5 Party ideas for toddlers

Last week we celebrated our little mans 2nd Birthday, I have no idea where those two years went! We had two parties one for family and one for his toddler friends and their parents, mainly due to space restrictions at our house. Before hand I spent a lot of time researching party ideas and tips for toddlers so thought instead of sharing loads of birthday pictures, I would share my favourite ideas for hosting a toddler birthday party.

1. Pack away the majority of your child’s toys and just keep out some select larger items that don’t have lots of loose parts. Everything is more stressful when there are Lego and jigsaw pieces strewen around the house! 

2. If you are decorating with balloons make sure you have a good amount of balloons left loose on the floor for the kids to play with, otherwise you will end up having to take down your decorations so the kids can play.

3. To save time, money and effort don’t do a huge variety of party food, pick one or two really tasty but simple dishes. For one party we did pulled pork and stuffing in rolls and for the other we did chicken fajitas.

4. For toddlers you don’t need a whole load of party games as the kids will lose interest, instead just have different types of play that you can introduce through out the party. We had free play indoors as people arrived, playing with balloons, playing with bubbles and then playing in the garden.

5. Time your party around your toddlers nap, we had an early afternoon party as Jake naps in the morning. We then had a good hour to get everything ready while he was asleep and a happy, rested toddler come party time.

A day in our life: A toddler and a newborn

Max is now 10 weeks old and Jake is 21 months. Jamie is back at work after paternity leave and it is very fair to say that life with a toddler and a new born is very hectic and quite messy! Here is how a typical day seams to go for us:

1am: Max usually wakes up for a feed, I breastfeed him and put him straight back to bed in his crib by our bed.

4am: Max will wake up for another feed, and may restlessly go back to sleep for another couple of hours, if not Jamie and I will take it in turns to hold him so the other person can get a bit more sleep.

6am: Max has just settled down to sleep and Jake wakes up. We all have a family cuddle in bed before heading down stairs

6.30am – 9am Jake has his milk and then breakfast whilst watching cartoons. Jamie and I will both have breakfast and then take it in turns to get dressed. Then Jamie will look after the boys whilst I try to get some housework done, usually I manage to get a clothes wash in and load the dish washer and clean the kitchen up from dinner last night.

9am – 12pm: Jamie goes to work so I’m on my own with the boys. Jake usually goes down for his only nap of the day at about 10am and will sleep for about 1 to 1 and a half hours. During this time if Max is awake I try to give him some focused attention on his play mat and having some tummy time. If Max is also asleep while Jake is ( this doesn’t happen often) then I will do a bit more housework and then perhaps have aa short amount of time to go on Twitter or write a blog post. When Jake wakes up we will play in the living room with Max watching us from his bouncy chair. Max will have had another feed in this time also.

12 – 1pm Jamie comes downstairs for lunch which we try to eat in the conservatory.

1-4pm: I try to get out of the house with the boys going for a walk with our double buggy to the shops or the park. Then it’s back home for more playing at home. Max will have another feed.

4pm: Jake will be getting tired so he will have a quiet hour with his dummy and some cartoons on TV while I take Max into the kitchen with me and start putting dinner on. These days I cook most of our meals from scratch so it does usually take me about an hour to get dinner sorted, I will also try to do as much kitchen cleaning and laundry sorting as I can at the same time.

5-6.30pm: Jamie finishes work and we all have dinner together as a family. Then it’s more playing in the living room, usually with Jamie and Jake running around like maniacs! 

6.30 -7.15pm: We start winding down! Jake has his bed routine of bath, PJ’s, milk , book, bed. Max will also have a bath, PJ’s and a feed. 

7.15 – 8pm Jake goes up to bed and takes about 30 mins to settle. Max will also hopefully start to settle down too. We do a quick tidy up of the living room and have showers and get ready for bed ourselves.

8 – 9.30pm we chill out in front of the tv and then head up to bed as soon as we are sure Max is settled.

Then it all begins again! ……. 

Max’s birth story

Max’s birth story

Now that Max is now 10 weeks old it’s time for me to slowly get back into blogging. What better way to do it then to share his birth story with you. I’m very happy to say that this story is completely different to my first birth story with our first child, Jake.

At five days before my due date I was completely desperate to go into labour but I was fully expecting to go overdue as this is what happened with Jake. So at first when I started feeling a mild ache in my bump I put it down to Braxton Hicks which I had on and off for the last couple of weeks.

Jake and I went to my Dads for tea as Jamie was at a work meeting. When we got home home and I got Jake to bed I was still having the ache, which I described to Jamie as going from a mild period pain to a strong period pain but nothing more then that. So I still didn’t think anything of it. At Jamie’s insistence I phoned the maternity ward to ask them how I could tell the difference between labour pains and Braxton hicks, this was at about 7pm. They advised me I need to be having regular pains that were four minutes apart for at least four hours to be considered to be labour so to phone them back in two hours with an update.

At this time I still really thought I wasn’t really in labour. Over the next hour the pains got more regular and more intense, so I had a shower and got the last minute bits of my hospital bag ready just in case. By 8.30pm my ache had progressed to a manageable pain. We phoned the ward and said we wanted to come in. It then took us just under an hour to get Jake out of bed and drop him off at Jamie’s parents house before making our way to the hospital. In this time my pain levels had shot up and my contractions were now three minutes apart and causing me to moan in pain.

The walk from the car park to the maternity ward at hospital seamed to take forever and included three stops for contractions. We then had another two contractions in the waiting room of the ward before anyone came to see us. At which point I was almost in tears and cursing the hospital for saying stay at home as long as possible, as if you do that they should expect you to be in need of pain relief as soon as you get there.

