Raising babies

Road Trips With Kids

We are a family that does a fair bit of tripping around. Our flying and vacation experience with kids is very minimal – we took one trip to Mexico. Hallie was not even two and Jackson was two months old. To say it was a disaster would be an understatement. We have however done A LOT of camping with them and many driving road trips. With every trip, you learn how to make things a little easier or smoother. This Friday I am taking a solo road trip with the kids as Henry needs to stay home and work. As I started packing the kid’s clothes this morning, I thought it may be a pretty handy post for others moms out there. These tips work well for me and my kids. They may not be the best solution for you, but if they can add to your idea list then my goal is achieved! If you have any tips you would like to share as well, please feel free to comment or message and we can build the list.

Packing. I used to feel quite guilt about being an over-packer. Especially when Henry and I were dating and I couldn’t go to Las Vegas without packing about 27 bathing suits. Now with two small tots, I like being prepared for MOST situations so unfortunately that can go hand in hand with overpacking. ‘Everything but the kitchen sink’ is a saying that often comes to mind when packing to go away. I usually start packing a few days before we are leaving. It may be a tad too early but really, these kids have enough clothes that I can actually get away with that. It also keeps me organized and my stress levels slightly lower in the days leading up to going away. I have a mild case of OCD (probably quite severe) and need things to go in a certain way. I also need to have time to clean my house top to bottom before going away which also adds to stress. I don’t know why I need to have it clean. I think I just LOVE coming home to a clean house. So this morning I decided to organize which clothes the kids would be taking. They share a small black suitcase and I get the large one. If Henry were joining us I would share with him but I don’t need to in this case and can pack as many pairs of shoes and shorts as I like.

Kids Clothing. Miss Hallie is potty trained for the most part. She is really great at using her potty and gets better every day at using the ‘big potty’. That being said she still tends to forget if she is having too much fun and might have the odd pee accident. For this reason, I will double the amount of bottoms needed for her. On this particular trip I can do laundry if I feel the need to, but sometimes that isn’t the case. Better to have too many pairs of pants and panties than not a single pair. Pour last camping trip I made that error and panties just weren’t an option on the last day. #momfail . I also like to stick to dresses with her. Easy knit sundresses that she can pull up easily when she needs to go in a hurry and ones that won’t get wet if she has a tiny accident. It still blows my mind though how many times a day I end up asking girlfriend ‘where are your panties?!’. Jackson is much easier to pack for now. As a baby you had to worry about blowouts and basically bring ALL the onesies. Jackson is quite ‘tidy’ in this area so enough shorts and shirts for the days we are there, plus a couple of emergency outfits, and we are good to go. I say he is easy but it has to be said – that kid has style. He will not leave the house without his fedora and sunglasses so one needs to make sure all accessories are in order. Dapper is his middle name. I used to go overboard on footwear but since it is summer we stick to 2 or 3 pairs: Flip flops, rainboots for each of them as they are obsessed with wearing them, even indoors and naked, and if we have a fancy occasion then I will throw in a nice pair.

Summer essentials. Right now that means sunscreen and bug spray. Oh and if you get eaten alive by the mosquitos like my kids, some form of anti-itch cream. We are now trying out the Bee Sting Relief Cream by The Humble Bee (Canadian brand made in Chilliwack, B.C.). It serves the same purpose for mosquito bites as it does for bees and is really effective. Plus it’s natural for the kid’s sensitive skin which I love. I don’t always get suckered into all natural with them. Obviously I try to keep the ingredients list as simple as possible but bottom line, I want results, and natural doesn’t ALWAYS do that. In this case though, it’s working. My favourite sunscreen for the kids is Baby Aveeno, plus the face stick in it for easy application. If I have to chase them down then a spray can of Coppertone will get the job done. Right up there with those serious items are the other essentials: bubbles, sidewalk chalk, balls and sand toys. Again, I try to keep it as minimal as possible and easy to pack. But it just makes travelling with kids a little more fun for them when these items are included on the packing list.

I am not even going to touch on food and road trip snacks as I still need to learn more here. Between keeping it healthy and finding snacks that do not explode all over the inside of my car, I am still at a loss. Apple sauce pouches for the win right now!

