We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
~George Bernard Shaw~
We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
~George Bernard Shaw~
Who knew such a basic toy could have so many possibilities? A child can stack them up into a tower, build castles, houses or whatever else their mind can dream up. The blocks can be used to make noise as well (a big hit with Miss E), and another one of our favourite things to do with wooden blocks these days is using them for shape recognition. Miss E is MAJORLY into all things shape and number related (doesn’t bode well for the future as I am a words person not a umber and geometry person), so we line up 4 shapes and I tell her the names, cylinder, cube etc, and then when I ask her a question such as, “where is the cube?” she will point it out in the line up. I do believe that every child should have at least one set of wooden blocks in their toy collection. Such a simple yet worthwhile addition for imaginative and educational purposes. Wooden blocks rock!! 🙂
In just a few short weeks my baby girl turns one (sob!), and I thought it was time to sit down and have a look at what’s changed in the space of a year. Becoming a mother has changed my life drastically. It has brought changes for the positive, and it has also been a magnifying glass for the glaring short-comings in my life. So what has changed then?
-my health: from hitting rock bottom with the threat of a spell in hospital as conventional GPs were of no use, finally through the help of a homeopath we discovered what was making me so ill. Without having my daughter, I would probably never have discovered the truth. The physical strain of the pregnancy and labour brought my body to such a state that we were pushed into searching for the answers instead of allowing ourselves to be pacified with the mediocre state of health offered to me by the National “Health” Service and their pills to mask symptoms. For improving health even though I still have rough days, I have my daughter to thank.
-creativity: I would never consider myself to be creative. It wasn’t something that was overly encouraged in my childhood. My parents would openly admit they weren’t great at drawing etc and I guess due to this it was never something they felt they had the skills with which to encourage me to be. All through school I hated arty stuff, and I never felt my work was worth anything. Since having my daughter I have somehow from somewhere found a love of creativity. I don’t believe my skills have improved any, but maybe my acceptance of them as they are has improved, and my willingness to push myself and try out new things has increased. In the last 11 months I have done more artistic stuff than I have since leaving high school(quite some time ago now). I have made a pattern for and sewn up a stocking for my daughter for Christmas, I have made her a picture with a quote on it to be framed for her bedroom for her birthday, I have also drawn and coloured her birthday invitations which were sent out to people(even a year ago the thought of someone seeing and judging my “handiwork” would have been enough to handicap me in this area), and I am also hoping to take some of Miss E’s baby clothes and turn them into a keepsake stuffed toy for her. Wow, I never could have guessed such things would be done by me before she was born!
-baking: I have rediscovered my love of baking. Before my GCSEs I used to be baking all the time. I loved to make cookies, cakes, bread etc. Then studying took over and adult life got in the way of another creative channel. Now I love the times I can be in the kitchen whipping up some form of cake batter or a frosting cupcakes. I’ve even allowed other people outside of my husband and my parents taste my baking. I also decided I would make and decorate the cake for her first birthday party……………….my first time ever dealing with fondant icing!
-confidence: As I look at the two previous points, I guess a big thing that my daughter has given me is confidence and self-belief. Ill health and years of people just assuming I was making it up because on the outside I looked normal, caused me to lose a lot of confidence in myself. Since having Miss E, I have regained some of that. I am open to pushing myself and yes, failing sometimes. I am willing to go to gatherings of strangers alone to make new friends and to give my daughter the chance to attend different events. In the past I’d rather not go, than have to face a bunch of strangers.
-sacrifice: Miss E has taught me the meaning of going without for someone else. I have sacrificed my body, my time, my possessions for her, and I am ok with that.
-love of peace and tranquility: by this I don’t mean the times when she has gone to bed in the evenings or for a nap. We used to have the tv on a lot before Miss E was born. In the evenings, we’d flop down on the couch and get sucked into that thing for hours. Communication, real communication was minimal. It always bothered me, but it took having Miss E for the big change to come. When Miss E is awake the tv is not on, plain and simple. Now, when she is asleep we rarely have it on either. I love the peace of just being. I no longer have to have something filling my brain with noise and images all my waking hours. It’s liberating. In fact, I would quite happily get rid of the tv altogether, but my husband isn’t quite so far down this road as I am and still likes the security of having the black screen sat in the corner just incase something good comes on tv that might be worth watching.
