We've finally taken one of Ryan's final Christmas gifts out of the box this past week -- his Happyland Castle from his Nan and Grandad. Up until now we've been hesitant as he has a knack for throwing and dropping things and we didn't want him to break it, but he's been pretty good with it since we first opened it late last week, so today we brought it downstairs for a bit so he could have a play.
His main interests are putting the characters on the towers...or in his mouth...
...but the way I see it, he at least has an honest interest in them and it's one toy that has managed to capture his attention for longer than 5-10 minutes.
He even started to stack them in a queue around his sippy cup!
And he's incorporating other, unrelated, toys into the role play experience...
"Come here Mister Dinosaur...how would you like to snack on this yummy Friar? I've taste-tested him myself!"
Not sure if he's just doodling or mapping an escape route over the new door barrier. Something tells me if it's the latter, he could be possibly be using Myst as his getaway horse. Either way, the boy is in deep thought.
We had planned to give Em & Daz's a miss today due to my cold and Ryan having just gotten over his. Plus, we also learned that poor Miss Amy (along with her Mommy & Daddy, I'd imagine) had a pretty rough night as well, so best to keep the kids apart in case one had something they could pass to the other. So, it was just Ryan and Mommy at home most of the day and early evening until Daddy returned home with our Sunday dinners to go...thanks, Em!!
I'll be so happy when I'm not surrounded by a mound of rough-on-the-nose, cheap, white tissues!
After carefully perusing Wing Wah's new menu, Ryan shows Daddy he would like to order some Dim Sum and the Aromatic Crispy Duck. However, after some reconsideration, he settled for a bit of Mommy's Cantonese Sweet & Sour Chicken with boiled rice and a bit of Daddy's Chow Mein.
It was lovely!
Earlier today we met up with a potential childminder who doesn't live far from us. She's booked for the most part, but has said she will help us out for Wednesdays and Fridays either until we find someone else with more openings or until she has one of her under 5's move up and start attending school in September.
This means, we have childcare sorted for every day besides Monday so I can open up my availability for more work. Score!
Location, location, location...it's all about location!
And speaking of which...I was in Reception today. Reception is wonderful because it often means you have a TA, you don't have much if any marking, and most children can be won over by the promise of a storybook.
Today's selection: The Cat in the Hat.
Since Matt stayed home with our little prince, it meant I had a ride home from the train station as well, in lieu of walking this time, which was fantastic. Once inside and changed into comfy clothes, Ryan couldn't get into my arms fast enough and what happened next nearly made me burst into tears...
Without even my asking or prompting, after releasing him from a long hug/cuddle, my little boy leaned toward me and gave me a kiss! Granted, he could have been trying to also eat my nose...but it ended up as a kiss!!
I think yesterday has taken it's toll because today Ryan has been a bit lethargic and even spiked a bit of a low-fever again by mid-day. He was playful early on when we worked with his puzzle. I can now say "spider" and he can identify the spider puzzle piece.
But you can see here that his face just looks exhausted and this is what prompted me to dose him with a bit of Calpol before lunchtime. Thankfully it broke before Matt returned home, so the trip to Marry Hill that was postponed last night was able to carry on.
I was on a mission because I desperately needed a new pair of jeans. New Look used to carry the brand 'House of Denim' and they had various styles and lengths and they all fit quite nice, but now they have a brand called 'Yes' and although they carry a 28" inseam -- which means I don't have to roll them -- they're super thin jeans and wear quickly. Plus, most of the styles they carry now are skinny jeans and in my opinion, those are just so many shades of wrong. Fat people were not meant to sport "skinny" jeans. It's an oxymoron, really.
We first stopped at Extreme Eyebrows. The really nice Middle-Eastern ladies who work there do a form of eyebrow maintenance called threading. It works the same as waxing in the sense that it shapes the brow, only it's done carefully with a thread that they hold in their mouth and use their hands to have it grip the hairs and remove them. I've been so apprehensive to have this done, but since I haven't had anything done since 2008 when I moved here, £6.50 was a steal to have it done.
I won't lie, it was a bit painful since my brows were nearly fully grown back in, but they assured me it wouldn't be as painful the next time. Still, totally worth it for the result as she did a fantastic job. I couldn't thank her enough!
From there it was straight to New Look. I was forced into buying 1 size larger than I really wear and a 30" inseam instead of 28"...but since I already know they won't last too long, I'm not bothered.
