How to celebrate a 1st birthday

How to celebrate a 1st birthday | S2 Ep62

How to celebrate a 1st birthday? That’s what Cass and I are discussing on this week’s episode of Sense by Meg Faure. We’ve been following Cass and baby Max’s journey for one whole year now and this week, we’re celebrating Max turning one years old!

Max is celebrating like royalty, says Cass as she shares how they spent Max’s birthday and all the celebratory events and activities that have just passed and that are coming up. Cass shares that they were on holiday in Greece for the past two weeks with her family, so the celebrations started there. She also shares that on the actual birthday they spent the day together and had a couple of surprise guests who brought presents. I share some tips for babies birthdays throughout the episode, starting with presents!

Gift ideas for a 1-year-old

I asked about the gifts they got for Max because many moms wonder what makes a good gift for a one-year-old. Cass explains that they didn’t want to get a big gift since he won’t remember it, so they chose a mix of practical and fun gifts that celebrate a 1st birthday, like clothes, balls, cars and bath toys. Cass mentions that his favourite gift so far is a toy phone and keys, which he loves since he likes playing with the real ones.

You might have noticed how children often prefer real items over toy versions, and Cass shares an amusing incident where Max put a toy phone to his ear, mimicking Cass’s actions. This leads us to talk about the fact that mimicking is a precursor to imagination. I also discuss the development of imaginative play in toddlers and while Max is still in the early stages of this development, he is starting to imitate what he sees mom and dad do and say.

Cass mentions that while on holiday, Max started saying “oh wow” when he saw the beautiful view from their villa. Of course, I thought it was very funny and cute but it’s a good reminder of how children mimic language and behaviours (and that we sometimes need to be mindful of our own actions and words).

Travelling with a toddler

I go onto ask Cass about their holiday and how traveling with her nearly one-year-old went. Cass explains that Max was a dream on the flights and the first week of the holiday. But after they moved to a new villa halfway through the holiday, Max became clingy and had trouble sleeping at night – crying inconsolably for hours at a time.

We talk about what some of the causes might be including dropping from two sleeps to one sleep and night terrors. We also talk about the possibility of separation anxiety – particularly at night.

Cass mentions that Max has two molars coming through, which could be causing discomfort. It’s true that discomfort from teething can disrupt sleep and cause rashes. This seems like the most likely cause of Max’s unusual sleep behaviour.

Cass goes on to reflect on the holiday and how she realised that Max is capable of more than she thought and may benefit from more stimulation. I am a big believer in family holidays as a way to reconnect and spend quality time together. Cass talks about Max’s bond with her father and how they want to make time every year to spend uninterrupted time together.

Managing birthday cakes and sweets

We then spend some time talking about birthday cake and sweets! Cass is admittedly strict about keeping Max away from too many processed, sugary foods. I share some tips for finding a balance between allowing treats and not making them too much of a rarity.

We also look back at Max’s year, all the highlights and hard parts. I am in awe of how wonderful Cass has managed her first year as a mum and we talk about the common experiences and worries that mothers go through, like concerns about feeding, sleep, and developmental milestones. We talk about the importance of perspective and knowing that many of these issues will resolve themselves with time. I hope to catch up with Cass to find out how Max is growing and developing as they enter the toddler years. Listen for more on how to celebrate a 1st birthday. Happy birthday Max!

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Guests on this show

Cassidy Mason

Cassidy Mason

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How to celebrate a 1st birthday


Meg: Welcome back, mums and dads. It’s Meg for, and this is Sense by Meg Faure, and each week I am joined by a mum or a baby expert. Often the mum is the baby expert to talk about babies.  baby issues like sleep and feeding, toddler temper tantrums. The list goes on and on. And we have a lot of fun just talking around all the subjects that are very close to your heart.


Amongst my favourite conversations have been the ones over the past year with Cassidy. Now Cass is mum to Max, and if you have been listening to this podcast for the last year, you will know that we have been tracking Max’s journey for exactly a year, in fact, so exactly that. It was yesterday that Max was born a year ago.


So welcome back Cass, and happy birthday Mama!


