Little Mister at 18 months: words, wonder and, er, wee-wees!

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to record some of those magical little moments in our young family’s life. Things that will become a little more hazy as the years pass.

Well, on New Year’s Day our little man turned 18 months (sorry son that it perhaps didn’t have quite the same fanfare that your sister’s 1.5 year birthday did, what with it being just after Christmas and all that!). But 18 months he turned and that certainly warrants an update on our second, not-so-little, bundle of fun.

Little Mister at 18 Months

The last month or so has really seen him finding his voice and he’s increasingly stringing words together into simple little sentences – well, more often than not polite-ish demands. He’ll repeat almost anything you ask him (careful!) and, as I say, he’s definitely getting better at expressing what he wants! One of the first requests was “out please” (manners maketh man!) when he’d finished a meal and was done with his highchair. Predictably enough, many of his new phrases revolve around food – “Daddy, me cake” while pointing at the kitchen was said last week!

He loves to perform a mini role call, going through all the people in the room, pointing at them and saying their name. When his sister and I had to spend a night away in hospital recently (more on that in another post), he went round the house looking for her and calling her name.

As well as the cute stuff, “no!” and “mine!” are also being squealed more and more regularly!

Food, glorious food!

20160122_183709_resized

Who needs a spoon? A whole hand is much quicker!

As hinted earlier, his love of and capacity for food remains a constant source of wonder. While he is very easy to feed – he will eat pretty much anything (including foliage!) – meal times have become more stressful of late. We pretty much face a race against time to get our food into us before he finishes his because woe betide we dare have food left on our plates when he has none.

His meal times currently end with a Greek flourish when, unless intercepted, he hurls his plate to the floor. This is often followed by a dramatic meltdown when he realises there really is no more food coming. The end of a nice pudding is the worst. He stood in a corner sobbing uncontrollably for a good ten minutes when the crumble ran out on Sunday night! A week ago he lay sprawled on the floor in despair at the end of strawberry frozen yoghurt.

But he is the most lovable, soppy little boy too. He’s always keen for a cuddle and the way he says mummy and snuggles in makes my heart melt. He’s especially affectionate when he’s wrapped in a towel, fresh from the bath. He gives kisses now too, although he tends to open his mouth  and make a noise rather than pucker up properly.

His hair is getting longer and it won’t be long before he needs his first cut. He was referred to as a ‘her’ for the first time ever last week! He’ll probably be joined at the salon by his big sister, who has also never seen a hairdresser and is due a bit of a trim.

Sibling love – and rivalry

Little Miss recently told us that she wanted her brother to be a girl! But on the whole they get along pretty well. They looked very cute in the shower together tonight. Little Miss holding his hand to keep him safe and sharing the shower nozzle with him, which she had in the other hand. A few weeks ago at nursery we were told that she and a friend had been pushing him around in a little car when the older children joined the little ones for playtime. And she definitely looks out for him when we’re out and about and other children are around.

That said, his increasing independence and ability to get involved in whatever she’s doing can be a source of frustration for her. He loves to copy her and has started taking her dolls. He calls all of them Wah Wah (the name of her favourite doll) and is also keen on pushing a buggy around. Thankfully Little Miss got a new one for Christmas so he has kind of inherited her old one. It stops some of their scraps. Just some of them! If one has something then invariably the other one will decide they want it so the squabbles are certainly on the increase.

Little Mister also loves pottering around the play kitchen, building with the shared Lego and pushing cars around while saying “brum”. He’s also become keen on stickers, although tends to make a mess with them, he’ll happily scribble and he’s become a whizz with all of the different shape sorters we have in the house.

Everything new is a source of wonder for him. It’s a lovely stage. And he so wants to help and join in with everything. one of his latest things is to get his breakfast bowl out of the cupboard. Quickly followed by getting his sister’s and taking it to her while calling her name – see they do love each other!

He still hates having his nappy done, unless distracted, and seems so much stronger in his refusals than she was. But we think he is possibly becoming aware of when he wees. Maybe a fluke but he definitely now knows the word and what it’s associated with.

