Archive for the ‘fire engines’ Category

Pocket money day

August 5, 2012

Hello again, remember me?  (Blush).  I did warn you that Olympic fever had gripped the UpsideBackwards household.  Well, over the last week I have rarely been in bed before midnight, and have got up in the small hours of the morning – and what’s more, tried (usually unsuccessfully) to entice the children to join me – to watch New Zealand compete and win medals in equestrian eventing, rowing, cycling, rowing, and more rowing.  This has had a deleterious effect on my blogging.  Oh well, it’s only once every four years, and we’re already about half-way through.

Today we decided it was time to take the kids to spend some of their pocket money again.  It has been longer than we had intended since the last time, so they had quite a bit to spend!

Babess had recently wished she had a pushchair for her dolls.  She used to have one – she got it for her 2nd birthday – but it wore out a while ago.  I suggested she could buy one for herself, and she was thrilled with the idea.  They’re not terribly expensive, and I quietly made sure there was enough in her money-box (it was about right anyway).

Fainjin had enough saved up for quite a big Lego set.  He chose the forest fire engine – what a surprise!  It comes with a water cannon and a tree with flames on it.  I’m not sure how many Lego fire engines we have now.  I find it comforting that the bricks spend half their time being rebuilt into spaceships and robots though.

Pearl agonised over her spend.  We had said they could buy one thing each, and if it didn’t use all their money the remainder was to go back into the money box for next time.  Eventually she chose a box set of Artemis Fowl books, greatly reduced and a real bargain.

We had a lovely peaceful afternoon as they all played happily and proudly with their new things.

We reminded them again that these are the rewards for doing their jobs when they’re asked – something they have been really good about lately.  Babess is the latest one to ask to vacuum the kitchen.  She takes about 10 minutes but does a very thorough job.  I might have to increase her pocket money rate…

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


Rescue Ladybird

May 6, 2012

The local emergency services were having an open day today.  We always try to get to these.  The children get to talk to firefighters, police officers, paramedics and even customs officers.  They can explore the insides of fire-engines, ambulances, police cars and the rescue helicopter, collect posters and cards from all the services, and play on bouncy castles, colour in pictures, get a balloon sculpture, or have a sausage from the sausage sizzle.

There is also a children’s dress-up competition.  You can dress up as your favourite rescue worker and maybe win a prize.  I suggested to Fainjin that he wear his firefighter costume, but he wasn’t keen.  He put on the helmet, but not the jacket or pants.

I asked Babess whether she would like to wear the jacket and pants instead.  She decided they would be too big for her, and anyway, she wanted to be a ladybird.  “But you’re meant to be a rescue worker!” we told her.  Unperturbed, she replied, “I will be a rescue ladybird.”

The Dad and I grinned at each other and agreed that she might not even be the only “rescue ladybird” at the event.  “There will probably be one or two rescue princesses as well,” observed The Dad.

“Rescue princesses?!” scoffed our ladybird.  “That’s so silly!”

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


Thank you

February 19, 2012

“Mum, what can I do?” asked Fainjin yesterday morning.  Meaning, of course, “Can I please watch TV?”

“Ummm,” I replied, trying to think of a non-electronic entertainment.  “Tidy your room, play with your Lego, read a book…”

He regarded me steadily.

“… write a letter?”

“Oooh!  A thank you letter!  On the Peter Rabbit paper!”

I blinked at the enthusiam, but got the paper for him.  He recently received a belated birthday present from an aunt and uncle.  Lego, of course, which he loves as passionately as all his other Lego.

I started to write the letter for him.  He is still at the stage of dictating the words, then writing his name and drawing a picture at the bottom.

“Dear Uncle & Auntie, Thank you for the Lego! I really really love it!  Please can you send some more?  I like the forest fire-engine in the big box.”

“Um, it’s not really polite to ask for more presents in your thank-you letter, actually.  You might just have to wait for Christmas now, I think.”

“Oh.” He was quite disappointed, but didn’t protest and drew a picture happily enough.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Fainjin’s badges

January 27, 2012

Fainjin and Pearl went to a badge-making and sewing class today.  Here are Fainjin’s efforts.  I’m told the dinosaurs are a tyrannosaurus rex and a brachiosaurus, but I have to confess I’m not sure which is which.

The two fire-engines are incredibly cute, and the bee on the flower was made especially for Babess, who was delighted and honoured and insisted on wearing it for the rest of the day.

