Baby Girl officially becomes a Toddler. En Italia

Last September we went to my parents’ house in Italy for a week. Although in many way it was a relaxing holiday in the quiet Umbrian hills with nothing to do, as every parent knows, no holiday with a baby is entirely stress free. Baby Girl had just started weaning and had just moved onto full time formula – six bottles a day, lactose free and still sterilising bottles. Not to mention the nine hour delay in Rome airport on the way back… That was definitely a low point.

And last week, we headed back to the Umbrian hills for a bit of R&R as the Other Half had a few days holiday to use up before the end of March.

Admiring the Tuscan hills from Montepulciano

We couldn’t believe the difference in travelling with a one year old compared to last summer.

It’s so much easier.*

On the flight we couldn’t believe our luck. There’s a long standing joke that the OH that can’t believe how well I sleep on flights. Our first holiday together – all those years ago – was to Mauritius, with an eleven hour flight. I was asleep before take off. Well, thankfully it looks like Baby Girl has inherited more than just my eyes as she slept pretty much the entire flight there and back.

She’s not accepted a dummy since her teeth came in and after our first experience of flying we don’t give her bottles on take off & landing. So this time we gave her a banana to munch to keep her jaw moving and help her ears pop… she sat smiling & munching on her Daddy’s knee the whole of take off & then fell asleep, only waking up thanks to the ‘Doo Doo Dooo! Another successful Ryanair flight!’ announcement after we landed. And on the way home, she slept from take off until just before landing when she munched her way through three crackers and stared out of the window transfixed. We are still in shock by how well this went.**

Montepulciano, Tuscany

Exploring Perugia

Baby Girl is also fully weaned now and only has one bottle at bedtime. This meant carrying considerably less bumf with us as we only took two bottles and one can of lactose free formula – which we needn’t have bothered as we found it in the Italian supermarket! There’s also no need to sterilise anymore – hallelujah!

And despite her salt free and lactose free diet, feeding her was a lot easier this time round too. We bought a couple of Italian veggie baby jars to mix with cous cous or spaghetti; we made her baby bruschetta with fresh ingredients (looked delicious!); she could have toast, Pecorino cheese (sheep’s cheese is lactose free)… all in all, having a baby who eats actual food rather than spits out a few spoonfuls of gloop then wants a bottle is far easier to deal with on holiday!***

Chasing pigeons in Perugia

She was even easier in the evenings, allowing us to go out for dinner & not have her scream the place down or require us to take turns outside with her. One night she just sat & babbled away with us at the table then fell fast asleep when we got home about ten o’clock, shattered from the excitement and late night.**** Another night she fell asleep in the buggy after a quick whizz around the block and slept through the whole meal. Bliss!

And while we were away, Baby Girl finally decided to let go of the furniture. So now, we officially have a toddler. Though when out & about, she didn’t like letting go of our hands so much, which we figure is ok as less likely to disappear into a road. We’ll see how long that lasts. But Baby Girl is enjoyed her new found freedom and insisted we explored everywhere…

Exploring the basilica grounds in Montepulciano, Tuscany

Exploring the garden

A house with stone floors & stairs without banisters is not a baby’s best friend. Cue Baby Girl’s first experience of baby gates. She was not a fan.

*NB: I hold the right to retract this statement at any time in the future when full toddlerhood has grabbed hold of my baby and turned her into a wailing banshee.

***We are well aware that for every minute that she was an absolute angel on these two flights there will be an hour of another flight in the future when she will be the devil incarnate and that this is probably a fluke.

***We have been warned that this golden phase is short lived & soon we’ll be buying club sandwiches or bowls of Spag Bol for Baby Girl to take one mouthful & decide she doesn’t want any. Our bank account doesn’t look forward to that phase…

****Baby Girl was a tad grumpy the following day, showing flashes of the banshee toddler to come; but for now, we’re just going to sit back & enjoy this middle time of peace. Don’t hate us. Please.

Me & You: March 20

Love is: two chicken sauces together… right?

