Playparks

When I looked at photos taken over the last week, my word of the week was obvious, playparks. We seem to have spent a lot of time at various playparks this week and it is lovely to look back at so many pictures of smiling children. It is also nice to have a happy word of the week agan last week after feeling everything was so relentless last week.

Last friday we met up with my best Mummy friends and all 8 of our children and it was so so much fun. We had a great time together and the kids had a great time together too. The weather is lovely and warm but not too hot and it was an afternoon full of smiles.

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Saturday I had some time off with a good friend of mine in Cambridge which I so so needed and enjoyed so that was a day without playparks.

Sunday our little loonies needed to get out of the house by 9am so we headed to a nearby playpark as a family to get out of the house and let the kids burn off some steam! We had a lovely time all together and was much nicer to see the kids smiles rather than getting wound up with them bouncing off the walls at home.

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Monkey loved going down the slide with Daddy & LM and tried just aboout every seating combination possible!

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Monday I did visit a playpark on my morning walk with my neighbour (again around 9am) but didn’t take any photos.

Tuesday I met up with one of my Mmmy friends again at our local country park for some fun at not 1, but 2 different playparks! Yet more photos of smily happy kids having fun playing together, and mucking about ‘saving’ each other on the field too!

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We have needed tog et out of the house quite a lot this week as the builders are back and our new room (which was the garage) is nearly finished, and the utility and new garage are taking shape too! I will share a post more about that another day but oh the dust and the noise this week! We had a few days off from Playpark visits though as the rain set in on Tuesday afternoon and it was very, very wet… Lots of splashing in puddles instead :)

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Then this morning with the sun out again (albeit a bit chillier) it was time for another 9am playpark visit!

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How has your week been?

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Life Unexpected

Little Miss at 10 months

LM 10 mths oldOur little lady is 10 months old and boy is her development just whizzing now. She seems to master a new skill every couple of days at the most and is growing up in front of our eyes with her little personality blossoming too.

As always I just think she is so gorge!

So, what is she up to? Well in my last post about her I said how she was starting to crawl, and well now she is seriously crawling! Although she would still prefer to try and walk she will crawl to get where she wants to go. Monkey wasn’t a crawler at all so I do love having a crawly baby – though I do feel like I need to have eyes in the back of my head as she can really go some distance.

I also need to have eyes in the back of my head as she has now well and truly mastered the pulling herself up on, oh, just about anything she can grab. LM pulling up

Combined with the crawling and we find her in some interesting positions. Including trying desperately to grab my laptop (which she adores bashing)…

20150822_071922I have actually just moved my laptop out of reach here as she was already grabbing the side of the screen when I found her and legged it over. I have previously found her fallen forward onto the toy box having half pulled the laptop off the table. I really should find a new home for it I think!!

Another day, after playing with banging some bowls and tins I nipped off and came back to find her climbing on one of the bowls… cheeky madam.20150818_142108

Then Daddy sent me this shot when I was having some time “off” with a friend. He was helping Monkey use the loo and came back to find the madam in the kitchen playing with hoover and brush… start them cleaning young eh? :)IMG-20150822-WA0001

So she is everywhere getting into everything now, aaargh! Though I do love it when I find she has pottered off somewhere and is investigating a toy box or examining a book or something. We do have to be very careful about what is within reach though!LM pottering

She is so controlled now at not only getting up but also gently lowering herself back down to the floor…. that is unless she wants to practice her latest skill which is standing unaided. She only started that this week but she is getting so so stable now and honestly she is so proud of herself! She can spend ages pulling herself up, standing with no hands, falling on her bottom and repeating, all with a huge grin on her face. So cute :)LM standing

There has been some nasty face-plants though so she had a teeny cut on her lip and a bruise on her forehead poor thing. Feels horrible to not quite catch her in time but I guess she has to learn and she is definitely getting better at falling backwards rather than forwards now!

