Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Gracie four-years, eleven-months, Daisy thirty-months, Bliss fourteen-months

So Gracie is almost five. How did that happen? Must have been while I was busy trying to keep an eye on “I am a boy” Daisy and her hard-headed sidekick, Bliss.

I swear Bliss’ head is made of lead. No hat fits it. Books bounce off it (thrown by Daisy). It leaves dents in the wooden floor when she falls. She never seems to even notice hitting it though, especially if she is on the hunt for food. 

She loves snack-time. At playgroups she will be the one propping up the snack-table long after all the other kids have got down to do some singing. I’m forever finding stolen sausage rolls in her pockets.

Daisy has become a chatty genius. She can actually predict the size of her poo before she does it. She will say “I need tiny poo mamma” and soon enough, there it is. Other times she needs “a big long poo” and again, she delivers. Britain does have talent after all.

She also likes to tell me her “nose is falling down” when she needs a tissue, and recently she claimed her “willy was broken” when actually, her balloon animal had untwisted itself into a long sausage shape. 

Gracie thinks she is awfully grown up now. She spends a long time pondering worthy issues and asks questions such as “Do bald heads and no legs come as a set?” (In reference to her Grandad). If her bedroom gets too warm she claims to be “Ninety-miles hot” and if we walk to school she claims “We’ve walked so far we must be in France by now” when we are actually at the end of the road.

We overheard her reading the nativity story to Daisy and Bliss last week. She seems to have gotten Jesus confused with the Donkey. In fact, the whole Donkey part in general seems to have gotten a bit mixed-up. According to Gracie, Mary gave birth to a tired donkey, then a flying donkey (on a ladder of donkeys) broke the news to the three wise men. What a shame she got the part of a cow in the nativity play. She is quite shy though, the donkey may have been too much pressure.

Bliss joins in with her sisters where she can. She can say rabbit, more, milk, and baby. If she needs anything else she just snatches it then runs away cackling. 

I am getting very excited about Christmas. You would not think so if you came round our house, but I can’t put any decorations up as they will either be smashed or eaten.

James is NOT excited about Christmas as he has been roped in to play Santa at the Pre-School Fayre I am organizing on Saturday. A more miserable Santa you never did see. He is more like the Xmas Grinch. Don’t worry, for those who can’t make it, I’ll be sure to post the video up on You-Tube. 

You are all VERY welcome to come though - and please do spread the word. James' other job was to put up the signs advertising the event, which he has not done. He is obviously trying to make it a secret fayre so no-one comes and sees him in his Santa-suit.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Grace four years ten months, Daisy twenty-eight months, Bliss thirteen months

So Bliss had her first birthday, but I can't share any photos with you because I dropped my iphone in the bath. Yes, again. Yes, it is stupid to take a phone in the bath but it's the only time I get a second to use it.

If Grace (who wants to be known as Gracie now she is at school, but still spells her name Craig), Daisy or Bliss see it, they demand to play the Dora game or pretend to ring up people and do poor impressions of me  "HIYA!! YAH YAH, TEA!! SEE SOON!! TA TA!!" in a very high-pitched voice.

James has refused to buy me a new phone. He claims that two Kindles, one new laptop screen and three iphones in one year is more than enough. Tightfist.

I am having to get it mended through the home insurance. It's taking flipping ages and in the meantime I have some old hunk of junk.
It won't ring or light up when receiving a call or text.
It does not recognise ANYONE's number, so after ignoring messages from dear loved-ones for many hours, I then send one of those rude "Who is this?" texts.
VERY inconvenient when trying to win the Babycentre blogging competition I can tell you.

But I won it anyway! Mostly thanks to all you amazing people reading this. Thank you very much for all your help. So many of you gave up your evening to vote and chase votes. It was a very close call.

At one point I became so obsessed with the competition I convinced myself that "second place" was trying to kill me off... when early Saturday morning, I headed out for my run and only made it two footsteps on the deck before going airbourne and landing on my wrist. (Invisible ice)

I would probably still be out there if Gracie had not spotted me and said "Dad, mum is outside laying on her gym-bag" in between shoveling in weetabix. She is very used to seeing me fall over on the deck, being as I did it two weeks ago as well. The neighbours must think I am having a breakdown.

