Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Parenting With an Iron fist.

I like to follow things through to the letter. I read books and apply them exactly as directed. Therefore when I read Supernanny's book I followed her instructions and started that naughty spot technique at 2.5 years. Her reasoning that before that a child doesn't understand cause and effect so it is a pointless exercise.

Then I experienced yesterday. Eli bit a six year old at the playgym. In his defence she was in the under 3's area and she did push him. But in her defence that child is an animal. So I got to face apologising to another parent. This one was a tad more white trash so wasn't really even that bothered (such a relief!). She seemed more upset that her child's cries had made her have to vacate her very comfy chair.

While I was cooking dinner he bit Thomas (again!) and I remembered that my dear friend and esteemed mummy Heidi had said she puts her kids on the naughty spot from 18 months (she's hardcore like that). So I decided to follow her rather splendid example and do the same. (After all what does that Supernanny know? She doesn't even have children!) So he sat and felt sorry for himself for 90 seconds. I went through the whole process like a pro, frankly because I am a pro! I got to the part where afterwards I explain why he was put on the naughty spot and demand an apology.

Me:"So what do you say???"

Eli (Hopefully):"Please?"

I had just demanded an apology from a child who hasn't even mastered saying the word sorry in his 21 months. A parenting low point.

Did I feel bad? Yes.

Would I do it again? Yes indeed, probably today.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Penguin Junkie

This is Gee-Gee (that is Eli language for penguin). My mum gave Eli Gee-Gee number one not long after he was born. A freebie courtesy of those lovely people at 'Comfort' at the time of the release of 'Happy Feet' at the cinema. Eli took a liking to his little buddy straight away. Gee-Gee went everywhere Eli did. When he crawled he carried Gee-Gee by putting his leathery beak in his mouth and clasping it with his teeth, which also enabled him some hands free playtime. When he was tired he rubbed Gee-Gee's beak on his face beside his nose and under his eye. My mum saw how attached he was to his penguin pal so called the nice people at 'Comfort' and requested another freebie. So, then there were two. Which meant Gee-Gee number one could have a long overdue bath (saliva takes it's toll eventually) in the washing machine while his owner looked on with grave concern whilst clutching Gee-Gee number two! After we had two they just kept coming, ladies at church gave them to him and soon we had a waddle (Thank you Wikipedia!) of penguins in our home. Occasionally we'd lose one and I've have to go back to the supermarket and ask if anyone had handed in a diseased looking penguin. Eventually I realised if I let him take the scabbiest looking one out in public and we lost it we still had a plethora of them back at home so no big deal.Then one day my mum came with this Gee-Gee, this one was a freebie from those lovely people at 'Persil' when Happy Feet was released. This one was far cuter so my mum had initially kept it for herself (selfish I know!). Before long Eli realised the benefits of a fuller figured Gee-Gee and now vastly prefers this one and his identical twin which was also kindly donated to our penguin refuge.
This is our waddle of penguins. Several are currently MIA, which means I left them at Tesco or at Church or really just about anywhere, but think five is sufficient for any household.
One boy and his Gee-Gee! When he's tired he asks for Gee-Gee, when he's upset he asks for Gee-Gee. Thomas did adopt a disgusting looking bear for about 3 hours and called it his Goo-Goo, thank goodness it never continued.
At bedtime he sleeps with them all. He likes best to fall asleep with them all on his face whilst making a noise that I can only describe as pure ecstasy! (Please note Penguin blanket and larger but far less favourable penguin in the top left corner). When I say Junkie I mean it!
When you're one of Eli's favourite people you get the added bonus of 'Gee-Gee love' this is where he makes you hold Gee-Gee by his beak in your mouth and then he leans on the penguin and moans. It is a tad disturbing and I'm not particularly thrilled to have to put a penguins beak in my mouth that has been in several other peoples mouths! But that's the price you pay for being one of the penguin junkie's favourite people!

Friday, 22 February 2008

Welcome, Weekend!

