Wow hasn’t it been a hot one this week? My social media feeds have been full of sunny scenes; blue skies, paddling pools, ice creams and lots of smiles. There has also been plenty of moaning about the heat which amuses me given that a week ago many of us were moaning about our lack of summer. But hey, we’re British and moaning about the weather is just what we do. Plus it has been seriously hot!
So what else to do than to try and find ways of keeping cool. Fans in bedrooms, ice on temples, ice lollies, oh and of course playing with water in the garden. I love our garden, we’ve put in a tonne of effort to get to this point and now it just such a lovely place to be. I also really love our gazebo as it provides us with some much needed shade on these hot hot days. Because pictures speak louder than words, instead of rambling on, I will show you how much fun we’ve been having outside this week.
So at the end of a summers day this is what my garden should like. Covered in abandoned toys, with sand and water everywhere. Miscellaneous items of clothing and towels strewn across chairs to dry and just general detritus left about. Evidence of a lot of fun had outside, and evidence that I have enjoyed it as much as my kids have rather than constantly cleaning up after them.
So our little lady is 20 months old. How do I describe her? She is feisty, demanding, bossy, caring, fun, loving, cheeky, and seriously cute as well as infuriating haha. She is also learning so so much all of the time and it is wonderful to watch her growing from a baby into a little girl.
She really has made a sudden leap in the last couple of months, and though we still don’t have many words, her communication has really stepped up. She pays so much attention when we talk to her and understands so much of what we say, often following directions. Her babbling is almost constant and she makes some seriously lovely noises.
She also does have more noises approximating words, sentences and phrases. “i wan dat” is one, though it often comes out as i-on-da with arms thrust at whatever it is she wants haha. I’m also sure that one day when I asked where her ball was she said something resembling “oer dare” and then “igetit” but it is difficult to be sure. We aren’t worried by the lack of actual words. Her brother didn’t speak at all beyond babbling until he was 2, and now he never shuts up haha. And like I say she understands so much and communicates her needs very well. In fact she is so so bossy. And because she is pretty darn adorable she gets her own way from people a lot… Hmm.
The downside to the lack of words is the frustration that we don’t understand her. And frustration when we don’t do what she wants. Ooh she does get frustrated and very much makes her feelings known. Screaming her head off and holding her breath til she is blue in the face. Lying on the floor screaming, sitting on the floor screaming. Oh the tantrums are really really starting, especially when I don’t give in to her bossyness, and we never had it as bad with Monkey. It is so embarrassing at times but I also try not to worry too much.
She can also be the loveliest loveliest girl. She always wants to be helpful and always brings us all our shoes when we want to go out (and when we don’t want to…), she loves washing her big brother in the bath and is so proud of herself when we ask her to give someone something and she does it. She loves feeding her dolls and toys and us haha and is always trying to give people food and drink! She strokes pictures of animals and says aaah and adores her teddies and cuddly things. She loved seeing our friends’ Guinea pig recently and gave them some carrot to eat! She also hates when people are upset and if we can hear a child crying she will get really concerned and say “oh no!” she really hates when her brother is upset too. She loves a good cuddle too and there’s nothing I like more than having her snuggle on my lap.
She runs just about everywhere and has the cutest bouncy run. As much energy must go into bouncing up and down as moving forward but she looks so adorable when she runs off. She is seriously fast when she wants to be though!
She is intrigued by everything in the world and routinely stops to explore a blade of grass, leaves and was so excited to watch and follow a bumble bee a few days ago, giggling away everytime it flew from one flower to another. In general she just loves being outdoors and if you follow my instagram feed you will know how much she loves puddles and bubbles and climbing.
She adores being in the bath and is such a water baby. She loves playing and splashing about with her brother but also adores lying down and having a swim. Sometimes in a bubbly bath we can only see her head which is a bit bizarre but she seriously adores it and it’s just lovely seeing her happy in there.
She is learning so much all the time and getting more dextrous. We have been working on fine motor controls and generally having a lot more involved play she loves sorting things and just exploring in general. Her latest loves are painting, and play doh! She would play playdoh all day long if she had her way. Thank goodness she also enjoys watching peppa pig and paw patrol as that usually distracts her when I am at the end of my play doh tether haha.
She is desperate to be a big girl and loves drinking from an open cup and using her fork and spoon which is lovely to see. Though she still uses her hands most of the time!
She still loves her food and though she can be fussy at times with new things on the whole she is great. Favourites include curries, especially with chickpeas in, baked beans, tortelloni in tomato sauce, my homemade soups and strawberries!
