Friday, 20 November 2009

Grace - 23 months

So Grace is 23 months old.. and is a cheeky little monkey. I asked her if she wanted to go to bed last night and she said "No, bed bit boring" then ran off shouting "Chase me chase me".

The days of calling us mummy and daddy are long gone. She now says "Mumdad make me cup o tea"
"Mumdad get up and play"
"Mumdad make me sandwich"
"Mumdad take me wee wees"

She also likes to comment on absolutely everything. If, for example she spills her drink she will say "Uh oh wet, mum clean up" or if she throws her crayons all over the floor she will say "Uh oh mess, mum clean up" and stand over me as I do so. Other 'Uh ohs' include 'uh oh, wind, uh oh, rain, uh oh, dark."

We have been having a bit of a battle getting her to sleep at night. Ever since we got back from our honeymoon she has not wanted to sleep in her cot, in fact she has not wanted to sleep at all really.

After two weeks of her still being up at midnight and physically making herself sick if we tried to put her in her cot we decided to take action.

After extensive research we bought a ladybird with wings that light up and project stars and moons all over the ceiling (designed to create a soothing atmosphere) and made a "soothing" playlist and shoved on repeat, all night long (in case she woke up).

For the first week or so it worked a treat. She actually asked to go to bed. She did not even want me to read to her first, she just wanted her playlist on. We were ecstatic, we had our evenings back. We could actually eat dinner together...

Alas it was not to last. She woke at about 4am the other morning and shouted at the top of her voice "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO MORE NIGHT GARDEN, PLEASE NO MORE NIGHT GARDEN!!"

Her nursery recently redesigned their outdoor play area and invited us to a garden party/grand opening.

It really was impressive and lots of people had lent a hand. Mums and dads helped with the digging and planting and assembling of plastic cars (not us).

One dedicated parent had even run a marathon to raise the money to buy a little wooden wendy house (I don't think he got many sponsors to be honest, it looked of inferior quality).

It had a lovely pink bow across the front though, and he arrived wearing his tracksuit (perhaps THE tracksuit he did the marathon in?) brandishing freshly sharpened scissors to cut the ribbon after the presentation.... which is when we noticed that Grace had already ripped it off and was busy playing inside!

She likes to hide inside her pink tent at home and pretend to sleep (she pulls a cover over her head and does loud snoring), eat playdoh in vast quantities or better still rub it all over her hair then come and show me "Look mum, party hair".

What a shame washing her hair is not a party. It's lots of tears and tantrums and trying to run away. It's almost as bad as washing James'.

Grace is still a diehard Dora fan. She has to watch it the second she wakes up and then talk about it for the rest of the day

"Uh oh, Benny stuck balloon, Dora and Boots Rescue,YAY! We did it"

She has learned the "We did it dance" (it plays at the end of each painfully cheerful episode).

She jumps up and shouts " Woo, yay, we did it!!" then bends her knees, thrashes her arms about over he head and wiggles her bum.

James bought her a toy which plays various Dora songs so long car journeys are never dull these days. I have to confess it does help her learn things, she counted to twelve the other day, like this "One, two, nine, ten, twelve, Well done Grace, good counting"

She often congratulates herself "Good drawing Grace"
"Good running Grace"
"Good eating Grace"

She has a plastic toy spider which she likes to throw on the floor then run off shouting "EEEk, spider, too scared!" I think she got it from a Peppa Pig episode, or maybe from her daddy. Who knows.

She is displaying some fancy football footwork. James and his dad had a conversation about it the other day, I heard things like "Did you see that dragback she just did?!" We are going to sign her up to Socatots.

I think it might suit her more than ballet lessons. She learned a bit of that too, from another equally annoying programme called Humf.

Humf and his friend Loon learn ballet and Grace copies. She spins round and round then puts one leg in the air and promptly falls over. She has also learnt ice skating from Peppa Pig. She skids round the living room saying "Push push, glide, push push glide" just like they do in the 'Snowy day' episode.

She is growing and changing so much. She just is not a little baby anymore, and I miss that - so it's just as well we are going to have another baby in June!

It's very exciting news. I was over the moon when I fell pregnant right away. James was delighted too of course, but I don't think he would have minded if it had taken a bit longer, he was quite enjoying all the trying.

It was only then however that I remembered how not fun the first three months of being pregnant are.

To be fair I was really lucky with Grace. I did not feel sick at all, did not show for ages and was very serene (considering).

THIS time round I have felt sick as a pig since week five, been so exhausted I have fallen asleep in my dinner on more than one occasion, developed the kind of acne that makes people wince when they see me (see aforementioned falling asleep in dinner comment?) and had such greasy hair I had to wash it twice a day.

I have spent alot of the last 12 weeks sobbing on my sofa whilst eating small cubes of cheese (it helps).

I am getting past all that now though thank god. I am still not feeling 100% and the only glow I get is from sweating after walking up the stairs. I started this pregnancy a size 6, I can't describe the shameful size of my thighs now, it's too depressing and may therefore force me back to the cheese packet for comfort.

James says it does not matter and I look great and it will all "drop off" after the birth. He has been marvellous. He took me to London to go maternity clothes shopping, did not baulk at the price of things and didn't even laugh when the tights I bought come up to my breasts (I think it depressed him as much as it did me)

He has dutifully gone to the shops very early each morning to buy whatever it is I have demanded for breakfast that day. It's always very different from what I wanted the day before and chances are I will never eat it again after that day either.

