April – what shall we do?

What to do in April

Now that the baby is more alert, I really want to do more with her. I’ve been looking at some things we could do in April, based on awareness days, holidays and local events. Here are some of my ideas – I hope some of them are useful for other people as well!

Throughout April

The weather should be getting nicer, so it’s going to be a great month for getting out in the garden and going on walks. We took the carrycot part off our travel system and put the pushchair bit on recently, so she can sit in that and look around a bit more – and there’s always babywearing, her favourite way to travel!

This month starts off with Easter, so there’s always some fun Easter crafts and events. We might try dyeing some eggs, although she’s far too small to do it herself. And of course, her daddy and I will enjoy eating chocolate!

The last week of April is Allergy Awareness Week. Her Pops has coeliac disease, so we’re definitely aware of allergies in this family. Although she doesn’t eat big people food yet, the grown-ups in the family might try some free from meals over the course of the week.

1st April

April Fools Day! I don’t like practical jokes really, as I think more often than not they’re just used as a way of humiliating someone. But I’m certainly on board with spending the day trying to make her laugh as much as possible!

2nd April

It’s International Children’s Book Day! Sounds to me like a good day to stay in and read some of our favourite books. She isn’t that into books yet, but I think we can make something fun happen on this day.

7th April

International Pillow Fight Day! Okay, so my baby is a little young for it this year, but it’s going to be a lot of fun in the future. And maybe her dad and I can stage a pillow fight for her amusement!

8th April

Draw a picture of a bird day! This is such a made-up celebration that I love it. We have to celebrate it! It’s also apparently zoo lover’s day. We live pretty close to a good local zoo, so we may end up taking a trip there.

12th April

Grilled cheese sandwich day. Again, not a huge celebration for the baby, but I think I can certainly do something with this one!

13th April

Plant appreciation day. We might take a trip to our local garden centre, or, if the weather’s nice, just spend some time in our own garden.

It’s also Scrabble day – my husband and I play a lot of Scrabble! I think we should definitely play a game or two on this day.

15th April

International Microvolunteering Day. I remember reading about microvolunteering a few years ago – I work for a charity and I read a lot, so it was bound to come across my radar. I read an article on the BBC website about it, and one of the ideas they suggested was doing a two-minute litter pick. There’s quite a bit of litter in our town, so that might be what we do.

18th April

It’s the International Day for Monuments and Sites. We are really lucky to live in an area with a good amount of history, so we’re absolutely spoiled for choice about where we should visit. I think we might make a decision on the day – a castle, some Roman ruins, we have loads of options!

21st April

International Astronomy Day. Her nursery has glow-in-the-dark constellations on the walls, and we do like our stars. If it’s a clear night, we might go outside and point out some of the constellations that we can see – Orion is usually very visible just above our house.

23rd April

This is a busy one! It’s Shakespeare’s birthday, for one, and also St George’s Day. (It’s her daddy’s birthday, as well!) I think we’ll probably read some simplified Shakespeare stories. There are some amazing Shakespeare for kids books out there, and we bought her one for her first Christmas.

25th April

World Penguin Day! So many options here. We have a penguin sleepsuit that I think she might have to wear. We have some books about penguins (The Penguin Who Wanted to Find Out is a favourite), and we’re also pretty close to the Sea Life Centre in Birmingham, so we may take a little trip out there.

29th April

International Dance Day! We love dancing in this house! Before I got pregnant, I used to take two or three ballet classes a week, and although the baby is far too young for dancing yet, I dance around while holding her a lot. We’ll do a lot of that on this day, and maybe watch some videos of other people dancing.

Do you have any other ideas for April? Let me know if you’re doing any of these!

Wardrobe Wednesday – unicorns and flowers!

wardrobe Wednesday

Wardrobe Wednesday, now featuring bibs! She’s drooling enough now that they’re getting to be pretty essential.

The bib is from Joules, and matches the completely unrelated Monsoon trousers pretty nicely!

The trousers are only 0-3 months but I find that Monsoon runs pretty big. They came as part of a set (with a navy squirrel top) but I like pairing them with pretty much anything else as well.

The top is one of my favourites. I really like unconventional colours in baby clothes, and dark grey is a tough one to find. It’s from F&F (Tesco) and it looks awesome on her.

Wardrobe Wednesday, featuring unicorns and flowers

Chocolate peanut butter bark – yummy!

peanut butter chocolate bark

Before the baby was born, I used to cook and bake and just generally do a lot more in the kitchen than I do now. She’s going on for five months old (when did that happen?!) but I’ve not really got back into it. I miss it – particularly making junk food. There’s just not enough chocolate peanut butter products in the shops, and that flavour combination is one of my biggest guilty pleasures.

I love peanut butter. But my husband recently bought me a 1kg tub of it, and that feels like a lot of pressure! So I’m trying to find ways to use it that aren’t just “on toast”.

Peanut butter and chocolate is such a good combination. And chocolate bark is actually something I’ve been able to make a few times since the baby arrived, because it only takes minutes. The hardest part is getting the baking parchment to stay on the tray! (Or just not eating all the melted chocolate, but that goes without saying!) So I thought I’d combine the two and make chocolate peanut butter bark.

Ingredients

  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 100g dark chocolate (you could always use all the same chocolate, or add in some white chocolate, or… well, the options are endless! It’s chocolate – go wild!)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes

Method

Line a baking tray with baking parchment, so that it’s nice and easy to remove the bark when you’re done!

Chocolate

Break the chocolate into smaller sections and melt it in two separate bowls – one for the milk and one for the dark chocolate. I melt it on the hob, using a pyrex bowl over a pan of boiling water.

When it’s melted, using a wooden spoon, spread the chocolate onto the parchment. I use two different wooden spoons and swirl it into nice patterns.

Then take your peanut butter and swirl some of that in too. Yummy!

Then you want to add your toppings.

I really love hazelnuts added to chocolate, and chilli on chocolate tastes amazing. (If you’ve never tried it, why not?! Go, drop everything and do it now!)

Chocolate peanut butter bark

Once they’re sprinkled on, you come to the hardest part. Do nothing. Wait for it to set.

When it has, you can break it into pieces and generously share with your nearest and dearest. Or eat it all yourself. I don’t judge!

I actually find I have less time in the day now than I used to when the baby was a newborn. But this is so amazing that I think I’ll be finding time to spoil myself and make it more often.

Please try it!

Nicknames for my baby

nicknames

I’m a big nicknamer. It’s funny, I’m not really one for nicknames with other adults, but for the small people (human and rabbit) in my life, there are a million nicknames.

Barbara is Barbie-Ra a lot of the time. Ned is Noo Noo more than he’s Ned. Gingee was Gigi or Gingiver, and not being able to call him Gingiver any more brings me to tears.

We rejected a lot of names before the baby was born because I couldn’t work out for nicknames for them.

Juliana would have ended up as Julie, and I wasn’t too keen. Aurelia didn’t really have an intuitive nickname but was long enough to definitely need one.

On the other hand, Josephine got bonus points because of Josie, which I like much more than the full name.

As it is, we didn’t use any of those. And most of her nicknames actually don’t have any connection to her real name!

Some of the nicknames she’s acquired so far include:

  • Baby Robot. This is because, in the early days, it seemed like she was pretty easy to care for – just add milk! Like a robot. Sometimes we replace the R with the first letter of her name.
  • Bababoo. It’s fun to babble at her! It’s most fun to do in a really deep voice.
  • Button. This comes from her Nana, but it fits nicely. She has a sweet button nose. (Baby, not Nana. Although Nana’s nose is nice too.)
  • Yaya/Baby Yaya/Babayaya. She is so vocal, and Yaya is one of the things she says most often. So she’s Yaya!
  • Happy Baby. Because she is. She is the happiest baby you’ve ever seen.
  • Rooooooound Face. Her face is so round. Sometimes it looks like Mickey Mouse – two round fat cheeks and a round chin as well as the round head!
  • Baby Person. Because sometimes it amazes me that she’s an actual person, not just a baby, if that makes sense.

Of course, she also gets the typical “Angry Pants” type nicknames that parents give their babies too. But she hardly ever gets called by her actual name!

We graduated from baby sensory!

baby sensory graduate!

We’ve been going to baby sensory classes for a few months, and we graduated last week!

Baby sensory graduate!

It’s appropriate that she’s crying in the graduation picture, as she mostly cried her way through the course. I think it was really good for us both, though.

We started going when she was just eight weeks old, and it’s seen us through to sixteen weeks. I’m not sure if the baby liked it, but I did!

It’s been really useful. During that time, she developed a pretty serious stranger anxiety, so being forced to get out at least once a week and be around people who weren’t me, Daddy or Nana was good for her.

And, as it’s been winter, it’s been good to get me out of the house as well!

We’ve been really lucky in that the class was within walking distance of our house, so I’d bundle us up in the stretchy wrap and we’d walk down after lunch on Wednesdays.

Generally, we spend a lot of time just the two of us. Initially, she was frightened of seeing so many people. And other babies! She’d never met other babies before.

And I didn’t know any other local mums. So it was lovely to get chance to talk to people with tiny babies.

But it was the actual baby sensory aspect that was most interesting. Some of the things we played with included:

  • Bubbles! She loves bubbles, it turns out. We now do bubble time at home.
  • Lights. She loves lights at home. One of her favourite toys is a string of fairy lights. But she took real issue with the lights at baby sensory class! I think it might be partly due to the fact that the lights were turned off before the fibre optic or other fun lights came out, and she went through a phase of being afraid of the dark.
  • Baby massage. For some reason, always makes her cry in class. She likes it at home.
  • Songs. These were a mixed bag. Some she loves and some made her wail. She did consistently hate the applause at the end of each song though.
  • Bells and other ways to make music. She’d rather wail and scream. I think the environment was too noisy for her.
  • Puppets. She liked these.
  • Fun things to touch. Feathers, ribbons, etc. This was getting a bit risky by the end as everything goes in her mouth now!

By the end of the sessions, she was starting to enjoy herself a lot more.

In the first few classes, we had to spend most of the time feeding to calm her down. I don’t think we fed once in the last two classes!

She likes things that are familiar to her. If the song is The Wheels on the Bus, then she was happy. If it was something she didn’t know, it was scarier. If she’d seen it at home first, like bubbles, she could deal with it better in a strange environment.

In general, we enjoyed the classes – and even if the baby didn’t, I think it was important that I kept on dragging her out to them!

We’ve started Sing and Sign classes as well now, so that’ll busy up two days of the week. We’re going through the same issues of needing to comfort feed throughout Sing and Sign, but I’m hopeful that she’ll feel better about them soon.

Have you taken baby sensory classes? What did you think?