Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas at home

We were concerned that our planned trip to Liverpool to spend Christmas with family this year might be threatened by the bad weather, but we needn't have worried. Even if the weather had been fine the illness (presumably flu) which has hit ThingOne and Anne hard in the last week would still have forced us to reluctantly cancel our trip - sorry Kerry, Mark and Jo.

And so we've quarantined ourselves at home for a few days. ThingOne seems to be mostly on the mend, though is still exhausted (which unfortunately means grumpy some of the time), but Anne is still completely wiped out. We're hoping to venture out when fit enough, but for the moment we're going to make the most of a smaller Christmas with just the four of us.

Today I've been dashing round the supermarket to get some supplies for an unplanned Christmas, we've done a treasure hunt in the house, we've tracked Santa on the web, we've watched the Peppa Pig Christmas episode three (three!) times and we've had a fun, if subdued time. At 5.30 we all sat down together to have spaghetti bolognaise. Having dinner so early is odd for Anne and me, but this is outweighed by how much the girls enjoy it when we eat together.

The girls are in bed now, in their new Christmas pyjamas, desperately trying to sleep lest Santa should skip the house. I'm hoping this will lead to a good night's sleep for us, something we've not had in a while thanks to ThingTwo's messing about in the evenings and also due to the myriad virii and bugs we've recently encountered.

Here's a vid of the girls at bed time singing a Christmas song...

And here's the aborted one I shot first. Whoops!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Colour me cheapskate

ThingOne won a colouring competition at the baby and toddler show that Anne and a friend organised yesterday.

ThingOne wasn't there when the results were results were announced, and the prize - a discontinued toddler learning aid, a My First Leappad - was more suitable for her little sister so we decided that that was ThingTwo's Christmas present sorted. The fact that the prize was for a three year old makes it sound like ThingOne's colouring was judged less harshly than it ought to have been, but I'm pretty sure her age was on the entry so it was all above board.

This morning we told ThingOne she'd won and gave her some helium balloons that were left over after the show. We felt a little bad about taking away her £10-£20 prize and replacing it with what was essentially litter, but we needn't have done. Having had no idea there were prizes up for grabs (colouring is of course a reward in itself for a four year old), and helium balloons being among the best things in the world at that age, she was very excited. That plus she was able to continually state that she was the best at colouring in (in the world, probably).

And so ThingTwo will be getting an unwanted prize as a Christmas present and will, we hope, be just as chuffed.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The kids are a little backwards

ThingOne was asking about some camera trickery today, so I had a think about what I could show her with the simple software I use. Once I'd started explaining how I could run a video backwards we quickly came up with some good things to try this out on.

Here's what we came up with.

Oh, and ThingOne's an entirely-CG creation in this video.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Strange bedfellows

In a few weeks we're having some work done on the house, and while the work's being done ThingOne and ThingTwo will be sharing a bedroom. Occasionally we put them in together to see how they get on, and we've done that tonight. They seem to enjoy it, and don't disturb each other too much. ThingOne's in a bed, and ThingTwo's across the room in a cot.

After I'd put them to bed tonight they were quiet, so I went downstairs. Later I heard chatting, and went upstairs, sat outside the bedroom door and listened as they talked in darkness.
ThingTwo: "Am I sitting down or standing up?"
ThingOne: "Sitting down?"
ThingTwo: "No."
ThingOne: "Standing up?"
ThingTwo: "Yes. Now am I sitting down or standing up?"
ThingOne: "Sitting down?"
ThingTwo: "Yes. Can you see me now?"
ThingOne: "No."
ThingTwo: "What am I doing now?"
ThingOne: "I don't know. I can't see you."
ThingTwo: "I'm doing this."
ThingOne: "What are you doing?"
ThingTwo: "This."
ThingOne: "I can't see you. You'll have to tell me."
ThingTwo: "I'm doing this."
ThingOne: "What? Wait a minute, I think I can see you. Are you standing up?"
ThingTwo: "No."
ThingOne: "Oh. I can't see you then."

