motherhood · parenting

NEW MEANING…

So, it’s been a while since I posted..in fact, it’s been over a year since my last blog post!!!  A lot has happened in that time and things have changed drastically, but I am finally in a position to start thinking about this blog again.  I hope that I will be able to start posting regularly again and giving you a little insight into the world of my ‘Two Cherries’!

So my biggest news…if you don’t already know, is that I am back on maternity leave and currently 35 weeks pregnant. Therefore the name of this blog has kind of taken on a new meaning, because it no longer refers to Ivy and myself as the ‘Two Cherries’, but instead refers to my two babies.  Ivy, who is now almost 2 years old, and Baby Cherry #2 who is due on the 15th October.  Just 5 days after Ivy’s birthday.

And then, our most recent news is that we are moving.  It hasn’t been without complications, and we are still waiting on our ‘forever home’…but, we are all set (fingers crossed) to move into a rented property in early October before the baby makes his/her arrival.  Therefore we are spending most of our time packing and getting organised for the move.

And I thought it would be a good time to start up my blog again….

 

motherhood · parenting · pregnancy

S L O W I N G D O W N . . .

Slowing down is something I’ve never been good at.  It just isn’t me.

I remember even in my care-free days when I had no responsibility, I would get up and think… ‘I’ll have a lazy day today’…and then after about an hour of lounging around in my pj’s watching a chick flick I’d be complaining of being bored and wanting to do something better, something more worthwhile with my time.  And most importantly, I needed/longed for company!

I also remember, on these ‘lazy days’, my mental health would always plummet.  Granted, perhaps these days were more likely the days of hangovers, which let’s face it, are never good for anyone’s mental health.  But even on the non-hungover days, when I had no plans, or I found myself at a loss of something to do…I would just find myself too much inside my own head.  And even now, on those days, I start over-thinking the small things.  I start questioning choices I have made.  I start doubting things that had recently been so clear and comprehensible.

Now, I know this about myself.  I know that I require company, and to keep myself busy in order to maintain a healthy mental state.  I am what is known as an extrovert.  In order for me to be happy and sane I need to be around people and doing stuff.  This is not to say that I am always the most sociable of people.  It just means that I much prefer to be with people, rather than on my own.  Sometimes I just need to sit in silence and gather my thoughts (don’t we all!) but I prefer to do that in the presence of others, rather than on my own.  To me, there is something quite powerful about a friendship in which no one needs to talk.  You just enjoy the company.

So, being 36 weeks pregnant, and the type of person that needs to be constantly on the go and keeping busy, I imagine you can see how tough this is for me.  My body is screaming ‘SLOW DOWN’ but my head is saying ‘HURRY UP’.  I want to be busy, because I know I need to be busy in order to keep a healthy mind but I just cannot physically keep up with myself.  It frustrates me greatly.

I constantly say ‘yes’ to everything that is going on.  In fact, the times I say ‘no’ are usually due to already having made plans.  I don’t ask for help…I just try to carry on like normal.  The silly thing is, I know this is wrong.  I know that my body needs to rest and that I should take some time out, just sit, stop doing everything, let my husband pick up the item I just dropped on the floor, but I’m not that person.  I don’t want people doing things for me.  I don’t want to be the person that says ‘No, sorry I can’t come because I need to rest.’  That’s not to say I shouldn’t be that person.  It’s just that it goes against my very being.  I feel guilty for not being my usual self.  And if I wasn’t keeping myself busy, doing all these things, going against the will of my body…what would I be doing?

Sitting around, getting cabin fever, getting inside my own head too much.  Becoming anxious about things that don’t usually concern me.  Giving too much head space to insignificant small things that in normal day to day life, for me, are not a concern.

I am so grateful for Ivy’s company, because her presence and relationship do mean that I am never really alone.  But even with her, we rarely stay home for long.  We always have plans to be out and about keeping busy, seeing people, sometimes not even people we know…it’s just nice to be around others.  Like in a cafe, or at the park etc.  Somewhere, where there is opportunity to talk to other adults should I need to.

…and despite knowing all of this about myself. Despite knowing that my body really needs to slow down, I just can’t bring myself to do it.  I can’t stop myself from saying ‘yes’.  And then I complain about how sore and tired my body is.  I complain about feeling like I can’t keep up with myself.  I complain about all the things I still need to do!

