Tag Archives: beautiful bouncing baby

All smiles and peaches and cream perfection.

Looking like the cat that got the cream?  Feeling like the cream of the crop?

She was sat there with angel eyes and peaches and cream skin. The picture of innocence, chewing contentedly on her teething toy.

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And then a bubbling giggle and a massive gummy grin. Nothing beats a smiling, laughing baby for infectious happiness.

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This pre-teeth, pre-talk, pre-walk stillness seems half a lifetime ago (it literally was in her case!), but it still makes me smile every time I look at these photos. Thanks Jennifer Nichole Wells for the dreamy, creamy trip down memory lane with this week’s photo challenge.

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Treasures with frayed edges.

”We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
(Walt Disney)

Childhood curiosity is a powerful thing.  Even from a very young age children seem intrigued by novelty.  They want to shape their own minds about what they do and don’t like, what it is they want to see, explore and discover next.

So when my mum made our little girl her first ever treasure basket at the beginning of this year it was an all out hit.  A whole basket full of new, unknown objects…what a wonder!  The treasure basket concept is not new, but is becoming more popular as increasing numbers of parents look for stimulating, engaging, and natural alternatives to plastic play things for their children.

sensory play and exploration...taste testing!

sensory play and exploration…taste testing!

When making a treasure basket, the idea is to choose items which arouse a child’s curiosity, help them develop motor skills, give them the opportunity to experience something new and most importantly, have fun!

As a baby-friendly first treasure basket, ours had a mix of things to engage the auditory, visual and kinesthetic senses which were small and light enough for little hands to examine independently. A shiny brass hand bell, a nail brush, a hand mirror, a wooden spoon, an embroidered handkerchief, a bamboo woven ball, a powder-puff, and a pompom on the end of a long multi-coloured woven rope.

Some of the items were more popular than others.  The hand bell, mirror and rope with pompom attached being the main attractions.  Even though that treasure basket has since been disassembled and replaced by other incarnations to keep the curiosity alive, the rope is still a favourite toy.  Our little girl often goes to find it in her toy box.  Sitting on the floor and stretching it, squashing it, running it over her hair and face, tasting it, carrying it, or dragging the pompom along on the rope behind her.

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Coils of hand-twisted rope. With extra added love from Granny.

My mum made it by hand out of different balls of coloured wool.  It wasn’t a difficult or particularly time-consuming creation for her, but it was made with lots of love and thought.   As such I love that our little girl has taken to it so much.  It is admittedly looking a bit tatty and frayed at the edges these days, but then all the most-loved toys do by the time they’re done with don’t they?  I’m working on the theory that a play box full of well-worn, frayed and thread-bare toys is a sign of a contented, busy, fun-filled childhood.

 

I’ve really loved seeing the variety of other interpretations of ‘fray’ by fellow bloggers for this week’s ‘fray’ WordPress weekly photo challenge.  That is sometimes the beauty of a more unusual theme.  Some of my favourites so far include these gems:

 

How lucky are you feeling?

There are some superstitions that, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t quite shake.  The ‘white rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits’ mantra for luck at the beginning of a new month is one of them.  I haven’t said it out loud for years.  Not since I was a child.  But even so, the moment I realise that it is the first day of the month, the thought pops uncontrollably into my head.  The subtle yet pervasive power of childhood rituals and memory.  An amazing thing.

We were shopping over the weekend, and our little girl self-selected a new furry friend, just in time for the new month.  When I say ‘selected’, I mean she reached out as she was being carried past a shelf of them, grabbed it and shoved one ear straight in her month.  She made it very clear that this was not a returnable item.  They’ve been inseparable ever since.  It’s just as well it is not a living, breathing rabbit, because I don’t think a real bunny could have handled all the attention.  Bunny gets more hugs and kisses than mummy and daddy at the moment!

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Our newest addition. Bunny.

So it seems that white rabbits (at the very least this white rabbit!) are a fixture in our family.  Which is quite beautifully timed, as I do love the idea of beginning to share some of those childhood sayings and rituals with our little girl.

Although we are thousands of miles from home and happy to be raising a child with a very global identity, I also want to give her a sense of her Britishness.  I’ve always thought of it as a very British superstition, so the monthly white rabbits custom seems as good a place to start as any.  But it got me to thinking about customs and origins.  Where else in the world do children think of rabbits as lucky?  And are there countries where they carry different meanings than luck?

Well, my friend Wikipedia tells me that there are lots of different countries and cultures around the world which have interesting rabbit folklore and mythology:

  • In Aztec mythology, a pantheon of four hundred rabbit gods, led by Two Rabbit, represented fertility, parties, and drunkenness.
  • In Central Africa, the common hare (Kalulu), is cast as a trickster figure.
  • In Chinese folklore, rabbits accompany Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess.  Also associated with the Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year), rabbits are also one of the twelve celestial animals in the Chinese Zodiac for the Chinese calendar.  The Vietnamese lunar new year replaced the rabbit with a cat in their calendar, as rabbits did not inhabit Vietnam.
  • The idea of carrying a rabbit’s foot for luck is found in many parts of the world, although it started in Europe around 600 B.C.
  • In Jewish folklore, rabbits are associated with cowardice.  In contemporary Israeli spoken Hebrew being called ‘rabbit’ is similar to the colloquial use of ‘chicken’.
  • In Korean and Japanese mythology rabbits live on the moon making rice cakes.
  • Some Native American cultures hold Nanabozho, or Great Rabbit, is an important deity related to the creation of the world.
  • A Vietnamese mythological story portrays the rabbit of innocence and youthfulness. The Gods of the myth are shown to be hunting and killing rabbits to show off their power.

This morning as we snuggled up for a cuddle, I bounced Bunny over to her, whispering ‘white rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits!’ in her ear.  As yet it doesn’t mean anything to her, other than that it obviously felt funny tickling her ear, and made her giggle.  But I can already imagine her, a few years down the line, racing in to the bedroom to chant it at me. Just like I did when I was little.