Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Finding my way to a new kind of body confidence.

There was only ever one period in my life when I would have been considered 'skinny' or to a  'healthy weight'. It was a long time ago and I was in my early teens. You see I was a chubby little girl and everything for my age was always too small for my body.

Through my late primary school years I was bullied. Not just a little, I was really horribly bullied all  through school. I lost all my confidence pretty quickly and as I hit my teen years I hit an all time low with my personal body confidence. No matter how skinny I was, it wasn't really what I wanted to be happy. I was a size 6-8 in UK sizes for my early teens and looking back I probably hated my body the most through that period. I always wanted to change something about myself. However what did change through my teens was that I found a confidence in my own personality. I was a total emo kid and I seemed to find who I was. I met friends and they always pushed me to be better and to believe in myself. Which built up a confidence I never knew was there. They made me feel good about not being the same for the first time in a very long time.

During my late teens things changed again, I met Simon and I didn't want to be skinny, I wanted to be happy. I wanted to stop trying to control my eating and doing way too much exercise without enough sleep or food. I had developed bad habits with eating, in that I didn't really do it! I wore new rock boots most days and walked miles in them between hills (we lived in a valley) and just general walking. I wasn't looking after my body in any way and I realised I needed to eat healthier. Which in turn brought on weight gain and suddenly I was 'fat', not only by my own standards but according to my doctor I was now 'overweight'. Slowly my confidence started to dwindle away again.

By the time I was pregnant with Dylan I was up to being a size 14 and afterwards I didn't feel comfortable in my own body. It had changed (just as it should!) through my pregnancy and I wanted to hide it away under baggy clothes. So I did. For a long time everything needed to be flowy and fall without hugging my figure. I spent the next few years on a yo-yo of dieting and putting on weight.

In the year before having Scarlet I decided to accept that my body wasn't built to be 'skinny'. You see in my late teens I was diagnosed with PCOS and what I didn't know until we started trying to have a second baby was that it can affect the ability to loose and maintain a weight. After years of having this my own doctor had still insisted I wasn't trying hard enough to be a 'healthy weight' and that I was 'obese'. I had learned to accept that I was 'fat' because lets face it that's what they where telling me. I'm fat and yes, that is true. What isn't true but is implied by those statements is that I am unhealthy. I'm not and I wasn't unhealthy. I walk, pretty much everywhere, I have pretty good stamina. At a size 16 I walked up a mountain, pushing a pram, carrying a 9 month in a carrier. I'm not unfit and it would seem that this weight is where my body naturally bounces back to. So why am I always being pressured and told I need to change that?

Once I had accepted that my body was going to be however it was and that no amount of dieting or being skinny would make me like it more, I felt a little more free. I wasn't weighing myself down with a need to be different. I happily stayed there in a place where I didn't love my body but I no longer hated it and wanted to change it all the time either. I'd found a kind of limbo in myself.

During my pregnancy with Scarlet I had serious health problems and a lot went wrong. Pretty quickly I realised that actually I wasn't unhealthy before. I had no health problems other than my PCOS. I wasn't even in the at risk sections for anything weight related. I had the worst pregnancy of the three I've now had. After I decided that I wouldn't try to be 'healthier' by changing my every day life because I was still trying to eat healthier without dieting. 

Over the last three years I also started to find a world full of bigger people who loved their bodies and who found happiness in doing so. It started with watching people on Youtube and TV who are happy and accepted despite their size. Then last year Hayley from Sparkles and Stretchmarks started to share her body confidence journey on Instagram and I found the body confidence movement. People who wanted to be accepted by society instead of being told to change themselves. People who might not be unhealthy because they are fat or people who aren't happy with the need to be skinny because skinny is always better right? Wrong, skinny people can be unhealthy too. You don't just assume that they are though do you?

After reading and watching as Hayley found her confidence, I started to find small parts of my body that I actually really liked. My lips or the colour of my eyes and as I opened my mind to how I don't have to be a skinny, flawless person to be happy and to feel like I look good, I felt better in myself! It's taken me longer to love my 'tummy pouch' where having children has changed my body shape and my body fat naturally comes there now. It's taken even longer to like my arms which have stretch marks and bingo wings. However I do like them. They are a part of me.

