8

Does The First Born Always Bagsy The Bigger Bedroom?

We’re facing a dilemma as parents between fairness and practicality. Between room size and child age. In many parents opinion, it’s the first born that inherits the larger room from the off. The second is then to not only have the hand-me-down clothes and toys, but also the smaller room. The room which in our case, is more like a cupboard. You can fit a single bed, a chest of drawers and a child if you’re lucky. I do realise we bought our home knowing full-well that the third bedroom is extremely small, but it was home as soon as we stepped through the door and elsewhere in our home I think we can safely say it’s pretty roomy. So it wasn’t a deal breaker.

So, the bedroom dilemma boils down to the fact that our first born is a boy and our second is a girl. In my personal experience, girls have a lot of clothes, clothes which require a wardrobe. Don’t you dare risk a crinkle in that dress by folding it! Boys tend to have foldable clothes, jeans, tops and the odd set of dungarees. Our daughters current room will only fit a chest of drawers (which we don’t even have yet) all of her clothes are currently hanging in our sons room and we have pinched one of his drawers for her too. Our sons room is bloody massive for a childs room, I could only have dreamed of such a luxury when I was growing up! It’s a double room along with plenty of space for the extra drawers and wardrobes we may need as they get older (and hopefully they get a paper-round to pay for all these clothes).

Mr Firstooths Argument For The Room Swap

  • If Child 2 doesn’t have the bigger room, we will have to move again in their teen years. All for the sake of a wardrobe. (We both agree moving house is one of the shittest things to do when you have children)
  • When he was growing up he spent most of his time with his family (he had the smaller room) and hardly any time in his room, it didn’t bother him whatsoever that his room was the smallest. As I was growing up I spent most of my time in my room, I like my space.
  • All the things boys will want to play with like game stations etc, will all be downstairs.
  • We can acquire another television for downstairs if ever there were problems over what we were watching. But we have a laptop, that’s good enough.
  • He gets a cabin bed.

My Argument Against The Room Swap

  • He may feel like second best if he compares similar situations with his friends (once he’s older), who’s first born all has a roomy room.
  • Once he’s old enough to communicate properly, he still won’t understand. From the view of a child, it’s all not fair.
  • It’s inevitable we will move at some point (but please god not in the next ten years, unless we win the lottery and it’s to a mansion) so why not keep things as they are and keep that in mind for the next home, where they will be old enough to contribute to any decision. (I don’t want to move, I would stay here forever)
  • It’s the ‘done thing’ I can imagine friends and family not fully understanding the decision to switch either and perhaps even think we have a favourite. (favouritism is determined by behaviour that day and is rewarded with toys, biscuits and TV. Not a bedroom)
  • She gets a cabin bed.

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My argument is pretty weak apart from not wanting Child 1 to feel upset (in the long run) if we made the decision to switch. I’d love to hear your thoughts, for either argument so a solid decision can be made before we pick up a paintbrush!

 

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MAM Products – Sippy Cup, Cutlery Set, Snack Bowl, Teether

Items for review:

  • 190ml Sippy Cup
  • Cutlery Set (knife, fork and spoon)
  • Snack/Food Bowl (with divider and lid)
  • Bob The Turtle Teether

We’ve put all of the above items to the test for a week. They’ve survived a week of being sucked, chewed and drooled on and are here to tell the tale (or I will on their behalf).

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Results After Dishwasher Use

They all cleaned up extremely well in the dishwasher (apart from Bob, he’s natural rubber, so it’s hand-wipe only for him). We eat a lot of tomato and carrot based meals, which are known to discolour other products when they’re washed together, this wasn’t the case with the MAM products. They are just as bright and clear as they were before their numerous dishwasher cycles. Being dishwasher friendly is also a bonus in my book!

