Thursday, 30 September 2010

Surprise movement

Betty breezed in from the garden informing me that she needed her bottom to be wiped. It transpired that she had decided to do a wee under a tree, but whilst doing it, in her words 'a poo popped out too'. She was genuinely amused by what had happened, as it had taken her by surprise as much as anyone, and so I could not be cross with her.

In the normal scheme of things, such an addition to my beautifully maintained lawn, the lawn where my baby Dolly roams around, often on her hands and knees, would have led to me going mental.

On this occasion, due to the sheer unexpectedness of the circumstance, I calmly went out with toilet paper, bleach, and scissors and removed the offending object from my garden, and no more was said on the matter.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Voice control

Betty hasn't stopped talking for the last 4 hours...

Me: Let's see if we can play the 'no talking' game for a while

Betty: But why do I have to stop talking mummy?

Me: Because you are giving me a headache

Betty: But I can't stop my voice, I have to leave it on

Me: Please can you stop talking just for a second?

Betty: No, my voice is still here

Monday, 27 September 2010

Fairy magic

'I just saw Tinkerbell flying through the sky' Betty says to me, barely being able to contain her excitment, at 2.30am. 'And she sprinkled fairy dust on my sweets!' she says.

We are all about the fairies in the Button household at the moment, and I am thrilled about it. When I was pregnant with Betty, it is exactly this age of fantasy that I most looked forward to.

Now I get to relive the magic of my own childhood, and watch as Betty becomes completely enchanted by moonlit fairy parties on the beach, where they dance around a sea onion (long story) in the stone circle that Betty made for them; and they put the pretty flowers and seaweed in their hair that Betty has left for them; and they use the little shells as chairs, and ride on seahorses; and sing and laugh and fly and drink Ribena.

Betty wakes up in the morning and says to me: 'Did the fairies have their moonlit party mummy?' 'Yes' I say, 'and they loved the onion you left for them'. 'What colour is their hair?' This is the question that occupies Betty's mind most of the time.

After a lengthy chat about the various different colours of fairy hair, she says 'where are the fairies now?' 'They have gone back to Fairyland' I tell her. 'Did they go back to Fairyland on the ferry?'

Sunday, 26 September 2010

I had a dream...

We were driving along yesterday when Betty said: 'Mummy do you know that funny holiday cottage that has a grey roof?' 'No' I said 'Our holiday cottage has a red roof'.

She then went on to say...

'Last night I was in a cottage with a grey roof. I had two crocodiles on my fingers, and I was in a big bed with you and Daddy and Dolly, and I had a glass of water. There was a lift in the cottage, and in the lift was a climbing frame.'

'Wow', I said, 'it sounds like you had a dream last night' (desperately trying to work out how to explain the whole dream concept to a three year old). 'Yes Mummy,' she said matter of factly, 'I had a dream'.

Friday, 24 September 2010


I have mentioned before how Betty and Dolly fight like chickens, over anything and everything, be it an old water bottle top, a stickle brick pig, an empty juice carton, or Tom's attentions. However, I wanted to write a little bit about how, when they are not brawling or yelling at each other, they are really lovely together.

Like when they chase each other around the house , or when they bounce on the sofa or hide in cupboards and under beds together, or tear around the garden on their tractors and trikes - all of which is carried out with hysterical laughter and squeals. They sing and dance and bash musical instruments and clap together. And sometimes they even sit quietly and play with stickle bricks or lego together, albeit for very short periods of time, before a punch-up breaks out.

If Betty really hurts herself it is normally Dolly she will go to for a cuddle,and Dolly often (not always) obliges. And sometimes Dolly will go to a wailing Betty first, pat Betty's arm, and give her a soothing look, and say 'dah?' And through her tears Betty will smile and nod her head at Dolly and say 'dah'. Then Dolly will stomp off (not annoyed, it's just the way she walks) and look for something to climb.

They also have a special language that they use for each other. This normally consists of them bellowing 'HIYA' at each other. Often Dolly will babble something incomprehensible and I will say to Betty: 'What did Dolly just say?' and Betty will tell me: 'Dolly says she wants to go for a walk to the river'. I listen to them through the baby monitor in the mornings and the conversation usually goes something like this:

Betty: Morning Dolly, did you sleep well?

Dolly: Yeah. Bamatatramaaa.

Betty: What did you just say?

Dolly: Bamatatramaaa.

Betty: Do you mean you would like your milk?

Dolly: Yeah.