She loves books and stories and is constantly bringing books for me to read her, or sitting flicking through pages and lifting flaps on her own. She is getting interested in some more grown up books too and currently loves “What the ladybird heard” and enjoyed her brother’s current favourite “the pirate who lived next door. ”
She is a complete and utter loon at times. She loves spinning around and throwing herself on the floor. It baffles me but is another sign of how full of fun she is. She so loves to laugh and to make others laugh too. We adore our girl so much and it is a privilege to be her mummy, even if she does drive me crazy at times. She is cute as a button and I love, love, love watching her grow and learn.
Just a short one but I am feeling like a proud mama and wanted to share this. Monkey has loved Duplo for ages and has been steadily getting better at putting them together. They still frustrate him at times but he loves it (and we almost constantly have duplo spread across the living room).
He builds towers with daddy and his uncles but this was the first time that he built a little structure. He put the blocks onto the board and started to build his tower without ANY input from any adults.
I know it’s not that exciting or impressive but when we saw it we were so proud of him. I just love watching him grow and develop and it’s times like this that make me so happy that I am lucky enough to be a SAHM. Because I get to marvel at every teeny tiny development and know that I played a part in his learning and growth.
If you’ve not read my blog before PLEASE don’t take this to be meant as detrimental towards working mummies because it’s not, I firmly believe that every mummy has to make the choice that’s right for them and their families and am not judging the way anyone else chooses to raise their child/ren. But for me, entirely personally, and I know how lucky I am, this is what being a SAHM is all about.
Small steps like this make me feel so PROUD, mainly of him, for it’s his achievement. But a little bit proud of me too, for creating and nurturing this little wonder.
We were out and about on Saturday. We popped to a local garden centre where we are members so get offer on lunches etc. After lunch we started to walk home but our bossy little Monkey kept disagreeing with us about which way to go. As we weren’t in a particular hurry we let him be in charge for a little while so we headed in the direction of our local country park, Ferry Meadows, which we go to a lot because it’s close and there’s lot to do.
Anyway we were walking along (thankfully the rain had passed for a bit) and we suddenly realised that Monkey was carrying a lot of sticks. Now he loves sticks, it’s not rare for him to get quite attached to sticks. They are regular companions on walks, they are a great motivational tool if he doesn’t want to walk any further (wow, come look at this stick!) and I constantly seem to find bits of stick at home, in our shoes, down the back of the sofa, etc.
What was unusual though was the quantity of sticks. So we watched for a bit and realised he was collecting them. Every time he passed a stick he picked it up! With the crazy weather of late (especially the mental winds on Friday night) I’m sure you can imagine there was a loooot of sticks about! It was so cute to see him problem solving with each new one, finding a way to keep hold of them all while picking another one up. Daddy and I thought it was brilliant
The funniest bit was when all of a sudden he sort of looked at the sticks as if to say to himself “What AM I doing?” and then dropped them on the floor and continued his walk. So funny.
A little while later he started collecting again, and the same cycle continued. He then tried to pick up a huuuge stick, then found one that was about his size and was content to use just that one for a while.
Daddy thinks he looks like Moses in this pic! he he
We went all the way to Ferry Meadows but then the winds were getting up, the clouds were starting to look a bit foreboding, it was nearly naptime and Monkey had done a poo. Despite all of this Monkey still didn’t want to go home so we had to strap in the buggy (with a lot of protesting) and thankfully a couple of little sticks kept him entertained most of the way home Just in time as the heavens opened within a few minutes of getting home! Monkey was obviously very tired after all that problem solving and stick collecting as he slept for 3 hours and we had to wake him up!
Hasn’t this year just been RIDICULOUSLY wet so far? Honestly! Our little part of the country is by no means the worst hit, if anything we’ve got off fairly lightly, but there has still been far too many rainy days for my liking! I make no secret of the fact that I have to get out of the house every day for the sake of my sanity. Even the prospect of an entire day at home with just Monkey and I is enough to put me in a grump. So rainy days are not good for me, far too much time spent indoors. We’ve still got out and about a lot in between all the rain but there has also been a lot of time spent playing indoors.
All this time spent indoors has led to a lot of clutching at straws for things to do, without spending a fortune on toys. He has got a lot of toys of course but there’s only so much variety and he is always looking for something new to do. So here is a little list of some of the things that have been keeping Monkey occupied without spending any money!
Since we started getting Monkey involved in cooking and baking (to help with the fussy eating) he loves it in there and wants to be stood on his little step stool at the worktop ALL the time. So we spend a lot of time in the kitchen these days, which is where many of these activities take place. This is also great as it may give you ways of keeping your little one occupied if like Monkey they tend to harass you while you’re cooking dinner!
