Tag Archives: #ftmob

the things they say #8 – unnameable pouches

easter collageIt’s been a really full-on couple of weeks what with it being the easter holidays and the fact that I’ve still been trying to work (ok, only one day but still… ), and write and blog and do my illustration course… and then of course there was the post that went huge and got me into many an inspiring Twitter conversation about education.

But the boys are back to school tomorrow and my blog hits have settled down again so, back to business! This feels like a gear change from recent posts but I do love recording the random things my toddler says, so here’s this month’s edition of silliness from my (just turned) three year old:

  • He loves to draw and currently produces about ten pictures a day – on a slow day! He usually draws with great intensity, taking more and more pens out of the case as he goes. Lids fly everywhere, scribbles adorn the table and ink gets all over his hands. The other day I pointed out he had brown ink all the way up his arms. “Wow!” he said gleefully “It look like a crusty bum!” I blanched, I mean… I suppose.. but thankfully he continued “Yes, a hot crusty bum!” at which point *PING* I realised that some of the marks were in a kind of cross shape and the whole thing was reminiscent of a hot cross bun. Of course. What else could he possibly have meant?
    • He’s noticed that ‘time’ is a thing for us (mostly, it has to be admitted, in the context of “Argh, no, is that the…?!?” rather than, “Oh, no rush, there’s plenty of…”) and has come up with an answer to the inevitable question. If you ask “What’s the time?” in his presence he always pipes up with “Seven pasty nine.” No matter if it’s morning, noon or night, whether he’s racing around outside in the sunshine or being tucked up in bed in the dark, it’s always and only “Seven pasty nine.” Sounds quite a tasty time of day though so I have no complaints!
    • Child of the Eighties? Remember Thundercats?  A few months ago it was available on Amazon Prime (yes, the original version!), and all three boys loved watching it together. They still play Thundercats games together now where they race around acting out the characters. My three-year-old likes to play their huge-haired, muscly leader, “Lion-o”. Except he calls him “Lion-mauve”. I rather like it – makes me think of Lion-o in a hand-knitted cardi. And what’s not to like about that?!
    • I opened the blinds the other day to a sea of mist. “Yay!” said the toddler “It’s froggy outside!”
  • We have parking meters in our town that give you a ticket for a FREE half hour of parking. It’s lucky you can get them for free as the toddler thinks the parking metres are “Minions” and loves to go and say hello and ask them for a ticket. They’re very obliging! You’re probably imagining we have lovely yellow parking meters – that would make sense, right?
    minion 2parking meter

    Minion or parking meter? Spot the difference!

  • And finally – one from my eight-year-old. During an average lunchtime conversation recently he made reference to “the pouch that no one dares name…”. He looked at us as if we would know what he was talking about, but we didn’t. After a little encouragement it was revealed he was talking about a scrotum, or scrotums in general. I’ll never view them in the same light again.*snort*
    Little Hearts, Big Love

the things they say #7 (the facial hair edition)

Do you ever look at your kids and think, ‘how did you get so big? Surely I only gave birth to you last Tuesday?!’ I do, often. It makes me want to make the most of spending time with my boys now (which admittedly can sometimes conflict wildly with the difficulties of just getting through some days!) and also to capture these memories somehow.

running baking

my 3yo taking a jogging break during a baking session!

That’s one of the brilliant things about blogging I think. These posts we write about the cute things our kids say or do and the times we spend together, might only be of limited interest to much of the rest of the world, but for our future selves, what a treasure trove! I can imagine reading this blog when my kids have grown up and loving re-living all the moments it captures. It’s probably inevitable that I’ll wince at some of my more naval-gazing posts, (rather like discovering your teenage diary that waxed rhapsodic about the boy who sat next to you in Geography) but I think I can bear that for the memories it holds.

… which brings me to my newly three year old son‘s language. It’s  developing so fast at the moment, I can hardly keep up! I keep noting down the cute words he uses or the way he phrases things, only to find out he’s moved on from them five minutes later. So the following list of things he’s said recently is already out of date, but I wanted to capture it here anyway for posterity (you’re welcome, future me).

