It’s a bit of a given, if you have a birthday on November 5th, that your birthday will include fireworks. If you happen to be Josie, your birthday will also include penguins, which it did in various forms, from handmade ones from Maddy to purchased ones from various people (and one she wangled on a trip into work ) If your parents happen to run an online toy shop and are rapidly running out of children who want toys from it, you are also on a likely ‘get spoiled thoroughly’ ticket
Our recent trips to Lower Hookner Farm have been a bit of a revelation to Josie, who is absolutely and completely sure she wants to grow up and own a farm. A while ago she asked how much a real farm would cost, as she had so far saved £3 and was very disappointed to discover that would not be enough by some margin. So quite independently she decided that she would no longer spend any birthday or Christmas money she got and would save it till she was grown up; then, even better, she remembered that the government gave her £250 when she was born, so now she has the bank statement for that hoarded under her bed. That’s some forward planning
However, 11 years is a long time to do without a farm, so she asked if she could possibly have one for her birthday too. And naturally, being people who can, we did the business She got a Pippin Wooden Farm and a Farm play mat along with this gorgeous set of Budkins Farm people (who have been named Susie and James in honour of her favourite farmers!) and some Le Toy Van wooden animals. Her sisters rustled up a collection of plastic animals too from inside the house and Fran donated her Sunshine stables for a few days and a huge amount of farm playing has been going on since. Amelie had saved up to buy her a Rubens Barn Emma baby to be a twin to Oliver (really called Eric ). She was very thrilled.
It always amazes me how children can play with so little concern about scale or ‘realness’ – at work I’ve spoken to lots of people over the years who fret about animals being the perfect size or how real a doll looks, or if the people scale perfectly with the dolls house or animals. But kids just don’t care. I sat knitting yesterday and grinning at the wide variety of animal sizes, model people of all shapes being roped in and a TARDIS landing on the farm and a teleporting slinky whooshing soldiers in from a cardboard trench. They had such a lovely game.
The hit of the day were actually some Holztiger farm animals which the lovely Sam from BigJigs sent me as a sample and which I then had to go and buy more of Josie loved them for ‘how they feel when you hold them’ and didn’t mind at all that they slightly dwarfed the other animals. I’ll definitely be stocking those over on PlayMerrily soon; they are gorgeous. Thank you Sam Josie was thrilled with them and we told her they came from you – it made her very happy!
I’m in love with the ducks – I can make a perfect PoP logo out of that range and I think I’m going to!
She had such a nice day; she has blossomed this year into such a lovely girl. She is beautiful, quietly confident, very much her own person. She can’t be pushed at all, you might call her stubborn but actually I think she is just very sure of herself and not prepared to be made to do anything. She’s handled Freddie’s death and the existence of Marmite with great maturity; she’s thoughtful and kind and graceful and suddenly a child who is interested in expanding and trying new things. This week she got offered a place in a group at gym that trains twice a week and she’s really excited. I’m fascinated to see how that goes. The coaches know her a bit – and her sisters well – but she really isn’t like any of them and it will be interesting to see how it works out.She isn’t someone who can be co-erced into doing something she doesn’t want to. She’s started musical theatre and swapped ballet classes, both without a second thought, started going on sleepovers and thinking about holidays without me. I just love watching her blossom. She’s saved me, this last year, by being the one out of all of them who will talk openly about Freddie and I have loved her for that and for the wonderful way she is emerging from the baby girl, the one who wouldn’t bend for anything or anyone, into a creative, clever and thoughtful little girl.
Happy Birthday to my littlest girl. I do so love you.