Tag: life with kids

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

All About Halloween

The first time I carved a pumpkin with T, I did it the “right” way.  Not that there’s a wrong way of doing it.  What I meant was, I actually googled and downloaded a template for the faces.  I don’t bother anymore.  I just ask T to draw on the pumpkin and then I try to carve a face from her drawing.

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When she’s done.  I chop the top off so she could get all the gooey stuff out.

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When she was younger, this part of the activity used to bore her.  She’d stick her hands in, get a few gooey bits out and declare herself done.  This year though, she persevered till she got everything out.

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When she was done.  I asked her to go and watch television while I did the carving.  Sharp knives and little ons make me nervous.  I called her back in the kitchen when all faces were done and she was pleased with our work.  We called the Historian down and dubbed the pumpkins little versions of us.

fairylights

As soon as it got darker, she switched on her pumpkin lanterns and skull fairy lights and asked that we light the tea-candles inside the carved pumpkin family.

pumpkins

Not bad looking eh? 😉

As mentioned in a previous post, she dressed as La Muerte from the Book of Life in her Halloween disco.  She’s invited to a birthday/halloween party tonight and tomorrow and is planning to wear the same costume.  This girl has a maddening social life!

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Here’s hoping our face-pain stash will last.
Have a lovely weekend folks!
The Reading Residence

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.

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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?

A Country Kid’s Post: Bike Lights Carnage

The first time we’ve heard of the Bike Lights Festival at Wadebridge was last year, when we T came home with one of her school’s newsletter asking if any of the kids would want to participate.  I don’t know why, but we didn’t go that year.  My husband and I don’t even remember what we did, or why we didn’t go.  The ones who went said that it was fun, but most of them also mentioned that it was “carnage”.  We didn’t put much meaning to that word, until we experienced it ourselves.

Since the historian had a back-to-back lecture in Exeter that day, one of my mum friends picked T and I up.  It was also her first time, but she repeated what the others said and also used the word “carnage”.

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We arrived early.  There were already tents around, some were selling food, and thankfully, the kids found one that caught their eye.

It was a tent that had bikes which powered a bubble machine, a blender and a home-made-spinning-paint-maker (not sure what they called it), which made absolutely stunning designs/ work of art.

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The kids had fun waiting for their turns to make their masterpieces, which they took home at the end of the parade.

Thankfully the historian arrived before the start.  As you can see from the photos below, I just strung T’s old fairy lights from her room to her scooter.  We weren’t really sure if we were going since it was raining the whole morning and my friend and I both agreed that if it didn’t stop, we wouldn’t go.  I’m glad I decided that it was still worth wounding up her Tinker Bell lights on her scooter.

bike_lights

There they are, posing before the beginning of the parade.  I don’t know why they call it a parade when it wasn’t a parade at all.  It felt more like a race!  Now I know why the called it “carnage”.  It was sheer utter madness once the “parade” started.  All hell broke loose.  Imagine kids ages 5 and upwards in bikes and scooters, zooming past you.

Sorry for the blurry photos since I only used my phone to take some shots.  Besides, even if I brought my Canon, I doubt if I’ll be able to take any decent photos since most of the time, I was actually running!  At one point, I actually thought that I was going to have a heart-attack.  Yes, that’s how unexercised I am, and how manic it was.  I’m glad my husband was there and managed to keep up with T as she zoomed past everyone in her scooter.

It wasn’t just carnage, it was mayhem!  Children in steroids.  That’s what happens when you give kids the go-signal to scoot/bike the streets of Wadebridge.

Jogging along, I passed a pub with everyone outside watching the parade of madness before them.  For a second, I was tempted to run inside and wait for them with a pint in hand and send them a text saying “In the pub.  Wait for you here”.

But I ran along, heart pounding, past the dad with two of his daughters, the other one riding way ahead of him, while he hung on to his other child.  Another mum from T’s school passed as I stopped to catch my breath, all I could hear was her shouting his name to slow down.  She sprinted ahead, I think Mo Farrah would have been impressed!

