Fun Friday – review of Finding Dory

It does feel a little bit like the summer holidays over here even though Charlotte will still be going to nursery for four more weeks. We have fun things planned for our Friday’s off (Fun Friday’s if you will), we have all our weekends together booked up with people to see and places to go and a few days spare to still enjoy the sun which will hopefully decide to stick around a bit longer. (It is however raining as I write this!)

 

For our first Fun Friday of then summer we decided to go and see Disney Pixar’s Finding Dory movie.  It was released today so the cinema was busy but we went to the early showing so still had enough room to move (well I could have if Charlotte hadn’t insisted on sitting on my lap throughout). Click here for the link to the trailer.

 

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I was was looking forward to a light, hilarious caper with a small amount of mild peril as per the previous film Finding Nemo, which I may or may not have owned before Charlotte was even a twinkle in the postmans eye (not really if my ex reads my blog!).  We’ve recently seen The Secret Life of Pets and before that Zootropolis which we both loved.

 

But…

 

…oh how wrong I was though. For a U rating this had some really adult themes and I’m actually quite shocked.  I’ve always loved Disney/Pixar collaborations for the great mix of children’s humour with a smattering of ‘over the kids heads’ jokes for the poor parents having to watch yet another U or PG rated film, but this was severely lacking in the humour.  Yes, there was some funny seals for about four minutes. There was a crazy bird. An octopus gets splatted a couple of times but the rest just felt a bit angsty.

 

I won’t spoil the story for you in case you decide to see it but the vague gist is that Dory is on a quest to find her long lost parents. Cue flashbacks of cute baby Dory with parents, flashbacks of baby Dory trying to make friends but failing. Cue tears from me (although I cry at everything nowadays) and a very confused, emotional four year old.

 

I have to say I was quite disappointed with the film after waiting so long for the sequel to one of my most favourite kid’s films. So maybe save the £20 for another film or something else that won’t leave you having to console your child and secretly having to find the tissues too.  We went to our free art gallery after the film which Charlotte seemed much more enthralled about.

 

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Charlottes drawing the ‘lady with boobies’ (not its official title) at the Royal Pump Rooms Art Gallery in Leamington Spa

 

 

20 ways in which you’ve wronged your 4 year old

My daughter has a ‘butter won’t melt look’ about her most of the time and, I’ll give her her dues, she is a damn good negotiator when it comes to trying to get her way.  But sometimes things don’t quite work out as she planned and when this happens you can be guaranteed that you will get the disappointed look below and the there will be a ‘The world has ended’ style tantrum. It doesn’t matter where we are or who we’re with, the tantrum will happen over the tiniest thing.  

Asked for cheese, got ham.
 Just to keep myself slightly sane through these moments I decided to record the reasons the shit hit the fan in my daughters world.  Of course, they are all entirely legitimate and worth the energy usage for all involved. 

Below are some of the reasons:

  1. There wasn’t enough milk with her Cheerios 
  2. *tops up milk and finishes cheerios* There was too much milk with the Cheerios.
  3. Her dress was long sleeved.
  4. Her pink tights weren’t washed.
  5. She’s tired. (Because she woke up at 6am)
  6. There was a stone in her shoe (there wasn’t).
  7. I gave her 2 biscuits, not 3.
  8. I gave her 8 raspberries, not 6.
  9. Her cucumber was cut in slices, not sticks.
  10. Her lemonade was too lemony (damn you San Pellegrino)
  11. I wouldn’t let her use the drill by herself.
  12. I couldn’t rewind Miffy because we’d only just turned the tv on.
  13. I wouldn’t play the most boring board game ever with her for the 300th time that day.
  14. I couldn’t carry her because I had a dog attached to a lead in one hand and shopping in the other.
  15. It started to rain (obviously my fault).
  16. I didn’t participate in the race down the path (because I hadn’t been told it was happening).
  17. I wouldn’t let her walk into the road by herself.
  18. She dropped her teddy and it got muddy.
  19. I wouldn’t buy her the kinder surprise egg AND the Frozen surprise egg. 
  20. I wouldn’t let her watch Family Guy when she woke up and came downstairs. 

