Thursday, December 16, 2010


There's nothing more I love at the moment than talking to my baby. Every day he tries to say new words, and he babbles away to himself all the time. I'm going to miss his babbles so much when he starts talking properly; he wanders around chanting "bah-boo-bah-bee" over and over again and it's the cutest thing in the world.

He seems able to say most of his consonants, but can't string them together in the right order, so 'Bagpuss' often comes out as 'sss-Ba-puh', 'slide' is 'dide-sss' and 'sausages' is 'doshges'. He did do a very accurate 'dinodaur' today which I was very impressed with.

Without doubt, his favourite (and most accurate) word is 'Daddeeeee!' said with a great deal of glee, and used to refer to anything exciting or as a question to ask where his father is. The 'd' sound occurs more than most (except 'b'), leading to confusing conversations like the one we had at lunch today...
Jacob: Dadder.
Me: Ladder?
Jacob: Daddeeee.
Me: Daddy? Daddy's at work.
Jacob (shaking his head): Doh-doh.
Me: Dog?
Jacob (angrily): Doh-doh!
Me: Dorothy?
Jacob (pointing at fridge): Doh-doh!
Me: Yoghurt?
Jacob: Dah-doh!
Me: Magnet?
Jacob (squeals and smiles): Dah-doh!
Me: Yes lots of magnets. Well done.
My favourite of all his mispronunciations though has to be his word for 'apple'. He's perfectly capable of saying 'apple', but has started adding a 'b' sound to the start. We were wandering around Tesco the other day choosing fruit, and Jacob got very excited when we reached the apples. A lady almost peed her pants laughing as we walked up the aisle from the bananas towards the apples, and he said "nana-nana-nana-nana-BAPPLES!-BAPPLES!-BAPPLES!". I think it might be my favourite word in the whole world.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

17. Sell car

SOMEBODY stood on the laptop. Somebody pretty small, whose weight shouldn't really have cracked the screen, but did, and rendered it useless until Acer can tell us whether or not it can be replaced. This is just a couple of months after SOMEBODY knocked the laptop off the sofa and bend the power adaptor pluggy-bit, so that it couldn't charge any more. Thankfully, it's still in warranty, so it shouldn't cost too much to fix. And extra-thankfully, the laptop which the new laptop replaced, which stopped working just less than a year ago, was dragged out and dusted off and appears to work perfectly well. Yay!

But the argh-factor of having yet another something which is broken and needs fixing sent my head into a downward-spiral and the all-consuming guilt over having an unused car sitting on my drive for 18 months came to a head. Instead of my usual reaction of having a breakdown, I listed the damn thing on ebay with a start price of £50 and no reserve. Less than 24 hours later, a very nice man appeared, dragged it off the driveway and round the village a few times until the wheels unlocked, winched it onto a flatbed truck, handed me a wodge of cash and was gone. Just as easy as that, and I am having NO "Why the hell didn't I do this 18 months ago?" thoughts, because I just don't care any more.

As stupid as it sounds, the car sitting there has been the one thing which has stopped me from finally feeling like everything's okay. Being on the anti-depressants has helped me find my way out of my PND, given me a crutch to sort my head out and CBT myself into a positive-thinking machine. At the back of my mind has always been that little niggly thought of the money-pit that was the car, sitting there and doing nothing. I don't know why I find sorting out things like this so hard, but it has filled me with such anguish that I've refused to look at it for all this time. I hated myself for being useless every time it popped into my head. But that uselessness stopped me from doing anything proactive, like actually listing it for sale.

I'd love to say I won't make the same mistake again, but the uncomfortable fact is that the exact same thing happened with my very first car (and I'm only on my 3rd now, giving me a 100% idiot hit rate). I think the best thing to do is never to replace my current car, then I really can't go wrong.

Today, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my forehead (I don't know why people say they carry weights on their shoulders, mine are always focused on my forehead), and, dare I say it, there is nothing worrying me. It feels lovely. And I've had my AD dose halved, and me and J-cub went to the loveliest park after school today to play. Check out our view.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ready Made Post

My lovely friend posted her aim this afternoon to list her daughter's current words and signs. I've been meaning to write a post about this, as in the couple of months since I last posted (and worried about J-cub's lack of speech), we've had an explosion of words and signs, so much so that J-cub is frequently frustrated by us as he signs clearly and fluently and we look at him blankly, before rushing to search through our signing books, flashcards and DVDs to figure out what he's saying. I've tried to keep a record of them, and have a sticky note on my desktop with them all ready and raring to be shared.

So without further ado, here is my (probably incomplete) list of J-cub's current communications.

