Si – Lwli
This morning I woke up at 5.46am – 14 minutes earlier than usual, but it felt like 3am! There’s something very uncomfortable about waking up before 6am! My two-year-old daughter Cari, has a clock which displays a sun at 7am (a sign that it is ok for her to wake up!). Sadly, there was no sun to be seen, only the blue star (a clear sign that it is still night-time!) I tried explaining this to Cari for the fourth time this week – she found my explanation hilarious, she was laughing her head off and running around the room! I am still waiting for the morning where Cari wakes up after the sun appears on her clock – this WILL happen… one day!!
Before I’d finished explaining why she would feel better if she slept for longer, Cari was halfway down the stairs. Off I went to wait for S4C’s Cyw to start at 6am – thank god for S4C’s new timetable, it was always hard work waiting till 7am, half asleep on the sofa whilst Cari climbed all over me. At 8am my 5-month-old son Mabon woke. There’s some hope for him yet, as he seems to like sleeping in at the moment – although he still wakes at least twice a night since the 4 month regression. It’s great having a “regression” to blame for everything that babies and children do isn’t it?!!
My Mum turned up at 8.30am ready to babysit, as I had to attend my first ever live radio interview with Aled Hughes on BBC Radio Cymru. An interview to discuss my Welsh language toy; Y Seren Swynol. I make the journey to the studio, via Waitrose, I need my coffee fix – I can’t get past 9am without coffee these days (or 3pm without a cake!),
It’s a very strange feeling speaking live on the radio – no time to think about what I’m going to say or to mentally correct myself, before speaking to an audience that is known at times, to be critical about the use of ‘correct’ Welsh! The interview was over in no time, and when I returned to the car, orders had been placed! Someone must have understood what I said after all!!
I still find it hard to believe that Y Seren Swynol has been so popular, especially as the original intention was only ever to create one of them for ourselves….
It all started two years ago, when Cari was 4 months old. We felt that it was such a shame that there weren’t a lot of Welsh language toys available and no toys that sung in Welsh. After the initial idea, it was our friends who persuaded us to look into producing the Seren Swynol on a wider scale, because they also wanted one!
After spending all our money (as well as the bank’s) on developing the toy, (and also every evening over the last two years working on it), we had gone too far to turn back! It was a huge risk as we had no idea if the toy would be a success, but we were prepared to take the risk to improve the resources out there for Welsh kids, and to support the Welsh language in general. This isn’t a business which is ever going to make a huge amount of profit, if any profit at all. The product is very expensive to develop, and the market is very small compared to the English market. The Company was not however set up to make a profit. Si-lwli Cymru Limited is a company that was created from passion and love towards our children, the Welsh language (and all the children who speak and learn the language) and the Welsh culture which is rich in song.
Y Seren Swynol launched in August during the National Eisteddfod on Ynys Môn, and by mid-September our stock had sold out in pre-orders alone! Nobody was more surprised about this than us – we thought that we had ordered enough stock to last us until at least 2018! It’s a wonderful feeling to receive emails from all over the world, from Welsh people thanking us for creating a singing Welsh toy for their children. Receiving so much encouragement and support has made all the hard work, worth it.
It’s not easy juggling working part-time, running a business and raising two small children at the same time, but our children inspired the creation of Y Seren Swynol, they are the fuel behind the company, they inspire us to keep going. The children are part of the business now, and they come to every meeting with me. I have a feeling Mabon will be able to say Y Seren Swynol before he can say mam or dad!! It would be nice to think that one day, Cari and Mabon will be running the company, with numerous welsh toys being sold. After all, starting a family company is one way of trying to keep the kids home forever!
By Awena Parry Walkden