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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