You kind of expect the guilt the impact having a second child may have on your first born. The feeling left out. The jealousy. Not having that ‘one on one’ time. It's tough. Tougher than I imagined. But I never really thought about the guilt I’d feel for my second child. With Rafe it was all about routine, getting him to sleep (trying) at the same time every day, making sure he has tummy time, goes to a few baby classes, make sure he has ‘play time’, gets some fresh air, a feeding routine....but with Elijah. Some days I just feel so guilty because it still is all about Rafe. He's in and out the car seat, off to one of Rafe's classes, in the pram at the park, breastfeeding him on a bench on the beach while almost getting blown away because I wanted to take Rafe to the beach, can't even attempt any type of nap routine, still just breastfeeding totally on demand and if we are in the house some days he just sits and watches me run after Rafe. And although we do have days where we have some alone time, we squeeze in some tummy time and he does have a baby class on his own – there are days where the only time I feel like I’ve paid one on one attention to him, is when Rafe is asleep and he’s lying on my chest before I put him down to sleep. And I leave him to cry more than I did Rafe as sometimes that's all I can do. Oh and at the moment he doesn’t have any of his own toys, or books, most are/were Rafe's – and so many of his clothes are Rafe's too. And I know he won't care or even remotely understand any of that but I just don’t want him to ever feel he was second best. I just feel guilty. Like I’m not giving him all of me – but likewise I’m the same with Rafe. If only you could split yourself in two ay?
So yeah, the mum guilt lives on. I haven’t written a post in a while as been a bit manic with husband away and both kids and me having a cold. Rafe was back at nursery one day and had a full on snotty nose which he gave to me and Elijah so it really wasn’t overly fun for any of us. Nights were pretty rough especially when Rafe was waking up crying and I had to basically run between them both to settle them. Or dealing with Rafe’s horrendous nappies that ended up all over his bed, his hands – the carpet downstairs. And his final tooth has come through which has been a mother fucker. Poor thing has been really upset with it and must have been in pain. Put that’s all teeth in now! Amen. Just got to wait for Elijah to start teething...
Husband has been away for a few weeks but came back on Tuesday for the week and when I took Rafe to nursery he had Elijah for literally half an hour to try and get him to sleep. Came back and he looked broken and simply said – I couldn’t do this all the time like!” “I’ve only been away fucking half an hour!!!” Haha. To be fair Elijah was refusing to nap which can be really frustrating. Honestly my kids hate naps. I must be doing something wrong. 🤦🏻♀️ Some days he will just fall asleep on his own, other days I need to pop him in the pram, other days shush him – or the car normally does the trick – normally only for 30 minutes like Rafe used to knock out. Or some days he screams and screams and fights it – or the other day he fell asleep in the car, brought him in the house and slept for two and a half hours. I was in shock! I don’t know whether he just hates naps like Rafe did, or whether because I haven’t really for a nap routine down yet he is just all over the place, or because he just wants to sleep when he wants. I just really don’t want to be obsessively googling sleep schedules again but might have to be done. Anyone got a good routine for a 3 month old or is it impossible with a toddler in the mix too?!
Can’t believe Rafe will be two next week. Actually want to cry. Just want time to slow down. He is growing so fast. Everyday he seems to learns a new word and he is such a character. I asked for recommendations for birthday presents (thank you!) and we are doing the four present rule which I think is such a good idea (again thank you!). Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. So we have for him a balance bike, some wellies, an outfit and a pack of Gruffalo books. Someone asked me to share other ideas from people so here you go:
Went to the doctors about Elijah's reflux and at the time it had been a bit better a few days. He was still being sick quite a bit but wasn’t screaming like he was in pain or constantly crying. The doctor said sometimes with reflux or colic, 12 weeks was like a ‘magic period' for some babies and it settled itself so I have been monitoring him to see when it is worse and if it happens more when I have eaten something (cow's milk in particular the doctor recommended). He still has moments of crying after a feed but a good burp normally helps and he can be squirmish on the boob, especially in the morning when boobs are fuller so have been taking him off and burping him and then popping him back on or giving him a break. Also keeping him upright after a feed which many of you recomended which helps. He is still sick quite a bit but kind of accepted I will be covered in baby barf for quite a while and as long as he is putting on weight and not distressed then nothing to worry myself over. Doctor said could give him gaviscon or ranitidine if still bad but will see how we go. Really feel for people whose baby has colic or really bad reflux and doesn’t settle as that week where he was screaming pretty much constantly was so tough. It really does affect you so I hope anyone going through that is getting some support as it is relentless.
