Friday, January 31, 2014
Saturday, January 18, 2014
We got a wonderful Xmas gift this year from Thomas's parents: a family visit to the cinema. As I have moaned before, when there are seven of you in a family a trip to the cinema is beyond your budget. Of course we can nip out to the odd Saturday morning budget rerun of an old film to get the cinema experience if we need to, but seeing something that is current, and that all the kids' classmates are still talking about, at the same time as everyone else has long been beyond our reach. And of course, when something finally does come out on DVD and our kids finally start talking about it, their friends can barely remember the film ours are enthralled by. It happened with Monsters Uni and with Despicable Me 2 this year, and countless others before them.
So this Xmas, we got tickets to see Frozen in the the cinema! All seven of us went, though I am sure Marcel isn't owning up to it too loudly! It was lovely to see Amaia's face. She'd never been in a cinema before and Anna, who had been once before had no recollection either. The four younger ones have been dancing about singing the soundtrack ever since and because it is something they rarely get to do, it will be remembered fondly, long after all the toys have been lost or broken. It was definitely a hit way to make a memorable impression.
To a family who spend a lot of time on a shoestring making their own entertainment, maybe gifting them an outing or an experience is a positive way forward. Maybe I should start asking for such gifts for Thomas and I too on birthdays as we never get out!
Friday, January 17, 2014
'Where is he?'
'Who?' I asked, wondering if she meant Léon or someone else.
'That man,' she said gesturing towards the dashboard. 'The man who's in there every morning talking away. Is he actually in there somewhere?'
So there you have it - Chris Evans is a tiny little man who broadcasts every morning from inside the dashboard of my Peugeot 308!
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Around my fourth birthday we went to visit my great granny. I remember her as a bothersome old biddy who smelled bad and intimidated everyone. An unwritten family rule was that no matter what she gave you for a birthday or Xmas had to be praised as your favourite gift and shown off proudly to all around. On my fourth birthday she handed me a card. I can still see it today - average in size with two cute pandas on the front and at the top a large purple '3'! I was insulted as only a four year old can be when handed a three-card. I refused to thank the old bat and I made a secret vow to myself to hate her till her dying day! She lived another ten years and I never felt any fondness for the woman again!
Never cross a four year old!
Anna skipped out: Amy asked if we got something nice from Santa so I just said yes. With a wink she carried on: You said I had to play along with people who believe in Santa so it doesn't spoil their Xmas and I could see Amy didn't realize there was no Santa so I didn't disappoint her mum!
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Friday, January 10, 2014
Thursday, January 09, 2014
Tuesday, January 07, 2014
This bloody climate is starting to get costly. Despite putting her calculator inside its plastic case, inside her Maths folder, inside her 'water-resistant' school bag, it got so wet yesterday that it's a bin case. This wouldn't offend me terribly if it was a one-off but it's the second time in a month. I'm thinking of buying my kids one of those water-tight barrels you can hire for your camera when canoeing - just so they can get to and from the bus in the morning. If I get one as big as the one in this old photo, they can put their school bags in it and roll it to the bus stop in the morning!
Have I mentioned I hate this climate?
Monday, January 06, 2014
Ok, first (but not last) rant of 2014 over...
Saturday, January 04, 2014
There I was in Asda yesterday, not really looking at the sales, more looking for Charlotte's birthday dinner when I spied a pink fake fur coat reduced to a fiver from £16 or £18. I thought it would be nice for Amaia in the spring or autumn so took one.
I hadn't actually noticed it had ears. Given it feels like Rosie and has ears Amaia is now convinced she is a hamster.
Anyway it's definitely gone down well. I found her wearing it cooking, with an apron on on top. And everyone who's dropped by has been given a fashion show immediately on arrival.
I think if they had had it in a bigger size, I know two other girls who'd have bagged one too.
In ten minutes my first baby girl turns 14. And the strangest thing is that she feels younger in some ways now, than she did two birthdays ago... or maybe just lighter, breezier, more confident in herself. She doesn't need to hide behind the pretence she did then...
When she turned 12 she still had a relationship with her father. Or more strictly, he still had partial custody of her, despite their not actually having a relationship... At the time, unknown to me, her twice monthly weekends with him were a constant battle ground.
He was always the type of person who expected to be pacified by all those around him. Anyone who has lived with him knows that tiptoeing around him is the only way to have any semblance of peace. His mother knows it, I know it, Marcel knows it. The problem was that from the outset Charlotte was never a tiptoer. When she thought he was treating her unjustly, she took him on by telling him so, and the net result was many a weekend spent crying in her room after being screamed at. Worse still for her, she was denied access to her precious little sisters, who have taught her to be a happy child again.
The Charlotte who turned 12 two years ago was withdrawn and quiet and would never have been caught singing along to the soundtrack of Frozen, in a carefree manner, as I have found her doing almost every day since we took her to see it last week. Princess musicalswere not her thing back then. Of course, she's 'only singing it, and watching clips to make Amaia happy' -- (so I'm told!)
She is an absolute delight. She's patient and funny, nurturing and loving. I think, perhaps unlike someone whose life has always been easy and happy, she appreciates everything about her new life. She's such a family person, constantly baking with her babies, Amaia in particular. She's spent the holidays teaching Léon to play Minecraft, watching movies with Anna and disappearing for hours with Amaia just for some sister time. Even with Marcel, she doesn't have the normal grumpy teenage sibling relationship. I occasionally catch them deep in conversation, much like two much older friends. I am so proud of what my little girl had the courage to do in 2012 and how she alone created this family by standing up to the bullying and no longer allowing it to control her life or the life of her two siblings. My only regret is that none of this came out until after she had taken on the task of fixing it herself.
I now have a daughter called Buchanan whose Pumpa would have been so proud of her.
Thursday, January 02, 2014
I know dogs are often distressed by fireworks but does anyone have any experience of hamsters being freaked out by them?
I've checked with the only other hamster owner I know and she doesn't seem to believe me! Both on November 5th and yesterday at the bells Rosie started running up and down her cage like a mad thing. She doesn't seem upset, more excited like a five year old at her first firework display. She doesn't bite either which suggests she's not scared. The only time she usually bites is when she's harassed.
So I can only conclude my hamster is actually a firework fan!
I'm sure it's just a phase! If not I'm sending Siobhan a bill.