Audrey is 3!

Oops. Audrey turned 3 and I forgot to blog about it. Such is the foggy brain of a sleep-deprived mother of two.

She has had several rounds of “Happy birthday”, at home, Whoopsadaisy, nursery, over the phone from Nanny, at her picnic party in the park… So the happy birthday song has joined her repartoire and I hear it at least once a day. Another brilliant new favourite is “We Are the Champions” – we watched a Jimmy Fallon clip of lots of stars singing it and now Audrey sings the chorus a lot, much to our amusement.

Anyway, Audrey had a fabulous birthday. And here are some pictures to prove it… Oh and Rex tried some solids for the first time on her birthday, he was unsure!

With Mary and Claire, my bestfriends and bridesmaids

Advertisements

When it sucks to have two children…

It really sucks to have two children when you spend 25 mins patting a baby to sleep (because then you’ll be free to focus attention on your toddler) and 10 mins into the nap the toddler wakes the baby up. And then you snap at the toddler for doing this. And then you cry and your toddler says “Y’ok Mummy?”. And then you can’t get the baby back to sleep, so the baby is crying and the toddler wants to play ball, but you snap; “Well we can’t play ball now because YOU woke him up, now Mummy has to see to him and we can’t play together, well done”.

And then you cry some more, because this is just a stupid thing to say to your toddler and actually you’re just so damn tired and now have no idea what to do with the baby. He won’t sleep. But if you feed him he probably will fall asleep on you. Which means you definitely can’t do anything with the toddler and will spend at least 45 minutes telling the toddler to be quiet and play on their own and not wake the baby. But the toddler may go out into the hall and make banging noises and play with things they’re not supposed to and you’ll prioritise the baby’s sleep.

Annnnd breathe. 

Two non-walkers are bloody hard work. Especially when one wakes up a lot at night and naps best in a sling when out and about. It is exhausting and upsetting and at times I have questioned my mental health! And I feel pathetic for this. How many woman have had two kids with this age gap? Or even three kids to look after or more. It feels like… It can’t really be this hard, can it? 

I’m also amazed at how much guilt I feel when having a “moment” with one and not the other. It’s weird sharing love. Audrey was such a total focus for us and now she’s lost some of that focus because we’ve added a baby brother into the mix. I feel bad about it, even though in the long run everyone will be happier for it.

But in this heatwave it sucks to have a baby strapped to your front and another to push up one of Brighton’s many hills in the buggy. 

It sucks when one needs to be awake and the other needs to be asleep (and they often get this the wrong way around).

Or in the middle of the night when the baby has (finally) slept for a decent stretch but the toddler wakes up crying.

There are so many reasons that dealing with these two feels like a giant challenge at the moment, an uphill climb (with one kid attached to you and the other pushed in a buggy!!), but what will it be like once we reach the top? Only time will tell, but I am banking on this struggle having a happy ending. And I’m pretty sure it will. Hey, just look at the way Rex looks at his big sister…

Audrey’s Magical Powers

The other night I had half a glass of wine and cried because I love my daughter so much.

It was Friday night; Ted arrived home with fish and chips. We arrange a little portion for Audrey, stick Rex in the bumbo, get the music turned up and enjoy ourselves. After stuffing our faces we all retreat to the sofa and dance. And sing. And laugh.

In amongst this pretty fabulous (but not out of the ordinary) scene, I look at Audrey and start crying (with joy). She senses the tears immediately; “Y’ok Mummy?” she says, arms outstretched for a cuddle. “Better?” she asks, patting me on the back.

You see, I just get struck now and then by these scenes of happiness. Of our “normal” family life and the light that Audrey brings to it.

As we continue with our second parenting experience, it can feel strange to be out and about with my “typical” baby. I feel like I don’t have my “special needs mummy” badge on display, that no one knows that I have an extra special family with a different experience of how things go. How nothing should be taken for granted. Rex is 4 months old and seems so sturdy, almost ready to sit up, stand… Talk. Now I see clearly how hard Audrey has had to work at things that just happen for typical kids.
But somehow because of this extra chromosome Audrey has a magical way that just makes things special.

She does some classic sympathetic crying when other kids are upset (oh her famous bottom lip!).

She says “Thank you” when children steal toys from her.

She can get a smile out of some of the grumpiest looking people. And on that note…

She doesn’t judge. She waves and says hello to tramps, teenagers, people covered in tattoos, people who look unclean, the old, the young, the fat, the thin, men or women, black or white – Audrey just likes people and that makes me proud.

It’s also fabulous to witness how she can light up a doctor’s waiting room or bring out smiles to grumpy people on the bus or in a queue. 

Her dance moves are a sight to behold.

Her cuddles melt into your body.

She just pretended to hurt both her feet so I would kiss them better.

She has started using “one more” as a way of getting me to continue playing/feed her biscuits/extend bedtime reading.

She regularly shuffles over to help Rex reach his toys.

There’s so much to say about Audrey’s wonderful nature (and her cheeky attitude), but I’ll leave it there for now. And please know that she is still trying lots of toddler stroppy tricks on me and is getting to be quite a handful these days. Still, I predict Rex’s toddler tantrums will be a bit harder to handle…