0

Shoe Shopping. Such Fun.

Ah, shoes. Glorious shoes. Knee high boots. Ankle boots. Running shoes. High heels, kitten heels. I love shoes.

No, wait. I did love shoes. BC. Before Children. Nowadays, I have my stock standard boots, shoes and jandals. It’s not about my love of shoes anymore. It’s about the children.

Kids grow. I know, right? They seem to be continually growing and stretching and getting bigger and wider and taller and bigger and longer and taller and … *sigh*

And, with growth come foot growth. As in, they need bigger shoes. And, just for fun, when they don’t outgrow their shoes, they outwear them!

BoyChild has somehow arrived at the predicament whereby he has outgrown his gumboots and his slippers, and also outworn his shoes.

image

The weather is turning, there is a lot of rain about and it’s cold. So, I can’t really delay getting him new shoes much longer. Sigh. And, BabyGirl has started walking. WALKING. Which means she now needs shoes. Because, “can” walk means “will” walk. Ever tried carrying a tot who has recently discovered they can get about on those weird things called legs? Tre Impossible.

Today after I picked BoyChild up from Preschool, I realised just how dire his shoe situation was – the velcro from his shoes is nearly entirely worn to nothing.

♫ Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off Shoe Shopping we go! ♪

Now, shopping with boys seems to be completely different to shopping with girls. In my experience, anyway. BoyChild couldn’t really care less about shops. Much like his father, I suppose. Princess LOVES shopping. She will pick up everything and passionately describe why she absoLUTEly must HAVE it. And so, I really expected that this shopping trip would be a case of, go in, pick a pair of gumboots, pick a pair of shoes, pick a pair of slippers, leave. Easy.

Ha!

3:15pm

Ok, guys – we are just going in to buy BoyChild some shoes. That’s it. Ok?

Ok!

3:20pm. Shoe Department. Gumboot aisle.

BoyChild, do you like these gumboots? They have TRUCKS on them! Ohhhhhh ….

Mum! I like these ones!

Princess, you don’t need gumboots.

Oh! Maybe he would like these ones then? BoyChild loves strawberries and ponies!

Son, do you like these ones?

NO! NO bung-goots! NO! *throws yellow boots onto the floor*

What about these ones? Red .. ohhhhhhh ….

NO! NO bung-goots! NO! SHOES! SHOES! MY SHOES!

3:30pm. Shoe aisle.

These are nice, I like the blue ones … what do you …

MUM! MUM! Look at THEEEESE BEAUTIFUL SHOES OH MUM I LOVE THEM!!!!

They aren’t your size, Princess. You are a 10. Besides, we aren’t buying you shoes, remember?

OK MUM BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ♪shoes-I-love-shoes♫

BoyChild? Do you like these green shoes? Let me just try to put them …

NO! No shoes Mum! Yuk! No Shoes!

MUM! MUM! Are these in my size?

No, Princess, they are a 4. You are a 10.

Mum! Mum! Are these my size? I love black shoes with sprinkles Mum oh they are soooooo beaUtiful!

No, sweetie. They are a 6. You are a 10.

3:35pm. Slipper aisle.

NO SHOES! BOB SLIPPERS! MY BOB SLIPPERS!

Hun, your Bob slippers are broken. And too small. Do you like these ones? Let me just try them .. please don’t kick. Oh, you want to put them on? Not on your hands. Yes, very funny boy. Yes, clever, but how about we try your feet now? Princess! Those are NOT your size, please stop trying them on. No, they are not a 10, they are a 5. Both of them are. Please put them back. Do you like those slippers, BoyChild? Oh, on your head, now? Ok, yes, very clever. Ha ha ha. No, BabyGirl doesn’t need a pair on her head .. ok .. let’s just …

*picks up entire rack of slippers and re-hangs them all*

3:40pm.

What about we go back to the gumboots, Mum? I bet he really wants those pink boots. He told me. He did. He DID.

NO SHOES! WAN’A GO HOME! NO BUNGGOOTS. NO SHOES. BOB SLIPPERS. MY SHOES.

