Jasmin’s First Birthday Party

Jasmin is one. She is the happiest little girl in my world.

We celebrated her first birthday with a party. Our close family and friends came along, and we spent an afternoon having fun and laughing together. It was perfect.

An hour before the party was about to start, a huge thunder storm drenched our garden. It didn’t matter though.

The party started with some old records we found in mum and dad’s collection. These had provided the soundtrack to my sister and I’s birthday parties when we were little. Putting them on sent me instantly back to my childhood.

And then when all 12 children had arrived, the wonderful singing teacher who holds classes near us entertained them for an hour. They loved playing with musical instruments, singing songs, and popping bubbles from the bubble machine.

First birthday party entertainer

 

The entertainer led us through a rendition of Happy Birthday and Milin helped me and Jasmin blow out the candle on her beautiful cake from Cakes by Robin. (Jasmin, you see, is known to us as our ‘mini mouse’.)

First birthday cake

The deck was dry by now and we laid out carpets for the children to have a picnic of fruit, sandwiches, crisps, and birthday cake – while the grown-ups had some champagne.

Jasmin had her first bit of chocolate cake…

First birthday cake

The children, I think, all had fun. To say thank you for coming, they went away with little party bags containing a bit more cake, some stickers, a bouncy ball, and a little bottle of bubbles to blow.

It was a perfect, simple, beautiful day and a wonderful way to celebrate my baby being one.

My summer essentials

There’s a little collection of essentials in the corner of my room which I can’t be without. They’re my summer staples and my seasonal must-haves - so I thought they deserved a little space on my blog too.

The summer sees me being incredibly careful about protecting my skin. Living in New Zealand for eight years taught me the importance of being covered up. The sun doesn’t need to be out for you to burn, and protecting your skin is the best thing you can do to keep it healthy. I love a wide-brimmed sunhat and big sunglasses for keeping the sun off my face. It also stops me from squinting – yes, I’m a little paranoid about wrinkles around the eyes! I make extra sure to use rosehip oil on my face each night for nourishment and I apply suncream on me and and the kids throughout the day.

I say goodbye to my leather handbag at this time of year in favour of a big canvas beach bag. I bought a beautiful butterfly printed one just before we went on holiday and it has become my ‘everything-including-the-kitchen-sink’ bag. It’s big enough to fit Milin’s potty (!), it’s pretty enough for an afternoon in the park on a picnic, it’s perfect for an outing to the pool – it works for everything.

Summer accesories

My look stays pretty casual at this time of year too, because summer is mainly spent outdoors with Milin and Jasmin and comfort comes first. I can’t live without my patterened black flip flops, and my wardrobe consists of maxi-dresses or printed harem pants paired with pretty T-shirts.

I make sure I stay a little bit glam with my accessories though. I love wrapping a bit of sparkle around my wrists and my trusty Citizen Riva Diamond watch never comes off. I spent ages choosing my watch – you can have a look at it at The Watch Hut - because I knew I wanted something I could wear every day, for every occasion. And my bit of bling works – for day and night with every outfit, it’s perfect and I am lost without it. Our routine might relax a bit in the summer, but I still need a watch to keep on top of how long we have until nap time, lunch time, or our next outing.

Summer accesoriesYou might have spied my beautiful silk yoga bag and yoga mat in the top photo too. That’s because I make sure I still get to favourite yoga classes, no matter how busy we get through the summer. I am not a fan of the heat and find it really hard to run in this weather, but my regular yoga practice keeps me sane and keeps me fit!

 

*This is a sponsored post but all images, content, words and opinions are my own.

 

My beautiful hypermobile baby

hypermobile baby

My baby is a year old and still not crawling. She isn’t pulling herself up on furniture to cruise around. She isn’t supporting her own weight and standing upright. She can’t do any of these things because she is hypermobile.

On her first birthday, Jasmin wasn’t taking unsteady steps across the lounge while we all clapped and cheered her on. She wasn’t asking us to hold her hands so we could help her walk. She didn’t clamber up onto the table where we’d put her presents.

