A wildflower meadow in the suburbs

We live in the suburbs. A very leafy open suburb built in the early 80s mind you which is a lot less crammed in than some modern developments, but is a suburb nonetheless. I’ve always liked the idea of living somewhere more rural but I am a pretty practical person, and well I like my conveniences close by. Also as a teenager my best friends lived on a village with limited bus services and it was a complete pain for them to ever get anywhere without lifts from parents and I don’t want that for our kids. May seem like a daft reason to some I know! I do love the peace of the countryside but like to think we have the best of both worlds where we live as there is lots of open space to run and play but we are also close enough to everywhere we want to be able to ‘pop’ to.

Why am I banging on about this? Well, randomly amongst our little suburban area is a touch of the countryside. A little meadow filled with wild flowers that changes with the seasons. I have no idea why it is there and hasn’t ever been built on but I love it. It is actually surrounded on all sides by housing estates and a dual carriageway… But through so many layers of trees that while you are there you can almost forget that you aren’t in the countryside.WP_20160524_16_16_10_Pro

I took the kids there the other day and enjoyed watching them run free, chase bubbles in the wind, hide in the grass and generally just enjoy themselves. With the blue skies and sea yellow buttercups it was a beautiful summery afternoon.field 1

As you can see, the kids absolutely loved it, monkey especially loved exploring and letting his imagination run free as he did so. And I loved watching, and taking hundreds of photos of course!field 2

There is no greater purpose to this post than that really. Just a lovely afternoon in the sun with my kiddies.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays CornwallLife UnexpectedMummascribbles

A 4th Birthday Party

This weekend our gorgeous boy turned 4. For ages we had been trying to work out what to do and how to celebrate it. Party or no party? He is only 4 after all. We saw packages at our favourite farm with soft play that seemed like a good deal but also ended up working out very expensive by the time you included all our friends’ children. Then we talked about doing something different. Taking him to cbeebies land or something as a treat instead. He’s so young, will he even remember a party at this age? Then I realised I can remember my 4th birthday party at a local community centre with a few friends and a fab cake my mum made.

My 4th Birthday way back :)

My 4th Birthday way back :)

Also, Monkey started asking for a party and asking for specific friends to come. In the couple of months leading to his birthday we have 6 family birthdays and about 10 friends with birthdays. It is a time with a lot of celebrations and lots of parties and cakes and blowing out candles. How could we deny our little Monkey a party of his own when we go to so many others?

I had to convince hubs slightly as he thought it would be too stressful. We went to a 4yr olds party a couple of years ago where there were lots of party games and any kid who lost was in tears and there was fighting over presents and it was a bit crazy! So we decided only a couple of simple games where everyone is the winner. They are so young after all and plenty of time to learn about being a good loser. Even keeping it really simple there was a lot to organise in the run up to the big day. It was fun but hard work too. We hired our local community centre for couple of hours for £24, bought a bubble machine and a laser light and then got some pirate themed bits and bobs.5_21_2016 7_35_30 PM

The kids were so happy running round chasing balloons and bubbles and having fun together. Thankfully the rain that was forecast held off and they were able to play outside. I had hidden some plastic coins outside and planned to do a treasure hunt.. But forgot and let the kids out to play. Haha oops! But they all enjoyed finding them anyway and were so proud of their treasure. We also bought some modelling balloons and set the parents to work making swords and flowers and anything else they could manage which was funny and well kids love balloons don’t they?5_21_2016 7_38_14 PM

We then did a pass the parcel which was funny as there were sweets in each layer and by the end they were all too busy chomping on sweets to care about playing and they all needed a lot of prompting! We also tried sleeping lions but that didn’t go down as well, some of the younger ones were just too young really.5_21_2016 7_44_23 PM

Food wise I just cooked some cheese pizzas beforehand and had pom bear crisps, popcorn and chopped strawberries and grapes.5_21_2016 7_41_38 PM

I made the cake and to be honest I probably could have bought a better one and it would have been much easier than the faff of making one and icing it etc…. But I remember loving the cakes my mum made us and even if they are rubbish I hope my kids remember the cakes I make in the same way. Monkey loved his cake today and it tasted nice so that’s all that matters really.IMG-20160521-WA0014

Overall the party went really well and everyone seemed to have a really good time. Later on at home we asked Monkey if he enjoyed his party. His response was

“I really really did so so much. ”

That makes it all worthwhile and I am so glad we did it.5_21_2016 7_56_00 PM

And then the fun began...MummascribblesBest of Worst

Monkey is 4!

