Friday, 27 July 2012

The Vyne

We had a fun day on Monday. Andy had taken an extra day off to finish unpacking all our camping stuff only to find that we got 90% of it done on the Saturday evening and the rest on Sunday. That left us with a day of good weather to do something nice in. After some thought we decided to make good use of our National Trust membership and visit one of their nice properties that aren't too far away. You know where you are with a National Trust place, lots of history, pretty gardens to run about in and cream teas in the tea shop.
We decided not to risk Joseph in the actual house. The Vyne is full of historical artefacts that don't react to well to over-excitable toddlers grabbing them and throwing them around. I know what he's like, he'll wait for the one moment when my concentration has lapsed and then we'll find ourselves with the bill to repair one smashed Regency ormolu clock.
We stuck to the grounds. There's a nice short woodland walk that we took and let me tell you that 1.1 miles feels like a lot longer when you walk it with a toddler. He was fine to start with and then he just decided that he didn't want to hold either of our hands. That meant lots of wandering off, lots of grabbing at bushes and getting too close to the deep ditches that line some of the paths. He also kept wanting to walk back down the path the other way and was none to keen on being picked up and brought back.
When we got to the tea shop we'd worked up quite an appetite and the cream teas were very much appreciated. Joseph had a kids meal and did pretty well, but he did get quite a lot of grated cheese on the floor. When it comes to cheese sandwiches for him I think I'll just use thinly sliced cheese or just make a bit of Welsh rarebit, it's less messy. He liked the cake, it was chocolate rice krispie cake cut into a big triangle with smarties to make it look like a mouse. It even had a bit of strawberry lace for a tail!
He did cause some fuss when we were sat, I think he just got bored. Andy took him outside and he wanted to be in and when in he wanted to be somewhere else. Since we got back from holiday I have noticed a bit of extra clinginess towards me this week. I can't say I mind too much, I like that he's got more cuddly but I do get a little annoyed that bedtimes, which used to be solely Andys job (so I get a little break) now often require my presence just to stop the tantrum. I'm minded to be harsh and not give into him, but it does tug at the heart strings and he's not doing it to be naughty, he just needs to know I'm always there. Also, if I don't go up when he's in that sort of mood then he doesn't want to go to sleep until I do.
After the cake Joseph ran around the pretty gardens for a bit and then we came home. We were tired and my sensitive skin had had enough of the sun for one day.
The previous day, Andy had mysteriously disappeared in the afternoon. He just went, mumbling something about "something to get" which left me puzzled. He came back with a paddling pool. I had previously vetoed this idea as we're short on space but it was only a few quid and it's inflatable so it folds down small.
So, Sunday afternoon had been spent trying to work out the best way to inflate the thing. The manual airbed pump didn't work as the nozzle was the wrong shape. The electric pump had the same problem and human lungs just don't seem to have the capacity to manage the job with any rapidity. We ended up using a little pump that came with some twist and shape balloons. It was slow, but better than huffing.
Joseph wasn't too sure until we added a lot of warm water to it and then he was happy. On the Monday we got the inflation done a little quicker and with warm water added from the start our little boy had a fun filled afternoon splashing about. At least this time we stand half a chance of using up his swim nappies before he grows out of them.
Once Joseph gets the hang of splashing you can't get him to stop. He did get bored in the end, I think the water cooled down. We went in, he had a warm squash and he ran around with a large bath towel draped around him in a romanesque style. Veni vidi splashi.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Holiday - part the second

