Sunday, 26 October 2008

Grace - 10 months old

So Grace is 10 months old, and getting far too clever for her own good. She recently learnt to wave. She has two types, a very regal twirly-hand type of wave, which she uses at dinner parties or if she is out in public, and a two-armed windscreen wiper type of wave which she uses whenever she sees her mummy or daddy. It's possible the sweetest thing I have ever seen.

She likes to join in with the applause when the X Factor is on. I think she likes that little Irish lad best, probably because they are about the same size.

She is so into absolutely everything. Getting her to go to sleep is a nightmare. All she wants to do is explore and if you try and stop her she can become quite vicious. Her little monkey fingers sink into your eye socket or right up your nose. She even gave me a cheeky bite on my nipple the other day right through my t-shirt. She knows this kind of behaviour is wrong, because once she has done it she looks up at me a bit sly to see what I will do. If I do try and tell her off, she just uses my open mouth as a ledge for her foot to climb onto my head and pluck out hairs. She swung of James' chest hair the the other day like a little Tarzan. Very funny to watch. Perhaps less funny to take part in. She is a little madam, although it's possibly the most embarrassing thing a parent can ever say to a child I know the words "stop showing off because your friend is here" are going to be spoken often in our home as she gets older.

Her swimming classes are going really well. Last week they had to take along pyjamas and be thrown in the pool wearing them ( I can't remember the reason why now, but I don't think it was just for fun) anyway, I forgot to pack Grace's jimjams so my poor little princess had to do it in lost-property boys pants. I felt truly awful. What must the other mums think?!! Will it scare Grace forever, will she remember it in some flashback when she is older? have I created a cross-dresser?!

Her very severe haircut is still alarmingly short. Perhaps she is going to take after my dad who has not had his hair cut in about 30 years and it's not grown a single inch in all that time. She is fast growing out of 9-12 months clothing and trying to put shoes on her is like trying to put a shoe on a brick. Try it and you'll see how hard it is, especially when all the brick wants to do is take the shoe off and hit you over the head with it, laughing...

Oh the laughing. I never knew the sound of my baby laughing could be quite so fantastic. It's the most wonderful little chuckle with a squeak at the end. I would do anything for that squeak. She does it if I blow raspberries on her tummy, or swing her round and round. She does it when she is looking at her books (playing AND learning). She does it if James sings "Stand up clap hands, shout thank you lord, thank you for the world I'm in" (religion is hilarious when you are 10 months old), she does if she wakes up and sees you watching her, which is often because she falls asleep in the most weird and wonderful positions - the other day she looked like the hungry Caterpillar, flat on her face with her bum high in the air (she photos).

She is starting to show some of her mother's traits at last...I turned round to get a nappy and she was carefully pulling all the wipes out the packet and making a lovely neat pile of them on the mat. She also does it with her childminders washing if the machine door is left open. I'm so excited, when she gets a bit older we can tidy up together!

We love reading about what she has been getting up to all day with her childminder, especially if she has been naughty, which is seems she often is. I think the words "little devil" feature at least 4 times in every update.

So all in all, 10 months in and it's still going well, most of the time. We have the old bump (like the other night when she woke up at 2am and refused to go back to sleep, the more I tried the more awake she became. James was in London checking out a site so I was forced to get up and put her in her playpen. James got home at 5am and looked very alarmed to see all the lights on and Grace clapping along to "hello puppy calling, do you want to play with me?" needless to say neither of us wanted to play with puppy or Grace.

How tiring parenting is can become a bit of a competition between James and I(with no winner) if we are not careful. I have taking to listing all the things I do to prove how much MORE tiring it all is for me. It does not work however, it just makes James clap his hands over his ears and shout "not the list! Spare me the list!". This may all sound very childish but I had a very enlightening conversation with the chap next to me at a wedding recently. We decided that there are only two reasons why couples fall out. They are either;

A: One or both partners are tired
B: One or both partners are hungry

And I really think it's true - which is why I am off to bathe my little monkey so I can start to think about going to bed myself, with my knitting. Yes, knitting. I knit and I'm proud. I am making a patchwork quilt with some people at work to raise money for children in need and I love it. We meet on Tuesdays for a good old stitch and bitch. My technique is coming along a treat (stitching, not bitching) and soon James, Grace and I will all be wearing snazzy Christmas jumpers with our names on them.

