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Potty Training Under Two

I’m very pleased to say that we have now been nappy free for a whole 2 months! Although there are still definite perks of still having a toddler in nappies, I think the benefits of now having gone through the potty training and come out the other side outweigh those perks! 

Pippa was 21 months when we decided to take the potty plunge which may sound very young for some people but those who know Pippa will know she’s got a very big vocabulary and therefore seems quite grown up for her age. She had been using the potty around the house for about 3 or 4 months with no problems and even requesting to get out of the bath to wee on the potty or toilet. So one sunny day in May we left her nappy off in the garden and took the potty outside. She didn’t have any accidents all afternoon and told us when she needed a wee or headed off to the potty herself. It was then we thought, with summer coming up (and therefore more outside, less clothes time) we may as well go for it. 

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Potty training prep!

My first stop was Amazon where we purchased another potty for upstairs, a training seat to go on the toilet (so she won’t fall down ha!) a Koo-Di car seat protector, a Potette Plus (more on those later) and a Princess Polly potty sticker book. 

Pip enjoyed reading the book and sticking the stickers in the right place but I don’t think it actually made any impact on her potty training so that was maybe a waste of money but the other things are great. 

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Small bottom problems!

I also researched where to buy the smallest knickers as Pip is currently in 9-12 month leggings at almost 2, so I needed her new knickers to stay up (we already had problems keeping her leggings up now there was no nappy!) – Primark came up tops and we stocked up. 

I chose to go completely cold turkey with Pippa and completely take away the nappies except for nap time and night time. I didn’t want to confuse her with pull ups and actually when we put a nappy on her for bed she would still tell us if she needed a wee and would ask for it to be taken off for her to go on the potty rather than in her nappy so she definitely understood. 

I also picked to start on a Friday so that we had 4 relatively free days at home to really kick the potty training off. It actually turned out that the day we started we met up with friends at a splash park but Pippa was brilliant and using the potty all day! The one accident we did have was in the car when she announced she needed a wee and I was struggling to find a parking space! Unfortunately I found one a bit too late and Pip had done a small wee in the car but then continued it on the potty once we had parked. What saved the day here though was the Koo-Di. It’s simply a seat pad with a waterproof backing that soaks up any wees and protects the actual car seat so you just wash the seat pad rather than having to wash the entire car seat cover. 

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The Potette in action!

The following day we also ended up at the 5 star Grove hotel in watford (very posh) for brunch and once again, Pippa was great. The second day I opted to take the Potette with us as we would be inside for some of it. It’s the most brilliant product as it folds down to fit in a bag and folds out into a potty which you then put plastic bags over with a kind of sanitary towel stuck in them which soaks up anything. Then once the child is done, it’s all bagged up! The legs also flip outwards to turn into a seat to put on a toilet for the child. Honestly the best baby gadget I’ve ever bought and we use it EVERYWHERE. 

However as you can see, we actually ended up having a very busy weekend and obviously we had a few accidents but overall it was fine so don’t feel you need to lock yourselves away for a week in order to train your child, there’s no need and besides it’s when you’re out and about which is the real challenge anyway!

We also ended up going away to Center Parcs about 2 weeks in and as we were so busy we occasionally forgot the Potette but Pip was fine using a normal toilet (with one of us holding her!) for both number ones and number two’s – which luckily were also never an issue for her to do on the potty.

The only major issue for us has been, as always, nursery. From the start Pippa would not tell anyone that she needed a wee or take herself to the potty (which is in a separate baby changing room which is shut – also a slight problem) and just wets through all her clothes. Nursery approached us and thought she wasn’t ready and to maybe introduce pull ups but with her being so good at home I didn’t want to take a step backwards. Instead we started bringing in her own potty from home which has made a slight difference and she will successfully use it sometimes at nursery. However on most occasions she wets herself and I’m still having to pack 7+ changes for her every day she’s there. She even did a poo in her knickers the other week which I was totally shocked about as she has never done that before. We are still trying, and she’s getting better and has had two completely dry days at nursery so there is progress. We’re hoping when she moves up rooms once she’s 2 that with lots of other children doing it and small toilets she will hopefully start going at nursery as well as at home. 

