Saturday, April 30, 2011

An owl's versatile toe can move backwards and forwards

The wonderfully gorgeous Skip at Skippedydoodah tagged me with a versatility award, diolch Skip! (That's me showing my language versatility, innit). In googling versatility (not because I don't know what it means, but just to find something interesting to use as the title for this blog post), I found the above quote. And looked no further, because what could be better than the versatility of an owl's toe?

So I have to share 7 things about myself then pass the baton on to some more deserving peeps.

So, hmmm.

1. I love horses. I realised the other day, at a babywearing picnic where the subject suddenly turned to horses, and lots of the ladies there had horses or loved horses or take their children riding, that I don't think I talk enough about them as people don't seem to know this about me. I grew up totally and utterly horse-mad. My bedroom had not a single inch of wall visible - it was all covered with pictures of horses, all my shelves had model horse toys on them, and my bedroom floor was a complex stable yard made up of cardboard box stables bedded down with sawdust and with teeny haynets made from those little nets you get chocolate coins at Christmas in. It drove my mother batty. I worked 5 jobs throughout my teen years to pay for my 2 ponies. I was heartbroken when I had to leave my horse when I came away to University, and again when my sister didn't have time for her a couple of years later and she was sold. Riding is too expensive, and it makes me sad that I can't do it any more. But when I can't sleep, I have an imaginary house with 2 stables outside, and I can go and see my horses there. Because that's the kind of nut-job I am.

2. My first doll was called Batty. I was given her when my sister was born, and I remember it perfectly. She was a Tiny Tears, and I loved her with all my heart. My mum tried to persuade me to change her name to Patty. But no, I was adamant she was called Batty, and so she remained. 2 days ago, I found her in a bag in the loft, and brought her down for J-cub. He took one look at her and shouted "No baby! Jacob baby!" and threw her on the floor. J-cub likes pretending to be my baby at the moment, and no-one else can get close.

3. There's a fairly common dessert, which begins with a P and consists of lots of little round things, which I can't bear to see or hear the name of. I can't look at them, I can't smell them, and if someone mentions them I think I'm going to be sick. That's enough of that.

4. I have had at least 20 jobs. Let's see. Babysitter, cleaner (houses), cleaner (holiday homes), dog-walker, riding instructor, waitress, play-worker, catering assistant, silver-service waitress, cloakroom attendant, barmaid, nightclub door money-taker person, credit controller, billing analyst, customer service rep, receptionist, Yellow Pages deliverer, electronic note taker, support worker, braille translator, DJ, teaching assistant, and behavioural therapist. That's 23. Well done me for being fickle.

5. I was 11 miles away from the epicentre of the 1989 earthquake in San Francisco when I was 10 years old. I have never experienced anything more frightening, and can clearly remember every second, plus the 12 hours or so afterwards while my Dad drove us as far and as fast away as he could.

6. I love going out and doing exciting things with my little family, but I get more excited about coming home and looking at the photographs I've taken. I'm not really sure what that says about me.

7. And since it was Skip that tagged me, I'm sure she won't mind me pinching one of her's, since I had the exact same thing happen to me. Here's Skip's 4th thing:

#4 – For years I pronounced “foliage” as “foilage”. I finally realised when I had to read aloud in my A-LEVEL English Literature class and it came up several times in one passage, to the accompaniment of the hysterical laughter of the other students. I was 17. It was bad, seeing as I am meant to be a writer.

And mine - for years I pronounced "inevitable" as "ineh-vit-able". I finally realised when I had to read aloud in my A-level Biology class and it came up once in the first paragraph, to the accompaniment of the hysterical laughter of the other students. I was 17. It was bad, because I already felt pretty stupid around all the Doctors-to-be who were in my class, and I still dwell on it every time I come across the damn word, 14 years later.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So thanks for that last one Skip, and for the tag. As Crush would say in Finding Nemo, "Noggins, Dude".

And noggins go to the following...

