It was Daddy Ickle’s birthday last week and the girls, especially Ickle, were very keen to make him something (as well as a cake, that is). So I trotted off to Bunnings, our fave store of the moment, to purchase some raw materials. Nothing too complicated; the idea was to have fun.
And, have fun, we did. Painting is not a regular activity in our household as Ickle and Mivvy manage to make a huge amount of mess every time we attempt it. Leaving yours truly the exciting task of clearing up, while the girls run riot elsewhere in the house.But this was a special occasion, and Nanna L. had come over to play too, so I had additional support. Ickle and Mivvy surpassed themselves – I’m sure you’ll agree that their pots for Daddy are works of art. I particularly like the personalised hand prints on each saucer. I later added names and dates, although Ickle’s trademark pink did make this slightly unnecessary.
They didn’t stop at the pots either. Ickle painted both her arms bright pink up to her elbows; Mivvy managed to spatter most of her body, face and hair with a rainbow of colours. And both girls were having so much fun that the session spilled over onto sheets of coloured paper…not to mention the table, chairs and floor.So Nanna L. whisked the budding artists off for a warm bubbly bath, while I attempted to remove all traces of the morning’s activity before Daddy Ickle got home. I didn’t fare so well with hiding the pots. “Come and see what we made for your birthday, Daddy,” urged Ickle that evening. Ah. So, not a birthday surprise this year, then.
[Photo credits: hand prints and coloured paper on the line – Nanna L.]
Bunnings, the leading Australian home improvement and outdoor living retailer whose products are often displayed in warehouse-style premises with an intimidating number of aisles to navigate. An unusual choice for a girls’ excursion on NYE, perhaps. Until I point out that many of the stores incorporate a café and kids’ corner (along similar lines to Macca’s), and often run activities for children too. Yup, the good people at Bunnings certainly know how to attract the family demographic.
Besides, after some impressive weeding and leaf clearing by Ickle and me earlier in the week, the little courtyard outside our front door was ready for some new plants. And Daddy Ickle had tasked us with finding a kitchen tap filter – the excitement! – so that washing up is no longer an excuse for an extra shower.Let’s get our priorities straight, though. We made a beeline for the playground as soon as we arrived. I sipped a (surprisingly good) flat white while the girls explored the space. Perfectly suited to Ickle now she’s almost four – don’t you know. She scampered up one plastic chute and slid down the other, made faces at her little sister through the perspex windows, and adjusted the hands on a huge clock face. Mivvy was limited in what she could do, but enjoyed looking on, and made valiant attempts to scramble up the slide.It’s a small space so things can get a bit manic with more than a handful of littlies at play, or when some of the big kids come in to let off steam. But great for a breather before the important business of tackling all those aisles.We didn’t find a tap filter despite our best efforts. And there wasn’t a miniature trolley in sight for Ickle to run around with, like on a previous visit. (Apparently they have a habit of disappearing). But we did come away with some beautiful plants and veg for our courtyard garden…and possibly the smallest pair of gardening gloves ever.
Some time ago, I mentioned my plan to start a little veggie patch at home. It’s taken us a while, but we finally acquired some seedlings from Bunnings*, which have been planted for a couple of weeks now. And they seem to be doing pretty well in their new surrounds, despite Icklegen’s exuberant watering technique and my inability to have grown anything in the last few years.
I’ll admit to having a slightly grand vision for our patio-cum-nursery: tomato plants weighed down with delicious ripe fruit, beans clambering up trellises, herbs bursting out of terracotta pots…you get the picture. But, for the moment, I’ll be content with our modest collection of tiny plants in plastic pots. Icklegen certainly is. She names the various seedlings after me as she wanders along with her pint-sized watering can “basil, parsley, mint, peas, carrots.” And we enjoy rubbing the leaves of the different herbs between our fingers to release their special fragrance.
And, hopefully, from this initial experience will come the realisation that not all food has to be plastic-wrapped and delivered in anonymous grey plastic bags by the man from the local supermarket. But, rather, that it can be grown by a mummy and her little girl in a few pots on their patio. Green fingers permitting.
*Bunnings: leading retailer in Australia and New Zealand, selling a vast range of DIY hardware and garden supplies.