Archive for the ‘milestones’ Category


January 24, 2012

It’s my birthday today.  Pearl knew, and gave me extra hugs through the day, but the littler two were largely unaware until the birthday cake came out after dinner.

“But when’s your party?” asked Babess, puzzled.  “If it’s your birthday, you have a party.  You have to.”

I explained that The Dad and I were going out for dinner, and that would be my party.  She wasn’t very happy about it, but I pointed out she was still getting cake, and she grudgingly admitted that it could still be my birthday even if there wasn’t an actual party.

“What number are you?” Fainjin wanted to know.  I sighed to myself, knowing that “my number” will be gleefully repeated to all and sundry for days to come.

“Forty,” I told him.

“Forty!” he crowed.  “And before that, you were three-ty…”

Pearl corrected him, “Thir-ty, Fainjin, not three-ty.”

Thirty, forty,” he said.

“No,” she was not sparing my ego at all, “thirty, then thirty-one, thirty-two…”

I smiled a little ruefully.  What a lot of numbers.

How lucky I am, to have had so many.  I smiled again, less ruefully and more gratefully.  Thanks for the reminder, kids.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.



Fainjin’s birthday

January 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, Fainjin!

Fainjin is five today.  Apparently he was hoping for a dinosaur-fire-fighter cake, but a banana cake with my first attempt at cream-cheese icing and dinosaur lollies on top was nonetheless well-received.

His best friend from daycare, M, came over for a playdate which went very well.  It was a lovely sunny afternoon, and the kids played happily outside for quite a while before coming in to enjoy the new birthday toys and Christmas presents.  When M’s family came to collect him, we sang and cut the cake, and socialised some more.

It was an unintentionally dinosaur-themed birthday: he received several dinosaur-related presents from different people, including one rather noisy one.  He and Pearl have spent a large part of the evening playing “dinosaur families” – there are two large dinosaurs and 18 small ones – making sure the “children” are fed (quote, “I’ve got some fresh meat for the babies!”) and giving them rides on the big dinosaurs’ backs.

And yet it seems like yesterday he was just learning to crawl…

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Happy New Year 2012

January 1, 2012

Well, here we are.  January, again.  This time last year we had just got home from our Christmas trip to Queensland and Melbourne.

Since then, some amazing things have happened.

A personal highlight for me was meeting Susan, Stimey, Jessica, and Kristen in Maryland in May.  It was wonderful to discover that people who seemed so lovely and like-minded on-line were even more so in “real life”.

Pearl and I had a great trip, caught up with lots of friends and made some new ones, and she discovered Disneyland.  She sat her first ever exams and did astoundingly well in them.

Fainjin grew up an awful lot.  He is now really ready for school, which I was quite worried about even six months ago.  He still loves everything fire-engine and emergency-services related, but has become more interested in dinosaurs and animals – he was fascinated by the series “Life” when he was allowed to stay up to watch a bit.

Babess transformed from a toddler to a little girl.  She has grown taller, although people still remark on how little she is for her age.  She speaks clearly and thoughtfully… and incessantly.  She is loving and caring, cute and funny.  She’s looking forward to being one of the “big girls” at daycare this year, and to being there by herself without Fainjin I think.  But she is still determined to go to school as soon as possible too.

May 2012 treat you kindly, bring you joy and laughter, challenges and successes.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2011

I hope Santa visited but you didn’t peek, you remembered to leave out a snack, the Christmas Crocodile didn’t steal it, and you’ve celebrated with family and friends no matter how far or near they might be.

Merry Christmas!

Hyvää Joulua!

Joyeux Noël!

Frohe Weinachten!

Gleðileg jól!

¡Feliz Navidad!

Gaudete! Dies natalis est.

God jul!

Nollaig Shona Duit!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

O Christmas Tree…

December 10, 2011

The children informed us that it was time to set up the Christmas tree.  And so, The Dad got the box down, and set it up in the corner of the lounge:

There you go...

But NO, that was not good enough apparently.  (Oh my goodness, it’s fun to mess with their minds sometimes!).  They insisted that the tree be brought out of its box – despite our protests that it was all neat and tidy like that and we’d only have to put it back later.  There was much hilarity as the children explained the basic facts of the matter to their obtuse parents.  So we got out the tree.

Close supervision

Eventually it was all assembled, and again we stood back.  “Ta-dah!”


Now we had to decorate it as well.  Honestly, the demands these children make.  So out came the lights and the tinsel and the Christmas Goats, and finally they had the ritual they had been craving.

Babess taking it all very seriously

Eventually all the decorations were out of the boxes and on the tree, and we were allowed a real “Ta-dah!”


I suppose I should really get cracking on some Christmas cards, huh?

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Very nearly a schoolkid

December 7, 2011

Fainjin had his school visit today.  He has been looking forward to it with great excitement, and I think it lived up to his expectations.

I picked him up from daycare at lunchtime, and we came home briefly before heading to school.  There, we were shown to his classroom, and met his teacher and some of the other children who will be starting in February with him.

They started off with a story, “What Does Greedy Cat Like?” by Joy Cowley.  Then they all drew pictures of food they like (ice-cream was the most popular), and wrote their names underneath.  Their teacher was thrilled to discover that all the children could write their own names.  “I’m so lucky!” she exclaimed, and the kids all beamed, adoring her already.

