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!