So, no blog post yesterday. And no apology either. Truth be told I’m exhausted.
I don’t know if it’s winter or my ED or bub having her immunization reaction or “I’m a single mum with a daughter” (anyone else remember those black & white ‘women low in iron’ ads? Were they for red meat? Or just awareness…anyway. Advertising in the 90s rocked & 80s …. what went wrong? (Not that I watch commercial tv except in waiting rooms so I wouldn’t really know))
So yes. Exhausted. And yesterday while bub napped I thought about writing but then, well, didn’t.
Because this week got away from me. I’ve browsed pins for clothing ideas (I adore Alia Bhatt) for ways to cover my hair when I go to the GP ( being germ phobic is so much fun when you have to pick up a regular prescription) for baking ideas and for storage ideas for our Airbnb tent (& got eldest working on it- woot!)
it’s also been a week where looking up things like this :
featured a lot.
Also it’s August. Considering semester started about three weeks ago and I’m tired of just scraping through assignment by assignment (I want an HD damn it! (For those not permanently studying HD= High Distinction = A or in the 90%s)) I thought maybe Pintrest might have some handy hints/ tips.
This (and the discovery I have an assignment due next week) led to a wild Pintrest a thon on Sunday night.
I found so many pins like this:
and subscribed to this :
(honestly I got the information I needed from the pin but…you know…fellow blogger. The emails haven’t stopped. Yup- one of those)
Thus I was going to write a post on Pintrest and studying- then I realised while my assignment is due in a week that isn’t today and I won’t have used these pins by today.
So that’s for next week.
Then I thought I’d do a “self care” post because I’ve been looking up lots of pins about it over the last few months and self care seems the new “thing” (after paleo, yoga, jazzercise, pritikin diet…thats got me back to the 80s. Further I have no idea)
But have I used them yet? Have I even read them? Erm- no.
Right – so that left me with a post on anzac biscuits or shirring .
Because while I’ve looked at a lot of pins there isn’t anything that feels finished.
So this is kind of an evaluation plus excellent biscuit plus actually surprisingly cool toddler activity post.
To anybody out there who doesn’t like Anzacs – try this recipe but use white sugar instead of brown. They will taste like brandy snaps.( If you do this Do not give them to your toddler. They will go mad)
Anzacs are bubs cooking activity of choice at the moment. We’ve made them about four times in the last three weeks. When offered an alternative (“shall we make cake” “No- Anzac Biscuit “ which is so sweet and followed by please and she put those words together herself and the brilliant thing is they are quick, easy, relatively low sugar and it’s fine for kids to eat the mix – No egg)
So yesterday we made Anzacs.
And it was fun.
And bub chose to be in her Baba Sling which is fantastic for cooking and short things like that.
Very nice way to spend the afternoon. And bub had “parfait” (yoghurt with anzac crumble and hidden fruit) for dinner.
I could walk you through the recipe- but I honestly didn’t take any photos & with such a simple recipe it feels a bit like the teacher who would give you a hand out then read it to you. Kind of pointless.
* One thing though- aside from the sugar- best shaped with wet hands and also watch the time. I haven’t had a batch go the full time yet.
Toddler Sensory and Other Development Things Activity.
While I was hectically trying to find a pin to do yesterday afternoon during bubs nap that wasn’t baking and wasn’t sewing I struck upon the idea of a toddler activity.
Apparently you will always have either pom poms or pipecleaners at home- just lying around- as you do.
(Bub woke up at this point and thus began a great chorus of “No Pom pom, no pipe cleaner. Oh no!” which provoked a lot of laughter but no activities)
The problem is (aside from the pompom pipecleaner dilemma- do people from America smoke a lot of pipes?) lots of activities were a part of lists and I wouldn’t have felt like I’d done that pin unless I finished the list.
When I told Big M about it (wonder if that psudonym will stick) the phrase “And then what”? May have been used.
So I wasn’t going to do it.
Being the self confident person I am.
Instead I was aiming for this:
later in the afternoon.
But you know- a toddler to amuse in the kitchen, an oncoming headache – it’s pasta, it’s cheap, its quiet; why not let her play with it.
I started bub off with some patty pans and a handful of rigatoni (I think..bumpy big macaroni) and asked her to help by putting the pasta in the patty pans. She was having so much fun with that I got out a straw. Now- notice the straws in the screenshot? Not see through. Also the pasta is decidedly larger than the straw.
Our straws are clear and the pasta just JUST fit on them.
