Four and a Dog

A blog about family life

Bruiser Conversations

Bruiser: What do we get from sheeps?

Me: Wool.

Bruiser: What is wool?

Me: It’s like a sheep’s fur. Once a year the sheep have a haircut and people use the wool to make into other thinks like blankets and jumpers. 

Bruiser: Why don’t we get oranges from sheep?

Me: (pause) Because oranges grown on trees…not sheep.

Bruiser: Oh…they’re not banana shaped.

Me: (pause) The oranges?

Bruiser: Yes.

Me: No, oranges are round.

Bruiser: Do sheep like banana milkshakes?

Me: I don’t know. I’ve never asked.

Bruiser: Dave* does.

*I have no idea who Dave is or if he is a sheep.

Conversations With The Moon

We have a long tradition of talking to the moon. It began many moons (ha ha! I am so very funny) when Diva first asked about the moon and I showed her the face that is often visible on its surface.

Once we had established that there was a face, Diva immediately struck up a conversation. I obviously replied in my best moon voice, trying to guess what a moon would eat for breakfast ( it’s crumpets by the way). Hubby and I were also very pleased to discover that we use a similar voice when speaking for the moon. For those of you unsure about how the moon sounds, I suggest you tune in to Sarah and Duck. However, I must point out that we have been using that voice for much longer than the shows existence. Clearly we are all in agreement that the moon is an eccentric, posh English man.

Once Bruiser was able to talk, he also joined in with these conversations. Mostly they occur whilst driving in the car, or in parks surrounded by confused looking parents that slowly move their children towards alternative equipment. The moon also regularly watches movies with us and asks to sleep in our garden.

Tonight we went to an outdoor screening of a movie. It was so much fun getting wrapped up and sitting around little campfires and candles, eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate. You should all definitely do it. On the way there, we became aware that Bruiser was using a strange voice to talk to Diva. After listening for awhile we realised that he was trying to do the voice for the moon. Diva was explaining where we were going and ‘Moon’ was asking if he could come too.

In all honesty, this may have been my proudest moment as a parent yet. Next we will have to work on their comic timing.

Six Reasons Neverland Sucks

Diva loves Peter Pan. She has recently watched the live action version. I thought it would be too scary but she told me to, “Calm down Mummy, it’s not real.”

After watching the movie I said, “So Peter Pan decides he doesn’t want to stay because he doesn’t want to grow-up.”


“Because he would rather stay a little boy forever in Neverland.”

She then gave me six reasons that this was stupid:

1. Nobody ever eats in Neverland.
2. Nobody drinks in Neverland.
3. There are no toys there.
4. If you grow-up you get to have a job.
5. When you grow-up you get to make paintings (I want to point out that we never deny her the opportunity to paint).
6. In Neverland your clothes get misty and broken.
7. In Neverland there are no mummies and daddies. *

* I may have made this last one up….but I’m sure it’s what she wanted to say…deep down…

End of Act One

Whilst driving home from school today, Diva began to sing a song of her own creation. It involved dinosaurs and superheroes. I believe they were flying, and thinking about tomorrow, and saving people. It was even quite tuneful in places.

Bruiser copies Diva in most things, so naturally began to sing a song of his own creation too. His was about apples and bananas. Once in awhile there was a mention of twinkle twinkle little star and lobsters. His was not quite so tuneful.

I listened to it for a quite awhile…

and then decided to join in. My song was about driving the car and lack of sleep. It involved clouds, people that don’t indicate and children that won’t sleep. Mine changed key three times (unintentionally).

As we pulled up to the house, and we reached a crescendo, I thought how it was not dissimilar to the closing number of act one in Les Miserables.


Diva: Mummy, you look beautiful sometimes.

Bruiser: Mummy, you have lovely shoulder.

Uncle M: *licks foot*

Bruiser and the Fire Extinguisher

Bruiser’s personality is developing nicely. He finds most things quite hilarious, especially if it’s something he’s done.

Once a week we take Diva to a gym class in a local hall. The session lasts an hour. Bruiser and I sit out in the large entrance hall with the other mums and their children. Some of them don’t have any other children. They get to read a book. They get to read a book for a whole uninterrupted hour. Sometimes I get to read something on a cereal box for a whole 30 seconds.

I usually come equipped with a variety of books, colouring implements, plastic animals, cars and chocolate. For the first forty minutes of the session, Bruiser and I play with each of these things for two minutes at a time. Then, Bruiser starts to make friends.

