Tuesday, July 31, 2007

First go on the Islabike

On my Islabike

This evening we took Oliver to the park and showed him his surprise: a new bike. I unveiled it with great import and ceremony (from under our picnic blanket).

What could this be?!

"Bike!", was his predictable reaction as he eagerly took up the reigns (well, handlebars).


He then proceeded to waddle across the grass.

He continued this way down the full length of the park, mostly walking but occasionally sitting down when encouraged to do so.

First hundred yards completed

It was only when we got to the playground that we hit two problems. Firstly, he showed an alarming similarity to his Mummy when riding: he wasn't keen on hills!

Oh no.... hills!

And secondly by this time - almost his bedtime - he was showing signs of getting tired and became easily frustrated. This wasn't helped by the enthusiastic uptake of his new machine by two toddler friends of his who just happened to be at the same park with their parents who delighted in their offspring toddling their first few steps on two wheels as much as Oliver disapproved. (Which was quite a lot.)

But all in all it was not a bad start considering he is not yet two years old (the recommended minimum age). I reckon that he needs a few more weeks or months to get the requisite balance and strength to roll around on it while seated as confidently as he does on more stable trikes and push-alongs. Time will tell. As long as he enjoys it, we'll be happy.

First bike!

As a keen cyclist I've obviously spent the occasional minute daydreaming about my son riding his first bike. OK, so in fact that such minutes would often drift into long sessions on the PC searching for a suitable purchase, long before he was up on two feet let alone two wheels. Well, my research will finally bear fruit today when this little beauty arrives!

It's a bike without pedals, which will allow him to develop balance and (the theory claims) means that he will never need stabilisers. It's made by Islabikes, a small company set up specifically to make high quality bikes for children. This bike is the Rothan.

To say I am excited is a bit of an understatement. But it's not all vicarious pleasure and transposition of my wishes onto Oliver. I know Oliver is going to be excited too because he makes a beeline for any sort of scooter, trike or bike he comes across in the park and he loves riding on my bike in his seat. So I suspect he's going to love the idea of this bike even if he finds it hard to use at first. After all he's still not quite two years old, but hey, English summers don't last long so we thought we'd make an early start rather than wait for his birthday which is still 6 weeks away.

The other excuse, erm, I mean perfectly sound and commendable reason for buying it for him now is that it coincides with the baby's arrival (hopefully!), so we are telling him it's a present from our new arrival.

I've also bought him a new helmet with a special "pinch-free" strap. I was already looking yesterday before I took him to the park on my bike and managed to pinch his chin with it. Ouch! The little man had a pinch mark and cried, which is rare for him. However he soon recovered and I gave him "choc choc" when we got home for being so brave. Guilt suitably assuaged!

Jack told Hayley a secret!

While I was at work on Sunday, Hayley and Oliver were out dining at TGI Friday's with our friends Sara and Manny and their son Jack. (Lucky swines!) At one point they were talking about our imminent new arrival when Jack pointed at his Mummy's tummy and said to Hayley "baby".
Hayley turned to Sara. "Sara?"
She turned bright red. It turns out she is pregnant but it's very early days and not even the prospective grandparents know.
It looks like Jack has reached that age were his parents are going to have to watch what they say.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Asleep with Julien

Asleep with Julien

I just took this photo of Oliver asleep in his cot, cuddling his beloved Julien. He never looks cuter than when he is fast asleep.

Although he does sometimes look like he could find a more comfortable way to lie!


Not that it really matters. Hayley's frequent nocturnal visits to the loo in these last days of pregnancy give her plenty of chances to pop in and check he is warm and sleeping comfortably.

Hayley's Ofsted Report

Hayley has been working as a registered child-minder for some time now and earlier this month she had her first Ofsted inspection. We were delighted that she got a rating of "Good", quite an achievement for her first inspection.

