Boys and Sticks and Cars

September 30, 2014

boys and cars the milk stand

I honestly had never thought about the gender difference in toys and activities that are available to children until I had a bambino all of my own. Max has always been ‘too young’, ‘too small’, ‘too little’ to be bothered with most toys and so he mainly had books and blocks to play with, which in my eyes are pretty gender neutral. Once Max turned 14 months he started to get interested in toys and he was able to ‘choose’ what to interact with for periods of time. Up until this point Max’s toy collection mainly consisted of ‘hand-me-downs’ from family and friends. Granted there was nothing pink or doll like, but they were mainly bright coloured toys that made loud noises or moved, so again, nothing that screamed ‘BOY TOY’.

I remember taking him for a walk around the local park when he was around 14 months and he started to collect sticks, he wasn’t doing anything with them, he just wanted to hold on to them and fit as many in to his tiny paws as possible. I actually remember experiencing one of his first major meltdowns because he couldn’t hold every stick in the park and walk and drink his milk at the same time. Go figure! I am sure there are girls who do this too and it has nothing to do with Max being a boy, but a toddler, but suddenly the saying of ‘boys and their sticks’ came to me and I wondered is ‘that’ really a thing? and seriously why do boys like sticks?

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Max recently passed the 18 month milestone (he is actually 20 months as I type this) and he is suddenly in love with all things cars and diggers related. He probably had 2 ‘car come digger’ type of hand me down toys at the bottom of his toy box that he had never spied before, until recently when he started lining anything that had an ‘engine’ along the floor, sofa and dog if she stayed still long enough! We had to ‘emergency buy’ some cars, vans, bikes, tractors and diggers. When I say emergency I mean Amazon Prime. Max now has quite a collection of ‘boy toys’, but where did the interest come from? I honestly have no clue and find it simply fascinating that boys really do love sticks and cars and diggers.

This all came so suddenly that by next week it could be puzzles, dolls and lego, but I am really enjoying watching him play and develop. Within a week he is now making all the noises for the vehicles and I find myself adding parking garages and road play mats to my Amazon wish list daily.

Does anyone have a similar tale for their little ladies? I would love to know if there is a huge difference or even if you have a girl who loves sticks and cars too. Let me know and leave me a comment below.

Why I Blog

September 18, 2014

why i blog natasha bailie

I love blogging , always have and always will. I am a huge blog fan. I like reading them, I like commenting on them and I love writing them. I enjoy having a corner of the internet that is mine and I like to share knowledge, wisdom (if any), favourite discoveries, my adventures and my experience of being a first time mama, but never food. Get your own!

I started this blog as I was breastfeeding for the millionth time in the space of 24 hours on something like day 88 of being a new mother and I was desperately looking for answers/inspiration and advice on my then current situation. All I got was forums (too “shouty” or soppy for me) or the NHS (too clinical for me – although I like that they get to the point). I had always read blogs, but bambino development books had become my new best friend and I had only ever read blogs for inspiration and absolutely never about babies. The Milk Stand was born. I wanted to create my own blog in the hope I would find others like me…

The idea of ‘mum blogs’ scared me a little to begin with as I imagined that most of the mothers were the same ones who were writing and judging strangers on forums. I feared that ‘MUM24567′ used her blog to really get her point across, but how wrong could I be? There are those blogs (of course), but if you delve a little deeper it is easy to find like minded mamas who not only inspire you, but become your friend and part of your support team. Those women are incredibly awesome!

So The Milk Stand was/is my space to write about my life and share my experiences as a first time mum. I found it so helpful finding other women going through the exact same scenario that I was and even though I started the blog to gather information like a squirrel with his nuts, what I actually found was a community. A community of like minded and strong women who are still my friends today and will be for baby number 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. (I kid….no seriously though, don’t even mention baby no.deux).

Best of all I like my blog. I think I can say that – because it is mine, but I love it. I enjoy sharing everything, especially the incredible highs and lows that motherhood can bring. I like to think The Milk Stand truly reflects me, my life and the realities of becoming a mother. I hope you enjoy reading it and that it helps one of you glorious mother’s who are looking for some kind of answer at 2am in the morning! Keep going.

Pizza Play Date!

September 10, 2014

PizzaexpressreviewPizza Express invited me and a pal to sample their Autumn 2014 menu and with me and my pals that meant playdate, mums and toddlers…I don’t know if they will ask us back!

