Sunday, August 28, 2011

Monkey Business

Esme often gets called a 'cheeky monkey' around here. So for her birthday this year I decided to make her a monkey costume (it also tied in nicely with the jungle theme we had for her party) This monkey costume was quite easy to make and Esme absolutely loved it! As soon I had made it she wanted to put it on and had a great time running around the house with it on.

Jungle Fever

One of Esme's favourite books recently had been 'Hooray! There's a hippopotamus on Our roof having a birthday party' which is all about a jungle birthday party. So, when it came time for Esme's 3rd birthday party, we knew exactly what theme to have!

I made a special monkey costume for her to wear on the day (according to Esme, monkeys say rah!)

We played some special party games and went on a safari to find animals using the binoculars we made.

Jacob loved using his binoculars to spot the animals

Then it was time for the special jungle birthday cake that Daddy made.

Esme blew out the candles and then had to put the knife in a long way to cut the cake!

We had a lovely day celebrating Esme's birthday with family and friends - thank you to everyone who came for making it special!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The funny things they say

Now that the kids are older they are often having conversations between themselves. So often they make me laugh with the things they say. I couldn't resist sharing this conversation they had in the car the other day.

Jacob: When I grow up I'm going to be a Daddy.
Esme: And Esme is going to be a Mummy. Esme might have a baby in her tummy.
Jacob: Yeah, you can have a baby in your tummy.
Esme: Esme might have Gideon her tummy.
Jacob: (laughing) No, you can't have Gideon in your tummy.
Esme: Ohh.
Jacob: Gideon was in Mummy's tummy. Gideon came out between Mummy's legs.

I love this age!

Friday, August 19, 2011

That first smile

Last night I got my first proper smile from Gideon. He's been doing 'kind of' smiles for awhile now but this time there was no doubt about it being a smile. He was lying on my lap, looking up at me and suddenly his whole face broke into a smile. It was just beautiful. My heart melted.

I can't honestly say that I remember the exact moment when the other two started smiling. It seemed that one day they weren't smiling and the next they were. Maybe it's just because I didn't take the time to just sit and 'be' with them like I do with Gideon. It was such a magical moment though. So much was said in that one smile: 'You are my world, Mummy. I love you so much'.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Is he a good baby?

Why, of course he is! How can a baby not be 'good'? This is the question that I've been asked so many times when I've had a newborn baby in my arms and it drives me a little batty (I'm sure many of my friends will share in my frustrations here!)

I know that answer is not what people expect to hear when they ask the question though...

That's because, to many people, a 'good' baby means that a) the baby doesn't cry much, b) the baby sleeps well at night AND during the day, c) the baby will lie happily by itself and d) the baby will not feed often.

Call me silly, but are these not totally unrealistic expectations of a newborn (or indeed any young child)?! A newborn has just spent 9 months inside the mother's tummy being nurtured, comforted and fed continuously. Why do we suddenly expect him to sleep by himself or not need to be held or to wait 4 hours in between feeds?? I love the idea of a fourth trimester - a time when baby is making the transition from being in their Mother's tummy to adjusting to the outside world, a time when they most need to be held close and nurtured.

I understand that sometimes babies do fall under people's definitions of a 'good' baby however I don't think this is the norm (and it's certainly not something I've ever experienced with my spirited babies ;)) nor an expectation we should have. It's easy to see why first time parents fall into the trap of following strict routines with their babies instead of following their instincts (yep, I was one of them with my first!)

So many people have commented that Gideon seems to be a 'good' baby. I love to tell people that he's only a 'good' baby because his needs are being met straight away. He is carried in the sling during the day, he sleeps on our chest at night and he is fed whenever he wants it. I have no doubt that he would cry a lot more if we didn't meet his needs straight away. I'm not saying that he doesn't ever cry or is never unsettled but when he does cry it is always done in our arms, not in a cot by himself.

Babies are a blessing and it makes me sad to think that they are categorised as 'difficult' if they don't follow what society deems as a 'good' baby.

So...the next time you go to ask someone if they have a 'good' baby please think twice!

If you want to understand more about why we shouldn't expect children to sleep through the night until they are 3 or 4 years old, Kathy Dettwyler has written an excellent article

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

I just had to share this photo of the yummy chocolate hazelnut spread I made today. When I first saw the recipe for this over at The Spunky Coconut I knew I had to make it! I absolutely love Nutella but it contains a lot of added 'extras' that are not so good. This recipe uses all natural ingredients and, surprisingly, tastes pretty much the same as Nutella - if not better! The texture is not quite as smooth as Nutella but that is probably due more to our food processor than anything else.