Now years after my confidence was stripped down to it's bare minimum and I wasn't happy with even one thing about myself. I was finding a true happiness with my body. My confidence wasn't really following behind, I was still dressing in t-shirts and skinny jeans or dresses which had a big skirt. The most fitted my clothing got was 50's style dresses. That was until I stumbled upon Carrie Dayton on Youtube. An American beauty Youtubber who is happy and confident as a plus sized woman. I watched her videos on styling mid sized bodies, she wears the same UK size as me so I figured that I could try them. Now I don't have the same style as her, in fact I'm pretty far off but I found a whole new purpose to my self love journey. I wanted to simply be happy and to feel good about myself, as I am, without changing anything. Armed with some of her tips mixed in with another youtubber Sierra Schultzzie  I wanted to find some new clothing which made me feel amazing!

It's taken some time and honestly I feel like this journey has been happening through my entire life. I found a skirt which didn't fit in to my normal go to wardrobe. Yes it's still flowy and it's not figure hugging but it is something I would usually just put back on the hanger thinking I wasn't 'skinny enough' to wear it. I wore it twice and I felt good! I felt like I was happy in my body despite being just over a month post partum with my third baby.

The next time I wore it I felt pretty great, I felt so good I asked Simon to take some photos for me with and without the children. I stood in public, okay so it was pretty covered inside a hedged garden in the botanical garden but there where people there and quite a few stared at me. I stood in front of the beautiful flowers and I posed for some photos. I felt confident. I feel good and I felt like I was beautiful which I didn't say when I got home and shared the photos online. It seems funny to type it now. I felt so good but I didn't feel confident enough to tell anyone that I felt like I looked beautiful. I guess there is still more confidence I need to find.

Since then I also bought myself a dungaree dress which hugs in all the places I try to hide, I can't wear leggings underneath to stop my legs rubbing together and I certainly can't hide under layers. However I love it! I didn't think I would and I was convinced I'd buy it, hate it and return it. I was so wrong and I wore it to a birthday party last week. I felt great, I even went out for a walk with Avery later that night and honestly surprised myself by how confident I felt I did take a quick photo which is above and I feel like I am really finding my self confidence. 

I am happy, I feel good in myself, I don't want to be skinny, I don't want to focus on the numbers in my clothing or the numbers on the scale. I don't want to be told I am fat, unhealthy or that I am obese. I just want to be healthy and other than the number on those scales I am. So I am going to stop feeling bad about not matching up to other people or the expectations that are pushed on us to be smaller and healthier. Instead I'm going to be happy, I'm going to find more clothing that makes me feel great and I am going to find a way to feel good about myself in the small moments without make up and fancy clothes as well as the big ones. 

Saturday, 27 July 2019

What we're reading - Scaredy Squirrel at Night by Melanie Watt

Dylan has quite a few fears, one or two he picked up on from me and Simon like wasps or spiders but he has a very long list. We've been encouraging him to try to see what happens when he faces them. It's easier said than done especially when they can be things like a fear of flies! When we had been scouring the shelves of a charity shop a few weeks ago we spied a selection of books called Scaredy Squirrel. What had we got to loose with seeing if they'd help.

Dylan immediately wanted to read one particular Scaredy Squirrel book and it was Scaredy Squirrel at night by Melanie Watt. I think this particular Scaredy squirrel resonated with Dylan. A fair few of his fears seem to appear suddenly at bed time and result in utter meltdown.

Scaredy Squirrel is just that he's afraid of pretty much everything and at night time he's especially afraid of bad dreams! Particularly ones with creatures in them like vampire bats and unicorns. His solution is to never sleep and keep himself busy all night long. He makes a list and for night after night he doesn't sleep. Pretty soon Scaredy Squirrel feels the effects of getting no sleep.

One night he reads his horoscope and finds all his dreams will come true at midnight, He panics and comes up with an action plan with everything he needs to stay safe from the creates that could come for him!

It doesn't really go to plan when racoon's show up and Scaredy Squirrel tries to scare them away but ends up hitting in all his own traps. In the end he plays dead but falls asleep and learns that sleeping doesn't mean you'll have bad dreams.

The story paired up with the fun and clear illustrations of the book which clearly show the process Scaredy Squirrel is following. I think the bright illustrations really help to engage children and show clearly what he is doing in each stage.

