The Baby updates on Life Game

Yo yo! It is me, the Baby, or the Girl, or DevourerofEverythingzzz (I have several accounts).

It’s been a while since I gave you an update on how things are going with Life Game, so here I am, updatin’.

I am on level 11 of the training module now.  I think I’m a few weeks away from getting to the end of the Candlekeep section and stepping out into the big world of adventure. I’ve read ahead on the Internet and it turns out that at Level 12 you graduate to a new, tougher system where you don’t level up as often and you have to start at the bottom again with Level 1. Hrmph.

Right, my amazing discoveries in this level. Hard to know where to start. First of all, it turns out that chewing is not the only way to interact with objects. This level I’ve unlocked a whole range of new options: “bang”, “bash together”, “throw”, “combine with”, “insert”, “remove”, “rip”, “draw”, “poke brother” or “poke cat”. The possibilities are seemingly endless, and I’ve had to start revisiting all the areas I thought I’d bled dry to see if there is more mileage to be got out of them.

Draw! How awesome is that! You can take a crayon and make marks on paper!

Draw! How awesome is that! You can take a crayon and make marks on paper!

New this level: you can get Knowledge from books. I’d seen them lying around before of course but I couldn’t click on them at first. Now that I can, I’ve found it helpful to spend several hours of game time per day Doing Reading. Here’s how it goes: you “open book”, then you “turn page” and “study pictures and scribbles”. Sometimes you can also “lift flap” to reveal hidden truths or “press button” to hear sound clues. So far I only seem to be able to drag one along with me at a time, but I’m hoping in time I’ll work out how to add them to my inventory.

Reading two book at once  and barely breaking a sweat.

Reading two book at once and barely breaking a sweat.

I have also acquired some new skills that make it easier to interact with the NPCs (Non-Player Characters of course, you n00bs). Last level I took “learn words” and this level I put more points into it, so I have now collected 4 or 5 words. “Da da” gets you +2 charisma with all Grown Ups and a whopping +5 Influence over the Daddy. “Da” combined with a wave gives you +2 social interaction, but only with Dutch speakers. The most useful words so far have been “ba” (gets you a banana) and “ja/yeah” (saying this in response to any question while you’re in the high chair gets you more food. Keep saying it until your health bar is back up to full).

On the subject of food, it’s like the better you get at the game, the more food it takes to fill up your health bar. I had a look at some walk throughs and there were some good suggestions. Underneath the high chair you’re guaranteed to find food, but be careful, if they glow green they’ll give you an upset tummy and your health bar will go into the red for a day or so. Same with the bin. I tried stickers and play dough too, but they don’t seem to give you any health points, just -1 to Influence on the Mummy.

Bit random, I know, but I one of my best discoveries this level is that hugging teddies gives you +2 happiness. And it’s +3 for hugging Dolly!

Dolly. She will prob turn out to be sentient later on and she'll be my henchperson

Dolly. She will prob turn out to be sentient later on and then she can be my henchperson

Best of all, though, is that I have acquired loads of amazing new movement skills. I can “Stand from Crouching” and “Walk while Holding on To Things” (these things can be on the floor or in your hand, they just give you that extra bit of confidence). Then there’s “Climb”. I’m pretty good at that one, but it’s a bit buggy. Usually, if you lift one leg in the air you can get up on top of things. Sometimes this works out really well, like on the stairs and on the Brother’s bed. But sometimes you just end up standing there with a leg in the air, a bit like a dog doing a wee against a tree. Yup, awkward.

And I’ve almost got “Walk”. I’ve managed up to 7 steps up to now before I had to sit down. I think I just need to bump up Confidence a bit more and perhaps put one more point in Balance and I’ll be there. Then, I will be UNSTOPPABLE!!!

Finally, I was hoping someone could help me out with this puzzle I am stuck on: this new object has appeared in the kitchen (when you hover over it it says “walker”) and sometimes the Mummy will put you in it just when you’re about to boost your health points with some cat food. The walker is irritating because it contains you, but it does allow you to zoom all around the kitchen at speed. You can use it to get to The Cupboard of Mysterious Amazingness. Problem is, once you have got the walker to the cupboard, the door won’t open. I have tried pulling at it repeatedly and shrieking with frustration but it doesn’t seem to help at all. Got any tips?

See? It doesn't open when you're in the walker. Help!

See? It doesn’t open when you’re in the walker. Help!

That’s it from me – keep playing, Babies! There is a whole world out there for us to explore and if anyone tries to stop you, don’t forget about your weapons! Earsplitting Shriek is my favourite, but maybe you’ve found different ones that are just as effective. If all else fails, I’ve found “Roll over and Crawl Away” gives you +2 to run away.

Spk soon,

xxxxxxx

The Girl

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Stay at Home

 

Stay at Home

Was it fear of time alone with you?
Too much time just you and you and me,
a remnant of the early days when
panic flooded me at double cries
and “Help!” I’d cry at crack of dawn
“Come and help, they’re both awake!”

I drag these bright and cheery faces
here and there from house to shops
to parks to groups to Gran to town.
We play and rush and chat with friends,
we hurry hurry put on shoes and sunscreen
search for missing hats and vitally essential toys.

Now illness, mild and barely there,
has anchored us to home, in place.
Long days, four walls, dream space
time for every game and time to spare

Endless hours we have to fill until
in swathes of time alone distill
the essence of what draws us near
that purest love that casts out fear.

 

Endless time for play dough numbers

CBeebies – a guide for the uninitiated

The time has come to talk about CBeebies. We’ve been through a lot together, CBeebies and I. It has seen me through early starts, bedtime routines, sickness and a loft conversion, when for two long months there was only one inhabitable room in the house. Thankfully it was the one with the TV in it. CBeebies was there for me when I was pregnant and too tired to entertain my toddler; when I needed him to stay in one place for 15 minutes so I could settle the baby or have a quick shower; when he wouldn’t nap but needed some downtime; when needed some downtime – the list goes on.

I think I may have seen almost every show at least once. Most of them are great: they’re fun, educational and pleasantly short. My son learned to count with the Numtums, started recognising letters courtesy of the Alphablocks and learned to draw zig-zag lines from watching Get Squiggling.

If you are a fairly new parent and your child is still a bit too young for kids’ TV (seriously? Are they ever too young? Are they ever young enough for us to be watching the news or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while they’re in the room? That is perhaps a different discussion) then I present to you:

A comprehensive beginner’s guide to CBeebies

Good for transfixing tiny people

This says it all.

This says it all.

Baby Jake
You really need to be two years old or high to appreciate this trip fest. This slightly scary looking cut out animated baby goes on magical adventures (read: drug-induced flights of fancy) with various bizarre animal companions, the most disturbing being Nibbles the Rabbit, who claps his ears together and laughs like a cross between Goofy and a drag queen. However, my eleven month old daughter beams when it comes on and is frozen to the spot until it is over. Perhaps besides drugs, it was made with subliminal messages coded into single frames that are transmitting some kind of ninja killer robot skills to my daughter. We will find out exactly what as soon as I accidentally speak the trigger word, I’m sure.

Good for bedtime

In The Night Garden
This program is designed to appeal to babies and toddlers and, basically, send them to sleep. It does this by going on for half an hour (!) and nothing much happening in that time. The basic plot of each episode is: everyone says their names a lot. They run around the garden till bedtime. Derek Jacobi tells the whole story again, this time with illustrations. Igglepiggle is the last to go to bed.

Abney and Teal
The makers of In the Night Garden thought they’d have another pass at bedtime TV and make it shorter with more of a plot. Although still quite random, Abney and Teal appeals to me as it is a fantasy about who might live on a little island in a lake in a park. As a child I used to row to just such an island in the nearby canal and have picnics there. I wouldn’t have been surprised to meet turnip-shaped Neep (who does like to say his name a lot, In the NIght Garden-style) or bubble-blowing walrus Bop. But my favourite character has to be Toby Dog with his accordion, who has a special song for every occasion – except it is always exactly the same song.

Good for a laugh (for the adults)

Nuzzle and Scratch
I have been watching this one since the Boy was very small. I think he still doesn’t get it, but really I watch it for me. I think the show’s essential awesomeness is summed up by this line, which recurs in every episode, just with a different costume each time: “Ah well, two alpacas dressed as town criers, off to buy sponge fingers… What could possibly go wrong?”

Peppa Pig
Okay, you got me. I snuck Peppa in even though she is not on CBeebies (you can catch her on Channel 5’s Milkshake every morning several times), but she is just such good value I couldn’t leave her out. These five minute stories about bossy, hyper-confident Peppa are fun for kids, but there is so much to amuse adults as well. In one of my favourite episodes, Peppa and George cheer delightedly when they have to stop for roadworks once again on a car journey, as it means they can watch Mr Bull and his big machines at work. The voice over says: “Peppa and George love it when Mr Bull digs up the road.” The image zooms out to reveal a long line of cars, variously beeping their horns, waiting behind them in a massive tail back. Voice over continues: “Everyone loves it when Mr Bull digs up the road.”

