Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Check out my felt playhouse (well his, but mine really)

You know how all children like dens. I can remember making a fantastic one with my brother using two armchairs and an enormous blanket - simple but effective. We had a sky blue carpet in those days so we would put a toy shark on it and pretended we were on a ship escaping from pirates. Great days.
So when my sister-in-law showed me a website where a very talented American lady had posted pictures of a felt playhouse she had made her son, I knew I had to give it a go. The one she had made was most impressive. It slotted over her dining room table and had a vegetable patch running along one side with felt carrots and corn on the cob he could harvest, a cute dog sat next to his own little house and an American-style post box where her son could pop his felt letters - see for yourself here. You can get her to make one for you but it is fairly pricey (and knowing the work that goes into it I can see why) but I had done GCSE textiles and had my own sewing machine so why not make one myself?
I knew I couldn't compete with her fine example but I did take a few ideas and put my own spin on them. I appliqued an apple tree on the back of the house, and made fine plump rosy apples with small pieces of Velcro attached so the little man could pull them off when he was feeling peckish. I made a butterfly and a cat - two of his most favourite things - and added grass along the bottom. I put in three windows to give lots of light and added window boxes, with three felt flowers to slot inside each one. The door lifts and fastens up for easy access and I added a letter box (more British than a post box) although I am yet to make the letters to go through it.
After several weeks of sewing into the long evenings and the occasional stolen hour or two during his afternoon naps (when I should really have been tidying up and getting the dinner ready), the finished product was ready for its unveiling. I admit it is a little rough around the edges but I am so proud of my little felt playhouse. To my delight, he showed quite a bit of interest when I ceremoniously pulled it over our dining room table, and he enjoyed pulling off the apples and stroking the butterfly and the cat. I have to admit I spend more time inside it than he does at the moment but I am sure that will change as he grows - I hope so or it will get lonely in there.
The little man checking out his new home

My favourite felt flower
The most complicated bit of the house (besides putting all the pieces together)

I knew he'd love that butterfly

Picking apples from his orchard

Friday, 23 March 2012

Careful now

When you become a mum, you find yourself repeating the same thing over and over, like 'Do you want a drinky?' or 'Please eat it - for mummy, please?'
The little man has his favourite words. Top of the list is star, followed shortly by heart and square and triangle - can you see a theme appearing here? Mummy and daddy are also getting more popular which is rather nice but I can imagine might wear thin when it is followed by ...can I have?
My overused word of the moment is 'careful', as in 'Be careful on those steps' and 'Careful - that's a bit high isn't it?' or just 'Careful' if I am running short of time. I should think it is a word that echoes round most households with little ones, especially if they are of the little boy variety - or does that go for little girls too?

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Two wheels or three?

We are feeling guilty. The little man doesn't have a trike yet and now all his friends are reaching their second birthdays and graduating from three to two-wheelers (more on that later) and here is our boy with not a wheel to his name - it's wheely sad (sorry).
So his daddy and I decided to have a look at what's out there. A friend has kindly offered her children's old trike but it is very big and very red and, while it is great for the back garden, we would like something that he can peddle around on indoors and that can be packed up and flung in the car boot when we go to places.
As usual, John Lewis came to the rescue, with the ingenious Tiger Scuttlebug, that is not only inspired by his most favourite of stripy animals, but it handily folds down into nothing and, according to my husband, has a fantastic suspension on it. We were sold.
But then, should we go straight for the two-wheeler? Instead of mucking about with stabilisers, kids these days are zooming about on balance bikes, a special training bike that teaches the rider to balance and steer. There are no pedals or chains, and you can get them with or without brakes (the first I think, pipes up paranoid safety-first-above-all-else mummy from the shop corner). The idea is to progress from walking the bike whilst sat on the saddle, to running or scooting still on the saddle and finally to lifting the feet and cruising whilst balancing all at the same time - the clever little things.
I like this idea and it is a strong contender for the second birthday looming in the near distance. However, I will NOT be getting the Team Kiddimoto Bike.

It might be wooden but a motorbike's a motorbike and that's just putting ideas into his head. No, much better is the lovely Union Jack Kurve Bike also from Kiddimoto - a far more patriotic choice.
We'll have him on it and buzzing around like a young Chris Hoy before you can say 'Oh no, the Olympics are here'.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Don't take naptime from me

I have never managed to get a strict routine with the little man's daytime nap. For a start he won't go in his cot but as he has always been such a good sleeper at night, I haven't pushed him into going back there in the day; besides, it is useful having him sleep in the pram as it means I can be out and about and still fit in around him, and if he wakes too early, I can rock him back off.
The timing has been a bit hit and miss too, and it can sometimes be as late as 2.30pm or 3pm before he finally drops off. But what I wasn't expecting was him not to drop off at all.
Twice last week, and once this week, the little man has decided he doesn't need a daytime snooze after all. No amount of rocking or endless miles pushing him around the streets will do it. He chats away, his little head popping up and engaging with the world just when I think I have finally won the battle.
The trouble is, he really does need his sleep and by dinner time he is beside himself with exhaustion. And he's not the only one. I have come to count on that little window of peace as a chance to race around doing all those little jobs that need doing but are difficult to accomplish with a toddler hanging off your legs. Like washing, filling the dishwasher, all those glamorous things.
I realise daytime naps are not a permanent fixture but he is still only 20 months so I have a few months yet haven't I? I know, I'll have a talk with him, mother to son, I'm sure he'll understand.