Archive for the ‘1-2 years’ Category

Me to Lilly: “It’s daddy’s birthday soon, what shall we get him?”

L: “We could get him a… Errr… Err….
I can’t really think of anything, all I can think of is girlie things, because I’m a girl…

(suddenly the verbal diahorrea kicks in)
“…All I can think of is a duck with a necklace!
And a pretty dress on!
And it’s cuddly!

… Or, an Easter Kangaroo!
That’s pink!
With an Easter egg!

But that’s not very man-y, is it?”


Hail stones were battering our widows one afternoon. Isla comes running to me:
“Muuuum! No like it! Worry, worry!”


Isla fell off her scooter in the garden and was crying. I ran over saying: “What happened Isla, what have you hurt??”. She struggled to reply through the tears but eventually wailed: “My hurt my scooter!!”


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After Isla’s recent antics of playing up at bedtime, chatting, singing & purposely getting her legs ‘stuck’ in the cot bars or throwing her pillow out so that she can shout for help, we decided yesterday that it was time for Operation Tire out Toddler.

With that in mind, we headed to the coast (Southport) to visit Grannie, with the aim of a long walk along the pier and a lot of fresh air.

The Met Office app reliably informed us it was not going to rain, and they were mainly right. However, when we arrived, full of May optimism with our picnic, it was slightly too baltic to get out of the car. And it was blowing a gale. And then Eve started screaming. And it started drizzling. And the upshot of all the above was that we panicked, and ended up diving into the nearest soft play place instead.

Once Eve had stopped screaming & we all had cups of coffee inside us things were calmer. Lilly and Isla were playing so nicely together and all was well.

But then, Devil Child (aka boy toddler) entered stage left and, with a swift pull of Isla’s pigtails all out meltdown began. Because, while Isla might like to dish out the odd smack to her big sister at home, she is definitely not used to being on the receiving end.

This Devil Child was a particularly sadistic little thing. And accompanied (naturally) by the kind of parent who comes to soft play and immediately washes their hands of their kid, not caring what kind of bad behaviour they might be getting up to.

Isla was screaming and this only amused Devil Child, who then kept trying to come back for more, following Isla and trying for another grab of her pigtail. Not going to happen, Devil Child. “She doesn’t want to play with you, so go away please,” I told him. But Devil Child isn’t bothered, his mum isn’t watching, and Isla is getting more and more traumatised. I try to encourage her to keep playing, but Devil Child keeps following her, so she’s getting hysterical and we give up and go for a Fruit Shoot break.

Luckily, Devil Child & Neglectful Parent leave soon afterwards, and play continues. But Isla’s obviously traumatised because later when another little boy comes near her she crumbles into a heap of tears and throws herself down some (soft) stairs, sobbing “naughty boy!”

So, if Devil Child has done one thing, it is to put Isla off boys for a while… hmmm… wonder if it might last into her teens….

Anyway. After a few goes on the big wavy slide (me, Lilly and Isla all on one lane each – great photo opportunity missed, eh?) We decided to give the windy walk along the pier another go.

Once we got outside the weather had really brightened up, the sun was out and it was even a little bit warm. It was still windy, but it was a pleasant kind of wind, not a freezing cold drizzly kind of wind.

It was such a clear day, you could see the Blackpool Tower and The Big One

We had a lovely walk along Southport’s famously long pier. The tide was out so we didn’t see much of the sea, but it was a really clear day. And when we got to the end the girls had loads of fun looking at the old fashioned penny arcade games they have there.

Lilly’s favourite was always the Sooty and Sweep Band, who sing a nursery rhyme in exchange for an old penny. I’ve actually blogged about it before. This was the first time Isla had really been big enough to take much notice, and it was her turn to fall in love with Sooty. Quite a few of our old pennies went into this machine – it’s brilliant!

