Children’s Chatter March 2017

March already? Blimey, this year is flying and the kids are growing up faster by the minute. I try and write down some of the gems my kiddies come out with but don’t always manage, and sometimes forget to write a blog post about them, still, here are some that I remember since the last time I wrote a post about them!

Monkey Says (at 4yrs 10 mths)

“When I was a little boy” funny how old and wise a 4 year old can make themselves sound isn’t it?20170305_131934

“On the 7th Sunday” Everything with monkey is on the something’th day. “Can we see granny on the 3rd tuesday?” The dates are completely random but I have to admit I like this random thing of his because he never remembers what he has asked for on which day (I mean, seriously, who could?) which means we can say yes to things we don’t want to do or can’t do, and get away with not doing them :):) haha bad mummy?

Looking in the mirror after a hair wash “hmm stylish”

A transformers programme “I think this is a bit too interesting for me..”

Larking about in the bath “I almost did a hula hoop!”

On finding one of my very long hairs somewhere and holding it up to his head “This is my hair, see, it fits” (errr no darling, your hair isn’t red and is about a 5th of the length haha)

“I was just imagining if, like in the book, we had flaps that you open and see inside our bodies.”

“Look at your bottom, it’s so big!” Um, yeah, thanks darling!

On learning about doctors at school ” They have a Mermometer and a Steposcope”

“Rain goes into the ground then through pipes back into clouds” loving his rationalisation of the water cycle!

“When is my birthday?” it’s the 21st. “We call that 21.” Yes but it’s the 21st day of the month.  “naooo its the 20 last day hahahaha”

I found out this week that one of the girls in his class has told her mum that she wants to marry Monkey. I asked him if he liked her and he said, so so sweetly “I would like to marry her.” My heart melted!!!

My heart also melted when on evening he got out of bed and came downstairs (not my favourite thing for him to do) to tell us “I know how to click my fingers!” he was so proud of himself and it was just adorable. Love our boy!

Little Miss says (at 2 yrs 4 mths)

Little Miss’s speech progression is still pretty slow. She is coming along even if not as quick as I would like. I don’t think she can say quite as much as Monkey did at this age (and we were worried about his lack of speech at the time) but it’s hard to tell. Because it is progressing, even if not as quickly as I would like, I refuse to worry about it!

Some of the things she is saying at the moment:

“Urbit (frog, as in ribbit I think)”

“Wuh, two, wuh, two, wuh, two, teh!” love this imitation of counting. She can say all the numbers from one to ten now when she sees the numbers and it is seriously adorable so I have tried to video it loads of times but she never plays ball haha, minx!

Her numbers sound a bit like “wuh, two, tree, or, yigh, see, seyeah, aigh, nigh, teh”

IMG_20170227_113108_087She was very cute the other day when she came in and I was watching the new Cinderella. It was right at the bit where she is given her pretty blue dress and LM was awestruck “oh, wow, a Dreh!” (dress) She then insisted on finding a dress and it had to be one that reached the floor, and she spent ages pegging it around the house giggling that she couldn’t see her feet!

20170228_121703Her current favourite TV programme is Dora the Explorer “Doo” and I don’t mind too much as she really interacts with it and is often shouting “uh” (up) “dow” (down) or “how” meaning any building amongst other things. It may also be the reason she keeps saying “Pah Bah” (backpack)  and wants to wear her backpack when we go out! We also had a recent obsession with both kids loving some winnie the pooh films, “bear” is what LM called Winnie the pooh himself but her favourite of the films was the heffalump movie, as indicated by her shouting “Ooh” over and over till we put it on. I think it was her impression of an elephant, as she still calls most animals by their sound rather than their names!

One of her funniest habits at the moment is involving food. She makes an “ng” sound to mean she wants food (meant to be an mm sound maybe though we don’t actually know for sure!) and she likes to tell us all to eat. If any of us pause for a second we get “mama/dada/cugger, ng!” while she points from us to our plate. I think this may be as a result of always hearing us nagging her brother to eat, as he can be so slow haha. The funniest though is when she decides she’s hungry. She will lead me by the hand to the kitchen, where she sas “mama, in nair (in there), ng, ng.” She will then close the gate to the kitchen and stand there while I make lunch/dinner. If I dare to step out of the kitchen or any reason before it is ready so screams and go made shouting “ng ng, in nair in nair” over and over until I go back in. Seriously she has become a 50s husband – basically shouting get back in the kitchen and make me some food! Funny girl!

