Sunday, August 28, 2011


The reason for Benji-sitting yesterday was so that my sister could go to Ikea and get some things for her new flat. She also very kindly picked up some shelving units for me.

Nikki put them together this evening

Well, he tried! He was very good at getting the screwdriver aligned with the screw, but not so successful at turning them together.

He also made me pancakes!

Aren't those legwarmers the cutest? The weather has turned, so he was getting cold while having his nappy-free time this morning. Yes, I can see the nappy - this was just after his nap!

Double Trouble

My sister and I were both pregnant at the same time. Amazingly enough, we both had the same due-date, and we both had boys.

Unfortunately, the competition to be the first grandson was being fought more seriously than we had intended and both boys came too soon. Nicholas came first at only 29 weeks, and the first night I stayed in with him in preparation for going home, Benjamin came along.

Fortunately both boys were out of hospital quickly, in good health, and in time for Christmas (their due date).

Although we see each other quite a lot, I am rarely brave enough for double trouble on my own. Especially now that they're mobile. Especially because Benji is a walking tornado (in the cutest possible way - he's one of those on-the-go babies) and I fear for the safety of everything that is out of Nikki's reach but CAN be got by his taller cousin.

Yesterday, I volunteered.

I got Benji to sit and watch a DVD for nearly five minutes! Nothing to Nikki's usual 20, but they did look ADORABLE sat together on my chair!

 They also played nicely together in the kitchen:

And then they sat down to lunch in matching bibs:

This is the first time Nikki's had banana in months and months. He had a couple of slices at playgroup in June (when the other kids did) but refused to eat it later that day. Yesterday he ate two bananas, but probably only because Benji was eating them, too!

I was happily surprised at the way they played nicely and nicely together - those being very different things, since they can play nicely together in a number of naughty/noisy ways! I had twins until 6pm and didn't feel any more stressed (and the house was no more trashed) than on a normal day with just one! If this were not the exception to the rule, then I would do it more often!

Incey Wincy

Or not.

This monster spider was in my bathroom last night. Nikki was in bed, or we would have had to sing Incey Wincey about a hundred times - his usual spider reaction!


I finally managed to sneak a picture of Nikki reading!

He is certainly getting the idea. He is even selecting one (or three!) books at a time. I have only found an entire shelf emptied once in months. He wasn't always this good, though! I used to have to pick up his entire shelf two or three times a day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Aahhhh! Nikki just crawled into the sitting room... after he had been put to bed!

Which means he can climb out of his cot! I didn't hear anything so I hope that he has figured out how to get onto the chest at the end of the bed (rather than throwing himself over the side). I'm proud of his achievement, or will be once my heart stops racing!

I think the side bars might be coming off tomorrow!


Nicholas has a new favourite word... No.

Every question I ask him, he says no. Occasionally I even catch him out and mention the b-word (biscuit) and he'll still say no. Often he notices and I have to go get one.

It is getting very annoying. Unless he asks me for something, he says no to whatever I suggest. Dinner is getting difficult, he has opinions on what he would like now! I stubbornly refuse to give more than two options and he'll usually eat one (or both!) if I don't make a fuss. He likes to eat more than he likes to assert himself, methinks!

There is no reasoning with him, but if he starts being agressive or rude I usually only have to mention the naughty corner and he calms down. Consistancy is paying off!

Monday, August 22, 2011


I have been gradually filling a jar with felt pasta for Nikki's kitchen. It doesn't take long to make each piece, but I'm guessing I'll need over 100 to fill the jar!

They really do look good enough to eat!!!

The glass jar is shown for photographic purposes only and is usually kept out of reach!

Here is another of my craft projects. We collected quite a few pretty stones at the beach, and I used glitter glue to make the letters for Nicholas' name. The glue dried with a nice rough texture, great for little fingers to trace! At the moment, Nikki seems to enjoy making stone soup.


On Our Shelves

We have a few new activities this week that Nicholas is particularly enjoying.

The first is a variation on the spooning activities we have been doing. We went to a pottery shop and found some salt spoons in the bargain bin. The spoon is the perfect size to go with the miniature flower-arranging marbles we bought in the House of Marbles.