We completed out trip by popping in Asda and then returned home shortly after. Still out much later than we had hoped, but thankfully Matt is home with Ryan tomorrow while I have to catch the early train for another day's work.
My poor little buddy didn't get much of a break today. After his morning nap, which was only just over an hour, we headed out to a local primary school for me to pick up an application pack for two teaching vacancies they had advertised. On the way back from the school we made a stop in the park for a little wander and a go on the swings.
Normally he would be ready for a second, smaller nap around 3pm, when we returned, but he wasn't having it today. He had his sandwiches, did his yawn and eye rub, so I took him up to his cot but he didn't want to know. He just kept his eyes open and grinned at me, so back downstairs we went.
By the time Matt returned home, Ryan had started to spike a low-grade fever but wasn't able to keep his little eyes open any more. While Matt and I discussed what to do for tea, I hear him snoring on my shoulder and discovered he had passed out even with us talking at full volume! I laid him on the sofa, propped with a pillow while Matt made a quick bowl of porridge so we could quickly feed him and take him straight up, bypassing his bath.
Matt returned with the bowl and tried to coax our little man to a conscious state long enough to eat...
I had another work assignment today -- can't complain for those. The main office initially thought I was to cover Reception, however, I was bouncing about again from class to class to cover for teachers doing their SEN reviews.
I remember one year group, a year 2 or 3 class who had an assignment to plan an invitation to Shrek and Fiona's wedding! What a brilliant idea for a lesson!! We had a lot of fun planning as some children tried to persuade guests to come with the promise of ice cream, bouncy castles and even a disco. The funniest bit was a group of boys were planning a romantic venue of a tent to hold the nuptuals. Thought out like true blokes, right?
By the time I got home, did a bit of washing up, and waited for my loves to arrive there was no secret that we were all pretty shattered. This is evident by Ryan's vacant stare when it came time to brush his teeth and get ready for bed.
Of course, he doesn't miss a beat on the nights that Daddy comes back up to read his story. He knows enough now that if Daddy appears in the doorway and sits down with a book, it's his cue to go sit on his lap -- and he will -- to listen and lift the flaps.
I love watching this relationship between the pair of them blossom more every day!
As a first-time parent, I can admit that we're sometimes "winging it" when it comes to raising our children. You do the best you can with the skills you posses and may even indulge in a little advice off other seasoned parents who, once like yourself, were "winging it" as well. It is through this experience that we, as parents, learn things that are good ideas and things that are not.
Today I learned a lesson.
Good idea: Teaching son the value of hard work and the satisfaction of a job well-done.
Bad idea: Allowing him to touch the same electrical cord that he was previously told is not a toy.
My first reaction was to think, 'oh, that's so cute...he's helping' and snap a quick photo, and then upon reviewing said photo, my reaction is, 'oh shit! I shouldn't have let him touch that.'
Bad mommy moment...sending mixed messages.
Note to self: The cat is an AMAZINGLY EFFECIVE distraction tool. And get Ryan a toy vacuum.
I couldn't be more pleased with how much Ryan enjoys his books. He's forever bringing me a book to read, and then another, and then the first one again, and again, and again. I can usually get through 2-3 pages before he's ready to move on to the next one and sometimes he even lets me finish one completely.
One of his favourites downstairs at the moment is called 'This Little Baby' and we got it from his 12-month development check in a canvas bag. There is a mirror at the back of the book that he enjoys snogging as he can see a reflection of himself. I've tried many times to get a decent photo of him in action and tonight I was in luck!!
Each page starts out, 'This little baby...' and it says what that baby is doing, such as playing with toys or saying hello. The last page reads 'And this little baby is the one I love best!'
A budding new friendship, perhaps? Ryan sits watching My Favourite Bedtime Story on Nick Jr. with his new bumblebee Sleepy Pal that also doubles as (and lays flat as) a pillow. He snuggles on his underbelly when he's sleepy and also when he's on his changing mat.
For the very first time, my 13-month-old little lad is using his very own spoon to feed himself porridge!
It took him quite a while to do and got very messy -- which meant I had to exercise extreme patience -- but it was so worth it to watch him discover his capabilities. He would stick the spoon in the bowl and knew he needed to do that to get the food on it, but then couldn't quite get the dip and remove technique down.
I even managed to get a video...
I tried not to make too big of a deal because ultimately I don't want him to associate eating with performing or doing it to please someone. But I can't help but feel so proud that he did it all on his own...well, that is until he got fed up and decided to ditch the spoon and use the five-pronged utensils attached to his arms to shovel it in.
