Wednesday, 21 June 2017
"I cannot," I confess.
"Shush!" she reprimands. "In this game, you cannot talk, you see?"
I nod my head, for in this game, I cannot... well, you get the picture.
"No, Daddy, answer with your mouth shut, like this!" She folds her lips under her teeth and continues to 'talk' in an exaggerated "mmm mmmm mmm."
Always happy to oblige, I follow suit.
"Now open your mouth and shout 'Ow,' Daddy," I am instructed.
"Ow," I say dutifully, then, "what for?"
"Because I am eating you, nom nom nom." Oh.
"What are you eating me for?" I enquire.
"You LOOK like a biscuit, you SMELL like a biscuit, you FEEL like a biscuit and you TASTE like a biscuit!"
"Goodness, what SORT of biscuit?"
"A chocolate chip cookie," she declares, "and I have eaten you all up. So now I'm the Queen!"
"Whoever eats something first gets to be the Queen. Especially if it is strawberry cake!"
"Are you sure that's how they choose the Queen?" I ask. "Surely new people eat something first all the time, wouldn't the Queen have to keep changing??"
"No, silly," she scoffs. "THOSE people get to be princes and princesses."
Ah yes. Of course.
Tuesday, 16 May 2017
To 5 Year Old's Mummy's delight, the 5 Year Old has become a bit obsessed with "Anne with an 'E'", the latest retelling of "Anne of Green Gables." This is made even more exciting when we reveal to her that her middle name is, indeed, Anne with an 'E' because of this very book. If only 5 Year Old's Daddy had "The Doctor" as his middle name, how perfect would that be?
Anyway, much like with "Frozen" back in the day, 5 Year Old must be doing what Anne is doing. Anne has a glass of milk, 5 Year Old has a glass of milk. Anne stands on a chair, 5 Year Old stands on a chair. Anne gets accidentally drunk on home made wine she thinks is strawberry cordial, 5 Year Old's Daddy presses fast forward...
She asks 5 Year Old's Mummy if she can get an Anne dress-up costume, which seems quite do-able as she largely wears shapeless smocks. (5 Year Old's Daddy presses fast forward as Matthew goes to his lost love's dress shop for an expensive grown-up dress with puff sleeves).
"Will it come with freckles," she muses, "or must I draw those on? And should they be brown like my hair or orange like Anne's?" This is a philosophical dilemma beyond both parents.
Further through the latest episode she suddenly pipes up with "How do they make the drawings move?"
"What drawings?" I ask.
"The drawings of Anne and everybody."
"They aren't drawings," I protest, "they are real people."
"But they are on TV," she counters, "and you said things on TV like "My Little Pony" were lots of drawings."
"Yes, cartoons are," I agree, "they make those by doing hundreds of drawings where each character moves a tiny bit, then they photograph all the drawings and show them on screen really quickly one after another so it looks like they are moving." Daddy suspects that animation hasn't been done like this since about 1977, but sometimes he has to think on his feet. "These are real people in dress up pretending to be Anne and her friends."
"So how do they get the pretending on the telly?"
"Someone films it like you sometimes film yourself pretending to be Youtube on Mummy's phone."
"Whoa!" She thought that this show was epic before. Now, her mind is blown.
Friday, 12 May 2017
The 5 Year Old looks over her shoulder and leans in to whisper something sotto voce.
"Do you sometimes worry that people are going the other way?" she asks.
"The other way?" I need a bit of clarification on this one.
"When you see someone walking towards you, do you worry that they are going the other way?"
"I don't understand," I confess.
"When they are walking towards you, do you worry that they are actually walking away from you?" She does a face that seems to convey "obviously!"
"Well, no," I say, "they are usually facing me if they are coming towards me."
"But I sometimes walk backwards!" she protests. Which is, indeed, true.
"People walking towards you tend to get closer. You can see which way they are walking!"
She thinks about this.
"Even people behind you?" she checks.
"You can't see them, but you can hear them and maybe see their shadow. If the sound gets nearer, they are probably getting nearer."
"So," she sums up, "you can tell which way people are going by looking at them and listening to them?"
I nod in agreement.
"That's a relief," she sighs. "I've been worrying about that." And off she skips away from me singing, the world free of care once more.
At least, I think she's skipping away from me...
Thursday, 11 May 2017
We have come across a dead hedgehog in the road.