She now has 7 teeth (love her toothy grin) so we have started the teeth cleaning routine. She hated it at first but after a couple of days she got used to it and is now really good at having her teeth cleaned. We made up a little teeth clean song when Monkey was little which we now sing to both of them which I think does help.

We need to clean her teeth though now as she eats basically what we eat all of the time and I am so pleased to say that at the moment there is very little she doesn’t like, and she adores fruit, unlike her fussy big brother. Her breakfast every morning is strawberries and blueberries and maybe some mini shredded wheats or something similar and she tucks in like mad. Mealtimes are such a messy affair though so I am constantly washing all in one bibs and scrubbing the highchair and floor to get all of the crumbs, rice, bits of fruit, etc. Let me tell you standing barefoot on a half eaten blueberry is not a nice feeling!!

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think her reflux is improving (touch wood, fingers crossed, etc, etc.) We have been giving her ranitidine religously since her last flare up and she has been fine… but as we were running out we thought before getting more from the drs that it was worth seeing how she got on without it for a few days. It has been a few days and so far so good so we will see how she gets on over the next week or so. We do have a little left still if we need it but it would be nice if we don’t need to medicate her really!

Her sleep has been all over the place lately and I think it may just be because of all the development and the fact she just wants to crawl and climb and stand constantly. She is such a fidget pants that I think she really struggles to calm down at nap time. I had about a week of her only napping once a day and was convinced she was dropping a nap… but then we had a terrible terrible night  on Thursday with her screaming constantly, which is very unlike her as she has always slept well at bedtime. It took hubs well over an hour of singing and rocking her to sleep before she would stop fidgeting and waking herself up. Since then she has been a bit more normal with naps, still a bit fussy but she is napping better. So we shall see what happens this week I think!

What else is she up to? She now waves a little and it is so cute though she seems a bit surprised by what her hand is doing! Another little development is that she is really aware of people now. She very much wants Mummy all the time and if someone else is walking her round then she will make a beeline for me. But she also gets upset when other people leave. She balls if we stand and watch Daddy leave in the morning, and when Nanny & Pops took monkey out she did the same! So cute bless her she just wants to be involved with whats going on and clearly doesn’t want to be left behind!

Other firsts this month have been her first ride in the supermarket trolley – which she adores and it does make life easier in the supermarket not having to hold a basket and push a buggy – and her first proper shoes! Now she is standing and walking so much whenever we go anywhere I thought it was time for some proper supportive cruiser shoes rather than just pretty flimsy ones. She has been barefoot most of the summer as she hates wearing shoes and tends to kick them off (we have lots of single shoes now as she manages to kick them off without me noticing and I can never find them again!!) but she is going to have to get used to it and her new ones are at least a little harder to kick off.firsts

She is such a smily, happy little lady in general and is a joy to be around. She adores playing peepo, going on the swing, being tickled and loves watching her brother laugh – just seeing him chuckle is enough to give her the giggles. She melts our hearts every day with her gorgeous smile and the way she beams at us when she is happy. She can of course be hard work but she really is so lovely and I love watching her grow into a little person.

LM 10 mths collage

This year is going very very fast all of a sudden!

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Chocolate Easter Nests

I remember making chocolate easter nests year after year as a child and it is a tradition we have carried on with Monkey, and will with LM as she gets older. It is such a great fun, quick, and easy make that kids of any age can join in with.

Easter Nests fun for all ages

Monkey did it first 2 years ago at about 10 mths old, then last year at just under 2 and again this year. He still needs quite a bit of help but I imagine he will less and less help as he gets older.

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Toys made from household objects – approx. 6 months plus

Right, I have been meaning to write a post about this for aaaages! Bringing up kids costs a lot of money and there are so many toys out there in addition to the things you actually need. But I have found that as he has got older Monkey has basically been interested in anything and everything. He doesn’t differentiate between toys and other objects, everything for him is a toy and another opportunity to learn.

