It’s Dinosaur; not Dine-Saw!

It’s a disappointment bigger than a Brachiosaurus that my boy Pie has not the slightest Iguanodon in dinosaurs. It’s not for lack of Triceratops on my part. Right from an egg I have been talking to him about these amazing creatures, but I may have been speaking in Velociraptor for all the good its done me. He doesn’t even Tyrannosaurus to look interested its like talking to a Diplodocus most days!

DariuszSankowski / Pixabay

He would rather talk about Star Wars or Harry Potter! It really gets my Spinosaurus up when I show him a dinosaur and he calls it a dragon. Why can’t we talk about Pachycephalosaurus or Zigongosaurus? They aren’t difficult names for my own Sauropod to get his tongue round! Yet he behaves like a creature from the early Triassic period and calls them all dine-saw…(Damn you George Pig) I know it’s not the be Allosaurus or end all but I always thought having kids would enable me to justify my own geeky love of dinosaurs!

I can still remember that first trip to the Natural History Museum with my own family. The sheer excitement as we walked through the door and came face to face with a colossal skeleton! It was an awe-inspiring moment, even now it still makes me Gallimimus. It cemented a life long passion and a desire to study Paleontology. (Alas this is waiting for my retirement, not many dinosaurs in Birmingham!)

JerzyGorecki / Pixabay

After a relentless first year of forcing dinosaur clothes, books and toys on him, Mr Pud has now banned me from trying to brainwash him into my Cretaceous period. I am not even allowed to show him Jurassic Park until he is older, not even the bit before it gets scary. But how can my Anklyosaurus-biter be such an old Stegosaurus? Maybe I will get lucky in Pudding and she will develop into a Gigantosaurus nerd like her Mother, after all who else is going to run round the Natural History Museum with me?


 

Rhyming with Wine

A Letter to Santa with a little help from Peppa Pig

It is that time of year where all over the country excited children are putting pen to paper, sending letters to a jolly old man dressed in red. Hoping to prove how good they have been all year and asking for their hearts desires. At Pudding HQ we have joined with Ladybird Books and Peppa Pig to send our letter to the North Pole. Lets hope we are on the nice list!

img_3412

With Pie starting school this September his writing has really come on and the downloadable Peppa’s Santa Letter was perfect for him to practice. Super easy to print off and really colourful he was very excited to sit down and put pen to paper.

img_3374 img_3371

We had a great time together deciding what nice things he had done this year. As well as what he wanted Santa to bring him. It was a really magical experience for me watching him work so hard. He was so thrilled to write to Santa for the first time.

img_3379

Once we had finished we left the letter by the fireplace for the elves to collect and take to the North Pole.

img_3413

Ladybird Books have recently published a fantastic book ‘Peppa’s Christmas Post’ filled with Christmas activities and fun Christmas themed baking ideas. All with the story of how Peppa and George are taking Christmas into their own hands this year! We have joined with Ladybird Books to offer the chance to win one of these fabulous books. To enter all you need to do is take a picture of your little ones completing their Peppa’s Santa Letter and tweet it to @petitepudding using the #Ladybirdchristmas. What are you waiting for?!

You can download your copy of the letter here. Be sure to leave it for Santa to find!

 

 

DISCLAIMER: This is a collaborative post with Ladybird Books. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Puddings Gift Guide 2016: Get Personal With Hello Moon Posters

I really love personalised things for the kids, I think its because when they get older I know they will like that somethings were just for them. Everyone enjoys that feeling of being a bit special. Now Pie already has a few personalised goodies but Pudding doesn’t. So with their room freshly decorated it felt only right that she should have something that was just hers.

Hello Moon had just the type of thing I was looking for. They have a great range of posters all of which can be personalised with a name. Some go further than that and you can design gorgeous New Baby posters which include name, weight and date and time of birth. They are exceptionally cute, a perfect gift to welcome a new bundle of joy into the world.

You can also order adult posters as well! This hilarious one has gone on my own Christmas list this year.

img_3405

The other great thing about Hello Moon is that they will mount and frame your poster for you too. This is priced quite reasonably too and saves you having to go out and do it yourself.