Friday was the 20th, which means, date night.

We had grand plans to head to #HawkerHouse; an indoor food market we like but haven’t managed to get to since Baby Girl was born. We went when I was pregnant & saw a few with buggies, the littluns donning their ear defenders & we thought, “brilliant! We’ll bring Bump when he’s born!” But the reality is we just never seem to get round to it…

Alas, plans are made to be broken. I had flu last week so we nearly didn’t make it out at all. But thankfully I’m on the up now – just in time for our mini break! – so forced us out the door for the all important ‘us’ time.

We’d also already booked my mom to babysit & unfortunately we’ve learnt the hard way to take these opportunities then & there. Because Baby Girl doesn’t really follow plans so you never know when the next opportunity may come about.

But back to the date. Incase my paracetamol wore off & I started flagging, we decided to leave #HawkerHouse for another time (i.e. probably never again… sad face) & opted for Chicken Shop just down the road. Definitely not a second best option: rotisserie chicken, crinkle fries, corn on the cob, no fuss, no muss. What’s not to love?!

And it has to be said, it’s one of the perks to being together six years; I can genuinely enjoy my food rather than worrying about what the OH thinks. Because let’s be honest, no one is attractive eating melty-buttered corn on the cob!  

Introducing The ParentCast

I’ve been blogging seventeen months now & Bump, Baby & Me has really started to find its feet in the past six months. (Thank you hugely to everyone who’s read & supported the blog whether that be from day one or one week ago!)

But in January, as everyone started new linkies, or announced their blogging goals for 2015, I found myself looking for something to change things up a bit. I love blogging, I love writing, but sometimes it can feel like I’m a very small fish in a never ending ocean.

I started exploring the world of vlogging, but truth be told, it just didn’t sit well with me. Then the Other Half asked, “have you considered a podcast?”

Well, three months later & I am very excited to announce… I have a new project…IMG_0309

The ParentCast is a podcast (shock horror!) about all things parenting.

We wax lyrical about our own experiences as mums; from pregnancy to wherever we’re at in our journey as parents. We chat about the highs, the lows, the laughs – so far no tears have been recorded though I came close on Monday after we recorded our first expert interview only to find the recording equipment had failed to actually record anything…

(NB: this was rectified later in the week & we have managed to record our first interview with a child language acquisition specialist – look out for Episode 3!)

Turns out, recording a podcast isn’t that straight forward & takes patience (which I lack), a bit of technical know-how (I’m getting there) & time (not something as mums we’re in abundance of). But we’re muddling through.

The two lovely ladies I persuaded to join me in this crazy little venture are Natasha – mum to three year old ‘S.’ (read about their adventures on her blog here) – and non-blogger-technophobe Mary – mum to a three month old girl.

So as we figure out this new techie frontier (I’d just figured out WordPress!) why not lend us an ear?

You can find us in all the usual places, including our very own website:
theparentcast.co.uk

Subscribe on iTunes
Listen via Soundcloud.com/TheParentCast

Follow us on Twitter
Find us on Facebook

 

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Brilliance in Blogging Awards: nominations

IMG_7360Every year, BritMums hosts the BiBs – Brilliance in Blogging Awards – at their BritMums Live! event in the summer.

Yesterday, voting opened for this year’s awards & closes at midnight on April 12th.

It goes without saying that I would be absolutely over the moon to win one of these awards.

Bump, Baby & Me has been my sanctuary for the past seventeen months, my little thing just for me at a time in my life when I could have so easily lost myself in diapers, nursery rhymes & bodily functions. It’s helped me rediscover my love of writing & kept my brain active during a year off work. 

It’s been a learning curve, not just about becoming a Mama but also in ‘the art of blogging’. 

To everyone who has read my blog, thank you so much for your support. You don’t know what it feels like at the end of the day to log on & see ‘x’ amount of people have come to my blog to read the ramblings of a sleep deprived new Mama. 

But, dear reader, I have a favour to ask of you.