  • On hearing his Dad’s footsteps on the stairs: “Here comes Daddy! He’s the Gruffalo!” My husband insists I misheard and that he in fact said “He’s Mark Ruffalo” (which admittedly would be a more flattering comparison), but no. It’s those terrible tusks that give him away.
  • While he was giving my husband a cuddle on the sofa and stroking his eyebrows (I don’t know why… because eyebrows are strokeable I guess), “I’m stroking Daddy’s libraries!” Ok, they’re considerably thicker than mine, but I’ve yet to find a book in them!
  • To me, when I handed him a sandwich: “Thank you, my love.” I tend to call him poppet or sweetie so I’m not sure where he got ‘my love’ from, but it was very sweet!
  • To him, where timing is concerned most things either happen now or “after later” which appears to be a vague or possibly non-existent time in the future. ‘After later’ is an annoying length of time when applied to the question “When will you clear up your toys?” but very useful when I use it as a response to a request for another biscuit when he’s already had too many. “You can have one after later poppet” “Ok”. Win.
  • He’s small for his age and also the youngest family member so he does get referred to as ‘tiny’ or ‘little’ a lot. Mostly he enjoys this (sometimes he insists he’s still a baby) but the other day he decided to attempt to refute the label with “I’m not little, I’m bigger than Daddy’s eyelashes!” I’m not sure it helped his case…

What have your little ones been saying recently? Is anyone else married to a Gruffalo?

Little Hearts, Big Love


conversations with my toddler #4

One of my toddler’s favourite games involves pretending to go to bed. My prescribed role in this is to join him under the bed cover (usually with it pulled up right over our heads so we’re kind of in a tent) and he then orders me to go to sleep.

sleeping toy bear

As any parent of young kids knows, it’s almost impossible to stay awake in this situation, but he takes care of that particular issue by waiting for the precise moment I’m drifting off and then shrieking “MORNING!” in my face. Perhaps to better ensure my continued wakefulness though, a few days ago he added an extra element to the scenario:

2yo: “Mummy, close your eyes.”

Me: “Gladly.”

2yo: “Are you cosy?”

Me: “Yes, I’m very cosy, thank you.”

2yo: “Ok, you go to sleep now.”

Me: *mumbles sleepily* “Of course.”

2yo: *sternly* “No, you NOT go to sleep like that! You say hot shoes!”

Me: *baffled* “Er… hot shoes?”

2yo: *frustrated* “No, not hot shoes! HOT SHOES!”

Me: “Ummmm… *tries again* hot shoes?”

2yo: ” NO! Not like THAT, like THIS: hhhhhhot shooooooes.”

Me: “OH! You want me to snore!”

I swear, fake snoring sounds exactly like ‘hot shoes’. Go on, try it now (especially if you’re in a public place) – see?

From now on, snoring will always be ‘hot shoes’ to me. :)

Little Hearts, Big Love

the things they say #6

My youngest son is nearly three now and is by and large a lovely, laid-back little boy. He definitely has his moments (in fact he went to nursery in his pyjamas this morning because after I’d dressed him he undressed himself then persuaded his brothers to help him back into his pyjamas which he then refused POINT BLANK to take off…  but they were new and very stylish so, meh) but mostly he’s easy going. In fact, a lot of the time he’s so deliciously cute – with his squishable huggableness and wonderful toddler language – that I can’t bear the idea of him getting older. I just want to keep my little cuddly mummy’s boy forever.

minions talkingObviously that’s not an option, (and I wouldn’t want it to be, not really… not really, really) but I figure at least I’ve written about a fair few of his lovely (and not so lovely) moments in this blog. I can imagine reading back in years to come and having a fond chuckle.

On that note, here’s what he’s been up to recently:

1. He spent a lot of December singing Christmas songs and carols. His absolute favourite is Jingle Bells but he also likes Away in a Manger.  Here he eschewed the traditional lyrics about ‘Lord Jesus’ and sang enchantingly about ‘Little Old Cheeses.’

