Saturday, 27 December 2014

#27 The innocence of age

On Christmas morning I woke an hour before you and I had to wait very impatiently for you to stir! We gave you your stocking to open in your room, which you loved. You had no idea what a stocking is, didn't know there would be presents in it. It took you more than an hour to open the 6 presents inside because you wanted to play with each one before you were interested in opening another. After the last one, you said "all gone now". And that was it as far as you were concerned. Christmas presents were over. You had no preconceptions there would be more presents under the tree, or consumerist desires for a particular toy. You were happy with your few toys and ready for breakfast.

As much as I am guilty of huge consumerism, always looking for the next thing to buy you, always wanting more, I really wish I could preserve your innocence as it is. It harks back to earlier times when kids were grateful for even one toy and toy companies hadn't brain washed youngsters with the latest must- have gift.

Once Nana & Pop arrived we led you into the family room where all your presents were piled high. We have some video of you standing wide eyed saying "Wow, presents! Can I open one?".  We directed you to the biggest one, your main present from us, we ripped the paper off together and you were amazed to see a dolls house. After that you weren't interested in opening anything else. 

In fact, as I write this on 27/12 we still have about a third of your presents left, still wrapped under the tree! You play with your dolls house for ages, and when we can entice you to open another gift, you play with that for a while, then return to the dolls house.

It's such a difference to my childhood when presents were ripped open in about 20 mins flat, then christmas was all done as far as we were concerned and the whole day stretched before us with not much to do. I really like that presents last all day, or 2 or 3! I took 3 days for you to open all you birthday presents earlier this year! So I think I may keep this going, even when you are older and want to open everything straight away. Perhaps Father Christmas's presents can be under the tree, then our presents and those from other people can be brought out over the rest of the day and into Boxing Day too, to keep the magic alive for a bit longer.

As we led you to bed for your lunchtime nap on Christmas Day, you asked "Can we keep the dolls house?". Because even after you were given it, you didn't assume it was yours to keep.  I love your sweet innocence and kind nature so much.  

#25 The Magic of Christmas

Last year you had no idea what Christmas is, you didn't notice the build up, the decorations , lights and music in the shops, you had no knowledge or interest in the big man himself. You loved our Christmas tree, exclaiming "wow!" When the lights were turned on, and loved taking all the decorations off each day even more. Then waking up one morning to find presents under the tree was the best!

This year though, you are noticing a bit more, understanding a bit more and it's so lovely to watch. We have our tree up, which you love. You've learnt which plug works the lights and you turn them on each morning but yourself. You still love taking the decorations off and playing with them.  You are fascinated by the trees and baubles in the Mall, wandering around with your head turned to the ceiling pointing out all the "pretty things".  I think Christmas is a bit of an abstract concept though because you keep telling me "it's Christmas time!" But I'm not sure you really know what you mean.  
Every time we see a fir tree whilst driving you exclaim "Christmas tree! We have one at our house like that don't we!".  And you keep asking me when it's going to snow.  I guess all the books and cartoons about Christmas show snowmen and sledge rides so this is a tough one to explain that actually we get to go to the beach, not make snowballs, at Christmas time here!

I'm reading you 'T'was the night before Christmas' again to year. And whilst the words are quite old fashioned and you don't understand a lot of it (asking me "What does that mean?") you like hearing it. I am telling you about Father Christmas and how he delivers the presents to every child on Christmas Eve with his reindeer. And today whilst reading it you said "Because he will bring presents to me at Christmas won't he?", so it's sinking in!  Your first visit to see Father Christmas wasn't such a big hit though. You wouldn't go within three feet of him and buried yourself into my thigh! Perhaps next year!

I will confess that I've gone a little overboard with presents for you this year, but what's christmas if I can't spoil my little girl!!  I can't wait for the big day!

#24 Growing up

The changes in you are coming thick and fast now you are around 2.5 years old.  You are getting so confident and becoming incredibly self sufficient. You are amusing yourself more and more, you make up games, and you are taking yourself off to play or "read" books.

"I can do it myself" You no longer need your hand holding over the wobbly bridge that used to be so scary and hard to walk across. You can navigate the balance beams without a care of falling now. You are brave enough to tackle the chain bridge by yourself; fall, somersault, get up brush yourself off and want to do it again. No tears!
Today you even pushed my hand away as I tried to help you climb the twisted root system of a huge tree we found whilst at Nature Playgroup. "No mummy, I can do it!" you said. I can see this will become a frequent occurrence as you start to spread your wings and find you can fly a little without me holding on.

