Advent Video Day 7

Wow, day 7 already!! The days are flying. I have exciting news in this one, we bumped into someone pretty special…..any guesses who it might have been???? I’m also talking about my Christmas tree. Photos below if they ask to see!

As always, a hello, let me know if I can say hello to your little one by messaging me on facebook or twitter and if there are any photos, pictures they would like to show me, please scan or photograph, then send them over and I will make sure I mention them and thank your child on the next video I film.

 

Advertisement

Video Advent Day 5

I’m really sorry but I’m full of a cold and feeling just a tad less sparkly then usual! Hopefully you can’t tell. :)The 5.24am wake up this morning didn’t help. ( The .24 bit is so important because I couldn’t see  the hour on the alarm clock and stupidly assumed that it was just before 6.30am and that my husband’s alarm clock would be going off any second and so I didn’t bother returning him to bed. By the time I did realise, he was too awake for me to try and so he wiggled, fidgeted and chatted his way to morning.)

Today I’m talking about Sinterklaas and how the children of Holland celebrate their version of Christmas today, you can find out more here.

There are also more mentions. You can get in touch with me either through facebook by clicking here, twitter by clicking here, leave a comment below or on the video itself. You can also send me a private message if you’d rather. 🙂

Advent Calendar Day 4!

Ok, so I am absolutely full of a cold and not looking too polished buuuuut I have done some more videos tonight. I’m going to post them early as I know I have some kiddies watching in beautiful sunny Australia plus my gorgeous boy was up before six so I know for a fact we have some early risers out there!

There are some mentions too!  Thank you everyone that has been in touch already and I will work my way through slowly but steadily. It is so lovely to hear how much your kiddies are enjoying these. I am too! It’s so nice to have something to help get me feeling all festive.

Despite the fact that our tree is nowhere near up and my Christmas spirit is still firmly at the back of the cupboard, coming up with new pictures every day is starting to work it’s magic!

I’m so looking forward to the next weeks.

If you want a mention for your child, links are in the video comments or find me on facebook here and twitter here, I really love interacting with you all!

Did you see me?!

I was so excited when I spotted a plea for guest posts from the lovely Annie over at Mrs Crafty B. It meant an opportunity to get my Christmas craft on early & totally legitimately!!

I originally had the idea for a 5 crafts for 5 minutes sort of thing. It worked out slightly differently though! We completed 4 over a few days and abandoned 1 completely, not the project’s fault but more not having the right materials, and being abroad so not having the language skills to get exactly what I needed, we were so busy that we took the opportunity of a  half term trip to visit my parents in Italy to get lots of things done and the craft for this post was top of the list.

I was looking for inexpensive ideas for cards to give out to teachers & school friends, (now there are about a billion of them!!), & little homemade gifts she could give to friends………………….

*************

You can read on here and see how you too can make the sparkly, Christmas wonders you see below!! Come and say hi on Twitter (@pinkpearbear #CraftyChristmas) and Facebook too, plus you can find lots of my photos, (LOTS!), on Instagram my new favourite place! 😀

 

IMG_5487
Pretty pleased with my sparkly improvised snowflakes, can’t beat a bit of sparkle at Christmas!!
IMG_5488
Our Rudolfs. Would definitely look better with paint noses, we used coloured pencils.
I love the snowmen, as you may be able to guess, I added the embellishments to them!
I love the snowmen, as you may be able to guess, I added the embellishments to them!
More improvisation!  My finger print fairy lights!
More improvisation! My finger print fairy lights!

 

I’m a tantrum survivor. Sort of!

As I sat, white faced, close to tears, next to a pale, blotchy, hiccuping daughter, I tried to work out exactly why what just happened had happened. Believe it or not from that description, no major tragedy had befallen us, no near miss in the car, no death of a beloved pet, we still had all our limbs.