2. The other day he was lying on the bed (as I was trying to make it – he’s ‘helpful’ like that) and kept saying “Wrap me up like a goonie!” I had no idea at all what a ‘goonie’ was (although as a child of the eighties I was reminded of the classic film of that name!) but he seemed happy as long as I wrapped the blanket around and around him when he said this. It wasn’t until later when I repeated the story to his brothers that I found out what he meant. ‘Oh, a goonie! ” they exclaimed, “That’s what he calls a genie!” Apparently he’d seen the picture on the front of an Aladdin DVD. Goonies do look exactly like they’re wrapped in a blanket, he’s right.

3. He loves shopping. Seriously I have never known a child love it so much. Every morning after we drop his brothers off at school he asks “Can we go to the shoppings now?” and is most displeased if I say no. His favourite place of all is The Metro Centre – a huge shopping centre near (ish) us. His name for it though is “Dementor centre.” This always makes me think of the dementors from Harry Potter – those creatures who drain “peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them”. If you’ve ever visited the Metro Centre on a Saturday in December you’d know how apt this name is!

4. All my boys have had a different word for breakfast. My eldest called it ‘Brekkits’, my second-born, “brefkits”. My youngest, though, has the best word of all: “Gretgrits”. We all use this word now and I suspect we’ll be doing so for years to come.

5. Star Wars fever hit our house a few weeks ago (no surprises there) and although the toddler is too little to see the film he still got caught up in the excitement. He’s been running all over the place declaring he’s main baddie Kylo Ren. Only he gets it a bit wrong and shouts “I’m Carolyn!” I’ve nothing against the name but, well…

kylo ren

Does this look like a ‘Carolyn’ to you?

6. He’s had a sense of humour for a while now but more recently has been cracking ‘jokes’. These are possibly the worst jokes I’ve heard, in fact the only reason we know they’re jokes is because he repeats them and laughs manically. The other day he called me ‘Mummy Pig’, I realised this was a joke when he followed it up with “Haha! I said you Mummy Pig! Hahahhhaha.” The same thing happened when his friend was going home after a playdate: “Bye Bye, Daddy!” he shouted, then, “Haha, I said ‘Bye Bye Daddy’ to Luke hahahahhahaha!”. A career as a stand up comedian beckons for sure…

7. I love seeing empathy develop in my boys. Last night my eldest collapsed to the floor complaining of cramp in his foot. The toddler immediately shouted for me: “Mummy! Get Charlie and Lola! (a cold pack we keep in the fridge with their picture on it)” then he patted his big brother on the back and said “Don’t worry, I will keep you better.” My heart melted… until five minutes later when the same thing happened and instead of responding with gentle affection he ran past his brother cackling “Haha! You got crampings! Hahahaha!” Remember that sense of humour I was telling you about…


Linking up with From the Mouths of Babes at Little Hearts Big Love.

Little Hearts, Big Love

a winter’s tale

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our twenty-first anniversary. We’re still only in our thirties so those of you with a mathematical bent will have already realised that means we got together in our teens!

lovebirds 1996

The two of us back in 1996

That day was a pretty magical one in my memory. It was the last day of Christmas term (yes, we were still at school – that’s how young we were!) and we were supposed to be going into town after school with a mutual friend of ours. At the last minute this friend suddenly couldn’t come (I’ve always wondered if it was a deliberate act on her part, to finally get us to admit our feelings for each other), so the two of us were unexpectedly on our own.

We walked into town side by side, shared a coke in a (rather crappy) cafe and wandered around amidst the pretty lights and festive sparkles, laughing and chatting about nothing in particular while each trying to pluck up the courage to say something more meaningful. The hours slipped by far too fast, and we soon had to walk back to school so he could catch the last bus home. It was dark by then and bitingly cold. The thrill of anticipation in the air between us outshone even the twinkling lights in the trees that lined our path. Finally, as we drew close to the school gates, my husband-to-be took the plunge – he told me I was beautiful and that he loved me. We kissed under the street lamps, and that was that. Our history was made.

Ten years later we got married and another eleven further down the track we have three gorgeous boys, a home and a lovely life together. It hasn’t all been plain sailing – we’ve certainly had our share of arguments over the years and we’ve had to put a lot of work into keeping our relationship healthy and strong. But it’s been totally worth it.

