5 things I love about my second child

The second child is always easier, they say. They have no choice.

It’s true poor KD has been left to his own devices a lot more than the wee man ever was. I only have two hands and 24 hours in each day. He’s always been a very chilled out baby, thank God, cos the wee man is the same whirlwind he’s always been.

In the last week, though, KD has suddenly steamed past several milestones, so I feel like I really have to dedicate a whole blog post to the little boy he’s becoming. So here are five things I love about KD:

1 He’s always exploring

exploring KD mummykimmy

Ever since the day he starting rolling – which was front and back within fifteen minutes and off he went – KD has been into everything. He had a wee wobbly up-on-all-fours test run for a few days, then tried putting a hand out – and suddenly he was crawling. Now there is no stopping him – or finding him, sometimes. I caught him escaping out the back door this week and grabbed him before he nosedived off the one step in our bungalow yesterday. His favourite destination is his brother’s room, where he empties all the toy boxes and chews on shoelaces.

2 He contents himself with anything.

at Tesco KD mummykimmy

He can find the fun in anything – a label on a blanket, an envelope on the carpet or a little flicky sign in Tesco. He amuses himself for ages and is the least demanding baby I’ve ever known. He’ll sit in his high chair just watching us with no toys on the table (because he’s thrown them on the floor) for ages. Admittedly his brother’s antics are very entertaining which leads me onto no.3

3 He adores his brother

brother love KD mummykimmyHis face splits into a huge grin whenever he spots the wee man – and the feeling is mutual. He’ll tolerate the kissing and cuddling and grabbing and general roughhousing – but he’s also very good at rolling on top of him and pinning him down. If KD is in the middle of his lunch and the wee man is behind him, he’ll lean backwards out of the high chair, craning to catch a glance. He reserves his belly laughs just for his brother, which the wee man adores, and which makes me all teary. His new trick is to try to copy him dancing in a shoogly wee side-to-side shimmy which totally cracks me up.

4 He has a sense of humour

comedian KD mummykimmyHe knows when he’s done something clever and takes great delight in getting my attention to appreciate his genius. Like the time he managed to roll into a rucksack and crawl towards me with it on his back. Or the day he figured out how to play peekaboo and lay with a muslin over his face giggling and waiting for me to pull it aside. I’m convinced he is an exceptionally smart child (as every mother is) which leads me onto point 5.

5 He’s a genius

standing KD mummykimmyPerhaps it’s because the wee man was quite late to hit all his milestones that it seems like KD is miles ahead. He was eight months old when I realised he could stand against something for ages. He observed my delighted face with a nonchalant “yeah – and?” look on his face. He said mum and dad in the same breath and picked a very stressful, hungover day to demonstrate his new trick – making me the happiest woman in the world. He seems to understand a heck of a lot already – responding instantly to ‘clap your hands’ or ‘dance!’ – and reacts to words like ‘daddy’ even when he’s nowhere nearby. He loves other children and will go to anyone without a fuss.

In short, he’s a brilliant wee dude who makes us all very happy. I’ll try to give him more blog space from now on!

KD and mummykimmy

 

 

 

 

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They grow up so fast…

Until recently I could have happily throttled anyone who dared say that cliche to my face.

The wee man turned four last month and I was like “Only four? Shouldn’t he be about 12 by now?”

Six month old KD, on the other hand, has been quietly morphing into a giant in the background. He’s bursting out of his 9-12 month clothes, he’s rolling so far and fast that I’ve sold the cot top changer and he no longer fits into the beautiful pram. I picked up a brand new City Mini today and was Christmas-Day-excited –  until I realised he’d be facing the other way. Why did this break my heart? I mean, I didn’t even cry on his first day at nursery.

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Maybe it’s finally dawning on me that this isn’t actually forever, no matter how much like Groundhog Day it can sometimes feel. These days in sole charge of my two boys may be draining, but they’re also enriching. With every minute that passes they are learning and growing. Every small battle actually moulds them into future adults, so that one day they can fly the nest and make their own mark on the world. It’s the most intensive learning experience there is – like getting a law degree inside a month.

