Saturday, 31 March 2012


Grandma picked up a great little toy kitchen at a thrift store and Grace had a wonderful time amusing herself opening cupboards, turning the microwave on and laughing when it pings and loading and unloading the fridge with fake tins of beans. So Grace is cooking...

Me, I went for a run this afternoon. That's 3 out of 3 committed runs done although I don't know how far one has to run to be classed as a runner... 1.5 miles feels a little damp around the ears when I say it out loud. Nevertheless its a start and more than I did last week so keep it coming Mama!

For both of us today then, fresh air and a spring in our step. Super smashing great!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Moo! said the cow!

Grace and me have had a jolly good chinwag today. It went something like this (and it's still tickling me now):

"Grace, can you say Mama?"

"Can you say Daisy?"

"Can you say Grace?"

"Can you say Cow?"

"Grace, that's the noise a cow makes. Can you say Cow?"

Love it. The things children say...

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Once I was a Pixie...

"Once upon a time I was a Pixie. For 12 months I was safe in the knowledge I was a Pixie. I am a Pixie no more."

Grace has moved up class in nursery to the toddler room or 'Imps and Sprites' as they call it. Cute. But not smooth.

Grace is resenting the move somewhat having got very comfy in the room at the end with her pals Sandy, Doromey and Lydia, and we're experiencing a bit of drama on a morning when we drop her off. By the time I phone at half eight, she's settled in fine and eaten her breakfast but for that nanosecond when I leave her it does rather tug at the old battle-hardened heart strings. Awwww.

She'll be fine.

I just wish she wouldn't cling to my leg for dear life.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Early for Grass Stains?

Is there such a thing as a regression for walking? I have heard of sleep regression in toddlers, but never a walking regression. Often said to accompany development in one area, a regression can spring at any time. Sleep I was prepared for. But this?

Three days on the trot now, Grace has finished the day with a grass stains on her backside bolder than our old friend 'Katherine' from Judy Blume's controversial 70s 'Forever' novel. I'm nonplussed, until today I catch her in the act.

We're out at the RSPB reserve again, feeding the birds and generally making a little bit more noise than one might get away with if it weren't for the three toddlers in tow. Tucking my noisy-pass in my back pocket, I watch as Grace trots off into the sunshine with her friends Berry and Grace-Rebecca. All is well for a time, they're picking duck poo off the deck with their finger nails and feeding each other mealworms. And then it happens.

Grace plonks her bottom on the grass, and starts bum-shuffling across the floor. Fast. I'm stunned into silence for a moment - she's covered some turf. And her pink spotty leggings have a very telling green streak right across the backside.

Just you wait till your Father gets home, I tell her.

She repeats this grass-skimming several times throughout the day for no obvious reason other than to put my sketchy-at-best laundry skills to the test.

Let's hope Vanish lives up to it's name.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Entertainer

I have today experienced the children's party entertainer. I am alive. Just.

Dressed as Snow White with a perma-tan to rival Jordan and a cleavage to match, Juicy Lucy worked the room with what can only be described as full control. In awe, I watched as she snapped her fingers, commanded a rowdy bunch of five year olds into an orderly circle promising to give each of them a balloon animal if they did as they were asked. Nicely done.

Almost immediately the cacophony of sound that had been hurting my head since we arrived at the village hall for Evangelia's birthday party, stopped in an instant as the children listened and obeyed. I remain unsure if it's the promise of gifts or the fact that she is dressed as a Disney character holds the power - if it's the dress I may invest as I rationalise this will reap dividends on both Grace and Matt the Husband, double whammy, money well spent. That said, my boobs aren't a patch on Juicy Lucy's so I may abstain.

In the meantime I am reflecting on how an hour of my life (which I will never get back) was spent watching the new generation of party games let rip on the unsuspecting ear drums that I took along with me. Whatever happened to good old Dead Lions or Pass the Parcel? I gather parents nowadays lean towards the party entertainer to avoid having to put a prize in each layer of pass the parcel, considerable expense if you're like Evangelia with what looks to be a full class of friends. I dread to think of developments come the time Grace reaches the dizzy heights of five years old. Will we play Pass the iPad, I wonder?