Staining After Use With Saucy Foods

We have plenty of childrens cutlery that didn’t survive the staining test when used with saucy foods and have inevitably ended up in the bin. The MAM cutlery set were used daily, my son used the knife and fork (mainly fork) and my daughter used the spoon. So, all pieces of cutlery were used in many different dishes and meals, in thick and stainable sauces. One week later and there isn’t the slightest hint of staining!

The Snack Bowl was used mainly for lunches and snacks (of course). I did fill it with beans twice and no staining again! So, if you’re a parent like me who has a gripe with stained bowls and utensils then you can be confident you won’t with MAM.

Durability

The bowl, bottle and cutlery set were dropped on numerous occasions without resulting in a scratch or a shatter. They weren’t dropped for the sake of the review, only when small hands grasped and threw.

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Bob the Turtle Teether has been drooled on, gnawed at and washed. The rubber isn’t splitting and he still has plenty of chewing life left in him!

Attractiveness

Bob The Turtle has taken ‘teethers’ up a notch on looks. We received a Purple one (there is also Max the Frog in green and Lucy the Snail in red) the three different latex teethers are individually appropriate for different ages. It’s a very cute and unique design, far trendier than many others on the market. To us it’s just a teether, but to them it’s ‘Bob the Turtle’ who helps relieve their teething pain.

The cutlery set is simple yet stylish with a two-tone green design. There is also blue and pink available but we chose green to keep it neutral for both children.

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The bowl and lid also has a simple, yet stylish design with a two-toned colouring. We even had positive comments from friends on the bowl!

The sippy cup has a very sleek design with a lovely picture of a cat on the front. It’s very attractive and feminine. There is a blue version with a hippo and a neutral yellow, which features a fox, all adorable designs.

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Positives of All

Bob The Turtle

  • It’s a very cute design for babies
  • 100% Natural rubber which means it’s completely safe to be sucked and chewed, also making it soft but firm, perfect for teething niggles
  • The donut shape makes it easy for babies to hold
  • Different textures across the surface with plenty of gum-massaging bumps for babies to gnaw on

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Cutlery Set

  • The chunky handles make it easy for small hands to grip
  • The sets come with knife, fork and spoon which is perfect to learn the skills of chopping, cutting and feeding themselves as they grow

Snack Bowl

  • Can be used for snacks or meals
  • I’m a big fan of bowls and plates with dividers, this separates the beans from the toast, the sandwich from the fruit and any other meal combination you can think of
  • The bowl comes with a lid making it extremely travel friendly and also helps keep the food fresh
  • The bowl itself is deep so I was able to pack a whole sandwich, chopped apple and portion of grapes on our outing, perfect size!

Sippy Cup

  • All sippy cup designs are attractive and sweet for children
  • There is a removable non-drip spout so you can choose non-drip (perfect for the nappy bag or free-range children) or you can choose to have the cup free-flowing which means the cup doesn’t become useless when your baby needs a faster flow (and you’ll still have the option of non-drip should you still need it)
  • It’s designed to be easily gripped by babies and children and there are also accessories you can purchase for these cups, such as handles and spouts

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Negatives of Two

Bob The Turtle

  • Can’t be washed thoroughly at the risk of ruining the rubber, so an anti-bacterial wipe or a damp cloth, followed by drying will have to do the trick

Sippy Cup

  • The non-drip spout took a bit of getting used to by our baby because the ‘non-drip’ works so well. It did help her learn to sip a bit harder, which isn’t a negative!

Overall I’m very impressed with all of the above MAM products. We have always been loyal MAM users due to their products being so well made, child friendly and adult friendly. Our children are also big fans, especially our baby of Bob the Turtle!

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5

Technology Is Getting In The Way Of My Parenting

I was watching Ed Sheerans new music video last week. Showing his own home movies from birth up to the man he is today. I could relate to many of the baby and toddler videos with my own children and it made me quite emotional. Well very emotional, I cried. Is that really how quickly children grow up? I don’t mean in the space of a three minute song, silly. But that time really does go so fast. It made me feel as if I’m wasting time with my children, that I need to capture and treasure every moment with them now because soon enough they will be in their teens, probably hating life and me, then they will move out and start their own families. I really don’t want that time to come. They can be such a pain sometimes, well, most of the time, but I don’t begrudge them for it. If anything it makes for funny stories later on. So, every moment, good or bad I want to make the most of. How on earth do I manage that?

