Monday, 25 July 2011

The Unbearable Excitement of Being



Gilby has 'hand, foot and mouth disease'. A 'febrile illness(caused by Coxsackie Virus) with associated vesicle formation on the hands, feet, and mouth of affected children'. It began with a few chicken-pox-type spots around his groin area, and it sounds much worse than it is, but it did mean that the very first day of my holiday yesterday was spent in the company of a screaming, irritable child. It is mild and short-lived though, so I am hoping that by tomorrow (his second birthday) he will be a little more sociable. He wants a 'Mr Bump' birthday cake, which seems quite appropriate.

Thankfully, Gertie is a little cheerier, and her perceptions of the world continue to delight. She is very, very excited about the arrival in a few weeks of her new sibling. It will coincide with starting school, so her little world will turn upside-down, but she is ready for it all. Except that she did ask me a strange question this week: "Mummy, you know that baby in your tummy? What clothes is it wearing?" I can't escape the image of a fully-dressed foetus in there now.

She also made me smile when she came across me reading in the bath a few nights ago. "Um, Mummy? What exactly are you doing?"
"I'm reading a book. I find it very relaxing in the bath."
She looked dubious, and glanced over at the vast array of brightly-coloured plastic toys that adorn our bathroom these days, and that I had tried, unsuccessfully, to hide for my sojourn into the water.
"But Mummy, how can you possibly relax in the bath when it's so exciting? I don't know how you can just sit there when there's so much to do!"

Well, who knew?

33 weeks pregnant: Struggling to heave my whale-like proportions around.
Currently reading: The Slap
by Christos Tsiolkas

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Life of Pie

I have written posts about the exclusive language and silly games invented by the children before. 'Ow' was a particularly good one at the end of last year, though not as impressive as my personal favourite, 'Duck Chess'.

But now, from the makers of these two thrillers, comes the new and exciting, 'Pie'. (Best said in your most impressive James-Earl-Jones-alike voice.) There are two versions of Pie - Bath Pie and Bed Pie. The rules, as far as I can establish them, are thus:

One child holds out my bath pillow (supposed to be exclusively for MY use in long, luxurious baths, definitely NOT a toy, but intrinsic to the success of Bath Pie nevertheless) towards the other and says, "What would you like?". The other thinks for a moment, then replies, "Pie!", at which response both collapse helplessly into fits of the giggles, eventually recovering enough to hand the bath pillow over to the other so that the next round can begin. There are no variations in the answer (only in the length of time it takes for each to think about it) and it is always, always funny (to them).

Bed Pie is more complicated (very slightly). This involves standing at the headboard of Mummy and Daddy's bed and counting to increasing numbers. It might start, "One, two, three...", before both children launch themselves into a forwards topple simultaneously shouting, "Pie!" The next round might count to five, or seven, or eight, perhaps up to twelve. The strange thing is that both seem to know exactly which number they will be counting to next without discussing it beforehand. The important bit, as you are probably realising though, is the shouting of "Pie!", which, you've guessed it, provokes great hilarity every time.

Now, I would like to think that my genius children are practising their Greek alphabet, or developing their numeracy by playing around with this mathematic constant. I suspect, however, that they are not!

32 Weeks pregnant: Still craving tomatoes and bored by anaemia
Currently reading: Starter for Ten
by David Nicholls

Monday, 4 July 2011

Hippopotamuses and Showers



I find it hilarious the way Gilby acquires words, even faster and more furiously than his big sister did. The trouble with this incredible speed of language acquisition is that he occasionally gets it very, very wrong. I have tried to research this a little bit, but it is too scholarly and statistical for me, so I'm going with my own theories.

Apparently, when I was very small, I came rushing in to my parents' room very earnestly declaring that there was a 'hippot-mus in Teesy's bedoom'. Teesy was my name for myself, and I clearly struggled with 'r's. My parents were not convinced. Why would they be? In a second floor flat somewhere in north London, the appearance of this massive sub-Saharan African mammal would indeed have been most unlikely. But I was insistent. Very. Kept on repeating my claim. When they still wouldn't believe me I went to prove my case. I came back in with my tiny fist clenched. "Hippot-mus...HERE!" Upon opening up my hand I cried with pain as the wasp stung me. Quite how I had made the synaptic connection between the word 'hippopotamus' and the reality of a yellow, stripy, stinging thing is beyond me.

Gilby has repeated this feat, though with so far less painful consequences. He has inherited a toy-garage, one with a multi-storey car-lift. It is very exciting when you are not quite two. Except that, inexplicably, he insists on calling it a 'shower'.

Meanwhile, Gertie's current favourite programme is 'Little Bear'. At the start of each episode the episode's title appears, and being right on the cusp of reading it flashes up too quickly for her to decipher it, but she recognises some of the words and is always interested in what it is. "What does that say, Mummy?" she will inevitably ask.

Gilby has cottoned on to this, and must assume that it means 'what is that?', for now, when he doesn't know the name of something he will point at it and ask, "What does that say, Mummy?" just like his sister. Perhaps in some confused, mush-brained moment he asked me what his garage 'said' and I suggested a shower. Who knows?