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Portrait of Garnet by his sister or Smiths album cover?

In lieu of a proper post, today I have a fun game for you, dear readers. It’s called ‘Are These Songs By The Smiths or Things My Three Year Old Said Today?’. First neat and correct entry on a postcard wins a trip to my house. Second prize is two trips to my house. (more…)

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IMG_5212Every day at half past four in the afternoon, Garnet takes off his trousers. ‘I want to be all nudie-dudie!’ he announces. He’d take off his shirt too, if he could manage it, and keeping his nappy on requires a long negotiation that in the best case scenario ends with the nappy remaining on and me reading him fifty books. The weather has only just started to cool down here for the autumn, so I’m permitting this, largely because the part where he drops his daks around his ankles is my favourite part of the day. Because that’s when he shouts ‘I’m Benny Hill!’ and cracks up laughing. (more…)

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atthezoo

  1. When Garnet says he wants to wear a dress, he means it. Unless he is talking about a T-shirt, which I have taken to calling dresses in an attempt to encourage him to sometimes wear one instead of an actual dress.
  2. Colours: Garnet knows his colours, sort of. But sometimes he calls things by the colour he wants them to be. His pale blue Bonds wondersuit pyjamas he calls silver. When he asks for his orange giraffe dress he means the grey shirt with a variety of African animals on it. Magical thinking.
  3. He calls knives yu-yus
  4. He calls passionfruit wu-wus
  5. He calls elephants do-dahs.
  6. Apart from that he speaks English.
  7. Yuyus, wuwus and do-dahs are his top three favourite things. Number four is tongs.
  8. He likes to say he hates things and they are horrible. He usually doesn’t mean it. He just likes the drama.
  9. He is saying fox, not fuck. Unless he is saying fuck.
  10. He is saying Cottontail when you think he is saying crocodile or cockatoo.
  11. About 18 hours a day the pair of them will be in character as Lily Rabbit and Cottontail from the accursed works of Beatrix Potter. The rest of the time Garnet likes to be addressed as Baby Spot (the dog) or Baby Panda. Occasionally Baby Zebra or Baby Rhino. Try to keep up.
  12. Under no circumstances allow May Blossom to tie Garnet’s shoes. No one on earth can undo that kid’s knots.
  13. The nappies, hats, shoes and craft supplies are in the boxes so marked in the giant Ikea white shelves that everyone thinks will make their life more organised. I don’t know where anything else is in the whole house. I am but one person.
  14. Sorry about the state of the fridge.
  15. You can’t run more than one electrical appliance in the kitchen or laundry at the same time. We live in the olden days.
  16. There is no jumping allowed on the furniture. Even if the culprit claims he or she is doing yoga.
  17. When Garnet is hurt or upset, his default position is to cry that he wants to go to the zoo or that he misses his friend Charlie. Wait it out. Four times out of ten you won’t have to go to the zoo or Facetime Charlie.
  18. If May Blossom narrows her eyes at you and scowls, shit is about to get real. Seek shelter.
  19. If you take the kids to the movies, please be aware Garnet is not yet heavy enough to hold down a flip up seat. You’ll look back to find him folded in half like origami, with his feet beside his ears. A muffled voice will be chirping ‘I’m dead!’. He is not dead.
  20. If in doubt about anything, ask May Blossom. She runs this joint.

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Last week H was overseas for work. He’s had to do that a fair amount in the past year, so the kids and I have become much better at coping without him when he’s gone, but for some reason this time it caused May Blossom a lot of anxiety and sadness. This manifested in two ways: extreme difficulty falling asleep at night, and behaving like an eye-rolling, sarky teenager to me. As soon as I would remark on that behaviour and use my best firm, kind, in-control parenting voice to tell her how it makes me sad when she speaks to me in that tone of voice, and that it is now time to go to bed and please could she stop kicking the wall, and no I will not go get more food because I reminded her at dinner time that dinner is the last meal of the day and thus there will not be another served until breakfast, as soon as I did that she would lose it completely and spend an hour sobbing about how much she missed her daddy and how very, very mean I was.

One night I let things escalate horribly. I was so tired of being shouted at and told I was very, very mean, when really I am only a bit mean. I shouldn’t have let it get to me but I did. I told her that it was not acceptable to speak to me like that. I said that I too missed Daddy, and he would not agree I was mean, and he would not like her speaking to me like that either.