Rhian at Working Mum - amazing Mammi and awesome friend who copes admirably well with everything life chucks at her. I <3 you Rhian ;)

Emily at The Tangled Yarn - musician, smallholding creator and lovely new Mum.

and Issi at Peekaboo Me! - cos it might just remind her that it's *whisper* almost a year since her last blogpost, and I miss her writing! No guilt trip at all, just <3 to you issi ;) x

Friday, April 29, 2011

Conversations with Jacob

It seems to have crept up on us - the fact that when J-cub turned 2 less than 2 months ago, he was saying single words, with the occasional 2 word sentence chucked in (albeit gobsmacking us with one 6-word string), but we're now having conversations with him all the time, and the abstract concepts he's capable of vocalising are a far-cry from the nouns he was using back then.

In the hour today since he's been awake after his nap, we've had the following exchanges:

Me [lifting J-cub out of his cot]: "Jacob, you're going to have about 2 or 3 more sleeps in your cot, then you're going to have a new bed!"
J-cub: "Big boy bed. Big! Big Jacob Weemeeya!" [Big boy Jacob like Amelia]
Me: "That's right! You'll have a big boy's bed just like Amelia's." [points to J-cub's new bed standing up in the hallway]
J-cub: "Big bed mine! Happy!"

A little later, at snack-time...

Me: "Jacob, do you want some Cheerios?"
J-cub: "No. No snack. Snack! Couscous! Dat couscous, dee." [That couscous, please]
Me: "Okay, do you want Quorn pieces in it?"
J-cub: "Yes! Yes dee Mummy!" [yes please Mummy - accompanied by enthusiastic nodding]
J-cub happily sits and eats a whole bowl of couscous with Quorn pieces and red pesto, shunning the Cheerios in the snack pot in front of him.

He had some milk afterwards, drank about half the cup then handed it to me and said...
J-cub: "Enough! Didge. Muck didge." [Fridge. Milk in the fridge]

And now he's pretending to eat his welly boots, and laughing cos he knows it's funny to eat footwear.

And yesterday when Tilly had the audacity to sit on the sofa when J-cub also wanted to sit on the sofa, he came and crawled into my lap and buried his head in my chest...

J-cub: "No Tilly no! Get down Tilly!"
Me: "Listen, Tilly's purring. That means she's happy to sit here with you. Are you happy?"
J-cub: "No! Jacob sad" [made a sad face and hung his head] [I may have laughed a bit, but then I kindly shoved Tilly off]
Me: "Are you happy now?"
[J-cub looked at me from under his fringe and laughed]

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Jacob's new bedroom - progress report

I believe I may have mentioned in passing that we're shifting J-cub from his tiny box-room nursery into our second-bedroom study/spare room. It's been a hell of a job, mostly because we have Far Too Much Crap for this house, and it gets shifted around depending on where everyone is sleeping/who's coming to stay. The study is around the same size as our bedroom, although without fitted wardrobes, and is home to...

  • a computer desk, computer, scanner, about 3 printers and a video player
  • a cupboard full of records and recording equipment, a separates-stereo and record player
  • 5 benno CD racks full of CDs (all the rest are in boxes in the loft)
  • 2 billy bookcases full of books
  • a piano
  • 9 guitars
  • a double futon
  • a filing cabinet
  • and piles and piles of boxes and books and bags and cushions and spare bedding and bits and bobs and rubbish

And no, you can't see a photo, it's a disgrace.

It just seemed so unfair that J-cub was crammed into such a tiny room, when the study is barely used by us, and rarely used by guests. So we figured that as long as the futon could stay in there, all the rest of the stuff could be crammed into the box room, and he could have a big new bedroom to spread out into and actually spend some time playing in. And we could reclaim some of the space - currently given over to toys - in the lounge.

During the Easter holidays, we've been sorting, and boxing, and shoving things in the loft (and even - gasp - organising the loft space), and shifting furniture around. And it's very nearly done.

