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 IS A MONKEY!!" Grace hollered "AND MONKEYS CAN'T SWIM"
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: