Out of the Games Cupboard

A random assortment of reflections, musings and a running commentary on life.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Chronicles of a Stay at Home Dad #5

Ellie decided that she would like to go on a dragon hunt one day in the near future. We decided together that we therefore needed to make a big dragon and some armour to keep her safe.

Today we made the dragon. Here are some photos showing its progress from a heap of carefully selected cardbopard boxes and containers, through it's assembly and finally it's painting:
Ellie was involved in all stages of manufacture - although she wasn't that interested in sticking the bits together to make the basic shape (this was quite fiddly though). I was surprised how good she was at choosing the boxes and bits - including little milk cartons for eyes and a jelly pot for the neck. She couldn't find anything that looked winglike but she said she liked my approach of cutting up some sheets of A3 green card! We had great fun! Just the armour to make now....

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Ellie is three

Ellie had her third birthday a short while ago. It was a great couple of days and she really enjoyed it. I was like parents the world over who see a child's birthday as a chance to refelct on where has all that time gone? It seems like only last week that Ellie was being breast fed, that I could carry her with one hand, that she couldn't yet crawl, or talk.

There is a strange sadness watching a little one grow up. They become more independent, they physically need you less and you don't feel adored in quite the same way. This is far outweighed by the love they do demonstrate, the pride of watching them learn and becoming independent, but it is still there (I suspect that's why some people chose to have more babies so that those feelings can stay with them a bit longer).

This year I realised that part of the reason they 'grow up so fast' without you almost noticing is because their independence etc sneaks up so gradually.... there aren't many huge, monolithic events which carve themselves into your family history (well, not after first steps and first words).

But there have been many just as important developments which have occurred without us noticing; Ellie now uses grown up crockery and cutlery, she has conversations, she chooses to play by herself sometimes, she chooses films to watch, she chooses books to read, she chooses her clothes, she washes her own hair, she cleans her own teeth, she chooses her own treats, she tries to teach French words to other children, she explains things, she can describe her dreams, she can argue, she pours her own milk on cereal, she wears knickers rather than nappies, she tells us when she needs a wee and is getting better with poos!

Most of these events have gradually become the norm - there was no conscious decision to start her using grown up cutlery...it just happened. It is truly wonderful watching her grow up, and I am deeply proud of her and feel privileged to watch her trying to make sense of the world around her and her attempts to order it to her liking (she is so like her mother!).

And yet I find I miss her being tiny and needy; I miss her laughing whilst flat on her back before she could crawl; I miss how tiny she was, how small her fingers and toes were, I miss how she would suck my nose if it got to close to her ever-hungry mouth....

I guess seeing her growing up reminds me of how small she was and that makes me broody! Maybe that's some sort of biological programming to ensure the survival of the species. Still, even if we did have another child they wouldn't be Ellie, and in some strange way, that makes me a little sad to.

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For the love of Jerry Orbach!

Ellie has developed quite a taste for Disney movies, particularly ones about princesses....which is a surprisingly high percentage! For a few weeks her clear favourite was 'Beauty and the Beast'. I was happy to watch this repeatedly with her as I found that I really like it too; how can you not like a film featuring a song containing the lines "I use antlers in all of my decorating" and "Im particularly good at expectorating"?

One of the characters is a talking candlestick, Lumiere, who has this ludicrous, over the top, mock French accent. One evening, when Ellie had chosen to watch part of the movie rather than read stories, I voiced a thought: "Lumiere sounds just how Jerry Orbach would sound if he did a French accent". Now, I didn't really mean to say this out loud but I was tired. Lisa asked "who's Jerry Orbach?" - "you know Lenny Briscoe in Law and Order, the dad in Dirty Dancing" - "oh him! Don't be silly, of course it's not!"

Lisa proceeded to tease and ridicule me for the rest of the movie... something she rarely does! Still I had the last laugh. The end credits said that Lumiere was voiced by one Jerry Orbach. Ha ha ha!

Actually, my favourite Disney movie is 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame'. I think its funny that a kids movie has songs about redemption and burning in hell! It also has the good song line "Becuase your shape, like a croissant is..." genius! Judge Claude Frollo is one of the best Disney villains ever.... from fetishistically sniffing Esmeralda's gypsy hair to instructing a torturer how to inflict more pain.... a real villain! I have a book explaining all the research the artists did about gothic buildings and the church of Notre Dame inparticular. A staggering amount of work was involved in just the planning stage. Well worth a look if any one is interested....

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Missing weeks...

Hello everyone! I haven't posted for awhile as I was making the most of the lovely weather to catch up in the garden. I've also been trying to 'top up' my 6 hours a night sleep habit as directed by the Consultant Neurologist. Oh, and I'm now a stay at home dad proper for three days a week. All of which has left me with less time for blogging. I will try to make it a more regular event now....

Lots has happened since I last posted... far too much to write about in detail but..... here's a summary:

Ellie turned 3, she had a fab party at a Wacky Warehouse, we made a dragon, we bought our first goldfish, it died five days later, Ellie has developed something like an addiction for Disney films (mainly ones with princesses in), I've played lots of boardgames, we went to a wedding, we've put up trellising, weeded the entire garden, planted herbs which have really taken off, started going to 'French for Fidgets', visited the Nestle employees shop with Mal and his dad, seen the Neurologist again, taught Ellie to play 'Snakes and Ladders', have printed out a free copy of the first ever wargame I played...... and lots of other stuff I'm sure!

I might elaborate on some of these in future posts!

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