Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The tooth fairy

When Grace lost her first two front teeth I went to a fair bit of effort with fairy poetry, flowers, glitter pens and oven burnt paper to provide Grace with a pretty memorable first tooth fairy experience.

So after she lost her third tooth, she wrote a lovely letter to the tooth fairy then tucked both the letter and the tooth under her pillow before going to bed. I went to bed soon after leaving the official tooth fairy business up to her dad who dutifully swapped the letter and the tooth for 50p before discarding both items in his bedside drawer.
Things sort of went pear-shaped from there.
Around 4am the next morning, a very disgruntled Grace shook me awake to complain that the tooth fairy had forgotten her. I feigned horror then accompanied her to her bedroom to strike up the hunt for the money, only to find it under the pillow as expected. All was well with the world and a very relieved Grace settled back down fairly quickly.

Fast forward a few days and then all hell broke loose. Grace was sobbing her little heart out and it took me a good ten minutes to calm her down enough to find out why she was so upset.
‘Didn’t she like my letter? I drew her pictures and everything? Why would she put it in Daddy’s draw? Why would she put my tooth in Daddy’s draw? Didn’t she think it was a special tooth?’…
The initial shock soon turned to anger with a very upset Grace then pointing the finger at me.
‘You know, I thought something was wrong when I didn’t find any flowers or glitter…. There always needs to be glitter because its pixie dust that falls off their wings when they fly…. Okay Mum, I need to tell you something… I know you’re telling me the fairy is real and that maybe she was so busy that she just forget to leave the flowers but I remember the first letter. It was written with glitter, just like the glitter from my glitter pens. I think that maybe the tooth fairy isn’t real and that you were just pretending… just tell me the truth!
The tears were very real and no explanation that I offered would suffice so I took the low road out and handed her my phone so she could hash it out with her dad. Who magically made everything better by telling her the exact same thing as I did! Within just a few seconds Grace was giggling and skipping about like nothing had every happened.
*note to self: stock up on glitter, flowers and other fairy paraphernalia to avoid similar events in the near future*

Monday, 17 August 2015

Volcanoes are bad news.

Grace has a little bit of an interest in volcanoes at the moment. Her grandparents have recently returned from a holiday in Italy while showing her their holiday snaps, they gave her a brief lesson in the history of the volcanoes at Pompeii.

Which prompted the following conversation a few weeks ago:

Grace to adult friend ‘Have you ever been to Italy? My Nana and Granddad have. They went to Pompeii. Do you know what happened there? Well it’s very sad story so I can’t tell you at the moment because we’re eating our pudding but I can give you the good news....the volcano stopped!'
And then over the weekend, while driving through Cannock Chase, Grace saw the top of the power plant rising above the trees in the distance. ‘Hey, Look, volcanoes!' she announced. Looking at this picture I found on google, I can see why she made the comparison.
(photo of the Rugely Power Station by Dave Hanmer - https://www.flickr.com/photos/7706119@N04/2131414974)

Mascara versus Scarloey.

I may have mentioned in my last post that Owen was a little transport obsessed? Well his poison just so happens to be steam trains. Particularly the engines from the Thomas & Friends series.
This couldn’t have been clearer, when the other day, he and Grace’s had a very heated discussion in the car. Grace, who is growing up at terrifying speed stated that that when she grows up she’ll be able to wear pink lipstick and mascara.

Owen shot back with ‘No. You’re going to have Scarloey!’ and this seemed to be the catalyst for raised voices that bordered on high pitched screeches, which were far, far too loud for me in the confined space of our little Astra.

Grace ‘No, not Scarloey! I said mascara Owen. Mascara!’
 Owen ‘No, you need Scarloey’.
Grace ‘No, you put mascara on your eyes, not Scarloey’.
Owen ‘No! Scarloey’.
Grace ‘You can’t put Scarloey on your eyes Owen! It’s a train! Trains don’t go on your eyes!’

The next few minutes were a blur of mascara’s and Scarloey’s before I almost blew a fuse and desperately resorted to quietening my children with the eye-twitching soulful sounds of the Frozen album. We’d been driving for a few minutes in silence just listening to Anna banging on doors and Elsa letting things go, when I heard Owen say ‘But I like Scarloey. So you’re going to have Scarloey’…




Wednesday, 12 August 2015

If you didn't know...

