Sunday, 26 May 2013

Bobchat - Daisies

Sitting down to pick some daisies...
H - mummy? 
M - yes darling?
H - are you making a daisy train?

...one track mind, that boy!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Bear Antics - First Step

A took his first steps today and promptly applauded himself - cute is not the word! 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Bobchat - Dinosaur Train

Look mummy! I made a dinosaur train!

Bobchat - Bucket

(When getting out of the car)
H - Mummy! My bucket!
M - Your bucket? What bucket?
H - Mummy, do my bucket! (gestures madly at car seat fastener) Do my bucket!
M - Ohhhh! Your BUCKLE! 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Simple Pleasures of Mummyhood

Simple Pleasures of Mummyhood

Nestling into chubby baby necks,
Little bare feet stroking you under the blanket,
Toddler pride 'Mummy! Look at this!',
Singing 'Just one more song' at bedtime.

Hair curling crazily as it grows longer,
Manic giggling at first standing attempts,
Calling the seatbelt fastener a 'bucket',
Climbing a ladder for the first time.

Bittersweet moments as you kiss a bump,
Fierce tears when you are reunited,
Hearing stories of times when you weren't there,
Growing independence and a lump in the throat.

Hot cup of tea grabbed in a quiet moment,
Feeling guilty to be happy to be alone,
Knowing that in no time at all you'll be mummy again,
But that in no time at all they will be all grown.

Friday, 3 May 2013

First Child/Second Child

Before I had my first child, I guess I had a certain idea of how things were going to go. Of course, as all parents know, not everything works out as you plan - perhaps you get a baby who will only feed to sleep, or your child decides they don't like vegetables. Perhaps you find yourself with a climber, or a little one who doesn't walk until long after his buddies. However, these small issues with Child One were nothing compared to the differences between the first and second child. In fact, I'm kind of worried what would happen if we ever had a third...

Food:
First Child - no sugar or salt in anything until at least the age of one - this includes no advent calendar or Easter Egg, as the smallest amount will have dire consequences. Only 'baby' crisps, biscuits and snacks allowed.
Second Child - Forget trying to restrict snacks, Child One will kindly 'share' the most inappropriate well before the recommended weaning age. If this isn't done intentionally, Child Two's advanced foraging skills will soon come into play under the dinner table as soon as they are mobile. And we all know that they invented white chocolate because babies make such a mess with the usual stuff, right? So that must mean it's an approved weaning food...

Clothing:
First Child: Enjoy browsing baby shops whilst your little one is happily strapped into their thoughtfully-chosen pram and select the best of the best to suit their 'character'. Your baby will not only look ├╝ber-cute but also well ahead of the trends. Now where's the number for that baby-modelling company.
Second Child: Now you have both a baby and a toddler, you get away with what you can. It's not unknown for baby to be dressed in the same babygro for days (and nights) at a time - if it's avoided any major explosions from various orifices then it is practically a miracle and therefore should be enjoyed. Anyway, baby clothes are all the same - who can tell if it's pyjamas or not? When Child Two does graduate to clothes (with Child One this age was about 6 weeks, Child Two is lucky to be out of babygros by 18 months) he or she has to wear Child One's cast offs, sometimes regardless of gender (navy and red flowers are unisex, surely). New clothes shopping is no longer an option - you probably can't afford it, you know it will get wrecked eventually and in any case, any kind of shopping is rendered akin to purgatory now that Child One has hit toddler-hood. Once carefully selected designer lookalikes are now not only a couple of years out of date but also worn through at the knees and stained around the neck. Less baby modelling, more charity shop chic. Still, you tell yourself, no one knows if those stains are 2 hours old or 2 years old, right?

Social Life:
First Child: Before Child One was even born, you knew exactly how their social life was going to pan out. Weekly events include post natal group (otherwise known as peaceful babies surrounded by mums with cups of tea group), under ones groups and baby rhyme time. If a snotty toddler happened to be near your baby - or worse, snatch something from your baby - you would do an inward eye roll. Seriously, how difficult is it to keep them away from the little ones?
Second Child: There is no chance of peaceful baby time when Child Two comes along. This time you are the mum whose toddler runs wilfully away from you whilst you try to feed/comfort/change the baby. You screech after them, hoping that they aren't causing too much havoc and lever the baby under your arm to follow. In turn, you are much more relaxed with older children around Child Two. After all, it seems unlikely that any other child is going to be quite as 'loving' (rough) as his own sibling so he can probably take it. Child Two is lucky to have a couple of similar-aged buddies, but only because they happen to be the younger siblings of Child One's friends. At least when you get together you and the other mum can seek temporary solace in knowing you're not alone.

