I have said before on this blog, or more probably, my old blog, about how I babysit my two nieces, aged three and two, every Tuesday. I am absolutely loving it. When you look after children one day a week, it's much easier to be creative, especially when you're looking after two little girls who like a lot of the things you used to like.
It happened that last week we got a book out of the library, about a fairy who moves into a little girl's doll house. The book is called The Doll's House Fairy, by Jane Ray, and it's just lovely. We read it about three times in a row that very afternoon, and apparently that's been a pattern for the rest of the week.
During the rest of the week, this got me all nostalgic, thinking back to the days when I too was into fairies - knowing in my head that they weren't real but hoping with all my might that they were. I built fairy houses in the garden. Sometimes they were simply hollowed-out kiwifruit skins, once it was a full-blown house made of three bricks holding up a roof of twigs, with a carpet of flowers, and furniture inside.
So this Tuesday, when Niece-Aged-3 was having a little meltdown and not wanting to do anything that was suggested, a fairy house suddenly sprang to mind. Miraculously, she didn't shout, "NO!" Instead, we went for a little walk down the road, collecting sticks, pinecones, wildflowers, pine tree branches, stones. Once home, we picked a few flowers from their garden, and found a discarded plastic plant-container. The result is below:
With a stone floor and two rooms, this house is any fairy's castle. A pinecone at the back of the house provides shelves for fairies to store their rose petals and honeydew; the upside-down plastic plant container has an opening cut into the side and a opening-and-shutting door at the front. A garden outside contains flowers, and the roof is fashioned from pine needles. A small plastic Duplo cake provides nourishment for fairies.
Then we made fairies - from clothespegs, coloured paper, and sellotape. On the left, we have Thistle. She is named after the fairy in the picture book, and has wild brown hair too. On the right is Rosebud. She has a rose in her hair and a skirt made from yellow leaves. Both sport beautiful necklaces made by Niece-Aged-3.
Here, Thistle flutters up to the flowers and sits on the vase, because that's what you can do with clothespegs.
Here, Niece-Aged-3 puts Rosebud and Thistle to sleep in their cosy fairy house.
I love reliving my childhood! And it also makes me miss the days when reading a book meant doing something. When reading a book was so consuming that for weeks you lived in a world of fairies, of Milly-Molly-Mandy, of giants, princesses or mermaids.