Babies & dishwashers {The Wonderful Ordinary 1}

What is that about? Anyone know?

7 months: the love affair begins


8 months: ‘I must get closer…’

9 months: Baby Girl learns to successfully climb

10 months: no longer content with only the lower level

11 months: Baby Girl is getting more sophisticated in her approach.       Cue stealth attack.

See more Finding Our Feet photography on our Instagram feed, @findingourfeet.

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonderful Ordinary posts. 


App Review: Baby Monitor 3G

IMG_0203 Blurb: exactly what it says on the tin. Install the app on two Apple devices to act as a live audio and video baby monitor over wifi or mobile data (3G/4G). One stays in your baby’s room, the other with the parent; simply open the app on each device, type in the code to sync the two (first time only – they stay forever synced after this) & away you go. You can even activate the microphone on the baby station device to remotely soothe your baby or remotely activate the flashlight tool to see in your baby’s room & check they’re ok.

The app claims to have ‘unlimited reach’; this is because it works via wifi or your data network like FaceTime, Skype or regular phone call & doesn’t require to signal to the second device like a walkie-talkie.IMG_0206

App Store: £2.99
Worth it? Definitely.

Mac App Store: £4.49
Unfortunately, I haven’t tried this version of the app so can’t comment.

Thoughts: *****
IMG_0204We live in a small apartment & don’t need a baby monitor. So we didn’t want to cough up anything from £50 to £300 for a monitor we’d use only occasionally when visiting family. The Baby Monitor 3G app was a great solution & after two trips away, hasn’t let us down yet. Can’t recommend this app enough.

IMG_0205The audio and video has a slight 1 to 3 second delay but is clear and reliable on wifi. (We haven’t tried it on 3G or 4G.)

On the parent station screen, it shows you the battery levels of the baby station. We used the app with the iPad plugged in throughout the night. But to give you an idea, a 40 minute nap used approximately 5% of battery.

NB: Baby Monitor 3G is also available on Google Play, for £2.89, however, we live in the house of Mac & therefore haven’t tried the app on an Android device. Please do let us know how you get on if you try it.



Surrey Staycation

SONY DSCLast week we went on our holidays. At one point, we thought this would be a week in Barbados. But with me still technically unemployed and some unknowns at the Other Half’s place of work, we decided for a week in Surrey instead.

The in-laws’ were away for half term so we took the opportunity for a ‘free’ country get away. For us, the aim of the week was to have some family time, to relax & recharge with pub lunches, country walks, roaring evening fires & three dogs. Wait, what!?

Yes. Three dogs. Three.

I am a cat person. I don’t do dogs.

There’s Tinker & Mimi, two Spannerdoodles… Cockerpoos… whatever they’re called, who aren’t particularly obedient. (Though they don’t wee all over the house anymore which is an improvement on last year!) And then there’s good old Jack, the OH’s twelve year old calm, faithful, giant black Labrador. (I like Jack, he doesn’t count in my ‘don’t do dogs’.)


You can see more photos and videos of Baby Girl & the dogs on Instagram.

At Christmas, Baby Girl’s first meeting with the doggies didn’t go so well as Tinker attempted to ‘assert her dominance’ & barked in her face. Cue crying.

And last week didn’t get off to the best start, with Baby Girl sobbing whenever she saw the doggies, giving them a wide birth or simply crawling in the opposite direction. But with a whole week at the house, slowly but surely they got used to each other. And by Thursday, we were regularly finding Baby Girl staring at the dogs through the glass door to their room, squealing in delight.

By Tuesday, however, Baby Girl was sitting on the kitchen floor babbling, “doh’ie,” “doh’ie,” which as far as we’re concerned is a definite word. And we were very excited.

We only attempted one long country walk with Baby Girl and the dogs. Tinker & Mimi combined were about as strong as me and it wasn’t entirely clear who was walking who. Jack also wandered off & in his old age couldn’t hear us calling his name. Meanwhile we were struggling with a huge, off-roading buggy (huge because I am tiny & used to the rather nippy Bugaboo Bee)…

After that, we just took them to the field at the bottom of the garden for a run around.

On our next walk, we opted for the baby backpack instead, leaving said huge buggy at home. This was great. At just a few weeks shy of 1 year, Baby Girl still fit in it perfectly even with her massive snowsuit on.

The OH plodded up to Leith Hill Tower without much complaint while Baby Girl took in the view quite happily from on high. If you’re ever in the area, I’d recommend it. The panoramic view was spectacular & there were various different paths up to the tower for different levels – we took the easy ascent.


Also worth noting, the little cafe in the tower made a damn good cappuccino.

