Sunday, 14 May 2017

Guest Post: 6 Steps to Effectively Break Thumb Sucking

Our guest poster Sister Asbah Alaena from the beautiful Cayman Islands, blogs at A Muslim Mama, where she shares her recipes, crafts and insights into faith and life.  Mash'Allah she is a prolific blogger with lots to share and show us including her great comics and illustrations which I am in love with.  



My eldest started sucking her thumb when she was barely days old. Instead of listening to my mom's advice of using mittens or agreeing to my husband insisting on using a dummy, I relied on Google search and concluded: 

· Thumb sucking is normal for infants
· They can self sooth themselves to sleep - avoiding much hassle for mothers 
· Most of them break this habit on their own by the time they reach their 3rd birthday
· Dummies are just germ developing site and should be avoided altogether

In the beginning, she would sleep herself, hardly cried and rather looked so cute sucking her thumb. 

But over time it worsen, at times she would suck her thumb most of the night. It was sad and heart wrenching to see and listen to the sound of her sucking her thumb.

I hoped that she would miraculously stop it by her 3rd birthday, but her dentist thought otherwise. She said my daughter needed to get rid of this habit as soon as possible because her jaws had started to de-shape. And I had to do something about it.

It came as a shock, but instead of being guilt-ridden by the 'what ifs', I decided to not react but respond to this problem and devised a guided step by step approach to help my daughter break this habit. 


1) Pray.

Allah SWT says: “And your Lord said: Supplicate to Me, I shall answer you.” [Sûrah Ghâfir: 60]  

We are helpless and powerless without the help of Allah, so we rely on Allah first and then put our effort in trying to work out a difficulty. 

Hence praying is the essence in any problem solving, I had once read that a worried mom would wake up at tahajjud and pray for her children, so if anyone is really concerned about their child and their bad habit, then they should be praying sincerely first and then finding ways to help their child. 




2) Wait.

Allah SWT says: O you who believe! seek help with patient perseverance and prayer: [Al Baqrah 153]

After praying comes the patience and perseverance.

Generally, parents know their children best. So before executing a plan they should well consider its feasibility for their children. They should ask the question if it is best now or should they wait. 

I knew me and my child was not ready to tread onto the journey of breaking the habit yet. So for next few days I decided to completely ignore her thumb sucking, and not react at all, while I continued praying earnestly to Allah to show me a way.



3) Educate

Often time’s parents repeatedly force their child, against the child's own wishes to pull her out of a habit. They harass, humiliate or use power in order to trying to teach her a concept. But this power struggle and feeling of being judged by her own parents, makes the child even more insecure and she would usually retort back to her comfort zone of thumb-sucking even more than normal.

I searched for some fun videos & cartoons to educate my daughter about thumb sucking and the consequences of this habit. She insisted on watching them over and over again with my running commentary on how thumb sucking can de-shape jaw formation in young children.

During the process she gained more awareness of exactly why she should avoid sucking her thumb, and what damage it can result in. She started to see 'thumb sucking' as a problem instead of just her comfort zone. Once she understood it, she took a decision that that she would not like her teeth like rodent and wanted me to help her get rid of it. 



4) Encouragement and Empathy 

Once a child is on the path of leaving an old habit, especially thumb sucking, she is expected to be grumpier and crankier than always. And it’s normal. She is finding that forgone comfort of thumb sucking in her parents, and parents should be in full view of the situation. They should be willing to give more attention, more compassion and concern.

There will be more tantrums, more attention seeking and even going back to the habit again and again. But a child will leave a bad habit, insha’Allah, just that it will take time, a lot of time and a lot of patience and love from parents. 

Parents need to remember that positive reinforcement and encouragement works way better and faster than being punitive and threatening. A child normally listens when he/she understands that the parent is compassionate and concerned. 

Rasool Allah ﷺ said:

Whoever is given his portion of kindness has been given his portion of goodness, and whoever is deprived of his portion of kindness has been deprived of his portion of goodness. Sunan At-Tirmidhi

And I wanted to be kind and empathetic. So, I decided to opt for reward system. My daughter loves hearing stories - I decided that I would incorporate the issue of thumb sucking in stories, like a bunny had this habit and how it worked her way out of this habit because it wasn’t a very good thing to suck thumb. This motivated her the most. Listening that her favorite characters struggle with bad habits too.



