Trying something new

Trying something new

Like many three year olds, Elliot has very set ideas about what he likes and dislikes – from what he eats, to what he wears, what he plays with and where he wants to go. Normally this is expressed through the medium of repeated “NO! I don’t want that!” and much whining.

As enjoyable as this is for two parents to experience multiple times a day, we have started to tire of constantly negotiating at dinner time and while getting him dressed. We’ve also spent money on a scooter, which he said he wanted for his birthday and has been on for approximately 2 minutes since December!

So, in a rare moment of inspiration, I devised a plan to expand his horizons slightly – an Elliot tried something new sticker chart! With the reward of an engine of his choice once he reaches 10 stickers. I bought some space stickers ages ago, and found some black card in a drawer. Along with a white colouring pencil, we were good to go.

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Stickers are being given for trying new foods – so far this has covered vegetables at nursery, cheddar cheese, and tuna (that he’d forgotten he likes!), and also for trying out new experiences – so far trampolining and going down the big slide at the soft play centre, crossing a wobbly bridge at the playground, and going high on the swing.

The idea is to initially be very generous with stickers, so he gets a sticker most days for doing something new or different, in order that this becomes something that he can trust and that we get to the first big reward fairly quickly, as once he’s got that, I think that will encourage him to try even more.

The stickers are not linked to behaviour. He gets a sticker for trying new things regardless of behaviour during the day, and they are not given purely for good behaviour (that’s expected anyway) and certainly are never taken away, as I didn’t want him to associate this with anything negative.

It seems to be working, as Elliot does seem more adventurous at the moment. He got so excited crossing the “shake shake” bridge, and bouncing on the trampoline, knowing that he was going to get a sticker. I really think he is enjoying finding out that all these things he had avoided are actually quite fun. We’ve still a way to go with food especially so I think we’ll continue with these once the first engine has been rewarded.

Elliot even gave me a sticker yesterday at dinner time. He wanted some more pasta so I gave him some from my plate. He then said “thank you mummy, that is very kind of you. You can have a sticker too!”

We are currently at the end of week two, and are one sticker away from 10. Exciting times!

I feel like I’ve been given many reward stickers myself this week, as that this blog has been nominated for a MAD Blog Award in the Family Fun, Pregnancy, Baby, Best Writer and Blog of the Year categories. I’m under no illusions that I’d ever win one of these, but if you don’t ask you don’t get right, so if you’d like to nominate me, I’d be really really grateful.

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Share it Sundays – Our favourite books

Share it Sundays – Our favourite books

If you’re a follower of this blog, you’ll know how much we like books and reading in this house. Elliot has been enjoying a daily bedtime story (or two, or three occasionally!) since he was only a month or so old, and Alexander regularly joins in now we’re establishing a proper night routine for him too.

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Some of our favourite books at the moment are:

Winnie the Pooh– these are a firm favourite here, and Daddy normally has to read a chapter every night. Elliot especially likes the chapter headings, and recently I’ve heard him making up similar phrases himself “Chapter 9, in which Auntie Jen comes for tea…”

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Biff, Chip and Kipper books– Elliot loves his “biff chipper” books, and these have really helped him learn to read. He’s only 3 and is already able to read many of the books we have. Elliot really loves the mazes and games in the books too.

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Green Eggs and Ham– this is a recent addition to our bookshelves in an attempt to get the variety of food to extend beyond fish fingers and spaghetti shapes! Elliot loves the rhyming nature of the book and can read most of it himself already.

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The Church Mice series– the tales of Samson the cat and Arthur and Humphrey the mice. Elliot loves these books (nearly as much as Daddy!)

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Thomas the Tank Engine– we have a HUGE number of Thomas books, and Elliot loves to add to his collection whenever we pass a bookshop. This one was a life saver on a rainy weekend in a caravan last year – it’s a wonderful selection of stickers and games, which we all enjoyed. I’m seriously tempted to buy a second one for our next holiday!

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I’m linking up to Oh So Amelia for Share it Sunday, which promises to be an exciting series of link ups which I’m really looking forward to following. Click here to see other favourite children’s books…

ohsoamelia

Five years

Five years

Goodness, time has been playing speedy tricks again. We’ve been married five years today.

Lots has happened in the past five years, and this man has been with me, unfailingly by my side throughout the good and the not-so-good. I’m pretty sure it’s a good sign that my husband is still my very best friend. He’s successfully added “brilliant daddy” to his list of roles, as well as head chef and lately laundry monitor and chief bather-of-children.

Before I get all gooey on the blog and embarrass my future teenage sons, I’ll hand over to Noah and his Whale chum and let them take it from here…

Oh well, in five years time we could be walking round a zoo
With the sun shining down over me and you
And there’ll be love in the bodies of the elephants too
And I’ll put my hands over your eyes but you’ll peek through

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Oh well, I look at you and say it’s the happiest that I’ve ever been
And I’ll say I no longer feel I have to be James Dean
And she’ll say, yeah well, I feel yeah pretty happy too
And I’m always pretty happy when I’m just kicking back with you

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And it’ll be love, love, love all through our bodies
And love, love, love all through our minds
And it’ll be love, love, love all over her face
And love, love, love all over mine

Happy Anniversary Mr P
Five years hey?
Wow!

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lyrics by Noah and the Whale

Your birth story – Alexander

Your birth story – Alexander

Dear Alexander,
You’re now 9 weeks old, and I feel like I should get your birth story written down before I totally forget it all.

