Friday, 31 December 2010
1. Messiah by Boris Starling
2. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday
3. Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
4. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
6. The Reader by Bernard Schlink
7. No Second Chance by Harlan Coben
8. Dead Tomorrow by Peter James
9. Two Caravans by Marina Lewycka
10. Suite Francais by Irene Nemirovsky
11. Raise the Red Lantern by Su Tong
12. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
13. The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan
14. Over by Margaret Forster
15. Dubliners by James Joyce
16. Beyond the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
17. The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon
18. Hold Tight by Harlan Coben
19. My Life Closed Twice by Nigel Williams
20. Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani
21. Innocence by Ian McEwan
22. Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell
23. Mr Pip by Lloyd Jones
24. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
25. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
26. Cheating at Canasta by William Trevor
27. In Between the Sheets by Ian McEwan
28. The intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl by Belle de Jour
29. Possession by Peter James
30. Identity by Milan Kundera
31. DNA by Dennis Kelly
32. Martyn Pig by Kevin Brooks
33. Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas
34. Heroes by Robert Cormier
35. Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
36. The Behaviour of Moths by Poppy Adams
37. Bloodline by Mark Billingham
38. The White Tiger by Aravind Aviga
39. The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
40. Solar by Ian McEwan
41. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
42. The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell
43. The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville
44. Expresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith
45. England, England by Julian Barnes
46. Once in a House on Fire by Andrea Ashworth
47. Poetry Please editied by Charles Causley
48. The Snow Door by Charles Ashton
49. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
50. The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
51. A Scavenger's Tale by Rachel Anderson
52. The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh
53. The Warden by Antony Trollope
54. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith
55. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
56. Why the Whales Came by Michael Morpurgo
57. Barefoot Gen by Keiji Nakazawa
58. Tales of Beedle the Bard by J K Rowling
59. Tribes by Catherine McPhail
60. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
61. Snobs by Julian Fellowes
62. The Body on the Beach by Simon Brett
63. The Five People you Meet in Heaven by Mitch Absolom
64. Murder in the Museum by Simon Brett
65. The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell
66. Body Surfing by Anita Shreve
67. The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
68. The Day After, Barefoot Gen Volume II by Keiji Nakazawa
69. Dead Like You by Peter James
70. One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
71. Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson
A quick scan of the titles shows a high proportion of crime fiction. Peter James and Simon Brett I enjoy because they are local. The stand-out read was The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, which I found to be a real thriller, a sinister, genuine 'page turner' that left me not wanting to be alone at night and which I felt to be far superior to Steig Larsson, to whom he is regularly compared. The other one I thoroughly enjoyed was Messiah by Boris Starling, but since he promised to read and give me some advice on my own crime novel over a year ago, and hasn't, I'm feeling less charitable towards this writer than I was!
I also noticed how many of the classics I seem to return to. Some of this is as a result of my job; I always re-read any book that I happen to be teaching. There was a disproportionately large number of titles by Ian McEwan, one of my favourite writers, though this year's novel Solar, that I was so excited about, didn't live up to my expectations.
My other favourite books of the year would be The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell. I enjoyed the structure of this dual narrative, and the way that you were kept guessing about how the two stories were intertwined until the final pages. One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson was also memorable: A twist on my usual crime fiction fare, with a whole host of characters to whom I felt some sympathy. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was engaging and unsettling and I am delighted to see it on the GCSE syllabus this year. Two Caravans was probably the funniest thing I read, and Lucia, Lucia the most heart-warming. Tess of the d'Urbervilles is a book that I return to again and again, so it was a tragic pleasure to read once more in preparation for my A-level literature group.
I hate not meeting a challenge and will definitely make 100 in 2011!
Monday, 20 December 2010
Dear Father Christmas,
I really have been a very good girl. For ages. I have tried not to be naughty. I haven't done any snatching from Jenna or Emily at nursery, and definitely no biting or scratching. I have used the new grown-up toothpaste that Mummy told me too, even though it makes my tongue hurt. I haven't got my clothes dirty. I have gone to bed when I'm told and I haven't got up in the night. I haven't had any accidents for absolutely ages. I eat up all the things that I am told too, and even when I really, really don't like them I will have three mouthfuls.
Because I have been such a good girl, I really hope that you will bring me a space hopper and a scooter and a Hello-Kitty-cat and a clock for my room. Maybe some toy food as Kempton chewed some of it. Toy milk, please. She chewed that up.
I think that my brother, Gilby, would like a football, a tambourine and cars and a tractor. He has been a good boy too and hardly ever cries now.
With lots of love, and I'm very excited,
(Self signed, with nine kisses)
Luckily, Santa already knew about the scooter and the space-hopper. And I am touched that she thought to ask on behalf of her brother.
I have no idea what a Hello-Kitty-Cat is and I can't think why a three year old would want a clock, except that there was one on the wall in the kitchen when she was trying to think about what to ask for. I notice there is no mention of Peppa Pig, so Santa may have misjudged her (rapidly waning, it seems) affections for old Peppa.
And toy milk? I think that this is the last year we will get away so lightly...
Sunday, 12 December 2010
This was overshadowed, however, by Gilby suffering his first nose-bleed. I say 'nose-bleed' as though that were the incident in itself, though it was in fact brought on by a tumble. Well, actually, he...er...toppled forwards out of the bath on account of his disproportionately large head making him top-heavy.
It happened whilst he was leaning out of the bath trying to reach a toy that he had dropped, and being wet with bath-water he was simply too slippery to catch.
So that was it. Blood everywhere. And not a pretty sight in the aftermath when the crusted dry blood around his nostrils was taken in to account alongside the refusing-to-be-treated impetigo and the just-appeared-oh-god-do-we-have-any-drops-left-from-last-time-conjunctivitus.
Poor Gilbert. Not looking at his most handsome. Lucky his sister's so clever.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
"Look Mum, it's gone all floppy!"
"Do you mean, the trees?
"Everything. And look, all the branches have dinosaur mouths!"
Oh to be three-and-a-half.
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
The fact remains, however, that he is a boy, and essentially likes to hit things. He will make as much noise as possible and seems to have an instinct to destroy...pretty much anything that comes into his path.
