Friday, 25 September 2015

First Steps

Bear is now 11½ months old. I can't believe in 2 weeks he'll be one! Each week just flies by. 

Baby in red and yellow tent peeping out the door

So what can Bear do now?

HE TOOK HIS FIRST STEPS!


We have Bear 3 days a week so the chances were that he would take his first steps with us. I had already decided that if he did I would keep quiet and not mention it. Luckily I didn't have to, he waited until he got home on Tuesday evening and took his first steps with mummy and daddy. Proud moment! 


He can drink, bash things together or clap whilst standing.


Bear has really good balance. He's been standing alone for a while but he can also do it whilst drinking from his sippy cup, or bashing things together or whilst clapping. He now knows he can do it whereas before he just forgot to hold on.

Baby bending down
Blurry action shot!

He can tease.


He has a new trick. He holds something out towards us and waits until we lean to take it, he then pulls it away laughing. We have no idea how he learnt this as none of us tease him and he has no siblings to teach him this. Is this just a development babies go through? Did he work it all out for himself?


He can get off things backwards.


He loves climbing especially onto the sofa and the footstool so we decided to teach him to turn around and lower himself off them backwards. He now does it like a pro! He's up and down in a flash only needing reminding occasionally to turn around. I still wouldn't leave him but it's so much easier than when he was launching himself off head first.


baby looking straight at camera


He can understand everything.


I mean everything! He may only speak in baby babble but he understands every word said to him. 

For example;

Bear was sat in the sunshine on the kitchen floor I said hot and he pointed at the kettle.


Baby sat in washing basket

He was playing climbing the stairs when his parents pulled into the close 
"who's at the door?" I said. He stopped. Put his arms up to be picked up. Pointed at the door, looked at me and pointed at the door. 
Big smile on his face as we walked to the door and opened it. There was mummy walking down the drive. He knew she would be there.


blurred baby crawling away from stairs

Swearing has been taboo but even more now as he listens too, watching how my mouth moves when I say a word, getting me to repeat it again and again until he's got it. Then he says it once, is happy with how it sounds and carries on with something else.


He can throw a perfect tantrum.


Bear doesn't know that he should wait until he's 2 to throw the perfect tantrum. He thinks it's ok to do it now.

He has perfected everything. 

The arched back. 
The open mouth.
The ear piercing screech.
The *real* tears.

Ahh! He hasn't learnt to stomp yet. That's one for next time.


He can say "Kettle".


He can say kettle, or as Bear says it dettle.  


He can say "Blanket".


Well he can say dankdet. His mummy is really good at croquet and she has been making some lovely baby blankets


He can say "water".

Bear was drinking water at lunchtime and I said "water" he stared at me waiting for me to repeat it, "water" I said again, and again. He then said "water" had a drink and, as usual, threw his sippy cup to the floor. 


He can say "pasta".


Bear hates pasta. I'm sure he's learnt the word pasta so when he's asked what he wants to eat he can say "NOT PASTA!".

He can say "woof".


Ok so it's not really a word but he knows dogs say it. He is very choosy over his words, he can say dog but doesn't. I think he prefers woof.

He can say "brrrm".


Just like "woof" it's not really a word but he knows it goes with cars and he chooses not to say car.


baby on floor playing with toy car

I say he chooses not to say car and dog because there are some words I know he could say but refuses to.

Nanny! Nanna!  Anything like that. Why wouldn't he say that? He says gandad. 


I know he can say it. I think he's teasing me.













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Monday, 21 September 2015

A Cardiff Garden in September

Well we didn't get much of a summer in Cardiff this year and now it's officially over. The autumn brings with it warm days and cold nights. Lots of plants are still flowering and many are just starting to turn glorious colours. September is a time of fruits and produce, but not in this garden this year! A cold wet spring and summer have not given us the bountiful fruits of last year. 

picture of pink gladioli
Gladioli
Close up of yellow evening primrose flower with green shield beetle
Evening Primrose with Shield Beetle

Picture of pink Mallow flowers
Mallow

Picture of pink Osteospermum
Osteospermum

Pink and red fuschia against blue sky
Fuschia

Pale pink Schizostylis flowers with rain drops on them
Schizostylis
Two butternut squash gourds on wire frame
Butternut Squash

Three peppers, two green one red.
Peron Peppers

Tomatoes, green and red
Tomatoes
Picture of deeply divided Acer leaves, some just changing colour from green to red
Acer leaves just changing colour

Maple leaves turning red with blue sky behind
Maple just turning red

Green and very red leaves of Virginia Creeper
Virginia Creeper turning red

Picture of blue dragonfly in cement made from broken tiles
Blue Dragonfly on a step in the Garden
I love the garden in September. I love the changing colours and many of the plants are still flowering.

