Literally….

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The boys are tri-lingual, I speak to them in English, S in Catalan and at school the majority of their classmates are Spanish speaking. Sometimes they get muddled and come out with literal translations like I’m really hungry to see my friend or I have no poo, when asked if they need the loo. This gave me a flashback to a boy I sat opposite on a train once, who had obviously just learnt the word literally. It was brilliant. His conversations went pretty much like this “ Literally, here’s a cheese crisp” “Today is literally Friday.”

I am pretty sure all children take idioms literally but I’m not sure that all children react in quite the overly dramatic way mine do ….

SIX THINGS MY CHILDREN TAKE LITERALLY / JUST DON`T GET

1. “We need to get our skates on, we´re late for school”

Response: “NOOOOO! My teacher said no skating at school, No skates, she`ll take them off me and I’ll get cold feet.”

2. Rhyming sentences such as “Let’s go Jo!” or “Don’t worry Murray!”

Response: A whole day of saying ” I’m not Jo or Murray, Why are you calling me that? Who’s Jo? Why don’t you know my name?”

3. “It’s raining cats and dogs”

Response: “ What?! Quick hide, they will squash our house!” “I don’t like dogs, where are they?” (said a bit tearfully)

4. “Stop pulling your willy, it will fall off!”

Response: Cunnning smile spreads across face as he saunters off to convince little brother to pull his willy.

5. “Have you got ants in your pants?”

Response: Half naked children in supermarket queue.

6. “I`m your Mum and you´re my son”

Response: Silence as bottom lip starts to quiver, “I want to be the moon, not the suuuuun.”

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IT’S O.K TO BE DIFFERENT

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I am not a violent person. However, if ONE more random stranger dares to point out that the boys “are very different, aren`t they?” with negative connotations mostly aimed at the non-show off of the two. I shall have to take action with whatever I have about my person (Most likely a stray lego brick , a snotty wetwipe or a soggy banana)

I am fully aware my children are different, and eternally grateful for it! If they were exactly the same I wouldn’t have needed to think of a name for the second , I could have just called them O and O, also quite honestly I actually don’t know if I would be able to cope if they had exactly the same personality traits. Variety is the spice of life and all that jazz. If they wrote their own personal ads F´s would read like this:

      3 year old male; slapstick hilarious, not frightened of anything,except for vegetables. Very good at getting out of tricky situations by putting on the charm. Interests: showing off to the max, making an almighty mess, kissing and dressing up.

and O’s:

                    4 year old male; dry sense of humour, very caring, very good at hiding when in trouble. Interests: Lego, crumpets and Lego. In fact, everything EXCEPT for School. 

  I think that I am particularly adverse to people comparing the boys negatively because when we were younger I was “the chatty one” and my sister was the “quiet one”. Nothing wrong with that, but when my sister went to the primary school I had just left, a teacher constantly compared her to me so much so that my Mum promptly whisked her out of that school and into one which I had never been to and she blossomed and was quite the queen bee.

It is natural to compare, we all do it. It’s how we gauge normality, development and tastes. I just think that when it comes to characters, it pays to be respectful and accepting. Yes, the boys are different  and I know I am nauseatingly biased, but for me they are as hilarious, as manic, as wonderful, as annoying, as loud, as quiet, as brilliant, as grumpy and as cuddly as each other. It just manifests itself in different ways. There are days when F is quiet and O shows off to new heights and when they are in  cahoots it can be flipping exhausting. Good exhausting but this is where a clone, a magic wand or a troop of staff would come in handy.

They may be different but I love them exactly, head over heels , not a lego brick in it, completely the same.

THE SALT OF LIFE

In general, I don´t have many helpful pearls of wisdom to share but i have discovered something that I feel the need to holler about, very loudly. Apologies if I am the only person on this planet who didn’t know this potentially lifesaving nugget of information.

Yesterday, I decided to cook sausages on the electric grilling machine which S is always raving about. The sausages were sizzling happily while two hungry children took it in turns to ask why lunch was taking 100 years. All of a sudden, there was a rocket type “WHOOOOOSH” actually more of a “WHOOOOMPH” as the whole grill-side of the kitchen became engulfed in rapidly growing flames. Panic stricken, I looked around for something to smother the fire with but all I could spy through my frightened eyes was a sock.

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As tempting as it was to fight the rising flames with a tiny sock, I ran across the landing, (plus side of living in a flat) and in the style of a 999 reconstruction, hammered on the neighbour’s door , only to run back inside followed by my neighbour who valiantly stretched around the flames and unplugged the grill, then plonked a plate on top of the flames and yelled for um………….. SALT.

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I flung it at him and he calmly doused the flaming sausages with the salt (I thought twice about writing flame-grilled) and put out the fire!  A quick google search confirms that yes indeed, salt is a fabulous weapon when faced with a grease fire (it also went on to say that you could put out a camp fire with wee, but to do it privately…)

I was in awe and wanted to hug my neighbour and the now empty salt pot. We were both a bit stunned and he broke the news to me that we wouldn’t be able to eat the sausages, which made me laugh a lot, relieved that the only casualties were the sausages and the grill, rather than the boys or the building.

How is it possible that they are still a bit pink?!

How is it possible that they are still a bit pink?!

Boy 1 and Boy 2, who had been watching in excited trepidation from a safe viewing point, whooped and cheered for our quick thinking superhero neighbour and of course the salt, before remembering that they were still ravenously hungry.

That afternoon, I spent a good fews hours trembling while one zillion “What ifs” zoomed round my mind. Luckily the boys had found the whole thing massively and weirdly exciting.  “We´re super brave, like Luke Skywalker” they exclaimed  tucking into their long awaited lunch of potatoes and chocolate snowmen.

The thing that was most terrifying was the speed of it, how in one split second everything could have changed. At bedtime, Boy 1 turned to me and said  “You need to be friends with Fireman Sam, he knows what to do.” I make a note to put Sam on speed dial and to stock up on salt then I kiss the boys goodnight, eternally grateful that somebody or something had most definitely been looking out for us all and vow never to cook sausages ever again.

Me, not doing a very good job of staying calm by Boy 1.

Me, not doing a very good job of staying calm, while the neighbour smoothly extinguishes the flames. @Otis.