Friday, 26 August 2011

Loving those toys

From time to time, PRs send me toys to review. I don’t know whether the little man simply loves toys and would play with an old sock if it was left in front of him, but everything we get goes down a storm. And our most recent offering was no exception, although this time I think P was even more excited than his son. 

First through the post was a fabulous set of tools from Rubbabu. I had spotted these in the shops a while back and thought how sweet they were then. The tools are made of natural foam with soft velvety handles in bright colours. They are ideal for chewing (and doing the odd spot of DIY round the house) and come in a handy bag to keep them in. This little kit costs £15.95 (tool set 4 pieces), go to PlayMerrilyToys

Rubbabu do a whole range of foam toys, from little cars to some great looking puzzles. I love them because I can leave the little man playing with them and not worry he is going to choke or bash himself in the head.
Next through the door was a small wooden guitar from Sevi. P plays the guitar and the little man always makes a beeline for his in the corner of our living room. Now he has one of his own which stands rather sweetly next to his daddy’s. The guitar costs just over £30 but is worth every penny in my opinion. It has proper pegs and strings that we attempted to tune and are not far off the right notes although not necessarily in the right order. The little man now goes straight for his own guitar and is happy doing Brian May impressions until the cows come home, or at least until Postman Pat starts up his daily rounds. Visit


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Criminal behaviour?

One of the many pleasures of having the little man is taking him to various tiddler groups and watching as he slowly breaks away from our little world of two and embraces the sights and sounds around him. As his nain (my mother-in-law is Welsh) lives some distance away, I thought it would be nice for her to share the experience so on a recent visit we all headed along to a Rhyme Time session at the nearby library. 
Pretty soon, grandmother and grandchild were ensconced with all the other mums and tots, singing away and doing the actions together. It was lovely. So lovely in fact that I trotted off to get my camera and was about to capture the moment for posterity when something stopped me. Is it wrong to take pictures of a group of children? Would I be carted off to prison and branded with the p-word? 
Sure enough, a librarian hovering nearby scuttled over to tell me that taking photographs was not allowed, citing library policy.  Although she was perfectly sweet about it, I felt stung – as if I had been preying on the other little boys and girls when all I had wanted to do was make a record of a happy moment in the lives of my loved ones.
In an electrical shop in our town centre, I began talking to the owner about his twin granddaughters. Clearly a doting gramps, he had been overseeing the two-year-olds playing bare-skinned in a paddling pool in his back garden and it had been such an idyllic moment that the thought had crossed his mind to take a snapshot and forward it on to his daughter so she too could share in it while she was away at work. “I suddenly thought – could I get in trouble for this so I decided against it” he told me, although he had resented this gut instinct.
It isn’t actually illegal to photograph children in public, however much others make you think it is. Inflammatory newspaper headlines and paranoia seem to have taken hold, making us feel guilty when no guilt is necessary and casting a shadow over the innocent fun of childhood. I know there are many who believe it is absolutely right and necessary to take such stringent measures in order to protect our children – and perhaps my resistance makes me seem a bad mother in their eyes. But when my little man is putting in a star performance as a shepherd in the school play and I am unable to take one photograph to look back on, it makes me wonder where it will all end and it is that thought that scares me more than anything else.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

That's entertainment

My last post rather centred around myself and P – with the star of the show happily tucked up in bed while parents ran around panicking and firemen trooped through his little home. While it was nice that Fate sent us a fire so I could have something to write about for my first ever posting (and thanks for that Fate) I would prefer, from here on in, to concentrate a little more on motherhood and the top parenting tips I come across now and then, rather than my abysmal attempts at gourmet cuisine. 
So I thought it would be a good idea to share with you a feature I have recently written for the parenting website Emma’s Diary. With the little man having speeded past his first birthday, and acquiring new skills at an equivalent rate, I began looking into the best ways to keep him entertained and inspired. Here are some of the quick tips I discovered. For the mums and dads among you, hopefully there will be one or two to take away and try. If you like what you read, click here to read the full article.
- Lie your baby in a blanket with you and your partner holding opposite ends. Gently begin swinging her from side to side. She should take delight in the feeling of weightlessness and it will also teach her about trust.
- Bubbles will be a source of fascination during the first few months. Sit her in a bouncy chair, high chair or when she is out in her pram and see if she will catch them.
- 'Put-in' and 'take-out' toys are great at this age. Fill a container with different objects, such as an old mobile phone, a small rubber duck, a piece of felt or a rattle and help her take out and explore the objects. Show her how to put them back again.
- Building a tower can be great fun at this age. Gather together old cereal boxes, plastic bowls, baby blocks and lightweight books and work together to build a tower. She will love watching it fall down too.