We spent a lovely couple of hours in the Brighton Pizza Express on Jubilee Street sipping lemonade and eating so many dough balls I had to roll myself home. The pizzas were delicious and less than 500 calories with a salad carved into the middle of the pizza base, which is genius and appreciated when you’re watching what you eat as I am. Eurgh. Dough balls don’t count right?
PicMonkey Collage4Apart from the tasty food and treats the staff at the Brighton restaurant are extremely attentive and love the kids. Our little ones were handed activity books, colouring pencils and even hats before us mamas had even got the wet wipes out. impressive!

Angelina Jolie’s Wedding Dress, Designed by Her Kids!

September 4, 2014

sketchOH EM GEE…Angie and Brad got married last weekend and it was all secret and hush, hush except you know the People and Hello magazine cover, but it is done. Apart from the wedded bliss, the union of two beautiful people and all that jazz….let be honest it is all about the dress for admirers like us who didn’t RSVP in time. Angelina chose Versace to design and create her dress as she also does with red carpets and appearances etc. so that was no real surprise, but Angie let the kids help with the design too!  Jolie’s dress was covered in embroidered drawings by her children and it didn’t look bad…

Would you ever let your kids design your wedding dress? Would you ever let your kids draw on your wedding dress? What do you think of Angie’s frock?

Mum & Toddler : August Favourites!

September 4, 2014

PicMonkey CollageHello September! Glorious September with its orange leaves and blankets and hot chocolate and roast dinners and soggy Sundays…can you tell I am excited for Autumn? Can I say Fall? I may be one of the few who is looking forward to seeing the back of summer and I am genuinely excited about boots, socks, hats and coats. I am not looking forward to rainy days with a toddler though so lots of crisp and fresh days please September. Thank you!

Here is another months favourites, this is everything that both Max and I have loved throughout August 2014. Max has just turned 19 months so I hope this post either inspires or helps any of you mamas out there who are in a jam or need guidance on all things toddler related. Although if you have any – I would appreciate some!

Pact Coffee

Pact Coffee delivers fresh coffee beans straight to your door and it tastes oh so good. Family Bailie love their coffee and we are probably one day away from roasting our own beans so Pact is great for us and all our coffee needs. Damn fine cup of coffee!

Melissa & Doug Farm Animals Puzzle

A chunky and colourful farm yard themed puzzle that encourages hand and eye coordination as well as creative play and problem solving. I actually purchased this because Max just learnt the noises that farm animals make so I wanted to keep encouraging his speech, but he can play with the puzzle and loves it. He plays with it every morning before he even eats!

JoJo Maman Bebe Toy Baskets

Set of three denim striped baskets, all different sizes and large enough to store all of Max’s puzzles, books and growing number of toys. I love these baskets because they are the perfect size for Max to access all of his toys and they don’t scream ‘CHILD’. I love that when Max is asleep and the toys are away that our lounge becomes an adult area so quickly with the help of these baskets.

Real Techniques Brushes

I have done it. All the cool kids are doing it and doing it oh so well so I had to. I purchased the Real Techniques shading and angled foundation brushes. All for my base layer. I purchased the shading brush to actually apply and blend my concealer into my cracks and dark spots and so far it has provided me with a flawless finish. I still need to work on my technique as I have used the beauty blender for so long and I am a bit hap hazard with the brushes, but a lot of Pixiewoo videos are being viewed.

Vans for Toddlers

Max has his first pair of VANS. What a cool dude! Max has giant feet and he really needed a shoe with a proper soul that were easy to get on his feet, but impossible for him to take off. These Vans shoes for toddlers were our perfect answer and he has worn them every single day since they arrived with no problems. We love them!

Toddle Waddle Book

We bought this book in a pack of 10 Julia Donaldson book bonanza and at first I thought it was a bit young for Max as it simply reads the sounds that animals and feet make, but Max loves this book. He loves pointing out all the people and the animals, he loves to make all the noises the animals and the vehicles make. He likes to look and discover where certain things are and it has been so encouraging for his vocabulary! Julia Donaldson is like GOD in our house. Although I find I speak in rhyme these days…

Hemsley Hemsley Recipe Book

I was given this book as a gift by a dear healthy eating pal on my birthday and I love it so so much. Seeing as we have to wait till January for Deliciously Ella’s book I have really enjoyed understanding the Hemsley gals attitude toward food, their philosophy for clean eating and I have now made so many dishes from this book, which were all surprisingly delicious. Who knew healthy food could be so fun? This is a really awesome book for anyone who needs inspiration in the kitchen when it comes to cooking what is actually good for you and your family.

