Weekly Report – w/c 02.11.15

It’s been a bit of an up and down week in the Wildling house, mainly because of the changeable weather (and some lack of planning). Monday started well, with a trip to the playground. Tom had a great time enjoying the swings and demanded go after go on the slide. The playground was almost completely abandoned – not entirely sure why, as it was damp but not actually raining. But this was a plus as it meant Tom could have as many goes as he wanted.

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Sadly the afternoon didn’t go quite to plan – we walked up to Bakers Arms to do some errands, only to find that I had left my purse at home (maturely, I am going to blame the toddler for this, as he does have a habit of removing it from my bag and hiding it under the sofa). So we had to turn around and come back again, by which point it was starting to get dark. Boo for disorganised mum!

On Wednesday we went on a family trip to the lovely Hackney City Farm, plus had a wander round Haggerston Park. You can read more about our visit here.

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We did our usual walk to nursery on Thursday, cutting through the park. It was pissing it down when I arrived for pick up at the end of the day, but I’d fortunately remembered the buggy raincover, so Tom stayed cosy and dry. I braved the elements and walked home, cursing my shoe choice as my feet got wetter and wetter. There were moments when I questioned my own sanity, but Tom was completely dry and I hate getting on rush-hour buses when it’s wet to such a degree that getting soaked socks was definitely the preferable option.

Thankfully, Friday’s walk to and from nursery was dry, though very dark. I let Tom out of the buggy once we reached the park (which is floodlit) and he had a great time walking with me, splashing through puddles and waving to the very few people who were out in the dark.

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We had a great weekend – I’ll be doing a separate post on our adventures, which included waterproof trousers, a pony, lots of chickens and a fair number of puddles. Look out for more tomorrow!

Considering the weather, I think we made a pretty good effort this week!

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Tree Hugger

Before I had Tom, if you had asked me to list what a one year-old would be in to, I would probably have included: making a mess, mud, running around giggling, storytime, nursery rhymes… You know, typical small toddler things. I’d have been right too. But an unexpected love of Tom’s has appeared since he became mobile, and only seems to be increasing.

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Trees. My baby adores trees. And the products of trees (sticks, leaves). Being a bit of a tree hugger myself, I couldn’t be more proud to see his fascination. But I do find it a bit bewildering. How is it that a child who usually averages a ten minute attention span could spend a whole 45 minutes poking a tree with a stick.

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Maybe it’s the sensory aspect? Lots of different textures, sounds, smells and colours (especially at this time of year). Or the fact they are so much bigger than him? Or maybe he just likes trees.

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Trees are pretty fantastic after all. According to the Woodland Trust , one mature tree produces enough oxygen for two people for a year. And our woods and trees are home to more wildlife than any other kind of landscape.

It’s a good job we have a little patch of woodland nearby. I can see we’ll be spending plenty more time there in the future!

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Weekly Report: w/c 26/10/15

We’ve definitely noticed the clocks going back this week. The weather has been (mostly) fine, but the dark evenings are putting a bit of a limit on our outdoor time.

Monday started sunny, and we spent a lovely morning in the playground. Plans for a long afternoon walk were shelved after Tom took an unusually long afternoon nap, leaving us only an hour to enjoy the outdoors. We headed back to the park instead, where Tom investigated the autumn leaves.

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Once the morning clouds had cleared, Wednesday was a beautiful sunny day. We spent the morning on the Marshes, where Tom bonded with an oak tree and I practiced my tai chi. In the afternoon, we headed along the River Lee for our riverside walk. Read more about it here.

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Thursday was a nursery day, so we took our usual walk in through the park. The clock change meant that we had a very dark walk back. Despite the lack of light, we did manage to stop in the playground for a quick swing.

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Apologies for the terrible photo. My phone was struggling with lack of light

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Friday’s walk to nursery was a damp one, as it was chucking it down with rain. I got soaked, but Tom was cosy and dry inside his buggy. That evening was his nursery’s multicultural feast for Black History Month and I had to stay a bit late at work, so Mr Techno handled pick up.

Saturday was another lovely day. We decided to make more use of the garden, so Mr Techno and I headed out with Tom and a cup of coffee each. Tom indulged in some ‘messy play’ (aka digging in the potting soil) and kindly shared his bounty with me.

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Mr Techno went to work just before lunch, so Tom and I spent the afternoon on the Hackney Marsh playing fields, where Tom pottered up and down happily (though not in the direction I was hoping he would go in).

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Sunday morning was cold and misty. Tom and I took a suitable autumnal walk in the woods (involving more arguments about which way to go). We met a friend of mine in the afternoon for a walk on the Walthamstow Marches. I was too busy chatting and failed to notice Tom’s rain footies falling out of the buggy, so he is currently lacking any waterproof footwear. We’ve ordered another pair though, which should arrive shortly.

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Verdict: pretty good

Samhain + All Hallows Eve = Halloween

Yesterday was Tom’s second Halloween! Last year, we were up on Suffolk staying with Mr Techno’s family, and marked the occasion by dressing Tom as a little skeleton.

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As you can see, this was pre-discovery of RIE and natural gross motor development

This year I had failed to sort out an outfit for him, so we put him in a stripy jumper and, if anyone asked, said he was Dennis the Menace.

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He’s a bit young for trick or treating, so we decided that we’d focus on the origins of the festival, the blending of the Celtic festival Samhain and the Christian All Hallows Eve. Both focus on the dead, with Samhain also having an association with the end of the harvest.

On Friday, Tom’s nursery had a feast to celebrate Black History Month and asked parents to bring a traditional food from their culture. I only discovered this when I picked him up on Thursday evening. After panicking a bit (what is traditionally English, suitable for toddlers, and can be prepared from store cupboard ingredients?) I remembered I had planned to make soul cakes for Halloween, so simply made them a day early.

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These little scone-like biscuity things were traditionally prepared on All Hallows Eve and given to ‘soulers’ who went door to door, receiving the food in exchange for their prayers for the dead. This is likely the origin of the trick or treat tradition.

For Halloween itself, we honoured the Samhain association with fire and harvest by having a candle lit dinner. As we’d already taken the soul cakes to nursery, we had a seasonal feast of pumpkin cakes (similar to potato cake, but made with pumpkin, squash, carrot, lentils and sweet potato instead) and kale, with spiced stewed apple and yoghurt to finish.

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I’m sure we’ll be celebrating Halloween in more ‘normal’ ways in future years, but this was a lovely gentle way of marking the day this year.

Celebrating Autumn

I know, I know, officially autumn started on 22 September which is a couple of weeks ago now. But I just woke up on Saturday feeling autumnal. And the leaves have started to fall around here (though not actually change colour yet) and it definitely felt like weather for jumpers and long walks and cups of tea.

So what better way to celebrate than a foraging walk through the woods? I am, at best, a very novice forager, but our local patch of woodland makes it easy by having plenty of easily identifiable munchables…I mean plants.

We were lucky to find some late blackberries (Tom’s favourite).

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Sadly, the apple tree was looking pretty bare, with only some rotting ones left beneath.

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But we did score some hawthorn berries (I would have picked more but Tom was bored and wanting to move on).

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I’ve never used them before but have been experimenting with some blackberry vodka, so will expand my hedgerow drinks collection to include hawthorn vodka (not exactly kid-friendly this, unless you are looking for ideas on engaging older teens with nature…)

I also spotted some rosehips, but by this stage Tom was getting antsy and wanted to escape from his cruel torture device (aka the buggy).

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Despite the rather rough path, he enjoyed crawling around, and also practiced pushing the buggy for a bit.

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I love this time of year. Very thankful to live somewhere with proper seasons!