After a lot of “mummy help please” and “are you sure you want to” “yes” I was so proud of bub when she took a piece of pasta off then put it back on a straw.
I then struck upon the idea of bamboo skewers – do I have to say “ supervise your child if they are doing this activity – especially if you give them a thin pokey bit of wood- even with the point cut off” in headmistressly tones?
They worked so well and she was so happy and so so proud putting pasta on and taking it off.
At around this time we had everything set up for the biscuits (did I say this was to entertain her while we did some dishes and got ingredients out to make Anzacs? – it was) but bub didn’t want to stop.
When the skewers ended up on the floor, eldest and I struck upon the idea of spaghetti at exactly the same time .
This was the best yet. It would have been better had it not been thin spaghetti but you work with what you have and bub loved snapping the spaghetti as much as threading on to it.
It all ended about half an hour after we started with bub hiding the pasta in the seat of her high chair and pockets of her tabard (apron) before asking to do “cooking now”
So if you have a toddler who is restless but not tired or just want something a bit different to do with them- try this.
It’s parent involvement heavy (my way was anyway) but so much fun. You might also want to try a shoelace in place of straws. I think it would work.
So there we go. I did complete a pin after all.
(I also used this one after realising every new paragraph in this blog started with “so”)
Here is the promised part two of post about this pin.
I hope I didn’t lose too many of you with the incredibly convoluted sundae analogy? Good. Thought not. So anyway…
Bub ended up getting the full blown reaction temperature/not sleeping/snuffle. Blah.
It meant that for three nights we had a total if maybe six hours sleep?. Urgh.
But I kept up with the new things that have become part of our routine and they may have helped us through – at least a little bit.
Where did I leave you last time? Ah yes
“Babies really benefit from a ‘relaxation corner’ in their room, ideally visited before naps to help calm them before sleep. The focal point of a relaxation corner is a light feature. Bubble tubes are ideal, but a simple lava lamp will also be effective. “
Ok. So I still haven’t gotten that together.
Mainly I think because I have a very fixed idea of what it will be (draped tipi over floor cushion with lantern ).
In the meantime bub has fallen in love with her “paddle pool” and also loves “massage blanket” so it’s almost as though she’s establishing the relaxing and safe space for herself.
Ok- for example- bub hits me in the face- as toddlers do, flailing randomly is part of their modus operandi.
This leads to a very loud and sudden “Ow ****”
(Not something to say near a toddler but I have a fairly new nose piercing so serious pain involved. Usually when swearing is needed – stubbed toe etc- I’m a little more creative- “Oh blogger” is always good)
Anyway- flail leads to a leads to sudden loud noise from Mum which is actually very unusal and bub thinks she did a very bad thing or just simply gets scared.
When she was littler this would mean breast feed; then she progressed to asking for a ‘walk’ or ‘cooking’ (favourite things) all while sobbing (poor bub)
This time her automatic response was “paddle pool?”
So her paddling pool is her safe and happy place.
(Maybe I’ll just hang the curtains over one end of that and stuff it with pillows…either way. It’ll warrant a post all its own. Pins are bound to be used)
So- massage blanket.
Baby Massage hasn’t been something that I ever saw myself doing. Eldest loathed it and with Middlest it wasn’t exactly ‘en vogue’ so no one really mentioned it.
With bub it was a small part of the pre birth classes.
I didn’t really think about it much, truth be told. I always thought keeping a very small baby naked (which all of mine seemed to hate) after a bath (which all of mine seemed to hate) didn’t seem quite fair.
Eldest had colic so we did the routine circular tummy rubbing and bicycles.
Bub had reflux and colic (still does a little) tummy rubbing & bicycles became an ordinary activity.
It was when I was looking at videos and pins for infant massage (If anyone finds a good one for “toddler massage” please tell me- that I realised I’d been doing a lot of the things they were suggesting and demonstrating already.
A foot rub and head massage every night as she feeds to sleep. Head rub if she stirs (yes. I do sleep. Yes. I love it. Yes. My baby goes to sleep in my lap. No. I’m not a “political co-sleeper”* No. I don’t feel the need to stop. My eldest two left my bed by two. I can’t see bub doing that. I’m not fussed.)
So yes, foot rub and head massage, tummy rub if she has wind, legs if she’d particularly restless.
But I didn’t do anything structured.
The article said
“The benefits of massage for babies are well documented and can include improved sleep, bonding and reduced periods of crying. Infant massage classes are a great way to learn but there are also some high quality videos on YouTube for those who want to get started right away. Baby massage is easy to fit into your daily routine and works particularly well after a warm bath.”