As babies my kids were never great sleepers but as toddlers they certainly LOVE being in a bed. That still doesn’t mean sleeping but they take after their mama when they like to snuggle and get comfy. I like to make sure we include some comforts from home. This means a couple of their blankets each – I sew and they each have a nice little collection of cozy printed flannel blankets. I also bring the pillow that each of them sleep on. Same for Henry and I. What can I say, we love our own pillows. Unless we are staying in a swanky hotel. Then it’s hotel bedding all the way! They also get a couple stuffies each, the one’s they can’t go anywhere without, and their glowworms which double as reading flashlights once they ‘go to bed’. Throw in a few good books and we are set for sleeping tight.

Some mom extras…. Recently on trips I have been taking a diffuser and a few select essential oils. For general joy and calmness throughout the day, I like to have a mix of Orange, Grapefruit, Bergamot and Geranium. Anyone who shops at Anthropologie, this is the same smell as the Capri Candle! For nighttime sleepiness where the kids will be sleeping I combine Thieves and Lavender. Normally some Northern Lights as well but I don’t have any of that at the moment. Thieves is great to bring along in any case as it’s great for immune system and keeping pesky bugs away that we ALWAYS pick up on the road. Damn you McDonalds Play Centre….. Wine. Bring it along or buy it when you get there. It’s gonna come in handy. Good toiletry bags. I recently bought some of these off of Ebay. I love that your toiletries actually stand up in them and have elastic to secure each one. Plus I love the colors. It’s all about the little things in life that bring you joy. Tupperware. I used to be a consultant for it so I happen to have a fairly decent amount of it. It comes in handy for EVERYTHING. I use sandwich keepers to hang on to crayons, face paints, even for empty juice boxes so that you don’t have them littered all over your car or floating about in your purse. I use the smidgets for taking medication along, carrying chewing cum, even concocting essential oil blends with coconut oil in them for the road. I made a pain killer one for my neck when it gets sore from driving and a peppermint one for the kids in case anyone gets car sick. Wipes. Wipes, wipes, wipes! I use them for almost everything and keep multiple packets on hand, stored in secret compartments in every nook and cranny of the car and suitcase. Might just be my kids but we can never have too many baby wipes. These also work great when your feet are ALWAYS dirty camping (mine are and I can’t stand it). Lastly, DVD players in front of each child. I did many road trips without and many with. With is better. Even if that means four hours of Peppa Pig and two kids who now have slight english accents. I will take it!

Now I must get back to filling these suitcases as the day is quickly leaving me. It’s a ton of work getting ready to go on any trip with kids but in most cases, it’s worth it.

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Babies Grow Up

When I started this blog it was mainly because I found out I was having a baby. I wanted to document the growth of my adorable bump. Which eventually lead me into the not so adorable 9th month of just being huge and desperately uncomfortable. My intentions then switched gears into survival mode and learning how to be a first time mom. Learning how to keep a human alive, how to work WITH my newlywed husband at keeping a tiny human alive while focusing on our marriage and helping it flourish in it’s infant stage. The blog was comical, raw and loving all in it’s own unique way. Slip in a massive move to a new city where we knew no one, as well as the news of a sibling on the way, the blog began to encompass many things.: Family, parenting, chaos,a new business, cooking, crafting. . . Really whatever I decided to write about. Fast forward to the present. The blog has taken the back burner big time. I have taken time off of writing but keep feeling the heartstrings pulling to find more time for it. Yet again, I feel the direction shifting. It’s no longer going to be about surviving babies, but more so the children they are growing into. My kids are still young. Nearing four and two. Yet they seem to be these growing forces of energy, personality, and increasingly strong abilities to outsmart their mother. They take me to the brink of losing my mind and patience, and reel me right back in with their snuggles and giggles. How do they have the power to do this? And how are they so bad at doing things sometimes? I try to hand them the open goldfish package in the gentlest way, yet as soon as it reaches their hands it seems to be on fire and explode into the air. I will be picking up goldfish until they go off to high school, I promise. Even as I sit here writing this, I am quietly hiding behind my coffee and laptop, as I know Paw Patrol will end in ten minutes, and so will the peaceful silence. Rider and his pups will happily rejoice about their latest savior and as that theme song blares, my darling children will automatically turn to me, zombie-like stagger their way over, climb ALL over me demanding snacks, strawberry milk, more paw patrol, ice cream, and anything else they can think of. (This actually DID happen too, as soon as the show was over. It’s like a weird magnetic mom-pull.) Don’t get me wrong. I am NOT a complainer nor do I ever want it to seem like I am ungrateful for my children. I love them to absolute bits and pieces. I am just in complete amazement about how they shifted from my tiny babies into these crazy little humans: Tiny toddler explosions that keep going off in weird ways that you don’t expect. And this ride is just beginning. Babies, I fear were the easy part. Children, for now you win! I have seen your special powers over the last few weeks! Unfortunately I can only blame your dad, and myself as you had to get it somewhere. So I am excited to see what direction this blog will take next. Excited and scared for what parenthood holds. Hopefully I can find time amidst the craziness to keep documenting a few of our stories here, and the lessons I am learning along the way. Thank you for joining me and reading along!

