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Saturday, 7 October 2017

A Violet Update.

It's been far too long since I did a Violet update. I have a fully fledged toddler! How on earth did that happen? Violet is now 14 months old and the most hilarious, clever and beautiful little girl. 

Violet has been walking since 11 months so now thinks she's a pro. We're now at the walking as fast as physically possible stage towards anything. I'm convinced she's done a little jog a few times, when she's been charging towards my legs. I felt like the walking stage would be more difficult than crawling. However it has its pros and cons. She loves walking independently, which is great in open spaces, like the park or at play groups. But in the middle of Tesco it's pretty tough to manage your shopping and a toddler pinching all of the food from the shelf!

Violet's current interests are books, books and more books. This little lady is obsessed with sitting and looking at the pictures and getting myself or Jonathan to read to her. Her favourite types of books are the tiny board style books, I think probably because they're easy to carry around and aren't as flimsy. Thank goodness for charity shop book bargains, we could easily open a library with the amount of books we have. 

And if we're not inside reading books, we're outside exploring. Violet's love for the outdoors has never wavered. She loves nothing more than being able to run around a park or play with the leaves on the floor. We've invested in a puddle suit from Lidl so she can splodge and get as muddy as she likes, and her clothes are still clean and dry. I do need to find some wellies to fit her little feet too!

Violet is "talking" more and more everyday. Her vocabulary of real words isn't the most extensive but she babbles away practicing noises pretty much all day. She also repeatedly grunts at you until you do whatever it is she wants, which is hilarious but I guess it's just her way of communicating. She can currently say "hiya", "og" AKA "dog", "shhhh" for "shoe" and also "moos" like a cow on demand! 

I love watching her little personality develop as she gets bigger. She literally does something new everyday and it's quite amazing to see. She never fails to make me laugh until my stomach hurts. And I love that she now chooses to come over and sit on my knee for a cuddle, even though she's the most independent and confident little lady I know. 

I love you to the moon and back Violet Grace, stay curious my darling girl. 

Katie xx


Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The Rise of Outdoor Playgroups.

Ever since Violet was around 6 weeks old, we've been to mother and toddler groups. You name it, we've tried it. Honestly, I don't love a general "parent and toddler" group, they're amazing places for new mums but they can be really overwhelming. I find that a more structured group forces you to speak to other people and everyone tends to be in a similar boat. 

As Violet has got older, it's become more obvious on the types of groups she enjoys and the ones that don't work as well for us. And by that I mean, V has no spatial awareness and is fiercely independent, which isn't great in small spaces, around small babies! However more recently I've found some amazing groups that really work well for little miss Bear Grylls. 

Forest schools and outdoor groups are becoming more and more accessible, which is really amazing if you have a toddler like mine. Violet is never happier than when she's exploring outside, but still getting to interact with other children. Outdoor play is so good for little ones and it's great to get a bit of fresh air yourself. It provides the perfect way to let off a little steam and tire those cheeky monkeys out! 

We first tried a proper "forest school" back in August. The whole set up was brilliant and Jonathan and I were really impressed. We really were in the midst of a forest, which was the perfect playground for Violet. Our second encounter with outdoor playgroups was at the Whitworth Art Gallery and their Toddler Outdoor Club. This is free and not quite as exciting as being in an actual forest but Violet enjoyed herself none the less. There both a little further than we would regularly travel, but since I've discovered one much closer to home. 

Our local group is Nature Tots and takes part twice a week in a park. The area in which the sessions take place is owned by the Wildlife Trust and is opened specifically for these sessions. The space has allotments, green houses, a mud kitchen, outdoor instruments and even a space for a camp fire. It's really amazing and so much fun for the little ones. This week we planted potatoes that'll be ready for Christmas and some spinach to take home. I really feel like Violet is learning as well as playing!

I really love seeing her little face enjoying the outdoors and to quote one of the mums at the session, a "Nature Tots Nap" after the group is amazing!

Katie xx

Katie Atkinson
Lifestyle blogger


Thursday, 14 September 2017

Montessori: Following the Child's Interests.

I think one of the hardest but also easiest part of Montessori is "following the child". We try so hard to give Violet pretty much free reign, when it's safe to do so and more often than not, she will lead the way with whatever activity we're doing. It can be difficult at times, as obviously Violet doesn't understand dangers and can get quite upset when she is unable to wander off and do her own thing. However, when we're somewhere safe, it's easily my favourite part of Montessori. 
I often sit back and watch what Violet is playing with or doing with her toys and other miscellaneous items. For example, the last few weeks she's enjoyed putting things in baskets and transferring items from one basket to another. So we've developed this a little more this week and provided her with a few different types of bowls, baskets and bags to transfer her things. 

I'm loving that she's become a bit of a bookworm lately too. She will bring me books from her shelf several times a day and we will read them together, with her turning the pages when she's ready. Or she will sit on the floor or sofa and open and close the books and look at the pictures and photos. I did a whole post on Montessori-friendly books, here
But more than anything, Violet loves dogs. It was one of her first words, despite us not having a dog. I assume it's from spending lots of time at the park and on walks where we see dogs. I've been following this interest and set up a little station with different breeds of dog toys and some dog-themed books. She seems to have enjoyed exploring the different kinds of dogs and we've had fun reading about pooches too! Violet will correctly point and say "dog" whenever we see one, although she does tend to call most animals dog at the moment. 
I'm really enjoying allowing Violet to take the lead on her own play and learning and I can't wait to see what other interests she has as she's getting older. But I know secretly my hubby is hoping the dog interest is just a phase, I don't think we will be getting a puppy any time soon!

Katie xx
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