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First day looking after the newborn baby and toddler by myself!

Mum's first day alone with the newborn baby and toddler: what it was like and our schedule for the daySo my significant other went back to work today, meaning that I was all by myself looking after the newborn (less than 3 weeks old) and toddler (21 months).

 

I was unsure how it would go. If you’d asked me a few weeks ago what the day would look like I would have had no idea and probably thought I wouldn’t be able to do it at all. Fortunately it all went ok. There were a few “it never rains but it pours”… “you wait for a bus and then two come along at once” etc moments. Including, waiting in for the midwife to visit (who can come any time between 9-5) and another medical visit and then having them both turn up within a few minutes of each other. The midwife also brought a student midwife with her just to add to the party. I had the toddler (LL) in his highchair in the kitchen attempting to eat his lunch (which he refused to eat) and the baby resting in his chair so fortunately it all looked under control when the first visitor arrived. The house was a complete mess though and I was embarrassed; there was what looked like a pompom explosion in the living room from where LL was “playing” earlier (by playing I mean he threw pompoms everywhere). There was dirty laundry sitting on the floor outside the washing machine cupboard. There was washing drying in the bathroom. I had just managed to get dressed about half an hour before this so at least I wasn’t still in pyjamas but still looked a bit of a state (no makeup, brushed hair, brushed teeth etc of course). The midwife told me that I was doing well because sometimes people don’t managed to get dressed the first day they’re left alone with the baby.

 

Mum's first day alone with the newborn baby and toddler: Toddler enjoys colouring & crayons activity

Toddler drawing and crayons activity

I had started to pencil out a schedule and was hoping to be all structured with planned toddler activities but hadn’t managed to get much of this in place. However, I did have a look through the toys and picked out some activities including colouring, reading and playing with cars. The final daily/weekly structure is yet to come. I’ve been going through Pinterest pins and relevant sites for toddler activities though and making notes and lists. I’ve ordered some bits and pieces from amazon and ebay including sticky backed velcro and contact paper (sticky back plastic) for certain activity ideas and printed off some free printable sheets including colour matching activities.

 

Anyways, here’s what we got up to today
  • 7:45am – wake-up and breakfast
  • feed the baby while toddler watches TV (*gasp* – yes we watched TV, especially useful when I need some time with the baby)
  • colouring books with toddler
  • playing with toy cars
  • mummy finally gets dressed, plan to make lunch for toddler
  • 12ish – health visitors all decide to turn up at once. Place is a state. I can’t find the baby’s health book that they need. I all of a sudden have 3 health professionals in my small living room, a toddler who won’t eat his lunch and a newborn that’s being poked at by at least one of the health professionals (and doesn’t appreciate it).
  • toddler is offered alternative lunch that he doesn’t really eat much of
  • nap time for toddler (post-lunch) which he resists for a long time but finally falls asleep following story books and a song
  • mummy eats her lunch and sorts out baby
  • Mum's first day alone with the newborn baby and toddler: Out for a sensory nature walk with toddler & baby

    Out for a walk all together

    get us all ready to go out the house
  • 4pm – finally get out of the house using combination travel method of baby sling, pram and reins for toddler
  • plan to go to the park but toddler spends about 30 minutes picking up small stones and twigs on the walk there and enjoys tossing them off a small bridge into a stream below and refuses to stop doing this. I give in and just stand around waiting. Let’s call this a sensory nature walk!!
  • no time to go to park so walk back home, slowly, with toddler picking up multiple sticks, stones, conkers, etc
  • dinner time for toddler. Refuses his dinner. Baby crying for food. Try to satisfy both children at the same time. Toddler only wants to eat cream cheese for dinner. Tell him this is not acceptable
  • bath for toddler and bed – but significant other is now home and does this. Baby crying significantly. Has gas
  • toddler in bed. Parents eat dinner. Apple crumble and custard for pudding. Yum
My first day alone with the baby and toddler

We are 18 months old! Child development and update at 18 months

Typical baby/toddler development at 18-24 monthsWe are one and a half years old! Time has gone quickly; it doesn’t seem like that long ago I was planning his little first birthday get together.

 

What have we noticed? Well in the last few weeks he’s:
  • Been using more than one word at a time and
  • Making small sentences.
For example, he might say “off the bus”, or “kiss owl” (kiss his toy owl).
  • He can also repeat short sentences and strings of 2 or 3 words that I say to him, although I don’t know how much he understands as it’s only repetition and not generated by himself in context. But, that said, this seems different because recently he’d only say one word at a time.