Just having a small family party next weekend. Feels like yesterday we were celebrating his first birthday. I actually want to cry at how fast he is growing up. He is a proper chatter box, loves to sing makes my heart explode when he tries to say certain words. He is obsessed with the free hero cards from Sainsbury’s at the mo. He loves saying Peter Pan which I can hear him saying as he goes to sleep which is bloody cute. Or when he says ‘big truck’ and is sounds like something else...My friend’s son when he was a bit younger (for context her husband is called Paul) turned around one day and said: “for fuck's sake man Paul!!” So best start watching what I’m saying! Has your child said anything funny/copied you?
Best go give my husband a few jobs to do till back to work. Till next time,
You may have your brother's babygrow on – but that doesn’t make you second best,
We may only have stolen moments of quiet - when you’re lying on my chest.
Your brother may seem jealous some days and poke you in the eye,
But I promise one day son, he will be your best friend for life – just give it time.
You may not be the first we cheered on those wobbly first steps,
But that doesn’t mean we won’t be cheering as loud - or they’ll be celebrated any less.
You may not have been the first to make tiny footprints in my heart,
But I will love you always - and will forever hold your hand in the dark.
You weren’t our first - but you’re our missing jigsaw piece, you’re exactly where you belong,
You may not have made me a mum my son - but you’ve made me a braver one.
Remember when you would climb into bed and think ‘I’m going to have the best night's sleep tonight'? And you'd wake up after 8-hours sleep and feel like a million dollars. Or when 5 hours sleep was a ‘really bad' night where in reality now, 5 hours would be the DREAM. With us all full of cold (cheers first week back at nursery), Rafe also teething and Elijah who I think may have reflux (doctors next week) and husband away, I’ve been living on broken dreams and gallons of coffee, running between two bedrooms throughout the night like some kind of Benny Hill sketch which isn’t remotely funny.
I have a recurring dream where I get to escape for the night. Not to anywhere exotic, literally the Premier Inn up the road (cheap date 😂). Where I can check-in, just me and sleep for 12 glorious hours. What a dream. I have said before how amazing it would be to have sleep clinics for mums to go and just rest and sleep, have a hot cup of tea, a poo in peace and to not have to put a load of washing in as soon as you peel your eyelids open.
I’ll never forget during Rafe’s four month sleep regression when I sent my dad out into the street as I swore the neighbours chimney was on fire. Totally hallucinating. And this week, although no fires, I’ve just felt like I’ve had permanent sand in my eyes moments.
Although this week hasn’t been all #cherisheverymoment days, we’ve had some great moments. Went for a long walk on Friday and my uterus didn’t feel like it was going to fall out so all good. Kids even slept for some of it and I didn’t once say ‘for fuck's sake Yankee’. Elijah, despite crying A LOT has been giving some amazing smiles and Rafe is keeping me entertained on his keyboard and could give the Backstreet Boys a run for their money. Also spent the day at the farm yesterday with my mum and dad. Rafe LOVES animals. My dad almost fed Elijah to the goats but think he had fun. It's amazing how good you feel just getting out the house, however long it may take to get out the door, it does you good in the end. Oh and took Elijah to Rafe's hartbeeps class on Friday and he loved it! So yeah tears and exhaustion this week – with a few amazing memories thrown into the mix!
New blog post hopefully next week! X
P.s More photos from the week on my Facebook and Instagram page!
Going on holiday with a newborn and a toddler is not a holiday. It’s basically all the stresses, lack of sleep, need for wine, washing, chances of a divorce – doubled. In a hot country. So you are sweating more when you are muttering under your breath: “for fuck's sake". So my tips for going abroad with 2 under 2 are simply...