Betty: Ok

Dolly: Mantbutadeeeedooda

Betty: Yes Dolly, well done

The most heartwarming thing to observe is that they really make each other laugh. One of them will do something silly just to make the other one laugh, and this happens several times a day. Like putting napkins or plates on the top of heads, or putting raspberries or olives on the tips of fingers, or putting mummy's sunglasses on upside down. They are so slap-stick my children.

And most importantly, they genuinely seem to care about each other, and look out for one another. Betty gets upset if Dolly gets a telling off and vice versa. And Betty really sticks up for Dolly if another child pushes her or snatches from her (only Betty is allowed that privilege).

I am under no illusions, most of the time it is fighting, but not always...

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Polyphonic Dolly

Dolly has entered the incomprehensible babble phase. She often sounds like she is having fascinating conversations in a language entirely of her own invention. But it doesn't stop there. Even if I can't see her (because I'm driving, or cooking, or reading Heat etc) I can tell exactly what is going on by the noises she makes.

She will hold any rectangular object up to her head and mimic me speaking on the phone, that is, she emits a loud, monosyllabic and persistent tone, nods a lot, and frowns.

She will open up a book or magazine and 'read' the story. Her tone becomes varied and slightly higher pitched than normal, she points to the pictures, and grins a lot.  Being the neglected second child, she often spends hours in her cot happily reading to herself.

She makes a positively delighted sound and points her finger, when she sees a dog or a horse, or even better when she sees a rustling tree or a passing cloud.

She growls angrily if Tom, Betty or I are invading her space and she wants to be left alone to chew on her plastic dogs or eat her raisins.

She has started saying actual words too: ball, shoe, woof, cheese, Dadda, Mumma, hiya, and yeah, to name but a few. She even tried to say 'trousers' this morning.

She often chats so intently at you, I just wish I knew what the heck she was saying.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The astronomist and the swaggering action hero

During the first night of our holiday (at 3am to be precise), Betty claimed there was a whale in her bed so she came into my bed. Poor Tom had conjunctivitis so had been banished to the spare room. Above the master bed there is a skylight - it was a clear night and so Betty and I lay there looking up at the stars and watching the lighthouse light swooping past the window. It was very romantic. Betty sang: 'Is that the North Star, North Star...' (a la Peppa Pig astronomy episode). 'Yes, it might be, but there are lots and lots of stars all with different names' I said. Betty's eyes were wide (not something I particularly wanted at 3am) and then she asked: 'Mummy why are the stars in the sky?' 'Let's ask daddy in the morning' I said, 'now go to sleep'.

The following day, after a lengthy consultation with Tom, Betty paraded around saying 'the stars are in the sky because of the big bang'. We then took our little astronomist and Dolly, to the beach. The sun was out and the sky was blue but Betty insisted on wearing her swimming costume over her top and leggings. This was perhaps an indication that it was rather chilly.

I had the downright stupid idea of going for a swim in the sea. I went in as far as my knees (and that was only because a wave got me). I came out of the sea to be confronted with a Betty wielding a large, pretty disgusting piece of slimy seaweed at me. She then proceeded to chase me with the offending item across the beach to the point where she made me almost cry like a baby. Being chased by some vile seaweed, in my swimming costume, flab wobbling furiously, as people walked past, with me pathetically but slightly manically saying 'please stop Betty, I am serious, please stop', was a pretty ridiculous sight.

Despite my poor sea efforts, Dolly had other ideas. She went charging in, completely undeterred by the sub-zero temperature of the water, and the crashing waves that were well over four times her height. She thought she was invincible. Luckily she had Tom right behind her, lifting her up every time a monstrous wave roared towards her. She was seemingly annoyed at Tom's intervention. Similar health and safety issues arose when she kept trying to scramble up sharp, rough rock faces. At one point Tom said 'Dolly is hard work on the beach' in exasperated tones.

