Some other recent pics taken by Rob's Sister Emma
I know, I know, they're so handsome! I agree!
I am judgmental about parenting. I know I shouldn't be but everyone is allowed one flaw, right? (OK I admit I probably have closer to a thousand flaws but for the purposes of this post we'll overlook that.)
If you have a baby who doesn't sleep through the night but you let them have a five hour long nap in the daytime, I'll be judging you.
If you complain about having to rock your giant 18 month old to sleep every night but you've done it everyday since birth, I'll be judging you.
If your five month old demands to be held constantly or else screams the house down and you never put them down as a newborn....ever, I'll be judging you.
I'll even throw in one from our own family.....
If you put your nose in your infants mouth and laugh when they clamp their gums on and then complain when they turn into a seasoned biter, I'll be judging you. (That accomplishment being Rob's, see my judgments know no bounds!)
You get the idea, right?
So it's not that I am judgmental about everything just the things that people actually bring on themselves. (Heard the one about making a rod for your own back?) Those innocent looking little people we bring home from the hospital soon figure out how gullible we really are and use it to their full advantage. When it comes to parenting I see it all black and white, the grey areas really only cause you trouble.
The part of parenting I am not judgmental about is the part where all our genes get jumbled together with those of our husbands and the Reproductive Fairies pick out which bits they'll use to make up our much anticipated bundle of joy. Then we as parents have to do our best to work with what we're given.
When Thomas reached the 'Terrible Two's' (which for those not in the know is anytime between 15 months and the very end of puberty) we experienced a few tantrums but all very mild. He has my same laid back disposition and is a pretty reasonable child overall. Almost all of his tantrums were frustration based due to his lack of ability to verbalise well. The only full on tantrum I recall was on a trip shopping when we first had the Buggy Board and we went to the Disney Store, he took a liking to some sweets by the counter. (Don't you love that shops do that? Please Mr Retailer can you make my life just a teeny bit more difficult by putting sweets and chocolate wherever a small child might encounter a queue?) I said No, and he lost it. Threw himself on the floor and screamed. I promptly said goodbye to him and made my way to the exit. Apparently the thought of being abandoned by a parent was far worse than having to go without sweets so he pulled himself together and got over it immediately.
We weren't so fortunate with Eli. Eli is totally adorable and spends the majority of his time either loving his penguins or trying to make us laugh. It's the the remaining 5% of his time that causes us the problems. The Reproductive Fairies sent the fiery Siswick temper complete with a large dose of stubbornness packaged adorably with brown curly hair and big brown eyes. Which is just as well or else he may have found himself listed on eBay a time or two by now.
Eli at 22 Months has already well overtaken Thomas in the tantrum stakes. He even has a catalogue of tantrum types varying in horror and volume. But Thursday night we reached new heights of ferocity. My friend had watched the boys at her house while I went to work (Rob was in Scotland with work) and as we pulled up our drive he started to lose it. By the time I got him out of the car he was well and truly committed to battling this grievance out even though really I had no clue what he was so angry about. I made my way towards the front door hoping he would follow and he just stood at my car tugging at the door and of course screaming. Two ladies just happened to be walking past and kept looking back at us with an air of concern, I'm sure they fled home to see if there were any reports on the news of abducted children such was the scene Eli was making.
I ended up having to physically bring him into the house while he thrashed and kicked and of course screamed. It was pretty much bedtime and I knew tiredness had to be a precursor to this whole episode so my numero uno objective was to get this kid in bed ASAP. As I undressed him the screams escalated with each item of clothing I removed. As I discarded each item he collected it and held it such was his disgust that I had the audacity to undress him when he was objecting so adamantly. He even recovered his wet nappy from the bin and insisted on carrying it around.
By this point I was convinced you could probably hear Eli's angry screams on the moon so I felt compelled to text my neighbours who happen to be our Bishop and his wife and explain if they could hear blood curdling screams that it had nothing at all to do with me and Eli was just having a bit of trauma. I apparently have a high tolerance for tantrums, it doesn't even really frustrate me or get under my skin. Above all I was just quietly amused watching my dear boy running around angrily shrieking whilst completely naked but clutching his shoes, socks, trousers, coat, T shirt and wet nappy. I ended up having to restrain him to get him PJ'd up and then I put him in his cot where this whole malarkey continued for 30 more minutes. I really don't have a temper so it just stunned me to see Eli so completely angry that he could behave like this and not even shed one single tear. With me when my emotions are out of control it's the tears that trigger and not the temper.
