Thursday, 29 September 2011

Ten Things about Toys

1, It is a fact universally acknowledged that no matter how much you have spent and how desirable the toy, your child will be more interested in the box
2, At less than a year old a toys desirability is based solely on how good it feels when chewed. Don't try to test this principle when shopping, they tend to get a bit annoyed.
3, A toy is often only interesting when someone else is playing with it.
4, We have a thing called Octo-tunes, it is an octopus that plays different notes when you squeeze its legs. It can also be quite a scary thing, especially when you've come downstairs in the night to get a drink and you tread on the dratted thing, making a noise akin to the ghost of an unhappy set of bagpipes. I nearly dropped my drink.
5, Why play with the special toy Mummy and Daddy actually spent quite a lot of money on that has crinkly crackly sections that come off and are great fun when you can get the same result from a casually discarded carrier bag?
6, Shoes are toys. I think it's the laces.
7, Don't leave anything that rattles, crackles or toots in the cot overnight. I have done this by mistake and have been woken up in the early hours by the noise. Joseph is also best not left with anything other than very soft toys in the cot as he has the habit of rattling the hard ones up and down the bars like a prisoner with a metal cup. I don't care how cute you look, you're staying in there as it's not time to get up yet.
8, Joseph is something of a corporate logo child, mostly because the companies have a "loyalty club" which sends you vouchers and a free toy. We have a Cow and Gate cow an Aptamil polar bear and a Hipp elephant. Pampers don't seem to do free toys, which is a bit rubbish in my opinion.
9, There is no such thing as a toy box that is too big.
10, All in all, at the end of the day, at this age we probably enjoy the toys more than he does. Still, I suspect it wont be long before we get him saying "Mine! Mine!" and not letting us play any more.


A new era has been reached in Josephs little life: -
He now is the proud possessor of a set of wooden building blocks.
Over the last few weeks I have been noticing a sudden awareness in him - of objects and how they relate to each other. This is manifesting itself in an ability to start trying to put things in other things. At Hopes party he was trying to put small toys in her toy shopping basket. At home he tries to put his dummy in my mouth, an event he greets with much hilarity.
Andy bought a small set of cubes with letters and numbers and pictures on. At first there seemed to be no relationship between the pictures and letters, but in some cases there were. One cube has X and I, with pictures of a xylophone and an igloo. However another block with K and E had a kangaroo and a star. The next block I looked at had a C and a P with a picture of a dog and a fish. Carp and Puppy perhaps?
Then it dawned on us that they were French. Etoille is star and a dog is a chien and a fish is poisson. Brilliant, learning cubes in a language I can hardly speak any more. Does anyone know the French for binoculars? All I can tell you is that it begins with a J.
Still, we liked the little blocks and Joseph did too, so Andy headed back to the same charity shop to pick up another pack of them the following day.
However, rather than popping into Sue Ryder as was the plan he was waylaid by a large consignment of new toys in Oxfam, namely a chunky plastic car for 99p and a large bag of assorted wooden blocks. Now all I need is something to keep them in.
Joseph loves the blocks. He loves picking them up and bashing them together in a 2001 ape sort of way and he loves chewing them. Also he adores it when someone builds a tower out of the blocks and he can knock it down. Sometimes you have to physically restrain him so you've got time to put more than two blocks in the tower, so keen is he on its destruction.
In other news, Joseph and I had a nice afternoon out in town. We had a nice lunch in Las Iguanas where he was perfectly behaved and ate all his lunch and even a rusk which he did not drop even once and he smiled at my friends in Hobbycraft who all want to know when I'll be coming back. Haven't decided yet.

