It’s been a while but I’m back. With our many situation meaning no big holiday adventures abroad this year we decided once a week we’d do something with the kids. Last week was a trip to Dinoland or whatever its called down in Dumfries and this week we decided to take them to the outdoor pool in Gourock. Needless to say I hoped the hot weather we’d been having continued through today.
Just before lunch we loaded up the car and headed off. I don’t know why by the kids seemed to think we were actually going swimming in the Clyde estuary rather than in a pool and so we started getting asked about sharks and whether basking sharks could eat you or not. They even started running down to the water when we got to the pool rather than the entrance.
Once inside they loved it though. Or at least everyone with the exception of Nairn did. He took real offence at the water in the pool actually being sea water. So much so he went and sat at the side of the pool for ages.
It’s a nice enough pool and the large one is heated with the smaller paddling pool seemingly left to be heated by the sun. We had a great fun though even if the paddling pool was a little murky.
Afterwards we headed down to Wemyss Bay for some fish and chips. Its been almost 30 years since I was last there and it chant changed a bit although 90p for a can of Coke from the newsagents was taking the piss a little.
Then it was down to Largs for some ice cream. We seem to make a habit of stopping by Nardinis at stupid times of the year in and all weathers just for a cone. Today at least was sunny and during the summer holidays.
The kids are knackered. I’m knackered. Everybody is knackered. Time for bed said Zebadee.
On Friday it was Nairn’s 4th birthday. Somehow he managed to effectively get five days of celebrations and gifts thanks to parties and various members of our family not being able to turn up on his actual birthday which was actually fantastic. It’s possibly the least stressed we’ve been during one of our kids birthdays because of it I think. Anyway one of the presents that he received from us/the kids was a Woody from Toy Story costume which he didn’t like. If there is one thing I can say about the boy it’s that he’s honest. Even if a little ruthless with it. Anyway seeing as all the kid’s love Toy Story Erica decided that this costume was the best thing ever and this morning I came downstairs after looking out her clothes to wear to nursery to find her sitting watching TV wearing this costume.
“I got dressed Daddy.”
I couldn’t not let her wear it hat and all. I just didn’t have the heart.
So it came to pick up time and for once Vonnie wasn’t able to pick them up in the car as she’d been out in the city all afternoon and couldn’t make it back in time. This meant I had to walk the two miles there and the two miles back pushing a pram with my hurt foot as well as carrying Greer in a sling. It sounds worse than it is but it does take time. It’s usually a 60 minute round trip but with the extra child and bags on top of my foot it was closer to 120 minutes before we got home. Around half way home Findlay pointed out that Erica had fell asleep on the bottom seat of the P&T buggy and she was still holding the the cowboy hat in her hands. The next time I checked on her was whilst in the queue to buy pizza for dinner when I realised the hat was gone. Nairn had only had it five days and already it had been lost.
I was furious. How could I have been so stupid. I blamed Findlay for not seeing it fall from the pram. I blamed Greer for being young enough that I could carry her in the sling which completely obstructs the view of the lower pram seat and my feet. I blamed Nairn because he wouldn’t carry the hat for me to keep it safe and most of all I blamed myself for being so stupid as to miss a large brown cowboy hat falling from the pram no matter how hard it would have been to see it. I’d decided that as soon as Vonnie was home she could deal with feeding the children whilst I’d run back to the nursery and retrace our footsteps in the futile hope that no one had picked it up for themselves. I was close to tears with anger at this point and thankfully Vonnie had beaten us home and before we even made it in the front door she had me throwing the kids in the car so that we could quickly get back to nursery.
I jumped out at the entrance to the technology park where the kids nursery is and started jogging along our usual route after checking with the guardhouse. I had it in my head that between the nursery and a path just by the Territorial Army HQ was where it must have happened as I was sure I hadn’t seen the hat any further along our route so it cut down the possible number of spots where it might be. As I went along the route I started to get frantic. Okay so when we’d last been there it was daylight and an hour later it was definitely night time so I was expecting to possibly miss it as in places it was really dark but as I got closer to the TA HQ it became very apparent that the hat wasn’t to be found.
