Parenting: Potty Training

Potty Training

LO is now 2 years old and competent at using the potty when his nappy is off and we’re at home but it’s a completely different story if he’s clothed or if we’re outside. Poor thing, I don’t expect him to know how to use the thing properly until next year or so but I know that many parents from our previous nursery have started getting their little ones to use it.

The thing is, LO has been using the potty on-and-off since he was about 18 months. The nursery staff had advised us to stop as LO was getting the hang of it some days but then other days wasn’t – I guess they thought it was too stressful for him and told me that “many children in toddler room (we were in baby room at the time) weren’t even potty-trained so we shouldn’t have to worry about it”. I took that advice and only encouraged LO to use it when he wanted to which seemed to have worked out well for us. LO is now more dry during his naps and at night which makes me think he may soon be getting used to using the potty properly. However he’s just moved to another nursery nearby so we’re holding off any major changes at the moment to make the transition to a new nursery less stressful but I am telling you, I CANNOT WAIT until he can be nappy-free! 🙂

LO’s current potty chair

We currently have a cute little potty that looks more like a chair (see above – from Ebay approx. £7) which seems to have suit LO very well. Recently, when we were over at my sisters he took a real interest in my nephew’s potty, just the standard one, so I’m thinking to “upgrade” him to a new one as this one’s becoming a bit of a snug-fit for him. Although, the other idea I had was to get LO a little step and small toilet-seat fitting to go over the main toilet and get him to use that but it might be a challenge so I will probably see how he goes with a new potty then later get him to use the big-boy’s one.

We are still on our potty journey but here are some things I found along the way that were pretty useful (and still are!) to me:

Children’s Books
There’s a whole range of children’s books available at the local library on using the potty, I found one just the other day! If there is no library near you head down to any shop that sells children’s books such as The Works, WHSmiths or go online. I found this cute book for LO at The Works on potty training for about £3. It even has a little ‘cheer’ button you can press to celebrate potty-success.  🙂

Books to encourage using the potty

Songs & Rhymes
I (well, LO actually stumbled across them) found this potty-training songs on Youtube which I think are fantastic. They teach the children about using the potty and praising them, but also it teaches them not to be scared if they make mistakes which is a great lesson. There’s quite a few you can watch but this one with the cute panda is my favourite!



BabyCentre
The BabyCentre website is a great little site for me. They have a page dedicated to potty training and there’s an extensive list on everything about potty training including tips.

What I personally love the most about BabyCentre is the fantastic online community. You’ll need to register before you can post on the forums however there’s literally a forum for every birth month as well as other hot topics such as potty training so you can easily find what you’re looking for advice-wise from other mums using tried-and-tested methods. If you have a burning question, simply post it up and someone will be sure to comment to help you out or refer you to a current post if there’s something similar with loads of advice on.

Manny | The Greenwich Mummy Signature

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Symbol

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Symbol”

I was a bit stuck (well not really, I wanted to take a different route but couldn’t think of anything else) so decided to choose something of a sentimental value to me and other mothers out there. My symbol for this week’s challenge is of my pregnancy belly or ‘bump’ to put it politely. 🙂

To me, pregnancy symbolises love, life, growth, existence, beauty and nature. It’s so fascinating how another human life can exist and grow in another’s body. I think pregnancy is the probably the only time when a woman is more than happy to pile on as many pounds as she can and still feel/look seriously good.

I managed to take a pregnancy ‘bump’ photo every month leading up to my birth as part of my visual pregnancy diary and wanted to share with you all for this week’s photo challenge… enjoy!

The Greenwich Mummy | Symbol The Greenwich Mummy | Symbol The Greenwich Mummy | Symbol

I loved my pregnancy body especially when my bump was fully showing. Even now, when I see mother-to-be’s with their developed bumps it makes me broody and just brings back all the memories. You don’t realise how quick those 9 months carrying a baby feels like once it’s passed. I hope you enjoyed the photos.Manny | The Greenwich Mummy Signature

It’s That Time Again… Birthday Planning!

