Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! I hope yours was better than ours. Nicholas has come down with a cold, poor baby. He was up pretty much on the hour all night and refused to nap today, so has been very grumpy and extra naughty. I am hopeful that he will sleep better tonight, but he has already woken up once, so I am not optimistic.

We did have some fun this evening. We went trick-or-treating with Uncle Harry. Nicholas was a pumpkin again this year, because my sister forgot to return his cat costume (she's only had it six months...) but he was a very cute pumpkin.

I love this picture, but I expect he will hate me for it in a decade or two!

Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Trying to scare Uncle Harry.

Potty Training Days 2 & 3

Yesterday we had a 1 in 3 success rate; Nikki used the toilet 3 times! Today, we had 2 accidents and 2 successes, so 50/50. We also managed to leave the house for about an hour and stay dry.

Nikki is still not taking the initiative to go to the bathroom - he seems to enjoy me running him through the house every time he starts peeing. I am hoping that he will get the idea soon - I would like to go to playgroup on Thursday with no nappy, but I may be a little too optimistic.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Potty Training Day 1 - Morning

Nikki 2 - Potty 0

Yes, so far not so good. I am still very optimistic, though, since Nikki is actually happy to sit on the toilet. Considering that he has refused to go anywhere near potty or toilet since February, that is massive progress. The secret to this miracle - BUBBLES!

He's now nappied up for a snooze, but I'm aiming high for this afternoon. Fingers (or should that be legs?) crossed...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ice Skating!

Today, we took Nikki skating for the first time. I love skating (not that I'm very good - I can only do forwards well) and it is something that is great for balance and coordination. I just wasn't planning to teach skating barely a month after he started walking!

Amazingly, they have skates in size 5 - perfect for two pairs of socks. Nikki showed off his great balance skills by managing to walk fairly confidently in the skates straight away, though I was holding his hands. The only down side was that we went in the afternoon, and Nikki had only 20min nap so he was a bit tired and grumpy. Hence the liquorice bribe in the photo below...

The greatest thing about our local rink is that they have penguins. These are sturdy push-along toys for tots to use, which helps them find their feet much more easily! The down side is that until the kids are more independant (ie. don't need to be physically held up and propelled) it is bad news for mummy's back and thighs! I took three laps of the rink, folded over and using one foot to skate really slowly... ouch.

Sorry it's sideways - I don't know how to turn video round.

Once Nikki got more confident in bearing his weight, we could go faster. He decided that we had to 'zhhhhhhhhh' across the ice. It is apparently what penguins do. Shortly before Nikki had enough, he was actually balancing and moving forward alone. I simply had a hand on his back so he knew I was there. He managed maybe 20 feet! He was probably skating for about 15 minutes in total, as we took several rest stops on each lap. I think he had fun, though!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


We're taking a break from organized activities for a few days as I prepare (myself, my home and Nicholas) for Potty Training!

I've had to delay several times, with other things cropping up in our schedule, and am almost certain that this weekend will be free. We have already gone back to a couple of hours nappy-free time in the mornings, and although there is no force on Earth that will make Nikki sit on the potty, he has been persuaded to sit on 'Mummy's' toilet. He even went for a wee on it yesterday! He was soooo chuffed!

So, since we have toddler groups on Thursday and Friday, we will *fingers crossed* be nappy free (day time) from Saturday. I plan to use the three-day technique, which involves no pants or trousers at all for three days, before we can hopefully start leaving the house. It relies on me being super-vigilant and basically running Nikki into the bathroom every time he starts to wee, until he gets the idea and goes there on his own before watering the floor.

I'll keep track of his progress - it might even work!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Puzzle Time

I'm so proud! Nicholas has finally mastered puzzles! By puzzles, I mean the cardboard-with-knobs - he's been very good at wooden peg puzzles for ages!

For a long time now, he has been able to turn pictures the right way around and match puzzle pieces together. He can easily do 2-piece puzzles with flat sides, but he's really been struggling with fitting one puzzle piece into the next. Finally, today, he got it. He completed his box of six 2-piece puzzles with no help from me!

Tomorrow, I'm getting his harder puzzle set out. I want to see if he can manage 2-piece puzzles with two knobs (you know, the bits that stick the pieces together - is there even a proper name for them?) and maybe even the 3- or 4-piece puzzles!

It is so great to see a milestone achievement like this - most of the things he learns, especially fine-motor skills, come so gradually that it is hard to say when he mastered it. I like having the occasional fixed date when I can be proud of something specific.

Excuses, Excuses

Nicholas has learned how to make excuses. The other night, he was adament that he couldn't go to bed because he had to clean his kitchen. He has started demanding milk as soon as I take him into his bedroom to sleep, even though he had milk just before we went to his room. Last night he wanted to help me put on the laundry...

Oddly enough it is almost always bedtime when he does this. Should I be happy that he'd rather clean than sleep?

Here's an adorable picture from a couple of weeks ago - he insisted he take his balloon to bed with him...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pumpkin Cake

I was planning on making pumpkin cake this morning. Unfortunately, Nicholas had a complete meltdown at my usage of the blender, so it ended up that we made pumpkin cake this morning.

Nicholas insisted that we use a fork (he's usually ok with the cake mixer, but the blender had him spooked) and on using a vertical motion for 'stirring'.

 Yes, that is a load of bibs hanging up behind him. I was distracted from his meltdown and didn't think of putting a bib on until after he had covered his clothes in gooey cake mess.