The music video made me think about how we spend our current days, overall we’re quite a busy family, we’re not ones that can be stuck in the house all day. But there is always one massive flaw and I know I’m not the only guilty parent of this, our phones are always out, we’re always on them. For no reason exactly, no-one has called, no-one has sent an SOS text message, we’re just scrolling through social media looking at other peoples lives, who are also probably looking at our lives too. I hold my hands up, I’m a culprit of the pointless phone usage, while I should be on the floor with my children, playing or enjoying the scenery while we’re outdoors. I’m so bloody rude. The only time I should be whipping out my phone is to answer a call, reply to a message or take a picture to add to the thousands we have already. I shouldn’t be on it checking updates. Why do I need to know? I’m not saying phones should be banned full stop for anything social, but I really need to work on drastically cutting down the time I’m on my phone. It’s habit now more than anything and I really believe I’m one of the thousands (millions?) who are addicted to their phone. Which is strange because I deleted all of my online accounts such as Facebook after each time both children were born. I didn’t even miss it. Then I reactivated it all. Which I don’t regret doing, but I need to address this ridiculous addiction.PhotoGrid_1436863679459 (2)

I never turn my nose up to technology and I’m not a parent that thinks it’s shameful to introduce your children to technology. Technology these days is bloody amazing. Smart-phones, tablets and my favourite, the dishwasher. Oh how I love the dishwasher. Technology is invented to make our lives easier and in a lot of ways more social too. Which I can hear some people debating the whole ‘why use a phone when you can meet them in person’ it’s not always that easy, plus on things like Facebook, it literally has a timeline of our lives and photos. I’m also not against popping a child in front of the TV or giving them a tablet (not the drug kind *chuckles*) while you get something done, children happy, you’re achieving something other than finding a clean pair of leggings to wear, everybody wins.

Life is short and these moments will one day all be gone. We will only have photographs and videos to look at to remember our children as they are now. I’m making a change thanks to Ed Sheeran. Thanks Ed. It will be a hard habit to break, but for the sake of being a part of my childrens lives, instead of on the sideline, it’s so worth it.

5

The Highlights Of Our Castle Visit

This weekend my aunt, uncle and cousins came down to our neck of the woods for a mini holiday. I’m not saying anything about where they stayed, OK, I will. Lovely caravan, with plenty of room but the place itself, good ol’ uncle D described it best as ‘The Inbetweeners caravan park’. Very true, plenty of adults filling their tanks with the 2 for 1 beer offer and teens smooching all over the place. Look away children. It’s safe to say, their evenings were mostly spent in their caravan watching movies with their wine.

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Anyway, Monday was their final day here and the last thing on their ‘Kent Bucket List’ was a trip to Leeds Castle. I actually missed the castle visit and only managed to enjoy the grounds. Here’s why:

  • True to form our toddler fell asleep the second we pulled in to the carpark. I daren’t wake him up, see here for our horrific experience when a toddler is woken. My mum also sat with me while we waited for him to wake up. She snapped a muscle in her leg, still decided to turn up for our day out, she’s a trooper. We may not have eaten without her too, she makes a very tasty and large picnic feast.
  • Our tickets were ordered that morning online. So once everyone had ditched us in favour of the castle, they received everyones tickets including mine. Off they then went, with my ticket, while I was sat in the car watching my toddler snooze. I still insist I’m the winner here. Mr Firstooth then calls ”The man in the ticket office knows we have your ticket, just explain who you are and he said he will let you in”. Ok, that sounds easy. Find the man in the ticket office, explain who I am, I get let in.
  • It’s been half an hour waiting in the car and I’m fairly confident that half an hour is enough to top the toddlers energy levels up. I’m right *high five* we have a very happy toddler on our hands. Since my mum has snapped her calf muscle, she’s having to hop her way alongside us to the ticket office. Now I’m looking for a man. I can’t see a man. There is NO MAN in this office. This ‘man’ must have said whatever to get rid of our big crowd so he can piss off on his lunch break because he clearly wasn’t here. So I approached a woman and explained the situation. She ‘ummed‘ and ‘ahhed‘ for a while and then disappeared to check with her supervisor that it was ‘ok to be let in’. It was. Rolls eyes.
  • PhotoGrid_1438107929342 (1)I received a text from my dad saying we should hitch a ride on the train to the castle to save poor mums leg on that long, hilly walk. 50p a ride. Neither of us have money. Shit. This means we will just have to walk it. We then experienced a moment that can only be described as a dramatic, short scene from a war film. Her leg was just far too painful, ‘go on without me’ she said ‘I will be fine’ she said. ‘I’m not leaving you like this’ I said ‘stay here’ *chuckles* she had to stay there, she couldn’t move. I quickly begged a wheelchair from the ‘rent-a-chair’ spot and re-appeared with the goods, hurrah. Shuffle yourself in mum, hold the toddler and lets go. *punches the sky in celebration*.
  • The wheelchair I had accumulated was one that I had to push. At this point I could partially ignore how sweaty I’m becoming from pushing the chair up numerous hills and trying my best to not just let go when we go downhill, that would have been a funny scene, if there wasn’t a pond at the bottom of the hill and my toddler wasn’t also in the wheelchair. This whole situation was so bloody hilarious. You wouldn’t find a woman more fit and healthy than my very own mother and here she is, being pushed in a wheelchair by her very unfit daughter. We laughed the whole journey at the thought of everyones reaction when they see us. Perhaps looking slightly mental to onlookers.
  • They were all surprised to say the least. They were also impressed with the castle, we didn’t manage to view.

PhotoGrid_1438108155654The rest of the day was spent enjoying the grounds, watching shows, chasing birds, eating ice-cream and playing in the park. Brilliant park, they have a zip-line for toddlers as well as older children (and adults), me and the toddler enjoyed plenty of slide rides, climbing up the wooden castle fort, peering over the wooden tower wall, waving at everyone who were seemingly bored waiting for us to have our final ‘woo’ down the slide. Over-all, a great day out, but I won’t bore you with all of the loveliness of our family, we can remember the fabulous day we had. Apart from my poor mum, who really did just have to ‘make the best of it’.

Life UnexpectedThe Free Range Family
23

Why You Shouldn’t Wake A Toddler In The Car

  1. On the entire journey to your day trip he will cry, thrash and whinge. He will do this until you indicate to turn into the car-park. He’s now asleep.
  2. Everyone will gather around the car asking what the plan is, convincing you to just sit in the car for a while. But you won’t. I’m such a dick.
  3. You gently unclip those rubix cube style straps and hoist him into your arms for a loving cuddle. Guess what? He doesn’t want a shitting cuddle. Because you’re the idiot that’s just woken them up. You bastard, you. (Did I mention it’s raining, it’s pouring, the toddler was snoring, until you woke him up)
  4. Your toddler will now be screaming and crying, along with some face punches and stomach kicks. They want daddy, they don’t want daddy. They want to be put down, but still want to be carried.
  5. You will continue on to your next stop. Carrying a toddler having a mass freak-out. Dodging the puddles aside the road caused by the downpour you’re trudging through.
  6. Once you’ve reached your destination (in our case the arcades) you’ll continue a battle of strengths with your toddler, only to be shamed into realising they’re winning. You’ll then swear a few times and leave for the car before you lose your shit in front of the dozens of strangers, who just cannot take their eyes away from this spectacle. You will also drag your own mother back with you (if she’s present).
  7. In the car the toddler will insist on sitting on your lap in the drivers seat. Only he won’t sit on your lap. He will stand, dig his heels into your thighs and carry on screaming. While a piece of you dies after each minute you’re having to endure this meltdown. Constantly reminding yourself that you’re the one to blame *slow clap*
  8. After five minutes trying to distract him with singing and bribes, you give up. You drag him back into the arcades and then ask yourself ”where the fuck has everyone gone?”. Guess what you’ve also done, left your phone with daddy. You deserve another slow clap.
  9. You’re now cursing daddy (Mr Firstooth) under your breath, but think logically and go to the next amusements building. Still wrestling a feisty toddler, in the rain, holding back your own tears.
  10. There they all are, sipping tea and laughing, popping their pennies in the machines and winning sweets. *Cue hysterical laughter* oh how lovely Mr Firstooth, put your coffee down, take your son, while I go outside and talk myself down from any argument I was about to have with you, because somehow, this is all your fault.
  11. Toddler stops crying now he’s seen daddy. FML. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry. But you roll with it, grab a stack of 2p’s and join in.

