Monday, 21 November 2016

The Day of the Dead - in pictures

Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them. - George Eliot

That is what the Day of the Dead is really about; not forgetting.  Does it sound strange to be celebrating death?  Maybe, but then again, it is all part of the natural cycle of life.

Day of the dead


Last year I wrote about some of the customs  - some stranger than others - associated with this festivity in The Day of the Dead - 7 reasons to experience it.

On November 2nd, Mexicans honor and remember those who have died, usually by making an altar at home or in a public place in the name of a deceased relative or someone who made an important contribution to the local community or the country.  The altar is decorated with traditional symbolic elements as well as objects that characterise the person being honoured and their favourite food and drink.

The other important aspect of the Day of the Dead is to remind us of our own mortality.  You might be given a sugar skull , called a Calaverita, with your name on the forehead, which perhaps sounds a bit creepy, but maybe it does us good to remember that we're not going to live forever, that we should make the most of our time - live life to the full and without fear so that we don't fear death (to paraphrase Mark Twain).

If you scroll down to the end of my post on 7 Symbols of Mexico  you can read more about the origins of the sugar skull.

The other Calaverita, aside from the sugar skulls, is a humorous poem about the death of, normally, a well-known person who is not yet dead.  In these poems, and in fact in Mexican culture in general, Death is a female character, often nicknamed La Huesuda (the Boney One) or La Flaca (the Skinny One).  It's an intriguing mix of the macabre, absurd and hilarious, and very Mexican.

Most striking of all are the vibrant colours everywhere, as you can see in the photos...

Sugar skulls
Sugar skulls and amusing little skeleton figures on a market stall.

Day of the dead altar
The big altar set up in one of the main squares in the centre of Queretaro for the Day of the Dead.



Altar day of the dead
The ground around the altar was covered in a "carpet" of sawdust, dried chillies, corn and black beans.

Altar de muertos
Another Altar de muertos in a restaurant in the town centre.

Day of the dead altar
I think the skull is made from salt, sawdust and black beans.

Day of the dead altar
Emma crouching in front of an altar on display in the town centre.  The "carpet" is made from different coloured sawdust.

Day of the dead sugar skulls
On display in our local greengrocers: flowers to decorate your altar; cempasuchil and manita de leon, sugar skulls, large and small, and miniature baskets of fruit made from sugar paste.


Pan de muerto
Pan de muerto: traditional sugary bread, only sold around this time of year.  The shapes on top represent bones!  It is delicious!


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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Bilingual Toddler Update at 31 months

She's growing up so quickly; Emma is now two years and seven months old - and heading fast towards eight months - so I really think it's time for an update on her speech and language development as a bilingual toddler.  (Is she still a toddler? At what age does toddlerhood end?)

Bilingual Toddler Update at 31 months


Having been born and brought up so far in Mexico means that her majority language is Spanish, which is spoken by most of the people around her.

Since before she was born, I have been speaking to her almost exclusively in English.  Despite some people telling me I was exaggerating in being so rigorous in not using Spanish - we are in Mexico, after all - I knew I was the only source of the minority language and that I should use this to its maximum potential for the benefit of my daughter.

Looking back on our bilingual journey so far, I feel vindicated!

We have a two and a half year old who understands both Spanish and English equally well (as far as I can tell) and expresses herself in both languages, mixing and matching according to her needs and who she's speaking to.

At the moment she mixes the two languages - well, why should she separate them?  She just uses all the tools at her disposal to get her message across.  We have noticed, though, that she tends to use much more English with me and more Spanish with her Spanish-speaking daddy and grandmother.  Sometimes, she'll say a word in one language, then repeat it in the other language, just to make sure we understand!

It's still hard to decipher a lot of what she says; often, she's babbling away and we have no idea of what she's talking about, save for the odd word.

However, other things she says so clearly.  If I ask her a question she's not sure of the answer to she thinks for a second, then, enunciating the "t" very clearly, says, "I don't know."

Then there's a middle ground of garbled words or phrases that we manage to work out from the context, or because Emma uses them a lot.

