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Maybe use the door next time?

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1. Feeding the baby, I realise that this is a beautiful thing, that we’re lucky enough to do together several times a day.

2. At the park with two little preschooler friends. We all play together. I ride on the seesaw with my friend’s son; every time I check whether he’s had enough and wants to get off, he replies with a firm “No”, and we bounce for about 15 minutes, talking about planes and lawnmowers and watches. Baby is in the sling on my back and bounces off to sleep. Later we’re playing and my four-year-old friend pulls me around by the hand, looking for the pirate captain’s missing brother in jellyfish-infested waters.

3. Toddler’s new CD’s arrive. Instead of listening to Paddington in the car (again!) we have Winnie the Pooh, read by Alan Bennett. The children both fall asleep and I carry on listening regardless.

4. Teatime. More creative playing with food. Perhaps I should discourage this, but at the moment I love it. His pieces of fishfinger are arranged into a caterpillar, a bird, an elephant (“here’s it’s head, Mummy, and here’s it’s toes”), a frog, and a kangaroo. He’s so inventive and full of ideas.

5. Baby is becoming an expert at the “How big is he..? This big!” game. He finds it utterly hilarious.

6. I make plans for Husband and I to go for lunch in a couple of weeks, by ourselves.

7. Husband gets up with Baby and I sleep soundly until 9.00 am.

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1. At a ‘playdate’. The dressing up box comes out and Toddler actually wants to dress up (this is a first). He’s a cowboy with a hat and waistcoat, riding on the little furry rocking horse. He’s a knight in shining armour, complete with helmet, although we leave the long wooden sword in the box for another day.

2. Making biscuits. I’m a bit fraught before we even start, so when Toddler knocks the bowl off the scales and spills flour and cocoa powder over the table, I get a bit cross. “What are we going to do now?” I snap, angrily. “Wipe it up,” he replies. Of course. What else could we do but wipe it up, forget about it and carry on?

3. Baby has a nice long nap this morning, so Toddler and I fit in some jigsaw time. When it comes to the Gruffalo jigsaw he says “You do that one, Mummy,” but then, as usual, he ‘helps’ me and does the whole thing himself with very little input. “I do these jigsaws really fast, Mummy.”

4. At home, Husband calls to ask me to turn on the computer. He needs to access it remotely from work to copy some files. As we potter around I see folders flashing up on the screen and the cursor whizzing around. When I next look, he’s written a little message to us.

5. At my Grandma and Granddad’s house. Granddad has made salmon fishcakes for the boys – he’s scaled down the recipe, but there’s no way to scale down ‘one egg’ so the fishcakes are kind of omlette-like. The boys love them and eat them with gusto.

6. I watch the last episode of Michel Roux’s Service, and shed a tear when he awards the final scholarship.

7. Toddler is going out with Daddy. I ask him for a kiss and a cuddle goodbye. He decides he wants to give Baby a kiss and a cuddle too. As Toddler and Daddy leave, Baby crawls at light speed to the back door to see them off, and when I pick him up he waves goodbye.

These Seven Beautiful Things are taken from my Three Beautiful Things posterous blog, where I post three beautiful things every day.

I’ve been posting three beautiful things every day for four weeks now and I haven’t missed a day. Sometimes it’s been hard to think of three things (especially this Tuesday) but most of the time I have plenty of moments that have made me smile. It’s struck me that a lot of my beautiful things are very similar – there’s lots of brotherly love, lots of baby development and lots of nice evening meals and wine. Lots of simple pleasures.

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Dear ‘Love to Play Puppy’,

Look, mister, I know your game. I know that lurking at the end of the bed in the dark, perfectly placed to find my feet as I crept away from a freshly-settled baby, was no accident. I saw you smirking as your jaunty Alphabet Song shattered the silence.

Maybe you’re jealous of Baby’s new Christmas toys; I know he’s abandoned you for the delights of large, noisy, flashing lumps of plastic. Perhaps it’s revenge for the times that I’ve stacked toys on top of you in the toybox at bedtime, ignoring your plaintive appeals to “hug me”?

Whatever it is, I’ve got you sussed. Pull a trick like that again and you might just find yourself in the cupboard with the shape sorter and Bumbo seat, waiting for the next NCT sale.

With kind regards, Kirsty

*****

Dear ELC mini kitchen,

I love that you’re encouraging my son to play imaginatively. Since you arrived not only has he started ‘cooking’ plastic sweetcorn and hot dogs, but he’s asked to join in with real cooking and helped me chop, add things to the pan and stir them up. His requests to share his imaginary drinks with me are an endless delight (no, really!).

I’d just like to raise one minor issue with you: could you please try harder to keep your oven door shut when the baby’s around? As I’m sure you’re aware, he loves to ping it open and remove your entire contents. I’m getting somewhat tired of finding brocolli and fried eggs under the sofa, stepping on tiny forks and hunting for the missing pan lid late into the evening. When you see him crawling over, just, y’know, try harder to keep all your bits together.

Aside from that, I’m loving your good work. Keep it up.

