Monday, 24 February 2014

7 months old: favourite toys

Ophelia turned 7 months old the other day which happened to coincide with us being donated lots more toys, so I thought it was time I updated the kinds of things she is now interested in toys wise:

Walker: This is a very recent new favourite but boy is she enthusiastic about it.  Just this afternoon she spent a while playing with it with one of our friends.  It works on so many levels to hold her interest and I can see this keeping her entertained through a few stages of her development.  Today she has had several different types of play with it; the obvious one to begin with is playing with the bits on the front- this in itself keeps her entertained for a while.  The front on ours comes off which is really useful because if she gets bored or tired reaching for the highest toys, it's nice to put it on the floor or on a chair for her to reach to.  She also likes trying to reach the highest toys on the front by pulling herself up on the bar and reaching over the front.  Her little face as she kept looking back at our friend; beaming from ear to ear and laughing, it really was lovely to see.  I personally think there is no point getting them one of these much before this age. 

Ball pit: Our nursery has a soft ball play room which each age class of child gets to go in every day. YES you heard that right-every day she gets to mess around in a big ball pit.  I saw realised we needed to turn our house into one big ball pit rectify our lack of ball pit immediately.  So we now have one! Even better is the fact that the cat loves it too-two birds, one stone; double win! She again gets SO excited when we put her in there; her favourite things are kicking balls or when I play peekaboo through the cabin holes in the sides!

Anything she can shake: Some of the toys we were given make varying types of shaking noises and she loves them! She watches as you shake it then grins and reaches for it to shake herself.  At nursery they have lots of shaker bottles like the ones above and when we went for one of her settling in days, she stole one off another child and then wasn't keen to give it back-oops!

Mermaid Lamaze toy: She has had lamaze toys in the past and liked them, but at this age she seems to really like this one and the doll one.  On Thursday my Mum played with the doll by making it move and Ophelia was in full blown hysterics for about half an hour-this is when she had been in hospital the previous day so she must REALLY like them.  What I really love about the mermaid is that numerous parts of her appeal to the baby- her hair is great to fiddle with and put in her mouth, the doll like features make it perfect to play with, the seahorse and tail make great teething accessories plus the tail doubles as a mirror (say no more!).

Kid's stacking rings:  Her favourite thing is to simply turn it upside now and drop them all onto the floor from a great height then gauge my reaction.  Oh, not forgetting her game of "what's the biggest size ring I can fit in my mouth", which brings her such joy when she tries. 
Developmental advantages: Helps; them recognise shapes, colours, logic skills. 

Crawl and learn ball: She can't help but try to grab it as it rolls away!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Nursery diaries; Week 1

Monday 10th February:
Dropped off at 9am (to avoid Nursery drop off 'rush hour'), Ophelia responded well when I passed her over to her key worker-she immediately smiled at her and went to grab her face (she does this a lot at the moment!).  I gave her a kiss goodbye and left her in the nursery's capable hands whilst I went to distract myself with a task list the length of my arm.  I didn't really think too much about it throughout the day, I had far too many other things to get on with and knew she was in capable hands.  At about 3pm I decided I wanted to do the food shop just in time before picking her up but just as I was scanning my veg I got a call from the nursery.  Ophelia had vomitting and diarrhea and so nursery wanted me to come and pick her up.  At this point I got a bit worried, had I missed signs of something over the weekend? When I collected her she was happy as larry and continued like that until she went to sleep at bedtime.  Understandable for nursery to send her home but I also realised that it was simpy a precautionary measure and perhaps might not have been the case if she had been at nursery a while and they knew her better.  We got our summary of her day and she had drunk all her bottle on both occasions, all of her lunch as well as a banana and rice cakes (which she had neverh had before!)- no wonder she was sick! Nursery fed back that whilst she had cried on some occasions she also enjoyed sitting in an activity ring whilst another child passed her balls to play with.

