Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Grace - Three years, Daisy six months

So Grace is three years old and Daisy is six months old. This is the first year Grace has had any awareness of Santa Claus, and as predicted, she was not very keen. She had the opportunity of meeting him at the turning on of the Rottingdean lights, and after showing great enthusiasm initially, she soon changed her mind when we got near the grotto. I tried my best to cajoole her into going in with me. "Darling, Santa has a present for you" I said "Well he can bring it out here" was the swift response. When I told her the story of how Santa comes she made me call him and demand that he not enter her bedroom... A diva, just like her dad.

I had had visions of Daisy eating pureed Christmas dinner after a frenzy of excitable present opening by Grace (and me). Of course that never happened. We all caught flu for Christmas instead...

It all started on Christmas eve eve. I spent the whole day cleaning, changing sheets and making the house perfect for our Christmas guests. James braved Brighton mayhem to collect a turkey after the one he ordered from Allens of Mayfair failed to arrive. I suspected they would let us down so as a surprise I pre-ordered one from Waitrose too, so on the 23rd after Allens failed to deliver the goods I got to be all smug and save-the-day-ish with news of my second bird. ( Sadly, and without warning Allens delivered on Christmas eve instead - so we had two seven kilo turkeys sat in our porch which by that point we were too frail to lift, let alone cook and eat) .

So anyway, before all this happened James was battling with Brighton busyness and I was at home singing along to "Driving home for Christmas" as I dusted and bleached and scrubbed. I did feel more tired than normal when I finally sat down at about 6pm but did not have much time to think about it as we had the neighbours due for Christmas drinks, and unbeknown to them - to help me put together Grace's Early Learning Centre kitchen which had arrived earlier in the day with a 17 page instruction manual and various scary looking allen keys.

The plan was simple. I plied them with drink then mention how worried I was that I would not get time to put Grace's kitchen together before the morning. As planned, comments such as"Why not? It can't be that hard can it?" followed - at which point I bought out the manual, and more wine....
Four hours, five bottles and three sets of neighbours later the kitchen was complete and after my genius idea of a balloon blowing competition, everything was ready for Grace when she woke up - so you can imagine my disappointment when Grace surfaced in a hideous mood with a high temperature. She kicked all the balloons out the way, said "I don't like THAT kitchen" then collapsed on the sofa where she spent the rest of the day in and out of feverish sleep.

James' folks arrived full of Christmas cheer and a very special yuletide surprise in the form of Jodie who had come back from Oz for four days. I felt so ill and lightheaded that I thought I was hallucinating when I saw her, burst into uncontrollable tears and hid in James' armpit.

We spent Christmas morning in A&E getting steroids for Grace who had developed Croup and antibiotics for James who had caught a chest infection, then we crawled home to get into our sickbeds.

I was so upset about it all that the first thing I did when I felt well enough was take down the Christmas tree and sling it up the garden. (It was very heavy and landed with a very unsatisfying thud about three foot away).

In a very romantic effort to save salvage some festive cheer James booked us into a beautiful hotel in Amersham (where Four Weddings and a Funeral was filmed) for the New Year. I was hoping for lots of Hugh Grant impersonations from him to go with it but none happened. We did get lots of lovely naps in though which was perhaps the best Christmas present of all.

Daisy does not like sleeping very much, and if she does it has to be whilst breastfeeding in my arms in my bed. Those are the rules, and even then it's not a very long or deep sleep. My New Years resolution is to get her to sleep in her own cot in her own room with no breastfeeding. It's not going very well so far. She is upstairs howling as I type this and I have that horrible churning knot in my tummy that any parent who is trying the 'leaving them to cry' technique will know about.

Whilst 'leaving Daisy to cry' I have to obsessively talk about why I am doing it, spend the whole time she is crying either army-crawling up and down the stairs to check she is OK (which is pointless because her howling suggests she is fine and if I am going to spend the whole evening staring at her from a hiding place, I may as well just admit I have no life and go and sit with her instead) or googling various sleeping techniques for babies, desperate to find a pain-free solution.
I tried to get James a special present this year. I decided that having his name tattooed on my bottom would be a quirky way of showing both my devotion and my crazy sexy cool.. did not quite go to plan. I was running late so skipped breakfast in my rush to get there and after about five minutes the tatooist had to stop and hold me while I passed out on him.

At one, very humiliating stage I lay across his knees with my wobbly white post-baby bum out, trying my best to focus on and lick the chub-chub lolly his daughter bought and was feeding me to 'get my sugars up' while a queue of big, muscly, hairy bikers waiting impatiently for their huge, naked-girl-on-a-harley-smoking-a-joint-tattoos stood watching (and laughing). It turns out I was seeing double and there were only two of them but it was still awful and I came away shamefaced and sporting "Mr Wall" across my right bum cheek.... I have been told I can go back free of charge to get it finished but I am trying to convince James that Mr.Wall is a great new nickname for me instead...

The most important thing is that my family are all well again now however - and in a much better mindset to enjoy all our lovely presents and Christmas chocolate. If they could Grace would live on chocolate and "toad in the road" only, and Daisy on breastmilk. I had hoped that I would be winding down breastfeeding by now, and might even start going out with an underwired bra on again, but it seems not. We have every single flavour of every single type of babyfood available in our cupboard but all Daisy wants is me. I keep telling myself she will grow out of it soon - but then I remember that programme about that woman who was still breastfeeding her eight-year old and panic.

I got new Christmas boots, James got a new Christmas coat and we have both reverted to teenagers and are embarrassed about them. Remember at school when you were desperate not to be asked if your shoes were new? and if you were questioned would vehemently deny their newness and claim you had had them ages? I am a bit like that with my new Christmas boots and James is even worse with his new Christmas coat, which he thinks looks like a bomber jacket. ("Don't be silly. Bomber jackets make a swish swish noise" I said, just as James changed gear and his coat made the exact same sound.) It did not help that we saw a man in Chesham wearing a bomber jacket with "Nice and Safe Attitude" emblazoned across the back.

Grace got a very noisy keyboard and microphone set from her nanny and grandad. It made us realise how much time Grace spends in shops after we heard her announcing "Grace Waller to the tills please, mummy Waller to the tills please" over and over again.

We have been going to church alot. I admit, initially it was to get Grace into the local C of E school in the village, but now we go because we really enjoy it. Daisy gets unlimited breast access the whole time to keep her quiet and James gets to stay at home and have a well-earned lie-in (or lion as we call it). Grace is already getting a name for herself. Last time I took her up to receive communion she gave Father Martin her half chewed fizzy cola bottle in exchange. He was so touched he told the whole congregation about it and they all applauded her. When they sing the hymns she gets up and twirls round in the aisles, making all the old ladies cry - but then she sets her wind up mouse off and they run away shrieking.

So all in all it's going well in Waller-world, or Wall-world as I now like to call it. I am not looking forward to James going back to work. It's been great to have him at home for a couple of weeks -and not just so he can see how hard being a stay-at-home-mum-is (One of my many new year's resolutions is to stop competing with him about who works harder or who is most tired. "No I in team and all that"...)

