26 September 2014

Why won't she just go to sleep?

We are in the midst of a bedtime issue with Little 1 and it is driving me crazy. I can't say it is a new issue as it has been going on for quite a while now and it comes and goes, some weeks it seems endless and then suddenly she doesn't do it for a while.

She just won't settle down and go to sleep at bedtime. 

She is very well behaved, she does her teeth and has stories (we alternate which one of us reads to each of them every night), she has a wee and gets into bed, we usually have a little chat as she is full of questions then I say it is time to go to sleep, she asks me to sing her 3 favourite nursery rhymes and I do, I say goodnight and pop on her light show. She has had a winnie the pooh lightshow that plays a lullaby and projects a picture onto the ceiling since she was a tiny baby, it is on a timer and only lasts 5 minutes, she has to have it last thing every night, it comes on holiday and even to Nanny's house for sleepovers. she may be almost 5 but if it gives her comfort at bed time then who am I to take it away, after all it only costs the press of a button and a pair of batteries once in a while. There are quite a few steps in our bedtime process but it has evolved over the years and missing out one of the steps upsets her and it is just not worth that, it doesn't take long.

Once we have said 'Goodnight' and left the room, it begins, now I don't mean this to sound terrible she is actually a very good girl, she does not get out of her bed, nor get any toys or put the light on, she just chats in her normal voice for ages usually anything from an hour to almost 2 on a really bad night. The lounge is below her bedroom and we can hear her talking as well as tapping the wall and wobbling the rail on the side of her cabin bed while she chats.

Mostly we leave her to it hoping that she will stop when she has had enough or just drop off but it usually takes around an hour or more for this to happen, she will also call loudly 'Mummy, Mummy' over and over getting progressively louder until I can not ignore her anymore incase she wakes Little 2 who just falls asleep as soon as her head hits the pillow now that she no longer has a daytime nap. Many times I have ignored her calling in the hope she will just give up and go to sleep, she has just continued calling and eventually got upset that no one came and I have ended up having to stay a while and give cuddles to settle her so that tactic isn't going to work with her.

When I answer her calls and get there all she wants is to tell me something or ask a question, 'How many sleeps until Christmas, Easter?' Whaaa I don't know, it's months away, 'Can we go on holiday to Wales again Mummy?' Yes, one day, 'Do you think our baby will like peas? 'Er I hope so'. I answer the question, don't linger and say goodnight and leave again hoping I won't have to go up again but I usually do around 5 times seems to be average, if Daddy goes up he is sharply reprimanded and told to fetch Mummy as she wanted to tell me something not him, so he rarely goes up anymore. 

It is so tedious and getting rather annoying now, it has been happening for months. Over the summer I thought that maybe she wasn't getting tired out as she wasn't going to preschool anymore and as it was so warm and light outside that maybe she really couldn't get to sleep because she was too hot or it was too light (she has a blackout blind and lined curtains so her room isn't that light anyway). I thought that when she started school she would be tired and it would stop but it hasn't it doesn't seem to be getting any better at all.

Now she is tired, school is tiring her out and going to bed late makes her rather grumpy from around teatime, there have been lots of tears this week and plenty of grumpiness, I have got cross a few times too as she is so tired and just won't stop talking and settle to sleep, I've gone up and told her off but it hasn't helped. A couple of nights ago we had a little chat about how important it was for her body to get enough sleep so that she could learn and be able to fight bugs, it seems to have helped a bit as she has been chatting quite a bit less and dropping off in around 40 minutes the last couple of days and I'm sure the sticker chart I made helped a bit too but I'm not convinced it will last.

She goes to bed about half seven once stories etc are over so I don't think I am trying to put her to bed stupidly early or anything like that and falls asleep around 8.30-8.45 usually but I'm sure that is too late for a 4 year old. (Is it? anyone?) The thing is she wakes up at 7am every morning, happy, bright and breezy (mostly) so she must be getting enough sleep but her grumpy mood later in the day says otherwise!

