Category Archives: Leo

Baby Room!

A while ago on my Facebook blog page, I was talking about how hard it is to decide on how to decorate a nursery. I’m not the most imaginative person when it comes to decoration but of course we wanted it to look lovely for our new arrival.

Many of you suggested lots of lovely ideas and we loved the idea of using animals in there. Millie had a Winnie The Pooh decorated nursery and Leo had stars – so we wanted a different theme and we had a blank canvas as at the end of last year we moved into a new home and luckily the room which was to become the baby’s new nursery was bright white when we moved in.

During these conversations on Facebook, a fabulous company called Stickerscape got in touch with me and suggested that we take a look at their website and see if anything caught our eye. We hadn’t even thought of using stickers instead of wallpaper but we were open to the idea.

On taking a look, we found some fabulous ideas and some amazing stickers. I had no idea how many we needed for the size of the room we have, so I sent a drawing with sizes of the room on to the lovely Fi and told her which stickers we liked and she worked out what we would need to make it look beautiful!

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A few days later … a well packaged delivery arrived and when we opened it,of course it had blue wrapping.

It was best if we painted the room and then tried to wait 2 weeks to attach the stickers to the wall, so Dan got painting (after I’d picked the colour).

We actually ended up waiting a little while longer than 2 weeks because Dan got Tonsillitis, twice in a row ( I have never known that to happen to anyone!) and we also had a new carpet installed and it turned out that there was a fault with it and we had to wait to get it replaced again. 🙈

Anyway, fast forward around 4 weeks from Dan originally painting and we could start getting the stickers on!

We read the instructions and we’d also been sent a YouTube link that showed how to apply them – This came in very handy as I myself don’t do very well reading instructions, I follow visual instructions much better. Check out the video here The stickers arrived in printed sheets and they only need a rough cut around the transfer, not a delicate time consuming cut which was good for us as neither of us have the patience for that. So we laid them out on the floor to see exactly what we had been sent and how big each sticker was.

Once we had taken a look, I started to cut all the stickers out into individual pieces as then you can put them exactly where you want on the walls. Whilst I did this, Dan and Leo prepared the walls and literally all this entailed was wiping the walls with a clean duster to get rid of anything that might be on the walls that could’ve shown through the stickers.

Next up Dan had to smooth over the back of the plastic with a card from his wallet to ensure that the sticker would come off correctly – this was a few seconds for each sticker at the most.

Next up, actually applying the stickers to the wall (this was definitely a Dan job as I have no patience, but to be honest as I was watching him put them on the wall, I realised that it was actually really simple). Leo of course wanted to be involved, so we gave him the job of collecting the excess cuttings from the stickers – despite the look on his face here, he was actually enjoying it!

The application of these stickers actually took a lot less time than we had originally thought. We thought it might be quite time consuming due to the detail of the stickers, but actually it wasn’t and only took a few hours from start to finish and the stickers look amazing! (You can see how big the tree sticker is by looking at the plug socket on the bottom of the wall)< <

They even got the approval of my granny last week when she visited and when I told her that I was writing a blog about them she said and I quote “Make sure that you tell them that your Granny said that I thought they looked like they were painted on, they are that good”. I think Granny approval says it all 😀.

There are lots of stickers to choose from including some fabulous In the Night Garden and Peppa Pig ones for little fans of those programmes.

Stickerscape also sent Leo a gift too, alongside wall stickers they do labels for children’s clothing/bags/shoes etc and they personalised some monster ones for him – which of course Leo loves!

Here are some in his wellies!

If you like the sound of using these stickers and other products that they sell, October is THE PERFECT time to purchase because they are donating £1 from every order to our Millie’s Trust Charity and to The Miscarriage Association as October is Baby/Infant Loss awareness month x

In conjunction with this, I’ve also written a blog for Stickerscape for a project they are supporting this month for baby loss awareness. Look out for that coming soon, as soon as it’s published, I’ll let you know!