And, of course, no trip to the seaside could be complete without ice creams…

All in all, we had a really lovely afternoon. And, as for Operation Tire Out Toddler? Well, after all that excitement – soft play, pigtail pulling, long walks, meeting sooty, eating ice cream – yes, you’ve guessed it… it DIDN’T MAKE A BLIND BIT OF DIFFERENCE… she was still up for a good 40 minutes at bedtime messing about…


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We were out at the shops and Lilly had brought her cuddly toy cat, and was dragging him behind her by the ribbon tied around his neck.

Daddy: “Don’t drag that cat along the ground Lilly, he’s getting dirty paws”
L: “He’s not!”
Me: “He is Lil, he’s going to be filthy”
L: “Oh, don’t you start”


L (Waving her fairy wand): “I’m a fairy, I’m doing wishes! What’s your wish Isla?
Isla (considering): “Errrrrr…. BICCIE!”

Later, talking about dreams:
L: “What did you dream about last night Isla?”
I: “Errrrr… BICCIE!”


We are in the car & Eve is wailing.
I (clutching her ears):”Too loud! Too loud!”


Lilly in complimentary mode:

“Mummy, I love you. You are the BEST mummy I have EVER had!”


“Mmmm, this toast is absolutely nice”


Lilly, talking about dinosaurs:

“Mum, do you remember when there was no people and no dinosaurs? I mean, there was dinosaurs and then there was no dinosaurs, and then there was just people? And, do you know?! There wasn’t televisions like our televisions. The televisions then were black and white!! Can you believe it??”

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We have just returned from another really lovely break at Center Parcs.

This time, we wanted to experience the Winter Wonderland they do each year, as the first part of our build-up to Christmas.

We had booked plenty of lovely Christmassy activities for Lilly to do, including Christmas pottery painting, a Santa and Snowman hunt and a Frosty the Snowman art session which involved lots of glitter and Christmas stickers!

Lilly enjoying the 'Frosty the Snowman' art session

The weather at Whinfell Forest (Cumbria) was fabulous for the whole week – it only rained the day we left. The rest of the time it was crisp and sunny – perfect.

We were very excited to hear that there was going to be a fireworks display on the second night at 5.30pm – conveniently timed before the girls’ bedtimes, which is usually about 6.30pm. It is only this year that Lilly has recovered from her total and utter terror of fireworks – in fact on November 5th Lilly actually ventured out into the neightbourhood with daddy to admire the fireworks… even the really loud ones! But this was her first proper display.

We had such a tiring day on the Tuesday – starting with pottery painting in the morning. Lilly chose to paint a snowman, a stocking and a Father Christmas shaped ornament for the tree. Technically there should have been a lot of red and white involved… but I think Lilly considered white a little bit too boring to paint much of – so snowman ended up with a red face and Santa’s beard is a very attractive mix of purple and green! But they do look rather lovely all the same – and once again I was so impressed with how delicate and detailed she can be when she tries!

In the afternoon we’d gone swimming – which can be a bit of a military procedure with two little ones at the best of times. Everytime we have taken Isla swimming (on all our three previous visits to Center Parcs with her) she has hated it, where Lilly has always loved it. I think Isla has found it a bit of an overwhelming, noisy and hot experience. And at first when we took her in she was upset again and grizzly. So I sat with her in the baby pool and she sat on the edge with her feet in, playing happily with a bucket and a watering can for a while. Once she had acclimatised to the environment we tried taking her into the big pool – and this time, she actually seemed to quite like it! In fact, after a little while, she was giggling! It was a major breakthrough!

Lilly’s favourite thing about the pool as always was going round the ‘rapids’ and dodging the water sprays (she calls the big one Mr Sprayer and the little one Mrs Sprayer!) She also liked swimming outside – which was rather cold, I must say!

After the swimming we were all exhausted so decided to get a bite to eat in the village square instead of going home for tea and coming out again for the fireworks. It was a great plan (although an expensive one) – I was way too knackered to cook after all that exercise – and the timing was just perfect as the fireworks display started not long after we finished eating.

The display was brilliant – and all set to Christmas music. Watching Lilly’s face was the best thing for me – she was totally in awe of what she was seeing. Isla even tolerated the first few fireworks but once they started getting noisier she got upset and Tony took her back to the lodge. As Lilly and I walked home afterwards in the dark she was talking ten to the dozen about what she’d seen and what a “fantabulous” day she’d had. Such a wonderful thing.