Filling and pouring. We do this with lentils, rice, flour, pasta, anything really. We have a little funnel, an empty vanilla extract bottle, an empty spice jar as well as bigger bowls and cups etc. It goes everywhere but he loves it and it’s easily tidied up with a dustbuster! He puts things in bottles, he tips them out, he moves them from one thing to another, just a great way to learn how things work really. He plays with some chopped vegetables and potato peeling etc. too.
Spaghetti is great for them to explore – Monkey loves posting it through a Colander (great for fine motor controls) and snapping it and sorting it and putting it in the bottle or jar. We’ve also played with cooked spaghetti which is fun.
Stacking and sorting. We got some cheap ikea cups and bowls ages ago which stack really nicely and Monkey loves organising things! Tins are a great way of keeping him occupied at the moment, he loves making a tower of tins! It concerns me when the towers get tall that the heavy tins will fall on him, but so far so good.
Banging – cake tins, saucepans, bowls, spoons, so simple but so much fun. Monkey was loving this the other day and I got some of his musical instrument toys involved too and we had a fantastic impromptu music session in the kitchen. Lots of fun!
Oh and spoons make a great noise when they are dropped on the floor!
The kitchen isn’t the only place with fun to be had though, who doesn’t love a den?
Cardboard boxes are great too, we’ve had one for so long now that it’s lost all shape and doesn’t stand up unless you hold it, but Monkey still loves crawling through it as a tunnel and drawing on it.
I really hope this weather improves soon but in the meantime why not check out some of the other indoor play ideas we have had fun with in the past.
Not far from us there is a lovely little ‘zoo’ called Hamerton Zoo Park. Opened as a conservation centre it’s not as as big as you think a zoo is but they have so many lovely animals in big enclosures and it’s lovely having it practically on our doorstep. Neither hubby or I had been in years but have wanted to take Monkey to meet some real Monkeys for a while. So with a let up in all the rain we headed out there.
What we hadn’t thought about was that even though it was dry, it was insanely windy – especially being out in the middle of the countryside. So many of the animals were hiding in their little homes rather than enjoying being out in their enclosures. So if it looks in my pictures like the animals haven’t got much room to roam around, believe me they do, but are sheltering from the wind!
They do a year season ticket for the price of 3 visits, so we decided to buy that which means we can go as often as we like this year without worrying about how long we stay (we only go anywhere for a couple of hours at a time with Monkey). Because of the weather there was a lot of animals there that we didn’t get to see.. but here are some of the ones we did see! (The photos aren’t great, I forgot to charge the battery for my good camera, d’oh, and my phone isn’t so great at these kind of shots, will try better next time!)
and yep, Monkey saw some actual Monkeys (and marmosets) for the first time and they were definitely his favourite animals of the day.
It was also massively muddy there because of the recent weather so Monkey had a great time stomping in the mud! Honestly it was so windy I thought he was going to get blown over at one point, he definitely got pushed about a bit! He had a lot of fun though.
I took this photo of him and Daddy having a little rest and I thought it was lovely, so I am linking this up with the lovely Mama H at Thursday’s Child, Friday’s Thoughts for Family Photo Friday.
You may or may not have read that I have set myself a Creative Challenge to be more creative with Monkey’s playtime and to allow him to explore his creativity more at the same time. I know I am not alone in my fears about messy play but I am trying my best to brave with this challenge. (Please click here if you would like to join the challenge!)
With V day coming up I thought it was a perfect opportunity to be a bit creative. Hubby and I don’t really do valentines day but I thought that Monkey’s Nanny and Grandma might appreciate a card from him. So using an idea I’ve nabbed from Baked Potato Mummy I decided to do some cutting and sticking. I cut out some heart shapes and tore up some tissue paper in suitable valentines colours.
I was going to try and do the gluing on the hearts before Monkey joined in as I was worried how he would get on with the glue… but well I failed and my child is far too clever for me. He always seems to know when I am doing something I don’t want him to know about. I think it’s a combination of me being rubbish at being sly and the fact that he wants to know what is going on ALL the time to make sure he’s not missing out!
So anyway he came to find out what was going on and was immediately obsessed with the glue bottle and lid….
…even while I was trying to get him interested in sticking things (he loves stickers so I thought he would love it, but, no). He eventually had fun blobbing the glue on the card, but he didn’t want to stick the tissue paper down.
And then, well I’m not really sure why, I think he thought I was trying to take the glue away from him (he was getting annoyed with having sticky hands so was trying to help!) but he started bawling. Properly bawling. As if his world was ending. For ages. For apparently no reason.
