Archives for April 2013

Dear little fish

Dear Little Princess Pink, find

It’s been a while since I called you that. One, healing because you’re not quite as little as you used to be and take every opportunity to remind me that you’ll probably be taller than me by the time you are ten, and well, ‘princess’ on its own just seems quite fitting these days. For lots of reasons, but thats for another time. However today, a new name sprung to mind.

Little fish.

Today was week two of your first ever set of swimming lessons – level one. Lucie is on level five, you keep reminding me. You’ll be on level five one day, I tell you back. Yes, you’re six, and I know we should have started you with swimming lessons a long time ago. In fact, we gave up French at the end of primary one to replace that extra curricular activity with swimming, because I figured that speaking French would never save your life.

Today you gave me strict instructions that I hadn’t to look at my phone. I’d only to look at you. For the full thirty minutes. Well, frankly, who would want to look elsewhere? Yes, the lady who teaches level two is rather eccentric and some of her methods make me chuckle in a very positive way, so she could be an easy distraction, but no, my eyes were firmly on you.

You jumped in the water with such gusto. Look at me! Splash! The smile on your face bigger than that of Smiley Shark and we know how big that is. You were straight in there for the warm up game, ring-a-ring-a-roses aqua style.

I then watched open mouthed as you pushed yourself off the side, a surge of water in your wake causing your classmates to gurgle, and then with steely determination you sliced through the water in an impressive and quite individual take on ‘back stroke’. It seems you are quite at one with the pool. So much so you were moved straight up to level two before you could say Tom Daly.

And that gave both of us very good reason to smile indeed.

Mummy x

Parenting a SuperHero

Last weekend dawned the arrival of a new kid on the block. A fearless, pharm ferocious, feisty four year old type. In his white t-shirt and wellington boots he rules with a mighty force. All those who cross his path – beware. One zap from his big foam letter ‘W’ and before you know it, you’ll be ‘wobbly’ or ‘whistling’ or ‘woolly’. He charges around wildly, as much as welly boots will allow, calling his now infamous ‘WOW’ catchphrase when he spots you. Make haste quick, for you only have a moments notice to run before you are turned into a Witch or a Wizard or a Wigwam…..

His presence should have come as no surprise, his predecessors, the more widely known Spiderman, Batman, and Superman, have been hanging around for the last month or so. Shooting webs, catching baddies and saving the world. Capes have been fashioned from pillowcases, the cosy reading corner in the playroom has morphed into a sinister, dark bat cave and pants have been worn over trousers. Long gone are fluffy animals and farmyard fun. We’re in a new era now.

Meet ‘W’-Man!

W-Man loves Wednesdays.

W-Man loves watermelon. And windsurfing apparently.

W-Man loves waffles and watches and whizzing around.

W-Man is like no other superhero. The mastermind creation of a four year old boy who by day goes by the name of Elias. He’s strong. He’s fast. His weapon of choice is a large letter ‘W’ from a set of outdoor ‘alphabet letter’ foam play mats that he discovered at the back of the garage. Look at him go. He thinks he has the upper hand with his ‘wowing’ and whirling and whooshing.

But, like all superheroes he has a nemesis.

Little did he realise that whilst Mum was silently panicking about this new found obsession with superheroes*, wondering whether this now quashed his plans to become a zookeeper, or a vet or a cow(!), a plan to capitalise on W-Man’s arrival was taking shape. MOO WAH HA HA HA HA …..

So, W-Man – you choose to fight your battles with your big foam ‘W’ – then you’ll only be interested in things that begin with that letter then surely?

Tell me W-Man – what foods can you think of that begin with ‘W’? What objects do you know that begin with the letter ‘W’? What action words can we think of that begin with the letter ‘W’? Does W-Man Run? Not in the house. Absolutely not. W-Man Walks. And surely ‘W’ man needs to practice writing the letter W on his (Spiderman) chalk board….

I’ve left a few more of those mats discretely lying around. I think its time we started considering another superhero. Who’ll be next? L-Man with his love for lemons, lollypops, lazing and laughing? T-Man turning everyone into tigers, teapots and tyrannosaurus rex with just one zap from his mighty foam T?

Bring it on superhero boy – I’m ready for you. You’re immune to my language building and letter learning super powers. MOO WAH HA HA HA HA…

*As an aside, and I hope helpful – having researched, canvassed opinion and discussed with pre-school carers and teachers whether superhero play was something to be concerned about (all that violence and talk of baddies!) I’ve been reassured that superhero play shouldn’t be discouraged.