5) Use Aid 

Encouragement alone is not enough. Using any aid as a reminder for a child to avoid mindless thumb sucking is important as well.

The options available ranges from Band aids and any bitter tasting nail coats to thumb guards and even an pallet-device, which is inserted in a mouth to help a child break thumb sucking.

Band aids wasn't much help for us as my daughter had no trouble sucking her thumb with a band aid.

Thumz worked, it is a bitter tasting solution I would apply it to both of her thumbs. And it worked awesome during the day but she would still take it during nights.

So for nights I am using a mitten-like bag I sewed for her, one can simply wrap bandages on when the child is asleep.

We are still at this step at the moment, and slowly but surely she is weaning off thumb sucking. It is definitely taking long. But it took her years to build this habit and I am willing to wait a bit more till she is finally out of sucking her thumb.



6) Thank Allah.

Last step is definitely thanking Allah.

Life is nothing without gratitude. Even with our problems we should be thankful of Allah and as the problems disappear we should kneel down in front of Allah again, praising and glorifying Him, because we are helpless without his help

I hope to cry again soon, out of joy thanking Allah for the help.

Life is definitely cyclic. From prayer, to prayer.


Friday, 12 May 2017

Good Deed Friday: Sign Language Interpreters for Tarawih

Islam for Deaf have proposed the first tarawih prayer in British Sign Language (BSL) using qualified and registered Muslim Interpreters.  The prayers will take place throughout the month of Ramadan at Central London masjid with translation from Arabic to English and then English to BSL.

To make this happen Islam for Deaf need to raise £8,500 to pay for the Arabic translators and the BSL interpreters.

The video below provides more details.  The young man in the video is my lovely sister-in-law's brother and one of the nicest, kindest people I have ever met.  I absolutely love this initiative and would encourage everyone to take a look and try and support in any way that they can.

video


The tarawih for the deaf will be streamed live on the Islam for Deaf website and YouTube channel for the global deaf community to benefit from. The recording will be of the first ever Qur’an in BSL insh'Allah.

Please do visit the website and donate what you can to make this happen this Ramadan.  You can also donate via the Go Fund Me page here insh'Allah, where you can leave a message of support too.

The Age of my Ummah

I was listening to a lecture recently about time management while I was making dinner and a few things really struck me from the talk. In the lecture (I think it was this one), Sheikh Muhammad AlShareef talks about how we use out time, not so much from a time management perspective, but from a perspective of how we will use the years of our life. He reminds us that our beloved Prophet (PBUH) was only 63 when he passed away and his Sahabah (companions) Abu Bakr (RA) who lived to the age of 63 and Umar (RA) who lived only till 60. The Sheikh also mentions a hadith that says:

"The age of my ummah is between 60-70 years". (Tirmidhi, Daavat 101; Ibni Maja, Zuhd 27).

We carry on about our daily lives as if we will live for ever, or assume that our life span is 100 years anyway. It certainly stopped me in my tracks. I am 38 later this year, well over halfway to that 60, and that again is an assumption, because as Muslim’s we know that not even one moment is guaranteed to us, let alone a span of 60 or 100 years. A lot of people reading this would think this is a very negative approach to life, particularly the way Muslim’s are encouraged to think about death a lot. But I think it energises us, it makes us realise that to bumble along in life with our eyes closed is not enough. We have to make our preparations for the next life, we have to think about how most effectively we can use the time in this world to make those preparations and to help others to do so as well.

It also made me look at the way I behave and the things I do. One of my big flaws is bad language astaghfirullah. But looking at the greater scheme of things, knowing you only have a limited time, has been a big help to me in controlling this bad behaviour. 

Another thing I have always struggled with is caring what others think and the way I act being heavily influenced by this. But taking the long perspective and remembering why we are here really makes you think whose opinion it is that matters – Allah (SWT) and is helping to be stronger in dealing with people.

One of the exercises that the Sheikh encourages people to try is to imagine themselves in their old age – what would you be doing, what does this look and feel like? I loved this exercise. I think this is one I can throw myself into wholeheartedly.

What would you like to see when you look back at your life?  What would you like your legacy to be?


