I recognise this.

I have a younger brother and sister. We are more spaced out in years than my eldest children are so I was fairly aware of my brother, at least, as he grew up through the stages of little boy hood.

There used to be traffic jams by every skirting board snaking their way round our house and tripping up unsuspecting sisters. I’ve been waiting for them to arrive here and yesterday, they did.

I do love him.

Plus, he played with it for hours, so long as no one tried to turn Peppa off in the background. ;)

Reasons for having a toddler #487.

I love him, I really do. I love that he is no longer a baby and I love that he’s beginning to grow into someone who talks and has opinions and can comment on life. I love that he has favourite programmes and can express his requirements at different times about what he wants to watch, or play or engage with.

I love that he will get on his balance bike now and ride down to the playground, full of pride at being a big boy and still little enough to want Genga the monkey to come too.

 

Taking Genga the monkey for a bike ride.

I really love that he can play games with Playmobil now and tell stories to himself or come home from nursery and explain what he did and give me an insight into his day. I love that he battles up against Amelie, the only one brave enough to take her on and tells her if she is naughty.

This month, while we wait for outside to be somewhere he can spend his days, he’s played a lot of games in the living room. There have been farm games and car games and games where he matches up coloured pieces from board games we own and games that make a lot of mess and Lego and Playmobil and everything in between.

He’s also had times, as he learns to outgrow a nap through the day, when he’s needed sofa time (with whichever sister is least naughtiest at the time!) or with me or Daddy. He’s a full on boy with lots of energy but when he needs a break, he tends to need to really zone out.

And so, again, Netflix is our friend.

pocoyo

Top of the Pops this month has been Pocoyo, a charming little cartoon with Stephen Fry narrating that combines moral code, friendship hints and a good bit of silliness all so cutely combined that we all end up watching it. On a particularly fraught tummy ache day, we watched about 10 hours of it – possibly the only voice in the world I could listen to for that long! And it looks GORGEOUS, a really clean, carefully thought out and engaging cartoon that has enough slapstick to be funny for all of us and stick in the mind of a 3 year old.

Other hot favorites this month have been Fireman Sam (just who IS Norman’s dad?), Dora (sob) and Dinosaur train which all ring the changes a bit from the interminable Peppa Pig who we have to hunt for elsewhere. Netflix has a KIDS! tab on the sign in page which groups his favourites, plus new ideas, together and means that if he needs a short fix, we can get to them easily.

This last month has also seen another big change; after 3 years I no longer cuddle Bene to bed for over an hour every night. I miss him and he’s not yet weaned but he’s gradually learning to settle himself. Sometimes it is a short cuddle with milk and sometimes it is nursery rhymes via a sub on Youtube and sometimes, if he’s accidentally napped in the day, he goes to bed with the Netflix app on my phone for a while. It’s not perfect and it is so far from how I wanted or intended to do it but I reckon that over the last two years I have spent nearly 800 hours getting him down to bed. That’s a lot of productivity (even if it is a lovely mummy and baby  boy time) and was affecting relationships with Max, the girls and my own sense of well being. We drifted into a change of routine remarkably easily in the end and while I don’t really like digital babysitting, it has made everyone happier over all. Max and I sometimes even get to talk to each other now!

Disclosure: we belong to the Netflix Streamteam.

 

 

Peppa Pig’s Golden Boots.

Last week Bene, Josie and I had a bit of a half term treat thanks to the Peppa Pig team who invited us to go and watch the new Peppa Pig 10 year anniversary episode at our local Showcase Cinema. Obviously Josie accompanied us only to be part of his first ever cinema trip and not because she quite fancied indulging in a bit of escapism.

Although Peppa is the same age as Josie, we didn’t become familiar with her until my sister and nephew and niece introduced us to the series a year or so ago. Bene is OBSESSED with Peppa and I quite often come in to find half the family mesmerised by their ‘favourite’ episodes (even Daddy). Obviously Bene is George but the series in general amuses us quite a lot and it is perfect for tired boys at the end of the day. (Especially tired boys who only need about 9 hours sleep a night and take ages to settle down!)

Bene hadn’t been to the cinema before; he’s been a bit too small to sit patiently in a film the older girls want to see and too small to manage anything long on his own – plus, it is just expensive to have a family trip of 7 people! – so he loved this. The adverts, the seats, the atmosphere – he was so excited that he just bounced, gripping mine and Josie’s hands as tight as tight.

peppapig10yrs

The Milkshake team did some fun link pieces between the ‘Peppa-sodes’ involving plenty of snorting and singing and we watched some old favourites as well as Peppa’s first 15 minute show, all about her Golden wellies. it was lovely.

And I finally got to see the episode rewarding the amazing Miss Rabbit, a woman so amazingly busy everyone else should feel completely inadequate in comparison. She even had a shop on the moon this time! All the favourites were in the main episode, even the rocket ;)

Bene loved it and it was perfect to have some breaks in the Peppa-iness, even though I think we all know they can watch it back to back for hours. Even the familiar episodes were fun – toddlers like familiar (again, don’t we all know it?!?)

