and can now been found here at Blogger instead. See you over there.
and can now been found here at Blogger instead. See you over there.
I know I've written a lot about Brooke lately, but I haven't forgotten Taya. In fact I've been thinking for a while about all the funny little things she's said and done and how I must write them down.
First of all, she can be the muckiest little person in the world. It has been said that she has a very tactile relationship with food. Indeed, she does like to feel a chocolate mousse in her hair before she eats it. Toasted brioche with chocolate spread (best snack in the world ever, by the way)? "Hang on while I just lay the smackdown on it with my hand Mum. " Sometimes she puts breadsticks on her head, and just sits there. Checking out the weight of it perhaps, or indulging in a strange meditation not heard of before on Earth.
The mess doesn't end with food though. Paint is one of Taya's favourite mediums for expressing herself. It is a good job we don't live in a fancy flat because when this sort of thing happens I am able to say "what the hell" and give everything and everyone a quick wipe down. This first picture is also brilliant because of her pose. She's saying "Wot? Wotcha gonna do about it Mum?" isn't she?
It doesn't end there though. If there is a basket, a bag or any kind of container with things in it, Taya will empty it. If there is a neat stack of DVDs, it will be knocked over. Things are undone, upended, chaosed (I made it up, it's the opposite of organised) and destructed when Taya is around. Then comes the killer move. Just as you're annoyed with her for creating another job to add to the list, she'll turn on the cute and crank it up to 11. I am almost powerless against this strategy. The smile with her face all scrunched up, the rounded cheeks, the head turned onto one side... she's like a puppy begging for food. Who can resist?
It's pointless fighting Taya anyway, because she'll probably win. Her upper body strength is phenomenal. She does pull ups, arm-bars, heaves herself into the bath by putting her arms over the side and propelling herself forwards (there was one occasion where I found her almost face first in the bath, propped up on her hands like she was in a cartwheel race, with her legs stretched out balanced on the side behind her. Such was her eagerness to get in the bath. She LOVES the bath. ), she moves the chairs around the kitchen to access the fridge and counter tops (yes I did once find her holding my biggest, sharpest knife as if she was about to start preparing dinner. ARGH), she can climb out of her cot... you get the idea I hope. She's an unstoppable force. She's already potty training (fairly successfully for her age, I have to say) and her vocabulary is expanding every day. But she's smart to boot. Walking along a familar street yesterday, she looked up at me from the buggy and said "Boff bay?" Yes, we were indeed heading to soft play. And there, you should see her powering up the cushioned steps, running over the nets, throwing herself over edges and pushing swinging weights out of her way before reaching the big slide. I saw her there, trying to push a bigger boy down so she could take her turn and then climbing in with gay abandon, spinning around onto her tummy and beaming and waving at me as she slid away from me and into the ballpit.
It's funny then, how separation anxiety has been an issue for her which I never experienced with Brooke. Maybe it's a difference of bottle vs breastfeeding, who can say? But she still seeks out my bare chest to lay her head on when she wakes in the night for a cuddle. She pushes my hair away in disdain before she nestles into me, sometimes hanging onto me in such a way that makes me feel loved like never before. At a parents meeting this morning I could hear her crying in the creche until they eventually brought her into me all snotty and face wet with tears. Funny little sausage.
She has a fantastic sense of humour too, for one so young. A few weeks ago both girls were up and out of bed around 10pm after waking up crying. I sat with them on the sofa nestled under a blanket. Chris asked Brooke if she needed anything at which point Taya barked out "Toast". Chris and I looked at each other and laughed. At which point she followed up with "Marmite". Okay then. She's stuck her finger up her nose before now and chased Brooke with said finger outstretched. She thinks the opening scene of Monsters Inc is hilarious. (In fact she has just woken up from her nap asking to watch it again "Moh Ig?") She loves watching TV, adores babies (beebies), can't get enough dummies and likes to look at Maisy books every night. Her favourite nursery rhymes are Three Blind Mice, Row Row Your Boat and Pop Goes The Weasel . Most used words are
Plus she's joining in everything now, baking, dressing up, games of hide and seek. Just you watch, she's going to be in charge of something one day.
I mentioned yesterday that Brooke likes to sing. She sings quite a lot. Walking along, getting dressed, in the bath, at mealtimes, at the playground. These are all singing times. She doesn't always get the lyrics right and still can't get the "L" sound, hence Trinkle Trinkle Yittle Star and If You're Happy and You Know It Crap Your Hands. Voila.
"It doesn't a-matter at all"
"I come from Banjo-Me"
More Banjo Me.
Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. Not strictly accurate.
