Thieves, Wall-Lickers and Hello Kitty Enthusiasts.

Those are just a few of the delightful creatures in my daughters class at kindergarten. When I was going through the processes of signing my little girl up to go to school, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be entering her into a world of the weird, slightly odd and down-right bizarre habits and traits small children have. Within the first few weeks I watched as a small boy, waiting in line to go in for class, started to lick the outside wall he and his mates were leaning against. He did it slowly, as if every lick was like the best ice-cream he’d ever had. My eyes then wandered further down the line to a another little boy who clearly had a cold; his nose was dripping like a melting icicle…and then he sneezed. The sneeze hit a poor, unfortunate little girl next to him smack  in the face…and she laughed. He laughed too, snot and goodness knows what just all over his face. Ugh!! I looked at my little angel-child at the back of the line and thought despairingly, ‘what have I done?’

My family and I have never been so ill as we were that first winter while my daughter was in school! Constant colds, sniffles, sneezing and general grossness engulfed us and we wondered if we would ever be at full health ever again. Mind you, the parents weren’t much help either; ‘hey, your kid is sick and yet here they are in line, coughing their little germy heads off into the mouths of their friends.‘ I know some parents claim to not be able to take time off to look after their kid but in my humble opinion children should be more important than work, you know? There was a time last year when my husband witnessed a child vomiting in the playground at the beginning of the day and rather than take him home, his mother left him at school. She practically ran away from him before his teacher came out. My husband called the school to warn them of the situation, they then apparently called the mother back and told her to take her sick kid home – they were pretty disgusted she would leave him and angry she would put the rest of the class and teachers in such a situation.

Now we are into Senior KG and things are getting ruthless. My daughters immune system is crackerjack strong and we have only had about 3 confirmed sniffles all winter, which is pretty good considering the fact we have had a reeeeeeally long winter. Now we have a new foe to deal with: Snitches, thieves and the power of Hello Kitty. Every generation has their fads and they can change quicker than anything and right now we are heavily into Hello Kitty. Previously it was Disney Princesses and we had to have everything that remotely hinted of pink, princess, sparkles, you name it. Now it’s stickers, sparkles and all things hinting at the little white cat that has as many careers and hobbies as Barbie. My daughter has quite the collection now and every month or so she has her Special Helper Day in which she gets to do Show and Tell. Naturally she will bring her latest HK toy and proudly show it to all in class before placing it back into her backpack for safety. However, while she is doing this there is a very small, 5 year old girl who is watching her with something close to lust and she is trying to figure out the perfect time to quietly snitch the pretty object from within my daughters backpack and stealthily place it within her own backpack. This has happened a few times now. At one point the girl in question tried to physically take something from my daughter while she was showing the teacher. The teacher realized the plot and decided the Hello Kitty would be safest on her desk! A few days ago we were not so lucky; my daughter was walking home with me when all of a sudden she burst into tears, declaring her favourite plush toy had been stolen from her backpack. We knew exactly who had taken it but declined to accuse until the next day when her teacher came to us and gave us the toy in question. Thankfully this delightful girls parents had found the toy and upon interrogation, realized what had happened and returned it the next day. Our suspicions were confirmed and the teacher decided it was time to have a stern talk with the class in general. Now we make sure nothing of any special feeling goes to school! I tells ya, you can’t trust a 5 year old with a serious Hello Kitty obsession.

If this is how things are going down now, what on earth should we expect later on?! These kids are 5-6 years old! I left the best story until last though. My daughters first term was difficult. She got picked on and bullied a lot by a bigger boy in her class. He was not a nice kid and the teachers had a lot of trouble with him. Unfortunately, his background was not a supporting one and his mother was just shy of a complete tramp who clearly didn’t give two whatsits about her son. This was made very clear one afternoon when I walked past the playground and heard him yelling at another little girl, (Warning – offensive language) “F**K YOU, BITCH!”  Not long after than he was removed from the class and ultimately left the school altogether. I have to say I felt sorry for him – it wasn’t his fault he was the way he was. Nevertheless, my husband and I taught our daughter to stand up to bullies and she does, for both herself and her friends and she is now one of the most liked kids in class! Pretty cool :)

What do you get when you cross ‘Clone Wars’ with Chiyogami paper?

This:

The latest and greatest!

Some people listen to music, others might have the news on. Me? I watch the animated series ‘Clone Wars’ while I create new books. This one is probably my best effort to date. When I look at it I remember Ahsoka having visions of Padme being assassinated (Ahsoka saves the day, naturally.)

If only there was Star Wars themed paper…I’m going to have to look into that…

 

UPDATE! April 5th 2014 – you will find this book, and others, in my Etsy shop!

