Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Life is hard when you’re young

August 1, 2015

I had annoyed Babess greatly this morning, and she was stomping grumpily (and sniffling) alongside me as we walked towards the supermarket. I mentioned that we were going to a cousin’s birthday party in the afternoon.

“I hate babies!” she declared. This is demonstrably untrue, but I chose not to contradict her directly.

“You used to be baby, you know. You were quite cute at it.”

She harrumphed and kept stomping. Then she said, very passionately, “I hated my life as a baby, and I hate my life now!”

Oh. I was really in her bad books. “What did you hate about being a baby?” She hadn’t really seemed that dissatisfied at the time, as I could recall.

“Being so YOUNG!” she wailed.

Well, you can’t argue with that.

It turned out that what she hated about her life now was having such a mean mum. She’d got over it by the time we got to the supermarket. Whew.

© UpsideBackwards 2015.


The end… or is it?

October 12, 2014

Babess wrote quite a lot more today, but I sense the story has got away from her a little bit. Her handwriting is getting sloppier and there’s no clear way forward.

Yeah but who will give the Princess A pet Maybe Gabbie Yeah maybe though not sure though yeah I think Gabbie would do it but she better give her a pet today yeah why because the Princess wants her new pet today Oh right why today because she hasn’t had her new pet in days ooh. kay I just love geting back my frends. Now lets go to our stable oh and your mother is gonna want you elsa come get your nice owner now the princess must have been mean to you yeah she was so mean. I wanted you to rescue me she was very horible. How did you get to the hiddin tower so fast we flew and we had a spare map of it the robbers stole the bronze one but we still had the silver and gold. you now what happened to the robbers we called the police and they put the robbers in jial so there we go that’s all well all for today yes that’s all no um I – all for story no it’s not all for the story but if that’s all when the end eeeeeer, I don’t now anyone now where the end is no, no, yes, no, never, ever. Okay who said yes i’m gesing it was mia yeah, it was me

So. Gabbie is going to make a pet for the horrible princess, and Mia knows when the end is coming (it’s on page 8, and we’re only on page 6, so there must be more action to come).

© UpsideBackwards 2014.

The story continues… Elsa’s escape

October 11, 2014

You will recall that last night, Babess had left off with the unicorns debating how to get flying powers – from birds, or from their friend Kate – so they could rescue Elsa from the Princess’ clutches, now that they have apparently despatched the robbers.

We had lots to do today, so not much was written, but here it is:

… but what kind of flying powers um yeah Good Quistion I think its Pixi dust really well she’s about to touch Elsa so lets stop argueing and just fly c’mon and lets use the pixi dust and fly the veiw from up here is Amazing isn’t it

Yeah and theres the Palace I see the Princess Elsa here fly first you need some pixi dust that my frends Gave me.

Wow I’m actully flying but who are your frends

Kate and Mea [note: not Mia, who is a unicorn sister, this is a different person] I now those two we all played together

Oh I can’t forget that the other ten plays with us too.

I don’t know about you, but I have many questions. Who are Kate & Mea? Where did they get pixie dust? Who are the “other ten”? What would be so terrible about being a princess’ pet? Are the robbers truly vanquished?

Luckily, we are only half-way through page five, and Babess has told me the story will be eight pages long. That’s how much paper she has (although of course I would always give her more).

© UpsideBackwards 2014.

Once Upon A Time… Babess Writes

October 10, 2014

Babess, like her big sister before her, has discovered a need to write. This week she has been composing stories about unicorns. She started with the title page to her book: “The Unicorn Story – and 3 other storeis”, followed by a warning page, “Watch out this first story is frekie”. Then a frontispiece, “Please keep good cear of this book. This book belongs to ______________”.

The story she started on the other side of that page is very short (so far) but full of suspense.

I should note that Babess writes until she stops. Sometimes that’s at the end of the sentence, but sometimes it’s just at the end of a word, because she doesn’t know what happens next.