No, all that had happened was that we had just survived a tantrum, not just any tantrum though, not a bit of foot stamping or the lying on the floor wailing business that small boy is so fond of. No, this was a full on screaming, punching, kicking, flailing, sobbing, ‘you’ve ruined my life’ kind of a tantrum. (Yes she really said that, she is five, I have no idea where she got it from!!)

I’m aware that I’m sounding dramatic, and maybe we both have a flair for it, she certainly picked her stage well, a packed square in the centre of a popular Italian town on market day. (We had a crowd around us at one point!) However, I did feel completely drained, emotionally battered and physically shaken up in the aftermath, as if we had both weathered the sort of storm that you see on the news.

We have only had a few of these thank goodness, but each time I feel as though my soul has been slightly pummeled. I end up wondering if it was my fault, if I could have done anything differently, whether I am a bad mother.

There are certain things that I think trigger these monumental melt downs, tiredness being the main offender. I also think that sugar is a contributor, and if there has been a change in routine it doesn’t help and over indulgence and spoiling when on holiday or around birthday time is pretty fatal.

But it is impossible to work out which combination of these will result in the tantrum, if at all, because sometimes she is whacked out on sugar after an exhausting party and is the sweetest little girl.

I wish I had the answers as to how to deal with it. I have tried lots of tactics, the most recent being offering a no-strings-attached cuddle, and then sorting things out and getting the requisite apology when it has all calmed down.

Sometimes it is impossible to get through to her though, when she is so far into it, reaching out to her is just not an option, especially if she is angry and lashing out. This is fairly rare thank goodness, and getting much less frequent as she gets older and I learn how to read the warning signs.

During this last one, I kept calm, remarkably calm, I stayed firm and didn’t back down, I’d told her we were leaving the market due to her behaviour, after having given her several chances to turn it round and her continuing down the same line, and I was determined to follow through with it, even when she started screaming as if she were being kidnapped and the crowd gathered!

I am slightly ashamed to admit that I resorted to threatening to cancel her birthday party and even pretended to write a text to the bouncy castle man to tell him it wasn’t needed! (I know I know but it was a desperate measures situation and I was feeling totally out of my depth and at a bit of a loss.)

I got her away eventually, and managed to find a less public place to sit, she raged on for a bit more, until eventually the rage burned out and we were both left sitting there like tornado survivors.

After it had passed, she was the sweetest little girl again. It was hard to imagine her ever being like that. She is not coping fantastically well with the whole idea of school. She misses me when she is there and feels frustrated that she has to go and we do fun things without her. Which I can completely understand.

She is also exhausted, everything new, so much to do, so much to learn, and I am relieved to say that this was at half term and we haven’t had any incidents anywhere near this scale since, but I know that friends are struggling as well, and now I realise how many of us are experiencing this, it does make me feel better to know that I’m not alone, not that I would wish it on anyone else but it’s nice to know there are others out there who know what it’s like to cling to that emotional life raft in a sea of screaming!

Especially as all the mums I know that are also going through it are wonderful, kind, caring people, and it helps me to see that if we are all in the same boat, maybe it is just that some children are more sensitive to big life changes then others, can’t cope with tiredness as easily, find their emotions harder to understand and manage, and it isn’t the reflection on my parenting that I have been beating myself up about in the aftermath of these tantrum tornados. She is a lovely girl usually, she isn’t badly behaved as a rule, we are nowhere near applying for a spot on a ‘send in a nanny and film us all melting down’ type of tv program, generally she is sweet, polite, funny, helpful, just ever so occasionally, something overtakes her that she has no control over.

So if you are a mama and any of this rings a bell with you you, give yourself a hug from me because it’s hideous and horrible but these days will pass and I’m sure that one day we will be sipping wine and laughing uproariously about how embarrassing it all was.

Just not yet!!

Smiley crafty
Thankfully things are more like this between us…otherwise I wouldn’t want to get up in the morning! 😀

 

dragon

10 parent-y things I do, even when I’ve left the kids at home! 

This week I got two whole days away from the children, amazingly exciting!