Monday, 26 September 2011


I blame the little girl.
She was really very sweet and wanted to give Joseph a kiss goodbye before she and her family left cousin Hopes third birthday party. He didn't seem to mind, he seems to quite like having female admirers. The problem was that she was clearly incubating a cold virus and has turned my beautiful nine month old baby into something resembling a slug. Well, he does keep leaving sticky mucus trails all over the house to show where he's been.
His nose became like the Niagara Falls and he was really grumpy, but not as much as I and Andy were when we realised a few days later that we had it too. I hate colds, I hate runny noses and blocked sinuses. I hate the inevitable sore throat and hoarse voice. I hate the way it feels like you've got a fever but you actually haven't and I hate people who say "Oh, it's only a cold." No, there is no such thing as "only a cold" and I can't just take something and feel better. Believe me I've tried doing that and even when I'm maxed out on sudafed, lemsip and anything else floating around I still feel just as bad as I did right at the start. Dynamite wouldn't shift this congestion.
In the end I made use of the sofa bed. Andy and Joseph were upstairs, the one coughing and hacking, the other sounding like someone cutting through tiny logs with the junior-est of junior hacksaws. It would have been sweet were it not so annoying. I remained downstairs and could toss and turn and blow my nose as much as I liked without disturbing anyone. When it gets really bad I just jam a tissue up there which seems to help but apparently makes me snore like a warthog. At least downstairs I'm only upsetting The Cat who greeted me in the morning by throwing up her breakfast on my blanket.
I am at last feeling better and Andy seems to have shifted the worst of it, but Joseph is still producing large quantities of yellow muck from his nose. His favourite thing at the moment is to crawl up to you and leave great big strings of it on your trouser legs.
Still, I got a laugh today. He crawled down behind the sofa and got stuck, I found it amusing but he found it quite upsetting and when I pulled him out the facial mucus levels had reached critical levels. He calmed down and smiled, blowing me a nice yellow mucus bubble from his nose. Lovely.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

We're all going on a late summer holiday....

Yes, we went on holiday in September! Yes, we went camping - and with a nine month old baby too!
The weather had a few moments. We did decide to change campsite last minute due to the imminent arrival of hurricane Katia we decided that the campsite with the lovely views of the ocean was probably a bit too exposed, what with it being on a cliff top and all.
It was a bit windy, but nothing too scary. It's the noise that does it, the flapping of canvas and guy ropes and the constant whooshing. It can be scary, but we'd camped through worse and was simply too tired to lay awake worrying.
We had a little bit of wet and it rather hampered the day out we planned at Weymouth, but we still ended up going for a dip in the sea when the sun came out. Joseph didn't like it one bit and ended up staying on the beach so Granny could chase him up and down and get him all sandy. He had fun, but when we got back to the site and tried to bathe him in a washing up bowl outside the tent, he really wasn't too keen.
Many cream teas were had and fish and chips were consumed in considerable quantities, after all if you're having a holiday down in Purbeck I believe it is the done thing. Anyway if you're going to Weymouth for a day it's the law to have fish and chips in King Edwards restaurant. It's the best I've ever eaten (and I've eaten a lot). You can't miss them they're on the corner by the big clock tower.
He he, whenever I remember holidays it's always the food that comes to mind. Joseph wasn't too keen on fish and chips but he did love scones this time, I was surprised that it didn't make him sick! Granny and Daddy were also keen to share some ice cream with him which he also liked a lot, but it did make it difficult to put some sudocream on some dry skin on his face, he saw a finger with some white stuff on it coming towards him and he thought it was another treat and tried to eat it. Yeuch!
We also had a fun trip on the steam railway (Joseph fell asleep) and had a look round the King Tut exhibition in Dorchester (Joseph had a whinge, had a bottle and then fell asleep). Corfe castle is always worth a visit (Joseph, all comfy in his baby back - you guessed it - fell asleep) especially the nice National Trust tea shop outside, they do good scones. While we were there we were treated to some events in the last day of the Purbeck folk festival which included accordion playing, clog dancing and the delights of men in silly hats with bells on their knees doing Morris dancing.
We had a debate about whether the design on the costume was a dragon, a griffin or a wyvern. In the end I have concluded it was a wyvern as it looked pretty dragon-ish but only had two legs. Before anyone could consider that we were actually a part of the proceedings we escaped to have a cream tea and I mused on how we the English have become a little ashamed of our own culture.
Well, even if the dancing is just too much to cope with, we still have all our fine food - cream teas, Cumberland sausages, cheddar cheese, Bakewell tart, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, dumplings, Cornish pasties, deep fried fish (the chips are Belgian), Earl Grey tea, Lancashire hot-pot....
I'd better stop as I'm getting hungry. Anything I've missed I'm sure you can add on in the comment section.....