3:45pm. Le Sigh.

Right. We are getting these slippers. Just these plain ones. No, I’m sorry, there are no Bob ones. No, Princess, you are NOT getting those shoes. Please put them back. Yes, I can see they are sparkly. No, you have three pairs of sneakers. Yes, you do have pink ones. Yes, you do have rainbow ones. Come on. Let’s go.

*breathe*

Who wants an ice cream?!

And there you have it.

I went in to buy a pair of gumboots, a pair of shoes and a pair of slippers. I left with a $5 pair of slippers and (awesome because I ♥ bargains) a $1 pair of shoes for BabyGirl. They were one dollar, I don’t care if they fit her or not!

image

I think I’ll just go back one day soon when I’m without children, and chose them myself. And hope BoyChild cares as little about the shoes he wears, as he does about shopping for them! Much like his father, I suppose.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
0

A Very (Dairy Free) Hungry Caterpillar

Today was BabyGirl’s birthday party! Her birthday isn’t for another week but we decided to have her party today as it fitted in well with shift work, etc.

The theme of her party was, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Such a fun theme for a first birthday party! Well, for any birthday party!

I had a lot of fun planning her party. The thing that really limited me was money – we don’t have a large amount to throw at parties, so I did everything as minimal and budget as I could. And, I was really, really proud of the result.

  • Decorations

To decorate, I bought a red table cloth, red napkins, green and white plastic plates, and green and white plastic cups. I think I spent around $20 all up on these and they can be re-used again for another party. When I was pregnant with BabyGirl, we didn’t find out what we were having and one of the only things I bought was a second hand three-pack of Hungry Caterpillar onesies. I pinned them to the wall above the table as decorations which was pretty cute, they are so tiny!

untitled-1-14

I also made a balloon caterpillar which I hung from the ceiling – four green balloons and a red one with card stuck to it! So simple and really, really effective.

untitled-1-15

And, I made some bunting with BabyGirl’s name in green and red card. This was fun to make with Princess’s help – we cut out trianges and glued them together, then printed her name and cut and pasted that to the card. We strung it up with green ribbon and pinned it to the wall.

  • Food

I wanted the food to be simple, but I also wanted it to be Dairy Free so BabyGirl could eat everything. I decided that I would serve all of the food that the Very Hungry Caterpillar eats on his last big binge (the Saturday). I copied and printed the pictures of the food from the book, and pasted the images to red and green card, then sellotaped them to ice block sticks and put them with the food, to label it.

Saturday

So, the food we had was dairy-free chocolate cake, ice cream cones with marshmallow inside, sliced pickle, sliced cheese (cut to look like swiss cheese – this was the only non-dairy item on the table), sliced salami, lollipops, “cherry pie”, cheerios (small sausages), dairy-free cupcakes, and slices of watermelon.

10275421_10152415167252292_6548187427563125164_o

The dairy-free chocolate cake was the same recipe that I used when I made Mr T’s cake last week, only this time I chose to simply sift icing sugar over it rather than buttercream icing.

https://havekidstheysaid.com/2014/04/14/happy-birthday-mr-t-and-happy-takeaway-day/

905289_10152415167437292_8039718019561113323_o

Particular mention to my fantasticly dedicated friend, who punched holes in the gherkin and cheese!

1974395_10152415167622292_975973838738936260_o

The “cherry pie” was a funny one – we don’t eat cherry pie here, I’m not even sure I know quite what cherry pie is! So, my Mum had the great idea to make little “pies” – she used pastry, cut it into a circle then baked it. When it was cooked she sliced it six ways (like pie) and iced each segment with raspberry icing then topped with a glace cherry. Genius and everyone LOVED them!