When Betty was not terrorising me with unsavoury sea produce, she continued to talk about the big bang theory, and cried at the mere mention of going in the sea. And when Dolly wasn't behaving like some sort of action-hero , she would elegantly walk across the beach, with a swagger not dissimilar to how a model might walk on a catwalk.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The lap of luxury

We have just got back from a week in Pembrokeshire. This holiday felt totally and utterly luxurious and indulgent and stupendous. We were just in a simple little cottage but after our last two camping expeditions, you really really appreciate basic things:
  • like a solid stable waterproof roof over your head
  • like having exclusive access to your very own flushing toilet and hot shower just a couple of metres away, and not having to traipse 500 yards across a wet muddy field, only to queue for 20 minutes and then to hover over a wet toilet seat and then get into a cold trickle of an excuse for a shower.
  • like going to sleep at night in a proper sand/damp-free bed, without the overwhelming fear of getting wet or blown away in the night .
  • like having four hobs to cook with (as opposed to one hob that keeps blowing out in the wind and is rather limiting in the cooking stakes) and the satisfaction that your kids are eating good hearty and varied meals as opposed to bread rolls and cheap sausages from the local shop every night.
  • and having a kitchen sink with hot running water to wash up in, as opposed to a freezing cold tap in the corner of a field that sprays all over you when you turn it on, and being safe in the knowledge that Dolly's bottle is squeaky clean and doesn't have traces of cold sausage fat and grass smeared all over it.
  • like having a fridge to keep things cold, as opposed to a cool bag, which keeps things cool for about an hour before the cheese sweats, the milk goes off and the fruit starts to smell.
  • And having SPACE - space for your kids to roam freely and safely within the walls of your dry warm cottage, space for them to play without nagging you every two minutes, and space that means you are not having to retrieve them from other peoples tents every 30 seconds.
Camping was brilliant, and amazingly good fun, and I still stand by it being one of our best holidays ever, but we were certainly ready to holiday in the lap of luxury.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

There were four in the bed...

Dolly got ill for the first time since she was born.  Betty then got ill.  Having two children ill at the same time is flipping hard work.

One evening, in the midst of the sickly chaos, and after some medicinal alcohol (for Tom and me, not our kids), we had the bright idea of dragging the spare single bed into our bedroom, and putting it next to our double bed, thus making one huge bed.  We then all got into bed together, and we were able to mop brows, administer Calpol, and hold sick buckets, all without having to get out of bed.

This was all very jolly (well, as jolly as it could be) for the first couple of nights, but the inevitable happened and Betty got rather attached to this sleeping with mummy and daddy arrangement.  And I strongly suspect she was well again several days before she actually admitted to being well again.  I swear her acting was worthy of an Oscar.  She would say: 'Mummy, I feel rather sick, get me the bowl' and 'please hold my hair out of the way' whilst she spat into the bowl.  She would hold a flannel over her head and dramatically say: 'Mummy you must get me the doctor' and 'I am unwell and must not get out of bed, I need more dvds to make me better' all said in gasping breaths.  And 'If I take very little bites, I think a sweet will help me'.

So last night I  made the decision to boot Betty out (Dolly had left the big bed several days before, of her own accord), and with the help of Tinkerbell, Betty's personal sweet-leaving fairy, she did sleep in her own bed without too much drama. 

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

And this is just the beginning...

Betty is playing with the purple ball, Dolly wants it. Betty won't give it to her because it's 'her turn' and so Dolly gets angry and yells. I try to persuade Betty to give Dolly a little go, just to get some peace, but Betty gets upset and says 'but I've only had it for a second'. Dolly is still yelling.

Dolly is playing with the drum, Betty wants it. Dolly is having a lovely time with it, but Betty is adament that she needs to play with it. I tell her to wait her turn. Betty tries to grab the drum anyway which makes Dolly yell. I pull Betty off Dolly and tell her off. Betty gets upset, and Dolly is still angry.

Dolly messes with Betty's Happyland fairground arrangment, Betty gets upset. Betty messes with Dolly's two Happyland plastic dogs, and Dolly yells.

And so on, about 200 times a day, every day.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Chocolate cake

We have just got back from our second camping stint in Wales.  Tom and I are feeling pretty hardcore - in the last three weeks, we have spent two and half of them in a tent.  I am too tired to write properly, but wanted to say that my girls have both grown up so much in the last few weeks of camp-mania. 

Betty is really into telling jokes and even made one up the other day: 'What do you call a horse with no legs?  Chocolate cake' (of course).  She is still seriously putting us through the 'Why?' wringer, and is also making up some fascinating songs at the moment. 

Baby Dolly has taken to bellowing 'HIYA!' in a chav accent to anyone and everyone who passes her, and has also added words such as 'ball, cheese, and woof' to her repertoire.  She loves pointing at dogs, the sea, and horses.  She is also becoming a bit tantrumy and stroppy.

Those lovely holiday feelings have evaporated.  Dolly is now ill, Betty is hyperactive, I am drinking wine, and Tom has hot-footed it to the local shop to get beer.  But Eastenders is about to start, and the baby monitor is currently silent, so it's not all bad...