Surviving life with two under two!

I’ve spent the past few weeks doing lots of reflecting and celebrating. My first born has just turned two, my second born’s first birthday is looming. We made it. We muddled through. It’s a massive mile stone and I finally see that although slightly manic at times, it has been a super intense but relatively short period of our lives.  

When I found out I was almost over the first trimester of my second pregnancy, 7 months after my first pregnancy, I was desperately searching for advice on how people actually manage it! I was so worried and frightened about how we were going to keep two tiny people alive, let alone happy and function as a family. I needn’t have worried. You really do just muddle through to make the best of things! It’s probably mostly the same as going from one to two children, regardless of the age gap!  

Here are some of the things that I wish somebody could have told/shown me in those weeks, when I was desperately soul searching, after I found out I was expecting so soon again:

  • Ask for help – I wrote a post about elephant parenting (see further down the blog!). I really could not have got through the past two years without the help of my ‘herd’ of family and friends.  Don’t be too proud. It really makes such a massive difference when you have two (or more!) little ones who need you equally.  
  • Take the easy option – easy oven or no prep dinners, shop online, get a cleaner, ask someone to do your ironing. Whatever it is, give yourself a break. Looking after the babes is hard enough and all-consuming without all the other life admin to manage. It’s for a short period of time.
  • Put the TV on! – I still beat myself up about the amount of screen time Harrison has while I catch 20 minutes to myself or am trying to sort the washing or dinner. Cbeebies has been my imaginary knight in shining armour in the past year. I quite like watching it too! We do lots of activities and go out and about to counter balance it. TV is ok, really it is.    
  • Coordinate if you can – nap times, nappy changes, bed times, meal times; whatever it is, coordination has been key for us, for our sanity and to make life manageable. Obviously there have been plenty of occasions where this does not happen at all, but when it has, I have made sure I’ve sat down with a cuppa before ploughing on with the million and one jobs I’ve had.   
  • Get out – Give your day a purpose. Shortly after Molly was born, we had some very heavy snow and were pretty stuck at home for most of that week. I HATED it. We couldn’t get out. Harrison was like a caged animal! Since then, we plan our days to go out in the morning (usually to a group of some sort – I crave interaction/company of other grown ups!!), nap, lunch and then another activity either at home or out again in the afternoon. Do what works for you, but always give your day a purpose, it allows you to stay in charge and helps stop the sometimes lonnnnnng days at home from dragging.  
  • Reach out – I really didn’t realise how common it is to have children close together. I really felt quite alone at the thought of having two really small children, however I’ve made some nice friends and have been able to compare notes with so many other families who have been going through the exact same thing as us, from lots of the toddler groups, singing groups and classes we have been to.
  • Use childcare – We kept Harrison going to the childminder for two mornings a week A) to keep him in his routine, B) to reserve his space for when I needed to return to work (even though I was still unsure about when that would be!) C) So that Molly and I had some time and space to bond without an energetic toddler monopolising our time together.  
  • Accept that some days will just be a bit shit – illness, teething, tantrums, poonamis just as you’re about to go out, trying to discipline a toddler, sleep deprivation. Need I go on?! Tomorrow is always another day.
  • If in doubt – BISCUITS, GIN, CALPOL. In no particular order. You’re welcome.

To summarise. You will get through it. You may even enjoy it! It really does go so quickly and just when you feel like it is a never ending race of changing nappies, making bottles and wiping multiple snotty noses, you’ll look at these perfect little human beings that you have made and wish you could go back to the early days of them needing you constantly!

The next big milestone for us all is my return to work. Wish us luck!

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Let’s talk baby changing stations…

One of the things that worried me the most about having two children under two was the amount of nappies I would inevitably be changing. It turns out it’s not as bad as I was expecting it to be. I make sure there are mini changing stations in each area of the house that we spend most of our time in, for example, in the lounge we have a mat, a wodge of two different sets of nappies and nappy cream. In our utility/cloakroom we have a basket of muslins, more nappies, extra wipes and nappy sacks and a similar set up in each of the bedrooms and the bathroom upstairs.

There is one niggle that does annoy me when I’m out and about with the babies and that is finding suitable changing facilities. Whilst I’m prepared at home, being prepared when you are out is a bit harder. I do keep extra nappies in the car just for emergencies and the changing bag is well stocked with more of the same, but finding an appropriate space/area/unit besides the buggy can be challenging!

