Sunday, 31 July 2011

Nurturing Independence

At 20 months, Eden is approaching the infamous 'Terrible 2s' phase. In actual fact her tantrums started around a year early! As she gained more self-awareness, she understandably started to show signs of independence. Over the last few months, I've become much better at recognising potential problem-behaviour situations, and learnt how to divert them. Consequently I can't recall any recent full-blown tantrums, unlike the 13-14 month mark when they were becoming fairly frequent.

Even in these early years I've learnt that encouraging Eden's independence by offering her choices has boosted her self-esteem and I'm sure this helps her feel in control and reduces tantrum attacks.

For example, when it was time to leave the park the other day, I offered Eden the choice of 'Would you like to walk or would you like Mummy to carry you?' When she didn't walk, I picked her up saying 'You're choosing for Mummy to carry you' - after that she was much more cooperative in walking! It works in other situations too - at bedtime Luke asks her 'Would you like to climb the stairs yourself or shall I carry you up?' and also in making healthy food choices 'Would you like a banana or an orange?' The choice helps her feel in control and know that her answer is valued and that she's taken seriously.

I've found the 'offering choices' option a great little 'trick' to add to my parenting skills toolbox, which is still quite small but growing all the time!  

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Monday, 18 July 2011

Book review: Tanka Tanka Skunk

This is most definitely my favourite book for Eden at the moment, it's incredibly fun and lively and great for toddlers with so much energy!

We first came across Tanka Tanka Skunk by Steve Webb in the library a few months ago, and we like it so much I've recently bought us our own copy. It introduces rhyme and rhythm through the learning of the names of bold and colourful animals leaping across each page. You'll meet 'Lemurs, Llamas, Llamas, Lemurs... Caterpillars, big Gorillas and a Yakety, Yakety, Yak'.

Eden has always appreciated music, and this book nicely compliments her musical instrument basket. We get her drums out and bang along to the beat of the book. I can imagine it would be just as good for older children learning to read, improving their literacy skills as the rhythm helps break down syllables in the words.

It's well worth a trip to your local library to get a copy of this LOUD but very fun book!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


Eden and I regularly read the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. It's a book I particularly enjoy reading because I remember it from my own childhood, I loved Saturday's page with all the brightly coloured food! There aren't many popular children's books out there that can boast a 40th Anniversary like The Very Hungry Caterpillar can! I'm also a follower of Eric Carle's blog.

Today after reading the book, Eden and I made our very own Very Hungry Caterpillars. I have some easy painters, that are very similiar to Bingo Dobbers, and if you've not come across them before they're basically like paint pens - very easy to use and great when you don't fancy a messy painting session. I've also been saving some freebie VHC stickers until Eden's been old enough to appreciate them and 'stick' them herself.

Our caterpillars were a joint effort of dotting together, the stickers were mostly done by Eden with a bit of help from me suggesting where she stuck them.

Here's the finished result:
Holding up the VHC book with finished painting on the table

  She loves her caterpillar painting and proudly carried it around the house once it was finished!

Sunday, 10 July 2011


Just wanted to post some piccys up of the flowers in our front garden border. Regular readers will know since buying our house 3 months ago we've had a lot of work to do on it - both inside and out. I'm proud we've got to the stage where we can enjoy the end result of our hardwork.

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Friday, 8 July 2011

One step forward and one step back

We've been giving Eden lots of nappy-free time at home this week, and at 19 months, perhaps to be expected we've had a fair few wees on the floor! Today, however, Eden took herself over to her potty, sat down on it and did a wee straight away - all of her own doing, so perhaps she is ready afterall.

Her 'potty training' to use the term loosely as we haven't been pushing it, was just an experiment really. Eden has been in cloth nappies since birth, and although still relatively young by today's standards for potty training, it is said that toddlers in cloth nappies will be ready sooner. I have to admit though, I'm not in any particular rush to 'train' her as the thought of putting her beautiful cloth nappies away/ selling them, makes me sad! Equally, I can't use this as an excuse to hold her back if she's ready though.

So, this week we've taken a step forward towards her potty training. Of course the universe wouldn't be in balance if there wasn't a step back somewhere - and Eden's sleeping has been terrible this week! She has always been a really good sleeper - self-settling to sleep easily and sleeping through until 7am. This week she won't go to sleep unless we're in the room with her, she's waking at 6am, and she's cut her daytime nap down from 2 hours to one if we're lucky. I have no idea what's causing this, or even if it's linked to her potty training developmental step, but I hope it's just a phase and passes soon, as much for her own sake as to ours, as she's been a tired little button this week and much more prone to the grumps!

