Siblings February 2016

My two little people really do adore each other. Yes, they bicker and argue over toys. Yes, they compete to get our attention and, yes, they can seem oblivious to each other’ pain sometimes. But that’s all siblings, right? And at all other times, their love for each other is clear to see.IMG_20170113_084940_763

After school one day recently, we got to the playground and LM immediately started shouting “Cugger, (her word for brother) where are oo Cugger?” and she often asks me where her “cugger” is during the day when she wants him with us. When he us home, and if he is sat watching the tv, she will sit and rest her head on his shoulder, which of course utterly melts my heart.PhotoGrid_1486989108560

As Monkey was 2 1/2 when she was born we aren’t sure how much he remembers of a life pre-LM. But recently he was talking about before she was born, and said he likes it better now, which I thought was dead cute. I wasn’t surprised though as I know how he loves his little sister…. Even though he does like to wind her up… And gets wound up by her! PhotoGrid_1486738394407

He is the only one she will listen to at times. When I can’t get her to budge during a stand off on a walk, he is the one who can get her to come with us, by taking her hand. If I tried that it would be a scream fest haha.PhotoGrid_1486738594516

Life with two kids can be really hard, as any parent of 2 or more will know. But during a recent after school painting session I realised how far we have come and how much more manageable it is these days. Where in the past it would probably have ended in meltdowns all round, this time it went really smoothly. No meltdowns and no paint everywhere!IMG_20170208_162823_214

Of course there are times when the pair of them drive me completely and utterly bonkers… But there are also times when they are really just great fun!PhotoGrid_1486737985059

My must-haves for getting out and about in winter

Brrr! Winter does feel a long old time doesn’t it? Dark mornings, dark afternoons and some days so grey that it barely feels like it gets light at all. So easy then to just stay indoors in the warm, but I’ve written before about how much we like to get out, even during the winter months as it really does us all good! (and, random timing, but I’ve just read an article in the news about how much kids need outdoor time for their development!)

But how to make sure that it is a successful trip? With happy little people throughout? Well I have a few suggestions of things to have with you to help keep the smiles despite the cold.

  1. Warm clothing. Lots of little layers and for us it often includes waterproofs and wellies. Waterproofs mean puddles are no bother and wet slides at the playpark don’t result in soggy bottoms! They also work as an extra layer and can help with windy days as well to stop the chill permeating.PhotoGrid_1486126285252
  2. If it is a fairly dry and mild day and we forego the waterproofs I try and remember to take some old tea towels with us instead. Just in case any of the swings or slides are still soggy!
  3. Food and drink. A bottle of water and some healthy snacks. LM is at an age where I am wary of her snacking too much as it stops her eating her dinner, however some dried fruit or cheese can prevent a full on meltdown on the way home! Biscuits work well too of course but I try and encourage healthier options as much as I can.
  4. Spare clothes. Depending on waterproofs etc. and I don’t worry about these on a short trip to the park but on a longer trip out we have spare clothes, socks and even gloves in case the first pair get wet or overly muddy!
  5. Something to inject some fun! Regular readers will probably know that I rarely leave the house for a walk without taking a ball and some bubble mixture. Kids love bubbles and a few mins of bubble chasing can (not always mind you, but most of the time) avert let downs or persuade little legs to walk the direction you want them to go! We also recently did a bit of a nature hunt with Monkey, which is great for slightly older kids and definitely kept him entertained while we were out! Fun can be impromptu though too as hide and seek around trees always goes down well, or a simple game of chase!PhotoGrid_1486126054629

That’s probably about it really, other than a camera to capture all the smiles and fun you have :). What are your must-haves for getting out and about in the colder, wetter months?

Country Kids

Babyfoote

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 :).

 

Little Hearts, Big Love
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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.

Siblings January 2017

Here we are at the middle of January and time once again to catch up with my lovely pair of siblings. After spending so much time together over the holiday period together they seem closer than ever. I’ve loved all the family time and watching my two play. We are well and truly back to normality now though so it’s actually lovely to look back at some piccies from our relaxed time off together.20170112_111450

Of course they have their moments and squabble in the way only siblings can really. LM is a bossy little thing but our Monkey doesn’t like to be bossed so she doesn’t always get her own way with him. For the most part he does play along though, he is very tolerant but I also thin he just loves having her to play with.