“Tigh t go” or “T go” are her very cute ways of saying she wants to leave, like right now, and she says “go war” for go for a walk and “oh dare” when she sees something over there.

One of her favourite games involves us pretending to be asleep (I really love this game) “go beh” and then waking up when she shouts “Tigh to geh uh, tigh t geh uh!” and repeating endlessly :).

There are still lots of things that she says that only I really understand “too way” means too windy for example and there is yet more that I don’t even understand, bless her, but she really is getting there now! Slowly but surely!

My boy and my worries

Before having children I don’t think you can ever quite comprehend just how much you will love them, or how much you will worry about them! My boy. He’s such a lovely boy, he’s so kind and caring. He’s like a sponge and is learning so much at school, his reading, writing and maths are brilliant for his age. He is so good so much of the time and I know we are very lucky with him. 20170228_201952

He has his moments of course, he doesn’t always want to eat his dinner, but we can usually get him to eat these days thankfully. There’s the usual stuff, arguments about getting in the bath, about getting out of the bath, going to the toilet before we go out, etc.

They don’t worry me… But other things do. I know we are so so lucky with his behaviour and he’s lovely… But he can be hard work in other ways. I sometimes describe him as being very linear, which isn’t really fair as he is empathic and thoughtful and I don’t believe he is on an autism or aspergers spectrum (any more than we all are I suppose). But he has his ways for things. He’s grown out of a lot of it but one example is his swimming and getting water in his face.

Learning to swim is hugely important in my mind, and hubs.’ because of that we took Monkey to swimming lessons fairly young, and carried on with them for a long time, even though it was actually a bit of a nightmare. He screamed the whole session and clung to his daddy. Hubs started to dread Saturday mornings because of the misery it caused both of them.

I’ve written lots about our swimming journey since then and he is much better than he was. As long as the water is warm he isn’t too bad, and by taking things slowly with him we have got to a point where he will swim now with armbands on. I am proud of what we have achieved with him.. But then I see other kids his age or younger who are swimming without any floats or swimming aids, and I know all kids do thing at their own pace, but that doesn’t stop me worrying. Are we ever going to be able to get him confident enough to swim unaided, let alone underwater? Is he going to be behind the other kids at school when they start swimming in a couple of years? Are we failing him by not paying for 1 on 1 swimming lessons? Would he drown if he fell in the water? (not sure when that would happen but I can’t help but imagine the worst case scenario.)

It doesn’t help that he is such a tall boy for his age (at 4 he’s wearing age 7 clothes) . I see people looking at him with his armbands on and I try not to worry about the judgement of others, but it does affect me and I want to justify it, to justify him.

It’s not just his swimming that worries me of course but lots of little things. He can be very clingy, he likes to stay firmly in his comfort zone and doesn’t like trying new things at all. We try to encourage him as much as possible and get there with small things these days like trying new foods (a huge step if you knew what a fussy eater he was) but with other things he is too stubborn for us to win round. I know that all of this is probably just who he is, and I feel guilty for trying to change him, and I wouldn’t want to push him to do something he really doesn’t want to do. But what if we push him to do something he turns out to love? What if we don’t and he never finds it?

I guess it’s the eternal parenting question… Am I doing the right things for my child? Am I being a good parent? The answer is that I still have no idea what I am doing most of the time.

So, I worry. Then I convince myself that he is fine and I’m being daft and he will do things in his own time. Then something else pops up, or someone asks if Monkey does any clubs outside of school and I remember the dance class fiasco. Where he was fine when he was dancing with one of us, but when he had to move up to the next stage and go on his own, and he spent the entire 30 mins crying, every week and the teachers basically ignored him the whole time. Then I worry what he will be like at a different group and if I am a worse parent if I let him not do these things or if I make him go to things.

I’m sorry to anyone still reading, I know this post isn’t really anything more than a jumble of thoughts. I don’t have much of a point, other than that I have no idea what is for the best. This boy of mine is not a straightforward easy to please child, and I’m sure that is a good thing. His stubbornness and intelligence will probably stand him in good stead for the future. But his unwillingness to try something new, and the way he gives up on things so quickly without really trying, won’t, so, I worry. About his entire life, even though he’s only 4. Am I the only daft parent who over thinks and over worries about their children?

Answers on a postcard, please, (or, you know, in the comments below) they are very welcome!

Monkey’s first few months at school

IMG_20170115_195918_007So our little Monkey is  about 4 3/4 and has been at school for about 5 months now. He has changed and grown up so so much in those 5 months that I thought I would write a little update about how he is getting along, and the ups and downs we have with our little school boy. Starting with some real positives, his learning is simply amazing. He is like a little sponge soaking up everything that they are teaching him.

