Dandycock

1 year, 10 months, 21 days old

This has been a week of adventures as Daddy has been off work all week. We’ve been out every day, which has led to the discovery of lots of new words: “waterfall”, “castle”, “rapids” (we went to a waterpark) and “dandycock” to name but a few. The latter has come from her new obsession with dandelion clocks. She can make a good go of “dandelion”, but once she adds the “clock” bit, it all goes a bit to cock. To cock. Get it? Because she says “dandycock”? It’s a play on words! Oh never mind.

We’ve heard more of Arwen’s teacher voice this week as she’s clearly been picking it up off me. She’s learnt how to use the words all teachers rely on: discourse markers. These are little words and phrases designed to show that you’re changing the course of your speech or writing, and are often used informally to show people you’re about to start talking. Teachers use them all the time, and now it seems, does Arwen. I’ve lost count of the amount of times this week that I’ve heard her say “okay!” in a loud, assertive voice (and weirdly at a much higher pitch than usual) or “right!” in order to grab our attention. She certainly knows how to command an audience. Maybe she’ll be an actor – she has been working her way through those emotions in her Emma book, after all.

Our adventures in the countryside this week have also allowed Arwen to work on her skills in diplomacy. She’s really got the hang of when to ask for just “one more”  go at throwing stones into a stream and when to clarify that the current four hundred thousandth dandycock she’s picking will be the “last one”. It’s hard to say no when she’s so good at negotiating, and the beauty of it is that she knows not to push her luck – if she asks for “one more” go and takes two, she knows we’ll not trust her with that phrase again and she won’t be able to use it on us. She’s crafty, that kid! She’s also learnt that if she’s picked up a stick but wants to pick up another, the best way around it isn’t to ask for more, but to tell you she’s looking for a “better one”. How can a parent not give in to that? You wouldn’t want your child being the laughing stock of the British countryside, walking round with an inadequate stick would you?

Happily we’ve had just the one inappropriate phrase this week, which for once actually wasn’t Daddy’s fault. This one came this afternoon as we pulled into where we were going for a walk, and Arwen found an old toy as Jesus Christ Superstar came on the radio. We were busily unpacking the car when out of nowhere, she shouted “Christ, a ball!” I’m blaming Andrew Lloyd Webber for that one. Though I can’t really blame him for Arwen’s shouting “NIPPLE!” as we rode our bikes through a tunnel this week. That one’s on me.

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