He has run baths, rubbed my back, even sat through five series of Dawson's Creek (I watch it in bed at night. Hating Dawson makes me feel less sick, I have somewhere to channel all my misery)

He tells me I look beautiful every day (he does not look at me when he says this though). What a marvellous husband I have. I do feel he has been shortchanged slightly. By the time we got back from our honeymoon the top button of my jeans would not do up and I started sleeping in his t-shirts for comfort.

Ten weeks down the line and I go to bed at 7.30pm, spend most days in tears and only smile if he comes home brandishing a new packet of Mature-yet-mellow cheddar.

Anyway, if the end result of all of this crying and eating and stretching is anything like Grace then it will all be worth it. It was amazing going to the scan, nothing prepares you for the way you feel when you see your tiny baby come up on the screen.

Grace lay calmly on her back when we had first saw her on screen, but this baby kicked and thrashed and did summersaults, a show off already!

Latest photos here:


Thursday, 1 October 2009

Grace - 21 months

So Grace is almost 22 months old, and talks in sentences.
Bossy ones...

"Daddy make bix bix" (oatabix),
"Mummy open lunchbox" (at 8am on the way to nursery)
"Mummy more Ben" (Ben and Holly's little kingdom. Grace refuses to acknowledge Holly though, she just loves Ben. She even does a special Ben dance, it involves stamping then spinning round till she falls over)
"Mummy read more" (after I have already done three chapters of The Famous Five* and am desperate for Grace to sleep so I can go and sit down and have my dinner.)

*The Famous Five are a jolly boring bunch aren't they? All they do is go on bike rides and drink ginger pop and eat scotch eggs

"Mummy, kisspops" - This means Grace wants a kiss, but she only ever asks if I am driving or asleep. Sometimes she climbs on me and does long snogging with her mouth open to wake me up.

And finally, after getting us all up at 5am every morning she will say "Daddy Grace want bed"..... just as we are leaving to take her to nursery).

Needless to say we missed her like mad when we went on our honeybobs.

The first couple of days were fine, as we spent them sleeping and dissecting the wedding in minute detail... but James soon got bored of that.

By Wednesday he was also bored of sunbathing and by Thursday we started getting ready for the evening buffet at about 4pm and were hanging around in the foyer by about 5.35pm. (The buffet started at 7pm)

Mauritius really is paradise and our resort was amazing, it's rated one of the top 100 hotels in the world and it's easy to see why - the only problem is, I have never been comfortable letting everyone do everything for me.

I can handle having my chair pulled out, and my napkin placed in my lap, and my water poured for me, and lavender water sprayed on my face every half an hour, and cold flannels wiped over me, and my sunbed moved each time it started to slip into the shade and slippers laid by my bed and chocolate on my pillow but I am NOT an invalid. When the waitresses tried to carry my plate back from the buffet for me, it became a very polite tug of war with lots of smiling and bowing at one another.

I soon had it sussed though, and made my way back to our table via the strategically placed palm trees so she could not see me. She could hear me however as my snazzy shoes made clip clop noises as I walked.

I did not realise that we would have to dress smart for dinner. I only had flip flops with me. James had to buy me some posh sandals from the hideously expensive clothes shop in the resort, knowing full well I would NEVER wear them again once we got home.

That annoyed him. Almost as much as when he had to buy me some double-the-price crocs from the beach shop because the coral hurt my feet, knowing full well I would not be seen dead in them at home.

I think he got most annoyed when he had to buy me some triple-the-price and one-size-too-big-trainers from the sports shop because I wanted to go to the gym though.
I bribed him into it by telling him it meant we could also play tennis which I was rather good at, he soon discovered that was a lie.
I blame it on the too big trainers. I felt like a clown. They were bright white and I had to wear them with long thick socks to try and make them fit better, James walked behind me whenever I wore them and said "I'm an ameeericaaaan" a lot under his breath. Needless to say I won't be wearing them again.

We hired bikes out a couple of times and cycled into the local villages to buy some very out of date chocolate and gone-flat coke, which I refused to eat or drink.

I drank 15 pineapple cocktails a day instead, which cost about as much as one month's mortgage repayment. Of course now I am back home and can have as much pineapple juice as I like without it breaking the bank I can't stand the sight of the stuff.

I spent a lot of the honeymoon talking to James, only to realise (after about ten minutes or so) that he was playing on his iphone and not listening to me at all.

For example, I devised what I thought was a winning game to keep us entertained at the airport. It involved standing by the hole with flaps over it where the suitcases came out and guessing how many cases would come out before ours.

I was getting really into it, saying things like "Right, ours will be the eleventh one, so that's one, two, three, four, was that four or three? Oh damn I've lost count, let's start again" and so on, only to turn around at number 52 to find James sat ten meters away (playing on his iphone) while lots of people openly laughing at me.

It's so good to be back at home with Grace. We were fully prepared for the silent treatment but she was delighted to see us, and very keen to try on all my new shoes.

The last few weeks before the wedding were so stressful so it's nice to back to normal but I do miss being a bride. It went in such a blur. I remember waking at up at 5am and watching Meg sleep (which she found a bit alarming) and the next thing I knew it was 9.30pm and I was shattered.

I feel like I didn't get time to speak to everyone, and we never cut the cake or did the first dance (which we had practiced and involved some serious slappin' leather) and I forgot to get my guest book signed or take my beautiful bouquet home but I don't care because it was perfect and I would not change a thing.

