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17 thoughts from my 17th month as a parent

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17 thoughts

It’s time for another monthly list of thoughts about parenthood. This month’s compilation covers topics such as food, children’s television and monkey impressions.

1. Our son is currently conducting an experiment. He’s trying to find out how many blueberries he needs to eat before he turns into a blueberry himself.

2. Today I got slightly annoyed while watching a television programme for kids as a shape singing ‘I am a rectangle’ was clearly a cuboid. I tried to explain this to our son, but I’m not sure if he understood.

3. I think it’ll probably be a few years before my son and I have problems telling our shoes apart.

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4. 16 month old son has been walking around front room touching his nose and going ‘beep’ recently.

5. My son and I recently managed to keep ourselves entertained for about 20 minutes just by throwing a green sock at each other. It was a very enjoyable 20 minutes.

6. Our son’s been getting to know our two chickens a bit better recently and enjoys collecting the eggs from the chicken house (see picture below).

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7. I think our son had even more fun running around a furniture shop recently than he did last time we took him to a soft play centre. I think we’ve now discovered a new local free outing option for families for toddlers. Local parents – let’s try to not all go to the same shop at the same time, OK? :-)

8. Despite being 17 months old, our son still hasn’t worked out that it’s best not to try to eat porridge using his hands.

9. I really don’t want to be an overly competitive dad but I recently convincingly beat a five year old in a game of ‘Guess Who’ despite trying my best to lose.

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10. Our son has a lot of bath toys, but his favourite one at the moment is a light blue plastic spoon.

11. We’ve cut our son’s fringe twice but he hasn’t had a proper haircut yet and his hair is getting quite long at the back. Given that he has quite a few tie-dyed baby grows, he could soon end up looking like an early 1990s Andre Agassi.

12. One of our son’s favourite things at the moment is climbing up steps. Sometimes he puts on his frog trousers and hops all the way from the bottom step to the top step.

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13. Our son is getting good at copying animal noises and I had a real proud dad moment when he copied my chimpanzee impression.

14. Working at home is a lot harder than it used to be now that our son is getting so active. His new tactic is to start putting his toys on the table next to me when I’m busily working away. He recently tried to distract me with a knitted dinosaur while I was in the middle of marking a dissertation.

15. I have now decided to put 50p in our son’s money box any time that I swear while he is within earshot. I hope that this doesn’t make him rich and that he doesn’t try to get me to swear in order to receive more money from me.

16. Our son recently got really excited about a new dustpan and brush that we bought. Goodness knows what he’ll do if we get a new hoover.

17. It’s not just the dustpan and brush that our son’s fascinated by, it’s also our paintbrush and paint rollers. We’re going to be painting the front of our house soon, so maybe he’ll help us out :-)

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What do you mean I’m too young to be allowed to help paint the house?

What do you think of this post and what do you remember from your first year and a half as a parent? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

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I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups, check them out to see a range of posts by fellow parent bloggers:

First family trip to Scotland

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First family trip to Scotland

We visited my native Scotland earlier this summer on our first trip with our then 15 month old son. Just as I had wondered how he would react to his first taste of vegetarian haggis back in January, I was eager to see how he’d respond to visiting the land where I grew up. In fact, he started letting out some little happy noises just after we told him that we’d crossed the border into Scotland.

Our son may well have a very different relation to Scotland to the one that I had. I was born in Scotland and lived there until I left to study at Leeds University when I was eighteen. Our son was born here in Wales last year and this may mean that his relationship to Scotland ends up being similar to my own connection with Ireland, the land where both my parents were born. By virtue of my wife being from England, our son would be eligible to play football for Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.

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I had been slightly worried about our son making a bit of a mess at my parents’ house as it is a lot tidier and neater than our own house, in part due to the less frequent presence of food-throwing toddlers. He did have a go at re-arranging most of the contents of the spice shelf in one of the kitchen cupboards and ‘re-organizing’ a bookshelf (see 16 thoughts from my 16th month as a parent and Like father, like son), but thankfully my parents didn’t seem to mind. Indeed, he showed quite a commitment to tidiness by spending quite a bit of time playing with a mop as well as a dustpan and brush.