Click here to view all their products and rangesFull disclosure: I was sent the Stickers for the nursery as a gift from Stickerscape but was not asked to review or blog, I wrote this blog to show you all what we’ve been doing and wanted to mention the company and how fab their products are 😀.

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Oh, the guilt!

Could I actually feel guiltier than I do?

Pregnancy is full of amazing moments, watching your baby move in your stomach, mum looking “blooming” lovely, hair and skin glowing, energy to carry on going to the gym, eating healthier etc. etc.…

Actually, no. My experience is the complete opposite

Being totally honest, I cannot stand being pregnant. People often presume that being pregnant especially after child loss should automatically mean that you would enjoy every second of the pregnancy and treasure everything that is happening, that you should be grateful that you have the opportunity to have another child again and be thankful for being able to have this experience again.

That’s exactly why I feel so bloody guilty. I lost Millie and had a not very enjoyable pregnancy with Leo, alongside the crappy physical experience that I had with nausea, sciatica, iron problems and exhaustion; I also had an awful time with my mental health and struggled to bond with the little man Leo growing inside me because of our previous loss of Millie. I couldn’t wait to just have Leo in my arms, to not only stop all the physical pain I was in but also because I knew that my mental health would be so much better once he arrived.

Then there was the miscarriage. Sadly, 12 weeks into my third pregnancy last November, I suffered a missed miscarriage that was not only physically hard but affected my mental health yet again. I was extremely embarrassed that my husband was watching me miscarry in the bathroom (I don’t even pee in front of him) but I needed him more than anything by my side, I couldn’t have gotten through it without him. It felt demeaning, I felt useless that I couldn’t protect my baby again and I was also filled with so much sadness that my husband was watching me lose his child.

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Then I got pregnant again earlier this year – and the cycle began again. I was diagnosed with HG, it turned out that I had huge problems with my iron that meant my body wasn’t doing what it should be with it and that was causing exhaustion. You might think here, she was just a little tired. It wasn’t that. I physically did not have any energy. I couldn’t shower, I couldn’t get dressed, I couldn’t come down the stairs and some days I couldn’t even lift my arms. Eventually after a few months, I was put on some medication that took a few weeks to work but my energy started to come back and I began to function again. I was so glad because I felt so guilty that I couldn’t play with my little boy Leo, he spent weeks seeing me laid up in bed or with my head down the loo, some days he even learnt to hold my hair back whilst I was throwing up. This type of illness played havoc with my mental health, it took a huge nose dive and some days I just didn’t want to wake up (when I did sleep) because I felt such a burden to my little family.

Click here to purchase Millie’s Trust merchandise VAT FREE for the final day until 9pm 30th Sept 2017. 

My hair comes out when I brush it when I’m pregnant, I can’t stand my skin, I can only eat certain foods and then the heartburn kicks in. I honestly feel like I am genuinely keeping Gaviscon in business and have been for the past few months. The hospital has given me tablets for the heartburn, they were great; for the first two weeks. Unfortunately now, they seem to wear off pretty much as soon as I have taken them; not fun.

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Then there is the bladder jumping. Yes, this little man seems to like partying on my bladder during the early hours of the morning, pretty much every day. This was okay in my last pregnancies, as I could get to the bathroom pretty quickly but now, I’m on crutches.

Did I not tell you that bit? No, well, just to add to the fun, my body is trying to wear me down even more by adding Sciatica and SPD to my list of pregnancy problems. Again something I was coping with until recently when my legs starting to go from underneath me, in particular if I had been asleep in bed during the night. It soon became where I couldn’t walk to the bathroom without having to hold on to pieces of furniture or the walls to get there. After a very quick referral (thank you NHS and Wythenshawe Midwife/Consultancy Teams) to a physiotherapist, I had a few sessions and was straight away given a support belt for my stomach (I really wish that I had the nerve to put a photo of it here – but believe me, it is the least sexy thing that you have ever seen. Think Tubi-Grip that you have when you sprain your wrist, except this one is big enough to go all the way from your boobs, across your stomach and to your hips).

