Parenting is for Grownups

Smarter, Not Harder

The Bean spent the day at Kenilworth Castle, hiking through fields, picking flowers, and handling interesting Elizabethan gravel. Then she “helped” me re-pot some plants, and dug things up with a stick, and by 7 pm she really rather urgently needed a bath.

Eh. It’s a holiday weekend. It’s sunny, I’ve already opened a cider– I prefer to sit in the garden and do nothing for a while. Fortunately, there’s a solution that gets her 75% clean:

Washing up while washing up.

Washing up while washing up.

All you have to do is clear the sink of pointy or breakable things, fill it with warm water and a bit of gentle soap, and let her do the rest. For the next hour she’ll happily pour water from container to container, sloshing water on herself and on the floor. Come bedtime, you dry her off, get her to wash her face and brush her teeth, and it’s story time.

As an added bonus, you can then mop the kitchen floor. This parenting thing is a piece of cake.

Lady at the Window

Gazing over Warwickshire.



Jolly Old St. Nicholas

I’ve been thinking deep, profound thoughts about Santa Claus. No, really, come back.

While I am all for holiday cheer and celebrating Christmas, I can’t help but think that the entire Santa thing is sort of… well, a lie we’re all foisting on children. I’ve always been kind of ambivalent about whether I would go in with the Santa thing when I became a parent. I figured I would play it as it lays.

However, now that we have the Bean, it’s not very obvious how to handle this. For the first time this year, she’s really excited about and aware of Christmas. We have our advent calendar, our wreath on the door, our mistletoe sprig and cuddly St. Nicholas Day reindeer (thanks, Grandmama!) on the mantle. We are putting the little ornaments on the advent calendar tree every morning, and counting the remaining sleeps until Christmas.

Mistletoe looks better in a vase!

Mistletoe looks better in a vase!

To really drive the point home (and because I like bratwurst) yesterday I took her on a Mom-only outing to the German Christmas Market in town. Continue reading

The A-Word

The Bean completed her observation group on October 25th. We had a meeting with the pediatrician, the child psychologist, the speech therapist, the nursery nurse (who played with Eve during the observation period) and a young lady from Bean’s nursery school. We perched on child-sized chairs and drank instant coffee while they explained their observational findings and the results of various assessments they’d undertaken.

“You do go and singing a song, and I dance the ballet, Mommy.”

What we have with Bean is a very friendly, happy, energetic child who is good with puzzles and numbers. She has excellent eyesight– fighter pilot eyesight, practically– and a terrific memory. But she speaks and socializes like a child of two, not one who’s nearly four.

Continue reading

It’s Go Bag Time


Bean’s never been That Kid yet on a flight, but we always like to take steps to ensure maximum compliance. At the top of the post is a picture of the goody bag I’ve assembled to amuse her while we cross the Atlantic tomorrow.

At the bottom is a picture of the only item she’ll actually care about.

Fingers crossed for happy trails….


On Second Thoughts, The Waybuloo App Was A Bad Idea

And we’re back. Wipe the dust off your corner of the blog and stay a while, won’t you?

I won’t try to catch you up too much. Since March Eve has been easing into nursery, growing her feet in spurts, and learning to boogie. We’ve had some visitors– Dunka Dave!– and gone to stay with lovely friends, including a trip back to Kington, where I broke my leg last year. (This year I only left with a bit of a hangover after celebrating with others who were observing the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I don’t truck with monarchy, being in favor of small-r republican government, but any excuse to drink Champagne is a good one.). As you can see, Bean enjoyed herself there, what with all the balloons:

Jubilee Balloons

Because a tot whirling balloons is what Her Majesty wants.

Also, there was plenty of cereal to eat, cereal being one of Bean’s dietary staples:

Two Spoons

Double spoons: double tasty.

Over this period of, oh, ten weeks since our last update, she’s been coming on strong in the language department, which is important. Because, you see, she’s way behind where she should be.

This is something immediate family members will know, but extended family might not. The Bean’s language development–expressive language, at least, her speech– is so far behind that of her peers that she is more like someone just turning two than someone who’s 3 1/4 years old. Our nephew can hold a conversation with you, and he’s 10 months younger than Bean. But Bean can’t. She can rarely answer a question with “yes” or “no”– well, okay, with “yes”. She’s got “no” down pretty cold.


He can also scare you in the pub.

When I was Bean’s age, I was reading books. And her Dad wasn’t far behind when he was that old, wayyyy back in 1971.

It is concerning enough that multiple professionals have now expressed interest in the Bean. Initially we found this very anxiety-making, as my friend Yelena, who bears the brunt of my whining and nail-biting, will tell you. But now we find it rather reassuring. There’s a pediatrician and a speech therapist. A child psychologist and nurses.

Tiny Dancer

“It is a flower. A ORANGE flower.”

Whatever it is that’s holding Eve back isn’t dire, even if the “A-word” has been floated by a few people.  It’s  just a hurdle to be overcome, and she has an entire team of people interested in working out what extra help she needs to stop sounding like these guys when she talks:

So she’ll be going to some extra playgroups, and getting some exercises to do, and whatever else, in advance of her entry into the UK school system in 2013 (or US in 2014, not yet decided on that).

Now. The App I mentioned in the title. I recently bought an iPhone, and in my MummyMania I began researching things I could download to it to keep Bean busy/ reinforce her language skills. On a whim, I picked up the Waybuloo app, which includes some basic games starring our favorite football-headed freaks.

I showed it to Eve. I let her play with it for what I foolishly thought would be about 10 minutes.

This was a mistake. It’s now “her” iPhone.  She goes hunting in my bags and coat pockets for it, hollering “Where Evey’s phone?”

If she sees it, or even something of a similar color to the case I’ve put it in, she begins squawking: “WAYBULOO! I WANT TO PLAY ONNA WAYBULOO, PLEASE, YES MOMMY! OH MY GOODNESS!” and then begins howling the names of the characters, as if they have all been taken from her in the dead of night by secret policemen.

Sorry, kiddo. Mommy’s held off buying herself one of these toys until after the age of 30. You can wait, too.