Cass: Thanks. Thanks. Yes. I know it’s very strange. In fact, when I woke up this morning, I said to Alex, I feel more emotional today than I did yesterday. I think I was sort of so focused on making it a lovely day, I woke up and I thought when someone asked me how old he is now, I’ve got to say he’s one.


Meg: He’s actually a toddler. Oh my So, how was the big boy’s birthday yesterday?


Cass: Well, do you know what? He’s celebrating a bit like royalty.  It’s quite staggered.


Meg: Okay.


Cass: We were on holiday in Greece for the last two weeks  with my family, and they’re not back yet, so we did some celebrations in Greece. And then yesterday he had just mommy and daddy for the day.


Although we did have a couple of surprise guests that turned up with presents, which was lovely. And we had a lovely time yesterday. It seems cruel, but he doesn’t really know. We did have a cake with a candle, but he didn’t have any cake. He had some nice piece of fruit, but mommy and daddy had a lovely slice cake.


But he loved, you know, we lit the candle and sang Happy Birthday, and he was, we had party hats that we all wore out for lunch and yeah, he had a lovely, lovely time. And then today the nanny’s taken him on an amazing birthday day out and that sort of thing. So he’s, and then all of his godparents arrive, because it’s his christening on the weekend, so there’ll be further celebrations with all of his godparents on the weekend.


So, yeah.


Meg: It’s an extended period and his grandparents, I presume, will be back from their holiday to wish him as well.


Cass: Exactly. Yeah, they’ll be back on the weekend. So yeah, he’s very lucky. He’s, although, you know, I think you one should have a birthday month really, shouldn’t they?


Meg: Yes, I completely agree. So, talking about birthdays, what did you get him? And I mean, a lot of moms often ask the question around what is a good gift to give to one year old? And what I’m interested to know what you gave him.


Cass: So, It’s a tricky one. We went back and forth and because we weren’t really so keen on getting him a big thing, we thought he’s not going to necessarily remember and so we got him some lovely new clothes going into winter and things like that. And then he got a race car track with a car.


So, the car itself is a toy, but then it also can go on a race track and it does loop the loop and stuff like that. And he, I have a lovely photo of him. The first time it did its loop to loop just with his mouth wide open, staring at it. And then we also got him a glow in the dark ball. He loves glow in the dark things and lights at the moment, and balls. He is obsessed with a ball. So we got him that and then we got him a bath toy as well that swims and sings in the bath with him. So, yeah, just a few sort of little things. We also happen to know that he’s got lots of lovely things coming his way. One of the favourite toys that he’s received was from our cleaner who got him a toy phone and toy keys, which of course is absolutely fantastic because he loves to play with my keys and my phone.


Meg: Isn’t it amazing? And it is, you know, but very often if those toys and keys are too toy- like they actually lose interest in those as well. They really want the real things. So you have to get things that actually do really represent real things in life, and then they can use them. It’s wonderful.


Cass: What I found amazing is he, we don’t really speak on the phone like an old school phone anymore, but this morning he put the phone to his ear as though there was someone speaking. So he must have seen me do it, and he was looking at me with the phone to his ear, it might have been a coincidence, but…


Meg: Well, it’s really interesting, you know, I was actually doing some research recently for a talk that I did on how play develops in the toddler years, and it was specifically towards imaginary play. And, you know, imagination only comes out when little ones are 18 to 24 months old.


So, it’s still a little bit of time for him. So he, he’s not really at the stage of imagination, but one of the precursors to imagination is actually taking on the role of another person. And that’s what he’s doing. He’s mimicking what he sees you do with your phone or when you’re speaking to somebody or when, when he gets behind the wheel of a car, he’ll move the steering wheel as if he’s driving and it’s not imaginary play.


He’s not actually thinking about driving somewhere or actually thinking about speaking to someone else, but he’s mimicking what you’re doing and it’s one of those foundational steps which, which will then move on to them actually having imagination, which  is of course the most important thing.


It’s the most important type of play for little ones in terms of language development, and so many other aspects of development.


