Friday, 5 March 2010

A Day in the Life

I was late to bed last night despite good intentions of having more sleep. Subsequently late up in the morning. Not enough time to do all my devotions, but never mind, I'll finish them after taking the girls to school.

But oh no! Youngest girl is ill and not going to school, so Mum is going to take Oldest to school and Youngest gets up and dressed and has a tantrum because she can't find the movie the Velveteen Rabbit on TV. Mum promises to print out some rabbit colouring pictures and come back to give them to her.

I ask Oldest to give me a lesson in how to work the TV and she finds a Good Witches program on TV and insists Youngest wants to watch it.

After Mum and Oldest depart, Youngest finds her colouring pages of boys from yesterday and puts stickers on them, then starts colouring the girl pictures that mum printed for Sunshine. I switch off the TV and she doesn't notice. We talk about the pictures she's colouring. The phone rings. it's Mum wanting to know what size shoes I wear. Dad, in China, wants to know. I add, in a panic that I have wide feet (it's very difficult for me to find comfy footwear and I wouldn't dream of buying anything without having tried them on or have the option of returning. I actually only buy a tiny fraction of shoes I try on.) Mum assures me the footware under consideration is certainly wide. I think "What is she referring to? Are they yetti boots?" Youngest asks about the rabbit pictures and is told mum is choosing them now.

She then tidies up all the pens, crayons, papers etc without any prompting from me.

She goes upstairs and shins up the door post and looks like she is going to slide down the bannisters.

I'm thinking "Should I encourage this activity. I know Mum would tell her to not do it if she was home. However, I encouraged my own girls to slide down the bannisters under supervision. I remember when they had a friend to play and they all slid down the bannisters, the mother of the girl was totally shocked that I would allow such a thing!"

Fortunately I didn't have to make a decision, because she finds her Woody doll and makes him slide down instead. I catch him at the bottom. Woody is wonderful, he only rubs his head and gets up again when he falls on his head. He has a cloth body with plastic head and hands and so it's easy to make him gesticulate with his hands whilst he is talking. He can even find his hat and put it back on his head again. He seems to enjoy sliding down the bannisters, well, at least he doesn't complain. Well, his talking facility has been curtailed due to overuse so he has to speak through Patricia.

She says she has Buzz Lightyear and so up we go to the spare room where all her possessions have been dumped and search through a pile of character toys. (Many of the toys she has are characters from films.) Buzz can speak for himself but only has a few phrases. I tell her "I don't want to catch him at the bottom of the banisters. He's so hard, he'll hurt me." She also has the girl cowboy character. Youngest gives her a name, but the problem is I can't remember the character's name, from when i saw it at school once as an end-of-term treat for the year group, and can't understand Youngest's pronunciation.

She wants to watch the DVD and finds, amongst an enormous amount of discs, Toy Story 2, which I haven't seen. She knows how to put the DVD into the machine, making sure she breathes on the disc before rubbing it against her jeans, but neither of us know how to get it showing onto the enormous flat screen TV. The phone rings and I suggest she answers it because I think it's her mum. It is. Youngest asks about the pictures and Mum tells her she's printing them now. I ask her how to get the DVD playing on the screen. So we get it going and she immediately goes off to the loo. When she comes out she goes into the kitchen for a yoghurt.

Meanwhile I've paused the DVD for her and check what she's doing in the kitchen and prevent another yoghurt pot from being consumed, offering a box of food I prepared yesterday. Youngest rarely chooses any protein to eat and there is a plethora of carbohydrate snacks in the house. So in the box is a chicken leg, a sausage, some sausage rolls and baby sweet-corn. I cooked them yesterday whilst the fish pie was being cooked. She chooses the sausage rolls but wants them nuked in the microwave.

Back in the lounge she wants to phone her mum to find out what's happening to the rabbit pictures. She doesn't know how to use the phone and so I get the phone number and call out the numbers so she can press the keys. I'm not sure if it's the particular font or she cannot read many numbers but I had to show her where the numbers were or she would have pressed the wrong keys. Mum assures her she's just about to go out the door and will be there soon.

Youngest sits down with the enormous box of Barbies and Kens to play with and I turn off the DVD without a murmur from her. She gets out the camper van and the horse. The horse is interesting because it walks and clops and neighs. At my prompting she finds the Barbie with loose hips that can sit on the horse and it walks as far as it can in between obstacles. Woody's legs prove too long to sit comfortably and the horse does not go well for this rider.

I find a Barbie with hair down to her feet that's not surprisingly tangled. I ask for a brush, but there's none to be found. So I go up to Mum's room to get her brush. Youngest is so shocked that I'm using her mum's brush that she decides to phone her to 'tell on me'. She gets the phone and pretends to phone, and even speaks. I tell her "Your mum will see I'm using her brush when she comes with the pictures so you'll see what she says then."

I enjoy brushing all the Barbies' hair and clothing them whilst she plays with Woody, the horse and camper van. I remember playing with similar dolls when I was young. My sister and I would style the hair and dress each doll - we may have had 3 between us and then I would be done. This would upset my sister because in her mind, that part was the preliminary to actually playing with the dolls and I wasn't interested in doing that.

