Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New shoooooooooes....

We like shoes in our house. It's questionable who exactly it is who has more pairs, me or the Frog; however the spud is certainly a contender, mainly because having a third set of feet in the house to buy shoes for is one of the few real perks of owning a child... er, I mean, because we love our little dumpling SOOOO much... er... cough cough cough.

Anyway, so it's not just the spud's hair and belly that are growing it seems; his feet are like row boats on the end of lolly-pop sticks and most of his lovely shoes don't really fit him anymore. He LOVES his shoes and if he's actually complaining about them, well they must be tight as all buggery.

Anyway, so when Umi got in touch to ask if I'd take a free pair of toddler shoes, I ignored the pricking of my conscience and just said 'yes please' - it was too serendipitous to pass up.

The catalogue looked amazing and we dickered for ages over choosing a pair but I didn't hold out high hopes to be honest. We're sort of a Clarks family here (or rather, it's just me, the frog thinks Clarks shoes are the enemy and that I am insane). Anyway, so I had me doubts about the Umi quality but I have to say, they seem robust, good arch supports, great colour and the frog likes them - they're great, in fact.

Actually, I was won over the second I saw the thick rubber toes, because now when he drags them along the ground to stop his scooter - or just because he's trying out his cool new toe-dragging walk - I am no longer to be seen flapping about futilely behind him squeaking inanities about saving his shoe leather.

The spud, however, normally the type of boy who prances around in front of the mirror in new shoes, has been somewhat ambivalent, although I did catch him swinging his foot and gazing thoughtfully at his new toes the other day.

Perhaps I should warn the cat...


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Getting his own back...

We've had holidays. We had my brother and sis-in-law to Biarritz for a few days which was knock-down brilliant. So brilliant that I didn't take any pictures because I was too busy being happy. Oh, and I forgot my camera.

If you were that interested, you could go here and scroll down to September 16th to see a little bit of the sort of holiday we had (and a lot of the sort of holiday Hoto and Shell had in Paris afterwards!). There's more Paris on Shell's blog too...

I have been heavy with anticipation about this holiday. It's been a while since my brother and my son have seen each other and I warmed up the spud with photographs and videos and stories about Hoto and Shell for ages. It worked too, he greeted them, knew who they were and showed off his toys to them relentlessly.

Best of all, after nearly 3 years of training him to blow a raspberry at my brother, he finally blew it. (You think I'm kidding? Go here). This made my day.

I tortured my brother when we were children, I have to admit it. I lay in wait around corners, told him there were bodies under his floorboards, hid under his bed and grabbed him with ghostly hands and best of all, valiantly attempted to soak his hand in warm water while he slept in an attempt to get him to wee his bed... the look on his face when he woke up is apparently nothing compared to the guilty look on mine...

So anyway, I am really trying not to be the sort of Mother that I was a sister, if that makes sense; and rather than turn my fiendishness on my own son I was thrilled to watch him make his first move on continuing the legacy that is the ritual trickery of Uncle Hoto.

Sadly, it seems the spud is not completely on my side as yet. One evening as we were getting ready for bed, he marched up to my brother and said in his loudest possible voice 'Mummy has the burps!"

"Oooh" said uncle Hoto... "Does she?"

"Yeth" responded my little treasure. "And she farts!"

Oh yes. That was some evil chuckling I heard coming out of my sibling.

I sense, bearing down on me inevitably, a future in which my brother slowly gets his own back...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

the paddly pool of eden

The word spread around the park yesterday: "There's water in the paddling pool!" We heard it at the cafe at the top of the hill and by the time we got there, not only was there water in the pool but the fountains that fill it up were still on. The spud was delighted.

Nobody else at the pool had left their houses with swimsuits or towels either; there were already half a dozen or more children larking about, none of them wearing a stitch of clothing. We stripped the spud down to his birthday suit and he trundled happily off to rescue leaves. I helped him and some new friends make leaf boats and as we floated them, more and more people filed in.

At some point the word must have spread outside of the park as the families that began arriving were carrying towels and swimsuits and the balance of naked to clothed began to shift. Some of the original parents responded by putting their children into pants or t-shirts, but the spud refused all clothing and eventually was the only one left without any clothing on at all.

He bounced around and ran about and made friends and talked, completely happy in his own skin. I was sitting dreamily in the sun, pondering what age it is exactly that we start needing to be clothed in public and being all Motherly-lovey about my happy little spud when I noticed that he was crouching down in the water with a look of extreme concentration.

I don't know what was worse, the fact that I knew he was doing a secret pee or the look from another Mum who was clearly thinking that he was playing with himself in public.

Needless to say, I hustled him into some clothes and we slunk off home pretty damn quickly, metaphorical fig leaves clutched firmly over all the parts that matter.


Saturday, September 05, 2009

our own personal cake wreck....

Six months ago, one of the spud's friends turned three and his mother delivered to the nursery a blue train cake, cunningly crafted by a local baker.