While I’ve been out and about, I’ve been snapping some of the ‘facilities’ we have tried to use (yes, I did feel like a weirdo taking pics!) So often I’ve been into a baby changing cubicle and wanted to walk straight back out again due to the overly full and downright stinky bin, a dirty or ripped mat/changing surface, that I wouldn’t put my cat on, let alone my baby, not enough space to fit my not especially long 18 month old or no toilet for me to actually use whilst I keep my babies beside me. It often gives me the sweats trying to logistically organise a nappy (or multiple) nappy changes or a wee stop for me. At the moment it tends to influence where I will go with my two – I wanted to recognise and praise the places that are getting it right for us mums and dads (or maybe even grandparents!) because we’ve all got shit to do, places to go and somewhere to be and it’s right that we should have high expectations of the places where we have to lie our babies down to change them!

Soft play changing station with a cot to put the baby while you pee 👍🏻Baby changing facility by the chimps at Colchester Zoo 👍🏻I could easily fit the double buggy in!

Check out my Instagram page @mamamuddlesthrough where I have started a hashtag #babychangingstories I have literally wet myself laughing when I’ve been talking to friends about their experiences, here are a couple of their hilarious accounts…

We went to costa in Chelmsford which has one disabled/baby change toilet. R needed a dump and so in we went, potty in hand. Decided I would put the potty on the pull-down changing station instead of the floor, because R still likes to stroke everything in proximity and the floor is gross. Anyway, propped her up on there and off she went. 10 minutes in and she’s still not finished and I’m starting to feel under pressure because I can hear voices outside. Then there’s a knock at the door, a Costa employee, apparently she thought we were the homeless man who often locks himself in. I told her nope, it was just R having a big poo. Another 5 mins goes by and I decide that enough is enough, whether she’s finished or not, there are people outside huffing and puffing. So I lift her up and the potty gets stuck to her butt, which I don’t notice, and then it drops off of her bum. It bounces off on the changing station, then onto the floor. Typically, R had chosen that day to do a sloppy poo AND a wee (usually she only does hard nuggets) and, I kid you not, it was EVERYWHERE. So then I had to juggle wiping R’s bum, managing R crying because of the trauma of losing her poo, and cleaning up the poonami. Finally got sorted and went out of the toilet to a queue of 3 severely disabled people waiting for the loo 😔

My worst wasn’t the fault of the changing situation but…

L’s first poo outside of the house when I was on my own. Went into the upstairs baby change area in Sainsbury’s. It was huge, as I took his nappy off he weed and it ran all down his bum turning the underneath of him into a river of shit! At this point he still hated having his nappy changed so was screaming. A woman starts to impatiently knock on the door as I was obviously taking too long. I had to strip him completely naked wipe him, my change mat, the plastic change area and everything around us down. All the time the tap next to me was stuck on full flow making me feel like I was on some kind of challenge!!

Boob vs Bottle

I’d always planned to breast feed for as long as possible when I had children because I believed all the hype that ‘breast is best’ and felt that it would be a good way to bond with my baby. I found it hard to understand why people would want to bottle feed (stupidly). Once Harrison was born, we reached day 3 and for a fleeting moment I felt like Pam Anderson, my boobs were huuuuge (a revelation for me as I am not very well endowed in that department!) this feeling of elation was short lived as I sat up nearly all night crying because my boobs were so sore and my milk had just come in. Harrison was like a feeding fiend and feasted for hours at a time.

I can remember seeing an imaginary halo around the community midwife’s head when she came round, marched me upstairs and taught me how to feed lying down and how to position Harrison like a rugby ball, propped up by cushions. Harry hated his moses basket too, so she recommended buying a ‘next to me crib’ from Argos – same day collection. What a babe! It’s controversial for many people, but she also advocated co-sleeping; I was so worried about rolling on him or him slipping down under the covers but she taught me how to safely do it. I will forever be grateful to her because she instantly alleviated so many fears and anxiety I had when trying to feed at night. (Once we decided that co-sleeping was the way forward for us, we also went out and bought an ‘F off’ massive super king sized bed – the crib and the bed are the best investments we’ve made to date!)

