Damien the Drum Destroyer

Damien loves to drum. For a long time now, he’s set up his 3 drums as a drum set, either standing and dancing or sitting and beating out a tune. Often with quite a lot of vigour. 

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His first drum was the one that came with the Melissa & Doug Band in a Box set, and was given to Aiden for his 1st birthday, so it put up with 4 years of drumming, with nearly daily drumming for more than a year now. Unfortunately it recently gave up:

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The centre is dipped and covered in pock marks. The rim is cracked and pops off if drummed with enthusiasm. The drum just gave up. We tried to replace just the drum itself, but it’s not sold on its own. Instead, we purchased the drum you see above in the first photo by Suzuki. It wasn’t super high quality, but we were looking for something of a similar size so Damien could continue with his improvised drum set organization. It broke in a matter of hours. Completely split. 

So, onto a new drum. Today we purchased this one from Hape. It’s the right size, though I don’t love the raised rim on the outside. Still, it looks like it’s constructed to put up with enthusiastic drumming. At least until Damien is old enough for a proper drum set. Because, it is the one and only thing he’s ever asked for. This one in particular:

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“Later get this drums. Big one. Yeah.”

#crap

Celebrating BC Playthings with Charlotte Diamond

BC Playthings has been an anchor in North Vancouver’s Edgemont Village for the past 38 years. BC Playthings has always had a focus on quality toys for kids, not gimmicks or poor quality toys. The toys have always been the anchor toys that allow for open-ended play with kids. Though the physical store is small, you are always sure to find a gem in store or online. The store recently welcomed new ownership, after flying under the flag of Pat Gallaher for all of these past years.

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Today they celebrated their 38 years with a huge celebration in Edgemont featuring Charlotte Diamond, a children’s performer that I recall with fondness from my own childhood. I’ll need to revisit some of her songs with my own children! We had a great time at the concert and picked up some amazing toys for the kids for Christmas. 

I have been jotting down my wish list of toys and games for the kids all year (I use an app on my phone to jot down gift ideas for all of us – myself included – to simplify shopping for birthdays and holidays) and it was nice to mark others as ‘purchased’! I am so happy to see my list of items purchased growing, even before we hit December. I’m one of those ‘early’ shoppers, but it takes all the stress out of the holidays and lets me just enjoy the time we spend with family. 

Today you can get 10% off your purchases at BC Playthings. If you have items on your list, or are looking for inspiration, you have a couple hours to go shopping today!

If you are looking for gift inspiration, stay tuned for my series of Gift Guides for kids and adults alike!

The Wiggles in Concert

This past weekend, we took the kids to see The Wiggles live in concert. We have been fans of The Wiggles for some years now; their upbeat, original, catchy songs are great whether you listen to them or watch their videos. Aiden was never a fan of “kids music” as a young child, but for Damien, The Wiggles are his everything when it comes to video content. 

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We didn’t quite make it to age 2 before we started pulling out videos as a way to cope with the stupidly early mornings that toddlers of this age often go through. As with Aiden, we first cycled through short videos on YouTube, and music of course is a favourite. He went through some classic Elmo videos and a few others before getting hooked on The Wiggles. There’s been no turning back. It’s only recently, after 8-12 months now, that Damien has been ok sometimes watching something other than The Wiggles. 

Since Damien is obsessed with The Wiggles, Aiden has had a lot of exposure to them as well. Sometimes he hides his like of The Wiggles though, since I think he’s a little embarrassed of how much he likes them. When the kids pick songs to listen to, he’ll say something like “Damien, do you want to listen to Shimmie Shimmie?,” so that it’s not really him asking for it. 

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As with that, Aiden pretended that he wasn’t excited to go see The Wiggles, but he was. He passed up a birthday party offer to see them and all week he talked about it and how much “Damien” loves The Wiggles. At the concert, Aiden was beside himself excited and could even be seen doing some of the motions and songs. You know, as long as he thought we weren’t watching ;)

Damien was excited too. “We join’ a Wiggles!!” was heard all day. He napped for about 10 minutes on the way to The Wiggles concert in Surrey, and I was just about to transfer him to the Ergo when he woke up and yelled “We join’ a Wiggles now!!” the second his eyes were open. Quite hilarious. 

Damien was mesmerized for most of the show, completely zoned into their every move. He didn’t participate as much as I expected, but then again he was on my lap instead of on the floor with a guitar in his hand ;)

He clearly saw everything though, as he re-enacted their “Ralph Lauren” horse skit with his own giraffe and was singing some songs throughout the following days. 

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I was so incredibly happy to be able to provide this opportunity to my kids. How often do you get to see your idols in person? It completely melted me to be able to do that. After passing on Raffi tickets when Damien was in his Raffi-obsessed stage (because they seemed so incredibly expensive), this was an extra special experience to be a part of. 

As for the adults? Well, I have to say the current members of The Wiggles are incredibly talented. The show was done live with a lot of improv and there was enough comedy in the show, enough personality, to make the show that much more special. A very talented group of performers. 

Damien Rocks Out on His Guitar

Damien loves to make music. Usually it’s on his drums, but lately he’s taken to picking up his ukelele. Up until this week, Damien insisted on holding the guitar kind of backwards and no amount of correction would get him to change his mind about how best to hold it.

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This week, Damien discovered he can hold the guitar properly (though left-handed, when he’s actually right-handed?), and he is so proud of himself. He has been rocking out all week, dancing and doing the lead-guitar-step-forward thing when he starts his jam. He moves his hands on the struts and even counts himself in (one, two, three, four!). Seriously, cuteness like this can’t be taught.

So, thank you to the Night Market for all the musical exposure for my little rocker-to-be!

Everything Is A Drum

In Damien’s world, everything is a drum and anything can be turned into a drumstick. It’s been about a year now that Damien has been obsessed with drumming. He used to walk around Gymboree carrying the tambourine or the rainbow drum and would completely ignore the play structures. At home, he would sing endless rounds of Gymboree songs. He has gone through other musical-obsessions (listening to certain musicians ad nauseam or playing his ukelele ‘guitar’ or bells), but it’s clear that Damien is a drummer through and through. 

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Unless he’s directed by us or by Aiden or by other kids, Damien almost always wants to drum. He asks for music as soon as he’s done breakfast and he would happily drum all day. Sometimes he’ll play with his kitchen, but it’s not long before he abandons the idea and instead uses the pots and utensils as another drum set. 

At restaurants, utensils and crayons make perfect drumsticks. Hiking, he’s always on the hunt for the perfect stick and always experimenting with how they sound on different trees and rocks. 

We have 3 ‘drums’ at home right now (a tambourine drum, a tambourine, and a mini drum) as part of our music bin, which he carefully lines up on the table. He rarely walks around with just one anymore. Sometime’s he will add a cup or a metal bottle to his ‘drum set.’

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Usually he drums the rhythm, but sometimes the melody. His favourite songs for drumming are ones with strong drum accents, like if they have a repetitive “boom boom boom” at the end of the phrase, for example. 

I think it’s neat to watch his musicality grow. He has an amazing sense of rhythm as a drummer (and dancer). He listens with his whole attention. I could just do without the 7am drumming, you know?

Any bets on how long we’ll hold out before we get a drum set? ;)