Work for idle hands

On Sunday afternoon I began to wonder what has become of my lifestyle as, instead of being engaged in a long, lazy lunch at a restaurant with G, I found myself kneeling in a local church hall, cleaning up a gallon of random child’s vomit.

Suffice to say it was my turn to chaperone the Microbe to a children’s party. In truth it was a perfectly nice party – albeit huge and brave, with at least 40 pre-schoolers rampaging about, scoffing bolognese, dancing, crying and cavorting on a bouncy castle (and vomiting beside my feet, obv).

Seeing no such emissions emerging from the Microbe, I reverted to standing in a corner and eating cake and assumed that we’d got off fairly lightly. Alas, he was merely saving it for later. I should have known something was up when he zonked out on the sofa well before bedtime – but I failed to spot the warning signs and wandered back ten mins later to find him (and the sofa) caked in the remains of his tea.

On days like these I really feel for single parents. You just can’t put a price on the moral support of having some poor sap nearby who will stand around and make appalled noises with you for 5 minutes. Not to mention being able to share out the tasks, so that one of you can wash and comfort the wailing boy while the other strips and launders the sofa cushions …and everything else that got spattered.

The next morning the boybot woke up cheerful and full of beans but we had to honour the nursery quarantine and keep him home anyway.  Apparently nursery has turned into vomageddon since then – I pity the poor staff!

As it was, Jimmy and I had a very nice day at home together, getting up to this and that. At some point in the afternoon he became fervently engaged in the task of finding his “missing raccoons” – these being a pair of microsopic plastic Playmobil toys, each around the size of a peanut. The chances of them turning up seemed pretty slim and his search involved turning his bedroom upside down and getting out every single toy in the flat …so I left him to it and got on with some stealth sewing.

As a result I was able to finish another quilt – hooray! I’d promised to make one for the boy after I finished his baby sister’s and he instructed me that he didn’t want his quilt to be flowery as that would be “for girls” (yes – it has begun.)

I find patchwork for boys a bit of a challenge as the fabrics that are clearly marketed for them make far too much use of 70s retro colours and overly stylised monsters and robots for my liking. In the end, I decided to just base it around his favourite colour (red).

The result has turned out a little bit ‘Christmasy’ but never mind – the boy seems happy with it. (Apparently it also makes a good chessboard for brightly-coloured animals…)


This daylight pic of the work-in-progress probably gives a more accurate idea of the colours…


Edited to add…   here it is being christened:


Anyway it’ll do good service until the weather turns warm, then we’ll probably switch him back to the farmyard one, which is thinner and lighter for Spring.

I really should have stopped sewing the minute I finished the quilt but I was struck by a dogged determination to make matching pillowcases during the evening. As a result I got tired and sloppy and distracted and ended up creating a useless pair that are about 2 cm too tight for his pillows. Pah!

As for the raccoons – the boybot finally located one of them, to his utter joy, shortly before bedtime. Roll forward to this morning’s conversation…

“James, you’re NOT taking that raccoon to nursery. He’s tiny and you spent all day yesterday looking for him. If you take him to nursery you’ll never see him again”
“Just put him somewhere safe and he’ll be waiting for you when you get home”
“Mummy, I’m going to put him away when you’re not looking”
“Are you looking?”
“Ok I’ve put the raccoon away”
“He’s in your pocket isn’t he?”
“Let me feel your pockets”
[sheepish face]

The Microbe’s other latest obsession is game playing. It has become a fun bonding activity with daddy over the last few weeks, involving board games and Go Fish and a card game where they have to match animals to their homes (e.g. rabbit/warren, badger/sett, etc.) Yesterday the boy got a sub-standard level of service with Mummy, who had to phone daddy to find out how they play the rules – but he jumped for joy when G got home from work and demanded “a dice game“.  I find it very sweet hearing them play and I’m certainly not keen to usurp daddy’s role as gamesmaster.

In baby sister news, the Microbe has become fixated on calling her Tabitha. This was not on our list of potential names… alas, he doesn’t seem to think much of any of those.

