Wednesday, 27 June 2012



  1. A southern European plant (Cheiranthus cheiri) of the cabbage family, with fragrant yellow, orange-red, dark red, or brown flowers,...
  2. A person who has no one to dance with or who feels shy, awkward, or excluded at a party

Grace is a wallflower (feeling shy, not being of the cabbage family).

Twice this last week Grace has been in a social environment, and chosen to sit on my lap cuddling the whole time instead. Two hours at a birthday party, and two hours at play group. I can understand the party as it was a huge gathering at a venue she hasn't been to before - overwhelming by anyones standards. Play group is a little different. Us village mums go along every Monday morning for a cuppa and a catch up and it's always been a bit of a struggle to encourage Grace to play on her own.

She'll pull my finger, push my bottom, yank on my arm, anything to get me up to go to play with her... anything other than play on her own and give me five minutes peace with my friends. She's done this for a while, wants to be with me or her Daddy all the time, even at home in the garden she wants us with her doing whatever she wants to do all the time. The minute you step away she protests and clings to a limb. It's not that I want to abandon her, far from it.

It's an odd one. If she's at home, she'll play on her own no problem - she'll amuse herself for up to 45 minutes while I cook a meal or do some housework. It's just if she knows I am 'just there' she wants my attention. Back to play group and the birthday party - I've never encountered her not wanting to even get off my lap. I almost missed her tugging at my jumper to get up and play. Two hours solid both days she sat quietly, content, watching the other children playing. I aksed her several times if she wanted to go and play, and she'd always say no.

She was so invisible I felt like we were on a parallel plane, watching the party from the outside; we might as well not have been there.

I almost felt guilty taking a party bag and cake. Almost.

Should I be worried? Me and Matt the Husband aren't the most social of creatures.

Or is it just a phase she's going through?

All just another day being a Mum, I guess.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Rain.... pause....rain...

Quick! Someone tell everyone that it's dry outside! Determined to make the most of it, Grace has toddled several laps of the cricket pitch, waved to the horses in the field and spent the rest of her day running riot in the garden flitting between the slide, the play house and pushing her buggy round the ever-growing grass. Just as well. It's due to rain again later. This is definitely the umbrella summer... nevertheless, here's Grace celebrating a fleeting dry spell...

Saturday, 23 June 2012

A pizza the action

I always knew meeting up with Tania was a bad idea. We're both trying to shed a few pounds, so why oh why do we meet at a pub for a bite to eat for lunch? Why? Because we can. Grace enjoyed a pizza on the house - really great value for kids to eat free when buying two adult mains. Burger for Mummy? Mmm, yes please. Only one thing let the moment down for me, every other table was occupied by men and women in business dress tapping away at their ipads and blackberries. I almost felt the need to apologise for the noise we were making, enjoying lunch with a toddler. At one point I caught Grace just before she pushed through the alarmed fire door to the car park.... I imagine that would have gone down well... at least I could have helped with the evacuation. Ciao for now! x

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Two true!

Sitting in the car this morning, parked on double yellows in the station car park I'm wondering to myself when Matt the Husband will remove himself from the car so I can move on from illegal undertakings and make my way to work.

Quietly sitting in the back, Grace sums up my thoughts for me:

"Bye Daddy!"

It's the first time she's strung two words together so it's a milestone in our book. It also marks the occasions when Grace cottons on to bossing her Daddy around... just like Mummy does.

Later on playing in the garden, she's nearly sent flying by the dog belting round chasing pigeons.

"Uh-oh Daisy!" she says.

Seems the two-words thing isn't a fluke..... happy days!

Monday, 18 June 2012

A wee celebration!

My dear friend Laura (and Grace's godmother) married her Welsh sweetheart Matthew on Saturday at St. Mary's Cathedral in Wrexham. Being Scottish, a jolly good knees up followed with Moon Coin, a Scottish Ceilidh band. I was honoured to be Laura's bridesmaid and did my best to fumble my way through the day having no experience whatsoever. (I hope I passed). We had a wonderful day, so great to see such a nice couple get hitched. Love 'em to bits.

