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Month: April 2014

To the toilet…Day 3

To the toilet…Day 3

Well after day 3 I can describe the toilet training process in three words. Tears, tantrums and torture. Funnily enough that doesn’t describe Ella’s experience, but rather my own. Albeit a little dramatic I know. After day 2, I was left wondering if Ella would ever get it, and to be honest I was clinging to the idea of being able to get it all done in three days. Like everything else to do with parenting, you cannot find pick up an experience of one Mother and expect to replicate it in the same way. Whether positive or negative, we are all different and our children react in different ways. There is so much information out there, and so much pressure to add to it. I felt pressure from many angles to start toilet training with Ella, and given the fact that she will be getting a sibling in five weeks, I figured that the time was right. She was showing the right signs and so off we went….

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What I should have realised it that, like everything else, things don’t always go perfectly to plan. Ella has come through three full days at home with small steps towards being toilet trained. She is not fully there, and I expect that she won’t be for some time.  I tried it all…. cool underwear, stickers, reward charts, positive reinforcement. She is able to tell me when she is going to the toilet, and I know that this is a great step. However she can’t solely use the toilet and I have had to make the decision to slow things down and just try again in a couple of weeks. She may well regress when her little brother or sister arrives, but that is fine. They say that you shouldn’t put your toddler back in nappies if you choose to take a break, but I’m going to compromise and use pull ups.  You have to be able to stay sane through the whole process and I don’t want it to become negative for either Ella or myself.

I’m going to take the advice of some great friends and not be hard on myself. Sometimes you think they are ready and they are not. She has made some great gains, and I’ll just keep plugging away. She will get there in the end, and like all things parenting, we will find our own way.

So if you too are thinking about toilet training, I hope that the following lessons help give you some perspective if you need it…

  • Yes, staying home for a few days is worth it, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you get to the end without having a child who is ‘perfectly’ toilet trained.
  • Yes, it is worth reading the information that is out there, but in the end I talked to my friends whose advice got me through.
  • Sometimes good intentions are enough
  • Sometimes we need to stop and take a break
  • Like all things, she will get there in the end. It’s more important that she feels good about the whole process rather than being rushed into it.
  • It’s not a race, even though it feels like it.
  • It feels great to be giving myself a break from all the talk about poo and wee. And lets face it, not smelling like them is a bonus too….

So with that, my three days of toilet training are over. Sort of. Good luck to anyone who is going through the process with your toddler. It’s full on, but I guess that is the true definition of being a Mum!

kate

To the toilet…day 2

To the toilet…day 2

Well today I’m feeling it. I’m not sure if it is meant to be this way, but it feels like we have taken one step forwards and five steps backwards. I guess that is normal. I’m hoping that this is all part of the plan and Ella will ‘click’ tomorrow. The cabin fever is getting to me a bit and you certainly have to keep your whits about you.

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The lessons I’ve learned after day 2:

  • You can’t really leave their side. It’s easier for them to come everywhere with you. Even to the toilet yourself.
  • Keep the toilet door and light on. It’s incredibly frustrating trying to open the toilet door with a peeing toddler in your arms
  • It makes sense to just take her to the toilet rather than using the potty. I’m hoping this will pay off in the long run.
  • I’m finding it difficult to think of other words to use in my day apart from poos, wees and toilet
  • The step ladder / seat is a great investment
  • The stickers seem to be a draw card
  • You will have lots of false alarms
  • Eucalyptus is a great sanitiser, and smells great too
  • I’ve put a bottle of hand sanitiser next to the basin, just to make sure that I’m clean too

So with day 3 looming, I’m hoping and praying that Ella will get it tomorrow. I know it’s not fool proof, but it has to be better than today. If I wasn’t pregnant, I would be sitting down to a rather large glass of wine right now….

kate

Friday Find: Keep the ANZAC memory alive

Friday Find: Keep the ANZAC memory alive

This week’s Friday Find is a simple one, yet it could have a profound effect on your family. Today I share with you some simple ideas to help keep the ANZAC memory alive with your children. As the Great Grand Daughter of a soldier who fought at Gallipoli, I am very passionate about teaching our young children about the sacrifices made by those brave Men and Women so many years ago. Hopefully the lessons learned will ensure that our children will never have to face a time where they will have to go to war to fight for peace and freedom.

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I have created a simple Pinterest Board with lots of ideas, books and creative ways to teach your children about the ANZAC legend. I hope it helps you help keep the ANZAC memory alive. Simply Click on the link below…

Click here to visit my ANZAC Pinterest Board

LEST WE FORGET

kate

 

To the toilet….Day 1

To the toilet….Day 1

So this week, as we ate chocolate galore we decided that it was time to tackle toilet training. We had pondered the idea for weeks. Should we? Shouldn’t we? Could we be bothered? Is Ella ready?

The cons included: being 34 weeks pregnant (ie. does Mum have enough energy?), living at my Mother in Laws (i.e. accidents in their house) and having to tackle the challenge pretty much on my own, as Dan has to work his magic finishing our house. The pros included: the obvious, only having one child in nappies once the baby arrives which also means a hefty saving! It’s also a fairly big milestone in the life of a child, and one that would help develop independence and self confidence.