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Last year’s party was easy to plan but stressful to execute…

It’s that time of the year again. Last year was wonderful but soooo stressful and exhausting. It was LO’s first birthday and I wanted to do it BIG which I manage to do but it wasn’t easy. I thought I would be able to sit back and enjoy and let everyone else take care of things but that wasn’t really the case. Luckily, I had A LOT of help from friends and family so things did manage to run smoothly-ish in the end but I overlooked some aspects of the party such as music and food.

I had hired out the play area at the local leisure centre, formerly known as The Arches. They have a room filled with soft play, rody spacehoppers and a bouncy castle available for the ‘Toddlers World’ sessions every day of the week and I thought it would be a wicked idea to hire it for the birthday party. I think it was about £100-120 for 2 hours; one hour in the studio with all the soft play equipment and one hour in the side room for the party lunch and cake cutting. Here are some photos of last year’s event:

The Greenwich Mummy | Birthdays
LO’s 1st birthday party

We did our very own home-made cask smash. It was a good first attempt for us as we wanted a professional look but ended up with something that looked very unique, home-ly, and I loved it. We really captured LO in his moment and he had soo much fun with that cake! For those who would prefer a professional one, there’s loads of good family photographers out there that can offer you a cake smash shoot. Take a look at the stunning work from Mellz Photography who specialises in cake-smash shoots. It’s not cheap but it’s definitely value for money in terms of what you get for the quality and standard of the photos and cake too. The cake (made by Dinahs Desserts) is also included within the price of the shoot – hurray! 🙂

This year, I am thinking of two things to do for LO’s birthday:

  • Birthday party at The Rainforest Cafe in London
  • Toddler Sensory party at home
  • BBQ garden party at grandma’s house

The latter option is dependent on weather so I am not too keen on it in case we have rain on his birthday. Toddler sensory would be a great option but I’d then have to organise all the food which is the problem I was faced with last year. The Rainforest Cafe is the most ‘safest’ and slightly boring option out of the three but at least the food will be sorted, we also get a free cake if there is over 7 children in the party (which there definitely will be, we always have a large party) and it gives me a chance to plan another day out for just me, LO and Daddy P. I’ve been hinting about taking us to Legoland Windsor so fingers crossed we can do that then have The Rainforest Cafe the week after.

It also doesn’t help that my birthday is just one day before LO’s so that may mean that I will need to compensate on having a small one to have enough to plan his – I don’t mind. I’ve already decided about mine. It’ll probably be just a meal as that’s what I usually do though I can’t figure out if I want to have a river cruise dinner on The Thames…… or afternoon tea at the stunning Sketch London restaurant?

… or a night out with a meal and live music at Quaglino’s?

I’m just spoilt for choice! Bring on August and the birthday planning!
Manny | The Greenwich Mummy Signature

Homemade Paint For Babies And Toddlers

This is something that I learnt from LO’s nursery. It’s also a very cheap way of providing your little ones with cheap and convenient paints that can be easily discarded, not harmful to the kids if they accidentally eat it, and relatively easy to clean.

The paint mixture is simply made up of cornflour, water and food colouring – simply household things that you may already have in your kitchens. I don’t have any specific measurements but I use a ratio of 1:1 parts cornflour to water for a more watery consistency or 2:1 parts cornflour to water to create a thicker consistency more similar to paint. I usually only add a drop of colouring so the colours aren’t too strong in case they cause stains.

The Greenwich Mummy | Homemade Paints For Babies And Toddlers

LO had a brilliant time painting with his homemade paint 🙂 I had only pink food colouring in the cupboard so that’s what we used. As it went down a treat, I am going to pop our and get some more food colouring so he’s got a few more colours to play with. LO always puts things in his mouth without a doubt so knowing that if he decided to have a taste/drink of the homemade paint I don’t have to worry too much.

If you’re planning to give it a try, I highly recommend it as it’s much cheaper and easier to manage that buying those child-friendly poster paints which can become costly so it’s just better to make your own homemade paint for your babies and/or toddlers.

Manny | The Greenwich Mummy Signature

Pretend Play: Boys, Tea Sets And Teddy Bear Picnics

The Greenwich Mummy | Boys, Tea Sets And Picnics

LO loves playing and there is nothing that he loves more than pretend/imaginative play.

