Clever Gifting for 3 Year olds with Older Siblings.

How creepy is the leering pumpkin

As another Christmas threatens to roll down on the family with the weight of a dumper truck, I do my normal helpless gaze around of the beleaguered mother; first I have to think of new and original gifts for 5 children and then I have to find somewhere to put them.

When a little boy happens to have 4 older sisters, all of who received politically correct gifts that didn’t pander to ridiculous gender stereotyping for the sake of it, there is precious little left to purchase. And with the previously mentioned sisters having been bought good quality, lasting toys and all being hoarders by nature, most toy niches have been filled anyway.

Which leaves me with a problem. He is SO excited and last year he simply loved opening things. This year all the big girls know presents are mostly minimal and ‘need’ things but I do want him to have the magic.

So what to do?

I’ve come up with a plan, a three point plan that solves most of my problems.

  • a) buy things that are disposable
  • b) buy things that go with sets you already have a place for anyway
  • c) buy a main present that will then hold a number of tiny ‘unwrap constantly for 4 hours’ type of cheap items.

1. This month we reviewed the Mega Bloks Thomas 123 Learning Train which he absolutely loved. Not only is it a favourite character of his but he adores construction bricks and had a wonderful time playing with the train and loading it with bricks.

Reviewing the   set

It’s compatible with the other leading brand and had the added fun of stickers for hedges and luggage blocks which made him very happy. Since that has automatically gone in with the box of this we already own, it hasn’t added to bulk of toys particularly and he’s desperate for a Percy too so that will be in his gift pile this year.The train is really detailed and robust and nice to use and the blocks are nice to handle and clip together well.

We were also sent the First Builders blocks to try. He loved making scenery and towers to bash with these but they are designed for the 1-2 age and we can happily pass those on to the gym soon (see, I get to feel good then ;) )

How creepy is the leering pumpkin


2. For disposable I’m going for some Playdoh. He adores vehicles and the bin lorry in particular so that is easily bought, Playdoh won’t last forever and then the main item can go in the sandpit for next year.

playdoh bin lorry

3. Another disposable thing that would make him happy is a mass of cheap colouring books, magic painting sets and chunky pencils. They will soon be used up, they are cheap and I won’t have to look at them for long, plus they will keep him lovely and quiet for ages.

4. Being a lucky boy who has parents with a toy shop, Bene doesn’t go short. He’s already got lots of BigJigs Rail items and a few new engines tucked into the basket won’t cause us too much trouble.


5. His main present this year will be a wooden toy garage. (He’s getting lucky here as a customer returned one with a bashed box so we put it aside for him!) It will take up some space, admittedly, but it means I can buy a whole clutch of single cars, wrap each one separately for him to open and they can all be stored on the garage when it isn’t being used, or in the box of cars we already have.


6. Dressing up. As previously mentioned, Bene is all about the bin lorry. He makes his own one with our paper bin, two small chairs and a big chair and sits in the ‘front’ with socks on his hands for gloves and a teacup (he observes very closely it seems) which is adorably cute. So this year a home made outfit of tiny high vis jacket, bobble hat, plastic flask and gloves will make his week I expect and will go in his clothes drawer when not in use.

My only current problem is stocking fillers. I’m stumped. Any ideas?



The Gallery: Yellow

And just like that, he drew 'yellow'.

We went to the library, to see the lady read the books – and she read some books about Spot.

Oh Spot… you and I have been friends a long, long time now.

And afterwards, they do drawing.


And he picked up the yellow pen and, with great deliberation, drew a yellow circle. And told me so.,

He doesn’t say ‘lellow'; he may lisp ‘yeth’ for yes, but he has yellow all sorted.

And then he added eyes and a mouth and said,

Bene drew this very carefully and said 'Smile... Face!'

“Face… Smile!”

And then some fur.

A cat.

He’s growing up so quickly now.

He's nearly 3. I don't get how that is even a thing that can be true.

Entered, due to the serendipity, into The Gallery this week.

Almost 3.

Big & Little.








He’s almost three.

It’s hard to believe there was ever a time when he wasn’t firmly at the centre of the family.

The boy who lived. (Which was very nearly the title of the post announcing his birth, but I was too scared to tempt fate by using it).

He talks ALL the time now. When he doesn’t know the word he find a way round it.

When he can’t get us to do his bidding he finds a way round us.

Cheeky boy who had a lovely time at playgym.

He’s the cheekiest, sunniest, happiest, most filled with sunlight boy I could imagine.

'Wow, massive rainbow!' Says Bene, the rainbow baby. (Who is nearly 3!)

“Wow! A massive rainbow. I drawed a massive rainbow, mummy!”

Gymnast in the making I think. (The boy, not Fran!)

he has things he likes to do, places he likes to go. He has memories of trips to the library that he can draw on and talk about.

Show me the cars, daddy.

“Twinkle twinkle little star, Bene and Daddy racing car”. He made up his own little song.

Go higher, daddy!!!

He’s a fearless daredevil.

Last week I took him to playgym and my little boy dashed off and didn’t look for me all session.

He loves his nursery – but hates being dropped off.

On his (!!!) my-pad.

He’s a whizz with an ipad, if I let him have it. I rarely do.


It’s so very hard to imagine a time without him.

To be honest, I try very hard not to.

Almost three, baby boy. Almost three.

Big and Little.


I was beyond tired today, of the worn out and grumpy and tearful with it variety.

Fran let me go back to bed. When I woke up, they were deeply embroiled in kitchen stuff.


There was a lot of mess (which they tidied up; result!)

There was a lot of hard work.


There was a very happy little boy who loved every minute and learned to lick the bowl.


And delicious cakes.


I’m a bit of a rubbish mum at doing things like this so I’m extra grateful to big sisters who do. These are the things his memories will be made of.

And I got to giggle at the naked icing that happened – it was a fun body art installation by the end!

Simple Things


We had 3 days apart this week, Bene and I. It was too long really, though I had a marvellous time. And he was fine.

This morning was perfect, him waking up to find me in the bed I wasn’t in when he fell asleep last night. There was pure delight in his eyes. It was a long, slow morning of joyful milky cuddles and an extended lie in.

Then he spent his day like this.


A baking tray full of lentils and split peas, a small bowl, a coffee scoop and a tea spoon. We played for ages together then he played for hours along, pretending to cook, riding horses through it, driving tractors through it.

60p of pulses that are (remarkably!) very easy to sweep up and use again and hours of educational fun. Perfect.

There’s no place like home, as they say.

Bene is in nursery more than I’d choose just now. Depending on how the next few months go, I might soon be working outside the home.

I must remember to make the most of this time.