Three Beautiful Things

Some time ago there was a meme doing the rounds of the internets called “Three Beautiful Things” (3BT). It may still be there and I just hadn’t noticed, in some corner of the internet that I haven’t caught up with yet: it’s quite possible.

The basic idea behind it is that no matter how bad your day seems to have been that you can always try to find good (‘beautiful’) things that have come out of it. “The Power of Positive Thinking”, and all that. It’s a cliche, yes, but it works: as long as you’re not blinded to reality to the extent that you completely ignore your problems. The buggers have a habit of sneaking up on you when you’re not expecting it and biting your backside if you ignore them for too long, in my experience!

‘3BT’ is particularly good when you’ve had ‘one of those days’ where everything seems to  go wrong, or you have a setback of some kind on your otherwise Glorious Golden Path of Progress.

On days like that you sometimes find yourself scratching around to find some positivity! The “Three Beautiful Things” are still there though: you just have to look.  They may seem trivial, unimportant even, but they’re still there: and that’s what matters. They are still things in what seems like a bad day that can lighten the gloom. “Small is Beautiful”. When you find them you can realise that maybe your day hasn’t been so bad after all. ( I believe psychologists and life coach types call this sort of thing “reframing“). 

Without boring you with the details, my day today has been a bit like that – so here are my Three Beautiful Things.

    • I got my hair cut. I tend to let my locks – what’s left of them! – get straggly, and – as with many other things – put off getting them cut. Today I decided to get smartened up, and a lovely lady named Helen gave me a good smart cut, along with an equally smart beard trim. We had a good chat as well; chattiness is a skill most hairdressers have along with their cutting prowess. I look and feel much better.
    •  I treated myself to a big greasy bag of chips. With salt and vinegar: all the trimmings, a guilty pleasure!
    • I found a site for freelance writers which I think suits my skillset and experience, and which I think could prove very rewardng in days to come.
    • I updated one of my CVs with my recent experience to help with the possibility of finding some sort of ‘real job’  – as my well-meaning friends keep telling me  I should – in addition to my self-employed earnings.

Yes, I know: that’s four, not three.

Maybe my day really wasn’t so bad after all!


Goslings, rope bridges & zip-wires

We had a very active week last week. So active that I haven’t had much of either time or energy to post about it!

The in-laws were visiting & I had to spend a lot of my time at the old house clearing everything out & moving it here ready for the new tenants. It was a much bigger job than I’d anticipated.

I was around on Saturday though & it was Country Park time!

I’d bravely / foolishly left the buggy behind & taken only their scooters, but we were fine. When they got a bit tired heading back we helped each other out.

We’d got there early as it was dry & sunny & forecast to stay that way. There was a chilly wind there though & that seemed to have kept a lot of people away, so for a lot of the time we almost had the place to ourselves! We caught the first train & it was strange being the only passengers, stopping frequently while the driver stopped to pick up rubbish en route.

It’s definitely spring, at least according to the geese there.

click any image to enlarge

It made feeding the birds even more fun than usual!



1-DSC00985In the adventure playground the rope bridge had been walled up for several weeks for repairs, much to Jake & Ellie’s disappointment. Today it was up & running again & they headed straight for it.

It’s usually really scary for them; they try to do it by themselves but get scared & I have to help them over.

Not today though! Jake even nonchalantly strolled across using only 1 hand!

1-DSC00992Once across a little air-guitar celebration was called for of course:

1-DSC00997Definitely a magic moment!

It’s amazing to me how they could become so much more physically confident in such a short period of time!

They demonstrated it again this morning, at a nearby adventure playground. They saw older kids on a zip-wire (‘flying-fox’) & decided that they had to do it too! The first time they were too scared, but they went back & absolutely loved it! It was all they wanted to do from then on, stopping only for ice-cream & for a much-needed nap. Jake was even able to pull himself up & jump on without any help from me!

These little guys never cease to amaze me.

Let’s hope they grow up with a bit more sense than their silly Daddy, who chose a very bad time to forget to recharge his camera batteries…

For more posts like this, just click the pics:

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Fancy Words, Insects & Magic

I’ve been a bit lax in noting notable sayings & doings this week. And I have a bad, although selective, memory  – which is half the reason for my doing this blog-hop, & actually my blog in general.

Ellie I think has produced her most comprehensive sentence yet: “Jake & Ellie like jumping in puddles”. Makes me proud!

And she also excelled herself in sophisticated use of language. Pointing to the Mummy’s juice she said: “Yours”. A possessive personal pronoun! See above for my reaction…

It’s fantastic that their language is coming on so well. Ellie is getting to be a little chatterbox, & Jake is a great talker too. His pronunciation & vocabulary aren’t as good but what he lacks there he easily compensates for with his sociability & use of signs & gestures. We feel like we have two little adults here with us now, not just cute but insensible little babies. We can actually have proper little conversations with them, it’s great!