Nice to hear they can entertain themselves.

Later still we heard shouting. Anne went in to find ThingTwo continually shouting "ThingOne - are you asleep? ThingOne?" ThingOne was fast asleep. When she saw Anne ThingTwo said "I ask ThingOne if she asleep but she not answer me." What a Benny.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mash up

Hope this video doesn't disturb the kids too much...
Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shall we fight?

Last week I showed ThingOne the first hour of Star Wars (I mean Episode IV of course). Within minutes ThingOne was shocked and exclaimed "What? Why are the goodies dying?" She's used to only baddies dying in films (though come to think of it she didn't seem bothered when a goody died in The Princess and the Frog). Had I jumped the gun by showing it to her? She's quite savvy about what's real and what's not, and occasionally checks with me that the people fighting on-screen are friends in real life.

We watched the middle section today, where the goodies rescue the princess from the Death Star (after the baddies have blown up a planet). She's seen bits of this section before, and enjoyed seeing it all the way through a lot.

I figured she'd got through it with no ill effects and I was a star parent. Only the Battle of Yavin section to go!

Turns out ThingOne's dad isn't much better than Luke's. A couple of hours later ThingOne was asking if she and I could fight, one being the goody and one the baddy, and take it in turns to die. She made a weird guttural noise at me, which turned out to be the sound we should each make when we pretend to die.

ThingTwo watched on a little baffled as we fought to the death.

Let's hope this doesn't come up at the next school parent's evening.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sky potatoes (les pommes de terre de ciel)

Yesterday morning I gave the kids a box each and said "Whoever collects the most apples from the lawn is the winner". Anne and I then had a couple of minutes of peace, and following that the kids returned with much of the windfall cleared from the garden. Now THAT'S parenting!

After lunch I peeled a fair few of them, chopped them up and added some rhubarb from the garden. This would seem like work if I wasn't reasonably confident I'd end up with some apple and rhubarb crumble before too long. And could pass my self-interest off as "doing an activity with the kids".

This morning after ThingOne's swimming lesson ThingTwo, ThingOne and I got down to business and made the crumble. We're off to lunch at some friends', so we're brining dessert. This means that the crumble will only last one sitting and there'll be none for me tomorrow, so maybe I'll make them do it all over again this afternoon...




16:9 rectangle eyes

Here's a 30 second video of the kids watching Bob The Builder on Saturday. I think ThingOne's exhausted from school (even though she's only done mornings so far - she starts full time on Monday), but ThingTwo looks shattered too.

Given they're normally bouncing around and chatting about what's happening on-screen when they're watching TV this was certainly an odd occurrence.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cyber Chill

Today's activities included a dance class, a trip to the theatre to see Room on the Broom for Anne and ThingOne, an indoor picnic for me and ThingTwo (and Rabbit and Teddy), and some jobs in the garden. Therefore, a relax before kids' tea was in order.

In the CyberAge this involved two year old ThingTwo on the new iPod Touch (the one with sound, and therefore the kids' favourite), Anne on the old iPod Touch (she's rather addicted to Peggle), and four year old ThingOne on the laptop designing Charlie-and-Lola-style butterflies on the CBeebies web site.

The video below (and here) shows the three relaxed girls...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

ThingOne's first day at school


My little girl gone growed up. ThingOne started at the local primary school today. She was pretty excited, and especially keen on the school uniform.


I went with Anne and ThingTwo to take ThingOne to school. We went in to the classroom and ThingOne's teacher got the kids to find their name on the register. The register was a computer display projected onto a touch sensitive screen. The kids had to find their name, touch it, and then drag it up to the top half of the screen. It was probably exactly what Buck Rogers would do to sign the register. In the 25th Century.

We left her in her cyber school for the morning, and when Anne collected her she seemed to have enjoyed herself. She doesn't tell us much, of course. Tonight she wanted to know when she could go for the whole day. Not for three whole weeks I'm afraid.