But it wasn’t all long country walks & coffees. (Though there was quite a lot of coffee thanks to Baby Girl starting Leap 8 & waking up at 4:30am, 5:30 if she was feeling generous, most mornings. Seriously. We need to start consulting The Wonder Weeks app before booking holidays!)

We also took Baby Girl swimming at Spectrum Leisure Centre. Sadly, as novice parents who are yet to have our lives ruled by school holidays, we forgot it was half term or what that meant for places such as this.

It was like a nightmare with the Ghost of Childhood Past – the OH used to come to Spectrum as a kid  for swimming lessons & in the holidays for slides & wave pool fun – & Ghost of Childhood Yet to Come. And my God the future looks bleak.

The OH was horrified & swore right there on the spot in our family changing cubical (which by the way, was brilliantly thought out with enough space for two parents and two kids, with a baby changing table and a plastic seat with a strap  to basically tie your kid down with while you got changed. Brilliant. I digress…) that no matter how far down the parenting rabbit hole we have fallen, he will never leave the house in tracky-B’s, Crocs & a dorky backpack. No matter how comfortable Crocs may in fact be, we will never own a pair. And that is that.


This doesn’t count as a dorky backpack.

Find our favourite family friendly walks and places to go in Surrey on Foursquare.

The Wonder Weeks: Leap 8

We really need to stop organising holidays during leaps. How haven’t we learned this yet!?

As I mentioned the other day, we were staycationing at my in-laws’ this week while they were away. And last Saturday, not only did our holiday begin, but also Leap 8. Oh yippee…

By now, we know the signs. Baby Girl is fussy, clingy, whingy, nothing’s right, often she goes off her food & sleep patterns go awry… It’s a real joy.

The Wonder Weeks app states:

Again you will see the same leap behaviour as before but in a subtly different way. Your child will still be clingier while making this leap and will still protest when you leave. But now, it is somewhat more sophisticated because your child wants to be in control…

What it should really say is:

With just three weeks until your baby’s first birthday, Leap 8 is the unofficial initiation into Toddlerhood. Brace yourselves. Because shit’s about to get real. You thought the last year was tough? You ain’t seen nothing yet…

Leap 8 is all about programs; recognising that a sequence of events (Leap 7) is classed as a single event (a program). The app’s example is washing dishes:

  1. Put dirty plate under the water
  2. Move sponge over dirty plate
  3. Place plate in the wrack to dry

= Washing the Dishes

Apparently your baby “loves to help you with such tasks,” which the Other Half is very excited by as he rather enjoys cleaning & he hopes to pass on such traits in Baby Girl. (Odd ball, I know.) I on the other hand am not so excited as this means I’ll actually have to do the dishes & the dusting. Woe is me.

After Leap 8 Baby Girl will be able to:

  • signal she wants to go out by bringing us her coat & hat
  • grab the clothes she wants to wear today
  • put things back in the closet where they belong (Hallelujah! Definitely no signs of this yet though.)
  • choose a CD to listen to (as we don’thave CDs in our house, I’m interested to see how this may manifest itself… Tap the icon on the iPad?)
  • can ‘make a drawing’ if you show her how to use a pencil and paper
  • gives Dolly a bath
  • invents imaginary ways in which she drives a car (again, as we don’t have a car this isn’t something she sees very often. I wonder what this means for this skill. She already loves pushing the pushchair around herself, either with me holding her or just round the hall on her own!)
  • examines how Mama & Daddy complete a program such as cooking, eating or putting on make up.

Now I can be just like Daddy!

We are now officially role models. Everything we say (damn… oops…) and do, Baby Girl is watching closely to learn from. Playing with ‘real items’ such as a tea set, pretend knife & fork, baby’s vacuum or other items she may recognise from around the house can apparently help her piece all these programs together.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve already seen the fruits of Leap 7 coming together. She now holds her toy phone to her ear or more adorably, when I answer the phone, her hand flies to the side of her head to copy me, even if she’s not got her own phone to hand! She’s able to use a spoon herself, though messily & is really into the pointing. In particular, she points at the snack drawer a lot…

So to encourage Leap 8’s skills, this weekend I’m buying a baby sized broom. If she loves household activities so much, she might as well be of use in the meantime.

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.



Me & You: February 20

IMG_0192This week marks the second in the Me & You series as the Other Half & I make time for just us now we’ve got to grips with this parenting lark.

We’ve been staycationing at my in-laws’ this week while they’re away for half term. Baby Girl has fallen slightly in love with their Italian au pair so we took the opportunity to ask her to baby sit.

