Siblings February 2016

Wow how are we in the middle of February already? This year is already whizzing by and I have a feeling that won’t change.

My gorgeous pair are growing and developing all the time and their relationship is growing and changing with them. I just love to see them together, it makes all the tricky times that come with having 2 children so worth it.PhotoGrid_1455284539747

I love watching them play together, sometimes just side by side but other times helping each other, or copying each other. They just love to be around each other.PhotoGrid_1455284833865

And Monkey has some seriously tender moments with his baby sister where he just announces how much he loves her and bowls her over with a giant cuddle!PhotoGrid_1455285088321

For her part she just loves messing with her big brother. Difficult to catch on camera but she just comes up to him and starts messing with his hair. Or she lies with her feet on him kicking him. Or she runs up to give him something then snatches it back and runs away laughing. Such a cheeky madam and for the most part Monkey is so good and so accommodating of her cheekiness towards her.20160205_083628

Hubs managed to catch a video of this last weekend while I was away. It isn’t amazing quality as it was very early morning so quite dark, and post breakfast so they are still in their pjs. Proof that they did manage to have some nice times together while I was away though ;) and a very good example of LM messing with her big brother, and him being amazingly tolerant of it. The toy she has is his doggy bear, his one special toy, and as a sign of how much he loves her he often says she can share him. Bless.

Of course there are plenty of squabbles and snatching of toys at times too. Monkey takes something from her and refuses to give it back no matter how much she screams and she does the same to him. He barges past her and knocks her over without realising she is there and doesn’t know his own strength and leaps on her when we are messing around. Sometimes, because he is the big brother and because he is so tall for his age, it is too easy to expect him not to do these things. But we have to remind ourselves that he isn’t even 4 yet. To not expect too much of him.

So instead we focus on the lovely moments, as they are far more frequent.

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“Walk this way…” or how to persuade your toddler to walk in the right direction!

I love it when little ones start to toddle about, they are so cute wobbling about and of course they want to walk everywhere. It is lovely… But it does mean it takes a long time to get anywhere! I remember going through it when Monkey was little and LM is exactly the same.20160211_122839-1

They get so easily distracted and very rarely want to walk in the direction you need to go. Because obviously it is more fun to walk the opposite way and have you chase after them! So what can you do about it? There are reins, which while I can see the point of, I have never been a huge fan of and neither of my kids have been that happy about wearing. There are other ways too, that take a bit of effort but that can help persuade them to walk the right way without tantrums or having to wrestle them back into the buggy.

N. B these are all safest on paths well away from roads and where they are safe to roam, otherwise reins or buggy it is, like it or not!

1. Playing hide and seek.

Kids love hide and seek, so while I may feel a bit daft hiding behind a tree or the buggy shouting “where’s mummy gone?” it works and it is lovely seeing LM run towards me with a huge smile on her face rather than cheekily running away from me! Especially good when there is an older sibling who can do the hiding :)PhotoGrid_1455205768266

Yes I am taking this picture while hiding behind the buggy shouting “where’s mummy gone?”  haha thank goodness Monkey loves hiding so much and is happy oblige when he is with us!

2. Chasing a ball

We also have a ball on the bottom of the buggy these days, and rolling a ball for a little one to chase along the path is a brilliant way to get them going in the right direction! Sometimes it feels a little wrong, basically playing fetch with your toddler… But it works so hey ho! Plus they have fun too.

Less good with a sibling around as they tend to take over haha

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3. Bubbles!

Kids love bubbles don’t they? So this is a lovely way of tempting kids to walk towards you or in the right direction. It works with older siblings around too as they enjoy it as well.PhotoGrid_1455220601995

The only downside is when the bubbles blow the wrong way and the little ones follow them in the opposite direction….

So there we have it, my go to methods to help persuade LM to walk in the right direction. They don’t walk every time but more often than not thankfully! Do you have any tips for persuading your little one to go the right way?

Learning to draw at 15mths and 3 3/4

My word of the week this week has to be drawing, as both kiddies are making leaps and bounds with their drawing abilities at the moment.