I'm hoping she enjoys herself at school. She certainly has enough questions. This morning she asked me where animals come from. I said that mummy and daddy animals make baby animals. She'd clearly been thinking about this as she replied "But that would go back forever. Where did the first lion come from?" Not sure how we move to the specific lion from the general animal, but I let it pass. As I got dressed for work I tried to explain evolution to her, which then moved on to a discussion of God and gods, and as quick as she'd got onto the subject she suddenly said "Why can't I do this button up?" and I was rescued.

I wish ThingOne's teacher the best of luck.


Friday, August 20, 2010

The spirit of The Fringe

Bath time tonight was followed by a stand up comedy routine, into which ThingOne accidentally dropped one genuine joke.

ThingTwo finished the set off with the obligatory "poo head".

Thursday, August 19, 2010

ThingOne's Face Movie

I downloaded a Picasa update at 11.30pm, and within 15 minutes had made the video below by selecting some random photos of ThingOne and making a 'Face Movie', a new tool/gimmick which aims to keep the face in the same place and match them up as best it can.

Very easy to do. With a bit of time spent on it it could probably be pretty impressive.
(also in HD here)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Who needs a Wii?

ThingOne and ThingTwo prove that watching TV isn't necessarily a passive experience.
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Two girls, one cup


On a trip into town yesterday we got ThingTwo a new lidded cup. ThingOne seems to think this is unfair, despite the fact she has plenty both lidded and unlidded. Porr ThingTwo has only ever had a single cup of her own before.

ThingOne now seems convinced that she'll get a new cup soon too. She conveniently forgets that on our shopping trip yesterday she got new 'indoor shoes' for school and loads of school uniform.
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Monday, July 19, 2010

A week's holiday in mishaps

"Nurse, I think we need to contact Social Services. The injuries on this child could point to a sustained history of violence and abuse. Either that or a week's holiday in Hampshire."

We've just returned from a week in a holiday park on the south coast, near the New Forest. We had a great time. The theme of the holiday seems to be bruises, accidents and vomit.

(Lots of photos here.)

Both our kids are prone to car sickness. We were lucky on the three hour journey to the south coast to get away without any sickness.

Until, that is, we pulled into the car park of the holiday park we were staying in. I turned off the engine as I parked, and that was ThingOne's cue to show us her lunch.

Oh joy.

ThingTwo had slept in a bed for the first time ever, and, though she got out of bed and opened the door once (cheeky monkey), she didn't fall out of bed.

ThingOne, who always sleeps in a bed, did fall out of bed in the night. She told us the next morning that she had woken in the night to find she was on the floor. The fall hadn't woken her. She had a large bruise along her cheek and behind her ear where she had hit the bedside table on her way down.

In the morning ThingOne banged her forehead on a metal bar as she climbed up a climbing frame. Much sadness. Later I could see it was about to happen again so I called out to her to watch out. My calling distracted her and may have been a contributing factor to the repeated injury. Even if it wasn't she mainly blamed me.

After lunch ThingTwo tried to squeeze between my chair and the cupboard behind my chair to get past. I tried to move my chair forward but ended up just tipping it forward and then back again. As it tipped back it squashed her head against the cupboard. That one was pretty traumatic for all involved. Anne looked at me like I'd done it on purpose.

Later, ThingOne jumped on me, tickling me as I lay on the sofa. My involunary reaction involved elbowing her in the eye.

We visited Christchurch on Monday and had a look around. We went to the cathedral for a peek. We've never spoken to the kids about religion, but I thought that given that ThingOne will be forced by archaic rules to partake in some form of outdated worship once she gets to school in September I'd explain to her that people built churches like this so they could think about Jesus (she knows Jesus from Christmas of course). ThingOne later referred to the cathedral as "Jesus's castle", so I think I did a good job in explaining it.

Before we went out ThingTwo was standing on the edge of our bed with her hands in her pockets. I thought she was in danger of falling, so moved towards her. What I didn't predict was that ThingTwo would simply jump off the bed, hands still in pockets, banging her eye on a shelf as she fell forward after landing.