Tuesday 11th February: 
After no issues following symptoms of illness, I decided it would be okay to take her to nursery again today, this time I dropped her off at her usual time of 8am.  Seeing as drop off went so well yesterday, I decided to use the same technique today and took her all the way into her room, giving her a kiss goodbye.  I was really looking forward to picking her up and was even happier when I got feedback from the staff; she had really enjoyed herself in the sensory room (she loves lights this kid!She is already obsessed with our dimmer switch in our bedroom!) and again loved being in the activity ring.  When I went to collect her, she was sitting with the other children in the soft ball play room, gnawing on a teething toy and oblivious to my arrival.  It was only when I sat right down next to her and talked that she realised I was there and started to cry a little, almost like she suddenly realised I hadn't been there the whole time! I sat in there for a few minutes and it was great to see how she interacted with the staff, smiling at them and reaching for them.  The staff also fedback that she seems really interested in the older children, particularly one girl who she appeared to stare at for quite some time! She had also managed to fit time in her busy schedule to make us a valentine's day card! As well as drinking all of her two bottles, she had a quarter of her weetabix, all of her lunch plus a quarter of her snack.  I'm so happy with how things have been going so far and she is settling in much quicker than I anticipated- I can really see how much she will flourish by going to nursery and it has already had a massive impact on her!

I forgot the details of Wednesday and Friday but she went! I also saw again how she is fine and happy when there until she sees me and then gets upset.  It was one of the children's Birthdays so the nursery tried her on cake, apparently at first she was skeptical but then started wolfing it down. 

Overall I was really happy and impressed with how the week went, much better than I anticipated.  Whilst she had points of crying when there, she already settled into a routine quickly and the periods of crying got less as the week went on.  It really put my mind at ease ready for my return to work, plus she has been having really long naps-wooohoo!


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Separation anxiety; object permanence

For a while now we have had a little trouble when Ophelia spends time with anyone other than her Mum and Dad, so you can imagine the fun the poor nursery staff are having!

Since Ophelia was a few weeks old she has regulaly spent time with a variety of family and friends, both with and without us. About once a month my mum usually has Ophelia for a few hours whilst we go to the cinema but just before Christmas Ophelia began crying when with her. At first I thought it was one of the many normal baby issues,  but it has become apparent that it is when she is not with us.  As soon as I worked this out, I was keen to find a way to reduce this happening, I've always wanted to encourage confidence in her so tried praising her when she didn't cry/positive reinforcement etc but it didn't seem to make a difference.   I was keen to encourage people to carry on holding her when she cried because she was getting into a pattern of crying and only stopping if I held her.  I then tried to help increase her trust with people by sitting her near me but get others to interact and play with her-so she knew I was still there but that those people could be trusted.   The biggest improvement I have seen is this weekend, where she has displayed no such displays and instead showed a normal level of comfort.  I attribute most of this improvement to a combinationof things; reassurance using above techniques, playing peekaboo, and attending nursery.  Don't get me wrong, she has cried whilst settling into nursery but she is now hopefully starting to realise that when I leave her, I'm not going away forever!

I had a discussion with both Ophelia's Aunt (nursery staff) and the nursery staff in regard to all this and apparently it's quite normal and is a sign of object permanence (understanding objects etc exist even when they can't be seen).  Interestingly this doesn't usually happen for a few months.  This really put my mind at ease and I think it's a much more positive way to look at it. Fingers crossed she ll grow up tobe a confident, independent lady-i think nursery will help massively with that.

Did you have any similar issues? 

Saturday, 1 February 2014

An update: 6 months.... ish

Hello all! I've lacked internet of recent times hence the blackout.  Crazily Ophelia has been on this earth for over 6 months now and so much is happened since I last updated that I can't even remember when it happened!