What is the best thing in your garden this month?
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Saturday, 19 September 2015

Knitted Pirates, Princesses, Witches, Wizards and Fairies

Today is #TalkLikeAPirate Day so I thought it would be a good day to review a book I bought a while ago. Knitted Pirates, Princesses, Witches, Wizards and Fairies by Annette Hefford.


Picture of front of book showing knitted wizard
Knitted Pirates, Princesses,Witches, Wizards and Fairies by Annette Hefford


Picture of the back of the book

I saw this book and immediately wanted it. I had just restarted knitting because lots of my work colleagues were expecting babies and I love knitting small things like baby clothes.  This book is beautiful just to look at. The book describes everything you need to complete a project with photographs. 

picture of page from book showing equipment needed
Page describing equipment needed


It contains patterns for 10 dolls. Each is clearly written with photo's of every step. I chose Samuel Crowe Pirate and I found it really easy to follow and enjoyed making him. 

It is fiddly and lots and lots of little bits but I love that. Once the doll's body is made, each evening I would be able to start and finish a piece. He has so many bits! A shirt, breeches, a belt, boots, hat, scarf, sword, rings, hair.....The amount of detail in each doll is wonderful.

Picture of part of knitted doll showing scarf
Samuel Crowe Pirate scarf

picture of knitted breeches showing detail of knitted button
Beautiful details of each step

picture of knitted pirate doll
Samuel Crowe Pirate


picture of knitted wizard doll
Alistair Wizard

picture of knitted fairy doll
Daisy Livingstone Fairy

picture of knitted witch doll
Elizabeth Witch

picture of knitted princess doll
Princess Neridah

picture of knitted Santa Claus doll
Santa Claus
picture of knitted pirate doll
My Samuel Crowe Pirate 
I bought this book from Amazon, I can't remember exactly what I paid but it was less than the published price of £12.99.

Samuel Crowe Pirate, he has a passing resemblance to a very famous pirate! Guess who? I love him x

Why are pirates called pirates? They just aaaaaaargh!




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Tuesday, 15 September 2015

First Books for Babies

Bear has recently started pointing at things. He wants to know the name of everything. He has also started to talk. Just a few words. I don't mean babble but real words that are relevant.

I wanted to buy him some books that would help with his vocabulary and so bought these lovely board books. My first abc. My first 123. My first words.

3 books;my first abc; my first 123; my first words

They are board books published by DK Children. I love their style of publishing. They are great for children as they have beautiful photographs and easy to understand text.

These book are the same. They have real photo's, not drawings or cartoons. They are a perfect size for little hands and being board books they are very tough.

I bought mine from Amazon UK at £4.99 each but they are also available in a Kindle edition for £1.99. Why anyone would want a Kindle version I do not know. Don't get me wrong I have a kindle and love it but these are baby's first books. They need to be touched and chewed and smelt and probably scribbled on!

picture of 6 spinning windmills all different colours
Inside the book "my first 123"

pictur of 2 pages in a book first the letter Jj with pictures of jam, jeans the second Kk kangeroo, keys etc
Inside the book "my first abc"

inside of book around the house with pictures of a chair, table etc
Inside the book "my first words"
baby on floor with 3 books. abc book in his hand
Bear with his new books

Baby holding up abc book to adult
Grandad read this one!
I bought these books myself. We love them and would definitely recommend them. Since having them Bear has started to recognise so much more. 

What are your favourite babies books?


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GALT Pop-Up Toy Review


GALT pop-up toy box


I bought the GALT pop-up toy for Bear when he was 10 months old. When I opened the box I was really disappointed, it looked great but I thought that the stick men would be pushed down and lock, then pushed again to make them pop up, like an on/off button. They didn't. You have to pop them by flicking your finger across the top. The box stated 12 months+ so I thought Bear would be too young to be able to do it. I kept all the packaging to return it if Bear didn't like it. 