You may remember I didn’t cope so well with the overnight separation from Baby Girl last month… (I can hear the OH muttering, “understatement of the year” as he reads this.) Although there was no overnight sleepover anywhere this time, it was the first time we’ve left Baby Girl with anyone but a family member (90% of the time being my mom). So I felt a little apprehensive.

Well, I’m happy to report there were no tears – from myself or Baby Girl. I happily skipped off to dinner after bedtime & she slept soundly through to morning. Huzzah!

The OH & I went for dinner again – Thai this time – at a lovely restaurant on top of a car park over looking the city. I must admit, when he said it was on top of a parking lot, I was quite sceptical. It doesn’t exactly scream romance…

But I was pleasantly surprised. There were fairy lights, a rooftop pond & cocktails as big as my head. Had the weather been warmer, it would have been lovely to sit out on the terrace looking at the city lights. But as it’s February, actually, it was quite handy being on top of a parking lot as it meant we barely had to go outside.

Oh, & apologies to everyone else trying to enjoy a quiet Thursday night dinner if my cackling laughter was distracting. Blame the OH. It’s all his fault.

Baby Girl’s new room

IMG_0187IMG_0185I have mentioned before, we have the joy of living in a furnished, rented apartment. As such, Baby Girl’s room came with a double bed, which takes up rather a lot of the space. IMG_0184And we’ve never been able to have the little nursery we wanted. Which, as silly as it may be, always got me down. (Especially with pregnancy hormones raging.)

Well, dear readers, I have news.

The bed is gone.

Despite its faults, our apartment does have a surprisingly large storage cupboard. (Win!) Shortly before Christmas we managed to
clear enough space (thank you dad for finally collecting the various IMG_0189boxes we were storing for you & to the in-laws who took away containers of baby clothes, a Moses basket, etc etc…) to fit the mattress & half the divan base into said cupboard.

Et voila. Baby Girl’s room has been transformed.

Baby Girl if often found scurrying off to her room to play. She seems to love having the space  to play, sprawl, crawl, climb, throw stacking cups, throw books, pull clothes out of drawers, pull blankets out of the wardrobe, or pull all the cuddly toys out of her basket… As I was saying, it’s lovely!

There’s still some work to be done; not least, replacing the 3/4 sized travel cot we have (which she’s rapidly growing out of!) with her cot bed that’s been patiently waiting in the wings.

And we’ve decided on a bit of a theme for our little explorer… We’re slowly but surely creating an adventurer’s playground. Maps, hot air balloons, vintage planes, whatever else strikes our fancy that inspires adventure & imagination. I’m in Pinterest heaven.

Parenting Hack #2: fennel tea cures wind

IMG_0179 When I was a baby, I was very windy. Apparently, the only thing that soothed me was fennel granules mixed with warm water. (Yum?)

Baby Girl was also a very windy baby. She screamed through the discomfort at night. Oh those joyous early days…

We tried Infacol, it made her constipated); Detinox did nothing but made her smell of dill… When we realised she was lactose intolerant, we thought things would improve; it did not.

By six months I was willing to try anything. But I couldn’t find these mysterious fennel granules anywhere. So we tried fennel tea. (Twinings, of course; only the best for Baby Girl.)

We dipped a tea bag two to four times in the boiling water in her bottle before adding the milk. (We would fill all her bottles for the day in the morning, adding the milk at time of feed; one tea bag worked for about four bottles.)

It was magic.

Though her wind didn’t disappear completely, it was vastly improved. She would burp almost instantly after a bottle & things seemed to pass easier out the other end too.

She also had cooled fennel tea water in her sippy cup when we started weaning, & she pretty much tooted her way through mealtimes.

We stopped using the fennel tea at about 9.5 months & haven’t needed it since. But if you’re struggling, I can’t recommend it enough.

And at £1.50 per box of twenty tea bags, it’s a blot cheaper than Infacol or it’s alternative as well!

Look out for more Bump, Baby & Me Parenting Hacks on the 13th of every month. You can submit your hacks via Twitter, (#parentinghacks), Facebook or comment below to be featured on future Parenting Hacks.

She speaks? Part 2

A month ago, I wrote wondering if Baby Girl had said her first word. She had said “aw duh” (all done) after her lunch, with the sign language, which we have used repeatedly since we started weaning 6 months ago.

I’m still not 100% sure this was actually a word. More likely her repeating the sounds the Other Half was making. However, there has been more & more incidents of this in the last week or so. And I’m starting to wonder… Is Baby Girl trying to speak?IMG_0174Yesterday, while I was in the loo, my friends said Baby Girl said something sounding an awful lot like, ‘Hello’.