Here are some of her frequently-used phrases:
Muddy puddles/ sump in muddy puddles - I wonder where she got that one from?!
Oots! - oops, of course.  Then she'll start saying "Oops, sorry mummy!" over and over again while she's running around.  I have no idea what she's apologising for!
Oh dear!
I hep oo - "I'll help you", often when I'm making the bed or some other activity; she likes to help!
Qué es eso? / What dis? - A frequent question in English or Spanish.  Sometimes we turn it into a game, pointing at different things and asking what they are and I make her laugh by giving the wrong answers.
Are you...? - Asking questions, like " Are you seepy, mummy?" and "Are you mopping?"  Are you? can also be "Where are you?"  Now she uses it to begin all sorts of questions, instead of do you and can you.  For example, in this conversation: "Are you open peez, mummy?"  I open the lid of the pot she holds out to me and she responds, "Nadoo, mummy." (Nadoo is Thank you!)
Let's go! / let's play! / let's go upstairs/ outside, etc.
Vete de ati!  - Something like "get out of here!" So I told her that wasn't very nice and she should say "Excuse me, please".  So now she says "Doozy peez"!  Or she says in Spanish, "Con piso!" (Con permiso).
I got a nidea! - Then you ask her what her idea is and she whispers it in a way that's impossible to understand!

I get confused sometimes when she says I want as it sounds like I not, and think that she means she doesn't want something when she does.  I must remember it's usually I want.

Her negatives are usually a no at the end of the phrase, for example, I say "We're going to have dinner now."  And Emma might respond, "Have dinner, no."  With a long, emphatic, English-sounding no.

We've had several conversations similar to this one:
The light was off and Emma said, "I see dark."  "Really?" I said, and she replied "si, portay I eat my tarrots!" (This tells you a lot about how I try to convince her to eat vegetables!) Portay is "porque", Spanish for "because".

She has a unique way of counting to ten - well, many different variations, but this is the current favourite:  Unu (1), dos (2), tes (3), sete (7), ocho (8), neve (9), eight, nine, ten! 

She's great at saying please and thank you - peez and nadoo - or in Spanish porfoy (por favor) and yasias (gracias)!

However, my very favourite phrase of hers, which she's only started using quite recently in the past week or so, is I love mummy, accompanied by a hug.  It melts my heart!

It's fun listening to her and noticing how her speech is developing every day and I love our little conversations, even when I'm not quite sure what we're talking about.  So I do my best to capture and remember all these little details of moments that pass by before we even know it.

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Sunday, 9 October 2016

7 Symbols of Mexico

The patriotic month of September has come to an end and the green, white and red decorations to celebrate Mexican Independence are being taken down.

7 symbols of México


As a foreigner, it seems to me that Mexican identity is something very visual, full of colour and symbolism.  Certain images come to mind as symbols of Mexico; some of them could be seen as stereotypes, but their reality and presence (or omnipresence) in Mexican culture is undeniable.  That's my view, anyway, as an outsider who has spent more of her adult life here than anywhere else.

I thought I would elaborate here on a few of these well-known images and symbols.

Mexican flag


The Mexican flag is an image and object that inspires a fierce loyalty and patriotism.   It is treated with the utmost reverence and respect.  Schools usually have a flag ceremony once a week which involves an honour guard marching with the flag, everyone saluting and singing the national anthem.  You see it everywhere, especially in September for the Independence Day celebrations, and everything is adorned with the colours of the flag; green, white and red.

The flag itself is full of symbolism.  Each of the colours has a meaning; green represents independence and hope, white stands for purity, faith and unity and red symbolises the blood of the heroes of independence.

The image in the centre comes from Aztec mythology.  It is said that the Aztecs, before they built their empire, were wandering in search of a place to make their home.  The gods told them to build their capital where they saw an eagle, perched on a nopal cactus, with a serpent in its mouth.  On an island in the middle of a lake they saw this exact scene, so that is where they founded the city of Tenochtitlan, the site of present-day Mexico City.  Hence on the flag you can see the eagle with a snake in its grasp and the nopal cactus.

