Tuesday 29 September 2009

Home v pre-school

Tom and I have a busy time with Betty. We make butterfly cakes, we pick blackberries, we make blackberry jam, we pick tomatoes, we make tomato chutney, we go for walks, we collect leaves, we read stories, we play the piano, we dance, we sing, we count in French and Spanish, we paint, we get messy with glue and glitter, we play with stickle bricks, we build sandcastles in the sandpit, we have pretend tea parties, we play shops, we spot birds and rabbits, we watch TV, we fly kites, we paddle in streams, we make pizzas, we visit lots of little people, and lots of little people visit us, we laugh, we wave at aeroplanes, we make play dough, we pop popcorn, we sew seeds, we dig up potatoes, we water carrots, we make up stories, we do puzzles, we dress up, we take silly photos, we go to the playground, we swim, we pick flowers, we bounce on the bed, we eat yummy food, we throw stones in the river, we do chalk drawings on the garden path, we talk about the circus, we look for the moon and the stars….

So if my darling girl gets upset about going to pre-school, and is seemingly bored while she is there, should I take her out and keep her at home?

Monday 28 September 2009

Betty spaghetti

I need the patience of a saint during mealtimes at the moment.

Friday 25 September 2009


We Buttons went into town the other day to do some shopping. Tom was salivating at the thought of all the food he was going to buy and Betty was excited about the ice-cream she was going to smear all over everything.

I told Tom and Betty to go on ahead because I needed to feed Dolly before I got her out of the car and into the pram. So off they happily went.

I fed Dolly, loaded her into her chariot, and struck out towards the centre of town. It suddenly occurred to me that I had no idea where Tom was headed and annoyingly I had his mobile in my bag. After fifteen minutes or so, I gave up trying to guess and was about to head back to the car, when I caught sight of a flash of bright pink through the window of a delicatessen. It was Betty’s pink bandanna, and sure enough, there she was, sitting in her pushchair facing towards me and eating her ice-cream. I waved frantically at her through the window and thought she might excitedly tell Tom (who was busy tasting cheese at the counter next to her) that Dolly and I were outside.

However, Betty remained expressionless and very coolly continued to eat her ice-cream, and stared straight through me, as if deliberately pretending that she had absolutely no idea who I was. This charade went on for several long moments before I decided to battle with the pram past all the disturbed-looking people in the shop to tell Tom that I had found them.

I can only assume that Betty was pretty annoyed that I had gate-crashed her little adventure with her dad as when I approached them, Tom was heavily engrossed in trying some salami and still hadn’t noticed me, but without even looking at me Betty quietly said: ‘Go back outside mummy’.

Thursday 24 September 2009

According to Betty...

Betty (during a cold): Oh dear, I have got baked beans up my nose mummy

We very rarely do any ironing and so when Tom got the ironing board out Betty said: You got a new canoe daddy?

Betty and her friend were on a seesaw together. Her friend said: Milk comes from cows. Betty replied: Apple juice comes from pigs

Tom was visibly stressed after a grueling day at work. Betty patted his back and said: It's ok sweetheart, you’re ok now?

Betty claimed she saw the tooth fairy flying through a cloud yesterday, and that night she looked under her pillow and genuinely confused she said: Where’s my coin?

I asked Betty what her daddy's name was, and she replied: James Blunt

I asked Betty what my name was and she replied: Jelly Baby

Betty to Dolly: Don't cry sweetheart, I am eating my lunch

Now when I tell Betty off she says: Are you happy mummy?

Betty was telling me that she doesn’t like tomatoes and lettuce. I told her that I love them. I then told her that I love her. She replied: But you can’t eat Betty on a plate mummy

Tom was holding Dolly this morning and Betty entered the room and said to him: Give Dolly to mummy, she is mummy's baby

Monday 21 September 2009

Potty exemption

We have been trying to get Betty out of nappies for quite some time now. I feel that Tom and I have tried everything. And nothing works. It’s not that she doesn’t know what to do because every time we visit my grandmother she performs beautifully.