Though born down-under and raised in the West Midlands, she speaks with a very convincing American Accent at times. With her newly missing front tooth, she’s developed an adorable lisp that is just begging for me to ask her to say things like ‘thistle and whistle’. She’s been attending acrobatics and dance classes for the past six months so if she wants to do a cartwheel or a hand stand then she will. Who cares if we are stood in a field of sheep poo? If she says she didn’t touch it, then trust her, she didn’t! But yes, she will take some hand sanitizer or a baby wipe ‘just in case’…
At nearly six years old she considers herself to be fairly grown up since she’ll be starting grade one soon, so this entitles her to chime in any time that I am telling her baby brother off for anything. No, she won’t mind her own business because she’s a big girl now and she is just practising for when she starts babysitting Owen. Which will be soon, since you know, she is just so grown up now. And ‘six is nearly eight which is nearly twelve’ according to Grace.

Also now that she is so grown up, she can dress herself. Myself or any other adult are no longer allowed to offer advice based on the weather or destination. This means if she leaves the house wearing sandals, shorts and a t-shirt in the pouring rain after five outfit changes that had the whole family running late, then I should always think ahead and pack some more appropriate clothes just in case. She also does her own hair now which pretty much equates to spending ages in the mirror while brushing the bits she can reach which makes for some terrible tantrums when it comes time to actually getting a comb through those naturally beautiful tresses.

Grace loves musicals of the Disney variety – she tortured me by being Anna & Elsa obsessed for the best part of two years but her current faves would be Mulan, Pocohontas and Belle. It’s not uncommon for her to command control of the car stereo and only she can sing the words to ‘Be our guest’ or ‘Colours of the Wind’. Unless of course, she claps her hands together just the one time. This is the signal that shows that you’re now allowed to join in. And join in your must! Not knowing the words isn’t a good enough excuse to be exempt from the Disney sing along. As punishment, she will ensure we watch each film another twenty times. That week.

She’s opinionated, bossy and completely irrational at times, but she’s also possibly the funniest person I’ve ever met (though Owen is fast becoming her equal). This is Grace now.  


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Meet Owen

This is my son Owen. He's 2 and a half, in love with all things transport and really fond of singing 'Wheels on the Bus' many, many times a day.

In the past few months his speech has been really coming along and just like his big sister, he comes out with some very funny things. Like the other morning; I awoke to find Owen laying nose to nose with me in my bed. The second he noticed that I had opened my eyes, he grabbed my face in both hands and said to me 'Come on Mummy. Let's go and drive over all of the speed bumps'. I'll pretend there was a euphemism there rather than a very literal request to get in the car and physically drive over all and any speed bumps that we can find. So sort of like my What Grace Said Next page, this page here will host Owen’s quips and conversations.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Her name is Grace and her cousin is Genghis Khan...

For the past few years Grace has played various make believe games that involve me calling her Alice, Wendy, Ariel, Elsa, Anna, Cinderella, Belle, Isobelle, Sophia, Dora... you get the drift. But today she had a different request for me.
'Mummy, stop calling me Gracie. That name is for babies. I'm a big girl so you can call me Grace & the reason my name is Grace is because I am just very graceful, beautiful and my singing is so lovely'.
Now I agree on two points but if I do hear her sing 'Let it go' just one more time this week, I may just have to take an extended parental vacation. Or maybe buy some ear plugs.

Like many people in the world Gracie has a birthmark. Her birthmark is small, circular shaped, no bigger than a finger print and it is also a bright teal-blue colour (not unlike a fresh bruise). Before I met Grace, I’d never seen anything like it and so I think I can be forgiven for the attitude I may have given the neonatal staff and for the suspicious eyed looks I probably shot their way when they said ‘Oh don’t mind that, it’s just a Chinese Birthmark…’.
‘Chinese?! But that just seems so unlikely’…
I don’t remember what the nurse said after that but I do remember discounting her explanation and  turning to Google, only to see that we got off fairly lightly considering how small and discreet the birth mark was in comparison to other children who had large bruise-like marks covering most of their legs and torso. But still… Chinese? (Or Even Mongolian, depending on who you ask). Picture me trying to explain that one to any babysitters, child-care staff etc who  cared for Grace before her toilet-trained days - hilarious?  I think not!
 Grace loves her birthmark. She calls it her blue-spot and I’ve always told her that it is proof she is special (it’s never too early to  prepare for those awkward teen years right?) But given Grace’s recent obsession with watching Disney’s Mulan tied in with the added bonus of her class learning about China and the Chinese New Year for the past few weeks, Grace has been asking a lot of questions -
‘Mummy, you know, today  I learned  about the Chinese New Year?  Well all the people wear red and they set off fireworks and Mum, will you show me pictures of China on your laptop?'.
After turning to good old Google, the most sensible search result seemed to be a youtube clip that gave a really brief overview of China whilst it showed some photographs of the Great Wall and other culturally unique Chinese images. After seeing the Wall, Grace got talking.
'Mum they built that wall to keep the baddies out if China Who were the baddies?'
Obviously the simple answer is Mongolia. But previously I had told Grace about the old Genghis Khan wives tale (Any babies born with a blue birth mark are descendants of Genghis Khan - highly possible that we're all somewhat descended from him considering how much of the world he conquered back in the day). But to make the answer easier for Grace, I explained that the bad guys in Mulan were the Mongolians like Genghis Khan. Quite rationally Grace has since been stating that 'She is related to the bad guy in Mulan and she knows he related to her because he has the same blue birthmark on his bum but she wishes that he wasn't really her cousin because she didn't like how mean he was in Mulan...'
Did I mention that for the past few weeks Grace has been learning about China in school? Well one homework assignment included sharing a Chinese fact with her class. I gave her plenty - Tea comes from China, The capital city of China etc.. but I bet you can guess which 'fact' Grace told her teacher?
For anyone that has never seen a blue birthmark -  Obviously I'm not going to post a picture of Grace's bum but here's lots of google pictures. You'll get the idea :) https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=blue+birth+mark+%2B+atilla+the+hun&biw=1366&bih=650&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=jmLJVJHJJY2O7AaR9YGIDA&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ#tbm=isch&q=mongolian+blue+birthmark

