Well aren’t you blessed? Two updates within the arbitrary fortnight deadline that I set myself. However before you get excited there will not be the 27 or so photos this time, you win some, and you lose some.
Éowyn has just finished her half-term break and pre-school beckons. Unfortunately, I was at work for the majority of it so the onus for entertaining was entirely in Lucinda’s hands. This was made more difficult with the meteorological spring ending in a similar vein to the previous three months (cold – indeed the coldest spring since 1962 and the fifth coldest on record, according the Met-Office or the coldest since 1891 according the Central English Temperature Series) there was not the opportunity to go out and enjoy the weather. Nevertheless, Lucinda managed an admirable job entertaining them (as always) heading to friends’ houses to relieve the boredom of being stuck in the same house.
I may work long hours but nearly every night it is I that read the girls their bedtime stories (assuming they haven’t lost them as a punishment). They have free range over which stories they chose and often go through phases of what is their particular favourite: any of the Julia Donaldson stories, Mr Men, Disney, ‘Traditional Fairy Stories’ or one from their big book of Princess stories. However, Roald Dahl now finds himself added to that illustrious list. It began a couple of months ago with me introducing Éowyn to the Candy Man by Sammy David Jnr. That lead to reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which both girls love and once we had read the book I let them watch the Tim Burton film version. As you may or may not know there was a follow up to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory called Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. In my opinion, it is not as good as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (sequels rarely are – Empire Strikes Back the obvious exception). Nevertheless I began to read it to them (we have since given up and begun to read the BFG!).
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator begins as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ends with Charlie and his entire family in the aforementioned Great Glass Elevator along with Willy Wonka heading back to the Chocolate Factory. Now, the method of entry of the Great Glass Elevator into the Chocolate Factory involves gaining height in order to fall to the Earth with enough force to smash a hole in the roof of the factory. (We will ignore the science behind terminal velocity, deceleration on the human body or the tensile strength of glass and just suspend our disbelief). As all good adventure novels begin something goes wrong and Willy Wonka is distracted at the vital moment and instead of hurtling to Earth, the Great Glass Elevator and its occupants enter orbit (again ignore the science, it is a children’s book!).
As I read, Éowyn asked what ‘in orbit’ meant. I explained it is when you go into space and circle the Earth. ‘Daddy, I would like to go into space.‘ I explained that so would I. She then asked as to whether we could go into space. I explained that when I was a boy we were told that we would be able to take holidays on the moon but unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet and only astronauts or very rich people can go into space at the moment, however when she was Daddy’s age then hopefully there would be affordable trips into space.
‘That would be great, I would be your age and you would be 102 and we could go into space together.’ She has got her sums a bit wrong but idea is wonderful and very sweet that she would want to take her daddy, so I replied that I would like that and then I made my mistake. There are times as a parent when you say something and as soon as you say it, you realise that you shouldn’t have said it, but now it is too late and you have a long drawn out discussion ahead of you. I made one of those mistakes. I replied that I would like that and that I would be very happy just to live to 102.
Éowyn picked up on this immediately and began to cry. I asked her what the matter was and she replied ‘You’re not going to die are you? I don’t want you to die.‘ When do I go with this? I said that everyone dies and that 102 is very old and that she would be very old (well 67) if Daddy lived to be 102. ‘But Daddy I would miss you and wouldn’t be able to see you ever again‘ Fighting the lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes I reassured her that I wasn’t going to die any time soon (well I’m not planning on it) and that I would always be there for her. She hugged me tight and sobbed into my shoulder, while Amélie looked on oblivious. It is nice to know that I am still her hero, for the time being and I will have to remind her of this if she turns into a stroppy teenager wishing her parents would just leave her alone! Better still remind her of the story in 2075 when I turn 102!
It is not like Éowyn to be so loving and emotional. She is usually the stoic one, headstrong and determined. Amélie on the other hand is the more loving. While Éowyn certainly went through the terrible twos (although not as bad as some children), you would not know that Amélie has reached that stage. Her only slight rebellion is the refusal to eat meals (but she doesn’t have the iron-will of Éowyn and folds usually by the next meal) and the fact that she will ‘swipe’ things (indeed, you may remember that when she was younger we nicknamed her Swiper after the Fox in the Dora the Explorer cartoon). My nail-clippers disappeared for about two weeks, Lucinda’s tweezers for the same length of time both found in Amélie-type hiding places around the house. However, we may have to forgive Amélie because it might be someone or something else, a house pest of frightening proportions.