1. Don’t do it.
It would be like War and Peace if I wrote down the things that went tits up on this holiday. In a very short nutshell I’ll give you a brief rundown. Couldn’t book Elijah on to our flight as flights had changed to a different airline so had to cancel original flight and rebook, told we would be reimbursed, this has not happened so going through a complaint procedure as owed almost £2,000. UNBELIEVABLE. As you can imagine this was not a good start to the holiday. When my parents got there a day before and picked up the hire car, there were no car seats in it. Told they weren’t sure whether there were any available despite booking a car with two car seats, so they had to cancel and go to another provider which cost more money. (There is a theme here). I had to sit next to random strangers on the flights as there was only one infant oxygen mask per row with the airline we were flying with. So having to whack my boob out next to a stranger (always a man) was slightly uncomfortable but my husband made it better by shouting: “go on man, just get them out...” On the day of the wedding me, my dad, husband and kids got completely lost in the car and drove around Porto for over an hour (kids screaming obviously) while sweating in a bridesmaid’s dress wanting to bang my husband and dads' heads together. It was a fucking nightmare. And the list goes on. Honestly those tit bits only touch the sides! So as you can imagine if someone asks would you recommend going abroad with 2 under 2 I would say NO. I think if everything went right it would still be stressful but I think as long as you are aware that it might be slightly challenging and not go to plan – you'll be fine. And probably not helped that I was 8 weeks post-partum, hormonal and I'm a ‘bit’ of a stress head anyway. I think the heat as well, it wasn’t a pool holiday and they are still too young to be out in the sun with limited shade so when we tried to venture out to look around Porto with a double buggy, cobbled streets on quite a hot day – it was always going to end up close to divorce. But not to panic people who have booked to go away – we were lucky to be treat so well by all the airline staff and other passengers too. On one of the flights a couple I sat next to offered to take Elijah while I got myself sorted and the lovely old man put my backpack on my back which made me almost cry. And we can sit and laugh about it now...kind of. And it was my brother's wedding and they had an amazing day so that is all that really matters. Just well aware you can never call it a holiday when you have kids!! Even though they actually were pretty fantastic. Though we have decided to explore the UK (which to be fair isn't too shabby) for our holidays until kids are a bit older....
I said I would write a few tips to anyone flying with 2 under 2 so here it goes...
1. Don’t do it.
2. Joke! If you can, try to just have one flight each way. We had to do Newcastle to Amsterdam. Amsterdam to Porto. And same coming back. It wasn't awful (Amsterdam had a great baby room with little private pods with seats and a cot in) but having to entertain a toddler in an airport for 4 hours is challenging and would have been easier if just one flight.
3. Find out about oxygen masks so you are at least prepared not to be sitting all together, rather than having a meltdown the night before as ‘someone I know' did...
4. I know this is hard but try and avoid an early morning flight as it just adds even more to the exhaustion you are already feeling. Our flight out was at 6am so had to lift kids out of bed at 3am. To be fair kids were amazing but you are needing coffee on a drip.
5. If you are having to get up early – or flight is late at night, pack the car in advance and literally the last thing to do is to get kids out of bed and straight in car. We kept them in their pj's until we got to Amsterdam.
6. I was surprised how much food I could take through (thanks to everyone’s advice!). Packed lunch, fruit pouches (any liquids I kept in a clear bag and some airports test apparently)...we just packed some oat bars, crisps, yog and fruit pouches and chocolate buttons for emergencies as we got sandwiches free on plane and wasn’t a long flight. I would definitely pack more food than you think you need!
7. To keep Rafe entertained I went to Aldi and bought a handful of cheap books and also sticker books which he loves. I also bought an aeroplane book which I gave to him before we flew to try and explain where we were going. None of the new things I gave until on the plane. Also bought some headphones and downloaded some of his fave programmes on to our iPad. Try to limit screen time normally but in reality iPads are a lifesaver and would stick a 70 inch plasma in front if him if stopped him having a tantrum on the plane. Other people recommended buying some bargain toys/puzzles too which is a great idea.
8. On take off I breastfed Elijah and with Rafe we bought some milk at the airport and popped in his bottle and also some juice for other flights. To be honest we never had any problems with ears popping.
9. We were lucky the boys didn’t really cry which was what I was stressed about but at the end of the day if they cry, it is understandable and we found people kind and helpful rather than knobs.
10. As much as I may have painted a bad picture, it’s not as bad as you think it’s going to be. (Maybe for us haha...) Rafe was so excited most the time and Elijah didn’t have a clue what was going on.
11. Take advantage of any free alcoholic drinks on the flighy I wish I did.
12. Try and enjoy it. It's an adventure for them – and for you. Even though there are a few hold on to your pants what the fuck have we done moments.
So probably not ground breaking tips but if we can survive it and still come back married, there is hope for everyone. Oh and take photos! I’m all for living in the moment and may have wanted to wipe certain moments from my mind but I hardly took any photos which is a shame as was our first family ‘holiday’ as a four.
I feel like this post could go on for looonnggg time and haven’t even touched on other things that went Pete Tong while away, or the fact Elijah is like Rafe and loves a good 30 minute nap (if he has one), I’m going to be walking the streets for miles aren’t I? Cracked bedtime for one night at least. Felt like a Queen. Might never recreate that magic again but it was a fucking moment I tell you. Oh and Rafe has started to get really hands on with Elijah and ended up scratching him, although didn't mean too. So it’s like a wrestling match now when I’m feeding Elijah. Oh and first week back at nursery - guess who has a cold? FML. But will save all that till next week!
Till next time,
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.