Here’s the first unfinished story:

Once upon a time there lived some butiful unicorns each one went to the lake evry second day but they didn’t notice there were unicorn Hunters spying on them. One tryed to catch All of them because they were so butiful another reched out his

I’m encouraging her to finish this one because I want to know what happens next! Her Dad asked how it ends. She looked at him and said thoughtfully, “I don’t know! I hope it’s nice…”

After that one, she wrote a whole page of another story, and today she has added several more pages. Again, it’s unfinished. I’ll post updates as they come. I’ve edited (formatted) it ever so slightly to indicate how the dialogue is intended to go.

Once upon a time there lived 12 butiful unicorns they were very speacal because evry second day they would go to the nearest villege to be pets the only one who noone wanted she was Elsa she never got chosen its because she was lazy but once when she went to the Princess she wanted the unicorn she asked the gards to put Elsa in the Palace Garden she tryed to escape but the gards leash was to strong. Elsas 11 sisters were Magie, Sophie, Mia, Gabbie, Ella, Lily, Edie, Hannah, Ruby, Bella, Mazy. They were butiful and very nice. Thier mother was the qeen they were all princesses. Villegers were very nice to the unicorns they had brothers 2 brothers Jack and Tom. The all were frends. The villegers fed them and at night they would leave the stable gates open and evry night the unicorns would sneak out of the cosey stables and met in the midle of the villige the meeting place always got robbed so they dicided to set A trap by using their Horns magic by saying Magic Magic Make A big trap.

Once it was morning the robers got ready to go on their jerny to rob the meeting place of the unicorns they pack robing bags to put the stuff in them and some lunch some drinks and robots to make it faster. The unicorns hid they hid out by the wdlnows [windows] to spy on the robers this was their plan. They would make A trap and make it invisable so the robers couldn’t see the trap and that was good because then they [the robbers] would run away and come back tomorrow.

The unicorns didn’t want the robers to come back they wanted to find the things the robers stole they thogt the thing that had been stolen would be in the robers hideout. The things that were stolen were bronze silver and gold the unicorns were ready to fight but the robers wernt when the robers were in a very smart rober siad “Maybe we should go now” but the rober that was in charge siad “No we want bronze silver and gold thing and more than one way more” the smart one siad “I have a fealling the unicorns have A trap set for us.”

Chief: Noncence they would never do that

Smart: Really

Chiaf: Yes really now I have the same felling

The robers names were Tom, Jack, Sam, Thor, Blakness and Carol.

Carol: I thingk the traps coming down now

Blakness: I thing your rite

Jack: Then run

Carol: Hurry run it’s too strong

All together: Waaaaaaaah

Whew that worked it really worked our first plan that worked wow I want more plans to work siad Sophie.

Someone to rescue now and we now who that is its elsa c’mon we have to get to the Castle once the Princess touches her new pet it’s hers for ever so we beter fly but mia we don’t now how to fly that’s a problem isnt it well yes but if we see 11 birds lets ask them for their power if you do we’ll give you our power that would be our deal do we all agree

Well maybe I don’t think they want to walk but we’ve got no power but we could trick them Good idea Yeah I have a feeling we are being watched by the Princess. Well we’re getting worse arn’t we Yes. Well instead of walking my frend Kate gave me some flying powers and wings that control them selves wherever you have to go all you have to do is think of that place thats all.

but what kind of flying powers […]

I’ll be encouraging her to write more tomorrow.  And maybe I’ll suggest a few more full stops… I get breathless just reading the stories!

© UpsideBackwards 2014.

Fainjin’s personal Heaven

June 28, 2014

Today was the day that Fainjin has been waiting for, for months. Legoland Day.

We got a bus from Anaheim down to Carlsbad, a very comfortable & convenient way to travel with pick-up and drop-off to our hotel at each end of the day. On the longer trip home (due to traffic) the driver played a DVD to keep the kids (and adults) entertained.

Pearl & Babess dozed on the trip down this morning, still exhausted from the previous two days’ adventures. Fainjin sat next to me, quietly humming with anticipation.

