I put Little Bear to bed after lunch as usual today, read him a story, and told him to go to sleep. He’s been a bit of a pickle this week with naps, he has been getting up a couple of times before settling, so I expected the same today. But today he didn’t reappear…
But he also didn’t go to sleep!!
I could hear him talking to himself, and shuffling around with his toys. And then he was squealing and shrieking with excitement. And then it went quiet…phew, he’s worn himself out and is asleep, or perhaps not!
Walking tentatively into his room I was expecting to be greeted by a sleeping beauty…not a little monkey surrounded by books and trying to put on his pyjamas!!
He was perched on his pillow, with one arm in his pyjama top and trying to put it over his head! He looked at me with the cheekiest grin and said “put ‘jamas on all by self”…too cute!
So I sorted him out, lay him back down, and left him to sleep. This little boy is just too keen to be independent sometimes!
Apparently the toys were having such a nice time they didn’t want to go for a nap…Little Bear always wants his teddy bear so I’m beyond surprised that he was allowed to stay.
After lunch Little Bear wasn’t quite tired enough for bed so we hosted a tea party instead. He dutifully poured tea and milk into the cups then helped the toys to drink…none of them have fingers or thumbs which makes it quite tricky for them. We talked about what they would eat – cheese sandwiches, kiwis, and custard apparently, though hopefully not all at the same time. I had to sing “Teddy Bear’s Picnic” with alternative lyrics to satisfy all members of the party, and then Little Bear announced that he was tired now, and off he went to bed.
Two stories later he was fast asleep and I was left to admire the tea drinking abilities of stuffed animals…do you think they seek out the stronger stuff after dark??
Over the last few weeks Little Bear has really started to show us his imagination, and it’s incredible!
One weekend he told daddy to lay on the floor, lifted his legs so his knees were bent, then surrounded him with cushions. Little Bear then positioned himself at daddy’s feet and climbed “up the steps” before throwing himself off the other side and collapsing on the cushions shouting “one big splash!!!!”…clearly our lounge had become a swimming pool!
The other day he moved the footrest so he could climb behind it into a small enclosed space, “driving boat” he told me! And he pretended to steer over the waves.
In bed this morning he was pushing cars over my legs and up the mountains (my knees), and then they fell “splash, in the river” when he put them into the gap between daddy and myself.
And then also this morning he held a little tea party. He put out his cups and saucers, correctly colour sorting, then found four teddies to sit with them. Be talked to each in turn, offering them milk and pouring out tea. He entertained himself for ages, it was so cute to watch.
I know every parent likes to show off what their child can do, and I am no different…but, I really can’t believe how much he is capable of doing and he’s not two until May. As well as the imagination he is speaking really well, recognising a few letters, counting to 10, he knows his colours and a few shapes, he wants to get himself dressed, and much much more…whatever happened to my baby??
Before having Little Bear I was completely terrified of the baby stage, itching for it to be over and to enter the 2+ years, but the reality is that it goes so quickly that you don’t have time to be terrified, you just do it and enjoy it…and then it’s gone…and now 2 is nearly here with all the new challenges and adventures it will bring!
Yesterday we took a trip with my mum to visit some animals and have a ride on Little Bear’s scuttlebug. Sensibly I put him in his wellies, knowing that he is attracted to mud like bees are drawn to flowers…I didn’t unfortunately use the same logic on myself but that’s ok, I’m an adult, I can cope with some mud!
We went to look at the animals which Little Bear loved, especially when he realised they had balls to play with. He has been fascinated by goats and chickens since we went to Devon last June, and today was no exception…in fact it went to a new level today, we were asked to “buy a goat” and “buy a chicken”, just looking will no longer suffice! He found a puddle to splash in which, given the wellies, wasn’t a problem. However, the uneven ground was and it wasn’t long before one leg was covered in mud after a particularly enthusiastic jump, but he didn’t mind and we carried on.
In the gift shop I wanted to top up his animal collection and nanny bought him a football…oh nanny, did you think this through?! We now had a very muddy park, a toddler, and a ball. Needless to say, the scuttlebug was ignored and Little Bear set off with his ball. He kicked it and chased it down hills, had it kicked back by boys and grown men, a dog thought about taking it it but moved on…it was actually turning out quite well, maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea.
But then there was mud, mud that a Bear Hunt would be proud of, mud so thick and oozy that no one was going near it. Except Little Bear!
Suddenly it became an impossible task to keep the ball on the path and he was squelching his way across the grass…sometimes with nanny in tow which really should have been caught on camera as her footwear was about as appropriate as mine! And then, with not too far left to go, the inevitable happened…SPLAT!!! Little Bear slipped and was covered, top to bottom in mud!
To his credit he was only concerned momentarily and then carried on kicking the ball back to the car through the muddiest patches he could find. Before he was allowed in the car the coat had to come off, the wellies had to come off, and even his jeans had to come off! I have never seen so much mud!