So it’s a very good thing.
I thought, from watching all the videos and reading all the articles (which I did with bub snuggled on my lap watching the “bubbies” at 8am one wintery morning but- more on that later ) that I should make it part of “bedtime”.
Bub has a fairly fixed dinner/bath/bed routine because otherwise getting her to sleep is not easy.
It moves in time ; between 5.30-6.30 start- bed has to happen by 7.30 or else she just won’t sleep until at least 9.
Adding anything else in there seemed too much for now so I put it first.
I wanted it to be special so I used one of my Ishka throws (ah- how I love Ishka and how I hate the term ‘throw’ can we go back to blanket please?)
It goes something like this- At about 4.30 – 5 I (or bub recently) say ‘massage?’ and then bub says ‘massage blanket?” and we grab that and put it on the bed. I don’t undress her.
We either talk – at first there was a lot about oil and how often you need it and if you are ‘cleaning’ your hands with it that isn’t more often that ten minutes, could you put the cap on please?, Panda isoily enough maybe massage him now, would you like me to do your back? Can I have more oil please? Yes you can have more but just two dots, see- dot dot. No you don’t need more. Do pandas feet. “ to more recently massaging all of her toys in turn.
I made the mistake of watching some baby massage videos while massaging. Or trying to. Bub likes pressing buttons. Loves looking at babies. And that’s how we ended up here (which is amazing) here and here (Also at birth videos- why on YouTube? Why? Not the “teach how a baby arrives” kind the “dad and phone” kind. ) and why now ‘massage blanket’ is often closely followed by “bubbies?”
So sometimes we’ll watch other babies massages and talk about them.
I’m also kind of all for mindfulness and love the fact that it works. I had the worst pre natal anxiety- Smiling Mind made it liveable – well I got through it – and those ten minutes of calm a day definitely helped, as did the breathing in labour, believe it or not.
Recently – thanks to Emma Watson actually – I found Headspace (Mindfulness exercises, not the counselling/GP service for ‘young adults’)
I love it and would totally recommend it to anyone anxious or stressed.
I love the way it’s run, I love the packages of exercises, I love they have an SOS button for when you are falling apart.
I love how tailored you can make it.
I especially like the fact that there are exercises for kids- toddlers even.
I love that I wrote to them and asked if I could access the toddler activities to see if they worked for bub on my free trial and they unlocked all of them for me- without me asking.
Most importantly I love Andy’s voice.
That is actually vital.
You can’t do anything meditationy or mindfullnessy if you don’t like the voice or the whale song is driving you mad or the water noise makes you want to wee.
“Mindfulness for toddlers?!” I hear you cry “how can this possibly work? They won’t understand! They won’t stay still! It’s a farce!”
My experience is at the end of this post – bub likes it & I do too.
Best people to explain it are Headspace themselves (here)
Also she asks to listen.
That means she likes it and that is a great thing.
So anyway – while we talk/ watch/ listen I rub her legs and feet and often her back in a semi confident “of course I know what I’m doing rubbing coconut oil and lavender my child- watch me masseuse” type fashion.
(I must get some nice baby moisturiser that is enviro / world friendly – hints anyone? Using foodstuffs just feels odd).
She loves it and I think it calms her a little. A lot less food is thrown at dinner.
I love it too.
FAMILY CUDDLE TIME
“Taking time to lie on a bed or the couch and quietly talk, stroke and cuddle your baby together for just a few minutes a day can help you to reconnect and develop as a family. “
This one was easy when I thought about it.
Every morning after bub wakes up she curls up in a seat made of my tummy as the backrest and a pillow as the base. As I’m not quite ready to get up at still dark o’clock she will feed and doze then move onto feeding and watching Bollywood clips on Instagram or cats or miniature horses or ballet. Mainly Bollywood as I wake up. She’ll also quietly play with one or two of her soft toys- pretend picnics are popular.
In between all of this are snack feeds and throughout it all I have my hand on her back or am playing with her hair.
I also haven’t been able to fall asleep without one hand touching her from the moment she was born (that made hospital fun)
Unless I’m misreading it- there is family cuddle time. Oh plus all the cooking/walking in a sling. But that might be more outdoor play…
“Quiet play is a great way of relaxing baby before bedtime. Many parents recognize the value of a night time routine, but extending it a little further and incorporating some relaxing play can help your baby look forward to bedtime and sleep for longer. Begin by dimming lights, turning off any screens and keeping talking to a minimum. Some popular ideas are playing with lights such as fairy lights and small torches, bubbles, making shadow puppet shapes on the wall and slowly singing a favorite nursery rhyme or lullaby.”
