Just a quick post today. Cheeky (my youngest – the five year old) saw a competition at the local library, for World Book Day to paint a character from his favourite book. He chose to depict Harry Potter playing Quidditch. My mother gave him a lesson on perspective and relative dimensions, and here it is;

Bless him, he’s already planning the next ‘masterpiece’!

Should I suggest ‘War and Peace’ for him??

Handsome, my eight year old son has taken to reading in bed. Due to the somewhat fiery nature of his younger brother, I asked Handsome if he would mind going to bed at the same time as his five year old sibling (there would be hell to pay from Cheeky if Handsome got to stay up later than him!). The compromise was that Handsome was given a reading light by his bed and is allowed to read for three quarters of an hour past their joint bedtime.

Since July, he has been reading the Harry Potter books. According to Yahoo Answers, there are 3407 pages when you add up the pages from all seven books. He finished the last book yesterday. So in approximately 180 days, he’s read an average of almost twenty pages each day. Not bad, for an eight year old.

He was looking forward to picking out a new bedtime book today. He spent some time after school choosing a book, then looked forward to it for the rest of the evening. So you can imagine his disappointment when it didn’t live up to expectations! He came into the lounge about ten minutes after he’d gone to bed, saying that the chapters were only a couple of pages long, and that he thought the whole book would only take him about as long as a ‘Harry Potter’ chapter, so could I please help him to choose another book which would take a little longer!

Bless him! I found him another book to try, but now I’m wondering whether he needs something a little meatier?! Thanks to the ‘Harry Potter’ books he’s an even more avid reader than he was before, so I don’t want him to be put off by a couple of less than enthusing books! At the moment he’s reading a treasury of boys’ stories including stories like ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, ‘Just William’, ‘Flat Stanley’ etc. When I see which stories from there he likes, I’ll be able (hopefully) to make more helpful suggestions! However, all suggestions from you guys will be more than gratefully received!

Gloves are done!

Thanks to a Cardiff Knitters meeting last night and lots of hot chocolate, I managed to stay focussed long enough to finish Handsome’s Gryffindor Gloves. He very proudly and happily wore them to school this morning. I just hope that the cheap acrylic yarn (remember, using yarn from my stash rather than buying new!) will keep his little hands warm enough. They certainly inspired him to fly on his broomstick most of the way to school, so I must have done something right!

And while I was at the meeting, I got bored by knitting so I switched to crochet for a while and made this;

You can see how small it is when you look at the size of the pins which I’m using to block it. (Blocking is the process by which you get lacey items to achieve the shape you want after you’ve made them. I used spray starch on this ornament so that, once it has dried, it should stay fairly firm unless it gets damp again.) I love these little lace projects – they fulfil my instant gratification thing, and are pretty to look at! Plus, this is item nunber one done for Christmas 2010!

And this month’s crafting is…

I thought I’d better write a post about my crafting, as I didn’t want people to worry that I’ve stopped now that Christmas is over! Only joking!

I had a few days off after Christmas, but then got straight back in with the two pairs of slipper socks I made over New Year (well, a pair and a half as I gave one completed sock to GG for Christmas with an IOU for the second). After that, I started on something for me! Yay! I’ve been looking forward to making something for myself since the start of October, when I made my fingerless gloves and then jumped straight in to making Christmas presents. So, I’m making myself a jumper. I’ve only made one jumper for myself before, as I usually run out of patience before finishing it (I prefer more instant gratification type projects!). However, there’s a group on Ravelry which I have joined. They think of yarny challenges, and so I’m knitting my jumper as a part of a three month challenge. I’m also knitting a poncho with some stashed yarn, but I’ve not cast on for that yet (determined to do one thing at a time!) so I’ll leave the details of that for later.

The jumper pattern I’ve chosen is called Jojo and it’s from the November issue of Let’s Knit Magazine (a UK publication). It’s quite a simple pattern, with a lacy roll-neck type collar to make it more interesting! So far, I’ve knitted the back and one sleeve, and I’ve not long started on a front piece, but I had to put it on hold earlier in the week when I had a couple of particularly annoying days with my hands.

And then, yesterday, I noticed that Handsome was wearing gloves about three sizes too small for him. Seriously, they looked like they’d shrunk in the wash. I asked if they fitted him, and he replied that they were magic gloves and so they must do. The fact that they don’t reach his wrists doesn’t seem to figure as a problem in his brain! So, being the caring mother I am, and given the amount of wool I have in the hall cupboard*, I offered to make him some new gloves with nice long toasty ribbed wrist cuffs. Of course he accepted, especially when I told him that I have dark red and yellow yarns and so could make him some Gryffindor** themed gloves – although rather than just saying ‘yes please’, he went on to ask if I could knit in a picture of a lion ‘going rarrrr’ (imagine an eight year old boy making clawing motions in the air like an attacking lion!). I look forward to the time when they realise how much work goes into things! Unfortunately, there won’t be enough room on the gloves for a ‘rarrrr’ing lion, but I’m sure he’ll like the fact that his wrists don’t go red and numb any more! Hopefully I’ll finish the gloves later today, so he’ll be able to wear them to school tomorrow.

