Archive for the ‘Play’ Category

13 Things We Did Today (well, yesterday, I’m writing this Wednesday night)

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1. Played in the paddling pool – with warm water!

2. Pretended they were puppy dogs – fetching balls and bringing them back in their mouths.

3. Did the grocery shopping, sans underwear for baby girl because it took so long to get ready I forgot she’d taken them off.

4. Attempted to get baby girl to sleep while big girl was strapped in the highchair (her choice) with extra food and the remote control.

5. Got up to deal with big girl being stuck, gave up on bed and ended up getting baby girl to nap in my arms.

6. Big girl whispered ‘Fox in Socks’ to me and I did the long pages.

7. Collected and filled a million water bottles while both girls ferried them to the fridge and poked them in any gaps they could find.

8. Cooked chocolate cupcakes and decorated them with bright pink icing and sprinkles.

9. Sang nursery rhymes on my bed.

10. Daddy came home!

11. Chopped up chicken while big girl put it in the egg and flour and told me how much she loved having chicken for tea.

12. Counted each mouthful of salad for big girl and coaxed her to eat one tiny piece of chicken because she doesn’t like it.

13. Got out 50 pieces of ice because big girl ran into a pole while trying to sneak up on Daddy and split her lip and baby girl decided that sucking on ice sounded pretty good.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

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Wordless Wednesday – Look Mummy! A goat!

Goat (and a couple of icons)

This page is linked at 5 Minutes for Mom and Wordless Wednesday

13 Milestones of Parenting

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1. The Emergency Shower…

Yelling “Come here quickly and take your clothes off!” to my husband and watching his face as he realised that it was never going to mean what it used to mean…now it meant getting in the shower to wash our son down after a ‘poo-nami’

2. The Poo Scoop…

Along the same vein as number 1. The horror of realising that your child has ‘number two-ed’ in the bath and the best way to get rid of it is to scoop it straight into the toilet with a bare hand. (Please note: My husband is very open to suggestions of better ways to deal with this situation)

3. The ‘Burmuda Triangle’…

Formally known as ‘the car’, the day you realise that toys, half eaten biscuits and odd shoes have all become part of the Burmuda Triangle in the footwell. Perhaps that’s where all the odd socks are too…

4. The Family Bed…

Anyone who tells you sleeping with a baby will kill any chance of romance needs to think outside of the box. While I know it’s not for everyone, there is nothing so special to my husband and I as waking up to our son’s big morning grin stretching across his face as he sees his favourite people.

5. The Public Tantrum Solidarity Nod…

Ok, I admit it. I used to be one of ‘those’ people in the shopping centre who always thought there must be a better way to deal with tantruming children. Now, I don’t pretend to know what parents should do…I just give a sympathetic nod of solidarity. There but for the Grace of God I go!

6. Time Share Toileting…

The day I left work to begin maternity leave I assured my boss that I would never, under any circumstances, allow a child into the toilet while I was in there. Two weeks later I was eating my words as I sat on the toilet, breastfeeding my baby. Ah, it begins…

Flash forward a year and we are still time sharing the toilet, only now my little boy sits on his potty and sings, until it’s time to press the button, clearly one of the favourite parts of his day. How can I deny him this very special treat?

7. The Public Stripdown…

This may occur if you unwittingly decide to try on clothes in a small change room with a gap underneath the door. Unfortunate timing may mean that your child crawls underneath and you find yourself with a major dilemma…the unwilling nudie run to retrieve them, or the child on the loose. Now I understand why people use strollers.

8. Those first few words…

They give everything away about your family. Smidge’s are:

“Tiggle tiggle” (tickle, tickle)

“Oooh look!” (along with pointing finger, which translates as “Mummy, tell me all about that!!”)

“Pat, pat, pat”

“Kiss Daddy, kiss Daddy”

“Blab-blab” (the new name for the dog. She even comes when called this)

And of course “Ooooh, gentle!”

9. The Mini-Me…

This is the day that you flashback to your childhood, when your own child does something so totally you that the last 25 years just drop away and you are the little boy laying on the rumpus room floor driving a Matchbox car back and forth as you rest your head on your outstretched arm. Grandparents love seeing these ones!