Hard to believe but I have been a parent for 4 whole years, to this beautiful little boy of mine.

Monkey is 4

This little Monkey is now not so little but he is definitely still a Monkey! He seems more and more grown up all the time and I honestly have to remind myself sometimes that he is still such a little boy really, especially as he is so tall (3’6 1/2″), as it makes it easy to forget he isn’t older. Sometimes with him it feels as if he is two different boys, he can be the sweetest soul imaginable, or can be a defiant and aggravating little terror. I think that is pretty normal though and at least the second boy isn’t around all the time.

So what do I mean? Well he is such a sweet and caring boy. He can be so so good with his sister and so kind and caring to everyone. On our recent holiday he shared his ice cream with his sister, and was trying to help her put her shoes on and off. We recently overheard him saying to her “it’s a broken one darling” and I can’t help but melt at him calling his sister darling, even when I know he is just copying us really. He tells us he loves us all the time and has recently told his sister and I that “we will be friends forever”. I do hope that is true! He adores all his friends and family and loves being around people.

He drives us crazy frequently, as I will explain later, and one day recently after a particulalry frustrtaing mealtime, hubs and I were bickering about what was best to do about it. We were both so frustrated and tired of the mealtime battles with him and were so grumpy with each other. Monkey, with all the wisdom of an almost 4 year old, came over and said “So we’ve got a problem. We need to stop arguing.” To which hubs and I responded that we were arguing because he refused to eat his dinner again and that that was the problem. He walked away for a think and hubs and I sat seething slightly in silence (noone wants their child to tell them to stop arguing). He then came back in, walked over to Daddy, gave him a cuddle and said “This is how we look after each other. We give each other cuddles.” Then he came over and cuddled up to me. We were still so cross but it was hard not to melt slightly about our little boy trying to console us, even though it was because of him in the first place!!monkey 2

He is so clever and is learning so much all the time at this age. The things he comes out with at times though are hilarious! Some are accurate and some are so randomly timed, for example randomly telling an uncle that we see all the time “We’ve got a new room and it’s got a white carpet and white walls” one day, despite said uncle having been in our “new” room many times since the garage conversion last year haha. Others are funny as they show the way he is trying to make sense of the world around him.

A few examples.

One day in the bath he was pretending he was LM, Daddy was Mummy and vice versa and it was very cute, then he announces  “But I can still speak boy language” haha I wish I spoke boy language my darling.

“There’s another great idea coming on”

“I forgot to tell the hairdresser that I have a hurty knee! Silly me I forgot”

When walking to/from his grandparents’ house and announcing “This is the quickest way” while heading down a route that is most certainly not the quickest way. Sometimes I indulge him and he does concede that it was a long way, other times I don’t have the time and ooh tantrums.

Giving me a science lesson “These are buds and then they will grow like this”

“My pink skin is gone again” (when he has painted his hands.)

“Excuse me, I have some really important news…  This pot is broken”

“Excuse me but you hurt me a bit” (the sofa)

He says “excuse me” a lot actually and it can be very sweet as it sounds so polite!

When we were talking about St George and St George’s Day, I explained that he fought a dragon, and Monkey announced  “He tickled the dragon and made it good.” clearly learned from “how to train your dragon” and one of many examples of how impressionable he is at the moment. He has been enjoying watching Peppa Pig a lot lately and has picked up some great, and some less great phrases from that programme! He loves repeating “That was a stroke of luck” but he also loves saying “why” as a result of an episode where George says “why” all the time, and has also decided that some things are boys things and some things are girls things after an episode where they do something similar. For the most part I actually like Peppa Pig but I have slightly cursed it a few times for the things he has chosen to learn from it!

He’s also really impressionable when it comes to other children. A new family recently moved nearby and their son is a few years older than Monkey. Unfortnately he is also quite badly behaved though and not a great unfluence for Monkey at the age he is at. He is really overexuberant screaming and being crazy which Monkey copies, but also says things about boobies and poo poo and if Monkey doesn’t do what he wants then he says “we’re not friends anymore”, calls Monkey a baby and storms off. Monkey then repeats these things at home and it is difficult, because I know he will learn these things in time anyway, but I am not particularly a believer in the “boys are just boisterous” mentality and he also needs to learn that it isn’t ok to behave like that, in my opinion.

Because as sweet as Monkey can be, remember I said that there is another side to him, ooh well his behaviour can be awful at times. Most of it, I know is just testing his boundaries and to be honest, attention seeking. As much as I know he loves his sister he can get terribly jealous of her. I do feel sorry for him at times as he has this little sister who is cute as a button and who charms everyone she meets. A sister who is very attention seeking and a complete diva of a madam when she doesn’t get what she wants. Plus she is still so young and needs more of our attention at times. So it is no wonder our boy plays up to get our attention too. He always wants whatever she has and can be terrible at times when I know he really just wants our attention.