As Pippa was obviously ready for potty training we didn’t have too many accidents and these have got less and less along with the time she can now hold her wee’s for. Now, 2 months in we mostly have dry days with the odd couple of small accidents when she’s busy playing or doesn’t get to the toilet in time. Her accidents are usually a little dribble and she will then do a big wee on the potty once we put her on it. She also now takes herself to the potty (we keep it in the toilet downstairs).

We are by no means completely dry but the amount of spare pants I now pack are decreasing and i’m very glad we have done it early, if not simply to avoid doing it in the winter!

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Top 10 Tips for Travelling with a Toddler or Baby

Over Pippa’s 20 months in this world, she has in fact done quite a bit of travelling. At 9 months old we took her to Gran Canaria, at 11 months we took her to Santorini and at 19 months we took her to Cyprus and each involved a lot of planning. As we have travelled so much with Pippa, I’ve been asked by lots of family and friends for advice, so I thought I would write down my top tips for travelling with a baby or toddler!

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  1. Plan & Pre-Order

As Pippa has got older and the more we have travelled, the less I’ve panicked about it but the first holiday definitely required the most planning. As babies don’t get a seat on an airplane until they are two and with it, a luggage allowance, packing is a challenge, and as we all know babies have THE most stuff! We opted for using our two large suitcases for our own clothes and one of our hand luggage allowances for a cabin suitcase for Pippa and the other cabin luggage as a joint rucksack. However the nappies we shared across everything as there was just so many!

Having a baby who was still having milk 4 times a day as well as 3 meals, I didn’t know where to start with what to pack food wise for her, let alone how much space it would all take up of our minimal luggage allowance!

With Pippa being formula fed, we usually used the powder but as this would mean sterilising water whilst we were away, on top of sterilising the bottles, we decided to take the pre-made 7oz cartons of formula. Now for those who haven’t worked it out, 4x 7oz cartons of milk = a lot, so we decided to pre-order it, along with some Ella’s pouch meals and fruit pouches, to the Boots at the airport terminal. This meant that we didn’t have to use up our precious luggage and weight allowance and as we were collecting once we had gone through security, there were no issues. Harry then filled up his (rather heavy) rucksack with the goods and away we went!

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2. Don’t Fret About the Flight

Flying seems to be the biggest worry but on all of our trips I’ve actually found the flying part fine! (up to 4 hours anyway!). On all of our trips I have packed Pippa’s bottle of milk, a cup of water and some food into a separate little bag inside my own so that when it came to security I could easily lay it all out in the tray without a faff. The security staff then call you to one side, scan everything and check it and give it straight back.

Travelling with a baby or toddler also means you get a bit of preferential treatment, getting to go through a separate security for families and early boarding (I’m not sure that’s a good thing though!) and obviously you are allowed to take your buggy right to the gate.

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Playing on the plane floor!
3. Pack Lots to Play

On the flight itself Pippa has always been great and happy to sit on our laps and play or sleep. I think people often think ‘oh I must get the baby to sleep on the plane!’ however I found when she slept the hardest! It meant I couldn’t move the entire flight and that meant I was so uncomfortable. Obviously some flight times can’t be helped and if its night time its night time but I definitely prefer a daytime flight with a baby/toddler, maybe with an hour nap squeezed in!

We took a bag of toys to keep Pippa entertained each time and now that she’s older it was actually easier to keep her entertained. We bought a few books and this water magic colouring book which kept her entertained for a good while and can be used again and again. We also uploaded some of Pips favourites to the iPad but surprisingly we didn’t use it as much as I thought and only used it to settle her down for a sleep.

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Pip joining us for dinner
4. Work With the Time Difference

We also found that on the holidays where the time difference was 2 hours ahead, we kept Pippa to UK time so she could then eat dinner with us at 7ish (5ish UK time) and could stay up until 9 for a little play (or boogie – on two occasions we were at weddings!) when we were out before we put her down to sleep in the buggy. It also meant she would wake at 8am rather than 6am – giving us a little lie in!

