Wednesday 29 January 2020

Review: Let's Talk To Mummy's Tummy

Let's Talk To Mummy's Tummy
by Helen Lacey
illustrated by Carla Moreno 

Ebony is eight years old, so I wanted a book that would show her how the baby was developing inside my bump. I knew she'd be curious during the pregnancy, and I wanted somewhere she could find answers to her questions. I searched high and low for a book that contained just the right amount of information. Some of the books looked too basic for an eight-year-old, and others contained way too much information because they were designed for adults. 

In the end, I settled on Let's Talk To Mummy's Tummy by Helen Lacey. If you have a child who is about to become a big brother or sister, I strongly recommend this book. My eight and three-year-olds both love it and checking it has become a weekly routine. The information is simple enough for my three-year-old to understand (and repeat for the rest of the week), and my eight-year-old reads it to herself. 

The book features lots of questions which are great conversation starters to help you and your child talk about the new arrived. The book asks how they are feeling about getting a new sibling, as well as prompting questions about when they were a baby in your tummy. Each page features a new question as well as information about how the baby is developing. 

Each page is dedicated to a different week of the pregnancy, starting with week 12. We gave the girls this book when we'd had the scan and told them about the pregnancy. Each week gives them a fact about the baby's development, information about the size of the baby, and an illustrated image of a baby at that gestational age. 

I really love the illustrations and colours in the book. The illustrations feature a diverse mix of families. The book suggests ways your child can bond with the baby both before and after birth. It's the perfect way to prepare your child for life after birth. The book talks about what the baby will eat, how it will wake in the night, and how your child can help to look after their new sibling. 

It doesn't shy away from difficult topics and addresses big emotions your child may be feeling as they prepare for the birth. The book talks about how you will always love your child and the baby equally, which will be useful for prompting discussions around these difficult emotions as you transition to life as a bigger family. 

I'm really glad I bought this book, it is perfect for preparing my girls to become big sisters. Sometimes we sit together and read the whole thing from cover-to-cover, and other times we simply dip into the relevant week to learn how the baby is developing. 

Do you have this book, and if so, what do you think of it? 

Let's Talk To Mummy's Tummy by Helen Lacey is available from Amazon for £14.99. This is an affiliate link, if you use it, you won't pay any extra, but I will receive a very small sum from Amazon for sending you their way. 

Monday 27 January 2020

Pregnancy Update: 20 Weeks

These weeks are passing scarily fast now. The first trimester is so slow, as though time actually isn't moving, and then life speeds up for the rest of the pregnancy. At 20 weeks, the baby is the size of a paper aeroplane, according to the Ovia Pregnancy App.

This week, I have mostly struggled to stay awake. My sister came round one evening so I stayed up till half-past ten (wild, I know) and I paid for it the next day. I seem to need a lot of sleep at the moment. It takes ages for me to get comfy in bed, and I keep waking up to pee. It doesn't help that there is a three-year-old squished up against me for half of the night. 

On Saturday, my parents came and watched the girls so that Laurie and I could escape to the cinema. It was nice to spend some time together. It doesn't feel like we've seen each other much lately, probably because I've been sleeping so much. We went to see The Personal History of David Copperfield which I loved. I had to pee twice during the film though, I think this baby is sat on my bladder. Then we went to Hillgate Cakery, the vegan cake shop in Stockport, and I had some chocolate fudge cake which was amazing. And hot chocolate. And then I worried about the gestational diabetes test I'm due to have next month. They want me to have it because Ember was such a big baby at birth. 

I've been trying to walk lots. After I drop the kids off at school and nursery, I do a 5km loop before going home. I looked for a pilates class but they're all in the afternoons or evenings when I either have Ember or will definitely be asleep. I don't know if it's the number of children I have or my age making me feel so sleepy, but the thought of going to pilates at 8:30pm is laughable to me. 

I'm due to have my 20-week scan tomorrow. Last time, we took Ebony and she held my hand throughout. This time, we've decided not to take the girls with us. I think I'm more nervous than I was last time, and I felt pretty nervous then. I do wish they could be there though. My next midwife appointment is during half-term so they'll be coming to that with me. 

Yesterday, Laurie went into the loft and brought down the rest of my maternity clothes. Despite assuring me they were already down, he had, in fact, left two bags up there, so I'm glad to finally have some clothes that fit me. It will be nice to not worry about accidentally flashing anyone my giant stomach. And I finally have my maternity pyjamas which are truly the comfiest thing ever. 

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Birthday Presents for an 8 Year Old

Eight is old, isn't it? I can't quite believe I have an eight-year-old. Ebony's birthday is close to Christmas, which is a bit crap really. It means I have to have all my good ideas at once (sob) and that she has a long wait for the rest of the year. It also means outdoor gifts feel a bit wasted because it's so cold around her birthday. 

We try not to go overboard with gifts. It's hard to find the balance, I find. Especially as they get older, because they don't want toys so much, and so the things they do want are smaller and less exciting to wrap. 

