We finally managed to celebrate the Diva’s 5th birthday yesterday – better late than never. Last year we had a party at a venue that only allowed 10 children and while it was a really good party it felt a bit restricted so this year we found out where the next Families in Parks Summer Fun event was happening and used the same park for our party venue. Sneaky but it meant that she could invite as many of her friends as she wanted and there’d be lots to entertain them without us needing to do much at all besides supply the food.
The weather played ball and the kids all had a really good time. We set up a gazebo, laid out picnic blankets and chatted while the kids played.
No post on this blog is complete without mention of food, so here it is. Spent Friday evening and all day Saturday in the kitchen (with a wonderful kitchen slave – thank you Liesl!!) making sugar cookies, giant rainbow cookies, cupcakes and a rainbow cake. I’d taken inspiration from Pinterest and can highly recommend the rainbow cake recipe. Next time I’d up the cake mixture by half and make 8 layers instead of 6, I’d have liked just a little more height, and I’d flavour the layers too. It went down a treat though – Diva was so thrilled with her “rose” cake and didn’t know about the rainbow middle so when we cut it she squealed with delight. I’d have loved to have a picture of her face when she saw it.
Links to recipes are at the bottom of this post.
Opening presents in the morning:
Diva’s reaction to the candles not lighting:
The “rose” cake:
With a surprise middle:
Martha Stewart Rainbow Cake. I didnt use the icing recipe because I wanted to colour the icing and suspected the white chocolate would seize if I did. Instead I used this very simple buttercream frosting recipe which I quadrupled so it could be used for all the cupcakes too.
So, two big milestones this week for our family this week:
1. Yesterday we enrolled the Diva in school. When we were first pregnant with her I remember seeing little girls walking to school, in too big uniforms with their hair beautifully plaited and thinking “wow, one day I’ll also have a little girl on her way to school”. At the time it seemed so far in the future – to me it represented the dream of having children. And in a few short months it’ll be my little one heading off to school. She loved the visit we had yesterday and the school seems to really value children’s creativity so it will be a good place for our smart, funny, imaginative girl!
2. And then, today is DestructaBoy’s 1st birthday! Its a bittersweet moment, bitter because he is growing so fast and I was hoping time would pass more slowly with him being our last baby, and also because its days like today that remind us how far away from family we are. Our baby is 1 and none of our family members have met him yet. Just saying it hurts. Best we focus on the ‘sweet’… what a blessing this little guy is! People I know spoke about how hard the transition from one to two children is but we’ve had the opposite experience, this little boy is so laid back, just a charming, smiley little guy that fits in with whatever is going on around him. Very much a boy he doesn’t crawl, he gallops, and he’s recently discovered climbing so he’s clambering up on anything that stands still for long enough. Happy birthday my Angel!
1. Cat Stevens (and I am so upset I missed his recent concert in Auckland)
2. Having recent pictures of my divine children (biased much?)
3. Getting a little more sleep than usual, even if it means my lounge looks like a campsite as a result
4. Seeing the Diva’s excitement on the easter egg hunt on Sunday
5. Meeting nice people at the Babywearing walk today
LatteJunkie tagged me in her Q&A post (thanks Cyndi!) and I’m always game for these things so here are my answers…
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
Richard Branson – I like his entrepreneurial spirit and his attitude
When were you happiest?
05 August 2010 – 01 December 2010. I was on maternity leave with DestructaBoy and though the financial stress was rough on the family I loved every minute of being home with him. I was completely selfish and spent loads of time doing nothing more than enjoying my baby. Bliss!
What was your most embarrassing moment?
Most recently, the Diva very loudly exclaiming “Mommy, why is that lady so fat?” about a woman well within earshot (and also, NOT fat) and then following it up with “I think she has a baby in her tummy!” while I was trying to shush her.
Aside from property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
My first NZ car – a charcoal grey Suzuki Swift – loved it!
What is your most treasured possession?
My iPhone? My books? My PVR?
Where would you like to live?
Somewhere closer to family, less wet than NZ but with the same safety, better job opportunities and closer to the rest of the world so that travel is cheaper.
What’s your favorite smell?
Love the smell of vanilla
Who would play you in the film of your life?
In my wildest dreams – Natalie Portman. More reasonably, Nia Vardalos.
What is your favorite book?
Only one? You must be joking! American Gods by Neil Gaiman, or The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, or She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb, or The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, or Tandia by Bryce Courtenay, or Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins… far too many to choose from.
What is your most unappealing habit?
Cutting my toenails in the lounge whilst watching TV
What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?
Whilst I have some curves I wouldn’t mind doing a Bridget Jones…
What is your earliest memory?
