February 7, 2013
The kids are sick. This is not modern youth speak indicating their coefficient of cool; they are actually sick. Joe is ‘nose runny again’ and taking out shares in his parents’ bedroom by night and Lily has been off school for a week and working on her amateur dramatics skills at every opportunity with her parents. In my opinion she still has a long way to go. Nothing big, exciting or clever in the illness department. They will recover and all will be well again. And in the meantime I am grateful for being able to grab a few hours today to make progress in a number of important areas as my parents have bravely stepped in.
I have not been able to interest the children in crafts or other messy activities and would not want to while both have the attention span of a goldfish in a forgettery. Parking children in front of a TV (short programmes only) or allowing them to play educational games on the CBeebies website has been particularly successful, but not the ideal situation. They are not in a useful state for helping with chores, sadly.
So I raided my brain and realised that there were some other ideas. Back to Old School play.
My sister – the one who makes films – recently let me have her old Game Boy. Wow – that brought back a few 90s memories. I was so jealous of the kids who had these when I was younger. It was a very long ferry trip for the German exchange as one of the few 13 year olds not to have one. But they are good for heuristic technological play, as it turns out. My son can now play ‘Stack the Shapes into a Really Interesting Tower’ which – at Level Zero – buys me enough time to put a load of washing on. And his sister can practice her Being A Teacher and Telling Him All She Knows about technology from a previous generation. Because she loves history so much. And also how to make it start again.
I expect it won’t be long before he is better than me, but I will not be publishing evidence of that, clearly. Then there’s the game of What Ancient Objects Can We Find In The House Which Can Be Used For Creating Music?
This is what Joe came up with when I found him amusing himself the other morning:
He doesn’t really have an invisible left hand, that’s just his rhythm-copying. Educational? I should think so: international drums, music and history lessons all without trying too hard. I guess it goes to show you can always benefit from having a few things in the house that you don’t mind being hit by a two-year-old. Especially if they are not people.
And then I was feeling so nostalgic, and excited that Joe may be tall enough to visit Legoland this year, and enthralled to have discovered letsbuilditagain.com that I invited him to help me rebuild my Best Christmas Present Ever. Released in 1984, Lego Castle model 6080 is quite something. By this point Lily was back on the computer games, and I don’t blame her. What used to take an afternoon of sorting and building took three or four sessions with Joseph, much of which was spent explaining how to place things symmetrically and not to hurt your fingers or mix the wrong lego trousers and tops. Fashion, history, technology, maths… who needs school? I even had to get out two pairs of tweezers to rescue the lego string and had to substitute half a dozen pieces of highly hooverable shape from other sets of more interesting colour. This is proper lego. This lego actually weighs a serious amount. It smells of the mid 1980s. It makes me happy deep inside. All this was lost on Joe, who thinks it is a glorified drawbridge (it is a wonderfully glorified drawbridge in fact). It turns out several other female friends had the same set when they were younger. So perhaps I should shift the Lego Friends and pursue a more historical and adventurous agenda with Lily. When she gets off the computer, that is.
March 9, 2012
I have this little daughter Lily. She is small and very funny. Lily has an imaginary dog called Beaky that no one else can see. She drew a picture of him here:
[Owing to errors in a previous post, I now cannot remember whether Beaky features to the right of the tiger, or on the right hand side of the tiger. I suspect Beaky is the one on the left.]
One day Lily said ‘Beaky died on his birthday’ and we asked how. ‘Beaky had a party and he died and now I have a new dog called Chadderly’.
‘Chadderly?’ we asked. ‘Chadderly? As in Chudleigh?’
‘No’ explained Lily, ‘Chadderly, from the London Advent Calendar‘.
‘Chudleigh from the London Advent Calendar?’
This did not make enough sense to us, so we asked about Chadderly. What did he look like?
‘Chadderly is the colour when you mix your ice cream.’
‘Do you mean when you mix chocolate and vanilla?’
