Little Miss starts pre-school

Our little miss has started playgroup. Playgroup/preschool /nursery whatever you prefer to call it, 2 mornings a week LM is now in the care of some lovely childcare professionals.

I’ve known the day was coming for a while as our local playgroup take them from age 2 1/2, but then it has suddenly snuck up on me. With being away on holiday last week we have been away from a normal routine, then on his first day back at school today, Monkey has gone on a farm trip (his first proper school trip which is a big enough deal in itself), then he got a bad cough on Sunday and was quite poorly so I wasn’t 100% sure he was going.

So last night lying in bed I was suddenly thinking about the fact that my little girl, my baby, was starting preschool the following morning. It’s not like we were completely unprepared for it. She had her trial before the Easter holidays and loved it. We’ve been reading “lulu starts nursery” at bedtime and talking about how she would be going soon and she has been excited. I just don’t think I fully processed it until last night. So I had all sorts of dreams, dreams where we were late, dreams where she was upset, honestly all sorts.

But of course this morning dawned and all was fine. We weren’t late and she was excited to wear her playgroup t-shirt. She adored wearing her backpack too!PhotoGrid_1494249234077

We took (a much less poorly) Monkey to school for his trip then walked over to the playgroup. The ease of the location in relation to the school is one of the reasons for choosing this playgroup. It makes pick up and drop off so easy but also means a lot of the friends she makes here will go on up to school with her. One of her friends (who is actually about a year older) already goes here and I think that helped this morning.

We arrived and LM went straight in with no fuss. She sat down to play puzzles with her friend then we said we were going. We gave her a kiss and she waved us off quite happily with a “bye mama. ”

It did feel odd walking away without her but I have known for some time we were both ready for this. I got home and did some exercise and some cleaning and pottered about. There are always tonnes of things I can keep myself occupied with for a couple of hours. It was lovely though, too, actually. To have the house to myself. Some time to myself. It’s not like I’ve never had that, since Monkey was born, but it certainly hasn’t been a regular thing. Now it is. Now I get to have 2 mornings a week to myself, and still have the rest of the time with my girl.

I picked her up and they said she had been a star. She hadn’t been upset at all! Yippee! She played with her friend a lot of the time, but not all and took herself off to play with others and on her own too so that’s nice. It’s lovely she has her friend to play with but also that she isn’t dependent on her, if that makes any sense.PhotoGrid_1494249299585

It’s the first day so I know there could be upset to come but I’m so pleased of how well she did and so proud of her. Love my fierce and independent little lady so much.

Little Miss at 2 1/2!

Our little miss is 2 1/2. She has grown up so much recently that she really seems like a proper little girl now. Her speech is coming on in leaps an bounds and her personality is really showing through – especially the cheeky, defiant side!IMG_20170408_201124_214

We had her 30 month check with the health visitor this week and I had quite the booklet to fill in. It was quite nice to do though as I was able to tick that she could do almost everything they asked. There were some on there that I didn’t even know she was able to do until I asked her either so that was a nice surprise. I was especially pleased that she has mastered jumping in the last couple of weeks (finally!) so was able to show off her jumping skills quite nicely haha :) honestly she is jumping everywhere and off everything as a result of learning how to do that!

As I mentioned above, her speech is really flying now, with new words appearing all the time. She is trying so much harder now too. Whereas previosuly if you asked her to try and say something, she would either ignore you, or say “yeah” but wouln’t actually try. Now she is properly repeating everything an trying to say anything you say. Reading a book she tries to say the words back and s of course her vocabulary is increasing all the time and it is adorable. So many family members have melted at her saying “Tahtu” (thank you) or saying their names in a more defined way.

Some of her recent words are: Hi, Bye, Hur hah (hurt hand), Zhezure (treasure), Hewo (hello), Bees (please), Reh (Red), Purpuh, Kink (Pink), Bu, Gee, Yewoah (yellow), Butfwy (butterfly),Or atroh (paw patrol), trow (trolls), ahdrow (eyebrow), tat (cat).

Honestly though that list could go on and on as there are so many more words every day. I am really pleased with her progress and know it will only continue. She starts at pre-school in a couple of weeks and I know that being around all the other children will help her speech two. Yes thats right, I said she starts pre-school soon. My little baby is going out in the world for 2 mornings a week in two weeks time. We are both so, so ready for it. We went for the induction and she loved every second. Her closest little friend already goes which helps but honestly she is such a sociable little thing that I am sure she would be fine anyway. She is such a different child to her clingy big brother so I know she will love it.IMG_20170410_135705_270She really is quite feisty, and well that is putting it mildly. She is deliberately naughty in a way that Monkey never has been really. I tell her not to do something, so she does it all the more. She always wants whatever I say she can’t have or whatever is difficult, and then screams almost endlessly when I say no.

Last week we went on a bear hunt at our local country park, but she wanted to o some of the things that we normally do there, like feed the ducks. The answer was no because we were doing the bear hunt an oh the screaming lasted forever. To start with everyone else on the outing was understanding, but as it on there were comments like “is she ok?” “oh she must be tired” and I felt like the awful parent intermittently ignoring her, or carrying her like a sack of potatoes as we had to catch up to the rest of the group and her big brother who was way ahead. She wasn’t tired, she was just tantrumming. In the end another mum let her ride on her buggy board and then sit in her pushchair. I can’t say I was hugely happy about the situation but I recognise that her tantrum was affecting everyone and wasn’t about to get into a parenting argument so just bit my tongue and thanked them. The trouble is that she is so darn cute that people melt over her but in my opinion she needs to learn that screaming doesn’t get her her own way, or even attention.IMG_20170413_200214_004

So we’ve used the naughty spot a lot more over the last week. The trouble I find with the second child, is that it is easy to sometimes let things slip. I fully recognise that I have let her get away with things and not been consistent with her at times for want of an easy life. But I always tend to find that that actually makes it harder in the long run an the time has come to be a bit firmer. The good news is that she totally gets the naughty spot now. She sits for her two minutes and apologises at the end. She is put off by even the threat of it much of the time, but when she isn’t then I have to follow through, I just have to.

