Last week Frida turned three. Three! My tiny baby. Suffice to say that I got very emotional and may have cried several times. Somehow three – this definitive leap away from toddlerhood, from being a baby – has affected me much more than previous birthdays. She is truly a little girl now. A pre-schooler (pre-homeschooler?).
I have been asked by a number of people to post about the gifts that Frida received for her birthday. I always feel torn about doing this sort of post. On the one hand, from my blog statistics I know that many of you enjoy posts about good quality, beautiful toys and books (as do I – I truly love reading recommendations from other bloggers and people on social media). I believe that thoughtfully chosen gifts can bring a lot to a child, and I genuinely enjoy researching, planning, thinking about, buying, and giving Frida presents when special occasions come round (and sometimes, for no reason at all!). Because Frida doesn’t attend any form of childcare and we are homeschooling, we want to provide her with a range of toys, books, and materials at home, and we are extremely fortunate that we can use times like birthdays as an opportunity to “stock up” on items we feel she will really use and enjoy over the coming years.
On the other hand, I feel uncomfortable with the idea that people might read my posts and think “I have to buy that for my child too”, or feel bad if they perhaps would like to buy things I post about but can’t. I strongly feel that children need – actually NEED – very few toys at all. We certainly have far more books and toys than Frida needs. A couple of weeks before Frida’s birthday we did a drastic toy rotation in her playroom, and put everything away, apart from playsilks, a few soft toys, and her kitchen, in order to clear things before welcoming new toys. Did she play less? No. Not at all. In fact she plays just as intently and deeply in the spaces in our home where there are no toys as she does in her playroom. Children will always play, invent, pretend, create, and there is quite simply no need for expensive toys. There is so much pressure on us as parents already to buy more, consume more, do more, than I am reluctant to add my voice to this pressure.
So I feel the need to add the disclaimer: These were gifts we felt would enrich Frida’s environment for next few years, as we begin our homeschooling journey. We fretted a lot about overwhelming her with too many things, but actually she has really loved and used everything she was given. None of these gifts were needed – but we hope they will bring her some joy over the years to come.
With that in mind, here is what Frida received for her third birthday (not all of these gifts were from us (!) some were from kind family members):
- Grimms Large Stepped Pyramid (this was her main present from us. I dithered over it because – let’s not beat around the bush – spending £100+ on some blocks is not for the faint-hearted! However, we love Grimms toys, we we felt Frida could do with more blocks as although she loves and uses her 1001 Nights set all the time, there just weren’t enough blocks to make all the things she wanted. So we took the plunge and I’m happy we did, the set is wonderful and I’m sure she’ll use it for years to come)
- Drewart Witches Shed (this is our first Drewart buy and I’m so happy with it. It’s beautiful and well made and feels like an heirloom)
- Grimms Grandfather and Grandmother dolls
- Grimms Little Cart (FYI this is a perfect fit for the Holztiger horse and pony)
- Olli Ella Yellow Luggy
- Grimms Building Boards (we thought these would be a perfect accompaniment to her rainbow and semicircles, as well as the stepped pyramid, but were going to wait until Christmas to buy them – then I won a gift voucher so we decided to put it towards the cost and get them now!)
- Grimms Ammonite Puzzle (I suggested this to my mum as a gift but was privately a little unsure about how Frida would react to it – turns out it was absolutely love at first sight, and it is perfect for a three year old!)
- Folding play frame, Rainbow silkscape, and clips
- Pentatonic Glockenspiel (you can read more about this brand of Glockenspiel here, they are gorgeous!)
- A new handmade doll sling from a dear friend.
- Books! Of course. A Year Around the Great OakEdit, A Year in Our New Garden, and The Little Book of Ocean Animal SoundsEdit.
Apart from books, Frida’s gifts were bought from: Little Acorns To Mighty Oaks, Conscious Craft, Babipur, Myriad, and The Wee Store. The first three of these stores have Facebook groups (Little Acorns Treehouse, Conscious Craft Club, and Babi Pur Hangout respectively) which all have member-only discount codes and special offers. Some also offer savers clubs and payment plans for large items. The owners (and support staff if they have them) are also all brilliant at answering questions and have superb customer service. You can tell a lot of love goes into running each of these brilliant businesses.
As well as gifts I was going to write about how we celebrated, but this post ended up being longer than I had planned so I’ll be posting about that later this week!