5. Spray Suncream

We had always bought spray suncream for Pippa, in particular the Nivea one that comes out blue so you can see where its going and ensure everything is covered. However it always ended up in a bit of a mess and clothes being coloured blue or coated with suncream. That was until our most recent holiday I discovered the aerosol spray suncream! It’s SO much easier to spray all over a wriggly baby or runaway toddler and its mist like quality is cooling too!

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6. Pack a Paddling Pool

It may sound silly when you’re likely off to somewhere where you’ll be sat by a swimming pool all day, however we found a little paddling pool was a great way to keep Pippa out of the sun and cool as we could position it under our sun shade wherever we were sat. It also kept her entertained for ages and she was able to play in the water safely without us worrying she’d fall in the giant pool whilst playing at the waters edge.

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7. Bring a Good Buggy

As mentioned, baby’s come with lots of equipment and knowing what and what not to bring is key. Firstly we invested in a good buggy. We opted for the Silvercross Pop as we wanted something that reclined right back for her to be able to sleep flat in for naps and evenings when we were out for dinner and the Pop was the flattest I’d ever seen a buggy go! It also came with a UV protected hood that pulled fully over the pram so Pip was completely covered, not only for the sun but also general wind/noise around her. And of course it was lightweight and folded easily – very important!

8. Block Out Sun With a Blackout Blind

Before we bought the buggy we had also bought a SnoozeShade, it’s universal to fit any pram or buggy and blacks out the sun and light but allows air in and out so doesn’t create an oven underneath – I would definitely recommend. Something similar we always bought with us but never had to use due to the hotels having blackout shutters, was the Gro Anywhere Black Out Blind. It’s essentially a giant stick up black out blind that packs down very small so is perfect for blacking out a room when its baby’s bed time if needed!

 

9. Keep Sterilising Simple

For our holidays when Pippa was under one and we were still sterilising we used travel sterilising bags rather than lugging our entire sterilising equipment with us, especially as it required a microwave and we weren’t sure what the hotel facilities were. With the bags we just filled with water and added a sterilising tablet. I think it took about 1hr to sterilise but you could keep everything soaking in the bag until you needed it. The only issue was the smell from it was rather strong and toxic so we had to keep it in the bathroom or near an open window.

10. Buy a Travel GroBag

However my all-time favourite holiday/travel purchase for babies and toddlers is the Travel Grobag by The Gro Company. We bought a 1tog one last year for the really hot holidays and this year we bought a 2.5tog one as it was a bit cooler in Cyprus so early in the year. The genius thing about them is that they have an opening at the back and a two way zip at the front to allow it to be used with a 5 point harness. This meant we were able to put Pippa to sleep in her bag and strap her into the buggy to go to sleep when we went out in the evenings, then once we got home we could transfer her to her cot without waking her or taking her out of the bag. We also used it when travelling to and from the airport when transferring Pip from her cot to the car.

Hopefully that covers most things, we certainly found that doing and using the things I’ve mentioned above definitely helped make travelling with a baby or toddler easier and hopefully it will help you too!

Ditched by the Childminder, Again!


In my last post, Pippa was begining to improve at the childminders. It was then followed by a brilliant Christmas break where she wasn’t clinging to my side as I originally thought she would be, but was running around, joining in with the other cousins and children (mainly the older ones!) and overall turning into a confident little girl. 

I was hoping this new found confidence would continue once she was back at the childminders. However, although she has been very confident at the childminders own house and playing nicely with the other 3 children she looks after, whenever they go out to playgroups or anywhere with other children, Pippa refuses to get out of the buggy and cries. If she is convinced to get out (normally against her will) she won’t leave Charlottes side and if Charlotte has to tend to the other children Pippa cries. 

Before Christmas Pippa also had made progress with her fear of dogs and was happy to be around Diesel, the childminders dog. However this seemed to take a step backwards and she now freaks out and cries if he’s anywhere near, posing another problem. Then there is her irrational fear of the childminders husband which if she even hears his voice ON FACETIME, she has a breakdown!! 