He did a good job helping, especially once I brought in a table to work at (I wish my kitchen were bigger). Unfortunately, they didn't turn out as well as expected - I cheated using a blender rather than grating my pumpkin as the recipe said, and the cakes were a bit squishy in the middle. They tasted ok, though!

Friday, October 21, 2011

L is for Leaves

This week we have been talking about leaves. Nikki has been fascinated by the leaves falling from the trees, and we've been collecting different coloured leaves on our walks. I've explained that the trees are getting ready to sleep for the winter, so the leaves are falling down. This led to Nikki's newest work of art!

This is the first 'school' we have done for a few weeks, since Nikki wasn't in the mood (we only do school when he's happy to), then his dad came and it was his birthday...Anyway, this project was done over a couple of hours, since we had to take several play-breaks to keep Nikki's interest (and save my gluesticks!).

I printed out a tree trunk template and we glued bits of brown paper on for the bark.

Nikki especially liked using the glue, we had to stick the picture and the pieces of paper! He was very careful putting the paper down, but insisted that I 'help' and do most of it for him.

After we covered the trunk, I cut around the outline and stuck it to coloured paper. I also cut out some leaf shapes in green, red, yellow, orange and brown.

 Again, Nicholas loved using the glue. Usually I am confiscating it from him (he likes to raid my desk) so he was making the most of being allowed to use it!

He was very careful to stick every leaf down...

 We got a bit excited sticking down all our leaves, so there isn't much of our carefully-decorated trunk to be seen. Nicholas insisted we added some leaves 'whirly' in the wind, hence some of them are higher than the tree itself.

Ta Da!

What a Cake!

Nicholas' wonderful godfather made this cake for him (using nothing but a photo of someone else's cake to do so) - isn't he a genius?!

Nicholas particularly enjoyed the 2+ kilos of icing and the decorative blue sugar balls. Not that I allowed him very much!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Who's There?

Nicholas is using a lot more Russian now. This morning, he was playing with nesting dolls - he shook them and asked 'кто там?' (kto tam - who's there?) and then took them apart to find out. This game fascinated him for about half an hour!

This incredible language development is leaving me feeling rather guilty that I haven't spoken more exclusively in Russian. I tell myself that I will, but it is hard to remember to speak a foreign language all the time, especially when my vocabulary is more directed at reciting history and analysing literature... I will make more of an effort, though.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy Birthday!

My little dinosaur is TWO!
Birthday Breakfast

I can't believe it - he is growing up too fast. He even had two birthday parties this year - we went to devon to visit his Great-Gran and Godfather for the weekend.

He recieved a plethora of gifts - his favourite so far is a set of handbells (from Daddy). When he unwrapped them, I thought my suggestion was insane - three boys had two bells each and rang with all their might. It was horrible. I bravely put them on his shelves, and showed them, ringing each one separately for a few seconds and naming the note - he now plays them sparingly and tells me the notes of each bell when he rings them... or tries to. The colour-coding makes it easy to correct him. He's getting it right more and more, and he's only been playing with them for two days!

I have a load of photos to sort and upload over the next few days.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Russian Immersion

This week, Daddy has come to visit and Nikki is getting an immersion course in Russian. I am gobsmacked at how much more he is picking up and speaking Russian in 24 hours so far!

I do my best to speak Russian every day, and we watch Russian dvds, but I am not Russian. Nikki seems to get this, and although he uses a half-dozen or so phrases all the time, he doesn't say much more. Today he has been picking up Russian vocabulary at the same phenomenal pace (if not faster!) as he is picking up English. He has said several new phrases consistantly so far.

I am doing my best to speak Russian along with the boys and to make this immersion even more complete. I am also running around organizing a certain little man's birthday, so may not be posting much...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

First Shoes

We bought Nikki's first shoes today! They are called 'creeper' shoes - for children who are just starting to walk. The soles are solid and wearable outside, but the toes are rounded and not stiff to crawl in. Of course, it is just a marketing gimmik to get people spending out on shoes even earlier, but in Nikki's case I want him to be able to leave the pushchair when we are outdoors and the ground is wet. It is also an incentive for him to walk.

Nikki loves them, as do I - perfect for my little dinosaur!

We did try on some 'proper' shoes to see whether they suited him better, but he really struggled to move in them. He did about ten steps, waddling and tripping over his toes, before I took pity on him.

Monday, October 3, 2011


The other day, Nikki had me very confused. He spoke to me, turned around, and when I asked him a question he turned back to me and mouthed the answer. For about five minutes he didn't utter a sound, but seemed to be speaking to me - I was even starting to wonder whether it was possible to spontaneously loose your voice! Then he just as suddenly began chatting normally again. He was pretending that he couldn't speak!

Over the last few days, he's done similar things and this morning he was talking for his baby doll. It is amazing to see that his pretend play has moved from the obvious (such as drinking from an empty cup) to a much greater level of subtlety. I just love it when he does something new!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Today Nicholas surprised me. I knew he could repeat the word circle, but I had no idea whether he understood what he was saying. Turns out he did.

We were looking at his Russian magnetic shapes book: he picked up the circle magnet, placed it perfectly on the circle shape on the page and named it (in English). I was very impressed.

This evening we were drawing on his whiteboard, when he said circle - sure enough he had made a mostly-circular shape. You can see his success in the picture below (mummy was using the pink pen)

For someone who has only ever drawn straight lines and aimless scribbles, I think he did a really good job of tracing my circle shapes. I was planning to move onto shapes next week, anyway.