Monthly Archives: September 2008

General knowledge

"So what's this?" Jamie mused to himself as he explored the gift
shop. 

'This' was one of a jar of rubber globes, an inch in size, intended as desk ornaments. 
Before I could tune in enough to answer him, he had done so himself: "It's the Earth!"

I was surprised, and
pleased.  I hadn't realised my son had acquired enough general
knowledge to know our planet when he saw it.  All those hours leaving
him to peruse computer programmes alone or sit in front of the TV were obviously
bearing fruit in terms of improving his brain.  Once again, I could see
how my little boy was growing up.  It wouldn't be long before school and
homework and an unfolding lifetime of moments in which he'd surprise me
with some piece of his knowledge about the world.

"That's
right!"  Perhaps I should expand on that; seize the moment to plant the
seed of further information, nurture his little mind.  "Do you know
that the Earth is where we all live, little one?  All of us.  And if
you went out into outer space and looked at the Earth, it would look
like this."

"That's right."  Jamie nodded offhandedly; such cosmological details were clearly no news to him.  "If we go
out into space.  Where Pocoyo lives."

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Anniversary

Barry and I have never pushed the boat out when it comes to celebrating our wedding anniversaries.  This is not due to any lack of romantic inclinations on our respective parts, but the result of having moved so quickly, after the wedding, on to both reproduction and relocation.  At the time of our first anniversary, I was seven months pregnant and we were due to move house in three days and frantically trying to get our far-too-large quantity of random junk packed in time.  You can see why a long, lingering, wine-soaked dinner out wasn't really on the cards.  Although subsequent anniversaries haven't been quite so close to house moves (the second was two months before a move, which was close enough to put something of a dampener on matters, but at that point we did finally manage to get settled into what we devoutly hope will be our final home and so that problem at least has not been an issue in subsequent years), we have, of course, had Jamie to look after, and now Katie, and we are sad so-and-sos who never did get round to finding available babysitters.  So, anniversary celebrations have all been low key. 

And yet, in spite of that, the day always manages to be special.  In the midst of nappies and chivvying and household tasks, there'll be that moment when we exchange cards and smiles and "I love you"s, and suddenly it's all there again, like the sun shining out through clouds – the knowledge of just how much we love each other, just how special each of us really is to the other.  There are the times we've made for ourselves after Jamie's gone to bed – rented DVDs, fancy ice cream, mini-oases in the daily grind, the two of us remembering what fun it can be to be together.

This year, our anniversary happened to coincide with the annual Tumbletots day at Legoland, so that was where we spent it.  Exactly five years after walking up the aisle to the strains of Handel's Trumpet Tune, I was sitting in a brick model of a circus tent with my husband and our two beautiful children, watching Captain Mack and Maisy Mouse dance around, and joining in with spirited renditions of hits such as 'The Wheels On The Bus' and 'Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear'.  Exactly five years after the photos, the canap├ęs, the mingling, the ham roulade and guinea fowl with vegetarian option…we were walking round checking out Lego constructions and exciting rides.  It was a cold and drizzly day, but we found shelter for our picnic and the rain had stopped by later in the day, giving us the benefit of rainy days (short queues for the attractions) without actually having to get wet.  Jamie got to go on the Dragon's Apprentice and the helicopter rides with Barry, and to look round the castle (climbing up the stairs and back down again was a particular hit), and to go on some climbing frames, including one of the best play areas ever (half an hour of chasing him through it left Barry completely exhausted).  Katie watched it all from her pushchair, fretting a little over the lack of naptime but taking it in her stride.  The four of us were all together.  And, in spite of the cold and the rain and the dashing hither and yon and the perennial tiredness, it was another wonderful anniversary.

And now I'm looking forward to seeing how we'll be celebrating it in another five years.  If my current and much-cherished plan for the date works out, it'll be by dumping the children on their grandmother for a long weekend while we take off to a hotel.

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If there were a mountain a thousand miles wide and a thousand miles long and a thousand miles high and, once every thousand years, a little bird flew to the mountain to sharpen its beak…

…then that mountain would be shrinking fast enough to cost environmentalists sleep, compared to the speed with which my backlog of paperwork at work is diminishing.

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