The anger gave way to sadness eventually and when he cried I went in picked him up and consoled him. The phone rang so I took him with me cradled on my shoulder to answer it. Within seconds he was fast asleep. I placed him back in his cot and marvelled at how wonderful he really is. He went on to sleep soundly for 13 whole hours. Nobody woke in our house until 8:55am.
I am totally prepared to put up with an hour of tantrum like that on a daily basis if it results in that quality and length of sleep. Just don't judge me!
In our congregation at Church if you spilt all the women into two groups which I'll call 'The Post-Menopausal' and 'The still very fertile' I'd quite obviously fit right into the second group. After all in this day and age being 32 still qualifies me as a spring chicken in the world of reproduction. (I am no longer shocked when I read headlines like '60 year old woman has triplets!' Shocked? No! Appalled? Indeed!!) In my self designated group I am currently in the vast minority. The reason being that just about everyone that is capable of child bearing just had a baby or is incubating one as I type. As I am neither of those things I fall into a sub-group with a mere handful of other ladies that I'll term 'The sane'.
One of these babies happily incubating is the offspring of Rob's cousin Neil and his wife Katie. Considering we had two babies closer together than anyone should actually legally be allowed we accumulated lots of baby kit. We never plan on having kids so close together again so half of what we have we'll never ever need to use. We still have two highchairs and seeming as Neil is at University and we had two babies while Rob was at University we know that any help is greatly appreciated. (Plus who doesn't like a freebie?) So we offered one to them. After spending what just felt like two hours scrubbing the highchair to remove every last trace of chocolate milk (which gets everywhere I now realise) and removing a secret stash of raisins that Eli was accumulating under the seat cover (and he kept attempting to eat when I brushed them onto the floor with moderate success) I realise being nice isn't the easy option by far.
Now our highchair is ready for it's new home and family I am not left with a feeling of having done something kind for someone I am left with a feeling of dread that I missed a spot of chocolate milk and that it just would have been so much easier if we just donated it to the local tip instead!
So, this week I have been sick. I used to enjoy being sick (well as much as you can considering you're well....sick!), I liked the self indulgence, the perfect justification for endless napping and the brain numbing daytime TV. Being sick as a parent has no benefits. You don't get the naps, you don't get the TV.....you don't even really get to feel sorry for yourself. All the joy is taken out of the sickness and you're just left with suffering. Where is the fun in that? To make matters even worse I got sick on Easter Monday and promptly lost my appetite and spent the next few days looking longingly at our stash of Easter Eggs.
By Tuesday I knew it was more than a sore throat but Rob had taken the day off work so I could go shopping with my friend Dawn and have lunch (without it going cold or having to share it with two other small people!) no germs were gonna stop me from having my ME day. After all I don't get to call in sick when I am sick and have to carry on regardless, so if I can handle two toddlers whilst ill shopping and eating would be a breeze in comparison. On returning with toys and clothes for the kids and a notebook for myself (I know, I totally know how to spoil myself!) I sat down and complete exhaustion kicked in. By now my sore throat felt like swallowing razor blades, I was nearly tempted to call out for an epidural from the throat down it was that unbearable. Plus my ears were beginning to ache and dizziness was kicking in.
To make this an even more perfect time to get sick Rob was leaving the next day for Scotland overnight and I had the kids all to myself for 36 hours. I called the Doctors surgery the nanosecond they opened to get myself an appointment for that day only to be told they had no appointments left (even though they opened at 8:15 which is precisely when I called and you can only book on the day by calling when they open) unless it was an emergency. What do you class as an emergency? After all if I had punctured my femoral artery I'd probably head straight to the hospital not wait for my Doctors surgery to open the next morning. Now, I had just had two poor nights of sleep (I even had to neglect my water intake in favour of Dr Pepper because it was excruciating to yawn all the time. BTW I can't begin to tell you how good Dr Pepper tasted after all that bland water), I was in considerable pain, my husband was about to leave me for work and I had to deal with grumpy and grumpier all by myself and the receptionist is asking me if its an emergency? So as I couldn't control my emotions at all I blurted all of that out to her. She may well have thought I was insane but it qualified me for an emergency appointment. It's just as well I hadn't punctured my femoral artery and waited for my doctors surgery to open for treatment because the earliest emergency appointment they could offer me was 3:10. That's quality health care isn't it? When you're considered an emergency but not urgent enough to be treated for seven whole hours!!
