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My Daughter’s Love Affair

It all started when she was about three months old. I didn’t notice the change. It just crept up on me almost over night. I should have known it was coming. My daughter suddenly wanted someone other than me to help soothe her to sleep. And that somebunny was Bunny.

It started with a kiss

Desperately looking for the much promised ‘signs of tiredness’ at around three months, I noticed that she started putting soft things to her nose when she was looking a bit sleepy. To begin with, it was mostly inappropriate things, like our (very non-docile) cat’s tail, or a sock or slipper. In looking for something a little more suitable for a three month old to sniff on, I gave her a lovely little Jellycat rabbit a friend had bought us as a present when she was born. And so the love affair began.

Jellycat Bunny Rabbit

Snuggling with Bunny – where it all began!

With ears and arms that are just right for little hands to hold and snuggle ‘Bunny’ as he was creatively named has now become a part of everyday life. Oh, he’s been through the mill a bit – he’s been dropped and thrown, covered in food, and subsequently been through the wash a few times, even though his little label says ‘surface wash only’. As if!

He’s also got a friend who our daughter also shares her bedtime snuggles with. He’s called ‘Mr Bunny’ (see what we did there?) and also comes with a little comfort blanket, although she only has eyes and hands for his ears and arms!

Since the introduction of ‘Mr Bunny’ the two have been interchangeable, with each finding favour at various times. A bit like an emperor’s concubine.

Bunny’s been everywhere with us. He’s been to see her grandparents, to the seaside, to the supermarket (on more than one occasion – on some days). He’s been very kindly offered to her cousin – perhaps without realising the consequences if said cousin had taken a particular shine to him! He’s even been to the doctor’s. The lovely doctor chatted to my daughter about Bunny and pretended to listen to his chest when he was listening to hers. What an absolute star! Obviously, she looked a bit puzzled, but I had the sneaking suspicion it was more for my benefit. And I have to admit I loved it – I’m a sucker for that kind of thing!

The horror!

Jellycat Bunny

Morning Cuddles with Bunny

But obviously, Bunny’s adventures bring with them a certain amount of risk. I’m forever checking that he’s still in her pram, as I don’t want to face the bedtime when Bunny’s nowhere to be found. One of my favourite stories when I was little was Dogger by Shirley Hughes. Its beautiful illustrations belied the harsh truth that your favourite toy can go astray and life may never be the same again. That is, unless you have a nice older sister (who appears mean at the start of the book, but shows she has a heart towards the end) who retrieves Dogger from the nasty people who thought they bought him fair and square at a village fete. The horror!

With the intention of avoiding the Dogger situation at all costs, I wanted to secure Bunny to the pushchair. As useful as they are for extending hanging pram toys, it just didn’t seem right to use plastic linking rings to effectively tie Bunny to the pram. I pictured those horrid adverts about dancing bears with rings through their noses. Whilst a little far fetched, perhaps, for a soft toy bunny, I just couldn’t bring myself to attach Bunny to the pram with plastic rings round his neck.

Fifty Shades of Grey

Bunny Snuggles

Bunny Snuggles – still snuggling after all this time

So, on the quest for something a little more ‘humane’ I recently started using a Ruby and Ginger Toy Tie. The nice soft material velcroes gently around Bunny’s neck yet allows my daughter to cuddle and snuggle Bunny when we’re out and about. Even when she tried to (affectionately, I’m sure) launch Mr Bunny out of the pushchair today, she was most baffled and, I think quietly relieved, that he was still hanging on by his paws to her chariot, via the lifeline of a Toy Tie. (Albeit his comfort blanket was slightly greyed from getting trapped under the wheels whilst crossing the road! Thank God Mr Bunny’s ‘surface washable’ too – in the washing machine he goes tomorrow!).

The Toy Tie’s water and dirt resistant material makes it a practical pushchair accessory, whilst its beautiful and modern pattern means it’s something that people will no doubt notice and admire. It’s a practical pushchair accessory that looks pretty lovely too. The concept of the Toy Tie may well have slightly baffled my daughter to begin with, but it’s certainly going to be as permanent a feature on our pushchair as Bunny or his gentrified counterpart is.