I said to him the other day:

“Do you really want to call her Tabitha?”
“Maybe we could call her something else …and Tabitha could be a nickname?”
“No, Mummy! Her name will be Tabitha and her nickname will be Microgirl!”

I guess we shall have to think about that one.

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Going commando

Just when you thought things were over… Microbes have an annoying habit of regressing.

After a very long run of staying in his own bed all night, the boybot seems to have reverted to stealthy night-time visits. I don’t always hear him arrive but I frequently wake to find him snuggled up next to me in bed.

We’ve had plenty of “little chats” about it but I have a feeling that he’s sleepwalking and not actually in control. Last weekend he crept into Uncle Alistair’s bed in the small hours and didn’t respond at all when spoken to – he just fell instantly back to sleep and they carried him back to his own bed and he stayed there for the rest of the night.

Last month he also had a spate of regressive “accidents” at nursery, after months on end without mishap. Every incident seemed to involve him standing next to the loo with his trousers half-down, having simply left it too late to run to the bathroom. One week was particularly bad and he had THREE accidents, meaning that he ran out of spare clothing and ended up going commando in another man’s trousers for the rest of the day. Dear me.

G mentioned it to his BFF’s mum and she revealed that he was suffering from exactly the same regression – hence there is some suspicion that the two of them might have been in cahoots over it. As it stands, we’ve had some little chats with him about remembering to go as soon as he needs a wee and (so far) no more accidents.

On the topic of nursery cahoots, the Microbe and his two closest boy-pals could put the Artful Dodger to shame when it comes to wilful tea leafing. Ever since he first became aware of pockets it has been a daily battle to prevent the boy from smuggling contraband in and out of nursery. Given half a chance, every pocket would contain a tiny plastic animal that he absolutely “needs” to have with him at nursery. The fact that these toys are taking a one-way ticket to the VOID and will never find their way home again doesn’t seem to deter him.

Equally, we’re having a job and half stopping him from smuggling pocket-sized tat back home with him. The other evening I noticed a bulging pocket and made him turn it out – at which point he sheepishly revealed not one but FOUR items that didn’t belong. In true klepto-style, they weren’t even worthwhile toys, but random crap, including a wooden sausage, a lego man, a battered toy car and a plastic part from a construction set

His defence for these misdemeanours is usually along the lines of “But [buddy 1] took a lion home yesterday” and “[Buddy 2] always takes home the cars!

Buddy 1 and Buddy 2 are the subject of daily anecdotes these days, often hilarious in nature. Unfortunately, now that they’re all old enough to earwig and repeat everything you say back to their parents, it has become a daily exercise in lip-biting not to mutter “Well [buddy 1] is a brat” and “Don’t listen to [buddy 2] – he’s clearly an idiot“.

In seasonal news, G and I don’t celebrate VD but the Microbe has nevertheless made us a card and a salt dough loveheart, which is very sweet. The card is addressed to “Mummy, Daddy and my Baby Sister” (teacher informs us that he insisted on adding on his sister). Bless.

He still cuddles my tummy a lot and refers to Thing 2 as “my baby“. I fear he’s going to be a tad disappointed when a fully-formed, toddler-sized playmate fails to pop out.

We have a lot of conversations like this…

“Mummy, my baby sister will love animals, won’t she?”
“Well we don’t know yet, darling, we’ll have to wait and see. She might be more interested in other things”
“But mummy, she WILL love animals because I will teach her”
“Will you?”
“Yes! I will teach her all of the animal names and their noises.”
“Do you know that all of your first words were animal names and noises? Are you going to teach her those?”
“Yes! And she can cuddle my animals and I can read her my stories”
“I think she will love that”

“Mummy, is my baby sister going to sleep in my bedroom?”
“Not when she’s very little”
“She’ll have to sleep in mummy’s room at first because tiny babies wake up all through the night and need to be fed. But when she’s a bigger girl she can move into your room”

As for my ever burgeoning girth, I must say that I don’t remember ever feeling quite so pregnant when the boy was in there. I certainly didn’t look like a house at 6 months and I don’t remember having such shortage of breath. My usual commuting style of zipping in and out of crowds is long gone – I’m well and truly in the slow lane now and will happily let people overtake me and watch trains go, rather than cramming myself on. It’s strangely liberating, not being in a hurry.

