Toddler February Favourites

Crafts:

Ok so I will preface this by saying we are not the most crafty of people but it’s something I would like to do more of now that the eldest is 2 and a half and is getting to the age where she enjoys and can manage simple crafts.

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Easy craft, paint and pom poms

 

These bunny’s were an easy pre-Easter craft. I literally drew bunny shapes on paper, let them paint all over them and then cut them out. We then dipped the pom pom’s in glue once the paint was dry to pop on his tail.

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Valentine’s Day Cards
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Toilet roll stamped hearts

 

Our Valentine’s Day cards for the Nannys and Grandads were easy as, we just made a heart shape in toilet rolls and dipped them in paint, then stamped the cards with them. Unfortunately the only card I had to hand was black so I added the white heart on paper to the inside so that we could write a message.

 Toys:

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Lego- hours of entertainment

Lego has always been one of my favourite toys and it keeps the girls amused for ages. They have been playing with this a lot in the last month, the eldest is getting good at building things and the youngest is helping by knocking everything down.

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Our current favourite “Mermaid Lego”

The girls are on a bit of a mermaid buzz at the moment and Santy brought some “Mermaid Lego” that we bring out on special occasions!

 

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Lollipop Sticks

Ok bear with me on this one! I currently have a lot of my teaching supplies boxed up in the office and took these out one rainy day when the little monsters darlings were wrecking my head and I wanted to distract them.

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Good for counting, sorting, making patterns

They now LOVE the “sticks”. We do counting, colour sorting and patterns with our eldest and our youngest mostly enjoys putting them in and out of different cups and throwing them up in the air…

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Melissa and Doug Food and Cooking sets

Our eldest got the Melissa and Doug cooking set for her second birthday and then they both got the food for Christmas. I love love love this stuff and the girls have been spending the last two months throwing dinner parties and picnics. It’s all wooden so lovely and sturdy.

 

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Books: 

I love books and was always a bit of a bookworm so books are the one thing I never mind having too much of. Friends and family are always gifting them books and we always give books at birthdays and Christmas. We also go to the library every week and they get new books for the week. Our favourites this month are;

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Our eldest girl is currently loving these books. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt was always a favourite of mine as a teacher and although we have been reading this to her since she was really small we have lately started acting it out in the playroom and so it is getting loved all over again.

She adores the Mog books, we have quite a few now and this one is a lovely story about Mog unwittingly obstructing a burglary. These books are old school and not always PC but they are adorable and mine love them.

IMG_5445 She got this book for Christmas and it is full of rhymes but has been largely undiscovered until this month. The illustrations are lovely and it is full of old half-remembered Irish rhymes that you will have heard from your Mammy and your Nanny but forgotten. She gets us to read these rhymes over and over.  The book is also beautifully illustrated and would make a lovely gift.

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Our littlest is about 15 months now and currently Dora obsessed! Every time we go to the library we have to check out another Dora book (thankfully they have a few!) She loves these because she can point out the familiar characters and find Swiper (“Wiper, NO!) She is also loving this Maisy pop-up book that she got from her auntie, although usually we have to supervise her reading of this as she yanks at all the pop ups.

Places: 

Mother and Toddler Groups: We go to two Mother and Toddler groups a week, one is the local one to us in the village hall and the other is run by Cuidiú the parenting organisation (these are nationwide, you can check their website to find one near you). Both are great as they get the kids interacting with other kids, they do songs with them and they get to run around and play. I love them for the coffee and chats and they are a great way of the kids using up all their energy before naps (especially with the bad weather lately).

Library: We also go to the library once a week, they run a Toddler hour in our local library where the librarian reads a few books to the kids and then they do a simple craft with them, (which our littlest is too small for but the eldest loves) then we pick out our books for the week.

The Nanny and Grandad’s houses: We all love going to visit the grandparents, being close to family was the biggest reason behind our move out of Dublin and we usually do a visit to each at least once a week. Then Mammy gets to drink hot cups of tea while the children are entertained by grandparents, aunts and uncles! Everyone’s a winner 😉

Love is.. the Parenting Version.

Love is…

  • Getting up to the kids in the morning when you are barely functioning to allow the other to lie in
  • Holding hands even while pushing buggy’s and catching wayward toddlers.
  • Making cups of tea… and coffee… and more tea.
  • Having moments when a genuine panic attack hits at the thought of ever being without them.
  • Accepting that it wasn’t them but the sleep deprivation talking.
  • Knowing it’s ok to miss your children when out on a “date” together.
  • Not having an ESC button.
  • Appreciating the increase in boob size and being unphased by the increase in belly size.
  • Finding the love for your children only amplifies your love for each other.
  • Getting a “you look beautiful” while wearing no make up and a pair of tracksuit pants.
  • Being exactly where you want to be.

