Posts Tagged ‘toys’

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.


July 28, 2012

Fainjin brought home a letter from school this week.  It explained that next week on Tuesday the children are allowed to take in a toy from home.  This is an exception to the usual rule that toys are not allowed to go to school.  They can take one toy which must be able to fit in their school bag, and it will come home the same afternoon.  They are going to draw a picture of their toy and write a description.

For the past few days, Fainjin has asked me every day, “What day is it?” When I tell him, he reminds me, “On Tuesday I can take a toy to school!”  He considered taking some Lego, but we decided that Lego is too easy to lose.  He’s very happy to take Green Bear instead.

This morning I found him in the lounge with pencil, paper and bear.  He was carefully sketching Green Bear, and then he asked me to help him spell some words.  He was practising for school!  I’ve had a look around this evening but I can’t locate that piece of paper.  I’m going to try to find it so I can show his teacher, she will love it.

Next to the bear is written, “Why is Green Bear sad?”

Oh – and in case you were wondering – he did get to vacuum the kitchen today!  And clean the toilet too!

© 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.

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.

More reasons not to travel with small children

April 14, 2012

On the plane, Babess and Fainjin each had a window seat so were as far apart in the row as it was possible to be.  Fainjin called to Babess, waving the safety card.

“Babess!  Have you seen this?!”

“Yes!” she shouted back.

“It’s the instructions!  On the plane… you are not allowed… [very dramatic pause] to light fires!”

Luckily, the passengers around us seemed more amused than annoyed.

“No! Don’t put Dragy in the bag!  I will carry him!” sobbed Babess as I rescued her soft toy dragon from the luggage trolley.  About 15 minutes later, in a completely different terminal: “Oh no! I forgot Dragy!”


If you, or anyone you know, found a 12-inch-high blue dragon on Friday 13 April, somewhere between the Virgin Australia Domestic Transfer desk at Sydney International Airport, and Sydney Domestic Airport Terminal 2, Babess would be very grateful if you could email us or leave a comment here.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Bear’s big adventure

April 11, 2012

Last year when we went to Sydney, Green Bear came too of course.  He mostly stayed at the hostel when we went out, although he might have seen one or two of the playgrounds we visited.

On our last day, we had to leave early in the morning, so The Dad and I packed the night before.  Green Bear went into one of the carry-on bags, but had to come out again to sleep with Fainjin.  In the morning, we got the children up, dressed them, stripped the beds and took the linen down to reception, left the duvets piled on the beds, checked under the beds and in all the cupboards for any forgotten items, and left while it was still dark.

A couple of hours later, on the plane, I noticed that Babess’ baby doll was in my bag, but Green Bear wasn’t.   “Do you have Green Bear?” I asked The Dad quietly.  He looked in his bag.  “Nooo…”  We wondered whether Fainjin had put Green Bear in his own little bag.  I checked.  Nope.

I wondered whether to bring it up.  We were still half-way through our trip, and I didn’t want Fainjin to be upset about losing his bear, if he had.  But I thought he might have put Green Bear in one of the checked bags.  So as we walked through the second airport on the way to our next plane, I casually asked, “Hey Fainjin, do you know where Green Bear is?”

Fainjin looked at me and giggled.  “He’s hiding!” he said conspiratorially.

“Hiding?!” I had a sick feeling in my stomach.  “Hiding where?”

“At the hostel!  Heee heee hee!”

“Fainjin… we’re not going back to the hostel.  We’re not even going back to Sydney!”

“I know!  Hee hee!  He’s having a – hee hee! – adbenture!”

He certainly was.  It turned out Fainjin had hidden the bear in one of the piled-up duvets.  Luckily the hostel were very kind and understanding and posted him back to us.  It took a couple of weeks to get him back, but Fainjin was supremely unconcerned the whole time.  He was perfectly happy knowing that he had sent his bear on a big adventure!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


Reaping their rewards

April 7, 2012

I was sure I had written about the children’s tick sheets before, but I can’t find the post.  Bear with me if you have read some of this before!

Last year we started a job sheet for Pearl – she has to do a certain number of her jobs (homework, clean the bathroom basin, dishes, tidy her room, etc) each week in return for a reward.  That might be pocket money, or it might be some other reward like extra reading time or a Latin lesson or game of Monopoly (note to self – get Pearl excited about Scrabble).

This year we decided that Fainjin should have a job sheet too.  His jobs are smaller, but he has to do the same number each week for a reward.  For his ticks, he has to set the table, help put the dishes away, read us a book, and so on.

Babess saw all this going on and demanded to have jobs too.  It took me a little while to think of jobs that a three-year-old can do, but we decided on things like putting her dirty clothes in the laundry each night, getting dressed by herself, and putting her dishes on the bench after dinner.

All the children’s jobs are agreed with them beforehand.

The tick sheets have worked brilliantly!  Pearl has missed out on pocket money twice – having made a conscious decision to not do her jobs and take that consquence – but the other two have done all their jobs all the time since we started.  They have each had a savings goal: Fainjin wants Lego, Pearl wants books, and Babess would like a pony.  I think she means “My Little Pony”.  I hope so.  Their pocket money was set at a level where they could buy themselves something after about 5 weeks.

So today was deemed “spend the pocket money” day.  Fainjin was thrilled to be able to choose and buy his own “Ninjago” Lego set.  Babess couldn’t afford a pony after all, but bought herself a little fairy doll which comes with a change of clothes and shoes.  Pearl agonised over several books before choosing one in a series she knows she likes.

They were all pleased with themselves and proud of their efforts – and so were we.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


March 29, 2012

Babess is pretty good about not taking toys to daycare these days.  She often takes one to cuddle in the car, and leaves it in her carseat “to looker after it” for the day.

But the past couple of days she has wanted to take her toy dragon “Dragy” into daycare with her.  “I just take him there and then you can take him away in your bag, ok Mama?  And he can looker after you.”

And so I end up with a brightly-coloured toy dragon in my handbag, lookering after me.

This morning as I arrived at work, I met our deputy CEO in the lift.  We exchanged pleasantries, and then he said, “I see you’ve brought your own toys today, Kate”.

Dragy was sitting up looking out of my bag!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

A bear’s life

February 26, 2012

Fainjin has a favourite bear, known as “Green Bear”.  He doesn’t sleep with it every night, or have to take it everywhere, but it is his favourite, and if he chooses to take a toy somewhere then this bear is usually the one.

Green Bear came with us on a trip to town last week.  While we were waiting for the bus, Fainjin showed me how Green Bear can do the “jump-jam” moves that he (Fainjin) learned at school.  Fainjin’s favourite, and therefore Green Bear’s also, is “KungFu Frightening”.  Fainjin sang, “Everybody was kung-fu frightening! doof-doof-doof-doof!” while Pearl admonished “Kung fu fighting!” and Green Bear was put through some energetic kung-fu punches and kicks.

Then Fainjin showed me that Green Bear is sad.  He does have a turned-down mouth, poor bear.  Fainjin gave him some cuddles, but he still looked sad.

“Don’t worry, Mum, I can make him happy – watch!” And Fainjin squashed and scrunched Green Bear’s face until the turned-down mouth was twisted into an uncomfortable-looking smirk.

Ah, the life of a favourite bear.

© 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.

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