Picture of the Day 12.05.17 - Little Tornado

Baby To-Do List:
Write on walls
Take two bites of an apple and throw it in the bin when mama's not looking
Explore grandma's room and spill her oil
Move all of the toys to different rooms
Climb onto the boys bunk bed and get stuck up there
Go into the bathroom and get my tights wet
Jump out of bed at nap time
Tidy the girl’s bedroom up:




Poor Little Lady was very upset when she saw the state of her room after Baby decided to explore things, it took her ages to set everything right.

She was smart enough to make a mess and then climb into my bed and go to sleep so that Little Lady couldn't tell her off.

I was so happy when one of my five children was like me: full of energy, always on the move and sleeping very little.  Until I realised that these qualities are now backfiring on me.  The minute the house goes quiet, I know for a fact that she is turning something upside down.  I can usually find her by the trail off displaced things she leaves behind her around the whole house.  Alhamdulilah for cheeky babies.

Kindness is Beautiful

Now that I am starting to get a little older (or just old as a colleague at work likes to tease me), I am starting to see the first signs of ageing. I look younger at the start of the day than at the end, the extra weight is a little harder to shift that it once was and there are so many things that I was once passionate about that I have found a middle ground on.

But I can still remember when I would stay skinny regardless of what I ate, had a sharp tongue and felt the strong call to defend my opinions. I was confident and opinionated, but there was one thing I never allowed myself to be: cruel. I always thought it was a basic and commonly held assumption that an ordinary decent person would not comment on another person’s weakness: be it their weight, problems with their skin, teeth, hair or any other part of their appearance. Sometimes it is some other sore spot: childlessness, not being married by a certain age, money problems, not being able to complete their education.

Whatever it is, it is usually apparent. The person knows about it and you have some awareness of it. I have always avoided mentioning this type of thing for two reasons. One I like to avoid conflict, I am not a blunt person. Secondly, I would never want to hurt the other person. I always assume the other person is not stupid and can see that they are overweight, or have lost their hair or have had a breakout of spots. If they want to discuss it, it is their call.

It seems so basic when I put it like that. I wonder why then, there are some people who always have to make a point of mentioning what is obvious:

“Wow, you’ve really gained weight!”

“Are you pregnant again?”

“Your skin used to be much nicer”

“So how come you don’t have children then?”

“Don’t you want to get married then?”

“So how much do you earn?”

Do they not think about the effect of their words on the other person before uttering them?
Or are they just child-like with the habit of saying what they see?
Or do they not care about the feelings of others? 

Perhaps they set out to hurt others...

Islam tells us to give each other the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps curiosity got the better of them and the comment is made before thought is given.

But that is not an excuse to callously stick your fingers into the sore points of other people's sensitive matters.

A while back someone made a comment about my weight gain. This weekend two people asked me if I was pregnant, actually one announced “Looks like you are pregnant!”. Of course I replied “No I’m just fat!” Both of them are known for asking questions about sensitive things in not very sensitive ways. One of them has made comments about my skin and teeth before – I didn’t even think anything was wrong with my teeth or skin, but it bothered me for ages after they mentioned it.

I always wonder how people can ask personal questions so easily. My mum-in-law is an expert, within minutes of meeting you she will know you marital status, number of children and probably your income too. She gets away with it because of her age and perhaps her motherliness.

The point is even when I was slim, I would not have dared mentioned someone’s being overweight. Why do people think it is okay to poke their noses into people’s personal life? If someone does not have children, perhaps it is something that is painful and emotionally complicated for them – why would you resort to that conversation on first meeting them? A colleague who I got on well with once told me that I was the first person she had got to know who had not asked her about her marriage plans, she liked that.

Perhaps it’s an English thing to not pry openly into people’s private lives. Perhaps it’s a South Asian thing to start asking about the important thing’s as soon as you meet someone. Regardless, I think it’s basic common sense and manners not to ask questions or comment on something that might be a sensitive matter for the other person. So if you get the urge to ask someone about their weight gain or randomly feel the need to ask if they are pregnant or why they haven’t had children, you might want to remember that most of us will talk about such things if we feel the need. Also we will most likely have seen our reflection at some point recently so don’t need negative comments whether naïve and unintended or with some kind of passive aggressive meanness behind them.