Yesterday I dug out some old photos of us. The one above is from a holiday in France that we went on with friends in 1996. I showed it to my sons last night and my eight-year-old said, incredulously, “Is that… Daddy?!!!! He was so good looking! No wonder you carried on kissing him, Mummy, he was one cool dude!

My husband put the photo on Facebook and one of his friends commented, “Is that the summer you destroyed the Horcruxes?” – a reference which implied he looked liked Harry Potter. This thrilled my son even more! Of course the photo was taken before Harry Potter was even published so he got there with the round glasses and the floppy fringe before Harry did. Just sayin’.

So there you have it; a love story that began one wintry day over two decades ago. A lot has changed since then; those young people have grown up and are now rather more weighed down by life’s responsibilities. We’ve both lost something of our youthful sparkle. But somewhere – and always – underneath it all, we’re still those teenagers in love.

Little Hearts, Big Love

how to win an argument with a toddler

Have you ever accidentally made a promise to a toddler that you couldn’t keep? I think it happens to most of us – things often don’t go quite as planned when you’re dealing with little people and feeling a bit frazzled. Luckily, as parents, we get quite skilled at thinking on our feet to get ourselves out of it though.

polar bearI found myself in this situation with my two-year-old the other day. It started when we’d just dropped his big brother off somewhere and were getting back into the car. He was wriggly, the weather was foul and rain was slashing in my face as I battled to strap him into his car seat – so naturally he decided it was the perfect time to strike up a conversation:

Him: (enthusiastically pointing) “Mummy, we go this way!”

Me: (not really concentrating given ‘wind and rain in face’ situation) “Yes, ok we’ll go that way.”

Him: (sensing my weakness) “Yay! we go that way… and get a polar bear?”

Me: (confused) “A polar bear?”

Him: (as if it was my suggestion): “A polar bear?! What a good idea! Hooray! Let’s get a polar bear!”

Me: “Ummm, poppet I’m not sure we can get a polar bear… ”

Him: (adamant) “We get a polar bear, you SAID we get a polar bear!”

Me: “Well, no I didn’t actually, I’m not sure where we’d even find a polar bear, we’re actually just going home now.”

Him: (suddenly furious) “No! We NOT going home! WE. GETTING. A. POLAR. BEAR!”

Me: (trying to salvage the situation) “We’re not, but oooh! I know… why don’t we go home and make polar bear BISCUITS? You love biscuits! POLAR BEAR biscuits. BISCUITS!  *thinks if I say polar bear and biscuits enough times maybe I can win this one*

Him: “Ok, yay! We make polar bear biscuits!”

Me *thinks* Phew, got out of that one. *pats self on back*

My self-satisfaction didn’t last long though when we got home and couldn’t find the polar bear biscuit cutter. Which is because we’ve never actually owned a polar bear biscuit cutter. Dur.

Never mind I thought breezily, we’ll just make biscuit dough and shape it into polar bear shapes freestyle, who needs a cutter anyway? Cutters are for wimps!

Oh, but then it turned out we didn’t have enough sugar to make biscuits of any kind. I suppose I could have gone out to buy some (I could even have bought a polar bear cutter at the same time – if they exist) but remember that driving wind and rain I mentioned? There had to be a better solution…

And I found it! Presenting our very special…jam tarts

Jam tarts! Made with sugar-free dough and plenty of strawberry jam (some recipes include sugar but the jam is quite sweet enough in my opinion).

And you know how I sold these distinctly un polar-bear-shaped treats to him? I just told him that jam tarts were “the sort of biscuits polar bears love to eat!”

He loved them: they were delicious and no one had to go out in the rain.

Or find space to house a polar bear.

And then the fun began...

Little Hearts, Big Love

magical zebras – things they say #5

When I was pregnant with my third child I looked forward to lots of things: baby snuggles – of course, gazing into my newborn’s eyes – naturally… having to change my bed sheets at 3am because the baby had vomited milk everywhere and obviously he was in my bed because it’s not like he’d sleep anywhere else – er, not so much.

But what I really couldn’t wait for was hearing him learn to talk. I’d been through this stage twice before with his older brothers and knew what fun it could bring.

dancing minions

And I’m pleased to say it’s lived up to expectations – my toddler is 2 1/2 now and makes me smile and laugh on a daily, if not hourly, basis with the things he comes out with.