He makes friends by running around in a circle until another child joins in. They then run around together until it becomes chasing. Next they run up and down the hall as if in a race. Occasionally they hide under a table. Then they run again. There is very little oral communication, so I presume this is part of the two year old telepathic powers no one warned me about.

Last week, they discovered the fire extinguisher. It was big and red and had buttons. I told Bruiser he was not to play with it as it was dangerous and could hurt him. I explained that it was to help put out fires and that there were currently no fires in the near vicinity. He dutifully nodded and stepped away. He then waited for me to return to my seat, locked eyes with me, and began to approach the fire extinguisher… slowly…with an outstretched hand. I stared back, and shook my head in slow motion. Bruiser continued his approach whilst grinning. I waggled my finger and mouthed, ‘no’. Bruiser took another step and slowly nodded his head. He then paused, his fingers millimetres away from the prize.

We stared at each other, frozen, waiting for the next move.

The next move was his friend running up to the fire extinguisher and giving it a big shake. Bruiser immediately wagged his finger, shook his head and said, ‘No, it dangus! No fire. No touch.’ He then folded his arms, proudly looked my way and grinned.

Diva wisdom 6

Because it’s been awhile…

1. A carpark is where all the cars sit and wait for their humans.
2. I like the movie Gate Open (Beethoven).
3. An optopus has 8 legs and can see really well.
4. The Queen has to go to the toilet very quickly.
5. Blublarb is a drink that is fizzy and when you drink it it goes, ‘blu, blu, blu’, until all the bubbles pop. That is what Blublarb is. (This explanation came after Diva mispronounced, ‘rhubarb’ and was not keen on being corrected).
6. Some people might not be able to choose if they have girl babies or boy babies, but I will. I will have two boys and one girl.
7. Ironman is a superhero because he is good at ironing.
8. Sometimes I have choices, but I don’t want choices.
9. Bruiser says he wants some chocolate for us.
10. The moon is coming for a sleepover in the garden. Is that okay?

Swimming Monsters

I know…I know…it’s been ages.

I am full of remorse and have many tales to tell and will get better at sharing again. For now I will leave you with something I wrote ages ago and somehow forgot about.

Diva has always loved swimming, and last summer we enrolled her in a local swim class. I was nervous about how she would cope being in the pool without me so chose a leisure centre where I could sit right next to the pool. Building up to her first lesson we did a lot of prep work. I gave detailed accounts about technique and style; I assured her that I would be right next to the pool and poised ready for any necessary rescue procedures; I even talked at length about swimming teachers and what wonderful human beings they all are. I admit that the scale model of the leisure centre with the addition of Happyland figures may have been unnecessary, and pretending to act out scenes from Casualty might have briefly backfired, but at least we were prepared. On the day of her first lesson she walked straight on to the poolside, without even a backward glance, while I stood waving like a needy mother on the wings.

As time has gone on, certain rituals have become part of her weekly swim. Before getting in the car Diva refuses to go to the toilet so we decide not to go after all. Diva then goes to the toilet and we all get in the car. During the car journey there, Diva and I sometimes take it in turns to make up songs or stories based around a chosen animal. On other occasions, she takes this opportunity to discuss some of life’s important questions, such as, “Why did Great Grandad die? When I get older I will be a doctor for children- as long as they are good. Where has the moon gone?”

Once in the changing room, Diva comments on how much she likes her swimsuit and her goggles and her new soft swim hat that is much better than the sticky plastic one she used to have. She then dances around the changing room playing with the showers (wearing her goggles of course) until it is time to go in to the pool. During this whole process Bruiser has to stay in his buggy. After several weeks he has finally resigned himself to this fact and only occasionally protests.

As soon as her lesson begins, Bruiser and I move to the bench next to the small pool. There are a series of thick glass windows between us and the pool, but this doesn’t stop Diva trying to provide me with a running commentary of what’s going on. I have given up trying to explain that I can’t hear her and instead nod and give occasional thumbs-up to be encouraging. I used to spend the entire lesson trying to bribe Bruiser to stay still with raisins whilst chasing him around the seating area. These days he is nearly always asleep for the duration of the lesson. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s pretty fantastic.

Diva has gone from never putting her head under the water to spending most of the lesson submerged. Even when she is not swimming she is constantly bobbing up and down and splashing about. In no time at all she seems to have turned in to a proper little mermaid. I admit that I am ridiculously proud of how well she is doing.

