Monday, 27 March 2017

Best Daddy In A Field Of One

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.

"That's right!"

"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!"

Oh yes.

Wait, hang on a minute...

Saturday, 18 March 2017

What's in a Name?

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

The Treachery of Objects

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 "Not Really A Hat" Hat.

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

A Parachute Will Prevent A Co-op Bag From Starting The Zombie Apocalypse. Apparently.

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?"

"It isn't!"

"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

Penguins Can't Do Star Jumps.

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

I, Slow-Bot

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

Breathing Makes You Die. Arguably.

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’d die??”

“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…