Reading

His reading is amazing to listen to as he just reads so many words now, and sounds out and blends any he doesn’t know. It is wonderful sitting next to him reading his school book and he’s so proud of himself too. With a bit of encouragement (as he can be a bit shy) he has read his books to other family members too and they are all equally proud of him. We get him to read his book 5/6 times a week and can get a new book to read once he has read it twice. We tend to do this because after reading a book a couple of times he is more likely to try to read it from memory rather than looking at the words, so gets it wrong more often the more he reads it. The school recommends reading a minimum of twice a week but it has just become part of our routine now that he reads a story after dinner so he reads a few little books a week (pink band level) and this seems to be working well for him.IMG_20170124_174052

Writing

His writing is so good now too. It has been a bit harder for me to get him to practice writing at home, as quite often my suggestions to do it are met with a cheerful “no thank you” and if I push him he just gets grumpy and it’s not the right atmosphere for it then! Having said that he wrote the names in all 60 of his christmas cards to classmates and I think that all that practice definitely helped. I now try to get him to write things for a purpose. For example if we have been building something, and playing with something I try to get him to write a sentence about it. One day he came home from school so excited about what they had learned about ice that day and, as I normally struggle to get much out of him about what happens at school (“I can’t bermember,” “I just did lots of things”), I decided to capitalise on it and he wrote a sentence about ice and water. We’ve done similar writing a couple of times now and he is getting a tiny bit more enthusiastic about it.PhotoGrid_1485784890689

I have been so impressed with the way he has been learning reading and writing with his phonics at school. Last week I went for a stay and play session at the school which was so much fun. It’s hard to know really what is going on behind the school gates every day so it was lovely to see it for myself. There’s obviously a lot of play and most of the time that is what they were up to, but there were also sessions on phonics and maths. I loved the games they used as part of the phonics lessons and the kids did so much writing it was lovely to see and made it quite apparent why his progress has been so fast!

I remember a couple of years ago, talking to a friend about whether to send her summer born 4yr old to foundation stage at school, because they don’t legally have to start until age 5. I remember at the time thinking the foundation is a good segway between nursery and school because they are at school but mainly still playing. I now actually think that it is really important kids don’t miss out on the foundation year, because of how much I have seen them all learning. Monkey is a May baby so technically could have started later, but I’m glad he didn’t. We always felt he was ready and now know we were right. I fear that any child starting at age 5 straight into year 1 may be really quite behind. I definitely don’t think Monkey’s progress in reading and writing would be anywhere near what it is, if his learning were down to me. I definitely don’t have the skills or knowledge that his teachers do in this area!

Maths

I also got to see a maths session at the school and that was so lovely. Again I have been impressed as they have been learning about counting in two’s recently and when I was there they were working out “3 lots of 2″ and how the x sign means the same as “lots of.” Basically they are learning the 2 times table already, and the kids were lapping it up. Just lovely to watch. Monkey has always loved numbers so he kept turning around grinning and giving me the thumbs up during that session!

Drawing

Monkey has loved drawing for a while, and his drawings lately are just getting so good and so imaginative that I had to share a few here. He has a particular love of drawing instructions, like this one of instructions for how to build a house, but I just think all of is drawings are brilliant. Proud mummy moment! :)PhotoGrid_1485785015224

Friends

On the whole, Monkey has been pretty happy at school. He comes bounding out of school so happy every day and like I say, he loves to learn. He has always been quite a shy and sensitive soul though. he has started off pretty well in terms of friends, there seems to be a fair amount of children he plays with at different times and on the whole he has been quite happy. He quite often tells me he played with so and so and so and so on the playground and they played superheroes or police or something. Recently though, he has had a bit of an upset with his closest friend, F. F’s mum and I are really close friends so we see quite a lot of each other and had even got into a bit of a rhythm of walking to school together. I think because F and Monkey are such good friends that they began to have a bit of a power struggle and F said some things that upset Monkey. Nothing major, but things like “I’m not sure if you will be able to come to my party, I’ll have to see if there’s room” and “that bell on your bike is a baby bell.” You know, 4yr old stuff but it did bother Monkey a bit.