Hope you all had a cool yule. Latest photos here:



Monday, 22 November 2010

Grace 35 months, Daisy five months

So Grace is almost three, and I am hoping this means the terrible twos are almost over, but I have a sinking feeling they are not.

I don't even think these are "terrible twos" tantrums. They are more mature than that. She has already mastered the art of looking round me to still see the TV when I am telling her off and stomping up to her bedroom when she does not get her own way. This is not behaviour she is going to grow out of. I know this because I am almost thirty and I still do both on a regular basis, especially when James' credit card bill comes through.

Luckily at the minute (thanks to Mary Poppins) the rudest word Grace knows is supercalifragilisticexpialidocius, which she shortens to 'calidocius' and shouts at you whilst waving her hand in your face, a bit like she is casting a spell. All very sweet now, but we live next to a high school and I don't hear anyone citing Julie Andrews at playtime...

Daisy is no better. She is only five months old and has already learnt to laugh when Grace is being told off. This greatly annoys Grace and results in Daisy having all her toys taken away from her. Nothing winds Grace up more than seeing Daisy having a PNT (perfectly nice time). I often set Daisy up on her mat with an array of "stimulating" toys, and come back five minutes later to find they have all been slung far from her and she is left looking at the algae on the conservatory roof instead. She does not seem to mind too much, being at that age where she regularly forgets and then rediscovers, with great delight, the fact she has hands and feet.

It's been a busy month for us. We went on holiday for a week while our new kitchen was being installed and our floorboards sanded.
You are probably thinking I am a bit of a show off.. well, you know the week before last when all it did was wind and rain day and night with no break for a single second? That was the week we went on holiday, in a caravan, to Norfolk...

We got there just before the rain started. By the time we had finished our meal in the Harvester* (I know, name dropping again!) the sky had turned pitch black and the wind was howling. That was on the Monday at about 3.30pm and it did not get light again for five days.

The only thing to do was go shopping, alot. The holiday turned into a tour of TKMAX outlets. We would spend all day in one, drive back to the caravan hampered by the pouring rain and massive bags of discount goods, and after sliding about in the mud bath that led up to the door, we would lock ourselves in for the night to play Scrabble, trivial pursuit and being fish finger sandwiches in very small beds.

(I was fine, but James had to sleep diagonally. He obviously found it very comfortable because he has continued to do it since we got home, much to my annoyance.)

Work was still not finished by the time we had to vacate the caravan, so we went for a luxury weekend retreat to the Premier Inn on Bourne End bypass near Hemel. Initially we were delighted at being given a room on the bottom floor near the restaurant, but by 6am we were sick of hearing pots and pans being clattered about so James opened the door and shouted "Shut up" very loudly down the corridor.

Minutes later we heard knocking, then a voice said"Fire brigade, let me in." Thinking it must be some kind of joke, James opened the door and asked "Are you a stripper?"
"No Sir, I am a fire brigade" came the response. It seems a pipe had burst somewhere in the hotel and the banging we had heard all night was Mr "I am a fire brigade" checking the rooms for leaks.

The Premier Inn very kindly said that we would not be charged for the room and that meals would also be free for the duration of our stay, which is just as well because the restaurant was closed.

Even when it was open it was pretty rubbish. After being shown the specials board and advised to have the delicious curry, which we both promptly ordered, we were immediately told, by the same person, that there was no rice. We could have curry and chips though. We did not want curry and chips however. How about curry in a jacket potato then? advised the waiter, who then told us they had no jacket potatoes. Or steak. Or chicken Cesar Salad, or anything else on the specials board he had bought over to show us.

We thought it would be a relief to get home, until we got there and saw that every single possession we owned was hidden under a thick layer of orange dust. "Don't worry" said James, on the Sunday night " We can blitz this together in no time" and then he promptly spent the whole of the next week in London from about 7am to 9pm.

He did babysit Daisy for me for the first time ever while I went and had my hair done in a super snazzy salon though, and he paid for it. (In a bid to try and stop expensive impulse buys, I put a picture of James looking very sad next to my copy of his credit card in my wallet. It did not work and I also came home with every single product the hairdresser used on my hair.)

Daisy is getting along marvellously. She had her third set of jabs today and smiled the whole way through.

She can already hold her own in a fight. She grabs hold of Grace's hair with her teeny tiny fingers and has her pleading for mercy. I have been weaning her for a while now and she eats anything that is put in front of her with great gusto and a comical mouth lunge.

Her giggle is a delightful snigger which you find yourself doing more or less anything to achieve. I think she will be OTM (On the move) soon. She can already hold on to the side of the swimming pool unaided which is pretty amazing to see.

I can't believe she is almost six months old. Where has the time gone and why has the last of my baby fat not gone with it? James says I look great, but he signed me up for a half marathon when he went to the nursery committee meeting last night so obviously he is just saying that.

I could not go as it clashed with kiddie bedtime, so I sent James to represent me with specific instructions to only put my name down for very easy things. He spent the whole night being flirted with by all the mums instead. When he came back he was all "Isn't Kim a great laugh?" and "Doesn't Fleur have a nice coat?"

Grace has been dictating her letter to Santa for me to write "Dear Santa, how are you? I am good. For Christmas I would like a Wizardaboz castle, a toy kitchen like my friend Matilda has and some princess slippers. Daisy does not want anything. Thank you"

She said she wanted a princess and pirate party for her third birthday, but she is going to go as a witch and turn everyone into "toad in the road" (toad in the hole). I have to dress up as a tiger and daddy as a silly sausage. I can't wait to see James dressed up as a giant Christmas poo.

Latest photos here :



Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Grace 33 months - Daisy 3+ months

So Grace started preschool. It was a big step for both of us and we were both nervous.

She would be meeting the people she will spend the next ten or so years in education with, which was pretty scary for her. Even more scary for me though...I was meeting their mothers. What if they did not like me and so never invited Grace to their kids' parties?

First impressions were crucial...

So I set my alarm, tweezed my eyebrows (took longer than planned), dressed the girls in their best and set off early.. and then it all went wrong.

I got caught in the 4x4-cars-on-the-road-driven-by-mums-who-cannot-see-over-the-steering-wheel-brigade, could not find anywhere to park.

I almost reversed into one of Grace's new school friends, and finally arrived sweating profusely and dragging one sullen toddler who had snuck jammy-toast into the car and rubbed it all over her face, and a newborn who had done a massive honky poo which had gone all through her best trousers and right up her back.

No one wanted to stand near us, everyone was wrinkling their perfectly powdered noises (kids included) and I ended up slinking off (or should that be stinking off) back to the badly parked car to sob all the way home.