The Lost Daughter - Diane Chamberlain

Much like Picoult, Chamberlain has a way of weaving complex morally controversial situations with the kind of fiction that will make you question humankind. Without giving away too much, my heart broke in the twelfth chapter and it took reading the rest of the novel to somehow put all of the shattered pieces back together. In my opinion, childbirth and motherhood are two of the most extremely emotional and physical experiences that a woman can have and when something as personal and meaningful as this is stolen, the world loses something magical. At times ,this book is a heavy read but one that is worth persevering with just for the karmic resolution in the end.

Monday, 26 January 2015

The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty

If you found an envelope that contained a secret your husband intended to share only in the event of his death, would you open it? I for one, would let the curious beast within me tear that envelope open faster than light itself but not Moriarty's main character Cecelia. No, this character agonises over the decision for what seems like an incredibly long time and when she does finally open the envelope, she agonizes some more. I found the book to be an incredibly slow read up until the point that the John-Paul (Cecelia's husband) secret is out. But I battled on with the read on the advice of Neil's sister and mum, who assured me the book was brilliant. Unfortunately for me, the book then hit a point where I struggled to put it down. It was just THAT good. Be prepared :)

And then she started school...

Last September Grace started reception and so far she is flourishing – learning new things, meeting new people and enjoying all the new experiences that primary school has to offer. She’s in her fourth week now and I think it’s safe to say that she loves being a school girl. And while she is growing up so much faster than I ever thought possible, she is still Grace and she still has plenty to say. Here are some of my favourite things that she has said lately.

On her first day - ‘Can we go yet? Is it time yet? I want to go now! I can’t wait to meet all my new friends…It doesn’t matter if it is six a.m. At least I will be early and then my teacher will know that I am a good girl. Come on mummy, get up and get out of bed’.

In her first week - ‘My uniform is Green because I go to Greenacres and that girl over there with the blue dress goes to Blueacres. And girls in red go to Redacres and Mummy, is there a Pinkacres? I think you should have sent me there because I look so much nicer in Pink…Well… sometimes you do get things wrong. Don’t you Mummy?’

On homework during her second week - ‘I love that I have homework. Let’s do my homework now…Yes, know today is Sunday but I want to do it now. I love homework. Will I get homework all the time?’ (Home-work completed) ‘Is that all I have to do? Learn one nursery rhyme? Mummy! I was singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star when I was a baby! Does my teacher know that I am four years old?...Oh now you tell me that I have to think about what rhymes…Ummmm Star, Are, High, Sky! There – done! But I think you had better tell her that I am too old for baby songs… Yes Mummy. I know we have looked at the same nursery rhyme every day this week so of course I know the answers already. It’s called practise. I’m just practising okay?’

Friday, 23 January 2015

You can call me Joseph!

Before Christmas, Grace learnt about Diwali in school. As we walked home, she began telling me all about it:- 'To celebrate Diwali, you have to be either a Hindu or a Sikh. And you get to wear beautiful dresses that have lots of colours and lots of glitter. You know Mummy, I'd probably wear orange and pink because they are my favourite's. And at the party, you get to see all of your friends and family and you all eat yummy food together. And it's delicious! Mr Patel's mummy came into my class room and she showed us a DVD of the ladies dancing and she gave us sweets. Did you know Mr Patel and his mummy are going to Diwali tonight? I really want to go to Diwali... Can I go Mummy? What if I told you that I want to be a Sikh when I grow up? Would you let me go then?...'