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Dan just laughed. I don’t blame him. I look ridiculous.

Then came the crutches. Well this is lots of fun, with a toddler. Not.

I also have to use them every day even if I have no pain, so I don’t counter-act the benefit on good days. I feel like a total spanner. 8 months pregnant with this huge bump and on crutches – no wonder people are looking at me in sympathy.

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Chester Zoo was fun this week on my birthday. Dan hired me a mobility scooter. Oh the humiliation I was thinking … but actually it was a great idea and we got around so many more animals than if I would have been hobbling around on crutches. Leo thought it was hilarious and he got to have a little sit on it before we left.

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The physical pain that I am in though isn’t a laughing matter. It’s excruciating some days and it makes me cry. It makes me really sad that I can’t play with Leo like I want to.

After all that – I’m not even sure that I have captured all the reasons that I don’t like pregnancy here – but you must get the idea.

To all you mums that completely adore being pregnant, I totally envy you – I really do. I wish I could enjoy my pregnancies; it would be great.

But to all those mums who feel even the slightest bit of guilt like myself, I’m with you, I feel your pain and it will all be over soon, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Bring on the Pink Botegga Prosecco and Camembert Cheese! I cannot wait. That’s all I can say!

Saturday 30 September is your last chance to purchase VAT free merchandise and Qualification Course places for Level 3 Paediatric First Aid and Emergency First Aid at work. You have until 9PM on this date to purchase VAT FREE. This includes are limited edition giraffes too, so please click here to purchase to save pennies before the increase.

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During October Stickerscape will be supporting Baby Loss Awareness UK 2017. Every sticker sold during this month we will donate £1 to the The Miscarriage Association (charity no. 1076829) and Millie’s Trust (charity no. 1151410).

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We got his hair cut … finally

Well Leo, with the help of a very lovely young man at Famous Henry’s on Turves Road in Cheadle Hulme, today we managed to get your hair cut 🙈.

Up until about 5 or 6 months ago, Leo didn’t mind this but recently he just won’t let anyone go near it and it has driven me mad. We’ve tried various places but nothing seemed to work, I didn’t know what we were going to do.

So, I called the Barbers and explained that I had a toddler who was really struggling every time we tried to get it done and they said, “bring him down and we’ll see what we can do” I said, we’d pop in during early evening as I had to get home from work and Dan and I would take Leo down together as it’s a 2 man/woman job and with myself being 8 months pregnant, there is no way that I could handle him if he tried to escape from us!

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We headed on down there expecting the worse, a huge tantrum, screaming and the tears … what we didn’t expect was some extremely lovely barbers who talked to him, calmed him down and worked with us parents to make this as best of an experience as we all could.

We did have the tears, don’t get me wrong … and they were proper tears whilst holding daddy’s hand, the barber talking to him and mummy playing with toys in front of him attempting to get him looking straight ahead. Those tears, are totally heartbreaking!

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But between all three of us and discovering that it’s the noises of the clippers in the shop that he didn’t like …. we managed to get a smile through the tears and a gorgeous little haircut …

Don’t give up mummies and daddies if you’re struggling with the haircuts … you’ll get there, we have 😀

Thank you Famous Henrys xxx

Update: The barber’s name is Warren 😀

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Toilet training adventures with a two year old!

Three weeks ago we entered the murky world of toilet training and we’d been told all the horror stories and we were prepared for the worst, at least we thought we were.

This is quite a long blog … so keep with me if you want to see what’s it’s been like toilet training my 2 and a half year old boy Leo. I promise that it’s worth the read.

I’d read some things about what to do, what not to do, how to reward, how to encourage him … to be honest it was an absolute minefield & there is so much conflicting information but we went for it anyway with all this info in the back of my mind and my plan was just to pick out and use bits of it once we worked out what Leo had in mind!