Things have not gotten much better. James accidentally popped Grace's elbow out of it's socket at a family wedding this weekend and we ended up in Hemel Hempstead A&E. It's a very common injury in kids under five, but even so - we were put under the spotlight by the nurse who asked:

"How did this happen?"
"I did it" James said. "We were at a wedding. She was laying on the floor refusing to get up, she was in the way and I was worried someone would trample on her so I picked her up by her arm. It was an accident."
"I see" said the nurse, eyeing him with suspicion " And were you there" she said, pointing at me. "No" I said nervously, then I got all flustered and said "I did not see the incident."
"Incident?" she said sharply, typing away on her screen.
"No No, there was no "incident" said James. "It was not an incident, it was an ACCIDENT."
"Yes yes" I shouted, "I mean no no, no incident, I meant accident." I could tell from the look James and the nurse gave me that I was not helping matters.

I don't think she believed us. I don't think she thought there was even a wedding. She probably thought we were playing tug-of-war with Grace, hurt her more than planned, panicked and dressed up in our Sunday best to try and look presentable and cover our tracks.
Luckily the elbow popped back in quickly and painlessly and Grace was using her arm again in seconds.

A report of "the incident" got sent to her preschool though, and that teamed with nearly running a child over in the car park and carrying round a stinky baby has not created the impression I had hoped.

SO - In a bid to redeem ourselves I have put both James and I down for a charity swim the preschool are doing to raise funds. I still have some "junk in my trunk" to lose so it's win win anyway (except now all the yummies are going to see me in my slowdo. There is nothing "speedo" about me, doing old-lady-lengths.)

Daisy helps me win people over though. She is just so sweet people can't help but warm to her, especially if they were fans of POB

Don't laugh, it's not funny. My poor little pobhead. When the sun shines her ears light up, like dumbo. When she smiles she looks so silly it makes me want to cry. James calls her wingnut. WINGNUT for god's sake!

I have traced my family tree back centuries to try and find the origin of these enormous ears. It's not a Newton thing. I am sure once she grows some hair it will all be fine anyway. Grace must have taken Daisy's share of hair however, because she only ever loses it. From the back Daisy looks like she is wearing a skullcap.

None of this matters however as she is quite literally the sweetest, most laid back baby anyone has ever met. She spends her whole life grinning and cooing and flapping (her arms, not ears) about.

She is a joy. A true joy. I love her so much I get a lump in my throat when I wake up and see her grinning at me with her daft little chops. Grace is as crazy about her as I am and is forever kissing her, patting her on the head, pulling her ears and singing all kinds of nonsense to her.

Grace does not think James is as cute though, and often tells him he is being "a havish" (her interpretation of the sentence "you are misbehaving." She also makes ridiculous demands of him. For example she will request a "hot egg".

There is an art to boiling eggs, which James works very hard to achieve and is entirely wasted on Grace, because for all the perfect egg-to-simmering-not-boiling-water-ratio, Grace actually only wants to eat the "egg shelf" (eggshell).

She likes "shark bits" (sharp bits). For this reason she also munches on prawn tails and sand. Oh well, James did want her to be adventurous with her food.

The later it gets, the more ridiculous the demands. Anyone who has ever had a child will understand the dread which goes through them when after bathing and feeding milk and bedtime stories to their child - and then after truly believing them to be fast-asleep- settling down to a TV programme they have been looking forward to watching all week/a chapter of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo which they have gotten hooked on/a well deserved, undisturbed, blissful eight hours sleep, they hear.... "Errrrrrrrnn".

At first, you try to fool yourself it was just the wind or a creaky step. You pray for such things (more on that later), but then, just as you manage to convince yourself it never happened at all, you hear it again... "Errrrrrn, eeeerrrrn" and you know that within minutes it will be followed by
"Mummmeeeeee" and that you can kiss your TV programme/chapter/sleep goodnight.

You'll be spending the next hour and a half placating an overtired diva who wants milk but "not in that cup", then changes their mind and wants juice in the original cup, then back to milk again, then the light on/off/on a bit/off/on, then "Dorrottee bear" (who is actually a rabbit and named after Dorothy out of the Wizardaboz (wizard of oz) but she can't pronounce it properly) ...

and so on and so forth until you are so fed up and exhausted that if she told you she would go back to sleep if only you would take all your clothes off and dance naked by the light of the moon in full view of all the new mummies at school, you would do so - just to get some sleep.

And so to prayer.. We are off to church. In order for Grace to get into the village school we want her to go to -the whole family need to attend the local C of E church for the next eighteen months.
I have not been to church for years (apart from last weekend for the wedding, when I made a complete fool of myself. The vicar asked us what we needed to say when she asked us a question during the ceremony. Excitedly, because I knew the answer I loudly shouted out "We will" thinking everyone was going to do the same. No one did. They all looked at me in astonishment instead, including Daisy who was so shocked by my outburst she stopped breastfeeding to stare at me, leaving my breast exposed for the whole congregation to admire. The Vicar looked disgusted.)

I have been assured the Vicar at our local church is very liberal though and the service is lots of fun and he loves kids and does not mind if they make noise during the service. He believes it is their way of talking to god.... A lovely idea isn't it? If only Grace would talk to God in the middle of the night instead of getting me up. He could turn her water into milk and save me umpteen trips to the kitchen.

Surely it's going to be obvious we are only going to secure Grace's place, especially as I am the worst liar in the whole world. I have decided when he asks me what brings us to the Church I will tell him I really enjoy the harvest festival. This is true. I have fond memories of handing out dented tins to old people whilst singing "All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above"

Latest photos:


Monday, 9 August 2010

Grace two years seven months, Daisy two months..

So Grace is now the master of her potty. It took a while for her to get used to it. She did lots of crouching near it and weeing, or hovering over it, straining, then announcing "It not working" before promptly going and weeing on the sofa, but now she has it sorted.

She even goes and washes her hands in the sink after (to start with she tried to wash her hands in the wee she had just done).

She has also mastered going for a poo. It involves lots of "It not working" straining trips before she delivers the surprisingly large results, which she then names
"Daddy poo, mummy poo, Grace poo Daisy poo" depending on size (not likeness) before dancing round the potty chanting and punching the air.

Daisy is rather non-plussed about it all, being at the stage where she still delights in making long loud trumpet noises in her nappy. She does smile when Grace shares her "I've done a poo" reward stickers with her though, it's just a shame Grace sticks them all over her face, and presses a bit hard.

Already the sibling bond is evident. Grace will suddenly stop reading a book or playing with her toy to run over and kiss Daisy and say "Love you Daisy". She also like to sing "Daisy Daisy, give me your hand oh Boo, I love Gracey, lets ride a bicycle too."

Yes, Grace is getting into music now. We have a hideous kids music CD which we have to sing along to LOUDLY whenever we are in the car.

Grace's favourite is Jelly on a Plate. Mine is I am the Music Man. Daisy is not really showing a preference at this stage.

It does not take much to make her smile though, unless you are James, in which case it's rather hard work. It seems Daisy has taken against her Daddy. She smiles at the sound of the hoover, her own reflection, strangers in the post office, me and Grace singing "trom trom trom trom trom tromnbone" but not at her daddy.