(grouped in tens for easy counting)

more, baby, milk, food, apple, hi/bye, Daddy, Nanna, duck, bird

rabbit, giraffe, elephant, lion, tiger, cat, crab, fish, monkey, caterpillar

ants, teddy, cuddles, ball, nappy, where, what, octopus, flower, shush

frog, banana, yoghurt, car, sheep, trousers, shoes, orange, boat, book

grapes, camera, bath, stairs, hat, bee, telephone, listen, look, no

yes, draw, dummy, bed, penguin, Hannah, rainbow, tired, clean, dirty

teeth, drink, music, enough, no/stop, guitar, snake, hungry, yummy, nappy

pain, medicine, sleep

Animal Noises:

Snake [ssssssss]
Dog [ooo ooo]
Monkey [ooo ooo eee eee]
Mouse [eee eee eee]
Cat [yow]
Lion/Tiger/Elephant/Dinosaur [loud roaring/screaming sound]

(this doesn't include words which he used well before a year old but then stopped using)

garden [dardeh]
this/that/down/there [all sound similar but are accompanied by a point to indicate which he means]
dirty [dirdee]
tasty [daysdee]
nice [niiiiii]
knock knock
Dorothy [doradee]
sorry [dowee]
toast [doas]
Bagpuss [bag-puh]
Catey [tateee!]
snowman [do-dah]
jumper [dumper]
blue [boo]

and according to his keyworker at nursery:

Tom Bradley [one of his 'friends' who he's apparently been shouting at all day today ;)]

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Name Is Beth, and I'm a thumbsucker

Yep, at 31 years old I'm not too proud to admit that I still suck my thumb. Admittedly, it's not very often now, and I can't actually go to sleep sucking my thumb any more, as I've trained myself out of it. But all through my childhood, teens and early-twenties it was very necessary, and very hard not to do it when society dictated it to be inappropriate.

I remember sitting on the sofa after school watching television and sucking my thumb, and quickly whipping it out when the local paper was delivered by one of my classmates, who would walk past the front window and nearly always catch me in the act. Going to sleepovers was horrible, because I couldn't get to sleep without it, but didn't want my friends to see. And as for when I grew up a bit and started having sleepovers of an entirely different nature....... well I suppose that's when I really started trying to kick the habit.

As a result, I was adamant in my pre-baby days that I would not let any child of mine suck their thumb or fingers; that it would be far easier to get rid of a dummy than it would be to stop them sucking an always-available thumb. When I became pregnant, I reluctantly bought some dummies, which seemed very alien to me. I was already leaning towards the natural-parenting school of thought, which is most definitely dummy-free, and as neither myself nor my sister had had a dummy I couldn't quite get my head around the thought of using a piece of silicone to pacify my baby. I'd also read about nipple confusion, and knew I should wait 4-6 weeks, until breastfeeding was established, before introducing a dummy.

Then motherhood hit, and I had this hungry little baby, who couldn't or wouldn't latch on to feed, and who had to be fed with syringe or cup for the first 6 days of his life, before a kind community midwife saved my sanity by suggesting nipple shields, which worked like a charm and he started feeding straight away. The times when he wasn't feeding, he was grizzly, and grumpy, and moaned and groaned in his sleep and kept us awake at those times when we needed to try and catch up on our sleep. We told the midwife, who asked if we'd considered a dummy. I mentioned about the nipple confusion but she said that as we were using nipple shields anyway it wouldn't make much difference.

I think I sterilised the dummies ready straight away, but it was about another week before I could bring myself to give him one. I'd also read research from the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) that dummies reduce the risk of cot death, but also once you've introduced one, you shouldn't take it away until after a year old (I can't find that to link to now...).

So we became dummy users, and had a brief conversation at around a year old about whether we should 'do something' about it. We started reducing his use of it, so that he only had it in the car and in the cot. And that was, on the whole, pretty successful (we didn't implement this at nursery, as I figured he needed all the comfort he could get while he was there). Especially when toddler life became exciting and he started trying to talk a lot more, which was easier with a mouth unencumbered by a lump of silicone. Of course we had slip ups - when he was poorly then it's the only thing he really wants (and a Jemaine in each hand), when he's anxious or nervous or scared, and when he's poorly. When he dropped his afternoon nap he started getting tired around 6pm, so we instigated a half-hour In The Night Garden-Jemaines-dummy-Dorothy rocking session.

Recently we've had this horrible illness, and he's spent pretty much all day every day rocking on Dorothy with a dummy in his mouth and a Jemaine in each hand. And that means the dummy encroaches into other parts of life, so we end up exhausted at soft-play with a dummy...

And potentially lovely photos are spoiled by having it right there. However much I'm used to it now, I still don't like seeing it. And he knows it too, if he stumbles across one and slips it in, he'll come running straight up to me, thrust his face in mine and point to it with a cheeky grin. "Jacob, have you got a dummy?" I ask in a teasing tone of voice, and he screams and runs away cackling, to 'hide' in a corner and suck it for all he's worth.

