Whilst this product was kindly gifted. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.
From the second I said, ‘look, a package for you’ Munchkins eyes lit up. When he saw it was Peppa, the excitement was unreal, he could not wait for me to wrestle and free it from the packaging.
Peppa Pig Count with Peppa is a number and colour recognition toy all styled in the design and with the voice of every parents favourite pig.
It uses 10 coloured number discs, with different colours and the numbers from 1 – 10. On the other side is the corresponding number of items i.e. 5 planes. Peppa can recognise which discs are inserted and therefore know if the correct disc is posted.
There are multiple games, from find the number, to find the coin which has a certain number of an item. It also plays three songs, from the series, which Munchkin was instantly joining in with. This will further solidify Munchkins colour and counting skills and improve his ability to follow instructions.
We admit we had a little issue pushing the coins through at first. But two days later it seems to have improved for us both.
Sensory play is a fantastic thing for babies and toddler development. There are classes available, but its easy to do sensory play at home. Here is a few things we have done with Munchkin during lockdown of 2020. All of these used every day items we already possessed.
Bubble Float, Bubble Pop
Its a known fact that every child loves bubbles, and Munchkin was no different. The look of awe and amazement as he reached for the bubbles around him was worth every second of the clean up operation which followed!
Bottle Shaker Sounds
If there is one thing Munchkin loves, its making a lot of noise. He loves drumsticks and banging everything, his drums and setting off all his musical toys at once, and even using his utensils at meal times for impromptu musical routines.
So this one was simple. Take equal sized bottles and fill with different every day items to illustrate the different sounds they make. We used lentils, stones Munchkin collected from the garden and rice. You could see the interest of the different sounds and the joy of shaking and dropping them.
Splish Splash Water Play
With swimming on hold, it was important to give our Munchkin some time to splash about at home. So we filled the blow up duck he used to have his baths in, gave him some toys and away he went splashing about.
Wibble Wobble Jelly Play
Exactly what it says in the title. Jelly on a plate, wibbly and wobbly, with a few utensils, feeling it, bouncing it and tasting it. Good orange flavoured fun.
Make a Lentil Mess
We put some lentils in a bowl and let him go crazy. From the first unsure touch, to throwing them everywhere, it was a fun explosion of sensory fun.
Disco lights and lightning bolts
We set up a disco ball, a lightning plate, a rope light and a colouring changing stars on the ceiling toy and popped Munchkin in the middle. He loved touching the plate and making the lightning move, grasping onto the disco ball and wafting around the rope light.
Cook up a storm
Finally, not fully a sensory exploration, but we gave Munchkin kitchen bits and some balls for a cooking experience. He’s had a saucepan ever since as his eyes immediately lit up and a smile filled his little face. He loved to play peek-a-boo with the colander!
It was easy to create sensory and discovery experiences from items already in our household. Hopefully this gives some inspiration for what sensory play at home you can do with your little ones.
Last time I wrote one of these posts things were different (find it here). We were allowed out of the house for non essential reasons, Munchkin was a tiny 8 month old, and our biggest fears were feeding Munchkin the right things. So at two years old, here’s the latest things we have learnt.
1. Even as they sleep through the night the tiredness continues
You fool yourself that tiredness will improve as they master sleeping through the night. But no, the days become more demanding, and as a result you are equally sleepy.
2. They grow up too fast
It’s a line you’ve heard before and its true. One minute they stay still, the next they are running from room to room. One minute they giggle and ‘ga ga’ and the next they sing full lullabys and demand what they want, when they want it. Time flies when you are a parent.
3. Parenting (at this age) improves lockdown
I think we are lucky we have Munchkin in lockdown. We haven’t lost our minds with boredom or completed Netflix. Entertaining him keeps us entertained and consequently improves our lockdown.
4. They copy every thing you do
This thought always takes me back to that old smoking advert showing toddlers smoking crayons as they copy their parents. But its apparent daily how munchkin picks up little mannerisms or turn of phrase. Often surprisingly quickly.
5. If they like to climb, every household object is a climbing frame
We’ve got a climber in Munchkin. Every time he’s quiet he’s either mounting a dining chair or jumping on the sofa. The world is his playground, which means we need eyes in the back of our heads.
6. Nursery is amazing for development, albeit blooming expensive
We can’t fault our decision to use nursery, although it costs a bomb. He learns something everyday, grows in confidence and it gives him the opportunity to see and bond with others his age (especially important right now!)
7. You will eventually get bored of certain programmes
Don’t worry Dugee, there’s always room for you, but move over Teletubbies and In the Night Garden, if I never see a Ninky Nonk or Tubby custard again it will be too soon.