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I had never understood friends who wailed “but one day they’ll grow up and leave me!” I mean, do you want them to live with you forever? Because that’s a thing now. I certainly wouldn’t want two stinky boys hanging around my house too late into their twenties. But who knows? That’s a long way away. Right now I struggle to think past tomorrow, and I only do that because I need to be a few steps ahead with clean trousers for the mud-loving big one and clean bottles for the milk-guzzling small one.

We’re also pretty sure we’re stopping at two. The joy of donating, selling or simply chucking out things as KD expands has started to become kind of poignant. I am literally binning a huge part of my life. Time has become tangible. I’m finding this odd as I’m always moaning about time – either not having enough of it to accomplish my endless list of tasks, or having far too much of it as a rainy afternoon with two crabbit children gapes in front of me.

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The one thing I can say with confidence is I’m getting better at it. I’m getting pretty good at pre-empting dangerous situations. I am stricter about discipline with the big one and routine with the small one as it’s the only way to have any kind of control. I’m coping pretty well with the sleep deprivation. I’m less precious about the soft furnishings. I’m less guilty about the time the wee man spends in nursery. I hope I’m more chilled out with Rod – though he may disagree.

I suppose the boys aren’t the only ones growing and learning. I am definitely more compassionate and more patient. I judge people less – in fact – I don’t judge people at all. I take every chance to say “God, I’ve been there, do you need a hand?” I wave at my elderly neighbours and chat to that annoying woman with the dog because these things take a few minutes but make a difference. They make me feel good.

I’m also aware how lucky I am. I may spend a lot of my day repeating myself, cleaning up poo, cooking while singing while confiscating knives while sterilising bottles while rocking the bouncer chair with my foot while not tripping on the toy cars, lifting, tidying, washing and repeating myself – but I have two beautiful boys who make my heart burst when they kiss and cuddle me. Ahhhh, they grow up so fast.

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Giving to Grampian Women’s Aid

I’ve been struggling a wee bit adjusting to life as a mum of two. Mostly because I’m knackered but also because there are a million hormones making me crazy and I’m living in a city 150 miles away from most of my family. When you’re feeling low and a bit lonely, all you want is for someone to say to you, “It’s OK, I’ll help you.” I find it hard to ask for help, but as soon as I do, I get it, from my husband, my family and friends.

Not everyone is so blessed.

KD is growing so fast that I have a load of beautiful clothes he”s only worn once. I wanted them to go to someone who needed them, so I called Grampian Women’s Aid. The girl on the phone listened to me describe what I had and said: “Well we’re moving offices so we aren’t really accepting donations right now, but I can think of a woman who would really appreciate all that.”

That really got me. I immediately felt a personal connection with this woman and went back to the cupboard to find more to give her. After all, it had turned so cold, she’d need hats, mitts and blankets too.

I dropped off the bags this afternoon. I knew I couldn’t ask for any personal details, but I was told there were actually two babies on their way. “Are the women OK, are you supporting them?” I asked a bit pathetically. “Well obviously the circumstances aren’t ideal, but yes,” I was told. I suggested I could bring more clothes as KD outgrows them and she smiled and said that would be great.

I felt quite teary when I got back in the car. My gorgeous wee boy was asleep in his carseat and I had Christmas with my family to look forward to. Meanwhile one in four women are suffering from domestic abuse. It was too unfair.I wish I could do more. All I can hope is that these two women enjoy having some extra clothes for their beautiful new babies and that they feel like Women’s Aid has said “It’s OK, I’ll help you”.

I also hope that anyone reading this considers donating to their local Women’s Aid this Christmas.

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Survival tactics

The Buggyboard, the electric pump and the tumble dryer.