All of this wittering is a roundabout way of saying yes, he still has a dummy, and no, I don't really know what to do about it. I think I'd rather wait until he can understand before we take it away completely. There's nothing I hate more than seeing him upset or hurting and not being able to explain what's going on and to help him. If we were to take them away now, he'd be inconsolable. I know it would probably only last a few days, then he'd forget all about them, but I just can't see that it's doing that much harm. Illness aside, he only has it in the cot now, and I'll often go up to check on him and find him sleeping without it. Sucking has been shown to alleviate pain, and it's definitely an innate instinct to suckle for comfort. In an ideal world, he'd be suckling on the breast, but for us that wasn't possible (3 months of thrush and recurring mastitis meant feeding him was hard enough, let alone any extra-curricular suckling).

Really, I just can't resist the cheeky twinkle in his eye when he's got one. It's gorgeous.

Friday, November 19, 2010

November Photo Update

More lovin' between J-cub and Tilly-bear...

A walk around the village to see fireworks (and eat apple pies in front of the village shop, it was awesome)...

J-cub discovered finger puppets and has become very adept at puppeteering...

And there have been far too many days that look like this, as a poorly baby has had to cope with a tummy bug, a chest infection, an ear infection, and his last 4 molars trying to put in an appearance. All at once...

Which has led to countless coughing/panic attacks complete with inconsolable screaming and eyes that don't seem to recognise us, raging temperatures, sleepless nights, a washing machine on constantly, a kitchen knee-deep in vomit-covered laundry, watching Coast at 3am, falling asleep at work, refusing to eat for a week, returning home after driving half-way to nursery before J-cub has thrown up all over himself, and a permanent comfy-area in the lounge for desperately trying to cope with very little sleep...

(Oh and note how the sofa is lower on the left than on the right? The springs broke. We now need a new sofa on top of everything else.)

October Photo Update

We kicked October off with a return-to-pre-baby-life as we DJ'd at Chick Habit in Cardiff. It's been too long since I last DJ'd and I was very nervous, so I enlisted my lovely friend Claire to work with me. After getting told off for playing 'too much heavy stuff' we kicked the boys asses by filling the dance floor and keeping them there. We rocked. It was freaking awesome, and we rolled into bed at sometime around 5am. It was light.

We had a couple of days of Indian Summer, and took full advantage of it with snoozy walks through the forest...

J-cub perfected his innocent 'I'm not touching that dummy Mum, honestly' look...

And was just generally gorgeous...

J-cub and Tilly's relationship went from strength to strength, with her joining us for pre-bed story time...

I re-read all 7 Harry Potter books in preparation for the 7th film, and J-cub got in on the action too...

He's so clever ;)

September Photo Update

We both had the first week of September off, and spent it trucking back and forwards from Cardiff. We had a gorgeous park-picnic with friends, enjoying the last of the Summer sun and chasing ducks and dogs around, then went to the Doctor Who exhibition. J-cub was less than impressed by the Daleks, and was not even excited to see K-9. I had a great time though, and had to stop Jamie smuggling Amy Pond's outfit out under his jumper.

We went to IKEA twice, to get some toy storage for the living room sorted, and a new chest of drawers for our bedroom, and just because it's a great day out (really, it is, J-cub loves all the play areas and I could spend a fortune in there).

He especially loved the cot layouts, I think he would have fallen asleep there if I'd let him...

We spent a day scrubbing the garden furniture and toys, J-cub helping by cleaning his car (and emptying my buckets of soapy water as fast as I could fill them)...

We spent rainy days inside huddling under umbrellas, which also make excellent boats...

We learnt that J-cub's all-in-one waterproof is just that - he stuck both his arms up to the shoulders into a bucket of water and was as dry as a bone underneath...

Saturday morning laundry provides me with 50 minutes of peace as J-cub sits on an upturned nappy box and quietly monitors the washing machine...

I learnt that I can sit atop a toddler swing relatively easily...

We took a poorly boy to soft play to cheer him up, and he conquered his fear of ball pools...

And we replaced the faithful Jumperoo with a rocking dinosaur called Dorothy, who J-cub fell desperately in love with...

August Photo Update

When I last posted before the Great Lull, it was just before my birthday. We spent the day at our favourite beach on Gower, just as we had done 2 years previously when I had a tiny bump and very little idea of what was in store.

It was a gloriously sunny day, and it was fab having my new wrap to carry Jacob down the long walk to the top of the cliffs surrounding the bay, and then to carefully climb down the steep path to the beach.

He had a whale of a time throwing sand around, falling face-first into the sea, and chasing seagulls. He got a little bit chilly after a while (his lips started turning blue...) so we sat him on the rocks in the sun and wrapped all 4.6 metres of wrap around him to warm him up. We finished the day with fish and chips and triple-layer Rocky Road cake, it was gorgeous.