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Put Your Big Girl Pants On

I will be the first to admit, I am rather slow at certain things when it comes to parenting. Potty training – still ain’t happening. Not my fault now though, she has chosen to embrace the diaper. The battle shall be hers and hers alone. For now. . . Drinking milk from a bottle – the effort is there I promise you. I have tried every sip cup on the planet and girlfriend still wants her milk out of a bottle. It’s not like she is dependant on it to go to sleep or anything, she plain ol’ likes it. But yes I know, it’s gotta go. Lastly, the crib. Hallie was in her crib up until quite recently. She never attempted to climb out of it and slept quite well in it, so why on earth would I let the lion out of her cage. Or lioness I suppose. After a few road trips though where we had no choice but to set her up in a ‘big bed’, we decided to take the plunge and stick her in a toddler bed. Well that didn’t really last long at all. She LOVED it. I however did not love trying to be a contortionist when trying to comfort her in a nightmare. I would be lying half on the floor with my back twisted and my arms attempting to stroke her hair. Two nights of this and a new decision was reached. Toddler bed OUT, bigger bed IN. Since my kids share a room and there is really no room whatsoever, we went with a twin. After a month of just a mattress on the floor (yes I know, parental neglect) I ordered a lovely bed on Wayfair. I am so excited to share a few snippets of the big girl ‘side of the room’. There a moments every day that I see this baby girl turning into a big girl. It’s so hard as a mom to watch this happening but at the end of the day, that is what we are here to do. Raise these little people into bigger people and send them off into the world. Oh ya and hope that we did a thing or two right along the way. Perhaps that why mommas keep having babies. One gets growing up and the baby fever sets in again. I always tell myself Jackson is here because I wanted 2 (or 3?) kids and wanted to give Hallie a sibling close in age. But lets be real folks, it was baby fever! Lord help me when I see too many preggos in one day. For now though these two troublemakers are keeping me rather busy so lets keep the baby makin’ at bay.  In the meantime though, we can pick out super cute bedding and throw pillows for their big girl room.

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Toddler Happenings

I swear there will come a day, very soon, when I can’t stop talking about the good the bad and the ugly of BOTH kids, but for now my darling toddler hands me enough laughs to keep me busy for days. She literally does too. Jackson is in a super cute stage. He is still an infant so to speak, and cannot do anything on his own. We are close to rolling over, holding his own bottle, and finding his feet. For now though, he is just full of giggles and smiles and loves to be snuggled. Sleeps like total shit but you can’t look good AND be good at things as well right? The kid can jump hard in his Jolly Jumper though, I will give him that.

