Monday, 26 July 2010

Is my mother dumber than a hamster?

OK, I admit, I'm no genius. Just ask my "I do killer Sudoku in my head, and then write it all out in pen." brother (what a show off!). Analytical and rational? Yes, to a fault. Clever? Yes, I'd like to think so. Do I remember a single thing I have ever learned? Absolutely not.

At some point in my life, I figure I must have learned how leaves and why change colour - I did a Biochemistry degree after all. During the 30 or so years I've had building work going on around me and the 10 or so years actually taking part, I must have absorbed a tiny bit of information about plumbing. Yes, I am one of those people who can read a John Grisham book 8 times and be surprised by the ending every time, but life, you would think, should have prepared me for being able to answer a 3 year old's questions.

This week alone she tripped me up with
  • "How does milk get inside boobies?" I made up some random thing about eating lots of good food and converting it to energy to fuel a special machine inside them to make lots of milk. I got a frown in return, and then "But daddies have lots of energy and they don't have milk. And you got lots of energies and your boobies don't have any milk...? But you use to have milk when I was a baby...?"  Errr.
  • "How does the water get into the toilet?" Aha - from the cistern! "But how does the cistern work?" I haven't a clue.
  • "How did you make the bricks to build the house?" Ask your father.
I've managed to give a somewhat decent reply exactly once, only to have it turned into a question I couldn't answer:

Madeleine:  Mummy, look! Those leaves are green now, and they used to be red! (I hadn't noticed) Why are they green?

Me: Because now they have lots of chlorophyll in them to capture the sunshine and turn it into special food for the plant to make it grow. (really, chlorophyll. She's 3 for crying out loud. It's a wonder I didn't get into ATP and the wonders of phosphofructokinase)

Madeleine: But then how did it grow when it was red?

Madeleine's an incredibly bright little girl, and her curiosity about the world around her is just amazing... and here she is thinking that her mum will have all the answers. Instead she gets a good mix of slightly made up facts, or long periods of silence and a frown, or "ask daddy". Am I actually dumber than a hamster?

Monday, 19 July 2010

What not to do on holiday in Nova Scotia with toddlers

  1. Never point out the dangers of a jellyfish washed up on the beach. The only possible outcome is two 40 pound children clinging to your legs like little koala bears refusing to walk on the sand, followed by days of back pain for Mummy and Daddy.
  2. Never assume the travel cot is still big enough for your toddler. Poor Elliot spent his first night sleeping with his head and feet pressing against either end of the travel cot, and the following night shouting "no baby bed! no baby cot!" and trying to climb out.
  3. Never shuffle along in the grass in tevas during wasp season. I've discovered that having a wasp trapped under my toes inside sports sandals is really not a good thing, and neither was the kids overhearing my cursing from the nearby playground. 
If you can manage to avoid these 3 things, and the hundreds of horseflies, and a trip to the only walk-in medical clinic in town for treatment of infected bites from the horrendous aforementioned creatures on your 3 year old's eye, then I guarantee you'll love Nova Scotia. I'll write again soon with some recommendations on wonderfully child friendly places to visit, including a stunning beach with the warmest waters north of the Carolinas, a museum dedicated to a giantess, and a superb outdoor pool and splash park.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Please help the Joseph Salmon Trust

I wanted to tell you a little about Joseph Salmon, but with two beautiful healthy little children at home, I simply can't write the words. So I am pasting some bits and pieces from other sites in hopes that you will be compelled to give generously to the Joseph Salmon Trust, a charity providing financial support for those who have lost a child.

Joseph was a happy, healthy three year old who loved life. He enjoyed playing with his toy trains, his cars and his pretend kitchen. He had a busy social life, with lots of friends from nursery, friends who lived nearby and his little sister.

He enjoyed cooking with his mummy,going on trains and buses with his daddy, and playing outside with anyone who would join in.

Joseph had a passion for books and had just started to ‘read’ them to his younger sister. It felt like his life was just beginning.

This all changed on 1st April 2005, when Joseph died. Joseph did not suffer, he simply fell into a deeper sleep from which he never awoke.

The Joseph Salmon Trust has been set up in his name.


Later this month, 60 people from all over the world are coming together to walk the 84 mile length of the Hadrian’s Wall Footpath to raise money for the Joseph Salmon Trust. So far they've raised £15,575 - as walker Dan Hughes says, "that £15,575 is made up of £5, £10, and £20 pound notes. Every penny counts and every time a donation comes in the total creeps ever higher."

Please give whatever you can.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

How do I get my little boy NOT to dart across the road??

I have a big problem. Well, a short cute little problem, really. His name is Elliot, and he is what is commonly known as a Rampaging Toddler. He doesn't walk - he either hops or runs, and when he runs, well... Do you remember that episode of Friends where Rachel and Phoebe go running? He runs like a much shorter and slightly loopier version of Phoebe, arms flailing everywhere, grinning like a maniac. Yesterday he spilled something on his top, so they sent him home from Nursery wearing the only thing they could find - a skin tight pink short sleeve vest with a rabbit on the front and big handwritten N U R S E R Y on the back. I couldn't help thinking he had specifically requested that top to add a certain je ne sais quoi to the Crazy Running Boy effect.


Crazy Running Boy firmly refuses to listen when I tell him to stop or slow down, and he is such a slippery little sucker that I can't hold on to his hand without hurting him. After a year of being completely still or just bum-shuffling, he is so incredibly excited about the fact he can now run and jump and join his big sister in the excitement of inspecting each and every leaf and ant on the way home. The only trouble is that we have to walk along a main road, and cross several streets to get home, and he just will not listen. He darts out toward the curb suddenly, or runs off diagonally when we are crossing the road.

I've been so terrified at his complete lack of sense that I've resorted to strapping him into the buggy. He turns himself inside out and backwards trying to get out, and then scowls at me the rest of the way. I feel terrible. I feel like I'm depriving him of a really nice little adventure... but honestly, it's not worth the risk.

I never had this with Madeleine. Is it a boy thing? What do you do to instill some traffic sense into your toddlers?

And when he shouts "Stop! Look! Listen! Think!" (from Madeleine's road safety sticker book) over his shoulder at me as he runs headlong into traffic, is he really just doing it to see the look on my face?