All Hallow’s Eve

As a Christian, I’ve never been brought up to enjoy Halloween.  As a child myself we’d go to a big party at Church instead, where all families were invited, and the community as well to do crafts, watch fireworks, have a bonfire and eat hotdogs. 

And now we have Joel, it seems harder to avoid Halloween.  It’s everywhere this year.  Commercialism has completely taken over.  The shops in the high street are decked out in orange and black with cobwebs everywhere.  I dislike the commercialism of it a lot.  It does feel a bit as though we’re being duped into having a holiday forced on us and people are going for it.

As a country we do like an excuse for a party, and this year, I’m evaluating my thoughts on the whole Halloween in light of having Joel.

His nursery were having a Halloween party today.  I’d told them Joel wouldn’t be dressing up, but would be attending and it made me worry that this was the last year he’d not notice he looked different.  My friend from Church also said Trudy wouldn’t be dressed up.  Then they changed the theme to bonfire.  Whether this was for us or other parents didn’t want the Halloween conotation I don’t know.

On taking Joel this morning, half the children were pumpkins or skeletons, some were princesses and about half were in normal clothes.  Joel was wearing a dinosaur jumper with jeans.  Maybe he could have been a pirate or something like that.  I just didn’t know what to do for the best.

Am I wrong to dislike Halloween?  It just holds conotations of evil and paganism for me, and I really dislike trick or treaters.  As a Christian we believe in evil.  And yes, we believe that Jesus has conquered it so why should I be afraid or feel that Halloween is letting the devil win?!  I disagree with letting children going to knock on strangers doors and beg for chocolates and how greedy it makes them.  I hate having surly teenagers appear at my door just wearing a ‘scream’ mask and expecting to be given chocolate and if it’s not good enough, telling me so.  I don’t think that’s a good example to set children.  I’d like Joel to become a polite boy!!

But am I being a bad Christan by being a party pooper?  Will Joel resent not being allowed to participate?  What I think I might have to do is organise a proper party next year in a hall.  I’d not mind fancy dress, and chocolate but under proper supervision, and with an emphasis on family and fun.  Because who minds a bit of apple bobbing or doughnuts on a string?  Games are fun.  I guess shutting myself away and ignoring it is not the way to go anymore! 

I’ve listened to a talk given by our minister on a podcast :- link here if interested and I think I do need to evaulate where I stand on the matter and remember that in Jesus, we already have the victory and focus on the family fun side in an evangical setting.  Which I guess we’re called to do in the Bible anyway.  We should use Halloween to be in the world and encourage others, and share the good news.  This may sound a bit bible bashy to some, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!! 

Joel’s Christmas Pics

Joel’s nursery have sent me these proofs which I think are mainly very cute indeed, although I wasn’t happy with two of them that I would buy if straighter, so on emailing, I’ve had them amended!

The smiley ones are my favourite.  He looks a bit too scared in two of them, but they’ll make a nice present for Grandparents this Christmas!  The photographer was a bit loud, and strange, and I think that’s reflected!  Plus, Joel went first so it was all a bit new to him!  Not that he’s a stranger to cameras in his face I guess!

Daddy Day-Care

Steve certainly has a different parenting approach to mine.

Yesterday we were eating some dates and Joel wanted one.  I said it wasn’t a good idea, but if he must to remove the stone as it was a hazard for him, so Steve just gave it him and was shocked that Joel put it whole in his mouth.  Then he panicked and turned to me to tell me that Joel had put the whole date including stone in his mouth. 

Whilst he was panicking, I had to go over, retrieve the date, remove the stone and put it back in his mouth.  Which he then promptly rejected as being tainted!!

I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again.    Men!

Uh-Oh and Gesticulations….

I don’t know if it’s a new craze going round nursery or not, but at the moment, ‘uh-oh’ is heard a lot in our house.

Something happens to the television picture = ‘uh-oh’
Something gets knocked over = ‘uh-oh’
Something is deliberatly done just so the little man can say = ‘uh-oh’!!!

He loves it!  And it’s not just him.  His friend Trudy is saying it as well and they’re at nursery together.

It’s cute though.

And his gestures are so funny.  If we say ‘where is something?’ He holds his hands up, as though he’s shrugging, and he’ll purse his mouth in an ‘oh’ shape, as though he’s thinking really hard about where something might be.  He’s quite the dramatist at the moment with it all.  Maybe he’ll be on the stage before too long.  He loves the attention he gets from it, and the fact he can make us all laugh.

Also, rather than developing his words like normal babies, he’s developing his gestures.  So rather than saying ‘more’ like others we know, he holds his hand out, and makes a grasping gesture to mean more.  I wonder whether we shouldn’t just let him have more, and make him try to ask for it.  The trouble is, we know exactly what he means and we give it to him. 

His walking is really good now.  But try to take him for a walk and he howls, cries to be picked up, and drags his feet and sits down in a strop.  Show him a park or somewhere he can run around and he’ll run around for ages.  Steve took him to a field with a football and he was playing and running for about 90 minutes!!  That’s like a whole football match!  But just regular walking is a bit difficult at the moment, despite us trying to encourage him.  I guess he still counts as being young for walks like that at the moment, but I do worry we’re setting ourselves up for a stroppy walking child later on.  We’ll see!