The first time using our ‘next to me’ crib was a huge break through as Harry finally started to actually sleep 💤💤💤💤

Despite finding some little quick fixes to help with feeding, I still found it really challenging and by the time Harrison was about 10 weeks old, I’d really fallen out of love with it. I’d bought a breast pump and had practised expressing because I really wanted Harrison to learn to take from the bottle so I could go out and get my hair done and we had some other commitments that I didn’t want to take the baby to.

It took a long time to pump this lot. I was knackered after this, but felt very accomplished! I never knew how much to pump either?!

I was so, so, so tired. Harrison was feeding sometimes for an hour at a time and used to drain me of everything I had. Despite what they say about your body always making enough for your baby, I really did not believe this was the case with Harrison. I was so torn about initiating combination feeding because I weirdly felt like exclusively breast feeding was like wearing a badge of honour. I also worried about whether it would break the special little bond that we’d built. With a bit of hand holding from friends around me, who were already bottle feeding, and my mum; I bit the bullet and started to gradually introduce formula to Harrison. He LOVED it. I needn’t have worried because to find a happy balance, I continued to feed him myself at night time. A) because I quite simply couldn’t be arsed to get up and make a bottle and B) I still wanted to provide him with a bit of mama goodness. I finally gave up breast feeding when he was between five and six months old, by which time I was already pregnant with Molly.

Harry loved switching to the bottle and he still uses it as comfort now!

Whilst I was pregnant for the second time, I was adamant that I would be doing exactly the same with baby number 2. To the point where I kept the perfect prep machine out because I was sure that by week 4 I’d be struggling and would be reaching for the bottle again. How wrong was I?! We are now on week 14 and I’ve casually tried several bottles with a very reticent Molly. She hasn’t taken to it quite as keenly as her brother, but to be honest, I haven’t really tried very hard. I keep wondering why breast feeding has been so different this time round, besides the fact that I only did it a year ago and am reasonably experienced. The main reason is because she is a completely different feeder. She has only ever fed one boob per feed and for about 15 minutes. (Thank goodness, otherwise running around after a 1 year old would have been almost impossible!) She also generally wakes up less at night time, meaning I haven’t had a baby strapped to my boob into the small hours, like a milking zombie. When I was out and about in the early days with Harrison I used to stress SO much about where and when I was going to feed him, we even had to come home from shopping at a local retail park once because there wasn’t anywhere to change/feed him (I didn’t think changing him in the car was acceptable at the time); now I really don’t give a shit and don’t have the time to give a monkeys when or where I am in the day. To the point where I sat at the park the other day and just slipped my boozie out for Molly to have a little top up (neither baby has liked being hidden under a muslin). I’ve also sat in a few cafes (and not bought a drink – the cheek of it) just so I can feed away from the elements. She has also accompanied me to the hair salon and several physio appointments, all of which I never dreamed of doing or struggled to do first time round.

Molly looks thrilled to be at the hair dressers 😂

The thing is, I’m a year on, with another baby in tow and still feeling even more torn about switching to the bottle. On the one hand, I have a couple of hen dos to attend this year, that I had originally planned to have switched to using formula for by then. I am also quite keen to be out and about with friends (when we can all get babysitters!) and to start exercising soon. I’m also game for a bit of independent retail therapy, without little hands grabbing everything off the rails or a hungry/angry little cry coming from the pram! I do need to get my identity back a little. On the other hand, Harrison is still drinking milk from bottles and I really can’t face prepping another lot. I’ve just invested in some more ‘easy access’ bf friendly clothes, after a massive clear out. Breast feeding also forces me to sit down and rest, which ultimately is good for both of my babies! So for now, I’m going to stick with ‘the girls’ for providing sustenance for this babe, before they inevitably deflate and become ‘Saggy Maggies’. In my head I still feel like it’s January and Molly is still a tiny new born when in fact time is ticking twice as fast as it did, first time round! I know that when the time is right for us, I’ll be much more comfortable about bottle feeding. But until then I’m going to enjoy these precious moments (and my juicy boobies). Blink and it’ll be just a memory.