I can't wait to watch the wedding video with Meg and Vicky and Ash and Cat and Michelle and cry lots. I also can't wait to play the Twilight board game my AMAZING Aunt Shirley bought me with them either. She also bought me a Twilight fleece blanket with a life size picture of Edward on it which is draped over my knees as I write. I will have to hide it again before James gets home, I know he has plans to deface it, honestly - he can be so immature at times.

So anyway, I am Mrs.Waller at last. Do I drop the fact I am married into every sentence possible and spend hours practising a new signature? Why of course I do! I am sure it will wear off soon and I will go back to normal. My tan is already peeling, but that's OK, now I am married I can stop making so much effort.. ;)
Photos here:

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Grace - 20 months

So Grace is 20 months old and lives for the following 4 things:

1: Peppa pig
2: Juice
3: Chocolate
4: Tomato ketchup

The morning routines goes a little something like this:

5.30am - Get woken up by Grace shouting "Mummy, Daddy UP" from her cot very loudly whilst banging her empty bottle against the bars.
5.40am - Stagger downstairs with Grace in arms whilst she hits me/James repeatedly with empty bottle shouting "MORE JUICE."
5.45am - Struggle to open eyes enough to work the Sky Plus remote whilst Grace chants "PEP PEP" and hits me/James with full juice bottle.
5.45- 6. 45 - Doze to peppa pig, snorting occasionally at funny parts (Yes Peppa Pig IS funny actually. James had a conversation about it at the pub the other night with his mates. Greg's favourite, like mine, is the skating one. James likes the one where Daddy Pig claims he is excellent at French but isn't.)

The evening routine is more of the same but the demand for choc -choc is more frequent and Grace won't eat anything other than pasta and pesto (which we like to call Pasto or Pesta as it's so much quicker) unless it's swimming in ketchup. We were in Waitrose the other day and Grace broke free to race round the store. She came back with the following four items and looked VERY pleased with herself:

1: A bottle of ketchup (Heinz of course)
2: A bottle of orange squash (Robinsons)
3: A chocolate yogurt (Cadburys)
4: A Peppa pig magazine

She is talking more and more. If, for example, I dare go in her room without waiting for her to let me enter she shouts "NO MUMMY OUT" and physically pushes me away.

She spends hours in her room reading her Peppa pig magazine very loudly ( " Rah rah blah blah Pep Pep, Doe doe, Nanneee, Mummy, Bye Daddy, Dandah, Rah rah " ) or trying on her extensive collection of shoes. Her favourite shoes, of course , are the ones we bought her for the wedding which she is absolutely not allowed to wear till the day.

She tries to climb up her clothes to reach them on the top shelf in the wardrobe. It never works and she ends up on the floor in a puddle of clothes, which she then tries to put on all at once (a bit like that game which no one remembers playing where you roll a dice and if you got a six you have to put on a coat, hat, scarf and gloves then try and cut a square of chocolate with a knife and fork before someone else gets a six.
If they do, you have to take off the hat, scarf, coat and gloves and hand them over to be put on by the new lucky six-roller before they put them all on and try to cut a square of chocolate with a knife and fork before someone ELSE gets a six. GOD I loved that game, I might play it at my hen do)

Grace has also become very very keen on swings, or 'wee wees' as they are affectionately known in our house. I take her to the local park, and after about half an hour, once both my arms I dead, I say "Hey Grace, want to go on the slide?" "No" says Grace, and we carry on swinging "Weeee Weeee" "Weeee Weee".

I, on the other hand am too stressed out about the wedding to enjoy simple pleasures in life, like swings or tomato ketchup. I often have nightmares that a giant bouquet is chasing me down the street or that my high heel gets stuck in a drain on the way to the town hall and James marries someone else instead (He does not like people to be late) .

In an effort to relax, I went to my friend's salon for the day.

I had a lovely massage, some reflexology, a pedicure and then my friend who runs the salon said "Why don't you finish it off with some hypnotherapy?"

I was so relaxed I thought "Why not man?"

The room I had it done in was up some very narrow and creaky stairs, and the woman I was having it done by smelt strongly enough of patchouli and incense before she lit even more right next to my head.

She then spent ten minutes or so trying to drape an old pink blanket over the window to "set the scene". I say trying because it kept falling down.

She then put on some 'drone' music and directed me to a chair which looked familiar but I could not work out why.  It was mostly hidden by a throw with gold stars and moons all over it.

Anyway, she sat me down and asked me what she could do for me. I told her I was a bit stressed out about my forthcoming nuptials and that Skye (friend who owns salon) had said it might help.

"Ooooh and it will" she said.
"It will be the most relaxing treatment you have ever had.
Once I start talking in my relaxing voice, the relaxing sound, along with the relaxing music and relaxing lightening and relaxing scent will all help to really relax you... "

On and on she went, I kept wriggling to get comfortable in the uncomfortable chair and each time I did she said "Yessss, I can see you are really relaxing now" and I thought "No I am not, I've never been more uncomfortable"

But in the end I gave in, I don't know if it was the lighting or the scent.... or the blanket over the window but the next thing I remember is her shouting at me and being very close to my face as I woke up (snorting).

She claims to have completely reprogrammed my mind with her relaxing voice/face/smell/pink blanket flapping in the wind.

As we got up to leave I quickly peeked under the stars and moon throw, I knew the chair was familiar, it was a fold up camping chair! You know the ones with the beer holders in the arms? Who gives reflexology to someone in a camping chair? We all know camping is the least relaxing thing ever. All in all a very very bad experience. Plus James had to drive me home with all the windows open because I stank so much. I am not going to ask for my £15 back but I confess I have worried since. Seems my mind is not reprogrammed after all.

