Friday, 17 July 2015

Selling your House with a Baby

To clarify: that's, selling your house when you have a baby. Not selling the baby along with the house...
Selling a house when you have a young child is not much fun! From estate agents' photos to house viewings it's an endless cycle of cleaning and clearing! Here are some of the things we have learnt:
1. Make sure you are both home when the estate agent comes to take pictures, that way one of you can hold the baby while the other moves all of the baby paraphernalia out of each room before photos are taken - your whole house doesn't need to be spotless; just the areas being photographed!

There is so much stuff behind that door!

2. It can be a nice idea to leave some toys out, so that your house looks family-friendly, but make sure they are neat and organised. We left some foam play mats out downstairs and a few toys in her room. Her highchair went under the stairs though as it made the area around the table look cluttered. 

3. Try to organise an open house, so that you can have most of your viewings on the same day (preferably while someone else looks after the baby, if at all possible). That way you only have one lot of tidying to do.
4. For viewings, put bulky items like prams in the car boot to keep the hallway clear. We also put Little Miss' highchair away each time, along with some of her bigger toys, like the ball pit.
5. A cute, smiley baby might be just the thing to sell your house, or at least make it memorable, but keep some scented candles on hand to cover up any unfortunately timed bad odors...

Friday, 10 July 2015

Moving House

Moving is definitely not something I envisioned doing with a baby. When we bought our current house, we expected to stay in it for 5-10 years, but a few months ago my husband received a job opportunity we couldn't turn down. So over the summer holidays we will be leaving Kent and moving up to Oxfordshire!

I was a bit upset when I realised Little Miss would never even remember her first room. The room I spent months sat imagining her in. The first space that was ever hers. But moving does at least give me the opportunity to plan a whole new nursery. We are going to rent for a year before moving into our new house, where she will have a bedroom suited to a two year old.

I'm apprehensive that moving will play havoc with the sleep cycle we have only just settled into. A new room will probably mean more sleepless nights, but hopefully it won't take her too long to feel comfortable again.

Moving will mean more open spaces, better primary schools (or at least more chance of getting a space at one, once we're away from London) and hopefully a park in walking distance. Even though this move was prompted by my husband's job, we are doing it for Little Miss too. We think moving further away from London will be good in the long run.

The biggest hurdle will definitely be moving away from my parents though, as Little Miss is so close to them and has been spending three days a week with them while I'm at work, but she will now be at nursery full time. This is definitely the aspect of the move I am finding the most scary - there will be no more impromptu drives over to see them, or round-the-corner babysitters! But we couldn't make this change without their support and encouragement. And the occasions when we do see them will be even more special because they are less frequent.

Has anyone else done a big move with a young baby? If so, do you have any tips?

Friday, 3 July 2015

Eleven Months Old

Where has all that time gone? I can't believe we are less than a month away from Little Miss' first birthday. Party plans are already underway (as well as a few other big changes), but here's a quick update from the last month.

She Has
6 teeth, still. No more this month.
Started offering things to us, although she doesn't always let go if we try to take them!
Becomes obsessed with the straps on her pram. She loves climbing up to play with them.
Not breastfed for a month. She now has two bottles a day.
Been to the zoo again, and to a farm.

She Can 
Stand unsupported for about 5 seconds
Sleep through the night!Walk holding one hand for support, although she's not that interested in doing so, so I think it will be a while yet until she is walking on her own.Point when she would like something. It's lovely being able to tell what has captured her attention. Do a great hand movement if someone says the word spider, although she thinks it's another type of wave, rather than an animal!Dance! She likes bopping up and down to music and waving her hands.

She Loves
Spending the day with Nanna and Gramps while Mummy is at work
Splashing in the paddling pool
Strawberries and peaches
Going in the swing (and she has started to cry if I take her out before she is ready!
Balloons and she's making a good attempt at saying the word, too.
Her books. Especially 'Guess How Much I Love You', which she always points to.
Shaking toys to make a sound.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Returning to Work

It's been longer than I intended since my last post, but I have found it hard to find the time to write recently as I have just returned to work. Luckily, it's only three days a week for the rest of this term, but I am full time from September, which will mean another period of adjustment. We are moving over the summer, so Little Miss will also be starting nursery then, whereas she is staying with my parents for now. I think I've got it easy at the moment and September will be the much harder change for both of us!

