Siblings, December 2015

My little cuties really grow and change so much each day, let alone each month, and their relationship grows with them. In many ways they are the same as last month, they are still very possessive of me and fight for mummy cuddles. As evidenced by Monkey’s most frequently uttered phrase at the moment “But I want you all the time!” and though she isn’t really verbal yet we get the idea that with her whines LM is essentially saying the same thing haha.

They fight for toys and wind each other up in the way that only siblings can, but they are also so so loving with each other and have a lot of fun together. They chase each other round playing hide and seek and laughing away at each other and it is music to my ears, especially compared to the whining, shouting and screaming that sometimes accompanies their playtime. Here is a little video of them having fun before bathtime this evening, just a little glimpse into their random world.

They get up to a lot of mischief together too. LM loves a good box of tissues… and one day monkey couldn’t resist joining in the fun. Cheeky pair honestly but I have to admit we did let this unfold for a bit… they were just having so much fun together!tissue box

One of their favourite places to play together is on Monkey’s bed, randomly enough. LM loves climbing up and sitting on his bed and they are so cute when they sit together or snuggle up… or play about like loons. Monkey quite enjoys bouncing on the bed and she generally finds this hilarious too.bouncing on the bed

They have so much fun though occasionally it ends in tears. Monkey was bouncing yesterday and singing about Monkey’s bouncing on the bed. Next second we hear a thunk, LM is on the floor crying and Monkey is pointing at her singing “one fell off and bumped his head… Mummy called the Dr and the Dr said, no more Monkeys bouncing on the bed!” Ah the joys eh ? Thankfully she didn’t actually hurt herself too badly!

Cuties though :)cuties december 2015

The Stick Collectors

Monkey has always had a thing for sticks, I think a lot of kids do don’t they? When he was I think 20mths old I wrote a post about his little obsession after one particular walk where he was collecting hundreds of the things. It was just so funny watching him that we named him the stick collector. Why am I telling you this? Well it seems a love of sticks runs in the family, as on a recent little walk LM reminded me so so much of her big brother as she started collecting sticks too.PhotoGrid_1449249582894

I actually really loved watching her pick and choose which ones she wanted and it is also wonderful to see her learning and working out how to hold them all, how to open her fingers to take one more without dropping all of the others. The concentration on her face is adorable.

Monkey was not to be outdone though and showed his little sister that he is still the master stick collector, insisting I take pictures of him collecting them too.PhotoGrid_1449249723047

She found their stick collections hilarious.

Monkey then decided they should have a little sort of sword fight with their sticks, and man did she find that funny! I was obviously constantly warning him to be gentle, and keeping a close watch in case he got close to poking her eye out but with them both enjoying themselves so much I couldn’t bear to spoil their fun.

Love this pair and love her chuckling :)

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Little Miss at 13 mths

I am a bit late in writing this monthly update for our gorgeous girl as she was 13 mths over a week ago! She is growing up so fast and though she is full on I really love this age. Watching her learn and seeing her really develop into a person with her own personality is just wonderful.LM 13 mths

And our Little Miss’s personality can be defined in one word – cheeky! She loves to laugh and is such a cheeky and inquisitive little thing. She adores running and being chased, laughing her little head off. Great fun unless you are in a shopping centre with her brother causing havoc in one direction and her running off in another – aaargh! She also adores playing peepo with her brother, often hiding behind the sofa so he can find her while she chuckles away merrily to herself. In fact she is turning into such a chuckler and it is amazing to hear her laughter fill the house.

20151201_120911 (2)She is so inquisitive too, far more than her brother ever was and she gets into everything in a way he just never bothered with. With Monkey you would tell him know and he would listen. With her she gives you this cheeky look and sometimes even shakes her head, then does it again! Minx! She is terrible for taking Monkey’s things and yes you may say she is a baby and she doesn’t know, but oh, she knows. She gets his Doggy Bear (his special comforter) and she is so proud that she waves it around for me to see… and will even go and wave it in his face before running away giggling. Cheeky Minx, seriously!