Nopal


Which brings me to the nopal.  It seems like a stereotype - a cactus - but it really is everywhere, from prehispanic codices to the flag to modern-day logos, souvenirs, health food products and supplements, etc.  The plant itself can be seen in parks and gardens, by the side of the road, on patches of wasteland and of course in the countryside; it's not for nothing that there is a widely-used saying Más mexicano que el nopal (more Mexican than the nopal!) which, whether used proudly, affectionately or mockingly, firmly asserts the inherent Mexicanness of both the nopal and the person being referred to!

Tenochtitlan
A pictograph representing the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan.  The name means "the rock where the prickly pear (fruit of the nopal cactus) abounds".

Read my post on nopales for more about different ways to eat them and their nutritional properties.

chiles


What would Mexican food be without chile?  Actually, chillies are not the be-all and end-all of Mexican cuisine and there are plenty of dishes that are not hot at all... But, let's face it, the chilli is the  emblem and essential ingredient that defines so much of Mexican food, from the small green chile serrano, the slightly fatter chile jalapeño, the big dark green chile poblano, the smokey chile chipotle, the long skinny red chile de árbol, the plump round yellow and orange habaneros, the darkly rich but mild dried pasilla and ancho chillies to the tiny blood-red chile piquin, to name but a few.  Embrace the heat.

mexican hats
Image courtesy of Flickr: corazon de melon

Those tacky souvenir Mexican hats you can buy at the airport do have an authentic historical origin somewhere in there.  Obviously, you don't generally see people wearing hats like this in present-day Mexico, unless you're at a fancy-dress party maybe, but go back a hundred years or so to the rural environment of the haciendas and ranchos and you would probably see a similar type of hat worn by the charros.
Charros are skilled horsemen - sort of equivalent to cowboys - still in existence, though more for  sport than work these days.  Their typical hat has a very wide brim to protect the wearer from the sun, wind, dust and rain, and is slightly lifted up at the back.  This hat also has a lot of other practical uses, from head protection in case of a fall to a shield against a knife attack!

7 symbols of mexico charro
Image courtesy of Flickr: Pepe Antonio

mariachi
Image courtesy of flickr: jlmaral

The eye-catching outfit worn by a Mariachi is in fact based on the charro suit.  The word mariachi refers to both the style of music and the musicians.  It's customary to have a mariachi group play at a special event, like a wedding, a birthday or a graduation party and people still hire mariachi to serenade someone (perhaps more often after a few drinks!) from outside their window in the middle of the night!

tequila


Everyone knows that Tequila is Mexican, right?  It competes with mezcal, which is more widely produced, for the role of Mexico's national drink, but tequila is definitely more internationally famous and the drink that most people in other parts of the world associate with Mexico.

tequila blue agave cactus
Blue agave around the town of Tequila

Tequila gets its name from the small town in the state of Jalisco where it was first produced, and these days the name tequila is protected by a denominación de origen which means it can only be produced in the states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Michoacan, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas.  It is made from the heart of the blue agave cactus through a long process which you can get more than a glimpse into if you visit one of the tequila distilleries which offer tours, as we did many years ago when we went to the town of Tequila...


tequila jimadores
Jimadores cut the heart from the blue agave which is used in the tequila-making process.


painted skulls


A few years ago on a visit to England, I was surprised to see a very Mexican-looking painted skull design on a pair of boots!  Did you know that these brightly-coloured skulls are usually made out of sugar?  Sugar skulls are a traditional part of the Day of the Dead celebrations, used to decorate the altars that are put up in honour of a deceased person, or given as gifts.  The patterns on the skull are made with coloured icing sugar and it could have a little tape on the forehead with the name of the person who will receive the gift.  Sometimes, instead of sugar, the skulls are made from chocolate or amaranth, and often there are non-edible ones made of clay and painted.

