If the shoe fits…

We bought Bea her first pair of shoes at 11 months… I wouldn’t have bothered but it was summery weather (now a distant memory!) and she was walking a lot holding our hands around the garden, so I wanted her feet protected. It was a tough decision though, as you may know babies feet are still developing, so they should be out of shoes as much as possible. We figured it would just be brief spells so decided to go ahead. She then started walking around her first birthday and shortly after started nursery, where they have to wear shoes to go outside and often inside too. That first pretty pair, from Clarks naturally, are quickly getting worn out so I’m starting to think about autumn/winter footwear for walks in the park, puddle jumping (wellies I think!) and playing outside.

The problem is, its really hard to find nice children’s shoes. I like her to look half presentable so something that goes with everything is ideal, but I’m not compromising on fit for fashion. Bea’s feet are a tiny size 2F so shopping in the likes of the high street stores like M&S isn’t an option as they don’t seem to go below size 4. Added to all of that, a neighbour of ours who used to work for NIKE happened to tell us that NIKE spend more on research in a year into children’s foot development than Clarks turn over as a company in the same year. Which makes me think we’ll be adding some cute trainers to the collection.

I’d love to hear if you guys have discovered any ‘proper’ shoes that are safe and stylish around the internet or high street, suitable for first steps and tiny feet. Please do share!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS! Feeling a bit rubbish today? This will cheer you up ;)

The post baby body…

Now Bea is 12 months old I finally feel in a position to comment on my body. And honestly, it’s still changing, but I feel I can write this from a position of reasonable experience and with a realistic outlook. Before I start, please don’t anyone take any of this as a reflection or judgement on their body or decisions regarding it. This is purely my own personal experience and not meant to make anyone else scrutinise themselves, mother or not.

When I became pregnant, I was 10 and a half stone. To put that into context I’m about 5ft 7inches. It was the heaviest I have ever been and ironically I feel I got there because I was planning to get pregnant. My state of mind about starting a family was so messed up on reflection that I was constantly refusing to deny myself anything… if I had a pound for all the times I ordered something less than healthy or thought ‘to hell with it, I’ll have another drink…‘ because I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat/drink it during pregnancy, I’d be treating myself to something very fancy. I’d say my ‘happy weight’ i.e. the place where I feel good in my clothes but don’t have to really do much to maintain my weight is around 10 stone or just under, so I was at least half a stone heavier than I should be.

I weighed myself obsessively in pregnancy – not out of any concern for what I gained – I always assumed I’d get it off afterwards, but because I was fascinated by how much my body was changing. I won’t say I wasn’t keeping an eye on things, but I was eating everything in sight and so I made a mental note that if my weight ballooned I’d have to start being a bit more healthy. However, normal and healthy weight gain in pregnancy is 1 and a half to 2 and a half stone and watching my weight creep slowly up I never felt the need to cut back. In the end I gained exactly 2 stone, weighing in at 12 and a half stone the morning of my C-section. And I felt like a Goddess – I honestly can’t stress that enough. I LOVED my pregnant body.

You know how everyone tells stories about how they lost ‘a stone in the 24 hours after delivery,‘? Well, I had high hopes. I had a 6 and a half pound bundle, and had shed a placenta, a load of amniotic fluid and a bit of blood… I couldn’t wait to get on those scales with morbid fascination! Imagine my surprise when I had lost a measly 6 pounds! My flipping baby was heavier than that!


Of course, I didn’t care. My ‘baby bump’ took at least 3 weeks to subside and I accepted that it can take a bit longer post c-section. And in fact for many weeks or months afterwards my tummy was round and quite solid. It slowly started to settle but it was at a snails pace. I was (and still am,) breastfeeding but to say that breastfeeding makes you lose weight is the biggest myth in town… I’m sure it does, but if you’re eating for England, nothing can help you! – I took my milk production very seriously and after an astonishing conversation with a midwife early on who clearly thought I was trying to get my figure back at 10 days in when Bea was weighed and hadn’t gained anything, I was told to eat 3 square meals a day with pudding and snacks and to take food to bed too for the night feeds! And I did. Granted I didn’t gain any weight, but I think the breastfeeding mother typically loses weight because of being pinned under a constantly feeding baby and neglecting her own needs – I’m grateful to say that wasn’t me, I was well looked after by Pete – far too well! ;)

As the months went on my weight plateaued then would drop a fraction, then plateau again. Sometimes it bothered me, but on the whole I really didn’t care. I wasn’t desperately concerned with staring in the mirror before I had Bea, and afterward, well, I spent all my time just staring at her instead. When it did bother me I set myself targets, saying ‘I’ll start exercising at 6 months,‘ which became 9 months and ‘next month’. In truth, looking back, I just didn’t want to at all. My head wasn’t in a space that prioritised me or my needs and wants and rather than resenting or regretting that, I just didn’t even think about it. I’m not going to lie though, it was tough walking round in a bikini on holiday before she was even 4 months old.

