Category: Little T

Childhood Memories and The Swing in the Garden

T woke up crying one night.  When asked why, she said …

“I don’t want to grow up. If I grow up I’ll forget all about the fun things I did, like playing in my swing”.

She only went back to sleep when her dad told her about all the things he remembered as a child.  Like the time his own dad put up a swing for him.  He thinks he was barely five, even younger than T.  She laughed when he told her that he saw Father Christmas coming out of the attic once. How he was so scared that he saw him and wouldn’t give him his present.  Of course what my husband saw as a child was the shadow of his dad coming down from the attic with his presents.  I couldn’t contribute much, because of my really bad memory.  But we assured her that no one will take away her good memories from her and that all she needed to do was conjure them up when she wants them back.  I encouraged her to write more in her journal.  At the moment, she uses it as her doodle book complete with made-up stories of her and her friends.

That swing in the photo is the best £10 purchase I’ve ever made in my life.  I bought that swing for T a few months ago and it’s currently her most favourite thing in the world.

When the weather is good, she heads straight down in the garden for a little swing before coming inside the house.

She can spend hours down there just playing on it.  Swinging on it and sometimes I’ve seen her just sitting there peacefully with her own little thoughts.  It is a lovely sight.

And then there are times when she’d ask us to push her up higher and higher.  The air will be filled with her laughter and giggles and me telling her to hold on tight as she’d go up, up and away.

For me, playing on a swing should be part of every childhood memory.  I have my own.  We lived in the city and didn’t have a swing in the garden.  But I remember swinging in my maternal grandmother’s garden in the country, up, up and higher.  It’s a lovely memory.  And I’m really pleased too that T is making her own memories of playing in a swing down in the garden.

Do you remember your childhood?

 Country Kids

“I’m not going to win the race mum”

Little T announced this when she woke up on Sports Day.  I replied, “It’s okay sweetie.  As long as you do your best and have fun with your friends.  That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?”  She nodded her little head.  Later on I wondered, should I have told her to aim to win?  I remember one of the mums last year told her kids “It’s alright to want to win you know”.  And she’s right.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to win.  But at the same time, I didn’t want to pressure little T, she’s only six for goodness sake.  And in my opinion, she has too much after school activities.  She does ballet, gymnastics and swimming.  I’m not even including her cello lessons which they do in their school.  The thing is, she loves her ballet, gymnastics, although I suspect she loves her swimming class only because most of her close friends are in the same class, so it’s really like an extended play-time for all of them.  But who am I to complain when she loves and enjoys all of them.

We never tell her to aim for the gold, or aim to win.  We always say “have fun”, because to us, that’s all that matters.  We want our little girl to enjoy and have fun.  The pressure goodness knows will come soon, no matter how hard we try to avoid it, so why start now?  Like I mentioned, she’s only six.

And that little girl who doubted herself, but did her best, and not to mention is the youngest and shortest  in their class won the race and not because we told her to win –  it was all her doing.  She didn’t aim to win.  But as her dad said, she ran as fast as her little legs could carry her and won the race.

At the end, I didn’t even know she won, I thought it was E, who is a year older than T and has really long legs, and was leading the race at the beginning.  Her dad said “No, T won!”  I said “Really?  Not T with her short legs”.  He said, “Yes T won!”.  I walked back to my husband and said “Did you see that?”  He said “Yes, I’m so proud of her”  And when I looked at my husband, he was all teary-eyed. I guess my little T did win after all.

Later that night, we looked at the photos and the video I took and my husband gasped.  He explained that he told her to not clench her fist, but to relax and open her palms up and then lunge forward when nearing the finish line.  If you peer at the photos I took (although those were taken not in the actual race that she won, but the relay race of her entire team), she actually listened to her dad and relaxed her hand instead of clenching it.

My little daughter, she’s astonishing, isn’t she?  She certainly is.  We are so proud of her.