After much deliberation and distraction through all the wonderful things on the Hello Moon website. I finally decided on the Little Monster Poster, I felt it struck a remarkable resemblance to Pudding… I really liked the poster when it arrived. It looks really classy mounted in the frame and is very cute with the little bit of personalisation. I am sure you will agree that Pudding does look a bit like the monster!

fullsizerender-48 fullsizerender-49

I think Hello Moon have a great selection of posters to choose from to brighten up any room with a personal touch. Starting from £16 for the poster they make an excellent and thoughtful gift this Christmas. You can order Hello Moon posters here.

petite-puddings-christmas-gift-guide

DISCLAIMER: We received the Little Monster poster courtesy of Hello Moon in order to conduct this review. All thoughts and opinion are our own.

The Puddings Gift Guide 2016: 4D Flashcards, Augmented Reality for Kids

There are somethings that on the surface you think look quite cool. Then there are things that are actually more amazing than you ever imagined! Well the 4D Space+ flashcards sent to us from Octagon Studio are such an item.

When I was approached to review them for the gift guide I thought they looked interesting. Knowing how Pie loves Space I thought they were a good stocking filler for him.


The 4D flashcards arrived and they are good quality material, but the fun begins when you download the special app…


Downloading the app was super easy. All the instructions come in the packet. Once opened the app needs access to your camera. As you hover the opened app over the 4D flashcards look what happens…



The planets literally popped off the cards! You can turn them round, zoom in and all the orbiting moons are there as well.


Even better this lunar buggy popped up and then you could drive it across the moon!

I was seriously impressed and can’t wait for Pie to play with these Christmas morning I know he is going to love them. So I went back to the company to get a bit more information from them and this is what they sent me:

‘We produce and sell educational products that help make teaching and learning more fun. Some children require visual learning or are in special education needs. These products are a perfect resource to help make that happen.

We do this by using the latest technology called Augmented Reality. AR is the process of superimposing digitally rendered images onto our real-world surroundings, giving a sense of an illusion.’

I am by no means an expert in Augmented Reality. What I can say is I love it! Kids are going to think this is amazing. It’s so interactive even as adults we spent ages looking through the 4D flashcards and getting thoroughly engrossed in what we could do.

The 4D flashcards cover several subjects including Animals+, Dinosaurs+ and Space+. There is even a colouring book so that children can bring their own creations to life! Prices start from £9.90 and you can get 10% off with the code PETITEPUDDING when you order them here.

I can not recommend the 4D flashcards from Octagon Studios enough, they are a  must have this Christmas.

petite-puddings-christmas-gift-guide

DISCLAIMER: We received the Space 4D Flashcards as a gift in order to complete this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Crikey Child! What is wrong with your face?! – An Allergic Reaction

So this weekend both Mr Pud and I had to work so Pudding and Pie were left in the care of the grandparents. Now I don’t know who was most excited about this! Suffice to say the grandparents had lots planned and the kids looked like they were plotting a pretty amazing rampage of their own.


Off we went then 7am Sunday morning feeling more than a little miffed to be missing out on the fun. They all had a great day – and some lovely food at a local bistro. Mr Pud noticed when he rang at tea time that Pud had a red face. We put it down to teething and thought no more about it.
When we got back the kids were in bed. My mother in law mentioned that Pudding’s face was very red but that she was happy. I had a quick look at her in the cot but was initially unconcerned. After waving off the grandparents and assuring them all was fine we ordered a pizza ready to settle on the couch together. Mr Pud was a bit concerned about Pud so we decided to get her up and just check her for a rash anywhere else. We are meningitis neurotics any sight of a rash and I am getting glass out!
Well we woke her. She was chuffed to see us. I can only say I didn’t share her joy! My poor child looked like she had gone 5 rounds with Tyson!! Her face was bright red and her eyes were so swollen she could barely open her eyelids. Despite looking like something out of a horror movie she still smiled…

Even as nurses we were pretty shocked at how bad she looked. It was clear that she was having an allergic reaction to something. We got some input from one of our doctor friends and called the 111 NHS service. We were advised to take her into A&E. Inwardly I groaned, having already been at the hospital 13 hours this was the last thing I wanted to do. But dutifully I packed a bag and picked up my puffy Pud, I crossed the threshold as the pizza arrived!