Cass: Yeah, we’re noticing he does mimic everybody a bit more and more,  as things goes on. But also, it’s not necessarily imagination, but when we were on holiday, he’s developed this new, two words really together, but they’re more noises. But every morning when he woke up, we had this beautiful view from our villa, he’d come out of his room and he’d point at the view and go, oh wow.


Meg: I love that because he’d seen you all do it.


Cass: And so then the whole holiday, and he obviously got a reaction…


… the whole holiday he spent going, oh, wow.


Meg: It’s too funny, the things that they say. One of my favourite movies is that Meet the Fockers movie where, and I don’t know if you’ve watched it recently, but oh my gosh. I watched it the other day and I did have to laugh when the baby says ass… asshole.


Cass: Sometimes my husband and I refer to each other as assholes.


Meg: Exactly. So yeah, you do have to watch what you do because they will mimic everything then you will react and then it’s firmly entrenched.


Cass: We said in the car actually, because when he was, we were talking about how he is saying and he also, I mean, he doesn’t really know the difference between a cat and a dog. So everything is now cats and dogs. But uh, we were saying, you know, he really is starting to use words. We’re gonna have to be really careful.


Meg: Well, you might have missed the boat there because actually, I mean, you know that they start to learn words long before they actually say them. So you’re gonna have to watch yourselves. And Cass, how was the holiday? Because traveling with a nearly one year old can be somewhat challenging.

And how did that work out for you?


Cass: So, it was a tale of two halves. So, the actual traveling, traveling there, traveling back was phenomenal. People actually stopped us as we were getting off the plane and commented on how incredible our baby was easy.


One woman had spotted him in the queue when we were checking in, and then she ended up chatting to him. I mean, he makes friends everywhere he and she was chatting to him and then she ended up being on the next row and she said, well now we’ll see if you really are as gorgeous as we think you are. And this was a three-and-a-half-hour flight. And at the end, the person in the row in front of her who had a child, they were talking about the baby across the aisle and how incredible he was.


I don’t know how we are so lucky. Um, but he was, I, well I do, it’s because if he’s got faces, he everything, and he was looking out the window. Oh, wow at every plane. And you know, so he was great on the traveling, but. When we were there the first week, equally fantastic.  Routine, went out the window, you know, and we were much more relaxed, so  he  was down to one sleep, really for the, the whole holiday because it just, that’s how it worked.


And he did really well with that. Sometimes, once or twice we went out for dinner, and he was amazing. He was sleeping through the night, waking up at seven 30 in the morning. I mean, it was the dream. We moved villas halfway through and it was completely different child. He, we have never had such bad nights in the whole year.


Meg: Oh wow.


Cass: My husband and I came back exhausted from our holiday. He would be up beside himself screaming for two hours nonstop in the middle of the night, and I could not leave him. The first night, I ended up having to sleep in the bed with him. The second night he had to come into our room. The next night, I slept on the bed, and he was in the cot. And then eventually we did it where my husband would have to go and settle him and then he would go down. He seems to have become very clingy to me, very, very clingy, quite, I mean, it’s in some ways quite hard work and a bit exhausting.


Meg: Hmm. Hmm.


Cass: But he also had two molars that are coming through. But it was, you know, we’d do Calpol teething gel. We would even resort to a feed, and he would still just, I’ve never heard him cry like that. And it would last for an hour and a half to two hours. At about o’clock in the morning.


Meg: And had you moved with the whole family as well because you were with your family. Everybody moved to the new villa?


Cass: We wondered if it was the villa because it was literally overnight, but it was almost the same time every morning.


Meg: And was he then having two-day sleeps or one day sleep in the second villa?


Cass: So, he’d been on one day sleep and we were keeping on exactly the same holiday routine, but then I thought, well, maybe he’s completely overtired. So, we started shifting back to really reducing those awake windows. Giving him two sleeps – made no difference at all. I mean, as you can imagine, we’d tried almost everything.


I mean, at one point I took him to my parents’ room, we sort of had a bit of a morning tradition where he’d go and see Granny and Gramps in the morning while mommy and daddy had half an hour to sort our heads out. And one morning, they opened their door and I just burst out crying and I said, I’m so tired.


