Sunday, 31 March 2013

Exploring Dyffryn Gardens on the #EasterEggTrail

Celebrating Easter can be a difficult balance, from gifting chocolate eggs or more, to getting everyone involved.
Making it a family occasion was top of our priority list.

The National Trust is making this easy for families through the Easter Egg Trail.
Eighteen National Trust locations across Wales, and 250 across the UK have opened their doors this weekend to celebrate Easter.

We made our way to Dyffryn Gardens. In the heart of the Vale of Glamorgan, we couldn't have timed our visit better- Dyffryn Gardens reopened under the stewardship of the National Trust in January, and Dyffryn House reopened it's doors to the public this weekend.
Dyffryn Gardens are Grade I-listed, the house Grade II-listed.
Duffryn House, Duffryn Gardens, The Vale of Glamorgan
The house is spectacular.
Squeaks stood back, took a deep breath, and said "Can we play hide and seek in it?"

We joined the Easter Egg Trail at the Exhibition Centre, Squeaks and I set off to explore the house whilst Mr J took the boys to play on the lawns.

I would love to wander the house without Squeaks- it is amazing in its intricacies, from the stain glassed window to the art work, the panelling. You really could lose yourself.

As it was, the National Trust volunteers have made every effort to make the house welcoming to children and adults alike.
Volunteers are hand to share their knowledge, and enthusiasm. In each room there is something to grab a child's interest.
I loved the ideas of beanbeds on the floor to encourage you to take the time to appreciate the art work on the ceilings (hopefully these are for children and adults alike!).

From the house, we met up with Mr J and took the time to appreciate the Great Lawn.
Of course, everyone was magnetically attracted to the canal and the steps.
We made a vow to go out collecting frogspawn this week after seeing so much and Squeaks having learned about tadpoles and frogs in school.
As you make your way around the gardens there are great insights, wonderful inspirations. It is amazing to think people bring so much motivation to the designs of gardens, from each as an individual piece, and then to making them work as a collection.
We took a walk through the Glass House, and of course Squeaks loved all the beautiful flowers, and was intently looking at the lemon trees with an absolute awe.
And, of course, there was the actual reason we were there- the Easter Egg Trail!
Squeaks took it very seriously, when she wasn't distracted by wide spans of grass, or beautiful flowers.
The counting tasks had us all foxed as we kept coming up with three different answers!

And yet, at the end of it, all three little people were rewarded with an egg.
And whilst Squeaks treasured hers and wanted to keep it till we got home (especially proud of the fact she had a pirate egg!), the boys, well, I spotted a trail of foil as we made our way back to the car!

The Easter Egg Trail is a fantastic way of exploring National Trust locations, and a great way of keeping little people involved.
As we left Squeaks asked if we could come back next Easter. We replied 'definitely'. Not expecting "It's Easter Monday tomorrow isn't it mummy? I can't wait!".

As someone who only remembers Dyffryn for its open air theatre I have to recommend Dyffryn House and Garden as a great family activity, and even better if you can explore on your own and as a family!
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Disclosure: We were provided with a pass for a family of five for the purposes of this review. All views contained are our own.


With the demise of Google Reader I'm going with the popular recommendation of Bloglovin
So far so good, its happy to transfer over all the blogs I'm following on Google Reader (Phew).

So, now, to claim my blog!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Project #365 - Week 12

So, this is my belated week 12. Not only belated because my laptop died, also because I had so many photos to sort through of such an amazing week.

Amazing because, above everything, my daughter turned 4.


And then, because we went to Butlins, Bognor Regis as part of our role as Ambassadors, and had the most exhausting week- full of fun and excitement.

So here it is:

Sunday: my photo of the week- my daughter 4th birthday, her first proper birthday party.
Monday: the day my daughter turned 4.
Tuesday: the boys won't stop for photos, they're on their way swimming!
Wednesday: Making friends.
Thursday: Getting dinner time right- at 5pm.
Friday: I know you can't read the small print, needless to say she shouldn't be there.
Saturday: Squeaks takes a snap of Cheeky.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Saturday, 30 March 2013

We went on a bear hunt!

Today was a first, for me a brave first, for the little people- well, they were brave for another reason.
We went on a bear hunt, at the New Theatre Cardiff.

"We're going on a Bear Hunt" is on its Spring/ Summer tour. It is one of Squeaks' favourite books, written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxsbury.

