Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Kids and dogs are DISGUSTING...

Do you know what?  There is a little too much poop in my life right now.. and far too much poop eating for my liking.  Yes, you read that right.  There is considerably too much consumption of faeces for my tastes in my life.  Let me be entirely clear, too much poo eating is ANY poo eating. THERE SHOULD BE NO SHIT CONSUMPTION IN MY LIFE!!!

Don't worry, dear readers, it is not I who is devouring brown nuggets of nutty delight.  Not at all.  No way.  Not ever.  Well, possibly in exchange for several million pounds and instant access to a stomach pumping device.  But from day to day, no, I am not eating poo... So, who is, you are all screaming at your screens?  My child.  And dogs.

I know that dogs have slightly less discerning taste buds than our own.  Or just different tastes.  I know that dogs love a bit of fox, horse, or cat poo.. but for my taste it is taking it a little far to discover how much they enjoy the excrement of a human.  How did I first discover this, you might wonder?  Around 3 years ago we were on holiday in Cornwall.  We were staying in a lovely cosy self catering cottage set on a farm, the only other building nearby being the farmhouse.  Not surprisingly, the farm had two dogs.  These dogs were very friendly and roamed free.  They were often to be found outside the backdoor of the cottage looking for a playmate or some attention.  They were adorable.  Now, at this time, Ethan had not long been potty trained and was still using a potty in preference to the loo, especially for No.2s.  One evening he had taken himself off for a poop.  Pooing in a potty had been quite a thing to get used to for Ethan, it took 6 weeks before he would go anywhere other than in his pants.  So, at this stage, whenever he "produced" we were very full on with our praise.  It was not unusual for us to encourage him to go around the house and show off his full poopy potty to anyone who was there.  Ethan had just evacuated his bowels and was proudly making his rounds of the cottage.  He had shown Pete and he'd come into the kitchen to show me, carefully cradling the potty so as not to spill it's precious load.  At that very moment, the farm dogs came bounding to the door.  In a split second of stupidity, I said to Ethan "Oh look! The dogs are here! Why not show them your poo?  I bet they'll be impressed!".  What was I thinking?  Honestly! As soon as had he placed the potty in front of the dogs they were lapping away at the contents.  There was nothing I could do.  It took seconds and it was gone.  The dogs were smacking their chops.  Flecks of faeces were being flicked around the door frame.  I was both mortified and hysterical.  I couldn't believe we'd just fed two dogs our son's excretions.  It was an event that has stayed with us all.

Fast forward to now; this years school summer holidays has once again brought us the joy of toilet training, this time, of course, with Felix.  Felix has been out of nappies for nearly 3 weeks now and I must say has done very well.  However, it has not been without event.  We have been lucky not to experience many accidents; whilst he is young, especially for a boy, at 26 months, he is very much ready for it.  That, though, is an aside to this tale.  I am here to weave missives worthy of Point Horror fiction.

We are still in those early stages of potty/toilet training with Felix.  The stage where the potty has to be on hand, easily accessible and visible.  This week we are dog/house sitting for my parents and I have to tell you that in just three days there have been 4 'dog eating from the potty' instances.  The first was at the weekend when my brother's new pup Monty was visiting.  Felix had done his business but before I could reach the potty, dear little Monty was over there filling his face with fresh faeces.  It only went downhill from there.  On 3 occasions since I have discovered my parents dog, Alfie licking his chops after chowing down on some potty sausages and pee soup.

The thing is, I can forgive the dogs.  They are, after all, dogs.  We all know they go mad for a bit of fox poo.  I suppose it's not a great leap to indulge in child poop.  However, I am considerably more grossed out when my own child eats their excrement.  Yup, that's right.  Felix has eaten some of his own poo.  Not just once either.  The first occasion was in the bath.  He'd gone through that right of passage they all go through, the bath poo cloud bomb.  Ethan and Felix were in the bath together.  I had popped out to grab something and suddenly I heard yelps of "MUM!! Felix has done a poo in the bath!".  I rushed back in to find that Ethan had leapt out and was scrubbing himself with a towel whilst Felix sat with, frankly, a psychotic look on his face surrounded by poo, a handful of which he was fisting into his mouth with gleeful abandon.

