I love this little ‘through the keyhole’ sneaky look at my boys from the other side of the ‘spiders web’ climbing structure in my Mum and Dad’s local Rec ground.
Joining up with Charly’s Black and White Photography Project over at Podcast Dove.
June has been a month of playgrounds, outings and outdoors fun for the boys. It has seen them play and interact together more tha ever before – particularly at times when JJ hasn’t had another one of his friends at hand. It seems he is finally starting to think of his little brother as a ‘friend’ as well – someone who he can trust to always be around as a play companion.
Of course EJ isn’t quite ready for following instructions, and often it all ends in a bit of a full on bundle with a 50/50 mixture of squeals of hilarity and distress! In fact I was tempted to write a post titled ‘Like a Circus Act gone Wrong!” during bedtime this evening – the manic and physical nature of this witching hour is sometimes more than I can handle – just picture trying to put a nappy on a naked toddler who is constantly moving, twisting and squealing whilst his brother rolls across him ending up on his head? I guess this is just their little ritual right now! (Note to self: No more sugar after 9am… *laughs at own ridiculous optimism*).
EJ is generally happy to follow his brother
They play hide and seek and occasionally happily share a bit of train play (three carriages each).
JJ sometimes likes to get involved more than EJ might like:
But on the whole they are partners in manic high jinx
Never a dull moment!
On Friday mornings we generally stick to a pattern. It is my only full week day off with the kids and since JJ was about 11 months old we have been regulars at one of the local toddler groups. I have made some good friends there and got to know our childminder and her husband, who I also consider to be friends (the group is run by the town’s Childminders Association, and they are a lovely bunch of people to hang out with).
Its very much a ‘free play’ kind of group – the toys and activities are rotated weekly, although I think we tend to miss out on the crafting as that seems to happen on Wednesdays (when my mum takes EJ along).
The only problem we have at present is that JJ has grown out of this group now at four and a half, just as EJ is getting into the swing of it. This is an unforeseen side effect of having a September born child – its lovely to have that extra year of playing and opportunities for out of school activities, and if he was an only child I’m sure we would be exploring a lot more fun places and activities, but win a toddler in tow that’s just not possible, and balancing their needs and abilities can be such hard work!
Last Friday, even though the weather was mixed at best, I decided to skip the group and instead take the munchkins down to our local park and playground. I knew that this would mean that I would miss out on my tea and biscuit, chat and adult company, but I thought it would benefit JJ to do something different and the fresh air would be good for all of us. So they donned their wellies I grabbed a bunch of kitchen towels (for drying off the play equipment!) and off we went.
JJ has been asking to visit the playground frequently in recent weeks as he has become a much more proficient climber since last summer and is really loving the big pyramid rope climbing structure complete with rope bridge to the top of a big slide.
It can be really difficult to keep tabs on both children at busy times when I’m on my own and my priority is always to shadow EJ as I know he could so easily wander off and as no trouble whatsoever opening the little gates into the toddler area. There is a big fishing pond right next to the play area (bad planning?) so I am doubly vigilant. This did lead to a panicked moment recently when I lost sight of JJ on a busy day and he had clearly lost sight of us too as eventually he came running twards me in tears saying “I thought I’d lost you Mummy!”. We then made a plan whereby he would go and stand near the ice cream van if this ever happened again and it would be our rendezvous point. I think I might have to reassess this though as the ice cream van isn’t always there!
Last Friday morning though, we didn’t have to worry about this as we were one of only 3 or 4 people at the park, a couple of grandparents with preschoolers and another mum. The boys confound me sometimes as they can be surrounded by toys or play equipment and just completely ignore it all and do their own thing. In this case, it was a giggly chase round and round the park’s occasional ‘cafe’ – a little portacabin in effect, run by the local group supporting people with learning difficulties and mental health issues. They encourage their members to dabble in a little volunteer work at the counter (always with a staff member to help out) and its a great way of helping those who may otherwise never integrate with wider society to get involved, whilst also offering the locals a heavily subsidised selection of drinks and snacks (a can of drink is £1 from the ice cream van, 50p from the cafe!). The only drawback being that the opening hours are sporadic at best.