Then he signed "milk" so I stripped down his porridge-covered clothing and nursed him until he drifted into a peaceful sleep -- tightly clutching Mr. Waddles.
I was back at school today -- the last day for the week -- which meant we'd have a late night in terms of having our tea and putting little man to bed. You can see here in Asda how he's absolutely shattered being away from home all day.
Thankfully Matt was able to pick me up from the train station this time and we headed straight out to the grocery store to stock up on items in the baby event. He was actually home with Ryan today as we had a plumber due to come to work on the pipes to the radiators as well as a man from Sure Start to install our free stair-gates and fire guard.
The safety equipment is on loan until Ryan turns three, but well-worth it in my opinion since it spares us the cost of these items that we likely wouldn't use once Ryan's older. Plus, if we have another baby before he turns three, then we keep the equipment until that baby turns three. They also do safety checks every 6 months, which is good, to ensure everything is still in working order.
Now to enjoy the next few days and weekend with my guys!
Bless his little heart. He was knackered when we returned home with him last night and finally got him up to bed in his new, properly fitting sleep sack. Then here comes "mean" Mommy at half-six in the morning to pluck him from his cosy cot only to cram him into clothes and whisk him off outside to make the journey to spend the day with his Nanna and Grandad.
All so Mommy can bring home some bacon.
And this is the "Good Morning" I get. Serves me right!
The camera on my mobile is crap and takes fairly crap photos that don't even look anything special AFTER Photoshop adjustments. Grrr!
I had another day of work today. Got the call late last week so once we had a place for Ryan to be lined up, it was game on for me. Luckily it's just a bit closer than the last school so the walk to and from the train station isn't bad at all.
Looking forward to payday as my UK licence is getting closer and closer!!
No one would have guessed Ryan had his 12-month jabs today. Matt took half a day off work so he could come to the appointment. We did make the decision to delay the MMR jab until 15 months as babies carry the immunity from their mothers for measles and if the vaccine is given while they still have the natural immunity, the vaccine may not be effective. The nurse was fine with that and suggested I ring at the end of February to book it for March.
When it came time for Ryan's shot, Matt held him while I held one of his hands. He looked down to his leg when the nurse put the needle to it, but just like that, it was over and not a tear was shed! Plaster on...done and dusted. The nurse was well pleased how he didn't even whimper. He was literally smiling at her seconds later. She even asked to see him walking so he had to show off his little shuffle strut for her.
I'm feeling more confident about leaving Ryan for the day now when I get work. I was called this afternoon and booked in for three more days next week, so that only means one thing...and that is I can almost taste my new driving licence! Woo!
Ryan has decided that the froggy top of his frog-stacker makes a good hat/helmet for Mystical kitty. Gosh this cat is patient! Meanwhile I'm sat over on the sofa trying to keep from wetting myself with laughter at the sight of what is happening.
Funny enough, later this afternoon when I checked the post, I discovered Ryan's final book from the club arrived and it was 'The Cat in the Hat.' It's a shame that it's paperback, so I think I may have to return it, along with 'Going on a Bear Hunt' which also turned out to be a paperback. I much prefer books to be hardback if they're not actual board books because they will take wear and tear better.
I'm so glad I had no place to be today because I've been knackered all day still. I think the past 48 hours has just taken its toll.
He refused to let go of me or to be put down tonight when we got back home. This makes me so glad I'm off the next couple of weeks so I can catch up on snuggle time with my little man!! I'm pleased though that he had another great day at Nan & Grandad's and it's giving him some fantastic one-on-one time with them both!
I ended up with a blister on each foot from walking yesterday in my work shoes from the train station, so today I brought my trainers and changed into my other shoes when I got to the school. I also told Matt to just pick me up from the train station at home as it was light enough for me to also walk back to the train station to catch the train back to Rowley Regis. Before he was a bit concerned that with it starting to get darker after 4pm, that it wasn't the best area to be walking through...however, I assured him that as evidenced today by loads of school kids returning home and moms pushing prams, I was perfectly fine.
So 3 miles today to and from the train station, not to mention the amount of walking I did at the school and the amount of times I got lost and ran into the Head Teacher's assistant asking me if I was lost.
By the time I left the school for the day, I could feel a migraine coming on. I arrived at Small Heath Rail Station about a quarter-past four (wonderful timing due to no marking having to be done) and only had to wait about 15 minutes for the next train. My saviour of a husband arrived with soda and paracetamol in hand, bless him, and it was just in the nick of time because my eyes were beginning to tear up from the intensity of the headache. I wanted to pull my eyeballs and brain out it was so painful!