Lastly, I shall just mention that I have FINALLY replaced my phone. I realise this is news of extreme dullness but, having spent the last 18 months getting by with a screen that looked like crazy paving and was held together with tape, it feels amazing to have a phone that I can actually see – and use for the interwebz and for taking pictures.  (Would anyone like to place a bet on how long it lasts before it gets “Microbed” back into crazy paving?)

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The first rule of the countryside

G and I had a little treat at the weekend as we dropped the Microbe off for a sleepover at Uncle Alistair’s house and swanned off to Salisbury for a night in a hotel.

We’d never been before but Salisbury is very nice indeed and, unencumbered by a Microbe, we reverted to our old ways pretty much instantly, starting with a lazy Bistro lunch, a mooch around the town, a cake break and a cinema visit – followed by a late dinner at an excellent Indian restaurant called Anokaa (better than The Cinnamon Club, in my opinion).  Just having the freedom to book a dinner table at 9pm seemed an amazing liberty.

The following morning we had a bit of a lie in, then breakfast and another relaxing mooch before returning to pick up the boybot.

As soon as Alistair opened the door we were treated to a prolonged, rapid and high-pitched monologue from the Microbe, informing us that he’d been “a very good boy” and had been to see some meerkats and otters and piggies, painted a pottery crocodile, acquired a baby badger toy, slept in a dinosaur bed, made cakes and generally had a far more exciting time than he’d have had at home with G and me.

He was also keen to impart an important new life lesson that he’d learned…

“Daddy, do you know what the first rule of the countryside is?”
“No, why don’t you tell me?”
“Never lick a badger!”

Auntie Sarah is apparently no more trustworthy than I am when it comes to programming the boy. Once we’d all stopped guffawing, we did nothing to disabuse him of this – and I thoroughly hope that he’s passing this pearl of wisdom on to the children and teachers at nursery today.

On the drive home, shortly before he nodded off, he brought up the topic of the dodos again. It’s been on his mind for two weeks now, so I guess he hasn’t finished processing it – and we had a near-repeat of the conversation from last time…

“Mummy, it’s very sad about the dodos isn’t it?”
“Yes, love”
“Why did the people eat ALL of them?”
“Because they just didn’t think, darling. They didn’t understand that if they ate all of them, there would be no dodos left in the world.”
“But, Mummy, they should have saved some – for me to cuddle”
[laugh] “Well… yes. They should have saved some for the people who love animals”
“Like me, Mummy! And like you!”
“Yes, love. But try not to worry because nowadays people DO think and we try to save some so that animals don’t go extinct.”

Bless his angsty little cottons. I think he nodded off shortly after that, so only time will tell whether the topic comes up again.



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Bedtime Stories

In the last few weeks G and I have started to read Roald Dahl books to the Microbe at bedtime. We’ve been working through the thinner ones in his box set, such as Fantastic Mr Fox, The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me, The Magic Finger and The Twits. Now we’re onto Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is slower-paced and feels like a step up in terms of the language used (it’s occasionally a bit waffly, if I’m honest).

So far they all seem to be going down well with the boybot. Having to wait until tomorrow to find out what happens next has made storytime more fun and I like to discuss the book with J while I’m getting him ready for bed, to see what he remembers from last night and what he thinks might happen next.

I’ve wondered a few times, though, whether the Dahl stories might be a bit dark for a 3 year old. I’m afraid we may be wasting them on him when he’s too young to really appreciate the humour.  In certain places I have to take care to emphasise when horrid bits are supposed to be funny – and to tone down some of Dahl’s vicious and unrelenting snobbery towards characters that he considers to be ugly or fat or aspirational or stupid.

There’s also a fair amount of animal peril in the early books, which is ever a sensitive topic around the Microbe and sometimes requires us to have a little chat:

“Mummy, WHYYYY did the bad people kill the deer?!”