I don’t know what’s wrong with him, I don’t know what’s going on. And it made me realize how lucky we’ve been and good we’ve had it for a year. But it was terrible.

Meg: Yeah, it’s very painful. And what’s he been like now that you’re back home?


Cass: So last night he had a good night. His first night as a one-year-old went very well. Previous night, he was still waking. The first night we’ve shifted it. Now Alex goes into him. We feel possibly if I go into him, he then doesn’t want me to leave, and that seems to have helped a little bit. So it does, it does seem to be getting better but he’s got all of his one year vaccinations tomorrow, so…


Meg: Oh, dear. So that might just throw that out. I mean, you know that sleep-wise, that 12 to 14 months is another cusp age. So we have one at nine months. Then we have another one of 12 to 14 months where they’re drop from two sleeps down to one sleep. And that often does come with a little bit of disruption.


And there’s a couple of reasons for that. The one is that, when they’re having two sleeps, they’re more likely to have those very long awake patches in the middle of the night. So kind of an hour and a half of just unsettledness, you know, they’re kind of too awake to fall asleep and too tired to be awake and irritable. And then you can get these kind of long patches of fussing. So that happens. And then the minute you’re dropping a sleep, you drop down from two down to one, and then they’re overtired in the late afternoon. And that can lead to night terrors.


A night terror is where they wake up and the first thing they do is scream. So it’s not like they wake up moaning, they just wake up with an absolute  scream and then when you go in,  they don’t see you. They’re just inconsolable and not even seeing you. People sometimes think they’re nightmares, but babies don’t have nightmares until they have imagination and dreaming, which happens closer to two.


So at this age, it’s not nightmares, it’s night terrors, if that happens. So, you know, and they can of often go together that you have these horrible wakeful patches and then you manage to get down to only one day sleep for a few days, and then they are overtired and then they have these night terrors.


So it could be that. But it really is hugely disconcerting for you.


Cass: Yeah. You know, I can cope if I can settle him and then get him back down, you know, even if it’s half an hour or something like that. But I’ve never heard him cry like that. I mean, he was almost choking. He was so hysterical. Then, you know, he’d be in the best spirits in the day.


Maybe he’d be a bit cranky because he was tired, if he’d had no sleep. But, you know, it was, it was very, strange. And at one point when I was just walking up and down in the room, because if I, you know, if I did walk calmly and I did some breathing for myself rather than letting myself get too het up, you know, I did notice that he would be okay, and he’d calm down. But as soon as I tried to put him down, the hysterical crying again. and I remember thinking when I was walking up and down, I hope Meg’s got some answers to this.


Meg: Yeah, no, I mean, it’s difficult and, and there aren’t always answers. I mean, there are, it can also be the environment. I mean, uh, we had a situation once where we ended up with our son doing exactly the same thing, and we eventually worked out that we’d managed to trap a mosquito every night underneath the mosquito net over his cot.


We were away at the time, also on holiday. And it was a mozzie that was getting to him, and it was three nights in a row where he would just be completely irritable for hours and hours, and I’d pick him up and put him down. And every time put him down, he’d start crying, and then the next morning he’d wake up with all these mozzie bites.


And so, we would, you know, we worked out that it was mozzies, but you know, there’ll be things like that that you just absolutely cannot explain.  I do think that separation anxiety can play a role. You know, he was fine with the transition initially with everything being consistent, but maybe that kind of moving houses was just like one more change. Like, you know what, what’s going on now? And you know, people try and push against routine and consistency for little ones because we don’t all love it in our lives. We love the variety and the interest, but actually little ones just do best in their own places.


You know, holidays, sometimes not a holiday with a little one because they actually just do best when they’re at home. So, it could have also been that. And then that can elevate the separation anxiety, which is what you picked up on.


Cass: And is it quite normal for separation anxiety around this age anyway? Because a couple of my friends who have similar aged, in fact Charlie and Katie, who were on the podcast ages ago, they both, before I’d said anything, they both commented yesterday that their little ones were being very clingy. Is that quite normal time?