Nanny did proclaim that the football may not have been her best idea…I whole heartedly agree, but then again, what harm can a little mud do?! Next time I will just be better prepared!
Before we went away I wrote about the guilt I felt at using technology to entertain Little Bear, but found peace with it as I was using educational games and it was to help us get through 24 hours on a plane…not that we used it. At the same time I was introducing him to a few television programmes, again to serve the same purpose. But the problem with television is that it is always there and it is so easy to turn it into a habit.
I used to turn it on after breakfast so Little Bear could watch Thomas and Friends, and then turn it off after Noddy. That soon crept up to after Ben and Holly…then I would watch the news for a bit and before you know it the television has been on for an hour with no one really paying it any attention. Part of my reasons for getting into this habit was the thinking that, if he has something else to engage him then I can just get the washing up done/put a load of washing on/get ready without him hanging off my leg and demanding 100% of my attention.
Did it work?
No! If anything it made things harder, Little Bear wanted me even more than before! I was finding mornings were becoming harder, his listening wasn’t as it had been…but I put this down to age and feeling run down. Surely just having the television on for such a short time couldn’t be affecting him.
Then Sunday night came and I was laying in bed thinking about the morning. I was thinking about Little Bear and what we would do, and if he would listen. Then, from the darkest recesses of my brain I recalled some research relating to televsion exposure and how it affects concentration and attention spans…I can’t be more specific but I know it exists somewhere! This was part of the reason I had been avoiding television but somehow in the chaos of daily life the knowledge had slipped away.
Monday morning the television didn’t go on. Nor on Tuesday. And not today. And the result? Instantly Little Bear has been more independent, happier, listening better…everything I wanted.
I’m not about to claim he will NEVER watch television again but the morning binge is over. My dreams before having him were no television before he was two…that’s out the window but the tide has turned and no longer will it be a regular event!
Little Bear stayed with Nanny and Grandad last night so we had the luxury of a little lay in and then blitzed the housework without any of the extra “assistance” that usually slows proceedings, then we were ready to hit the day…
We decided to head to the park and bundled Little Bear and his scuttlebug into the car. We passed a couple of parks en route to our park of choice and this did not impress him, cue extreme back arching, wriggling, and attempts to break free from the car seat – nothing a quick rendition of Old MacDonald couldn’t solve!
He was desperate to ride his scuttlebug as soon as we got out of the car so once we were down the steps daddy unfolded it and he clambered on and went…no where!!!! It took a lot of encouragement to get him to do the very thing he had been so desperate to do, I struggle with toddler logic sometimes. But then he was off and going “really fast”, gravitating towards mud and puddles as only a child can, hunting out doggys, and chasing daddy! It was lovely to watch him having so much fun, and for us to be able to share it together.
Then we went to the playground for a quick swing and slide. I love the slides at this park, he is able to climb up and come down them all independently. I find that too many parks have toddler slides with ladders or climbing walls…just give them the option of steps as well, they want to be in control. He had great fun spinning down the slide and swinging high, he drove the wobbly jeep to the farm, and tried to stroke a seagull. And then he happily came away with the promise of beans for lunch once we were home.
This afternoon we have played games together as a family, daddy with half an eye on the football, with Little Bear winning Pirate Lotto every time and mummy failing miserably (I think daddy made sure of it!!). We’ve had family cuddles and played indoor football. We’ve shared snacks and talked about our weekend adventures.
It’s been a wonderfully cosy, happy, family day…the type of day you dream of having (with just a little hint of a tantrum thrown in for realism) and I can’t wait for it to happen all over again next Saturday!
Yesterday morning we went to a playgroup that we have only visited once before. I’ve been reluctant to return because a) the hall is freezing, and b) pretty much all Little Bear does is sit in a toy car and push himself round which gets a tad repetitive for me!! But for his sake we went along and as soon as he saw where we were….”Drive car?”
Head in hands I walked in, found a comfy place to perch, and amused myself watching everyone else get stuck in whilst Little Bear drove round and round. He did momentarily get out to play with cars and puzzles but a good hour was spent just in the car. Once we had tidied up we sat on the carpet, he turned and said, “biscuit now?” How does he remember that that is what happens when it has only ever happened once before in his life over a month ago??
He also remembers that we had to be “gentle” when stroking the koalas…which we did on our second day in Australia and haven’t even mentioned since we got home. He remembers being carried on shoulders when we had our barbecue, he remembers the order of things we have only ever done once, he remembers songs that have been sung once and never repeated, and his memory for specific events stretches back a couple of months.
And yet, at some point, he will forget most of this. Not the songs or the routines perhaps, but the memory of events that he now recalls so clearly, he will forget. Things that are so important to him now will be lost.
It’s sad that he won’t always remember his first time seeing a koala, that he won’t remember how quickly he learnt a routine at groups…but there are always new memories to be made and as his mummy I promise to fill Little Bear’s life full of wonderful, memorable moments, ones that will last more than a month or two, ones that he can carry with him for a lifetime.