Thursday, 19 April 2012

Growing Up

My six year old has, in no uncertain terms, asserted that she now doesn't like kisses. Maybe it's been happening gradually over time but it feels like turning six did this to her. Kiss her, however lightly, and she wipes it off with the back of her hand or worse still her sleeve. Like I'm some kind of aged lipstick covered relative.

I have tried explaining that I won't rush at her with a slobbery mouth. I've tried getting Phoebe to chase her around the kitchen. But to no avail. She no longer wishes to be kissed.

Thinking about this makes me want to cry. And when I think of the phase she went through when everything had to be kissed better I feel so stupid. I know there were times when I sighed when she screamed at the slightest injury and offered her injured bit to be kissed. Why oh why did I moan?

Ridiculous isn't it? Growing up is a good thing. Honestly it is.

Of course I still have my Phoebe who loves kissing me all the time full on the mouth. But she's bound to change. Maybe I have only two more years of being able to kiss my children without complaint. It doesn't bear thinking about.

Thank goodness Tilly has confirmed that she still likes hugs. She quite often throws herself at me for a hug straight after dinner when I'm trying to drink a cup of tea and up until recently I haven't always been welcoming. I sometimes favour personal space over minor burns.

But this is a message to all mums and dads with children younger than mine. I urge you. Put the tea down. And kiss it all better. While you are still allowed.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Norton Farmers Market

Oh my word it was cold today. I couldn't feel my toes. I sent Paul to the car to find warmer clothes for me and he came back with:

a) a hat - the dubious green one that makes me look like a convict but at least it kept my ears warm, and
b) one fingerless glove with an unravelled thumb.

I donned the cold weather equipment and put a Folkmanis Kangaroo puppet on my other hand. I tried the lion but it didn't offer as much warmth.

It is a lovely market but was a slow day today. Maybe because of the cold. I did seem to sell several copies of bilingual books. Maybe the cold weather had everyone dreaming of Spain and the South of France.

The girls had fun with Paul and everything was weirdly relaxed. They went to Graves Park, spent quite a long time playing in the cafe to keep warm, and generally larked about. The larking did end up with Tilly getting her hair caught in my gazebo zip (which I wouldn't have thought possible) but even that was more comical than painful. I gave them both £2 to spend at one point and they came back with a jar of sweets to share between them (what, cooperation?) and a plant for me. I'm not sure quite what was going on.

After a large pasta bolognese, rhubarb crumble (with Rhubarb from the market of course) and two cups of tea I've finally thawed out. I'm doing Totley farmer's market tomorrow and I'll be taking ski clothing.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Birthday Girl

I thought it might be helpful for some future party planning parents if I blogged Tilly's 6th party. She's a bit into science (and maths, and well pretty much everything that's a bit hard for me to understand) so was very happy with the idea of a science party. I looked into getting a professional party company to do it but the price was somewhat prohibitive. Paul and I are muchmore reasonable.

I should also say we had lots of help. One friend is an artist and painted a sign for Tilly to go outside the cafe. Some of my lovely mum friends stayed to help out with the activities and the kids and my best friend made a fabulous cake. Plus the venue belonged to my lovely friend and she even arranged a photographer who took photos throughout the whole party. It truly was a collaborative and smiley event.

We themed the party loosely around the senses and Paul drew a representation of each on a large piece of paper. I made some less convincing pictures of each activity and throughout the party the girls attached the pictures to the sense they thought they used most. I particularly loved the fact that they put their hands up. I don't offer command such respect.

As everyone arrived we started by doing scratch space decorations, and colouring in spinners. We then tried to spin them for the longest time as we counted together.

In the other room we'd laid out bubble wrap and got the kids to try and cross it without popping any bubbles, then by popping as many as possible. After that we let them loose popping mad, including a game of musical popping bumps. The satisfaction of popping bubbles needed to be enough to cover up the fact that I forgot to choose a winner. They didn't seem to mind.

Then we got into two teams and tried to make the tallest tower out of cocktail sticks and marshmallows and then cheesy puffs. I noticed Tilly chose to be in Paul's team which was very sensible if she had any hope of building anything. His were marginally better than mine but they were both essentially hopeless - but lots of fun. They liked messing about with them making kebabs and eating a few afterwards. Again I said they could eat two, and that's how many they ate. I'm either terrifying or the girls were just extremely well behaved.

There was a smelling game where I'd brought pots of smelly things for them guess including coffee, curry and oranges. Tilly's favourite game was magnified pictures of things (taken using Paul's microscope). These included Lego, toothbrush bristles, scissors, playmobil etc. They guessed Hello Kitty only having seen a tiny section of pink bow, so not all that science focused then.

The girls used straws to move smarties about via suction, and then ate them so that was popular. Phoebe couldn't do it bless her - but this was the only thing she struggled with and was two years younger than everyone else so did really well. And she liked the extra "make up for it" smarties...

My favourite "experiment" was balloon rockets. Each child had a long balloon blown up, and held closed with a bagfastener, while we attached a short straw onto the top with sellotape. We then threaded the straw into a long piece of string stretched across the room and raced two at a time.

We also had pass the parcel with book prizes (this time I had a pack of Cat in the Hat reading books from Book People) split up into each layer. I don't often put sweets in Pass the Parcel. I'm probably a big disappointment as a mother.

The girls also decorated canvas bags to take their things home in. And they did some barmy balloon larking about.

Harland Cafe catered with lovely sandwiches, chips, brownies, ice cream and juice and my best friend made the cake and decorated it with the solar system. This was a complete surprise for Tilly and she loved it.

We ended up missing out several things including watching "Wallace and Gromit's Cracking Contraptions" tornado tube (this joins two plastic bottled together and you can create a tornado inside - we've since done this at home and it's very popular) and exploding coke (we couldn't get hold of mentos and ran out of time anyway).

Finally we had some instant snow which was measured out in individual plastic cups. The girls had a measured amount of water to pour in and watched the powder turn into snow. That got at least a few "wow"s so must have been popular.

Tilly said it "was the best party ever". I'm sure every birthday girl and boy says that but I'm accepting the review. And it didn't cost me upwards of £180...

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Books, books, books

We reached the point at home where the books my Dad put away from my childhood can finally be unearthed. My eldest is nearly six and relishes the opportunity to choose the next book from the drawer of those books, which up until now have been too old for her.

The whole thing is fascinating. Certain books which I loved as a child are in honesty not much fun to read. I adored Milly Molly Mandy growing up, reinforced by my Dad using it as an affectionate term for me probably. I remember loving the picture in the front of the whole family lined up and labelled beneath, and the map of the village. But whole chapters revolve around her going to shop and buying things for members of her family. Not exactly scintillating stuff.

On the other hand I loved Worst Witch by Jill Murphy and now my girls are both very enthusiastic about her. And I myself laughed out loud at points. It's probably not as gripping as I thought it was going to be but that's probably something to do with my age.

Then there are the books with bits which frankly are a bit inappropriate. When I got to the chapter in “Lotta” called “the one in which Lotta nearly swears” I braced myself. It was a bit odd because the swear word was “damn” which is fairly mild in today's climate I suppose, but it still made me wince reading it to Tilly as she said it on every page. I wouldn't want them shouting it in the playground. The children were left at home alone a lot in the story which Tilly found a bit confusing and was somewhat tricky to explain. Probably the trickiest part though was when she found a pair of scissors and cut up her new jumper, then moved out to live in the next door neighbours barn. And that was just tricky because I didn't want the girls to get any ideas...

The House That Sailed Away by Pat Hutchins went well. Apart from the fact that the mother is depicted as a dense silly woman and the mother in law is a raging alcoholic. Oh and the bit about cannibals was interesting.

The best one so far though has to be Issi Noho. It's a story about a Chinese magic panda. If even includes a maths puzzle every time he uses magic so was right up Tilly's street. Ironically I don't remember reading it as a child but I must have.

And next she's picked the Borrowers. All four books in one which will take months to read probably but she's excited so I'll work out some answers for “can we just have another chapter mummy?” and get started. Just like my Dad did for me when I was little.