*I’d like to point out to my husband, GG, that I AM making an effort to use up some of the wool before I go to Wonderwool Wales in April and have the chance to buy lots more so that we have lots more cupboard space in our flat!

**For those of you uninitiated in the world of Harry Potter, Gryffindor is one of the four houses in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and is the house to which Harry Potter belongs. Handsome is a couple of chapters away from finishing the final Harry Potter book – The Deathly Hallows – and so is currently making wands out of anything he can lay his hands on, and casting spells enough to turn the air around him crackly with magic.

Shake that thang!

My son, Cheeky, never fails to amuse me with his imagination. Of course, this is the same imagination that may, one day, get him locked up for one of many crimes which I’m sure he would be capable of at least plotting, if not actually implementing. The latest would be indecent exposure.

He’s been bustin’ some grooves recently, showing off his Beyonce-like bum wiggle, and seventies style arm movements on a daily basis. Today’s dancing exhibition plumbed new depths, however. He came to find me to show me his latest new dance. On hearing that I would be happy to watch it, he proceeded to pull his ‘winky’ out of his trousers and wiggle his hips whilst doing the ‘foxy ears’ move with his hands on either side of his head. Accompanied by a soundtrack of him chanting “hoola, hoola, hoola” repeatedly, it was quite the sight to see.

What are we bringing up? Well, at least his self confidence isn’t an issue!

A bright and beautiful day!

So, today was a lovely sunny day. But then, I knew it would be. My younger son, Cheeky, told me earlier that he had “said a pray to God” for sunshine today. And it worked!

Cheeky seems to have a special affinity with the Almighty, in a similar way to ‘Tevye’ from “Fiddler on the Roof” (yes, I know he was Jewish). He chats to Him now and again, and always tells me if he’s been having a ‘pray’, and whether his request is answered. I (Church of England) think that it’s lovely that he has this belief, and somewhere to go with his secret heart’s desires. GG (Heathen) I think finds it annoying and would tell him to cut it out if I didn’t like it so much!

He’s a very demonstrative and vocal child, expressing his thoughts and moods (which can turn on a sixpence!) through his words and actions. But then, with his demonstrative nature comes a very loving little boy, always willing to help me out, give me a hug or generally treat me like a princess.

I’m a very lucky mummy!

Self conscious child

At what age do children generally care about their appearance? Cheeky (aged 5) this evening asked if I would cut his hair tomorrow. I asked him why, as it doesn’t look too bad to me, and he replied by grabbing hold of a little bit of his fringe, tugging it and saying, “but just LOOK at it!” as if it should be immediately obvious!

Bless him. If I can just get him away from the 80’s chic which seems to be his main fashion influence for clothes at the moment, I might just manage to raise one stylish child!

Our eyes

After the request of my friend Suzy, yesterday, I took pictures of my and my boys’ eyes for the purposes of contrast and comparison. And here they are;

my eye

This is my eye. I had intended to put some make up on it, but in the event I really couldn’t be bothered! And besides, perhaps it makes for a better comparison, ‘bare’!

handsome's eye

This is my oldest son’s eye. Handsome tried to open his eyes wide, but in the event the flash must have put him off. Bless him!

cheeky's eye

And this is my youngest’s eye. For some reason, Cheeky’s picture came out a little blurry. But he did manage to keep it nice and wide open for me, bless him!

My eye    Handsome's eye    Cheeky's eye
Our eyes are all similar in colour, and I think that if Handsome had managed to keep his eyes wider open, our eyes would have looked most similar. Both myself and handsome have almond shaped eyes, while Cheeky’s eyes are rounder, more like his Dad’s eyes. But what do you all think?

Lies, damned lies and…my son!

My younger son, Cheeky, has recently exhibited a slightly worrying tendency to, umm, bend the truth. Oh, OK, he’s been flat out lying, but no mother wants to confess that! However, the lies in question were so entertaining that I felt the need to share them with you all.