His new favourite game fits into these categories. He has made it up himself and it has very simple rules: He likes to gather together as many people as he can (Mum, Dad and big sis at once, if possible) and pat them firmly and repeatedly on the head whilst saying, 'Ow!' on their behalf. He will occasionally hit himself over the head, in the interests of fair play.
The amusement this game causes is difficult to describe. He seems to think that his victims derive some kind of anticipatory thrill from not knowing who will be next to be smacked over the head. It can provide high levels of entertainment for much longer than you might imagine...though only, generally, for one person.
And it doesn't work particularly effective if one of the 'hittees' is suffering from a hangover.
Monday, 22 November 2010
It begins straightforwardly enough, with the evening meal, followed by a bath every other night and into pyjamas; then back downstairs for one, two, three, and on rare occasions when we have been slick and professional and are ahead of schedule, four episodes of Peppa Pig. (These are 'series-linked' to record automatically, providing an endless supply. I believe that we have 167 episodes saved. The joy of watching a previously-unseen one is unparalleled. I think that goes for me as well as Gertie...)
The quantity of episodes correlates directly with the number of minutes remaining before 6.50pm; which is the magic time by which we try to get upstairs for the bedtime story. Whilst Gertie is engaged with the final programme, I nip up with Gilby to give him his final bottle and put him to bed. He is generally very quick and easy (until about 1am, which is when he comes into his own, but that may be saved for another post).
Gertie chooses one or two books which Daddy usually reads. And it is after this that the complications begin. To indicate that we are summoned for the good-night-kiss, Daddy performs an elaborate stamping ritual on the floor of Gertie's bedroom. Everyone in the house now recognises this as the signal, and it includes anyone who may be around, however tenuous their link with Gertie. Any current visitor and occupant of the house must assemble in the bedroom, in line, to bestow their night-time greeting upon the waiting lady.
But there are some important rules of etiquette which must be observed. Sometimes, she will have insisted that Daddy 'hide' prior to our entrance. Whilst her bedroom is small, and it would be perfectly clear to anyone without severe visual impairment that Daddy is in fact stationed beneath the sofa bed (feet and most of his body protruding for all to see) or behind the door (a giveaway since it will not open properly), all must feign incredulity at Daddy 's disappearance. He must not be discovered too quickly for that will incur the wrath of Gertie.
A variation on this is for Gertie herself to hide. This will, without exception, mean that she is lying on her bed beneath her duvet, but because she is face down she believes that she is effectively hidden, and therefore entirely undetectable. Again, 'discovering' her whereabouts too early will invoke a tantrum too terrible to contemplate.
Once the 'hiding' has been safely navigated, and believe me, this is much easier said than done, the actual business of the kiss must be carefully performed. This is a ritual which extends and develops on virtually a daily basis. Gone are the days of a simple peck on the cheek whilst she is lying down. No. Currently, she must stand on the end of her bed, jump off between your legs for 'squeezy leg cuddle' before coming up the other side for a kiss. Last week you had to do a bed kiss and a floor kiss and ensure that the transition between the two corresponded to a careful set of rules which only Gertie herself was fully party to. It is, to steal a well-worn metaphor, a mine-field.
But it is always over by 7pm. Well, ok, 7.10pm. Maybe 7.15pm if we happen to really need to be organised because we are trying to go out.
I wonder if we might just have been ever-so slightly indulgent of the whims of our first-born?
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Hooray! They were a long time coming, but worth the wait. Clearly he is now the cleverest little boy ever to have walked upon this earth.
There has also been a development with Gertie. She has decided that only Daddy has the necessary skill and power to wipe her bottom after a poo.
I'm celebrating this one with equal satisfaction.
Thursday, 11 November 2010
As a teacher I'm usually on the other side of the desk for parents' evening, but this week it was my turn to hear about the shortcomings or otherwise of my children. Except that at three-and-a-half and one-and-a-third respectively you might expect the issues to be a little different.
My husband and I dutifully squash ourselves down into the low mini-chairs that the children use, flesh oozing unattractively over the sides, to hear that all is wonderful in the pre-school world of Gertie (apart from the fact that they are not allowed to encourage her literacy, but we didn't seem to be able to bring that up). She is good and listens and is extremely helpful and always polite. Oh. Do they have the right child? We look through her 'Learning Journal' at all the boxes that have been ticked. There are a scary amount of categories in which she is expected to succeed, but she, and consequently we, appear to have passed most of the tests.
So the first meeting goes well. Smiling, we move on to Gilby. And we learn that he will be staying behind in the Baby Room (oh dear, being kept back already) because though he is due to move up to 'Toddlers' in six weeks time, he's not yet walking so it wouldn't be safe. So his Learning Journal has not so many boxes ticked and he seems to be a little, well, below average, in a few sections.
I try to explain that his elder sister was just as slow at getting to her feet, and that perhaps Gilby is compensating by, um, being good at words. Whilst his 'key-worker' is smiling and nodding sympathetically, I can't help feeling as though I have somehow engineered this slow-walking situation and am responsible for his disappointing behaviour.
So he's gone from being the youngest baby in the nursery by a good few months to being the oldest by some way. Still, the ratio of staff to children is better in this room, so every cloud...
We eventually make it to our feet, escaping from the Lilliputian chairs, and wonder what parents' evening will be like when they are both actually in school; when there are many, many more boxes to be ticked and tests to be passed.
And it seems that perhaps the issues aren't so very different after all.
Thursday, 4 November 2010
She has a little 'communication' book, you see. The idea is that we write stuff in there relating to Gertie: special requirements, concerns, anything that her carers might need to know about. It's a good idea, though I don't really know how it works because I've never had occasion to use it before. But with the young lady making a sudden breakthough with her reading, I thought I should alert the staff so that they might encourage her to spell or sound out words if she was sitting with a book. So I made a little note to that effect.
Because then I had THE SUMMONS. And THE TALK. About how the staff are not allowed to 'do' any letters or numbers or anything that might remotely be considered educational with the children. At all. Under any circumstances. Regardless of how excited they might seem to be about it. Oh.
And now I seem to have had my 'communication book' confiscated. Which seems to have put an end to any...communication.