He burst into tears last week during a nature documentary in which a baby elephant got eaten by lions. It was gruesome and a very foolish TV decision on my part.  He was even close to tears when G told him about dodos, and the fact that they went extinct because humans hunted them all. Cue another conversation…

“Mummy…   Daddy told me that the people ate all of the dodos and now they’re all dead”
“Daddy is right.”
“But WHYYYYY, Mummy? Why did they eat all of the dodos?”
“Well… the people ate them because they were hungry and because the dodos were very easy to catch. But it was a long time ago and they didn’t realise that there wouldn’t be any more dodos left afterwards.”
“But, Mummy, that was a sad choice! I LOVE amimals!”
“I know, darling, but humans are much cleverer now and we try to look after animals that are nearly extinct, instead of killing them all.”

Here’s hoping that’s enough of a fobbing-off to keep him happy for a while.

Returning to books…  I’ve been gathering lots of good suggestions from others for bedtime reading and we’ve now got a little pile of paperbacks to try out on the boy.  So far these include…

  • The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark by Jill Tomlinson.  This was a set book at my primary school, which might explain the current parental nostalgia for it.
  • The Hodgeheg by Dick King Smith. A thin little tome which looks like a fun read.
  • Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon. G disapproves of this one but I’m undecided on it myself. I suspect it’s a bit like Dahl, in that the child needs to be old enough to process the humour and not take it too seriously.
  • The Magic Tree House (Book 1) by Mary Pope Osborne. Apparently this adventure series is a big hit with younger boys. I can’t say I’m overly wowed by the opening page but I’ll wait and see if the boy likes it.
  • Gobbolino The Witch’s Cat by Ursula Williams. Another nostalgia book from my own generation
  • The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann. This reminds me why I love my Kindle! I ordered this online and groaned audibly when I saw the microscopic font size. They’ve compiled multiple books into one paperback – also I think it looks a wee bit old for the boy.
  • My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards. I remember my sister reading these stories to me. Hopefully they’ll have some appeal to a boy who’s getting a naughty little sister of his own.
  • London Zoo Stories (a set of three) by Adam Frost. These look ideal for the boybot – the reviews suggest that they’re fun stories with geeky facts about zoo animals
  • Brer Rabbit Collection by Enid Blyton. Another one from my own childhood – I can imagine the Microbe wanting several of these stories per night.
  • Arabel’s Raven by Joan Aiken. Bought on a whim (it was one of Amazon’s  “people who like X also like…”)

As a reminder to myself, I’m also parking some other author suggestions below, to look into the next time we visit the library…

  • Eileen Bell (Tales from the End Cottage)
  • Joan G Robinson (Teddy Robinson books)
  • Kenneth Grahame (Wind in the Willows)
  • AA Milne (Winnie the Pooh books)
  • Dick King-Smith (anything by)
  • Michael Bond (Paddington and Olga Da Polga)
  • Anne Fine (the books for younger children)
  • Atinuke (Anna Hibiscus books)
  • Jill Tomlinson (The Cat Who Wanted To Go Home)
  • Tove Jansson (The Moomins books)
  • Robert C O’Brien (Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh)
  • Joan Aiken (short stories)
  • Humphrey Carpenter (Mr Majeika books)


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Playing with needles

SNOW! Ok, only a pathetic sprinkling, but beggars can’t be choosers. The microbe has been DYING for snow since December. On Christmas Eve he really believed, with all his heart, that it would snow and he’d make a snow warthog and it would come to life magically at midnight, just like Raymond Briggs’s Snow Dog. I’m afraid he was sorely disappointed on every front.

This morning there wasn’t really enough of the white stuff for belated warthog purposes – but it cheered him up nevertheless on his way to nursery.


In news of extreme wintery badness, our boiler is officially buggered. A freezing weekend with no heating or hot water was as much as we could endure before we had to hide in a gastropub to thaw out. Thankfully the plumber came on Monday and managed to get it working again – but it is being held together, literally, with gaffer tape. Hence G and I have gritted our teeth and accepted that we’re going to have to fork out £3k for a new one. “UGH!” to tedious and unexpected expenses.