And ever since Diwali, Grace has been curious about religion.
'So If I'm not a Hindu or a Sikh, does that mean that I am Christian? Today my teachers told me all about Mary and Jesus'...
Grace basically covered her version of the Nativity story before asking if she, Owen and I could pretend to be Mary, Joseph and Jesus during the walk home. Naturally Owen was Jesus and Grace was Mary so I bet you can guess which one of us got lumped with being Joseph! I'm not saying he is the most boring of the lot but he really doesn't seem to have much to do in the story, or at least nothing as exciting as being Gods Son or the Virgin Mother. But anyway, there we were. Grace, Owen and I walking up the road and all the while there was Grace commanding Jesus to follow her. 
It really wasn't a problem until Grace chose the exact moment that a group of mums passed us by to announce 'Jesus! You need to listen to your mum and just look at that donkey'...All while pointing in my direction (I was holding the pram which I think was the make believe donkey?).

Before Christmas, Grace was keen to get permission to walk herself to school. Just like she sees some of the bigger kids at school do. Naturally my answer was No. No ifs, No buts. Just No!
'But Mummy, I'm four. And soon I'll be five and that is pretty grown up you know... I don't wear nappies, I know to look for cars and if I fall over then I will be very brave!'.

One morning, after Grace had listed off about a million things that she wanted me to buy her for Christmas, I asked Grace whether she was going to get me anything for the occasion.
'Oh yes, Mum. I know you like word things so I'm going to ask Nana to buy you a book that has lots of words. But not a boring book. Probably a book about princesses and fairies. Actually Mum, I'm going to make a book for you. I'll tell you what to say and you just need to write it down...'

While eating dinner at a local carvery, Grace announced she was full but now ready for dessert. She was told that as she wasn't going to finish her meal because she was full then she would have to forgo any pudding. To this Grace replied 'Actually I have two tummys - one for dinner and one for pudding. The dinner one is full but the pudding one hasn't even started yet!'.

One day while we were out it began to rain. The kids and I managed to find cover while Neil got drenched sorting out the car. While watching him, Grace exclaimed 'Look at Daddy, the frog!' Seeing as Neil is not at all amphibian-like, I queried this with her. Sighing exasperatedly, she snapped 'Daddy is as wet as a frog! You do know that frogs live in water don't you? And it's raining...' 

One thing Grace is never short of is an unintentional back-handed compliment. She has plenty of them and in the past five years, I have copped more than my fair share. This doozy began quite pleasantly,
'I'm going to be five soon Mum. That means I need a birthday party so can you buy me a cake and invite all my friends? But I need to tell you something... Well... I don't want you to come to my birthday party because I'm going to be very grown up and too busy to play with you. Don't worry it's not because your old and boring. It's because I'm going to be a big girl and I just don't really need you there. Besides you're not famous or a pop-star so my friends probably won't want to play with you either...'

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Money, Bugs and Florence.

One afternoon after I had collected Grace from school she asked me if I knew who Florence Nightingale was. I was really impressed and excited that she was sharing what she had learnt with me until she asked if I could find her a video to watch... 'I saw a video today but I missed out on the soldier bit because Miss Harper thought it might be too scary. She said we wouldn't like to see that bit because all the soldiers had been hurt in the war but I'm almost five. I'm big enough to see some blood...'

The other day Grace was colouring while sitting at the dining table. I'd left the radio on and she seemed pretty happy to be left to it. Not long after Neil and I were sitting in the lounge room when Grace came in and announced 'Daddy,  the people on the radio are talking about you. I heard them say your name... It was a hospital man and he said ''Neil Jones was visiting the hospital''. And that is you Daddy...'
Neil tried explaining that maybe it was about somebody else named Neil Jones but Grace couldn't be talked around 'No Daddy, It must have been about you from when you broke your hand at football'.

The same afternoon, Grace decided that she didn't like bugs (again).
'Daddy! There is a wasp in the kitchen. Get rid of it, I don't like it'. She stomped into the living room with both hands on her hips.
Neil replied, 'Don't worry, I think that's a fly and not a wasp'.
Still behaving rather bossily, she demanded 'Just come get rid of it anyway Daddy!'
Neil shook his head and said 'No I can't spray it, Mummy doesn't like when I do'.
So Grace asked him why. Trying to pass the buck on to me, Neil said 'Mummy thinks the sprays are bad for you so she doesn't let me use them'.
Pushing her luck, Grace slyly asked 'So what happens if you spray the bug anyway?'...
To put a stop to the nagging, Neil shot back 'I'm not going to spray the bug Grace'.
Keen to have the last word, Grace asked cheekily 'Well then what happens if the bug sprays you?'....