To be shortlisted for a BiB, you must first be nominated by the masses. So, if you have ever enjoyed my blog, please take just a moment to nominate me here using the information below. You can only fill in the form once.

BiB2015x350nomfamilyIf you would like to nominate me, please do so in the Family category:

These blogs that share the laughter and tears of family life, telling stories that elicit a-ha’s and understanding from all of us. They are honest and open about the realities of family life and we love them for it.

NB: the Family category is at the end of the nomination form.

The information you’ll need to fill in the form about me & my blog is:

Blog Name: Bump, Baby & Me

Blog URL: http://www.bumpbabyme.com

Blogger’s Twitter ID: @bumpbabyme / @amiecaitlin

Blogger’s email: bumpbabyandme@icloud.com

Why do you feel this blogger deserves to win? [insert your own answer]

URL of your favourite post on the blog [choose your favourite]

If you have a favourite post in mind, search a key word in the search bar on the blog in the top right of this page, beneath the website header. Or contact me & I can help you find the post you’re looking for to save you trawling through seventeen months of posts!

Stuck for ideas? Here’s some good reads & the most popular posts from the past seventeen months, but please do feel free to use whatever post you like from the archives. 

Personal: Bump becomes Baby

Baby’s Development diary: The Wonder Weeks: 5 months and leap 5

Humour: Baby Girl’s Treasure (condoms)

Photography: Baby Girl’s first year in pictures

Review: Baby’s Day Out: Tate Modern

Editorial: Birth Stories: why we need to share

Video: Parenting Hack #3: runner’s foil blanket

Thank you so much for taking the time to nominate me.

Mama Badge(s): Surviving Year 1 & Surviving baby’s first tummy bug

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I started writing this post over a week ago, the day after Baby Girl’s first birthday. It was a lovely little post, giving myself & the Other Half a pat on the back for making it through the first year alive, well & seemingly undamaged. (Baby Girl also.)

But then came Baby Girl’s first tummy bug.

Wowzers.

She had been difficult since about the Monday evening, not wanting her dinner, throwing it around the room. I had just put this down to the usual, or maybe teething (her canines are coming through) or perhaps the first hints of stroppy toddlerness shining through.

By Wednesday evening, I was shattered. Baby Girl had been needy and difficult for three days. I hadn’t managed to get any work done & had missed the deadlines for a couple of job applications; I just couldn’t get anything done.

Unfortunately, because I’d had some work on last week, I wasn’t necessarily as on the ball Mama-wise as I might usually have been, missing the first few signs that this was more than just Baby Girl being a stroppy madam.

At music on the Wednesday morning, she sat by the door & winged for most of the class until finally I gave in & we left early. Baby Girl loves music. She never wants to leave early. This should have been a major red flag.

On Thursday – tired, exasperated and frustrated that I wasn’t able to even make a cup of tea without Baby Girl clinging to my leg and whining (flag two) – we decamped to my mom’s. She starts a new job after Easter, so my time with free childcare at the drop of a hat is nearing an end. Thought I’d better take advantage while I still can!

Nina is her favourite person in the whole world so I felt a bit better that Baby Girl wasn’t even behaving for her. Of course, if I’d been paying proper attention, this would have been red flag number three…

Mom popped out for an hour that evening. Dinner went surprisingly well; chicken noodles, tomato sauce, red peppers & a plum to finish. Baby Girl ate the lot. (In hindsight, I so wish she hadn’t.)

Then the crying started.

We went in the living room but Baby Girl didn’t want to play. She just wanted to sit in my lap & cry & scream. Finally, red flag number four, I realised something was wrong.

She started burning up so we stood by the window talking about what we could see, trying to calm down (this usually does the trick). She started wretching in my arms.

Oh god.

There’s a very large, expensive rug between us & the hallway with nice wooden floors that leads to the bathroom. What do I do?

Wretch. Wretch.

Baby Girl was sick, only a little, into my hand. Oh motherhood. The joys you bring.

