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Tolo Puzzle Ball

Competition – Tolo Puzzle Ball (6 months+)

The Tolo Puzzle Ball is a ball which comes apart into 3 separate sections: 2 identical U-shaped segments and a central rattle. Each of the U-shaped segments has a hole in the end which the central rattle section slots into, and these two outer parts have attractive gizmos on them; squeakers and clickers in bright primary colours.

Tolo Toys are specifically designed to stimulate development of your baby. Because the toys are designed intelligently, using colour, sound and feel as key stimulant aides, your child will quickly discover that learning is fun! Areas of development: colours and shapes, hand to eye co-ordination, gripping and release, touch and feel.

The Boy had great fun testing and playing with this item, and I would say that the age range is suitable from 6-18 months, possibly older. It’s a really attractive ball, which rolls well and is incredibly sturdy. Each section can be played with individually or in a variety of combinations. He particularly liked having the rattle sticking out of the top of one of the holes and got really quite stroppy with me if I tried to put it how it’s designed to be, just goes to show the play possibilities.

 

In order to win this Puzzle Ball, please tell me what your child’s favourite toy is in the comments box below.

For an extra entry, do one (or all) of these:

– tweet “I entered a competition to win a Puzzle Ball at http://TheBoyandMe.wordpress.com”

– follow me on twitter @TheBoyandMe

– subscribe to this blog (an extra two entries not just the one!)

Don’t forget to tell me that you’ve done these things when you submit your entry into the comments box below.

Competition closes on Friday 21st January 2011 at 8pm. Entry for UK residents only.

 

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So, back to work on Tuesday for me, and tonight I am exhausted, ill and emotional.

The Christmas break was amazing. Nearly three weeks off work (because of the days that I work), filled with happiness, merriment and family time. Hubby took two days off work over that time and we ended up with a five-day Christmas weekend and a four-day New Year’s weekend. It was lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed (nearly) every second of it.

Which then makes going back to work even harder.

Tonight, I have felt terrible. Three full days of intensive work with a hacking, tickly and dry cough have meant that tonight I did not have the energy to do a thing. Hubby cooked tea, fed The Boy and put him to bed. I sat downstairs and tried not to cry.

It didn’t work, I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. There was snot, it wasn’t attractive (how come Sandra Bullock never has a leaky nose when she cries?).

And then came the guilt. You know what I’m talking about. The following goes through my mind: I hate leaving him; I did not have a child to not be there for him; I wish to God I was there for him 24/7 but the mortgage needs paying, clothes need buying, food needs to be provided, don’t forget the debts!; I am lucky that my mum has him (he gets to spend time with nana & she has an input in his life); I wish it was me that was there everyday; (here we go, the biggy) I am a bad mum.

Only I’m not and I know I’m not.

But God it physically hurts to leave him every single day.

I wish I was lucky enough to be a stay at home mum.

Bang!

Flash!

“Mum-meee! Dad-deee!”

And with that ensued a mild panic on my part while I tried to remain calm, keep The Boy happy and safe, find the candles and work out why we had returned to the dark ages.

A power cut? But it’s 2011, we don’t have things like that anymore!

Apparently we do though. I looked outside the front door & everything was a sea of non-light. It was like Ron Weasley had been along with his de-illuminator. No light pollution and the faint high-pitched wails of burglar alarms protesting and being rendered incapable of doing their jobs.

Meanwhile inside, The Boy was quite enjoying this new game and hubby was in his boy scout element finding torches, plugging in the basic, non-electric phone and feeling all a bit ‘me man, protect family’-ish.

Busy, busy, busy. Where are the candles? Who put the matches at the back of the only kitchen drawer which was wedged shut with pens and red Royal Mail elastic bands?

So I heated up The Boy’s milk on the gas hob (‘that’s why we have a dual-fuel cooker’ thought I smugly) and hubby took The Boy upstairs to get ready for bed, ably assisted by his super-duper Maglight.

I texted a few people and it transpired the whole of the 40,000 strong town was out. Well now this is serious! I know, I’ll ask twitter for advice. Ah, no wireless. But aha, I have 3G! So I duly tweeted, and they ignored me. Pah!

