Some kind of weird omnivore’s litany

I have no idea what was going on in Reuben’s head at dinner this evening.

While I was eating (cottage pie, thanks for asking. And yes, it was delicious) I suddenly became aware that Reuben was chatting to himself.

He appeared to be asking questions.  And then Joshua started joining in too with the answers.

This is what he was saying, no word of a lie:

Reuben: Daddy eat flowers?

Reuben and Joshua: NO!

Reuben: Daddy eat Mummy’s head?

Reuben and Joshua: NO!

Reuben: Mummy eat own head?

Reuben and Joshua: NO!


It was like some kind of weird omnivore’s litany.

One day I need to have ‘that’ chat with them

I imagine that in years to come the conversation may go a bit like this:

Me: Reuben, Joshua—come with me, I need to have an important chat with you.

Reuben and Joshua: Oh no! It’s ‘the sex chat’.

Me: No, it’s not ‘the sex chat’, I need to instruct you in the important and various methods of lacing up your shoes.

No one ever had that chat with me and I wish they did because it took me hours of experimenting to find the method that I like best, which is bottom-right to top-left and then lacing the remainder up with a nice, neat and even horizontal cross.

One day they will thank me.

How will you get there, Maisy?

How will you get there, Maisy?
How will you get there, Maisy?

Subtitle: How a children’s book sums up yesterday’s snow

According to the BBC News website we’re in for another very cold night.

I drove in to work this morning, but yesterday—which saw Edinburgh and Glasgow airports closed due to the sheer volume of snow; which saw hundreds of motorists spend the night in their cars due to the disruption on the Scottish roads—I worked from home.

Yesterday evening, at bedtime, I sat with Reuben on his bedroom floor and read him book after book.  We read 5 or 6 books in all, including the book above: How will you get there, Maisy? by Lucy Cousins.

It’s an interactive book, which shows one form of transport and by way of clues invites the child to guess by which form of transport Maisy actually used.  For example,

“How will Charley get to the farm…?

[There are images of a saddle, horseshoes, apples and the words “Clip Clop!”]

By motorbike?

[Lift the flap]

“No… by horse!”

And then I turned the page and read this:

How will Maisy get to the airport...? By sledge?
How will Maisy get to the airport…? By sledge?

How will Maisy get to the airport…? By sledge?


Daddy’s bike

Close-up of a bicycle chainset
Bicycle Gear by donjolley at Stock.xchng.

Bedtimes with Joshua have been a little tricky of late. ‘Fraught’ might be a word that you could use about them. It’s certainly a word that I have used about them.

At his lunchtime snooze he’s amazing. You put him in his pushchair in the garden and off he drifts to sleep quite effortlessly, waking refreshed 90-120 minutes later.

In the evening, however, after his bath he screams. And eventually so do I.

But not this evening. This evening I was determined to not get upset.

No agenda

I read an article in the TAMBA magazine a while back that one secret about putting children to bed is to not have an agenda afterwards.  Don’t approach bedtime thinking “Right, once they are asleep I’ll have time to do x, y and z.”  they advised. But that’s tricky, because after their bedtime is usually the perfect time to get x, y and z done.

This evening, though, I actually didn’t have an agenda other than to embody a zen-like calm while dealing with Joshua on our bed.  And that’s exactly what I did.

What I got back from him, however, was this.

Daddy’s bike – a monologue

Bike!” said Joshua.

I looked at him.

Bike!” said Joshua again. “Bike! Daddy’s bike!”

“Bike?” I questioned. “You want to see Daddy’s bike?”

Joshua nodded an pointed out the window towards the shed.

“We can’t look at the bike this evening,” I reasoned. “It’s sleepy time!”

Undeterred Joshua continued with his mantra. “Bike! … Bike! … BIKE!! Daddy’s bike!

I am not kidding for 15-20 minutes he kept this up. At one point I thought I was in some kind of trance.

“Daddy’s bike! … Daddy’s bike! … Daddy’s bike! … Daddy’s bike!”

I couldn’t help laughing.

“Wheesht! with the bike nonsense!” I demanded.

He didn’t listen.

Bike! …”

At one point he stopped suddenly. His face was a quizzical picture, like he was trying to figure out how he could better convey to me the seriousness of what he was telling me.  And then, there it was, a tiny Eureka moment:  “Bike! … Bike! … BIKE!! Daddy’s bike!

I promised that I’d show him my bike tomorrow before handing him off to Jane who put him back in his cot.

“Mummy?” he said as he lay in his cot in the glow of the night-light.

“Yes darling,” she replied.

“Mummy? Daddy’s bike!

Conversation #6

Conversation while feeding Reuben and Joshua the other night.

Gareth: You know, in many ways having children is like having a dishwasher.

Jane: Really?! How?

Gareth: Well, you know … you don’t actually need one but life feels somehow … better … with one.

Jane: Yeah, but the main difference is that a dishwasher makes your life easier.

Gareth: I suppose so. And you don’t fill your children with tablets and salt.

Jane: … or dishes!

Gareth: So … erm, in conclusion children aren’t like dishwashers, are they?

Jane: No, not really.