I’m told constantly that she is serene. It’s because she is often sitting in one place while she plays. People expect one-year-olds to be into everything, to be adventurous with their crawling and to be making a dash for corners of the house they’ve been told to stay away from. Jasmin doesn’t crawl towards drawers to open them. She doesn’t clamber up the stairs on all fours. She doesn’t pull herself up onto tables to grab things we haven’t put far enough out of reach.

That she can’t do these things frustrates her. She doesn’t always stay calm.

People tell me too their anecdotes about children who ‘never crawled’ or ‘just stood up and started walking one day’ or were ‘too lazy to walk for ages’. I’m reassured, kindly, and frequently reminded not to worry. Well, I don’t worry. Not anymore. Not since Jasmin’s doctor examined her and told me about hypermobility.

Jasmin, I now know, might not walk until she is two. She might not crawl. She will do things at a pace dictated by her hypermobility.

I knew nothing about hypermobility two weeks ago. Now though, the word consumes me. It lies behind much of what I do with Jasmin. It is the first subject I surf the web about when I turn my laptop on. It hovers around the front of my mind when I try to work. Hypermobile. Those four syllables echo around my brain when I watch my beautiful baby trying to move around. Slowly, by rotating her hips at angles which defy logic, by combining rolling with sitting and pulling and shuffling, she moves gradually in the vague direction she has chosen. Compared to crawling, it is a far less efficient way to get around.

I now understand though why Jasmin can’t support herself on all fours – she truly doesn’t have the strength, and her hips have a range of movement which is incredible. I now understand why Jasmin tends to sit with her legs stretched out wide in the splits. When she is tired, she drops her head forwards and rests it on the ground. It is a pose I constantly fail to achieve in my regular yoga practice. For her, it is a position of rest.

hypermobile baby

A few months ago, lots of people described Jasmin as a yoga baby and super flexible when they saw this photo. Now I know she is hypermobile I understand more about how her joints work.

I hadn’t been worrying about Jasmin when I took her to the doctor a week before her first birthday. We were there for something else but I mentioned that she wasn’t crawling. I know all children do things differently, in their own time, and when they are ready. However, I still thought it was worth Jasmin’s doctor taking a look at her incase there was an underlying reason for her not being on the move.

I’m now so glad I did. Jasmin has a larger range of movement in her joints than is usual, the doctor told me. Children who are hypermobile are often described as being very flexible or double jointed. As they get older, their joints often stiffen. For some people who are hypermobile, they live life with few symptoms, for others with hypermobile syndrome, there is pain and fatigue to be managed. (Hypermobility is usually hereditary, and although my joints have stiffened now, I was one of those ‘double-jointed’ children.)

Jasmin lacks strength in her legs and so we must now help her to get stronger. As she gets older, it will be important to help her continue to gain muscle strength through activities such as walking, swimming and ballet. She will have to wear special shoes to ensure correct alignment when she learns to walk. It is likely that she will fatigue easily. Yet despite this, it is vital she remains active to get stronger.

It is too early to assess the extent of Jasmin’s hypermobility, but I am glad to understand a little more about her body and why it moves the way it does. I’m trying to learn as much as I can about ways I can help my beautiful little girl, and I am trying to keep in my mind all of the positives her doctor told me (for example, as an adult, Jasmin is unlikely to experience any disadvantages due to her hypermobility. Professional sports people are, in fact, often hypermobile in an area which benefits their game.)

I spent last week feeling unbearably sad for my little girl. She will continue to watch other babies learn to walk. She will see them run after the toys they want. She will remain on the floor, shuffling round a small area, while they sprint around her to play.