Some of my fave examples of sibling fun from the last month are:

Having fun at a John Lewis cafe when we visited the sales.photogrid_1484133222193

Having a floor picnic (and lots of snuggles) in their Den when we got home.photogrid_1484133444707

Some very cute moments on Christmas Day itselfphotogrid_1484133772799

Some lovely moments out and aboutphotogrid_1484135504333

And, all of these other times too!photogrid_1484136124159

Finally, in the smattering of snow we got yesterday I got a very lovely one of themIMG_20170113_084940_763

The outtakes for this are hilarious as at one point Monkey clearly got some snow in his face that he wasn’t all too happy about haha.PhotoGrid_1484299838207

I know there’s tonnes of pics here but all the time they’ve spent together have given me a lot of photo ops. Plus, to be honest the only thing that really keeps me blogging these days, is the desire for a record of my kiddies as they grow, and witnessing the development of their relationship is all part of that. Monkey is 4yrs, 8mths and LM is 2yrs 3mths.

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.

Little Hearts, Big Love
My Petit Canard

No New year’s resolutions here, I am who I am!

Happy New Year! It’s January 1st, traditionally the day for making promises to ourselves to be better somehow over the year ahead and beyond. Not for me this year though.

For nearly the whole of 2016 I have been trying to change myself. I often feel like I would be happier if I were somehow different. If I was thinner, if I ate more healthily, if I was a better mum, if I tried harder. I reached a point recently where I just had to say stop. I need to stop trying so hard to be more than I am.

I am who I am.

I have decided that I need to be happy with who and what I am rather than constantly trying to be something else. Something I’m not. I have hopelessly unattainable goals and all they do is make me feel rubbish about myself. They are not making me happier as they are always out of reach.

Take my weight, as an example. I’m not humungous or obese. I am larger than I would like to be and larger than I have been in the past. But I am in my 30s and after 2 children my body is not the same as it used to be. I know many will say that having kids isn’t an excuse, and I would say the same if after 2 years of trying I wasn’t in exactly the same position. I have taken up running, changed my diet and in many ways I am healthier than I have been in a long time. I never thought I would be able to run for over half an hour without dying, but I can now. My weight however has not changed. The shelf I have over my c section scar is still there. My thighs rub and I have cellulite. Even running 3 times a week did not change any of that.

This may be because I like my food but I have struggled to diet and count points mainly because I find full time parenting pretty exhausting at times. LM and I are constantly on the go, I cycle over to the nearby country park, go for walks, run round at her gymnastic group, not to mention walking the school run twice a day. So sometimes I eat to keep me going and stop me being such a mardy mum (I can get seriously hangry which isn’t fair on the kids). Whatever the ‘excuse’ even with added exercise my body has not changed. It has really gotten me down at times but honestly, why? What is so wrong with me and my body right now?

I’ve always been impressed by women who are proud of their stretch marks and bodies after birth but I’ve never been one of them. After Monkey I lost the weight fairly easily so honestly I assumed the same would happen 2nd time round. It hasn’t. The things that worked first time have not worked after baby no. 2. Clearly my body is hanging on to the excess weight this time for some reason. Again, I’m not humongous, so what does it matter if I am carrying a bit of extra weight? We are all different, some women are naturally slim and lose the baby weight more easily than others. Does that necessarily make them somehow better than me?photogrid_1483194414665

I have been trying to convince myself that I am OK as I am. My husband likes the way I look and isn’t disgusted by my wobbly bits (far from it in fact as he loves me the way I am and genuinely prefers curvier women) so why should I be? Then I happened upon an article about Ashley Graham, a “plus size” model being on the cover of vogue. Now she is gorgeous and probably slimmer than I am (though definitely with bigger boobs) and for once seeing a picture of her strutting down the catwalk made me feel that maybe it was ok to be my size. That someone my size can be beautiful. That not only slim women are beautiful.

There’s always a lot of debate about the sizes of models and I often find they end up in an either/or solution. Larger models promote obesity, smaller ones promote eating disorders. I don’t think it is that simple and actually believe that as there are variety of shapes and sizes of people in everyday life, that there should be a variety of shapes and sizes when it comes to models. In general, clothes aren’t one size fits all, so why do the models all have to be the same size? It’s the same with actresses. Why are all the women in films so skinny… Unless they are the funny fat girl? It’s not real life but it’s easy to get sucked into believing that it is.

I’ve slightly digressed from my point and that is that I am fed up of believing the lies I see all around me that say I am not good enough the way that I am. I’m not about to stop running as I do enjoy it (though a couple of chesty coughs have slowed me down a bit lately) and I won’t ever let myself get obese because I hated being slowed down by the extra weight I carried when I was pregnant. But it is nice to feel I can stop trying so hard to be something that is unattainable for me at the moment. To feel that maybe I’m ok as I am.