So I did what I could in the meantime.... I let Disney babysit my children! They thought it was the best day ever and I managed to rest more so than normal. (Thank you Walt Disney!)
On arrival for my emergency appointment my Doctor was running 30 minutes behind. This is because what should realistically take 3-5 minutes actually takes 10-15 minutes with my Doctor. She's totally lovely but she loves to chat. It doesn't normally bother me but I was in pain and the kids weren't behaving particularly angelically and I just didn't have the energy to persuade them otherwise. So after waiting for 7 and a half hours I finally got to see the Doctor. She confirmed that I had both a throat and an ear infection and proceeded to give me a lecture that your body will do stuff like this when you have two kids 16 months apart and tolerate sleeplessness for three whole years. It's your body's way of saying 'Lady give me more sleep!'
Sadly (yet gleefully) this wasn't the case at all. Both my boys are super sleepers. Thomas slept through 12-14 hours a night by 10 weeks (we were waking him in the night to feed him prior to that due to his low birth weight) and Eli was sleeping through the night 11-12 hours by 6 weeks. (Thank you Baby whisperer lady! May she Rest in Peace and get her reward in Heaven!) but the week prior to my getting sick had been tough with Eli developing nightmares which ceased only to be immediately replaced with Thomas randomly waking because he needs his water (which is right next to him), or it's too dark (so I open the door slightly ) or because I left the door open (which I did because it was too dark an hour ago, honestly there is just no pleasing a three year old!)so it had been a while since I'd had a satisfactory good night of slumber.
Anyhow, she prescribed me penicillin. Which I was so elated about I almost wanted to take it all in one go. She dutifully informed me that it would effect my contraceptive pill and so warned me to be doubly cautious. I told her I am not on the pill anymore (she looked at me, at the boys and back at me. Her look read 'Are you insane????' She's the doctor that referred us for fertility treatment but she is also the mother of two boys and feels strongly that two boys is sufficient for anybody) I went on to explain that I stopped taking it because I always forgot blah, blah and the blood supply slowly returned to her face. I probably should have forewarned her we do plan on attempting for number three at some point this year but I think I'll enjoy shocking her more at the time, I know her facial expression will be just priceless.
So a day later, I feel human again and Rob is home, the boys are in bed and Sir Alexander Fleming I salute you for your discovery of Penicillin.
Next on my list? Easter Eggs! Bring them on!
Now this isn't a miracle quite on a par with the resurrection of Jesus but still very significant all the same. The Prodigal Penguin returned to the fold once more. Eli's head nearly exploded with joy when he saw he now had three of his adored fatter Gee-Gee's and rushed to greet them all in one big Gee-Gee embrace. We don't know where he came from or where he has been but Eli is certainly happy to have him regardless.
Last Saturday I was procrastinating tidying the house (which I do so regularly that I suppose it should technically be termed as a hobby). I had just updated my blog and the next thing on my to-do list was cleaning so in a bid to delay the inevitable I clicked from blog to blog hoping to find something that would attract my attention sufficiently so that a for a few more blissful minutes I could keep the cleaning right at the very, very, very back of my mind.
I started off from a friend's blog and clicked a link from hers to another to another, browsing freely into the lives of total strangers. Then I saw a link to an uncommon name that I recognised, I clicked the link and lo and behold it was the very person I knew. What were the chances? The blog I started off from and where I ended up are complete strangers. It really is a small world after all those Disney folks certainly got that right.
It was on my newly rediscovered friends blog that I found the link for 'Find your Spot' which is this nifty little tool for determining your ideal spot to live. I didn't realise initially that it only extended the width and breadth of the USA but I played along all he same. (After all it was that or doing the dishes.) I filled in the survey correctly indicating the things in my life that were of most importance. I'm a selfless wife so I even threw in a few of the things that would make Rob happy, after all if I'm gonna up and move to my ideal spot I expect I'll have to bring him along. So I indicated a place with access to snow so he could board happily and little culture because he's allergic to it. I also added the things that are important to me, Sunshine, shopping, a good standard of education for the kids etc. You know me I am pleased by the simplest of things. So once I completed the survey it quickly processed all my answers. Drum roll...........