What on earth goes on in that little head of hers when she gets into bed I don't know, but it seems to be a lot of thinking, I think that this is probably the reason she can not get to sleep, too much going on in her little mind. It started months ago, before school and before she knew about the baby, both of which she loves so I'm certain it is not those things bothering her. It is a shame that she is not yet able to read to herself as I am sure this would help her feel tired and give her something to do in bed if she wasn't ready to settle. 

I have never been the parent to an almost 5 year old before, does anyone have any ideas. What time does your child go to bed? Do they lie awake for ages?

24 September 2014

I'm going to paint a pretty picture

Having done lots of sticking, colouring and playdough recently I thought it was about time to get out the painting. Little 2 is now old enough not to suck the paintbrush and control her utensils to that my kitchen doesn't get splattered (much), we don't do painting on the dining table anymore as no matter what size plastic mat I put on the floor the paint brush always seems to land about an inch off the edge and green paint does not easily come out of the carpet!! 

I didn't have anything in particular in mind so just gave her a brush and a small sponge and went with it. She was actually really good, choosing all the colours that she liked and then very carefully painting lines and swirls on her page washing out the brush after each colour and not creating that overly wet paper brown mess that usually comes with toddlers and painting.



She was very engrossed in what she was doing, it was lovely to see the concentration and the thought she was putting in, she informed me that she had painted a crocodile.



On a new piece of paper she did a little sponging, carefully one colour and then rotating the sponge a bit before adding the next so that they didn't mix (this is so her, even at 2 and a half she is very tidy and methodical, I didn't even need to wash her hands afterwards as she stayed perfectly clean) and dabbing them onto the page.





I then showed her how to roll the sponge over the page to get a kind of rainbow line which she thought was fab and then she drew a starfish (that's what she said) on top of it, for some reason although I took photos of all 3 of her mini creations, I can only find this one on the computer so goodness knows where it has filed the rest!


A lovely bit of time that we both enjoyed, next time I am going to encourage her to use her fingers and hands and get really messy!

22 September 2014

At last some me-time, what did I do?

If you are expecting a really interesting post filled with interesting things then you should probably click away now!

Today was the first day in ages I have had a bit of me-time. Little 1 is now in her 4th week at school (where on earth did that go?) and is, from today, full-time. 8.45am until 3.15pm she is someone elses responsibility and while it is nice to have the house a little quieter I do miss her company. This is it now until she is 18 or older (and then she won't want me around anyway) apart from holidays and it all feels a bit weird, I feel a bit out of the loop, I don't know EVERYTHING about her life only what she feels like telling me or can remember about her day, which isn't a great deal at the moment as they are doing so much.

Little 2 is into her second week at playgroup and is settling right in, she said bye to me today as I unstrapped her from the pushchair before we had even gone through the gate, so thankfully no problems there. And then there I was with a whole 2 and a bit hours to myself before picking her up again, once I'd actually arrived home and factoring in when I needed to go back to get her and then onto school for her sister that left me with one hour and 40 minutes TO MYSELF. So what did I do with this time?

Well, (don't hold your breath it is not that exciting!) first I had some lunch (I told you it wasn't exciting). I didn't have to share my sandwich nor have little hands grabbing bits off my plate and neither did I have to stop eating it 5 times to deal with a spilt drink, a doll that needed dressing urgently, a toilet break (not my own) or to break up an argument over who has the most crisps! I drank my cup of coffee while it was still HOT, properly hot not thrown in the microwave to make it drinkable again kind of hot and with it I ate a whole mini dairy milk just because I could and I didn't have to hide in the kitchen so that I didn't have to share!! To think I am going to be able to eat lunch by myself twice a week until the baby comes (what an exciting life I lead).