 Harry loves it when I’m feeding Molly and often comes and sits with us for a cuddle too. 😍

Here are a few pages that might be of interest, having read about my experiences…

Birthing Like A Boss

I feel incredibly lucky to have had two relatively straight forward birth experiences. I put this largely down to hypnobirthing (which is offered for free on the NHS in Colchester) during both of my pregnancies. In short, it wasn’t ‘hippy dippy’ hypnosis, as I thought it would be, but about your state of mind and believing that your body is made to birth your baby. The biological knowledge that was shared with us was invaluable too! It allowed James to take an active role throughout both my labours – dream team.  

Despite them being quite close together, both births were completely different! Harrison was overdue and I’d had countless sweeps to try and evict him from his nice cosy little home, but to no avail. Despite knowing that only 5% of babies arrive on their due date, I got myself in a bit of a stew about it as I was the size of a whale and I’d waddled into the second week past my due date with stretch marks that were making me twitch to look at! I also couldn’t get behind the wheel of the car which was more than annoying! I’d tried every old wives tale to get me going – none of them work! It got to day 12 and I was induced with a pessary. My contractions started immediately, they were very close together and stung quite a bit, we ended up staying on the ward until 9:30pm which was pure yuck, because we’d missed out on dinner (a big deal for me and completely against the hypnobirthing mantra about staying well fed during the latent phase of labour) We ended up discharging ourselves by this point because Harrison was not distressed and I was desperate to go home and be in my own surroundings to get into labour properly! I was in the latent phase of labour all night. I had about 5 baths, used my candles and played my hypnobirthing CD which helped to keep me calm.

Our hallway the night before I was induced. So exciting and nerve wracking! Check out the snack bag – fit to burst 👌😆

It wasn’t until about 9am the next morning that I suddenly felt the contractions ramp up a gear and I knew we needed to get to the hospital. Once in the maternity triage, they established I was already 3cm dilated – WOOP! We were in business, however I was disappointed to learn that I was to be admitted onto the Delivery Suite and not the Juno Suite (the midwife led unit). This was due to my having been induced and being a possible high risk. I needn’t have worried. They had a birthing pool, twinkly lights, a music player – the works. Lauren my midwife was a total babe. She made me feel completely at ease and let me do my thing, just with gas and air. I laboured all day, even though I had to have a few examinations, I felt like I was in a spa (some women have wanted to hit me when I’ve said this!). It got to 7pm – change of shift and we’d been left quite a long time. Sharon the new midwife entered the room and by this point I was pretty tired and completely off my face on gas and air (Apparently ranting about how ‘f***ing’ rubbish Honey G was on the X-Factor)! She insisted on an examination – I wasn’t keen; I was 9cm and there appeared to be meconium in what was left of my waters. Shit. Quite literally. That’s when the lights were all turned on and I was made to get out of the water and onto the chair/bed. Before I knew it, my feet were in stirrups and I was being told to push. I definitely wasn’t going to breathe this baby out, as our hypnobirthing teacher had advocated. An army of people marched in and after pushing for what seemed like 5 minutes (James says it was nearly an hour), I had an assisted delivery and Harrison was dragged out by ventouse after an episiotomy.

Look at the bags under my eyes 😱

Things I  learned after having been induced…

·       I was induced at 1pm, which meant I was in the latent phase of labour all afternoon and all through the night. I’d already been up for hours worrying about what was about to happen. When I was booked in for an induction with Molly, I pushed for a morning appointment to give me the whole day to labour without losing sleep!    

·       As soon as we got home after the pessary had been put in, I really wanted carbs. James made me a massive bowl of pasta with cheese and pesto which was spot on for giving me energy and helping to see me through the night. In the morning, he forced a bowl of porridge down me too, which again was great slow release energy, particularly as I’d gone all night without any sleep!

·       Encourage your birth partner to rest/sleep! He’d have been no use to me on no sleep. We also had my mum as a second birth partner – she was brilliant as she came armed with sausage rolls, cake and drinks to keep us all well fed throughout the day I was in labour. She also took over when James needed a rest, wanted to make a phone call, or go to the toilet. I’m so grateful to her for being there for both of us.

·       Take headphones onto the labour ward for the induction process. I had a woman with severe hyperemesis in the bay opposite and she was literally gagging and yacking every 5 minutes which wasn’t giving me the best positive labour vibes…I have a real thing about sick and people being sick, so I whacked up my relaxation app to drown out the noise and concentrate on myself!