Just as I was about to turn off the path head to where I was meeting Vonnie with the car I had a thought. I’d long travelled past the place where I was last sure she didn’t have the hat but as there was only another 20 yards round a corner before I reached the end of the path I was on anyway I carried on. And there it was. Someone had came along and found it. Not only had the person not taken it for themselves they picked it up and placed it on a wall under a streetlamp so that I’d be able to see it without staring into the shadows that surrounded the place. The relief I felt was unreal. This is why I know I’m tired.
The level of stress and worry that I felt from this was up there with our experiences when Erica wasn’t well as a baby and we didn’t know what was wrong with her. The sudden joy of finding the hat felt exactly the same as the day we found out that Erica was piling on the weight and was no longer going to be a ‘failure to thrive’ baby. I shouldn’t be having these extreme emotions over a lost rubber cowboy hat.
Still… At the end of the day we got the hat back and there will be no tears in the morning. That’s the aim for every day. No tears from anyone in the morning.
The postman knows us very well. There isn’t a week goes by where we don’t get a package of some sorts. It’s got to the stage where he knows we’ll be about so holds on to packages for use if he misses us while we’re on the nursery/food/chicken feed run and swings by later to pass them in. Every single package is for Vonnie. The stuff inside might be for the kids but it’s always addressed to Vonnie. Then last week a box arrived addressed to myself…
Turn back time to just over a month ago. I’m sitting at my desk at work trying desperately to do as little as possible whilst still looking busy (for all prospective employers out there…read back through my journal as there is a reason for it ) I stumbled upon a competition being run by the Scottish Book Trust. All you had to do was complete the titles of a few books and give their authors and you could win a few books. Easy. So over lunch I completed my entry and then completely forgot all about it. That was until the other week when I received an email saying I’d won the competition. With it being kids books it was a nice win but my limit of good luck never stretched to more than a few quids worth of prizes.
Now we’ve had a few freebies from them in the past. One of the things they do is to reach out to every child in Scotland and at various times of their give them a bundle of books to help encourage the love of reading. So needless to say with having four kids we’ve seen our fair share of Bookstart books come through the door.
What arrived was a little more than a few free books however.
Rory and his Magic Castle by Andrew Wolffe
Yo-Ho-Ho A-Pirating We’ll Go by Kaye Umansky
Stella to Earth by Simon Puttock
Mungo and the Picture Book Pirates by Timothy Knapman
Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs by Giles Andreae
The Octonauts & the Sea of Shade by Meomi
Chick by Ed Vere
Paddington : King of the Castle by Michael Bond
Love From Louisa by Simon Puttock
Call Me Gorgeous by Giles Milton
I Love Holidays by Anna Walker
Red Rockets and Rainbow Jelly by Sue Heap and Nick Sharratt
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
To buy all that in the shops your looking at around £60 and Nairn’s already demanding to have the dinosaur pirates one read to him at night. We already own a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpiller just like every household with children in the UK but I think we’re on to our 5th copy and that is on it’s last legs. My favourite off them all must be Chick though. With us keeping chickens it’s a great wee book for the kids but Nairn was the only one of the younger kids to go through the hatching of our chicks and be able to remember it. If we don’t hatch this year then it will be perfect for the girls to get a better look at how our chickens live.
So needless to say I’m very pleased with the prize and so are the kids. Now all I need to do is buy them another bookshelf to fit their new books on!
So hows things with us other than winning books? We’re getting there. Greer is loaded with the cold and seems to be teething so we’ve been up a fair bit of the last two nights. Vonnie says my eyes look like pinholes which is a nice look. With Nairn we’ve got the whole speech therapy thing going on as well as trying to work out whether it’s in his best interest to go to school a year early or not as well as working out just what school we should be sending to him. Erica’s speech is confusing me. She still has her own wee language almost as her pronunciations aren’t great but in the last few days her fluency has shot through the roof. Findlay? He’s in his own wee work with his laptop these days. If he’s not playing on Club Penguin he’s round at his friends houses.
