Kaiber is currently at the most tiring and awkward age at the moment, in my opinion anyway. He isn’t quite five months old yet, but he is almost there and I sometimes find myself wishing away the next month so we can hit the sixth and start solids; things get easier then.. right?
He is going through the ‘can roll, can’t crawl, can hold myself up but can’t quite sit’ period and if I am completely honest, it’s a little bit of a nightmare! The past month has easily been one of the most challenging ones to date and sometimes I genuinely wonder if things will ever get better. Granted, teething is playing a large role in some of our problems but his fussiness and agitation is incredibly hard to endure, especially when it feels like some days he cries more than he smiles regardless how hard a try to make him giggle or keep him in a good mood.
There’s also the small issue of running out of things to do. You know how it is, checking the clock to see that it’s only three in the afternoon, still hours until bedtime but you feel like you have exhausted all of your resources. You get so accustomed to having a newborn that sleeps all the time and then all of a sudden you have an alert baby who sleeps way less than he should, looking up at you with expecting eyes, waiting to be entertained every single minute of the day. This is something I have felt the burden of massively these few weeks in particular as I am reluctant to go out in public because of how he is and the fear of being judged therefore spend the majority of my time when Carl is at work hiding in our house.
I decided to start to research ways in which I could occupy him and try to divert his attention away from his teething pain and frustrations due to not yet being able to achieve what he wants to because if I could get even half an hour of a content baby who will allow me to have a moment where I don’t have to hold him in the standing up position, I may be able to rescue what is left of my sanity and wrist strength.
So far it’s been working quite well and this is what we have came up with recently:
DIY Sensory Play
Making an assortment of sensory stimulating bits and pieces for Kaiber to explore (or put in his mouth) has been one of the best things I’ve done. He absolutely loves anything he can grab that makes a sound, looks bright and colourful or is a little different and he prefers things like this to the toys at the moment which is great for me as I have enjoyed making them so far and it has inspired me to make more things for him to discover (without spending more than pennies really, so it’s a win-win situation).
Kaiber’s favourite so far are the sensory bottles I made him last week. I actually had this idea when Carl gave Kaiber who was begining to cry a half empty bottle of pop and his mood totally changed, he was absolutely fascinated and sat playing with this bottle for enough time to allow me to go to the toilet and make a cuppa which is a massive luxary at the moment.
Washing, relabeling and drying out some empty plastic water bottles, I went around the house hunting for things I could fill them with. One has snapped pieces of spaghetti and some chopped up patterned cardboard straws, another has some colourful paper ribbons and snapped lolly sticks, one is simply filled with a handful of Lego, another with pasta tubes and shiny confetti, one with bright pom poms and the empty shells from pistachio nuts and the last contains wooden buttons and polystyrene balls. I simply glued on the lids and handed them to him one by one to explore, shaking them in front of him to capture his attention.
He literally loves them and will hold, throw, shake and stare at them for ages. I can’t believe I didn’t try this one earlier to be honest and I look forward to making more with different items as well as half filling some with water and food colouring.
Another thing Kaiber has really enjoyed this week is some little mystery boxes I made up for him using two cardboard gift boxes with lids that I had lying around. I wrapped the lid of one and the body of the other with bright blue wrapping paper patterned with cat faces and stuck some ridged red card onto the lid of the unwrapped lid.
I then simply filled them with various items and put the lids back on which prompted fun and exploration from the get go for both me and Kaiber as I loved watching the curiosity and concentration on his face whilst he puzzled over these boxes and managed to get the lid off one before throwing the other on the floor and giggling. When he began to feel and pull out some of the items I could practically see the cogs in his little brain ticking away and he had great fun holding and throwing them while chatting away.
In the small box I hid a ribbon, a scrumbled cake case, a marraca, a polystyrene ball and some colourful wooden rings.
In the large box was a longer but thinner purple ribbon, a different shaped marraca, the tube from some tape, more coloured wooden rings, a pocodot straw, a display rock, a different coloured cake case and an empty, washed crisp packet which ended up being the favourite item!
Again, with this one the fun doesn’t stop as there are hundreds of items you can switch in and out of the boxes and they keep him occupied for long periods of time.
Lately I have discovered that pretty much everything is fascinating to Kaiber as his mind develops and I have started giving him random items as I use them in every day life so long as they are safe and clean. This helps massively when trying to get things done as he can explore while I do my jobs. He loves it when I cover him in pillow cases for example when I change the bed and I like to give him a running commentary of what I am doing as I do it. Pots, pans and utensils are also amazing for banging and exploring too!
