Self hosting

Scarily/excitingly (*delete as appropriate), I’ve decided to go self hosted.  It’s all work in progress at the moment (and is turning out to be harder to do myself than I’d hoped – why, why, why is there not one simple step by step guide to doing this?!).

So, soon I’ll have a nice sparkly new blog with its own name…time to clear out and decide on what I need or want to include.

Until then, I’ll still be here, pottering as usual with N running behind!

New blog is

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Grab and Drag

Those little fingers have some serious strength in them.  N’s getting pretty good on the communication front whether it be talking or through actions.

In particular he’s a big fan of the grab and drag method which works well for him on the whole.  This technique involves:

  1. Make a decision about what you want or where you want to go (in particular the fridge for milk or the front door to go outside
  2. Find the adult, grab their hand (finger works well)
  3. Drag said adult to where you want to go.

We’re also now getting verbal communication before or once we arrive at the spot , although it’s not always anything more than jibberish.  It’s amusing how he chooses the adult though.  I think he’s already deciding who’ll actually listen and follow (mum, Gran, Grandma), and who’ll just say yes, and let him go on his own wondering why he’s getting no one following him (dad).

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No fair…rude words & actions

I was hoping to have some lovely photos to share of N at the fair, but unfortunately he’s been off colour today so the nearest we got to the fair was driving past a couple of rides on the outer part of the fair on the way home from the supermarket.  I was very disappointed as I was sure he would have loved seeing the lights and the rides, plus it would have been great to see if he liked any of them.  But in the mood he’s been in, it would have been a disaster, so we’ll have to wait til next year’s event.

He must have been pretty ill as he didn’t eat much more than half a helping of lunch at nursery, and no pudding.  Unheard of as he usually has 2 helpings of each (and the last time it was today’s menu, he had 3 helpings of main!).  He’d been a bit weepy and very clingy all afternoon…trying to cook with a 21 month old who wants to permanently be carried is difficult if you’ve not experienced it.  Slight temperature so bit of Nurofen to bring it down and 30 minutes later, you’d have not known he was the same child.

Prior to it, he wanted a banana and he had half a croissant, then most of a satsuma…I thought he probably wouldn’t want normal tea with us as normal but would prefer some snacky food.  But no, 20 minutes after that, he was in the cupboard after the cutlery, getting himself a plate out and wanting normal tea.  He then quite happily tucked into Nigella’s chicken cacciatore, plus asked for more, and then wanted a yoghurt.  An hour on a total high after the food rejuvenated him, and seemingly happy to get ready for bed.

A bit of a hyper when dad decided to try and teach N crude actions – groping his privates, thrusting, and rude words (thankfully, his copying isn’t clear enough for anyone to recognise what he’s trying to say, so let’s hope he forgets)…honestly, our son’s going to end up being the one that all the parents tell their kids to not be friends with at the rate he’s trying to teach him awful things.

But for the second night running he’s woken…night one was around 4 hours of moaning/crying, and so far this evening, there’s been one wake up.  Let’s hope calpol helps send him off now and he’ll get to catch up on some of last nights sleep, then off to try and get an out of hours appointment tomorrow to check if it’s an ear infection as he keeps holding one ear (hmmph, fat chance, plus the last time we had to do that it was a total waste of time).

Let’s hope he gets over whatever it is quickly, so we can get on with enjoying our week off work & nursery next week.

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Hair early today, hair later…shorn

N seriously needed  a trim having had his last hair cut courtesy of my sister-in-law’s sister back in July!  So I decided I needed to take him to the barber as I couldn’t be bothered to make an appointment.

Long row of mirrors, lots of male barbers, and lots of men waiting – did I feel out of place?!  Yep.

This was his first haircut by someone he’d never met before so of course wouldn’t sit on his own on the booster chair.  He also cried when they tried to put the cover on me (he’d done the same at my hairdressers – just wouldn’t let them put the robe on me).  So hair everywhere. He also didn’t like the clippers round the ears at first, but got used to that pretty quickly.  It did help that the guy gave him a drumstick and fruit lolly to play with so he had something else to concentrate on (silly mummy forgot to take a book with us).

He looked extremely shorn afterwards…like a proper little boy again instead of overgrown although it’s sad I can’t brush his front bit over to the side anymore.  My purse was lighter as well; I was astounded we got charged adult prices.  I suppose a barber spends the same time on a child as an adult whereas in hairdressers there’s a difference in time and quality so there’s usually a cheaper children’s price.

Shame it’s getting colder now as he’ll have to pop a hat on more frequently and cover up his haircut!