This tradition has its origins in prehispanic culture where death was seen as the conclusion of one stage of life which would extend into the afterlife and skulls were kept as trophies and shown in rituals to mark this transition.  They had a type of altar called a tzompantli which was decorated with strings of skulls of those who had been sacrificed to the gods.

After the Spanish Conquest, attempts were made to ban these pagan practices, but it proved impossible to wipe out these traditions altogether.  The prehispanic festivity was combined with the Catholic All Souls Day and became the Day of the Dead which is celebrated today, and the Spanish brought the technique of alfeñique, making figures from sugar paste, which has been used to make the skulls ever since.

They serve as a reminder of our own mortality and of those who lived before us.


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Saturday, 10 September 2016

4 Benefits of Technology for Toddlers (and Kidloland app review)

How much screen time should I let my kids have, and how often?  How early should I introduce them to technology and is there such a thing as too young?  Is it okay for babies or toddlers to use a tablet or am I doing some irreparable damage by letting my little one watch a video on YouTube or play on the tablet?

These seem to be the dilemmas of modern parenting.

I confess I'm no expert on this topic.  In fact, I'm pretty rubbish when it comes to anything technology-related.

I sometimes have my reservations about toddlers using technology.  I know babies and toddlers learn from playing in a three-dimensional world, so can a two-dimensional screen provide them with a meaningful learning experience?

When she was younger, my daughter didn't use to spend much time in front of a screen, she wasn't that interested in TV for more than a few minutes and would rather wander off and play with her toys.  I used to play her videos of kids songs and nursery rhymes on YouTube quite a lot, but then stopped as I felt it wasn't a great habit to get into and, besides, I was getting pretty bored of hearing the same songs over and over!

Then somewhere around the age of two I realised that Emma was interested in watching TV for longer periods of name, although almost exclusively Peppa Pig, Masha and the Bear and BabyTV.  She also watches the same cartoons on YouTube.

Are screens addictive?  Sometimes it seems like it when Emma is glued to the screen, apparently oblivious to everything else going on, and when she makes a huge fuss if I take away the iPad or switch it off.  But then you distract her with something else and she's forgotten about it the next minute.

There are plenty of arguments against letting toddlers use tablets and other kinds of digital technology, but I'm going to take the other side and look at what the benefits could be.

Technology for toddlers

1.  Growing up in a digital world 
Digital technology is an integral part of the world our kids are growing up in and screens are everywhere.  It's almost impossible to avoid, so we may as well make the most of it.

2.  Developing a healthy relationship with technology 
Children need to learn how to have a healthy relationship with technology from an early age and use it sensibly.  Total prohibition can be counterproductive and often has the opposite effect to the desired one.  If children learn that they need to limit how much time they spend in front of a screen and that they should do other activities first (like exercise/sports, homework, chores, creative activities), then hopefully these rules will become habits that stick with them.  It's important for parents to model healthy use of technology, too - probably the most difficult part as we're usually the worst offenders.

3.  Learning through technology and play 
An educational app can provide some great learning opportunities for toddlers.  Just watching TV or videos is generally a very passive activity so I think an interactive app especially aimed at young children is a better alternative, and can make screen time a more stimulating learning experience.

I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier.  Did I say I was a late adopter?  So that's why almost-two-and-a-half-year-old Emma has only just started using her first app for kids.  Of course, she loves it!

The one we're using is the Kidloland app, to which I received a year's subscription.  It's an educational app aimed at children from babies to five-year-olds and has a range of different types of activities suitable for the interests and abilities of the age group.  There are different sections with nursery rhymes, games, numbers, phonics, shapes and colours, stories and more, and within each section there are lots of different activities to download.  There's a section for parents, too, accessible by answering a simple addition, where you can manage your downloads and set up nursery rhyme playlists.

Kidloland app review

At the moment, Emma loves the nursery rhymes and especially that you can tap on different parts of the pictures and they move and make noises.  For example, a dog barks and jumps; apples fall off a tree onto the farmer sitting underneath, the cow jumps over the moon, the guards' helmets fall off, etc.