Good for learning stuff

NUMTUMS_G2

Numtum 1 is on the decks

Numtums
I have said plenty about the Numberjacks on this blog, so I thought today I’d highlight its younger brother, the Numtums. This one is for beginners: the Numtums are cute little furry creatures with numbers on their tummies (aha!). Each five minute episode features one number and looks at it from various angles: how the number is written, various arrangements of that number of objects, how you count up to it and where it fits in to the number line. All this passes by purely visually without much comment. This program started my son’s number obsession and at 20 months he would want to watch it over and over, especially number EIIIIIIGHT!!!

Good for when they’re a bit older

Charlie and Lola
I love Charlie and Lola. My son has only just started to understand it, as it is very story driven, as well as being visually inventive and beautiful. Each episode begins with Charlie telling us: “I have this little sister Lola. She is small and very funny…” Lola goes on to demonstrate in each episode exactly how small and adorably funny she can be. She interprets the world in her own marvellous way, reinvents language and is generally delightfully imaginative. Charlie, meanwhile, seems to do most of the childcare. Just adding in “Mum says” to your parenting might fool social services, Charlie, but it doesn’t fool us. We know you two are alone in that house together. What happened, Charlie? Did your parents just leave one day and never come back? Anyway, when you feel able to talk about it drop us a line.

Good for winding you up and making you shout at the TV

Everything’s Rosie

Grrrrr. I’m getting annoyed already and I haven’t even started writing this bit yet. Everything’s Rosie used to be a staple of our CBeebies watching in the early morning. At first I quite enjoyed it. It was colourful and joyful, there were people but also talking animals and trees, it was fine, it was mellow. So Rosie had ribbons instead of hair – I could forgive that, maybe it wasn’t her choice. But slowly, it started to make me feel claustrophobic and even a bit sad. Then it made me angry. The characters live in a playground amid green rolling hills. They have picnics with smoothies and sandwiches and muffins. They invent a postal service and put on shows and play hospital. Slowly, the questions crowded in:

Where does the food come from? Is there a supermarket?
Why isn’t there already a postal service? Do they ever get mail?
The three children are very young – why are they not in school?

Then the questions got bigger:

Where are their parents? They live completely on their own.
Where is the wider world? There are no shops, hospitals, bus stops, libraries, schools.
Where are all the other people?? No one comes in or goes out of this playground.

My annoyance peaked when Holly (who can’t be older than about 6) is sitting crying in one episode, dressed in a nurse’s uniform. When Rosie asks what is wrong, she says: “I can never be a real nurse!”

“NO, you can’t!” I shouted at the TV, to my toddler’s great surprise, “Because there is NO SCHOOL and NO UNIVERSITY and there are NO OTHER PEOPLE IN THE WORLD TO NURSE!”

When I’d calmed down a bit I decided I couldn’t do it any longer. Everything’s Rosie was coming off the viewing schedule. We switched over to some pre-recorded Peppa Pig instead. Five minutes with Daddy Pig made me feel much better.

“Daddy, what do you do?”
“That’s a little hard to explain, Peppa. I take large numbers, transmute them, and calculate their load-bearing tangents.”

themondayclub

What we do when we’re not watching television

This past week we have been holed up at home in quarantine with chicken pox. Thankfully the Boy doesn’t seem to be suffering too much with it – perhaps being an eczema-veteran means he doesn’t notice a bit of extra itchiness here and there. I wasn’t too sure how I’d cope with being at home so much. I like to plan outings most days: seeing friends or visiting Gran, going into town or to a play cafe, visiting the library or the playground. But after having already potentially infected about 9 different little children just before we noticed the spots I thought it best not to spread the love any further, cancel all play dates and avoid public places.

Actually, it has been really nice being at home. Turns out my high stress level is at least in part due to trying to get two children out of the house and into buggies and cars. We have watched quite a bit of television, but we have actually also had a lovely time playing and doing drawing and craft. Most of it was re-enacting what the Boy had been watching on TV, but that counts, right?

When the weather was nice, we played in the garden. The Boy invented his very own messy play game, making mud and pretending to pour slop into the ship’s mess (Swashbuckle). It was actually a mash up with Roary the Racing Car. The two cars you see in the ship’s mess are Roary and “Roary’s friend”.