Thursday, 11 May 2017

Pretty Dresses from Pakistan

Mum-in-law came to stay with us for her annual five month summer stay. She spends sunny winters in Lahore and mild summers in London with us. She gets to enjoy the milder seasons, spend Ramadan here and avoid fasting in the intense heat of Pakistan. She also has her busy social circle of family, neighbours, my parents friends, the mums and grans she has met on the school run or in the park and just about anyone else she happens to meet and say hello to. Most of all she loves being around her grandchildren and like all of us is besotted with our two youngest girls and their antics.

She always brings me something to wear for Eid, sometimes I like it, other times I am not so sure.  She says having six son’s means that she has no clue how to shop for fashionable women’s wear.  I always wear them regardless, the intention and thought means a lot.

She can’t very walk much anymore, so she took her wheelchair and my sister’s-in-law for assistance and advice.  It must have been a mission to get that wheelchair into some of those shops.  This year I really loved what she brought for me and will save the outfits for Eid:










Thankfully the fashion has moved away from bling, heavy stones and shiny fabrics to thread work on cotton and linen which is comfortable and much more wearable.  The dresses are a little shorter this year with smart trousers.  The black and beige trousers I could wear with other other tunic tops.

She also brought back roast peanuts and some very nice barfi, a creamy sweet made from milk which is dissappearing fast alhamdulilah

Rollercoaster Week and Finding Quiet Time

I have had a busy few days with many ups and downs this week. An uncle passed away a few days ago and my mums cousin yesterday. Both were well loved. He for his patience, gentleness and perpetual smile. She for her hard work and sacrifice in raising her children. May Allah (SWT) grant them both the highest ranks in Jannah and their families peace and contentment.

In between the stream of people visiting to pay condolences, trying to organise food for guests and family and visiting family members to sit with them for a little while, my mother-in-law arrived from Pakistan. She travelled five hours for my uncle’s funeral in Pakistan, five hours back home and then took a nine hour flight the next morning to reach us. I was worried she would be ill from exhaustion as she has not been well, but despite her tiredness she just wanted to talk and meet the neighbours and my parents who were coming round to welcome her.

The kids have kept me busy with a trip to Little Lady’s school to understand her GCSE options a little better, accepting a place at school for Darling and a coffee morning at Gorgeous’ school and Little Lady needs to be dropped off to yoga as part of her Duke of Edinburgh award activities.

At the same time, my office work has ramped up again. I am starting new projects, being asked to assist or advice on existing projects by multiple managers and generally being asked to help new people. I have asked for a raise, but didn’t get it, so will be trying to get as much training as possible instead.

After a busy few days I can say I am shattered. I am struggling to shake the tiredness and of course, I thought this would be perfect timing to give up coffee in preparation for Ramadan. I have gotten to four days without my morning coffee and the first and fourth have been the hardest, with hash browns and toast soothing my stomach this morning.

Every time I look in the mirror I feel as if I look dull and tired. So over the next few days I will try to catch some quiet moments and find ways to rejuvenate myself a little: make sure I take my multivitamins, try and take short naps after work, spend some time reading and set my chores and work aside long enough to take proper care of my skin.

What do you do to take care of yourself when life gets very full? How do you refresh and rejuvenate yourself?


Can Blog, Will Blog

I have been trying for the last few days to write something...but every time I think I have a few free minutes:

Little Lady:  "I need the laptop for homework"

Little Man: "I'm going to need help with my maths"

Gorgeous: annoys the babies until they are howling

Darling:  "Muuuuum I need help in the bathroom"

Baby: "I'm hungy mama, I'm hungeeee"

Husband: "I'll have dinner in the next 15 minutes if its ready, then I'll be off to the masjid"

Mother-in-law: "Come sit with me for a while"

Me: "Okay, I'm coming"

I'm sure at some point they will forget I am here and I can sneak off to my laptop for a while.



Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Beautiful Handmade Cards by Amirah

I recently came across these handmade cards by Sister Amirah and absolutely loved them. I know how much time, effort, care and pride goes into making a handmade card and this is definitely visible in these ones.

Sister Amirah has these cards available and can also make them with an alternative message such as Eid Mubarak, Ramadan Kareem and Thank You.


If you are interested, please contact Sister Amirah for design options and prices at Amirahalfaoui@hotmail.co.uk insh'Allah


























Tuesday, 2 May 2017

REPOST: Preparing for Ramadan - Less Than a Month To Go

I originally posted this article last year, I am re-posting with some updates and some additions.  I hope it proves useful insh'Allah.