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Never wake a toddler if they’ve just nodded off in the car. Never again.

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19

Pictures: What You See vs The Reality

  1. PhotoGrid_1437378558969 (2)A family sitting closely together, all looking into the camera. This photo makes me wonder ‘why can’t we ever have a family photo’. Why can’t we all be looking at the camera, with big loving smiles. Just once. The fact is, we have very young children who find the thought of a camera very, very dull. Why would they want to look at it. [The Reality Of The Picture] Don’t worry this family we’re wishing was ours, has a secret they don’t want their social media friends to see. They secretly paid a stranger to not only take the picture but shout ‘ROAR, I’m a dinosaur!‘ In the hopes their children will smile, maybe even laugh, or just look in that general direction.
  2. A selfie of a mum looking gorgeous. I occasionally take a selfie, not necessarily to put on Instagram for all to see but because sometimes, my hair isn’t a mess, my make-up is ‘on fleek’ *chuckles*, my eyes aren’t bloodshot and I’ve managed to hide those bags drooping half way down my face. Other mum selfies make me think ‘wow, how does she manage to look so perfect, while holding down a job and three children?‘ I can barely manage two. [The Reality Of The Picture] Look closer and in a reflection of a mirror or in the background, you’ll see the toddler drawing on the wall. *calls for eyes in back of head* It’s rare for selfies to go below the neckline. When you’re a mum, this is because you have a 3 day old sick stain on your cardigan, but you really don’t give a shit. You also have a stain on your top from those food jars (full of stain, not food) that you swore you would never feed your baby. You also have evidence attached to your jeans that you’ve cheated on your ‘diet’, this is in the form of chocolate, melted onto your thigh.
  3. APhotoGrid_1437378669817 (2) picture of your baby with a huge two-toothed grin. I love pictures of smiling babies. Babies smile with ease when it comes to photos. Toddlers are hard work. You have to be swift with your picture-taking in the hopes of catching your toddler smiling. Mums are all addicts at taking pictures of their children (dads too) we don’t want to miss a thing! A single thing. Including their first big bogey. [The Reality Of The Picture] The baby has cried for a solid hour, until you trip on that sodding cable you keep meaning to put away. Big smile *grabs camera*. Sure, she’s cried all morning, but she’s smiling now. That’s how I want everyone to think of her.
  4. A blurry photo which celebrates your childs ‘first steps’ [The Reality Of The Picture] Their ‘first steps’ we’re in all honesty, nearly a week ago. But by the time your camera has decided whether it wants to load, or not. They’ve fallen down. *throws phone against wall*.
  5. A photo of a very healthy lunch. Consisting of salad leaves, cucumber, avocado, onion and there’s normally a boiled egg thrown in there somewhere. Caption usually reads ‘going green’ or ‘delicious healthy lunch’. Whoever says something like that is ‘delicious’ has just proved they are capable of lying. [The Reality Of The Picture] This salad is either put back in the fridge and thrown away at a later date, while you eat some soup and bread. Or the salad is eaten and you feel hunger shortly after, cue fishfinger sandwich.
  6. A pregnancy photo to capture your bump moment, to show off how proud you are of the baby you’re growing. [The Reality Of The Picture] You’re sweating, you’re tired, your thighs are chafing and you need cereal RIGHT NOW! You may have just peed yourself too, when you sneezed. This happens, so I hear.
  7. PhotoGrid_1437507483254Your morning cup of tea in your favourite mug. [The Reality Of The Picture] This one, for me, is to let everyone know YES, I’m not shitting you, 3h does mean three hours ago, making it 5am!
  8. A quick evening snap of a full glass of wine, set in front of a vase of flowers or something pretty [The Reality Of The Picture] This is not your first glass now, lets be honest. You also took this photo before 6pm, which means you broke your ‘wine after 6‘ rule. But you posted the photo at 7pm so you seem like you ‘have it together’. PS it’s also a Tuesday, you broke another rule of ‘only one glass mid-week’. But you deserve it, good for you.