It turns out my ideal spot in all of the USA is Brownsville, Texas. If you're thinking Where? Then join the club, that is exactly what I thought. But the lovely 'Find your Spot' people give you a comprehensive profile on your dream town. So I promptly read all about Brownsville to see if it met all my needs adequately. After all I didn't want to rashly move there only to find out it wasn't everything I hoped and dreamed of, that would be a massive disappointment. Now I was already really familiar with Texas having visited Austin Airport once and Fort Worth airport three whole times, oh and not forgetting that I spent two entire weeks in San Antonio working for a Summer Youth Camp program for my church. The one thing that stands out most about my time in Texas is that they had the most delicious ice cream (Bluebell brand or something) so already a massive thumbs up!
So Brownsville is so far South it's almost in Mexico, by the sea. They have just 25 inches of rain a year which we've generally exceeded by the time January is through and the average home is $100,000 which in the UK wouldn't even buy me a garage let alone a house. Suddenly Brownsville was looking pretty good. Clearly the 'Find your spot' peeps took little notice of Rob's utmost desires because not a chance of single snowflake unless you travel hundreds of miles and plenty of arts and culture all around.
I quote 'Residents of Brownsville can stroll along the banks of the Rio Grande River, listening to the sounds of the Mariachi and lejano music and enjoying the fragrant mimosas and acacias that fill the city', sounds great for a holiday but I fear even the lejano music and acacias would wear on me eventually (and on Rob after about 7 minutes). So I'll just have to stay put here right where I am after all. Where housing is overpriced, the sun seldom shines and we have seemingly endless rain. What's not to love?
But, where is your spot?
I am only slightly embarrassed to admit that I had no idea whatsoever that Easter had any connection with Jesus until I reached the grand old age of 9 years old. I was raised in a household where religion was non-existent (though we did have brief episodes of attending Sunday School but I think that was less for our spiritual welfare and more to provide an opportunity for my parents to have a Sunday morning sleep in) but still you'd imagine I'd have gotten an inkling somewhere, at school maybe or even the TV, but no! So you can imagine how ashamed I was as a nine year old to discover there was more to Easter than Easter Bunny's, Bonnets, Chicks and of course most importantly Eggs. (Though surely those are reason enough for a holiday.) So I committed myself on Easter Sunday morning once I had received my Easter Eggs to give a few moments to ponder about Jesus before I delved right into my chocolately treats. (Yes I was a weird child, obviously) But what can I say? Chocolate was like opium to me back in my childhood days and as soon as I received my eggs I practically inhaled them giving little thought to anything, let alone Jesus. I plunged from my chocolate induced happiness coma later that day when I realised in all my consuming that I'd totally forgotten what I had previously committed to do, remember the real reason for Easter.
I can only keep my fingers crossed that I do better at that this Easter Sunday when the lure of the Easter Eggs hits me. But still, I am only human!
In our humble corner of England named Huddersfield the government have just funded a place called 'The Zone'. The idea behind this is that they're trying to get all the lazy, junk food eating, PlayStation playing kids activated. That's why it's situated in one of the less than lovely parts of town where kids that fit the category are sadly the norm. But nonetheless it's done in conjunction with local Football team (Huddersfield Town) of League 1 fame, (don't let the 1 fool you, that doesn't mean they're good, sorry Rob!) and the local Rugby team (Huddersfield Giants) of Super League fame, I can only guess this is to add an air of credibility and a bit of eye candy for all the mum's as they watch the teams train. The Zone has a learning zone, a dance zone, a sports zone and a play zone. Now the play zone is the largest of its kind in the UK according to the website, but it's new so therefore clean so we went to check it out.