Instead Juicy Lucy has them playing Beans. Runner bean (run around the room), Jumping bean (jump up and down), French bean (ooh la la) etc etc. It seems like fun and I confess I'll try this on Grace if ever I am at a loose end. The kids loved it, made a whole heap of sound, burnt loads of energy and left me feeling the need to run into the hills in search of a quiet place. But I endured.

An hour after she waltzed in, Juicy Lucy with basket of goodies slung casually over her arm, dished out the booty to the kids for being well behaved and skipped off home with a bundle of cash tucked safely into her bra. I don't know whether it's magic or tragic. She's certainly the only thirty-something this side of Disney that can pull off Snow White in daylight without looking like she's off on the razzle. I decide praise where it's due.

Grace found the whole affair rather overwhelming. After clinging to my leg for most of the party games while the bigger kids did their thing, Grace eventually ventured out from behind said leg (sturdy oak by current standards), when the bigger kids scarpered to stuff their faces on the party food leaving the dance floor empty and strewn with unwanted balloons. Merrily kicking up a storm, I realise the beauty of simplicity. A few balloons, someone to play with, and a child is content.

Grace slept like a lamb all the way home in the car, utterly spent, happy.

We both survived the party entertainer.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Spring has sprung

I know it's Spring when I see the first lambs of the season, and there's nowhere better to see them than at our local farm. Grace and her little friend Scarlett had a wonderful morning exploring the farm animals, with the chickens and the donkeys being firm favourites. For the time being, the cow shed is off limits for us as Grace appears to be terrified of the collective Moo as the sound bounces off the walls and makes a right racket. Most scary indeed!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Talking of Essex

Pot kettle black. That's what my family are thinking.

I must confess there's not a lot wrong with Arg a.k.a. James Argent or TOWIE for that matter. Agreed, the photos of him in the recent release of NOW Magazine aren't the most flattering (catching his good side, his bad side and in the beach shot, his backside too) but I don't care much for picking on folk so I thought I'd pop back and set the page straight. He's ok. Like I said yesterday, not my cup of tea, but ok.

As for Essex, I shouldn't chortle too much. Southern bird that I am, spent the first 18 years of my life in the TOWIE stomping ground - I am after all Essex born and bred. That's half my life.

Now I feel old.

So yep, cards on the table... there's nowt wrong with Essex folk or anyone darn sarf for that matter. I still get the willies when I think about Grace dating someone like Arg though. Give me an Olly Murs any day. Fortunately I have another 18 years till I really need to worry about that one. Hopefully.

Anyway, just so Arg knows there's no hard feelings and the Essex crowd don't put a bounty on my head, here's a relic or two from the past (that in all likelihood should have stayed there). My friend Kim will hate me for this!

Essex.... 18 years ago...

Oh, and while I remember - an update on giving up swearing for lent. Going good here.
I did have one major setback when I spoke to my cousin Christina on the phone - also from Essex - and a potty mouth if ever I heard one. Chatting away as one does, I found myself slipping into the conversation, an F here, and F there simply to keep up with her. I had to get off the blower quick before there was any permanent damage to my lent committment. As her Husband pointed out later - you can take the girl out of Essex, but you can't take Essex out of the girl. Damn right!

Christina and me 2010

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Bad Taste!

I knew it would come one day, the realisation that our ideals were different, that we saw the world through different eyes. I didn't expect it to be so soon; Grace is after all only 19 months old. I thought it would be a good few years yet before I disaproved of her taste in men.

Casually flicking through the fashion pages of a magazine at the check-out, I glance between loading groceries onto the belt to see her eyeing up Arg of TOWIE fame. I double take, the sinking feeling I have been deluding myself - I don't know my daughter half as much as I thought I did. Arg, of all the men to chose from.

Argh, more like.

Now if she was dribbling over Mark, that would be another story. Pass the kleenex.

Monday, 19 March 2012

It's in the Fine Print

As the much awaited summer holiday looms nearer I thought I'd sit and gloat over the booking confirmation to remind myself how many short weeks there are between now and when I will be forced to shrug off the yeti suit and shoe horn myself into a bikini (or tankini). 8 short weeks, give or take a rich tea biscuit, but what's a biscuit between friends?

I digress.

So I'm checking the booking is all in order and reading between the lines I question the logic of "double bed and space for cot".

No cot?

