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23 months

23 months

by Clare Mansell
This boy is one month away from the big milestone that is two. And what a change from last year. Living in our own home, with Daddy in the same country and extended family around to celebrate. I’m looking forward to it.
Being nearly-two presents it’s challenges. He’s just starting to work out things don’t always go his way, so we’ve had a few dramatic (and short-lived) tantrums, and tears when things are taken away from him. Apart from a few bad nights during the warm weather, he still sleeps tremendously well and has to be coaxed out of his bed in the mornings… and in fact the afternoons. Does it show in his face?

His vocabulary is expanding at a typically leisurely boy pace… Ma-Ma, Jane, Macy, Bella, Again, Juice, Tea, Doggies, Daddy, Car, Chocolate, More, Please, Eggy, Choo-Choo, Cheese, Gone, Tractor, Train, Quack Quack and Up, but take note, absolutely no use of the word “Mummy.” If people suggest he says it, he looks at me, looks at the person who suggested it and remains steadfastly silent.

And he swings between baby-faced and growing young boy in the space of a haircut…

He loves Marmite, being chased round the house by his wooden push-along penguin, cars in all shapes and sizes, the dogs, being in the garden, playing with his cousins, pouring liquids between containers, watching Cbeebies, waving at people as they drive past the house, emptying drawers/bookshelves/cupboards, pushing his brick trolley, visiting Ma-Ma & Grumps, soaking people with the garden hose, sharing a joke and running.

He’s funny, happy, outgoing and full of surprises.

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Theo at 10 months!

Theo at 10 months!

by Clare Mansell
Doggy walker

So another month gone and a steep learning process has begun, as in the last week Theo has begun to pull himself upright. Those extra few inches of elevation over the world have made him rather keen to view things from that height more permanently, but the leg muscles and the confidence are not quite there yet!

We bought him a doggy walker second-hand, which he has really taken to and there’s a push along brick trolly I had as a child on the way to us from my sister too.

Talking of wooden bricks, I’m pretty convinced they are the best toy ever. Theo spends a lot of his day chasing them round the house, chewing them or banging them against things and I still have memories of playing with mine when I was about 10! Nice that some toys never go out of fashion.

Theo in sunnies...

Last week Theo’s paternal grandfather came over from Cyprus to visit, it’s the first time he’s seen him since he was less than a month old, so quite a change. Theo just loved having a new person in the house to entertain him and provide a new distraction. As always it brings home how far away we are from all his relatives, but nothing is forever, and though we’re still 600 miles away from the closest ones, we have gradually been creeping closer over the last 5 years!

Theo & Grandpa

Food wise, Theo is starting to get bored with being spoon fed which is challenging our well honed system of freezing portions of meals for him. Last night he had fish fingers and carrot slices, but we need to raid the kiddie cookery books for ideas of quick and simple meals. Fortunately there’s one thing we can always get down him no matter how tired or bored he is. He’s absolutely addicted to blueberries and strawberries, I swear he’d eat them all day if I let him!

Unsurprisingly with his new exertions, he’s still sleeping pretty well. Anything between 90 minutes and 3 hours at lunchtime and about 12 hours overnight. I don’t want to jinx things, but it’s been a long, long time since we’ve been woken at night…

And finally his impressive flight tally continues to grow, as we shuttle backwards and forwards between the south-coast and Scotland. There’s another flight booked for a fortnight’s time and we’ll be spending his birthday down south too, so that’ll be 10 flights before he’s one. In comparison, I don’t think I’d managed 1 flight before my 10th birthday, but of course that was long before Easyjet!

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Nine months and counting…
Summer's here!

Theo is now three-quarters of the way through his first year of life and crawling! One Tuesday morning about three weeks ago he suddenly worked out how to shuffle his legs forwards and he was off. We now spend most of our days pulling him away from the broadband router, the fake coals in the fire, the stack of cookery books in the kitchen or the cord of the iron. Why is it that with all the experience and money behind the big toy brands, no one has yet invented something that is more alluring than the forbidden things in a house?

Although the summer has generally been disappointing so far, there have been a few warm days to get him out in the garden, an experience which has met with mixed results! He’s still extremely unsure about the feel of grass on his skin and left on a rug will remain marooned until someone returns to save him!

On the move and causing trouble...

With a new way to burn off energy he’s appetite seems endless. As his menu expands, we even tried him on a recipe containing lamb’s liver (much to Jim’s horror!) and he seemed to love it. Bouncing up and down in the high chair, murmuring sounds of appreciation!