DSCF4434

DSCF4433

Re-enacting television shows continues indoors. We have had endless fun with the cars, the garage and the car-rug playing Roary. Sometimes the Girl is allowed to play too, but she is never allowed to touch Roary.

Oh no! Roary's broken! Big Crisp [Chris] fix it.

Oh no! Roary’s broken! Big Crisp [Chris] fix it.

Cbeebies pirate game show Swashbuckle is a source of lots of frantic running around and dangerous capers, as the Boy jumps off the side of the sofa shouting “Walk the plank! Walk the plank!” We have used coloured bricks to represent jewels and hidden them around the house, then we rush around trying to find them while the Boy yells “Time running out! 3, 2, 1, yay!” He actually hides them himself, and then wants to find them himself, which suits me fine.

Then Z, our lodger, turned out to own an actual, honest to God jewel. Well, a diamond-shaped paperweight but close enough. Since she showed it to the Boy, it has been almost impossible to prise it out of his hands. The first evening found him sitting hunched up on the sofa with it, muttering “Love-a jewel. Is mine now.” Yes, he had turned into Gollum.

The Precious

The Precious

We have had quite a lot of mileage out of the bricks this week, actually. They have been used as a tiny cat playground:

Weeeee!

Weeeee!

And they became a house for Upsy Daisy:

DSCF4296

DSCF4294

DSCF4289

And what about the Girl? Well, she likes toys, but she prefers to play with the wet wipes, the remote control and my bag. She also likes crawling under the table to see if there are any left-overs from last night’s dinner to hoover up. We got her a fancy walker with a ‘play tray’.

Everything a ten month old baby could want, surely.

Everything a ten month old baby could want, surely.

But when I put her in it, thinking I could maybe do some washing up, she cries and whines – until I take the play tray off and give her a cardboard box and some pegs. Then she’s happy.

A child's hand is easily filled, as we say in the Netherlands.

A child’s hand is easily filled, as we say in the Netherlands.

So quarantine has been quite a positive experience, with an unusually low number of tantrums and irrational crying fits – and that’s just me.

Pretend Living

I love being a grown up. I love the fact that sometimes people believe what I say now, that they seem to think I know what I’m talking about. And I like having a house of my own and filling it with stuff. I just sometimes wish I was better at keeping it tidy and clean. Sometimes there is a run of several days where I have occupied myself with more interesting things than housework and it becomes so bad that it really gets me down. It is on those days that I wish I was a child again, when even cleaning had a mysterious sheen of glamour about it, something special that grown-ups did that meant you were Big.

This poem is about how really I’d quite like to move into my children’s Wendy house.

Doing pretend washing up

Doing pretend washing up

Pretend living

My dream house is standing in my garden right now
Blue roof, pink door, little shutters
open shut open shut
endlessly
spend the day
just open shuttering
Then hiding away inside in the shade
Plastic tap, pretend cooking, a pretend cup of tea

I spent most of my childhood pretending to be
Mary Poppins, ballerina, a barmaid,
or just an older version of me
older smarter
spend the day
rowing my bicycle like a canoe
pretend nineteenth century laundry
teaching skating to students only visible to me

Real life isn’t always what the Wendy house promised
Real cooking, real laundry, real washing up,
cycle recycle plodding on
endlessly
spend the day
making money and plates dirty
Then hiding away under the duvet: can it just go away?
If I wish really hard, will it all turn to plastic and back into a game?

(c) Judith Kingston, 2013

Linking up to Prose for Thought.

Too wibbly-wobbly

The Boy is almost three and his language is getting more and more sophisticated and imaginative. His current craze is adjectives, especially with modifiers. He has noticed that you can give reasons for your choices and that they usually involve “too”+adjective. His favourite adjective is wibbly-wobbly, but he is happy to try all sorts or even invent his own. He first rolled out his new repertoire when I was helping him get dressed one morning:

“Would you like to wear your Bob the Builder t-shirt today?”
“No, mama, is too wibbly-wobbly. Too cutting-things-out,”

Too wibbly-wobbly. Too climbing-up-high.

Too wibbly-wobbly. Too climbing-up-high.

On a trip to our local playground the Boy was very keen to get up to the crow’s nest to make friends with the 6 year old girl who seemed to have got herself stuck up there. He had a go at the ladder, but being a cautious lad, he decided it was not going to work. “Too wibbly-wobbly, Mummy. Too climbing-up-high.” There was also the option of climbing up a net to get there, but that was “too squeaky”.