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It was great fun going on a family trips to places that I’d been to regularly as a child, even when it was only the local play park. I particularly enjoyed our trip to Craigtoun Country Park near St. Andrews, somewhere that had been a real favourite of mine when I was primary school age. I’d been sad to see that it was threatened with closure within the last few years, but thankfully it was saved by a community group that largely took over the running of it.

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The park’s attractions include a boating lake, crazy golf, trampolines, a play park, train rides and lots of space for having picnics and running around. I had worried that it would not live up to my expectations given how much I’d enjoyed it as a child but found that the play park had grown a lot bigger and that the track for the train ride was much longer than it had been. The train rides had been one of my favourite parts of the park as a kid and apparently I once insisted on going on something like eight or nine train rides in a row. Perhaps for this reason, the park now has a different ticketing system which involves buying tickets for a set number of rides (…although there is an unlimited day pass option).

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Our on wasn’t all that bothered about the train ride and almost nodded off to sleep during the circuit of the park. However, he did seem to really enjoy riding on some tricycles in an area where there was a perhaps misplaced sign telling visitors ‘no backflips or somersaults to be attempted’ and managed to restrain his gymnastic inclinations. Back home at my parents’ house, there were plenty of other things to enjoy (…such as being able to relax and being cooked for!). It was also great to see our son playing with some of my favourite toys from my toddler days. These included a set of plastic stacking cups that my parents have now kept for over thirty years.

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It was also great to go on trips with not just my wife and son, but also my parents. There was something special about three generations of our family going places together. These included Kinshaldy Beach, which is on the coast of North East Fife. Although it was a bit blustery, we all managed to have a paddle and build some sandcastles (…as well as take turns trying to prevent our son from eating sand).

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As we’ll soon be moving house, our trip to Scotland has been our only real trip away this summer. This trip home involved visiting many familiar places and these places became all the more special again as they took me back to my own childhood and I loved seeing our son enjoy them too. I’m not sure if he’ll remember his first trip to Scotland in years to come, so I might just have to show him this blog post!

Do you remember taking your kid(s) to places that you visited as a child? Did the places live up to expectations and what did your kid(s) think? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

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I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups:

Being a bilingual family in Wales

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Being a bilingual family in Wales

Wales’s Eisteddfod Genedlaethol (National Eisteddfod) is an annual week-long Welsh language cultural festival that takes place at the start of August. Last year, we went to the event as a family for the first time when our son was three and a half months old. As this year’s Eisteddfod is a bit far to comfortably visit in a day trip, this week I’ll be looking back on last year’s event.

I started learning Welsh in 2007, the year I moved to Wales to begin a job as lecturer in French at Bangor University. After I’d been learning Welsh for just under two years, I went to the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol for the first time when it was in Bala in 2009. I wasn’t sure what it would be like being at a Welsh language event while I was a relative beginner with the language and I was a bit nervous. My nerves weren’t exactly helped when I accidentally knocked over a display stand holding leaflets in the reception area, but I was kindly given help to put the stand together again by a friendly clown who said that it was the stand’s fault.

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The Eisteddfod’s main pavilion

Although I wasn’t able to fully understand everything going on around me at my first Eisteddfod, especially when I went into the main pavilion to see one of the big ceremonies at which a literary prize was being presented, it was great being there. There was a lot of live music and I ended up bumping into quite a few people I knew.

By the time the Eisteddfod was back in North Wales in 2011, my Welsh had improved. During my trip to the 2011 Eisteddfod Genedlaethol in Wrexham I recorded several interviews for a Welsh language football podcast that I was running at the time. I also managed to understand more of what was going on and went to a few talks.

Last year, when the Eisteddfod was in Denbigh, I visited it with my wife and son. Despite being under four months old, our son seemed to quite enjoy the event even though he thought that some people were clapping too loudly for his liking at some events. He managed to sit through a clog dancing performance but just didn’t like the noise of the applause at the end of it, so we had to leave the tent in which the dance competitions were taking place.