Anyway, four hours and one trip to A&E later I was diagnosed with a sprain and sent home. "FANTASTIC NEWS!" Shrieked James when I phoned to tell him.
"Oh yes" I shot back "Best news since the dog died." (Old family joke. When we announced to my mother that we were engaged, that is what she responded with. She probably meant that it was the first bit of good news she'd had since the sad news about the dog dying. She always seemed to love the dog.)

Anyway, I am fine again now. And I won.

Now I just need to find time to blog. I tried to get cracking today after putting Bliss down for her nap.  I tucked her in, gave her some milk, shut the door, came downstairs, shut the stair-gate and cracked on. Two minutes later my swivel chair started swiveling of it's own accord, or so I thought.  When I looked down, there was Bliss. She had climbed over her cot, opened her door, crawled down the stairs, under the stair-gate and was grinning at me, an empty bottle in her outstretched hand.

Evil genius. I gave up on her napping and plonked her onto the sofa next to fanny-fingers-Daisy who won’t stop fiddling with herself. If it’s not a finger on her wotsit then it’s one up her bum.

Every time I turn round she has whipped her trousers and pants off and is prodding about with her bits. Sometimes she rubs her charlie cloth over it... and goes a bit dreamy... whilst watching Mr Tumble... dressed up as Aunt Suki... Oh god it's so wrong....The things she did with her toy syringe last Sunday. Let’s just say I was horrified when she later shoved it in her Grandad’s ear. SORRY PIP!!!

Grace has become much easier since starting school but I am bored of playing the game where I have to be a naughty child that gets put on an amber warning. It's the only thing she remembers about her day. I'll ask her:

"What did you do?"
"Can't remember"
"Who did you play with?"
"Can't remember"
"What did you eat?"
"Can't remember"
"What do you remember?"
"Leo got put on amber for pushing. It was AMAZING."

We had her first parents morning last week.  She got a glowing report. Polite, well behaved, easy-going, kind, thoughtful, listens to every word.... Miss Foster's long list was interrupted by Daisy singing "Wind a bobbin up" as she merrily ripped pages out of school books.

We must enjoy these good school reports while we can.

I signed Daisy up for Little Kickers thinking it would channel some of her "high spirits". James said he would love to take her and spend some quality time bonding.  I was delighted, and so pleased when he said how much she enjoyed it and joined in. ...Then I bumped into a friend at playgroup. Her son also does Little Kickers. She was telling me how Daisy spends the whole session on James' shoulders while he does all the ball exercises.

They are getting very excited about Christmas. Gracie is watching far too many adverts and keeps ending all her sentences with "New, from Argos".
Daisy, gets confused between between toys and cleaning products. I can understand this.  She always wants Flash fabreeze.
Bliss just pushes the TV over.

I have since found some photos on James' phone... (link below)



Friday, 21 September 2012

Grace four years nine months, Daisy twenty-seven months, Bliss 11 and a half months

So Grace had her first day at school.  I can't really believe it. I still remember writing her first blog post, when she was two weeks old . Now she is a school girl.

How time flies - except nine weeks of summer holidays with three children-under-five however... that does does not fly at all.

I am not sure why it's called a holiday.. It's more like a sick experiment to push the very limits of my sanity. In the last two months Bliss started walking/running and Daisy decided it was time to stop wearing nappies...

I am not good at toilet training. Having honed my body to function like a camel (saves time).. I rarely need to wee. My girls are not like camels however. They are more like teapots. Tip them up and it all pours out.

I took them to Tring stuffed animal museum a few weeks ago, and then to a cafe for a nice cup of tea..  It was only 2pm. I did not know to look out for the 5pm poo...

I thought it was a croissant on the floor till I looked closer.
I had to clamp one hand over Grace's mouth to silence her "LOOK MUM, SHE JUST POOED ON THE FLOOR" and grab the (surprisingly hot) poo in a (thin) napkin with the other (before Bliss stomped on it).