Speaking to other mums and the teachers and it seems to be happening amongst a lot of the kids at the moment. They got really friendly with one or two children and then the power play started. It’s what kids do as they are learning about other people and friendships etc. as well as all the academic stuff, so it’s natural they will say things to provoke a reaction, or have their feelings hurt by another kid. Having watched some of the “secret life of…” programmes, I’ve seen it and I guess am not that surprised by it… but the reality was still pretty hard. F’s mum was horrified at what he was saying to Monkey and I’ve been torn between hating seeing my little boy hurt in any way… and knowing that he has got to learn to deal with it, because it is all part of life. Sometimes people say things either intending to hurt you, or not thinking about whether it may hurt you.

It was a tricky few days and Monkey didn’t want to walk with F to school anymore, and said “F makes me sad” which broke my heart a little. I think that extra bit of space has helped and they seem back on good terms again now. I know the teachers have been talking to the children about not saying things that are mean or exclusive too so hopefully that is helping all round! I’m sure there will be many more times where things like this happen over the years though!

Tears

This tricky patch coincided with us really taking a backwards step and Monkey being tearful saying goodbye in the mornings. Back in September we expected to go through this phase but never did, he was so happy and excited to be going to school that he didn’t cry at all. Then a few days in to the new term in January and he started crying. Possibly brought about by the slight change of routine they have introduced, where on a Monday and Friday morning they have to sit on the carpet and get ready for assembly, rather than having a play to start off the day as they did before. It could also have been the spat with his friend but even after talking about these things and trying to resolve the issue, it didn’t seem to be getting any better. He was so happy coming out of school every day, and was happy even when dropping him off, right until the very second we said goodbye, when his face would crumple and the sobbing would start.

It was such a depressing start to the day to leave him so unhappy, especially when we couldn’t figure out the reason. After randomly finding one of hubs’ old sets of lego in the loft that Monkey hadn’t seen before, we decided to try a new tack. Because it was feeling like the crying had become a bit of a habit, rather than because he was really upset about something, we decided to give a little incentive to stop the tears. One week without tears and he could have the lego we found. Right from the first day of this bargain being struck, the tears stopped. He left with a big grin on his face. His teacher also noticed and praised him for it so he told her “my mummy says I can have new lego if I don’t cry every day.” I have to admit to being nervous about her reaction to this but she seemed equally pleased that it was working. If there had actually been something bothering him, I doubt the promise of lego would have stopped the tears. Even now, after he has the lego, we still haven’t had any more tears. So, phew to that!

Tiredness

One definite downside to school is the tiredness it brings for our little Monkey. He can be quite crotchety at times and he really is, just, tired. He gets really tearful sometimes, and often about the most irrational of things. He had a meltdown about putting his shoes away one afternoon, and a full on meltdown over the weekend about blowing his nose because he insisted that he couldn’t do it. This morning was particularly frustrating as he started to cry about his name. Yes, his name. At school, when there is a word that can’t be sounded out phonetically, it is called a “tricky word”. Such as “go” for example, it isn’t guh oh, goh, it’s go, and that is a “tricky word.” Monkey’s name is a “tricky word” too and this morning we had sobbing because “I don’t want my name to be a tricky word.” There is just no reasoning with him when he is in that mood so I just decided to change the subject and move on! Daft Monkey!

He also uses tiredness as an excuse though, especially when it comes to eating dinners. He is so slow at eating and often sits there and says “I’m too tired to eat.” We, of course, point out that eating food gives you energy, and stops you being tired…. but he refuses to accept that fact!

So, negatives aside, he is doing so well at school. He’s such a happy chap and on the whole, such a good boy. He loves the PRIDE code that they have at school and loves to recite the words it stands for “polite, respectful, independent, do your best and everyone matters.” He gets quite irritated that is little sister doesn’t yet follow these rules too lol.

At home

Monkey’s learning and growing doesn’t stop at school. He loves to learn basically constantly. I got a couple of new books recently that he loves, one is an atlas and another is a book about the human body which has lots of flaps you lift to look at. It’s a great book and he said yesterday “I was just imagining if like in the book, we had flaps that you open and see inside our bodies.” Bless him. He loves baking with one or the other of us and a LOT of time is spent playing lego when he is at home, and some of his creations are brilliant. We went on a nature hunt at the weekend which was great fun, and he’s just getting so grown up.

As a result, we have also been asking him to help out a little more. Just simple stuff,  he makes his bed in the morning, lays the table at dinner and puts his clothes in the laundry basket at the end of the day. So far he is doing really well with those and most importantly is happy to do them.PhotoGrid_1485793908458

Feeling very proud of our boy after writing all of this down :).

