Saturday, 28 May 2011

Things That Go Bump in the Morning

Gilby tumbled from his cot yesterday morning; a sure sign that it is time to move to his bed. I have tried to make that move as attractive as possible: he has a racing car-styled bed with dinosaur bedding. Wouldn't be my own first choice, but I have tried to appeal to the things he likes. It hasn't made any difference. The bravado displayed in the morning about wanting to sleep in his new bed has completed dissapated by the evening, and there is no chance of getting him to even try it.

Gertie was singing 'Jack and Jill' quietly to herself in the car this afternoon. When she got to the part about Jack falling down and breaking his crown, I couldn't help but think of Gilby and his dramatic cot-side topple. But as she got to the next verse about the mending of the broken head with vinegar and brown paper, she stopped.

"That's just silly!"
"What is?"
"Jack trying to fix his crown with vinegar and brown paper."
"You're quite right, it is very silly," I agreed, musing at her four-year-old perceptiveness.
"He'd at least need sellotape as well..."

Yes, of course he would. Perhaps I should get Gilby some until he is willing to make the move to his bed!

Testing Times

Six months pregnant with number three and we have put our house on the market. What have we done?!

With the prospect of a lean maternity leave ahead, do we really need to increase the size of our mortgage? With two pre-schoolers running around, can I really keep this place in a fit state to be viewed by prospective buyers? In the current economic climate, isn't the housing market still decidedly dodgy?

Memories of moving house when Gertie was just six weeks old are surfacing regularly. And did I mention that we actually love the house we are living in? Umm...I ask again, what have we done?

Still, life is always chaotic; just excuse me whilst I try to embrace the madness...

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Not Waving but Drowning


It's a highly competitive world on a Wednesday afternoon at our local swimming pool. There are a series of lessons back-to-back for tots to teens, which means that virtually every parent in the village is there at some point.

Now that Gertie has reached the grand old age of four, she has just landed herself in the Level 1 class. This is an exciting new development because it means that we no longer have to get into the pool with her. I collect her early from nursery, where she takes great delight in telling everyone that she is going swimming, 'All by myself!" The nursery workers give me funny looks as she swaggers out of the building with all of her 'I've Just Had My Birthday and am Really Grown-Up' confidence.

But at the swelteringly hot poolside (I haven't quite organised an appropriate wardrobe for swimming supervision and usually end up looking red in the face and uncomfortably hot and sticky at the end of the half an hour) I can't quite believe the level of 'parental support' in evidence.

One Mum, dressed in baseball cap and and sports t-shirt, and looking more like an instructor than the actual swimming teacher, struts around the water's edge literally screaming at her son to correct his stroke/speed up/slow down/breathe differently. Whilst her garb marks her out as taking the whole thing just a wee bit too seriously, she is not alone in her vocalisation. In fact, at times I can barely see what is going on in the lesson for the number of grown-ups anxiously prowling the tiles and barking orders at their offspring.

Another mum, whose son clearly has an aversion to water and has sat on the side refusing entry for the last fortnight, now leaves him to endure this torture on his own, disappearing at the start of the lesson (presumably as she can't deal with the waterside tantrum which is now inflicted upon the rest of us.)

I confess that I want Gertie to do well in there, but mostly just feel relieved that I don't have to go through the rigmarole of getting ready for swimming without having the opportunity to actually 'swim' myself anymore. And any thoughts I might have harboured about wanting to encourage her swimming development are put on hold by the spectre of the super-coaches that surround the pool. I don't want to be one!

Gilby is obviously a long way from this point, and he goes swimming with his daddy on a Thursday morning. Happily, the swimming pool is right next door to where I work, so I try to organise a 'break' for some point during his lesson so that I can pop in and see how he is getting on. I managed to time it to coincide with the end of the lesson this week, so that I could give him big cuddles as he came out. I made the mistake of stripping him down before wrapping him in his towel so that my work clothes didn't get too wet. He rewarded me by weeing down said work clothes.

I handed him back to Daddy through gritted teeth, waving and smiling and wondering at the wisdom of my decision to try and juggle work and motherhood more successfully whilst simultaneously attempting to disguise the piss-stain on my dress.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Magic Mushroom



It is that time of year again. Gertie is four at the weekend.

We have the party and the celebrations sorted. I finally managed to persuade her that the North Pole wasn't great at this time of year. So, she will have eight friends from nursery trailing round the local farm park with her in the morning; a visit that will culminate in a picnic lunch. Then, in the afternoon, we have planned a tea party with all Gertie's cousins and family. Hooray! Not a husky or an arctic explorer in sight.

Now this is all jolly exciting, except that it means I am forced to make my annual trek into the kitchen where I pretend that baking, icing and decorating comes naturally to me, and produce a cake to rival Jane Asher.

Last year's highly successful Peppa Pig appeared to be the pinnacle of my culinary achievement (well, when one's husband has appeared on Masterchef, one doesn't get much opportunity to experiment in the kitchen...) but I feel that I have topped it this year, even though it was fairy tricky:

Monday, 2 May 2011

Number Post



Gilby's vocabulary is increasing exponentially, but some of his pronunciation is causing a few problems in communication.

Gertie and Gilby are both fond of Numberjacks, a Cbeebies special that I tolerate because it purports to be vaguely educational. The numberjacks are sort of animated superhero numbers who solve mathematical problems.

So when Gilby started putting 'number' as a kind of prefix to virtually everything he said, I thought it must be a side effect of bad parenting in the form of too much television. But I tried to answer him each time.

So, for example, outside the swimming pool on Thursday, 'Number bin?' a little voice said. The uplift at the end suggested a question. There were two recycling bins outside the leisure centre. 'Um, well, there are two bins.'

As we approached the car, he pointed at one on the other side of the car park. 'Number car.' The tone of this one sounded more like a statement, but one which needed some kind of response. 'Well, let me see. My eyesight's not really good enough, but it looks like a the registration is 'HY47 XXP'. It seemed to satisfy him.

A few minutes later, as we were driving along, he pointed towards the sky. 'Number plane?' He was really quite excited now.
'Gosh, I don't really know much about planes. Probably a 737...' I trailed off, slightly defeated, thinking that CBeebies had a lot to answer for.

It was only as I re-analysed those exchanges (which continued all day long, I might add) that I realised that he was in fact attempting to say 'another' each time, and pleased with himself for making connections between the objects - another bin, another car, another plane. Gertie used 'ummer' to represent this adjective when she was learning to talk, so I was temporarily flummoxed.

Still, we are going to have to ask Grumps for a 'Number pound', as it seems he took one from his eldest grandchild when he was looking after her on Thursday afternoon. She had one in her pocket that was no longer there by the end of the afternoon. He has admitted his guilt. Stealing from a three year old? He should be ashamed of himself!