Thursday, July 31, 2008

Little Miss Bizarre

ThingOne currently loves the Mr Men and Little Miss books. Loves them.

We have to read them to her a lot, but I'm not sure it's really the stories she like so much as the other attributes:
- some are men and some are women (a current fixation of ThingOne's is what is a boy and what is a girl)
- there are many names to learn (she loves to learn lists)
- she can work out which letters the various names begin with
- there are numbers next to the pictures of the characters on the back of the books

The books seem to tick all the boxes. I say the stories aren't the main thing she likes, but I suppose she does really like the stories with characters who do things wrong (eg Mr Funny lives in a teapot and drives a shoe, Mr Topsy Turvey talks backwards, etc). And many of the characters are ones who do things wrong.

Sometimes ThingOne wakes up talking about the Mr Men and Little Misses, and doesn't stop talking about them for ages. Sometime she gets over excited and just shouts out the names of characters seemingly at random like a child with Hargreaves-Tourettes

The other day I was telling ThingOne not to do something or other, when she looked at me and said "Mr Grumpy!", in a way that sounded like she was saying "Oooh, aren't YOU Grumpy today Daddy!" I don't think the patronising slight was intentional, but her timing was impeccable and it was hard not to laugh.

On Sunday we were in a playground in our local park and ThingOne was hot and a bit of a Little Miss Grumpy herself. We didn't have her swimming gear with us, but I suggested she go into the paddling pool in her pants and she cheered up a lot in the cool water. She quickly took her pants off, not wanting to get them wet and ran around gleefully in the nude in the busy pool for ages. After a fair while splashing around with her (me fully clothed) I went to sit with Anne and ThingTwo and left ThingOne to it. Watching ThingOne run and splash among everyone, stark naked, laughing, squealing and randomly barking the names of Mr Men was pretty funny.

I said to Anne that if we gave ThingOne a can of Tenants Super to hold as she ran about in the pool it might make it even more enjoyable to watch.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Toddler crime scene - do not enter


ThingOne is starting to drop her final daytime nap. Some days she naps and some days she doesn't. On days she doesn't nap she tends to be overtired by bedtime, and the next day. This has led to some issues with behaviour. Not terrible in the scheme of things I suppose, but they're sometimes tricky to deal with.

When I arrived home in the week to find several patterns on the patio like the one above, my initial fear was things had just got too far with Anne when a few toddlers visited and she'd been pushed over the edge.

It turns out this wasn't a crime scene, but was ThingOne's latest obsession. Anne has been drawing around ThingOne with chalk so they can draw the features on (eyes, nose, mouth etc) as a crafternoon project, but ThingOne tends to like the drawing-around part and then gets bored, leading to a garden full of body outlines.

This afternoon at the supermarket ThingOne was pushing things too far and refused to stay near me while I shopped. I try to do the disciplining when it's just me and ThingOne, as I hope it will make ThingOne better behaved in the week when Anne's dealing with two kids and it's harder to discipline. ThingOne's punishment for running away from me was that we didn't go to Sainsburys cafe after shopping (I had threatened this early on, and ThingOne didn't seem to belive me). This caused major upset and she pleaded with me to take her to the cafe, assuring me that she'd be a good girl now - she promised. I didn't give in and it was hard to do as I'd have had a much happier girl if I'd just taken her. My hope is now she'll know we will follow though on this threat and will behave better in the supermarket (and elsewhere). We're being a bit harsh on her I think, since she's not really being very naughty, just a bit over-excited and cheeky. This coupled with overtiredness can lead to some difficult situations so we're trying to clamp down.

A few weeks ago we had a spate of biting people when ThingOne got upset. As it became clear that naughty step punishments or shutting her in her room weren't working we had to think of something new. Out came the big guns: NO TV. I seems to have worked, so far. ThingOne doesn't want to risk losing Charlie and Lola or Mama Mirabelle. We'll see how it lasts...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Boo Wedding and Pooh bedding

We were up in Lincoln for the weekend, to attend a party to celebrate the wedding of Anne's sister Boo (Rebecca) to Dez. They got married a while ago, but they live in Sri Lanka so they have come back to the UK for a party.