2013-08-07 13.02.55Thankfully, our son was more at home in the large tent of the organisation Twf. Twf’s slogan is ‘two languages from day one’ and they are an organisation who provide support and resources for parents who want to use Welsh with their kids. So far, they have provided us with several free CDs of Welsh nursery rhymes and we’ve been able to attend several of their events in our local area. They also ran a parent and baby Welsh course that my wife was able to attend with our son during his first few months. As a result, she learned a lot of useful phrases to use when talking to babies.

At last year’s Eisteddfod, I was able to attend and understand events where experts were discussing topics like the music industry in Wales and how the Welsh language is being affected by the rise of e-publishing. Although the main language of the Eisteddfod is very much Welsh, it is always visited by quite a lot of people who do not speak Welsh. On several visits, I have seen tourists from a range of different countries. Translation headsets are also available for many of the events that take place in the main pavilion.

Personalized signage for a performer named Allan who is renowned for arriving late. Apparently some think that this is just an exit sign as 'allan' is Welsh for 'out'.

Personalized signage for a performer named Allan who is renowned for arriving late. Apparently some think that this is just an exit sign as ‘allan’ is Welsh for ‘out’.

The Eisteddfod Genedlaethol is a focal point for Welsh language culture and I hope that it’s an event that our son will come to enjoy as he grows up. I hope that he will become confident in both Welsh and English and realise the benefits that come from speaking more than one language and also the range of cultural events that take place in Welsh. There is a national Welsh language television channel and radio station here in Wales and there are many Welsh language plays and music festivals that take place in our local area.

Attending the Eisteddfod has provided me with plenty of reasons to keep on learning Welsh and learning about Welsh culture. Over the last few years I have done several live radio interviews in Welsh. It is also a language that I use almost daily at work, and I have now given several lectures and conference papers in Welsh.

I often think about the crucial issue of language exposure when it comes to bringing up our son bilingually. I speak to him exclusively in Welsh and my wife generally speaks to him in English. As my wife spends more time with him at the moment, I do wonder how this will affect his confidence in Welsh. I’m hoping that the Welsh language events in our area that take place in local libraries and community centres will help to bridge the gap and that we’ll be able to enjoy plenty more trips to the Eisteddfod in years to come.

 

Are you bringing up your kids bilingually? How important do you think it is to speak different languages? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

 

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16 thoughts from my 16th month as a parent

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16 thoughts

Here are some highlights from my last month of parenthood, which include thoughts on sport, camping and reading…

 

1. Our son seems to like trying to put all sorts of different things into his bath at the moment. I recently heard my wife saying to him “no, you cannot put my shoes in the bath”.

2. Our son wasn’t very interested in the recent football World Cup, but it was an excuse to get in some more training so as he’s ready to play in the 2034 tournament.

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3. I had a proud dad moment last week. I did a monkey impression and our son tried to copy.

4. ‘Mum, why’s there a cloud in the sink?’

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5. Clothes pegs in the watering can are a clear sign that our son has been ‘helping out in the garden’.

6. He’s a bit better at helping out in the kitchen and has already got quite attached to our dustpan and brush…

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7. …and he’s also tried to re-arrange granny and granddad’s spice rack .

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8. Our son really likes trips to the beach, but he’s not quite learned the lesson that you’re not supposed to try to eat sand yet.

9. I think that our son may be trying to drop a few hints that he thinks it’s time to go on holiday…

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10. I had an anecdote about a boomerang that I was going to share in this blog post but I can’t remember it. Maybe it will come back to me.

11. On a recent camping trip, our son decided that jumping in puddles was nowhere near as much fun as sitting in puddles.

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12. Our son recently tried to feed some wool to a neigbour’s cat. The cat’s fine although I think it might have mittens soon.

13. At the age of fifteen months, our son has decided that it’s time to make the step up from picture books to proper novels.

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14. When we were about to go out for a walk recently, our son walked up to me with both my shoes. I wonder how long this junior butler service will last :-)

15. Our son’s got some great clothes, but I’m not sure if any of them quite match this hand-knitted outfit that I wore back in the very early 1980s.