She eyes him very suspiciously instead, and when he goes near her she bleats like an indignant goat. She does not even like it if he talks to me while I am feeding her, it puts her off. In fact if she could tut, she would.

Poor James has done nothing to warrant this behavior and he tries so hard to help. He runs me lovely hot baths... but the second I get in, Daisy wakes up, sees James instead of me and starts crying.

He has to put her in the bath with me, and then she is all coos and smiles again. She loves her bath, unless James bathes her of course and then she hates it and cries instead.

It was never like this with Grace. She used to spend hours sucking her daddy's nose when my nipple needed a rest. No chance of Daisy doing that. She has inherited James' habit of sucking fingers very very loudly though, so that's nice and annoying....

Every night, just as I am dozing off, I get rudely woken up again by James BANGING the legs of his office chair loudly (the chair is broken), then just as I have settled back into sleep again he starts sucking his bloody fingers. It sounds like someone trying to pull their welly out of a puddle of mud.

After I have told him off about that and finally managed to get back to sleep again, either Daisy wakes up for a feed or James starts banging his iphone on the desk (also broken) to make it work.

It's funny how you learn to live with things that don't work properly. We kept using a tin opener which no longer was capable of opening tins for many many months. It got so bad that we even stopped making recipes which required tinned tomatoes or tuna as we could not get into them.
It was just not worth it. James would saw and hack away with fishy tuna oil splatting everywhere for hours before giving up. We finally got a new one after I saw James sobbing in frustration whilst trying to suck corned beef out a very small hole he had drilled into the tin with a screwdriver.

We still live with a leaky tap that you have to turn off, then back on precisely half a turn again to stop it dripping and a loo seat which comes off it's hinges each time you put the lid down. James says we can't afford to get them mended now I am now a member of Falmer Racket club (at last)...

I feel very out of place amongst all the yummy mummies with their boob jobs and fake tans and bladder control, while I am frizzy and frazzled and fuzzy and flabby.

In an effort to excuse my appearance I find myself explaining to everyone I see that "I've just had a baby." No one seems interested but it makes me feel a bit better.

I am the only woman in the whole gym who sweats when she exercises which also a bit embarrassing. It's partially because I don't have very long at the gym each time so I try and cram as much in as possible. I do a mini triathlon, starting on the cross trainer, before leaping onto the bike and then charging off into the pool (but getting in it very slowly and sensibly so I don't get my hair wet).

If I have any time left I stagger into the steam room afterward. Last week I was so tired and bleary eyed I actually sat on someones lap in there. Well really, how was I supposed to see with all that steam everywhere? It was really very embarrassing, I jumped up, making a loud squelchy noise as I did so and then felt I needed to explain that I had just had a baby.

James is horrified by my behaviour. He is so Fight Club about the gym. First rule is you do not talk to anyone in the steam room or jacuzzi ever, let alone sit on them.
Second rule is that you do not publicly acknowledge your spouse.... I see him, sneaking past the gym windows to avoid me, or hiding behind the paper in the cafe after playing racketball, hoping I will not notice.

He claims that gym trips are not relaxing if I am there "prattling on to everyone about babies and things all the time." I know this is not the only reason. He does not want to be seen with the frizzy, flabby sweating weirdo who talks to everyone and squelches when she walks.

Latest photos here:



Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Grace and Daisy

So Grace is just over two and a half, Daisy boo is almost a month old, and I am very tired.

It's so tiring, for example, to remember both girls, car seats, sun cream, change bags, sunhats, nappies, food and drinks for Grace, keys, phone, wipes and wallet when I go out, that I end up forgetting things like the bags of Tesco shopping I have just bought.

I was so absorbed with the generation conveyor belt going round my head (girls, two = check, wallet = check, car keys = check) that I did not even hear the shop assistant shouting at me and waving my groceries.

It's so tiring, for example, to dress Grace, then Daisy, then Grace again because she has taken all her clothes off and done a poo on the floor....then Daisy again because she has done a poo too and it's gone everywhere... then Grace again because she has taken her clothes off again and is sitting in the paddling pool.... then get Daisy in her car seat........then chase Grace round the garden to get her in her car seat.......get halfway to nursery, realise I have forgotten Grace's lunch.

I often forget to get dressed and arrive places with no shoes on, or one of Grace's hairclips in and no breast pads ("nickle pants" as Grace calls them) in so I am leaking all over the place.

Grace helps where she can. She tries to feed Daisy for me, which is lovely except babies can't eat skips.

She tucks her in when she sees she has no cover on, which is lovely but she puts it over Daisy's face. She gives her kisses and cuddles when Daisy looks sad, which is lovely but she leans on her very heavily whilst doing so and makes her cry even more. She pushes Daisy in the buggy when we go out, which is lovely but means Daisy gets wheeled into bins and benches and piles of dog poo alot.

Luckily Daisy is the sweetest, calmest, most contented baby in the whole world ever and so never makes a fuss. She has not even cried yet. She just sleeps and feeds and looks at me intently with her serious little face. She is so quiet we almost forget we have her, and we forgot her name alot to start with too. Grace kept calling her "the little girl" and James and I called her "um, the lovely baby".

Grace has turned into a comic however. In the last week she has come out with the following:

"Dad, babies are a bit boring aren't they"

" I am not (kicking the table, drawing on the wall, trying to catch the fish in the fish tank, stamping in a puddle of wee), I am just flapping my fairy wings"

"Knock knock, who is there? Daddy, Daddy who? Daddy is a silly goose"

It's slightly more peaceful on the days Grace is at nursery and it's just Daisy and me. We go to a mum and baby morning in the village which is lovely but full of first time mums who fret too much. I see them wrestling with a thermos of hot water to heat up organic fruit and veg they have spent hours peeling and steaming and pureeing and freezing and I think "Just buy an Ella squeezie and let them suck it out the packet".

After the group we all sit under a tree in Kipling gardens and have lunch together and tut at how forward the seagulls are whilst secretly checking out one another's buggies and post-baby weight.

Daisy and I sometimes go to the local cafe for a cup of tea (and depending on how stressful the nursery run was, a slice of lemon cake).

I like to go when the women from the church meet for coffee and listen to them say very uncharitable things about the other women from the church who are not there. I don't know who poor old Beryl is, but she got a right slagging off last week. Everything from her flower arranging to her shoes got discussed. What I love about old people is that inbetween the disecting and dissing of Beryl one of them was always telling the rest how old they were "I'm 81 you know, I'm 81. "

I got Grace's old baby clothes out for Daisy to wear. Grace fell upon them at once and tried to put them on, then had a tantrum when they did not fit. Then I got Grace's old soft toys down from the loft for Daisy to play with and Grace collected them all up and put them in her bedroom "to keep them safe".

I keep trying, and failing to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes and then I have a tantrum - Grace style. I know I only gave birth three and a half weeks ago, but I want to be back to normal now please. I am going to start swimming next week, but before doing so I need to get a new costume. The mere thought of looking at myself in tight lycra under the glare of changing room spotlights appeals to me about as much as giving birth again does.