Out! At the theatre. Drinking champagne. Wearing high heels. And a posh frock! So exciting. 😄

Though I quickly realised there are some ‘Mum things’ that are so ingrained in me as a parent that I do them even when the kids are not with me.

Here’s a quick round up;

Travel

1. Packing an activity pack.

2. And snacks.

3. Taking a water bottle. (Such a mum, pay for water?! Pah!)

4. Point out interesting things from the train/car window. Oooh look a tractor! Then feel like an absolute plank. This is 100% worse if you are travelling on your own.

Getting around

5. Wait for someone else to press the button at the traffic lights.

6. Then only cross when the green man tells me I can. Even if the road is completely clear. And everyone else is surging across.

Shopping

7. Spend most of my efforts looking for presents for my children.

8. And saying stuff like; ‘oooh they would love that Lego soldier!’ (Who goes to Hamleys without kids btw?! Me, that’s who!!)

Eating

9. Eating fast. Especially if there is cake. My mentally is firmly stuck on, eat fast and leave or eat fast so I get more then one bite and it is nigh on impossible to shake me out of that. Resulting in me almost always being finished first and waiting impatiently for the people leisurely enjoying their food! Anyone would have thought that meals were to savour and enjoy or something, not purely functional re-fuellings!

Lie ins 

10. Wake up before 7.30am. Like awake awake. Then get up because there is no point in wasting a day.

‘Wasting a day’?!?! I have become a mum cliche!

What would you add to the list?

(Just so you can see how ‘Mum’ I am, here are a selection of my photos from London!)


  

  

  

I did take a couple that were not totally child based too!


  
  
  
  

Fab free day out at The Wilson in Cheltenham.

A couple of weeks ago, on a free morning, big girl and I had the pleasure of discovering The Wilson, an art gallery and museum in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

How have we never found this awesomeness before?! We’ve been to the cafe and a few craft sessions there which have been great, but there is so so much more there.

To start with, there is an ‘Art Cart’ with lots of different pictures to colour, clipboards, colouring pencils and various different gallery trails for you to spot things in all the different galleries. We were given a map of the gallery and lots of advise on which way round to go from one of the very friendly staff members. We have met a few now and everyone has been lovely, and genuinely knowledgeable, trying to ensure that we have the best experience which is so nice.

  

Big girl had fun choosing a colour pencil, picture and trail. We set off, the clipboard gripped firmly in her hand, me laden down with all the other things that she had promised faithfully to carry herself.

In all honesty, she wasn’t too interested in the trail itself, her attention was wavering at best! She is only four though, and was pretty tired after a busy summer holiday and the excitement if school starting. It didn’t matter though we had fun just exploring, along the way are lots of hands on interactive displays for children to get involved. We had a lot of fun doing this beautiful wooden puzzle. Which was actually fiendishly difficult, as you can probably tell from the triumphant finishers’ grin on big girl’s face!

    The best bit for her, the stay and play area, is absolutely brilliant and full of dressing up clothes, masks, story books, a beautiful big doll’s house and lots of other toys.
    There was some hilarious dressing up.
  Big girl was determined to squeeze herself into the jester’s outfit which was about four sizes too small!  Being ever so mature, I couldn’t resist the dress up box either! 😀
  
    I was having far too much fun with this!
  
    Surely this is mother abuse?!
  A donkey riding a horse. Bizarre!  She spent a lot of time setting up a silver service tea party for the teddies there. Very Downton!
  A very odd bunch! I’d put the wrong plates out here apparently. Not classy enough!  Now she was happy.
  This photo I think, is the absolute height of grown up and adult behaviour. It sums me up perfectly.
She had so much fun there that she wanted to go back with small boy this week. We are still in phasing in with school so are getting lots of days of just a few hours and so this is a perfect activity to fill a morning or afternoon. They have a lovely drumming statue that plays when you put coins in and so I also managed to empty my purse of lots of coins while they had a lot of fun dancing along!