Mum-guilt strikes again - surely Child Two is disadvantaged by all this? Just think of the time and attention you lavished on Child One when it was just them... Then you stop and look. From birth Child Two has barely taken his eyes off his older sibling. He has learnt so much already (well, he has learnt how to give as good as he gets in hair-pulling contests anyway). They might drive you (and each other) crazy, but they will always have each other to rely on. That's why you wanted two children, right?

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Days Out - Thomas Land at Drayton Manor

I decide just one post wasn't enough to cover Harry's fabulous birthday treat! The last post was about the Thomas-themed rooms at Drayton Manor Hotel - a big hit with the boys - however, the real treat was still to come - meeting the real Thomas and his friends!

Of course, first we enjoyed a lovely breakfast in the hotel and we headed over to the park at about 9.45 (it opened at 9.30). The rides didn't start until half past 10, so we probably could have left it a little bit longer before entering the park, but it was nice to orientate ourselves and figure out what rides we were going to go on when they did open! We left our lunch cool bag in the lockers near Emily's Play Area (a soft play area adjacent to the main part of Thomas Land) and headed off to the Zoo, which was open. Harry enjoyed looking at the animals, allthough I think he was a little bit confused about the zoo and theme park concepts. When we walked past the tiger he asked 'Is that a real one?!' to be followed by when we saw the exhibits on the prehistoric trail 'Are those real dinosaurs?!'

Just past the dinosaur trail was Spencer's Play Area. I love it when a play area is well judged and designed for its target audience and this one was perfect for 2-5 year olds, which is also prime age for Thomas fans I would guess. I am sure Harry would have been happy if this was the culmination of our day but we soon had to drag him (and Archie) off the play equipment to see what else this end of the park had to offer before heading back t the main part of the park on the train.

Harry was captivated by the magical Thomas exhibition in one of the nearby sheds. He thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the elements of the scene and waiting to spot his favourite trains come chuffing around the track. The Terrence Tractor Driving School is also in this area of the park, but sadly Harry was too small to drive his own tractor. This was probably our only disappointment of the day. We would have appreciated an option for te younger drivers - perhaps even just a Terrence model to climb on - but it was a minor disappointment in what was otherwise a wonderful day.

Before long there was an influx of new people which told us that a train must have arrived at the station, so we hot-footed it over there to find it was Percy, Harry's absolute favourite train! The train rides were, perhaps predictably, one of the highlightss of the day. Nothing beats wating on an actual platform, selecting your own carriage and riding the rails with your favourite trains. We were pleased to capture a usually camera-shy Harry standing next to his new best buddy, Percy the train.

The rides in Thomas Land are really well suited to Harry's age. In fact, at about 90cm, he was tall enough to go on even the bigger rides - the Troublesome Trucks rollercoaster and the Cranky ride. However, Harry didn't fancy those ones having never been on any rides before, and I don't really blame him - I'm sure they would provide plenty of fear factor for even an older child. He absolute favourite ride was the Vintage Car ride, which isn't specifically Thomas themed, but does fit well with the rest of the rides. Little ones sit in the car (accompanied by one adult) and 'drive' it along a track. Harry asked to go on this ride every other time! We were lucky to be there on a very quiet day, it meant that most rides were just waiting for people before starting, even your little family were the only passengers! Harry also loved the Diesel ride, and being able to ride the Blue Mountain Quarry trains. Again, because it wasn't busy he was able to ride on all his favourite trains by going on the rides multiple times. Archie also enjoyed the rides, but at 10 and a half months he was a little young for them. You aren't allowed to have children sitting on your lap, they have to sit on their own seat, which can be tricky with a wriggly crawler!

We ate our lunch on a picnic bench and although we'd held the soft play area in reserve, we decided just to go back and have a go on more of the rides. We also never made it into the main part of Drayton Manor. As we walked through it seemed like there were a few rides that the boys might have enjoyed, but, to be honest Thomas Land was more than enough for us for the one day. I couldn't recommend it enough for a great day out if you have a train- and vehicle-crazy little one like Harry. I think the memories are going to stay with him for a long time and it made his third birthday a really special one. Thank you, Drayton Manor!