Saturday, 30 November 2013

Doing 'lessons'

Quietly drawing, Grace recovers from her heavily traumatic morning of accidentally doing a standing dive head first into the pool. We have learnt we are tooooo young to dive. 

One other thing we have learnt is that the cinema is tooooo loud and tooooo dark! Aborting the milestone mission after the first twenty minutes we retreated to the peace and quiet that is Grandma's house....

Shropshire weekend

Leaving the Husband and the dog to idle we set off for our long overdue adventure to visit Jennifer and Stephen in Shropshire. I naively thought Grace would be blotto by the time we passed Birstall on the motorway but the little monkey didn't conk out until we were over the Pennines and heading past Warrington. Much parenting stress!

That was all as once there I was perfectly well looked after, as was Grace, with Jennifer and Stephen being great hosts. Grace was treated to new experiences, apple picking and pushing a wheelbarrow to collect wood. 

We had a wee hiccough in the night when Grace fell out of bed but that was soon put right by an invitation into Mummy's bed. A rare treat for both of us!


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Mummy's little star fish...

For the milestone wall of fame, Grace came home with this little beauty today. #proudparent

Monday, 23 September 2013

The end of the day

Picture it. 

You're on the home straight at the tail end of a three hour daily commute. 

The traffic, while moving, had you cursing under your breath and fighting against the urge to lift your finger in salute to the git who pulls in without indicating, catching you by surprise and spilling your drink leaving you with a wet patch embarrassingly akin to that last oblivion induced by gin when you didn't wake up and get to the loo quick enough. It happens. As do overly long sentences. 

Picture this. 

You're frazzled. Meh, if you will. 

You arrive at nursery, battling past the punters double parked in the bus stop by the chippy. At the door, the key worker   lets you in on first ring. You relax a little, this last hurdle to getting home to get supper on is easing... the high velocity stress of a badass Monday will soon be at an end. You know you're going to be in and out in five mins with a child under your arm, hopefully your own, and be back in the car on the final leg. That's how you plan it. 

That's not how it rolls.

Grace has today mastered several arts. 

1. Hanging a coat on a coat hanger. Taking it back off again.

2. Putting said coat on. Taking it back off again.

3. Buttoning up, wrong, correcting, admiring handy work in the mirror, undoing the buttons again and then prancing round the room showing off to her friends, their unwitting parents and a wildly bemused keyworker.

My overriding joy and pride in this display evident.

 The first time. 

On repeat, Grace runs through this flamboyant developmental milestone of a display until not only is she the last kid in class, but I am on my last deep breath before wanting to pop her in a stuff sack, throw her in the boot and make for home at high speed. 

Instead I take a picture, one for the album. The day Grace did 'all of it'... 

...all by herself. 

The day it took me half an hour to extract my child from pre-school. 

The day I necked a double gin before even hanging up my coat when we got home. 

The day that Grace. Did. This.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Grassington 40's Weekend

I won't lie, I'm a little peeved. Today the sun shines gloriously. We went yesterday in the low mist and drizzle. I went with locks straightened to within an inch of their life, came back with a hair span of almost three feet. That's the way life rolls.  But frizz aside, we had a great day out up in the Dales with Grace, riding on a vintage bus being her first of many highlights!

Typically there was a strong dose of Mum-support as we ventured out in a new environment. Spitfires parked up in the village square just aren't events you encounter everyday. Neither are ladies in green singing to a crowd in the rain. 

We got over our nerves and had a little dance on the cobbles, bumped into someone we knew (how random) and headed back down the hill to look round the reenactment area. 

It felt strangely nostalgic. I know I'm stating the obvious. But a feeling of pride and relief that we aren't in wartime Britain. And a sense of community: wonderful seeing the women in the square belting out songs from the days at the top of their voices. Mum would have loved it.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

It's all going swimmingly

You blink and another fortnight passes. Blink twice and Grace has burst our of her four month long swimming regression to chalk off a few widths without batting an eyelid and proudly claiming her first Certificate and badge. Brimming with pride she clutched it to her to chest for most of the day. 