From shaggy hair…

To severely shorn

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Choosing and learning names

When you pick a name there’s lots of questions you ask yourself, unless you just go with the name you’ve always loved and always intended.  What do you like and hate in names (eg alliteration with surname and other family members, double barrelled names in trying to make them more unusual, fiddling with English name spelling– all bugbears of mine), what names do people you like/dislike have, do you want a bog standard, slightly more unusual or totally way out name (link to circle of mums name article)?

We didn’t discuss names at all as my OH refused.  I, being a major planner, had lists galore …lots of girls names I liked, but only 3 boys names (that would go with our surname).  So I was frantically trying to up the number of boys names by watching tv credits and checking out all the online naming resources just in case we had a boy.

I did get a few random horrendous names thrown at me when I kept asking for opinions or suggestions, including one on my list which was obviously a definite no, so that took me down to two.  I was a tad worried at this low number in case the OH didn’t like either (one was a really popular name but very nice, the other I didn’t think he’d go for).  Thankfully when N turned up, the OH said yes to N and that was that (apart from him worrying how he would spell it!)

Middle names provided more of an issue.  One name was suggested by the OH as a first name (ok name, but not for a first name and becoming more popular nowadays) so I’d said we could use that as a second name.  I threw in another name, but when it came to registering him, there wasn’t a lot of interest from the OH so while I was sitting there I had to make the decision.

What I didn’t think about was how hard it is for children to learn their own names and spell them.  Let’s face it, Bob is a lot easier to learn than Archibald, so I really pity N with his multiple syllables in both first and surname! Plus having a nickname will probably also prove a nightmare and confusion.  Oops!

He’s just started trying to say his own name, although I’m not sure he understands that it’s actually his name.  He still refers to himself in the mirror or pictures as ‘baby’, but he has started calling other people names.  So far we have ‘moma’ (Grandma), mommy (tommy), Yex (Rex), Jane, Joo (Ju), and errr, Daddy for his dad, uncle, Gramp, man in the street….It’s great to see how quickly his words are coming on.  From 14 months where he had one word “tractor” being perfected for about two months, now he’s gaining new clearer words by the day.

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N loves cake.  In fact, it seems like he’s a bit obsessed.

Although, he loves food full stop, and we all like cake so it’s not surprising he likes it too.

Having a birthday weekend (mine), meant lots of baking for friends on Saturday, and then again on Sunday to take into work today.

On Friday, having cakes & biscuits on the kitchen table for people who came round, meant N spending time with his nose peeking over and trying to grab what he could see (despite having been given a bit and a snack as per usual).

Saturday I learnt to keep goodies on the worktop meant out of his eye sight so fewer moans about him wanting some.

But Sunday, he had to help me bake…well watch, along with a bit of stirring and whisking.

Whisking eggs

Then today he helped me open my present from him…then got excited as he ran off with the yummy biscuits shouting “caaaake”…think we need to clarify the difference between biscuits & cake next!


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Baths versus swimming

When you’re a first time parent, it seems to be obvious (at least from all the information that’s out there) that babies love water…it reminds them of being in the womb, it’s warm and comforting etc.  But not all babies do.

I thought that N started off enjoying the bath – I’d won a Fisher Price acquarium baby bath which had a little ‘hammock’ so the baby would be supported in that without you needing to support him leaving both hands free.  Seemed to do ok, and there wasn’t an issue when he moved (quickly) out of the mesh net and into the normal baby bath bit.  But I wanted him to really enjoy the bath and splash..

Obviously once we started swimming as well, it was evident that from being a bit blasé about water, he was gradually disliking the pool (then improving and enjoying it, then disliking, hating and all the way through every emotional spectrum – we’re currently in the scream all the time mode, hoping that it’ll pass sometime soon!).  Luckily this didn’t reflect too badly in the bath, although a friend said that she only ever put a tiny amount of water in the bath so her son could lie on his own – and he always splashed loads.  So I tried that – some improvement, although I then realised that it was being on his back in the water that he hated (following learnings from swimming where he’d refuse point blank to be put on his back).

Luckily by 4 months he was sitting well, so that seemed to work much better – he could sit and play although still didn’t splash for a long time, even if he was in the bath with his dad.  Eventually though, he saw his friends at swimming splashing about, and when he realised he could splash hard and get the water to splash mummy sitting outside the bath (thanks dad for encouraging that!), he’s never really looked back.

We now have the water quite deep again, he loves bubbles, loves pouring water from one container to another, and there’s splashing galore.