Superhero play provides lots of opportunities to discuss and explore issues of right or wrong, talk to children about safety, responsibility and self control. As superhero play usually takes place in groups, as well as helping forge friendships, it teaches children about treating one another kindly, co-operation and working as a team to solve a common problem, and may also help develop empathy and recognition of how others are feeling. The creativity that comes from long drawn out superhero scenarios knows no bounds; pretending to be a brave superhero can provide opportunities for considering how frightening situations could be dealt with and overcome. Pretending to have new powers, needing to be brave or strong can help children with the confidence to try new things out. The wearing of an eyemask or a cape might just be the tangible element that gives that confidence. All that running around saving the world and having super powers also develops physical abilities – running, jumping (flying!) and helps expend energy. And in my experience even the toughest of superheroes needs between 10 – 12 hours sleep a night!

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Weekend by Numbers

One – one trip to North Berwick to visit my lovely folks who were enjoying a well earned break, find until of course we descended upon them pleading to play with the frisbee, get the bubbles out and collect sticks to play pirates!

Two – the number of wrong turns I took on the way to North Berwick despite having driven there countless times. I will not use the sat nav. I will not use the sat nav.

Three – the number of things I asked the princess and the monster to tell me that they were thankful for at bedtime each night. Hugs, mini golf, football class and daddy coming home from his trip made the list.

Four – the number of empty packets of cheese & onion I found on the sofa beside me on Saturday night. No idea how they got there. Very mysterious indeed.

Five – the number of times I sprayed the shower with tile and grout cleaner in order to get it properly white and sparkling instead of that off grey colour it’s been for far too long now.

Six – the amount of times I started a conversation with friends whilst at the softplay cafe, only for a small child (not always my own) running to tell me a tale on another, causing me to feel like a complete airhead who couldn’t remember what she was saying. Happens often.

Seven – the number of toenails I managed to paint before clumsily knocking the remainder of the bottle of ‘vamp’ nail varnish all over the white ceramic floor tiles.

Eight – the number of hours sleep I really should have had on Friday night in order to deal with a mischievous monster who favoured five forty one as his wake up time

Nine – the number of bicycle crunches I managed whilst working out to my Shred DVD before the princess asked me if I could feel the knot in my stomach that was fear leaving the body!

Ten – the number of minutes I told the nippers they could have to play on the iPad, before being distracted by scrubbing the shower and realising they were still watching ‘here’s how to build lego star wars’ clips on You Tube fifty minutes later. Oops.

Twenty Three – the number of minutes Super Daddy was home from his weekend trip before I wondered when his next one was.

Fifty One – the number of shirts, school blouses and work skirts it feels like I ironed on Sunday afternoon

Two Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Six – calories in my Smoked Haddock, Chive Mash, Cheese Sauce and poached egg main on Saturday. Lush.

Three Thousand and Twenty Nine – the number of bicycle crunches I had to do to work off that meal.

What’s on your list?

Staycation

It’s the second week of the Easter holidays and the week of our staycation. Last Easter we were lucky enough to be hanging out with Mickey and Minnie in Eurodisney, rx the year before, enjoying forest walks and the indoor subtropical paradise pool at Centre Parcs. This year, we decided to have a staycation. We’ve a busy summer ahead and there’s a to do list as long as my arm of ‘things I want to get done in the house’. So staying at home seemed like the perfect way to spend our first full week off together as family since Christmas. We cajoled ourselves into it with comments such as ‘It’ll do the kids good to learn that they can entertain themselves at home’, ‘we rarely relax and enjoy our own home, it’ll be good to do some of that,’ ‘we can have days out here and there for fun,’ and ‘it’s good that we’re not being frivolous with our money.’

Then Super Daddy got the opportunity to book himself on a course for the week. Harrumph.

So we talked about it, weighed up the pros and cons and he went for booking on the three day option as a compromise, and we agreed I’d have some quality time with the kids until Thursday. Then he’d be home and we’d pack the rest of the week and the weekend with trips away, family picnics and general holiday type activities.

This far, I’ve been happy with the plan, but didn’t quite have that holiday feeling when I packed up my desk at work on Thursday and said Cheerio for ten days. Equally though, I didn’t have a pile of ironing and packing awaiting me at home or the four different lists on the go that I usually need to get ourselves organised for the off. I did have two messy bathrooms that I knew would annoy me all week if I didn’t crack open the Cif and give them some proper elbow grease. So, the weekend was therefore a ‘normal’ one, cleaning, cooking, dancing class, crafting with the kids, food shopping, grandparent visiting and Sunday night film.

