What we read in October…

Last time I posted about reading, I said our updates had slipped from weekly to monthly. Only problem is that I now seem to have got even further behind and, as you’ll see from the title, I’m still grappling with what we read back in October when we’ re now halfway through November!

Time is short these days – and our BT Broadband connection outrageously temperamental (I digress but it winds the hell up out of me *red mist descends* and I need to find the will to make them sort it out) – but I’m hoping things will get that little bit easier as Little Mister gets bigger and I can eke out just a teensy bit more time for this blog. Please bear with me folks!

Despite the recent irregular updates, reading still has a massive place in our house and we’ve been managing to get to the library more regularly again these last few weeks.

300 Picture Books Challenge October... www.mummystodolist.com

Our most recent batch of reads includes titles from some of our old favourites – Julia Donaldson and more Maisy mouse, by Lucy Collins.

There have also been a couple of good ones linked to important toddler milestones.

A Bed of Your Own is a gorgeous book, with lovely illustrations and wonderful rhyming text. And it’s amusing for parents and toddlers alike, as lead character Suzy Sue and her bed-invading animal friends grapple with settling down for a good night’s sleep. Little Miss quite recently made the transition from cot to bed and I’d recommend this book as a fun way to encourage little ones with bedtime.

Meanwhile Who’s On the Loo? was discovered just as we were getting to grips with potty/toilet training (more to come on that in another post!). This one’s pretty basic and features various animals sitting on ‘the throne’, as my mum used to call it, as little duck learns to make the transition from potty to big toilet. The major attraction with this book comes at the end when you press a button to hear the toilet flush. I defy any toddler to be able to resist the lure of a flushing toilet, real or otherwise!

Much loved by Little Miss has been Lovabye Dragon. It’s a current bedtime favourite that must be placed beside her bed each night (we drew the line at letting her sleep with it!) and I’ve had to repeatedly renew it. It’s about a little girl who dreams of having a dragon for a friend and a dragon who dreams of being friends with a little girl. It’s a gentle little tale, quite a calming book to read before sleep. It is perhaps just ever so slightly odd at times but maybe that’s just me! It clearly has masses of appeal for its target toddler audience.

And last, but by no means least, there’s been my latest personal favourite A Squash and a Squeeze by the fabulous Julia Donaldson, the moral of which I have to remind myself of daily as, like the little old lady in the book, I’m constantly grumbling about the size of our house these days! Come to think of it, I feel like a little old lady some days too! As with all of Julia Donaldson’s books, the text is so memorable. I could probably real off most of the story here for you now! She has a perfect knack for writing books that are loved by children but also entertaining for adults. And I love the underlying message of being grateful for what you’ve got.

Phew! So that’s it for now. Hopefully I’ll be able to write my November update before the end of the month this time!

We’re still recording all our reads for the 300 Picture Books Challenge and you can see them all on our Pinterest board. We’ve now read 258 and just collected a new batch from the library so I reckon we’re still on track to complete the challenge of reading 300 different picture books in a year.

In the meantime, I’d love to know what you’ve been reading lately. Are there any children’s books you’d recommend for us?

Categories: Baby bookworm | Tags: , | 2 Comments

The importance of a little bit of head space…

I started writing this post sat in the peaceful surrounds of a public library – always a reliable haven for mums with small children. Little Miss was at nursery and Little Mister was snoozing next to me in his cosy buggy.

For the first time in days, maybe a few weeks even, I felt able to just sit, still and calm, and be me.

Neither child was demanding anything from me and being out of the house removed the ever-present temptation to start filling this time with chores instead of taking a moment for myself.

It was bliss. The autumn sun was shining through the window. There may even have been a rainbow as I’d just ducked out of a heavy shower.

It was quiet. There was no CBeebies, Peppa Pig or nursery rhymes playing in the background! And, much as I adore her, no Little Miss asking constant questions or insisting I do or get something for her NOW!

I felt refreshed and it made me realise that I should prioritise trying to do this more often.

The importance of a little bit of head space... www.mummystodolist.com

Having two children is what I always wanted. I now have the perfect family I dreamt of, a girl and a boy, and I love them to infinity and beyond. But one of the things I have found most difficult these last few months is the lack of personal time and space.

