Thursday, 31 January 2008

A new experience

Artwork by The Podlings (Lily's is the Top one, Tom's the bottom one)

The Podlings and I had an exciting morning this morning. We finally made it to the toddler group run by the church that I have wanted to go to for some time. The church is a good 20 minute walk away and I don't drive, so I was praying for good weather. However, when I awoke this morning to howling gales and driving rain, I had dissappointedly decided no to go. My prayers were answered though, as by nine the skies had cleared and the sun came out, so we all bundled up in hats, coats and scarves and set off. The Podlings had a wonderful time playing with all the new toys, running with the other children, playing with paper and glue, singing songs and generally enjoying themselves. Lily was completely sold on the place when they brought out plates piled high with toast for the children (and the mums...they make so much that everyone has some!). The group ended with a lovely little song and story time, which I was thrilled to find had a Christian bent to it. They told a little bible story in such a way that very young children could grasp the concept of the tale and then sang "My God is a great big God", in addition to the usual children's songs.

Tom talked about toddler group all day and was desperate to show his Daddy the picture he made. Mark couldn't get home quickly enough for Tom, and had barely got in the door before Tom was trying to show him the picture. This afternoon when I was making their tea, Tom drove out to the kitchen on his toy car and said "Fank you for going to toddler group" then pretended that he was driving his car to toddler group. The boy is hooked! I feel just awful that I haven't taken him sooner!

I'm so glad we went this week. I know the children had a lovely time and it was nice for me to get out and talk to other mums. I think we will all get a lot out of going every week.

Random pictures presents...

This photo was taken last week when the Podlings were doing some colouring in the kitchen. Lily climbed down from her chair, walked around the table and clambered up next to Tom. Tom then put his arm around her and sat cuddling her while Lily drew scribbles with her crayons. Moments like this make my heart melt. I pray that as they go through life, Tom will always feel that he can put a reassuring arm around his little sister and that she, in turn, will always know the safety and protection of her big brother.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

A spot of tea

I felt like making a bit of extra effort at tea time today, so out came the table cloth, cake stand and fancy teapot. I made some scones this afternoon and a fresh loaf of bread for sandwiches and we all sat down for a spot of proper English tea. The Bakewell tart was a bought one, not homemade, but I'm only one woman! Tom much prefers this kind of meal to a 'hot dinner', so he tucked in and ate a hearty tea. Lily made a bit of a fuss to start with because she wanted to get her hands on the teapot, but she did declare the scones to be "Yummy cake!". The picture above shows Mark humouring me, as he is wont to do when I get these silly notions. The picture below shows Lily enjoying a cup of tea. She likes her tea like you or I would drink it...quite strong with no sugar. I've tried making a 'baby' cup of tea for her with lots of milk and sugar, but she always puts it away from her with a pronounced "Yuck!". She likes a proper cup of tea, does my girl. Just like her Daddy!

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Love is...

As if I needed another reason to love my husband, Mark showed me again today what a kind and generous person he is. First of all, he took care of the children this morning so I could sleep in late (I'd had a pretty rough night getting up to Tom a lot). Then, this afternoon he took me to Hobbycraft (somewhere he finds deathly dull) and amused the Podlings in the store for over an hour, while I browsed, uninterrupted, to my hearts content. He then didn't bat an eyelid when I spent an undisclosed (for 'undisclosed', read 'large') sum of money on craft items. It just reminded me what a thoughtful and unselfish person he is. I'm one lucky lady!

'Hearts and Vines' by Heidi Satterberg

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Fee Fi Fo Fum

We read Jack and the Beanstalk to Tom for the first time at bedtime this evening and Mark and I were struck by something we hadn't thought of before...Jack is completely morally corrupt. First off, he's a complete idiot. I mean who would sell a cow for five beans! Granted, stupidity isn't a crime, but the nasty little creature then gets into this poor unsuspecting giant's house and steals from him not once, but on three separate occasions. Not content with a little burglary, the thieving little monster then mercilessly murders the giant, who is doing nothing more appalling than trying to get his stuff back. Granted, the version we read is aimed at the under-fives, so they don't really elaborate on the whole people-eating theme. In fact, in the version we have the giant eats his tea of jacket potatoes and jelly before falling asleep, at which point our villain strikes. The moral of this story appears to be that it's okay to steal and it's okay to kill to cover your tracks. Hmmm...think we'll push this one to the back of the bookcase!

Edited to add: I've changed the picture on this post to show you the version of the story we read to Tom. Seriously, the giant isn't even a little bit mean in this version! Tom rather likes the story though, so it is now a firm bedtime favourite!

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

I think I'm losing my mind...

I got proof today, if proof were needed, that motherhood can do funny things to your brain. I needed to ring the doctor's surgery but didn't know the phone number, so I went online to look it up. I found the phone number and got a pen and paper to write to down. Armed with a number, I put on a short cartoon to keep the Podlings occupied while I made my phone call.

I dialled the was engaged. I waited 30 seconds then dialled it again...still engaged. I proceeded to redial the number for a couple of minutes and then looked at the number I had copied down.
"Funny," I thought, "the doctor's number has same first three digits as ours". Redial...engaged.
"Hmmm, in fact the doctor's number looks a lot like ours". Redial...engaged.
"Ah...that's because it is our phone number!". Hang up.