Eli has recently developed a fascination with his nappy and it's contents. He does have the XY chromosome combination so it's only to be expected! I feel like I spend most of my time saying "Eli get your hand out of your butt, now!" (We're bilingual in our home, we like to freely use words from both English and American English vocabularies!) He usually declines. Unless we're in public, he seems to get that the general public do not want to see a 21 month old scratching his backside all the live long day.

I was busy preparing dinner and letting the boys watch 'Max and Ruby' in hope that they'd get so engrossed they'd leave me to cook in peace. The kitchen and living room are essentially the same room so I can keep a watchful eye on them no problem. Well usually I can.

I hear Thomas ask, "Mum, what's that!?"

I'm in the throws of serving up dinner and as I glance around I see Eli rubbing something brown into the laminate floor (hooray for no carpet!). My first thought is chocolate, maybe out of hope or naivete or simply because I'm not above bribing them with chocolate to get a window of opportunity to gets things done. Obviously it wasn't chocolate, it was indeed Poo!! Total appetite killer by the way. Yippee for that lovely husband of mine who came to the rescue and cleaned the kid up as he chanted over and over "Bye, bye Poo!"

That is exactly why I welcome the weekend so merrily cos for the next 48-ish hours I have my fellow team mate on board! Even better tomorrow we get to attend a wedding without any kids. So no filling my bag with books and bribes and wrestling with kids. Instead I actually get time with Rob on our own (well with 100+ other people because it is after all a wedding, but still!), once again welcome to the weekend and here's to hoping that Eli doesn't do the same at Grandma's house tomorrow!

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Naughty Spot

I am a big fan of that Supernanny lady. Considering she's never actually been a parent I think it's genius what this lady knows about raising kids.

I love watching her show for 2 reasons:

  1. I never fail to feel like I deserve a parenting award after watching the parenting efforts of those people happily parading their failures.

  2. It gives me an immense amount of pleasure to know that even on their very worst behaviour my kids are better behaved than those peoples kids on their best behaviour. (I actually think I deserve an award for that too!)

I also love how glossy the US version is compared to the UK version. They certainly make having hellish kids look a lot more glam across the Atlantic ocean. Here it appears more miserable with plenty more swearing from both parents and children. (Did I mention how proud I am of being British? Thought not!)

I am a huge enforcer of the Naughty Step technique, except we live in a bungalow so we have a designated naughty spot instead. (Thanks again Jo-Jo!) It's amazing the clarity a three year old can gain from 3 minutes spent in the naughty place.

Eli at 21 Months is envious of Thomas' naughty spot experiences and frequently takes himself off to sit on it whenever he gets told off. I'm sure when I'm the one putting the little monkey there he won't be nearly so keen. But, I'm sure he'll get used to it due to the fact that I'm convinced he'll be a far more frequent visitor than his older brother.

Eli's favourite naughty spot pass time is to take toys and sit close by to Thomas, just to make the punishment a little more bitter. Or else he just tries to sit on Thomas while he's doing his time, usually doing a cry of total mockery. Eli is nice like that!

Yesterday Thomas was playing with a toy Hippo that has a lever that opens the jaws. Rob is accustomed to whipping the boys into a total frenzy by chasing them with the Hippo who bites them. So, the Hippo hurt him (well actually he hurt himself because he was after all controlling the Hippo), when he complained I said 'Naughty Hippo!'

Then it happened....

"I put you on naughty spot because you naughty, you bit me you naughty hippo and thats naughty"

I figured he'd lose interest and go play with one of the other gazillion toys in his room. He didn't. He waited. He played out the whole naughty spot process perfectly. Glad to see I have raised a Hippo disciplinarian. The reprimanded hippo even had to say sorry and give Thomas a kiss before he was promptly warned if he did it again he'd go back to the naughty spot right away. Then he was discarded in favour of some other toy. Which is where my naughty spot technique and his differ I promise!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

The Bad Parenting Chronicles: Part 2

I may be weird but I really really love grocery shopping, particularly alone.

I enjoy it with one child in tow.

I abhor it with both kids.

We have those shopping trolleys with two seats at the front so both of my boys could fit in. I realised long ago that I could avoid the wrestling bouts that inevitably led to at least one but usually two crying kids if I let Eli ride up front and put Thomas in the trolley with the food. Obviously it means that all my groceries are squashed beyond repair but it makes for a more peaceful shopping experience overall so I'm willing to live with the mishapen food. I'm all about sacrifice!

