How to prepare children for a new baby

I’m 39 weeks pregnant tomorrow and the children are keenly aware that the baby is coming soon. On the whole, I’ve worried less about what this transition would mean for them than I did when I was pregnant with Ophelia. Back then, I wondered if Talitha would feel displaced and was genuinely concerned about being able to give them both what they needed. Now I know that a certain shortfall is inevitable and I’ve seen how much my children have benefited from having each other.

Adding a third brings its own questions. How will my now middle child react to no longer being the youngest? Will I inadvertently expect more independence and responsibility of my eldest than she’s ready for? Will our home be totally chaotic? Yet, I’m safe in the confidence that I really will love them all, we will muddle through and that these three sisters are already invaluable to each other.

I’m by no means an expert in preparing children to meet a new baby but I thought I’d share a bit of what we’ve done. I’d love to hear your ideas too.

how to prepare children for a new baby-2 This is 2.5-year-old Talitha and I’m struggling to believe she was this ever this little!

Show them their own baby pictures
When we were expecting Ophelia, I had a toddler-sized photo book of Talitha’s baby pictures made so she could see the highlights of her first year and get into the idea of having a baby around. She absolutely loved it and still enjoys looking at it. I haven’t made one for Ophelia (must get on that!) but we’ve been looking at lots of her baby pictures on the computer and in a family photo book we got made the year she was born.

Talk about the baby and listen to what they have to say
While looking at these pictures and just generally as it comes up, we talk about what a baby needs and what we can expect life with a new baby to be like. The girls have their own ideas about what the baby might be doing in my tummy and love talking to her. Now that she really is almost here, Talitha has abandoned calling her “Butterfly” in favour of her name. Ophelia is still calling her “the baby”.

Both of them have wanted to sit on our laps more and Ophelia has needed more holding generally. I remember at this stage in the pregnancy, Talitha started having nightmares and was super-glued to me during the day. They may not be able to articulate what they’re feeling about the change but I’m trying to listen in to what they’re telling me in other ways and to wordlessly reassure them that they still have a place as our babies.

how to prepare children for a new baby

Read books about pregnancy, birth and babies
I read Talitha the book There’s a House Inside my Mummy, which we both found helpful for explaining what was happening. I gave it away after Ophelia was born but she happened upon it in the toddler room at our church and was delighted by it. Mostly, we’ve been reading How You Were Born by Monica Calaf. It’s a beautiful home birth children’s book but the mother packs a suitcase in case she has to go to hospital (as I’ve done) and it’s just generally a positive image of birth. It’s filled with ideas I’d love my girls to grow up with, wherever they decide to be if they have babies later on.

Discuss names with them
We weren’t sure whether to do include them in the name choosing but discussions around a name inevitably happened while they were present and Talitha certainly had opinions. While we’ve made it clear that we will choose the name as she is our baby, just as we chose hers and Ophelia’s we’ve been open to what she thought about the names we suggested. In the end, there’s only one name she’s latched on to and, after a lot of deliberation, we all agreed that that was the one.

Watch birth videos
We don’t know yet whether the children will be present for the birth but we’re open to it as a possibility. The reality of home birth means that they could wind up being around anyway. So, to prepare them, we’ve looked at gentle birth videos, which they’ve really enjoyed. I showed Talitha these videos last time too and although I ended up wanting my in-laws to take her, which they did, it really helped her to connect my changing body with the idea of the baby she’d eventually meet.

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How to help kids prepare for a new baby-2
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Belly painting
Art for children is often about exploration and celebration. I was keen to give them the opportunity to do that by painting my bump with facepaints. Last time, Laurence drew henna patterns on my bump but he didn’t fancy doing it this time and, as it turned out, it was more fun for the girls to paint me anyway. Each had a side.

Pack their bags with them if they’re staying somewhere
They knew that I’d packed a birth bag and a bag for the baby so I’d have everything in one place for the home birth but would also be prepared in case of a transfer. I know some people find it pessimistic to do this but it gave me peace of mind and I really valued having done it last time. It also means that the girls aren’t shocked if I do go to hospital.