Today’s episode of Roary the Racing Car was not to his liking (“Is too tricky”) and a chicken and bacon sandwich was rejected on the grounds that it was “too lucky” and the mayonnaise “too slimy”.

I have got so used to the inappropriate adjectives that it is almost funnier when he gets the right one, for instance:

I hear a suspicious sound and shout “Don’t touch that!”
The Boy responds from the other room: “Too late.”

Good experiences also get awarded adjectives, paired with “really”. I appeared dressed up for a wedding one morning and he exclaimed to my great delight: “Really beau’ful dress, Mummy. Beau’ful flowers.”

But sadly it is no longer just Mummy who is the most wonderful and beautiful woman in the world. After a long spell of being Numberjack obsessed, the Boy now has a new favourite programme almost daily. A favourite of the moment is the new CBeebies pirate-themed game show Swashbuckle and while doing some piratey craft he asked me to draw Gem, the presenter.

His eyes gleamed as he looked at the picture. “Gem really soft,” he said full of admiration. “Really pretty Gem.”

Finally, he has also discovered that he can give his approval or disapproval added oomph by choosing more extreme adjectives. When he first saw Angelina Ballerina, his verdict was: “I love that one. That’s amazing.” And the spoonful of Piriton I gave him to swallow was forcefully ejected all over me. “That’s gisgusting!”

Letter to the New Lodger

 

lodger

Greetings.

We were already acquainted, Medium-sized Human, but it seems from the number of objects in the house that carry your scent that you are here to stay now. First of all, respect to you. We are impressed. You have managed what we have consistently failed to achieve over the past ten months and turfed Tiny Human out of our favourite room and claimed it for your own. How did you do that? Was it a particular pitch of meow? Did you rub yourself against Human 1 and 2’s legs a lot? Or did you just poo in the corner of the room? We must swap tips some time.

So, it occurs to us that this is our opportunity to start afresh with a new, unspoiled human. Human 1 and Human 2 are beyond hope and have gone completely off the rails (is there a Supernanny for training your humans?), but for you there is still hope. These are your instructions, please follow them closely.

1. Food
We will let you know when it is meal time. Our meal time, that is. Don’t worry, we realise you’re only a beginner, so we will make it very clear: when we want food, we’ll bite your hand. This is your sign to put food in the bowl. And please go and find us those cat biscuits in the yellow bag. The food in the purple bag is disgusting. It is also perfectly acceptable to leave out a saucer of milk – where ever you like really, we don’t mind jumping up on the table.

Wrong and vile.

Wrong and vile

1a. BBQs

You humans go on and on about being kind and sharing, but you cook meat in the garden and when we gratefully come to sit up at the table you chase us off, like we’re doing something wrong? Seriously, what do we keep you for? Also, Human 1 completely overcooks the meat. Just warm it through and serve it up, thanks.

2. Inside and outside

This situation where we have to get you Humans to open doors for us all the time is utterly ridiculous. You never respond in a timely fashion to our demands and sometimes the door seems to be stuck or something and we end up outside for hours on end, especially around meal times. This has to change. Medium-sized Human, your first mission will be to get rid of all doors. Yes, all of them. The door to Front Land and the door to Back Land, and all those doors inside the house that stop us getting into rooms where we want to snooze, and especially the door to the study because Thin Cat keeps getting trapped inside.

This ought to do it.

This ought to do it.

3. Sleeping

You seem to think you have claimed that room Tiny Human used to sleep in, but of course, you are wrong. A casual sniff around the place will confirm that we have actually left our scent everywhere and, rightfully, we are allowed to sleep there. But we’re nothing if not considerate: you can curl up on one corner of the futon and we’ll have the rest. We can do sharing, even if you can’t.

4. Love

FYI: This is a hint. You must stroke me.

FYI: This is a hint. You must stroke me.

You must give us love. When Fat Cat appears on the sofa next to you, this is your cue to start stroking his fur until he decides he has had enough. This is very important. You should always let the cat signal when enough love has been given. You are to continue stroking our fur until that time. Also, all this moaning and whining about our claws in your leg and how it hurts and so on – come on. Pull yourself together. You should feel privileged to have such beautiful creatures choose to jump up onto your lap.

Great. Now that we have got all of this straight, I think we can say: Welcome to your New Home.

NB: Please note that you are here on probation and on sufferance and if at any time we find you are not adhering to these stringent rules-slash-guidelines we reserve the right to evict you by use of claws. Your possessions will be retained for sleeping on.

Back to life

This one is for my wonderful mother in law, who does not deal in poisoned apples but only in loving support, cups of tea and thoughtful gifts for no reason.