A particular favourite of mine is his use of the word “awollawong” when requesting ‘another one’ of anything. Because he tends to want more of, well, most things this is something he says a lot! “Can have awollawong drink?”, “Peese have awollagwong Lego?” or just, “Mummy, I want awollawong!”. It’s one of those words I find myself using too – it rolls off the tongue nicely, try it!

Another of his toddlerisms regularly occurs when he tries to join in his older brothers’ games. Aged 8 and 6, they both love Harry Potter and often enact magical duels where they stand pointing wands (or pencils) at each other shouting various spells in ringing tones: “Stupify!” “Imperious!” “Avada Kedavra!”

Given his awe of his big bro’s, the toddler obviously joins in these duels too, to the best of his ability. He’s all wild enthusiasm and very little accuracy so he tends to charge into the fray bellowing spells at the top of his lungs. Maybe it’s because “Avada Kedavra” sounds so much like ‘abracadabra’ that it appeals to him, but that’s definitely his spell of choice. Only he gets it a bit wrong… off he rushes towards his brothers, pencil in hand, little voice exclaiming:

“I got it – a zebra!”

Who could resist a spell like that?

The good thing is, such linguistic silliness doesn’t end with the toddler years, as a recent conversation with my six-year-old showed me. We were discussing his school’s ‘no jewellery’ policy and his remark on the subject was:

“It doesn’t matter – I don’t really like jewellery anyway, I just like spare diamonds lying around.”

Well, I mean… don’t we all?!

Meanwhile, my eight-year-old obviously has talking down to a complex art (honestly, sometimes he just won’t STOP talking!) but even he is not immune to the odd mishearing:

8yo: “Today was brilliant!”

Me: “That’s great to hear!”

8yo: “Yes, I was so excited to see my friends that I got a dolphin mouth!”

Me: “Um… you got a… what?”

8yo: “You know… like you had after giving birth?”

Me: “Ummm…” *realisation dawns* “Oh! you mean an endorphin rush!”

Possibly my favourite mishearing ever – the idea of him running round with an enormous, bouncy dolphin nose really made me laugh… not to mention the image it created in my mind of me gazing fondly at a newborn baby, with a dolphin snout in the middle of my face. I mean, would I be nuzzling  the baby with my nose? Would I be making dolphin clicking noises as I did so? The mind boggles.

What have your kids said that’s made you laugh recently? I’d love to hear!


Little Hearts, Big Love

Lego wedding

I’m a big fan of Lego – I love the way it encourages creativity, concentration and imaginative play. My sons and I have whiled away many an hour happily sitting on the floor building, and I’m getting much better at sharing my blocks these days too.

I’ve got three boys and the older two have been getting Lego for birthday and christmas presents for years now so we’ve amassed quite a collection. We haven’t remotely kept all the various kits separate though and now have a messy box-load of the stuff which includes Ninjago (lots of ninjas, flying machines and fighty bits), Chima (weird claws, beaks and flames from what I can gather), City (houses, shops, beach-side diners) Hobbit (creatures and scenery), superhero (vehicles and set pieces) and even a sprinkling of Lego Friends (mostly pink). With all those to chose from, the boys come up with loads of different creations and i never know what they’re going to come up with next. The following is an example:

lego wedding

8yo son: “Look – we’ve made a lego wedding! Bride, husband, guests, person doing the wedding, singer…”
Me: “Great!… And who’s that over there?” (on the left)
8yo: “Oh, that’s just someone having his head chopped off for trying to kill the bride.”

Just your average wedding then…

There is, apparently, a proper Lego wedding set available but I bet it’s not a patch on this creation. I wonder what the dress code was?

Little Hearts, Big Love

my little jekyll and hyde

Two – it’s a gorgeous age isn’t it? Full of toddler giggles and huge, snuggly cuddles and hours digging happily in mud. Two-year olds love their parents unreservedly and without judgement – we are the best things that ever walked the planet to them. They laugh a lot, the smallest things make them happy and the things they say are hilarious and cute. Who wouldn’t want to live with a two year old? Who wouldn’t want to live with twenty two year olds?!