The girls were excited to pack their own bags. They got their Trunki suitcases out and I helped them decide what to take in case they needed to go to someone’s house (we discussed the options as we have a few people on call), complete with new toothbrushes – a point for much excitement. I asked them whether they’d rather be here or at someone’s house and they both said, “Both!” so at least they’re open to every possibility too.

Let them help get the baby things ready
They’ve also been thrilled to check out all the tiny baby things. It melted me when they loaded the washing machine with baby clothes, oohing and aahing over how small and cute it all was. They don’t realise they’re still quite small and cute themselves.

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Make a present for the baby
I had in mind to get some ideas from Pinterest for baby toys they could make but we just didn’t get around to any of that. In the end, I grabbed a couple of plain items of baby clothing and some very old paints from our baby shower with Talitha (binned them after as they really don’t work well anymore) and they had a brilliant time painting them. It’s going to be hilarious dressing the baby in them!

Buy presents from the baby
Finally, this is not really “beforehand” preparing but it’s a nice way of introducing them all to each other. I’ve bought Ophelia a Grimms wooden rainbow as she’s rainbow obsessed and I think she’ll have a lot of fun with it and Talitha a Maxamorra hooded onesie because she’s been asking for a hooded onesie for ages. When Ophelia was born, I bought Talitha an IKEA wooden train set as a gift “from the baby” and she actually wasn’t that interested in it at all. She was much more taken with her new baby sister but I think it’s a sweet way of celebrating this new stage in family life.


38 weeks pregnant with baby number three

It’s weird to think that I’m less than two weeks from my guess date. I’ve stopped calling it my due date because at this stage in the pregnancy it’s unhelpful for me to get too fixated on a date.

Talitha was born at 40+13 and Ophelia at 40+3 but that’s no real predictor for when this baby will arrive. I realise, though, that last time, because I expected a baby two weeks “late”, Ophelia felt early. This time, I think I’ll struggle if I go on that long. Two weeks is not a long time. Four weeks seems like it is. Then again, in the grand scheme where this child is a member of our family for life, what’s four weeks?

I am feeling impatient, though. I had a massive growth spurt a few days ago and feel enormous. The midwife was surprised to find my baby as low as possible and told me her head is in my hips, which is frankly I already knew.

Looking back on posts I wrote around this time with my first two, all of my babies have descended and engaged around 37 weeks. I feel like I wasn’t this impatient last time but I have a post from then literally called “Suddenly Impatient“. I was certain I’d never experienced Braxton Hicks before but, reading back, I did! How did I forget all this?

I am so glad I wrote it all down because it’s helping me makes sense of Ophelia’s sudden clinginess. She wants to sit in our laps and even be spoon fed a lot of the time. Talitha has become extra cuddly too. Their world is changing but they can’t quite articulate how they feel about it.

I can’t, either. I go to bed most nights hoping that this will be the night I wake with surges, strong and steady. Yet the reality of looking after a newborn is still a little daunting. We are stepping out into something both familiar and unknown.

38 weeks pregnant-2

I’ve re-read Katharine Graves‘ book, The Hypnobirthing Book and have been practising her relaxation techniques on my own and with Laurence. It still amazes me how effective they are, more so now because they’re so familiar. I mostly sit on my birth ball when we’re at home, both because it’s more comfortable and because it helps me avoid slouching and encouraging the baby to go back to back.

We’ve finally not just settled on but fully embraced the baby’s name. This is new territory, struggling to agree on a name. Talitha’s name was chosen before she was conceived. We stumbled across it in the Bible and joked that if we ever had a little girl, we would call her “little girl” which is the Aramaic Jesus uses when he raises Jairus from the dead. Ophelia is a name that has kept coming back to me over the years. I fell for it from the Natalie Merchant song and we both loved its pretty but slightly haunting quality. Both names were settled long before this stage in pregnancy.

In the end, Talitha has helped us choose a name. Out of all the names she heard us discuss, there’s only one she liked and she has point blank refused any other we suggest. While we’ve talked about “the baby” in this pregnancy, she’s referred to her by name.