"I am not walking past a hedgehog," the 5 Year Old insists.
"It's okay, just don't look at it," I reassure her.
"No, I am not walking past it because it might bite me!" she explains, confusingly.
"But it's dead, darling," I point out.
"How do you know it isn't just sleeping?"
Well, the entrails are the biggest clue, but I don't really want to point those out if I can avoid it.
"There are flies crawling on it," I indicate.
"Why are FLIES crawling on it??" She is horrified.
"Well, flies like dead things. They eat dead things."
"REALLY?" This is very exciting news. "Would they eat me if I was dead??"
"Um, well, yes, I suppose," I mull, wanting to change the subject. "Anyway, flies, dead, let's go past it!"
"What if the dead hedgehog suddenly comes back to life and is an evil hedgehog and attacks me with its spikes?"
I explain that hedgehogs are generally quite passive, have spikes to protect them from seagulls etc., and are pretty unlikely to attack whether alive or dead. Or undead. We walk past.
"How do you think it died?" she asks, further up the hill.
"I imagine it got hit by a car!"
"Why didn't it run out of the way?"
"Well," I say, "hedgehogs are quite slow moving, and it was probably dark and it didn't see the car until it was too late!"
"I hope it didn't damage the car!"
From the look of the hedgehog, I suggest that this is unlikely.
"Flies are really small," she observes. "It must take a really long time for them to eat a hedgehog." Pause. "I wonder how long it would take for one to eat me?"
And she slowly repeats "munch, munch, munch" all the way home as a rather inaccurate way of measuring this...
Tuesday, 9 May 2017
The 5 Year Old has been in a thoughtful rather than talkative mood recently, but today she has a new idea playing on her mind.
"What if everyone in the world had to cancel their birthday?" she asks.
"Why would they do that?" I ask.
"Because no-one will come to their party!" Obviously.
"No-one will come to anyone's party? That seems a bit unlikely..."
"But what if everyone in the world gets chicken pox?" she asks, with a big gesture.
"What, at once?" I cry.
"People do all get ill at once sometimes!"
"That would be some epidemic," I shrug. "Chicken pox only lasts about a week, though. Everyone doesn't have a birthday on the same day, though, some parties could go ahead."
"No!" she insists. "This chicken pox will last a year!"
Well, no arguing with that.
"Well, in the unlikely event that a chicken pox epidemic overtook the entire world at the same time, even the people who had already had it, and lasted an entire year, then I imagine that lots of birthday parties would be cancelled, yes."
"That would be sad," she nods glumly.
"On the bright side, it would be great news for all the chiggy-wigs!" I chip in.
"Why's THAT?" she asks.
"Well," I say, in a vaguely post-modern nod to this blog I read called The Philosophy of a 5 Year Old, "chiggy-wigs eat chicken pox, don't they?"
"That is ridiculous," she snorts, having spent a half term studying insects since our prior conversation, "they are called woodlice, and they eat leaves!"
Darn you, education. Gosh darn you all to heck!
Tuesday, 25 April 2017
"What's THIS?" I ask, admiring the 5 Year Old's artwork as I pick her up from After-School Club.
"It's my Bat Mat!" she exclaims, as if this requires no further explanation.
"What's a Bat Mat?" I ask. "Is it a small carpet from Bruce Wayne's house?"
Surprisingly, this goes over her head!
"No, it is just a normal Bat Mat."
"Ah! It's very brightly coloured!"
"Yes, the bats are at a disco! They are having a boogie!" She leans in conspiratorially and lowers her voice. "Boogie is a word that means the same as dance!"
"Do bats like discos?" I enquire. She nods. "Only I thought they liked quiet. And darkness. And," adopting a Christian Bale growl, "the NIGHT!"
She thinks. "It's a silent disco." There is such a thing, kids.
"So what is the Bat Mat for again? Is it a mat for wiping your feet or a table mat or what?"
"Well, Other 5 Year Old, 5 Year Old Boy and 5 Year Old Boy's Friend made one, so I did too."
"Only I think it is a mat for sitting on to make your bum comfortable on the floor!"
Ah. It flutters in the breeze. I doubt it will work.
Monday, 24 April 2017
"I like it when I do THIS!" the 5 Year Old tells me, running her tongue over her top teeth.
"Why's that?" I ask.
"Because they taste of CHOColate!" she says.