Now my problem is trying not to eat all three jars of this at once!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Close to my heart

I'm a big fan of baby wearing. It all started when I was introduced to the Hug-a-Bub (a wrap sling for those of you that are not up with the lingo ;)) at the very first ABA meeting I went to. There were a couple of people there who were wearing their little ones in a Hug-a-Bub and when they started talking about how comfy and easy it was to use I was sold! The next week I went out and bought my own one.

The funny thing was that I had actually turned up to this particular meeting wearing Jacob in a baby-bjorn type sling. I was so proud of myself! It wasn't until after I started using the Hug-a-Bub that I realised just how uncomfy the baby bjorn style carriers are and how bad they are for baby and Mum. After only a little while I would get a sore back from carrying Jacob in this type of carrier. I also couldn't sit down properly (well done to those of you who CAN manage to sit with these on!!) and it was just so fiddly to put on - so many clips and buckles!

And so our journey with the slings began...I can't say I was an avid baby wearer when Jacob was little. I much preferred to put him down to sleep if we were at home. But when out it was awesome for settling him in (he was one of those babies that would cry and cry!) It gave me the confidence to manage his crying. We used the Hug-a-Bub until Jacob was about 6 months old (when he got too heavy!)

Once Jacob was older we decided to get an Ergo. The Ergo was invaluable. Especially as Jacob didn't start walking until he was almost 19 months (and he wasn't a fan of being in the pram!) We used the Ergo for quick trips to the shops, for long walks and to get him to sleep in while we were out.

Jacob, in the Ergo, on a walk to the Lake near us

When Esme came along we continued to baby wear. Being the second child, the sling got a bit more use than with Jacob. It was great when I needed two hands to help Jacob with things and Esme was (mostly!) happy to be carried. I started using the Ergo with her a lot sooner than I did with Jacob as she was a big baby! We continued to wear Esme until she demanded some independence!

Esme, in the Hug-a-Bub, when she was a couple of months old.

Now Gideon is here and we are continuing the trend with him. During my pregnancy with him I knew that I wanted to baby wear a lot more and I knew that I would need to so that I could attend to the other two kids and get things done. I'm proud to say that Gideon has rarely been out of arms in the 7 or so weeks he has been here! There just seems something so inherently right about holding him close.

The Hug-a-Bub was a bit of a life-saver in the first few days after Gideon was born when Chris and Esme ended up with gastro and I had to take charge! I just popped Gideon in and he slept soundly while I continued to do what needed to be done.

I've also recently discovered the ring sling which I love (that's what inspired this post!) I've had it for ages but was always a little scared to use it until the Hug-a-Bub had to have an emergency wash and I had nothing else to use.

Gideon, in the ring sling, at 7 weeks of age.

Holding my babies close to my heart just feels so natural. I couldn't imagine life any other way!

Embracing the 'baby' stage

I've always struggled with the 'baby' stage of my children's lives. It can make me feel a little claustrophobic. Suddenly there's this little person who just requires so much of my time. Needing to be fed. Needing to be held. Needing nappy changes. And that's on top of being sleep deprived and exhausted already! I can find it really overwhelming not being able to have any time for myself. And it's scary having the responsibility of caring for this little person!

But that was how I felt in the past...

Something has changed with Gideon's birth. All of a sudden I want to cherish this special time with him. To enjoy this time with him as a baby, instead of wishing it away to when he is older and more independent. I remember with both of the other two wishing they would sleep by themselves so I could just get a moment by myself. This time I don't care. Gideon sleeps in the sling on me during the day and at night time sleeps either on Chris' chest or my chest. I love watching him sleep, seeing that blissed out look on his face and watching his little eyes flicker as he dreams. I love being able to rub my cheek on his and feel his soft skin. I love feeling the warmth of his body against mine and hearing him breathe.

The night time wakings don't seem as hard as they did with the other two. Sure, it would be nice to have more sleep but I don't feel that resentment that I did with the other two. I guess I have perspective this time around which makes things a whole lot easier to accept. I know that the night wakings won't be forever and that it will end eventually. It took Jacob and Esme 2 + years to sleep through the night but really that is only the blink of an eye in the whole scheme of things. I am only just starting to realise this and it makes me a little sad.

I think losing my two babies has had a part in changing my thinking - those two babies must have come to teach me this! Everything else seems so unimportant when I look at my little boy and realise how blessed I am to have been given him. I am so aware of time passing by ( 6 weeks old already!) and I want to enjoy this stage while it lasts. I'm guessing it won't be long before he's moving around and becoming his own little person...
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