So yes, she is a complete diva at times and such a madam who really knows how to push my buttons. But she is also lovely, and yes, completely adorable. She just loves to show off to all her realtives and pretty much wraps them around her little finger haha. Even out at a local soft play she had an older girl pretty much doing her bidding for her!lm 212 1

She is so full of fun too. She adores being tickled and loves to mess with people to make them laugh, So much larking around and cuteness. She’s become a lot more social too recently, saying hi to everyone we meet, and wanting to hold hands with other children, which lets face it, is just gorgeous.lm 212 2

We had a bit of a time with her being scared of dogs an cats recently, but thankfully things are improving on that front. She has gone from screaming in terror to waving and saying hello an bye bye to dogs and she even stroked her uncle’s cats at the weekend. We’ve just tried to be really positive about dogs and cats and said things like “aren’t they lovely?” instead of “dont worry, they won’t hurt you” as that didn’t seem to help (maybe it reinforced the idea in her head she needed to worry and might hurt her, who knows, the fear came almost out of nowhere so I have no idea really). She was much better visiting the local farm this week too and stroked a horse and a sheep which she would not have one previously. She also loved washing her uncle & auntie’s tortoise!lm 212 3

One of her favourite things at the moment is to go on the “chair” which is the seat on the back of my bike. She’s always loved it and since her brother has been doing so well on his bike we have been out on it nearly daily, and it is such a relief that she likes it on there so much!She adores the film Trolls, as we all do to be honest and she loves dancing around to the music, which again,, we all do haha. Otherwise her favourite thing to watch at the moment is still Dora, especially the episode with the blimmin mermaid haha. The songs get so stuck in my head!IMG_20170412_105837

She loves things pink purple, pretty and girly. Much as I have to admit it irks me slightly (will get into that in another post). She always wants the pink or purple versions of things an I’ve relented and bought her a pink cup as she always covets other children’s pink cup and refuses to drink out of our blue or other coloured ones. It just wasn’t worth the argument every time haha. She likes a pretty bow in her hear or a nice dress. She recognised Elsa & Anna on her frozen pyjamas this week, and loves flowers too. Such a girly little girl… but having said that she is fearless an climbs everywhere, loves spinning on spinny things at the playpark and as I mentioned above is now jumping off everything too so I don;t put her indresses too much, mainly for practicality! She’s clumsy too and falls over a lot so her little legs are always covered in little bruises poor thing!

She has a little bit of a thing for stones at the moment, or “roh”(rocks) as she calls them, spending ages digging around in the dirt and filling her pockets with them. She likes rlling them down the slide in front of her, then moaning when she can’t find them at the bottom. She also has a thing for putting things up her nose, which I am less than happy about, and yes, some smaller stones have gone up there too, which is really not great! She is fascinated by those little holes in her face though and almost permanently has a finger up there. I hope we are getting the message across that she stops putting things up there though! Daft child!

This is a bit of a rambly post but just a little update on our little lady as she is now, as she is growing up so so so fast these days!lm 212 4

 

 

A lovely long family bike ride

Since learning to ride his bike without stabilisers our Monkey just can’t get enough of it. He wants to go on a bike ride everyday, and often multiple times. We love it and thankfully LM loves sitting in her “chair” on the back of my bike too so we get out quite a lot.

On a very sunny Saturday last week we had no plans for the afternoon, so I came up with the idea of a slightly longer bike ride than we’d done previously. We are so lucky that we live close to a country park so most of our rides end up there or at a local playpark. I fancied a change though so we headed off to another lovely spot, a lock over the river.

It really is a longer cycle for Monkey so we thought we’d try it and see how we went, and he did brilliantly! Much of the journey is on a path next to the Nene Valley Railway line and at one point we were chasing a diesel train on the tracks. His little legs couldn’t quite keep up but Monkey certainly gave it a good try.

I originally thought we would just get to the lock over the river and turn back, but we got there in no time and Monkey was keen to continue, so onwards we went.

Down near the rowing lake are some sculptures that have been there since 1987 and that Hubs and I remember from when we were kids. This was getting quite far now, but Monkey was adamant he wasn’t ready to head back so we continued on and both kids loved seeing the sculptures… Especially the ones hubs has nicknamed “dinosaur poos” hehe can’t think why that would appeal?PhotoGrid_1491834925600

I loved the one that looked like lots of open doorways, and miraculously managed to get a family snap of us all standing in a different doorway!20170408_143654

It was such a glorious day to be out, and lovely to see Monkey enjoying his bike so much. At times he was tired and needed a breather but on the whole he was fine. It was funny cycling behind him as he was having little conversations with himself, making up scenarios and vouching and whizzing and kept bending down low when he wanted to go fast to “get the baddy” or something haha.

It was just lovely and both hubs and I feel this is such a huge step as a family, to go on proper bike rides at more than a walking pace. I can see us doing this a lot this summer I really can. Well done Monkey!

 

Our little tree climber, and TV star!

I’m so so proud of our little Monkey at the moment. He’s always been a bit reserved about trying new things, and gives up quite easily if he feels he can’t do something, refusing to even try. But there has been a bit of growth in that area recently. Since learning to ride his bike without stabilisers his confidence has really grown. His balance has improved and he is taking more things in his stride.PhotoGrid_1491807129826

He’s really gotten into climbing too. He likes climbing up the sides of our local pirate ship play park, and is desperate to climb trees too. When I saw our local country park was offering a tree climbing session I knew I wanted to book it. It’s not climbing in the traditional sense but using helmets and ropes.

I hoped he would love it but because he is who he is, I wasn’t 100% sure how it would go. He may have decided he didn’t want to do it at all, he may have decided not to try. But I tried to forget all that and just kept up the positivity about it. He had seen pictures of his frienddoing it before so I hoped that would help.We arrived on the day and there was a TV camera there as ITV Anglia News were doing a piece about it!

Monkey was very quiet but had an excited look on his face the whole time. He got suited up then it was his turn to climb.PhotoGrid_1491807250401

And he was amazing! He listened to the instructors and did as they asked. He just went straight for it and right up that tree and was so happy about it. It was amazing!IMG_20170407_120119_210

Of course I took a little video if you fancy a watch … (feel free to keep the sound off so you don’t have to listen to my prattling… though the end is amusing)

Afterwards he was interviewed for the news and, well typical child, I’ve never known him so quiet and not chatty haha but they got a little soundbite… And well that night he was on ITV news! Our little TV star! I filmed the clip on my phone so you can see it, though sorry about the poor quality.

