Planet Toddler

Like Mama

Sunday dinner was safely in the oven, but I needed milk to make dessert. I found my sunglasses and my keys and headed to the door on my way to the corner shop, bag over my shoulder.

“Wait!” Bean yelled. “I put on the shoes!”

She pulled on her boots. I found her sunglasses and put those on, too. Daddy gave us a shopping bag to take with us. And here’s how that looked:


We’re trying to grow the bangs out, by the bye.

We walked up and down the street– about half a mile round-trip, and Eve told me about the birds and the airplanes and the “blue roses” she spotted in people’s front gardens (at the moment, all flowers are “roses”). She read out letters on  car license plates and house numbers. She stopped to point out bugs, wave to dogs. She even skipped a little, informing me, “I a skeepeeng.” It took ten minutes longer than it would have taken me on my own, but I didn’t mind.

In the shop, she helped me find the milk and the few other bits we needed, and we picked out a little children’s magazine for her. Over here all the kids’ television shows put out monthly magazines with little toys attached to them. Usually she plumps for Waybuloo, but she’s been on an Octonauts kick lately, and grabbed one with them on it instead.

I paid for our bits and pieces, and the surly-faced guy at the register packed everything in a plastic bag for me– everything except Bean’s magazine, which he passed to her so she could put it in HER bag.

“Thank you very much!” she said. “See you soon!” The guy cracked a smile.

My Sunday had been pretty nice up to that point, but that made it perfect.


Happy Father’s Day

I was brought up by a good one, so I picked a good one for Bean. Love you, T. And you too, Coachie.


Hug your Dad if you’re lucky enough to still have him handy– or a dad, if not. (Thinking of you and your Dad, Kate– I’m sorry he was taken so soon.)

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.

Nursery School

After a grueling selection process (we went and looked round), Eve has matriculated at a local OFSTED-awarded nursery. Today is her first day. I put her hair in plaits and tried to trim her fringe, but unfortunately she wiggled, and now it looks like her hair was cut by a flock of miniature goats. On speed. Nano-goats, if you will (you won’t).

Still, doesn’t she look excited?

What are you pointing at?

Eve models her backpack by pointing at... something.


Doing the Nursery School Charleston.

At this august institution of primary learning, Eve will tackle skills such as painting, gluing things on to other things, standing in line, sharing, and using the toilet. She will attend Mondays and Thursdays for the time being, although I have a feeling she will want more than that at some point. Whenever we drive past, she hollers, “WANT TO SEE THE FISHY!”, which refers to the nursery’s mascot, a fat goldfish named (I think) Butch. At our last orientation session, we bundled her into the car and drove off to the grocery store.

There was a long silence.

Then, from the back seat: “I want to go back there, please.” Which is probably one of the longest sentences she’s ever uttered.

You see? Learning already.

Actress In A Leading Role

The Internets tell me the Oscars are coming up. I have seen exactly one of the films with a nomination this year. One. Fortunately, the drama at home is of the highest quality. In fact, if you drop by at about 7:50 PM, you should catch a veritable tour-de-force of improvisational acting.


"Yes, I know, I'm so fabulous."

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               MUMMY finishes putting away toys and switches off the
               television. KIDLET looks up, alarmed, from the coloring book
               in which she has been dreamily scribbling.


                         No Wall-E. Time for bed.

                         Oh, no!

                         Oh, yes.

               Kidlet scrambles down from the table and runs into a far
               corner of the room.

                         I want juice, please!

                         You have juice here.

                         Want food! See the fishy!

                             (picking up a blanket)
                         Time for bed, dear.

                         Change the nappy?

               Mummy checks for biohazards. 

                         Nothing there.

               She picks up Kidlet.

                         Oh, dear! Go see the ducks? Please?

               INT. STAIRWAY - NIGHT

               Mummy carries a wriggling, WAILING Kidlet up.

               INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT

               Kidlet YOWLS. Mummy pastes a toothbrush and sticks it in
               Kidlet's hand.

               A moment's silence as Kidlet sucks the paste off: yum!

               Mummy SIGHS.

               INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

               Mummy fishes pajamas out of a dresser. Kidlet begins
               desperately pulling toy food from a toy stove.

                         Make the food! Apple in a bow-el.
                         Spoon in a bow-el. 
                             (holding up toy banana)

               Undeterred, Mummy comes at Kidlet with the pajama shirt.

                                   KIDLET (CONT'D)

               Kidlet goes limp in the middle of the floor.

               Mummy pulls off Kidlet's shoes and tights.

               She shakes Kidlet out of her shirt. Kidlet flops back onto
               the hardwood, not protesting when her head connects: BONK.

               Mummy wrestles Kidlet's noodle limbs into the pajamas.

                         Bedtime, sweetie.

               Kidlet suddenly retracts into a fetal position.

                         Nooooooooo! Noooooooooooo!

               Mummy lifts the tiny, raging nautilus into the crib and tucks
               blankets around her.

                         Good night, cupcake. I love you.

                             (suddenly sunny)
                         Goot night! Sleep a tight! Ha ha!

               Mummy SIGHS. She turns on the night light and goes out.

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