The littlest one in the tutu!

I can’t explain any of the above as she’s just a totally different child with us. To be fair, she doesn’t like dogs but she doesn’t have meltdowns over it. But the rest we just can’t understand. We have been to birthday parties with 40+ children and adults with bouncy castles and soccer school and she has ran off to join in without a backward glance. We go to baby gym and she tells other children off if they’ve got something she wants. She is happy around male friends and family, sometimes taking a few minutes to warm up and come out of her shell, but again never a meltdown over it. 

It therefore didn’t come as a shock when Charlotte said she couldn’t have Pippa anymore, for the second time, and that we should find somewhere else. So here we are again, looking at having to get Pippa settled into a nursery. A nursery filled with children (that she’ll hate) and where her keyworker will have to look after other children apart from her (which she’ll also hate). I’ve opted to do two weeks of settling in, starting tomorrow with an hour stay and play session with myself and then on Tuesday I have to leave her there. I’m trying so hard not to make this too confusing for Pippa so I’ve taken some time off work so that I can be there but I still hate the thought of having to put her through this!

Maybe, just maybe this will be the right environment for her and she’ll love it, but we’ll have to see 😦

One Year!

  
*only 2 months late but I had written it just hadn’t got round to posting until now…oops!

I think this month has been the biggest change in Pippa yet and I think it’s mostly down to the fact she’s no longer a baby but a toddler! She started walking on her own about a week before her first birthday, mainly just up and down our living room but as the week went on she got more and more confident and was then walking more and more. She wasn’t so steady outside and we had to be nearby for her to feel safe but once she mastered it, that was it, she was off! And she hasn’t stopped since!
 

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come on mum!
 
She’s also now become so independent and can really make it known what she does or doesn’t want! She will often take my hand and lead me to what she wants or where she wants to go. Along with shaking her head for no, she can also now say yes, which makes things a lot easier when trying to find out what she wants! But it also means we can communicate much better which is just lovely. Some of her other words are ‘dog’ and ‘car’ and she loves barking (usually at any animal that resembles the size of a dog!) and looking at the neighbours dog when it’s in the garden. Her Childminder also has a dog which she loves.  

  
I think it’s fair to say Pippa is turning into a real little girl now too. She loves to brush her hair which is so cute and if I’m getting ready for work in the morning she’ll copy whatever I’m doing with my hair or make up. She already has her own hairbrush, I’m going to have to get her some make-up brushes soon haha! She absolutely loves playing tea parties and will get all her tea cups out and her singing pink teapot and will pour herself and I a cup of tea, ‘shhhhh’ sounds included when she’s pouring and slurping when she’s drinking! She is also always singing! Obviously just babbles but she has a little musical tune to them and has started to sing her little babbles to familiar nursery rhymes and songs. She’s slightly obsessed with the ‘Bing bong song’ from Peppa Pig which we have to watch at least 3 times a day on YouTube and she’ll sing ‘ding ding ding ding’ whenever she wants to watch it! 

  
Pippa has also become a lot more affectionate and will come for cuddles and actually just sit for a while on our laps which hasn’t happened since she’s been able to move about! She loves a cuddle after her bath too and will join in and try and smother me in cream when I do the same to her after her bath. 

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It’s lovely having her toddle around and I could just watch her all day. I can’t quite believe in a year she’s gone from a tiny 5lb10 dot to a (still tiny) little toddler! 

Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

  
I’ve now been back at work, in a new job, for just over a month (with a weeks holiday inbetween!) and although I can’t say it’s easy by any means, it is easier than I thought it would be. 
We had planned for Pippa to go to a Childminder when I went back to work however with us going away on holiday the first week of August and the Childminder herself away during July, we agreed that Pippa wouldn’t start fully until this week, 9th August. 
Therefore during those first 4 weeks that I returned to work, we arranged for 3 half ‘settling in’ days at the Childminder and the other days Pippa would be looked after by either my mum, H’s mum or Harry who had taken time off especially. 
  