If you took those things away from me right now, I really would fall into the abyss. You know, the one whose edge you dance around as a new mum? Yesterday morning I was clinging onto the edge by two fingernails, with sore boobs, red eyes and a pickled brain, having had three broken hours sleep. I’d also STUPIDLY had a curry the night before so every feed was making KD crankier and crankier. I didn’t get near the shower until midday – and even then he was in the bouncer seat by the toilet wailing.

THANK GOD for the electric breastpump. I had only found the window to use it three nights previously, having finally pried off the limpet that is my second son, so three bottles of that white gold were sitting in the fridge. And they were non-curry flavoured. A bottle of that, as my hair dripped all over him, was the magic cure, so that he actually lay quietly in his pram while I whipped up scrambled eggs and ate them. Hot! AND put the dishes in the dishwasher afterwards.

Of course I then realised I had nothing to wear. I’d been so busy washing baby clothes in non-bio, towels and sheets for visitors and the Wee Man’s soiled clothes separately (the potty training has reversed since KD came along, though it is improving every day) that all my laundry was still heaped in the basket. I pulled on a pair of joggers that bit into my 6 week post natal belly – a cruel reminder that ‘getting fit’ was yet another thing to add to my endless list. I pulled all the leggings out the basket and chucked them in a quick wash, then tumble dried them, delighted to be able to breathe properly again.

The final trial of the day was collecting the Wee Man from nursery. The rain had eventually stopped so, mindful of the Jogger Incident, I walked up to collect him. I had dreaded this task throughout my pregnancy. He is always knackered after nursery and likely to scream, throw a tantrum or just plain run off into the sunset. I’d tried every bribery tactic and restraining gadget in the book (and often just driven the 500 yards) when turns out all I’d needed was a Buggyboard. Now he kisses KD, jumps on the board and yells “BRRRRRROOOOOOOM” all the way home. I bought it for £25 from a woman on Gumtree who’d never used it and it even came with a little lead to clip it up and out the way. Amazing invention. I’m grateful for it every day.

Oh yeah – and there is one more thing you couldn’t ever take away from me. I mean I suppose I could manage without those three things, if there was a power cut or something, but this thing must always be in my cupboard. There must also always be the two things that go with it, otherwise I’d just end up sitting in the corner rocking and mumbling “twinkle twinkle”.

Lime.

Diet Pepsi.

Golden Rum.

Best buds

Best buds

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Filed under Newborn, health, baby kit, Aberdeen

How far I’ve come…

Last night I sat breast feeding my four week old and watching The Devil Wears Prada.

I had been feeling pretty good – I’d managed a shower that morning and was wearing my Hollister trackies and hoodie, smug that they fit again. Yeah. That smugness was short-lived.

I trained and worked as a journalist, and while I never worked on a fashion mag, this movie had always struck a chord. The deadlines, the networking, the desire to exceed everyone’s expectations and try to look glamorous while doing it. Now here I was, mum of two, off work, looking forward to getting back into my exercise plan and shifting a stone of baby weight. “Andy”, the main character, was a sharp reminder of how far I had to go.

But as she had to bend further and further backwards to please her cruel boss, I found myself smiling. I was so far past that eager-to-please stage. I’d been there aged 26. I’d made myself ill over it. Eventually I’d snapped. handed in my notice and scared the shit out of my boss, who was left with two magazines editor-less. I’d set up my own business, gone on to have two beautiful children and was now a much wiser 32 year old. I may be a bit squishy round the middle but, in the words of Cheryl, “I don’t care”.

Coincidentally, I had also just popped in to the office to show off KD to my co-workers. They had been lovely; excited to meet him, complimentary and genuinely interested. The conversation had turned to when I was coming back and the projects that were waiting. They were nothing but supportive, so I didn’t have any guilt about taking the time away from work or feel any pressure to rush back. I know the time will come when I’ll want to get back to work – but for now I’m happy to relax into motherhood which, by the way, is a much harder job.