Well… except that two year olds, for all their adorableness, can behave like little monsters. Like shouting, screaming, unreasonable tyrants. And while it’s a totally normal part of their development, it can be completely exhausting to deal with. The lack of logic and control they possess can be fairly staggering, I think.

I’ve been through my share of toddler ups and downs with my three boys although, up until last week, I’ve felt very lucky with my youngest. He’s two-and-a-half now and he’s always been a laid-back type who’s happy to just fit in and get on with things. But last week we went on holiday and all that changed – he found his inner toddler and throughly got his ‘two’ on.  I don’t mean he wasn’t lovely some of the time too… but you never knew when he was going to flip. He was basically marmite – you either couldn’t fail to be charmed or you really wanted to run in the opposite direction.

A case in point were these conversations with him that occurred close together:

Scene One – the swimming pool. While his brothers swim splash noisily in the water, the toddler sits on my lap on a step at the shallow end.

Toddler: *snuggling up to me* “Awww my baby” (a phrase he uses to mean ‘give me a cuddle’. I didn’t realise that I often say this when I cuddle him till he started using it as a request!) then, looking deep into my eyes as only a toddler can, “Mummy loves Liddy” (his current name for himself)

Me: “I do, I love you very much.”

Toddler: “And you loves your (his brother’s name).”

Me: ” I do, yes.”

Toddler: “And you loves your (his other brother’s name).”

Me: “I do, I love ALL my boys very much!”

Toddler: * fixes me with the most sincere expression I have ever seen in my life* “And I LOVES my mummy.” *gives me a huge hug*

So obviously my heart was melting a bit after that.

But then there was:

Scene Two – in the car on the way home from the pool. All three boys are in the back.

Me: *cheerfully* “Home we go!”

Toddler: *suddenly inexplicably angry* ” NO! We NOT going home!”

Me: *breezily – trying to head off the tantrum at the pass* “No, I suppose not, since we’re on holiday… we’re going back to our holiday home!”

Toddler: *Fury building* “NO! WE NOT GOING BACK TO OUR HOLIDAY HOME.”

Brothers: *erupt in gales of laughter*

Me: “… well… I…”

Toddler: *Incandescent with rage and pointing wildly at his brothers* “NO! YOU. NOT. LAUGHING! WE NOT GOING HOME!!”

Me: *Thinking quickly… must distract him…* “Oh look! It’s started raining.”

Toddler: *Starring at heavy rain with murder in his eyes* “NO! IT! NOT! RAINING!

Me: *not quite sure what to say* “Well, I think it is, poppet, just a little bit.”

*Brothers manic laughter adds to frenzied feel in the car*


*builds up to crescendo of rage* “IT SUNNY!!!!!

Thankfully we arrived home. He calmed down. *Whispers so as not to tempt fate* luckily his tantrums don’t last long.

Ah, my gorgeous Jekyll and Hyde.

You know what? I love Marmite.

Little Hearts, Big Love
And then the fun began...

the things they say #4

My toddler loves vehicles – really loves them. He waves at cars wherever we go, squeals with delight at trains and is forever pointing at aeroplanes. He even goes to bed every night clutching several toy cars (along with a silkie and an enormous fluffy teddy). I gave up trying to part him from them long ago. They may be hard and therefore not make the ideal bedtime companion, but he likes to run them along the bars of his cot and it seems to soothe him to sleep. (Well, that and singing “Let it Go” to himself!)

One of his favourite vehicles is a motorbike. We live up a hill and can often hear them in the distance. He always shouts “Ooooh! Zoombike!” delightedly at them and waves wildly regardless of whether they can see him or not.

His other great love is animals. He knows the names of loads because he’s always pointing them out in books and asking what they are. He was thrilled when his cereal this morning came in a box with a picture of penguins on it. “Ooooh! crunkins!” he exclaimed.

So I decided to combine two of his loves and draw him a picture. Not a very good picture I hasten to add (perhaps I should have asked my seven-year-old to draw one instead), but he appreciated it nonetheless:

penguins on a motorbike

crunkins on a zoombike…


Little Hearts, Big Love