“It’s a beautiful day for planting!”

Proud new gardener

So proclaimed The Child, who was enthused about ‘doing some planting’. I’ve got packets of herb seeds of various ages. I don’t like not finishing up the bags of fresh herbs we buy (I’ve just had to throw out coriander and mint), so I suggested we plant some seeds together*.

We live in a flat. No window boxes, no balcony, no space. We have a kitchen window that gets some sunshine in the morning. I couldn’t even get mung beans to sprout during science lessons at school, so I’ve always been a bit wary of this gardening malarkey, but I’ve managed to grow some coriander and basil in this window (they later died when we went on holiday).

I found a pretty ingenious self-watering method of container gardening, and it recycles, too. The Husband happily cut up some used juice bottles, and I stuffed the open mouth with polyfill (from an old pillow, I also use the same material to stuff softies). The Child and I headed down to the garage to get our potting compost.

Scooping compost

She had a whale of a time, scooping compost (with the spade from her miniature sand table), patting it down, sprinkling seeds, and giving the containers a good dousing with her watering can (which she usually plays with in the bath). She asked to plant more, but we’re out of ‘pots’, so we’ll have to get some more. Yay, more juice.

We will check them together every day, to see if they germinate. I hope she can forgive me if my black thumb means nothing appears!

* Also in the vain hope The Child might try them if she’s planted them.

Imagine if she was left to her own devices

I’m currently pretty anxious that The Child won’t be offered a place at our local preschool. All her pals are more than likely to be offered a place as they have older siblings already attending the school. With the town currently suffering from an under-supply of preschool places, it means she won’t get to go to preschool, and my great fear is she will feel — and actually get — left behind as her friends get to go on their next adventure together.

(Plus, she loved the school’s open evening so much she asked to go back the next day.)

As any good Southeast Asian from the small country located at the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia would do, I’ve gone into contingency planning overdrive. If she doesn’t get a place at preschool, I will home school her for that year.* Which won’t be challenging at all with a new baby in tow and zero familial support.

I began this morning with doing a worksheet (something we do occasionally), this time printed from the eBook Fizz, Pop, Bang! Playful Science and Math Activities. She asked to watch Bubble Guppies, I countered with doing an activity with me first.

Shape hunting worksheet from Fizz, Pop, Bang!
This is The Child being restrained

Even with me sitting right beside her, providing guidance, she only managed to mark out a few pink rectangles before going mental with the markers. She clearly knows her shapes and colours, because she identified them before we got started, but seems to take after me in lacking that basic ability to pay any regard to instruction. So our shapes morphed into planets and smiley faces.

Showing off her completed worksheet

* And keep everything crossable crossed that she gets a place at the primary school, because there is no way I could cope with homeschooling at that level.

Warning: over-sharing about breastfeeding imminent

The other night, The Child said breastfeeding was for babies. No one has told her this — the closest thing I’ve ever said was when babies are first born all they can have is milk. The last time she tried to nurse, she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, latch on properly. Then, when we had a bath recently (I’m too cheapskate frugal to not share bath or shower time), she pointed at my nipple and said, “This is for the baby.”

My goal when I started breastfeeding was to try to breastfeed — the WHO recommends a minimum of two years, and many others tend to aim for six months or so. Anything beyond that first half-year could be considered extended feeding. I did not expect to still be nursing The Child when she was approaching three years of age, but now that it seems to have more or less ended, I can’t help but feel a little… lost? Disappointed?

I guess the reason is her self-weaning has sort of marked the end of an era — she definitely isn’t my baby any more. My most effective parenting tool is now no longer available to me when she’s been hurt or is throwing a long tantrum. I almost feel like I should commemorate this milestone in some way, but that seems weirdly self-indulgent and far too hippy.

Plastic box fun: pom pom motor skills

At 9am I started getting The Child ready to go to a group that was a 15-minute walk away and started at 11am. We were still late. It’s been one of those days.

I needed something to occupy her when we got home in order to not snap and end up crying in the foetal position in the shower.

Plastic box fun: pom pom motor skills

You’ll need:

  • a plastic box;
  • pom poms, assorted shapes and sizes;
  • various containers (mine are all recycled: egg carton, plastic tray, cream pot, single serve plastic pot, juice bottle); and
  • various scooping implements (the pound shop is your friend) and tongs (ours was part of a wok set,and are basically giant bamboo tweezers).

I laid it all out and basically introduced the concept to her by showing her what she could do. She generally enjoys fine motor activities, so it was (thankfully) right up her alley.

pom poms into the measuring cup
Collecting the green pom poms

She ‘made’ ice creams and cakes, as well as a snowman that looked more like a caterpillar.

Using tongs to extract pom poms from a bottle
Extracting pom poms with the tongs

Not pictured is the poor, tragic red pom pom that was systematically torn apart and scattered all over the rug. RIP red pom pom.

Create a book toddler activity

An extremely quick-to-prep activity if you’ve got somewhere to be that may also require a bit of sitting around — waiting rooms, cafés…

  1. Get a sheet of blank copier paper;
  2. Turn it into an eight-page book (trimming not required);
  3. Gather a small set of pens, markers, crayons, stickers;
  4. Stick them all in your bag;
  5. While you’re out and the toddler gets antsy, pull the mini-book and other bits out, and work together on creating their very own book.