Week 60 – let the craft begin

Partly because it is time, and partly to distract Reindeer from his rotten cold, I’ve started using art materials with him this week.

On Monday I introduced crayons. I found some Crayolas specifically for 12+ month olds as I just knew he’d try to eat them (£1.50), and a 10m roll of lining paper that I’m hoping will last for some time (£2). 

I used his table attachable high chair so he’d have the most comfortable position and waited to see what he’d do. Despite trying to eat the crayons (as predicted) he also made a fair attempt at marking the paper. He seemed to prefer dots to stripes but was pretty happy with himself. He also wanted to wield as many crayons as possible at once. 

His interest lasted about 20 minutes, which is good for a sit down activity, so I’ll be trying this most days as the weather turns and we can’t get out as much.

Buoyed by success with crayons I decided that on Tuesday we’d try painting. Again I’d located paint suitable for 12+ month olds and some chunky paintbrushes.

I covered the seat in an old towel, stripped Reindeer down to his vest (just in case) and set out the paints on a paper plate. 

He was actually quite cautious of the paint – possibly the texture was unexpected – but was happy to try fingerpainting for a couple of minutes. I was surprised he didn’t want to eat the paint. He was happier when I have him the paintbrush and spent more time trying that method of moving paint.

Eventually be tired to eat the paintbrush so it seemed a good time to end the activity! 

Overall it wasn’t anywhere near as messy as I’d feared, but he was definitely more cautious with this than the crayons. I may leave it a couple of weeks before trying again.

Next up we’ll be collecting some treasures to stick onto paper…


Week 59 – Sutton Hoo

On Tuesday last week, whilst visiting Oma and Opa, we took a trip to Sutton Hoo, an Anglo-Saxon burial site in Suffolk. It’s a nice big site with plenty of space to play and explore. 

We arrived at lunchtime so spent time in the cafe before exploring. Just a note to say the kids food went down a treat and the dessert-loving Coeliac in our party was very happy to have something other than gluten-free brownie on offer!

The first half of the afternoon was spent walking out to the burial mounds. Impressive and, more importantly from Reindeer’s perspective, in an area where you walk past sheep, rams, pigs and cows as well as trees dropping conkers and acorns.

The second half was spent in the exhibition hall. Reindeer impressed me by staring avidly at the information film (not having a TV at home he tends to be entranced when he sees them working elsewhere). I took him out of the sling and let him explore the exhibition hall on foot with the reins. A first for us both. He loved looking at all the exhibits, exploring the mock up of the burial chamber and looking at the shiny finds. He also enjoyed trying to climb onto the exhibits which was a bit more concerning. 

Finally, having worn himself out, he decided to lie on the floor next to the glass covered skeleton:

He seemed to be enjoying himself anyway! He also got a fair but of nice attention from other visitors and staff which made him both shy and smiley. It’s so much fun watching his personality emerge in these interactions.

It was a lovely day out and hopefully we’ll get to go back again sometime.

Week 59 – the beach

So behind am I with this blog that I need to catch up on last week! 

Monday was a first that I’ve been waiting for since I found out we were expecting – taking Reindeer to the beach. Given that my parents live a 10 minute walk from the beach, this should have happened a lot sooner. But life has a habit of not working out the way you plan.

Anyway, it was a clear and mild morning so we took the opportunity while it was there. Reindeer loved it! 

We occasionally shared the beach with some dog walkers, but were mostly able to have the place to ourselves. There was a boat just off the shore waiting for a pilot into the harbour, the tide was in with some good sized waves and the beach was covered in pebbles – Reindeer’s idea of awesome.

Lots of time was spent playing with stones and looking at the sea, before finally having toes dipped in. Having tested the water I think he’d have gone straight in if he’d had his swimsuit on (normally a good idea but not when you’re recovering from a fever).

I’m really looking forward to our next visit when he’ll have a little more familiarity and hopefully be much steadier on his feet and less prone to attempting to eat all the pebbles!

Week 58 – repeated reading 

Reindeer’s love of reading has really developed this week. He will frequently bring books to me for reading and, when each one is finished, will hold it up to me for another reading.

He can go through the same book six or seven times in one sitting. He’ll also sit and go through books on his own when he’s tired of wandering about and playing with cars.

I’ve bought a couple of new books for us to try too. I want to use the library, but as he still licks and chews the books sometimes, I don’t feel it’s really fair to do this yet!