I sometimes wonder if growing up as an only child has made the transition more difficult for me. Whereas my husband grew up in a busy household with three brothers (and a very naughty dog!), I suppose I’m just more accustomed to being on my own a lot. My dad worked long, irregular hours so it was often just my mum and I at home.

I am used to, and sometimes really need, time for peace and quiet. Incessant noise, after a while, makes my brain feel frazzled, my head ache and my thoughts feel all over the place.

Whenever we’ve done those personal development quizzes at work, the ones that try and categorise people by character traits, I always come out as an introvert. This used to surprise and slightly alarm me as I’m not especially shy and can be a terrible chatterbox at times. But I’ve grown to realise it means that I like, and need, my own space to function well.

But it’s not just a need for personal space that has made having two little ones feel overwhelming.

My other big problem is the demands I place upon myself. I crave time and space but when I have a chance to grab some I all too often fritter it away on some mundane household task that could, for the sake of my sanity, have waited. Or at best it could have been done much quicker if I wasn’t on a constant quest for perfection.

That’s why getting out of the house the other day was so good for me.

Usually on Little Miss’s nursery day I stay at home and set myself an impossibly long list of household jobs and admin tasks that I want to get done. I nearly always end up feeling disappointed not to have finished the list, even though it was unrealistic in the first place.

I also often spend too long trying to do simple chores to an unnecessarily high standard. And sometimes it feels easier not to start at all if I think my standards won’t be met in the time available.

It’s a catch 22 situation. I feel frustrated about my lack of time, yet when I have it I don’t use it wisely or get less done than I could have and end up feeling I must get even more done the next day. Ahhhhh!

Anyway, getting back to the point, taking myself out of my usual routine did me the world of good this week.

Instead of staying at home and filling my toddler-free day with hoovering, washing and housework – in between the nappies and feeds – I escaped our four walls, which can feel pretty claustrophobic even at the best of times.

My husband was heading to the quaint, historic Sussex town of Lewes for a work meeting and Little Mister and I went along for the ride, meeting him later for lunch. It’s a place I used to go with Little Miss when she was tiny too, so it brought back many happy memories and a strong sense of déjà vu.

I had a lovely, relaxing morning. I sat and fed Little Mister in a coffee shop – without having to chase a hyperactive toddler every few minutes, or bribe her into sitting still with biscuits or Peppa Pig on my phone. I drank a latte while it was still hot and I enjoyed a packet of crisps without having to share. Little luxuries, I know!

And then I hit the shops!

And although I was enjoying myself, the trip was very productive too and did actually enable me to tick quite a few things off my to-do list. It was a winner all round!

I bought Christmas cards and a fair few presents. With just under six weeks to go until the big day, I now feel that we’ve made a major dent in the shopping. Something my bank account was also clearly feeling when I checked last night. Whoops!

It was lovely to have time to look around for gifts – something which has become increasingly tricky when Little Miss is in tow.

Little Mister, when he’s awake, loves being out and about, with plenty to look at. And it’s nice for him to be complete centre of attention for once. He enjoyed smiling and gurgling at all the old ladies who stopped to admire him. He is a fantastic flirt – loves putting on his cutest performances for an audience!

It was lovely to be able to focus just on him for a while. He was rewarded with a nice new pair of Sock Ons! (for those not in the know, these are genius little things designed to keep babies’ footwear on their feet. Little Mister is terrible for rubbing his feet together to lose his socks).

And, once I was all shopped out, I still had time to start writing this, my first post in a while.

The day was a reminder, a wake-up call, that me-time matters. That, sometimes, it needs to be made more of a priority. My wellbeing is important and giving myself a bit of a day off from the housework was one of the best things I did this week.

It’s made me realise that I should try and carve out more time for myself – either to rest, relax or do nice things. If that means lowering my standards a bit at home then I think it will be worth it.

Having a bit of breathing space, time to clear my head, makes me a calmer, happier, more positive parent when I return to the joyful chaos of childcare.

So I will strive to do it more often.

I’m linking this post and the word ‘space’ with The Reading Residence’s fab Word of the Week linky. 