I am going to smuggle Daisy into the cinema to see the latest Twilight film, Eclipse next week. She is so quiet no one will ever hear her over all the screams and (animated) wolf whistles.

I am so excited. James is disgusted and has gone back to doing internet research on R-Patz to try and put me off him. He will HATE that I just referred to him at R-Patz too.

Latest photos here:



Monday, 14 June 2010

Grace and Daisy...

So Grace is 2 and a half years old... and has a baby sister!

Daisy Sara (pronounced Sarah) Janina (pronounced Yanina) Waller - born 12 days late, just like Grace.

I gave birth in the same room, wearing the same dress, and Daisy looks like a mini Grace.

It's almost like pressing rewind and getting to experience our first little girl all over again. I know as time goes on that Daisy will display her own traits and personality, but right now all she does is sleep and root for food and look very very sweet all the time.

Grace is very keen on Upsy Daisy. She formally introduced us all "I am Grace, this is my daddy, this is my mummy, and we are Care Bears."

She makes her cups of tea with her Peppa pig tea set, watches over her anxiously when I breastfeed ("what you doing with your nickles mum?") and when Daisy cries she goes over and says "Don't worry little girl, it's only mummy."

Birth second time round was easier and yet harder too. I had various attempts at acupuncture (which worked a treat before, but this time made me have a panic attack just as the 19th needle was inserted into me.

I had to cling on to 'Slava' the therapist, sweating and sobbing and mumbling something about feeling like a giant mushroom (I was perched on a small stool, it did not feel safe).

Even a "sweep" from the midwife (they say a broom is not used in this procedure but I am not so sure. I could not see what was going on over my massive tummy, and it FELT like a broom) did not get things going.

Daisy STILL did not want to come out - so I was booked in to be induced on Saturday morning. The benefits of being induced are that you can shave your legs and paint your toe-nails so you feel nice...

The downside of being induced is that it's not very dignified.

I had not been in hospital for five minutes before I was ordered to take off my pants "Pop my ankles together and flop my knees apart."

I had an idea I would not like having my waters broken when the midwife recommended I did not look at the tool they were going to use to do it... and things just got more and more undignified from there.

Waters breaking is a myth anyway. What it actually means is that a mini niagra falls has been triggered off somewhere inside you. After a loud popping sound James and I were told to walk round and round the hospital while I leaked massive puddles all over the floor. It was actually quite helpful for retracing our steps when we got lost however...

By half past seven I was having regular contractions.... which coincided nicely with England's first game. I asked James to write down the time each one started so I could see how far apart they were. By this time they were too strong to talk through so I tapped him with a pen when I felt one brewing.

He was so absorbed in the game he tutted each time and said "WHAT?" then remembered and said "Yes, well done, come on Rooney, I mean Newtso."

As we were still on the ward for pregnant ladies with problems or those who had just given birth and were recuperating, I tried to be very quiet.

Each time I had a contraction (or contraption as James called them) I did heavy breathing and flapped my arms about instead. Then they ramped up a gear and I did heavy breathing, flapped my arms about and clutched my quilt cover.

Then England scored and James cheered and whooped and shouted and I was FURIOUS at him. "If I can manage to keep quiet through THIS (I pointed at my rock hard tummy) then YOU can keep quiet through that, that, RUBBISH" I hissed at him. I could hear midwives giggling from behind the curtain...

Luckily for me, just after that I was deemed far enough along to go upstairs to labour ward "Really?" James said "They don't look that painful" .... where the TV did not work so James had to have a sleep instead.

It was odd going into the same room we had Grace in, with the same amazing view of Brighton's seafront out the window. It felt like a good omen. I had already said I wanted an epidural please to everyone I saw all day, even to the non English speaking people who just came to bring me my lunch, so the midwives had me all prepped up for the anesthetist in advance while I bounced on a birthing ball thinking positive thoughts like "each contraction is one less" and "pain is progression" and "my vulva is opening like a flower"

(NOT REALLY, I thought "Where the flipping heck is my epidural?").

After about an hour there was a knock on the door, and I could see a man with a blue hat on behind the curtain. A very nice man with the magic needle. "Hello" he said "Is it me you're looking for" (I may have made the last bit up but he definitely said hello).

I had already hitched my dress up ready for the injection when another voice, a voice I did not want to hear said "Simon? could you please come to theatre? " and as quickly as he appeared, he left again, taking his magic needle with him.

I started to get a bit panicky, and between contractions repeated nonsense about a man called Simon and a blue hat until finally the midwife worked out what I was on about and went to find out how long he was going to be. HOURS, that is how long.

By the time he came back and sorted me out I was beyond exhausted (obviously I was not as tired as James, who had been asleep for ages).

The midwives told me to get some rest but I was too excited about the pushing bit and finding out what we had made. At last, after many hours of poking and prodding I was deemed ready to push.

"Right-ho" I said - then promptly fell asleep. James had to keep waking me up when I had contraptions.

Not much was happening so I was moved from my very undignified position in stirrups to an even more undignified one which took three people to put me in and involved my bum being high in the air.

I had no time to care though as Daisy was out within three pushes.. well half of her was. Her face was out, but the rest of her wasn't. James said I looked like a had a turtle poking out my bum staring at him... and I didn't have another contraction for AGES, so we all just had to wait - Me, James, the two midwives and my poor daughter who was half born and half not.

Finally I pushed the rest of her out and after a brisk rub down (cord round neck) she was passed, pink and perfect onto my chest so I could sob and thank everyone and apologise about them having to look at my bum.

I was told not to worry and to push again please as I had to deliver the placenta - and what a placenta it was. It was bigger than Daisy. All the midwives gathered round to coo and marvel at it. Anyone would think it was cuter than the baby (It wasn't. I saw it).

And then at last, after 21 hours of pessaries and prodding and peeing and pain it was all over and I was tucked up in bed with my beautiful new daughter and every single second was worth it.

James and I forgot how much newborn babies remind us of dinosaurs, or how amazing babies heads smell, or how small yet perfect a toe nail can be. (I must admit I am a bit embarrassed about how hard I said Daisy used to kick when she was inside me now I can see her teeny, tiny, soft as cottonwool foot. At one point I had even described her as "vicious")

And so now we are four. I am over the moon as I get to do all the things I missed out on for not having a sister (sleepovers, shopping trips, tea parties, sylvanian families). James is just as happy but perhaps not looking forward to having a hormone fueled household for the next 18 years.

He has been amazing as usual however. He cuts Daisy's teeny tiny nails with the even teeny tinier clippers, lets her suck his nose just like Grace used to do, and makes me endless drinks and snacks and tells me I was amazing, even with my bum in the air.

Anyway, I must get on. We have two girls to bathe and get to bed now... one of them just wants to breastfeed and the other one wants to play with her very very noisy fireman Sam truck which we have told her she cannot use unless Daisy is awake. Needless to say she goes over and strokes her a bit too hard and then says "Um, little sister is awake now mum, I can play man Sam engine."