It would be rather remiss of me to do another post about my lovely holiday without mentioning the one thing that threatened to spoil it all. If you're camping in the New Forest then there's one animal you've got to be really wary of. It's not the ponies, despite all the pulled up guy ropes and large piles of poo they like to leave all over the place they are not all that bad once you get used to them. They can even be quite cute. Neither is it the large toad we found nestling under the groundsheet for a sleep. It's a good job Andy noticed the bump or it would have been one squashed toad by the following day. My Mum found one living under their tent at the end of the week as well.
No, the animal in question are the Ninja Squirrels.
Imagine, if you will, the mission impossible music. Picture a creature that is like a rat in most ways, save that it has a fluffier tail, lives up a tree and has better PR. It smells the smell of an unguarded loaf of bread, slips quickly into the tent through the small zip opening that our gas line for the fridge passes through and now it's near it's goal. These silly people have left their cook stand slightly unzipped, through which it is easy to slip. The cardboard packs of smarties cause some problems, but they are nibbled and cast aside. The goal is ahead, a brand new loaf of bread just waiting.
The packaging is torn and a small piece of bread is removed. The rodent escapes leaving a trail of slightly damp smarties, bread crumbs and small pieces of poop behind it.
We were not impressed. The following day we zipped the cook stand up tight, forgetting that in the back it has two small mesh panels for air flow. They were the work of a moment for a determined grey vermin creature and when we came home we found a hole gnawed in our cook stand and a brand new fresh loaf of bread ruined.
In the end we borrowed a plastic box from my Mum and stored anything of interest to a rodent in there. Later that day Andy found a suspicious lump under the tent that wasn't a toad, but a sleeping squirrel and he scared it off.
Now, from the bad to the really rather good.
In Brockenhurst there is a café called The Secret Garden. We stopped there for lunch and cream tea as time was getting on and we'd not yet had one. I fancied a sausage roll, some nice comfort food. They were advertising "jumbo" sausage rolls and I confidently expected something like the standard sort you get in Gregs, mostly pastry and a bit of meat, just a bit longer.
I was wrong, oh boy was I wrong.
Perhaps I should set the scene a little first. The café is attached to a small hotel and it's all out in the open. It's a lovely garden with nice garden seating, some gazebos and toys for the children. The whole thing has a lovely old fashioned British feel to it, you'd half expect children in Victorian costume to come running round the corner any moment.
Back to the food.
Joseph had a cheese sandwich that he did eat all of. He made a bit of a mess, but then he's only 20 months.
My sausage roll was the diametric opposite to what I mentioned above. It was meaty, the big round meaty cross section was probably a good 4cm across, if I remember right. The pasty was not the usual mix of flake and stodge, but just a light coating to act as a crispy counter to the lovely meatiness.  If you're ever in the area, then go. Even if it's raining and blowing a gale, it's still worth it.
The cream tea was pretty good too.
We ended up going back on the Saturday as our last holiday meal. We were all packed up and this was the last gasp. Everyone else had the sausage roll, which didn't surprise me as they'd all been quite envious when they'd seen me eating it. I had the hot sausage and caramelised onion sandwich - just as nice in my opinion.
Then we had cake.
I have never in my life eaten cake like it and I've eaten a lot of cake. I've made cake, and some pretty good cake too if I say it myself but it all paled into insignificance compared to this.
First of all, the portions were quite generous. I had what could only be described as a large slab of coffee tiramisu cake and it was delicious. Everyone else had Victoria sponge.
Oh, it was so good! It was moist but not soggy, it was melt in the mouth and yet not too crumbly and it was so light in texture! I ate a massive piece of cake and came away feeling pleasantly full rather than weighted round the middle with concrete, which is what usually happens if I overdo the cake. I can only hope that in time and with a lot of practice, my cakes can be half as good.