Then came another Dad trying to stay calm, but you could hear the panic in his voice as the gap between him and his son grew bigger and bigger.

There were funny moments too, like E who somehow let go of her scooter and it came whizzing ahead of her.  They were on a slope and one of the mums said she heard a man who was way down ahead of them say, with open arms “Don’t worry sweetie, I’ll catch it for you”.

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It was a beautiful night.  The moon was out and it wasn’t really cold, although that might also be because we were busy running.  By the time the parade ended, we were all holding our coats in her hands and actually sweating!

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After the parade, there was a show where everyone’s creations was paraded around a small arena.  T along with her friends went up to queue.  When the host ask one of her friends her name, she balked and didn’t want to go in, so he turned to T who gamely gave her name as she scooted around in front of the crowd with her other daring friend E (the one who lost her scooter).

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It was a lovely fun event in spite the mayhem.  This year’s theme was “machines” and we were really impressed with other people’s creations.  One man came in a bathtub made of paper, sculpted around his bike.  T’s teacher, who represented their school came in what looked like a train with a built-in projector showing some animation (see blurry photo above although it doesn’t give it justice).  Others were as spectacular, too bad I wasn’t able to take more photos, since I was busy running, panting and trying not to embarrass my daughter by passing out in the streets.

Are we doing this again next year?  T gave us a resounding yes!  As for me?  I might just be in that pub cheering them from the sidelines with a pint of beer.

What Was Your Sunday Like?

The weather forecast did not disappoint us.  It predicted sunshine and rain.  Woke up to glorious sunshine, but by the time we’ve had our breakfast (the Historian made his famous banana pancakes for T and I), it started to really pour like there was no tomorrow.  Then stopped again.  What was your Sunday like?

Chores

Ours is mainly composed of doing chores.  Since receiving her Lilypad Garden, T’s responsibility is to make sure her plant is well watered and that the grass in her fairy garden is managed well.  A little trimming here, a little trimming there …

Lily Pad Garden

I mostly do my chores on a Saturday, after little T’s ballet.  Sundays are reserved for doing her homework.

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If the weather is good enough, the Historian mows the lawn in his farmer’s wellie boots, stained shorts and an old coat he bought on holiday in Vermont a whole lifetime ago.  Sadly, English men aren’t known for being stylish :p.  Then again, he also married someone who knows nothing about fashion, a match made in heaven! 😉

Mowing the lawn

Pets

As for the pets, well, they do what they usually do …

Boots, the cat

Boots says:  “Really human, why do you like to disturb my naps with these useless photoshoots of yours?  Now do something useful and feed me again”.

A dog

As for Doc?  As always, he likes to flop on the kitchen slate floor.  Doc says:  Time for a walk?  Yes?  No?  Belly rub?  Yes? No?  Food?  Yes?  No?  Sigh.  I’ll just flop here beside you then.

Sunday Lunch 

Spiced Lamb Marrow Stew

I’m lucky that the Historian likes to cook when he has the time.  Still on a roll from that last dinner he prepared for us, this time he managed to round up Spiced Lamb and Marrow Stew which was in my opinion a perfect Autumn/winter meal.  After the stuffed marrow he cooked for us, I’m happy to share that I genuinely enjoyed this meal.  The husband was pleased and I’m so glad that giant marrow is finally gone.  Shhh.  Please don’t tell him that.

Cello Practice

T practices the cello

After lunch, T gave us a lovely cello performance.  What better way to end the day?

And I’m leaving you lovely folks with a video of what our Sunday was like.  My iMovie has terrible mood swings, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  Luckily for me, it decided to work and I was able to make this little video just to show you guys what our Sundays are really like.


Hope everyone had a good one too.

What was your Sunday like?

Do share.

Life With Kids: What CD is currently being played in your car?