Tomorrow, we're having a wardrobe delivered (just one of those canvas ones, for the bargain price of £5 once we'd doubled our clubcard vouchers in the Tesco Easter extravaganza) and going to IKEA to buy him a bed. Gulp.

I'm so scared that he won't sleep, and he'll be running around getting into mischief all night, and life will never be the same again. Or maybe he'll be like our friend's daughter, who - a year in to sleeping in a bed rather than a cot - still doesn't realise that she can get out of bed herself, and calls for her Mum to come and get her in the morning. They don't even have a stairgate, for Pete's sake. Whereas I'm envisaging locks all over the place, and gradually stripping back his beautiful room of interesting-oooh-I-must-play-with-this-now! toys and books, until he sleeps in a bare cell with nothing around to break in the dead of night. No. It won't be that bad, I'm sure.

But he really can't stay in the cot any longer, he can get his foot up on the rail and I'm sure he could get out if he tried hard enough. Plus he keeps waking himself up by rolling over and smashing into the bars.

By the weekend, hopefully, he'll be in, and it'll be lovely, and we'll all be happy. And I will remember to close the stairgate at night.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter egg hunt

Amongst all the excitement of our picnics yesterday, we forgot to have our Easter egg hunt. Thankfully, I'd also forgotten to actually get the hunt ready, so there weren't piles of slug-ridden, melted chocolate eggs all over the garden. I popped out and hid (I use the term loosely, as I couldn't have made them much more obvious and he still needed help to find them) them around the garden, before we let him loose with a handcart to collect them in (no baskets, all buckets full of sand and shells). My camera was out of battery, so I was using Jamie's phone to record the occasion, and managed to capture the moment when the first egg opened and its contents spilled out - see them here in freefall:

About 6 hours and 12,000 cries of "Gegg!" later, he found the jackpot and we took them out of the sun to investigate...

...and J-cub discovered that he likes chocolate, a lot. By the end of the day, he could even unwrap tiny mini foil-covered eggs himself, carefully removing every last scrap of foil before popping it in his mouth with a declaration of "Mmmmm, nummy!".

All remaining chocolate will now be snaffled this evening, for the good of his waistline (and to the detriment of my own).

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

A couple of weeks ago, our bestest friend contacted us and suggested that if we weren't doing anything for Easter, and as she had a new picnic basket which was desperate for some use, we should make the drive to Cardiff and join her and her daughter (J-cub's betrothed wife-to-be) for a picnic. In the shade under a tree where a squirrel made frightening leaps from branch to branch above our heads, we started a new tradition which we've sworn to continue every Easter from now on - FEASTer. We had piles of sandwiches and sausages and couscous salad and yellow cupcakes (Amelia loves yellow) and bunny biscuits (J-cub loves bunnies) and fruit of all kinds and yoghurt and smoothies and sickly-sweet hint-of-apple water.

The feast was topped off with Peppa Pig easter eggs (two Peppa-obsessed pre-schoolers were very happy), and J-cub's had a Peppa ring in it which he wore with pride.

We spent the rest of the day playing in not-one-but-two parks, feeding ducks, playing football, chasing and chasing and chasing each other, playing hide-and-seek ("Meemeeeeya! Where you?"), fighting over sandpits and having a second picnic tea back in their garden.

We managed not to leave til 6.15pm, JC predictably fell asleep in the car, but went off to bed without too much complaint and went to sleep on his own for the first time since before Christmas. And I have that feeling that you get when you've had tons of fresh air and sunshine and physical exercise and you're freaking knackered but it's a good knackered, and I can smell barbeques and feel a tingle of sunburn on the back of my neck and can't wait to go to bed and fall asleep thinking about how utterly cute it was when the little ones were running in circles around the picnic blanket trying to catch each other to give each other tickles. Nuh-night x

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful - April '11

A little bit of a catch-up, framed in a list of Reasons to be Cheerful, just cos I need a bit of reminding sometimes.

