Friday, 29 July 2011

Potette Plus - a must for geocaching toddlers

We went for a lovely cloudy, but warm, walk part way around Virginia Water Lake today. The reason for this sudden desire to be out in the fresh air for 2 1/2 hours was simple - geocaching! We are geocaching mad :)

My best friend introduced me to this weird hobby last year. At the time she was simply demonstrating her iPhone and I thought, how odd is that (the geocaching, not the iPhone)? My tween, however, thought it was the best thing ever (not sure if that may have been just the desire to have an iPhone though!). Off the pair of them went and found a cache almost on my doorstep! I started to think this modern day treasure hunting sounded fun so this year when I upgraded my mobile phone I got myself an HTC Desire S. We downloaded c:geo (which is free) from the Android Market and off we went. Fabulous! We haven't looked back since. Well, we have looked back a bit, and around and inside holes and up trees...but you know what I mean.

Today's caching adventures made me realise just how great a little travel potty is that I bought some time ago. So, mini review for you here. It's called the Potette Plus (you can buy it from Bibs & Stuff who are the UK supplier) and it quite simply is brilliant. It folds so compactly that I take it everywhere with me - in the car, under the pushchair and in the smallest basket in the world on my Out 'n' About double buggy! It has it's own little carrying bag and comes with some 'catcher' bags to start you off. Basically, you can use it two ways. Firstly, you can fold the legs and click into position so the potty stands up. You then simply put the bag with absorbent layer into it and away your toddler goes! When done, just take the bag off, tie and dispose in the nearest doggy bin (that's what I do!). Secondly, you can fold the feet right out to the sides to make a toddler toilet seat. Like that the seat simply supports itself, via it's outstretched feet, on an adult seat. It's a bit like a potty angel :)

So, when you are stuck in the woods going for a 4 1/2 mile walk with not a toilet in sight, the Potette Plus is an absolute must. I'd far rather she used that than crouched in the trees and, knowing her luck, get a stinger nettle on her bum!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Fairy Princess Tent

A quick review for you. I was up at Homebase the other day looking for shelving and, as you do, had a browse around and saw this wonderful tent.

It comes in its own little zip up bag with handles and folds to around 15"x15" so is really compact. The tent is pink and purple with a lovely edging around the roof area to make it look like it should be by a jousting field :)

It has two round mesh windows, inbuilt ground sheet and comes with 3 push-together sets of poles to support it. These are placed into slots inside the tent and just tied to the edge in 3 places. There are 3 ground stakes with it for outdoor use and the doorway is just open.

We put it up in about 5 minutes and it takes about as long to take down again (slightly longer to clear all the toys from inside it first!). It is a simple wrist twisting action whilst holding it to fold it up which is easy.

You can use it indoors (where it is right now) or outside (as you can see from the photo).

It costs just £9.99 so is a real bargain for hours of fairy princess fun. Available at Homebase.

She's off and so are the schools

Baby has now officially started crawling. She is doing it in a fashion that the SAS undercover ops team would be proud off - commando/stealth style. She lays almost flat on her tummy and puts one arm over the other, dragging herself along by her forearms and a bit of leg work. She can move at one heck of a rate and so, much to her disgust, I have put a baby gate on the lounge doorway.

I decided to do this yesterday when I'd left her at the furtherest away part of the lounge and walked into the kitchen, via the hallway, to do some toast. It turns out that she decided following me was a great idea and commando'd her way to find me. All I noticed was a little head appearing around the edge of the doorway. It must have taken her about 45 seconds to get there. As we keep shoes, bags, etc under the stairs and she'd taken an interest in toddler's bike and my slippers, I decided to bar her way before she reached that hazard zone. To say she was not impressed is an understatement. She makes her way up to the gate, rolls over, takes her socks off and eats her feet whilst shouting her annoyance. Sometimes she even cries too (although I'm unsure if that's frustration or her new teeth biting her toes a bit too hard!).

As it's the school holidays, we've actually booked (yes, you heard me right) to have toddlers' shoe fitting at Clarks at the end of August. I have always had a total dread of going anywhere near a childrens' shoe department in August at any time so I'm delighted to have my own appointment now. Apparently if you are the sort of person who likes sitting around in a shoe shop full of bored children for hours on end, you can still just pop along and take a ticket (and packed lunch) for a long wait. However, that is not my idea of fun and since they've taken all the nice toys out of all Clarks shops (something to do with H&S again as infection could be passed between children touching the same play stuff - umm...have to get toddler some surgical gloves to wear when she goes to nursery then and a mask just in case) I have no intention of hanging around so I've booked my slot and my fitting lady will be awaiting my arrival poised with the foot measuring machine at the ready. I have a 15 min slot to get feet measured, shoes picked and fitted. I can do that!

I should mention that on the second day of the school holidays, Tween already used those dreadful words "I'm bored". I suspect this was something to do with the fact that I'd banned her from sitting on the PC all day and made her come into the garden to 'play'. The horror of it!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Everyone needs a Jumparoo

I have decided that every person who has a baby should also have a Fisher Price Rainforest Jumparoo. They should be given out with the little new mum packs you get in hospital. That would give dads something to do immediately after you gave birth - put the Jumparoo together like only a man can!