As you can see, I am obviously a complete bitch of a parent.

I could go on but I’m exhausted just writing about them! These were also mostly from a 48 hour period! Please let me know your child’s (entirely legit) reasons for the world ending in your house in the comments below! 

Time for bed – part two.

Ten weeks ago I posted ‘Time for bed‘. I have just re-read it and cried. It was the post that made my friends text me to check I was ok. It was the post that made me realise just how badly Charlotte’s lack of sleep was affecting my whole life. It was the post (and the discussions afterward) that made me follow a few sleep consultants on Facebook.

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It was also the post I shared with Jennie Harrison when one of her Facebook updates sounded like she had been in the room with me that evening whilst I was trying to get Charlotte to sleep. She said she could help me and after reading her website I already felt a little sense of relief…someone had been through this stuff as well. Is wasn’t just me. Others had issues with getting their child to sleep too. Jennie pointed me in the direction of her Ultimate Toddler Sleep Programme and it sounded like exactly what Charlotte and I needed.

I had no idea what to expect with our first module ‘Calm Mum, Calm Toddler’ but from then on it all started to slot into place. I was definitely not calm when dealing with bedtime then and, although it seemed impossible I started to get there. I took some time for myself – whether I thought I had any available or not. I started doing my yoga again. I started to look at how my life was organised (or wasn’t!) and I started to change little things. Only little things to me or anyone else but those little things had a massive impact on how I could then cope with bedtime and life in general.

The Ultimate Toddler Sleep Programme has helped Charlotte go from not sleeping until 10.30-11pm most nights with a battle every single night, to generally being asleep by 7.30pm having completed a mutually calm bedtime. She used to wake when I went to bed if not before, and want to stay up and she would usually wake again at least once through the night for water or similar. Now, using techniques Jennie has taught us she usually sleeps through. She used to scream if I even suggested sleeping in her own bed, she now tells me that she is going to sleep in her bed and I am going to sleep in mine. Sometimes she stays there, sometimes she doesn’t but it’s a work in progress and I know we will get there. Hopefully the new Frozen duvet cover will I give her a bit more of an incentive!

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Throughout our time on the programme there has been no crying it out, no instructions on how you must do things but there has been an overwhelming amount of support available. We have had few late nights and a few nights that have gone awry but, because I know why it’s happened, I can keep calm and counteract that reason as soon as possible and get back on track. We have also worked on her nap transition (from one to none – eeek!) and how she copes with nursery. All of the above means I have a happier, more lovely daughter who is just gushing with affection and I feel the same way. I am still working full time and Charlotte is still at nursery full time but rather than me dreading picking her up because of the mood she’ll be in, we both enjoy our time together much more and there is so much less shouting.

I would say I’m an optimistic person but I think over time I’d lost some of my positivity. Something I used to pride myself on. Working with Jennie and having an amazing group of ladies in the Facebook group for the programme has given me that back. So many great things have happened since I started my eight week programme, it can’t all be a coincidence. Yes I think I deserved some good things to happen, but maybe I was the one who was blocking it, or maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind.

One of the things all the amazing mums in the group have said was that we wish we knew about Jennie sooner. We’d all been battling sleep deprivation for years not just months. Which is why I was so excited to hear that Jennie is just starting a new Blissful Baby Sleep programme. I think I know what I’ll be getting for any of my friends who are pregnant!!

Jennie has a Sleep Deprived Mums Club which I have signed up to, so I don’t feel too bereft after finishing the programme. Here you can get access to so many of the amazing resources I have had. She is also hosting a FREE sleep class next week so sign up now! You won’t regret it.

Beautiful sleep.

Despite my grumblings over the dreaded Valentines Day I actually had a great week last week. I even got my M&S meal deal! (Well no one said you had to eat it with a boy did they?)