Now, though, we feel settled that she’s right. Unless there’s been a mistake on the scan (I kid that Laurence is hoping) that’s the name. We can’t wait to say it freely.


This Homeschooling Life – What June looked like

It’s time to reflect on another month of home education. As we come to the end of the school year, a lot of friends have asked how we’ve found it. I have learned so much this year about balance.

I started the year flitting between going to loads of home ed groups and outings, and just staying in. I’ve learned so much about the value of self-direction but have also become more confident about when and how to offer structure and support.

I worry less about what other people are doing and simply enjoy seeing both my children grow and develop. We’ve had so much fun together.

This Homsechooling life - June

That’s despite me not feeling great a lot of the time these past nine months from first trimester sickness to pregnancy exhaustion and mild depression to now being less mobile. In that time, they’ve each become a lot more independent and helpful. And they’re so into playing together!

There have been “recognisably” productive periods and weeks where we’ve completely gone with the flow. I imagine there’ll be even more of that dance once baby number three is here. My guess date is in a couple of weeks but who knows, eh?

Friends have asked whether we plan to “take a break” over the summer holidays. What we do is actually really low key and informal so I don’t think we really need a rest. The things we do are things that the girls want to do.

Certainly, I don’t intend to do anything that involves planning – mostly because I’m about to have a baby! – but we’ve reorganised the playroom to allow the girls to reach for what they want to do. I either lend a hand or encourage putting away after. Clearly I didn’t do enough of that over the weekend, though, because I’d like to show you what we’ve done to the room but it’s a bit too messy for me to take pictures right now!

Talitha’s drive to learn to read has seriously intensified over the last month. I think it’s been a huge revelation to her that she can read quite a lot. It’s something I’ve noticed for a while but for some reason it’s only just occurred to her that this is a thing – a thing she’s really excited about.

This Homsechooling life - June-10

We’re almost done with the Alphablocks Reading Programme. I did an introduction post back when they sent it to me a couple of years ago but I’ll do a proper review of that at some stage soon.

I don’t at all think this is the approach for every child or even that every child reads at a certain age but Talitha has loved those magazines and I often have to tear her away from them so we can go out. She still prefers to do them with me (a time together thing, I think) but now that she can read most of the instructions herself, I can sort of dip in and out with her while playing something else with Ophelia.

I also ordered the next batch of Oxford Reading Tree books (marmite for both kids and adults, I know!) and she’s loving powering through those while realising she can read other books too. Reading to her little sister is now a favourite activity.

What’s just as brilliant is hearing Ophelia “read” in return, which mostly involves looking at the pictures and making up her own stories! She can recognise her name and Talitha’s and loves repeating what we say when we read books, which is like the toddler reading equivalent to stopping to look at every flower and insect on a walk around the corner – cute, fun but slow!

Talitha did a home ed class with The Animation Workshop. Together, in three hours, the group made this cool stop motion animation telling the story of St George and the Dragon. She especially loves spotting her name in the credits.

The girls’ drawings have been really interesting to observe over the past month. Ophelia has suddenly gone from scribbling to drawing faces and actual things with a clear idea of what she’s drawing. Laurence is often pointing out to me that Talitha is using perspective and including new details. I must admit, I’d often just look at her pictures thinking they’re cool but not really knowing why. She got an Usborne drawing book for her birthday, which she’s a bit obsessed with. It seems she’s building on ideas she’s already been developing, which is fascinating to see.

It’s interesting seeing her handwriting develop too. I’m conscious that I haven’t helped her much with this at all and while her letter formation looks solid, her technique often isn’t the most efficient. At this stage, I don’t feel that matters much but she’s been asking to learn to write in cursive and, knowing how I’ve benefited from it (writing more quickly and thinking more creatively in cursive) I’m considering finding something she can follow if she wants to give it a go. This month she’s written a lot of thank you cards for her birthday. We still have a few more to do.