Ellie often grabs my hand so I can join her in a “Tea Party” she’s having; Jake does too. He does so though often to show me something that he’s been trying to tell me about: for instance when in the garden he spotted a tiny caterpillar hanging on a thread from a leaf, which I think was cocooning itself, & a bumble bee he saw flying around.

I also get dragged off the sofa to do “Tree Fu”magic with him. Recently he seems to have decided that the moves are too fiddly, sits down & leaves me prancing about by myself, saying “Ouch” a lot… Kids, eh!

This is for Chris’ ‘Things They Say & Do’ blog hop at her ‘Thinly Spread’ blog. Why not have a look at the other posts there, it’s a great read!

The Things They Say & Do: Bum!, stairs & a stroller

One afternoon this week the twins kept yelling at me repeatedly & excitedly what sounded like “Bum! Bum!”. This is odd even by their standards. I couldn’t work it out. I kept suggesting possible words that they might be saying, to which they responded “No!”,  then more “Bum! Bum!”, getting increasingly agitated. Eventually I figured out that it was a new cbeebies programme, ‘Tree Fu Tom‘. We’d watched the first one the day before & they absolutely loved it, jump-up-&-down-&-yell-with-excitement loved it. I’d kept it, in case of emergencies (as you do), but when I went to find it on the Box it wasn’t there! Apparently they’d asked the Mummy to put it on earlier, she’d watched it with them, didn’t like it & deleted it! Thanks! (I’ve kept all the episodes since; I quite like it too, but don’t tell anyone…)

We live in an odd house. Whaddya mean you’re not surprised?! It’s tall & thin – unlike me! – & has 3 storeys. The bedroom & nursery are on the top floor, the lounge & kitchen on the ground floor. We carry the twins all the way downstairs for their morning milk & breakfast, then usually back up again for a morning play & to dress them, then back down again ’til their bedtime. It’s OK when we’re both at home & we can take 1 each, but when I’m looking after them by myself it can be tricky. I have to carry 1 up or down then come back for the other. Almost always there’s grizzling & upset by whoever’s been left behind, although by the time I’ve come back they’ve usually calmed down. Thursday however I was getting ready to take them back downstairs. As usual I’d decided to take first the one who was most keen to go, this time Ellie. I explained to Jake, as I always do, that I was taking Ellie down then coming straight back for him. Instead of making a fuss he just sat there quietly, saying “Ellie then Jake. Ellie then Jake”. He was still sitting still, quiet & calm, when I came back up for him: what a little star!

On Friday they played together in the most independent & cooperative way we’ve yet seen. They were taking turns – that’s right, you read that correctly; I’ll write it again: taking turns  without any prompting at all from us, in getting into a stroller & pushing each other around. There also appeared to be a ritual involving a pretend onion on a plate which had to be carried by the occupier of the stroller & transferred with great solemnity as they swapped over. The Mummy & I had our flabbers truly ghasted & were very tempted to leave them to it, get a brew & go watch telly. But it was nearing their bedtime so we didn’t. I did take a stroller upstairs though so they could carry on!

Another eventful week! I’m looking forward now to reading about others’ in Chris’ ‘Things They Say & Do’ blog hop at her ‘Thinly Spread’ blog. Have a look, it’s a great read!

And I’ve just realised, as now it’s past midnight, that’s it’s now their 2nd birthday! 🙂

The Things They Say & Do – Week 6

Some of Ellie’s new words & phrases this week: “Yippee!”, “Wow…”, “Oh dear dear”, “I love cake!”, “Tea Party!”, (in the bath, to Jake) “Can you swim?”

Both Jake & Ellie have a ‘thing’ about food being too hot, being a bit nervous of it sometimes even when it’s barely luke-warm. Breakfast, porridge, Jake decides Ellie’s is too hot & blows on it. Ellie says “Thank you”, then blows on Jake’s porridge. Jake: “Thank you”, Ellie: “You’re welcome”. We’re just watching them, delighted.

They’d managed to dismantle a toy garage & Jake was wearing a plastic support rod on his arm. I grabbed another one & wandered around pretending to be a robot, doing my best (meaning very, very bad) robot dance, with sound effects. This was the most hilarious thing EVER & they spent the next million hours trying to imitate me. Come to think of it, I may have videoed it…

I’m lying on my back on the bed during their bedtime routine. Jake is standing on my chest. Feeling tall, he says “Mummy, Daddy, I’m a man!”.

Later, more chest-standing. Me: “You’re Jakezilla, grrrr!!”. The Mummy: “I’m Mummyzilla!”, then Ellie: “Elliezilla!”.

Jake has done great things with some stacky cups, then says: “Daddy: I finished!”.

They both have a fascination with the moon. Spotting it while in the garden, Ellie looks up at it & says: “Amazing…”.