  • The Cake

I made a dairy-free rainbow cake which was really easy and came out brilliantly. The colours were superbly bright and the cake tasted really nice. I am completely over my skepticism about dairy-free food. Dairy was not missed today!

untitled-1-17

  • Activities

Being it that this was a first birthday, I knew that BabyGirl was going to be perfectly happy playing with her toys and friends without the need for extra activities. However, there were a lot of kids aged 3-6 coming so I came up with a simple activity for them – making caterpillars from egg cartons. I piled the craft table in the play room with pipe cleaners, googly eyes, glue, glitter, crayons, stickers and felt pens and let the kids go wild. They loved it!

image

The finished products were pretty cute! And, I also printed off some free Hungry Caterpillar printables that I found online, so the kids could colour in as well.

(found here –>) http://tertuliadofado.com/very-hungry-caterpillar-coloring-pages-printables/

 

This was a really easy, really successful party which I’m sure BabyGirl loved, considering it is now 11:35pm and she is still running around, oblivious to the fact all her guests left hours ago and her Mummy is nodding off in her chair. Ode to be nearly-one again.

 

 

 

0

My Easter Treat – Mastitis

What did I wake up to on Easter Morning? Not piles of Easter Eggs, oh no – I woke up to a raging breast infection. Sad story. I guess, having breast fed three children over 4-and-a-half-years, it was bound to happen eventually. And while I understand people who said to me, “you have only just gotten one now? Well done, you!” – when I am feeling like I might actually be dying, those comments tend to grate a little deep in me.

Mastitis is an infection of the breast, caused by blocked milk ducts. For mild cases it can be relieved by feeding and feeding and feeding and feeding from the infected side, and drinking loads and loads of water. But, see your doctor for more severe cases because you may need antibiotics. I had fever, chills, vomiting and the distinctive red marks on my breast. Oh, and I felt like I was dying. Did I mention that?

As mentioned prior, we had an Easter Egg hunt planned for lunch time. I decided to go ahead with it despite the fact that, at one point, I was literally crying in my 4-year-old’s lap – the mere suggestion that we not have her friends over for an egg hunt had Princesses entire body crumpling with despair. She had spent the morning decorating her Easter baskets and I didn’t have the heart to break her heart. So, on with the hunt – I hid the eggs and then curled up in a blanket until my friends arrived.

The hunt went on as planned and the kids had a blast – I hid the eggs all through our playroom (I’m pretty sure the kids have been back in today and found more eggs in there!). By all accounts all the kids had a great time, despite my being unwell, which is great. I’m glad we went forward with it.

untitled-1-12untitled-1-13

http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-box.html

(this is how we made our Easter Baskets – I added a handle by cutting a strip of paper and sellotaping it to the top)

And so, Easter Sunday was, for me, spent lying on the floor, having baths to warm my body up, sleeping, sitting in the doctors waiting room (chatting to a nurse who felt the need to tell me everything about her children), sleeping and lying on the floor. We gave the kids their special eggs in the evening when I was out of bed, and, as their eggs came with a torch each, it was nice watching them running around screaming in the dark with their torches for a while before crashing out in bed, fast asleep and dreaming of chocolate.

It’s the next day now and I’m feeling better, though not 100%. It’s hard work looking after kids when you are loathe to be touched by anyone. My house looks like a tornado has swept through it, and the kids have a bit of cabin fever, plus that convalescence that comes after Mummy has been sick. Almost a punishment for daring to spend a day ignoring them (besides, no one likes to hear their Mum being sick). Today will be a day of slow cleaning, quiet playing and .. ah, who am I kidding? It’ll be as messy and loud as usual. Because, children.

 

 

 

0

Happy Easter!

Ah, Easter. Such a fun time of year. Well, it was when I was a kid. As an adult? Still fun, but with far more to think about!