I think I am justified in saying nobody in our household is particularly musically talented...at all. Put me in a choir who can pick up the slack and I'm all good, I can have a good go. When people ask if I'm Soprano or Alto I just shrug because in all honesty I just sing along with the melody which would imply I'm a Soprano, but I just can't hit those high notes especially on a Sunday morning. So really I am probably an Alto but I can't read music sufficiently well and the Soprano's throw me off with all their warbling. Rob doesn't like to sing, he says he's bad but I don't think that's necessarily true I just think he's self conscious. His Grandad tries to cajole him into attending his choir every week so he can't be as talentless as he thinks. So that's the extent of musical talent in our household. Our abilities in the musical instruments department are even more limited and reach no further than maracas and the good old tambourine. So we don't have to worry about humiliating ourselves in front of Simon Cowell anytime soon.
Thomas on the other hand has recently found his voice and loves to sing. I love hearing his little voice piecing all the words together. Sadly he won't be auditioning for 'Britain's Got Talent' anytime soon either. But I have to give him credit, what he lacks in talent he certainly makes up for in volume! The other day he was singing the Bob the Builder theme tune repeatedly at about 8 million decibels, (Let's face it that song is annoying enough sung just one time through quietly let alone when put on repeat, ultra loud and out of key) so I asked him if he could please sing it a little bit quieter.
He just looked at me and said, "No mummy I have to sing it this loud, it's the best this way!" and so he continued.
How can I argue with that? So we just agree to disagree.
OK, so the unthinkable occurred we (meaning I!) lost one of Eli's much adored penguins. We have a Gee-Gee officially MIA people! This is a massive disaster. How I managed to lose it I have no idea, knowing how attached Eli is to them I watch those stuffed little penguins like they are crafted from pure gold and then encrusted with diamonds! But alas I am not as responsible as I thought. He had it when we left Rob's mum's house and when we came inside at home it had vanished. It was dark, cold, windy and rainy (my 4 least favourite conditions) so I just assumed that he'd dropped it in the car and I planned on retrieving it the next day. I sufficiently fooled him with the three other skinny penguins and the remaining fuller figured penguin in his cot so he didn't even notice right away.
The next day I went to liberate the missing penguin from his overnight stay in the car. He wasn't there! So we either lost him getting into the car or getting out, but he simply vanished without a trace! We can only hope he is now happy in stuffed toy penguin heaven!
Hooray for my mum who had an emergency replacement waiting at her house and mailed it out ASAP. So now thanks to Royal Mail we have filled our penguin quota once more. Eli is currently a very contented child once again toddling around with both penguins secured in his mouth by their beaks. Long may it continue.
The other day at a crucial point in 'The Wonderpets' a catastrophe occurred. Our electricity went out. Thomas was not thrilled but considering this was the 3267th episode (slight exaggeration but certainly feels like that many!) he'd seen you'd imagine he'd just accept that the wonderful Duckling (who can fly), Guinea Pig (who can swim) and Terrapin (who has a snazzy shoe collection!) are gonna inevitably save the Hippo, Beaver, Dragon or whatever lucky creature happens to be in need of help from a flying duckling, swimming guinea pig and a shoe wearing Terrapin! But no, he wasn't happy to come to that conclusion by himself at all.
I called the Electricity provider who informed me that it'd be off for probably an hour, the cause being a blown cable somewhere close by. The list of things you can do with zero electricity is far shorter than I imagined. Luckily Rob was home and seeming as the only modern day luxury we had left was hot water he decided to take the boys to play outside in the garden in the rain. Boys are great like that a few drops of rain or even a torrential downpour are not going to stop them having fun in the garden.
Rob being just like every man I know (a child on the inside) decided that while they were getting wet they may as well have the best possible fun in the process. So he took them to the park across the road to jump in muddy puddles. Which they of course adored and request a repeat of the experience regularly.
I'm just grateful that we did have hot water and a fully restored power supply for our washing machine when they arrived home. I just wish Eli's coat wasn't dry clean only and caked in mud. Bring on Summer and then I can just throw it away! But in the meantime every time I hear that 'Wonderpets' theme tune I keep my fingers crossed for another power cut!
I have never been much of a drinker. Generally I'll have a drink with lunch and again with dinner, sometimes I'll just go crazy and have a third (all of which I prefer to be caffeinated!). I just don't feel thirsty so what's the point? Now, I am fully aware that one of the key signs of dehydration is a lack of thirst. But really are you telling me the more I drink the more thirsty I'll actually become? Is that even possible? Well I am always on the lookout for ways to become more healthy that require very little effort from me. (Hence why exercise is a big no-no!)