I have found a new way to escape my woes however...


The books about the vampire Edward and his non-vampire girlfriend Bella. They are amazing. I've read all four books twice and seen the film more times that I will admit here on my blog.

I have taken to staying up after James has gone to sleep and putting it on quietly so I can swoon over Robert Pattinson (plays Edward in the film). James always wakes up however and then I have to pretend I rolled on the remote control by mistake.

He has also found the Internet searches I have done of 'Robert Pattinson shirtless' or more shamefully 'Do Bella and Edward ever have sex in Twilight?"

James detests Twilight, and Robert Pattinson and his character Edward. He reads out passages of the book over my shoulder in a ghoulish voice or does his own Internet research on Robert Pattinson and recites facts like  "Did you know Robert can't even use a washing machine?" He knows this will gall me as I love washing.

Luckily alot of my friends are now in the Twilight club and we spend alot of time talking about the books or saying things like "Cor, he could bite my neck anytime." I know, I know. Hopefully I will grow up a bit in the four weeks I have left before the wedding.

James had his 36th birthday a couple of weeks ago and thinks he is dead grown up now. The other day I was driving along at high speed (late to get Grace from nursery) and he said "You drive a bit like I used to" I almost crashed I was laughing so much.

Anyone who has been in a car with James why-keep-your-foot-on-the-accelerator-when-you-can-pump-it-on-and-off-and-lurch-all-over-the-place-instead Waller will know why I found it so funny.

The new grown up James was soon forgotten when we went to Spring Farm Barn Park got on the giant pillow however. Sounds rubbish doesn't it? It's not though it's great. It's like an almighty trampoline but better than that, it really is like a pillow.

Anyway - as you can imagine as soon as James saw it all hell broke loose and small children went flying left right and centre as James leapt up and down with great gusto. He claims one of the children who took a tumble at his expense had knocked Grace over first, but I did not do anything mean to Grace and he still took me out.

As I went sailing in the air and landed on my face Grace said "Mummy, Uh oh" and then doubled over laughing. Oh ho ho, she is too much like her dad at times.

She knows exactly what she wants, and how to get it. If she is hungry she gets a bowl out the cupboard and walks over with it in her hands saying "Mummy peeeeeeeeeass" in a desperate voice as if I hadn't fed her for weeks. The same happens with the juice bottle if she wants a drink. Trying to get her to have juice in something other than a baby bottle is an ongoing battle.

James and I have learned to duck as Tommee Tippee beakers come flying at us with alarming accuracy. James is delighted about it, he has already decided she will be a top tennis player.

Latest photos here


Monday, 6 July 2009

Grace - 18 months old

So Grace is 18 months old and very hard to control since our holiday.

We took her to Spain with James' folks for a lovely, relaxing, stress-free week of hot sun, swimming and snoozing, oh and a hideously expensive root canal treatment for me of course.

We were not two days into the trip when the pain began, beating like a drum, sending vibrations down my jaw and up into my ear.

"Don't worry" I said "I am sure it's just my old wisdom tooth playing up again, probably just a bit infected, will pop to the dentist and get some antibiotics tomorrow or something"

As Sunday night eased into Monday morning the drum beat got louder and the lack of sleep and agonising pain started to make me slightly hysterical. At one point I begged James to punch me in the face so I could be knocked out (I think he contemplated it, I am not a fun bedfellow in hot countries it seems. I can't sleep with a fan blowing on me, I can't sleep with just a sheet on me, I can't sleep with one pillow etc etc)

Come Monday morning, I was mute with pain. Luckily the villa we were staying in had a folder full of handy information and telephone numbers. In it, like a shining beacon of light were the words "Karen Gardener, English Dentist"

Marvellous, I thought as I made the appointment, I will be in and out in no time.... half an hour and one very expensive x-ray later, she diagnosed severe tooth decay with no option other than emergency root canal..

Two and a half hours after that, (and many hundreds of euros lighter) I gingerly unpeeled myself from her plastic chair of hell and stumbled, dazed, numb and post-traumatic into the roasting hot Spanish sun.

James' wallet was hurting almost as my much as my jaw as we made our way back to the villa. Much like the war, or maybe more recently, Fight Club, we don't talk about what happened in the dark and lonely hours I spent in the plastic chair of hell, but sometimes, late at night I still hear the drill, and see the orange plastic goggles I was forced to wear (because being in the worst pain ever is not enough for 'dentists'. They like to dress you up like a idiot and make you dribble down yourself too - SICKOS).

Later in the week some English chaps who maintain the villas came to mow our lawn. We offered them a drink and got chatting, turns out Karen Gardener the English Dentist is also known as The Butcher.. How we all laughed at that.

One of the chaps said I should have gone to his dentist as he was much cheaper. As he was talking however, I noticed holes in his mouth where teeth once lived so decided that perhaps I had been lucky afterall. No one wants a missing tooth in their wedding photos do they? I always managed to go over the handlebars of my BMX and get a cracking scab on my nose the day before school photos.

(Irrelevantly, but still very hysterically, I told my brother that my BMX had special go-faster powers. The foam between the handlebars had a pattern on it which looked like buttons.

I would tap at them in code-cracking manner then shoot off whilst my brother trailed behind me sobbing "WAIT, my bike is not magic like yours" I would shout back "Eat my dust" (I used to idolize Bart Simpson. I even had the trainers, much to James' delight when he discovered childhood photos of me looking moodily uncool in them.)

