The Golden Girl

While the twins were at my place on Sunday Ellie decided to do her homework!

Its theme was ‘mythology’. She didn’t know what that meant so she asked me and I explained as best as I could.

King MidasShe then went onto google on my PC (under my supervision of course!) and came up with the story of King Midas. I showed her how to click on the link she wanted and before too long she had written 2 sides of an A4 page with the story of King Midas & his ‘golden touch’. It was in her own words too, and not just copied, showing that she had understood the story. I’m a proud Dad!

She needed some help with some of the pronunciation and spelling – I mean how the heck do you pronounce ‘Phrygia’ or ‘Dionyssus’ anyway? I don’t know! It’s all Greek to me!* –  but her comprehension and written account of the story was excellent

    * sorry, couldn’t resist

Yes, it does seems a little strange her choosing to do her homework during the limited time that she has with me. She does love spending time here with her Daddy – that’s what she tells me anyway – but I think I understand. We were still doing something together, which I was enjoying & I which I think she was too. She & Jake however often don’t enjoy the same things, and even when we do all do something together they more often than not compete with each other rather than play together cooperatively. I often find myself having to break up a fight. I imagine that’s not unusual for young boy-girl twins!

When they’re with me they each mostly just want to do something with me and so are competing for my attention. I only see them part of a day on a weekend and one evening after school so we all try to make the most of our time together. It isn’t easy!

Minecraft warriorAnd to be honest Jake and I were engrossed in a series of intense one-on-one Minecraft battles that day, which he’d been preparing and planning for and looking forward to for some time. I said to both of them before they left that next time I was going to spend much more time with Ellie to compensate.

So Ellie was being ‘a good girl’, and she is that, in doing her homework here – but she had also put some thought into her reasons for doing so, which actually makes me think even more highly of her. She explained it to me:

When she’s at ‘home’ (or as I prefer to call it “her other home”) with Mummy she likes to play on the green outside with nearby friends of around her own age. More often than not, she explained, she gets called in from playing to do her homework, which obviously doesn’t usually go down too well in Ellie land! She thought then she’d take advantage of my little home office set-up to do her homework at my place, and then she’d have more time to play with her friends.

Smart girl!

Oh, and my Minecraft battle with Jake? 2-2. We are planning a rematch!

Now there is of course only one way to end this post:

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LIke Father, Like…

Recently I’ve been writing fan fiction on a gaming site dedicated to my f’avourite ‘video game’, although it’s recently expanded: ‘The Tamriel Vault‘ (formerly ‘The Skyrim Blog’) if you’re interested.

I told Jake and Ellie that I’d been “writing on the Internet, about a game I like to play” and Jake insisted on doing it too.

Here is his story, almost verbatim as he dictated it to me, and with almost no prompting. The italics are my additions.

Personally I think it’s adorable!

I am Jake and I made this story.

I don’t play Minecraft very often. So I play all different games on the Xbox.

I play the ice game (Polar Panic), Mickey Mouse games, Fable 3, Sonic Boom, racing games.

I don’t often play this one but I do play it and it’s called Faery batman.

We do lots of fighting in Fable.

And in the ice one we do lots of pushing ice at bad guys.

In the Mickey Mouse games there’s lots of magic and puzzles and they confuse you.

He’s always insisted that it’s not finished so we may add to it later!

For more Magic Moments just click the pic:

Before and After

I’ve been unhappy for some time with the way Jake & Ellie’s toys are stored in the small space I have available. My solution was to buy some IKEA shelves & boxes; then I saw how a friend, a childminder, stored her many toys & games.

She mostly used shelves, that way nearly everything was visible & available.

As with most things in their lives I don’t like to dictate what they do; I like to give them as much choice as I can. It also helps me to be able to find toys when I need to.

So I had a tidy up!
Continue reading “Before and After”

A New Game!

Jake has invented a game!

Everyone else has to close their eyes while he goes away to find a toy which he then hides under some paper.

Once hidden away we’re allowed to open our eyes. Next he tells us the sound that the object’s word starts with, & what colour it is.

We then have to guess what it is, asking questions if we’re not sure:

“Is it soft or hard?” “Can you eat it (in real life)?” and the like.

Once guessed it becomes someone else’s turn to find & hide a toy for the rest to guess.

He came up with this completely unbidden, all by himself, with no help at all from anyone else.

I’m proud as punch!

I wonder if there’s time to get the board game out for Christmas? Mr Hasbro?

By the way, games marketers: it’s copyright already, so don’t go getting any funny ideas, OK?

The Name of the Game

Jake has ‘a bit of a thing’ for gaming.

The games he wants to play on my PC, the Mummy’s laptop. my (now broken) iPod or our recently purchased Hudl are mostly aimed at older children & adults.

