Bed Wetting: The School Age Taboo

This post brought to you by DryNites®. The content and opinions expressed below are that of More Than Toast.

IMG_0190 I’ve noticed as a mum there are still some topics that are taboo, even within circles of friends. We discuss so much with other mothers – education, health, relationships, POO – but there are some things that really still don’t get discussed. One of these things I’ve noticed is the subject of bedwetting. I have one particular friend who I talk about this with and we always comment that it’s really unusual to hear other mums discuss where they are at with this stage of their children growing up. I’m not sure if it’s seen as shameful or embarrassing but I very rarely get roped into conversation about it. I’ve asked my own mum about it and apparently I was incredibly advanced and was dry at night at something like three months old. Not really. IMG_3039 But in all seriousness according to her it happened from something like 20 months onwards, which despite me already knowing I was an incredibly advanced child ;) has made me wonder if I’m doing anything wrong with my children. Is it OK that, at the age of nearly-5, Elfie is not consistently dry at night? Of course it is! I’ve recently been doing some research and have learnt that 10% of all 4-15 year olds wet the bed at some point, with most cases occurring in children after 8. So you’re definitely not alone. Normally just a developmental stage, it’s worth bearing in mind that night time dryness is usually something that feels like it takes ages to be mastered. One could argue that this isn’t a situation limited to children under five. I’ve been reading the comedian Rob Delaney’s autobiography recently and he wet the bed up til the age of 21… IMG_3046 Interestingly boys are slightly more prone to bedwetting than girls, with boys making up 60% of bedwetting cases in the younger age groups. Some studies suggest that girls tend to develop bladder control before boys. I went through a stage of thinking Elfie ‘should’ be dry at night by this point. But after a couple of upsetting nights for her I thought: really? Does it matter? Bed wetting is a part of growing up – she would like to be dry at night because I know it’s not a situation she enjoys but it’s really not the end of the world. IMG_3036 For the time being we use DryNites®(and always have for their lovely character illustrations and their age-appropriateness). I want Elfie (and Hux!) to feel confident when they go to bed at night and I think this really helps them. They feel slightly more grown up and it brings that little element of fun to our post-bath bedtime routine. We get our kicks where we can ;) The DryNites Confident Kids 24/7 campaign aims to provide parents with helpful tools and advice to boost their child’s confidence and overcome challenges such as bedwetting.

IMG_3047 What I’m trying to say is that you needn’t not worry if your children are still wetting the bed at this age. It’s so very normal (almost 600,000 children are affected by this every year) and I bet if you started a conversation with your friends about it they’d have more experiences and stories about it than you might think. 4690-DryNites-POME-Content If you’re worried do take a quick look at the DryNites® website where there’s stacks of information to help you navigate through this particular motherhood minefield. You’re not alone!

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Now You Are Three.

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It’s an odd thing, your baby’s birthdays. Elfie’s are one thing; as the eldest she’s the birthday trailblazer, demanding parties in village halls or Pizza Express and spending hours wondering if she’s going to dress up as Anna or Elsa.

Hux is different. He still doesn’t ‘get’ birthdays so mama makes the decisions (as well as the cakes). Feeling slightly bittersweet this year as I scrolled through pictures of him as a wrinkly newborn, I savoured every last moment of planning my little baby boy’s (“I NOT A BABY, MUMMY, I A BIG BOY”) special day.

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Last year was a slightly chilly garden picnic, this year we went for a dinosaur-themed day of fun with stacks of pressies, playtime outside, a trip to the trampoline park and a small family meal. Despite me feeling ruined now after a weekend of birthday-related activities, we had a blast 

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So, Hux. Now you are three.

You are very different to your sister. She’s Miss Independent, Miss ‘I don’t need your help mummy’. You like me to carry you down the stairs, to give you a hand lugging your favourite toys round Waitrose or IKEA (it’s a good thing Buzz Lightyear likes the inside of my handbag) and to give you a cuddle at the end of every day.

You really love your mum and the amount of smackers (that’s kisses, not punches ;) you give on the regular makes me happy. These big, sloppy, often snotty kisses that you plant on me – if I go for the lips you stick your hands on my ears, twist my head round and shower my cheek with them. They’re sticky but lovely. Never stop. Your affection and ‘I love yooooo’s are just the highlights of my days.