And then, on the day Jasmin turned one, I realised it was time to look at the world a little differently. Jasmin is healthy and well. Hypermobility may bring its challenges, yes, but the hurdles can be managed and overcome. While the babies around Jasmin learn to walk, we will help her get stronger. She is watching the world and taking it all in. She is listening and learning and thinking and wondering. She will always have unconditional support. She is so-much loved and when she looks around, she sees this and feels this and knows this. That’s what matters. How old might she be when she takes her first steps is nowhere near as important.

hypermobile baby


 photo 93142f35-6d39-479f-b3de-d94dbca68162_zps58499252.jpg

Fisher-Price Puppy’s Learning Home Review

Fisher-Price Puppy's Learning Home

Fisher-Price seem to know exactly what kids want out of toys and the Puppy’s Learning Home is no exception. Jasmin was lucky enough to be sent this for a review recently, and since the day it arrived, she has been completely in love with it.

Here’s a little look at her playing with it:

I think one of the reasons why the Puppy’s Learning Home is such a hit is because it has so much on it to occupy little ones. All of the activities are also ones which children will get more out of as they grow.

The front of the house has a large front door for little ones to open and close and crawl through. Jasmin adores opening the door and bops along to the tune that plays as it opens and closes. There are two little windows which she peers through, and she finds it hilarious to see me or Milin on the other side. A shape-sorter under the windows has a star, circle, square and triangle for posting. She hasn’t figured out how to get these into the correct slots yet, but she does like throwing the shapes through the windows.

Fisher-Price Puppy's Learning Home

To the side of the door is a letter box which can be opened to reveal three ‘letters’. Opening and closing this and taking out the letters is probably Jasmin’s favourite activity at the moment. Again, the movement of the letterbox activates a little song. There is also a doorbell which she loves pressing and a little lantern which turns on.

On the other side of the door is a flower with spinning petals (hours of fun) and a gutter which acts as a ball chute. A little key to put in the lock is also included. There are numbers at the top of the house, along with an alphabet banner on the roof and a rotating disc which provides a picture of either night or day. The reverse side provides just as much fun, with a radio playing a choice of four songs perhaps the highlight.

Fisher-Price Puppy's Learning Home

Jasmin really can sit at this toy for ages. She loves exploring it and is getting more and more out of it as she grows. I think the fact that it is quite big is also a drawcard – it looks exciting just because of its size. Despite that though, the house doesn’t take up a prohibitive amount of space. Because it goes up, it isn’t too bulky on the floor. It is long, yes, but not too wide – and it is well worth the space  it takes up in our playroom. When Jasmin has playdates it is also a great toy to bring out. She sits on one side of the door while her bestie sits on the other side – and they have hours of fun just pushing the door to each other and grinning through the windows.

I would highly recommend this, probably for any age from about six months up. Milin, who is now two and a half, isn’t interested in it, so I’d say you would get two really good years of play out of it. Once again, a hit from Fisher-Price which is well made, straight-forward to assemble, and provides hours of stimulating entertainment.

*We were sent the Fisher-Price Puppy’s Learning home to review. All words, images, video and opinions are my own.

 

How to be a mum

1. Accept that you will answer the ‘why?’ question 1700 times every day for all eternity.

2. Standing on Lego hurts. Every time. But don’t expect sympathy – you’ve got your toddler’s imaginary ailments to cure.

3. There is no logic like toddler logic. Just nod your head.

4. Just when you think you’ve got bedtime and naptime sorted, prepare yourself for pre-sleep shenanigans which will test your patience to its limits.

5. It doesn’t matter how good your cooking is. Your children will make you believe it’s rubbish.

6. Your life will be accompanied by a new soundtrack. Your child will take their pick from Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse, Peppa Pig or Postman Pat. You will still hear the words when you go to bed at night.

7. Don’t go out drinking. If you fail at this rule, your children will wake you up at 5am the next day. They might have even been sick in their bed for you.

8. Learn how to fit all the snacks your children love, and those that they hate and never ask for, into your bag. You will come to know the power of snacks. A good one will buy you time and peace at the doctor’s surgery. A bad one will results in public tantrums.

9. Never take a good night’s sleep for granted. Never be tempted to be productive when the kids have a miraculously early night. JUST GO TO SLEEP.

10. Your kitchen floor will never be crumb-free again and your shoulders will never be drool-free either. You will also always think you can smell wee or poo or sick, but you’ll never be completely sure where it is coming from.