"Look at this!"
"Did you see me do that?"
"Look at me!"
I read in a book that toddlers would like to have our attention 24 hours a day if they could. Like? LIKE? Demand is more like it. I am instructed to watch as Brooke stands on one leg, jumps on the sofa, bounces on the bed, stands on her hands and one leg with one leg pointing backwards and so on and so on. AND SO ON. There is also a lot of singing, by which I mean near constant. But that is a whole other post really. "That's lovely darling. Wonderful. Aren't you clever!"
Speaking of books, I am getting rid of all my parenting books. I have come to the conclusion that they can teach me nothing. I'm not saying I know it all; far, far from it! But, the way I see it is that kids do stuff which doesn't quite conform with our prefered ways, i.e they refuse to eat, refuse to sleep, hit, kick, bite, scratch, scream and go rigid with upright arms when you try to pick them up, and actually books can't help me at all, unless buying them means they will dispatch someone to take over for 16 years. It is simply a matter of finding one's coping mechanism in the meantime, be it wine, cakes and cookies or, in my case along with the former, total immersion into personal hobbies with a little bit of shouting and lots of cursing under my breath. It's all a phase, right?
Anyway, the Brooke show is fine, and I am grateful that I am not directed to sit down each time there is a performance (sorry Liz!). In fact more than that, I am grateful that there is a Brooke show at all. Writing stuff like this out often puts it in perspective.
For posterity then, here are some more things about Brooke at the moment.
Currently saying she doesn't want to go to nursery, but is fine when we get there. Friends with Liam (Yiam), Callum (Carrum) and has a new friend called Bella (Berra). Loves the pet tortoises, snails and fish.
Only eats fish fingers, chicken nuggets, pasta, toasted brioche with chocolate spread, fruit, jacket potatoes (even mashed potato is eyed up suspiciously), tuna and anything that is called a snack, plus chocolate.
Loves all things princessy (hello dressing up frocks!) and pirates.
Favourite books are The Elephant and the Bad Baby, Captain Pugwash and still loves The Tiger Who Came To Tea and Avocado Baby.
Favourite films are The Incredibles, Cinderella, Snow White etc.
Is quite good at counting and recognising the letters B, T, M, G, D
Likes painting, sticking, play doh and baking.
We got Brooke a camera for Christmas. An ELC digital one. Since she's often borrowing my iphone and taking 80 pictures of her teddies I thought she might enjoy having one of her own.
Tonight I uploaded her pictures, and here are the results, by way of Picnik.com
I've been really busy lately, what with seeing friends, getting involved in campaigning against local council budget cuts to Brooke's nursery and, well I'm not sure what else I've been doing but by and large, it's not been a case of sitting on my backside watching the world go by. Anyway, in amongst all these things, and sometimes during, I've been crocheting.
A while ago I finished Brooke's scarf. I was really happy with the stitch, the scalloped edging and the yarn, but the foundation chain was much tighter than the rest of the scarf, so as you can see it has curled up on itself. I took my friend Liz's advice about using a bigger crochet hook for the foundation chain in future. Brooke is happy with it anyway, so job done. I have learnt not to send her to nursery in it though, after one pick up when it couldn't be located for 10 minutes.
Well Brooke's keyworker at nursery liked the scarf, and it was her birthday, and she had no scarf so;
As you can see from the third picture, there is still some curling despite the bigger hook trick. Maybe I should have done foundation single crochet instead of a regular chain. Something to try next time.
Then I thought, why not finish that amigurumi cat that's had no face for months?
I had been holding out for stitch on eyes, with white background and black pupil, but John Lewis didn't have them and then I kind of forgot about them. I think the black stitched ones look nice though.
And since that's been done, how about that cardigan I started back in November, but abandoned because I thought I didn't have enough yarn for it? A little bit of rejigging and it turned out okay, although I still need to put a button at the collar and I'm thinking a pocket or applique bird on the front might complete it nicely. (sorry I don't know how to do an accent on the e)
Well now I can get back to my flowery blanket, and there is much more space in my bag thanks to all the unfinished bits being completed. Well there are still 2 pairs of gloves but I'll deal with them later.
On another note, this has taken me about an hour to type up. Our computer is about 7 years old and does not cope well with all these uploads. I know I am impatient but I still think we need a new one!
I'm crocheting again, after a break since Brooke's scarf and the unfinished cardigan which I ran out of yarn on. This time I'm making a flower blanket. It needs 50 daisy squares and 49 rose squares. So far I've done 4.5 daisy squares. Loving using lots of different colours. Made a mistake on one already but did a patch up job. It'll be fine. I think.