A&E was manic as I knew it would be. Poor Pud had no idea what was going on. But despite being dragged out in the middle of the night she took it really well. She was smiling and waving at people. This was met with a mixture of horror and compassion. Poor little girl did look awful! Finally after a few hours we were seen, a quick dose of Piriton and we headed home. Tired but no worse for our little adventure.

This morning Pudding looks ok, apart from being angry about lack of sleep. A bit red-cheeked still but most of the swelling has gone down. It was scary was even with our backgrounds, we didn’t know if she would get any worse or what was causing her to have an allergic reaction. The cupboard is now stocked with Piriton and I am trying not to monitor every thing she eats or touches.

Ant one else experienced anything similar? How do you deal with allergic reactions?

Pudding’s Gift Guide 2016: COGs for Kids!

Undoubtedly up and down the country everyone has noticed the bitter cold that signifies winter is truly on its way. At Pudding HQ we like to stay in doors by the fire with hot chocolate as much as possible. But there are always days when we have to venture out into the arctic conditions. This being the sad reality means layers and most importantly gloves! SO what could be better than a pair of gloves that can help Pie with his maths?

introducing COGs! COGs or Counting On Gloves to give them their full title are designed to help kids learn their times tables. Aimed at children in Key Stage 1, you can buy the gloves to help with all the times tables up to 10. One pair of gloves for each number. The gloves come with 4 activities you can do with your child to help them learn their times tables. This is great for those long walks to school on chilly winter mornings!

img_3241

Now Pie is only 4 so times tables is a bit beyond him right now, although I am sure it won’t be long. So we opted to try the 1 times table gloves because we could use them for counting too! We have been counting the things we see on the way to school and then Pie turns the his hands over and tells me which number it is. Keeps his mind off the cold in the mornings.

img_3278

COGs are a pretty simple idea but I think that they are great for getting kids to engage in their times table. Especially when they are a captive audience on the way to school! A fabulous stocking filler ready to help them hit the ground running in January.

You can order COGs from the Counting On Gloves Website. They come in lots of different colours so something to suit everyone. The gloves themselves are fit kids from 4-8.

petite-puddings-christmas-gift-guide

DISCLAIMER: We were sent the COGs free of charge in order to conduct this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Can I please get off the mothering merry-go-round?

I can’t be the only one who wakes up and just think today I just don’t want to mother! Usually it’s when my wake up call involves some form of a scream. That is not an alarm clock any person needs. This is often followed swiftly by several demands. ‘I want breakfast, I wet the bed, where is my milk, I don’t want to go to school’ etc etc… it’s not really how I imagined my life would be!
It’s a fact that I am sure parents universally agree with. Raising kids is not always a bundle of fun. The daily battles, the endless washing pile and the continuous tidying up after the little darlings. Is it then surprising that some days I lack a little motivation? That on occasion I wonder why I bother when I am met with resistance at every turn?


Of course not every day feels like perpetual ground hog day. But the majority of days are like an endless merry-go round. We get up, we battle into clothes, fight about teeth brushing and toileting. Coffee is drunk, meals are prepared and the washing is put in the machine, dried and put away. Over and over, round and round. Today I confess I want to get off the ride.


I want to go out with nothing in my pocket but a bank card and a packet of cigarettes. I’d like to eat where I like, spend an hour browsing the shops. Perhaps make an appointment to get my hair done. Possibly drive into the country and walk the dog in peace, without nagging. Or just imagine, curling up next to a roaring fire in a pub with a glass of red in my hand. No rushing, no bickering, no whining and nobody asking me to do anything. Of course that’s pure fantasy!


