Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Will The Real Chris and Pui Please Stand Up?

My maternity leave endeth, sadly, and I really tried hard to make the most of the last few days with all the children; especially over half term. We all went to the 'Chris and Pui Roadshow', (they of Show Me Show Me CBeebies fame) which was thoroughly enjoyed by Gertie and Gilby, even if it did seem to me like an incredibly expensive way to do 'Rhyme Time' (free in the local library).

But the event has provoked much discussion about the nature of television. My usually very smart four-year-old questioned me at length about how Chris and Pui got out of the television. This followed on from her comment at the end of the show about how remarkably like 'the real' Chris and Pui they seemed. I had to explain that they were the real Chris and Pui, which engendered a high degree of incredulity for a time. Life's complicated when you're four. Gilby, at two, took it much more in his stride, though his rapt wonder during the performance was a joy to behold. If only we had been allowed to take a picture.

Also in preparation for my return to work I decided it was high time I had a haircut, in some sort of attempt to resemble a professional being once more. I have been having real problems with my hair, even considering cutting it all off in an effort to avoid troublesome tangles. I consulted my hairdresser, who pointed out that it did in fact require brushing every day; something I seemed to have neglected in the blur of raising a third child.

Full time career as well? No problem!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Go Bananas!

I go back to work next week, so perhaps leaving it until now to try Eddie on the bottle might be described as a tad underprepared. His siblings never had a problem switching to the bottle though, so I wasn't really worried.

However, ahem, it appears that Eddie is a little less amenable to the switch than they were. The first three times were 'firm' refusals. Not even polite, if I'm honest. Today there was a small breakthrough as he at least took a few gulps before clamping his mouth firmly shut.

But the bigger news is that he has had his first 'solids' (if mushed banana can be described as such). Up until now he has shown no interest, in spite of being a poor, undernourished little fellow (currently at 22 weeks barely scraping the first percentile on the dreaded charts in spite of his MASSIVE birth weight).

But lunchtime brought success. The first mouthful was a little tentative; the second came straight back out, but the third, fourth and fifth were much more successful, and the rest of the bowl couldn't come quickly enough.

"Mummy, look, banana is his favourite,' declared Gilby, watching his younger brother eat for the first time. I didn't like to point out that it was the only thing he's ever eaten, so at least for now Gilby is correct.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Things That Go Bump in The Head

Thus far we have avoided casualty.

I make this statement because I remember a friend of mine who had a little boy saying to me, when our children were about two-and-a-half, "So, how many times have you had to go to the hospital so far?" She was a regular visitor it seems, and we put our fortunate position down to the fact that we had a careful little girl. A few years later and we have our own two-and-a-half year old boy. He is certainly more accident-prone, and I regularly get the phone-call from nursery to explain in what creative and freakish manner he has managed to bump his head this time. He is also displaying some quite 'challenging' behaviour at the moment. (That is a not particularly well-disguised euphemism for 'driving me mad'.)

So I didn't really worry initially when some loud yells came from our bedroom and Gertie and Gilbert both came out crying and clutching their heads. "We bashed heads," they moaned in unison. I was busy in the bathroom with Eddie, so consoled them briefly, alongside a stern reminder about how they shouldn't be jumping on mummy and daddy's bed anyway.

But two minutes later when I went to check on why it was now so quiet, I discovered that Gilby was unconscious. I panicked. I managed to bring him round, but his eyes were rolling back in his head and he just kept saying that he wanted to 'rest'. (Unheard of from Gilby.) So I phoned Daddy and asked him to come home from work, phoned the duty doctor, phoned my mum to come and babysit whilst we whisked him down to casualty. The doctor persuaded me that there was no need, as long as he wasn't being sick and we kept an eye on him he would probably be alright. Difficult to keep an eye on him overnight, but we kept checking and all was well.

Except that when we woke up in the morning I seemed to have a different child: Polite, helpful, sweet, considerate and not throwing a tantrum. This more severe bang on the head seems to have had a strange side-effect and actually knocked some sense into him. Can it be coincidence? I wonder if I need to keep a mallet in my handbag for any future recurrences of ill-behaviour. Not entirely sure that the health visitor would approve though.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Let Them Not Eat Cake!

In preparation for Eddie's baptism, we had to go and collect the cake the day before and deliver it to the party venue. As the picture shows it was a thing of beauty, a cut above my past efforts at Mr Bump, Peppa Pig and a Fairy Toadstool. As soon as they saw it, Gertie and Gilbert were desperate to try it so I had to explain, quite forcibly, how special it was, and how we'd have to wait until it was time to cut the cake after the baptism. There would certainly not be any cake-eating before that moment I intoned sternly, pushing visions of a half-munched cake firmly from my mind.

When we arrived for the party holding a newly-Christened Eddie aloft, a lovely buffet was set with the cake as the deserved centre-piece. The children soon piled up their plates with party food. Gilby kept coming up and anxiously asking if it was 'cake-time' yet. Eventually I said that it was and he looked mightily relieved as he reached up to take the final fairy cake from a nearly empty plate.

What a lesson in noble restraint. It seems that my sermon had hit deeply. He had waited all that time, thinking that he couldn't have any cake, watching all the other children repeatedly helping themselves, desperately willing the final one not to disappear.

Friday, 3 February 2012

She's Offski!

Daddy wanted a cordless drill for Christmas. This did not sound like a romantic present at all, so I decided that a surprise family ski trip was more in order.

I’m not sure though, that planning a massive baptism party for the day before we went skiing was ideal timing. It certainly did not make for a peaceful passage from the house and there were one or two cross words on the morning of our departure. But it doesn’t matter because we have a baptised baby, a sledging Gilby and a fully skiing Gertie now, so all is good.

Tragically, we lost blankie en route, which is nothing short of a calamity and caused two major tantrums and many tears. Gertie is dealing with the trauma and loss bravely now, but it has been with her from birth, and only wrestled from her occasionally to wash so I'm not sure how this one will go. We have promised to try to locate a new one, a promise that I'm not sure we will be able to fulfill.

So our holiday had a chaotic start. But that did not detract from a magnificent trip. The mountain, Gerlitzen, is stunningly beautiful and the surrounding peaks must be good for the soul. It helps if you are taking three under-fives on a skiing trip if you have your old au pair ready and waiting to meet you; not to mention various other family members on hand to help with collecting from the airport, baby-sitting, shopping...

A decade on from my last ski trip I can report that falling over hurts more than it did. It is also more embarrassing to lose a pole and slip from a button-lift when you are approaching forty. Particularly when your four-year-old is more than capable of accomplishing the lift unaided. By day four she was actually skiing down the mountain.

I can remember years ago seeing these groups of wobbly-headed, helmet-clad little children on skis careering down the mountain at breakneck speed, hands clasping wobbly knees. Never for a moment did I dream that I'd own one of my own.

But the highlight of Gilby's trip had very little to do with the snow. He was lucky enough to meet his hero, 'Bino Bear' mascot of the ski-school on the mountain, which made for one very happy little boy.