This week I have had a burst of energy and motivation. I have sorted out a meal plan and shopped for all the ingredients so no excuses. I have cleared another bit of my flat. I have started up my yoga again and found a great 30 day challenge on YouTube which is 30 minutes a day – just about do-able. I have done oodles of ironing. I have been on a successful date. I have found a job I want to apply for and actually have a chance of getting. I have had a catch up with two friends which were well and truly overdue and I even got to spend a childfree afternoon with my BFF wandering around Cheltenham. I even managed to have a successful clothes shopping trip whilst spending only £3 of my own money (thank goodness for vouchers!)

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I think I have The Ultimate Toddler Sleep Programme and Jennie Harrison to thank for some of this as I officially started the programme last week. The title of the first module was ‘Calm mum, Calm toddler’ and our daily homework was to take 20 minutes to do something for ourselves. Now that is the kind of homework I like!!br/>
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I failed miserably for the first two nights as Charlotte was determined to make it as difficult as possible to get her to sleep but day three was miraculous… After listening to the MP3 and watching the video Jennie sent us explaining why it was so important that we, ourselves, are calm whilst putting our little ones to bed I took a few deep breaths before launching into bedtime. I calmly got her ready, keeping my voice low and breathing steady and, although still in my bed, she was fast asleep by 7.30pm. I was amazed! She stayed asleep until 7.30am.

I had an ENTIRE evening to myself and an ENTIRE night of sleep!

The next night was 8pm-8am. Since then we have had a couple of ups and downs but we have seven more weeks to work on this so not expecting instantaneous miracles. Myself and the other mums on the programme also get to celebrate and commiserate with one another as we have our own private Facebook group. Having that support, as well as Jennie’s, has been really great so far and hearing everyone else’s stories also makes you realise that you are most definitely not alone in the sleep struggle.

This week is back to full time work and a new module to work on but two full nights sleep has made the mountain seem much easier to climb. Here’s to less eye-bags and more motivation!!!

If you want to hear more about my daily dramas or see the little valentines present I made myself, please come and like my Facebook page and follow me on twitter!<

Sweet dreams?

IMG_2410.JPGI have realised that the past three years and four months have – pretty much – been dictated by Charlotte’s sleep or lack there of. That seems absolutely crazy doesn’t it? There have been a few reprieves where I thought I’d/we’d cracked it but as soon as my body and mind got used to a full nights sleep something would rock the boat. Sometimes I’ve had no idea what this something was but it has been a intensely frustrating and sleepy time.

It’s amazing how much lack of sleep affects you. (I guess it’s not really considering some countries use it as a form of torture.) I get irritated quickly. I get angry quickly. I panic easily and I just can’t seem to lead a normal life where things get done on time or completed at all. The NHS even states that…

Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy.”

Perfect! It is a horrible state to live in and I think I’ve only recently realised just how sleep deprived I am.

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After my post a couple of weeks ago I’d nearly come to the conclusion that I would have to bring in external help. A counsellor? A sleep consultant? A cranial osteopath? I wasn’t sure what would work and whether there was any chance of me being able to afford it. After some research I realised that there the answer was probably not and I would just have to work on it myself as best I could.

Until…I followed Jennie Harrison – the Sleep Deprived Mum’s Coach Facebook page. Her posts hit home instantly as they were mainly about toddlers and when I clicked through to her website it sounded like she’d been watching my bedtime battles for a good couple of years! She had been through it all and had apparently worked out why toddlers resist sleep and how to counteract the reasons for them doing so whilst also managing to help calm mum down too. After messaging her and finding out a bit more (no crying it out, no ‘sleep training’ per se) I signed up and my eight week programme starts today.

I am looking forward to getting stuck in and to hopefully become a more coherent, patient mummy and person in general as we work on the reasons behind Charlotte’s sleep issues. I just filled in her questionnaire and I think she’s got a big job on her hands with us. I think I ticked all the boxes she gave us!

When did your sleep difficulties start? – From birth – check!
Did you have a difficult birth – check! Have you or do you suffer with PND, stress and anxiety – check!

We shall see how it goes but I am optimistic and willing to try anything. Wish us all luck and I’ll keep you posted!