I am so so so proud of him, this was a real achievement for him it really was! He is really proud of himself too and loves the fact he was on the tv haha.

Riding a bike without stabilisers

We had a fairly momentous milestone in our house this weekend! Mothers day 2017 will be remembered in our house as the day Monkey learned to ride his bike. I cannot tell you just how pleased, and relieved I am to be able to write that, as I wasn’t sure when this day would come!IMG_20170326_195924_439

I’ve written before about our boy and my worries for him. He can be very stubborn and he gives up on things. He refuses to try something if he thinks he is going to fail at it, crying and saying “I can’t do it” without even trying. He’s the same at school too apparently. He’s only 4 I know but it’s something we have to work on. His self confidence and believing in himself that he can do things if he just tries.

It’s hard to know how to deal with it sometimes. I try to positively encourage him, but I’m not a perfect person and I get frustrated when he refuses to try. I also find that if I pander to him too much, that he will just play on that and keep crying until I either give in to him or get cross. Every kid is different I know, and I have to find the way that works for him, and it’s often that something that worked before, won’t work again!

Sometimes I find I have to use a bit of a “stick and carrot” approach. I have to give him a reason to try, usually a combination of the promise of something positive and the threat of something negative. On their own neither seem to work for him but a bit of both can just do it sometimes. For example yesterday was all about how proud everyone was going to be of him when he did it. His relatives, his teacher, his friends. It was enough incentive some of the time… But after a while he started to give up, even though he was making such good progress. So then I got cross. I told him that if he didn’t stop crying and didn’t try again, that he wouldn’t see his Granny & Grandad that afternoon. And what do you know, his tears stopped, he said ok, and he tried again.

I don’t like having to be the bad guy as a parent. I hate having to threaten but sometimes I have to as nothing else will work and I guess the end justifies the means. It’s like the thousand times that I ask him nicely to do something, then eventually shout. I don’t want to shout at all but when asking nicely doesn’t get you anywhere, sometimes you have to. It was the same with his recent tears at school in the morning. The more we were nice about it and the more attention we gave him the worse he got. We couldn’t find any reason for the tears other than he wanted to stay with us, which isn’t possible. Once we ignored the tears and ushered him in without acknowledging them (much as it broke my heart not to cuddle him) surprise surprise he stopped crying in the morning. I hate it but the truth is that it works. I guess it’s all about balance.

Anyway, back to the cycling. Once he was trying again, we found it really helped him to have one of us a little way ahead so he could focus on getting to us and concentrate on where he was going. Once he had enough of an incentive his progress sped up, and well, it just clicked. He just got it and then he was off!20170326_145418_0:13.110

It was amazing!

I was then running alongside him and I made up a little theme tune for him “woo oo woo oo Monkey can do it, woo oo woo oo Monkey can do it” which he picked up and as he cycled started singing “woo oo woo oo, I can do it!”

Once he started he didn’t stop and he doesn’t want to get off now! He was so proud to go into school today and tell his teacher and show his friends, and I’m so pleased for him. I hope that we can build on this and remind him of this day. Of how he tried and how he achieved! I hope we can help build his confidence and and give him the courage to try instead of giving up.

Terrible twos with Little Miss at 2 yrs 5 mths

Our little lady is the age that Monkey was when she was born. It feels utterly bonkers in some ways… But then I see her sometimes and think how grown up she looks and suddenly of course accurate. I think part of it is that Monkey seemed so much bigger than he was at the time. We measured LM’s height the other day and she is now only just taller than Monkey was when he was 18 mths old! Nearly a year younger than she is now! They are such different children, but this post isn’t about that, it’s about her and how she’s doing at 2 yrs 5 mths!

IMG_20170313_195513_693Our little lady, where to start? She is a force to be reckoned with. I don’t particularly like the label but I really appreciate the meaning behind the ‘terrible 2s’ with this girly. She is wilful, stubborn and gets frustrated by pretty much everything, all of the time. Even when I try to do what she says she wants, it still often results in a meltdown because let’s face it, she doesn’t really know what she wants!

It’s easy to make light of it but in truth I do struggle with her constant demands and unpredictability at the moment. At home she demands the tv so much of the time and screams when I don’t give in. When I try and do a nice activity or something with her to distract her from the tv, it lasts sometimes seconds before she is wandering off, or she gets frustrated that the laws of physics won’t bend to her will and she can’t make everything do what she wants it to. Then we have a meltdown and I’m left clearing up the mess while she is off, either getting annoyed by the next thing, or watching the tv because I can’t cope anymore and am frustrated that even when I try really hard, I can’t seem to make her happy.

We go for lots of walks and she loves to be out and about. It takes ages to get anywhere while she inspects stones and picks daisies and chooses her stick for the outing. She loves chasing bubbles and popping them with sticks and she adores playing hide and seek behind trees, which I love too. In truth the best times that we have are out on walks when she is free to do almost as she pleases. I still take the buggy with us most of the time so we can get home quickly if a meltdown strikes, usually because she’s decided she wants to be carried and I can’t because she’s just getting too heavy these days! PhotoGrid_1489772413375

She loves riding on the back of my bike to the local country park so that makes for some nice outings too. But everything very much has to be her way. Try and impose a purpose on an outing and it soon goes awry. She loves visiting the big supermarket near us… But only to run around and see all the ride ons. Try and do any shopping and it becomes a nightmare. I did manage to give her a notepad and crayon the other day so she could ‘help’ by ticking items off the list. She scribbled on it for a few mins before the moaning started but at least it was a few minutes. When we all went together the other weekend hubs and I ended up taking it in turns to carry her out like a sack of potatoes with her screaming and kicking and waving her arms around in protest. It’s just not fun it really isn’t.

We’ve had a few times where she has refused something that she just has to do, like brushing her teeth. We will try and be flexible where we can but there are some things she just has to do, so we have used the naughty spot. I’m not going to lie it was a nightmare to start with but she has got the point of it now and she will now let us clean her teeth again without a fuss as a result. She has to know we mean business sometimes, much as I hate having to be the bad guy, as I know she needs some boundaries.

She loves her gymnastics group that we go to, though that isn’t without meltdowns. It really helps going with other tots a similar age though as it really helps to be reminded she isn’t alone in her difficult behaviour. This week’s session was spent sharing stories with other mums and making each other feel a bit better that our kid isn’t the only badly behaved toddler around. The benefit of these groups is not to be underestimated!