Mum arrives with my wages, the colouring pictures and a laptop with the Velveteen Rabbit downloaded onto it. Youngest wants to go back to the office with her. Mum tells her "It won't be any fun because people will be working and not able to give you attention. Anyway Patricia will be wanting to go get her plants now, so you better get ready. I'll brush your hair."

I say "I wanted to brush her hair before, but she told me she wasn't going anywhere, so didn't need it brushed."

Mum replies" I have to wrestle it into shape by spraying stuff on and drying it."

I grab the brush, taking out the mounds of Barbie hair trapped in it and tell her about Youngest's reaction to my using it. (I would be better to stop talking about the child to her mother. It's not respectful to the child and she doesn't like it, but it's such a habit, it's not proving easy to change.)

It's news to me that I want to go out. Well, actually I do want to go get plants today, but I thought the child was ill and so didn't want to suggest taking her. I was actually just about to make some food for me, but youngest is getting on shoes, having had her hair brushed. Emma obviously doesn't want to leave her and it takes her quite a while to get out of the door.

On the short journey to the town centre we ask Archangel Michael for protection in a mantra that Youngest is now joining in with. Then she asks to sing the Thank You song so we spend the rest of the journey thanking God for everything she can think of. Youngest has brought the rabbit colouring sheets and a tub of crayons, and unfortunately keeps wanting me to see the pictures as she finishes them. I see a car park but no entrance to it and drive round the whole shopping area before finding the entrance to the multi-story car park. I enter with trepidation. I was actually trying to avoid this place, due to the size of the car. Amazingly I manage to negotiate the whole in, park and out procedure with no scrapes and only a little embarrassment as I try to exit the parking space whilst someone waits for it.

Mum had given Youngest a £20 note to spend on a plant and pens and whatever she wanted apart from clothes. "Because you've got enough of those and Daddy will be bringing far too many things back with him from China on Monday." She is very compliant whilst we are out, which is a surprise to me, even when I explain she doesn't have enough money for everything that her eye alights upon. She gets a plant for herself, a pot of chrysanthemums for her mum, a Winnie-the-Pooh ceramic money box to paint, a packet of everything she needs to create a wooden spoon family, and a create-you-own-fairy-doll set for her sister. It was my suggestion she gets something for her sister because I knew she'd be jealous otherwise.

Back home she eats the chicken and sausage after nuking them, and I make some food for myself, but don't have time to eat it. She starts to paint her Pooh, but it's time to go get Oldest from school.

We arrive just in time and the only parking space to be found is outside the parent's office. On the short walk to the office, I notice Oldest being out of sorts and I ask her what the matter is. She won't say, so I suggest she's jealous of her sister, 'cos she's been home all day. She's reluctant to admit it until I tell her it's OK 'cos it's normal. She brightens up after that, happy to have her feelings validated. Of course we visit mum as we do every day at this time and there's the usual "Can I stay at the office?" question. But on mention of the present awaiting her at home, Oldest changes her mind and is eager to go.

Arriving at home Oldest enthusiastically starts creating her fairy doll whilst still in her coat! Youngest opens her wooden spoon family package and asks for help. "I'm going to be in the kitchen having something to eat and a cup of tea, so if you want help, why don't you come into the kitchen?"

Neither girl moves so I go and have a break, suddenly feeling tired. Youngest comes in and continues painting her Pooh money box.

She wants two fried eggs on bread and waits until I finish eating before climbing onto the counter so she can crack the egg in the pan. Her mother won't let her do this because she might get shell in the pan, but I think that if she does, she'll learn to do better next time. Yesterday she managed to break both yolks but today they were intact. She even managed to transfer it unbroken to her bread!

Oldest had her chicken, sausage and sweetcorn but gave the sausage rolls to Youngest. Of course they had to all be nuked.

Oldest had asked for help in the beginning, but then said "I've got the hang of it."

Youngest wanted the Velveteen Rabbit to play through the TV, but I don't know how to do that because Emma couldn't tell me because she didn't know. Youngest then chooses the TV over the Velveteen Rabbit and is excited to see the film Bolt on the Disney channel.

Oldest wants help to put the hair on her fairy doll like in the picture, but I can't work out how to do it. She works out her own way and it's very good; just like the picture. Youngest wants help to make a wooden spoon person but I don't do much because I'm mesmerised by the TV. She makes a really good person after all with no help.

A drama ensues when Oldest alerts me to the fact that one of the kittens is eating her chicken bone. I leap into action and try and get the bone from him as it's dangerous for cats to eat them, due to it splintering easily. The cat has his jaws firmly on the bone and, not wanting to get bitten, I decide to not force his jaws apart but shake him and he lets me remove the object. Youngest, whose kitten it is, is upset by the picture of me shaking the cat and rushes upstairs shouting at me. I can't find her. She's good at hiding, so I call to her reassuring her the cat was OK and I wasn't harming him, but trying to help him. I leave her to calm down on her own and go to wash the dishes.

They ask to go outside so I suggest they tidy up the lounge. They do a good job. I insist they put warm coats on and they have fun bouncing on the enormous (of course), trampoline. They also have a climbing and swing set that they

availed themselves of this too. Mum comes home to find me trying to persuade Youngest to take her roller skates off whist on the tramploine.

Phew! I hand over responsibility.