Archive for the 'J2' Category

Talking cure

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Peter falls over and bumps his head. He comes downstairs lamenting loudly. Mummy picks him up. Daddy is in the same room. ‘What happened, Peter?’ Peter tells Mummy what happened. Mummy applies the normal range of cures (kissing the head better, cuddling Peter). Peter continues to lament loudly. Mummy asks ‘is there anything else that you think would help to make it better?’ Peter sobs ‘I need… to tell Daddy about it!’ So Peter is passed across the room to Daddy, who repeats the entire performance (from ‘what happened, Peter?’).

Another day Daddy is away overnight. In the evening Peter is stung by a wasp. As he is carried upstairs crying, to have anti-sting cream applied, he wails ‘I want to tell Daddy about my wasp sting!’ Daddy isn’t here right now. ‘I will have to tell him when he comes back!’ Fortunately in that case the wasp sting stopped hurting before the talking-to-Daddy cure could be applied.

And so to bed

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Tonight tucked into Peter’s bed there were, and had to be before night-time could officially begin:
Beh the zebra
Newzie Lamb (the soft toy lamb with New Zealand embroidered on its top, which we try very hard not to call New Zealand Lamb)
Little Lamb
Teddy With The Tie
Ming-Ming the duckling
Einstein (the woolly mouse who looks like Einstein)
Socks the dog from Chicago
Fireman Sam the knitted fireman
Two sets of plastic castanets that came free with the ZingZillas magazine
Duke the small metal toy steam engine (as used on Peter’s birthday cake)
And Duke’s tender.

Peter turns three

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Three has to be the easiest birthday to get right. There are presents (it doesn’t really matter what’s in them); there are balloons; there is a cake; therefore it is bound to be, as Peter said, ‘a very fine birthday’, and occasionally also ‘fantastic’ and ‘really good’. We had Peter’s two best friends from nursery round for a small party (which largely involved playing with Peter’s and Matthew’s toys, and threatened never to end when the Brio railway was discovered late in the day). Matthew occasionally attempted to organise the three three-year-olds into playing games, but to his credit did not persist when they resisted organisation. (And they eventually undertook the ‘balloon hunt’ he had created and accepted his help in finding all the balloons). I reflect ruefully that birthday parties are never going to be this easy again.

The starter pack for that Brio railway was, as it happens, Matthew’s becoming-a-big-brother present from us three years ago. The railway’s grown a bit since then, as well. (I rather hope it’s now stopped, except that one always ends up one curved piece short of the perfect layout).

Word games

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

We’ve started trying to teach Peter some of the talking games that have kept Matthew entertained on many long walks. We’d forgotten about this stage:
Me: I spy with my little eye something beginning with… G.
Matthew: Grass.
Peter: Grass. My turn. I spy with my little eye something beginning with… Tree!
Me: Tree.
Peter: Yes! Your turn!

Me: Peter, your turn to think of an animal… OK, is your animal furry?
Peter: No, not furry. It lives in the jungle.
Me: OK… Is it big?
Peter: No, it’s not very big, it’s quite little.
Me: Is it a toucan?
Peter: No, it’s a hippo.
Me: OK, right, except you said it was quite little…
Peter: Yes, it’s a little hippo.

Matthew, meanwhile, is still trying to learn to tell jokes, which is quite a painful process. He does ‘get’, and enjoy, and has even more or less memorised, a poem about the train to Morrow that left today (I just looked for a link to the lyrics and could only find a Muppets song version that isn’t the same as the one in our book).


Thursday, December 30th, 2010

As a kind of apology for hardly posting at all this year, we hereby bring you the Burnell/Muers household review of the year 2010.
The general synopsis: occasional storms, sunny intervals and fog patches; fair or poor. 2010 was not a great year for us. It had drama, much of it hospital drama. It had comedy, some of it bittersweet. It had little triumph and little disaster. It just had rather more than its fair share of low-level rubbishness. And definitely too much vomit.

