Dulcie, as a baby, was described by someone far wittier than I, as having ‘a whim of iron’. She still displays some pretty resolute behaviour but can be as flakey as pastry when the mood takes her. A wish to open a bottle of nail varnish and coat the scruffy little nails of a group of two friends and a neighbour’s toddler? Then she can spend ten minutes (which in a preschooler’s life is like a supereon) with her concentration-tongue poking out, sweaty palms twisting the lid and nostrils flared with the effort, until the silence and the smell cause me to run up the stairs and put a swift end to proceedings. Sadly only after twenty digits have been swathed in Hello Kitty pink. A long day, a slippery bit of jelly that won’t get on the spoon? Then she can curse jelly and renounce it after a nano-second of trying.
Himself the Elf is made from sterner stuff. He won’t allow obstacles to bend him from his path, whether they are physical (SHOVE goes the chair put in his way. PAH to the fence as he tries to slither underneath. UMPH to the door that has been shut on him) or his own limitations. There is now nothing that is out of reach, for he just climbs to get it. I honestly now find it simpler, easier and a darnsight less dangerous to hand over what he wants before he makes too much effort to get it (obviously, I don’t count knives, matches, medicines and the like under this as they’re dangerous, or dried apricots as too many have a predictable outcome and I’m the person who has to deal with it). Continue reading
We have just taken the children to France for the first time, and aside from the laundry we’ve returned with, and wheeling the buggy through the inevitable dog turd, and Dulcie’s uncontrollable tantrum about what constitutes a real meal and what is just eating patisserie, and Himself the Elf’s insistence that he will sleep badly anywhere and pull over an unfeasible amount of fire irons, pot pourri, and umbrella stands, a fabulous time was had by all.
We ate like French kings and meandered around the boulevards and rues, with Dulcie gradually bon jouring away quite happily, and Himself the Elf developing his palette to the extent that any baguette he saw was greeted with the expressive ‘Nom nom nom’ sound that is, I believe infant French for ‘That looks delicious. Pass me a chunk, won’t you?” and accompanying mouth movements. We are now all suffering terrible post-holiday comedown, so I shall keep this brief. Continue reading