Tag Archives: toddler

It'll grow out

Before my son was born, I made my husband promise that he would never, ever, ever let me cut the boy’s hair.  I have a bad history with barbering.

I’ve cut my brother’s hair a few times. Mostly when I was a teenager and he was just a little kid.  It never turned out well.  The most memorable occasion was when he about 8 and desperately wanted a crew cut which my mother would not allow.  He brought me a pair of blunt edged paper scissors and asked me to do the job.  I figured that if you just cut it short enough it would have the desired effect.  It turns out that this is not the case. I kept cutting and cutting and cutting, but it never looked right.  When my mother stopped me mid-job, it’s fair to say that the results were uneven.  Uneven as in near-bald in some places and tufty in others.  Being young and gullible, I told him that it looked good, and he believed me.  But it didn’t.  It looked like he had the mange.

Foolishly, seventeen years later, my brother asked me to cut his hair again.  It wasn’t so much that the memory had faded but that he was a bit desperate and assumed that my skills had improved. They hadn’t. But at least I had the right tools – a clipper and a set of guards.  But it turns out that good results are uni-directional.  If you run the clippers the wrong way, you still get the mange look.

And even more foolishly, even after seeing the results of my brother’s cut, my husband let me cut his hair.  It didn’t go well.  It was kind of a post-chemo look.  Apparently I told him that I knew I’d cut it too short in some places, so let some tufts remain in the hopes that it would even out the look.

Behind the bar

My brother and husband with the proprietor of a country and western bar deep in the suburbs of Hamburg, Germany

I found this photo and showed it to my husband just before scanning it in.  He said “it does not convey the full horror of that haircut.”

So, even with the full knowledge of what my haircutting skills are like, he let me cut Bill’s hair this morning.

To be fair, the boy’s locks were getting very shaggy indeed.  And we’d already tried a couple of times to get his hair cut at the hairdresser around the corner who had done an excellent job back in December.

At the playground

Shaggy, shaggy locks

So we got out the clippers this morning.  It all started out well enough.  But Bill soon tired of my clipping and decided we were done.  Although we weren’t.

I do it!

I'm unlikely to become a licensed hairdresser

And even though it wasn’t a perfect job – a little rough around the edges and over the ears, Simon did say that Bill’s hair looked better after I finished than before I started. And then added that this must be a first for me.

I do it

Bill’s quite fond of power tools, and this was no exception.  He wanted to be the one with power.  He decided that he wanted to do the haircutting and was aggrieved when neither Simon nor I would agree to let him cut our hair.  But if there’s one thing I know about haircuts, it’s that you should never, ever agree to let anyone near your head unless you’re sure they know what they’re doing.

Final touches

refusal often offends

He’s not crying because he’s having his hair cut.  He’s crying because he’s not doing the hair cutting.


At Woburn Safari Park, chickens run wild.   There are various types of chicken and even a guinea fowl or two.

Chickens scare me a little with their beady eyes.  And their pointy beaks and their sharp claws.  But they don’t scare Bill.  Not nearly as much as they should.

Beady eyed chicken

This chicken was a clever little clucker. It saw a toddler with a sandwich and it saw an opportunity.

eyeing up

The chicken is eyeing up the sandwich while the toddler is distracted by the pretty white chicken.


Bill made a kind offer of a bit of crust to the chicken. But the chicken saw the inch but took a mile. It happened fast, so I can’t be entirely sure what happened. But the chicken either jumped up on Bill or jumped up on the chair beside him and pecked the sandwich.

It’s not like he shouldn’t have known better. He should have learned that lesson a while ago.

Bill and the chickens

It freaked me out. Bill didn’t seem too happy, but he recovered fast enough. He managed to hold on to his sandwich and even kept eating. (Yuck, I know. He’d run off and eaten at it before we could stop him).

I want to see a doctor

Mysterious ailment

Some months ago, Bill woke up with something wrong with his leg.  It hurt him and he couldn’t seem to bear any weight on his leg. It was very worrying. I took him to the emergency room where a very young, enthusiastic doctor (he kept calling Bill “Chicken” as an endearment) was unable to diagnose the problem.  Over the day his leg gradually improved, but he limped a little over the next couple of days.  Since then I think Bill’s had a few cramps in his leg, but he’s not suffered the crippling effects of the first incident.

Weekend fun

Our weekends have fallen into a predictable pattern.  Mess around at home until Bill’s cabin fever reaches a heated pitch.  His toddler energy overcomes our feeble parenting skills and furniture is overturned, books are pulled out and chairs are pushed over to high shelves and sticks are employed to reach the really expensive bric-a-brac that we had previously thought was out of reach.

Only at that point do we start getting ready to take the boy out where he might burn off some energy.  Richmond Park with its wide open spaces and interesting ducks and deer.