I'll ignore the episode in the pool this week where I hauled her out half way through the class for refusing to let go of my cossy and being generally obstructive... we can't win them all. Avoiding all eye contact with parents in the pool and more on poolside waiting to go in, I'm still torn over whether it was the right thing to do. The ensuing tantrum lasted long enough to make me feel guilty and smart sufficiently for Grace to promise to behave in the pool next week. Little madam.  

Sanity and patience back intact, we've been out to the local village charity event for Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Enjoying the last of the summer sun and a late birthday present from our dear friend Wendy, Grace redeemed herself and I felt human again. 

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Wales weekender

Making a dash for the border on Sunday we managed to miss the bank holiday traffic and kiss goodbye to the torrential rain that was blighting Yorkshire. Grace didn't make a peep on the way over the Pennines, focused solely on Peppa Pig DVDs and a snack pot of fruit. 

Hitting the hills around Wrexham we hooked up with Laura and Matt who kindly laid on the picnic of Kings at Erddig National Trust park and ordered us to sit and eat. Grace might have let out a weeny 'no way Jose' to the sitting down, but she did munch her way through a fair portion of carrot sticks before stuffing her face on mini pork pies and sausage rolls. I'd like to say I ate like a fairy and had nothing but crudités and the delicious beetroot and sesame dip, but you know me better than that by now and I do believe I polished off just about everything edible. Gannet.

Anyway, I digress. Apart from finding we'd parked the picnic blanket on a lonesome dog turd (much annoyed), we had a lovely wee while sat by the stream, watching Grace play in the water and watching Husband Matt look like a fairy when he tried and failed to walk on water crossing from one side of the steam to the other on the stepping stones. Funny as! 

Grace was treated to a ladybird cake handcrafted by Laura, and we all got a solid nights sleep, helped along by a few bottles of vino and a beef casserole. Zzzz.

Turns out we didn't sleep all that well. Grace woke in the night for the first time in memory and insisted Daddy slept in her bed on the floor. Thermarested up with a kids duvet, the Husband was snoring within minutes leaving me to wrestle a child who was relishing in the novelty of being in bed with her Mummy. Eventually she fell asleep but I retreated to the foot of the bed to nurse my bruised ribs from being kicked and whacked from a sleeping child.

That said, it didn't dampen our day as we headed out to Cilcain for the summer fete, complete with Teddy Parachuting. Ice cream and a brass band later, we strapped up Mr Ted and sent him up for his virgin jump off of the church roof. What a brave bear....

Fortunately Grace slept all the way home which was a godsend considering we sat in a jam on the motorway for over an hour. We were soon home though and back to reality of life, work and childcare, eat (eat some more), sleep. Repeat. 

Smashing weekend. One happy Grace Bear, one daredevil Teddy. Two knackered Parents. Night all...

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Stop talking, I'm telling a story...

The bedtime routine used to be simple. Clean cut. Bath, a story or two (three on a bad night), kiss kiss, sweet dreams and retreat. Clean. Straight in and out, no messing. 

Not so anymore. Grace has taken charge. 

I can thank preschool for this change. Story circle I think they call it. Where they sit and listen, quiet as a lamb while the reader holds the book a certain way so the whole class can see the page.

Yes, I have preschool to blame. 

For I'm in the throes of 'a squash and a squeeze' last night, the flavour of the day, and all of a sudden I get told to stop! Stop!

"What's the matter?" I enquire, nonplussed.

"You're holding the book wrong!" She tells me, moving my fingers to the spine and turning the book to face the room. "Like this Mummy!" She nods, satisfied.

I pick up where I left off, adjusting to the new position, enjoying our time together. As I draw to a close, I'm aware that Grace is looking fidgety. 

"My turn now Mummy!" She declares, peeling the book from my grip. 

"Really?" I concede, half an eye on the clock.

"Yes, now sit down cross-legged and be quiet. Listen!"

And so I sat. And I listened. So endearing hearing her interpret the pictures in her own way, pebbled with the odd 'be quiet!' aimed at me for joining in or laughing, or something. One book led to two and more. More! MORE! A moment to be cherished.

A bit like the moment at the end of a long day between a child's bedtime and your own. 

It was short last night. A bittersweet combo of Grace finding her storytelling wings and me needing to hit the sack early. 