I dashed across the rug, still holding Baby Girl & a handful of sick & deposited her onto the tiled bathroom floor. I rinsed my hand & grabbed the wipes. The crying continued as Baby Girl got redder & redder in the face. I started trying to take off her tights and vest when suddenly round two started. All over the floor, bright orange – there’s that yummy tomato sauce.

Suddenly a foul smell filled my nostrils. Oh good, engaging both ends Baby Girl. Lovely.

As I whipped off her vest, the wretching started again.

And this is how it went for about 30 minutes. It was all I could do to mop up the previous round before she started again. She was covered. The floor was covered. I, somewhat miraculously, was not.

Poor Baby Girl was absolutely beside herself. When my mom returned home, only about an hour and a half later she was exhausted and lay limply on my chest (I’d wiped her down).

She’s barely eaten since then – which I can kind of understand – until yesterday when she finally started showing interest in more than half a yogurt or a few bites of pear. She couldn’t even manage a full bottle until yesterday.

Friday and Monday night were horrendous, with Baby Girl waking near on every thirty minutes. I can see why ‘they’ use sleep deprivation as a form of torture. I was delirious with exhaustion & on Sunday woke up with a fluey cold myself.

So all in all, it’s been a slow start to Baby Girl’s second year in the world. But Baby Girl seems to be on the mend.

But I feel I earned a Mama Badge here. It’s been a tough couple of days. She’s still not 100% herself – no doubt now she’s coming down with my fluey thing (great). But for now, I’m just going to sit here, sip my hot honey & lemon as my lemsip takes effect & enjoy the fact the sick bug is over.

As my Mama would say; “in the words of Scarlett O’Hara, tomorrow is another day.”

She Speaks! Part 3

For the past few months, there has been great speculation over whether or not Baby Girl has begun talking or not…

I documented our wonderings on the blog in January (She Speaks?) and February (She Speaks? Part 2) with the first definite word appearing on our Surrey Staycation when Baby Girl met the ‘doggies’.

Well I am very excited to say that we are now 100% sure Baby Girl has started talking.

The couple of weeks leading up to her first birthday saw Baby Girl’s vocabulary suddenly flourish. And within the space of only a few weeks, we suddenly have a whole plethora of random words. We’re classing these as words based on two things: one, the correct sounds and two, the correct context. There’s a few that have either/or which I mention further on, but these are the first definite words:

  1. all done
  2. uh oh!
  3. oh dear
  4. Daddy
  5. doggie
  6. Upsy Daisy
  7. Daisy Do
  8. Kak, kak (‘quack, quack’ – as in, the duck noise)
  9. tea (when pointing to Mama’s mug – I realise this gives away how much tea I must drink for this to be a first word!)

I’m trying not to take it personally that ‘Mama’ doesn’t feature yet. She knows who I am; if you say, ‘Let’s find Mama,’ she goes off looking for me. But the closest we’ve come is that when something is wrong, she babbles ‘mamamamama’. I guess I should take solace in the fact that perhaps this is her seeking me out when she needs comfort?

We also have the correct intonation for ‘peek-a-boo’ but completely the wrong sounds. She disappears behind the coffee table & reappears with a big smile saying, ‘ah hoh!’ with the same intonation I use for ‘peek-a-boo’. (Basically, high-pitched.) So I’m taking this as a word based on the theory I spoke of in She Speaks? Part 2 about intonation vs. sounds.

Baby Girl also has a few set phrases of sounds that she repeats regularly… but I’m yet to figure out what they mean.

And she very firmly has the hang of shaking her head for ‘no’.

But for any readers who aren’t parents forced to watch the joys of In The Night Garden; Upsy Daisy is a crazy haired, dancing, badly singing character from Baby Girl’s favourite TV programme. Upsy Daisy’s key phrase is, “Upsy Daisy, Daisy Do”. And whenever she comes on the screen, Baby Girl says, ‘Uhsee Dayee’ and when Upsy Daisy says ‘Daisy Do,’ Baby Girl dutifully repeats it. It’s very cute.

