Wednesday, January 22, 2014

dear arthur: two years

my precious wee lad,

you are two! wow! and what a big, bright, funny young man you are.


you have a distinct wicked streak, which i recognise only too well from my own nature. you sometimes get a definite kick out of doing things that you know are forbidden or make your mamas cross. and oh, the look you get on your face, and the cheeky cackle that accompany such misdeeds! but you are a genuinely good boy at heart, and almost always just want to make your mamas happy and proud (which you do!).


toddlerhood is tough, and you have the knees to prove it. now that the weather's warm and you're running around in shorts, you often tumble over and get a big grazes. you're very resilient, and a big kiss and a bandaid usually set you to rights, but goodness me you've taken some stacks! you're also very empathetic when other people hurt themselves. you always want to help them feel better if you can, though you don't always know how and this sometimes distresses you. i love you for your soft and tender heart.


you surprise us by talking about your feelings quite regularly. sometimes you'll be sitting in the car seat thinking, and you'll say "mama, arty happy!". likewise, you are able to tell us when you feel sad, shy, or frightened. we've always tried to model this for you, and it's great to see that you've caught on so adeptly. we hope you'll always feel confident talking about how you feel with us, and with the other people who love you.

you're a very polite young man. you almost always say please and thank you without prompting these days. you sometimes, if you're distracted or tired, but on the whole you've nailed this important social convention, and we're really proud of you for it.


please and thank you are just the beginning, really. you're a total chatterbox, and will do anything to get people talking. your favourite conversation starter at the moment is "oh! wossat!?" prompting an adult to talk to you about an object or a sound. sometimes you're genuinely asking, but often you'll be pointing to a shoe, or a pencil, or some other very familiar item, and we know you're just trying to have a chat about something, and you don't care what.
you also love to tell stories. we're constantly surprised and impressed by your ability to remember and retell your experiences, sometimes even weeks later.

music is very important to you.
our habit of singing all the time has rubbed off on you. you often sing to yourself while we're driving, while you play, and even when you lie in bed before you fall asleep. we particularly love to hear you singing to your toys at bedtime over the monitor.
you also love playing with your ukulele, drumming on pretty much anything you can get your hands on, and pretending that other toys are actually violins, flutes, and guitars.
and when you're not playing or singing, you love to dance! it's adorkable.



you also love to read and be read to. you know the text of some of your favourite books by heart now, and you're essentially able to recite them to us while we turn the pages. in some of your other books you make up your own stories to go with the pictures, and enjoy telling them to us.



you absolutely love to help around the house. one of your favourite places to be is standing up on a chair at the sink, rinsing dishes, and washing your hands. you like to help with cooking too, and always do a good job of stirring ingredients when you get the chance. you also like to put things away in cupboards, and sweep. i hope you continue to enjoy this kind of thing as you get older!

as ever, you adore your people. you have some great wee friends, who you're learning to play and share with, and you've got some brilliant grown ups in your life too. we feel so lucky and grateful to be raising you in a loving community, and to see you adored by so many good people.


last time i wrote you a letter, i included a few of your favourite things. here's what it looks like now:


  • the baby's catalogue by janet ahlberg
  • mommy, mama and me by leslea newman and carol thompson
  • my cat likes to hide in boxes by eve suton and lynley dodd
  • spot bakes a cake by eric hill (and several other spot books)



  • porridge
  • weet bix
  • ice cream
  • pikelets
  • yoghurt
  • custard
  • smoothies
  • "squishy fruit" (pureed fruit) 



  • building cubbies
  • painting
  • "tall baby" - i.e. standing on something to make yourself tall
  • playing on the swings at the park
  • dancing



  • darren hanlon
  • luka bloom
  • rockabilbies
  • edward sharp and the magnetic zeroes 



  • bunbun (though you love all your soft toys, and are very sweet and affectionate with all of them)
  • trains
  • trucks
  • stickers
  • the ipad
  • your toy broom



  • peppa pig
  • abney and teal
  • little charley bear
  • mouk
  • play school
  • humf


there's nothing in the world that makes me happier than your laugh, nothing that makes me feel more loved than a kiss or a cuddle from you. thank you for being the wonderful little person you are. i love you more than i could ever say.

mama xxx

Monday, January 20, 2014

family noms: summertime smoothie

it's been a little quiet here of late. first we had that busy time leading up to christmas and new year, and then we came away to western australia for a few weeks of summer holidaying with sj's family.

we're still in perth for a few more days, and while i am very much looking forward to seeing our family and friends back home, i'll miss the relaxing holiday pace we've set over here, our perth family, and omg the fruit.

western australians are very proud of their locally grown produce, and with good reason. i have eaten some of the most delicious fruit in the last few weeks. at times i've actually gotten a little carried away, and bought more than we can really eat in one go, just because it's looked and smelled so good. i did that with mangoes this week, and rather than let that sunny deliciousness go to waste, i've been making smoothies.

the word 'smoothie' tends to imply some sort of low-fat health drink these days, so i want to be upfront and say that if that's what you're looking for, this recipe is not it. it is, creamy, summery, and full of calcium and vitamins, so basically, it's excellent.


summertime smoothie


ingredients:

flesh of one ripe mango
3/4 cup milk
1 small scoop vanilla ice cream
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp dessicated coconut



method:

  • place all ingredients in a blender, and whizz until smooth. if smoothie is thicker than you'd like, alter the consistency with more milk.

suggested alternatives
  • for a not-so-sweet alternative, replace ice cream with natural yoghurt
  • pour smoothie into moulds and freeze for creamy icy poles (for other recipes for iced summer treats, have a look at the tag)


arty snarfed his in a matter of minutes, so i think i can safely say it has the toddler tick of approval. now if only there were some left for the grown-ups...