Archive for the ‘play’ Category

Summer Living

January 8, 2015

We are fortunate these days. Neither of the girls are early risers. Fainjin is, but a few weeks off school have seen even him fall into the habit of waking after seven. Or maybe he’s awake for ages but knows not to come and wake us. I don’t mind which! If he isn’t bursting into our room to admonish us for our layabout ways (“Mum! It’s 7:04!”), we find him reading in bed or up, dressed and playing with his Lego when we get up.

Also, The Dad is still on leave this week, so we are having a relaxed lazy family summer. It’s lovely. We don’t really have any plans most days.

So when I got a text at 8am from a friend inviting us for a pool playdate today, I had to get out of bed to let the kids know. The little ones were reading – a pool outing was sufficient incentive to get them up & breakfasted fairly quickly. Pearl moved with less alacrity, but we all got to the pool in a reasonable interval.

Pearl took a book and sat on the side, but the rest of us had a good splash around. The mums chatted and looked after the two littler ones while the older boys played with swim noodles under supervision of The Dad.

Then it was home for showers & lunch before more friends came over for the afternoon – and our friends from the pool came too, and before we really knew it we had four adults and seven children for an early pizza picnic dinner.

There was ice-cream and running and chasing and a tent and crawl-tunnel in the backyard and “crocodiles” in the grass and eventually some tv to encourage a bit of quiet sitting-down time and minimise melt-downs.

And then, it was home-time and tired children were dragged off home by their tired mothers. We settled down for some family quiet time in the long summer evening and everyone went to bed after their proper bedtime. Again.

We don’t know what we’re doing tomorrow, either.

© UpsideBackwards 2015.

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.

A cup of tea for Mummy

July 2, 2012

Babess is really enjoying her birthday presents.  All of them*, at the same time.

Her big pony has picnics with the little ponies and the little pets from the pet-shop set.  Then they help the Lego girl feed Lego carrots to the squirrels from both the pet-shop and the pony play-set.

Then she puts on her bangles and sparkly princess slippers, gets out the kitchen set, and “blends” all the tiny pieces she can find – princess earrings, Lego carrots, pony accessories, pet-shop pieces – and pours the mixture into the “coffee maker”.

“Here Mummy, have a cup of tea!”

Thank you, sweetheart.

* OK, not the 11,000 beads.  Those come out for closely-supervised play under strict conditions.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Winter holidays

June 30, 2012

The first day of the winter school holidays is for

-sleeping in

-playing with Lego

-watching movies and tv most of the afternoon (while also playing with Lego)

-having play picnics in the lounge and hall and bedroom

-shutting yourself in your bedroom and listening to CDs while reading library books

-having smiley-bear pikelets for afternoon tea

smiley-bear pikelets

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Morning tea

May 26, 2012

When an echidna, two dinosaurs, a dog and a bee sit down to dine together, you can be sure Babess is pouring the tea.

politely waiting for their food while Babess spoon-feeds T-Rex (on account of his short arms)

Sophie the echidna chats to Spinosaurus

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

A warm welcome

May 13, 2012

“Come into our bedroom!” Babess invited the visiting three-year-old.  “We have hundreds of toys!”

It was a great start to a good day, two families blending happily into one with kids playing together, alongside each other, or apart as they chose.


© UpsideBackwards 2012.


How times change

April 29, 2012

When I was little, I remember having an old Bakelite dial telephone to play with.  My sister and I would have pretend conversations with all sorts of people.

When Pearl was a toddler, she was given a chunky toy cellphone as a gift.

About four years later, Fainjin was given a much slimmer toy cellphone, with a colour screen, holographic pictures and more ring tones.

Babess was playing with that one today – she has such realistic half-conversations, sometimes it’s hard to remember it’s a toy phone – when Fainjin came up and asked to have it.

“I’m talking!” she protested.

“But I want to play Angry Birds!” he countered.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Ruby’s cube

April 23, 2012

In Sydney, we visited Uncle G and Auntie M, and they (completely unnecessarily) had gifts for the children, all of which were a huge success.

Fainjin loved his little remote-controlled car literally to pieces (must try to fix it for him), Babess was delighted with the little food-shaped erasers which she has decided are perfect for her baby-dolls’ picnics, and Pearl… Pearl got a Rubik’s cube.

Auntie M and I reminisced about having them in our early teens (we are of an age, and a similar level of geekiness), while The Dad waxed lyrical about the mathematical properties.  Uncle G scrambled the cube and handed it to Pearl.

That certainly kept her quiet for a while!

Eventually she got most of one face together – just a couple of squares missing.  I took pity and showed her how to manipulate the cube to get those squares precisely where she wanted them.  Soon (within the same afternoon) she was able to make a full face of any colour that Uncle G nominated… until he started being tricksy and asking for colours that weren’t on the cube to start with!

Babess thought it was Ruby’s cube, even though she wasn’t sure who Ruby was.

I’ll be interested to see whether I have to end up helping Pearl search for “how to solve the cube” pages on the internet, or whether she will actually work it out for herself.  I never managed it, but she just might.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


Waitangi Day

February 6, 2012

On this, our national holiday, we went with the children to a cultural festival and listened to some singing, enjoying the happy crowds and the sunshine.

We couldn’t agree on food from any of the stalls, so ended up assembling a picnic which satisfied everyone’s tastes.  We took it to a green space to eat, and got to watch a couple of games of ki-o-rahi taking place in front of us.

Then we went to a playground, one of the civilised kind with a cafe attached so The Dad and I had coffee and tea while the children clambered and swung and rocked and played in the sand.

NZ’s a good place to live.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Plum birthday cake

January 14, 2012

We have had a terrible wind storm the past couple of days, and it was a relief to wake up to relative calm this morning.

The children played outside, The Dad hung some washing out, and I gave our poor old tomato plants some TLC – they had all been blown over at least once each during the storm, and were looking battered and dried-out, so I watered and fed them and trimmed off any damaged branches and dead leaves.

As I was disposing of the trimmings, I came across a “birthday cake” Babess had made.  She had gathered a dozen or so windfall plums, and piled dandelions, buttercups and daisies on top.  Yes, our lawn desperately needs mowing, but at least she has plenty of flowers for decorating with!

I looked at the plums.  Most of them were still in perfect condition.  I “rescued” them from the birthday cake – that game had been abandoned anyway – and checked the plum tree.  There was still lots of ripe fruit on it, mostly within easy reach.

The Dad and the kids helped me, and we gathered an ice-cream container full of small, dark plums.  Only about a kilo (2.5lb), but enough for five jars of jam I would think.  Fainjin is very keen to help me make jam again, and Babess wants to help this time too – I think she wants her name on the labels!

I hope it’s as good as last year’s plum jam.  Mmmmmm.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

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