First Trip to the Dentist

first trip to the dentistI took Seren for her first trip to the dentist a couple of weeks ago. I’d been meaning to take her for a while (my dentist said anytime from when they turn 2) but hadn’t quite got round to it. We watched the Dentist episode of Peppa Pig (also available as a book), read the Going to the Dentist story from the Usborne Complete Book of First Experiences and played with the Dr Drill play doh set to prepare Seren for the visit.

At the surgery, she watched me have a check up first then when it was her turn she was happy to sit in the chair on her own (younger or more wary children can sit on their parent’s lap).  The dental nurse gave her sunglasses to wear to shield her eyes from the bright lights and the dentist tipped her chair back and counted Seren’s teeth (she has all twenty of her baby teeth) using her dental instruments.

first trip to the dentist

Seren was pretty happy with the experience. She was also VERY impressed that the dentist, Olga, was a ‘girl’ as the dentists in Peppa Pig and the Usborne book are ‘boys’. A reminder for me about everyday life, gender stereotypes and finding strong female role models! The dentist told Seren that she could be a dentist too when she grows up and gave her a mask to take home to play with. She also gave her a couple of stickers, a certificate and I got a pack covering tips on keeping Seren’s teeth healthy. We also had a chat about this at the end of the session. I didn’t realise that I should help Seren brush her teeth until she’s 7 years old!

first trip to the dentistThe dentist suggested letting Seren choose her toothpaste and toothbrushes to help get her ‘buy in’. She also said that Seren’s toothpaste should have a minimum of 1.03% w/w sodium monofluorophosphate (1350 ppm F) and not all toothpaste aimed at over 3’s had enough of this in. Later on we took a trip to the chemist and Seren picked up all the pink toothpaste tubes and I read the small print on the back to check the monofluorophosphate (MFP) levels. We chose a Peppa Pig toothpaste (manufactured by Kokomo) ticked the boxes. Olga also reminded me that Seren’s teeth should be brushed twice a day and after her bedtime milk.

As well as brushing we also talked about snacks, drinks and sweet stuff. Like most 3 year olds Seren likes sweet snacks and prefers juice over water. Olga said to limit ‘sugar attacks’ to meal times so if Seren was going to have something sugary like biscuits, dried fruit or juice then it was best to have these at meal times. In between meal times, drinks of plain water or milk and non-sugary snacks like fresh fruit, breadsticks or cheese were best (she did say that children who snack on cheese tend to have healthier teeth!). So we’ve been trying harder with that, though can’t say we are successful all the time, I’m trying to cut her juice / squash preference by watering it down more and more.

I also found some helpful tips on the Dental Health and NHS websites if you are interested in reading more:

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Living Arrows 8/52

livingarrows8We spent most of half term with friends we don’t see that often. Two of my best friends also have two girls and the six girls (aged from 7 years down to 9 months) had a great time playing together on Thursday. Imogen thought they were hilarious when they were pulling funny faces. She loves being part of this gang.

Living Arrows 7/52

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Imogen at 9 months

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What a lovely age! OK, forget the teething and the illnesses but I’m really enjoying watching her explore her little world and giggle her way through her adventures. She is scooting around all over the place (her pace frequently catches me out) and confidently cruising too. Which means she is clearing coffee tables of objects and generally into everything. When sitting, she favours a crouched down, ready to launch / pounce position.

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We had a bad week of teething (but no more teeth yet, she just has her first two) and colds and a tummy bug. So it feels like we haven’t done much this month – we’ve been swimming once and to a music group a couple of times.

imogen-9-months imogen-9-monthsOn the whole things seem to be improving with sleep and we have had 3 nights when she’s slept for around 8 hours straight. Whoop! On the other nights she tends to wake once and can be quite difficult to settle back to sleep. I’ve stopped feeding her now which was easier than I thought it might be. Eating is still going well and we seem to have more food eaten than on the floor these days!

Month on month photos:

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Imogen at 8 months

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Being brave

being braveSeren had her pre-school booster vaccinations today. They were the first ones where she was aware of what was happening and I wondered whether to warn her about the process or to let her go in blind so she didn’t worry about it before hand. I opted to try to explain to her very simply what was going to happen, why and that it would hurt for a minute.  She decided we should take some Calpol with us and immediately went to get two bottles (umm we should store that stuff out of reach) and two dessert spoons.