On a cheerier topic, despite my sporadic moans about bump pains and heinous maternity jeans and the hell of tights, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m one of those weirdos who actually rather enjoys being up the duff.  Not that I’m planning to do it again after Thing 2, I hasten to add, it’s just that there’s something so pleasing about resembling a huge, round, hillock of flesh – not to mention having extra-thick hair. It’s so much better than afterwards, when you resemble nothing more than a partially deflated bouncy castle, with only scars and eye bags to accessorise.

On the clothing front, I’ve given up on jeans and procured two pairs of leggings for the first time since the mid-1990s. Because everyone loves a middle-aged woman in leggings, yes?Alas, my legs aren’t quite what they were in the ’90s but never mind. Leggings are far better behaved than tights and you don’t need to bother with maternity ones – the ordinary ones seem to work well enough with a bump band on top to keep the midriff warm. I’ve even started wearing them to work. (Sorry colleagues.)

They’ll only have to put up with me until 17th April anyway. After that I’m planning to spend my 9th month using up annual leave until my maternity leave kicks in. G and I are still debating how long I should take off but I imagine it will be close to a year. (Yes, our bank accounts are going to take unbrage this year.)

Last week I took the Microbe for his pre-school boosters, which included MMR part 2 and miriad other vaccinations wrapped up into two jabs. I prepared him in advance for what was going to happen – but I didn’t mention that it would hurt. He should have guessed that something was up when I took him to the shops to choose a chocolate treat for afterwards, but no. He skipped happily and obliviously all the way to the surgery and chattered away at the nurse… right up until the moment when she stuck the first needle in… at which point he wailed.

But he got a leopard sticker and a Kinder egg for his pains, along with a reassurance that he won’t need any more boosters until he’s 15. The next day and a half were spent cuddled up at home and mainlining Nurofen. We actually had a nice couple of days together, just Jimmy and me.  Among other things, we got out some little animal-shaped sewing kits that I’d made for him from scraps of felt and Pound shop wool. A perfect activity for a sick boy.

Amazingly, I also managed to get on with some sewing projects of my own. I’m not sure whether this is the nesting instinct kicking in or just me being a mad-craft-lady. But I seem to have spent the last few weeks shunning society in order to produce a succession of tiny hats, mittens and other nonsense. I might just have got it out of my system now.

The production line has included…

This tiny fair isle hat for Thing 2 (a variation on the stripey one that I created for J before he was born)


These Nordic style mittens for Thing 1 (remind me next time not to include an angora blend in microbe mittens – the white bits have already started shedding fluff onto his coat)

IMG_7739 IMG_7750

These Liberty Tana Lawn Spring bonnets for Thing 2. They’re lined with a super-soft organic fleece and are SO snuggly inside. I can’t wait to see what they look like on.

pink bonnet 4


Here is yet another woolly hat for Thing 2. This one was purely a bit of fun. I wanted to design something with sheep and geese and piggies on it. I’m not sure the geese turned out as well as I’d like and I found myself regretting the pink halfway through – but it’ll do for next winter.


Last, but not least, my favourite! A fat, floofy patchwork quilt for Thing 2. I made this using double-thickness wadding because I just can’t fight my nostalgia for the big puffy eiderdowns of yesteryear. My plan is to use it as a floor/play quilt during the summer and a cot quilt in the winter. I am planning to make some matching pillows and I think I’ll make something similar for the boybot when I get a chance.

IMG_3257 IMG_3260

On the topic of cots, a few people have asked me where Thing 2 is going to sleep. The answer is in the same place that James did – a co-sleeper crib by the side of my bed. That should do us until next Xmas – but after that we’re either going to have to move house or do a loft conversion, because J’s room isn’t really big enough for two.

If only our flat were not utterly decrepit and in need of a colossal amount of decoration and DIY before it will be fit for selling. The very idea of it all makes me want to run for the hills.  And it’s complicated further by the fact that the boybot starts school in September. If he manages to get a place at our lovely favoured school, it’s going to be a wrench to move him out of the area.

On the other hand, a loft conversion doesn’t sound much better to me. The options seem equally groan-worthy either way, so I think our best approach is to continue to ignore the topic entirely and do nothing at all, yes? Jolly good! Glad that’s agreed.


I have loads more rambling to do on the topic of children’s books and dodos and other random nonsense. But I seem to have waffled at length already so perhaps I shall save it for next time and say bye bye for now.