So anyway, root canal aside, we had a lovely lovely time. Being as it was not my house and had stone floors, not only did I let Grace roam around free like a mountain goat, I also liberated her of her nappy for the whole week, and consequently spent most of it slipping in her widdle.

"Weeeee!" Grace would say, as she watched us skidding across the floor. She also pointed at Pip everytime he went underwater in the pool and said "Uh oh" thinking he had fallen over!

Grace loved the swimming pool. At first, she was a bit nervous but it did not take long till she jumped in like the rest of us (except I did the jumping in where you don't get your hair wet of course, even though it was covered at all times by one of Graces factor 50 plus sun protector hats with ear flaps. My nickname for the holiday was Ming Ming.)

Grace - on the other hand was way too cool for her hat, she hid it in a drawer so we would not make her wear it!

By the end of the week she could swim a length in her arm bands. We all sobbed like the soppy so and so's we are. The people next door to us must have thought we were mad, all they heard all week was WELL DONE!!! BRILLIANT, MING MING and WEEEEEEE!!

Polly went up onto the balcony to have a looksee at our neighbours and spotted a big fat naked man hosing himself down.

She was very excited about it and kept making excuses to go back up there all week. Not even the giant wasp nest could keep her away. It's so true that you never know someone until you go on holiday with them.

Who would have thought my mother-in-law-to-be (MILTB) was such a fan of the nudist scene? She was DESPERATE for James and I to swim naked "So liberating" she would say
"Try it" she cooed "Me and Pip will turn our backs" "Play volleyball, NAKED, or cricket. "
On and on she went, till finally, we caved in.... We dropped Pip, Polly and Grace down in the town and raced back for some "liberation".

I confess, nude swimming is fun. Obviously the second we got out and started doing nude sunbathing dumb and dumber (the English men with no teeth) turned up to clean out the pool and saw us in all our naked glory. Needless to say we did not do it again.

Pip did not seem as keen on the naked sunbathing, but he DID like making sure we were at the front of every queue we entered and were very very early for check-in. Hell hath no fury like man in a hurry with a walking stick.

"THIS WAY, QUICKLY!!!!" he would shout as he charged up and down airports, taking out anyone who stood in his path, whilst James, Polly, Grace and I ran along behind, dropping suitcases and losing flip-flops as we went.

Obviously it did no good as Ryan Air are the worst airline in the whole world ever and we still ended up queuing for hours either end as he and Polly where searched and frisked and fondled by various airport staff.

Grace was hard work on the plane, as I am sure all toddlers are. Luckily she is obsessed with doing up seatbelts, it's just a shame she can't undo them again. She has learned how to say please though, so even though I had to keep putting my book down and take off my headphones, the sound of her little voice saying "pease" accompanied by the Mackerton sign for it (touching your chin) I did not mind.

Her vocabulary has come on leaps and bounds, Daddaaaa!!! Mummeeeee!! Nannneeeeeeeeeee!, Dindaaaaaaa! (Grandad) she would shout, racing over the roasting hot patio (which none of us could stand on for more than a second without breaking into snazzy high-kneed dancing to stop our feet burning). She can even count to ten, it goes something like this however: one, dooo, feee, foooor, ive, ix, even, aiiighhht, nine, ten (then a MASSIVE round of applause for herself).

She was very good at being ball girl each morning and evening when James and I would have our daily games of badminton. James was torn between refusing to play because my idea of a fun game is to see how many times we can pass the ball to one another without dropping it, as opposed to the competitive option where you actively try to make your opponent miss, or playing anyway as at least he got to hit a ball (Gently with no spin!).

We had a family game of cricket on the Friday night. Pip even came out of retirement for it. James was like a little boy playing at the bottom of his garden again, his face was a picture of joy as he thwacked the ping pong ball and did snazzy-high-knee dancing back and forth the patio whilst me and Polly hopped about in the bushes trying to stop our bikinis falling off as we searched for the ball (Well I was, the nudist probably enjoyed it!)

We got home late on Saturday night and I had to get up at silly early o'clock to do the race for life on Sunday morning. I did my 5k in about 28 minutes which is not that good really, I could have done it much quicker but it's hard to barge past someone when they have heartbreaking signs on their backs saying things like "For my mum". It feels wrong somehow (Apart from the people who were running for Jade Goody, I actively enjoyed taking them out) anyway, it's done, but I am am still short of my target, so if you could be so kind as to sponsor me it would be muchly appreciated.

Latest photos here:


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Grace - 17 months

So Grace is 17 months old and does NOT like camping.

We were invited to the New Forest for a weekend to enjoy the great outdoors but ended up aborting the mission at 3.30am with Grace FREEZING COLD and howling for dear life whilst James ripped up our tent (and others) in the pitch dark, tripping over guide-ropes and receiving lots of rude comments from fellow unhappy campers.

Luckily he was too drunk to care.

Grace finally started smiling again once we drove through the gate to leave (yes we shut it behind us, obeying the country code) and she was handed a packet of pom bears crisps.

Needless to say, we won't be doing it again. At my lowest point on the trip I was forced to wee into Grace's little yellow bucket (now called the bucket of shame and residing in the garage so I don't have to see it. Yes they did have loos there but it was dark and cold and Grace was a big baby and when I need to wee I need to wee, I don't have time to find wellies and coats and torches).

