30 September 2009


Ella and I rode our bikes to the local shops yesterday. I had to park my bike to give her a push to start each time she had come to a stop but then she was going so fast that I had trouble catching up with her! She did a great job at pushing her bike across the grass and to cross the street too.

Then we got to the downhill path leading to the shops and I tried to convince her to
a) go down it, as she had never dared on her big bike and
b) do it without me pushing her into motion.

It was a long process and we ended up standing at the top of the path for quite a while - Ella straddling her bike and nervously looking down, me standing next to her trying to reassure her:

Me - The audience holds their breath as the daredevil prepares for her blood curdling stunt!
Ella - What's a daredevil?
Me - Someone who does stunts, like jumping over cars on a motorbike. The suspense is almost unbearable as the daredevil starts moving down the incredibly steep hill!
Ella - Oooooh. I won't be able to do it.
Me - Of course you will sweetie, just imagine it's your balance bike. You always used to go down here on your balance bike, remember? Just do the same. And yes, ladies and gentlemen, there she goes at the speed of light, down that hu-mon-gous-ly steeeep hill!

It actually took quite a bit more than those few lines to get her to finally coast down. I had to give up on trying to get her to start with one foot already on the pedal. She ended up just lifting her feet off the ground but did manage to get them both on the pedals (and pedal!) before she got to the bottom. Where she slowed herself down by dragging her feet on the pavement. (And I wonder how she gets all those scuff marks on the front of her shoes!)

Of course the crowd went absolutely wild! There were hugs, there were cheers, a standing ovation and passionate requests for a repeat performance. The daredevil gladly obliged. And this time even managed to use the brakes at the bottom!

We'll go there again today to perform the same stunt. Not just to give the audience - or the daredevil - an adrenaline hit. I am crossing my fingers it will actually help her to gain confidence and get the hang of starting herself on the bike on the flat too so I won't have to get off my bike to give her a push all the time!

20 September 2009

Duh moment #243

Ella and I were discussing the progress of our veggie patch project (in English as we had an English speaking guest):

Me - It will be so exciting to see the veggies appear on the plants, won't it?
Ella - Disappear.
Me - No, appear.
Ella - No, disappear.
Me - Appear. Disappear means to go away. Appear means we can start seeing them.
Ella - Appear is not a real word!
Me - Yes it is, miss dictionary. Do you want me to go get the dictionary?
Ella - What's a dictionary?
Me - "Woordenboek" (Dutch translation)
Ella - I can't read.


15 September 2009

Wanting to be little miss popular

When I took Ella to school on Monday morning, we were 20 minutes late. Her two best friends were having their morning tea at the outside table and started calling her name as we walked through the gate.

I had asked Ella to hold my car keys, as I had my hands full. When we reached her friends and I had off-loaded all her stuff, I went to get the car key out of her hand and she pulled it away from me. Her friends laughed and immediately started egging her on: "Run Ella, run!". So she ran... Away from me and up the play equipment, where she started dodging me when I came near.

Needless to say that I was not particularly in the mood to play games, being 20 minutes late already, and I am not known for my patience. So after she dodged me a few times - her friends still yelling "Run! Run!" - I threatened with taking some of her morning tea snacks away if she would not listen to me and give me the key. It was enough for me to start heading in the direction of her schoolbag to make her give in to me.

Very reluctantly though. I told her:

Me - You don't have to do everything your friends tell you to do, you know.
Ella [teary] - But mu-um, I want to be funny to my friends!
Me - Everbody wants to be funny to their friends, sweetie. But not if it is going to annoy other people.

From a very early age, Ella showed great loyalty towards her friends. I have always found it very cute, but I know there are going to be downsides to this trait. And this little snapshot was a perfect demonstration of what I might expect in that area. I can only hope that her common sense will override this strong urge to entertain and appease her friends at some point!

10 September 2009


I have been trying to explain to Ella what sarcasm means. Not sure why. Probably because I thoroughly enjoy using it on her sometimes. It calms me down when my blood pressure starts shooting up. Anyway, so I suppose I thought it was only fair to explain to her what sarcasm meant. And I enjoy explaining difficult concepts to her. It's challenging and often very funny too.

For the sake of simplicity, I'd told her that sarcasm is when you say the opposite of what you mean. That resulted in this conversation in our hostel room in Sydney last week (of which I can only remember a small part):

Ella - There's NO pictures on the wall. Sarcasm!
Me - No, that's not sarcasm.
Ella - I'm NOT wearing a t-shirt. Sarcasm!
Me - Err, no.
Ella - There's NO bed. Sarcasm!
Me - No, I think sarcasm is usually a bit mean actually.
Ella - You're going to die soon. Sarcasm!
Me - No, that's just mean, but not funny.
Ella - A dinosaur is going to eat you. Sarcasm!
Me - No.
Ella - Oh, but I want to do sarcasm! What is it then, mum?
Me - Err, I really don't know how to explain it. I'll have to look it up in the dictionary when we get home.

I had a friend text me the dictionary definition later that day, and explained to Ella that sarcasm involved mocking someone, but by then she was a bit over it. And I had also started wondering if it was at all appropriate for four year olds to be using sarcasm anyway.


Eating pork for dinner:

Ella - I'm going to eat some fat.
Me - That's ok, you can use some more fat.
Ella - Is fat good for you?
Me - I heard that kids need some fat to make their brains grow. But if you eat too much fat, you'll just get fat.
Ella - Fat like in The Biggest Loser?
Me - Yes, and then you'll have to go on The Biggest Loser to become slim again!

Did I ever mention she loved that show when it was on? I still don't know why...

I also have a video somewhere, filmed last summer I think, of her explaining that her fairy barbie has magic that makes fat come off people so they can eat what they want. We're going to be rich, rich! Though I think that might have been the fairy barbie that accidentally lost it's wings at a friend's place the other day. Just my luck!

01 September 2009

The long answer

Tonight as I said goodnight to Ella, she was looking at me with a sort of blank expression.

Me - Why are you looking so serious?
Ella - Mum, this is actually how my face is. Because if I smile that's not how it is. If I smile, see [flashes a quick smile]... and then it goes like this [looking serious again]. And this is actually my normal face.
Me - That's fair enough, sweetie. Goodnight.