Reading this back I realise that Joseph isn't really mentioned much in the above. I shall remedy this by telling you what happened on Wednesday, a slightly damp day.
We decided to have another go at "Solent Sky", an aircraft museum we'd tried to see on the Monday, but it was closed. Relieved to find it opened on Wednesdays we popped in. It was very interesting, lots of planes to look at including a Spitfire and lots of it's history and a very interesting Short Sandringham IV VH-BRC, a four engine flying boat that you could climb aboard, poke about in and they let you sit up in the flight deck while a guide tells you lots of anecdotes about it's history.
Joseph couldn't get up into the flight deck, the ladder was too steep. So, after taking Granddad for a tour around the museum ("Da! Da! Pla! Pla!") he spent some time with Granny, who attracted the attention of a museum guide who asked if Joseph would like a go in the cockpit of a Harrier Jump Jet.
Would he? Were there buttons to press? Were there switches to flip? I'd make a daft joke about the Pope or a bear at this point, but I think you get it.
He was in his element, let me tell you.
They had two separate cockpits that could be sat in. He played in the Harrier for a while and then had a go in the Spitfire. Eventually he decided that his plane of choice was the Harrier and he was happy. He didn't want to leave, as far as he was concerned he was in paradise. For Christmas (or his birthday, he really doesn't mind) he would like aeroplane please, or just the cockpit. That's the important bit.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Holiday, part the first

There has been a short intermission from my regular blogging as I have been off for the week on a camping trip to the New Forest. I don't know why it's called that, being as it's actually quite old, but I guess there was once an older forest and they just couldn't think of anything more imaginative.
We weren't sure if we should go. I was quite ill, getting over a bad fever and the weather forecast was threatening all sorts of nasties. When I looked at it the day we left I was expecting it to say "Call Noah, he might be able to help."
It did rain the day we got there and pitching the tent was a little tricky due to the number of lakes on the camp site. We found a dry island next to a tree and set too, with my parents finding enough space to pitch near by. I say "we" when I really mean Andy. I was still unwell. I had got over the fever but I was still suffering the after effects and I wasn't a lot of use. Besides, it was too muddy to let Joseph run about and he was happier of someone stayed in the car with him.
Sunday was better. Sunday was quite dry. We decided to have a lazy day as the camp site was reasonably quiet. Joseph ran around and fell into puddles and got muddy. I sat about and laughed at him. We did pop out and get some groceries and a few bits in a camping shop and on the way back we found a cafe called the Tasty Pastry which had the yummiest looking French Fancies in the window so we just had to stop. Joseph, showing signs of growing up fast, sat patiently on a normal adult chair (no booster seat) and ate his way through most of a very large smartie cookie without causing any trouble.
We decided to have a barbecue that day as the forecast said that it was probably the only dry day we were going to get. Joseph ate part of a bun, most of a sausage and went to bed, sleeping the sleep over the over fed. Andy washed up and was then attacked by a group of New Forest ponies, who bore more of a resemblance to donkies than ponies, who wanted to drink the washing up water. I don't know why they wanted to do this, given that there were plenty of places for them to stop and have a drink around the site, what with all the rain water lakes. It took quite a lot of effort to get them to leave us alone and they came back to visit us more than once in the week. Quite often we'd wake up to find several guy ropes pulled out, was it people tripping on them in the dark or ponies?
Monday was a wet day. We tried to go to several touristy places only to find that nothing is open on a Monday. This resulted in us trogging round a damp Southampton, rather lost. We were trying to follow the map my Dad has on his phone, but miserably failing to orient it properly so the shopping centre we were sure must exist somewhere just kept getting further and further away. Soggy, with our gore-tex failing to stop the damp we returned to the car in a bad mood. Next we tried the tidal mill in Eling but that was shut too.
On the other hand, if it had been open we would not have decided to stop off at a local pub for lunch. It was a very nice pub, one of those old fashioned family run places that hardly seemed to exist any more. The menu was full of good comfort food and Joseph again showed himself to be a little star by sitting still on a normal adult chair to eat. He had some battered fish that didn't seem to touch the sides on the way down and a large bowl of ice cream.
Tuesday was a good day. Joseph had his first ever trip on a boat. We went to Hurst Castle, and the only way to get there was a mile and half walk down a long gravel spit or a boat ride. We went for the boat ride. Joseph was a little puzzled by it, but seemed to enjoy the experience. On the way home he was so relaxed by it all he fell asleep.
In  the castle he had lots of fun. There were big green spaces to run about on, there were big echoing rooms to shout in and lots of things to look at. He especially liked the cafe where he was given a taste of all the grown up cakes we were eating and for lunch he had a sausage roll. He ate the puff pastry and I ended up eating most of the sausage.
This post is now quite long enough so I will tell the rest on another day.