Dylan was instantly in love with Scaredy Squirrel and it's all we read for over a week! Scaredy's irrational fears all for no real reason has really helped Dylan to see that sometimes there is very little to be afraid of. He adores how Scaredy Squirrel prepares for the worst and put his plans into action. Reading through Scaredy Squirrel's lists is fun as we try to guess what he uses each strange item for.

For me I really like that it's never as bad as Scaredy Squirrel thinks and actually even though his plan goes wrong it's the thing he isn't expecting that changes his whole experience. It's this lesson that I hope Dylan is picking up on. That being afraid of something and always expecting it to happen means he can't see the adventures too.

I think that the whole Scaredy Squirrel series by Melanie Watt is great for children with fears. This particular book of Scaredy Squirrel at Night is perfect for children after bad dreams or if they are afraid at night time. He's such a lovable character and I must admit even I find him quite funny!

You can purchase Scaredy Squirrel at Night by Melanie Watt from £6.32.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Avery at 2 months old

Two months old! I'm a little behind with this post which had been planned for over a week ago now. We're getting close to Avery being three months old but I wanted to share everything that changed at two months.

Avery is still a happy, content little baby. He didn't really cry much during his first month and something I have noticed over this month is that he's got his proper little newborn cry. Usually he'll only have a proper baby cry if he's really annoyed or if he's been asleep for longer than normal and is now really hungry.

This month sleep has had some harder moments. He still naps for most of the day and will sleep through for around 4 hours solid at night. We did hit Avery's first leap this month and he mostly wanted to sleep on my however he still slept very well and stayed content while I had him.

Physical Ability
Avery is pretty strong! He's always had good strength in his neck and has been trying to see around him since he was around a week old. He'll keep his head in one upright position for a good minute or two at a time.
I do think Avery has stronger muscles and greater control at this point than both Dylan and Scarlet. He really enjoys tummy time and happily squirms around trying to move himself already. I don't think it'll be too long before he actually moves himself! Which is just crazy! He's only two months.

Avery had his first social smile! It's adorable and it never fails to make me smile back. He's very alert and responsive and he loves to smile at Dylan and Scarlet. I think we are close to getting his first giggle too. He makes some little noises while smiling now which makes me think he's trying to laugh.

Avery has been doing really well. He's growing and gaining weight so well that in the last month (plus a few days) he's jumped through two centiles! He now weighs 11 pounds and 

Last month we had some problems with feeding in the first few days as I said in Avery's one month update. Since we have been going very well. Avery feeds very well and is gaining weight much better now. The only little problem we hit this month with breastfeeding was that I got a blocked milk duct which was really painful and took a two days to get it to pass. I think we're doing really well and we are completely settled into breastfeeding together now. The hardest thing we deal with is when Avery is really hungry during the night he just works himself up and needs to calm down a little before he can latch on.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Fun learning maths with Matific Galaxy {Review & Giveaway}

*This is a gifted collaboration, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.*

It's summer here and with two weeks already past since the last day of school I'm very aware we need to continue learning through summer. We've always had a book or two that Dylan can complete over summer. This year I wanted to do a bit more and cover as many of the subjects he learns in school as we can. Which is why I was really excited when Matific got in touch with us.

Matific is an online maths education tool which helps to support your child while they learn the Mathematics Curriculum. Matific Galaxy covers all the fundamentals of maths and helps children to learn their maths through fun interactive games called episodes. The great news is that each of those fun episodes is a structured lesson focusing on one mathematics skill. They progress independently following along the guided episodes your child will learn at their own pace. 

Setting up Matific Galaxy is really easy with the whole programme being an online site you sign into. As a parent you will have access to much more on the site than your child who will have their own personalised log in (username and password) which you make during the set up process and are able to change at any time. I like that this adds another layer of independence, Dylan is very good at his IT logging in at school and is always really proud that he can remember his password! The set up process includes which grade your child follows. Now the grades do follow the American grade system however they match up with the UK curriculum with kindergarten being Reception in Great Britain and Primary 1 here in Northern Ireland. The final selection is to add a learning goal of how long you'd like them to spend learning on Matific over a whole week you can choose anything from 15-75 minutes a week. I set Dylan's to the 'recommended time of 45 minutes a week but I know he does more than that and if we're at home he likes to spend half an hour playing in one go! Once your set up they are pretty much good to go. 