Right now, I am lucky enough to be having a child-free day.  Most women at 36 weeks pregnant would be jumping at the chance to sit and chill out, maybe have a nap.  But I can’t.  I am just not programmed to be that way.  So instead, just today, I have been for a beauty appointment (in which, I got to natter for half an hour about all sorts to a complete stranger) I have walked around the shops whilst catching up with close friends on the phone.  I have Insta-storied my shopping experience because I felt the need to share the moment with others and it makes it feel less like a solitary activity.  I have eaten lunch, started packing my hospital bag, sorted through a load of clothes, done the washing, written this blog post and now I am planning on doing some more packing…

…because I cannot, even if I want to, SLOW DOWN!!  And, although I have had a lot of interaction with other people already today, I am starting to feel myself becoming lonely.  So I am going to put the radio on in the hope that I don’t feel so alone. And before I know it, it will be time to collect Ivy and start the evening routine.

And then come 7pm I’ll be complaining that I’m tired and my husband will be telling me I need to…      S L O W   D O W N ! ! !

 

 

 

motherhood · Teaching

The Return to Work…

I wanted to write a post before returning to work telling you all about how anxious I was feeling leading up to that dreaded first day back, however life happened and the laptop remained hidden at the bottom of a massive ‘to do’ pile for what has felt like an eternity!!

So instead, I am now writing to tell you all how it went…

IT WAS OK! It wasn’t great, it wasn’t easy… but it was OK!

So on Monday 17th July I set my alarm for 6am, but let’s face it, with a 9 month old I really shouldn’t have bothered.  At 5:55am I was abruptly awoken by the sound of Ivy crying and my husband rushing out of the bedroom (the crying, very normal….the husband darting into her room, not so normal!) to tend to her.  Turns out Ivy had thrown up EVERYWHERE! As you can imagine, my anxiety about leaving her rocketed and I felt like the World’s worst mum as I rushed around getting her bathed before quickly getting myself ready and leaving for work.

Once I was there- I managed to keep myself busy, luckily the nature of my job as a primary school teacher is non stop and very active so I was able to easily keep myself distracted from what was happening at home without me.  I was also very lucky that I wasn’t leaving Ivy with strangers or people she doesn’t know well… I was leaving her with her Daddy! However anyone that knows me personally will probably know already that I am a bit of a control freak and I like to take charge, especially when it comes to Ivy, so even though I trust Rob completely in every way, I hated the thought of not being in control.

As the first day came to its end I was feeling pretty proud of myself for making it through the day without any tears, without constantly checking my phone, and without too much stress and worry.  I got home and had the biggest smile from Ivy as I walked through the door, a huge cuddle and you know what, I actually felt really satisfied with the day and I felt good about the fact that I had once again earnt some money to support our household.

Fast forward to Friday and I was really starting to feel it now, with Ivy no-where near sleeping through and 5 full-on days at work I was exhausted.  There are no words to describe just how tired I was feeling and the lack of Ivy time was starting to upset me.  I found that I was using up all my patience and good manners at work and then getting home and losing my patience an awful lot quicker than usual.  Patience is actually one of my attributes and usually something I am proud of so this was by far the hardest element of the whole experience.  I felt like by the end of the week I was into the swing of work and being a good teacher, but as a result I was no longer being a good mummy.  I had no patience at home, and for the very short time in which I was with Ivy before she went to bed.  I was rushing, hurrying her and didn’t have the time and energy to entertain anything but good behaviour.  I was feeling stressed, and of course that was causing Ivy to become stressed and therefore she was presenting difficult behaviour that I was struggling to deal with in my usual calm manner. As soon as she was in bed and I finally got 2 mins to myself, all I could think about was what a horrible mummy I was being and how much I was missing my time with her.

Luckily for me, that was the worst it will ever get and I knew that I had 6 more weeks at home with Ivy before having to do it all again.  It is now the last of those 6 weeks and I return to work again next week…I know it won’t be the same as I am now on a part time contract, therefore I will only be working 3 days a week, but I can’t help but worry that I will find the adjustment difficult and that my parenting will again deteriorate to something that I don’t like.  I know that it will be very hard to juggle everything together and do it all well, but I would like to think that I am strong enough to ensure I am always the best mummy possible.  I am hopeful that I will learn to adjust and save some of my patience for my most important pupil, my daughter!

How have you found the return to work? Are you yet to return and worrying about similar things? Get in touch and let me know….