Kidloland app review

Her other favourite section is the games.  Within the games there is usually a variety of tasks to complete.  The activities she can do quite easily are the ones involving matching shapes, animals or letters to their shadows, colour matching, jigsaws, dragging and dropping tasks and identifying pairs.  She's just getting the hang of the dot-to-dot, but needed help at first as she doesn't recognise the numbers yet.  Others activities involving identifying letters and numbers are still too advanced for her so she skips those.

She's also pretty taken with the musical petals activity - like a piano in the form of a flower, each petal being a piano key that you tap to play.

On a practical note, once you've downloaded the games and activities you want to access, you don't need an Internet connection to use them.  That brings me to the next point:

4.  Portable Entertainment
The fact that you don't need to be connected to the Internet to use it means you can play on the app during long car journeys, or while waiting for a doctor or dentist appointment, etc.  Pretty useful, especially when faced with an imminent attack of boredom.

Here's Emma playing with the Kidloland app; it's the song Old Macdonald had a farm and she taps on the objects on the screen to make different things happen.



I'm sure there are people who would disagree with me about the points above, and of course there are many downsides to toddlers using digital technology, but I think if we use a bit of common sense and our own judgement we can make an informed decision about how much exposure our children have to digital media and devices.  As far as that decision is in our hands, because there comes a moment when we don't always have that control.  That's why it's important for children to learn to use technology sensibly and in moderation from an early age and to develop a variety of skills and interests that don't rely on being in front of a screen.

It's also essential that they see the adults in their lives practising this same moderation and balance!


You can download the Kidloland app from iTunesGoogle Play  and Amazon AppStore 


Disclaimer:  I was given a year's free subscription to the Kidloland app.  All opinions are my own.


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Sunday, 21 August 2016

5 ideas on how to make homemade cards with a toddler

Ever since I can remember, my sisters and I have had the tradition of making cards for our parents and each other for birthdays, Christmas and any other special occasion worthy of a greetings card.  As well as being much more personal and meaningful than a shop-bought card, I think it's something we all enjoy; it gives us a chance to exercise our creative-artistic muscles in a small way and it's fun to create something especially for a specific person - you find yourself thinking about them as you're making it.

5 ideas how to make homemade cards with a toddler


For the past few years I've been really rubbish at making cards, even before I had the excuse of the baby taking up all my free time!  This year, however, I made a conscious effort to get back into it and to include my toddler in the creative process.  Admittedly, I've still been rubbish at actually taking the cards to the post office and sending them (*hangs head in shame*), but I'll get there eventually.

So how do you go about involving a toddler in the creative process and still get a cute and pretty finished card?  No offense to toddlers but if you let them take over, you'll end up with something that doesn't even vaguely resemble a greetings card, and will most probably be stuck to the table or else completely painted/scribbled over in an attractive shade of brown.  Sound familiar?

The key is to stay in control of the three main elements  - toddler, artwork and material.  This is not the moment for messy play - you can do that afterwards!  Or else find a way to incorporate it into your creations.

1.  Christmas cards
Emma was 21 months old in December and I decided the easiest way for her to collaborate on the cards was like this:
  • First I drew lots of outlines of Christmas trees and stockings on several blank sheets of paper and asked Emma to colour them in with some crayons. She obliged with a kind of multicoloured scribble which was just what I was after.
  • Then I got out some red and green watercolour paint and a paintbrush and she did more "colouring in" over the top of the crayon lines which gave us a really great two-textured effect; the paint, of course, only being able to take hold on the blank spaces on the paper where there wasn't crayon.
  • Then I cut out the tree and stocking shapes and arranged and glued them onto different coloured cards.  I also cut out some presents from the leftover pieces of Emma's paper, to stick under the Christmas trees.
  • I also stuck one shape - a tree, stocking or present - in the middle of the inside of each card.  
And they were done!  Quite simple.

Homemade Christmas cards

March and April are busy months for cards and I have to admit I turned to Pinterest for inspiration.  There are so many great ideas to use as they are or adapt in any way you like.  I need never think of an original idea again!

