Friday, 10 February 2017

Playroom Inspiration

1. Melissa & Doug Puppet Theatre £59.99 from Amazon 
I had my eye on this for Christmas but in the end decided it would take up too much space. Ebony would absolutely love it though. I have a homemade one when I was little. So homemade that it would quite often collapse on me mid-performance, but I loved it. 

I always love the look of blackboard walls in playrooms, but I find that chalk creates a lot of dust and can be quite messy. I think a whiteboard wall would be just as much fun and wouldn't create so much mess. It would also keep the room light and bright which I think it important in a playroom. 

3. Marietorp Frame £12 from Ikea
There's a big white wall in the playroom that would benefit from a bit of colour. I love the idea of framing Ebony's artwork to put on display. We currently have a noticeboard above the fireplace but it looks a little untidy and there's so much 'art' on there that nothing stands out. Ideally, I'd buy about six of these big frames and then frame some of her pictures. It would be easy to freshen up the room then too by simply changing the pictures. I'm hoping to get around to this at some point soon because I think it would look amazing.  

4. Berlingot Child's Desk £90 from Maisons Du Monde 
The other day, Ebony said to me, "Mummy, can I have a desk one day? Please?" Poor child. She has a table, but this is not the same, so now she wants a desk. I love the colours on this one from Maisons Du Monde.

5. Indoor Climbing Frame £105.99 from Amazon
We definitely don't have the room for this, but how amazing would this be! I find we don't use the garden much during the winter and it's easy to end up with cabin fever during rainy school holidays, but this would definitely solve that. 

6. Grimm's Rainbow £59.89 from Amazon
I always wanted a little one of these when Ebony was little, but I love the look of this big one even more. It would look great in the playroom but also I think the girls would be able to find lots of inventive ways of playing with it. 

The playroom is usually a mess. It is full of toys and dressing up outfits and craft things and all of these end up strewn across the floor. I have spent way too much of my mothering years tidying it or trying to cajole Ebony into tidying it. It seems, however, that five might just be the magic number. Five-year-olds, it seems, can actually keep their playrooms tidy. I never thought I would see the day. 

Ebony is obsessed with the idea of having friends over (without their parents. She hates when I'm friends with the parents) or going to other people's houses All By Herself. So, two weeks ago I made a deal with her. If she could keep her playroom tidy for a week, we could invite a friend round after school. I didn't think she'd manage it, but she did. Every evening before bed she took me into the playroom so I could see it was still tidy. Everything she played with was put away neatly before bedtime. So we invited her friend round. Ebony managed to keep the playroom tidy in the four days leading up to that as well, much to my amazement. 

The day of playing was yesterday. Her friend came after school, Ebony was so excited that had there been walls lining the way home from school she would have been bouncing off them. They played dress up, they played sisters (this is a game, apparently), they giggled, they whispered, they had a ball. And when her friend left, Ebony immediately started tidying up the room again (so she can 'have another friend around next week too'). 

So, there you have it. The playroom that has been the bane of my life for all of these years is now the tidiest room in the house. I need to up my tidying game before she realises and goes on strike on account of the fact that my office looks like a bomb has hit. 

Now that the room is tidy, I've been thinking of ways to make it nicer. It's not exactly easy to make a playroom look pretty. Some of the toys are big and bulky and take up too much space. We have shelves in the alcoves on either side of the fireplace and these are filled with toys, so that makes it look a little neater than it would otherwise. 

My dad made Ebony a storage rail for her dressing up clothes. It's big and pink and filled with all the outfits and accessories a girl could need. She loves dressing up and putting on shows. There's a bay window in the playroom and I keep thinking that if I hung some red fabric across it, we could make it into a makeshift stage. But then I'd have to watch even more shows so I'm not sure that's the best idea. 

This is a collaborative post. 

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Life With Two Kids

I've had two kids for five whole months now, so I'm pretty much an expert on all things related to double numbers. Of course, these have probably been the easiest months. My friend warned me the other day that shit was about to get real (I'm paraphrasing) and that my life will be infinitely harder once Ember is on the move. And I'm sure she's right, but for now, things feel pretty perfect. 

The most difficult part for me was those first few weeks. The weeks when you're too sore to play, too emotional to be patient and too tired to think carefully about how you're parenting. Once we got over those hellish first weeks (made particularly hellish by the start of school and the cataclysm of emotions there), things were easier. 

Since then, things have been good. Ebony is a better big sister than I imagined possible. She is so loving and sweet and helpful. She keeps an eye on her sister for me so I can do exciting things like shower or put a load of washing on. She sings to her when she cries, she makes her laugh and she chats away to her after school every day. To say Ember loves her would be an understatement. Ebony always gets the biggest smiles. Ember cranes out of the wrap now as we walk along because she's desperate to see what her big sister is up to. Ebony is already talking about getting bunkbeds so they can share a room when Ember is bigger. Imagine how much room there would be in my bed then! 

I think the big age gap has been perfect for us. It means Ebony is big enough that she doesn't feel jealous or left out and any issues she does have can be discussed whereas a younger child may struggle to find the words. It also means I am free to enjoy having a baby all day while Ebony is in school. This is probably the best part of it for me, the lazy cuddles on the sofa when it's just the two of us in the house. It contrasts strongly with the chaos of after school when Ebony is dancing around the room while Ember chatters away at her. 

Ember is five months old now. I'm starting to think ahead to weaning her next month. Ebony is excited about being able to share meals with her little sister. I am dreading the mess. I remember with Ebony I was so excited to finally give her solid food. This time around I'm more like ach, already? But the mess! Sob. I know my white walls won't stay white for very long. Ebony only stopped leaving pasta handprints on them about 18 months ago and now there will be a fresh splatter of tomato sauce in her place. 

Sleepwise, we're doing ok, though I hate saying that out loud in case it jinxes things. I'm pretty sure Ebony is still the one keeping me awake. Ember feeds in the night but cosleeping means this is easy and I don't often notice it happening (it's a help yourself affair in this house). My Fitbit tells me I'm getting between 6 and 7 hours sleep a night which isn't too bad. Admittedly, it's spread over about 10 hours in bed but I can handle that, it's only short-term. 

I'm finding everything to be much easier the second time around. I'm not exhausted and I know it won't last forever. I'm embracing early nights and getting as much sleep as possible, last time I would have been staying up late because THIS IS MY LIFE, but this time I know it's not, it's just a short window of time. 

The biggest shock has been how quickly the weeks are flying by. It is crazy to me that I have a five-month-old, it really doesn't feel that long ago that my fanny hurt like hell. Can it really have been five months? Surely not. I don't know whether it's the routine of school, the calm of being a second-time mum or simply the fact I know what I'm doing, but the weeks are disappearing at an alarming rate. 

Writing is proving more difficult than I expected. I had forgotten the unpredictability of naps. How long they last, whether they happen at all. Some days, I can sit down and write 2000 words while Ember sleeps peacefully upstairs. Other days, I manage just a sentence before I hear her stir over the baby monitor. Snatches of time, that is all. 


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