Where is the girl pig?

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

I tell my girl a handful of fairy stories from memory, embellishing the tale to suit. For example, Red Riding Hood uses her own axe to free Grandma from the Big Bad Wolf’s stomach. Last week, she asked for “the three bad pigs”. After explaining it was the three little pigs. I started the set-up. I described each pig and their houses.

“..and he built his house from concrete and bricks, with a lovely big fireplace-”
“Where is the girl pig?” GJ asked.

I was, I admit, stunned into silence. Then I praised her for her question, and restarted the story with

“…and she built her house from concrete and bricks, with a lovely big fireplace-”

Given in my version, the first two pigs are eaten (“OMPH!”), this meant only the girl pig survived the horrors.

Sometimes, like with Red Riding Hood, it’s easy to gender-switch a story. You might question whether I should, but I see fairy stories as folk stories. They were designed to be spoken from memory, adjusted by the teller to suit circumstances or audiences. The underlying narrative remains the same. I’ve heard versions of the three little pigs in which:

  • all the pigs live
  • the wolf is turned into wolf soup

So my version, where the first two pigs are eaten and the wolf escapes with a burnt tail, is just another variation. There’s also endless plays on it, such as the gorgeous Wolf Won’t Bite by Emily Gravett.

I admit having a pig say “no, by the hairs on my chinny chin chin!” when the pig is female threw up another moment of uncertainty. The rhyme is ingrained in the story and gives a great rhythm to it. Pigs do have hairy chins, even the female ones. But hairy chins are not considered acceptable in female humans. Luckily, Laurie Pink suggested a solution on twitter, for the day my mini-Dworkin asks me why the girl pig has a hairy chin.

@magslhalliday And why not. Kudos to her for being comfortable growing them out. I imagine pigs have less facial hair bias

laurie pink’s solution

@lauriepink or she’s too busy building her modernist concrete and brick house to get the tweezers out…

my response

@magslhalliday Good point. You never saw Frank Lloyd Wright pause for depilating, did you?

January 26, 2013

So there we are, a timebomb of a conversation about women and hair that we’ll be having in a few years time. However I am so stupidly proud that, at 2½ years, my girl is challenging gender bias. From now on, my question to myself when writing, or thinking a story is failing the Bechdel test, will be “where is the girl pig?”

Spider-cake, spider-cake…

Thursday, 26 July 2012

When shopping on Sunday I foolishly asked Georgina what she wanted on her cake. I’d been planning a Stuffy cake but no. Her response was immediately “Spider-man.” I foolishly agreed and then had several days of being reminded by her about the “Spider-man cake”. So I made a simple vanilla sponge cake, based on a hummingbird cafe cupcake recipe and iced it.
so yeah. lettering. not my strongest skill...
Clearly borrowing How to Draw the Marvel Way from the library as a teenager paid off. Although my lettering sucks.
spider-man cake
After having a portion last night, she demanded “tiny bit more” but didn’t get it. The cake recipe has 10oz of sugar in it for making 12-18 cupcakes – no way does she get more than one portion of cake a day. This morning, one of her first requests on waking was for the Spider-man cake.

I am aware you can buy professionally produced cakes in the supermarket but that’s not the point. Until she gets to an age where she is horrified by wonky homemade things, she’s getting a cake made by me. I’m just hoping she asks for something easy to do…

Now we are two

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Two years ago I had the Tour de France on in the background in a delivery room at the local hospital. This year, Georgina has got her own wheels.
next stop, the Champ Elysses
The trike is a handmedown from my neighbours, and has been locked in the bike shed for about 18 months. I don’t think she’s be rivaling Bradley Wiggins or Victoria Pembleton just yet.


Continuing the “make do and mend” theme of the day, her other big present was a handmade toy. She loves Show Me Show Me on Cbeebies. It’s an unusual show in that it doesn’t have mountains of tatty tie-in merch. So, in the footsteps of my mother’s bold attempt to make me a Bagpuss in the 70s, I made her a Stuffy.
Stuffy. we love you Stuffy. you're the hero we all adore. handmade #cbeebies toy
This is partially because she loves him, and partially because even 25 years after my last sewing class I can still make a cube. Tracking down all the fabrics took longer than the actual sewing. She’s already taken to putting things in his back pocket.

Here’s his song on the CBeebies site.

The last part of the day will be a Spider-man iced cake. I baked it last night and haven’t had a chance to ice it yet. I asked her last night what birthdays meant and she has told me it involves hats. So expect a photo she will be embarrassed about tomorrow.

She’s learnt her numbers (although is prone to starting to count at 4) and colours. She can also load the DVD player, with favourites such as Singin’ in the Rain, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Bagpuss. I moved them to a lower shelf after asking her to “put it back on the table” only to find her standing on tiptoe on a chair trying to reach the shelf where they were then kept. Her current bedtime books include The Tiger Who Came to Tea and the Tony Robinson version of Odysseus. She helps water the garden, and weed it.

More tomorrow…I have to go and ice a cake the Marvel way.

Now we are 1

Friday, 29 July 2011

So that was year 1. Here’s the final photos in the series…

tartan 12 month

baby human 12 months

New things this month include walking with her brick truck or our hands, cutting a seventh tooth, helping feed herself with the spoon. Sometimes. When she feels like it. Also, she’s had cake. And her first party. Here’s the aftermath (photo c/o Michelle Monahan).

after the party

It’s been an interesting year. I’m still on a writing sabbatical as it’s just beyond me to combine a full time job, motherhood and writing. My spare time is taken up with sorting out things like GJ’s room so there’s nothing left. I know some people would say “if you want to write you make the time”. I could make the time. I can’t make the desire though. My brain is too full of other things. And I rather like sitting reading That’s Not My Penguin* for the hundredth time, instead of sitting at a PC.

Here’s a slideshow of just the tartan rug photos.

There are also slideshows of the whole monthly series, or of other photos.

Now, I really ought to clear the backlog of book reviews, and do a second coat of satin on the door to GJ’s room, and check the bus route to a friend’s house as it’s too muggy to walk there and back, and make those salmon fishcakes, and make sure I’ve a week’s work outfits hanging up ready for Monday, and pay the sparks, and… it’s amazing how much you can cram into someone’s nap time, isn’t it?

*I’m working on a version called That’s Not My Feminist to counter the range’s actual girly books of That’s Not My Princess, That’s Not My Dolly, etc.

11 months

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Gosh, doesn’t time fly? ;)
I was very late with the 10 month photos, but here we are on 11 months already.

tartan - 11 months
baby human - 11 months

I was unconvinced about modesty pants/bloomers/pantaloons when I first discovered all little girl summer outfits come with them. What is wrong with seeing a nappy, I wondered. Then I saw GJ’s cloth-nappied bottom in a set of bloomers and laughed so hard I’ve decided I like them.

You’ll also see she’s in a red and white striped t-shirt now instead of the long sleeved top for the first 10 months. That’s mostly because she’s outgrown it. Back when I first used it, I had to roll the sleeves up three times.
tartan - 1 month

This month is all about handing things to people, or putting things inside other things.

10 months

Saturday, 25 June 2011

I’m now so late with these updates that I took the 11 months photos before I could post the 10 month ones. I’m back at work and trying to decorate GJ’s room…well, that’s my excuse. So this was a month ago.

tartan - 10 months

baby human - 10 months

We took her to a farm,
big pigs
and Bristol Comics Con where she followed my tradition there of crawling around the bar (no photo). Here she is on the HST back, which she enjoyed a lot.
another train!

I can’t really cover what new developments there were, as I can’t now remember!

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