Are You a Toy Story Mom?

I’ve always been a bit weird and never quite fitted in.  I am very proud of my 19 year old retro car, meanwhile people my age are getting brand new sparkly cars on finance.  When I started working in bars, new team members would ask if I was ‘alright’ because I used to wear crazy costumes and was just generally a bit mental.  When I was at school I loved old music while everyone else was into current bands. To make matters worse I listened to my 80s megamix on a minidisc player when everyone else was getting into ipods and MP3 players. In primary school, everyone liked the Spice Girls, I had to take it to the extreme and become a Spice Girl.  My hair was always in a high pony, I had a transfer tattoo and a fake nose stud and only wore adidas.  I still played with Barbies until I was quite old as well, I won’t say how old… My younger sister knows what went on in the bottom of our wardrobe.

Pessimists might call me weird and an outcast, optimists (like me) refer to me as, ‘keeping it real’ and not conforming to a stereo type which is much better in my opinion.

So its no suprise that I’m a bit of an outcast as a mother too.  I’ve had a few trolls try to start arguments with me online because I have an opinion.  Although I think there is no excuse for online fights and bullying, I do accept that I am not at all conventional so I generally don’t fit in with other mothers.   However, I don’t want to get too political, the point of this intro is just to paint the picture that I’ve never fitted in.

A good test to see whether somebody is my kind of mom is this…

Are You a Toy Story Mom?

When you get to the end of this you’re going to fit into one of two sides.

  1. Yes, you’re right. A complete outcast… what a twat.
  2. OMG another Mom like me… my new BFF.

What I mean by Toy Story mom is, do you secretly believe, on some inner child level, that toys are real. Yeh its a stuffed toy but it’s got a personality! Look at those beady little eyes saying, “Please don’t put me in the loft!” Or worse… the bin! Who the hell bins toys? Haven’t you seen Toy Story 3? They can be passed on to new homes you know!


are toys real
5th birthday… 25th birthday… still getting dolls!


It is a pretty normal thing in my family to give toys a backstory, family members, a unique voice and personality.  I grew up with my own Toy Story mom so I just thought it was normal.  She used to change our dolls clothes and position them somewhere else in the room when we were at school and we really thought (still do a little bit) they had moved by themselves.

I always thought this was a normal thing for parents to do but I realised it isnt when I was at my nephews birthday party a couple of years ago and I sat a toy monkey in the pass the parcel circle and (I’m quite good at toy puppetry) made him join in passing the parcel, clapping, looking at the other kids etc.  this instantly separated the mothers.  A few of the kids smiled and liked it, a few looked at me like I’d lost the plot and felt the need to say, “It’s not real.” First of all, it is a HE! And he is real!


fao schartz nyc
Go on holiday to NY… spent half the trip in toy shops!


Having to choose who got to go on holiday with us was the worst farewell of the year.  “I’m sorry baby Pinky but you’re so small, I don’t want you to get lost.”  That seemed legit to me, hopefully she understood why Pinky got to go on the holidays.  “Goodbye, Jade, Rosy, Flopsy, Rosie (it was a popular name thanks to John and the canal boat) Jemma, Claire, Canary, Michaela, Jo, Mikey… ” Anyone would think I was going off to war, not a week at Haven.

Luckily my Nan always joined in with the ‘toys are real’ belief and often provided bed and breakfast for the toys that got left behind so we would get back from our holiday and often find that she had knitted a new outfit for our dolls, which did aleviate the guilt and probably made the other dolls hope they get left behind next time.


flying with kids
it’s no surprise my sister is also a Toy Story mom.


I have still got my dolls now! I can’t imagine ever having the heart to get rid of them.  Ollie, pay attention when you read this… There are a lot of vintage dolls in our house.  When I die you can either pass these down or get rich.  I’ll leave that moral decision with you.


rainbow brite vintage dolls
Some old favourites…

I am going to be such a Toy Story mom with Ollie and any other kids I have.  Everyone has a name already… Yes I’m refering to the toys as people.  Some toys come with a name already, like Scout and Sophia. Others we had the pleasure of naming.  Ra-ra, squeaky G, squeaky G’s brother, Harry, Mr Snail, Boni, Beni, Jimmy… You get the idea.

