The mini expressions: an update

It’s a while since I posted an update on my two girls, who are now aged 4 1/2 and 2 1/2.

My two girls.  I never thought I would say that; I have two beautiful daughters and every day we feel blessed to have them.  We get to keep them forever – hooray! Well, until they decide they’re sick of us and that we’re old and boring and leave home.

4 1/2 year old

My oldest girl is approaching her last term of her first year in a school environment.  She’s in preschool and has taken to it so well.  The nursery class is lovely- everyone is friends with each other and we’re so lucky she gets to be in such an enabling and encouraging environment.

There has been the odd teething issue.  She’s a feisty one, our eldest.  She has lots to say and likes to ensure that she’s heard as soon as possible and preferably as loud as possible.  I know that I sometimes wish I could switch my brain off to give it a rest from this continuous onslaught of preschool opinion – “BUT, MUMMY!…” and “BUT CAN I JUST TELL YOU…”, so goodness knows how the class teacher copes.  So we’ve been drumming it in that she needs to listen when the teachers are speaking.

Her writing has developed so fast – I’m amazed! She could just about write her name when she started preschool; now she can write a birthday card to her friends.  I have to prompt her with the correct letters most of the time, but she can write “love from…” and the rest on her own.

She loves anything crafty and anything that requires painting or colouring in, which is making me wake up in the night with cold sweats as I’m rubbish at it.  I’ve been trying to brush up on crafty stuff so I can be ‘encouraging, helpful Mum’! See the photo above- egg painting for Easter, no less.

Likes and dislikes: currently still on Frozen, but also developed a strong interest in Horrid Henry (should I be worried?), space and the weather.  Yes the weather. Today I had to google what makes it rain and how the weather people on TV know it’s going to rain. She still detests trousers and hasn’t worn them since she was 18 months old, despite me often pointing out other girls’ lovely pink trousers with butterflies and jewels on.  Trousers to her are like some horrible big hairy spider or something.

2 1/2 year old

Currently coming into her own with toilet training galore! It’s a pretty good milestone, the toilet training as when they start really twigging what it’s about they also get a confidence boost due to realising they can be a little bit independent.  The little one is fast becoming not little at all.  She’s having a huge growth spurt and I keep doing a double take, thinking how tall she’s become.

She’s very kind for a 2 1/2 year old. Aren’t 2 year olds supposed to be going through a selfish stage, saying “that’s mine!” a lot? Our littlest one will bring toys to her older sister, save chocolates for her and give her a hug if she’s crying.  She’s kind to me, too – she actually takes herself to bed. No-one will believe me, but she does.  7pm or thereabouts, she decides she’s had enough and you’ll find her in her bed with her milk.

On a Saturday morning, we drop her sister off at a drama class and then we go to a local cafe for coffee for me and a babyccino for her.  She’s actually quite good company! She doesn’t try to run off or complain – she will sit and drink her babyccino and chat to me or play on the iPad. It’s brilliant!

Likes and dislikes: LOVES Horrid Henry (hmmm), also loves Frozen.  Likes sweet corn and sausage.  Dislikes being told off in any way, shape or form. It’s rare we do have to speak firmly with her, but if we do she will sulk for a good half and hour and/or her face will crumple pathetically with a look of intense sadness that makes the grown up involved instantly give in.

Our girls – they’re amazing!

Forget-me-not-Friday #70, featuring Eclipse 2015

Forget-me-not-Friday

My 4 1/2 year old and I are discussing the eclipse.

4 1/2 year old: “Mummy, what an e-clips?”

Me, having googled this and feeling smugly prepared: “Well! It only happens once in a very, very long time.  The moon passes in front of the sun and casts a shadow, and that means the sun can’t light up the daytime for a short while and it all goes really dark. It’s very exciting. You’ll probably all go into the playground at school and watch it.  But you can’t watch it without special glasses as the sun can hurt your eyes.”

4 1/2 year old, having thought about it for a bit: “Erm…so will we have to take some clips to school?”

Me: “Er…no…”

 

“Is that an Aeroplane Fish?” and other genius kid concepts

Recently, during a trip to the Sealife centre, Manchester, we were walking through the underwater tunnel where sharks and stingrays fly overhead and my 2 1/2 year old piped up:

“Is that an aeroplane fish?”

Sealife Centre Manchester

The aforementioned ‘Aeroplane Fish’ enjoying its moment of glory

Isn’t that pure genius?  She loves pointing at aeroplanes in the sky, so naturally why wouldn’t she think the shark was an aeroplane fish?

And why don’t aeroplane fish exist anyway? They should. All worlds and alternative dimensions should have aeroplane fish.

Anyway, the conceptual genius of my child urged me to reflect on other imaginary creations that my 4 and 2 1/2 year old will surely invent for real when they’re so smart that they keep my husband and I in a large mansion on the outskirts of Florence, overlooking vast plains of olive trees and bountiful orchards grown ups.

  • A special ‘pear peeler off-er’ that “keeps all the green bits on but not the black bits”.  This imaginary object looks very much like a potatoe peeler- but it’s not a potatoe peeler. Honest.
  • A ‘pink keepy up-per’ that keeps all pink things pinned to walls, regardless of weight or substance it’s made of.  This resembles chewed up blu-tak, but is more effective.
  • An elephant bee.  This came about because my 2 1/2 year old saw an illustration of a bee that seemed to have something resembling a trunk.  She was insistent it was an elephant bee, so it must be.

The world would be a better place for these things and I’m looking forward to living in this alternative future whilst sipping from my glass of 100 year old primitivo and being fed locally sourced smoked salmon by servants. 