Jake is pretending to spoon me my coffee. With every ‘spoonful’ he says: “Nice?”.

Jake wants to wear the Mummy’s watch. She has a bit of trouble putting it on his wrist, but when she succeeds he says: “Well done!”.

We were drawing outside with chalk. They both decided that the chalk was better employed as pretend ‘phones. Jake is pretending to talk to Mummy Pig. Me: “Did you ‘phone Mummy Pig?”. Jake: “Yes”. “What did she say?”.  He snorts. I laughed. A lot.

We’ve had an eventful week! A lot of these words & phrases they’ve picked up from us, but I really don’t know where they get some of it from!

These may not seem be very exciting to some, especially non-parents, but to us these moments are golden.

This post is my entry for this week’s ‘Things They Say & Do’ blog linky over at Chris’ ‘Thinly Spread‘ blog. Have a look the other posts there: I guarantee a good read!

The Children in the House Go Chatter, Chatter, Chatter

This was to be a post  in my ‘3 Brilliant Things‘ blog, but there were so many great things yesterday, mainly to do with communication, that I thought it deserved a post here in my main Daddying blog.

I’ve been banging on for some time, mostly in that 3BT blog, about how surprised I am at their communication skills. I don’t really know but they seem pretty good considering that they’re only 23 months old.

Ellie’s pronunciation is really good, her vocabulary seems to grow every day & she seems to learn really quickly. She’s like a parrot; she often immediately repeats a word or phrase she hears us say. Jake’s pronunciation isn’t as clear, but his (it seems to me) social awareness compensates for that.

For instance: towards the end of the day we were watching TV & I put ‘Baby Jake‘ on. Ellie, word for word & in perfect timing, copied a part of the spoken introduction, “J is for Jake, our baby brother”. A 7-word sentence! Jake then said, really clearly: “No, not again!”. He then repeated it & I then asked him if he didn’t want to watch Baby Jake & he confirmed that he didn’t. To be fair, it was a repeat…

Earlier, in the garden, we were playing a game. 1 would pretend to be stuck on the ground (it started with Ellie actually stuck, sitting with a leg folded under herself), & then the other would pretend to help them up, along with ‘Daddy’ who did the actual lifting. Great fun. Ellie was consistently saying “Daddy, Jake: I stuck!”. An original 4-word sentence, used correctly in context, & using a personal pronoun (“I” rather than “Ellie”). I’m pretty sure children that age aren’t meant to do that.

During their bedtime routine Ellie was carrying a book. She said what I’m almost certain was “I can read the big book”, then sat down & did exactly that. An original  6-word sentence, again used correctly in context, & again using a personal pronoun.

I’ve mentioned before how Jake, when the Mummy told him that he was her little baby, said indignantly: “I not a baby, I’m Jake!”

I’m constantly amazed by all this. Our little babies – who not so long ago, it seems, were just little confused, immobile, inarticulate (& often smelly) bundles  – are talking, & talking to us! We’re actually having conversations with them, & they with each other!

But I’m also a little confused. Is this normal for children of this age? Are they ahead of the curve? Or am I just looking through the rose-tinted glasses of a doting Dad? I do actually need new glasses…

What are your experiences? Are /were your children little chatterboxes, or quiet as church-mice? I’d really appreciate some feedback here.

This post is my entry for this week’s Things They Say & Do’ blog linky over at Chris’ ‘Thinly Spread‘ blog. Have a look the other posts there: they’re really good!

The Things They Say and Do – Week 4

On Tuesday afternoon while we were all getting ready to go out for a walk Ellie called out: “Are you ready? Let’s go!”. That’s a 5 – count ’em: 5 – word phrase! I am a proud Dad 🙂

Image via Wikipedia

During their bedtime routine Jake especially loves being read to while they have their bedtime milk. On Saturday I was reading a book that featured a mouse & blackberries, & Jake was pretending to pick the blackberries from the page & eat them, & also feed them to me. Both of us having spent a lot of the summer picking & eating them in  the garden I said to him: “You like blackberries don’t you?”; “and milk” he added,  finishing a sentence!

We had a first this morning. Jake said “Pee!” very excitedly, ran off,  then came back with a potty: the contents of which appeared to have been just added. A little star! He was very pleased with himself, & rightly so,

These are highlights from the last week’s posts of my ‘3 Brilliant Things’ where I (aim to) post 3 things every day that have made me happy, 1 of many 3BT blogs doing just that.

It is also part of Chris’ “Things They Say & Do’ blog linky over at her blog ‘Thinly Spread‘. Please have a read of the other posts there, they’re very good. I can’t hope to compete with the wit & cuteness of those posts – but keep in mind that my twins have only just turned 23 months! They’ve come a long way but still have a long way to go. But then, isn’t that true of us all?