Little Miss Hallie, well that is entirely different breed. She is so fun right now, that is for sure. On the verge of her full sentences almost making some sense, full of hugs and kisses, and such a Mama Drama. There are at least 14,000 reasons as to why she breaks down crying each day, not all of them warranted by any means. Takes after her momma though, slightly emotional. With all of this awesomeness comes some huge development milestones. Lets start with the big one. The big, messy, brown one. POTTY TRAINING. I can’t do it. I am lacking serious faith on this. I start out with amazing confidence and an hour later she is in the bath tub and I am day drinking. But if it’s white wine it doesn’t really count right? I mean it’s almost a clear liquid, like water. Everyone needs water.

Since today was one of those days where clearly Hallie’s clothes were made of lava and she had to have them completely off or she would be burnt to death, I thought it was a great opportunity to do some potty training. I can already hear the sanctimommies task-tisking that I should be all ready to go ‘all in’ or not at all. But whatever, thought we would roll with it. Hallie spent a full hour running around naked before it was all I could do to get some ‘training panties’ on her. Following that I found four puddles throughout the house and one very happy-to-be-almost-naked toddler sitting in her own poop. Into the bath we go (after of course hitting up the kitchen for before mentioned glass of ‘water’). For the sake of everyone involved here I probably won’t go into further detail but lets just say it involved me scooping things out of the tub. The results of the afternoon…. probably going to delay potty training a little bit longer. I know she is ready. Just ain’t so sure momma is.

Another dragon that appears to have reared it’s ugly head is the picky toddler tummy dragon. She was choosy before but Hallie’s eating habits have quickly become… well quite frustrating to say the least. If I made it or put ANY effort in whatsoever, you can bet your boots it’s on the floor. Or the wall. Or on me. I just thank my lucky stars that she is obsessed with store bought squeeze pouches. I can take a bit of comfort in the fact that she is eating something. It also helps that the child safety lock on her ‘snack drawer’ is busted and I will often walk into the kitchen stepping all over fruit snacks and goldfish crackers. At least she is eating.

I think my favourite part of our ‘challenges’ right now though are the conversations. Though they are muddled and completely confusing to me, they are sweet as pie. Just like that little devil of mine. It is total gibberish but I know exactly what she is trying to say. The expressions that come along with it are priceless too and always put a smile on my face. Usually fits of laughter too.

Cheers Mommas. Another Monday down, and this one for me, was for the books.

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And Another Baby Makes Four!

Well the day finally came! A little bit early but on Monday, July 4th I started having contractions while marathon watching Season 5 of SUITS on Netflix. On Tuesday, July 5th at 1:35am, my baby boy came into the world! Very quickly and furiously might I add.

Full disclosure: I started writing this post on July 7th…. It is now the middle of AUGUST! The absence is a perfect way to show the chaos that ensued having two babies in the house. Sure, have another baby they said. It will be a piece of cake, your second time round, you will be full of confidence and life will be bliss. SAID NO ONE EVER THAT HAS TWO BABIES. I have to stress the baby factor too. Two kids, I am positive, is a complete shit show of it’s own. Babies are in their own realm of insanity. Especially when one is a newborn and cannot ANYTHING and relies on you for everything in this world, down to their breathing. The other is not even two, has entered the tantrum phase early, communicates in her own language, and is what I can only politely call a ‘very free spirit’. Bless that girl and I love her more than anything but she cannot be trusted. Turn your back for one second and she is dancing on cold cuts of salami in the kitchen, covered in chalk and filling up the garbage can with items out of your purse. It’s raining VISA and gift cards in my house whenever she gets her hands on it. One look at that devilish grin though and my heart melts. It’s a good thing I don’t care too much about my sanity because it went out the window long ago.

So the new guy… Old man Jackson! Jackson Leo Hayward is his full name and my oh my, does it suit him. I don’t think he could have pulled off any of the modern and hip names that made the cut on our list. Jackson is modern but the ability to shorten it down to Jack, really depicts his traditional style. He is the oldest little baby I have ever seen and I just love that old man to pieces. He likes really warm baths, warm feet, being cuddled ALL THE TIME, and making strange noises all night long. Boy does his big sister love him too! There are kisses on the forehead every morning, and mama drama tries to help me all day long. Whether it’s getting a diaper (which translates to dumping a bin of diapers all over her room) or taking his dirty diaper to the diaper genie (I am really hoping they all go in there, and I don’t start finding soiled nappies in awkward places in my house!). I know she just means so well so it gets her off the hook of even the worst mishaps. Blame it on that smile! Honestly, it’s all new and every day a new tornado strikes itself right down in the middle of all that is calm. Till I know what the heck I am doing, there is always coffee and wine!