LM has well and truly discovered drawing now and would love to be doing it all day every day at the moment. I have held back from letting her have crayons for a while (for fear of her eating them) and she has amazed me with the magna doodle things. Then lately we got a couple of crayons out and she was in her element.PhotoGrid_1454505406334

She does pop them in her mouth from time to time but is gradually learning not to I think. She loves it though and often takes herself off to the little table in the conservatory and sits swinging her legs. She has fallen a couple of times bless her but she just wants to get right back up.

She doesn’t distinguish that much between paper and table though and I have to control my feelings about this and remind myself that it doesn’t matter if she draws on this table. I am still trying to keep the crayons contained though as I really don’t want find her drawing on a wall or sofa one day! So it was lovely at the weekend when we got out in the garden with the pavement chalks as I could really leave her to do as she pleased. Again it ended up in her mouth once or twice but only very briefly and on the whole she was absolutely loving drawing on the pavement.PhotoGrid_1454505585883

Monkey was loving it too and it was lovely seeing them do it together.

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His drawing is coming on leaps and bounds lately too. There is still a lot scribbling going on but they are usually something, at least in his mind, and are often roads. I was dead impressed a few days ago though when I was doodling while they were drawing and drew a tree with some grass by a river… And Monkey copied me! He did so well and it was lovely to see him create an actual picture of something.

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He’s also coming on really well with his writing. He has been writing his name for some time now but it has definitely improved and then the other day he wanted to draw numbers so he was again copying what I did, and did such a brilliant job! I was so proud of him! (excuse the bag of clothes in the background ready to go to the chairty shop!) Of course some aren’t perfect but who cares, what a brilliant effort, such a clever Monkey :).20160202_091315So as you can see there has been a lot of drawing going on in our house. Do your kids love to draw?

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Little Miss at 15 Months

I have to admit I struggle a bit with writing these updates now, they take a bit of effort collating it all, remembering everything I want to write and making sure I have good piccies. Which is probably why I have not been very good at getting them done on time lately! So I think from now on they will be a bit less frequent, to take the pressure off. I will still do updates but only every 2-3 months I think!

Anyway on with the 15 month update! Our little lady isn’t a baby anymore. She runs around like a little loony, makes her feelings known and she is so so clever. At least to us. I haven’t got a clue what little ones are ‘supposed’ to be doing at this age and I don’t really care. I just want to marvel at every little development and enjoy every moment of her growing up.20160119_151808

She adore books. She loves turning the pages and she loves being read to. But only the books she wants you to read.. And you have to do it the way she wants. If I lay the book on the floor so I can read it while she is getting dressed then that isn’t good enough. I have to hold it up. I have to let her turn the pages when she wants and read it in whatever order she dictates too haha. If I don’t then ooh there’s screaming. Some times I haven’t the foggiest what she wants and I just know I am not doing it right because of the screaming! She certainly is a feisty girl, which I love.

One of her current favourite books has some ducks in it and she loves pointing at them saying her favourite word “dah” over and over again as it does seem that she does mean duck when she says this. Though she also says it when looking at fish and a lot of other things too! So I can’t be 100% certain.20160122_124540

We do have a couple of other almost words too. She is good at shouting an estimation of hiya to people, often accompanied by a little wave which is seriously cute. Especially when she shouts it and waves to complete strangers while she is in her buggy haha.

The most commonly yelled word though is her version of uh oh. No cute uh oh here though, no, LM’s version of more of a shriek. Uh Aowww. Actually drives me crazy, especially when she is shrieking it because she has deliberately dropped all her lunch on the floor. Hmm uh oh indeed!

This happens a lot as she is very much in a phase of dropping things deliberately. Everything. Food from her high chair. A box of crayons. Any container must be emptied in fact. If she has climbed the stepstool in the kitchen then anything on the worktop (usually a selection of toys for her but occasionally something I actually need) ends up on the floor. In the bath she throws all of her bath toys out meaning water goes everywhere. Hence lots of shrieking uh aaowww.