Over for another year…

Well that is Christmas all but over and I kind of think thank God this year! I’m normally little miss festive and have tried to put on a brave face by sorting out works Christmas do and going to see Father Christmas with Charlotte but this year the spirit has not been there at all. The only feelings I’ve had have been stress and tiredness. I have not had enough time or money to make it a fantastic Christmas or even get half the decorations up (it’s 6pm on Christmas Day and they’re still sitting in a box in my living room). My grandad is also very sick in hospital which has put a dampner on the whole families festive spirit really.

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I have to admit part of my Bah Humbug mood is to do with jealousy and all the what ifs. I didn’t get my job…what if I had? I would know that I would be getting some more money at some point and looking forward to a fresh start in the new year but instead I will be going back to the same soul sucking job I have now.

I’m not in a relationship…but everyone else seems to be. Lots of friends are having first Christmases with their babies or just having babies and it reminds me that I did want a brother or sister for Charlotte and I miss those exciting firsts of everything. Now it just seems to be first swear word, first tantrum in sainsburys, first time she makes me cry from hitting me…

We also seemed to have been struck down with various lurgies over the past couple of months so either Charlotte or I (or both) are coughing our guts up or sneezing as if we were Santa who’d got stuck up the chimney! Delightful! So we are just a generally grumpy household at the minute and I think we really need to use the new year as a stepping off point towards a happier time for both of us. I WILL conquer Charlotte’s sleep issues, I WILL get a new job, I WILL sell my flat and get a house with some outdoor space and we WILL enjoy Christmas 2015. A lot to get done so I might as well start preparing now as I have to house to myself whilst Charlotte has her second Christmas with her dad. I’m also thinking new year, new hair colour or is that just a step braver than I dare to be?

Hope you’ve all had a lovely day…I really mean that…honest xx

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This was after I had applied make up today. I look like I need to sleep for a thousand years!

Never work with animals and children.

I haven’t yet introduced you to my other family member and sometimes the one who gives me most of the guilty feelings. My downtrodden, gorgeous and amazingly tolerant whippet, Sophie. If you are contemplating getting a dog before having a baby or maybe adding to the family by getting a dog then please read below.

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Five reasons not to have a dog with children.

🚫 both need exercise, but entirely different sorts. The dog wants to go for a long walk through fields and sniffing hedges, the child (and me sometimes) doesn’t want to and starts whinging approximately 15 steps in that they’re tired or need a wee. The child wants to go to the park, which nowadays are usually fenced with barbed wire just in case a dog ventures anywhere near, so you have to push your child on the swing whilst pretending the howling dog trying to hang herself with her leash isn’t yours.

🚫 a child can go in and out if shops with you, however usually, a dog cannot. Either there is nowhere to leave the dog safely outside the shop, or, see the howling/hanging comment above. Therefore no shopping gets done, just lots of longing looks into the windows, seeing what you could have had had you left the dog at home (howling).

🚫 as soon as a baby comes along, your quiet well behaved dog will become a guard dog. She won’t like the squawking, pink bundle much and looks at you like she’s wondering when your taking it back, but she will also not let the baby out of their sight and will growl or bark at anyone who ventures anywhere near you on the off chance they will snatch the baby away. The postman, the builders a block away, someone coming up the stairs past your flat etc. This includes that time you’ve just got the baby to sleep and your edging away slowly in the hope she’ll stay that way for more than 20mins this time.

🚫 she will find any nappy that you have not stashed at the bottom of a locked bin and destroy it all over your carpet or bed. You will then accidentally step/lie in the wet gel crystals after creeping into your bedroom in the dark so as not to wake the said baby.

🚫 they will decide to find the invisible fox pooh to roll in, on your busiest or most stressful day. Babies nappies have nothing on that shit, literally. I have never gagged over a smell before then.

🚫 not only does your daughter decide to join you in bed half way through the night and try and push you out, the dog will too and will work with the child to give you as little space as possible. And they are dead weights!

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But the the flip side is that…

✅ dogs seem to sense when you need cuddle and I honestly think stroking my dog’s ears is the best therapy in the world.