Friday, 9 September 2011


He's got a lot of hair, clearly something he's inherited from my side and not his Dads! :-)
There are problems attached to having a boy with pale skin, big blue eyes and lots and lots of fair hair. The problem is, quite simply that people assume he's a girl. I have got round this by clever dressing, lots of denim trousers and dungarees, lots and lots of blue and olive green, all of which should shout BOY. Still, none of it does any good if it looks like he's halfway to growing a fair ponytail.
The problems with haircuts are few but difficult to deal with. We've tried pinning him down and utilising the comb and scissors method, but he just wont sit still. The net result was a rather uneven haircut that just wasn't any good because it just carried on growing all uneven and untidy.
He was getting long locks again, threatening to get in his eyes. Andy was giving himself a haircut, he likes to keep what he has left nice and short, it suits him. He also doesn't think it good economy to go to a barbers when you can do it yourself at home in about 5 minutes. He wondered if he should use his electric clippers on Joseph.
I wasn't sure. I thought they'd be too powerful for Josephs delicate hair and I also thought he'd find it a bit scary, but the options were to have another go with the comb and scissors, not something I was too keen on as I was worried I might poke him in the eye or pay a professional.
Well, chances are the professional would use electric clippers. Do they do special small ones for tots?
So, we decided to have a go. Andy put a grade 8 on the clippers and we soon discovered that the hair on the back of his head isn't that long yet. So, we tried a grade 5 and soon the back of his head was looking even and tidy. We used the grade 8 on the top and his fringe went from messy and getting in his eyes to  neat and tidy. He looks much better and is entirely unfazed by the experience and I now have a nice bag full of clippings from his first 'proper' hair cut!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Onwards and Upwards

Well, we've had a few developmental milestones over the last few days, the result of one being that I have had to use my ingenuity to work out a way of stopping Joseph getting in the base of our fish tank as he's worked out how to open the doors. At the moment it's rigged shut with the strap off an old baby carrier tied round the handles. Joseph finds it fun to play with the strap, but the fish food is safe. He's also worked out how to get into one of the kitchen cupboards which has made me doubly determined to keep him out of that room. The problem with this is that whenever I go in there he always wants to follow. If Andy is home it's fine, he can be the watch warden but when I'm on my own it's harder. If I shut the door behind me then I'm in for trouble as Joseph will crawl up to the door and try and get it open. The door opens outwards onto the living room and if Joseph's close on the other side then I am effectively trapped in the kitchen. This leaves finding a way of keeping him contained in the living room.
He hates being put in the travel cot I sometimes use as a play-pen (also known as "the baby cage"). I can put him in his bumbo but the play tray has to be on or he can escape and I also think he gets a little confused and thinks lunch might be coming early. My other technique (if I was going to be very quick in the kitchen) was to stand him up on his feet and prop him up on a chair as he did enjoy it but hadn't worked out how to get down.
Alas now, he has. It involves sitting down on to his nappy-padded bottom and quickly rolling sideways in the kind of manoeuvre any judo aficionado would be proud.
He does enjoy being up on his feet but until yesterday has always needed help to do so having never elevated himself further than his knees under his own efforts. That's changed now, yesterday afternoon he suddenly got how to pull himself up onto his feet. Twice while I was holding his hands - I wasn't helping in any way - and twice whilst holding onto a chair.
Today he pulled himself up on the side of a chair but didn't get it quite right. Both feet started sliding outwards and he couldn't work out how to stop them. He started whinging and when I looked over he looked like he was practicing for the World Championship Baby Gymnastics. I think he'll be good at the splits.