Toddler Tantrums.

My oldest toddler is lovely. She is smart and kind and funny. However lately she has decided to try out being eh.. not so lovely. At first I just thought she was tired. Then I thought maybe the terrible two’s had descended a little late (she was two in July). But still the tantrums continued. She didn’t want to share with her sister. She cried and stamped her little feet. She said “NO!” to everything. I decided that we needed to be strict on her. “You have to share with your sister” “Mammy said coat on now” A little bit of structure and not taking any nonsense. I upped my strictness as she upped her tantrums. And I didn’t like being that Mammy. I guess I was just tired and not really thinking.

Yesterday it dawned on me. She is only 2! What on earth am I thinking? I’m treating her like an eight year old when she is really only a baby. So I’ve stopped. I’ve given her extra hugs, I’m praising everything she does well again. I’m being patient and giving her time. I’m treating her like my baby again and she has calmed right down.

She missed the sibling rivalry when her sister was born, she was only 16 months old so really she barely noticed. Now I think she has started to notice that her sister is getting babied more than her. That her sister is let away with more, isn’t given out to as much. Kids really do notice everything. So we have decided to give her some big girl things that are just for her, special markers, a “cleaning” spray to help Mammy. Things that her little sister is too small for, something she loves “No, baba, you’re too small, this is only for big girls”.

So as much as I hate them growing up, at least there is this: They will always be my babies, no matter what age they are.

Mindfulness.

I have a friend who whenever something is going on, stops, takes time out and listens to herself and her body. She goes for a walk or for lunch alone and just contemplates on whatever is bothering her.

Inspired by her I decided to give it a go, and I am finding it impossible. I have discovered that I rarely, if ever, listen to myself. My mind is mostly listing things I need to do. It is keeping track of daily life, my kids, my husband, our future. It is making plans and getting information.

Most of the time my mind is dealing with what is in front of it. Does she need her nappy changed? Does she need her potty? Did I defrost meat for the dinner? What time is it? Does she need a cardigan on with that top?

It’s reading a story, cutting toast into triangles, putting on the washing machine, driving the car, doing the shopping.

And in it’s quiet time? When the children are asleep for the night or napping, am I catching up with myself? No, I am reading blogs, writing, scrolling twitter, catching up on the news, watching The Wire, reading a library book, anything at all to keep my mind busy.

I don’t contemplate decisions, I almost always go with my gut. I make decisions quickly and stick with them. I know my likes and dislikes and so I don’t have to think about them do I?

Except that I want to. I want to be mindful. I want to know myself. I want to listen to what I really want instead of always storming ahead. But my mind is so used to being kept busy, it doesn’t know how to be quiet and listen.

Informed consent during pregnancy.

I was looking this morning at the survey carried out by AIMS Ireland on consent during pregnancy and what percentage of women felt that they had been asked for consent and had been briefed on the benefits/risks and potential outcomes of treatments during pregnancy.

Usually I make very clear decisions on my health, I make sure I am informed, I decide what treatment option best suits me. I don’t always take prescribed medications if I don’t feel I need them. I don’t always take the doctors word as gospel.

During my pregnancies however the fear of harming my baby by not doing the right thing led me to lean more on doctors opinion’s than I would normally do. Whatever they said was best for my baby I did. When I was in labour I handed most of my care decisions over to the medical staff, because they were the experts and because all I wanted was my baby to arrive safely. I didn’t care about the cost to my own body.

After my last labour the doctor recommended a drug to help shrink down my womb. After four attempts to place an IV, I refused to have them keep trying. The midwives checking my stomach felt everything was ok, I felt ok and the drug was just a precaution, recommended by a doctor who saw me for 5 minutes after the birth. I was happy to refuse. I am also 100% certain that if the baby had still been in my belly I would have allowed them to puncture both my arms over and over in an attempt to place an IV.

There is a huge responsibility on  doctors and nurses who care for pregnant women to make sure that the women they are working with are aware of and happy with decisions that are being made. I think women are at their most vulnerable in that way when they are pregnant, they are least likely to take chances with the health of their unborn babies. Do we really take the time to make sure we are informed or do we just nod and agree with everything the doctors and nurses say our babies need?