For someone who was born and bred on the coast, Amelie seems to have remarkable difficulty identifying sea creatures. Which is odd, as she can recognise lions, elephants and dinosaurs from a mile away, and there are no more than a handful of those in Brighton. Not only does she insist that the cuddly manatee we bought from Dallas Aquarium is a dolphin, but she claims the fish on the left is a goose.
Mind you, it could just be her eyesight. Let's face it, she once saw Louie Spence from Pineapple Dance Studios and shouted "Daddy!". Which is worrying on so many levels.
But the green gosling above is currently her favourite creature, because every time she sees its smiling waterfowl face, she knows she's going to play a game with her father. Or farmer. But probably me.
Over the past couple of months, she and I have become big fans of Big Fish Games, a website which allows you to play dozens of casual games free of charge for one hour. Which suits us just fine because she's got a short attention span and I've got no money. Our favourites are 'Hidden Object Games' - computer versions of I-Spy, which eschew the latest groundbreaking 3D graphics technology in favour of a simple picture where you basically just have to find stuff. We can spend hours (one on each game - I'm not paying for this kind of junk) on the sofa with a laptop, trying to spot cows, guitars and standard lamps in an average seaside beach scene.
See if you can find the butterfly here...
... but if you spot it first, you have to let Amelie click on it, otherwise she gets stroppy and starts chucking Ribena around.
Anyhoo, until today, this activity hadn't cost me a penny, but all that changed about an hour ago, because having tried numerous such games over the past few weeks, we finally found one worth paying for. It's called 'Hidden Object Crosswords', and adds a whole new level of depth to an admittedly shallow genre, by making you solve crossword clues before finding the answer in a picture. It's the perfect father-daughter educational tool. I solve the clues, Amelie finds the objects, then I spell out the letters and we both fill in the crossword.
Having spent an hour playing it together on the sofa last night, Amelie's already learnt the letters 'I' and 'P'. Mainly because she's self-obsessed and currently potty-training. So the $4.99 I've just forked out for the full version should be money well spent. Give me a week and I'll have her reciting the whole alphabet. Or at least the rest of the word 'Ipswich'.