It is also said a lot when she wants us to do something. Our girl has always loved hats and shoes and she will often present us with a random shoe or hat or glove saying uh aaowww until we put it on her! This has extended as she loves coats and jumpers and dresses too and bless her she does have a good go at getting them on herself though she doesn’t remotely succeed. She’s hilarious though and is clearly going to love dressing up. When I was sorting clothes recently I kept having to stop so I could dress her in something she had found in one of my piles. Little cutie!20160106123627

Even at just 15mths LM is showing signs of being far more independent than her big brother. She will potter about and play on her own in a way that Monkey has just never done, even now really. I do play with her of course but often I don’t need to. I’m there keeping an eye in case she needs/wants me but quite often she is content doing her own thing, and actually I do feel like some of her play is quite advanced.20160114_104803

Much of her play involves posting things and putting things in and out of containers. But then there is a level of imaginative play which melts my heart. She adores playing with dolls and any toy really and is so caring towards them. She absolutely melted my heart recently by playing with a dolly, putting her in her buggy, feeding her an ice cream and then giving her a kiss. It was so cute!PhotoGrid_1453140396648

I loved seeing her do it with her brothers Buzz Lightyear doll too, she absolutely adores Buzz! She is lovely with woody too making him stand up and walk. Such signs of imagination already which I just adore.20160122_155717

She is a really cuddly little lady too and loves a good snuggle with a teddy, a doll or a blanket. She even wanted to cuddle one of my bags the other day and tried to go to sleep on it… Which obviously was not very comfy! Love seeing her snuggle on the bean bag or a blanket though!20160117_082452

She is also massively cheeky. There are things she knows she isn’t allowed to do, like standing on the sofa or pressing the buttons on the side of the TV… So she does them anyway with a huge grin on her face. Little madam honestly!

Her walking has been coming on a lot lately. She’s been walking well for ages but she can walk further now and is even running quite a bit. The main improvement though is that she will now sometimes walk with us in the right direction. Not always or even most of the time but she certainly does it sometimes. She walked all the way home from Monkey’s playgroup the other day, which isn’t far (about 5 mind at a normal pace) but certainly the furthest she has ever walked!

There are still a lot of times where she is adamant that she wants to go the opposite way and honestly there is about a zero chance of persuading her otherwise when she is set on doing something! Feisty little lady that she is. Which of course means that there is a lot of screaming and the start of some serious tantrums when she doesn’t get her own way. She also falls over a lot too… So I am grateful for the padded snowsuit and that it is cold enough for mittens (when she keeps the things on that is) as they do protect her a little. She has had some nasty grazes on her nose from face planting the floor though poor thing. She will also just randomly decide to have a little lie down on the floor sometimes too… Oddball!PhotoGrid_1453665663172

I’m sure there is lots of other things I could say but that’s enough of an update for now about our gorgeous, clever, Feisty Little Miss at 15mths old.

Containing the mess – finger painting in the bath – 15 months

We recently moved Monkey out of his highchair and onto a booster seat at the dining table for mealtimes. He is loving sitting at the table and meal times have been a bit better so it was definitely time to make the move. One of the problems with this though is when it comes to messy, creative, activities. While he was sat in his highchair, the mess was basically contained to him and his tray. At the table it gets spread all over the place. Plus he used to sit so comfortably in his high chair but now is such a fidget bum (one of the reasons we made the change to booster seat) and once he’s eaten, he wants to get down. He’s not really happy sitting anywhere for any length of time really!

So what to do? I don’t want to stop doing all the creative, messy things, but my heart flutters when I think what those little hands can do with a load of finger paints in our lovely house! So I have been trying to work out what best to do. Obviously there is outside. We play with his chalk outside, which he loves, and he is learning that it doesn’t get any further into the house than the conservatory. We also play with sand and water etc. outside. But finger paints add a whole other layer of mess don’t they? If I get a bit of sand or water on me while cleaning him, then no big deal, but I don’t really want to get covered in paint. Also, where do I clean him? The outside tap is on the front of the house so it would mean running round the front with him, but let’s face it, that water is pretty darn cold! Do I try and carry him in the house, hands under his arms, dangling him in front of me trying to avoid paint getting on everything?