Most of our days are now spent in the garden. There is nothing J-cub loves more than carrying around buckets of water, and any attempts I make to pick up a watering can are met with "No! Jacob!" and he comes and takes the watering can off me to do it himself. Most of my plants are therefore drowning, but it's nice that he's being helpful. And he looks about 6 in this photo, I can't believe how fast he's growing up:

We're looking after the school guinea pigs for the Easter holidays. We have the option of looking after them longterm, as the nursery class are kind of sick of them. I had guinea pigs up until J-cub's first summer, when old age and intense heat got to them. I've missed them so much, but having the cats is hard enough work on their own, without any further complications. But ... J-cub loves them, they're extremely tame and lovely, and they're cutting the grass for me. So maybe they'll stay:

My lovely fellow-babywearing friend Hannah came round for a sling workshop and an afternoon of fun. We went out for a walk in the woods (I use the term loosely, it's a managed forest and the bit in this photo has been harvested recently), just the two of us, and managed to craftily take photos of each other in a faux-walking pose, then photoshop them together. Awesome:

And, even more awesome, J-cub fell asleep, for the first time in I-don't-know-how-long, on my back. It was lovely:

We've moved J-cub's table out into the middle of the lounge, and he's started having his breakfast there, and having lots and lots (and lots) of tea parties throughout the day. I love our quiet breakfasts:

It's been hot enough for the paddling pool :D. J-cub hasn't quite got the hang of paddling in the pool, but he likes splashing round the edges and throwing things into it:

A day after last year's paddling pool was revived, a friend let me know that TK Maxx were selling Nemo paddling pools. I really need to do a separate post about J-cub's Nemo obsession. Suffice to say, he now has a Nemo paddling pool in the lounge, full of blankets and cushions, where he likes to chill out during his lulls. It'll replace the one in the garden in due course, but it's just too damn perfect at the moment to risk being all dirtied up:

Al-fresco meals. At least one a day, sometimes in the nude, always met with relish, and usually abandoned part-way through to go and chase an ant or investigate an interesting bird-call:

Languid days spent on the beach, investigating rock-pools and chasing crabs:

And most emphatically NOT PADDLING. Looking at worms near the water's edge yes, stepping into the (tiny, sun-warmed) waves no:

Playdates in friend's gardens, where the paddling pool, sandpit and slide are fought over, cries of "Mine!" grow ever-more deafening, and parents sit around and happily reminisce over that long-ago first summer, when we could sit in air-conditioned joy in Starbucks, drinking mocha frappuccinos while our babes drowsed in our arms (not that we'd change anything now, you understand, it's lovely to be out in the sun and their chattering and babbled conversations are amazing to listen to ... I just can't wait until they understand the concept of sharing):

And that pretty much brings us up to date. We're spending this weekend moving J-cub's bedroom from the box-room to the second bedroom. He needs the space, we don't. He's also (gasp) pretty much ready to go in to a bed. I am terrified. Wish us luck.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Life with a toddler

We drove for about a million miles this weekend, to attend the wedding of Jamie's best friend in London (Jamie, being a Londoner, tells me it's not London, it's Kent/Surrey. Me, having grown up in a village with approximately 300 residents, says it's London.). Having set off in ample time on Friday morning, we arrived about a week later, after having spent several days and nights stuck at one set of traffic lights in Streatham (I counted, they changed every 15 seconds. I kid you not). I'm never driving through London again. I cried.

We attended two weddings last year, when J-cub was barely walking, definitely not talking, and although was fairly adept at tantrumming, he did not have a mind of his own or the means to make it known. This weekend was therefore a crash-course in entertaining a fractious toddler away from home, according to other people's timetables, and with our only escape being to a tiny bedroom, where the windows didn't open more than an inch, and the temperature was steadily maintained at 25 degrees.

The hotel though, whilst being skimpy on room-size and heavy on insulation, was utterly beautiful. We spent lots of time letting off steam in the grounds, running up and down the lawns, climbing the steps and chasing the wild parakeets.

