Thursday, 12 March 2015

Mummy Time #31: Jem Armistead

I'm putting it out there; I have a style crush on a two year old. Not only am I jel of Livvy's wardrobe and extensive bow collection, I also love her eyebrows... and don't get me started on those lashes! In fact I swear she's a tiny Cara Delevingne (but much more beautiful, I think you'll agree!) Livvy's mum, Jem, shares some gems (sorry, had to) in this week's Mummy Time and if you have a mo, why not pop to their YouTube channel to hear what they sound like IRL (I could listen to Jem's accent all day!) And you might even catch Livvy singing 'Let It Go'! I hope you enjoy this week's post!


Who are you?
I’m Jem! I’m 26 years old, originally from Blackpool but now living in a small town called Seaham in the North East with my partner, Matt. Our little girl is called Olivia Amelie, although we call her Livvy 99.9% of the time, she is 2 years and 3 months old. I’m a stay at home Mammy but we don’t stay at home very much as we like to be out and about making the most of each day.

How are you?
Exhausted but loving every second of the so called “terrible twos”. I love being a mother and it is so rewarding but, my word, it is hard work!

How do to relax?
I usually just like to curl up on the sofa with a cup of coffee and watch re-runs of Friends. Simple but effective.

How does a typical day go?  
A typical day in our house, well, we have a bit of a set routine for the week. I know most people don’t take to having routines but we find it works for us and Livvy thrives on it. Usually we get up at around 8am, have breakfast then get ready for our morning activity. Monday is playgroup, Tuesday is free play at home, Wednesday we go to a class called Lively Learners, Thursday we go to dancing and Friday we alternate between a story group at the library and an art class. When we get home Livvy usually goes for a nap and I finally have chance to sit down for a little bit, have some lunch and catch up on some TV, I swear my Sky planner hates me for how full it is! In the afternoon we usually stay in and do some arts or baking or just general play time. If the weather is nice to us we will go to the park or sometimes we venture to soft play with some of our friends. As you can see I like to keep us busy as I find it makes bed time run a little smoother. Bed time is pretty straight forward. She goes up between 7.30-8pm, has a bath, clean pajamas, story time with Daddy then that’s her down for the night. It took us a long time to establish this routine at night and it’s only been in place for a couple of months. Before she used to fall asleep on me on the sofa then we would take her up but she wasn’t getting enough quality sleep this way.


How was your pregnancy?
Pregnancy, I’m not going to lie, was horrible for me. I enjoyed about 5% of it all. I had severe morning sickness for the first 6 months, then it came back again when I was 8 months. I get bad migraines at least three times a month and during pregnancy I couldn’t take my usual medication so I had to suffer for three/four days at a time with them. Then as I went on Livvy had stopped growing and we were in for many tests and scans during the last few weeks. I spent most of my pregnancy scared senseless that I wasn’t going to be taking my baby home. I hope next time round goes a little smoother!

Did you find out what you were having?
I am such an impatient person so as soon as the sonographer asked if we wanted to know I shouted yes please!

How did you decide on names?
We discussed names from pretty much the day we found out. For a boy it was always going to be Oliver, that was set in stone but for a girl we went back and forth so many times. At one point she was Maisie, then she was Ruby, then she was Poppy. In the end I was in hospital during one of my bad sick phases and Matt suggested Olivia, I will admit I kind of just said yes because I didn’t want to go through any more names haha but it really grew on me and it was the one that stuck.

How did your prepare for your Livvy’s arrival?
I read a few books and did a lot of research online. We got asked to attend antenatal classes at 35 weeks so we only ended up going to two and to be honest they weren’t very useful as they just repeated what I had read online.

How was your labour?
I was induced at 38 weeks because her placenta was failing and she had stopped growing. I had the pessary which didn’t work properly, I was contracting for 36 hours then finally had my waters broken at 9pm. By 10.15pm she was in my arms. I only used gas and air as I didn’t have time to be given anything stronger. The relief I felt afterwards was amazing. They estimated she was only going to weigh around 3.5 lbs but she actually weighed 5lb 9oz and needed no help at all.


How did you get on with breastfeeding?
Unfortunately I couldn’t breastfeed and it took me a long time to stop feeling guilty about that so I’d like to say that if you too find yourself in that position don’t feel bad! Formula these days is amazing and you don’t need to worry that you’ve done the wrong thing by choosing it over breastfeeding. We are all trying to do the best we can for our little ones and that’s all that matters.