Later as we left the swimming pool ThingTwo fell on Tarmac, grazing her knee. A fairly dull injury by our standards.

We went on a day trip to the Isle of Wight, and met up with some friends who were there on holiday. We met at The Needles, and after a relatively long walk to the viewpoint at the top of a hill we walked down to get some lunch.

I'd been carrying ThingTwo much of the way, but on the way down I told her she had to get into her pushchair. She agreed, on the proviso that she not be clicked in. Foolishly I relented. After a while she started bouncing up and down in her seat. Jump up and down once more, I warned her, and I'll click you in. Immediately she leaped out of the pushchair, landing sprawled on the Tarmac. She was lucky to get away with just grazed elbows.

I clicked her in after that, but it could be said that the horse had bolted.

On the ferry/boat back to the mainland, ThingTwo had an argument with another two year old girl for almost the entire 30 minute journey about whether we were on a boat or a ferry.
"It's a boat."
"It's a ferry."
And so on.
I predict she'll be a barrister. She's very sophisticated.

No injuries of note. This is quite special.

We went to Long Down Activity Farm in the New Forest and had a great time. There were lots of opportunities to feed animals, trampolines to bounce on, and one of those activity cages for kids with slides, ball pit etc.

This is where the most disturbing injury of the holiday happened - the one that makes me wince to think about it, and the image of it kept me awake that night. ThingTwo wasn't very good at getting out of the ball pit. She'd push herself out over the metal bar and land on her head, usually rolling over. The ball pit was out of our reach as it was within the 'cage'.

One time, Anne and I both watched, helpless, as ThingTwo rolled out onto her head, and then her body bent over in a most unnatural way, that looked like it might do serious damage. She stood up and looked dazed. She then burst into tears and staggered about. I had to get her out through some padded rollers and she complained through her tears for a few minutes that her back was hurting. I'm not surprised having seen how she fell. I'm wincing as I write this.

ThingOne must have sensed our upset, as she later provided a much more light-hearted mishap when she fell down the toilet as she tried to twist round so she could look at her poo. Anne could barely control her laughter as she was faced with ThingOne's head, arms and legs sticking out of the toilet seat.

We spent the afternoon at a New Forest museum in Lyndhurst, at which the girls did dressing up and playing. Aren't museums great!

For the third night in a row we went to the toddler disco in the holiday park. The girls had a great time at these, dancing like divas, cuddling adults dressed as squirrels, and showing off. We nearly didn't make it on the Friday as ThingOne kept throwing up for seemingly no reason. We think it may have been an allergic reaction to something,. but can't work out what.

ThingOne was determined to go to the disco as it was out last night there, so rather than milking her sickness as she normally might she soldiered on.

As she left the disco, exhausted, she fell and grazed her knee. Probably the most blood from any injury we had on the holiday, but pretty tame by the holiday's standards. Despite walking all the way back to our cabin/caravan after falling, once we'd put a plaster on her knee she hobbled around like she'd been seriously injured. Drama queen!

We went to Anne's dad's for a few days after our stay on the south coast. Less then thirty minutes into the three hour journey ThingTwo was sick all over herself and her seat. We cleaned up her and the car, and changed her clothes, but still did the rest of the journey with a strong smell of vomit in the car.

Didn't holidays used to be about rest and relaxation?

Friday, July 09, 2010

They Might Be Giants weekend

Our weekend of They Might Be Giants (TMBG) gigs was great. Whenever we go anywhere now ThingTwo thinks we're going to "see John and John" again.

The Saturday trip to London was exhausting, and we met up with friends when there to go to the gig. TMBG put on a great show for the kids, which was great for adults too. There were confetti showers which were a lot of fun, and also a helium-filled remote-controlled penguin and squid flying about the Royal Festival Hall during the gig. I think they were part of the Science festival that was going on, of which the TMBG 'Here Comes Science' family show was a part. They played a grown up show in the evening, which I'd have loved to have gone to, but we were all exhausted from the trip to London with the kids, so it's probably best I didn't go.

