Friday, 28 January 2011

A toddler's eye view

Little man here. I got my hands on mummy's camera and took a few snapshots at home this morning. Here are some of the results.
Cars (the movie) colouring pad.

Self portrait. If you look closely you can see my branchial cleft sinuses, aka two holes in my neck that sometimes go red and gooey.)

Here's mummy in the kitchen, pulling a funny face and with scary red eyes. The post-it notes are her to-do list. I think she should add 'wash up' and 'get hair cut'.

My insey winsey spider game.

Me standing in a stream on my play mat.

Mummy's hair looking shiny.

My potty. Empty.

Selection of toys.

My big house.

Our fish, and the pottery snail I painted at a stall in the park last summer and which is miraculously still in one piece.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Favourite things

Little man has just been laughing hysterically at The Enormous Turnip story. Specifically the bit where the turnip finally pops out of the ground and the old man falls on the wife and the wife falls on the boy and the boy falls on the little sister and the little sister falls on the dog and the dog falls on the cat and the cat falls on the mouse, who says 'Eeek!' He's finding the 'Eeek!' part hilarious and has also picked up the hot tip that you need to talk to seedlings to make them grow big. I think we'll be planting turnips at grandad's allotment this year. No idea what I'll do with them in the kitchen; ideas welcome.

Anyway, here are his other favourites:
Film: Cars. He loves it. I think Lightning McQueen is currently his biggest hero. I hate it. Mostly because of the noise. Which is ironic given the noisy sort of music I like to listen to whilst driving.

Song: Jack and Jill. When I ask what songs he wants at bedtime (he first instigated this ritual, possibly a crossover from what happens with daddy), he says: 'Broke his crown.' Although Baa Baa Black Sheep remains the only one he sings himself.

Food: Ice cream. Preferably Neapolitan. With bumps (chocolate vermicelli). At grandma and grandad's house. He never gets ice cream at home (my freezer's too full of last year's cabbage, which I never seem to find a use for).

Toy: His dumper truck. All kinds of things can be piled inside it, pushed around and then dumped in strategic places, such as the doorway between the dining room and kitchen.

Mummy-copying activity: Sewing. With a big blunt darning needle, a small square of linen and his choice of embroidery thread colour. He hasn't got the hang of pushing it back and forth through the fabric instead of wrapping it round yet so his masterpiece turns into a little screwed-up ball. The picture shows it after I have snipped it open again for further use.

Monday, 24 January 2011

I should be...

  • tidying up before my mum comes to clean this afternoon.
  • phoning BT to check their incorrect demand for money has really been sorted out.
  • phoning B's prospective nursery to find out why I have still had no information in the post, supposedly the third time they have sent it.
  • on my way to check the chickens so I can then get to my tai chi class on time.
  • checking little man's pyjamas are out and bed is ready for him to get into when daddy brings him home while I'm at work later.
  • putting the recycling in the blue bin.
  • pumping my car tyres up.
  • making salad to take to work.
In the moment? Not really.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Social education

It's funny how what comes naturally to a toddler is not always the done thing, or something they can continue doing as they get older.

While we are doing the (very slow) process of toilet training/familiarisation he spends a fair amount of time without any trousers or pants on. Of course, this means he fiddles with his willy a lot. And when, during dinner with his grandparents, he farted noisily (bare bum on wooden seat), he decided to investigate where the noise came from. Then went back to his pizza. (Chicken Pizza Mexicana, the tastiest bizarre, non-authentic pizza recipe ever.) Nice (the pizza, not the investigation).

Then there's the whole thing about engaging complete strangers in conversation. It's probably acceptable when it's the checkout assistant. He told her that mummy's car was parked outside, that mummy's dark blue car is old, that mummy is getting a new red car and, of course, that daddy broke his old car in the ice and had to get a new one (this one never gets old, apparently). But when it comes to the stranger who happens to pass us as we amble along the canal towpath, who gets told about the nests in the trees and the planes overhead... Well, it's sad to think that this might not be ok in the future. When he's with mummy, it's a positive sign of the boy's sociable nature and conversational skills. But when he's old enough to be out and about on his own you have to make him suspicious of innocent passers-by.

On the other hand, there are things he does now that he really needs to improve on. Like his hide-and-seek skills. Grandma, grandad and I have all taken at least three turns each at finding him this evening. He hid in the same place every time.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Topics of conversation

It's 8.30am. So far today the boy and I have discussed:
  • The fact that the bumpy bits on his hands are called knuckles, which are a type of joint, and that we need them so we can move our fingers.
  • The relative states of happiness of baby fly and daddy fly, whose sadness can be assuaged only by being stuffed in my dressing gown pocket for a while then removed and fed multigrain hoops.
  • The crescent-moon like shape of broken multigrain hoops (own-brand, people, don't tell me off). Who'd have thought he knew the word 'crescent' even if he does pronounce it like it begins with a 'p'?
  • The technical specifications of the cast of Chuggington, including wipers, horns, lights, colours, shininess and top speeds.
  • What colour we should paint our front door. The boy chose blue, which is good because that's what I already decided and I've bought the paint.
  • The difference between a 2D picture of a circle and a 3D wooden sphere.
  • Many other topics, including snails, buses, Baa Baa Black Sheep, missing mummy and daddy when they go to work, what we might sing at Jo Jingles, mummy's need for tea, daffodils, wallpaper, fish, sewing machines, the Insey Winsey Spider game and the fluffiness of dressing gowns.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Growing vocabulary

