He's been picking up the words to various songs and nursery rhymes at a steady rate lately. A couple of his current favourites are Baa Baa Black Sheep ("baa baa baaaaaa") and Row, Row, Row the Boat ("rooo rooo roooooo").
He's also picked up some bits and bobs of Twinkle Twinkle and he knows most of the actions to The Wheels on the Bus. But one that he has not quite got to grips with just yet is Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes....partly because half way through his attempts at learning it, he developed a bout of a horrendous and little-known disease.
It is important to point out that this is NOT the same disease made famous by the 2001 outbreak of Foot & Mouth, despite what some people may try and have us believe....
The outbreak all began during a work trip to Berlin at the end of October. (work trip for me, not Marley).
I received a photo message while there, which showed a few spots on his little hands. He'd had some trouble eating that day and seemed to have a bit of pain in his mouth.
Hand foot and mouth, my wife was told. Stay away from nursery.
I returned home a few days later, and Marley seemed fairly happy. The spots were disappearing, he'd got his appetite back. Everything was getting back to normal.
Marley and I moments after I got back from Berlin
Or so we thought.
Day Two back home. I notice a couple of dry spots on my hand. What's that?
Must be the cold weather coming in, I think. Nothing to worry about.
Day Three. They have got worse. Red spots. On my feet as well. And what is that by my mouth? Some small, red patches.....oh, God.....
Day Four. The itching has begun. When I look back now, I don't remember it being that bad. But then my wife reminds me of what I said during the night of Day Four:
"I want to cut my hands and feet off".
Day Five. My mouth is on fire. I can't eat.
On Day 6, thankfully things started to get better. So by Day 7 I had my appetite back and things began to gradually improve. It was another full week before the skin on my hands and feet healed and I was able to actually see other people without risking giving them a bout of this horrific disease.
Speaking to a friend who is a GP, he advised that the disease can often be much worse in adults than in children. He also said that in some cases, the disease can return (please God no) but this is very unusual.
Anyway, the moral of the story is that if you hear of ANYONE with Hand, Foot & Mouth disease, whether they are children or adults, stay the hell away from them!
In the meantime, we'll go back to teaching Marley some more nursery rhymes.
Here goes, Marley:
"Heads, shoulders, hand foot and mouth.....hand foot and mouth......"