Bee Baw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When do the lights go down, Mummy?

When do the lights go down, Mummy?

Well, today we reached another milestone with Motormouth.

He saw his first film in the cinema.

We told him we’d take him a couple of days before if he was good and, bless him, he tried so hard, despite Mini’s attempts to make him stray off the straight and narrow. In fact, it’s been quite weird for it to be her that’s the naughtiest rather than him. He remained resolute in the face of sibling sabotage, not reacting when she was pinching him (her latest habit which we’re trying very hard to break), pulling his hair (he really does need a haircut) or slapping him on the back.

To be fair, they have had their times when they played nicely together. I know they did.

I wrote it down in my diary.

Back to the film. He wanted to see Planes 2 – Fire and Rescue (and, I have to admit, I was quite keen to see it; any film that has ACDC’s Thunderstruck in the soundtrack has got to be good.) We bought the tickets as a special treat before he started school. It was a very special treat as it turned out – £14 for the two of us and that was just for the tickets with him under 5!

We went away and amused ourselves for an hour and a half when we found out that the showing we originally wanted was 3D. (Please cinemas, if you’re going to list all your showings in one place, do let us know which are 3D and which aren’t.) Motormouth is too young to watch 3D and I really didn’t fancy trying it with varifocals (yep, I am that old – calling this blog the Trials and Tribulations of a Mature Mother might have given you a clue in that department). Having seen the film now, I’m really glad we didn’t, since Motormouth found some parts a bit scary and they would have been even worse in 3D. Anyway, we got the tickets, wandered around, came back and went into the cinema.

Motormouth was on form, at least with his questions. We had everything from where the music was coming from, to the best tally system to use when counting the lights, to the names of every single film character in the adverts, all liberally interspersed with “when are the lights going down?”

I think the poor father behind me must have been worried that he was going to keep it up for the entire film.

He did, but to be fair to Motormouth, he did learn to whisper his questions.

He did suddenly develop a fastidious streak half way through the film, which is odd since it’s usually Mini that stands there and demands to be cleaned.

“Mummy, I’ve got sticky hands. Have you got any wipes?”

“No.” I silently berate myself for not chucking a pack into my bag.

“But I’ve got sticky hands. I need a wipe!” I’m very conscious of the the volume rising.

“Just wipe your hands on your T shirt!” Not generally accepted parental advice but he usually does it anyway. To my relief he does it and quietens down. In the meantime, I’m thanking whatever gods exist that I bought him dolly mixtures for the film and not anything chocolate.

A few minutes later… “Mummy, I’ve got sticky hands. Can you lick them clean for me?” I won’t go any further, suffice it to say that there are some sacrifices you are forced to make as a parent.

Finally we could concentrate on the film again.

I have never seen him sit still for so long, even allowing for the fact he climbed onto my lap when the hero got into real danger, or so quietly. He was totally engrossed. He stayed awake the whole time (unlike the little girl behind us who was carried out by her dad at the end, still fast asleep).

It also fittingly carried on the theme of the week that Motormouth has adopted – fire and rescue. Everywhere we’ve been he’s been running around calling out “bee baw bee baw”, which apparently is the correct sound for a fire engine. Motormouth gave me appropriate instruction on that this morning. We’ve had the sirens on in the car park, in the supermarket, around the restaurant where we were supposed to be meeting the Other Half, pretty much anywhere he went, we’ve had sirens.

He’s also been sliding down poles.

Literally.

Sometimes he’s even asked for help. I don’t think the toddler parking sign in the local supermarket will ever be the same again. I think the staff were a bit bemused as well.

And every day he’s had to wear red, or at least his reflective vest and builder’s helmet (he broke his fireman’s helmet). Well, almost everyday. He had to change his T shirt before we went to the cinema today – he’s almost as messy an eater as his father, so he went for the camouflage look.

We’ve got another Motormouth/Mother day tomorrow and we’re going to watch a film. This time it’s going to be with popcorn and snuggled up on the settee. The cinema experience is great but a little too expensive to do too often.

What to watch though? Monster’s Inc. or Despicable Me 2?

Choices, choices.

The question is, what catchphrase do we want to be hearing for the next week?

By the way, Planes 2 has some nice touches for us adults and does a particularly good homage to ChiPs, complete with Eric Estrada’s vocals.

Oh yeah, and there’s ACDC.

Pass Me the Hook Brush Please

"Let me tell you a secret..."

“Let me tell you a secret…”

It’s been chaos this afternoon, with screams and shouting and even some biting (or at least attempted biting).

Yep. I’ve had both kids at home this afternoon and they’ve swung from holding their own little love-fest to trying to deafen each other (I think my subsequent hearing loss is considered collateral damage) on a regular basis.

If you call every 4 minutes regular that is.

It’s a bit weird really and I can only put it down to the fact that the relationship between Mini and Motormouth is changing.

Maybe it’s because Motormouth starts school in a few weeks. Perhaps he’s stepping into a more grown-up persona. That would explain the times he pulls Mini close and says “hush, sweetheart, it’s all right.” I know he’s copying the words we use, but I think the same sentiment is there.

