On not giving away too much information about bikes in a conversation with a toddler

A couple of nights ago Jane ordered Reuben and Joshua their first bikes (Branching Out First Bikes by John Crane), one in blue, the other in red. These are push-along, balance bikes with pneumatic tyres, adjustable-height seats and a bell on the handlebars. They arrived today.

Yesterday Jane took the boys into St Andrews to buy them proper bike helmets, which cost almost as much as the bikes themselves.

Reuben and Joshua love bike helmets; they’ve worn Jane and my helmets at home for the last few months. Often fighting over them. They love their own helmets now too. Reuben has a blue one with pirates on it, Joshua has a red one with dinosaurs on it.

I was sitting with Reuben last night, knowing that their new bikes would hopefully arrive the following day. We’d kept it secret from them that we’d ordered them. This was our conversation:

Daddy: Do you like your new bike helmet, Reuben?

Reuben: My like it. My like my new bike helmet.

Daddy: Good. Now you’ve got a bike helmet what do you think you might need next?

Reuben: Mmmm… [obviously thinking]. A drill!

Daddy: A drill?!

Reuben: Yes. My like a drill.

Daddy: Right… okay. Well, I didn’t give away too much information in that conversation then, did I?

Duvets and happiness

I arrived home last night to some excitement at Potting Shed HQ: Reuben and Joshua had new duvets and pillows for their cot.

Up until now the boys have slept in zip-up sleeping bags, and pulled blankets over themselves if cold. But now they have ‘big boy’ duvets and pillows.

They raced upstairs to show me, threw themselves into their cots and race under the duvet. What genuine smiles!

This morning I went in to see them around 07:15. They were standing in their cots holding a cuddly snowman and cuddly Santa over the edges of their cot.

“Diving!” they said before dropping the toys only the floor.

I picked them up.

“AGAIN!”

I picked them up. Again.

“Joshua, show me how you get under your duvet.”

Joshua dropped to his knees and shuffled under his duvet, pulling it tightly around his head.

“Do you like your new duvet?” I asked him.

“New duvet make my happy.” he said.

And you know, that made me happy too.

New ‘nee naw car’

Yesterday afternoon and this morning Reuben, Joshua and I have been making a “nee naw car” from the box that Isaac’s new Baby Jogger City Classic pushchair arrived in. Here is the almost-finished article.

Front

Fire engine car made from a cardboard box
Front of the nee naw car

The car was made from a Baby Jogger City Classic pushchair box, painted with Wickes one coat matt emulsion “Victorian Red” (the same colour as our kitchen and dining room).

The word “FIRE” was cut out from a roll of big labels (a little larger than A5) that we bought at the Borders Scrap Store in Selkirk years ago. As were the lights and radiator.

The ladder was made from cardboard from the box.

Rear

Rear of the nee naw car
Rear of the nee naw car

The wheels were made using Microsoft Publisher 2010 and coloured in by Reuben and Joshua. The Pontypandy Fire and Rescue Service badge was sourced on the Web and printed out on our laser printer. I was going to draw it but was being climbed on at the time.

Close-up of front

Fireman Sam sitting next to Reuben and Joshua in the cab of the nee naw car
Fireman Sam sitting next to Reuben and Joshua in the cab of the nee naw car

Close-up of the front of the new, homemade Nee Naw Car (featuring Fireman Sam and Firefighters Reuben and Joshua).

The blue flashing light is made from a Robinson’s Fruit and Barley bottle cut off at the bottom and stuffed with blue tissue paper, with black gaffa tape at the bottom to cover the jagged plastic from my hacking attempt at cleanly cutting it off with a pair of kitchen scissors.

The number plate is “RJ 999” for Reuben and Joshua. The radiator and headlights were also coloured-in by Reuben and Joshua.

Improvements

Improvements to be made based mostly on consumer feedback and rigorous user-testing:

  1. Strengthen area beneath windscreen as Reuben and Joshua hang on to it to climb in and out.
  2. Add a second steering wheel (to stop the fights about who is driving).
  3. Improve the inside of the windscreen / dashboard.
  4. Add silver gaffa tape… not necessarily an improvement, more a request from Reuben and Joshua.