Good news from us too... Grace did a wee on her potty, just like that!

Time for a wee celebration on both fronts...

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Dragging it out?

Answer me this. If your child is overtired and emotional at bedtime, do you:

a) ignore the screaming and upset, pulling the clothes off a distraught toddler to get them into bed so they can sleep sooner, or

b) does your heart rule, slowing the process to navigate through the tears to find time in between bouts of upset for a comforting and soothing cuddle, but knowing each time you do this it's taking longer to get them to bed?

I'm usually have a no-nonsense approach to parenting but a rough week at work has worn me down and instead of ploughing on I wanted to spend time with Grace last night. Almost like therapy, my comforting her comforted me. It took half an hour to get her clothes off, she point blank refused... very noisily. But I felt better having soothed her through the process even though it should have taken two minutes. I eventually left her screaming on the change table with Matt the Husband who told me he disagreed with dragging it out and we just needed to ignore her tears and protests and get her into her jammies and into bed. I left and five minutes later once her head hit the pillow, the screaming stopped and she fell asleep.

I could have throttled him. I still want to because I think he was right and I was wrong. I know it's not about competing, about who knows best, but it does rile me to think I caused my daughter more upset by dragging it out. Hmph.


posted by a miserable mum in the morning

Monday, 11 June 2012


So I'm having my morning coffee (strong, didn't sleep well), watching Grace potter in the garden while the dog sniffs for cats. We've had breakfast, the three of us and we're heading off to a play date in the village soon. I'm tickled to see Grace picking handfuls of long grass (the mower is in for a service so I'm treated to a view of knee high savanna until it's back).

She toddles off in the direction of the dog... to feed her the grass. Miffed when Daisy ignores her, she throws it on the ground in a huff and goes off in search of a better tuft. Pulling it from the roots, she runs after Daisy, more insistant this time. Daisy rebuffs her offer again, presumably because only the dog can pick grass suitable for eating.

Very cute, the things they do.

Gracias, said Daisy.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

A mad half hour

I'm a bit of a clean freak so it's taken me this long to dig the paints on when I'm alone with Grace. Matt the Husband is a little more carefree, the paints, the mud, the baking mess... he'll readily dive with a frenzy and think nothing of the time it's going to take him to clear up. (Mainly because he doesn't).

Yesterday, Grace woke late from her afternoon nap leaving us less than an hour until making the run to the station to get her Daddy. I felt reckless. Digging paint and paper out of the crafts cupboard (read: dumping ground for everything that doesn't have a home elsewhere), we dove in.

I'd picked up these foam stamps from Wilkinson's a while ago and never had the urge to use them. Fast forward to a messy game with primary colours, and we'd both had fun making art.

And the best bit for both of us? The clearing up. Grace giggled, laughed, even guffawed turning the tap on and off, soaking us both in the process.

Daughter like mother, she's a clean-bean.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

(Extra) Good Books

Bedtime routine has always been an easy affair in our house. Grace climbs the stairs at the end of the bedtime hour on CBeebies at 7pm, plays while her bath is run, cleans her teeth and then hops in the tub. How long she spends in there depends on her mood and whether there is a tired-toddler-tantrum hanging out in the wings.

Recently Grace has been employing tactics to delay bedtime, even though she might be overtired.

Take today for instance. A full day of flat out fun at nursery, total nap time 50 minutes... short by Grace's standards. She's tired. I know it, because she whinged her way through dinner, refused a bath, refused to clean her teeth and insisted on clinging to my finger the whole time (and I mean the whole time) from walking in the door from work to getting as far as putting her in her PJs ready for bed. It's hard cooking dinner with a toddler on your hip. Anyway, there I am, Grace in her PJs and she throws another paddy, desperate to wear the t-shirt I have laid out for tomorrow morning. Judging by the kicking and screaming, she has a very strong opinion this is going to be put on top of her pyjama top - she's not fussed about being too warm - this is how it HAS to be. So we do it.