Nicholas loves this activity, though it is quite tricky and once he has reduced the marbles to a single 'layer' in the bowl it is too hard and he gives up and pours. It is excellent excercise for his hand-eye coordination and wrists, though.

In the pottery shop, we also found this olive bowl. I don't like olives, but it has been masterfully re-purposed into a simple 3D maze for Nicholas. He takes a small craft puff (miniature pompom) and traces the swirl of the bowl. Great for pincer grip and practicing 'writing' curves.

Lastly, our maths activity. We have taken the number flashcards from our Jones Genius Early Learning Kit and are using glass nuggets (flat marbles) to learn quantity alongside the numeral. Each card has a number 0-9 on one side and dots placed within the number (corresponding to the value of the number) on the other.

Nicholas takes the glass nuggets and places them carefully on the dots in the correct order. We count them on and we count when they're all there. Once Nicholas has learned the placement using the dots, we'll switch the cards over and place from memory. So far he needs a lot of guidance, but will count with me to four!!!

All these activities are carefully supervised, due to the fragile/small quality of the materials, as well as the difficulty. By allowing him to handle the fragile things, he learns to treat them properly.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bye Bye Hoover

This morning I woke up to calls of 'bye bye hoot'! (meaning hoover)

Nicholas has developed a phobia of loud, noisy appliances. Particularly the hand blender (he has a panic attack if he even spots it in the cupboard) and the hoover. There never used to be a problem - he would always watch me blend his meals quite contently, and the hoover actually put him to sleep!

When I want him to finish an activity to do something else, we say 'bye bye kitchen/blocks etc.' - he now comes up to me several times a day and says 'bye bye hoot'  with a rather worried look like I might decide that the carpets really do need cleaning today.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Nikki has discovered the fun potential of his blackboard. He loves to write on it, and clean it off afterwards!

Did I Say Table Manners?

Despite the fact that he sits nicely, makes relatively little mess and uses his cutlery, Nicholas has yet to learn that less is more when it comes to the amount of food on your spoon...


Nicholas has learned the word sorry. Whenever he ends up in the naughty corner, I ask him to say 'sorry' before he leaves. I accepted a kiss and a cuddle instead of the word, then last week he just came out with a very clearly pronounced 'sowwy' (like all babies he struggles with the 'r' sound).

A couple of days later he found himself in the corner again and after about thirty seconds he started chanting 'sorry sorry sorry' so that I'd let him leave. It's amazing how quickly they pick things up! 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tan Lines!

My son has something (apart from the obvious) that I will never have - the ability to tan! While he was playing on the beach, despite the not-too-hot cloudy weather, there was obviously enough sun in the air to do this:

I realise the picture looks a bit on the pink side, (he actually looks more brown than pink) but he was not even the slightest bit burned - as someone who only has to look at the sun to roast, I am very conscious of staying in the shade and slathering on the factor 50.

Attack of the Ponies

On the way back from Dartmoor prison, we spotted some of the famous ponies gathered in and around a small parking area and decided to pull in so Nikki could get a closer look. We didn't expect quite such close encounters!

One pony came to Nikki's window:

Another came to the other side:

And then they boxed us in!

We couldn't drive around them, as there was a ditch a few feet in front of the car. We settled for slowly backing out and making them move! Eventually we got free. When we went to open Nicholas' door to get him out, there were tooth marks where the pony on his side was actually chewing off the paint! My mum is not happy about the pony vandalism of her car!

Table Manners

When we went away, Nicholas suddenly developed table manners! I think he was showing off. He went from rarely using a spoon (ignoring it in favour of his fingers) to spoon-feeding like a pro overnight. I knew he was able to use a spoon, as he showed me when we did spooning games, but he never wanted to use one for food. Suddenly, he decided to use it for eating and he did so with almost no mess!

This week, he has moved on to using a fork. He was struggling to eat blueberries with a spoon, as they kept rolling off the plate, but he refused to pick them up in his fingers. I decided to give him a fork and see how he managed. With a lot of praise and very little help, he was spearing the blueberries nearly every time! I didn't expect the quick success, since blueberries are not the easiest of foods to get a fork in, but he managed it.

