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We’ve gone back to Cbeebies recently. Topsy & Tim is on every afternoon at 5.30, and as H has been brought up on the books (we have rather a lot of them) we obviously have to watch the programme. But it’s weird, it has brought about an all-new H.

On Monday as the titles started, I said excitedly “ooh look! There’s the map from the books!!” to which she replied “SHUSH Mummy! I’m listening!” and proceeded to watch the tv without acknowledging I was there. That’s never happened before.

Tuesday and Shaun watched an episode later on, as we knew H loved the show and it was her new favourite. “Daddy!!! You’re not allowed to watch it without me!!” she said. I’ve asked her recently what kinds of programmes she thinks we watch when she goes to bed. “Oh, boring grown up programmes, like The News, Tottenham Hotspur games and stuff”

She’s not that wrong….

Yesterday we watched it a bit later as it clashes with swimming lessons, thank goodness for the V+ box – Shaun joined her while I made tea. “Daddy! SHUSH!” she said a few times, and also apparently she wasn’t ‘comfortable’ to watch it.

Today however, we’re okay. I cuddled up to her and we watched it together. I had the position just right so I could see her face and what she thought – and it struck me. Okay, we don’t own our own house but it’s still our home and we make the best of it. But listening to the parents in the show talk, the show is from the perspective of the two four year olds, and that’s what she loves – she’s completely relating to it in relation to her own life. They do normal things like shopping and having friends over to play and it’s real life in a short ten minute episode.

That, and when I hear the parents talk I hear Shaun and I.

That’s why she’s so engrossed in it – it’s a bit like her life on tv. Nothing fancy, nothing flash, like a soap opera for four year olds where only nice things happen. Topsy and Tim are HER friends too, she’s making the distinction between book and cartoon characters, as well as real life people playing fictional characters. It’s quite an interesting change too – programmes like Lazytown might have people in it, but it’s not real life stories – same with films like Mary Poppins – there’s the ‘magic’ element.

I can live with that.

It reminds me of the time I was sat in the pub with my friend, ‘Once In A Lifetime’ by the Talking Heads came on the jukebox, and she insisted on us not talking for the duration while she held her head up in the air and listened to it. I found it a bit odd at the time (you’re in a pub, you can get the track anywhere, it’s not like it’s long-deleted), but she wanted those few minutes to savour the song. That’s what H is doing now – savouring that wholesome tv moment.