Wednesday, 3 August 2011

What happens when preschoolers fend for themselves

The fact that just the trailer for Toy Story 3 makes me well up is bad enough, but what is really worrying is the fact that it's on in the first place, at 8 a.m. on a sunny weekday morning. Normally the children would be having a bouncing competition on our fading mini trampoline, or bundling each other in the garden, dangerously close to those frighteningly sharp rocks we've added as decoration.Or Danger Boy would be living up to his name by dangling from the top of the fence by his fingertips, or trying to gallop down our stone steps on that ridiculous unicorn hobby horse.

Today's different, though.

Having had pneumonia for the past few weeks, I have given up all interest in moving around or getting involved in what the kids are up to. It's just too hard work, and leaves me breathless and lightheaded, especially on a humid day like today.

More or less fending for themselves, the children alternate between playing really sweet imaginative games together and some craziness that looks like a scene from Lord of the Flies.

Far from the ultra-stylish-Vertbaudet-catalogue children, my two have dressed themselves and combed their own hair and it shows. Mads is wearing pink, pink and more pink, and apparently pattern-clashing is all the rage.

Danger Boy's outfit is actually improved upon by the costume rat-tail he's found in the dressing up box and one multi-coloured legwarmer.

Their little fingers and faces are grubby from climbing trees and digging in the garden to look for slugs. Or so they tell me - the mention of the slugs has meant that I can no longer bear to go to that bit of the garden.

They smell like a faintly heady combination of sweet baby sweat, cheese-pasta and mint, the mint because they are obsessively rubbing my fresh mint leaves to release the oils.

Danger Boy has a little bit of a shine to him, one arm covered in dried purple glitter glue.

Of course all of this is totally normal.

What's different is that we normally have a very small TV diet, consisting of a few stolen minutes of Peppa Pig of Mr Tumble, or occasionally a bit of one of our Disney movies. Since I've been ill, however, the kids have put themselves in charge of all technology in the house and are now fully in control of the TV and DVD player, and to be honest I can do nothing more about it than flop on the sofa beside them.

Having had 3 weeks to study our Disney films in depth, Mads is now educating Danger Boy:


When you press the triangle button, the movie doesn't start just yet. First they need to tell you all the things you can buy, and then you can watch the movie.

Tinkerbell is at the start of all the Disney movies because she is a Disney character and she is the best one. And because it's easier for her because she can fly.

I am going to go to that Disney castle. You can't go because you're only little. Mummy went but she told us she didn't go. She said she went to France, didn't she, but really she went to Disney. (Ooops. I hoped they wouldn't pick up on that!!)


The start is very nice and funny, so you can watch it with me. But then when it's going to get to a scary bit, like maybe the Baddie, or the Stabbington Brothers, then you have to get a pillow and hide under it, or you have to get mummy. But you won't miss anything because I can put it on pause. Just tell me when it's scary and I will press the one with the two lines. 

Oh good, so at least I am not totally obsolete. If Danger Boy doesn't go for the Pillow option, that is.

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