At the top of the picture you can just see the edge of the “glasses case” (drawstring bag) that he did in the sewing class in the afternoon.  He was a bit worried about the sewing – this morning he said to me, “But Mummy, my stitches are all too big…”.  However, he has done really well, and I don’t think his stitches are big at all!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Birthday list

August 29, 2011

Fainjin really wanted Pearl’s electric Smiggle eraser (rubber) the other day.  She wasn’t all that keen on him having it.  He gave it back, but was upset about it.

He hasn’t really wanted anything until recently.  Just in the last couple of weeks he has started to covet Pearl’s scooter – his has three wheels and he obviously thinks it’s beneath his dignity.  And now her rubber.

To ease the pain of returning it, I sat him on my knee and “reminded” him that when he’s a big boy heading to school in just a few months, we will get him a “School Box” with his very own paper and pens and rubbers.  His eyes went wide.  “I want one like Pearl’s but I want a green one!”

“Well, let’s put it on your birthday list then,” I said.  He’s never had a birthday list before, either – we’ve had to decide what he would like, since he didn’t have any “wants”.  I got the big diary out and made a page just for him.  I wrote down “scooter” and “green Smiggle”.  He caught on fast, and “farm Lego” and “BIG box of fire-engine Lego” were soon added.

The girls joined in the game, and pages for them were added.  This will be handy, come Christmas.  I started pages for myself and The Dad as well!

That night, as I put him to bed, he told me he had another thing for his list.  “I think I’d like… a book,” he said with his sweetest smile, and my heart warmed, another book-lover, “…called… Dinosaur Poems.”

The next lesson might have to be that you don’t necessarily get everything on the list!

Disclosure: This post has not been sponsored in any way.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


February 18, 2011

On the bus with Fainjin and Babess the other day, chatting away about fire-engines and other vehicles with flashing lights, and rating our favourites by colour and function, I asked Fainjin, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

He looked at me.  “What do you want to do when you’re all grown up?” I asked again.  “Ummm,” he pondered, “go to the toilet!”  Poor little man, the stress of toilet-training and being “a big boy” is taking its toll!

I explained what I meant, and as expected he said he wants to be a fireman.

one with ladders

He wants to drive the fire-engine with the ladder on top, and spent a bit of time telling me about the different sorts of fire-engine.  Ladders and hoses and skylifts, oh my!

“Babess, what about you?” I asked.  She didn’t hesitate.  She gazed adoringly at her big brother.  “I be a fireman too!” she said.

“Yeah!  You can drive the fire-engine with no ladder on top,” he offered.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Summer Festival

February 13, 2011

Despite our best efforts this morning, and the children being excited about it, we didn’t get down to the beach in time for the start of the Big Dig.  We were about 10 minutes late, and the digging patch was already crammed with families.  I took the three children down to the sand while The Dad waited behind the sea-wall with the pushchair and all our belongings.  We picked a spot and started digging.

After about five minutes, Babess decided she wasn’t really interested, so I took her up to her Dad, collecting a consolation-prize lollipop on the way out.  When Fainjin heard you could get a lollipop without even finding a prize token, he was all for giving up there and then, but Pearl and I persuaded him to keep going.

After twenty-five minutes, though, my nails thick with sand and my cuticles covered in tiny abrasions, I had had enough too.  None of us had found a prize token.  It was particularly galling because tiny children would come along and pick a spot near us, then find a token about 30 seconds later and wander off happily to choose a prize.  The only things keeping us going were the reports that there were still about 40 tokens left (in the small area), and several other similarly frustrated people around us.

Fainjin and I left, collecting his lollipop, but Pearl was determined.  The Dad went down to help her, and I took the other two for a walk through the market stalls.  When we returned half an hour later, The Dad and Pearl were emerging dejected from the sand.  Pearl had been digging for a whole hour!  The lovely ladies at the prize table let her choose something a bit more prize-like than a lollipop, for perseverance.

We browsed the market stalls, talked to Civil Defense people advocating preparedness, assured the firemen that we have enough smoke alarms and check the batteries regularly and yes please the children would love some fire-engine stickers, bought Girl Guide bikkies, talked to friends and neighbours, chased after blown-away hats, admired the capoeira dancers, searched for the people selling venison-&-fig burgers (they didn’t come this year, sob!), and watched the children enjoy the bouncy-castle slide.

As usual, we returned home hot, wind-blown, sticky, thirsty, tired and happy.