Latest photos here:


Friday, 3 October 2008

Grace -9 months old

So Grace is nine months old, and looks remarkably like humpty dumpty after a very severe home haircut, which is how it should be. Photo albums were invented to give people a chance to laugh at how embarrassing everyone was as a child, how awful the 80's fashions were and how long it took to stop having ridiculous haircuts. No family photo album is complete without snaps of wonky fringes, ridiculously unabashed beach nudity (normally armed with a bucket and spade and swiftly followed by a photo of one family member being "buried in the sand" by said spade and rest of family. If people have a family dog sometimes a hilarious photo of the dog helping to dig is also included.

**My own brother took this a bit too far one year. Our parents took us to Spain and in a fit of nostalgia Mickey asked if he could bury me "like in the good old days" which everyone knows I am a sucker for... half an hour later all that was visible was my head which Mickey put a bucket over, and then took himself off for a pedalo ride. A fat German boy eventually came to my rescue, after attempting to kick the bucket. I was15) , missing front teeth in school photos, or even better, missing front teeth and a scabby nose from going over the handlebars of your bike the day before. Finally, a photo of everyone looking grumpy as they stand against a pebble dash wall (which may well be the reason for the misery. It's very uncomfortable to lean against indeed, but great fun to pick off bit by bit during Summer holidays. We always got very told off for doing it and I never understood why. I always thought I was doing a bit of a favour. Perhaps it was one of those "if everyone did that then there would be none left" tellings off, like when you pick shells on the beach or bluebells in the wood).

Anyway, there will be no snazzy hairdos or porcelain veneers in our albums. I am sticking with tradition all the way. James' family albums also include photos of very complicated "weekly shows" put on by his sisters in the back garden and occasionally feature male family members in dresses and 70's wigs, so we may try some of them too.

Humpy Dumpty impersonations aside, Grace is doing really well. She is at that delightful stage where she throws everything on the floor then cries till you pick it back up again. The books say that babies love the power of dropping things and watching them fall. I think Grace just loves having people run round after her like some kind of mini Mariah Carey. She has learnt how to escape from her playpen now and takes great delight in showing me each time I put her in it. She is also capable of crawling up the stairs if you let her. Much like her daredevil uncle she lives in the fast lane. Her favourite games include opening and slamming the baby-gate (onto her sausage fingers), or holding onto the coffee table with one hand as she pulls off all it's contents with the other ( heavy books, laptops, hot cups of tea etc). She does very funny goose steps holding onto her walker, which is just the sweetest thing. She knows she is doing something clever and when she gets to the end of the rug she stops and turns round so we can give her a round of applause (which she joins in with - we are trying to teach her to wave but she just loves to clap).

We spend alot of time chasing her round the house saying "Grace No....No... NO, Grace NO NO NO NO NO, No means No" But does it to her though? Perhaps to her no means "Do it more it's great fun". According to one book I read at this age babies haven’t learned how to control their feelings yet so complain and howl when they don’t get their own way, giggle, coo and squeal with joy when they are happy and may have very strong likes and dislikes about food. I was quite alarmed when I read this as it's a pretty fair description of me most of the time!!

Grace has finally sprouted two very sharp front teeth which she loves to bite you with. Breastfeeding has become a bit of an extreme sport these days. James' nose gets chewed on a regular basis as well. Getting the teeth to finally poke through seemed to take forever and the effort certainly took it's toll - Grace caught and infected all of us with the novovirus, grandparents included. Not at all pleasant! As you know I am incapable of being sick (maybe I was a sewer rat in a past life) so managed to avoid that part but I DID GET IT TOO (although no one believes me). We are still in recovery mode and are having a very quiet weekend watching Property ladder and testing our 70's underfloor heating system. Who said having children ruined your social life?!

I have started a basketball team with some of my coworkers in an attempt to do some exercise (plus everyone knows playing basketball instantly assures you coolness, which I sometimes doubt now I spend most of my time in banana splattered pyjamas singing row row row your boat. It was my birthday recently and James threw me a surprise party. Some friends came round for a bit of a knees up, but as is often the way once you have kids we spent the whole time chasing our kids round singing "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands" ( the only game Grace can join in with!)

James is too cool to sing, so he builds very high towers out of blocs instead which Grace knocks down (and then applauds herself for. I do hope she grows out of this habit, no one likes a show-off) or lets her play with the numbers on the front door which for some reason she loves... a budding mathematician perhaps?

Latest photos here: