Elliott’s 18 Month Update – Part 3: Eating

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Myself and Hubby are both known as the foodies of the family. Not in the sense that we will only eat the finest grass-fed foie gras, more because we just love our blooming food and lots of it – it’s a good job we have fast metabolisms! Obviously everyone expected Elliott to follow suit and he pretty much has, although being a toddler he swings from being a gannet, to being off his food faster than the Octonauts can dive to the bottom of the ocean.

A typical day at home will look like this…

7:15am – 70z bottle of cows milk

8am – Breakfast, usually cereal or porridge with fruit and toast. Elliott’s favourite cereals are Weetabix and Rice Krispies.

10:30am – Morning snack, this tends to be a banana, or a slice of fruit toast. If we’re out and about it might be an Organix-y style toddler snack (Elliott is particularly into these gingerbread men at the moment).

12pm – Lunch, normally an omelette, or a sandwich or wrap with a side salad and some toddler crisps. Followed by fruit, a jelly or a yoghurt.

3:30pm – Afternoon snack, this might be fruit, a packaged toddler snack, Dairylea on crackers, or Almond butter on rice cakes.

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6pm – Dinner (or ‘TEA’ as Elliott likes to screech as he runs excitedly towards his high chair (that’s what us Black Country types refer to dinner as)),  very occasionally Elliott will have a pre-packaged Hipp meal (generally if mummy and daddy want to eat something grown-up (like take out, or steak and chips) for dinner later.) Normally it’s just a smaller version of what we’re having for dinner, so maybe stir fry, stew, sausages and mash with vegetables, pasta… Elliott loves lasagne and seems quite partial to a chicken korma too. He also loves tofu! If it’s a work night it has to be something quick, so it’s often pasta, microwave jacket potatoes, or vegetable topped pizza. This is generally followed by fruit, jelly, a yoghurt, banana (or cake) and custard, or this healthy chocolate mousse.

7:30pm – 7 or 8 ounce bottle of whole cows milk.

Elliott eats well when he’s at nursery. The portions they give there are huge and Elliott frequently polishes them off, sometimes having seconds! I’ve also noticed he will eat certain foods (especially fruits) at nursery which he won’t eat at home! Sneaky thing!

At home Elliott eats with us at the table, we strap him in his Ikea high chair. We used to be able to just pop him in, but his middle name may as well be Houdini at the moment so he has to be restrained to prevent him from escaping! He eats really well with either a spoon or fork. He does have a tendency to throw food if he’s tired, or if he’s had enough and we haven’t noticed. Although, thankfully, this does seem to be a phase that is starting to pass. There’s only so many times you can cope with having a flying banana land in your lap part way through breakfast. At nursery he sits on a little chair at a little table surrounded by his other older toddler friends – so cute!

We use the plastic cutlery and plates and bowls from Ikea. You know, the ones that everyone has and an assortment of bibs from Tommee Tippee, Ikea and elsewhere. We find these ones from Tommee Tippee to be the best.

In terms of drinking Elliott goes through phases, both in terms of how much water he will drink and which cup he wants to drink out of. I’ll do a blog post about the various cups we’ve been through another time – that’s an epic blog post in itself!

I do find it hard to come up with inspiration for new meals for Elliott and it can be disheartening when I do try something new and he doesn’t like it, so if anyone has any fool proof toddler recipes to recommend, please leave your links in the comments below.

You can read part one of Elliott’s 18-month (routine) here and part two (sleep) here.

 

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Elliott’s 18 Month Update – Part 2: Sleep

 

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Elliott’s current bedtime is 8pm and most nights he will sleep from 8pm until 7am the following morning.

Elliott will occasionally wake around 10 or 11pm, generally because he’s lost his dummy,  usually once it’s back in he’s straight back to sleep. Sometimes he isn’t really fully awake anyway – just kind of making disgruntled noises in his sleep!

Of course, there are exceptions. Sometimes, especially if Elliott is unwell (or sometimes for no reason whatsoever), Elliott will wake in the early hours and decide to stay awake for around an hour. Sometimes he just wants company and someone to stay with him whilst he falls asleep, other times he’s like a toddler possessed and just wants to play, play, play. Thankfully, those incidents are few and far between. Phew!

Elliott has a well-established bed time routine. Bath at around 7pm, then dimmed lights whilst he’s changed into his PJs, before having a 7 or 8 ounce bottle of whole cows milk and some cuddles from daddy. Then he gets cuddles and kisses from both mummy and daddy before being popped in his sleeping bag and drifting off to the land of nod.

I must admit, this last week he has been fighting bed time a little. I’m not sure if it’s the dreaded 18-month sleep regression (although technically Elliott is 19-months now!), teething, or something else, but once he’s finished his bottle he tends to trundle across to me and cling to me like a baby monkey. A bed time book seemed to calm things last night and tonight I’m staying out of the room until the last moment to see if that helps. I’m sure (read: hope) it’s just a phase.

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Elliott sleeps in his Ikea cot, in PJs with a summer tog sleeping bag (our apartment is very cosy indeed). I’m not one for fussy cot adornments (far too paranoid about the dangers for that) but he does have a Lamaze Captain Calamari on the side (so he can play with something if he wakes up earlier than we do), a Jellycat penguin which he’s had since day one and a Jellycat monkey which used to be mine but I donated in a moment of motherly adoration (I honestly thought I would be far more protective of my possessions but in reality I’m just like take it, take it all). We use fitted sheets and a mattress protector from Ikea and the mattress itself is from Ikea too. All of which I would highly recommend in terms of cost effectiveness, durability and quality. We still use the our BT baby monitor to listen in. We’re all on one level so we can generally hear if Elliott gets upset, but having the baby monitor means we can get in there sooner preventing total meltdowns (most of the time).

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As for day time sleep… Well… Whilst Elliot has always been a good night time sleeper, he’s never been renowned for his day time naps, bless him. That said, pre-Christmas we had a good routine where he would go down just before, during or after lunch for around an hour and a half to two hours. Since the festivities it’s all gone a bit pear shaped for various reasons (baby groups at awkward times, relatives visiting etc…).

Elliott still very much needs a nap, if he has a day without one it can go one of two ways: 1. He’s over tired on the day and impossible to do anything with, or 2. He’s fine on the day but can be a total grump the following day. Neither scenario is much fun for me, so I’m trying to re-establish a napping routine. At nursery he goes down for a nap just after his lunch, so that’s what I’m trying to do at home too. It worked perfectly yesterday as we only had plans for the morning. Today, we had a pub lunch whilst our car was being MOT’d and a delay on our desserts meant pushing Elliott through his normal nap time so he didn’t get down until about 3pm. Tomorrow? Who knows…

Elliott was  previously very good at napping on the fly – catching a quick 40 winks in his buggy whilst I was shopping, for example. But I do get the impression that his longer toddler naps might ground us a bit in terms of afternoon plans. We shall see… Elliott tends to have a dummy for naps and bedtime. We like these MAM ones.

You can read part one of Elliott’s 18-month update here.

Next up, I’ll be looking at a subject close to Elliott’s and my own heart (and stomach) – eating!

Elliott’s 18 Month Update Part 1 – Routine

WARNING! Super-long post alert. I was orignally going to do a full 18 month update in one post. Then I started typing and couldn’t stop. I was going to edit, after all, would anyone actually want to read ALL this? But I stopped myself, because I thought, yes, when Elliott is grown I will want to look back at what was, at the funny little things we used to do and the way we spent our days.  So here we are… Elliott’s routine at 18 months, grab a cuppa and your biscuit of choice (I recommend a good ole’ chocolate Hob Nob) and enjoy a read. Let me know if there are any similarities with your little ones too..

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7am – Elliott’s average wake-up time. If we’re lucky he may stay snuggled until 8am some mornings, other morning he’s interrupting mummy’s get ready routine at 6:30am. But on average he’s a 7am riser.

I always sing to Elliott first thing (our neighbours must love listening to me wail at 7am, but hey ho!). I remember watching Jonathan from the Saccone-Joly’s sing to his children and thinking it was a great idea, then when Elliott came along we kind of just fell into singing a bit of the ‘Good Mornin” song from ‘Singin’ in the Rain’. He gets: “Good Mornin’, Good Mornin’, it’s great to stay up late, Good Mornin’, Good Mornin’ to you” – tickle on his tummy, “Good Mornin’, Good Mornin’, It’s great to stay up late, Good Mornin’ Good Mornin’ to you” – pat on his nose, then I pick up his cuddly toys from his cot and wiggle them around to make them ‘dance’ for the last round of: “Good Mornin’, Good Mornin’, It’s great to stay up late, Good Mornin’, Good Mornin’ to youuuu” – I then kiss the cuddly toys and pass them to Elliott who kisses them and puts them back in their place in his cot. So cute! Then we do “1-2-3, now we can see” as I switch the light on. Funny the things you wind up doing…

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Next, it’s up and nappy change – which can take a while as Elliott has a habit of running off, or hiding behind his cot… Once I’ve managed to capture him and change his nappy it’s milk time. Elliott has 8oz of full fat cows milk in a morning. He still drinks this from a bottle. I did attempt to get him to drink it from a sippy cup the other day and he looked genuinely disgusted with me. It was a bit like asking the Queen to drink tea from something other than a bone china tea cup. I generally have the news on in the background at the same time. I used to be really funny about having the TV on in the background, but this is one of my only opportunities to keep up with what’s going on in current affairs and with the whole Trump debacle – right now I definitely want to know what’s going on!

Once milk is finished. Elliott will pop his dummy (or his ‘mummy’, as he likes to call it) back in whilst I go and get his toothbrush. We were struggling with toothbrushing for a while, but stumbled across this video which seems to help to motivate Elliott to actually brush his teeth rather than just suck the toothpaste off the brush. I must warn you if you do decide to use it it’s a total ear worm and you will have it in your head for the rest of the day! More recently Elliott has wanted to brush his teeth himself. Great for independence; not so good for keeping his molars clean. So that’s always a fun battle! I generally hide Elliott’s dummy during toothbrushing and he’s got used to going dummy free until nap time, unless he’s upset about something, unwell or teething.

8am With the the TV on in the background, either scrolling onto the next YouTube video (Normally this one, which Elliott loves), or I put CBeebies on whilst I make breakfast. Elliott’s favourite at present is porridge made with whole milk. I cut pieces of berries up really small and add them to the mixture as I cook it to sneak some fruit into him! He also generally has a slice of toast or a bit of croissant.

8:30am Now it’s clean up time. Elliott does rather enjoy throwing his food once he’s had enough at the moment, so if we’re not quick enough to judge when he doesn’t want any more the place can end up pretty messy – fortunately we use a plastic table cloth underneath the highchair to catch any debris so it’s a bit easier to clean up. That said, Elliott is going through a bit of a phase of not wanting to sit in his highchair, preferring his little Ikea table instead. Again, great for his independence, but the fact that he can wander around mid-meal with sticky fingers sends me into a blind panic! Strangely enough, when there’s a yoghurt on offer he’s quite happy to sit in his highchair… Hmm…

Anyway, there’s the table and floor clean up and then Elliott gets cleaned off with a flannel and dressed. Just recently he’s started to pick his outfits out for himself too!

9am onwards This largely depends on the day. We might play for a bit before going to a toddler group, or meet up with friends. I might get Elliott to help me with some housework – he’s a dab hand at hanging the socks on our clothes airer now, although does get very frustrated if they fall off -bless him!

10:30am – Snack time – generally a banana or some fruit toast. Afterwards, again it depends on our plans. You can generally guarantee a trip to the supermarket for a top-up shop somewhere along the way. We do a nappy change at this time too.

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12:30 – Lunch time – something along the lines of beans on toast, or a Dairylea sandwich. I do get stuck with inspiration for lunch, so if anyone has ideas – please let me know! Elliott always has pudding afterwards too. I tend to give him all the savoury stuff first and then give him the sweet stuff once he’s had enough of his sandwich, or whatever, otherwise I know he would just make a beeline for the sweet stuff.

Elliott will often go for a nap after lunch (sometime he will even go before, or over his normal lunch time – in which case we feed him later, obvs), this can range from  40 minutes to 3 hours and sometimes if we’re out and about (especially if we’re relative visiting he might literally have 10 minutes – imagine a *shocked frace* emoji here! If we are home, then it’s generally: nappy change, blinds drawn, Star Wars lights on, dummy in, cuddles until you can sense Elliott is ready to be put down, then pop him in his cot and cover him with a light blanket. I then tend to potter around his nursery for a few minutes, before telling him to have a good sleep and retreat, listening to him fight his nap over the baby monitor for the next five minutes before he eventually drifts off and I get some time to myself time to catch up on housework.

Once he wakes up it depends again. We might read book, have a boogie and play some musical instruments, paint, draw or head to the park. It really depends on how long Elliott sleeps for, what else we’ve got on and what mood Elliott wakes up in.

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3:30pm – Snack time – Generally fruit or Dairylea on crackers, although the odd sweet treat is now sneaking in too! We do another nappy change at this time too, I generally try to do it as soon as Elliott wakes from his nap as if he’s still a bit groggy he’s less likely to try to run off!

6pm – Dinner time! If Elliott is hungry he will literally stand by the kitchen or point to it as if to say ‘C’mon woman – make my dinner!’. Once it’s cooked and being served up, he will generally head over to the table and start shouting ‘TEA! TEA!’ in an excited voice (tea is what Midlanders call dinner sometimes). Tea could be stir fry, curry, lasagne, pasta, sausages & mash, pizza. We try to vary it up, but again, I need to add some more dishes to my repertoire, so let me know any that work for you! Pudding is generally yoghurt or jelly. But we do sometimes make this mousse or have banana and custard, or something different.

6:45pm – Play time – Elliott will sometime bring books for us to read, or will enjoy some rough play with his dad. Weirdly he often plays with certain toys at this time of night that he doesn’t play with at any other time during the day. There’s one shape sorter that’s a particular post dinner hit and he also enjoys emptying his ball pit (and sitting underneath the upturned pit) at around this time too.

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7:30pm – Bath time – Daddy takes care of this. We bathe Elliott in Oilatum because he has slightly dry skin. Elliott has his hair washed on Thursday’s and Sunday’s (and other nights if he’s got particularly mucky). Otherwise its a quick wash and then a chance to play with some of his bath toys  before moving onto tooth brushing. Next we dim the lights for PJs, and an 8oz bottle of whole cows milk milk and bed at…

8pm – Elliott still sometimes falls asleep on the bottle. Other times he would probably dive into his ball pit post bottle. Either way he tends to settle well once he’s in his cot. I kiss him goodnight, tell him I love him lots and that I’ve enjoyed spending the day with him and that I’m looking forward to seeing him the next day. I tell him to have good ‘nug nugs’ too (our word for snuggles). Sometimes I get a kiss, sometimes a cuddle, sometimes he’s fast asleep and I’m talking to myself. Other times I get a wave, or he blows me a kiss as his dad carries him off to bed.

We’re very lucky that Elliott generally sleeps through. He might wake once or twice but that’s generally a quick dummy rescue mission and he’s back to sleep. There are the odd occasions where he won’t settle but they’re not often. Sorry – please don’t hate me sleep deprived parents.

And on work days?

Obviously this is what we would do on a typical day off. On a working day. Elliott rises at around the same time and the morning routine follows the same pattern, except he gets washed and dressed straight after having his teeth brushed as he eats his breakfast at nursery. I drop him at nursery at around 8am and head to work, then pick him up at around 5:30pm. We’ve tried to mimic the nursery routine as much as possible at home to add some consistency to Elliott’s days, so meal times are roughly the same at nursery as they are at home.

That’s not all…

I feel like this post doesn’t give a full account of everything that goes into looking after and managing a toddler. It makes it sound a little too easy and, at times, it’s really not. It doesn’t take into account the continual bag packing, emptying and replenishing; washing; meal planning and prep, tidying, tidying and oh-my-god tidying, plus lots of other things that happen ‘behind the scenes’ to keep the household running as smoothly as possible. I say this, not to moan, but just to give some sense of reality to people who may not have children and don’t experience this first hand!

So, that’s it. Hope you enjoyed your brew and hope you enjoyed reading this too – oh, that rhymed! In my next Elliott update I will look at sleep.

I hope to film a ‘day in the life’ video to show Elliott’s routine from start to finish too, but wanted to get this epic blog post live first as when I wrote this Elliott was fast approaching 19 months and now he actually is!

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Elliott at Six Months

When you are pregnant there are numerous cliches that people trot out time and time again…

If you think you’re tired now; wait until the baby arrives

is one of them.

Appreciate every moment because it goes so fast

is another.

That second one is so true. I seriously cannot believe that my darling Elliott is now six months old! That it was (now over) half a year ago since he was first placed on my chest all huge eyes, long legs and curled up hands.

A lot has happened in that six months, more than can be captured in one blog post! But here’s where we’re at right now.

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Height/Weight: I was going to take Elliott to clinic to be weighed on Tuesday but I woke up in such a foul mood (no idea why) that I didn’t think I was safe to leave the house lest I bite someone’s head off! The last time he was weighed was at 22-weeks and he was 15lb 13oz (or 7.22kg). I’ve no idea how tall he is, although he’s definitely getting taller by the day it’s difficult to wind him after a feed now as he’s so long!

Routine: We had a nice routine going which has kind of been thrown by the onset of weaning! His routine was:

7 – 7:30am – Wake and nappy change.

7:30am – Bottle and wind.

8am – Top and tail; get Elliott dressed for the day; trim or file his nails; brush his hair and put some cream on his face (he gets dry skin on his cheeks).

8:30am – He either watches an episode of Teletubbies whilst I grab a shower or plays with some toys.

9 – 9:30am – Elliott starts showing sleepy signs so I pick him up, give him cuddles (and often his dummy) until he falls asleep and then pop him in his cot for a short nap. This is a major breakthrough as daytime naps anywhere but on me weren’t happening for a long time!

10am – Elliott generally wakes and has a play for a bit.

10:30am – Bottle, wind and nappy change.

11 – 11:30am – Some kind of activity, we might be out and about or Elliott might have a play, or we might do some songs together. It really depends on his mood and how much other stuff I have to get done.

12 – 12:30pm – Depending on what we’re up to (on certain days we have activities at this time) Elliott might have a short nap. This used to be when I grabbed lunch, but now I’m trying to wean him we tend to ‘eat’ together where possible.

1pm – Play time.

1:30pm – Bottle, wind and nappy change.

2 – 2:30pm – Play time.

3 – 3:30pm – Hopefully another nap.

4pm – Play time.

4:30pm – Bottle, wind and nappy change.

5 – 5:30pm – Play time. Although often if Elliott hasn’t napped enough throughout the day he might have a nap around now too.

7pm – Bath time.

7:30pm – Bottle , wind and chill out before bed.

8pm – Bed time.

Timings are very loose but we tend to follow The Baby Whisperer’s concept of Eat, Activity, Sleep, Your Time. Although it often works out as Eat, Activity, Sleep, Your Time, Activity for us.

Elliott earlier today, pooped out from Rhythm Time 🎼 #elliott #babyspam #6months #rhythmtime

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Clubs and Groups: I try to get out and about with Elliott as much as possible. At the moment we’re doing Baby Sensory classes and Rattle and Rhyme at the local library. He also goes to Puddleducks swimming lessons with his dad. I’m looking for a new group or class to join. If you’ve any suggestions let me know.

😍 #babyspam #elliott #sixmonths

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Sleeping: At night Elliott is great. We moved him into his own room when he turned six months, which he was fine with and I was an emotional wreck about. He might wake up once or twice in the night but generally he just wants his dummy or a bit of comfort and is easy to settle back down again. We have our little wake-up song in the morning and he’s generally quite patient and waits for that even if he is awake earlier.

Day time napping is still challenging, but I can now get him into his cot for some naps which gives me some sanity and time to get on with the things I need to do. I just wish he wouldn’t fight day time sleep so much! Any tips?

Weetabix was a hit with Elliott but a nightmare to clean up, lol! #elliott #sixmonths #babyspam #weaning #weetabix

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Eating: We’ve just started to wean Elliott and to be honest he is less bothered about food than we expected. Both myself and his dad are total (greedy) foodies so we kind of expected the same of our son! At first Elliott would take a little bit of baby rice from a spoon and then look at me like ‘what the heck was that mum?’. Then he went through a phase of not opening his mouth at all. We did some baby led weaning with banana which went a little better and then over the past couple of days we’ve had a bit of a breakthrough where he had a couple of spoonfuls of Ella’s Kitchen Parsnips, Parsnips, Parsnips yesterday. Today I tried him with some mashed banana for breakfast and he had a couple of mouthfuls. Then I gave him some baby rice cakes whilst I ate some Snack-a-Jacks and at last the rice cakes made their way to his mouth (previously he had eyed them suspiciously)! Isn’t it funny how anything that isn’t food goes straight into their mouths, but actual food – well that’s a different story! I get the impression he wants to copy us so eating at the same time as him massively helps and he also really likes the Tommee Tippee aeroplane spoons because he can hold onto the wings and be more in control.

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Sizes: He is a size 4 in nappies. Clothing varies and so he has a mix of 3-6 months, 6-9 months and even 9-12 months. He seems to follow his mummy with a long torso and shorter legs so we tend to have to go bigger for vests and smaller for trousers.

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Milestones: Elliott can roll over, although only really uses that skill when there’s an interesting toy or another baby on the horizon. He can sit up, although he still needs to support himself with his hands a lot of the time. I think this is firstly because, he again takes after his mother and has a larger head, which means he needs more core strength to balance and also because he is so easily distracted (also like his mother) and tends to start looking at his feet or the play mat. I’ve purchased one of these tiger toys from Early Learning Centre to try to get him to look up in the hope that helps. He is desperately trying to crawl, but isn’t there yet – thank goodness – I don’t think there will be any stopping him once he can. Teething is also in progress – lots of rosy cheeks, dribble and tears but no sign of the toothymegs just yet!

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Character: One of the nicest things is that by this stage you get an idea of their personality. Elliott already knows his own mind and if you aren’t holding him in quite the right way or giving him the right toy to play with he will let you know! But then he was strong-willed even as a baby and even the Health Visitors and doctors picked up on that.  That said, he is a very smiley and happy baby for the most part. He is also very sociable and loves people watching and looking around cafes seeing how many smiles he can attract. He always smiles back and I often think it’s wonderful that he is spreading so much happiness to complete strangers and he doesn’t even realise it yet.