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 I only used to eat runner beans when cooked, but many years ago now, I observed my mother-in-law's tortoise eating raw runner beans with great enthusiasm.   So I tried one and found that I liked it.

Oswin does too.  Really likes them.  Can eat several in a day.

Today, she was eating a slice of cake.  Grandad came in with fresh supply of runner beans from the allotment and gave her half of a runner bean.

She took it with great delight, ate it at once, and only then went back to the cake.

I love a three year old who appreciates allotment veg!
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 There's a word for everything these days.   Zuigerphobia is fear of vacuum cleaners.

Oswin has been staying with us while her mum is in hospital.  She's fine with that. She's used to staying with us and knows that Mummy and Mamma haven't abandoned her.

What sent her into mega distress was the vacuum cleaner. 

I think it's the high-pitched sound. She's always been scared of them.  Even in another room it distresses her.  She was actually afraid to go shopping (to get away from it) because it might start again as soon as she left.

Richard has instructions to phone me just before he gets back, so that the vacuum cleaner will definitely not be there when she returns.

It's a tough world when you're only three.

PS.   She's been 'helping' pick fruit and veg on the allotment - and proving in the process that young children absolutely love raw runner beans and mangetout and redcurrants, blackcurrants, raspberries, etc. as long as they're introduced to them early enough.  She isn't too keen on radishes yet, but we're working on that by serving milder ones in small slices.
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The engine (currently partly dismantled and lacking a boiler) is a Maid of Kent locomotive, bought in memory of a beloved Kentish grandmother on one side of the family and a family history of making and running model steam engines on the other side.
The Maid of Dorset should be self-evident. (the great-grandaughter of the people above and my granddaughter)

I'm looking forward to the day when the loco is up and running, but new boiler needs to be arranged first and that takes time.

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 Favourite Oswin (age 3) moment this week.

Picking up a book of wild flowers and sitting down to read it (she loves flowers of every kind), we heard her 'reading' aloud:
"Once upon a time, there was a bluebell..."
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 Children have wonderful imaginations - unfettered by knowledge of what is possible.

Oswin (my granddaughter) will be three in April.  As yesterday had real sunshine, we spend quite a bit of time in the garden.  She's fallen in love with daffodils, especially the big yellow 'King Alfred' ones in my back lawn.   She interacts with her favourite flower as though it's a person.  She talks to it, turns its head so it can see what is happening elsewhere and keeps popping back into the garden to see it again.

After the stalk got bent through too much tlc, we snipped it with a pair of scissors and put it in a vase "so it could have a drink".  The vase was placed on the kitchen table next to some cress she is growing, so they could keep each other company.

Later in the day, she was pretending to be a daffodil.  As far as I could tell, the daffodil did exactly what little girls do, but who am I to argue!

Oswin takes a real delight in life -when we go for walks, we often run and jump on all the water meters, manhole covers, etc, in the pavement.  She's very good. I can trust her not to go onto the road without waiting for me to say it's safe.  We've drilled her very carefully in that one.

BTW, if anyone wants book recommendation for small children, her current favourite is the delightful 'Owl Babies', which combines realism with a lovely little story and a touch of humour.  

By realism, I mean that the illustrations actually look like owls and the owls do things that real owls do.
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 Oswin has recently been enjoying Richard reading Dr Seuss books like 'One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish' to her.  While the illustrations are amusing, it's probably the rhyme and rhythm of the words that are a big part of the appeal.

So, today, I tried 'The Jumblies' on her.  (the last time I tried, she was still too young and wasn't interested, but now she's nearly 2 1/2)

Big success.

Read it half a dozen times throughout the day and followed that up with a couple of readings of 'The Owl and the Pussycat'.

Only a few pictures for each poem.  Definitely the words that she loved. Big smile at the end each time and requests for another reading.

Edward Lear's poems appear to be working for yet another generation of children.  Oswin has no idea what all the made-up words mean, but it doesn't seem to bother her any more than it did my generation.  Personally, I think a runcible spoon is a spoon with holes in it (the kind you use for draining things).  It fits Lear's cheerful illogic.

 Far and few, far and few,
            Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
            And they went to sea in a Sieve.

I think the time may have come to get Kipling off my bookshelf.  Oh yes, my best beloved.  I'm itching to read her the 'The Elephant's Child' and the other Just So stories. My father read them to me, and I read them to my children.  They were written to be read aloud, the words roll along.  "What does the crocodile have for dinner?"
"Go to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, and find out."