However I digress, the morning’s most fun activity allowed me to appreciate one of my very favourite sounds – the sound of my children laughing. EJ in particular has a laught which is so full of joy and excitement and giddiness that it cn’t help but prove infectious!
It was lovely to have a change of scene and I think we will probably opt for a few more ‘different’ Friday mornings now that the summer is approaching. Come September EJ will have me all to himself on Fridays and regular toddler group will be back on the cards for those cold and rainy days.
When you have an (almost) three year age gap between your children it can be hard to imagine what kind of relationship they will end up having when the youngest is a babe in arms. I remember how his brother used to dismiss his presence as if he were simply another item of baggage which we were obliged to carry around with us. Nowadays its a completely different story. With EJ fully mobile, starting to talk and attempting to get involved in everything (particularly everything his big brother is doing!) he is finally being referred to (on occasion) as JJ’s best friend.
They play together happily, demand the same foods, chase each other up and down and expect each others presence for a sense of comfort and normality. Although they don’t have a massive family resemblance between them they present as a team and appear to be in tune with one another.
The two of them are seen here looking on very seriously at another two children happily playing in a sandpit!
JJ has passed on his love of Chuggington to his brother.
You can tell just by looking at EJ’s face that he is having a ball being chased by his brother around the occasional ‘cafe’ down at our local swing park.
Not such a great shared love – the dreaded crispies!
I look forward to this growing bond developing further, and hope that when JJ starts school in September his new found learning will rub off a little bit on EJ giving him a bit of a head start. As JJ will be one of the oldest in his year and EJ will be one of the youngest I’m hoping that this (slightly random) bit of family planning will pay off!
Sometimes when you have a second child you wonder what you were thinking during those fevered days of family planning. It’s double trouble. It’s mischief and mayhem. It’s refereeing and fending off the green eyed monster. And it’s twice as tiring and demanding (goodness knows how people cope with more than two!). But then there are those moments of sheer wonder – the growing bond, the teamwork, the companionship.
For me, the first signs of brotherly love began to show the day JJ came running through to the room I share with EJ (and still do now) and jumped into the cot with him first thing in the morning. Of course initially I was a bit worried about EJ’s safety – JJ was a boisterous 3 year old and bounced around that enclosed space like Tigger on acid. But as EJ has grown and developed he began to beam as soon as a pyjama-clad JJ came bounding into the room shouting his name gleefully. A bit of cot wrestling results in them both collapsing in fits of giggles and JJ sometimes even brings his portable DVD through and plays EJ a bit of his favourite – Chuggington. I actually overheard him the other day saying to EJ “you like Chuggington don’t you?” to which EJ readily responded “Yeah” – so cute when you consider that EJ probably had no idea what he’d just been asked but it demonstrated this companionable togetherness and made me feel just a little bit more in love with them both (if that’s possible!).
On Wednesdays my mum arrives to look after the children after I’ve left (but whilst hubster is still in bed sleeping on for a late shift). JJ has a tall stair gate across his doorway as his room faces the top of a steep flight of stairs. He’s never tried to climb over it before but last week she reported that he had pulled his little table/stool over, somehow flung himself over the top and she found him lying next to EJ in the cot! I do believe the time may have come to put them in together!!
I don’t have any recent pictures as I generally don’t have my camera with me first thing in the morning, but here’s an older one which demonstrates those ordinary moments of morning ‘in-cot’ hilarity:
I appreciate that not only have I never taken part in this link up before but I’m also posting on the wrong day. Still, never mind its the thought that counts!
And besides I captured this gorgeous moment between my two boys JJ (4) and EJ (20 months) this morning and I just feel like it needs an airing:
They really are finally getting to that stage of playing and laughing together and at the same time JJ is ridiculously protective of his little brother whenever we go anywhere and let EJ off the reigns as it were. He runs after him if he thinks he’s about to disappear and gets himself in a right pickle but at least it shows he really cares!