#Mama moments: Watching the sibling relationship flourish

It has been incredible watching my daughter and my newborn, her brother, get to know each other. A loved him instantly. As soon we worked out how to explain to a 2 year old that ‘mummy has a baby in her tummy that will come out and live with us’ she was smitten. Hours were spent where I was forced to bare my belly as she bellowed ‘Hellooo baby,it’s sister’ at her growing sibling. At Christmas when she got a doctor’s kit her requirement that I allowed her access to my belly went up exponentially as she became a ‘Midwife’ and ‘listened to baby’ using a plastic imitation stethoscope inspired by the countless Obstetrician/Midwife/Sonographer appointments she accompanied me to.

computer desk laptop stethoscope

This morning after being woken by her dad she came bounding into my bedroom, completely ignored my loving good morning coos and made a bee line for her ‘kleiner Bruder’ (little brother in German). Honestly I may not be the shiny, exciting attraction I used to be for my daughter but honestly I’m not mad at it. Watching their relationship grow and the bundles of love my first born freely pours out warms my heart in a way I never envisaged.

How have you found watching your children develop relationships with their siblings?

Any tips for helping to cultivate good sibling relationships?

Nat

xx

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My Kinder right now:

age: 3

Interesting thing she’s up to: Putting on her brother’s blanket, remembering to make sure it is under his arms. She’s getting so much more confident at blending confidently ‘D-O-G’

K age: 6 weeks

What’s going on right now : He is due to have his tongue tie snipped at the hospital this week, fingers crossed this makes him less grumbly. Either way it’ll be one less concern.

 

Filter Free Mama 2020- all rights reserved.

Cheap, Unique Valentine’s Day Activities

It’s February and Valentine’s Day is imminent. Cue spending a fiver on cards, more on a present that you hope your other half likes, and an even greater sum on a meal in a bustling restaurant along with what feels like millions of other couples.
After 12 years of this debacle, I’m on the hunt for a cheap,unique alternative. Yes part of my motivation is because I am cheap   hate spending more money than I have to. But I think that one of the hidden benefits of frugality  is that it forces you to be creative, which hopefully makes for a memorable day.

Here are some cheap, fun alternatives to very tired dinner-restaurant valentine’s days:

 

Do a Dance Routine together

Look up ‘Dance Tutorial’ on your favourite video sharing website and get moving if you both are that way inclined. You could even film the end result and wear cool music video worthy outfits if you wish.

man wearing white long sleeved shirt while dancing

Have a Film night

Get your duvet, hot dogs and buns from your local supermarket and your favourite snacks. You can find DVDs at your local library. There are also lots of free or very cheap movies available online. Home? Food? Guaranteed cosy times? Bliss.

food snack popcorn movie theater

Make a new, exciting dish together

After our recent holiday to Asia we absolutely fell in love with Vietnamese pancakes. This Valentine’s day we are going to try to make them. Not only do we get great food (fingers crossed), we will also  learn new culinary skills, work as a team and achieve something novel together.

anise aroma art bazaar

If you really want to put a Valentine’s Day stamp on what you make, you could also shape your food into a  heart shape. Lovely…

boiled egg on top on bread beside salt shaker

Set up a Home Spa

Get some spa-eque rainforest sounds from Youtube, light some candles and give your boo a massage, manicure, facial etc.

To avoid bruises and terror, look up a few techniques and tips before hand.

love romantic bath candlelight

Get Creative Together

You could do portraits of one another. Get sharpies and decorate mugs. You could also custom make t-shirts (probably just to be worn at home). Any materials that you don’t have to hand, can be easily found in your local pound shop. The only limit is what you can come up with.

girl in white and brown plaid long sleeved top painting

 

Do a Favourite Moments Slide Show

Compile some of your most treasured captured memories and spend an evening reminiscing. This will help to remind you both how awesome you are and may even kindle conversation about your vision for future happy times.

collection of gray scale photos

Have a Games Night

Simply get your favourite games out of the cupboard and start playing. To really up the ante you could set up a leader board in which the loser has to do a forfeit.

abstract board game bundle business

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope that in amongst all of the marketing spiel that you feel connected to your loved ones and enjoy your moments together.

Do you have any other cheap, fun date ideas? If so, let me know!

This post was originally published on my other passion project, Cultural Magpie, check it out if you’re into travel, exciting things to do and  commentary on all things culture.

