Our 2 yr old and her ways

Ah toddlers, they really are funny aren’t they? And hard work, quite a lot of the time! Our little lady at just over 2 is now a fully-fledged toddler. I love watching her learn and find the funny ways she likes to do things generally very amusing… Though sometimes they can be really exasperating! The good thing with a 2nd (and presumably 3rd,4th etc) child is that you’ve seen much of it before and know they will grow out of their little quirks and obsessive habits, so I am more entertained by them this time.img_20161123_160756

So what do I mean? Well let’s start with some of her OCD style habits. Things have to be done in a certain way at the moment or all hell can break loose. Food in particular is easy to get wrong. Heaven forbid I split a chunk of cheese in half so her brother or I can share with her, no, it has to be the full chunk (I buy these little pre-cut chunks of cheese, yes pricey but oh so handy as an after school snack) or she screams and shouts ‘yuk’ and just won’t go near it.

I made the mistake of helping her break apart a peanut snack bar yesterday thinking it would be easier for her but wow was she not impressed by that! Drinks have to be in the right cup with the right lid (ones that meet her approval that is) and food has to be prepared and served in the right way. She’s basically a creature of habit and likes the repetition. It’s also about control, I know, as she gets to control so little in her life.

20161127_144215Food is very much an area of contention for us, with her refusing to try anything new and sometimes even refusing favourites. We went through this with Monkey and though still quite particular he is so much better now and eats almost anything we give him, even if it can take some persuasion at times. So we hope LM will do the same and it will get easier over time. In the meantime we do what we can, thankfully she eats a lot of our regular favourites, curry, thai curry, my homemade soup, the right pasta in the right sauce and the right type of tortellini, my homemade carbonara and a few others. The rest of the time we make it and she either eats or she doesn’t, which basically means that she doesn’t. It feels wrong at times making a meal that I know she won’t eat but while I obviously make sure she eats most of the time, I can’t run the rest of our lives around her fussiness and I absolutely refuse to make her something separate.

She’s so particular that even a slight variation will mean she refuses her food and that can turn her off for good. We gave her a different brand of baked beans once and she hated them so much that she now won’t eat or even try any other beans, which is a real shame! I once gave her the same shape tortellini as normal but that had a different filling, and even though to be the difference was barely perceptible, she knew and dissected them and only ate the pasta and not the filling. It took a while for her to trust that her regular tortellini was the right one either though thankfully she is back to loving those again now. Anyway, I don’t get as stressed about this as I did with Monkey as we have been here before and just hope that she will eventually come out the other side. The downside though is that eating out is a nightmare, she is so particular that she won’t even eat a pasta and tomato sauce or carbonara as it isn’t the same as ours and we can’t even fall back on beans on toast in a café anymore. Sigh, she will grow out of it, she will grow out of it, she will grow out of it.

It’s all a variation of the same thing I think, being in control and liking repetition and the familiar. She’s the same with toys in that she likes to play with them in the same way over and over. We have a postbox colour matching game which she loves. When we started playing and she didn’t understand the concept of matching the colours, I would say no when she went to put a letter in the wrong postbox. Now even though she knows the colours and where they go, she will imitate me, putting it up to the wrong post box and saying ‘no.’ She’ll do this to each postbox before putting it in the right one. It is cute but a bit repetitive for me haha.

She also loves jigsaw puzzles at the moment. She loves making them then immediately breaking it up and starting over. Usually until I can’t take it anymore and we’ve done the same puzzle together at least 5 times, and try to distract her with something else! I am impressed with how good she is with them though and she is improving all the time. Her favourite is a big farmyard puzzle and we talk about all the animals as we make it. She like starting with the horse (she neighs rather than says horse) then it’s all about the moo and the baaa and the “buk buks” (chickens lol!) As soon as it is completed, with a shout of “I did it!”, and “ta laa” (her version of ta daa) with her hands thrown in the air… then she immediately crouches down and breaks it up ready to start again haha.

Towers are something that I think all toddlers love to build, and LM is definitely no exception. The duplo is out a lot now and she even builds them out of her brother’s lego too. She is funny though as I’ve noticed a real trend lately where she has to match the colours. She’ll build an all red tower or an all green one. If she runs out of that block she may change to another colour and keep going with that one but she really doesn’t like a multi-coloured tower when she is in that mood!20161127_135013

When something isn’t going the way she wants then the frustration can lead to a major meltdown. I mean she really goes for it. Throwing herself on the floor face first and oh the screams! I try and not worry too much as I know it’s just what they do and when it is because I won’t do what she wants, well she has to learn that things won’t always work the way she wants them to. But her screams are so loud that she turns heads for miles. I try to be stoic and make a daft comment like ‘oh you are noisy’ or ‘I know, it’s the end of the world’ mainly for the people around me so they know nothing terrible has happened, as seriously her screams are bloodcurdling!!