When we got home I took an exhausted Ryan upstairs where he laid in bed with an exhausted Mommy to nurse. I could hear Matt check in on us a couple of times and even though Ryan nodded off for a bit, Matt did eventually take him and settle him to sleep in his cot for a bit so I could get a bit more rest and rid myself of the migraine.
I appreciate I only worked two days this week...but speaking both as someone who hasn't worked in over a year and as a teacher who dealt with many badly-mannered kids (despite the many that were sensibly behaved)...two days is MORE than enough to warrant a near two-week break!
I went back to work for the first time in over a year today, so Ryan was sent to spend the day with his Nan and Grandad. Also his cousin, Amy, was there as well so you can see the effect it's had on him tonight. Looks like a happy boy to me!
The school I was assigned to was a primary school near Sparkbrook/Moseley. I ended up taking the train and then had to walk 1.5 miles to the school. I'm sure I could have taken a bus, but I have yet to take a bus in this country and although I'm sure it's simple, I guess I'd rather just get the exercise.
Matt picked me up from the school this afternoon and then we went back to fetch Ryan. I was surprised, but he didn't even immediately come to me when we got there, and instead went straight to Daddy.
Matt thinks it's because he was the one to dress him and feed him porridge that morning...but who knows. I have one more day at the same school tomorrow and then I won't have any work again for another fortnight or so. It will work out perfectly though because the money I earn supply teaching is enough so that I wouldn't have to work 5 days a week, thankfully. If I work even just 4 days a month, that's easily near, if not spot on, £400.
Our goal is to get some bills paid with some of it and then use the rest to get my UK driving licence. Once that is sorted then I will be able to work a bit more if I need to and start putting money aside for things like getting my boxes from the States here (which I am desperate to do) and then saving to go back and visit family as well as apply for citizenship.
Now his frog stackers get stacked ANYWHERE. He's no longer satisfied simply using the floor...he's got to bring them to me and stack them on the settee. Then he slaps the frog-head and knocks them all down!
I promise he's fine...just REALLLY concentrating on something on the telly. There's a segment on Nick Jr. called 'My Favourite Bedtime Story' where they tell stories from different cultures, read by a child's parent who is from a different country. The story is 'acted out' with textured paper-characters on the child's duvet while you see the parent reading in the background.
Very clever cinematography, actually.
Ryan loves it so much it puts him in a trance!
And for anyone wondering...Ryan's two favourites are 'Peekaboo Baby' and 'Dot and Dash Go to Bed.' He particularly enjoys lifting the flaps in 'Peekaboo Baby' and will anticipate that when you read 'Puppy is grumpy. Are you grumpy too?' the girl behind the flap in the pink snowsuit is grumpy and says 'Hmph!' He will actually say 'hmmmph' before you turn the page to that part!
Although Ryan has already had his 12-month development check (at 11 mos?) I decided to take him to the baby clinic to get weighed so I could get an accurate entry for the final page of his baby book. Turns out he is 19 lbs 11 oz...which is only 3 oz up from the previous visit in November. The gains are really slowing down now...but moreso, his activity is speeding up as he's practically full-on running!
I brought up that he has been off his food the past few days...even carrots, his favourites, and the health visitor said it could be any number of things but teething was most likely the culprit. She did point out that if it's even his favourite things that he's refusing, not to give him an alternative just to get him to eat something as this could start us down the road to a picky eater.
Good to know!
On the way back we walked past the new library -- still in progress. It's due to open this year, although I'm not certain when exactly. But I am really looking forward to it. It's HUGE!!
On the mend today, thank goodness...after a bit of a rough night. Unfortunately, after an enjoyable holiday with Daddy all to himself, Matt returns to work for the new year tomorrow. Not sure how Ryan will act given their new BFF status.
He may look all smiles, but the poor mite has a low-grade fever. Matt was the observant one who noticed right away that he wasn't acting himself. He was just kind of standing there or clinging to one of us without acknowledging any of his toys and kept lying down on the pillows for long periods of time. Sure enough...felt his head, neck and back and he was warm to the touch. Fought him with the thermometer under an armpit and it measured just above 101.
We stripped him down to his nappy and dosed him up with Calprofen waiting for the fever to break. Then he had his bath and was off to bed.