Sat Nav

Most of us have one particular CD that’s permanently in our car player, especially when you’re a parent of a small child.  Little T was around three (if I remember correctly) when Frozen first hit the cinema.  The next year, they released the CD and all went crazy from there.  Yes, we were mad enough to buy her the soundtrack.  I regret that decision.  Just as remorseful as I felt when we bought the Cbeebies double-disk songs and also played that  on a road trip from Cornwall to Scotland.  I still shudder every time I hear the first few notes of “In the Night Garden”.

Going back to Frozen, needless to say, it was the only one in our playlist the whole of 2014 and when we took a road trip from Cornwall to Picardy (yes we do love road-trips), to the North of France, not to mention a day-trip to Belgium, we did it all to the tune of “Let it Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Blimming Snowman”

And of course, the sing-a-long-continued until we were back in English soil.  My husband and I have this distinct memory of hearing little girls with different nationalities (German, Irish, Finnish the usual visitors you’d expect when staying at Eurocamp), singing their version of Frozen in every single cabin/lodge surrounding ours.  That was also the year we took Little T to Disneyland Paris and yes, she did have a glimpse of Elsa and Anna.  Summer 2014, was definitely a “Frozen” summer. Thank goodness that’s over now.

And it wasn’t just me and my husband who had enough of that blasted CD, apparently, even our car couldn’t take it anymore.  One day, player decided that enough is enough and wouldn’t play it anymore and refused to even spit out the Frozen soundtrack.  That car is gone now.  It’s probably in some junk yard with the over-played CD still in it.

Thankfully that seemed to have been the end of T’s obsession with the songs and didn’t ask us to get another.  Phew.

And then she discovered “The Book of Life” a year or so ago.  For those who aren’t familiar, it’s an animated film that tells the story of a small town in Mexico called San Angel from the “Book of Life” (hence the title) that holds every single story in the world.

It’s an adventure, comedy and love story rolled into one lovely colourful movie.  It also helps that it has a good cast:  Diego Luna, Channing Tatum and Zoey Zaldana, Christina Applegate and Ron Perlman to name a few.  Do watch it if you haven’t seen it yet.

You’ve guessed it.  This is the current CD played on loop in our car and unlike the first two CDs I mentioned. I don’t regret it one single bit.

The songs are catchy and fun.  My favourite though is one of the slow ones called “Apology Song”, where Manolo, the bullfighter decides to serenade the giant toro in the land of the dead.  Do click and have a listen.  It also helps that Diego Luna has a really good voice.

And then of course there’s this romantic song, which was also sang by the same Mexican actor.  Apparently Deigo Luna is not only cute, is a great actor, but  can really sing.

And then there’s the main song “No Matter Where You are” by Us the Duo which is definitely one song you can’t help but sing-along-to, so it’s not surprising that and it’s one of T’s favourites in the soundtrack.

And lastly, this “Live Life” song by Jesse and Joy which she also loves to sing with her friends, especially on the way to their gymnastics class.  Picture this, three little girls singing at the top of their voices and begging you to play it again and again and again.

My husband and I actually love the songs too, so we don’t really mind.  It has been our sound track for the whole summer of 2016 and I have a feeling it will stay there, till at least Christmas.

What about you?

What CD is currently being played in your car?

Do share.

A Birthday Girl, Bad Weather and Mary Poppins

Birthday Cake with Lit candles

I took a week off blogging because my little girl turned six last Friday.  I look at her now and wonder how did my baby suddenly turn into a “proper” little girl.  She suddenly looks, talks and acts a bit different now.  The “baby” is gone.  She’s lost her baby fat, can explain herself too darn-well, it’s amazing how much she’s grown.  I want to cry out “Oh do slow down a bit, I’m afraid mummy doesn’t really want you to grow-up too fast.  You may be ready, I’m not“.  Sob, sob.

I have a video of her barely two-years-old, she’s running towards me in the headland and stops and says “Mummy run!  Mummy run!”  She gets frustrated because I wouldn’t run and was too busy filming her.  If I could just freeze or go back to that day, that perfect summer day, when it was warm enough for her to wear a cute summer dress and hat and she was absolutely beautiful, my little baby.