8. The last stage always seems easier
When they progress through the developmental stages, you are always eager for the next stage. But when they come, you always miss the ease of the last. The important note here is to live in the moment, moving on from the past and not looking into the future. Just enjoy the here and now.
9. You shouldn’t feel offended when they don’t choose you
As they find their voice, they start to make choices, and this includes which parent should do what. Munchkin went through a 100% Mummy phase, to a 100% Daddy phase and now its mostly 50:50 again. It is believed that when your child begins to choose, its because they feel safe and secure, so it should never offend as saddening as it may be.
10. There is no parenting manual
This needs no explanation. All our children are different and therefore there’s no manual or rule book that dictates when things should happen. If there was, Munchkin would have been late for all the gross motor targets. But now hes running about like an Olympic runner so all is good.
Montessori play is something I’d never heard about before becoming a parent but is something so great for development. What it means to me is giving Munchkin that freedom to choose what to play or do, making those choices accessible, learn through play and learn life skills.
Here’s a quick what to do to set up Montessori style at home and how we’ve done it, some of which by chance.
1. Designate an accessible place for everything
This comes down to making things easy reach for your child. From toys, to books, to arts and crafts and snacks and drinks.
For us, we have all toys in low drawers and shelves, clothes for nursery days in bottom drawers, books under the TV for little hands to grab, and Munchkin level snack shelves so he can choose when he’s hungry and what to eat (within reason!).
2. Emphasize Life Skills
This swings on how even young children are capable of pitching in around the house in one way or another and by helping, it sets them up to be considerate and capable adults.
With Munchkin, this occurred naturally. Start to clean, he wants a cloth to join in too. Approach the dishwasher, he wants to help empty it. Hang out the washing, he would help ‘sort’ and pass the items to be hung. I always take him to show him jobs like watering the plants. I’m just too scared to give him a watering can indoors just yet!
3 .Teach Concentration
This is one I could question, but when you read, its about identifying your child’s interests and setting things up to keep them concentrating and thoroughly exploring for a period of time.
We know Munchkin loves the outdoors and a good sensory play activity. So we set up some time and some space and try to make the activity evolve to keep his interest and therefore concentration. For example, we set up an ice play activity, then introduced bubbles and coloured water later to evolve the play.
4. Give them their best learning environment
Discover where your child likes to learn and provide that space. Some children prefer solitude where others like the middle of the room. We have two spaces, a playroom and a play space in the lounge. Munchkin chooses where to go to play, and whether or not to ask for our hand to lead us to join him.
5. Focus on Inner Motivation, Not Reward
This Montessori method is about rewarding behaviour and progress with verbal feedback in moderation, over physical rewards such as stickers or sweets.
This is an easy one and one that we do naturally. Say well done, that’s great, we are proud of you and clap with him at big moments.
6. Use Child-Sized Furniture
For this one we have a tuff tray for floor messy play fun and a mutable for Munchkin sized table activities. We use the high chair when baking to bring the mixing and making to floor level.
When you first think about having a little one you’ll quickly realise that there are many classes avalible, from baby massage to baby sensory. However, taking cost and (more importantly) your precious time into account on top of the multitude of free classes you want to attend its hard to get to everything you want to do. Believe me, even on parental leave I struggled to balance the classes we carefully chose to attend.
So here is my number one class. It had to be baby swimming.
People without children always get surprised when I say we are taking Munchkin for his swimming lesson at the weekend. It seems unbelievable to them that you can take them at 19 months, even though you can actually start at 6 weeks with baby classes.
Our swimming class (Babybliss, Cambridgeshire) consists of splashing songs, fetch the toy games as well as core swimming skills. At 19 months we have already dipped our toes into independant swimming.
From six months old, the classes teach water confidence and aids their development and reflexes. But more importantly than that its also for safety. It teaches the little ones what to do if they swallow water, to spit rather than swallowing firstly, and how to hold on to the side and climb out. Useful skills if they ever accidentally enter water.
With swimming being part of the national curriculum and a pivotal part of any family holiday it was a no brainer to start swimming lessons so young, especially knowing he will be safe with his water skills in the future.
When the letter to return to work arrived my heart sank, whilst many may have struggled with lockdown and restrictions, we have relished in the bonus time together with our little Munchkin. If you have had a hard time, I am sorry and don’t worry, for that I feel very guilty.
But with a 15 month old at the start of furlough, we got to spend so much precious extra time together. I was luckily furloughed on full pay and Natalie had a lot to do to support her children she teaches, but could do a lot at home with us as well.