When I heard this was going to be touring, and visiting Cardiff, I couldn't resist buying three children's tickets.
Despite it being a suggested 3+ years performance.
And if you had asked me at the point I took this photo, I would have predicted leaving the theatre with grey hair.
And yet, the minute the lights dimmed, and the performance began,
I lost my children.
I lost all three of them to the magic of the theatre.

Tiny was my star.
He wanted nothing to do with mummy.
He got comfy in his chair.
And watched, and danced in his seat, and joined in with the songs and shouting "Bear!".
And every now and then, for reassurance, he turned around to the rest of the theatre to make sure they were with him on his journey.

Cheeky, oddly, was the one who decided he wanted on mummy's knee.
And from there he was as confident as he always is.
Mesmerised and applauding to show his enjoyment at all the right moments.

Squeaks was as good as she always is.
Deciding to take Cheeky's seat to be closer to mummy.
And making friends so she ended up joining in, being scared of the bear.

And it was a fantastic show. Most comparable to James and the Giant Peach, it is a small cast of four (plus the bear!). With singing, puppetry, props, musical instruments, and audience interaction.

As we read the book last night I couldn't help but wonder how the book would translate to a 55minute theatre production.
And it did in a way that meant there was no time check, that there was no distraction, it was pure engagement.
The mix of engagement I think achieved this so well. From using the stage, to using the theatre, to changing perspectives, and involving everyone in the journey.

The performers were as adept as it seems actors today need to be- not only acting, but singing, and playing musical instruments.
I doff my hat!

And I'll be honest, having heard of, and witnessed little ones leaving the theatre early. The bear is lovely. But in a young person's eyes- who is engrossed and involved in the performance- can be scary.
I thank my lucky stars that the boys responded well.
But this is probably the reason it is a 3+ performance.

And as the curtain came down and I thought about trying to get the children out in tact, Mr J walked in with helping hands.

My three children did me so proud.
They loved the theatre.

And a bit like the dentist, the little people left the theatre with their badges of honour!

Project #365 - Week 13

So, I am running behind schedule.... about three weeks.
So I'm starting with last week, because it will explain a little of the lapse!

Sunday: My favourite photo of the week. As a result of Blog Summit I've been a lot more confident switching my camera to manual. And I love this photo. My children's blue eyes mesmerise me.

Monday: Shopping for a new laptop (the lapse), trying to figure out why I was drawn to the red one, regardless of performance.

Tuesday: My Dragon's Den-esque day. Travelling to London for a ten minute pitch for a couple of million (it's a long story), a 'no' would have solved a lot of problems, they said yes, Thursday's deadline had to be met so the work intensified.

Wednesday: Practicing writing. I'm struggling as a lefty trying to practice with a righty who likes to copy mummy. We're getting there.

Thursday: Making the most of the rock beach five minutes from the house.

Friday: We haven't had any snow. We have had sun.

Saturday: Another milestone. The children and I went to see 'We're going on a bear hunt'. The bear didn't stand a chance.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Friday, 29 March 2013

A fantastic week at Butlin's, Bognor Regis

Last week we stepped up to the challenge of being Butlin's Ambassadors and road tested the Ocean Hotel at Bognor Regis.

I convince myself that they invited us, so it's alright, as we definitely put the team through their paces.

We arrived on the day my daughter turned 4, so first up you had an over excited child. Convinced we were on the 4th floor because of her age.
And then the two year old twins.This is the first holiday we've been on where they were full power. 100% confident in themselves, and 100% confident that they can take on the world.

And of course, this confidence meant they were exhausted in time for tea every night. No matter how early we went for dinner they still were almost asleep at the table, and latterly in a bad mood.

My children can't be alone in this.
With so much to do at Butlin's it seems exhaustion is the inevitable end to every day.
Mummy and daddy definitely needed this week to recover.

The team at Butlin's are superb, adept with dealing with every possible eventuality, and remaining courteous, polite and friendly. Nothing was too much trouble, and no matter what us or the other guests threw at them- nothing caused a frown.

The facilities at Butlin's are clean, safe, and instantly attractive to children.

The shows hypnotise children. I now have a 4 year old who wants to be a Knight when she grows up.

Of course, I got home and spent Saturday loving all the photos, until my laptop died on me.
And, having spent today on a new laptop going through all the photos, I am still no closer to a shortlist.

So here is my compromise, until I get round to editing the video footage.