This one was already in place before I started with this pin.
From birth at night we’ve had lights dimmed , special lullabies and stories.( I can’t manage the no screen though (PTSD/Anxiety etc I need distracting) so screen is small and silent (love subtitles) & only on when bub is going to sleep.)
Currently her bedtime routine is massage time, candle & story time, dinner and song time- anything from Bic Runga to Teddy Bears Picnic, bath or shower with mum, PJs while musical star plays (As soon as star goes on no more grown up conversations), her lamp on, story with M while I finish getting set up to feed/hold bub for 4 hours or so, feed (sometimes feeeeeeeeeeed) and sleep.
Quiet play – Sorted before I even knew it was helping!
(Recently bub has started watching the screen more- while not worried I am wary when she asks for “candle show?” (watching an Indian historical drama series- many candles) on the plus side maybe she’s learning Hindi or how to read already…or maybe not. I don’t think it’s any worse than those Fisher Price lenticular light shows that were around when I was small but just in case were switching from laptop to tablet.)
So there we are.
Is bub more relaxed? Sometimes.
More calm? Sometimes.
But life has also during the time I was doing this given her a lot to deal with- massively stressed parents, upset mum, unwell siblings and several arguments – not to mention immunizations.
So I’m going to keep trying it all because I like it.
I like knowing I’m helping and making her world better and bigger and if nothing else giving her the chance to make jokes and see babies massaged in India.
I’ll update you when I write my post on making her “relaxation corner” (is it just me, or is “relaxation corner” starting to sound a bit like those 70s ish ultra hippy but want to be living in the 60s not now and took a very wrong turn parents (i.e. Ben Lee’s parents in ‘The Rage in Placid Lake? – love that movie) would use as a ‘naughty step? Or does the word pod need to be incorporated for that?)
Here’s some bits I moved from earlier about how headspace works with bub & political vegetarianism. I do go on sometimes!
Headspace for Toddlers
All I know is- and I’ve got no idea if it’s working in a mindful therapy way- but if we listen to Andy – be it the duck one (calm), the icy pole one (kindness), or even the glasses one (focus) and talk about them as they run for their one minute that bub will ask for more.
Also she remembers things from them and talks about them.
She very seriously told me “Bears in big bath” during dinner a few nights ago “eating bubbles” was the punchline and caused much laughter.
The “focus” meditation uses frogs & a stream- the first time we did it I realised I wasn’t sure that she could imagine a frog or a stream so I talked about what if they were teddy bears and for stream – water.
Bub added the big bath & eating bubbles (something that I spend quite a bit of bathtime trying to get her not to do)
Also the ‘kindness’ exercise asks them to imagine someone they love and giving them something they really want.
As we did this I suggested “Daddy” & “ Coffee and a big hug”.
Next morning when Daddy went to get coffee, bub cried ‘Big Hug!’ & leapt at him.
So something is working somewhere there.
*in the same way I’m not a political vegetarian – I’m vegetarian for various reasons but I don’t feel the need to make you vegetarian. . Eat or don’t. It affects me not. I’d rather you didn’t try to convince me to eat meat though. Try replacing vegetarian with co-sleeps and eat too and you’ll have a poorly constructed sentence that hopefully explains my position.
I’ve been keeping up with the baby massage though and even though bub is not quite up to par it seems to help soothe and calm. If nothing else she likes the routine and having her feet rubbed.
One tiny thing though- I’ve been using doterra lavander oil (Which I adore as does bub) but we are racing through it. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to make it stretch further? Carrier oil maybe? If so which one?
So- sensory activities (like the glitter bottles from last week) led me to reading about all the different ‘styles’ of education
I didn’t get much further that that infographic (Oh I adore Reggio -sigh- so hard to find. Undecided on anything else as yet) before I stumbled across this
Apparently it was homemade with free colour samples (read on yet another “travel games for toddlers” pin).
I googled “free colour chips paint au” expecting either
b) come into such and such hardware store or
c) (at best) one of those fold out pamphlets with 100s of tiny squares.
