Did anyone in Gosport hear the sound of exasperation from the Howard household? 

Kieran's son Louie was flabbergasted at his family's attempts to make the toy train work
Kieran's son Louie was flabbergasted at his family's attempts to make the toy train work

How many adults does it take to fail to figure out a simple child’s toy? Answer – four.  And how many toddlers does it take to work out the same toy? Just one.

Clearly, problem-solving isn’t one of the Howards’ strengths as we reach adulthood.

We failed miserably as we attempted to decipher instructions for the little man’s latest gadget – a friction, light and sound high-speed train.

It was brought back for him by Nanny and Grandad Gosport. 

They’d been on a cruise aboard the Marella Discovery.

It included a trip from St Petersburg to Moscow on the same train as Louie’s gift. 

All I can say is, I really hope the real-life version is easier to operate than the imitation.

If it's not, then nobody will see it coming in the dark.

In our defence, though – if we’re even allowed a defence here – the instructions we were trying to decode were in Russian.

I’m barely fluent in English, so you can understand our struggle.

That said, there were clear illustrations to accompany the directions, albeit obviously not clear enough for us. 

Four adults, with a combined age of 212, should really have been able to get it fully functioning.

Louie watched on in disbelief and disgust as we eventually had to admit defeat. 

We managed to get the thing mobile early on in our battle, which we considered a success. 

But, for the life of us, we couldn't establish how sound or light were produced. 

We double checked we’d pulled out that bit of plastic which sparks the battery into life. Sure enough, we had. See, we’re not totally stupid. 

We pushed down on it, squeezed it, poked it, prodded it, but the only noise heard was the sound of exasperation from two over-70s and two over-30s. 

We handed it over to Louie, who had been patiently waiting to get his mitts on it.

Our intention was to return to it later and have another go, expecting the outcome to be different after a break.

Within 30 seconds of our boy having possession of it, we suddenly heard the distinctive sound of a train, followed by a female voice speaking in Russian – his aunty Gulnara has since kindly translated for us.

We looked round to see a beaming smile and white glow shining brightly from the front of the engine. 

A two-year-old had managed to accomplish what we couldn't. I sometimes wonder who’s the adult and who’s the child in our family.

Bye bye dear poo poo!

If you’re eating your breakfast, lunch or dinner, or even just snacking at the moment, I’d strongly urge you to look away now. 

You can always return to this when you've finished your food and everything’s been digested. It’s probably for the best.
What follows is toilet-related and contains content which some readers may find distressing. 
Louie’s slightly less than normal behaviour took a new twist this week while on a visit to the downstairs lavatory.
He’d just finished doing his business and had turned to flush the chain, when he promptly began waving goodbye to the items he'd just produced from his bottom.
It was something I’d never witnessed him do before, but he clearly felt the need to on this occasion.
As they were flushed into the abyss, he loudly and affectionately shouted, ‘bye bye poo, see you later’.

It was like he was saying farewell to one of his friends.
I get the same parting words from him when I head off to work, minus the ‘poo’ bit of course.
I’m just glad he didn’t try to also offer them a kiss and hug like he does me when I leave home.
Call me weak, but I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he wouldn’t see them later and that those poos were gone forever.