Obviously I was completely disgusted, told him that "WE DO NOT EAT POO!" cleaned him off and removed him from the bath and hoped the matter was over.  I was wrong.  It seams to me that children have very different taste buds to us.   In fact, research supports this.  But how can anyone not be bothered by the taste of poo?  It's not like it smells good!  I have since discovered Felix sampling his own delicacies on a few occasions.. sometimes it's a quick finger up the bum and a lick.  I've even found him dipping his hand in his wee and licking it off.  He seems to delight on my disgusted reaction so it's got the point where I no longer react.  What can you do?  He's the same with pretty much everything.  This child has not grown out of putting everything in his mouth and I'm not sure he ever will.  Stones, slugs, snails.  They all get put in the mouth over and over.  He actively seeks out sand to eat by the handful.  Crayons and pencils.  They are like sweets to him.  Anything he can find on the ground or from a bin.  Old plasters.  Fag butts.   I have to watch him like a hawk.  If nothing else, I reassure myself that his immune system will be amazing when he's older!

When I became pregnant 7 years ago I had no idea of the journey I would take.  All I can say is thank goodness I have a strong stomach.  Now, where's the potty?  I fancy a snack!

Friday, 14 August 2015

Funky Kid Friday

The school holidays are whizzing by.  I'm not quite sure where the time goes.  Are we ever?  The first two weeks were a blur of being away and having Pete home from work.  The next two weeks have been a blur of being home by myself with the boys and life without nappies.  Felix is now nappy free in the day.  To be honest, as "potty training" experiences go, this has been fairly stress free.  He hasn't really had an accident since day 4 and in total has had less than 6 accidents.  We have had some instances of deliberate messing to get a reaction.  I know it's deliberate because I know that he a)doesn't really have accidents b) takes himself to the loo or potty with no assistance c) I wasn't paying him attention at the time.  I'm hugely impressed.  Where has my baby gone?

Due to being at home a lot and potty training, the boys haven't really been wearing much.  Or anything really.  Felix is mostly naked apart from a tee at home just now because it's so much easier, he can just pop himself on the potty, easy peasy.. and if Felix is nude, Ethan likes to join in too!  What young child doesn't really.  So, as you can imagine, I don't have many outfit photos to share!  I've collected together a small amount from the last week..

Felix wears:

Old season Katvig top (bought from a friend) 
Beau Loves shorts SS15

Ethan wears:

Crown tee by Donna Wilson at John Lewis
Cargo shorts from Vertbaudet
Navy Hunter Boots

Felix wears:

Old Katvig top - as above
Mumas Boy tee from Birdies & Bearcubs

Ethan wears:

Geo heart tee from Boxed Apparel
Geometric triangle cardigan from eBay
WHY? tee made by me
Zebra print shorts from H&M
Silver Birkenstock sandals

I like that my boys wear hand me downs and second/third hand items.  Felix has worn a lot of Ethan's old clothes and some that belonged to friends like the cute dog print Katvig top he's worn a lot this week.  I love Ethan's Donna Wilson crown tshirt and his boxed apparel one because, I've said before, I find black so practical with children.  It's quite hard work to stain it and it looks so stylish but also fun if you go for a good print.

How have your kids been dressing this summer?  Have they worn clothes at all?  Are they like my two nature boys enjoying being nude?

If you have a kids fashion post, please do link up below.  I know this isn't the biggest linky out there and I know that I do sometimes suck at visiting everyone but I honestly do try.  My head isn't entirely in the game these days, with both boys at home with me and trying to move house.  It really does make my day when you read, comment and link up.  Thank you for putting up with me! Happy Friday :-) xx

Thursday, 6 August 2015

The Bubabloon - a balloon cover!

A few months ago I heard about this really cool creation.  A cover for a balloon!  Now, you might ask, why on earth would you want or need a cover for a balloon?  A fair question!  Well, becoming a parent introduces you to a world of worries and worrying about what your baby might be able to do with an errant balloon is one of them!

Despite the fact that balloons can pop and are made from a material which presents a choking hazard, babies and children seem drawn to them.  For as long as I can remember both of mine have found balloons amusing, pretty much from birth.  But I've always worried that a balloon might pop or shrivel up and they would put what's left in their mouths and choke.  Felix puts everything in his mouth, even at 26 months he regularly eats sand, play-dough and crayons.  So, for me, this cover was appealing.

Bubabloon review, balloon cover

The Bubabloon is a cover for balloons which makes them much safer to have around babies and young children.  It makes the balloon look and act more like a round ball.  The covers come in a variety of bright and eye catching colours/patterns and as such provide a good visual stimuli.  Something I really love about this idea is that the cover folds up very small so you can pop it in your bag, pop in a few balloons and then you always have a toy with you! Great for traveling or days out.  We've found it handy on that score.  Balls can be quite irritating bulky things to pack for holidays.  This makes it really easy to have one to take away.

