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Posts Tagged ‘toddler’

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…

*sigh*

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Last week we spent Monday to Friday at Center Parcs in Cumbria – Whinfell Forest.

We are big Center Parcs fans, and have been twice to Elveden Forest (East Anglia) and once to Sherwood Forest (Nottingham) since Lilly was 10 months old.

This was our first time at Whinfell – Elveden being our favourite so far, but also being a ridiculously long drive from where we live in the North West. Whinfell is a much more civilised 1 hour 45 minutes away, and even that felt long enough! In fact, we made our first parental error of the holiday on the journey there – waiting too long before stopping at the services meaning Lilly fell asleep in the car and napped for 40 minutes – which came back to haunt us later!

Arriving at a rainey Whinfell Forest Center Parcs

First impressions of Whinfell were very good – plenty of parking (unlike Sherwood) and we really enjoyed walking in the rain in our waterproofs through the trees to discover the  Village Centre for the first time.

The Village Centre is all undercover, unlike Elveden, and, as there was plenty of rain showers the week we were there, it was just as well. We spent our first afternoon enjoying a rather large (and expensive) beer in Bella Italia and admiring the indoor water fountain before having a wander to see the Sports Plaza and enjoy a Starbucks on our travels.

The villas are a little different at Whinfell – as they were built when the park was an Oasis – and ours was a two storey wooden house. It looked lovely from the outside – much more aesthetically pleasing than the standard issue Center Parcs bungalows – but inside it could have done with a bit of a revamp – the white goods were a good 10 years old and the decor a little bit tired. We didn’t really mind that though, but could’ve done without the super creaky staircase and no downstairs loo which meant we spent most of our evenings trying not to need a wee in case going upstairs would wake up a very light sleeping toddler….

Our first night was not to be a peaceful one, as that illegal in-car nap formed a lethal cocktail with ‘First-night-in a new bedroom syndrome and resulted in, yes, you’ve guessed it, “I’m NOT tired!!” “I don’t LIKE my new bedroom!” There’s a squirrel at my window!!” “I’m SCARED!!”. We ended up bringing Lilly downstairs with us, which wasn’t too bad as she was chatting away and making us laugh. When 10pm came around, Lilly still wouldn’t go to sleep in her own bedroom alone, so Tony had to sleep in with her before she would settle.

When she woke up the next morning, early, lack of sleep had transformed her into A MONSTER with absolutely zero tolerance for anything and with with her emotions balanced on a knife edge…

But, before we fully comprehended just how terrible a mood she was in, we took the two girls swimming first thing in the morning. It was the first time Isla has been swimming, and she remained very serious looking throughout her short experience – then promptly fell fast asleep!

Tony took charge of Lilly while I got out with snoozy baby. In a fit of unusual recklessness, he decided to take Lilly on a rather big waterslide, which she seemed to enjoy first time around, despite getting water in her face. Second time around I watched – only to see both of them go right under the water in the plunge pool. A screaming Lilly soon emerged from the water – Tony (who was frantically holding Lilly up above the water while trying to steady himself) took another five seconds – Lilly was terrified!! Not a very good second waterslide experience but quite funny for a spectator (bad mummy!)

It all started to go a little bit wrong after that. Lilly wanted to go for a wee, so I walked with her to the changing rooms. On the way there, she slipped and managed to take me down with her, so that I landed right on top of her foot! She was screaming and I was panicking because I thought I’d broken her foot. I managed to carry her to the disabled toilets where Lilly said she couldn’t stand on her foot and then, in all the upset, did a wee all over the floor, all over herself, all over me! I had visions of hospital visits and plaster casts, but luckily after a while she calmed down and was able to walk again… phew.

Soon afterwards we decided to get out and have lunch. Bad mistake at 11.30, as every other family decided to do the same, so there were no changing rooms available, and people queueing waiting for them to become free. Isla started wailing – she wanted her bottle. Lilly started whinging – “I’m hungry, I want a snack, I’m hungry, I want a snack, I’m cold, I want a snack…” on and on and on.

In the end, I took Isla into the disabled toilets to dress her while Tony and Lilly found a too-small cubicle to get dressed and I fed Isla her bottle standing up – not very comfy!

