Is it really March?

After the once in four years update without photos (I think there may have been one very early on) we are back on track.  A new month has begun and the weather has truly turned vernal, despite the fact that spring is still over a week away.  Not that I have been able to enjoy much of it since I have been in work 11 out of the past 12 days.  That is not strictly true as for two of those days (one night) I was away in Switzerland with work.  First work trip away for 6 months and Éowyn wasn’t too pleased.  In fact, she was a little off with me when I returned and made me work to get back in her good books.

Éowyn has been in our good books of late, as her behaviour continues to improve.  I am not saying for one moment that she is a little angel but there has definitely been an improvement.  However she still knows her own mind and can be extremely stubborn, if there is something that she doesn’t want to do it is extremely hard to convince her otherwise.  This is something that anyone who has to look after for any length of time will attest to.  The staff at playbox are no exception.  This week saw the equivalent of a parents’ evening, except that is was a Thursday morning.  Unfortunately I was a work so Lucinda had to go solo and without anyone to look after Éowyn and Amélie they had to go too!  The school report was nothing that we hadn’t expected, Éowyn can be stubborn and wilful but she has a good imagination, and is very clever (more of than later).  In fact her and one of her friends had built an impromptu stage and put a singing performance for the other children.  Everyone was really impressed with them because there had been no encouragement to do it, they just did it off their own backs and both enjoyed doing it and the other children enjoyed watching them.  So we have a little starlet in our home.

She also uses that imagination for other things.  One that made me laugh the other day happened just as I was putting her to bed.  Instead of me reading stories to her, she said that she would sing songs to me.  Fine I thought.  So she got a book off the shelf, turned to the index and asked me what song I would like.  I asked her what songs were in the book and she began to list the usual nursery rhymes.  ‘Sing me Humpty Dumpty, please.‘  I ask.  ‘The new version or the old version?‘ she replies.  That caught me by surprise.  ‘The new version.’ I answer.

Humpty Dumpty, sat on a wall.  He didn’t fall off.  A man sat down beside him and they had a chat.‘  Maybe she needs to work on her rhyming but I love the thinking behind this.  Humpty Dumpty obviously only fell off the wall once, and that is all anyone remembers!  He must of sat on that wall many times before and nothing happened, but the one time you fall off someone makes a rhyme about it and you are immortalised as the idiot that fell off the wall.

The staff at Playbox though have realised that Éowyn’s stubborn streak makes reprimanding her very difficult at times.  So their new approach has been to encourage her good behaviour rather than chastise her bad behaviour.  So when she does something good (like tidying the toys away) she gets a sticker and a little certificate.  We now have a collection of them adorning our fridge.  It certainly seems to be working at the moment.  We will see how it pans out.

The encouragement method is something that we do with Éowyn quite often and at the moment she has two big projects.  Both involve posters adorning our walls.  One is a list of fruit and vegetables and the other is the numbers 1 to 100.  Éowyn used to be so good at eating and would demolish anything that was put in front of her, but lately she has been slipping into bad habits and only eating a small range of foods. Obviously it is a control thing, at three years old there is very little that you have control over in your life but eating is definitely one of them.  So instead of making it a big thing we have turned it into a game.  The poster has a number of fruit and vegetables and everytime Éowyn tries one she gets to put a tick sticker next to it.  If she likes it, she can put a star sticker next to it.  If she manages to try all of the fruit and vegetables on the poster by Easter then she gets to choose her own Easter egg.

The other poster (with the numbers 1 to 100) was brought to try and challenge her.  The idea being that we will get her to be able to count up to 100.  So we got the poster out, said that if she can learn her numbers then she will get a Susie Sheep toy to go with her other Peppa Pig characters.  ‘OK, Daddy,‘ she says, ‘let’s have a go.‘  Lo and behold she counts up to 100 without any assistance.  Too clever!  However, she still hasn’t quite earned her Susie Sheep yet because she can’t identify specific numbers.  For instance if you ask her to point to number 85, without fail she points to 58 and likewise with other numbers.  I think it is quite common that kids read numbers right to left, rather than left to right (maybe our Western numerical system is wrong) when they begin to read, so we will work on that and then she can have her Susie Sheep.

 The big news of the last couple of weeks revolve around Amélie, not only has she finally given up crawling and taken to walking full time (about time the lazy monkey!) but we have moved her out of our bedroom.  The original plan, was to wait until she slept through the night and then move her into Éowyn’s room as we thought it unfair to disturb Éowyn’s sleep.  Unfortunately, she has never been a good sleeper and after 18 months of sleepless night we noticed a pattern.  Whenever Amélie woke up disturbed she would look for Lucinda and start crying to be picked up and cuddled.  However, if Lucinda wasn’t there then she would settle herself back to sleep.  Therefore the decision was made to move her into the box room, which is my office/library.  After a day of dismantling cots/computer desks and de-rigging my technical set up Amélie now has her own room (ish).  Has it worked?  So far so good.  Even the 0600 cry for milk is no longer too early because there hasn’t been a 0100 and 0300 wake up call prior to that.  Why didn’t we do this 12 months ago?  It doesn’t matter for it is done now! 

Again, I must end this update on a sad note.  My Uncle Roy (my Dad’s youngest brother) passed away last Wednesday succumbing to the cancer he has been fighting for the last few months.  He is the third of the five brothers to pass away (after my Dad and Uncle Pete).  Our thoughts are with my Auntie, my cousins and their children.

Peace and Love