Friday, 10 May 2013

Xander's First Swim!

As mentioned in my last post a couple of weeks ago we took Xander swimming for the first time!

We are off on holiday in a few days time (to visit relatives in Spain) and whilst there we hope to go swimming several times and so wanted to get Xander a bit familiar with the concept of swimming so it wasn't a completely new experience.

We opted to take Xander to a swimming pool called Coral Reef in Bracknell. It is not our nearest pool but we had been informed by other parents it was a good place to take little ones. If you live anywhere near we wholeheartedly recommend it as a place to take kids swimming! It was a fantastic experience from start to finish!

Xander absolutely loved swimming! He was a complete dare devil! Loving the water cannons and splashing mummy and daddy! We was amazed by the way the kicking in the water came natural to him! He adored the experience completely and was clearly disappointed to get out!

Below is a little review of all the features Coral Reef in Bracknell had to offer. Please note I was not paid in anyway for these comments. They are simply observations of a family day out that I felt were worthy of a share:

- you have to pay for parking but if you use the swimming facilities you get this refunded back at the desk.
- the prices were very reasonable. There is a parent and baby/toddler loyalty scheme where if you visit 5 times you get the 6th time free! You just pick up a card and get it stamped.
- there were several family changing rooms. In them was a changing unit and also a seat that you can strap your little one too whilst you are changing. (a couple of them also had playpens)
- swimming aids (rings and armbands) are provided free of charge to use and there are plenty of them)
- during the week in term time the pool is for young children only.
- the temperature of the pool is lovely! Pretty much bath temperature! Which meant we stayed much longer than anticipated!
- there is a lot of areas specifically for babies and toddlers! Shallow areas with toys and slides for them to play with!
- a lovely feature was they have their own photographer there. Like most public pools you are not able to take your own photographs but if you're anything like me I love photographing everything Xander does and definitely wanted his first swim documented! The professional photographer took some great photos which we viewed and purchased on the way out!

So to finish off this post I leave you with a family pic of Xander's first swimming experience!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Bank Holiday Fun!

My hubby works in retail, so unfortunately bank holidays are pretty much like any other working day to him. Which means that often I/we miss out on usual bank holiday fun.

However my step-sister visited from Milton Keynes yesterday and so we decided to make the most of the beautiful sunshine and take the boys out for the day!

We stayed reasonably local and visited Alice Holt Forest. A woodland area owned and ran by the Forestry Commission. It's a fantastic place with several walks (including a trail called the habitat trail designed especially for little ones with large play structures throughout the walk!), bike riding facilities, a Go Ape tree ropes activity centre, cafe and huge play area!

Our first major challenge was parking! We completely underestimated the amount of people who had the same idea as us! The parking was manic. The result was one of us parking in the carpark and another parking out on the road. We eventually solved it and found a picnic spot!

This was Xander's first picnic and I think he enjoyed it! I packed lots of finger food (pitta strips with houmous dip, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, banana) which was a good move as we was without a Highchair. Although Xander still managed to get completely messy! Although no where near as messy as when he tried mummy's icecream!

After lunch we headed to the play park. In all honesty my nephew probably had the most fun here. There was less available for under ones and I had to queue for the baby swings. (several of the children that went in them before hand were far top big to be going in them which annoyed me quite a bit!)

After tiring out the boys we headed to the trail for our walk! It was lovely with the sunshine to take a leisurely stroll around although by this point Xander was exhausted and slept most of it!!

All in all we had a really lovely day out! I hope you managed to make the most of the beautiful weather!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

A week of firsts!

Last week was such an exciting week! With a flick of a switch Xander all of a sudden started doing some fantastic tricks! He's become a right little show off!

I have to admit there was certain things I was becoming a little anxious about. Concerned that maybe he was a little bit behind developmentally. You can't help when going to different baby groups compare where your little one is with other babies of a similar age.

Then all of a sudden: bam! It all comes along at once! In the space of a week or so Xander now:
- says 'baba' and 'mama'
- shakes his head 'no' when you're talking to him! (when hubby tries to encourage him to say 'dada' he shakes his head which is particularly amusing!)
- he waves.
- he claps! (all you have to say is the word clap and he claps, any songs that mention clapping he joins along with! 'if you're happy and you know it' is now his new favourite song and has been dubbed 'Xander's song' at our regular baby group because of how excited and animated he gets when we all start singing it!)
- he has began to get himself into crawling position and has (admittedly only once) crawled a small distance.
- he has began to pull himself up on furniture and walks around it.
- he can stand on his own unaided for a few minutes.
- he has began walking (with the aid of what I call his baby zimmer frame!)

Additionally to all of this:
- he got his first tooth! And then his second! His bottom ones! He looks so cute with them!! And fortunately for us he hasn't made a fuss about it!
- we also went swimming for the first time! Which he absolutely loved!!! (I plan to write a seperate blog post on this!)

So all in all a pretty eventful week! And I have learnt a pretty valuable lesson. There's no point stressing over the small stuff! It will all happen when they're good and ready!

It's all about routine!!

I'm a stickler for routine! I haven't always been that way with Xander but have been for at least the last three/four months. We have a routine because it works!

It works because it brings structure and calm to our lives. It works because we both know where we stand with a routine. It works because there's no second guessing. Xander has learnt what to expect from me and I've become to learn what to expect from Xander.

Our routine is not set in stone BUT it is written on our fridge! It isn't fixed rigidly but we pretty much stick to it (give or take the odd half hour).

7am: wake up
7.15am: breakfast bottle
7.45am: breakfast
8am: bath and dress
9am: nap (I get shower and dress)
10am (ish) We get out of the house and do something - baby group, walk, go to shops, visit family members, playdates (If we don't go out I organise an activity for us - toy play/ sensory play)
12pm: bottle
12.30: lunch
1pm: play/ activity
3pm: nap
4.30pm: Xander usual gives himself a bottle whilst I prepare dinner/ tidy up.
5pm: Xander has tea.
5.30pm: quiet play (hubby usually comes home around this time if working an early shift and plays with Xander whilst I cook, tidy etc)
6.30pm: PJ's on.
7pm: Xander has final milk bottle then gets put to bed.
7.30pm onwards: adult time: we eat, gym, hobbies etc
USUALLY: Xander has a full nights sleep!

I think I may have underestimated the power of a good routine. It's not until a little one goes without one for even a day and everything is disrupted.

Today I went into work for a KIT day and hubby (aka superdad) thought it would be a great idea seeing he was home caring after Xander anyway to get our new carpet fitted! Seriously deluded that this was a fantastic idea he would not accept from
me that this would not be an easy task to undertake. Dada knew best! So the carpet fitters came. Daddy and Xander were restricted to the garden and then our bedroom. I returned home at two to discover Xander had still not had a decent nap or lunch!

Feeding him at just gone two, then squeezing in a nap and his weekly baby sensory session meant just a couple of hours later he was eating again. The afternoon was a complete chaotic rush.

The result = yes, we have a lovely nice carpet fitted. BUT we also have a very grumpy 9 month old who is awake at 2.45 this morning. And YES it is ME up sorting him out!

I suppose I should be grateful... At least the top step (my usual sleep training perch) is more comfy than usual with the new carpet and thick underlay!