Techno Baby…..

I’m on Steve’s I-pad today, still haven’t replaced my laptop yet. This thing is awful to type on. I’m a touch typer and using two fingers feels rather alien to me. I eonder whether I can touch type on e keyboard.  Hmm a little bit.  I miss my lap top.  Joel on the other hand, he loves the iPad.  He knows how to swipe to open it up, then turns the pages to get to his page of apps.  I’ve downloaded him lots of children’s free apps.  At the moment he loves the Fisherprice ones.  They’re also on Steve’s iPhone. He loves talking ginger the cat and he has some singing ones and story ones too.

He is a technically clever baby and can do things on the ipad that Steve wishes he could but doesn’t know how!

He does also enjoy his other toys still though and will play very nicely on his own with his mega bloks, he likes sitting on his v-tech trike, and books are a big favourite at the moment.  When we take him to bed he’ll point to his book shelf and say “burr” which we think must mean b ook, and so we read him a bed tie story.  Sometimes he’ll try to drag. It out, more with Adaddy than Mummy, and daddy has been known to read all the books! Mummy is more strict and will read no more then two before putting Joel in his cot!

With Christmas coming up he’ll be getting a whole lot of new toys so we’re going to need to make some space I guess.That’ll be difficult.  We’ve got him a 2nd hand Brio train track, In the Night Garden books, Two Wow cars,and I was looking at the Aquadoodle sets as I’ve read good reviews of them and heard good things about them.  We’ve asked family for new books to fuel his new love of them, and a toy vacuum cleaner as he loves our real one and the toy ones at toddler group!

I’m about half way rough my Christmas shopping.  Trying to be leaner this year but it’s hard when there’s so many more to buy for!  I can’t wait though.  I’m getting excited already!

Hyper baby?!

How is it that when, for example like last night, Joel was up from about 1.30 till 6am, he still got up at 7.30 for breakfast as normal?  And was fine?!!  He was energetic, playful, happy??????

Whereas Steve and I have been sleepy zombies for most of the day.  I got up with him 2-4, then Steve took over 4-6 and I got up with him at 7.30 and we’re both shattered and Joel has just been his normal happy self. 

Can toddlers do without that much sleep?  Because I certainly can’t.

We’ve tried to tire him out today, so he’s been to town for the Italian market this morning, he did some serious toddling around and about, and after a nap of 1.5 hours, we went to Cannock Chase and he must have toddled about 1/2 mile, and been out in the fresh air, splashed in muddy puddles, found interesting things like pine cones, sticks etc… made fun noises on the drums, sat on the fish, and generally enjoyed it all.

After a tea of cheesy pasta with broccoli, and a yoghurt for pudding, he played and played and played until 7.30 then had hysterics when I picked him up to carry him upstairs.  But once we got up there he calmed down and went straight to sleep. 

Lets hope he sleeps all night long tonight.  And we can see whether it will take a full on exercise day to make sure he sleeps well every night!!

Most Amusing Parenthood Test

This has been circulating on the Daily Mail and it tickled me to say the least!!…..

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Test 1: Preparation

Women: To prepare for pregnancy

1. Put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag down the front.

2. Leave it there.

3. After 9 months remove 5% of the beans.

Men:  To prepare for children

1. Go to a local chemist, tip the contents of your wallet onto the counter and tell the pharmacist to help himself

2. Go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.

3. Go home. Pick up the newspaper and read it for the last time.

Test 2: Knowledge

Find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels and how they have allowed their children to run wild.

Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behaviour.

Enjoy it. It will be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.

Test 3: Nights

To discover how the nights will feel:
1. Walk around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 4 – 6kg, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly.

2. At 10pm, put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight and go to sleep.

3. Get up at 11pm and walk the bag around the living room until 1am.

4. Set the alarm for 3am.

5. As you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2am and make a cup of tea.

6. Go to bed at 2.45am.

7. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off.

8. Sing songs in the dark until 4am.

9. Put the alarm on for 5am. Get up when it goes off.

10. Make breakfast.

Keep this up for 5 years. LOOK CHEERFUL.

Test 4: Dressing Small Children

1. Buy a live octopus and a string bag.

2. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that no arms hangout.

Time Allowed: 5 minutes.

Test 5: Cars

1. Forget the BMW. Buy a practical 5-door wagon.

2. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.

3. Get a coin. Insert it into the CD player.

4. Take a box of chocolate biscuits; mash them into the back seat.

5. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Test 6: Going for a walk

a. Wait.

b. Go out the front door.

c. Come back in again.

d. Go out.

e. Come back in again.

f. Go out again.

g. Walk down the front path.

h. Walk back up it.

i. Walk down it again.

j. Walk very slowly down the road for five minutes.

k. Stop, inspect minutely and ask at least 6 questions about every piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way.

l. Retrace your steps.

m. Scream that you have had as much as you can stand until the neighbours come out and stare at you.

n. Give up and go back into the house.

You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.