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Goodbye Normal Jeans

Yes, it’s the blog title so good, I had to use it twice.

Once again, G uttered these lines upon the arrival of a Next package containing my new pair of maternity Jeans. (You can see why I keep him on.)

Unfortunately, if there were a competition to find the most heinous example of a denim product ever owned by womankind, these jeans might be in with a fighting chance. I admit that I’m a real cheapskate when it comes to maternity clothes, so I bought these for a bargain basement price in the Next online sale, but they were woefully mislabelled as “skinny maternity jeans“.  What has actually arrived in the post is something called “relaxed skinny maternity jeans“.  What is “relaxed skinny” when it’s at home?  If Next ever think about labelling their products in plain English, I’d suggest re-naming these ones “Mum jeans, circa 1986“.

They have that special unflattering leg shape, in which there are acres of loose fabric at the top of the leg, tapering to a closer fit at the ankle, which remains too bulky to tuck comfortably inside your knee-high boots but too tight to stretch over them. Top result, Next! On top of that, the upper half of each leg is covered in glued-on beads. (For the love of god, why??)

After a brief debate as to the relative merits of sending them back vs giving in to the style vacuum, I tried them on and decided that the stretchy waistband was supremely comfy enough to wear on days when I don’t have to see anyone…  so they’re now reserved for Xbox-loafing and/or allotment visits.  I christened them at the allotment on Sunday and improved them dramatically by getting them caked in mud.

Suffice to say, this grainy and poorly-lit bump-pic does nothing to show off how bad these jeans are…

bump 21 weeks

In related news, it’s FREEZING! And I need to moan about my clothes. Tights are driving me to distraction at the moment. Maternity ones have a huge stretchy tummy section, which makes them comfy, but also means that they refuse to stay up. You can walk about 20 paces before the crotch starts creeping halfway down your legs. It’s a hopeless cause – like trying to get something to stay up on an egg.  Ordinary tights will at least stay up, but the waistband rolls down under the bump and leaves your belly freezing and your nether regions garroted. (Someone really needs to invent a new type of maternity tights that attach to the underside of your bra, to make them stay up).

Also my coat no longer does up properly and I’m too mean to spend money on a maternity coat. So I’ve started to resemble a walking bundle of weeble-shaped knitwear on my daily commute. I’m not sure whether anyone can tell that there’s someone in there, under the pile-up of hats, scarves and cardigans. I was astonished today that a lady was able to discern my bump under all of that and offer me her seat.

On that topic, I am reminded from last time that that there are two specific categories of people on London Underground who will offer their seat to a woman with a bump.

  1. Men and boys under 25
  2. Women over 35

(Anyone outside of these categories suffers from a special form of narcolepsy in which the sight of a bump makes them fall asleep instantly in their seats.)

In Microbe news, he is still hugely enamoured of the baby sister concept and insists on cuddling my tummy several times a day and talking to the baby. Bless. He’s also very impatient for her to be born, but I hope he makes the most of these last few months of undivided attention.

Recently we’ve started to read him chapter books at bedtime. Unlike his usual picture books, these are primarily text, with just the occasional monochrome picture, and they involve waiting until the next night to carry on the story. G decided to start him off with one of the thinner stories from a Roald Dahl box set. They’re possibly a bit old for him but he did seem to enjoy Fantastic Mr Fox. I need to have a think about what other books might be good for his age group.

He does still love his picture books and sometimes, even with the chapter books, I wander past his door after we’ve said goodnight and see him sitting up in bed leafing through the book, to see the pictures of the “actors”, as he calls them. It warms the cockles of my heart…  I wonder if he will turn into a late night bookworm like I was, once he learns to read.


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Spoilers, darling

Recently G and I became certain that the microbe must have guessed about Thing 2. Not only was there a sudden and marked interest in my “big tummy” but also lots of enthusiastic role play in which he is a big brother animal helping to look after a baby brother animal.

A couple of times I picked up on it and asked him “why do you think my tummy is so big?” but he’s been unwilling to venture an opinion other than that it might be made of food. (I can’t entirely deny it). So we decided to wait for Monday’s scan before telling him the news.

