Out of the blue the other day, the spud, sitting with a pile of bricks, counted clearly to 10. Well. Almost clearly.
There must be some sort of song that goes with the counting because, as with 'Twinkle Twinkle' he has the beginning and the end part nailed but is a bit woolly in the middle, so we get ONE TWO THREE, ffo, fff, SEX, seh-het, NINE TEN and then we get 'nineteen nineteen nineteen nineteen nineteen nineteen nineteen' Today he added 'sixteen' to the mix, possibly because, just as 'boo' is his favourite colour, 'sex' is his favourite number. Combined with his constant use of the word 'bugger', which I think means 'bigger' and the frog thinks means I need to watch my mouth, we're having a wonderful time out in public as he points to car number plates and shouts 'SEX' really loudly and then sits back and says 'bugger bugger bugger'.
All preparation for the trials and tribulations of grown-up life, I suppose.
We've also discovered puppets. If you want to make my son fall over laughing, put a sock over your hand and make an animal noise. Lunge for his nose a couple of times and he's helpless - gods, if I'd known toddlers were so easy to please I'd have saved a fortune on all those christmas presents cowering on top of the wardrobe. Seriously, I'd have just gone to Primark and lurked around their hosiery division with a needle and some buttons.
Actually, I already knew he was easy to please - we've had over a year of fun and games out of the cardboard box his carseat came in and yesterday he entertained himself for nearly an hour with nothing but a plate of paint and a pad of paper. He plopped both his hands in, waved them about on the paper then pointed to the resulting splodge and said 'Airplane!! Airplane!!' I did the dutiful Mummy thing and nodded wisely. 'Very good' I said. 'Airplane!!' he said and promptly wiped it into oblivion counting 'one, two free, nineteen nineteen nineTEEN!!!'. I was hoping for some masterpieces to hang up but as I wasn't policing his use of the pad, most of what he did got stuck together. Given that paint and paper cost me £1 each and we've got enough left for many more hours of mess, perhaps I can take a break from eBay.
I may be showing the rapid advancement of my years, but I don't remember anyone I knew as a child having as many toys as some of the children I know have now (untangles tongue). Piles and boxes and storage containers and rooms of the things. Spud has two wicker Ikea boxes that pretty much everything fits into and sometimes I feel badly for him that he doesn't have more - but mostly, I look at what he does have and wonder if it's too much.
My sister in law is spending Christmas in India working at an orphanage with Families for Children, a private, non profit, nonsectarian agency operating homes that care for hundreds of destitute children and women in India and Bangladesh. She's taking donations of clothes and toys out to the orphanage and in the run-up to Christmas, I'd like to support what FFC do by asking anyone who reads this to buy one less present for someone who already has a lot of stuff and donate the money to a charity, perhaps even this one which does a bang-up job of caring for kids who rarely get their own toys to keep.
To donate to FFC directly you can get information from their web site here http://www.familiesforchildren.ca or you can donate to them through http://www.canadahelps.org/
The spud, for his part, isn't going to miss out on much. Frankly, he already thinks he has nineteen of everything and so one less won't make a difference. Pretty much all he ever plays with are his wooden and his Thomas trains anyway.
I know. A train puppet! Get me a pair of tights. And your credit card - Christmas is coming and folks need help.