We had planned to do this back in April, but I was far too ill with my pregnancy and I was in bed an awful lot and I didn’t think it was fair to leave it for Dan to do pretty much on his own, that would have been far too stressful and unfair on him.

To be honest, I’m glad we didn’t as I think this was the perfect time to start with Leo, at 2 years and 5 months, he was showing all the signs. Uncomfortable in his nappy when wet, pulling at his pants and telling us that he was doing a wee in his nappy.

For many months Leo has been following us into the bathroom and shouting “wee wee” whilst we were in there, so he had worked out what the bathroom is used for at this point – so this was a good start.

So, we stocked up on underpants, wipes, stickers and made sure we had something to clean the carpet with 😂.

Lessons we learnt in just the first day 🙈

1) You need far more underpants than you could ever anticipate (cue last minute trip to the supermarket) 

2) Daddy needs to learn not to tickle Leo and make him laugh during this process (wet floor incident) 

3) Do not purchase a variation of cartoon characters on underpants because when you put one on – they want another character on within minutes (Totally went wrong mixing paw patrol with diggers and monsters and animals) 

4) Don’t underestimate your child actually liking sitting on the potty – this afternoon must have resulted in at least 15 sessions on the potty just because he discovered he got to pull his underpants up and down if he sat there … resulting in absolutely nothing in the potty at all. 

All in all, a pretty successful day ending in Leo realising that he knows when he’s going to need a wee and rushing for the potty… oh and an underpant wash cycle …

The following days ….

The next three days were spent with at least one of us at home with Leo as we had decided he needed to be able to tell us properly without all the extra visits to the toilet, that he needed to go before we ventured out.

These three days then consisted of us being up and down, up and down I don’t know how many times with false alarms with him.

Many times he’d sit on the potty for a

micro second and then say “done!” – it actually drove us a little mad but you can’t not risk letting him go on the potty because that will be the one time that it ends up all over you sofa!

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After about 5 days, we stopped having as many false alarms which was great and probably half of the times he said he needed to go, we actually got something in the potty. By this day we had gone down from about 15 pairs of underpants a day in the first 3 days to about 3 a day, so actually very quickly he stopped dribbling in his pants, which was great for our washing machine as I think it had gotten fed up of being on and wanted to go on strike.

Day 6 … new territory … an outside trip!!! We hadn’t planned this, it just happened to be that I needed to go to hospital to have an ANTI D injection (for those of you that have been lucky enough not to need this during pregnancy, it as an awful injection that can make your arm go really numb and heavy) so Dan & Leo came with me then I didn’t have to drive back with a dodgy arm. So off we went, bag packed with lots of spare clothes & underpants and a thin towel laid on Leo’s car seat; just in case. 20 minutes to the hospital, no accidents and three times whilst I was in my appointment Leo told Dan he needed a wee …..Dan took him to a public toilet all three times and twice he did nothing, but the third time he did 😀😀 success! So it sounds like we are doing well, which we are but keep reading as we had a very public incident that will make you either laugh or cringe!

Very quickly Leo was happy doing number ones and numbers twos in the potty and he’d also taken to liking going on the actual toilet in the bathroom (with one of the toddler seats hooked over the top). Although we have had to be very strict that he only flushed the loo when he had actually deposited something in there as we discovered that he kept asking to sit on it and jumping off within a couple of minutes because he liked to watched the water spinning around the toilet and saying bye bye to it! Cute the first few times, but not the twentieth false alarm – especially when mummy is heavily pregnant and is suffering from Sciatica and SPD!

Hand washing he likes to do anyway as we’ve already got him used to doing that a long time ago. He’s quite happy to hop off the toilet, flush it, put some squirty soap on and then dry his hands on the towel. In fact, he’s a bit fussy and doesn’t like not to dry his hands!!!

So fast forward quite a few days and he’s doing really well, asking us to go for a wee wee or a poo poo and most of the time he was spot on and he needed to go! I did keep wondering how we were going to get around he fact that he liked to take his shoes, socks, trousers and underpants off if he went to the toilet – how was this going to work in the outside world? Hmmm …. to be honest, he eventually got bored and this habit dwindled away.