Especially as I did it again the next day. That was more relaxed though, since TMBG had kindly agreed to come to my town on the Sunday. Anne was out working, and my mum came with me and the girls to the gig at a University of Cambridge lecture theatre (one I've been for work meetings in). I never expected to be taking my daughters to see my FavouriteBandOfAllTimeEver, let alone my mum!

The girls had a good time at the gigs. ThingOne was pretty serious through most of it and ThingTwo bopped around a lot. They both got very excited by the confetti showers on both days. At the more intimate Sunday gig they were well placed to run around in the confetti, so they collected loads of it to take home. Anne was well pleased with that of course.

Below are three videos of the weekend.

The first is our trip to London:

The next is some video from the London gig:

And the third is similar to the second, video from the gig in Cambridge on the Sunday:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sisters are doing jigsaws for themselves

We've been trying to show ThingTwo how to do jigsaws. It was hard at first as ThingOne would just take over and want to do the jigsaw herself. Gradually we've been showing ThingOne how to encourage ThingTwo without actually doing the jigsaw for her.

This morning we noticed ThingOne and ThingTwo doing a jigsaw together with ThingOne handing pieces to ThingTwo and gently encouraging her. It was lovely. I grabbed the camera and tried to catch it on video.

Of course, by the time I caught it ThingOne had become impatient and was pretty much putting the pieces in herself. ThingTwo seemed satisfied just patting the pieces down after ThingOne had put them in.

And then of course something goes wrong and the video ends in whingy half-hearted forced tears...

The girls' first (and second) rock gigs

A week tomorrow we're taking the girls to London to see Brooklyn band They Might Be Giants (TMBG) play a family show at the Royal Festival Hall. I can't wait. The girls' first proper gig at two and four years old. (They've been to a couple of Folk Festivals, but I'm not counting those as I want this one to count.)

Long after I'd booked the tickets for that I heard they were coming to Cambridge the next day for their only other UK gig - a family show in one of the University's lecture theatres. This is apt since their recent kids album is all about science. I couldn't pass that up so I bought four tickets to that too. Anne's out that day so I've asked my mum to come.

I bought my first TMBG album 20 years ago this month and have loved them ever since. I've seen them live several times. So it's a big thing for me to take ThingOne and ThingTwo to their first TMBG gig. I hope they like.

In recent years, as well as continuing to make "grown up" music TMBG have been making kids albums. Some of these have been educational albums which come with DVDs: Here Come the ABCs, Here Come the 123s and Here Comes Science.

Our kids have been exposed to these a lot, and it makes a welcome change for us from The Wheels on the Bus.

The songs are educational albums in the best way, in that any 'education' is secondary to the music, and this has meant that ThingOne and ThingTwo have enjoyed them log before the concepts in the songs are of any use to them. There's information in there, but mostly the songs just happen to feature, say, letters and numbers in them.

The science album is probably more overtly educational, though you've got to admire a song like Meet The Elements which manages to be catchy even with lyrics like (referring to chemical elements) "like a box of paints that are mixed to make any shade, they either combine to make a chemical compound or stand alone as they are".

Even at four some of the 'learning' on the albums is beyond ThingOne. But thanks to TMBG ThingOne has been able to sing the alphabet backwards since she was two and a half, list the planets in alphabetical order, and tell people that the sun is made of plasma, not gas.

If I could make one suggestion for government education policy it would be to ensure every bit of the curriculum has a catchy song to go with it.

For both ThingOne and ThingTwo the first song we played their virgin ears, minutes after they were born, was the same TMBG song. That the song was The End of Tour which appears to be about traffic accidents and death is neither here nor there.

Is this indoctrination of our kids healthy? Not sure. It's certainly fun.

