29 May 2008

Mum's such a wuss

I walked into my bedroom this morning to find that Ella had switched the tele to Channel 10 that was showing one of those horrible monster-fighting cartoons.

Me - Oh, that looks a bit scary, Ella.
Ella - It is scary for you, but it is not scary for me.

She's growing up faster than I am, it seems.

28 May 2008

After dark

This is the conversation we had last night when we started walking to the shops just after sunset.

Ella - Hold my hand, mum. I'm a bit scared of the dark.
Me - Why are you scared? What do you think may happen in the dark?
Ella - I don't know. Can you tell me?
Me - I don't know either.

Me - I was scared of the dark when I was a kid. But I'm not anymore now.
Ella - I'm still a bit scared of the dark.
Me - That's ok. Everybody's scared sometimes.

Me - Do you know what's the best thing about the dark? You can see all the pretty lights. Look, aren't they pretty? We can see the lights of the houses and the street lights and the lights of the cars. You can't see those when the sun is still up.
Ella - Yeah! I can see all the lights. And I can't believe my eyes. The lights are so bright.
Me - And look, over there you can still see the light of the sun that's just gone to sleep. See how the sky is all orange?
Ella - And pink, and red.
Me - And stars! That's great about it being dark too. I can already see a star over there.
Ella - Stars are round. And they have no stripes [I think she means 'points']. Even the tiny little stars are round, like circles.

Ella - I'm not afraid of the dark anymore, mum!

The Cat in the Hat epilogue

So I talked to Ella yesterday about the ending of the Cat in the Hat book as we were walking to the shops. I explained to her that if the Cat in the Hat (or anyone) would come to our house and made a mess, that she could always tell me that and I would never, ever get angry because of something like that. I used it as an opportunity to talk about her being able to tell me anything, etc. and it was a good feeling to have had that conversation.

But when I asked her the "what would you say if your mother asked you" question that night I got a "I would say that I played games, by myself."

I asked why she wouldn't tell me that the Cat in the Hat had visited and made a mess.

Ella's response: "Because the Cat in the Hat doesn't come to my house."


27 May 2008

The Cat in the Hat cont'd

I actually lay awake thinking about The Cat in the Hat at 1am this morning! (It wasn't what woke me up, if that makes you view me as less of a weirdo)

I decided that there really is something very wrong about suggesting the kids should lie to their mother - presumably to avoid punishment - when they obviously haven't done anything wrong! If they would've got up to some misschief themselves, I wouldn't have had such a problem with the 'lying to mum' thing, though I'm probably still the wrong person to openly condone that kind of behaviour.

But to encourage her to lie to me when someone else has caused the trouble is very, very wrong indeed.

I'll definitely have a good chat to her about this next time we read this book.

26 May 2008

Dr Seuss

We love Dr Seuss. I never tire of reading it out loud. They are not always the first books Ella chooses for me to read to her, but our new 3-in-1 book inlcuding The Cat in the Hat, The Cat in The Hat Comes Back and Dr Seuss' ABC has been her favourite too for the past few nights.

[For those who don't know the book:
it's about a cat who visits 2 bored kids while their mum is out and ends up turning the house upside down with his tricks and games. Just as the mother is about to walk in, he picks up all the mess and the mother doesn't suspect a thing when she asks her angelic kids if they had fun while she was out.]

The first time we read Cat in the Hat she seemed a bit confused by the "What would you do if your mother asked you?" question and I discovered she did not actually know the word 'mother'! I always get such a shock when I discover such an important gap in her vocabulary, which is rather large for her age otherwise. How could I have missed teaching her the word 'mother'?

Last night when I asked her "What would you do if your mother asked you?" her reply was: "I'd … err ... say that I … err … played with the cars!". It seemed strange to encourage her to lie to her mother!

The 3d story in our new book is Dr Seuss' ABC. I thought an alphabet book would be really boring and I'm not all that motivated to encourage Ella learning to read. I think there is plenty of time for that and she's better off to concentrate on social, motor and language skills for now. But this book is clever (and fun like all Seuss books are of course). I couldn't think of a better way to illustrate the use of the F than saying "four fluffy feathers on a fiffer-feffer feff".