He’s been learning about cooking at nursery and I had a light-bulb moment and thought “why not buy him a tea set?” – I knew he would love it and when we had our first teddy bear picnic at Toddler Sensory (read about it here) he loved it so much I wanted to give him that experience again but at home.

So when I was shopping, I came across this cute little tea set from Tesco (£3) in red and blue and thought it would be great for him. I know there shouldn’t be any gender discrimination when buying children’s toys however I just didn’t want him to be teased for having a ‘girly’ tea set.

The Greenwich Mummy | Role Play: Boys & Teddy Bear Picnics

As soon as I showed him the tea set his eyes lit up. I asked him if he wanted to have a teddy bear picnic with mummy and he happily said “yes” so I got out his bedroom bears (mr. monkey, bear, and moose) and we had a lovely teddy bear picnic and I showed LO how to make the tea and how to use the kettle properly. He even made all of the sound effects from the water pouring and the tea slurping. Super cute! 🙂

Pretend play is very important for any child’s social development and it has also been said to improve their cognitive development. This journal I found online takes a deeper look at high-quality pretend play and children’s cognitive development and shows that there is a positive link between the two. Problem-solving, negotiating, and social/linguistic skills can all be improved through pretend play.

So what does that mean for us mummies (or daddies)? It means it’s time we start purchasing tea sets, play food sets, dressing up costumes, and toy cash registers for our kids to play with whether they are a little boy or little girl because it’s good for them. Plus, grab a friend to bring their child along and the kids will be so immersed in playing with each other you’ll have a chance to relax and have a cup of tea (that’s actually hot for once!). 🙂

Manny | The Greenwich Mummy Signature

Kids Day Out: A Trip To The London Transport Museum

The Greenwich Mummy | London Transport Museum

I totally hadn’t realised that I did not do an individual blog post on our day out to the London Transport Museum – silly me! *tut tut*

I think I’ve been getting too carried away posting all my beauty stuff and as LO haven’t gone out recently that I have forgotten to blog about our special day trip to see the buses! I do apologise… after all, this is supposed to be a mummy-lifestyle blog. 🙂 You can check out the brief overview of our day out to the museum here from an old post or for more photos and a good low-down, read on.

The London Transport Museum

The Greenwich Mummy | London Transport MuseumThe Greenwich Mummy | London Transport Museum

Beep Beep! All Aboard!

I had never realised how many models of buses existed until our trip to the London Transport Musem. It was absolutely fascinating! LO really loves buses and it dawned on me that I hadn’t ever taken him to see the London Transport Museum. I remember I had seen a post via email from Mummy In The City who I’m subscribed to wrote a review on a visit to the museum to see their new family play zone. It sounded fantastic and just the thing for LO and as we had my nephew around for the weekend I thought why not kill two birds with one stone and take them out. I invited a close friend who brought her daughter and we made a proper day out of it which was lovely.

The journey to the museum wasn’t too bad to be honest. The museum is at Covent Garden so it’s relatively easy to get to from Greenwich. We went to North Greenwich tube station and took the Jubilee line to Waterloo then got on a bus towards Aldwych where we then got off and walked to Covent Garden Piazza. Before entering the kids had a good time running around the piazza listening to the buskers and watching a man on a one-wheeled bicycle and a young girl who threw him a large skittle-like object for him to catch. It was lovely entertainment and the little girl was even given £5 for her kind participation. 🙂

The Greenwich Mummy | London Transport Museum

When we got our tickets for the London Transport museum which is a one-off charge for adults (£16.00) and is an annual pass (there are no day passes). Children under 10 go free which is an added bonus. The annual pass seemed like a lot of money for a museum visit I thought to myself but I know we’d definitely be back so I was happy to pay for it. Upon entering, I could tell already that it wasn’t money wasted. The children had lots and lots of fun. We went upstairs and saw all the old sleeper trains and played in the pretend-play area which consisted of a red single decker bus, an underground train and a train ticket office. Children could pretend they were the bus driver, train conductor, engineer or TFL staff member. There was hats and uniforms available for the kids to proper take on their new found roles – absolutely amazing!