This strikes me as implausible, or at least undesirable.
"Do they? Have you got chocolate on your teeth?"
"No," she decides. "But wouldn't it be good if they were made of white chocolate?"
"I don't think so. They would break really easily, or dissolve in your mouth."
"Ah," she counters, "but what if they were made of really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really hard chocolate?"
"That might be okay," I concede.
"But what if my tooth fell out?"
"You could eat it like a chocolate button," I shrug.
"And it wouldn't rot my teeth!"
Wednesday, 19 April 2017
We've been away for a couple of days at 5 Year Old's Granny and Grampa's house.
I overhear Granny trying to teach some grammar on one of the mornings.
"There is two toilets at your house," 5 Year Old has observed.
"No, there are," Granny says, which sounds a bit contradictory but of course isn't.
"Are what?" 5 Year Old asks, quite reasonably.
"There are two toilets."
"When there is one of something, you say 'is'," Granny explains, "and when there are more than one, you say 'are.' There is one sink, but there are two toilets."
"There are two toilets," 5 Year Old repeats. Which all seems quite straightforward. Oh, but hold on...
"There are toilet paper," she goes on.
"No," corrects Granny again, "there is toilet paper."
"But there are more than one bit of toilet paper. So there are toilet paper!"
"But there is only one roll!" Granny explains.
"There are lots of rolls," 5 Year Old quite rightly points out.
"There is one sink," Granny explains patiently, "there are two toilets. And we have some toilet paper!"
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
We are going to the park.
"But why are we going this way, Daddy?"
"Because this is the way to the park!"
"The usual park. The park we go to."
"And where is that?"
"Up here, this way. The park is this way, and we are therefore going this way to the park!"
She thinks about this for a while with a wrinkled nose.
"I don't think I have been to this park," she asserts.
"We go there all the time!" I protest.
"What does it look like?" she challenges.
"It has the green picnic tables," I begin, maybe not alighting on the most memorable feature from a child's point of view.
"Picnic TABLES?" The horror! "I know what a picnic is. You eat it on a rug. On the GROUND!"
"Yes, good. Well, it has the net you climb on. And the little step thing where you put your feet on the tortoises and hedgehogs!"
"That is CRUEL!"
"No, they aren't real! There are the two blue cars, and the slide with the big wheel to turn like a pirate ship!"
"I have not been to this park."
"You have. Look, wait until we get there. You'll see!"
We get there. There are no picnic tables, nets, hedgehogs, cars or pirate wheels. All of the apparatus is different, but looks about a year old. Maybe it was Brother and Sister I brought here.
"You have not been to this park," I muse.
She agrees. It's still good, though. Must go again...
Sunday, 9 April 2017
"Is it a boy or a girl?" she asks.
"Well, a boy," we reveal, "can't you tell?"
"Because it hasn't got hair!"
We leave this hanging in the air. Do we press on? 5 Year Old's Mummy decides to grasp the nettle, as it were.
"He's got a willy!"
"Oh," she says. "Is that what he's holding in his hand?"
"No," I say, "that's a big stick."
"Where is his willy then?"
"In the middle," says Mummy, "it's sort of standing up."
We drive on.
Saturday, 8 April 2017
"The rest of you are hijacking the broadband," 10 Year Old Brother often moans, "you're making my tablet laggy!"
Now, he has given an old tablet that doesn't really connect to anything but has some games downloaded onto it to the 5 Year Old.
The 13 Year Old Sister and I are chatting as she plays. She suddenly holds up a hand and shouts "Stop!"
"You are talking too loudly! My tablet cannot hear the band, and is all waggy!"
"Other 5 Year Old is 5, and I am 5," says the 5 Year Old.
"Indeed," I say.
"How old will she be when I am 6?"
"How old will she be when I am 7?"
"How old will she be when I am 8?"
"How old will she be when I am 9?"
"You're the same age! Apart from the little gap between your birthdays, you will always be the same age!"
"Even when we are 573?"
"Well, one of you might die before then!"
"So we WON'T be the same age forever and ever?"
"Not forever, no."
"How old will she be when I am 10?"
Thursday, 6 April 2017
I've had a bit of a hard day, so naturally the 5 Year Old is having a tantrum.
She has been told off at after-school club for flashing her knickers in the playground.
She does not like being told off.
She is doing that special 5 Year Old crying where she has to sob each syllable at full volume, punctuated by heaving breaths.