I like that this is a light toy for children.  Yes, it's not as bouncy as a regular bouncy ball but it's less likely to cause a head injury or knock over your favorite Gromit figurine (yes, this is personal experience here!).  I think it'd make a fantastic gift as well.  Something you could give as a present for children of many ages and it's likely to be something they don't already have!

Bubabloon review

This toy is designed with babies and young children in mind but both of my boys enjoy playing with it, separately and together.  Felix enjoys practicing his kicking (without me worrying about the Gromits!) and Ethan likes to practice catching.  Bubabloon gets a big thumbs up from us!

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Farm Fest 2015 - Our first family festival!

Farm Fest 2015

We've done it!


I'm very happy to tell you that we have finally achieved one of my ambitions in life - a festival, camping with the family.  I've never been to a festival properly before.  I've been to small festivals and middle sized ones, but only ever for the day or not camping.  For as long as I can remember I've wanted to  (unwisely?!) camp at a festival and, once we had the boys, I wanted to do it as a family.  And we have finally done it!

I can't say it was easy.  If you read my blog you'll probably know that Felix is, well, quite hard work.  He's a complete delight and I love him to pieces but he is a very full on child.  He requires a great deal of attention, he doesn't sleep well (having only "slept through" a handful of times during his 26 months on this earth) and he doesn't ever stop moving.  Even when sleeping he fidgets around so much he wakes himself.  I knew that I wouldn't consider a festival with him as a tiny baby (although, ironically, that might actually have been easier!).  I was hoping that by age two it'd be easier.  It wasn't.  But it was fun.

Gorgeous views!

Farm Fest is a reasonably small festival with an attendance of about 5000 people.  It has been around for 10 years now (10th birthday this year!) and it is quite local for us (an hours drive).  It is also renowned for being family friendly.  For all these reasons I thought it'd be a good choice for us.  Family friendly means that there will be activities for kids and there will be lots of other kids there.  Being local means that if it turned out to be hell on earth we could get home quite easily.  Small means that it wouldn't be too overwhelming for our first proper festival experience.

I'm very glad to say that it lived up to our expectations and exceeded them.  It did indeed take us just over an hour to get there and once we found the not entirely obvious road sign on a nearby roundabout it was straightforward to get to.  There was heaps of parking and lots of attendants around directing cars and people.  It was definitely worth getting there early (the festival ran from Friday to Saturday night with camping on both nights) as we got a good parking space (close to camping) and we were able to pick a decent spot to pitch our tent.  There was an excellent security presence on site which I found reassuring, especially having our boys with us.

Heaps of space for camping, even if you did end up a little way from the entertainment you were guaranteed space for your tent. There was a separate camper van field which seemed popular!  I have to say I was very impressed by the toilets and running water with sinks.  Most of the loos were these composting ones which have become popular.  A loo over a hole in the ground.  You do your business and then throw over a cup full of chippings.  I can honestly say that these loos were far less stinky than the traditional portaloos and cleaner too.  Bigger as well!  Outside of the loos there was access to a good amount of alcohol gel and two sinks with running water which were a life saver.  I was constantly filling up our water bottles, washing the kids hands and faces and washing my hands.  Alcohol gel is great and I love knowing the nasties are gone but I'm afraid nothing feels as refreshing as some water!  Sometimes the loos had paper, sometimes not, but even we festival newbies knew to take our own loo roll with us!

Once we'd arrived and lugged all our gear to our tent pitch (the hardest bit - totally getting one of those pull along carts everyone has for next time!) and got our tent up, we went up to the main field to explore.  Just before entering the field there was a fantastic smelling coffee tent.  This was much appreciated by us and everyone at the festival I think!  We were surprised to find the coffee was damn good.  I also sampled one of their salted caramel muffins and it was one of the softest, freshest and most delicious muffin I've ever had!

Farm Fest Coffee Mmmmmm!

Coffee makes me think of food and there was so much to choose from at Farm Fest it was unreal.  For us, it was as much about food as anything else and we were spoiled for choice.   I went for a fresh pizza for my lunch.  Whilst it was tasty, it was one of the more expensive food choices at £8 (basic pizza was £7, £1 for toppings) and I have to say it took a long time to arrive.  Around 20 minutes I think.  Which isn't easy when you've got grumpy kids swinging around your legs!  I realise that as it was fresh pizza it would take a bit of time to make, but they already had heaps of bases ready and as they are thin they shouldn't take long to cook, so I'm not sure what took so long.  It was nice though.  Good tasty ingredients.

Pete sampled the fish and chips stall.  I know he loved the fish and I helped him munch up the chips as did Felix and we enjoyed them!! Ethan wanted a marshmallow and strawberry crepe so he was very happy.  That also took a surprising amount of time to make but there was a big queue - not that surprising!

