Archive for the ‘milestones’ Category

Ever so clever

June 23, 2014

Babess is six. I have no idea how that happened so quickly.

We had a lovely day. She opened her presents in the morning – a bookmark from Pearl (from Iceland), a big Lego set from our hosts, and a small book from us because we agreed her “big present” from us is more pocket money to spend in California next week.

Then we went to our friends’ wedding which was absolutely lovely.  The bride gave Babess a posy of her own in recognition that it was a big day for both of them, and Babess beamed with joy.

Babess & Fainjin spent the afternoon playing with the new Lego set and entertaining our hosts while Pearl, The Dad and I went to the wedding reception.  When we got home, Babess had had so much fun that she had fallen asleep!  So we woke her up to take her out for dinner, where we were joined by a few friends including Babess’ best young friend from here (whom she first met as a baby three years ago and hasn’t seen since until this week).  The kids had a wonderful time doing puzzles and colouring in and sticking stickers, and then most people came back “home” for cheesecake and tea or coffee.

Babess had originally asked for a home-made cake, which I was happy to provide, but on a trip to the local supermarket we pointed out the bakery cakes – which are very impressive – and she decided she’d have a bought one instead.  We said she could choose whatever she liked, within size limits, prepared to pay to have one decorated if she so chose.  Initially she liked the look of a plain tray of cupcakes, but then she spotted a package of mixed cheesecake slices – four slices each of plain, caramel, chocolate and berry.  Ever practical, she decided that would be perfect because then everyone could choose the flavour they wanted.  Very nice it was too!

It was a cooler evening, so there weren’t many fireflies,  but I think she’d had a pretty good day even so.

© UpsideBackwards 2014.


January 3, 2014

It’s Fainjin’s birthday today.  He woke up early, and for the first time remembered to “sneak” around the house as he got up and dressed.  Every other morning he has bounded out of bed sometime between 5:30 and 6am, landing like a ton of bricks, and thundered through the house to the loo, only to thunder back again a few minutes later and apparently bounce off every single wall on his way.

The Dad was up first, and wished him a happy birthday, telling him he was seven now.  “I’m not seven yet, Dad,” he was informed.  “I’m still six.  I’m turning seven today.”  I suppose he’s technically correct – he wasn’t born until late afternoon…

We’d held his birthday party last month, before school ended.  We’ve found in the past that lots of people are away at this time of year, and even the ones who aren’t tend to lose track of the days.  They say yes they’ll come to the party, then the day after ring and apologise because they’ve realised they missed it.  Much easier all round to hold the party during the school term.

So today was a family day, with Nana and auntie and beloved cousins coming to help mark the occasion.  Presents were opened, jelly and cake and chippies consumed…

…and at some point during the day Fainjin turned seven.

© UpsideBackwards 2014.

All in one place

June 24, 2013

Babess started school today.  We now enter a very brief era of all the children being in the same place on weekdays.  Next year Pearl will move to intermediate school, and from then on they will all be at different schools and (presumably eventually) university and out into the wide world.

I’m told Babess did very well.  News this morning was all about the huge storm we had late last week, and all the children had something to share about that.  Babess needed a bit of encouragement at writing time, but did decide on something to write, and has nice handwriting.  At maths time she wasn’t very confident so chose to sit with the teacher and observe, rather than participate, but in the afternoon she perked up again and was speaking up and taking part in the class activities.

All in all, a very successful first day.  Especially because when we got home, Babess asked anxiously, “Mum, can I go to school tomorrow too?”

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Babess at school!

June 10, 2013

Babess is very nearly five!  Where have the last few years gone?  Did anyone see them?  I think they flashed by.

In two weeks she will start school.  She has been waiting for this for a very long time indeed.  She proclaimed herself ready before Fainjin started school, a year and a half ago.  And while I have been wondering where the time  has gone, for her it has dragged – just after her fourth birthday she informed me that she had had another sneaky one, so she was five now and could go to school thank you very much.  Earlier this year she moaned, “It’s taking tooooo long!”

So today was a very big day: her first School Visit.  We went to the school office first, to pick up her stationery pack, and then she bounced all the way to her classroom.

