Monday, 30 January 2012

Water is the best medicine

Last summer I 'installed' a water dispenser in the kitchen so C could help herself to water when she wanted.  It was a very simple set-up with a water cooler/tap; a bowl for her glass; a bowl for floods  drips which the dogs/cats drank from; a bowl with small cloth for wiping spills and another bowl for wet cloths.  I figured it would not only be great for her to gain some independence and get a drink when she wanted but as she was water fixated - and still is - it would keep her occupied too.
We have been through various stages with it - C has used it to drink from various items ranging from toy teacups to her stainless teapot (drinking from the spout); she uses it to water her spider plant; to wash her hands; and to "top up" the dogs or cats bowl when it is only 3/4 full and not brimming as she thinks it should be.

A glass of water for my grandad
 But just lately it seemed it had become somewhat neglected as she can wash her hands in the kitchen sink (using her learning tower) and wants to drink from the filter tap, like she sees us doing.  In fact I was thinking of relocating it, and the what seems like one hundred bowls, permanently.

All that changed earlier today when we had a very poorly Grandad who caught the awful sickness bug that I had over the weekend (I shan't do the "man flu" thing because I get lie-ins every weekend even when I'm not ill and want to keep it that way). 

C heard me asking Grandad if he wanted a drink of water and before we knew it she had taken his glass ("carefully in two hands because it's a big glass") and trundled off to the kitchen. To be honest I cheated with this photo because she was off and coming back before I had a chance to get to the kitchen, so I asked her did she wanted to put a little bit more in?  Good job she said yes!

Perfect glass for a 9 month old!
Bless him, Grandad couldn't keep up with the supply until I created a diversion and I am sure that in the meantime Nurse Coco managed to drown all the sickness bugs, single handedly.

P.S. GREAT kids glasses are these ones from IKEA. They are thick glass (because they are suitable for hot drinks I suppose) and their good size and weight means they are stable.  They are also cheap!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Being a Mum

Being a mum
The hardest thing about being a nanny kinship carer is being a mum.  Quite regularly I hear "so have you heard from your daughter?" (accompanied by a pitying look at C) or "has C seen her mum lately?" (accompanied by the same look).  Then of course there's "your daughter is so lucky to have you".  We are lucky to have her too.

Our daughter is working away finally finding her own life, despite health issues which no one who hasn't walked in her shoes would understand.  That despite having seen the pain and impact the diagnosis at aged 17 has had on her life, even us as her parents don't fully understand.  We don't know how hard, or how easy, it really is for her to see her daughter being brought up - for the time being in any case - by her own parents.  But what we do know is that she has made the legal transition for us to be kinship carers as easy as possible for all concerned.  For that we are truly grateful, as for me to be pitched against my daughter would be too painful for description.

In days gone by, and even nowadays in other cultures, grandparents bringing up their grandchildren would be seen as extended family helping out, as families do.  That's what families are for.  I am also secretly flattered when people think C is mine - ok, maybe not quite so secretly, you have to get compliments where you can at my age.

My daughter has asked me what do I think C will think of her when she is grown up.  My reply is that C will have a wonderful childhood surrounded by people who love her and she will know that her mum made a decision in her best interests.  At the end of the day that is what being a mum is all about.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Tom-boys and Sissys

I was listening to Radio 2 yesterday (yes through choice) and specifically an interview with Beck Laxton and the furore surrounding her bringing up her son in a "gender neutral" environment.  The interview was built up in such a way that I expected to hear a wacko, instead heard an eloquent woman basically saying that she was allowing her son to choose what he could play with or wear because he had access to traditionally "boys" and "girls" clothing and toys.

I have a tutu too!
After listening for about 5 seconds I struggled to see the news value, if she lets  her son dress up in a tutu then what's the big deal?  I have a cracking photo of my son and his friends, all aged about 7,  dressed up my daughter's dressing up clothes.  (Sorry Luke, I promise I won't post it - unless I get paid A LOT of money that is!)   In fact I have known quite a few men to relish dressing up as women for fancy dress and panto - and to my knowledge my son is not amongst them.  Husband, yes (an ugly sister) but son, no.

I have some sympathy when she talks about environments being gender biased, I get irritated that I can't buy much for girls that doesn't refer to a princess of some kind of other, or isn't a lurid pink.  Some days minutes, C will play with her cars...then with her babies and teddies.  

During the interview Beck Laxton asked what the boy equivalent of the respectable sounding "tomboy"?  She said it was probably "sissy" or something with an equally derogatory intention.  She has a point.  Little boys playing with mummy's (or nanny's!) nail varnish only want to because children copy the adults in their lives, cue someone to say "boys don't wear nail varnish".  Didn't something similar happen in a film about a boy who wanted to learn ballet instead of boxing?

I'm no scientist, but as a mum and nan I believe biological gender differences will out sooner or later anyway.  Pah, let kids be kids I say.

Playing with the garage

Her new campervan is the current favourite

Monday, 23 January 2012

Ice, Ice Baby

It's been a choatic kind of weekend with catching up on jobs and (re) organising the messy play area in our utility room.  Isn't it typical that mid-organisation-chaos, we had impromptu visitors arrive; luckily they weren't scared off by being welcomed by me still in my dressing gown even though it was early afternoon.  Thanks hubby.  Got to love lie ins.

Anyway, I have been trawling the web for ideas of arty activities that C and I could do - the girl still LOVES her paint - and have accumulated enough project ideas to last us until she is 21.  It's so annoying though when you find some great ideas which use products which are only available stateside.  Grrrrrr.  It is probably not a bad thing that I can't get all the stuff I want as the messy area in our utility would never be big enough (neither would our purse!), so instead I will just look at this amazing play space. Sigh.

Back in the real world.

Today we made coloured ice cubes (an idea from the play room site).  In truth they were a bit grim as we only had red and black food colouring, not that C minded.  There aren't any piccys of making the ice cubes because it was done at toddler-speed, with the clearing up taking longer than the 5 second preparation.

Quick, quick before they melt
After dinner, there was a rush to have a bath (not that there's usually any lingering because the thing she loves even more than painting is water) to play with the cubes.  I wasn't terribly impressed with the colour change of the water, but then considering the colours we had used that was probably not a bad thing!  Aside from tasting them and handling them she tried to catch them as they melted in the water.  I did have photos of this but as hubby pointed out, the poor (only!) choice of using black made the melting cube look eeringly like a dead fly on the photo .  Eurgh.  It was better in real life.  Honest.


Sensory taste test
Mirror in the bath (room)

Friday, 20 January 2012

A tube? We need a TUB!

Looking through old posts I cannot believe how much time has flown (a sign of ageing?) and how much C has grown. Nowadays we tend to do "messy play" almost every afternoon, although I am beginning to see the folly of combining toddler + messy area + utility with all my clean laundry. Hey ho, live and learn.

Anyway, the activity I chose for this particular day was a kitchen activity: making Cloud Dough. Let's just say that one small tube of nanny's card making glitter was no where near enough to satisfy small child ("more pees?" accompanied by frantic nodding).

Too much flour or not enough glitter?
Squidging flour and oil
Nanny failed in an even more spectacular fashion when trying to show C how to turn out a mould like the one on the blog. Even C's encouraging shouts of "bang bang bang" (as nanny "tapped" it on the floor with increasing ferocity) wouldn't dislodge it. But - all together now - "it's the process not the product", and on that score it was a huge success.

The "process"

Nanny's debris