Category: Parenting

Summer Is Here! – Squid Disk Review

*we were sent the Squid Disk in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own

I think it’s finally safe to say summer is here! The weather has been just lovely the last few weeks, long may it continue!

And as it is summer we have officially opened the Herniman House pool (aka hot tub – happy birthday Mr H!) and the whole family is thoroughly enjoying it. The kids get to spend the day splashing and playing and we get to set the iPad up for some relaxing box set bingeing once the kids are fast asleep.

We were sent a Squid Disk pool toy to review and it’s given the kids lots of fun!

You submerge the Squid Disk into the water, then throw it through the air and it sprays water everywhere. You can imagine the laughter at soaking mum and dad with the bright green squishy squid!

The water sprays out at 360* so do be aware if your washing line is nearby haha!

Honestly, I didn’t think much of it when I first opened it up, but actually it’s provided hours of fun, so I’m really pleasantly surprised.

I don’t think we’ve been able to have the full effect as yet as our garden is fairly little, but G is really excited to take it on holiday with us to use in the big swimming pools, and I’m sure his cousins will enjoy playing catch with it too. Actually I’m pretty sure the grown-ups will enjoy getting in on the fun as well. It’s a great toy to help coordination for all ages as the bright colours are easy to spot, and there’s been lots of giggles as the water sprays everyone.

It’s really lightweight and squishy too so it’s an easy toy to pack for day trips and holidays without taking up much space or weighing too much.

The Squid Disk is not aimed at younger children but B has been enjoying playing with it too, just sat with a washing up bowl of water, dunking it in and squeezing it out again which is great for his motor skills. He’s also more tolerant of water splashing in his face, something he’s become a little bit nervous of lately, when it’s from the Squid Disk. He finds it funny rather than having the water wobbles about it.

Mrs H xxx

Dear B: Happy Birthday, You’re One!

This last year has been a whirlwind. 

Having two children is certainly harder than one. 

I often feel you haven’t been given enough attention or the level of attention you deserve. It’s just not possible like it was the first time round. 

I’ve often struggled to manage my time, to balance the two of you, to feel like I’ve been enough. 

But I’ve never struggled to find enough love for the two of you. 

I couldn’t love you both any more. My heart literally aches with the amount of love I have for you. 

You are a hurricane. A force. A complete bundle of energy. 

You are loving. You are so sweet. You are incredible. 

You are constantly on the move. Climbing things, grabbing things, moving everywhere. 
You drive me completely round the twist whilst you’re doing it but I can’t help but admire how amazing you are. 

You can climb, you can crawl, you can walk. 
You have a wicked sense of humour. You know when you’re doing something you shouldn’t be, and the cheekiest grin takes over your whole face. 

You belly laugh when you pretend to bite my toes. And I can’t stop you because you’re just too cute!

You are so loving. You’re always toddling over to give cwtches and sloppy open mouthed kisses. And you say “aww” when you’re giving anyone or anything a cwtch. 

You’ve been walking for a few weeks, but this last week and a half you’ve really got the hang of it. Yesterday and today you’ve been trying to pick up speed. 

You have six (and a half) teeth. 

You love music and you love dancing. Bobbing up and down and kicking your legs. “You’re Welcome” from Moana is a particular favourite but you just love music in general. 

Only certain songs work when you’re grumpy in the car though. “I Had a Little Turtle” almost always works.

You and your big brother love each other very much but you can both give the other a decent thump. As an only child this baffles me but I’m assured this is normal. And will continue. Oh joy haha!!

You are a second child but by no means second best.

You are loved more than you’ll ever know. 

Love you so much bubba boy xxx

Some Days the Fog is Thicker Than Others

It’s a given that being a parent is tiring. Night feeds and frequent wakings are pretty much a guarantee. A love of strong coffee is recommended.

Unfortunately I don’t like tea or coffee. I really wish I did. I get my caffeine through soft drinks and energy drinks. Not ideal but you do what you’ve got to do sometimes.

