Monday, April 14, 2008


It's been a bit quiet here at Prawn Central recently. Since starting on my meds, I've been trying to keep my head down, take deep breaths and get on with things.

The Prawn has developed into quite a little conversationalist recently. It's been convenient for those moments when I needed to get something accomplished in the kitchen and was always able to pinpoint her location in the flat from the endless stream of chatter that issues forth. There are a few words that are clearer than others. Her first word, guitar, is a clear favorite, said at varying levels of inflection depending on the mood of the speaker. "geeTA," for instance, can conceivably mean, "Look, mother, there appears to be a guitar hanging on the wall." "GEEta," is more like, "Father, you appear to be playing a guitar. Allow me to assist you by stealing your pick and attempting to ingest it." Whereas "GEETAAAAA!" generally means, "Attention parental units: you decision to remove the guitar from my sticky-fingered grasp is one that you are likely to regret imminently."

We've also made our first linguistic forays into the world of barnyard animals. Her favorite playthings, ever since the age of 6 months or so, has been a set of DK picture cards, which feature many toddler favorites such as "cat", "dog", "sheep" and "sweater". (For some reason, "sweater" kept turning up in the animal box. It was most disconcerting.) It occurred to me that this admission might lead people to believe that we are "those" parents who consistently shove flashcards underneath their progeny's nose, determinedly willing them on to academic excellence despite the fact that they're still predisposed to eating week old Cheerios from under the sofa. I swear to god that we're not. Our holiday companions brought some along for their 2 year old and the Prawn seemed fascinated, so we picked up a pack for ourselves.

The Prawn seems to dig on animals. At the moment, she seems to have a "cow" thing going on, so we were thrilled to have a chance to take her to a dairy farm that a friend of ours works on to show her the real thing. Our friend, The Colombian, is possibly the most laid back person we have ever personally met in real life, and seems to very much enjoy his job, despite the fact that it drags him out of bed at 4am every morning. He refers to his cows as his "ladies".

As soon as we hauled the Prawn from her car seat, she pointed at the nearest cow and shouted, "MOOOOOOOO!"

We were lucky enough to be there at a moment when one of the heifers was about to calve, so the Colombian invited us into the stall to watch the blessed event. I was vaguely hesitant as the stall also contained about 16 other cows and a 1.2 ton bull. "Oh him?" the Colombian said, when I asked him if he was sure all would be well, "Tommy's okay." This is not entirely fitting with my experience of bulls, nor of the Colombian's (he was once attacked by another bull on the farm twice in about 15 minutes. "It was like being hit by a car and then having the driver realize he didn't hit you hard enough the first time and then coming back to run you over again.") so I was still a little wary taking the Prawn into the bovine domain, despite Tommy's glowing character reference. However, Tommy seemed to take much less interest in the proceedings than the rest of the herd, quietly retiring to a corner to possibly contemplate his absolutely enormous testicles.

For The Colombian, birthing calves is like doing paperwork, so he chatted to us merrily while elbow deep up the backside of a clearly uncomfortable cow. (One wonders what it must feel like to try to give birth to something with 4 legs.) "Hello, mate!" he exclaimed, as the calf's head became visible, "Welcome to being a cow!" The Prawn, at this point, was unimpressed and desperately squirming in Mr. DD's grasp in order to be allowed to roam freely among the beasts and among their many leavings. "Dude, this is the miracle of life happening right here," we kept trying to tell her. "Dude," she seemed to say in return, "I see some cow shit that I would desperately like on the knees of my jeans, so hands off!"

The calf, a little bull, was finally delivered. "You want me to take your picture with him?" asked the Colombian, reaching for the camera I was holding. (which happened to be my future-sister-in-law's) "Erm..." I said, shrinking back, "maybe you should wash your hands first." He looked down at his hands, covered in every conceivable cow fluid imaginable, in surprise. "Oh, yeah!" he laughed, going to dunk them in a not much cleaner water trough. (I was just imagining my sister-in-law's reaction. "Um, why is there after-birth on my camera?")

Such was the Prawn's first introduction to "cow" and all it entails.


MsPrufrock said...

P loves her flash cards, and I feel like that annoying parent that you mention. She has a stack of cards which are various items, but she adores going through them with me. I feel like people might think I'm pressuring her to learn them, but I swear I'm not!

P is an animal obsessive, with the current favourite being birds. She sees birds and shouts "BIRDS! BIRDS!", never "birds, birds!" Always with the screaming. She's be so jealous at The Prawn's cow experience though. I won't tell her about it, lest jealousy get the best of her.

Suzie said...

My little one juts says dadadada Ive been trying for mommy but its a no go. Why is birth always such a messy afair?

Becky said...

Ben loved his flash cards too.

And Prawn sounds like a formidable opponent to my Alex, what with the wanting to GET INTO everything.

Hope you're feeling better, Rockmomma.

Margaret said...

That is hilarious! You tell a great story. Maybe this is the post that should have been called 'Dig Deep'!

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