Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Poo, Postman Pat and the dummy

I need to make one thing clear here.  We are not talking about Poo Bear.  We are talking about the "other" poo.  So where does Postman Pat come into it you may ask?  They are indeed uneasy bedfellows unless you:

a. are potty training a toddler
Cute huh?
b. are participating in potty training a toddler
c. remember potty training a toddler

I will warn you now this is a very bowel movement orientated post (the clue was in the title!) so be prepared.  But as "sharing is caring", I thought this post may well help other potty trainers.

We have been extremely lucky with potty training C; she kind of did it herself really.  She has been noticing when she is 'going' for quite a long and it was my hesitating that hindered proceedings (I wanted to wait for summer blah blah blah).  It was obvious she was physically able to control her bladder (which is the harder to control apparently) so we gave it a shot.  She had been poo-ing on the potty for quite a while when one day, after passing a motion, she said "sore".  Maybe it was all her enthusiastic straining...who knows, but I hoped that dodgy experience wouldn't lead to trouble.  Well, it very nearly did.  She refused to poo on the potty or the toilet (as she had been doing) and I had concerns that if it continued she would be fearful to go at all.  Enter "Poo Goes Home to Poo Land".

Er, Poo.
This is an amateurish NHS book, with scribbles for drawings and a simple story about Poo being unhappy and wanting to go home.  The first thing we did was take C to the other toilet (thank goodness we have 2) and hovered for a LONG time in the bathroom (with the door shut to keep the warm in you understand) and read this new story, while 'Grandad brushed his teeth' (for the 1000th time).  The first time we read it C's solution to everyone in the story who was sad (poo; the little boy; poo's family; the little boy's family) was that they needed a dummy - HAHAHAHA - too sweet.  So, we added "maybe Poo left his poo-dummy at home in Pooland?"  Wow, the things you find yourself talking about when you have children.  Did you know in Poo land they play poo games and laugh at poo jokes?  Doesn't sound too different to me!  Anyway, to cut a long story short.  It worked.  It actually blooming worked.  Poo went home and has been going home ever since.

Enter Postman Pat.  Not quite sure how she wangled that one but now every time she sits on the loo we have Poo Goes Home to Poo Land followed by Postman Pat.  She tried to sneak another story into the bathroom today but hey, half an hour sitting uncomfortably scrunched on a cold tiled floor is a small price to pay for what could have been.

I do not know how to upload a copy but if anyone wants a copy then please email me see below.

For the those who continued reading after the first paragraph and to whom points a/b/c did not apply - see, it wasn't THAT bad was it?

I have been inundated with requests and am so pleased that it has helped so many little ones.  Rather than emailing it out I have set up an Ebay item for you to buy a copy at £1.50; ALL the proceeds from sale will go to my chosen charity the Cavernoma Alliance, as cavernomas have affected our family in such a huge way.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Beautiful weekend

Wow what great weather we have had this weekend.  Usually we try to get outside regardless of the weather, but the sunshine does make it easier.

Last weekend was so totally different, I know this because I remember it clearly for all the wrong reasons.  My friend and C's friend (her daughter) came over for a visit and we decided to take the girls out for a walk up to the horse with coolest moustache ever.  Truly, this horse has proper handlebars (I WILL take the photo I keep promising myself).  The plan was to go puddle jumping, so off we went donned in wellies and C wearing what a few minutes later would be the equivalent of a nylon straight jacket i.e. THE most impractical waterproof onesie which I ordered last winter.  All I will say is "wee wee"; waterproof onesie; one-legged zipper; *mud* underfoot.  ARRGHHHHH.

Back to this weekend.  In pictures.  Not a waterproof in sight.  Happy Sunday.

All wrapped up

Bit of gardening
Snack time

The playmates.


Elementary, dear Nanny

C LOVES these colour paddles. So simple, inexpensive and such a huge source of delight.
"Nanny blue" (tonight's colour bath!); "Nanny orange"...you get the picture. Which is more than I have  managed to do on many occasions. Inevitably I am too busy playing to remember to take photos and then I am so eager to take the photo that I muck up the settings.

Not this time though, I think these expressions are priceless.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Our little pipette

I have presented all sorts of sensory play and activities to little miss; most of the ideas I get from various sites and blogs (why invent the wheel?) and some I am inspired to do because *I* think it's fab.   For example,
I sooooo wanted to play with the Instasnow at our Friday group and C soooo wasn't interested in even looking at it.  As you can guess I have a hard time keeping the play "child-led" instead of "Nanny-led".  A few weeks on and C still isn't interested n the fake snow, but I bought some and Grandad and I have great fun making it and squishing it.