I mean, you have the meaning of Easter – Jesus dying on the cross and his resurrection three days later. We don’t go to church but we, Mr T and I, definitely consider ourselves to be Christian. And, whether or not you believe in the Bible, I truly believe that it is such a valuable tool to teach kids, there are a lot of life lessons in those stories, and besides – let them decide when they are old enough, I say. But I digress – we don’t want our kids to think that Easter Eggs are the Be All and End All of Easter, we wanted them to at least have a fair idea of the real Easter story. But,  explaining it to a 4 year old? More complicated than it was last year when she was three, that’s for sure.
“So, he dies? On a cross? Did it hurt him? Was he naughty? Was his Mum sad? I bet his Mum was sad”

“And then he came alive???? Wow. Why didn’t Nana come alive? If I was Jesus I would make Nana come alive. And Millie [the wild mouse we found that died 12 hours later] too, I would make her be alive. I like chocolate”.

I think next year, I might try to find a children’s book that explains it better than I do.

And then you have, the Easter eggs. Last year, we had our (turning out to be annual) Easter egg hunt. My Mum came and brought with her, my niece and a bag of eggs. I provided my two children (BabyGirl was still in-ma-belly) and a bag of eggs. My friend and sister came, bringing with them a combined three children and a bag of eggs. Thus we had, three “big” kids, three “little” kids and a whole lot o’ eggs. The hunt went a bit like this – each “big” kid had their own colour to look for. Each “little” kid just went crazy. And by “went crazy” I mean, BoyChild found one egg, giggled with glee and sat down to eat it, foil and all. Little Kid #2 ate two eggs and started his own running race, around and around and around and around and around … with Little Kid #3 in hot pursuit. Leaving heaps and heaps of eggs for the three big kids. When we, the parents, realised just how many eggs each big kid had, we panicked. No way did any of us want our kids to have, quite literally, 30+ easter eggs each. So we started swapping them amongst the baskets. Here, Big Kid #1, have a few from Big Kid #2’s basket. No, I insist. Oh, thanks, Big Kid #3, but let’s give them to .. oh .. wait, his basket is full. Dag-nammit! Result? Too much sugar, too much everything. Determined for that not to happen this year, I only bought them one egg each, and I deliberately selected something that comes with more “thing” than “egg”. I got these awesome eggs and torches for the bigger two, and a soft bunny rabbit for BabyGirl. And then, I bought a bag of eggs for the hunt. I’ve invited friends and family once more but insisted that no one need bring more eggs, one bag is plenty. There is a fine line between easter fun, and chocolate gorging. That hunt last year? I cleaned out my cupboard literally months later and I found a pile of eggs that I had hidden from Princess. From myself too, it seems. And no one wants to eat cheap chocolate that has suspiciously turned white.

I popped in to a store today to get something non-Easter-related and I couldn’t believe the queues out the door. People grabbing Easter eggs like it was the Zombie Apocalypse and the only way to ward off zombies was to lure them with Dora the Explorer eggs. I mean, it was insane. BoyChild merely reached for an egg on a shelf and his hand was battered away by a man (a grown MAN!) who absolutely NEEDED that egg for his child. BoyChild is three years old! I helped a poor woman who was holding so many eggs that she had dropped a packet and, rather than risk dropping her pile to the masses, she was kicking the packet across the floor, all the way to the check out, she said. I left at that point. I didn’t need anything that bad. I’m glad I bought our eggs last week when it was just me and a lovely couple looking for something nice for their grandson.

Which leaves me here, the night before Easter Sunday. The kids are asleep, Princess has painstakingly crafted Easter baskets for her friends, and I’m deciding whether to hide the eggs tonight or risk doing it in the morning. The rain swayed me, I shall sneak out tomorrow and hope they don’t see me, lest they discover the Easter Bunny, like Santa and the Tooth Fairy, is actually a crafty Mum and Dad.

image

 

 

 

0

Enjoy The Moment, Not The Memory

Little Jimmy is about to take his first steps .. quick, grab the camera! And the phone! And the iPad! Did you film it, Dad? Did you film it, Mum? Did you get that, Grandma? No? That’s ok, let’s get him to do it again. Go again, Jimmy, just like before. That’s it. Good boy. Did you all get it that time? Awesome, let’s upload it to Facebook/Instagram/Twitter.