Sound like a holiday yet?

Let's add in the fact that Grace stopped doing anything I asked about five weeks ago. She only responds to my exorcist impression, and even that is with much eye-rolling.

I know she is listening to what I am saying though because I hear her screeching "PACK IT IN. DO AS YOU'RE TOLD. I AM IN CHARGE, NOT YOU, ARE YOU TRYING TO SEND ME INSANE?!" to her sisters.. whilst holding them in a headlock (that bit is nothing to do with me... honest)

James was equally excited as he had begun to fear coming home, knowing he'd only get it in the ear about his "easy" day at work.

He argued that commuting to London in the middle of summer, trapped on the underground, under someones sweaty armpit, in a sweaty suit is hardly a holiday. I would snort derisively.

"Did you have to pick a warm poo up off the floor?"
"Well, no"
"Did you have to walk round with one in your briefcase as there was no bin near you?"
"Again, no"
"Did you have to clean poo from in between your toes where you slipped on it, and rode it across the floor?"
"Well then, your day sounds pretty fan-bloody-tastic to me."

Daisy fell in love over the summer. You may have heard of him. His name is Mr Tumble..
She is obsessed with him -- So much so that when we put the DVD on (which is all the time) she actually wets herself. If she cannot watch the DVD she stares at his picture on the front of the case instead, swooning.

He has made my life so much easier I almost fancy him myself. Shame all his songs are so crap and he dresses up as a woman half the time.

Daisy did not enjoy any of the trips to the seaside over the summer. She was scared of the sea and howled when she, or any of us, went near it. She kept demanding we go back to the car and have a cup of tea.

Her love of charlie cloth remains. Bliss scales it to get on the sofa like that chap did with Rapunzel's hair. When she finally manages to get herself up, Daisy pushes her off again.

Bliss does not want to be 11-and-a-half months old. She wants to be four going on five. She has no time for rattles and dummies. She wants to climb up slides and run down hills and dance to Taylor Swift singing "We are never, ever ever getting back together" with her sisters.

Grace thinks she looks all that and a bag of pom bears in her school uniform. Her and Bliss push each other out the way to admire themselves in the mirror. Daisy is not bothered what she looks like. She and I share the same laisez-faire attitude to our hair and appearance.

Grace seems to be settling into school well. I know this because I hid in a bush and spied on her. I was delighted to see her having fun doing hula-hooping with her friends.

I was slightly less delighted when she ignored the teacher calling them all to line up... and then blowing a whistle at her, for a long time. I even shouted at her from my secret hiding place (made it slightly less secret) but she was so busy having fun she did not hear me either. In the end she had to be frogmarched over to the line. I slunk off before the teacher spotted me....

The main thing is she is having a good time, waving me off each day with a painfully (for me) casual "Yeah, bye mum" .....

Latest photos here:



Saturday, 4 August 2012

Grace four years seven months, Daisy twenty-five months, Bliss ten months

So it's the summer holidays! Nine weeks with the kids... and the au pair quit the day before they started.
I'm not as upset as you might think. This is because she was mostly useless.

I thought, and I hope I am not being racist or offensive when I say this, that as she was German, she would be very efficient. Like an Audi, or a Bosch dishwasher.

Instead, it was like living with a ginormous dormouse. Everytime I turned around she was curled up under a blanket fast asleep. (Particularly annoying when we were the ones up all night with our nocturnal children.)

She was normally with a giant hot water bottle as there was always, always something wrong with her.

One day it would be a headache, so the hot water bottle would be tied to her head.
The next day the pain would have moved down to her shoulder, so she'd be wearing the hot water bottle as a pirate carries his parrot, and it would continue to move downwards till it reached her feet... and then would start all over again.

None of these ailments seemed to affect her appetite however. No matter how bad the headache, earache, suspected "blown sinus" she managed to force down two HUGE bowls of cereal each morning.

The only time she missed a meal was when that seagull stole her doughnut on the pier.