While playing ‘Where’s Sophie [the Giraffe]’ on Monday, the OH said she was saying ‘ee, ee’ whenever she found Sophie.

Baby Girl’s been making the ‘mama’ & ‘dada’ sounds for months & months now, as all babies do. But there’s been a few times she’s said ‘mama’ & I’ve looked up to find her looking directly at me as if waiting for me to take notice. Or she’s crawled out of the living room saying, ‘mama’ when I’ve popped through to another room, as if asking where I’ve gone.

Last night, in the highchair while I prepared her dinner, she dropped the pack of wipes on the floor three times & each time said, ‘oh dee’ (oh dear) in the same intonation I use when she throws her food on the floor. This morning, the OH dropped something in the loo & growled, frustrated; right on cue Baby Girl squeaked, ‘oh dee’.

This sounds to me like she’s starting to piece together context with sounds/words.

If you ask Baby Girl, ‘Where’s Daddy?,’ she points at the OH; ‘Where’s Sophie/Bunny/Kitten,’ she finds Sophie, Bunny or Kitten; ask her where The Night Garden is & she looks at the TV. So she has very clearly made a huge leap in language acquisition already over the last month purely in the fact she can understand so much more. It’s just the engaging brain to mouth that’s the final hurdle.

A hurdle we’re waiting for with great anticipation.

But all this first word business isn’t quite what I expected. The way people say, ‘Your first word was Bye Bye,’ or how they show it films (let’s be honest, by that I mean how they show it in Friends), I always assumed it was obvious when a baby said their first word; that Eurika! moment, like they cross a proverbial barrier from babyhood into childhood. But so far, it doesn’t seem to be. ‘aw duh’ has only made one other appearance & the other examples above are few & far between.

Which leads me to think child language acquisition is more gradual than we’re led to believe. (Which as I studied linguistics at University, including a brief module on child language acquisition, I probably should have put two & two together myself!)

A friend of mine is a stay at home dad working on his PHD thesis in child language acquisition. He & his son popped over this morning for tea, biscuits, raisins & apple slices & we ended up discussing this exact topic. He said there is also a theory questioning what is language; if a baby says ‘fwodya’ but in the perfectly correct intonation as ‘bye bye’, waving when stood at the door, is that language acquisition? Are they actually saying ‘bye bye’ in their own way? Or is it only language if they pronounce the correct sounds, in the correct context, with the correct intonation with apparent intent? And in that case, the childhood milestone of ‘first word’ may not be as black & white as we’ve always thought; it’s certainly not a Eurika! moment.

It’s a process that occurs over time. One which Leap 7 paved the way for as Baby Girl now has the ability to understand a sequence of events causes x to happen; ‘by saying ‘aw duh’ I show Mama I’m finished & she takes the bib off’ or ‘by saying ‘hello’ everyone smiles at me’.

And this makes sense to me; the pieces of the puzzle slowly coming together in Baby Girl’s mind. Walking doesn’t happen over night (although I’m told for some it does). She sat up, then crawled, then pulled herself up, then walked around the furniture holding on & now will walk across a room with her walker or holding on to our hands; letting go of one when feeling brave. It’s a slow, steady process as she figures out what she needs to do to put one foot in front of the other on her own & build her confidence. Talking, I assume, is exactly the same.

But despite this new found understanding, it would be amazing to have that Eurika! moment…


Odd Mother’s Day Out: Spitalfields City Farm

On Sunday, we had a long overdue day out with Baby Girl’s Odd Mother. (We’re not religious, so Baby Girl has ‘Odd Parents‘.)

IMG_0170Baby Girl & I took her to Spitalfields City Farm; just a two minute detour off Brick Lane & well worth a visit. It’s slightly bigger than Stepney City Farm, which we visited a few months ago (read about our previous farmyard adventure here).

Originally set up in 1978 by volunteers & it’s still run by lovely helpers today. In their own words, “without volunteers there would be no farm”. It’s free to visit (always a plus) & often hosting markets, fairs & community events. There’s also free weekly activities for kids.

Unfortunately, we went on a Sunday so the Farm Shop was closed. But there was a little play area with a tree house for older ones, a yurt (?!), a picnic area & vegetable patches to look around.

And lots of animals!IMG_0172

Auntie Trini carried Baby Girl all round the farm, snorting at the pigs & baaing at the sheep, chatting to the donkeys – one of whom was called Derek. Was there ever a better name for a donkey? Baby Girl wasn’t so fussed by the chickens, but Auntie Trini seemed to like the pigmy goats. There were also ducks, geese, guinea pigs, two cats & some bunnies.IMG_0171

We then tootled down Brick Lane as Baby Girl drifted off to the Land of Nod, mooched around a few shops as & stopped at a new cafe in Whitechapel for lunch; Exmouth Coffee. Highly recommended. Delicious quiche & flatbread sandwiches. We didn’t have any treats as we’re both watching the pennies, but they looked lovely.