So I thought I would share some of the things that Monkey plays with from around the house, making for cheap alternatives to toys. I would obviously like to note here that any containers etc. have been washed out and he is supervised at all times with these toys to prevent (as much as humanly possible) any random injuries! Also, he has never come to harm with any of the following. He does however trip over his feet a lot (3 times in the last 2 days, quite a collection of bumps and bruises!).

Sorry for digressing, I’ve mentioned a couple of things in other posts, such as using a cardboard tube to roll balls through, and making homemade musical shakers but here are some bits and bobs that require little to no effort :) I’ve put the age of 6 months plus, but each thing varies a bit agewise so it is a bit vague this one!

Measuring spoons

Basically a cheap musical toy as monkey likes the way that they jingle around. Keys work in the same way although I know keys can link to worries over cleanliness and sharp pointiness whereas our measuring spoons are nice and clean and rounded. He also likes Granny’s measuring cups, more for banging and stacking though.

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Empty water bottles

For some reason monkey loves empty plastic bottles. He likes squeezing them to hear the funny noise they make, he likes waving them around and he likes banging them on the ground. Honestly, endless fun with just a simple empty plastic bottle!

Empty toiletry bottles

His favourites include old empty roll on deodorants (sanex ones and he has not once tried or figured out how to take the lid off or anything), and an empty baby bath wash bottle. Basically the same as empty plastic bottles, they are good for waving around and banging!

Old remote controls

Monkey loves to push buttons, so old games console remotes and old tv/dvd remotes are a fave. So much so we have to hide the ones in use in a high place so that he can’t get at them and do funny things with the tv etc.! If you have old ones at hand (with batteries removed of course) they can be a great distraction! (Yes he is sitting in a canvas box in the first pic :))

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Empty Purse/handbag

Not sure what it is says about him but monkey loves playing with one of my old purses and one of my clutch bags. The clutch bag he can waggle around and it is pretty sparkly and seems to entertain him and the purse is  a three fold wallet so he likes opening and closing and generally just fiddling about with it.

A pack of cards

I was given a present of a pack of cards titled ’50 things to do with your baby’ and I got a few good ideas from them, but they have been particularly useful lately as he loves holding them in his hands, trying to put them back in the box, folding them in half, trying to clap them together… honestly a million different ways. I am sure a normal pack of cards would work just as well, though I guess it would have to be one you didn’t mind getting a bit destroyed!

Cardboard boxes

Of all shapes and sizes. He likes banging on an empty cereal box like a drum. He likes sitting in and being pulled around in a bigger, stronger cardboard box. We have cut up a box holding baby wipes, and put doors in it for him to put things in and take things out. I know this one won’t be news to anyone but cardboard boxes are great! Although when he was in full on teething he did manage to gnaw a big chunk of cardboard off the side of one he was sitting in!

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Brown paper wrapping/padding stuff

Not sure what to call it, but as you can see in the picture it was a length of brown papery card that was used as padding from someone like amazon or something. Monkey was entertained for ages, waving it around, like the noise and just experimenting with pulling it in various directions. Was really funny to watch.

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Tupperware

Monkey loves Tupperware. He likes trying to put the lids on and take them off. He likes putting things in and taking them out again (particularly his food at meal times, in between bites). One of the weaning pots we have has a lid which is joined on one side, so he has great fun waving it around so the lid flaps about. Tupperware also bangs very nicely :)

A shoebox or similar

One of my friends gave us some baby presents in a gorgeous storage box type thing and at the moment we are using it for playtime as a what’s in the box type of thing, which is great fun and we vary what is in there. Many of the above items go in there and sometimes things he hasn’t played with before like ribbons or dried pasta etc. Just for some fun exploring. A shoebox with a lid would work just as well!

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There are many many more things that monkey picks up around the house as he is busy learning about the world and everything in it! he was busily engrossed in one of my emery boards the other day, and earlier he pulled a dirty sock out of his laundry basket and was waving it around! He loves to play with the stones on our gravel driveway and to pick daisies in the garden (I have to make sure he doesn’t eat either!) . So I guess my point is that in addition to all the toys that he has, he learns a lot just from general bits and bobs too. :)

Musical play 10 months

I’m trying to give approximate ages on blogs of things to do with  the monkey, in case anybody wants to give something a try too. With this one I’ve said 10 months because that is how old he is right now but in truth we have been doing musical play in one form or another since he was quite a bit younger, and I’m sure we will as he gets older too!

