Our Little Toddler – 11 mths

So a little while ago I wrote that our baby girl had taken her first steps, and she has been wanting to walk more and more since then but she hadn’t quite had the confidence to really go for it – preferring to hold on to Mummy or Daddy. Suddenly though this week that has completely changed.

In one day she went from doing maybe 7 unaided steps at a time to literally walking around the whole house. I text hubs at work as I knew he wouldn’t believe the difference in the space of 1 day! So now she is everywhere. And I mean everywhere. I turn around and there are literally moments of “where is she?” and  run off to find her in the showerroom standing banging on the glass, or in the new utility room trying to eat a receipt.

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So childproofing has become uber important again as she really does want to explore every inch of the world now that she can, and at this point in time she currently wants to put EVERYTHING in her mouth. So the floor is being swept multiple times a day to prevent her eating any bits of stickers or dirt that has been walked in, stairgates and doorgates are being shut and I need eyes in the back of my head!! Letting her roam around outside is interesting as she loves it but she makes a beeline for stones and dirt and wants to put them straight in her mouth.

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We say no but she is so cheeky that she just finds it funny and gives a big grin and carries on doing it anyway, grrr. So I sound like a broken record, no don’t eat that, no not in your mouth, over and over and over again!

I love seeing her toddle about though it just shows how much she is growing up and becoming less and less of a baby now. Her brother is adoring her newfound skill and is so proud of her for “walking all by herself!” For the first time ever they played together in his playhouse, playing peepo through the windows and they both loved it. Monkey enjoyed it so much that he ran up to her and shouted ” can I give you a cuddle?” and then squeezed her so tightly. Melted my heart I can tell you! They are going to be such lovely playmates for each other and I already love seeing them have fun together.

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I remember feeling that walking was such a game changer when Monkey started walking properly, and it is a game changer again now but a new phase that I am so looking forward to – though it certainly brings challenges of his own!

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Little Miss at 11 months

As I write this in many ways I can’t believe that it has nearly been a year and that our little lady is not far off being 1… but in other ways, I just look at her and is she really not 1 yet? She’s almost a fully fledged toddler now and it is hard to equate her with the teeny baby we brought home 11 months ago.

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So anyway, what has she been up to?

Well, since her first steps a couple of weeks ago she has been walking. A lot! She can now get herself up to standing without having to pull up on anything (or anyone) which means she can just randomly start toddling about. She wants to walk constantly but she is not confident to walk unaided for more than about 10 steps as I write this… but that is increasing daily so it may well be more by the time I publish. The rest of the time we are walking loosely holding on to one hand – so it gives her the confidence but helps save her from too many nasty falls.

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Because of course the downside of all this walking is the number of face plants she has done and the quantity of bumps and bruises. She can be absolutely fine and sturdy then suddenly she goes and while I like to think I have the reflexes of a cat, sometimes I just can’t quite catch her in time. Cue Mummy guilt as she has a mouthful of dirt and a grazed nose when I only looked up for a second to make sure her big brother was stopping at the road. Of course that was the second she got distracted by something and went face forwards. Silly Mummy.20150915_155654

Her little personality is coming through more and more now. I call her a diva a lot as she certainly likes to make sure we know when she isn’t happy about something, and I swear she is the loudest baby on the planet! But for the most part she is a happy little thing really. She is a bit of a Mummy’s girl at the moment though and can definitely be a little shy of strangers or people she doesn’t see quite so often but that’s just the age really isn’t it? Don’t believe this little lady can be a diva, what do these faces tell you??

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Speaking of age, so far so good on the food front. By this age her big brother had suddenly turned fussy but so far she is still pretty good and eats practically everything we put in front of her – especially fruit, she adores all fruit so far, except watermelon bizarrely. It’s funny as in comparing her to her big brother, he will happily eat whenever you offer him food, and would probably eat all day… certain types of food at the very least. Whereas she will eat just about anything but only if she is hungry enough, turning her nose up to everything if she isn’t hungry enough. She also has to feed herself 99% of the time!

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She had a bit of a funny stage where she was terrifed of the bath, and I literally mean terrified screaming her head off as soon as it was time to go in. It came from nowhere but honestly she was so unhappy. I tried getting in with her, tried different temps but nothing worked. So I decided to try and remind her water is fun with a play session in the garden which, as you can see, she absolutely adored. She crawled herself in and had a whale of a time.water fun

She was still scared though until one day I was in the bathy with Monkey and she was so desperate to come in with us after standing outside watching us. It still took a few goes but eventually she sat on my lap while we had a bathy the 3 of us (I will spare you any photos of that) and since then she has been enjoying bathy time again, having so much fun splashing and playing. So who knows where it came from but at least she is happy in there again now.

Some of her favourite things (Other than walking). She loves books and being read to – her favourites at the moment include “Rainbow Rob” (a firm family fave) and “Whose nose?” She particularly loves it when I roar to her during this one, really gives her the giggles.