She stands on things and is obsessed with touching radiators which she knows she is not allowed to do. She is seriously quick off the mark and if one of the door gates hasn’t shut properly then she is off – making a dash to get up the stairs, or into the kitchen to climb the stepstool and see what she can find, or in the hopes of playing in the sink. So I have to be seriously vigilant to keep her safe. She hates being shut out of anywhere I am, standing and rattling the bars and screaming her head off so I often relent and have to do jobs with her accompanying me. Standing washing up with her at the sink with me, or trying to get washing in/out of the washing machine with her ‘help.’

She absolutely adores her brother too and he is guaranteed to make her happy (other than when he snatches his toys back from her, or takes hers!!) and she absolutely loves havng bath time with him, splashing away to their hearts content and absolutely drenching the bathroom!! I absolutely adore seeing their relationship grow and hearing them laugh together and enjoy each other’s company. It’s just magical as I am sure you can imagine.

Not the greatest photo in the world but you get the idea I'm sure

Not the greatest photo in the world but you get the idea I’m sure

She is learning all of the time, getting really good at using the stacking rings and has even done some drawing on little magnadoodles which I was impressed with. She is obsessed with posting things and putting lids on and off of things – obviously leading to immense frustrations for her at times – and boy do we have the start of tantrums! She can be such a little diva at times and even Monkey is repeating what we say by calling her a drama queen. He also has the way we shout no to her down too… sigh mini parent, he is good at alerting me to some of her cheekiness though! Anyway, she also is starting to love her dolly and buggy which is just adorable. She gets really frustrated by the buggies though and by not being able to put baby’s hat back on after she has taken it off.learning

She is fascinated/obsessed by clothes, shoes and accessories, we have taken to calling her diddle diddle dumpling sometimes as she will often present us with a shoe and insist we put it on – then walks around with one shoe on for ages! She often wants her hat and coat on too… and any other random item of clothing she lays her hands on. She likes to use some of the bigger stacking rings as bangles too, little cutie :)fashionista

Her communication is coming on leaps and bounds too, partly with the tantrums and moaning – as she is very loud, but also with little hints at language, and lots of pointing and shaking her head. She is getting very fussy  particular about certain things and is getting very good at letting us know what she wants. Bedtime stories makes me laugh as if she is not interested in the book I have chosen she will shake her head and point at one she would like. Usually the same ones – “Where’s Spot,” “That’s not my snowman/dinosaur” or “Baby’s Day.” She adores books actually and often brings them to us to read her.

In addition to pointing and shaking her head she has the start of a few words too – “tickle tickle” being my favourite, along with “uh oh” and there are lots of ohs and ooohs with varying volumes and tones depending how excited she is by something haha. For example whe we came across the shoe aisle in H&M this morning “oooooh! Ooh ooh ooh!” haha which descended into screams as I dragged her away.

She also is saying something resembling “there you go” when she gives you something, which is seriously adorable. It is not that defind, more of a “daredudo” but still so so cute and lovely to see her start to share already.

She is such a snuggly little lady, far more so than her brother ever was at this age, especially with me. She loves to ie with her head in my lap for a good snuggle or sometimes just snuggle herself up on the sofa or in the beanbag. Monkey has gotten a lot more snuggly as he has gotten older so we do now have some lovely times all snuggled up together!

20151201_063614 So on the whole, she is just a whole bundle of cheeky adorableness. Yes it can be challenging at times but I want to bottle her up at this age as she melts my heart every day she really does. I love this age, so much fun :)

My word of the week is cheeky.

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The realities of playtime with a tiny toddler

I wrote this post in the summer, when Monkey was 14 months old, but it seems apt for the theme of ‘Play’ for this week’s The Theme Game:

Right it is time to be honest here, keeping a little one entertained for longer than a few minutes at a time is practically impossible. I was going to say 5 minutes but hubby felt (and I agreed) that 5 mins was too ambitious, so a few minutes is more realistic. If you have read much of my blog you will know that I am trying out a lot of different play ideas with my monkey. He is constantly on the go and looking for things to do so I try really hard to find knew ways for him to learn through play.