Music is one of Monkey’s favourite things, I think that babies have a natural rhythm and that definitely seems to be true with our little one. He is such a little bopper! The slightest little tune and he bounces up and down and shakes his head from side to side, and sometimes forward as if he is headbanging! Little rocker baby :) Because he loves tunes so much I have been introducing ‘instruments’ to him.

First of all, let’s make it clear that I have nooo musical ability whatsoever. Zero. In fact, hubby laughs at me because when singing along with a song I will go in and out of tune and have no idea that I am doing it. I certainly can’t tell when I’m in tune! Though when I am really out of tune I do occasionally cringe at myself! My whole family is like this, my mum was told to mime as a child when singing in church or at school (different times hey?) and my brothers are as bad as me. We all love to sing, we just sound awful hehe. Hubby on the other hand is very musical, as is his family, so that must be where monkey gets it. Sorry, enough of the family history!

As I said, monkey likes noise, and definitely likes making noise! Banging things together in particular. One day a couple of months ago, at a sensory play session at a local centre he located some little musical shaker toys and he absolutely loved them. I tried to find them online and sadly couldn’t find them anywhere but it prompted me to try and make some of my own. Very simply, I used a couple of empty plastic drinks bottles with some dried lentils and rice and oui, là! I have seen other mummies online who put masking tape around the lids to make them stay on, but in honesty I haven’t done that yet as with Monkey I think he would be more tempted to try and peel off the tape than take off the lid. We’ve been using them for a few months now and so far no lids have been removed.

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He does like shaking these a lot, and has got more interested in doing so recently than when I did them initially. Anyway, on an unrelated trip to the shops I stumbled across the very shakers that Monkey had played with in the play session! Fantastic! (Early Learning Centre/Mothercare if you would like them)

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He loves them! They get shaken and banged around all over the place, cue some very big grins!

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They also connect together to produce some interesting sounds, but that’s a bit heavy for monkey at the moment.

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Before we met, hubby had bought an upright piano on ebay for £5o with the idea that he would learn to play properly. Since we met though it has barely been used and in our new house has been sat in the conservatory, pretty much untouched. During one of our musical play sessions I decided to give it a try with monkey, and thankfully it wasn’t quite as out of tune as I thought it would be! He took a little warming up, very clingy with me initially at the unfamiliar sounds, but we persevered over a few days and now he loves it! When he is sat playing in his little ball pool and one of us plays a tune (hubby has taught me twinkle twinkle little star, Oh when the saints and Mary had a little lamb, all of which can be played with one hand thankfully!) he will sit and bob and give the loveliest smiles. But more often than not as soon as we go into the conservatory for a bit of musical play he is chomping at the bit to get up on our knees and have a bash at the keys himself, it’s so cute. Who knows, maybe we have a budding pianist in our midst hehe.

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There are also many unconventional ‘instruments’ that Monkey loves to ‘play.’ Empty cereal boxes are good for banging. The plastic pump for my gym ball is a brilliant drum and he likes the funny noise the plastic pipe for the pump makes too.

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Our little measuring spoons make a wonderful jangling noise and randomly he loves the noise of banging the radiator (it is not turned on!). Particularly using any of the above instruments to bang on the radiator! :) He was standing at his little cupboard in his bedroom banging it open and closed and I realised he was bopping to that too! Seriously this kid has some rhythm!

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I guess my point with this is that though I found some little instruments to buy quite cheaply, you don’t really need to spend money on expensive toys to do this kind of play. Watching monkey learn you can really see things in a new light again and it’s lovely to see him discovering what noises he can make with different things and how he can play with household objects (with supervision of course) and enjoy them as much as expensive toys. Hmmmm gives me an idea for a future post!