2.  Fingerprint balloons 
First was my mother-in-law's birthday, then my sister Alex's birthday.  I used the same base of fingerprint balloons to make two different designs.  Emma loved doing fingerprint painting  - the tricky part was getting her to put her fingerprints in a neat bunch of balloons arrangement, but we managed it!

Fingerprint balloons card

I took the idea of fingerprints as balloons from something I saw on Pinterest - unfortunately, the website it was from doesn't seem to exist anymore.

3.  Glue-sing it with collage 
For my Dad's birthday card, I saw this idea on RED TED Art and then completely changed it.  Instead of making a collage monster with geometric shapes, we made a collage lion which I drew the outline of on the card.  I cut up some different types of scrap paper into little squares and rectangles (the easiest shapes to cut!) and Emma used a glue stick (and began to learn a new skill) to paste the pieces on the lion.  She chose which colour paper and where exactly on the lion to stick each piece.  She did get a little over enthusiastic with the glue stick, as you can probably see in the photo!

Toddler collage card

4.  My heart in my hands
I found a very cute idea for a Mothers' Day card (or Valentines Day) on Krokotak.com.  Here Emma's contribution was letting me draw round her hands.

Handmade heart hands card

  • First, I folded a blank sheet of paper in half and got Emma to place one hand on it with fingers spread open so that her thumb and forefinger were' just touching the fold.  I then drew around her hand.
  • The space between the thumb and forefinger is vaguely heart-shaped; I cut it into a more perfect heart shape, then cut out around the hand.  Obviously, because I folded the paper in half I had two hands when I opened it out, but you must remember to keep them joined together at the tips of the thumb and forefinger to leave the heart-shaped hole in the middle.
  • Next I chose some pretty patterned paper and drew around my opened-out hand template on the back of the patterned paper.  Then I cut it out carefully.
  • I made sure the two hands would fit onto the background card and trimmed the edges where necessary, then pasted the hands onto the folded card.
  • That was basically it.  I also decided to add some extra little hearts, cut out of the same patterned paper and glued on the card in the spaces around the hands, and Emma drew some pictures inside the card!
5.  A birthday card for a toddler 
Finally, this last card was not made by a toddler, but for a toddler - this was the card I made for Emma's 2nd birthday.

Puppy ears card

I loved this idea as soon as I saw it on Pinterest.  You can find detailed instructions plus a downloadable PDF template to make the card on mmmcrafts .  It's such a fun card and Emma was fascinated with it, too.  You can see in the photo that it's already a little the worse for wear after many tongue-pullings (you pull the tongue down and the ears pop up!) with glitter glue covered fingers!

I hope you've been inspired - or at least entertained - by the creations here.  Do check out the pages I've linked to, you can find many more great ideas there, too.

I'd love to hear about your experiences with involving toddlers in card making or other creative projects - tell me about it in the comments below!


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Friday, 5 August 2016

Potty Training Diary: Week 3

At the end of Week 3 of potty training, I feel like we've pretty much cracked it; Emma has been making great progress and seems to be much more at ease with using the potty or the toilet.  Hopefully from now on it will just keep getting easier, but of course, I could be wrong.

I could be very wrong.

If there's one thing I know, it's that you never know - especially with a two year old!

Before I tell you about how we got on this week, you may want to catch up on the previous episodes of our Potty Training Diary in Week 1: Days 1 & 2Days 3, 4 & 5Days 6, 7 & 8 and in Week 2

Potty training diary


I don't think I need to go into so much detail about each day as it will probably get a bit repetitive and boring, so I'm just going to summarise Emma's progress this week and give you the most important points.

She was eating quite a bit better than she had been the previous week, and drinking a little more liquid, though I still think she probably needs to drink and eat more.  There's room for improvement, let's just say.

This week she did between one and four wees per day, most of them on the potty or the toilet.  We just had two accidents all week - one on Tuesday when Emma was playing downstairs and didn't tell us in time that she needed to use the potty, the other on Friday morning when there was suddenly a puddle on the bedroom floor.  Both times she got very upset about it.