Why would anyone want to go camping ever? It's cold and wet and dull and expensive and you have to sleep on the floor near strangers and wee in buckets, it's all very uncivilized indeed and then when you finally get home you have loads of unpacking and washing to do. Could anything be less relaxing?

I could not wait to get back and have a bath and apply my various lotions and potions. Now the wedding date looms large my pre-sleep regime has stepped up a notch.

As well as drinking gallons of water so I wee like a horse all day, I take giant horse pills that promise hairy nails and glowing teeth, or something like that. I

 will turn into a horse at this bloody rate.

In a bid to repair my poor brittle hair (the bad haircuts aforementioned in this very blog have taken their toll) I even sleep with hideously expensive deep conditioners on, covered by a showercap. (James calls me russell beacause of the noise I make when I turn over).

Oh well, it will all be worth it on the day.

I do hope the town hall get my name right however. When we went to raise our bands I noticed they had written Waller/Mutant. I noticed James noticed too because he started snorting like a pig and went all red.

I said something like "It's only a bit funny" and he and the fat receptionist (who had just done that really annoying thing receptionists with nothing better to do and no real work to get on with anyway do, which is to ask you what time your appointment is for, even though they know because it's written down in front of them, and then say "You're late" in the same tone a normal person would use to say sentences like "You sell drugs to children") doubled over gaffawing with laughter.

My own MILTB (mother-in-law-to-be) told me she was driving home from work the other day when she suddenly remembered the Mutant story and started laughing out loud in the car and people driving past must have thought her mad. What kind of family am I marrying into eh?

So anyway, Grace will look beautiful on the day - for about 10 minutes anyway. She is at that age where all she wants to do is take all her clothes off (and other people's shoes - when we get home she demands we take 0ur shoes off (OOOOOHHHHHHs mama OOOOOOOOHHHs dadda) so she can wear them on the wrong feet and fall over).

She has obviously been studying how to be just like her mummy because she comes charging into the kitchen and starts opening and closing the fridge and freezer and dishwasher at alarming speed, tutting to herself and looking very important and harassed.

The funniest part is after she has taken her clothes off and put them in the washing machine she picks up the fabric softener (which is my favourite smell in the whole world. You know how some people (idiots) like the smell of rain or freshly cut grass of their children? I love the smell of Comfort Tropical Burst) and says mamma, mamma! Oh she is a hoot.

Just the other day she did a poo in the bath for me to fish out with my bare hands. That was nice. (Yes of course I tried to get out out with other objects before resorting to my hands. I am not some kind of animal, but you try catching a poo in a toy boat, it's very hard. Poos are slippery when wet like that great Bon Jovi album.)

Grace is very possessive of her daddy. She goes to nursery with a little boy called Phoenix who sometimes gets confused and when James arrives to collect Grace he comes over instead with his arms in the air saying "Daddeee". Grace does not like this at all. She pushes him over then laughs at him from James' arms. It seems she is going to be a daredevil. My lovely lovely friend Vicky and I recently took the girls to kidzone (photos attached) and she raced off and came down the big yellow slide backwards all on her own before I could even supervise! (Grace I mean, not Vicky).

I pushed Grace into town this week on her little pink bike (photos attached) which of course she thought she was riding herself (I have to tilt the front wheel up so she can't steer or she has us going all over the place, much like my dog-poo dodging days of old) . She was waving at everyone saying "Hiya hiya" and pointing at dogs "woof woof sshhhhhh"

(The shusssh bit has been learned after hearing our neighbours saying it each time their dogs bark.
 She spends hours repeating it to them with her head poking out the cat flap in the kitchen. Sometimes she posts important documents out there at the same time, very very quietly)

She is still mad on Peppa pig. She has taken to throwing herself on the floor and rolling around like they do when something is funny. It can be quite dangerous, as is the way she hangs out the buggy to one side (if I can finally get her in her buggy these days ) when we go along, narrowly avoiding lamp posts and people's shopping bags.

We are getting her a seat to go on the back of James' bike this week. I just got a new bike and I love it ( Only slightly less since I actually rode it and it gave me aches and pains in places I never knew possible to ache in.)

I blame it all on James. We rode from Rottingdean to Hove and back (12 miles) at breakneck speed.

James trilled his girly bell loudly at any pedestrian who dared step foot in the cycle lane. I followed soon after shouting "Get out the cycle lane" swallowing loads of flies as I did so. James did look very handsome on his bike however, such strong thighs. I could sort of make them out in the blur as I struggled to keep up with him anyway.

I have another charity run coming up soon. I am sure I will be hounding you all for money. I've finally managed to run 5k in under 30 minutes (Once, after which I had to come home and lay on the floor as the world span around me).

Anyway. I had better go. Grace will be home soon so I had better empty the dishwasher and washing machine before she tries to do it for me.

Latest photos here:


Wednesday, 15 April 2009

So Grace is almost 16 months old, and her two great loves are shoes and peppa pig. She loves visitors coming so she can put their shoes on (always on the right feet I might add). Her own shoe collection has grown rapidly, reminds me of a poem I wrote years ago:

I like shoes an awful lot
Boots when it's cold
Sandals when hot
I show them off with bicycle clips
Socks, stockings, flops flips
High heels, low heels, slippers, sneakers
Plimsolls,wellies, Jesus creepers
Come sun, rain, hail or sleet
I have the right footwear on my feet

Her favourite shoes have ducks on, and whilst wearing them she periodically stops to point at her feet and say"nak nak" (quack quack).