The alarm has gone off. The first round of The Imperial March is coming from the kids bedroom. There is a whooping noise that can only mean Pudding is up and dancing to her brothers singing. The bin men are coming down the road – those bags need taking out! The dog needs to be let down the garden for a wee… there is no getting off the merry go round today. It’s onwards and upwards for this Mama Bear. 

How Come I Feel Guilty That My Kids Sleep?!

Everywhere I look, whether its emblazoned on t-shirts or bemoaned on Twitter there are Mum’s making statements about how little their kids sleep. Every time I see one I just shrink into the corner! Even the BBC has jumped in now – talking about the pros and cons of sleep training. Some experts are quoting that it is usual for kids to be up during the night right round until they are two. I honestly can’t imagine that happening in my house.

Both of my kids have slept through the night since they were 12 weeks old. My son in fact started sleeping through when he was 8 weeks (I used to wake both of them at 11pm for a dream feed before there is outcry about malnourishment!) By sleeping through the night I mean they sleep from around 6.45pm through to 7.30am. Every. Night. We go through the same routine every night. Tea, play, bath, milk, story, bed. Without fail, we religiously stick to it.

irenegoeleven / Pixabay

There is never any complaint from our eldest – never the request for one more story, another drink, another wee; nothing. He climbs into his bed, his head hits the pillow and that  is the end of it. By 6.30pm Pudding is begging for her bed – she downs that milk, dons her sleeping bag and I lay her in her cot with her comforter. She is asleep within 5 minutes. Heaven forbid you should wake either of them before 7am. Very rarely do I reach the bottom of the stairs and either of them is still awake.

So are we evil parents? Have I trained them like Pavlov’s dog to sleep? I am starting to wonder. It certainly wasn’t a conscious thing. I always believed that kids need structure and routine. I never used sleep training methods, I don’t have any strong feelings either way about cry it out or people who keep their kids in bed with them until they are 8. Each to their own in my opinion.

For us the structure worked and I guess we have a certain confidence in our own parenting. I don’t charge up the stairs to every squeak I hear, I don’t rush in to soothe every slight moan in the night. Equally I know the difference between a partially awake self soothing moan and a cry that needs my attention. Watch and wait is the motto in our house. If either of the children wake in the night, I wait just a couple of minutes. Do they need me? Or will my presence prevent them from going back to sleep? Is that a cry of frustration because their sleep cycle has ended or have they had a bad dream and need a quick cuddle.

dagon_ / Pixabay

The other thing I hear from other parents so frequently is that their child gets up at 5am, every day. This totally baffles me. How can this be good for anyone? Children need sleep to grow, adults need sleep to function. On very rare occasions, one of the kids may wake before 7am. If they are unable to self soothe in a couple of minutes then I will go in and put them back to bed. Never in a million years would I take them out of their room and downstairs to play. Why would I reinforce behaviour that I don’t want?

We do appear to be in the minority. But I honestly can’t begin to imagine how other parents cope. My kids are on the go from the moment their eyes open and by 7pm they are not the only ones in need of a rest! I also feel that it is so important for parents to get some ‘together’ time. Even if that is just curled up on the sofa with the latest box set and a large glass of red!

The fact that my kids sleep is both a blessing and a curse. I know that this post will be met with a bombardment of unpleasant comments – probably along the lines of ‘well good for you love, why don’t you jeff off.’ But I am hoping that the hiding out there behind the wall of tired Mum’s is another bunch of Mum’s. Who believe like me that kids not only can sleep through the night, but that a good bedtime routine works and that the whole house benefits from a great nights sleep. (Alternatively I await the mob….)

 

 

Kit your kids out for Halloween with Pretend To Bee

We don’t have a lot of dress-up stuff at Pudding HQ, in fact when a costume wearing occasion arises it usually involves a certain amount of mummy panic. I rake through the wardrobes looking for stuff I can modify and then spend an evening swearing at the sewing machine! Imagine then my delight when Pretend to Bee offered us a costume to review. With Halloween round the corner the timing could not have been more perfect.