After filling our tummies we took a walk around to get our bearings.  There was an amazing disco stage (made to look like a huge pinata) playing vinyl disco classics called Donna Somerset (amazing name).  Felix was fascinated and kept trying to get up there when they weren't actually open.  When they were, they pumped out some awesome disco tunes so there was always a buzzing atmosphere. I'd say it was one of the most popular places there! Everyone was loving it.

Festivaling with the boys was, as I mentioned, tricky.  Felix was staying true to himself and despite a stinking cold (typical eh?!) was on the move constantly.  For that reason we found listening to the music on the main stage the easiest because it provided him with a good deal of room to run around, lots of people to chat to and the sound of the music wasn't too intense.  Talking of the music, Farm Fest isn't somewhere you go to watch big names perform.  It's much more about up and coming and smaller acts.  Which suited us just fine.  We just enjoyed hearing and seeing good music being played live.   And it really was.  Great strong singers, A good amount of base-y thumpy dance for the nights and lots of beautiful instruments.  We loved hearing some sax!  We saw several of the bands performing on the main stage on Friday and Saturday afternoon.  My brother, who was there with his friend, visited every stage and tent.  They loved the blue and white tent with some gorgeous chilled out Friday afternoon vibes.

Main Stage Farm Fest 2015

Drink wise, there were several "bars".  Larger was surprisingly well priced, no more expensive than a pub.  You could get all the basics but there was also a beer/cider/cocktail tent supplying more traditional drinks.  I did have a cheeky Moscow Mule cocktail on the Friday night which set me back £7.  Not cheap, but again, that's pretty much what you pay for a cocktail in a bar.  It was yummy and generous on the vodka.

For kids, there was plenty.  A dedicated kids tent and various things dotted around the tent.  The kids tent was great.  Heaps of recycling materials to get creative with, paints, pens, glitter and structured activities such as puppet making, instrument making, sing songs, bed time stories and yoga.  My two just enjoyed making random things from cardboard boxes.  Ethan made a "bird" which he insisted we carry around.  Actually came in hand for sitting on whilst listening to music and later on became a handy door mat for our tent!  Both boys got covered in glitter.

Farm Fest 2015 Kids Tent

There were a good amount of "shops" to look around selling the usual stuff you'd see at festivals; retro clothing, face painting, tat stuff to attract kids.. but there were also some cool things like screen printing, slack lining and massage.  Ethan loved having a go at slack lining!

Slack Lining Farm Fest 2015

For us, the hardest bit of the weekend was the night.  With hindesight, it probably would have been better to stay out until the boys were ready to drop but what we actually did was head back to our tent at about 6:30pm because Felix was flagging, having a cold.  Once we got back there, though, they went a bit manic and it was 10:30pm before they had conked out.  Neither of them slept well either.  Mostly because Felix was so snotty and feeling ill.  In fact, at one point during the night, Ethan put his ear defenders on to sleep because he hated Felix's snoring!  Once the boys were asleep Pete and I took it in turns to pop back to the action for a bit but I don't think either of us felt like leaving the other with the boys for too long.  Life is different now, and that's OK!  I bought us both a deep fried mars bar from the chippy -  you've got to try it!  They sound disgusting but are kind of amazing!

None of us slept well, Felix ended up with me and Pete with Ethan.  Felix crawled down the bottom of my sleeping bag at about 4am which was peculiar but somehow he slept his best down there!!

On Saturday morning we packed up our tent.  Whilst camping was still available for that night, it'd been such a tough night with Felix we weren't in rush to repeat it.  Poor Felix was really quite unwell on Saturday, not even up to running around!  We all enjoyed hot drinks from the coffee tent, coffee for us and hot choc for Ethan.  We needed it because Saturday was a bit colder and gray than Friday had been (Friday was a stunner!).

Feeling cold? Have a coffee!

Once refreshed, we packed up our tent, packed the car and headed back to the festival for the day.  Again we enjoyed tasty food (French cuisine), good coffee, craft at the kids tent and music at the main stage.  Towards 4pm it was starting to rain and Felix was feeling really ill so we set off for home.

Farm Fest 2015 Ice Cream Van

It was a shame for us that the weather on Saturday wasn't quite so nice and that Felix was so poorly.  Had he been well we might well have "carried on camping" ;-D.  Still, we're not put off.  It was a very friendly festival, great for us and the boys.   We would love to go again and I think that next year, when he's 3 and hopefully a little better at sleeping then we will be back!  With a pull along cart....