I then had a little over an hour left so today I checked my email and actually replied to them at the same time not later on when the children were asleep. I caught up with a little bit of commenting on some blog linkys and started writing a new blog post, all of which I would have done after the children had gone to bed tonight so all in all time well spent and tonight I might even talk to my husband when we are sat on the sofa rather than hiding behind my laptop having done most of the things I needed to do today (blogging really does take up a lot of time doesn't it, not just the post writing but the other stuff behind the scenes too). I even spent a few minutes looking for christmas presents online, get me, I crammed a lot into that hour.

So there you have it my uneventful, not exactly me time really, just catching up time, post. I think on Friday I might be really cheeky and watch a bit of daytime tv or just grab an hour snooze on the sofa, that sounds good, I'm actually completely shattered!

19 September 2014

New Johnson's baby FIRST TOUCH fragrance free range-review

Introducing Johnson's Baby FIRST TOUCH, a brand new fragrance, soap and colour free range of baby toiletries developed for newborns.


The new range was developed by Johnson's baby in response to their recent study that showed almost half (48%) of first time mums worry everyday about ensuring their baby's skin and hair is healthy. In the study 62% of mums asked said their baby suffered dry or sensitive skin and almost a quarter (24%) experienced cradle cap or dandruff*.

Johnson's baby developed this new FIRST TOUCH range in response to the survey also indicating that 31% of mums said they made a point of using products that were fragrance free on their child's skin.The Johnson's baby FIRST TOUCH range contains no fragrance, soap or colour, it is suitable for sensitive skin and has been formulated to help maintain newborn skin's natural protection.

Although the Little ones are not babies anymore we continue to use baby toiletries and products on their skin as Little 1 suffers from eczema and perfumed or general child orientated bathing products tend to dry out her skin and make her very itchy. When we were offered the chance to try out the new range of products we said 'yes', we have spent the last few weeks thoroughly testing the range.

We were sent the All-in-one wash-a mild and gentle cleanser with no more tears formulation, Moisturising lotion- to soothe and protect delicate skin, Baby oil- mild and gentle to lock in moisture, Shampoo- cleansing and moisturising with no more tears formula and Wipes- mild and gentle to protect from irritation. There is also a barrier cream as part of this new range that we did not test.

The Little ones tried out the All in one wash in their next bath, I have to say I was impressed, I was expecting a chemical smell which I find common in fragrance free products but the Johnson's FIRST TOUCH was odourless and completely colourless too, we used it as a bubble bath, it lathered well and lasted the length of the bath too. 

I used the shampoo on the girls hair and it was the same odourless and colourless, it lathered well and washed out of the girls hair really easily which I loved as sometimes this can be a lengthy process with their thick curly hair and no stingy eyes either. We have been using both of these products in the Little ones baths for the past few weeks and Little 1 shows no sign of being itchy infact her skin is quite soft at the moment which is great.

Little 2 has been a willing tester for the body lotion as she loves creams, lotions and things at the moment covering herself in it on a daily basis, it too lives up to it's claims and her skin is really soft and smooth.

We have been using the wet wipes also for dirty hands and faces as we no longer use nappies, these too don't leave any residue nor do they smell. We have yet to test the baby oil. 

The new Johnson's baby FIRST TOUCH range has lived up to it's claims and I would not hesitate to buy it for our new baby when the time comes. 

N.B We received products in the range in return for this review, this was not a sponsored post.

*Source: SMI Alcott UK Baby Consumer Framework, 2013. Conducted amongst 540 first-time mums.


17 September 2014

Is there a doctor in the house?

One of the games that is being played constantly in our house at the moment is doctors and nurses, the girls take it in turns to be the doctor or the patient and they play the game really nicely. Little 1 uses her emerging writing skills to make out little prescriptions and describes some most terrible illnesses! The doctors are very good however, a few doses of medicine and an injection and usually you are miraculously cured!