The Greenwich Mummy | London Transport Museum The Greenwich Mummy | London Transport MuseumThe Greenwich Mummy | London Transport Museum IMG_2016LO loved being the bus driver so much he never really had much interest for the other things available but he was good enough to try it out. We then all went downstairs to the family play zone where there was a double decker bus, river Thames clipper, “lost and found” ball-pit and a staff canteen completely kitted out with all the things you’d find in a kitchen including toy food and a toy microwave. There was also a black taxi cab near the small cafe area downstairs.

The Greenwich Mummy | London Transport MuseumThe Greenwich Mummy | London Transport Museum

We all had a fabulous time and when we got home, the kids had so much fun they crashed out for 2 whole hours leaving me and my sister with enough time to put up our feet and rest! It was a tiring day but I definitely recommend it for all mums looking for something to do with the children on a weekend or free day off work. For more info on opening hours and special events they have, check out their website below.

Have you been to the London Transport Museum before? Let me know what your views are on it below in the comments box. Have a great weekend!

Manny | The Greenwich Mummy Signature

http://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/

My Top 5 Youtube Videos For Babies & Toddlers

The Greenwich Mummy

Don’t get me wrong, I love books and reading. LO and I love going to the library and picking out new books to read however sometimes it’s a little inconvenient for us to leave the house especially if it’s horrible weather outside or LO’s been cranky and ‘in a mood’ as he hasn’t had his afternoon nap. Youtube is our saviour.

Youtube is a marvellous site and you can without a doubt find a-million-and-one children’s videos that encourage learning through pictures, song and rhyme. LO and I have sat through so many videos (not in one day of course!) and I have found that the ones he’s most drawn to are these educational ones.

So here are my top 5 Youtube learning videos I think that babies and toddlers will love to watch based on what LO loves to watch. You can expect all the popular nursery rhymes as well as some not-so-popular ones too. The colourful objects, catchy songs and repetition will leave your children certainly capture their undivided attention, leaving you with enough time to get all the other things done without any interference – bliss!

Who knows… you may even find yourself singing the songs or knowing all the words too by the end of it all… Enjoy! 🙂

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1. Busy Beavers

2. Little Baby Bum

3. Baby Big Mouth

4. Kids TV

5.Super Simple Songs

Our First Time At London Zoo!

… and when I say “our” I really mean it was mine and LO’s first time at the zoo! 🙂

It’s kind of embarrassing when you’ve lived in London nearly all your life and have never been to London Zoo until the age of 25 – oh wells! We had a brilliant time despite the long queue upon arrival and an even longer queue at the restaurant and no ATM machines inside the vicinity. It was Easter Monday so we should’ve known it was going to be busy. With the weather being super-nice and sunny, this should’ve also triggered the warning signs.

LO and I met up with my friend and her son outside Camden Town station for noon-ish. The weather was lovely and I had never really been to Camden before so never got to experience the wonderful buzz the town has. It was amazing. As we passed through Parkway and headed up near to Regent’s Park we found London Zoo and what we thought was the entrance but it turned out that was the priority entrance and the actual entrance where we needed to go to buy tickets was further up the road and we had to wait in a queue that took around 20mins. No biggie – we had each other and snacks so it was all worth the wait.

LO At London Zoo
Please excuse the smiley face 🙂

Children under 3 can visit the zoo for free so if you have a toddler and visiting London, make sure you add the zoo to your list of things to do. Adult tickets cost around £25.00 which is quite pricey but for every ticket purchased, the zoo donates 10% percentage to Gift Aid at no cost to you.

We went to visit the gorillas and tigers first, then ended up visiting the children’s petting zoo and saw llamas, alpacas, pigs and a cute owl. After the children’s zoo we had a lovely lunch at the restaurant and then went on a carousel ride which was fun. We then went on to see the giraffe, butterflies, macaws, meerkats and the tropical fishes at the aquarium. Unfortunately after lunch and the carousel ride, LO got really tired and fell asleep. After seeing all the animals, we left the zoo with one souvenir; an African drum which was pricey at £19.95 however we both thought it was an excellent gift and the boys love their instruments so it wasn’t a wasted idea.