He loved it! He was fascinated at the little men popping out and it wasn't long before he had worked out how to do it.




video

He also likes to use the men as teething aids. Now he's 11 months old he can put the stick men back into the holes. A fabulous toy that Bear loves, is well made and really does encourage hand/eye coordination.


Baby in blue and white stripped romper suit chewing blue GALT pop-up toy


I bought the GALT pop-up toy from Amazon UK for £7.99. It's a great toy and at £7.99 a bargain.

*Update 20th Dec 2015 

Bear is now 14 ½ months old, he still plays with this toy every day. The paint is still intact even though he chews and bites it. He is now learning to put the correct coloured men into the right hole. Buy it!

Have you bought any toys that you thought were rubbish but your kids loved? 





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Thursday, 10 September 2015

How To Be a Good Granny Nanny

Bear can't speak yet so I'm not sure what he'll call me but I refer to myself as Nanny. When I look after Bear whilst his parents work am I a Nanny Nanny? Nanny carer? Nanny grandson minder? 
I'm not sure, so I'm calling myself a Granny Nanny.

When I first started to look after Bear I searched the internet for tips. I didn't find any, only forums where mums were asking for advice about problems with their child's grandmother, mother in laws mostly.

I'm very lucky, I get on great with my daughter in law but it made me think what makes a good Granny Nanny? I wanted to look after Bear and I chose to do it but am I a good Granny Nanny

Do you look after your grandchild whilst their parents work? Is it your son's child and you are the Granny in law? How do you make it work? Here are 10 tips for Grannies on how to be a good Granny Nanny.

1. It's Not Your Baby


You know this. Every time you have the urge to comment, to give unasked for advice or to criticise their parenting just repeat this to yourself until the urge goes away.

2. Obey The Rules


Whatever the rules are, obey them. "No chocolate" doesn't mean "a little bit won't hurt, they won't know". Yes it will, the rule is there for a reason. You don't like the rules? Then repeat number 1.

3. Be Honest


So you gave chocolate against the rules, well you're still a granny and "mistakes" happen. Be honest and apologise. Just don't do it too often. Baby has a bump or a fall, be honest. Tell them. Trust is a very important part of this, remember that they've let you look after the most precious thing in their life. 

4. It's Not a Competition


Praising the little one's achievements is wonderful. I do it all the time. Bear did this today, he said that, he slept for an hour, he ate his lunch
Do not try to be better than his mummy. He always eats the food I cook, he always sleeps for an hour when I put him down. Get my drift? 

5. Things Have Changed


You did it differently with your children? What was good advice 20+ or 30+ years ago may not be good advice now. Get up to date, read what babies should be eating, what to avoid, what they should be doing, what games to play

Baby care has changed. The advice has changed.  
Babies used to be given cows milk at 6 months, they're not now. 
Babies were put on their tummies to sleep, it stopped them from choking on any sick and dying, or so we thought. They don't do that now. Babies should sleep on their backs. 

It's different now.

6.  Talk To Each Other


Find some time to talk even if it is just a few minutes when they collect their little one. Talk about the things you've done, mention any problems. Ask for advice. Maybe you can solve the problems together.

7. Ask Permission Before You Change The Routine


You don't like the times they are due to be fed? Or the times they are due for a nap? Ask before you change anything. It's probably taken months to fine tune the routine so it works, don't mess with it unless you really have to. 


8. Make Your Home Safe


Chasing after an active baby can be exhausting so try to make your home child friendly and as safe as possible. Move precious ornaments/photos out of their reach. Fit a gate to the living room door or to the stairs. Have a playpen or a safe place to put them for a few minutes when you need to have your hands free. 

9. Have fun


I only have Bear for 3 days so I get 4 days to do what I want to do. It must be much harder if you have them for the whole week but remember to do things you like too. I like walking. Grandad likes walking. We both love gardens too and so walks around parks or gardens are fun for us as well as Bear.


10. Why Are You Doing It?


You have no choice and you let them know at every possible opportunity? If you're not doing it because you want to then either keep it to yourself or don't do it. It really is as simple as that.


Am I practically perfect in every way? No I'm just trying to do the best I can, but I'm not Mary Poppins!