One object/activity that has fascinated her for ages now is the humble teat pipette.  She uses it to suck the paint from the top of her chubbies; plays with it in bath; and yesterday, painted with it. We have long ones and short ones and both are a constant source of fascination.  We're not big on formally teaching her stuff as we are both strong believers in that children will learn whatever interests them (which happens not to involve Instasnow at the moment -booo!) when they are ready.  But, in case anyone with littlies is interested,  according to "experts" using a teat pipette helps develops the pincer grip which is core to building the fine motor skills necessary for writing. And there were we just thinking they were great fun!

Blowing bubbles like the pipette
Bizarrely though, she pretended to give me an injection yesterday, I have no idea where she picked that up from!  Watch out cats and dogs, there could be a game of vets coming up in the near future...
Catching bubbles

p.s. In case you were wondering, yes it is a pink bath.  Some days C can choose a coloured bath and which colour bath she wants.

I'm also planning to put different fragrances in to match the colour : e.g. strawberry fragrance with red colour; lemon frangrance with yellow etc  but as I had only just decided to do it we only had chocolate, so it was a pink, chocolate bath!

Which has just reminded of that awful pink chocolate you used to be able to buy.  Ewwwww.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Aldi Schmaldi

Dear Sir/madam

I am writing to complain about your staff member called 5665t* at the Brandon Store in Suffolk.  Her manner is distinctly passive aggressive; obstructive; and to describe her as a customer service individual would be an oxymoron.

What terrible deed did I do to elicit this reaction I hear you ask......I DARED to ask for 30 secs grace to unfold my shopping bags.  Don't get me wrong, I think the current practice of using customer's shopping as throwing practice (training ground for Olympic 2012?) is in particularly poor taste anyway; but as I have become adept at catching the flying groceries with my bag(s) I have been happy to combine the great food at a great price with my weekly exercise.  But not allowing one to partake (aka defend oneself) by not allowing time to unfold the catching bag is pure gamesmanship.  Oh, and I had an irritable 23 month toddler in tow.

Unsurprisingly I complained about 5665t's actions; advice; and attitude for which the the Store Manager apologised (half heartedly).  However he said the shopping procedure was visible and pointed to a sign at the start of the tills at a height my toddler could have read if she was a) able to and b) inclined to (you know what children are like); or that I would have able to read if I had fallen to my knees at the start of the till at the thought of what lay ahead.  But then I wouldn't know what anxiety lay ahead UNLESS I fell to my knees...hmmm, I'll have to think that one...I give up, let's just say I have never seen it.  Maybe if you stop putting distracting confectionery at the start of the tills then my eyes would have wandered on to it.  Who knows?  Back to Mr Manager.

Mr Manager said the policy was to SAVE CUSTOMER TIME ON TILL QUEUES and by allowing me time to unfold my bag, the seething 5665t would have been contravening company policy.

So, I SHOULD have stood by and watched whilst 5665t chucked all my food in on top of my folded bags; then moved 4 foot to an already heaving "shelf"; unpack all goods from trolley to shelf (to get my bags!); unfold my bags and then take all the food from the shelf and put them in the bags back in my trolley.  Er, that saves me time how exactly?! Oh, with an irritable 23 month toddler in tow.  I would love to see the time and motion data!

Well, I shall say the same to you as I told 5665t and Mr Manager.  If store policy is more important than customer service then I for one will vote with my feet and go back to one of "the others".  Let me know what you want me to do.  If I don't hear from you I will assume our relationship is over and I will never purchase 3 trays of your yoghurts as part of my fortnightly shopping ever again.  Which I suppose means at least there will be more yellow ones for other people.


*named changed because I am more polite than they are.

Look at the short queues...

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Peg rail

We're STILL doing the utility room as an art area for C - it's been in progress now for what seems like months, mainly due to my ordering art stuff then having to rejig the cupboards as it arrives!  Then of course there's the small fact that I broke the sink waste on C's sink within 24 hours of darling hubby plumbing it in....Ooops So everything artfully arranged around the sink had to be temporarily displaced too.

Certain toddler didn't mind stuff EVERYWHERE and ploughed into the paints; glitter glue and anything else she could find, whilst artfully dodging the debris strewn all about her.  She soon had us join in on the fun and for a wonderful half hour (and late bedtime) we 'did' art.  All three of us crouched round her table - only one of us has a chair.

She *loves* these chubby paint markers and they're always the first off the shelf; next favourite is the glitter glue tubes...but we were intrigued when she got some googly eyes from her shelf and stuck (3) eyes on the picture - and then painted them with red marker paint.  Eek, I do hope I wasn't the inspiration!