Every time I go to the loo she insists on coming with me (which is all good because I am hoping that this will encourage her) and she helpfully talks me through each step. Once I have finished she tells me that I am a good girl and that I can have a star on her potty chart.

Whenever Betty’s little chums come over to play and either use their potty in front of her or take themselves off to the loo, she tells them: ‘Well done, you are very clever’. She even keeps asking them if they need a wee and reminds them that they mustn’t wet themselves.

She has pretty little pants desperate to be worn, and she will often talk fondly about them being folded up neatly in her draw. But if you suggest that she actually wears them she very matter-of-factly says ‘No mummy’.

The little lady seems to think that she is exempt from this whole potty training malarkey.

Saturday 19 September 2009

For my mum

Tom bought a piano recently, having hankered after one ever since Betty was born. He was brought up with a piano, and is very modest, but can play amazingly well. I was also brought up with a piano in the house and tell everyone that I am a pianist (my late grandpa was after all), but I can actually only play Chopsticks very fast.

My mum’s middle name is Elise - my grandpa named her after Beethoven’s Fur Elise, so when she heard Tom playing this piece on our new piano she felt very emotional.

She was listening to Tom playing yesterday evening, and was even more touched when Betty walked into the room and specifically requested that Tom play Fur Elise. Betty then began dancing around the room singing ‘Fur Elise, Fur Elise’ while Tom played.

It was a very special moment for my mum, and a proud one for me.

Wednesday 16 September 2009

Green fingers, not tomatoes

Betty led me by the hand to the greenhouse yesterday afternoon announcing that she had some tomatoes to pick.

She was disappointed to find that there were only two ripe tomatoes and so I helpfully suggested that it might be fun to pick a big green one and watch it turn red on the windowsill.

Betty was absolutely appalled at this suggestion and with a furrowed brow she promptly put me right: ‘You are very naughty in the greenhouse mummy. Daddy will tell you off. Tomatoes must be red NOT GREEN’ and then ushered me out of there and back to the house as quickly as she could.

And as if she needed to get all annoyances towards me off her chest, she then said: ‘And it’s not Tom, it’s DADDY’.

Sunday 13 September 2009

And the sun shone!

We have just spent a great week on a beautiful welsh headland, but we were completely unprepared for the freak fantastic weather that we had all week. I had only packed waterproofs, furry bear suits, fleece blankets, and woolly hats, none of which we needed. For the glorious days spent on the beach we could have done with, at the very least, some beach towels, and some un-knitted attire.

Betty delighted in building sandcastles, flying a ridiculous postage stamp-sized kite, and trying to catch the fish in the rock pools. She would run around saying ‘where are all the fishes mummy?’ I would say ‘look, there are hundreds just here!’ So she would scream loudly with excitement and go galumphing through the water towards them wielding her little pink net, and then wonder where they had gone. This cycle went on for half a day.

I was desperate to go in the sea but I felt it would have been disrespectful to Dolly to get my boobs covered in sea salt and sand in time for her next feed. So whilst Betty and Tom were jumping through waves I took the opportunity to do some power walking across the beach with Dolly in her pushchair. Although this felt relatively good at the time, that night I realised that as my feet had been pounding the sand, my sunglasses had been pounding my nose, and it looked and felt like I had been punched. My nose still really hurts and I think I may have to see my GP. ‘Injury by walking whilst wearing sunglasses doctor’.

We also went on lots of walks along the Pembrokeshire coastal path, and Betty’s eyes almost popped out of her head when she saw how many blackberries there were. I think Tom, who was carrying Betty on his back, began to get a little weary of having to pick every single blackberry in Betty’s view, give them to her, and then hear an: ‘Ut-oooh Daddy’s purple neck’ from behind. Betty has decided that she doesn’t like ANYTING apart from blackberries at the moment. Throughout the holiday she kept saying: ‘I don’t like the sea. I don’t like lighthouses. I don’t like you. I don’t like cheese. I like blackberries’.