Tantrum abated, we read a book and she has some milk to drink before I lift her gently into bed and sneak out of the room as she falls asleep as her head hits the pillow.

In my dreams.

For about a week now, since we got back from Turkey, Grace has decided she is NOT letting her Mummy go at bedtime. AND she wants to read book after book after book... at bedtime. I am hostage. Any attempt to inch closer to the door brings on tantrums, red faces, tears (and I'm certain, bad language).

She has two books that are flavour of the day, currently being read so often I almost know them verbatim. Tonight, we read the same book 3 times, and she still wanted more. Now either Grace is slipping into the terrible two's a little early, or these writers of children's book are jolly good at what they do and have a lot to answer for.

Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo is first on my hit list. What the Ladybird Heard is a super little story that lets me exploit my inner-Yorkshire voice to become the story teller. Grace enjoys the rhyming, the animal noises and the way she gets to spot the ladybird on each page.

Shortly followed by Chloe & Mick Inkpen who penned this little beauty...

 Both much loved, dog earred, dribbled on, taken to bed and slept on like a pillow. These books are currently Grace's bedtime comfort. When Mummy's handhold slips from the room, these books are there to comfort. Yes, I listen to tears as I close the door and she realises when I say it's bedtime it really is bedtime. But after a moment or so, I can hear her settling down with a good book before she drifts off to sleep.

Not just a good book. An extra-good book.

Bloomin' Marvellous

Ha! Bet you thought I was putting pen to paper about the wonderful Mr Bloom again? Not so. As much the thought of Mr Bloom (with his ruddy complexion and dirty fingernails) still makes me want to watch an episode so I can sing along with Margaret the Cabbage and Sebastian the Aubergine (my personal favourite), this is more about watching two children blossom.

Grace and Dimitris were born a blink apart from one another some 22 months ago, and looking back at some old photos from when they were 6 months old makes me sit back and take stock at how much they have changed and developed in that time. Distance means we don't see Dimitris, son of my cousin Christina, as much as we'd like but whenever we do get together it's always fascinating seeing them play and go about their little lives. I want to capture the energy I get from watching them.... if only I could bottle it, taking a sneaky sniff to perk me up when I'm lagging at the office perhaps?

I love their expressions in this sequence. Getting them to stand together now took a bit of bribery (the promise of cake) but getting them to look in the same direction at the same time was impossible. Grace is teething too, hence the hand stuffed into her mouth. The only way we could make her take her hand out was to get them to clap!

At six months old, we just plonked them on the mat together and hey presto - photo! So much easier!

Christina and me, we're 18 months apart and enjoyed family holidays, occasions and time together growing up. Just like Grace and Dimitris are - being so close in age it's interesting - so many difference between them already. Love it, love it! Bloomin' marvellous!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

A G-Free Day in the Dales

Grace-free. It's not so often Matt the Husband me get to date since Grace was born. We're too focused on learning to be great parents we forget we have a marriage to nurture as well. Life before Grace was packed with long walks off the beaten track, on the beaten track and generally anywhere that got us and the dog, Daisy-woof out into the fresh air. So when Grandma offered to take Grace for a spot of retail therapy, we jumped at the chance to spend the day in the wilds.

Dog lead and water bottle in hand, the weather looked clear so we set off for the 1.5hr drive up into the Dales. In actual fact we were on the very western edge of the National Park at Ingleton near Kirkby Lonsdale, a quiet little spot with a popular trail walk up along the River Twiss gorge and back down the River Doe gorge.

We were lucky the trail was quiet, possibly because we set off early, or maybe because folk have things planned to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee? Either way, we were grateful. Daisy got to run off lead for the most part, just back on for crossing farmland... she like sheep and not in the cuddly kind of way. The guide said to allow 1.5-4 hours to do the 4.5 mile trail. We were back at the car in 2. Note to self: must slow down to appreciate the scenery more next time... I was just so chuffed to be child-free and able to pace out I didn't expect the trail to be over in the blink of an eye! Ah well!

and of course, one of the best bits of a child-free day is coming home when they get giddy to see you!