We do have the same argument every night when we get to the page that lists the letters of the alphabet up to the P. For K L M N O P, Ella says "Kan Elle Man No P". And when I try to correct her she insists that the way I say it is not "the way it goes". I end up calling her a smarty pants, tell her very childishly that she's 3 and I'm 38 and surely I know the alphabet better than she does and I end up rolling my eyes and telling her that if she wants to believe she knows better than that's fine with me. Which it obviously isn't but I recognise that stubborn gene and I understand that no reasoning is going to change her mind once she's convinced she's right.

Duh moment #187

Ella was sitting on the back of the bike eating an apple this morning.

Me - Are you warm enough, darling?
[30 seconds silence]
Ella - Mu-um.
Me - Yes sweetie?
Ella - When you're eating, you can't talk.

I so knew that!

21 May 2008

How to handle a baby

We were riding home from daycare and Ella was on the back of the bike holding a little toy snake and chatting away to herself.

When I finally tuned into what she was saying, I heard this:

Ella - Waa waa. Baby, stop it!
Waa waa. Baby, stop it!
Waa waa. Baby, stop it!

Me - Ella, you shouldn't really yell at a baby like that. Maybe he just needs a cuddle, or maybe he's hungry or has a dirty nappy.
Ella - No, the snake just eaten all his friends.

I was genuinely horrified at this reply! The thought of the little imaginary baby who had just seen all his little friends being devoured by a monstrous snake and got no comfort from his mum and was being yelled at to stop crying on top of it actually made tears well up in my eyes.

I talked to her about the poor little baby needing a cuddle instead of a yelling at and the rest of the trip the dialogue from the back of the bike went something like:

Ella - Laugh baby, laugh!
Mum, the baby laughed.
Laugh baby, laugh.
Hahaha! You're so funny, Ella.

18 May 2008

How proud?

Well-done's and you're-such-a-big-girl's I use very frequently, but my I'm-so-proud-of-you's are used very sparingly in our house.

On the weekend I had a very good reason to use the P word. After a week of ever more frequent toilet accidents, things escalated last Friday night and I had to re-assess my reactions and think about strategies to put in place. But Ella insisted that she could avoid accidents without the help of the kitchen timer to remind her of when to go. I gave her one day to prove it to me before we got out the timer again to give her a bit of a hand.

She had no accidents the next day. When I told her I was so proud of her, she actually blushed, said 'thankyou' in an almost honoured tone and then asked: "How proud are you, mum?".

So of course I spread my arms as wide as I could to indicate my level of pride. But obviously, my arms aren't really long enough anyway.

14 May 2008

First swear word

Yesterday at the check-out in the local supermarket, Ella suddenly exclaimed very proudly: "Poo bum!" followed by fits of laughter.

It was so hard not to join in with the giggling. But of course I had to look stern and unimpressed and had the "things that are funny when you tell your friends are not always funny when you tell grown-ups" talk.

She just looked confused and I don't blame her.

06 May 2008

Girls rule!

I bought Ella a pair of socks that have the text "Girls rule" printed on them. I've been trying to explain what it means to her but I only get responses like: "Yeah, cos I'm a girl and I know the rules, don't I?". Hm, not quite the message I was trying to get through.

She learnt some other new phrases and words. One of them is "It's not the end of the world", which I have requested her to say to me when I overreact when things don't go as planned. Only, last Sunday - as I was frantically trying to make the most of a dinner that would not let itself be cooked the way I wanted it - she told me: "It's not the end of the day, mum". [Well, it is for me! I'm going to bed!]

Another great statement today was: "I like Stacey (carer at creche). She says silly things. I only do silly things." Is there an equivalent in English for the Dutch saying "self-knowledge is the start of all wisdom"?

And I forgot to mention our new catch phrase: "Peace possum party people, party people" from our new Blossom Possum book. A tough phrase to say even when you're not a gecko on party drugs. But it sounds pretty damn cool.

04 May 2008

The art of flattery

Me - Ella, I asked you to pack up these games here ages ago. Just look at this mess. Now I have to pack them up and I have so much other stuff to do... (and so on...)
[Pause] Oh my, just listen to me. Boy, I can nag! I am the best nagger, don't you think?
Ella - [chuckling] No, you're not. You're just the best mama.

She's going to go far in life, this girl.

01 May 2008


After Ella won a game:

Me - You won! And I lost.
Ella - But I'm right here. Look, I'm right here, mum. So you're not lost.