My weight isn’t the only thing I’ve been trying to control either. After a friendship group broke down a few years ago I have worried a lot about not being a good enough friend to people. I’ve made a fantastic new friend recently but I have almost sabotaged it a few times because I’ve been worried about what they thought of me, to the point where I was almost pushing them away. This has to stop. I can’t let a negative experience with a few women ruin or prevent future friendships. I am who I am. Some people will get me and like me for who I am, flaws and all, while others won’t. I have to learn to be ok with that as no matter how I try I will never be perfect. I can’t change that. I can’t change me. I have so many wonderful friends who are there for me for better or for worse, and I am there for them in the same way. I don’t expect them to be perfect so I need to stop expecting that of myself.

I’ve also been trying to be some kind of perfect mother, which again, isn’t possible.. I always want to try my best but I also have to remember that I’m human. I get tired and snappy some days and some days I am lazy and the kids watch more TV than I would like. I try really hard the rest of the time though, we do all sorts of activities and get out and about a lot. I need to stop focusing on what I don’t do, and look at what I do do. To stop criticising myself and instead be proud of the way I am raising my kids and of the good job I’m doing. Because I’m not the perfect mother, but I am their mother. I am who I am and I’m doing the best that I can.

Perfect mum? No way!  But I do ok

Perfect mum? No way! But I do ok

I’m trying really hard to apply this to every aspect of my life. I may not be the perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect sister, perfect daughter, perfect daughter-in law, perfect friend, perfect blogger or the perfect anything, but then none of those things exist. All I can be is me. I will always try to be good to those around me. To be kind and considerate and just generally do my best as that is who I am. But I’m human and I will always have off days, grumpy days and sometimes I will say or do something stupid, and I’m not going to berate myself for that. I’m not going to keep fixating on all the things I’m not and never will be, but instead I am going to try and be happy and proud of all the things that I am. A good wife, mother, friend etc.

I am who I am and I am going to be happy with that.

Are you making any resolutions for new years?

 

Twin Mummy and Daddy
Post Comment Love
My Petit Canard

Siblings December 2016

My little pair of siblings. Honestly I feel so lucky as we have the cutest little pair of partners in crime. They have so much fun together and you can honestly see how much they love each other. Our Little Miss is so cheeky and adores messing with her big brother, and thankfully her big brother is an incredibly tolerant Monkey. He finds her hilarious and loves to play along and to give her a big tickle.

There have been so many examples of them having fun together so as always I have put together some collages of the pair of them over the last month. There is lots of messing but also some seasonal fun, meeting Father Christmas, dressing in cute outfits, and one of them sat in a bookcase when we helped my little brother and his fiancee move house. All good memories :)photogrid_1481723538026photogrid_1480770914765 photogrid_1481722939060

As an example of her messing, I adore this little clip of Little Miss getting one over on her big brother. She is the cheekiest of the pair by far!


A really cute development is that now LM is talking more. She calls him her bujjer (instead of brother) and does like to boss him about a bit. He doesn’t always want to do as she wants to but bless him he is so good with her and does often play along. Like when she plays the “I’m stuck under the sofa and need my brother to pull me out”game (she adores that one) or the “my brother has to stand exactly where I tell him and race me to mummy” game. Very cute, and she does try to say his name now although she mispronounces it very cutely I can’t put it on here. They play together a lot now and their little rock band was a fun, if noisy, afternoon activity haha.photogrid_1481723356146

My little lovelies in December :)

As it is December I have also decided to do a little round up of some of my favourite shots from the whole year to see how much they have grown, so here it is! Jan-December, a year in the life of Monkey and Little Miss. I love the siblings project for reminding and encouraging me to capture this pair and their relationship, so thank you for hosting Lucy & co.siblings-2016

Christmas Wishes

As a slight aside, you may have seen I’ve been a bit quiet on here lately, and that is mainly because there is just a lot on going on at the moment, as I am sure there is for you too. So, as life must come first I will probably be pretty quiet now until after the big day.  In case I don’t manage to publish anything else before then, I would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas. I hope Father Christmas brings you all you could wish for and you have a happy day with the ones you love

xxxxxx

The Me and Mine Project

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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Discipline and saying No. Sometimes it’s the hardest word

Nope. No. No! No is LM’s favourite word at the moment. She says it all the time. Do you want to get out of the buggy? No. Shall we go outside? No. Anytime she isn’t happy with something, No! It’s such a satisfying and easy little word for her to use to assert her will until her language overall improves. But this isn’t really a post about her saying no, it’s about me saying no. And how hard saying that simple word can be, but how important it is that I do.