Friday, 13 July 2012


Yesterday Joseph was very ill.
He's nineteen months old and apart from a couple of light colds he's never really been ill before. No, not ever. No fevers, no big vomits and no A&E trips. When he was milk fed he probably threw up about five times in total and now he's fully weaned he's never been sick. We've had a little bit of "posseting", a little bit of food coming back, mostly in his sleep and even that has only happened a few times.
I had spent the day at work yesterday feeling increasing groggy and uncomfortable. My whole body was aching, I was tired but strangely buzzing and I felt cold. Anyone who knows me knows I don't feel the cold, hardly at all. If I'm really feeling cold then I know something is probably wrong. Still, I was staying upright and managing to keep going so it couldn't have been that bad.
So I thought.
When I went to pick Joseph up, he looked pale and unwell. My Mum said that he'd been fine till about lunch time where he hadn't wanted to eat and had produced a couple of nasty nappies. He'd slept well but just didn't seem his usual self, he was a little lethargic and a touch grumpy. I thought he felt a little warm, so I got him home.
He didn't want his tea. On Thursdays he always has toast and tinned spaghetti. I know it's not the healthiest of meals but it's only once a week and I need to give him something quick with minimum effort. He didn't want it, he only ate a few mouthfuls of toast and didn't want any spaghetti. Usually he loves it, but not this time.
Andy dug out our baby thermometer, a funny shaped dummy that takes a reading in the mouth just as long as you can persuade him to keep it in long enough. I had to sit cuddling him while he watched Chuggington and we eventually got a reading.
38.9 degrees centigrade.
I knew this was high, 38 degrees is considered a fever temperature in adults. After a lot of faffing about on the Bounty website (why do they make it so confusing to navigate?) we were informed that 37.5 degrees is a fever in a small child and above 38.5 could be potentially serious.
We stripped him down to his nappy and broke out the Calpol, that magical pink liquid that seems to be made from fairy dust, children's wishes and paracetamol. I conclude this to be the case due to its miraculous effects on small children and its inability to help adults at all. Fairy dust doesn't work on adults, you see.
Joseph was sometimes distressed and a little more subdued than his usual self, but appeared to not really be bothered by his high body temperature. I took my own and it was 38.1. I felt like something squashed and scraped off the road, he seemed all right. Must be the Calpol.
I took him upstairs and tried to encourage him to rest with me on our bed. He rested for about three seconds and then started bouncing about and giggling. Nothing I could do would calm him down, he just wanted to play. In the end I gave up, put him in his cot and slunk back downstairs to try and crash on the sofa for a bit. He went to sleep, I did not.
He woke up about twenty minutes later. I've never put him down in just a nappy, he usually has at least a sleeping bag between him and the sheet. I've never risked it since I put him down for his nap on a hot day in just his t-shirt and he pulled his nappy off and threw it over the side of the cot.
He was unhappy because he was sweaty. The sweat had puddled beneath him and collected, due to the fact that his mattress is covered in plastic. The rest of him was cold, his back was hot and sticky. So, I lifted him up and put a fleecy blanket under him and spent quite some time calming him down. By the way, the magical pink fluid was working and his temperature had dropped a little.
He slept on, rather fitfully and broken by odd little whimpers and gurgles, but nonetheless he slept. There's nothing so cute as a small child huddled up on their front, knees tucked up underneath him and bum sticking up in the air.
I slept fitfully and had odd broken dreams. Andy decided that for the good of both of us it was better to sleep downstairs on the sofa bed. A wise decision as I woke up at 5am with a totally stuffed up nose and needing to sneeze. I'd probably been snoring before then.
In the morning I still felt rough and was struggling to function. Joseph was behaving as if he was made of indiarubber, bouncing around all over the place. No-one could guess he'd had a potentially serious fever the night before.
Tonight he's having a bath and managing to do the usual of getting more water out of the bath than in. He's fully recovered, I've still got aches here and there and although my temperature is back to normal (thank-you paracetamol) I still feel rather off.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


