Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Edible Woman

Daddy has a black eye. A real shiner; a black to purple-hued lumpy swelling. I don't know what story he intends to tell at work tomorrow, but the actual version is this: His one-year-old son cracked Daddy across the temple with a mobile phone. It was an unlikely but extremely painful accident...and whilst Daddy was looking for sympathy, I was more worried about Gilby - who was mortified by Daddy's reaction.

Meanwhile, it seems, Gertie is concerned about the edibility of her mother.

She has a t-shirt, not bought by me, I hasten to add, bearing the legend, "Don't you think I've got a yummy mummy?"

Now that she can read a little - though she is nowhere near deciphering the whole phrase she can detect the word 'mummy' - she asked me what it said. And it is fair enough, after all, to have an interest in the motto emblazened across one's chest, I thought. After I had explained it, though, she became quite concerned.

"But Mummy, who's eaten you to know?"

Good point.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Gilby Says 'No'

In spite of Gilby's rich and varied (and newly acquired) vocabulary that includes such gems as:

- All aboard!
- baby (applied to anyone the same age or younger than himself, with absolutely no concept that he might still be considered one...)
- ballet
- balloon
- breakfast
- control (for remote control; he doesn't seem to have adopted the household's preferred term, 'blibber')
- cricket
- like it (said with a screwy-up face that actually means 'I don't like it')
- penguin
- present

along with dozens of others, many of which are uninterpretable, there is one word that rings out loud and clear, and at least 100 times a day: "No!"

At certain times he seems to get in to a cycle of 'nos' that he cannot escape from. Even if the options offered are mutually exclusive.

Are you finished? - No!
Would you like some more, then? - No!
Would you like to get down from the table? - No!
Would you like to stay there all day? - No!

Sometimes as they build, they are pronounced with increasing petulance. At others, you can forget Carol Beer's 'Computer says 'no'!' Gilby's automaton-like negatives are a force to be reckoned with.

I know it's an assertion of his rights, a testing of the boundaries, a manifestation of his growing independence and individuality, but it's bloody funny. Especially after abouth the fifth consecutive one, when I can do nothing but stand back and laugh...because he combines his responses with his cartoon-sad-face: comically protruding lips down-turned at the corners; breathing heavily downwards through his nostrils as though blowing smoke; the excessively heavy frown, large eyes peering up accusingly beneath. He just needs to make mock horns with his fingers and push his leg backwards to complete the picture of a raging bull about to charge.

So, this is how breakfast ends, this morning. It's going to be a long day.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Party Ideas Are Poles Apart

I was warned, way back in the very early stages of pregnancy, about just how competitive the birthday party scene is in parent-land.

So far it's been fine. We had a nice tea-party at home for Gertie's first birthday; more adults than children, more wine than squash. Perfect.

Birthday number two took place at the local farm park; a few friends and family and my mother, who works there, to help organise.

The third birthday was the most ambitious: We had a bouncy castle in the garden. It was great, because all I had to do was simply supply a bit of party food and watch the little people bounce. The sun was shining, but not so much that I had to worry about continually slathering on sun-cream, and nobody got bounced on. It was easy, and I didn't have to organise any games or prizes or anything.

However, the stakes have been raised somewhat, and we've now reached a bit of an impasse over Gertie's fourth birthday party. It's not until May, but I thought that now might be the time to get the plans made and do any organisation that might be required. The trouble is this. We had Abigail's party where there was a professional party-planner sorting out all the entertainment; Cameron's birthday party where there was a 'pirates and mermaids' theme; Sophie's at the village hall where there was a dressed-up Peppa Pig, and Adam's is next week and it's some kind of Toy Story 3 extravaganza.

So we began the discussions. They went something along these lines:

"What would you like to do for your birthday? Shall we have another party in the garden, or go back to the farm? (positively, head nodding in the hope of eliciting an affirmative response.)

"No." (Firmly) "I'd like to go to the North Pole."

"Um. Well that would be a little cold for everyone."

"That's ok. We just need to all wrap up warm. Like we did when it was snowing."


"And make sure that we're all wearing our hats and scarves and gloves."

(I can't really argue with the logic, and have a slight feeling of being 'hoisted by my own petard' but have another idea to attempt to dampen the enthusiasm.) "But it's a very long way away for everyone to travel..."

(Looking at me as though I am stupid) "We can get on an ae-ro-plane." (This is very deliberately in three syllables, as though to spell it out to the senile mother who can't quite keep up with the conversation.) We'll all fly there."

"Oh. Will we?

"Yes." (Abrupt shift in the direction of the conversation to allow no room for negotiation.) "Now. I've done some invitations already."

(Weakly) "What...?"

So. There we are. I am apparently flying fifteen-odd pre-schoolers to the Arctic for a fourth birthday party. I wonder if that's all-inclusive?