11267612_847722575319817_775364792_n 11282823_827968037272772_196288906_nYou love not only your mum but your sister fiercely. You two share a room which I think is so good for you both; it’s turned you into best friends and co-conspirators, giggling into the night as your mum sits downstairs and pretends to be cross. You argue like cats and dogs (or brother and sister…) but always make up with a kiss and a cuddle and a ‘love you, Elfie’.

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You have your favourite toys and it’s generally the biggest, loudest, most plastic flashing piece of licensed tat you can find. Awesome. You take your toy of the day everywhere with you and I’m forever turning up glow-in-the-dark balls, Spiderman figurines and Woody dolls in my car. Today I drove to work to the soundtrack of a talking helicopter in the back seat; I couldn’t hear the news but I wouldn’t have it any other way (and when I say news I obviously mean Taylor Swift on Radio 1). You have the most vivid imagination though, and it’s a pleasure to watch you make-believe. Today you pretended for half an hour that you had a cat living on your shoulder called tiger and kept making me kiss it. I obviously obliged over and over again.

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You used to have this trick of sneaking into my bed in the middle of the night, sometimes so stealthily that it wouldn’t wake me up until 6am when it was time to get up for school. But, probably sensibly, I decided you should probably spend more nights sleeping in your own bed and now that is what you do. Cos if I ever get a boyfriend it might be awkward when you’re 15 and still spending your nights snuggled up to your favourite woman.

I miss you every night, though!

IMG_2258 IMG_2261One thing we argue about is food. You have your favourite foods (pasta, peas, cucumber, sausages, CAKE!) but you’re really not fussed about eating anything else. Which obviously isn’t entirely helpful on the days I spend hours slaving over a roast dinner, only to have you pick at a pea before asking for milk. I try not to let it worry me – you’ll eat when you’re hungry and I don’t want to stress you out over food – but goddamn it’s annoying. We had a breakthrough last week when you ate a lasagne so that’s what I’ll be cooking for the forseeable future.

We have a lovely time, you and me and Elfie. I hope you are always as happy as you appear.

Happy third birthday, darling buddy.

PS: Hux turns one / Hux turns two

 

Toddlers Today – What Does It Mean To Be A Toddler?

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I always think it must be pretty cool to be a toddler in 2015.

Just think about it – you get to spend your weeks playing with your friends, being entertained by various singing and dancing adults, getting taken to really cool places like working farms and swimming pools and you don’t have to worry about Council Tax or how many miles to the gallon your car is doing.

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Which is probably why, at the age of two, Hux is one of the happiest people I know. He’s never once mentioned carbon emissions to me and his favourite object in the whole world is a tambourine.

SMA® Nutrition are as interested in the changing lives of toddlers as I am and so they commissioned research of 1,000 mums of toddlers (aged 1-3 years) across the British Isles. From travel, tech, food and exercise they wanted to see just how our nation’s toddlers are living.

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Their research found that 90% of mums eat out with their toddler at least once a month – with 26% eating out with them once a week (this is me!). 64% feed their toddler sweet potato, 35% couscous or quinoa and 28% avocado – we eat all these things in our house but let me tell you I would not recommend homemade gluten free gnocchi…

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The research also discovered that today’s society is more technologically advanced than it was twenty years ago which is seen in toddlers; nearly half surveyed are given iPads, tablets or mobile phones to play with and the same number being able to unlock these devices on their own.

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To complement their research SMA® Nutrition have asked me to keep a diary of what Hux gets up to in a typical week – where we go, how we play, what we eat, what we see. With our lives being so busy sometimes I’m excited to take part; the project’s really making me think about the choices of activities and food we make on a day-to-day basis.

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Come back in a few days to see what a week in the life of Hux is like!

Thank-you SMA for working with MTT :) 

Hux Turns Two

IMG_1509 It’s been a busy time over at ours these last couple of weeks. Hux had a birthday and turning two meant that he can start going with Elfie to pre-school a couple of days a week. Where has my baby boy gone? 4c054d8ea18a11e192e91231381b3d7a_7The night before his second birthday I went up to Elfie and Hux’s shared bedroom to tuck them both in. Hux was stark naked as he always is when left alone for more than five minutes, save for a pair of sunglasses that he was totally rocking in his sleep. I scooped him up and snuggled into his little naked neck, thinking of that week we spent in the hospital getting to know each other two years ago, when he was a newborn. Those times we spent with him on my chest, snoozing and cuddling, they were just amazing. Ward of six women who’d just given birth notwithstanding. I remember telling him all about the world he’d just entered, whispering into little downy ears that it was his for the taking. I told him the same thing last night and kissed his neck as he slept; as I put him back to bed (didn’t want to get pee’d on. Again.) and strapped a nappy on his little bottom he murmered “hold me, mama” and it melted my heart.IMG_1601 That’s the thing about this little man. He’s a real rough and tumbler when it comes to getting dirty at the park or playing with the older boys – he can hold his own with a four year old – but deep down he always likes to come back to his mummy for a cuddle. Apart from that once when he cried for his Grannie at the front door for fifteen minutes after she’d dropped him off. Way to break my heart, Hux.

IMG_1474At the age of two this little man is still a comedian. Nothing is funnier to him than a sound of a fart, he’s a real chatterbox and will parrot everything you say back: “get in car! Leave shoes on! Eat your dinner!” He’s always been a babbler and able to identify things (in particular cats and birds, which are often called ducks, and CARS!) but it’s incredible how much his vocabulary has come on in the last couple of months. I put that down to the conversations he has with Elfie – those two can sit and chatter along for ages.

Looking back to Elfie at this age, she and Hux are as different as night and day. She was placid where he is excitable, he is boisterous where she was delicate. He’s forever where he shouldn’t be, rummaging in the cupboard under the sink, trying to put (non-toxic) kitchen cleaner in his hair. He invites mischief into every aspect of what he does and I’m FOREVER having to change his outfit thanks to him attracting dirt like a magnet.

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Hux trotted off to pre-school for his first full day (which is actually only 3 hours) yesterday morning as happy as Larry, just as his sister did a year ago, He’s starting younger than she did but the energy this boy has – wow. He is going to love his two mornings a week playing with his new friends. I arrived ten minutes early to pick him up today (proud slash worried mama) and although he was having a ball it was kind of nice that he started asking for me when he saw me through the window. I missed you too Hux!

925002_667227803350234_2047922084_nWe had a low-key second birthday: we were both woken up at six thirty by the sound of Elfie saying “Hux! Hux! It’s your birthday! Wake up! You are TWO!” We opened presents (Hux was very pleased with his new road rug and cars) and had a special breakfast of Pain Au Chocolate before we took Elfie off to school. And then it was funtime… cake baking, sandwich making, Pimms preparing. I’d invited my two closest mum friends to join us for a little birthday tea party and lucky for us the weather was absolutely glorious. Huge thank-yous to the lovely people at Vertbaudet who sent us a party in a box; nothing makes you feel festive like spotty paper plates and cups and party bags!

IMG_1592 IMG_1595We sat on blankets in the garden talking about mum things (schools, poo, tantrums ;) as the kids played and it was lovely. I can’t speak for Hux but I’m pretty sure he had a ball too, chasing after baby Georgiana and pushing his new cars around.

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The cake this year was a simple Victoria sponge with raspberry jam (remember the Rainbow Cake massiveness?!) which was really enjoyed by everyone. Including me, for breakfast, three times since Friday. Oops.

Happy Birthday to my most favourite boy in the whole world. Hux, you are turning out to be someone rather special! I can’t wait to see where you are in another two years.

PS: finding out I was pregnant with Hux, Hux’s birth, Hux turns one, Elfie at two

Hux, His Spoon, And Why I Will Never Label My Children

IMG_1098Hux is turning into a real character. At the grand old age of 1 year and 9 months he’s proving to be quite the cheeky little thing, always a smile and a wave for everyone. He’s been walking for about six weeks now and is still ever so proud of his little legs; staggering around like an old man who’s spent the day sinking whisky (but not smelling the same), taking off in pursuit of anything more exciting than his mum is his new favourite activity. You name it, he’s chased it.

He can talk now, no more than one and a half garbled words at once but hearing him make sense of the world around him is pretty awesome. His favourite words are: “CAKE!” (always shouted), “loola” (lolly), “Mama” (heart melt), “RaaRaa”, “‘poon” (spoon), “UP!” (cuddle time), “baby” and “pay” (boy loves his ca$h). He also does a great line in vehicles: tractor, bus, car, plane. And he can count to three! Boy’s obviously a borderline genius. I’m on the phone to Mensa as we speak.

IMG_1105One of Hux’s favourite games is to spend time with me in my bedroom when I get ready for the day. He’s a real magpie, loves adorning himself with my big blingy necklaces and bracelets and staggering about the bedroom with a handbag. He enjoys slinging things around his neck (supervised, obviously) and ‘getting dressed’ by wearing my bra as a necklace. He also has a real thing for hats and is never happier than when removing his socks to wear on his hands.

He’s also a real tomboy. Always banging into things, throwing himself around and enjoying as much rough and tumble as possible. He’s currently sporting two face bruises (door accidents) and a knee scrape (unknown origin). I love that he’s so fearless and enjoys being so physical: future rugby star in the making for sure.

IMG_1106He gets these little obsessions, too. He once carried my toothbrush around for two days straight, using it to clean the carpet, gag. Thanks Hux. He adores his RaaRaa book and we must read it at least six times a day. And most recently we’ve been obsessed with a spoon (or a ‘POON!).

It’s not a real spoon, but please don’t tell Hux that. It’s actually some kind of mirrored implement that came with the doctor’s kit I bought Elfie for Christmas this year. Huxley seems to have adopted this ‘poon as his dearest friend, his closest confidante, his security blanket. It’s with him from morning through to night; he uses it to eat his meals, it splashes water in the bath and is clutched in his tight little fists while he drifts off to sleep. 3df34e308be911e3ae7e124fce6320e0_8One of the reasons I love my children so much is for these wonderful little idiosyncrasies. I mean, I would love to know what Hux was thinking when he chose his spoon as his new best friend, or when he spent those couple of days with my toothbrush. I don’t remember Elfie going in for obsessions with such aplomb but how wonderful is it to see the differences between my two as they grow up? Like my mum said as I sent her the photograph of Hux sleeping with his ‘poon: these two, they’re like chalk and cheese. Yes I said, Hux is the chalk and Elfie’s the cheese :)

I posted one of many photographs of Hux and his spoon on Facebook this weekend. I was really sad when a friend of mine who has a son who is a year younger than Elfie messaged me: she said she was pleased to see me show Hux and his ‘POON because her son has shown similar traits when it comes to these little obsessions. What got to me was that she said because of this some friends have been questioning her about her son, asking her if she thinks there’s something wrong with him. Maybe he has Autism? they’ve said. My friend says that when she tells one of her son’s quirky stories she gets ‘that look’ from other mums (come on, we all know how it goes when you get ‘that look’) and questions about him being assessed.

I was like, WTF? People have actually said that to you?

2c6bc2468b7111e390c0125d7a642baf_8I was outraged on her behalf. Firstly, I will never understand why other mothers think that just because they had a child extracted from their body it gives them the right to pass judgement on others’ parenting. I’m tarring a large group with the same brush here but it’s something we’ve all experienced and such judgement is one reason I can be a little wary of forming friendships with other mothers. Secondly, what should it matter? Unless there is something developmentally wrong with my son I see nothing wrong with he fact he spends his days clutching a big ‘poon.  He likes it, OK? As long as he’s happy, loved and healthy that should be all that matters. If he’s autistic, artistic or green in colour I don’t really care. All I care about is that he enjoys being a toddler and gets to do what makes him smile, and if that is walking around with a spoon in hand that is fine with me.

I tell you, if anyone dared to suggest that I should take my son to be assessed because of a couple of little quirks then they’d know about it (although they probably wouldn’t, what with me being British and having a stiff upper lip and all). Hey, you know what else? Maybe he’ll be gay because I let him dress up in my jewellery and clothes? That’s another label for you, society.

119dd2948b8311e3aa7612f19fca3f6f_8In all seriousness though, it seems to be a must in this modern life for us to label the world around us and the people in it. Stay at home mum, work at home mum, single mum (raises hand). It’s sad that we can’t just get on with life without these labels; it’s as if putting us all in different boxes brings comfort to others. It’s sad to me that we can’t be more accepting of others and the way they want to live their lives without having to define what they are. We’re all humans, that should be enough definition for anyone.