Baby Girl’s little bestie, ‘Baby E’ gave her an Upsy Daisy doll for her birthday, which talks when squeezed. And Upsy Daisy has had to come with us on every outing ever since. Every time Baby Girl sees her she scurries over and greets her with a giant smile , a cuddle an “Uhsee Dayee!”. Which is just adorable.

The week before her first birthday, Baby Girl also took her first steps. I stripped her off on the changing table as always before her bath and popped her on the floor. She’s now standing unaided and was waiting for me to give her my hand so we could walk to the bath together as always. I turned around and said, “to the bath!” and before I could give her my hand, she just walked off! Baby Girl was as shocked as me; after three steps she looked up utterly surprised and slowly lowered herself to crawling position.

This has happened a handful more times since, but we haven’t seen the sudden increase in ability the way we have with her speech. Apparently this is very common as babies subconsciously choose a development path, master that, then come back to complete the other one. In this instance, Baby Girl has chosen talking.

This theory makes a lot of sense to me, especially if you look at how quickly Baby Girl’s bestie Baby E and bestie boy G, progressed from one or two steps to toddling happily round the room.

To be honest, I expected Baby Girl to be slow to walk. The fact she took any steps before her first birthday was a win! She was just six months when she started crawling and had real incentive to do so: if she didn’t figure out crawling, she didn’t go anywhere. Where as with walking, she has an alternative way to get around, where’s the incentive?

It makes absolute sense, then, that Baby Girl has focussed her efforts on communicating and is only wobbling one or two steps from the coffee table to me (or as is more the case, the iPad!). And I can feel everyone who knows me reading this rolling their eyes saying, “shock horror, she’s a chatterbox like her Mama…”

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Baby Girl tries cake {The Wonderful Ordinary 3}

Last Saturday was Baby Girl’s first birthday.

And as far as I’m concerned, no birthday is complete without a cake.

We’ve been quite strict with Baby Girl in some ways; we’re only now introducing small amounts of salt into her diet, eg, unsmoked ham, & she’s never had processed sugar.

Now, I love baking. And I can’t wait to make her birthday cakes in the future. But for this year, for her first taste of cake, I decided to go simple.

Lactose free vanilla cupcakes with pink buttercream icing.

But Baby Girl is her mama’s daughter & couldn’t wait…

Before everyone arrived, I’d put them on the dining room table. Next thing, I turned around to find a handprint in one of the cupcakes & Baby Girl with a little pink moustache! We had to hide the cupcakes in the end as she got so upset at not being allowed more!

Later, when the time actually came to have cake, after singing Happy Birthday & blowing out the candles, we realised it was going to be a messy business. So we stripped off her pretty party dress & sat her naked on the kitchen floor with her cupcake.

Baby Girl was beside herself. She didn’t know when to laugh or cry at the joy that was cake. And God help anyone who tried to wipe anything she smeared on the floor around her: “I’m saving that for later!!” (Is what we assumed she was screaming at us in gobbledygook.)

So all in all, cake was a hit. And Baby Girl remembered it at a friend’s first birthday yesterday. Luckily, it too was a dairy free cake, because I think if I’d tried to stop madam from having any, I would have come off worse.

See more Finding Our Feet photography on our Instagram feed, @findingourfeet.

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonderful Ordinary posts. 

Parenting Hack #3: runner’s foil blanket is the best toy ever

A friend of mine said her daughter had played with ‘baby foil’ at a sensory class. It crinkled & shone like foil, but didn’t tear or shred or cut the babies like real foil.

I set about searching for this fabled baby foil & came across the blankets runners wrap around themselves after a race.

For the grand sum of 72p, (including p&p), I purchased one of these blankets off Amazon. And me oh my was it a hit. It was also so big we cut it in half & gave some to Baby Girl’s friends. Who were equally happy with it.

The cheapest, most successful toy we’ve got Baby Girl in the twelve months she’s been with us. Not strictly a ‘hack,’ but also too good not to share.