My Little Ornitholgist {Living Arrows #2}

My Little Ornitholgist {Living Arrows #2}

It seems, that at 16-months-old, Jasmine is already quite the animal lover. Big or small, furry or feathered – Jasmine adores them all. She squeals with delight if we pass somebody walking their dog. She has started referring to all dogs as ‘Dee dee’ because our dog is ‘Dee dee’ (Heidi) and therefore all other dogs must be called Dee Dee too! Toddler logic.

But there’s a special place in her heart for our feathered friends. Jasmine is obsessed with birds. If there’s a wood pigeon sat in a tree or on top of an aerial within 100 yards of our immediate location, she will know about it.

At least once a week I will take Jasmine down to the aviary in town. She runs straight over to the wire mesh and stares through at the canaries, pheasants and budgerigars. Not content with just watching the birds, she wants to ensure the whole world knows they are there. Every passer-by is instructed to “Look!!” (pronounced ‘lok’) as Jasmine points out the birds to anyone who will care to listen. I mean, if it wasn’t for her, how on earth would they know the birds were there?! She takes her duties very seriously. ;)

I think one of my favourite things about Jasmine’s current age is that you, as the parent, get to experience the wonderment of all things ordinary again. I’ve walked past these avaries hundreds of times, and most of the time, barely taken any notice of them. Yet now, we stop and we admire the beautiful birds that reside in them – we stand on tippy-toes and take it all in. From their high-pitched tweeting to their brightly coloured feathers.

Nothing goes unnoticed anymore, all thanks to my little ornitholgist…

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

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Picking my battles {Living Arrows #1}

Picking my battles {Living Arrows #1}

There is something that you learn very quickly when you’re a parent to a toddler: you must pick your battles. Spending your whole day saying a variation of the following phrases “No”, “Stop that, please”, “Get down from there” and “Don’t lick that!” is exhausting. Some days I am bored of my own whiny voice by 10am.

In order to get through the day, without having some sort of breakdown, I am learning to choose my battles. If Jasmine is doing something I think she probably shouldn’t be doing, I pause, and I ask myself “Is this dangerous?” and then “How dangerous?” Because if it’s a situation that’s not immediately life threatening, I then have to decide if it is a battle worth picking.

For example, yesterday we were out for a walk and Jasmine decided she wanted to hug a lamppost that every dog on our estate has probably peed up against. Because, you know, when you’re 16 months old, lampposts are splendiferous. Do I tell her to “Stop that!” and pull her away, resulting in a meltdown for the next 20 minutes and a very long and painful journey home? Enter stage right, my inner monologue “Is this dangerous? No, it’s ruddy gross, but it’s not dangerous. Then let her hug the lamppost, she can have a bath when we get home.” Battle avoided. Mum happy. Toddler happy (and a now a bit smelly).

I mean, listen, I don’t want to end up being a pushover. Ultimately, I am still in charge, I’m calling the shots. I’m the one choosing my battles, not Jasmine.

Here’s another example: Jasmine appears to be part-mountain yak and wants to climb on everything. Including the coffee table. And this is where I think people will probably start rolling their eyes and shaking their heads… Because on this occasion, I let her do it.

I know not every parent would allow their child to climb on the coffee table but I asked myself “Is this dangerous?” and “and if so, how dangerous?” and the answers were “yes” and “not very”. So instead of pulling Jasmine off of this particular piece of furniture (and subsequently turning it into a fun game for her), I picked up the camera and snapped a photo of her gorgeous smile. I wasn’t going to pick this battle. I’m saving those up for when she’s breaking into the cleaning cupboard or trying to run into the road. When I choose my battles, I want Jasmine to know that I’m serious, I’m stopping her from doing something because I have to.