Her CV claimed she liked badminton, cooking and playing guitar. Utter tripe.
She liked sleeping, Skyping her friends, blowing her nose and locking herself in the bathroom for hours.

James is delighted she has left. He hated not being able to walk round naked. When she was here he had to wear a long furry dressing gown with flared sleeves. He looked like a wizard. It was hard to take him seriously.

The dressing gown has been tossed to the back of the airing cupboard. The spare bedroom is now a playroom. The atmosphere in the house is no longer being dragged down by a moody teenager with lazyitis. My chocolate supply is intact.

Needless to say we won't be getting another one.

(NB: I can say all this now because she took me off facebook and trashed her bedroom before leaving in a huff. I think she even tried to throw my IKEA poang chair out the window - but much like her, it was too big)

We don't need help now anyway. Bliss is easily entertained by food. I sprinkle rice cakes and carrot sticks round the living room and she is good for an hour or so.

Daisy's speaking is coming on too. She now says "Car coming" everytime she sees a vehicle (handy on a long trip down the M25), oh, and she only answers to Superted.

Grace is too grown up. I hear her telling her sisters off and bossing everyone around and I think "Who does she sound like? Oh yeah, me."

We've started buying her school uniform. I hate it. It's starchy and itchy and generic. She is excited though, and that is the main thing.

She had her first tap dancing exam a couple of weeks ago. We did not know whether to laugh or cry. I did both. The teacher later text me to say she was the only child to say thank you for her rosette, and then I sobbed some more.

Daisy and Grace dance together alot at home. Bliss takes the opportunity to steal their drinks and crisps. Clever.

They also love the Olympic gymnastics, and try to copy the moves (Moves which James claims he could "easily" do if he wanted to. Having seen him struggle to put on a pair of shorts, I doubt this.)

Photos here:


Thursday, 5 July 2012

Grace four and a half, Daisy two, Bliss nine months

So Daisy woke on her second birthday, started singing happy birthday to herself (her first sentence!) and carried on doing it all day.
Grace is normally a bit stroppy on her birthday but Daisy was in fine form and loved all the attention/balloons/presents and cake.

We took her to "build a bear". She liked it a bit. She liked the noisy hoover in the Disney store far more, and threw an amazing tantrum when we tried to leave the shop without it.

We gave in, then pretended we were not with her when she pushed it round the shopping centre singing happy birthday to herself at the top of her voice whilst clipping people's ankles.

We now have a pretend hoover, two mini shopping trolleys, one walker and a pretend lawnmower at home. The kids (and friends) take it in turns to race them round and round and round and round the kitchen until I am so cross if I were Michael J Fox I would morph into Teenwolf.

We just got back from a lovely holiday in Centreparks with James' folks.
His dad (Pip) got a mobility scooter which Grace called his "pram" and kept wanting lifts on it. It had two speeds. Tortoise or rabbit. I think it might have been based on a rabbit with one leg. Even Bliss was beating him.

James and I hired bikes with buggies attached to tow the kids and swimming gear along in. Who wants a relaxing holiday when you have three small children? Certainly not James, who kept challenging me to races - then taking shortcuts to beat me if I actually managed to make any headway. I think he thought he was in the Tour De France.

All I wanted was a lie in.

At the end of the week James' folks took the girls back to Berkhamstead and James and I "nipped" up to Manchester to see The Stone Roses.

It took us seven hours to get to Manchester. Another hour to find the hotel. Another two hours to get from there into a taxi. Another half hour before the taxi gave up and we walked... and another two hours before we finally got into Heaton Park...

And then I had a funny turn.
"Oh dear" I said, surveying the 80,000 crowd "I am not sure I like this. It's a bit busy"
"Did you think we would be the only ones here then?"
"Don't be funny James. I think I am having a panic attack, I AM, I AM having a" ...
Just the The Stone Roses walked on stage and I began sobbing and cheering and dancing like a madwoman.
"Alright now, are you?" Said James, before he himself got caught up in a group hug with lots of other 40 year old sobbing men.