Woman and baby sat on sofa in sunlight both laughing
Nanny and Bear sharing a joke

Does your mother or mother in law look after your precious one? What does she do that you love? What advice would you give to me and other Granny Nannies?
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Monday, 7 September 2015

10 Things That Interfere With Babies Sleep

Have you ever wondered how many books there are about getting babies to sleep? I was curious so did an internet search. 

"Books on how to get your baby to sleep" returned 38,900,000 results. 
"Baby sleep books" rewarded me with 95,800,000 results. 

So there's not one way then? That's a shame. It made me think of things that interfere with babies sleep
Here is my list of the top 10 things that interfere with babies sleep. 

I'm sure you can add more and I'd love to read about them.

1. Poo


Poo. It is natural for babies to poo, but always just after they've been changed? 30 minutes into their nap and you know they wont go back to sleep? Half an hour just isn't enough so they are cranky for the rest of the day and then over tired so wont sleep at night. Worse still at 2am when you were just getting into a deep sleep zzzzzzz

2. Overtiredness


How does this work? How can not sleeping keep you awake? Well in babies and toddlers it does. If they don't get their regular naps then it makes them too tired for their night sleep. They are learning so much. Their little heads are full of new wonders and words. If they get regular naps they can deal with it in small amounts. If they get overtired they may settle well but will be up again and again which brings me nicely onto the next thing.

3. Playgroups


I'm sure it's not just me but why are play groups always timed at babies nap times? They are all mid morning 9.30 ish to 11.15 or mid afternoon 1.30 to 3. 

We have always been flexible with Bears naps he took them when he wanted and slept for as long as he wanted. 

It worked out great when he was little, he'd sleep anywhere and the playgroups were as much for mummy as Bear. 

He likes to take a nap in the morning sometime between 9am and 11am and one in the afternoon, yep you've guessed it between 2pm and 3pm. Bear has also decided that he will only sleep longer than 30 mins in his cot. 
If he misses one of these naps he's cranky and then at night he won't settle or worse he won't sleep through the night.

So, what is more important? His naps and the routine or contact with other babies/children?

4. Teething


Why is it so painful? How mean is that? I know that the first few are the hardest and at 11 months Bear has 5 Yeah! Only 15 to go.

5. An evening out


So the little poppet sleeps all night, settles in 5 minutes until the evening you decide that you'll have an evening out. It's your first night out together without the baby and totally out of character they scream and scream. Nothing works, not cuddles not Calpol. What do you do? Go anyway and be miserable or cancel and be miserable? How do they even know? 
What did we do? We went out, we talked about the baby all evening and came home early.

6. Sleep regressions


Do these exist? Oh yes! If your baby is older than 4 months you will believe in them. What are they? Sleep regression is described really well on the Baby sleep site and they describe them as;

A sleep regression describes a period of time (anywhere from 1 – 4 weeks)   when a baby or toddler who has been sleeping well suddenly starts waking at night, and/or skipping naps (or waking early from naps) for no apparent reason.

Anything we can do about this? Don't think so. Just zombie through it, stick to your routine and hopefully come out the other side.

7. Hunger


It's obvious really. We know that hunger can stop us from sleeping. All those night feeds prove that babies will not sleep when hungry either. If they don't eat well during the day then they will be up at night. It does get better. They will drop their night feed. 
Just remember you will sleep through the night again in your lifetime.

8. Illness


Blocked noses, earache, sore throats, hives (itchy rashes). Just like adults it is worse at night and just as difficult for them to sleep. It makes them more clingy and need more more cuddles.

9. Disruption of routine


A routine at bedtime helps to set the scene for sleep. This is true for naps too. Whatever the routine, the point of it is that it is the same every time. Holidays, visiting friends and family can disrupt this and combined with unfamiliar surroundings and changes to the routine can disrupt sleep. If going away take something familiar, a blanket, a soft toy. Try to keep to the routine if at all possible.

10. Who Knows?


There is always a night when everything should be perfect yet they cry and cry and won't sleep or settle. All the physical things have been checked. 

Nappy? Clean but changed anyway
Too hot/cold? Checked
Teething? Medication given
Hunger? Refused bottle/breast
Illness? Medication given
Some invisible sharp object digging in them? Baby stripped all checked.