I know it’s just a phase and she will grow out of a lot of her challenging behaviour… But I am trying not to wish it all away too much, because she is lovely too. She’s cute as a button and I adore her cheekiness about as much as it drives me crazy. I mean how can anyone resist this face?PhotoGrid_1489772997877

She’s chattering loads more now too which is really nice, lots more little sentences like repeating me when I said I was going to the toilet “mama nee wee wee, mama go wee wee” and in telling me what she wants to watch on TV “woh oo-ee a tagar a aneemols” (watch umizoomi with the Tiger and animals). There’s new words coming all the time “brokeh” (broken) “cay” (cake) are two of today’s! Hopefully as she communicates better the frustration levels will reduce a bit. I really hope so! I’m also looking forward to warmer days, spent in the garden where the temptation of the tv isn’t quite so great (for both of us). Maybe it won’t be any easier but I have to look forward with hope otherwise I will just sink!

She also starts pre-school after the Easter holidays when she is 2 1/2 and I think that will be good for both of us. I’m hoping the pressure will be off me a little in terms of making sure she experiences lots of things for her development as they will help her do that. We will also get a bit of a break from each other which will hopefully make the time we do spend together a little less fraught!

So what else is going on with her? Well she loves a bit of water painting, especially with her aquadoodle mat. She is a bossy britches and loves telling us all off if we aren’t painting with her, as she quite often wants company. Even when watching the tv she demands “mama, chair” patting the chair next to her so I will sit down. I don’t always comply of course as I have other things to do sometimes but it’s quite cute. When it comes to watching the tv her favourites by far are umizoomi and dora the Explorer, which I don’t mind too much as at least they are interactive, and I love hearing her shout numbers or shapes at the screen. As I type (with her in my lap watching umizoomi) she is shouting “ohwah” (oval). She also loves a bit of dressing up, with a few definite fave outfits! PhotoGrid_1489773309331

She loves being in the kitchen with me, especially when I cook her eggs in the morning and she is getting better when we bake. Whereas previously she has just played with her own bowl of ingredients, she has been actually helping me more recently, scooping ingredients in and helping me pour and stir, so that’s a nice development. She’s also helped with sorting the storks from the kale and likes to chop with our child friendly knife.

She loves to run around the house with a big cheeky smile on her face, so anything that involves chasing or running or tickling is good with her. She loves a good dance around the living room too :).

On the less positive side she has developed a terrible fear of dogs recently. A friend’s dog bounded over to her reducing her to awful screams, and now she screams and you can tell she is literally beside herself terrified when a dog comes near her. We are trying to be positive and talk about how lovely the dogs are, she will wave to them from a distance sometimes (when she’s not hiding behind her hands) and we’ve tried to get her to stroke some lovely gentle dogs we know, but so far she’s not having any of it! Any tips (that don’t involve us getting a dog) please let me know!

Another great habit, which daddy in particular just LOVES, is that she is pretty constantly picking her nose at the mo. Delightful eh?

So there we have it, our beautiful, challenging, loving and tempestuous little miss, at 2 yrs 5mths.

Monkey’s first few months at school

IMG_20170115_195918_007So our little Monkey is  about 4 3/4 and has been at school for about 5 months now. He has changed and grown up so so much in those 5 months that I thought I would write a little update about how he is getting along, and the ups and downs we have with our little school boy. Starting with some real positives, his learning is simply amazing. He is like a little sponge soaking up everything that they are teaching him.

Reading

His reading is amazing to listen to as he just reads so many words now, and sounds out and blends any he doesn’t know. It is wonderful sitting next to him reading his school book and he’s so proud of himself too. With a bit of encouragement (as he can be a bit shy) he has read his books to other family members too and they are all equally proud of him. We get him to read his book 5/6 times a week and can get a new book to read once he has read it twice. We tend to do this because after reading a book a couple of times he is more likely to try to read it from memory rather than looking at the words, so gets it wrong more often the more he reads it. The school recommends reading a minimum of twice a week but it has just become part of our routine now that he reads a story after dinner so he reads a few little books a week (pink band level) and this seems to be working well for him.IMG_20170124_174052

Writing

His writing is so good now too. It has been a bit harder for me to get him to practice writing at home, as quite often my suggestions to do it are met with a cheerful “no thank you” and if I push him he just gets grumpy and it’s not the right atmosphere for it then! Having said that he wrote the names in all 60 of his christmas cards to classmates and I think that all that practice definitely helped. I now try to get him to write things for a purpose. For example if we have been building something, and playing with something I try to get him to write a sentence about it. One day he came home from school so excited about what they had learned about ice that day and, as I normally struggle to get much out of him about what happens at school (“I can’t bermember,” “I just did lots of things”), I decided to capitalise on it and he wrote a sentence about ice and water. We’ve done similar writing a couple of times now and he is getting a tiny bit more enthusiastic about it.PhotoGrid_1485784890689

I have been so impressed with the way he has been learning reading and writing with his phonics at school. Last week I went for a stay and play session at the school which was so much fun. It’s hard to know really what is going on behind the school gates every day so it was lovely to see it for myself. There’s obviously a lot of play and most of the time that is what they were up to, but there were also sessions on phonics and maths. I loved the games they used as part of the phonics lessons and the kids did so much writing it was lovely to see and made it quite apparent why his progress has been so fast!

I remember a couple of years ago, talking to a friend about whether to send her summer born 4yr old to foundation stage at school, because they don’t legally have to start until age 5. I remember at the time thinking the foundation is a good segway between nursery and school because they are at school but mainly still playing. I now actually think that it is really important kids don’t miss out on the foundation year, because of how much I have seen them all learning. Monkey is a May baby so technically could have started later, but I’m glad he didn’t. We always felt he was ready and now know we were right. I fear that any child starting at age 5 straight into year 1 may be really quite behind. I definitely don’t think Monkey’s progress in reading and writing would be anywhere near what it is, if his learning were down to me. I definitely don’t have the skills or knowledge that his teachers do in this area!

Maths

I also got to see a maths session at the school and that was so lovely. Again I have been impressed as they have been learning about counting in two’s recently and when I was there they were working out “3 lots of 2″ and how the x sign means the same as “lots of.” Basically they are learning the 2 times table already, and the kids were lapping it up. Just lovely to watch. Monkey has always loved numbers so he kept turning around grinning and giving me the thumbs up during that session!