She was suffering from constipation for a few days then was mostly back to normal.  When she did do a poo she used the potty.

What I thought might complicate things was a trip to Mexico City at the weekend.  On Sunday, we went to Emma's cousin's fifth birthday party and stayed with family there, coming back on Tuesday morning.  I decided it would be easiest for Emma to wear pull-ups while we were away, but in fact, they stayed clean and dry for the whole trip!

The journey there took about three and a half hours, due to some heavy traffic, but Emma slept for a good part of the journey and never once said she needed to pee.  When we arrived at the party and lots of people - some she knew, some she didn't - were coming up to her to say hello, she suddenly started crying inconsolably and clinging to us.  I took her to the bathroom, thinking she had probably done a wee, but the pull-up was dry and she didn't want to sit on the toilet and didn't want to wee, so I didn't force her.  She had calmed down by then and we went back out to the party.  She was happy for a while eating a bit of chocolate cake, but was still clingy and on the verge of tears.

A bit later, she suddenly cried out, "pee pee!"  So I whisked her into the bathroom again, found her pull-up dry and sat her on the toilet.  Actually, I think I asked her if she wanted to sit on th big toilet and she said yes.  She did a wee immediately, with me holding her up - she didn't seem to mind the precariousness though.  I was so proud of her for using the big toilet!

After that she was back to her normal self, playing with her cousins, running and jumping around and not letting go of her balloon.  She used the toilet once more while we were at the party and I could hardly believe what a big girl she was being.

We stayed at my husband's cousin's home and Emma used the toilet there several times, successfully. She also used the toilet in a restaurant we went to.  When we got back home on Tuesday she happily sat on her potty and did a wee!

This is why I'm now feeling very positive about Emma's potty training progress.  Since we got back from our trip she's been using the potty more frequently, and sits for less time on the potty - now she usually does a wee almost as soon as she sits down, whereas before it would take a bit of time before anything came out.  I guess that's a sign that she feels more comfortable with the whole idea of peeing in the potty.  She is also going much sooner after getting up in the morning, so is not holding it in unnecessarily.

We'll see how she continues and how she gets on when I go back to work next week (too soon!), but I'm definitely feeling optimistic!

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Sunday, 31 July 2016

This Week 29/52: In pictures

I wrote plenty about this week in our Potty Training Diary: Week 2, but it wasn't all about the potty!  Here are some of our non-potty-based highlights of the week:

Emma's favourite phrase this week was probably Look at me, mummy!  I obediently turn to look (or maybe I was already looking at her) and see her standing on one leg, or on her head, swinging on the edge of a chair, trying to pull her knickers down by herself (still struggling with this!) or building a tower out of toys.

Some of my favorite photos from this week: 

Toddler tricycle

Emma was determined to put her wellies on to go outside - maybe in the hope of finding some muddy puddles to jump in?! 

Toddler hide and seek


Playing hide-and-seek with a toddler; she tells me where to hide, of course!  She says, "Say 'ere, mummy!" Then she counts, "One, two, see, fy!"

Blue moth

We came across this beauty on the way to the bank the other day.  The colours were even more vivid in real life, the photo doesn't really do it justice.

Eating...

Broccoli bake

My broccoli cheese ham and pasta bake.  It was an experiment that turned out pretty well, I think.


Toddler picnic

In an attempt to get Emma to eat better, I resorted to taking dinner outside and having a picnic.  She enjoyed the novelty of it and did eat a bit more out in the evening sunshine.

Doing and making...

Toddler art painting

We had a little art session which started out with a butterfly collage for a friend's birthday card, then moved on to making handprints and fingerprints and just painting with a brush.  Emma had a lot of fun painting her own hand, then her nails, then the back of her hand, then up her arm!  Let's just say there was quite a lot of cleaning up to do afterwards!

Quote of the Week 
I like this quote, the ambiguity of it.  Apply it to whatever you like.

Quote Thoreau




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