Little Hearts, Big Love

Country Kids

In awe of my daughter

“What were you thinking of sweetie, when you were standing there with your medal?” I ask little T as I remembered seeing her looking so small and a bit lost while standing up in front of a huge crowd.

It was her first time to stand in front of more than three hundred people.   She played little Alice in her school play last year, but little T’s village school is a small one. Even with parents and grandparents the crowd was never more than sixty, so yes, this was definitely her first time.

She looked so small and young, standing in front with the other gymnasts waiting for their medals. I tried to catch her attention, but she didn’t see me. She seemed lost in thought, as if she wasn’t even daunted by everyone around her with their cameras, phones and iPads recording every minute of the event.

When they first called her name, I muttered “What?” under my breath. I was standing away from my husband, poised to take photos just like the other parents. We weren’t aware of any award or nomination. But yes, they called out her name again. I saw her coach lead her to the centre. I don’t think T knew about this either.

Admittedly, I wasn’t really happy when they announced that T was included in the exhibition. I felt she wasn’t ready, especially since she only recently joined the development class. We know that she’s the weakest gymnast in their group, being the youngest and the newest, but when we asked the coach, she seemed confident that T could do it. She also missed a few practices. Had she announced that day that she didn’t want to do it, I wouldn’t have pushed her.

But she managed the performance. At one point though, she did miss a few steps, but so did the others and the crowd seemed to really like her too. Perhaps it was because she looked so tiny?

My little girl, my little star. She continuous to astonish me with her inner strength of character. Upon first impression, people always see her as the shy one, the reticent one. She’s not the kind who would candidly talk to strangers or grown-ups and tell them what she thinks, unless prodded. But when it comes to standing in front of a crowd, even when she was in reception, she wouldn’t think twice about doing it.

My little girl, my little star. My husband teared up as he watched his daughter perform. As for me, I didn’t realise how nervous I was until I looked at the photos I took of the event. I normally take good photos, but that day, they were just all bad, unfocused, and it was the same with the videos.

This motherhood/parenthood business.  My mother didn’t warn me about how overwhelming it is sometimes.  How you feel that your heart could literally burst out of your chest, because it is so full.  How one tiny little person could just make you feel like the biggest person in the world.   And that’s certainly how we, her parents felt that day.  I am in awe of her.

Conversations with my Daughter: What did you do today mum?

she likes to ask as she gets home from school…

Well, I begin.  I tell her about this online Spanish for beginners short-course I’m doing for the month of January.  I don’t mention that in the past I’ve taken a similar beginners course, twice, but not online, in an actual language school, but never managed to finish because I then had a full-time job.  Yes, this was before my life as a mum began and I actually had a “career”.  Hopefully, I’ll manage to finish this course this time.

What else mum?  She’ll say.  She always says that, bless her little heart.  I look at her eager face and try to read it.  There is genuine interest, she really wants to know what her poor old mother has been doing.

Then I give her a litany of all the chores I’ve done for the day.

Did you blog?  I reply I haven’t done much blogging lately.  Thankfully she doesn’t ask why and let’s it go.  I turn the question around and ask her what her day was like.  She’s a sweet little girl, my T.

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I was helping my husband put up T’s old small shelf in the kitchen to use as a spice rack. He asked me to check something, I said I couldn’t reach it.  The husband started giggling, I snapped at him and said “Are you laughing at me?” He nodded his head and added “but with love“.

T chimes in “Let’s celebrate!”

Why?  I grumpily asked.

“Lets celebrate love!”

Indeed.

Little Hearts, Big Love

Conversations with a Six-Year-Old

Of Building Walls and Twisters

On our way home from T’s ballet class last Saturday she announced “Let’s have a family talk!”  Okay” agreed my husband, switching the radio off.  “What do you want to talk about?”

I suggested that maybe we should talk about our summer holiday, since the husband and I previously talked about it, especially since looks like our plans of going home to the Phil isn’t going to happen this year.  We are weighing our options.

