Reflections on Ramona: 23 months (The Disney Edition)

Honestly, I’m not sure how much this is going to be about Ramona and how much this is going to be about shopping. All of this happened today, so it’s all kind of rolled into one in my head, and I don’t have the inclination to separate it into two posts.

You can cut straight to the shopping if you prefer – it’s where the photos start. First, Ramona:

My tiny Pickle is not so tiny anymore – of course, she hasn’t been for a while. I’m occasionally blindsided by how weird it isn’t to have proper conversations with her, and this week we even had to start introducing the idea of naughty steps and consequences for bad behaviour that haven’t really made sense before. As with most children she is blissfully angelic and unconscionably demonic, generally within the same ten minutes. As I often say, I wouldn’t swap her forthright knowledge of what she wants, and her determination for getting it, for any kind of deferential wallflowery, but it would be lovely if she didn’t turn the former on me quite so often…

Biting is occasionally becoming an issue where it never was before, and after a particularly painful one in the middle of a tantrum today I got seriously miffed. Rather than stay in the room and lose my temper, I plopped her down, summoned her dad and left to cool off. I still felt bad, because I know it was a punishment for her to be separated from me (how arrogant that sounds! But that’s motherhood for you…), but I thought that was better than me behaving like an idiot in her presence. I came back down after a few minutes, she apologised, we had a massive cuddle and talked about why we don’t bite, and all was well.

And actually, that was the low point in what was a really impressive day for her. (Here’s where the Disney stuff starts too). We popped to Westfield, and she does love to visit the Disney Store, but last time we had to tear Mickey from her vice-like grip and cart her, wailing, out of the House of Mouse. This time, I did some preparatory groundwork, talking about not touching, only looking, and not being able to take things home. I was still prepared for a possible meltdown, but none came. She padded about happily, keeping her sticky paws to herself, identified her various friends – “Mickey! Daisy! Don-old! Goo-feeee!” – and was then content to leave after a few minutes, with a smile on her face. We rode up and down some elevators, and she even let me do a bit of shopping…

So, the upshot is I now have five Uniqlo / Disney t-shirts. It started with the bow one I wear in the photos on this very blog, and then I bought another four today. In my defence they are just £7.90 each, and fit me really well. They’ve got a really long body, which I often find is a huge problem with t-shirts – I had to stop buying from Threadless, because they looked like they were cutting me in half as I’m both tall and generous of belly – and the designs are a little bit more like what you get in Disney Parks, than what you get in the Disney Store. They’re also quite generously sized. I’m an M&S 14, and I comfortably fit the Medium.

Here they are:

These two are from the Uniqlo Uncovered range. They’re very slightly longer, and have a textured background colour, and you’ll find them on hangers in the shop. They also have “Uniqlo Uncovered” in smallish caps across the upper left hand side of the back of the shirt.

These two are from the standard Uniqlo Disney range, which you find on the shelves. Lots of these designs come in a range of background colours (for example, the lemon yellow Minnie bow one I’m wearing in the photos is also available in pink, as is the blue t-shirt in this photo).

And here’s me looking like a classic doofus in the mirror in the Snow White one.

In spite of my enthusiastic acceptance of the WDW ride’s overdue retirement, I still have a lot of love for Disney’s first feature length film, and I’m a sucker for a castle.

(The teapot necklace, by the way, is from Jelly Button Jewellery, which I absolutely love).

Naturally, the quirky attention to detail is typical of both Disney and a Japanese brand, and extends even to the delightfully cheesy labels:

Between every once upon a time and every happily ever after lies a fabled kingdom of art and imagination. Journey to this magical place, together with Disney and UNIQLO, and discover the charming characters, faraway places and treasured artwork of the world’s favorite storytellers. After all, you’re never too old to believe that dreams really do come true.

Love it. Love it all. And I especially love how it’s easier and easier to be a Disney fan and get the news and the fun stuff without actually being able to afford to go to WDW (I don’t love that last bit so much).

To top it all, Ramona started singing along to It’s a Small World today, though she’s loved the song since she was tiny. I actually started crying, to Ash’s amusement.

There are probably people out there who would be absolutely horrified that I was so pleased and proud, but I think I can cope with their disapprobation.

And now, back to our scheduled messages.

I am finding that I’m enjoying the toddler phase quite a lot more than I thought I would, while at the same time finding it terrifying and stressful and exhausting. I just really like being able to get to know Ramona’s personality now that she’s showing it in spades. She keeps me on my toes, bringing up things I thought she’d forgotten or not understood, and thoughtfully repeating back to me what she thinks about it all.