First cinema trip a huge thumbs up from the boy. I bought him the figures on the way home. #softmummy #peppapig #goldenboots

We came out to a special certificate and then I got stung at the shops on the way home for some figurines… I never learn!

Thanks to the Peppa Pig and Showcase team for our tickets.

I was only just watching him….

I was right there, sat in the room with him, keeping an eye. I only got up for a minute, just to pop some books back on the shelf. Okay, he was a bit precariously balanced but he was quiet, behaving well, busy playing on the dresser edge with something or other.

So I just popped to the other room. Josie was still with him. Pocoyo reigned in the room. All was well.

I’d been congratulating myself only hours earlier. Josie asked why toys had a 3+ age on them, so I explained about small parts and choking and how it related more to that than play readiness.

“So in 2 days, Bene will be sensible enough for all toys?”

“Yes,” I said. “He pretty much is anyway. He doesn’t tend to put things in his mouth any more.”

Sensible.

Yes.

NO!!!!!

“Mummy… a tissue! A tissue!”

And I looked at him and the panic as he batted at his nose and I knew exactly what he had done – and what with.

That side of the dresser had the lights from the Lego Lighthouse that took a tumble last week all sat on it and ready to be put in the Lego-mash box. NOW I remember this. NOW!

He’s fiddled with them all week – but now… NOW… he had fiddled one right up his nose.

You’ve got to wonder why they do these things so out of the blue and why, if do it they must, they do it on a Saturday evening at 6.30pm?

I tried all the ordinary things like blowing up the other side and into his mouth but it was just where I could ‘almost’ see it and I didn’t want to make it worse.

So off we went to a&e where were were roughly the 487th toddler with Lego up his nose of the day.

He was very brave, as it happens, and it came back out with forceps and minimal wailing.

Yay. A&E #LegoUpNose

Yay. A&E #LegoUpNose

And this Monday I got my monthly cheerful call from my Health Visitor.

“I see Bene has been in a&e…. AGAIN.”

Sigh.

 

 

Nearly 3.

The boy will be 3 next week. Hard to believe that the bump that felt like it would never be born, who became Marmite and who was that terrifying, ever sleeping, jaundiced scrap of a baby for so long, is now a wild, walking, talking, dustbin lorry loving little boy.

Highlight of the week, the rubbish truck.

My Timehop from a year ago tells me he was just beginning to gather vehicle words a year ago. Now he’s more or less conversational, at that delicious age where they find ways round what they want to say with the words they have and where the thoughts and words that come out are not the words that or ideas that you put in.

He adores Mr Tumble, Peppa Pig, pirates, all vehicles, stirring up pretend cakes, drawing, endless reading of stories and a large amount of of making willy, bum and poo jokes. And trumps. He does like people trumping.

He never stops bouncing or running and throwing things. He rarely sleeps before 10pm, even if he doesn’t have a nap, which he has pretty much stopped having now. He’s potty trained (but scared of the toilet and of poos!)

A heap of fab presents but the run away success has been the mr tumble magazine & free gift from his stocking.

He really loves his mummy. He loves us all very much in fact. He’s amazing at please, thank you and asking people if they’ve had a nice day. (“Nice day? Nice run? Nice gym? Nice toilet?”)

He’s clearly going to be a gymnast, since he already does dive rolls off the sofa arm.

Pirate Lego is a huge hit!

Lego is a hit. He’s great at imaginative play actually; soft toys are an unexpected hit with him.His detail recall is remarkable; he clearly remembers our holiday last summer and all the people and animals. He’s gone off jigsaws but can count to 10 and is currently obsessed with nursery rhymes, either me singing them, on an app or to listen to at night.

He played Groovy Girls all afternoon.

Just lately he’s started attaching to random objects for a few days. He sleeps in a bed but trots through to me in the night, always with his pillow or blanket or a toy in his arms.

He’s still breastfed, making him the longest standing nurser of all of them. :roll:

And....... Melt.

And he is very, very loved.

Getting up this morning was a challenge.

And very rarely like this.

The boy.

Alarmingly adept at gadgets, for a child with limited access to them.

He thinks this face is very funny.

Really quite mental.

Alarming hair; he seems to have grown a tail and a crest. Does he think he's a moorhen

His hair is slightly ridiculous.

Out on a walk with the menfolk.

He and Daddy are very big mates. Their favourite thing, after throwing rugby balls, is looking at classic car books and seeing who would like which car. He can spot a Bentley and a Ferrari.

He’s just stopped going to nursery 3 days a week (Xmas rush) and gone down to 2 days. He’s going to try out a local playgroup soon because like Fran, he’s really not a big fan of being at home all day. I miss him, but I’m glad he likes it and we have a lot of fun when he is at home.

I’ve tried very hard to make sure he’s grown up in the sun and unencumbered by the shadow of his brother. Last week he sang “Baby Freddie, Baby Freddie, where are you?” and looked at me enquiringly.

It’s hard to know how much he understands of all of that. I am quite sure that he is his own person though.

It’s hard to believe we were ever without him. A few weeks ago the original 6 of us were Xmas shopping at the end of his nursery day. It suddenly hit us strongly how quickly we can drop back into that format of family – and then hit us instantly fiercely how awful that would be.

Love you, Bene boy.