And, after this picture was taken? Jasmine realised that actually, sitting on the coffee table wasn’t as fun as she thought it would be. If anything, it was a little boring (it turns out that you can’t cause a whole lotta mischief from sat on top of a coffee table). So she got down of her own accord and hasn’t climbed on it since.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

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Jasmine’s 16 month update

Jasmine’s 16 month update

Wow, I feel like Jasmine has come such a long way in the last month or so – I’m blown away by it. Even though she only took her first tentative steps a month ago, having a crawling baby already seems like a it was a lifetime ago. In that baby’s place is a toddler with three different modes: “Asleep”, “Fast” or “Very fast”. She’s certainly keeping me active, that’s for sure…

This month she’s had more bumps, scratches, scrapes and bruises than she has in any other month in her life. It’s all the running around and climbing, she’s into everything! She’s becoming less clumsy and more agile by the day though, which is just as well because my nerves are already shot to pieces!

Size/Weight: 

It suddenly occurred to me the other day that it would now be easy enough to use our own bathroom scales to weigh Jasmine. She loves stepping on them and making the numbers appear on the screen which certainly makes things easier. She currently weighs bang on 24lbs and is still wearing her 12-18 month clothes. Last week we finally bought her a Stage 1 car seat which makes her look so grown up!

She grew out of her first pair of Clarks shoes incredibly quickly and is now wearing size 4’s. She’s very cooperative when it comes to putting her shoes on, lifting up each foot as I put them on her. I think she knows that putting on footwear is usually followed by trip to the park!

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Sleeping:

This month started off with bout of early wake-ups which was a bit of a shock to the system as Jasmine has nearly always slept in until around 7.30am-8.00am. I wondered if she was ready to drop her afternoon nap so we tried that but it didn’t work out too well at all. It just meant she was incredibly grumpy in the afternoons and was STILL waking up early.

Since then she’s gone on to have a bit of mixed sleeping routine. Some days she will just have one long nap in the morning until around lunch time and then power through until bedtime. Other days she will have two shorter naps. She is, at least, waking up a little later now at around 7am. I suspect she will drop one of her naps completely in the next month or so.

Eating:

Jasmine is always hungry, like, ALWAYS. She does her own version of the ‘eat’ sign, which involves putting her index finger in her mouth and biting on it. Whenever I ask her if she would like breakfast, lunch, dinner etc. she always does this sign very enthusiastically. Other ways of her letting us know that she’s hungry include pulling at the kitchen cupboard doors or, if that doesn’t work, she will just loot them of their contents and then eat them in front of you…

Despite her big appetite Jasmine has become an extremely fussy eater and some days will turn her nose up at (or more accurately, throw on the floor) anything we give her… and then ask for more! It’s very, very frustrating but we do try not to make too much of a big deal out of it, I am sure it’s just another one of these toddler phases that will pass eventually. Hopefully before our dog gets too fat!

Jasmine still has three bottles of cow’s milk a day most days. One after breakfast, another around 3pm and then one at bedtime.

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Milestones:

Jasmine had two more teeth pop through this month and despite it being her bottom two molars, she’s seemed totally unfazed by it. That now brings her up to a total of 12 teeth!

Now that she’s got her head around that walking malarkey, it seems Jasmine has started to take more of an interest in talking and words. The last couple of weeks in particular, she has started saying words, or things that sound more like words, to communicate rather than just signing or babbling.

She spends 95% of her waking day pointing at things and shouting “Look!”. She also loves her ‘First Words’ picture book and often brings it over to me and sits on my lap. She’ll point at items on each page saying “That?” over and over, as I tell her what the things are. Although she cannot say the names of them herself yet she knows what a lot of them are. I will say “Where’s the orangutan?” and she’ll point at the picture of the orangutan. If I say “Where’s the horse?” she will point at the horse and make a clicking noise with her tongue. It’s the the noise we make when she’s riding on her rocking horse.

It’s not really a milestone but I wanted to include this anyway…

This morning when I was hugging Stephen before he left for work, Jasmine toddled over to us and put her arms around us both. It was so sweet and I love how affectionate she is becoming.

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Likes: Bunny, spotting planes in the sky, animals, stacking rings, shape sorter, dancing, bath time, In the Night Garden, Sing and Sign DVD, cheerios, aggravating Heidi, her new car seat, our guinea pigs.

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Dislikes: having her nappy changed, leaving the park, being put in her pushchair, having her hands and face wiped.

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Want to read more of Jasmine’s monthly updates? Click here.
I’m linking this post up with Amy and Katy for #KidsCorner.