Lily then had to tell Beaky and Chadderly off for jumping on the furniture, despite neither of them existing and one having apparently passed away, which brought that conversation to an end.
The next time we visited Grandma and Grandad’s house Lily wanted to see Chadderly on their London Advent Calendar. It is not putting it too strongly to say that Lily is obsessed with the London Advent Calendar. She can tell you what most of the dates do and every day of the month she reminds you of the equivalent last December. The London Eye is the 3rd. The Restaurant with the scary silhouettes is on the 5th and therefore will be ok to watch when she is 5. Big Ben is on the 1st. The Three Boats Come Sailing In is on the 6th. There are a number of others, as you might imagine. Lily makes up songs about it. She talks about the animals. She tells stories about them. She has decided that her teddy Archie will go to the St Paul’s Cathedral school and church (17th). She looks forward to going to Grandma and Grandad’s house mainly to play with their London Advent Calendar.
Here she was at Christmas getting a big fix, in my absence.
Except there was a problem.
You see, Chudleigh (ahem, Chadderly), looks like this:
I don’t know when you last mixed chocolate and vanilla ice cream, but I recommend it. It does not, however, come out black.
The Real dog Lily had in mind was this one:
This is Bertie. So, goodbye Chadderly and goodbye Beaky. We will not ever never forget you. And welcome to the madhouse Bertie from the London Advent Calendar.
August 24, 2011
Ever get the idea there may be better ways to stop toddlers climbing into bed?
Except in this case my husband or I would be sleeping on the floor (presumably on the left over bits of duvet and covers from the unusual shape) and children would still, somehow, manage to climb on.
I had a restful spa day with my mum yesterday, which was a fabulous way of obtaining new slippers. I needed new slippers so this was good. Also we rested a lot and chatted and read and got our nails painted and heads and necks massages simultaneously. Well, at the same time as each other.
I have another mini-holiday to look forward to as well – bliss! My husband and I are going to go and climb trees without the children (they are far too young for fun like that) and go to National Trust places. I am very excited. Mostly about the climbing trees. And the Segways. Here is a picture of a segway.
Not ideal for scaling trees, but great for horizontal efficiency. Like power steering, but walking. But not power walking. Simple.
I could get used to days off.
Back to the office, and the children. Neither of which I am paid for, so I feel the odd spot of blogging and dreaming about time off will not result in disciplinary action.
June 14, 2011
Today my mum turns sixty, and as such is a member of the elusive ‘threescore’ club. If you don’t know what my mum looks like, here is a portrait drawn lovingly by my daughter, who is very much at the cephalopod stage and enjoys drawing snouts. It is not an accurate representation of my mother in that she is not a besnouted cephalopod, but forgive Lily. She lives tangentially and creatively.
Maybe when she is a famous artist this will be worth a lot of money. Or maybe not. On the off-chance, I have given the signed original to mum.
Including the B-side, which features a self-portrait of the artist, in stripes (crayon).
I don’t think she’s got her hair right. But she did include hairclips (aka hiccups) for realism. Unlike her brother she does not have a serious obsession with putting food in her hair. Or in ears. Or banging food against her head just to see what happens. I suspect that he will be the comedian when he grows up. Or a chef.
Meanwhile, I got all organised and baked an Actual Mary Berry Cake. I am so proud of it, it makes the blog:
Clever blogees will have noticed the mathematical symbolism of two sugar flowers for each threescore of mum’s life. Well done you.
I began this blog shortly after dad’s 60th. He is now in wonderful shape and great health (apart from his hearing). I said, apart from his hearing. Hear. Ing. Don’t have too much cake dad. I now realise that dad is 4 years and 9 months or so older than mum, and I have been blogging almost as long.
Many many happy returns of the day, mum. Here’s to a wonderful new decade. And, in due course, a buss pass. Turns out you may have to wait a little longer for that. But not as long as those of us who are nowhere near the threescore club.