However, this time came to an end when I returned to my normal place of work, even if not for my normal job. And thats where the lack of normality begins. My hours are different and the job is different. We have queued to arrive at work, and to leave at home time and my closest friends are still working from home. Though that said, its been good to form bonds and develop friendships with those I haven’t had chance to before.
For Munchkin, he has returned to nursery this week ending his dream 6 months with Daddy and then Mummy. We have done, and developed, so much over this time, but it will be great for him to be back with kids his age to play and build friendships with. This is now the start of the stark difference from the nice and relaxed, peaceful furlough time to the mad rush again from home to nursery to work and back.
The alleviation of lockdown has meant it has also been nice to visit family again, without staying garden bound and feeling like we shouldn’t even use the bathroom. Although, we are still far from the times of hugs and proper contact. Luckily for the Nanny’s, the return to nursery also means the return to Nanny childcare days. That’ll be good for them and Munchkin both. I know for sure its been very hard not seeing him properly for so long.
So while everything is different, let’s enjoy this time before the inevitable ‘second spike’ we have been warned of, which could be on the horizon. Though, let’s hope it doesn’t happen. As much as I enjoyed furlough, I dont think the country can afford to do it again…
To all those still suffering from anything Covid related, me and Munchkin are sending socially distance digital hugs.
The time to move have his nursery transition and move into his and big boy cot, which could be feared by some, came at 9 and a half months old. This may seem late, but tied in nicely with the move from our Munchkin breast feeding in the evening and throughout night to purely bottle fed. A change which made us happy parents as this was the first solid week he also slept through the night. Phew. At last!!
We followed the advice on this one, moving the next 2 me slowly on a journey from bedside to his Nursery. Day by day, for a week (and a bit…).
It started by moving to the bottom of the bed with the side up and… this was a normal night 😌. We were worried, being sleep related and being knackered new parents, that any change would upset him. Thankfully it was all good so far.
Then moved closer to the door for two nights. Phew, we breathed a sigh of relief, still fine.
On day four it was the new room. You can imagine this being the biggest of changes. It probably has a different smell, different acoustics, and a different pattern the lights make on the ceiling. Some adults don’t like sleeping on holiday for these very reasons. It must be crazy for a baby at 9 and a half months.
We got through to 3 am in sweet slumber but at 4 am Munchkin woke. Half an hour of rocking though and he was back to sleep. This wasn’t anything we weren’t used to. And this is exactly all I thought was different…
Day 5 he went down at 7pm to wake at 8:40pm. ‘This is what he keeps doing’ I’m told. I was none the wiser. ‘He wakes, has a little moan for a bit then gets back to the land of nod’.
Well that’s news but its all good, apart from this time, he didn’t go back to the land of nod. We believed it was down to the demon of night poos! So after a change and little rock and all was sorted and he was sleeping again. Sleeping again for a whole, maximum of, 10 minutes. So we rocked again and he slept. He woke again, we rocked, he slept again. This pattern continued until the final rock to sleep At 11pm. Exhausted we rocked him, went to bed ourselves and, luckily he slept through the rest of the night.
The next step was the big cot! This came on day 7 after a another reasonably rocky day 6. This made us nervous. Very nervous. Especially after the madness of days 5 and 6. But in this big cot, with lots of space to roll and wake, there was not a single peep!
And to this day he sleeps like an angel. We think he just teased us with a few bad nights 😝.
Hope the transition went/goes well for you when its time for your little one.
From birth to 9 months, this post is there to celebrate all the firsts our Munchkin has conquered so far with lots of piccies. But by no means make any comparisons as every baby develops at their own rate 😊.
After five long days in the post-natal ward following the arrival of our Munchkin was the first trip home.
Then only a mere two days later he attended his first party, my cousins 30th!
To top off the month and athough against the advice, he went on his first shopping trip at week 2.
March was time for Munchkins first photo shoot.
Then attended his first wedding.
Which was such a lovely wedding we did our first smile (though not necessarily the cause).
and had our first swim or rather our first float…. Two years on, we love swimming.
We visited our first National Trust property. Something we hope our Munchkin will love in the future. Update: he has!
We went to meet the Wifey’s extended family and had our first trip to a very windy beach!
We had our first family holiday at Center Parcs in which we had our first swimming lesson. Munchkin slept a lot in the subtropical swimming paradise!
Month five had my first daddy thing, my first fathers day 😍
We gawped and gasped at our first Sea Life Centre visit, as a turtle swam above us.
The first day of Daddy looking after Munchkin on shared parental leave happened. There was no time for photos on that day unsurpisingly!
