My four-year-old dresses much better than I do. The Curly Girlie’s wardrobe is a dream: a perfect outfit for any occasion and the shoes to match.
It’s different for little girls. Fashion is a playground when you’re four. You can go to the supermarket wearing a prom dress in the colours of the Union Jack or a pair of trainers with flashing soles or a fuchsia-pink tutu paired with jeans, topped off with a purple vest top that says ‘Princess Catty dance the day’, and everyone still pinches your cheeks with delight.
(I feel the need to mention that if I’d noticed that slogan in the shop, I never would have bought the top: no child of mine will leave the house wearing bad grammar.)
The worst part of my daughter’s sartorial superiority, apart from my unseemly envy, is that it’s all gone to her head. This morning, she dressed me.
‘Mummy, I’m going to lay your clothes on the bed and then you can put them on,‘ she told me. ‘And don’t forget your knickers.’ Continue reading
26 Jun: Why does the boy child think that singing ‘twinkle, twinkle’ in the style of Johnny Rotten is going to help him get to sleep?
No, it’s not a typo. Sadly.
You discover a whole new set of skills when you have kids. Opening yoghurt pots with one hand. Balancing bikes on top of the pram. Entertaining toddlers for eleven hours in an airport with only a changing room and a moving walkway at your disposal.
All are now on my CV.
But it turns out that these are mere entry-level qualifications. Fledgling skills. Probationary parenting. Tips crammed from Motherhood for Dummies.
This week, I went off the deep end and earned myself a Degree with Honours in Mummiology.
And so to return to – poo diving. No, it’s still not a typo. Sadly.
On holiday in Spain, I was faced with the choice between paying to empty and clean a medium-sized swimming pool or retrieve Alpha Blondie’s poo armed only with a pair of goggles and a sieve. Continue reading
I’m an easy-going fellow. Give The Husband a beer, or an opportunity to shoot an electronic soldier in the head, and he’s happy. So it will come as a shock when I say I am angry. Incidentally, those of you who do not watch CBeebies should be forewarned that the following rant may not make a lot of sense.
Every quarter, CBeebies changes the running order of its charming range of entertaining and educational kids TV programmes. This is important because it means that from 07.35 to 07.50 and from 18.35 until 19.05 every day, I will be watching the same damn shows as I assist the kinder to eat their breakfast without storing too much toast down the back of the sofa, or snuggle up in the pre-bedtime minutes, savouring precious moments.
It’s fine if it’s Octonauts (sea creatures have charming under-water encounters with friendly sharks) or Mike the Knight (brave knight defends his kingdom, loosely based on my own life story). It’s tolerable if it’s Postman Pat (dour postie gets to fly helicopters and annoy cats) or In the Night Garden (drugged-up hippes imagine a stark raving mad garden of horrors – a Magic Roundabout for the new millennium).
However, occasionally, it’s Waybuloo. Continue reading
Contrary to what modern parenting books would have you believe, toddlers are not that bright.
Alright, there are moments when their precocious smarts make an impression. Alpha Blondie has mastered the English language in two years, while after six summers in Switzerland I still speak German to about the level of a Dachshund. Four-year-old Curly Girlie has got around the problem of not being able to read by memorizing all her books off by heart, while just now I had to sit and stare at the back end of Wordpress for over six minutes until I remembered the word ‘precocious’.
But even cutting them some slack for being on something of a steep learning curve, this photo proves that toddlers may appear sophisticated when really they’re about as canny as a large flightless bird.
‘Coming, ready or not…’ Continue reading
8 Jun: I’m thrilled to make my debut over at Mums On the Blog today with my post about being ‘hangry’. Check out their other lovely contributors too: http://www.mumsontheblog.co.uk/.
According to researchers this week I have two reasons to be miserable.
First, a study in the US found that stay-at-home Mums are more likely to be worried and depressed than working mothers. Of course, if those chirpy employed ‘Moms’ saw the price of Swiss childcare they wouldn’t be laughing, but that’s another story.
I’m quite surprised it needed a Gallup poll to convince the world that motherhood is tough and prone to get you down. Imagine, if you would, the job ad:
Wanted: Mother (full-time).
Hours: 6am-8pm Monday to Friday. And Saturday. Oh, and Sunday. Also on call 8.01pm-5.59am. Continue reading
This is a trick question. There is no right answer. It ranks alongside, “does my bottom look big in this?” and “Mummy, where do babies come from?” as queries that should be side-stepped at all costs.
Last time I got drawn into the ‘where was I before I was born?’ discussion – with Curly Girlie who was two at the time – my answer covered childbirth, God, the theory of evolution and, if memory serves me right, Islam. Now, whenever Curly mentions ‘that man who sees us all the time’, I have to reassure myself that she doesn’t mean some lurking perv, but the rather more benign presence of God.
Following the same conversation, she still – two years on – refers to the time ‘when I was a monkey’, and I don’t have the heart to inform her that evolution isn’t quite as simple as that.
In any case, the book Siblings Without Rivalry tells me that the ‘who do you love more?’ question should never be answered directly, as it only encourages competitive thinking between children. So when Curly Girlie dropped the big one today, I thought I was prepared.
‘Do you love me more than Alpha Blondie?’ she asked, while getting out of the car.
‘Curly, I love you more than you can possibly imagine. There’s no-one else in the world quite like my wonderful Curly.’ (See what I did there?) Continue reading
In The Child Whisperer, Tracy Hogg describes the “textbook baby”, the one who develops new skills right on cue, exactly when the manual said they would. My Curly Girlie just turned four and, like clockwork, she’s turned into a little girl.
Make that Little Girl – there’s a definite capital-G in her Girl now that she’s reached the grand age of four.
“I am only friend with girls,” she announced yesterday.
“What about Khan and Timo?” I said, “Your best friends at creche?”
“Um, no, they’re boys.”
“Ah.” *Thinking* “Apart from Khan and Timo, I am only friend with girls.”
That’s clear, then.
Curly’s favourite colour is… sigh… pink. When she was only three, it was “rainbow”, but the clockwork child has dropped red and yellow and green and settled, predictably, on pink.
I’ve never been into the pink. In fact, I’d say I’ve actively encouraged a diversity of colour: her bedroom is painted bright red, her coat is deep purple with a red and white polka dot lining, she’s currently wearing a sky blue top with white stars.
But the pink has arrived, with the inexorability of death and taxes, and we shall endure it until she enters her equally inevitable purple and then black phases. Continue reading
Apparently, deer go to sleep facing due north.
As usual, I’m faffing about looking up arcane wisdom on the internet when I’m supposed to be blogging. This time, it’s bed orientation. Self-appointed experts blathering on about questionable eastern philosophies – I think I might have just overloaded Google, there are so many search results.
Yesterday, I shoved our bed round 90 degrees because we’re planning a renovation and I thought it might be wise to check if I can sleep facing in that direction before I let some Germans with big hammers remove my supporting walls (none of that was a euphemism).
It does mean that the bed is now freestanding in the middle of the room. I know centre-stage beds are fashionable in some quarters, but it feels a bit like lying on a sacrifical slab. Continue reading