Go and read it again, you know you want to!  And if you've never read it, find a child and read it to them immediately.
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 This is Oswin directing a digger near her house.  (having parents who regularly do convention tech means that she already has the high vis jacket)

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 Here's Oswin sitting in front of her great-grandad behind the engine her great-great-grandad made. (With granny - me in purple trousers, and grandad - Richard sitting on the bench, in the background)

watervole: (Judith)
This makes Granny very happy...

Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] entorien at My tweets

  • Thu, 18:24: So. Ummm. Health Visitor. Apparently Oswin is *way* ahead of the curve in pretty much every way! O_O

  • Thu, 18:25: She's doing things they don't even *look* for at her age, because she should be too young to understand them!

  • Thu, 18:26: I actually had to prove a couple of the things I said she does, and the look on the Health Visitor's face was one of stunned amazement.

  • Thu, 18:27: Apparently they only look for the very start of colour recognition, don't look for counting at all, and Oswin does lots of both.

  • Thu, 18:28: She can count to four fairly reliably, will go higher with a bit of help, knows the whole alphabet, can identify most colours...>

  • Thu, 18:29: <... uses two and three word sentences, knows her left from her right, and can identify more objects/animals than kids twice her age.

  • Thu, 18:29: What have we created??

I'd love Oswin anyway, but she loves learning and she's a real joy to have around.

She started counting because she's fascinated by our chiming clock and never fails to tell us when it's chiming. So we started counting the chimes as a game to play with her.

One of her favourite games is when she brings you a pack of playing cards with pictures and she tells you what they all are. She can pick out all 52 in the pack of British Garden Birds, and say a recognisable name for most of them and she only had her second birthday a couple of weeks ago.

Grandad likes birds, so he used to show her the cards and tell her about the birds, what they eat, where they live and so forth.  Then the game of picking out the cards developed from that and she absolutely loved the game and demanded to keep on playing it.  "Cards!"

She's getting to know some of the birds in real life as well.  We watch them in the garden and try to spot them when we're out walking.  "Robin gone"

She can reliably spot at least 10 different plants when we're outside.  Every single dandelion gets pointed out when we're walking back from playgroup, but bluebell, daisy, daffodil, holly, ivy, bramble are all easy and she knows where the helliores and chives are in my garden.

Most of that started as a way to stop her getting bored when walking home.  "Oswin, can you see a daffodil?", was a good way to make her walk on to show you the next one.

Neither us nor her parents have used a pushchair for six months or so.  Used to be that we'd have to carry her a little bit if we walked a long way, now she doesn't even need that.  On foot, she sees more, gets interested in more and gets to talk a lot more. She 'helps' in shops, finds things on shelves, puts them into the trolly, passes them to the check out lady, etc. All this invovles more conversation.

I wonder how many more children would have Oswin's vocabulary if their families were in less of a hurry and simply talked to them as they walked and let them explore at their own pace.

We're not deliberately setting out to teach her anything, but we involve her in lots of aspects of our daily lives and run with it when she finds something interesting.

Her most recent 'game' is sorting the cutlery into the draining rack while 'helping' wash the dishes.

Good Stuff

Apr. 6th, 2016 10:45 am
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 Even days when you're feeling really down can have high points.

Oswin said "Granny" for the first time!


Mar. 22nd, 2016 04:05 pm
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 It is a distinct possibility that nothing in this world gives better value for money than two slices of brown bread (white bread isn't very good for them) fed to a flock of hungry ducks by a delighted toddler.

Oswin was laughing and smiling and having a wonderful time, and grandad and myself were having almost as much fun watching her.

She can say 'duck' now and also said 'gull' when one flew overhead.

Ducks make wonderful ambassadors for wildlife. They can fly and walk and swim.  They interact well with people. They have cute ducklings in places where people can go 'ah' over them.  Never underestimate the value of common wild animals.  
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 Most of Oswin's early words seem to fall into what I call a 'social' category.

This might be because those are the ones I'm noticing - because they're very easy to spot in context -or it may be the ones she prefers.

This actually raises a lot of interesting questions about the way we learn language and how we use it.

What do I mean by 'social'?

Phrases like "Thank you", "Bless you", "Here you are" (when giving you something), and "No, no, no, that one," (when trying to spot the correct picture in  a puzzle book) are all social interaction, but are not directly asking for anything.