The Things They Say & Do

Jallie are at an age now (23 months tomorrow) where they seem to say or do something new every day: living & learning with them, watching them grow & develop, is wonderful.

That’s why I usually have no shortage of ‘3 Brilliant Things’ to record daily over on my blog of that name, when I make / find the time that is.

I’d thought also to do a weekly highlights post here, & was going to call it ‘3BT Tuesday’ or something equally catchy. Then I saw that Chris over at Thinly Spread has started a weekly linky thing called “The Things They Say & Do”, where you post memorable things your children have said or done over the last week & link the post to her blog.

So I put 2 & 2 together & came up with a brilliant idea: if your daughter slags you off on facebook, don’t go on YouTube smoking a fag & shoot her laptop with your gun: not helpful*

After I got that sorted I thought it might also be good to combine my 3BT thing with Chris’ linky, so here it is:

On Tuesday Ellie copied me spinning a teaspoon around in a cup with amazing success: great fine motor skills!

On Wednesday after treading on my sore finger, with her boots on, over a wooden floor (I may have said “Ouch!” or something similar) Ellie looked straight at me & said “Sowwy Daddy”.

Jake, to me, on Thursday: “I like Ellie”.
Me: “You like Ellie?”
Jake, nodding & smiling: “Yeah”. He then walked over to her & gave her a great big hug.

Ellie yesterday, sitting on the floor after falling on her bottom: “Hello Daddy. Hello Mummy. I fell over”.

I hope Chris doesn’t mind me doing more than one! Why not have a look at the other posts there, they’re funny 🙂 

* I kid you not 

3BT: Love & affection, with ice

Yep, dual-posting today: from my 3BT blog

Yesterday while we were watching “In the Night Garden” on cbeebies Jake grabbed my hand & traced his finger over my palm. I didn’t realise it at first but he was copying the opening sequence where a parent draws circles on their baby’s palm to calm them ready for sleep. Gorgeous.

This morning he walked up to me & said “gabba gabba Ellie”. I asked him to say it again, & he did, & I made out the word “like”. A 3rd time & I realised he was saying “I like Ellie”. When I let him know that I understood he smiled, said “yeah”, nodding, walked over to her & gave her a great big hug. I’m astonished at how socially aware, & affectionate, he is: not even 23 months yet!

In a slightly desperate move, given that they’d missed not only their nap but also their regular playgroup, & hadn’t had the attention from me that they would normally (it’s been one of ‘those’ days) I let them have a wander around outside in the icy, frozen tundra that at present passes for our garden. Jake especially was fascinated by how the water in the pond & elsewhere is now solid & frozen.

They were in amazingly good moods considering the day we’ve had, especially when the Mummy came home.

3 Brilliant Things: soul cleaning, naughty toys, girls having fun

I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting much here lately: my enthusiasms are often short-lived; also this blog has been quite photo-based & I haven’t had a working camera for a while now.

I have been posting a bit in my “3 Brilliant Things” Posterous blog, which is 1 of many 3BT blogs where the idea is that you post “3 beautiful things” from your life every day, although my contribution is less regular.

I haven’t decided yet how to coordinate the 2 blogs: whether to dual-post, abandon 1 for the other, or to post regularly in Posterous & do a (weekly) summary here.

So here then is my latest, (yesterday’s), 3BT post:

The Mummy was looking after Jallie this morning so I took the opportunity, after the washing-up, to do some much-needed cleaning in the kitchen / diner. While doing that I was having a blast with some great music from a CD of songs from or about Memphis (the one in Tennessee, not Egypt), including:

Otis Redding: I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (to Stop Now)*

Mable John: Your Good Thing

Dusty Springfield: Son of a Preacher-Man

Merrilee Rush & the Turnabouts: Angel of the Morning (my favourite)

Al Green: Take Me to the River

Isaac Hayes: Theme from “Shaft”**

Great stuff!

I was spooning a milky dessert to them at lunchtime while they were standing up when Jake took a step backwards & stumbled over a bit of toy (a crow’s nest from a pirate ship). I jokingly said “That naughty toy: it tripped you up!”. Playing along, he turned around, picked it up & slammed it onto their little plastic table, like it was a Naughty Step. He then turned around & gave the table underneath the toy a good boot for good measure. Really made me laugh. (Except then he kept doing it, until I had to tell him to stop).

Just before dinner we were watching Jools’ Hootenanny from the box (shows how up-to-date I am with TV) & the 1st New Year’s song, Cyndi Lauper doing “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” with Jools & his Big Band: fantastic, a real show-stopper! Ellie was enjoying it too & was dancing around the room; while doing so she was shouting: “Jake! Come on!”. Adorable.

* The Mummy walked down the aisle to that song at our wedding.

** Does anyone else automatically think of Father Ted every time they hear that song now? I still haven’t decided whether or not that’s a good thing.