All the kids had blue poo the next day but that just added to the thrill as far as the spud was concerned. He ranted on and on and on about the blue train cake for months.

A year ago, another of his best friends Jacob (or 'Jpeg' as the spud calls him) had a blue train cake for his second birthday and while it was home-made, it was a perfect Thomas replica - smooth icing, regular shape, cheerful face - beautifully put together. Their thank-you cards had a cute image of Jpeg blowing out the candles on this monument to good home-making skills and it sat on the spud's dresser for months and months.

You can see where this is going. With his party approaching, I asked the spud what sort of cake he wanted at his party and without a second's thought he shouted 'BOO TRAIN CAKE!!!!!

I asked him several times over the course of the two months running up to his birthday and sadly the answer never varied by as much as a decibel.

Rather than going out and buying one, or simply baking a cake and cutting it into a train shape I went totally Motherly-Love-Blind and single-mindedly blundered into the whole thing with a 'how hard can it be' attitude.

This hard, as it turns out...

...and after that, all the spud ate was this...

...hardly surprising really....

...actually I can't believe I had the guts to serve it up at a party with real people attending... or to post it on the blog. I think I need to offer up a prayer to Julia Child begging forgiveness for my transgressions...


Thursday, September 03, 2009

...and then I fell down in the sea

The spud is becoming very self-aware all of a sudden, telling us how he feels and what he's thinking and what he's been doing.

He's completely unashamed of his own transgressions and will relate them with the same relish he reserves for imaginary ice-creams. Last weekend we spent with friends including his best mate Einstein, whose Granny has a boyfriend with a big boat. We went to the marina for a gawp, the kids raided the biscuit tin and then they proceeded to run rampant around the jetty in their floatation devices pursued by panic-stricken parents shouting useless things like 'come back here now' and 'come back RIGHT NOW' and 'BE CAREFUL' and other useless background noise.

The frog got hold of our son who yanked himself away shouting 'NO Daddy, NO Daddy' and proceeded to trip and then plunge head-first into the deep water of the harbour. This, as you can imagine, was a pretty heart-stopping moment and even though he was caught by his life-vest and hauled out with only a damp fringe and one wet hand, I am having continual 'Spud drowning' dreams. Last night in my sleep he fell under the surface of the bath water. This is no fun, I can assure you.

Tonight however after announcing that he wants a pair of red roller skates like Einstein has, he then happily informed me that he'd had biscuits in the boat and then fallen in the sea. I asked him if he was scared and from his laugh I suspect he rather wants to try it out again.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday

I think I say it every year, but it still seems impossible to believe that my son is another year old - three years today. If it wasn't for this blog I swear I'd have forgotten the lot.

Today has been the first birthday that he's really understood and we've been winding him up for it for a week now. His party is on Saturday but this morning we woke him up with his presents and he was so sweet.

He's not yet at the stage where all he wants to do is to rip the paper off each one until he's done, he was quite happy to open one present and play with it for ages before we demanded that he open the next one. In fact, I think he was more excited about having cake then about anything else and by bedtime he was singing 'Happy Birthday' to himself on endless repeat.

What I love about 3 is that his imagination is in full gear and he can play for ages by himself making up stories and playing all the parts. I was working in the cellar this morning while the Frog looked after him and he was calling 'come on Mummy, hurry up, come on Mummy'. I shouted at him that I was working and was about to yell up for the Frog when my beloved other half called down 'it's ok, he's playing that we're all getting on the airplane and you're late'. The words 'as usual' hung unsaid in the air, obviously. This year we and the grandparents bought him a huge selection of Playmobil toys from eBay (have you seen the PRICE of those things new?) and he was thrilled to bits. Little bits, as it turns out, which is what most Playmobil is made of. We have a massive envelope of tiny accessories which he might get when he's 12. Or maybe 20.

3 has benefits other than the purchase of expensive toys however. It's nice that we are able to reason with him a little now and his powers of verbal communication are coming on stronger every day. Recently he's been going off the playground and instead we have been having hour long explores around our local park; clambering into the bushes to play 'Bear Hunt' and walking around each of the sports areas watching people play. He is minorly obsessed with the cricket bowling nets and when there was a chap the other day bowling endless balls at the test wickets he made me sit down and watch for ages. I had to pull him away after he started commenting very loudly 'YAY, well done!'... 'Uh oh, he missed it!'.... 'He missed it AGAIN'... 'He missed it AGAIN'... the cricketer started muttering very loudly so we slunk off.

These explores have done marvels for the powers of elderberry wine as we've collected enough berries for nearly two gallons of the stuff. We've also been picking blackberries although only once have we saved enough to come home with any - mainly he just gets a purple face and a big grin.

3 is a good age. He's cuddly and loving and beginning to sleep in; he's funny and cheerful and happy and disobedient as all fuck, which means, I suspect, that he is a perfectly normal child.

Happy birthday angel boy, we love you.