Order in the Car

I'm a slight stickler for organisation. (And all who know me will smirk at my use of "slight"). Ok. I'm an organisational nut. Organising is what I do, and what I love to do. No huge surprise that I like order in the car too. This is the way I do it.

I've introduced a toy box to the car. It sits neatly between the car seats (hasn't yet fallen off either), full of books and little toys and clean drawing equipment. I did this when we started talking about putting a DVD player and screens into the front head rests for the kids to use on long drives. I knew, however, that once we did this, it would never just be for long drives. If the tv was there, they would want it on whether it was a two hour drive or a two minute one.

I don't mind them watching tv at home, because I can justify it with a good balance of outings and outdoor stimulation, so I really didn't want tv following us out of the house.

The plan has worked. They're no longer bored in the car, they have long conversations in the back and share toys back and forth. It seems to work.

There are, of course, seat protectors for dusty, sandy feet, and tucked behind them, they each have a blanket in case the AC gets too cold. Emily recently added a pillow for when she wants to nap in her booster seat, although she never uses it and it inevitably ends up on the floor somewhere.

The car bin has been a huge help in keeping the whole place clean. I have a small stash of plastic bags in the middle console as garbage bags so I can empty it easily whenever it gets full.

Not pictured, but in the back of the car there is a also large plastic box that contains random stuff like reflective covers for the car seats, an emergency potty, baby wipes, a towel, bottle of water, spare pair of flip flops for me, a ball, picnic blanket... and bubbles. Priorities.

Big Messy Playdate

Before the insane sandstorm hit over the weekend, it was getting quite hot here in Dubai. Way hotter than February should be - even in this neck of the woods. So we took advantage of it by having a messy playdate in our garden. I turned into a mad Pinterest mum for a while and came up with all these ideas for the playdate (of which I only ended up using a couple). I knew we'd have a range of ages so I wanted everything to be somewhat edible, just in case. 

To get things started, I asked the older ones to find the grapes and raisins hidden in the jelly!

(The white mess on the table is from a can of whipped cream that we sprayed onto
their hands and told them to go and wash everything with. The edible version of this.)

Can I eat them? Why yes, you can!

There was colourful spaghetti (mad Pinterest mum actually dyed this herself that morning)

That was pure madness FUN to clear up...

We had painting: paintbrushes, stamps, fingerpaints

And we even had oobleck, though I don't think my version was very good. They enjoyed it anyway.

And then they had fun "cleaning" everything up.
(Which roughly translated into us adults having more to clear up than
we otherwise would have had the kids not helped)

We ended it all by having a rain feast (whereby I turn on the water hose and soak everyone), which always goes down well. We are very rain deprived here in Dubai, you see. 

Judging by the feedback that came in after the playdate, the little ones loved it, and some of the kids wanted to move to our house because it's "way more fun there." I know I had a blast! I guess we'll be doing it all again soon.

This is a link that came in very handy when planning this playdate:
Five Messy Sensory Bins for Babies and Toddlers

The End of the Day

I hit Pinterest tonight for the first time in a long time and came across this quote. It got me thinking about how, despite being the slight cleanliness nut that I often can be, I have learnt to let go. The kids get to make a mess and be dirty, roll in the grass, run down footpaths with no shoes on, explore mud and muck, hell - they even get to play in the sand on a regular basis. And I sit back and calmly watch them be.

Some of my fondest childhood memories involve "baking" mud pies and cooking up leaf soups for anyone who would pretend to eat them, and I'm more than happy to be able to do the same for my children. Children should be dirty, messy, and yes, their eyes ablaze from all the adventures they've had, and all the stories they can tell about the amazing things they've done. They should go to bed with huge, tired grins on their faces.

I'd like to think that is what childhood is all about.

An Introduction to the Cold at Ski Dubai

The only time Adam has actually needed to wear a jacket was for a week in January 2014 when we visited the UK. Other than that, he has mostly been a short sleeves baby (even in Maltese winter, he was in cotton long-sleeved tops and a thick gilet-style jacket). But we are thinking about possibly going on holiday somewhere cold soon and wanted to see how it would go down with him before we booked anything.