Moving back to cuteness and another of her ways that is seriously cute is her love for teddies recently. Her brother was the same at this age and it is adorable. She just wants to be surrounded by her favourite cuddly things. They surround her in bed at night and when we come down in the morning she almost always demands that they come down too. I pick her up with her blanky and her faves… then it’s “bear” for the polar bear “buh” for the blue bus, “wah wah” for the duck “baby” for the baby doll and some less decipherable noises and pointing for the others. It got to the point where we literally couldn’t carry them all so started using her blanky as a sack to carry them down in haha. She loves snuggling on the sofa surrounded by them all and it is adorable. Again I know she will grow out of it so this is one of the ones I’m making the most of while it lasts.photogrid_1480255141249

I’m also making the most of her learning to talk as it is such a cute phase. the things she comes out with! As I mentioned above she calls animals by the noise they make now, apart from cats, which is a chat haha. She loves naming body parts which is adorable and after calling every adult she knows “mama” for some time, she is now starting to call me mummy and daddy is daddy, which is lovely. She wanted Daddy’s attention in the bath the other day (he was dealing with her tired and grumpy older brother) and I just heard her shouting “daddy, daddy, daddy” till he said “yes LM” and she held her foot up and said “Daddy I got toe!” so sweet! She really likes to make her feelings known now that she can too, and can often be heard shouting ‘waht way’ from the buggy or car seat pointing in the direction she wants to go in (Often screaming when we go a different way lol). I’ve put together a quick video of her latest chattering mainly for my benefit tbh but you can have a look if you so fancy.

There are some things I can’t wait for her to grow out of, but some of her ways are just adorable and I want to enjoy them as much as I can. As hard work as she is sometimes I adore attaching her learn and explore and seeing her grow up right in front of our eyes.photogrid_1480256571218

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Making Pizzas with Hidden Vegetables

Monkey is a fussy eater. He wasn’t until he was about  13 months old then almost overnight everything changed. I’ve talked at length about it before and we have ups and downs with how fussy he is. We have been going through a very fussy patch lately. As he has been so poorly over the recent weeks he really hasn’t had as much of an appetite so we have been happy when he has eaten anything really. I am planning a seperate post about this but it is so difficult to be strict with them when they are poorly, especially with food as he needed to keep his strength up and things can taste really funny when you are poorly.

I’ve been watching “Junk Food Children who’s to blame?” on TV too recently, and well I think it is pretty obvious the documentary makers are laying the blame squarely on the parents. I think they are probably right, as they are the ones who buy the food for their children, but I can also see how it is a slippery slope and none of these parents do it with intentions of harming their children. Far from it, they are probably too soft on them and that isn’t always good for them.

Anyway it has made me think a lot about Monkey. He has a pretty good diet anyway, hardly ever has crisps, chocolate etc, BUT we could do better. He doesn’t really eat any fresh fruits (we get him eating dried, cooked, frozen pureed but no joy with fresh really) and we struggle with lots of vegetables too, and most things actually. Pasta, sausages, chicken, pretty much everything depends on his mood. Most dinner times are spent with Mummy and Daddy pretending to be the voice of a toy (postman pat, a bus, an owl, any toy really) as he is much more likely to eat something when a toy suggests it! Not ideal but we go with what works.

One great way to get kids interested in food is to get them to help with preparing and cooking food. Monkey does love cooking but after catching himself with the peeler a few months ago he has been more reluctant to get in the kitchen. He has expressed more of an interest though lately, and with poorliness and chicken pox meaning we have spent a lot of time at home, rather than out and about, I have grabbed the opportunity to get him back in the kitchen. We do a lot of baking, which is great, but there is no reason cooking can’t be fun too.

We love Annabel Karmel’s recipes, her veggie burgers are a firm fave and we make them regularly in big batches so there is always some in the freezer. Another regular is her hidden veggie pizza sauce, which again we make in big batches and freeze. I know not everyone is into hidden veggies and I would prefer Monkey ate vegetables without having to hide them, but while we work on that I don’t think there is anything wrong with getting them into him any way that we can.

Hidden Veggie Pizza Sauce

Ingredients

WP_20150304_09_28_57_Pro1/2 onion – finely chopped
1/2 leek – thinly sliced

1 small carrot, peeled and grated

1/4 courgette, grated

1 clove crushed garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

1 400g tin chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato puree

1 tbsp tomato pesto (we use sacla sundried tomato pesto)

2 tbsp tomato ketchup

1 1/2 tsp sugar

We tend to double this and make a big batch (because so many of the ingredients are halved etc.) which gives enough sauce for 20 pizzas, so this would do about 10 pizzas.

Monkey helped me prepare the veggies, washing them and grating which is good as at least he knows there are veggies. He even announces that he loves leeks and courgettes – without tasting them. I love his enthusiasm though even if I don’t believe him for a second!

Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion, leek, carrot and courgette and saute for 8-10 mins until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic for one minute than remove from the heat. We have hard anodised pans and a hand blender so I add the remaining ingredients in the pan and blend in there, but if you have non stick pans, or if you prefer, you should move the veg to a blender or bowl at this point.

Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.  Return to the pan and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool and then it can be frozen in batches. I usually spoon off a couple of ladles full into a tupperware which can then be got out to use with 2 pizza bases as and when. I would love to make our own pizza bases, but don’t have the time or energy at the mo – hopefully we will one day though!