Drawing

Monkey has loved drawing for a while, and his drawings lately are just getting so good and so imaginative that I had to share a few here. He has a particular love of drawing instructions, like this one of instructions for how to build a house, but I just think all of is drawings are brilliant. Proud mummy moment! :)PhotoGrid_1485785015224

Friends

On the whole, Monkey has been pretty happy at school. He comes bounding out of school so happy every day and like I say, he loves to learn. He has always been quite a shy and sensitive soul though. he has started off pretty well in terms of friends, there seems to be a fair amount of children he plays with at different times and on the whole he has been quite happy. He quite often tells me he played with so and so and so and so on the playground and they played superheroes or police or something. Recently though, he has had a bit of an upset with his closest friend, F. F’s mum and I are really close friends so we see quite a lot of each other and had even got into a bit of a rhythm of walking to school together. I think because F and Monkey are such good friends that they began to have a bit of a power struggle and F said some things that upset Monkey. Nothing major, but things like “I’m not sure if you will be able to come to my party, I’ll have to see if there’s room” and “that bell on your bike is a baby bell.” You know, 4yr old stuff but it did bother Monkey a bit.

Speaking to other mums and the teachers and it seems to be happening amongst a lot of the kids at the moment. They got really friendly with one or two children and then the power play started. It’s what kids do as they are learning about other people and friendships etc. as well as all the academic stuff, so it’s natural they will say things to provoke a reaction, or have their feelings hurt by another kid. Having watched some of the “secret life of…” programmes, I’ve seen it and I guess am not that surprised by it… but the reality was still pretty hard. F’s mum was horrified at what he was saying to Monkey and I’ve been torn between hating seeing my little boy hurt in any way… and knowing that he has got to learn to deal with it, because it is all part of life. Sometimes people say things either intending to hurt you, or not thinking about whether it may hurt you.

It was a tricky few days and Monkey didn’t want to walk with F to school anymore, and said “F makes me sad” which broke my heart a little. I think that extra bit of space has helped and they seem back on good terms again now. I know the teachers have been talking to the children about not saying things that are mean or exclusive too so hopefully that is helping all round! I’m sure there will be many more times where things like this happen over the years though!

Tears

This tricky patch coincided with us really taking a backwards step and Monkey being tearful saying goodbye in the mornings. Back in September we expected to go through this phase but never did, he was so happy and excited to be going to school that he didn’t cry at all. Then a few days in to the new term in January and he started crying. Possibly brought about by the slight change of routine they have introduced, where on a Monday and Friday morning they have to sit on the carpet and get ready for assembly, rather than having a play to start off the day as they did before. It could also have been the spat with his friend but even after talking about these things and trying to resolve the issue, it didn’t seem to be getting any better. He was so happy coming out of school every day, and was happy even when dropping him off, right until the very second we said goodbye, when his face would crumple and the sobbing would start.

It was such a depressing start to the day to leave him so unhappy, especially when we couldn’t figure out the reason. After randomly finding one of hubs’ old sets of lego in the loft that Monkey hadn’t seen before, we decided to try a new tack. Because it was feeling like the crying had become a bit of a habit, rather than because he was really upset about something, we decided to give a little incentive to stop the tears. One week without tears and he could have the lego we found. Right from the first day of this bargain being struck, the tears stopped. He left with a big grin on his face. His teacher also noticed and praised him for it so he told her “my mummy says I can have new lego if I don’t cry every day.” I have to admit to being nervous about her reaction to this but she seemed equally pleased that it was working. If there had actually been something bothering him, I doubt the promise of lego would have stopped the tears. Even now, after he has the lego, we still haven’t had any more tears. So, phew to that!

Tiredness

One definite downside to school is the tiredness it brings for our little Monkey. He can be quite crotchety at times and he really is, just, tired. He gets really tearful sometimes, and often about the most irrational of things. He had a meltdown about putting his shoes away one afternoon, and a full on meltdown over the weekend about blowing his nose because he insisted that he couldn’t do it. This morning was particularly frustrating as he started to cry about his name. Yes, his name. At school, when there is a word that can’t be sounded out phonetically, it is called a “tricky word”. Such as “go” for example, it isn’t guh oh, goh, it’s go, and that is a “tricky word.” Monkey’s name is a “tricky word” too and this morning we had sobbing because “I don’t want my name to be a tricky word.” There is just no reasoning with him when he is in that mood so I just decided to change the subject and move on! Daft Monkey!

He also uses tiredness as an excuse though, especially when it comes to eating dinners. He is so slow at eating and often sits there and says “I’m too tired to eat.” We, of course, point out that eating food gives you energy, and stops you being tired…. but he refuses to accept that fact!

So, negatives aside, he is doing so well at school. He’s such a happy chap and on the whole, such a good boy. He loves the PRIDE code that they have at school and loves to recite the words it stands for “polite, respectful, independent, do your best and everyone matters.” He gets quite irritated that is little sister doesn’t yet follow these rules too lol.

At home

Monkey’s learning and growing doesn’t stop at school. He loves to learn basically constantly. I got a couple of new books recently that he loves, one is an atlas and another is a book about the human body which has lots of flaps you lift to look at. It’s a great book and he said yesterday “I was just imagining if like in the book, we had flaps that you open and see inside our bodies.” Bless him. He loves baking with one or the other of us and a LOT of time is spent playing lego when he is at home, and some of his creations are brilliant. We went on a nature hunt at the weekend which was great fun, and he’s just getting so grown up.

As a result, we have also been asking him to help out a little more. Just simple stuff,  he makes his bed in the morning, lays the table at dinner and puts his clothes in the laundry basket at the end of the day. So far he is doing really well with those and most importantly is happy to do them.PhotoGrid_1485793908458

Feeling very proud of our boy after writing all of this down :).