Two Fainjin-quotes from the day:

– on being told that his time on the bouncy-slide was up:  “No it’s not!  My time is down!”

– and later playing in the garden:  “Here Babess, this is a flower.  It’s for you ‘cos you’re a girl.”

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Village life

February 12, 2011

Each summer, our village has a festival.  We kick off with a parade, followed by bands and bouncy castles at the park beside the beach.  Next day is market day, with a “big dig” and various cultural events.  There are photography competitions, art exhibitions, go-cart races, and organised walks.

Today Pearl and I rode on a float in the parade, waving and calling to lots of friends.  There were more people in the parade than watching it, I think, a triumph of community involvement that reminded me of the Lobster Festival in Hofn, Iceland.  The Dad, two-year-old Pearl and I were the only spectators that day as (apparently) the whole town marched in front of us!

The Dad, Fainjin and Babess waited near the end of the parade route, waving little flags and cheering.  Seeing their big sister wasn’t really the highlight for them though, because bringing up the rear of the event were two fire engines, with lights flashing and firemen handing out balloons and stickers!  Hard to compete with that.

Afterwards, we listened to the bands for a bit, the kids bounced on the castle, and we inspected the carnival games but resisted the temptations of open-mouthed clowns and dart boards.

Tomorrow there will be lots of excitement I’m sure… check back then for more!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

A fire-engine birthday

January 3, 2011

Fainjin is four.  My lament that his days of threedom and going fourward are over was matched only for groan-worthiness by Uncle G’s asking whether he got any new four-engines…

Of course he did.  His gifts fell into three broad categories: Lego, crocodiles, and (wait for it) fire-engines.

LOTS of lego!

crocodile hat and bionic claw

Unintentionally hilarious instructions

Quote of the day is from The Dad, on seeing the Bionic Claw: “Great!  I’ve always wanted one of these!”

Fainjin got not one, but two fire-engine bubble machines.  They move around and sound their sirens incessantly and blow bubbles from their water cannon.  They are both the same brand, but different fire engines, so that worked out well (although noisily).  In addition to the “bubbles liquid infusion sketch map” telling you to “remove the fim”, the bubble mix has this:

Infunde a full minor lattice every time

And even better than the noisy fire-engines, the fabulous Auntie B made this:

Isn't she amazing?!

It was the hit of the day!

We had a family morning tea, with Nana and Poppa and Auntie B and cousins, then a “real party” in the afternoon.  Only one of his friends from daycare could come,  but even that worked out quite nicely, keeping things low-key for his first play-date/party.  The kids played with Lego and ate party food, while the adults ate slightly different party food (chilli roast beef and spinach sandwiches, nut pies) and chatted.

After the party, the kids watched a DVD while I “helped” Fainjin put together the huge Lego crane.  That is, I had a great time playing with his Lego while he watched the DVD and occasionally came over to see what I was doing.

I think we all had a good day.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

With a fire-engine cake, of course

December 13, 2010

Fainjin has never really had friends over here to play.  He does spend all day all week with them, so I don’t think he’s missing out!  But he’s also only ever had “family” birthday parties – and this year he didn’t get one at all, because we were sick.

So we thought that this coming birthday, perhaps he could have a “real” party.  With friends.  I’ll make a cake (I usually do, he just missed out last year), and we’ll have party food and the kids can run around outside together for an hour or so.

Rather than ask him whom to invite, we asked his teachers who his friends were, and quickly had a list of five invitees.  We had thought four, for his 4th birthday, but it’s not that big a deal.  Also, there’s a high chance some people will still be away on holiday, so it’s good to have some wiggle-room on numbers.  I wrote out the invitations last night, and had them ready for day-care this morning.

Then I remembered that we hadn’t told Fainjin what we were planning.  It might be a bit odd if other kids started saying “I’m coming to your party!” only to have him say “What party?”…

“Fainjin!” I said, “We thought it might be nice to invite some of your friends over to play here on your birthday, and we can have a little party!”

“No!” he scowled.  “I don’t want to!”


“Why not?  Wouldn’t you like a party for your birthday?  And have your friends come here to play with you?”

“No!  ‘Cos it’s my birthday and not their birthday!”

Ah.  I can see his point.  We had a chat about it, and I think he’s come around to the idea.  I’m pretty sure he’ll enjoy showing off his fire-engine collection.

Oh yes, he also wants a fire-engine to come here for his birthday… Hmmm…

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

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