Monday, June 28, 2010

Hey, it's the sun, and it makes me shine...

There was an eagerly-anticipated NCT Nearly New sale yesterday - I love going to these sales and fighting through the masses to stock up with bigger clothes and toy bargains. However, we made the mistake of starting off the day with a 'quick' trip to the beach. It's been so hot this week that we've been careful to keep J-cub out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, which pretty much scuppers any of our usual "let's go to the beach today" ideas.

A little forward planning yesterday saw us leave the house by 9.30, and we were at the beach by 10. The sale ran from 10.30am-1.30pm, so we figured an hour or so at the beach would get us there in plenty of time.

But the beach was just TOO lovely. It was a little overcast, so the sun wasn't too strong, and with liberal half-hourly applications of Factor 50 sunscreen, and J-cub's UV sunsuit, and our UV tent, we figured we could stretch our stay out a little.

J-cub's Auntie Rachel and I took him for a toddle down to the sea, while Jamie languished in the tent with Ali Smith and a bad back. As we walked, J-cub repeatedly plumped down on his little bum to investigate tide pools, crabs, stones, shells and general detritus. Whilst he loved letting grains of dry sand run between his fingers, he was even more excited by smacking the wet sand and trying to pick up handfuls of it.

He emphatically did not like walking on the hot dry sand, but almost got up to a run on the hard wet sand, shouting gleefully as he spied something else of interest.

He had his second dip in the sea - the first was inflicted on him at 6 months but yesterday he walked right into the sea of his own accord, laughed at the waves, wasn't at all bothered by the cold and even washed the sand off his hands before coming out.

We'd hastily packed some snacks before we left, which turned into a makeshift lunch when we realised it was midday. J-cub is currently crazy about Welsh cakes, and he happily crumbled them all over the tent, totally ignoring the more healthy options on offer.

He sensibly stayed out of the sun while his sun-suit and nappy wrap dried, happy to lie in the tent and look at the beautiful view. Not long after, he started rubbing his eyes and yawning, so we called it a day and packed up.

We got back to the car park at 12.50pm, and gave up any hope of going to the sale. Being drenched in sweat and covered in sticky-sand-and-sunscreen had nothing to do with our decision, honest.

J-cub fell asleep as soon as we got in the car, slept for the 30-minute drive home, was transferred to the cot still asleep, and slept for a further 3 hours! All that healthy sea air and toddling is very tiring.

Living near the beach makes me so happy :D

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Day in Pictures (3)

Life is moving too fast for me to keep up with blogging at the moment, I have so many things I want to write about but I'm so exhausted by the end of the day that I can't summon the energy to write. I'm going to try and make more of an effort, I promise.

In the meantime, we've had another glorious summer's day here (which was not at all marred by the 4.15am wake-up call from the nursery), full of family and loveliness and the crazy adventures of a brand-new toddler. Lots of photos, so here's another day in pictures.

J-cub getting to know his Great-Grandad. He lives in Gravesend so we don't get to see him very often, but he adores J-cub to pieces

80-odd years difference

J-cub with his Great-Auntie Pauline, who objects enough to the term 'Auntie' when used by her niece and nephew, and is mercilessly teased with her new position as a Great-Aunt

Maeby had been curled up fast asleep in the shade under a tree in the garden, when she suddenly leapt up and started stalking something around the (entirely land-locked) garden. Close examination found it was a frog who seemed to be suffering an identity crisis - he squeaked loudly every time the cats came near him. This mouse-like behaviour strangely did not deter them

By the time the afternoon rolled around, J-cub had refused to go to sleep and was suffering in the heat - it was 25 degrees even in the living room which tends to be cooler than anywhere else. He screamed if we tried to encourage him to do anything other than sit on us and watch CBeebies. So that's what we did

A little later on, some Calpol and some chocolate cake started to perk him up a bit

Toddling around on our gaming duvet

Giraffe-mania: J-cub sporting his giraffe ears, and holding Jemaine, Not-Jemaine (who I'll write about soon) and his new friend Olaf who came all the way back from Auntie Rachel's holiday in France

When the afternoon cooled down a bit we went for ever such a long walk to the shop to buy Welsh cakes, then to the pond to see the ducks, then back home. J-cub walked all the way, apart from when a nasty gravel path bit his knees and he had to be carried onto the grass

Looking at the ducklings


Walking excitedly towards a bench...