My friend Sarah (hi Sarah) recommended a specific potty to us , check it out here on Argos, it’s great for travelling about with as it has a lid on and a lock so you can keep hold of what you need to until you can dispose of it! Again, Leo took to it really well and decided he liked to carry it around. I’d already decided that Leo wasn’t just going to tell me that he needed a wee there and then so I would have to get the potty out there and then in the middle of a shop or restaurant, I personally think that you might as well teach them properly all in one go and that includes teaching them that they may have to hold on for a few minutes until you get to a bathroom. So even though, we had this Potty with us, we made him come to the public toilets with us and then he’d decide whether to hop on a toilet or use his potty in the toilets – and it’s worked!

For anyone who knows my local Tesco (if you don’t, it’s a double story superstore) twice in the past week Leo has let us get all the way upstairs and to the back and then told us he needs a wee and we have to come all the way back down, leave the trolley with security and nip into the front of the store to let him have a wee; but he’s told us and got there with no accidents.

Millie’s Trust price increase for all soft toys, level 3 Paediatric First Aid courses, first aid kits &a much more kicks in on 1st October due to VAT registration. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE NOW before the increase! (Limited edition soft toys included)

Let’s talk about accidents. Well actually, rewards first. So if Leo got to the potty on time and did something, he got a sticker of his choice and we just used the side of the door in the living room so we could watch them build up – three weeks in though and he’s now no longer interested in getting them.

Accidents, we’ve obviously had a few – but not actually as many as we had expected. Apart from the first few days when he would wee right through his clothes, most have been missed potty pee and if a bit ends up on the floor, he really doesn’t like it when that happens, he gets upset.

Then we had the park incident.

🙈.

He’d been absolutely brilliant, so Leo and I had gone over to our friends in Didsbury whilst Dan painted the nursery and we decided to go to park. For around an hour in my friend’s house, Leo kept going to the potty and saying he needed a number 2 … but it never appeared. I decided that we couldn’t just stay in all day waiting, so we decided to risk it at the park. We walked around and everything was going well until about 30 minutes in and he shot me a look from the top of the slide and shouted “poooooo” and it was extremely obvious what he was doing with the face he was pulling and I could just not get to him on time. In just those few seconds, he had completely filled his pants and it was all over his legs. What was I to do? I had absolutely no choice but to strip him there and then, there was absolutely no chance that I was going to be able to get him in anywhere without getting myself covered in, well, you know what! So I stripped him, his trousers went into a carrier bag, I actually threw his underpants away in another bag into the bin as I could not face the drive home confined in a car space with that smell, half a packet of wipes later, underpants in the bin and new trousers on – off he went. Phew – could’ve been worse…. It was though, it got worse! Much worse 😂. Within 10 minutes, he did the exact same thing again – he was obviously too excited to be on the park and that was more important than finishing his toilet episode! Cue a repeat of stripping and cleaning and him running back off. 5 minutes later …. AGAIN! You honestly could not have written it and by this point I was actually laughing. What was the point in getting angry or mad ? It wasn’t Leo’s fault and I couldn’t do anythin to stop it. The only difference this time is that I had ran out of wipes and out of trousers 🙈! Luckily my friend had some wipes on her and I had one pair of underpants left … this whole hilarious situation led to Leo walking to the car looking like someone out of The Village People – take a look below 😂

Luckily, it was a warm day, our car was only a few minute walk away and my friend was up for a laugh 😀! I can honestly say that there really is no point in getting stressed out, it’s going to happen & probably in one of the most inconvenient places ever possible! Other mums in the park were just smiling and laughing with me as we just got on with it.

I wasn’t worrying about what anyone was else was thinking about what must have looked like some bizarre comedy sketch because Leo was my priority to get him clean, comfortable and warm again.