We're watching you :)

Anyway, we then decided we wanted a way to display C's art, but in such a way that only a finite number were on show at any one time (yep, I still remember the HUGE box of art work the kids used to bring home at the end of term - kids can be prolific artists!).  Voila the peg rail.  We glue-gunned C's mini pegs on a piece of wood and put it at C's height so she can peg pictures up as she wishes and as there are a finite number of pegs, that is the number of 'pieces' she can keep up.  C was so pleased with it, she immediately pegged up the blue picture that she was doing - even though to me it looks like just a blank piece of paper.  Bless her.

I actually love it; so much so that I think we shall have a few more scattered around the place.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Food for thought - WARNING, content may upset

I know this blog is about life with my grand-daughter and what is more important than what you put on the table to eat.  We try to be as self sufficient as is possible living on top of a 'hill' (yes there ARE hills in Norfolk!) where the wind is so strong it obliterates the ploytunnels in seconds.  We eat seasonally and locally, except for the obvious i.e. exotic fruits and sweet potatoes; and for a lonnnnnggg time ate only veggies and game.  Veggies because we grew them and game because it had had a natural life and a clean death.

Brutus has his forever home
As it drew closer to Christmas I decided that maybe we should rear our own pork for (this year's) Christmas ham.  And bacon.  And sausages. We were very kindly given a goose by some dear friends, so we'll also be rearing one of those for the Christmas table this year.  It was whilst researching local abbatoirs (there is a good abbatoir guide!) that I came across some awful and upsetting articles such as this; this; this; and locally and more recently, this.  I was shocked as I had naively thought that by eating a free range/red tractor/organic etc animal I was doing something for animal welfare.  Since that day I decided I wouldn't eat meat unless I knew it had a good life AND a good death.

Which brings me to today.  We ate one of our cockerels.  They were reared from eggs and the progeny of Brutus, our rescue cockerel.  To be honest if they would have kept their beaks down and behaved themselves they wouldn't have been noticed; but they were getting "cocky" and took an unhealthy interest in guarding their our veggie patch from a certain resident child.  So they had to go.  The preparation (done a few weeks ago) was no problem; roasting it was fine but I have to confess that whilst I was eating it I kept wondering if the meat was ok as it tasted so different to what I am used to chicken tasting like.  The breast was great, but the legs were quite gamey for me (even though I like game).  Apparently the gamey taste comes from all the exercise the muscles have had.  Or something like that.

So the life cycle is complete and my initiation is complete.  From egg to table.  Shame I was fretting over cooking the chicken that I burnt the sweet potatoes!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Nowt as nice as rainbow rice

The only thing rice nicer than our rainbow rice is a packet of Rainbow Drops, which technically were rice and were delicious!  Do they still do them?  Anyway, showing my age and digressing...
Rice.  I've washed it, cooked it and eaten it of course, but I've never coloured it and played with it.  Until a few weeks ago.  To be honest I didn't have a clue how to colour it and I was less convinced that once coloured we would actually be able to play with it.  I mean what DO you do with rice.  So after googling (what WOULD we do without google) how to colour rice, we set about doing so.  With hindsight it might have been better to think about what we would actually *do* with it after we had coloured it first but I got swept up in the excitement and started gathering our ingredients.

Step one: get rice and pour in jar.  It helps to find a funnel that fits the jar BEFORE giving the container of rice to a toddler!  Else be prepared to pick rice up from worktop/floor/clothes/sink and anywhere within 5 miles that rice can scatter to and lay on

Step two: add vinegar.  Luckily I have loads of white vinegar that I use for cleaning

Step three: add a few drops of food colouring.  Or a great big squeeze if you are nearly two years old

Step four: shake jar to mix it all up

Step five:  Sieve contents to get rid of excess vinegar

Step six:  pour it out and leave it to dry, we put it in the dehydrator (because I'm impatient) but I'm sure a low oven/sunlight/airing cupboard/tumble drier(?) would do.

Repeat using different colours.