Still, I did get to go swimming with Gertie over half term, which meant that I also got to smile as I heard her complain about how her ears were 'turned off' afterwards and she couldn't listen properly. She kept pressing them like buttons to turn them back on, so I guess that might have helped the water to drain away, because she announced in the car on the way home, to everyone's great relief, that they were 'back on'.
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
But first, a quick example from the past. Ridiculous as it now sounds, Gilby's first poo was one such moment. How can you be proud of an ordinary bodily function, you ask. Well, easily, as it happens. Due to some minor complications at birth, the powers that be at the hospital were insisting that the young man had filled a nappy before they would allow us to leave.
In fact, we took it upon ourselves to discharge from the ward before that happened, and I think he was nearly a week old before the momentous occasion occurred. I was thrilled to finally see a little portion of the tarry black stuff. Needless to say, over the past fifteen months he has more than made up for this early reluctance in the nappy department.
But today's milestone was REALLY, really exciting: Gertie made a breakthrough with her reading.
She has been fantastic at learning her alphabet and can recite her ABCs. She could also recognise the letters in her name. But today, finally, she has started to put those letters together to 'read' her first few words. It is amazing. I am absolutely delighted. She is nearly three and a half. I have no idea if this is good, or late, or normal, and frankly I don't really care. It has just made me want to tell everyone I meet. And sing 'La-la-la-la-la-la' to the tune of La Donna E Mobile or something equally showy-offy.
I think of the doors that reading opens up. She is already happy to sit for hours pretend-reading her books; how much more thrilling will it be when she can actually read them?
And of course, with the delight comes the inevitable guilt. It is half term and so I am on holiday and at home with her spending time playing and learning and reading, instead of thrusting her in front of Peppa Pig before a quick bedtime story.
It just leads me to wonder what would happen if I was actually here all the time....
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
It is a time when Gertie is really relaxed so she might come out with the strangest question or random observation about life in her universe.
I was busy playing the Dolphin Game with Gilby (not nearly as demanding as 'Duck Chess': You merely pass the plastic dolphin toy backwards and forwards. Gilby says, 'Mummy' as he does it; I say, 'Gilby' as I return it. That's all there is to it, but it seems to keep him entertained indefinitely).
I looked up and noticed that Gertie had her tongue out and appeared to be sampling the flavour of the wall of the bath.
"Um, darling, what are you doing?"
"I'm tidying up." (Her potential for OCD is well-documented.)
"I'm licking off the drips for you."
"Oh, don't do that; it's yucky."
"No. It isn't."
"Ok; well what do they taste of?" (I was wondering how long it was since Mr Muscle had last visited; probably some time ago)
She looked at me as though I were quite mad.
Sunday, 10 October 2010
Yesterday we went on our bi-annual pilgrimage to the local 'baby-sale'. I have to mentally prepare for these days; a necessary evil, it seems to me. Children's clothes, shoes and general stuff is so expensive that the only way we can do it is by making considerable purchases of nearly-new goods at a fraction of the price they would be in the shops.
The trouble is that the baby-sale is not a pleasant shopping experience. It is a frantic, frenzied grabbing competition where only the toughest will survive, snatching out dangerously in an effort to locate that Jojo Maman Bebe bargain or Monsoon special.
In exchange for waiting patiently and keeping her baby brother entertained whilst I wrestle with clothing racks, Gertie gets to choose a toy to take away. So it was odd to hear her say, very firmly, "I hate baby sales, Mummy," as we were en route in the car. (Of course, I hate baby sales, but I can't imagine why she should have this strong reaction.)
I thought I should get to the bottom of this, so decided to probe a little further. "What exactly is it that you don't like about them?"
This floored her for a minute. She thought very carefully, then said, "What does 'hate' mean?"
"Um. It's when you really, really, really don't like something..."
Later, as we came out (me, armed with bags of winter stuff; she, clutching her new cuddly hippo, which she christened 'Vanessa'...?) she told me that actually she didn't 'hate' baby sales. I think she genuinely didn't know what the word meant.
I felt quite pleased that it had taken her three and a half years to come across the concept of hate.
Then, on reflection, worried that she had now encountered it too early in her little life.
Saturday, 2 October 2010
We were visiting friends recently, who have a little boy just about the same age as Gertie. Although the two of them don't see each other very often, they seem to get on really well when they do. They tore off across the village green together, and Gertie even managed to briefly overcome her fear of our puppy, Kempton, in an effort to impress her young beau. It evidently worked, because they came back out of breath and holding hands, and I overheard him tell her, "I like your spots. I'm going to get some."
Well, if he gets too close, he probably will.
Saturday, 25 September 2010
But back in my little world, little Gilby has reached his 10th word today - 'cuddle'.
Also on his list and just about in order of acquiring them, 'Mama', 'Dadda', 'arm', 'ball', 'badge', 'bath', 'hiya', 'bubble', and 'duck'. Ok, so the pronunciation of the final consonant isn't always entirely convincing for some of them, but he can make himself understood...to me. And yes, 'arm' and 'badge' are slightly odd choices, which I could explain and justify if I needed to.
I'm delighted that 'Mamma' was officially his first word, since Gertie's were 'duck' and, believe it or not, 'tractor', and something approximating 'Mummy' only came many months later, and long after her father had got used happily used to being named by her.
So. Ten down. Just another nine hundred thousand, nine hundred and ninety to go for the little man to learn, then.
Sunday, 19 September 2010
I feel that it should be on a weighty subject, perhaps with some thoughtful insights about motherhood, or even blogging itself. Alas, no. It is, in fact, about fairies. Sort of.
I've been out playing stoolball at a tournament today, the last game of the season. For anyone not in Surrey, Kent or Sussex, this is a relatively obscure team game that involves wickets and boundaries and was a forerunner to cricket (allegedly). It is mostly just played in the south-east of England.
Gertie was a great spectator and in between games also unwittingly provided most of the entertainment. At one point I asked her, in front of the team, what she would like to be when she grew up. I expected her to say a teacher (like her Mum) or a farmer (she is obsessed by a local farm park, where Brenda, our Wonder from Down Under, works part time). I even half suspected she might say something to do with cars, like her Daddy.
"A fairy," came her immediate, and confident response.