I think Bliss had just as much fun with Vikki, who had her overnight. She spent the whole time flirting with Vikki's husband. Bliss is a giant ginger flirt and knows just what she is doing. Acting all coy and batting her lashes. Crying when she is ignored, opening her mouth wide for snogs. Honestly...she is a pint sized version of her father.

Grace is in her last term at nursery. I feel sad that our first baby is growing up - but she is so ready for school and so excited about going.

Daisy is not at all ready for nursery. Although she is now saying more (In fact, it's like having an echo as she parrots the last two words of our sentences) - she is still very clingy and demanding.

She refuses to eat her breakfast, but wants to eat Grace's instead (Bliss is always happy to hoover up Daisy's uneaten breakfast though). She refuses to have her teeth brushed, but will suck toothpaste from the tube (If she can wrestle it from Bliss' vice like grip). She won't have her hair brushed unless you feed her chocolate buttons (See above comment re Bliss and wrestling).

She brings heavy musical books over and demands you read them to her, but then turns the pages too quickly for you to do so. If you try and explain this to her she drops the heavy book on your toe, echoes your "OW BLOODY HELL" back at you and laughs in your face.

If she can see you are genuinely in pain however, she can be very kind. She will lick the sore toe and then do loud smacky kisses all over your face, before ensconcing you in charlie cloth so you can't see where you are going and trip over again.

We trip over a lot in this house.

Bliss is at a scary stage where she uses props to pull herself up to standing, but often selects inappropriately weighed items to do so.

IE: A chair = good to use for supporting weight.
Grace's lunchbox = bad to use for supporting her weight.

When she falls over she does theatrical crying until she is picked up and then nips you with her sharp teeth for making her wait.

Bliss is a real-life sausage machine. She cannot put something in her mouth without pushing something she ate earlier out her bum (At the same time). It's impressive, if not a bit annoying.

Daisy makes a MASSIVE fuss about it. "Mummy mummy, Bliss POO, EEK, POOH! URGH mummy POOH" and flaps her hands about... But when Daisy does a poo herself she refuses to admit it's her and runs off when you try to change her.

We spend alot of time cleaning up poo.

I also spend a lot of time doing the walk of shame (Picking up nappies ripped from bin liners by filthy seagulls from up and down our road.)

James has offered to lend me a florescent coat and grabber from his work for the job. All heart my husband isn't he?

He was pleased to get back to his beloved garden having soaked everything with Miracle Growth before we left. We came back to Day of The Triffids. He was over the moon of course. If I only I could excite him as much as weed killer does.

Bamboos used to excite him the most. But he could not stop plucking leaves off them.. so now we just have tall bare bamboo stems that sway silently in the breeze.

I call him Russell.

Lawns are his latest craze. We are rarely allowed to tread on ours now, in case we stunt it's growth. It's quite annoying that my husband will spend hours hunched over on bended knee to pluck non-existent moss from the lawn (sometimes at night, with a head-torch) but indoors, will stomp on discarded biscuits, wet wipes and half eaten snails with gay abandon.

He also does not seem too upset about the mud he brings back into the house after one of his moonlit lawn patrols/bamboo plucking sessions.

Perhaps I will start having more picnics.

Latest photos here


Sunday, 3 June 2012

Grace four years six months, Daisy twenty-three months, Bliss eight months

So Daisy is practically two. I remember Grace at this age... she was speaking in sentences. She had names for each of her toes. She sat watching Care Bears for hours on end.

The longest sentence we've had out of Daisy is "Poo poo"... she still sucks her toes, and the only time she goes near the TV is to switch off whatever Grace is watching (and then laugh).

Ah, my little chalks and cheeses. Literally. Grace is obsessed with drawing and Daisy with food... and snails.

She has a collection of them up the garden. They are all called Daisy (may I refer you back to what James called all his pets http://ericka-grace.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/grace-2-years-old.html ). She picks each one up in turn, shouts DAISY! into thier shells, licks them a few times and then puts them down again. If they are small enough to fit in her mouth she will suck on one, like a gobstopper, while she charges round the garden snapping the heads off James' flowers and "poo poos" under the trampoline.