Ella has been ‘showing all the signs’ in recent weeks and has had a keen interest in the ‘weird, smelly thing’ that people seem to frequent all the time. So with the ANZAC day long weekend looming, I’ve bitten the bullet and decided to bunk in for three days and tackle the challenge of toddler toilet training.

Each day I’m going to share how we have faired…both Ella and myself. I’l be sharing our challenges and lessons I’ve learned along the way! I’m not advocating any particular approach, or claiming to be an expert in any way. It’s just one Mum’s reflection on one of the hardest parts of raising a toddler. I expect to find myself feeling and experiencing the full gamete of emotions over the next few days!!!

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So far, I’ve prepared myself with the following:

  • 20 + pairs of undies. I started with ten and have quickly realised that you need more. Many more pairs. I’ve got a combination of normal underwear and terry toweling pairs to soak up the mess.
  • Rewards: Stickers, stickers and more stickers. I’ve made a chart for each toilet and the potty which we have kept in the living room. I’m also going to give Ella small easter eggs as a reward. Good timing hey!
  • Wipes and more wipes. You can’t flush them down the toilet, but I know I will need them.
  • Towelling Nappies – soaks up accidents and you can just throw them in the wash.
  • I’ve also filled the basin with Napisan and bleach so I can throw soiled undies in and do a few loads throughout the day.
  • Information from both the Royal Childrens’ Hospital and the ‘Three Day’ program. That said, I’m keen on taking from these what feels right, and won’t be doing ‘everything’ that they say. This might sound arrogant or foolish, but like all things parenting, I’ve learnt to go with the flow and do what feels right. Right now that means getting Ella to be toilet trained during the day. I’m leaving night time to later…

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Some of the lessons I’ve learned already:

  • Don’t flush wipes down the toilet unless you want to call a plumber
  • When they say you need 20+ pairs of underwear, they mean it
  • You need to keep repeating ‘tell me when you need to do poos or wees’ more times than you care to remember
  • Roll up the rug!
  • Perhaps don’t let your toddler sit on the couch…
  • Invest in some disposable bed liners  / puppy pads to use in the car or place on the couch. I’ve learned this one the hard way!

‘They’ say it takes three days to toilet train a toddler who is ready. Day 1 has been pretty predictable so far. More good than bad! Let’s hope I feel the same way tomorrow!

kate

Flash Easter Giveway! Win an Easter activity pack with Explore & Learn Toddler

Flash Easter Giveway! Win an Easter activity pack with Explore & Learn Toddler

Are you over the chocolate yet? Are your kids searching for something apart from Easter Eggs? Well today we are holding a flash Easter give away thanks to Explore and Learn Toddler! An activity pack valued at $42.95 with four fantastic toys that will keep your kids imaginations occupied, and hopefully give them a break from all of the chocolate!

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The prize pack includes:

All you need to do to be in the running for this prize pack is go to our Facebook competition link below. Entrants need to ‘like’ both the Explore & Learn Toddler and Happy Ella After pages. You can earn extra points by tell us your favourite  Explore and Learn toy from their website and why your toddler would love it! Entry is subject to Terms and Conditions as set out in the competition app. Please note that this is open to Australian Residents only.

Explore and Learn toddler also have a 15% off site wide sale on until Wednesday using the coupon code MOVE.

ENTER OUR EASTER EXPLORE AND LEARN GIVEAWAY HERE

kate

Friday Find: Eve of Eden Maternity Wear

Friday Find: Eve of Eden Maternity Wear

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the owner of Eve of Even Maternity –  a relatively new maternity brand in Australia. Keen to spread the word about their products, I was lucky enough to be sent a few items of my choice to try out. Given the fact that my second pregnancy has fallen on different seasons to last time, it was great timing as I as keen to find some comfy cargos / jeans and long sleeve tops to get me through until the baby arrived. I selected a pair of cargo skinny jeans, a long sleeve top and nursing jumper to see me through the cooler months, and I’m thrilled to share my thoughts about their products with my readers…

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Firstly, I chose a pair of blue skinny cargo pants. These are super flattering and I can see myself wearing these long after the baby is born. I love the cargo detail…it adds something a little different to maternity wear. Best of all they are currently on sale for $59.95. To view more information, click the image below..

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Here is a selfie of myself in the cargos….photo 1-2

Secondly, you can’t go past a basic, grey long sleeve top. This one came in polka dots and has a clever bra insert to ensure you are covered when breast feeding. Again..it’s on sale at $43. Click the image to view the product.

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Another selfie to show you how it covered my growing tummy!!!

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And finally, I ordered this grey polka dot nursing sweater. I loved the fact that it came with buttons to help with breast feeding. Given the fact that I haven’t given birth yet, I haven’t put those buttons to great use, however I can say that it is super comfortable and feels great! On sale for $69, click the image for more info…

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All of their items have been of fantastic quality and have washed up really well. They are currently available for sale via www.maternitysale.com.au. You can also follow them on Facebook here. You can receive a discount for your first order by visiting their Facebook page. Best of all, all deliveries have FREE DELIVERY!