I spend a lot of time (in short bursts between looking after monkey and trying to keep the house clean-ish) perusing the internet, via pinterest, other blogs and baby sites to get ideas. I read books and was even given a set of cards with things to do. Many of the ideas are common sense, such as ‘go outside’. Honestly I spend so much time outside as there is free entertainment out there in the form of oh, daisies, stones, mud … anything on the ground….. But these places do come up with some gems that I like to try out but really you have no idea if your little one will be ready for it developmentally, or will get bored uber quickly, or like it, until their attention is taken by something else.

P1030010Because, in reality, to fill a day of playing at home, you have to try out so many different things. In the space of an hour yesterday, we did some finger painting, played with play-doh, danced around to some music, played with the clothes pegs (basically spreading them around the room while I tried in vain to get him to “put them back” which I know he understands but complies with intermittently) played with his new kitchen, used mummy as a climbing frame, went in the garden (even though it was starting to rain, I was getting desperate) and played in the very wet sand pit, dug in the dirt, played in the sand and water a bit more, then as he was now filthy and it was nearly nap time, had a bit of a play sorting bottles out in the bath while I washed off the debris from playtime.

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P1020801Whilst all this is happening I’m also trying to clean up the mess made my some of these activities, scrubbing a potential stain from the finger paints on our lovely dining table (I hadn’t realised he’d got paint on the bottom of his drink bottle until after it had sat on the table for a few mins – thankfully it came off though), trying to pick up all the teeny bits of play-doh off the floor as he likes too tear it up and spread it around the room (we confine this activity to the conservatory thankfully so it doesn’t get walked through the house), pull play-doh out of my hair and pick up the clothes pegs (until he sees they are back in the basket and decides to up-end it again -this was the point that we went outside). I’m sure this is all sounding very very familiar to the other mummies out there!

An hour or so of this I am ok with, but when faced with an entire day at home is it any wonder I go wibbly at the knees? It is fun, don’t get me wrong, but oh, so, tiring. Hence, this morning when my friend text me at 7:30am (I know if I get a text at this time of the morning that it will be another mummy) and suggested we go to the park for the day, I jumped at the chance! I had been sat contemplating my options for the day ahead and was relieved to be able to go and entertain him outside on the play area, in the sand pit and in the paddling pool there. Of course I also take stickers, a ball and other toys for when he is bored of those activities! :) Plus it is nice to have a good natter with my friend and talk about our ups and downs, much more fun than taking the monkey on my own. He is making lots of word-like sounds at the moment but as yet he is not much of a conversationalist.

My point, ah yes, I don’t really have one, other than to any other mummy who puts in the effort of making homemade paints, play-doh etc, only to have the little one play for a couple of mins at a time, you are not alone! I have found lots of places to find the ideas of things to do, but very few people realistically saying, that this may entertain them for a max of 5 minutes. Who knows, maybe it is just my Monkey, maybe he is going to grow up to have ADHD or  something? Though I have read that a short attention span is normal so I hope not. Either way though I will continue to try things out as I know that eventually he will play longer by himself and be occupied by something for a slightly longer period. Bring on that day is all I can say :)

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Homemade play-doh and other play ideas at 13 months

Little Monkey and I have quite a busy little routine these days. Every weekday morning he and I go for a walk with my neighbour and her little boy. Then home for a snack at 10 before we head out at around 10:30. Mondays we visit Nanny (and Grandpops if he is off shift), Tuesdays is Tumbletots, Wednesday is Music for Little People, Thursday is meeting my friends with kiddies, Friday is round to Grandma & Granddad. Sometimes this includes lunch out, other times we come home for lunch and then have playtime before his nap. He sleeps for a good couple of hours then its some calm playtime late afternoon before daddy comes home and we have tea together.