Everyone knows, and happily warns you, that once you have kids you won’t sleep much. It’s a given. Newborns aren’t programmed to sleep through. Nor does this necessarily improve as they get older.

But I’m not talking about tiredness. Not strictly.

Being a parent is exhausting. They just don’t stop. Ever. There is a constant need to talk. To touch you. To repeat the same thing over and over. And over. To do the same thing over and over. There’s songs to sing, toys to fix, food to eat…and not eat. There’s naps to fight over, and tantrums to field. I found the lack of naps often causes a rise in tantrums. It’s the only cause and effort graph I feel pretty certain of.

It’s really no surprise that many parents are wandering around in a fog. It’s not baby brain. It’s having watched that Disney film 4 times since breakfast and it’s only 10.30am. And breakfast was launched at the wall and may or may not still be drying there.

Then add the sleepless nights on top of that, and most likely several caffeine highs and comedowns and it’s a recipe for, well, for a parent.

I’m not saying that these things outweigh everything else. I’m not saying it’s not worth it. It is 100% worth it. I am absolutely grateful for my beautiful children. I absolutely love being a mum and watching my children grow and learn new things. But that doesn’t mean it’s not hard. That I don’t get touched out. That I don’t get fed up sometimes. That I don’t crave a trip to the toilet all by myself. Or that I don’t wait for bedtimes some days. And then the guilt will grip me. And that’s pretty tiring too. Catch 22.

I knew the sleepless nights were coming. I knew I’d be tired. I just didn’t realise it would be so mentally tiring too!

Some days, the fog is just thicker than others.

Mrs H xxx


School Has Started – Am I Still Freaking Out?

It wasn’t that long ago I was freaking out about the start of school. And now we’re a few weeks into the term I thought a little update was in order. (That and today’s Blogtober prompt was education!)

The first few days were great. G barely looked back as he ran ahead of everyone. He loved it and was really excited to wear his uniform (I need to get a video of him saying ‘uniform’ it’s super cute) and was just excited to go. 

Me? I had to be taken out to brunch and for a walk around the shops to distract myself from sobbing! I did actually cry the first day, but I just about held it together until I got home so as not to terrify all the kids!

But then I think reality set in and G realised this was not a one off event. And he was not amused. There was one morning of tears as we left. We’d stopped to talk to his teacher and he was fine but when we left he started crying. His teacher assured us he was fine five minutes after we left but I felt awful all day. 

The next day however it was like taking a screaming banshee to school. He was wild. I struggled to get him into his uniform, half carried him down the street and his teacher had to take him into the classroom as he screamed and fought me every step of the way. 

I could not have felt worse. 
And the next day it was worse. The headteacher (who’s fab by the way! Visits each class every morning and asks how everyone is etc, knows every child’s name, he really is great) had to peel him off me as he clung to my leg and bit my shin. Talk about rock bottom. I sobbed all the way back to the house. And for about an hour after I got in. 

I felt so awful. How can I make him do this if he’s this upset and distressed? How long is it ok to “ride this out” for? How damaging could this be for him? The guilt was immense. I was already uncertain about the whole school decision, especially with him being so young. Was this just confirming my fears? I’ve heard stories about parents going through this sort of thing for weeks. Months even. I don’t think I’m cut out for that!

The only good thing was how happy he was when we picked him up, because he’d had such a fab day! He was adamant he was having a great time at school. He’d learnt how to count to 5 in Welsh and most of his colours in no time at all. He was talking about friends and talking about them at home. And the teachers were really reassuring and sure that he was settling down barely five minutes after he’d been dropped off. 

It was just the leaving in the morning. 

And then we were away for a weekend and my parents had to do the Monday morning school run. This was, of course, all arranged when things were going perfectly. Way before the nightmare school runs began. Safe to say he didn’t make it in that Monday! 
But then on the Tuesday we had a break through. We’d talked about it loads. Reminding him what days he goes to school, what would happen and how etc.