The day after my birthday was our 8th Wedding Anniversary, and we celebrated with a play in the paddling pool...

...which concluded with a very cold baby making himself a bed in front of the telly and cuddling his cat for a good hour before he warmed up. Awwww.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Every day I think that if I leave it any longer, it'll be really hard to catch my blog up. But then I can't think how best to catch up the last week, fortnight, month ... 2.5 months ... so I wonder off to look elsewhere on the web, and my thoughts drift away, and I forget again. But the guilt never quite stops niggling at me.

Guilt because I haven't done a proper baby memory book for Jacob, or even printed any photos of him and put them in an album for him - there's nothing tangible to provide him (or me) with memories of these precious first years. And this blog assuaged that guilt a little, giving me an easily-accessible record of the little things that are so important.

I've been reading the most perfect blog this week, with the most perfect momma and her beautiful daughters and life, and the guilt has just overflowed. How have I let this lapse? All those moments that have passed without me recording them...

So I typed 'm' into the address bar, to drag this blog up and make amends. And '' didn't appear. Because it's been that long.

When I'd finally coaxed my fingers through typing the whole address, and logged in, I found 3 comments awaiting moderation. Shouldn't I be emailed about that? Settings amended, comments approved, and here I am. Thank you, lovely Emily, for thinking of me and reminding me what I should be doing. Sorry I didn't hear you earlier.

I love your pics of J-Cub. He'll really appreciate them when he's older. I wish I could remember to take photos of Megan. She's growing so fast, I'm not keeping up with her. Must try harder. 200 posts, that IS something momentous, I'm only sorry I didn't say so earlier! :D
By Glovecat on Day 34 - New boots on 11/7/10
You make me laugh. I love you comment about J's modelling hip and the insistence that there is a tangerine there SOMEWHERE. See, I miss your posts so much that I'm guiltily going back over your old posts and commenting, hoping that you'll put up some new ones. It's been 2 months, according to my dashboard! TWO MONTHS! ;D
By Glovecat on Day 36 - Liony bum on 11/7/10
Wah! Now I see that you responded to my stupid comment. I shall have to see if you've "bumped" me up yet (like the pun!)... You have gone strangely quiet, I hope you're doing well and that you are simply enjoying life too much to blog about it! All is well in babyland, though i find it hard to get much done other than what Megan wants me to do... She's lovely though, we're totally besotted! Big hug to you, mama, will you update us and post something soon? xxx
By Glovecat on Day 41 - He's on the phone. on 10/8/10

Message received, loud and clear. I'm sorry. I WILL do better. I'm going to find photos and updates and thingys and quirks to post over the next few days.

But in a few words...

* Going back to work after the summer holidays was shit. That's initially why I stopped writing. It was horrible, I was accused of some stuff I didn't do, and it was all too hard to deal with. I'm still not terribly happy being there, but there's not a lot I can do about it. I'm learning to take each day as it comes, and to be constantly checking my back and covering my ass so it doesn't happen again. They chose the wrong person to fuck with.

* Jacob has taken to nursery like a pig to swine flu ... we've had illness after illness and it's getting ridiculously hard to cope. Poor poppet.

* Jamie's back/neck/arm/shoulder/hand etc are causing lots of gyp and general day-to-day living problems. We are awaiting referrals to physio and testing for arthritis. Gah.

* The cats are very annoying in winter. Because they want to go out, but it's cold and wet, so they want to come in. Then they want to go out. We don't have anywhere for a catflap, so there is lots of anguished miaowing all the time.

* Jacob is amazing, wonderful, funny, growing, lovely, loving, perfect - each and every day. New words, new signs, new little routines and rituals that make him happy. My favourite of today.... him walking very purposefully around the lounge, then stopping, and very, very, slowly casting his eyes at me from under his fringe, just to see if I'm watching. And when I am, bursting into giggles and falling over.

And my baby seems to be no longer a baby ... he's a boy:

'Hiding' in the corner

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 41 - He's on the phone.

J-cub is now having full on conversations on his toy phones. Usually with one of us, although when we made it ring early, he picked up the handset and held it out to Tilly, then when she didn't take it, he placed it carefully on her back. Bless.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 40 - Wrapping in Cardiff Bay

I got two early birthday presents today. A new camera and my first ever woven wrap. The wrap actually arrived a couple of days ago but J-cub has been spectacularly uncooperative during our practise sessions and so I haven't been brave enough to try taking it out anywhere.

A close friend has his 40th birthday on Tuesday, and we went to Cardiff Bay to celebrate with him today. We bravely went out with no buggy, and no back-up Mei Tai. I got J-cub in and out of the wrap 3 times, learning a little more each time.