Meg: Yeah. So I mean, there are definitely different ages where separation anxiety raises its head. I mean, sometimes in a 4- to 5-month-old, we’ll see it. Particularly with our slow to warm up babies, they tend to become quite clingy then. All babies do it between seven and nine months. You know, that’s your separation anxiety phase where they’re learning object permanence and they want to know that you still exist when they can’t see you.


And then it happens again when there’s a life stage. So, you know, around about a year, it can happen. And then certainly when you go back to work or when mom has a second baby or when they start with a day nurse or whatever it is, it definitely can arise.


I don’t so much believe in exact so-called leaps, as in, you know,  people talk about the leaps. I think that’s a little bit of ‘horoscoping’ – trying to fit all babies into exactly the same thing. I think that these type of emotional challenges, which is what separation anxiety is, happen at specific times because of going through developmental change. And that would be like object permanence.


So at a year of age, there isn’t necessarily a big shift. But it is interesting because all three of you have found that it’s happening at this time.


Cass: Yeah. I mean, when I realised that the molars were coming through and you realise the size of those teeth that have to come through. I mean, he’s got the two molars and then another third tooth coming through, so…


Meg: Yeah, so that’s certainly more likely. So I mean, molars coming through, teeth coming through like that will definitely disrupt and it’ll do it over a course of about four or five nights. It will cause disruption, those big teeth. Did he have those kind of acid-y smelling poos as well and that, you know, kind of all of that teething…


Cass: No but he’s got a horrific teething rash all around mouth, which again, I thought that could be causing him some discomfort.  It looks like quite severe eczema, but it’s just around his mouth, so it’s sort of a drool rash. But I mean, this is the thing in the day, he’s still the same. And you know, people constantly comment, gosh, what a happy baby.


And you know, we’re very lucky he just turns into this alien child at night. But, generally speaking on the holiday, he was absolutely fantastic. His favorite Greek dish is spinach pie. devoured spinach pie.  Yeah, he was actually, you know, sometimes because he, he got a bit fussy around his food as well. Again, probably related to the teething. But we could always rely on, he would eat spinach pie. He just loved it.


Meg: And what was the temperature like in the room? Did have air con?


Cass: There was air con, actually, and I did wonder if this played a part as well. The second week, the temperature did drop a little bit, so I shifted. I changed him from a vest into the full sleep suit because it was just that little bit cooler.


Meg: He could Have been too warm.


Cass: Yeah, so, well, no, I think it was, I think actually he could have done with more, it was really cold at night.


Meg: Oh, was it cold?


Cass: Yeah, so I think possibly it was a case of he was a bit too chilly. I mean, you do lie there thinking could it be that, be this,  but  it does seem to be on the up, although as I say, we’ve got the vaccinations. But yeah, generally speaking, other than that, he was very, very well behaved and he started doing more swimming, which he hasn’t done.


And it was really lovely as well because he had more access to my family every day.  He adores my dad point where if he’s with anybody and my dad walks into the room, that’s it, game over. He just be in gramps’s arms. So that I think was also a little bit exhausting for my dad, but lovely.


So yeah, it was very special to have that time and I think we’re going to try and make it a bit of an annual thing.


Meg: Holidays are very, very important for families. It really does reconnect you and yeah, real good, solid time together.


Cass: I think it also, one of the things I observed is it really allowed me to see what Max is capable of. At home, everything’s in a very controlled environment and because of traveling or whatever it might be, they have to be tested a little bit and I became aware that I maybe don’t allow him to, I think I worry about him being overstimulated , but actually he could do with more stimulation. And it allowed me to see how easy it is to go to a restaurant or go out for a whole day, do multiple meals, and just go with the flow and go wherever because he will be okay. We were on a boat for a whole day and I was a bit worried. I thought, I don’t know how nap time’s going to work and you know, all that sort of thing. And we put him in a float on the floor of the boat and he fell fast asleep and you know, was absolutely fantastic. And the next time we went on a boat, he just curled up on my lap and took himself off to sleep.


