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Christmas crafting, the cookie cutter edition

23 Dec

I feel a bit guilty for the lack of crafting shennanigans with the Turtle this year. Other years there were all kinds of salt dough and foam and whatnot. This year, I can drive, so we haven’t been in the house. Freedom!!

Still, we have managed to do a few bits.

  • Christmas play dough – just like normal play dough, but make it yourself, so you feel virtuous. While you do that, let your toddler play with the glitter that you inadvertently left within reach. Use the play dough as a sponge to gather up the glitter. Ta da! Glittery play dough. Use Christmas-y cookie cutters. Delight a small boy.
  • Ginger bread cookies – because I have no idea what other kind of cookies you can cut. Decorate with blue icing (“I’m is a boy Momma”) and random sprinkles that have been living in the cupboard for more than a year and have some kind of Disney princess theme going on (shoes and crowns!?) because they don’t go off, right? Well, if they do, you have never heard of anyone dying from gone off sugar and food colouring. Consume as much of there as you are able. (As an aside, I made these exact same cookies last year. Same recipe. Everything. The Hubby would not touch them. This year, he eats them like they are going out of style. Apparently, “a year with no salt or sugar skews your tastebuds”.  Hmmmmmmmm!!!!)
  • And my favourite, cookie cutter printing. I can not do potato printing, or any other kind of vegetable printing for that matter. Nothing is recognisable and there is usually blood shed – mine – from foolery with the knife. Hand prints and foot prints turned into cute Santas/reindeer/Christmas trees are also beyond us – everything turns into a big brown  blob and there’s so much paint it seeps through the paper. I shout. The Turtle gets bewildered and runs away leaving a trail of brown paint behind him. Disaster. With cookie cutter printing, you pour out some paint (“Blue Momma, blue!”), they dip the cookie cutter into it and then stamp it on the paper. You can embellish it later and send it to Grandparents. They like that.

Advent Activities

7 Dec


I have great notions of making an Advent activities calendar. Great notions altogether. Look at this. Isn’t it pretty?

Still, just because we don’t have the accessories, it doesn’t mean we can’t do the activities.

So far, we have:

  • been to see a Christmas movie – Arthur Christmas. The constant refrain? “I don’t like this theater. I want to go home.” It would seem that when you bring a country mouse to the big city movie theater, well, it freaks him out. More than a bit. The small, cheap theater from now on then.
  • done some baking. Christmas should involve lots of baked goods. There are plans afoot to make mince pies, Christmas cookies and perhaps a pumpkin pie (the Hallowe’en pumpkin is still looking balefully at me from its prime spot in the kitchen).
  • collected pine cones, to be painted, glitterified and adorned with shiny things later in the week.
  • gone on a walk of the neighbourhood to see the lights. “Oh wow Mama! Look at that!” He was over awed by the lights (which were fairly unspectacular). We might go a few more times. It’s a nice after dinner activity, even if it is a bit cold (California cold, so not really, but we’re wimps now!) He was concerned that Santa wouldn’t come to our house if we didn’t have lights up. “Is the Christmas light man coming to our house to put up the lights?”, “If the Christmas light man is Daddy, yes.”, “Daddy!! You have to put up the lights.” Love that child.

We missed the Christmas parade because we were all sick.

So left to do, we have:

  • making snowmen and Santas with cotton balls
  • painting the patio doors in the kitchen, with tempera paint (mixed with dish soap).
  • decorating the tree/watching the Hubby out up the lights
  • “write” a letter to Santa, and watch his message from Santa. Portable North Pole is soooooooooooo cool!
  • maybe do a gingerbread house
  • some doily snowflake shennanigans
  • Christmassy colouring in/stickers (you can’t go wrong with stickers)
  • make Christmas cards
  • meet Santa – maybe get a picture where he’s not crying!!
  • the Hubby’s work Christmas Potluck party (where there will be an abundance of pasta dishes, and maybe a bouncy castle)
  • Christmas books

And that’s all I’ve got. But, I reckon we’ll be redecorating the tree every day anyway, so that will keep us busy!


3 Dec

The Turtle has never been to school, or any kind of formal education. Well, swimming lessons, but they were a disaster. Yet, he has taken to playing “school”. It seems to involve gathering a rather large pile of books. Sometimes the books are abandoned. Sometimes he “reads” them, while shushing the imaginary kids in his class. “School is a quiet place Momma.” Indeed it is son, indeed it is.

At three and a half I think he’s too young for formal education. But, sneakily enough I have been taking advantage of this school obsession to get him sit down for a few minutes and hold a pencil so that it doesn’t look like he’s trying to stab someone with it. Progress has been minimal. But he has reached that delightful stage where he freaks out if he goes outside the lines. Blank pages are my friends. Until he colours a hole in them. Maybe I should send him to preschool, for my own sanity.

The thing is, if we lived in Ireland I KNOW I would be sending him. Our delightful trip in August, when it rained every single day for a month confirmed that. Plus, it would be free. And they wouldn’t really “teach” him anything besides playing nicely and the social skills it would be nice for him to learn. I have no real desire for my three year old to be able too read and write. Or to produce crafts that look like an adult did them. The wonky looking things he produces, that are 11,000,000 miles away from the thing I was actually trying to get him to make, are a joy to behold. And he knows what they are, and can explain them to the doubters, what more could you want?

Right now, I’m enjoying the time I get to spend with him. We go to parks, children’s museums, the zoo, the aquarium, the natural history museum, state parks and nearby beaches. His world is wider than it would be in preschool. He may not be able to identify the letters of the alphabet on demand (even though I am sure he knows them), but he can tell the difference between a whale and a shark (the tails and fins apparently) and name more dinosaurs than I even knew existed. And he may only be able to count to eleven, but he is the most confident child I have ever encountered (sometimes I drive to the out of the way parks, so that I don’t have to talk to the strangers he befriends).

If I could just get him to stop bopping the people who frustrate him, we would be golden. “Him is annoying me Momma.” Yes son, I see that. But you still can’t hit him. That is the rule.

Soccer camp

28 Jul

I was super excited to learn that there was a soccer camp for ages 3 and up this summer. And it started this week, the week after the Turtle turned 3. So he could go! Now, this excitement was not because I dreamed of him becoming the next (insert famous soccer player of choice here). It was because he loves being outside with other kids and kicking balls. Or throwing them. Or sitting on them.So it was right up his alley, I thought.

Day 1: he had a 1 hour nap. Like an eejit I woke him up to go. He cried the entire time.

Day 2: no nap. Powered through on juice and jelly sweets (the ones that pretend they are fruit). He was super excited. “Us is going to play soccer ball!” But we got there 15 minutes early, and by the time the thing had started his attention had waned and he had kicked the ball as much as he was going to. My job for the next hour was to keep him out of the goal (where he was sitting, pretending to be a lion in a cage) so that the other kids could play.

Day 3: he went with Daddy. And apparently did nothing. Nothing to do with soccer anyway.

There are 5 more days left.

We’ll probably still go. It’s a good way to pass the evening while the Hubby works late. It’s in a park, so he can always play on the slide or something. But if he says he doesn’t want to go, we won’t.

A dislike of organised sport may be in his genes. Mine was passed down to me from my Father. It’s not the sports I don’t like, it’s peoples’ insistence on taking them so seriously. Take this camp, which is a bunch of little kids in oversized T-shirts learning how to kick a ball. None of them are older than 3. And you have the parents coaching them form the sidelines “The SIDE of your foot”, “NO hands on the ball” etc. As if their kids are going to go out tomorrow and win the World Cup single handedly.

If my fella kicks the ball once during the whole hour I’m happy enough. Although I think I must be annoying to the other parents too, because I don’t take it seriously enough. And I could care less if he spends the entire time sitting on the ball, trying to hatch it because it’s a dragon’s egg. I know that I don’t have the child who is going to stand quietly in line, waiting for his turn to kick the ball. Right now he won’t even stand in the line, but when he does he’ll be the one twirling in circles or singing or something. And that’s fine with me.

Surely having fun is the most important thing?  Why would he even want to kick the ball when the other kids who are doing it are just getting shouted at for doing it wrong??

The best dollar you’ll ever spend…

19 Oct

…as a parent, will be on an empty spray bottle. Seriously. With it you can:

  • play “cleaning”. And a bit of toddler elbow grease will actually get dirt off of those places you don’t normally look (making the dirt left behind even more obvious, but ho hum).
  • play “storms”: “Oh no, Thomas! It’s raining. Splash!” (Thomas, obviously falls off the track with the force of the rain!)
  • get your toddler to follow directions, such as “show us your knee until I squirt it” nothing vaguely useful. Still it inspires hope.
  • a dab of (tempera) paint and a good shake and off he goes to paint the concrete, the fence, the grass, Mammy’s flowers, everything really.
  • mad “Run or I’ll squirt you” games (which should be played outside because someone will fall on a slippy wet floor).
  • a squirt of washing up liquid (and a shake) will lead to an investigation as to why the bubbles don’t come out of the bottle.
  • play “wash down” a game in which toddlers and toys alike are washed. Sponge optional.
  • “Squirt in the mouth” (not my idea! Hee hee!) Just make sure you use clean water.

Honestly, the possibilities are endless. Endless!

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