Happy Spring! Now get out the snow shovel…

Seriously?! Do you know what I did this afternoon? I spent an hour chipping away at an ice block that had frozen my garden gate shut.  A block that was about 12 inches thick and about two feet long. Ridiculous. Once in, to my utter dismay, I discovered a raccoon had started rolling back my lawn, AGAIN! My beautiful new sod, laid in July last year to replace the mud pit we had inherited upon moving, was destroyed by the disgusting vermin just before the freeze set in in December, apparently searching for tasty grubs. I’ve never hated an animal quite so much! I am seriously considering getting my Trappers license so I could ‘deal’ with the problem…

Yesterday saw the first day of Spring and it was cold, sleety and miserable. Today, BEAUTIFUL sunshine, warm sunshine, happy sunshine! Then I stupidly went and listened to the news as I was making my son his lunch and heard the words ‘snow’, ’15cm’, and ‘freezing rain’. All that is coming tomorrow. And there I was thinking I had finally put my snow shovel away for the last time. Silly, silly woman. The last time it snowed (last week) my kids got so upset! I suggested making a snowman and neither of them wanted anything to do with it. My son stamped his foot and said “NO! I NO LIKE SNOW!” We all agreed with him and stayed inside for the day.

I guess the looming snow-spoiled weekend will be a chance to continue my garage over-haul. Spring cleaning in effect! I managed to get rid of three boxes that have sat in a spider/cricket/ant graveyard corner for 2 years so I figured whatever was inside couldn’t be that important. Turns out there were a few photo albums of my husband in his childhood that were put together by his Mum. The kids got a right laugh out of seeing their dad with a gap-tooth smile, playing in sand or in a tree-house. It’s funny how children find the idea of their parents being children once so amusing! I showed a photograph of a 6 month old me with my Dad, their grandpa, to my daughter and she thought it was the funniest thing she’d ever seen. “You look silly!” she giggled.  She did have a point though…

Good Heavens; is that sunshine?!

Yes, for the first time in over 3 months, I can open my windows and actually enjoy the beautiful, spring-smelling air that drifts into my home. It really is a wonderful thing! Now, as I sit in my kitchen, Jazz FM playing softly in the background, all is quiet in the house again. March break (half term as it is known in the UK) is now over and the house suddenly feels empty, although my soon-to-be-three-year-old is next door watching Toopy and Binoo, laughing hysterically at their antics!  When I opened the window I heard birds chirping away and it is a sound I missed heavily during the cold winter months. This morning my son also heard the birds and listened with fascination at the happy sound. It was as if he had never heard birds singing before. When I came home from dropping my daughter off at school I felt happy and energized and ready to clean a house that had previously been victim to two whirlwinds of mess and chaos. We had a science themed week and the kids learned that water could bend, we made volcanoes, sun-catchers and Borax crystals. Our absolutely favourite was Magic Mud, or Oobleck. My daughter thought it was the best ever invention whereas my son was quite disgusted with it and wanted his hands washed every 2 minutes (which is odd to me because I always assumed boys loved anything sticky and dirty?) Everyday was something new and I had a blast doing the ‘sperriments’ with them. After my husband finished work, he then took over so I could collapse in a heap somewhere, anywhere in the house. It worked out quite nicely.

Here are a few pictures of the adventures;

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Spring officially begins March 20th and it really will be most welcome after the winter we’ve had. Although the snow is not over yet there is still some comfort to know there is now a definite light at the end of the tunnel and the weather will get warmer and the snow will melt. I’ve noticed many magazines are now all exclaiming about spring cleaning, de-cluttering and making yourself feel fresh and renewed. I loves a good de-clutter session! It took a few years to be able to do it though as I was a bit of a hoarder in my younger days but thankfully my husband coached me out of that and now I am ruthless when it comes to organizing and cleaning.

My husband bought me a book a few years ago which I read every year or so, mainly because it is that good. It’s called ‘The Happiness Project‘ by Gretchen Ruben (her website can be found here.) I loved the simplicity of everything she wrote about and how easy her methods could be incorporated. She didn’t just write about cleaning up your home; she wrote about love, marriage, family, work and health. Her research is quite extensive and little nuggets of information are scattered throughout. I highly recommend reading it if you want something a little more in depth. She also has a follow up book entitled ‘Happier at Home’ and she is currently writing a book on habits, or why we make and break them.

For now, I will tackle The Spring Clean. Children will forever confound me with their natural ability to make mess in a very short space of time. A particular favourite of mine are the landmines they leave right by the front door – coats, snow-pants, boots and book-bags – perfectly discarded in the right place so I cascade over them while attempting to bring in the shopping. Before you ask, yes, I have asked them to hang up their stuff on the hooks we put in specially to combat this habit, but to no avail. I’m told that may happen later on. In the meantime I will summon my courage and ambition to get this house back to a form of normal, one where if we had a friend suddenly drop by I would not go into a panic. I will begin my Spring Clean with utter ruthlessness, determination and a few glasses of wine later on in the evening to bolster my enthusiasm for the job.

Here’s to Spring Cleaning! Here’s to Spring!