Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's international blogging day!

It is international blogging day! And I am supposed to refer you to five other blogs worth visiting.

I can't claim to be pushing the boundaries of journalism in any sense of the word, but there are are an enormous number of blogs out there that are even less coherent or focussed than this one. But there are also a few gems.

All that comes with it
I've been reading this blog for a few months. It brings a smile to my face and the photography is often good too. Something I need to work harder on. Maybe I deserve a new camera. Hmmmm....

Mothering In America (formerly Pregnant in America)
This is the blog that got me into blogging! Its author is overtly political but also very frank about her family life. (More frank than I, that's for sure.) She regularly used it to complain about her husband while pregnant! But then also had a lot of interesting views and was frank about herself and her own problems. Unfortunately she hasn't posted for a few months. Shame.

But she kept blogging a lot longer than many. It amazes me how many "one post" blogs there are on Blogger.

Andrew Cox
One of the reasons I like this blog is that the blogger is a fellow father who started blogging during the pregnancy and has carried it on as his son has grown. It's just fascinating to see how his experience compares to my own, especially as I am a few months ahead. Hayley and I dressed Oliver in a Manchester United kit at only 5 months. This chap recently blogged his son in a baseball kit.

So much for family blogs. What else is out there?

Attitude of Gratitude
There are many blogs out there that try to stress the positive things in life. It's one of many blogger stereotypes, swamped though they may be by that of the rambling diarist. This is a record of daily gratitude from a recovering alcoholic who also demonstrates a level of self-understanding that most of us never even glimpse.

Where in the world is Peace Bear
Occasionally I will click the "Next blog" button on Blogger until something catches my eye. Today I came across this. Echoes of Amelie: it made me chuckle.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Oliver's Tea-pot

Oliver's Tea-pot
Originally uploaded by Steven Townley.
This is the tea-pot that Oliver decorated for us last week. Hayley said that some of the other Mum's tea-pots looked a little more presentable, but I'm glad that the little man really has stamped his mark on our pot!

Pity it drips when we pour. But that's not going to stop us using it!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Nanny's Birthday

We visited my Mum on her birthday today. Oliver enjoyed seeing his Nanny and joined in when we blew out the candles on the cake, mostly by trying to grab them. And Nanny was delighted with her present: the vase that Oliver made at the pottery centre a few weeks ago.

Nanny's cake

Nanny and Oliver

Nanny and Oliver (just)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

On the up and up

On the up and up

Oliver can now climb the stairs quite rapidly! When he gets half way up we pretend to be chasing him. He loves this and shouts as a he scurries off!

We really have to be careful though. The other day as we prepared to leave my Mum's house he shot out of the kitchen and had got up 3 stairs before I spotted him!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Oliver's new passion is Thomas the Tank Engine. He watches the TV programme, reads the books and now even has Thomas pyjamas which he loves.

As he so loves Thomas, last Sunday we took him to Brookside Garden Centre where they have a miniature railway. We took two trips on it lasting 5 minutes each. He loved every minute.

The only trouble was that when we came to get off he protested, kicking and whining!

However, he soon got over his disappointment when we bought him a Thomas place-mat...

...and took him to ride on a Thomas ride. At the conclusion of his 3 rides for £1 Hayley asked him "Are you coming to Mummy now?" He just shook his head. Another £1 was duly inserted!

Morning milk with Mummy

I love this picture. It captures so much about Oliver.
His skin colouring. (We really did put sun cream on him this summer!)
His beautiful eyes, one of which opens slightly more than the other.
His hair which has got very blonde over the summer.
Even a little mark on his head as he insists on standing up at every opportunity and the odd bump just can't be avoided.
Oh and how he loves his milk with his Mummy.

The toast thief

Oliver's love of toast and ability to crawl at ever increasing speeds got Hayley into a slightly embarassing spot the other day. She was siting on the floor with Oliver and other Mums and babies when she failed to spot until it was too late Oliver hurtling across the mat and helping himself to a woman's piece of toast. She had cut it into fingers so it just had to be for him didn't it?

He then sat there in front of her eating her toast and looking up at her. It's amazing what you can get away with when you are a cute 11 month old.

You're a tease!

Oliver loves teasing us at the moment. Mostly he does it with food. He'll hold out a piece of food such as a piece of toast and then when we reach out for it he will take it away and eat it himself, smiling and sometimes adding in a chuckle for good measure.

At baby sign he did the same thing with a toy. He held it out to a little girl and when she reached out for it he quickly withdrew it and laghed his new characteristic little laugh: "Aaaaah ha ha!" (The emphasis is on the first "ha"!)

He even teases us about getting out of the bath. He holds his hands up to be lifted out when withdraws them when we reach down to him, laughing and splashing wildly to emphasise that he is not getting out.

Of course sometimes he does desist and let us eat his food: usually when the piece of toast has been well and truly sucked. Nice!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I love bread

Oliver shares several things with me: the colouro his eyes, his dimpled chin and a love of bread!

This morning I found him helping himself to a whole brown loaf which had gone stale and was destined for the ducks.

And here he is in the park not giving bread to the ducks.

Party Season

Isabella gives Oliver a push on her swing

The party season is upon us. August is the month when Oliver was due and several of the fellow Mums and Dads we met at the ante-natal classes and baby clubs were due around the same time. COnsequently we have lots of 1st birthdays to celebrate this month.

It kicked off with two parties yesterday: one for Niamh and one for Isabella. We had Niamh's party at 2pm before moving on to Isabella's bash at 3.30pm.