 

 

 

BLW · motherhood

Food is fun…

OK- So I wanted to post today about something that a few people have said to me recently after either seeing Ivy and I out and about eating, or watching our Instagram stories.  It’s this concept of seeing someone else doing something and thinking that they have it better than you, the ‘grass is always greener’ concept I guess. So here’s what people have been saying…

“You’re so lucky, Ivy eats so well! I wish ‘X’ would eat like that.”

Well does she eat well? I don’t know…

What does eating well mean?

If it means she eats 3 full meals without any leftovers- then she most definitely DOES NOT eat well.

If it means she enjoys everything I give her- then she most definitely DOES NOT eat well.

If it means she knows what to do with food and eats it nicely- then she most definitely DOES NOT eat well.

Yes, she puts food in her mouth and yes she seems to show enjoyment when she tries foods, but that is not always the case and she most certainly DOES NOT eat everything I give her.  After every meal, I pick up a percentage of it from the highchair/floor/table that has gone uneaten. The percentage of left overs varies from day to day and meal to meal…Do I worry? No.  Do I care? No.  Do I think she is getting enough food? Yes!

The best bit of advice I have ever been given (and I can’t even remember where I originally heard it!) is this….

“Food is fun until they are one!”

As long as your little one is still getting milk (breast or formula) then they are still getting everything they need. The extra nutrients they take in from solid food is exactly that…extra! It doesn’t matter if most of the delicious homemade vitamin packed meal you made ends up on the floor instead of in their mouth.  Of course, if you have slaved over a delicious meal and it doesn’t get eaten, then that can be frustrating BUT it doesn’t mean that your child doesn’t eat well.  It just simply means that they weren’t hungry that day, perhaps didn’t like the taste of an ingredient- or even that they liked the sound it made as it splattered against the floor!

There are some meals that Ivy literally inhales, there are others that she barely touches. However, I treat every meal exactly the same and celebrate each one equally.  Try to focus on the good things like the new tastes they explored, the textures they felt…the one ingredient they loved etc.

 

 

Whether or not your little one ate the food, doesn’t really matter- what you want to try and encourage is a positive mental attitude towards the food.  In order to do that, you have to stay positive yourself.  Just the other day I gave Ivy some houmous  and crudites, she loved the houmous and would happily suck it off of the veg sticks, but she wouldn’t eat the veg itself.  I stayed positive and focused on her love of houmous… I saw the meal as successful as we had found another new food that Ivy enjoys.  I know that she eats veg in other meals so she just didn’t fancy carrot and celery that day.  It would have been very easy for me to have a different attitude and try and force her to eat the veg.  Most likely this would have ended with Ivy becoming upset and distressed, and me feeling like the meal was a failure and never wanting to give her those foods again.

Remember also, every day is different.  You, as an adult get to choose the food you eat depending on your mood that day.  You, as an adult, sometimes eat more than usual or less than usual.  Your child feels the same.  If you offer courgette one day and it gets thrown on the floor, don’t assume your child hates courgette and strike it off the list of foods your child will eat.  Keep offering the courgette as you may find that another day will be completely different and you child will enjoy it.

 

So, I don’t think that Ivy eats well, or better than others…it’s more that, as a family we have a positive outlook on her eating.  If she eats something, great.  If it ends up all over the floor, great.  If she puts it in her mouth and then spits it out, great.  At this moment in time, it really doesn’t matter.

Stay positive AND remember…

FOOD IS FUN!

 

 

BLW · motherhood

The Mess!

One thing everyone notices about baby led weaning is…the MESS!!!

When you take on BLW, you have to also be prepared to embrace the sometimes catastrophic, all-encompassing turmoil that comes with it.  I mean, it’s not always that bad but there are times when you just want to hose your child down in the garden and leave her to dry off for a good 15 mins before allowing her back in the house!

When we started, I would purposefully find recipes that I could cook for Ivy that would make minimal mess and I was very successful in finding lots of foods that she could eat in a fairly clean manner- especially in the beginning when she mostly ate veggies/fruit. Now that we’ve got into the swing of things it’s not so easy to do.  Mainly because I now want to broaden the range of foods that she is eating but I also want to expose her to a variety of textures.

