7 Things I Pack When going Out With Kids

Whenever I’m in Central Park with the kids playing, I find it hard to believe that this is one of the most busiest cities in the world. Despite NYC being the city that never sleeps, there’s so much calmness when you are having a little picnic in Central Park. There is So much green space and quietness.
In order to protect that calm and quiet, when leaving the house I make sure to pack the following:

1. Sandwiches and drinks.
2. one toy they can both play with (frisbee or football) I don’t want to pack too many items.
3. one book each (they swap when they’re done meaning they get to read two books, the kids actually thought of this idea and I thought it was brilliant).
4. Two nappies, wipes and one change of clothes for the baby.
5. For me, other than my phone, a camera, lipstick and compact powder with mirror, a magazine or book (when I’m feeling hopeful that I will find the time to read at least a chapter) my own water and snacks cos I’m still nursing.
6. A blanket we can all sit on.
7. Bathing suits for the kids,yes a bathing suit. I never had to do this in England but there are lots of water fountains in NYC and we love them! I learnt from my experience, first time we went to one, the kids could not hold there excitement as they jumped right in with their clothes and shoes. The old me would have cringed and beg them not to go in but life is too fun to worry about things like that 🙂 let them be kids absolutely being spontaneous like that is all part of making memories with them. So from that day, whenever we are going to the park I always hold their bathing suits.

Leaving the house is a chore on its own, and I can understand the temptation to want to stay indoors all the time but once you are out, you will love it. The fresh air will do you and the kids some good. When you are prepared, it reduces the anxiety. It may seem like im carrying a lot but everything goes inside my big mommy bag. I don’t use my picnic basket when I’m taking the kids all by myself. You can’t push the stroller and carry basket at the same time. But when my husband is around, he carries the basket.
This is also why I use the bigger stroller because of the larger basket under. We put the toys camera and blanket underneath it.
One last tip, I always aim to leave the house in the morning just shortly after breakfast. They’ve eaten, cleaned, fresh nappy and the NYC heatwave is not out yet. The willingness and motivation is also stronger in the mornings.

5 Tips for Sunny Hot Days In NYC

Are you visiting New York City this summer? if so you are in for a good time – you just have to learn to cope with the hot weather first especially if you are coming from a much more cooler region. Temperatures can go as far as 83 F and even more. Having originally come from a warm climate but later acclimatised to colder weather when we moved to Europe, I find the New York weather very hot, too hot in fact. perspiration is high and I am constantly looking for shades or indoors with cooling system. Hear are few tips on how we have being coping with the heat.

  1. Keep your cool. Quite literally you should try and stay cool. Fan, air condition, cold shower, pool. Open windows for fresh air to come in, go to public places with cooling systems. The shopping mall, go see a movie in the cinema (theatre) or read a book at the library. Drink lots of water. In extreme case put wet flannel/towels on forehead to cool temperature down.

playing in water fountains and sprinkles to stay cool

  1. Wear lighter clothing. This may look like a no brainer but some of us who love to stay modest and cover up (even in summer) may find it hard to wear lighter clothes. Bear in mind that there is difference between wearing lighter clothes and wearing revealing outfits. Sometimes the heat will supersede modesty! Linen material tends to be summer friendly. even if you want to cover up, try using net like material of soft silk like kimonos for example. For work suits, try blazers with little or no under lining.

  1. Use sun protections, including suncream – when you are going out. Top it up after few hours, sunglasses to protect your eyes and an umbrella for shade. Finally add a little style with a sun hat!

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How to cope with having a new baby after a long time in-between kids

I remember when we found out that we were expecting a baby boy just 9 months after our daughter was born. we were excited, we felt contented, grateful and a sense that our family was now complete. No need for another child we thought. I’m done I said. How was I wrong!

Fast forward four years later, our last born started primary school and I felt like ‘now I can focus on my career’. spend quality doing what I always wanted to do, then the yarning for a another child began. I suddenly became all broody again. I was getting older and I felt it was either now or never. I guess it was easier to say never initially because, firstly it wasn’t happening anyway, I mean I was able to get pregnant straight away after the first time but not this time. Secondly, my husband got reassign to a different country – continent, so we hardly saw one another and I am not Mary so no hope of an immaculate conception there! Lastly and most importantly, because the older two kids were so close in age, I struggled in those first two year. I had two under two, working full time, schooling full time. Saying it was difficult would be an understatement. So I was not going to give much thought to adding another baby. But as soon as they were both in full time education, I felt free and could think rationally. I’ve always loved and wanted a big family and if judging from my mom and grandma who gets to menopause early , it was now or never.

Its always nice to plan and do things with logic and analyse every decision however what we failed to realise is that while we were debating weather to have more children or not, time was going. our last born was nearly six years old. meaning it was six years ago since I last had a baby. I had gotten ride of all our baby things, I have forgotten what it was like to be pregnant or have a little baby. I am now at a different stage of parenting.