It's so comfy, so soft, and so much more supportive than I would have expected. I found it a little difficult to get the tightness right, as evidenced by the slightly wonky wrap below.

J-cub loved it though, and was super-excited to see lots of other babies, dogs and ducks from his vantage point.

There was a French food market in the Bay and we wandered around all the stalls, eating crepes and dodging the wasps which were besieging the sweet stalls. The market had thoughtfully laid on a massive fenced-in sandpit, complete with buckets and spades, where we dumped J-cub and ate our crepes. He lasted about 10 minutes before we were forced to remove him to stop him throwing sand at a fellow toddler. When Jamie picked him up and walked away, the child pointed at J-cub and said "No throwing!". I wish J-cub would understand that kind of sentiment rather than just smiling sweetly at us.

We didn't manage to stay very long at the actual party, as the pub was child-unfriendly and we were limited to a tiny room off the main bar, with no highchairs and nowhere for J-cub to work out his energy. Tantrums ensued.

We've rescheduled with them for later in the week to make up for skipping out early.

It was a lovely day though, and I came home buzzing from my babywearing success. It's so much easier to nip through crowds without a buggy and we got lots of admiring glances, mostly from older children. I feel a new addiction is starting...

Day 39 - Blog update (2)

(Friday August 27th)

It stopped raining today!

I was supposed to be going to a meeting of local babywearers for the first time which I was really looking forward to, especially after all the rain over the last week. Waking up this morning to find a gorgeous sunny day, but to still feel like my head is stuck in a pile of cotton wool was horrible.

Instead we spent a lazy day tearing up reams of toilet paper (when one of us took their eye off the other, and didn't respond to the ominous silence quickly enough), sleeping, almost running, falling over, playing in the (HOT!) garden and not eating wiggly worms. Because I have the reflexes of an archerfish.

On the bright side, we learnt the sign for worm.

J-cub refused a nap at 2pm, but conked out in the ring sling during the washing up at around 4pm and was quickly spirited into the cot. I had to wake him at 5.30, which I hate doing but I knew he'd never sleep tonight if I didn't, and I was royally punished with an ear-splitting, floor-thumping, kicking, biting, hitting, screaming tantrum which lasted over an hour.

He therefore didn't get his dinner til gone 7pm, but seemed happy enough watching funny kitten videos on youtube for the rest of the evening until bedtime at just before 9. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And now the blog is up to date again! We've got an excitingly busy weekend coming up (it's my birthday on Monday, fact-fans) but I'll be back to share my spoils by Tuesday at the latest. Happy Bank Holiday!

Day 38 - ??

(Thursday August 26th)

Still poorly, and I had to cancel a playdate, which made me a feel a bit stir-crazy all day (there's nothing like soft-play for getting rid of some toddler energy). Plus I'm not sleeping, and 3 hours of lying awake in bed is not very good for the soul.

Normal service will resume shortly...

Day 37 - ?

(Wednesday August 25th)

I spent more of today being ill, having now most definitely come down with a cold.

I can't think of a single other thing I did (other than baby-wrangling, of course).

Hmmm. Must try harder.

Day 36 - Liony bum

(Tuesday August 24th)

I bought J-cub some awesome leggings off ebay (it's not too early to be preparing for winter, right?) and they arrived today. One pair has a lion playing the piano on the back, and the other has a frog playing an accordion. They are ridiculously cute, especially over his big cloth-bum.

He seemed to know just how adorable he was being, and did his best ANTM-style fierce poses for me (check out the hip flung out to one side...) whilst munching on a nectarine (yes, there is a nectarine in there somewhere).

The rest of the day, predictably, was spent chalking. And J-cub absolutely, categorically, did not eat any chalk.

He did though draw a fish. We've been playing a game where he hands off the chalk to one of us, we draw one of his favourite animals, then he scribbles over it. Our fish are of the single-swooping line variety, and after watching us do this over and over again, he made a very passable attempt at it. See, in the bottom left, the massive head/body and the tiny triangular tail? And the eye? How clever is he?

Day 35 - Milk please!

(Monday August 23rd)

Not much happened today, my hayfever tablets stopped working and/or I started to come down with a cold.

In communication news, J-cub used signing for the first time without prompting or seeing something that he knows the sign for. It was a few hours after he'd woken up, when (if I was on the ball) I would normally have started asking him if he was ready for bed. I'd said nothing, and so he let me know it was time by coming over to the sofa, picking up a cushion and placing it on the floor, then sitting on it and signing 'milk'.

We spent the rest of the day mostly covered in chalk.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 34 - New boots

(Sunday August 22nd)

During our trip to Asda the other day we scored J-cub his first pair of Wellington boots for the bargainous price of £4. They're probably not terribly good for his feet at that price but his feet grow so fast that he'll be out of them soon, and I'm sick of having to stay inside when it's raining because he doesn't have appropriate footwear.