Isla is chuffed after doing a slide all by herself for the very first time!

During the week we did plenty of walking and took in all the soft play areas Whinfell has to offer. Isla climbed up and slid down a slide all by herself for the very first time – and was pleased as punch with herself as a result! It then meant that she got a little bit overconfident and wanted to follow Lilly into the ‘big girls” area of the soft play – which meant that I once again found myself six months preggers and flying down numerous ‘tunnel slides’ and crawling through too-tight spaces to rescue a child who was stuck!

We also took part in the Santa and Snowman hunt which involved following a trail to find a series of Christmas related questions which we had to answer (some of them quite hard: name all of Santa’s reindeers being one of them… we *may* have had to google this…) At the end an elf gave Lilly a little prize for taking part and all the entries were entered into a draw… which we only won! We had a phonecall later on to tell us that Lilly had won a teddy making session and we took her up to the Time Out Clubhouse where she chose a tiger toy, was helped to stuff it and then picked an outfit to dress it in. Being totally mad on soft toys this couldn’t have been better for Lilly!

Lilly cuddles up with 'Amelia', the tiger she stuffed herself after winning the Santa and Snowman Hunt

There were, of course, some stressful moments – Isla is at that stage where she only wants to walk and refuses to go in her pushchair. The only problem being, she doesn’t neccessarily want to walk in the same direction as everyone else and is rather prone to falling! Lilly moaned a lot because we didn’t get her a bike, and is possibly the world’s slowest dawdler at the best of times. And Isla was a little bit scared of the jet planes and Chinook which were practicing their flying overhead… although I loved them, I must say. Hubby wasn’t very happy because the nearest place to park the car while unloading was a fair trek from our lodge. But all in all I would say this trip has to go down in my memory as our best trip to Center Parcs yet – and we’ve now been seven times (Elveden twice, Sherwood once, Whinfell four times)!

But of course the main event of the whole week was saved for the afternoon of our last full day – a trip to see Father Christmas. Wewere all really impressed with it… Father Christmas was very authentic and really lovely – it melted our hearts to see Lilly so happily chatting away to him while so obviously in awe! She asked him for a surprise – and he promised her he had “just the thing in mind” for her, before asking her what Isla would like – “erm, I think a baby toy” Lilly suggested. She was also very eager to tell Father Christmas that she had made a snowglobe with his picture in it at the art workshop. And Father Christmas asked the girls to leave out a carrot for Rudolph on Christmas Eve. Then he gave the girls a gift each – a cuddly horse for Isla and a cuddly cow for Lilly. This AMAZED Lilly as she had been asking for a cuddly cow a few weeks ago – and Isla goes crazy for horses. So it just goes to show: He knows, you know.

Meeting Santa's reindeers

Our other holiday highlights included:

  • Isla saying “wack wacks” to all the ducks – first time she’s done this
  • Isla’s giggling when she, Lilly and I all went down a ‘tunnel slide’ together
  • Isla giggling as we went round the rapids and Lilly’s hysterics at being splashed by “mrs sprayer” as we went
  • Lilly’s insistence that she kept seeing a badger “I saw a badger! He was climbing a tree!!” and later, “I saw another badger, on the roof of that house!”
  • Discovering a ‘secret’ play area that we never knew was there before – it’s above Cafe Rouge, for anyone who wonders…

So yes, we’re still big Center Parcs fans. And no, this isn’t a sponsored post! And it is so strange to think the next time we visit, there will be three children… yikes! And that this could potentially be the last time we’ll be visiting in term time… ouch!!

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I don’t really know what I think about Halloween.

We never celebrated it as children, and the only time I ever went trick or treating I was about five and somebody poured a bag of flour of my head – traumatised me for life!

Nowadays we get a few trick or treaters to our house each year – usually all pretty young children supervised by mums and dads, and never really past about 9pm at night. We always have plenty of Haribo ready to give out – and usually a few left over for us, yum!