Latest photos here:



Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Grace- two and a half

So Grace is almost two and a half, and this is probably the last blog post I will ever write which is exclusively about her, as her brother or sister is due in three weeks.

At the moment I fear it may be even sooner. The stress of my journalist exams and then the mammoth task of redecorating our flat ready for new tenants to move in means the baby is "fully engaged" and ready to go.

This leaves me feeling slightly alarmed as I have not had a decent nights sleep in a while and ache head-to-toe from painting and scrubbing and hacking back an overgrown garden. The thought of going into labour makes me a bit lightheaded. I recall it used alot of energy...

We had a scan last week and he/she was 6lb - which is a perfectly normal weight for that week of pregnancy, so maybe I won't be having another giant after all. Who knows.

All I know is I can't wait to be able to lie on my front in the bath, see my feet again, eat pate on toast and not have to go for a wee every half an hour or sleep sitting up as it's the only way I can stop my back from aching.

I have told James to remind me of all these things when I am in the agony of labour. I am pretty sure it won't work, but it's worth a go. He will probably be too busy working on his phone anyway, although I have told him I will be slinging both him and his beeping blackberry out the window if I catch him using it while I am trying to give birth to his son or daughter.

It seems the fear of giving birth is not mine alone. James and I joined a NCT class for second time parents. The plan was for me to find some new friends who lived locally, were due babies at the same time as me and ideally, also had children about the same age as Grace.

I hoped we could spend the summer mass breast-feeding and watching our toddlers bond down the park. Sadly I did not bond with the women on the course however.

I don't know if it was the drawing I did of giant purple and red vagina (I never meant to do it, we were given a pens and paper and told to 'draw our feelings about birth'. Everyone snatched all the blues and greens, I had to work with what I had left)

Or the fact that I gave a blow by blow account of a 'normal' delivery to a room full of women who had all had c-sections first time round, but none of them have replied to my requests to meet for coffee.

Oh well, from the look of their drawings they were all wet blankets anyway. At least my one made a statement.

Grace is still pretty unaware about what my ever expanding bump is going to result in. The only interest she shows in my pregnancy is when she tells fat ladies at the swimming pool they have a 'Humpty-front' like mummy, or when we are in the bath and she uses my tummy as an island to pile all her toy fish on.

She got James in a slight bit of bother when they went swimming the other day actually.... They were happily splashing in the 'big' pool (the baby one was being used for a lesson) when she suddenly clutched hold of James and told him "I bit scared dad"

"Why?" said James

"There monkey getting in the pool" she replied, eyes wide with horror

James looked about in alarm, expecting to see a giant ape who had escaped from the zoo... What he saw, in fact, was a elderly black gentleman, slowing getting into the pool whilst doing some arm stretches.

"That is not a monkey Grace" he told her quietly

"It IS DAD, IT IS A MONKEY" she shouted back at him

"No Grace, is is NOT a monkey, it is a man" said James, trying to keep cool and calm and collected


It was like that Father Ted episode with the Chinese people. Luckily for us, the man seemed deaf to her rant and James managed to get both her and himself out the pool and to safety without being pelted by swimming googles and called a big racist.

Needless to say I have been doing a lot of work with her since, using photos and books and subtle pointing whilst out in public to try and show her the difference between men and monkeys. I have to say it did not help that the man was not actually swimming, just lunging about and waving his arms around.

If we dare to disagree with Grace, or not let her do what she wants (dig up all the plants in the garden/eat chocolate buttons in the bath/put her dinner through the cat flap etc), she calls Fireman Sam on her purple plastic phone and asks him to come and help her instead. The conversations go something like this;

"Hi Man-Sam, you come and help me with this mud/jigsaw/drawing? I am at my house, yeah fine, bye." Then she flips the phone shut and looks at us in a smug fashion.

Fireman Sam is her hero. She likes him almost as much as she likes Norman Price.. the hideous ginger creature who causes all the fires in Pontypandy.

Grace sits in front of the TV with a tea towel over her head and claims her and Norman are 'at camping'. James thinks Norman is Fireman Sam's secret lovechild. I think he takes the show a bit too seriously.

When Grace is not phoning Man Sam, she is taking photos with her Man Sam camera. We have to do lots of smiling and saying "cheese." When she has finished she says "All done mumdad, good cheesing".

Her eating has gotten a lot better since we renamed everything to make it sound much more exciting . Scrambled eggs are scrambled snake
Yoghurt is owl-ice-cream, and most other things are Gruffalo crumble

(I remember my mum using a similar technique to get me to eat. She melted cheese on top of things and told me it was moussaka. Problem was, I didn't liked moussaka anyway!)

Cake is still just cake though, that is exciting enough.

In a bid to make her like vegetables more, we have been spending lovely Sunday afternoons planting various seeds in the garden, which she promptly digs back up again (whilst naked and caked in mud).

Whilst digging she sings "heave ho, heave heave ho" which I think she got from an episode of Ben and Holly. It's hard to tell, her singing has becomes a bit of a "mash up" like they do on Glee.

For example, she was recently heard in her bedroom singing "Three little speckled frogs, sat on a speckled log, eating the most delicious sandwiches, move aside make way, for fireman Sam, twinkle twinkle daddy, one mend a hole in everybody skirt, we are care bears, do do do do do do do do".

Toilet training is not really going anywhere. Grace is more than happy to not wear a nappy, and is VERY interested in watching me and James go to the toilet.. in fact we have to run off and lock her out if we want any privacy, but she has no interest in using her potty.

All she wants to do is take her nappy off and tinkle all over the place. Honestly, she is just like her father. (James' mum told me he was about six when he finally stopped wearing nappies....)

Embarrasing racist moments and puddles of wee aside, two and a half is a fantastic age.

I can't ever predict what Grace is going to say next. She seemed slightly nervous at the scan last week when I had to lay on the hospital bed and pull my t-shirt up.

As the sonographer put the jelly on my tummy Grace reached over and rubbed my arm and said
"Don't worry darlin', it's just a bit o water."

When I was putting her to bed last night after a day apart, I said "I missed being your mummy today" and she said "But mummy, you are always the queen, and I am a furry princess."

I said "That's nice, what is daddy, is he the king?". She tipped her head to one side, thought for a moment and then said "I don't think so mum, daddy is a queen too."

Lots of photos here:


and here



Sunday, 28 March 2010

Grace - two years and three months

So Grace is two years, three months old, and already showing a keen interest in body parts.

It started in bath a few weeks ago. After staring at my breasts for a while she asked. "What you got mum? and reached out to give one a poke.

" They are my nipples." I said

"Nickles" she repeated, committing the new word to memory.

"You used to get your milk from them" I explained.
" Noooo!" She exclaimed, SILLY MUMMY!"

Later the same week, James got in the bath with her... and they were both happily playing with her toys when suddenly she spotted something floating in the water..

"Uh oh, what that mum?" she asked in slight alarm. James went all shy, covered himself up with his hands and tried to get out as quickly as possible.