I want my children to fail

 

 

SmarTrike review

For the last two months Jasmin has been the envy of all her friends at the park. She has been riding around in her SmarTrike Boutique which we were very kindly sent to review when she was ten months old. To say that it’s a hit would be an understatement. Jasmin adores it – and so does two-and-a-half-year-old Milin.

SmarTrike

The Smart Trike is suitable for children aged between 10 months and three plus years. There are four stages of riding it and by making minor adjustments to it, your little ones grow with it and go from being pushed around to using it independently.

When the SmarTrike arrived I couldn’t wait to get it out of the box and assembled. I would usually wait for the children to be in bed before trying something like this, and I often wait for Tony to get home because I’m not the most practical person. I was too impatient with the SmarTrike though and as Milin was at nursery, I set about putting it together while Jasmin played with her toys.

She was fascinated by seeing this flat-packed present take shape – and I was amazed that it took me only 30 minutes. And I did it on my own! As soon as it was ready, I sat Jasmin in the seat. She immediately gave me the biggest smile ever – and she stayed smiling for her entire ride.

For our first test drive, I took Jasmin on about a 15 minute walk through our local park. She loved every minute. I had been a bit worried about whether she would be comfortable enough and how the SmarTrike would handle – but I needn’t have had any concerns.

In its first stage, for children from 10 months, parents have complete control with touch steering from the handlebar. The SmarTrike is so easy to push and to steer. There is extra back support and the chair is nicely padded. Foot rests help Jasmin sit up well and feel comfortable.

The makers of SmarTrike have thought of everything. A little mobile phone is attached to the handle bars. Jasmin is a bit obsessed with this and can quite happily chat away on it for the entire duration of a walk through the park. There is a water bottle holder in front of the phone and behind the seat there is a big carrier/bucket where little ones can store all of their important belongings (Milin’s comforter, some Lego, some crackers.) For me, there’s a big shopper bag that attaches onto the steering bar, and there’s also a smaller pocket for keys and a phone and purse right up by the handle bar.

SmarTrike

My only problem with the SmarTrike is that two-year-old Milin loves it too. He climbs in on his own and there have been more than a couple of tantrums where he and Jasmin fights to have a ride.

From 18 months you can take the back support and extra padding off the trike, letting your little one sit up unaided. Then from 24 months, the footrest can be folded in so your child can learn to use the pedals.It’s possible to neutralise the pedals so your little one is pedalling without steering. When they get closer to three, you can remove all the extra bits for your little one to ride a classic trike. Milin can ride the trike in this way, and quickly (at two-and-a-half) got the hang of steering. Being able to switch so easily from parent-steering to child-steering is definitely a bonus- for me it means Jasmin and Milin can switch as riders with little fuss. Milin can steer and pedal, while Jasmin can be pushed around.

The SmarTrike has almost replaced our buggy this summer. It has a sunshade which provides lots of sun protection for Jasmin, (although it isn’t designed to keep baby dry in the rain.) It won’t fold up  to fit in my little car like a traditional buggy, but that doesn’t bother us either. Once the SmarTrike is being used as a traditional trike, it will easily fit in.

I can’t recommend the SmarTrike highly enough. It is quick to assemble, easy to steer, the kids love it, and it is a high quality product which is sturdy and robust. I love that it changes so completely to suit the age and ability of your little one – it really is a toy that will last for years.

We have constant comments from people at the park about our SmarTrike, probably because Jasmin rides around in it looking so happy about the world!

 

Family Fever

*We were sent the SmarTrike to review but all images and words and opinions are my own.

Happy Birthday Prince George

It is a year since the world went a little bit crazy about the birth of a baby. For a whole day, we watched a live feed of a hospital door on our tv screens. We were finally, around dinner time, told the news. A baby boy, both mother and baby are well. I hastily updated my copy, I had half an hour before deadline, and I pressed send on the only story anyone was talking about.