In September Thomas started playgroup three (bliss-filled) mornings a week. This was my window of opportunity to have a somewhat peaceful weekly visit to the supermarket with just Eli. Who is generally spellbound by the huge selection of food (the kids loves food!) surrounding him anyway.

Sadly playgroup isn't open 52 weeks a year so unfortunately I recently had to go shopping with both boys. I reverted to my old habits of putting Eli up front and Thomas in with the food, sadly my tactic no longer worked. Thomas realised that he could torment Eli all he liked and Eli was confined and unable to defend himself. He poked, pushed, tickled (a tickle from a 3 year old is purely painful by the way) and grabbed poor Eli over and over and over.

After several threats of, "If you don't leave your brother alone I will get you out and make you walk alongside me!" (Which he'd hate, the kid got my lazy gene!) I hear a big scream from Thomas. Turns out he poked his younger sibling one too many times in the mouth and this time Eli clamped onto that finger and certainly planned not to let go for the forseeable future. Everyone has their limits I guess.

I removed his finger from Eli's jaw and explained that it was his own fault for annoying Eli incessantly despite me telling him not to. That if he'd only listened to Mummy (because obviously I am always right!) and been good it never would have happened. So I took my still whimpering child from the trolley and made him walk alongside me as previously threatened.

"Ouch!!!!!!!"(followed by ultra loud wailing and hysteria)

(Slightly confused)"What's wrong Thomas?"

"You bit me Mummy, I want Daddy, I want Daddy, I want DAAAADDDDDDDDDDDDY!" (X what felt like 40 times!)

"Mummy did not bite you Thomas, Eli bit you because you poked him in his mouth" (Just loud enough for those giving me accusing looks to hear).

Here I was again being embarrassed in public for something I hadn't even done. Obviously he cried and yelled for daddy for the duration of the shopping trip. Well, right until I asked him to help me like a big boy at the check out to put all the groceries on the conveyer belt. Where he threw a glass jar of pasta sauce at the conveyer belt but missed completely. Hitting the floor instead, where it smashed spectacularly, covering the groceries, Thomas, Eli, the check out lady and myself in tomato and garlic sauce.

Never ever, ever again will I take them both. I'd actually rather go without food than endure that again. Now I plan on spacing out all of my future children so I only ever have to go to the supermarket with one child accompanying me.

Vain Repetitions

When it comes to saying prayers Thomas enjoys a variety of the completely inaudible and vain repetitions.

Without fail when he prays he will say this,

"Thank you for chocolate and Church."

Amen to that!!

That's my boy!

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Experiencing the inevitable

I am the proud parent of a child who has been potty trained since Mid-December. I had been expecting what we experienced today, it was inevitable. But I just wish it hadn't been inevitable today. That we could have put it off another year or two.

So we were out shopping and half way round the shop I hear,

"Mummy I need Pee Pee!!!

"Can you hold it in?"

"I need Pee Pee!"

I scanned around hoping to see a toilet sign but knowing deep down inside that there would be no such thing. Also knowing that the nearest toilet was a car journey away. So I had to succumb and be one of those mothers who takes their child outside to pee in public. This is humiliating to me, but what can you do? Neither of the following options are appealing, a public pee or peeing his pants in public. So I went with the option that didn't add to my huge pile of laundry resembling the Himalayas.

So I took him outside to get it over and done with and preferably before he got his urination over and done with in his pants.

"Mum, I wanna go pee pee in there! (Pointing at the shop I just left as we head to the car)

We arrive at the car and go round the front of it so we're secluded partly by the car and against a wall.

"But Mummy this isn't a toilet!"

I try to explain that it's perfectly fine to pee in a car park when there are no toilets, even though I don't for a second believe it. I soon realise that this isn't a good opportunity to teach him to pee standing up. He looked at me like I was a lunatic. So I pick him up by the backs of his knees try to aim his hose so that neither of us get pee on us. (Much to my dismay I realise now that shoppers use the walkway between my car and the wall where we are trying to pee as a shortcut to the entrance, like that doesn't make this experience a million times more mortifying!)