We joined up with Em, Daz and the kids for a "boiling dinner" at Josie & David's tonight and it was absolutely delicious! Ryan hadn't actually had peas before so I put a few on his tray to see what he thought. Apparently he LOVES them and he proceeded to eat most of mine!!
Shortly before we left to go home, Ryan was having fun bouncing on his Grandad's knee and I managed to capture a really precious video of the two cronies (as my Papa would have called them) in action! And funny enough that my Papa used to do the very same with us when we were growing up, so it really brought back some fond memories.
And as an added bonus, here is Ryan from earlier this afternoon when I FINALLY caught him dancing on camera to the birthday theme song on CBeebies!
You'll understand in a moment why it is so funny that the ONLY photo I managed to get today (as the camera is on borrowed time with rechargeable batteries) is this photo of Ryan -- helping to 'stir' Daddy's coffee (which was actually empty).
Let me start at the beginning...
If you're up on yesterday's blog then you know Ryan has had some potty issues the past 24 hours. Matt went upstairs just before 6pm tonight to collect Ryan from his long, late afternoon nap and soon realised we had a bit of a situation. I saw evidence of this simply by the way he was holding Ryan when he brought him downstairs with his legs resting on his forearm and bum sticking out at an odd angle. When he got closer I could see that it would be a "full-service" nappy change.
We had to keep him standing upright on the changing mat while we stripped off his clothes, tag-team style, and Matt wiped the "explosion" from his back, neck and shoulders. Once he was completely cleaned off and had on a fresh nappy and t-shirt, I went to sort the things from the washer into the dryer and Matt went upstairs to gather the linens from Ryan's cot.
Any parents knows too well, I can imagine, how things seem to happen when they're only gone for a minute or two...but we were seriously ONLY gone for a minute or two.
I hear Matt come back downstairs and enter the front room, and then the words, "Oh shit," so I make a bee-line for the living room. There sat Ryan, quietly, in the middle of the carpet holding the open tub of Sudocrem (a nappy/diaper creme) in one creamy, white-covered hand and a SPOON in the other creamy, white-covered hand with a big blob of Sudocrem on the end of the spoon and mess all over his mouth, shirt, and legs!! Oh...AND the carpet!
I thought when we left the room that the back of the seat of the sofa was far enough from his reach, but it seems our Ryan can stretch quite well...when he wants something.
Now some parents may have freaked out and rang poison control, but not us. I pass Matt the wipes as I took care of little man, getting the cream off his mouth and hands and checking to see how much he may have actually ingested. Judging by the few flecks on his teeth and inside his bottom lip I imagine he quickly realised it wasn't yogurt. Then I consulted "Dr. Google" to see if I should ring NHS Direct and soon saw that Sudocrem is actually on the low-toxicity list, so Matt and I agreed to just give him some water and keep an eye on him the next 24 hours.
I know this is only the beginning. Lord, help us. Perhaps the early photo was a foreshadowing?
I have to admit...I'm quite proud he used the spoon all on his own -- although I think our next goal is to get him to use it on his own on something actually EDIBLE.
Welcome to the first of three wardrobe changes today. I don't think I need to go into great detail for anyone as to WHY these changes were needed...but we suspect apples and/or bananas to be the culprit.
Yeah...it was THAT fantastic!
The morning was pretty quiet and uneventful. Dear son has now gone a full week without waking in the night...full stop. No 4-5am meltdowns with Zombie-Mommy trying desperately to keep her eyes open so this, in turn, means I haven't felt as tired getting up with him in the morning. He nursed before we went downstairs and then 30-40 minutes later had a nice, warm bowl of Ready Brek. By 10am he was holding his arms up for me to cuddle him and I knew he was ready for his nap, so I nursed him once more and he napped soundly from 10:30am to 1:30pm!
He didn't get his usual cat-nap this afternoon and as a result, fell asleep on my shoulder around 7pm tonight at Emma's. When we got home later I got the bath ready straight away and it was bath, lotion, PJ's, story, cuddles/nurse, and bed. He was a bit stubborn this time going down and Matt and I had to tag the other in to get him to sleep, but in just under an hour we were both back downstairs and enjoying the peace and quiet.
I hope this is a good sign for the start of the year!
After two and a half years in a long-distance relationship, I packed my life of 29 years into 21 boxes and moved to England to marry and be with my husband, Matt. Now I'm reveling in the youth of my 30s in Great Britain, supply-teaching in primary schools near Birmingham and enjoying newlywed life, being a mommy, and all the surprises they bring!