Once there, she suddenly became shy and wanted to hold my hand all the time, which was pretty predictable.  Her teacher made her feel very welcome, and introduced her to some of her classmates.  Babess was confident enough after a little while to join the class on the mat for news time while I sat quietly in the background.

Babess chose not to share any news, but she listened attentively to the children who did.  After news was maths time, and they are learning about measuring things.  Again, Babess didn’t contribute to the discussion, but when it came to the activities she participated happily, counting blocks into containers, measuring a classmate with long wooden blocks, and rolling playdough into fat and thin snakes.

The letter of the day was “J”, and the class was able to come up with lots of words starting with J – jump, jam, jeans, jacket, and so on.  Babess recited them all (about 20?) back to me on our walk home, so I know she was listening!  There was some writing practice on the whiteboard, and then it was morning tea time.

I thought that was probably enough school for us for the day – and enough of us in the classroom for the class and teacher – so Babess and I went to our favourite cafe for a celebratory morning tea.  Later in the week we will go back, and stay longer.

The other “grown-up” thing she did today was to join Fainjin in his beginners’ tap class.  She did very well, had a great time, and the double-dose of cuteness each Monday afternoon may very well give me a permanent silly grin.

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Fainjin is 6

January 3, 2013

Happy Birthday Fainjin!

It has been a scattered sort of birthday this year – a party just after Christmas with most of the Australian family, and more birthday presents from NZ family when we gathered to “do Christmas” yesterday, so there was only the big present from Mum and Dad to open this morning.  He confidently predicted it would be Lego “‘cos everyone always gives me Lego” (he says this with a huge grin), and sure enough it was the big Lego mining set he has been drooling over for a while.

A special “birthday present” was that his grown-up cousin had slept over the night before, having babysat so The Dad and I could go to a concert.  Fainjin adores this cousin almost to the point of worship, so having him not only babysit but be around for breakfast and to play for the morning was simply heaven.  And grown-up cousin is very very good at playing with the little ones.  He stretches his extremely long frame out on the floor to put the Sylvanian Family babies to bed in their little cottage with Babess, happily helps with the trickier bits of Lego, and then throws the Frisbee around in the yard for them to chase.

We had the traditional extended family dinner at the usual restaurant, and the chocolate cake had a dinosaur on it again – this time a mosaic of lollies.  I’ll put a photo up later.

Happy Birthday, young man!

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Happy 2013!

December 31, 2012

We are home.  It is 11pm, only one hour until the New Year in New Zealand.

We had a great time in Queensland visiting family and also having a little just-us holiday as well.  I have lots of photos and stories, and hope to post them in the next couple of days, in between laundry loads and post-Christmas catch-ups with NZ family and friends.  I suppose I should also do a 2012-in-review! I have been remiss in posting here just lately.

Meanwhile, celebrate safely and well.

May 2013 treat you kindly, bring you joy and laughter, challenges and successes.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Pre-birthday party

December 27, 2012

Since we first decided that we would be in Australia for Christmas this year, Fainjin has been talking about having his birthday party with his cousins.  In his mind, his birthday is immediately after Christmas (it’s about 10 days after), and he couldn’t think of anything better than celebrating with the gang of boy-cousins here.

So today we packed a cake (a bought one, horrors! but actually rather nice) in a chilly bin with lots of cold packs, some chippies, some lollies and plenty of cold drinks and met the rest of the Australian family at a local playground.

Presents were… presented.  A candle was lit, a song was sung, there was much feasting and then the kids all played on the playground and the parents and grandparents hovered, watched or ignored them according to each family’s age group and inclination.

“Is this a good party?” I asked Fainjin, just checking in to make sure we’d met expectations.  “Yeah,” he said quietly, and gave me a grin.  Babess, overhearing, was more exuberant.  “This is the best party ever!”

I hope she’s not planning a June repeat for her own birthday!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

10th birthday party

October 27, 2012

The Dad and I are still getting our heads around the fact that we have been parents for a whole decade.  It seems only moments ago we had just met and were trying to figure out who was going to move across the Tasman to live with whom.  But Pearl has been 10 for a whole month, and last night we had her “home” birthday party.