Reading this back, I just realised I’ve talked almost exclusively about my weight, rather than my shape. That’s partly because its only recently as my weight has gone down a little bit more again that I’ve started to dislike what I see more. I’m still breastfeeding, so my boobs aren’t what they were, but they aren’t totally deflated yet either. ;) Honestly, I don’t really care about them. It did take a whole new perspective when I finally went bra shopping as the shapes and styles I’d normally reach for weren’t working for me at all, but I can’t complain.

I think the part of me that has changed the most is my stomach. It’s the area I have always gained weight in but this is different, I really feel that no matter what I do now, the skin isn’t going to recover its elasticity and go smooth again. A lot of people complain about C-section scars causing a ‘pouch’ of skin, but I don’t think it’s anything to do with that, the skin just stretched so much it can’t recover. I hope I find I’m wrong but I guess it’s just reality that skin that was so stretched won’t be the same afterwards. That said, everybody is different! One positive is that I did get stretch marks when I was pregnant… quite a lot of them and early on – I remember being quite devastated when one appeared at 35 weeks and I still thought I had 7 weeks to go! They were all under my bump but I’m pleased to report that like the ones I got in my teens they are all invisible now unless you scrutinise my skin. So that’s a plus! What bugs me is when you can see that skin and roll of fat through my clothes. Not pretty and really motivating me now to work on getting my shape back.

As I write, with Bea approaching 13 months I’m 5lbs heavier than I was at conception, having done absolutely nothing to shift any weight. I’ve finally had a change of mindset and feel ready to make a concerted effort to get back into shape and work on my waistline, but I’ll save that for another post.

Right now I’d love to hear your thoughts on your body post baby – what has changed and how do you feel about it?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS
What I thought about post-baby bodies before I had a baby…

Travelling with a baby: Stuff that helps

Before we went to Greece last week we bought some travel gear that we found really useful and I thought I’d share… along with some fun stuff. I wish I’d known about some of these earlier for use out and about at home to be honest, particularly the travel high chair, so don’t discount them if you’re not traveling anywhere!

1. Totseat Kids Travel Highchair £23.99
There was no high chair in our apartment and to be honest we were only offered them at restaurants 50% of the time or less… and I won’t go into the standards of cleanliness of the ones we received. Nothing bugs me more than Bea eating on my knee, squirming and wiping her hands, face and food on my clothes so this was a godsend. It fits on multiple different seat backs (we didn’t find one it don’t fit,) is very secure, rolls up really small and is washable. Genius idea and we will be using it regularly back home too. The only thing is that it doesn’t add much height, but we tended to sit her on a rolled up towel or something which gave enough height and I suspect if your baby was a bit taller then Bea (not difficult!) it would be better. (Koo-Di do a much cheaper one but it’s not adjustable for all the different chair backs so I imagine wouldn’t always work.)

2. Koo-di Pop-Up Travel Bubble Cot Around £40
You guessed it, no cot either… Maybe some other mums can explain to me how you travel with one of the usual travel cots – they seem so big and heavy for suitcases? We bought this months back for going to friends houses but it’s also great for holidays as it’s light, fits into a case when packed down and functions as a mosquito net too.

3. Koo-di Pop-Up Travel Bubble Cot £9.99
For a bit of fun we bought this for Bea for the pool. It was great – after the initial terrified meltdown when we first put her in it! It was brilliant because of the sunshade, so even if it was midday, we could put her in there to cool off and she was covered from the heat of the sun :)

4. Summer Infant Tiny Diner – Green £9.99
Another brilliant find for baby lead weaners or any tot eating out, this was perfect for knowing that she was eating off a clean surface. Some of the places we ate were a bit grubby on the table tops or high chairs and while I’m not normally a clean freak, the last thing we needed in the heat was a dehydrating tummy bug! We sat this under her bottom on a seat (it’s quite big) or on the table and it worked really well – another one we will be using at home too.