10. The “Oh no, why did I teach him that” moment…

The other day my son lifted his shirt, and with a look of surprise in his eyes, poked himself in the belly button. At that moment, without a single thought in my head. I made a raspberry sound. And now our life will never be the same… Every day since I have woken to the lifting of my shirt, the poke in the belly button and that sound, followed by a hysterical laugh and then the same process repeated on Daddy, then himself, then me again. And 13 month old children apparently have no sense of when and where it is appropriate to lift up your Mum’s shirt.

11. The joy of Christmas…

It’s back. The feeling of anticipation…the endless wait…the magic! It’s all back. Last year Smidge was just 4 months old and I had spent most of the last 6 weeks in and out of hospital, so the magic wasn’t as strong as it already is this year. I love that Christmas is the time of year where anything is possible, that wishes really can come true.

12. The Mummy Lioness within…

I expect every Mum will know what I mean by this one. The day that you have to protect your child. It doesn’t matter that you are the least confrontational person, or have never defended yourself.

I experienced my first Lioness moment the other day when I saw 2 older children hitting my son on the back as he climbed out of a ball pit. I looked around for their Mums, but seeing no-one, knew it was up to me. I calmly picked him up out of their reach and said “Oh dear, we can’t hit babies, we pat them gently” and stroked his back. The little boy repeated “Pat bubba, gentle” And I felt proud of myself. Because as much as I would have liked to freak right out on those rough kids, I know that a Mummy Lioness treats other kids the way that she would like other people to treat hers.

13. Falling in love all over again…

While I sit here, trying to think of a last milestone, my husbands voice drifts up the hallway. He is reading Smidge a story as he puts him to bed. Every few pages I hear a yawn- Daddy’s, not Smidge’s. Even though he has had a long day at work, he still has time to give me a break, time for his little boy who he adores and who adores him so much. And so, even though our life has become all about our son, we have these precious moments where I fall in love with my husband all over again.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

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Wordless Wednesday- Swimming Lessons

Before…

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After…

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Play Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Mom

Wordless Wednesday – Blended Family

Blended Family

13 Favourite Toys!

1. Plastic picnic set. My daughter received this as a present about a year ago, and has played with it almost every day since! I can see its appeal increasing in years to come.

2. Balls! We have one in every shape, size and texture you can imagine, which has provided hours of entertainment since she was old enough to hold one.

3. Dolls/Stuffed animals. These are more a flavour of the day, today she played a lot with her “baby”, yesterday it was her bear who accompanied her to the shops.

4. Doll house. We got this as a gift when she was 18 months old, and I was amazed at how quickly she started to act out our day-to-day life with it. Now that we are half-heartedly toilet training, she makes the whole doll house family go to the “potty”!

5. Gardening equipment. This is actually just “adult” tools, but of a smaller size. We have a small broom, a small shovel, and a watering can, and DD can often be found pottering around in the garden, digging up weeds (or sometimes plants!)

6. Toy shopping trolley. This was a recent find, my Eid present to her in fact, and she loves it! She tells us she’s going to Woolies, sits her baby in the trolley, picks up a bag and she’s off to buy her groceries!

7. Cart with wooden blocks. This has been superseded by the shopping trolley, but she has had so much fun with it in the past I thought it warranted a mention of its own.

8. Wooden train set. I was amazed when I saw her put the tracks together for the first time!

9. Bike. Well, it’s actually an indoor plastic ride-on toy that morphed into a trike with a parent push handle which she doesn’t quite know how to peddle yet! But she loves trying!

10. Swing set and slide. We picked this up second hand from the auction site, and we’ve only attached the boat swing so far, as it’s the only one she’s interested in!

11. Books. I think this is pretty self-explanatory. I’ve yet to meet a toddler who doesn’t like being read to, if not “reading” for themselves!

12. Pop-Up tent. This was another great gift that requires minimal assembly and hours of fun. She calls it “myhouse.”

13. Bags.  You can put all sorts of treasures in them and carry them around.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

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View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Wordless Wednesday – The Fairy Party

The Fairy Party

The Fairy Party – it’s the process, not the product.

As promised!  Tiff I know exactly what you mean – I seriously want to ‘help’ big girl to make whatever she’s doing neater or more colourful.  There’s a very fine line I often slip off between showing her a new idea or easier way and taking over.

As part of the Fairy Party theme we built a diorama of fairies in their native habitat.  I’ve never actually attempted a diorama before but we happened to have a good box sitting there, and while it might look difficult it is actually a lot easier for a little kid than something like a poster.  A poster requires drawing while this involved computers, gluing, cutting and sticking.  It’s also far more interesting than drawing – not only did we get to use all sorts of different materials, we went on a special shopping expedition with just the two of us, not something we get to do all that often.  