We were in Canberra on her actual birthday, and wonderful friends there put on a lovely celebration for her, but of course she wanted to have something here for her school friends too.

She agreed to keep it simple (whew!), and invited five friends around for a pizza dinner and to watch a movie.  I set out a couple of bowls of chippies and some lollies for them, and they were allowed to eat in the lounge (quite a big deal in our house).

I did make a major discovery – how to get Pearl out of bed and into action in the morning.  Just tell her that if she moves now, she can make her own birthday cake.  She was up, dressed, and measuring butter and flour almost before I could draw breath!  The cake was baked before we had to leave for school, and that gave her plenty of time to decorate it in the afternoon.

Everything went very well.  All the guests arrived at the same time, and parents arrived to collect them again right on the appointed hour too, which helped a lot.  They each had their own pizza (take-away), and seemed to enjoy the movie.  There was very little clean-up for me to do afterwards, and the whole event was relaxed from my point of view.

All we have to do now is ensure the thank-you letters get written!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Birthday party fun

June 24, 2012

Today we hosted Babess’ birthday party.  Six of her closest friends came bouncing down our driveway, parents in tow, to be greeted with squeals and laughter.  There is nothing more exciting than seeing friends you normally only see at daycare come to your house.

When everyone had arrived, presents opened and ooooohed over, The Dad took them all outside with a bottle of bubble mix each.  Thank goodness it was a lovely day!  We’ve had a few shockers recently, but we got sunshine and no wind when it really counted.  The neighbourhood was awash in bubbles in no time, and there was – again – much bouncing and squealing of laughter.

Bubble mix exhausted, they came inside and tumbled over each other to wash their hands and sit up for afternoon tea.  I had made a “caterpillar cake” – about 20 cupcakes in a row, with gummy-snake “legs” on each one except the head, which had marshmallow eyes and a drawn-on smile.  Each segment/cupcake had a letter of Babess’ name, a “4”, or a heart/star/swirl design.  I was quite proud of it.  I did notice that most kids ate the lollies but not necessarily the cake part though.

Birthday feast!

Apart from cake, there were chocolate crackles, chippies, fruit, milky-way racing cars, sausage rolls, cheerios (cocktail sausages), fairy bread and juice.  Much too much food.  Never mind, fairy bread for dinner won’t kill our family!  Attending adults were well-fed too, and a couple of large pots of coffee went down well.

As the sugar took hold, we shooed the kids outside again and my wonderful niece set up a “tattoo table” so all the little ones could choose temporary tattoos for arms and hands – and even legs.  Then there was much running around and exploring the house and playing with toys, as the adults chatted and enjoyed a bit more than the two-second “oh hi, nice to see you” conversations that you tend to get at daycare drop-off and pick-up.

Babess’ birthday ink

Eventually, things wound down as kids got tired and were taken home before reaching meltdown.  I did not do “goody bags”, and no-one missed them (huzzah!).  I did threaten to send extra chocolate crackles home with anyone whose present contained more than 100 pieces, but it was all good-natured fun.  Even the ones who gave Babess a huge beading kit laughed.

HOW many beads?!?!

Babess thought it was a great party, and Fainjin enjoyed it too.  I’m pretty sure the guests had a good time, and we didn’t set fire to anything, spark any allergic reactions, or have any accidents drawing blood.  I think we can call it a success.

(I still want to be invited to a Lego Robotics party at Stimey’s house, though!)

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

First book

February 13, 2012

Fainjin brought home his first school book today.  The idea at this stage is to read the book with him, not expect him to read it to us.  We discuss the words and pictures, and encourage him to spot the words he knows.

Except that he read it to us.

Last week’s word of the week was “I”, and this week’s is “am”, so unsurprisingly the book is called “I Am”.  It’s about things a baby is doing – “I am reading, I am eating” and so on.  So it’s not difficult to memorise, or figure out from the pictures.

Fainjin pointed to the words as he said them, but it was pretty clear he was working from a combination of memory and pictures.  He was SO proud of himself!  He read the book twice to Pearl, twice to me and The Dad, and twice to a visiting friend.  After each page, he would stop and hold up the book so Babess could see the pictures.

I’m looking forward to the next book!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

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