But I found that most, if not all, paint brands offer free chips. I went with British Paints (ah Rolf Harris before he was evil, Sheepdogs and jelly beans (or was that Dulux?) )
They have this amazing site with billions of colours which, if you grew up with renovating parents and a passion for those free paint booklets and cards in hardware stores while you were hanging around waiting planning what colours to paint your future house (yellow and white- god knows what I was thinking- probably just over Heritage Green and Mission Brown ) is paradise
I decided to try for a rainbow plus black and white.
I clicked and clicked and clicked and expected any second to see a box pop up with “you’re not really painting a house are you?” Or more realistically “you have exceeded the number of items you can select”. That never happened. However because I felt so furtive we ended up with two reds, two purples and No orange and No black but a brown.
Because of my current adoration of India I couldn’t click past this
either. So we ended up with two greens. Or blue green as we’re calling it.
The paint chips arrived. They are huge. Like almost phone size but square. You know what I mean. I’m enormously impressed. Well done British Paints. If I’m ever painting a house or a wall (instead if making a book with my bub) you will be my first port of call. Free postage too!
I thought this would be a nice family activity so I showed little e the chips and explained what we were doing & she got very excited and threw them all on the floor . As bubs do.
For making the book I thought I’d simply stitch some pages together as I have done in the past but when I went to Pintrest looking for reminders on how to do the stitching I came across this brilliantly simple idea, and Little E loved the video. (Of course now I can’t find the original pin. Something learnt here. Pin the pins. You’d think it would be obvious. Apparently not. Anyway- good simple tute – just no video)
So using some 220gsm Drawing Paper (think thin cardboard but way more flexible- benifit of living with an artist) we made two booklets. Or I made two booklets and bub kept changing the screen at exactly the wrong moment.
Then came the fun part- GLUE!. We put a small amount of kids craft glue into a little pot and found a paintbrush.
Having mummy glue the first colour down did not a happy little e make. Nor did being in charge of the paint chips. It was glue or nothing.
For a while she happily dabbled glue on the back of the chips and the pages and the table and the chair and my arm then she decided to try eating it.
As a rule “It should be it’s made for kids” is not a wise reply to give when asked “is it toxic”?
Especially not when faced with a freaked- out -child -just -ate- something- not -food mummy.
It obviously wasn’t toxic. Thank God. Knock on wood. Praise relevant dieties. She’s fine.
Somewhere during the dabbing and sticking and the ‘Not on where the colours are we don’t want them to stick together “ of it all I thought of adding some ribbons.
I’d bought a bulk bag of ribbon offcuts from ebay a month ago because
1. I was sewing again
2. I have a little girl
and 3. I like wearing ribbons too.
Kind of irrelevant except it meant we could get all the colours we needed plus some extra (a black ribbon to go on the white page).
Asking a child under two to pick specific colours of ribbon from a bag as big as their body is for want of something not sweary a tad foolhardy.
All they will want to do is dump the ribbon on the bed, lie in ribbon, swim in ribbon, throw ribbon on the floor, put ribbon in any bag and pocket available saying “pretty”.
There were tears when ribbon alllll went away.
I should have decanted 3 or 4 of the right colour into an open container and had bub choose colour by colour.
You live, you learn.
Anyway. After bub had had the extra glue washed off (while I furtively added glue to some chips, stuck the folded pages together to be thicker and more board like & stuck the two pamphlets together) we sat down and colour by colour added ribbons.
Little E insisted on gluing again and did a good job. Didn’t try to eat the glue again and only minimal amounts went on hair/clothes/table/not ribbon.
By now it was late afternoon so I put the book on the mantlepiece to dry and with only minor upset got on with our evening routine such as it is.
The next morning Little E asked for “My Book” & after going through all of her reading book titles only to be met with a no and shake of head we realised she meant the colour book.
She looked so happy holding it- was lovely.
Since then we’ve been through it together and added the colours names.
It’s currently bubs book of choice to “hold” or read to us, and very often get read to her and she fiddles with the ribbons and calls many colours “green” or “pink” depending on the day.
Beautiful idea and not something I would ever have thought of otherwise. Something precious and useful. I’d highly recommend doing it.
(Obviously I plan on adding a ‘proper’ cover and cutting the trailing ends of ribbon. Will I? Probably not. Does it matter? Not one iota)
I think it’s the kind of activity I’ll repeat as they’re bound to fall apart or be surpassed in knowledge – simple colour names could become spelling or the light spectrum (ROYGBIV anyone?).
When bub is older she can even pick the colours online & hey, brilliant school project resource (If, say, you picked mosaic art as a topic or just want multicoloured title letters).
So that was kind of lovely.