"Mummy this is not a toilet!"

"I know Thomas but you need to go pee so just do it it's fine, it's ok!


"Ok you hold it in like a good boy and we'll go find a toilet quickly!"

So we jump in the car and head to a nearby Supermarket to use their facilities. Obviously Supermarkets are heaving on Saturday afternoons. Nowhere to park so I have to pull up at the entrance (Dukes of Hazzrd style obviously!) get my mum to take him to the toilet while I wait in the car.

Predictably he does the smallest pee ever in the history of the human race. Ironically if I had made him hold it until he could hold it no longer I bet it would've been a pee comparable to that of a giant horse or Niagara Falls.

He gets back in the car,

"Mum, I did it!"

"Good boy!"

(With disgust!) "I pee in toilet, not in car park!"

Next time I'll just avoid the major humiliation and let him pee his pants!

Friday, 15 February 2008

While the Cat's away...

So Rob left this morning for a weekend in the French Alps with his younger brother Tom. A snowboarding break funded by his parents. You'd imagine in his absence I'd feel fairly hard done to, but not so at all!

My Fairy Godmother (aka my mum!) arrived yesterday afternoon and is staying until Tuesday! This is BETTER than the French Alps by far. Plus I don't have cold and snow to contend with which is a major plus in my book. Plus isn't snowboarding exercise? I don't dabble in exercise either.

My mum being here means I have a 24 hour helper on board and good company to boot. It means that I am possibly the 1st or 2nd person I get dressed in the morning as opposed to my usual rank of 3rd. It means I have 50% or less nappy changes, washing up, reading of the same books over and over and I generally only have to wrestle one child into their carseat instead of my usual two. Sadly but truly this is the good life!

At this rate I might never want Rob to come back.

Or at the very least get my mum to stay forever!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Names, Names, Names!

I wish I were one of those people who could name their kids whatever they liked and didn't care what people thought. I am becoming one of those people but very slowly. I have a friend who named her firstborn Fabien and I wondered if she was losing her mind, though of course I never told her that, I obviously said I adored it! (I'm a excellent friend like that!) Fabien is now 4 and he suits his name perfectly. She just recently had her 3rd baby and called him Ephraim, I hardly batted an eye because I know as I get to know this child I'll equally love his name.

Celebrities are in a league of their own when they name their kids and they ruthlessly just don't care. There's Gwyneth and Mr Coldplay with Apple and Moses, Ginger Spice with Bluebell Madonna and some woman who used to be in Eastenders called her daughter Tallulah. Any child's names are gonna sound normal in comparison to those.

I had planned during my mission for my Church that I'd name my girls after my most revered companions. So far our house only gets fueled with testosterone which is maybe a blessing because no offense to my most lovely friends but I'm not sure I could live with the names Jodi, Heidi, Amy and Alisha. Plus there is no chance I am reproducing 4 more times and I just couldn't leave one, two or three of them out. It just wouldn't be fair.

So, before we were even married we were talking about baby names with my in laws. We said we really liked the name Caleb for a boy. (I wish I could say that this is because of Caleb from the Bible but instead it's because of Caleb from the movie The Skulls, in my book hot guys and biblical characters have the same standing!) My in laws couldn't quite hide their utter dislike for it. Before I was even pregnant it became a family joke so much so that by the time we found out Thomas was a boy (I don't do surprises!) the name was utterly ruined for us. So then we had to find an alternative. I'd like to say I had some great reason to call him Thomas. I've always liked the idea of having a reason behind the name. For instance Thomas is the 4th generation of Siswick to have James as a middle name. He shares it with his Dad, Grandad and Great Grandad. So one day at work my mind was occupied with this very matter and I was addressing appointment cards for people to come and have CT scans. I addressed one to a Thomas somebody and decided then that we'd call our first baby that. Plus I knew the in laws would approve because they named their 6th child the very same thing. Of course the idea baffled other family members due to the fact that having two Thomas Siswick's in the family could cause some confusion. So far it hasn't. I always seem to bring the right Thomas home from church and from the in laws house. So far so good!