"BUT... OTH... ER.... 5... YEAR... OLD... TOLD.... ME... TO... DO... IT!!!!!"
Insert cliché about "jumping off a bridge" here.
I tell her no-one wants to see her pants, and look stern, then make slow progress listening to howls that can probably be heard in Canada for a bit. Which gets old quickly.
"So did anything nice happen today?" I ask over the cacophony.
"WE... HAD.... SWEETS!" she wails. "IT... WAS... SUPP... OSED... TO... BE... SUCH... A.... NICE... DAY... BUT... NOW... IT... IS... SO... SAD!!"
"Were the sweets nice?"
"NOOOOOOOOO!" And the howling continues.
A little round the corner she cries out "I NEED A TISSUE!"
"Why?" She points at her face. A rather lengthy glob of... let's say nasal discharge is hanging from her nostril.
I rifle in my pockets where there are, of course, no tissues. I find a couple of long receipts.
"You will have to wipe it in this receipt," I say, "I don't have any tissues." ('And the winner of the Best Parenting award is...').
She takes it from me, and dabs limply at a nostril with the corner.
"I think you'll have to wipe a bit more thoroughly than that," I say.
She wipes all around her lower face with the printed side of the receipt. The black ink comes off, leaving streaky stains across her face.
"You've got ink all over you," I point out, "try again!"
She tries again. The white side of the receipt sticks to her face and her hand slides off, leaving her with a rectangular moustache. She giggles.
"Pull it off!" I say, rolling my eyes.
She pulls it off.
"Where shall I put it? I don't have a pocket!" she says.
"Give it to me, I'll hold it until we get to a bin."
She slaps it into my palm. My palm feels wet, sticky and squishy.
"Oh! You've handed it to me EEEEW side down!"
This has her in hysterics. "EEEW side down! Ha, ha, ha!"
I miss the howling...
Wednesday, 5 April 2017
She has taken this so seriously that she cries when the subject is mentioned even after the cat is out of the bag, so Daddy decides to have a chat about it on the way home.
"So, do you know what day it is today?" he asks. She purses her lips and shakes her head. "It's okay to talk about it now, Daddy knows he forgot!"
"It is... oh, one of those special LOVE days, like Valentine's!"
"Do you remember what it is called?"
"The... Wedding Adversary!"
"And do you know what you do on a Wedding Anniversary?"
Her face falls and she goes all floppy.
"You get BABYsat!"
"Well, that's what YOU do! Do you know what Mummy and Daddy are doing?"
"You are going on a DATE!" This is accompanied by a little dance.
"And what is a date?"
"It's what you do with people you looooooooove. It's a thing of loooooooooove."
"But what do you actually do?"
"You eat berries!"
"And you eat strawberries."
"And you eat chicken."
"Indeed. And where do we go to eat berries, strawberries and chicken?"
"To a RESTaurant."
"And is that all we do?"
"No, you do the things of looooooooove that people do with people they looooooooooove!"
"And what are they?"
This is a mime. She plants a big smacker in the palm of her hand and throws it. Then she runs full pelt at me and flings her arms around my waist.
"And eat berries," she concludes, her voice muffled in my abdomen.
Yes. The berries are very important.
Sunday, 2 April 2017
We're in a car on this occasion, with 13 Year Old Sister (and friend) and 10 Year Old Brother.
I open the window. There's one of those odours one sometimes encounters in rural areas.
"Phew, who made that smell?" I joke hilariously.
"It's that fly," 5 Year Old assures us.
"What fly?" I ask.
"A fly flew up my nose yesterday," she tells us.
"Oh. But why is that making a smell?"
"Well, it's still up my nose, and it's probably farting. And I can REALLY smell it."
We laugh. She's offended. But what can you do?
"I saw a Killer Bug today at school," the 5 Year Old informs me.
"A Killer Bug? What does one of those look like?" I ask.
"Black and red," she tells me. "Not stripes like a bee, more of a red pattern. You know when you squirt water out of a bottle at your face?"
No, I think. "Yes," I say.
Oh. "And these bugs actually kill you, do they?"
Oh. "Why are they called 'Killer Bugs', then?"
"Because they bite you with the wiggly things on their noses."
Oh. "We should probably call them Bitey Bugs, then," I suggest.