Having slept/dozed in the car for so long, there was lots of energy to get rid of, and we even had a late-night dip in the swimming pool for added sleep-inducing mojo. It worked, and he drifted off just before 10pm. Then, to our utter joy, we discovered that the baby monitor kept its link throughout the hotel, so we could go and sit in the bar, or wander in the gardens, or... well that was really all the options available to us, but it was so freeing. I did feel a bit neglectful, worrying about the amount of time it would take me to negotiate the staircases and twisty passages to get back to our room if he started crying, but he didn't, and we never get to go out, so it was justified, just this once.

Despite the late bedtime, the heat or the unfamiliar surroundings woke him just before 6am, and as the cot was right next to our bed he immediately wanted to get out and sit with us. He was very clingy - I wasn't allowed to lie back down, or get up, or do much of anything, for the hour it took him to properly wake up. When we tried to get dressed, we ended up tripping over each other and our bags and the bed and the cot and we were drenched in sweat - none of which was helped by J-cub really only being happy when he had his arms tightly wound round my neck. We'd snuck the laptop and Finding Nemo into the car, so in desperation I plonked him on the bed in front of it so I could dry and straighten my hair, and when I turned round he was out for the count.

We managed to get all dressed and ready while he slept, and he woke up just in time to be bundled into his suit and out into the car. The church was in Beckenham, where Jamie grew up, and we had a nice trip down memory lane driving around looking for it, then looking for somewhere to park, then walking from the carpark back to the church.

We sorted the snuggly-clingy problem by slinging J-cub up in my new shorty wrap, which was very comfy and beautifully matched my dress - he looked very dapper in his suit (the same one he wore for last year's two weddings, sized 9-12 months and apparently growing with him...) and his trilby which he grabbed in Peacocks with a scream of 'mine!' and wouldn't let go of chose himself. The dummy rather ruined the look, but I wasn't chancing trying to take that off him.

He was lovely in the church, we sat near the back in case I needed to take him out but with 27 other children there, he was one of the quieter ones and I managed to keep his mouth full of Welsh cakes or (and sometimes and) dummy so that his shouts of "Mummy! My Mummy!" weren't too distracting. We went for a wander during the sermon, and chatted slings with the sister-of-the-groom (who uses wraps too) in the foyer bit.

J-cub's hatred of singing was mostly kept under wraps due to the sheer number of people singing - he quickly worked out that he couldn't shout "No!" at all of them, so decided to spend the time pulling on my earrings instead. After quickly removing them, I spent the rest of the songs singing "Dory, Nemo Nemo, Dory" into his ear, which lulled him into a bit of a trance. We decided to get out while the going was good, and left while the signing of the register bit was going on, so that we'd have time to get back to the hotel in time for the wedding breakfast at 2pm.

Our food was served at nearly 4pm. We only had half-a-dozen or so tantrums during that time, mostly due to annoyance that we wouldn't let him roam unsupervised down the (many flights of) stone steps, or down the (very steep and slippery) grassy banks, or round the golf course. He'd filled up on Welsh cakes during the ceremony so he wasn't hungry, but we hadn't anticipated having to entertain him for all that time and we were both totally shattered (and consumed by envy of the friends who were able to stand on the terrace sipping drinks, cradling a happily cooing baby on one hip or watching an older child happily racing around with friends) by the time we were called to sit down. J-cub's place at the table was set with a present of a little racing car and a pterodactyl ("Dinosaur! Bird! Raaaawr! Tweet tweet!").

Disclaimer: I started writing this post 12 days ago. It was getting very long so I stopped at this point. Now I don't really know what I was going to say. Sorry. I'll try my best to remember and finish this in an expedited fashion.