We all know this situation well, because, let’s face it, we are Generation Technology. We are currently living in an age where we have so many different choices when it comes to recording things, interacting with people, learning, sharing .. the list is endless. As few as 5 years ago the level of technology available to us was considerably lower, so I am interested to see how things change in the coming years.

But, are we falling into the trap of parenting from behind screens? My father used to say, Enjoy the Moment, Not the Memory. What is more important, enjoying something as it happens, or being able to reflect back in months or years to come? And, are our kids going to remember Mum and Dad as faces semi-obscured by phones or iPads?

In our household, we are in no way technologically challenged. We have a PC, an iPad, two smart phones, two TVs and a LeapPad. And we love it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating the elimination of all forms of technology. But sometimes I wonder if maybe we are letting our obsession with capturing the moment interfere with our actually experiencing the moment?

Princess takes singing and acting lessons and last month it was her first chance at solo singing. All the kids had to stand up and sing a verse from a chosen song in front of the class. This is a BIG deal, especially for a nervous kid like Princess.  Now, Mr T couldn’t come to the class because of work, so he had asked me to film her performance for him. No worries. Princess’s turn came about and she walked up to the front of the room. I hit record on the iPad, and … she froze. She named the song she wanted to sing (the rather ambitious “Let it Go” from Frozen) and then, nothing. I paused my recording, walked over to her, whispered the first line of the song, patted her encouragingly on the shoulder and then went back to my ideal filming spot, ready to film her in action. She shyly mumbled the first few lines, giggled nervously and poked her tongue out at her friend. Classic Princess, really. Once it was clear that she was going to sing no more, her teacher ushered her away and the next child stood up. I was really disappointed. Was I disappointed that she didn’t sing a song that I know she has no trouble belting out at full force at home? Yea, I was. But, more than that. I was disappointed in myself because I let my need to film her performance overpower the fact that she actually got up, spoke in front of a group of kids, and perhaps could have sung it had I put my iPad down, sat next to her and held her hand while she sang. I wouldn’t have had anything to show Mr T when we got home, but she would have taken so much more away from the experience.

Now, I know, I write a blog on parenting, so I must spend a fair amount of time on the computer, right? It’s true, I do. But these blog posts take hours, sometimes days, to write out. I do two lines, then I go and change a nappy. A paragraph, then I cook tea. A line here, a picture there. I go on Facebook a lot, right? Yes, though not as much as people think I do – my computer sits on, signed in and I glance at it as I walk past through the day. But, even that is perhaps too much time behind screens.

It’s amazing how refreshed everyone feels if you turn off everything and get outside. Rain or shine, doesn’t matter – kids love splashing in puddles, jumping on the trampoline, gardening, helping hang the washing.

It’s easy, with how accessible technology is, to stand behind it but don’t underestimate your ability to remember a moment without the aid of photos or video footage. Gosh – if that were the case, our childhoods would be hollow of memories. And I know for sure, mine certainly isn’t!

image

0

Happy Birthday, Mr T! And Happy Takeaway Day!

Well, we did it. 35 days of No Takeaways. Tonight, we got our celebratory meal of fish and chips, and it was pretty darn good, I won’t lie.

image

Followed by a lovely dessert of dairy-free chocolate cake, iced by Princess herself

image

And, we didn’t even mind that, in her enthusiasm, she dropped the cake clean on the floor. Messy on the floor? Either way, we had a lovely dessert of floor-cake and it was good.

As we ate our dinner, we reflected on 35 days of No Takeaways. I am really, really proud of the effort we have made, and it is something that I am definitely determined to continue in the future. Have we saved money? I’m sure we have, though I have no idea how much.

Best of all, I walk away today having learned so much about myself, cooking and food in general.

I have learned

  • How to make a chicken stock
  • How to make risotto
  • How to cook sauces without using packets
  • How important potatoes and onions are in our diet
  • How to adapt a recipe to fit based on ingredients
  • How to convince my husband that real food really is better than takeaways
  • How to cook a complete meal on 3 hours sleep, and then blog about it
  • How to engage a 4 year old in cooking meals, and
  • How to get a 4 year old eating things she normally wouldn’t touch

I’m sure there is much more that I can’t think of right now (still on 3 hours sleep but YAY, BabyGirl’s tooth came through!), but at the end of the day, I did it, and that is something I am very, very proud of.