...and getting a bit close to the birdies

Just before bedtime J-cub disappeared into the hall, a shriek of delight and several thumps later he knee-walked back in with a football he'd unearthed. It was very exciting and his Daddy was very proud

After listening to J-cub playing in the cot and refusing to go to sleep for nearly 2 hours, we finally managed to eat dinner and settled down to an evening of Super Mario Galaxy 2 and the associated Nintendonitis

Despite it still being 23 degrees in the living room, Rachel is happily sitting on her cushion wrapped in the gaming duvet as I type. Jamie is 'helping' her, and I'm itching to watch the finale of Doctor Who. We're planning on getting up really early in the morning to go to the beach before it gets too hot, before returning via an NCT Nearly New sale and then coming home to watch some sort of relatively important football match which is apparently on.

Goodnight ;)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

He walks!

All my best intentions for an interesting and informative breastfeeding related post have gone out the window, as J-cub started properly walking today. It's been a month since he took his first steps, and since then he's done no more than 2 or 3 steps at a time.

Over the weekend, he started walking around on his knees - like crawling but without the hands. Nursery commented that they'd never seen another baby do this before walking, and everyone found it very amusing. And then this morning, he just stood up and walked! 6 steps straight over to me, apparently he's been walking around all day at nursery, and since he's been home he's barely stopped.

The look of undisguised glee on his face is wonderful, and he doesn't seem to care when he face-plants into the carpet. And best of all, he can now carry stuff around without it slowing him down. Bring on the mayhem.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice

J-cub is technically 2 years old today (I'll be delicate and leave you to figure that one out). I can hardly believe that 2 years ago I had absolutely no idea that my life was about to change so massively. And yet I can't remember a time when he wasn't a part of me.

This week I want to talk a bit about breastfeeding, as it's National Breastfeeding Awareness week. I'll try and write some longer posts over the next few days, but I've had a long day at work today and have a stressful day tomorrow so I'll keep this short.

The photo below was taken during our first breastfeed in public. J-cub was just under 4 weeks old, and we went to the Civic Centre to register his birth, then had a long (and far too ambitious, I was in tons of pain) walk round the Marina to a cafe where we stopped for chips. I was very nervous about feeding in public, and spent ages getting him latched on and making sure I was covered up, but barely anyone glanced at us, except for an elderly lady who gave us an encouraging smile.

It was a big breakthrough for my confidence, and I remember excitedly texting my mum afterwards, who was very proud. And it was a lovely day, our first proper trip out as a family, and it felt wonderful.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Whoops - somehow another 2 weeks have sped by since my last post. I'm going to try and do better and post every day for the next week.

Today I just want to say a very Happy Father's Day to Jamie, who is, without doubt, the best father J-cub could ever wish for.

I don't really remember last year's Father's Day, and I hardly recognise this tiny neckless-wonder, who would have been about 3 months old:

A year on, he's all grown up, and just about recovered from a nasty ear infection he had last week which saw his temperature rocket to 40.7 degrees C. Today is the first day he's been back to his normal self (although still refusing to eat), and we've had a lovely day of playing and chatting and cuddling.
More updates soon.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Attempts at a relaxing day...

We took a trip out today to a beautiful country park near us. Margam Park is in the next county to us, but just a short drive down the motorway. We've somehow never been there before, but were invited out by friends to have a play.

J-cub woke up late and hadn't slept by the time we left. We foolishly presumed he would sleep in the car (ahhh how I miss those days), but he gazed happily out of the window all the way there. We met up, reacquainted J-cub with his one true love, A, and bundled piles of stuff and toddlers into their buggies.

The park is huge, and after getting lost and walking up a loooooong hill we took a break in a grassy area in front of the castle (I'm calling it a castle, it might be a manor house or something but it's very castley) to play football with the Hello Kitty ball we'd bought for A.

J-cub took off at a fast crawl, looking like a mini-explorer fighting his way through a forest of grass while we chased him down and made sure he didn't come across anything unmentionable in the grass.

When he eventually started to look tired, we strapped him back in the buggy for his nap, and he started to scream. I'm sensing a bit of a trend here with my posts in general, as I seem to be typing "And screamed, and screamed" far too many times. But scream he did, as I pushed him in circles around the others who were dawdling towards the animals. I did my best to placate him and make him comfortable, but there's little you can do when out and about with a 30lb baby who's too tired to go to sleep. He did eventually drop off, and we managed to grab a drink and a snack in a completely deserted visitor centre while he slept in the buggy.

