Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hosting Christmas

We hosted this year and Anne's family visited. We don't have a big house, so were wondering how ten people (including us four) would fit in, but it went well. Four of the adults were staying in local hotels, so it wasn't a squash and a squeeze at night.

ThingOne had a better grip on Christmas this year, and seemed really chuffed when Santa bought her some new fairy wings and glitter pens (which is what she'd asked for when 'writing' to him). She loved opening anyone's presents, especially her own, and wanted to play with most of ThingTwo's gifts as well as her own ("ThingTwo said she wanted to share" - glad ThingOne's got to grips with the benefits of sharing). I think what she enjoyed most though was the puddings. And, weirdly, the parsnips.

Then again the parsnips were cooked in extraordinarily-expensive maple syrup, since like every other household in the country our Christmas meal was Nigella-led. Anne did a great job with it, and Anne's sister Kerry's boyfriend, Mark, helped a lot with the cooking.

ThingTwo was pretty clingy and would cry if Anne or I wasn't holding her. This was a pain since for once there were lots of others there to help with the baby wrangling, and they'd have been happy for a cuddle with her. A bad time for separation anxiety to kick in.

ThingOne managed to show me up in front of all the guests on Boxing Day. I think she was colouring in a picture of some food, since the conversation went something like this:

Me: ThingOne, why are you colouring that blue? There aren't any blue foods - can you think if any ThingOne? [I certainly couldn't think of any]
ThingOne: [brief pause] Cheese.
Me: [silence]

I don't think she knows of blue cheese, and suspect she just said the first thing that came into her head, but my lack of comeback betrayed me as the loser of that little exchange. This is only going to get worse for me as she gets brighter. If I was brighter I'd just avoid conversations I guess.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A merry Simpson to all

ThingOne got Father Christmas confused with Homer Simpson last year. I hadn't thought any more of it until a month or so ago she saw a picture of Homer and called him Father Simpson, which reminded me of the confusion. She seems to think he's somehow relates to Christmas in some way. (And of course I wouldn't want ThingOne to associate Christmas with a fictional character, believing him to be real.)

A year on, she's much more able to understand things, and so I thought I'd explained to her that Homer is nothing to do with Christmas. We've been reading her the nativity story, and The Night Before Christmas poem, so we're trying to give her an idea of what Christmas is traditionally about. I thought this was case closed.

At the weekend ThingOne saw a picture of the whole Simpson family in The Guardian. She was interested as she'd recently seen a picture of Lisa Simpson on a birthday card and was keen to know who the other Simpsons were. All was fine until we got to the dog. ThingOne asked the dog's name.


"OK, ThingOne, I will tell you, but you need to remember that I told you that Homer Simpson is NOT Santa. He's completely different."
"What the dog called?"
"He's called Santa's Little Helper."

Confused silence. The kind of confused silence you hear when a child feels she's been lied to by her dad.

"But, ThingOne, that's just his name. He's not Santa's dog, he's Homer's dog. Well, Bart's dog I think."

More silence.

"Shall we do something else ThingOne? Would you like a biscuit?"

I may need to show her some Simpsons episodes. Just not one where Homer dresses as Santa.

Mature for her age

I got home from work earlier than usual last night. Usually by the time I get home Anne is bathing the girls upstairs, but last night I was home during the TV phase of the evening routine (for the record it's dinner, two episodes of Charlie and Lola, bath, stories, then bed).

Since I usually don't get home at this time, when I do ThingOne tends to get very excited and runs around shouting or singing at me. It's a very warm welcome and nice to come home to.

As I came into the driveway last night I could see Charlie and Lola on the TV and knew I was in for my usual warm welcome. I got out of the car and peeked in through the window. I could see ThingOne lounging on the sofa, her scowling face transfixed on the TV. I knocked on the window, pulled a big stupid grinning face (involuntarily) and waved at her. What happened next shocked me to my core.

ThingOne barely moved.

Her head turned slightly, she saw a waving fool through the window, and her head turned back (slightly). Her expression didn't change. She just had a slight scowl which I'd initially put down to concentration but I now put down to a Bad Attitude. She'd managed to completely deflate me. Maybe she hadn't actually seen me, I thought. I went in through the front door. This would usually bring her running into the hall shouting "Daddy, daddy, daddy!" Not tonight. There was only the drone of the TV from the living room. I went in there and ThingOne barely acknowledged me.

How sweet, my toddler the disdainful, moody teenager. They grow up so fast nowadays.

(And if she thinks she's wearing THAT to nursery tomorrow she's got another think coming.)


I did, however, get a lovely big, excited smile from ThingTwo when she saw me. My new favourite daughter. Funnily enough, once I was holding ThingTwo ThingOne seemed much keener on me. Ho hum.