So here it is…

So here it is…

The last day of November!  Although I’ve been in full Christmas mode for a while now, tomorrow is the day that it finally becomes acceptable!

And in preparation we’ve had an afternoon of Christmas craft!  A handmade wreath, gingerbread man chains, a Christmas tree, and a sleigh!

Little Bear is really interested in making things at the moment, and whilst he’s sometimes happy to create his own pictures he usually requests to make something specific (remember the Little Kingdom castle?!  No? I do, the trauma is etched in my memory).

However, I believe that whatever we do needs to have an element of child led and child focused work.  It helps them develop their own creativity and it’s great for their fine motor skills to try out new things without help.

For our wreath he painted his own hand to make the prints, then ripped and scrunched the berries, placed the holly and pom poms, and went crazy with glitter glue!

For the sleigh, he chose the colours and suggested using the felt as presents.  He cut the presents, and again…roamed free with glitter glue!!

For the tree he again cut out the presents, and then decided the leftover tissue paper from the wreath looked like ribbons, so he stuck them on as well.  When we were decorating the tree with sequins we talked about shapes and colours, and whether we had enough glue blobs or not.

Little Bear then saw a gingerbread man sticker and wanted to make some of them too.  He told me what sizes he would like, what he wanted to use, and he only asked for a little help throughout the whole decorating process.

The result:  Our house is starting to look like Christmas threw up on it!  Hooray!

Poorly Bear

Poorly Bear

So our Sunday wasn’t exactly enjoyable this weekend.  It started well, a nice breakfast, a little play, showers, all fairly standard.  Little Bear had complained of a tummy ache but it seemed to come and go, we thought he would be fine.  And then, as we were putting our shoes on, Little Bear lay down and was horrendously sick all over the floor.

He’s never been sick before and he hated it.  He looked so scared and got so upset.  After sorting him out he had a sleep on our bed, he must have felt rough to want to nap!  Unfortunately I couldn’t take advantage as he had his legs on mine and I was pretty much trapped!

After a few hours on the sofa (with blankets over and under him, just in case – it’s a new sofa!!) he seemed to perk up but didn’t want anything to eat.  We played games and played “playgroup”, and then he even had some dinner.  And still all was fine – play, bath, stories…all fine.  And then, with his bedtime cuddles, he erupted again!  It’s the worst thing in the world seeing him so sad and unwell.

But, however bad yesterday was, I’m thinking today will probably be worse.  He feels better, he’s got some energy, he wants to go to preschool…but he can’t.  And I don’t want to risk going out too far and him having another wave of sickness.  Cabin fever is setting in already!

Christmas Craft and Daylight Robbery

Christmas Craft and Daylight Robbery

It’s that time of year again where everyone has got a cold and is just feeling a bit grotty and snotty.  It just so happens it’s also the time of year where it’s perfectly acceptable to start feeling festive – I’m about 3 weeks in to that vibe but ssssh!

And so, with Little Bear’s nose dripping away I decided it was as good an afternoon as any to get some decorations decorated!  I picked up these wooden ones in Hobbycraft about a month ago now and I’m wishing I had got a few more.  They’re impossible to over paint/glue unlike the card ones you can get, and hopefully they’ll last a few Christmasses before all the glitter and sequins fall off.

Little Bear was adamant that he didn’t want to do this this afternoon but once he had started he loved it, and the fine layer of glitter than now covers everything is testament to that!!

He can’t decide who is having which one at the moment, perhaps we’ll end up with them all?!

Before the festivities of this afternoon we had gymnastics – a lot of running, jumping, swinging, and balancing, less of the artistic stuff!  Last week they had photographers in and so this week we got to see the photos.  Well, it looked like Little Bear had spent most of the last session following the camera around.  My plan was to get 1 or 2 printed out, but I couldn’t choose 2 out of nearly 20! So I ended up with 14 on a USB (all that would fit!) and one large printed picture.  All for a very handsome price!

I’m such a sucker when it comes to things like that!  And it was hot in there, we had a train to catch, online prices were even more expensive…And remember, “they’re only this young once”!

It was worth it though…

The Tidy Up Game

The Tidy Up Game

This afternoon Little Bear is on some kind of mission to play with every toy he owns, for about 10 seconds each.  It’s exhausting and messy!

Having emptied out the “crap box” (mainly comprising of magazine toys) all over the floor he then found a dice and asked for a game to play with it.

Thinking on my feet, the game went like this:

Roll the dice, count the spots, put that number of crap items back in the box, whoever puts the last piece in is the winner!  Simple!