Pizza toppings

The pizza sauce is great, but with the small amount of veg in there I doubt it would count as one of your 5 a day, and we really want to work on getting other veg into Monkey. Homemade pizzas are a great way of doing that, as cheese can help mask the veg, and you obviously get control of the ingredients. We use a half fat cheese, because it happens to be our fave and does help with our diets.

This is the fun bit that kids can really get involved with. We bought Monkey a child safe knife – which has a rounded tip and a fairly blunt serrated edge. It still cuts veg so you still have to be very careful around it, but the thought of Monkey cutting with it terrifies me a heck of a lot less than helping him use our big scary kitchen knives would! It means he can join in with the chopping safely and without giving me heart failure. (Yes he is wearing his PJs in these pics, I indulged him with a PJ day when he was poorly :))

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So he helped me chop up the mushrooms and yellow pepper and had great fun doing it. The amounts and size of the bits I guess depends on your kid and their fussiness level. We are going for not too much, and fairly small at the moment as if they are big he will either eat round them or refuse to eat them at all. Even some of these size bits have been a challenge to get him to eat! Monkey is seriously stubborn and often goes to bed without eating any tea when he doesn’t like what is on offer (or at least he has decided he doesn’t like it even when we know it is something he does actually like!).

So anyway, yes our chunks are quite small. We also use some flavoured turkey meat for the most part, though do use other meats too sometimes to shake things up a little :). Monkey helped spread the sauce onto the pizza bases and then sprinkle the meat, veg and of course cheese on top. Yummy pizzas made :). WP_20150304_11_35_57_Pro WP_20150304_11_37_51_Pro Now I won’t say it was plain sailing. We make variations of this quite often and it depends on his mood and like I say at the moment he really is quite fussy. He did eat some though and moaned more about the chunks of meat than the veg and with him it really is all about seeing something he doesn’t like. If a mushroom or pepper is hidden under cheese he eats it no problem. If he can see them he doesn’t want it. So it is a work in progress but for my part, I thought they were blimming lovely and it is a good way to get him involved with cooking and vegetables so got to look at the positives! Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

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Persuading a stubborn Monkey that he really should wear a hat and mittens…

As a baba Monkey was fine with wearing hats, but he never liked wearing mittens, so last winter was hard at times as his poor fingers would get so cold! We put mittens on and he would just pull them right off. This year, he doesn’t even like hats, and definitely not mittens! I’m not too surprised as he often needs convincing about ‘new’ items of clothing. At the beginning of the summer he absolutely hated wearing sandals, but he got used to them after wearing them with socks for a while. Then, after a summer of being barefoot or just in sandals, the first time we put socks on again you can see he was thinking “and what, are those things on my feet??!” and he kicked up a fuss. It must be odd for them as their memories just don’t go that far back so even though he has worn them before, it feels like a new thing to him. He eventually got used to socks and shoes .

Monkey happily in a hat age 41/2 months

Monkey happily in a hat age 41/2 months

Monkey happily in a hat, age 9 months

Monkey happily in a hat, age 9 months

When he had to wear long sleeved tops, jumpers and thick coats he wasn’t impressed either, but he has again got used to them though he still gets cross about long sleeves sometimes.

The hat thing is also our fault a little bit, as we have been playing around putting things on our head and laughing, so he thinks that putting things on your head is silly, even when it’s a hat. So we didn’t manage to get him to wear a sun hat all summer, though occasionally sunglasses did stay on for a few minutes at a time!

Anyway it has obviously been getting colder so the hats and mittens have come out. Hats he screams and pulls until they come off (even if they are done up) and hoods are the same. Unlike other things, there just seems to be no getting used to them. And the first time mittens went near his hands he ripped them off as if they burnt him and threw them away in disgust!

But… we are finally getting somewhere now after some careful persuasion! Full credit for the mittens go to daddy, as he spent quite a long time introducing mittens to monkey whilst in the house, playing with them, putting them on himself and then holding them open for Monkey to put them on himself. Monkey is at that age where he wants to make decisions for himself, so I think this has been a big thing in the fight against hats and mittens, he will not wear them because we want him to, it has to be on his terms!! The first day that Monkey willingly put mittens on outside, and kept them on the whole time, I couldn’t believe it! So like I say, full credit to daddy!

He now realises that they keep his hands much warmer and he is happy to have them on a lot of the time, which is great. Hats have been a lot slower progress, even with trying the same methods as the mittens, we have not got anywhere. However, today we have had a Eureka moment!

It is pretty much freezing here today but my neighbour and I still go for our daily morning walks. As we left the house today I deliberately didn;t try to put Monkey’s hat on until we got to my neighbours house and knocked on the door. While we were waiting I had a chat with him and popped his hat on, and it stayed on!! I think those couple of minutes in the cold, followed by the chat were enough for him to realise that the hat would keep his head warm. Yay! It stayed on the whole time we were out, and when we went out later in the day there was no objection to hat or mittens for the entire time we were out!

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So I am a very happy and proud mummy today, and he looks so cute in his hat!! :)

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