Mealtimes are the worst and honestly they can be variable, with him eating really well some days, to taking hours to eat anything other days. With him screaming no and refusing point blank to even try something that I know he likes, or just sitting playing with his fingers and singing instead of eating anything so that we get wound up and he is sat there for over an hour by which time we have lost our rag with him. We try ignoring him but that doesn’t seem to work as how long can you ignore your child for? We try threats but then he just says ok and trots off to bed or wherever and is happy to take the punishment as it means he gets his own way and doesn’t have to eat.

Most of the rest of the time the naughty spot does still work and often even the threat of it, though I hate having to get that far. The arguments we have over everything are just exhausting some days. Arguing about needing the toilet, about wearing a coat about wearing shoes or wellies, about tidying his toys, about having a drink. Honestly that is just so far today and there will certianly be arguments about mealtime, bathtime, bedtime, etc, etc, etc to come today! Again though I have to remind myself that until now, he wasn’t even 4. Sometimes because his sister can be such hard work, I can often expect a lot of our little Monkey. I expect him to be so grown up when really his behavious is perfectly normal for his age.

So, back to good things. and our little Monkey is learning so much all of the time now. He is so good on his scooter (finally) and starting to get to grips with his bicycle too, whough I think we have a way to go with that one yet. He loves drawing and writing and writes his full name (including surname) with ease and has even written some of his friends names. He so wants to be able to write everything, and the same goes for reading. There are lots of words that he can recognise and tries to read many others on signs when we are out and about too. His drawing is brilliant his imaginative play has come on so much.

IMG-20160213-WA0002He adores playing with lego, especially his Daddy’s old Star Wars Lego. In fact he loves anything Star Wars, particularly Darth Vader (though he is a good darth vader apparently) and loves watching the films and playing lego on afternoons when he is at home and LM is asleep. He has also recently discovered Transformers in the form of one of Daddy’s old toys and he adores playing with Optimus Prime.

He loves playing games with us all too and actually one of his favourite toys is a baby dolly, who is his baby and who goes to bed with him at night. Along with his fave comforter Doggy Bear, and Dr Wilber, one of his Daddy’s old teddies who is also now a dr apparently who is the only one who can comfort Monkey when he has a cut or splinter or something. Even if he “says” exactly the same things Mummy or Daddy have been saying…

He is such a character and is so full of fun, and is sometimes a complete little loony. In fact one of his favourite games is “running round like loonies” and “running round like loonies then cuddling” bless him. He has a great sense of humour and loves to laugh, he is also such a good boy on the whole. He is so polite and tries his best (when he wants to) and is growing up so much all the time.MOnkey

Looking back at photos for this post has been interesting actually. I sometimes feel like I neglect him these days because of his sister being around and I also think I don’t give him enough special attention, or enough credit for how well behaved he is. So my promise to my darling boy is that Mummy will try and do better. I love him so much, he changed my world the day he made me a Mummy and I wouldn’t be without him for a second.

IMG-20160315-WA0000

Little Hearts, Big LoveEthans EscapadesNot My Year Off

Lots of fun outdoors in the sun.

I am so British and I talk about the weather far too often but hasn’t the weather been glorious this week? So nice to finally feel the warmth of the sun and we have spent a lot of time outdoors enjoying it.

Last weekend we spent a lot of time outdoors doing some gardening. We were due to have some friends to visit but their little girls came down with a nasty stomach bug poor things so that had to cancel at the last minute. We thought we would take the opportunity to do a few bits on our front garden as we have finally had the driveway finished and it was time to lay some turf and do a bit of reorganising out there.PhotoGrid_1462451960395

Bank holiday Monday we went to meet some friends at NT Stowe for the day, I will share more about that in a separate post but we had a lovely day and were lucky to get a bit of sunshine!PhotoGrid_1462452168928

Tuesday Monkey and I were both feeling full of cold so actually spent most of the day indoors, but we did go for a walk and a scoot and I am so proud of Monkey as he is amazing on his scooter all of a sudden. He’s not been keen on this new one and really hasn’t wanted to learn how to do it, but he has finally got it and looks so grown up scooting down the path.

I was also proud of myself as even though I wasn’t feeling great I got out for a run. It’s my latest thing in a bid to get healthy and so far I really am enjoying it even though I’m not very good at the moment!