Test 7: Conversations with children

Repeat everything you say at least 5 times.

Test 8: Grocery Shopping

1. Go to the local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child – a fully grown goat is excellent. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat.

2. Buy your weekly groceries without letting the goat(s) out of your sight.

3. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys.

Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Test 9: Feeding a 1 year-old

1. Hollow out a melon

2. Make a small hole in the side

3. Suspend the melon from the ceiling and swing it side to side

4. Now get a bowl of soggy cornflakes and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon while pretending to be an aeroplane.

5. Continue until half the cornflakes are gone.

6. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on the floor.

Test 10: TV

1. Learn the names of every character from the Wiggles, Barney, Teletubbies and Disney.

2. Watch nothing else on television for at least 5 years.

Test 11: Mess

Can you stand the mess children make? To find out:

1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains

2. Hide a fish behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.

3. Stick your fingers in the flowerbeds and then rub them on clean walls. Cover the stains with crayon. How does that look?

4. Empty every drawer/cupboard/storage box in your house onto the floor and proceed with step 5.

5. Drag randomly items from one room to another room and leave them there.

Test 12: Long Trips with Toddlers

1. Make a recording of someone shouting ‘Mummy’ repeatedly. Important Notes: No more than a 4 second delay between each Mummy. Include occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet.

2. Play this tape in your car, everywhere you go for the next 4 years.

You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Test 13: Conversations

1. Start talking to an adult of your choice.

2. Have someone else continually tug on your shirt hem or shirt sleeve while playing the Mummy tape listed above.

You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

Test 14: Getting ready for work

1. Pick a day on which you have an important meeting.

2. Put on your finest work attire.

3. Take a cup of cream and put 1 cup of lemon juice in it

4. Stir

5. Dump half of it on your nice silk shirt

6. Saturate a towel with the other half of the mixture

7. Attempt to clean your shirt with the same saturated towel

8. Do not change (you have no time).

9. Go directly to work

You are now ready to have children. ENJOY!!

Night Terrors

You know how I said Joel goes from sleeping well to not sleeping well?

We’re going through a not sleeping well spell at the moment.

And we’re all rather shattered from it.

We’ve been taking turns at night, and two nights ago was Steve’s turn.  And he got Joel suffering what we think could be night terrors.  He woke up howling at 11.30, pointing to the corners of his room, absolutely inconsolable.

It was awful.  We took him into our room and into bed with us but he howled more as it was too dark.  Is this when babies develop a fear of the dark?  I don’t know.  He was not a happy bunny.  In case of teething we doped him up with teething powders, calpol and calgel on his gums.  This seemed to help a little, but also wake him up, and so he was feeling happier, awake and would not go to sleept ill 3.30am.  Steve took him downstairs and he played like a little maniac for two hours with megabloks.  It’s all about the megabloks at the moment.

Anyway, last night was my turn on sleep duty.  And I went to bed early, and Joel woke up at 10.30pm howling.  So I got him out, and we cuddled and read the ‘Hug’ book which he loves, and he points to Bobo’s mummy and says ‘Muh-ma’ (I hope he doesn’t think I’m a chimp!!) but he knows that she is Bobo’s mummy.

Then I settled him back in his cot, his night lights were on, and as I went to leave the room, he cried, so I got into the spare bed next to him, and the next thing I knew, it was 6.30am.  So no terrors during the wee small hours.  Maybe we’ll have to leave the lights on every night now.  Or at least get something smaller as his current night lights are a fairy light tree that we had at our wedding!!  It’s not the dimmest light but he likes it.

So We Had A Nice Day….

We had a nice family weekend with my sisters all visiting for some point of it.

Peek a boo tennis player

I see you!!

Theo and Isaac on their bikes!

A man and his dog on a lead and Steve and Joel on a lead!

Riding a fish!

Sitting on a log

Clambering on a giant dragonfly

 Sarah, Aaron and the twins came on Saturday, so in the afternoon we all headed out to Birches Valley in Cannock Chase.  They have a lovely mile long sculpture walk which they pedalled around, and Joel had a bit of a toddle and play.  There was a great park as well, which was admittedly a bit big for Joel but he had a good go at the slides and swings there.

Joel loves slides
Trying out the monkey bars but he’s a bit small!
 When we got home we had hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows to warm us up, and Joel loved his from a mug, and grabbed it to down every last drop that he could from it and got cream all over his face!

Then we had a hot dog supper with onions and ketchup although Joel took his sausage out and therefore had a ketchup sandwich for his tea!!

And once it got dark, we had a box of fireworks that Steve lit in the garden which the twins loved, but Joel got a bit bored of once he realised he wasn’t allowed outside with the big boys.


One in focus boy and one blurry boy!

Then on Sunday Amy, Karl and Martha joined us and we had a bit of a relaxing day with a bit of a walk, a nice Sunday dinner and it was nice for the cousins to play, although Joel and Martha are still a bit small for Theo and Isaacs games!!  although Joel tried to keep up with them and got a bit in the way poor thing!!

And neither were terribly happy about having to sit on laps for a group photo!!!
Martha at 7 months is nearly as big as Joel at 18 months!