As a huge bookworm I can’t express how excited I am that Reindeer loves books as well as running and playing. I’m also really pleased, and keen to nurture this liking, because of the research around boys lagging behind girls academically and also because he’ll be one of the youngest in his school year. Being literate and enjoying it will be a realreally good step in mitigating these disadvantages.

Week 57 – anticipation

I’ve noticed this week that Reindeer’s sense of anticipation is really increasing. 

Initially I’d see this during games, e.g., making a noise or pulling a face that made him laugh would result on him waiting for you to do it again. Now, he has found a way to ask for a repeat.

He loves the book Happy Dog Sad Dog. It’s a simple opposites book so I’ve added my own actions and sound effects. He loves the page for hairy dog because I make a silly noise and tickle him. This week he’s begun bringing the book to me, standing/sitting ready to read and, as we get towards the page he likes, he keeps looking at me and smiling.

When I turn to the Hairy Dog Bald Dog page he begins laughing even before I tickle him.

He’s also started to raise his hands of he thinks I’m going to hand him something and will begin his reactions ahead of the event in some cases. 

He also knows when I’ve said ‘no’ because he’ll begin doing the same thing again but watch me and be very hesitant with the behaviour, waiting for me to say ‘no’ again.  It’s a lot of fun to watch!

Week 59 – still breastfeeding 

I can’t quite believe it, but Reindeer is continuing to breastfeed. This is so very different from my expectations when I was pregnant!

It’s really strange to look back at how awkward and painful it was initially compared to how easy and normal it is now.

He seems to still need this type of feeding and always requests it, more so when he’s poorly like this weekend.

I had to laugh a couple of weeks ago when he started pulling off the feed, pointing at my nipple and saying ‘there!’ in his lovely baby voice. He looked so proud of himself for working out where the milk comes from 🙂

He also adjusts my breast now so that it’s comfortable for him, which is a bit random. 

I don’t think he’ll be breastfeeding much longer though as he’s reducing the number of feeds (usually 3-4 a day) and dropped his middle of the night feed. I’m ok with this – I want him to stop when he’s ready rather than when I am.

The only thing we need to do now is convince Reindeer to drink milk from a cup as he doesn’t like this at the moment. But I guess it wouldn’t be parenting if there wasn’t something to do!

Week 59 – poorly Reindeer

For the last couple of days Reindeer has had a bad cold and high temperature. The result being that he’s had two terrible nights.

As these things never happen when you expect, his symptoms began on Friday evening, approximately 4 hours after a call saying there was a cancellation so would we like the engineer to replace the boiler tomorrow instead of next week? Naturally, we’d said ‘yes, please!’. 

From 10pm onwards, if Reindeer slept at all, it was for less than 45 minutes at a time and ended with inconsolable sobbing. His temperature was up and the Calpol wasn’t as effective as I’d hoped. The main problem was the phlegm making breathing difficult for him.

He wanted comfort but he also only wanted to cuddle in his own time and way. All we could do we sing, hold him gently and make sure there was a safe, comfy space in the middle of our bed when he was so tired he fell asleep crying.

It was a very long night, at the end of which we greeted the workmen with very bleary eyes at 7.30am. Since Reindeer was poorly, the work was noisy and there was stuff everywhere, Reindeer and I made a swift exit to my parents place 120 miles away. I’m impressed I managed to pack as quickly as I did! Reindeer’s Dad got the tough job and stayed home to deal with the noise and the mess.

Once we reached my parents, Reindeer perked up and ended up eating well at dinner (I allowed him ice cream as his throat sounded sore – he loved the cone!). 

As seems to be the way with illness, things went downhill again as night came on. I gave Calpol again before bed and between 9pm and midnight it seemed that we were gearing up for another bad night. How a baby who’d only managed about 6 hours sleep in the last 40 hours was still awake I don’t know! Eventually he settled, waking at 3am for 45 minutes of sadness before falling asleep to my (rather desperate) singing.

He finally woke just before 10am, still full of cold and this time with a surprisingly deep voice! He ate better at breakfast and had a lovely time visiting church, but was sad on the way home.

He had a breastfeed and wanted a long cuddle back to sleep. That was three and a half hours ago. I keep checking and he’s still sound asleep. When he wakes we’ll eat a light lunch and play then have dinner later. 

I figure sleep is the best thing for him at the moment so as he’s napping well now I’m going to leave him be. We’ll deal with the rest of the day as it comes.