Wednesday my mum and I took the kiddoes to our favourite local farm Park and the weather was amazing! So warm and sunny and just lovely so we had such a wonderful day!PhotoGrid_1462452395775

We spent more time outdoors at home that afternoon too watering the turf we have just laid and our little lady discovered she loves running through the spray of water from the hose. Shouldn’t be surprised really given how much she loves water!PhotoGrid_1462452801654

I was also really proud of our Monkey who wanted to get on his bicycle. He’s had it nearly a year but we always struggle to motivate him to have a go. But one of his friends has recently got a bike and is already riding without stabilisers so his has definitely been a motivating factor for him! He has still a way to go but is definitely improving and his Uncle Marky popped over to borrow a ladder so he helped him out a bit too.

Thursday Monkey went off on a coach trip with playgroup, eek! Made me nervous but he had a wonderful time. Meanwhile LM had a little play with her friend (and I chatted with my friend) then we had another good friend pop over with her gorgeous little man, we went for a walk then enjoyed sitting out in the sunshine.PhotoGrid_1462477006763

Finally this afternoon when Monkey returned from his trip we got some water in the tuff spot and had a play outside. Monkey wanted to take a picture of his baby sister and I and I was quite impressed with he got! Budding photographer. LM of course adored jumping and splashing in the water haha. Love this weather!

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My word of the week is outdoors.

The Reading Residence

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Bubble Painting – 3yrs 10mths

This is an activity I have wanted to do with Monkey for a long time but have wanted to make sure he was ready for it. I remember doing it as a kid and thinking it was brilliant, and we’ll let’s face it what kid doesn’t like blowing bubbles in their drink when using a straw?

I wanted to make sure Monkey fully understood the difference between sucking and blowing though so that he didn’t swallow a shed load of paint… As I’m sure that would not be good for him! After a bit of practice blowing into a cup of water it was clear he was ready and we set to it.

You don’t need much in the cup, just a couple of squirts of paint, a squirt of washing up liquid and a splash of water and you’re off. Bubble blowing time!PhotoGrid_1459933958055

I had the feeling this activity was going to get a bit messy so we moved onto a waterproof mat. Normally this would be a tuff spot activity but ahem I may have been a lazy mummy and the tuff spot may be in the garden full of sand and um rain water. Ahem. So thank goodness for a waterproof mat. It is safe to say that Monkey absolutely loved this activity. He thought the bubble blowing was brilliant.PhotoGrid_1459934009852

I love the effect you get when you print the bubbles onto the paper.PhotoGrid_1460122103905

In truth though it was mainly me which liked actually making pictures with the bubbles… Monkey was content just blowing bubbles and then rubbing his hands in the bubbles haha. He looks so happy though don’t you think?PhotoGrid_1460376305705

We did have one sucking incident which was my fault, I was trying to explain that he should take a deep breath and then do a big blow, but didn’t quite understand and ended up with a bit of a yellow mouth! Bless him we got it out straight away but he said it didn’t taste very nice!

Other than that though it was very successful and the most fun Monkey and I have had the two of us in ages. Lovely to see him so happy.

#ToddlerApprovedTuesday

Hello Spring

On a beautiful crisp day recently hubs said he thought it felt like autumn because of the clear blue skies, cool air and bare trees all around. But I disagreed. To me it feels like spring is really here, and when you look closely there is life all around. There are buds on the trees and blossom starting to bloom. There is colour coming back into the world.PhotoGrid_1459412901470

I have so enjoyed seeing the sun this week and feeling the slightly warmer air, and that is why my word of the week this week is spring.

We have been out and about a lot enjoying the spring and the start of the easter holidays. In truth I was concerned about the holidays. Because of chicken pox and tummy bugs Monkey has been off pre-school for weeks already and after a difficult half term in February I was apprehensive about another couple of weeks at home together. But the change in the weather really makes it easier.

Plus because lots of friends are off school too it means we get to catch up with lovely people that we don’t get to see so often. On Tuesday we met up with my best mummy friends and their kiddoes. We all worked together pre-children and have gotten even closer since they all came into our lives. The kids all get on so well together too which is wonderful. We all got together at our favourite local farm and really enjoyed all the signs of spring. One minute it was sunny, then pouring with rain then warm, then chilly as the sun went behind a cloud. In essence a classic spring day! We saw lambs and piglets and peacocks and played pooh sticks and in general just had the loveliest day together.PhotoGrid_1459412528962

Monkey, LM and I have also been out on lots of little walks this week enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. LM’s little legs are getting stronger all the time and she loves a good run and play with her brother,and on her own of course being as independent as she is!PhotoGrid_1459412758774