This afternoon we aimed to give Grace a really basic understanding of money by discussing some basic chores she could do in exchange for pocket money. The cost of each chore ranges in price from 1p to 20p for each chore depending on how small or big the task is. For example, she can earn 1p for doing her homework after school or for simply brushing her teeth or even 20p for letting me wash her hair (According to Grace, hair washing night is the worst thing to ever happen to a little girl) giving Grace the chance to earn up to £4.00 per week if she does every job on the list. It seemed that it was all making sense and I was confident that she was grasping the concept when she got to talking about the job she plans to have when she grows up.
'Mummy, I'm going to work in a shop when I'm older. And I'll be richer than everybody else because people will give me all their money. And I won't be silly and give them any money back ever... No Mummy, it won't be their change. it will be my money...Because! They gave me all their money first! So I don't have to give them anything back. Ever... And when I'm a grown up I'll buy all my own sweets and magazines. I can even buy them whenever I want too'...

Sunday, 19 October 2014

This one, That One, Another One, One More and The Last One

With my upcoming redundancy Grace and I have been talking jobs. According to Grace I could stay at home and look after her. But she plans to pay me with pennies. 'But not too many pennies or she might run out...' Her other great suggestion is that I could work at the local garden centre. 'If you worked at the Garden Centre, I could come and visit you any time I wanted...Yes I know I can see
you at home anytime. But at the garden centre I could also see all of the fish...' 
Grace has a crush. A very scary yucky crush.
The other morning before school, I spied her giving a little boy in her class a cuddle. She then leant in close and gave him a kiss on the cheek. A KISS ON THE CHEEK! Oh. My. Gosh. Just wow! And I have to say I was a little relieved when he wriggled free of her grasp to run away. But it seemed a little pointless since she only chased after him anyway. He managed to lose her somewhere out on the basketball courts. She gave up the chase and then came skipping back over to me. She didn't seem disappointed.
But while I was laughing with one of the other mum's and discussing just how grown up all of the kids seem to be when that same little boy came running over to her. He wrapped his little arms around her then gave her a big kiss. ON THE MOUTH... It was only a peck but I stopped laughing pretty quickly.
They said they grow fast but not this fast!
I think being a Diva may come a little too naturally to Grace.
She had her first school disco this week and we had a lovely time getting her all dressed up for it. With some persuasion, I let her wear some makeup. Nothing to crazy - just a little lip gloss, blush and ummm... mascara. Yep. Mascara! 'Mummy can I wear mascara? Why not? I know my eyelashes are beautiful. But with some mascara I can have pretty lashes like you!'. Because sometimes flattery really does get you what you want. But look at just how lovely she looks!
I stayed at the Disco for about ten minutes or so to make sure that Grace was all settled in. Before leaving I gave her a couple of glow sticks so she could really rock out. Unfortunately she burst one pretty much straight away. It went all over my coat and I'm pretty sure my parts of my face were glowing a pretty shade of highlighter pink! But I took that as my cue to leave. At home I had about an hour to kill. The first thing I did was scrub my coat because while 'You're glowing' is always a great compliment, I'm not sure that 'Hey man, your elbow is looking so fluorescent these days' really counts as much of a compliment. And then I spent the next forty minutes pacing the kitchen and clanking at the clock while eating a carrot. I think I was more than a little nervous for her. But in next to no time, it was time to go pick her up.
After the Disco, Grace was sitting eating some pasta with Neil and me. We were discussing how her evening had gone and then we got around to talking about boys and how you mustn't go about kissing them. Ever. Never Ever (I really can't stress this 'never' business enough). But according to Grace she has a 'front friend' and a 'back friend'. At first this statement raised some eyebrows. But after some questioning it was explained...
'Mummy, I have five friends... Yes friends. And my friends are boys. So they are my boyfriends. This one, That One, Another One, One More and The Last One' (Okay, just to explain that is obviously not their names but that amounts to what I heard her say). As she listed them off she counted them each on her hand. 'This One is my front friend and The Last One is my back friend. My front friend is the one I like the best. And The Last One is the friend that I like the least because sometimes he doesn't want to sit near me. Actually I think maybe he isn't really my friend. I don't really like him at all. So he is my back friend...' (It makes complete sense if you think about it). 'And This One is my favourite. We pretend to be firemen together. I like him the best. I like him so much that I Just want to give him a big kiss!' So I told her what she needed to hear - Kissing boys makes you turn into a boy. So that should be the end of that.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Hello thunder cloud - we meet again!