With best wishes, Kirsty

*****

Dear Buzz Lightyear jigsaw

Thank you for thoughtfully reminding me, as I stare in confusion at your unevenly shaped pieces and frankly crazy edges, and then in amazement at my toddler son fitting said pieces together at speed, that my spatial awareness is inferior to that of a two year old boy.

Yours gratefully, Kirsty

*****

Dear Nursery Rhyme ‘CD Player’,

Seriously? Are you kidding me? Maybe your country/rock take on the traditional nursery rhyme format went down well at the auditions for American Idol, but not here. Sort it out, ok?

With barely-disguised disgust, Kirsty

*****

This is my first post for the often hilarious, sometimes surprising and always entertaining Dear So and So at 3 Bedroom Bungalow. Do head over there to see the rest of this week’s letters.

 

Dear So and So...

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You know those perfect parenting moments that you see in magazines? The images of fresh-faced, spotless, beautifully behaved children smiling from the pages of the Boden catalogue as they play in the fresh air, no hint of Cbeebies in the background and not a sniff of a chicken nugget or chocolate button? The parents that you aspire to be like, but always fall a little short?

Yesterday I had a glimpse of parenting perfection.

We received a package: an enormous box, far too big for the two packs of nappies and baby wipes hidden in the bottom below sheets of crumpled bubble-wrap. As soon as the box was empty, the toddler wanted to climb inside, but it was a little too big.

Instead, turned on its side it made a brilliant cave, perfect for hiding in.

Then we turned the box upside-down, cut out a doorway and made a house. Mummy drew a flower, Toddler helped. Mummy drew a rainbow, Toddler helped. The bubble-wrap was balanced on the roof. “Is that snow?”, I asked. “No Mummy, it’s a chimney”, he replied, the “you moron” sentiment conveyed by his expression.

He’s playing in his house again this morning. Later we might paint it, if it doesn’t get totally squished when his little friends come round later this morning.

We had more fun playing with a cardboard box then we’ve had with half the toys he got for Christmas. The telly was off and we all laughed together. I suspect that these things are parenting classics for a reason.

This post is linked up to Something for the Weekend at Thinly Spread, a wonderful blog full of ideas for craft and other wholesome things to do with your kids (as well as some gorgeous photography and other thoughtful musings. Seriously, I can’t recommend it enough).

Thinly Spread

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1. At home, baby is learning to pull himself up to standing, but takes a tumble. As he cries, Toddler races over. “Don’t worry, Baby”, he says. “I’ll give you a cuddle.”

2. Baby naps for two hours in the morning. Toddler and I have lots of quality time, getting dressed at his pace, doing his beloved jigsaws, playing with toys and baking chocolate cupcakes.

3. Very early morning. About 4.30, in fact. The baby is awake and refusing to go back to sleep. I give in and play with him. We cuddle and I squash my face against his cheek and he laughs lots. Eventually he does go back to sleep.

4. Toddler gets up early today. He has boundless enthusiasm, constantly talking to me about what is happening, what he would like and what we might be doing next. He keeps going and going, through toddler group, lunchtime and a walk into the village. As we’re walking along the street, he points to a drainpipe.

“That’s a drainpipe, Mummy, spiders fall down them, like Incy Wincy Spider, like my Incy Wincy Spider jigsaw at Granny’s, like my Humpty Dumpty jigsaw.”

I love that he can tell me what he’s thinking; the connections his mind makes, and the things he’s been doing when I’m not there.

5. My kids are getting better and better at playing with each other. Getting ready for the bath, Toddler ‘chases’ Baby, both of them crawling along the floor and laughing uproariously.

6. My Mum comes round in the morning to collect Toddler. He’s staying with her overnight. She sneaks me £50 in cash, to spend on shoes for Toddler and maybe a treat for me. The best bit? It’s the money she’s saved by not smoking for the past four weeks.

7. At Nana and Granddad’s house. Baby and I look at our reflections in their shiny silver kettle and he waves at himself, grinning and gurgling.

These Seven Beautiful Things are taken from my Three Beautiful Things posterous blog, where I post three beautiful things every day.

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Questions, questions

My son’s favourite phrase at the moment is “Where do we get ..?”.

It started with food: “where do we get carrots?”, “where do we get bread?” and so on.

Our diet isn’t varied enough to sustain this line of questioning indefinitely, so “where do we get ..?” has moved on to encompass whatever is foremost in his thoughts (basically, for a two-year-old, whatever is in his line of sight). “Where do we get microwaves?” “Where do we get toys?” “Where do we get paper?”

 

I always try to be honest in my answers, hence the following exchange:

Toddler: Where do we get meatballs?

Me: They’re made from pigs; farmers get meat from pigs’ bodies and squash it into little balls.

Toddler: Where do we get peas?

Me: Peas grow on plants, people pick them.

Toddler, brightly: And squash them into balls?

 

We also had an unexpected question as he scrutinised his brother sitting across the table:

Toddler: Where do we get babies?

Me: ‘Baby’ came from Mummy’s tummy. Remember, when my tummy was really big, and the baby was inside?

Toddler: Yup. Daddy came from MY tummy!

 

I think we still have a lot to learn.

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