We occasionally find ourselves at loggerheads, but I am determined to make sure to do my sworn duty as a parent and behave like the (literally) bigger person. I won’t let it drag on, I won’t just get tangled up in being a grumpy bugger and I will always be sure to end the day with stories, snuggles and cuddles. The last thing she hears every night that I’m the one to put her to bed is “I love you”, and I tell her about a million times a day, as does Ash. To have her unexpectedly pootle over from her blocks or toys and give a hug and a dazzling smile before announcing “I yuv you!” cuts straight to the heart every time.

Plus, to my completely biased and inexpert mind, the kid is absolutely freakin’ brilliant when it comes to speaking. I do wish I could erase “I want…” from her vocabulary, but with prompting she is aware of the uses of “please” and “thank you”. She gets jokes, such as when I pretended there was a monster behind me and it turned out to be her, and runs around shouting things like “Mummy thought it was a monster but it was you!” (she still generally mixes up “me” and “you”, endearingly). She’s not quite so brilliant with names of relatives she doesn’t see often, but then neither am I. That’s when you get a situation like this:

Ouma, pointing at Auntie Linda: “Ramona, who’s that lady?”
Ramona: “Uncle Bernard.”

Which has a brilliance all its own, frankly.

I’m not sure how I’m going to get my head around having a two year old, but it ought to get all straightened out in my mind by this time next year.

Reflections on Ramona: 21 months

I actually came on here to blog about food, because I’ve been cooking lots lately and I wanted to share some recipes and stuff, and talk about Great British Chefs (again) because God knows I love talking about it. But instead it feels more natural to write about Ramona right now, so I’m going to go with the blogging flow. And, in fact, start with food.

With talking about food.

With talking about food in her sleep.

With shouting about food she does, or doesn’t want, in her sleep, for a full hour before she properly wakes up. She’s doing that toddler thing a lot at the moment where it’s all “I want this! I want this! Oh, you’re giving it to me? I DON’T WANT IT! EXCEPT I DO!”. And in her sleep, it’s coming out like so:

4am: “Want try some chicken”

5:30am: “No Wee-ta-bix! Noooo Weee-taa-bix! Nooooo Wee-ta-bix!” (repeat until your mind is lost.)

6:30: “No cake! No cake! No cake!” (Pinter pause) “Caaaaake!”

As one family member put it: “she’s half-Greek, half-Jewish. What are the poor girl’s chances?”. It’s true – both clans are never knowingly underfed.

She’s getting more and more independent, and there’s a huge side order of random. She giggles like a loon at everything. I recently bought her Meg Goes to Bed because we practically wore out Meg and Mog and one night she got so hysterical will laughter over the bit where the spaghetti turns out to be worms and slithers away that it took twenty minutes to calm her down enough to sleep. In her cot she was lying on her front crying out “supper wriggled away! SUPPER WRIGGLED AWAY! PLOP PLOP!” and giggling frenetically. Loon.

My worries from last month that I was holding back her physical development went up in smoke when everything she’d refused to do until now suddenly clicked. Stairs are being climbed. Slides are being slid down. She runs up the driveway yelling “‘AMONA WIN THE RACE!”. She babbles on about going “outside, play foot ball with Mummy / Daddy!” (she says it “foot ball” as if it’s two separate words, endearingly). Her version is football is most handball, or a sort of desultory rugby, but that she got Ash to deign to put his foot near a ball is nothing short of a miracle. One day she can take over my efforts to get him to care enough to understand the offside law.

Her speech is going from strength to strength, though she clams up if too much attention is paid; the nursery staff have told us they were constantly underestimating her until we told them what a babbler she is. They realised how much she talked to other kids and tried chatting to her one-to-one more, and I love how they’ve paid close attention to everything we’ve said. She’s into singing in a big way now; no car journey is complete without a rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Yittle ‘Tar. Apparently she loves that particular number so much she sang it to all the kids sitting round the lunch table at nursery.  I welled up when she sang Ten Little Ducks for me because I sang her that over and over when she was very small and it was the only thing that would pacify her as a grumpy, post-colicky tot. Her version is a fraction different:

“Ten little ducks… swim one day… over hill and far away… Mother Duck said ‘quack quack quack’… only three…two…four… three…two ducks came back…”

All of this rosy-spectacled gazing doesn’t take away the fact that she’s now beginning to throw really targetted tantrums, and be deliberately disobedient, and give me those looks that says phenomenally cheeky backchat is just around the corner.

But I know we’ll get through it. And being a bit of a hardass, and telling her off, and not always letting her get her own way – all things I’m already doing – will be worth it to let her find her true potential and be a decent person. She’s getting better about her pleases and thank yous, though there are still lots of reminders needed. And for some reason, after saying ‘yes’ beautifully for months, she keeps saying ‘yeah’ now, which we’re trying to talk her out of.

She’ll always have me wrapped around her little finger to some extent, of course. But she doesn’t have to know it.