Art Gallery

Art is not really my strong point. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it is one of the things I actively avoid doing, along with going to drum and bass nights and visiting the Trafford Centre. Occasionally we do a bit together at home, but whenever G asks to get her pens out, I normally manage to get out of it by immediately suggesting something much more fun, and train-based. So most of what G knows about drawing and painting she's picked up from Mrs J, or at nursery.

But Thursday was cold with snow in the air, and I knew we were probably going to be stuck inside all day. So I got G's arts and crafts box down from the shelf on request, curious as to what she'd come up with.

She began with a series of drawings on coloured paper, like the one at the top of this post. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that it's a picture of me. I had to help her to glue on the goggly eyes, which she correctly pointed out were green instead of the hazel eyes both me and G have.

After drawing most of the extended family in similar style, she moved on to a stack of paper plates to do some faces. Again I had to help her get the glue out of the bottle, but my role was limited to squeezing in the appointed places, under her strict instructions.

The one below is, as I know you will be able to guess, a self-portrait. A bit of work required on the composition, but I'm glad all the faces she draws have such big smiles.

Living Room Ballet

Despite being initially sceptical about ballet, or at least the bit that involves putting on a pink dress, G seems to be getting into it. The other day, she gave me a demonstration of some of her moves in the living room. Not quite sure the big finish went exactly as planned, though.

The music is Down By The Water by The Decemberists, which remains her favourite song almost a year after she began to insist on hearing it during every car journey. I don't think that's the kind of thing they dance to during the actual ballet classes, however.

For this week, the girls were asked to tell the teacher the name of their favourite Disney princess. Given that Disney princesses and all things pink are not exactly high on our home entertainment agenda, this meant we had to train G to say the name of the least lame female Disney princess we could think of. So if anyone asks, G likes Rapunzel, from the movie Tangled.

Obviously the character was originally created by the Brothers Grimm, but I imagine this kind of literary pedantry is generally frowned upon in children's dance lessons.

Little Dancer

Long-time readers of this blog will know that I've always had a policy of avoiding dressing G in pink as much as possible, because I'm not keen on gender stereotyping. This also partly explains why I enthusiastically embrace her current excitement about trains. She doesn't have to grow up to be a Pendolino driver, but as long as she knows that she can, that's ok by me.

But G also likes dancing. So much so that Mrs J recently volunteered to take her to a dance class on Saturday mornings. After going to one which contained elements of doing street dance to One Direction (wrong on so many levels), Mrs J tried a more conventional ballet class last week.

G had fun, but was the only little one there without a pink costume, so I had to relent and let Mrs J pick one up for this week. As you can see, G was initially unimpressed.

Maybe she'll get used to it. Alternatively, she'll be the only girl with a blue ballet outfit. Which wouldn't bother me at all.

The Real Percy

They were running steam train rides at the Museum of Science and Industry over Christmas, and we decided to take G along for a go on one. The trains were only going a short way, along the track in the old goods yard that is now the museum, through the former Liverpool Road station platform, then backing down another bit of track, before retracing the route to the start. But that was more than enough to get G very excited.

Our engine was green, and G quickly assumed this was the real-life Percy. It's Percy who, according to the song now permanently seared into my brain, always brings the mail on time in Thomas The Tank Engine.

"Look! Percy's going!" she said as the engine moved off and the steam poured out all around us, with the sort of excitement little girls usually save for fairy princesses, or One Direction. I may have to give in to Mrs J's suggestion that we start taking her to dance classes, if only to balance things out a bit.