Now that Lyla is at school I am relishing the time spent with Theo. It’s wonderful to have him to myself and rediscover activities I used to do with only one at home. The experience of going from one to two children is quite something. With the second you have no grace period of watching This Morning during naptime, or taking a soak as they bounce about in a baby chair. On the other hand, first time round I did feel more vulnerable, particularly when a health visitor asked why I’d called my daughter LaaLaa.
Lyla’s patience for her brother has never diminished, even when he hits her over the head with a weapon of choice. Of the two, Theo has always been the force to be reckoned with- just ask my recently broken nose. Fairly surprising then that he met his match in a toddler chum who is the younger sister of one of Lyla’s best friends. Thrown together with no choice due to a pair of mothers in need of chocolate and a cuppa, Theo and Alessia offer each other mutual craziness.
Alessia mainly likes to put Mr T through his paces with a series of SAS-style demonstrations. Last week’s session included a course in how to choke the enemy, i.e a child at playgroup attempting to steal your toy.
Next lesson apparently is all about the most effective way to correct anyone who gets your sister’s name wrong. That’s my girl.
Keep kiddies entertained with our roundup of Interactive Kids Toys.
When Lyla was a few days old I turned to Mum and tearfully listed a few worries- why is she feeding every 20 minutes? How do I clip her nails without cutting off her fingers? And then came the one which highlighted all of my sudden sleep deprivation- “but how will I manage when she starts school? I’ll need to camp outside with binoculars”.
At that time, in a haze of new baby blues, all obstacles terrified me. Our tiny bundle so precious, I couldn’t imagine any future independence. The post-birth blur that surrounds you after welcoming a new addition can feel overwhelming, and it goes without saying some rational thought does go out the window.
Now after 4 years that once dreaded time has actually arrived. Next week Lyla starts full time school, moving up from her nursery class. All the clichés are true; it does seem like just a second since I envisaged my newborn at reception, but my goodness is she ready for her next chapter.
I feel excited, knowing how much my little girl will flourish. Concerned for the teacher because the ‘princess gang’ (as her group of friends call themselves) are a forced to be reckoned with. A tiny part relieved as it’ll be a lesser juggle for me. And, most importantly, I am wondering whether I can get away with a sneaky afternoon nap or two.
Make sure your little one is ready to perform with our back to school Musical Instruments for Children
A summer staycation was our seasonal holiday of choice for last week’s family break, an event perfectly timed to coincide with the country’s soaring temperatures. Favouring a glass of wine by the paddling pool over packing chaos felt particularly idyllic, and provided an excuse to explore Northumberland.
The week kicked off with a girl’s trip out for Lyla and I, an extra special hen soiree at Bamburgh beach with my friend Beth and her Mum Imelda- a day designed to celebrate the bride-to-be’s upcoming wedding. Hours were spent playing in the sea, eating a posh picnic and sampling Lyla’s delicious sand cocktails.
Post-picnic I wondered about cutting carbs out for a few days, the idea being a slimmer tum for summer. This short-term fix may have worked had we not tried to take the sides off Theo’s cot-bed the next night. After several hundred rounds of ‘Peppa Pig’ complete with startlingly realistic ‘oink oinks’, I realised little rest was going to be had here. With hindsight, simultaneously battling both the no-sleep monster and the no-food rage is a winning formula for super deranged mother.
Not one to do things by halves, I abandoned the diet and headed to Carlo’s in Alnwick, the North East’s finest fish restaurant. We then drove to Alnmouth beach with our fish and chips, eating lunch by the dunes and throwing in an ice-cream for good measure. Family fun continued with Lyla and Theo running loose around The Alnwick Castle and Garden that afternoon, happily crashing John Deere mini tractors into each other whilst Chris and I marvelled at the grand cascade waterfall.
At the end of the week we escaped for a date afternoon, venturing into Newcastle sans children. Sitting on the balcony in blazing sunshine at our favourite city eatery Café Paradiso, we enjoyed good food and time out. That and my new most cherished items- carbs and peace. I returned refreshed and excited for the rest of our staycation.
Who needs a flat stomach to hang by the paddling pool anyway?
Check out Liberty’s new outdoor living range here.
