Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Table manners

I hate to admit this but I still spoon feed the little man. There, I have said it.
As you reel back in horror - he is two and a half after all - let me explain. He is more than capable of lifting a spoon or fork to his lips and shovelling in the food, the thing is he just doesn't want to. He has no interest. I know a lot of tiddlers are very independent (and he is in so many other ways) but he likes someone else to do the hard work at meal times. And because if I plonk the food into his mouth, he ends up clearing a plate and I know he has had a good meal and got all the right nutrients a growing boy needs, it seems the better, okay the easier, option. It is also much less messy.
It isn't all food. He munches crisps, biscuits, sandwiches, Humzingers (fabulous dried fruit sticks if you haven't heard of them before) etc solo no problem. It's cereals at breakfast and main meals at dinner where he becomes the baby again.
But I know I must break the cycle. I can't pop round to his school every lunchtime to spoon in whatever the dinner lady serves up as if he were royalty. He had a playmate over last week and while I was giving them lunch (she feeding herself, me surreptitiously poking savouries into his mouth so as to not ruin his street cred) she spotted what was going on and asked, quite reasonably, why I was feeding him. It was a bit embarrassing. I was made to feel red-faced by a not even three-year-old.
So I have decided to toughen up and tackle the problem. I will be patient and encouraging. We will try to have more dinners together despite finding his early mealtimes just that bit too early for us - I can find myself reaching for a bowl of cereal ravenous at 10pm if we do eat with him.
There's no hurry, no pressure to get it sorted which is nice so hopefully in our own time I will have my own little independent feeder at the dinner table. Now, if I can just sort the potty training...

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

No nappies? It's enough to drive me potty

The day is coming, very slowly, but I'm pretty sure it's coming when I am going to attempt to potty train.
The signs are all there. He can wake up from a night's sleep dry (occasionally), he tells me when he is going, but not before unfortunately. He takes his trousers off once he has gone, and his nappy if I don't get there first. He loves his "big boy pants". The only problem is he doesn't like sitting on the potty.
I tried putting him in just pants for a day but by the end he was so distressed when I asked him to go on the potty, I knew I was doing more harm than good so we went back to nappies.
I have read all the books, talked to other parents, bought a soft leather seat to fit inside mummy and daddy's toilet - I am ready even if he isn't. Ideally, if I could get him out of nappies before I have another little one in them, that would be great, but I won't let that be a benchmark. He is two and a half so there's still plenty of time.
But how to make the potty a pleasure rather than a pain? None of the books really address this issue which is rather frustrating. Perhaps I could use a book, or even the telly, to encourage him to sit, but I don't want to dig myself into a hole. I reckon once he has got the hang of it once or twice, he will be away but it's this initial hurdle we have to overcome.
For now, I will continue as we are, talking about the potty, explaining how things are done, and hopefully one day it will click. In the mean time, any ideas fellow mums?

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Toddler-friendly holidays - do they exist?

As the weeks tick steadily by towards the arrival of baby number two, we have been turning our thoughts to the possibility of a little holiday, just the three of us. We didn't have a proper break last year and the need to get away from it all, as they say, is quickly becoming less a desire and more an urgent necessity.
But where to go when you have a toddler who runs and never walks and needs constant hurding out of imminent danger - in short, a normal, although extremely active, two-and-a-half-year-old? What we don't want is to be somewhere that poses more work than we get at home. Anywhere with lots of steps, steep hills or perilous cliff edges is out. Even a wide expanse of open land is a bit of a no-no unless we are willing to run after him the whole time, because he doesn't stop and he doesn't mind how far he gets from us (I think - I haven't had the courage to test this fully).
Of course, we know that the days of snoozing on a lounger by the pool are over for now, for both of us at the same time at least, but if we could sit and relax for a little bit while watching him safely playing that would be marvellous. The beach is an obvious place to start. A pool would be good too as he does love splashing about. A play area with swings, slide etc would be really handy as a week is a long time to entertain a little one. Some sort of tiny tots club where he can do painting and playdough could come in handy. A private patio area completely contained would hit the nail right on the head. Most of all, we want somewhere that is child friendly and where there won't be other adults casting evil stares at us if the little man starts doing his own thing. In short, we want everything we have at home, but somewhere nice and hot.
So far, I have looked into family cruises, Centre Parcs and a rather attractive-sounding website called Luxury Family Hotels where adults and kiddies are all catered for under one rather posh roof. Camping is on the list (although I'm not sure I fancy sleeping on an air mattress at seven months pregnant gone). The best bet so far is a lovely complex of bungalows in Lanzarote. By May, it will be balmy but not over-bearing, there is a beach, a pool and a play area. I admit I am a little daunted by the four-hour flight but our trusty iPad should ease any problems there and, come on, I only have one child after all.
That's as far as I have got for now. The little man's daddy is snowed under with work and we are reluctant to book anything too far in advance in case we have to cancel which does leave me plenty of time to find the perfect place. If any of you seasoned mums and dads have ideas on good places to go with toddlers, I would welcome any suggestions. 

Monday, 4 March 2013

Finally, I twigged it

Today, the little man and I went to the park to make the most of a rare glimpse of sunshine. He had great fun, running about, occasionally climbing steps and whizzing down slides or asking to go "higher", ever "higher" on the swings. Then he spotted some twigs that had fallen on the ground from a nearby tree and his concentration was hooked. He was so busy playing with his new finds that he forgot to hang onto the roundabout and dismounted rather spectacularly head first. He was okay - he had his sticks.
As the sun descended, I tucked him up in his buggy ready for home. He was still intently playing, now with a single stick which he had spent a good half hour pretending it was a "tooty flute", holding it to his lips and making a high-pitched squeak. It was only when I had almost got home that I took a closer look at his pretend instrument and saw to my horror that it wasn't in fact a stick at all but a chewed lollipop stick. Nice.
Lesson number 325 on my journey as a mother - always check what bits of tat your son picks up from the floor.