Anyone who spends a lot of time around 3 year olds must have a very high tolerance for pedantic nerdery. There is no stickler like a pre-schooler on their specialist topic. If they’re not reciting the entire script of Frozen word-for-word, they’ll be at pains to correct you on precisely how a train engine works. And woe betide the careless parent who paraphrases the words to their favourite story.
In the world of Tiny Attenborough, the chief topic of nerdery rarely changes, but seems to have progressed beyond “I really love aardvarks” into a litany of fact recitals:
“Daddy, a baboon is a monkey but a gorilla is an ape, because it has no tail!”
“Narwhals live in the icy waters of Canada, don’t they mummy?” (Er….)
“I know an animal that can jump three metres high!” (a Lynx, apparently)
He’s nothing but a sponge right now, especially for information that you didn’t realise he was paying attention to, which makes it impossible to converse in front of him. I suspect most of his animal ‘facts’ are coming from endless re-watchings of The Lion King, plus a fair few from a little reference book that his Auntie Cathy bought him ages ago.
Occasionally his love of jargon leads to some top comedy moments, such as this weekend when the boy pointed at a parkload of people running a half-marathon and said:
“Daddy, that’s called a stampede!”
I’ll never again be able to refer to a marathon as anything other than a stampede.
G blames my genes for the boybot’s animal-obsession – but I beg to differ. It’s true that I loved animals from an early age but it never stretched much beyond cat-bothering and berating other children for squashing beetles. I think G has to take credit for the boy’s obsessive geekiness about it all.
In any case we’re both frightful enablers. It’s hard not to be when you have a child with such a fanatical interest. This week G has invented a new game to play on walks and car journeys. It’s a variation on I Spy, except you have to think of an animal beginning with a letter, and then give clues…
“I’m thinking of an animal beginning with f”
“it’s a mammal that lives in the desert”
“it has extremely good hearing”
“it’s small, but its ears are very large”
“it might be the cutest thing in the world”
…until someone guesses it.
The microbe LOVES this game, though I think he cheats quite often on his turn by changing his mind about the animal halfway through. (He has no moral compass.)
We also took him back to our local urban farm on Sunday for a spot of seasonal animal-bothering. He’s recently had The Sheep Pig at bedtime, which has reinvigorated his interest in the Babe DVD – hence he found a rather ugly and un-Babe-like pig to fondle at the farm, along with the usual selection of life forms.
I’m still trying to vary Jimmy’s bedtime reading a bit so that it’s not all stories about talking animals. We’re currently on The BFG, which I find a bit disturbing, what with people being eaten alive by giants, but it doesn’t seem to bother the microbe very much. Mostly he seems to find it funny, thanks to all of the silly words that the BFG uses, and he likes the idea that human beans from Wellington taste of boots.
On Saturday we got together with our NCT pals for our third annual easter egg hunt. The weather was chilly but the microbes enjoyed it and had fun making easter crowns.
As usual I took a little video of them running around on their egg hunt and it’s been interesting to watch it alongside the previous two years. (They’re SO diddy in the first one)
This week we’ve been trying a new way to teach the boybot about civilised bedtime hours. It’s tricky because he hasn’t learned to tell the time yet – but I decided to buy this simple little digital clock for his bedroom, with the idea that all he he’d have to do is look at the first number to work out if it’s “morning” or not.
The deal we came up with was as follows:
– If the first number is a 6 or a 7, he can come into our bedroom for a cuddle.
– If it’s anything less than a 6, he has to go back to sleep until later.
(We were not optimistic/delusional enough to make a rule for numbers after 7)
It all sounded marvellously simple to me, but I had underestimated two things…
Firstly, how unrecognisable digital numbers are, when compared with the curvy, simplistic numbers that toddlers are taught to recognise. It took a while for the boy to get used to what a 6 and a 7 look like in LCD format and he still gets the 2s and 5s mixed up, and the 0s and 8s.