We gave the Mathematics Enhancement Programme a go as I mentioned we would last time and got through the first term of reception in a couple of weeks partly because I didn’t ask all the practice questions because it was all stuff she’d already conceptually grasped simply through real life. I’m inclined just to keep encouraging her to play with our Spielgaben set and offering the resources that come with that when she wants more input. Ophelia is now solid on her colours, having been mad on learning them a month ago, and is obsessed with counting everything.

fantastic mr fox - instagram

In June, we read Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox. It’s such a page turner! We have started C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. While she really wants to know what happens next and is highly engaged with the story, I’m actually not sure whether we’ll manage it because she’s finding it scary. It’s hard sometimes to know when to encourage her to keep going or just shelf something for later on. She’s also been a bit unwell lately which always prompts her to requests audiobooks so we’ve been listening to Paddington Bear.

This month has involved making the most of Laurence being around more by going on outings I would have struggled with on my own. We camped on a goat farm just after half term and met up with my friend Jess and her kids at Barrington Court, a beautiful Tudor National Trust property.

This Homsechooling life - June-9

This Homsechooling life - June-4

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We also enjoyed a look around Bristol’s Victorian attraction, Brunel’s ss Great Britain. The girls loved running in and out of cabins and looking at the lifelike wax models.

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This Homsechooling life - June-7

A ticket allows you a year’s access so we’ll be back to take it in at our own pace too. It seems an easy place to take them on a quiet day midweek when the baby’s here, regardless of the weather. It’ll also be a useful outing depending on whether we dig more into history over the coming year.

Kids yoga_

Other highlights include lots of gardening, an intro to yoga via Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube and enjoying birthday presents like the sewing kit below.

This Homsechooling life - June-3

Ooh, and this is why it’s good that I take photos, I almost forgot that a huge deal this month has been watching our caterpillars become butterflies! Hopefully, this will become a yearly tradition for us.

This Homsechooling life - June-2

Do you home educate? Please do consider linking up any post about something you’ve been up to below. All approaches welcome! x

Other posts in this series:

May
April
March
February
January
What I loved about our first “term” of home educating
November
October
September
This Homeschooling Life – the very beginning

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Every month, I’ll give a little update on what we’ve been up to as part of This Homeschooling Life, a new linky I’m hosting with blogger friends Jess, Polly and Laura. If you blog, consider linking up.

This Homeschooling Life is a linky sharing a week, a day or even just a moment from your life as a homeschooling family. We are hoping it will be a great way to discover new blogs and learn how we all do things differently.

The linky will open at 8am on the first Monday of every month and, throughout the rest of the month, the hosts will share your posts on their social media channels.

The Hosts:

Adele who blogs at Beautiful Tribe
Laura who blogs at Side Street Style
FACEBOOK / TWITTER / PINTEREST / INSTAGRAM
Polly who blogs at Enchanted Pixie
FACEBOOK / TWITTER / PINTEREST / INSTAGRAM

The Rules:

1. Link back to one of the hosts. You will find the code for the badge at the bottom or if you prefer you can use a text link.

2. Link up a post from your month, no more than 3.

3. Link directly to a specific post, not your main blog.

4. Follow the hosts on at least one of their social media platforms.

5. Visit and comment on some of the other blogs linking up.

6. If you share on social media then you can use the #thishomeschoolinglife so we can all find each other.

This Homeschooling Life

An InLinkz Link-up



Now she is five

Somehow my first baby turned five last weekend. Like, she was this tiny newborn I was learning to breastfeed and then – suddenly! – she became this CHILD with all these ideas and opinions.

Talitha's 5th birthday-7

As I’ve mentioned before, Talitha is currently obsessed with dinosaurs so it was no surprise when she requested a dinosaur party for her birthday. Her favourite is triceratops so we asked Cakes by Rachel Clare to put one on top of her cake. Can we just take a moment over this cake, though? How amazing is it?!

I always find baking a cake the most stressful part of organising a party so opted to buy one this year and it’s practically a work of art! Rachel even made it gluten-free and with goat’s butter. Inside was the lushest chocolate cake too.

Talitha's 5th birthday-8

I was pretty nervous about throwing her a party this year as I knew I’d be bang on 35 weeks pregnant. A friend pointed out the power of the number five for our family that weekend: first child turning five, five weeks until the baby who’ll make us a family of five is estimated to be due.

