You find a small person on your living room floor making snow angels – in August!
Your pre-schooler tells you they want to lose all their teeth, so the tooth fairy can visit.
Your washing load has tripled since having children.
You find yourself haggling over Peppa Pig or Sofia the First.
You wake up with the tail of a ginormous plastic dinosaur up your left nostril.
All you hear during the Nick Jr ad-break is “I want that, mummy. Mum, Amy wants that.”
Relaxing baths end with Barbie’s skinny arms poking into your skin.
You can’t remember what your living room floor actually looks like.
You catch yourself watching Bunny Show Jumping on YouTube – don’t ask!
You are regularly used as a climbing frame.
What made you realise you’re a mum?
After our afternoon at Wookey Hole, we decided to let Amy and Sophie splash about in the fountains and pools at Millennium Square in Bristol before going for dinner at ZaZa Bazaar and look how much fun these two had!
Their eyes lit up as soon as we told them that they could jump into the pools and once they were in the water there was no holding back. They splashed each other, they splashed us. They ran and they jumped. They giggled and shared the deepest belly laughs and we sat back and enjoyed seeing our girls so happy. Okay, admittedly we were also quite envious that we couldn’t jump in and roll around in the water without getting arrested for not drunk but disorderly, but that’s life when you’re grown-up.
What is really lovely to see is the close bond that Amy and Sophie have formed over the last 12 months. They’ve only met twice, once at Ascot last year and then on our short break to Devon earlier this year, but they’re getting on like a house on fire. They share beautifully, walk hand in hand and give each other hugs and kisses that make our hearts melt. It’s lovely seeing their little friendship develop and I’ll hope they’ll stay friends for a very long time – giggles, splashes and all!
Wookey Hole is a lovely place for little ones as there’s so much to see and explore, so it was the perfect place to take my lovely friend Andrea and her daughter Sophie when they came down to Bristol to spend the day with us.
The caves of Wookey Hole are a 45 minute drive away from Bristol, tucked away in a small valley on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills near Wells in Somerset, and can be visited by the public all year round.
The girls both did great during the tour through the caves. When we last visited, a little over a year ago, Amy got really scared because it was so dark inside, but while queueing for the tour, we explained to the girls that it would be dark at the beginning of the tour but that we’d soon see a lot of coloured lights, a witch (they both seemed to be really excited about that part) and lots of stinky Cheddar cheese which is stored in the caves of Woookey Hole.
Once we had made it back into daylight, we walked through the garden, discovered dragons, mermaids and fairies and stopped for a slush puppy before visiting the dinosaurs. The girls loved that and would have climbed onto each and every one of them, had we let them. We had different plans though: a trip to the witches laboratory.
I had no clue what this attraction was about as it is relatively new, but it was a fun 4D experience sending us onto a lost island with dinosaurs chasing after us – think Jurassic Park, but with wobbling seats, a dying airplane and a splash of dinosaur poo for the audience. It was hilarious. Poor Sophie however didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so some light entertainment was on order next: We headed into the main building and attended a show of Wookey Hole’s very own circus.
All artists were teenagers and children and I was so impressed with the show that they put on. They juggled, climbed on ropes, performed magic tricks and rode unicycles and I just can’t believe how versatile everyone was. The girls were clapping along and shouting Bravo, while munching on a big bag of popcorn and the show really made a lovely end to our time at Wookey Hole – not however our day. But more on our day of fun in tomorrow’s post.
I need a moan because, oh my god, has Amy been hard work over the last couple of days. If someone said the terrible twos are bad, why has no one warned me about the tantrums of my threenager?
I’m not joking. Amy, just turned three, has the attitude of a teen that is at the height of puberty’s hormonal climax. She stomps her feet, she cries and screams with only one thing on her mind: getting her own way. I’ve always known that she’s a strong-willed or some might say stubborn child, but recently she is really testing me. Everything that I ask her to do results in a meltdown and it’s just incredibly hard work to stay calm and collected.
Today, we had a 45 minute battle over her farm puzzle. I asked her to quickly pop the pieces back in the box before dinner and usually, it’s no problem at all. She just does as she’s told and tidies up her toys before getting out a new toy or going for dinner/a bath or whatever we have to do. This afternoon, Amy completely lost it with me. She screamed and kicked toys, she told me to go away, yet climbed on me and it seemed like it was all getting too much for her. I stood my ground, because I found it important that she learns that there are rules that we have to follow to make sure we can then spend quality time together and after 45 minutes, she finally gave in, tidied up her toys and apologised giving me a kiss and telling me that “Amy loves mummy”.
