Big boys don’t cry

Much to the eye-rolling chagrin of G, my infernal use of silly words seems to be rubbing off on the microbe. Anyone who spends time around me on a daily basis has to learn to tolerate this general stream of nonsense and nicknamery but it can be quite unpredictable which aspects the Microbe will suddenly latch onto and adopt as his own.

The other week, while faffing endlessly to get him strapped in and home from nursery, I chivvied him along with “Right! Lets go-ski!” This was met with such delight that I am now on the frequent receiving end of “Mummy, lets go-ski!” (cue, of course, the accompanying decent into “Mumski” and “Jameski“…. and the rest)

As for nicknames, lets just say that our son is legion. On any given day he is addressed by one of us as:

  • James
  • Jim
  • Jimmy
  • Jim-Jam
  • Jimmie-Jam
  • Jamkins
  • Jameski
  • Boy
  • Boyski
  • Microbe
  • Microboy
  • Boylet
  • Bablet
  • Babyface
  • Bigboy
  • Horrorpants
  • Naughtyboy
  • Monster
  • Monsterpants
  • Cutiepants
  • Whingeington-Smythe
  • Any portmanteau combination of the above

Lately he seems to have become randomly captivated by “Jamesie-pops“, uttered in a moment of throwaway silliness when I discovered that one of the ladies at nursery calls him “Jamesie“. We’ve since been on the receiving end of that special brand of toddler precision: “I’m not James, I’m Jamesie-pops”.  (Heaven forbid you attempt to extend it to “Jamesie-popsicle” or “Jamesie-poptart” or “Jamesie-pop-to-the-shops”.)

His other top catchphrase since turning two is “I’m not a baby any more, I’m a big boy”. This has been very handy indeed, thanks to G’s ingenious extension into “Big boys don’t cry”. I have a feeling that this neat little trick has a short shelf life but long may it prosper. Right now it’s like a charm! As soon as he adopts the praying-to-Allah pose of a tantrum-in-the-brewing we can insert the following little exchange:

James, are you a baby?
[pause…] “No, I’m a big boy
what do big boys do?
Big boys don’t cry

And, as if by magic, job done-ski!

Last week we had a dubious report from nursery that the microbe appears to recognise his written name, pointing at it and announcing “James!” when he sees it written down anywhere.  He has yet to prove this at home by reacting to my fridge magnet experiment.  (Personally, I suspect he may just be having a lot of coincidental “Timmy!” moments.)

On a less positive note, nursery also had their first proper discipline incident with him last week. I’m not sure what caused it, but he had to have a little talking to after he bit another child. I do hope they’ve knocked that on the head.  I never imagined him as a biter.  It has reminded me of what good work nurseries do in teaching social behaviour.  I imagine that even simple things, such as learning to wait your turn, must be hellishly difficult concepts to instil if you’re a stay at home mum with only one microbe on your hands.

James’s turn-taking training has proved useful since he got his very first multi-player games for his birthday. Old MacDonald Lotto involves laying out a set of animal cards face-down and taking turns to pick a card in an attempt to match all of the animals on your lotto board. James LOVES this game but has yet to fully grasp the rules of gameplay. (A lot of the time he simply sits there and announces repeatedly “I want a cow” and waits for someone to tell him which card to pick up. Other times he picks up a card and places the animal onto whichever board has the matching animal.

Another game also involves picture cards, where the player has to keep the card secret and make the noise or action of the thing depicted, so that other players can guess what it is. Some of the pictures are animals and others are things like hoovers or phones or someone sneezing. The very first time we played this, he seemed to understand it perfectly and did all of the noises (with some help from mummy on the ones he didn’t recognise). Unfortunately, ever since, he has rejected all memory of these rules and insists on announcing what is on the card every time. *eyeroll*

Moving on…

We have done two deeds this week. One exciting and one not. The exciting deed was to book a holiday for September. Hooray! After months of dithering, we faced the fact that our grown-up hols of yore really are a thing of the past and began to seek the voices of experience from seasoned microbe-wielders as to what makes a good hol for little people without being too ear-bleedingly horrible for big people. The word on the street was “Mark Warner”…

Hence, for the first time ever, we are going on a package deal. Not only a package deal, but a ‘family’ package deal on a beachy resort called Luz in Portugal. (Yes, it is that Luz, of McCann infamy.  And no, we are not deterred by this.)