I didn’t really want to end on nappy etiquette but I could go on and on here and it’s getting late! Hopefully in the coming weeks I’ll be able to get into a more regular writing habit again – I don’t want my next post to be when Little Miss turns four! Yes, that next birthday is rapidly approaching and I’m feeling a bit emotional about it! Catch up again soon.

 

Categories: Mummy memories | Leave a comment

Them, now… December 2015

So here we are, almost at Christmas! It will be Little Mister’s second festive season and Little Misses’ fourth – and her last as a proper toddler before starting school next year (deep breaths!). Today our baby boy (rapidly turning into a feisty toddler himself) turns 17 months old, and a few days ago our his sister turned three years and 8 months. It’s been too long since I wrote a post just about them, their ever developing little personalities and their lovely little quirks. So here’s a snapshot of what they are both like right now, so I can look back and remember details that might otherwise become a hazy blur.

Them now.jpg

The last month or so has really seen Little Mister finding his voice. He’s saying new things every day and yesterday strang together what I think might have been his first mini sentence –“bib on”. All important to him as it signals that food is imminent!

His early words, other than Mum-mum and Dada (now quite clearly being said as Daddee) included banana (said as “mana” and now generally requested at the end of every meal!), “mulk” (milk) and “more” (again, important at meal times!). He’s also really keen on animals, using “baa” for sheep, “woo” or “woof” for dog and “neigh” for horse. And tiger and duck are also popular. He gets very animated about his animals, it’s so cute. Monkeys are also a favourite too.

Our little man certainly knows his own mind now too, demanding to be let “out” of his cot, buggy or highchair as soon as he’s fed up (or fed in the case of the latter).

He’s learnt that his sister’s favourite dolly is called Wah Wah and he’ll say that too whenever he gets his hands on her. All dolls are called Wah Wah as far as he’s concerned. And he quite likes to play with them at the moment. This is probably because he generally likes to get involved in whatever little Miss is doing but possibly also because he’s learnt he can wind her up a bit by doing so. We’ve had quite a few skirmishes lately over Wah Wah and her accompanying buggy!

But despite the daily tussles, he loves his sister really and now says her name and has started to call out to her, which is lovely to hear. Although they are in separate rooms at nursery they sometimes meet in the outside play area and last week I was told Little Miss and her friend had been playing with Little Mister, pushing him around in a Crazy Coupe car. Cue lots of warm fuzzy feelings!

Siblings autumn 2015

His first fumbling footsteps seem so long ago now. He can still be a bit wobbly on his feet but he’ll happily run across a room shouting “go, go go!”. Apparently he also does this at nursery while chasing two young lady friends!

He’s already trying to jump and is a keen climber, which keeps us on our toes. Having an older sibling to copy has made him far more daring than she was at his age. Being much bigger and a boy probably also has something to do with it. Given half a chance he’ll be stod up on one of our little wooden toddler chairs, grinning with delight, arms aloft, wobbling precariously. “Get down” is becoming a common parental phrase. He also loves climbing up on his sister’s bed and the other morning we caught the pair of them stood up by their window, drawing on the steamed up pane. It’s definitely a case of double trouble now!

Sharing a room

Little Mister finally moved out of our room at the end of September (having enjoyed a much extended stay compared to his sister). In our little two-bedroom house, he now shares with Little Miss and so far it’s been great. We’ve heard her talking to him in the mornings and him trying to communicate back, it’s very sweet.

We recently redecorated to give the room a new identity for the both of them, with sunny yellow walls, grey as an accent colour and star prints on the curtains and new toy basket. We just have some new wall stickers to add now as a finishing touch.

Not-so-little Little Miss

She’s still one of the more petite ones for her age but it feels like Little Miss has grown up such a lot this year and the last few weeks have seen us visiting schools and applying for places for next September.

Like any three year old, she asks lots of questions about the world around her – including this week why her brother’s ‘bottom’ is different to hers! I’m surprised she hasn’t asked that one before. She also asked how I got her ‘out of my tummy’ when she was a baby – a lot of hard work I replied!