We have had a Rainforest Open Top Swing (just sold on eBay) and a Jumparoo for both girls, the latter is still going strong. They are a fabulous toy and entertainment centre for little ones and, on occasion, great place to have a nap!

At first we did wonder if it was a bit of an expensive luxury, but we needn't have been concerned. The fun and play that both of our girls have had in it was worth every penny.

It has a total spin-around seat so your baby can access all the toys, a hanging frog and parrot that our baby just loves to try and pull totally off (the concentration and effort she makes is quite astounding!) and music and lights. Everything a baby loves. There are also 3 seat height settings so you can adjust it as they grow. I am absolutely sure that the bouncing has helped our little one get more strength in her legs as she's already lifting herself up and started crawling at 7 months - much earlier than her older sister. Also, for us, our youngest has always been a clingy baby and this is one place she loved to be put where she wasn't shouting for us to pick her up constantly. I don't need to tell you how heavy and awkward even a tiny baby can be when you have to achieve everything one-handed!

As a parent, you know your baby is safe and sound whilst you're running the hoover round or popping in and out of the kitchen cooking up a culinary masterpiece (or making beans on toast).

You'll be pleased to know that they are still selling well and you can find one at Amazon or Argos (Amazon is £20 cheaper!). Even better, check out eBay as there are usually lots of there :)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Flutterbys going in circles

I've bought some really fun Flutterbys for the garden. They are solar powered and when the sun hits the panel, they whirl round and flutter up and down looking not unlike, well, butterflies! This is all well and good but there is one, teeny-weeny problem right now and that's the weather. We seem to have skipped summer (yet again) and stormed off into Autumn. Without sunshine, my flutterbys just go round in circles like many other confused things in the garden.

Now, I don't expect 6 months of good weather but I really don't think it's too much effort for Mother Nature to send a couple of good months during what we laughingly call Summer. After all, Mother Nature is damned regular with us ladies so you'd think she could manage a bit of sunshine now and then...

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

It's gonna come back to bite me

You know you will eventually turn into your own mother, despite every fibre of your being saying "I'll never do/say/act like that when I have my own children"? Yep, it's happening more and more to me at the moment. I can hear my mother's voice as I repeat the phrases she used on me when I was a child - 'It's like a herd of elephants banging around', 'Don't mess around on the stairs, you'll fall', etc.

Well, seems my toddler is already turning into me! How scary is that? The other day I asked her to please keep quiet as I was trying to watch a programme on TV and she was babbling in my ear like a bee on a nectar rush. She finally did go quiet as the titles rolled so other than the occasional word and a bit of lip-reading, I didn't really know what the investigation found and the outcomes. Next time I'll hit record when I spot something interesting.

Yesterday I was hoovering the house (you will recall I do this on occasion) and she turned around to me and said "Mummy, can you please be quiet as I am trying to watch my TV programme". What? Eh? I said I would after I'd finished hoovering, "Well, how long are you going to be exactly?" came the reply. In fairness she had helped me dust first so I couldn't accuse her of just sitting there all day watching TV and doing nothing. I reserve the right to use that on my Tween!

Baby girl is on the move even more now. Bottom is coming up into the air and knees going right underneath so she almost crawls but not quite. It normally ends up with her either (a) putting her bottom back down and rolling off to where she wants to go or (b) pushing forwards where her arms collapse under her and she ends up hoovering the carpet with her face.

Oh, I forgot to mention, I finally burned my maternity/breast feeding bras!! Well, not exactly burned, more opened the recycling bin and deposited them in there. Surely they are recyclable?

Friday, 15 July 2011

Domestic goddess

The above phrase is not something I tend to be associated with. Yes, once upon a time I used to spend every Saturday morning cleaning my little house but now, well, there just seem to be better things to do with my time - like this Blog, Facebook, Twitter and, oh yeah, the family!

I often wonder how it is that I go to friends houses and they are totally and utterly spotless, even with children around. Do they all have secret cleaners? Do they wake at 2am and spend the next 4 hours cleaning? How is this done?

My house seems to have an almost permanent amount of dust on the surfaces and an equal amount of hair on the carpet. No, we don't have any pets, I just seem to moult enough for everyone. My hair literally comes out in handfuls. Do you remember those weird dolls from yesteryear where you could hold a switch and their hair would grow? That's kind of like me. I have no idea why I'm not entirely bald but (so far) I'm not.

I have attempted to hoover every other day which works well as it saves my baby daughter from getting completely trapped under furniture by lengths of hair that act like some giant cobweb.

There is just something about cleaning daily that I find odd. Perhaps it's because my own mother was so obsessed with it that it really became her life whilst I was at school. I'm almost rebelling by not doing it. Please don't get me wrong, the house isn't a tip but it's not a show home either. After all, there are more important things in life than a hoovered floor and sparkling bathroom :)

And off we go...almost

Baby girl has decided that she can move forward this morning. So, now not only can she roll in her various little piles of posset, she can drag her tummy through them too. Oh the fun that will now be had.