Secondly, the excitement factor of having a new clock. Day one was like Christmas Eve all over again. He couldn’t wait to go to bed with the clock – and then he turned up in our room around 4:26 am. G and I both happened to be awake with insomnia and were able to explain to him that the 6 he was seeing on his clock was not the first number and therefore he had to go back to bed. About half an hour later we had a repeat episode and he was most upset to be sent back to his room again. Eventually G popped in to check on him and found him sitting up on top of his covers wide awake and staring at the clock, waiting for the 6 to appear. (We both felt really bad for the poor devil)
Day two went much better. He turned up at 6:01 am, at which point I pulled him into bed for a cuddle and asked “Have you been lying awake staring at your clock all night?” And he said “No, mummy! I just woke up and my clock said 6!” (Perfect result)
We had similar success on days 3 and 4, with him turning up sometime between 6 and 7am each day. At this point we began to think we’d cracked it… but this morning I rolled over in bed around 2:30 am and there he was snunggled up beside me. He must have stealthed in like a sleepwalking ninja.
Still.. in the grand scheme of things, I can’t get especially worried about it. I know that lots of parents obsess over their children’s sleeping habits – but, as hardships go, rolling over at night and discovering a tiny, beloved person cuddling up to me doesn’t really make my list. I expect the arrival of thing 2 will change the dynamic so, for now, we’ll just have to see how we get on with this clock business.
In the world of pop music, the boy’s taste is turning out to be eclectic. One minute he’s demanding Rammstein, the next he’s in the bathroom belting out Reach for the Stars by S Club Seven. How nice it must be to have a fresh and un-jaded mind, in which all music sounds new and exciting.
More alarmingly, he has discovered that whoopee cushions exist. Daddy bought him a kids’ magazine at the weekend that came with a free whoopee cushion and it seems to have amused him no end. (Next stop – The Beano)
In girlbot news, I’ve only got 15 working days left before my maternity leave starts. I’ll never get through all of my work commitments by then, which really bugs me – but I’ll still be glad not to commute in my 9th month.
According to my pregnancy app, Thing 2 is currently around 17 inches long and will be gaining 1/2 pound per week from now on. All I can tell for sure is that she’s using up my entire torso and likes to kick and flail like a crazy person. I’m supposed to book a GP check-up this week but I’m tempted not to bother as I’ve got another scan the week after anyway.
When we were at the farm on Saturday, G and I spotted a little girl wearing a truly gorgeous woollen coat – (the sort of coat that I probably wouldn’t let the girlbot wear to a farm, come to think of it). G knew without asking that I would be eyeing that coat and wondering where it was from. Her mum told me that it was a Ralph Lauren coat that she’d found in a local charity shop – bargainacious! (Sadly for Thing 2, the chances of her mummy ever buying a Ralph Lauren coat for a 3 year old are slimmer than her big brother’s waistline.)
Not that I haven’t bought her any clothes. I’m only human after all – hence a little corner of Microbe’s wardrobe has been sectioned off to store tiny bodysuits and dungarees and leggings and the sweetest yellow beret imaginable… plus a pair of hand-knitted bootees (thank you, Morticia!)
I went to an NCT nearly new sale the other week in the hope of finding some nice second-hand baby stuff – but was sorely disappointed by other people’s interpretation of “nearly new”. I couldn’t believe the shabby dishrags that people were trying to flog to other parents for inflated sums. Most of it was so faded and creased that you could hardly tell what it was. Would it be such a stretch to imagine that people might iron things and put them on hangers and present them nicely? Not to mention selling things without stains on them. Jeez.
As for baby names, no matter what we say, the Microbe still seems to insist that we’re calling his sister Tabitha (we’re not). Personally I’m regretting that we’ve already used up Harriet on a cat. Tsk. But G and I have a few other names under consideration – and I’m always intrigued by other people’s suggestions. One of my pals at the weekend suggested Felicity. That was nowhere near my radar. (Also I think she’d be at risk of G plaguing her often with “Do you feel lucky, punk?“)
Well… I only meant to pop in briefly but that has turned out to be another massive ramblathon. So I shall go away now and say goodnight!