Two days ago however, I had a massive wobble that really upset me. I was bringing Amy to bed and didn’t expect anything unusual to happen. I read her Stick Man book to her, let her “read” it to me from back to front as she always does and gave her a good night kiss before turning to the side for quiet time. I always stay with her until she falls asleep, some might say that’s wrong, but I don’t mind as I really enjoy this time of day and Amy tends to get upset, if I don’t. Two night though, quiet time was the last thing on Amy’s mind. She started mooing and playing with her cuddly cow and despite me telling her that it was bedtime, she went on and on and on. After 15 minutes, I got so annoyed (I know) that I said, if the cow says “moo” one more time, it flies out of the window. I don’t even know why I said it, maybe because it was the first thing that I looked at, but Amy started mooing again and I grabbed the cow. I grabbed the cow and threw it out of the window and the moment I did it, I knew it was wrong and an absolutely horrible thing to do. It scared me and it shocked me and I don’t want to react in such an uncontrolled way ever again – because it’s not the mum I want to be.
How do you deal with tantrums and how do you keep your calm when your kids really push your buttons? I’d be grateful for any ideas and advice.
While going through my drafted posts and planning new content for the coming weeks, I noticed that I have completely forgotten to post Amy’s yearly birthday interview with you.
It was her third birthday a little over a month ago, so I’m suffering from a serious case of mummy guilt right now, but I thought I’d still share this year’s interview with you. Better late than never, right?
It’s quite fascinating to compare it with last year’s birthday interview. I expected the odd change in her answers (you can’t love In The Night Garden forever!), but I was quite surprised to get so many detailed answers from Amy this year. Her interests and favourites vary quite a bit from those in last year’s birthday interview and some of her answers even saw me speechless. Who’d have thought that we’d have a die hard chicken fan on our hands? I blame Amy’s great-grandad, who seems to have infected her with his passion for his feathery friends, but let’s see what she comes up with next year!
By the way, if you fancy doing an annual birthday interview with your little one or maybe a back to school interview, check out Erin Heaton’s DIY blog Lansdowne Life. Erin has kindly shared a printable of this birthday interview questionnaire, so it’s super easy to get started and record those milestones and favourites. Simple download the file (there are different colour options available) and print off or download and fill in using Adobe Acrobat and add a photo of your choice. It really is that easy!
Do you record your children’s milestones and development? How do you do it?
Happy birthday, my beautiful little girl.
I can’t believe that you are three today, Amy. The last three years have flown by, but they do say that time flies when you are having fun and you are the funniest little person I know. You make me laugh every single day and I’m incredibly proud that I am your mummy.
You are the most loving and caring girl and won’t ever leave the room without giving me a big huggle (hug+cuddle) and kiss. You do love snuggling up to watch your favourite movies or cartoons and at the moment you are obsessed with Frozen and all the Disney princesses. You will stand on the sofa, spread your arms and sing “Let it go” as if you are Idina Menzel herself. It’s so funny and so out of tune, but you are incredibly proud when we tell you that you sang it beautifully.
You love singing and dancing and the other day, you surprised me with your own little dance routine at bedtime. I have no idea how or when you came up with it, but you were pretty chuffed with it. Your beaming smile at the end of each performance showed it!
Despite loving performing, being at the centre of attention is not really your thing. When too many eyes are on you, it makes you a little uncomfortable and you get shy, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. You just need some time to adjust to the situation and once you feel comfortable and safe, you are your happy bouncy self and that is what you are most of the time.
As soon as you wake up, you are smiling and you don’t stop unless we disagree on something and you try to beat me in our stubbornness competition. I have to admit you are quite the opponent at times: You are very strong-willed and know exactly what you want and don’t want. I still remember the battle we had when I asked you to try on wellies in a shoe shop in Bude or your shopping strike at Clarks Village. It was stressful to say the least, but we still ended up having a fantastic day.
We try to do something fun most days and if we aren’t going anywhere, we play in the garden, do some crafts or bake something. You love helping in the kitchen and cooking and baking are activities that you really enjoy. The other day, you secretly sneaked in the kitchen when I was still asleep and wanted to bake a cake for me. You got as far as cracking an egg, but that you did with skill and perfection.