ThingOne really likes TMBG and can recite a lot of the songs. ThingTwo has also listened to a lot of their songs, but mainly likes the fact that both members of the band are called John.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A footyphobe watches the game

I have promised Anne I'll watch the GB vs Someone soccer game with her on Friday evening.

My initial suggestion upon hearing she wanted to watch it was that I'd leave her to it and go and read the internet in the back room. That didn't go down well. Apparently it'd be better if we watched it together.

I may have to put some money on the game to stay interested. Any other tips for someone who doesn't like football watching a match?

Things I'll be doing anyway include shouting "SCORE A GOAL" a lot, and saying things like:
"The idiots - they've started the second half on the wrong side of the court!"
"Which ones are the goodies again?"

If Great Britain lose I'll know better than to show my indifference.

Especially if I have some money on it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Verbal ThingTwo

Having started speaking a fair bit later than ThingOne did, ThingTwo has found her tongue in the last few months and frequently gives a running commentary of everything that's happening from the moment she gets up. She's very sweet and likes to think she's very funny, a trait she gets from her father.

At the moment she's most likely to tell you what pants she's wearing. Or what she did in the potty. She's recently upgraded to pants from nappies, and is (rightly) very proud of herself. She seemed to get it very quickly, encouraged by chocolate buttons and the promise of Peppa Pig pants.

If she tells you something she'll want you to acknowledge what she's said, and generally wants you to repeat it to her. If you don't she'll tell you the same thing again. And again.

And again.

And so on.

Here she is singing a couple of songs this morning.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Funfair fun


We took the girls along to the Cambridge Town and Country Show on Sunday, an annual event on Parkers Piece with stalls, animals, food and, importantly, fairground rides for young kids. Both the kids love this sort of thing (obviously). We had a good morning wandering around, looking at animals, trying to teach ThingOne that the more she asked the less likely it was that she'd get, and putting the kids on various rides of dubious safety.

ThingTwo had loads of fun, though she wasn't allowed to go one a couple of the things ThingOne went on. Poor lass. ThingTwo's speech, which took ages longer than ThingOne's to really get going, is coming along brilliantly at the moment and true to form she barely shut up the whole time we were there.

The only dodgy thing we saw there were people walking around offering balloons to kids which, once the kids accepted the balloon, they tried to charge a pound for! There was no notice of price as they approached. This was pretty cunning but pretty bad form. The parents can either pay up or have to explain to their young kids they must return the balloon. I did the latter, obviously. If I'd had a pin on me I might have entertained myself a little with their stock. We're so used to the kids being given balloons on the street or at these sort of shows for free it didn't occur to me they'd demand money after the offering.

We had a picnic lunch, during which the girls seemed most enthusiastic about the raw veg and houmous. Plus Anne's left eye ballooned up after handling a Guinea Pig.

The girls had a great time. The one sore point for ThingOne was the large inflatable slide. She usually loves these, but the one today was a little fast for her (too bouncy really) and it upset her a bit. I was surprised when the nice man running it gave her a ticket to get her on the bouncy slide think for smaller kids which was next to it, and which ThingTwo was playing on.

Fortunately for me I got some video of ThingOne finding the big slide a little too much. It's the first slide she goes down in the video embedded below (or here in HD).

Sunday, June 06, 2010


I understand that if you look up the word 'Overkill' in the dictionary you'll see this photo.

ThingTwo balance bike

We got ThingOne her first bike last summer when she was three and a half. A year later and she's still not sure about it. She rides around the garden fine, but get her on the pavement and she doesn't like the wobbles. (She's still got the stabilisers on.) Part of the problem is that since she's worried about it she won't get any speed up, and if you don't get speed up the bike's going to wobble more. We regretted not getting her a balance bike (one without stabiliers or pedals - essentially a scooter you sit on).

Today we got a cheap balance bike for ThingTwo, as more than once she's tried to climb onto ThingOne's bike and fallen off. Hopefully that'll help her 'manage the wobble' and give her some fun. We're tempted to take the stabilisers and pedals off ThingOne's bike so they can both scoot around.