The inspector also said some very positive things about Hayley herself and I am so proud of her for what she has achieved. As the inspector said to her, she has found her niche. She is a natural with children and I'm blessed to have her as my partner. And Oliver is certainly lucky to have her as his Mum.

Ironically Hayley has now gone onto Maternity Leave, but if anyone would like to read her report it is on her (currently rather skeletal) child-minding website.

Very, very, very, very hot

For some reason Oliver decided to point out to us today that various things were very, very, very, very hot. His ham sandwiches, his drink of cold water, the barely warm piece of garlic bread I gave him, and finally his bath (which was precisely the same comfortable temperature that he enjoys every night) were all described as if they had the thermal properties of molten steel.

At first it was very, very, very, very amusing and we joined in, forgetting that this was all the encouragement a toddler needs and that we would tire of the joke long before he did. Thankfully he went to bed not long after that for a very, very, very, very good night's sleep. We hope.

Friday, July 27, 2007

You can't beat a bit of Dolly

In a rash move earlier this week, I took Oliver's favourite CDs out of the car to make copies to play in the house. So when I collected him from the childminder yesterday I found that the only available CD was "The Best of Dolly Parton". To pacify the repeated requests for "songs" (meaning nursery rhymes), I popped Dolly into the CD player, more in hope than expectation. Out thumped the intro to Nine to Five. To my surprise the little man didn't pipe up "don't like it" and by the time we got to the chorus I was singing with (admittedly slightly faux) enthusiasm and he seemed content at our aural entertainment.

Today when Hayley got into the car he immediately asked for "Dolly"!
"Songs or Dolly", Hayley offered.
"Dolly", asserted the little man. So Dolly it was.
When "Jolene" came on Hayley sang with the gusto of a diva and Oliver found it hilarious. An encore was duly requested. And another. And another. I'm not sure how many times he made her sing it, but given that he made me sing and dance "Five little men in a flying saucer" six times this evening, I'm guessing it was quite a few.

Musical names

This post was written on its stated "publication" date but was kept hidden until after Lucy was born as we wanted our choice of name to be a surprise.

Another day, another choice of boy's name. Today "William" is back on top of the pile. Goodness only knows what this baby will be called if it is a boy. Our choice changes daily!

If it's a girl it is definitely going to be Lucy. My gut feeling is that it is a girl, but we've both been talking a lot about it being a brother for Oliver and how great that could be. Not that we'd prefer a boy. We just mull over both possibilities quite a bit as a way to prepare ourselves.

No more heroes any more

The Stranglers (a fave band of my youth) might have had it right when they sang that there were "No more heroes any more".

Hayley and I have been watching the Tour de France since it started nearly 3 weeks ago. It has seen some of the most exciting riding in years with Michael Rasmussen and Alberto Contador sparring on the mountainside, attacking each other as if track sprinters.

But then late on Wednesday night Rasmussen was thrown out of the race and sacked by his team for lying about his whereabouts in the month before the tour.

Leader Rasmussen pulled from Tour

He also missed drugs tests during that period. It all smells very bad, especially after last year's tour was marred by Floyd Landis' win being revoked for a positive testosterone test after the finale in Paris. "Tour de Farce" is a common phrase in the papers over the last couple of days.

On top of this, the plucky pre-race favourite who we had all admired when he won the time trial after crashes and bad days, Alexander Vinokourov, was thrown out for blood doping.

How is anyone meant to look up to these sociopaths intent on victory at all costs, even when that cost is an early death?

I love cycling. I do hope it cleans up its act by the time Oliver is old enough to have boyhood heroes. Because what these riders achieve is phenomenol and it's a tragedy to diminish it by cheating.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

On-time delivery please!

Fear not, this isn't a post about project management or the best postal service. It's about the fact that we definitely don't want our new arrival for the next few days. That's because Hayley is full of a cold/flu bug. She is so bad that she called a fellow childminder yesterday and got her to take Oliver for the whole day. It's the first time she's done that since the little man was born and is an indication of just how rough she is feeling.

