Plastic Free July is drawing to a close. It has definitely been a bit hit and miss here. But that’s ok. As I get older, I am learning more and more the importance of being gentle with yourself. Let’s face it, I have a lot to learn in that region.
Recently, we were gifted flights over to my brother and his family in Germany. It was our first overseas holiday in years and years. I was excited and nervous and it was all go, go, go getting the three of us organised. Little Paddler was so excited to be getting on a plane. She loves spotting their trails in the sky. She adored having a her own little backpack complete with her own snacks, (reusable) bottle, colouring book and crayons to keep her entertained on the flight. But mostly excited to be going to see her cousin in Germany. The fact that in her head Germany was the apartment block they lived in as opposed to the country or even the city was neither here nor there. We were on holidays.
It was great to spend time with my brother and sister-in-law. And amazing to be with my ridiculously adorable nephew. (Note to self: going to have to learn to speak German!) He’s a year younger than the Little Paddler and into everything. And the Little Paddler threw herself into everything with him. Especially his toys.
I love how the Germans do toys. Little wooden toys abound everywhere. Lovely old-fashioned ones and beautiful quirky modern ones. They are the kind of toys I would love for the Little Paddler but are just too expensive for my budget over here. So I ooh-ed and aah-ed over them and the Little Paddler cried when she had to leave them behind.
Over here, we have opted for second-hand toys when we do get her toys. So even though some are plastic, I feel we haven’t generated any extra plastic by going this route. Or books and arts-and-crafts supplies. We are lucky in that she is easily pleased. A few blankets thrown over the kitchen table and every cushion she can find thrown under it, and she’s happy in her tent. She will paint on sheets of old newspaper and use stamps I cut out of old potatoes or apples for her. But climbing in to her helping box when I am cooking in the kitchen or throwing on her wellies to get out in to the garden and especially if there’s water about are her absolute favourite activities.
It’s her third birthday coming up soon. We don’t get her a heap of presents at any stage. It doesn’t mean we love her less than others love their children. We just believe in showing her love through experiences, time together and encouraging her imagination. And so we wanted to get her something she would love and not just get her something for the sake of getting something. If we could do it on a budget, then even better.
I came across the idea of a “mud kitchen“. It would encompass all we wanted. Her little kitchen. She can go in to “her garden” to pick “her vegetables” and cook it all up. She would have a sink to splash around in to her hearts content. Mr. Fairweather even has enough off-cuts and scrap timber lying around to make it himself. He is currently hard at work on it. We might go down to the beach and collect stones to paint her food, plates and cutlery on to. She’ll love helping me with that. I can’t wait to see the finished product. And neither can the Little Paddler.
So I reckon we are finishing Plastic Free July on a high. Watch this space.