Archive for the ‘In praise of…’ Category

In praise of… Gromit hunting

August 24, 2013

Oh how sad we will be when the Gromits all go. This summer we have had a wonderful time hunting Gromits through the streets of Bristol. The three year old gets really excited spotting them out and about and loves getting his picture with them. I’ve also really enjoyed doing this and found it provided a lovely focus for a day out in the city. We’ve seen lots of bits of Bristol which we previously either hadn’t seen or saw in a different light.

Gromit Unleashed seems to have captured the imagination of little kids all across Bristol. Wherever we go there are families following the trail and getting pictures of the Gromits. Bub’s nursery even did a Gromit week with loads of themed activities.

So far we have done 37 of the 80 Gromits. I don’t intend to try to get them all but hopefully we’ll get a few more before they end on 8th September.

Here are some of our favourites so far:

Grant’s Gromit (or Zebra Gromit as Bub calls him)20130824-204406.jpg
Gromberry (aka Strawberry Gromit)20130824-204319.jpg
Salty Sea Dog (aka Pirate Gromit)20130824-204340.jpg
Gromitasaurus (aka the one with the teeth)20130824-204356.jpg
Gromit Unleashed is a public art exhibition in which giant sculptures of Gromit, decorated by invited artists, have been unleashed on the streets of Bristol and the surrounding area.

At the end of the art trail, the sculptures will be auctioned to raise funds for Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity.

In praise of… blackberry picking

August 5, 2013

Bub is totally loving blackberry picking. We have quite a few growing wild near our house. And every day he wants to go out to check if there are some new ones ready. Once there it’s almost impossible to get him to leave as he thinks he might get just one more. It’s lovely to be with him whilst he does this. He chats away to himself about this one being ready, this one not being ready etc.

We’ve already made tons of stuff too. Crumble, mostly. They are a bit sour to eat alone as I think they are a bit early. But in puddings or with porridge they are very tasty.

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In praise of… swaddling

May 17, 2013

Have been using my magic swaddling blankets with eleven week old Baby. I found them invaluable with his older brother Bub who had a very strong Moro reflex and slept poorly from birth. Baby didn’t have this problem and was a great little sleeper at first. Now he’s older his naps aren’t great. He wants to suck his fingers but can’t do it for more than a second. So he just hits himself in the face and wakes himself up!

The main aim is to try to extend his naps but we’re also using them for night sleep. I can’t yet really comment on whether it is working on the naps. We have had a few longer naps with it. He can’t yet fall asleep independently and this is probably a bigger factor. But it’s definitely extended his night sleep. He was a good night sleeper anyway but he is now doing a stretch 2-4 hours longer 🙂

This isn’t a long term thing as I guess quite quickly he’ll be too big for swaddling. But hopefully by then he’ll have mastered the finger sucking and will stop whacking himself mid sleep!

Holiday fun

May 15, 2013

Lovely long weekend away. Our first for about a year. Shamefully this is because Bub’s sleep is often really disrupted and this tends to dampen my enthusiasm to do it again. But you know what? His sleep was appalling, again, but it was still worth it. We had lots of fun.

Some highlights

  • Bub’s massive and complete excitement about going on holiday, our ‘holiday house’ and everything to do with the holiday.
  • Bub playing for HOURS with the wooden marble maze provided in our caravan lodge.
  • Having a cup of tea and reading the paper in our hot tub (for about five minutes) before being joined by an excited three year old who was delighted to have his own personal swimming pool.
  • Visiting a beautiful waterfall (England’s highest) and trekking all the way up to the top. Bub walked pretty much the whole way, he did so well and had boundless energy. And Baby did well in the sling too.
  • Bub and his daddy being Adventurers, including finding a stream with stepping stones.
  • Visiting the great British seaside on a wet and blustery afternoon, including a walk along the beach and doughnuts.
  • Bub having fun on the two penny slots on the pier and going on a 20p kids motorbike ride.
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    Pattern spotting

    March 14, 2013

    Baby is now over two weeks old. Time flies! Feels like an age and the blink of an eye at the same time.

    He was about four days old when the first person asked me if he was ‘in a routine’ yet. A question that begs a thousand answers, beginning with – at four days how would you ever know?!?

    The whole issue of routines tends to bring out strong opinions. Before Bub was born I felt very resistant to the whole idea of a routine. I hated routine for myself and wanted to be free and easy and go with the flow with my child. And of course for the first few months you have little choice. But then I realised that having some pattern to the day helped me feel more on top of things. Plus Bub responded really well to regularity and it was the only thing that really helped with his sleep.

    So I’m now quite a convert to the idea of a routine for little ones (though not at four days old!!) With Bub I didn’t push him into a particular routine. Instead it was more a question of observing his patterns and then doing my best to support and stick to them. This changed over time, dropping naps etc, but was pretty successful.