We met Emmett & Lucy from the Lego Movie, and saw the actual set where some of it was filmed. Then the kids got their Lego driving licences and drove around the test track. We went on various rides and saw lots of Lego sculptures, but it was at MiniLand that Fainjin found what I think he had been looking for. Entire cities (or representations of cities, anyway), made of Lego.  While Babess asked why the model boats were floating in real water (instead of Lego water, I guess), he was nodding in approval, soaking it all in.

There were opportunities to build, and more rides, but by the end of the day all Fainjin & Babess wanted to do was run around on the adventure playground on Castle Hill. So they did, and were content, and arrived back at the hotel exhausted once again, asleep as soon as their heads touched their pillows.

(photos are refusing to upload; I’ll attempt something when I’ve had some sleep myself!)

© UpsideBackwards 2014.

Musee d’Orsay

June 2, 2014

Having been put off by the long queues for every other attraction, I was very keen to visit the Musee d’Orsay, one of my favourite places in Paris.  I resolved to be there before it opened, prepared to wait in line.  Pearl wanted to come with me, and we had a look at some of the museum’s paintings online so she had some idea of what to expect.

Musee d'Orsay

Musee d’Orsay

This morning as we got ready to go, Babess declared that she wanted to join us.  Fainjin was not at all interested, warning her darkly that it was a “just a looking-at museum, you know” but she was undeterred.

So we set off via metro to the Place de la Concorde with its Egyptian obelisk, and walked from there to the museum.  We arrived a little later than I had hoped, only 5 min before opening, and the line was daunting indeed.  But we found the end and joined it, and watched it grow rapidly behind us.  Then the museum opened, and the queue moved rapidly doorwards.  We were inside by 10am, only half an hour after opening.

That’s when I realised that today is the first Sunday of the month, so entry to the museum is free!  Hooray for that.  Babess pointed out a van Gogh exhibition, which was also free for the day, so we hopped in there first thing.  It was crowded but manageable, and the girls loved the richly glowing paintings.  From there we went upstairs and feasted our eyes on the Impressionists.  Pearl recognised a number of Monet paintings from various calendars and greeting cards she has seen.

Pearl looks out through the clock face towards Sacre Coeur

Pearl looks out through the clock face towards Sacre Coeur

As we left, we saw long lines waiting to see the van Gogh exhibition and thanked Babess for her prescience in asking to go in early.  Of course we had to peruse the gift shop on our way out and find some postcards and prints to take home.

From there we walked quite a long way to meet The Dad and Fainjin at Pont Neuf.  They had spent a very pleasant morning at the playground and gardens at the Tuileries.  We all got icecreams and took our seats aboard a cruise boat for a one-hour river tour.  It was a great way to see central Paris for an hour without getting sore feet!

View of Notre Dame from the river, looking downstream

View of Notre Dame from the river, looking downstream

It was only early afternoon when we were done, but we’ve come home for lunch and a restful afternoon – we all find the crowds very tiring and we’ve done a lot of walking.  We got some lunch at the Marche des Enfants Rouges again (The Dad and I would probably hang around there for some of the more exotic offerings if we didn’t have the kids with us!) and we’re enjoying just hanging out in our apartment and listening to the street noise below.

© UpsideBackwards 2014.

Rocky Times

May 25, 2014

A guest post by The Dad.

The bug that hit Babess on the flight over has since knocked out both parents, tempering our plans somewhat. Kate will write later about the visit to the Tower of London which I missed, and here I’ll fill in some of the following two days.

On Friday, we packed up and headed out of London, picking up a rental car from Heathrow and heading for Stonehenge. We had tickets booked for the 12-12:30 window, and looked to be on track to arrive comfortably early until we hit a half-term traffic jam just a few miles short. At the same time, the weather closed in and by the time we reached the car-park, thankfully not too late, it was cold, wet and windy. We donned extra layers and got the shuttle up to the henge, and as Kate put it, got “soaked in history and spine-chilling stories”. It was amazing to see the evidence of changes over thousands of years, and marvel at the engineering ingenuity of those who erected the stones, but we couldn’t linger without the risk of hypothermia and headed back to the visitor centre to dry out and get hot chocolate. Pearl, Fainjin and Babess had a go at pulling on a replica stone to see how many sets of them would be required to move it – and that is at least 99.