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She loves dancing. For some time it has been Daddys go-to method for cheering her up when she is whining or being a diva and they have had so many happy times dancing around the living room to the tune of “I know you, I’ve walked with you once upon a dream…” from sleeping beauty. No idea why Daddy chooses that one everytime but maybe they will have a daddy-daughter dance to it at her wedding or something one day :). She also adores dancing by herself now she is on her feet more and I love her little bottom bouncing up and down. here’s a little clip, which isn’t amazing but you get the idea. It’s even better for us as we have a very similar clip of her big brother doing the exact same dance to that music table!!

She also loves being thrown in the air, and, random child that she is, loves being tipped upside down and sometimes it is a job getting her to stay right side up and she tips her head so far back! Funny but gorgeous child  that she is :)

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Sleepwise she is so good through the night and varies in the day sometimes she will have one nap, sometimes two. I keep thinking she is dropping the second nap then she will have a day when she sleeps for ages in the morning and afternoon. So again I need to take deep breaths and just go with it. Who needs a routine anyway? (me me me!) She sleeps in the oddest positions too. for example, I have no idea how she is comfy enough to sleep like this?

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I could probably keep banging on and remembering more little details but will leave it there for now!

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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. :)

Playtime ideas, 11 months old

After some of my more downcast posts lately, this week has been a very lovely week. Daddy is feeling better, monkey has been well (although he’s caught another cold in time for the weekend, bless him) and we have been having lots of playtime!

As he is growing older I am always trying to find new ways to keep him entertained, he is a curious monkey and likes a lot of variety. We are a very busy little pair and are out and about a lot as he gets quite bored by being in the house, but his attention span and concentration are improving and he is enjoying playing with some of his “older” toys, like his shape sorter and moving beads toy (not sure what to call it!). It’s amazing seeing him learn so much week by week and watching the concentration on his face when he tries new things!

So here are some of the new things we have been trying. I try and get ides from all over the place, on websites such as babycentre.co.uk, where they have age appropriate play ideas, from other mummy blogs such as rainy day mum, and also I received a gift of “50 things to do with baby” which has some cute ideas too.

1. Water play

With the gorgeous weather last week who could resist giving water play a go! Monkey loves bathy time we daddy and has a good splash about so I wanted to have fun with water play too and the lovely sunshine gave the perfect opportunity, in the shade and plastered with suncream of course! I bought a sand/water table a little while ago being optimistic for the summer and so we put a little water in there with some toys and let him splash about and play. He basically want to throw the toys out of the water (getting mummy and daddy soaked in the process) so he could just splash with his hands. He’s so happy doing this and pulls the cutest expressions when he splashes himself in the face.

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2. Sand play

As it cooled off later in the week and we were generally inside more I decided to try the sand/water table with some sand in the conservatory. Yes I knew it could get messy but there’s always a hoover and the conservatory is only really used as a playroom anyway. At a local park there is a sandpit and we tried it once but monkey didn’t want to know. Nevertheless, I thought that maybe in his home surroundings he would like it. He is very happy sat playing with the gravel and stones on our drive, and at a playpark recently he wasn’t interested in any of the equipment and wanted to be sat playing in the dirt for ages, so I thought sand would be on his list. But, nope, he pulls his ‘yuk’ face when he touches it and tries to wipe it off his fingers. I tried with sieves and buckets and things but nope, he doesn’t like it. Hey ho, will try when he gets older!

3. Rolling balls.

I liked the idea of this one right away, use a cardboard tube and roll balls down it, sounds brilliant! But we had no balls of the size that would fit down any tubes. So on one of our outings, I thought it would be really simple to find some bouncy balls, but no, I couldn’t find any in our Tesco (which is ginormous) or smiths or mothercare/early learning centre. How hard can it be? Anyway in the random party bit of Tesco I found some suitable-sized balls, but they are eyeballs. Charming! But they will have to do, they are a good size as not too small to be a choking hazard, but they don’t fit down the cardboard tube I had found either!

Hubby had the solution, make a tube out of a piece of card, perfect, made a lovely big tube that some of our other balls fit down too. Monkey loved it, after showing him what to do he really enjoyed putting the ball in the tube and watching it pop out the other end! Unfortunately the piece of card wasn’t strong enough to withstand his grip and once he decided he wanted to hold the tube and the ball, it soon got crushed! So I raided the wrapping paper drawer again and managed to pull a tube out of some wrapping paper without completely destroying the paper itself. Hey presto, a better sized tube! Only the eyeball balls fit down this one but that’s good enough. When daddy came home we had fun sending the balls flying backwards and forwards between us.

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4 – Toys in a pillowcase

I liked the idea of this one, basically teaching little one about object permanence, and how to find them. Basically put a variety of objects in a pillowcase and watch them find them and pull them out one at a time. I used a pretty random selection of bits and bobs that monkey likes to play with, including a soft ball, a random chick shaped purse and an old remote control which he likes pushing the buttons on. I also put in one of his instrument toys so that it jingled. Monkey was a bit intrigued but not actually that bothered. If I opened it so he could see the bits inside he would pull them out, but when it is more closed he lifts it up but then gets distracted and moves on to something else. Another one to try again another day!

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Even with all of this play our time has mostly been taken up with monkey walking! More on that later …. If you are reading this and have any good playtime ideas for us to try, please share!