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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Easy Crafts For Children – Making A Jam Jar Vase.

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As it’s just me and you here I’m going to make a small confession.

I have a bit of a thing…

For jam jars.

There I’ve said it. Once again I thank goodness we live in a flat because I think it’s an obsession that could quite easily get out of hand if we had more space – and, as it is, I probably have more than I would ever need. They seem so…useful. I find it nearly impossible to recycle them. Even though I’ve never made jam or pickled anything, and have no plans to do so, glass jam jars seem like a good thing to have to hand (just in case).

I use them to keep shells in, mainly (oh yeah, that’s another of my “things”), and to wash Freya’s paint brushes out. In fact, that’s what got me started on our latest “craft” activity.

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We collected some stones from the beach last year and decided to paint them. I imagined beautiful seascapes but expected more like colourful rainbows. What actually happened was that Freya mixed all the acrylic paint together and they came out sort of…brown. That’s ok. She had fun, that’s the main thing, and we can paint over them again.

While I turned my back to get a cloth to mop up a little spillage, she decided to paint the jam jar we were using to wash out the brushes. I didn’t think much of it at first but as I cleaned up, and saw my growing collection of jars lined up on the window sill, an idea came to mind.

Vases. Painted vases. Let’s call them “rustic”.

Using some more acrylic paint I got Freya to paint two of the jars green (we did this on the living room floor, on an old cardboard box, so she couldn’t accidentally drop them and hurt herself if they broke). I got some more colours out and just let her go crazy on the third one (which turned out, you’ve guessed it, brown). I then added some finishing touches (albeit with my rather limited skills, not to mention limited paint, as we’d run out of white) and I quite like how they have turned out, even if I do say so myself.

I modelled the decoration on (a much simplified version of) painted narrow boats, which we looked up and learned about on the iPad.

Originally I thought they might make a nice handmade Mother’s Day gift but I’m not sure they are quite good enough for that (and I think the paint might wash/chip off after a while) so I’m keeping them all for myself! They make a rather happy addition to the window sill (and they are a great excuse to buy flowers).

Do you have a use for jam jars that doesn’t include jam?

 

Poorly Day Idea: The Post.

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Like most of her nursery class, Freya has finally succumbed to The Lurgy.

While I’m a big believer in fresh air as a cure for most things, I also think she needs rest, especially when she’s up in the night even more than usual, but when you are a lively three-year-old, cuddling up on the sofa doesn’t seem to hold much appeal.

As a result, crafting seemed like an ideal quiet(ish) activity – and since her latest fascination is with the post, I thought that might be a place to start.

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Our postman has been delivering to us since Freya was a baby (he might have been on that route before but I was at work and never saw him) and has watched her growing up. He always takes the time to chat with her, which she loves, and I’m sure he is part of the reason for her fascination with the post.

We’ve been seeing him a lot more in recent weeks because he’s been delivering Christmas parcels, which I quickly spirit away and hide, and she’s been asking lots of questions about how it all works.

My initial plan was to make a post box and some letters but it snowballed to making three doors too (I had to raid the cupboards to find enough cereal boxes).

We started by covering and painting the boxes and then, while they dried, we made the numbers, letter boxes and post while also looking up what a Royal Mail post box looks like.

My plan had been to walk to our local one and let her take a photo with her camera but she didn’t want to go out at that point so we Googled it instead.

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They were simple to make and she really enjoyed playing with them. She hasn’t quite got the hang of matching the numbers and randomly posts them through different doors (a bit like Postman Pat). My plan is to colour-code the letters (for Freya, not Pat) to match the doors to make it a bit easier.

With the painting, cutting, sticking, researching, sorting, matching and playing it covered quite a few different activities – and most of them were fairly peaceful so didn’t set off her hacking cough.

To keep things interesting – and get maximum use from the boxes – I’m going to turn her little cardboard house into a post office. She can use stickers for stamps and I might try and dig out the bathroom scales so she can weigh some parcels (hopefully she won’t try and put them in the post box).

Do you have any poorly day activities you like to do with your children who don’t like sitting still?