And now you are playing with other children. (This is an enourmous leap forward for you, who has always been scared of other children, moving away if they get too close, closing up like a clam, arms lifted to your chin if one accidentally brushes you, and not playing if there are other children around).  You no longer need me to accompany you to see what your friends are doing, and wait with you whilst you watch, too scared to join in. You just run off and get involved. You chat to each other (which is simply the cutest thing to listen to), play games like 'running round the tree', play with toy cars in the dirt, climb trees, make each other giggle in the ball tent, and take turns really nicely with ball games.

I'm so proud of you and your new found confidence, but I'm also a little sad. I can't help it. There'll always be a part of me that doesn't want you to grow up.

#23 Plant seeds and watch them grow

You have been so eager to grow some flowers for months and I promised you once Spring was here we would just that.  You decided you would like to grow Sunflowers and Poppies.  We have since discovered the best time to plant Poppy seeds is in the autumn so these seeds are in the cupboard waiting for the right time to be sown.  I chose to get you some strawberry plants too. Partly because they are easy, grow fast and you get fruit. Partly in the hope you'd actually eat the fruit if you had grown it yourself.  That part hasn't worked yet, but I'm still hopeful!

When we planted the strawberry plants you were much more interested in getting muddy feet and making your own puddles with the watering can. So I mainly put them in the pots.  But when it came to the Sun Flower seeds I discovered you already knew how to plant seeds - poke finger in soil, place seed in, cover over. Peppa Pig is educational too!

We planted the whole packet - about 30 seeds - and I was then a bit worried of all of them starting to grow, but as it happens about 10 of them have taken which is a good amount.

You love your new job of watering the plants each evening, but mostly you love being able to make puddles to jump in!

We have had 2 strawberries ripen so far, both of which you have insisted that I eat. They were delicious!  The Sunflowers are growing incredibly fast - about 1 inch a day.  I have to keep adding more string to keep them upright. I can't wait for the day we go outside and fine we have a bright yellow sunflower!

Update, approx 1 month later - we had about 8 strawberries from your plants. All delicious and eaten by mummy of daddy because you wouldn't try them! And your sunflowers are growing at an astonishing rate of several inches a day (the difference between morning and evening is noticeable!). They are now as tall as Daddy and starting to grow flowers.  

Update, approx 2 months later - the sunflowers are now as tall as the verandah roof and the petals are starting to open.  You are so excited!  And we seem to be getting a second round of strawberries!

Friday, 5 September 2014

#22 Meeting your idol

We went to Peppa Pig World as a surprise on our way to our holiday at Center Parcs.  We got there early because you were invited by Peppa as a special guest to meet her and George.  It was a daunting sight to see a six fiord version of your idol come walking towards you and at first you were a bit wary of them, preferring to play on the slide in the indoor play area rather than go to meet them.  But you soon decided you liked them and you stroked Georges tummy and grabbed his tail

Meeting George

I had to be a "pushy mum" & elbow our way through the other parents to get our turn to have a photo with Peppa & George!

And I had to a bit of wrangling to keep you in place to have your photo taken with Peppa as you weren't feeling very cooperative that morning! But you did stroke her and you looked very pleased to have got so close afterwards.

 You loved the indoor soft play area and the big slide that you went made Daddy go down with you about 10 times because when you went down it by yourself you got a hot bottom!

Unfortunately it was a rainy day but we managed to get on the rides inbetween showers. The only one you didn't want to go on was George's Dinosaur ride because you thought the dinosaurs were scary. Mummy, Daddy & Nanny enjoyed it too, but the perpetual playing of the TV show theme tune was a bit much. 

The duck pond - I think this was your favourite part of the whole park!

Driving Daddy Pig's car

We waved at Zoe Zebra ...

... Rebecca Rabbit ...

... Danny Dog and lots of others as we drove around in Daddy Pig's car

Miss Rabbit's hot air balloon ride in the foreground, and Miss Rabbit's helicopter ride in the background (Miss Rabbit is a very busy rabbit you know)

Grandpa Pig's boat ride.  It was quite a bumpy ride on the water but good fun.

Grandpa Pig's train ride

I think the day was a bit overwhelming for you really and you didn't fully understand the concept of a theme park (you are only 2 of course!) but you did enjoy it.  Daddy & I loved watching your smiles as all your favourite characters came to life.

#21 Our "Holiday in a holiday"

For our last week in England we had a 'Holiday in a holiday" at Longleat Forest Center Parcs.  We stayed in a cabin in the woods with Nanny, and Grandad, Aunty Jane & Uncle James stayed in another opposite us.  

Playing Fishing with Grandad

Exploring the woods behind the cabins (all great explorers have a stick!)

The highlight of the holiday park was the sub tropical swimming complex that had a wave pool, slides, flumes and a toddlers pool with a water slide in it. You loved it!

Swimming by yourself!

On the slide - "Ready Steady Gooooooooo!"