I'm not entirely sure that she's getting helpful career advice at this early stage.
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
But the benefits are already showing: the biggest one being the fact that the nursery that Gertie and Gilby have been attending since both were just a few months old is actually on site. So when I had the call from nursery on Friday afternoon to say that Gilby needed collecting since he had 'two bad nappies', I was able to pop straight over and see that he was fine. Not in fact, in need of collecting at all, but at least it prevented me from staying on for another hour and gave me the perfect excuse to get away at a sensible time for the start of the weekend.
And I cycled for the first five days, though I did take the car today due to the 'severe weather warning' announced this morning for West Sussex that never actually materialised. Much nicer than the forty minute car journey I used to have, and a little healthier too. Though I have become a figure of fun as the only member of staff to arrive by bicycle in the morning.
And the final piece of news is that Gertie has decided she will marry her grandfather.
We were discusssing marriage and I was explaining that mummy and daddy had got married as they 'love each other' and she came to the obvious conclusion that she would, by the same logic, marry Grumps. When I pointed out that this wasn't really appropriate she settled on her brother as a future spouse. I suggested that she wait a while to make a final decision.
Saturday, 28 August 2010
She's quite convinced that she will like salad when she is six, though she will not touch the stuff now.
Yesterday, I went to give blood and as I was collecting Gertie and her brother from nursery she asked me about the plasters on my finger and my arm, so I explained the process to her as carefully as I could. She was intrigued.
"I'll probably give blood when I'm a bit bigger, won't I Mummy?"
"Yes, you might do."
"Maybe when I'm ten?"
"Well you have to be a bit older than that. Perhaps when you're eighteen."
She thought for a minute.
"So they just put a tiny prick in your finger first?"
"Yes, a tiny little prick."
"And it didn't hurt at all? It must have hurt a tiny bit."
"Well maybe a tiny bit, for only a second and then it is all better."
"Yes, but it did hurt a tiny bit for a little while?"
She thought for another minute.
"I don't think I will give blood when I'm eighteen. In fact, no. I probably won't."
So, a practice clearly not in the same league as liking puppies and eating salad.
Monday, 23 August 2010
I will not forget my daughter singing 'Five currant buns in the bacon shop' at the top of her voice all the way down to the south of France in the car. Just why they would be on sale there I was not able to establish.
She was also reluctant to practise any French words, until she discovered the rich rewards that simply uttering, "Gateau, s'il vous plait," might bring.
Gilby, at one year old, is not yet able to pronounce his name properly, but saying 'Gilber', with the softened final consonant was the perfect way to introduce himself to all the French girls.
But the best one came from my brother-in-law. With only sun, swimming and gallons of rose to enjoy, the boys had to come up with ever-more inventive pool-based sporting entertainment.
Diving to catch tennis balls mid-air, various races on inflatables and endless permutations of goal-scoring with an aerobi sufficed for much of the week, until he decided that it would be a good idea to balance a plastic chair on top of a lilo then attempt to sit in it to cross the pool. At the crucial moment with chair in place and he standing on the lilo, just as he was about to manoeuvre himself delicately in to position, his wife called down from the balcony. With not a moment's hesitation, poised in utter concentration, he did not even look up. "I'm busy, darling," he called, in convincing tone as he contrived to complete his operation.
He managed it too, for not quite as long as a second.
Saturday, 14 August 2010
But a few truths have emerged. A few posts ago, I was blogging about Gertie's capacity to make sweeping generalisations. I had assumed that this was her three year old mind attempting to make sense of her world by categorising things. It transpires that she in fact inherits this trait from her father, as a few short quotations should amply demonstrate:
"Right, I've got to be on my toes here, the French are all lunatics." (whilst negotiating large roundabout en route into Paris)
"They love a pharmacie; grooming, preening, waxing, they love it." (whilst driving past a street containing an inordinately large number of chemists)
Now my husband has lived in France and loves it and the people, so I don't think this is xenophobia. I think I have just never noticed this characteristic in him before.
But another truth that has been revealed came from Gertie herself as our plates in a restaurant arrived piled high with an assortment of vegetables. "I only like mushrooms and broccoli at nursery, not at home or in restaurants."
Oh. I see.
Sunday, 8 August 2010
"Gertie, pick up those cushions you've been playing with, please."
"It wasn't me. Teddy did it."
"Don't throw those toys around."
"I'm not. Teddy did it."
'Teddy' is just three inches high, but he has a lot to answer for.
Tuesday, 3 August 2010
A prime example occurred this morning as we went shopping for a few groceries. I accidentally dropped a bag as we were walking across the car park, and she said, "Be careful that a car doesn't get your bag, Mummy."
"Thanks Gertie, I shall make sure of that."
"Because mummies cry if cars get their bags, don't they?"
I don't know how often cars 'get' mummies' bags, or indeed how often they cry about it subsequently, though it doesn't seem unreasonable that they might; nevertheless this appears to be a surety for my daughter.
Sometimes however, she is proved quite correct. The other purpose of this morning's excursion was to get her hair cut. So, on our approach to the salon she tried again.
"We get lollipops when we get hairs cut, don't we, Mummy."
"We-ell, I suppose we might if we are good."
The decision was not left to me however, since the young lad who performed the trim offered her just such a treat before I had a chance to intervene.
So, in fact, we do get lollipops when we get hairs cut, I was forced to concede.
Thursday, 29 July 2010
Suddenly a violent shriek erupts from somewhere outside the bedroom. A loud yelp follows almost instantaneously; then a few seconds later, a prolonged cry from the nursery.
I am terrified, and push my husband from the bed to investigate.
Daddy discovers that Gertie has wet the bed. Kempton, the new puppy has somehow found herself upstairs, inspite of the forbidding stairgate at the top. Gilby has also woken. I go downstairs to make up some milk and find myself clearing up a puddle of puppy-widdle. It doesn't help that I knock over the first bottle, spill watery formula everywhere and have to start again.
A sequence of events emerges. A sleepy-headed Gertie must have emerged with damp pyjamas from the bedroom to be confronted unexpectedly by the puppy, of whom she has a deep fear. She gave out an involuntary (and inhuman-sounding) scream. This woke her little brother, who was terrified by the commotion and rendered inconsolable. The milk was not enough to allay his fears and it took a good forty minutes to get him settled again.