With less than three weeks to go to Ramadan, I am trying to take my own advice and prepare for the sacred month as well as I can. The main things I have been doing at the moment are:

1. Getting my Kitchen Organised


I have been organising my kitchen and trying to make some space in my freezer. I am trying to use up what is there and stock up on things that I know we use. I am being thwarted a little by the sheer amount of ice lollies and ice creams that end up back in there because of the warmer days we have had, but I suppose I can use the ice cream in smoothies. I am not keen on going crazy making hundreds of samosa’s, but I do want to avoid spending every evening cooking, so if I can freeze some healthy options beforehand, I will do so. If I make a few different meals or recipes to freeze I will share insh’Allah.











2. Deep cleaning, de-cluttering and organising my home

I am an enthusiastic de-clutterer at the best of times. Yet there seems to be so much barakah in our possessions that for every big I fill to give away, another one appears. These last few weeks I have been re-arranging the children’s bedrooms so that the boys have their own little room and the girls and their grandmother will have the other room. I have been de-cluttering every cupboard before I move things with items sorted so that some go to the charity shop and other will be sent to family in Pakistan. 

I am finally starting to get to grips with what we own and how we store it, but with a big family, minimalist style doesn’t seem an option. I will carry on going through cupboards, wardrobes, and draws one at a time.





3. Eid Preparation

I always think Ramadan is the worst time to go clothes shopping, so try to get everyone’s Eid shopping out of the way beforehand. This year my mum brought us all back nice outfits from Pakistan, so my life just got easier. At some point I might log onto Amazon, look through my Pinterest gift idea and wishlist boards (although I doubt I can afford anything on there) and go through my Eid gift guide and see if there is anything there that I might like to gift.















You can find Umm Salihah's Eid Gift Ideas here.

The other thing we always do, is give the option of gifting an experience, such as a barbeque, party (like Harlequin's wonderful gift to us last year) or picnic instead of a material gift. Less clutter, just as much fun and if you are smart it can be just as kind on the budget. This year I note that there are Eid festivals in Trafalgar Square (2nd July) and at the Excel Centre (25th and 26th June)  which are nice options, as is making a family day of the Kite Festival at Dunstable Downs (29th and 30th July), we went last year and had an awesome time.

I will also put together my ideas for my Eid day and 
Eid party décor, so that I can buy and stash away.


4. Meal Planning

I am going to try and map out my meal planning for the month. I am terrible at meal planning simply because I always want to cook what I fancy rather than what I have planned. But I am going to try and be disciplined this time. There are meal planning sheets with space for listing ingredients and also recipes in my Ramadan and Eid Planner. Hopefully this will mean I don’t have to run out for ingredients every day because I will buy them for the week or month and have them in my kitchen. I won’t have to spend half an hour on the internet or my cookery books looking for recipes, because I hope to spend an hour or two this week and get it out of the way. That’s the good intention insh’Allah anyway.
























5. Reviewing my daily routine

Most years I try to organise my routine with the children so that they are fed and asleep by the time the fast opens so that the fasting adults can have some peace. This has yet to successfully happen as the older kids super excited and want to join in with our meal. This year the time to break the fast will be very late into the evening, so we will have a serious talk with the kids about giving us a break and some peace.

As the day is so long and the night so short and our sleep broken, another thing that I felt really helped me in the past is to nap for a short while after I come home from work. Doing so leaves me in a better position to pray during the night without falling asleep on my prayer mat.

Last year I had a horrid headache on the first day of Ramadan because I could not drink my daily morning coffee. This time round I will be cutting down to a single-shot coffee (with much less caffeine) and then stop a few days before Ramadan starts. I will also be planning how to use my lunch times so that I am not killing time. So far I am considering reading, power-napping if there is any chance of finding a quiet spot or gentle walking if it is not too hot.












6. Ramadan Crafts

I am debating whether to just put up last year’s decorations, or make new ones with the children. But either way it really creates a beautiful atmosphere in our home to welcome the sacred month and my children can really feel that something special is happening. Other options are Ramadan baskets which I have done in the past and which were well-received and children’s crafts.  I would love to make a Ramadan calendar this year, counting down the days of Ramadan, with the prize of Eid at the end insh’Allah.

