What was your approach to weaning Livvy onto solids?
We were advised to wean early as Livvy had severe reflux and she wasn’t keeping any of her milk down despite using medication and prescription milk. I really wanted to hold out until 6 months to do baby led weaning but instead we were thrown into it at 4 months. We started with just a little bit of baby rice then moved onto pureed fruit and veg. It was really important to me that she was independent with eating too so as she approached 5 months I would, with close supervision, give her carrot sticks, breadsticks etc to chew on alongside the pureed food. After 6 months we would give a lot of finger foods and we let her explore mushed food with a spoon. Her favourite at 7 months was cheese spread sandwiches!

At what age did youobiler baby become more m and how did you cope?
At what age did Livvy become more mobile?
Livvy started crawling at around 7 months old but to be honest she was really good when it came to exploring the house. She was never interested in wires or plug sockets. The only thing she was obsessed by was standing up at the TV stand. Luckily ours is rounded edges and she never had any slips near it. We had to get a safety gate for the kitchen door as that was the place she always wanted to be. She started being able to stand without holding onto things just before her first birthday but then she was poorly for a few weeks and it really knocked her confidence so we didn’t get those precious first steps until she was 14 months old. Once she started walking she was super confident so again there weren’t many tumbles. I remember the only time she did and it was horrible. She was stood at the back door and she missed the step and fell flat on her face. It was awful and I felt bad for days but these things happen. It’s impossible to keep them wrapped up and safe 24 hours a day even though that’s all you want to do. Now at two years old she’s running, jumping and dancing all the time. There is no stopping her. Enjoy the days when your baby will happily lay on their play mat and not move because once they start moving they don’t stop and its nigh on impossible to get things done!

What are your go-to resources for information?
I'm part of a Facebook group that is for Mam’s that were due the same month as me and that is my first port of call for advice. A lot of the ladies on there have older children so have experienced almost everything you can think of. If you can try and join one as I have made so many wonderful friends on there and they have been my rock through a lot of things. Failing that I take to good old Google or my Mammy friends on Instagram.


Does Livvy have a favourite toy?
At the moment it’s her play kitchen. She got it for her second birthday and it’s been a massive hit. She loves making us dinner and cups of coffee. She has a little mixer too and tells us she is making us a cake almost every day. It’s brilliant for her imagination and I love encouraging role play as I find its brilliant for development.

What is Livvy’s mode of transport?
I’m a bit of a pramoholic I have to admit and Matt hates it! We had the Babystyle Oyster when Livvy was first born and it was the best. The carrycot was huge on it and she managed to fit in it even a couple of months ago, obviously she wasn’t actually using it, we just had it out to put away in the loft. It was so easy to manoeuvre as well, even one handed. I liked that it was a small chassis as I only use public transport and getting on and off a bus with a huge pram would have been a nightmare. We’ve had three different strollers too. We had the Mama’s & Papa’s tour stroller, this was bought last minute to go to the in laws and I later sold it for no other reason than it was plain black and I thought it was boring. Then we had the Lollipop Lane Marisota in pink butterfly pattern, again this was just used for going to my Mam’s in Blackpool, it was a lovely stroller but as with most they don’t last very long so now we have the Joie Brisk in the star pattern. It’s a brilliant little stroller, really light but a lot sturdier than usual strollers. For everyday use though we have the Mama’s & Papa’s Sync pram. It’s a lovely sturdy pram and Livvy always seems comfortable in it. We still use a pram every day because she is so little she gets tired when walking for too long.

What are your absolute essentials when you go out?
A bag stuffed with snacks, not that she eats any of them at the moment. A pull up nappy, baby wipes and a bottle of water. Livvy usually picks one or two of her dolls to take out too. I usually take a change of clothes too because toddlers are messy at times.

Where are your favourite places to shop for baby clothes?
Next, H&M but I love a lot of the clothes some of the Mam’s on Instagram sell. Two of my faves have to be Bows & Bespoke and Lola’s Wardrobe. They have some gorgeous things. Livvy doesn’t really have a set “style” she can be in leggings, a t-shirt and converse one day then the next be in something super girly and floral.


What do you wish you'd known before you had a baby?
Just how much of a rollercoaster you go on. You have all these amazing highs, milestones that make you cry happy tears, days filled with laughter and moments where you just feel amazed at this little human that you have created. However you also have the horrible lows, the moments when they won’t stop crying and you’ve tried every trick in the book. The moments when they are in the middle of the supermarket having the biggest tantrum and the saying “just breathe” isn’t keeping you calm. The times when you feel so alone and scared at the idea of having to raise this little person and teach them how to be the best they can be. It’s such an overwhelming experience being a parent but it’s the best thing that could ever happen to you.

What's the best advice anyone's given you about parenting?
Go with your instincts. You know what is best for your child!

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other mums or expectant mums?
Cherish every moment.

Thank you for getting in touch and sharing, Jem!
Instagram: @thejemandlivvyshow

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Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. It really means a lot! Nicki x