This Saturday when Little 1 had got home from hockey the girls started playing and soon a scuffle ensued as there was only one big blanket downstairs and the rest were doll sized ones, they both wanted to be ill in bed. I grabbed the big sofa cushions and their duvets and pillows from their beds and made them up a big bed in the middle of the floor, they loved it and I must say when I took my turn as patient it was really comfy.



The Little ones spent ages playing in their beds that afternoon and the duvets didn't go back upstairs until bedtime, it was lovely to watch them playing so well together, Little 2 does miss her sister now that she is at school, she often tells me so.



Little 1 played at being the chief doctor and checked her sister over very thoroughly, she used all her available tools and ended up diagnosing her with Chicken Pox. 


They had a lovely afternoon playing together, the game went on for ages, I love the fact that the girls are so close.

15 September 2014

Waving goodbye-First day at playgroup

Today was the day that Little 2 started at playgroup, well I'm not sure if it is playgroup or pre-school really as they call it rising 3's so in order to avoid confusion over her starting proper pre-school next year we are going for playgroup!

We have been talking about it for a while now, she has tried on her enormous uniform and will get her bookbag today which she is excited about as Little 1 has one for school and she is keen to have one like her sister. She is able to understand that I am going to leave her there to have a play and some snack and then I will pick her up and we will both go and get Little 1 from school together. She was excited when she woke up this morning but I think it could go either way when I drop her off, parents aren't allowed in you have to leave them at the gate and it is the first ever time I have left her somewhere other than Nanny's house!

She is one of those children that is chatty and happy with people that she knows and environments she is comfortable in but will hide and avoid people she doesn't like or know or if she is shy, she withdraws into herself and will sit on her own in a corner sucking her thumb rather than seeking reassurance, I can just envisage her sitting quietly alone while the staff deal with the noisy crying ones! But I'm sure that won't happen. 

I don't think it will take long for her to settle, she is ready for a bit of interaction with others her age and loves to get messy and hands on so I am sure she will come home covered in soil or paint each day with a big smile!

I am also looking forward to a little me time too, once I have walked back home I will have about an hour and 40 minutes before I have to leave to pick her up, what shall I do in that time? housework, blogging, go shopping ALONE, watch some trashy daytime tv uninterrupted instead of cbeebies, sleep? Sleep sounds good to me at the moment, I am now 15 weeks pregnant and still absolutely shattered, I worked out that the 2 days Little 2 is going to playgroup I will be walking about 3 and a half miles a day to and from school and preschool twice so I might need a snooze especially as my bump gets bigger! The exercise will do me good and help to stop me putting on too much weight too.

This is Little 2 in her new uniform before leaving for playgroup, she was very smiley.



When I dropped her off the lady who met her said 'Hello' and as predicted Little 2 looked at the floor and avoided her, I picked her up and gave her a cuddle, then handed her over and made a run for it, saying 'I'll just go and get little 1 from school (1.30 pick up today) and come back to get you, bye.' She looked me right in the eye staring ahead, trying to avoid the lady carrying her as she was taken in and went round the corner, she looked like she was going to cry. I didn't feel too bad as I left apart from that 'Awww my baby' thought as I walked home.

When we pick her up we have to wait for them to go and get her and bring her out to us, as they brought her out into the foyer she looked a little shell shocked like she had no idea where she was being taken and then she spotted us, her face lit up and she shouted 'It's Mummy and Little 1', she couldn't get through the door quick enough. I was told she had a really good first session and even left her comforter a few times, there were no tears!

I asked her what she had done and she said she had played playdough and been outside in the playhouse, apparently she had liked pouring her milk at snack time too. She wants to go back again so that can only be a good sign, it looks like playgroup is going to be a big hit for her and if she is happy I am happy.


12 September 2014

Little 2 bakes cakes

This morning while doing the shopping Little 2 piped up from the pushchair 'Mummy can we make cakes today?' Why not I thought. We used to do a lot of home baking in our house, the girls helping to make various biscuits and fairy cakes almost on a weekly basis but over the summer we hardly did anything except a packet cake mix that didn't work out. I think we were too busy out and about or in the garden to be in the kitchen.