Problem is, he liked it a bit too much!  I’ve now filled and emptied that box more times than I would care to count!  But at least Little Bear got to practice his numeracy skills!!

Achieving Hygge with a Todddler

Achieving Hygge with a Todddler

Hygge is the lifestyle craze that we’re adopting from our Danish friends, and it’s fast becoming a fashionable way to cosy up, gain winter pounds, and not feel guilty about it.  It’s so ingrained in Danish culture that the tourism website devotes a whole page to it.  Read it here if you fancy knowing more – What is Hygge?

But how can we achieve this blissful, snug, wintery heaven with a frantic 2 and a half year old in tow??  Well, firstly you need to wear them out!  Yesterday I opted for a combination of Rhyme Time, a walk round the shops, swimming lesson, lunch with nanny, and then a play date in the park before heading home in the dusky glow of an autumnal evening accompanied with everything we needed to make a cake.

Snug at home we turned the lights on and put some music on. We then baked cakes which kept him calm and entertained, and with the oven glowing it made everything even cosier.

Little Bear then snuggled on the sofa with a blanket whilst we read stories, before helping to prepare a hearty, warming chilli for dinner.

Look at those colours!

After dinner we had cake for pudding, obviously!  Then sat together to play games as darkness enveloped the outside world.

Ok, so it wasn’t candles and hot chocolate with a box set and my husband, but cakes, chilli, and board games pretty much encompassed Hygge for me!

Baby vs Toddler

Baby vs Toddler

Before having Little Bear I wasn’t the biggest baby fan, I expected to be happy once that phase was over, hand me a 2 year old and I’ll be happy!

And to honest, that’s mostly still true.  Babies do have perks I never factored in – they nap, are stationary, don’t ask a million questions – but overall, I’m rooting for toddlers in a world where most people would rather this phase was as short and sweet as possible!  Except, in some ways, my Little Bear is too grown up.

I love that I don’t have to change nappies anymore, but he can independently take himself to the bathroom, turn on the light, stand on his step, lift the seat, wee, flush, pull up pants, and wash and dry his hands…and he doesn’t even want me in the bathroom at home!

I love that he loves stories and books…but does he have to remember them so well that you can’t make a mistake, or, heaven forbid, skip a page?!

I love that he will eat pretty much anything and has a great appetite, but does he have to have such expensive taste?  Prawns, lamb, Marmite (yes Unilever, you’ve forced the inclusion of the brown stuff!)

But mostly, I love our conversations.  The way he makes me laugh with his funny sayings -“straight now”, “I just don’t believe it”, and a personal favourite, “I never heard such a thing”!  The way he creates stories and how we role play.  The way he questions, his inquisitive nature, his different voices…I love it all.  And yet…

And yet there is something to be said for the relative peace of a baby!

Just give me one more day of that cute little gurgling, the guinea pig hiccups, the squeaky sneezes!  One more day and I’ll be happy…or perhaps Little Bear could just get a really sore throat for a day or two, give me a break from all the wonderful language stuff!

I Bought a Bag

I Bought a Bag

I know, I know, it’s not exactly earth shattering news…except, it kind of is!  Aside from changing bags, children’s rucksacks, suitcases, and the odd clutch, I haven’t bought myself a new handbag for years.

You know how it goes, baby comes along so you buy a fancy changing bag with more pouches and pockets than a…a thing with lots of pouches and pockets, and this becomes your life bag since, well, you aren’t going anywhere without baby for a while are you?  Then the bottles stopped, I needed less baby crap, and I went back to my old faithful favourite bag…which ultimately ended up resembling a thin strip of material useful for nothing!

Clutch bags arrived in their plenty for nights out – more bags than nights if truth be told, and I usually use the same one.  A rucksack arrived for spare clothes when potty training started.  And I remained big bagless.

So this week I took the plunge and bought myself a nice big bag.  The type that you can loose stuff in for years on end, that you only remember about when it goes through an airport scanner and you play “guess the object”, stuff that comes out covered in fluff of a colour you’ve never owned.

And yet, I’m finding my bag laying empty.  I shove my purse in Little Bear’s rucksack, I’m not going to take two bags out with me.  And when I do use it, I’m not sure I’ll be able to hoard in the old way…or perhaps that’s wishful thinking, it will probably be bursting at the seams by Christmas.

But here is my point, yes there is one I promise, my point is that two and a half years into motherhood, I feel ready to own my own bag again.  Preschool and football are giving me time to myself in a way I’ve not had for a while, he needs less and less stuff, and…here’s the big one, I’m going away for a weekend soon without Little Bear (🎺🤗) and pockets/clutch bags just won’t cut it for that!