·       Push to go home if you can. After the pessary went in, I found I needed to have ‘the clear out’ and what with Mrs Yacky Pants (I know she couldn’t help it) opposite and the lady next to her who had just had a shower (which was in the same room as the toilet) after only having just given birth; I just couldn’t relax. The what’s app messages between me and my friends during this point in time were hilarious! If I could be bothered, I would love to scroll back to have a read!

My labour with Molly was completely different. I was overdue, but I didn’t mind because she was due on 2nd January. I wanted her birthday to be as far away from Christmas as possible! I was apprehensive about having a sweep once I’d gone a week overdue because I’d had so many false alarms already. I’m confident I’d been contracting from about 35 weeks and the Braxton Hicks were much stronger this time round. Surely it wouldn’t take much longer?! The sweep didn’t hurt at all. Phew! I came home, watched a film and got dinner ready before I went to collect Harrison. I had mild tummy ache and some contractions, but I didn’t pay them much attention, as it was no different from what I’d been feeling for the past month. James took Harry for his bath while I did the washing up. I went to get Harrison’s pyjamas and my waters gushed into my slipper boots. Fit! I sploshed my way to the bathroom to try and hurry the boys along so I could get in the bath. James went into panic mode which is hilarious and so unlike him! My contractions were sharp and taking my breath away – this babe was coming super quick.

By the time my mum arrived to collect Harrison, I was ready to go to hospital! We arrived on Juno – the midwife led suite (hurruh, managed it second time round!) and there was a student midwife, Kate and another midwife (whose name completely escapes me) waiting to greet us and gave me the great news that I was 7cm dilated already. I wanted to jump in that birthing pool quick sharp! It took forever to fill up as the cold tap wasn’t working properly! Both midwives and James ended up filling the little cardboard sick bowls (which look like hats) with cold water from the sink, which was fairly comical, bearing in mind the size of the pool. There was no CD player as they were pretty busy that night, so we had to make do with my relaxation app turned up loud on my phone. I was a bit tetchy by this point and snappy with poor James, but once I was in the pool, it all calmed down and I was pretty much ready to push or rather ‘breathe’ my baby out. Molly was born 2.5 hours after my waters had broken. Result!

Despite having had to have intervention first time round, I didn’t really feel much. This time however, the third stage of labour was HORRIBLE. It felt like another baby! The placenta seemed to take longer to come out than the Molly had! I felt every stitch again as I had done with Harrison, even though I’d had pain relief and gas and air. I think the process took longer because the student midwife was doing it. Nonetheless she did a great job.

Things I learned second time round…

·       Pack bags for all of you well before they’re needed! It all happened so quickly second time round! I barely had time to think!

·       Have family on stand by for looking after your first born, it’ll help ease the feeling of guilt/worry for leaving them to go and have another baby. I felt so emotional when Harrison was whisked off; I felt like I wanted him near me! Ultimately it was a relief because I could focus on having the baby.

·       Take a pregnancy or breast feeding  pillow if you’re off to a midwife led unit, there are no comfy chairs to sit in because they discourage sitting down and encourage labouring mothers to be either in the pool or mobile. This is great for ‘during’ but for the ‘after’ bit, it’s a bit naff. Molly was born at 9:40pm and we were still sitting waiting to be discharged at 4:30am and for all that time, there was a really uncomfortable chair for me to sit and feed in.

·       Never underestimate how many snacks you’ll need! Whilst I had no time to eat this time round (I’d also just had dinner!), I properly wanted to gorge afterwards. Jelly babies fuelled both my labours!

The thing I’ve learned the most is that every pregnancy, baby and labour is very different and should be treated that way! No matter what your circumstances are, when it comes to it, everybody can birth like a boss. I think women are proper warriors for nurturing and bringing little tiny humans into this world.

Take a peek at the following if you are interested…

Are You An Elephant Mama?