One morning we took a walk down to a little cove which is supposed to be a haven for seals. And sure enough Tom spotted a baby seal lying on the beach. I edged towards him with my camera, expecting him to scurry back into the water, but he just lay there looking at me with big expectant eyes. With my maternal hormones still in overdrive, I felt that he was giving me the same look that Dolly gives me when she needs something. This was a very strange experience for me, because I am not an animal lover, in fact I normally hate them. But this Dolly-esque seal really got to me and I was genuinely upset because I thought that he was injured or had been abandoned by his mother.

Later that afternoon, after the seal incident, Betty and I went on an ‘Aquaphobia’ boat trip around Ramsey Island. Unbeknown to me at the time, of all the boat trips I could have taken her on this was probably the least suitable for a nearly three year old. But the lady in the ticket office gave me a desperate and very hard sell and even told me that the trip would be suitable for a baby ie. Dolly. Thankfully my mother’s intuition kicked in and I sent Tom off for a nice lunch with Dolly as his spectator, on dry land, whilst Betty and I boarded the boat.

The ‘boat’ was actually a pretty insubstantial dingy which had a very powerful engine and motorbike style seats to sit on. Life jackets were thrown our way by the skipper as the boat sped out of the harbour and did a few stunts to amuse the sunbathers on the beach. Betty spent the first half of the hour long trip staring at her feet in total silence. When I asked if she was ok, praying that she wasn’t going to be sick, she gave me a very clipped and brave little ‘yes’. Thankfully during the last half of the trip she had come to terms with being thrown this way and that, and excitedly started pointing out buoys and other boats. It seems Betty follows me in her disinterest of animals - when we saw a little cove with hundreds of baby seals all basking in the sun she was completely unimpressed and got back to pointing out a big red buoy instead. She showed mild interest in a porpoise jumping beside the boat but again quickly got back to her buoy spotting instead.

The trip turned out to be pretty exhilarating and fun but if I had taken Dolly on this boat I would probably have lynched the woman who sold us the tickets afterwards. I also realised that it was perfectly normal for a baby seal to be lying on a beach and would have looked like a complete mentalist townie if I had raised the alarm on the one we had seen that morning.

We only had one bad day where it was windy, rainy and grey all day long. By lunch time, after being cooped up in the small cottage all morning with Betty running riot, we were at the end of our tether. Betty must have overheard either me or Tom saying to the other that we needed a break from her, as she later announced that she needed a break from us!

Apart from that one awful day, we were so unbelievably lucky with the weather and we all had such a amazing time. However, now that we have found our dream destination, I always have to have something to worry about and am paranoid that the owners won’t want us to come back. Maybe because we didn’t do enough hoovering, or because we left pin holes in the window frames, or because we left 7 minutes after the designated departure time?

Tom says I am being silly and of course he is right. I hope.

Thursday 3 September 2009

No yummy mummy here

I am heavier now than I was just after Dolly was born, and so I have recently started trying really hard to lose weight. It was a comment from my dear friend Emily that finally did it when she told me I was looking a bit ‘roly poly’.

I began my mission by cutting back on my chocolate intake, but I found that cheese then became my weakness. Anyway, I am slowly sorting things out and last week managed to shift 4lbs. I rewarded myself with a new top, which I put on this morning and proudly marched into the kitchen where Betty and Tom were having breakfast.

Ever the observant little girl, Betty remarked on my new top and told me she liked it a lot. I then asked: ‘Do you think I look like a yummy mummy my darling?’ She replied with a resonant ‘NO’. And then she went on to say: ‘Yummy Betty. Yummy Daddy. Yummy Dolly. Yummy Granny. Yummy Peppa Pig. Yummy Mummy Pig. Yummy Maisy Mouse. Yummy Pocoyo. Yummy Tesco Man…‘

‘Yummy Mummy?’ I asked, trying to keep a straight face. ‘NO’ she said.