The Scarecrows Wedding Book

I have already mentioned that we have a Julia Donaldson problem, but damn that woman knows how to write a good kids book! The Scarecrows Wedding is her newest book and it has ‘sparked’ (pun intended) a lot of controversy as it has a smoking scarecrow in it. I mean….how dare she! It is such a lovely book and the illustrations are brilliant. If your toddler starts puffing on a cigar after reading this I would be very surprised!

CuddleDry Toddler Towel – Snuggle Monkey

I mean, do I even need to say anything? Look at it! It even has a tail! This Cuddledry towel has been the answer to my little prayers, as you may know Max is a tall toddler and his hooded baby towels are just too small, but an adults towels swallows him whole so I needed an alternative. These Cuddledry towels are toddler specific and they are so so so so so soft. Max loves his towel and he looks beyond adorable in it pretending to be a monkey!

 

Olivia Wilde and Boobs

August 21, 2014

olivia-wildeYep. I have waited a decent amount of time for the rage to settle so I can write this and sound open minded and accepting of all opinions etc, but it is time to talk about Olivia Wilde and breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is highly encouraged during pregnancy, you are bombarded with images of mothers in clean clothes feeding their sweet new cherubs, you are told that breast is best and in turn this equates to formula = failure. There are never images showing a first time mum with blocked milk ducts and a topknot, unless you’re reading a mastitis leaflet!

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Is this the ugly reality of breastfeeding? No, not always. I did not enjoy breastfeeding, it was painful, my baby was a relentless feeder and it all went on for far too long because I was told it was best for the baby etc. However I have pals who loved breastfeeding, could do it without creating a milk stain and make me a tea at the same time, but breastfeed in public…no way! I understood/understand…I was the same. I had no breast finesse and could not feed without exposing my belly button, but it wasn’t just that – it was the looks, the judging stares and disgust on surrounding faces. This made me exclusively breastfeed at home, which was tricky with a bambino who fed every 2-3 hours. It meant for the first year of Max’s life, we were mainly at home, which was incredibly isolating and not healthy.

Actress Olivia Wilde was recently photographed for a glossy magazine and in one of the shots she is breastfeeding her 5 month old baby. The backlash has been incredibly sickening with comments like “indecent” and “its not natural”. Apparently everyone wants mothers to breastfeed, but to go and sit on a public toilet and shut ourselves in a cubicle to do so. The other side of the backlash was that Wilde’s photograph paints an unfair image of a first time mother and that it is a ‘slap in the face’ to those with topknots and milk stains.

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Am I the only one or does this read like no one is winning? You cannot please everyone, but I cannot believe that these comments and insults are a reality and or relevant in 2014. It saddens me to think that anyone who is struggling with breastfeeding in the privacy of their own home has to also struggle in public. We are encouraged to breastfeed, but to do so in the shadows like we are strange monsters from a Buffy episode. This makes no sense to me. Can’t we all just get along?

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To all the breastfeeding mamas – you will never see that judging stranger again and you’re amazing so get your tits out!

Let It Go…

August 21, 2014

331652c3171ee857df5c8403f5247eb1No, not the Frozen choon (although apologies for putting that in your noggin on repeat), but actually letting it go. It can be a thing, a feeling, a friend, a relationship, a food group, but if it is making you less than you, then simply let it go.

I am trying to practice what I preach by letting some shenanigans go, like the guilt that comes with being a mother and not being Mary Poppins. I am sure if Poppins had an iPhone 5 and an instagram account, she too would be checking it whilst also singing ‘wheels on the bus’. For she seemed like a great multi-tasker?

I have had one of those weeks where you look in, we have been in quarantine as Max has had a bad case of the common cold. We have stayed in, played, read, taken long walks etc, but we have had a lot of alone time. I’m never ‘good’ on my own. I envy those people who cat sit in cafes and enjoy their own company, but I just cannot do that. Alone time for me means contemplation and I have a tendency to be a negative Nancy so I never pick up or celebrate my ‘good bits’, but if you can’t, I can’t, then who will I ask you?

So as well as letting go of the guilt, I am trying to be a bit nicer to myself (this week) and pat myself on the back for comforting that little nugget back to good health and for making him laugh in between the tears, snot and tantrums. In the words of Dora “we did it, we did it yeah”. (Dora – is she on Pinterest yet?)