Maybe it was the changing of the clocks, which I like to blame for pretty much everything, or perhaps it is just normal threenage behaviour but Freya has been a ball of fiery angst this week, just waiting to singe anyone who gets too close.
“You. Are. Making. Me. Angry,” she growled at me, when I thought I was doing something nice by buying her a new book (while she said she wanted that book she meant the other book, obviously).
I know it is a natural stage; she’s growing up, testing her boundaries, asserting her independence and so on but she’s usually such a joyful little soul, I don’t like seeing her so pent up.
When she was feeling calmer we talked about “big feelings” and how there are different ways to share them that don’t involve rage.
When that didn’t work, as on Wednesday when everything I did seemed to make her cross, I tried for distraction – and autumn came to our rescue.
We went to the park on Tuesday afternoon and, as Freya pretended to be Little Red Riding Hood (I was The Big Bad Wolf, naturally), I got her to pick up different leaves, of which there is obviously an abundance at the moment, and put them in her bucket (or basket, as she called it) to take home.
I like doing this not just because she can learn the names of different trees, feel all sorts of textures and pick out a variety of colours at this time of year but also because it connects her to nature. I know I sound like a right old hippie but I really think it is important.
On Wednesday I spread out an old shower curtain on the living room floor (see, who needs a garden) and got some cardboard, glue and glitter and we started to make pictures as well as paint and colour the leaves. She was engrossed for an hour – and, even better, calm.
I then decided it might be fun to try and make a leaf crown (ah, Pinterest, what have you done to me?). I found a balloon, even though I hate balloons, puffed it up and put it in an empty yoghurt pot so we could begin sticking leaves around it. It was really messy, which Freya loved.
Once everything was dry yesterday I spotted the fatal flaw in my plan; the thing I really hate about balloons is when they pop. Obviously I was going to have to pop it to make the crown. I stood for a good few minutes next to that balloon with a pair of scissors but just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Luckily, Mark, who has no such fear, then came home from work. I asked him to sort it while Freya and I were in the living room.
But no pop came.
Eventually I went in to find that he had ever-so-gently let the air out.
“I know you don’t like the bang,” he said.
As the balloon slowly deflated it took our crown with it until we were left with, er, this (not sure how to describe it).
So not entirely a success from a crafting point of view but Freya was certainly happier than before so I’m calling it a win.
Are you making the most of autumn? What have you been up to?