Friday, February 17, 2006

Nancy's World... In Her Own Words

Nancy has finally come of age. That's to say she's reached fourteen months, the age where, as you'll know if you've read all my previous posts, (and if not why not?) my parents counted up the words I said and wrote them down.

I posted Jack's list for the insight I think it gives into the way a just-over-one-year-old's mind works. I find it fascinating. But then I am their Dad. If you don't, please forgive me for this self-indulgence and skip to the next blog entry.

Both Jack and Nancy seem to know loads more words than I did at that age. So either my kids are much cleverer than me (which is perfectly possible) or my parents weren't as anal as me in noting them down (which is also perfectly possible).

Over to Nancy....


Manma (grandma)
Da-dad (granddad)
Butty (button)
Apple (an apple or any fruit)
Pretty (anything shiny)
Baby (any baby or herself in the mirror)
Eeveen (Evelyn)
Albar (Albert)
Baa [sheep]
Mulk (milk)
Hot tea
Breakfa (breakfast)
Mm mm (I’m hungry)
Hi ya
Tis (yes it is)
Bye Bye
Oh Oh (dropped something)
Dropped it Book
(Fish mouth shapes) [fish]
Pop (Mr Pop toy)
Wow wow wow (in excitement)
Nana (I’d like a banana)
Botty (bottle)
Tweet Tweet [bird]
Box Ta (hands something to you)
Broc-li (broccoli)
Aaaah (gives a cuddle)
Cut it
Dig dig (digger)
What’s that?
Muck (any Bob The Builder toy)
Cheers (holding up her cup)
Bat (bath)
Up (meaning I want to go up or get down)
Out (I want to get out)
Bob-oo (Bob The Builder)
Tellys (Teletubbies)
Steps (toddling to you)
Good girl
Bib bib bib (put my bib on)
Tick tock [clock]
Clip clop [horse]
Brm brm [car]
Toot toot [train]
E-I-E-I-O (Old MacDonald chorus)
Ooh Ooh Aah Aah [monkey]
Putty (Puppy – Albert’s toy)
Archers (when she hears the theme music)
Get it (I’d like to…)
Touch (I’d like to…)
Moo [cow]
Miaow [cat]
Ee-ore [donkey]
Up-down (going over a speed bump)
Ready (is my breakfast?)
Roar [lion]
Ee-ee [mouse]
Oink [pig]
Dee-dar (fire engine)
Percy (all Thomas The Tank Engine trains)
Nap nap (nappy)
Who-woo [owl]
Ann’y (Andy)
Wee (spinning something round)
Hop Hop [frog]
Caw [parrot]
Tis is (what is it?)
Put-it (I want to wear it)
Aah-aah [seagull]
Fruit bar
Walk (I want to walk)
Night night

Total: 144 words

UNDERSTANDS another 20+ including:

Funny (laughs)
Tickle (tickles her own chest)
Night night
Sit down
Lie down
Clap (locks hands together)
Eat it
Kiss (says “mmm”)
Chair (her high chair)
Put it in
Singing (says “laa laa laa”)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

In Scientology, Noone Can Hear You Scream...

I don't know much about Scientology beyond the fact that John Travolta and Tom Cruise are its most famous followers.

But I do know that any man who can suggest this to his wife is either under the influence of a very bizarre cult or a total tosser.

You decide.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Autumn Comes Early

It's been a great Autumn and Jack has thoroughly enjoyed kicking through the leaves when we're out. But his new fondness for leaves has taken a (for me) rather tragic turn.

When Jack was tiny I built him a mobile out of some green and purple filigree leaves we'd been given by a friend and hung it above his bed.

Although it was just some leaves, bits of wire and cotton, it was a rather beautiful thing. House guests used to say how much they liked it. For two years it caught the gentlest of breezes and gave an air of calm to Jack's room.

I'm not given to making craft objects. Frankly, it was a fiddly thing to make and took far longer than I'd anticipated. It was the gesture of a proud Dad, the physical embodiment of my love for my son.

I say was, because the other day when I went to wake Jack from his afternoon sleep, he handed me a tiny piece of leaf.

"What's that?" Jack asked me.

"It's a bit of leaf." I said.

I looked up and saw that the mobile was dangling at a peculiar angle. Two of the leaves were missing completely.

"Oh dear. Did you pull the leaves off?" I asked.

"Yes" said Jack, without a hint of remorse.

I explained that the mobile was broken and couldn't be fixed. I told Jack that it made me very sad, which it really did. I put on my best serious face.

But instead of looking chastened, Jack gleefully showed me to a drawer in the corner of his room. "Funny one in there. Funny one."

Inside there was a brightly painted wooden mobile featuring cartoon fruit and insects faces. It had been there for over a year and I'd forgotten all about it. Clearly Jack he thought it was much better than my mobile.

I couldn't find the rest of the leaves. My wife found them later, torn up and hidden in Nancy's cot. Had Jack thrown them in there so his not-yet-one year old sister would get the blame? Abso-bloomin-lutely.