Matific Galaxy follows along to it's own little adventure story. An Alien villain has captured the pixels of all the space characters and your child can save them by getting the pixels back in rewards for completing the maths challenges. Each Character is made up of an increasing number of pixels the higher in level they get. After each episode your child will be rewarded with pixels which build up to save one character in each section. Once they have given the character their pixels they will also be rewarded with coins which help their own player level increase as well as unlocking the next episode. If they complete the whole section and have the character's pixels filled up they will be given the chance to get a prize of a fun accessory for that character. With plenty to collect for each there's always an incentive for them to keep practising the games throughout the whole of Matific Galaxy. 

Dylan loves maths at school and according to his teachers it's one of his strongest subjects so I want to keep nurturing that skill for him in a fun way. Which means that the structure of Matific sounded perfect for what I wanted. At first when I mentioned doing something to do with school work he immediately said 'But it's summer!' although he quickly changed his mind when I showed him Matific Galaxy after dinner that evening. He was really excited to get started and during the first little session I stayed nearby taking photographs for this review and to help if wanted to ask me anything. Apart from helping him get used to the fact my laptop isn't a touch screen and has a mouse pad he didn't ask for much help at all. He sat and happily played through the episodes in the order they unlocked. 

At first the episodes started out pretty easy and straight forward with the first being a simple counting activity with various fish being what Dylan had to count and enter the number of fish into the box. This episode was a series of questions where he had to input the answer. There are two ways the question is asked the first is it's displayed on the screen along the bottom for them to easily read but it is also read aloud to them when the activity first opens. After that they can click on the circle with the image of a person speaking and it will read the question again. I liked that it had all the options available as there are some words Dylan still isn't able to recognise and this really helps him play along. 

As he progressed on further through the episodes there where more which he needed to interact with in different ways with variations from counting objects in one small image or counting animals in a panoramic image they have to move around the screen to see all the way up to games where they need to move and place objects somewhere to copy a pattern and more.  Each of these episode's covers a different element of the mathematics curriculum with sections which cover counting, addition, subtraction, geometry, patterns, money management, measurement, comparison and even data analysis being what they'll practise in just the first grade selection! Pretty impressive to have so many maths skills by completing the first area. I'm not even sure I knew that in primary 2 Dylan was learning about data analysis. I'm very impressed by the full coverage inside Matific Galaxy. 

When Dylan started to get a bit further into the game after the first 2-3 days I could see that he was starting to get challenged on what he was doing. If I sat and watched I could see him using his fingers to count or whispering the pattern to himself aloud and I could tell he was taking a minute to think about the answer. He wasn't always getting the answer right anymore and I was able to see another great addition to Matific Galaxy which is a small prompt that gives your child a subtle clue to help them get to the right answer. There will be two prompts given to enable them to get to the answer if they can and if not then Matific Galaxy will show them the answer and move onto another question. I really like how this works and it enables independent play and learning. I know he would be OK to continue along and play if I was to be making dinner or tiding up.

Dylan's favourite thing in Matific Galaxy is that he unlocks achievements! He was really impressed when the little achievement icon popped up the first time and each time since he's had a little excited celebration dance in the chair. It's so lovely to see him feel so proud that he's doing well at Matific Galaxy. 

As I mentioned above you as a parent will get a different access to Matific Galaxy and in this area I can check on Dylan's progress with a quick guide on how he's doing, how much activity he's got done in a week period over several weeks in a small graph. You can get access to both account settings to enable you to change anything, update passwords, usernames and change the child's grade when they need to advance further. The best part of the parent section for me however is that each week you receive an updated report. You can have an email sent with the report but I like the more advanced one available in a section in the parent access page of Matific Galaxy. You can see above the information and what you can find out from the report. I think this is a really good idea and I like that I can really see just how Dylan is doing in all the areas he has completed against the average for Matific. It also shows me in which areas he still need to work and which games he could use some practise in. I find that these games match up to those where he has asked for help or he didn't get a full set of 5 stars for the episode. 

