samedi, octobre 11, 2014

Zoo et parc de Thoiry

The zoo of Thoiry again. The boys visited Thoiry organised by the Centre de loisirs (Recreation center) in June. That was the first time A2 visitied the zoo and the boys enjoyed the trip.

We had tickets from Seb's company and as the cold days were coming and the zoo would be closed in mid autum, we visited the zoo last Saturday.

It was a sunny day and we packed picnic lunch. This was my second visit and the animals were closer to the car than the previous time. The zebras especially were walking from car to car (in search of food). The boys and Seb got to touch the zebra while I was snapping away.

This visit revived the boys' minds of what they saw during their last visit and they were telling us excitingly about it. 

After the safari, we walked through the zoo. As the boys were older, we were able to visit more animals. A1 stopped by to play a while in the playground. A2 preferred to go to the animal farm to pet and feed goats. He loved animals.

Here are a few more photos of the safari.
The rhinocero did not want to face us. 
The hippopotamus preferred to stay in the cool water. We waited a while to have a peek of their heads.

There are many zoos in France. We shall aim to visit others. 

dimanche, octobre 05, 2014

The age of reasoning

At 5 years old, our little boy is at the age of reasoning.

Here was what I overheard one morning over breakfast.
Translated into english. The dad went "You have to finish your breakfast. In order to grow up, you have to eat." A2 asked "Papa, are you still growing?" Dad went "Non, papa has stopped growing." "So why are you eating then?", questioned A1 innocently. That just made me laughed. Seb stammered back with something like he needed to eat to have energy for the day.
I have to give some backgound information on why Seb said that to A1 in the first place. A1 does not eat a lot for breakfast. He is contented to just drink a cup of milk. We have to constantly make him finish his bread, biscuits, cereals or cookies. He would prefer to eat fruits which we do give him sometimes. While A2 on the other hand, can finish his breakfast and that of his brother's if given a chance.

And two days ago, while having dinner, Seb was putting fish on A1's plate. A1 asked 'Papa, you don't eat meat, right?' The boys are aware of this since a while but I guess the idea is not encasted in their minds. The dad replied 'Yes, I don't want to eat animals because I don't think it is good to kill animals.' 'Then why (did) you give me meat?', asked A1. Oops. We were at a sticky situation again. We explained to him that he needed meat for its proteins and vitamins to grow. And that he could make his own choice when he would be older if he wants to eat meat.

Seb and I discussed and realised that we have to be careful with what we say to our boys. They are no longer babies and can put things togather through logical thinking. OK, for the moment it is just A1. Still, we must not lie to our children.

Something else I remembered. A few weeks ago, I was driving with A1 to Paris to meet up with friends. A1 said he learnt from school that there were two kind of eggs. If the cock gives the hen a seed, the egg will hatch and a chick will be born. I kept up the conversation and said: 'You know, your father gave me something to make you just like the cock.' He asked if it was a seed. I told him no and gave him the name. 'Where did he put it?' came his next question. By which, I quickly changed the subject: 'Let's see if there is any aeroplane in the sky.' He looked up as we were on the highway passing by the Orly airport. Then he went back to the topic and asked 'Why always boys you make?' I laughed out loud and told him we did not choose. It was a 50% chance. Well, he did not understand that. I told him he would understand when he would be older.

I hope to note down all these little innocent questions he asked. For a start, putting these in this post would help me to remember in later years how sweet and naive my 5 year old boy was.

mercredi, octobre 01, 2014

Spiderman theme birthday party

A2 turned four in September.
He had no problem choosing a theme for his birthday party. As you can see, it is all about Spiderman. 
When I asked who he would like to invite before school started, he cited all the friends from A1's class. I was not surprised as the boys were in the same class last school year and he played a lot with A1's friends. I suggested his own classmates and he decided to invite the three boys from his class and another four friends from A1's class. 

A week before the party, I made a pinata by blowing a big balloon and pasting it with strips of newspaper. For the glue, I mixed one portion of flour with five portions of water and cooked it for 8 mins. Once the mixture cooled down, it was sticky. At first, I would like the pinata to be Spiderman but I thought the kids might not want to hit their hero. So in the end, I pasted green paper napkins and drew it to be the Green Goblin. I put in sweets before pasting the green paper napkins to conceal the opening.
My pinata was so solid that it was unbreakable. I made too many layers of paper marche. We ended up putting it on the ground and hitting it instead. The children rushed to get the sweets and a few played with the broken pinata by putting it over their heads as a mask.

The night before the party, I made Spiderman balloons and also a web. I made spider lollipops with little black pipe cleaners. I had a tough time looking for them in france as I did not know the name in french, nor did I know any craft shop. That was the decoration.

 For games, other than the pinata, the kids threw water balloons at the bad guys pasted on the wall. They played a game of "Spiderman is here?". It was like "Duck, duck, goose". In France, it was called "Is the postman here?" One kid was holding a spiderman toy. When we finished the song of the postman by replacing it with "Spiderman", the kid would put the toy behind one of the children sitting in a circle. That kid would then have to chase the first kid until the first kid took the place of the latter.
In another game, they had to throw little cotton balls through the web and went through a mini obstacle course to get to a spiderman pinata which had goodies in it. This spiderman pinata had a slit at the back so the kids could put their hands in to grab a goodie.

 In the party group, there was only one girl. The other girl invited could not make it. This girl was the only one who tried to walk through the obstacle course. The boys all just crawled through. That was an interesting observation.

For the party food, I made a birthday cake of Spiderman face. It was the first time I made this cake and the children were really excited about it. A2 was very happy. However, he did not want to cut his hero. Oops. I should have thought of that. We managed to convince him that it was okay to cut the cake as his friends wanted to eat it. There were also sweets, pop corns and cherry tomatoes with cheese on a stick.
After food was presents time. A2 was a lucky boy. His friends brought him his favourite toys. From Spiderman to Planes to Playmobil. The children were all excited to see what A2 got. 
After 2hours and a half, the party was over.  Seb and I were happy that things went well. It was a hot and sunny September day. Just the kind we were hoping for. Thank God. And the two of us had an early evening that day.

Having put the photos up in Facebook, I got comments from friends calling me a great hands on mother. Before becoming a mother, I would not have dream of making such efforts. Now, it is natural for me to try out new things (I was really lousy at art and craft) to make my children happy. My boys appreciated the DIY stuff I made. This in return makes me a contented mother.