Hm. I email the holiday company, and they email me back after a few short minutes to reassure me that my booking is A-ok and that Grace will have somewhere to rest her pretty little head.

It reads:  "I can confirm that a cot has been automatically requested for your infant. However, we do advise this cannot be guaranteed. We are confident the hotelier will do their best to accomodate your family's request, however the availability of a cot is dependant on the number of infants travelling at the same time."

That's one big arsed caveat* if ever I saw one.

I'm sat here thinking through my options in case it turns out by chance that every cot available to the hotelier is otherwise engaged on our arrival. It's ok, Grace sleeps in a bed (assuming they have one of those at their disposal and they can squeeze it into the room) and nevertheless I find myself a wee bit miffed that what you book ain't necessarily what you get.

For instance, I buy a pair of running shoes (a bit far fetched, but stick with me) and I KNOW they will have laces in the box when I get home. I order a pizza with stuffed crust and I KNOW the crust will be stuffed - there's no small print that says "we reserve the right not to stuff crusts during peak times". So when I book a holiday for two adults and one infant, I expect there to be some small guarantee that there will be sleeping kit for two adults and one infant. Silly, silly me.

Worry not though. The email encouraged me to contact the resort representative on arrival if there are any problems and they will endeavour to assist. Well that's ok then.

Is it me, or is it crazy to do business like this? Do put me straight if I'm being unreasonable.

*that's caveat, not cravat. That said, I'm going to pack a cravat - super handy strangling aid for the unsuspecting resort representative who tells me there

Natural Born Liar!

We're driving home from seeing my parents in Norfolk and we're about two thirds of the way home. Grace has been asleep since we left and she's just rousing. She's content to sit for a bit and then she starts to fidget so Matt the Husband tells her we're nearly home. An outright lie.

Later on we give her a a packet of mini cheddars to snack on to see her through until tea time. She asks for more, we tell her they're all gone. Another lie (Matt the Husband has syphoned a handful off for me to eat as I drive).

At Grandma's house later on, she's given a piece of fudge as a treat for Mothers Day. She's not a Mother but I let it go. She asks for another piece. Grandma tells her it's all gone. Yet another lie.

Why do we do it? White lies I know, but still lies. I wonder when we will start telling her to amuse herself for another hour as we have a long way to go until we get home? Or that Mummy ate the mini cheddars so there aren't any left? Or that one piece of fudge is more than enough for a little lady inbetween meals, thank you very much?

Because it's easier to lie. To gloss over the truths with a snippet of fib to make life easier. It's wrong, but it feels so right! And so natural. I am a natural born liar.

And so are you!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Bribery: sweet sweet influence

I'm guessing I'd be arrested if I did business like this, but with a 19 month old, it works a treat and I get away scott free.

You want to eat now Grace? Wash your hands first.
You want to go in the garden now Grace? Let's put the toys away first.

It works wonders with a toddler and I'm trying it on the Husband too.

You want sex tonight? Do the laundry first.
You want sex tonight? Do the hoovering first.
You want sex tonight? Mow the lawn first (yes it is possible, we've had a string of sunny days).

Of course Matt the Husband has a backbone and his own ideas about things and consequently the marital bed is about as active as a tortoise in midwinter. It doesn't worry me. He will cave before I do. And if he doesn't? I can live in a hovel. I like tidy, not so fussed about clean.

But back to Grace. Tonight for instance, Grace came home from nursery absolutely buzzing about her day. She chattered all evening, sat through a two course meal and had a run around in the garden with the dog before watching 'In the Night Garden' on The Box until 7pm. Hitting the remote as I usually do I'm met with a shaking head and a quivering bottom lip when I gesture it's time to climb the stairs. She digs her heels in, standing her ground and pointing at the tele to be turned back on. I stand firm, telling her Iggle Piggle has gone to sleep and now it's time to climb the stairs to have a bath and go to bed. She wavers, considering throwing herself on the floor and yelling her head off so I intercept with a well timed "Come on, let's climb the stairs. Your bottle of  milk is upstairs for you..."