These are some big things that have changed since having my daughter, but there is still much room for improvement. Some of these areas are;
Selfishness: I have made big sacrifices, it is true, but I am still oh so selfish. Selfish with my time. I want my daughter to sleep when I want her to sleep, to play happily by herself when I want her to do that. And when she doesn’t, I often don’t take this impingement upon my plans very graciously. This is an area that with God’s grace I am still working on and learning much about.
Patience: This area is HUGE for me. Various happenings in my life have caused me to become rather impatient and snappy. I can fly off the handle easily. Since having my daughter, I have made big steps to keep my cool, and sometimes I do succeed. But more often than not, I fail miserably. I raise my voice, I get angry, I storm about, I get demanding, I want my daughter to do things to my time scale. I am more often than not displaying the type of behaviour I do not want her to see or copy. This must change, and it is an area that I bring often before the Lord in prayer. I want to, NEED to cultivate a heart of patience and gentleness. It’s not easy to kill off old habits, but it must be done as my daughter deserves a better example after which to model herself.
As I look forward to the next year of life with my daughter this is the thought I want to keep at the forefront of my mind:
“Your children are the greatest gift God will give to you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands. Take time with them, teach them to have faith in God. Be a person in whom they can have faith. When you are old, nothing else you’ve done will have mattered as much.”
― Lisa Wingate
Miss E is unfortunately not feeling quite herself as she awaits the arrival of top front tooth number two, so she was happier to sit and observe me doing the printing. She, did however, have an input in one heart print, so I have cut it out and have started making a card for her to give to her daddy on Valentine’s day. I know he will love and appreciate it much more than a store bought one 🙂
Our plan this afternoon is to do some potato prints. I loved doing this when I was little. All you need to do is cut a potato in half, mark on whatever shape you would like to print, and carefully cut around it so the bit you want to print with stands out. The potatoes then need to be dried off with some kitchen paper or a cloth so they will soak up the paint. As you can see from my bowl, my husband enjoyed creating the potato stamps just a little too much 😉 I’ve also got a tablecloth to put down to get clean up simple. This could go very well, and if it does I shall pass on some artwork to grandparents. If it doesn’t……………………..well we will still have had fun in the process 😀
Sometimes we get so caught up in the everyday that we forget to keep our eyes open for moments of beauty. I am desperately guilty of this. I get bogged down in the laundry, the vacuuming, the running here and there that I forget that this life is about much more than all that. The past few days I have really taken the time to open my eyes to the beauty in my life. There is a magnolia tree in our backyard that I just love. Its flowers are a thing of beauty………..until they start dropping off and covering the garden in hard to rake up petals and leaves, but I forgive it that! So I love spring and summer when it is in bloom. Yesterday morning when I opened the bedroom curtains and it was finely outlined in snow it drew me in again as I just stood and took in its natural beauty, each flower bud sat framed in white ready for the warmer weather to finally burst forth with new life.
Also a little while ago I had said to my husband how I was sad there had been no robins around yet this winter. I love the little robin bird with its lovely red chest. Today I look out and flying all around my garden in and out are robins………..lots of robins! There must be about 20 of them in total. It made my heart happy just to seem them fluttering around and hear all their chirping.
Let us keep our eyes open to the beauty that is all around us even as we go about our everyday lives. It is there if we just choose to look for it.
I have seen countless blogs of parents whose children as young as 7 months old are happily doodling away with crayons on paper. My daughter is not one of those!! She is still very much in a stage of “I’m gonna chew it and if it doesn’t taste good I’m gonna throw it”. We even got her some crayola beginners crayons, but that didn’t help. It always results in me chasing round after crayons as they roll away on the floor, telling her not to eat them, and the page ends up being filled with my doodles as I try to show her what the crayons are actually for. Still, I wanted to get some creative colour work in with her even at this stage, and I wanted to make it multi sensory. I have read of people making their own safe paints for babies who are still at the stage of tasting and also of people who use things like chocolate mousse. So we were inspired and used a big pot of natural yoghurt which cost me 50p and various colours of natural food dye. I poured the yoghurt into 6 of the sections on my muffin tray as I only had 6 colours to mix into the yoghurt. Popped some dye in each one and gave the sections a stir. I placed a big bath towel on the floor with two big sheets of construction paper (sugar paper) on top. I then set the tray with the yoghurt on this with utensils like spoons and a whisk and let my daughter loose. She enjoyed mixing the colours and we talked about the different colours and about how they were mixing (well more me as she can’t say any coherent words yet!), and of course she loved eating the yoghurt! She dipped her big spoon in repeatedly to get some more……..the blue seemed to be here favourite to eat! Here are a few snapshots of our time.
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