We thought the worst was over once we got out of the pool – oh, how wrong. Lilly’s mood was awful, we couldn’t go five minutes without a tantrum. We had screaming, lying on the floor, “NO! NO! NO!”, hysterical crying, refusal to walk anywhere, running off, you name it, we had it. We gamely attempted a coffee in Starbucks and some soft play near the bowling alley (they have an big open area in the bar where they play CBeebies on a big screen all day!) By about 3 O’Clock we couldn’t cope with anymore public tantrums so we all went back to the villa and prayed Lilly would go to bed ok later. Luckily, 7pm came and she went to bed fine, on her own, so we breathed a massive sigh of relief and poured a large glass of wine…

I’m happy to report that the rest of the week passed off much more harmoniously. Better sleep meant we got our good girl back, for the most part, and we had lots of fun in the playgrounds and back at the CBeebies bar (genius idea, Center Parcs!) One of the other highlights was shopping in the supermarket with the mini trolley – Lilly absolutely loved it, and looked just too cute pushing it around the aisles and loading all the items onto the checkout.

Back at the villa, we hung out three bags of peanuts on the tree outside our window and watched all kinds of birds feast on them for three days. We also had pheasants and a red suirrel come to visit – and spotted a rabbit emerging from a large rabbit hole outside once too. While we were there we had loads of fun spotting different plants and trees with Lilly on mini ‘nature walks’ – there were loads of different types of mushrooms growing everywhere. Typical though, that the main thing that Lilly remembers from these little walks was an old discarded baby dummy: “we saw a dummy, didn’t we mummy?!”

On Thursday, we had my pretend birthday (it was my 30th on the Friday, when we were travelling back), so we ate our lunch at Bella Italia (delicious) and had a takeaway for our evening meal.

We also learnt, while out and about during the week, that Lilly can do a wee in the bushes if neccessary!

All in all, we had a great time, bar an extremely stressful second day. Sleep is absolutely the MOST important factor in determining Lilly’s behaviour, and Lilly’s behaviour is the one and only key to whether or not we have a wonderful day, or the day from hell!

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Yesterday, during my mum’s weekly visit, we decided (in a fit of madness) to go to Ikea with baby and toddler.

We’re lucky that we have an Ikea in Warrington, a short drive from our house, and it’s always been a great rainy day option with Lilly – from when she was a baby to more recently before Isla was born.

But, BLIMEY. Now she is a fully blown little person with boundless energy, it was an exhausting experience!

The fun began right from the outset, as there is a little playground outside the shop which (not very) helpfully seemed to get Lilly hyped up and extremely excited about the shopping trip ahead.

Once inside it was just one treat after another – first the escalator adventure and once upstairs the chance to run around hundreds of “pretend” living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens – climbing on chairs, rearranging plates & cutlery, banging on pretend keyboards at pretend desks, rolling on beds, bouncing on sofas, looking in mirrors, touching fluffy rugs and throws, drawing with the little pencils and shopping lists they provide… and that was all before we arrived at the children’s section!

On arrival my mum (wisely) nominated herself to be in charge of Isla. At 4 weeks old, she wasn’t much of a challenge, and basically slept the entire time, allowing my mum to have a leisurely browse while I had the legs run off me trying to stop Lilly from lurching from one near disaster / accident to another.

And then came the next challenge… those immortal words: “I need a wee-wee”. Ok, right. Don’t panic! Find the toilets! Take the toddler seat! Let’s go quick… COME ON! RUN!!”

We made it to the ladies and Lilly managed to use the big toilet with the help of her seat, although the bribery I’ve been using of late has obviously been noted and as we were dashing to the toilet, Lilly was saying: “I go to the big toilet, and then I get Magic Stars, don’t I mummy?”

Anyway, that drama over with, we had to track down my mum and other child. Not easy. We’d parted rather hastily, agreeing to meet up again “in the marketplace”. Yes, good plan. The marketplace is HUGE and spread over two floors. We couldn’t find them and to make matters worse there is little or no mobile phone reception in there. We hunted them down for a good 20 minutes, during which time we were tantilisingly close to the restaurant, and it was dangerously close to Lilly’s tea time. “I’m hungry mummy” she kept saying. “I can smell dinners”.

Eventually, we were reunited. Meatballs were purchased for Madame. Cakes and coffees were purchased for Mummy and Grannie… well earnt I think! Best of all, being the proud owner of an Ikea Family Card (whatever that is) meant my refillable coffee was free, and Lilly’s meal was only 50p – and came with a free orange! Not to be sniffed at, and made the rather stressful day’s events seem a little less traumatic.

Before we left, Grannie treated us all to ice cream cones – 35p each! And Lilly said: “This is the best ice cream EVER!

So then. Ikea. Toddlers love it. As days out go, it’s cheap. But don’t expect you’ll get a chance to actually look at anything. And you WILL need wine once you get home and they’ve gone to bed!

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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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