Little loony tunes! 😀
  They have a great selection of story books and the whole area is themed to the season and changes regularly. Looking forward to see what they will replace the summer stories and buckets and spades with.   Such a goon!
  My little cowboy.  The court jester had lots of fun pretending to build a sandcastle.
  They have lots of lovely sensory activities there, like the rainbow bags filled with different coloured objects that the children can sort.
  I love their wall art, designed to fire up the children’s imaginations. The whole area is so well thought out, small but beautifully designed to make optimum use of the space, with different areas to make sure there is something for all ages.
  
  I can’t rate it highly enough, as well as the wonderful children’s area, there are creation stations dotted around with pictures to colour in and pots of colouring pencils, lots of interactive displays all around the galleries and so much for me to look at too. Because we are usually passing through at a less then leisurely pace, I see new things every time we go. Look at this absolutely stunning tiara I discovered. One of many in a gorgeous display case. They also have fun cabinets with bonnets that rotate and lots of different drawers that the children can pull out to look at different clothing items. Including some beautiful silk stockings that were promptly labelled ‘stinky socks’ by my two horrors! 😀 

Best of all, it is totally free, (apart from the contents of the change section in your purse! 😉 ), and also very quiet. Both times we have been there it has only been us. For somewhere so child friendly, very close to the centre of town and cost free, that is very welcome! 😀

For whom the (school) bell tolls.

I am in such a maelstrom of thought and emotion, the weeks seem to be galloping past, the start of school for my big girl is looming so quickly. The summer stretched ahead of us like a long, blissful haze of joy but then it started speeding by and now we are mere days away from the start of the new chapter. Neither of us know what to expect. Emotions are high in us both. I know she is nervous. She is showing so many signs of trying to dictate things and I’m sure it’s because she feels that the whole school thing is out of her control, she told me recently that she wasn’t going to go to school as she ‘just didn’t fancy it’. I tried to explain that she will have a wonderful time and all her friends are going to be there and that she would settle in slowly. Over 6 weeks in fact! She wasn’t to be convinced. She doesn’t like the colour of her uniform, wants to stay at her preschool. wants to stay with her brother, lots of things that were quite the opposite just a few weeks ago. So I am a bit stuck, trying to make this the best summer ever, without spoiling them, because I’m worried they are turning into wanting whingers. Mainly because all I hear is ‘I want’!! In a whinge! Damn Lelli Kellis with their carriage make up set and hair colour wand! If you have escaped this so far, you have definitely not been resorting to milkshake pre 8 am as I have. (Well done by the way, please could you wing some tips my way! 😉 ) Things have improved slightly since I told them that they can buy whatever they like when they have their own money. Now they just list everything they will buy when they are older. Which is a lot!

So we are having this conflict, I’m trying to make it nice, and she is behaving horrendously. It is stressful. For both of us I’m sure. The fighting between the siblings is off the scale. We are having marginal success with the Castle reward chart but more often then not I am being shouty mum. Home shouty. When we are out as well. Which is making me look a little terrible and deranged.

Then I’m sad again. And so it continues. Mood swings and roundabouts. Literally!!

So today we had a mummy daughter day. Small boy was at nursery and I took big girl into town after we dropped him off. I decided that there would be no cakes and buying things though. It was a treat free treat day, if that makes any sense! Behaviour of late didn’t warrant any treats but I wanted to do something special and spend some quality time together, we were meeting her friends for a swim later so had the morning free.

They have been running free craft sessions in our local shopping centre, it is so lovely. Today was bracelet making, and we had so much fun!

Excited face Soexcited Startbracelet

It was absolutely brilliant and we had a such a wonderful time, things were so much better just the two of us and I think we both benefited from some peaceful time without any arguing. Plus she has got a beautiful bracelet now, aaaand we went in to the shop that was running all the crafts and bought Wilma our new camper van a beautiful present.

Finished bracelet     Bunting

Please tell me I’m not alone in this! All I want is for it to be special and I feel like it is anything but!! I’m scared that I’ll look back and regret that this time hasn’t been totally magic and sparkle and joy. I suppose it’s just been real life really!