Caring for your child’s teeth

Caring for your child’s teeth

Your baby’s first tooth has just popped through! Now what?! I thought exactly the same thing when Jasmine’s first little toothy peg made it’s appearance when she was 7-months-old. Do I brush it? Don’t I? What toothpaste should I use? Luckily for me, I met a lovely local dental nurse, Claire, who talked me through everything I needed to know about caring for my daughter’s teeth.

I now know lots of useful information and handy tips so I thought I’d share it all on my blog. If nothing else, it will serve as a handy reminder over the next few years! Of course, if you are concerned about anything in particular, then do make an appointment to see a dentist.
Caring  for your child's teeth

Here’s the facts and tips about caring for your child’s teeth…

  • The average age that a baby will get their first tooth is around 6 months old. However, it can be a lot later or a lot earlier, some babies are even born with teeth. Scary!
  • If babies are late getting their first set of milk teeth then they will almost certainly get their adult teeth later too. So, if you’re little one is wondering why everyone else has had a visit from the tooth fairy and they haven’t – that’s probably why!
  • Excessive dribbling, red cheeks and nappy rash are all signs that baby might be teething. The extra dribbling makes a baby’s urine more acidic and therefore often causes nappy rash.
  • When you first start brushing your baby’s teeth, the best position to use is to stand or sit behind them, with your hand reaching around towards their mouth. This is for two reasons: 1) it’s a lot less intimidating for baby than someone coming at them wielding a toothbrush 2) this way is more like how it will feel when they start to brush their own teeth and when they’re a bit older you can also sit them in front of a mirror to show them how to brush.
  • Help your child to brush their teeth until they are at least 7-years-old.
  • There are just two approved levels of fluoride in toothpastes: one that is suitable for children under 3 and and one that is suitable for everyone else. So, essentially you shouldn’t need a different paste for everyone in the family. If your child is over 3-years-old then it’s perfectly fine for them to use the same toothpaste as yourself.
  • Although there are lots of lovely flavours of children’s toothpaste on the market (strawberry!) if your bubs will tolerate mint from the start then use that. It makes the transition to adult toothpaste a lot easier in the long run.
  • The Department of Health suggests that it is best to be rid of all bottles and dummies by the time baby turns one. Using a cup instead of a bottle helps to develop mouth muscles thus improving speech development.

mother and kid girl look at mirror during teeth brushing

  • Never put anything other than water or milk in your baby’s bottle – drinking sugary drinks from bottles prolongs the time that the sugar is in contact with the teeth. This is the highest cause of tooth decay in young children.
  • Teething rings/toys are great for teething babies but never put them in the freezer to cool, only the fridge else baby could end up with an ice burn.
  • It’s best to use a teething gel such as Bonjela (check it’s suitable for your child’s age) on a teething baby when you can see the particular part of the mouth which is causing the pain. Use a cotton bud to apply the gel so that you don’t end up numbing the whole mouth, which most babies will find unpleasant. If you’re not sure which part of the mouth the pain is coming from then you’re better off using a product like teething granules instead.
  • Teach your child to spit out excess paste but not to rinse. Not rinsing means that you leave a layer of fluoride on your teeth which is added protection for longer. (Oops, I’m a total rinser – must break this habit).
  • For the same reason, if you use mouthwash, use it at a different time of the day to when you brush teeth, not straight after.
  • Whether you use a bog-standard £1 children’s toothbrush or £5 Disney princess flashing musical toothbrush – it will do the same job! (this applies to toothpaste too – they contain the same level as flouride so there’s really not much difference between them other than the price!) In fact, you’re better off just getting a cheap multi-pack of brushes as your child will get through them quite quickly after all of the biting and chewing!
  • Toddlers may go through a stage of wanting to brush their teeth constantly (probably because of aforementioned Disney toothbrush!) and this is absolutely fine. However, only use toothpaste on the brush twice a day.
  • Mum’s get free NHS dental care until their child’s first birthday (I must book a check-up!) and children have free dental care until the age of 18 (or 19 if they’re in full-time education). If you have a private dentist then do check if they provide free dental care for your child as some do, some don’t.

 I hope you found this useful!