Toddler has got to the stage of saying to me "She's been sick again mummy" but, unlike Tween, she will actually get a cloth and wipe it up - Tween runs in the opposite direction!

Our carpet is beginning to look like it has a white on green pattern about it. Me thinks it's time to dig the VAX out again and make some feeble attempt at having it clean. I was thinking that weird thing that some cultures do about leaving plastic over their furniture might not be a bad idea for our carpet. We could keep it covered with something easy to clean like laminate. Oh yeah, that's called having a hardwood floor isn't it.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

EuroMillions Win in glorious English summertime

Well, I'm pleased to say I have won the EuroMillions this week. It's clearly me as Camelot have carefully and considerately changed the numbers they have published to fake ones so as to keep my identity and my winning numbers a secret. Isn't that kind of them?

Actually, you may have guessed it wasn't really me. However, how are we going to find out who it was when Camelot's phone lines can no longer be tapped by the NoTW?

I would really like to move to the Caribbean as I'm a little fed up with our British weather. Apparently some expert this morning has stated that we are not going to have any summer this year. Don't clap yourself too hard Einstein, even my 2 year old daughter has worked that out and is looking at holiday brochures as we speak! She looks out of the window every morning and gives me a far more accurate forecast than you get on TV. Perhaps the Met Office would like to borrow her (for a healthy fee)?

I'm sure when I was a child we played outside for the whole of the summer holidays in glorious sunshine, eating ice cream and having picnics on a regular basis. We went to Devon for our holiday in a caravan and the sun shone. We went to friends houses to meet up and play and the sun shone. It never rained. We never carried a pak-a-mac and umbrella everywhere we went. Cardigans were for October onwards. Wagon wheels were 5 times the size they are now and you could buy a whole sweet shop for tuppence.....

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Damp patches everywhere

My baby girl is teething. It had stopped for a nano-second after the 1st tooth but now #2 is on it's way and the drool monster has returned to this house.

I keep stepping in little damp patches as she's rolling around the lounge carpet and find if I hold her for more than a minute I seem to need a change of clothing as it looks like I've encountered a solitary rain cloud in my own home!

Only another 18 to go...

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Hairdressing anyone?

I really have to be extremely careful what I say to my hubby at times when I think that my toddler is out of earshot! I recall mentioning to him, as us wives do at times, about his rather sullen attitude a few mornings ago. To be fair, he has been working excessively over the last week and was rather tired and a tad grumpy, as men tend to be ;-)

Today said daughter turned around to hubby and said "Stop being such a miserable old barber daddy". My husband is not in the hairdressing profession and never has been. I'm glad she didn't hear me properly (I would hasten to say he's not illegitimate either just for the record).

Friday, 8 July 2011

Finger wagging and stop nagging

I'm sorry to say that my toddler, who is now turned 2 1/2 and fast moving to 13, has begun to wag her finger. Surely this cannot be anything to do with yours truly? I shudder at even the suggestion!

She turned to me the other day, finger at the ready and told me to 'pack it in mummy' as I was teasing her. What? Eh? I don't recall ever saying those words accompanied by the dreaded forefinger wag! Separately I have used them I am sure but combined? No, it cannot be. She is making up her own rules.

She informed hubby the other day, who was chasing her around downstairs trying to get her dressed and saying, repeatedly, 'please come and get dressed now' to "Stop nagging me daddy". Now, I know for sure where she got that one from! :) It must be her grandma - job done!

She informed me tonight whilst reading her story book (well, she doesn't REALLY read yet, surely you worked that one out) that (oh, she has memorised the lot though) said kitten in the book had got stuck up a tree and was rescued by a "Firework". I know that it's wrong to call out the fire brigade when your cat is stuck up a tree but do your really think that lighting a banger or rocket underneath it is really the solution?

Sleep at last....or is it?

Having had 10 weeks - yes, count them, 10 whole weeks, of baby not sleeping, I caved in and headed to see the doc. Convinced she had some malformed skull bone (as there must be something sinister happening to have kept her awake from age 17 weeks until 27 weeks surely?) or there was a more easily explained problem, I bit the bullet and wandered in.

It turns out that her skull is fine, it's my lack of routine with her that has been the problem. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a slacks-a-daisy type of mummy and I do have a routine (kind of) but she's always needed lots of cuddles so that's what she's used to, even at bedtime.

Turns out that all I needed to do to get back into my normal non-zombie role during the day was put my hand on her tummy, tell her I'm there and leave the room. So, lying to her is the trick! "Shush baby, mummy's here" - the sound of feet leaving, the click of the bedroom door and mummy has gone. Surely that's giving her false information and leading her to start telling fibs from a young age?! Anyway, it worked. I sat in oldest daughters bedroom, playing Bopit Extreme and by the score of 127 she was asleep. I hasten to say that it took around 10 goes to get said score and about 35 mins to get her to sleep the first night but that's 1,000,000% (yes, I know you can't get more than 100% but are you going to argue with me when I'm tired?) better than any of the past 10 weeks.

The muminator is back, refreshed and ready for battle!