The Reading Residence
Pic credit: thaikrit/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Categories: Mind matters, Motherhood, Things I've learnt..., Word of the Week | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Celebrating Movember?!

Via the medium of chocolate cake…Celebrating Movember
I had asked her to smile for the photo (as I hovered nervously with the wet wipes) but this is clearly very serious stuff so there’s just a hint of a Mona Lisa smirk.

brummymummyof2
Categories: Toddlerdom | 17 Comments

Little Miss in the Autumn…

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this time of year. On a crisp, clear autumn day, full of crunchy leaves and glowing colours, I love it. On a damp, dark and dismal one (a bit like today!) it can make me feel a bit down in the dumps.

But thankfully we have had some nice, bright days lately and Little Miss has certainly been embracing the season. It’s been lovely to see those little autumnal things amuse and enthrall her, much more so than any of them did this time last year. Little Miss in the Autumn She loves spotting squirrels in our garden and always asks “what they doing?”, one of her favourite questions at the moment.

She loves walking in crunchy leaves.

She loves playing with leaves at the park, especially getting a bunch and pretending they’re a duster to clean the slide with!

She loves collecting leaves, taking note of the different colours and shapes. Every time we go out we seem to come back with a mini collection under the buggy.

She also loves collecting little sticks and sending them down the slide or playing a little game where she shares them out among family members.

She’s fascinated by things like acorns and sycamore tree aeroplanes. She’s yet to encounter conkers but I know she’d love them so I need to work on that one.

Little bugs are also ultra interesting. She spent ages (well toddler ages anyway!) looking at ladybirds at the park last week and catching them on one of her stash of leaves.

Little Miss with ladybird

She also loves wearing her bright yellow wellies and finding a muddy puddle to play in. This time last year she was still pretty unsteady on her feet and puddles, while enjoyed, often ended up being fallen into by accident, which kind of spoilt the fun! Now she can really play properly. Standing in them to see how far her feet get covered. And yet more leaf action as she loves collecting them to throw into puddles and see if they float.

And I mustn’t forget Little Mister. He, of course, always accompanies us on our little excursions and seems to like getting out and about. He’s very nosey and loves having a good look around. He’s always been keen on watching clouds and branches blowing in the breeze – such is life when you’re only a few months old!

This time next year I’m sure we’ll be chasing after him and trying to stop him eating stuff! He already seems to be a much more ‘mouthy’ baby than his sister was. But for now at least he often spends much of the time out dozing. So here’s one of the cutest pictures ever of him doing just that at the park back in September.

Little Mister sleeping at park

Categories: Mummy memories, Out and about, Toddlerdom | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

A trip to the park with Peppa…

Once upon a time Little Miss couldn’t get enough of In the Night Garden. To be fair, it was one of the few things we let her watch on telly when she was younger. But in recent months she firstly developed an inexplicable fear of the Pinky Ponk! Whenever it innocently appeared on screen she suddenly started crying for us to turn it off. We still don’t know why. And secondly a certain cartoon pig has stolen her affections.

So it now is that most days, at some point, we’ll hear the words “more Peppa”. And at the moment I can cope with watching Peppa Pig on repeat (I know, I will eventually eat my words). Personally I find Peppa a darn sight more entertaining than Igglepiggle and his ultra-repetitive little gang. Especially the hapless Daddy Pig who, as my husband complains, is so often the butt of the jokes!

So, for now, I’m happy to indulge her love of all things pink and Peppa. A few weeks ago we baked Muddy Puddle cupcakes. Potty training is being ably assisted by the lure of bright pink Peppa Pig pants. And we also recently took her Peppa Pig ballerina toy on an outing to the park, which as you can see from the photos below everyone enjoyed – and ‘shhh!’, perhaps Mummy enjoyed it a bit more than a grown-up strictly should!

It was a dry day so no muddy puddles but Peppa had great fun… hope you like our little photo story!

Peppa at the park

Peppa Pig toy on swing

Peppa Pig toy on bouncer

Peppa Pig toy on boat

Peppa Pig toy walk

Peppa Pig toy on see saw

Peppa Pig and Little MisterAnd that was our lovely trip to the park with Peppa. Snort!


Categories: Mummy memories, Out and about, Toddlerdom | Tags: , | 7 Comments

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