There’s absolutely no point in judging other people when you see someone in this situation because you’ve probably already been in it yourself OR you will one day be in it yourself! At least my friend got to see what’s likely to come in 12 months with her son, haha!

So now, we are just over three weeks in and he’s pretty much cracked it. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still having the odd accident here and there – this seems to be when he is excited or really distracted and waits until the last minute to tell us – more so with me because I take longer to get him to be potty as I can’t walk very fast at the moment; but we are pretty much on only 1 pair of underpants a day now 😀!

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And, as an extra bonus, he’s unintentionally pretty much gone dry during the nighttime too. We have stopped him drinking after 6pm and he’s in bed around 7pm and sleeps for about 12 hours and comes running in every morning saying “wee wee” and off he hops straight onto the toilet for a wee. I have put an absorbent sheet on his bed and swapped him to the nighttime pants, which if he wet himself, it would wake him up as he’d be uncomfortable, but so far, no nighttime issues!

So what are my top tips?

1. Don’t stress out about it, there is absolutely no point as it won’t work.

2. Don’t show any anger or disappointment if there are any accidents. We just said “oopsy daisy” or “oh no, you missed, it doesn’t matter, we’ll clean it up” and this has seemed to work. If you get distressed so will your child.

3. If you have a room with no carpet – base your Potty in there as it’s far easier for Operation Clean Up!

4. Have different potty/toilet options if you can – I think this is why it didn’t bother Leo when he needed to go into public loos. We had a normal potty at home, another one in the bathroom that he can use as a step too but this one plays music 🎶 when he did a wee in it and the carry potty – as well as him being able to use the big boy toilet.

5. Definitely invest in stickers as a reward, I know some people have used sweets but we prefer the sticker method. (He also gets a big hi 5 when he wees and this makes him really happy)

6. Underpants – Do not underestimate how many underpants that you will get through in those first few days, hence our emergency dash to the supermarket after getting through 15 pairs on the first day!

7. When you do venture out, don’t forget your potty and lots of spare clothes.

8. Stock up on plenty of wipes and take them EVERYWHERE with you.

9. Big hugs if they get upset when they have an accident.

10. Don’t be embarrassed if what happened to me in the park happens to you, it’s inevitable – it will 🙈. Just get on with it, clean up and start again!

So that’s it, our toilet training journey in just 3 weeks! I’m sure by the time baby arrives he will be an expert and that was the plan, to get him trained now before baby comes into the equation!

I hope you’ve picked a few tips up and Good Luck with your toilet training journey if you’re just starting! I promise, it’s not as bad as some make it out to be xxx

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Message about Millie’s Trust

We have unfortunately come to that point where our charity needs to register with the taxman for VAT purposes

As of 1st October 2017, all our merchandise and our Level 3 Paediatric First Aid Courses will have added VAT on top 😞.

We don’t want to increase these prices but we now have to.

If you’re planning on ordering products such as soft toys and first aid kits for Xmas/birthday/celebrations/births over the next few months, you can still purchase without VAT until 30th Sept so please do xxx

Remember the anniversary Giraffes are limited edition and when they are gone, they’re gone x

To purchase products before the price increase – click here

Half way around the world …

Often, parents are brought together and many lovely lifelong friendships are created during this time.

Four years ago today Dan and I were brought together with an amazing family thousands and thousands of miles away in New Zealand – on the anniversary of the loss of their little boy.

What followed has ensured that we have lifelong friends on the other side of the world who sadly know pretty much exactly how Dan and I feel losing Millie.

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Many thousands of you donated to raise money to send Dan and I to New Zealand to meet the Downie-Boytes and I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart, that if we hadn’t visited New Zealand and this family – the chances are is that Leo wouldn’t be here. Before our visit to New Zealand, I had decided that I didn’t want anymore children because I couldn’t go through pain like what we did when we lost Millie. Meeting this family and seeing that they had gone on to have another beautiful boy after the loss of Kory, made me realise that if they could do it, so could we; a few months later – we were expecting our Leo.