 

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Me and Mine Sept/Oct 2016 – an autumn walk

I’m a bit late joining in with the fab Me and Mine linky this month. In fact I wasn’t planning on joining up at all as the only shot I have of us as a family this month is one on our bikes, which isn’t the best.img-20160924-wa0000

But then today, after a slightly odd morning with ratty kiddies who are coming down with colds (and therefore slightly ratty parents too) we decided to get out and get some fresh air on a little autumnal walk. We found the most conkers I’ve ever seen in my life and had a good old nature hunt in general.photogrid_1475411475375

Then during a little game of family hide and seek we managed to grab a few very happy family selfies.
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We had a lovely walk and as always a bit of fresh air did us all the world of good. So this is us, at the beginning of October, enjoying autumn.20161002_123809_000-268

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Monkey and Mouse

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Monkey’s first week at school

So this week saw a big change in our little household. A change we have been preparing for for a long time, yet still seemed to creep on us. Monkey started school!  It’s just mornings this week, and afternoons next week before going full time the week after that. Doesn’t he look so grown up though?20160916_140615

After a few tears on arrival at all of his settling in sessions in July, we fully expected the same to happen in the first couple of weeks. We had done our best to enthuse about school and to focus on all the great things he would do, and though we knew he would love it when he was there, we really thought there would be some initial tears.

So we were hugely surprised when the time came and he gave us each a big kiss and a cuddle, smiled and said “see you later!” before getting stuck straight in to playing with connex. Hugely surprised and obviously hugely proud too. Our boy! He had said on the walk to school “I won’t cry, I cried before because I didn’t have my uniform, but now I do. So I won’t need to cry!” I don’t care what his reasons were but the fact remained there were no tears and by all accounts he loved every minute. photogrid_1474031586082

It’s notoriously difficult to get out of kids what they have gotten up to at school, and having experienced this at preschool too, we try to ask a number of questions through the rest of the day to prompt him (what song did you sing? Do you read any stories? Did you do any drawings? Etc.).  Not like an inquisition just as part of conversations through the rest of the day. So it was we discovered he had sung a song and had an apple for his snack (or a couple of bites at least haha). We also knew he had played with the water wall outside as he came out in a different top to the one he went in wearing!

The drop off on day 2 went just as well and that day he was due to stay for lunch. I’m obviously nervous about how much he would eat but his teacher had said they encourage them to eat a good amount of their mains before letting them turn their plate round to eat their pudding. He was very enthusiastic when he came out about his meatballs and pasta and carrots bless him so I think that went pretty well.

On the 3rd day he read a book about a diver, built a pirate ship out of a plank and wheels “and everything else” outside. He ate a banana for his snack (only teeny bites apparently but still better than we can get him to do) and he also got a badge for his “house team” and his team is yellow. He adores his badge and is so proud to wear it everyday haha.20160916_141757

Unfortunately that night at bedtime as he was running in to LM’s bedroom to say goodnight to her, he tripped and fell face first on the floor. There was blood everywhere and he went into school the next day with such a swollen lip that I had to tell his teacher. I managed to get Monkey to tell me later that she had asked him and found out he had told her what had happened. Then he did a drawing of a hospital and a Dr’s note. He then announced at dinner that night that the drawing was in his pocket. On inspection of his trousers (which had been swapped for shorts as soon as we got home as it was a hot day) I found a very screwed up piece of paper that was indeed his drawing. 20160915_172216

It was a hospital with a person in a window who was “daddy when the Dr bandaged his knee but he’s all better now though he can walk now he can’t run but he can walk.” Love his verbal diarrhoea descriptions of things.

That afternoon playing on our neighbour’s trampoline Monkey’s friend landed on his head and his sunglasses cut his cheek. Thankfully it didn’t look too bad the next day as starting to worry the school will think we are harming him or something!

Friday morning we thankfully got him into school before the rain started and by all accounts he had a lovely time. He apparently played outside in his splashsuit twice and sang a new version of humpty dumpy which he loves and thinks is hilarious.

The afternoon school run was pretty miserable with the rain but I think I will just have to get used to those! Next week is going to be a bit odd as he is just going for a couple of hours every afternoon, but then the week after it will be full time. I’m so so proud of our boy though, he has handled it all so so well. I’m proud of us too as obviously we did just the right amount of preparation for it with him to give our boy, who can be very nervous of change, the confidence to go in happily. We have a schoolboy, seems a bit hard to believe really.