"No, that's what we should call chiggy-wigs," she says. "They bite chicken pox."
"They do what?"
"They bite chicken pox. The red spots, they bite them."
"They can smell the red spots. It makes them chase you and bite you. My friend Other 5 Year Old is COVERED in them, she's got chicken pox, she must STINK to a chiggy-wig!!"
I imagine so. "But why do they bite chicken pox?"
"They like the taste," she assures me.
"Oh. What do they eat usually?"
"Just chicken pox spots. All the time. They go where they can smell them!"
"Oh. They must go hungry a lot when people don't have chicken pox!"
She nods sagely. "They must. They must."
Sometimes, the 5 Year Old lays traps.
"Should you kiss someone without asking first?" she enquires.
A-ha! I know the answer to this one, as we have tried to be clear with our children that it's cool to not want a hug or a kiss, and no means no like Brexit means Brexit.
"No, no. You should always check that it's OK first." Clear message there.
"What about kissing someone when they are asleep?"
Ooh, now that's a thornier one, because I have almost certainly given the children a peck on the cheek when they were sleeping babies or when checking on them tucked in at night... Let's hedge my bets a bit.
"Maybe if they were a member of your family and you know they don't mind having a kiss, but usually? Definitely not."
She pauses, then triggers the trap.
"So Sleeping Beauty is going to DIE???" Um... what? "Because the Prince kisses her to wake her up, and he has NOT asked if she wants him to first?" This needs pointing to emphasise its wrongness.
"Ah," Daddy thinks fast, "but that's different because she has been asleep for a hundred years!" Ta-dah!
"So she's really old?" 5 Year Old goggles. "It's OK to kiss people without asking if they are really OLD??"
"Uh, not sure that's what I meant really...."
"But Snow White is going to DIE!"
"Because the other Prince kisses her when she is DEAD, so he really didn't ask."
"But... but... she had been poisoned by an apple, and..."
"So you can kiss people without asking first if they are OLD or you POISON them?"
I can't see a way out of this moral dilemma, so I do what a true hero would do.
I change the subject to distract her.
"Oh look, the shop, do you want one of those yoghurts with chocolate bits in the corner?"
Monday, 27 March 2017
The 5 Year Old seems to have an inflated view of my skills and importance. I do NOT know where she gets it from...
Anyway, I sometimes try to put her right. For instance, she often says to me now, after I stopped her from falling flat on her face on the hill outside our house, "I am always safe with Daddy-Waddy." To which I point out:
a) "Daddy-Waddy????" and
b) Strictly speaking, were we to, say, find ourselves at ground zero during a thermonuclear attack, the presence of Daddy is going to do little or nothing to preserve us from the devastating apocalypse.
But I digress. Today, she wants a yoghurt from the shop. Not just any yoghurt; one of those ones with a separate compartment of tiny chocolate balls that you pour in. I feel that she has had enough of this sort of thing recently, so say no.
"Then you are not the Best Daddy in the World any more!"
"Oh. I didn't know that I was the Best Daddy in the World."
"Well, good, because you are not now!" Fair point.
"That's a shame," I say. "So who is the Best Daddy in the World now?"
"No-one," she huffs, arms folded.
"How come?" I enquire.
"Because no other Daddy is as good as you."
"So if I'm not Best Daddy in the World then no-one is?" I press.
"So strictly speaking, I'm still Best Daddy in the World!"
"You are NOT!" Arms akimbo!
"Can I get back to being Best Daddy in the World?"
"What do I have to do?" Now, one would expect that the yoghurt would feature here again, but brace yourselves, we have moved on!
"You must go on Strictly Come Dancing and dance with Mummy. That would be VERY FUNNY."
Tuesday, 21 March 2017
"We should buy 5 Year Old's Mummy a birthday cake on the way home," says 5 Year Old. "It is her birthday and she would like a caterpillar one."
"That's a nice idea," I say, "but remember 5 Year Old's Mummy is being very successful
on her diet, and she won't want cake!"
5 Year Old nods sagely.
"We should buy a cake anyway, and YOU could have some," she suggests.
"No, no," I protest, "for I too am on a diet, and cannot sacrifice my incredible hotness for some fondant and sponge!"
5 Year Old whole-heartedly agrees.
As she gets closer to the shop, she has another selfless idea.
"We should stop and get cakes or sweeties for 13 Year Old Sister and 10 Year Old Brother," she says, "they would like that."