 

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Little Miss at 2yrs 3 mths

It’s been a little while since I have written an update about our gorgeous girl and she is changing so much all the time so I thought it was about time I did. I know that even in just a few months time she will be different again so I do want to try and capture her funny little ways as best I can.IMG_20170122_195901_828

She is really starting to grow into a little girl now while also still being very much a toddler. As an example, for along time now she has eaten everything with her hands. And I mean everything. I have never seen anyone eat soup using their hands quite so efficiently as she does. It is obviously a mess fest though so I have to admit to being massively relieved that she is now using forks and spoons a bit more. She still uses her hands a lot but there is a lot more cutlery being used.. And she’s starting to dislike her hands being so filthy which I see as a positive change! PhotoGrid_1485107527519

Another sign of her growing up is obviously her speech and how that really seems to be improving all the time now. I wrote an update recently and there’s been a lot of development even since then. It can be hard to quantify it but there’s a lot more sentences and a lot more that we can understand.

Until very recently she was a bit obsessed with jigsaws or “a di” as she put it. She’s brilliant at them and the ones we have done about 5000 times she can do by herself, even sort of 24 piece ones, and one of the 48 piece ones she is brilliant at.

Her obsession recently though has moved onto an Usborne “find the duck” book. Hubs and I both remember these books from childhood so we got it when Monkey was little, he loved it and now it is very much LM’s turn. She loves looking for the duck. “duh, waryou” (duck, where are you?) “dere” “down do” (there, found you.) It’s a brilliant book for her as it gives her a great opportunity to grow her vocabulary. We ask her what something is, or we say a word and ask her to find it. She doesn’t always get it but that’s the point as it’s about learning, but she surprises us a lot with what she finds. Her favourite things to point out on every page (other than the duck) are “a mama” “a daddy” “a baby” “a gur”(girl) “eeow” (as in miaow/cat) . Though I must admit I wasn’t 100% happy when she pointed at the picture of sumo wrestlers and said “mama”… must be because their hair was up in a bun or something….must be …(I am going to keep telling myself that rather than it being the wobble that made her think of me hahaha). PhotoGrid_1485107932961

“Daddy” is her favourite word because he is without her favourite person. It is the word she says most throughout the day, from the moment she wakes up in the morning and she is generally who she would choose out of mummy and daddy. I try not to mind (sob! Only joking it’s quite nice at times actually haha) but it can be tricky when Hubs is working from home and she can’t understand why he can’t play with her.

Her other favourite person is our friend Susie, though she calls both her and her little girl, A, “cha” no matter how much I try to get her to say their names! She loves “cha” though and again prefers her to me if we are out and about together.

She’s starting to get some of the other family names, though she doesn’t call her brother by his name, as she just calls him brother. Or rather “cujjer” or “cugga” or “bujjer.” She knows Pops is “poh” but Granny, Granddaddy and Nanny all seem interchangeable with a vague “gaga” word. She has said “nana” but actually uses that as another version of “mama” most of the time rather than for Nanny. She knows Uncle Paul as “uh po” and Uncle Mark as “uh ma” though she’s not there with any of the aunties or Uncle Andy, and Uncle Simon is also referred to as “uh ma” lol.

Some of her other favourite sayings are related to an activity she loves. She adores climbing onto a step “deh” to “push a buhuh” (switch the light switch.) She absolutely loves doing that, so we have a lot of side lights on to avoid being plunged into darkness whenever it takes her fancy!

She also has a couple of games that she loves. One where we pretend to be asleep and she kisses us (or jumps on us) to wake us up. Hearing her fake snoring as an instruction for us to start playing is so cute, as is her kissing us and saying a version of time to get up “ah geh uh.”

She also adores hide and seek and loves covering her eyes (though sometimes she forgets and covers her mouth instead haha) and counting “ee, bah, duh, two” while we hide. She does actually know and says a version of all the numbers 1-10 but so far not when counting for hide and seek lol. She also likes it when we cover ourselves in a blanket and pretend to be a ghost “a go!” she loves that game and telling anyone else in the room about the ghost. As you can see here.

For all that she seems to be growing up, she’s still very much a toddler and is just so clumsy. I love this video of her playing the sleep game with daddy. I’d watched it for a bit and it was so cute but as soon as I started filming she started to get distracted and kept falling over, which is just amusing in itself! (after this I managed to capture it on film properly, in one of the videos above.)

She also loves spinning round endlessly until she is massively dizzy (don’t all kids though?) and has recently begun to love her Daddy’s old cuddle dog Dougal “Dougah wuh wuh” (wuh wuh being what she calls all dogs, as in woof woof) much to Monkey’s disgust as he normally lives on his bed. A few arguments about that as a result but that’s siblings for you isn’t it!? She does adore her brother though especially bossing him around! PhotoGrid_1485108816155

I’ve stuck to mostly positives so far but she is a toddler so obviously has a lot of tantrums. When she’s hungry or tired and cranky and is easily frustrated, and ooh she can be a diva when she doesn’t get her own way. She eat well but only with things she knows she likes. Try and get her to eat something new and she will just scream until you let her down from the table, and even then sometimes. Sometimes she gets upset and even though we have a lot of words she doesn’t always know how to use them so we have screaming and we don’t know why no matter how much we ask… Which is frustrating all round I think. We are getting there though which is a positive and at least we have yes and no which helps a lot of situations.

Back to some positives, she has started to like having her photo taken and shouting “cheese” with a smile which I adore,and helps us when taking family piccies :). I also love the fake laugh she has developed when she tries to join in with the rest of us laughing, even though she hasn’t got a clue what is actually going on! PhotoGrid_1485109113755

She naps most days though not every day. A while ago I thought she was done with naps but if anything she seems to need them more again at the moment. She has a day with no naps then 2 days with naps and I basically play it by ear as to what we are doing and how she is acting.

She loves a bit of painting (though can drive me mad when she gets frustrated by it and I can’t work out why) and loves playing with lentils and cloud dough. I’m not always great at messy play but I do think it is important so try to do that for her. She’s brilliant with duplo and lego actually and does some great building as well as playing imaginatively with them. She really loves the duplo animals we have, especially the “girar” (giraffe), she adores him. She also loves playing with her babies, putting them to bed and giving them a bath. She doesn’t like any toys to wear clothes for some reason…. . She likes feeding all of her animals and toys and loves the little teaset her Granny has at her house and feeding all her dollies and all of us with the tea and biscuits there.PhotoGrid_1485109613140

She loves her pyjamas at the moment and really hates getting dressed in the morning – she would definitely rather be in her pjs all day!

She hates being cold so I have to layer her up a lot when we go out. She’s getting better at wearing her mittens outside, sometimes she still takes them off but we haven’t lost any for a while which makes a nice change as earlier in the winter I was losing them all the time as she would just take them off and discard them without me realising.

