Four and a Dog

A blog about family life

Archive for the category “new skills”

Night Challenge

Since having children my life has certainly changed. I have acquired many new skills (buttering toast with one hand) and lost many old ones (I can no longer concentrate the whole way though a film).

Tonight I was faced with one of my biggest challenges yet. Hubby has been out with colleagues and I put the children to bed on my own (another new skill I am particularly proud of). Both children have been suffering with coughs and colds so I was not too hopeful for a relaxing evening. However, other than an occasional cough, neither children have stirred. After a pleasant evening half watching a movie, I eventually decided to retire. I came upstairs carrying the usual armful of clean washing, iPad and monitor.

Unfortunately, upon reaching the landing, I was faced with one of Bruiser’s toys lying directly in my path. It was a small orange tambourine that plays music, counts, makes whizzy noises and clangy noises and flashes bright lights. The slightest nudge would have set this toy off in to a musical frenzy which would undoubtedly wake up both sleeping children. Before panicking unnecessarily (how embarrassing would that be?), I lowered my armful of things and checked if the thing was on. It was. Of course.

I was now faced with a serious dilemma. I could just step over the toy and deal with it in the morning…

But, Hubby would be returning late, after a night out, and would not be forewarned of danger. I could text him…

But, he would probably not remember or might even be a bit merry and therefore a bit unstable. I would just have to turn it off…

But, it is a particularly sensitive toy. Picture, if you will, the image of a harassed mother crouching over a small, light up tambourine on a dark landing. She approaches the object much like a bomb disposal specialist, and very gently pushes the switch from right, to left. Picture that same mother lifting the turned off toy triumphantly out of harms way and walking, nay, strutting in to her bedroom proudly.

Now picture her realising just what happened.

Uh oh!

Bruiser is a cruiser! The name, Bruised, may now be more appropriate.

He’s been pulling himself up on the sofa for a few weeks, but has decided to further advance his skills by pulling himself up on everything; trying to support himself with one hand whilst reaching for something he shouldn’t eat; shuffling sideways in order to reach something he really shouldn’t touch (often electrical); and occasionally balancing just enough to stand unsupported for three seconds at a time.

This is all wonderful, but exhausting.

Unfortunately Bruiser has chosen to make these advancements whilst visiting the south of France- a place not known for it’s cushioned floors. Making your first attempts at standing and walking in a land full of rocks and tiled flooring is never going to end well.

Thankfully we have a cushioned playpen that he will at least tolerate for a few minutes. Diva calls it the dunge(r)on. She regularly helps him inside and shuts the door- such a kind big sister.

Cruising is not Bruiser’s only new skill. I think there must be something about babies being out of their normal environment that results in them suddenly developing new skills. When Diva was a baby she was exactly the same. This week Bruiser has learnt to say, ‘ta (thank you)’, whenever you hand him something, or he hands something to you. He regularly claps with great enthusiasm, and is especially pleased when this elicits a round of applause from everyone else. He also randomly waves his arms and squeals like a teenage girl meeting her friends in a shopping mall (I’m hoping he hasn’t learnt that one from me).

An Announcement

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great excitement that I am able to announce…

Bruiser has slept through the night!

It has taken almost nine months,

It may never happen again,


For one glorious night,

There was sleep.

We Have a Crawler!

Bruiser has finally started to crawl. We have had been building up to this for several weeks and I am very pleased that he has done it just before he turns eight months. Why? Because I have been merrily declaring that he would be crawling by the time he reached eight months since he was about five months, and I hate to be wrong.

The build up to crawling is an odd one as, like everything to do with babies, they all seem to approach it in different ways. Diva showed no interest in moving for months. The most she would do was a circular bum shuffle. If she ever rolled on to her front, she would just cry until you put her back on her back or sat her up. Then suddenly one evening while we were getting her ready for a bath, she crawled along the landing. She then marked this momentous occasion by doing a large poo on the carpet.

Bruiser has accomplished crawling in very distinct stages. It’s almost like he’s been attending a training seminar that I don’t know about. Considering he spends nearly every second of every day attached to me, this is unlikely.

Stage one: Sitting. Bruiser liked being able to sit up. He could roll, he just didn’t like it. Unfortunately, this led to a lot of falling backwards and forwards depending on what he was trying to see/reach/eat. There would then follow the requisite crying until somebody came to help.

Stage 2: Rocking. Bruiser enjoyed rocking forwards and backwards. Eventually he learnt to put his hands down to prevent more face slams.

Stage 3: Hand balancing. Soon he was able to put his weight on to his hands for short periods of time. Often this would result in a parachute jump sprawl on the floor.

Stage 4: Bum shuffling. Bruiser learnt that by combining some rocking with some hand balancing, you could throw in a bum lift and achieve movement. It may only be movement in a circle, but it is movement.

Stage 5: Reaching. Once he had mastered the balancing, he began to reach for things and pull himself around. This is a particularly sneaky part of the process. Generally, you never see the movement in action, you just know that they are no longer in the same place that they started.

Stage 6: Backwards. For some reason, a lot of babies crawl backwards before they can go forwards. Bruiser was no exception. After reaching forwards, he would shuffle his way back until eventually he was sitting again. Sometimes he would look genuinely surprised that he’d moved.

Stage 7: Crawling. Finally Bruiser began to work out that his legs needed to move forwards as well as his arms. Currently he is still quite slow and a bit unstable, but he is definitely crawling.

Within a couple of hours I discovered a multitude of things that needed to be moved, cleaned, hidden. He may be slow at crawling but he is fast at finding things to choke on. We’re only a few days in and he’s already started to pull himself up on things. Now, instead of hitting his face on the floor, he is banging in to furniture.

I know many people dread the crawling phase, but here we are loving it! Since he has begun to crawl, Bruiser has stopped wanting to be carried everywhere and has been sleeping better at night. This makes crawling the best thing ever. A crawling household, is a happy household (unless it’s one full of bugs).

Bruiser Bubbles

Bruiser has learnt how to blow bubbles in his spit. This is especially fun at four o’clock in the morning. Sometimes the fun lasts for a whole hour. Much as I’d like to take the credit for this marvellous new skill, I only blow bubbles in socially acceptable circumstances, such as in milkshakes whilst dining out . In which case, who has taught him this? Daddy or Uncle M? I have my suspicions.

Post Navigation