Here are a collection of our photos; the resort, the fairground and the shows.
I think it goes way to explaining why the children loved it, and why everyone ended the week exhausted, with memories created forever.

Disclosure: We were provided with the holiday in our role as Butlins Ambassadors. All views expressed are our own.

Raising awareness: #VitaminD for toddlers

I am lucky enough to have become a Growing Up Milk Mum.
As a mum to premature babies, and one born at 4lb 7oz, making sure my children get a healthy, well balanced diet is a priority.

The start of Spring sees the UK's first Vitamin D Day. Launches by Growing Up Milk Info, the campaign aims to raise the importance of vitamins for toddlers.

It would seem in a year of the most random weather the campaign is well timed, the reliance of the sun to support us receiving Vitamin D feels to me something that can't be taken foregranted. Limited sunshine, and exposure to the sun, means that toddlers may not get the opportunity to get the Vitamin D needed if reliant on this single source.

Health Expert and ITV's This Morning regular, Dr Chris Steele, is backing Vitamin D Day. Parents understanding of the importance of dietary intake of vitamin D for toddlers is key to supporting growth of bones and teeth.

"The lack of vitamin D in toddler diets is a growing health concern and we need to ensure that our toddlers are getting the best from their diets. Presently, the average British toddler is only getting 27% of their daily vitamin D RNIii which is major concern as the sun cannot be relied upon alone to fulfil a toddler's vitamin D needs."

Vitamin D Day is about raising awareness of which food sources can support gaining Vitamin D, allowing parents to easily factor Vitamin D into diets.
Growing Up Milk Info is supporting Vitamin D Day by providing lots of information on supporting toddlers in getting their vitamin D intake, including meal planners and advice and support.

Disclaimer: This information is brought to you through my role as a Growing Up Milk Mum

And breathe

Deadlines met.
Two weeks of no childcare done.
One poorly husband getting better.

It's done.

Time to catch up on family time.

It's been a lot more painless than this time last year.
I don't feel the need to crash and burn.
But I do feel I've neglected the best parts of my life.

That's the thing with this 'working mum' thing.
You never feel like you're doing the right thing.
Because no matter how much I enjoy my job.
I enjoy spending time with my family more.
And when I'm stressed with work, I know my patience levels wane.

I can't beat myself up too much.
We had the best week away.
And the boys are growing so fast, and their laughter is still as contagious as ever.
And my little girl has turned 4, and is as sassy as ever in attitude and mind.
And it is done.
"My work here is done."
The proposal was submitted
Ahead of schedule.
We secured the support needed to get the proposal submitted.
And now the waiting game begins again.

And despite this temporary celebration.
I begin my to-do list of everything I haven't done whilst we've been working on the proposal.

But first, a week off.
A week off me time.
Me and my family.
Laughter, fun, chaos, disorder.
Bring it on.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Reclaiming the traditional funfair @Butlins

Last week, in our role as Butlins Ambassadors, we were fortunate enough to spend a week at the Bognor Regis resort.

This was the view from our hotel room at the Ocean Hotel:

The fairground at Butlin's Bognor Regis

It was fantastic to go on holiday and have all the modcons to which we have become accustomed whilst at the same time having the best bits of our holidays past.

We are amongst many who associate the fairground with the 'Best of British' heritage.

Memories evoked by the Helter Skelter, the Dodgems, the Carousel.

Sir Billy Butlin was the first to bring dodgems to the UK, and we were one of the first families to experience the newly refurbished traditional fairground at Butlin's Bognor Regis.

The fairground, Butlins Bognor Regis

Squeaks of course completely fearless when it comes to the fairground. Mummy had to stand and watch, with heart in mouth, whilst Squeaks laughed and squealed in delight.

With all the rides being free of course Squeaks quickly got to grips with 'again?'.

The boys enjoyed attempting to hook ducks and get confused with the texture of candy floss.

Butlin's do family like no other.
Butlin's exhausted us all in equal measure.
Family fun for each of us.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Enjoy Easter with the National Trust

As we look forward to Easter this weekend, the chance to have lots of outdoor fun will be a priority for us.
Finding out about great events taking place locally is always a huge bonus, and nothing can be more fun for little people than running about in pursuit of Easter Eggs!

It's one of the hubby's favourite memories, that Easter was always about him and his cousin chasing around the house and garden to find Easter Eggs, and something he has wanted to recreate for our children.