So during pregnancy number 2 we discussed names. Caleb was still ruined for us and we couldn't decide. One night we were calling out for Chinese. Rob wanted me to go pick it up and I wanted him to go. In the end I made a bargain that if he went he could choose the name for this baby. So he did. I chose his middle name after my father, David, and baby ended up being called Eli. I am frankly surprised by the amount of people who have never heard this name. Especially when they're religious people. Hello!!!!!! Do you not know the story of Hannah taking baby Samuel to Eli??

The thing that frustrates me most about Eli's name is that we named him such when alternative spelling of names is becoming ultra popular. This malarkey has been going on in the states for a while but here it is just getting up and running. So whenever we go some place new and they don't know Eli, he gets called Ellie. People think I'm just a hip parent who wanted to change the traditional spelling. Which would be fine if Eli were a girl but he's not. But still fairly routinely gets called a girls name. (No wonder he's so angry all the time!!) Like today we went to pick up some antibiotics for his ear infection we'd been to get his medication at this place before so they had his details handily on the computer.

While I was waiting the lady came out and said: "Is IT a boy?"
Me: (Thinking she's insane) "Yes (Isn't that obvious?)"
Lady:(Thinking I'm insane) "But he's called Ellie?!!"
Me: "No he's called Eli and he's a boy!"
Lady: "Oh you hadn't made that very clear......."

How clear am I supposed to make it? Enter every room saying, "This is my son ELI and he is a BOY, just to avoid any confusion on your behalf!" If only I had gone out for the Chinese that night this whole thing would never happen every time we go anywhere.

If only we had named him something normal like John!

Now that you're 3

So Thomas has been to the doctors today (incidentally so has Eli....flaming Siswick gene pool and it's ear infections!) and got a super huge congratulations on being potty trained. I actually think the Doctor was more thrilled than I was and believe me 2 months on I am still ecstatic that my nappy changing quota has been halved. I almost feel brave enough to attempt it with Eli in the Summer but just typing that made me feel like throwing up a little bit. Just thinking about uncontrollable urination really fires up my stress levels.

Anyhow his new stats are that he is 92.6 cm tall (that's 36.5 inches for the old British folks and the Americans who can't understand the metric system even though it is far easier and all the numbers are so much tidier, I like that everything is in factors of 10). He's also 14.8 Kg, for everybody normal on the earth including myself that is 32.5 pounds I don't understand Kilograms at all but thats what we get for agreeing to be part of the European Union, clearly Kg's alone should've been reason enough to decline! Well and the French and the Germans but that's just stating the obvious!

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Is Peter Parker in Residence?

Ok so yesterday we got a new wardrobe for the boys room. It's huge, taller even than I am. Now I am not of giant proportions but feel it in comparison to those dainty petite ladies that make up the rest of the family. For example my Mother in law has size 3 (sometimes 2.5) feet, mine are size 8 on a good day. I had size 3 feet when I was 10 years old. I feel justifiably like bigfoot in the company of these people (but without the excessive body hair). Ok, so I digress......

Back to the point. With the wardrobe installed I tidied the boys room up and put Thomas's church bag on top of the wardrobe. Now I do this in the vain hope that if he only gets to play with the contents of that bag at church for an hour a week that he'll be so engrossed for that whole hour that I can have a stress free Church experience. (If such a thing is even possible with 2 kids under 3!) Too bad it doesn't ever work and if it did I'd still have Eli to contend with anyhow.

So I went into their room later and found the bag on his bed, contents splayed all over. There is no way he could've climbed up there. It isn't near any other pieces of furniture, no way he could have used the wardrobe as a makeshift ladder, it is just not possible.

So of the many things he's gained from the Siswick/Adams gene pool I'm assuming Spidermanesque powers are the most impressive. Should he start showing an interest in wearing lycra I'll be really suspicious!

Monday, 11 February 2008

Man Baby

This is what I sleep with. (Well not an actual picture of what I sleep with. Rob wouldn't actually allow me to take a picture of him wearing his, something about making a mockery of him. Would I?)