…and most importantly


7. Preparing Spiritually 

If I could only do one of the actions on the list, it would be this one. The preparation is to get us in a good place to make the most of this month, but everything we do is useless if we don’t have the right intentions. There are two conditions for the acceptance of every good deed: having the right intention and doing it in the right way. Really coming to a clear understanding of why we are fasting and who we are fasting for is essential. Understanding the right way to fast, what we are commanded to do and to avoid is also paramount. So to this end, my preparation will include doing some reading and listening to some talks to inform and motivate.

Some that I have found useful include:

Books

Beheshti Zewar (The Heavenly Ornaments) by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (RA) - for the section on Fasting (Saum).

Fazail-e-Ramazan (Virtues of Ramadhan) by Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya (RA)

The Month of Ramadan by by Mufti Taqi Usmani.


Lectures

The Month of Forgiveness: Ramadan 2016 - Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan

Welcome Ramadan
Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan

Ramadan 2016 Action PlanUstadh Nouman Ali Khan

Ramadan, a gift for Muslims Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan

Ramadan 2016 Around the Corner - Mufti Ismail Menk 

Welcoming Ramadan Into Our Homes - Mufti Ismail Menk

Welcoming Ramadan 2016 - Mufti Ismail Menk

Towards An Outstanding Ramadan - Sheikh Muhammad Alshareef

Ramadan Advice, Fasting & Taqwa - Sheikh Hamza Yusuf 

The Blessings of RamadanSheikh Hamza Yusuf

The Benefits of Fasting in The Month of Ramadan for Muslims Sheikh Hamza Yusuf

Virtues of Ramadan (Episode 1~10)  - Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick

Virtues of Ramadan (Episode 11~20) - Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick

Virtues of Ramadan (Episode 21~30 End)Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick

Other Resources

Kalamullah Ramadan Resources





Productive Muslim: The Ultimate Ramadan Tools Review: Worksheets, Planners, Apps and Doodles!

You can find information and links in the Resources section of my Ramadan and Eid Planner. 

You can also find resources on my Ramadan Resources page here and my Pinterest Ramadan page here.





















Spring Rolls, Ramadan and Impending Guests

We had an extra day off work last week with the May bank holiday, so I thought I would put the time to good use and invest it in the kitchen.  I say invest because it was time spent in the hope of saving time in the near future.

I chopped and froze green beans for a curry, I cut and froze spinach for pakora's (my recipe here) and I made a big batch of spring rolls.  These are in preparation for Ramadan, but also because my mum-in-law is coming to stay for the summer.  She arrives nest weekend and I fully expect an influx of welcome guests, and weekends full of family visiting, in her wake.

She is not supposed to have fried food, and I usually avoid fried food during Ramadan, but there is no reason everyone else can't enjoy these.


You can find my recipe for the yummy potato and chicken filling for spring rolls, samosa's or pasties here.










Silly Boys and Golden Bikes

Last week one day Little Man called me as I was leaving work and asked me to buy him some gold spray paint for a project. I asked him to check the shop around the corner and let me know if they had some. He called back ten minutes later to say they had none in stock.

On the way home, I asked my husband to stop at a hardware shop to pick some up, they informed us they no longer stocked spray paint. They recommended we tried the DIY store, we travelled there to find they had gold spray paint on special offer, but it had sold out. Hubby suggested we try a car parts store he knew of. They turned out to have every colour apart from gold, because not many people have gold cars of course. Finally I rang my favourite uncle and asked if there were any at the warehouse he works at. He confirmed there was, so hubby said he would drop me home and go and pick some up. Close to home, he had the idea of checking at the shop by our house, I told him Little Man had checked, but he didn’t think it would hurt to take a look. They happened to have gold spray paint.

I wasn’t very impressed with Little Man for sending us around the houses, but in his defence he had asked the shop keeper, who had just told him they were out of stock.

He used it for his project, which was a backdrop for a special school assembly about motivation, where he also read out some quotes with his best friend. 

That would have bene the end of it, except the next day I came home from work and LL looked very pleased with himself. He led me to the garden to show me the upgrade he had just made to his bike:

He sprayed most of it gold, including the wheels.  He seemed to think everyone at school would be very impressed with his gold bike...

I am expecting plenty more of this kind of silly business in the next few years, certainly from the boys, but Baby seems to have a streak of it in her too.  To be honest it never bothered me.  I would rather they jumped off things, broke things and painted them silly colours if it meant that they were being kids a little longer.