Which is why we'll be off to Dyffryn Gardens this weekend!

Duffryn Gardens is our nearest National Trust location, and one of 250 offering up beautiful surroundings for Easter fun and games.

The National Trust have teamed up with Cadbury's for the sixth year to provide Easter Egg Trails, with face painters, egg and spoon races, and sack races, the National Trust and Cadbury's have a fantastic, traditional way to get all the family enjoying outdoor time.

And whilst not everyone has the advantage of a National Trust site is travelling distance, nor for that matter the abilty to travel due to snow, this is covered! There are plenty of activities for your little people to get involved in at home.

Check out your local trail if you're in search of great family fun this Easter.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Taking a break- thanks to @Butlins

So, the last couple of weeks have been chaos. From mum's 60th, my parents ruby wedding anniversary, and Squeaks' 4th birthday- and then throw in a massive deadline at work.
A break at Butlin's couldn't have been better timed.
We are here at the Bognor Regis resort, staying in one of the Neptune rooms at the Ocean Hotel.
It is wonderful.
Firstly, because we've found a hotel which accommodates five in one room.
Secondly, because we've discovered Butlin's and a winner with the children.
We can't help but speculate about how much more they'd enjoy it if they were a bit older.
And saying that with the knowledge we've put weary children to bed each night- straight to sleep!
So, what's been so good?
The under-5's 'fairground' has been the cause of the boys' greatest excitement- every day! They've got a little piece of independence and they love it!
The shows- so far we've seen Bob the Builder, Thomas and Friends, Angelina Ballerina, and the puppet show. All have had the children enraptured.
The 'fancy restaurants'- Squeaks' favourite expression! We have had dinner at the Kalediscope restaurant and Turner's. And of course one meal featured a cake, balloons and a rendition of 'happy birthday'! And we've managed a character breakfast with Cedric and Godfrey!
Our room. The children are in their element that we're all in the same room, and do not want to leave.
I love our room, I love our view!!
The swimming pool- three slides for the children. A slide for Squeaks and daddy to have races down.
It's no wonder the boys are refusing their afternoon naps and sleeping through.
And here are a couple of photos, before we get home and I can download a gazillion from my camera, because when children are this happy you want to capture every moment.
Disclaimer: the post has been written as part of our role as a Butlin's Ambassador. All views contained are our own.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Please send chocolate. Or Vodka. Extra time would be better.

It's weeks like these, which I love and hate in equal measure.

It feels like everything's happening at once.

To test us.

Today is the boys last day with the childminder.
And of course I ran round like a maniac at 10pm as I forgot to get their stuff together.

Yesterday was their second session at playgroup.
And Tiny came home with a cracking bruise above his eye.
Because if it could happen to anyone....

We've got Squeaks' birthday party this weekend.
And I've known all along I've bitten off more than I can chew.
But I want to do her proud.
I just hope I can.

And there's been something wrong with the car.
We took it to the garage.
And got a quote for repairs.
Does anyone actually have this kind of money spare?

I feel like the most rubbish person.
Am I that bad at budgeting
Should I raid the children's savings accounts?
Should they have saving accounts when we're this strapped for cash?
Can we cope with one car?
I'll have enough money by April... hopefully.

Money worries is the thing which tips me over the edge.
I don't know why.
If we haven't got it, we haven't got it.

And then there's work.
The proposal and resultant project which nearly sent me to my stress-bubble last year.
Of course I volunteered for Round 2.
And it really does feel like stepping into the ring.
Apart from I haven't finished fighting all the battles of round 1.

So I feel like I'm ducking punches, only to get thwacked over the head by the one out of my line of vision.

The answers are constrained by the number of characters.
The perfect opportunity for Twitterers.
Madness for trying to provide meaningful responses.
And then there's the ruddy excel spreadsheets.
Now there's a battle I have so many wounds from.

And of course between now and the proposal being submitted I've got a week off.
And everyone is panicking, it seems I have "tacit knowledge".
So whilst it's my stress, it's ok for everyone to make it worse.
I have offered them a day planner, everything they need to do whilst I'm off.
That's team effort for you.

And then to top it all off.
Mr J has been on a waiting list for some minor surgery.
And the appointment's come through for the day the proposal is due in.
And my parents will be away.
And we've given up the childminder.
And it's Easter holidays.
So, the proposal is due in, Mr J will be in hospital, and I'll have the three masters of chaos for company.