After a while I got out some little foam bits and he cheered up instantly – and played with them for a bit and then went to off to play-doh. (Kids, eh?)
So well, here are the valentines cards… but I’m ashamed to say that aside from a little bit of glue dobbing, I made them (eye roll). Not a great start to the Creative Challenge! I’ve tried to console myself that it was good sensory play, and good fine motor control practice, but, well, really it was a big fat fail wasn’t it? haha oh well, you’ve got to laugh! Maybe I will try something slightly less ambitious for our next messy play!
The upside was that when my little bro, Uncle Marky, came round for a play after work, the two of them had a whale of a time playing with the tissue paper, throwing it up in the air and all around! haha They were at it for ages! Silver lining and all that!
The Creative Challenge linky will open on the LAST WEDNESDAY of every month – so 26th February. I hope your creative challenge is going better than mine is so far! Two weeks to go! Click here to find out more!!
I’m also linking up with Kid GLloves and Mini creations… though all Monkey really made was a mess sorry guys! xx
Monkey loves buses. He seriously LOVES buses. We have loads of toy buses and he gets massively excited whenever he sees a bus. It could be a real bus – which he will shout and point and clap and wave to – or a bus in a book or on the TV, which again he will shout and point and clap and wave to. Bless him it is very cute.
We don’t go on buses very often mainly because in our area to get anywhere by bus takes at least 3 times as long and is way more expensive than going by car. He has been on buses before – but not since our holiday in the summer. I have been meaning to take him on a bus for a while but we are generally pretty busy and I’ve just not got round to it.
On a no-plans Thursday however I decided it was time for our Big Bus Adventure. I didn’t want to take him too far and the local library is on the bus route, and I vaguely remembered they do a story time on Thursday Mornings so I thought it would be nice to combine the two. The library is actually about 2-3 mins away in the car, maybe 5 mins by bus (plus all the waiting time either end) but it cost us £2.40 to get there and back. At adult walking speed it only takes about 15 mins to walk… so you can see why we don’t get the bus very often!!
But it was a treat for Monkey and he was very excited when the bus came to the stop, and gave a big clap as it came up.
He sat very seriously all the way there and I was explaining that it stops to let people on/off etc.
The library wasn’t open when we got there so even though it was freezing cold we had a little play outside first.
We had a lovely time at the library – he goes with Nanny and Grandpops to a rhyme time session most weeks but it was the first time we had been to Story Time, and they read one of his favourite Spot books which was lovely and he really enjoyed it. We had a look at some of the many lovely books they have there, but bless him he just kept getting excited to see some of the books we have at home. No matter how I tried to get him interested in other books he was obsessed by Dear Zoo and Dear Santa! Bless him! I did manage to tear him away from his faves though and we checked out a couple of other books on his library card to bring home with us.
There was more excitement for the bus journey home and it takes a slightly longer loop home so we got a few more pics of him enjoying the ride!
And that was the end of our big bus adventure, bye bye bus!
A few days ago on our way back from the Post Office we popped in to Daddy’s office to say hello. They recently moved literally around the corner from where we live and Daddy likes us to come and say hello occasionally if we are around.
Monkey loves it there and I just thought this photo (poor quality I know, sorry) was just massively cute. He thinks lots of things are phones. Cushions, remote controls and yes the computer mouse. Monkey thinks the computer mouse is a phone and I love this photo because he looks like he is mid conversation with someone.
What a wet and miserable week it’s been! We’ve been doing a lot of indoor play at play centre but we have managed to get out and about a bit to make the most of the dry-ish patches whenever we can!
With all this wet weather we have been making a lot of use of Monkey’s wellies and waterproof trousers – he loves puddle splashing and I don’t have to worry about him getting soggy when he’s all kitted out!
It’s also a good motivator to keep him moving when we have a stubborn moment – let’s go find a big puddle! Soon gets him moving again
There’s a lot of squirrels around at the moment and Monkey loves watching them scampering about.
There is a squirrel somewhere in this pic, I think it’s climbing down a fallen log… as it was running off Monkey waved goodbye (bless him!)
(There’s a grey blur on the fence that I think is the squirrel! My phone is ok for close ups but not so good for longer distance pics!)
Yesterday afternoon’s walk to the post office took forever as Monkey just wanted to spin and dance around – and there wasn’t enough puddles around to persuade him to move!
It started to rain on the way home so he was back in his buggy, and to my surprise sat there chuckling the whole way home – apparently Monkey loves the rain!