Talitha's 5th birthday

So we made things really low key by only inviting a few friends and having a ready made craft. I got these dinosaur moneybox painting sets from Hobbycraft for a mere £1.50 a pop and they seemed a hit.

Talitha's 5th birthday-4

We also played musical dinosaur statues, got the karaoke machine out, had a picnic on the kitchen floor (it was raining outside) and played pass the parcel.

Talitha's 5th birthday-3

With the party over, we went to lunch with family and the weekend was made extra special by having cousins stay the night. I must admit, it’s taken some time to recover from it all but I’m so glad we said yes to a small party this year.

Talitha's 5th birthday-5

Every year feels like such a big change but five really does feel it. I’ve seen such a leap in the way she reasons and works things out and even in the way she argues with me. I won’t pretend I’m always thrilled with that last bit but it’s fascinating and healthy all the same.

I love getting to know her and look forward to seeing what this next year is going to bring her in terms of growing, changing and finding her place as the eldest of three children.


A “not half term” flash camping trip

Laurence has a quiet time with work at the moment so we decided to take advantage of the ebb and flow of freelanc to fit a quick camping trip in to Wookey Farm, just forty minutes from where we live in Bristol. Packing the car in a record one and half hours, we reflected that once we got there that the campsite was just far away to feel like a change without being daunting.

Not half term flash camp-2

When Laurence emailed the farm to ask whether they had free pitches, they explained that there was lots of space since it was no longer half term. Half term. We hadn’t even thought of that. We felt incredibly grateful to be able to take advantage of both the freedom of home educating and the sunny weather.

Not half term flash camp-5

This is our family’s third year camping at Wookey Farm. Laurence took Talitha in March two years ago while I stayed home with newborn Ophelia. Then last year, we all went with another family. This year it was just the four of us (well, five with baby in utero) and it was wonderful seeing Ophelia experience the farm camping experience very differently as a two-year-old.

Not half term flash camp

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From putting up the tent to building fires, toasting marshmallows to feeding the goats and donkey straw, swinging in a wildflower meadow to splashing in a river, both children loved every bit of being there.

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Not half term flash camp-7

I was even surprised that the compost toilets – a bit of an issue for Talitha and I last time – didn’t phase any of us this time. Even Ophelia, newly out of nappies, was keen to use the compost loo though we’d brought the potty along.

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The experience proved a bit much for me, admittedly. I’ve been far more comfortable in this pregnancy than in either of my previous so I felt optimistic about camping but even with all our sleeping gear, pelvic girdle pain hit me in the night. I pushed through it for most of the next day but eventually had to sit in the field while the others went to the river. The change of scene and time outdoors together was well worth it, though.

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As it turned out, the weather was changeable (ah, Britain) so the girls got good use out of the wellies and a parka they were sent by Verbaudet. Both pairs of boots have handles which make them easy and fun to pull on and, better yet, their patterns change colour in water! Cue lots of splashing in puddles when it’s wet weather, which thankfully we didn’t have this time. Talitha’s 3-in-1 parka is lined with a detachable gilet on the inside which makes it perfect for all the in-between weather we’ve been having recently.

Not half term flash camp-10

I imagine that this will be our last camping trip all together until the baby is here. We’re planning to camp come September at The Good Life Experience festival which may be its own madness but in the meantime, Laurence plans to take Ophelia on her own some time then the two of them together. I’d like to get a solid bit of one-to-one time in with each of the children (and with Laurence!) before baby number three joins us next month.


This homeschooling life – What May looked like

Writing these monthly summaries always feels a little odd because I could never include everything that’s happening. Home education really is a whole life pursuit. I find it helpful to look back on some of the highlights, though, and I really enjoy getting glimpses at what other home educating families get up to. Here’s what the month of May looked like for us.

This homeschooling life - May-9

Deeper interests
Dinosaurs have continued to be a strong theme here. It started with watching Dinosaur Train on Netflix and has gone far beyond that into books and museum trips, looking for answers on the Internet, weighing up conflicting information and lots and lots and lots of drawing.