So, I looked at what the benefits are of drinking more water:
Righto I'll have to finish there. I need to go pee............again!
I started this project last June. I am fully aware in that much time I could have grown an actual human being in my uterus (though thankfully I didn't!) but as Summer ended and the evenings grew darker I found it so much more fulfilling to cosy up on the sofa in the evenings with a big bar of chocolate. The project was literally 10 minutes away from completion at this point but still it spent Winter hibernating on top of Eli's wardrobe collecting dust. Until last night when I finally got it finished, after 10 whole minutes! So it's a quilt for Thomas as you can see by my splendid hand embroidery of his name (I know you're thinking you had no idea I was this talented, but it's rude to think that!)
Finally for those of you that think that despite taking 4 or 5 months off to account for those Winter months (that I devoted to comfort eating and sitting on my backside) that this was still a phenomenally long project I'd like to point out that every single stitch on the picture below was hand stitched by me. Bring on the next project....which incidentally is a quilt intended as a Christmas gift in 2007, I guess it'll be just as happily received at Christmas in 2008 (or even 2009!).
Clearly my boys thought long and hard (which I know is an impossibility for a three and one year old but still) about what would be the best gift they could personally get me for Mother's Day. The gift was given on Tuesday afternoon when we went to the local play gym for 180 minutes, I wasn't required to embarrassingly apologise to any parents for the entire duration of our visit. Miraculous!
I don't mean to paint the picture that my sons are complete hooligans but this is the first time in a gazillion years that one or both of them haven't made another child cry. It's kind of inevitable that a room with a vast array of toys is going to cause some level conflict amongst the under 3's. Thomas is at the age where he'd prefer not to share and will retaliate but only if someone tries to take a toy away from him. Eli has the temperament that requires biting as a defense mechanism (which is showing signs of improvement as he currently prefers to bite his own arm when he's mad, it's not ideal but I'll take it!).
Too bad I'll probably have to wait another gazillion years for a repeat of it. But for three hours I got to bask in the smug glory of having children who play perfectly with others and even got to experience being apologised to (which was actually a very pleasant change). So there you have it, best Mother's Day gift ever!
In the next town over from us there is a children's museum. We have an annual pass that gives us the opportunity to go as many times as we'd like for free. Now that is worth cheering about so.....Hooray!! We regularly frequent 'Eureka' particularly in Winter when I would actually rather chew my arm off than play outside. The boys love it and it often kills a few hours when they're stir crazy, thus saving my sanity. Plus it's all educational so I can feel smug about my parenting choices. It really is win-win!
On our last visit we went on a Saturday which I generally try to avoid due to the fact that a three and one year old are generally treated like skittles by the much older children. Fortunately this Saturday they were having a 'Bollywood dance event' so most of the older kids were engrossed in that, as were most of the fathers who were happily watching the scantily clad ladies gyrate on stage. Pah!
Somehow during this visit we came into close proximity with a lady and her daughter. She was immediately annoying to me and try as I might wherever we went there she was. Without even speaking to her I came to the knowledge that she was an older parent visiting her even older parents with her only child, five year old Emily. (I did mention we were in close proximity plus I'm what I like to call inquisitive!)
Anyhow the museum is educational and I personally think kids learn best when they're having fun. My boys favourite part is the real world part where they get to play in a kid size bank, post office, garage and supermarket. They love it. We don't generally do things in the right order I let them take the lead and should a teaching opportunity arise I take it with both hands. My number one objective is that they have a good time. (With a little dash of sanity saving thrown in just for me!)
My number one objective and Emily's mum's number one objective were clearly poles apart. We met them first in the kids size 'Mark's and Spencer's' they had already been to the bank to get a 'reasonable' amount of money to go to the supermarket. On arrival Emily went straight to get a trolley and attempted to start piling her trolley high with goodies. (Plastic vegetables weren't an option as Eli already had every single one in his own trolley!) Her mum intervened. Explained that hey weren't there to play and that shopping is a serious task and Emily needed to choose five items to make a healthy meal. Emily looked disheartened and appealed to her mother who insisted she get on with the task in hand. So she did. She came back to her mum with five items, her mum looked at what she had and told her that those five items were far too expensive. They only had five Eureka pounds from the Eureka bank. She then went on to explain at great length about budgeting and the downward debt spiral that results if we spend over our designated budget. The whole speech got me panicked it was so brutal. The whole time my boys were happily filling and emptying their trolleys and I was happy to see them happy. Thoroughly depressed about the 'downward debt spiral' I moved on.