5. Frostfire Popup Beach Shelter with UV protection (50+ UPF)
We were worried about keeping Bea shaded so bought this for the beach, knowing that the village we were visiting wasn’t the type where you pay for a lounger and parasol on the beach. ;) In fact, it was too hot even for this as it got hotter in the tent and we ended up buying a cheap parasol, but if it wasn’t as warm this would have been great – it provided good shade, a wind break and decent space for playing away from the handfuls of sand and pebbles that Bea was intent on shoving in her mouth!

Have you got any amazing finds for travelling with a baby? we’ve only got one year left before we have to start paying for her seat so I intend to do a lot more travelling with her over the next 12 months! ;)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

11 months with Bea

Tomorrow Bea turns one, so expect all kinds of sentimental reflective writing coming up over the next couple of weeks. I have so much to share on a year of sleep, feeding, fun and love. But first, I need to squeeze this monthly update in before it seems old hat and irrelevant.

Developmentally, between 10 and 11 months was massive, in fact every month feels like that now! Lots of things she has been practising for a long time seem to have finally clicked into place. She can stack the wooden tower of rainbow rings we have and the way she looks so pleased with herself is priceless. Another favourite is zooming around pushing the walker we bought her, although she hasn’t quite mastered turning!

We had our first nights away from Daddy as I went on a work course in the Lake District and totally chickened on leaving Bea behind. I used the excuse that we are still feeding, but really I don’t think I could have left her! My mum came to help looking after her in the day while I went to the workshops and Bea joined us on a walk that was part of it too!

Bea is also becoming more and more sociable and interested in children. It started with getting excited when she went past the park in the pram with my mum and now if she is in a room with other children or passes them anywhere she is so desperate to interact – it’s so cute!

Lastly, we had a little staycation, which was so lovely. We had things to do during it but spending every day as a family together was so much fun. Our usual routine involves us switching off a lot in the week as Pete works late on Mondays and Fridays and I work late 2 of the other days so being together as a 3 is precious time. Bea chose that week to stand up by herself, (she had been cruising for a while but this was unaided,) which was pretty exciting too!

We will be having a birthday fun day tomorrow, do follow along on Instagram, and I’ll be back on Wednesday :)

How are you and your littles getting on?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

10 months with Bea…

Whoa, ten months. Seriously, time is flying and it feels like she will be One already any minute. (Edit: I’m a little behind with these and in fact she will be One very soon, sob sob!)

As you can see from these photo’s, Bea’s mobility has gone to a whole other level. Gone are the days of me taking cute photos of her lying down in pretty outfits every week! Just before she reached 10 months Bea scaled the steps of our decking and she now climbs the stairs to bed every night (with us keeping a watchful eye and ready hand behind her!) She pulls up on everything and by the end of the month had started cruising too.

I won’t lie, it is tiring, but if it wasn’t for safety, I could leave her to entertain herself for hours. Toys aren’t getting a look in these days, now it’s all about radiators, wires, plug sockets, random bits of fluff or grit on the floor (cue crazy cleaning efforts daily from me,) the cats food bowl… you name it, if I don’t want her playing with it, she makes a Bea-line. ;)

Bea is talking more now and expanding her range of sounds. I think Cat (or ‘Ca!’) is her first word, used accurately for our cats, but also for all animals in general. Of course Daddy thinks Dada is the first one, but I’m not entirely convinced it’s used in context yet ;)

This months big achievement was clapping! I know lots of babies do it sooner but Bea just hadn’t tried at all, then one day I returned from work and it was the thing to be doing. ;) She pretty much hasn’t stopped since! Mum has also taught her to put her hands in the air when we say ‘SO BIG!’ - so cute. Their days together are lovely – I think she has been tiring my mum out but Mum does things with her I wouldn’t think of and I love hearing them laughing (Bea gets quite hysterical,) over something I have no idea about when I’m in the other room.

I’ll be squeezing another of these posts in next week because the week after, Bea is 1! Expect lots of nostalgic reflective and mushy posts while I mourn my tiny baby and celebrate my cheeky toddler ;)

Where are all you mama’s and babies at right now?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS 9 months, 8 Months, 7 months, 6 months, 5 months, 4 months, 3 months, 2 months and the first month with Bea.

Garden Party Get Up…

We held Bea’s Naming Ceremony in our garden this last Sunday and as one of the reasons we chose a Naming Ceremony instead of a Christening was because we had no personal relationship with any of the local churches, it was important to us to hold it somewhere of significance. Our family home and newly finished garden seemed the perfect place to celebrate and start creating memories. Of course, I wanted to decorate too so I thought I’d share some of the inspiration behind the decor in case you are looking to decorate for any kind of garden party or celebration soon. It was all really simple and easy – mainly because I bought the decor in rather than making (most) of it and I’d recommend that approach for busy mums rather than aspiring towards unrealistic expectations!