So if we include Kempton's yelp, that is at least four of us who were frightened out of our wits last night. And two of us who had to clear up wee.
Monday, 26 July 2010
His birthday has accidentally coincided with the arrival of Kempton, our long sought-after golden retriever puppy, who, at eight weeks old, is one of the cutest things on the planet. Not quite as cute as Gilby in his sunnies, but not far off. It means we have a new baby in the house. One who requires regular feeds, cuddles and sleeps, and even cried in the night for the first two nights. So Gilby is no longer the littlest person; there is someone even more demanding than him.
In an effort not to make it seem as though this is a birthday gift, we have made it quite plain that it is in fact Gertie's puppy. She has chosen her collar and toys and chews and was heavily involved in the preparation for Kempton's arrival. Gertie visited Kempton at five weeks old as part of a litter of ten, and though she was a little wary at first she was happy to stroke the puppies and even got in the pen with them all at one stage. But now that we have Kempton at home Gertie is petrified of her, and insists on Kempton being shut off away from her (usually by a strategically-placed stair-gate, of which we have many).
Sunday, 18 July 2010
So when Gertie announced in the car earlier today that she wanted to play 'I Spy', it was with some trepidation that I agreed.
"You go first, Mummy."
A convoy of motorcycles roared by at that moment, providing just the inspiration I needed. "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with 'M'."
"No Mummy, you don't say a letter you say a colour."
"Right. Of course you do. I spy with my little eye something that is..."
Gertie eyed me pityingly, and spoke slowly to make sure I understood. "No Mummy, you don't say 'that is' you just say the colour."
I was slowly getting the hang of the game.
"Right. I spy with my little eye something pink."
"Is it my cardigan?"
"Yes, it is, Mummy. It is!"
Clearly there is a rule somewhere about the guesser also deciding on the object that I am not familiar with, knowing only a more traditional form of the game...
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
I was up early anyway because of the marking, but this was interrupted by the discovery of a number of fleas in the dining room, (one even had the audacity to hop onto an exam paper) prompting early morning vacuuming undertaken by Daddy under, it has to be said, some duress.
A few minutes later it was Gilby's turn to wake up and a pungent smell greeted me from his bedroom. Gilby is sick, again, and the diarrhoea, though it hadn't woken him had clearly been there a while. So it was a hastily run bath this time, and a second stripped bed.
In the midst of this my mobile rang. A colleague was ill and not going to make it into work today and could I take down the details of his lessons for whoever would be covering them? No problem, let me just wipe away the poo.
All this and it wasn't even 7.30am. Surely things can only get better today!
Monday, 12 July 2010
Tuesday, 6 July 2010
This is because I am in the midst of marking A-level papers. Nearly three hundred of them: something that I used to find difficult and a burden before children, let alone with two of the small people around. The idea is that it is, at my own behest, supposed to be paying for our lovely summer holiday to France. The reality is that it has taken over my life and I will need a holiday more than ever at the end of it. And why did I pick a World Cup year? That coincided with Wimbledon and the one day cricket series against Australia?
The structure of my day has changed dramatically. I have to do a couple of hours in the morning before everyone else gets up, then work through the evening after the kids have gone to bed, perhaps sneaking in a couple during the bedtime hour whilst Gertie and Gilby are otherwise engaged with Peppa Pig, 64 Zoo Lane and occasionally In the Night Garden (though Gertie only 'tolerates' Upsy Daisy et al these days, for the sake of Gilby).
So Gertie sees me sitting at the dining table, red pen poised, quite a lot at the moment. Especially if she happens to wake up early and see a light on downstairs. The initially repeated, "What are you doing, Mummy?" has been substituted for, "Are you 'markin' again Mummy?"
'Markin' has now become one of her favourite games. Pen in hand she will take herself off quietly somewhere and go 'markin'. The back of an envelope or Daddy's latest print out of World Cup scores will become well and truly...marked. It has also become an excuse for not doing other things. (How quickly she emulates her mother's behaviour.) "No, I can't tidy up those things, I'm afraid, I'm markin". She has the degree of concentration just right, and embarks on it with a relish that has begun to wane in me.
As of today, 80 more scripts to go; shame I can't give her a few...
Sunday, 27 June 2010
Behind one of the arm-chairs, pulled out from its usual spot nestling against the wall, Gertie found a little sequin that must have dropped from an item of clothing months ago. It is a shiny silver disc with a minuscule hole in the middle, prompting Gertie's comment, "Oh look; it's a very tiny CD!"
I know that she belongs to a technological age where everything just gets smaller, but I haven't yet come across the technology that might play this 'micro-disc', unless it exists on Lilliput.
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
This chap happens to have been the best man at our wedding, and so we are familiar with his passion for football and his...self-belief, now transmitted to his child. (Still in the womb, but due any minute now!)
This has got me thinking about the pleasures we experience in the success of our offspring. My husband (and one of Rick's best friends) is fully convinced that Gilby will one day open the batting for England in an Ashes Test Match. His initials and surname, 'A A P Gooda' are apparently an important aspect of the dream since they 'sound right' for a cricketer. So you can see, these future ideals are quite specific. My as yet unsuspecting son is under a lot of pressure. I say 'unsuspecting'; he did in fact attend his first cricket match aged just five days old.
Until Gilby arrived last summer, poor old Gertie had to do two hours of throwing and catching practice each night when Daddy came home from work. Aged two. (You think I'm joking?) In fact, now I come to think about it she was only four days old when she first went to a game. Thankfully she is now able to concentrate on ballet, which she is much more excited about...
But given his best man's bet, I'm just waiting for my husband to come back from the bookies with his version of living the dream!
Thursday, 17 June 2010
One of us has then slipped in a couple of hours later and turned out the light, just before we go to bed. Sometimes we get caught and there is a small drama; most of the time there is no problem.
Gertie has been more tired of late however, and I had begun to suspect there was more to it than a simple fear of the dark. This was confirmed this evening. Gertie had been 'asleep' for a good hour when a large 'thump' was heard overhead.