In fact I am deadly excited about it. We’ll be staying in a little self-catering apartment in the town, moments from the beach and a short walk away from resort facilities such as built-in childcare and pools and daily activities for toddlers.  (I have been warned by colleagues that we will either need to lower our standards or triple our budget for holidays such as this, once we’re limited to school holidays, so we may as well enjoy it while it lasts!)

Here is a pic… (‘shopped to oblivion. no doubt)


Our less exciting deed-of-the-week has been to give notice at one of James’s nurseries so that he can go full-time at the other one in September. This has been a hard decision and I feel a little bit bad for the nursery that we’re leaving. The truth is that James *loves* his days there. They were very quick to move him out of the baby section, which means that he’s become used to hanging around with 3 year olds and spending hours outdoors and doing exciting stuff all day long. I imagine this must make the other nursery seem rather dull and babyish by comparison.

However… in the end we have erred on the side of convenience and a financial saving. His new full-time nursery is closer to home and located right beside the railway station. It provides everything all-in (meals, nappies, suncream… the lot) and – crucially – offers a discounted rate once you go full-time that we’d be mad to ignore. The microbe also appears to have found his first ever BFF there in the shape of a boy named Sam. His transition to full-time will coincide with them finally moving him up to the ‘big boy’ section, so I’m hoping that this will transform his days to something more varied and challenging.

On the plus side, I’ll be a little bit glad to say goodbye to the frequent (and slightly insane) emails from the other nursery, who appear to have replaced the full-stop button on all of their keyboards with “!!!!!!”.  However I will sorely miss their brilliant online system which sends us daily emails full of pictures of what the microbe has been up and a detailed breakdown of songs sung, games played, places visited, food eaten, books read and a gazillion notes about his development. The other one hand-writes a summarised version of all of this in a book… :-/

Interestingly (ok, not) the nursery that we’re staying with has an OFSTED rating of ‘Outstanding‘, whereas the other one (which was assessed for the very first time last month) missed out by a whisker and got a ‘Good‘. When I read the detailed reasoning behind this I pretty much lost all faith in OFSTED and hence it has played no part whatsoever in our decision.

Most parents would be forgiven for not bothering to read OFSTED’s tedious novels full of background info, on the assumption that an ‘Outstanding’ nursery is probably a safer, more caring and more educational place than a ‘Good‘ one.  However, when I actually bothered to read the details behind the ‘Good‘ score, I found that this nursery was highly lauded for its standards of child happiness, education, activities, trustworthiness and all-round love and affection given to the children. The primary reason that it didn’t get an ‘Outstanding‘ was that children who are capable of pouring their own drinks and serving their own food are not always given opportunities to do so. (A top priority issue, indeed!)

Anyway, OFSTED SCHMOFSTED. The deed is done.

Oh dear – I appear to have rambled on rather tediously. I do apologise.  Here are some recent summer pics to make up for it…


Armadillo-bothering at a weird-and-wonderful Animal show. We could NOT keep this boy off the stage.


…and more of the same (a frog this time)


Never underestimate the deadly cuteness of matching PJs


Storytime with Uncle Jim-Jam


The joys of assembling a flat-pack while three little helpers sit around you feeding screws repeatedly into the wrong holes

photo 1

Excited by deer at Richmond Park (and refusing to accept that they are not Reindeer)

photo 6

Ice cream goatee!

photo 7

Check out my Spidey-spex, dude!


About Susan Flockhart

Bonsai lady-geek and blogger. I can hardly recall what I used to blog about pre-microbes, but these days I generally ramble about motherhood, nonsense and whatever's going on the world of tiny people
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