Words like 'milk' are starting to appear, but she already knew to ask for milk by pointing at the fridge.  I don't think of these as 'social'. They serve a specific purpose - that of getting a wanted item.

There are all sorts of reasons why she may have social words first, so I'll just toss in a few random thoughts and those who work with kids or have grandchildren/children of their own may toss in any contributions they feel like.

1.  Social interaction is what makes us human.  The ability to form social connections may be just as important as the ability to gain food.
(She's got an army of slaves who are good at guessing what she wants.  Keeping the slaves happy is important.)

2.  Her family babble a lot of social nonsense at her and she's just imitating what she hears most of.  (We're all social animals and we copy one another)

3.  Genetic variation.  Some people are better socialisers than others. She's maybe going to grow up as a real people person (She's very good at charming staff in shops, though I suspect most toddlers have this skill.)

More words

Feb. 15th, 2016 09:05 am
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 Sometimes the early words that children say can tell you an awful lot about their families.

Confirmed words for Oswin now include 'dice'.

However, my current favourite (and bear in mind that there are only about a dozen really recognisable words so far) is this one.  If someone sneezes, she instantly says 'blesh'.  ('bless you')

Now try and guess just how many of our family have had this wretched cough/cold since Xmas!
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 Oswin will be two in April.  She has very few words as yet (I can recognise her word for 'cheese' now - she has her priorities right), but her comprehension is well developed.

Usually Richard puts her to bed when she stays overnight with us, but he's out this evening so I did it instead.

I read her a bedtime story and pop her in the cot.  Unhappy, Oswin stands up immediately and looks ready to have a paddy if I leave the room.

"If you lie down, Granny will sing a song to you."

Looks hesitant, but lies down.

I start singing a song I learnt at school.  The 'Uist Tramping Song'.  Haven't sung that in years, don't even know why it came into my head.  ]

Oswin listens for half a verse, then starts to sit up again.

"No, you have to stay lying down."

She lies down again.  I finish the song, give her the 'Manchester Rambler' for good luck and she's out.  Fast asleep and dead to the world.

I see lots of songs in my future. I regard this as a good thing.  

I'm looking forward to the day when she'll be able to sing all these songs with me.

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 Oswin has a recognisable word now, and it's not one I would have guessed at as a first word.

It's 'ag da', but it's meaning is very clear.

Whenever you give her something, she says: "ag da"

It means 'thank you."

Which is rather lovely.
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 You'll have to follow the link to view this one as I couldn't get it to upload to youtube.

Oswin is a happy little soul, and she loves to play games.  In this little video, she's playing ball with Granny (me).

She has only one word at present: "Da" means "Tell me what that is called."
She can probably understand a good hundred words by now.  If you ask her to bring you something, she'll generally come back with the right item, and she's very good at pointing to the correct picture in books.

Everyone should have a toddler in their lives - they're a great source of enjoyment.  But they're even more fun when you can hand them back to their parents at the end of the day!  Being a granny definitely beats being a full-time parent.  Being a parent is seriously hard work.

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 One of the fascinating things about toddlers is that the more one is aware of how difficult it is to create artificial intelligence, the more impressive are the learning feats that they achieve.

By the age of 1 and a half, Oswin has got a good awareness of where her body is. She can integrate the feedback from numerous nerves and muscles to know not only where her hand currently is, but what combination of muscles (and just look at a human anatomy diagram to see just how many there are in the hand and arm alone) and in what order is required to move her hand to a particular position.

She can coordinate the hand, while at the same time adjusting her body balance to compensate for that movement and avoid falling over.

Science has finally give us walking robots, but even the best of them still walk in a very flat-footed manner.  Oswin hasn't got full use of her legs yet.  She can toddle quite fast now and is getting some bend in her foot, but it will be a fair time before she is able to run.

Running robots are on the way, will she be able to run before we get a convincing running robot?  Hard to say, but I'm sure she'll do it with less computing power.

She also has pattern recognition and an impressive ability to recognise objects of very different visual appearance as belonging to the same category.  She knows that an armchair and a dining chair are both 'chairs'.

She understands possessive nouns.  "Granny's hand" is different from "Oswin's hand".

She can process instructions given verbally. "Give Grandad the marble"

Within a year, she will be able to speak herself, gradually mastering the incredible complexities of English language and grammar over the next decade.

She will learn to sing, dance, play music, tell jokes and eventually programme computers herself.

Human beings are amazing.

Artificial intelligence is catching up, but the average toddler has a truly amazing skill set.  And they're self-replicating too.