We’ve been out in the garden a lot too doing some gardening and tidying and for Monkey ‘digging for treasure’ hehe. They’ve even played outside with no coat on, imagine that eh? I also got the sandpit out earlier for the first time and both kids adored it. This week is the first time LM has enjoyed playing with sand, she’s always hated the feel of it previously but not anymore! I can see us having lots of fun with sand over the next few months/years! Such a lovely simple activity for them so I love it.PhotoGrid_1459426217779

We’ve had a bit of a bonus too this week in that the spring clock change has changed LM’s sleep patterns a bit and she is sleeping until 7am now. Hooray! Not sure if it is just because it is darker till a little later and so she will wake earlier again soon but for now we are loving the 7am lie ins haha.

We have lots more lovely days with friends planned over the rest of the holidays and I am looking forward to what next week brings before we get back to a normal routine.

How has your week been? Are you feeling like spring has sprung?

The Reading Residence

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Life Unexpected

Our Easter 2016

For me the best thing about easter isn’t the chocolate, it’s spending time with family and celebrating the arrival of spring by spending a lot of time outdoors. So that is primarily what our our Easter has been all about… With a few treats thrown in.

After all the illness we’ve had lately with both kids having chicken pox, and Monkey and I suffering with tummy bugs we were a bit worried it was going to be a bit of a washout but thankfully we were all miraculously well and able to enjoy the weekend.

We kicked off with a day out with my family to one of my favourite National Trust places, Belton House near Grantham. The weather was incredible and we had a wonderful day.PhotoGrid_1459082245077

It was seriously busy and sadly my older brother and his wife got stuck in traffic getting in, but they did eventually arrive and even though it was so so so busy, because it is such a huge site it didn’t feel too busy. Other than the queues for the restaurants! We were pretty lucky in that I had been to the play and ride cafe as soon as we arrived and got a timed ticket to get in, then a big enough table vacated as soon as we walked in which was really fortunate.

We had plenty of space to explore, climb trees, run around chasing bubbles and playing aeroplanes. We sat and had ice cream in the sun and partially completed the easter hunt, though gave up when we saw that the queue to collect the egg afterwards was absolutely ginormous and in our mind the chocolate wasn’t worth the queue!PhotoGrid_1459088128180

Oh and yes the place is seriously stunning so I had to get some pretty shots too.PhotoGrid_1459088344946

That night my aunt, who had come up from London for Easter, stayed with us and we had a lovely evening. The next day we took her to the local farm that we are members of. It could not have been a more different day weather wise and was windy and bitterly cold! Still we had a lot of fun completing the easter hunt there and we even met the easter bunny! Not that the kids were too sure about him haha. We had a bit of fun in the soft play then headed home for lunch.PhotoGrid_1459085468261

After lunch it was time for a bit of a team effort making some easter nests. It’s a proper easter tradition for us and the first year LM could take part, though she was shattered and needed to go for a nap before we had finished. Monkey really enjoyed it though.PhotoGrid_1459085584186

While LM slept that afternoon Monkey had some fun with some of the crafts and activities pound land kindly sent us to try out, and I was very grateful for something to keep him busy as I was shattered! We had already done some of the other crafts earlier in the week and I was impressed at all they have for a pound! *PhotoGrid_1459168415696

Easter Sunday itself was a bit more of a normal day for us. We went swimming in the morning and then our neighbour popped in with her kiddies for a bit. After lunch we did a the other of our Easter traditions and we put on a little easter hunt for the kiddies. Because Monkey loves treasure maps I made a simple map of the back garden and made a trail for him to follow before having to dig for his treasure! He loved it!PhotoGrid_1459085831382

LM sort of went along for the ride but didn’t really get what was going on I don’t think!

After LM’s nap that afternoon we headed over to hubs’ brother Andy’s house for a roast to celebrate his birthday and easter. It was lovely to get together all of hubs’ family too and we had a lovely time. Hubs bought his brother some star wars lego which the boys all had great fun building that. LM had fun with all of her relatives too and very much enjoyed a ride in Aunty Julie’s wheelchair while she rested having cooked us all a yummy roast.PhotoGrid_1459104159966

Monday was the most relaxed day of all and we pottered in the morning and made a roast for lunch. My little brother aka Uncle Marky joined us (sadly Aunty Fran was poorly and missed out) and played with kiddies and had a good catch up. More like a normal Sunday I guess, with laundry and little jobs that needed doing etc. Just what we needed after a busy few days.