What’s the harm in giving your kids an imagination and staying in touch with your inner child at the same time? My life has shown me that the happiest people are those in touch with their inner child.  The ones that will jump in puddles and rolls down hills without getting stressed, nothing bad will happen you’ll just have an extra load of washing but you’ve all had more fun.

toys are real
Ollie’s little friends.

Are you a Toy Story mom? Does every toy have a name or are you counting down the days until you can pack all of them off to the charity shop?

The Q2 report.

Can you believe little Oliver is SIX MONTHS old already! He is a lovely little boy, everybody always comments on how happy he is. He hates being sad, even if he’s tired or his teeth are hurting he still manages a little smile. Ollie is just perfect! I just look at him and say, “I love you Ollie!” and kiss him about 300 times a day. He’s the best. Jake (his cousin) nicknamed him Olliebear when he was newborn because he was just too cute, now he calls him Olliepop so I’ve stolen that nickname and sing ‘My boy Olliepop’ to him!  He had a Q1 report, so here’s his Q2!  (Don’t try to read Q1 – it’s having some technical issues and keeps cutting off!)

Oliver Eden-Sangwell Q2 highlights.
1. Ollie’s first family holiday to Brean.
2. Baby’s First Christmas.
3. Ollie has been having swimming lessons.
4. Ollie’s first trip to Clacton to visit his grandparents.
5. Ollie moved out! (Sleepless in Kings norton.)

Performance Review.

Ollie can sit up!
Ollie can sit up!

Ollie seems more like a little boy lately, not a baby! He can sit up all on his own! He first sat up when he was about 5 months old but he was very wobbly and leaned too far forward. Now he sits up nice and straight and when he wobbles he corrects himself and gets his balance so he hardly topples over now. He is a very kicky baby! He doesn’t keep his legs still and we have to put his bath in our bath now because he kicks so much. Sometimes I put him in the bath with me and let him practice his swimming! He is doing really well at baby swimming, he goes underwater and really isn’t bothered by water on his face. As a result, bath time is very messy! He kick, kick, kick, kicks because that’s what he has to do in his little class! I feel like swimming is helping to build his strength because he’s almost crawling and so strong on his legs, I wouldn’t be surprised if he walks before he crawls!



Communications Sector.
I think Ollie’s voice is louder than mine! He is a little chatterbox, he just chats all the time and he’s really nosy. He likes to know what’s going on and loves being involved. when we go out he just looks round at everything! He hardly ever cries, in the mornings he wakes up and just chats to himself until we get him out of the cot. It seems like he’s trying to say Dad because he says “Daaaa” in the mornings and Dave is usually first one up so it’s like he’s calling him. He definitely understands a lot of things we say to him. He kicks his legs and smiles if I say, “you coming?” and hold my arms out, he knows that means I’m going to pick him up. When his Nanny says, “Pleeaasse!” he turns his face to her because it means can I have a cuddle! I won’t go into my potty training too much because nobody seems to understand my point but he definitely understands nappy change because of some simple things I’ve been consistent with over the past few months!

It's alright Dad, I can do it!
It’s alright Dad, I can do it!

Growth Potential.
Oliver has a little tooth! He is so good with his teething he has a little cry occasionally but he stops with teething gel and he really hasn’t caused any dramas, he still sleeps through the night!
He is a little chunky monkey, his legs are so chubby. 🙂 He moved into 6-9 month clothes on Christmas Day so he was about 5 and a half months. He eats baby rice now so he’s going to get big and strong if he keeps being good with his eating. He’s been having little bits of food since the new year and he seems to have figured out what is going on now, he tried to feed himself earlier. I’ll write a blog on baby weaning when we’ve made a bit more progress but it’s only been just over a week so i’ll keep going before I write too much, I haven’t weaned him the ‘normal’ way! I like to work with my own theories.


Health and Safety analysis.
I’ve taken Ollie to the doctors twice since his Q1 report. He had diarrhoea for a few days so I took him, the doctor said he was fine but just picked up a bug. The doctor prescribed some stuff that dissolves in water to replace lost fluid, Ollie hated it! I couldn’t get him to drink it. Luckily it did just clear up. They always say as long as he seems alert and not off his bottle then he’s ok. Then I took him again because he was coughing, I just knew something was different with his breathing. When I went in I think she thought I was one of these paranoid mothers because he always looks so alert and happy. She listened to him on the front of his chest and thought he was fine then listened on his back and said, “You’re right!” He had a little chest infection. She said it’s nothing to worry and he is perfectly healthy but he had a course of antibiotics and it cleared up. Mother knows best! Always trust your instinct.