She loved seeing the brief flurry of snow we had and the wonder on her face when we went out in coats and pj’s was really magical :)PhotoGrid_1485112010018

This may not be the most well written of posts but I love sharing all their current likes and dislikes as a little update as my memory is useless and no doubt I would forget all her little idiosyncrasies otherwise! She drives me crazy at times but she is also just such a lovely little girl and of course I just absolutely adore her.

Chatty Children, January 2017

I do love trying to keep a record of the funny things the kids say, and the way their speech and use of language develops. Every stage seems to be so fleeting in this respect and sometimes they move on without you realising it. It’s hard to remember a Monkey who didn’t chatter away constantly but I know there was a time when he barely said any words, and a time when he mispronounced words (like serbatry instead of conservatory and nockynurs instead of binoculars). It’s hard to imagine those times though, so I love being able to record them on my blog, mainly for me to look back on, but I hope they also entertain anyone who reads them! (I actually just indulged in looking back at when Monkey was a little older than LM is now and ooh did I chuckle at the things he said!)

I haven’t done one of these for a while but here is what my kiddies have been saying over the last month or so. Monkey first.

Monkey Says

Monkey is learning more and more about the world and just growing up so much in front of our eyes since he started school in September. He is 4yrs 7mths old.

First up, a real cracker and definitely a case of the things I say being parroted back to me. I was having one of those days where I was irritable and snappy. I kept snapping at him but I did apologise and tell him I was tired. The next time I snapped at him he said, quite calmly

“You are so tired today… But please don’t be grumpy with me”

I had to concede that he was right as it is something I have said to him many many times haha. Wise little man! He is such a sweety and loves to tell us how much he loves us.

“I love you all the way to Saturn and back.”

“I love you all the way up to the aliens”

“I love you down to the ground”

“I love you more than I love LM” (to daddy)

Daddy’s latest toy is an Amazon Echo Dot in the kitchen. “Alexa” does things like play the radio set timers and generally answer’s questions. Monkey loves her.

“Alexa’s so kind”

He comes out with some fab little pearls of wisdom.

“It’s a really exciting life”

“Felix and I will be best friends, even when we die”

About LM’s tantrums

“She thinks it’s the end of the world. It really isn’t.” Think I may have said something along the lines of that once or twice myself…

Again with the kindness, when Daddy told him that if he didn’t finish his dinner soon then he would eat his chocolate treat for pudding instead.

“I know daddy, we can share it!” ha, still have to eat your dinner Monkey!

Finally here are a few pure 4yr old comments.

“I was dreaming about reading a newspaper all about big fat tummies.” I should explain here that Monkey has a thing about shoving teddies up his jumper and having a “big fat tummy” I think it started when I was pregnant with LM, lately he seems to associate it with Father Christmas…

“This milk is making me have a cold tummy”

“my tummy is full up” (usually when he would prefer to be eating pudding) “my tummy is tired” (when be doesn’t want to eat any more dinner… Usually after mouthful 1).

I loved it when he chose his outfit the other day and wore all yellow. Proclaiming “it’s a bit foggy outside so I can be the sun.” :)img_20170107_133424_248

“When I get bigger I can be the Daddy and LM can be the mummy”
We explained that that wasn’t the way of it as they are brother and sister and explained about falling in love with someone…
“When mark and fran get married I’m going to be so happy and I’ll fall in love with LM”

Yep. Safe to say he didn’t get it. But there is hope yet that we can avoid incest.

“Get off goat” Don’t call your sister a goat!

Little Miss Says

I have to admit LM’s speech hasn’t developed as much as I thought it might have since the last update I wrote. Much of what she says is still just the first syllable of words, although then she will come out with basically a full sentence, and take me completely by surprise. It is coming, just very much in her own time. She is 2yrs 2mths old.

20161218_084517Some of the more recent words, are “yeah” which we love as at least get an afirmative response sometimes, rather than just all the “no”s. “Me” is another new one and she says that quite a bit at the moment when she is feeling demanding. One of her favourite games is running across the living room and she likes her brother to stand at the door with her so they can go together. He doesn’t always want to though which results in a lot of her shouting “me,  cujjer (brother), me!” over and over while pointing frantically between him and the patch of floor next to her.

Another favourite game is hide and seek and she loves running around shouting “care-dju-go? ” (where’d you go) and then “Dowdoo!” (found you).

She is a little herald and if someone comes to the door she will run round the house shouting at everyone to let them know “mama, daddy, gab a day de la do door a mama” or something to that effect that haha :)

She loves a good “Ni Ni”  picnic especially with her favourite person “Daddy.” From the moment she wakes up in the morning and calls her first word, all I hear all day is “Daddy?” even when he’s out or at work. If she can’t find him, it’s “Daddy? Care-dju-go?” and if he is there but not doing as she pleases, it is “Daddy, Now!” with the pointing again! Yep, “Now”  is another recent word. She is so demanding and can be frequently heard shouting “mo moi” (more milk, obviously) or “oer” (egg, no idea why) at breakfast especially.

It’s a funny time as she is saying a lot and so wants to be understand. We obviously understand a lot of it, even if we don’t understand why she calls some things by random words. My friend Susie, is “cha,” no idea why. Paw patrol is “dah dah de la” possibly because of the music? It is obviously harder for other relatives and friends to get what she is saying sometimes and we really don’t always understand either.

There are things that are easier to understand though “Go ho”  for go home. “Wana ge dow”  for I want to get down. “Teddy”  is one of my faves and she loves to shout “bear” in a bit of a northern accent randomly when she wants to watch “going on a bear hunt.” She also randomly correctly named a “giraffe” the other day and sometimes when you think she is jabbering a random load of syllables  you suddenly realise that actually you understood she said she wanted you to kick the ball to her!

I’ve done a little video of some of the things she says as it is seriously cute and I know it won’t stay this way for long. With Monkey I worried about his slow speech then he suddenly took off and there was no stopping him, so I really am not worried about LM and just want to enjoy this stage.