We have bought her two giant African land snails for her birthday. I am hoping they are too big to fit in her big gob, and deaf enough to be unaffected by her screeching. I am NOT taking them out with us either, like I have to with some of the ones from the garden. My pockets are full of slime and bugs and flowers. I feel like one of the famous five.

We also bought Daisy a mini farmyard. It's a private joke between her and James which goes a bit like this:

James: "Daisy, can you say pig?"
Daisy: "Ig"
James: "Can you say cow?"
Daisy: "Ow"
James: "Horse?"
Daisy: "Orsey"
James: "Dog"
Daisy " Og"
James: "Cat?"
Daisy " At"
James "Chicken"

Bliss is on the move. She started off commando crawling and has progressed to proper all-fours
crawling. I keep losing her. My friend Abi had a tortoise she kept losing once. Her mum drilled a hole through the shell and tied a giant pink watering can to it so they could spot him....  Food for thought?

She is such a jolly ginger giant. She has one wonky toothy-peg crowning at the front and excess flab round her knees. I adore her. She wakes up grinning. She eats like a horse. She sits by the patio door like a dog waiting for it's walk. When we open it she races out up the garden with her sisters. Sometimes Daisy sits on her back and tries to ride her.

Grace is about to start her last term at pre-school. Then she'll be handing her yellow, paint-stained t-shirts down to Daisy (god help them) and moving on to school.

In a bid to make a good impression.. James and I signed up for the curry and quiz night. We struggled to get a team together though, and ended up asking our neighbours.

They got drunk, bought all the raffle tickets, and then won all the raffle prizes. They stumbled, tripped and cheered as they kept going back for more. The rest of the room sat in stony silence, apart from one woman who hissed "Its etiquette to not to collect more than one prize."
My neighbour did not care. She was too busy thrusting her flowers ("I don't even like them!!") all over the place and spilling drinks on people.


I've signed up to become chairman of the preschool. No one else wanted the gig, and I'll owe them big time for looking after my beast-from-the-east (Daisy). Again, I am not sure it's going to be successful. The woman who runs it is older and "set in her ways". I keep coming up with CRAZY ideas like summer hats with the pre-school logo on, or growing something other than a pea each year. She looks at me a bit like I did a "poo poo" on the floor and says nothing.

She makes me nervous. I end up committing to things I don't have time to do, and claiming I own items which I know I don't. When a lucky dip was requested for the summer fete, not only did I sign myself up to man it all day, I also claimed to have a giant cardboard box in my loft which would be perfect to put the prizes in. (No prize for who said they will source the prizes.)

I don't have any such thing. The only boxes I have in my loft are full of love letters from James' ex girlfriends.... I'm having to ask my mates to source me one, like some sort of shady drug deal.

I am not sure how I get myself into these stupid situations. I am thirty for god's sake. When we go to gigs, James buys us seated tickets because he gets sciatica and if I stand up for too long I need a wee. I am a grown up. I do gardening.

Ok, so that's another lie.

Our garden is a riot of colour...  but all thanks to James Titsmarsh. I have little to do with it, but take the credit when people come round and compliment me on my Alliums. We also have a young lad who comes and mows the lawn for us. Well, actually - he mostly cuts it with giant scissors. I think he might have learning difficulties. I followed him home the other day to give him his money....
He thought I was chasing him, so pulled over, reached into the back of his car and got out a crowbar.

We would mow it ourselves, but we never seem to get a second. Daisy has decided sleep is for wimps. She can take up to three hours to get down at night. We take it in turns to sit with her while she throws books at our head. She is very determined. Last week she locked Grace in the toilet and stole her bacon sandwich.

When she walks all the woodlouse instantly curl up into balls. I like to think she eats them because she mistakes them for raisins... she knows as well as I do that raisins don't have hundreds of legs and crawl across the floor however.