Whilst making a Shepard’s Pie the other evening Carl washed and dried a carrot and he loved picking it up and staring at the orange, the coldness of the vegetable was also interesting to him.
Singing and Light Up Toys
Kaiber has to be in the mood for his toys at the minute and definately prefers homemade things such as the ones above and household items like the remote control but when he is in the mood, he does enjoy his toys- the noisier, the better!
The light up and singing V-Tech toys are great, especially now he can press the buttons on his own and he loves to shout at his little talking Giraffe we bought ages ago from Asda (even if I am sick of her repeating herself).
Some of Kaiber’s most recently purchased and favourite toys are the V-Tech Crawl Ball which rolls around and plays music as well as encouraging him to touch it and press the buttons. We also have the V-Tech Play & Learn table which is brilliant and has detachable legs so it will grow with him.
Toys are like these are amazing and definately an essential aid in baby’s development but I personally prefer the simpler things and I adore wooden toys more than anything. We recently got Kaiber a 30 piece wooden instrument set from Amazon which allows for hours of fun for myself, Kaiber and Daddy too!
We have boxes of balls, plastic cups to stack and learning toys too but with Kaiber teething at the moment, those mainly end up in the mouth instead of him showing an interest in them and he would rather chew on these than actual teething toys but hopefully they will come in handy once we start to see actual teeth.
Long Walks in the Countryside
At the moment Kaiber is going through some severe sleep regression and not just through the night time. I am struggling to get him down for any standard of nap or day snoozes at all and it has been beginning to seriously take it’s toll. The lack of sleep as also been adding fuel to the fussing fire and I was starting to go out of my mind, especially because I stopped taking him out due to him crying hysterically when I did.
It got to the point where I just caved one day when I couldn’t get him down and he was hysterical due to being overly tired so I just stuck him in his pram and took off walking in my pyjamas and a hoodie on the least populated route I could think of. I ended up walking eight miles and was exhausted BUT he slept for some of it and was calm for some too and that was enough for me.
I now do a four mile walk twice a day and try to stick to set times regardless of how much or little sleep we have both had. It is the one bit of normality and routine we have and I am determined to stick to it. I feel great after some exercise and fresh air, it’s amazing what a bit of walking can do mentally and physically for you and even if Kaiber doesn’t always sleep, he likes to look around and take in his surroundings and he certainly picks up on my positive energy. With two hours walking in total daily, it’s a great filler to break up the days and get a little break.
This is one of my favourite pass-times and I am convinced that Kaiber enjoys it as much as Mammy does even if that’s just because he can sense how happy listening to music makes me although I’m convinced he thoroughly enjoys it too.
I am a huge music enthusiast and remember playing my bump all of my favourite songs during my pregnancy whilst singing along and feeling Kaiber wriggle, punch and kick. I was even listening to a rock radio channel when in the hospital labour room and remember certain songs being on at certain points during the experience and I would put money on the fact that Kaiber recognises some of the music I used to play him and enjoys certain genres over others.
It fascinates me to see how he will react to certain songs depending on the gender of the singer or the instruments used. Exploring music together entertains myself as much, if not more, than it entertains Kaiber and I’m sure this will be the case for many many years to come.
Something that usually makes him smile without fail is if I put him in one of his chairs and dance and sing to my favourite songs like a crazy lady. He loves the expressions I make and gets excited when I change notes dramatically or whack out the old air guitar. He also enjoys it when I carry him and swing him around as I dance. I always feel like he is calmer and more settled if there is some music playing away in the background and I think he may take after his Mammy for his musical passion.
Absolutely Everything and Anything I Can Think Of
Ultimately, every baby is different and attention spans vary depending on a range of different things but if there’s one thing I’m learning as my baby gets older, it’s that there are no ‘do’s and don’ts’ when it comes to what you can use to entertain your little one as long as it’s safe of course. These are just a few of the things that have been working for us of late but there are so many more such as simple things like talking, making funny faces and reading to your baby.
Lights are also another great one, fairy lights and projector lights in particular. Making finger puppets on the wall is something that Kaiber finds hilarious at the moment. Try adding things to bath time as well such as different toys, sponges or even blowing lots of bubbles.
As Kaiber grows, his brain grows with him and he is starting to take an interest in absolutely everything. I am literally learning on the job as I go but the more I see how he interacts with certain things, the more I am inspired to try other things. It’s amazing to watch him try to touch things (even the things he shouldn’t) and although I have to watch him more than ever, I can’t wait to witness him continue to grow, thrive and discover.