 Those of you who have read my recent face book posts will be familiar with the Thunder Cloud situation at Grace’s school. And given that Grace has a strong personality, it might not surprise you that we’ve had another run in with said thunder cloud. Now Grace is a good girl and while I think she is pretty special she does have her moments that can test the adults in her life, but like everybody she is learning that there are consequences for bad behaviour. And at school the typical punishment for naughtiness seems to result in a stint of being ‘put on thunder cloud’. Now I don’t know what this thunder cloud is or what it involves but according to Grace it is the absolute worst so you can imagine the mood she was in the other day when she was for the second time, placed on said cloud.
When I picked her up at home-time, she stormed out of the class room and threw her book bag and coat at my feet then stomped up the path towards the school gate. After stooping to collect her things, I hurried up the path after her. Don’t be fooled by her little legs. They can move pretty fast so I was a little out of puff when I finally caught up to her. Choosing my words carefully, I asked whether she had had a good day. She didn’t answer. Walking hand in hand, we crossed the road in silence. I asked her again how her day had been if something bad had happened. This did the trick – ‘I had a yucky horrible thundery day! My teacher put me on the thunder cloud and now I’m really, really cross with her!’ After some questioning, I discovered that Grace and her teacher had fallen out over who's job it was to lead the class...'She told me that I have to be quiet when it's her time to talk but she talks all of the time! When is it going to be my turn ? And why do we all have to do what she says? It's not fair! I wanted my friends to play 'Numberjacks' with me but she said we all had to practise writing our names on our white boards! It's just silly. I know how to write my name'...
Oh dear! Needless to say, the rest of the walk home involved much discussion about how she should behave during class time and why it's important to listen to and follow her teacher.  Let's hope we don't have any more run ins with any more stormy weather.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Because Elephants have wrinkles...

Tonight Grace stood and watched me as I covered my face in a thick night moisturiser...

'Mummy, are you putting cream on because your face is sore?'
'No my face is fine. I'm just putting on cream to stop me from getting any wrinkles'.
Screwing her face up she asked 'But what happens if you put wrinke cream on your face when you don't have any wrinkles?'
Hearing this question made my heart skip a quick beat. Was this a compliment? from Grace??? Feeling quite pleased with how sweet Grace can be, I thought I'd fish for another compliment or two... 'Nothing happens. You just keep your skin happy. Why? Don't I have any wrinkles?'
This would have been the ideal point for her to say no.  But instead I copped the very cruel 'Yes. You do. There is lots of them!'...
She then began a very exhaustive list of how much my face wrinkles up when I laugh, smile, look cross, yawn, talk, brush my teeth, breathe.

She then started to sing. A very beautiful but cruel rendition of 'Elephants have wrinkles, wrinkles, wrinkles, Elephants have wrinkles, wrinkles everywhere!'

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Maybe she could be my Aunt Jean..

Things for our family have been pretty hectic lately hence the lack of any posts in the last month or so but here is a lovely moment that Grace and I shared last month.  Before the end of day light savings and whilst it was still reasonably light at 5:30pm: 
Because things were so busy Grace and I were having to snatch whatever moments we could just to spend a little mummy-daughter time together. One evening, Neil dropped Grace off at my work so that we could share the walk home together. Our walk started off with her chirping about her day with her Nana and Owen and then it somehow carried off into a moving performance of a bear hunt. At some point between swishing and swashing through the tall, tall grass and finding the bear in a pretend dark cave Grace stopped the game, turned to me and whispered 'Mummy, please don't be sad anymore'. I was taken aback. 
This year my parents separated. And in the past few months I’ve become painfully aware that the familiarity of 'Home' back in Melbourne no longer exists and I had been feeling down about it. You don’t realise just how busy and short life is until you blink one day and realise three years has passed. And the recent death of a very dear great Aunt back in September had made me pretty miserable but I thought I’d done a pretty good job of hiding those feelings from Grace. It turns out intuitively, my little girl knows me better than anybody else. So much so that not even a make believe game couldn’t disguise how I had really been feeling. 
 She continued on ‘You know mummy if it would make you feel better, I could be your great Aunt. But not today because I’m wearing jeans and she probably liked wearing skirts…'

Sunday, 13 October 2013

The good little witch

On Saturday morning Grace was performing with her preschool class at the day dare centre's Halloween themed charity fundraising/open day. All the kids were going in costume and in true me fashion, I'd been so busy that I'd forgotten to make Grace a costume. Bad Mum!
And so there we were, Friday night, racing down to Hobby Craft to get a few bits and bobs to make her a costume. On the way down to the shops, I thought I'd ask Grace what she wanted to dress up as. Clapping her hands gleefully she commanded 'I'm going to be a pretty mermaid with legs like Ariel. Make me a tail mummy!'
Unfortunately for Grace her determination to be a mermaid was no match for my determination for her to pick an easier costume to make. I’d already had a look on line at and decided that a no-sew tulle skirt would make a great addition to a witches costume. So we argued the whole journey to the shops. And as usual, my arguments with Grace are about 90% ridiculousness versus 10% sense…

