Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Beautiful moments part two (pictures)

Just some of the things I love seeing the kids do.
 
Read. Choose to read. Enjoy books.

Play instruments. Enjoy music.

Play at the park. Enjoy the outdoors.

Be a family. Enjoy each other's company



What do you love seeing your kids do?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Beautiful moments part one (words)

Mitchell was very sick last week, so we didn't get out of the house much. We spent a lot of time cuddling. Sick Mitchell just likes to be held.

One afternoon, Ashleigh, Mitchell and I were snuggled together on the couch, with Mitchell in the crook of my left arm. I had just gotten a new book, The Reading Bug by Paul Jennings, and had flicked to the end, which lists 'brilliant books' by age and development stage. I was reading the titles out loud so we could work out how many of them we had.

Me: Guess How Much I Love You?
Ashleigh: Yes.
Me: Miffy books.
Ashleigh: No but we've gotten them from the library before I think. Is Miffy the rabbit?
Me: Yes, I think so. My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes.
Ashleigh: No but (cousin's name) has that one and we've read it before and it's really funny.
Me: My First Board Books.
Ashleigh: We've got lots like that.
Me: One Woolly Wombat.
Ashleigh: Sunning by the sea! Two cuddly koalas sipping gumnut tea!

We continued through the books for babies (and owned most of them - forget chocolate; most of our household budget goes on books!) then moved on to books for pre-schoolers.

Me: Angelina Ballerina series.
Ashleigh: No, but I like ballerinas. Can we get some?
Me: We'll have a look at the library. Berenstain Bears.
Ashleigh: No... ooh, yes, are they the funny bears that go out the window? Bears in the Night?
Me: Yes, that's them! Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Before Ashleigh had a chance to answer that one, a little boy's red locks entered my frame of vision. Mitchell climbed into my lap and looked expectantly towards the book I was holding, then turned to face me.

"Bear? Bear? Bear?"

His eyes were half-closed. His nose was red on top, and snotty below. He was coughing and sneezing and should have been miserable.

But he was smiling. He'd just heard the first line of his favourite book, and was expecting me to read the rest.


Image source

And because the moment was so beautiful, I did just that.

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Earlier this month, Ashleigh was the one who was sick. She also loves a cuddle and a book to read when she's sick, but mostly just wants someone near to comfort her.

She had a series of sneezes in a row. Achoo, achoo, achoo, achoo. I hugged her, got her a drink of water, then sat her down on the couch with a blanket and rubbed her head.

More sneezes came. Achoo, achoo, achoo, achoo.

And when they stopped, she reached out for a cuddle and said, "Mum, I really love you. I wish my sneezes said 'I love you' instead of 'achoo'."

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Kids are funny. Sometimes you expect them to be gorgeous. You know that a heart-melting moment is on the way, and you're prepared.

And sometimes, they hit you out of nowhere. BAM. Gorgeousness. Affection. Sweetness.

Love.


Have your kids squeezed your heart this month?

Friday, July 25, 2014

We gotta get out of this house

My boy has been sick this week. Roolly truly sick.

We've been stuck at home for most of the time. Mitchell has just wanted cuddles and sleep - with sleepy cuddles being the preference - and I also didn't want to infect anyone else. To begin with. I'm beyond caring now.

Ashleigh understands this as much as a four-year-old can. Which is actually a lot. But man, oh man, is she over it.

Man, oh man, are we all over it.

So, time for a song rewrite. This one's a little uninspired, because that's where my head's at right now. Uninspiredville. 5 Cotton Wool Brain Street, Uninspiredville, Exhaustion Territory, The Republic of Pending Fluey-Headcoldiness.

Earth, The Universe.

Please enjoy We gotta get out of this house. And then SEND HELP. And chocolate. Of course.

(And while you're sending things, don't forget to send my apologies to The Animals.)

