We are midway through February (frightening isn’t it?) and since the last update the fortnight seems to have been filled with many events but without a lot happening too. I can see a lot of quizzical looks at that apparent oxymoronic statement.
I took the last of the last year’s holiday entitlement on the first Friday of February to give myself a long weekend. Thus I decided to go and pick Éowyn up from playbox. I am waiting outside with the other mothers when the door opened and I was beckoned inside. Éowyn had been misbehaving all day, culminating it her hitting another child with a wooden piano across the head. I felt like a child who had been summoned into the Headmaster’s office and sat there mortified at what she had done. Éowyn can be wilful and determined but this was a step into uncharted territory and something that we obviously need to nip in the bud.
Children’s behaviour is very rarely an isolated change in their personality but more a response to an external situation however trivial that it seems to those around them (probably true of adults too!). The trick is identifying it and neutralising it, but not allowing the crimes to go unpunished either. (That is what we are attempting anyhow, we’ll let you know in 20 years if it works.) So what are the stimuli that are causing Éowyn to behave the way she is. It is her little sister. Not directly but the attention that Amélie receives and encouragement she is getting for doing things that Éowyn can easily do is probably the first and foremost reason. This is not to say that Éowyn does not get any attention but she has to share that attention. So therefore when she wants the attention and she is not getting the attention she requires immediately then she is naughty: for then she gets the attention. It might be Mommy or Daddy telling her off but it is attention and more importantly Amélie is not getting any while we are pre-occupied with her. Knowing the psychology is easy, putting it into practise when you have two screaming kids running around; you need to get the dinner ready; you are not feeling well and the telephone is ringing is a different matter. So stricter and fairer and more conscious of how we are treating them both is the regime going forward.
The weekend gave a good excuse to have some Daddy and Éowyn time: it snowed. It was the first dump of snow that the South East of England had seen this winter and although it wasn’t a fall of snow that I recall from my childhood it was certainly enough snow to build a snowman. Unfortunately Lucinda was at work and since it was cold (not as cold as it has been across Europe, where record lows were being recorded) and I wanted it to be a special time for Éowyn we had to wait until Amélie had a mid morning nap. This meant that a number of the neighbours had already build their snowmen by the time that we got out and, also the day had warmed and then cooled so that the snow wasn’t as light and fluffy as it had been first thing. Nevertheless, relatively happy with our snowmen (look at the photos below) and Éowyn thoroughly enjoyed making them (the heads we solely her creations). It was amusing that the following day the temperature had warmed such that all the lying snow melted and all that was left was a scattering of snow zombies as the snowmen’s features slowly melted during the day then refroze at night. It then turned bitterly cold for nearly a week and no further melting took place. We then received a second (smaller) fall of snow that re-coated everything before the temperature has returned to more usual February temperatures and only the carcasses of the snow zombies remain (although I do not give them very more days of survival in these conditions).
Amélie is still resisting the complete transition to bipedal locomotion. Her attempts are more frequent and she can totter around for quite a while before gravity wins the argument but she still prefers the racing crawl method or shuffles about on her knees. She is such a lazy tyke. She gets away with it because she has a big sister that will do things for her and she has such a cheeky grin when she wants to get her own way. We will have to see what we can do to encourage the full move, but at least it is a step in the right direction (see what I did there?).
Thursday 10th February was Uncle Albert’s funeral. I had been asked to say a few words (the first time I had been asked to speak at a funeral) and in a strange way I was looking forward to it. However fate had other ideas. Éowyn had been under the weather for a couple of days and didn’t really think too much of it as kids are always feeling grotty as their immune systems encounter attacks for the first time and busy themselves creating defences. However on the Tuesday Lucinda began to feel ill and then on the Wednesday I was knocked for six. So much so that I went home early from work on Wednesday (I never go home ill) and on the Thursday could only drag myself out of bed to lie on the sofa (and Lucinda the same). Fortunately I had the wherewithal on the Wednesday night to call Mom to tell her that we wouldn’t be attending (the funeral was at 1000 and that would mean leaving at 0700 and with all the will in the world even if I fell 100 times better there was no way it was going to happen) the fact that we were worse the next day justified that decision. It was sad that we never managed to say goodbye to Uncle Albert (although I am sure he understood) and hello to a lot of relatives that we don’t see very often. Uncle Albert’s death has left my Nan as the sole living representative of her generation on either side of our family.
Éowyn has taken a big step forward in growing up. She decided last Saturday night that she didn’t want to wear a nappy to bed any more. She has been nappy free in the day for many months but has always wanted the confidence of a nappy on at night. Not any more. She said that she didn’t want it so we didn’t put it on her. We put her potty near her bed so she didn’t have to go too far in the night and prepared ourselves for wet pyjamas and changing the bedclothes. We need not have fretted she has made the transition effortlessly so far. She was obviously ready and waited until she knew herself that she was ready and that was it.
To reward this, and to give me an excuse to go and see it too, I took Éowyn to the cinema for the first time. It is half-term so there are a number of films out aimed at kids (and big kids) and there are special early showtimes too. When I was a little older than Éowyn is now, one of my favourite shows was The Muppet Show. I own a number of DVDs of The Muppets and Éowyn has seen some of them so when I heard that the new Muppet movie was out for half term the choice of which film to go and see was made easy. I think Éowyn was over-awed by the whole cinema experience although overall she seemed to thoroughly enjoy it (probably not as much as her dad did!). She didn’t think much of popcorn and was frustrated by all the adverts and trails for other films (aren’t we all). The little Toy Story short before the film was a bonus and she sat as good as gold for the entire length of the film. I would quite happily take her to see another film again, and knowing my love of the cinema and of ‘children’s movies’ it would be no great hardship.
Anyhow, I will leave you with that (go and see the movie if only for a barbershop quartet rendition of Nirvana’s ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ – you have been warned).
Peace and Love