    So with Baby I’m keen, in due course, to do the same. At the moment things are still changing constantly. And will probably continue to do so for several weeks. But hopefully in time we can find a rhythm to the day which works for us all.

    Pregnant in Bristol? Useful resources

    January 28, 2013

    Bristol has a booming pregnancy and birth economy with many, many resources and services for expectant mums. Having (almost) had two babies in the city here are some of the things I’ve found most useful.

    Pregnancy yoga & active birth with Vivien Tallis-Evans. Viv also hires out TENS machines and can lend birth pools. Her no nonsense approach helped me enormously in preparing for Bub’s arrival.

    Relaxed birth & parenting with Dominique. Another lovely weekly birth preparation class.

    Christine Andrew is a chiropractor and former midwive who specialises in treating pelvic pain in pregnancy. Christine has kept me mobile through pelvic pain in both pregnancies.

    Bristol NCT who not only run classes but also hold nearly new sales and several postnatal cafes across the city.

    Bristol Home Birth Group which meets monthly and is a chance to find out more about home birth.

    Bristol’s positive birth stories offers the chance to read about inspiring births at home and in hospital.

    The shop Born in Bishopston is full of gorgeous things. The staff are also a font of knowledge.

    The Essential Guide to Breastfeeding in Bristol is crammed with breastfeeding info including details of local support groups.

    That’s just a few of the many wonderful services available to pregnant mums in Bristol. Let me know if you have some recommendations I might have missed.

    Count Bubulah!

    July 24, 2012

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    (Bub ‘says’ 5!)

    Every mum thinks their little one is super clever, don’t they? And I’m no different about Bub. I secretly (or not so secretly) think he’s the smartest toddler ever. However his limited speech tends to lead to fewer opportunities to see it in practice. And this makes me enjoy even more the times I see his brains in action! Forgive me, then, as I shamelessly brag about my Bub’s numerical interests.

    Bub is fascinated by numbers. He is obsessed with the fact that he is two. He continually says it, over and over, keen for reassurance that yes he is two. And no, he is not three. And mummy is three-four. Etc etc. Repeat ad infinitum!

    He can only say some numbers. And he can sign others on his hands. So when we discuss numbers it’s a bizarre mix of spoken word and fingers raised in the air. At the moment he can say 2, 3 and 8. He sometimes tries to say 4 and 5. And he can show on his fingers the numbers 1, 4, 5, 6, 7 (sometimes), 9 (sometimes) and 10. So when we play counting games or look at numbers he responds with a mix of spoken word and fingers raised. He can also recognise all written numbers, in digit form, up to and including 20. Though at present his signing/speaking can’t go above ten. He can say ‘loads’ though, which means any number more than he feels up to counting.

    He instantly spots if there is two or three of something. In fact he uses the shouted number to identify this repetition (eg pointing and shouting ‘two!’ at a passing pair of dogs.) He can count, silently to himself whilst pointing item to item, from four to ten. If we set out some toys and he counts them he can show me how many there are, with about 70% accuracy, using words and fingers. He gets a bit confused signing 7 and 9 but rarely gets 8 or 10 wrong so I think the signing is more challenging than the counting.

    Bub can also do basic addition and subtraction. We talk to him about what would happen if mummy has four pretend sweets and we take one away. He knows there are three left, just like that. And if we take another it’s two, then one, then none. He can also do addition by one, up to about five, too.

    I’m not at all sure how this compares to other kids. I imagine it’s not too unusual. Like I said I think it’s partly because Bub says so little this seems so skilful. I also wonder if his lack of speech might, strangely, be helping him count. He doesn’t just recite numbers by rote, because speech is hard for him. Using a combination of words and fingers is challenging him to really think about it. And his use of numbers instead of nouns to identify things of interest no doubt presses home counting even more. Either way it’s nice to see him doing really well in one area at least. And the fact that he can count almost higher than the number of words in his vocabulary is strangely reassuring too.

    Happy father’s day

    June 18, 2012

    Happy father’s day to Bub’s daddy and all other daddies out there.

    Bub was in seventh heaven yesterday as we went to get his daddy a father’s day gift. A helium balloon!! He was proud as can be carrying it through the shopping centre. He was also very aware it was a gift for his daddy and so excited when we hid it in the house so that it would be a surprise. He also took great care over decorating the card too.

    He does love his daddy!

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    And he also loves daddy’s Bub’s new balloon.

    Loving Instagram

    May 14, 2012

    Been really getting into Instagram since I got my new iPhone. Such fun.

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    Do you use Instagram? Any hints and tips for a newbie? How come some people have so many followers? Feel free to let me know your username to share your pictures too.

    Capturing a Lotte of the moment

    April 27, 2012

    I find this video quite moving. Strangely as I’m a cynical old goat most of the time. It’s got a lot of press and viral coverage in the last few days.

    Reminds me of how quickly my little one is growing up. He’s 27 months today. Maybe this blog is in part an effort to capture some of him as a little baby and boy before it’s all gone for good.


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