Some people told me that it would comes back to me, that it was just like riding a bicycle, although that is somewhat true. maybe it isn’t so much as coming back to you but your mama instinct does immediately kick in. you begin to know and remember what to do. what you don’t know however is that each pregnancy is different, each baby is different so what you already know or read may not be applicable anymore.

The age gap has its disadvantages and its advantages. having a big gap between kids isn’t all bad. I have come to appreciate it and thought it was a situation that turned out to be favourable to us. the kids are older and wiser. I could explain things to them and they would understand it. like why mommy was always so tired when I was pregnant. why mommy keeps forgetting things and sending the wrong things to school or signing the wrong school trip letter. they know about mommy having baby brain. We could involve them in the family decisions like what would we hope the new baby would be, a girl or boy? how about names? and so on.

Being older also meant I didn’t have to buy and wrap gifts from baby which they would have figured out because they know a new born baby can’t go to the shops and buy them gifts. one major worry I had was coping with the demands of the older kids versus the demand of the newborn. with the older kids, I have to take them to school, attend PTA meetings, help them with school projects and homework unlike when I was last pregnant, where I didn’t have to do any of those, they were a year apart. after the birth of my second child, three of us stayed at home together, went out together, they are just one academic year apart which means most of everything relating to school was done at the same time.

My favourite part about having an age gap is that the older kids are now very helpful. I have told them time and again that I do not know how I would have coped this few months with a new baby, new apartment, new city and new continent without their help. from helping to change the baby’s diaper to holding her while I take a quick shower. they sing to her, talk to her, read to her. they can see when I’m over whelmed and either give me a back rob or offer to hold her while I close my eyes for 5 minutes – quite literarily.

Its not just the benefits to you, its what it does to them too. my first born daughter was not as excited about having another sibling as she did with this new baby. it was simply because she is older and more mature. not only that, it has led to wonderful conversations like exploring other means of having a family such as adoption and fostering a child because they saw all the pains I went through and instead of it to discourage them from having kids, we looked at other means of having a family. they are more caring, gentle, kinder, compassionate and considerate. they have learnt and matured so much over the last few months.

Personally, the benefit of spacing kids out weighs the negatives. Yes it would be nice to have them all at the same time and get it done with but that maybe too much for some of us. Spacing them out gives you a few moment to catch your breath while you dive in again. If you already have kids and you are thinking about having more kids but are worried about the age gap, don’t worry. so far your doctor has cleared you, go for it. it won’t be easy but having and raising humans isn’t easy anyway, but it would be fun! I always say ” don’t let fear stops you from your dreams”. Go for it!

How to cope with the age gap

  1. Make the most of the situation, see it as a blessing. Having the age gap means you have had a breather, you are wiser, more confident. the things that gave you anxiety as a new mom does not bother you anymore. who needs a changing stating?
  2. Your older kids are your helper. They do love helping and it is a good character building to allow them to help with the new baby. I try not to take advantages though, I watch them to see if they are tired, not in the mood to hold a baby, or if they simply rather play at that moment. They do not help much during week days because of homework and wind down time.
  3. Although you may have to start buying the baby thing all over again, I see it as a positive. I love shopping, both in person or online. New baby things come into the market all the time so it would be fun to see whats currently trending. You don’t actually need much things, except if you are going to have even more kids.
  4. Remember that your life does not stop once you have a new baby, especially for the older kids. do what you normally do with them, go out for family meals, do home work together. when the baby is crying and the older kids needs you, attend to the older kid first, that will show him that he is as important. that the baby has not come to take over or take their parents away.
  5. give yourself time to heal. regardless of how you had your baby, you are not as you were when you had your first baby, it may take longer to heal or for things to fall back to where they were. don’t rush it. give it time. do what you can, when you can and how you can.
  6. it maybe harder to make new ‘new mom friends’ but then you realise you don’t need one as much as you thought you did when you first had a baby several years ago. keep the old friends you have and be open to new friendship but remember you are not the expert, don’t tell them what to do simply because you have been there already. if you have an opinion, write a blog : )
  7. unless it is literarily a matter of life and death, nothing else is as important as your kids and family. put everything else aside for now. focus your energy and resources on them.
  8. have an outlet. blog, instagram, take photos of nature, write a book, something that is yours and it is for you.
  9. know that you will feel guilty. the older kids will tell you that you don’t love them, that all you care about is the baby. they don’t mean it, you may know that, they may come around and say sorry they didn’t mean it but you will still feel guilty. Communicate, explain to them why you need to attend to the baby more. babies are fragile and helpless. you did exactly the same for them when they were younger.
  10. Stock the house of everything you use and need. not just food, stock the house with light bulbs, memory cards, batteries, etc.
  11. Keep some money aside. you will find Uber eats and deliveroo to be your best friend. the age gap means different routine and schedule for kids so there will be very little time to be cooking from scratch. Eating out/takeaway/delivery cost a lot more than making your own food.