We tried them out in the rain-sodden garden and they were deemed a great success. He still can't make the trike go forwards though.

The rain had been disastrous in our garden: the stand which was supporting a growbag full of strawberries and 2 pots of tumbling cherry tomatoes collapsed, pulling down the French bean wigwam which had trained itself around the top bars.

While J-cub investigated here and there...

I righted the growbag (the strawberries survived), chucked out all the slug-eaten tomatoes, and harvested all the French beans. I cut the grass and got the garden back to a baby-friendly state, seconds before it started to pour with rain again.

We had a lovely stir-fry of French beans (amongst other foods) for dinner, I'm just gutted that that'll be the last of them now.

(This is my 200th post! Should really be something more momentous, really.)

Day 33 - Chalk it up...

(Saturday August 21st)

J-cub's passion for drawing has been taken up a notch by the purchase of some chunky chalks. No more little tiny pieces of crumbly, edible chalk which he can barely hold and which make hardly a mark on the old blackboard. Instead, these lovely things make chalking J-cub's new favourite activity.

We tried to instil a rule whereby if he used chalk on anything other than the blackboard (the carpet, the TV, my shoulder...) it would be immediately removed. Cue screaming tantrums and frantic pointing and grunting at the box of chalks. Even attempts at doing alternative activities (like nappy changing, eating or sleeping...) elicited J-cub's first self-invented sign, a very precise finger-wiggle in the air, just like scribbling on a blackboard.

Returning the piece (or pieces) of chalk to him made him extremely happy. I think we've created a monster.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 32 - Ringslinging

(Friday August 20th)

Probably stemming from a lack of sleep yesterday, J-cub was very clingy today. I had tons to get on with, but he didn't want to be left alone for a second. This is getting to be more and more the norm, with our time in the living room spent with me watching J-cub play, because he doesn't want interference from me, but equally he doesn't want me to do anything else. If I pick up the laptop, he slams the lid of it shut. If I pick up a book, he tears it out of my hand and throws it away.

He does love reading together, and drawing together, and singing nursery rhymes etc, but most games descend into rough and tumble play which can get a bit too rough and tumbly for my liking. The boy loves headbutting, and biting, and smacking, and throwing things. I'm not too keen on any of these.

So I'm taking to babywearing more and more around the house, in an attempt to keep up with day-to-day housework whilst simultaneously having nice calm, gentle cuddles with no violence. J-cub's favourite job is washing up, he especially likes it if I let him hold his hand under running water and flick bubbles around. But he's equally content to sit and watch, as long as I keep up a running commentary or sing to him. Today, the Mei Tai was in the car and it was raining, so I gave the ring sling another go. I'm not overly keen on the ring sling, it's not great for long carries as one-shoulder carries are uncomfortable with a heavy toddler, and I'm not experienced enough to stop worrying that he's going to fall out.

Today, the ring sling and I (and J-cub) clicked. I managed to get him in a really comfortable, secure position on my hip, and after some ring-positioning practice, got him onto my back. He sat there perfectly happily, resting his head on my shoulder and watching me work. It was lovely.

We had to go out to Asda later for some bits and bobs, and I took the ring sling as it was still raining and there's very few parent and child parking spaces. I got him in the sling quickly and put my waterproof coat on top of both of us. He stayed there happily until the excitement of several babies being pushed around the children's clothing aisle got too much for him and I had to switch him into the trolley.

I'm now kicking myself that at the last NCT Nearly New sale I attended, I passed up a beautiful Ellaroo ring sling for the bargainous price of £9. Instead I have a cheap and extremely thin plain cotton one for about £3 from ebay. I suppose it does the trick, but it would be so nice to have something a bit more sturdy. I'll be at the sling table at the next sale with bells on.

Day 31 - Monkey legs

(Thursday August 19th)

An important First today - First day of No Naps. Gah. J-cub usually sleeps for at least 2 hours in the morning, near enough 2 hours on the dot from when he wakes up, and still often has a 2 hour nap in the afternoon too. I knew this morning was going to be a bit out of sync, as we had a playdate planned for 11am at a soft play centre about 30 minutes drive away. J-cub had shown no sign of being sleepy before we left, so I hoped he would nap in the car and not be too grumpy when we got there.

No such luck - wide awake all the way there and practically bouncing off the walls when we got inside. My lovely friend Rhian and her daughter Poppy were already there, and we quickly chucked the little ones into the toddler area and got on with some good chatting. Poppy and J-cub were both so full of beans that we got just as much of a workout as they did, climbing up slopes and ladders after them, sliding down slides, getting stuck at the very top and having to ask young children to show us the way down.