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Now at six, she suddenly looks all grown-up.  I keep asking myself, how did that happen?  I spent the week doing absolutely nothing and everything with her.  We had some close friends visit early in the week too and had a lovely time with them on the beach.

There were talks of a beach party for her and her friend (whose birthday was six days before hers) but the Cornish weather didn’t allow it and so we opted for a spontaneous “camping birthday” instead and only invited a few of her closest friends.

On the day itself though, even as my husband and I pitched our tents on our garden and in spite glaring and shaking our fists at the sky “declaring war” if it decided to pour, sods law, it did rain as her little guests started arriving.  What was supposed to be a barbecue ended up a “grilled-dinner” inside our home.  In spite the wet weather, and giggling girls (and one boy), we all managed to get some sleep in our tents.

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After breakfast, the next day we sang little T “Happy Birthday” and had birthday.  The sun then decided to grace us, so I took the water-slide out and assembled it in our lawn and all the kids had fun sliding down before calling it a day.

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Little T opened presents from family when her guests were gone and before we knew it, it was time to get ready to go and see Mary Poppins at Plymouth.

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If you haven’t seen it and have little ones, go grab some tickets!  We were thoroughly entertained, the cast, the costumes, the choreography was just absolutely amazing.

My daughter is now six. I still can’t believe it.  She and I have this ritual after saying goodnight and exchanging “I love yous”, I say “On the day you were born, and T likes to end it with “It was the happiest day of your life”.  It’s certainly true.  And I want to say to her, everyday with her is a happy one.  And as author Suzanne Finnamore once said …

You are the closest I will ever come to magic.

Here’s a little video I decided to mark her “growing-up” years.

 Do you also feel that time is happening way too fast and you just want it to slow down?

Do share.

Little Miss Gappy

Last Monday, little T had a friend over for a play-date.  They were out in the garden playing with little T’s water-slide and trampoline.  The husband and I thought that we’d enjoy some nice quiet time together with a lovely cup of tea and cake and have uninterrupted bliss, since the girls were busy in the garden… or so we thought.

Just when we were about to take a sip from our tea, we could hear our daughter shouting from our garden and the excited voice was coming closer and closer …. “Mum! Dad! “A” knocked my tooth off!

If this happened in another time, I’d probably jump off and rush towards the little monkeys.  But little T’s two front teeth have been wobbly for some time now and we were waiting for at least one of them to fall out.  When the girls came in, T excitedly showed us her tooth and gave us a gappy big grin.

“Well done A” exclaimed my husband.

“Yay, the tooth fairy will come tonight”  gushed little T.

A, T’s friend who is normally the chatter box was suddenly silent.  Then she announced to T “I want you to knock my tooth off too!”

My husband and I laughed and said that teeth are supposed to naturally fall out, you can’t force them unless it’s an accident or something is wrong with it and the dentist has to take it off.

“A” burst into tears.  I tried to comfort her and told them both to go back and have more fun in the garden.  I thought that was the end of that.  But after a while, T came in and said that “A” was still crying in the conservatory.

True enough.  The little girl was crying her eyes out and this time she wanted me to knock her tooth out.  All because she was feeling left out since a number of their friends have had their teeth fall off too.  In fact, they could easily form a “Gappy club”.  Trying not to laugh I said “What will your mum say/do if I knock your tooth out?  She’ll never let you come here again!”

That seemed to have work since I know she loves coming over and playing with T.  She stopped crying.

Kids eh?

Here’s little T, showing off her gappy smile.  I think she looks so cute!   When she woke up yesterday morning, she squealed in delight because the tooth fairy left her £1.  She’s just waiting for someone else to knock off her other wobbly tooth.

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Have you ever had a request to knock off someone’s tooth?  Aren’t kids the funniest?

Little Hearts, Big Love