Pippa’s very first half day at the childminders went really well, I dropped her off and snuck away so she wouldn’t see me leave as she would normally be hysterical if she did see. I wasn’t back at work at this point so took the morning to do some bits around the house and it went surprisingly quick and I didn’t feel upset it any way. Until I picked her up. I welled up as soon as I saw her little shocked face that I had returned to get her and then cried pretty much the whole of the afternoon and evening! I don’t think it had really hit me that I would be leaving her like that for 3 days a week from now on and the guilt and sadness over the fact we no longer would be spending every minute together really got to me.

However when my first day did come around the following week, I was slightly calmer. In a way having family look after Pippa for this first month has actually made it much easier for me as I haven’t been constantly worrying that Pippa is unhappy and I know that whoever was looking after her, knew her well and she was comfortable with them. 
It turns out I really enjoyed going back to work and I don’t think I’ve ever settled so well into a job. It’s a lovely team and I discovered that having some time away from being ‘mummy’ was a breath of fresh air and allowed me to be me again, not to mention getting to sit down again, finish a hot cup of tea again and go to the toilet in peace again! The balance of working 3 days and the fact I am just 15 minutes away from home has been brilliant and I definitely couldn’t do anymore days. Knowing that I have a 4 day weekend with Pippa to look forward to at the end of the week is a great feeling.

However even working just 3 days has come with challenges and a distinct lack of even more time! I now have to supply lunch and dinner for Pippa so evenings are spent cooking and planning meals for not only myself and H but Pippa too and I’ve realised I need to be quite organised in order to give Pippa a varied diet but in freezable transportable portions! Mornings are also hectic when trying to get myself showered and sorted for a day at work alongside getting Pippa ready and packed for a day at the childminder’s whilst she wants constant attention. There have been a few days where I have turned up to work starving and realised I’d forgotten to have breakfast!

  
This week Pippa has done her full 2.5 days at the Childminder (the other half day my mum has her) and I think the fact that I am fully settled at work and Pippa is now used to me leaving her 3 days a week meant it has gone really smoothly. I have felt fine about leaving her and although I can’t call my mum at lunchtime to see how she is anymore, the Childminder does send me photos and videos which is amazing! She even has an app that she updates at the end of every day with all the photos, videos and a little diary so it’s all stored for us too see with our own personal login.

Pippa still cries every time I leave but I know she’s having an absolute whale of a time and our time apart just makes our time together even more special.

11 Month Update

  
So much has happened this month, we’ve had our first family holiday (I’ll write a separate blog about that once I get round to it!), I went back to work (again I’ll write a blog about that too!) and I had my first weekend away without Pippa! So overall this month has felt pretty hectic as we’ve also had quite a few bits done to the house (including Pip’s new bedroom – ANOTHER post I need to write!) meaning we lived at my mums for a week too.  
One super big thing happened this month too, Pippa took her first steps! She had been charging around with her walker unaided the week before and then started walking just holding one hand then one day, she was sat on H’s lap on the floor and I was sat opposite and she just got up and walked over to me! We couldn’t believe it and I think the look on our faces made Pippa realise what she was doing too as she hadn’t even noticed that no one was holding her! She’s done a few steps between us since but that’s all, although she loves walking everywhere holding our hand. 

  
Pippa has also become very affectionate now, not that she wasn’t before but now she comes to us for cuddles and kisses and has become obsessed with her stuffed bunnies, which she’d never turn a blind eye at before! She loves to snuggle and cuddle them which is the cutest! I think another factor is that I’ve gone back to work and she now realises that I leave some mornings so is very cuddly and attached to me.

  
She’s also really trying to communicate now and knows exactly what she wants! She’s very clued up as to where things are kept such as her food and snacks in my bag or the cupboard or where her cuddly toys are and she will crawl and point to anything she can’t get her hands on! She understands what we are saying too and she does certain things if we ask her too such as ‘come here/come back’ or ‘can I have a kiss’, ‘no’ (which can often cause a tantrum!) among other things!