He’s actually pretty good at many of them – he’s amazed us with his computer skills actually – but inevitably gets frustrated when he crashes for the nth time & has to start again, or when he gets to a level that he just can’t finish.

Continue reading “The Name of the Game”

Silent Sunday 13/10/13

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OneDad3Girls

Bond, the Sequel: The Twin Who Loved Me

Last week I wrote a post for Tara’s Gallery on her terrific ‘Sticky Fingers’ blog about the special twin-bond between Jake & Ellie. It seemed at the time that Ellie, as they get older & more independent, had become a little distant from Jake as she was making new friends.

Well…

They go through phases, don’t they? Or maybe she had the lurgi & we didn’t notice so much. Or quite possibly Ellie just likes to prove me wrong!

Whatever the reason this week she’s been really loving & affectionate, not only with Jake but also with me.

I’ve been picking them up from their little playgroup this week. Usually when I do Jake gets really excited & runs towards me shouting “Daddy! Daddy! You’re back!” before jumping into my arms. Ellie is usually more reserved, but this week she’s been beating Jake to it, welcoming me with a big hug.

As usual this morning she woke up first & went downstairs ‘on her bum-bum’, then Jake followed a little later, in the same way. As soon as she saw him she ran up to him, saying happily: “Hello Jake! Are you alright?” then giving him a massive hug. Twice in the morning she hugged him again, saying “I love you, Jake”.

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It’s moments like that that make all this Daddying stuff worthwhile…

The “best friend” thing is still there, although I found out just after that post that only girls can be Ellie’s friends – I’m not even her friend now! – so I guess Jake & I shouldn’t take it too personally. At the moment Jake’s best friend seems to alternate between a boy at playgroup – who, by sheer coincidence, has an iPad that he lets Jake use* – and Wibley Pig. Who, as far as I know, doesn’t have an iPad.

Actually they’ve both been in unusually good spirits all week. Often there’s grumpiness & tantrums in the mornings & evenings but in the last few days there’s been very little. I’m not really sure what it is: recovering from illness, our having had a nice 3-day family weekend where we spent a lot of time & did a lot of fun things together.

In the light of the terrible tragedy of a fellow parent blogger who I’ve come to know over the years I’ve felt moved to give them extra care & attention, so that could well be a part of it.

Whatever the reason, long may it continue

* For short periods of time & under supervision

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!

Funky!

You may have noticed that there’s been a dearth of posting-type activity on my 3 active blogs recently. You knew I had 3 blogs, right? 😉

The truth is I’ve been in a bit of a funk. And I’m not even sure why. I mean Spring is springing, the Sun is sunning, we’ve had 2 nights in a row where I haven’t needed the heating on, Jallie are eating & playing in the garden. Most importantly, Jallie are happy & developing well.

Their seemingly constant illnesses has been bothering me though I think. Through most of the winter they seemed to either have a cold or cough, often both. Recently they both have had stuffed & constantly very runny noses & a nasty cough, both of which were disturbing their (& obviously our) sleep. Jake’s cough was often so bad that it caused him to throw up. Now that they’ve both lost the cold & the cough Jake has caught some sort of bug. He’s vomitting regularly, is pale & a bit subdued & has slight diarrhoea, although he’s mostly happy & playful, as ever. It takes a lot to get my Jakey down!

Unlike me, it seems. There are other things I could point to that might be a factor, but nothing certain.

Everyone copes with the blues in their own way – some good, some not so.  Some drink (when I was younger maybe), some turn to legal or illegal drugs (not my style), some comfort eat (guilty! mostly sweets). When the real world is getting me down I tend to escape into fantasy worlds, which for me means gaming. My game of choice at the moment is an online game called Guild Wars, an MMORPG. For those not familiar, it’s a bit like World of Warcraft, like a strategy game with swords (or in my case mostly bows & arrows).

I’ve been spending most of what leisure time I have building my characters’ skills, exploring, following the many story-lines & slaying monsters – immersing myself in a fantasy world, pure Escapism. And great fun.

So my blogging has suffered. And I’m now starting to feel bad about that. Not only have I not been posting much, I haven’t been reading much & – worst of all I think – I haven’t been responding to comments.

So I’ve decided to give myself a big kick in my Drakescale-armoured backside (now that takes some agility – all this hero stuff must be rubbing off on me!) & just get on with it. Hell, I enjoy blogging!

So: apologies for the break in transmission, normal service will resume as soon as possible 🙂

UPDATED: In cricket they call it “The Commentator’s Curse”. Since writing the weather has turned cold & wet again, Ellie has caught the vomit virus – & so have I.  Anyone out there played “Quake“? Remember the Vomitorium? Yep. At least I have better reason to be feeling down…

UPDATED AGAIN (Thursday 14th): We all seem better now. And there seems to be evidence of sunshine outside. *Happy face on*