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16. If coming up with more and more thoughts about parenting each month gets a bit challenging, maybe I could try throwing in a few dad jokes from time to time and see if anyone notices.

 

What do you think of this post and what do you remember from your first year and a bit as a parent? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

 

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I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups, check them out to see a range of posts by fellow parent bloggers:

Camping with a toddler

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Camping with a toddler

Last weekend, we went camping with our fifteen month old son. It was our third camping trip, but this time it was a bit different. We were one of about fifty families who were at the 2014 Sling Dads Family Camp at Sherratts Wood in Staffordshire. Sling Dads are a group who promote baby wearing and its benefits for dads. On their website, they talked about their reasons for planning a camp back in February.

On this blog, I’ve talked about baby wearing a few times. Last October, I blogged about going to a village called Sling to mark International Babywearing Week and also attitudes to baby wearing from around the world. In February of this year, I wrote about how taking our son to the supermarket in a sling had become a father and son bonding activity.

The previous time we’d stayed in a tent with our son, he was just under four months old. With him now being older and more mobile, I’d been a bit worried about how we’d manage to keep an eye on him and manage to put up our tent. Getting it properly assembled took us about an hour and a half the first time we stayed in it a few years ago, but we’ve got this time down to about 10-15 minutes now. Nevertheless, assembling it all can sometimes be a stressful experience that helps to explain why camping is sometimes referred to as an ‘in tents experience’. Thankfully our son happily played with a spare tent pole as we put up the tent.

Our son was son making friends with a few other toddlers of a similar age as he wandered around the site. As he’s at the babbling rather than talking stage, watching these interactions can be quite fun. Sometimes he just stands and stares at his fellow toddlers. After getting to know a few fellow campers, he was soon enjoying an outside bath.

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After falling asleep in a sling by the campfire, he managed to sleep soundly back in the tent despite a thunderstorm and several flashes of lightning. In fact, this is more than can be said for mum and dad! He was also kind enough to allow us what now counts as a Saturday morning lie-in by not wanting to get up until 7.30am.

Some of the activities on the Saturday morning were re-arranged due to heavy rain, but this didn’t really affect our son as he decided to have a two hour nap. After this, he accompanied us to a room where we were able to try a range of slings. He particularly liked the fact that his was taking place in a room meant he could do one of his current favourite things: climb up some stairs. We are gradually trying to introduce him to some other fun activities that don’t involve staircases but are taking it step-by-step.

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Our son tries to do an impression of a doll.

The rain that had fallen on Friday and Saturday ended up bringing some positives as it provided plenty of puddles for our son to splash about in on a path through the woods on the edge of the camp. In fact, he decided to splash about using both his feet and hands. To cap it all, he decided to sit down in a few puddles as well. Thankfully, we’d decided to put him in a waterproof suit so we just stood there giggling away rather than trying to discourage him from having some messy fun.

Our son enjoyed chasing some bubbles around and then had a quick game of football before dinner. After dinner, he was even kind enough to help me with the washing up before dinner (see picture below). After this, he seemed too excited to sleep so we sat with him around the campfire again and got talking to some of the other families. After a little walk in the sling, he finally nodded off. Popping him in the sling is the way that I normally use to get him to go to sleep in the evening when my wife’s out and breastfeeding him to sleep isn’t an option. I always love seeing and feeling him gradually drift off to sleep.

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On Sunday morning, our son was again kind enough to let us stay in bed until 7.30am. We then had a cooked breakfast in the fantastic food tent before it was time for a group photograph of all the happy campers. After packing the tent up, there was more time for exploring the campsite and jumping in puddles before it was time to head back home to North Wales. The weekend had clearly been an exciting one for our son as he slept for almost all of the two hour journey home.