I’m painting a picture here that is filled with sunshine and smiles and to a certain extent it is true and we have had a happy weekend. But it has also been difficult with toddler tantrums from LM and major threenager meltdowns from Monkey. They have been overexcited over tired and over chocolated (not a word I know but seems to fit :)). We barely buy any treats (only for the nest making and treasure hunt) but our lucky kiddies have lots of adoring family who have given them lots of treats. I have drafted a post about the over commercialisation of Easter (as I was having a rant moment) but I am not sure about sharing it. I am instead choosing to remember the happy moments of a lovely easter spent with our lovely my.

I hope you had a wonderful easter too.

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Life Unexpected
*Poundland provided the craft materials free of charge for our use over Easter. 

A swimming breakthrough

I love swimming, always have done. My mum always used to call me a water baby as I just adore being in the water and though never the most graceful person in water or out I do consider myself to be quite a strong swimmer. Hubs on the other hand isn’t such a strong swimmer. He can swim and does enjoy it but I guess isn’t quite as confident as I am at being out of his depth for example. I think and have always thought that swimming is a hugely important life skill and I want the kids to be strong swimmers too.

One of the times Monkey has actually enjoyed swimming

One of the times Monkey has actually enjoyed swimming

Because of this we have tried numerous times in Monkey’s little life to encourage him to enjoy swimming, with varying degrees of, well, failure. We have been just with us and he has clung on for dear life the whole time. We have tried classes which involved jumping in and going underwater along with just having fun but he spent nearly all of the sessions screaming his head off until eventually we stopped taking him as it was stressing hubs out so much and ruining a large chunk of the weekend. There has been the odd occasion where he seems to have enjoyed swimming but then it generally goes back to screaming again the next time.

The last time we tried was on our holiday last year where after finding the water cold once, he point blank refused to get in for the remainder of the holiday and made a holiday by the pool very difficult indeed.

Now, LM adores water I thik she would be happy splashing around in water all day if she could, she just adores it, so I have been thinking it was time to get her swimming, and I do think she would love classes. But, Mummy guilt stepped in and i just knew I couldn’t start her swimming without addressing Monkey’s swimming fear. He starts school in September, and though I have no idea when they start swimming with school, the last thing I want is for him to be having a screaming meltdown at the side of the pool and refusing to get in when that time does come.

On holiday last year, it was after this that Monkey refused to get in the pool

On holiday last year, it was after this that Monkey refused to get in the pool

So after chats with hubs we decided to try to go back to basics and just make going swimming the four of us a regular thing. We chose an infants pool that we know is really warm as the temperature of the pool on holiday was such a huge issue for him. I was half looking forward to it and half dreading how stressful it would be. We headed off bright and early Sunday morning and to be honest just getting out of the door was stressful and I did wonder more than once why on earth we were doing it to ourselves. I hid this though and Hubs and I agreed to having very low expectationsas he would  probably not get in the water at all.

Straight off, LM adored the water. she was kicking her legs and splashing her arms in a way Monkey just never did as he would always cling to us so tightly. She loved sitting on the side and “jumping” herself in to the water where one of us caught her. She was happy to be dipped underwater and didn’t cry once. In short she just adored every minute.

LM adoring the water on our holiday last year

LM adoring the water on our holiday last year

To start with, Monkey did as expected and sat on the ledge near the pool. We did persuade him to dip his fingers in and see it was warm but for a while he was adamant he did not want to get in, despite laughing and clearly enjoying watching other children having fun in the water. This is the point where often peer pressure gets the better of us. You can see the other parents looking and wondering what you are doing, and it is so tempting to just grab him and get him in the water… but we know from experience that this is not the way to do things with Monkey and that he has to decided to do it in his own time.

We could see he was tempted but still not sure so hubs said that if he got in and tried it that we could go to a cafe fr hot chocolate afterwards. Monkey loves a visit to a cafe, but is stubborn enough that he would say no if he really didn’t want to do something. But, he said yes, and he got in. And he did amazingly well. To start with he clung on for dear life but gradually relaxed a little. We managed to get him to kick his legs while we whizzed him round and that was brilliant and I daren’t hope for more.

Then when he realised that he could stand on the floor of the pool he ventured away from our supporting arms. He was having great fun walking slowly in the water, pretending to be a spaceman! Things just got better and better when he agreed to hold his arm bands and eventually let me put them on him. In nearly 4 years we have not managed to get armbands on him due to the screaming meltdown any attempt has resulted in. I was also completly amazed when he copied his baby sister by sitting on the edge of the pool and jumping in to where daddy could catch him. Absolutely incredible and we were so proud of him.