Last week I gave Ivy baked beans with her dinner…I wasn’t prepared for the inevitable.  For some reason I hadn’t considered the fact that those baked beans would end up everywhere, literally EVERYWHERE!  There are two ways to give your child foods like this, either you just chuck them in front of them and let them smear them around and have a jolly good time covering everything in site, including the floor.  OR you can provide them with pre-loaded spoons, which they can then drop/flick/throw into every corner of your kitchen…which you had already cleaned that day! I wasn’t prepared to clean baked beans off of the speakers that sit behind our kitchen table.  I wasn’t prepared to clean baked beans off of the pile of post sitting on the kitchen work surface.  I wasn’t prepared to clean baked beans from the wall on the other side of the room. I definitely wasn’t prepared to clean baked beans off of my own face!

But the thing to remember from this experience was not to avoid the situation, but to be better prepared for it next time.  I know this isn’t always possible, who has time to plan ahead the foods they are giving their children on a daily basis, and then ensure that the post has been moved etc.  But it is possible to leave the kitchen cleaning until after the baby has eaten her tea, to make sure you have put down a large wipe down mat under her high chair before she starts and to ensure that the baby is either in just a nappy or wearing a wipe down coverall bib.

Personally I find the ‘throw it all on the table and let her get stuck in’ method works best for us…less chance the walls get a splattering! But hey, it won’t be long until she is able to aim and throw her food at them anyway.

As I said before, who has time to pre-plan meals on a regular basis? Well, I might not do it all the time but I highly recommend that you do think ahead if you’re going out for a meal or at least choose wisely when selecting from a menu. Whilst the mess is great and your child gains so much from exploring the food/smearing it all over their face/squelching it between their fingers/throwing it on the floor to see your reaction…do you really want to experience that in a busy cafe/restaurant?? Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it can’t be helped.  I once gave Ivy avocado for the first time when in a cafe with my mum.  We all loved the whole situation, we found it highly amusing to watch Ivy cover herself and all the surrounding surfaces with green sticky mess…but the great clean up that followed wasn’t fun at all.  I don’t know about your children, but mine hates having her hands and face cleaned after eating, especially if it takes longer than usual and involves about 10 times more baby wipes! So a screaming baby and a highchair that is now covered in green sludge…and it’s one of those annoying high chairs that seems to have cracks and crevices everywhere- you know the ones! The situation went from hilarious and lighthearted to stressful and exhausting in a matter of moments.  Luckily I had Grandma with us to help out, had I been on my own in would have been even worse.  I now always make sure to take easy to clean up foods with us when out and about and save the messy ones for at home.

For now, we plan to start embracing MORE mess at home…

Keep an eye on my Instagram stories to see Ivy and I taking on the mess this week- wish us luck…hopefully I wont need a new kitchen at the end of it!!!

motherhood · Teaching

Welcome- We are the ‘Cherries’

Welcome! I’m new to this blogging game so thought I’d start with a quick introduction…

I am Hanna, wife to Rob, mother to Ivy- and we are the ‘Cherries’.

I absolutely love my job as a Primary School Teacher. Don’t get me wrong it comes with a whole world of stress, worry and paperwork; but when I consider it carefully and remember the pride it leaves me with knowing that I have had a part in shaping a young persons future, then I do- I absolutely LOVE my job!

As a young person myself, if anyone ever asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I would tell them I wanted to be a mummy.  As a teacher you are so often looked up to for more than just knowledge and I am often called ‘mummy’ and sometimes even ‘daddy’ by mistake!!! So, I guess- I kind of got what I wanted.  Every year I have 30 new children to care for, nurture, educate and support.  30 children to worry about.  30 children to feel proud of.  30 children to wear me out.  30 children to cry about.  30 children to laugh with. 30 children to pass back to their parents every evening…OK, so maybe it’s not the same, but a close second!

Well, in October 2016, I did become a mummy, and my heart filled with love I never knew existed for my gorgeous baby girl Ivy.  I always knew I wanted children, but I couldn’t attempt to comprehend what it would be like.  Ivy fills me with joy, pride and love every single moment of every single day and I feel truly blessed to hold her and to call her mine.

After 8 months with Ivy, I now only have just under 5 weeks until I return to work.  Even though I love my new job as mummy- I haven’t finished playing my role as teacher.  I know that it will be incredibly hard to leave my baby, and there will be a whole host of new issues, worries, heartache and FOMO (I imagine there will be a blog about it much closer to the time) but at the same time I am looking forward to getting back into my career and having a new class- no longer a ‘mummy’ to 30, but a mummy to 31!!!

I hope to use this blog to share all of my adventures in motherhood with you…in particular our ‘Baby Led Weaning’ journey, which is only just beginning.

Thanks for reading, I hope you’ll join us.  Hanna & Ivy, Two Cherries, in it together xxx