"Stay there" I told him and went on to explain "That is daddy's willy-bottom. You and I have a lady-bottom."
Grace looked at us suspiciously for a while. "Willy-bottom?" she repeated slowly (whilst trying to prize it from James' grasp) then said

"Daddy got willy-bottom. Mummy and Grace got Gaston bottom" Gaston bottom?? What on earth was she talking about? And then we worked it out. One of Grace's favourite TV shows has a lady BIRD in it called Gaston, and now my ladies part is called Gaston too.

Worse still, Grace has taken to pulling down James' shorts or my pants and chanting "WILLY BOTTOM! GASTON BOTTOM as often and loudly as possible.

I thought this new understanding of the human body might mean we were one step closer to potty training but I was wrong. Grace does not want to sit on her potty. She is happy to put her teddy on the potty, and even wipe his willy-bottom after, but her sit on it?

"SILLY MUMMY, I not sit on that!" She says this in a slightly derisive tone, as if I am a bit thick. She has become quite scornful about many of the things James and I tell her.

James was watching the winter Olympics recently. "What they doing dad?" Grace asked, pointing at the screen. "They are skiing" explained James.
"Silly daddy!!" cried Grace, "They not skiing, they SLIPPING!"

A few days ago James took her to the park but it started to thunder and she did not like it so they came home. Grace came charging up the stairs looking very worried and told me there was "A panda in the sky" and that she was very scared indeed. We all had to hide in bed till it had gone.
Whilst doing so, Grace noticed that James has tiny moles all over him. "What they dad?" she asked. "They are moles Grace" he explained patiently as she poked them. "SILLY DADDY! They not moles, they MICE!"

She has moved into her big girl's bed in her big girl's bedroom now and for a while it went well. She was sleeping through the night... but much like all good things, they soon come to an end...

She has recently decided she does not want to get into her big girl's bed after all. I bathe her, give her milk and read to her, then put on her ladybird nightlight (also called Gaston... named before the whole bath conversation and bears NO resemblance to my lady bottom I hasten to add)

Press play on her night garden CD and tip-toe out the room. Ten minutes later I hear stomping and rattling and find Grace out of bed, wearing bright pink wellies (on the wrong feet) over her pyjamas, and her matching pink handbag (which holds some animal cards and a toy mobile phone) waiting for me to open the baby-gate so she could go and find daddy.

She likes to put me to bed though. I get tucked in, read "That's not my teddy" (only she does not read it, she shouts it at me.
"That not my TEDDDYYYY"
Turn page
"That not my TEEEEEDDY"
Turn page
"That not my TEDDDDY"
Turn page, and so on.... then she turns the light off, gives me a kiss and tells me she is off to do some jobs downstairs.

Today we had to go on a Gruffalo hunt. The Gruffalo is the favourite book, film and jigsaw of the moment. She can recite every single word.

" A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood" and today we did too, looking for foxes and owls and snakes and giant creatures with terrible teeth and terrible claws and knobbly knees and turned out toes and a poisonous wart on the end of his nose. When I ask Grace what a Gruffalo looks like she says Daddy. (see photo).

Pregnancy second time round is not that much fun.

As well as girdle pain (I had to go to a special class full of fat chicks to learn all about it. It was AWFUL. First of all we had to hold a plastic vagina so we could understand the pain and then we had to lay on the floor and do pelvic exercises together. Some of the girls' pelvises made little noises at this stage and I had to put my fist in my mouth so I did not laugh aloud) and a low laying placenta, I got so stressed out with my forthcoming exams and my hideous ex-employers harassing me that I caught shingles as well.

Shingles are not fun at all. They hurt, alot, and make you feel like a social leper. I had to stay off the course till the teacher had checked that everyone was fine with me coming in. It reminded me of when I caught ringworm off my rabbit and they made an announcement about me in the school assembly. I had to wear gauze round my neck too so I did not infect anyone. I looked like a 16th century poet. I was only nine......

Anyway, on top of all of that I had to spend Friday morning being tested for gestational diabetes. It involved fasting for twelve hours. Starving a pregnant woman is just plain mean.

It's the one thing we have left to enjoy at this late stage, that and "One Born Every Minute"

Some people think I am mad to watch a show based around the joys and pains of labour but I like to see it as research. Forewarned is forearmed and all that stuff. It's like my own type of hypnobirthing. I think the man who was on the first episode (the one who blew up a rubber glove to poke his contracting wife in the face with and then locked her in the loo) is amongst the most hated in Britain.
Latest photos here, including ones from the meal we had at Woodies Diner the other week. The waiter came over to ask if we had made up our minds what we would like and Grace said "pishpingers, chups and pease please" then shut the menu and passed it back to him.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Grace - 2 years 2 months.....

So Grace is 2 years, 2 months old and recently did a poo in my bath.

There I was, sinking back into the hot bubbles after a long day at school, thinking how nice it was to be with my little girl and relax, as such precious moments are hard to find.

I remember watching Grace as she concentrated on her shape sorter and thought how quickly she was growing up.

It was not long after that the poo came bobbing past on small wave. She had not been concentrating on her shape sorter at all.

At first I thought it was just one of her toys, a tug boat or something, but then it got closer, almost level with my nose (it was a deep bath) and I knew it was no toy...

"JAMMMMMESSSS!! IT'S A POOO" I shrieked. I tried my best to get out the bath, but it was hard, being heavily pregnant, trying not to disturb the poo (which had since hidden itself under the bubbles) and trying not to upset poor Grace who was stood up in the bath looking a bit puzzled by all the commotion. "Mummy, I done plopper" she said.

James thought the whole thing was hilarious of course, until
A: I trod on it getting out bath and
B: told him to clean it up while I went and laid down.

I don't know what happened after that, but he was in the bathroom a long time and my rubber gloves were later found in the bin. James said it was very important we did not give Grace a complex about the whole thing, so somehow I have become the family joke and Grace repeatedly says "I done plopper in mummy's bath, silly mummy, handsome daddy."

We have been taking her swimming at the weekend, well, James has.

I am not allowed to go in with them as apparently I "baby" her.
James told me in no uncertain terms " I don't want you getting involved, you can't swim properly. You won't even get your hair wet."

I did not realise how well you could swim was defined by how wet your hair. I get sent off to the slow lane to do lady-lengths in my 70's wrestler's costume (not an intentional choice of attire. My bulbous tummy uses up most of my swimming costume material, meaning the top is pulled down so low my breasts poke out. I have to wear a bikini top over it. It's not exactly the high fashion you see being sported by other members of Falmer's exclusive Racquet club)

Grace loves going though which is the main thing. James loves it too of course, because he looks like single dad of the year splashing about in the kiddies pool alone, and plays up to all the ladies watching from the Jacuzzi with comments like
"No Grace, mummy can't be here, daddy is here though." etc etc.

I often think about getting out to go and claim my territory but fear everyone will just laugh at me in my giant haystacks costume, or worse still, James will pretend he does not know me.