The #PowerToSwitch with beanenergyshopper.com

Do you have children who constantly leave lights on around the house?

Or – like myself – do you have two preschool girls obsessed with clicking the lamps on and off in the lounge and bedroom probably just to annoy me as part of some game you don’t understand?  Do you traverse your house finding random footstools and chairs strategically placed in order that a small person can reach up to switch a light on – and leave it on?

#powertoswitch

“Hmmm…how many times can I flick this on and off before Mummy flips?”

If so, then you may be be more concerned than usual about keeping family energy costs down.
Having a family means consuming far more electricity and gas than usual.  For example, just today I found myself thinking “I wish I had two washing machines” as I took yet another trip to the cellar to continue the weekend-ly rotation of continuous laundry.   One load out and into the dryer, another in.  Cooking nutritious, non-processed food also means using your hob and oven a lot.  We have a gas hob and electric oven – and I seem to remember my husband happening upon the gas metre in our cellar one day when I was cooking the Sunday roast and yelling dramatically at me asking me why it seemed to be ticking over at an alarming rate.
I’m working with BritMums for their #PowerToSwitch campaign sponsored by the Department for Energy and Climate Change.  Everyone can be an energy shopper – it’s much easier these days by getting online and visiting sites such as www.BeAnEnergyShopper.com.
 

The campaign is about helping people to save money on their bills by switching their tariff or energy supplier. There are also Government schemes to you reduce your bills or make your home more energy efficient, such as the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation(ECO) – and with another release of funding for the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund coming soon, even more people are set to enjoy a warmer, cheaper, greener home for years to come.

Millions of households are missing out on the best deals, despite the fact that there has never been a better time to switch, with 27 energy suppliers now competing for customers.  The  market has been reformed make it simpler, clearer and quicker to switch supplier and many households could save around £200 or more.

Tips on switching

There are 3 steps to switching supplier:

1. Before you start shopping around, gather key information about your current gas and electricity tariffs from recent bills – your tariff name, end date, method of payment and annual consumption.

2. Start comparing tariffs – price comparison sites are a great way to accurately compare current prices, along with any comparable tariffs – try visitng www.BeAnEnergyShopper.com. 

3. Switch either by switching through a price comparison website or contacting the energy company you would like to switch to.

Tips for reducing energy consumption

Some energy saving tips include:

– Always use the dishwasher on eco settings saving

– Line dry whenever possible rather than tumble dry

– Turn off radiators in unused rooms

– Only fill the kettle with as much water as you need

– Switch off lights and electrical appliances when not in use (and if you find a way of getting your children to do the same, do let me know!..)

After switching, what else can we do?

You can also use an appliance’s energy rating to choose a more energy efficient product and save money. Since bringing in legislation all household appliances now meet a minimum energy efficiency standard, which has helped to keep more money in our pockets.

We’ve recently switched our energy supplier and are just beginning to see the benefits.

Check out this TV advert which highlights the savings you could make, and get switching!

Disclosure:  I’m working with BritMums and DECC alongside the #PowertoSwitch campaign. I have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own. Visit www.BeAnEnergyShopper.com for more details, or for more information about switching energy suppliers visit the BritMums #powertoswitch pages.

Girls’ night in (with a 4 and 2 year old)

IMG_6277.JPG

As I have two daughters, now aged 4 and 2, I’ve often wondered how soon we can do ‘girly stuff’ together and have a ‘girls’ night in’.  I stop short of a girls’ weekend away – that would clearly be a large mistake at this point in my lifespan.  I would be setting myself up for a weekend of tearing my hair out whilst husband put his feet up at home, no doubt watching Jools Holland and eating nuts in bed.  Anyway, to the point.

A girls’ night in is doable even now, I’ve recently discovered.  It can even be of benefit for those who struggle to get their children in bed, even upstairs.

It’s a rudimentary version of the girls’ night of course – and arguably less enjoyable for the grown up due to lack of Prosecco and meaningful gossip.  But it’s good for building relationships with your daughters outside of anything organisational – relating to school, mealtimes, getting them to bed etc.

Ingredients for my girls’ night in:

– one parental bedroom, dimly lit and preferably with a TV in it (provides the ‘illicit’, enticing factor that actually makes them participate)

– something different and a ‘bit grown up’ for the children to watch on the aforementioned TV (I chose a recording of Strictly Come Dancing, or The Voice on another occasion)

– something slightly ‘naughty’ to eat that they wouldn’t usually get at bedtime (I have put together platters of ‘Mummy’s best cheese’, ‘Daddy’s sausage’ and a couple of chocolate fingers, for example).

– Maybe even new pyjamas for an extra treat –  although I haven’t done this one yet (good idea though, if I do say so myself).

I’ve tended to do my girls’ nights on evenings when my husband is away.  This was partly as my eldest is so attached to him and gets a bit off the wall if he’s not there to read her bedtime story. I get them upstairs and have the food ready on our bed, with something nice on the TV so that they can tuck themselves up.  I sit with them and we just chat for a bit – amazingly, so far, they haven’t played up.  Honestly – they’ve sat there the whole time munching their food, watching a bit of TV and actually talking to me rather than pretending  I’m not there or that I’m this talking entity that’s generally to be ignored.

I start the grand event at around 6pm so this means they’re ALREADY UPSTAIRS – an added bonus for me who’s home alone and facing the prospect of getting the potential horrors in bed at a reasonable time.

It’s only lasted for around an hour or so before I do actually put them to bed.  But it’s a start and we all enjoy this little bit of time together.  The start of many girls’ nights to come?