Back to Life

The slug under the stone
oil slick glistening rainbows
Seventeen years and then some
Still it’s lurking
Still it’s growing
Still it’s here
year on year.

But you too remain
you get on the train
weary once more
trying treatments
no more
of the ins and outs
the jargon or the details.
Enough, you say.
Just this: the train, the walk,
pill or needle – look away –
just whatever the doctors say
then home and back to life.

We meet on another sunny day
shops or park, the children play,
Coffee, lunch: “My treat,” you say.
“It will be my treat today.”
We both know you say this every day.

There you are by the swings
Tired but still standing
Sore but still smiling
Worn but never beaten
Still giving, ever giving
Enjoying living.

The slug under the stone
is biding, waiting,
Devour & swell & overrun
it might
it may
But you stand firm and you pray
It will not win, not any day

There may not be a remedy
But death can have no victory
You drive home with a cheery wave
Confident in the empty grave.

(c) Judith Kingston, 2013

Linking up to Prose for Thought.

Breaking News! Clean Slate blog goes live!

I bet you were all waiting with bated breath for my next post about reforming education. And you were right to, because this week’s instalment is all about reverse psychology and how we should back off with our feverish attempts to popularise English and Maths.

So where is this revolutionary post?

It is on the brand new Clean Slate blog. I decided my thoughts on education were getting a bit too far removed in tone and purpose from Secrets of the Sandpit and deserved their own platform. So please continue to read my thoughts on parenthood and my poetry on here – but for my initiative to scrap school and reinvent it from scratch, please head over to
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Talking to my Daughter

When my son was closing in on his first birthday, I was eagerly anticipating his first word(s). But I was reluctant to interpret his babbling as speaking. I had this weird thing about not being presumptuous, or perhaps I was worried about looking silly when it turned out he called everyone ma-ma or something.

DSCF4252With my daughter, I feel like I’ve clicked into a groove that I just couldn’t find with my son. I seem to have found a confidence and an instinct that with my son I drowned out and undermined by overthinking everything. When she wakes in the night, for instance, I feel confident that it has a reason – I may never know what it is – but that it will pass. I don’t spend so much time worrying that it is because I’m doing something wrong. With language development, I just find myself enjoying her babbling becoming more meaningful every day. I can guess when something is an attempt at a word and I encourage it by repeating what I think she is trying to say.

Daddy won the race to her very first word. She pointed at him and said: “Da da.” She repeated it later at Gran’s house: seeing a photo of me and my husband together, she pointed and said it again.

Barely a day later, we got her first Dutch word. She has a little cloth book with things you can hide away in pockets (the sun behind a cloud, a rabbit in its hole). We do this at bedtime, tucking them up in turn, waving and saying “Dag!” (Bye). That evening she flapped a hand at the bunny and said: “Da!”

Clearly, ‘da’ is a multi-functional syllable.

I also think she says hello (“heya”) and occasionally she will hold up her hand and say “hiyuh!”, which we think means “high five!”, judging by her delight when we high five her.

She is quite adept at letting us know what she wants in other ways, too. She holds up her arms for you to pick her up and she shrieks like a banshee when the food is not coming fast enough or when you are not giving her enough attention.

Both hands on your grumpy head

Both hands on your grumpy head

She has also learned her first song-with-actions. It is a Dutch nursery rhyme with the stunningly philosophical lyrics: “Clap in your hands, happy happy happy, put them both on your grumpy head, that’s how the boats sail by.” (Actions: clap hands, put hands on head, sway from side to side). She started off by watching you do the actions, then when the song is over she starts clapping and putting her hands on her head – she even does the swaying. Now, she will suddenly turn to you with a twinkle in her eye and put her hands on her head. The meaning is clear: can we sing the song?

This is the start. From here on out we’re going to find out what she is thinking and feeling, how she is interpreting the world around her. I can’t wait to see what her next words will be, what she finds important enough or exciting enough to vocalise.

She has started waking up at night again. I’m sure there is a reason – teething, or just a busy brain from her research into speech and motion – and that it will pass again, but just for now, we are spending several hours at night cuddling and shushing and calpolling and feeding her again. A few nights ago she couldn’t settle at bedtime. Tossing and turning, huffing and crying, rubbing her eyes and that high pitched wail that means: “I am too tired for this.” Finally, she succumbed to sleep, cradled in my arms. She closed her eyes, and muttered through sleepy lips: “Mama”.

 

Linking up to Magic Moments.