As for how I coped.. well I was more emotional than I thought I would be for the first couple of days, which I wondered whether was because I was so geared up for tears from Monkey that I didn’t know what to do when he was fine! I was so proud but it was also a bit of an anti-climax. I’m not much of a crier, or that good at showing my emotions at times and I was just so so focussed on making sure Monkey was fine. So when he was fine and didn’t actually need my help or reassurance I just felt a bit odd! So I had a few snappy irritable days and feeling like I wanted to cry over absolutely nothing… then eventually talked through how I felt with hubs and a couple of friends and as often happens with me, felt like a huge weight had lifted and I have been alright since really. I need to learn not to bottle things up I really do! Enough about me though as this is Mnkey’s adventure and we are so so proud of how he has taken it all in his stride!

How did your little one settle in to the first week of school?

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Siblings September 2016

We’ve had such a lovely summer holiday and the last month has seen so many gorgeous moments between our lovely pair that I don’t really know where to start. As such I apologise for the glut of images but I can’t help snapping away when they are being adorable with each other, and this linky does give me the opportunity to show those images to the world.

So, as ever, my children love to mess with each other. It’s pretty equal and both usually give as good as they get, and are tolerant of each other, resulting in lots of lovely giggles. There are times when one isn’t in the mood but those times are rare and they generally have so much fun together. photogrid_1473602607206

They love playing together and although there are times when LM messes up what Monkey wants to be doing (like running over to stand on the picture he was painting when we were painting outside last week, before running off with a huge cheeky grin on her face!), there are more times when she just plays alongside him. I particularly love how they sit and play lego together in his bedroom. So cute! photogrid_1473603516697

Monkey is so overprotective of his sister and always wants to make sure she’s ok. Sometimes I have to tell him that he should go and have fun as I am there to look after her. He doesn’t always think I am doing a good job though, so I am not sure what that says about my parenting haha. In truth though he thinks he is a parent too I think which is lovely but I do wish he wasn’t such a worrier sometimes. Still, it makes for some lovely moments where he says he is looking after her. photogrid_1473685688524

The loveliest recent development is that LM, who is not the biggest of hand-holders at the best of times, now loves to hold her brother’s hand. It started on a recent outing where we had a stand off going and LM would not walk the direction we were going. We were trying to move on so she would catch up when she wasn’t getting our attention for her behaviour, but Monkey, with his over-protectiveness, did not approve of this method. He did not like that we were leaving her behind so I announced “I will go get her.” Now, if hubs or I had gone and taken her hand to lead her then all hell would have broken loose, but, miraculously she allowed Monkey to lead her by the hand. photogrid_1473604113753

From then on she has not only allowed him to hold her hand but actively demands he hold her hand sometimes, which we do find completely adorable.photogrid_1473607111665

Monkey doesn’t always want to comply with her demands, it has to be said, but is a bit of a softy and usually relents. I love this video of a very reluctant superhero gradually giving in to his little sister’s demands and holding her hand!

Another little development has been an addition to our bedtime routine. Once LM has had her stories read, it is time for her to say goodnight to her brother with a kiss and cuddle. Just adorable! 20160912_142002

I think that covers most of their recent cuteness together! When this post is published Monkey will have only just started his week of mornings at school and I think LM won’t really have missed him much. But I get the feeling that as he starts doing full days that she really will note his absence. I wonder how their relationship will change as a result.

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Hello Autumn!

Well, it’s official, we are now well into September and Autumn has well and truly arrived. There’s lots I love about autumn but if I’m honest there are some things I don’t love about it too.

What I love

Every outing can turn into a nature trail

Monkey is constantly on the hunt for acorns at the moment and I have had to explain it is still a bit early for conkers. In addition to the usual sticks that come home with us even after the shortest walk, we now have leaves and acorns and all sorts of other bits entering the house on a daily basis. Hubs is less than impressed by this haha.photogrid_1473574575444

Blackberry picking!

We have already been blackberry picking 5 times locally and once when visiting Auntie mags. We’ve had 3 blackberry crumbles already and a freezer filled with blackberries. Always great fun foraging with the kiddies and yummy free food afterwards, win win!photogrid_1473575030571

Crisp air and sunny skies

I’ve always loved a fresh autumn day and though we aren’t quite there yet this year I am looking forward to those crisp mornings.

Puddle jumping

While I don’t exactly love the rain that autumn can bring, the kids do adore puddle splashing and we’ll I adore their happy faces. Thank goodness for waterproofs is all I can say!photogrid_1473575386322

Kicking up leaves

Always one of the best autumn activities and I am looking forward to kicking the leaves with both kiddies this year, especially LM as she is older and I think will appreciate it more this year.