When he woke up, I took him off to be changed, and when I picked him up he was soaking (which would possibly explain the screaming). He was wearing one of his new TotsBots Easyfits, and I don't know whether I hadn't put it on properly, or if it was just from sitting in the buggy with a poppered vest, but it had leaked all through his clothes and into the squishy buggy seat. It's put any potential thoughts about getting some more on hold for now...

I changed him (he screamed) into a fresh nappy and clean clothes (my over-preparation paid off, as I had spare clothes (for hot weather), spare clothes (for cold weather), a sunsuit (in case it was very sunny), and a puddle suit, so I had plenty to choose from). I came out of the changing room not 5 minutes later, and the lovely sunshine had turned into pouring rain.

We stood around under shelter while A tried to boss us back out into the rain to play football, then we walked aaaaaallllll the way back to the castle for some lunch (toddlers did not want to walk, or ride in the buggies, so we all took it in turns to carry them and push the heavy buggies through gravel and up hills. Why did I have to choose today to forget the sling?

In the cafe for lunch ("Yellow chips! I want yellow chips, not purple. Where are my yellow chips? Yellow chips, where are you?" sang A), J-cub was surprisingly keen on eating, polishing off a big pile of baked beans and poking at some sausages and coleslaw. He managed to get most of the coleslaw all over him, leaving big wet patches which necessitated another change of outfit (see, I'm not over-prepared, I'm just prepared).

We finally made our way to the fairytale village (J-cub again refused to nap on the way), where there were mini-cottages dressed up as various fairytales (they'd gone to all the expense of building actual mini houses, but still just had cardboard cutouts of the characters within), a playground, and a castle. J-cub had a whale of a time in the playground, terrorising all the other children by grabbing their hair and shoving them out of the way, and terrifying us by moving so fast around the raised climbing-frame bit that we could barely get to the openings to catch him before he fell out (but woe betide if we tried to take him out, cue screaming tantrums until he got back in again).

In a shady corner, we found a massive round wooden table and parked him on top of it. We then had to dance around the table while he performed acrobatics in the middle, trying to catch him every time he approached an edge only to have him reverse direction while we galloped like loons to the other side. I suppose the sensible thing would have been to take him off the table, but he didn't like that, oh no.

I eventually remembered the stack of cups I'd shoved into his change bag, and when I gave them to him, his face lit up and we had a couple of moments to breathe.

Doesn't he look happy and peaceful?

Do I sound tired, jaded, ungrateful and like I didn't have a lovely day? It was a lovely day, and I'm so happy to have spent the day in the company of such good friends, my lovely husband, and our delightful children. But I still haven't quite got used to being out and about with an almost-toddler. The tantrums which have only started in the last few days are pretty much constant, and we haven't quite got to the how-to-deal-with-it point yet. He's not walking, so we're either leaning over letting him hold our fingers to work (which is back-breaking), making sure he doesn't pick up cigarette butts or other nasties when he's crawling, carrying him, or pushing the buggy. And when he doesn't nap, or doesn't nap for very long, he never stops. As with all other parts of motherhood, it takes a while for my brain, muscles, and sanity to catch up when he starts doing something new. And becoming a toddler is like starting from scratch all over again. Having a baby was terrifying, but at least if you put it down somewhere, it would still be there when you came back. Now, you can't switch off, or sit down, or have a break for a single second. All day.

I'm knackered.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I know my Look Up project has finished, but I couldn't resist today - we came across this amazing Tulip Tree, the like of which I've never seen before. It was 400 years old, maHOOsive, and absolutely stunning.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I don't think I've said much about J-cub's love of drumming, but ever since he learnt that smacking his hand against something made a noise, he's been on a mission to become the greatest drummer since the Roland 808.

He's got an electronic drum from Mothercare, and a cheapy drum we picked up from an NCT Nearly New sale, and a plethora of percussion instruments. We thought it was time for him to take the next step up, and I tracked down a set of bongos on ebay, which I won for the shocking price of £3.60.

They arrived this morning, and after a confusing moment where the box and packaging were far more exciting than the contents, he's been playing them ever since. I say playing, but he seems to prefer sitting on them and surveying his domain.

Still, at £3.60, I don't really care what he uses them for, as long as he's happy. And it's hilarious to watch.