I didn’t really have a theme but it is summer and I just wanted everything to look happy, fun and celebratory, so we went with bright colours.


DIY celebration flags // Mexicana fiesta bunting
Confetti Sprinkles Cake // Tags for wishes // Thumbprint tree

Of course, I collected some Pinterest inspiration, then found all the necessary supplies. Our celebrant Janet Lopacki provided us with the tree for a thumbprint guest book but the same one is available to download below. As another memento I cut up coloured paper (from TK Maxx) into tag shapes and left a stack for people to write a message for Bea and we got some lovely ones to keep for her. My intention is to make a scrapbook with the wishes, fingerprint tree and copies of the readings. The flags were a last minute idea to give to the children to wave through the ceremony, also made with the co-ordinating paper. I spotted the decor in John Lewis and made a note of their brand. Theres a much more extensive selection on their own website and I ended up buying it from them via Amazon which was cheaper. I happened to find some in TK Maxx too, although not in the colours I wanted.


(Free printable) DIY fingerprint tree: One Fab Day // Paper decor and fan strings: Talkingtables.co.uk // Ink pad: Hobbycraft // Paper: HeidiSwapp.com (From TK Maxx)

At the end of the ceremony we also arranged a balloon release. I’d do this differently in future, because the message got a bit lost while people removed the strings from the balloons, but the idea was explained by Janet like this:

I know that Beatrice will receive, and give, a lot of love to everyone she meets in life. Today you have been given balloons to release into the sky, the purpose of this in a symbolic sense, is that during the course of Beatrice’s lifetime, the thoughts, hopes and wishes you have for Beatrice today, will be carried through the wind and the weather systems, kept in by that ozone layer, and with each ray of sunshine and drop of rain, that love and those aspirations will steadily come back down to Beatrice.

We have had a few friends take photos that I’m just waiting to come back, but when they do, I’ll share a few here so you can see how it all turned out!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Behind the scenes…

Firstly, let me apologise for going AWOL last week. A little while ago we decided against a traditional Christening for Bea and opted for a humanist naming ceremony. We planned it for our newly finished garden, found a celebrant and invited our closest friends and family. As a consequence, last week was busy!

It was such an amazing day and I’m so glad we did it. I’m going to come back soon and tell you all more about it but here are some pictures of the planning first. I actually enjoyed the build up and the day without feeling really stressed, probably because we did it exactly how we wanted it.

In the meantime, if you didn’t catch Erin’s post yesterday, do go back and have a look at how she wore June.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

What I have learned… About being a working Mum

I’ve been back at work for almost 3 months now, my first day was 17th March and I didn’t write about it until now because I spent most of the first month doing a phased return. It wasn’t until after Easter that I was back to my usual 3 day week, so I’ve now done 2 months of that.

Some of you may recall that I was dreading my return to work. I cried the night before, partly because I felt like I was abandoning this little thing that had only ever known me being there almost 24/7. Partly it was purely selfish, I felt like I was missing out on watching her grow up and develop.

So I made it through the day without her… And this is what daddy daycare looks like…

A video posted by Rebecca Norris (@rebecca_norris) on

In actual fact, It’s been nowhere near as hard as I thought. Work is so busy (for those of you who don’t know, I’m a GP) that I didn’t get a moment to think about her all day. The first few times I left her she was with Pete, happy as larry, then later on with my mum, so that made things easier too. Coming home was amazing. When I started back at work, Bea wasn’t quite 8 months old so we weren’t quite at the stage where she was excited about seeing me again, but then as the weeks went on she started to get really excited when I came home, clapping and shouting and reaching for me. There have been crushing moments too though. The day I returned to work, Bea properly crawled, to the incentive of her expressed bottle that Daddy kindly put on the floor in front of her. Another day I came home and she had started clapping, (taught by my mum,) as lovely as it is for mum and her to have that experience and memory together, it still cut deep that it wasn’t me who taught her.