Today all the kids are at nursery so although I had plans to use that fact to get started on decorating the girls room it’s looking like a quiet day with tea and a sofa to snooze on. This isn’t a bad thing.
The younger kids have just started getting into LEGO these last few weeks. Findlay had loads of it and I still had a few bucketfuls from my own childhood so we have a fair amount of it. Whilst in Brighton however I managed to track down their local Lego Store (which we don’t have anywhere near our home town) whilst the kids and my wife were in a toyshop buying a build it yourself wooden dolls house for the girls. After a little sweet talking we wandered through the twisting back streets of Brighton with all it’s little boutique shops and fancy jewellery stores towards the holy grail of toy shops.
I’ve had my eye on a few of this years LEGO City boxed sets but at the price they were wanting for them I think I’ll be saving my pennies for a little longer. Anyway one of the great things about LEGO stores is they have a few bins of minifig pieces and you can design your own minifig and accessorise it and buy it for £1.25. Nairn rummaged through the bins and came up with a dungaree wearing skeletal janitor. Quite random but he liked it.
With my own rummagings I came up with Dr McNinja but unfortunately I couldn’t find any black trousers anywhere in any of the three bins of parts.
Erica on the other hand took me by surprise. You have to remember she is only just two years old. After her initial choices of knights helmets on spacefig bodies holding a loud hailer she threw them all back into the bins and started anew. First she picked up a grey woman’s hair piece followed by a female face. After putting them together she then started digging through the bins with what I can only describe as a look of deep intent on her face. Pretty soon she pulled out a handyman’s body and few minutes later she had some nice colour coordinated grey trousers. She then had a problem. Erica couldn’t find any accessory for her minifig that wasn’t a sword but eventually she found a wrench.
I don’t know which bit to be more impressed with. Is it the fact that she’s two years old and already showing signs that she knows that boys are no better than girls and can do whatever she wants with her life? Or is it that she sort of has some sort of fashion sense going on even if it did include a pair of dungarees. A feminist fashion designer before she’s three. A little hard to believe isn’t it…
I sometimes wonder if everyone else can see the same kids I see when I look at my family.
This past weekend we were at a wedding in London where, apart from the bride and groom, we had never met a single person.Our kids went into the crèche during the ceremony and at the dinner and reception afterwards we basically let them run riot around the place. When you’ve got one or two you can keep on top of them but once you hit that magical number of three they learn that in order to get to do what they want they just scatter in random directions. By the time you as the adult and authority figure work out which ne to go after they are all long gone.
Anyway I barely seen our kids for most of the night what with them spending a lot of time at the craft table or on the dance floor. But when they were not doing that they were doing what all young kids do and that’s just run wild. Findlay managed to fashion together a DIY fishing rod and was managing to get the end in the Thames from the decking of the boathouse we were in. At one point he came round the tables looking for something to use as bait.
Nairn just turned into a thief. As the boathouse wasn’t really designed to have a couple of hundred people stamping their feet during the speeches everyone was given a squeaky rubber duck instead and so after our dinner was finished he went around every table lifting the ducks people had left behind. We had over 20 of them at one point.
I think it was Erica that managed to let them get away with it. She was running interference by being as cute as she could be on the dancefloor or talking to anyone and everyone. As soon as Nairn had all the ducks back at our table though her true colours came to the fore and pretty soon they were having a heated discussion over who could have the largest mound of rubber ducks.
It wasn’t until the end of the night however as everyone started to leave that we started getting comments on our kids. I couldn’t believe it. Apparently our children are a credit to us and were simply wonderful. Erica had a few huge goth blokes wrapped around her finger and Nairn was getting on well with the ladies. Someone even commented on how they had never seen a bunch of kids get on so well together and not end up falling out with anyone by the end of the night. Everyone else’s kids were fantastic so maybe mine actually lived up to the hype?