We love doing road-trips.  Our first road-trip as a family was done when T just turned one, we drove all the way from Cornwall, around England visiting friends and some places we’ve never been, all the way to a tiny village called Dalavich in Arglle and Brute in Scotland.  It was bliss.

Then a few years ago, we drove all the way from Cornwall to France and Belgium, but used a Eurocamp in France as our base, as we took T to Disneyland and Paris.

Going back to T, we’re thinking of doing another road-trip in Europe or maybe this time going by train since we’ve never done it before.  The other choice is visiting family and friends in America.

Is he going to kill us?

It took awhile for us to figure out who “he” is.  We explained that he may be a lot of things, but he isn’t a murderer.

But is he going to let us in?

The husband said “There’s no reason why he shouldn’t.

But he said he’s going to build a wall!

Again we explained that “he” was going to build a wall between America and Mexico.  Thank goodness she dropped the subject when she realised that Baby Alive dolls came from the States and that made her excited about a possible trip there.

Then over the weekend, she suddenly became interested in twisters.  My husband showed her videos online of twisters and of course, most of these videos happened in the States.  She was mesmerised by them.

Do we have twister here in England?

Nope, at least not the kind they get in America.

Maybe we shouldn’t go to America then, T said.

On Religion

T and I are Catholics, although admittedly, I’m the non-practicing kind (much to the disappointment of my mother).  My husband on the other hand, is a Baptist, between him and I, he’s more the church-going type.

A few days ago T announced …

I believe in God, mum, not the big-bang.

Oh but God made the big-bang.

What about God then?

Did he come out of nowhere?

He’s like magic isn’t he?

T said the last words looking really impressed, although I wasn’t sure whether the idea of God as magic impressed her or whether she was impressed with herself with the way she came up with her own conclusion.  Kids eh?

Little Hearts, Big Love

Kids Say the Darnest Things

“I’m so fat mum!

“Silly one, you’re as thin as a reed” I reply getting worried about how at such an early age she’s worried about her weight already.  You know when you’re a mum or dad and your child suddenly blurts out something and your head suddenly goes haywire and think of the worse scenarios in your head?  Yes that one …

Is it something she heard from the playground?  What has she been watching on youtube?  Have I complained about my weight in front of her lately?  No, I haven’t done that in ages, at least I’m not aware of doing it.  Oh my God!  Does my daughter have a poor body image?  Does this mean she’ll end up bulimic or anorexic?

And then I shushed the crazy-woman in my head and calmly asked T why she thinks she’s fat. My six-year-old replies nonchalantly:  Well, as you know, I have two Baby Alive dolls – Holly and Ivy and mums get fat after having babies.

Crazy-woman in my head explodes again …. Are you saying I’m fat?!

Husband lying beside me starts to giggle and whispers “She walked right into that one, didn’t she?”

Daughter calibrates instantly and declares “No you’re not!”

But the little bugger is actually giggling.

Life with children is never boring, isn’t it?

Has your little one said anything funny lately?

Little Hearts, Big Love

Christmas Gift Suggestions for your Little Book Worms (ages 6+)

If you’ve been reading our little space for some time now you may have come across most of the titles on this list, all books are from little T’s collection and are her personal favourites.  Some of the books, her Dad or I have read them to T, or do a combined reading, taking turns to read a paragraph.  But a couple of them she reads on her own.  We have a very long bedtime routine you see, it starts off with her Dad reading her a story, then I read to her too.  Then she reads on her own, or if there’s a book from school, she reads that book to me.

Hope you enjoy our list!

1. Goth Girl Books by Chris Riddell

Again, we’ve mentioned Chris Riddel so many times in our little blog, since he is obviously T’s favourite.  Last October, we drove all the way to Bath in a day just to meet the Children’s Laureate at the Bath Literary Festival and have him sign her book.  He was absolutely lovely.  Ever since meeting him, I’m a big fan now too.