Financial summary.
My New Years Resolution was to control my spending and stop wasting money on stuff I don’t need! I worked out that a massive chunk of my salary is actually disposable income so there really is no excuse for not having savings and I really don’t need to have any debts. So I was really sensible, on 3rd January I paid off my Very and Debenhams accounts and cut my Debenhams card up! Stage 1 complete! I’m keeping a diary of everything I spend and my diary so far is; Ollie milk, Ollie superdrug, Ollie Mothercare, Ollie passport. I have controlled MY spending I haven’t bought any new clothes or shoes or eaten out but all my spending is on Ollie things! Ok, he doesn’t need the cute outfit that was on sale in Mothercare but the nappies, milk, baby toiletries, food – he needs! I also had to top up his clothes, we had loads 0-6 months but not as much in bigger sizes so he’s had some new sleepsuits and bodysuits this month. It’s not cheap having a baby but he’s worth every penny! I’d spend my whole months salary on him if I needed to!

Closing statement.
Little Oliver makes every day happy! I love being with him. He is a pleasure to have around, he is such a well behaved little baby. Everybody loves him! Even strangers that just see him on the bus can’t help smiling at him. I know every mother thinks their baby is advanced and clever but guess what? We’re all right! To me, my baby is the cutest, smartest little boy and every mother feels the same about their baby! Ollie really understands his little routines in his life and goes along with everything really well! He loves bath time and swimming and loves his toys. He gets bored easily now, he won’t just sit there like he used to, he likes something to do even if it’s just the toys attached to his bouncy chair! He really is wonderful, I could talk about his life all day but I’ll shut up now. Happy first half birthday Olliepop!

Our New Year's Eve!
Our New Year’s Eve!

Oliver and the Seven Dwarfs.

Anybody that knew me pre motherhood will know how much I loved sleep. I could sleep 14 hours straight and not feel like I’d wasted anytime, I had afternoon naps whenever possible, I’ve slept at work, found it very easy to sleep in cars, trains or planes! I loved sleep! So a lot of people are shocked when I tell them I’m awake at 6-7am, up and active in the mornings during the week and in work by midday on a Saturday (I used to go in for 4pm!) so for this blog I’m going to write about stages/ emotions around sleeping and change of sleep patterns with a new baby. This blog will hopefully reassure new or expectant mothers that it really doesn’t last long! Oliver is nearly 3 months now and I have a consistent sleep pattern. (By the way, I’ve worked in nightclubs for the past 10 years so these timings aren’t as late as they seem, I’ve spent many years getting in at 4am and getting up after 12.)

You will be tired. Very tired in the first few weeks. If you’re lucky enough to have a short labour I imagine it would be slightly easier but if you’re a 3-dayer like me then the first couple of days are so weird because you’ll be so sleep deprived but I didn’t find it easy to sleep because I kept waking up just to look at him.

I had many nights where I felt drunk! It’s like your brain and body want to do completely different things. I woke up a few times because he was crying and my brain and all my natural instincts were saying, “Get up and feed him or cuddle him or something!” But my body was saying, “No, I’m asleep!”

The best advice I can give to new parents is… Work as a team! Don’t resent each other if one gets more sleep and don’t turn it into a competition, “I’ve done 2 nappies today, it’s your turn, I did 2am feed, get up!” Etc. It will not help! During the first week or so at home I would wake up and be really Grumpy with David for this stupid reason, he was asleep and I was tired and awake. Not really worth arguing over is it? He quickly realised that I was so tired from doing the night feeds and decided he’d get up slightly earlier for work and take over the first morning feed. That helped me so much because it just meant I didn’t have to worry when he cried in the morning, I knew Dave would see to him. I’d still wake up but not getting up straight away or dozing made a big difference. If you’re breastfeeding express one of the feeds and have a routine where you work together so you both get some sleep. Remember that women are generally more in tune to a babies cry so it makes sense for us to do the night feeds because the men probably won’t wake up if they’re in a deep sleep. Then that will cause an argument when you end up doing HIS feed. As well as being good for you as a couple, it’s good for you both to bond with baby. Feeding is a bonding experience for babies so seeing you both do it is really good for the baby.