On her first day at nursery she came home with someone else's (hideous) shoes, after we had just spent an extortionate amount on some lovely green wellies. She was clearly not impressed with them however so swapped them for some high-chav Lelli kelly boots adorned with glitter and sparkle Jackson Pollock style. The little magpie!

Nursery is going really well. Grace has a lovely time, secretly. When we go to pick her up we sneak a peek through the window first and watch her running round with plastic toy animals in her mouth being the class clown, but the second we walk inside she drops everything and runs to us arms outstretched wailing her head off as if she has had the worst time in the world. Once we have picked her up and put her coat on she turns to all her friends and says bye bye bye bye bye bye over and over.

We had to make Easter bonnets for them last week. I spent all the night before covered in glue and tissue paper (massive thanks to Caroline and Sarah for their help by the way) making the perfect bonnet, but the next morning Grace woke up with very sore eyes. I felt so awful taking her off to nursery - you never saw a more miserable Easter bunny (see photos) all day long I was gripped with anxiety that I had made her go into nursery ill but when I phoned at lunchtime they told me " Your daughter is currently parading round with her Easter bonnet on grinning at everyone" AND we won best homemade bonnet!! I shall keep it forevermore. (Of course even though James had nothing to do with the bonnet making he quickly started getting proud texts from his mummy and daddy congratulating him on making a winning bonnet!!! Such a credit stealer, but I suppose I had better let him off since he FINALLY proposed!!!!)

So anyway,when Grace is not wearing other people's shoes she is busy reading Peppa Pig books. She digs them out her toy box and plants herself on our laps chanting "Peppa peppa" and makes us read them again and again and again. Peppa loves dressing up, Peppa loves spaghetti, Peppa loves muddy puddles, when we get to the page which says Peppa and George are in the bath and the bubbles are all tickly! she starts giggling because she knows we are going to tickle her.

Yesterday morning I put Grace's breakfast (weetabix which she feeds herself (messily) with a little spoon) at the table and she raced over to pull out her high chair (she loves her breakfast) but then heard the Peppa Pig theme tune start on the telly and raced back to the sofa to watch that instead. Every time daddy pig comes on she goes up to the telly and says "da da"!! (Could be worse, our friends daughter calls the Gruffalo Daddeeeeee!!)

She is sleeping through the night now, AT LAST and anyone reading this must touch wood at once!

I put her in her cot and read to her till she drops off to sleep. I love watching her eyelids droop as she listens to me read The Faraway Tree or some Judy Blume story from my youth. Reading to her is my favourite part of the day, that or our singing sessions when she does all the actions to twinkle twinkle little star then gives herself a big clap afterwards. She is so very proud of herself, especially her big round tummy. She pats it when she is in the bath and giggles (NB:She did not learn this off me).

She is growing up so fast now, she lays on the sofa and reads books to herself, or sits at her highchair feeding herself dinner and I still marvel that I made her, those lovely chubby legs and gold hair (Yes, gold, NOT ginger) that clever little brain.

Latest photos here:


Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Grace - 15 months

So Grace is almost 15 months old, and she can walk and talk!

I never knew babies could talk this young until an online newsletter thing I signed up to told me so via email.
It said "By now your baby should be saying 15 to 20 words and learning new ones all the time."
"Nonsense" I thought to myself, but picked up a book of animals and started to read it to Grace all the same.
Bear, I said
"air" said Grace back to me. "A fluke" I thought to myself and turned the page
" Bat" I said
"at" said Grace
And so it went on fish (ish) shoes (ooes) zebra (bra) dog (woof woof) monkey (ooh ooh ohh (don't ask)). She is now obsessed with the animal book, it's all she wants to look at.

It's quite big so she drags is over, huffing and puffing, then lands sweaty and triumphant on my lap and starts turning the pages, pointing "ish ish". Sometimes she likes to give all the animals a kiss, sometimes only the snake gets one (sssssss).

She starts nursery this week so we have been busy buying lunchboxes and wellies (FACT: Kids loves wellies - Grace is not happy unless they are halfway on or off her feet, in sight, on one of her teddies or in her arms as she sleeps sighing "ooes oees" to herself again and again).

We have taken her for a couple of "settling in sessions" at her nursery to see how quickly she will adjust. At 10.30am it's snack time, so all the children put down their toys and head towards the teeny tiny table to sit on a teeny tiny chair and have a teeny tiny snack, all of them except Grace of course who watched scornfully from the side of the room.

When I carried her over and sat her in a chair next to the others she stood back up, ate her piece of kitchen roll, stole someone elses' beaker, threw it on the floor in disgust when she realised it was only water and the climbed on the table and tried to stamp on breadsticks.

Apparently this is very normal behaviour though so I'm not too alarmed. She is very sweet at nursery, a mixture of shy (like mummy), cocky (like daddy), friendly (like mummy) and a bit of a show off (daddy again!). When I finally wrestled her into a chair she slouched in it with her feet on the table in a very cool fashion. Is this a taster of what we have in store?!!

We got sent back from the "settle in session" with a form I need to fill in all about Grace, what she likes and does not like, when she naps, her favourite toy etc. There is also a section for us to write her favourite songs down. It's slightly embarrassing, the other kids probably like 'The Wheels on the Bus' or 'Humpty Dumpty'. Grace does not know any of those songs. She knows the ones sung to her by the hideous dancing hippos and dogs and teddies her nanny and grandad buy her so I had to write down 'Ring of fire - Johnny Cash'
'I know it's only rock n' roll but I like it - Rolling Stones
' 'Do you love me - The Contours'
'I'm just a love machine - Wham'
'What a wonderful world - Louie Armstrong'

I do hope she does not get bullied, it's unlikely though as her feet are actually bricks and her fingers are octopus tentacles. She possesses surprising strength, which she occasionally demonstrates by dragging a heavy toy or book over to James when he is laying down then dropping it on his head before creasing up laughing. Life is very funny for Grace.