ThingOne and ThingTwo wore dresses. Due to the lack of hair, ThingOne looked fairly silly in dresses until recently. Now she's got some hair she can pull it off, and looked very sweet. Unfortunatley ThingTwo was still not 100% following fevers and chicken pox but she coped with a busy party well, even if she looked blotchy in the photos.


We stayed at Anne's mum's in nearby Woodhall Spa that night, and ThingOne got to try out her new Winnie the Pooh inflatable travel bed, which proved to be a hit. It's good that she's quite a heavy sleeper as ThingTwo is up a lot at the moment and ThingOne manages to sleep through all the crying.

However, ThingOne was up very early on Wednesday morning and was very sad with a poorly tummy. I lay with her an held her hand until it was time to get up, and she felt much better in the day. Anne was trying to figure out what ThingOne had eaten the previous day that might have made her ill. Eventually, Anne remembered that while they'd been blowing bubbles on Tuesday ThingOne had tried to drink the bubble mixture. Anne thought she'd just got some in her mouth, but it seems likely ThingOne swallowed more than Anne had realised.

ThingTwo seems much happier now, and is looking much more like herself again. For over a week while she was ill she'd stopped rolling over and wasn't giving us her big open-mouthed smiles when she saw us. We call her Fozzie because of these big smiles. Like a Muppet, she seems unable to smile without opening her mouth wide.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Painful pox and Sunday docs

ThingTwo is having a very hard time of it. Following her big sister, she has now got chicken pox. It's heartbreaking to see her covered in spots and in real pain. To top that she also has a throat infection and Anne had to rush her to an emergency Sunday surgery today to get some antibiotics as she had a temp of 102. And then find a pharmacy able to dispense at 4.45pm on a Sunday. It's going to be a long night...

I'd taken ThingOne out into Cambridge on the bike for the day, partly to get her away from her little sister howling in pain. In contrast to the little one, ThingOne had a great time. We had a picnic by the Cam. It's odd that she's not done this yet at two and a half (well, not since we could talk to her about punts and geese and have her understand). She also got to go on a carousel at a fair on Parker's Piece. Such a shame that ThingTwo and Anne weren't able to come. I felt bad when I got home to find Anne had had to rush to the doctors.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

There goes the neighbourhood

I noticed the other day that the Heffers book shop in the Grafton Centre, one of the shopping centres in Cambridge, has been replaced by a Poundland. This is a sure sign of an economic slowdown.

But if there was an economic slowdown surely the papers would have mentioned it?

The house that dad built

We bought a wooden Wendy House for ThingOne and ThingTwo (though it'll be a while before ThingTwo usues it). It arrived in pieces. I'd hoped to put it together in an evening, since Anne was stuck at home with a chicken poxed ThingOne, but alas there was much to do and it took me until the weekend. I'm used to Ikea spoon-feeding me, and making it hard to put things in the wrong slot. This wasn't a very easy task. And to be honest the product was a bit shoddy. Coupled with my second-rate DIY skills, it made for slow work.

I got it done though and am proud of it. Needs a bit of finishing off, but my priority was to get it weather proof and usable. I initially told ThingOne I was building a shed, as I didn't want to get her over excited. Later, it became clear what it was. ThingOne still thought it was a shed. I felt bed that I'd lied to her, since she clearly believed her dad over her own eyes (why would her dad lie to her?)

Once it was made we also got a toy kitchen from the Early Learning Centre. ThingOne was very impressed. I spent an hour in there on Sunday with her as she made me cups of tea and snacks (pretend ones) and bossed me around. After some time her careful play degenerated into her throwing things onto the floor and finding it hilarious. I tried to regulate the play but quickly realised it was a pointless exercise.