Sleep: Ophelia mostly (!) goes to bed at some point between 7pm and 8pm and once I put her in her cot, she has been generally going to sleep herself without crying.  How long she sleeps for still varies but mostly she sleeps through until at least 3ish although recently she has been lasting til about 5ish and last night she just woke up at 6:50am and stayed up.  I cannot tell you how massive this is, I mean this is the kid that was not only nocturnal at first but would always cry unless she was fed to sleep.  Naps seem to have got slightly better and the other day she had a 2 hour nap and a 3 hour nap-although this is most abnormal! When at nursery they like the children to have x2 1 hour naps at her age and she does this sometimes but mostly has 3 or 4 30min naps.  I was reading up on this and apparently that length of nap can be quite common due to the stages of sleep and about that time it is common for babies to wake themselves up without meaning to and will still be sleepy.  Some people recommended just putting your hand on their chest or stroking their hair until they go back to sleep.  Sometimes it can still be difficult putting her down in the cot and she cries (although this hasn't happened for a little while-I don't want to jinx it!) but thanks to twitter we tried a few techniques to avoid her just crying and crying or me picking her up and her getting into a naughty pattern.

 Weaning: We started properly weaning her just after she turned 6 months and things seem to be going ok- we got this highchair from Mothercare (thanks G'Ma!) and she gets all excited when I feed her the purees or porridge she has been having.  One of her nicknames is the burglar though because I can't even reach for the bowl without her using her go go gadget arms and sticking something in her mouth!  Her favourite things to put in her mouth are currently spoons, plates and paper!   She does also quite like the food I think, she eats the porridge merrily and definitely seems to prefer the sweet stuff! She has also tried butternut squash with prune, carrot and apple and parsnip, broccoli and something else- she tolerates these!  Generally, as is reflective of her personality, she definitely likes to go hands first into the food!

Personality: Her personality just gets bigger and bigger! She spends most days in what I can only describe as a hyperactive state; literally constant leg moving (she especially likes to continuously jiggle or kick her left leg), refusing to sit still and desperately reaching for things out of her reach! It's really evident now when she is especially excited and it's just amazing to watch her when her Dad gets in from work; she goes really hyper, smiling and laughing at him.  She also loves to reach for people's faces and has started doing this really cute cuddle and open mouth to kiss you! Makes me melt every time.  She as a very mischeveous side and definitely does things to gain a reaction. Ophelia's love for the cat continues and even strokes her gentley now. I love how she interacts with me at every moment; throwing me a loving glance, cuddling into my chest with both hands or giving me an open mouthed close eyed kiss. She's evidently going to be a chatty naughty monkey as she grows up.  

Physical development: She can sit independently for short periods but really not very long and much prefers to be on her tummy reaching for things- which is half of why she ends up on her front in the first place!  She now plays with a toy on her front whilst reaching for another and even reaches for toys without looking at them; hence the burglar!  Looking back on photos over the 6 months it is crazy to think how big she is now and how her facial features have developed; especially her nose and mouth! She still doesn't appear to have any teeth through although they do continue to bother her-just today she decided to stick a whole cold dessert spoon in her mouth to appease the pain.  Changing her nappy has become a fun game where she rolls around from her back onto her front holding her torso up then back again and repeat...continuously! Add this to her constant kicking and putting her feet in her mouth and nappy change has never been so fun! Of course whilst doing all of this. Shes also started sticking her bum in the air and lurching forward in a caterpillar fashion on all fours which looks hilarious.

 Favourite toys: Currently Ophelia is reallly enjoying shaking and sucking toys, mostly her rattle, keys, my keys, her abacus toy, my phone, and her loud star toy. She still enjoys gnawing her Sophie le giraffe and about a month ago started enjoying sucking a handmade fabric bunny. She has started being able to press more complex things on toys from watching us do it-e.g turning her ladybird on her crawl ball or pressing to make a book make farm noise. She still enjoys sucking on her bath book (and toys) and her other books.  We were kindly leant a door bouncer and she finds it quite novel but gets bored of it quite quickly. We've noticed that she does get bored quite quickly but having a variety of style toys for different development definitely seems to reduce that. Sometimes her frustration at not being able to move gets the better of her.

Teething: Seems to have constant red cheeks and constantly trying to alleviate the gums by gnawing things, favourite things include spoons, fingers and her fish which we put in the freezer.  She has recently started dribbling lots more but still no sign of actual teeth.