"But they have already had treats this week, and don't need any more messes."
"And 13 Year Old Sister is a vegetarian now." Which I'm almost certain disallows cakes, yes, cream is murder.
We return home, and 5 Year Old unpacks her things. But what can this be, wrapped in tin foil?
"3 cream cakes I made, and they are ALL for me!"
How does she figure that, I wonder.
"You and mummy don't want cake, you are on diets. And Brother and Sister don't want cake, they have had enough messes. And Sister is a vegetarian!"
Wait, hang on a minute...
Saturday, 18 March 2017
The 5 Year Old has learnt at school that names have meanings.
Ah yes, I smile smugly, your name (protecting your blog-based anonymity) translates into something kick-ass and feminist, go me! You know, not that I checked beforehand, and 5 Year Old's Mum and 13 Year Old Sister have ones that mean things like "Princess" and "Pretty Flower", but let's take the wins where we accidentally later discover them.
"No, no, no," says 5 Year Old, not at all happy with being really called THAT. "My name actually means 'Bright Summer's Day.'"
"Oh yes?" I nod. "What about 5 Year Old's Mummy, what does that mean?"
"It means "It is sunny and everyone is smiling.'"
On reflection, this all seems nicer than the genuine meanings. And she didn't get a say when they were originally decided...
"And what does 5 Year Old's Daddy mean?" I pursue.
"'It is raining, and the rain is cold, and everyone is now grumpy.'"
Oh. On second thoughts....
Tuesday, 14 March 2017
To begin with, Daddy is not well. He has picked up a bug, his stomach is decidedly not constant, and he can at best move very, very slowly. But that 5 Year Old won't pick herself up, so off he stumbles...
The 5 Year Old is, of course, a whirling dervish today, starting off with a game she calls "Funtime!" which basically involves sprinting up the concrete slope at school and then hurtling back down it and barrelling into me at 500 miles per hour as I groan with nausea. We then move on to holding my hand and yanking on my arm as she skips like a maniac and sings a song called "Bibbi-di-boo," which from the rapier like wit of its lyrics and ornate construction of its melody I am assuming she wrote herself.
I am in no mood for conversation, but eventually an issue preys on her mind enough to share.
"I am worried about the toy in my shoe." She has bought new shoes with a dolly hidden in the heel, a free gift which surprisingly no longer adds £5 to the cost as when 13 Year Old big sister had similar.
"Why is that?" I ask.
"You are not supposed to take toys to school."
"Ah. Did you get it out?"
"Did your teacher ask about it?"
"Did you tell your friends about it?"
"So nobody knows it's there!"
"But I know it's there, Daddy." A-ha. A moral dilemma!
"Did you worry about having it today?" She nods. "So why don't you take the dolly out and leave it at home?"
"Because I would worry about losing it, and that is worse!"
"Do you ever look at it at school?"
"No, there is no need, there is a picture of it on the heel." It is absolutely imperative that we check this, even though she has to lean on me and I have to lean on a fence and we still aren't balanced. There is.
"Well, that's easy then. If you never look at it and never play with it, it ISN'T a toy!"
This is a bit existential for her, but evidently makes sense. So, back to "Bibbi-di-boo."
Monday, 13 March 2017
The 5 Year Old is wearing a hat.
"I'm wearing a hat." See? To be accurate, it is a purple bobble hat with that insufferably jolly one from Trolls on it. "I have also invented a hat."
"Yes, it is a special hat that doesn't cover your hair like this one."
"What does it cover, then?"
"It covers your entire body EXCEPT your hair! All the way up!"
"So not really a hat," I hedge.
"Yes, it is a hat, because I call it a hat." No arguing with that.
"How do you see out if it covers your entire body?" I ask.
"You must have tiny holes for your eyes so you can see, and your nose so you can breathe, and your mouth so you can talk," she explains, "and maybe someone walking in front of you to show the way."
This sounds like a lot of effort for a hat. It starts to spit with rain.
"I hate it when it rains," she tuts. Then she thinks. "The hat must have fasteners!"
"Why is that?"
"Because we need to have a hood for when it rains!"
"Why not have a hat that just covers your whole body, head as well?"
"Because you NEED to have your HAIR out!"
Oh, yes. Silly me.
"You could sew it for me. And you could make it a super-hero hat that flies!" she asserts.