After the lesson she tells me, and everyone else, that she can put her face in the water…and that she is four. She then gets upset that her new best friend G is going home and spends a few dramatic moments declaring her undying love for G and bemoaning how much she will miss her.

On the way out to the car, we pretend that there is a monster trying to eat us and I have to get everyone in to the car before he does. I also have to briefly fight the monster for the buggy, before eventually triumphing and getting it in the boot. I suspect the other mums in the car park are very impressed with my performance.

The monster then continues to chase the car home. At regular intervals we push him off and tell him to go away, but still he keeps coming. About half way home, Diva usually decides that the monster now wants to be her friend and we let him jump in to the car with us. We then have to telephone the monster’s parents to find out if he has permission to come to our house for tea. I relay the conversation to Diva and explain that the monster is due to visit his grandparents’ house so will need to go home. Diva then requests my imaginary phone and has her own conversation during which she persuades the monster parents to visit Grandma’s house tomorrow instead, thus freeing monster to come home with us instead. How nice.

Once home I have to help everyone out of the car, including the monster, and then offer a suitable monster snack. Apparently monsters only like chocolate. Without it they will be forced to eat us up instead.

Diva Wisdom 5

1. I dream about fairies and dinosaurs and rectangles.
2. If my bed was made of glass it would be very delicate and I would have to lie very carefully.
3. I will come dressed as Tangled and everyone else will come dressed as humans.
4. Sometimes I have dreams when I am awake. There is another Avalon and she is dancing.
5. Aeroplanes have wings like a bird but they don’t flap them like a bird.
6. Your arms go through the arm sleeves and your head goes through the head sleeve.
7. Mummy, you look like a sponge.*
8. The Queen is a statue and you put money in her pot and she moves…and dances!
9. Pretend the hair cutter slipped and cut bears feet off (what?) then we can sew them back on tomorrow.
10. Your neck is all wobbly like jelly.*

*Essentially, I am a trifle.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! Apologies for the long silence. Life just keeps happening to us and, unfortunately, I never have the time to write about it.

As an example, I will share with you our wild and crazy New Year celebrations. We had originally discussed trying to meet up with friends, or invite friends to come to us. That didn’t happen.

Location: home.
People present: Mummy, Hubby, Diva Bruiser & Uncle M.

5.30 pm- I lay out a selection of delicious toppings for a New Year pizza party! The kids come and add whatever they like to their pizzas ready to go in the oven.
6.00pm- We all sit down together to eat our delicious pizzas. Unfortunately Diva decides she doesn’t actually like any of her chosen toppings so picks them all off and just eats the base (fussy eating phase). Bruiser loves his toppings but is not very keen on the base so tries to sneak that to Uncle M.
6.30pm- Bruiser plays his new game of running away anytime we want to get him dressed or undressed. Diva ‘sings’ some songs she has made up about snow and saying please.
6.40pm- Both children are finally in the bath.
6.50pm- Diva is refusing to get out of the bath and Bruiser is refusing to get ready for bed.
7.10pm- Bruiser briefly protests about the cruelty of being made to go to sleep and then realises that sleep might not be that bad after all, but that’s only because he wants to and has nothing to do with the fact that I suggested it.
7.20pm- Hubby tries to reason with Diva who is insisting on wearing her monitors (earmuffs) to bed. Her final argument is, “You and Mummy go downstairs and talk and stop me from going to sleep and I need my monitors to stop the noise from you and the wind and the rain”. This child can sleep through her brother’s crying, I think she’s okay.
7.30pm- I tidy up the kitchen and Hubby braves the cold to walk Uncle M.
7.32pm- Hubby returns with a slightly crazed and barking Uncle M due to fireworks- seriously!
7.45pm- Kitchen is cleaned. Children are in bed. Uncle M is safely in the kitchen with a chew, listening to radio 4. What to do…? I begin to clear through some drawers and Hubby tries to fix some technical gadgetry.
9.00pm- We debate whether this is even more pathetic than last year when we played Words With Friends. We look for something to watch on TV that is vaguely related to New Years celebrations.
9.05pm- We watch some episodes of Revenge instead. I clear another drawer.
11.00pm- Is it really still not 2013? We decide to open the (fake) champagne anyway. I go and get some scissors out of my reorganised drawers for no reason other than to prove I know exactly where they are.
11.55pm- We watch other people celebrating in London.
12.00am- We have another drink.
12.10am- We go to bed.
12.30am- Bruiser wakes up.

Funnily enough, it was actually a really nice evening. You have no idea how happy a newly organised drawer makes me.

Post Navigation