The Fear of Two

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I grew up as one of two sisters, just under two years apart in age, and I think having a sibling close in age had a huge impact on my childhood. Having someone there to play with, to chat to, to share all those little experiences, that was a huge part of my childhood and I'm so grateful for that. Sure, there were lots of arguments, but ultimately we're really close, both then and now. We're very different in so many ways - we don't look alike, my sister is far more of a go-with-the-flow kind of person, more outgoing than me, more of a risk taker - and yet there is something about us that's also very similar. We had our ...

Accepting the child you have

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I'm sure I'm not alone in having had expectations of what I would get up to with my baby while I was on maternity leave - not only would I find the time to get outside in the garden while my baby happily bounced away in their vibrating bouncer, we would do all manner of activities. Baby sensory classes, baby yoga, baby massage, messy play sessions, baby swimming - we were going to do it all! One of the activities I was most excited about was baby swimming. I'd loved to swim as a child, and as my husband isn't a hugely confident swimmer, we felt it would be great to introduce Max to the water early on. I was entranced by ...

Books for babies who don’t like to read

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When Max was little, I used to hear lots of other mums proclaiming how their little ones loved to be read to and they'd reel off all of the books that their baby was loving. Max on the other hand, did not enjoy being read to - he struggled to have the patience to sit down and have that quiet time, he just wasn't at all interested and would wriggle around until I gave up. But I'm nothing if not determined - I've always been a big reader and I believe reading is one of the most important things you can do for your child. So I persevered and sought out books that were more interactive and would capture his attention ...

Anxiety and the Modern Parent

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I'm a mum who tends to worry a lot. About whether my child is hitting their milestones, about whether he's happy, if I'm doing the right thing sending him to nursery, if I'm doing enough crafting with him, if he should know his colours by now. These are worries that I can put aside, but then will pop into my head again, just when I think I've got past them. I'm clearly not alone in this, as I read similar concerns from other parents on a regular basis. It seems to be the curse of modern parents.   Testing, testing, testing... Generation Y parents are used to being tested. My school year was the first to encounter SATS testing in Year 6, before being tested again in Year 9, ...

A Letter to my son on his 2nd Birthday

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Dear Max, Today you are two - Happy Birthday! It seems like only yesterday that we bought you home from hospital, a little red, wrinkly, screaming bundle - and yet at the same time that seems ages ago, as you've changed so much in those two years. Over the last year, you've learnt to walk - first taking those really tentative steps, but now you're running around faster than I can keep up with half of the time. You're such a little professor and you love a puzzle, or to figure out how something works. I think you'll end up being an engineer, just like your Daddy.     Your personality has developed so much over the last year too - you're a child of extremes, ...

A tale of two toddlers…

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I am the mother of a particularly clingy toddler who, at 23 months, is still experiencing pretty bad separation anxiety. If we’re at home, it’s likely he’ll be wanting cuddles on the sofa; if I take him to a soft play I’m the mum being led around by her finger as she desperately tries to fit through the foam equipment without putting her back out; if we’re out and about I’m probably carrying him, as he prefers a pick-up rather than to walk. I’ve developed some pretty impressive arm muscles! I’ve pretty much accepted that this is how he is, and although I try and encourage him to be independent, if he wants a cuddle I’m not inclined to deny ...

How to save money without noticing

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Did you know that the average cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 21 has risen to £230,000? Suffice to say that children are expensive things, and since having Max I’ve noticed that it's increasingly difficult to save money – money is tighter than ever! And yet I wanted to start a savings fund for him for when he gets older – to possibly put towards university, a house deposit, a car – all things that my parents were able to help me out with and for which I’m so grateful.   So, here are a few ways that I’ve been trying to save money, in a way that you don’t even notice it’s happening!   Use Cashback websites If you’re not ...

When a ‘smug mum’ moment lead to a realisation…

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Last week I had the loveliest day. It was a completely normal day – it was Thursday, the one day of the week when I have Max all to myself with no activities planned.  I don’t often take Max out for a proper meal with just the two of us as it can often be a bit of a battle to keep him amused, but that day we stopped at Bill's for some brunch as a treat.   From the moment we walked in, Max was the most angelic child – smiling and flirting with the waitress, sitting patiently in his high chair opposite me while we quietly read Postman Bear as we waited for our food, and then charming the two ladies ...

Butterflies in the Glasshouse at RHS Wisley

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Butterflies in the Glasshouse is an annual event hosted at RHS Wisley and if you've not visited before, it's well worth a visit. The glasshouse is filled with hundreds of huge butterflies which flutter around you as you walk through - it's a really magical experience. We visit Wisley often as we are lucky enough to live close by and our most recent visit was this week at half term. It was our first time seeing the butterflies this year as the queue had looked too long on our other visits. This time we got there early in time for the park opening when there was no queue at all! If you don't like to queue you can pre-book your slot ...

Stick Man Trail at Alice Holt

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Last weekend we braved the cold to visit the Stick Man Trail at Alice Holt Woods. All across the country the Forestry Commission have teamed up with Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler to create various trails based on some of their most loved children's books. Our nearest trail is at Alice Holt, and is home to the Stick Man trail, as well as a Gruffalo and Gruffalo's Child sculpture. The Stick Man trail is set up around Alice Holt's accessible easy access route, so is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchair users. For older children, you can purchase an Activity Pack at the Visitors' Centre for £3, but we opted just to follow the trail since Max is a little young for this. Although ...