An ornament had disappeared and found on the floor in the middle of the landing. Sensing the unmistakeable signs of Swiper I said to Amélie ‘Did you take this?‘ Looking me in the eye, she sincerely replied ‘Daddy, it wasn’t me. It was the Big Bad Wolf!‘ I think she needs to work on her lies either that or I should be slightly concerned about the house pests in this part of town.
Amélie is certainly growing up, she is potty trained during the day and now is in the process of occasionally waking up at night to use the potty, which is a huge step of a 2 year old. In addition, her cognitive powers are certainly increasing. If she refuses to do something or wants to do something and you ask her why she wants what she wants she will reply with the conjoiner ‘’cause‘ to buy herself some thinking time. However, when I type ’cause it doesn’t quite do justice to the word that Amélie uses. A close approximation to the word that Amélie uses is ‘caaaaauuuuu-uuuuuusssssssseeee’, which lasts about 2 seconds and more accurately could be described as a whine that varies in pitch, starting low, ascending with a descending dip before ascending sharply. Have you got that? For older (UK) readers somewhat similar to the way that Richard Briers’ character would say the word ‘Ann‘ in Ever Decreasing Circles.
Although Éowyn and Amélie are very different in temperament, both seem very forward for their respective ages. I find it fascinating sometimes where they pick things up from and have to be careful exactly what you say, either to them or around them. Éowyn for instance was eating her lunch and said, ‘Daddy, this is delectable!‘ Now I personally do not think that I have ever used that word (I even had to check that I had typed it correctly as I wrote this) and neither has Lucinda. Therefore, although I am not sure where she has picked that up but kudos to her that not only did she use it but knew in what context to use it.
With the summer comes a return for me of a Monday to Friday working week. I now get weekends off, like normal people, but the trouble is there seems to be an awful amount of people around. However, I do now manage to go to events and this weekend saw one of the first of the summer: Ashford on the map. Held on the playing fields of Brooklands College in Ashford it is the ninth annual fun day. It seems that they had booked the weather for it had turned particularly summery with bright sunshine, although there was still a chill in the air; it was probably the warmest day of the year. There were about 100 stalls, pony rides, fairground rides, face painting and all the usual things that you would expect at such an event, including a display by the Spelthorne gymnastics club that Éowyn was a member of, and indeed the display has inspired her to go back. Watch this space to see if she is still interested next week.
This was the first time that we have visited it and it was excellent. The girls thoroughly enjoyed it, especially Éowyn who, in addition to getting her face painted, won a prize on ‘hook a duck’ and happily threw herself down the 10 metre high inflatable slide. Unfortunately her parents caused the only problem. We didn’t expect it to be so big or have so much to entertain the girls so we only paid for 2 hours of parking at the local car park thereby enforcing an artificial deadline on our fun or at least the girls’ fun.
Amélie fell asleep on the return home; it had worn her out so much. Therefore, with Amélie asleep, Ezra snoozing between feeds and Éowyn happily amusing herself I mowed the lawns. What a perfect picture of modern suburbia.
In other news, Ezra is still behaving himself and growing at a rapid rate of knots (am I allowed that mixed metaphor?); Éowyn’s current favourite song is Think by Aretha Franklin and Amélie has begun to craft stories, and not only to shift blame from her direction. While the next big change in the Bagnall world, selling our house, is a slow process with no news to update you with yet. Rest assured though you will be the first to know.
Therefore, before the length of this update (and it has to be close to taking the record for the longest update of the site) causes you to pandiculate I will bid you adieu and leave you with a few more photos.
Peace and Love
Start ’em young
The power of the iPad
What you looking at?
A butterfly’s kiss
I will call him mini-me
Mr Bond, I’ve been expecting you
Extreme close up
Cool little brother
With my big sister
Look in the distance