Quite a busy routine but I am a planner and like to know what we are going to do each day, helps me to stay a sane stay at home mummy!Most of the day is very active and we are out and about a lot. Even calm playtime in the late afternoon is often taking a little wander somewhere (never very far) or playing in the garden sandpit. Other times though, if it is wet out or if I think he just needs a bit of calmer time, we play inside and this is a couple of the things we have got up to lately.

Homemade Play-doh
There’s lots of recipes out there for home made play-doh, but I wanted to go for one tried and tested, so my mother in law gave me the recipe she used when hubby and his brothers were little. It worked then and works brilliantly now too :) It’s measured in cups, which I don’t have, so I googled the approx. weights as well and sed those and it turned out great.

2 cups (9oz) Flour
1 cup (4.5oz) Table salt
2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 tbsp Cooking Oil
2 cups (237ml) Water (I highly doubt I was actually this accurate :))
4 drops food colouring.

Put all of the ingredients in a pan  (My mother in law’s tip was to make the play-doh without food colouring and then break it into 4 and mix in the food colouring by hand. You’d get messy hands of course but 4 different colours of play-doh rather than 1, but I forgot to do this, oops!) turn on the heat and stir continuously until it solidifies.

It is really weird to do and actually at one point I was convinced that I had done something wrong as it was really hard to stir anymore but didn’t seem to solidify. I stopped to take a quick pic of this mess and then realised it was solidifying at the edges (where it was touching the hot pan), quickly stirred some more and hey presto it was solid! Should apparently last for ages as long as you keep it in an airtight container.

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Later that day I got it out and as with anything that feels a bit funny, monkey was really not sure to start with. He was happy just playing with the cookie cutters I had got out to make shapes with it (must get some plastic ones I know). Anyway I decided to sit and play with it anyway and made a couple of shapes for him and gradually he got a bit braver with it and started prodding it about a bit but his face says it all really! He has played with it a little more since then but he’s still not really sure of it! He was like that with sand though initially, which he now loves playing with, so we shall see!

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Pasta Play

I’ve read quite a few other blogs and seen on pinterest other mummies playing with dried pasta/rice/lentils/beans etc. for pouring and sorting play etc. but never really got round to trying it out. One rainy afternoon I decided to give it a go and got out all manner of bowls, jugs, trays, spoons etc and some leftover pasta that had been open a while (it was at the back of the cupboard and a new pack had been opened in the meantime, oops). My lounge floor needed a hoover anyway (though with a one year old, when doesn’t it?:)) so we sat on the floor playing around with the pasta. It was great fun, it went everywhere, numerous times. He was really happy moving it from one container to another and banging about with the spoons and tipping them out. He was concentrating on it so hard bless him and very cute to watch as he needed minimal input from mummy (great to encourage some independent play!). It was great fun and the pasta is being kept for another rainy afternoon for some very easy and fun playtime :).

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Jumping on Mummy

Very unstructured play here but really lovely. I have found that if I lie on the floor, it could be anywhere, on the grass, in our bedroom, in the lounge, then Monkey cannot resist running over and diving onto me for a cuddle and tickle. I’m not sure how he’s learnt this, have obviously encouraged it somewhere along the line but it’s brilliant fun for both monkey and mummy! He can be pottering about on the other side of the room/garden but when he sees that mummy is lying down he gets a huge grin and comes trotting over to launch himself onto my head/tummy/whatever is nearest, where he of course gets lots of tickles and kisses. It’s so cute and so much fun that I thought I would share it. It’s a lovely little break from busy active days and nice bonding between the two of us. For some reason his cheeks are particularly ticklish at the moment and if I just do a sort of cutchie-coo on his cheeks then he giggles like you wouldn’t believe, and honestly, isn’t your child’s giggles just the best noise on the whole world??

 

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. :)