So to keep things fun and simple while I jump back in the blogging game, I felt it would be appropriate to do a little:

NINE TRUTHS AND A LIE!

1.) Every night that I go to bed I am completely terrified that THAT will be the night my sweet baby boy stops his ‘newborn sleeping’ (which is shitty already might I add) and then I will forever be awake. Deprived of precious sleep that I worked so hard to get back (which I never really got back).

2.) Every day with my darling daughter has been testing my patience. No one warns you about how understanding and patient a mother needs to be. Even when it seems that all you can do is lose your shit, you need to come down to that level and try and figure out what the hell they are trying to do/are freaking out about/screaming and crying about. It’s an even bigger mystery when they cannot talk and communicate to you yet and you end up playing charades with your bawling toddler in the meat department at Superstore, trying to identify what on earth she is trying to say or do.

3.) I know for certain the cashier at that same grocery overheard me call my toddler an asshole under my breathe as I picked up all of items off the floor that she had thrown out of the cart upon checking out.

4.) I may have hid from everyone in my house the other day with a glass  of wine in my closet.

5.) I worry non-stop about everyone, even the dog, that they may be feeling left out or not loved enough.

6.) I have heated more food in the oven than I have cooked, but passed off the credit as my own of course.

7.) I am certain the word ‘NO’ has become a permanent part of my vocabulary and it’s actually bumming me out. I need to really think about WHY I am saying it in the first place and how I can redirect this crazy behaviour. Perhaps I need a good parenting book, but who the heck has time to read these days anyways?!

8.) I did not find a dried up chicken tender at the bottom of my purse.

9.) I do not wish every day was Bachelor in Paradise Day.

Can you spot the lie?

First picture as a couple!
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My Old Man Jack! (Pants are from Target, Muslin Swaddle Blanket, Modern Burlap)
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Girlfriend is CRAZYYYYY!
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Just ‘Old Man-ing..’
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The two that steal my heart, day in and day out.
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(When did the toddler start to look like a GIANT!?)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Toddler Tummies

I remember when I used to think of being a mom and having babies, I had all sorts of hopes and dreams for the type of parent I would be. I like to pride myself in being a rather relaxed parent but there are things that I have always been strict about. Bedtimes. Lots of cuddles. Bath time and brushing teeth. After experiencing a newborn baby, an infant, a baby and now a toddler, I feel like I should send out a disclaimer that corrects many things I said PRE-parenting. The truth is, you just have no idea until you are in it. It’s survival of the fittest. If it works, you do it. My little girl was in total hysterics the other day because I took away the disgusting dirty Freezie that had been dropped in the grass seven times while she tried to eat it. She was so upset and it broke my heart so much that I handed it back to her. I have no idea if she played with it or simply ate it but that filthy blue popsicle was all that made her smile in that moment. Don’t even get me started with how happy she was ten minutes later when I am almost positive she ate a dragonfly! I am not saying she is the boss all the time and that the slightest tantrum will win her all battles. I am not saying that at all! I am fully admitting though that you need to pick your battles wisely. Some of them are not worth the tears. With all of that being said, I feel it is the perfect segway into the topic of food! Toddlers are picky as hell. If they like it today, tomorrow it will end up splattered across your face. Or all the way up your walls and all over your crisp, freshly washed white linen curtains. Toddlers also have the ‘chipmunk winter-food-storing-ability’ down to a science. This girl will chew up about fourteen baby carrots, hold them discreetly in her cheeks, and wait until about an hour later when you are cuddling on the sofa and spit them out all over you. What the logic behind this for her is I have absolutely no idea. She sure finds it funny though. As I fight my way through the darkness in identifying what foods will and will not work, I wanted to share a few tasty treat ideas that are a success in our home- this week anyways. I have probably jinxed it now!