Meg: It is amazing. And you know, I think one of the things, and if moms of younger babies are listening and they’re thinking, wow, I mean, will my baby ever get to this it, they really do come out the other side. But I will tell you, Cass, that it’s often got to do with how you manage the routines early on that frees you up later. And going back to one of our early, early podcasts, I remember you saying, you know this, it’s so limiting. You know, which naps can he take out? Because can’t be so limited by all this. And I can remember saying to you, cause I’ve said it so many times to moms, the thing is that confine, you now will be the things that set you free later, and it is the truest thing. You know, babies who have good rhythms and good routines early on, established better sleep habits are easier to get to sleep and they end up being a whole lot more flexible when you really need it. And forgive me if I told you the story, did I tell you about my New Year’s Eve story?


Cass: Yes. Yeah.


Meg: For those of who haven’t heard the story, it was back when, 1999 to the year 2000- y2k. We all thought that the world was gonna end in that year. And my son was 18 months old at New Year, and you could not get a nanny for love or money.


I mean, you just couldn’t get one because there were no babysitters around for New Year’s Eve. So we managed to hire one babysitter between, I can’t remember, maybe 10 babies. I can’t remember the exact number. And we packed all their camp cots next to each other and put them all down next to each other to go to sleep at night.


And I thought my social butterfly, James, who is just like Max, Max reminds me of him in so many ways. And I thought, you know, there’s just no chance that he’ll go to sleep. But I did his same routine, identical as I did every night. I put him down, walked out, and he, of course, he fell asleep and, and slept like he normally did.


But it was the fact that I’d done that rhythm of that bedtime routine that meant that I could do that. And like you say, it allows you to be able to go out to a restaurant and not do the bedtime routine. And when you get home at 10 o’clock instead of seven o’clock when he normally goes down, that he will actually be able to settle because he’s a well self-regulated baby. But it does come down to the early days putting in place a good routine so that that does work.


Cass: Yeah. There were some nights where we’d take him back after restaurant and he would lie down and just that was it, conked out. And then there were other nights where we’d maybe just got it slightly wrong and he would pace the cot.


My great-uncle used to have, a conservation in his garden. He owned a game lodge and he had a leopard in his garden that used to pace up and down inside its enclosure, and Max had these wild eyes and was pacing up and down in the cot. I was like, oh my goodness. It’s like Uncle Robin’s leopard. But  then eventually, as you say, he would just slowly go from pacing to sitting and crawling up and down to lying.


Meg: Sleeping. Yeah.


Cass: And he sleeps with his bum right in the air on the front.


Meg: I love it when they do that. That’s just so precious.  Well, I mean, it’s been an incredible journey to have followed Max’s life. He’s been an incredible little boy. He’s running now, he’s taking paces, isn’t he?


Cass: Yeah. In fact, the nanny just sent me a video and I was like, oh my gosh.


Meg: Yeah. No, he’s, he really is amazing. And he’s got a couple of words. What are his words now?


Cass: So, yeah, there’s dog and cat, which are the same thing.  He doesn’t really tend to do it very often, but sometimes he will say hello, a sort of,


Meg: I’ve seen that video. Very funny.


Cass: So pleased I caught that on film, because he really doesn’t do it very often. It’s very frustrating. Um, and then, yeah, the, the big one is: Oh wow.


Meg: Oh, I love it. Oh, it’s a very, very precious age.


At the beginning of this this afternoon, we were talking about him getting gifts for his first birthday, and you said he’s going to get completely spoiled this weekend. And there’s a couple of little principles for one year olds that I think are worth noting.


The one is, they will get completely spoiled on their first birthday, and they won’t know what came on that day or what comes another time. So take half those gifts and put them in the top of the cupboard and then bring them down, you know, so that there’s a new surprise every week for the next kind of six or seven weeks. Because in that way they’re not totally overwhelmed with all of the presents. So that’s the one good tip.