How old was your little one when they got their first tooth?

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This post was first published in June 2015.

The day that Bunny went missing…

The day that Bunny went missing…

Jasmine’s favourite toy is small, pink Jellycat rabbit.

We refer to him as ‘Bunny’. And we call him a ‘him’ because I don’t want to reinforce stereotypical views that pink is ‘only a girls colour’. But that’s a subject for another day.

Jasmine has had Bunny since she was only a few days old, he was chosen for her by a friend of our family’s young son.

When I lay Jasmine down in her cot at night, the first thing she does is reach out for him, before her head and body has even touched the mattress.

Bunny has brought Jasmine comfort when she’s been ill or teething.

Bunny is often soggy from where Jasmine sucks his ears and bites his nose. And, depending on how long ago he was washed, he generally doesn’t smell too fresh either.

Despite my best efforts to convince Jasmine to leave bunny at home when we go out, she grips onto him tightly and alas, he goes everywhere we go. And up until now, it’s been fine.

But on Saturday the 25th April 2015 – Bunny went missing.

I think every parent goes through the ‘Oh sh*t, we’ve lost our kid’s favourite toy’ stage at some point. I didn’t think it would happen to us quite so soon. Some people get lucky, and thanks to social media, often get their children’s much loved, tired-looking toy back. Some find replacements easily. And sometimes it’s not that much of a big deal.

It was an average Saturday, the sun was shining and our town centre was buzzing. There’s always lots of people around on Market Day. We’d only been in town a couple of minutes and headed into Debhenhams to find Stephen some clothes to wear for a wedding we have coming up. It had been no more than 10 minutes since we left the car park and we’d only walked a few hundred metres.

As Stephen browsed the shirts, I pushed Jasmine around in the pushchair behind him. I glanced down to see her small, empty hands. Bunny had gone.

“Stephen!”

“What?”

“Bunny!”

“Eh?”

“Bunny’s gone!” I said, pointing towards Jasmine’s lap.

He glanced down and spotted the same pair of empty hands that I had. No more words were needed. We zoomed around that men’s department 5, 6, 7 times! We frantically brushed aside any obstructions – people, fallen garments, hanging rails. My heart was beating a million miles an hour. I had to find that damn rabbit. After several panicked minutes we came to the conclusion that Jasmine must’ve dropped Bunny before we had entered the shop. The last known sighting was in the lift at the multi-strorey car park – where I had specifically instructed Jasmine to ‘hold on tight to Bunny’. *sigh*

Back to the car park we headed, carefully re-tracing our steps as we went. We argued about whether or not we had walked to the right or the left of the hot dog van. We were wasting precious time. There were people everywhere. I glanced at the children we passed, ready to snatch Bunny back from anyone who may have picked him up. We looked on walls and pillars but there was no sign of him. We’d made it back the car park and we ere empty handed. Bunny was gone. Lost. Never to be seen again.

“Well, this does not look good.” I said to Stephen, feeling extremely downbeat. “The first 24 hours are the most critical, if we’re ever going to find him.”

Stephen laughed. I laughed – even though I was being semi-serious. I realised how ridiculous this all was.

Jasmine hadn’t quite worked out what all the fuss was about but we knew she would notice Bunny had gone eventually. I knew things wouldn’t be the same without him.

SM3

We immediately went and bought another small, pink Jellycat rabbit. An exact duplicate. As I placed it next to the till, Jasmine put her arms up to reach out for it… “Uh! Uh! Uh!” – the noise she makes when she is desperate to hold Bunny – and I felt a bit sad. Because this wasn’t the Bunny she knew and loved.

His fur was clean and soft. He didn’t smell like Bunny. He wasn’t the Bunny from all the photos we have from her first year on this earth. He wasn’t the bunny that was chosen for her when she was a few days old.

But she didn’t know any different.

I passed him over to her and she immediately nibbled his nose (just like she always does) and then hugged him tight.

I know I’ve a terrible habit of anthropomorphising things (remember Jeffery?). But I can’t help it.

My daughter lost her favourite toy and I was more upset than she was.

And I can’t help but wonder where he ended up?

I just hope Bunny is making someone as happy as he made Jasmine.

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