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In this house of sickness and snuffles
Where sunlight cannot reach in
My little boy is as sick and phlegmy as sin
 
Oh my boy you're so sniffly and snuffly
And one thing I know is true
I can't get anythin' done when I'm cuddlin' you
 
Watchin' the house get oh so dirty
Watchin' the washing pile climb so high
Searchin' for clean clothes I want to cry
Oh yes I know it
 
(Yeah!) He's been sneezin' so hard
(Yeah!) I'm startin' to sneeze too, baby
(Yeah!) Every night and day
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!)
 
We gotta get out of this house
If it's the last thing we ever do
We gotta get out of this house
Kids, you are not much fun with colds and flu
 
Now my boy you're less sick and more smiley
And one thing I know is true
We're goin' out before you can say 'achoo'
 
Watch him wipe his nose on his jumper
Watch him cough up something green
But it's nothin' compared to what else we've seen
 
(Yeah!) You've been tryin' so hard
(Yeah!) I've been tryin' too, baby
(Yeah!) It's time to get out
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!)
 
We gotta get out of this house
If it's the last thing we ever do
We gotta get out of this house
I no longer care if we give someone else the flu
 
We gotta get out of this house
We'll take some disinfectant too
We gotta get out of this house
If you see us comin', run before we cough on you
 
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Have you been housebound with sick little ones this winter? How did you cope?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Children's book review - July

Welcome to July's children's book review!

This month, Ashleigh, Mitchell and I again raided the local library for some new (to us) reads. Here are our thoughts.

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Not a Cloud in the Sky / Emma Quay

Image source

Emma Quay's Rudie Nudie made it into our favourite family books list last year, so it's perhaps not surprising that we also love Not a Cloud in the Sky.

Bird is flying, and meets Cloud. But Cloud isn't a cloud today. Cloud is a... well, pretty much anything. Quay's wispy cloud illustrations of a dancing pig, a boiling kettle and a bunch of bananas riding a motorbike, to name but a few, are beautiful. And there's a fiery surprise at the end when the setting sun joins in.

The chitter-chatter between Bird and Cloud is lovely as well. This book's a winner all round.

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Two Baby Elephants / Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross

Image source

I love a silly rhyming book! Two Baby Elephants is an absolute delight. When mum is away, elephants come over to play. They break things, make a mess, and sleep in mum's bed. But will they still be there when she gets home?

This book is reminiscent of The Cat in the Hat, with something of a surprise ending.

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Everybody Was a Baby Once / Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman

Image source

I've mentioned The Jolly Postman and Peepo! before; this is a collection of poems from the same author. We all love Everybody Was a Baby Once. Ashleigh loves rhymes of any description, and the different rhythms of the poems in this book fascinate her.

It's a good one to sit and read all the way through. And, when the whole pre-bedtime ritual is dragging on a little too long, it's also a good one to select just a few poems from. My favourite is When I Was Just a Little Child, which begins like this:

When I was just a little child
The world seemed wide to me.
My Mum was like a feather bed
My bath was like the sea.

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Little Miss Lucky / Roger Hargreaves

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So... I don't like Little Miss and Mister Men books. Scandalous, I know. They just annoy me.

But Ashleigh LOVES them. And when she picked up Little Miss Lucky at the library, and turned her big brown pleading eyes at me, I couldn't say no again.

This book commits one of my usually unforgivable book crimes. But it's for children. And it doesn't commit any grammatical book crimes. It doesn't even commit any consistency book crimes (unlike Little Miss Magic, another favourite of Ashleigh's). And my daughter loves it. So, on balance, it gets a begrudging okay.

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What books have you read with your children lately?

This post is the eleventh in a series of children's book review posts. Check out the others here:

Children's book review - reader recommendations (June)
Children's book review (May)
Children's book review (April)
Children's book review (March)
Children's book review (February)
Children's book review (January)
Children's book review (December)
Children's book review - family favourites (November)
Children's book review (October)
Once upon a book review (September)