Emily and Phoebe

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Tidy up!

I've decided it's time to get Emily and Phoebe a little more involved in keeping things tidy, so for the past week or so I've been chivvying them into folding up their clothes, putting away their toys and generally keeping things in order. And yes, I'm well aware that me lecturing anyone on the need for tidiness brings to mind the words "pot", "kettle" and "black" (or in Greek, the words "donkey", "cockerel" and "big head") but this gets filed under the category of "do as I say, not as I do".

Anyway, it's all been going swimmingly, without any grumbling at all from the girls, and Phoebe in particular has become a particularly enthusiastic convert to the idea of putting things away. Which would explain why I just found a pair of her socks stuffed inside in my glasses case...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Nearly busted

"Daddy, do you believe in the tooth fairy?"
"Oh, I really don't know, darling."
I answer in what I hope is a reassuring voice, indicating that TF might well exist but that she's asking the wrong person, because, well, how could I possibly know? This is a well-rehearsed response to Emily's various opening gambits, ideally delivered in a slightly distracted manner to show that I am not really listening to what she's saying and so nothing I say should be used against me at a later date.
"I'm not sure if she exists or not," Emily continued.
"Oh yes?"
"I think perhaps someone else is taking my teeth from under my pillow and leaving me money." "..."
(Feebly attempting to throw Emily off the scent) "Sorry, darling. I was just wondering what we need to get from the supermarket. Do we have any milk at home?"
"I'm asking you about the tooth fairy."
(Playing for time) "Oh, um, I don't know."
"I think maybe you or mummy are leaving the money for me. What do you think?"
What do I think? I think I'm in a corner! I'm torn between outright denial, which I know will come back to haunt me as The Time That You Lied To Me, and confessing, which is bound to provoke Instant Rage in the middle of the High Street. With no time for hesitation and little room for manoeuvre, I tell her that there are some questions that parents don't know the answer to and that instead of telling her what I think, I'd prefer her to decide for herself what she believes in. Which sounds rather like a clergyman assuring his parishioners that belief in the Almighty is a private affair, entirely optional, and not a matter for him to advise on or interfere in. (Which may indeed be the official position of the Church of England, for all I know.)

Anyway, Emily accepted this as an answer, told me she thinks the tooth fairy does exist, and that one of her teeth is loose.

Phew! (For the time being)

Friday, April 21, 2006


Katie (Phoebe's godmother) asked me what a bodybuilder Easter Egg was, and where she could find it.

"A what?"
"A bodybuilder Easter Egg. I asked Phoebe what she wanted for Easter and that's what she said. What do you think a bodybuilder egg could be?"
"I've no idea. Maybe an extra large one with little packets of steroids inside? I'll ask her."

Mystery solved. She wants a Bob the Builder Easter Egg! Now, should I tell Katie, or let her run around Athens trying to find the Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator Egg...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Poor Eleni

was on the receiving end of a mini-rage from Phoebe:

"You're a bad nanny, I don't love you and [really designed to wound, this, knowing how proud Eleni is of her golden flowing locks] I don't like your hair!"

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Emily was cross with me the other day (astounding, isn't it, how many sentences begin that way) because I wouldn't take her to the park. The fact that it had been raining and that the park was deserted and full of mud was neither here not there. She wanted to go. Anyway, we had one of our usual arguments, which involves her making threats and me refusing to back down, and eventually it was established that we would be going straight home but that Emily would be giving me the silent treatment (because in Emily's mind, not talking to me is a punishment! Ha!)

Anyway, there we were, walking along in silence, when I decided to have a little fun. Emily had that morning requested chicken for lunch, so I feigned some temporary amnesia.

Me: "Oh dear, I can't remember what I was going to cook you today."
Emily: [Rolls eyes in disbelief that I could be this stupid.]
Me: "What was I going to do again?"
Emily: "Umphhhh!"
Me: "What was that? Speak up darling."
Emily: "Umphhhh!"
Me: "Oh, that's right, you're not talking to me. Let me see, will bread and cheese do instead?"
Emily: "Uuummmmphhhh!"
Me: "The bread's only a week old and I can scrape the mould off the cheese. That'll be alright won't it?"
Emily: [Stops walking, folds her arms across her chest and sticks her chin out in a pose that is clearly intended to demonstrate her dissent.]
Me: "Well, you could always tell me what it was."
Emily: [Looks away, scowling into the middle distance. A pigeon catches her eye and falls out of a tree.]
Me: "I see. Well, if you're not going to speak to me [really enjoying myself now] you could always do an impression of what it was I'm supposed to be cooking you."
Emily: [Frowns and purses her lips.]
Me: "You know, if it's spaghetti, pretend to eat spaghetti, if it's pork, grunt like a pig, if it's chicken..."

Which is how I came to be walking along with a glowering Emily flapping her arms by her sides as I recited the name of every bird I could think of except chicken. Luckily I don't know the names of too many birds, so her epileptic poultry act didn't last long. Then of course I pretended to have forgotten where the butcher's was...

Friday, April 07, 2006

New teeth

Emily is very proud of her new teeth, which have just started to come through, and is determined to keep them in the best possible condition. Which means not just brushing them three times daily, but polishing them every evening with, um, tissue paper...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


I was telling the kids about various stuffed animals I had when young. Carrots the donkey, Iggy the Dinosaur, and so on. Phoebe embarked on one of her extended inquisitions: "Did you have a toy elephant?"
"A toy horse?"
"A toy boy?"
"Er, no Phoebe."

Monday, April 03, 2006

Emily has started making lists

of people she wants to invite to her birthday party. I know it's a couple of months away, but already she's begun the countdown (only 59 days to go, only 58 days to go, and so on) and little scraps of paper with names added and angrily crossed out (depending on who's in and out of favour) keep appearing in her room. Along with lists of what we need to get (ballons [sic], keik [sic], etc.).

Her past two birthdays were celebrated at her kindergarten, which suited us fine, as we avoided having hoards of her schoolfriends (plus siblings and parents) descending on us for an evening. This year, though, school is obviously for the serious business of learning the 3Rs (being put to practical effect in the list-making and countdown) and all her friends have had parties, so she has to have one too. We went to one on Saturday that boasted a children's "entertainer". Peter Pan, he called himself, and indeed he was attired in the requisite hat, tunic and pixie boots. Unfortunately, he weighed in at about fourteen stone (several truckloads of fairy dust would have been needed to get him airborne), and the costume in question was several sizes too small. The result was that whenever he bent over he revealed rather more of his backside than anyone should have had to see. Bad Peter! Bad!