We broke for lunch and Poppy put J-cub to shame by perfectly eating a plate of cheese and tomato pasta using her fork to spear and eat every single piece. J-cub enjoyed holding his fork in one hand and shovelling in beans on toast with the other. He did manage to eat the whole meal without throwing any on the floor, so that's a start.

After some more playing we called it quits and left for home. J-cub slept for less than 10 minutes (car-induced sleep rather than a proper nap, so it doesn't count), and came into the house wide-awake and bouncing.

We'd picked up a parcel from the sorting office on the way, and it was some goodies from Babykind. I'd never bought anything from them before, but someone recommended them to me as having cheap postage and as I only needed a few things, I was pleased not to have to double the cost of my order with postage costs. For orders under £20, they charge just £1 postage which is very unusual. I needed some nappy sanitizer, a new mesh bag for the nappy pail, some Babylegs (not strictly needed, but they were on offer) and some old Green Parenting magazines. My order came to just over £20 so I paid the £2 postage, and when I picked up the parcel I was gobsmacked to see it had cost them over £8 to send it. It's definitely worth a look at their informative and well-stocked online shop, and there's tons of bargains to be had if you've got the time to wade through their massive list of bargain items.

J-cub's favourite item was his ToodleBugz, baby leg warmers covered with monkeys. He's still loving pretending to be a monkey at the moment, and having legs covered with monkeys led to much hilarity all afternoon.

J-cub went to bed at his usual time of 7pm, not appearing any more tired than usual. I was shattered.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 30 - The boy eats curry

Ahhh it's so lovely to be up to date and only have one blog post to write today.

It's Jamie's day off today, and we kicked off the morning with a couple of hours play, as per usual, followed by an awesome three hour nap, which rather left me and Jamie twiddling our thumbs once we'd finished our usual showering/shaving/dressing/make-uping/tidying/cleaning routine. I do wish J-cub would tell us when he's going for a long sleep.

Still, at least it meant that by the time he'd woken up, had his lunch and got dressed, he had no time to make a mess of the lovely tidy lounge before we went out. We went to see some friends who bravely have three children, and spent the afternoon being dragged in various directions by all four of them, whilst attempting to maintain some semblance of adult conversation at the same time. It was lovely though, but J-cub got a bit overtired and grouchy when he wanted the blue ball, and Seren had the blue ball, and he didn't want the orange ball, even though it was identical, and Seren didn't want the orange ball, and she wouldn't give up the blue ball, and they had a big bawling screaming fight. Seren is 2 and a half and should know better. She should hide her balls before J-cub comes to visit.

J-cub absolutely adored their big trampoline, and actually seemed to know how to bounce on it. He liked falling down on it too:

By the time he ran out of steam it was gone 4pm, and we decided to venture into town rather than go straight home, and have dinner out somewhere. We had a quick scout round Toys R Us for a present for a friend's child, then crossed the road to Sainsbury's (oooh the glamour) for our tea. We found that children's meals were just £1 with any adult meal, and we ordered chicken curry and rice for J-cub (it also came with a Fruit Shoot and some fruit, bargain). I may have mentioned before that whilst we've been going through this J-cub-not-eating phase, nursery have reported that he'll happily eat curry, chilli, stew, all kinds of things which he wouldn't dream of touching at home. So we wanted to put him to the test. We had to wait AGES for the food to appear, which made us wish we'd spent another pound to get the child's snack meal to entertain him in the meantime. We managed to unearth some snacks from his change-bag though...

And when the chicken curry arrived, he tucked in with gusto. Using a real adult-sized spoon and fork, he wolfed it down. See, he can eat!

We were just about to leave when it started to hammer down, and with no coats or hats or raincovers we had to splash out (get it) £6.99 on a lovely new golfing umbrella. J-cub thought it was the best thing he'd ever seen:

We managed to get home dead-on 7pm, gave him a bottle, changed him and threw him into bed. It only took him another 2 hours of burbling and playing to fall asleep...

Day 29 - Blog update

(Tuesday August 17th)

I'm about to publish 19 new posts, written over the past few days, cobbled together and had photos added to today. If you want to read them in the right order, you need to go back to Day 11 and scroll up. I think it's 3 pages back.

Thanks to Emily and Rach P for giving me a little kick to get on with it, there's nothing like someone telling me they're reading the blog/missing my posts for me to think "Argh, I haven't written anything for WEEKS!".

It's just gone 1am and I'm shattered.

But J-cub said "Tilly" this morning, so it's not all bad ;)

I apologise in advance for the (poor) quality of my writing, the fact that some posts are quite scanty, any typos which I haven't caught, and the abundance of smilies. Sometimes, needs must.

Give me some comments, go on, you know you want to. It gives my life meaning again. And virtual cake tastes delicious.

Good night.