Children are funny. I went on a nature walk with the preschool last week. The teacher said "Look at the buds on this tree children. What are they going to turn into? Does anyone know?"
"Caterpillars" shouted one enthusiast.

Then he saw the rubbish truck and was so excited he weed a bit.

The preschool staff had the same luminous jackets on as the dustmen (Health and safety gone mad). Once again, my big mouth got the better of me and I suggested that the teachers (including the head) went and helped them out.... It did not go down well.

I'd best make a bloody fortune on the lucky dip stall.

Latest photos here:

Monday, 16 April 2012

Grace four years four months, Daisy twenty-two months, Bliss six months

So Bliss is six months old. It's gone so fast... but then alot of my time is taken up by Daisy. You can't really take your eye off Daisy for a second. If you do, then when you look back she is naked and wedged in the washing machine, or halfway up the garden in a pair of James' giant trainers. She empties cupboards and smashes plates, pushes the TV over, pokes Bliss in the eye, does a poo on the floor and eats leftover cereal out the bin. All before 6am.

Meanwhile, Bliss has been quietly getting on with things. She sits, she holds her own bottle, she rolls. She almost crawls. We call her the jolly ginge giant. "Ho ho ho, ginge giant" we sing (to the tune of the old sweetcorn advert). And she grins. She is so jolly it's untrue. We wake in the morning to her huge red-cheeked face beaming at us.

The most simple things delight her. A spoon, a pair of Grace's pants, her own hand. She entertains herself for hours. Which is just as well. But when she is picked up, she wraps her chubby arms tight round your neck and gives the most incredible cuddle ever.. She clings on like she knows she is about to be parked somewhere else again.

Daisy is talking at last. "Dace, Dace" (Grace) she calls up the stairs in the morning. "Dace, dinner" she shouts (at breakfast). "Beeba beeba" (Bliss) she cries (then pulls her hair)

Mummy mummy mummy, mum mum mum mum mum mum mum mum mum" she chants for hours on end (Normally in the car, and she does not stop till I turn round and look at her).

She pronounces socks "shocks" and milk is "ulk" and can also mean juice but the main thing is she is talking. It feels less like we have a dog and more like we have a toddler.

We took the girls to Longleat (or longleaps as Grace called it) Safari Park over the Easter break. Daisy was very taken with the Meerkats and wanted to say "bye bye" to them for a long time.

Grace only cared about the train ride, as the Easter bunny was somewhere on it's course and she was desperate to see him. She ignored all the animals we passed on the way.. her eyes searching endlessly for the bunny.... and then she found him, and then she screamed, and then demanded to be taken home...

Turns out, Grace does NOT like people dressed up with "big heads on". Imagine her distress then, when the train stopped so the Easter bunny, with his ginormous head, could skip up to each carriage to hand out a colouring book.

Daisy did not really know what it was all about, but she never passes up the chance to have a wally fit... so they both screamed together while James and I tried to pretend they belonged to someone else and we only had the jolly ginger one.

Driving through the safari park was fun but scary, as Daisy is prone to opening her window at the most inopportune times.

We made it out in one piece, but my car did not. The monkeys which I had thought so charming, pulled various bits of my Multipla off and everyone in other cars laughed at me.

At first I did not understand why. Driving a car that sounds like a tank and looks like it's for the elderly and disabled, I'm no stranger to ridicule. It was not till we got out the car later that I realised why everyone had been pointing and guffawing. There were bits sticking up and bits hanging off and the whole car was covered in poo. It was like some kind of dirty protest.

So life is good. Busy, sticky and shouty, but good. Night time is perhaps the hardest bit. If Bliss does not want breastfeeding then Grace wants a cold drink, or Daisy wakes with night terrors... or Fiona au pair starts sleepwalking and shouting in German. I don't think we are ever all asleep at the same time.

We find out if Grace gets into the school of our choice soon. I'm not looking forward to school days. Right now we can do what we like with our Gracie girl, but soon, we have to do things by law.

Soon we are going to have to watch her walk off across a playground in a starchy school uniform and we won't be able to rush in after her and say "Actually, you can't have her today. I'm taking her to the zoo."