I got Talitha a dinosaur activity pack from Usborne and she’s been enjoying making her way through them, absorbing all the dinosaur facts and insisting we do the crafts, including dinosaur cards as invitations for her birthday party.

I suggested we start writing her questions down in a book so we remember to look for the answers. We covered a little exercise book with paper and she’s drawn dinosaurs on both sides. Sometimes she writes in it, other times she dictates to me and I write in it.

She’s also asking lots of questions about how the human body works so we’ve been looking at books and spending time in the body section of At Bristol Science Centre at her request. I’m struck that these themes are not so much about actual details of what she’s learning but that she’s learning how to learn. That makes having more facts than I can absorb quoted at me before I’ve had my morning coffee more than worth it.

This homeschooling life - May-2

New routines and rhythms
Laurence was away working in London for a lot of May, which always drives me to keep a lot more to a routine than I normally would. This time, it’s made life so enjoyable we’ve kept it up – mostly anyway.

It’s all stuff we were doing anyway but actually giving things a time of day has just helped everything run more smoothly, whether it’s gardening, cooking or reading.

We read a children’s Bible and pray together over breakfast most mornings, followed by a chapter book. Then Talitha observes her cherry tomato plant. This started as a little activity I took along to our home ed group for a food theme but she’s really got into it. She draws it, measures it, observes it and writes her observations down. I’m not sure how much longer we’ll keep it up, though, as her interest seems to be waning so we may plot a height graph soon and maybe just keep a height chart once we’ve re-potted it in the greenhouse, which will be this week.

This homeschooling life - May-4

Our caterpillars from Insectlore also arrived this week, so they’re keeping an eye on them with their magnifying glasses and we’re all getting a thrill out of watching them grow, sometimes seeming to double overnight! They’re getting ready to build their cocoons right now so both girls are extremely excited. They’ve even named them: Susie, Tiss-Tiss, Tree and I can’t remember the other two.

The biggest change has been re-organising their play room. I’ve been decluttering and working at making everything accessible, easier to find and easier to put away. It’s made a huge difference to the way they operate in that space now and the things they find to do on their own. I’ll write more about this when I put together a post on the playroom soon. I just want to re-paint and do a last bit of sorting first.

This homeschooling life - May-8

We’ve also really enjoyed taking life outside this month as it’s been so sunny. A parasol sent to us by Homebase from their garden furniture range has allowed us not only to comfortably eat lunch and read outside – making both feel like a treat too! – but drawing and more structured activities have taken to the garden table too as a result. It’s a brilliant blue and has given us yet another reason to welcome the sunny weather.

This Homeschooling Life - May

What we’re using

She’s pretty obsessed with her Alphablocks magazines so I’ve been keeping the one she’s working on in a folder with the tomato plant observation sheets so she always knows where it is and that’s usually what we do next, as long as we’re not rushing out to something in the morning. If we are, she comes back to it in the afternoon. Ophelia gets busy with stickers and pens or the toy kitchen, a puzzle or dressing up while I’m helping her with this.

Talitha also asked for more books that she could read on her own so I got her the first set of Oxford Reading Tree books. She’s flown through them and loves reading them to Ophelia so I’m about to order the next set.

Most afternoons we get the Spielgaben out, either to just build together and play, counting things and talking about what we notice or using the printed resources that come with it. Talitha has asked for something like Alphablocks but for numbers, though, so I printed a few lessons from MEP and we’re going to see how that goes. For Ophelia, I’ve been using some Montessori ideas from blogs with the Spielgaben, which she’s loving, often changing the rules entirely and finding creative ways to use objects that I would never have considered.

What we’re reading

This month we’ve read Firwood – The Magic Garden, a real treat for Talitha because she met the author in Waterstones and had the book signed. I felt like not much happened in it before it got overly exciting towards the end but Talitha loved it the whole way through and has requested other books in the series. We also read Gerald Durrell’s The Fantastic Dinosaur Adventure which tied in perfectly with her dinosaur obsession. His books are gripping, beautifully written and take you through so many ideas. We both enjoyed it as much as the prequel, The Fantastic Flying Adventure.