 'Sorry Grace but I don't think mermaids come out at Halloween. What if you be a scary witch instead?'
Shaking her head, she said ‘But I’m not really a nasty old witch. So I’m just going to have to be a mermaid instead mummy’.
Raising my eyebrows and smirking at the irony in her statement, I wasn’t ready to give in yet. ‘Well Halloween is about being tricky and causing mischief. I don’t think Ariel is naughty or sneaky. So I don’t think you should be a mermaid this time’.
Looking horrified that I would even think to suggest that a mermaid would be anything but divine, she folded her arms angrily and shouted ‘No Mummy! Mermaids are beautiful and good. And I’m a lovely little girl so that is what I want to be!’
Not quite put in my place, I battled on. ‘Well you’re already beautiful and good. But Halloween gives you a chance to pretend to be naughty. Wouldn’t you like to be a naughty witch? Besides all your friends will probably be dressed up as monsters. I don’t think a mermaid would really be happy in at a monster party. So wouldn’t you rather be a witch?’
Determined to be a mermaid she shook her head and appealed to my compassionate side. ‘No Mummy. I’m going to be a beautiful mermaid and be very nice to everybody. If was a nasty witch, I’d have to be mean and nasty. And then people would be sad and not have any fun. So I absolutely have to be a nice mermaid. Okay Mummy?’
I decided to get ridiculous and reason with her bizarre logic. ‘Yes but you don’t have to be an evil witch. You could just be a little bit cheeky and then people would still have fun. Besides, you have to sing and dance. How are you going to dance with fins?’
She kept her feet together and sat in her car seat flapping her feet like a fish. ‘Like this. It’s easy. You do it too. Come on Mummy. Let’s be mermaids together’.
I tried another tactic.  ‘Well I’m driving so I can’t be a mermaid but you can pretend for now. And then when we get to the shop we can pretend that you’re Ariel after she loses her voice and that way you can have legs so can wear a pretty skirt and be a witch, just for this weekend’.
She was still sat there staring out the window and flapping her non-existent tail when I heard her say in a very faint voice ‘But I like talking’.
And then all was quiet in the back until I heard some very quiet giggling. After a bit the giggling turned into a very sarcastic sounding laugh. Peering at her through the rear-view mirror, I asked her what she was doing. ‘I’m practicing my cackle for when I’m a witch. But I don’t sound very good’.
Going with flattery, I told her she sounded like a fantastic witch and suggested that she carry on practicing her cackle. It was quiet in the back again before she announced ‘Well I’ve been trying to turn you into a frog for a long time but you’re still a mummy so I’m just not very good at being a witch. So you’re going to have to just make me a mermaid costume Mummy’.
Almost ready to give in, I tried one last time to get her to give up on being a mermaid, ‘What if I let your pick the material and you choose a pretty pink and you can even help me make the skirt…'.
Turning her head to look me square in the eye she demanded 'Tell me more about this skirt!'...WIN! 

 With very little encouragement, she ended up choosing a pink Tulle and a black cobweb patterned fabric. By some miracle she also managed to channel her inner witch and get lippy with the poor sales assistant in Hobby Craft. 'Mummy is my fabric ready? Tell the lady to hurry up. Why hasn't she finished cutting it yet?' Then back at home, with Neils very reluctant help, the project only took a few hours to complete. We reckon she made a fantastic witch, even if she did insist that I call her the 'Pink Princess Witch'. What do you reckon?
 Inspiration for the skirt came from http://www.simplyrealmoms.com/posts/adorable-diy-no-sew-tutu/

Monday, 7 October 2013

Spider nests and peanut butter sandwiches for the foxes....

With my return to work I've been a little strapped for time but Grace has kept up with her usual hilarious self and so I have plenty of anecdotes to share so brace yourselves for a lengthy post. In fact, it might be best to grab a cuppa since this post might be quite a read!

Tonight Grace played a magic trick on me and I use the word ‘magic’ very, very loosely.
Holding a deck of cards out to me, she asked me to pick a card. So I did. She giggled as she stuffed the card I had picked behind the radiator. And then she held the deck of cards out to me again. 'Pick another one mummy!'.
Curious to see where this trick was headed, I happily obliged. Again she giggled away to herself as she stuffed the second card behind the radiator. And the game went on much the same as this. I picked card after card and every single one ended up stuffed behind the radiator. We must have gotten about half way through the deck before impatient curiosity got the better of me. 'What is so magical about all the cards hiding behind the radiator Grace?'
Shrugging she answered 'Nothing'.
'Then where is the trick?'
She shook her head and sighed. 'I don't know. Maybe It's hiding behind the radiator with all the cards. You should probably go and pick them up'...
Lovely. The best magic trick of my life, for sure.