This is what Rob's eldest sisters got him, his younger brother (aged 15) and his dad for Christmas, just what every man needs-a onesie!

Super fleecy, super cosy and super warm. His official best Christmas gift EVER!

My very first thought when I saw Rob wearing the offensive item was 'If he's wearing that to bed there is zero possibility of ever enlarging our family!'

Rob had desired one of these fleecy garments forever. I certainly think my boys look cute in theirs but a grown man? No way! It just shouldn't happen.

I still laugh out loud recalling the night that I was rudely awoken by Rob banging and stumbling around our bedroom.

In my half awake state I said "What on earth are you doing most lovely husband?" (Or something not quite so kind because I LOVE my sleep and had been rudely interrupted!)

He replied with exasperation in his voice, "I'm trying to put my onesie on and it's difficult!"

Too right it is! Those things are tricky in broad daylight let alone in the dark at the end of a long day.

The initial thought of sleeping with a man size toddler was an untempting prospect. But, I admit the fleecy onesie has grown on me. It certainly is nice to snuggle with and I can put my chilly feet on him and receive no complaint. So now three of our household wear fleecy onesies to bed. Two toddlers and a man baby.

A trend I shall not be following!

Saturday, 9 February 2008

A day out with Thomas

Yesterday we indulged the boys obsession for all things Thomas the Tank Engine by taking them to York for a day out with Thomas and his friends. Obviously the boys were thrilled and what 3 & 1 year olds wouldn't be? They got to meet the Fat Controller and see the trains that barely resembled the real thing, good thing toddlers are easily fooled! Here are the boys and Rob posing with Percy (supposedly) after our ride on Annie and Clarabel.
Watching Diesel arrive, shunting troublesome trucks. Below meeting the Fat Controller and Thomas himself.
Eli waving the flag stopped smiling the second I got the camera on him, typical!

The Bad Parenting Chronicles: Part 1

I am the happy owner of one of these buggy board contraptions. This piece of plastic has improved my life immeasurably. Having purchased an array of double buggies (ok well only 2) that are cumbersome and heavy and impossible to maneuver unless you have the muscle strength of the Ultimate Warrior, which I certainly lack. We decided to shell out even more money (it grows on trees, right?) and buy the buggy board. The buggy board has many advantages but one major disadvantage. Disadvantage being that you no longer have the peace of mind that you can strap your little angels in and know unless they're a budding Houdini that they'll remain happily(?) confined for the remainder of your trip. Take a toddler into a shop that sells toys on the buggy board and you have an entirely different experience. A toddlers feet and the buggy board part company faster than the speed of light. Now, that is fast!

So on a recent trip to town the following occurred:

Thomas had parted company with his board and I was getting ready to leave the shop so asked him to get back on so we could go. He resisted due to the array of toys that were on display. So I firmly but quietly (I don't wanna be one of those parents that yells in public, that'd be embarrassing!) insisted he get back on his board immediately. Which he did and I was pleased that I had won this particular battle and coud happily be on my way.

If only the story ended here. To my utter humiliation this was the outcome.

Thomas (loud): "Sorry, sorry Mummy please don't shut me in that room again!"

Me (a little bit confused) "Shhhhh....It's OK Thomas we're going home now and I'll get you a gingerbread man on the way to the car". (I am a great believer in bribery to diffuse a situation).

Thomas (louder): No, no please don't shut me in the bathroom, don't shut that door on me, please, please!"

Me (Even louder wanting to make sure everyone was aware that I am not guilty of the atrocities my child is accusing me of): "Thomas don't be so silly, Mummy would never and has NEVER done that, mummy loves you!"

Thomas: "PLEASE MUM, I'm sorry please don't shut me in that room again!"

By this time I had quickened my pace considerably in a bid to be free of my humiliation. Needless to say I don't frequent that shop anymore and only go to town when Thomas is at playgroup to avoid a repeat experience.

I have never shut him in the bathroom or any room, nor would I ever. But after that episode it was a far more appealing idea.

Did I Mention I Hate Being Cold?