She disputed this again, so we rang him. Because there’s nothing like being in the wilds of Africa and having your wife and four year old daughter ring and put you on speakerphone so you can hear them shouting at each other exactly as if you were right there in the room with them. Isn’t technology marvelous? I suspect her was staring out at zebras in the mist as he held the phone as far from his ear as he could. (more…)

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braidsSomeone has taught my toddler all his nursery rhymes. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t his father. It wasn’t his sister. Is he learning them by osmosis? Are they inherent in his genetic makeup, like the reflexes small babies have that stop them falling off their mother’s hairy back?

While Garnet was sick all he has wanted to do was have me read him books while he languished in my lap. Once day I dragged out a Play School book of nursery rhymes and started singing them, and lo and behold, he joined in. Now as far as I know, the only music that kid has been exposed to in the last six months is the soundtrack to Frozen, the soundtrack to Cats, and the theme tune to the TV shows Peter Rabbit, Peppa Pig and Octonauts. So how does he know ‘Incy Wincy Spider’? I’ve heard him sing ‘Let It Go’ and I’ve heard him sing ‘Journey to The Heavyside Layer’ (both multiple times each day), but somehow ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’ has crept in too.

As May Blossom is approaching four and is thus an adult with many opinions about why she should be allowed to wear earrings, have a job as a waitress and get married, she will not tolerate the playing of baby music. One morning recently as I sat and sang the nursery rhymes with Garnet, she called out from the dining room where she was gluing triangles of paper mostly to the tablecloth, ‘Will you stop that singing please? You are disturbing my work.’

‘No,’ I replied. ‘When you were a baby we sang these songs with you for hours and hours, and we never do that with Garnet, so you might just have to deal with it for a bit.’

‘Ugh,’ she groaned. There was a pause. ‘Carry on then.’

Carry on indeed.

She asked me about university the other day. I explained it is like a school you go to after you finish high school. ‘Your uncle, Superchief, goes to university,’ I told her. ‘He’s studying law.’ I started to explain about the law and how it protects civilised society from breaking down, but she interrupted me.

‘I know all about law,’ she said. ‘I can talk to him about that.’

‘What do you know about law?’ I asked her.

She thought for a moment and then, in a very serious voice, she said, ‘You must never ever stand on a crab.’

She’s right, you know. Laws are there to protect people, and crabs, I guess.

But I don’t think, ultimately, that she will go into law as a profession. Not while she can make a killing from the latest product she and Garnet have started manufacturing. This afternoon I came across them jumping up and down on an armchair, right next a tepee that her father and I set up for them yesterday, almost at the cost of our sanity and marriage.

‘Could you please stop that?’ I asked. ‘Maybe you could do the jumping inside that excellent tent instead.’

‘We can’t,’ May Blossom informed me, ‘because we live in that tent. This chair is where we work.’

‘Oh,’ I said. ‘What exactly do you do for work up on that chair?’

‘We make positivity.’

And for that there is no comeback and they are now allowed to jump on the furniture as much as they like forever.

 

 

 

 

 

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 My daughter has a remarkable grasp of phonetic spelling. This week has indeed been totally phykd.

My daughter has a remarkable grasp of phonetic spelling. This week has indeed been totally phykd.

Gastro. Again. You’re going to start reading this and then you’ll look back at the date, sure you’ve read this post before. Didn’t they all just have gastro? Didn’t we all just make jokes about how the blog should be called Life With Gastro? How can they have it again? What is WRONG with these people?

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May Blossom’s Self-Portrait With Gastro

It’s winter here, and with each new and sparkling dawn comes a new illness. I’m quite serious: since April, when we went on a dream of a holiday to Fiji, one of us has always been sick. May Blossom may laugh in the face of danger (as she told our neighbour the other day after having the dangerous heater pointed out to her), but she is defenceless in the face of every common virus that does the rounds.

Garnet kicked it off on the trip with hand, foot and mouth disease. I realise that for people not in the throes of life with little kids that sounds terrifying and the sort of thing that should bring a team in HAZMAT suits to your door to euthanase your livestock and condemn your farm, but it’s actually a reasonable mild viral illness. The affected sprog gets small blisters on their hands, feet and in their mouth. Garnet was basically fine, if a little spotty, so we responsibly parented him by not saying anything and plonking him in the sea for hours every day. His mouth was largely unaffected so he was pretty happy muddling about in the shallows, occasionally taking bites from the apple we left bobbing beside him as a snack (What? We were nearby on deck chairs but we weren’t going to put down our pina coladas and traipse down to the water every time he wanted a nibble. That’s just an inefficient use of vacation time.) The tropical fish shared his apple, but as they have neither hands nor feet they probably didn’t catch the virus. (more…)

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