I’m sure all mummies say this about their children, but you are a clever little cookie. You pick up new skills really quickly and you love challenging yourself. Jigsaw puzzles are one of your favourite things and you love preparing food in your play kitchen and acting out little scenes with your dolls and HappyLand figures.
You absolutely adore playing with our cats Honey and Betty. Honey sometimes gets a little overwhelmed by your energy and noise levels, but Betty is like your shadow. She follows you where ever you go and starts meowing when she can’t get into your bedroom. It’s lovely to see your little friendship grow every day.
Your vocabulary is expanding daily and I really don’t worry about your speech development anymore. You are a true girl and talk like a waterfall. I love that we can have real conversations now, because they really make your character shine through. My favourite time of our day is bedtime. It’s not because you go to bed and I get to have time to myself. No, every evening, we’ll have a cuddle after your bath and you’ll tell me about your day. We spend every day together and I know exactly what you’ve done, but it’s fascinating to hear how you’ve experienced things and what was the highlight of your day. It’s funny how many small things make you happy – things so small that I sometimes don’t even notice them. It’s a beautiful character trait of yours and you have so many of them that I am incredibly proud to be your mummy.
You make be beam with pride every single day: You’ve practically potty trained yourself months ago and have been dry day and night ever since. You confidently ride your balance bike and have made first attempts on your bike girl bike. You dress yourself on your own, put your shoes on or take them off and insist on washing your hair all by yourself when you’re having a bath. You are incredibly independent and it’s nice to see that you are such a confident little girl.
You love swimming and are forever running, climbing, skipping and jumping. Sometimes we’re joking that you should have been a boy because you are so fearless and adventurous.
I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for us and how you develop, but today let’s celebrate the day that made me the happiest woman in the world: your birthday!
Happy birthday, my beautiful girl. I love you to the moon and back – forever and always. Mummy x
Amy and I had a very special mummy – daughter date this morning. We braved wind and rain and ventured into town to create Amy’s very own furry Valentine on invitation of the lovely people from Build a Bear.
Amy had been talking about making her own teddy for days, but once we arrived in the workshop and she was presented with the massive shelf of cuddly toys, she got quite overwhelmed by it all. Luckily, we had Lucy by our side. Lucy is one of the chef bearmakers at Build a Bear in Bristol’s Broadmead Galleries and showed Amy the Valentine’s range before helping her to build her very own furry friend. Much to my surprise, Amy didn’t choose the pink Hello Kitty or cute little elephant that I had secretly eyed up when checking out the range at home. Nope, my daughter built the most random creature the workshop has ever seen.
Roar, that’s what she named her new friend, wears beige Safari trousers, a black and red Heart Throb t-shirt with hood, red sequined pumps and a pink handbag. Oh and do you know the cute sound buttons that you can at to the paws of your cuddly toy? None of that for Amy! Her lion plays the Star Wars theme tune when you press his paw. Don’t ask me why she was drawn to the Star Wars theme tune, she has never even watched any of the movies, but it had to be this sound and no other!
The next step was filling Roar’s belly with lots of with fluff and Lucy really got Amy involved in this part. Amy loved pushing the pedal down and sending lots of fluffy stuffing into her lion’s belly and when it came to giving Roar a shower, she was in her element. The shower made Roar’s fur really soft and fluffy and Amy loved brushing it to make him look extra pretty. Amy got so excited by it, she was still talking about it when I took her up to bed this evening.
After stuffing, showering and dressing Roar, Amy also made him a birth certificate, which I think is a really lovely part of the experience. Amy is still a little young to understand the whole meaning behind it, but it’s fun touch that makes the experience extra special for older children.
Would I take Amy again? Absolutely! Admittedly, Build a Bear toys are a little more expensive than your average stuffed animal, but Amy really had a magical experience that I am sure we’ll repeat again over the coming months and years. The quality of the toys and the fun little and not so little ones have when creating their special furry friend really makes the extra pounds well spent.
If you want to build a bear or any of the many other animals available in Build-a-bear workshops, make sure to support the Starlight Children’s Foundation by buying one of the special purple silk hearts available for a £1 donation in store All proceeds go to the “Million Hearts, Million Wishes, Million Ways to Help” campaign that supports seriously ill children.
Another way to get involved with the campaign is using social media. Make a friend and share a photo of them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram using #shareukbabwishes. For every photo shared, £1 will be donated to the campaign! Find more about it here.
We were invited by Build a Bear Workshops to create a Valentine’s friend free of charge. Our views are 100% honest.