Saturday 4 August 2007

Daddy pirate and 'the Mummy thing'...

Ah, Summer is here. The sun finally came out this weekend, drying up the floodwaters that have bogged down the UK for the last month, leaving a mud slicked puddle across most of the Midlands in its wake. Britain can rest easy once again, and we can all catch our breath for a few minutes while we prepare for the next National crisis - which appears to be resurgent Foot and Mouth disease. Nothing says 'Summer in the English countryside' more than a giant smouldering mound of burning animal carcasses...
There is much to discuss this week.
First up, Nevey is not only walking - she is invariably the one who greets me when I come in through the front door after work, tottering drunkenly towards me like Bambi on Ice - but she has also said her first word, which I am proud to report was 'Dada'. At least, it sounded a bit like 'Dada', but in truth it could have been 'baba' or 'gaga' or even 'wawa', but Nini is insistent that it was 'dada' and further that Neve 'looked at me meaningfully' when she said it - so it was clear she meant 'Daddy'. I am not entirely convinced, but I have learned the hard way that it's best to take the small victories when they present themselves, and so I've decided to go along with it.
Secondly, over lunch at the Old Mill pub with Granny & Grandad, Neve was putting her new-found walking skills to use during the dessert course and wandered off toward the kitchen, heading at some speed for the doors - which are the kind that fly open outwards, and would have knocked her maybe fifteen feet across the floor if they had - when Amelie drew her Mothers attention to the impending crisis by pointing at her sister and shouting that "Neve has walked away, so you need to do the Mummy thing..." Disaster averted and much laughter.

Amelie has also this week decided that it's a life on the Spanish Main for her: this week we have mostly been playing 'Pirates'. This is a complex, multi-layered game, and I struggle to follow the 'rules', which have been explained to me multiple times, but I think the game is played as follows:
a) The sofa is the boat. The carpet is the sea. Amelie and her toys are the crew. There are both sharks and wolves who live in the sea. Both are, of course, deadly predators.
b) Daddy is also aboard, and is the captain, to be referred to as either 'Daddy Pirate' or 'The Captain' for the duration of the game, and sometimes a lot longer (so that, for example, it's fine to embarrass him hours later, when he is trying to pay for the shopping at Tesco, by saying in a loud voice "Captain, I want some applejuice", so that the checkout girl looks at him worriedly, in a way that suggests she is thinking about calling Social Services)
c) It is unreasonable - in fact it is borderline stupid - of the Captain to suggest that wolves cannot swim in the sea. These are treacherous, uncharted waters, and there are clearly wolves out there. The reason that nobody has reported wolves in the sea before is probably because in every case they were eaten by the wolves. It is folly to pretend otherwise and no further discussion of this matter will take place.
d) We are not the kind of pirates that look for treasure. We are not the kind of pirates that engage in sea battles with other sofas. No, we are the kind of sloppy, careless pirates that 'accidentally' drop a member of the crew into the wolf-infested waters at dismally regular intervals, who will then need to be rescued.
e) Rescue procedure is as follows; the Captain will, (despite any amount of muttered protest) "phone the birds", who will then fly down and scare off the sharks/wolves for a short time - thus giving Amelie Pirate a few precious moments in which she can leap out of the boat, sweep up the stricken crew member and then leap back into the boat, ideally landing on Daddy Pirate in a way that causes him much pain (target areas: genitals/kidney with stone/face)
f) Yes, 'the birds' do have a phone. Yes, they can understand English. Yes, there is an adequate phone signal this far out to sea. Yes, it is necessary to jump back into the boat like that. Stop arguing.
g) Sometimes, at random, it will suddenly be night. All crewmembers, including the Captain, will simulate the rapidly approaching Caribbean darkness by putting a cushion on their head.
h) If Nevey wants to play and is in the boat, she is 'Baby Pirate'. If Nevey does not want to play, and is instead sitting happily in the sea minding her own business, she is 'a ginger sea witch'.

Fun, no?
The thing is, she can play this for hours, and it works its way into your brain, so that you forget to stop; late at night, I was buttering some toast for Nini when she came out to the kitchen with a bemused look on her face:
N: "You do know you're talking to yourself, don't you?"
P: "No. No, I'm not..."
N: You are. In a pirate voice. I just heard you say 'Yaaaaar, where be the peanut butter?' in a really bad accent"
P: (blushing): "Didn't."
N: "Did..."
P: "Look, do you want this toast or not?
N: "Yes. Yes, I do.....Captain."
P: "Very funny. I want you to leave now"
N: (turning on heel, crunching toast and yet grinning smugly) "Aye aye..."
P: (quietly) "I hope the wolves get you on the way back to the sofa..."