We won't be able to control the friends she makes, how popular she is, or how easy she finds reading or writing or show and tell. We will have to hear about these things from teachers we don't know. When I think about it my throat aches. My baby. My prototype.

I don't want her to get bigger and stop saying things like "I know all about aminals" or "Are we having turnups for dinner?". I don't want her to count past "eleventy".

Already she borrows my handbag, and car keys, then charges round the house playing "me".

Right, come on Dais" she shouts (and points.. and claps). "Get your shoes on NOW or you can't go to the park. I need to stop at the shop and get Bliss some nappies and Daddy some sausages. Come on Daisy, I said NOW."

Daisy ignores her. I cringe. Bliss beams.



Monday, 12 March 2012

Grace four and three months, Daisy twenty months, Bliss five months

So Bliss is five months old, and sleeps like a five-week old. It's my own fault for bragging how she was such a good sleeper. Silly old me. First rule of good baby sleeping... don't talk about good baby sleeping.

I'm so tired I can't even finish the end of a sentence. My hair is not the "just got up" look, it's the "never get to go to bed" look. Luckily, I am far too tired to care about my appearance.

I don't know how much harder this last month would have been had we not recruited Fiona, our lovely 19-yr-old, New Zealand au pair. She started three weeks ago, and now she is exhausted too.

The poor girl arrived the day Daisy caught a sick bug, Bliss stopped sleeping and James had to stay away for five nights at work. It was a baptism of fire to say the least.

When things calmed down a bit, we encouraged her to go and check out Brighton. We waxed lyrical about how friendly and vibrant it was, what a great time she'd have. Imagine her surprise then, when a seagull attacked her on the pier, scratched at her hands till she gave up the doughnut she had bought, and then seemingly followed her round the town and later stole her shopping bag (OK, maybe it was not the bird who robbed her, but it could have been. Strange things happen at sea and all that).

It does not seem to have put her off luckily. James now lives with five women. He spends more time at work, or at the gym, or up the garden, measuring how big a shed he could have built.

The girls love her. I was really worried Daisy would not take to her. You know what she's like...

Last week James took Bliss and her moses basket and went to sleep downstairs to give me a break. When Daisy came down in the morning and saw the basket, she promptly took her nappy off and did a jumbo poo just where Bliss' head goes. (Luckily Bliss was not in it at the time). She then weed all over her highchair, and tipped her bowl of Shreddies over her head. Lovely.

Her latest trick is to sit on Bliss' head in a StinkFace move favoured by the wrestler Rikishi. I don't know where she learnt the move. We only watch the Disney Channel. I've never seen Mickey Mouse do it to Minnie, and if I did I'd deffo complain. It's unsavoury.

Anyway, she loves Fiona and they spend hours up the garden on the swings, or doing high fives. I am hoping Daisy will learn to speak with a Kiwi accent. So much nicer then my high pitched squeak. Fiona is all 'Oh Yeeeear' and 'Faaaar owt'.

Her speaking has not come on much in the last month. She says "wipes" now and sometimes "ulk" which might mean milk, or look, depending on her mood. Grace is like Joey Deacon's interpreter, and claims to understand everything she says. According to Grace, Daisy often wants Grace to have a cake, a go on a swing, or a cup of tea.

Grace adores her, as you can imagine. Someone to boss about and make tea, all the time? It's heaven on earth for her. It's been reported she has been bragging about her grown up friend at school.

Speaking of school reports... Daisy's childminder received a complaint. One of her other charges told her mum how Daisy pulls her hair and scratches her face. The girl in question claims to be "petrified" of Daisy. Honestly, doesn't she know that Daisy is like a bear? She can smell fear. As long as she approaches her as you would a dangerous predator in the wild, then she'll be grand. Anything, this girl is a year older than Daisy. She needs to toughen up a bit. In our house we bite back.

They all got christened on Sunday in beautiful cream and gold outfits. Photos to follow. Guess which one could not quite pull off the faux fur shrug?

Photos here: