So here it is, I am a few days away from being a mum to a 2 and a 3 year old. My "Baby" is turning 2 on Sunday! I'm not even sure that I should be referring to them as Baby and Toddler anymore but to me, they will always both be my babies. Today I am discussing the...
The story of child number 2.
If you had told me 10 years ago that there would be a time where I would be living in the Middle East, I would have laughed. In 2010, 24 year old me was just settling into a good job at the Open University, engaged and planning a wedding and looking to buy our first home. This house was going to be our family home. It had 3 bedrooms, good outdoor space and a driveway for 2 cars.
Fast forward to just after Christmas of 2012, when my husband was looking at changing jobs. He came across a teaching advert for a job in Dubai and he showed me as a joke. But when I saw that advert, I said "well actually...". A good friend of mine lived in Dubai for many years and she always said how wonderful it was. The more we thought about it, the more we thought "why not?". So he applied for a job and we said we would just play it by ear - he might not get even an interview anyway.
Fast forward again, and we are 2 years into our Dubai adventure. Moving turned out to be the best decision. It was a big step, it took alot of hard work and it has its own challenges and we did miss our family (however we did visit in the summer). We had had an amazing 2 years, we traveled and explored new places, we tried out new things and learnt so much of another culture which I had no clue about beforehand. After those 2 years, we felt we were ready for the next step, introducing a new addition to our family.
It wasn't as easy as we thought it would be but come December 2016, we welcomed our first baby into the world. He was due to be born at the end of November, but he decided he wanted to be a December baby. He has always been this type of baby, very much doing things only when he is ready to.
This photo was taken on he day he was born, now Toddler is over 3 years old!
We adjusted to family life as a 3 and before long we started thinking about adding another member to our family. We decided to start trying (it had taken about a year to fall pregnant the first time so we thought we would start sooner rather than later) but we didn't think it would happen so quickly. Of course, it did.
Cue the second baby's appearance on the ultrasound screen! He was our amazing surprise. After we had our first child, we started feeling the pull towards moving back home to be nearer to family. When we found our baby 2 was on the way, it confirmed our feeling. So plans were in motion to move from Dubai back to Manchester, UK. Can I just say now that moving countries like this when 1. you are heavily pregnant (I flew at 35 weeks- the last possible time I could have flown) and 2. with a toddler in tow, is really not recommended!
Baby 2 Ultrasound at 12 weeks
We arrived in Dubai with two suitcases and we left with two suitcases (and a carrycot, and a car seat... and oh yes, a very active toddler and a blossoming bump). Our 5 years in Dubai seemed to be a distant dream as we slowly took the plane ride back across the oceans. And when we landed, we effectively had no home. Thankfully we stayed at my parents house with plans to move into our own house as a soon as possible. Of course, best laid plans and all that, in the end we didn't find our own home until new baby was about 3 weeks old. In fact his birth is registered at my parents address!
The May we came back in 2018 was one of the hottest times on record in the UK so the next month or so before baby 2 arrived, I spent my time chasing Toddler around the garden. In fact I remember running after him, bump wobbling all the way, whilst he "drove" his little tike car. The things you can do when pregnant for the second time are quite amazing. You don't appreciate certain things when you are pregnant the first time such as the fact you can lay on the sofa all day flickering between your favourite TV shows. Second time around you are lucky if you get to sit down for 5 minutes whilst trying to drink your (sadly) decaff coffee!
Second baby arrived late, there is a trend with my boys it seems. He actually was even later than his brother and had to be induced. My second birth story was no where near as uneventful as my first. One day I may even tell you about it! But with a bump, prod, wiggle and a push my second wonderful amazing child came out into the world.
And that was on the 5th July 2018, which makes this Sunday his 2nd birthday (I still can't get my head round it, as you may be gathering by this point in the story!). The past 2 years have gone so slowly in one respect and yet so crazily fast in another. I remember those newborn nights, the interrupted sleep, the making up a bottle in the dark whilst bleary rubbing your eyes, the copious coffee consumption (some things don't change!) like it was yesterday. And yet he can walk and talk (well make himself known and he can say some words), he can run and laugh and smile and say "mummy" in a way that could melt the coldest of hearts. He no longer sleeps in a sleeping bag, he now has has very own pillow and duvet set - hand me down from his brother of course. But more and more he is not a baby, but a little boy.
I think Baby must have been about 3-4 weeks old here? You can tell he is in the newborn phase still from my washed out, tired face!
But what a time to have birthday eh?
Last Sunday we celebrated my dad's birthday. Well, I celebrated with him at a distance whilst hubby took the boys for a forest walk. It's just not the best time to have a birthday. Of course Coronavirus neither knows this or cares. So this Sunday, what plans do we have for Baby's birthday? In short, nothing much. He will have presents to open, cards and cake. We will make a big fuss over him which he probably won't understand. Last year, the whole family came over and we had a BBQ in the garden. We had planned on doing this again as we all had a wonderful time. But sadly no. Perhaps next year.
One thing that is something to look forward to is we have pre-booked tickets to go to the SeaLife Centre next week!! So we are making that part of his birthday celebration. We have annual passes and went on an almost weekly basis pre-corona. So I don't know who is more excited to go, me or the children. I actually find aquariums super fascinating and actually really relaxing. It will be SO GOOD to do something that we would normally do. All be it in a very strange way no doubt.
In other news...
I am still working on a few ideas for the business. I am hoping to be able to reveal more over the coming weeks but I have a lot of wheels in motion.
One idea I announced yesterday is Book Club Tuesday. Each Tuesday I highlight a particular children's book. Some have asked why as I don't actually sell books (one day though...). I highlight books because I am such a big reader myself. Books play such an important role in our family, we have books everywhere in the house. The children can browse books wherever they like, we read together throughout the day and we always read a book before bed. I am a firm believer that if you can foster a love for books when children are younger then it sets them up with lifelong love of books and (I think) goes along way to helping them with their formal education later on.
So a section on this website is dedicated to children's books. On the page you will find previous book club highlights and details of how you can get involved. Send across your suggestions! Perhaps we can take this one step further by starting a book circle? If you have any ideas or suggestions for Book Club Tuesday- let me know. Either DM me on Instagram or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always I would love to hear from you. Have you had any birthday celebrations recently? How have you found them considering the strange circumstances we find ourselves in?