Ruby and Ginger Toy Tie

Studying Mr Bunny and why he doesn’t fall off the pushchair!

How far do you go to keep your child’s favourite toy safe? Do you use anything in particular, or just wing it? We’d love to hear your views!

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Military adages become mummy mantras

With that rarest of phenomenon nearly upon us; a warm, sunny British Bank Holiday weekend, many of us will be heading out and about with our little ones.  Whilst I’ve probably jinxed the good weather now, going out for the day with a baby can be a military operation requiring planning, preparation and patience.

The 7Ps: Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents P*** Poor Performance

While I’m not renowned for the latter, I’m quite well known for my planning and preparation skills.  I don’t think I’m the only person to ever have an excel spreadsheet with their hospital bag list, but I know of only one other.  And, whilst it all went to pot, my birth plan was typed, printed….and probably should have been laminated.

So now that the days are getting nicer and we’re able to get out and about a lot more, the pram suit is archived, the foot muff is zipped off and the legs are out!  (hers, not mine…not just yet!)

Fail to plan, plan to fail

So, apart from the myriad pots of various food items, what will I be taking out with me this bank holiday weekend?

My Buggy Buddy Sunshade - practically perfect in every way!

My Buggy Buddy Sunshade – practically perfect in every way!

One item I have recently discovered is the My Buggy Buddy Sunshade.  With the average pram-specific umbrella shade costing in the region of £20, this universal pram shade is a steal at little under £9.  It easily clips on to any part of your pram or pushchair and blocks out the sun, providing UPF50 protection.  Like any sun shade, a sudden gust of wind, and you’re fighting it a little, but I found that the My Buggy Buddy Sunshade can be easily tucked under the canopy of the pushchair to stop the wind getting hold of it.  Because it’s so easy to clip and un-clip, the My Buggy Buddy Sunshade can also be easily moved around the pram or pushchair as the sun inevitably will do.  It also packs away into a very compact size and shae, meaning it can be easily stored in even the smallest pram basket.  I also found that the act of unfurling it kept our little one entertained for quite a while! All in all, this is the best sunshade I know of on the market, and I’m glad I got mine at the start of the summer months!

Stealth attack or full-frontal – you’ve got to have it covered

For naps on the go - the SnoozeShade Plus

For naps on the go – the SnoozeShade Plus

The other must-have pram accessory in this weather is the SnoozeShade.  There’s either the SnoozeShade Original or the SnoozeShade Plus. Both are designed with maintaining nap times in mind.  In addition, both provide UPF50 protection for your baby on the go.  As it’s effectively a black-out blind for the pram, it’s great for blocking out bright sunshine and shop lights when you’re on the got but need to get your baby or toddler to sleep.  Like many great baby products, the SnoozeShade was designed by a mum for her daughter and then developed to sell to other new parents.  For me, it’s a definite hit!

Preparing for guerrilla warfare

The Totseat - for babies who lunch

The Totseat – for babies who lunch

Another great parent-designed product is the Totseat.  Whilst it looks a bit like a harness to strap your child to a seat (which I suppose it essentially is) it’s perfect for feeding on the go.  The Totseat is incredibly lightweight and easy to fit to any size or shape of chair.  It’s perfect for grandparents and other occasional carers who may not be so confident in feeding babies when out and about.  It’s also great if you have a little one who’s fussy about various highchairs, as if you know they’ll sit well in it, you’ll be at ease when you know feeding time is fast approaching! Of course, as it’s made of (fully washable) fabric, there’s no highchair-esque tray with it, which can make finger food a trial, but there are ways to improvise to get round that!

Winging it

And yet, even the best laid plans for going out and about with a baby don’t always take into consideration the one unknown quantity: your baby.  You can pretty much guarantee that they won’t play ball when you want them to.  They won’t eat what you’ve packed, won’t sleep when you want them to, and probably won’t like the sun anyway.  And that’s when you follow the most recently over-used military adage: keep calm and carry on.

What do you enjoy most about days out with your little one?  What tips do you have to share for a stress-free trip?

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