I totally see the benefits of hibernation. I could totally get on board with that lifestyle. Go to sleep just as the last leaves are falling in Autumn and wake up in the Spring to the blossoming trees and new spring flowers. Bliss!! I would happily sacrifice the rain, the wind and the dark evenings that start at 3pm. Being cold I could happily live without! Cleaning up the state of devastation the kids had left the house in during my seasonal slumber wouldn't be quite so appealing.

Last Saturday we had our annual snowfall. Global warming has contributed to a decrease in our snow quota each year. This I am happy about! Snow is for Eskimo's and Polar bears as far as I'm concerned. As I am neither of those two things I couldn't give a hoot if I never saw snow again. Sadly global warming hasn't increased our quota of sunshine at all. This I am not so happy about. Being too hot is not something that concerns me, being too cold I despise!

So we had our 5 hours of snow. The boys were thrilled as was Rob. I know in this picture Eli doesn't look so thrilled but that is because he has been forced to wear a coat, hat and mittens to brave the elements, which in his book is seriously uncool. They threw snowballs and played happily. You may wonder where I was during these snow fun shenanigans?? I was where any sun loving sane person should be........inside taking pictures through the bedroom window. I felt cold just looking at it. Brrrrrr!! I would NOT make a good eskimo which is just as well because I don't like fish either!

What's in a Name?

Late last year I was driving somewhere with the kids I cannot recall the destination. Thomas sits in the front passenger seat and so he and I chat happily wherever we go. Anyhow this particular day he was confused as to how he had 2 Grandad's. So I tried to differentiate by using surnames. I explained he had Grandad Siswick and Grandad Fred (which isn't his surname at all but his first name) he seemed intrigued by this so I thought I'd take advantage and turn it into a special teaching moment about names.

I decided to do the Siswick side because frankly there are a gazillion of them so it made the task easier and provided consistency. I explained that Grandma's name is Grandma Siswick, Aunt Emma's name is Emma Siswick, Uncle Tom's name is Thomas Siswick (which you'd imagine would be a total giveaway). Anyhow I went through all the family members that have Siswick as a surname. Considering Rob's dad is one of 8 Siswicks and Rob is one of 6 you can imagine this was a lengthy task but I was dedicated to teaching my 2 year old about names so I didn't mind. I finished up with Mummy, Daddy and Eli Siswick.

The conversation ended like this:

Me: "Do you know what your name is?"

Thomas: "Yes!"

Me: "Clever boy Thomas, do you want to tell me?" (At this point bursting with glee that we'd just had a wonderful learning experience)

Thomas "OK"

Me: "Go on then, what's your name?"

Thomas: "Thomas.............the tank engine"

Clearly 10 minutes of explaining names can't compete with Thomas the tank engine. Thankfully now a few months on he knows he is Thomas Siswick, but when you ask him where he lives he simply replies "At my house!" despite numerous attempts to teach him our address. Oh well I guess he'll have grasped it in 3 months when I'm trying ot teach him something else.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Deja Vu......Didn't We Just Have a Baby????

This is Eli. (Excuse what we refer to in the extended Siswick family as his Wilbs) This is Eli's natural state. He's not a conventional child, he's not a conventional anything. During a recent viewing of Jungle Book we realised he is a Man Cub, a child who appears to have been raised by wild animals. Despite all our best efforts to encourage him otherwise.Six months after Thomas was born we decided it'd be a good idea to attempt to enlarge our family once again. (At this point we still had some faith in the doctor who told us we'd never conceive naturally so figured it'd take a while as it did with Thomas). So I found out when Thomas was 7 months old that he was gonna become a big brother in 8 months time. We imagined the new addition to be just like Thomas, laid back, calm and nice to cuddle.

I should have known this was no ordinary baby when half way through pregnancy my lovely straight locks started growing as curly hair in random sections never to recover. (Though he has the same hairdo and it suits him perfectly).

The new addition arrived on May 24th 2006 weighing 6 pounds 9 ounces and immediately he looked just like Thomas. Days passed and we soon realised this was a very different child we were dealing with. We joke that Eli is what you get when you mate a monkey and a rhino. The kid is pure hilarious. Loves to make people laugh and totally knows he is funny. He has a pout to rival Posh Spice when he's not getting his own way.

