Saturday, June 24, 2006


My life is feeling pretty good at the moment. I knew this already, but it's nice to have it confirmed!

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Friday, June 16, 2006


Last Sunday I officially became Maisy’s godmother. Maisy is seven so this isn’t a major change - more a tidying up of an arrangement made a few hours after she was born. Ellie’s description of the ceremony probably sums up the practicalities: “The priest man poured water on Maisy’s head. He talked long time then we went home to Maisy’s house”.
The ceremony gave me a focus however to reflect on my relationship with Maisy, and to re-affirm how lucky I am to be her godmother and part of her life. Maisy is a lovely, thoughtful, considerate, energetic, intelligent, artistic, sociable child. She’s also been a typical baby, toddler, pre-schooler etc with all the challenges those stages of development bring and is now a pretty typical seven year old adjusting to having a two year old brother and an unhelpful class teacher at school. Thinking about Maisy, made me realise just how much she has given me over the last seven years. Having spent time looking after Maisy as a baby and toddler gave me a real headstart in confidence in looking after Ellie – I didn’t have to learn how to put on nappies, or give a bath, whilst fumbling my way through that post partum exhaustion. When things have been difficult, in work or relationships, Maisy’s obvious love and affection for me (along with the support of her parents) has really helped me to hold things together. Not to mention the (selfish) pleasures of Maisy drawing pictures specially for me, or insisting that only I am able to read her night time story. Or the recollection of things she has said and done which bring a smile to my face even now as I write this.

Which leads me to question – am I her ‘fairy’ godmother, or is she mine?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Ellie has, in the last week, started toilet training and she’s doing really well. In fact, we’ve had hardly a wet nappy overnight since we started (which we didn’t expect) and only a few ‘accidents’ during the day times. Our chosen method (and nursery’s) is to prompt her regularly to sit on the potty, and to give her lots of praise (and a sticker if she’s at home) for any ‘result’. As a consequence of giving praise, I’ve ended up having lots of strange conversations along the lines of “Aren’t you a good girl doing a wee – shall we go and tell Daddy that you’ve done a wee?” then she gets a second lot of praise also. In terms of toilet training, this is working very well with only one or two ‘accidents’ a day (usually when she’s doing something far too interesting to interrupt for the potty!). However this has led to the weird situation this evening when, shortly after Paul left the house, Ellie did a poo and was adamant that I couldn’t empty the potty until Daddy got back to see it! In the end, we compromised and we took a picture of it. (Thank goodness for digital cameras and never having to get that picture processed!). No matter how much expert advice you read - it just doesn’t cover every eventuality!

Time Out

The other weekend was very sunny so we ended up having a barbeque with our friend, Mal. Whilst we were all sat out enjoying our food, Kitty went after a bird with a much greater degree of success than usual. The bird, which appeared to be struggling to get off the ground after Kitty’s pounce, hopped to a patch of long grass and hid there. Whilst I understand that as a cat it is inherent to Kitty’s nature to chase birds, it’s not something I want to see (particularly over my dinner!). Mal interrupted Kitty’s search of the long grass and shut her in the house. A little while later we checked on the bird – a rather shaken fledgling – who hopped out of the grass as we disturbed her (or possibly him) and desperately flapped back to a nearby tree where her mother was waiting anxiously. Ellie’s comment on all this? “Kitty in time out!”.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Barnaby Bear

Just before we went on holiday, amidst the blur of ‘things I must finish at work’, ‘clothes I must wash & dry to take away’, ‘important documents I must find to enable us to go abroad’ etc, I happened to see a programme on CBeebies channel. It was ‘Barnaby and Becky’ (about a small bear who goes on adventures usually without the little girl Becky). In this particular episode, Barnaby went on a Ferry across to Roscoff (in Brittany), where he had a crepe and explored ‘le jardin exotique’ (an usual tropical garden). When I saw it, I forgot the grown up tasks I needed to complete to go on holiday and was filled with holiday excitement because we too were going to go on a Ferry to Roscoff, and I had every intention of having crepes too!

On the penultimate day of our holiday, Paul motivated us out of our holiday ‘laissez-faire’ and we went to Roscoff’s ‘jardin exotique’. It was fabulous, a wonderful tropical garden, overlooking the Channel. Even as a novice (and ‘do it when I have to’) gardener, the plants and setting were awesome! And Ellie thought it was wonderful to find long leaves, and sticks, to trail along the ground. The weather was also tropical too, which added to the illusion of being much further away than Northern France. And, to top it all, I was walking along the very path that Barnaby had been on!

Anyway, impossible though it is to show the magic through the pictures, I thought I'd show you a couple anyway.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Holiday snaps

No time to write about our hols, but on the basis that a picture speaks a thousand words...
Here are Paul and Ellie in the pool! It was very quiet on the campsite for the first week, and also rather wet and windy. However, there were a few brighter spells which we made the most of! the second week was school holidays - much better weather but many many more people. I quite like the luxury of this private pool. The pool was 'heated' but this mean solar heating which raises the temperature by only a few degrees. The smaller pool to the back left was a jacuzzi and excellent for warming back up!

Ellie loved swimming, even in the cold pool! But she also really loved going on this bike riding game afterwards. Which is very lucky as I'm not sure the cold pool would have been healthy for too long!

(Best for us as parents - at 2 not only is she too young to play, but she's also to young to have any expectation that the bike might actually do anything)

Anyway, more about what I did on my holidays to follow!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Lost in France

I’ve not posted for a while as I’ve been away in France for two weeks. It’s been a fabulous holiday – although the EU (or should that be European Community?) Ironing Mountain I’m now facing has soon brought me back down to earth! Once our clothes are safely hung back up in our wardrobes I’ll post some more and let you know all about the wind, the lashing rain, the very cold swimming pool and that absolutely wonderful time we had (really – we did!). Oh, and due to my Dad's and husband's excellent driving I didn't get lost and was able to drink instead of driving.