Last night while getting ready for bed, Grace kept at me with a constant barrage of questions about animals and what they eat. Trying to avoid the nasty topic of animals eating their prey, I chose to make up a ridiculous fib instead.
'What do cows eat?'
'Good girl Mummy. Do you know what elephants eat?'
'Yes. And now tell me what monkeys eat?'
'And how about sheep?'
'And what about dogs? Go on Mummy. Tell me what they eat?'
'Kibble and bones?'
'Yes. And now tell me, what do ducks eat?'
'Bugs and bread?'
But then she changed the game. 'And what eats ducks Mummy?'
Less than prepared for this type of question, I decided fibbing was the best and easiest answer. 'Nobody eats ducks'.
'Why not?'
'Because ducks are lovely. I like ducks, so nobody eats them'.
It was obvious that I was lying. Standing with both hands on her hips and tapping one foot she demanded that I tell the truth. 'Tell me! What eats ducks?'
Caving under the pressure, I admitted that sometimes foxes do - but only when their incredibly hungry if there aren't any peanut butter sandwiches about. 
I expected her to be upset about the poor ducks. But it appeared that she was more concerned about the poor foxes that don't have enough sandwiches.
'Why did they run out of sandwiches Mummy? Were they greedy and did they eat them all? Perhaps we should make lots of sandwiches and hide them in the woods for the foxes so that they don't have to eat the ducks. Because I think peanut butter probably tastes nicer then a duck does'.
It's always easy to nod and agree then hope that she forgets these crazy plans.
She carried on with her questions. 'So come on Mummy. What do goats eat?'
Dubiously, she laughed and tapped me on my head. 'Don't be ridiculous Mummy. You don't eat straw. You drink your milk with a straw. Sometimes you're so silly Mummy'…

Last weekend Grace & I went on a mother-daughter date. 
We chose to be adventurous and decided to get a bus into town to see a film at the cinema. After much debate, we decided to watch Monsters University. This was Grace's second trip to the cinemas and given the first time was last January, I had taken a little time to explain that people were very quiet in the cinemas. But perhaps I should have tried to explain a few other things as no sooner had we sat down, did Grace begin to fire questions at me. 
 'Why is it so dark? I don't like the dark. Ask them to put the lights on. No Mummy. I can see the screen fine with the lights on. Tell them now!'
 'Is this Harry Potter? Well I want to watch Harry Potter'. Turning to the older boy in the seat beside her she said 'Do you want to watch Harry Potter too?'.
'Can we watch Dora? Tell them to change the channel to Cbeebies. I want to watch Numberjacks'.
She made it through a good while but twenty minutes before the end of the film, she was adamant that she had had enough. 'Let's go Mummy. No I don't want to see the end. You can bring me back at Christmas time'....

The other night a spider smuggled inside, hiding in the clean washing.
I'd taken the basket into Graces room to put her clothes away when I saw it try to make a break for it. Without even thinking I gave it it a good wack with my shoe but then I had to get some tissue to clean the mess. Feeling slightly guilty with the 'blood' of a spider on my hands, the guilt was magnified when I head a little voice exclaim 'Mummy! What did you do?'
Busted! I had no idea how long she had been standing there but I wasn't about to admit to being a cold blooded bug murderer. So I lied. 'Nothing. Just..'
She cut me off before I had time to invent a good story. 'Is that a spider mummy?'
'Yes. But he is sleeping'.
'And what are you doing with him in the tissue?'
I tried to sound innocent and reasonable, 'Putting him outside'.
I struggled to find an acceptable answer 'Erm so that he could be with all his friends?'
And then I guiltily rabbited on 'He will probably like the garden better than your bedroom anyway'...
Shaking her head she said 'No. I don't think so'. 
I thought the game was up. But she went on...'I think he was looking for a nice warm nest. So maybe we should find somewhere inside for him'.
This took me by surprise. I never expected Grace to become an advocate of spider rights. Especially not given the completely irrational and very inconvenient fear of flies and other bugs she sometimes has. Not wanting to admit that a spider nest in my house sounded about as appealing as watching a never-ending marathon of The Teletubbies, I tried to offer up alternative suggestions to building a spider’s nest but she wasn't having any of it. 
'No Mummy. We must build a spider nest. I'm not going to bed until we do'…
And so there we were, just leaving inconspicuous bundles of odd socks around her room for the spiders to find. Except for dead Fred, he was safely flushed away. And when she finally fell fast asleep, I was in her room like a flash getting rid of every spider nest so as to make sure none of Fred’s mates even concidered it!

 I'm still got a bit more to catch up on so expect some more tomorrow night...