Night all.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Mr Skinny Legs

If ever there was an arachnaphobe, it's me, with Matt the Husband close behind. I'm the quintessential jibbering screaming wreck who won't rest a wink until that 8 legged critter is sent packing. 

Not so Grace.

So I'm called into her bedroom the other day, summoned if you will, to inspect the mid-range monster slowly cruising the wall at the side of her bed. He's dawdling, no sense of urgency in light of the pending doom. It riles me he just saunters back and forth, that irksome hairy beast. 

I call down to the Husband who comes bearing the power of a Dyson upright. My Knight in Shining Suction. Explaining to Grace that the spider is nothing to be scared of (even though she's clearly not) while we suck him up into a whirl of dust bunnies, Grace looks shocked and concerned. We've crossed the line.

"Where's Mr Skinny Legs gone?" She asked, bottom lip quivering.

Stumped, us grown ups, we look at each other.

"Where's he gone Mummy?" she prompts me.

So we lie. We cover the fact we are shit-scared of Mr Skinny Legs and his many cousins, and we lie. We tell Grace that Mr Skinny Legs had come to the wrong house and that he lives in another village. He's getting forgetful in his old age and can't remember the way home. So the Hoover sucks him up and when we send the dust and Mr Skinny Legs along with it out into the bin, he can get his bearings and find his way back to his own home. 

Big fat liars. 

I'm not proud. But I got away with it.

Mind you, Grace isn't daft. At bedtime that night she peeked down the side of her bed to see if he had made a return. He hasn't of course. And I'm grateful that she hasn't seen through the bravado to the fearful me as I don't want to prejudice her. Yes, I know sending him up the Hoover isn't the most passive ways to remove him from the house, but the scooping him up in a glass thing never worked for me as I'd usually drop the glass before I got to the door or window by shaking so much! No, I'm grateful though. Grateful that she hasn't seen me back in my single days when Mr Skinny Legs would have been met with the crash of the cat scratching post slamming against the wall. 

God bless Mr Skinny Legs. And God bless me!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Three and counting

Who would have thought three years ago that we would be where we are today? We've come a long way together, Grace and me. I so want to sit and pen my thoughts and memories, hopes for you Grace, but life is crazy busy just now so I'm bunging this timeline of pictures on here instead, while I can, and just as soon as I can grab half hour to gather my head and put my thoughts down, I want to capture how I see you through my eyes as you turn from two to three years old. Until then, here's a little snippet, some favourites of mine...

3 years old

3 years old

2nd birthday

2 years

1st birthday

1 week old

5 days old

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Postcards from Granny

Taking a break from holidaying ourselves we are still keeping focused on the summer feeling by enjoying the steady stream of postcards hitting the mat. Grace is particularly fond of this one being that it has the much-loved ice-cream van emblazoned on it.... The challenge will be to prize it away from her come bath time...

Friday, 19 July 2013

Dirty rotten scoundrels!

And the winner of the muckiest feet award goes to........ Grace! 

At the end of a day out to Anglesey Abbey, Lode Mill and Thetford Forest, Grace had turned a grubby shade of dust and the wrinklies were tired with running around after Grace. Uncle Frank took turns with Grandpa running races on the lawns at the Abbey but Grace won and has a National Trust medal to prove it!

Alas on the day Grace declared her knees fully heeled from the previous wipeout, she takes another flying tumble and scrapes both knees and palms again. Poor Mummy's little soldier, a few tears but nothing a gingerbread man couldn't fix. 

We're off home tomorrow, the end of a super week away from the treadmill as we know it. It's been great spending time with family, makes you realise that Yorkshire isn't all that close to Norfolk after all....

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Taking cover

Seeking respite from the heat wave currently blessing our shores, Brandon Country Park proved the perfect hideaway. A short walk from the visitors centre, Daisy-woof was off running through the forest with Grace on the back foot, taking the trail out past the lake to the Mausoleum and heathland beyond. Temperatures hitting 30c we were grateful for the shade in the trees and particularly by the giant redwood dominating our view to the sky above. 

After a spell at the adventure playground for young and old alike, we enjoyed lunch before rounding off the day with a well earned ice-cream.