For some reason, instead of copying down the number on the computer, I had just written our home phone number down on the scrap of paper and had been trying to call myself for several minutes. I have a PhD for goodness sake, what happened to my brain!
"Woman with glasses using telephone" by Ewing Galloway

Saturday, 12 January 2008

The sincerest form of flattery

The Podlings were doing some drawing with Tom's pens at the dining room table this morning. They seemed quite happy, so I popped into the kitchen to make them some juice. I continued chatting to Tom from the kitchen,
"I pretending to be Mummy." he said.
"Are you Tom. That's nice." I replied.
"Pretty Mummy." said my charming little man.
"Oh thank you Tom, that's a lovely thing to say", I said as I walked back into the dining room to find my first-born son applying his 'lipstick'. Oh dear, I hope I never look like that when I've put my make up on!

A new 'do'

I finally got a chance to get my hair cut today. It has been nearly six months since my last trim, so my hair was very messy at the ends. It meant that I unfortunately had to say goodbye to about 2.5 inches off the length. I am very pleased with the cut, but knowing that it never looks the same as it does after you leave the hairdresser I thought I would immortalise the style with a rather vain and self-indulgent photo on my blog. What do you think?

Friday, 11 January 2008

Bear Hug

The Podlings and I had a toy's tea party today and I invited two of my special teddies (i.e., ones that the children aren't allowed and are kept out of their reach). One of these is Wordsworth, my Harrod's bear, which Lily has been admiring from a distance for some time. As soon as Wordsworth joined the party, she put her arm around his shoulder and sat cuddled up to him for much of our little game, obviously a girl very much in love! I was surprised how well she took it when I put him back on top of the cupboard. She is obviously resigned to the fact that he is Mummy's bear and is only allowed out on special occasions. I can see Wordsworth receiving many tea party invitations over the years. I hope it won't go to his head!

A new fairy tale?

As I was clearing up the lunch things in the dining room today I was watching Tom playing with his cars in the family room. I overheard him begin a new game with:

"Once upon a time there was a great boy named Tom..."

Modesty obviously not being a characteristic trait of the under-fours! I'd love to know how the story panned out, but unfortunately he then started talking too quietly for me to hear. I expect it was an epic tale of adventure, daring do and "I going back to my car" (the most common phrase I overhear when he is playing cars).

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

The cup that cheers

Seeing as Tom is now over three years old, I decided it was high time I introduced him to a Big Boy Cup. At lunchtime today, I gave Tom a cup of water alongside his normal trainer cup and left him to it. I did the same at tea time, at which point Lily cottoned on to the change in proceedings and threatened to throw a wobbly unless she had a Big Girl Cup of her very own. With great trepidation, I placed a half full cup of water in front of her, fully expecting one or both of us to get completely drenched in the next few seconds. She picked up the cup, said "Fank oo Mummy" ('Thank you mummy) and took a drink like she had used nothing but tea cups all her life. She put the cup back neatly on her table without spilling a drop and proceeded, throughout the meal, to take regular, spill-free drinks from it. To say I was astonished is an understatement. She has, I am afraid to say, considerably more skill with the cup than Tom, who spilt the entire contents of his cup at lunchtime, and dribbled a fair amount of it at tea time. Still, they have to learn and I expect a fair bit of mess as we go along. There will be a spotless, tidy house in my future and I know I will miss the sticky fingers and cheeky smiles. Childhood is so fleeting, I can handle a few spilt drinks!

Monday, 7 January 2008

An old favourite

"The very hungry caterpillar" by Eric Carle was one of my favourite books when I was little. We gave Lily a copy of it for Christmas and I was hoping the Podlings would warm to the story of the little caterpillar with the big appetite. I am thrilled that they both seem to love it, as evidenced by the fact that I have read it to one or both of the Podlings about seven times this evening! Tom has recently learned the days of the week and enjoys any excuse to count, both of which he can practice with this book. Lily enjoys sticking her chubby little fingers in the holes made by the caterpillar as he munches his way through the week. It is a lovely little book and deserves its place as a children's classic. I'm 30 and I still enjoy reading it!

Sunday, 6 January 2008

A little weekend project

I've succumbed to the cold that seems to be doing the rounds at the moment, so I didn't have the energy for my usual domestic pursuits this weekend. My wonderful husband took charge of the children in the mornings so I could sleep in late. I spent my evenings engaged in a little sewing project which gave me the excuse to sit down and rest without feeling like I was wasting time! I had a pair of jeans I was throwing away, so I cut off the pockets to make little bags for the Podlings. This weekend I made a little bag with a car motif for Tom. It is entirely hand sewn and I drew the car freehand on some red felt. It is made from things I already had in my crafting supplies and I got a great deal of pleasure out of making it. I hope Tom likes it and I think the red car is guaranteed to at least spark his interest! I won't be giving it to him until I have had a chance to make a little bag for Lily too. I plan to make a more girly bag for her from the other pocket, again only using supplies I have on hand.

A close-up of the bag

Tuesday, 1 January 2008