This homeschooling life - May-5

What we’ve been making
While sorting the playroom, Talitha discovered some light catchers she was given by her godmother a couple of years ago. She’d done some but there were a few left to paint with acrylic paints. When she ran out of sun catchers, she didn’t seem done so I offered her some little canvases I’d found. Putting acrylic to canvas proved a real thrill. It was fascinating seeing her work out what she could do with a new medium. We looked at acrylic paintings around our house and talked about how the artists use space on the canvas. Ophelia had a go too.

This homeschooling life - May-7

Last reflections
This month I’ve been struck that I’m constantly learning to strike a balance with the way I get involved in the things they’re doing. On one hand, I do want to remind them about what they wanted to do and encourage them to complete and keep at stuff. On the other, I don’t want to exert too much control over what’s happening and stifle the process.

I’ve also been amazed at the huge developmental leaps Ophelia is taking. She’s obsessed with colours, counting everything, building, putting together puzzles and has started to connect sounds to letters. She’s particularly excited to point out “O”, never failing to tell you that that’s her letter.

Above all, I love seeing my girls together and am grateful for the extended uninterrupted time that home education has given us.

—————

Every month, I’ll give a little update on what we’ve been up to as part of This Homeschooling Life, a new linky I’m hosting with blogger friends Jess, Polly and Laura. If you blog, consider linking up.

This Homeschooling Life is a linky sharing a week, a day or even just a moment from your life as a homeschooling family. We are hoping it will be a great way to discover new blogs and learn how we all do things differently.

The linky will open at 8am on the first Monday of every month and, throughout the rest of the month, the hosts will share your posts on their social media channels.

The Hosts:

Adele who blogs at Beautiful Tribe
Laura who blogs at Side Street Style
FACEBOOK / TWITTER / PINTEREST / INSTAGRAM
Polly who blogs at Enchanted Pixie
FACEBOOK / TWITTER / PINTEREST / INSTAGRAM

The Rules:

1. Link back to one of the hosts. You will find the code for the badge at the bottom or if you prefer you can use a text link.

2. Link up a post from your month, no more than 3.

3. Link directly to a specific post, not your main blog.

4. Follow the hosts on at least one of their social media platforms.

5. Visit and comment on some of the other blogs linking up.

6. If you share on social media then you can use the #thishomeschoolinglife so we can all find each other.

This Homeschooling Life

An InLinkz Link-up



34 weeks pregnant with baby number three

Six plus weeks to go still feels a long time but a look through our calendar with most weekends booked up until then and it really isn’t a long time at all.

Physically, all is looking as it should. A midwife appointment last Thursday confirmed that the baby is head down and that my iron levels are in good shape. A Spatone smoothie a day has kept the anemia away so far. This is my first non-anemic pregnancy.

The girls went with me this time. Talitha was delighted to hear the baby’s heartbeat and fascinated when the midwife took my blood. I’m not sure how much Ophelia understood because she was mainly fixated on showing the midwife her boots, repeatedly.

Other than being a bit sore and stiff at the end of a day when I’ve overdone it, pelvic girdle pain isn’t an issue this time so far, which I’m so grateful for because I haven’t been able to make it to an osteopath as I did in my second pregnancy and I was practically housebound at points in my first.

I do have to watch it, though, and am trying to listen to my body in terms of walking and lifting. The kids inevitably keep me active, which is a good thing, even if I pay in soreness later. I’m finding a shower in the evening really helps with that.

I am, however, feeling utterly, utterly exhausted. I can honestly say, I don’t think I’ve ever felt this tired in my life. Not even in that first sleep deprived year with Talitha when she woke all. the. time. I’ve upped my vitamin D but I think feeling tired just going to be the theme for the next few weeks. I remember feeling so much better after having Ophelia so I’m hoping that will happen again.

A pregnancy massage at the Lido in Clifton yesterday was just what I needed. Laurence bought me a voucher for my birthday as he had in my first pregnancy five years ago. I may have drifted in and out of sleep, hopefully without snoring! I’m still feeling its effects today, despite nursing a headache.