*reaches for the vodka*

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Gardening fun with children

It was great to have some good weather this weekend.
Although the turn to frost may have meant we've been over-optimistic.
We've introduced Squeaks to growing her own flowers and vegetables.
And the enthusiasm is flowing.

We started a few weeks ago with cress, sunflowers and asparagus.
Progressing to carrots, peas, tomatoes, broccoli, spring onions, peppers.
And of course daffodils.
Introducing children to gardening

It's a great mix of things you can watch growing, and things where patience is a little more in order.

Squeaks has taken some of her sunflower seeds and seedlings into school.
And was so excited yesterday that some had grown over the weekend.

Gardening is one of those things which can start on a low budget.
We've not invested that much so far, it seems egg cartons are great.
And using the plastic containers food is frequently purchased.

The added bonus with gardening is it doesn't require trying to make it out of the home.
It's a great rainy day activity.
And it makes the most of outdoor space.
And as we transfer seedlings to the children's summer house  it not only brightens the rooms around the house, but also the garden.
Introducing children to gardening
Squeaks has thrown herself into the activity. Making sure the plants are each watered every day.
And getting so excited about those which have been transferred outside.
Introducing children to gardening

Maybe next year we'll think about a vegetable patch, I suspect by then the boys will be ready to join in as well!

Monday, 11 March 2013

A Pirate's Birthday Party fit for a 4 year old

Squeaks is about to turn four. And she wants a Pirate themed birthday party.
I am going over the top with the party.
I have guilt on a number of levels.
Firstly, this is her first 'proper' party.
When we lived in Yorkshire we had tea parties but didn't really know anyone her age.
Now birthday parties are a regular occurence- the joy of starting nursery school.
And of course I have the working mum thing, The guilt of not being at home is evened up by time at meetings mulling over the pirate ideas.

As a result of the request for a Pirate themed party I have fallen in love with Pinterest, and you can check out where my ideas have come from on my board. Hopefully I can add a lot more photos after the party!

So, this is where we're at.
Motivated by Pinterest I decided to make invitations. With the aid of paper I bought over ten years ago for CVs and cover letters (I'm sure it was all the rage then), my felt tips, a printer, a hole punch and curling ribbon- I was really proud of my efforts. It was a well spent night away with work!

I have however discounted any hand made efforts by resorting to the pound shop for the tableware. It seemed like such a waste to invest in stuff that will end up in the recycling bin, and with pirates being such a common theme we were sorted.

The goody bags will be a mix of 'tat' and handmade, if I get the time.
Again we have relied on the supermarket and pound shop. Bubbles and eye patches- how can we go wrong?!
And I am hoping to get some Pirate themed salt dough decorations done this week. It may not be everyone's taste- but neither's tat!

The food though is where I'm having the most fun.

Whilst we're going with sandwiches, wraps, sausages, pizza and chicken for savouries, I've loved the ideas I've found for desserts:
The online world has been an absolute gift.
The lovely Laura who did the boys' first birthday cake and mum's 60th is going to a great 'Jake and the Never Land Pirates' cake.

I managed to find the majority of thngs I needed on ebay.
'Buried treasure'- gold coins in krispie cakes.
Pirate cakes- sponge cakes with rice paper.
Pirate boats: Blue jell-o from an American sweet shop, in clear cups, with a slice of orange with a pirate flag.
Pirate battles: Plastic swords with strawberries, grapes and pineapple.
Treasure chests: with gold coins, haribo rings and candy necklaces.

And of course, the fantastic Pirate outfits we received from Joker's Masquerade.

I'm so excited about the party.
But I'm so glad we said we'll alternate parties and trips away between Squeaks and the boys.
I wonder what 2015 will hold!!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

The Tiny Twisted Tales - Review

My Little Big Town has published three fantastic 'tiny twisted tales'.
'Jenny', 'Stuart the Bug Eating Man', and 'Pale Henry' are the most obscure books I have read my daughter. So inevitably that means she loves them!

The Tiny Twisted Tales are written and illustrated by Calvin Innes. And to be honest I wasn't so fussed on them. The clue for Pale Henry and the Bug Eating Man is in the title. And yet, strangely there are great messages in each of these books- Pale Henry makes friends whilst being true to himself, the Bug Eating Man makes the most of who he is. So, whilst I could not believe I was reading these to my daughter, I could cope with how much she enjoys them given I hold a sliver of hope she gets those messages.

