Other sensory bits and bobs

Other sensory bits and bobs

So I like to try to do at least one “sensory” activity each day with Evie and obviously doing a craft project daily is not really possible, so often we re-visit the easy and basic ideas such as marathon blankets, doing things at bathtime or the strips of coloured tablecloth.

A few days ago, my other half actually had the brilliant idea of adding a torch to the marathon blanket play, and that gave such a brilliant effect, it was genius!

Our balls that we bought from ebay have also arrived, I was a little surprised at their small size but I suppose that was me reading the details on Ebay wrong and expecting bigger balls (lol!). Anyway, for the price of £3.19 for 50 balls I’m not really sure what I expected (original item here).

I added them at bathtime which Evie loved, but I am sure we will find a lot more uses for the them over the coming weeks.

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Ocean Sensory Bag (To be re-visited)

Ocean Sensory Bag (To be re-visited)

A huge thank you must go to MamaOT who provided this epic list of ideas for sensory bags. Although sensory bags are typically for older children, I thought I would give one a go just to see how it would come out; I had a little spare time on my hands.

I bought a few bits for this bag, all from Asda, and all cheap; The “foam set” was £4 (thought this would be handy to have in “stock”, the glitter and sequins were £1 each, the brillo pads were 15p each, the blue hair gel was 15p per tub (mega bargain!), the beads were £2 per set (I actually discovered a huge bead set the following day in a charity shop for £1.50 – guess where I will now be trawling for sensory equipment!) and the funky duct tape I actually bought from ebay here for £3.99.

I used a ziploc bag I already had but had one reservation, I have read that if you use a ziploc bag and then add anything sharp (sequins with sharp corners such as the star shape ones) they tend to break through the bag. I had some laminating pouches on standby to possibly iron around the edges and then use them but as it happened just kept everything inside the bag soft enough not to break it. I will try the laminating pouches idea at a later date when I start exploring more with sensory bags.

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The process was pretty simple. I emptied the jar of the hair gel into the bag, followed by the beads (removing the ones with sharp edges), followed by fish shapes that I had cut out of the brillo pads and the felt. Out of the two, I think the felt worked better over the brillo pads. I couldn’t see the blue brillo pad fish and the yellow brillo pad fish soaked up the blue gel so they didn’t stand out as much as the felt, which didn’t soak up anything.

Then, when it was all in there, I squeezed the air out of it and sealed along the top with the duct tape, to prevent leakages.

Note: I used a ziploc bag that was lying around, so on one side it had writing on it. I am to find some plain ones when I really start working with these!

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Evie did really enjoy playing with the bag, but I think it was more about feeling the texture of the gel and the beads inside the bag, and how cold it was, that interested her, rather than what was actually contained in the bag.

11079389_10100150214927747_902547264_nI plan to revisit sensory bags at a more age appropriate time so watch this space!

Glow stick bath

Glow stick bath

I can’t remember where I got this idea from (probably a group on FB) but for a while I have been trying to think of ways to incorporate Evie’s love of all things bright to bathtime. Sadly I missed the boat on the light up bath animals that were on offer in Lidl so glow sticks were a brilliant idea.

I bought these ones from ebay – 100 for £5.48 with free postage – and they arrived quickly.

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My only worry was whether they would be safe in the bath so did a little research coming up with several people who mentioned the “cracking” inside the glowstick being caused by breaking glass. I wasn’t sure whether this was true but just in case decided to place each glowstick inside a ziplock bag before placing it in the bath. This isn’t such an issue with a baby (who was sat on me in the bath) but I imagine would be awful for an older child if this did happen.

_MG_8476The result was stunning – I think I might like to do it for my own baths in future!

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Disposable Tablecloths

Disposable Tablecloths

So today we used another idea shamelessly stolen from our baby sensory class. When I went to Asda I bought 3 disposable tablecloths, a bargain at £1 each. There are lots of different colours available but I chose to stick to pink, purple and turquoise/blue:

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Next, I cut them all into strips, and then unravelled them like so:

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Another really simple idea, with brilliant results! Evie loved the effect, the colours and the noise, particularly when she was lying on her back at the strips were thrown into the air!

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Marathon Blankets

Marathon Blankets

So using an idea I was shown at our weekly baby sensory class, I managed to find a pack of marathon blankets (those silver blankets they wrap round runners to keep them warm!) on ebay for 99p here. A little roughing up, and a beautiful shiny, crinkly play thing was made!

There isn’t really much left to say on this one. It was simple but genius!

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Here is a little clip of Evie with the blanket, she is just starting to reach out and grab things and she found the blanket fantastic to touch and move about!

Sensory Glitter Jars

Sensory Glitter Jars

So since Evie loves all things sparkley, I decided I would have a go at making a “glitter jar”. Now I am the least crafty person you will ever meet, so I thought I would start off with something really, really simple (what could possibly go wrong?!).

I loosely used this website http://www.artsyants.com/2011/11/make-magic-bottle-tutorial.html?m=1 (although I couldn’t find flakes, didn’t see the point in spending out on a fancy bottle and trimmings and thought I would give it a go with normal tap water).