Being back at work has had it’s plus points though. I know after almost 8 months at home with Bea I was starting to take our time together for granted. There were times I needed to get some life admin task done or a bit of house work and she got plonked and shushed, inevitably towards the end of the day with a deadline looming and the witching hour underway. As she got more mobile that got harder and I got more frustrated. Now, as much as possible, the time I have with her I spend with her. When something needs doing, I plan to do it later… not much is getting done, but, whatever. I think I’m more patient with her too, being away makes me fresher, more ready to face the challenges a crawling, almost toddling, non-stop little minx brings with her. ;)

Objectively, now I’ve done both, I’m not sure how I feel. We just did our garden with the money that I earn – we use my salary at the moment to plough into the house and live more carefully on Pete’s. I’m so happy with it, but I hate that that essentially represents putting material things ahead of my time with Bea. I have more than once considered what it would mean to give up work, financial cuts we would have to make. I know I’d be as happy in a smaller house, so we could still afford holidays and the like, but with Bea every day. I’m pretty sure that if had had the option I’d have taken a career break, but there’s very little information about it available in my line of work and I do know that if you are off for over 12 months, there are retraining consequences. I’m also a partner and have obligations to my practice and partners. To some extent I feel I’ve made my bed and have to lie in it. Unfortunately I don’t buy the working woman positive role model argument… my Mum didn’t work and it didn’t stop me forging a challenging career, however I also don’t feel it influenced me in how I feel about being wishing I was at home with Bea either; I want to be home with her because I want to spend more time with her, not because I feel children do better when they have a stay at home mum (or parent) as a constant.

All those things considered, a lot of this is selfish rather than considering Beas needs. She is a happy little thing, doesn’t seem at all bothered by me leaving and copes really well with our days apart. Her relationship with Pete has blossomed. Although he was great with her before, its really gone to the next level and he knows her routine and quirks (almost) ;) as well as me now. She and my Mum also have a lovely little bond going on and its amazing seeing mum make her laugh or do things with her that I wouldn’t have thought to do.

Of course I know that there will be countless things she doesn’t learn from me, at nursery, at school, even at University (if she goes,) but its hard making the transition from being the lynchpin to all her new experiences. At times I have felt recently that she needs me less because she doesn’t see me as so central to her life now, she has had to reply on others as her touchstone throughout the day. And I know that its great that she has so many people around her, loving her, cheering her on and ready to catch her when she falls, but it doesn’t stop me wishing it was me. I also know I’m lucky to be able to work part time and I will say that 3 days is a reasonable balance but at the same time, more than enough for me.

I don’t think I’ve given any answers in this post, if you’re searching for them yourself, goodness knows I wish I had them myself, but I hope if you’re dreading returning to work it might help in some small way. I certainly found it was a bit like when I was pregnant and people would tell me that having a baby was ‘the best thing ever!’ – I used to think, ‘It might be for you…!’ and couldn’t comprehend how I would feel when she arrived. Similarly people told me the anticipation of returning to work was worse than the reality and it is, but I couldn’t see that at all when I was dreading my own return, until I had done it and it was fine.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, as always readers,

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS All these photos are from my Instagram account, you can follow Bea and I’s adventures here.

9 months with Bea

Bea is 10 months tomorrow so I’m a little behind with these posts – I must catch up before she gets to One! The last 2 months have been so much fun, despite my being back at work, as Bea is becoming more and more of an interactive little person.

We’ve been lucky enough to be getting around and meeting blog friends recently and made a trip up to Scotland to see Roz in Glasgow and met up with Kirsty too. Bea loved meeting the babies and her tour of the forever house then topped off the visit by waving for the very first time at Kirsty!

Since crawling, life has been all about moving for Bea. Toys are no longer of interest and instead she’s all about handles, plugs, wires, radiator valves and anything else inappropriate. She’s moved on really quickly from crawling to pulling up at 35 weeks; Only 2 weeks later and she was standing in her cot and we had to lower the cot base. We’ve covered all the plugs with child proof socket covers but theres still a lot to do to baby proof the house and we just try to make sure there’s nothing for her to hurt herself on around on the floor.

Bea has never been a babbly baby, and in fact when other babies were ba ba ba-ing Bea was still quiet, just doing occasional shouty noises. Around 36 weeks though everything changed and chattering was the order of the day. She started making ‘Bwa’ sounds over and over and over and chattering back to you if you repeated them back to her :)

It didn’t take long before her repertoire of noises was improved however, now we have Ca ca ca… too!

I’ll leave it there before I fall asleep or encroach on the next month, do share your stories of where you’re at with your little ones if you have them!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS
8 Months, 7 months, 6 months, 5 months, 4 months, 3 months, 2 months and the first month with Bea.