Talking things through with him and the main cause of the upset was leaving us and worrying about missing out on what we were doing. So we talked about all the fun stuff that happens in school that we don’t get to do a lot of at home. We certainly don’t get the arts and crafts out as often as I’d like and it’s pretty much guaranteed in school. 

In the morning we put the radio on instead of the telly. And each task had an incentive (sounds much better than bribery right?!) so put your uniform on, look at pj mask photos (whatever works ok?!), get to the school gate without screaming and look at photos of the Grinch (random yes, worked? Yes!). 

I stressed that crying and being upset was ok. But the screaming and lashing out was not. And we’d stop and talk about it if he was getting too upset. We took our time but we got there. With zero tears! After the disaster it was, this was an absolute miracle!! 
And after doing all his days he got to choose a fun treat. So we had a film night, after B had gone to bed G was allowed to stay up and we made popcorn, had burgers (Mr H made bloody lovely turkey burgers! Will see if he can remember what he did and share the recipe) and watched the Grinch.

He loved it and it was actually a bonus for us too because we got to spend some quality time with him that we might not have made the time for in the same way. 

And now? We haven’t had a single tear or tantrum since! He’s genuinely happy going and having a great time and I’m so so pleased. If it had continued we would have probably taken him out and tried again next year. But I’m so glad he does enjoy it, he needs far more stimulation than I’m able to give right now so I really think this is the best option for him. 

I’m still a bit sad thinking about the stuff I’m missing out seeing. Especially when his review of the day tends to trickle out rather than give a full report. But overall I’m happy with how it’s going.

I’m still second guessing everything and feeling guilty, but on a much lower level. So I’ll take that for now.

Mrs H xxx


School Is Looming (and I Can’t Stop Freaking Out!)

Ever since we moved into this house the subject of schools has been niggling at the back of my mind. I was about 8 weeks pregnant when we moved in, and we are extremely close to one of the local primary schools, with another 3 less than a mile away. Brilliant right? But now the start of school is looming and I can’t stop freaking out.

I tried not to think about it too much (just fyi – I failed miserably) because who knew if we’d even be living in the same house by the time we were sending G to school. Or in the same area? I don’t have the greatest track record when it comes to staying put, previous house moves are numbered into the teens. And although we’re not a million miles away from either of our families, the idea that we’d move back to one of our ‘home’ areas was always there.

There’s all sorts of decisions you don’t really see coming as a parent. I mean, you know they’re going to have to happen eventually, but they’re aaaaaaages away right? But I’ve found choosing a school has been the biggest so far, and has caused me so much more stress than I ever thought possible!

It just feels like such a huge decision that will affect our children’s lives. Over dramatic? Quite possibly! But I just can’t shake off the pressure of this one. Especially as once you choose the ‘right’ school for your eldest, you’re more than likely choosing the school for any other children you may have. Well, I hope so, the thought of doing school runs to two different schools is more than I can handle right now!

All these negative doubts are constantly running through my mind.

What if they don’t teach in a way that’s suits them? What if they don’t offer enough opportunities to experience subjects other than academic ones? What if the academic options are not up to scratch? And the biggest one we’ve been going over? Which language do we choose!? Living in Wales we have the option to choose a Welsh medium school or an English medium school. The way things are going in Wales, being a Welsh speaker could be a huge advantage in the future. But what if it’s a hindrance for learning? I speak a very limited amount of Welsh, I read it easier than I seek it, but no one else in our immediate family is a Welsh speaker, so are we putting the children at a disadvantage by choosing for their education to be taught in Welsh?

There must be a million and one positive points to think about when choosing a school, yet I just cannot shake off all these negative ones.

G is due to start nursery this September. We’ve chosen a school, and he’s been accepted, but I’m still not 100% happy. I don’t think its necessarily the school (all reports are excellent, I’m yet to hear anything negative) and I just can’t stop worrying if it’s the right choice.

Did anyone else struggle choosing which school to send their littles to? Does anyone have any tips? Or just slap me out of it haha?!


Mrs H xxx