The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or by one of our baby bloggers. Occasionally we accept guest posts too. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.
We were really excited today. We were going back to our Water Babies swimming lessons after a couple of weeks break and big sister was coming too (as she is still on half term). The little one was insisting that her sister couldn't come in "her" swimming lessons but the big one insisted that she was bringing her costume, just in case. So you can imagine everyones dismay when we arrived to find that our swimming teachers car had broken down.
Thankfully the Forest of Arden Hotel took pity on us and let us swim anyway, much to the delight of the 8yo.
I was amazed at the difference since I was last in the pool with the girls, I know they have lessons every week but seeing the little one able to get out of the pool and confidently dive in, while the big one is diving under the water doing handstands and somersaults, reminds me why it was so important to give them both confidence in the water.
I have to admit that whilst I may have got wet, I didn't actually get to do much swimming myself but I realised how much I enjoy the water.
I loved swimming as a child.
I loved swimming when I was pregnant.
I loved swimming with the girls today.
So what happens when your swimming lesson is cancelled? Well it gave me a reminder of how much I need to be swimming again.
Image courtesy of supakitmod / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
We have been out for a day trip today. We didn't go really far (I think our 7 hour road trip last year was enough to put the Man on the Pad off long journeys for some time) and whilst the excitement of a road trip can be fun, lets be honest it can also be a little like an endurance test, especially with impatient children. Sometimes, a dvd is not enough to keep children entertained during hours and hours of driving. We are currently experiencing the joys of toddler tantrums, which can be massively distracting and and not ideal for safe driving either.
Older children, especially teenagers, pose a different kind of challenge: no tantrums (occasionally, maybe) but a likelihood of boredom and disengagement. You may as well use the time wisely; the son of a friend of mine was approaching his driving theory test so would take every opportunity to take practice tests and check his knowledge of the road signs.
We have talked about our road trips before and after recently investing in new dual DVD players,which I am hoping may diffuse some of the arguments, but if not, here are some of our tried and tested car games.
This is probably the most popular game that anyone can play while travelling. The game is geared towards children, as it is simple, yet it can keep them entertained for long periods. “I spy with my little eye, something round.” The mechanics are easy. We all know how to play it, although we do have to keep it simple with the toddler .... more like "I spy something that is the colour blue" or more frequently "I spy something that looks like Daddy Pig drives it".
The Alphabet Game
This is another of our faves but it is just a simple game of observation; that even the grown ups can have fun playing it. The game starts with the letter A. All the participants must then start looking for an A in the area. This can be an A on a licence plate, a poster, or a road sign. Two people cannot declare a letter from the same item. After finding an A, everyone moves on to the next letter until they get to the letter Z. The first person to go through the entire alphabet wins the game.
In this country it is easy to let travelling on a rainy day give you the blues. The Raindrop Race is a quick and fun game for everyone. At the start of the race, each player chooses a raindrop on the topmost part of a car window. They trace the course of their raindrops until they reach the bottom of the window. The player whose raindrop reaches the bottom of the window first wins the game.
The Song Game
The Song Game is fun to play whether you sing in tune or not (and if I am truthful, none of us in our family are ever going to win the X Factor). The first player sings a few lines from a song. The next player then has to start singing a new song using the last word of the previous player’s song. The game goes on and on until a player cannot think of a song to connect to the previous one. To make the game more interesting, try setting a time limit of 10 seconds for the next player. Any player who fails to provide a new song within 10 seconds is out.
The Picnic Game
Keep your brain juices flowing by playing this memory game. In the Picnic Game, players must remember a string of items. The first person says, “I went to a picnic and I brought…” and continues to name an item that starts with the letter A. The next player has to repeat the phrase, the first item, and add a new item starting with the letter B. The game ends when a player fails to remember an item that was brought to the picnic. See how sharp your memory is by trying to remember all 26 items.
Lets be honest, trying to keep the whole family entertained while travelling is a challenge in itself, if you factor in road works, toilet breaks, the inevitable traffic jams, more toilet breaks and that is without the prospect of going off course. So a few lighthearted games can make those miles seem a little shorter and if you are anything like us, you can always tweak the rules or make up your own games to suit every age of traveller!
I talk about my girls most of the time on the blog so when I found the "Siblings" linky, I was kicking myself that I didn't know about it before. I have to admit that I am always wary of the photos I share on the blog (mostly because my mom frets about pictures being online) but I love the idea of this linky.
My girls can be the best of friends but the worst of enemies, they either love each other hopelessly or fight like cats and dogs. There never really seems to be any middle ground.
However, the little one has been quite poorly lately (resulting in an ambulance ride and hospital visit) and while the little one is usually the more boistrous and zealous one, her fragility has brought out the protective instinct in her older sister. Maybe April will mean the month of friendship??
I love to sleep. As a mum to two girls, I never seem to get enough sleep, I never want to get out of my bed in the morning from the room that is my haven but a child’s room is so much more than a place to sleep. Far more than for most grown-ups, it’s a place they spend a lot of their waking hours, telling stories, creating adventures, building dens and having fun.
So what do you do when you decide it needs redecorting? You have to think about the times they’re going to play, read, draw and colour in there and as they get older, it’s bound to be where they’ll do a lot of their homework too. (I am clearly living in hope that the challenge of physically getting them to do their homework is not too much of a mission)
The secret interior designer (or just the sleepy mum) that is trapped inside me thinks that the key piece of furniture in a child’s bedroom is the bed, and that’s the best place to start when you’re planning out how to furnish and decorate your child’s room. Children’s beds today come in a massive range of styles and sizes and the one you’ll choose will depend on the size of the room and how old your child is. Great companies like GLTC have a fabulous range of children's beds and mattresses from GLTC and this is a good first stop resource for families like us.
I love the idea of a cabin bed, as it can be a great space-saver choice and the underneath can either be used as a desk, or as storage space for clothes. Some cabin beds have tent style play areas below them too, although I am not sure there would be much sleeping going on with my daughters in this kind of bed.
Children’s bedroom furniture can be expensive, so it may be worth considering choosing a timeless classic style for the furniture, and then giving the room a fresh look with new accessories every couple of years – when your child’s tastes change. It’s far easier and more economical to change curtains, bed linen and rugs than replacing all the furniture with a new set. It might not be the most exciting but I have always gone for neutral colours like cream or white and accessorised around them.
Space and storage is always an issue for parents, for us, the litte one needs lots of floor space to play, and we have storage chests for her toys, whereas the older one prefer less floor space (to hopefully create less clutter) and has a wall unit with all her essentials in.
i made the mistake of letting the eldest daughter choose her bedroom colour and she went for "sexy pink" (I kid you not) so guiding them towards a theme will help to give their bedroom a coordinated look and it could be inspired by any of their interests. There are some perennially popular themes, such as pirates, fairies or woodland creatures for younger kids, and bright, bold colours for older children. It really depends what your kids like – and what you like too, of course. Don’t feel that you have to achieve a new-look room all in one go – in fact, in a way, it’s nice for them to build on their room’s theme by asking for accessories for Christmas or birthday presents.
So their bedroom maybe a design project for me but for the girls, it is so much more than that, it is a place that memories are created, tears will be shed, laughter will seep through the walls and friends will be made and lost. I always want everything to be perfect for them and you just live in hope that they’ll love the fact that it’s been done especially for them, and maybe they’ll keep it tidy as a way of saying thank you!