It's what makes your heart skip and your blood run cold - when your little one takes a tumble and for a moment you think it might be very serious.
Joseph has had a few bumps recently, he seems to be having something of a clumsy patch. Either that or he's just getting too adventurous for his own good. Perhaps it's both, he's that sort of little boy.
On Tuesday last week he took quite a bad tumble. He's a terror for climbing up on things and we have some faux leather covered storage cubes that I use for keeping stuff he shouldn't have his little mitts in well out of his sight. At nineteen months he likes climbing and will often be seen using a lower object to reach a higher one. Sometimes he will use his push along car to reach up onto our dining table. Other times he will use one of the boxes that contain duplo or brio trains to stand on and reach up. This time he was using a black cube to reach up to my sewing cabinet and have a good look at what might be lurking on the top. There was nothing up there he hadn't seen before, just his nappy bag and a few odd and ends pushed well out of reach.
I should explain at this point that given the size of house we currently live in (teeny tiny) I have got the living room to as safe an arrangement as possible given our current furniture. The only way to make it safer would be to start getting rid of some quite big things, or invading and annexing next doors living room to get some space. Neither is practical at the moment. The result is not perfect, but it's the best I can manage.
On this morning I had popped upstairs to hang up a load of laundry. I'd have hung it up outside in the bright sunshine, but as anyone living in the UK knows, at the moment the sunny patches are transitory, only paying us brief visits between the bouts of rain that well warrant the description "stair rods". Had I merely gone into the back garden I would have shod him and taken him out with me where, as yet, he has managed to do little more to himself than grass stain on the knees.
Instead I had to go upstairs to the bathroom. Now, I've left him on his own in the living room to do this many times before and nothing untoward had happened.
On hanging up the third item I was interrupted by a scream. I'm used to him crying, usually it's because I've left the room and he doesn't like it. This time it was the sudden, sharp scream that sends a jolt down your spine. I dropped the pile of warm damp washing and ran downstairs to find my little boy lying flat on the floor next to the sewing cabinet with lots and lots of blood in his mouth.
I have, till now, been quite cool in a crisis. When someone else is injured I'm usually the calm one who gets the first aid kit. When at college I managed to machine sew my own finger, I was the calm one and everyone else panicked.
This time I was not cool, or even slightly collected. He just lay there and howled like only a scared small child can and I got flustered. What do I do? Do I try and move him? Well, no. Do I dare look in his mouth? With all that blood I didn't want to do any more damage, so no. Should I call 999? Is it that bad? HELP!
I called my Mum and I was feeling quite panicky. I must have scared her from my tone of voice as she decided to come rushing straight over. Perhaps it really was bad!

Would you believe the little scamp? Just as I'm getting to the end of the phone call, now relieved I'm getting some help and wondering what I'll tell the people in A&E (I didn't see it happen, can't give them a full explanation, they'll be suspicious, panic panic panic) he stops crying, looks up at me, smiles and gets up. Within seconds he's running around like his usual self and not a care in the world, save for the blood on his chin. My Mum came over anyway and we realised that all he'd done was damaged the little bit of membrane that joins the top lip to the top gum. He had a little cut on his lip and that was all. He must have caught his mouth on the corner of the sewing table as he slipped, damaging the membrane and getting the cut on his lip.
Crisis over. By the end of the day, you'd not know anything had happened at all.