If your child is anything like T who let’s just say likes a bit of goth, then they’ll enjoy Goth Girl.  The books are about the adventures of Ada Goth, who is roughly around nine years old and lives with her father, Lord Goth who is known to be “bad and dangerous to gnomes”.  Sadly, he lost his wife when Ada was really young.  The author based Lord Goth on the poet Lord Byron, whose daughter also happened to be called Ada.

As of writing, there are four Goth Girl books written and illustrated by Chris Riddell: Goth Girl and the Ghost of the Mouse, Goth Girl and a Fete Worse than Death, Goth Girl and the Wuthering Fright, and Goth Girl and the Pirate Queen.  As you can tell, all books are caricatures of well-loved classics.  Chris also happens to be a political cartoonist of the Observer.

T loves them all.  My husband read all of the Goth Girl books to T.  Many times I would hear both giggling away, at times, I’d hear my husband laugh-out-loud followed by an explanation to his daughter why the belly laugh moment.

2.  Ottoline Books by Chris Riddell

And then there’s Ottoline Brown who lives with Mr. Munroe (her sort-of guardian), a creature (looks a lot like cousin It from the Adams Family) whom her parents found living in a bog in Norway.  Like Goth Girl, the Ottoline Books are about her adventures with Mr. Munroe.  As of writing, there are three Ottoline books:  Ottoline and the Yellow Cat, Ottoline goes to School and Ottoline at Sea.  These books are very much of T’s age range, so yes, she can read this on her own, although my husband enjoyed this too.

3.  Clarice Bean Books by Lauren Child

The well-loved creator-author of the very popular Charlie and Lola series, it won’t come as a surprise to some that Clarice Bean also reads a lot like an older version of Lola.  Like Lola, Clarice is very inquisitive and a very individual kind of little girl.  There are seven books in this series: Clarice Bean, That’s me. My Uncle is a Hunkie, says Clarice Bean. Clarice Bean, Guess Who’s Babysitting, What Planet are you from, Clarice bean? Utterly me, Clarice Bean, Clarice Bean Spells Trouble and Clarice Bean, Don’t Look Now.

4.  Harper Books by Cerrie Brunell

Harper lives in the city of clouds with her Aunt.  She can play lots of instruments like the cello and the harp to name a few.  And her life is as fun and adventurous as Goth Girl and Ottoline.  Thse charming books are penned by Cbeebies host Cerrie Brunell and has written three books in this series:  Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella, Harper, The Circus of Dreams, Harper and the Sea of Secrets

5.  Isadora Moon by Harriet Muncaster

Isadora Moon is little T’s latest find.  The heroine is half-vampire half fairy, for my six-year-old, what’s not to like?  Of all the books, this is probably the one that’s best suited for her age.  When I say that, it means, she can read this on her own without any help from us.  She likes to sit up in bed and read her Isadora Moon books on her own.

There’s an Isadora Moon Goes to Ballet, Isadora Moon Has a Birthday, Isadora Moon Goes to School and Isadora Moon Goes Camping.

These books can be bought in any bookstores whether in the highstreet or online.

Have you seen anything on our list your little one would be interested in?  Or perhaps would make a lovely Christmas present?

Do share.

‘Better than Mary Poppins!’

… exclaimed little T and her friend A, as the applause faded and the final encore was over.  “Hmm, I liked it too, but I don’t think I agree with them”. I whispered to my husband as we waited for the people beside us to move from their seats.  Having said that though, we both thoroughly enjoyed watching Wind in the Willows, the Musical.

Is it really better than Mary Poppins?  No.  But then again, I think it’s unfair to compare it to the show, the film of which starred Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke.  Everybody, well at least, most people know a few lyrics of the songs from that famous musical.  Who hasn’t heard of “Just a spoonful of sugar, makes the medicine go down?”  I bet most can sing to that.

Wind in the Willows is a new musical.  The songs are new and no one in the audience could sing to any of the songs.  The set wasn’t as grand as Mary Poppins, but boy did they deliver in performance!