And then the other thing going into birthday party season, because now you’ve got all your friends having their one-year-olds, is how do we manage the cakes? And you know, you mentioned that Max didn’t have any of his cake.  And one of the things that is a really good tip for birthday parties is to feed your baby absolutely choc-a-block full of strawberries and sweet fruits just before you go. Because  then their sweet tooth is completely gone. They’re completely full. So by the time they get there and they see all the sweets and and so on out there, they’re just not terribly interested.  And then the other thing on sweets that is worth mentioning is that, you know, the, the sweet that babies, I mean, lots of sweets that babies can choke on, but the one that people don’t often know about is marshmallows. On the app, we actually do have a choking course, Get Confident with Choking. So it’s well worth anybody who’s got the app going on and doing the Get Confident with Choking course because  you really do want to make sure you can cover all the basses.


Cass: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve always been quite good or quite strict, I should say. Probably good the right word. We’ve been quite strict about what Max has eaten. He’s never had chocolate, he’s never had cake, he’s never had any of those things. He’s had maybe a bit of maple syrup and porridge. Although now that he’s one, we have given him some honey. He had some honey and Greek yoghurt with banana, which he loved, but I’m sort of hoping that fruit is, he loves it. He, you know, he absolutely loves it. And so if I can, as you say, satisfy that sweet much as possible hopefully he’ll not be that interested because he doesn’t even know other things exist yet.


Meg: Well it is, it’s such a challenge because the problem with sweets is that they brightly coloured as well. So it’s not just saying, well, if he’s never tasted it, he won’t know that he wants it, because then it must look ugly as well. the problems with sweets is that they look so tempting as well. They’ve got the color and the smell as well as the taste. So you’re not going to keep him off it forever. And  so I think, the principal has to be that it’s never available in your home, if he’s at a party, you do have to relax a little, but make sure he’s so full that it doesn’t really taste  as good as it would taste if he was hungry.


Cass: But I suppose that the challenge that I will face is I don’t want things to be seen as a treat.


Meg: Or forbidden fruit. Hmm.


Cass: Well, exactly. So you know exactly that.  When we have a sweet, it’s a massive treat because we never have it or you can’t have it unless it’s these conditions. So it’s getting that balance of yes, you can have it if you want, you know, if we’re in a supermarket for example. But it’s getting the balance of it’s doesn’t become standard, but it’s also not a item, and have no idea how I’ll manage that, but,


Meg: Yeah. Well, one of the ways to do it is managing blood sugar levels because the minute  blood sugar levels bottom out. So in other words, if he’s really hungry when he is presented with them, you’re gonna have a much harder fight on your hands. And the good way to do that is with very healthy nutrition.


You know, so that’s the three solid meals plus two snacks, lots of proteins and fats. Very few processed carbohydrates because  even if they’re not so-called sweets,  you know, even that lovely banana and honey muffin is still a processed carbohydrate. So, you know, just, just making sure that what you are giving them is as unprocessed as possible, you know, and as homemade as as you can do.


I mean, it’s, it’s obviously the ideal and it’s not always possible, but going down that route is a good route to go.


Cass: There were definitely some processed carbs going on in those spinach pies, I think. But,


Meg: Yes. No, they would be. Oh, Cass. Well, thank you so much. I’ve absolutely loved our chats. I think it’s been an amazing way to document little Max’s life, you know, to be able to go back and listen to a year of Max’s life. And this time last year, we were actually in a real state about Max, because he had been rushed into the ICU.


And if anybody hasn’t heard Max’s start story, go back to one of my very first podcasts where I interviewed Cass about her journey to motherhood, which started off absolutely picture perfect and ended up a little bit of a shit show.




Cass: I know. I said, I said to Alex last night as we were putting him to bed, I said, this time a year ago, they were taking him away from and Alex like, can we not? I just,


Meg: Rough. No, Cass, that was really rough. I mean, you would, I mean, and the things that you’ve lived through over the last year have been, you know, quite textbook in many respects, because so many moms go through it. You know, you’ve gone through the stage of, of not knowing whether or not you had enough milk and then eventually the transition onto bottles, which every single mother goes through that, whether she does it at two weeks, six months, or three years old and every single mother has the same experience of that real sense of loss when you do that last breastfeed. I mean, it just is, you know, you know that you can’t go back from that. You’ve gone through the picky eating stage where he was eating nothing but fresh air and we trying to work out how we were going to get food into him.