What I don’t love

Big horrible spiders

Yes at this time of year the big beasties find their way inside. We’ve actually been really lucky since moving in here and haven’t had many… But already 2 this year so our luck ha changed. I’m less terrified of them than I used to be and really try and put a brave face on for the kids, but in truth they still scare the bejeesus out of me and make me feel quite nauseous. Eurgh definitely not something I like about this time of year.

A big beastie running across the floor the other night

A big beastie running across the floor the other night

Getting darker in the day

We often get out in the late afternoon with the kids and have lovely evening walks in the summer so I’m not looking forward to the darker evenings. Especially not in winter when it is dark around 4pm! Just not the same being outside in the dark. Also, since becoming a runner this will really test me, not so nice running through the local woods in the dark is it? So I guess I will be pounding pavements with street lighting instead through the winter!

Germs

With colder weather inevitably come germs too. One of my friends’ little boy has already come down with croup this year and I so hope neither of ours get it again this year! Absolutely terrifying when your little one is struggling to breathe in the early hours and just hope we are luckier this year! Even without croup though we are bound to get a heck of a lot of germs, especially with Monkey starting school. The coughing through the night and covering everyone with menthol rub and just generally feeling rubbish while trying to parent a poorly and ratty child. Yeah not looking forward to that aspect of the next few months.

We’ve had a really wonderful summer this year, so full of smiles. While there are definitely downsides to the colder months so far we are having a fun autumn (it helps that the weather has still been really good, on the whole) and will no doubt have tonnes of fun over the rest of autumn and winter. I just hope we aren’t too unlucky with all the germs this year!

What do you love and loathe about autumn? What’s your favourite time of year?

MummascribblesBest of WorstMonkey and Mouse

Baking with our new bowl from House of Fraser

With the recent start of the new GBBO series, baking season is in full swing. We love baking in our house and it’s great to be inspired watching the brilliant bakers… Even if that isn’t so great for our waistlines! The kids love baking too, especially Monkey, so it is often a family affair in our house. Which is why I was super excited to receive this gorgeous new bowl from House of Fraser recently and couldn’t wait to try it out. 20160826_092723

The design is gorgeous, with a real country kitchen feel. Apparently Hubs’ Nana had a similar one growing up, and I’m sure mine did too actually so it conjures up lots of memories of yummy smells and delicious food. I’m sure I saw a very similar one in the Bake Off tent recently too!

The kids and I put it to the test with a simple biscuit recipe from the Queen of Bake Off herself, Mary Berry. As LM is mainly in a play and explore mode she had her own little bowl of ingredients to,  erm,  have fun with, while Monkey and I got on with the serious baking in our gorgeous new bowl. PhotoGrid_1473080336913

The bowl was perfect and once the dough was ready I rolled it out and the kids helped make some biscuits in the shape of stars and, um, stormtroopers. Haha, probably not quite the shape Mary Berry had in mind when creating this recipe! PhotoGrid_1473080736068

Once they had baked it was time to decorate with simple water icing and sprinkles. I was pleasantly surprised how LM did with the sprinkles actually and some actually made their way into the biscuits! By this point Monkey was far more interested in eating the ingredients than helping any more!PhotoGrid_1473081094949

I love baking with the kids but it can seriously stress me out at times too trying to actually end up with something edible by the end haha. Hence keeping it simple with the recipe, but don’t be fooled by the seemingly perfect serene images, I was definitely irritable by the end. The clean up too, argh! 20160902_104008

One of my favourite things about our new bowl though is that it can be washed in the dishwasher! Hooray! That is such a must for me these days. Even though Monkey had basically licked it clean it went in the dishwasher with all the other bits meaning I could give the kitchen itself a good clean up without leaving the kids to their own devices for too long.

Thanks House of Fraser, our new bowl is the perfect addition to our kitchen!

Disclosure: we received this bowl foc in exchange for this review, however all thoughts, opinions and images are my own.

Monkey and his swimming, August 2016

I don’t know about you but since becoming a parent I worry all the time. Am I doing a good job? Is that the right decision? Am I doing something that will come back and bite me later? Swimming is something that has caused me a lot of worry over the past 4 years. I love swimming and I think it’s such an important life skill so I always thought I would get Monkey swimming early on.

But when Monkey was a baby I struggled so much with the day to day that swimming went to the back of my mind. With his colic and sleep troubles I couldn’t conceive it. Then we discovered that a routine worked so well for him and I didn’t want to do anything that mucked it up for him.