On top of that I am under pressure at work this week as I'm on a training course but also trying to keep on top of things in the office. It is becoming increasingly hard to strike a good home-work balance such that I don't disappoint both parties. I work flexi-time which you would think is a help. But it means that if I get in early, there's a good chance that by the time I'm ready to go home there are still people around potentially wanting my time.

Fingers crossed Bumper will arrive on time, which is a week from today (or the day after, depending which midwife you speak to!)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Is there an echo in here?

One thing we have noticed recently of Oliver and of his peers of the same age is that they like to repeat almost everything we say. Often this is true even if he appears not to be paying great attention or is playing with toys. You can almost hear them storing the vocabulary away.

It's especially true when reading with him. He will point at things and tell me what they are. Often he will pick out something in the background I hadn't even noticed such as the giraffe in "Goodnight Moon".

He has lots of favourite phrases at the moment. "Hand" as I mentioned yesterday. "Don't like it" is also favoured for when he has had enough of something, except he sometimes drops the "don't", which is liable to confuse the uninitiated. Dropping the start of a word or phrase in general is a common trait at the moment.

In general he can communicate pretty well and when he can't it is often because his vocabulary is outstripping his ability to pronounce the words. Last night I came in and saw him in the bath. He told me "new shower" and sure enough, there it was, a new shower, fitted that day! It won't be long before he can say "B&Q loyalty card".

Of course there are times when his ability to communicate clearly has its down side, such as Last Sunday when during a quiet lull early in the church service he took my hand, gave it a tug and loudly proclaimed "home now!"

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Not long now Bumper

This post was written on its stated "publication" date but was kept hidden until after Lucy was born as we wanted our choice of name to be a surprise.

Next Thursday we are due to be a family of four. And yet we still haven't got names sorted out!

We toyed with Ruby, then Emily Rose but we have come back round to our original plan of Lucy Anne.

But for a boy we are at sixes and sevens. Hayley has always liked James. Oliver was nearly Oliver James before we settled on Oliver Steven. But we have also given long consideration to Harry and to William. I realised I really want something very English or something biblical. Last night Daniel made a late surge to the front: Daniel James is probably still leading by a nose.



We hear that a lot at the moment. Oliver reaches up to grab my hand and says "hand". Once I have obliged he leads me to the object of his desire, often the TV for "Beebies" or wherever he believes there might be "choc choc". To be fair it is often also to get a book to read, which can't be a bad thing, even if it does mean that I know every word of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" (amongst others).

Despite being poorly for the last week he has been in good humour and I really just wanted to blog the fact that the little man is great fun to be with nowadays thanks to his rapidly increasing vocabulary and also his sense of fun.

His latest trick is to emulate Hayley's "mad" smile, which looks a bit like the smile of Wallace (of Wallace and Grommit) combined with a strained held-breath expression more likely to be linked with constipation. (Sorry.) Don't get me wrong, Hayley has an adorable smile, but Oliver prefers her favourite comedy grin.

I know that any day now there will be a new arrival and the blog (if I get time to write it) will probably be all "baby this" and "baby that". But I somehow think the little man will not let me forget him in my musings. As if I would!

Monday, July 23, 2007

BBC NEWS | Health | Working mums' 'child weight risk'

BBC NEWS | Health | Working mums' 'child weight risk'

Sunday, July 22, 2007

It aint half cold Mum


This is Oliver this morning, going to Kids on Sunday in his buggy. It is mid-July and yet he has to be dressed as if it is November thanks to this miserable weather.

I heard last night that it is due to the jet stream being pushed south, possibly as a result of El Nino.

But thankfully, there was a brief window of respite in the afternoon and Oliver was able to play in the garden and even in his paddling pool. (Picture to follow shortly.)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

BBC NEWS | UK | Where has the UK's summer gone?

BBC NEWS | UK | Where has the UK's summer gone?

