Giovanna Fletcher On How She Combats The ‘Terrible Twos’ And Why Social Media Can Be Great For Mums
Giovanna Fletcher only gave birth to her and Tom Fletcher’s second child in February, but having a newborn baby isn’t her only worry.
Now her eldest son, Buzz, has turned two, the 31-year-old revealed her plans for combatting those “terrible twos” parents so often hear about.
The family have been attending weekly baby sign classes – where kids learn how to communicate from as young as 10 weeks old.
“We have been attending the classes from early on with Buzz, so we can actually communicate with him a lot,” Fletcher told The Huffington Post UK.
“It’s absolutely amazing because he can ask for things he wants, like a drink, then laughs when he gets it, because he enjoys the fact he can communicate.”
Giovanna Fletcher with her husband Tom, two-year-old Buzz and baby Buddy
Fletcher said she has been told toddler tantrums are caused by a lack of communication and the child wanting independence.
But she said Buzz’s ability to communicate his needs, and therefore gain a level of independence, through signing, has at times helped avoid him having a paddy.
“I know it sounds strange,” she continued. “But instead of acting out, if he really wants something, he can sign and say ‘Look mum, I’m thirsty’, then the situation is done.
“Now Buzz is replacing the sign with the word, it really highlights how much they take in and can pick up in that first few years. Crazy.”
But Fletcher is aware of the fact that Buzz, who has only recently turned two, is still likely to experience the “terrible twos” in the future.
“He’s obsessed with McBusted and drums and guitar and the other day he asked me to put McBusted on,” she explained.
“I said ‘No’ and his lip wobbled and his eyes welled up and it was horrible.
“My heart melted straight away and I did wonder how I’m going to deal with terrible twos if he can use that manipulation!”
Aside from working out how to deal with Buzz’s tantrums, Fletcher is adjusting to life as a mum-of-two.
She admitted that since she gave birth to her second son, Buddy Bob, in February 2016, life has been a lot calmer than expected.
“It’s much easier having a newborn the second time round, because you know what you’re doing,” she said.
“But in other ways it’s completely manic because you’ve got a toddler and a newborn.
“The second time round you feel more confident, although I don’t feel like you can ever feel 100% confident as a parent, I think you’re always just winging it and just pretending you know what you’re doing.”
Fletcher said Buddy looked “identical” to Buzz when he was first born, but two months on she is beginning to notice the differences between them.
Unlike Buzz, Buddy can settle himself to sleep really easily and calmly.
And sleep – something Fletcher admitted to thinking she would barely get much of when having two kids – is also easier than she thought.
“The night feeds are a lot easier,” she said.
“I was preparing myself for a complete lack of sleep, I hardly slept at all with Buzz and I was always so tired.
“But Buddy gets up at 2am and then 5am for 20 minutes each time, so it’s really easy.”
Two-month-old Buddy Bob with Tom Fletcher
As well as getting used to having two children around herself, Fletcher said she did worry Buzz may not like having to share his parents.
She tried her best to make sure he was included when Buddy came home, having heard stories of the “older child feeling left out”.
“I think that’s gone really, really well,” she said.
“Buzz adores Buddy, it’s really sweet. He just wants to kiss him all the time, a bit too much really.
“He’s still so young, he always used to kiss my tummy and say ‘baby’, but he didn’t do it for a week after Buddy was here.
“Once he was just running around and then suddenly he said ‘baby’ and went over to Buddy and wanted to cuddle him.
“He leans down next to him and goes ‘ahh’. He can say ‘Buddy’ and it’s so sweet.”
Now Buzz is used to having his baby brother around, Fletcher said she’s enjoying spending time as a family of four.
“We like going for long walks with them, and taking them to the park,” she said.
“Weekends we have all of our families over and we all just play, we’re trying to go outdoors more, it’s a big thing for us.
“Buzz wants to run around, we feed the ducks a lot and have a couple of places near us for walking such as around big lakes and a lido.
“The simple things in life are the best things, thats what I remember doing in my childhood.”
Fletcher frequently shares snippets of her family life on social media, with photos of her kids’ antics, family time and motherhood.
However one post she shared received a much bigger response than expected.
Fletcher posted a selfie taken in the mirror showingf her stomach just 11 days after giving birth, with a caption explaining that a stranger had pointed and laughed at her “mum tum”.
The post had 74,000 likes and sparked thousands of comments from mums about post-baby bodies.
“I didn’t expect the reaction at all,” Fletcher said. “I’d got out of the shower a couple of days after that comment was said to me and I asked myself how I felt about my body.
“It made me think I wanted to share it online and I was just blown away by the reaction.
“There were people saying ‘This has happened to me’ and those agreeing and saying we should be thankful for our bodies.
“I don’t think the stranger who said it to me meant it, but I wanted to show that my body has given me something amazing and there are many people out there who can’t have children who would kill for stretch marks and a slightly protruding tummy.
“You have got to thank your lucky stars really that you’re in that position.”
The mum-of-two said she felt social media is a great platform for mums to share the highs and lows of parenting with a community of like-minded people.
Discussing the rise in mummy blogs and vlogs, Fletcher said more mums are being honest and accepting “no one is perfect”.
“I think mummy guilt is everywhere and whatever you choose to do with your child, there is guilt attached to it,” she said.
“We have got to realise we are on our own little paths and we all want the best for our kids but ultimately, we have to do what makes us happy.
“We are all doing the best job we can and it’s not anyone else’s business to comment on it.
“I guess on social media you are allowing people to comment on it, but I just think people post things to go ‘It’s okay, no one is perfect’.”
Fletcher said mums sharing the most honest and not-so-glitzy side of parenting, can be a huge comfort for those who feel lonely.
“In that moment, those honest posts of kids getting up in the night are funny and can take the stress away for mums, because you know you’re not the only one going through it,” she said.
“It’s not moaning, we all know we are extremely thankful for our children, it is just comical belief that you need when you’re up and everyone else is asleep.
“It can be really lonely at the times being a parent and I think it’s important to make it feel like you’re not alone, you’re part of this whole network of people and everyone is going through it.
“Everyone likes to bash social media but I think it’s great. It’s really inspirational and it gives people a bit of encouragement to plough on.”
Fletcher, who won Celebrity Mum of the Year in March 2016, said all new mums need to remember “no one knows what they’re doing”.
For any parent who is struggling with any aspect of parenting, she said everyone has days where things just get a bit too much.
“I can remember when Buzz was first born, within the first week I was like what have I done?” she said.
“You get through it because once you hit six weeks they start smiling.
“It’s all quite overwhelming so just remember to breathe I would say and if you’re having a bad day, remember it doesn’t last and it will pass.”