Eli is also a biter (which is 100% Rob's fault although he would never admit it). He is also ultra lazy, deciding to not walk until he was 16.5 months old. So this is where the biting came in handy for him, if someone annoyed or frustrated him he'd wait til they were passing by and clamp his little chompers on whichever appendage was closest. Thomas of course became his numero uno victim. I didn't mind so much when the biting was confined to our family. One day when he was about a year old I took them to the playgym. Eli was playing on a slide trying to climb it from the bottom up when a girl his age went to investigate. They seemed to playing quite nicely so I was quietly basking in the glow of how wonderfully sociable my one year old was. Suddenly I heard a scream and knew the biter had struck. I made it to the slide at the same time as the girl's mother where incidentally the girl was sitting at the bottom not letting Eli climb, this is what activited the frustration reflex, (ok so thats not a rational reason to bite someone but at least the attack wasn't unprovoked). I expected a bite to an appendage as was the norm but no, I guess girls are God's ultimately annoying creation to Eli cos he'd taking a lovely big bite out of her juicy cheek. No bleeding but already a big bruise appearing. Of course I felt like the leper of the local mothering community. I was now the one of the mothers I judged for having kids that had inexcusable behaviour. (When Thomas was recently bitten on a play outing I was perfectly composed telling the mother that these things happen and no permanent damage had occured so no need to feel bad, pre-Eli I would've reacted very differently indeed).
Needless to say there was no mention baby number 3 when Eli was 6 months, in fact we're still coming to terms with the man cub addition now.
Good job he's so cute or we'd have put him on ebay by now!

And Newbie Makes Three!

This is Newbie, you may well be wondering whatever would possess a parent to call their child such a name, well worry not, his actual name is Thomas James but to us, he's just plain Newbie.

There is some lengthy evolution as to how we came to this name so here it is.
Rob adored Winnie the Pooh as a child, he has retained an (unhealthy?) liking for Kanga and Roo to this very day. So when Thomas was in utero he had the nickname of little Roo, anyhow the name stuck when he entered the world but soon evolved from Roo to Rooski, from Rooski to Shmooski, from Shmooski to Shmooby, from shmooby to Booby (not our finest parenting hour, calling out booby at the park. I think it took 10 years off my Father in laws life, seriously). We realised we couldn't be calling him Booby when he was 15, so we forced the evolution onto Newbie due to an newly acquired love for Scrubs, Doctor Cox particularly. So there it is, how Thomas became Newbie.

So Newbie joined our family on 27th January 2005, 3 weeks early due to some growth issues in utero but has thrived ever since. We were told prior to his conception that we'd never conceive without IVF but 2 years and 2 kids later we feel justifed in saying we don't think those NHS doctors know what they're on about. He weighed 4 pounds 14 Ounces, which is unimaginably small. I see babies twice his birthweight and think they're teeny tiny now.

Anyhow our biggest boy just turned 3 and is a total joy! (Even more so now that he is toilet trained...hoorah!) He loves football, cars and trains. Daddy is his absolute hero, I'm somewhere down the list below Grandma, Nanny, Nanny's dog Max, his friend Neve and my Sister in law Emma's boyfriend Joel who he has probably spent 10 hours in total with. That's loyalty for you, eh? Typical.

Introducing the Siswicks!!

Ok I have a slight confession to start with, I already started a blog but have deleted it and started again.

I keep feeling I need to keep a family journal and the chances of me actually doing that and this are minimal, well actually they're non-existent but I like to at least sound optimistic. So I figured in the name of laziness I'd combine the two and it is!!

So this is a picture of Rob and I at his cousin Sam's wedding in September. I'm sure Rob will appreciate me saying that he isn't actually bald. He decided it'd be a good idea for me to shave his head on the lowest setting. Being the voice of reason I attempted to dissuade him but to no avail, so lo and behold when the sun shone on his head that September day it left the impression that he was indeed bald. Obviously the photographic evidence scarred his ego a little and he is now happily growing his hair and using my straighteners on a daily basis to compensate for the few months he was virtually hairless.

I think even his ego has fully recovered.