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Our 2 yr old and her ways

Ah toddlers, they really are funny aren’t they? And hard work, quite a lot of the time! Our little lady at just over 2 is now a fully-fledged toddler. I love watching her learn and find the funny ways she likes to do things generally very amusing… Though sometimes they can be really exasperating! The good thing with a 2nd (and presumably 3rd,4th etc) child is that you’ve seen much of it before and know they will grow out of their little quirks and obsessive habits, so I am more entertained by them this time.img_20161123_160756

So what do I mean? Well let’s start with some of her OCD style habits. Things have to be done in a certain way at the moment or all hell can break loose. Food in particular is easy to get wrong. Heaven forbid I split a chunk of cheese in half so her brother or I can share with her, no, it has to be the full chunk (I buy these little pre-cut chunks of cheese, yes pricey but oh so handy as an after school snack) or she screams and shouts ‘yuk’ and just won’t go near it.

I made the mistake of helping her break apart a peanut snack bar yesterday thinking it would be easier for her but wow was she not impressed by that! Drinks have to be in the right cup with the right lid (ones that meet her approval that is) and food has to be prepared and served in the right way. She’s basically a creature of habit and likes the repetition. It’s also about control, I know, as she gets to control so little in her life.

20161127_144215Food is very much an area of contention for us, with her refusing to try anything new and sometimes even refusing favourites. We went through this with Monkey and though still quite particular he is so much better now and eats almost anything we give him, even if it can take some persuasion at times. So we hope LM will do the same and it will get easier over time. In the meantime we do what we can, thankfully she eats a lot of our regular favourites, curry, thai curry, my homemade soup, the right pasta in the right sauce and the right type of tortellini, my homemade carbonara and a few others. The rest of the time we make it and she either eats or she doesn’t, which basically means that she doesn’t. It feels wrong at times making a meal that I know she won’t eat but while I obviously make sure she eats most of the time, I can’t run the rest of our lives around her fussiness and I absolutely refuse to make her something separate.

She’s so particular that even a slight variation will mean she refuses her food and that can turn her off for good. We gave her a different brand of baked beans once and she hated them so much that she now won’t eat or even try any other beans, which is a real shame! I once gave her the same shape tortellini as normal but that had a different filling, and even though to be the difference was barely perceptible, she knew and dissected them and only ate the pasta and not the filling. It took a while for her to trust that her regular tortellini was the right one either though thankfully she is back to loving those again now. Anyway, I don’t get as stressed about this as I did with Monkey as we have been here before and just hope that she will eventually come out the other side. The downside though is that eating out is a nightmare, she is so particular that she won’t even eat a pasta and tomato sauce or carbonara as it isn’t the same as ours and we can’t even fall back on beans on toast in a café anymore. Sigh, she will grow out of it, she will grow out of it, she will grow out of it.

It’s all a variation of the same thing I think, being in control and liking repetition and the familiar. She’s the same with toys in that she likes to play with them in the same way over and over. We have a postbox colour matching game which she loves. When we started playing and she didn’t understand the concept of matching the colours, I would say no when she went to put a letter in the wrong postbox. Now even though she knows the colours and where they go, she will imitate me, putting it up to the wrong post box and saying ‘no.’ She’ll do this to each postbox before putting it in the right one. It is cute but a bit repetitive for me haha.

She also loves jigsaw puzzles at the moment. She loves making them then immediately breaking it up and starting over. Usually until I can’t take it anymore and we’ve done the same puzzle together at least 5 times, and try to distract her with something else! I am impressed with how good she is with them though and she is improving all the time. Her favourite is a big farmyard puzzle and we talk about all the animals as we make it. She like starting with the horse (she neighs rather than says horse) then it’s all about the moo and the baaa and the “buk buks” (chickens lol!) As soon as it is completed, with a shout of “I did it!”, and “ta laa” (her version of ta daa) with her hands thrown in the air… then she immediately crouches down and breaks it up ready to start again haha.

Towers are something that I think all toddlers love to build, and LM is definitely no exception. The duplo is out a lot now and she even builds them out of her brother’s lego too. She is funny though as I’ve noticed a real trend lately where she has to match the colours. She’ll build an all red tower or an all green one. If she runs out of that block she may change to another colour and keep going with that one but she really doesn’t like a multi-coloured tower when she is in that mood!20161127_135013

When something isn’t going the way she wants then the frustration can lead to a major meltdown. I mean she really goes for it. Throwing herself on the floor face first and oh the screams! I try and not worry too much as I know it’s just what they do and when it is because I won’t do what she wants, well she has to learn that things won’t always work the way she wants them to. But her screams are so loud that she turns heads for miles. I try to be stoic and make a daft comment like ‘oh you are noisy’ or ‘I know, it’s the end of the world’ mainly for the people around me so they know nothing terrible has happened, as seriously her screams are bloodcurdling!!

Moving back to cuteness and another of her ways that is seriously cute is her love for teddies recently. Her brother was the same at this age and it is adorable. She just wants to be surrounded by her favourite cuddly things. They surround her in bed at night and when we come down in the morning she almost always demands that they come down too. I pick her up with her blanky and her faves… then it’s “bear” for the polar bear “buh” for the blue bus, “wah wah” for the duck “baby” for the baby doll and some less decipherable noises and pointing for the others. It got to the point where we literally couldn’t carry them all so started using her blanky as a sack to carry them down in haha. She loves snuggling on the sofa surrounded by them all and it is adorable. Again I know she will grow out of it so this is one of the ones I’m making the most of while it lasts.photogrid_1480255141249

I’m also making the most of her learning to talk as it is such a cute phase. the things she comes out with! As I mentioned above she calls animals by the noise they make now, apart from cats, which is a chat haha. She loves naming body parts which is adorable and after calling every adult she knows “mama” for some time, she is now starting to call me mummy and daddy is daddy, which is lovely. She wanted Daddy’s attention in the bath the other day (he was dealing with her tired and grumpy older brother) and I just heard her shouting “daddy, daddy, daddy” till he said “yes LM” and she held her foot up and said “Daddy I got toe!” so sweet! She really likes to make her feelings known now that she can too, and can often be heard shouting ‘waht way’ from the buggy or car seat pointing in the direction she wants to go in (Often screaming when we go a different way lol). I’ve put together a quick video of her latest chattering mainly for my benefit tbh but you can have a look if you so fancy.

There are some things I can’t wait for her to grow out of, but some of her ways are just adorable and I want to enjoy them as much as I can. As hard work as she is sometimes I adore attaching her learn and explore and seeing her grow up right in front of our eyes.photogrid_1480256571218

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