Tomorrow, I start afresh. Because, I have a freezer full of potential meals, a cupboard full of ingredients and components, a family who need food and an enthusiasm for cooking like I’ve never had before. I challenge each of you to try something like this. See how far YOU can go without buying takeaways, and let me know!

And, of course, because I wouldn’t feel right leaving you without a recipe, here is the recipe for the Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake that we made for Mr T’s birthday tonight.

Dairy Free Chocolate Cake

2 C Sugar

1 C Cocoa

2 C Flour

2 t Baking Soda

1/3 C Oil

2 eggs

2 t Vanilla Essence

2 C Water

Add all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and combine. Mix in a separate bowl all of the wet ingredients, whisk then add to the dry ingredients. Combine and bake for about 45-60 minutes on 150C. We iced with basic buttercream (margarine beaten until nearly white, then mixed with icing sugar) and lots and lots of sprinkles.

A delicious, heavy, rich chocolate cake. Yummo!

image

0

My kid is the coolest kid on the planet .. and so is yours!

Children are individual people. Right from before they are born, each and every children is a unique, individual person. Though hard to imagine when they are so small, there is already a pre-determined personality flourishing. When they walk, talk, toilet train, count, repeat the alphabet, do algebra, drive a car – each and every one of these things is based on their life factors. Not their sisters or brothers, not their parents, not their cousins or their friends. Theirs.

There is a real nature of competition amongst parents. A lot of what we do with children is clouded by comparisons – is your child sitting yet? Is he sleeping through the night yet? Is she sitting yet? One of the hardest obstacles to overcome in parenting is learning to sift past this, and not regard your child as superior or inferior to another. Because, even within families, all children are different. All. Children. Are. Different.

Consider this – imagine your child sitting on, say, a large concrete floor. On a cushion, if you prefer your child to have a comfy bottom. This, ladies and gentlemen, is your child. Hello, child! Now, imagine a circle drawn around your child. This is his immediate environment. The day he was born. His gender. His name. Now, draw a slightly larger circle around that. This one is his situation in life – are his parents together or divorced? What is his place in the family? Is he the oldest child, or is he third in a family of twelve kids? Does he live with grandparents, cousins, a family friend? And again, another circle – his place in the world. Where does he live? Does he live in an inner-city apartment? Or on a farm? Are his parents extremely well off, or struggling to make ends meet? Are his parents educated? Do his parents both work, or does one parent stay at home? Another circle – the greater environment around him – what is the country like in which he lives? America? The United Kingdom? New Zealand? And, more locally, does he live in a city wrought with natural disasters? Or, a town in which it always rains? You can keep going with this, each circle representing a slightly larger environmental factor that will all effect who this person is, and who he is destined to become.

And, that doesn’t even begin to touch on the neurological side of things – how his brain works, whether his personality is naturally shy, or extroverted. Whether he has a passion for learning, or whether he is content to sit back and watch the world around him.

And now, if your child has a sibling, sit them on another cushion alongside him. If you draw the same circles but relevant to her situation, you may be amazed to discover that her circles are different to his. As are yours. And every other person in the world.

I have three children – they are all siblings, they have the same parents, the same family. Yet they are all completely different children, hitting the same milestones at different times. But that’s ok. In fact, we welcome it. The world would be a sad and dreary place if all people reached the same stages at the same times. Imagine a world where, say, on your 21st birthday, you immediately graduate from University. And, on your 30th birthday, you have your first child. Everyone does. Because, that’s what you do.

I get exhausted hearing people comparing children to others, without considering all of the other factors. My child will be different to yours, because his life is different to yours. Just as I am different to you. Next time you are with a group of children, take a moment to think about what makes them who they are – and why that makes them the coolest kid on the planet. Because every kid is.

Image