With all the busyness of toddler-hood this week I haven't had much time at all to devote to the blog, hoping to be back on track really soon!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Bottle-Flower Stamps

Have you ever thought that the bottoms of many drinks bottles actually look like pretty flower petals? I've discovered that they make cool stamp-prints when painting.  

I'm also learning (and I may be slow on the uptake here) that the more painting and craft we do together, the more Eden learns to copy me - like she is understanding that we're doing something specific rather than random! 
Starting with the outer petals before leaving to dry...

Using the bottle top and some yellow paint to create the middle of the flower
This paper kind of lost the flower-theme but Eden was having a blast!

One of the finished paintings that we did together

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Baking Tray Wall Art

I love quirky things, and this is definitely one of them! Eden is 19 months, and our fridge is already cluttered with her artwork - I'm just such a proud Mum and love to display the finished articles of fun painting and art sessions that we do together. As she gets older, I'm sure the volume of paintings will only increase as she brings home her school artwork.

I think it's so important to display children's artwork, to affirm their efforts and promote self esteem in their abilities - encouraging the thinking that 'Mummy thinks it's good enough to put on display at home'.

I came across a site the other day called Budget Wise Home, and found a great idea for displaying kids' paintings - using the humble baking tray! Not only does it tick the box for displaying children's artwork, it's also really fun, still looks pretty funky on it's own without the art, and brightens up a dull corner in our dining room. Don't believe me? Here's a photo....

So why use a baking tray? For it's magnetic value! The baking tray frames the paintings wonderfully, and as the painting is held there by magnets, you can change them as often as you like.

You'll need a selection of baking trays (I went to Wilkinsons and spent around £4 for the 3. Tip: Take a magnet with you to check they are actually magnetic before you purchase). You'll also need some spray paint (again Wilkinsons have a good range at a reasonable price).

I did 2 layers of spray paint on the top side only, allowing it to touch-dry in-between layers. I was going to spray the bottom side too but didn't think it would be worth it in the end, and up on the wall you can't tell.

Once dry, after roughly 3 hours, you can attach them to the wall. I used 'Command' small picture hanging strips, basically double sided tape but designed to come off the wall without leaving any marks. B and Q sell packs of 12 for a couple of pounds, and I used 4 on each baking tray. I was surprised at how well they stick to the wall, and its a bonus that they won't leave any marks if/when I decide to take them off.

I left the baking trays for 24 hours before attaching magnets and pictures to be certain that the paint was fully dry. Here's the finished results:

This was a really fun and easy project to do at home with great results! We have them in our dining room, but if you have wall space in the kitchen, being baking trays they fit perfectly with the kitchen-theme!

Friday, 1 July 2011

10 Tips for craft and painting with a baby/young toddler

15 months, experimenting with a paintbrush!
I love doing artwork with Eden! She may only be 19 months (yesterday) but we have a lot of fun together, she learns from the process, and we create loads of special memories and masterpieces that go in her memory box.

I thought I'd write down a few tips that I've learnt from doing painting and crafts with a very little one:

  1. First and foremost remember little ones have very short attention spans so don't go into it expecting more than 5 - 10 minutes before they want to change activity
  2. Plan and prepare beforehand - get everything, and I mean everything ready before you sit your little one down
  3. If inside, put a shower curtain down to protect the floor - cheap ones can be bought for 99p in supermarkets, and they make the session a lot less stressful if you're not worrying about spillages
  4. Have a bath ready-run before you start your session, so that your little one can be put straight in when finished. Eden loves baths and this is a fun way to end our painting session 
  5. A bit of an obvious one - make sure both of you are wearing old clothes you don't mind getting stains on. I often just put Eden in a nappy if it's going to be particularly messy - this also makes putting her in the bath a lot easier afterwards too as you don't have to fiddle with taking off messy clothes
  6. Remember less is more where toddlers are concerned - there's no need to overwhelm them with 20 different colours of paint, they'll be just as happy with a choice of 2 or 3 when they're little
  7. As hard as you may find it, let the child lead - if you have a plan to do a beautifully designed painting it's probably best to leave it until your little one is a little older. If you force them to 'paint' when they just want to mix you'll end up with tears and frustration on your hands. But...
  8. Toddlers learn through copying so be prepared to quickly demonstrate beforehand and chances are your toddler will try and copy you too
  9. Give warning before you finish, don't just snatch the paints away
  10. Keep it fun, and make sure you're comfortable with doing the painting session, you won't have fun if you're stressed, and neither will your toddler. If you're calm and happy your toddler is much more likely to be too.