PARENTS

Terrible Twos: Lightning Reflexes

29/08/2012 15:06 | Updated 22 May 2015
Toddler with a snailAlamy

I might have mentioned before in this column that Ruby seems to do everything at high speed (apart from when I need to get somewhere, that is, when she Wombles along picking up everything she finds).

She has always reminded me a bit of the character Dash, in the Disney Pixar film The Incredibles. When her head says 'run!', her legs just start going like a blur, and the expression on her face seems to suggest she's not entirely in control of them. It's half hysterically funny, and half terribly worrying.

Anyway, the other week, out in the garden, Ruby gave her dad and I cause to suspect she is, in fact, more The Matrix than The Incredibles. Seriously, the child has the reflexes of Jackie Chan.

To explain, Ru was doing her usual rounds: first she stopped in the herb garden, and jumped up and down on the spot when she found some snails. She collected them all in a bucket, of course, which she does every day. She never seems to be upset that they all make a slimy run (!) for it and the entire process will have to be repeated.

Then she went and rummaged around in the fallen bamboo leaves and exulted over discovering three woodlice. Next stop, the pyracantha, which is some sort of haven for spiders. Ruby spent a good few minutes throwing tiny clover petals into the webs and watching the spiders removing them (I taught her that – is it wrong to tease spiders in this way? I just love how they are so house proud, they simply can't have mess in their webs).

After that she pootled up the garden, picking up this and that, having a quick dig in the sand and so on. Suddenly, she sounded exceedingly excited:

"MUMMY! DADDY! MADDY! DUMMY! C'MERE QUIIIIICK!" (she gets her syllables confused sometimes – I maintain that I am Maddy and he is Dummy).

I have to admit, Dan and I didn't race up the garden to see what she'd found – mostly because the reason for this sort of commotion is often, you know, a slug or a feather or something. No, we didn't race, we ambled. But when we got to her, we were quite surprised.

Ruby was holding a fly ("Issa FRRRRYYYY!").

Not a dead fly, a very alive fly.

WHO has EVER managed to just pick up a fly?! I know what you're thinking, it must have been injured, or dopey and slow. But it wasn't. It was quite angry, I think, and it was buzzing furiously. After she showed it to us, she let it go and it flew off like the bloody clappers.

See? Think Neo in The Matrix. Only he would be able to pick up a fly. Him and Jackie Chan.

So what I have been trying to work out is how best to nurture and utilise this superhuman lighting-handed skill. Might I be able to get her interested in dusting and polishing?! I could have a properly clean house for the first time in four years! Or perhaps emptying the dishwasher? No that could be messy, I'm not nearly Greek enough to enjoy plate smashing. Hoovering?

Suggestions on a postcard (or below) please!

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