She didn’t seem too worried the following day and was looking forward to her treat afterwards. Unfortunately when we got to our GP surgery last week there was some sort of incident which meant we couldn’t have our appointment and had to re-schedule. Seren’s immediate worry was that she wouldn’t get her treat! She did, daddy came home with a Peppa Pig magazine with a doctor’s set freebie toy on the front. The lesson in ‘being brave’ had become a lesson in ‘being flexible’ when she asked me over and over why she hadn’t seen the nurse.

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I talked to her again last night about what was going to happen today and she seemed a little more wary this time. She said she was scared when we got to the GP surgery and wanted to sit on my lap. She was really brave though when it was our turn to see the nurse, no fuss and no tears. She got to choose two stickers (she wanted two of the same pink one) and we went off for the first treat, ice cream. There’s an arts venue in Enfield (The Dugdale Centre) that sells a pretty good range of gelato. Seren opted for strawberry sorbet and I chose Panettone ice cream. We decided that hers tasted of summer and mine tasted of Christmas.

being brave being brave

For her second treat, she chose a toy from our local department store and just when I thought she was going to go for another Frozen doll, she chose a mermaid dressing up outfit. I know, two treats is extravagant. The second one was added in to ease my guilty feelings when she seemed so scared beforehand. The dress was perfect in that it kept her arms uncovered, so no fabric rubbing against her plasters. By bath time she said her arms didn’t hurt anymore and we took the plasters off.

No more jabs until she’s 13. Thirteen! Now that’s something to scare me.

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Imagine Children’s Festival

Imagine Children's Festival We popped down to the South Bank yesterday to check out the Imagine Children’s Festival that’s on for half term. It felt good to be in town – I’m not brave enough to take the girls into London very often and it feels like something I should try and do more before we are constrained by school days. I also discovered that we can get to Waterloo station without using steps or escalators – hurrah! Bit tricky to navigate those with the pram and buggy board too.

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Anyway, we didn’t have a particular plan of action for the festival – a big point of the trip was catching up with friends – and the little ones very much enjoyed walking along the South Bank, climbing walls and looking at the river without anything ‘special’ to do.

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Once inside the Royal Festival Hall, we settled down in the foyer to watch a couple of free shows. Cowboy Max was on when we arrived which was fun and then we played animal sound bingo which was hosted by the Royal Zoological Society (who run London and Whipsnade zoos). This was really educational even for my friend and I!

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After that it was time for lunch and we opted to go to Upper Ground behind the Royal Festival Hall to Pizza Express. The restaurants on the river front all had long queues outside and though we did have to queue at Pizza Express, we only waited for 10 minutes. Seren’s favourite food at the moment is pizza and Imogen loved eating her friend Willow’s pasta Bolognese!

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After lunch we didn’t have much time left so we wandered back onto the South Bank for a walk in the rain (and puddle splashing of course) before heading back to the station. We didn’t scratch the surface of what was on offer at the festival but I guess our little ones are more than happy to wander and not sit still for too long. The festival was VERY, VERY busy but everyone was in good spirits and the staff were numerous and proactively helpful. If I went again I would consider pre-booking an event or two to give the day more structure, there are some free events that can be pre-booked too (though they do sell out a day or so in advance).

The Imagine Children’s Festival is on at the Royal Festival Hall on London’s South Bank until Sunday 22nd February 2015.

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Living Arrows 7/52

Living-Arrows-752We had a fun day of playgroup then the park and a picnic. Yes, picnic! It was freezing cold but Seren warmed up running around so took her coat off. She’s wearing a red Halloween costume but I guess it works for Valentine’s Day too. She fell over a few times and, as luck would have it, her friend Betsy had brought a plaster for her to the park.

