The End

This blog is now closed. The story continues over on Flip Flops and Flying Carpets.

Thank you for reading.

Pause for Effect

Well folks, here we go. Around the time this post goes live, the packers will be arriving to do their thing where they turn my perfectly organised life upside down... again. I've done a lot more pre-planning this time, having been bitten by disastrous packers last time (maybe I'll blog about that once we're settled in). But for now, it's goodbye for a little while.

When I next blog, we'll be in Dubai!

Meanwhile, be sure to keep an eye on the blog facebook page - I'll be posting any updates there.

And while I'm away, just a little reminder about the Blog Carnival I'll be hosting on the 22nd April. The theme is spring and you are more than welcome to email me links to your more recent spring-themed blog posts (theprettywalrus at gmail dot com).

To anyone visiting the blog directly from the BritMums Carnival Schedule page, The Pretty Walrus is what once was Accidentally, kle... so yes, you're on the right blog. Apologies for the confusion!

Ok, switching off now. See you on the other side!

Bunny (but not Bunnywunny)

On Halloween in 2012, Emily and a pregnant me ventured into London to meet our friends (then also pregnant) Kate and Alexa. The girls were all dressed up as a fairy and a witch, and we took them to Selfridge's. While we were there, we stumbled upon a large collection of JellyCat Bashful Bunnies. There were all sorts of sizes, and I loved them. Emily loved them too. So I decided to treat her to one of them.

She was just getting into making little decisions for herself at the time, so I gave her a choice. I showed her the tiny bunny, and the slightly larger one. I wanted her to choose the larger one, but I knew she wouldn't. Emily always has had a soft spot for little things. From a very early age, the smaller version of something is the one that gets her saying "How sweeeeeeet!"

And as predicted, she chose the small one. I hoped that that bunny would become her special snuggly, and it did - for all of three days. After that it was quickly discarded and would only be lifted out of the toy basket by an ever hopeful me, only to be discarded all over again.

It will come as no surprise that Emily has many toys. But she's never actually chosen a really special one. When I was young, I had a pink elephant called Lazy that went with me everywhere. Lazy's limbs had to be reattached several times over the years simply because he was so well-loved. Lazy is still in a bag of keepsakes somewhere. But I digress.

Then earlier this month, while David was away in Dubai, she "discovered" bunny. And she discovered that Bunny's ears can be used along her face in the same relaxing way her clothy's corners once could.

Bunny now goes everywhere with Emily. If she so much as goes downstairs for breakfast without Bunny, you can expect a meltdown. Bunny even goes to the toilet with her. It has taken all my convincing powers to make her leave Bunny at home when she goes to school.

It looks like Bunny may actually be her Special Snuggly after all.

I remain, as ever, hopeful.

*The title of this post refers to a bunny in one of her favourite books: That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown

When There's A Dragon In Your Room

"Mummy, there's a dragon in my room"

At some point over the last few months, Emily became scared of dragons.
Not all dragons. Just the scary ones that invade her room.
I step on their toes and scare them away and she is pleased.
I have also taught her how to step on their toes
but that doesn't quite seem to scare them away as well as when I do it. 

But, just in case, I thought I'd up my game against the dragons. 

The next time my can of deodorant finished, I saved it. 

Then I found a cute little dragon image on Google Image Search. 

And I put this label together.

Stuck it onto the can...

et violà

What are your chances of finding that baby on a supermarket shelf?

So the next time Emily's dragon visits her room, I will be there armed with my feet AND a deadly spray.

Take that, dragons!

Slowing Down

If there's one thing I know about myself it's that I am extremely self-aware. I'm not the sort of person to accept things that I'm not happy about (apart from my weight, it would appear). I strive to make things better, to get to the root of the problem if there is one, and possibly fix it.

I knew things with myself and Adam weren't great. I knew it but I wasn't sure what to do about it for the longest time. As always, it wasn't a clear black and white issue. Even if I knew what I needed to do, I often didn't have the energy to do anything because of how bad nights had become. He was that baby that slept through by the time he was two months old. We enjoyed that for about three months, then when he reached five months, it all began to fall apart. We put it down to development, but then it kept getting worse and we weren't too sure it was just that any longer. It had become a bad, bad habit. He would wake up just to be held, and he wanted us to stand up while we held him. There were a scary amount of desperate hours of no sleep. And I felt hopeless and useless. I couldn't crack it, I needed to get to the bottom of it - for all our sakes - and I just couldn't work out what was wrong.

This was the point at which we began some sleep training. Now before any of you out there very anti sleep-training pounce on me, I do it very humanely. There's no Crying It Out in this house. No way. But there is an element of Controlled Crying. But take the recommended time gaps, and shrink them drastically. What we needed to make clear to Adam was that we were there, we loved him, but we wouldn't be picking him up and walking around with him for hours on end every night. It was about being firm and consistent.

It took a week, and he got it. We had full nights of sleep again and we were ALL the happier for it.

It was at this point that I suddenly saw the light: I needed to give more time to him. Now that any resentment was out of the way (judge me if you wish to, I'm no saint and yes I resented him for the endless nights of unrest), it was easier to enjoy him. It was easier to make the effort to play with him, entertain him. As a result of his better sleep, his daytime naps also fell into a better pattern so I was more able to work with and around them for outings.

So after I wrote that blogpost that day, about how I needed to do things for him, and not just have him tag along, I didn't sit on it. It was very basic, almost laughable, but our first outing was to the supermarket. I'd taken him with me before, but he was usually in the ergo, and I'd get on with whatever stuff I needed to do, and carry on, quickly, to my next task.

I realised that I never stop to show him anything, point things out to him, explain, tell him the names of things around him - as I used to do with Emily. And then I realised that the key isn't actually doing things for him, it's just about slowing down, living the moment. If I'm at the supermarket, why not point out the colours in the veggie section? (He loved that). Why not tell him what I'm doing, what I'm buying, why I'm buying it? I did this on a daily basis when Emily was young (I never stopped talking to her!), and yet with him, he just seems to be caught in a whirlwind of never enough time.

So I've slowed down. And I'm happier, he's happier, Emily is happier! I'm funnier (apparently). They laugh more. We do silly things, we dance, we make animal noises for no particular reason, we have random puppet shows from behind the sofa, we learn about things that are around us. And we breathe.

But on top of that, there have also been outings just for him. We now don't only go to the park when Emily is around. We go for walks, we run errands together still, but we stop to take in our surroundings.

A friend of mine posted a quote that same day I wrote that blogpost, which really hit home:

It is not enough that you love them, they must know they are loved. (Don Bosco)

And that's what it's all about.

We've met cousins and friends and he's enjoyed roaming around on the grass.

We've even been out for cafe dates together :)

Clothy and Dummy

Emily loved her clothy and dummy. It didn't take much convincing to get her to take a dummy as a baby, and that was that. Around the time she was one and a half, we taught her that clothy and dummy were for sleeping only. So she'd have them in the car (bearing in mind this was the UK and most trips were long and involved a nap), and in her cot. We very rarely had a problem with this. We wouldn't take them around with us so there was no risk of us caving when she begged for them and sleep was no where close.

Because she only used them to sleep we didn't particularly mind her using them. This was until she began eating them both. She would chew on her dummy and even her clothy. We successfully took away her dummy about six months ago and left her with clothy, but the eating of clothy got even worse - to the extent that we were concerned she would choke on it and I often wondered about all the fibres she was swallowing. After three days, we gave dummy back to her in a bid to stop the muslin cloth chewing and decided we'd work on taking clothy away instead.

A while later, we introduced a blanket instead of clothy. A blanket that was very precious because it belonged to Emily when she was a baby, and Mummy chose it when Emily was still in Mummy's tummy. This seemed to work - the blanket never went past her lips, and she accepted it (eventually) as her clothy replacement.

We began hinting at the fact that she might be old enough to stop using a dummy. It wasn't an idea that was welcomed. So we dropped it and planned to tackle it later.

Come Christmas Eve, she suddenly begged and begged for a clothy back and she must have caught me in a weak moment because I fished one out of its hiding place and handed it back to her. The happiness was indescribable. She gently drew patterns around her face with the corner, and she wanted to show me exactly what she was doing so she did the same to my face too. I could understand why it relaxed her so much.

And then, just like that, she handed clothy and her dummy to me and said, "Mummy, you need to give clothy and dummy to Father Christmas because a little baby might need them. I'm not a little baby anymore, I don't need them."

I was shocked. I actually tried to convince her otherwise. I made it clear that if we gave them to another baby, she would not be able to get them back. Ever. She said she was ok with that.

I (slightly brokenheartedly) took them out of her room with me that night, a part of me dreading the distraught little girl I would need to face the next day.

But the little girl wasn't distraught. She was perfectly fine and she was happy that she'd helped a little baby.

There were a couple of moments, a few weeks later, when she randomly remembered clothy and dummy and sobbed her little heart out over them. I genuinely feel she mourned them. I hugged her and let her mourn. It happened maybe three times over the space of two months.

And just like that, Emily grew out of her clothy and dummy. Had anyone told me two days before Christmas Eve that she'd do that, I'd have exploded with laughter. It was then that I knew that potty training would be down to her too, so I took the pressure off, (mostly) stopped mentioning it, and - yup, we got there.

But that's another story for another day.


He crawls down the corridor towards the stairs, his hands clapping along the floor.

Clap, clap. Clap, clap.

It's about time for his nap, and he knows it. He's beginning to feel sleepy.

He stops mid-corridor and sits down. He looks over towards me and shouts to get my attention.


I look up and say "Hello!"

"Up," he says, and carries on towards the stairs. 

He wants to go up to his room. He wants to sleep. 

I pick him up and give him a cuddle and tell him that he's such a good boy for telling me that. 

We walk into his room, I close the door, switch on his sound machine, draw his curtains.

That's his cue. He lays his head down on my shoulder and snuggles. 

It's time for a nap.

Interviewing the Birthday Girl

So Little Missy is officially three, and very proud of it. I asked her a set of questions the day of her party, which she answered without any hesitation and was nothing if not consistent. You'll see. The plan is to ask her these same questions every year on her birthday and keep her answers together in a folder. I wonder how long she'll let me keep it up.

What is your name?

How old are you?

What is your favourite thing to do?

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A princess.

What is your favourite food?

Who do you like to spend time with?

What do you do really well?

What makes you laugh?

What is the best time of the day?

What are you afraid of?
A dragon

Who is your best friend?

What do you like to do with your family?

What do you love to learn about?

Where do you like to go?

What is your favourite book?

If you had one wish, what would it be?
I want a cake!

And boy did she get a cake!

And here she is with Betsy :)