Monthly Archives: May 2013

Cracking the fear of mess…with very clean shaving foam!


I’ve mentioned before about how it seems that boys, certainly mine, are often more reticent about getting messy than their girl counterparts.  I haven’t had time to research whether this is anything more than anecdotal, but in any case, my little lad just couldn’t resist the temptation (and clean smell!) of shaving foam … eventually!

I started out by spraying the foam into the letters ‘T’, ‘M’, ‘D’ and ‘H’ and we talked about these (a current interest).  I’d also put out some implements for him to use to manipulate the foam, rather than having to use his hands, thanks to Ghostwritermummy and this post.

Toby immediately picked up a paintbrush and wiped out the letters, even daring to poke the brush with his finger to try it out.

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He asked for me to get it off, but I said that I had some on my fingers and I thought it was fine, which satisfied him and he continued.  I made a T in the foam



But he wasn’t yet ready to make marks with his fingers himself.

After a bit more brushing, he got a bit bolder…

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…and then painted mummy…



…and then his knee!



He was then in the tuff spot and discovered how slippy the foam is.  This he found hilarious and particularly enjoyed making marks with his legs and feet while Daddy held him:

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I then took Edspire’s lead (here) and involved him in the tidy up bu giving him a bowl of warm soapy water and a sponge…

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…just as much fun and job done!

I’m feeling positive about our messy play today and am glad we are no longer shaving foam virgins!


Sensory play with the baby


Most of my posts have been about Toby and his play but Harry has also been enjoying some sensory play.

He enjoyed the sand pit in the sunshine

He has loved playing with the green rice.  I only had to dissuade him from eating it at the beginning, he then found other interesting things to do with it.

He picked it up in his fist and dropped it,

he kicked his feet in it,

and used different objects to swipe at it and marveled when they tipped some rice out.

He used his whole body to feel the material and he listened to the sounds that it and the tins, whisks etc made.


He has also enjoyed some fibre optics (thank you  Fred and your mummy!)…



and watching his brother look at a glowing bath toy in a bowl of water beads



Lots of sensations to fire up those 7 month old neurons!

Fizzing ice and painting with ice – part 2


I’d seen this idea on ‘Growing a Jeweled Rose’ here, and thought we’d give it a go! Unfortunately, we were low on materials and my bicarb of soda was a bit out of date (this is a bit how it has been recently, need to be more organised!).

The night before, I prepared a mixture of bicarb and water (1 part of each) and poured it into the ice cube tray.  I then dropped some food colouring over the tray to create blobs rather than a mixed colour.  The bicarb makes the water cloudy and, therefore, the ice white so the ‘blobs’ looked quite good.

The next day, we tipped them into the tuff spot.



Toby enjoyed picking them up and then dropping them, liking the sound they made.

We then put them into a bowl and Toby squirted them with vinegar…at which point they erupted and started to fizz!



We listened to the fizz and wrinkled our noses at the strong smell of the vinegar.

Then Toby made a connection back to when we had played with ice before and wanted to pour water over them. So we filled up his spray bottle, poured it out and watched…



Toby talked about the ice melting (yes, he remembered the word!) and that the water had stopped the fizz.

We then tipped the contents of the bowl back into the tuff spot and Toby realised that the powdery residue could be used to make marks.  Just recently, he has been recognising ‘T for Toby’ everywhere in the environmental print and so he requested that I make a T


We then did the same with an ice cube.  He also asked for the letter for ‘Mummy’



I’m loving watching all the theory that I know turn into practice with my own little man.  As a teacher, I have taught about the importance of exploring environmental print with young children and just playing with the things that take their interest, but when you can actually see the cogs turning in your own little one, day to day, it’s nothing short of amazing!

Anyway, we then got the ice paint back out of the freezer (I’m so rubbish at doing freezer cooking…probably a good job as there’s no space for food!).


He blobbed


He dunked them in water


He put them in and out of the tin, matching the colours


More blobbing


Then blobbing and stomping in the blobs!


Creating quite interesting patterns…


And getting really quite messy!

Then it was back to the ice cubes and this time, he wanted to put them all back into the tray – counting as he did!  He has just got one to one correspondence (pointing at each object as it is assigned a number and so realising that objects count as 1 and can only be counted once until a total is reached) but we got a bit stuck at 12!



This really was quite an extended play for Toby, full of fun and learning. I loved it!

Painting with Ice – part 1


We had a brief glimpse of summer over the May bank holiday weekend and so our messy play could finally move outside.  For this activity, we froze some ready mixed paint in a muffin tin with string hanging out to keep hold of when frozen:



We then released them from the tins by standing it in some hot water for a few seconds.  Toby then had an explore.

He dabbed and dragged, likening the marks to train tracks and the blobs to Tidmouth Sheds

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Unfortunately, potty issues were taking up a lot of his thinking at the time and so this was as far as we got.  Though I refroze the ice paint blocks  for another try…


Potty Power!


So no. 1 son has started the whole process of potty training.

He’s doing so well…10 days in and hardly any accidents.

I, on the other hand, am a wreck!!

Everyone talks about how much better it is to not have to change nappies, but I can hand on heart say that nappies are a damn sight easier! It’s not just the “time for potty now, Toby” that goes round like an echo all day, but the constant wee watch and heightened sense awareness of my son’s every wiggle.  It is truly exhausting.

It also means that my little boy is not a baby any more.  This whole process has, unsurprisingly, coincided with a number of developments in language, confidence, independence and cognition that have, in equal measure, filled me with joy and mild melancholy at the passing of another stage of his life.  

Mostly, I’m thrilled with the little human that I am getting to know more and more each day but will be glad when this new phase is well established and I can let go of the constant state of tension….Quick! Where’s the potty?….


Well done Toby, Mummy is very proud of you xx

Birthday Bubbles




Today is Matilda Mae’s 1st birthday.

We, like so many others, wanted to show how much we care

Some chose words, beautiful words;

Some said it through play, of the messy variety;

some with cake and birthday teas.

And we,


blew bubbles


But there are no pictures of bubbles floating high as all I could do when they had been set free was to hold my little boy, who blew them, and kiss his cheek.  I wish so much that Jennie could do the same to her birthday girl.


Happy Birthday little one and thank you for shining happily on your family today x

Momentous May Day


Where I work is on top of a hill.  Today, I left the car park and drove down that hill with a heart as light as a feather, knowing that I had just made the best decision I’d ever made.  I’ve taken the plunge…I’m not going back to work!!  Well, at least not for another year.  I feel jubilant. I feel elated. I feel that a seismic shift has happened for me….Mrs ‘follow the career path, do not stray from the straight and narrow’ has decided to go against what might have been expected to spend more time with my children while they are so little.  I am in no way passing judgement on other mothers who work but am just recognising how big this is for me.

Everything has changed for me in the last few months, well really since Harry’s birth.  That little boy has taught me how to really love and accept my children for the wonderful miracles that they are and Jennie at Edspire and other mummy bloggers have taught me about how precious their little lives are and also how fun it can be spending time with them once a bit of effort has been made.  I thank them all and wish with all my heart that Matilda Mae was still here but her legacy has left a rather large mark on this family, helping us to make this momentous May-day decision.

It is Matilda’s 1st birthday tomorrow and we will be blowing bubbles and lighting candles and I will shed tears for her mummy who always knew what I have only just come to.  Thank you Jennie for pointing me in the right direction and I will hold you in my heart tomorrow.

It’s going to be hard, particularly financially, but I’m so happy and that just tells me that this is the right thing for us.  Yippee!!