Proud of my Monkey

I only wrote an update on what Monkey is up to at the moment last week, but then he went and did two things that made me so darn proud to be his Mummy that I just have to share them.

Standing up for himself

We went on a playdate to one of our fave soft play places last week with good friends. Monkey and his friend were having a lovely time going up the steps and down the slide while us Mums were having a natter and playing with LM. Then to my right I suddenly saw an altercation.

A little boy, younger than Monkey but walking and talking (so difficult to gauge age) hit Monkey. I’m not sure why but Monkey was half climbing the step and had turned back and the little boy was standing on the floor and had hit him. Instead of hitting back, Monkey loudly and clearly said “Stop it!” to the other little boy (I hung back, it is always good to see if things can be sorted between themselves). Unfortunately the other boy then spat in Monkey’s direction and actually slapped him in the face.

Of course I intervened and started to say “Excuse me, that is not nice” but the boy’s daddy ran over and told him off and made him apologise. The point though? My lovely Monkey didn’t hit back, didn’t retaliate, but he did stand up for himself, using words, not violence.

That made me HUGELY proud of him. So proud it brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. His skin is like mine and turns red very easily so he had a bright red cheek for a while and the thought of him being hurt by another child also makes me quite protective!

I was also proud as he didn’t let it bother him. He didn’t get upset by it or stop playing. In the not too distant past an altercation like this would have really rattled Monkey. He would have been scared of the other child and of all other children for a while. This time last year he was terribly afraid of other children after being knocked over. So the fact that he was absolutely fine afterwards is just another sign of how grown up my little Monkey is getting. Definitely a proud mummy moment!

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Naming his drawings

Slightly less dramatic but another proud moment was when Monkey was doing some painting at the weekend. He actually started to tell me what he was drawing. In the past when i have asked him what he is drawing or painting he has sort of looked blankly while he splodged paint around and said “I don’t know.”

This time though I didn’t even ask but he proudly announced that one painting was a plane, “Dusty Crophopper” from the film Planes to be precise, and that the blue splodges were footprints.

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Then, my favourite, he painted a rocket ship with fire coming out of it!

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His imagination is really growing lately and he is coming on leaps and bounds all the time and may be a daft one but again I was just so so proud of him for drawing actual things and telling me what they were.

Oh yes and here he is really proud of his “rainbow finger” too.

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I love being his Mummy :)

My word of the week this week is, proud.

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Mini CreationsEthans EscapadesNot My Year Off

Tuff Spot Play with Lentils

After the recent success of the Tuff Spot play with water, I was keen to see what other easy activity I could come up with for Monkey that didn’t involve much prep but would keep him entertained. Ages ago a post from Loving Life with Little Ones reminded me how much fun could be had with lentils and I had wanted to get some out for Monkey to play with for a while.

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Tuff Spot Play with Water

Tuff Spot Play with Water

Much as I love doing more structured activities with Monkey, to make cards, or pictures or baking, some of my favourite activities are a lot more free play based. Activities I can set up pretty simply and then leave him to it. Watching where his imagination takes me always cracks me up and it’s also great to literally watch him learning as he plays.

Since LM was born and with all of the illness we have struggled with this year, I have gotten a bit lazy with regards to setting up activities, mainly out of fear. Fear of the mess I have to clean up. Fear of how stressed I am going to get dealing with him and the baby at the same time. I have pulled myself together a little though and one day decided to get a job done that has needed to be done for ages, and involve Monkey in a bit of free play at the same time.

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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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Easter Egg Potato Stamping.. or not! (34 mths)

A while ago I saw another Mummy Blogger (sorry I can’t remember where!) using potatoes to stamp easter egg shapes and I thought it was genius. I am always on the look out for activities to do with Monkey and while I had been meaning to do potato stamping with him at some point this was the push I needed to do it and thought they would make lovely easter cards.