I hopped on to their website and was amazed at the selection they had to offer. Here are a few of my favourites:

img_2997
img_2998

The fairy costumes designed by Pretend to Bee are so cute. I can’t wait for Pudding to be big enough to run around in one of these!

img_3006

After much deliberation I decided on a dragon costume for Pie. He loves to hunt for dragons in the park with his Dad so I thought he would enjoy being dressed up as one. When the costume I arrived I was really impressed with the quality. The dragon was well designed and really well made. Pie instantly stripped to his pants to try it! His only slight complaint was that it was quite warm to wear – but in fairness he had been running round the house roaring for a good 20 minutes!

To remedy the ‘hotness’ I took him over the park in the costume to hunt for some fellow dragons. Personally I think he looks amazing! He certainly seemed to enjoy the added layer to our imaginary play.

fullsizerender-33 fullsizerender-32 fullsizerender-31

Pretend to Bee have designed a whole range for Halloween and I love the little baby monster costumes. In fact I am very tempted to get one for Pudding…

img_3003

The Halloween range is very reasonable priced with all the costumes being available for less than £24. Certainly a lot less stressful than making one!

img_3004

The costumes are of a much higher quality than some of the ones I have seen on the high street, they also are made from material with low flammability. In fact all the costumes are compliant with the EC Toy Safety Directive and the EN71 Toy Safety Standard.

Pretend to Bee certainly get mine and Pie’s recommendation. We know where we will go next time an invitation for a fancy-dress party comes home from school!

*Disclaimer* We were given the costume as a gift in order to complete this review. All opinion are our own.

How to Raise a Sensitive Boy

Most people who see my four-year old charging around would not for one minute think he is sensitive. He doesn’t sit quietly engaged in a task, or play away from other children. You will normally see him tooled up with a stick or a light sabre! But don’t think for one second that my big boisterous boy is all that he appears.

scottwebb / Pixabay
He is a very sensitive soul. Pie will take everything to heart. Things you said weeks ago can resurface and need to be talked through. Almost as if he has been going over them, replaying the moment. If he thinks he has done something to upset you he wants to make amends. He wants everyone to be his friend! But he also struggles to keep all those feelings in check. Leading to huge outbursts over things most kids wouldn’t bat an eyelid at.

Pie always wants to try to make you happy. He checks several times a day if I am happy. He definitely has my anxious nature. A trait wish I wish I had not passed on. But at least I know what I am dealing with. Saying that though sometimes he completely throws me. My happy, bouncy boy can be raging in a matter of seconds with no apparent cause. At one stage I questioned if there was something else going on. I have questioned my own parenting many many times. Finally I think I have him sussed. Not all the time obviously! I mean he is four, being irrational is his prerogative.

qimono / Pixabay
The stereotyping for boys to be tough and macho is embedded so early. Even without meaning to we can all fall into the trap. I have done it myself, I find myself saying things like be a big brave boy. Or worse still don’t be such a girl when he runs off from a spider! I know I shouldn’t say it. Why shouldn’t he be scared of spiders? His Dad is! What I say in jest he takes so to heart. I forget sometimes that he is only 4, that he can’t understand my teasing.

I don’t want to wrap him in cotton wool. Equally so I am trying to teach him that it’s ok to have feelings and emotions. It’s ok to be scared or anxious about things. That as his Mummy I will look after him. Realising how sensitive he is has made me look closely at how I parent him.

Now I think more about how I phrase my requests. I make sure he isn’t rushed out of the house, but has time to prepare himself. I try not to give him the plan for the whole day – or he incessantly worries that we won’t get it all done. Mostly I respect what he says. If he says I don’t want to go out and what we had planned isn’t important then I don’t force him. If we are going somewhere new I don’t build up his expectations. I let him discover things at his own pace.

The most important thing I have learnt is that he needs more reassurance. He needs those extra cuddles. He wants to say I love you and hear you say it back. The recognition that he is important and that his view matters. What he doesn’t need is endless stimulation and presents. He needs my time, my patience and my understanding.