So yes, we ate, and it was delicious. When the speeches were about to start, I took JC upstairs for a nap. One of us fell asleep, and it wasn't him. I woke up when he poked me and said "Mummy?" and I discovered he had a rather disgusting nappy for me to deal with. We went back downstairs to find the speeches still going on, and I didn't want to disturb them, so I snaffled a cocktail and followed him round the garden until Jamie joined me. It was very chilly, fast approaching 7pm, and JC was tired. He developed a bit of separation anxiety from me, whereby he screamed every time Jamie tried to hold him, and screamed every time I tried to put him down, and point blank refused to go in the sling. We had lots of tantrums, lots of aching backs, and lots of muttered "Shall we put him to bed?"/"But he'll miss out on the disco..."/"And there's supposed to be a whole play area for the little ones..."/"But he's so damn tired"/"And we haven't been in any photos yet..."/"I honestly don't think he's going to last any longer..." while he sat on my hip with his hat over his eyes and his bunny cuddled tight.

In the end, we put him to bed. He fell straight asleep, we straightened ourselves out, and crept out with the baby monitor glued to my hand with the volume set to its loudest level.

And we got our party on. We had a limited number of drinks, but made the most of them, danced to the wicked cool Britpop disco put together by the groom (taking his inspiration from our wedding, where we made 5 hours worth of Minidiscs rather than hiring a DJ. That shows how old we are. Minidiscs.), and were generally wild and unparental. It was awesome. There were lots of horrendous shots of me dancing with the baby monitor...(which I can't get to upload so have a nice one of me and my beloved instead):

And we stayed up til past midnight. Jacob had a little cry twice, but I nipped upstairs in less time than it took for him to get into full-cry-mode, settled him down and was back downstairs before anyone missed me. It was ideal, knowing he was there just above our heads, but completely soundproofed and safe and happy. Yes, he missed out on the flashing lights which he would have loved, and the toy corner which he would have fought tooth and nail with the other toddlers for, and the evening buffet (but he'd had his lunch at 4, so it wasn't really the end of the world), but he gained a good night's sleep, and awoke refreshed and happy 13 hours later.

After a second go at the awesome breakfast buffet (the first having been the previous day, we're not *that* greedy), we packed up and set off home.

Our drive back was so much better, with 10 miles from the hotel to the M25, a quick skip around that to the M4, then a straight run all the way back. As we were making such good progress, we stopped for a play and a picnic at Tredegar House near Newport, which was glorious.

45 minutes from there and we were back home. I don't think I've ever been more exhausted after a weekend away, and I have a total newfound respect for anyone that has more than one child. Seriously, I don't know how you do it. It was lovely though (in the bits where he was running around happily or Jamie had him or he was asleep - am I allowed to say that?), and the weather being perfect was just the icing on the cake. Don't get me wrong, I obviously love spending time with him, and going to weddings is lovely, and I'm so glad we went and I made some lovely new friends and remembered why all of Jamie's friends are awesome and the bride was beautiful and I'm so glad we went ... but I am totally glad about work/time commitments preventing us from attending another later in the year.

Next year, maybe, when reasoning works with him, and he's not quite so gung ho about running down flights of stone steps or losing himself in crowds.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mother's Day

Mother's Day took us (and my Mum and Dad) to Bristol Zoo, where they were kindly offering free entry for Mums (and free cupcakes, when you managed to fight your way through the crowds and into the cafe-thingy). J-cub wittered on about bippos (hippos, to the non-fluent J-cub speakers amongst you) all the way there, refusing to fall asleep, so that the rest of the day was spent on a knife-edge of toddler worn-outness. He did manage to keep going somehow, and rather delightfully talked in his sleep all the way home, and has just gone to bed now. With some serious prompting, he went to bed with calls of "Happy Mummy! Luff you, Mummy!" as he walked upstairs. Prompted or not, it totally made my day.

The Zoo itself was awesome, loads to do and very J-cub friendly (although he would have liked some giraffes, and he would have liked to have seen more than just the bippos ears poking out of the water. He was still ridiculously excited to see them, though). The penguins and seals were amazing, with a whole walk-under-water thing going on, I could have stayed down there for hours.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Mother's Day also brought about a fun secret-swap amongst my fellow BLW forumites. Those of us who were feeling crafty submitted our names and were randomly allocated another Mama to make something for. I worked my fingers to the bone crocheting this lovely hat, which I found quite difficult to part with in the end (it is human-sized, that's a particularly large stuffed rabbit)...