It’s funny though how Halloween has taken off so much in the last few years. In the run up to this year we have noticed that almost everywhere we might normally take the girls has some kind of Halloween spin off – whether it be a soft play place, garden centre, aquarium, zoo or local stately home and gardens.

With a three year old who is very easily scared of things this isn’t too great. It doesn’t take much to give her bad dreams, which obviously mean a bad nights sleep for everyone… as any parent would agree, not funny!

Even in nursery this year, now Lilly is in pre-school, they have been Halloween mad the last few weeks. They have a spooky play house, complete with scary sound effects of people screaming… this has not gone down well with Lilly, who still hasn’t really recovered from watching Scooby Doo in nursery a few weeks ago. All the colouring they have been doing has been Halloween themed too and despite the fact that Lilly is so easily scared, and doesn’t really understand what Halloween is, all the build up meant last week she kept telling us: “I’m so excited about Halloween!!”

So, in the spirit of “If we can’t beat em, join em” we decided to have a mini (non-scary) Halloween party in the house, just us four!

I traipsed round all the cheapo shops near work on Friday lunchtime, got costumes for us all, some decorations and some Halloween chocolates and yesterday we had our party.

Not bad for our first attempt!

Lilly woke up saying “I’m excited for our party!!” In the morning, Lilly helped me carve a pumpkin… she hated the smell and kept running away until it got to the exciting part, when I let her draw on a face for me to carve out! And we had pumpkin soup for lunch (well, Tony and I did, Lilly wouldn’t entertain that idea after smelling the pumpkin earlier). After Isla had had her nap we got into costumes (Lilly wanted to be a ballerina originally… luckily after re-branding her witches outfit as a Princess costume we got away with it), Isla was in an orange pumpkin / witch dress, I was a witch, complete with green hair, and Daddy had a vampire cape (but no scary teeth or other accessories – actually he just looked quite smart!) Just like her big sister the first time we tried to put her in fancy dress (a red riding hood outfit for a nursery party), Isla wasn’t very happy aboout her costume at first and there were lots of tears… she got over her strop eventually, and with the aid of some bat biscuits!

We had balloons and our pumpkin lantern (“woo, woo, woo!” said Isla when she saw it”) and some Halloween tinsel in orange and black, which Lilly proceeded to shred all over the floor…

We played musical statues and musical bumps and then had an easter egg style hunt for chocolate eyeballs. Lilly was very good and happily shared some of the bounty with Isla… who loved it and kept opening her mouth like a little baby bird for more.

Our party food was followed with some funny coloured Halloween cupcakes (shop bought as everything was decided a bit last minute) and we wrapped up the day’s events by snuggling up on the sofa to watch The Snowman and Father Christmas.

All in all we had a great afternoon, lots of laughs and most importantly, a non-scary Halloween party guaranteed to tire out the girls and give us all a good nights sleep.

Fast forward to 2am.

Pitter patter of feet towards our bedroom.

“Muuuuuummmmmmyyyy, I’m having a bad dream. About nasty witches…”


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While eating weetabix this morning:

“I eating bikkie squix!”

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Lilly was always a good eater, weaning was a pleasure. She’d try anything, and liked most things. The only thing she didn’t like was jars – which was fine by me because I loved cooking and pureeing and freezing and defrosting healthy meals from her, mostly made from my weaning bible – Annabel Karmel’s Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner. I loved it because I’d usually get an appreciative “Mmmmmmmmmmmm…. Mmmmmmmmmmm” as she ate.


Now she’s 21 months and lately she has become slightly more fussy – she turns her nose up at things more often – sometimes she eats half of a meal quite happily saying “yum yum” and “’licious!” then suddenly changes her mind and says “Don’t like it!”.


She’s also refusing to feed herself. “Mummy do it! Daddy do it”! I think it’s just an attention thing really.


But we both found it really funny yesterday, when she was tucking in to some tagliatelle with steak and mushroom for dinner. She went to great lengths to extract the little bits of chopped parsley and held them up disapprovingly.

“Little grass! Little grass!” she said.

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