What I now find amusing is although he seems to hate swimming lessons and refuses to take part in most of the activities (kicking when he’s sat on the side of the pool he likes), at home he’s just started doing some of the activities and saying the word triggers…so far we have:

  • Blowing bubbles (well, putting his face in the water, then saying bubbles once he’s come up, he’s obviously not really getting the blowing bubbles bit!)
  • Kicking and swooshing the water around while saying “kick kick”
  • He’ll also tip water over his head like washing his hair.  At swimming he hates this, won’t take part, won’t even do the action to me.  He also hates going in the shower, so I’m hoping that maybe the more water he’ll be happy to tip over himself, the more chance I’ll have of getting him in the showers and to take part at swimming.
  • He does like the singing parts at swimming;  in the bath he’ll play with his boat and sing “row row” which they usually sit on the mat for (another hated activity).

He does love the bath which is why I find it totally bizarre that he hates swimming so much.  He’s got 5 weeks to change and enjoy it otherwise we’ll be changing to mini kickers instead!

(We also need to work on the shower as well!  He likes to put his hands under, but will not go anywhere near it himself, at home or at swimming)

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Caesarean viewing

N’s seen his first caesarean.  A couple of weekends ago we went out early after breakfast for a wander down to the yard and to feed the pigs, only to find his dad and uncle having called the vet (handily living next door) as there was a heifer struggling in labour.  So we decided that as the cow was in the ‘crush’ to keep it from thrashing out, that we may as well watch.  I quite enjoy watching them as years ago I wanted to be a vet (before I realised that my scientific capabilities were probably a tad lacking…all down to poor teaching I think as I was ok at chemistry), but hadn’t seen one since having one myself.

I think N got a bit bored as we had to go for a wander during the prep (it takes ages for them to get all the equipment set out, and get washed up).  But we were back to see the actual op.

All very messy and blimey no wonder the calf wasn’t coming out – it was huge and took 2 of them to pull it out plus the vet to hold the cow’s insides in (obviously not like humans where you’re lying down and there’d have to be something really wrong if you ended up with your innards flailing around outside).

I think I was more interested than N.  Thankfully having had one myself, it didn’t make me squeamish, but it’s quite weird imagining what went on with my own.  N didn’t seem phased to see a calf appear from a cow, but I suppose to toddlers everything new is just taken as seen, at the moment he doesn’t ask why.  And he’s not got any squeamish tendencies yet – will be interesting to see how that changes as he grows older.

So another first for a farmer’s son compared with a lot of people who would never see a calf being born, let alone watch an animal operation.

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Double booking

Oh dear, it’s started already with the double booking issues…not for me, but for N.

Working over 5 days a week does automatically mean you miss out on a lot of occasions, get togethers, groups & toddler sessions  although N doesn’t miss out as he still gets to do all the various activities through nursery.  It’s more that I miss seeing my mum friends as we only have weekends free (when I’m generally free but friends don’t tend to be because that’s family time – and obviously the only time working families get to cram in all the things they need to get done).

We do have Friday afternoons, although at the moment they’re taken up with swimming…only now we’ve got a birthday party invite, unfortunately due to late half term this year swimming is on that week.

So, the dilemma is obviously do we miss swimming…I’ve already paid (a lot) for it, and we’ve already missed one due to illness/likely to miss more given previous attendance records.  The party I’m sure he’d love (more than swimming), but it’s for a 4 year old so he’ll be the youngest by miles, he’ll have eaten lunch at nursery before the party and the party is over what would be his nap time.  Plus he wouldn’t miss not going, although potentially the birthday boy might be a little offended (maybe not if he’s got his other friends there).

Oh dilemmas dilemmas…

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Nearly new – more hard work, bargains and fun

Yesterday saw me again doing a volunteering stint at our local NCT nearly new sale.  Even though it means a knackering day of hard work, and missing N while he gets looked after (this time by Grandma), I enjoy doing it plus you get the benefits of an additional 5% revenue back on any items you sell and more importantly first dibs on items for sale as volunteers have 45 minutes before the sale opens to shop for themselves.

I hadn’t managed to get more than about half of my allocated 100 items slot ready in time (it takes a long time to sort baby clothes and put them all into the right order), but I had a few large items that I really wanted to get rid of.  It’s also a benefit in a way selling and volunteering as you can make sure your items get on the top of piles/at the front of rails, and also if you ask nicely to the volunteers manning particular places (like cots/large equipment etc), they may help try and sell your items.  The jumperoo sold really early on, although it was disappointing that my spare travel cot and moses basket and stand were unsold by the end.