Her games have become increasingly imaginative and I would love to be a fly on the wall at nursery where some of the most creative scenarios seem to originate. She’s also starting to get a bit better at incorporating her little brother into some of her role play and he in turn is becoming a more able participant (for five minutes or so at least!). She likes to pretend he’s her pet dog and take him for walks using the rein on her old backpack. And he’s very happy to run up and down barking enthusiastically! I must film it to bring out when they’re older.

Her drawings are becoming more detailed. She recently did her first family portrait of us – see the masterpiece below. I am far left, looking rather serious. Daddy is far right, hanging upside down. This was, apparently, not a mistake!

Family portrait

I wouldn’t be surprised if she really did draw Daddy upside down as a joke. She is quite the little comedienne and has been from an early age. She will say things to be deliberately funny or silly.

And she says a lot. It’s amazing to think that this time two years ago she was only really just starting to talk. She still can’t always say her Fs properly, pronouncing them as P instead which leads to the somewhat amusing use of “pox” instead of fox, “pish pingers” for fish fingers and one of her favourite songs in Frozen (which she adores right now) is “Por the Pirst Time in Porever!”

I’m looking forward to a Christmas where she understands just that little bit more than last time and really appreciates all the magic. It’s such a blessing to have two small children at this time of year – even if life does feel a bit like a hamster wheel at times.

Categories: Motherhood, Mummy memories, Toddlerdom | Leave a comment

Our wonderful week in Woolacombe

It’s been almost three months since I last updated this blog and it’s safe to say time is flying! Life with two kids and a three-day working week is always going to be busy. Throw in some much-needed house decorating, planning for the festive season and several bouts of family illness, and keeping up to date online had to drop off the to-do list for a while.

But in that time there have been many memories, magic moments and milestones that I don’t want to forget so I’m hoping to catch up on some of those now.

Our wonderful week in Woolacombe

Back at the start of September we set off on our first family holiday as a foursome, a week in lovely Woolacombe.

It’s a place that holds a special place in my husband’s heart. The last four generations of his family have been regular visitors to this seaside gem in north Devon. I’ve seen old black and white footage of his granny, great granny and my mother-in-law when she was a child enjoying the beach back in the late 1950s. And he spent many a happy summer holiday there with his brothers when he was young.

I, on the other hand, had never been before. This is a bit odd really, given that I spent the first seven years of my life living in Devon! How could my parents have neglected to take me?!

Road tripAnyway, Woolacombe it was for our first family road trip. And it really was quite a road trip, with a travel time of around four-and-a-half hours solid driving on a good day. We had a gnarly day with traffic and once we’d factored in toddler-friendly stop gaps along the way, this translated into an eight-and-a-half hour door-to-door journey. With Little Mister being sick just five minutes before we reached our final destination! Thankfully the car seat was largely spared – if you’ve ever had to properly clean one, you’ll appreciate our sense of relief.

Once we’d arrive the little man was back on top form and both children loved exploring our new home for the week – number 6 Sandy Lane Apartments, just minutes from the beach (booked through Woolacombe Cottages).

It was a great base for our week. And, apart from the disappointing shower, had everything we needed, including handy carport parking. There were quite a few steps to negotiate but we managed fine with this, especially since we could leave bulky things like the buggy and beach stuff in the accompanying garage to lessen the load. As you can see from the picture below, the location and view from our windows were pretty impressive.

Woolacombe views

What I loved about Woolacombe…

It’s all about the beach. A beautiful, three-mile long stretch of sand. It was the winner of the 2015 Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice award for best UK beach. It was also an impressive 4th in the best beaches in Europe category and 13th in the best beaches in the world category. Safe to say, it is a very decent beach!

As well as being very long, it’s also very wide – especially when the tide’s out – and there’s just such a feeling of space. Lots and lots of natural, unspoilt space. We went at the end of the summer season when it was quieter but it would take a huge amount of people to fill this epic stretch of sand.

It’s perfect for little ones. As well as great sand for digging holes and making sandcastles, there are dunes to explore and, my favourite, lots of rock pools to discover. Importantly, it’s also very clean. It is clearly well looked after and dogs are not allowed on the main family area of the beach. They are welcome on the quieter parts a little further along, though. It’s a sensible approach, I think.