Living Arrows 6/52

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Sisters | February 2015

sisters | February 2015Since I wrote the last Sisters post in October, there have been a couple of interesting twists to their relationship:

1) Imogen is on the move now and Seren has found it hard to adjust to Imogen grabbing at her toys and wanting to sit or stand next to her (“she is in MY place!”).

sisters | February 2015

2) When we’ve got baby toys out for Imogen to play with they’ve been commandeered by big sis who suddenly shows an interest in a baby walker. So Imogen is getting early ‘lessons’ in turn taking and sharing. I do feel sorry for her when she is happily playing with something and gets it snatched off of her and foresee years of refereeing ahead.

sisters | February 2015 sisters | February 2015

3) A friend commented that the sisters’ relationship has been enhanced now that Imogen can sit up, and when they are in the right mood they can sit and play together very well. This is especially true at bath time as Imogen can sit unaided now and they love to splash about together.

sisters | February 2015

4) Seren LOVES to push Imogen in the swing. Imogen is not sure about this however.

sisters | February 2015

5) ‘She did it!’. So, when Seren undid her seatbelt on the motorway this week and I had to come off the motorway to find somewhere safe to pull over and get out to strap her back in,  Seren was adamant that Imogen had undone the seatbelt. Which, if you aren’t au fait with the constraints of a baby carseat and the strength and agility of a 9 month old, is physically impossible! I’m not sure what I was more cross about, the seatbelt undoing or the fib…

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On the whole, they do still adore each other and we have had lots of cute moments. The smiles they give to each other are still heart melting.

Sisters | October 2014


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Baby Massage

baby massagePity the poor second baby who misses out on the baby group schedule that the first baby enjoyed! Though in fairness, I guess a lot of those first time around groups were designed to get me out of the house and I think that Imogen takes in a lot from accompanying Seren to her activities. But, there were a couple of baby classes I really wanted to do again with Imogen and baby massage was one of them. There is a really lovely local class which is split into baby massage for the first half then post natal yoga in the second half. The hope is the babies are relaxed and kept entertained by you tickling them as you do your downward dog. Though if they fall asleep the yoga teacher makes you do lunges!

I did the class with both babies when they were 4/5 months old but Imogen being such a mover didn’t want to lie down for the massage and was constantly turning over, wiggling around and wanting to hang upside down from my knees. Seren had been more still though actually rolled over for the first time during the class! I was still able to use the massage techniques on Imogen though even in the various positions she got herself in. It’s a lovely, bonding class and I find that massage relaxes us both.

baby massage

Imogen still loves being massaged (and cuddled a lot!), we’ve used the techniques to help Imogen relax before bedtime and also to relieve snuffly noses and constipation too. With Seren, we used to massage in sunflower oil to help with her super dry skin.

If there is a class near you, I really recommend trying it out with your baby. I did the baby massage with post natal yoga course with Jean from Enfield Holistic Massage and Jackie from the North London Yoga Studio details here.

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Living Arrows 6/52

Living-Arrows-6/52We went up to Capel Manor Gardens on Thursday afternoons with our friends Charlotte, Betsy and Arthur. We got a family annual ticket to the gardens for Christmas and this was our second visit. It’s a ‘win / win’ place to go, the kids love running around, investigating the gardens, finding the tower in the middle of the maze and I feel love getting some gardening inspiration. We took flasks of hot chocolate, coffee and chocolate fingers to warm us up (it was absolutely freezing!). The girls insisted on carrying their flasks around with them to warm their hands.

Living Arrows 5/52

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A Photo a Day – Everyday Life in Photos

I’ve joined a Photo A Day (PAD) project for 2015. You’ve probably heard of this type of thing, often called Project 365, or undertaken it yourself. I did a PAD project in 2010 and promised myself I would never do it again after the pressure of remembering to take photos (and finding interesting things to capture!) became too much. But the photos are a lovely memoir of the year, even the over-edited phone photos of my dinner, the office and the gym! 2010 was a pivotal year for me. We spent most of it preparing for our wedding that October and I had the most exciting year career-wise but was heartbroken at losing both my grandmother and father. Then just as the year was closing I found out I was pregnant with Seren.

So, I was persuaded to do a PAD again. This time I’m doing it with a group, which has already given the project a lovely community feel and I look forward to seeing everyone else’s photos each evening. And there are some amazing photographers in the group – hopefully, some of their expertise may rub off on me! I’m cutting myself some slack this time around and am aiming for 80% completion and feel that it’s more than OK to skip days. A lot of my PAD photos will appear on here anyway but I think I’ll put up some of the others from time to time, especially as I’ve decided to drop the regular ‘life in photos’ posts that I used to do. Here are 10 of my favourites from the beginning of the year:

16020692520_f2dbdbe354_o 16038208218_f07498504c_o P1130141 P1130272 P1130512 P1130561 P1130584 P1130621 P1130672 P1130730Lots of playing indoors and wrapping up warm to go outside. And lots of exploring by the little one!

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