He lost weight we were even more concerned because growth curves shouldn’t plateau and his plateaued very neatly. We went through him waking up at night. We went through him sleeping through at night. We went through worried about is he gonna walk before he should? At nine months looking like he was gonna walk. And so we were trying to keep him crawling for as long as possible. And these are all such classic things that moms go through. And you’ve been super real as well, Cass. I mean, you know, I think there’ve been moments where we’ve been able to say, gosh, Max has just been a textbook awesome baby. And there’ve also been the moments when you’ve gone, like, gees this is raw and real, and I’m at the end of my tether and, you know, I’m, I’m teary.


It’s been really real and that’s what’s been amazing.


Cass: Absolutely. And one of the things, if I could go back and tell myself is. That everything will happen the amount of time in the last year that I’ve spent worrying, why is he not doing this yet? Or is, you know, or, or he’s, you know, whether it be sleeping through the night or is feeding, or, and actually I was listening to the episode where he was being sick all the time and I was really worried. And I thought, gosh, just before that I think weaning was going really well. And then just after that, sorry, he became really difficult to feed and we through and then he goes through phase of, and even just now we’ve had a really difficult phase of feeding.


Everything that happens will eventually sort itself. I think I worry so much about little things and I can see how when you’ve done it once before in the second time around, I don’t know maybe you go back to worrying all over again. Or you are much more relaxed about, you know, okay, yeah, he’s not doing this yet, but he will one day.


You know, there aren’t many adults that are walking around, still wearing a nappy, not sleeping through the night, refusing to eat,


Meg: Yeah. Yeah.


Cass: you know, and that sort of thing.


Meg: It’s very true. I do think second babies come with perspective more than anything else. You know, that, that you, that you know that this will pass. Whereas first babies, it feels like it will be interminable, it will last forever. Those sleepless nights or the breastfeeding problems will last forever.


Or you know what? Whatever. You know. So I think you do have more perspective. A wonderful thing that a psychologist once told me when we were facilitating a group, she said, you know, using the word today is a really good strategy. So, you know, today he’s a little cranky, or today he’s not sleeping well because we know with babies that tomorrow can be completely different.


And as with the good stuff as well, because today sleeping through, tomorrow he might not be. And the other thing that today’s session actually in particular has flagged for me, when you asked me the question about why did he do those five nights or whatever it was of waking.


We just don’t always have the answers with babies. And sometimes they move through it and we still look back and we still don’t have the answers and we don’t know why they did what they did. We don’t know why Max’s weight plateaued a little bit, but it did at a certain point in his life. And we don’t know why he’s suddenly gone through a patch of waking up but he has. But it’s keeping that perspective. And  as a seasoned mom, you do realize that that actually, it will pass. It doesn’t help though because while you’re in the midst of it, it’s really hard to keep that perspective. It does feel interminable.


Cass: Yeah, no, definitely. Every time I listen back to the podcast, I think, gosh, you were so worried then and now, I couldn’t even remember that that had happened.


Meg: Yeah. No. It passes. It passes. No, but you’ve been absolutely fabulous Cass, and thank you for sharing your journey. I would love to continue through the toddler years. Maybe at least check in once a month because I’d love to


Cass: I’m sure there’ll be plenty of stuff. I think it’s going to get more chaotic.


Meg: And it’s gonna be shenanigans. Exactly. It’s gonna be chaos. There’s no question. Especially knowing his grandfather like we do. So there are going to be some crazy moments with him. But, thanks again Cass and happy birthday.


Cass: Thank you so much and thank you for all of the time and advice and everything. Thank you so much, Meg.


Meg: Pleasure. Thanks Cass. Cheers.

Cass: Bye.











Meg faure

Meg Faure

Hi, I’m Meg Faure. I am an Occupational Therapist and the founder of Parent Sense. My ‘why’ is to support parents like you and help you to make the most of your parenting journey. Over the last 25 years, I’ve worked with thousands of babies, and I’ve come to understand that what works for fussy babies works just as well for all babies, worldwide.