"How do I make it fly?" I wonder.
"I'll breathe in some air, keep it in my cheeks, then blow it into the hat when you sew it!" And she does, which effectively ends the conversation.
Ironically, my doing the sewing is the least plausible part of this plan...
Friday, 10 March 2017
The 5 Year Old is buffeted by a gust of wind as she rounds a corner.
"I'm glad I haven't got a Co-op bag!" she says.
"Why's that?" I ask, it striking me as a bit of a non sequitur.
"Because," she replies in a tone implying that the answer is obvious and I am a total moron, "I'd get my stomach TORN open!"
The non sequiturs are coming so thick and fast now that I begin to suspect I might be momentarily blacking out and missing bits of the conversation.
"How would a carrier bag tear your stomach open?" I enquire.
"Not a carrier bag," she tuts, "a Co-op bag!"
Not entirely clear on the distinction here, but let's focus on the important stuff.
"OK, how would a Co-op bag tear your stomach open?"
"Because it's windy," she explains. I wait. That's it.
"So?" I prompt.
"The Co-op bag might get filled with wind and blow up like a balloon and make me FLY away! Whoosh!"
"Why would that get your stomach TORN open?"
She turns away as she answers, but it sounds like she says "because of the spiky cow."
"Do cows have spikes?" I ask.
"No," she responds helpfully.
"So how is one going to tear your stomach?"
"You just said it was!"
"No I didn't!" She is quite offended.
"Then why would blowing away with your Co-op bag get your stomach TORN open??"
"Because of the spiky towers!" Ah, tower, not cow. "I'd fly away, get stuck on a spike on a spiky tower, and my stomach would be TORN open, RIIIIIP!" She mimes it happening.
"Dear me, that sounds bad."
"And the zombie would get out!"
"The zombie?" I'm almost certain I'm blacking out now.
"He'd climb out through the rip in my stomach."
"Really?" I try to get some context. "5 Year Old, what exactly is a zombie?"
"It's when your bones get out of your body and run around on their own." There is a mime to go with this too that implies that they do so in a crazy fashion with tongue lolling out. Which distracts me from asking why her bones are apparently male! "I'll land on a spike, my tummy will tear, and my bones will get out!"
"Well, there aren't really a lot of spiky towers around here. And you don't have a Co-op bag!"
She has an even better solution.
"Maybe I should wear a parachute. That'll stop me falling, then I won't land on a spike."
I think about pointing out that parachutes don't really work like that. But it's a bit late in the conversation to start introducing reality...
Thursday, 9 March 2017
I am only very, very occasionally wrong, but when I am, I try to really go for it.
The 5 Year Old has had an exciting day at school full of all sorts of adventures. "We sat on the carpet!", just to give you a flavour.
Anyhow, the list eventually ends with "We had Eric, and it was about a penguin!"
Crikey. "What's Eric?"
"You know, Eric!"
"Well, obviously not. Is Eric one of your teachers?"
"No, it's a type of reading lesson. Eric."
"I think you might have misheard that, darling. I doubt that there is a reading scheme called Eric!"
Now, little did I know at this point, but my hubris was already starting to show. When I laughingly typed "Eric Reading" into ye olde internet later, I discovered it meant "Everyone Reading In Class" and really was an actual thing. Still, enough of this nonsense!
"Well, it is, and it was a story about a little penguin," The 5 Year Old persists. "I'm a penguin!" And she begins to walk in much the same fashion as when she was a robot, only with arms at her side.
"Is that how penguins walk?" I muse.
"Yes," she nods, "and this is how penguins do star jumps!" Which is like normal star jumps, only with immobile arms once again. "And the splits!" Likewise.
"I don't think penguins do star jumps," says the smuggity-smug Eric-denier.
"Why not?" asks the star jumping 'penguin'.
"Well, they only have one leg, don't they?"
"Why has the penguin only got one leg??" She is horrified enough to freeze on the spot.
"No, that's not what I meant. I mean, sort of, one foot."
"Did a polar bear bite their other foot off??"
"I'm not describing this very well," I soliloquise. "What I mean is, their body isn't split into two legs, it goes all the way down to the bottom and then two sort of joined together flippers stick out."
I'm struggling to describe this, so call on all of the literary techniques I learnt in my English degree. Then give up and do a little mime of something whose body goes all the way down to the bottom and then two sort of joined together flippers stick out. Walking.