Over the weekend, he has fallen over a number of times and head butted the edge of a table.
Today, when coming in from the garden he fell up the steps and cried. Later, when the door was open for a little fresh air he tried to climb out with only socks on and slipped on the door sill before I could get to him. He also tried to climb up on one of my black boxes and used and empty really useful box for leverage which pitched him face first down on the floor. This last incident resulted in a small cut on the bottom of his chin. I put a plaster on it and he spent the next few hours patting it and pulling funny faces, clearly puzzled by it's restrictive nature. After a while he got bored of it, pulled it off and gave it back to me. If he keeps this up then I'll just always have a box of plasters and some Calpol ready to hand.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Age Gap

It sometimes seems to me that so many companies don't seem to understand that children come in all shapes, sizes and ages. I have increasing noticed that Joseph, my big, bouncing nineteen month old is getting rather too big for most of those nasty fold down nappy changing tables you get in public toilets. I used one today that looked like it could barely cope, its cantilevered end bent down most alarmingly and Joseph looked like he might slide off. The fact is that I am highly unlikely to start potty training him for another six months yet and it could be another six months after that before he is confident enough to be out and about nappy-less. I've heard of a poor unfortunate few who've still been struggling at over three years old - usually with a little boy who's just too lazy to bother properly. I am really not looking forwards to having to manhandle a large and unhappy two and a half year old up onto one of those horrible changing tables and they'd probably not cope with the weight. Anyway, the one I had to use today simply wasn't long enough. His feet were hanging well over the end and his head was rammed as tight up to the top end as I could manage.
You might ask why I don't lay him on the floor?
Given that the vast majority of public loos, be they restaurants or otherwise, rarely clean their toilet floors more than once a day then I think I've answered my question. Given that the baby changing is usually in the disabled toilet and these are generally used not so much by the mobility impaired but by Mums with large numbers of little boys all with poor aim then there's no way I'm risking laying my son on the floor. Joseph can be a bit of a handful at home with a nappy change, when we're out and about he hates it with a passion. People outside the toilets must think I'm torturing him rather than just scraping poop off his little bum.
As a result I am often tempted to leave it and risk waiting till we get home. I did this once and found that he was liberally coated with excrement all around, both back and front and leaking from the leg holes as well as out the top. It was horrific, he was unhappy but at least I could change him in more comforting surroundings. I'm not going to risk it again, it have him nappy rash, but I am still regularly tempted.
There's something else that doesn't really cater for children who are between one and two, and that's kids menus. Most now offer jars of soft food, which is great if you're mid weaning. Every childrens menu I have ordered from always supplies portions geared up towards the average five year old. Many have I scanned and several have been utterly short of any sort of meal that can be safely presented to a 1-2 year old. I end up having to grab hold of his plate before it gets to near to him and cut up his food and remove anything unsuitable. All meals so far have been served on breakable plates and these always make me nervous as at home, when he's eaten about 3/4 of the food he likes to turn the bowl upside down to see if there's something more interesting underneath. I also have to try and remember to bring suitable cutlery for him as well.
So what do I do? Take my own food for him, which always seems a little mean, or only go to places that are specifically for children. I don't think my psyche would cope.
So - restaurants. Stop forgetting this age group exists and at least provide better changing facilities. So far, only the ones in Debenhams and Mothercare have been up to scratch.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

When Joseph has a Bath

When Joseph has a bath, more of the water ends up out of it than in. When Joseph has a bath, Andy ends up wetter than he does and smelling of Johnsons Bathtime Bubbles. When Joseph has a bath he gets quite excited and downstairs it sounds like someone is moving furniture about. When Joseph has a bath there is giggling to the point where I am wondering if it is actually nitrous oxide they are using instead of water.
When Joseph has a bath it's best not to try and lie him down in the water to clean off the shampoo, he really doesn't like it. He doesn't like the shower head much either, but it's quicker at least.
When Joseph has a bath he likes his toys. He likes the yellow ducks, you can squish them, get water in them and squirt it out again. You can also make them squeak, but that's just not as fun.
When Joseph has a bath he likes to help. He likes to have a flannel or the sponge and he will wipe his knees, his arms, the side of the bath, you and anything else within reach. When Joseph has a bath he does like to play with the round sponge, he likes to hold it like a steering wheel and make "vroom vroom" noises.
After Joseph has a bath it's best not to let him get hold of the talcum power unless you want to be choking through great clouds of white stuff. After Joseph has a bath you can spend quite a long time trying to dry his hair with a towel and he doesn't like it much and usually ends up looking like a damp dandelion clock. Andy just had a go with my hair dryer and from the sound of it, Joseph wasn't too happy with the idea.
After Joseph has a bath, there's a lot of cleaning up to do.