Let me start of by saying that in terms of being a ‘perfect’ parent, I know I am nowhere near. I get things wrong, I say the wrong thing. I can be lazy and irritable and I have apologised to my children more than once for being cross with them for no good reason (and I’m sure I will have to do so many more times). But on the whole I think we are doing an OK job of it. We have a very polite and friendly 4 year old who is well behaved at school and who people always compliment. We have a 2 yr old, who lets face it is 2 so kicks off and has tantrums but is also lovely and is learning. I know some of this is luck but some of it isn’t. Some of it is down us and to the hard work we’ve put in.

I hope this doesn’t come off as arrogant as that’s not how I feel but I am proud of us and the way we are raising our kids. And I’m proud of me. I am a SAHM so this is what I do. I can’t get a promotion or a pay rise or be patted on the back by a boss and told ‘well done.’ But I hope I can acknowledge that I have had the strongest role in raising my kids and can take pride in the people they are turning out to be.

I hope I can do that as it is so hard sometimes to stick to my guns. To be the bad guy and tell them not to do things. I don’t do any of it for my benefit you see, I do it for theirs.

We know a family, and this may sound horrible and judgey, but their son’s behaviour is terrible sometimes. He runs over the back of sofas without being told not to. He is rude to old people who pass by, screams when he doesn’t get it own way and doesn’t do as his parents ask. He’s 7. Now don’t get me wrong I’m all for live and let live with parenting and how anyone does it is utterly their choice. Except that getting to know this family a little has made me feel a bit sorry for the child. He doesn’t have many friends at school or outside. I’ve spoken to other parents who don’t want their children playing with him and some children don’t like playing with him because of the way he behaves, and I can’t help feeling that it isn’t really his fault.

Like it or not we live as a small part in a big society and our society has cultural norms. Socially accepted behaviour. Our kids aren’t born knowing this. They don’t automatically know what to do in a given situation and it is our job as their parents to guide them through this. And sometimes this means being the bad guy so that we can be the good guy in the long run.

I don’t get it right every time. I’ve given in when I should have been firmer and I’ve been firmer than was absolutely necessary at times too. Sometimes I say no without thinking it through and then have to be very careful because if I seem to give in to their demands it can set a precedent and give them the wrong message. They have to know that I mean what I say and that no does mean no. So sometimes I have to stick to a no that I regret but I feel I have to stick to it. I try very hard to avoid this happening though as it is no fun for anyone.

Sometimes even when I know I am in the right about something it can be hard sticking to it. Hard to deal with the tantrum when the easy option would be to have let them do what they want. I hate seeing my children upset when I could be the one to fix it and especially when it feel like I’m the one who has caused the upset.

I could have an easier time in the short term but whenever I have made this mistake it only leads to worse tantrums or worst behaviour in the long run. Giving an extra biscuit may make them happy now but then leads to a tantrum at mealtime, refusing to eat their dinner then being tired and grumpy all evening or even the next day. So I may be a bit strict sometimes but my hope is that by giving them boundaries and expecting certain things of them, that it will help our children to be kind and polite, to be children others like and want to play with. To be children who are respectful of others and know the difference between right and wrong.

Maybe I am wrong though. I hope I’m not doing my children a disservice. I certainly don’t want to be too strict and shut down their own personality. I also don’t want them to grow up to be walked over. I want them to be strong but to be good and kind too. I guess all any of us can ever do is hope we are making the right choices for our kids!

I suppose I’m thinking about this a lot for a couple of reasons. 1 being LM reaching an age where she needs me to say no, to give her boundaries. 2 year olds do a lot of experimenting and they need to know what is ok. For example drinking out of my cup is ok, but then deliberately slowly dribbling it all out again is not. Taking a toy that is offered to you is ok, snatching is not. You get the gist.

I think Monkey starting school and socialising with different kids also plays a part though. That and his tiredness from school makes him act up sometimes.. and he has copied some behaviour he has seen other kids do. That’s always a tricky one as how to explain that it’s not OK when he sees other kids to get away with it?

Parenting is a never ending learning experience don’t you find? It’s also tricky to talk about these things as we obviously all have different experiences and think differently about things, so I hope I don’t offend anyone with what I write!

What do you think about saying no?

The Reading Residence