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Slingshots and Hamchickens

This week was half-term, so naturally it rained nearly every day. There are only so many times a girl can go to the soft play place– even thrashing around in a ball pit gets old after a while– so T and the Bean spent some downtime “doing Angry Birds”, as Bean put it. This involved creative use of the ottoman and some mobility bands we had lying around the house:

 

It also involved abuse of Nemo. However, there was a lot of hooting and cackling and shouts of “Dad! Go be a green pig!” All in all, a successful way to spend the afternoon.

Today, however, the weather was altogether different: sunny, a light breeze, about 72 degrees F. Perfect for hanging in the park– which we did, after turning up for E’s ballet class only to realize it had been cancelled due to the half-term holiday. So instead of scampering about in tights pretending to be a scary cat/ fairy princess, Bean had a cupcake, ran around and went up and down slides, yelled at the geese, counted bikes. When we put her back in the car at about 11:30 she told us she was hungry… for “hamchicken”.

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Summertime

And the livin’s Evey:

Ms Cool

Paddling pool cost £5. Well-spent!

We’ve had nearly two straight weeks of sunshine and high temperatures. (Well– not high if you’re a Texan, but high for Britain– maximum temps in excess of 90°F for the last three days, for instance.) The garden, which was six weeks behind thanks to the long, cold spring, has suddenly exploded into life. People are walking around dazed; none of them quite seem to know what to do.

"It's nice and lovely to swim. I like swimming."

“It’s nice and lovely to swim. I like swimming.”

Except the Bean. She knows that you strip off and you take the Octonauts into the paddling pool. Or that you just strip off– several times this week I’ve looked over my shoulder into the garden and spotted her streaking out there. I make sure she is at least wearing underpants, but honestly, she struggled so much with taking off her own shirts before that I’m glad she’s getting practice in.

Nursery school is over next week for her (the school year is longer over here), and then it’s six weeks of lazing about, hopefully in more nice sunshine like this, until SCHOOL begins.

I don’t even want to think about SCHOOL yet. I’ll have another salad instead.

Full Metal Princess

At some point in the last 10-12 weeks, a gene lying dormant in Bean went live. It caused a chain reaction of tiny, but significant changes in her little body– a rush of hormone here, a bloom of synapses there– ultimately becoming manifest to outside observers about four weeks later when she began, apropos of nothing, to feel compelled to put on Mommy’s shiny gold dress and repeat a single totemic word: “Princess!”

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I’ve studiously avoided throwing the Disney princesses at her. I mean, she’s watched The Little Mermaid and Sleeping Beauty, but her interest in them centered around secondary characters: Sebastian the Crab, or the witch Maleficent or the three Good Fairies (aside: Sleeping Beauty really should be called “Fairy Turf Wars”– I’ll explain that in a later post). And we didn’t shower her with pink toys, tending to encourage her interest in things like Octonauts, horses, ballet,  and Toy Story. But the princesses are Out There, and things Out There have a way of getting In Here.

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Everything’s A Negotiation

Part of the trouble with communication issues is frustration. Frustration for you, frustration for the kid. Every parent with a child learning to talk undoubtedly goes through this, but with a kid who’s delayed in speech but not cognitively (as appears to be the case with Bean; assessments are still ongoing), the problem gets magnified as the child’s wants become more sophisticated while their speech lags behind.

Case in point: here’s a discussion I had last night with Ladyface.

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Bean: I want pretty boats.

Me: You want pretty boats? What do you mean?

Bean: Boats. I want to see boats, please.

Me: Boats in the bath?

Bean: No!

Me: What boats?

Bean: I want the seagulls. The dolphins.

Me: Do you want to watch Octonauts?

Bean: NO! I want the fishies! He is singing. He is swimming. Please!!

Me: Who is swimming?

Bean: CLICKETY CRAB! PLEASE!

Me: Oh, you want to watch The Little Mermaid.

Bean: (panting) Leeta Mermaid. Please.

 

I really hope we can get to a point where not every discussion goes like this one.

 

Subterfuge

Since we’ve come back from America (more on this later), the Bean has been largely adhering to a sausage-based diet. It’s deeply frustrating. Sometimes we can get her to have scrambled eggs or cereal or potatoes, but for the most part she demands “shussages, please” at every meal.

But tonight, I got her to eat turkey chili, containing many Actual Vegetables. How did I manage this? It was simple.

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I told her it was sausage. Parenting is an exercise in improvisation.