Ok, so this is the wise old owl “shethinkssheknowseverythingaboutbabies” section. Again I would like to stress, this is only based on my experience but if my experience can help a new mother then I’m pleased to help. So, by the time Oliver was 8 weeks old we were sleeping 6 hours straight and had an established routine. I didn’t want to write about it straight away incase I was just having a lucky few days but over a month later we are still in the same bedtime routine and Oliver seems to understand what’s going on. In the first few weeks we had no set feeding schedule so that didn’t help because I’d never know when he’d get hungry, I was initially breastfeeding on demand but moved to formula after being drugged up and in hospital for over a week. So he is now on a formula schedule and feeds roughly the same time everyday, this will happen with breastfed babies after a while so don’t resort to formula if you don’t have to.

Once we knew when he’d be hungry, we knew when we’d have gaps to sleep. So initially he was on a rough 10, 2, 6 am/pm schedule and I’d do 2am, Dave 6am. Then we changed the times so his last bottle was 11pm then we’d go to bed. After a few days he started falling asleep halfway through his 3am, so I started reducing the amount he had at 3am and increased his 11pm and 7am so he wouldn’t wake up hungry. He started sleeping til 5am, then 6am and now we generally get to about half 6-7 before he wakes up. We’ve also noticed that he’s stopped crying for his bottle, he just wakes up and shouts like he’s saying, “Hello, I’m awake, I think it’s bottle time now!”

Now we have a proper bedtime routine and he goes along with it! Pyjamas on and clean nappy around 9pm, then chill out time watching TV or just relaxing and cuddles, he usually has a little sleep. The room is kept dark and quiet so he can relax. Then bottle at 11, clean nappy and into bed with his mobile on and he just drifts off to sleep on his own. In the early days he wouldn’t sleep unless I cuddled him to sleep then he’d instantly wake up when I put him down. You have got to be patient with a baby, they’ve spent 9 months being snuggled up and now you expect them to sleep in a cot with all this space around them? It must be scary for them! You’ve got to help them understand they’re in the big wide world now! Snuggle pods/ blankets really helped Ollie learn to sleep on his own.

Everything is suddenly a lot easier and happier when everyone gets some sleep. It is really important to take time establishing a routine if you want a happy household. Babies do not know the difference between day and night, we need to teach them. When I talk about timings, it is only a guide. We don’t live in a regimented strict routine, it is the routine that is more important than the time. Ollie will sleep just as well if we do the nappy, bottle, mobile routine at 11, 11.15 or 12. And please don’t think I leave him crying and hungry if he wants a bottle, if he’s hungry earlier he gets fed. However, because of the routine he is generally hungry at the same time everyday. Just like we’re hungry in the morning, lunchtime and teatime. Having a schedule does make everything easier, it means he can go to his Nan’s or aunties and I can tell them when he’ll be hungry rather than them trying to figure him out! I can go out and know how many bottles to take just in the same way adults might go out and plan to get lunch while they’re out.

Some people are against schedules for babies, it is not nasty or neglectful to put structure and stability into a child’s life. Is it nasty that schools have lunchtime at the same time everyday?

One problem that I experienced with this lovely bedtime routine is, Ollie snores really loud! So he’s all relaxed and peaceful and I’ve now got two lots of snoring going on and I can’t sleep. I asked the doctor about Ollie’s snuffly nose and he said it’s perfectly normal. They just have narrow airways so they get blocked easily. As he grows it will get better. He did prescribe some saline drops for him to help clear his nose so sometimes he has a couple of drops before bed and it helps unblock his nose.

My final tip on getting some sleep with a new baby is don’t be shy! Ask family for help. Ollie has had a few sleepovers at my moms, my sisters have stayed at my house to do one of the feeds, his Grandma and Grandad looked after him on the weekend of my sisters wedding. You’ll find that they actually like helping. All of your family want to bond with your baby so give them time to get to know each other and give yourself time to sleep!

And why we’re on the Bashful subject, don’t be shy about sharing my blog!

If any expectant/ new mothers have any questions please ask. If any mothers have any other tips or advice please comment.