He even counts the stairs as he helps Mini climb down them, (although it was a bad joke for every step instead of numbers the other day), and is very careful when he’s showing her how to cross the road safely.

Some things haven’t changed – Motormouth is still first choice for holding hands and Mini still has to copy everything that Motormouth does, including walking along walls, poking drain hole covers, picking dandelions… well you get the message.

Yesterday was a classic. Motormouth decided I needed a make-over, specifically I needed my hair to look like Princess Jasmine’s. There he was, with his faithful assistant Mini passing him his “equitment” on demand. He did put his own unique spin on things, using “hook brushes”, toy swords and other random items. He and Mini are on the same wave length as well. She doesn’t seem to have any problems understanding what he wants, which is lucky really, the way his imagination works. Who knew a fire ladder was an essential hair dressing tool?

There are some moments when I catch them unaware, when they snuggle up to each other whilst watching TV or they sit there holding hands in the back of the car.

Those are the memories that make the screaming and the crying worthwhile.

I just wish I could stuff them in my ears to block out some of the noise (the memories that is, not the kids).

In the meantime, I’ll just turn the radio up and grin and bear it.

Don’t Drink the Bathwater

 

What's wrong Mummy?

What’s wrong Mummy?

You know when you feel like you’ve almost got the hang of this parenting thing?

Your children do as they’re told and listen to you?

They seem to have developed a respect for you and your wishes?

And you feel like it’s going to be smooth sailing now?

The smart part of you, which has usually gone into hiding for self-preservation reasons, might finally stick its head up over the parapet just a tiny, little bit to point out that it’s the lull before the storm, or, more accurately, that pride comes before a fall.

Mini is just at that age when she has started picking up bad habits and she seems to be getting them from her big brother, who is just starting to stop all the gross little habits he’s accumulated so far.

Like investigating the contents of his nostrils, presenting them to me with the proud flourish of a fait accompli. (It is of course mandatory for this to take place in public.)

Or eating food off the floor. Without application of the 10 second rule (a moot point in Mini’s case since she can’t count to 10 yet).

She takes her nappy off when she wants it changed and presents you with the offending article. We then have to play hunt the contents around the house. This is a Mini special and, fortunately for the carpets and furnishings, not one we had to face with Motormouth.

She also licks the railings. This is one habit she hasn’t gotten from her brother and I have no idea where she got the idea from but her assessment seems to be that the hilarity of the situation is proportional to our reaction to it. It is really hard to pretend not to see it, believe me.

Our general reaction to this sort of behaviour has toned down since Motormouth, but you know what they say “Your first child eats dirt, you rush them to the doctor; your second child eats dirt and you clean their mouth out; and your third child eats dirt and you wonder if they still need dinner.”

So we carry on, trying to break her of the bad habits without making her so stubborn she carries on the behaviour just because she can, and we try not to worry too much.

There are things that we still get aerated about; we have the “dog poo alert” chant to the Octoalert theme from Octonauts (don’t get me started on people allowing their dogs to foul pavement and verges); we still clean bottles when they’ve been dropped; and we’re very strict on hand-washing after going to the toilet.

I think we’ll just have to put up with what can until Mini get out of the habit of having bad habits.

I almost forgot. She drinks the bathwater as well.

Mummy….?

Questions, questions, questions.

Questions, questions, questions.

This week, in fact this year, has been a time of questions. I never thought one small person who hasn’t even started school yet could have so many questions. And why do they feel like they come all at once?

If you read the Facebook page (note the quick plug there?) then you’ll know that Motormouth starts asking questions, oh, around 6 seconds after he wakes up and finishes somewhere around the time he finally falls asleep.

It’s not too bad when I can see them coming. I can try and prepare for the answer. I’ve become a dab hand at explaining things like the Big Bang, how dinosaurs died out, how tractors work or the life cycle of trees.

It’s the sneaky ones that leave me gaping like a stranded fish.

All I can say is thank the gods for Google (other search engines are available). Motormouth has got used to me saying “I don’t know, I’ll have to look it up”, and we’ve turned it into a shared task; an expedition to the library or search on the internet. It’s even seen me pacing out the length of a blue whale in a certain supermarket’s café, much to the amusement of the other customers.

But the questions I can’t predict?

What’s pineapple in Japanese?

How many meteorites are there in the universe?

How many sea creatures are in the ocean?

How many of them can live in the Arctic?

Why do pigs make bacon?

Why don’t slugs have shells like snails?

Why do sharks have fins?

Why didn’t they put orange paint in his painting set?

What’s that fish on the fish counter in the supermarket?

Why is the sky red in the evening?

Why isn’t my skin black if it’s hot today?

The list goes on.

And on.

And on.

He seems to have developed an insatiable need to learn things, not that I’m knocking that, in fact, I’m trying to nurture it, but I wonder how the playground conversation might go when he starts school.

Did you see Fireman Sam last night?

No. Did you see that National Geographic documentary on giant prehistoric sharks?

I’d love to be a fly on the wall for that one.

In the meantime, I have this secret, if slightly nerdy, dream of us sitting at the dining room table doing our homework together. I won’t mention it to him yet though.