About a year ago I wrote a blog entry entitled Endometriosis- the Inside Story in a bid to raise awareness and empower other women battling this diva of a disease. I detailed my own personal experiences, and the journey I have been on for the past 11 years. Following on from this, an eye-opening appointment recently left me shocked, and wondering what choice to make.
As I wrote last year I often think that when you write about illness there is a danger of sounding negative or moan-y when actually, a person faced with difficulty is not necessarily any of the above.
That said, I have taken on a fresh approach, a fight or flight fitness regime. Fight of the trainers when I’m well, and Flight of the Conchords when I’m not.
The existing 3 mile a day pushchair trekking is now joined by swimming membership, running and a little bit of insanity. Yes, I have found a workout that describes my life, and also leaves my fitness buddy Sonia and I collapsed on the floor (wondering if I should admit that this was only after the warm-up).
My altered lifestyle is also inspired in part by ‘Mum on the Run’ Kaisa Larkas. Talking about empowerment, the positivity of Kaisa’s tweets and ‘fit for life, not just for a bikini body’ outlook are a much-needed daily pep talk from within the social media stratosphere.
So there you have it, a completely new woman, almost. Off to the pool tonight, wondering if members get all-inclusive cocktails too?
Fancy swimming too? Have a look at our Top 10 London Hotels with Pools
There comes a time when it’s screamingly obvious how desperately in need of a holiday you are. The signs of which become ever more ridiculous by the day. Putting washing up gloves on to get tea out of the oven and shouting “see you tomorrow” at your husband, who was actually hoping to return home from work on the same day he left, being the most notable. Add in a minor breakdown about something insignificant and my usually composed self was experiencing a loon-like alien invasion.
Last month’s knock from Theo’s concussion-inducing head butt has had a bizarre impact. My ability to competently power through via autopilot appeared to spectacularly crash, wiping out all the resilience I had. Up ‘til now a couple of complicated births in quick succession and one too many endo-style medical emergencies whilst tending to tots seemed like no biggie. This was until my brain had a kick-start and began to absorb the last few years aka, the soap opera of parental life.
A fabulously timed last minute booking at Center Parcs three days before my other half’s week of scheduled annual leave was exactly what the doctor ordered. The holiday that followed was a chaotic yet calm, swimming, playing and eating fest. Two baby partridges even emerged each afternoon on our porch, apparently undeterred by the pushy toddler trying to feed them crumpets.
As much as I rely on the strength of a sturdy routine, this past week I’ve learnt the equal importance of a spontaneous rest, from both my mobile phone and life.
Theo as always provided hilarity, especially in the pool, splashing about and playing the fickle friend by only wanting Daddy. Aaah, gotta love a strong father and son bond. Even when the child in question mistakenly calls Dad ‘Mummy’. One step too far though when mother takes said son down the rapids and he begins looking backwards, arms out-stretched, screaming in general Daddy direction for his ‘Mammmaaaaa’.
Turns out I wasn’t the only one failing to recognise myself before our break. The perceptiveness of babies never ceases to amaze…
Looking to travel anytime soon? … If so see our travel notes
Birthday presents can be a difficult thing to buy so Theo decided to give me something completely unique this year- a baby head-butt. What originated as an accidental night-time knock seemed to be causing a lot of grief the next day, when I struggled to even put my sunglasses on because of the ache. We dismissed it, clearly underestimating the toughness of a toddler. The celebrations were in full swing a week later with a CT scan to investigate my newly broken nose, and ‘manipulation’ of said wonky conk to put it back into place. A merry cocktail or two followed, and I’m not talking Mojitos.
Mr T redeemed himself with lots of cuddles and a ‘Canny Good’ card, flashing the words ‘I Luv me Mam’ across it. This was bought from Geordie Slogan experts Wot Ma Like, a company specialising in products bearing the local lingo of Manchester, Cumbria, Liverpool and Northumberland (to date). After our niece was born I sent my brother and sister-in-law one of their ‘Ee worra bonny bairn’ cards and I’ve been hooked ever since. Definitely an inspired choice for happy occasions.
Nose-gate continues, with bruising that now matches the neon yellow top my friend bought me. According to this month’s Vogue it IS the shade of the season, thanks to celebrity endorsement from Beyonce and Jessica Chastain. Ever the perceptive fashionista, Lyla came home from school today sporting her own take on the canary trend, courtesy of the teacher’s highlighter pen.