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Emotionally, I am really looking forward to the birth. I’ve been listening to Katharine Graves’ hypnobirthing CD and despite falling asleep by the first few affirmations (I need to start listening in the day time too!), it’s been helping me to get into a really positive, empowered mindset. Maybe it’s reminding me about the things I loved about the last home birth?

We also went to another Bristol Home Birth Group meeting last night, which was interesting because it raised a big topic for us. We’ve been discussing whether to have the kids there. We planned to just keep Talitha home last time but I changed my mind last minute as I found her too distracting. In retrospect, though, I was still in the early stages of labour and had quite a long way to go. If she had been around, perhaps I wouldn’t have given my surges more attention than they required too soon.

Talking about it last night, we realised we had a conflict of approaches. I want the birth to be normalised as a part of our everyday life as far as possible and I feel it’s better to focus on what we want and expect to happen than give to much energy to what might happen. Laurence, on the other hand, is being far more pragmatic, probably because he’s the one who will be saddled with their care. In the end, I think we’ve seen that both perspectives have value and balance each other. So, we’ve made arrangments with various family members (we’re so lucky to have so many in Bristol) and we’ve agreed to wait and see.

I’ve almost completed the blanket I’ve been crocheting for this baby. The last bits are boring so finishing them feels a real labour of love, which it is. I love her already. It’s my first project of this size so it’s been a real journey getting here, even though it’s far from perfect. I hope to share it with you soon.

Practically, I haven’t sorted most of what I had by this stage the last couple of times. I’ve gathered clothes here and there but I haven’t actually laid everything out to see what I need. Hilariously, a pregnancy website I was looking at was telling me that at 34 weeks, it might be worth giving the hospital bag a last minute check! I’m definitely not there yet.

Nappies weren’t sorted up until the weekend when a friend sold me her cloth stash at a bargainous price. I said I was going to make cloth wipes since all of ours are pretty much threadbare but it doesn’t look likely now and having seen the quality of some Cheeky Wipes the same friend had, I may just buy a set of those.

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I’ve also been starting to think about what I’m going to wear after the baby’s here. I didn’t give this any attention in either of the last two pregnancies and found myself with clothes that were either annoying to breastfeed a newborn in or didn’t fit well in the postpartum period. So I’m appreciating getting my wardrobe started with this blue dress [pictured] sent to me by Vertbaudet. I can wear it now while pregnant but it also has poppers for breastfeeding once the baby is here. I think I may well end up in dresses until the autumn now, especially when it’s hot.

Parenting feels like it’s evolving as we get ready to add a third child to our family. I’m aware that having a baby sibling will be different for Talitha at five than it was at two years and eight months. Yet I’m also aware that it will be different for Ophelia than it was for Talitha, not just because she’ll be three months younger but because she is a different person.

While they’re both more conscious of my bump than I am a lot of the time, Ophelia is the one who draws most attention to it, probably because she’s the one who most needs a lap, a cuddle in bed or to be carried. It melts me when either of them talks to the baby but Ophelia is the one most prone to do so.

Ophelia is still breastfeeding, albeit for only a few moments at bedtime, only ever on one side. Often she will decide she’s had enough. I find it a relief because I’m experiencing even more nursing aversion than I did with Talitha. Perhaps my body is saying, “Too much.” Her latch has also changed and I’m not convinced that she is getting any colostrum, though it is there.

It seems entirely possible that she could wean in the next month. Part of me feels sad to think that she could wean so soon when I breastfed her sister to age four. There may also be some guilt there because I know I’ve encouraged her quite a lot, with more limits than her sister had. Yet, breastfeeding isn’t something that can be measured or predicted.

I wonder how both girls will adapt to a new sibling. Attentions already divided will become more so. Already they don’t always get what they want or need. It’s just not possible. I have to trust that what I give will be enough in the long run and appreciate how much they have already gained in each other.

I look at these two, how different they are and how easily I love them both, and wonder what my love will look like when it expands to a third.

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Read more updates from this pregnancy with baby number three:
31 weeks pregnant
28 weeks pregnant
25 weeks pregnant
22 weeks pregnant
20 weeks pregnant
18 weeks pregnant
16 weeks pregnant
12 weeks pregnant