It is these things that have led to the finger paints staying firmly shut away for a while! Then after getting a comment from Gill last week (I hope you’re reading Gill :)) I had an idea! The bathroom! If I set him up in the bath with the paints then he can make as much mess as he likes and then I can just hose it (and him) down afterwards with the shower! Definitely worth a go,

Note: I do this with homemade paints where the colour is food colouring and so washes off things easily. I can’t recommend doing it with bought paints unless you want to do a tiny patch test somewhere first to see if it comes off!

I set aside some time at home one day to give this a go. Unfortunately though, because the finger paints hadn’t been used in a while they had gone mouldy in the cupboard (yuk). So whilst Monkey ate his snack I quickly whipped up some more. The recipe is here, sooo easy.

Anyway, I have to say it really was a success, as you can see in the photos! He only lasted in there about 15-20 minutes, but that’s about as long as he does anything for, so not too bad. I know it’s a lot of effort to go to, both before and after, but it was definitely a lot of fun. He also hated being cleaned afterwards, but then he never likes to be cleaned so nothing new there.

Most importantly though, it came off the bathroom tiles with no problem. There are some ever so slight colour stains on the grout but nothing that concerns me or hubby too much. I’m sure it would probably come off if I bleached it anyway but you can’t even see it unless you really look. I used a load of old towels for the rest of the bathroom and had to wipe my hands on those a bit but basically the mess was contained! Woohoo! Here is our little artist having fun with his paints in the bath! He ended up a bit blue afterwards but again it’s only food colouring so I’m not too fussed :)

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Learning to climb and an obsession with chalk! 15 months old

Before the summer holidays I had been regularly taking Monkey to a Tumbletots class. While he loved running around and the singing and dancing and some of the equipment, a lot of the equipment was too advanced for him really. He could not get the idea of climbing on rungs! He’s been able to climb the stairs at home for a while, but mainly on his knees, and if we tried to help him walk the stairs he would a really funny straight leg high kick type climb up the stairs!

Over the summer we have been spending a lot more time at play parks, so I have been encouraging him to climb. Not in a pushy parent type of way (at least I hope not) but I have been guiding his feet onto steps and supporting him from behind to make sure he doesn’t fall while he got the hang of proper climbing! The result has been fantastic. He is now doing so well and shot up a climbing frame with huge steps the other day! I was then a nervous wreck as I was terrified he would fall off one of the open sides but he did well and is also getting much better at coming down the slide, which he loves!

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Aside from climbing, Monkey has a new love. Chalk. He is a bit obsessed with it! When we were on holiday there was a little chalk board on the play area and he loved it and his scribbling really improve – to be actual scribbles rather than just hitting the board like he did initially. On a recent trip to Ikea we bought him a chalk board  and some chalks, which we have put in the conservatory, which has become kind of a play area for him where he can be a bit messy as it’s only old stuff we have in there.

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Even though it is old stuff though we are very much trying to keep the chalk marks on the blackboard, and not on the sofa, rug, table, floor, door, etc. etc. The difficulty with this is that whenever we are in there I am saying ‘No’ all the time as he tests his boundaries. When the weather is ok I let him in the garden with the chalk and he has a bit more of a free rein because, let’s face it, chalk washes off! I don’t know if this confuses the matter for him though? Anyway the one rule is that he is not allowed it into the house so at the conservatory door, if he wants to play in the lounge then he must give mummy the chalk.

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Well, we have had some serious tantrums over the relinquishing of the chalk! He gets so so unhappy and is then looking for it everywhere while crying. No matter how much I try to reason with him and say he can have it in the conservatory but can’t take it with him everywhere he goes, he just doesn’t listen and wails and throws himself on the floor. Most of the time I can distract him with something, though there are times when that takes a lot of effort as he is distracted for a few seconds and then starts thinking about the chalk again! Seriously he is a bit obsessed with the stuff!

So it becomes a battle of willpower and I am not going to give in to him as a) that teaches him that if he pushes hard enough he will get his own way, and b) I really don’t want chalk marks throughout the house! Hopefully the obsessed phase will end soon and he will play with it without getting massively attached to it. I really hope so anyway!

In other news he has discovered a new perspective on the world, by bending over and looking at the view upside down from between his knees, it must be fascinating  as he keeps doing it. Oh and he also loves the blackberry crumble I made using blackberries from Granny’s garden! As you can see in this picture!

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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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