Science And Industry

At the moment, Thursday means a day at home for me and a day away from nursery for G, which also means it's down to me to come up with a reason for getting us both out of the house. Today I decided on a trip into Manchester to take G around the Museum of Science and Industry. Or at least the bits I thought she might be interested in.

First, that meant wandering along to the old Liverpool Road station, which dates from 1830 and was a terminus of the world's first proper passenger railway. Now it's part of the museum, but G didn't seem thrilled by my monologue about the remarkable engineering that allowed it to be built, and the tragi-comic death of William Huskisson MP on the railway's opening day. Instead, she pointed at a couple of sections of train standing idle on the track. "Blue one Thomas, red one James. Look daddy, Thomas and James!" Which made a lot more sense.

Inside, I took her around the area aimed at children, which has plenty of hands on things for even little ones to do. The picture shows G turning a wheel, which through a series of gears moves a full-size car up and down. She was extremely impressed at herself, although this time I spared her the physics lecture.

She had such a good time that she didn't want to leave, and I had to bribe her with the promise of ice cream so we could get back home in time for a very late lunch. Although I didn't mind too much. Taking such an interest in trains and gears seems like a good enough reason for a little girl to get a reward.

Entertaining Herself

I was ill for a couple of days this week. Nothing too noteworthy, just the usual early winter bit of sickness that makes you not want to do anything apart from lie in bed, groaning pathetically. Unfortunately, the worst of it coincided with Thursday, which just happened to be my only day of the week with G at home.

She gave me a lie-in, which was very decent of her, but the long sleep only served to give her more energy when she finally decided to wake up. "Get up daddy!" she repeated, excitedly, trying to pull the duvet from where I'd attempted to securely anchor it. "Daddy's feeling sick, daddy's very sad," I managed in response. G thought for a moment, and said: "I kiss you and make it better!" followed all-too-inevitably by, "There! All better! Get up daddy!"

Later in the day I had to go back to bed, but managed to persuade her to come with me with the lure of Mrs J's iPad, which she'd thoughtfully left behind for just such an eventuality. I dozed off, and woke up some time later to find G still enthusiastically tapping away at the thing. She could well have been ordering boxloads of fine wines and other expensive fripperies for all I knew, but at that particular moment I was happy that something other than me was keeping her occupied.

I'm feeling much better now, by the way. The picture was taken last weekend, on the swings in a park in Salford.

Impressing The Health Visitor

It's been a while since G last saw a health visitor. But as we've recently moved, one came round today. It was to let me know about what's on offer in the local area and, presumably, to check up on me a bit.

G has been a bit under the weather this week. She had a temperature on Monday night so I kept her off nursery on Tuesday, and she came home within an hour of being there on Wednesday morning with the same problem. She was pretty sluggish waking up this morning, and after refusing breakfast clambered back up the stairs and got back into bed: "Close the curtains daddy, I'm still sleepy," she said, sounding sorry for herself.

I needed to get her up again because the visitor was due at 10:15am, and I had to bribe G with the promise of biscuits if she went back downstairs and ate some cereal. She was just finishing the biscuits when the doorbell went, which was good timing (they were only ginger nuts, nothing chocolatey or fancy, but still, these first impressions matter, at least to me).

Even better, as we all sat down at the kitchen table, G turned to me: "I'm still hungry daddy". I replied: "What would you like to eat?" She paused, then delivered a winning line: "Um... an apple!" I wondered whether the health visitor thought we'd been rehearsing it all morning.

Later on, G was playing with her blocks as she often does, when I noticed that she'd taken to separating them all out into different colours, as shown in the picture. Possibly a bit OCD of her. Not sure what I'll think if she starts colour-coding the fruit bowl.

Back On The Telly

G's status as semi-regular media commentator continues. We were on ITV1's Daybreak this morning, talking about the government's latest attempt to introduce a bit more flexibility into the system of parental leave. Well, I was talking about it, G was mostly shown playing with her train set.

As is often the case with these things, it was an old colleague and friend of mine who now works at Daybreak who teed me up for it. I went to collect G from nursery a bit early so she could be at home for when the video journalist came to film with us.

G's been on TV quite a few times before for various things, so she wasn't at all bothered by the camera. She dutifully sat quietly on my knee throughout the interview, then gave plenty of winning smiles as she played with Thomas. Although as I pointed out to the reporter, the lack of children's TV on ITV these days meant we had to go with a character seen on Channel 5. How very off brand of me.

A slightly bigger mishap occurred when the reporter mistook a side table for a stool, and sat on it. It immediately broke in half and he ended up on his backside, the sort of moment that could really have done with some canned laughter to go along with it. So if you ever wonder where the money from all those adverts on ITV goes, I can say that a little is going to be spent on a new table for our living room.

G actually seemed a bit poorly and hot overnight, and didn't sleep very well, so neither of us were inclined to get up to watch our performance actually being broadcast. But I taped it, and showed it to her later. Straight on after our bit was none other than Nick Clegg, announcing the new policy on behalf of the government. Long-time readers of this blog might recall that it's not the first time he's shared the media spotlight with G, but that's another story.

(UPDATE 13/11: Our local ITV News programme, Granada Reports, turned my interview into a whole report, which you can watch in full here. If you want to watch Gwenno eating a sandwich in excruciating detail, then make sure you stick it out to the end! Also, note the slightly weird use of our wedding photo, kind of as if we'd died)

Wrong Daddy

I was away for the weekend, and I came back to find that G's infatuation with Thomas the Tank Engine continues. This is her tonight after she'd been reunited with her favourite little train. This morning, before I took her to nursery, there were tears at the breakfast table when I told her she wasn't allowed to take him with her.

"I want Thomas!" she repeated, wailing plaintively. I was unmoved, but only because I have developed the instinct that parents have for this sort of thing. A typical toddler tantrum is over in a minute or so, but the kind of epic tantrum that would ensue if Thomas got lost at nursery, well, that just isn't worth thinking about. "Thomas will still be here when you get back later," I reassured her as we got in the car, to which I got a very doubtful look in return.

As I went to pick G up, I was walking down the corridor towards her room when one of the nursery nurses came by leading a little boy, who was black. "Daddy!" he said, pointing towards me, hopefully. "No, I don't think that's your daddy," she replied, with the air of someone who had already had to say the same thing several times, probably in quick succession.

I didn't wait to hear if she went on to explain precisely why I was unlikely to be related to him. Besides, this all demonstrates another truth of parenting that I have discovered: three-year-olds may be able to talk more, but they still aren't the best recipients of any kind of logic.