 

Typical developments at 18-24 months:

This timeline of typical development from birth to five years old from the NHS outlines skills and milestones at different ages. There’s also a link to an article from the Zero to Three website on their page here on child development at 18-24 months, what your toddler can do and how to support emerging skills.

 

 

child development at 18-24 months: toddlers start to learn ball skillsAccording to the NHS:
  • Apparently it’s typical at 1.5-2 years old for children to start to put at least 2 words together.
  • At this age toddlers will also learn to kick or throw a ball.
That’s great because we’ve signed up for football classes and have been going for a few months. Initially he wasn’t kicking the ball but was picking it up and putting it in the goal (at least he understood the concept). But more recently he has been able to kick the ball, plus we’ve been out with the ball at the weekends too, which I think has helped because of the added practice of those motor and coordinator skills.
  • From 1.5 to 4 years children start to develop bladder control
We bought a potty but haven’t started any potty training yet. For a month or even two now he’s been able to tell us when he’s done a poo which I assume means that he is more aware of his bodily functions and can communicate that. My plan is to buy a story book about using a potty to start to introduce the concept to him. I don’t know if he can tell us in advance yet that he needs to do a poo. We haven’t discussed that with him but I suppose I could start talking with him about “tell me if you need to do a poo”, or something, and reinforcing or rewarding if he says something.
Zero to Three write that
  • at 18-24 months toddlers are starting to use their imagination, e.g. feeding a toy pretend food, making car noises when playing with cars
I’ve definiately noticed this. The Little Lovely has “fed” his milk to some of his toys before. Not sure we’ve heard car noises though. Extend on these skills by pretend and imaginative play!

 

I will drop this banana. Child development and update at 18 months

I will drop this piece of banana on the floor! For no apparent reason!

I’ve noticed increased “obstinate” behaviour!! 

OK, not a fair way of putting it, but what I mean is that when I ask LL not to do something, he pauses and does it anyway, like “drop” his food on the floor (he throws it sometimes, but then looks up and says “dropped”), or touch on the television screen. I repeatedly ask him not to do it and issue a consequence like turning the television off (*gasp*, yes, we watch some television) and asking him to pick up the food off the floor and put it in the bin (which he does). But he still repeats the same behaviour.
  • Apparently at this young age he might understand what i’m saying, but not have the self control to do much about it (according to the Zero to Three handout on 18-24 month old development). And this is a skill that can take some time to develop. I guess I’ll have to remain consistent, firm, and give clear instruction and consequence anyway.

 

For other areas of development at 18-24 months (and from prenatal to 36 months old) see this brilliant “baby brain map”, (zero to three) that outlines different areas that are developing in the brain (e.g. social and emotional) at this time.

 

 

 

Monster “feed me” bottle lids slot game, for baby and toddler

Monster Feeder slot game - fine motor skill development - fun DIY baby/toddler activity, from baby-brain.co.uk

This is a Monster “feed me” slot game, using bottle tops and an old plastic food pot

Another DIY, “junk” toy we made and had fun with!

 

  • Great for imagination

  • Curiosity

  • Developing fine motor skills with baby and toddlers

 

Monster "feed me" lids game - fine motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity! from baby-brain.co.uk

Take one old plastic container…

What I used:

  • An old plastic container with a lid (old raisin pot)

  • Masking tape

  • Colour pens and stickers for decoration

  • Lids from old milk jugs and other plastic bottles

 

1) Take plastic container

 

2) Cut a slot in the top

 

3) I covered the edges of the slot with masking tape to ensure any sharp edges were covered up. The tape also made it easier to draw a mouth on

 

4) I cut up some old stickers to use as eyes (or use any baby-safe decoration/feature you like)

Monster "feed me" lids game - fine motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity! from baby-brain.co.uk

Using stickers to add details

 

5) No picture for this but I coloured in some details on the eyes and drew teeth around the slot. I was going to do scary eyes and sharp pointy teeth but then decided maybe that was a bit too scary so toned it down a bit

 

6) Et voilà! He is done – a “monster” lid eater. I decided not to decorate the rest of the pot but I might put some coloured card around the edge, draw some hands on, stick feet on etc in the future

Monster "feed me" lids game - fine motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity! from baby-brain.co.uk

Food to feed your Monster with - lids game - motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity!

Food stickers – to feed your little monster with

 

Food to feed your Monster with - lids game - motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity!

Food to feed your Monster with – lids game – motor skill development – fun baby/toddler activity!

What to feed your Monster with:

We later added some food stickers to the bottle lids. We stuck them on together (aged 20 months when we did this) and talked about the foods. I used different coloured tops and mostly matched these to the food colours. Here’s some pictures of the “food” we fed the monster with.  Some of the stickers had to be updated after the toddler decided one day peel most of them off!