Sunday, 1 July 2012


Joseph has a lot of toys. We keep saying that we shouldn't get him any more toys as we haven't really got enough room for the toys he already has, but we keep breaking our own rule. Andy recently bought a brio train set from a charity shop. It was cheap and in very good condition so it was a bargain and we knew he'd like it as he'd played with one in a garden centre and had quite enjoyed himself. Other children had been playing at the same time including a little girl somewhat older than him who glared at him in the manner of a scientist examining a new specimen. "What is this?" you could see her thinking "And what does it do? Hmmm, best be safe and just stand back and stare for a bit."
Joseph mostly plays with the track. I lay it out and he decides he doesn't like it like that and tries to move it around. We rarely spend very long playing with the little trains and their magnetic freight carriages. Luckily the Chugginton trains we bought are the same gauge and fit on the track, but they're too big to fit under the bridge.
A while ago Andy bought Joseph a camping chair with a tiger face on it. He was giving the garage a good clear out this weekend. Another carload of junk off to the tip (where does it all come from?) and more tidying and there's still yet more to do, but he saw the chair and brought it inside for Joseph to play with. Joseph loved the chair. He very quickly grasped the idea of it and was sitting in it, getting up, sitting in it again, getting up and moving the chair and then sitting in it again. I put the chair away and he cried and when I got it out again later he was happy. The situation soon got out of hand of course. Joseph moved the chair and put it by the table and was able to use one of the dining chairs as balance so he could climb up onto his little chair and stand up. The little chair soon became a platform to reach higher surfaces and I had to step in once again and tears were shed.
At a garden centre this week I saw a pop up tent. Now, I don't have a high opinion of pop up tents. They're usually single skin so this makes sleeping out on anything but a very mild night utterly hypothermia ridden agony. They are usually badly made, if it rains then the zip leaks straight inside and whilst they're good at popping up they don't pop down very well. They never seem to fold down small enough to be portable in any meaningful way and people always forget to peg them down so they move about.
This tent had a tiger on it. Joseph had a tiger chair so I was tempted but I held off.

Today we were given a new toy. A friend of ours was having a bit of a clean out of their shed and found a toddler car and thought Joseph might like it. I agreed with them that he probably would and we took proud possession of the vehicle. We were told that the horn only worked some of the time, which was fine by me as a horn that only works some of the time is going to be a lot less annoying than a horn that works loudly all of the time.
Joseph did like the car, but hasn't yet worked out how to do anything other than go backwards a few feet. He did get to grips with the horn quite quickly and in-between the "Vroom vroom!" noises and him working away hard on the steering wheel could be heard the gentle "pwarp pwarp" of a horn more in common with a duck than anything else.
We bought the tent, by the way. Joseph sat outside in his car, clearly as happy as a lark whilst we checked the tent over inside. It popped up all right and had one pole in the roof to keep it stable. We'd only messed with it once and the bit of elastic that held the two pieces of pole together parted company, but it didn't matter. Putting the wretched thing away was another matter as is the usual way. I wrestled with it but I couldn't make head nor tail of the instructions so Andy had a go, all to the sounds of a very happy duck in the back garden. We'll get the tent out for him another time, one new toy at a time is best.
Joseph spent a long time in that car. Andy played with him in the garden and I went upstairs and finished off a little bit of bedroom paintwork, easily done with Joseph safely out of the way. With the window wide open I worked to the sounds of a giggling toddler, a Daddy having fun and the occasional confused quack.