When I was finally examined I was already 4cm dilated and told to go straight through to delivery, cue another walk through the hospital with two more contractions on the way. When I got into the delivery room, I went straight onto the gas and air with gusto! We never even opened my maternity bag so I never had chance to change my clothes or put on our music.

The few hours went by in a complete blur for me. I never let up on the gas and air and was very effected by it, feeling completely high as a kite and finding it quite hard to communicate with Jamie or the midwife. Throughout the next few hours I had two injections of pethadin and towards the end started pleading with the midwife for an epidural, despite saying I didn’t really want one in my birth plan because of my fear or needles. However the midwife informed me it was too late for an epidural.

At about 2.30am my body naturally started to push. It took me some time to get the hang of pushing as I kept screaming at the same time with was making my pushing less effective. Eventually the midwife took the gas and air off me, which I really wasn’t happy about, I was trying to hold onto it with my teeth when she was trying to take it away! Apparently I was too focused on getting the pain relief to really push.

Without the gas and air clouding my head I was able to push much better, but it also hurt a lot more too. The midwife was just about to give me a cut to help me deliver the head, when the head was born naturally, and one more push and Max entered the world.

Max was born at 3.14 am weighing 8lbs 4oz. We are now one very happy family of four : )

My birth plan:

When We went in to give birth with Jake we didn’t really have much by way of a birth plan. I know that ultimately the baby decides what’s happening and I had no idea how I would cope with the pain etc. So my plan was to stay as natural as possible,e as long as possible, then using gas and air and the injection as pain relief if required. Due to my fear of needles and operations I didn’t want an epidural or a C-section. My caveat to this being I would always listen to and take the advice of the medical professionals to do what was best for me and the baby.

Typically I ended up having a traumatic birth ending in an emergency C-section. An experience I am still not fully emotionally recovered from.

This time round I as a result of my past experience I have been far more anxious about the prospect of giving birth so we have a much more thought out plan in order to try to help me stay as calm as possible. Here it is:

– As long as it is ok to do so I will stay at home as long as possible when labour starts. I feel calmer and safer in my home environment and think time will pass quicker with the distractions and comforts of life at home

– As with last time I aim to go as natural as possible for as long as possible, with the use of pain relief as and when required. Again with a preference not to have an epidural or C-section

– However – if things don’t look as though they are going to plan. I may elect to have a more “planned” C section before things really hit emergency levels again. Also if I go overdue a Planned C section has already been booked in for me. I still in no way want a C section, but if it comes down to it I’d rather have a calm planned one then a traumatic emergency one.

– I have a list of techniques I will be employing to help stay calm and focused during labour or if I become distressed these are:

1. Listening to music
2. Practicing deep breathing relaxation
3. Practicing muscle relaxation
4. Giving myself hand massages
5. Talking and distracting myself
6. Reading positive affirmations that I am calm and safe
7. Staying active by walking and using the birthing ball

Hopefully having a slightly more thought out plan will help me to remain calm and in control. At the least it is helping put my mind at rest before labour.

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What’s in my hospital bag:

Well I have finally gotten around to packing my hospital bag ready for the arrival of baby no2 -it’s all starting to feel very real now!

So I thought I’d share with you what I packed. When I had Jake I had a long labour followed by a six day hospital stay, so believe me when I say I really know what I need this time around!

Things for me, during labour:

A long nightie/ T-shirt for giving birth in – keeps a bit of modesty when you are pacing around etc.

Slippers

Hair band / hair bobbles – there is nothing worst then having sweaty hair stuck to your face!

Baby wipes/ wet wipes – To keep you feeling fresh and alert.

iPod and mini speakers – We didn’t take these last time but I’m hoping that some background music might help the early hours go a bit quicker, and the later hours to feel slightly calmer.

Bottle of squash

Snacks: cereal bars, crisps, raisins – I wasn’t allowed to eat much when I was in labour last time, but this time I plan to lightly graze during the early labour stages to try to keep my energy (and moral) up.

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Phone and charger – vital if I am kept in overnight without Jamie

Things for me, post giving birth:

Two vests and PJ bottoms – post birth I found a vest much easier to wear when trying to breast feed then wearing a nightie

A thin cotton dressing gown – hospitals are unbearably hot so a fleecy dressing gown is a big no go to me, but I still want something to cover up in when we have visitors

Five pairs of knickers – you can never have too many clean knickers!

Maternity pads

Breast pads

Nipple cream

Mini toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, moisturiser, loofa.

Make up and toiletries

Large towel and small hand towel

Comfy clothes to travel home in – for me leggings and a hoodie

Things for hubby:

Snacks: large bottle of water, sandwich, crisps, cereal bar, chocolate. Our labour was so long last time and Jamie didn’t want to leave my side I started to get really worried that he would pass out for just not getting chance to eat all day. This time I plan to send him/ go with him to the canteen for a hot meal when we are in early labour, and then have plenty of snacks for him in the delivery room also. I know I’ll need all of his support and help giving birth, so think it’s really important that he is well fed and at his best throughout.

Clean tshirt/ Tooth brush / deodorant – when I had Jake, Jamie was with me in hospital from 7am until after Jake was born at 4 am the next day. By which time he was very hot, sticky and uncomfortable himself so having some things at hand for him to freshen up a bit would have been really helpful.

Camera

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Things for baby:

Vests x5
Sleep suit x 5
Fluffy suit for coming home
Hat x 2
Scratch mits
Baby blanket
Baby towel
Cotton wool
Nappy bags
Nappies x 15

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Super Busy Mum