I’ve always been a very independent person since I was very little (apparently). My career requires me to be super organised and good with children. James is very similar and we are both creatures of habit, very fond of a good routine and pre children planned our lives to the nth degree! Despite this, Harrison’s arrival completely shook us both to the core. I felt despite people warning me what was about to happen, I’d have all this baby stuff nailed within a week. While I was getting my knickers in a twist over how much sleep we were getting, which boob was fed from last, sterilising everything in sight and trying to work out why the baby was crying (he’d been fed, winded, changed, cuddled, put down, picked up, sang to and had white noise played to him); we had a lot of family and friends in the background offering support. I saw it as a bit of a sign of weakness or that people thought I wasn’t coping, which is completely ridiculous.

I think I had too higher expectation of myself, Harrison and James too to some extent. I feel sorry about this, but I think it happens a lot. Far too often you see picture perfect families on social media and wonder how on earth they are looking so happy/great/organised/better than you and forget these are the edited versions of real life (the bits that people want you to see. Not the bits where the baby has just shat up his back and ruined outfit number 3 of the day! Or the picture where you’ve just argued with your husband about why he tidied away the bloody muslins)  It was only when I found out that I was expecting Molly that the penny dropped. It’s not weak to ask for or accept help when times get tough. It’s completely normal.  

I returned to work when I was around 6 months pregnant. I actually couldn’t wait to go back to work, I was getting bored at home and was craving to be in a more grown up environment (despite working in a school!). Harrison was about 10 months old, into everything and needed stretching; he started three days a week with a childminder. It started really well and we slipped into a routine really easily, however I forgot how exhausting it is growing a tiny human. Not to mention dealing with all the illnesses Harrison kept picking up while in childcare and having to deal with the stresses and strains of being a teacher. In stepped my family, extended family and a strong army of mum friends. Thank the lord. My granny used to come every Wednesday and often my mum would come on one of my other work days to provide ‘meals on wheels’ . My mother and sister in law also helped us through by babysitting, dropping by with groceries, hand holding through the tough times and always being on the end of the phone. This help has continued since Molly’s arrival and I couldn’t be more grateful.

My ‘mum squad’ (old school friends, uni friends and friends I’ve worked with), who also happen to have been my friends for years before we had children, are often what get me through a day. Our What’s App groups should be published as ‘mum manuals’. The wealth of knowledge we must have between us is probably endless! I read recently that the latest ‘parenting trend’ is to behave like elephants, where they raise their young as a herd and not singularly. Sometimes younger or older females baby sit while the mother goes for a rest, to feed or bathe. They basically lean on and learn from each other or share their knowledge about how to raise a tiny elephant collaboratively. I personally, don’t believe it is a ‘trend’. It’s nothing new, lots of people (and animals!) do it. It’s a choice that I’ve made and I’m sticking by it. I’m an elephant mama and I’m proud of it. I’m extremely lucky and wouldn’t be without my ‘herd’. Learning to accept help has been liberating.

Staycationing With Two Under 2

After Molly was born, the time we spent as a family was a bit of a blur. We invited visitors from when she was a couple of days old, because I was adamant we needed to be ‘up and running’ as soon as possible because we needed to keep Harrison in his routine. Despite this, I still felt we’d missed out on important family bonding time, just us four. So, with that in mind, I booked us a break away to Center Parcs for around the time of my birthday.

Our break was upon us. It took pretty much all day to get packed up and out the door, but in truth, I quite liked it like that. It meant we could take our time packing and make sure we had everything. It also allowed me to get 100% up to date with all my washing, as we were to find out that we needed every spare amount of clothing/muslins/baby bedding…I had to google to double check that the villas at Center Parcs definitely didn’t have washing machines, which freaked me out a bit!

We had an amazing time away and whilst we didn’t get the break we were quite accustomed to having, when we went on holiday as a couple, or even with just one child, we had some much needed time together to bond and get to know each other as a family of four! Here are a few things I learned along the way…   

1.       Plan, plan, plan!

Being a teacher, planning is pretty much an inbuilt part of me (I’m probably a slight control freak too) I was really keen not to waste the precious time we had there on procrastinating about what to do each day. I knew how many days we were to be away for, so I put together a loose plan for the week. I booked a few things in advance and also planned our meals for the week. We did a click and collect Tesco order which James (my hub) collected shortly after we’d arrived, to avoid paying hefty prices in the shop on site! We swam every day, despite none of us being huge fans of the water. The kiddy splash park was ace. We went bowling (quite tricky with a strong willed 16 month old, who ended up chasing the ball down the lane every time!) and did a Mucky Pups session with Harrison – both expensive activities but were fun additions to the week.  