Little 2 hadn't yet had the opportunity to bake with me by herself, Little 1 has done this lots of times before her sister was born and when she was too little to join in, recently it has always been the two of them helping so with Little 1 at school it was the first time Little 2 had baked with me by herself. 

As soon as we got home we set about making some cakes. Little 2 wanted to make some for Little 1 when she got home as she misses her sister now that she is out every day. She was very good at listening to the instructions and doing as she was asked. I made it a little educational too counting out the cake cases, how many more do we need, weighing the ingredients etc. Although she is only 2 years and 7 months she was very good at this and surprised me at her level of mathematical knowledge already!


She helped to weigh and mix the sugar and butter and then we made a bit of a mess with the eggs, she liked tapping them on the side of the bowl and then preferred to give them a good squeeze rather than breaking them open, luckily pretty much all the shell stayed in her hand rather than going in the mix, she then helped to count out the spoons of flour, I loved the look of concentration on her face as she kept them steady.



She was very good at mixing and very patient waiting for the cake to come together, it was lovely to watch and spend some one on one time with her.



We had a little fun spooning the mix into cases taking it in turns to do the dolloping and scraping it off each others spoon, we then put the cakes in the oven and set about licking the bowl clean!



I hadn't realised I didn't have any icing sugar to make any icing so we found some white chocolate in the cupboard and melted that which I spread over the cakes and Little 2 chose marshmallows to put on the top. Can you guess which cake she said she had chosen to have for her self?


Yes the one with twice as many marshmallows on the top! Little 1 and Daddy were impressed with the cakes when they got home, Little 1 ended up eating 3 throughout the afternoon off the rack before I caught her helping herself and put them away in a tin!! I guess they were very yummy!!

10 September 2014

Happiness and homework

Little 1 has now been at school a week and I am pleased to report that she is loving it. Each morning since her first day she is up and dressed and keen to go to school, when I ask the Little ones to get their shoes on she does so without fuss and is raring to go. She chats happily on the walk to school wondering what she will be doing today. As soon as her teacher opens the door to her class she is off, I have to be quick and grab her to get a kiss as she doesn't even say goodbye, she just runs towards the door without even a glance back. I love the fact she is so happy there, all my earlier worries were unnecessary, she has friends from preschool and has also made new friends too. She adores her teacher and is loving her new environment as well as the school dinners!

This week she has begun to learn her phonics (letter sounds) and has brought home homework, each day she has learnt a new letter sound and in her book she has to try and practice writing it at home for the next day, she also has a little bag with letter cards in it, like small flash cards, to practice the letters and attempt to build words, at the moment she has learnt S,A,T so we are limited to as, at and sat but this will grow quickly.

First ever piece of homework


We had a meeting at school today telling us what we need to be doing at home to help them to learn and how to do it correctly. They also told us that the children would start bringing home reading books from Friday, either picture books or early reading books depending on how they are getting on with learning their letters, so they aren't hanging about! Little 1 is keen and ready to learn to read so I'm sure when the time comes she will give those reading books a really good go.

There has been a bit of a strange feeling in our house this week, with Little 1 at school the house seems really quiet, we are used to her being out in the day as she attended preschool two and a half days a week last year but for some reason it is very different. The only way I can describe it is a feeling of being a little empty knowing it is permanent, every day, each week for the next 13 years or more.

I miss Little 1 during the day, she is the louder of the two Little ones and tends to commentate while they play and direct her little sister a lot so the house is always noisy when they play together. Little 2 plays quietly and doesn't talk much as she plays, she has spent a lot of time this week playing with her big sisters Playmobil and dolls house her way and is enjoying being in charge for a change!! 


I wonder how I will feel on Monday when Little 2 is out at playgroup too??