We had decided, after Elliot’s dramatic entrance to the world, to opt for an elective cesarean. This was a decision we made really early on in the pregnancy and the consultant we were referred to, as I was considered high risk due to high blood pressure/pre eclampsia last time, was really supportive of our decision. I was adamant that I did not want to be induced, and that I didn’t want to go overdue as the preeclampsia with Elliot kicked in when I was overdue.

I had really frequent blood pressure checks with the midwife – lovely Dawn – and also took part in a blood pressure study where I had to take my own blood pressure twice a day on three days each week. Thankfully it stayed normal throughout.

Our elective section was booked in for the 11th December, three days before my due date and two days before Elliot’s third birthday! We had a pre-op assessment on the 5th and while we were talking to the anaesthetist we overheard admin staff in the next room talking about the list of elective sections and heard them say my name and then we were told our date had moved to the 18th. I was not happy as I felt it increased my risk of high blood pressure – and also felt that if I had been happy to go overdue I certainly wouldn’t have been signing myself up for major abdominal surgery, thank you very much! A quick email to my consultant had us moved back to the 11th.

We dropped Elliot at my parents and arrived at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford where we were told that due to several emergency sections, we would have to be rescheduled. I was really calm about this, to be honest I had thought it may happen – after all Elliot’s emergency section birth probably bumped an elective, so it felt a bit like karma! The doctor offered to fit us in on the 13th in a hospital about 20 miles away, but I wanted to have the baby in the JR, so we opted for the 16th, only 2 days after my due date.

So on the Monday arrived again at Delivery Suite at 7.15am, and after a short wait we were told we were first on the list and we’d have our baby by 9.30! It was suddenly very real.

We were inundated with anaesthetists (Lisa and Alex), doctors and midwives, each asking for forms to be completed. I was asked to change into a very attractive hospital gown, and then walked into the theatre. It was the same one where Elliot was born three years and three days earlier.

The anaesthetists and midwives looked after me so well. I was asked to sit up and perch on the edge of the bed while they placed the spinal block and the epidural. This was 100 times easier than when I was asked to do the same while in labour with Elliot! I was then gently laid down, as my legs had gone tingly, and then sprayed with cold spray to make sure I was completely numb. I was hooked up to lots of machines and a blood pressure cuff, and then suddenly your daddy was next to me with a theatre gown and hat on – there was no time for any of that with Elliot’s birth.

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The whole room felt so calm and peaceful, and everyone was so friendly. The staff did a who’s who (where they all say their name and role) and then three operation started. It seemed to take a while – again totally different from last time where it took only 8 minutes from the decision to do a cesarean to Elliot being born! – but soon the lovely anaesthetist Alex told us it was nearly time, and reminded everyone that I had asked to be told whether you were a girl or a boy by your daddy. I looked at him as he looked over the blue sheet, and he said “it’s a boy!” You were born at 9.27am, so when they said we’d have you by 9.30 they really meant it!

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I got a cuddle and some skin to skin, which wasn’t possible with Elliot, and have to say that’s the time I started crying – I couldn’t believe how easy it had all been, and I was just so relieved you were here safe and sound.

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Once I was all stitched up, we were wheeled round to the observation ward where your daddy was waiting for us there. For a long while, we just sat and wondered what we were meant to do! I was desperate to see Elliot but he couldn’t come up until 3pm so we spent time staring at you, watching you feed, and sharing cuddles.

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The whole experience was so different to Elliot’s birth, and I really feel like it was a healing experience after the previous trauma. I was up and walking about within hours and despite not getting much sleep the first night – I was too afraid to sleep in cases I slept through your little snuffles (you are not a loud baby, and still only cry if you’re really REALLY hungry!) – it felt so wonderful to be a mummy to two fantastic little boys!

Lots of love,
Mummy xxx

Letter A ribbon tag toy

Letter A ribbon tag toy

I went on a sewing course last year, and learnt how to make Roman Blinds. Today I picked up some stuff to start making blinds for the boys' bedrooms. I need to investigate fabrics next which I'm really excited about.

As I haven't used my sewing machine for a couple of months I thought I'd test it out this afternoon on making a toy for Alexander. I had the idea of making him a letter A with some ribbon tags.

I had some off cuts of fabric – a thick stripy one, and some white fleece to pad it out a bit. I googled typography and traced over a big A to get the template, and then cut out two stripy and two fleecy A's.

I then raided my ribbon stores and cut little strips (about 3 or 4 inches each I think) – I also have some 'Made with love' ribbon which I stitched on to the front A.

I sandwiched the folded ribbons between the fleece and pinned all the layers together before stitching them together.

If you didn’t want the edges to show, you can stitch the ribbons in by putting the two patterned fabric letters together, right sides facing, with the ribbon loops facing inwards between the layers. You’d then stitch round, making sure to sew the ribbon ends in. You’d need to leave a gap to turn the letter out so the right sides show, and to insert some padding.

Mine needs some tidying up; I'm going to hand stitch around the edges, as the reverse looks a bit plain and boring, and as the main fabric is the type that frays easily I'll make it an 'even' fray around all edges to give it a more 'rustic' feel, but I think Alexander will like it. He has just become aware that he has hands, so soon we'll be moving on to grabbing objects, and this will be a perfect size for him to explore.
I think if I were to make another one I'd add some little beads or rice inside to give it some weight.

I've just realised this post is perfectly timed for the new series of The Great British Sewing Bee on BBC 2… There go my Tuesdays evenings for the next few weeks!