(This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to buy something using one of the links, you won't pay any extra, but I'll get a teeny tiny percentage of the sale price)

Here are some of the things we got Ebony for her eighth birthday:

Harry Potter Vans
Ebony is obsessed with Harry Potter, so I knew I had to get her some of these shoes. They're currently in the sale, so if you have a Harry Potter mad kid, look on the Vans website. I paid £45 for a pair of the golden snitch design, but they're now £31.50 in the sale. Her face lit up when she opened the box, so they were definitely a good choice. 

Clothes Designing Mannequin 
I stole this idea from The Playful Den, if you don't follow her on Instagram, you need to. She knows everything there is to know about play, and I have learnt so much from her over the past couple of months. I bought Ebony a 12-inch wooden mannequin (I got this wooden mannequin from Amazon for less than a tenner) and a glue gun and then I filled a shoebox with fabric cut-offs, ribbons, buttons and fabric flowers. She absolutely loves it, she really enjoys creative tasks so designing and making clothes is ideal for her. It's definitely been one of her favourite presents and was really cheap to throw together. 

The Confidence Code
Ebony loves to read so we bought her quite a few books for her birthday. Some of them came from our local charity shop and cost 25p each, and others I bought new. A few weeks before her birthday, I stumbled across a blog post about how girls lose confidence at age eight. It filled me with fear, so I decided to buy her The Confidence Code For Girls and the accompanying The Confidence Code For Girls Journal. They're books designed to help girls keep their confidence, accept their imperfections and like themselves. I've had a quick look through and they both look great. I also bought myself a copy of The Confidence Code which is the accompanying book for parents. I hate the thought of her losing her confidence this year so I'm going to do everything within my power to make sure that doesn't happen. 

Swimming Things
Ebony started swimming lessons last year and has been working really hard at learning to swim. Laurie usually takes her so I only see her swim every so often and it always impresses me how much she's come on in a short space of time. I bought her a new swimming costume (I chose this one from Boden because I loved the print) and a pair of swimming goggles. Swimming goggles always get lost or broken in this house, and she's been asking for a new pair for ages. I chose these swimming goggles because they came with a case and I thought that might increase their lifespan. They look like superhero goggles and I like them a lot. 

Circuit Kit
My parents bought her this Hot Wires Circuit Kit for her birthday. Ebony likes science so this seemed like a good option. I'm pretty sure the circuit kits when I was younger just had tiny light bulbs that flickered on or off. This kit is way beyond that. You can use it to build a lie detector test, or a burglar alarm, or a flashing light sequence. It has lots of different options for things to make and Ebony has really enjoyed using it so far.

Artist Set
Laurie's parents bought her this artist set. Ebony has always loved arts and crafts, but we don't really have any grown-up art materials in the house. Even the felt tips are on lockdown because Ember has drawn on so many doors and walls. This artist set is more grown-up than the art materials we had before. It features paints, pastels, fancy pencils, and fancy pencil crayons. It has an easel and a wooden board to mix your paints on. It looks like a really good kit and all the stuff she's tried out so far have been good quality. 

All of the presents on this list were a huge success. 

Monday 20 January 2020

Pregnancy Update: 19 Weeks

The baby is apparently the size of a Game Boy now, though I fear it may actually be the size of one of those giant early computers that took up a whole room. Certainly, I am the size of a room now.

I can't decide if the pregnancy is going fast or slow. Some weeks seem to fly by and others it seems like time is standing still. I don't feel like I am very productive at the moment, I keep setting myself a list of things to do each week and then the week is over and I haven't done then. I don't know whether to blame pregnancy or January, but whatever it is, I hope it passes soon.

I have felt huge this week. All of a sudden, my coat seems to be straining over my bump. I am sure I am too big for 19 weeks, which isn't exactly reassuring for a big-baby-maker such as myself. I am trying to ignore it and focus on the fact that it's too late to worry about whether this baby will be huge or not. It's going to have to come out one way or another. 

I've done lots of walking this week. I've started going straight from school drop off in the morning. I should really be coming home to work, but then I can't go walking until the evening and by then I'm usually too exhausted to leave the house. So, I've been walking each morning and ignoring the fact that I should really be trying to earn money. I do a 5 km loop around my local area. I've been listening to Your Baby, Your Birth by Hollie de Cruz (this is an affiliate link). It's a hypnobirthing book that I'm hoping will prepare me for the birth. It's nice taking a little time out of each day to focus on the pregnancy and de-stress. 

I had SPD in both my previous pregnancies. It was worst with Ebony, but with Ember I was able to control it. This time, I think it's somewhere in the middle so far. I've found it more uncomfortable than last time, but I at least know what I'm doing now so I can keep it in check. I think walking helps, so I've been trying to exercise regularly. It was particularly bad one night last week, so I did a pregnancy yoga tutorial from YouTube. Ember did it with me, and I felt so much better afterwards. 

In general, it just feels like I've been kicked hard in the crotch. It's not pleasant, but it's also not awful. I sleep with a pillow between my knees, and try to take care not to sit funny or unbalance myself throughout the day. If I do too much, the pain spreads to my lower back and that is particularly uncomfortable but I've found a warm water bottle helps to ease the discomfort. 