Woolacombe Beach Collage

You can see above how lovely it is, even on the less sunny days. And that’s only the main beach. To the north of this are two smaller beaches: Barricane (my mother-in-law’s favourite!) and the more secluded Combesgate, which we didn’t see this time.

Also known as Shell Beach, Barricane is quite a small, narrow, bay, surrounded by rocks. It’s also home to a popular beach cafe that in the summer months serves evening curries. It comes highly recommended by my in-laws and we would have loved to have sampled one while watching the sun set. Hopefully next time!

Aside from the beaches, the other thing I really loved about Woolacombe was the feel of the place. Seaside resorts these days all too often have a bit of a tacky, dated feel to them. Not so here. It isn’t overrun with gaudy amusement arcades, shops and general tat. Yes there was the usual colourful array of buckets, spades and other plastic souvenirs on offer but within reason. The place has retained a quaint, village feel. The pace felt slower, quieter and the beach retains its rightful place as the star attraction.

There was a small amusement park a few minutes walk from our flat. It had crazy golf, bumper boats and a few other ride-on things. Just right for our little ones, especially Little Miss.  And if you do want more in the way of activities and entertainment – perhaps if you have older children than ours – there are several holiday parks in the area offering more. But, as someone told me on Twitter before we went, “all you really need is the beach my friend”.

Obviously beaches are much better when the weather is half decent and the elements were extremely kind to us. It was wet the week before we left. Wet the week after. Sunny and warm while we were there. Jammy! I even braved a dip in the sea, which was chilly but strangely pleasant, calming (once the initial shock wore off!) and very invigorating (because of the shock!).

We did quickly learn that holidays with two kids are different. Our visions of quality adult time and evenings spent chilling out with a bottle of wine once the kids were asleep were generally replaced with passing out after a single glass of wine once the kids were asleep.

And we became quite acquainted with the medical services of north Devon – having never before needing to see a doctor while away on our own! On the second morning in Little Miss hurt her foot and wouldn’t put any weight on it, meaning a trip to Ilfracombe Hospital’s walk in centre. And poor Little Mister ended the week with a temperature nearing 40 degrees after his cold turned into a sinus infection needing antibiotics and two visits to a lovely lady doctor, a second detour to Ilfracombe (this time the medical centre), who even called us as we were driving home to check he was ok.

But despite the hick-ups, we did have a lovely time. Lots of ice cream was consumed – much to Little Miss’s delight and a first for the little man. Sandcastles were built. Holes were dug. Shells were collected.  Crabs were caught (in the rockpools, behave! And put back again). We paddled. Little Miss played on the slot machines! And we enjoyed an epic cream tea in Croyde.

I’ll write a bit more about what we did in and some day trips in a second post (which hopefully won’t take three months to write!).

But Woolacombe, we will be back!

PS: You can check out the other 24 Top UK Beaches here at Trip Advisor.

Let's Talk Mommy
Categories: Mummy memories, Out and about | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Motherhood is bad for your barnet!

In the shower this morning my mind, as usual, started to wonder. Some days I could put the world to rights while standing alone (yes alone!) under that wonderful, warm running water. On this particular occasion, though, my thoughts turned to hair…

Motherhood is bad for your hair

Today was a no-wash day. I’d have quite liked to but, as is so often the case now, there wasn’t enough time. Back in the days when I was young and childless my locks were washed every day without fail. Sometimes twice if I was going out on the town that night or had been to the gym (ha!).

In those days I only had a very vague idea of what dry shampoo was. My mum had mentioned it once. I’d certainly never used it.

Back then I also thought nothing of regularly spending a hundred quid in a hairdressing salon. Full head of foil high and low lights, cut and blow dry? Yes please. And of course I’ll blow an extra twenty quid on a fancy shampoo and styling product combo that I don’t really need! And I’d do this every 3 months or so.

Fast forward to now? My hair gets chopped once every six months at best, if I’m lucky and/or remember. Basically, once it gets long enough to become really annoying. High

And it is just a cut – a dry cut for twenty quid at a salon in town where I know I can pretty much walk in off the street at a moment’s notice, ie when the stars align, I’m getting desperate and Little Mister decides to nap or the husband can take the kids for half an hour.