A lovely automated phoneline from SWALEC informed me that it would be 10pm before the power would be back on.10pm?! But that’s 3 whole hours away, what will we do? No ‘net, no tv, no reading… and no I’m sorry don’t even think about suggesting that! No wonder the Victorians had so many children.

“It’s like the Blitz,” says I to hubby.

He looked at me. You know that look. “Yes darling, but without the aeroplanes and bombing,” says he.

He may have a point there, I’ll concede that one.

So there I am, putting The Boy to bed in the pitch-black (don’t worry, that’s normal) when I hear the heating strike back up, the phone blip, the burglar alarms silence and normality return to the world.

Electricity, how I love thee.

Whilst reading twitter earlier, I realised that I hadn’t put any posts on my blog for over a week. When your blog is not very old anyway, a week is a long time! Then I saw a tweet from @MetalMummy about a listography from @KateTakes5. Kate’s idea is along the lines of the Wordless Wednesdays, Silent Sundays and The Gallery (all of which I’m pretty rubbish at remembering to do) but is a list with a topic.

So this week’s theme is as follows:

My Top 5 Good Things About Having Children

1) Bearing in mind the time of year, it’s got to be be Christmas hasn’t it? The Boy’s little face when he was ‘ope’-ning his presents was priceless. He got a little excited and wanted to ‘ope’-n every present he saw from then on in. He also adores the ‘Chris (tmas) tree’ and likes to go and examine all the baubles. Aside from the religious origins, it’s what Christmas is all about isn’t it?

2) Soft-play centres. I love them! Hubby loves them! The Boy loves them! Especially Coconuts, an excellent (if not pricey) local centre. There’s an awful lot of wiffy play centres out there though, aren’t there? But find a good one (like Coconuts) and wahay! The ballpits, the tunnels, going the wrong way up the slides (and trying to avoid getting told off!), we love it all.

3) Finally the downstairs of the house is constantly tidy-ish. I’ve managed to train hubby that stuff needs to be put away or it will be eaten or broken. Aside from The Boy’s toys everywhere, the place is presentable. This is a major feat in our household.

4) Playing with his toys. The range of toys that are available nowadays is completely unbelievable. I used to have to play with a cardboard box and a wooden spoon (ok not quite, but you get the picture).

5) The look on his face when he looks at me. Absolute unconditional love. He doesn’t care how many zits I’ve got, if I’m wearing clothes that have snot stains on them (his not mine), or if I’m a size or seven too big. I’m his mummy and he loves me. And I absolutely adore him with my whole heart, he is a complete and utter treasure and amazes me daily with all the things he’s learning how do to. I grew him, that’s the cleverest thing I have ever done!
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Apologies to Kate for two things: one is that I’m not very good at telegraphic writing, secondly I’ve changed it from kids to children in my list.

So what do you do?

When I was pregnant, we discussed this and there was no way on earth I was going to put up with it. Yet here I am! What am I waffling on about?

Bedtime practices & night-time disturbances.

I was going to be a ‘put him down awake’ type of mummy. I was going to be a ‘he must learn to settle himself’ type of mummy. Guess what? Turns out that I’m not!

When they’re tiny weeny you can be cuddling them and all of a sudden they’ve fallen asleep. “Oh!” you say, “when did that happen?” So what are you supposed to do? Wake them up so you can then put them down in their moses basket awake (and screaming because they don’t know why they’re not asleep anymore)? What a prize bitch you’d have to be!

Anyway, I digress. We started with the bedtime ‘awake under his cot mobile’ malarky and it worked. Until he was 5 months old and learnt to roll over & grab the mobile. Hmmm, that went a bit wrong. Drop cot down a level, tuck end of sleeping bag in = sorted!

Then he got a bad cold. And he couldn’t get to sleep flat on his back because his throat and nose got clogged up and he couldn’t breathe and got scared. So to help this we cuddled him to sleep.

Oops!

And I say ‘oops’ because that’s what we still have to do every night and he’s 18 months old now.

Hmmm…

To be fair, I think it was also the change of milk-feeds that exacerbated the problem. If The Boy falls asleep in my arms having his bedtime bottle, what am I supposed to do; poke him ’til he wakes up & then ignore his tears? Just so I can do what Gina Ford says? (or as she is known in this house, ‘evil, nazi woman’)

So why am I sat here in this Ikea chair (you know the one; cream bucket chair, looks comfy but not when you’ve been sat in it for an hour and your arse is numb) holding my sleeping baby? ‘Ignore him’ you say. ‘Let him cry it out’ you say. ‘No, bog off, he’s my child’ I say. I cannot listen to him cry. Can’t do it. I’m not an advocate of controlled crying, I actually think it’s a bit cruel (* disclaimer at bottom)

The reason why I won’t use it is because The Boy does not wake up or play silly buggers at night. He slept through from 10pm – 6am at 6 weeks old! He goes down at 7.30pm & wakes up about 6.30am+. If he cries in the night, it will be because he’s suffering from wind (he still gets colicky pains sometimes) or teething pains. And then he’s sobbing in his sleep. I can’t ignore him when he’s hurting, it goes against every cell in my body.

So we cuddle him. It’s not like we’re going to be doing it forever. Can you imagine? 15 years old? Exactly.

And we have stopped excusing ourselves because he’s our child! I don’t criticise you for using a dummy with your three and a half year old child, or when he nutted The Boy on his 4 month old nose, so don’t condemn me. (Oh I appear to be having a go at a work colleague here. How did that happen?)

And anyway, look at him…

God, my arse is numb.

(* I apologise to anyone to whom I may have caused offense: I’m not implying you’re not bad mothers if you use controlled crying, you’re braver than I am. That’s why your child is asleep, and I’m awake at 2am!)

The Boy is 18 months old today. I can’t believe how quickly that time has gone.

12th June 2009

 

12th December 2010  

The Boy:

Mummy. Daddy. Nanny. Grandma (actually means Grandad). Diddie-diddie (tickle). Brrrm. Car. Lorry. Bus. Eh-ore (donkey). Ta. Ockle, ockle, ock (cockerel). Ow-meow-me (cat). Bottle. Drink. Water. Milk. Bambi. Baby. Ball. Army (arm). Knee. Eye. Brocolli. Strawberry. Properly. Greyp (grape). Bubbles. (Mr.) Tumble. Buttons. Oh dear. Star. Moon. Sun. Book. Oliver. Giraffe. Nope. Not. Yep. Uh-oh. Stop. Go.   … (his own name). ‘tato. Carrot. Onion. Train. Beep. Click-clack track (!!).

Me:

How?!

Quite simple I find it completely and utterly mind-blowing that my tiny baby (now 18 months old) has managed to learn all those words. It fascinates me.

In an effort to find my inner mistletoe (I am seriously lacking in the Christmas enthusiasm department this year) I made hubby drag down the trees from the attic on the weekend. Yes I said trees. Plural. One for the living room (three-footer, piddly thing so it doesn’t count) and one for the dining room (six-footer, a proper one that shall from henceforth be known as the beast).

On Sunday night I assembled the smaller one as a warm-up to the main event. I dressed it in regulation whites, silvers and blues to match the room. With the oversized star firmly instated at the top I admired my handiwork and couldn’t wait to see The Boy’s face the next day.

He walked in and ignored it. I pointed it out to him. He looked at me like a teenager would.  “What do you want me to say Mummy? It’s a tree. Let’s face facts, it’s a bit pathetic really isn’t it?” said The Boy. (Only he didn’t because he’s 18 months old and single words are the extent of his repertoire at the moment)

I spent the day mildly disappointed with his reaction and pampering the tree to boost its already inferior ego. The Boy spent the day wondering how to get me sectioned as I had clearly lost the plot.

Last night I decided to tackle the beast. I managed it with some help from hubby, I ended up having to send him away; he was doing it all wrong. I decided to go for the minimalist look. Apparently though, just lights and tinsel aren’t enough so on went the obligatory natural wood and golden decorations. I left the bottom third of the beast for The Boy to do in the morning, but didn’t hold out much hope.

This morning, The Boy sauntered into the dining room and stopped in his tracks. A look of awe and wonder crossed his little face, and a huge beam broke out on mine. This was the desired reaction! We decorated the tree together just as hoped whilst listening to Christmas songs. When I say ‘we’, I clearly mean he repeatedly put three baubles on one branch and took them off again. But we had fun!

Oh and I found my inner mistletoe!

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The Gallery

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Listography

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