Swimming with my sister when we lived in Durban – in one of those horrible old fashioned Bentley Belt things
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I’m not guilty about most of my pleasures – maybe the cookies and cream icecream I have most nights covered liberally in melted caramello chocolate
What do you owe your parents?
Oooh, hard question. I owe my mother an unmeasurable amount of love and respect. When I was a teen I *knew* that raising us under the circumstances she did was hard. But as an adult working and trying to make ends meet for my own family I have a much greater understanding of the pressure she was under and the sacrifices she made to get us through it. The repercussions for her will be permanent and I hope that I will be able to look after her when she needs it.
I owe my father love for who he is, not who I grew up wishing he was. I owe him forgiveness. And I owe him thanks for the easy relationship we have now and the loves we have in common that make it an easy relationship (things like good food, books, music, technology… )
To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My family is the greatest love of my life – I cant imagine life without any one of them
What does love feel like?
Love feels like a well-worn pair of favourite shoes. Like Sunday afternoons reading quietly, enjoying each others company but not needing to talk. Like ‘couple-speak’ where single words or phrases make sense only to you and no one else understands what’s so funny. Like a shared history that goes back far enough that you no longer remember what life was like before you met.
What was the best kiss of your life?
None of your business.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Will you just give me one minute
Would you like a time out to go with that attitude?
You have two choices…
What is the worst job you’ve done?
Web design at a small family business where the boss used to throw telephones at employees and kick stereos through windows when he was in a bad mood (and pay rises were so small they were given as coins in an envelope, you know… because “to give you more would put you into the next tax bracket and you’d actually end up with less money”… only we weren’t paid enough to qualify for any tax bracket at all).
If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I’d live in a foreign country before settling down and having children.
What is the closest you’ve come to death?
Not applicable. I don’t remember ever being in any sort of accident, have never so much as broken a bone (besides my coccyx on a balance beam and whilst I may have felt like I was dying I wasn’t :P).
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Emigrating in a very short timeframe and emerging with our relationship intact 😛
When did you last cry, and why?
Last night when DestructaBoy woke for the 5th/6th/7th/8th/9th time.
How do you relax?
Reading, blogging, hot baths, watching mindless TV programs.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
A bedroom for DestructaBoy.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
To just keep doing the next “right” thing
So, on to you, I nominate…
DestructaBoy absolutely worships the Diva, following her around the house (in a slow but steady leopard crawl) and killing himself laughing whenever she does something different/repetitive. And the Diva thinks he’s pretty awesome too. She’s happy to go to great lengths clowning around to amuse him and loves showing him off to anyone near enough to be subjected to “This is my brother. Look at my brother. He’s a baby boy. He’s so cute and chubby. This is my DestructaBoy. Do you have an DestructaBoy? I have a nice DestructaBoy. he’s my brother”… repeat).
When we were kids we alternated between being best mates and trying to kill each other (damn near successfully a few times). Now that we are adults I get on brilliantly with my sister but haven’t spoken to my brother in many years. We’re too similar and its all just too hard. I know our estrangement is uncomfortable for the rest of the family – although hopefully easier now that we live on different continents and they can pretend its due to distance ;).
I’m so enjoying all the sibling love in the house and I am dreading the day when they decide they can’t stand each other – it feels inevitable.
Do you get on with your siblings?
When the Diva was a baby she was allergic to soap and we used some pretty expensive organic washes and creams, this time round I was hoping we wouldn’t have the same issue… and sure enough we don’t, except DestructaBoy has excema so again we have to be cautious about what we use with him.
I wasn’t up for buying loads of different products until we found one that worked this time so we’ve been bathing him with aqueous cream and using it to moisturise. Its horrible stuff that leaves globs in the bath and is hard to get out of his hair.
I’ve been using them on both kids for a week with no signs of any problems and DestructaBoy’s excema has been nicely under control. I will admit that I’ve been using rather a lot of them myself as well!
My favourite is the Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo which smells divine and allowed my kids to have a very rare bubble bath (I know… very wasteful to use 1/4 bottle on a bubble bath but well worth it as a treat). I’m using the Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion on the kids every day and saving the Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Moisture Cream for DestructaBoy’s excema areas… and my legs after I shave 😛
Off to run another bubblebath!
What a crazy weekend we’ve had!
My lovely relaxed happy-go-lucky little boy morphed into a grumpy grinch and spent friday, saturday and sunday crying or wailing. A high temperature and lots of drool meant we suspected it was teething related and sure enough one tooth has just broken through with another pressing against the gums. I am not looking forward to the rest of this teething thing if its going to be like this for every tooth. And if anyone has any advice (short of keeping him medicated for the next few months) please share.
