Category: Little T

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.

***

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?

img_3673

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
***

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!

A Country Kid’s Post: Rugby Fun

I’m not a sporty person.  I can swim but I’m not a strong swimmer.  I can ride a bike, but won’t win any race.  I know some of you may think, it’s not too late to try.  But if I’m honest, I might just give this one a miss.  I’d rather cheer the others from the sideline, or maybe wait from the comforts of a lovely nice pub.

My husband on the other hand, while he claims not to be good in sports, does gig-rowing (although admittedly doesn’t have time to do it anymore), is a good swimmer, used to fence at Uni, played football and cricket when he was younger, so I guess it’s safe to say T got her interests in sports from him.

At the moment, she goes to gymnastics and swimming class.  We were pleased though when she signed up for a rugby game in another school.  They are actually lucky to have a teacher who happened to be an ex football player, so it’s not surprising that he pushes his students to do well in sports (among other things of course).

t_playing_rugby

Mr. R was very pleased with his kids, especially when a local rugby coach announced that they were the best team there.

t_playing_rugby2

Apparently, little T was really fast, but refused to tackle.  I laughed when this was reported back to me.  But Mr. R plans to start a football team and include the year 2s.  I don’t know what it’s like in other schools, but while the boys can join the football team young, the girls on the other hand have to be older than T.  I know, it’s so unfair isn’t it?  As parents of a younger girl, we were really happy when he said that he will start them this year.  He wants T in his team 🙂

What about you?

Are you into sports?

We’re Going to the Children’s Bath Literature Festival

My husband and I have always been readers long before we met each other.  Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why we ended up together?  And now that we have a little girl, it’s lovely that she shares the same passion for books even without having to prompt her.

Even when she was a baby little T had her own growing collection.  Now that she’s six, she’s managed to accumulate enough books to have her own little library even though we’ve gotten rid of some of her baby ones already.

She went through phases from the usual Julia Donaldson books of the Gruffalo fame, to the Kipper series of books and the adventures of Slinky Malinki the cat by Lynley Dodd and a whole load of others.  At the moment,  her current favourite author is Chris Riddell (who also happens to be a cartoonist for the Observer), he has written a series of books for children about a little girl called Ada Goth (Goth Girl) and another one Ottoline who is being taken care of Mr. Munroe, who looks a lot like cousin It from the Adams Family movie, while her parents are away.

chris_riddell_books

T loves his characters.  Ada and Ottoline are both very independent and individual type of girls, who are a bit different from the usual characters you find in children’s books.

When we found out that Chris Riddell was going to be at the Children’s Bath Literary Festival, we quickly signed up for her to see him in person.  I’m hoping that she’ll have a chance to really meet him and maybe even ask to sign one of her many books, although to be fair she does have his signature already, since the Coraline book (by Neil Gaiman) was illustrated by Chris Riddel, turned out to be a signed copy by both the author and the artist.

We also wanted to take her to meet Cbeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell who also wrote the Harper books series which she also likes, but it falls on a Friday and we don’t really want T to miss school.  Hopefully she’ll have a chance to meet her maybe Ms. Burnell will be around again next year?

The Festival will run from the 1st till the 9th of October.  Click here for more details.

Have you been to Children’s Bath Literary Festival?

Do share.

Confession Time: First Day School Blues

School Girl

It’s not T that’s for sure.  It’s actually me!  What’s even more embarrassing about this, is that this isn’t T’s first day in school, she came back as a Year 2 and is now actually considered one of the “older kids”.  I know I really should get a grip with myself.  I’ve been a bundle of emotions ever since she turned six.  Come on woman, stiff-upper lip!  No more of this nonsense! Yes, I have been trying to snap out of this soppiness.  I’m hoping it will be all gone come Monday morning.

Thank goodness T breezed through first day with nary a whinge or a tear.  Yes, she stood by my side and didn’t run around the playground like the other kids and only moved away from me when her friends came over to collect her.  When the bell rang, my husband and I said goodbye and she trotted off without even looking back, so different from the tearful reception girl two years ago.

As for me? I came home with a heavy heart.  I’m glad though that a good friend (mum of one of T’s closest friends) came home with me and as we chatted and sipped our coffee I felt a wave of emptiness wash over me.  My friend felt it too, even though she still has another child at home with her, we bemoaned what felt like the loss of our kids, even though in reality they were in school probably running around like loonies in the playground, not thinking about their over-emotional parents at all.

The truth is, if my husband and I had a choice we’d like little T to stay with us at home and wouldn’t mind homeschooling her.  I read blogs by mums who home educate their little ones and envy how much time they spend with their kids.  My husband and I love having our daughter with us. We love her company, doing things with her, and having little chats with her.  We genuinely like having her with us.  Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why we’ve never used a babysitter.  If we can’t go to a place or attend an event that won’t allow us to bring her, then we’re not going.  It’s as simple as that.  Our daughter goes where we go.  But as much as we would love for her to be home-schooled, I’m afraid it won’t be a good option for T.

My little girl is a lot like me, you see.  We’re both quiet and reserved people.  T is friendly and will smile at anyone who smiles at her, but she won’t run up to other kids like her friends until she’s feeling comfortable enough to do so.  It takes her awhile to warm up, but once she has, she’ll run around like a loony and be like any other child her age.

We feel that home-schooling her might make her feel wary of people and other children.  I’m not saying all home-schooled children are like that.  All kids are different and we know our daughter well.

On the one hand though, she has an inner strength I really admire.  When her friends were quitting gymnastics because it got too “scary” for them, my little T persevered and didn’t quit.  She’s not a quitter and I’m really proud of her.  At the moment, we’re lucky that the village school she goes to is a lovely one, where the teachers and students are supportive and she loves it there. We will only consider other options, if the wind changes.  For now, we’re staying put.

What about you?

Would you consider home-schooling your kids too?

Do share.