My favourite section of the parent side has got to be a small area when you scroll down in the main 'dashboard' where I can send Dylan a little e-card for encouragement and to tell him well done. I love that this is in the Matific Galaxy system and I think it's something that works so well. I would forget to tell him he's doing well and getting such great answers if I was checking in on it later in the evening while he was in bed. Having this feature also means when he goes on to do some more learning he'll see the little card from me before he starts to play and have a positive encouragement from the start.

I honestly cannot find anything I don't like about Matific Galaxy. The whole Matific platform is available in app form with each grade having it's own app from both the Android and Apple stores which means they could be loaded up onto your child's tablet for learning fun on the go.  If you have a primary school aged child I think that Matific Galaxy makes the perfect addition to support learning maths at home. I know that it will be perfect for over summer and all the other school holidays where you want to help encourage learning of maths to continue but also want to keep within the school curriculum. However the learning can happen over term time as well since it will all match up to their school work.  

You can purchase access to Matific Galaxy Grades K-6 for a whole year at just £30 for one child. You can also purchase a year group plan for £15  Plus if your adding on another child you can get a 25% discount for them. 

Now for some even better news, We have been given a whole year's access to Matific Galaxy for one our readers to win! If you would like to get access for you and your child for whole year then have a look below and enter our giveaway using the Gleam widget.

Good Luck!

Terms and Conditions
  • Entrants must be aged 18 years or over.
  • Competition is open to UK residents only.
  • Entry into this competition confirms your acceptance of these Terms and Conditions
  • The winners will be selected at random from all the correct entries received before the closing date and time.
  • All prizes must be accepted as offered. There can be no alternative awards, cash or otherwise.  
  • There will be one winner who will each receive access to Matific Galaxy for a year.
  • The prize will be sent directly from the PR.

*Disclaimer: We have recieved access to Matific Galaxy for one year for Dylan in return for this review. All thoughts and opinions that I have expressed above are entirely my own.*
Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Scarlet at.. 24 Months Old

I'm a little behind with this update for Scarlet since it has been nearly a month since she turned two. I purposely left it this long since a few days before her birthday our health visitor scheduled in her two year review and I wanted to include a little section in this update since this will be her last one.

Over the last six months Scarlet's personality has really come out. She's such an independent,  confident and head strong little girl who knows what she wants and will do her best to get it if she can. That can on occasion include tantrums, big major stomp around kind of tantrums. Generally though she's polite and can say please and 'thanks' when she is prompted. She likes to make people laugh and can pull some funny facial expressions. She is a very expressive person.

Scarlet has got some strong interests with the biggest being exploring, she loves to discover new things and places. She is a real nature child and adores getting outdoors even if it's just for a short walk to the shops. If she's not wanting to explore she's trying to see if there are any bugs, flies or other insects she can try to get her hands on and admire. Much to my dismay as Dylan was never a bug person! 

When we are at home she loves to read books especially those touchy feel books or the ones with the lift the flaps. She's recently started to enjoy watching some TV and her favourite programmes are Peppa Pig, Curious George and Fireman Sam who she calls 'Nam' and will only say it while screaming at the TV so he can save the day. It's super cute. 

The first big milestone for Scarlet over the last 6 months is moving into her own bed. She had been sleeping in my bed on one side of the bed with me on the other and I was really worried that she wouldn't transition well to sleeping in a bed on her own. We made sure to redecorate and change the bed to a bunk bed while talking to her all about her big bed and how she would share with Dylan before we got her Peppa bedding and let her help us get it all on. We made a big deal about her bed and we haven't had any problems. At first she would last for most of the night and come in with us around 3am. She quickly adjusted and now sleeps much better. 

The other big milestone was that Scarlet became a big sister. We started the year off with a big surprise and come May time we welcomed Baby Avery into the world making Scarlet a big sister. She's doing so well and is so kind with him. She loves to get cuddles and help to look after him. While she does have her little moments it is clear that she adores being a big sister and I think she may be in for her own little best friend in the future if they don't try to wrestle each other like she does with Dylan.