Talking of high chairs, as I mentioned a while ago, around Christmas I took on the task of repainting our inherited Tripp Trapp high chair. It very rapidly turned into one of those things I wish I had never started! I bought two types of paint (spray and regular) and two types of sandpaper and spent most of the winter trying to get a proper finish on it, and failed. So Jim came home from Afghanistan and took over, he bought an electric sander, undid all my work and then varnished it. Four months, a lot of money and effort later (and with the addition of a £50 play tray and £30 harness) we ended up with a chair that looked identical to the one we had when we started – Gah!

All of this was even more frustrating when we saw the high chair my mother bought for him to keep at their house, which cost £15 from Ikea! The moral to this story is if you are ever in need of a high chair, and are near an Ikea, simply do not bother even considering anything other than the Antilop Chair, I cannot fault it!

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Theo at 8 months

Theo at 8 months

by Clare Mansell

With Theo’s eight month birthday he reaches a milestone – I’m pleased to say he can at last sit up… although he still wobbles and crashes sometimes.

He is embracing solids with great enthusiasm, it really astonishes me how much he can eat. I’m sure there are many grown adults how eat less for breakfast than he does! His favourite meals at the moment are spinach pasta (an Annabel Karmel recipe known as “Popeye Pasta”) and Courgette Gratin – both smell great when they are being cooked! We have just ordered a new freezer for our garage to create more space for a rotating stock of little boxes of Theo food (and quite a lot of homebaked bread.) He eats a banana a day too and will make a grab at almost anything that anyone else is having. Apparently this is pretty typical of boys? I only have experience of this chap, so know no different…

Daddy does teatime

Having been getting out and about a bit more since Jim has been home it has also struck me that not every baby smiles and giggles their way through the day. Again it is only what I’m used to, and I just assumed every baby was like that, but Theo really rarely stops laughing – what a funny boy he is! Or maybe he just thinks his parents are really hilarious!?

The arrival of some belated Christmas presents has also seen an influx of new toys in the house and he is exhibiting excellent taste! His favourites are a wooden bear charm from Germany (a gift when he was born that clips onto his clothes) some soft fabric cubes my sister made, and a handmade sock monkey we bought in Canada. All of which sound quite strange, but crucially they are all handmade! The plastic toys make great noises, but are apparently not quite as alluring at the moment – That’s my boy!

Seasoned traveler

And finally he is still sleeping well. He wakes up around 7am, has a morning nap at about 10am, a couple of hours at lunchtime and in bed by 6:30pm. He even slept through most of our most recent flight to Inverness. It was flight number six for him, just over an hour long between England and Scotland, but as you can see he’s very laid back about air travel these days – He even reached out and helped himself to an infant seatbelt as we boarded!

So with all that sleeping you’d think mummy would be updating her blog a bit more? Oh dear, where do the days go?

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Theo at seven months
Tummy Time - 10 March

And he’s on the move!

At seven months old, Theo has decided to bypass the sitting stage and go straight to rolling, and so now he rolls everywhere, sometimes by design and sometimes by accident! I think he’s like me, why sit still when there is so much to explore!?

This week he also got a few more air miles under his belt, with his fifth flight. The first four have been with me alone, but for this one he had his daddy to keep him company and a little girl in the row behind who was 10 days older. It all went pretty well though he wanted to know why there was nothing on the refreshments trolley for him! He made a good attempt at grabbing my sandwich and maneuvering it to his mouth!

Gatwick bound

Talking of which after a slow start with weaning, about a week before Jim came home, he suddenly got the hang of it and has been eating in ever increasing quantities since. Lots of porridge for breakfast, something from a vast stash of homemade frozen meals for lunch and then a mashed banana for tea. Though he’s not sitting unaided, he’s been sitting in a high-chair with a harness and enjoying it (I’m still painting our one though, just don’t ask…)

First beaker

Last week we had a lovely few days at a holiday cottage in the Cairngorms, enjoying record high temperatures before the weather changed from 22c and sun to freezing with snow! We had no bath in the cottage, so T had the treat of kitchen sink bath-time! Such good fun for him and much kinder on my back! If ours wasn’t normally full of washing up I could introduce it as a regular thing!

Bath in the kitchen sink

Tomorrow another big milestone for the boy – we’re leaving him! Jim and I fly to Nova Scotia for a week’s holiday and Theo will be staying with my parents. I’m sure he’ll be fine, but will I? I haven’t been apart from him for more than a couple of hours since he was born, I’m sure I’ll still imagine hearing him crying or look in the backseat for him when we’re on the other side of the Atlantic! But on the other hand… Goodness, a whole week with no ties… what will we do with ourselves!!

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