Walking up the steps to the top of the slide by yourself.  You did this countless times - up.down, up, down!

With Aunty Jane

Nanny & Aunty Jane

Aunty Jane, Grandad & Uncle James

The holiday park is next to Longleat Safari Park so we spent a day with the animals.  You got up close with a beautiful Giraffe and really enjoyed going round the safari section in our car (mainly because you were allowed out of the car seat so you could kneel up and see the animals more easily).  You decided that seeing the lions was your favourite part of the day.

We hired bikes and cycled round the holiday park through the woods.  I got to ride in a trailer (or "Tent bike" as you called it) attached to Daddy's bike.  You loved it!  It was so much fun.  Although you did upset whenever Mummy disappeared from view.

#20 Renewing relationships with the Rele's

This trip to England has been all about renewing relationships with your English family. Some you know well from previous visits and keeping in contact via FaceTime. Some you don't remember at all. You have accepted every introduction with a little shyness at first, then lots of smiles. Essentially, if someone is willing to play with you and read you books you don't seem to mind not knowing them all that well. They fast become friends.

I have loved watching you reconnect with your Nanny.  We speak twice a week on FaceTime and she visited us in NZ earlier this year so you are very familiar with her and took to her straight away.  Your relationship has got stronger and stronger.

We speak to Grandad less often due this working hours and as a consequence you didn't really remember him, but you were quick to accept he is a special person for you and were ready to play and be read to.

You remembered Aunty Jane from our frequent FaceTime calls and quickly held her hand, say on her lap and got her to entertain you.  You found Uncle James quite scary I think, and it didn't really get any better the more we saw him! Hopefully next time you'll be less wary.

We only managed to catch up with Uncle Gary, Aunty Suzanne & Barnabyonce during the trip which was a real shame.  You had know idea of their significance to you unfortunately, but you really enjoyed our day out in the woods together searching for the Gruffalo. You even gave Barnaby a cuddle goodbye!

We spent a lovely couple of days at Great Aunty Sheila's house. You last saw Sheila and Ray when you were 7 months old so you couldn't be expected to know them at all, but as Sheila is so good with small children you quickly became at ease. Sheila had found some toys and books that once belonged to her grand children, she made playdough for you and we took you to the park. You also got to sleep in a big girls bed for the first time which was so exciting for you!

#19 When extraordinary becomes ordinary

We have just finished travelling & visiting for 6 weeks on the other side of the world.  We've stayed in numerous hotels, slept in planes, in an apartment in London, at family & friends houses, and even in a cabin in the woods. You've taken going to sleep & waking in different places in your stride. We've coped with jet lag, being ill, acclimatising to hot weather when we've been used to winter at home, and then piling on the jumpers again when the weather turned.

We've been on planes, trains and automobiles. You've met new faces & faces you only remember from iPad calls.  We've been living out of bags, you've had nothing but small portable toys to play with and you've become a tele addict as a consequence! But you have had few complaints and lots of smiles.
6 weeks is a long time to Daddy & I to be away. For you it's almost enough time to make you forget about home. Extraordinary became the ordinary for you and you have been an absolute star and the perfect travelling companion. Thank you for making my trip home even more memorable.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

#18 A bad start to the holiday

We arrived in England on Sunday 3/8 and you soon started with sniffles, then a temperature, coughing, sneezing and so on. I then came down with it, then Daddy. The doctor said you have tonsillitis and gave you antibiotics.

You have been so ill, but you've stayed smiley and good natured and you have been an absolute star. Thank goodness for Cbeebies! It has been my saviour, and yours. The sickness, coupled with awful jet lag, has left me with absolutely no energy to entertain you, and when you weren't just lying on the sofa you have been quite happy to watch the tv and discover lots of new cartoons, you've never seen before.

This is your poor little face when you are feeling so ill and sorry for yourself. All I wanted to do was hold you and make it better. But you are so good natured you keep asking me if I'm feeling better and telling me you love me.

It's taken a week, but we are finally feeling like we are getting better. We're still sniffling and coughing, but we actually made it outside today to get a change of scenery. Even you have had enough of the tv now and you don't want it on. Now that is saying something!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

#16 Sunshine on a rainy day

After 3 weeks of near solid rain, and gale force winds for the last 4 days, we woke this morning to blue sky. I had to blink and look again to make sure it was real, it's been so long since we last saw a patch of blue.
So as soon as we were all dressed we went to the swings and slides so you could have a good run round after being caged inside for so long.
"Higher, higher! I want to go higher!"

Into the cave to find the bear.

Jumping in puddles on the roundabout.

See Saw Magery Daw

It started to rain again soon after we got home so we were glad we made the best of the few hours of sunshine on a rainy day today.