Oliver and Niamh at Niamh's party

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Baby talk, baby listen

I went with Hayley and Oliver to Tiny Talk today: the baby signing class. (Claire and her daughter Cara also came with us.) It gave me the chance to take part with Oliver in an activity he enjoys and which normally I wouldn't even get to see.

The class involves singing songs while making the relevant signs. Today's theme was Summer. So if you had wandered into the upstairs room at a little church in the middle of Withington, you'd have seen a 42 year old man with a bouncing 11 month old on his knee singing Cliff Richard's "Summer Holiday" and waving his hands around making strange signs. I loved it!

Oliver loved it too! In fact both Claire and Hayley commented on how he enjoyed it even more than ususal. "Showing off to his Daddy", they flattered. He squealed with delight at times and laughed when I tipped him head first off my knee for "All the little ducks go upside-down".

He received a certificate in the class for his first sign, "milk", which he made aged 9 months. Well that's what the certificate said. We reckon he probably did first make the sign then, but when we offered him milk he didn't always want it: he was just responding to us saying "milk"! However, more recently we have avoided mentioning milk and just waited for him to ask for it with the sign. He does this now and drinks the milk when we give it to him.

The first time I saw him do it was actually one night when I put him to bed and he asked for more milk, which was quite unusual. Perhaps he just wanted to stay up a few more minutes.

He also does a sign for "finished" when he has had enough food or milk. The sign is to place your hands on top of each other and move them apart sideways indicating "no more". I don't think we can have done it too clearly though as his version of the sign involves pointing at the palm of one hand with the first finger of the other. However, he does it consistently and pretty reliably. (Occasionally he might decide to have one more spoonful of yoghurt.)

He has also developed another sign of his own. He hasn't mastered lying on his back from a sitting position, so when he wants to lie back in the bath he sits upright and tilts his head back so his face is looking up at the roof. Sometimes he will be happily sitting in the bath playing with his ducks or the sponge when I say "do you want to lie back" and he will quickly stop what he is doing and tilt his head back ready for action. He still loves lying on his back splashing about with his arms and legs.

One new part of his bathtime ritual is the way I get him out. I stand him up in the bath facing me with my arms under his arms steadying him. Then I start to count slowly. "One..." - he looks excited as he recognises what is coming. "Two...." he looks across at his Mummy to make sure she is watching what is about to happen. "Three!!!!" I lift him high out of the bath as he opens his mouth wide with excitement, all the time looking to make sure Mummy is watching, before I lay him down on his towel to get dried. It has become a little highlight of the day for all three of us.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Oliver in his first shoes

Hayley took Oliver for his first proper shoes today: Clarks of course. They are "walker/crawler" shoes designed to suit the current balance of his modes of transport.

He seems to like them. Although he has already worked out how to take them off, usually so he can try to chew them.

First shoes

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Childcare guru goes to war over website - Home - Times Online

Childcare guru goes to war over website - Home - Times Online

Gina Ford, author of "The Contented Little Baby Book", has threatened court action against and demanded its closure. Why? Because members registered with the site have attacked her on the site's forum.

In her books, Ms Ford advocates a strict timetabled regime that must be adhered to at all costs. It is the antithesis of the baby driven approach advocated in the ante-natal classes we attended and preferred by the midwives and health visitors we have dealt with.

Ms Ford's approach is akin to putting your new baby into a bootcamp, devoid of empathy and intuition. At the risk of having her set her lawyers onto Blogger, in my opinion it is a kind of fascism in nanny's clothing: Nazism for newborns if you like!

It is also hard to have any sympathy for someone who threatens to shut down a worthwhile and helpful site just because of a few comments from members of the general public in a forum.

You can decide for yourself by visiting Ms Ford's website or reading her most famous book.

BBC NEWS | Health | Heat link to children's cancers

BBC NEWS | Health | Heat link to children's cancers

I suspect many men already know that heat is not good for sperm, if only because like me they may have lived in fear of being dunked into a cold bath to improve the chances of conception. (Fortunately she never even suggested it!) But this research goes further, suggesting a link to health problems in a resulting child.

I can see our electric blanket going onto eBay shortly.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Learning Partnerships - Meanwood Valley

Learning Partnerships - Meanwood Valley

As a keen mountain biker, I was impressed by an article about the Meanwood Valley urban farm in Leeds, where there is an excellent little scheme that teaches kids how to repair abandoned mountain bikes. They repair two bikes: one they get to keep and one goes to a community project, for example a local church is donating them to Romania for district nurses to use on their rounds.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The sausage rolls (forward only)

When Oliver was born he looked like a string of sausages. He was a bit pale and shocked and as they plonked him onto Hayley's tummy his arms and legs reminded me of nothing more than Walls' best bangers before they go into the pan. We can still be heard to call him "sausage" or "sausage sandwich" every now and then.

Well, recently our little sausage has started to roll over onto his front at night. The trouble is he doesn't know how to get onto his back. As a result we sometimes go into his room at night and turn him over. Otherwise he can wriggle until he sits up and cries. More often he will crawl up to the top of his cot and just fall asleep there: stuck! The health visitor reckons he'll work out how to get onto his back in a few weeks. Until then there'll be a few more nocturnal trips in to see him and help him out.

Today he was weighed at the clinic: 24 pounds 7 ounces; that's in the 91st percentile for his age. But I don't think he looks at all fat. Just like better quality sausage.