  
She loves to play games such as peekaboo or ‘run away from mummy behind the door’ and giggles when I come and find her or ‘pretend to put something off the floor into my mouth and mummy will come running!’ She then proceeds to show me her open mouth with nothing there and laughs. The fact she knows how to trick me at 11 months is slightly worrying for the future!!

 

Mummy, Pippa & Bunny Reunited
 
Now that Pippa is well and truly on the move, she’s quite hard work and tiring! She even now has the odd tantrum (I thought I had another year until the tantrums started!?) so I was actually really looking forward to a weekend away in Croatia with the girls just to get a little break! However I was worried about how I would cope without her and really didn’t want the weekend to be ruined by me missing Pippa. But surprisingly I didn’t miss her as much as I thought! I was sent lots of photos by H and kept in constant contact which always helps and I managed to enjoy the weekend without worrying too much. By Sunday I couldn’t wait to see her and once Monday came I just wanted to get home to her before she went to bed. Unfortunately delayed flights and m25 traffic meant I didn’t get to see her properly until Tuesday morning and then I had work but it was great to finally get a cuddle! 

I’m really pleased I managed without her as a few months ago I would have never thought I could do it. However as much as I enjoyed my weekend away, I’m glad it’s not a regular thing!

9 Month Update

  
In my last update there wasn’t much to report as Pippa had been ill, however this month I feel I have loads to talk about as it seems she’s been making up for the previous month!  
She’s no longer a baby but is turning into a little person and one with a great, cheeky personality. She now understands a lot more and can interact with us to tell us what she wants, particularly with her pointing finger demanding what she wants to play with, what she wants to eat or where she wants to go! Her range of hilarious facial expressions can also tell you exactly what she’s thinking and she does a brilliant shocked face.

She’s also constantly chatting and babbling away and has even said Mama and Dada. She only seems to say mama when she’s angry or crying and wanting me so I don’t actually know if she’s screaming for me or it’s just her being angry! However she says dada and daddy all day long but when Daddy comes in from work she points and gets exciting shouting dada dada so who knows!  

  
This month she has also become a lot more mobile and as much as I doubted her crawling ability, she is getting there! The problem lies in the fact she would much rather be standing up, cruising around the furniture and as she spends most of the day doing so, she has got very good at it. Therefore the appeal of being floor level just doesn’t cut it so if I’m around she will just cry/scream/whinge and wiggle to me and pull herself up. If I’m not in sight though or if it’s something she really wants (usually my phone or the remote) she will pull herself on her tummy towards it and she can move around in circles quite quickly and easily on her tummy. I think if she worked out how to get her legs up into the crawling position she would be off in a flash but she’s just not getting it so struggles on her tummy for now!

  

Getting her dressed or changing her nappy has become a real battle as she just flips herself over and wriggles away after the next thing she finds interesting. Keeping her in the cot and even in the buggy is also becoming hard. She can now pull herself up in the cot and can get all over the place in that confined space! I also made the mistake of not strapping her into the buggy last week when I was hoping she would nap but Pips had other ideas…

She was very clingy for a while, not wanting to even go to Daddy and screaming if I wasn’t within inches of her however that has improved as the month has gone on which is rather nice! She’s quite sociable though and will smile at mostly anyone, just men take a bit more getting used to and if that’s the case she’ll give them a little shy smile and bury her head into me!

  
Pippa also finally has some teeth coming through! They appeared out of nowhere and one day last week I just spotted two little white lines on her bottom gums then a few days later they had just about broken through and are now very sharp! She hasn’t been too bad with them apart from last night when she really was crying in pain for a long time before I had to pick her up, comfort her and cuddle her back to sleep – something I haven’t done since she was 4 months old!! As much as I hate seeing her in pain, it was lovely to have sleepy cuddles again though. Having her a bit grumpy the past few days from her teeth has also made me realise how much of a happy baby she really is and rarely cries at all. People always comment on how smiley and happy she is too which is always lovely to hear. I just hope the teeth don’t cause her too much bother over the next month!