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Although, as I write this now, it is the 24th of August in the U.K., New Zealand have already hit the 25th August – which means it is Kory’s anniversary there.

Our hearts are with our lovely friends, his gorgeous family during this time. I wish none of of us had to go through this and none of us experienced this pain or these same feelings on these unforgettable dates.

Friendships can be formed under the most mysterious circumstances, but our babies brought us together for a reason.

Huge hugs to our New Zealand family during this time xxxxx

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Day 1 Potty Training 

Today we started to potty train … we didn’t have a clue what to expect. We’ve waited until Leo’s shown all the signs, waited until we have a few days between us to ensure that we can stay at home through these first few days and stocked up on even more baby wipes than usual. 

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Lessons we have learnt in just the first day 😂

1) You need far more underpants than you could ever anticipate (cue last minute trip to the supermarket) 

2) Daddy needs to learn not to tickle Leo and make him laugh during this process (wet floor incident) 

3) Don’t buy a variation of cartoon characters on underpants because when you put one on – they want another character on within minutes (Totally went wrong mixing paw patrol with diggers and monsters and animals) 

4) Don’t underestimate your child actually liking sitting on the potty – this afternoon must have resulted in at least 15 sessions on the potty just because he discovered he got to pull his underpants up and down if he sat there … resulting in absolutely nothing in the potty at all. 🙈

All in all, a pretty successful day ending in Leo realising that he knows when he’s going to need a wee and rushing for the potty… oh and an underpant wash cycle …


Day 2 … here we come 😀

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Crash Course in…

Often I find that throwing myself into the deep end works more for me rather than wallowing in the shallow end for a while, in this case it was straight into the deep end for me.

I didn’t learn to swim until I was about 9 years old and I always hated that all my friends could swim but I hadn’t been taught properly. I always felt silly when we started to go swimming with school and I still had to wear armbands. I have never wanted my children to feel like this and so this week, Leo has been taking part in a swimming crash course.

Back in March when I first saw the course advertised, I decided that Leo was still a little young as he had only just turned 2 but a few months ago we decided that the time was right and we were going to get him booked on. So, I contacted Swimabout based in Cheadle Hulme and got him onto the next available crash course. I figured that doing it like this would help Leo’s confidence, my anxiety and Dan’s worries about someone else taking care of our our boy.

I have literally been pulling my hair out every time that I thought about him taking part in this course since I booked it. Many of you know that I have serious issues with other people taking care of Leo – there is literally only a couple of people that we are comfortable leaving Leo with and even then, it’s never longer than a couple of hours and when we are around the corner.

So handing Leo over to a swimming instructor (that we didn’t actually know) and not being in the pool with him was absolute torture for me. Honestly, I often wonder why I put myself in these situations but this was one situation that I wasn’t going to give in to though and so on Monday, this happened…

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This was the first evening…look at his poor little face. I am pretty sure you can imagine what I was like at the moments like these – especially when he was shouting “mama, dada” in between those cries. The idea is that he is in the pool and mummy and daddy aren’t around, so you literally have to ignore the cries. I was sat on the floor, with tears in my eyes listening to him cry but trying to smile at him if he looked at me – I honestly felt like the worst mum in the world. I can imagine him being in the water thinking, why can mummy and daddy see me but they’re not coming to get me when I’m crying?

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After around 20 minutes, we had our first couple of smiles that lasted a few minutes but then he started again. Cue mummy tears again.

We do take Leo swimming when we can and he swims in the pools on holiday but he always clings on to us and to be honest, we of course let him, why wouldn’t we? No parent wants to see their baby upset and we know that we are even more likely to let him cling on as long as he wants; but this is why we needed this course – the intention was that it was going to benefit all three of us in one clean sweep.

Learning to swim is obviously something extremely important for a child and it’s something that we should all know how to do, as well as being enjoyable and healthy for you, it’s a potential lifesaving skill.