Easter cards

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Monkey at 34 mths

I can’t believe my little Monkey is only a couple of months away from being 3! It feels so grown up and impossible for my baby boy to be that age… but at the same time it makes sense as he has grown up so much lately and is such a lovely little lad, he melts my heart daily (as well as driving me crazy multiple times a day ;) !

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So what is he up to? Well lots and lots he is always on the go! You may have read the recent updates about him – Monkey Says and Learning to Read but there is lots more going on too.

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Monkey Says at 34 Months

I feel like I want to write down every word that Monkey Says at the moment as most of it is really adorable! His vocabulary is coming on leaps and bounds all the time and his pronunciation is getting so much clearer too. He can pronounce his L’s now sometimes and is learning th rather than f. There is still plenty of cute mispronunciations though and some very cute sayings and phrases.

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Manners

We have been working  a lot on his manners over the last couple of months. I was always bought up to believe that manners were important (Manners Maketh Man my Mum always said :)) and actually because most of my day to day conversation is between Monkey and I it became really important to me to be treated with a bit of respect. Obviously when little ones first learn to talk the things they say are simple – want this, need that, give me this. After a while though as the main carer I started to feel like I was more of a slave. Being shouted at and ordered around by my toddler every day was not enjoyable. We had obviously been working on please and thank you for a long time but we have started to elaborate on it now and he is doing really well.

Now when he would like something he knows he has to ask nicely (sometimes he needs reminding but he is saying it more and more on his own too) “Please can I have some milk?” “Please watch Toy Story again?” etc. etc. He is doing very well and also says “thank you,” “no thanks” and when we thank him for things it is “You’re most welcome!” It just makes our home a nicer place to be and I think it is so important to ask for things nicely and say thank you. One of my friends always says that Monkey doesn’t have to say thank you to her if she gives him something, but I don’t think there are any exemptions to the rule, personally.

It is so cute hearing him be so polite though he is learning to try it on – saying please over and over when he wants a biscuit “twease can I have a biscuit, twease, twease, twease” and “no fanks” when he doesn’t want to do something, like eat his vegetables or have a nappy change! We try not to let him get away with it but occasionally he does get something because we can’t resist him asking for something so nicely.

Conversations

We have some lovely little conversations with him at the moment. I was getting LM ready for bed and listening to Monkey and Daddy at bathytime and heard this cute convo.

Daddy: Its teethy clean time then story time
Monkey: And sleeping time and wake up and playing and eating
Daddy: Is that your day?
Monkey: (very happily) yeah

I just felt it was a really nice indication of how much he loves his little life at the moment!

We’ve also noticed how we are really having little conversations. Now when we pick him up from playgroup and ask what he has done, he doesn’t always say “I don’t know” and will now often tell us what he has got up to.

Mr Potato Head

WP_20150318_13_05_58_ProHe has such an imagination now too which is lovely and since watching Toy Story a few times he is now in love with his Mr Potato Head toy and is currently carrying him everywhere. He couldnt find  his hat the other day and kept asking for it. I said he should look in his toy boxes, to which he replied ” I can’t, I not a good looker” really despondently. I helped him look (and he decided he was a good “looker” after all and once Mr Potato head was completed he shouted “Look! Like on the TV!”

Then we were sat at the table and he was chatting to Mr Potato Head and then he got cross and said “he not talking Mummy” lol. Despite the lack of response he is talking to him a lot “Come a me Mr tato head” and “it’s ok Mr Tato head, Mummy gone to get Monkey’s drink.” He is such a cutie with him!

Other sayings

Another thing that he says all the time is “Got that at…” pointing at objects, books, toys at home, in the shops, on the TV. Most of the time it is “got that at playgroup” as they have some of the same books and the same step for the sink, and various other bits. Then there is “got that at Nanny Pop’s house!” and “Got that at home!” which is very cute.

We are also very much in the “Why” phase at the moment. There are lots of “why” and “who not” though I am sure we are only just entering this phase and will have more um fun with this over the coming months!