After the wettest June since detailed records began, this month has seen rain every day except one so far here in Stockport. And it's not as if it is a brief thunderstorm at the end of a hot balmy day. Oh no. It has rained and rained and rained, day after day.

The sheer misery and tedium of having no nice weather to take Oliver out to the park or for a bike ride is only set in relief by the terrible floods others have suffered.

Unfortunately, it seems this weather is to be with us for weeks to come.

But at least it has meant Hayley hasn't suffered hay fever for weeks now!

Under the weather

Hayley is struggling with nausea at the moment. It turns out that the morning sickness that disappeared after the first trimester can come back towards the end of the pregnancy. It's not exactly welcome as she is already suffering with pelvic problems.

Meanwhile Oliver has had a cold and a cough for the last few days. The last time he had similar symptoms, including strained breathing, he ended up in hospital. But this time it seems he's not that bad. At night he coughs a lot and gets very chesty, and by day he has a runny nose and gets pretty grouchy at times. But mostly he bears it well.

In fact sometimes he bears it a little too well. After I found him breathing heavily during the night we were understandably concerned, so we made sure he got to see a doctor that morning. After all, the last time this happened he went stratight from the doctors to the hospital. When the doctor came through to the waiting room and called Oliver's name, he promptly jumped up and ran around the chairs which are arranged in a circle. Hayley tried to catch him. He thought this a great game. Not exactly hard to outrun his 38-weeks pregnant Mum! Meanwhile the doctor is standing holding open the door watching this child that we assured her needed to be seen urgently. Eventually Hayley had to ask another patient to catch Oliver as she passed. "Well at least he seems happy in himself" consoled the doctor as they entered her consulting room.

And now this evening Hayley has suffered what I can only describe politely as "a very upset tummy". A friend has just texted her to say that near the time of labour the body makes sure it has emptied the bowels. Better get some sleep then in case this is it!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Oliver made tonight's dessert


Oliver made Hayley and I a rather delicious Banana and Angel Delight concoction decorated with Smarties for this evening's dessert. With a dollop of Carte D'Or ice cream it was truly scrumptious.


BBC NEWS | Health | Breech birth women 'choice call'

BBC NEWS | Health | Breech birth women 'choice call'

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Row row row your boat


Oliver and Kirsty row their boat at playgroup.

Who ate all the pies (and cakes)?


Last night Oliver completely demolished his Quorn mince pie and might happily have helped himself to mine had I given him the invitation. When he pointed at my pie and said "Daddy's pie" I just replied "yes, Daddy's pie". No more was said.

But today Hayley took him along wit her to B and Q where there is a cafe which, as you can see, serves cakes fit for a giant. But that wasn't stopiing the little man.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Back from the Med


I'm back from my "mercy mission" to help my Dad sail his boat from Barcelona to Majorca. (Funny how still no-one sympathises with my description of mercy mission as opposed to holiday.)

The trip was got off to a good start with us taking Oliver to Terminal 3 at Manchester Airport for some food. He loved the big floor-to-ceiling glass windows all along the terminal which allowed him to look out on the airfield. He also loved the little step up to the window which he duly stepped up and down with my help (or with the use of my knee as a prop) for a good 10 minutes.

After we said our goodbyes I went through to the deprature lounge where I found my flight delayed for an hour and a half. I finally landed in Barcelona at 12.30am and was surprised to find I could still get a bus to Placa de Catalunya. From there I got a cab to the harbour at Port Vell where my Dad met me and took me to the boat. After catching up and unpacking we finally got our heads down around 2.50am.

The next day was spent shopping for food and collecting Del, the third crew member for this voyage, when he arrived from Majorca. It was also spent checking weather forecasts in an internet cafe before a rather good meal by the harbour. Mussels for starter and Sea Bream in baked salt for main were my choices.

The next day we checked the weather forecast at the harbour office. It was all in Spanish but the wind speeds and direction looked OK. We said we'd check the other words with the help of a dictionary but in the end never got round to it, something we would live to regret somewhat.