Hux could grow up to BE a spoon for all it matters to me. I don’t want him to ever think I’m defining who or what he is because of the pressure from society: his and Elflie’s happiness, that’s really all that matters.  And ‘My Son The Spoon’? That’d make a great blog post.

 

In Which I Go Gooey Over My Little Man

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The relationships we have with our children, they are complex and frightening things. Even moreso than the relationships we have with other adults (and I’m speaking as someone who spilt apple pie over her divorce petition last night, so yeah… complex).

I feel quite different about the relationship I have with Hux than the one I have with Elfie. I’m not a girly girl and don’t have tons of girl friends (but the ones I do have are meticulously chosen and loved to bits), my non-PC sense of humour and love of straight-talking has always meant I’ve found it easier to get along with blokes. So is this why I am closer to Hux than I was to Elf at this age? Or is it because I breastfed him for so much longer? Co-slept? Was so more relaxed because he was the second child? Or is this just the different relationship mothers have with sons?

I don’t love Elfie any less, no siree. But our time together is just more… fiery. There are more ups and downs, more “I not love you, mummy!!”, more hands-on-hips, stompy strops and frayed tempers (her and me). She definitely takes after me, the lovely little madam.

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I seem to be a bit more tolerant of little Hux. He’s now one month away from one and a half and couldn’t be lovelier. It seems silly to say but this little man has developed quite the sense of humour and knows how to use it. When people meet him they comment on 1) how smiley he is, 2) how funny he is and 3) how handsome he is. I agree on all three counts. When we were on our cruise last week he spent time each evening in the night nursery where babies were strictly only allowed in if they were asleep. Hux? Nah. They liked it if he was awake because he would flirt and play peekaboo with them.

He can talk! Well, ish. He can say nana as he always has been able to but has added mama, dada, milk, no no no no and yeah yeah yeah yeah to his repertoire. He knows who his grannie and grandpa are but calls them both ‘papa’. He says bath, ball, pool and there and can’t get enough of spending time in the water. He’ll go swimming til his lips turn blue and he starts to shake but even then he’ll wail like a banshee when you remove him from the water.

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Hux likes buttons, mostly on electrical items. Buttons on tv remotes, buttons on phones, buttons on calculators. Anything with buttons he will hold to his ear and say “yah yah yah yah?” like he’s come straight off the set off Ab Fab. He also likes bras and mostly hangs the strap around his neck and then holds his arms out as if to say, “ta-dahhh!”. Ditto pants on head, he is always so proud to put Elfie’s pants on his head. I’m pretty confident this is just a stage and he isn’t going to grow up a deviant.

I don’t know if it’s just Hux or if this is more of a general boy thing but he has a great affinity with the toilet. Particularly the toilet brush. If he could he would spend all day with the toilet brush and let’s stop talking about this because I do my best to keep him out the bathroom and it’s completely gross.

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He’s also completely independent. He’s not walking yet but cruises along anything he can. He refuses to be fed which can make dinner time tricky but today managed to spoon feed a whole portion of mashed potato to himself, the little genius. His independence mean he’s quite happy to entertain himself for half an hour or so, though when left to his own devices I usually find him in some precarious position trying to get something forbidden off a shelf, or scaling a sofa as if it’s mount Everest.

Hux loves his sister, so so much. They light up when they’re together and although I promised myself I’d never be the sort of mummy who says soppy things it really is beautiful to see them delight in each others company so much. Mostly, anyway. Elfie is always wailing because Hux has taken some toy or another off her and although I try to tell her that she’s bigger than him and so doesn’t have to let him take her toys she is a big softie. They cuddle and communicate in giggles and pokes. It’s awesome.

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Hux is definitely a mummy’s boy but is only cuddly on some occassions. He knows exactly what I mean when I ask him for a cuddle and usually says “no no no” then laughs in my face, the heartbreaker, but sometimes he will oblige and bury his face in my neck. Which is always divine. On holiday last week there was one night when his temperature climbed to 39.5 and all he wanted to do was snuggle in my arms and have his back tickled. I pretended to be cross as it was 3am and I’d been up with him for three hours but I secretly loved every second. I know it won’t last forever and I treasure the moments I get to cuddle my baby boy before he starts smelling of cheesy feet, farts and Lynx.