Chapter 46-Having Their Picture Taken

It was my own fault. Despite having measured him against the door frame recently, I had forgotten just how tall Raffie is getting, what he can now reach, and more importantly, the irrestible temptation of a mobile phone.

So while I cooked his dinner, Raffie ‘borrowed’ my phone and went on a secret photographic rampage, capturing the many loves in his life. And here is a selection from the end result, and his first photo essay is an insight into this pre-schooler’s priorities.

“I took all their pictures because they are special Mummy, I worked really hard.” he beamed at me. So whether it’s trapping his toys and rescuing them, watching DVDs, or shredding bits of paper to fill his recycling truck, it’s clear that a picture really does tell 1,000 words, no matter how old you are.

Mike waits to be rescued from the garage ramp.

Mike waits to be rescued from the garage ramp.

Mike joining the rubbish for a spot of recycling.

Mike joining the rubbish for a spot of recycling.

Raffie has spent a long time decorating his bike.

Raffie has spent a long time decorating his bike.

Despicable Me DVD.

Despicable Me DVD.

Lonely roller.

Lonely roller.

Doctor's tongs for emergency rescues.

Doctor’s tongs.

Shopping basket and Big Ted.

Shopping basket and Big Ted.

Sully and my slipper.

Sully and my slipper.

Shrek.

Shrek.

First ever selfie.

The obligatory selfie.

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Chapter 45-The Gruffalo Live

For a small boy, fact is often stranger than fiction.

“Is the Gruffalo going to eat me Mummy? Or is he a puppet?” was Raffie’s first response to being told he was going to the theatre. “No, the Gruffalo doesn’t eat people.” “Are you sure?”

It’s fair to say that Raffie has mixed feelings about the Gruffalo. Although he loves films like Monsters Inc, he is rather wary of monsters in general. Despite reading the Gruffalo regularly, he often needs reminding me that the Gruffalo isn’t real, unlike crocodiles. There was even a time he used to cover him up, but thankfully this seems to have passed.

Gruffalo 1

And his curiosity overcame his initial reservations, despite a small wobble at the show, and a brief “Can we go for a walk now?”, as the Tall Stories theatre company brought Julia Donaldson’s famed story off the page and onto the stage.

Told with humour, costume changes and song, the story of the little mouse who braves the deep dark wood is full of curious characters. And nuts.

Keeping a small boy on his seat (Daddy’s lap) for five minutes is something of a challenge so to keep him there for an hour is pretty much unheard of, clutching his new Gruffalo ‘sign’ and a look of deep concentration.

Every show should have a sign.

Every show should have a sign.

While the mouse went on its journey, Raffie and many other small children were mesmerised-a far cry from Raffie’s first trip to the theatre last year which lasted around three minutes.

As a reward for his very good behaviour we treated him to a post-show ice cream. He slowly covered his face and clothes in it while he cuddled his new Gruffalo toy and told us all about how it would be good to see a show with the Gruffalo’s Child.

On leaving the theatre he considered the Gruffalo posters with a keen eye. His newly cherished toy and sign were worth every penny. But to hear the words “I’m not scared of the Gruffalo anymore Mummy, I want to take him home,” is priceless.

Gruffalo 3

Chapter 44-Oranges and Lemons

Right from my first falter on the number line, grasping at mathematics has been the mental equivalent of apple bobbing. And more years later than I care to remember, at times it still is.

Desperate to pass my maths GCSE, I asked my teacher if a tutor would help. “No, I’m afraid there wouldn’t really be any point,” he replied, turning on his heel. He thereby saved us some money but very little face.

So, while we’ve tackled letters with gusto, our first foray into arithmetic with Raffie was something I approached with apprehension.

Raffie not taking his first maths lesson entirely seriously.

Raffie not taking his first maths lesson entirely seriously.

“Are you going to eat all those oranges Mummy?” “No, we’re going to do some numbers Raffie.” “Can we make a cake with them?” “Not at the same time poppet.” “Can I get some flour?” he asked, heading towards the cupboard. “Not yet.”

And so, flour retrieved and cleaned off the carpet, we made our first meal of mathmatics. Staring out of the window during maths lessons, I wondered if this sort of thing was useful in real life. To my surprise, it was. And so I am keen for Raffie to embrace, rather than avoid, numbers.

Starting with oranges. Having to catch them first is all part of the fun. With a bit of adding and even stepping out with some subtraction we dipped our toes in the pool of numbers and liked what we found.

Counting tiny balls at the Science Museum.

Counting tiny balls at the Science Museum.

Despite passing my GCSE, I will probably always be bobbing for apples when it comes to maths, Raffie is loving number oranges in small doses.

And I’m hoping if he starts off by learning just to have fun with numbers, then our efforts might start to bear fruit, be they apples or oranges. And who knows, I might just learn a thing or two along the way as well.