✅ watching Charlotte and Sophie can be utterly heart melting sometimes. They play, they cuddle, Charlotte loves helping to feed her etc. I’m sure it’s a good life lesson for her.

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✅ they do get you out of the house. Those days when you feel rubbish is when you need a brisk walk and some vitamin D most and I love the quiet, contemplative time I get when walking her on my own.

✅ I never have any food waste!

✅ I’m never cold in bed (if I’m allowed to stay in it).

✅ she never judges me on my parenting skills.

I keep swinging back and forth about whether I should make my life easier and find Sophie a new family who has more time and effort to give her, but she is part of my family and, at the moment, my heart won’t let me. However, if anybody’s interested in dog sitting some evenings and weekends please let me know!! Thanks.

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A long weekend

Sorry for the missing post this week (or did you even notice that there’s some vague routine with my posts?). It has been one busy week and I have been feeling a bit rough as well thanks to the wonderful annual lurgy and the fact that Charlotte seems to have given up on the ‘going to bed at a reasonable hour and staying asleep until a reasonable hour’ routine we’d carved out for ourselves. So much for rest and sleep being the best thing for an illness.

This weekend had also been booked in for a trip down to the south west to see my (younger) brother’s and fiancé’s new house. A lovely 1930’s, semi detached house in the suburbs with a drive and manageable garden – Me, Jealous? No way!

Despite the slightly green eyes, it was great to see them and my other (even younger) brother and girlfriend came up to join in the reunion to. However – it just make me realise/remember how f**king easy those without children have it! On a weekend there is no rush to do ANYTHING. Shower, change, sort breakfast, get up in the first place, get out to do something, plan what to do for the next five hours…no rush at all! When you have a three year old in tow this type of nonchalance just doesn’t cut it and so I spent most of my weekend trying to calm a hyper child, keep a tired child going ‘just a few more minutes’ (read another 45 minutes at the earliest!) until the next activity or get a child to sleep when a brother has just relentlessly tickled the child and put an 15 rated film on tv which, of course, looks way more exciting than the Peppa Pig ReadyBed waiting for her in the other room.

Add the most irritating tickly cough and earache, a fruitless shopping trip to a busy city shopping mall and a grumpy, monosyllabic girlfriend of youngest brother and all in all it was quite a hard work weekend.

It was, however, just amazing to see how much my daughter loves her uncle and aunty and how much she has obviously missed them since they’ve moved away (I’m pretty sure it’s a two way thing actually). I am also a very lucky sister to have two brothers who I get on so well with and who are such good, positive male role models to Charlotte.

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So, I have now arrived home after a wet and rainy two hour drive home in the dark and now I have to gear up for work and nursery tomorrow which involves ironing and sandwich making. And apparently my forward planning of putting Charlotte in her pyjamas before the drive home so I could pick her sleeping body up out of the car and transfer her to her bed with the least amount of fuss went unnoticed as she decided to wake up as soon as the engine turned off and is now being distracted with a quiet Disney DVD in the hope she’ll go back down as soon as possible. If she doesn’t drop off soon I may get there first!!

Night all. Good luck for the joy that is Monday!

Bank holiday blues.

It’s bank holiday Monday today so when my alarm went off at 6.15am I leisurely rolled over turned it off and inwardly did a little fist pump because I didn’t have to get up. My daughter had other ideas though. 6.34am she strolled in telling me that it was raining and so started her outer monologue for the next 10 hours.

This is a guess. It is only 8.32am and I am already pooped. We have played dolls, shops, I have ‘eaten’ endless plastic play food in the oddest combinations and we have both taken out the dog and splashed in the puddles.

We have done all of this in our pyjamas, I have not yet put my contacts in which means I still feel like I’m half asleep and I am clutching for dear life to the largest mug of coffee you can imagine. It is tepid but this is the normal temperature nowadays and I have learnt to tolerate it.

As it is grey, drizzly and fairly depressing, all plans of venturing out today have stalled so I’m wondering if I can make tidying and cleaning into a day long game? After Charlotte came back with not one, but two certificates for ‘good tidying up’ over the past month from nursery I’m thinking she has a few tricks to teach me!

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