So day 2. Talking to Leo about going in the pool again before we went and he is all excited and laughing in the car and can’t wait to get there – shouting “pool” in the back of the car … although it was a completely different story when he actually realised that we were back at the same place again. Dan putting his Swimfin on resulted in pretty much a full on break down at the side of the pool because Leo must have realised that he was actually getting into the water again and without mummy and daddy. Dan put him on the side of the pool and .. well check out the photo, I think that pretty much says it all – not impressed at all about being plonked there.

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This night didn’t get any better. In fact, he pretty much cried the whole way through the session. Well, I say cry – there wasn’t any really tears – just lots of noise and a very uncooperative child. Let’s just say day 2 was a write off.

Day 3 and we have an excited child again – until Dan hit the changing room and major meltdown Operation Leo commenced, although by the time he made it to by the swimming pool edge, he had calmed down a little and was saying “pool, pool” and actually wanting to get in. Could this be the night it all changed? Actually Leo did pretty well, there were a lot more smiles and a lot less noise. He was still pretty grumpy, although that’s more than likely to be because he doesn’t like being told what to do by anyone.

Leo had some time with Simon this evening who runs the classes. I’m not sure what he actually says to the children when he is with them but he is like a child whisperer and they stop screaming – amazing.  Look at how he has Leo concentrating and listening to him in this photo – I don’t actually think that he has ever concentrated that much on anything that Dan nor I have ever said to him.

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At the end of the pool time, we asked if he enjoyed it and wanted to come back tomorrow …. Result.. see the cheeky smile behind his hand.

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Day 4… Well, we ended up being late to the lesson unfortunately due to a huge traffic jam on the motorway coming back from the 999 day that we’d been at. Leo didn’t actually have time to realise where he was before he was changed and in the pool with the teacher again and once he did, he made a lot of noise. At this point we were actually thinking oh no, is it going backwards again? Then the Child Whisperer started to talk to him again and lo and behold, the noise stopped and the smiles started, enough for me to get him smiling in some photos whilst he was in the pool which I hadn’t really managed all week. Smiling Leo led to a happy mummy and daddy.

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Final evening ….. What a turnaround in just a few days, he has gone from screaming and clinging on to the instructors to not minding being in the pool without mummy and daddy, being a little way from the instructors playing with toys in the pool and laughing and smiling.

I’m not sure Leo knew what to make of the bike that was made for him out of noodles judging by the look on his face below – but I thought it was a great way to get his hands off the instructors and onto something else, completely fab for his confidence building in the water.

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The lessons had so much going on in them, it was great for the children, especially the younger ones that by the end of the week didn’t have much time to think about whether they should be crying or not. Ducks, bouncy castles, balls, shark fins, noodles and lovely swimming instructors to keep Leo distracted enough to smile pretty much through his final session of the week. 

So as you can see, Leo had us all smiling by the end of the week. It was nothing but torturous for the first few days and handing our son over to a complete stranger had both of us pretty much in pieces as it was the first time (apart from a small hospital operation when he was younger- click here to read this ) that we had done this. The instructor obviously didn’t know any of this, so it was really good for us to see just how great he was with all the children – not just Leo.

Next step is that we are going to continue to take Leo swimming over the summer and carry on with some of the things that we learnt to do with Leo in the pool to improve his confidence and then to get Leo booked onto regular swimming lessons when the new term starts in September and we will of course be booking with Swimabout – why would we choose anywhere else when we have discovered that the child whisperer runs it? 🙂

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Seriously though,  all the instructors were fabulous with the children and it really did worry us that Leo was pretty much one of the youngest though – but we had nothing to worry about in the end and it all worked out fabulous.

For anyone who is debating whether to do this type of crash course, don’t think about it – get it booked, you worn regret it. X . 

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To read a previous blog Kisses for Big Sister…click here 

Take a peek at this video clip so you can see he actually did enjoy it! 😀

*Please note no payment or services have been taken in exchange for any businesses mentioned in this blog. Views are my own.*

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