Hmmm, finding the gem is a bit too easy Nanny!
Voila!  You have dried coloured rice.  It actually feels great just to run between your fingers, but I set up a 'treasure hunt' for C.   I 'buried' gems in the rice for her to find and left a little dish in which she sorted them in colour pairs (this is something a lot of toddlers do naturally as this age).  There was a slight flaw in my design.  Not enough rice to "bury" anything, not even a small gem, convincingly.  So we made another batch, far more confidently and with the efficiency of a pro.  Actually I did it whilst C was asleep (that impatience thing again) and ended up with enough for her to sit in, stand in and bury other things in.  Another night we set up the tub of coloured rice with her sand/water spinner.  Of course Nanny and Grandad had to try it out first.  Just to make sure it worked.  Very therapeutic.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Terrific Twos

When I was skyping my sister in New Zealand she happened to mention that C and I would soon be in the "Terrific Two" stage.  In March actually.  I much prefer this description to the OTHER one because it is so true.  C's level of understanding is certainly there; the Independence is definitely there; she is funny; trying new words everyday; and even using the potty.

Toddlers cram so many milestones in, generally all at the same time, so it's no wonder that the frustration of trying to communicate sufficiently without the vocabulary can cause a toddler meltdown.  My sister and I decided it would be a bit like us communicating in a foreign language - cue our very bizarre (and funny) conversation consisting solely of "small peas (petit pois)"; "milky coffee" and other words taken from the vast (NOT) holiday/school French vocabulary!

Two toddlers, two babies and a pushchair - solution!
Another thing thrust upon toddlers is the "learning to share" business that always seems to crop up about this time.  That got me thinking.  Would I be mightily pee'd off if one of my friends (or most likely a friend of a friend!) wandered in, picked up my camera and started using it without asking?  Er, yes I would.  What about if they started wandering around my house moving and using things as they wanted?  Well, they definitely wouldn't be invited back and on one of my less polite days would probably be asked to leave; then there's my 'I-haven't-had-chocolate' days where they would be lucky to get to the door!  Yet we expect our little ones, on play dates they haven't asked for (let's face it, it's us adults that need the company) to tolerate this during a period when they are just beginning to realise that they actually own things.

All I know is that there is a time when kids *want* to share because they want to play with other kids and selfish toddlers do not necessarily grow up to be selfish children or adults.  A friend of mine has the perfect solution - bring some toys from home for a play date!  Ok, two pushchairs and two babies aren't always enough for two toddlers but it's a blooming good start.

Monday, 6 February 2012

I love Louisville

I now have a mailing address in Louisville, Kentucky.  This means that I can buy all the wonderful things I couldn't have before because shops like Amazon.com and Discount School Supply, who didn't ship to the UK, can now ship my stuff to my new address.  Of course shipping costs are still the same but now as I can potentially save on shipping buy BUNDLING all my purchases into one BOX.  How can this be? I hear you cry; the clue is in the caps, it's....

I have ordered bits from Amazon.com and am waiting for some stuff from Discount School Supply to reach my new Louisville address before I book my first shipment.  Exciting times made all the more exciting because I can legitimately shop more to save me money!

The thing I particularly like about Bundlebox over other shipping forwarders is that you pay VAT and shipping fees up front.  I have wrangled with the Post Office on several occasions when they have charged me a "handling fee" on top of shipping fees for items I have received from the USA.  HA Post Office, no more handling fees for me!

Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly, I'll let you know when it arrives - but you'll probably hear whoops of joy from wherever you are.  Or screams of exasperation.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

May the foam be with you

C and I spend a lot of time at home playing with all sorts of stuff, most of the ideas pinched from the zillions of websites and blogs written by people with far more imagination than I have.  It's also handy to have a Montessori teacher for a sister.

One activity that I stumbled across and thought "cool" straight away was a glow stick bath!  Children enjoy activities which stimulate as many of the 5 senses as possible.  Sensory play.  As adults we tend to overlook the importance of multi sensorial experiences and on the first night we tried this activity Grandpa Southwellski and I were far more easily induced to play than C was.
There's a toddler there somewhere!

Night one, C wasn't happy about having all the lights off, so we left a small mirror light on.   Grandpa and I were slightly disappointed it wasn't dark because the glowy effect wasn't as glowy as we knew it could be, but we went along with it anyway....Night two, C INSISTED that all the lights went out and hunt the glowstick in the foam began.  After that C put them in the various empty plastic bottles she uses as bath toys and played with them for a good, long while.  Definite success! (Which is more than can be said of my photos)

Now I'm off to have me a bath....

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


Blogging is actually strangely addictive.  In fact if you think about, it is also a strange thing to do.  I don't really have anything to add here which can't be found elsewhere on the massivenet and jeez I don't even know if anybody (other than me) reads it, BUT if you are reading it and don't blog, I thoroughly recommend you trying it.

Why?  Because it's a diary-scrapbook-photoalbum all rolled into one, which is safely stored away (even if you don't do computer backups!) for 'tomorrow's' nostalgia.

Good night.