Very nice indeed.

But lacking that proper holiday feel.

So I sat the nippers down and we made a list of the best things about holidays. We’d make this staycation feel like a proper holiday filled with all the things we love about going away together.
Some of their additions to the list? Swimming, going to the park, dinners out, reading magazines, staying up late and extra cuddles. Perfect.

Mine was much more basic. Starting today with not getting dressed til noon. Tick. Done.

I’m now off for a Malibu and Pineapple juice before we have a wander to the park.

Adios for now!

Poo Watch

I knew I was a fully fledged parent when I started to talk, viagra sale with no qualms whatsoever, cialis sale to other people (parents mostly) about poo. The colour, the consistency, the frequency…….the smell. If you’re queasy, or not a parent, I don’t expect you to read much further. If you’ve changed a lot of nappies in your time, I know you’re still with me.

There was the first ‘solid’ poo – that was momentous. There were many ‘its all up her back, down to her toes, behind her ears’ kinds of poo and then of course the swallowing a 2 pence coin incident, which required a good old rummage around in the deposited *ahem* pull up contents to ensure it made it’s way out safely. Imagine our surprise when the ‘deposit’ turned out to be a one Euro coin – that was some bureau de change!

We went through potty training a long time ago. The princess having the most terrific poo incident whilst at the supermarket with daddy on the day he forgot to take a changing bag. The monster requiring a few attempts (that’s boys, so I’m told) before he got the hang of it. So when the last pack of pull ups were done, and we’d worked out good wiping and washing techniques after toilet trips, I thought my days of being concerned about poo were over.

Until yesterday.

It’s now the absence of poo that’s concerning. The little monster has always been regular. Not the same time every day, but with the regularity of inopportune times – ‘we’re just about to eat dinner’, ‘we’re just about to leave for pre-school’, ‘we’re just about to pay for our trolley full of shopping’. The poor little guy hasn’t been for a few days. His tummy is solid as a rock. He woke me at 11pm, 1am, 3am, and 5.30am with a whimper and a ‘mummy, can you rub my tummy and sit on the bathroom floor for a bit whilst nothing happens.’ As a boy he’s always taken an active interest in what comes from our bottoms. I get a running commentary on size, sometimes shape, most days.

He’s now however concerned that his poo is stuck inside forever. The princess didn’t help with her over imaginative description of how one might be relieved of a stuck poo. It was legs crossed all round.

A trip to the docs and a bottle of sugary syrupy laxative to get things moving later and we’re all now quite literally on poo watch.

Looks like one way or another we’ll be having a (insert appropriate word of your choosing) weekend!

Foodie Stuff – Thai Pork with Chilli & Basil

Saturday night is takeaway night in our house (and not because of Ant & Dec) It’s our weekend treat after a frenetic week of meal planning, cialis canada prep and cooking to suit little tastes and appetites as well as ours.

This weekend however, discount after eating out twice on Friday (that’s Easter holidays for you) we decided takeaway was off the menu and instead opted for this super tasty, super quick meal which frankly is packed full of flavours, crunch, goodness and is a whole lot better for you, and your budget, than a takeaway. It has lots of chilli so perhaps not one for the kids, but just for the grown ups, in front of the tv when the nippers are in the land of nod.

Ingredients

Pork Stir Fry or lean pork fillet, sliced thinly into strips
Mange-tout, sliced into thin matchsticks
Red pepper, thinly sliced
Spring onion, chopped
Fresh ginger, a thumb sized piece, sliced into thin matchsticks
Two cloves of garlic – crushed
Three red chillies – finely sliced
Light soy sauce, about 3-4 tablespoons depending on your taste
Teaspoon of cornflour
Handful of fresh basil leaves, ripped
One tablespoon of sesame oil
Rice – any kind works, whatever your preference

Method

Cook your rice according to packet instructions. Meanwhile heat sesame oil in a large wok or frying pan over a high heat until hot and slightly smoking. Turn to a medium heat. Add your pork and cook for 3-4 mins until its sealed and starting to turn golden. Add ginger and garlic and fry for one further minute. Add the red pepper, fry for 1-2 mins before then adding the chilli and mange-tout, and frying for another 1-2 minutes. Add the chopped spring onion and stir through. Mix the soy sauce with the cornflour, this creates a nice glossy saucy coating for the dish, and add to the pan, stirring well for a further minute. Finally, add the shredded basil and remove from the heat. Serve over rice, with a wedge of lime to squeeze over for added zing!

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