The cast were superb and the actor who played Mr. Toad, Rufus Hound stole the show.  He was just fabulous, along with David Birrel (Badger), Fra Fee (Mole), Thomas Howes (Ratty), Neil McDermott (who played the Chief Weasel as a World War II era spiv), and Sophia Nomvete (who played Mrs. Otter).  In the book of course, Otter is male and has a son called Portly.  In the musical, Mrs. Otter has a daughter called Portia.

It’s a charming, lovely and entertaining show, with catchy songs and although it’s a pre-run to their West End opening, it is still definitely worth watching.  And I have no doubt that Wind in the Willows in the long run, will also be as big as any of the other West End musicals.

little_t

Then again, if T and her friend A (who are both six), not to mention A’s sister (who is nine-years-old) think that Wind in the Willows is better than Mary Poppins, it must be true then.  After all children are known to be brutally honest 😉

You can catch Wind in the Willows at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth.  A must see!

Halloween Disco 2016

I think little T’s obsession with skeletons, skulls and the macabre all began when we first got her The Nightmare before Christmas and Corpses Bride DVDs (both Tim Burton creations), two of her favourite movies of all time.  And then she discovered The Book of Life as mentioned on an old post.  It’s not surprising then that this Halloween, she chose to dress up as La Muerte, the Ruler, also known as the Queen of the Land of the Remembered.

Thanks to Amazon, we found a sugar-skull dress which is close enough(ish) to he dress.  After all, sugar-skulls are known to be used as decorative or even edible skulls used in Mexican celebration of the day of the dead.

I also had to google and search for tutorials that would teach me how to paint T’s face as La Muerte.  I’m not artist.  I can only draw stick figures and can barely paint anything that will resemble a work of art, unless we’re talking about abstracts.  I also had to make do with the colours we had from the face-paint I bought last week.

It was a difficult one, especially with a fidgety and impatient child.  But at least, I tried.

little_lamuerte

Lesson learned:  Take photo of child right after face has been painted.  I think this was about 30 mins or so after I’ve done up her face and somehow she managed to smudge most of it.  It’s not that bad, is it?

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Of course, by the time the school disco was over, there was hardly any face paint left apart from the blue-paint which took ages to remove.  She’s invited to a birthday/Halloween party on Friday and of course, she’ll want her face painted again, not to mention, on All Hallow’s Eve itself.  I wonder if we’ll have enough face paint to last us till then?

Life with kids eh?

Wind in the Willows, The Musical

“The smell of that buttered toast simply spoke to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cozy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one’s ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender; of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries.”
― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

My in-laws gave T a lovely hardbound and beautifully illustrated book, Wind in the Willows many years ago.  I think she was barely one when they gave that book to her.  Apparently, it’s a standing tradition for them to give their grandchildren a copy of Wind in the Willows.  All her cousins have them, and she has one too.

Admittedly, T is still too young for this particular book.  It’s too wordy, although the illustrations are beautiful, the paragraphs are too long for a six-year-old.  When my husband reads it to her, he abridges it himself, just to stop T from fidgeting.

Months ago, when booking our tickets to see Mary Poppins, my husband saw an announcement on the Theatre Royal website about the new musical “The Wind in the Willows”.  Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes wrote the musical, along with the same people who did the spectacular musical Mary Poppins.  Excited, he quickly booked tickets for us.  And ever since then, T who loves musicals have been doing a countdown.  As of tonight, it’s only going to be one sleep left!  To make things even more fun, we are going to see it with one of T’s closest friend and her family.

This week it has definitely been all about going to the theatre for us.

Do you like the book Wind in the Willows?

The Reading Residence
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On a side-note, I’m over at the lovely blog “Little Hearts, Big love“, talking about parenting.  I know, as if I know much about it 😉  Do head over and have a visit.

Have a lovely weekend folks!