It was pretty easy, and the results were actually not too bad, possibly because at only just under 5 months Evie has pretty simple tastes!

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Welcome and Introduction

Welcome and Introduction

Evelyn Poppy Coles was born on the 12th November 2014 and throughout the past 4 months life has felt like a whirlwind.

Breastfeeding in the early days was not an easy ride, by a long stretch. I always wanted to breastfeed and knew I would be devastated if I couldn’t, but imagined it to be this beautiful experience of the baby coming out, latching on, and us living happily ever after. Well, she came out, she latched on…. but it was far from easy.

I would say it took a good six weeks for breastfeeding to become pain free. Initially, the pain comes from your milk coming in (and hell don’t you know it!). It was literally like having two watermelons crammed into my bra – so, so painful. Then following that, we had some latching problems due to a tongue tie (that was successfully snipped), following my a case of thrush which would just not go away.

The early days with Evie were actually very quiet. I think being premature meant she slept more than a normal newborn, and it took her until she was a good 8 – 9 weeks before she became more alert during the day.

For 8 weeks she slept in a moses basket next to my bed, until one night, I fell asleep from pure exhaustion holding her in my arms, feeding. Luckily she slipped off me and landed on the bed – I dread to think what would have happened if she had fallen the other way and landed on the floor. I decided at that point to look into safe co-sleeping, and have never looked back. She is so much happier, and doesn’t cry at all at night now. I always said I would never sleep with my baby in the bed because I didn’t want to roll on her, but if you look into it and do it safely, it is physically impossible.

I looked into co-sleeper cots but they were so expensive so I found a website explaining how to make a DIY version using an ikea cot here: http://amandamedlin.com/2013/11/diy-co-sleeper-pretty-little-quilt/ – it’s a pretty nifty idea even though mine looks nothing like that! She sleeps for the first half of the night in there, and then the second half next to me as she feeds so much (so I just lie with my boobs out!). I curl in a C shape round her so I physically cannot roll on to her, and tuck the duvet between my legs so it can’t rise up over her head. I also never put her between myself and Ben (my partner) as I know he isn’t aware of her in his sleep like I am (I swear I can sense her breathing all night even though I am asleep).

When she was about six weeks old I discovered the concept of baby wearing. I happened across it by accident when posting on a FB breastfeeding group, and someone mentioned I should attend a “sling library”. When I went, I borrowed a “Close Caboo” and loved it so much I went out and bought one. Evie absolutely loved it, and would sleep for hours in it, so cosy and close to me.

I did research into the fourth trimester and totally “got” the concept of it, followed by research into attachment parenting, some principles of which I like, and others not so much. I like the idea that I am providing Evie with a stable and secure attachment through loosely following this style of parenting.

Evie is now 18 weeks old, and she is changing so much every day. I have been doing lots of classes with her, including swimming, baby sensory and baby massage. (That’s all I can afford on maternity money!) She seems to really enjoy doing activities, but I have also realised I can do things with her that don’t cost much too. I am currently working on a “sensory box”, which will contain all sorts of things for her to look at and touch. I bought her some (battery powered for safety) fairy lights which I have twisted over her playmat, which keeps her occupied for quite a while (to let me get on with a bit of housework!).

Whilst reading about attachment parenting, I came across the concept of Gentle Parenting. It’s pretty hard to explain in short terms other than to say it is a method of parenting which treats children with respect, empathy and understanding.

When I first started reading about it, my immediate response was “Well that’s how to bring up rude, spoilt and ill disciplined children that walk all over you”. I imagine that is what people think when I tell them I have this in mind for Evie. But the more I read about it, the more I realised it is something I want to follow. It goes against most of the methods my parents used to bring me up (maybe that isn’t a bad thing… lol) but the more I read the more I like. Obviously there are parts I don’t agree with, but that is what research is for – you take the parts you like and lose the rest.

I have had quite a lot of stick from people (mainly family) about my parenting choices because they are much more mainstream than I am. It is mainly my parents and my sister (my sister has five children). The main sticking point has been over controlled crying/crying it out. I point blank refuse to leave Evie to cry. It is against everything I stand for, and I just could not do it. Plus the fact there is scientific evidence concluding that leaving children to cry themselves to sleep actually damages them emotionally, I personally believe that when I chose to have a child, I chose to be a parent 24/7.

Parenting, for me, doesn’t stop at bedtime and resume in the morning. If she needs me at any time, day or night, I will be there. I don’t think children are born knowing how to sleep securely on their own, and I intend to take as long as Evie needs to gently teach her that she is safe, and that she is able to sleep peacefully in her own bed.

Another sticking point is that I “don’t put her down enough”. As I said earlier, I am loosely following the principles of attachment parenting, so no, I don’t put her down just “because I should”. I hold her as much as she wants to be held, and I believe that because of this, she will be secure enough to be independent when she is ready.

I am particularly interested in finding more about sensory play, especially as Evie grows older. I am getting quite a lot of inspiration from the internet, and I hope to share our adventures through this blog. Anyway, enough for now. Hopefully I will find some like minded bloggers through this site, from whom I hope to learn from throughout this rollercoaster parenting journey. Don’t be shy, get in touch!