Back on it

I’ve been a bad, bad girl. I’ve not been blogging and I haven’t done much in the way of reading either – not with Monkeyface and not of my own accord either.

It’s just the way of things, that it only takes a teensy wincy other few things to come up (like Christmas, projects, leaking roofs etc) and that’s it, KERPOW, you’ve like survivors in a sinking boat, unblinkingly figuring out what you can chuck overboard.

Lovely wordpress people, for a few days, you were person-overboard. Or I was. Depending on how judgmental you are about these things.

ANYway. We’ve had a lovely few days without you. It hurts me to say that, it really does. But we went off-piste and it suited us. We toddled off to Hyde Park yesterday. In my infinite capacity to have a wholly unrealistic, romanticised view of all things, I perceived Winter Wonderland to be.. well, wintry and wonderland-like on a Cecil B deMille tip. I was channelling fake snow-blizzards, ice-skating (check), Santa, reindeers and  ruddy-cheeked toddlers.

Whoever story-boarded THIS Wonderland had obviously gone on a mini-break to a German Weihnachtsmarkt, got a bit confused and went all Oktoberfest on us. Oktoberfest is great. If you are in Germany. But transfer all the Gluhwein and Bier to the middle of Hyde Park, stick Santa in the middle (over a BRIDGE…? With a buggy?) and you’ve got hassled parents navigating an oversized Dutch super-buggy through crowds of drunk Brits sloshing about Mulled wine at a temperature that would melt glass. I spent about half an hour blinking disappointingly. It’s Winter Wonderland if you like your gorgeous,     amber-flecked Royal parks with about eleventyhundred pubs in the middle serving drunk 20 year olds who don’t know what mulled wine is.

We escaped whilst we could and spent another happy Sunday with Monkey-face staggering about like Gandalf, with a stick exactly the right size for her as a toddler walking-aid. Then she spotted the squirrels and she whiled a few hours away impersonating a zombie from Shaun of the Dead, chasing the squirrels and brandishing her staff whilst increasingly narked at them for running away from her. Husband and I laughed A LOT, indeed until we almost cried. It was an unexpected highlight after Escape from Santa’s Pub. (There really is a Santa’s Pub. Like a park in Magaluf in winter. I’m not making this stuff up, you know.) We squinted into low bright light that cast deep, long shadows of the many wonders in the park. I didn’t notice any shadows at all Winter Wonderland. Perhaps it wasn’t really there or was a magical beer-land, like in Up The Faraway Tree…

So what with all of that, we didn’t read all that much yesterday. This evening, on my way to collect the Monkeyface, I stopped off at Kirkdale Books to make up for lack of bookishness lately and also for the absence of Santa meet and greet yesterday. I ended up buying an Usborne book called the Christmas Mice, so that I can coach her on all things Christmas.

Whilst I was in there, I spotted they had Nick Sharratt’s Octopus Socktopus – a book that makes me happy just thinking about being shown it for the first time by a 5 year old in a fog-locked pub in the Midlands.

I got both books home, closely followed by the Monkeyface. Christmas Mice seemed only to wind her up. Perhaps she was just getting her revenge for the half-hearted bookandbeds of late, who knows. She wanted, ironically, only to read this book with Minnie Mouse and I don’t think she understood why that was funny. This wound her up further and I was punished by Monkeyface actually trying to stop me reading with her and Minnie. “NO mummy, it’s MINE.” That’s not polite, Monkey-face… It doesn’t take long, I told myself, for our lovely little rituals to slide off the radar.

So out came the big guns. And, oh Monkey-face knows what side her bread is buttered after all. Big toothy smiles. “OCTOPUS” she grinned… which took me aback a little. I didn’t know she even knew the word. I was even more taken aback when she started interacting with things in the book… “CUCKOO… CUCKOO” when she saw the Octopus cuckoo clock. I’ve racked my brains as to how she knows about Cuckoo clocks.

Could she remember the book from our pub-night a few weeks back? Did I do that with Meg and Mog? I can’t remember if she was awake when I looked at the book with Thomas, in the pub. I wasn’t sure she’d remember, so I showed her a snap I took of her and Thomas the only time they have met. “Do you remember who this is?” “That’s Thomas. That’s Monkey-face.” Hmmm. Possible. Either way, she was sucked straight in, BAM, and loves this book.

“Mummy, do you like the book?” to which I replied “yes. Do you like it Monkey-face?” And she only went and said “Yes I do like it mummy” – the first time she has ever expressed an abstract sentiment. That is was like and that it was a book… I was blown away.

The pop ups are already rather mangled, but so what..? Better that than languishing, pristine and unused on a shelf somewhere.

We’re back on it. 


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