Some of the techniques are things she’s done before or fairly similar, some were new, some she adapted.  And some were completely me!  So it was a good combination of starting her in her comfort zone, getting her to experiment, and then doing something completely new.

First I cut out two sides of the box and stabilised it, both of them helped me with sticky tape.  She had decided to build a tree, so we used the green paper as a simple background.

Putting on Flowers

Putting on Flowers

They’re very simple flowers, a variation on ones she’s done before.  Turn the patty pans inside out so you can see the pretty side and scrunch up crepe streamer up in the middle then glue it all together.  Baby girl helped scrunch things up while big girl wielded the glue brush 🙂

Leaves on top

Leaves on top

These leaves are clip art off the computer.  I set up Word and searched for clip art leaves, but she selected the ones she wanted and resized them, then printed them and cut them out.  I was intending to use green paper and the colour printer but had to go and deal with baby girl at the crucial point so she printed them herself.  It’s not a development I’m overjoyed at, but I suppose it shows she’s been watching closely.  And she would rather use the pictures she printed herself than do it again ‘properly.’

Different Materials

Different Materials

This is a pond at the bottom of the tree but it also shows some of the construction materials we used.  There are patty pans, crepe streamers, sheets of paper and card, printed clip art and torn magazines from our collage collection.  The collage collection is a little plastic divided box, when she’s been cutting magazines or coloured paper I tear it up into pieces then we sort it into colours.  It makes a great activity that’s a bit different to pencils or textas, just grab the box and the glue and she can ‘colour in’ large areas really quickly.

Different Stickers

Different Stickers

We also have an enormous sticker collection, including these nifty foam insects.  The fish are sparkly scrapping ones, but the insects just came from Coles (I think. Woolies?).  We pick stickers up all the time at $2 shops and the like, they make an ideal little present and it’s better than buying junk food as a treat!  Stickers are another way that they can make pictures really easily without having to draw.  I have extremely bad fine motor skills, I was the kid who couldn’t trace over the lines when we were learning to write.  So I find it immensely frustrating trying to transfer the designs in my head onto a page when I can barely rule a straight line.  Computers have literally changed my life, allowing me to present in a completely different way.  I’ve also been caught out in a class thinking that drawing was the easy option, then ended up having to ditch the science for an art lesson!  I’m very aware of trying to give my girls lots of opportunities to find different ways to express themselves.

And here’s the whole thing.

Ta-dah!

Ta-dah!

The fairies are clip art that I copied and flipped so they are double sided.  They are stuck together with these cool little squares of double sided foam we found on our shopping expedition and a thread is sandwiched in between, then the butterflies on the top of the tree are stuck over the other end of the string.

She’s had a ball playing with it, taking the fairies down to get a drink, putting them in their beds, flying up the top to eat flowers and leaves.  She even decided that the fairies should visit their friends and flew them over to her countdown calendar!  After a little visit, they went back to hanging out in their tree.

The Tree Fairies visiting the Calendar Fairies

The Tree Fairies visiting the Calendar Fairies

She told me that if the fairies needed a drink in the middle of the night they could call out to her and she would get up and take them.  I can’t wait to see what else she does with it!

The Fairy Party – Themed Play

I’m a huge believer in using themes with your kids, it makes it so much easier to think of different and interesting things to do when you’re stuck in a rut.  And the Fairy Party is going very strong at the moment.  In fact big girl wanted to stay home from daycare the other day because she has so much to get done, but was reminded that she had to give her friend there an invitation.

She is so excited about her party and whatever excites her, excites baby girl who just adores her.  We have a calendar for her to cross the days off and she’s stuck it to one of the doors (literally, but clag paste won’t last forever).

calendar

She chose the colour scheme and style on Publisher, then put the pictures in.  Click and drag makes things so easy, she even learnt how to resize which takes a bit of co-ordination. 

Then we put some invitations together.

doing invites

We used the same technique of letting her choose the fonts, colours and style on Publisher while I did the actual writing, then she spent a day decorating them.  I printed out lots of extras and she had a ball!  Now there’s play with a purpose.

Invitation to the Fairy Party

OK it’s not brilliant artwork, but it’s her invitation for her party, and I’m sure her friends will love it just as much as a beautiful neat one.

