after miscarriages. We have celebrated milestones, shared concerns, given support, laughed together, cried together, shared wine and food.

We have chosen very different ways to parent our children some have breast fed, some have bottle fed, some have chosen child led methods, some have introduced routines and schedules.  I would hope we have not judged each other for our choices as I can honestly say that while we have all made different choices on how to raise our children I know these women well and know that each decision has been based on what each mother has thought best for her child.

Some I see weekly some I see monthly and some just once or twice a year but conversation is always easy and while we had very little in common 3 1/2 years ago now we share the badge of motherhood and beautiful 3 year old children.

These are my people the ones I want to txt first when Joss does something amazing, the ones I ring when I hit a parenting brick wall.  I know that some of us will grow apart but I look forward to many more birthdays, to sleep overs, to wedding invitations in many years.

Happiest of 3rd birthday to 8 of the most amazing kids I have the joy of knowing!