Now, he is no longer interested in using a spoon - at least for anything with a consistency of mashed potato or lumpier. He asks for his fork every meal and is doing wonderfully. He even picks the mess up off his tray onto his plate, and wipes the table afterwards!

Now if only he would stop pouring milk on the tray to splash in...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Going to Prison...

Believe it or not, we went to prison on our holiday... Dartmoor Prison Museum that is! It is in an old building associated with the prison on the other side of the road to the working compound.

It was really interesting. It is incredible how much life has changed for prisoners in the last century. They had a cat o' nine tails in one of the displays - it was one of the most feared punishments in the early days of the prison. I can't imagine that one passing health and safety today!

There were some absolutely amazing models made of matchsticks - cars, gypsy caravans, ships, trains.. even concorde! All things that have been made by prisoners over the years.

There was also a display very remniscent of 'Escape from Colditz' with all the various escape tools and weapons that had been fashioned by prisoners, and another with items used for smuggling things into and out of prison.

All in all, it was interesting and I expect we will go back when Nicholas is old enough to understand a bit more what it is about.

House of Marbles

While we were on holdiay, we took Nicholas to the House of Marbles.  He was very interested in watching the marble runs and not very excited by the glass blowing! I was going to get his handprint in glass, but he was determined to play in the sand rather than make a handprint, so we gave up and will go back when he's a bit older.

There is a giant granite marble in their garden, 1.2m diameter and weighing 2.3 tons! It is the biggest marble in Britain.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Time for Tea?

Last night, while browsing the web for inspiration, I came across the idea of making felt teabags! I have recently bought Nicholas a new tin teaset (his first, pound-shop set didn't survive me tripping over it) and bravely gave him a real teabag to put in it. After getting the idea to make one, I decided tear-resistant felt might be safer!

Here is the finished product:

We couldn't wait to taste it, so he put the kettle on first thing this morning!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Water Baby

Nicholas is very much a water baby. He proved this undoubtedly at the beach - he would have spent all day 'splash splash a water' (yes, his linguistic skills are improving in leaps and bounds!) and was quite happy to play for ages in the rather chilly English Channel.

In fact, he was crawling face-first into the waves!

He wasn't even bothered when a massive wave crashed into his face! After five or ten minutes, we would head back to the beach to warm up and and help bury uncle Harry in the sand.

Then he was off again...

First Time at the Beach!

His first trip to the beach didn't start as well as I thought. He really didn't want to go on the sand! I think the idea of the ground moving beneath him was an unnerving one. However, within a few minutes, he was so engrossed in filling a bucket with sand, he was no longer bothered by sitting on it.

I fiddled with the camera settings...

He even consented to be buried to the waist!

Then he went for a walk down to the sea with his godfather:

Where they had great fun jumping the waves!

By the time they left the sea, Nicholas was hanging freely and pulling his legs up to 90 degrees every time he saw an approaching wave. 


 While we were away, Nikki seemed to be participating in a crawlathon! He crawled miles and miles, chasing Uncle Harry (and the cat!) all over the place.

We went to his godfather's birthday party and he spent nearly seven hours constantly crawling! I couldn't believe it, but between my brother, his cousins and the big garden with lots of shrubs and flowerbeds to chase each other round, I barely saw him all afternoon!

Nikki playing with Uncle Harry and our cousins Aiden and baby Joseph.

After an initial panic over sitting on soft sand, he loved the beach and did plenty of crawling - heading straight to the see every time my back was turned!

Also, he also did lots of crawling simply being in my gran's house. It is a lot bigger than our small flat, and we had to go down the whole length of the house, up the stairs and back down the whole length to get from the kitchen to our room.
By the end of the week, he was getting up on his hands and feet (rather than knees) and imitating a crab! My gran was certain this meant he would be walking in a day or two... so far he's showing no intention of doing so!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back from Holiday

We're back from holiday now. I tried blogging before we left, but blogger wasn't publishing any text. I thought this was fixed when I published this yesterday, only to find this morning that it had also published a blank entry.

I have now found out that, for reasons unknown, firefox is no longer cooperating with blogger and I can only post using internet explorer. Which is annoying, but at least my posts are no longer appearing blank.