"Now now ThingOne, instead of throwing the pan on the floor, why not cook me some chips in it? Oh, can you pick those plates up from the floor please? No, don't throw the cutlery about! Leave that there. I know, why don't we throw EVERYTHING on the floor!"

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Our poxy daughter


ThingOne is getting over the chicken pox. She's still very spotty all over, but the no new blisters are appearing and this should mean that she's no longer contagios and so can (much to Anne's joy) go back to nursery.

Another reason we can tell she's getting better is that she's very grumpy and is throwing tantrums. When she's ill she tends to get very sleepy and cuddly. When she's on the mend she gets up and down, leading to horrible mood swings. We do sympathise as it must be horrible for her having chicken pox. She seems to find it a bit more bearable when I tell her she's now like Bottomly Potts.

At least we hope the current tantrums are part of her recovery. Please don't let it be a new stage. She's been screaming at the top of her voice and had to be shut in her bedroom today until she calmed down and apologised. (The naughty step didn't work as she just kept running after Anne thinking it was hilarious.)

In contrast, ThingTwo's entering a really cheerful stage. She's coming alive nicely, and starting to interact more. Apparently she's rolling over a fair bit, but I've yet to see that.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Pete and Kate's wedding

I'd said that a friend (Tony) and I were in Brooklyn, NY for the wedding of Pete and Kate. Pete's a Uni friend, and I shared a flat in North London with him in the late nineties.

Tony and I spent the days before catching up with Pete and friends of Pete, and seeing a few sights. I needed to buy some shoes, so Tony took me to a department store and showed me what to do (I'm rubbish at shopping). We went for a coffee afterwards and two gay Aussie guys told us it was Pride weekend this weekend. Apparently two men buying shoes together is enough to give the impression we were gay.

The wedding was on the Saturday (21 June). It was a great do. It seemed like anything could go wrong (they didn't have a permit to marry in the park they'd chosen in Brooklyn) but as seems to happen at these things things just worked (and the small things that didn't soon sorted themselves out). I'd not been to an outdoor ceremony before, and it seemed exotic and different. I was best man, which involved handing over the rings at the ceremony (a task I performed nervously, trying hard not to drop them) and then giving a speech in the evening.

Between the ceremony and reception the guests had an open-top bus tour of Brooklyn and Manhattan while the newly weds went for some photos. The bus had "Just Married" on the front of it, and people were cheering and waving at us as we went past. SInce it was Pride Weekend, and the couple were not on the bus, I tried to get Tony to stand at the front with me and wave, pretending we'd just got wed. He wasn't willing to though, the wuss. In NY we'd probably got even bigger cheers (though I wouldn't fancy doing that away from the coast).

I'd been roughly preparing my speech for a few weeks, and had spent a while putting a Powerpoint presentation together of some photos of Pete and other stuff. There were five or six short speeches through the evening before mine, spread out well. They were good speeches, and were hard to follow. Fortunately for me whilst most of them were funny speeches, they were also heartfelt and emotional. It took a little pressure of me knowing I wasn't trying to live up to that but was mainly going for cheap laughs with a little sentiment thrown in for good measure.

I was pleased to have the slideshow to take eyes off me, as it helps to have eyes looking elsewhere when you're talking to a room of people (who've been drinking for three hours). My main preparation had been learning to say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (Pete's from Anglesey), which got a round of applause, even though my pronnounciation wasn't accurate (I had the bits learned, but my Welsh pronunciation is poor). It's another party trick under my belt though, so I'll try to keep the skill. Frankly, how many people are going to correct me? (Well, everyone form Anglesey, and I now find quite a few others).

It was a shame Anne couldn't come, as she too has known Pete since Uni. I'm glad at least one of us could go though, as it was great to see P&K's big day.

I didn't take my camera to the wedding, and my friend Tony has a better camera than me, so I'll just link to his album. Is that cheeky? Probably, yes. Photos here of our time in Coney Island where I hurt my back, and of the wedding day.

Click the speech bubble on the bottom left to make it go green, and you'll see Tony's narration (where available).

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