For now, at least, we are already settling into a new routine and here are some of the things I have learnt so far. 

1) Saying goodbye in the morning is the hardest part. All I want to do is sit and cuddle Little Miss. Letting her go is incredibly upsetting. We have found settling her down with some toys before we leave is the best tactic, as she's distracted when we say goodbye. 

2) I used to clock-watch a bit at work, but my day is now just one constant countdown until I can go home!

3) My days at home are actually far more exhausting than my days at work! Since returning to work I feel far more rested and refreshed! 

4) I appreciate my time at home with Little Miss so much more now. Towards the end of my maternity leave, I was starting to spend a lot of the day wishing she would have a nap, or waiting for my husband to get home. I now try and make the most of the days we have off together and we are having much more fun (although I still breathe a sigh of relief when she falls asleep!)

5) Miraculously, Little Miss started sleeping through the night the same week I returned to work. I remember reading Bring Up Bebe a few months ago and finding it really bizarre when Druckerman spoke about babies who started to sleep through when their mum's returned to work, but there must be something in it! (Or it could just be because I've stopped breastfeeding...)

Returning to work hasn't been fun, but it has been easier than I expected and has bought a few unexpected benefits with it too! I still much prefer my time at home playing games and going to walks with Little Miss though.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Ten Months Old

She Loves
Climbing everything (especially stairs, if she can get at them)
Organix Strawberry Rice Cakes
Turning pages in books (usually before I can read what's on them for her)
Pulling (rather violently) at flaps in books
Usborne 'That's Not My Books', especially 'That's Not My Owl'
Pressing the buttons on the washing machine and tumble dryer (thank goodness for child locks!)
Empying things: boxes; her LeapFrog picnic basket; washing baskets; changing bags; drawers of clothing...

She Can
Point (It's been a good month for hand movements!)
Finally bounce in her Baby Einstein jumper!

She Has
Spent her first day without Mummy or Daddy, ahead of my return to work tomorrow
Moved into 9-12 month clothing
Started to almost always sleep through on a Tuesday. We can't work out why though!
Six teeth, which she likes biting us with...
A very cheeky grin
Been to Christmas Tree farm, where she watched Daddy feed the animals

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Food Update

We are getting more adventurous with what we are feeding Little Miss. She is becoming a little carnivore and loves her meat. She also loves beans and pulses, I think because they are soft and easy to eat. I have also stopped breastfeeding, as I am about to go back to work, so Little Miss now has a bottle of formula after breakfast and before bed. We were giving her two more bottles during the day, but she wasn't really interested in them and the Health Visitor suggested we drop them completely and give her two healthy snacks instead.

Here's some of the food and meals she has tried this month:

Sweet potato and dahl pie
White fish
Spanish meatball and butter bean stew
Summer Vegetable Curry
Tom Kha Gai (recipe from the Spicery)
Nandos chicken
Tapas in La Tasca
Homemade baked beans
Mild fajitas and enchiladas
Organix rice cakes and carrot sticks (which I'm sure are secretly just Wotsits...)


Friday, 15 May 2015

Things I wish I had known before I had a BOTM (Baby On The Move)

Less helpful tips, more exhausted rant...

Don't buy a shiny pedal bin. So what if your old bin has a broken lid? Just put up with it. Little Miss doesn't know which germ covered delight to attack first: the pedal; the shiny body or the bin bag itself, which just won't stay tucked in. Other bins may suddenly have to be relocated to the tops of shelves. It might look strange but it decreases the amount of time you will spend moving your child away from them.

If you can't block your kitchen off, remember to clean things you might not expect to - such as the outside of washing machines, which are apparently very fun to lick.

Even the most awkward surfaces can and will be climbed. Such as the towel rail, the toilet and chairs which are tucked under the table.

Side tables will become superfluous as you won't be able to keep anything on them. You're just going to have to learn how to levitate that cup of tea above head height, sorry. 

Even though you know your child can get themselves back on the ground and have seen them do so on many occasions, they would much rather stand and fuss until you come and get them.

Forget fancy walkers. The recycling box you've been keeping on the (suddenly extremely dangerous) kitchen tiles is SO much more fun to push around. It also makes it easier to reach that new bin...