This interrupted our football-viewing and required some investigation. Daddy tiptoed upstairs and slowly turned the door-handle of Gerties's room...to be confronted by a guilty Gertie, clad in bunny ears, fairy wings and iggle piggle trousers.
"I was just....dressing up." (Nothing, if not honest.)
It's lights out from now on!
Sunday, 13 June 2010
At breakfast this morning, (sausages, obviously), Gertie suddenly noticed that I wasn't eating any. I am vegetarian and have been for twenty-five years, but Gertie had a slightly different take on things.
"Don't you like sausages, Mum?"
"No, not really..."
"That's because you're a teacher, isn't it?"
Now I can only assume that this three-year old logic stems from 'sensible' comments about her level of sausage-consumption. But perhaps there is some correlation between teaching and sausage-dislike that I have been hitherto unaware of?
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
"What is she doing?"
"What do you mean? I've just given her some mushed up veggies and she's eating them."
"I can see that. Precisely. She's eating them. Why isn't muck smeared around her face? Up the walls? Matted in her hair? How can she do that?"
"Er...I don't really know. She's always done it; as soon as she could pick up a spoon she wasn't happy with me feeding her."
She looked at me peculiarly, and left muttering under her breath about how it 'wasn't fair'.
She had two boys of secondary school age by then, but the memories survived, and I now now think I know what she was talking about.
Gertie would have been about ten months when this exchange took place. The same age as Gilby is now. I can't say for sure that this is a gender thing, but where Gertie sat demurely and fed herself with only the occasional mishap, Gilby seems far more interested in a minute examination of the texture and composition of any foodstuff he is offered. He does not want a spoon (for anything other than as a bangy-thing) and he seems to have only the vaguest idea of exactly where on his face his mouth is located.
My kitchen looks like a war zone, with the colours of the rainbow spattered up the walls behind the high chair. The high chair itself requires jet-washing and steam-cleaning on a regular basis, and the state of the tiled floor is...indescribable. No matter how much I scrub.
So, Candy, I would like to invite you round to witness mealtimes now. I am sure you will be more than satisfied that I am getting my just deserts. (If only it were 'just dessert'.)
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
"Mummy, mummy, mummy! I've just swallowed some sunshine!"
The consumption of sunshine has continued with lots of outdoor playing. Daddy compounded his knee injury with some competitive keepy-uppy; suppers have been cooked and eaten al fresco, and, in the run-up to Wimbledon, Gilby has decided that his preferred surface is grass - on which to hone his newly discovered forwards-crawling skills.
But best of all has been Gertie and her 'skipping'. This consists of running forwards in gleeful circles around the garden, waving the skipping rope vaguely in front of her. At no point do her feet 'skip' over the rope, since they are a good foot behind the equipment at all times. It is an interesting technique; but she is quite happy, and assures me that she is 'very good' at skipping. I wonder: At what age can the little people learn to skip with a rope?
Thursday, 20 May 2010
Several things have happened simultaneously. As Gilby, at ten months, has finally recovered from a prolonged period of illnesses (very boring, no need to recap, but he now appears to be fighting fit for more than a week for the first time since January) it seems he has done all his development in one go. Suddenly, today, bottom teeth have broken through, and at the weekend he at last worked out how to crawl forwards. Fast. (The backwards shuffle was frustrating us all.) So he is off; suddenly no longer a helpless baby, but a teeth-gnashing infant who can go wherever he wants.
Usually Gilby goes down to sleep with no trouble whatsoever. (The trouble comes later in the night, but that is another story.) So I put him down to sleep a few nights ago and he didn't really seem to settle properly. There were a few mumbly-grumbly cries which gradually over a period of about ten minutes became more insistent.
Usually I would leave him; he sucks his thumb so is generally fine once he has found that. But no, this began to sound more distressed, and so I eventually went in to see what was going on. He had somehow managed to climb up and pull his entire cot canopy from its railing, and was sitting up in bed covered entirely with a white floor-length drape - giving him a ghostly profile in the semi-darkness. Very funny - and he seemed to find it so too as he watched his helpless parents collapse into fits of giggles.
I know I shouldn't laugh and it could have been dangerous, but it is just an example of how nothing is now safe, not even bedtime in his cot!
Thursday, 13 May 2010
Simples. And personally I was delighted with the end result. I have surpassed all previous efforts. Dare anyone even make reference to green icing or fish-shaped cricket bats on Saturday at the party.
Sunday, 9 May 2010
This week I took Gilby to the doctor's twice with chicken pox. I spent a long time on the telephone to NHS Direct, then had to use the out of hours service at the hospital on the bank holiday. Because despite having had chicken pox myself, and recognising it immediately when Gertie came down with it a year ago, for some reason it looked different on Gilby and my inner medical expert was convinced it was something more sinister. When the diagnosis came I was relieved: only chicken pox. That was easy to deal with. A few blobs of calamine lotion and some bicarb in the bath; no problem. Except that Gilby was much, much more sick with it than his sister had been. He tore at his clothes and didn't sleep for two nights, crying all the time because he couldn't get any relief from the itching. His ears bled where he scratched and pulled at them, and he couldn't close his eyes properly because of the bulbous lumps on the lids. He had a high temperature and I couldn't console him at all. So I took him back to the doctor. Who suggested a few blobs of calamine lotion and some bicarb in the bath...
So I felt a bit silly. Where did this over-anxiety come from? Because prior to this Gilby has had a succession of unpleasant ear infections (five lots of anti-biotics) and a horrible vomiting bug that meant he just seem to waste away in the space of a week. Gone is my bonny, plump baby; he is now a spotty bag of skin and bone. And of course all his illnesses have happened one after the other since he began at nursery in January. No surprise there. But the result is that I have become one of them: the mothers who clog up the waiting room at the doctor's for minor ailments.
My father-in-law has a good way of expressing the way that anxiety lessens with experience. "If your first child swallows a 5p you rush it to casualty; if your third child swallows 5p you dock its pocket money." Unfortunately I seem to be going the other way. So this week I shall be aiming for some rational judgement and perspective, and hoping that no coin-swallowing occurs.
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Not so Brenda, the wonder from Down Under, who has happily settled in with us and looks after the children for three days a week now.