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Friday, May 21, 2010

No Mr Bond, I expect you to die

Yesterday I got a book from the library for ThingOne called 006 and a bit. It's about a girl who pretends to be a spy. With hilarious consequences, obviously.

I explained to ThingOne what a spy is in order to put the book in some context for her. ("They fight baddies and wear discguises"). She didn't understand the title of the book so I told her about James Bond, whose number is 007. I told her there were books about him and they'd also made lots of films about the caddish MI5 agent.

"I want to watch James Bond films", ThingOne announced.
"You can when you're older ThingOne. Those films aren't for four year olds."
"But I want to watch them with you", she pleaded.
"You can ThingOne. When you're older we'll watch some of them together if you like", I reassured her.

ThingOne put a hand on each of my cheeks and pulled my head closer so that she could deliver the final blow with inches between our faces.

She looked me in the eyes and said, "But you'll be dead by then won't you?"

Lovely. Thanks for that ThingOne.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dad in charge for the day

Anne was away on a training course for the day on Saturday, and so I was in charge.

This was a little daunting, as I rarely do a whole day from breakfast to bed time on my own, but it went well and I had a great time. I think the kids enjoyed it too, but the main thing was I enjoyed it.

That it was a nice day helped a lot. Today it's been raining a lot. If it had been me in charge today I'd have been tearing my hair out while the kids bickered while stuck in the house. Or we'd have ended up at a shopping centre so they could run around inside. I'm very glad it wasn't today.

At one point yesterday ThingOne said, "It's odd with mummy being away. It's a bit like she's dead."

I don't think we can read much into this other than note her current slight obsession with death. And poo.

For me the key was to keep them busy, and out of the house. I made sure they were dressed and fed first thing, and while they finished their breakfast I made sandwiches and gathered together picnic things. Then we got the bus into town (an entertaining activity in itself), and after the obligatory Disney Store trip it was time for:
- coffee (water for the kids) with flapjack
- a run around a Cambridge college while the students studied
- a walk by the Cam
- a play on a playground
- a play on a skateboard park
- a picnic by the river
- an ice cream cone each by the river (they were rather too big for the girls, but they enjoyed them nonetheless)
- bus home
- nap for ThingTwo and the end of Toy Story 2 and start of The Muppet Movie for ThingOne
- trip to the car wash
- trip to Sainsburys
- tea (the kids helped to top their own pizzas)
- bath (hair wash night)
- stories
- bed

I'm exhausted just listing it. I really needed my gin and tonic after all that.

I'd say I made two errors:
1) We were probably a bit too quick in the morning and were in town by 9.30am. This mean the kids were tired and wanted lunch by 11.15. I distracted them with unsafe play in a skateboard park before having an 11.40am lunch.
2) I took too long stopping the jumping-on-the-bed game in the evening, and ended up with a very full bath. They were both sitting in their with water up to their necks. I now realise this was foolish, though it was funny to see.

We took video of lots of this to show mum the next day. Here's the evidence.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Epping Forrest, sun and mud

Lots of photos today. ThingOne started our day out dressed as in this photo. She ended it with no top on under her dress, different leggings, a muddy vest, no socks, and no knickers.

We had a fab day today, meeting up with friends Wendy and Craig, with their nearly-eight-month old son Jamie. We went to Epping Forrest, for no better reason than it was half way between our houses.

The day got sunnier and hotter as it went on, and our girls had great fun climbing on fallen tree trunks, running around, and just generally looning. The grown ups enjoyed the walks in the woods and the decent pub lunch in the sun.


ThingOne had wellies on, which was fortunate as she decided to stomp around in deep mud. We weren't keen, and warned her that she could get very muddy.

Of course, ThingOne knew best. I said that if she wasn't careful her boot would get stuck in the mud and she'd get a dirty sock. Either that or she'd fall over and get muddy hands. Or perhaps both.