The Secret Art of Lazy Parenting

I am a Lazy Parent. Yes, it’s true. It’s taken me some time to come to terms with this fact, but there it is. I’m a lazy parent because all I ever dream about are high-entertainment, low-cost, no-mess, boredom-free, minimal- supervision, highly-stimulating but guilt-free activities that require limited adult involvement for me to do with my daughter. And the best thing is – I’ve actually found a way to roll all of these things into one…it’s called…Nature.

That’s it! I feel like I’ve stumbled upon some great, amazing, unbelievably stupendous secret, mainly because it just seems so simple and so obvious and also because it seems to me that not too many other people around me are in the know. So here’s how it goes: I’ve got a toddler. She lives outside. OK, OK, I sometimes let her in to sleep at night, but only if she promises not to wriggle around next to me in bed. Oh, alright then, she stays inside all night (promise) but pretty much from the time we wake in the morning until the time we have to come in for dinner, we’re outside. And the main reason for this is because it’s EASY. And that’s why I’m convinced that I’ve become a lazy parent.

Outside is easy. But I mean the real outside….nature. Where I live – two and a half hours from the nearest city – there are no shopping malls, museums, fancy playgrounds or anything else at my disposal to help out in the toddler-entertainment stakes. It’s pretty much all up to me. Which is when I discovered the great outdoors. Let’s even say that I was forced to discover it. The salt lakes that fill up during winter have become our beach. The granite outcrops that become a maze of rock pools after a downpour, have become our aquatic centre. The pristine bushland with its ever-changing array of wildflowers and wildlife is both botanic garden and zoo. It’s all we have. And it’s absolutely wonderful.

The best thing about nature is that it is ALWAYS different. Nowhere is ever the same, one day later or one month later. The salt lakes gradually fill and then ebb away into their ethereal crystalline starkness. The granite rocks become home to a captivating and ever-changing array of water creatures. Adventures in the nature reserves often lead to discoveries of lizards, beetles and the occasional echidna. Today we even came across a group of emus running wildly down the road – my daughter had never seen a real emu before and she was gobsmacked! There is just always seems to be so much to see and experience and learn and understand when you’re in nature. It is the ultimate adventure for a curious toddler.

Everything in nature seems to captivate and amuse the toddler. My daughter loves puddles – which toddler doesn’t? She has stomped and splashed her way through bazillions of puddles and she never, ever gets tired of doing it over and over again. She’ll peer with excitement into every pool and puddle and look for tadpoles or nymphs or water beetles. She’ll stop to pick up rocks and feathers (oh and the occasional pellet of kangaroo poo). She’ll stare in awe at a ladybug or caterpillar. She’ll dig for worms and fish for water weeds to take home for our frog pond. She’ll search with excitement for the moon in the evening sky. She’ll chase after birds and happily, happily play in any pile of sand or mud or pool of water. Her attention is held, her senses are totally engaged; she’s in heaven. And so am I, because I don’t have to do anything – no thinking up of craft activities, no getting out playdough and paints, no jumping around to toddler music…all I really have to do is remember to bring some snacks, a change of clothes and my cup of coffee.

The thing that surprises me the most, however, is how rare it is for me to see other people with kids out and about. Many, many times on my trips, even to the local playground, we’ve been the only ones there. At one of the playgrounds I visit regularly, I’ve never seen another soul. And it’s not like we go at midnight you know. I’ve also never seen anyone take their kids to all the beautiful nature reserves that are the source of such elation and joy for both myself and my toddler. And while I’m more than happy for us to experience the beauty by ourselves, I do wonder…where are all the children?

I’ve got this sneaking suspicion that perhaps it’s technology that is keeping kids inside more these days…TV, DVDs, computer games. I only just realised, as I was writing this post, that screen entertainment seems to fulfil most of my criteria for lazy parenting (except perhaps not quite as guilt-free?) and you don’t even have the bother of leaving home. So I wonder to myself if this is what’s happening in my neighbourhood? To be quite honest with you, if it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve vowed to myself to try to keep my daughter screen-free at least until she’s two (maybe even three), we’d probably be indoors a lot more too. So it makes me even more motivated to keep to my intended goal – plus I get plenty of secondary benefits beside easy entertainment options: my daughter falls asleep pretty quickly after a mad day’s adventuring and I get some exercise. Ultimately I’ve found that going ‘out’ is the biggest tool in my parenting toolbox so far – it keeps both myself and my daughter happy and healthy and it’s just so simple. I think I’ll be a lazy parent for a little while longer…