Other than the SPD, I don't think I'm having much in the way of symptoms at the moment. I feel exhausted all the time, but I'm not sure that's anything new. I've been going to bed really early and reading for an hour or two before bed, but I still don't feel like I'm getting enough sleep. 

I have an anterior placenta so this baby doesn't seem to be as wriggly as my other two. I can't help many movements throughout the day, though I do feel them when I lie down in bed at the end of the day. I'm hoping that the movements will be more obvious as the baby gets bigger (but not too big) because I find it quite worrying not being able to feel many movements. I am used to wriggly babies. I do not like having an anterior placenta so far, if it ends in back to back labour then this will be even worse.

Missed my first trimester update? Catch up here.

Photo by Museums Victoria on Unsplash

Thursday 16 January 2020

Pregnancy Update: First Trimester

It feels weird to be writing pregnancy updates again. Three is a lot of children. I haven't written weekly updates so far, though I'm hoping I will from now on. The first trimester was a blur of puking and sleeping and feeling generally awful, so I was in no mood to write. 

We didn't tell many people about the pregnancy during the first trimester. We'd decided not to tell the kids until after the scan, so I didn't want too many other people knowing. It would be so awful if they heard the news from somebody else. I basically only told people I had to, and other than that, I kept it secret. 

Last time, we told everybody really early, so it was nice to keep it to ourselves for longer this time. The first trimester passed slowly, but I think that was more to do with the symptoms than the secrecy. The first trimester is the worst. I was throwing up a lot, but I felt nauseous all day long. I would have momentary relief after throwing up, but then nausea would return. There was a constant bad taste in my mouth, too. 

I found that I wasn't eating much (truly, the most out of character thing ever) because everything made me feel sick. Before the pregnancy, I was eating the best I had in years. No snacks or crap, and plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. I was taking probiotics and eating kimchi, sauerkraut and (vegan) yoghurt every day to try and build up some healthy gut bacteria. Once nausea started, I ate only beige foods or no foods. Chips and vegannaise was a popular lunch option (Follow Your Heart vegannaise is the best vegan mayo and I won't hear a word against it). 

The smell of all food was making me heave. The kids' diets were severely lacking in this time because cooking anything felt impossible. They ate a lot of oven food and often ended up waiting until Laurie got home so he could cook them something nutritious. Laurie's meals are 70% garlic so then the whole of the downstairs would smell of garlic and I would spend my evenings in my room bitching about the smell. Garlic is truly the worst smell when you are nauseous. 

Nausea aside, I also felt exhausted. I had to cancel so many plans due to tiredness (I even had to pass up seeing Suzi Ruffell which was a particularly low point for me). I was completely lacking in energy (beige food is no good for my energy levels) and so spent most of the first trimester either asleep in bed or moaning on the sofa. I did as little as possible because I had less than no energy. The house reached new lows in terms of tidiness and homeliness. Laurie looked like a walking breakdown because he was having to come home early to feed the kids and get them to bed, then desperately trying to catch up on his work in the evenings(/early hours). 

I think it's safe to say we were both relieved when the first trimester symptoms disappeared.  Although I am still very much not ok with the smell of garlic. Don't even think about eating garlic and then breathing on me. 

Tuesday 14 January 2020

Reinstating Old Habits for 2020

Welcome to January, the month when dormant bloggers come out to state their intentions to rejoin the land of blog. You may have guessed that I am one of them. I have completely abandoned this blog in recent months (years), though it wasn't a deliberate decision. Having two children is way more time consuming than having one. Who knew. At first, I struggled to find the time, then I struggled to find the brainpower and, finally, I struggled to find the confidence. 

The truth is, I miss it. I am so glad that I have this record of my life as a mother. In truth, I wish I'd started it sooner. I wish I'd written down my thoughts and experiences throughout my whole life. I realise most people do this in a private diary and perhaps there is something strange about putting it all out there for the world to see. When I became a mum, I read so many blogs and I loved knowing that there were other people out there who felt the way I did about motherhood, parenting and the world. 

Lately, I've been re-visiting my old pregnancy blog posts. I wrote weekly updates the whole way through my second pregnancy and I have been reading them to compare this time (oh yes, I am pregnant). It's so nice being able to look back and see that I felt similar (or not) back then. Pregnancy and motherhood are such life-changing events, and at the time you think you'll never forget them, but in truth you do. The memories fade and your recollections get muddled and all of a sudden you can't remember which child did what when. 

This blog has let me keep hold of my memories. It has secured them in time so that I will always be able to find them. They won't fade or disappear, though the bad grammar and terrible writing will make me weep on particularly hormonal days. 

I am 18 weeks pregnant and I haven't really been keeping track of my symptoms. I'm going to start writing a weekly update like I did last time. Partly because the weeks are flying by and I'm not sure this baby is getting much of my attention, maybe carving out some space here will help with that. And hopefully, it will help me find my writing mojo again because that has been severely lacking in recent months. 

This is probably the most interesting of my life plans for 2020 (apart from having a baby obviously). Other than this, I am mostly trying to be more organised and live in less chaos and read more books. But these are my plans every year and I rarely achieve them. I did read more last year but only in the first half of the year, I'm not sure what went wrong after that. Hopefully this year I will manage to achieve all of my goals.

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