Oh no. Being still a teenager (for a few more days, at least) she is quite happy 'lol'ing with the best of them. In fact, AIH, I get into a right old 2n8 trying to decipher her texts. All this is a bit TNC, but I was surprised, nay distressed, to disover that my not-quite-three-year-old is now using 'OMG' in speech as a descriptive term for anything a little bit shocking or out of the ordinary.
Like, "OMG, Mum, I fell over today."
Or "OMG, have you seen what Gilby's just done with his biscuit?"
Right, Brenda, you might be brilliant with the children but we are going to have words about their linguistic development. Is this Australian, or just young?
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
Thursday, 15 April 2010
At breakfast time she is physically unable to eat her cereal if I have inadvertently left the cupboard door open, and will burst into tears until the crisis is addressed.
She is dreadfully offended if anyone dares to walk into the sitting room with their shoes on, and is obsessed by what belongs to whom and where things have come from. She is quite happy to 'help' with housework, takes delight in pointing out where I have 'missed a bit' and is highly critical if any area of the house is particularly 'messy'.
If she spills food down her clothes, a complete change of outfit is required immediately, and she is fixated by her various aprons. She has a 'cooking apron' and a 'painting and colouring apron'. Woe betide me for suggesting that the wrong apron be used for a particular activity.
They even commented on it at nursery when we went for parents evening a few weeks ago. They noticed that she is not happy to do finger painting or anything likely to get her really messy. She does like painting but will always ask for a brush and is fastidious about removing all the paint afterwards.
I am not unduly worried by this behaviour. I see it as her trying to make sense of the world around her.
My question is simply this: why do the same rules clearly not apply in her bedroom????
Sunday, 11 April 2010
We had a tranquil walk around the Blue Pool (one of Dorset's best kept secrets, I think), enjoyed the Dragon Easter Egg Hunt at Lulworth Castle; avoided falling off the edge during our cliff-top walk at Durdle Door; dodged difficult questions about the anatomy of the Cerne Abbas Giant, splashed in the sea at Weymouth, and caught a fleeting glimpse of Corfe Castle.
But on Saturday afternoon on Chesil Beach, this was one way to keep Gertie quiet!
Monday, 5 April 2010
Saturday, 3 April 2010
Mummy tells me that you and Mumps have gone on holiday to Australia, but I think that really you are still in your blue house. You wouldn't have got on an aeroplane without me, and anyway, I have't had a postcard yet. Are there lions in Australia?
But if you have gone away, please come back soon because I haven't had any salmon dip for three days now so Mummy can't say that if I eat any more salmon I'll turn into one. She likes saying that.
I certainly won't turn into yoghurt, that's for sure; she only lets me have one a day and you let me have two after each meal! I accidentally let that slip at lunch today, but I think I got away with it. The sausages are pretty thin on the ground, though, so please hurry home. Oh, yes: And I miss going to the pub.
As it's Easter tomorrow we are going to have an Easter egg hunt in the garden. I am planning to eat lots and lots and lots of chocolate. (Well, as much as Mummy will let me, anyway.) And the big news is that after Easter I go up to pre-school full-time. Hooray! Then I can be with Emily Smith all the time. Her mummy has just had a baby so now she has a baby brother just like me - though he doesn't do as much as Gilby as he is only two days old. You should see Gilby - I think he will be crawling by the time you get back.
Anyway, I hope that you're getting under the skin of it, and you've got your show on the road. Oh, and don't forget to seize the day.
Love and kisses,
P.S. I didn't see you in church this morning!
Thursday, 1 April 2010
Her reply was quite clear, "Get on an aeroplane and go on holiday."
Go girl; definitely her mother's daughter. Not going to happen, but nice try!
Saturday, 27 March 2010
Really, really hate them.
I know that I am not alone in this, but I can only manage about three quarters of an hour before I start going mad. I think it is the lighting, the terrible acoustics, the other shoppers, (particularly the grumpy trolley bargers) the queues...collectively.
And then if I factor in Gertie, who won't stay in the trolley but likes to 'help', and Gilby, who will go in for about ten minutes then cries unless I am carrying him, which makes adding groceries to the trolley whilst chasing after a toddler even more difficult, then the whole thing becomes some sort of horrible nightmare.
I can't cope with it and so I usually shop online. But every now and then I am forced to go. And when I do, I have to treat myself to something; a reward for having survived the ordeal.
Today it was a new lipstick. I was really pleased with it. The colour was 'hint of red' and as soon as we had got home, unpacked the shopping and put it all away, I rushed up to the bathroom to try it on.
I came back downstairs. Gertie noticed immediately. "Oh mummy, your lips look a bit sticky." Short pause as she studied my face more closely. "Are they ketchup-lips?"
Maybe more than a 'hint' of red, then.
Thursday, 25 March 2010
Monday, 22 March 2010
I have been back at work for two months now, and Brenda, the wonder from Down Under has been living with us for about the same length of time. (She is amazing, but doesn't look after the children all the time as they are still attending nursery for a couple of days a week; she has just begun another part time job at a local adventure farm park.)
Anyway, she was working at the farm this afternoon and I had to do the nursery run. I also, happily, finished work a little early today. Usually I have to pick up in a mad dash on my way home, but today I just went home first to get everything ready. I could turn lights on, have supper all prepared and then just hop into the car and get the kids.
I couldn't work out was odd as I came into the house. Everything was as it should be. Except that it felt different. And sort of smelled different. And definitely sounded a bit different. And suddenly it dawned on me: this was the first time I had been 'home alone' in nearly eight months. Ever since Gilby was born, in fact.
And I had a whole forty minutes there - in my own house - with only my self for company. I had completely forgotten what it was like. There was just silence and everything was tidy and I was in control. It was really, truly odd. I sort of savoured it, but then it was over oh-so-quickly and once again the house was filled with noise and colour and mess and 'hecticity'. I'm sure that's not a word but it features regularly in my vocabulary.
So now I can't wait until the next time I am able to sneak home alone. Why didn't anyone tell me how great it was?
Saturday, 20 March 2010
Thursday, 11 March 2010
- The struggle for a 'dry night' for Gertie. We have taken the plunge and are nappy-less, but my goodness there is a lot of washing as a result.