Number one: Last week he came and sat next to me before his bedtime and said, “Mummy, you’re going to be so impressed!” I asked why, and he proceeded to tell the story of how his teacher had asked the class if any of them had pets at home. Cheeky had raised his hand and told the class that he has a dog. A big, black dog. A big, black dog called Humph! We have no dog, we live in a two bedroomed flat and I’ve no idea from where he has come up with a name like Humph! And the best bit was at the end of the story when he announced to me that he was sure that his teacher had no idea that he had made the whole thing up – and he was incredibly proud of himself!

Number two: When I picked him up from school on Monday he proceeded to tell me how he had spent the day having snowball fights and building snowmen, despite the fact that we had had (at that point) the merest dusting of snow which looked like someone had tripped and spilled a packet of icing sugar over the grass – hardly enough for the activities he had described! He maintained that he was telling the truth again and again, until I pointed out that I had spent the day in close proximity to the school and I was absolutely certain that there had not been anywhere near enough snow for him to have accomplished all he said!

Number three: Handsome asked me whether kings exist in real life (he said he was sure that queens, prime ministers and presidents were real but he wasn’t sure about kings, bless him!). Before I could reply, Cheeky leaped into the conversation to assure him that they did exist and that one had visited his class recently. I told him straight out that he was obviously lying. He denied it vehemently, and so I asked him which king had visisted. He thought for a moment, and decided that it was the king of Caerphilly Castle who had graciously honoured Cheeky’s class with his presence. Hmm. Just in case anyone is in doubt, there is most definitely NO king at Caerphilly Castle!

Number four: While it isn’t exactly a lie, it is more evidence of his deceptive and devious mind! I was talking about going to work the other day and saying that I would love to be able to stay home with my family (who hasn’t expressed that wish at some point?). Promptly, Cheeky suggested that I should phone up work and pretend to be ill to get a day off! How does a four year old know about pulling a sickie?

We have a parent-teacher meeting coming up this month, and I’m trying to decide whether to mention any of this to his teacher, if only for the laugh we can share! I’ve heard that it is usually intelligent children who lie, but I’m not sure whether that might just be something people say to console the parents of the miniature liars! What almost makes it worse is that he is so convincing, with his blond hair and his big, honest looking brown eyes! When he is in the mood he could almost pass for a baby angel – it almost makes the deception worse, as if he is playing on the advantage God has given him!! My family and friends are convinced that he will end up being a criminal, with my friend Maria (who is a solicitor) already mentally preparing his defence case!

Post-Script: Cheeky brought home a photo of his class yesterday, proudly standing in front of a snowman that they had spent the morning constructing. When I told my mother she laughed, saying that it was funny that Cheeky thought he should bring home photographic evidence of the snowman, to prove that he wasn’t lying about building it!

A glossary of alternative words

Do you know how, when you have a small child, they often get words wrong in their quest to learn to speak our glorious and descriptive language? And do you know the feeling (common to most parents, I expect) that there are certain words that you don’t want them to learn to say properly? Well, we are at this stage with Cheeky now (he is four and a half years old). He speaks very well for his age (so I am told) but in the course of his efforts to speak like all the grown ups around him he does make the occasional amusing mistake. And, being the mean people we are, we glory in these small errors and intend to try to remember them for the rest of our lives! I don’t think that I’ll be quite as mean as my Mum and Dad, who still remind me about the first time I read ‘swamp’ when I was about four and pronounced it to rhyme with ‘tramp’ rather than ‘stomp’! (I think that was a perfectly natural mistake to make, and they should look at the bigger picture; i.e. that I was able to read aloud at that point, rather than still attempting to humiliate me with the story TWENTY FIVE YEARS LATER! OK, I feel better for getting that off my chest!!)

However, in the interests of perpetuating humiliation through the generations, here is a (non-exhaustive) lists of some of Cheeky’s more amusing faux pas, together with translations!

  1. Nibbles = nipples! As in “girls have boobies, boys have nibbles” – his definitive account of the difference between the sexes!
  2. Familiating = humiliating. Not sure where he’s had this from, but wherever he’s learned it, he can use it in the proper context, even if his pronunciation is a bit off!
  3. Forgetti = spaghetti – I love asking him what he wants for tea, as his favourite meals are lasagne and ‘forgetti bolognese’!
  4. Dark Vader = Darth Vader. An obvious one, but for some reason it still brings a smile to our faces and we don’t look forward to the day when he realises the correct way to say it!
  5. Snot Chocky Chocks = ‘Chop Suey Chooks’ – this is a children’s TV programme that they watch at the weekends, but I think his version of the title is far more entertaining!

The other reason that I wanted to list these little anomalies in my son’s use of the English language is because my memory is getting so terrible that I’m in danger of forgetting them as soon as he stops using them. And I love hearing his little mistakes. It probably makes me a bad mother for not correcting him, and allowing him to go on making the mistakes, but I think I can live with myself!