It seems to be the month for birthday parties with the Diva being invited to at least 2 every weekend for the next few weeks (see I’m not a fan of birthdays). This weekend one of her old friends from daycare #2 had her 4th birthday party at the beach which was really nice! My very odd kid ignored the cake and dived into the fruit platter (she definitely does not get that from me!), all was fine until an hour or so after we got home when she turned slightly green, left the room and regurgitated all the fruit onto the rug in the hallway. Blegh!! She kept getting sick for the rest of the day and I was a bit worried we’d have to cancel her party… luckily she woke up on Sunday morning a little pale and withdrawn but otherwise fine.
Diva woke up on Sunday and was led outside with her eyes closed. When she saw her gift, a very large trampoline she stood silent for a few seconds and then said “woah!…” like she couldn’t quite believe it was there. Then she thought it was just for her party and we explained that its hers and its staying. She’s been on and off it ever since and its made her quite popular with the neighbours kids too!
Sunday afternoon was party time and I think we’ll be doing all future parties at a venue, it was the best party ever. She and her friends from daycare had an amazing time! They got to dress up, were entertained by 3 or 4 fairies, had a treasure hunt, decorated cookies and had feast at a table laden with cupcakes, cookies, pizza and other goodies (none of which were made by me) and all the adults could sit and chat with a drink and some food, or join in the fun with the kids. Ivy cottage rocks!
I know having a party with only daycare friends was controversial with friends and family but it really worked out well for the kids and at the end of the day I wanted the party to be all about the Diva. Next time we may consider doing a separate barbecue to share the day with family and friends as well if time and finances allow but I’d always like to keep the school/daycare party separate.
Here are a few pics from the party…
Today our beautiful little Diva is 4! I know everyone says it about their kids but I really cant believe how fast they grow. She’s still a petite little firecracker of a girl, independent, strong-willed and whip-smart with a crazy fascination with anything pink (no idea where she gets that from). She’s taught me so much over the last 4 years and I imagine she’ll be teaching me every day for the next 10 or 15 to follow.
She’s reached the stage where she knows exactly what a birthday is and she’s been looking forward to hers for the longest time. We’re celebrating tomorrow with a fairy party with 8 or 9 of her friends from daycare, and she’ll be getting the trampoline she’s been wanting for ages – I cant wait to see her face when she sees it! (yes, the presents really are for us rather than them :P)
Here’s a few pics from our journey so far… Happy Birthday Angel Girl!
First off, I would LOVE to be a stay-at-home-mum, but circumstances don’t allow it and wont allow it unless we win the lottery. My partner was a stay at home dad for a year but we weren’t able to make ends meet and so he had to go back to work, which means both our kids are in daycare.
Over the last 3 years our daughter has been to 3 different daycares – and is soon to start at a 4th.
I think either we have different ideas of “normal” or we’ve become “those” parents. You know, the ones that other parents roll their eyes about and teachers avoid like the plague.
At one daycare whenever we fetched her she was miserable and hungry. The kind of hungry where she’d gladly chew on the dashboard given half a chance. I fetched her early one day, coincidentally at lunchtime and realised why… the kids aged 2 – 5 were left to dish up food for themselves, eat unsupervised and then scrape off their plates and put in the sink. Which I guess for some kids is fine. But my kid was a teeny 2 year old and she wasn’t getting food! When I was there it seemed the bigger and more aggressive kids got food first and whatever was left the smaller kids could get to. Natural selection toddler style? I was furious!!
At another daycare she came home wearing makeup. She looked like a miniature drag queen complete with bronzer, blue eye-shadow and lipstick. Not wearing makeup myself means we don’t keep makeup remover and it was removed painstakingly in the bath with soap and many tears. We asked nicely that it not happen again and explained that we have no problems with face paint but didn’t feel makeup was appropriate. Apparently the school felt we were being “conservative” and she came home again with a face full of makeup. I sent a pretty scathing letter to the manager and followed it up with a visit. Our family values aside, surely there are concerns around allergies and hygiene?
Most days when we collect her the kids are watching videos on Youtube. Often things we wouldn’t be happy for her to watch at home. I don’t like the kids having internet access at daycare. I don’t like them watching anything on Youtube without my supervision and I also don’t want a daycare deciding its ok for my daughter to watch things that aren’t appropriate for children of all ages. If it says “PG” it means “parental guidance” not “early-childhood-educator guidance”. Grrrr.
The last straw was arriving at daycare to find my child not there. Apparently there was an impromptu bus trip into the CBD on Xmas Eve, traipsing through the shops. I can only assume some of the teachers wanted to finish their Xmas shopping. The daycare knows our daughter only goes on excursions with one of us coming along. They claim they called me and left a message. I had no missed calls, no messages, but more importantly, would no response from me somehow be construed as consent?
So, we’re off to daycare #4. They’ve been given a long list of “do not’s” and I’m feeling like a helicopter parent.
So, is it just us?