They are the zombie nights. Walking up and down, cuddling, rocking, "shhing" gently. Quietly tiptoeing out of the room......

If there was a single answer to that one then the author would be a household name and there would be only one book advising on baby sleep.

Baby lying on back asleep in cot

 
What interferes with your little ones sleep? Any tips or advice you would like to share?



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Friday, 4 September 2015

Bank Holiday Blues?

It's a bank holiday week. Whoopie! You all shout. A long weekend for everyone. 

It does mean that I only had Bear for 2 days because Monday was a bank holiday (awww) but he gets to spend an extra day with his mummy (yeahhh). 

So why the blues? 

Tuesday morning was not a good start. Bear had been up most of the night crying inconsolably. He had been holding his head and pulling his ear, not another ear infection please. 

Zombie mummy and zombie daddy dropped Bear off at just gone 7am with the request that I get him to the doctor. It's a Tuesday after a bank holiday this is going to be fun. 

So phone in hand waiting......

7.58....Too early? Shall I try? No I'll wait
7.59 I'll try now "sorry the surgery is closed blah,blah..."
7.59 and a half...wait...wait...
8.00 quick! Ring them..."beep,beep,beep!" It's engaged! Who are these lucky people that get through? Not me.

A thousand billion redials later I hear the wonderful sound;

"ring ring, ring ring. Good morning how can I help you?" 

I love this woman, if I was closer I would hug her. With a little bit of negotiation I get an appointment at 8.50. 

"Is that too early?" she asks, "No its great. I'll get my bag I'm on my way."

Bear meanwhile has drunk his bottle, eaten his Oatibix and is looking at my toast with anticipation. He certainly has an appetite. 
If you didn't know Bear you'd think he was OK but there's something not right. The way he swallows, he's not so bouncy or so loud. He wants to be carried everywhere. He doesn't want to play "walking" or "crawling" just "carrying".

He gets a thorough check by the doctor. Ears fine. Chest fine. Red sore throat. Give him regular Calpol and fluids.

Thank goodness for that, really didn't want more antibiotics and earache poor Bear.

So what's new this week?


He can stand unsupported with a ball in each hand and when he realises he isn't holding onto anything he lowers himself gently to the floor.

When he was dancing with his grandad I asked if he'd like some biscuit. Like a flash he turned his head to me with mouth open. He certainly understands biscuit.

He enjoys biting his balloon and letting go. The splash of saliva that hits his face makes him happy.

Baby with red balloon in between teeth pulling hard

His climbing is progressing well. He can climb everything in the house. Nothing is an obstacle for him, he'll soon be good enough to tackle The Old Man of Hoy! 

Baby walking along sofa

He can put the little stick men into his Galt pop up toy.

Baby with bright yellow bib playing with wooden toy

He now gives us things. He doesn't just hold them out and grip so firmly it's a battle to take them from him, no he hands us things. Everything, again and again and again...

Cause and effect. He's known this for sometime but I'm fascinated that he knows the light switch turns the lights on and off. That the door handle opens and closes the door. The buttons on the remote turn the TV on and off. He knows the correct button to turn the Playstation on. How clever is that?
baby examining Playstation remote

We are learning "hot" and "cold". On the draining board was an upturned saucepan, lovely and warm from the sun. "Hot" I say as I gently place his hand on it. He looks at me and again I say "hot". He rests his hand on the saucepan. Cold how do I do cold? Ah put some cold water in a bowl. I place his fingers in the water "cold" I say "cold". He puts his hand on the saucepan "hot" then in the water "cold". 
Feeling chuffed I lose concentration for a second. Bowl in hand he throws the water over himself. Over the worksurface. "Wet" I say.

His mummy tells me he is now the proud owner of 5 teeth. Well done Bear.



Baby putting ball into hole in toy

I know your little one is clever too, I'd love to hear what they get up to.





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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Baby Friendly Finger Food Recipe - 4. Chicken & Leek Burgers


Baby-Friendly-Finger-Food-Recipe-Chicken-Leek-Burgers
Chicken and Leek Burgers
Print Friendly and PDF

Bear loves chicken but strips or chunks of it are sometimes a little too difficult for him to chew.  I wanted a recipe that was easy for him to hold and eat. 

These are really simple to make too. This recipe will make 4 burgers but it is easy to double and they freeze really well.
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