'Jenny' is definitely a firm favourite with me, although as I write this, and need to break the news to you, I am sort of wondering about my own mentality.
Jenny is a 'werewolf hunting eight year old!'. And as far as role models for my daughter is concerned, up against Peppa Pig, and Holly from 'Ben & Holly' I can't help but promote Jenny!

The books are marketed as suitable for children aged 5 upwards. And I think as children develop reading skills these would be great as the rhyme keeps the momentum and page turning.

At three (near four) I think they are great for Squeaks. She loves them, completely milks choosing which book she would like as her bed time read (whilst I'm pushing 'Jenny' under her nose), and as I'm not particularly enamored with the fact she has discovered Horrid Henry at her nanna's flat (and is blaming everything on Jack Frost) I figure this is my response. If she wants bugs and fighting (werewolves) she can happily have these books!

Disclosure: We received these three books for the purposes of the review. All views contained are our own.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Project #365 - Week 10

Thank you for visiting and getting involved with our weekly antics.
This week has been quite a fun, varied one.
So here goes:

Sunday: this was taken in the early hours. My boys sleeping their first night in a toddler beds. 
Monday: 62 Buckingham Gate. I stumbled across the iconic build en route to a meeting. 
Tuesday: picking up the boys from my parents. Cheeky pretends he is oblivious to the fact he is in grampy's chair!
62 Buckingham Gate, twins in toddler beds, and the cheeky toddler
Wednesday: picking up the boys from their first solo session at playschool. Tiny confidence soared- so much so he decided to drive home.
Thursday: Heading home from another full day in London.
Friday: Home from Bristol to find Cheeky wearing his reins, with no trousers, shoes or socks. Reading a book and making monkey noises at his brother. Life doesn't really get any better.
Barbican, toddler driving and toddler monkey noises
And my favourite photo for the week- because, yes, we had weather to allow this level of enjoyment!
Bouncing on a Plum trampoline

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Do older siblings grow up too fast?

Squeaks turns four in less than two weeks.

We have had our highs and lows, and throughout Squeaks has shown her strength of character.
When Mr J checked with her teacher as to how she was getting on at school today, Miss H commented that Squeaks' behaviour is 'impeccable'.
At playschool she is described as 'caring' and 'happy to share'.

She can recite stories like no other. Having grown tired of 'stories from mummy's head' she now tells me stories from her head.
She can count in english and welsh.
She recognises letters and relates sound.
I am sure she knows more at 3 than I knew at 5.

Squeaks has a strength that makes her determined, independent, and single minded.
They are all characteristics that I am proud of.
And this brings out the best and worst at times.
She is the best big sister, the proudest big sister.
And she's also quite happy about telling people how she feels, generally and about them.

She is very tactile, and at times not as wary of strangers as a parent may like.
If someone is unhappy she will hug them, whether she knows them is not her consideration.
And when she's been away from school or playschool she will run in and give everyone, adults and children, the biggest cuddles.

And I wouldn't have her any other way.
I cannot love her enough.

However, one of the things I am just coming to grips with is how quickly she grew up once the boys arrived.
I look at the boys now and remember my expectations of Squeaks at the same age.

When I was pregnant with the boys, a friend told us about this.
About how, when the boys arrived, Squeaks would suddenly seem that much older, and she wouldn't be.
And I was so aware of it.
It made me laugh when Mr J came to the hospital when I had been in for a while telling me how much Squeaks had grown that week, and I asked whether her clothes still fitted. They did. Lisa's advice rang true.

But, I expected Squeaks to walk everywhere from the moment the boys were born.
We only had a buggy for Squeaks when there were two of us.
And I am amazed now, because I can't imagine expecting the boys to walk the distances she did.
And when Squeaks started playschool when she was 28months it was just accepted, she adapted so well, and got on with it.
And yet the boys have now started playschool and my heart was in my throat, because I have never lef tthem in this sort of environment before.
And Squeaks' love of sleep meant she just got on with sleeping in a bed at 20months.
With the boys I have kept them in a cot as long as possible.

Squeaks now questions why she is the one who has to sleep on her own.
And wants a bed with the boys.
Or for one of the boys to swap beds with her so she can share.

Don't get me wrong, we have so many bad parenting mistakes which we still have to correct with Squeaks.
These are the things we have overlooked in favour of sleep.
Turning four, well hopefully we can put some things right.
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