After a lovely weekend, which of course every weekend is, that dreaded Monday comes around again. Mummy leaves early in the morning and we are left to our own devices again. When I say dreaded though it’s just that we miss her, not that we aren’t looking forward to a wonderful week of Daddy and Munchkin time again.
Monday starts with a lovely 30 minute stroll then half an hour of rhyme time and 15 minutes of play with all the other cute local babies. This covers (with associated actions of course) everything from ‘Five little ducklings’ to ‘Hickory dickory dock’. It also acts as a lovely little morning arm workout with ‘I’m a little baby, I fly high’ amongst other songs which involve lifting a Munchkin who’s getting heavier and heavier by the week. With the walk and the baby lifting during the rhymes it’s a perfect start to the week with a little exercise for Daddy. Its also a great place to make some parent friends and for Munchkin to meet other little dots.
The only other regular activity is on Thursday with baby swimming. We leave in the morning for our 50 minute drive. There were closer courses, but not at this price making it worth the travel. Baby swimming not only gets Munchkin into swimming itself but also teaches important safety skills such as spitting out water, how to turn and how to climb out if he accidently fell in water. We had done plenty of kicking when playing at home but now we are kicking in the water too (one of the firsts that Daddy got to witness) 😊.
That leaves us three other days. We make sure get out on at least two of them. Usually once a week we go with Nanny G to see Munchkin’s Great Grandparents. Then on the other days I either take Munchkin into work to see my work mates, to our local friends or his Guardians, or just on a walk around the local area. We fill the rest of the time with playing on his play mat and activity gym, practising sitting and crawling, and reading.
As hard as it can be to get out nearly every day it’s important for both of us. One week I was so exhausted I spent two days at home in a row and it just made me fall into a miserable state. So even if it’s just a short walk, it can make improve the most difficult days.
The biggest changes in the smallest amount of time.
At the start of month 6, Mummy was looking after the Munchkin, the Munchkin who lived solely off breast feeding, who played on his back, didn’t know he had feet, lived in single use plastic nappies 😔, still looked like a baby and barely knew the moves. Then the development jump began, amongst some other changes around.
Then everything changed…
Daddy took charge. Poor Munchkin. It was time to say bye to Mummy every morning as she returned to work and it became full time Daddy time all thanks to shared parental leave.
SPL? What’s that? You can read all about SPL here.
We found our feet. What’s those little things attached to me that I can move? What are they and what can I do with them? That little look of amazement at something so unexpected for us. Closely followed by the ‘Oh! they are good for teething if I chew my own foot’. Oh the flexibility! The flexibility we all wish we still had…
We started saving the planet. It was time to start reusable nappies and reduce that huge plastic footprint we had created. I’ve written a post about this journey. Hereeeee.
We found our look. In month 5 the munchkin still had a cute round face and large eyes and a general baby look. Now he’s grown into what could be how he looks as a little toddler and we can see what a cute little toddler he will be. In this, he lost what was primarily daddy’s looks and is now a lovely mix of both Mummy and Daddy.
We went from laying to sitting and discovered the world. Bang on 6 months marked Munchkin’s massive upgrade from lying in his Cosatto in pram mode to sitting up a little more in the pushchair mode, his mode of transport for the coming years. This felt like a huge milestone for me and the wifey. He was no longer our little dot and instead a much rather heavier cutiepie. My Cosatto review is here.
We started reppin’. We became a baby representative for three companies with those cute looks starting to get noticed. One request grew to five and we chose three companies to start with. These are the still the only three companies we rep for today. Click here to see who they are and get a discount code.
We started the solids. Both in the eating and the pooping. We started the purées and then the finger foods and the crisps and now we are three meals a day. In turn the poop went from the almost pleasant runny yellow to the smelly sticky adult-like poop. Why isn’t mummy here for these?
We started rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling. Gone are the relaxed nappy change times as now it’s a game of which side shall I try and lay on and what is the furthest thing I can grab. This is where Mummy and Daddy regret painting part of his woodland tree directly above his changing station…
We found our voice and our scream. The letter sounds we cheered for quickly were followed by the highest pitched screams and shouts and always at the most opportune moments like echoey changing rooms. We’ve taken to watching TV with subtitles.
We got our first chompers. Two bottom front and three top front milk teeth. Useful for eating a whole strawberry which Daddy gave you to suck on. You like to panic us don’t you Munchkin?
We found the joy of helium One that can only be described by a video. Find this on my Instagram below.
Thanks for reading. What were your baby’s recent developments? Comment below.