I can look forward to the time when fashion will matter again, when I’ll get a buzz from networking and hitting deadlines and exceeding expectations – but I know it will be on my terms. Just figuring that out has given me confidence. I can appreciate how much I’ve learned since those miserable days just before I handed in my notice. The challenge is to remember all this when I’m sleep-deprived, frizzy, trying to keep my patience with a truculent three year old while the baby cries and wondering how the hell I’m going to organise dinner…

Maybe I’ll just read this blog.

Figuring out what's really important...

Figuring out what’s really important…

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First days second time round

It feels like I’ve stepped through the looking glass again. Everything in my life is the same but different, altered by the arrival of our little KD.
My body, which appears recovered from the outside (I was discharged from the labour suite seven hours after giving birth) is still healing. It can only cope with one emotion at a time and I am rocked by the shifts. One minute all I can think about is how overpoweringly grateful I am, to God and the universe, for giving me a healthy baby boy. The next I am consumed with fury that the Wee Man should deliberately wet himself six times in one morning.
I feel exactly like I’m standing barefoot on the beach, each wave pulling more sand from under me, the sun and the thunder clouds fighting to decide what the weather should be.
I haven’t slept for longer than three hours for nearly three weeks now. The nights are foggy; KD looks for the boob every couple of hours, burps over my shoulder and sighs back to sleep, while I manoeuvre cushions and blankets and flop gratefully back onto my pillow.
And in those lucid hours after a daytime nap, when KD is still asleep in his bassinet and the Wee Man is at nursery, I look around my messy house, consider my air-dried hair and makeup-free face and think to myself: “Enjoy it, for this too shall pass.”

mummykimmy and KD

mummykimmy KD and wee man

mummykimmy KD hands crossed

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Nearly there…

I am one day overdue.

mummykimmy pregnant

It’s such a weird thing waiting to give birth. Every twinge gets your hopes up. I had powerful Braxton Hicks last week for three days which obviously did a great job because when the midwife came on Monday she said I was very close. She said the magic words: “I’ll be very disappointed if you need to be induced” as she did the paperwork and booked my induction for the 19th anyway.

Since I’ve stopped work, the only thing preventing me enjoying this unique time in my life is my super-demanding son, who is taking full advantage of mummy’s temporary disability. I think the worst day was at a large park, when he took off and would not come back. When I eventually caught up with him, he fought my every effort to take him back, screaming, kicking and full-on lying down on the ground and refusing to move. I part carried, part dragged him back to the car, which took a full 20 minutes, and then refused to speak to him for the rest of the afternoon. Carrying him had really f*cking hurt my back, completely screwed up my delicately balanced pelvis and just broken my heart a bit that he should behave so badly.

mummykimmy wee man

But.

This last week he has made a few breakthroughs. We have very nearly cracked the potty training. We have found a workaround for the sleep issues. He is behaving beautifully in his new nursery class and seems to be very popular. He’s eating really well and being very affectionate. If he could just have mummy’s attention 24/7 (including sleeping wrapped around me) then he would be an angel. I’m finding it all quite emotionally sensitive to deal with, but at least I am resting at home those days he is at nursery so I can give him a lot more time and energy when he comes home.

mummykimmy auntie Vick

The other thing that has made a huge difference to me has been getting more help. Rod has reduced his working week to five days so he is now at home on Thursdays and Sundays, which both the wee man and I LOVE. My mum has been up to stay, my sister-in-law has just left after helping out for three days and we have visits from my brother-in-law and in-laws to look forward to. Being left in charge of such a boisterous kid alone, while feeling so physically restricted, has been difficult for me these past few months. It’s been so frustrating saying the words “I can’t manage that”…

mummykimmy kitchen knobs

Not for much longer! I’ve ticked every job off my maternity-leave list – the hall cupboard is organised, all the wee man’s baby kit and clothes have been cleaned for number two, I’ve replaced all the knobs on my kitchen cupboards and, for once, I am on top of the laundry. I am now at the daytime-TV stage. Current obsessions include “Double your house for half the money”; “Without a Trace” and, of course, “Supernanny”. Today I have bleached everything white, mopped everything flat and hoovered everything fluffy.

I am ready.

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