So we climb the stairs and before you know it, she's on the verge again, crying for no reason other than tiredness, sitting on the landing carpet refusing to be consoled or moved. I tell her her milk is waiting for her to have her bath but it falls short. She's wailing now, red faced and veins popping out across her brow. I'm clutching at ideas and there it is - BAM - a nugget of genius hits me between the eyes and I lay the bait. "Come on Grace, let's line your dummy's up along the edge of the bath. We can throw them in one at a time and then you can jump in to collect them all."

Worked a treat.

So she's sat in the bath, overtired, teary and ticking like a time bomb. Clean, but volatile. We try to extract said time bomb from the water only to be met with fierce resistance and screaming. She does NOT want to get out of the bath. I try with the lure of milk once she's dried and in her PJs. She shoots me a look that says she's just stuffed her face on pasta and strawberries, like a few ounces of milk would tempt her. So I resort back to the dummies. I get the bag they live in from her bedroom. It's a little toiletry bag, yellow, and she knows it's where the dummies live. She scoops the dummies up one by one, placing them into the bag. It gives her enough comfort to stand up to have the towel wrapped around her and we go, clutching the yellow dummy bag tightly under her arm.

It stays at her side, through drying, dressing and the bottle of milk that's been waiting. We don't have any more tears until the milk runs dry and we tell her it's time for sleep. Uptight again, she wails for a few short moments so I sing to her (it soothes her, to others it inflicts pain) and it works. She relaxes, stops crying and climbs off my lap and onto the bed where she snuggles up to the pillow as I pull the quilt over her shoulders. I think she's asleep before I leave the room. Bribery alive and well, and if it works, I'm not knocking it.

Talking of knocking. Matt the Husband has just loaded the washing machine and checked the weather report for the weekend. He tells me he's planning on doing the lawn first thing Saturday. Now who's bribing who?

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Bag Bog

A few days away from the nest last week and I return to find my 19 month old daughter's vocab has come on leaps and bounds. Driving home from the station, I'm peppered with fake sneezes... "Ha HA HAA CHOOO!"... laced with giggles that shake her shoulders and make her look ever so cute in the rear view mirror, she continues this for a few minutes and then does a real sneeze that shivers her timbers to the core judging by the look on her face and the bogey that flies out to rest on the back of the passenger seat head rest. Nice. It's lucky Matt the Husband isn't with me - she might have got his hair.

Arriving home to a wet welcome from the dog to the tune of a thousand kisses, Grace puts her hands on her hips and makes her annoyance clear, exclaiming "bag bog" (bad dog). The dog ignores her mostly, but she's getting her point across as eventually the dog gives up and goes on to something else. We take a trip out to the local RSPB reserve and she immitates the ducks "whack whack" (quack quack).. she's just so adorable and I'm so in love with my little bean... can't you tell? I ignore the fact she 'whack whack's for horses and birds too... she's doing great.

Anyway, I'm busy playing catch up this week. I feel like I've been away for ages - 3 nights away can really throw your routine out. Best go, the grindstone is calling.....

Saturday, 3 March 2012

No blue babies in this village!

 The pep talk worked. With last weekends memory of walking in shirt sleeves with blue hands still burning a hole in my Yorkshire hardened heart, I was dreading venturing out for a wander round the local RSPB reserve. But worry not. A few quiet words from Mummy along the lines of 'today you're wearing something warm whether you like it or not' at a time when she'd just woken up from an afternoon nap and didn't have the co-ordination to mount an offensive, we set off the three of us for a walk in the sunshine. Doe eyed from sleep yet with a spring in her step to rival Upsy Daisy, we paddled round the reserve taking in the wee details... moss on tree, daffodils in early bloom, snowdrops tingling in the light breeze. Beautiful. And the best thing of all? Grace got some fresh air and we managed to keep her fleece on all the way round. Round of applause where it's due please.
Thank you.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Our little world book day

So we set about today with a gusto normally reserved for pay day and birthdays. It's World Book Day and in celebration of all things literary, Grace and me, we're having our own little party! A lover of books, particularly the of ones with enough board to nibble, Grace will often bring me one book after another to sit on my lap and read... it's our special time.

She has her favourites as any child would and if I may be permitted to cast a little of myself into this post as well, then these are the ones we favour the most... it is after all about the pleasure derived from reading and the exploration into a fictional world that comes alive between two covers. Here's a few we love to read the most... HAPPY WORLD BOOK DAY! and remember to let me know what you're reading at the mo!