From there we took a variety of B roads to the White Horse at Uffington (, a far less developed site but no less fascinating. The kids enjoyed the opportunity to run across the wide hill-side below the horse and see the spot where St George slew the dragon. After leaving that, it was a slow drive through a succession of traffic jams to get to the Oxford YHA, and at last have accommodation with our own bathroom.

Unfortunately, Kate got very sick during the night so we revised our plans of spending the morning walking around Oxford then going to Bletchley Park in favour of heading straight for Coventry. This had much greater appeal for Fainjin and Babess who have been looking forward to their sleep-over with friends they hadn’t yet met. Babess was bemused to find out that the whole family were coming to her sleep-over.

We’ve since had a relatively quiet day, the kids enjoying roaming over a big house, finding the rooms they’re going to share with their new friends. Kate has had the opportunity to try to recuperate in some space and comfort. After lunch we left her to sleep, and Fainjin with some time to himself, and the rest of us walked in to the city to see the remains of Coventry Cathedral as well as explore the Herbert Museum ( which Pearl was delighted to find had a Roman Empire exhibition.

Snippets and quotes

October 28, 2013

We’re just home from visiting the grandparents in Australia. It was a lovely family occasion, with all of The Dad’s side of the family gathering at once, lots of cousins to run around with and plenty of happy meals together.

A few things the kids said and did during the week stuck with me…

Fainjin, to Babess, as they ran towards the water at the beach to paddle and play race-the-waves: “Remember, don’t drown!”

Babess, looking at the in-flight magazine with its glossy, expensive jewellery ads: “[Bulgari necklace] That’s pretty… [diamond watch] that’s very cool… [more glamorous necklaces & rings] those are lovely… [magnificent and huge Tiffany solitaire diamond ring] [in very hushed tones] That’s awesome!”

Pearl, headphones still on, eyes glued to the back-of-the-seat screen, on our third plane of the day, as everyone around her was standing up to leave: “Are we getting off this plane, Mum?”

Babess, stepping thoughtlessly off the side of the swimming pool and plunging in right over her head – right in front of The Dad, which was why he was in with the kids in the first place… she was shocked and unimpressed, but no worse the wear.

Building a sand edifice and decorating it with shells… “It’s not a sand castle, Mum, it’s a sand kingdom!”  Babess gathered the shells, proclaiming it “the perfect beach!”  Fainjin dug a dungeon then went to get water to fill it – I thought he was going to pour the water into the sand, but he told me “That would be ridICKAlous!” and he dug a hole for the water container (half a plastic milk bottle which we’d improvised into a bucket for beach purposes) and semi-buried it.  “Now the water will stay there, see?”

© UpsideBackwards 2013.


August 27, 2012

Pearl is in three choirs at the moment.  The church-based one (which doesn’t regularly sing in church, it just meets there), sang in church on Sunday.  It’s a beautiful neo-Gothic church with lots of stained-glass windows and candles.

They sang during communion, having been invited to do so because some of the parish children were celebrating their First Holy Communion at that service.  They sang beautifully, about ten young voices floating through the church – such a big space for such a small choir!

I was proud of Pearl, she stood up so straight and watched the choir director, opened her mouth to sing out confidently, and didn’t let herself get flustered in front of an audience.  The congregation applauded warmly after each of the three hymns.

We don’t regularly attend this church, but do have family ties to it.  I reminded Pearl that The Fabulous Auntie B got married in that church, and that her great-grandmother also sang in the choir there many years ago.  It feels nice to keep the tradition going in a small way.

Nana would be proud.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Movie night

March 2, 2012

After dinner tonight, the children scrambled to get into their pyjamas and we all snuggled together on the couch to watch a film.  We chose an animated Disney film, one none of us had seen before, and it was very enjoyable.

Babess sat on my lap, nearly half-asleep by the end, and Fainjin squished in next to me, so I was well-cuddled and warm.  There were plenty of laughs and gasps as the story unfolded, and at the end the children bundled themselves off to bed quite happily.

I’m looking forward to more Friday evenings like this over the winter.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

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