Elma Family Kitty Living Arrows Photography

Living Arrows 2015: 4/52


Inside Kitty and Elma’s stockings were two little wooden figures, a pale rose angel with big curving wings for Kitty and a little girl in a bright pink dress playing the flute for Elma. We’ve had various blocks and rainbows and waves and all sorts of other things for making castles for a little while but no one to live in them so Father Christmas decided to rectify the situation.

Since then the castle making has really taken off. It used to be that I’d get the blocks out and start building something and only then would the girls start to come and put their stamp on it, but in the last month both girls have started to play much more autonomously. Kitty loves starting with a little loop of our moon houses and then building up up and up and Elma makes little lines of square blocks across the carpet that her little girl hops along.

They still squabble over who is going to get which bricks and if Elma takes too much of an interest in Kit’s latest building project she tends to be met with shrieks of protest, but then there are the times when they play quite happily next to each other, or work together to build one giant castle and I can sit there and know that for these precise 30 seconds of peace I’ve clearly got parenting nailed.

And I get to see what their imaginations can come up with all by themselves. This little castle is Kitty’s, built entirely by herself.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Or at least it’s Kitty’s at that precise moment, these castle are very fluid in their architecture and are constantly being added to until it all falls down and they have to start again.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

At that moment Kitty’s angel is tucked up safe and warm in the bedroom (the lower curved green roof pinched out of the middle of the rainbow), the bottom section of moon houses is her house and the top is her garden and a little roof over the top for her to stand under.  Moments later the roof had come off, a new wall was built and it started to look rather like a giant multicoloured octopus as slide after slide after slide was added around the edges.

And this afternoon, as Kitty drew, and I sat on the floor playing with Pip, I watched Elma as she leaned against the footstool arranging and rearranging different blocks, dropping the ones she didn’t want back onto the floor and trotting over to the bookcase to stand on tippy toes to reach for Kitty’s angel.  She was completely immersed in whatever world she was creating, unusually quiet and clearly so very content.  She broke off for supper but as soon as we’d finished she scuttled back to her building and was very loathe to leave it for bath time.  It was just wonderful to see her so focussed and involved in her play.

And tomorrow I’m sure there will be another castle.

When I decided to use this year to record not the children but the things that make their childhood I has a feeling that it would never be just about taking pictures of their toys.  With most of my Living Arrows pictures last year the picture was only half the story, and this year I think that’s even more true.  Because I could happily take a picture of their Duplo with the heading “Duplo, we really really like it around here” and it would be (a) true and (b) give a little hint at what we do on a Saturday morning, but I want these pictures and these words to be a little more than that; to record the stories that go with them; to complete the composition and fill in with words what has just stepped out of the frame.

And some day when all three of them are all grow up and we no longer have a play kitchen and umpteen boxes of bricks in our lounge I know I’ll look back on all of this with nostalgia and be glad to remember it.  And if I’m very lucky I might just have a couple of faces peeking over my shoulder to say “I remember those moon houses and the rainbow blocks” – even if it’s almost certainly followed with “you used to pinch them out of my castle when I wasn’t looking!”. Sisters, they don’t forget!

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  • Lauren 26/01/2015 at 10:47 am

    Bricks never get boring do they?! Mine absolutely love them and they are something I would recommend and buy for others too x

    • Carie 27/01/2015 at 7:57 am

      I think both the blocks and the Duplo are toys that I just wouldn’t be without, as you say, they never get boring!

  • sustainablemum 26/01/2015 at 12:05 pm

    They still get played with most weeks here……..children now 10 and 5.5!

    • Carie 27/01/2015 at 7:56 am

      Toys with longevity – definitely my favourite sort!

  • Merlinda Little 26/01/2015 at 5:14 pm

    They are so good! Balancing those arches on a tower! Amazing!

    I love the words. Capturing memories are so lovely. We can look back and be reminded of the emotions we had while we are in them =)


    • Carie 27/01/2015 at 7:52 am

      I hope so – at least that’s the plan anyway!

  • Hayley (@hayleyfromhome) 26/01/2015 at 7:15 pm

    I like how you are recording their childhood with living arrows this year and you are right, the toys from our childhood are always rememebered fondly as we get older. I love wooden blocks and my boys do too but we aren’t quite past the destruction phase yet! They have built a fantastic castle! #livingarrows

    • Carie 27/01/2015 at 7:51 am

      The destruction phase was fun in a way – we just built really big towers and Elma knocked them down, but I love how much more personality you can see in the construction phase!

  • Debs @ Super Busy Mum 26/01/2015 at 7:56 pm

    Brick building is just an amazing form on imaginative play and I really do hope the ending of that post happens because thats soooo sweet and TRUE! 😉 x

    • Carie 27/01/2015 at 7:49 am

      I hope so too!

  • Natalie @ Little Jam Pot Life Blog 26/01/2015 at 8:55 pm

    I know exactly what you mean Carie, I love to remember all these little elements that form their blossoming childhood. Today we’ve been superheroes, the gals from Frozen, Hairdressers & did some baking. Love these pictures, Imagination is the best form of thinking ever! lovely blocks! x

    • Carie 27/01/2015 at 7:49 am

      That sounds like a wonderful day – I’ll admit we spend a good part of almost every day re=enacting Frozen too!

  • Vickie 26/01/2015 at 9:02 pm

    What a fab castle! I’d like to sleep in that little bedrom nook myself. I love what you’ve written to accompany this post Carie. The last paragraphy is lovely and I really hope you get your wish.

    Bubs is still firmly building robots or dinosaurs out of her bricks. I wonder if the inclusion of her Playmobil people might get her to build houses instead.

    • Carie 27/01/2015 at 7:45 am

      Oh I think robots and dinosaurs are pretty cool – maybe a house as part of a robot!

  • suzanne3childrenandit 27/01/2015 at 9:54 am

    I think it’s lovely to share their favourite toys on the blog. I think it will mean a lot to them when they’re older and can look back on it. Lovely post x

    • Carie 27/01/2015 at 9:25 pm

      Thank you – I hope so!

  • Jenny 27/01/2015 at 7:57 pm

    Oh I think you are so right we really will look back and remember the nostaglia with it. I love those blocks too. So colorful I am afraid to ask as I know I will end up getting them and I already have too many blocks in my house. hahaha Lovely #livingarrows post.

  • sally 21/02/2015 at 5:26 pm

    These will be completely perfect to look back on and get all nostalgic.