2010 in months:
January: Begins well with a Mummy-and-Daddy escape to Skipton in the snow. Then melting snow, slush, frozen slush, and repeat. Peter talks.
February: Trip to Dumfries to see Granny Lilo and Grandpa Morris. Peter acquires more words. Rachel starts learning to co-clerk business meetings. It seems to take rather less time and effort as the year goes on. Either I’m doing something right or I’m doing something very wrong. Or, quite possibly, both.
March: In between acquiring words, Peter vomits a lot. Matthew reads a lot.
April: The campus has a brand-new state-of-the-art educational facility – for under-fives. Got to start somewhere. So Matthew becomes a Dragonfly and Peter a Ladybird. Peter vomits a lot more. Muers family gathering on Easter Monday, at which photos are taken with Peter looking small and thin. Hoping for a healthy gathering in 2011. We eventually find out why Peter is vomiting a lot.
May: Peter stops vomiting. We start to work out how to cope with a gluten-free diet. The country starts to work out how to cope with a hung Parliament. After several false starts, failed mixtures and faintly sickening episodes, at least one of these coping efforts seems to be working OK. Hmm. Towards the end of the month we note the end of the brief period during which three of the four of us were square numbers. Gavin (who by this point can see rather less than he would like) convenes Yearly Meeting Elders. Rachel plays with Yearly Meeting Toddlers.
June: Peter celebrates his second birthday with a toddler fracture and a gruffalo cake.
July: Sun, sand, sea, spades, trains, gluten-free cream teas, hooray. I think it was also in July that a mouse managed to get inside our boiler and cause over £1000 worth of damage (aka an enforced boiler upgrade) by chewing the wires.
August: Gavin spends a few hours under general anaesthetic, which some would say was a rather extreme way of catching up on sleep. Matthew spends a few days in Edinburgh with Grandpa Martin. While Matthew’s away, Peter decides that being grown up is clearly worth a try, and potty-trains himself (more or less overnight) in preparation for growing up.
September: It all gets very exciting. Matthew celebrates his fifth birthday at a picnic in the park with lots of Dragonflies; is very sick in the early hours of the next morning; starts school the morning after that. Meanwhile Gavin crosses miles and timezones in a selfless quest for the perfect very-expensive-bit-of-scientific-equipment. And finds it and buys it before the budget gets cut. We say “welcome to out of your mummy’s tummy” (in Matthew’s words) to the boys’ first ever first cousin, the small and perfectly formed Marcus Raphael Muers.
October: Matthew loves school. He also loves half-term with grandparents. After his trip to the Natural History Museum, we have to revise our out-of-date dinosaur knowledge. It’s true – the brontosaurus has now been expunged from prehistory. In other dubiously-justified pieces of educated guesswork, Browne reports. Rachel learns, somewhat to her surprise, that the teaching she’s been doing all these years isn’t of any public benefit. Something’s revolting, and it probably isn’t the students.
November: RIP Kepler, the cat who never learned to miaow or purr (but had a nice line in riding round the house sitting on your shoulders). Plenty of opportunities for the boys to spot police horses around campus.
December: Snow falls, snow on snow (snow on snow). The city grinds briefly to a halt, but Matthew’s school keeps going, as do the student protests. Someone fails to break into our bike shed, and leaves us a red-handled screwdriver and some broken hinges as a souvenir of their efforts. Peter learns to recognise Ps-for-Peter (they are everywhere when you start looking for them) Christmas happens, with lots of food and family, and added mystery viruses for the children. We eventually collapse in an overfed midwinter heap, prepare to wave goodbye to 2010, and thank you all for sticking with us.

Emotion management

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

For some time now, Peter has been doing ‘proper’ tantrums. Matthew’s tantrums were (and are) almost always directly linked to tiredness, and were (and are) complete meltdowns. Peter has always appeared to be in more control of what’s going on, more able to decide to have a tantrum in order to get his own way about this specific issue, rather than employing one of the many other weapons in his toddler armoury (like the winningly cheeky grin or the feigned deafness). Our long-term suspicion that Peter was capable of turning the tantrums on and off has been given more and more reinforcement recently. There’s a fairly well-established sequence that goes:
Wrong Thing happens. Peter yells. Grownup gives minimal response. Interesting Thing happens. Peter says “Done enough crying now” and stops crying.

Yesterday we had a new variant. apropos of me taking Matthew to London to meet his new baby cousin (and not risking the combination of Peter and two more-than-three-hour journeys on public transport):
Matthew at breakfast time: “Mummy and I are going to London today”.
Peter: “Yes. Mummy and Matthew go to London. Peter’s going to do one bit of crying”.

Later, when we’re about to leave:
Matthew: “It’s nearly time for us to go”.
Peter: “OK, Mummy and Matthew going soon. I’m going to do little bit of crying”.

Apparently when we actually left Peter forgot even to do the promised little bit of crying. Perhaps he felt that the point had been sufficiently made.


Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Peter has now been a week not wearing nappies during the daytime and continues to be managing this with remarkably few accidents. He had two days at nursery this week (thanks to the extra bank holidays that Leeds University observes) and had no real no accidents and only one missed potty incident. Obviously this won’t last for ever, but compared to the difficulties we had with Matthew at a similar stage – when I positively dreaded seeing the row of little blue nappy sack bags containing dirty pants and trousers at pickup time – this seems all too easy !

Peter in hospital

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Apologies to the few people who read the blog and don’t either see facebook updates or receive family emails… but I can’t really be bothered to tell the whole story of how Peter, and hence also I, ended up in the Leeds General Infirmary for three nights so far, undergoing a battery of interesting medical tests in a (so far unsuccessful, but there are various test results outstanding) quest to work out what is wrong with him.

He is (obviously) quite ill, and quite tired, and quite stressed about being in the wrong place, and very strongly opposed to any medical procedure that cannot be undertaken while he is being held by one of his parents. (If a parent is holding him, there’s no problem). But he is still himself.

He says a very polite “bye-bye, later” to everyone, including the people who have held him down on a very large machine that makes scary noises, and/or forced barium-laced milkshakes down his throat. He is very, very interested in the babies on the ward, and attempts to prescribe remedies for their problems: “Baby sad. Baby milk? Baby juice? Baby sleep, sshhh”. He is upset when Daddy goes away, and feels the need to check frequently on Daddy and Matthew’s whereabouts: “Daddy work? Daddy home, sleep? Matthew? Dra-gon-flies [this being the name of Matthew’s new nursery group]”.

He is not in a fit state to run or walk around, and he sits a lot. I think I can confidently say that I’ve watched more children’s TV, per day, than ever before in my life (it helps that we didn’t have a TV when I was a child). Peter provides a running commentary, which is helpful for me, because much children’s TV seems to make most sense if you are under three. (Plus he knows, or thinks he knows, the names of some of the more obscure Thomas engines – which all look the same to me). His favourite thing, however, is being pushed round the hospital in his buggy. We pace corridor after corridor and he perks up as he notices now-familiar landmarks: “Hose. Lift. Funny chair. Bed, wheels”.

Unfortunately, as a result of his experiences so far he has started to distrust people in hospital uniform, and tends to scream whenever one of them makes a sudden move. This is understandable.


Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Peter has quite a lot of word combinations these days. I heard his most sentence-like thing today: “Mummy ‘n’ Matthew back”. Uttered when Matthew and I returned from the lunch with friends that Peter and Daddy should also have been at – but Peter threw up copiously on the bus, all over Daddy, and Daddy was then the one who had to take a sobbing Peter home, wash all their clothes, etc. And the parental short straw today goes to… Daddy.

Peter is fine, of course. We’re not quite sure what was going on, but it seems to have stopped going on.

Further on language: It took me a while to work out what “ton” (rhymes with gone) meant – he says it when it’s dark, and it means “light-on”.

My clever technique of getting him to say (eg) “bye-bye puddle” when I need him to stop jumping in a puddle and carry on along the pavement has, predictably, backfired. For example: I’m reading a story from “The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark” to Matthew. Peter comes along with one of his books, waves it under my nose, and when he gets no reaction says firmly “Bye-bye, owl” and forcibly closes the owl book.

Two little boys

Monday, January 18th, 2010

That’s what I tell people when they ask about my children, or sometimes even if they don’t. I have two little boys. This has, trivially, been true for a little more than nineteen months. It’s only recently, however, that this has seemed an obvious way to describe it. Peter stopped being a baby, and Matthew started playing with him, and at some point I saw them walking along together (in their thick coats and woolly hats) and saw two little boys.

They pull the cushions off the sofa and turn the living room into a soft play area. They build with bricks, and push Duplo machines around. They run up, they run down. They have fits of the giggles. They fight over the orange balloon even when there is a yellow balloon of the same size readily available. They watch Bob the Builder (“Roller”, says Peter. “Digger. Roller. Tip-tip-tip”). They stick stickers. They play with the toy animals. They stir the cookie mixture and lick the bowl.

Matthew tells Peter what to do. Peter ignores it and does whatever Matthew is doing. Matthew helps Peter climb onto things. Often they’re the things Peter wants to climb onto. When Peter hits his head on the corner of a table, Matthew helpfully puts a cushion against the table to stop it happening again. Occasionally Matthew jumps on top of Peter – “I didn’t see him there”. Peter picks himself up. Peter tries, very very hard, to jump up. It doesn’t work yet.