But all I was thinking about was my own baby. I was booked in for an elective c-section a few days later. I would meet my daughter so soon. It was hot, I was so pregnant and uncomfortable and sore, I was scared and nervous and excited and worried and happy. I re-packed my hospital bag.

How many nappies should I take? Did I have enough knickers? Would my baby need a hat in this unbearable heat?

I worried for my son. My 18-month-old Milin who had no idea of how his world was going to change.

For my daughter, I wished good health. I worried too, of course, because I always do and always will.

Before I met Jasmin, I promised her I would always do my best for her. I promised to put her and her brother’s needs first. A year later, I wonder, have I been good enough to my word? Have I strived to be better, for them? Have I pushed myself further, for them? Have I made decisions they would be proud of? Have I been someone they will one day feel proud of and be inspired by?

My children, in one year, have made me even more determined to keep these promises. They have changed everything, helped me make sense of things, and put the world into perspective.

When the world looks back, today, on Prince George’s first year, it will see photos of a beautiful boy, crawling on a Royal Tour down under, marvelling at a butterfly, standing unsteadily on the edge of a sporting ground… I will see the promises I made to my children, I will see our achievements of this year, and I will see our hopes and dreams for next year. One year can pass incredibly quickly, yes, but life can also change so much in that time.

jasminfirstday

Baby’s first…. Milestones to forget

All parents remember the good milestones – the first laugh, the first word, the first steps – but there’s also a long list of other firsts that aren’t so adorable. Here are some that I suspect I’m not alone in wanting to forget.

1. The first time your baby is sick in their carseat. Three hours of scrubbing later, you are wondering why you didn’t buy a model which had a removable, machine-washable cover.

2. The first time your baby does a poo while they’re in the exersaucer/bouncer/walker. This exponentially increases the explosion factor of poo-mageddon. Letting it happen is a mistake you only make once.

3. The first time you give your baby Calpol. You’ve probably spent hours on Dr Google and  you’ve asked your Facebook friends whether you should do it – but you can’t get over the guilt that you are giving your little one drugs. Once you see the magic they work though, you forget about feeling bad pretty quickly. You wonder why, in fact, you didn’t open the Calpol earlier.

4. The first time you leave your baby with someone else and you go out for dinner/drinks/shopping/a manicure. You spend the first half hour feeling guilty, missing them madly, and checking your phone. Then you realise they’ll cope, and it’s bloody brilliant not having a small person on your hip. You order yourself another (bottle of) wine and accidentally turn your phone on silent.

5. The first time you go out carrying a handbag and wearing high heels (this is often experienced at the same time as milestone #4). Remember what it feels like to carry a clutch which just holds your lipstick, keys, purse and phone? And remember what it feels like to walk in heels without having to push a double buggy and run after a toddler at the park? One day you will be able to do this again. I promise. (And it’s bloody brilliant.)

6. The first time your child injures another child. It will happen. It was an accident. It wasn’t your fault and they didn’t mean it.

7. The first time you feed your child their dinner in front of the iPad / the Peppa Pig channel. All your lofty ideals about screen-free parenting vanish in a moment. Your child ate their meal without uttering a sound. The TV/iPad is magic, and your new babysitter. This is closely related to the first time you give your child chocolate spread on toast for dinner. Sometimes you just have one of those days.

8. The first public tantrum. Try and erase this from your memory or it will haunt you forever. The sudden, irreversible switch to tantrum mode, the throwing of their body to the floor, the high pitched scream, the rigid arms and thrashing legs. Erase, erase, erase.

9. The first time you lie to your child. (The music being made by the ice cream van signals that all the ice cream is finished. There are fairies at the bottom of your boiled egg, and if you eat it all up and tap on the shell, you’ll set them free. The iPad is broken. The swimming pool is closed because all the children are having naps …. etc etc) Once you start, you realise how a little deception can make your life that little bit easier.

10. The first time they tell you to go away. Because none of us like to see our babies growing up. Even though we know they have to, even though we know it is all just a phase, and even though we know they still love us really – this one hurts the most.

Firsts you'd rather forget


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