We next went to the garage. The boys were happily playing in a car each. Thomas was changing a tyre and Eli was filling his car with petrol. Then Emily's mum arrived. Emily went straight to the cash counter to play with the till. She was immediately redirected because it's not realistic to go to a garage and pay before you have even bought anything. So her mum set her another mundane task that took all the fun from playing. Eli had filled his car with petrol and instead of going straight to pay (gasp!) he went off and left the garage (Clearly a future life as a criminal awaits). Emily saw the pump was free and asked if she could go buy petrol. Her mum declined and explained that people that don't follow tasks through to the very end don't do very well in life and end up disappointed eventually. So Emily carried on with her task to the very end. (Obviously I rolled my eyes at my mum every time the Nazi mother spoke. Little things like that make me feel better.)
Next was the Post Office. Emily came in and said she wanted to 'PLAY' in the Post office. Not to worry though her mum was on hand to explain how life isn't about playing. It's about learning and learning isn't supposed to be fun. Learning is serious.
Soon after we left. I couldn't help feeling she was seriously wrong. I actually came away feeling much better about how I parent my children. Downward debt spiral and future life disappointment obviously pending I'm just happy my kids are happy.
I may have mentioned previously that Thomas has a tendency to be a tad dramatic. I am fully aware he has inherited this from me. (I am not completely ashamed to admit that I have drafted in my finely tuned brain a plan of action should anyone break into our house at night when Rob is away on business. I almost had to use it once when I was awoken in the night by what I thought was a burglar jingling keys but was actually a bee rattling around inside our living room lampshade repeatedly.) The weather has been unusually blustery lately and we have a telegraph pole at the end of our drive, this pole is huge! A wooden pole tens of metres high holding up telephone cables for us and our neighbours. When you look at the top of the pole on a windy day it is blowing around somewhat but is so obviously safely rooted in the ground. I was getting the kids into the car one morning and it attracted the attention of Thomas who was a bit concerned by it moving slightly in the wind. I reassured him and off we went wherever we were going.
That evening when Rob got home from work he stayed in the car for a while finishing up a phone call in peace, the boys kept looking out to see if he was coming in yet. It was still windy and Thomas noticed the telegraph pole swaying slightly in the wind again. Full panic set in that it was going to fall down crushing his daddy in the process. Now when I say he became hysterical attempting to save his dad from an untimely death I am not being in the least bit dramatic. His adrenaline clearly kicked in because he managed to shrug me off easily and I couldn't pull him off the door that he'd managed to unlock and open amid screams of frenzy.
Rob came in and attempted to rationalise that the pole was going nowhere but Thomas remained unconvinced. We had repeated outbursts of hysteria and concern that the pole would either knock our house down or hit daddy (apparently he had little concern for either mine or Eli's welfare) until he fell asleep cuddling Rob. We were certain the episodes were fatigue induced so let him rest a little. Rob tried to lay him on his bed but he woke up and expressed his concerns that we were in danger (at this point I was slightly anxious that maybe he had some visionary gift and we were in actual danger and so had to go peek at the pole for myself to make sure it wasn't endangering us!) he decided he would be most safe if he laid in bed and whimpered on and off. (After all that is the best course of action in any crisis, he certainly had his drama head on.) We hoped he'd sleep it off and it'd all be forgotten the next day. Little kids are resilient like that, thankfully. (Counting my lucky stars that he slept through our earthquake at 1am that night!)
But not so! Rob tried a new approach of taking him outside to push the pole with Daddy to show that it was too sturdy to be pushed over so it wasn't gonna just fall over. This would work for an hour or so then we'd have to repeat the process. It was a particularly lazy day for me so I had to go out several times in my PJ's to push the pole to assure my child of our safety.