The 5 Year Old joins in. She tries to jump without separating her legs. She cannot.
"Penguins can't do star jumps," she sighs.
"I know," I say. A tiny piece of her imagination dies, but at least my superior scientific knowledge has triumphed.
Except, there's that infuriating internet ruining things again! Not only do most species of penguin have two very distinct legs, on which they walk very much like a 5 Year Old robot, but YouTube is full of videos of them leaping six feet in the air, doing somersaults and, yes, something approaching a star jump. Seriously, who knew?
It's OK, though. She doesn't know the Wi-Fi password...
Wednesday, 8 March 2017
We are in a bit of a rush to get home and let in the Carpet Man. Speed is of the essence.
As always on these occasions, the 5 Year Old is therefore on a bit of a go-slow. As well as walking quite slowly, she has been rubbing her throat with her forefinger, and has discovered her trachea.
“There’s something in my neck!” she protests.
“That’s your windpipe,” I nod, in a tone that I hope promotes hurrying up a bit.
“No it’s not,” she assures me.
“What is it then?” I enquire.
“Actually, it is a pile of silver buttons.”
“Silver buttons?” I ask, attempting to model walking briskly whilst still keeping pace with her.
“Yes, feel, it’s all bumpy like a pile of buttons!”
She has a point.
“How do you know that they are silver?” I ask.
“I pulled on the magic wires attached to them,” she says. Obviously! “When I press the silver buttons, I turn into a robot.”
With that, she gives a mischievous grin, and then pretends to turn into a robot who initially walks in circles on the spot. This robot is not one designed for speed. It was not created by people concerning themselves with aerodynamics or efficiency. In fact, if words were used in its planning stages, they were more like “retro”, “lumbering”, and “must have arms and legs that are as stiffly un-jointed and sticky-outy as possible.”
She starts walking forward, but not, it must be said, briskly.
“That’s a very good robot,” I say, with a laugh in my voice that definitely doesn’t denote hysteria. “We’d better stop doing it now and hurry home, though.”
“Can’t,” says the robot, "you have to turn the robot off first.”
“And how do I do that?”
“You have to press the right silver button!” the robot informs me.
Well, that sounds quite straight-forward. Except that every time I prod her gently in the throat, she takes several hurried steps backwards and erupts in a fit of giggles at the tickles. So we are now effectively taking one step forward and two steps back.
I am on the brink of giving up all hope of getting home in time for the Carpet Man when 5 Year Old’s Mummy drives up, heading out on a different mission, and impresses upon the robot the need to make faster progress.
I am about to point out that I have, in fact, mentioned this myself once or twice, but upon hearing it from Mummy, the 5 Year Old turns into a smaller, more animated Usain Bolt, and now sprints home with me barely able to keep up.
The Carpet Man isn’t there yet, of course. But the exercise probably does me good…
Tuesday, 7 March 2017
The 5-year Old has seen someone be sick at school. On the plants, apparently. Never having been sick herself, she’s quite eager to get in on the act.
“I feel like I feel like I’m going to be sick,” she tells me.
“You’re going to be sick?”
“No, I feel like I feel like I’m going to be sick,” she replies.
“Do you mean you feel like you’re going to be sick?”
“No. I haven’t been sick yet, but I feel like I’m going to be later,” she clarifies.
“What does that feel like?”
“Well, I can feel it coming up from my tummy. It’s nearly reached my chin.” She suddenly claps a hand over her mouth, and continues in a less audible fashion. “I’d better do this to keep it in!”
“I think it comes out a bit faster than that,” I offer. “If it’s got as far as your chin, it’s usually all over.”
She drops her hand and thinks.
“I’m going to stop swallowing and breathe more to keep it in,” she muses.
I ask if it’s possible to stop swallowing, which strikes me as a reflex, but she is already too engaged in taking great wheezing breaths like a tiny and more animated Darth Vader.
“Careful not to hyperventilate!” I warn.
“What does THAT mean?”
“It means… well, if you breathe too much, you might pass out,” I explain.
“I’m not sure that’s what I meant…”
“BREATHING makes you DIE??”
I try to correct this misconception, but she is already puffing out her cheeks and holding her nose in an over-dramatised display of saving herself from the hidden dangers of breath-death.
At least it keeps her quiet. And she’ll probably start breathing again if she does pass out…