As it was all of this happened and she got very very muddy. Fortunately, having been a dad for over four years now, I knew exactly what to do. As soon as I sensed she was having trouble and might fall over I was able to whip out the video camera in order to preserve the satisfying moment. It's included below (or here) for history.

I think after this valuable lesson in "Mum and Dad Know Best" ThingOne will always listen to us and do what we say. Yes, I think that's what will happen.

It was pretty disastrous, and ThingOne was very sad. It took us some time to clean her up (and rescue her boot) and we got pitying looks from sympathetic (though amused) parents who walked by.

We had some spare leggings with us, and ThingOne's shoes, so we were able to recover the situation, mostly. And a Mini Milk helped.

The day ended at Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge, where the kids dressed up in Tudor outfits.

We drove home very tired, having caught the sun a bit.

ThingOne doesn't want us to talk about the mud incident. She didn't specifically say I couldn't put it on YouTube and blog about it.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Chocolate Sunday

Christ is risen, so that we may eat chocolate before breakfast. Or something.

And don't they look happy?
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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Chocolate refridgerator cake at Byfords in Holt was a hit.
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Manic kids

Apparently the chocolate cake they'd just consumed wasn't responsible for this display.

Here's the kids having fun on a wet day in Holt. We'd just been for coffee and cake at Byfords, and were keen for the kids to exhaust themselves, and thus (I hope) sleep well tonight.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Norfolk 'n' kids

We've come on holiday on purpose.

We're renting a house in Fakenham, Norfolk for a week. It's a much needed break for all of us, especially Anne who's supposedly part time job has taken up a lot of time over the last few months. Fakenham wasn't chosen as a particularly glamorous location, but as a convenient base to visit other parts of north Norfolk.

We arrived on Saturday with two over-excited kids having a great time exploring the house. ThingOne has a bunk bed in her room, which is a big hit. In part this is because Peppa Pig has a bunk bed, but it's also because we can drape a duvet over it and make a den.

We forgot that the clocks were changing. This is something that is always an irritation for us, since it messes with the kids' sleep routines. However, being on holiday makes it easier, since we're not under pressure to get our timings back to normal since we don't have a normal routine on holiday.

We looked around Fakenham a bit on Sunday morning. Fakenham wasn't there to greet us since it chooses not to open on Sunday. We did manage to take the girls for hot chocolate, and Anne chose to go into one of the few open shops: a tatty clothes/toy/toiletries shop. I figured she was just going in since it was one of the few places open, but was amazed when she actually started trying things on and after 20 minutes of me trying to stop the kids picking up everything in the shop Anne bought some boots.

To realise how bizarre this is you need to know that Anne a) hates shopping and b) would never buy clothes in a tatty souvenir shop. I really don't know what came over her. She kept saying that the boots were good. Bottle Rocket or something.

As we left I said to Anne "I don't even know who you are any more." And I meant it.

On Sunday afternoon we took a trip out to Foxley Wood for a walk. I think we may have solved the time change issue by wearing the girls out. ThingOne walked for over an hour, and only started moaning about ten minutes from the end.

This morning we went swimming in Hunstanton (an indoor pool - do you think we're mad?) ThingOne seems much more confident in the water nowadays (I should hope so after Anne's taken her to swimming lessons for the last eight months) and had a lot of fun.

It's lovely to be able to spend time with the girls without jobs to do, clothes to wash, real life to live. ThingOne seems to be enjoying herself and ThingTwo is singing, shouting and running around almost constantly.

Having ThingTwo around is a bit like having a random phrase generator. She's spent part of the day listing all the things in our rented cottage which aren't chocolate, and on the way home from Hunstanton in the car, on a very vet and overcast day, suddenly started pointing out of the window shouting "CLOUD! CLOUD!" To give her credit, she was right, but why pick then to notice?

In other news, we can no longer get any good photos of our kids. ThingOne thinks pulling faces for the camera is The Funniest Thing In The Whole World, and ThingTwo copies whatever ThingOne does. I think I'd better brush up on my photoshopping skills.