The London Mom In Fire Island New York.

Memorial Day weekend could not have be better spent than with family and friends away from the city in an idyllic island called fire island.

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the holiday beach house we stayed in with friends, had no tv, there were music, books, newspaper, magazine, toys, board games and although there was internet, you would find yourself switching off and relaxing. Being one with nature.

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The Island is like a community were everyone almost knew one another, they visited each other, and there was a certain chilled out atmosphere around. so relaxing that people walked and rode their bikes barefooted. We were overdressed for it!

There are no cars on the island. The only mode of transportation was cycling or walking. There are bicycles everywhere, different colours and designs.

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A lot of the people are friendly, saying hello as you passed by, some even going as far as stopping to have a chat, we found this man and he picked from the kids ascent that they were from the UK, it turned out that he was from Ireland himself but migrated to the states about 20 years ago. He was explaining the history of the island to the kids.fullsizeoutput_1670IMG_7814IMG_7810IMG_7789

The little island is nestled between the Long Island bay and the Atlantic Ocean, making it an ideal location for the whole family. If you wanted to surf the big waves or skinny dipping in the bay, there is something for everyone.

The island has one fire station, doctor, chapel, post office, a town hall where people meet or socialise and a shop that sells both fresh and cooked meals.

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A yacht club

There is a large playground for kids, basketball court, tennis court.

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two lifeguards on duty watching the bay. It is safe fun and all round a beautiful island.

3 months old baby update

fullsizeoutput_1638fullsizeoutput_1636IMG_7726IMG_7727you know how they say how time flies when you are having fun? well that is true. I cannot believe that our little rainbow baby Sophia is three months old already. I must agree the sleepless nights, body aches , fever, leaking boobs, picking dinner out from your bra because you’ve been eating standing up with child strapped to your chest. no that part of being a new mom all over again is not fun. but what has been fun has been the smiles they give you with their toothless mouth.

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their first giggles when you make a funny face, you realising that they can actually now see you from across the room and follow you with their eyes. them crying and as soon as you pick them up and they stop then you realise they were calling out for you, that your smell, your touch comfort them. that your voice soothes them that they are yours and you are theirs. it is truly a wonderful  feeling of love.

three months have come and gone, in these three month we have learned on each other for support, whenever I feel like it is getting too much and im having a bad day, I look at her, she smiles at me and everything is right with the world again.

she loves to talk, babble I know but I call it talk, we chat together, I let her take turns, when she stops, that is my cue to talk, and she loves it, because she smiles. I try to read to her even though it feels weird because how can she properly understand what im reading to her. at first she only kept her gaze on the book for five seconds, now, she focuses a little longer. im not sure if its the sound but I do know she loves the pictures. she looks at the pictures, boy does she look a lot.

she would look at the trees, cars and buildings on our way to the park. she would look at her hands, at everything and anything, I catch her looking at me when im not looking, she’s examining my face looking at every angle every wrinkle. when im smilling she smiles. she gets jumpy at sudden loud sounds. she tries to grasp for human contacts when she sleeps facing up, I put her bunny rabbit close to her but she still want that human touch.

she is being weened from swaddling now, especially as the weather is getting warmer at nights. she can’t hold objects for long but she tries when I attempt to give her a toy. when I help her and put in into her grasp, she can only hold it for few seconds before letting it go.

she loves to put things in her mouth, she sticks her tongue out to feel things, including my body and clothes. she drools a lot for someone who isn’t teething, she makes bubbles with her saliva and I can bet she actually enjoys playing with the bubbles.

she has lots of wind, it was bad initially and I changed my diet a little bit. avoided food that gave me gas especially diary. she still gets gas but it is less painful. if I let her, she will scratch her face with her nails which tends to grow very quickly.

she had cradle cap (flakes in the hair from dry scalp) and she had dry skin (eczema) after seeing her pediatrics I asked if it was ok to use the British brand of moisturiser I used with the older kids on her and the doctor cleared it. since using it, it has been better (will write more about it in another post), but for now her skin is much better.

she doesn’t sleep through the night but it is much easier than before, I get a good six hours at a time if I go early. she goes down by 7am, wakes up for a feed by 1am, 3am and 7am. so if I go to bed early, I sleep more.

she co-sleeps with us in the bed and I find that easier for breastfeeding her in the middle of the nights when im tired and worn out.

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I tell her I love her only a hundred times a day. its true. I really love and like her. she has such a sweet personality, calm, easy to love.

because she breastfeed, her diaper change is now less frequent as supposed to before when it was up to six times a day. she goes two days sometimes without doing a poo.img_7322