 

Nat

xx

Filter Free Mama- all rights reserved

How becoming a mother has changed me forever

It’s almost mother’s day in the US and this has me reflecting on the great impact that motherhood has had on my life. The person that I was when I found out I was pregnant, feels almost like a stranger to me. Being pregnant, giving birth and learning how to be a mother has been one of the most incredible, tough things I have ever done.

Here are some ways that becoming a mother has changed me forever.

 

I appreciate time so much more now

I find it so hilarious that one of my last exciting pre- motherhood excursions was using a day on my holiday from work,to travel one and a half hours away from my house, one way, just to get food that was twenty five pence. In contrast to that life, where it kind of seems like I had a bit too much time, the other day I managed to go on a ten minute walk alone and it felt absolutely luxurious.

bloom blooming country countryside

The indulgent days of watching a whole series in one day, whist eating an abundance of junk food are well and truly over!As I look after my daughter full time, her schedule is now my schedule.She wakes up at 5am? So do I. She decides not to have her oh so sweet afternoon nap and instead run around the house? Me too. She is teething and wakes up 6 billion times a night? I am in there!

When I do happen to get time to myself I treasure it. Hold on tight to it and evaluate how best to use it.

I am so much more grateful for all of the awesomeness in my life

I feel like the sleep deprivation and lack of time to look after yourself, that goes with having a baby is like going through SAS training; it strips your life down to the bare minimum which means anything added is noticed and anything good is amplified.

sea people service uniform
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

When sleep deprivation becomes standard, having a nap feels luxurious. Having people in my life who get me with no effort and think about my needs before I even have a chance to is such a blessing. Even things that I ashamedly never used to pay attention to like being able to have a cup of tea or having a home with food now make me feel really grateful.

I do not do things that make me feel bad

Probably linked to now having less time, I now do not engage in activities or hang out with people who are good vibe suckers. When I had more time than trees have leaves, I would do things that would make me feel crappy. Yes it didn’t feel great but I had plenty of time to rid myself of the bad vibes later. Now that really isn’t the case. I have to be as emotionally intact and mentally sound as I can be to look after my daughter, so now engaging in things that do not feel wholesome and good is really not an option anymore.

I kind of wish I respected my self and my time before having A but I’m so thankful I got there eventually.

I am so much more confident

Honestly, the idea of giving birth terrified me so much, that I began having panic attacks whilst pregnant ( I’ll probably write another blog post about this). However, when it came to it, it was fine. It was bearable, I survived. Nothing bad happened and a part of me even actually enjoyed labour.

Having A forced me to face a challenge, when I used to be the kind of person who avoided anything that scared or pushed me too far. Giving birth was something I could not run away from regardless of how much I ruminated about it. My daughter was growing inside me and eventually she would 100% definitely need to come out.

Being forced to face this fear taught me how much life can be added to my life when I do the things that scare me.

Going through pregnancy and labour, also helped me to become aware of my body’s strength, abilities and power. My body was no longer something that annoyed me because it didn’t look or act how I wanted it to, when I wanted it to. My body became an amazing, super vessel which could look after me whilst also grow a whole, amazing, intelligent human being.

Now I feel like I had acted as though my body was a scrappy bit of paper, when in fact it was a multi million pound winning lottery ticket.

 

Have you found that you have changed since becoming a mother or doing something radical? If so, how?

This post was originally published on my other passion project, Cultural Magpie, check it out if you’re into travel, exciting things to do and commentary on all things culture.

I hope that you’re having a great week

Nat xx

Filter Free Mama, all rights reserved 2019

A Wake Up Call: Time to start teaching my own child

So this blog post has been in my drafts for 6 months without getting published. This meeting was a pivotal moment for me in how I see my role as a mother and how I interact with my daughter, so I’m going to dust it off and publish it. Lesson learned, I will try very hard to make sure blog posts do not just fester in Open Office.

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So today I had a bit of a wake up call. A and I were at baby group; she was crawling around, exploring some books and I got speaking to another mum. Her daughter,who was notably older than A, was an absolute angel and I couldn’t help but watch her in awe. She would play with toys calmly, walk carefully around all of the other sprawling children and lovingly pat my daughter.

She exuded intelligence, great manners and a well developed character. My teacher antenna, which is usually very accurate, calculated that she was around three years old so I was even more astounded to discover that she was not yet two.