She showed them the toy boxes and they happily played together for about 10 minutes or so while she talked to the Mums, explaining her classroom routine and aims.  “School is about having fun, when you’re five, and learning is a great bonus.”  Fainjin was pleased to discover the Lego box, but his favourite toy was a Transformer robot.

They played a game where they each had a cardboard caterpillar.  The teacher would hold up a card with a number on it, and they had to get that number of clothespegs from a pile, and clip them on the caterpillar to give it “legs”.  Fainjin loved that – he loves numbers – and they all did so well they got stickers.  Fainjin is going to take his sticker to daycare tomorrow to tell everyone about it.

Then they explored where to hang up schoolbags, where the toilets were, etc, before heading out to the playground to have some fun.

Finally it was time for another story, then home.  Or in our case, a celebratory afternoon tea at the local cafe (funnily enough, we saw three of the other Mums and their kids there too!).

Fainjin is looking forward to school even more now.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


November 28, 2011

Fainjin will finish at daycare in four weeks’ time.  He starts school in February, conveniently at the beginning of the school year, as his fifth birthday falls in the summer holidays.

A fifth birthday is a big deal, and so that he didn’t miss out due to awkward timing, we decided to have his “birthday” party at daycare about a month early.  He has been very excited and looking forward to it.  Babess is a little confused about whether he’s five now or not, but Fainjin himself had no such uncertainty.

He helped me carry the big bag in this morning, and we put his cake – a banana cake, as requested, and egg-and-dairy-free as required – in the kitchen.  He proudly presented the teachers with a jar of his own strawberry jam, which was duly served up on bread for morning tea.

We had discussed the party with him, and the possibilities for entertainment – we could get a storyteller or magician to come along, or organise another activity – but he knew exactly what his ideal party would be.  “I would like to play outside with my friends and watch [a certain Disney film] on DVD.”  Very easy to arrange, and daycare were happy to allow the DVD as a special treat.  He didn’t think Mummy or Daddy needed to be there for the cake and afternoon tea – “I’m fine with just the kids!” – but The Dad went along anyway (I just couldn’t get there) and tells me the banana cake was quite palatable (whew! add that recipe to the notebook).  There were five candles, and everyone sang “Happy Birthday”.  Daycare gave him a book, which he and his friend sat and read for ages but he forgot to bring it home.

He was a very happy boy when he came home and told me all about it.  Next week I’ll take him for his school visit, to meet his teacher and classmates for next year.  How quickly the pre-school years have passed!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Dry day

October 3, 2011

Since Babess decided a few weeks ago that she was a “big girl”, we’ve let her take the lead on whether she wears knickers or pull-ups each day.  She is gradually having fewer accidents, but if she chooses knickers I pack up a couple of changes of clothes and send them to daycare so she has plenty of back-up.

That was the case this morning, and I expected to have a bit of laundry to do for her tonight.  But she came home in the same outfit she had left in!  She had obviously removed and replaced her knickers at some point, because she had them on sideways – one leg through the waist, and a leg-hole at the top around her middle – which must surely have been uncomfortable although it didn’t seem to bother her – but they were dry.

We exchanged high-fives and made a big deal of putting a sticker on a piece of paper for her, securing the “sticker chart” to the fridge with a nice magnet.  Because this qualifies as Big News, I suggested we call Nana and tell her.  “And Auntie B!” Babess insisted.

We called Nana, who dutifully made a fuss, and asked Auntie B to call us back in a few minutes.

But in the whirlwind world of a three-year-old, the news was old and forgotten by the time the phone rang, so when prompted to “tell Auntie B your news” she had to think for a bit before coming up with “I played rugby with my friend at daycare!”

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Moomin-themed birthday Party

October 2, 2011

We had a great activity planned for Pearl and her friends today, and she was really looking forward to it.  Sadly, though, through no fault or lack of foresight on our part, it was unavailable this morning.  So we were left scrambling  a little bit for something to occupy six 8-10 year-old girls and two preschoolers.

Luckily, we were close to a good maritime museum, and spent a good 45 min in there marvelling at exhibits, climbing into boats and model cabins, and pushing buttons to see what noises they made.  Pearl was bitterly disappointed and not very enthusiastic about “Plan B”, but she put up with it and her friends were happy enough.  A bit of a treat afterwards was seeing a baby seal resting on rocks nearby!

"I wish someone would scratch my tummy..."

Then it was back home for a party lunch (rainbow goldfish crackers from our trip to the US were a huge hit!), and Moomin birthday cake, sorry, Snork Maiden birthday cake:

Snork Maiden birthday cake

We also had Moomin wine-gums and Moomin biscuits (cookies), and a Moomin-shaped jelly which was very popular.  In the photo you can see korvapuustit (Finnish cinnamon buns) and the compulsory “healthy lunch” option: vegemite-cheese scrolls.  A large bowl of carrot sticks disappeared rapidly too, rather to my surprise!

There was much playing-with-the-birthday-presents and Lego-building, and singing of Happy Birthday, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


September 24, 2011

I was just looking at last year’s birthday post, and it amuses me that we are still using the same giant roll of pink paper to wrap Pearl’s birthday presents this year.

Today was a day of Zhuzhu princesses, books, music lessons, and horse-riding.  I think we covered all her passions quite neatly there.

Our funny, wise, infuriating, kind, wonderful girl is nine today.

Happy Birthday, Pearl.

Look, no hands! (sorry so blurry...)

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

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