I’ll just carry on trying to field the questions whichever direction they come from.

So, what’s the strangest question you’ve been asked?

X is for Kisses

X is for Kisses

X is for Kisses

Yes, I know. This is cheating a little bit, but the only other X that came to mind was x-ray and we haven’t had to deal with those yet and, if we’re lucky, we won’t have to for a while (touch wood, she says, hand on head).

Kissing.

Hmm.

It seems to be all or nothing with our two.

You either get a big, slobbery, snotty kiss when you least expect it (have you ever had that experience when you’re in a deep sleep and you open your eyes just before they plant one on you?) or you have the struggling, trying-to-hold-on-to-an-angry-eel manoeuvre where you get a hope-you-make-contact-with-a-body-part-that-doesn’t-smell-kiss.

Just us then?

Really?

Are you sure?

Oh, OK then.

Anyway, it’s a balancing act, like so much else in parenthood. You’re trying to show them affection so they know they’re loved and trying to time it so they get it when they need it most, like when they’re feeling poorly or vulnerable or in need of a little injection of self-esteem.

And don’t talk to me about their attention span. No sooner have I started to move in for the kiss than they’ve got distracted and are trying to disappear in the other direction. I’ve had far too many air kisses (as far as I’m concerned air kisses should be between consenting adults only) so I’ve learnt to get them in a bear hug before I try to deliver the all-important kiss on the cheek or the top of the head.

But it’s more than just physical contact isn’t it? It’s comfort for both of us that we belong together, that families are important and showing that you love your family is good. I know they’re going to go through a phase where they won’t want to be in the same room as us, let alone be kissed, they swing in and out of that particular frame of mind at the moment. (Why is it so funny when your 4-year-old retreats to his bedroom and shuts the door, saying he wants some alone time?)

And you start to accept that any demonstrations of affection will be on their terms and we’ll be lucky if they let us know what the rules are.

You just get used to this, then they’ll add the chaos factor and want a full-out cuddle (OK so that usually happens when you’ve been trying to get them to go to bed and stay in bed for the past half hour) but you leap at the chance anyway. At least the first four or five times.

Or they’ll declare at the top of the voice that they love you best in the whole wide universe. (That accolade usually goes to the Other Half.)

Then you’re (or at least I’m) left in a gooey mess and we start all over again.

A bit like life really.

W is for Wet and Muddy

W is for Wet and Muddy

W is for Wet and Muddy

There are some really good things about being a parent, and one of those is being able to experience the fun of being a child all over again.

Like playing on the swings (though I am positive the seats have got narrower over the years since I can’t possibly have got wider can I?).

Or running through piles of autumn leaves.

Or puddle jumping.

I don’t really remember puddle jumping when I was younger, possibly because, growing up in Australia, there weren’t that many puddles and by the time we moved back to England I was too old and grown up to do things like that.

But now we all puddle jump, providing we’re wearing wellies. (Thank you Peppa Pig.) The Other Half has taken Motormouth on Boxing Day to play on the swings and jump in puddles to get thoroughly soaked and mucky, giving me some peace to get dinner ready. I’ve welcomed them home with a bath ready-run and my sanity in tact. We’ve even got soaked on the walk home from the child minder.

The kids love it and, I have to admit, I quite enjoy it too. It’s liberating, consciously making the decision to stop worrying about them getting dirty or what people think and maybe that’s the secret.

I choose not to care what people think if I’m running around the park chasing my child and pretending to be whichever baddie they’ve decided I’m going to be. They’re having fun and if they’re having fun, I’m having fun.

Maybe one of the best gifts we get as parents is the ability to recapture some of that “live in the now” attitude to life.

I’m not advocating we do too much of that, after all, we have a bigger responsibility to keep our kids safe and teach them how to function in society for when they become adults. But sometimes, just sometimes, we shouldn’t we allow them to coax our inner child out to play?

I know we’ve only got a few years left before they’ll be too old to jump in puddles and run around the playground pretending to be sea monsters and I think I’ll miss these times more than they do.

In the meantime, I am tyrannosaurus rex, hear me ROAR!!!!

 

Newsflash – Lost Shoe Found!

Reunited at last!

Reunited at last!

A small brown shoe was delighted today when its partner was returned to the shoe box.

The missing shoe, Righty, which disappeared several weeks ago, was found in the deepest darkest recesses of Under-The-Settee.

Looking somewhat shamefaced, Righty held its tongue when it came to talking about its adventures but is believed to have been living with the elusive Dust Bunnies, a secretive tribe that survives by being invisible in the presence of the dreaded Vacuum Cleaner, only returning to full visibility once the Vacuum Cleaner has returned to its home.

Righty was not the sole missing item found, two puzzle pieces, three megablocks and a pencil have also been returned to their respective boxes.

Questions have been raised as to why Righty had not been found during the extensive searches carried out. Authorities admit it is unfortunate that Righty had been missing for so long but could only surmise that it had been hiding in the upper reaches of Under-The-Settee. They have ruled out the need for a full enquiry, promising that lessons had been learnt and search protocols would be reviewed.

In other news, Motormouth is seeking support for a research expedition to study Dust Bunnies in their natural habitat.