Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I created a 'Wordle' of our site (a cloud with the size of the words representing their relative frequency). If we got fridge magnets of these words we could have no end of fun.

No surprises what the biggest word is (hint: it's not Buffy).

Wordle: Our site

(I think it's just picked up a feed of recent entries rather than the whole blog.)

Friday, January 16, 2009

A strange little world

This morning ThingOne asked me when I'd got home the previous night. I'd been working late and had got back past midnight. I told her I'd got back very late. She asked why (or course she did - she always does).
I said, "Because it's very busy at work at the moment".
ThingOne looked confused, and then asked, "Couldn't you get through the door?"

This confused me. I realised that in her mind, when I'd said it was busy, she'd thought that there were so many people in my office that I'd been physically unable to leave until late. The image of me fighting past people to get out of the office made me laugh. It might also have been less depressing working past midnight if there had been a few more people there.

We frequently find that ThingOne gets a wrong, though often understandable, idea from what we tell her, and we've learned to phrase things quite carefully to give her a good chance of understanding. I love the little world she lives in where almost anything can happen and she'll take what we say at face value.

I sometimes use this to amuse myself. One day, I'd got home from work while Anne was giving ThingOne and ThingTwo their bath. I stood outside the bathroom and took my trousers off, and walked into the bathroom with my shirt and boxer shorts on. "Where are your trousers Daddy?", ThingOne asked (well, you would wouldn't you). I feigned surprise and told her I must have left them at work. ThingOne found this funny, but didn't seem to think there was anything ridiculous about it. Well why should she?

On Sunday I was able to avoid a potential tantrum by misleading her. We were at Nandos for her birthday tea, and I'd ordered our food at the counter (it's not a proper restaurant, despite what ThingOne thinks). While waiting for our food it became clear that ThingOne thought that because she had a menu to read she wanted to order her food with the waitress. We tried to explain that the waitress didn't come in this restaurant. She wasn't having any of it. Thinking on my feet I took her to the counter. There were no staff nearby, and that suited me.

"Right ThingOne", I said, pointing to the unattended till, "what we need to do is to say what you would like to eat into the magic till. So we say 'Chicken and chips for table 34'. Shall we do that?"

A nod.

"Chicken and chips for table 34", we shouted in unison into the till. We didn't feel ridiculous at all.

That seemed to satisfy her. We got back to the table and seconds later our food was brought to the table. ThingOne must have thought that was very good service.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday ThingOne

ThingOne had her birthday today, having already had a 'special' day (as she called it) on Saturday with her party. She seemed to have a really good time, though things were a little fraught occasionally this afternoon, and I think she'll have a bit of a comedown on Monday. Overall though, she's been a star this weekend.

We got her a set of Dr Seuss books (I really like reading these to her, and she enjoys them almost as much) and a bean bag arm chair. She didn't seem that bothered by the chair. Shame - I thought she might really like it. Well, she may come around to it.

We did some craft this morning which somehow involved me doing most of the craft. We ended up sticking a mosaic of a 'magic tree' to the wall which was almost entirely done by me. It was basically me doing some substandard cutting and sticking and putting my own artwork on our wall. It makes me look a bit simple. I'll lie to visitors and tell them ThingOne did it.

This afternoon ThingOne had another birthday cake, since she wanted to blow out more candles. She'd had one yesterday at the party but apparently that didn't count as three children blew those candles out. We went to Nandos for tea. ThingOne thinks this is a proper restaurant, and loves the Frozen Yoghurt the most.

ThingTwo tried to steal the show by making her first proper word-like noises. It was pretty close to Da Da. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. At one point she said something like "Ha Pa Ber Da" so we told ThingOne that ThingTwo was trying to wish her a happy birthday. It did sound eerily close, so we were partly convinced ourselves.

We really tried to do ThingOne's hair to make her look smart today, but she's at the Boris Johnson stage of her hair growth cycle. It will need cutting very soon. I've trained her to go around telling people her hair makes her look like Boris Johnson. She'll thank me for that in years to come.

So happy birthday to you, ThingOne (as I seem to have been made to sing a hundred times today). You're turning into an amazing little girl who's tonnes of fun to bring up, and it's going to be fun to see what you're doing after another year.
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Saturday, January 10, 2009

3rd birthday party

As we have the last two years, we threw a birthday party for ThingOne, shared with two other kids born around the same time, Hannah and Jake. We hired a room in a community centre in Cambridge, and many parents and children came. It was toddlermonium.

There was face painting, pass the parcel, many ride on toys, musical bumps, a sit down lunch for the kids, and much exhaustion for the parents.

Many of the three year olds now have younger siblings, so I'm not sure if this sort of affair will be practical next year, but the kids really seemed to enjoy it. ThingOne has been looking forwards to it since Christmas, and woke at ten to six this morning talking about her plans. Through the bedroom wall we could hear, "...and then I'll put on my tights, and my vest and my dress and ask Daddy to help me put my shoes on and then we'll go to my party and we'll sing Happy Birthday and I'll eat some cake and..." We were worn out before we'd even got up.

All ThingOne's boxes were ticked. She got to wear a nice dress, wear tights, play in bubbles, eat Party Rings ("Biscuits that Lola eats"), cake, cheesy biscuits and chocolate, blow her candles out, and sing Happy Birthday. She even got to open a few presents, despite it not being her birthday until Sunday. The lucky girl.

The cake was particularly impressive, with a monkey, lion and hippo on it, and a sparkler in the shape of a number three.

ThingOne managed to remain calm for the party. Having played up a little recently when we'd had visitors we'd had words about her getting over excited at the party and told her that she may need to come out and sit with me for a bit to calm down if she did, but she was fine and just seemed to enjoy herself (though she decided she shouldn't handle balloons after she'd burst two in quick succession). I didn't see any toddlers having tantrums come to think of it, which is pretty impressive and indicates the aprty was a success.

Unwilling to merely blend into the background, ThingTwo showed her prowess on a ride on toy which we'd not seen her demonstrate before. I think we know what we'll be getting her for for her birthday in six weeks.

Here's a slide show of 69 photos from the party (or Flickr set here if you don't like the slide show). Probably a bit too many if you don't know many of the people there.