Have you been camping with your kids? What do you remember of going camping when you were a child? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

 

I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups:

Like father, like son

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Like father, like son

I was recently looking through some pictures of myself as a baby and was struck by some of the similar things that I did as a baby and that our son has done in his first fifteen months. Here are a few examples…

I’ve talked about slings in some posts on this blog, partly because we live near a village called Sling and partly because going round the supermarket with my son in a sling has become an unexpected father and son bonding activity. As it happens, I was a baby who was carried around in a baby carrier by my dad over thirty years ago…

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Another thing that I seem to have copied from my dad is wearing matching father and son stripey t-shirts. The one on the left was taken in Scotland in the early 1980s and the one on the right in Wales last year…

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Our son also seems to be following in my footsteps by developing an early interest in reading, or at least pulling books off bookshelves…

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…and he seems also to have developed my love of sand and sandpits.

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As I mentioned in a recent post, our son has tried to water our chickens while walking around our back garden with a watering can. Judging by the picture below on the left, it looks like my parents took steps to make sure I didn’t get too close to chickens whether or not I was carrying a watering can!

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Finally, it seems like my son and I also share a love of swings. Here’s a photo of baby, daddy and granny in a play park…

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What did you think of this blog post? Do your kids do things that you used to like doing when you were younger? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

 

I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups:

My First World Cup as a Dad

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World Cup Baby

The first football World Cup that I vaguely remember is the 1986 tournament in Mexico and the first that I got really excited about was the 1990 event in Italy. During France 1998, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend three matches and in 2002 I took into account the schedule of games in Korea and Japan when planning revision for my final year university exams.

This year’s World Cup in Brazil is the first one since I became a dad last year. As I mentioned a while ago in a post entitled My First Football Season as a Dad, our son has already been introduced to football and in particular Bangor City. He had a Bangor City baby grow before he’d reached a year old and has already been to watch the team twice. He slept through and remained awake through the second, although he seemed more interested in watching the crowd than the game.

He may not know much about tactics yet, but he seems to have the sweeper system sussed.

He may not know much about tactics yet, but he seems to have the sweeper system sussed.

I thought that it would be nice to do something to mark this year’s World Cup for our son and was initially struggled for ideas. At first, I considered trying to feed him something related to a different World Cup team each day during the tournament. It would have been quick enough to tick off countries such as Spain (tapas), France (omelette) and Mexico (tortilla wraps). However, I sensed that teams such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Ecuador might well have posed a greater problem as I was less familiar of their national cuisine and their baby-friendly vegetarian options.

I momentarily thought that if I made something that counted as ‘global fusion’ food, then I could tick off any of the World Cup countries. This could mean that whilst vegetarian lasagna would cont for Italy, vegetarian haggis lasagna could potentially for any country I fancied. As this seemed somewhat contrived, I decided to focus on other ideas.

Our son's caxirola

Our son’s caxirola

By chance, I ended up getting our son a ‘caxirola‘ whilst at our local supermarket. Before my trip to the store, I had no idea that the caxirola was a small percussion instrument that was the official musical instrument of the 2014 World Cup. Nor did I know that the caxirola had actually been banned from all twelve of the World Cup stadiums hosting matches in Brazil. Our son thankfully didn’t seem to mind and has been happily shaking his caxirola whilst walking round the living room.

When I was discussing the World Cup with a colleague recently, they remarked that there had been a lot of child-like behaviour on display. The most notable example so far has been Uruguay’s Luis Suarez biting Italy’s Giorgio. I can’t remember whether or not our son was in the room while I was watching this game, but he has tried to bite my wife and me on the leg a few times recently. As a fifteen month old toddler, he can at least blame this on teething. Such an excuse is certainly not something that Suarez could use as a justification of his behaviour.

He's not exactly Lionel Messi, but he certainly knows how to leave the living room pretty messy.

He’s not exactly Lionel Messi, but he certainly knows how to leave the living room pretty messy.

As this World Cup has progressed, it’s been fun to see our son toddle around chasing after a little football. His skills are definitely improving and he is now able to kick the ball rather than just pick it up, throw it and trip over it. If he continues to progress, I’m sure that scouts from the big clubs will soon be in touch.

 

Do you remember the first time that you watched the football World Cup? What do you do to mark the World Cup and celebrate it with your friends and family? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs ‘World Cup for Kids’ project.

 I’ve also added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups:

 

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