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Before our journey home, my friend and I wanted to have our quick coffee fix so headed to Pret for a well-deserved sit down and sip of caffeine. LO was still sleeping but my friend ordered for her boy a babyccino which is just frothy milk topped with chocolate, like a coffee-free cappuccino! He loved the frothy milk and looked so cute drinking out of the tiny espresso cup I wish LO was awake to be able to experience it too. Feeling completely knackered but slightly more alive from the lattes we drank, we gave each other goodbye hugs and went our separate ways home. Looking back from the photos it was an amazing. Oh yeah! Upon entering the zoo we had our photos taken which were then available to buy upon leaving but after buying the drum, we couldn’t really afford the photo book which costed £20 each. Luckily for us, the lady was nice and offered us a deal of just the photos for £10 which we happily accepted and took the photos. We split the photos between us so we could both have a set of memories to keep… Fantastic! 🙂

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Learning Through Play Is A Wonderous Thing!

It’s simply fascinating how quickly children learn new things! LO is 19m and is already starting to know his colours, alphabet letters, numbers and shapes. He can’t put together a full sentence but if he knows what the thing is he’ll say it, he will point to the tiny plane in the sky among the clouds and will say “pane” or “air-pane” and occasionally make the sounds of the plane engine. (so cute!)

Daddy got him this toy from VTech called ‘Push & Ride Alphabet Train‘ a couple months back and LO was just riding on it, pressing all the colourful buttons and flipping the pages of the plastic built-in alphabet book. Only now he has been able to recognise what some of those pictures are and can tell me what they are. He still has trouble with putting the little alphabet blocks in their slots because they only go in a certain way and gets really frustrated when he can’t do it.

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LO trying to place the alphabet block into its rightful place

Sometimes it’s almost painful to watch as his tantrums can include throwing himself backwards onto the floor and banging his head on the laminate flooring which doesn’t look (or sound) good. I battle with myself all the time with thinking “should I run over to him and help him?” or should I just leave him to calm himself down from his tantrum? Most times, I just leave him to it… I hope that doesn’t sound like bad parenting! (It’s more like exhausted, drained-out parenting.)

I am very glad that we have this little train though, LO just does so much with it! He sits on it and rides it like a train. The train can be separated into two parts so LO can just push around the first part so it’s like a baby walker but we don’t do this because he’s over walkers now, he prefers trains and cars. 🙂 When his cousin is around they try to play with the blocks together, and there is a button that enables sound so you can switch it off when you want which is ideal when you have heap loads of work to do and need a bit of time to concentrate.

Loads of stores will stock this train including Tescos, probably Asda and Argos and of course all major toy stores. we got ours from our local Smyths store on sale for under £30.

NB. This post contains affiliate links

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Teddy Bear’s Picnic At Toddler Sensory

I’ve been taking LO to the toddler sensory classes in Greenwich for the last three weeks and I think LO really enjoys it. Today’s theme was ‘teddy bear’s picnic’ – mine and LO’s first teddy bear’s picnic in fact and I can say it was very fun for both of us! Last week we had a safari theme, and the week before was an underwater world theme.

The classes always start with approx. 20mins of free play with the soft play equipment, rudy space hoppers, bouncy castle and various other things i.e. ball pool. LO loves it because he gets to become the little monster that he is and plays with everything. After that’s done, we tidy away the equipment to one side of the spacious room. The toddler sensory teacher sings a greeting song and then tells the children a short story based on the theme of the class using music, bubbles, toys and other fun things that stimulates their senses and develops their learning.

It’s always great fun until LO decides to throw a tiny tantrum because he’s either peckish, bored, tired or all three. Last week, one of the other toddlers kept wanting to do what LO was doing. When he went to get his snacks, she followed him and wanted his snacks… when he wanted his drink, she wanted to drink it too! It was quite funny and cute but I think the toddlers’s mum wasn’t too sure… her exact words were “annoying” which I found very amusing as that’s exactly how I would’ve felt if it was the other way round, for sure.

If you are looking for a parent and toddler group to attend and want your little ones to learn through play and song, I highly recommend the Toddler Sensory classes. Ours is held at St. Marks Community Centre in Greenwich but there are a few others around London if you don’t live in SE London. Please check out my Local Activities page for more details or visit their website for more information i.e. times, dates and prices. The classes are run during term-time only.

http://www.babysensory.com/en/ToddlerClassDetails/Greenwich