Sadly, I can't embed this link, but here, she's demonstrating how to fit pieces of helter skelter together.  Not easy for a robot, given that the pieces do not start in fixed positions.  Also, it was the first time she'd encountered the toy, so no prior programming.
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 Oswin's being very good and a great distraction from the stress of redundancy and unemployment.

She's one and a half now and a happy little soul. Although she can't say any words yet, she has a wide range that she understands.

Phrases like "Give Grandad a bowl" or "Show me the curtains" get the correct response.

New words are being added daily.  When we go for a walk, learning new words is part of the game.  'Tree' and 'lamp post' got added to the list today.  You know she's got it when you ask her to show you one and she walks forward and touches it.

We also dropped in on a local toddler's 'jingle' session and we'll probably take her again next week.  She enjoyed some of the action rhymes and playing with various shakers and bells.  It was good to see her start interacting with other children towards the end of the session.

(If one has to be out of work, at least the plus side is that it happened at a time  when her parents really needed a regular break - an energetic toddler can be the last straw when you're already under the weather.)


Jul. 20th, 2015 11:56 am
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 Oswin is really starting to understand stuff now.

Her babble is mostly babble, but their are definite sounds that mean things like "I want that"

Her understanding was really brought home to me yesterday.  She was trying to reach something on the other side of the table, so I tried to distract her by asking if she'd like to play "Round and round the garden like a teddy bear"

She instantly sat up, held out her hand and pointed to the palm.

(For those few among you who don't know the game, it involves me walking my fingers round the palm of her hand and then tickling her under the armpit)

I love this age when they learn so much so fast.

Babies are cute.  Toddlers are an absolute menace, but they're also far more interesting.
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 Oswin continues to be amazing and adorable.

Embedded image permalink

We took her into Poole last week.  Her mums said she likes to go for long walks with her brick trolley and indeed she does.  She can't quite walk on her own yet, but with her brick trolley to hold on to, she walked round a fair bit of Poole Park and later on she pushed it half way up Poole High street. She probably managed at least half a mile in total.

Fascinating to watch the reaction of other people to this tiny tot making her way up the street.  Lots of people smiled at her and said 'hello'.  Oswin likes people who say 'hello'.

I felt sorry for all those kids in pushchairs.  Far more dull.

When Oswin goes at her own pace, she can stop whenever she finds something interesting and then carry on at her leisure.  If she gets tired, she gets picked up and carried for a while, but she's soon happy to be making her own way again.

Her hair is still pretty short (but lovely to stroke).  Maybe she'll need a haircut by her second birthday...


Apr. 3rd, 2015 06:43 pm
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 Babies are amazing.   I notice this far more with my granddaughter than with my own kids, mostly because I now have an idea of just how difficult it is to create artificial intelligence.

I watch her gradually learn how to do things and realise just how difficult they would be to program into a computer.

If she's watching herself in a mirror and Richard walks into the image, she'll turn around to see him for real.  

Not only has she worked out that it is Grandad in the reflection, but she is looking in the correct place behind and to one side of her.

That requires knowledge of optics, an awareness of people as independent entities and almost certainly a recognition of her own image as herself.

She's fascinated by mirrors, always has been.  We were walking her round Curry's yesterday - it was too wet to take her for a walk outside and we needed to replace our leaking kettle in any case - and she got really cross at one point and wanted to go the other way.  We hadn't realised that some of the cookers had reflective doors and that was what she was wanting to see.

It's only ten days until her first birthday and I can't believe how fast the time has gone.  That tiny premature baby is now a growing girl who seems to be bigger every week.  She's full of curiosity, loves to  go places and meet people.  She likes being read stories, walking everywhere (still needs to hold onto hands to stay upright, but she leaves you in no doubt that she wants to walk), loves music and songs, and it's a real delight to watch her grow and develop.
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 It's a curious thing, but us having Oswin for a day each week is relaxing for both us and her parents.

Carrie gets a day off (which I know how much I wanted when mine were this age), but Richard and I actually get to relax as well.

The presence of Oswin means that we don't spend all our time on the computer doing things that we think are work.  We go out for a walk, stroll along the river, take her charity shop hunting and generally chill out.  Even at home, we tend to sit in the lounge and play silly games, tell her stories and watch with amusement as she finds new ways of moving around the lounge.

She's a happy baby and that's infectious.  Peek a boo can be riotously funny when you're playing it with a baby/toddler who has grasped the rules and is hiding her own face from you with a cloth and then pulling it away.

