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A devious six-year-old can’t outwit Grandma!

PUBLISHED: 16:06 22 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:43 23 October 2018

Watching Herbie eat is like zombie apocalypse...

Watching Herbie eat is like zombie apocalypse...

Archant

The grandsons have been running (or in one case, crawling) rings around grandma and grandpa

It’s been a while since we had the grandsons overnight.

George, six, and Wil, three, are pretty good about going to bed. An afternoon running around the park, followed by dinner, a bath, a rendition of The Ugly Duckling and There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly is usually enough to send them to sleep − despite the dubious sentiments of the songs.

One tells the story of a cygnet who is badly bullied by ducks, while the other tells the tale of a woman who swallows a fly and maniacally goes on to consume an arachnid, a bird, a number of farm animals, and then dies.

Seven-month-old Herbie, their little brother, keeps different hours. Looking on the bright side, he is very cheerful at 3.30am. Unlike his daddy. Herbie is now desperate to join in his brothers’ games and, not yet able to manage a full crawl, moves around the floor like a caterpillar (lifting his mid-section and propelling himself forwards), never quite managing to catch up with them. Sometimes he pauses with all four limbs in the air, resting on his tummy, looking for all the world like a tiny sky-diver.

He shows little interest in age appropriate toys such as colourful stacking cups, preferring to head for things with small working parts and sharp edges, unsuitable for children under three years.

The baby boy, who now has four teeth, is also enjoying the relatively new experience of eating, exploring all the possibilities offered by pureed kale and carrot. Among his options are spitting it out, rubbing it into his face, grabbing my glasses off my face and smearing them, and pushing it up his nose. Give him a banana for pudding and the scene around the high chair is like zombie apocalpyse.

A few weeks ago I wrote about small children’s resistance to broccoli. Needless to say, within hours, a friend had emailed with a picture of his small daughter happily eating broccoli, which she calls little trees.

Meanwhile I had bought sausages, knowing that George likes them... but not any more.

“Oh, he only eats frankfurters now,” said my son, Mark (George’s father), unhelpfully.

As well as being sausage-specific, George has also become artful.

“Would you like a chocolate finger, George?”

“How many can I have?” he asked.

“You may have four,” I replied, generously.

“My other grandma lets me have (slight pause) 10,” he countered.

I gave him four and asked Mark to confirm the other grandma’s Cadbury’s chocolate finger policy which turned out to be six maximum.

Fortunately, George has not yet honed his powers of persuasion and is thus very easily rumbled. I recall my own children similarly trying their luck.

“Daddy says I can have another ice cream.”

“I’d better ask daddy if he said that.”

“No, don’t ask him.”

Then there is the classic: “Rebecca’s mummy and daddy let her stay up until midnight.”

“Do they?”

“Yes... so can I stay up until midnight?”

“No.”

And this one, addressed to one’s offspring when they exit the bathroom in the morning.

“Have you cleaned your teeth?”

“Yes.”

“If I check your toothbrush, will it be wet?”

“I just need to go back into the bathroom for a minute.”

Fortunately, when they are young, they are also transparent in their attempts to dissemble.

n I am not the sort of woman who simpers, flutters my eyelashes or tells men how big and strong they are, which is why I need you to know that the incident I am about to relate is untypical.

I went to Chelmsford and, because my little car is not ideal for travelling any distance, I borrowed my husband’s much newer model and drove into the centre of the Essex city. I was meeting up with someone at the theatre to interview them for a newspaper article but found the most convenient car park was for permit holders only. I pressed the button at the barrier to beg for help and, explaining my plight, and how I was new to these parts, the car park manager took pity on me and said I could go in.

“Just give me your registration so I can make sure you don’t get a ticket.”

“It’s AV17... er.”

What could it be? Completely stymied, I hailed a passing council worker: “Excuse me, would you look at my registration plate and tell me what the last three letters are, please.”

He gave me one of those: “Huh, women!” glances but did as I asked and I gained admittance, sensing that the 
man on the intercom was also nodding his head and thinking: “Huh, women!”

I should just like to say, I am not a “Huh, women!” I am a “Huh, people!”

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