I spoke to her mum to try to work out what the secret was.The- not- yet two year old prodigy had older siblings which tends to boost development, however there was something else there. I dug further; her mum worked in early years and used what she had learnt in her job with her daughter.

The pieces of the puzzle seemed to fit but this left me feeling disappointed in my self. I am a Primary School Teacher and have been so for almost seven years, most of my experience has been in the early years foundation stage. For some strange reason I did not think I could do much of the early years stuff I had learnt with A as I am used to teaching those who are at least three years old.

I told the super mum this, she looked me in the eyes and said with her East African twang ‘Do not undermine her, she can learn, just do things at her level’. Now thinking about it, it seems so obvious.

I did begin on the path of at least thinking of using my carefully cultivated teaching skills with A. I made sure I had a copy of the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance for example but I never did anything with it beyond having a flick through and recalling my memories of all of the activities it helped me to plan.

IMG_1593

Meeting this little girl today changed all that. I am not going to try to make A one of those kids who goes to university at 10 years old, if that happens great (though I’m not sure if that life so young is so great for social development) but that is not my aim. However, meeting this girl and her mum has made me realise that I need to at least to try to use some of what I have learnt on my own child. Now I feel so silly that I overlooked purposefully using my teaching skills on my daughter. I am not going to make it seem like school, she is no where ready for that and when school comes she’ll have plenty of super structured learning in a pressured environment. However she is now interested in pens for example and pencils to grab them out of my hand as I write. I’ve let her dabble in mark making a little bit but the teacher side of me knows about resources and activities that can enhance her development even further so I will use it.

I have dabbled a bit in activities that have drawn on my teaching skills and knowledge but from now on I’m going to consciously do this.

I have now decided but every week I will focus on an area of development that A seems to be interested in or could do with developing. I will make the activities fun, easy going and in line with her interests. I feel like the ‘new mum, oh my god what am I doing?’ side of me has gone and the knowledgeable, experienced, conscientious Early Years Teacher side of me has emerged out of hibernation. I’m looking forward to looking after my gorgeous A with my teacher brain plugged in a bit more often.

Update on A

Age 9 months and 3 weeks

New skills: Crawling, lifting herself up whilst holding onto everything and anything

Recent i love being a mum moment: snotty, wet kisses all over my face yesterday as she held onto me

Current Quotes: ‘The hand of god can be in our lives in unexpected ways through unexpected encounters’

© Mummy Blossom 2018

Motherhood: sieving out the rubbish

Becoming a mother has changed me. I don’t have much time for myself anymore so now find myself evaluating what to do with the minuscule moments I can capture.

Before having A, I used to spend too much time with people who didn’t make me feel good. Now I literally don’t have time for that. Spending time with toxic people means I need to invest time in  washing all of their crap off of me after our encounter. It is just not worth it or sensical anymore. I don’t have time to see someone then spend even more time meditating their bad vibes away.

I used to put effort in relationships in which I was the only person putting effort in, the only one doing the ‘friendship work’, once again I no longer have time for that. I’m too busy making toddler friendly meals, running after A with shoes that she really is not feeling having on her feet or talking to her in detail about the 65th bird that she has noticed.

I now put proposed activities through a ‘Is it worth my time?’ analysis machine.  I am grateful for all of the ways motherhood has changed me and is changing me. Too often I just looked at motherhood as an amazing, sacred experience which simultaneously  robbed me of the time to have a simple shower or engage in basic human activities like watching four hours of Netflix  (this is me making a joke by the way).

I feel like my lack of time has had the unexpected benefit of forcing me to respect myself more and not engage in things that are not good for me. I find it ironic that having more responsibility and restrictions as I  look after my daughter has liberated me in many fundamental ways.

Have you found that motherhood has changed you for the better? Do you think having less time can actually be a good thing sometimes?

© Mummy Blossom 2018

 

 

 

#Mama Moments: A’s first injections

So recently A had her first injections. Being a curious little munchkin, she was just simply really happy to be in the nurses office and contentedly

close up of white syringe
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

sat lapping up her new nurse-related stimuli.

As the needle went in her chunky, little thigh there was silence. She had dealt with it amazingly well. Suddenly she let out the biggest wail I have ever heard from her tiny lungs and her face went a worrying shade of red. As the second needle went into her thigh, she wailed even louder. The entire time she cried, she looked at me as though I had betrayed her.

#mamamoments