The demise of the leaf mobile has taught me several things:

1. Two year olds might be capable of feeling guilt.

2. But they're not very good at being devious.

3. You can't choose your children's tastes.

4. Don't make gestures of your love for your children. Just tell them.

Tomorrow I'll put up the funny one.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Sons of Noah

One of Jack’s very favourite books is a version of Noah’s Ark in which there are four wooden animals which can be placed onto the pages at appropriate points. It’s a really colourful, cartoon book and a good re-telling of the old Bible classic.

Jack loves the animals. “Aminals” of all sorts are very exciting and he can now reel off every pair, from kangaroooooos to toucans, spiders to rhinos.

Yesterday we got to the last page where Noah and his family are looking at the rainbow spreading out over the soggy land.

“Who’s that?” asks Jack. He often does this, even when he knows the answer.

“That’s Noah” I say.

“Who’s that?” says Jack.

“That’s Mrs Noah. Noah’s wife.”

“Who’s that?” he says, pointing to a bearded man next to Noah.

“That’s one of Noah’s sons” I say.

“What’s he called?” Jack asks.

“I don’t know" I confess, rattled, "he’s just one of Noah’s sons.”

“What’s he called?” Jack insists. Dads are supposed to know everything.

I don’t like letting the little fella down this early on in my dad-hood. So straight away I get on the phone to my mum, Jack’s grandma, who way back in the mists of time, did a degree in Theology.

“What are Noah’s sons called?”

Oh dear. She doesn’t know. Then in the background, I hear her ask the same question to her husband, my dad.

Quick as a flash he comes back with “Ham, Shem and Japheth”.

"Brilliant. Thanks Mum, thanks Dad."

See. Dads do know everything. Or at least, mine does. He can take apart a car engine and put it back together, plumb in a washing machine, plaster a wall, understand calculus, history, literature, find anywhere in Britain without a map…. and he always, always beats me at Trivial Pursuit.

A couple of minutes have passed but Jack is still on the same page. “That’s Ham and that’s Shem.” I tell him.

“Ham and Shem” Jack says, totally satisfied.

Phew. I’ve passed the dad test this time. But I’ve still got a LOT to learn.


Incidentally, how cool is this? The Brick Testament

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Take Your Head Off

Jack has invented a new joke. In the bath, or sometimes when I am carrying him, he'll suddenly put his hands around my neck, pull upwards and say: "Take your head off!" I tell him it doesn't come off and he tells me the same thing again: "Take your head off!"

The first time he did this it was such a strange idea I found it hilarious. Consequently it has become a running gag and we both find it very funny.

Sometimes he's only after a digit: "Take your finger off!" he says, pulling it hard enough to hurt.

I note it here not because it's cute child behaviour, but because I wonder where on earth he got the idea from. It's really quite marcabre, when you think about it. Tim Burton stuff. And this from a boy who cries when Pingu gets lost in the snow!

Anyone else out there had requests for decapitation?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Like A Pig

We’ve been to a lot of farm parks recently. Maybe too many. Jack was at a play group recently and saw a mother, breastfeeding her second child.

Jack walk straight up to her, pointed at her and said: “Like a pig!”

It could have been a nasty moment if Jack hadn’t gone on to explain:

“Saw a pig yesterday. On a farm. Eating mummy milk.”

A little education is, indeed, a dangerous thing.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Boys vs. Girls

Sexism is genetic. That’s the only answer I can come up with for the gender-specific play of my two children.

‘Er indoors and I have always been very careful not to imprint male or female roles onto either of our children.

We’ve resisted as far as possible dressing Jack in blue for boys, Nancy in pink for girls (although the availability of interesting other colours in the shops doesn’t make it easy!) And we’ve always given them a range of toys to play with. Both have had access to cuddly toys, shakers, textured objects, blocks, books, dolls, puzzles… the works.

What’s totally bizarre to me is how differently they play.

From the minute he could crawl and he could choose what to play with, Jack went for anything with wheels. From about 10 months when visiting a play group, he’d generally head for the buggies and prams belonging to other children rather than the bright plastic toys on the floor. When he did play with toys with wheels, he'd turn them upside down and whizz them round for ages.

Once he discovered toy garages, Jack never looked back. There might be a hundred things to do in a room but he will always head for the garage to brrrm the cars and ideally crash them together.

Nancy, on the other hand, has always been into faces. She looks directly at people and smiles hugely if they look directly at her. She’s a cuddly girl and loves being held, whereas Jack will squirm out of a cuddle after a few seconds. And just recently, at 9 months old, she’s discovered dolls. She’ll smile at them with glee, grab them and thrust them under her chin, or dive for them, hold them in her arms and slobber their faces with wet kisses.

So before they’re even a year old, it’s cars for boys, dolls for girls. Is it the way their brains are wired up? Are their subtler influences at work to do with peer pressure, adult reactions to their play? Or is it some powerful behavioural programming in their DNA? Who knows. But it’s for real, and I never would have believed it if I hadn’t seen it happen with my own eyes.

Maybe Jack will discover a softer side later in life. Maybe he’ll go into fashion design or hairdressing. Maybe Nancy will develop a fascination for machinery. Maybe she’ll become a car mechanic or a physicist. I’d be delighted for this to happen. But I rather doubt that it will.