27 Sep 2016

Reading and bonding with my boy

I have always loved reading, and I'm kind of obsessed with books - you know, the real, paper, hard copy type ones (remember those?), not electronic or Kindle versions and all this new age stuff (how old do I sound?!). I like my books to be old fashioned, physical objects that I can keep, display and cherish in my bookcases around the house. I never borrow books, either - I like to own the books that I have read, almost like a little memento, or trophy if you like, it's kind of "my thing".

So reading to Becky has always been a big part of our time together, and this now also translates to Alex. He has always shown an interest in books , listening carefully when I read to Becky, but as he is growing, his own passion for books is really developing, too. At the grand age of two, my little boy is absolutely obsessed with books and is a right little bookworm - unusually so for a boy, many people comment, including his nursery carers, who seem amazed by his interest in books.

Nothing entertains him for longer or calms him down better when he's upset than to sit down, snuggle up and read a book.

And I so cherish these moments.

Especially at bedtime, as this is the only time in the working week that we really get to spend some one-on-one quality time together, but also all these random moments when he just brings me a bunch of his books and demands to be read to; lazy Sunday mornings, snuggled up under a blanket on the couch; on a rainy Saturday afternoon, spreading out with his sister and all our books on the living room carpet and reading one after another.

It's so nice to see how into the stories he is and how animated he gets, and he loves it when I make silly voices and noises. I think reading to your kids is one of the most important aspects of parenting, and one of the loveliest things to bond over. Moreover, it's so good for their emotional and cognitive development and builds the foundations for their future literacy, whilst also tapping into their imagination and creativity.

I hope he will keep this interest in books forever - and that we have many more of these moments of reading and bonding together.

What's your favourite bonding activity with your kids?


15 Sep 2016

Siblings September 2016

We've had a lovely summer as a family and it’s been so lovely witnessing the relationship between my little pair. Now that Alex is two and has started to talk and express his wishes, likes and dislikes quite vehemently, the dynamic between Alex and Becky seems to be changing a little, too. It's evident that it's intensifying and developing, and  they have a really tight bond and a lot of love for each other.

Alex still idolises his big sister; when she's at home, he'll always try to spend as much time with and around her as possible, he'll join into what she does (invited or not), and especially when we're out and about, he'll copy what she does. He's a very affectionate little boy anyway, but he has now started to randomly go up to Becky, too, and give her spontaneous cuddles and kisses, which were mostly reserved for me. But I don't mind, of course!

His other obvious sign of affection is that he'll go and pick a play fight with Becky; he'll go and tickle her and then he'll plant himself on her, and they are usually both in fits of giggles. It's really funny to watch!

I think Becky's attitude towards her brother is also changing; she's seeing him more and more like her little buddy now. They have proper little conversations together, and Becky constantly talks to him, explains things or encourages him or involves him in many of her activities, which is lovely. A few of the pictures below were taken at a playground, and she was all over Alex, trying to pick him up all the time, helping him to dangle from the monkey bars (which he obviously had to try, because his sister was on them, even though he's really too small), and she always insists on going down the slide with him, too.

But the thing that most makes my heart burst with pride and joy is that neither will go to bed without giving the other a kiss goodnight, and in the mornings they give each other a big hug, too, as if they haven’t seen each other for ages! It is so heart warming.

I can't wait to experience the next chapters in this blossoming relationship.

Linking up with the #SiblingsProject

14 Sep 2016

Review: Oral B Advance Power Kids Toothbrush

I’ve been talking to a few of my mummy friends lately about the dental hygiene of our kids – random, I know! Think it’s got something to do with the fact that our little ones are starting to lose their first teeth and all (I’m bracing myself for the day the tooth fairy comes to our house; Becky can’t wait!). And when I mention that we have been using an electric toothbrush for Becky since her 5th birthday, there’s always a lot of interest in that, so I thought I’d put together a little review in case anyone else is thinking of upgrading to one.

Just to pre-empt, this is not a sponsored post, and I’m not a brand ambassador for Oral B in any shape or form (though I should be, judging by the amount of people I have converted! Ha!) – not that that would influence my opinion anyway. But ever since my dentist recommended to me to start using an electric toothbrush around 2 ½ years ago, it’s really revolutionised my life - yes, that dramatic! – and I have become a little evangelical about it.

I can’t describe how clean my teeth feel after using the Oral B (I have the Oral B Pro 4000, in case you’re wondering), and since I’ve started using it, I’ve got John, my parents and John’s parent on to this, too, and they all love it as much as me.

So when I discovered that Oral B do a kids version, and that it’s available in pink and a Disney Princess design, I knew that Becky would love it, too. It’s recommended from 5 years upwards, which was the perfect timing, as we started using it on Becky when she had just turned 5. And what can I say? It's as brilliant as I'd hoped.

It has a smaller brush head than the adult version and performs really thorough cleaning through 5600 side-to-side movements per minute. It also has a two minute timer, which is great, so even when I’m not standing over Becky to make sure she brushes her teeth properly, she knows how long to brush for.

It has honestly made such a difference to the tooth-brushing experience. Becky loves using it – obviously primarily because it’s pink and features Disney Princesses – but also because she sees Mummy and Daddy using theirs, and I think it makes her feel all grown up having her own electric tooth brush. I’m also reassured that her teeth are brushed properly, because there isn’t much that she can do wrong, as the toothbrush takes care of everything automatically. I usually let her do her own teeth in the morning, without much supervision, so she learns to do it properly herself and to be in charge of her dental care, and in the evenings I usually go over her teeth one more time, just to make sure that we have covered all nooks and crannies.

So far, at each dentist appointment, her dentist has been very impressed with Becky’s teeth – no tooth decay or nothing there, which I think is a good result for our little sweet tooth!

We have got the battery powered one for Becky, and we are perfectly happy with it. There is a rechargeable version available, too, I believe, but I almost find the battery one more practical, as it takes two AA batteries and we’ve only ever had to replace the batteries after three months of use day in, day out, two times a day, which I think is pretty good going! And with a purchase price of £9.66 (we got ours from Amazon – bargain!), this has easily been one of the best purchases for Becky so far.

The toothbrush comes also in a boy’s version – I’ve seen an Avengers one, a Disney Cars one, a Star Wars one, and a Mickey Mouse style – and for girls there are the Disney Princesses and a Frozen version, too, so there’s plenty of choice for each taste.

When Alex is big enough, we will definitely be using it on him, too, as I can thoroughly recommend it.

© Fairies & Pirates. All rights reserved.