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These mini pizzas were delicious and a hit with those big and small. I picked up what I can only compare to Naan Bread from our local bakery, infused with spinach and herbs. Drizzled with tomato sauce, topped with prosciutto and mozzarella (some grated and fresh), and baked for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. I even like to grill the top a little bit to brown and bubble the mozza. Slice them up small for baby and serve as is for mom and dad. Bon appetit!

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Hallie is slightly obsessed with Munchies Mix – the mix that has sun chips, cheetos, pretzels, etc. Not going to lie, I love them too. Instead of buying a bag of that though I bought a bag of each type of chip in it (more or less) and mixed it all together in a jumbo zip lock bag. I then divided up the mixture into these plastic mason jars. These plastic jars are the best! They store easily, stack, travel well to the park, I LOVE them!!! Very kid friendly too. Oh and husband friendly! Henry cannot open a bag of chips to save his life. We always end up with a long rip down the bag and stale chips, so this is a great solution for him too.

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Homemade Guacamole is possibly my favourite snack ever. It may as well be a meal. Today in fact I ate a bowl of guac which consisted of at least three avocados. Good fats right? (Don’t care..) I follow a very simple gauc recipe. Perfectly ripe avocados, lime juice and lemon juice, chopped cilantro, fresh ground pepper and cayenne pepper. Sometimes I will add a few tablespoons of a really nice salsa just to excite things but trust me, it isn’t necessary! Nothing like fresh ingredients. It also helped that a certain little lady LOVED dipping her tortilla chips in it.

Until next week when she decides she hates all of the above mentioned snacks and we need to turn to Pinterest for new ideas. I don’t know if I have thick enough skin though. It slightly hurts my feelings when she hates my cooking or hard work & preparation haha!

Potty Training

I cannot believe I am saying these words…. Is it time for such a task already?! When you pick up your toddler only to discover they have removed their diaper and are now in the nude on the lower half, then yes, it may be time. We purchased a Baby Bjourn potty when Hallie was 9 months old. I didn’t intend on starting anything that early. I merely wanted to introduce her to it so that she wasn’t afraid of it or anything when it came time to learn. Over time since then, we have successfully used the potty a few times, only by chance  and getting her to it in record time. She had no idea what she was doing or why I was clapping and cheering like a maniac when something appeared in the bowl. She also tried to PLAY with the filled bowl directly after filling it which even traumatized me slightly. For the most part, the potty sat in our bathroom up until now and Hallie would sit her kitty stuffie in it while she had bath time. Fun for the whole family haha. However, I think now it is time to really start using the potty for it’s actual function and not just an uncomfortable portable chair. I have been combing the internet for different resources and even picked up Sesame Streets ‘Elmo Goes Potty’ on DVD from the local thrift store. There are so many opinions on this subject out there that I feel like I am in the whole breastfeeding versus formula battle all over again. Parenting choices are HARD my friends! Either way though, I need to pick a method and stick to it. I have decided that when it comes to Day 1 and starting this arduous task, I am going to set up our wall-length baby gate and barricade us in the kitchen for the day. We will have our potty, toys, and all emergency materials for ‘accidents’. I just feel that by being in the kitchen it will minimize our chances for messy mishaps on my rug or sofa. Not that they are in pristine condition anymore anyways – thank you toddler and dog! I have also been told that we should stay close to home for the week while undergoing this training. Who knew it could be such a mission to take on?! I thought babies and newborns were the hard part. Toddlers, you really are on a different playing field and mommy is the rookie up to bat! Toddler 10, mom usually zero. What are your go to methods for teaching the do’s and don’t’s on toilet 101? I would love to hear from you with any tips that might help this scared momma out! Our first casual lesson with the potty and Elmo went interesting to say the least. It involved kitty on the throne again and one very happy toddler! Think she missed Elmo’s concept.

Step 1: Watching Elmo

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Step 2: Trying out technique on Kitty

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Step 3: Well I am not sure what step is happening here BUT I am pretty sure the lesson is over

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Flashback to when we bought the potty and she ‘tested it out – don’t you love a good ‘poo face’?!

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