The next day Thomas had playgroup and because Sunday is Mother's day they had several Mother crafts on offer for the kids to try. One was a cookie which they stuck a big pink icing star on and put it in an envelope to give to their mum's. Obviously Thomas couldn't resist the lure of the deliciously decorated cookie and failed to give it to it's intended recipient and proceeded to eat it in the car on the way home. When we pulled onto the drive he gave me his cookie, I made the assumption that he'd had enough of the super sickly icing. As I got out of the car and went to the other side to open the door for the boys I tossed it in the bin. As I opened his car door hysteria had set in again, he needed to give the pole a good shove to check on the safety of our home and family. When he was sufficiently convinced enough to stop crying he asked for his cookie back. Turns out he didn't give it to me to throw away he gave it to me for safekeeping while he monitored the safety of us all. I had to explain his beloved cookie was now in the bin. What followed was a devastation worse than if both our house and daddy had got squashed. He was so upset and I felt so guilty I half considered rescuing the half eaten cookie from the bin. What kind of a parent throws away their son's cookie while he attempts to establish if his loved ones are in total and mortal danger?
Well, in my defense if he'd given me the cookie as I anticipated in the first place the whole incident could have been avoided.
Check out the hair on this guy! As an infant Eli had this olive complexion and tres dark hair that secured him the affectionate nickname of Asad from my in laws. Then one day his hair started getting curly and unruly (courtesy of the Uttley family) and he was no longer referred to as one of Pakistan origin but instead as a child of Italy. Which I vastly preferred! On a recent trip to get him a haircut (of which there have been many) he seemed somewhat disgruntled. The girl assigned to Eli I suspect had very little experience with children in her whole two years working experience. The minute she started cutting he started muttering some objections. At first quietly gradually increasing in volume. Every time he would object she would stop and wait for him to compose himself and then continue. When I insisted she really didn't need to do that and that we should just get the ordeal over and done with as quickly as possible she looked at me like I had eight heads. So she continued to leisurely cut his hair. Five minutes in he'd well and truly grasped that if he objected enough she'd put the scissors down and he's be saved from any more haircut torture. Ten minutes in when she'd cut about 6 hairs in total I had to insist that she just carry on regardless of his objections. She looked uncomfortable about it but she did as I asked.
So I wrestled with Eli (I actually think he might be stronger than me already!) while she attempted to cut his unruly mop while he screamed and screamed and SCREAMED. It was embarrassing but fortunately they had no other customers and the only other people there were two other staff who appeared to have the combined age of about 21. So I sat there in the chair attempting to immobilise my toddler who was behaving like we were trying to rob him of his Samsonesque powers.
About every 20 seconds when Eli would wrestle a hand free he would hit the hairdresser and shout "NO!!!" before resuming to full screaming mode. During this visit I considered leaving about 3,653 times but seeming as I knew I'd have to pay regardless I was committed to getting value for my £6! Until a lady came in who had been to the bakery 3 shops along and happily told us how she could hear his blood curdling screams while she ordered her lunch. I was defeated. His hair was about 70% cut which was better than nothing so I paid and left. I tried my best to make him look presentable when I got home. He of course resisted. Let's just hope he looks cute with Samsonesque hair because I am certainly never enduring a repeat experience of that.
In future I'll just inviest my £6 in chocolate and put a hat on Eli! Win-Win!
Thomas and I were playing a good game of snap yesterday. Well as fine a game of snap as you can play with a 3 year old who disregards all the rules and insists that Chick Hicks and Mater are a pair regardless of any attempts to convince him otherwise. Eli wanted to join in (roughly translates as Eli wanted to destroy everything) but Thomas rejected his attempts and said he couldn't play because he's a baby.
Eli is 21 Months, he's gigantic. It's hard to consider him a baby anymore. So I explained that Eli really isn't like a baby anymore and that maybe we should get a new baby. Thomas was all for it. I asked if he'd like a girl baby or a boy baby to come live with us. His preference was for a girl. So I asked what name he thought she should have. I didn't expect his reply to be anything particularly normal because after all he is only three. He pondered for a very long time, I half expected him to say Neve. Neve is after all his best friend.
Instead he said, "Helicopter!" Looking very pleased with his idea.
"Helicopter isn't really an name though is it Thomas?"
"OK, get two babies and we call them Buzz and Woody!"
I don't know which appalled me more the future thought of Thomas insisting we call our offspring Buzz or Woody (which are at least names!) or the thought of actually having twins! Maybe I'm happy with just my two kids after all!