In the end he could not stop telling us how much he loved swimming and how “swimming is my favourite!” and he did not want to get out. Hubs and I exchanged incredulous looks more than once and just couldn’t believe how far he had exceeded our expectations.

Now, because I know how contrary he can be I am still wary to say this is it and he now likes swimming, but things are looking positive. We couldn’t go the following weekend as we were away but are going to try and go as many weekends as possible to just cement this and help him to love swimming as much as his sister clearly does naturally.

Hooray and here’s hoping to lots more fun swimming as a family!

#ToddlerApprovedTuesdayEthans Escapades
Best of WorstNot My Year Off

A bonus afternoon walk with Daddy.

It’s been a funny couple of days here that have ended happily with a bonus afternoon with Daddy.

Monkey has been a little poorly this though not too bad and I thought it was just a cold. Then he had one spot in his mouth that concerned me a little so I kept him off preschool that morning and spoke to a Dr who thought it was just an ulcer. As he seemed fine in himself he was back to preschool that afternoon.

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This was my attempt at taking pics to send Daddy but he would not stand still! Haha love him!

Then I noticed a couple of spots on his back. And one on his front. I mentioned them to hubs and he felt they were unrelated as he had had chicken pox before. I wasn’t convinced and then over the course of the afternoon more and more appeared and they started to itch. Chicken pox it is! Fun! Though honestly he is still fine in himself so is handling it really well.

Hubs had to stay away that night. They were taking a customer to court for not paying their bills and to avoid rush hour traffic in Birmingham decided to stay overnight. Though bless him the m6 was closed so I ended up on the phone directing him round to avoid the closure bless him.

The next morning LM gave me a delightful 5.20am start. Yawn. And with yet more spots I knew it was going to be an indoor day for us. It wasn’t too bad and the brilliant news was that hubs’ company won the court case and he was able to come early. Bonus!

After chatting to some lovely people online I was already planning on a little afternoon walk with the kiddies (to help dry out Monkey’s spots and give us all some much needed fresh air!) and when daddy arrived early and wanted to stretch his legs after a long drive we all headed out together.

The little ones adored having daddy for a bonus walk and LM even walked in the right direction and held his hand. Doesn’t happen for me haha.PhotoGrid_1457112172119

Both kids had a lovely run around.PhotoGrid_1457112279135

And we all enjoyed the fresh air and exercise. Daddy had to step in a couple of times to prevent a very determined LM from running into puddles! Love the shot of her swinging through the air after grabbing her.PhotoGrid_1457112426666

So not very exciting and just a local walk but it was lovely and did us all good. There was also bubble blowing, hide and seek and lot of other running about but for once I kept my phone in my pocket for the majority of the walk and just enjoyed the moment.

Just a little note regarding the chicken pox, there is a chance that it was misdiagnosed when we thought Monkey  had it before because he only had a few spots but the Dr thought that was what it was. Or it could be that he just had a very mild case and therefore didn’t create the antibodies for it.. He only had a few spots that time, whereas this time he is covered so no doubt in my mind he has it this time! 

Arguments about pants and the world through the eyes of a Threenager

These are apparently not the right pants

These are apparently not the right pants

Every day starts with an argument about Pants at the moment. Actually that’s not entirely true. Every day starts with hubs and I taking it in turns to get up with LM when she wakes up, anywhere from 5.30 to 7 am. Then when Monkey’s gro clock clicks over to the sun at 6.45 he comes and joins whichever of us in still in bed for a snuggle. Then there is an argument about pants.

Monkey is in pull ups at night at the moment. He has the occasional dry night so we know he can do it but he says it is hard work. We are trying to incentivise this by offering the star wars lego he wants when he is dry consistently, but so far we are not there yet. So anyway first thing it is time for a wee and to change into pants. The argument arises over which pants. Namely his “Dash pants” (Dash being the character from the incredibles) which he has decided are the only pants he ever wants to wear. They are often in the laundry basket and he has even been known to fish them out, massively excited at having found them. Cue explaining why you can’t wear dirty pants and trying to find some other pants that are acceptable.

Why am I going on about pants? Well this argument is similar to so many others we have every day. Trying to argue or explain to a three year old whose response is “but I want it. ” A three year old who thinks that that is enough and that no matter we say, the fact that he wants it trumps everything else. “Sorry darling but you can’t always get what you want. ” “But I want it.”

Sigh.

This face... looks like butter wouldn't melt but oh he is strong willed!

This face… looks like butter wouldn’t melt but oh he is strong willed!

