Wednesday, 28 May 2014

My girl

My little girl is getting so grown up! Now that she has turned four, she is no longer a toddler and most definitely a pre-schooler. She is clever, articulate and funny and likes to make her own choices. She is clearly developing her own tastes and style.

My daughter's style is practical yet feminine. Not girly (she rarely wears a dress), she rocks the tunic and leggings look, often accessorising with pink or stickers or plastic jewellery. Her shoes and wellies have flowers on them. She loves clothes that are a little bit silly: monkey pants or T shirts with funny pictures.

Singing, swimming and gymnastics are the three staple activities of my daughter's week. She has won certificates and badges for all three and is keen to continue them when she starts school in September. She takes her hobbies seriously and looks forward to going to classes each week. At home, she enjoys craft activities: making, sticking, drawing and painting. She loves making patterns and enjoys playing with coloured beads and looking through my button collection, stringing her favourite buttons onto long strands of wool.

There are plenty of toys in the playroom but her favourite games involve role play and/or Lego. She likes to play 'mummies and babies' with her dolls (we have so many dolls...!) and loves to build mini cities for the Lego people. As I type, she and Daddy are rummaging through 40-odd litres of Lego, looking for hats for Lego figures! (He is building a castle and she is making a Rapunzel!)

My daughter has lots of friends, who she knows through nursery, her hobbies and my friends from our antenatal group. Her best friend is a girl from nursery. They have known each other since they were about a year old and have developed a really strong bond. It's a shame that they will be going to different schools later this year.

She loves spending time with her cousins, too. We live a long way from our respective families, so we don't get to visit more than a few times each year but the cousins get along well and play nicely - they just pick up where they left off on the the last visit!

There is often music in our household. My daughter loves singing and making a noise (I think she gets this from me). We sing nursery rhymes, TV theme tunes and make up silly songs with nonsense words. We also like to dance around to popular music. This morning, she is grooving along to an iTunes Genius playlist that started with Cake's 'Comfort Eagle' and has moved on to Beck's 'Devil's Haircut'! Sometimes, after she has gone to bed, we can hear her singing lullabies to her toys! (Ahhh!)

We have our favourite programmes on CBeebies: 'Mister Maker', 'Topsy and Tim', 'Melody' and anything with Justin Fletcher. However, we have also recently discovered 'UmiZoomi' on Nickleodeon, which captivates my daughter and has her shouting along with the counting and pattern-recognition games. 'Peppa Pig' is, of course, high on her must-view list.

My daughter has a few favourite films, too, on DVD or NetFlix: Disney's 'Tangled', 'Puss in Boots' and 'Kung Fu Panda' are among her most-watched. She also likes the Aardman Animations films about Wallace and Gromit.

We occasionally go to the cinema, which my daughter considers to be a real treat. She loves to buy a large box of popcorn and a drink and sit on my knee to watch the film. Despite taking a couple of toilet breaks, she is good at sitting through a whole film plus trailer.

My daughter's favourite foods are pasta and pizza. She also loves fruits and vegetables (although she prefers to eat them raw and crunchy). Thankfully, she will try most things, so we are able to cook and eat quite grown up meals without having to make too many adaptations. It is easy to take her out for lunch or dinner. She very much enjoys going to the pub, especially if we say we can stay for food. She mostly drinks water, milk or fruit cordial but occasionally asks for a cold cup of tea!

My daughter is confident with numbers and letters. She often points out letters and numbers when we are out and about: street signs, house numbers, car number plates, etc. I don't think she reads very much at the moment but she loves having stories read to her. We show her the words as we read and try to explain how letter sounds work. It was only recently that I became confident that she is right-handed, so we have just started to practise some letter-writing. She can write her own name (if we remind her of the letter order) but loses concentration quickly and often decides to colour the letters in!

My daughter is happy and confident and is a pleasure to spend time with. She is looking forward to starting school and making new friends. She loves being a big girl and gets upset if there is the mildest suggestion that there is anything babyish about her!

Increasingly, she is more companion than charge. We are so proud of her!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Birthday quiz: turning 4

On my daughter's fourth birthday, we repeated the questions from the birthday quiz. Here are her answers:

1) Who is your best friend?

2) What is your favourite book?
Yucky Worms

3) What is your favourite game/toy?
Mummies and babies

4) Where is your favourite place to go?
The Dog Pub

5) What do you like to eat?

6) What do you do with your pocket money?
Spend it

7) Who do you like to spend time with?
Gym tots

8) What would be your perfect day?

9) What did you get for your birthday?

10) What do you want to be when you grow up?
A tooth fairy!

It's interesting how the answers have changed from last year!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Losing my religion

No-one congratulated me on the birth of my son.

The room was quiet. "Let me look after this little angel for you" the midwife said, as she cut the cord.

I had delivered him on my knees. I gripped the bed rail and caught my breath. I felt relieved that the labour was over but sad that my baby was no longer a part of me and would soon no longer be with me.


The next day, the midwife said she was in awe of me.
I didn't feel awesome.

At home, a few days later, the community midwife told me I didn't have to be so brave.
I didn't feel brave.
I felt numb.


Grief changes shape, but it never ends
(Keanu Reeves)

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Day out review: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

"Daddy, can we go to the museum to see the dinosaurs?"

How can you refuse a request like that?

So, this morning, we set off in the blustery, wet weather to the city centre for a visit to the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. As with other local museums, this one has no entry fee but you are encouraged to make a donation.

The museum has a wide range of exhibitions. We only stayed for a couple of hours, so didn't manage to see everything.

The first gallery we visited was natural history: lots of stuffed animals from the British Isles. There were also some (live) fish in tanks, which were swimming around contentedly. Our daughter was able to recognise and identify many of the birds, mammals and sea creatures displayed in the cabinets.

Next, we went to the dinosaur exhibition. Our daughter was very excited to see skeletons and bone fragments from the prehistoric age. She was interested in the ammonite fossils, some of which had been found locally, and she enjoyed the interactive and digital aspects of the display too - making a plastic dinosaur jaw bite and piecing together sections of a skeleton to make a full dinosaur.

We continued to a display of maps and drawing of Bristol, which my husband found particularly interesting. It didn't capture our daughter's interest, although she did stop to look at some of the busts of local heroes.

The second natural history gallery contained stuffed specimens of foreign animals. Again, our daughter was able to identify quite a few. There were lots that she didn't know, though: beaver, echidna, chamois (?), for example. She didn't take much notice of Alfred the gorilla, who mysteriously disappeared in 1956 - perhaps the story will interest her when she's older?

After sampling the ceramics exhibition, we headed back down to the ground floor to the children's activity zone. My daughter and husband had fun exploring what was there and dressing up in funny costumes. A lot of fun was had 'stepping into' a picture frame and pretending to be the subject of a painting!

Tired out from all our exploration and learning, we put a donation in the collection box and wandered off down the hill to the Boston Tea Party for well-earned drinks and cakes!

Not a full day out but a well-spent morning! When asked what her favourite part of the museum had been, our daughter's answer was "The dinosaurs". So, I've promised to take her to the Natural History Museum in London when she is a bit older.