Yes, my hair has definitely been a casualty of children. And incidentally, I was also one of those who missed out on the promised so-called pregnancy boost to hair – my maternal locks were more limp and greasy than thick and glossy and once the babies were here I then spent weeks molting like an overgrown household pet!

So it seems, for me at least, that motherhood isn’t great for your hair.

Lady at hair dressers

Living the dream! (Not me, in case anyone was seriously wondering!)

Pic credits: freedigitalphotos.net/StuartMiles and Marin

Twinkly Tuesday
Let's Talk Mommy
Categories: Motherhood, musings, Things I've learnt... | Tags: , | 9 Comments

A super-flattering new swimsuit

After almost two years of stubbornly sticking to dry land, I’ve recently been brave and got back in the pool. As a youngster I always loved swimming but as an adult it started to feel like too much of a faff. I was always too nervous to swim while pregnant or with the children as newborns. Added to that was the fact I’ve always felt really self-conscious in swimwear. But I’m hoping all that will change now.

I really want my kids to develop their water confidence; I think it’s an important skill to have. So we’re starting to nurture a little weekend family swimming routine. No way am I brave enough to go on my own with two small charges just yet, especially given one of them can’t walk properly! But our trips as a foursome are going well and a key thing for me – hopefully without sounding hideously vain – has been the super-flattering new swimsuit I found, which has helped me feel that little bit more svelte as opposed to small beached whale!

Have I finally found The One of the swimsuit world?

F&F Magic Illusion swimsuitI think so. And here it is.

I spent a good few nights online agonising over researching the all-important swimwear decision and I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with the end result – a £17.00 bargain from Tesco’s F&F range. It’s called the Magic Illusion swimsuit and it really does live up to its name.

I ordered a very similar looking cossie from Next at the same time, but costing £8 more, and I definitely preferred the Tesco one.

Why is it so good?

I’m a seriously picky customer when it comes to swimwear and the shape of this is so, so flattering. I’m a curvy size 12 – smallish waist, biggish hips, a mum tum and an ample bosom!

The cut is perfect on my cleavage – a lovely sweetheart shape. It has lightly padded cups with elastic underneath, making it feel nicely supportive, and it has adjustable shoulder straps so you can organise your jiggly bits just so! So far, everything has stayed in place and it shows off my assets at their best (if I do say so myself) – which, hopefully, stops people paying any attention to my wobbly, white thighs.

While I’m on the subject of thighs, I’ve also been really pleased with the cut of the suit on the leg. It’s just right, not too high – I hate the feeling that my bum cheek could cut loose at any moment, urgh! – but not so low that it feels frumpy.

Moving on to the other all-important area, the dreaded tummy. It features ruching at the front, which does a fab job of hiding lumps and bumps, while the ‘powermesh’, as they call it, underneath sucks you in for an improved silhouette. It’s nicely taut without being at all uncomfortable.

Fabric wise, it looks and feels nice and has washed well so far. That’s the simple explanation. The website description sounds much more impressive. Apparently, it’s made with Xtra Life Lycra®, meaning it’s durable and should maintain its shape for longer. It also uses ‘CL RESIST technology by Lycra®’ which should give it long-term resistance to sunscreen, chlorine and skin oils. All sounds great and so far, so good in my experience (three swims!).

My only real complaint is that it currently appears to only be available in black and I would definitely buy another one had there been a choice of colours or patterns. There is another Magic Illusion style in magenta but looking at the picture it doesn’t look as flattering to me. So my one comment to the big designer bosses at Tesco (who, of course, I am certain are reading this blog, waiting for my words of wisdom) would be more please!

It does, however, already come in tall and plus-size versions, which may well be useful.

All in all, I have been delighted with this bargain buy. It’s so comfortable, I’ve been able to forget my body hang-ups and get on with enjoying our family time in the water without constantly fiddling with or pulling at my cossie every few minutes. I just wish I’d found it sooner!

You can buy it online here.

NB: I purchased this swimsuit myself. There is no PR jiggery pokery going on here, just my own thoughts.

Family Fever
The Girl Behind The Camera
Categories: Reviews, Style | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

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