- The crusade to get a vegetable inside her. Fruit is not a problem, but you would think it was the outbreak of World War III when I offer carrot or peas.
- The area surrounding the laundry basket is a military zone that requires regular patrol. Why, why why can the dirty clothes just not make it in? I know that I am not alone in this particular battle, but I am certainly 'fatigued' by it.
- The fight for sleep. Gilby now only wakes up once or twice a night. But he has never, ever gone through. Oh, for just one night's unbroken sleep.
- The daily clash over the brushing of teeth. I have tried so hard to make it fun, but Gertie is not fooled and there is an ongoing battle of wills that sometimes becomes physical!
- The nightly skirmish over what time we eat. The children eat around five, when Daddy is not even home, so we always sit down to eat later after they have gone to bed. We are lucky if it is by nine o'clock. My husband does all the cooking, and is a perfectionist, demonstrated in his fleeting appearance last Thursday on Masterchef...
Saturday, 6 March 2010
Wednesday, 3 March 2010
Tonight I called Gertie in to the bathroom to brush her teeth. She wouldn't come because, she moodily informed me, she was "a bit busy". She was 'a bit busy' having a tea-party in her room, but no doubt in a decade it will be the latest games console that is distracting her.
On the way home from nursery tonight she told me defiantly when I asked after Harrison (the courduroy-clad two-year-old love interest from Valentine's weekend) that he is now her 'ex-boyfriend'. Where did she even learn a concept like this?!
She won't be three until May, but at this rate I am fully expecting the first dismissive "Whatever!" when we discuss plans for the celebrations.
Sunday, 28 February 2010
- Sit unaided, and it's been a good few weeks since we had a wobble backwards
- Giggle, brilliantly and repeatedly at the same silly thing. Over and over and over again. I think he will be easily pleased in later life. Big sister Gertie would laugh a maximum of twice before a thing no longer amused her.
- Pick up little things like blueberries; though he chokes if he eats them...
- Look at what you are pointing out to him instead of focusing on the end of your finger!
- Push himself backwards but not yet crawl forwards. Oh yes, and move mysteriously to traverse long distances but only when you are not in the room to figure out how he does it.
- Wake up only once in the night for a feed (hooray, hooray, hooray, but when will he be able to go all night without waking up at all? His big sister had been doing it for ages by now...)
- Dribble as though his life depended on it (very hard gums, but no sign of a tooth yet).
- Make his likes and dislikes very clear. If he doesn't want that mushed up parsnip then those lips are clamped firmly shut and nothing is getting past them. Ditto for the medicine he just had to take; no wonder the ear infection took a while to clear.
I find the whole process of watching this baby growing and developing absolutely amazing. Maybe even more so as I watch it second time round. And this time I don't care if other babies are doing more or less than him at this age, in fact, I don't even notice.
Monday, 22 February 2010
This is I think, my longest break since I began this blogging lark. Now, in my defence, it was half term, and having only been back at work for just over a month, I wanted to spend lots of time with the little people. But a week is a long time in the blogosphere, I have discovered, and I have plenty of catching up to do.
It has been a bumpy ride, but things this end are looking up. 'Brenda' has arrived, our very own wonder from down under. In fact, she has now been here for a month and has made herself completely indispensable in that time. She is 19, an ex-student of mine from my teaching exchange to Australia in 2005, and extremely capable and hard working. She is staying with us as a kind of au pair.
Brenda spent the previous twelve months working on a cattle station in the outback, mustering 1500 head of cattle and acting as a governess to two secondary children, so looking after a toddler and a baby for two days a week and managing a little ironing in Sussex is proving well within her capabilities.
And though we have to put up with the odd Australianism - 'doona' for duvet, or 'chooks' for chickens (not to mention a bizarre penchant for Celine Dion) - it is a small price to pay. The household is slightly less hectic and more colourful for her presence, and Gertie and Gilby love her.
Everyone should have one!
Monday, 15 February 2010
And it worked.
Friday, 12 February 2010
On the way home from nursery in the car tonight Gertie gave me a quick sideways glance and struck up a conversation.
"Mummy, I want to tell you some-sing." (Her adult tone was offset by the funny lisp she has on 'th' words.)
"Do you know Harrison?"
"Er, yes, I think so," I answered, rapidly trying to work out which one of the corduroy-clad toddlers she meant.
"Harrison is my boyfriend."
"I love him," she sighed, simply.
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
But depending on numbers, there are odd days she is allowed to go into pre-school and be with them. Today was one such day. Gertie was really happy about it when I collected her, telling me proudly,
"I'm too civilised to be in toddlers, Mummy."
I wasn't sure that I had heard correctly.
"Sorry, darling - you're too what?
"Really. And who told you that?"
"Andrew." (One of the carers there.)
I tried, and failed, to hide my amusement, and the damage was well and truly done after making her repeat it several times, then broadcasting it to Daddy as soon as he arrived home.
She realised that there was some value in whatever she was saying, and began running around the sitting room screaming, "I'M TOO CILVILISED! I'M TOO CIVILISED!" at the top of her voice whilst repeatedly bumping into different articles of furniture.
What a shame she is too young to appreciate the irony.
Eventually this metamorphosed into "I'm too 'fizilised'; I'm too 'fizilised'."
Far more appropriate, I think.
Saturday, 6 February 2010
My baby, Gilby, got an inner ear infection and I didn't notice it until after the worst was over. I came home on Thursday and spotted lots of nasty gunky stuff in both ears, so rushed him up to the surgery. The doctor actually said to me, "Well he's not in pain now, but he would have been two days ago..." Excuse me while I just punch myself in the head.
On the upside, I have been invited into the 'inner sanctum', as I was included in a night out with the Ummer Nursery Mums this week. (Gertie actually stopped substituting 'ummer' for 'other' a year ago, but for some reason neither my husband nor I have made the same linguistic leap...)
I don't know what I have done to deserve such an honour, but it was good fun and something of an eye-opener. Discussion involved the politics of the nursery (I simply had no idea!) and Other Children. It did make me wonder what might have been said about us on all previous nights out. Whilst the wine flowed, I felt that I was undergoing some kind of test.
Only another invitation will determine whether or not I passed, and meanwhile I will contempate whether or not I want to!