...but was totally over the moon when I received back a beautiful, lined bag (also crocheted, also with a flower decoration!) in the most beautiful yarn. It made me all warm and fuzzy to be part of such a lovely, supportive community.

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful Mothers out there, and most of all to my lovely Mum and my lovely Mum-in-law. Mwah xxxx

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool

I didn't realise it was April Fool's Day today, until I'd attempted to set off for swimming and my car fooled me into staying home by making some scary noises at me, leading me to reverse back onto the drive way and call the AA, who arrived in less than 5 minutes (seriously, wtf?!) and spirited the car off to a garage to have some TLC applied to its coil spring. Apparently potholes+cars don't mix. I recall making some sweary-type noises recently when the car fell into a particularly large pothole, which all roads seem to be riddled with at the moment, following the snowy snow days over the winter. I can't recall where that particular pothole was though, or I'd sue the council.

Anyway, when I noticed the date I thought maybe the car was playing a trick on me, but the £250 bill from the garage seems to add validity to its complaint.

My favourite April Fool of the day is the Playmobil Apple Store. Go and check out the a-ma-zing attention to detail. In particular, the ipod dock where Playmobil Mr Jobs can give a nice presentation as though it were a proper screeny-thing.

I didn't have Playmobil when I was little (my Mum tells me it hadn't been invented. I don't think that's strictly true, I think it more likely that my obsessions for Flower Fairies and My Little Pony probably stopped anything else getting a look-in), so I'm quite enjoying having a second childhood discovering its joys with J-cub.

At the last NCT Nearly New Sale, J-cub was having an AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH-I-don't-wanna-be-here-any-more moment from his vantage point on my back, just as we passed the book stall. I told Jamie to grab a book and give it to him. 20 totally-absorbed minutes later, I finally got to see what had enthralled him for so long - a Playmobil Play Feet book. It cost 20p, it was totally awesome, and we had a good week of fun playing with it. Then J-cub ripped the cover off it, and tore some of the pages out, and I haven't seen it since.

In googling it to try and find a photo for this blog-post, I discover that actually they're fairly rare, and therefore fairly valuable. Oh.

Still, toys are for playing with, and board books are for loving and ripping and fostering a keen sense of reading being the most totally awesome activity on earth. In our house, books are for reading, not for keeping pristine on shelves (Jamie wouldn't agree with me on this point. He would much prefer I used bookmarks, and left his books alone. Whatever.). All of J-cub's books are chewed, and tattered, and torn, and sticky, with broken spines, and creased pages, and cheerios stuck to their fronts, backs and insides. And he loves to read, for hours on end. He reads to his bunny, and to the cats, and to me, and he loves to wrap himself in a blanket and lie on the sofa with a pile of books in happy solitude. He's so much like me in this respect.

I remember being at primary school, sitting outside in the little courtyard thing where we had logs to sit on (which the dinner ladies would tell us not to sit on when it was cold, or we'd get piles) with my whole class, reading our books. A while later, I suddenly came to and realised that it was totally silent, and when I looked up I was alone - my class had been called back in and I was so totally absorbed in my book that I hadn't heard.

So I don't really mind that J-cub destroyed a hundred quid's worth of book, not really ... it's not like I could have brought myself to sell it anyway. Although I think I'll take the time tomorrow to find all the pages and repair it nicely, so it can sit on a shelf for a few days, before I give in to his begging and give it back.

In the meantime, I've been stalking ebay and have started amassing a collection of Playmobil bits and bobs for J-cub.

He especially likes the mummy with a baby in a sling ("Mummy back!"), the mummy with hair just-like-mine ("Mmmmmmummy!"), who carries a bag ("Bag!"), and the guy with a cape and a Fez. Why not.

Playmobil totally rocks. All donations welcome.