Day 28 - Shopping and signing

(Monday August 16th)

J-cub and I went on a much-needed trip to Tesco today. We've been home for a whole week and managed not to do any food shopping at all, so the cupboards were quite literally bare. I had a massive shopping list and a very tired baby, but no other time to do it so we didn't have much choice.

Despite his tiredness, J-cub was a little angel. On arrival, we walked from the car to the front of the store to get a trolley. J-cub walked next to me, holding my hand. He's never done that before, he thinks hand-holding is the devil's work and usually refuses point blank or tries to pull his arm off. Today, after a little squeal, he accepted I wasn't going to change my mind and he walked happily along. It was all hot and sunny, and loads of people were smiling and cooing at him. And I must admit, he was quite the little cool dude:

He put up with sitting in the trolley for nearly an hour, he only threw a few things on the floor, and he happily chewed on a bag of frozen peas when his gums got too much to bear.

My Proudest Mummy Moment Ever came when we got to the checkout, I pushed the trolley up next to the conveyor belt, and started unloading. J-cub turned around, saw what I was doing, and started helping. Seriously. He took all the items he could reach and carefully placed them on the conveyor belt. Except for the baby spinach, which he threw on the floor. I also rescued the eggs from his grasp, just in case. But other than that, he was amazing! He got a yummy and very un-baby-friendly jam-filled Welsh cake for his troubles.

When we'd put all the shopping back in the car, we returned the trolley and walked up to Boots to get some bits and bobs. Again, he walked along, holding my hand. We encountered two small dogs, and J-cub barked at them. Really. His animal noises now include monkey ('Eeee-eeee-eeee'), cat ('eooooow'), snake ('sssssss') and dog ('oooo oooo'). He had a mini-meltdown in Boots but quickly fell asleep when we got back in the car.

Later on, when Jamie was home, we played our new favourite game of Google image search. This involves one parent sitting where they can't see the laptop, while the other searches for ducks, or monkeys, or fish, or whatever. And the other parent has to guess what it is from J-cub's signs/sounds.

Previously, he'd done monkey.

Tonight, he signed giraffe, fish, crab, lion, apple, baby, nappy and milk, and made sounds for dog, cat, snake and monkey, and said 'Duck'. At the end of the game, the buzzer sounded indicating his milk was warmed. He picked up a cushion, lay down on the floor with it and signed 'milk'.

I'm so so happy we've stuck with the baby signing, it's amazing to be able to communicate with him all of a sudden.

Day 27 - "Garden!"

(Sunday August 15th)

We've been talking recently about J-cub's lack of language, having read that at 18 months you should expect a child to have between 6 and 20 words. J-cub barely has 3, if you count 'Mama', 'Dada' and 'Uh-oh!'. I know you shouldn't worry about this sort of thing, and I also know that babies who sign speak later. But when I hear tales of similarly aged babies having numerous words it does make me worry.

Today J-cub took a step forward by standing by the stairgate into the kitchen, pointing outside and saying very firmly "Garden!". We immediately reinforced it by taking him into the garden, and he now asks to go out regularly. It's lovely.

Day 26 - New toy storage

(Saturday August 14th)

As previously mentioned, we made our second trip of the week to IKEA on Wednesday, and bought some Trofast units to store J-cub's stuff in the lounge. His toys and bits and bobs were getting out of hand and we're fully aware that it's only going to get worse as he gets older, so we got some large units which will be suitable to move into his bedroom when he's older and has a proper sized room.

We didn't have time to put them together until today, but they proved very easy to assemble and we had them both done and up while he napped. He was very excited to come down and find a new climbing frame to play on (fixed to the wall, of course).

During his second nap of the day, we managed to get all the toys organised and put away, with lots of spare room for nappies and floor mats etc. Excuse the mess in the surrounding area, at this point I hadn't had time to sort everything else out.

J-cub got very excited (again) to come down and find he could just about spy his toys but had to learn a new sliding motion to get them out.

The bookcase which was previously in that corner has been moved to just inside the door, which makes it easier to access his books and easier for me to tidy them away again.

There was plenty of room for all his lovely nappies, with a small tray to hold a day's worth of nappies and wipes which I can take out each time I change him, meaning I don't have to run around gathering things up before nappy changes. Yay!

Mmmmm nappies....

Of course no trip to IKEA would be complete without a lot of associated unneeded tat, and Wednesday's haul included a fabric fruit basket filled with play fruit. We soon found that the basket made a perfect Davy Crockett hat:

IKEA Cardiff isn't quite as child-friendly as IKEA Bristol, as the play area has 3 separate exits, none with gates, which meant I was kept busy stopping J-cub from making a run for it. A little girl proved much more effective than I by enveloping him tightly in a hug and kissing him smack on the lips. He looked very shell-shocked ;)