Playing with a pop up doll makes her giggle and makes me giggle in turn.

She loves babbling and chatting and I happily talk nonsense back to her.  She likes listening when I'm practicing playing morris tunes on recorder or concertina.  She smiles when I sing to her.

Richard must read 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' every visit, but she still loves it and he still loves reading it to her.  She listens with interest (even though she has no idea what it's about), pokes her fingers through the holes in the fruit, turns to her favourite pages (she only likes the fruit, not the page with the chocolate cake, etc) and waits for you to start all over again when you reach the end.

Having her every day would be horrendous, but once a week is fantastic!
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 As Oswin was elected Ruler of the Universe at Redemption 2015, I felt that it was time to give you her version of the budget.

Here, in it's full, uncensored form, is the video of Oswin's budget speech.

I can't possibly give you a full translation, but her comment re the daleks sound distinctly like 'Kill them' -- which seems apropriate given her namesake.

Follow this link plus.google.com/photos/+JudithProctor/albums/6129485596906825105/6129487080183499842

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 Oswin is developing so fast now, you can see changes over a couple of days.

She's still small for her age, but she's no longer skinny.

She's alert, active and loves being with people.  She's not yet crawling, but some of her parent's families chose to walk before crawling, so she may follow suit there. In the meantime, she has games that she loves to play that often result in adults half collapsing in laughter (which I'm sure is half of what she enjoys about them).  She also loves songs, we've yet to sing anything to her that she doesn't enjoy.

See this clip for the head-shaking game...

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 Lindsey uploaded the video to You Tube so that it would be visible to those of you who couldn't see the previous link.

It's worth the wait, even though the picture quality from the mobile phone isn't brilliant.

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 I can't quite figure out how to embed this particular video -  but trust me, it's worth following the link for.  One of Oswin's favourite games at present is to lie on Lindsey's knees, kick her in the stomach and propel herself backwards until she dives headfirst to the floor, being caught by her mum at the last moment.  She comes up smiling every time.

It's hard not to gasp/laugh when watching it.  If you hear someone laughing in the background that's me.  If you hear someone killing zombies in the background, that's just what happens when you have a sprog at an RPG session...

Methinks she's going to grow up being the confident, adventurous type!

Oswin video

Jul. 4th, 2014 07:07 pm
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 This is absolutely delightful

Listen to the little noises Oswin makes as she realises something interesting happens when she waves her arms about.

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 Spent a day looking after Oswin as her parent's house needed spraying for fleas (the dog has an allergy to fleas).

She had  a play early on (she seems to like having a good kick and wriggle with no nappy on) and that got her nice and tired.  
We were out in the garden and  she seems fascinated by all the moving leaves and the sound of birds, etc.
After her feed, she went to sleep, so we went to Wimborne Model Town.  

We've lived close to it for many years and never actually been there other than on business for the Folk Festival.  I though it would be a good place to take Oswin as it's close to home and I was using the excuse of baby-sitting to have a day off from work and the computer.  We had a pleasant walk round the model town - the garden is really half the reason for going there - it's maintained by a keen group of volunteers.

Oswin's pushchair has a parasol so we were able to take her all round without risking sunburn.  To my surprise, she slept right through, even while we had lunch, not even waking up when we went home!

 I think I'll take her there again when she's a bit older.  There's half a dozen Wendy houses which other children were happily playing in, and a putting green, as well as all the model houses and a giant garden chess set.

The models were made in the 1950s and it was quite interesting to spot the differences between then and now.  About one business in ten is still there in its original shop, though often changed dramatically.  The surviving butcher now specialises in game.  The shop that used to sell radios and bicycles is now selling electrical goods.  (bicycles and radios must have been a common combination as two of the old shops did that).  There were also lots of bakers, grocers, general stores, butches, and greengrocers.  Nearly all gone now - supermarkets have taken over that role in towns.

After she woke up we had another play and then her feed.  Sadly, she was feeling rather giizzly afterwards and would only settle to sleep after a walk in the baby sling and then would only stay happy if she was sleeping on my chest while I lay back in a comfy chair and watched the TV (her parents have the same problem)

If we get to have Oswin for the day again, I think I might go for  walk along the river.  There's a path that should have a firm enough surface for the pushchair.  It's nice to spend a day focusing on Oswin rather than the computer.
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 Oswin's just been to visit her great-grandparents.  Here she is with my mum and dad.


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Judith Proctor


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