Turning Five, Finally.

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“Who are important people?” Freya asked the other day.

It was ridiculously hot and we were sat on deckchairs on our balcony, trying to cool down. As her question was a bit out of the blue I thought for a few seconds and then said: “The prime minister, doctors and nurses, suffragettes…erm….”

“What about Barry Scott?”

The name was vaguely familiar but I couldn’t quite place him. I frowned.

“Who?”

“The man on tv?”

“Wait, the cleaning man. Cillet Bang?”

At that moment we both said: “Bang! And the stain is gone.”

After we had finished chuckling I added: “Well, I guess he’s important to people who like cleaning?”

“I like a clean house,” she said, with what I thought was more than a hint of criticism.

We don’t use any of those products (I’m more a white vinegar type of girl) but I’ve seen the advert on the children’s channel that is sometimes on in the background. I’ve never seen Freya really pay attention to it, she’s not one for tv or sitting still in general, but he’s loud and enthusiastic – a bit like a children’s tv presenter. Maybe that’s what grabbed her attention?

What I’m learning about just turned five years olds is that they take in much more than we (I) give them credit for.

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That realisation has come in little sharp shocks.

No more having conversations in front of her, especially ones where you try and spell out the word you don’t want her to know.

“Ooooh park, yes I would really like to go.” She looks up, expectantly.

Then there are the deep questions, it started off with the odd one here and there but now most things she asks require proper thought – especially as I realise what she is asking often seems to be unrelated to what she actually wants to know.

If my brain was a television it would have been on standby mode for most of the last five years but it’s like someone has just accidentally sat on the remote and it has come back to life at full volume, making everyone jump.

She’s not going easy, we’ve had many of the big ones. Death, God, crime, homelessness, racism, how did she get in my tummy?

As difficult as I sometimes find them, it’s these random conversations that I’m going to miss now she’s back at school.

Year 1.

How did that happen?

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It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was looking down at the calendar I had just made -and still can’t quite bring myself to take down – wondering how I was going to fill the six-week summer holiday.

While it wasn’t without its days that seemed neverending (and not in a good way), on the whole I’d give it a thumbs up.

We were lucky enough to spend some time away from home, which I think helped break things up – for me at least. Freya would probably have been just as happy going to the local park every day (where we made some lovely new friends). I had one of those moments, watching her dance in and out of the water at the splash park, squealing with delight, where I thought: ‘Yes, this could be one of those perfect childhood memories.’

And, of course, at the end of the holidays, she finally, FINALLY had her birthday. I’m not sure why it seems such a landmark, probably because she’s made it so by counting down from January.

As, one by one, all of her school friends started blowing out their candles, Freya grew impatient for her own celebration. She had a long wait. We all did.

Finally five.

I really hope it’s as good as she thinks it’s going to be.

Little Hearts, Big Love

 

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Thanks A Bunch, Tooth Fairy (And As For You Peppa Pig…)

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Sleep is hard enough to come by in our house, at least for any extended period of time,  without outside interference – I’m looking at you, tooth fairy.

“I’m staying up all night tonight,” Freya said matter of factly.

“That’s not happening,” I snapped, almost before she had finished speaking – because I have no doubt, thanks to three years worth of experience, that she could do it.

“Why would you want to stay up anyway?” Mark asked, a little more gently.

“So the tooth fairy can’t take my teeth.”

“Have you lost a tooth?” I asked. She looked at me like I was speaking a different language. “I mean, has one of your teeth come out?”

Again with the look. 

I tried a different tack.

“What do you think the tooth fairy comes for?”

“To steal my teeth while I’m sleeping.”

“Um, yeah, no. That’s not what she does. When you’re much MUCH older you get a new set of teeth come through so your old ones fall out.”

She looked absolutely horrified. I can see sleep disappearing like a donut left sitting on the kitchen counter.

“It doesn’t hurt and it’s nothing to be worried about, especially as it won’t happen for years yet,” I added quickly.

Mark, seeing that I’m fighting a losing battle, joined in. “So when a tooth falls out you put it under your pillow when you go to bed and then after you’re asleep the tooth fairy comes and collects it and leaves you a pound.”

“Why?”

Good question.

“She collects teeth,” I chip in.

“What for?”

Mark and I look at each other. We’ve got nothing. 

“She… likes…them?”

“Anyway, you have nothing to worry about now. Ok?”