The same also happens with the opposite. “But I don’t want to.” Monkey has become a master procrastinator and can always find a hundred excuses why not to do something he doesn’t want to do, like tidying toys. “I can’t bermember” (yes bermember, not remember, bless him!) “oh I can’t do it” “oh it’s hard work” “I can’t lift it” (a piece of duplo?? Come on) “I don’t know how.”

And oh the tantrums “no, you do it!” Um I beg your pardon, I don’t think so. Or my favourite “I’m the boss, you’re the child” and “I’m in charge.” Nope, sorry darling you really are not.

I’m not sure where all of this is coming from. We have been in quite a good place since Christmas, his behaviour has been great and we haven’t needed to do more than occasionally threaten the naughty spot. Now the threats are frequent and the times sat on the naughty spot have increased. He’s obviously not all bad, in fact there are so many times where he is absolutely adorable… But he is really testing us too. He doesn’t listen to me and ignores me. He is stroppy and everything is “I want” which I hate as it makes me feel like a slave, so I am on endless repeat reminding him to ask nicely which he does usually do with only a little prompting.

The threenager year has been an odd one with some real ups and downs. It is exhausting having the same arguments over and over again. The trouble is I know that some of it can be down to the way we are with him. Yes some of it is just a phase and he is pushing boundaries and figuring ut his place in the world… but I know he is better when I am better. When I have time to properly play and listen to him more. When I don’t let him watch too much TV. But the trouble is that parenting 2 small children is very tiring. His little sister inevitably takes a lot of my attention and when I try and do activities that both of them enjoy I invariably fail.

I try to give Monkey 1 on 1 time but that is easier said than done. Generally I am shattered in the afternoons when his sister is asleep so while I try to play with him there are a lot of times when I opt for a sit down in front of the TV with him instead or at least after a bit of a play. Then LM wakes up and chaos rules again. She is at a particularly trying age so Monkey doesn’t get the attention he craves and at times I expect too much of him.

There’s not much point to this post really other than a reminder to myself I guess that I can help change his behaviour, and not only via discipline, but by trying to listen to him more and think about the way he sees things, rather than just the way I see it. I read this very well timed post by the lovely Tarana at Sand in my Toes who put my feelings into words. This is how I wish I had the energy to be all the time. I don’t have the energy to do that but I am going to try harder to be more like that!

In the meantime, because I want to end focusing on the positives of this age, here are some of the cuter conversations we have had with Monkey lately.

“Mummy, Jack said something at playgroup today.”
“Ok, what did he say?”
“Um I don’t bermember. Daddy do you bermember what Jack said?”
“Um no I wasn’t there.”
“Oh. But do you bermember what he said?”

Having an argument with Daddy about his porridge at breakfast which he normally loves. “No! I don’t want it, no I won’t eat it.”
Daddy – “ok, calm down, what would you like” “Hmm. urrrm. I wooooould like….. porridge and honey”
Daddy – “that’s what you’ve got!”
“Oh yeah!” “Sorry, I made a mistake. ” (He says this a lot and I’ve only just twigged today that he is imitating the dragon from room on the broom!)

He loves Umizoomi and I do enjoy hearing him answer their questions. For example when they asked if he liked playing in the snow. he replied “Um not really, it’s actually a bit chilly”

Monkey as Darth Vader - hs "friend"

Monkey as Darth Vader – hs “friend”

“Dogs have bones but they don’t eat them, they hatch and have baby dogs in them.”

“Oh. That’s odd.” (He says this all the time and it is so funny as it rarely makes sense!)

“Daddy, I wish I could go into space so I could see the whole earth.”

“When I’m older I can go in Daddy’s office and work with him.”

He is obsessed with Star Wars and frequently says “Darth vader is my friend.”

His is also fixated on the days of the week. So every day, at least once, there is “what is it today?” so I tell him, and for example if I say, it’s Thursday, he wil tell me “tomorrow is Friday and then Saturday, Sunday, Monday..” sometimes telling me the whole week bless him.

While having a hair cut “I was looking in the mirror at my cutiful eyes.”

I’m not sure where this one has come from, but Monkey’s version of an expletive is “oh buffers” lol. Could be worse I guess?

And finally, possibly the cutest of all, is Monkey’s current obsession with his baby doll (she was actually bought for LM but who cares) who he sleeps with every night. She has his name and is his age but he is adamant that she is a gorl “She grew in my tummy then she gre out. She’s 3 like me now!” He adores her and sits her places so she can watch him and he cuddles her in bed at night. I absolutely adore seeing how caring he is with her and who said dolls are only for girls anyway?monkey and dolly

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