Baby Girl, never one to be predictable, managed to sleep for two hours! Almost unheard of these days. So Auntie Trini & I were able to have a long overdue catch up as well.

Good day all round.


Getting there

Liverpool St – Central line (escalators), Met, Circle & Hammersith & City lines (accessible Eastbound, stairs Westbound)
Bethnal Green  – Central line (escalator & stairs)
Adulate East & Whitechapel – District Line & Hammersmith & City lines (stairs only)

Baby’s day out: Tate Modern

IMG_0161Yesterday, Baby Girl & I took a little excursion down the District Line.

As my Maternity Leave draws to an inevitable end (even if job hunting means I don’t know exactly when) I feel I should make the most of every day. So when my plans with a friend fell through yesterday, I declared we wouldn’t waste the day sitting at home on our own (the Other Half is off skiing this weekend with his dad – I know, best girlfriend in the world, right?).

As with all new parents, we’re feeling the pinch; so free days out are good. But it’s so cold at the moment, indoors is also good. I found Eeh Bah Mum’s post on Days Out in London with a Crawling Baby (very helpful, I recommend it). She suggested Tate Modern. So I thought, ‘ooh! Let’s be cultured & try something new!’

Alas, Little Miss Fussy Pants, was not on form yesterday. Everything took four times as long as usual (also contributing to why the original plans fell through). By 11:45am, I had persuaded her to have some lunch, wrestled her into her pram suit &, in no uncertain terms, forced her into the buggy. Sandwiches, snacks, diapers all packed, I bent down to tie my shoes, stood back up & she was fast asleep. Go figure.

So, as I am flying solo for a few days, I decided the day out could wait & I turned back into the living room for some me time.

One hour later, I was called back to the hall with a little squeak.

To the Tate!


Baby Girl was completely nonplussed by Millennium Bridge – possibly due to icey-cold gale force winds.

I haven’t been to the Tate Modern since I was about 14 when they had giant slides from the different levels down into the Turbine Hall. I remember thinking ‘I’m not much a fan of modern art,’ but the slides were awesome.


Snack time with a view!

Baby Girl & I started at the Poetry & Surrealism gallery where I learned I’m still not a huge fan of modern art. But Baby Girl liked the shapes & colours & designs to look at.

There was a Studio for kids to explore with a chalkboard wall & giant letters. (It was something to do with one of the exhibits… but I didn’t read the placard… You can tell I’m really into my art… Why did I choose the Tate!?) Baby Girl was pleased to be out of the buggy for a bit & was fascinated by the older children running round.IMG_0162


Baby Girl was let loose & spent the whole time going up the stairs, waiting for me to bring her to the bottom again so she could start again. (She only discovered stairs at a friend’s house on Wednesday, so she’s still very proud of this new skill.)

Tate Modern Baby Pros:

  1. Its free! (Map are £1, donations welcome on the door.)
  2. There’s changing facilities in the men’s loos. (FYI, I didn’t double check this, but saw the sign on the men’s door.)
  3. The fourth floor is great. An open space with steps a massive window looking into the Turbine Hall. It was warm, full of families, two women breastfeeding & buggies galore. At the moment there’s big wooden blocks & shapes for building with, which the older ones were having a lot of fun with. The museum lady overseeing the fun said there’s always something family friendly here, though it does change throughout the year.
  4. Fully accessible for buggies (if you can fit in the elevator – see below).

Tate Modern Baby Cons:

  1. The changing tables have been installed way too high. So high in fact I had to leave Baby Girl until we got home instead as it was shoulder height. (I realise I’m diddy, but this was high for anyone!)
  2. The elevators. There are signs clearly stating ‘give wheelchairs & buggies priority’ but of course, no one does. So I spent half the afternoon waiting for elevators with space to get between levels.

Getting there

Blackfriars tube – District & Circle line with elevators
Mansion House – District & Circle line, stairs only
Southwark – Jubilee line with elevators
London Bridge – Jubilee & Northern lines with elevators

Would I recommend Tate Modern as a Baby Day Out? Actually yes. Go, expand your horizons & have a giggle looking at the funny art through your littlun’s eyes. Just make sure you go on a week day. In my ‘must-make-the-most-of-the-day’ moment, I forgot it was a Saturday. Major error.