Grace has become a sneaky sleeper. At the weekend when I pray she will give us a lie-in, she wakes at 7am shouting "Mummy, there is a spider in my room, come get me" and demands to go downstairs to watch care bears, but on a Monday morning, when I need her to get up to go to nursery, she snoozes in till about 8.30am and nothing will wake her up.

NOTHING, not even if you tell her you are taking all her toys away or Peppa pig is coming for breakfast. She still ends up in our bed alot and still hits one of us over the head with her milk bottle till we go and replenish it.

She can really hit too, she whacked James over the head so hard she broke her magic wand. "Dad, that rubbish" she said.

She loves the word rubbish, and the word disgusting, except she says 'gris-tost-ing'. For example, all she ever wants to eat is "pishpingers", "chups" and sauce'
Anything else is deemed "gristosting" and sent back to he kitchen at once.

She is rather ambivalent about the impending arrival of her new brother or sister, apart from comments that my tummy is getting fat.

We had an appointment with the midwife last week and heard the baby's heartbeat which was lovely. I can't believe that in less than 12 weeks we are going to have a new little person in the family.

James thinks it's another girl, I think it's a boy and either way Grace wants to call it Georgie.

I just want to meet them, and have my body back. I am fighting the pregnant waddle but it's on the horizen.

People keep telling me I am blooming, which I know means I look fat. My hands and feet swell to clownsize proportions by the end of each day, I can't put my shoes on easily.. and it's only going to get worse, but it's all worth it.

I can't wait to see what we made this time, but of course I am going to have to - and in the meantime I have six journalist exams to pass!

Latest photos here:



Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Grace - 2 years old

So Grace is 2. I can't quite believe it. 

This time a couple of years ago I was getting to grips with breastfeeding and setting up the looks-good-but-how-the-devil-does-it-work-buggy, and now I am trying to explain where the stars go at night and why Grace can't have three packets of (organix) crisps for lunch.

We had her birthday party at the local Funplex. It's a typical (slightly grubby) indoor play centre with obese waiting staff. James affectionately renamed them baby-eaters.

Grace had a great time. Her best friend Phoenix was the first one there and raced over to give her his gift, which she took delicately from his hands and then they stood grinning shyly at one another for about five minutes.  Much better than when Grace went to Phoenix's party... Grace went to give him his present and he punched her in the head.

His dad asked James if perhaps he would like to punch him (the dad) in return but James politely declined, he was just over-excited. It all got too much for him and he ended up being very sick all over the floor. (Phoenix, not James, or Phoenix's dad)

We had her party a week before her birthday so everyone would be able to come which was a good idea, but meant she got very used to getting presents.

She still asks for one each day. She got far too much stuff and was very vocal about any she did not like

"I don't want this one mummy, take away mummy." Which is fine when it's stuff we bought her, like Mr. Potato head (but who doesn't like Mr. Potato head?! It was all I wanted for when I was her age) but can be a bit embarrassing when she opened presents from other people in front of them.

"I don't like that one" is one of Grace's top ten sayings, along with:
"I want Care Bears on please Mummy"
"I don't want to go to bed please Mummy"
"Can't catch me"
"No that mine blanket"
"I love you so much Mummy"
"Cup o teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee"
"Why is Benny in potato" (don't ask)
"I really love cheese straws/fireman Sam/my lunch"
"What that noise daddy?"
"Mummy, mummy, have some" (meaning she wants some of whatever it is I have)

We went to her nursery nativity play. The programme said Grace and her classmates would be singing Christmas songs.

I was very dubious about it. We dropped her off at nursery where she was to be "Put into costume" and went to wait in the church next door where the play was going to be held.

My eyes filled with tears as the children started filing on stage, each one dressed like a angel, or a fairy, or a shepherd. I could not wait to see what Grace would be wearing...

You can imagine my disappointment when she stomped on in the exact same clothes I had dropped her off in and had a very un-angelic look on her face. She looked like she had been wrestling.

As you can see from the photos, she was the only one out of 30 children who refused to dress up. She did sit very nicely throughout the play though, and while she did not sing, she did do great actions to lots of the songs. Phoenix spent most of the play stage-diving onto the front row of the audience.
She woke up at 5am this morning, came into our bed and told us it was her party. I put a pillow over my head and tried to go back to sleep under the ruse of playing dead lions. She was not fooled and we soon had to get up and watch Care Bears, it's not what it used to be.

She sort of understands she is going to be a big sister. She mentions how fat my tummy is a lot, and pulls my t-shirt up to pat "Mine brother or sister" which is very sweet but only ever done in public places I would prefer not to be exposing myself in.

Our dear friends Dan and Tess just had a gorgeous baby boy and she seemed fine with me holding him. She was more bothered about ramming a toy buggy into my legs.

The buggy belonged to her friend Tilda who she loves so much she has named one of her toes after her. The others are named Daddy toe, Grace toe, Ammy toe (another friend) and Baby toe.

Grace likes to name things. We are getting her some fish for Christmas (Yes I know Christmas has been and gone but buying goldfish takes time and thought. We have bought a book called "my first fish" and are taking it from there) and she has already decided they are going to be called Po, Goldie and Poor Nanny Plumb, which are only slightly more ridiculous names than James had for his fish, James, James and James.

It's so nice to see her and Tilda playing together. Up until now she has not really interacted with other children, it's so lovely to see them chasing one another round or having little tea parties. Tilda has just got a big girls bed which Grace is very very impressed with. She will be getting one herself soon. It will be so odd to have her in a bed and a new baby in the cot.

I am really starting to show now which is preferable to looking like I let myself go now I am married, but it's very limiting on my wardrobe (maternity clothes are horrid)

I start an NCTJ journalist course next week which is very exciting indeed, but also rather scary. I have not been a student for many years, let alone a pregnant one with a limited wardrobe and "baby brain".

James bought me an iphone so I will be like all the other kids AND he got me a car! I can't believe it. I have not had a car of my own for years (not since James lost the keys to my old one and the garage said the car was not worth the cost I would incur to replace the door and steering column.) Sadly all I can do at the minute is look at it out the window as it's snowing AGAIN.
I don't like the snow. I remember watching it as a child and praying each precious flake would settle atop another one, now I just wish it would be gone ASP (as soon possible, even quicker that ASAP).

I dragged James and Grace out into the white stuff today though, wrapped up like arctic explorers. A new cafe has opened in Rottingdean which sells the best lemon drizzle cake in the whole world ever. I had to have some.

I am in that stage of pregnancy where I become fixated on one type of food and shun all others. Yesterday is was strawberry yoghurt, today it's cake. Why can't it be broccoli or something healthy that means I can keep the gap at the top of my legs? I worked bloody hard for that gap.

Grace's favourite Christmas presents were here wooden postbox (she spends hours posting letters to Miss Zoe Zebra, Peppa Pig, Danny Dog and Pedro Pony), her Dora the explorer backpack and her shopping basket with till. If this is indicative of her future career then I hope she likes the exploring best...

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