The smaller but still pretty significant milestones for Scarlet are that she can now jump using both her feet! For months now she has been trying to jump with both feet. Usually she would jump with one foot and then the other in more of a sequence. She is super pleased with herself and jumps everywhere. I am looking forward to that first proper puddle jump. 
The other little milestone is that Scarlet can dress herself. She can completely get dressed without help for most outfits. She can remove every piece of clothing including our reusable nappies when she takes a feel for it! However she can put on trousers, leggings, skirts, shorts, tops, dresses, socks, strap on dolly type shoes, coats (without the zip done) and of course hats. I wasn't prepared for Scarlet to get the hang of things so quickly and it really adds to her independence.

Scarlet is actually sleeping so much better than she was at 18 months. She sleeps right through the night. Provided she hasn't napped during the day she'll go to bed around 8-9pm and will sleep for a solid 10-12 hours. If she has napped during the day it would be closer to 11pm before she is ready to sleep but sometimes she just needs that nap. As I mentioned above Scarlet now sleeps in her own bed after co-sleeping with me in my bed for over a year. She has transitioned so well and loves her own bed with her own Peppa Pig bedding.

Physical Ability
On top of getting dressed and jumping which I mentioned in the Milestone above Scarlet is now able to run. She's been walking for over a year and has slowly gotten faster and faster at walking while also attempting to run. Now she can get a proper running motion going and can gain a pretty decent speed when she wants. 
Through these last six months she has advanced on being able to climb up the stairs on her hands and knees right up to walking up and down without help. Our stairs have a curve at the top where they turn and she's even mastered getting down there by going on her bum before holding the banister the rest. She can also climb up and down on the toddler sized climbing frames including going down the slide. 
Another mastering that Scarlet has surprised us with is to make a scooter go and be able to ride it! I feel like she has advanced in some areas so much quicker than Dylan did and the scooter is definitely one of them.

The big change in feeding is that we stopped breastfeeding! The very last time Scarlet had a breastfeed was on Christmas Day. She got a little cold and found it hard to breathe while feeding so she just didn't want to. After a few days she just decided she didn't like it! I now think that she no longer liked the taste of the milk since I was around 17-18 weeks pregnant. I will share a little more when I get a final update up on our breastfeeding journey which should be up soon. 

This year Scarlet enjoyed her first proper Christmas dinner! She didn't get much last year as she had started weaning two weeks before Christmas so it was just chicken, broccoli and potato, this year she enjoyed the whole lot. She loved it! Just like her Mama. 

Scarlet has always been willing to try most foods and she still will try any food you give her. The difference now is that she has some foods that she clearly doesn't like and will refuse to eat which include; 
Breaded Chicken
Batter (anything with batter on it)
Baps (for burgers and hot dogs)

She does have some foods which she particularly enjoys too which include;
Most other fruits and vegetables 
She really enjoys spicy foods her favourites include curries and spicy salsa with crackers or tortilla chips.

Generally Scarlet has been healthy. She did catch quite a few colds after we stopped breastfeeding at Christmas. Generally just been a cough or a runny nose. She did catch one proper tummy bug not long after we stopped around the start of the year and she threw up quite a few times however she dealt with it so well. It really did show me how much breastfeeding helped her immune system. 

Scarlet now shows a big interest in drawing and can draw squiggles in various ways on a page in a way that allows you to see she is drawing something from her little mind. She will use various colours and carefully choose which colour she wants to use next. She enjoys colouring in already drawn pictures and will colour in a particular area one colour or a few colours together while trying hard to stay around the intended area. She can recognise all the basic colours and can group things together in the colour if you ask for each colour individually.
If you ask her Scarlet can show you some of the shapes like a circle, square or triangle.
She enjoys playing with blocks and can build towers with most types of blocks. She particularly likes the wooden blocks we have that are all different shapes. She will experiment with which shapes can hold up together and which won't work.

During play Scarlet likes to make her little people play together, talk, hug, run in races by pushing them from behind with her hand and she likes to play pretend with them. In a similar play style she looks after baby dolls ensuring they have a blanket, milk in a bottle, a dummy, cuddles and even puts her dolls inside one of Dylan's hoodies when it is zipped up like she is baby wearing them. I think I need to get her a doll carrier similar to mine. 

I have noticed that Scarlet likes to copy the behaviour she can see around her. She will take the keys and pretend to lock the doors, talking on the phone to people, looking at and holding onto my novels pretending to read them and turning the pages. She also likes to get a small handbag and fill it up with all her bits and bobs. 

