Tag Archives: children

To plonk yourself

plonk meaning

Photo credit: micro-scooters.co.uk

Today I ventured out to a BuggyFit class with Alisa in tow for the third time. I really like that she gets some fresh air, while mummy gets some exercise.

It is a bit of a faff to get Alisa in the car, get the buggy in the car, drive, then repeat in the reverse order, but it’s totally worth it (especially when I get to learn a new phrase on the way).

As I was pushing the buggy from the car to the meeting point there were a couple of kids riding towards us on their scooters, and one suddenly cut across, totally oblivious of everyone else, and got told off by his mum. ‘You just plonked yourself in front of this lady with a baby’, she said.

I knew that you could ‘plonk yourself on the sofa’, but I didn’t know that you could ‘plonk yourself‘ somewhere while riding a scooter!

Here’re some more examples:

  • Bored with sarnies? Pick up a Tiffin box packed with curry, dhal, nan bread, Indian desserts and a Cobra beer or soft drink from Voujon on Newington Road. Then plonk yourself in the Botanic Garden  (The Guardian).
  • Just minutes from fairytale Lake Vyrnwy, this Welsh farmhouse has oak beams and log fires. You can plonk yourself in the hot tub, pour a glass of fizz and gaze out over mid-Welsh hills (The Guardian). – Oh I’d love that.
  • Grab a heap of books, plonk yourself down with your baby on your knee, and begin. Turn the pages, point to the pictures, and ENJOY  (The Guardian).
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To wrap someone in cotton wool

to wrap somebody in cotton wool

Photo credit: uk.lifestyle.yahoo.com

I know my posts are becoming more and more spaced out, but I’m not giving up on this blog! So here’s a quick post on a new phrase that I heard on the radio. I teach on Saturday mornings and on my way there and back I like to listen to BBC Radio 4, so last week I caught Desert Island Disks with Warwick Davis. He talked about his rare genetic disorder, but said that despite his ill health his parents never wrapped him in cotton wool. This means to be overprotective towards someone (usually a child, I would assume).

Here are some more examples:

  • Wrapping your children in cotton wool and living every day as if a multitude of dangers were each crowding out the other to get their fangs into them still seems to me an unhealthy message to broadcast. If your parents allow you to climb trees, sometimes you will fall off them. If you’re allowed to go wandering alone in a wood, sometimes you’re going to get lost (The Guardian).
  • Constantly wrapping children in cotton wool can leave them ill equipped to deal with stressful or challenging situations they might encounter later in life… Cotton-wool parenting is taxing for the parent; wearing for the child. And it’s unnecessary (Bikehub.co.uk)

I wonder if I am a cotton-wool parent? At times I think I am rather irresponsible, but not unreasonably so.

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Toe-curling

toe-curling phrase

Photo credit: baby.about.com

Yesterday I got a text message from my friend to say that she has had a baby and I was welcome to visit her at the hospital. I popped in during the visiting hours (rushed in, really, after a trip to Bath) and spent at least half an hour admiring her and her newborn daughter – they both looked amazing! It turned out they were about to be discharged and a nurse came by to go through some important information and as I missed my chance to say goodbye before that I was hanging around and overheard their conversation about breastfeeding. The nurse said it could be ‘toe-curling‘ in the beginning, but then new mothers get used to it.

This was a genuinely new word for me, which means ‘very embarrassing or excessively sentimental’ (Oxford Dictionaries).

Here are some examples:

– The self-satisfaction and smugness of the text is toe-curling and its frequent sickening doses of sentimentality are like being forced-fed chopped liver with chicken fat (Oxford Dictionaries).

-I am sitting across a table from my sister-in-law, outside a small Italian restaurant, reading her a letter. As experiences go, it’s toe-curling. I am telling her everything I’m grateful to her for. It’s like a bad episode of Oprah. Surely us Brits aren’t built for this stuff? But according to Action for Happiness, little things like this can really improve our lives (The Guardian).

– More toe-curling attempts to make opera ‘cool’? Stop it, pleads Tom Service – it’s doing just fine as it is (The Guardian).

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‘Thank you’, ‘Please’ and the magic words

thank you in english

Photo credit: Margaret Littman, Tribune Newspapers

When I was initially thinking about how to structure this blog, I was considering (and many people were encouraging me) to write it in Russian. I thought that would somewhat limit the number of potential readers, so I decided to go with English. However, sometimes I come across phrases that have perfect Russian equivalents (and I have a thing for perfect equivalents – as if something in my mind clicks and the missing piece of a puzzle falls into place), so I can’t resist mentioning them.

Yesterday I spent about an hour reading a book in a café and there was a mother with a 5- or 6-year old daughter at the next table. At some point she was given something sweet, I think, but forgot to say ‘Thank you’. To which her mother replied ‘I think the word ‘thank you’ was lacking‘. I immediately thought of how in Russian we say ‘А где же волшебное слово?’ (‘And what about the magic word’) when we want a child to be polite and say ‘Please’. To me that’s a near-perfect equivalent!

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