Volunteering at our sale involves an 8am start, setting out the hall, taking in the sellers items and putting them out on relevant tables & rails, doing your allocated job (mine was tidying, floating, taking items to the holding area, answering questions etc), reboxing unsold items at the end and clearing the hall again.  As this sale was at a new venue (eerily, my old secondary school – the first time I’d been back in 19 years!), it was new for everyone, so there was a bit of trial and error with where certain items would go, but it’s brilliant for team work as there’s such a short time scale for all the jobs to get done in, people who’ve never met before just help each other to get it completed.

I usually bump into a couple of people I only ever see at nearly new sales and get on well with, so it’s nice to catch up with them too during lunch break.

There’s always two mad stages…the first when the sellers arrive to bring their items.  They’re checked in, but then boxes and boxes and equipment arrive.  You just see all the boxes left in the entrance and just wonder how it’s all going to get set up in time.  Then once you see everything set up, you just feel overwhelmed by all the toys, puzzles and books piled up.

Some people are great and follow all the seller instructions which makes it a lot quicker for the volunteers to actually put items out (eg clothes are all meant to be hung up, labels have the correct information and should be grouped into their age groups etc), but other people stick the wrong side of the labels on, try and sell really grotty things (yesterday’s classic was a play kitchen which would usually be snapped up immediately, but it was broken and dirty and needless to say was still left at the end).  Pricing’s a really hard one as well.  People at these sales really want a bargain while others will pay a bit more, but when you’ve got 4 of the same items and yours is priced the highest, there’s bound to be one left and the priciest will be it.

Once the volunteers have scavenged and bought the items they’ve had their eyes on, amazingly, the books and toys thin out a bit (clothing as well, although there’s always so much newborn to 12 months old, there’s always more than enough to go round there…most of the volunteers are after older kids clothes which with boys in particular have less to choose from – I’m assuming it’s because boys clothes get wrecked so quickly from their playing so they’re not good enough quality to put into nearly new sales!).  Then it’s time to let in the NCT members.

The queue didn’t look long at first to us, but then we realised it was round 2 sides of the hall.  Members get let in 30 minutes early, and as after that there’s only 1 1/2 hours for the whole sale so there’s a lot of shoppers who want to come in and shop during a really short condensed time.  I’ve been to a few sales now as volunteer or shopper and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it as busy.  It’s a bigger hall now at a village school rather than in town which means more parking and more shopping/space…seems that the advertising and new venue brought in new shoppers which was good.  It didn’t seem too crushed in the hall itself in spite of there being lots of people with pushchairs and huge bags of shopping, but the queue for the tills get end up round 2 sides of the hall and out of the fire doors.  The system for packing and paying is efficient though so it does go down quickly.

I still think my favourite job is snipping or packing as you can see what items sell (great buzz when it’s yours!), although being on the floor amazed me at how quickly the floor cleared and overflow items this time all made it (from toys) up onto the table tops.  By the end when we were putting unsold items back into sellers boxes, it was great to see so few items left.  I brought 3 boxes in, but left with only one (although surprised at some items left).  I did  tick quite a few boxes for unsold items to go to charity, and there was a seriously big pile of such items left this time.  Some will go to charity shops, others get kept for NCT to sell on at other sales or elsewhere so it’s all in a good cause.

I love the buzz of the sale whether buying or volunteering to help out, although now I’m finding there’s a lot less there that I want to buy for N.  Clotheswise, I got a few items (one pair was a pair of brown trousers from the boys rails, but when I looked at the label it said girls – you’d never know, so poor N will still be wearing those once he grows into them!) but there wasn’t really much nice stuff available for next size up for him.

I got some lovely books, and I do think books is where anyone can do well at these type of sales.  Children get bought lots of books, and if they like them all you’re lucky.  I think pretty much every book I bought this time was immaculate, and there were actually lots more I could have chosen that he’d have enjoyed.

I had a list of a few items I was after – wooden railway extension bits (no railway bits to be found at all!), Happyland (you can never have too many, so managed to get a fairground carousel, some people and a concrete mixer), waterproofs (not many about, definitely not his size).  Apart from the Happyland bits, I found an immaculate green (just like Dad’s) tractor and trailer which is really for older children, but he loves playing with the more real tractors that are his older cousins, so this one is perfect.  I also found something which was new which is perfect for part of his youngest cousin’s birthday present, so although it was a small haul, it was definitely worth it.

I think in future I’ll not need to actually go as a buyer, but if I’ve got a lot of items to sell it’s definitely worth volunteering.  It’s a hard day’s work, which if you work in an office can be a shock to the system, but it’s great fun, and you can meet lots of other mums in the area to chat to.

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