Little man (no, mummy, B a big boy) is becoming quite a chatterbox, having made us wait months and months for his first proper words. He now accosts strangers in the street: 'Man! Man! There's a nest / duck / stick / boat / balloon etc.' A couple of his latest achievements are the ability to say 'Mary Whitehouse' (don't ask) and 'pepperoni'. He is even starting to have a stab at singing nursery rhymes, particularly Baa Baa Black Sheep and Twinkle Twinkle. This goes along with him demanding songs at bedtime now, after stories but before final night-night hugs. Sometimes he can't get his words out as fast as his brain is working and stammers while you wait with an expectant, encouraging look on your face. It's probably not the done thing to laugh at him at this point. Sometimes he says the wrong word with comic effect and it's tempting not to tell him otherwise, particularly when he's pointing out that mummy has 'big burps' and he has 'baby burps'. Or when he wants to be carried down the stairs and says: 'You carrot me.' Snigger.

In other news, I have today paid a deposit on a new car. Well, new to me, if you know what I mean. A Micra that I will be able to park outside my house with much greater ease and which will hopefully guzzle a lot less fuel. The dealership are giving me £400 for my old car. For an eleven-year-old Mondeo with 116,000 miles on the clock and a hole in the bumper. Result. I have also filed my tax return. And they say they owe me money. I have no idea why, but I'm not going to quibble.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Winter sun

A bit of winter sunshine and I suddenly feel all mellow and daydreamy. I'm affected to a ridiculous level by the things and people around me, including weather. I tell myself that winter gloom is okay. (I hate it when people complain about the weather all the time, except when it's me going on about snow...) I tell myself that winter means opportunities for wearing silly hats, coming home in the dark to the warm (electric) glow of home, getting cosy with a mug of cocoa. But after Christmas it starts to drag. And it has been pretty gloomy here most days.

This weekend, however, the sky cleared and the sun came out. And immediately I started to think of summer camping trips (something's whispering 'Devon' in my ear), lazy picnics, barbecues, growing things, wearing sandals. There's a lot of winter left, but it's nice to have sunshine. I listened to Paolo Nutini in the car instead of Biffy. I drove more slowly (although I still muttered 'twat' at several other drivers). I did some yoga after the gym this morning. Mellow all round. It's what I think of as 'acoustic' me.

It's not so nice to see British daffodils in the supermarket. I do usually buy daffs as early as possible. But surely to have them on the second weekend in January means there's a corner of southern England covered in acres of heated greenhouses?

Saturday, 8 January 2011

My big house

Hello, it's little man here, although I need to point out that I am a big boy now. Not a baby. Got that? Anyway, I got a big house for Christmas along with other such delights as a cash register, more cars and a big truck. The house was right in the middle of the living room covered in lovely 'trains' wrapping paper on Christmas morning.

I particularly like rearranging the bedding on the children's bunks and putting the tiny cakes on the tiny plates. Then I do a bit of DIY with my Bob the Builder toolbox; you know the sort of thing, hammering, sawing, screwing. After that it's ready for me to park Roary's big truck upstairs and a dumper truck and school bus downstairs. The stairs themselves have to be removed so that the truck can dangle precariously over the gap and I can shout 'whoooaaaa'.

Next up, I pile all the furniture and the four dolls into the attic. Tonight, mummy made me some miniature pictures of flowers and a boat to stick on the walls. I thought one would look good on the roof. Mummy told me it might get wet if it rained, but, as I had to point out to her, it won't get rained on because my house is inside our real house.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Downs and ups

The downs: I've waited in all day for United Utilities to come and fit a new gas meter. I even rang up this morning and was told they'd be with me by 1pm. Rang again at about 3pm only to be told I was never booked on their system anyway. Right. Also, it snowed again. And I'm getting another cold. And I can barely afford to get to work. And I need to get divorced and it's going to cost me at least a few hundred pounds. And the boy keeps waking up at six-something. And I feel flabby and haven't had any proper exercise for weeks. And I'm fed up of having to go and feed chickens which haven't laid a single egg between them for at least three months. And I need to do my tax return.

On the other hand, there are the ups. I have my new picture back from the framing shop and my dad has put it up for me. (I do actually have a drill that was the ex's old one but have never actually got it out of the box to investigate its state, but I don't have a garage full of little tubs of variously sized rawl plugs, screws, nails etc that many men seem to have.) It's only a print, but it's a lovely scene of a little whitewashed Welsh cottage amid stone walls and rolling fields. In fact, if this works, it's this one by Pembrokeshire artist Chris Neale. The website comes with a financial health warning if your tastes are in any way similar to mine.

Also, I'm going to start car sharing from halfway to work if I ever get chance to clear my old banger out enough to be able to give everyone else a lift without feeling utterly ashamed of its pig-sty state. And I've found the two bits of paper I need to do my tax return. And it's stopped snowing and most of it has cleared now. And B rubbed my arm when I was having a sneezing fit earlier and said: 'Me feel you better, mummy.' And I'm going to the gym on Sunday, cold or not. And tai chi starts again on Monday. And my chickens are still pretty, which will probably save them from being stewed.

Little man has developed a way of avoiding saying 'no' to me all the time. He has cunningly started to say 'not yet' or 'soon'. I have tried to explain that this means whatever it is we're talking about has to happen at some point, but we haven't quite got that yet.