2.       Keep an element of routine – for everyone’s sanity!

Both babies were awake by 6:30 most days, very much in line with their normal routine at home. (They didn’t get the memo that we were supposed to be on holiday!) Apart from one day when we went for brunch, we ate breakfast at the villa. We went swimming or walked in the morning and came back to the villa so that both babies could have a substantial nap. The evening routine was kept very much the same for us, although most nights we deviated away from normal bed time.     

3.       Take charge of one child each

This is a bit of a no brainer. How people cope with three or more children, I’ll never know (although maybe I might find out, one day! Not any time soon though – I’d rather not give James a heart attack) In general this is how we manage looking after two tiny humans. In most cases, James finds Harrison easier to manage, particularly as Molly still needs to be strapped to my boob most of the day. It’s pretty much decided, who has which baby. Never mind the fact that Harrison absolutely adores being with his Daddy and was in his shadow 90% of the time across the week! Having one each was especially useful in the changing rooms for swimming. The facilities are great, but rather than squeeze all of us in one cubicle (‘family’ size is definitely not big enough) we flew solo with each baby and had separate lockers. The biggest challenge was trying to go for a wee with Molly. There weren’t any baby change/toilets. This is something I HATE as I usually try to tie in changing with going for a wee myself…I follow Motherpukka on insta and she recently did a post about having to wee in the sink of a baby change ‘facility’ because she was so desperate and there quite simply, was nowhere to put the baby so she could relieve herself! It drives me NUTS!

4.       Take new toys

Harrison is a monkey. He really isn’t that interested in toys and really likes ‘real’ things to play with. You know, plug sockets, door handles and as we found out in the villa, he had a particular ‘penchant’ for the timer on the cooker! With this in mind, I couldn’t face having to constantly patrol what he was up to whilst trying to relax and enjoy my break (has anyone ever managed this?!), I took a trip to home bargains and pound land before our trip to invest in some little bits and pieces to keep him occupied. Several hits of the week were: a mini tub of play dough with cutters, a little wind up robot (who knew it would be so hilarious watching it march off the edge of the table?!) and a little mini xylophone – anything noisy is a winner. I’ve now put them away for our next trip on an aeroplane in May…eek!  

5.       Always prepare for step 1 to go out the window, at some point!

I made a table reservation at one of the restaurants for the day previous to the day we actually went. FAIL. Blame it on the baby brain. I actually can be a bit of a flake when I’m not super organised – but hey, aren’t we all.

Things I wished I’d remembered…

Washing powder/stain remover – there were a fair few poonamis that ruined a few outfits, however I did find out that green fairy liquid is a brilliant stain remover, if used immediately after said poonami explosion – who knew?!

Enough nursing bras – sick in my bra was not a highlight, with no washing machine. I made an emergency trip to asda to try and find one, but to no avail. Must buy more.

More swimwear – we had to wash out and dry the same bits which was a pain when the heating wasn’t on all the time. Soggy crotch is not the one.

Flasks for coffee – we walked everywhere and there was a starbs right outside the swimming pool. It would have been nice to refill and take hot drinks on the move with us. Not a necessity. Just would have been nice!

Sh*t’s about to get real…


It was on getting in the car after a baby singing class, one afternoon in June, that I started to feel a bit nauseous & gaggy. Harrison was about 7 months, just started crawling, still not sleeping through the night… perhaps I was just tired… or maybe…

D6866BB7-4B6B-4DB6-9C31-3309B247EC53Fast forward a month or so, on finding out I was unexpectedly expecting again; we embarked on an emotional rollercoaster that took us to a difficult set of cross roads. How on earth would we cope with ANOTHER baby? How could we financially afford to have another so soon after our first? How would my body, not having recovered fully from the first time round, withstand carrying another big baby? How would it all work with me not having gone back to work yet? How indeed.

We were to spend the next 6 months muddling through…but we did it and are living it now. I wanted to start a blog to record our journey (I hate that word) and provide a bit of comfort (and maybe a few laughs) to anyone who is experiencing or about to go through the same as us!