He also likes to talk basically all the time and narrates everything he is doing  and often will repeat things over and over until we say it too, which drives me potty. We can answer him in a hundred different ways but sometimes unless we repeat what he says he will keep going!

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Learning to read at nearly 3

Learning to read at nearly 3Monkey loves books, he has done for a long time. We read multiple times a day and he has so many books he adores. He knows all of his letters now, and can recognise them all. He sings the alphabet song almost constantly and we have been trying to help him understand the phonetics and sounds of letters too as I know he will need those at school and to help him with learning to read. He regularly spells out writing on things and so wants to read himself, and actually I think we are starting to head down the path of learning to read.

I am pretty impressed with this at his age I have to admit and as ever I am not saying “oh my son is amazing” or by any means taking credit for it. All kids learn at their own pace and he may be earlier with some things and later with other things. For example he is not ready for potty training yet but he does seem to want to learn to read.

He regularly points at words and wants to know what it says. When we say it, we try and spell it out and he will often repeat it. He now loves shouting Netflix whenever the big writing comes on the TV! One of his favourite books at the moment is a colours book from the hungry caterpillar collection, where he likes to spell out each word and read it. He is doing this with Daddy and how much of this is just memory I am not sure but it will hopefully help him learn that this is how you read.

Daddy is great at helping him with this and is explaining some of the more complex sounds like o o makes oo etc. I never know how far to go with it as he seems so little to me but at the same time he is so desperate to do it and to learn. He found a bottle of infacol the other day and traced the letters on the bottle and said “LM’s medicine” lol bless him!

He is so proud of himself when he tries which is just lovely and so I certainly don’t want to discourage him from it.

Were any of your kids early readers? I have no idea what is usual for this age and what isn’t!

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Not My Year Off

Keeping Toddlers Busy at Home (34 mths old)

With Monkey being poorly recently we have spent a LOT more time at home than we do normally. First it was a nasty bug where he was very poorly and spent a lot of the time in bed or slumped on the sofa poor thing. Then it was Chicken Pox, which he actually got off pretty lightly with. He didn’t have too many spots and for the most part wasn’t that poorly with either. But because he was contagious we were still pretty much consigned to the house – but with a full of beans toddler! Never an ideal situation for me and even 6 months ago I would have hated the thought of being stuck at home with him.

He is older now and easier to keep entertained, and more able to amuse himself thankfully, but we have still had to come up with a number of activities to keep him busy and out of mischief while we have been stuck at home! We have:

..made a Den and played Big Bad Wolf (thanks to Bing Bunny for that idea!)

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and ran cars up and down the “hill”.. WP_20150302_09_26_33_Smart

..jumped up and down on some bubble wrap..WP_20150227_17_32_08_Smart WP_20150227_17_30_48_Pro

..been cooking Pizzas and baking some yummy cupcakes using this recipe..

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..played in his tent and tunnel and had snuggles and silly selfies in there..

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 …and made some lovely super simple Mother’s Day cards for Nanny and Granny..

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 I basically let him loose with some glue and sparkles (loose-ish anyway) then cut a hole in a card like a window and stuck his sparkly collage on the inside.

We have also been watching a lot of TV. Thankfully he likes DVDs now and I have finally managed to persuade him just how wonderful Disney films are. So far he likes Wall-E, all of the Toy Story films and Cars but he is much less keen on Up and Monsters Inc which is a shame. I love some of his random TV viewing positions, they do make me chuckle even if I would prefer it if he wasn’t quite so close to the TV!

tv viewing

There has also been lots of drawing, we tape a big bit of paper to the floor and let our imaginations run wild – at the moment it is usually him telling me what to draw but that is still good fun and then he plays with the scene we have created – seascape, road, etc! Stickers and painting are always good too and as he has improved we have been out in the garden a lot too.

How do you keep your toddler entertained if you are stuck at home?

#ToddlerApprovedTuesday

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