She is just starting to get my eye colour. It's slightly unsettling when she glares at me in a temper and I see myself. She also has my picky eating habits. At nursery all the other kids tucked into jacobs crakers and bits of banana. Grace slung them on the floor and said "air air" (pom bear crisps). Her nanny is teaching her Mackerton sign language.

She has been taught the sign for "where" ( raised palms). When we sit down and go through her animal book she shrugs at each one we point out as if to say "You say there is a cat, but I can't see one. Where is this cat you speak of?"

I love it when she looks at me like I am the one who is slightly childish.

She is still not a brilliant sleeper but she has a brilliant daddy who gets up endlessly and passes her milk or tucks her back in. Occasionally he asks me to do it (when I say ask, I actually mean he kicks me sharply on the ankle and rolls over).

I finally joined the local gym. I did a charity run a couple of weeks ago and needed to get in shape beforehand. All the Wallers were supposed to be taking part but they dropped out one by one using very poor excuses till it was just me left representing them. I am proud to say I did 5 miles in just over 40 minutes which is much faster than James could have done. He would only have employed the aforementioned ankle kick anyway so it's just as well. (He will tell you different but we all know he tripped his little sister up years ago when they were racing).

I can't wait for summer with Grace now she is on her feet. My garden is alive with daffodils (well actually, there are only 4 of them but my garden slopes very sharply and planting the bulbs was risky business. I had to cling onto trees for dear life. James finds this hilarious of course and constantly makes jokes such as "I wandered lonely as a daffodil" etc etc)

We even have a rope swing which Grace can go on. We took her to London zoo this weekend and had a lovely time looking at the one monkey we saw (don't bother going to London zoo).

The underground is fun with a baby. James showed off his surprising strength lifting the buggy with Grace in it up and down stairs while I just got in the way! Everyone in the carriage knew all the animals in our animal book by the time we got back to Brighton so that was nice.

Photos here:

Friday, 13 February 2009

Grace - 13 and a half months

So Grace is 13 months old, and scared of snowmen...

We made one in the garden during the cold snap. First she cried, then tried to eat him. She has learned how shake her head to say no, but does not know what the gesture actually means.
If you offer her food, she shakes her head then goes ahead and eats it anyway.
In fact it's not just food she says no to, it's everything.

She points at something she wants, so you say "Do you want it Grace?" and she shakes her head vehemently but carries on pointing till you bring it to her anyway so she can sling it on the floor and start saying no to something else.

She is obsessed with a toy dog who sings jingle bells and waves it's arms around, a bright pink Hippo who sings "Do you love me" whilst wiggling it's plastic bum and a brown bear who croons Humpty Dumpty in a very posh voice (he also tells the story of Goldilocks but gets bored halfway through and ends abruptly with "and she was never seen again").

She sets them off one by one, a look of utter concentration on her face as she searches for the 'play me' buttons on their paws/feet. We then have to listen to them woofing and warbling over one another again and again and again and again and again.

We just managed to wear the batteries out but then James' folks came down and replaced them! They also bought her a plastic dog which we can't switch off and has to be fed a plastic bone every 3 hours or he starts barking and shouting "FEED ME, I LIKE BONES". James had to go downstairs at 3am the other night to give him a plastic bone. The dog said "BONES ARE YUMMY" ten minutes later and woke us all up again. Oh the joys of toys.

Gracehas also started copying everything we do. If I am drying my hair she will pick up anything she can get her hands on and start stroking it over her head, or hold it to her ear as is if she is on the phone. If James and I are laughing about something she comes over and joins in, which is just the funniest thing I've ever seen. She really likes to feel she is "in there" with what is going on.

She won't be fed at meal times now. She has to do it herself. It takes her about ten minutes for her to get a single piece of pasta on her fork, and another five to get it near her mouth. Then she has a spasm of excitement at how well she is doing so misfires and pokes herself in the eye.

Her best trick though, is walking. She can do ten or twenty step now before collapsing in my arms, sweaty and utterly delighted with herself. She giggles with each step she takes and my heart swells with pride. I looked at her the other day and felt fear for the first time, that it was all going too fast. I missed my tiny helpless baby. Grace is racing towards toddlerhood without a backward glance whereas I keep digging out photos from this time last year and getting all misty eyed.

That said I am NOT ready for another one - especially after the latest bout of sleepless nights. My god she can make a noise if she does not get wants.

All the book say to never to bring your baby back downstairs once you have taken them up for the night. We've decided the books can just um, not be adhered too, When it's 3am and Grace is screaming the place down unless you carry her round the house so she can turn all the light switches on and off then that is exactly what we will do, because it works.

She calms down and starts acting less like a child from the Exorcist and more like the baby we know and love. It's just a shame that the next day feels a bit like a dream and I put coffee in the fridge, the milk in the washing machine and forget the names of things like keys or shoes.

It's all worth it though, when Grace gives you a kiss, which is what she just started doing this morning. She uses a bit too much tongue and sometimes surprises you with a little nip of her monkey teeth, but it's still very sweet, and just in time for Valentines day!

There are photos but I've not had time to upload them. I will soon however!