“Ok.”

Phew. 

10 seconds later.

“I don’t want the tooth fairy to take my teeth,” she said, clamping a hand over her mouth.

“Where have you even got this from?” I asked.

I imagined she’d perhaps got into YouTube when we weren’t looking and, even though it’s the children’s version, watched a frightening horror-style version of the tooth fairy story.

“It’s from Peppa Pig,” Mark said.

Apparently Peppa loses a baby tooth and decides to try and stay up to see the tooth fairy. Lovely.

As expected, Freya had a restless night (even more so than usual).

Later the next day she said: “Can I have a pound please?”

“What for?”

“For my teeth.”

“That’s not how it works. Want do you want the pound for?”

“I want to buy a bike.”

“You’ll have to wait for Father Christmas to come for that,” my mum helpfully chipped in.

My eyes widened in horror. If she’s worried about a tiny fairy what’s she going to think of a full grown bearded-man breaking into the house in the dead of night?

What are the chances of me keeping him a secret?

Yeah, goodbye, sleep.

Little Hearts, Big Love

You know you want to be a Care Bear (unless you’re a 13-year-old boy, maybe).

All my favs! Photo by Aimee Ray via Flickr.
All my favs! Photo by Aimee Ray via Flickr.

Talk about holding a grudge. I mentioned to my brother that our mum had bought Freya a Care Bears DVD (the original series) for Easter and he instantly transformed into a sullen teenager:

“I still can’t believe I had to go and see that stupid movie with you,” he grouched.

Dude. It was 31 years ago. LET IT GO!

I was almost nine when the original film came out, which would make him 13 *snigger*, and it is the first time I actually remember going to the cinema, which was a huge treat. I’m not sure why he was the one to take me rather than my mum or dad but clearly we bonded.

The Care Bears still hold a special place in my heart (and not just because I was a horrid little sister and delighted in terrorising my brother). I got a bit nostalgic when Freya started to enjoy the new series on Tiny Pop.

So sweet and lovely, I thought.

It was a few weeks after Easter before we got chance to watch the DVD. She was feeling a bit under the weather so I decided to make her a Shepherd’s Pie for her dinner and left her snuggled on the sofa with the DVD on while I cooked.

She suddenly let out a scream that could have shattered glass.

Imagining all sorts – she’d fallen off the chair, been sick, or worse, there was a wasp flying about – I rushed in… to find her on the edge of the sofa pointing, eyes wide, at the television.

Ah, Professor Coldheart.

One of the great (blue) Machiavellian villains.

I had completely forgotten about him. He’s not in the new series at all. In fact, in Welcome to Care-A-Lot even the “baddy”, King Beastly, who is described as a “frenemy”, is really quite cute and cuddly.

As I couldn’t make her un-see him, I sat down and gave her a reassuring cuddle while we carried on watching. I had to agree, it was actually pretty scary – even the Care Bear Stare is a bit sinister without the beautification of CGI.

FullSizeRenderAs we normally stick to more appropriate children’s tv, it’s the first time she has seen anything remotely upsetting (aside from Postman Pat’s shocking disregard for the parcels he is charged with delivering, obviously) and I was desperately hoping it wouldn’t give her nightmares – we have enough trouble with sleep as it is.

All was fine though and now when the new Care Bears come on at breakfast time she will say: “No, not those ones.” And demands the DVD.

Not quite sure what that says about her.

Anyway, it got me thinking about tele from the olden days. I know she is still very young and we have a lot of children’s television in front of us but, is it me or were kids programmes just more frightening back then (in the 1980s)?

I remember watching several that genuinely had me hiding behind the sofa and no one seemed to think anything of it – certainly no one turned it off.

For example, while I loved Worzel Gummidge, even though he regularly took off his own head and I think once murdered a fellow scarecrow (if that is possible), the minute the Crowman came on I was gone. Doctor Who, which I was allowed to see because my brother loved it, was often viewed through my fingers and Chocky, which everyone at school was watching, actually gave me nightmares.

I’m intrigued to find out what awaits us on CBBC or Pop. Hopefully I won’t find myself behind the sofa again – especially as I am now the one responsible for cleaning behind it and it’s not pretty.

Do you remember any frightening programmes from your childhood?

PS If this is making you yearn for kids programmes from the 1980s/90s please check out Haylee’s excellent nostalgic post featuring many more.