I know I'm not alone with mother's guilt syndrome. I often feel bad that the flat is never immaculate. In fact, it's rarely clean throughout. I want to do fun stuff ahead of tidying. I bought a new mop in November and haven't used it yet. I clean the toilet with wet wipes. I apologise when it's leftovers for dinner. I leave dishes on the side and dirty dishwater in the bowl. I make excuses as to why Brooke's hair isn't brushed and Taya has yogurt in her ear. I shout. Quite often. My patience is patchy at the best of times. I let the girls watch endless TV. I give them nudges in the back when they are quite literally under my feet then tell them off for doing it to each other. I let us run out of ketchup, bread and milk. I wear jeans and trainers every day. I skip whole pages in bedtime stories if I think it's going on too long. I tell everyone to hang on ALL the time. I only agree to about 10% of the cuddles Brooke asks for. I miss friends' birthdays, take weeks to send thank you notes, say I'll call people back then never do. I interject adult conversations with "GET DOWN FROM THERE NOW". I have high standards that I never meet. I am never quite enough.
Well today I thought "Bollocks to that" and decided I would also list the ways in which I AM perfect. Everyone gets fed, even if it is custard creams instead of fruit. I always have a cup of tea ready for friends who visit. Everyone has the chocolate spread and yogurt wiped off them at some point. Bottoms get wiped. Toys get vaguely stuffed into drawers and boxes. Bills get paid. Groceries get bought. Some birthdays do get remembered and cards get sent in time. Christmas cards get written and sent including to some people I've never met and only vaguely know. I made a scarf for Brooke and she told everyone at nursery how I crocheted it for her. I write down the funny things they say and all the presents they are given. The naughty corner always ends in cuddles. Everyone gets kissed goodnight. I tell the girls I love them daily.
So no thank you mother's guilt. You can be on your way now.
I haven't blogged for ages. Been very busy. Let's do everything in one word.
Christmas - Frenzied.
NYE - Understated.
January - Sniffly.
10 year anniversary break with husband - Restful.
Brooke - Maniacal.
Brooke going to nursery - Magnificent.
Taya - Chatty.
Girls' eating habits - Better.
State of the flat - Messy.
To do list in my head - Extensive.
The last few times we've come home (which admittedly has been less than usual lately, as both the girls have been ill with various ailments which have broadly precluded us from friends' houses and playgroups) it has occurred to me that one of us is always standing, one is always crying and the other (always, ALWAYS me) is muttering expletives under their breath about whether it's really necessary or not. A bit like the Stand, Sit and Bend game.
It goes like this:
Get to the front door, Brooke begs to be allowed to "put the door on the hooker" (i.e. put the hook through the thing on the door so it stays open whilst I manouvre the buggy in) Not sure why she calls it that or what passing strangers must think.
Once "hooker duty" has been established and we are in the hallway, Taya starts lunging forwards in the buggy and gesturing wildly at the buggy harness. She wants to walk up those stairs dammit! Except I have learnt that letting her out to walk up on her own means she will inevitably stand and point at our downstairs neighbours flat shouting his name repeatedly, or wobbling precariously in the middle of the stairs while I stand behind her hoping to block her downhill path with the buggy or my foot, so that doesn't happen anymore. Instead I brace myself, bend at the knees and pick the buggy up along with the shopping and scooter. Taya cries in frustration. I know the feeling, pet.
**At this point Brooke wails that SHE wants to be carried, and freezes, saying that she can only "go one step". I'm halfway up the first flight, arms aching and Taya starting to calm down. At the top of the first flight, I park Taya (cue crying) and go back down to retrieve Brooke, who says "Mummy you rescued me!".
Deposit Brooke on the landing, push Taya along to next flight of stairs, repeat from **
Get to our door, Taya cries because she wants the keys. Brooke wants to be locked in the hallway so she can knock on our door and be let in as if she was a visitor. I am usually roasting by this point and slightly paranoid about what the neighbours think as they spy a 3 year old girl seemingly being locked out of her flat.
Inside the flat, mad scramble to remove coats, shoes, buggy harnesses. The phone usually rings at this point too. I am more often than not telling Brooke to PLEASE CALM DOWN!
Anyway, anyone who ever watched Whose Line Is It Anyway must surely remember the Stand, Sit and Bend game? I imagine the girls are playing their own version of that on me (conspiring in their room at night - "Okay so you pretend you can't walk up the stairs and when she gets you I'll take over the crying, agreed?") I googled it and found this fab video. I'd do our own version but it would be much noisier and also I'd need to hire a cameraman.