As it turned out, the scan went really well. We had a great ultrasound specialist and were relieved to see that our tiny humanoid has all of its parts in the right place… hooray!  And not a willy in sight. A girlbot!  “Ruprechta” it is, then.

This is probably the best pic that we got…

21 week scan_crop

That evening we came clean with the microbe and he’s turned out to be very excited by the news. I had to laugh at his immediate reaction when he learned that he was going to have a baby sister…

But I’ve already GOT a sister!” [confused face]
Heh! Well, that’s true. But now you will have two! And this one will be a tiny baby sister and you’ll be her big brother
“Oh! I can help with the baby!” [glee face]
“Yes. You’ll be my little helper.”
“I’m not little, mummy!”
“No, of course not. You’ll be my special big-boy helper”
“Can I help to feed her and carry her?”
“Yes, of course! And you can push the pram, and you’ll be such a big boy you’ll be able to read stories to the new baby and teach her lots of things”
“Can I teach her what all of the animals say?”

Bless him. He’s told everyone at nursery today and he’s ever so curious to know when she’ll arrive and what she’ll look like and what we’ll call her. I’ve shown him the ultrasound picture and compared it with his own. He also loves to hear stories about when he was in my tummy and what happened on the day he was born, and how we decided to call him James.

Tonight he’s been talking to my tummy a lot because I told him that she can hear us. It’s  really sweet, but I’m under no illusions that he’s going to take it quite so well once the reality of a crying, wrinkly, non-talking, non-aardvark-shaped girlbot turns up and steals all of my attention. I suspect it’s going to be a tough ride for my little mummy’s boy, but c’est la vie. (I can still remember feeling very jealous of my younger brother when I was around James’s age, but we ended up as thick as thieves once he was old enough to become my henchman and get up to no good with me all day long.)

As for the girlbot, it seems I’m going to get loads more chances to look at her before she comes out. Apparently the NHS gets a bit twitchy once you become an ancient crone of “over 40″ and they’ve already booked me in for 3 more scans before the baby is born. Blimey!

I must say I’m feeling very big this time around. I’ve already turned into a T-Rex who can’t reach the kitchen cupboards because the bump won’t let me get close enough to the counter. Tsk. I’d also also quite like to go back in time by a few days and un-read some things on the internet about other women’s terrible childbirth stories. (Gargh.)

As for the microbe…   the excitement of a prospective new sibling is nothing compared to his newfound love affair with Bambi. The toy fawn that he got from Grandma last birthday seems to have usurped even the aardvark for top bedtime cuddles – and he’s somehow managed to rope two of his boy cronies into “playing Bambi” with him every day at nursery.

In return, he sometimes has to play Poo Ponk, which is his BFF’s favourite game. Hands up who wants to know what Poo Ponk involves?  That’s all of you, yes? Well.. according to James, Poo Ponk is a 2-person game in which one child plays a man called “Ponk” who runs around the room and the other child chases after him until he does bottom burps, then child 2 pretends to be his poo-poos.

Er, back to Bambi…

Such was the boybot’s  enthusiasm, I got carried away and bought an ill-advised copy of Bambi 2.  Dear me – what were Disney thinking? All of the charm and subtlety of the original is gone, with the lovely, hand-painted artwork from the 1940s usurped by flat, textureless animation. The original manages to portray the beauty and danger of forest life with minimal dialogue, whereas Bambi 2 might have been scripted for a  kids’ sitcom of the 1990s. (I mean – really – would Bambi ever shout “woo-hoo”?)

Luckily the boybot has no discretion or taste whatsoever and seems to love it just as much as the original. It also really tickles him in places. I don’t very often notice him laughing out loud when watching kids’ TV, but there’s a line in Bambi 2 that gets him every time, where a grumpy porcupine glares at Bambi’s pompous father and yells “What are you looking at, you big Moose?”  Apparently this is hilarious to a 3 year old. (“He’s not really a moose, mummy, he’s a stag!“)

Well I seem to have rambled on far more than I meant to, so I shall stop.  Goodnight all and sweet dreams.

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