Last month Jim-Jam was so deeply in love with his iPad I was beginning to wonder if we’d ever get him back. But it seems that it was merely the latest fad-of-the-week, as physical jigsaws are now back in position as God’s greatest gift to toddlerkind. (Poor old books are wondering what they did to be relegated into the back seat for so long.)
Last week, seeing that the boylet had exhausted every jigsaw in the house, Uncle Amazon decided to send him a few new ones in the post. Within seconds of arriving home from nursery his robotot eyes spotted them and he had an excitement meltdown of unseen proportions. It was all we could do to remove his coat before he emptied all three boxes into a pile and went ‘at it’ until he’d done the lot. Since then he’s insisted on doing them every morning and evening, several times over if time allows. Bless.
We’ve become jigsaw connoisseurs, of late. In top position is Orchard Toys, whose jigsaws are made from thick, sturdy card that keep their shape and slot together easily with toddler fingers. The pictures are also cleverly thought through so that every piece in the puzzle has interesting little details that a child can match with its corresponding pieces. Their reversible jigsaws are fun, too.
I am less impressed by whoever made this 24-piece Gruffalo jigsaw. On first examination it looks great – a nice big floor puzzle with a pleasing picture. But the card it’s made of is thin and bendy so that, after a few uses, the pieces won’t lie flat or stay together, even on an uncarpeted floor. Add clumsy toddler fingers into the mix and James ends up squealing with frustration as it keeps undoing itself.
In talky news, I am sad to report the death of ‘figgins‘. Someone (damn ye) has reprogrammed him to say ‘fingers‘ and no amount of ‘figgins‘ from me will bring it back. But we are at least getting a reliable response of “flux capacitor” to the question “what makes time travel possible?” (Well, alright, maybe something more like “fox cassiter” but it’s progress.)
Most of James’s talky efforts seem to be going into learning new ways to disagree with me. He likes to repeat back whatever I’ve just said, with the word “not” in front of it.
“Jigsaw later, James”
“Nooooo, mummy! Not jigsaw later”
“In a minute, darling”
“Noooo! Not in a minute, darling!”
“James, are you hungry?”
“Would you like some carrots?”
“Well, what would you like?”
He still can’t pronounce words beginning with ‘sn’. Hence a snail is a ‘nail‘ and we had confusing shouts of “No! No! No!” last month while pointing at white stuff outside the window. He also seems to have a problem with the letter ‘n’ in the middle of words – resulting in ‘dilosaur‘ and ‘tricelatops‘ – and my sojourns to the loo are announced as “mummy a la toilet“. Tres chic! (Not that I ever get to do this alone, you understand. I can either sit ‘a la toilet’ with a small person clamped around my lap, singing ‘Old MacDonald‘ in my face or put up with a wailing imp attempting to bang down the bathroom door.)
As for ‘Old MacDonald‘, never was a song so beloved of a microbe. It has been top of the sing-song charts for weeks on end… in the bath, while doing jigsaws, while eating dinner, while lying in his cot and (I suspect) all day long at nursery. And old Mac’s farm doesn’t stop at chickens and sheep these days. He also breeds crocodiles, lions, wolves, snakes…. and of course a tricelatops, a diplodocus and a stegosaurus. (in case you’re wondering, they go ‘Snort snort’, ‘Nyom nyon‘ and ‘Stomp stomp‘).
In appetite news, we’re no longer channeling Henry VIII but we’re doing alright. Favourite foods right now are eggs, melon, jam on toast and various veg. On a good day I can sneak a little bit of fish into him. Nicest of all are those rare Sunday lunches when we can all eat together, to see him tucking into things like Yorkshire puddings and cabbage.
Last month he started a ridiculous business of flailing about and shouting ‘Help! Help!’ when trapped in his highchair and offered a spoonful of something he doesn’t want. This month we’re getting better mileage by discussing what he does want… and are often rewarded with a very sweet “thank, you mummy” or “thank you, daddy“.
Of course, left to his own devices, he’d still rather eat nothing but sweet stuff. Yesterday, in a moment of weakness, I let him have some Nutella on bread (which led to fevered demands for ‘More brown!‘) I think jam has a usurper…
Personality-wise, we’ve seen some odd little bouts of insecure behaviour of late. It’s ever so strange to see my outgoing boy suddenly behaving like another child entirely… e.g. having a random fit of shyness when guests arrive – or wanting to carry a teddy around all day long. Some days he has a clingy insistence on holding a lock of my hair when I’m settling him to sleep in his cot, presumably to stop me from leaving the room. (I’m trying to discourage this one as he doesn’t make any such fuss when daddy settles him).
We still read him Dr Seuss’s ‘The Sleep Book’ every night as he drifts off to sleep. So embedded has this become that some nights he recites parts of it with me.
Later this month he’s due to be a page boy at his uncle’s wedding. At 22 months it’s anyone’s guess whether he’ll be able to follow instructions. In my worst imaginings I picture him running off and refusing to come back – or flopping down and having a rigid little tantrum in the middle of the aisle. Here’s hoping that being paired with an older boy of 3 will save the day by providing someone for him to adore and copy.
Well, that’s all for now. So I shall finish off with a few recent pics and a little Easter video…