The power of social media amazes me. We always see photos of happy families, loved up couples and other ‘perfect’ life moments. That’s then how we think of them. We don’t want to share those stressful and upsetting moments, just as much as we don’t want to see them. We want to share the smiles, laughs and happy times. But if you see a photo of any of the above, you know what’s really going on.

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Above is an example of a toddler resisting ‘smile for the camera’

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3

Why Sudocrem Care And Protect Is A Must Have

A few weeks ago I was asked if I would like to try Sudocrem Care and Protect. I replied, yes! Our baby occasionally gets nappy rash, especially when she’s teething and I’ve not yet found a breakthrough that helps.

Nappy rash seems to come up in different ways. When our baby is teething, her nappy rash comes up in red spots across her bum. I can only imagine this must be uncomfortable for her.

I had been using the usual Sudocrem to prevent any infection and to create a barrier between her nappy and skin. I’m not sure if it did what I’d hoped but it certainly didn’t clear the rash.

I wanted to properly test the new Sudocrem Care and Protect before writing a review. I didn’t want to jump in straight away and say it’s amazing, just because someone has been kind enough to send it to me for a trial.

So it’s been around three weeks of testing and I’d like to think that’s long enough for a fair and honest review. Well, it is amazing. After a few days the little spots on her bum started to fade. After just over a week, completely gone! I wasn’t sure what to expect from the cream but I didn’t expect, what I can only describe as ‘a miracle’. In all honesty, I only used it at night too (my toddler likes tubes of things so he would disappear with it and reappear without it) that just proved to me how effective it really is.

PhotoGrid_1437379790092The consistency is much different to the usual Sudocrem we all know. I much prefer it. It’s similar to a gel and absorbs brilliantly into skin. The texture makes it a lot less messy, we would normally end up with white cream smeared over their towels but not with Sudocrem Care and Protect. The cap on the tube makes nappy changing and ointment applying much easier. You can flick it up with you thumb, squirt a tiny amount on the babys bum (tiny is enough), drop the tube and rub in the cream. All while you’re holding you’re babys legs in the air with the other hand.

This cream, by far, is the most effective nappy-rash cream I’ve used and I’ve tested quite a few (a ton) while our baby suffered with nappy rash.

I’m really grateful to have finally found something that works. I probably wouldn’t have bought it myself, thinking it’d be the same as the normal tub of Sudocrem, but in a tube. It’s much more than that, a very different type of cream and extremely effective. A small amount goes a long way, so I can’t see us needing to buy another tube any time soon. Once we run out though, we will be using Sudocrem Care and Protect from now on.

I would really recommend anyone with young children to try this. I’m sure you’ll love this too, so will your childrens bums!