As he got older we checked out swimming lessons at a fabulous specialised pool near us, but they were so expensive! And I guess we were not convinced about the long term as it felt like once we started we would have to keep on going in order for him to keep the skills and that was looking like a phenomenal amount of money over the years. After our first holiday abroad where he loved the pool I was determined to start lessons. We found cheaper lessons at a local pool and hubs started taking him every Saturday… With varying degrees of success. To be honest sometimes it was a nightmare. The water in the pool wasn’t that warm and for the most part Monkey absolutely hated it and would scream for most of the session.

Loving swimming on our first holiday abroad

Loving swimming on our first holiday abroad

It was on a Saturday morning and it got to the point where every Saturday hubs would come home in such a foul frustrated mood with a tearful shattered Monkey and it was just not the way to start the weekend. So the lessons were shelved for a bit. On holiday last year I had hoped for a repeat of our previous holiday fun, but it was not to be as the pools there were so cold and Monkey absolutely refused to get in. LM loved it so at least that was something.

Very chilly Monkey after trying out the pool on holiday last year

Very chilly Monkey after trying out the pool on holiday last year

It may sound crazy but as honestly felt like we were failing Monkey. He needs to learn to swim and I want him to enjoy it but it just felt like noyhijg we did worked. I looked again at the expensive lessons but he is now too old to go to that pool. It didn’t help that in checking it out I saw them so proud of children Monkey’s age who were swimming 5 metres unaided etc. I felt like we had missed a window of opportunity.

Earlier this year we started taking the kids to a local baby pool a bit irregularly but on Sunday mornings. It is a love warm pool and I wrote how we were having a bit of success. Monkey was happy to go there for one thing and didn’t spend the whole time screaming. LM loved it too so it was lovely for all of us.

We have still been going, fairly intermittently but I have still been nagged by doubt and feeling we should do more. I have gone round and round in circles with it and felt like I was making both kids miss out by not taking them to lessons but felt I couldn’t take LM to lessons while Monkey was still not swimming. It just highlighted how little he could do.

Anyway, I am writing this having just come home from probably the best experience swimming with Monkey ever. He was kicking his legs and arms while we held him, and then instead of insisting on walking like a spaceman the rest of the time, he independently learned that he could float with his armbands on, and spent ages floating and kicking his legs and just having so much fun with it.20160726_131852

I’d also taken our swimfin along with us. After reading loads of great reviews last year I bought one, but other than once at home I have never been able to persuade him to put it on. It took some doing and LM had to wear it for a bit first, but we did get Monkey wearing it… And he swam! With the swim fun and arm bands he swam all by himself, a good doggy paddle and he just did it. Everything we have been saying to him and doing with him has clearly paid off.

We were so proud! And relieved, as it feels like we are finally on our way. We will carry on with what we are doing and when he is much more confident in the water we will start normal swimming lessons. For now though it feels like we have overcome a major hurdle!

Ethans Escapades
Best of Worst

Siblings August 2016

I love the relationship between my little two. It’s everything a sibling relationship should be, in my mind. They have so much fun playing together, they mess with each other, wind each other up, drive each other crazy and love each other fiercely.

The big change this month though is how protective our Monkey has gotten over his little sister. Such a good big brother but I do wish he would worry less sometimes, as that’s our job. She’s at an age where she falls over a lot and seems to have constantly grazed knees, this doesn’t bother her for more than a few seconds each time, but he hates seeing her get hurt and constantly tries to prevent it. “don’t run! Mummy stop her running. Mummy you have to carry her so she doesn’t fall over!” He’s also her little defender “Mummy, you took that away from LM and that’s not fair!” Never mind the fact that she just whacked me with it or threw it!

LM is talking a bit more now (I will write a separate post about this) and Monkey loves it. He can’t wait for her talk and gets so excited and proud of her when she says something. He has also started initiating little conversations with her.
Monkey: “Ooh look LM I’ve got longer legs than you”
Me: “Yes you do have longer legs than LM”
Monkey: “Excuse me, I was talking to LM”

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They have so much fun together and I adore hearing the giggles as they play, and looking to see what they are up to and seeing their grins. But it also makes me chuckle when they wind each other up as actually for the most part they both find it funny when they do it to each other. But of course Monkey can annoy her by going too far, and vice versa.PhotoGrid_1471092104152

Still, all part of the sibling fun eh? We are actually very fortunate with how well they get on though,and they sre cute with each other far far more than anything else. We shall see how that changes as they grow and when she can answer him back haha.

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dear beautiful
Little Hearts, Big Love