Tag Archives: Toddler times

Learning through play.

‘Be careful what you teach, it might interfere with what they are learning.’

Magda Gerber.

Is there anything or anyone more careful than a toddler trying to execute a new skill or trying to achieve something that really matters to them?

Balancing a beanbag on your head might not seem like much to an adult, but to a toddler it is the pinnacle of careful concentration, skill and learning.  As well as a great deal of fun and a barrel full of belly laughs along the way of course, as the beanbag teeters and topples off, time and again.

Playing is learning at this age.  And it is such a pleasure to witness.

I don’t think she needs teaching as such.  Not yet.  Just the freedom to learn.  So often when I’m watching my little girl just being her, I can see her practically growing and gaining confidence in front of my very eyes.  It is a rare privilege.


Bringing me my camera lens cap, ever so carefully! *Mummy, very grateful it was only the lens cap she’d gotten her careful but still rather clumsy hands on!*

‘Children are not things to be moulded, but people to be unfolded.’

Jess Lair.


Out for a fresh watermelon juice one afternoon, and keeping herself entertained. *All the cool kids match their play things to their beverage (on their face, and in their glass!)!*

‘Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.’

Diane Ackerman


Tower building! A favourite activity at the moment. All that care and attention, so that she can delight in the great fun of knocking it down at the end!

My entry for this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Careful.

Merry go round moments – week 5.

Family fun: top shot.


Our little man, begrudgingly doing his tummy-time thing.  Neither of my children have liked being on their tummies.  I think they are both inherently too nosey and find it frustrating that their line of sight is restricted in this position.  His big sister grew to love tummy time when we plonked her on a pillow in front of a big mirror.  She was enchanted by this big-eyed, gurgling, smiling thing looking right at her.  Perhaps it is time to get the mirror out again?  Of course, when we were a one-child household, leaving a mirror on the floor, propped up against a wall was no problem.  These days, with a toddler racing round the place, exploring everywhere and picking up anything left lying around, it’s not quite so easy anymore.


Pause for thought.

After two weeks of celebrations, Dashain is drawing to a close.  It is the most auspicious event in the Nepalese calendar, marking the triumph of good over evil, gods over demons.  It is a period of huge celebration, each day having very particular rituals attached to it.  It is fascinating, and I’ve spent hours with Nepalese friends, drinking homemade chai and learning about Dashain and other facets of Nepali faith and culture.

Dashain is a time spent with family and friends, making offerings and receiving blessings, feasting, celebrating, and enjoying the festivities.  Of the Nepali’s I know, even the most cosmopolitan amongst them gets very excited about Dashain and the traditions and practices attached to it.  It’s wonderful to be part of, even if only on the very periphery.

We haven’t been able to go to any of the big Dashain celebration nights this year, because the little man is just not ready to be left with a babysitter yet.  It is disappointing, because this is very likely to be our last year spent in the heart of a Nepalese community.  It has been such a privilege.  They are genuinely some of the most beautiful people – inside and out – that I have ever met.  I am hoping that we will be able to join in with the Tihar celebrations which are coming up in November.  Very similar to Diwali, and lots of fun.  We’ll have to wait and see though.  Babies are fickle things when it comes to routines, especially, I’ve noticed, when your social plans depend on them!


Memories are made of this.

The time has come – potty training is upon us!  We had hoped to start last weekend, so that we’d have the entire half-term holiday week together to tackle it as a parenting team.  But with everyone in the household being laid low with a bad cold it didn’t seem like the best of times.  Feeling rotten and then also having to concentrate on a new and complex task didn’t seem fair to our girly at all!  We are only on day two, so it is still definitely a work in progress.

We have had very little in the way of actual successes, and a lot of ‘Nearly!  Good try!‘ moments.  Still, the sticker/sweeties reward chart is going down a storm, so hopefully that will keep motivation high, and it will be a relatively quick process.  Fingers crossed, otherwise we may need to go back to the drawing board.  Although I think that may be easier said than done as – after two days of relative freedom – our girly is now resolutely and very vocally against wearing daytime nappies!

The coming week promises to be interesting…


Laugh out loud.

How do you stop a toddler doing something you don’t want them to do?  In our house we explain why it’s a bad idea.  ‘Please move away from mummy’s coffee cup, it’s hot and it will hurt if you spill it on you’, ‘walk in the kitchen while mummy is trying to cook, running is dangerous in here’, ‘please move away if you want to swing your toy golf club.  Even if it was an accident it would really hurt your brother if you hit him by mistake’.  That kind of thing.

We are having to give out a lot of warning explanations at the moment.  I guess that is just how it is with toddlers, whilst they are widening their horizons and testing the boundaries.  Anyway, with the potty training underway we are obviously going for knickers rather than nappies now, but our girly had an afternoon where she just didn’t want to wear either.  So there we are saying ‘come on, we need to get some knickers on you’, and she just completely flipped our parenting model round on us and said ‘I can’t wear knickers, it’s dangerous’. She totally floored us!


Quick quote.

‘People ask me, what is special about my mentorship which has made Malala so bold and so courageous and so vocal and poised? I tell them, don’t ask me what I did. Ask me what I did not do. I did not clip her wings, and that’s all.’

Ziauddin Yousafzai


Music makes me happy.

Seven years married this week, and more than ten years together.  What a wonderful journey so far.  This week in October has a lot of meaning to us as a couple, as nearly every year since we’ve been together something wonderful or momentous has happened during it.

The first October we were together we took a holiday in Northumberland.  Lots of fantastic memories of long walks, windswept beaches, cosy English pubs, and hours and hours just basking in each other’s company.  On the long drive up there and throughout the holiday as we drove about we listened to KT Tunstall’s album, Eye to the Telescope.  Now every time I hear one of those tracks, it takes me back to Northumberland.

So it felt pretty special when Universe & U – my favourite song from the album – played out on the radio this week.


Good times.

A beautiful, sunny morning at the swimming pool.  Little man sleeping peacefully in the shade, our girly shrieking with glee whilst she swam and splashed. We are all real water lovers in our family, but it has been ages since we were last able to get down to the pool, for one reason and another.  The pure, unfettered joy on our girly’s face really brought it home to me that we must try harder to carve out non-negotiable time to make swimming a more regular family activity.  No more excuses!


The eyes have it.

If you describe (extra)ordinary as meaning ‘mundane and meaningful objects. Beautiful everyday things’, as Cheri Lucas Rowlands does for this week’s WordPress weekly photo challenge, then one thing jumps immediately to mind.  Or it did for me anyway.

Every one of us has the most (extra)ordinary eyes.  The iris gives not only the colour to our eyes, but also their subtle pattern of ridges, folds and flecks.  These markings are totally unique – even more so than our fingerprints.  And breath-takingly beautiful if you take the time to look at them up close. If you’ve ever loved someone, chances are you’ve spent hours studying their face, gazing into their eyes.

DSC_0001 (1)-1

These are my daughter’s eyes.  I’ve spent so much time already over her short life, learning her through them.  Bonding with her through our mutual adoring gaze, most especially in the months before she could speak, and her eyes helped her to communicate.

She chatters away now quite confidently, so she is no longer so reliant on her eyes as a means of expression.  But they still provide a beautiful window onto her – when her eyes light up with happiness, widen with surprise, pool with tears of sadness or frustration. Or, as in this case, when they twinkle with joy (as well as a dash of mischief and a generous dusting of glitter!) whilst she plays with a newly made batch of special sparkly play dough.