Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bill and Ted's excellent adventure

The boy came home with the nursery mascot - Ted the Teddy Bear just before heading off to Scotland with his dad. Something about this didn't quite sound true to me, but apparently this is a common thing that school's and nurseries do now. Foisting responsibility for some raggedy stuffed animal on some poor parents and then forcing them to keep a journal of the various goings on.

Journal it? Crikey. And then I looked at what other parents had done. Lots of colour pictures. Pages and pages and pages of journal writing - Ted went to Venice. Ted loved the Cathedral of San Marco. Ted. Ted. Ted.

I was just going to print out a few pics on our black and white laser printer and maybe caption it. But the ViL balked. Something in his competitive spirit thought that wasn't good enough. Especially since he'd gone to all the trouble of actually taking the pictures (I was at home in London!)

But instead of doing that, I fired up a Mac app called Comic Life 2 and pulled together a picture comic.

OK, Northern Scotland ain't Venice. But I think this puts the handwritten, glued and taped entries of previous parents to shame. And that's what counts!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Mouse patrol

Mouse, originally uploaded by London looks.

We came home to find a wounded mouse in the corner. (Sometimes our cat doesn't finish the job - lazy!)

I pointed it out to Buddy and he goes wild. "Mommy, don't kill it. Don't kill it, Mommy!..."

OK. I had horrible visions of trying and failing to nurse the dang thing back to health.

"Mommy, don't kill it!" He said "I"m gonna kill it!"

And he did.

I really wasn't sure whether to be icked out or proud.

Friday, June 24, 2011



Four-year-old Buddy and I saw this butterfly - a pretty thing. Orange. We talked about how we liked butterflies and whether I liked them. (I do). And whether I liked caterpillars (I don't, they eat my plants). And metamorphosis.

"Caterpillars turn into butterflies," Buddy said.

I was impressed. "That's right!" I said enthusiastically.

He was quiet for a moment. "And after they turn into butterflies, they turn into chickens. And then elephants," he reported with conviction.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The budding photographer

When Buddy was a baby, he loved to pose for the camera. Now at four, like his mom, he much prefers to be behind the camera. He's always asking me to hold and use the camera. And he's fairly careful with it (although he still has a tendency to get fingerprints on the lens, grrrr)

On a visit to our local hospital (don't panic, it's on the way back from a local playground and there's a nice Marks and Spencers Simply Food there, too) he asked for the camera and decided to take pictures of people waiting outside. Relatives of patients, staff - I presume. I actually think these are pretty good 'street' portraits. I made him ask for permission to take the pictures. He loved it - taking the pictures and interacting with his subjects and so did these women!

St George's Portraits

St George's Portraits

St George's Portraits

St George's Portraits

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Little Lord Fauntleroy

We're off to America soon, land of cheap children's clothing (and cute). So we did a big old clear out of Buddy's closet. I've been putting off buying any new trousers for the boy thinking we could make do, but the poor lad has had several growth spurts so other than a couple of trousers he's been mostly wearing high waters.

Little Lord Fauntleroy

But actually stuffed in the way back, back of the cupboard - and I can't imagine why this outfit wasn't in regular circulation - I found a little blue coverall set that just about fit. This is one of those classic outfits my mother simply cannot resist. Although she should. Not only is the boy guaranteed a drubbing on the rougher playgrounds of South London - but the back opening one piece is really beyond a little lad who needs to get to the toilet on his own.

Little Lord Fauntleroy

Little Lord Fauntleroy

Still these pictures should be handy for future blackmail. Do I feel guilty? Not in the least, especially after the boy packed the washing machine detergent tray full of dishwasher salt today.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Project potty mouth - help please!

I swear like a sailor. I guess. I don't really know any sailors. Anyway, I use some pretty ripe language. I have for a long time. But in Tennessee there's little tolerance for such filthy communications styles. Perhaps especially from women in mixed company. And in front of children. I'm headed off to Tennessee in just over a week, so I need to clean up my act.

I'm a fairly indiscriminate swearer and I use words that the Federal Communications Commission would frown on. By and large, I'm an HBO level swearer. Lots of Fs but never Cs.

Still, as I'll be around elderly relatives and small children for much of the time time I'm in Tennessee I really need to curb it. I need some kind of behavioural therapy. A rubber band around the wrist. A swear box. Something. Anything.

I've already tried to stop and every time I utter a profanity I end up swearing at my slip. Resulting in twice as much swearing!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Descending into the Wandle Wasteland... a fun family outing turned into a Cormac McCarthy novel...

It's not my fault that the boy has a crossbow. I never wanted him to have one in the first place. And the crossbow that the Vol-in-Law ordered for Buddy turned out to be far more weapon like than toy like. It's black. It's metal. It can zing the little darts quite far and quite hard. But who am I to overlook a fun toy? So on the first warm day of the year, I took the boy and his cross bow down to the Wandle Wildlife Park - or as it actually is..and abandoned, filled in and overgrown wastewater treatment plant which sits underneath a major powerline pathway: the Wandle Wasteland.




We first fired the crossbow at the Ikea bag we'd concealed it in. But soon the boy tired of that and began shooting a wild. A dart went off into the rough. The boy began down some creepy path and soon found an abandoned supermarket trolley. What heaven for a small boy.

Who would leave such fun behind?

We dragged it out into the open and played around some more. Buddy was desperate to take it home. I resisted my natural inclination to bring home 'found goods' and said no. But I let him climb around on it and we shot at it with the crossbow.

Who would leave such fun behind?

Who would leave such fun behind?

At one point, a middle class man walking through the 'park' happened upon our fun (I think I was aiming at some crows) and seemed quite frightened by our manner. I could see him taking in the 'bulldog' t-shirt - purchased in a moment last year when I was feeling quite hopeful about England's World Cup prospects (i.e. before it began), but now looks more appropriate for an English Defense League rally. I could see him taking in the trolley and assuming we'd taken it from Sainsbury's. And the look of derision as he saw me hand the crossbow to they boy....I did feel a slight inward cringe of shame.

But then a couple of old drunks happened by. I would have said they were homeless, but I suspect they weren't. They did have two mutt like dogs with them, but no possessions. The had the tremor and pallor of long-time abusers. They didn't have all their teeth. They smiled at the boy's trolley antics and asked about the cross-bow. The woman asked me where I was from. The man wanted to see the boy fire the crossbow and cheered enthusiastically and Buddy insisted that the man have a try, too. Turns out he was raised in Indiana and had lived in LA for quite some time. He asked me if I'd ever been to Indiana. "Only driven through," I had to reply.

"Tennessee's a beautiful place," he said. "You just can't beat it in the spring or the fall."

And I had to agree.