 

Monster feeder in action!

Here’s some pictures of my Little Lovely playing with the Monster Pot. He was 17 months here but he’s enjoyed slotting and sorting things for several months now and has had the motor skills to do it, so this activity might be suitable for babies and toddlers younger and older than this. We don’t know colours yet (we’re starting to learn) but we could extend the game in the future by asking baby to post certain colour lids.

 

Monster Feeder slot game for babies toddlers - great for fine motor skill development, imagination, arts & crafts, and fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

Practising that slotting!

 

 

Monster Feeder slot game for babies toddlers - great for fine motor skill development, imagination, arts & crafts, and fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

More fun with the game

 

Experimenting with what else he can do with the pot: what’s inside, what does it taste like and, can I wear it as a hat?

 

Monster Feeder slot game for babies toddlers - great for fine motor skill development, imagination, arts & crafts, and fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

Exploring the game further – what’s inside, tasting and hat wearing

 

 

Safety first: This activity was supervised. Please be mindful of sharp edges, choking risks with small parts and materials used to decorate the pot. Please decide based on your own baby and stage of development as to what might be appropriate for them.

 

 

Baby Friendly London – The London Aquarium

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities and days out reviewed! from Baby-Brain.co.uk

Sightseeing in London with baby, toddler, kids in tow, or just looking for a fun family day out?

 

The London Aquarium is a reasonably baby-friendly place to visit

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

View of the London Aquarium from across Westminster bridge (river Thames)

The London Aquarium (website)

County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB

  • **Children under 3 years old go FREE*** (according to their website at the time of writing this – but check before you go for updated information)
  • Nearest stations: London Waterloo and Westminster tube (**step free access at Westminster station** – meaning you can use the lifts to get your buggy up from the train to street level, no need to take steps or escalators).
  • Nearby attractions: London SouthbankThe London Eye (next door), The London Dungeon (next door), the river Thames (opposite), Westminster, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey (where WIlls and Kate got married)… and more (you are basically in the centre of a lot of interesting London sights).

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

See the penguins!

What is there to do?

See a range of sea life including the walk-through tunnel with sea life swimming over your head, the large shark tank, stingrays, turtles, jungle themed tanks including a crocodile, and the “Antarctic Ice Adventure” (this includes penguins but I personally wouldn’t call it a giant “adventure” – it’s ice themed and then there is one penguin area, behind glass, which is cool but the space is limited and when we visited there were quite a few people trying to get a look at the penguins).
There is a small area with an assistant where you can look at and touch some non-threatening sea-life. Otherwise, you’re asked not to touch the fish or use flash photography.
There is also a lot about sea life conservation and protecting the seas.

 

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

What to eat?

Food

We visited as part of a group nursery trip so we were able to use a small group dining room that including little chairs and tables for the children. I don’t know if this is freely available. There were a few snack machines as we went around the aquarium.
  • Outside the acquarium there are many food options. Just next door as you exit the gift shop, without having to go outside the building, there is a McDonalds.
  • If you just pop outside there is a fish and chips place inside “county hall” which I think houses other eating options including – for more information on eating options see this page from trip advisor on local cafes and restaurants.
  • There are also food and drink kiosks outside near the London Eye and by the river Thames with some seating, so you could get a drink and snack and look out at the sights.
I personally went round the corner and had a nice hot chocolate from the Starbucks whilst my Little Lovely slept after his day of running around the aquarium shouting FISH all the time (aged 16 months).

 

Baby and Toddler facilities

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

Watching fish

There are changing facilities and toilets dotted around the route inside the aquarium. I didn’t see any specific bottle warming equipment or breastfeeding areas but there are areas you can sit, for example by some of the large display tanks, if you wanted to feed there.

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

Fish!

Accessibility for prams and those less able to use stairs

There were no steps at the main entrance. If you enter from Waterloo bridge there are steps down to the aquarium, London Eye and general riverside walkway area, but there is a step free entrance if you walk around back and come out facing the London Eye. Walk to the left past the Eye and you will be at the aquarium.
There are lifts to all areas inside the aquarium.  I didn’t have to take any stairs with my pram. Most of it seemed to be on one level but I remember at least one lift that replaces one short flight of stairs, and then a lift at the end up to the gift shop.
There were about 3 small steps as I left the building (going past McDonalds), but maybe there is a step free exit point if you ask staff. I bumped the buggy down the 3 or so steps.

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Eye, River Thames. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities and days out reviewed! from Baby-Brain.co.uk

The London Eye is just “next door” to the Aquarium

 

 

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