Happy Ella After readers are lucky enough to be given the chance to win a $50 to purchase your own gear, so stay tuned in a couple of weeks!

kate

The bags are packed!

The bags are packed!

It may be a little early, but this weekend I packed my bags, just incase baby Korber no. 2 decides to make an early entrance. Given the fact that a very close friend gave birth yesterday, three weeks early, I’m glad that I’ve done it. It’s really the only thing that I have formally done to get ready for the baby’s arrival, and given the fact that our belongings are packed away in dozens of boxes, I think that it was the right choice…just in case (literally)!

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When I packed for Ella’s arrival, I scoured the internet for list after list of key items needed for the myself and the baby. I asked all my friends who had given birth for their advice to make sure that I had everything. From baby clothes to creams, maternity pads to massage oils. I had everything and anything that I could possibly need ‘just incase’. This included magazines to read (hmmm yeah right), my favourite lollies (Dan enjoyed those) and some coloured ‘stress balls’ that I could ‘tap together’ to distract me from the pain. Needless to say, packing my bag a second time round has been a little easier, and quicker, as I included more of the simple things, and left out others (yep, the coloured balls didn’t make the cut). A few weeks ago, I wrote a letter to my former pregnant self with some advice about how to tackle the challenges that a new Mum faces. This week, as I packed my bag for both myself and my baby to be, I thought I’d share some tips and advice for my maternity bag essentials….

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  1. Maternity pads and dark coloured undies – the bigger the better, and the more packets the better. Most ‘lists’ include these staple items, and my only advice is to triple the quantities. Believe me, you will both need and appreciate them.

  2. Feeding singlets – I found that the Bonds feeding singlets were both really comfortable and practical. If you choose to breast feed you will need to access your ‘ladies’ over and over, and singlets that have a practical clip for easy access is key. They include a built in bra which also means that you don’t feel like you are wearing fifty thousand layers. I have packed three in basic black, white and blue.

  3. Hoodies – adding to the above, wearing a hoodie means that you can both keep warm and give your baby instant access to food as they need it. Big W has some fantastic hoodies on sale at the moment for $15.

  4. Breast Pads – yes, you feel as though you are padded at both ends, but this little item makes a big difference. What no one tells you is how much you leak, especially when your milk comes in. Furthermore, no one tells you that the brands of breast pads vary greatly in feel and comfort. My favourite are the Johnson and Johnson or Advent brand that have a sculpted pad that covers the natural shape of your breast. Once you use the other types, you will see what I mean. They are a little more expensive, but a lot more comfortable. If you breast feed you will wear these for the longevity of your feeding period, so the investment is well worth it.

  5. Lanisoh cream – This baby is my no.1 essential if you are breast feeding. Rub a tiny amount on your nipples after each feed (yes, each and every feed), and this amazing clear cream will protect your nipples for cracking and soreness. The cream may not solve everything, but it sure does help. Read about it here.

  6. Baby singlets with fasteners at the bottom – My single piece of advice about baby singlets is throw out any that do not fasten at the bottom. As your little bundle of joy wriggles and snuggles singlets ride up and end up around their chest. Singlets that fasten at the bottom keep your little one covered from head to toe. I swear by Next direct who sell basic packs in short and long sleeve in all sizes. You can find them here.

7. Baby onzies with built in mittens – mittens do help in the early stages by keeping a newborn’s nails away from their face. However they too come off. You can purchase heaps of different onezies that have built in mittens where you simple fold over the end of the sleeve. Bonds have a great range of wondersuits and onezies that include this great feature.

8. iBabyfeed app – When I started this blog I did a review about this fantastic app. You don’t need to ‘pack this’ in your bag, but rather download it to your phone. If you decided to breast feed, this little app will become your best friend. It helps you track how often you feed, what breast you finished on, average length of feeds and even reminds you when your baby is due to feed. Some people prefer pen and paper, but knowing how clumsy and foggy I was in those early days, I know that I will be hopeless at remembering anything, let alone where I left the paper. My phone is generally at arm’s length and so this app came in handy. You can read my previous post including instructions on downloading it here.

9.Birthing outfit – I know this one may seem a little OTT, but when I got to my hospital last time I was asked to get into my ‘birthing’ gear. I assumed that I would wear a gown right from the start, and ended up having to put on a lovely nightie that I, let’s say, didn’t want to get ruined. Include in your bag a nightie or slip that you would be happy to say goodbye to at the end of the process. If you have an epidural or Caesarean you will eventually be given a gown to wear, but you may also need something else before hand.

10. Baby’s 1st outfit – similar to the above, we were asked to give the nurses our baby’s 1st outfit as soon as we were admitted to the hospital. They stored it away in a warm cupboard and then dressed Ella in it once she was born. Again, some hospital’s may not ask you, but having it ready and easily accessible in your bag is something that you might want to think about when packing.

This list isn’t exhaustive and there are indeed loads more to take along for both yourself and your baby. However the above items were key in getting me through labour and the first few days of being a Mum. It’s all about comfort and practicality. If only labour could be described in the same way!

Do you have any items that you would recommend a second time around? Hope the list helps any expectant Mums to be…..

kate