Tuesday, 22 February 2011

22. Terror Training School (Terrible Twos, anyone?)

Following on from an earlier post 'Turks don't wear Pink,' My daughters are in training for the joy that will be Terrible Twos.  Presumably they escape their cots at night and sneak off with a torch to some drafty town hall populated by a lot of 18 mth - 2 year olds (run by 3 year olds who should know better?)  It started earlier this week when I was in the shower.  I heard The Tank making a distress call from her cot.  Not an 'I'm in pain' distress call, but just a sound that meant something was up and I needed to come and check it out.

Grabbing a towel and flying into the nursery, I saw what the fuss was about.  Dear little Magpie had used the chest of drawers/changing table for purchase and had climbed out of her cot, but her bum was still on the side.  She hadn't yet made the leap which would have probably meant her getting stuck between the cot and chest.  So far, not so terrible, just a sign of things to come (NO MORE COT SIDES.  I live in fear of toddlers no longer incarcerated, meaning  I can no longer have a shower / bit of peace / phone conversation etc etc).

Children, and particularly twins, are put on this earth to surprise us.  Just when we think we've 'got their number' and know who they are and how they behave, they do something out of character.  The Tank is the climber, not Magpie.  Magpie doesn't push a new boundary first, her sister does.  So the Tank had not only not climbed out of her cot, but her distress call meant 'come look at my sister the surprise stunt girl!'

Earlier in the week I took the girls (like a crazy person) to a cold, windy and deserted playground.  Only mothers with dogs and a sick man at home would go on such an expedition (I tied Purdey to the playground railings after giving him a walk in the adjacent park).  Whilst I watched The Tank as she dived head first down a slide, I turned around to see a frighteningly deserted playground: no Magpie.  Just empty climbing frames and swings creeking in the wind.  As the playground was like an upside-down L, I noticed there was another, unknown entrance at the far right-hand side.  The gate was closed.  No sounds, nothing.  My stomach lept and lurched.  Had Magpie been abducted?  Just as the searing pain of panic set in, she appeared from behind a piece of blue appartatus, grinning impishly, with no knowledge that she had just been responsible for the most petrifying moment of my life.  Magpie didn't mean to be terrible.  She was just having a bit of fun.

Magpie hiding behind something I can thankfully see through (the solid thing she hid behind and gave me a heart attack in the process is barely visible in the background, but I didn't take a picture whilst I was having a heart attack.  Funny, that.)
Magpie redeems her hiding self by doing a quick check on Purdey tied to the playground railings.
I've saved the true terror for last.  Ok don't get too excited.  It's nothing out of the ordinary (unless you are me and have just seen one of two toddlers become Possessed by a Spirit that isn't Particularly Benign).

If The Tank didn't try to climb out of her cot this week, she did test me by refusing to get dressed.  Not just a gentle shake of the head or verbal 'no' but a fully-fledged spiral-twist manoevre, complete with floppy legs and a stunt dive onto the floor.  This ruse must be familiar to all parents of two-year olds.  We are definitely entering a new chapter where my children want to escape, hide and run away from either me or their cardigans (or both).

 Advice welcome.....

Sunday, 6 February 2011

20. Turks don't wear Pink

Separated at birth?  My 20 month year-old daughter Magpie just before she throws my 1970s toy phone across the room and below, a Turkish warrior

Once upon a time, Turks were considered by Anglo-Saxons as being similar to Vikings, as they were known for their fearful, warrior-like traits.  To call a non-Turk a Turk was definitely an insult.  And as a word, it's somewhat punchier to call someone a Turk than a Viking, just as f**k is more satisfying than bugger - it's just a syllable thing.

This week, Top Gear is in trouble again.  Richard Hammond, comparing Mexicans to a sports car, called them 'lazy, feckless and flatulent.'  The BBC's response was to say that jokes based on national stereotyping are part of British humour.

My mother uses the word 'Turk' to mean somebody who's naughty or silly.  This is very un-PC, but it's very my mother.  She is a septuagenarian child of the Empire (she grew up in wartime Hong Kong), and as blogging is as much an on-line diary as it is a vehicle for discussion, this post is logging a moment in time.  Last night my mother called Magpie a 'Turk.'  In fact, when either of my daughters are naughty, that's what she calls them.  They are either 'Turks,' or their behaviour is very 'Turkish.'  Perhaps very young children and pretty old ladies can be forgiven for being non-PC?  But Richard Hammond is neither.

When my sister and I misbehaved as children, we were also 'Turks.'   So much so, that it has become an affectionate if non-PC family term for any mild misdemeanour.  I do not in any way mean to denigrate any peace-loving Turks.  In our family parlance, Magpie has become the Turk of the Week.

In fact, the Tank (my tomboy twin) and Magpie (the girly girl) have recently swapped roles.  The former is calming down (although she remains Herculean in strength), and Magpie is going up the gears - particularly in the tantrum department.  In our household we have a Tantrometer scale.  Magpie is currently teetering between 8 and 9.  Whilst The Tank now grasps her crotch, Michael Jackson-style when she needs her nappy changed (suggesting readiness for potty training?), Magpie contorts her body into a floppy spiral, and thrusts her head back in demonic fashion.  She does NOT want to have her nappy changed.  It's that simple.

There are many other ways in which Magpie demonstrates her 'Turkishness' (grabbing her sister's hair when she's in the back of the tandem buggy), but that's not the point of this post.  It's for me to affectionately recall my mother's phraseology which is a throwback to pre-PC times.

I haven't explained the title of this post, but I'm sure you can now guess.  Generally, whoever is being more angelic of the two girls gets to wear pink (angelic being a relative term), even though I'm not mad on it.  It is so ingrained in our society that girls wear pink (sugar and spice and all things nice), that I use it like a school 'gold star:' it's my own colour/behaviour code.  I'm sure I'll grow out of it.