We decided to treat the kids to the Ski Dubai Snowpark. We'd wanted to go for ages anyway, so it was the perfect excuse.

Entertainer voucher in hand, we marched in, and queued up for our snow gear. Then we found a free bench and a locker and sat down for the long process of getting everyone ready.

They were excited (and Adam quite a bit confused)

The Frozen theme (running until the end of February 2015) was an instant hit. There are craft workshops and sing-along sessions you can pay extra to join, but we didn't feel the need for any of that. The scenery alone - and Olaf - was enough to make our two very happy.

And once Adam let me convince him to keep his mittens on and got over the shock of having a cold nose ("Nose! Cold!"), he had a blast.

They really, really loved it. Even considering the small fortune it cost, and even considering that we actually spent less than two hours in there, it was well worth it. We topped it off with lunch at the Cheesecake Factory in a booth overlooking Ski Dubai which they also loved. 

Some tips if you are planning to go...

- Signage says that children need to be over 3 years of age to enter. This appears on some level to be untrue. When we got to Ski Dubai and asked staff about this, they were happy when we said Adam was 2 (okay, so he's 2 months shy of 2, but he's big enough to be 2 and a half, so who's actually counting?), and let him in. So do ask. 

- Take a small across-body bag. The snow suits do have a small zipped pocket on the sleeve for your phone, but they don't all seem to be the same size. David's iphone fit in his pocket, my iphone didn't fit in mine. When I needed both hands, it had to go in my bra (!!) so a small handy bag would've been useful. 

- Set out early. When we left for lunch around 12:30, the queues at the ticket booths were neverending (and getting your snow gear does take time). 

- Gloves are included in the ticket price but they are very basic gloves and I wasn't convinced they'd keep hands dry. Take your own thick gloves if you have them, and a hat for the adults. Children won't need a hat, they'll need a helmet provided by Ski Dubai and if that's loose, pulling their hood up under the helmet works well. 

Have fun!

This is not a sponsored post. 

Interviewing the Birthday Girl (4)

Her party went off without a hitch. Emily loved it (and was more than pleased with the soundtrack), I think it's safe to say we all loved it. The kids had a blast and that makes the adults happy too. The crowd was fun, the weather perfect, the face painter an absolute hit, the colouring area never empty, the trampoline worked overtime and the cake was divine.

And a few days later, she is today officially four - and even understanding the concept of a difference between her party day and her actual birthday (which I had not expected), so we got to "celebrate" all over again today, and she was thrilled all day long. 

Before dinner, I sat her down for her Birthday Interview, which she loved.

Here are her answers this year. 

What is your name?

How old are you?

What is your favourite thing to do?
Colour and paint

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Lots of things... a nurse, a doctor, and a mummy

What is your favourite food?
Spaghetti, pizza and twirly pasta

Who do you like to spend time with?
Nannus and Nannas, and my aunties and uncles

What do you do really well?
I was really good at doing my orange dinosaur for the library, so painting.

What makes you laugh?

What is the best time of the day?
Singing my bedtime song

What are you afraid of?
Dinosaurs and big spiders

Who is your best friend?
Betsy. And Olivia and Maya.

What do you like to do with your family?
Stickers and dress up for school

What do you love to learn about?
Hippopotamuses and rhinos

Where do you like to go?
To school

What is your favourite book?

If you had one wish, what would it be?
To have Elsa shoes

Do you get that she loves going to school?

But I was especially touched by her mention of Betsy. She hasn't seen or spoken to her since we were in Malta in July of last year, and yet she still considers her to be her best friend. 

My little girl is a sweet, kind, loving and considerate little soul, and I'm proud and honoured to be her Mummy.

Happy Birthday, little cherub. Here's to many, many more. 

Receive Updates by Email