Knowing that everything has a particular place is another thing Scarlet has learnt recently. She likes to put everything back in it's right place. The washing goes in the washing pile and all the toys have a place. She is particlarly involved in her own shoes, they have a special box and all her shoes go in when we get home, she takes them out herself most days to go out too. 

Scarlet's speech has come on amazingly in the last few months. She can say most of the animal sounds and knows which animal they match for most of them. She can also recognise and say most vehicles and she loves to say the various sounds they make from vroom-vroom right through to neee-naww. Her favourite vehicle is a bus. She loves seeing big double decker buses. 

She can generally say peoples names or a shortened version of their name. Recently she has stopped using the shorter names and just calls us by our longer names Dylan, Daddy, Mummy and Baby over the short mama, dada, Dilly. If you ask her to say a name she will try to say it or she'll just refuse to try. There are a few names she won't try to say just yet. 

There are some longer words which Scarlet can say including cheese string and juice. However there are some words or names of shows where she will only say half the word. The big examples are Paw Patrol will only be Paw and Fancy Nancy is just Nancy. It does happen with normal words like Strawberry is just straw and outside is just side. She doesn't seem to have a preference of the start or end it is just the part she can say. I do think as she learns more sounds and puts them together that she will phase this out.

Finally on speech is that Scarlet now talks in short disconnected sentences with several words all in one go without any filler words added in. So she will say 'Juice, me, please'. She does this all through the day for most things she wants to tell you and can clearly communicate with us. I am not sure it is clear to other people but I think she is doing well with it. 

Scarlet has always had strong family relationships. For the most part I have had the strongest relationship and she will gravitate towards me for most things she needs. Over the last few months she has really developed her relationship with Simon. Before now she would only call him 'mama' now she happily calls him 'daddy' or dada'. She is quite happy to do anything without me now and will prefer Simon to play while they are at the park or off exploring. They enjoy reading stories and playing games together now too.
The other relationships Scarlet has are with her friends. She is very sociable and has quite a few friends who we see regularly at our Mum's and tots group. We are close with almost everyone who attends and she gets really excited when it time to go. She does have her own little best friend who she stayed with when I was in labour. Her mum is also my friend and she runs our group so it's lovely that they get on so well too.

Two Year Review Update {Health Visitor visit}
A short little update as Scarlet has reached and passed all the milestones that should be expected for a two year old. She is developing well and is very good with her speech, expression and holds great eye contact. She is meeting all her physical development too.
She has stayed on her 21st centile and now weighs 23 pounds 12 ounces and is 86cm long which puts her length in the 50th centile. I'm really happy to get some confirmation that she is right were she should be in her development. She will only have a quick little update at 3 before she starts nursery now.

I will be doing another update around Christmas when she will be 30 months old!
Tuesday, 2 July 2019

A letter to my daughter, your two years old!

Dear Scarlet,

I can't believe that it's been over a year since you where born. You turned two a few weeks ago now and honestly I'm still in disbelief! So much has changed this last year and I have loved watching you grow and learn.

You've learnt so much! Throughout the last year you have learnt so many words, you talk in short sentences and can easily express what you want to us. You've finally decided that Daddy can be called by his own name and not by Mama, although he secretly wishes you'd call Mama again sometimes. 

You've got some interests , you adore Curious George and Fireman Sam on TV but you really enjoy reading books. The current favourite is 'The Boy who said no!' and it's perfectly matched with you since 'no' is your favourite word.

In the last few months we had a big move around and you moved into you own bed! You sleep on the bottom bunk with Dylan on the top. You surprised us all by sleeping almost right through the night in your bed from the first day. You don't wake up at all anymore and rarely even make to our bedroom in the morning. Your more excited to play with Dylan and all the toys. 

This year you've become a big sister. It was a big surprise but I think you knew before the rest of us! Your a fantastic big sister, your caring, gentle and very accepting of Avery. You love to get big cuddles at every opportunity but your not keen on long cuddles. Once you've had enough then you want to hand him back. You can get a little jealous at night so we all get cuddles together while Avery has his night feed and while it is hard to balance you both for long periods it's a special little moment that I love at the end of every day. 

Now your two and we will have so many more great adventures to take together this year. 
I'm really excited to find out all the new things your going to learn.

Love Mummy x

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