Inevitably he falls asleep on the way there.

It means that we get a peaceful walk.  But it also means that as we tire of walking over hill and dale with a heavy-duty stroller filled with a hefty toddler and are ready to go home, he wakes up refreshed and ready to destroy more stuff.

So we’ve started waking him up.  Bill can be a chipper little thing in the morning, but he does not wake well from naps.   He wants to get back in the stroller.  Refusal often offends.

After some tears and recalcitrance he does enjoy the feeding the ducks and running around.  Recently, after standing on the big tree stump

and feeding some ducks

we decided it was time to walk through the Isabella Plantation and burn off some of his excess energy.   He was not so sure.

Oh my gimpy gam

Bill clutched his leg and said “My leg hurts.  I want to see the doctor.”  I didn’t know whether to be annoyed by this blatant ploy, pleased by his sentence construction or amazed by his ability to construct such a fabrication.  We refused to give in and made him walk along the paths while he continued to limp and demanded medical attention.   I did feel a slight twinge.  What if his mysterious ailment had returned?  What would other visitors to park think of our failure to attend to our poor injured child?

Funny thing, though, when we got to the stepping stumps, a sure toddler energy burner.  The leg healed spontaneously.  A miracle! He was able to hop, skimp and jump.

Happy Birthday to Daddy

As somebody with a birthday right smack dab in the middle of the calendar year, it’s hard for me to truly understand the anniversary plights of those with a birthday near Christmas.  But I try my best, I really do.

Poor Simon’s birthday is on the 21st and tends to get a little overlooked in the run-up to the big holiday bonanza. But we opened presents and tried to have a birthday outing and we had a birthday meal and birthday cake, of course – with candles and everything.  Bill loves the Happy Birthday song – and of course he’s quite fond of fire, too:

The hand turkey hits Great Britain

This morning when I dropped Bill off at nursery the kids were all busy making Christmas trees out of green construction paper and red tissue and glue and glitter.

“Christmas already?” I said.  “I’m not ready for that.”

“You don’t do Christmas until really late?” Bill’s nursery teacher said.

“No, I wait til after Thanksgiving , we’d be making turkeys out of construction paper for our decorations now.”

“Oh really?” said the nursery teacher. “How do you do that?”

So I tried to describe the hand turkey and how you’d draw around your hand and then make feathers out of the finger and add a beak onto your thumb. You know – something a little like this:

Hand turkey drawn on whiteboard by The Eggplant on Flickr

She was excited, the kids were gonna give it a go.  So she asked me to describe the whole process and she took notes and everything (honestly, she actually wrote it down). And I thought I had explained it well enough…I mean it’s a pretty straightforward concept.

And when I came back in the afternoon she told me that she’d told the kids all about Thanksgiving and that the reasons they were all making turkeys is because Billy (as they call him) is American and in America on Thanksgiving they have dinner. (Note to self: bring a print out of a kid’s Thanksgiving story)

And I saw a whole row of these things hanging by clothespins from a line stretched across the day care room:

Hand turkey re-imagined in Britain

Look, don’t get me wrong –  I think it’s incredibly sweet that they took the time and effort to help celebrate our (my?) cultural heritage.  And I have to look inward on this one, too and wonder if perhaps my explanation went a bit awry.  I can see now, looking back how my description might have somehow, with the best of intentions,  morphed into this feathery mit from the depth.  And if you’d never seen a hand turkey before, maybe this is a reasonable interpretation of one as described by someone who’s seen and made so many that it seems obvious. (An interesting reflection on the ease of cultural misinterpretation).

But can you imagine that thing as the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving decorations?  It’s as if the rabbit guy from Donnie Darko was leading craft hour with the kids.  And where did they get those feathers from? They look suspiciously like pigeon feathers.  Did they send the toddlers out with breadcrumbs  into the local park to lure, capture and pluck?

Tomorrow, apparently they’re making Indian headdresses.

I can’t wait.

Messing with the condiments

Yesterday’s top pic on Flickr was this one. It was taken on Saturday at H’s Cafe our local greasy spoon. Bill’ has a new fascination with the condiment tray at the caff, I can well remember playing with the sugar dispenser when I was a child. It seemed such a fabulous contraption, I couldn’t understand why we didn’t have one at home. In a way I still can’t, although we don’t use sugar much. We usually have toast for breakfast or don’t add sugar, and neither Simon nor I take sugar with our tea or coffee.

The folks at H’s Cafe are incredibly tolerant of the toddler. He’s broken several glasses and despite our best (ok, admittedly often lacklustre) efforts – he’s managed to make a terrible mess with ketchup or spilled drinks on a number of occasions. They always greet us cheerfully and never seem to mind the chaos we leave behind us.