We set off around noon under sunny skies with a good wind around force 4 but in totally the wrong direction right from the south where we wanted to head. We sailed on a course as close to the wind as possible for a few hours before deciding that we would have to use the motor until the wind turned or our journey was going to get considerably longer than planned due to all the extra miles spent tacking.

As we chugged on the sea state went from "slight", through "moderate" and finally to "rough". Waves were giving us the occasional soaking and more occasionally a wave would come right over the nose of the boat. SOmewhat unnerving. At this point I got out the dictionary and translated the bits of the weather forecast I couldn't understand. It translated to "rough seas". Great!

My Dad doesn't suffer at all from sea sickness but I felt rough if I had to go below decks for too long and Del was throwing up by this point. Fortunately it all started to calm down just a little as night fell.

I had wondered whether the sickness would be very bad with no horizon during the night. But in fact the clear sky meant the stars become our new fixed points. And wow what a show. Without any light pollution out there in the middle of the sea I have never seen so many stars. We even saw the milky way. In fact the night was so dark (with no moon) that instead of the light of the moon being cast across the water, the light of a single bright star beamed down and reflected in the same way.

By the time I came up on deck for my watch at 1am after two hours sleep, the sea was calm, the wind almost gone and we motored on through the dark, keeping a keen eye out for tankers and other large ships. Several tankers overtook us but never got so close that we had to change course at all.

By dawn the sky was blue, there was a little wind and we could clearly Majorca. Once we were all up we turned off the motor again and sailed the last few hours, ariving at Sant Elmo around 1pm.

It was lovely to see my Mum again and to set foot on terrafrima, although the motion sickness stayed with me for days afterwards.

The next day I headed home 36 hours early because Hayley had mentioned her pelvic problems on the phone. I couldn't enjoy the extra day knowing she was struggling and anyway I wanted a couple of days back with my family before having to go back to work.

So I left the 30 degree sunshine of Palma and landed back in the 15 degree rain of Manchester. Now where's that holiday brochure.

There are photographs of the trip on Flickr.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Stockport Express - Drive-by shooting

Stockport Express - Drive-by shooting

Our local paper's account of the drive-by shooting on Didsbury Road, which includes the other alarming incidents in the area.

Monday, July 09, 2007

That's all we need!

Last night Hayley and I lay awake in the early hours listening to the Police helicopter circling very close to us. It went on sol long we eventually got up to try to work out exactly where it was searching. After about half an hour it moved to about half a mile away.

This morning we found out the reason: a drive-by shooting on Didsbury Road. This incident happened just a few hundred yards from us. I suppose it could have happened anywhere given its nature, but it is still quite disturbing, especially on the back of the gunpoint robbery in the early hours a few months ago only yards from this incident. Our lovely little area seems to have more than its fair share of violent crime at the moment.

Not exactly the kind of incident to send me off to Spain feeling content.

Set the controls for the centre of the Med

I'm off to Barcelona in a few hours, but my final destination can be seen here on Google Maps.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Oliverland: principal export, smiles.

It struck me the other day when I took Oliver for a ride on my bike, just how many people smile at us as we cycle along. Even car drivers who would normally be in a world of their own at best, offer forth a smile at the site of the little man sitting in front of me singing away.

And soon we will have a baby in the house too. The principle export of Babyland is surely "cooing". All those approving females (and a few males of course) gathered aroud the new arrival.

I am tempted to try to write the seven ages of childhood as seven lands, Babyland, Toddlerland, etc. But the thought of what teenagers export has cut short this idea. I'll leave you to imagine the other lands for yourself.

Did we raise an American?

This morning when I made toast for me and the little man, he asked for "jelly". He really wanted jam, but referred to it by its American name. He's been doing this a lot. Hayley, who lived for many years in the US, swears she isn't responsible for this dilution of the Queen's English, even though she still sometimes talks warmly of her past fondness for "peanut butter and jelly"!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

How could he!

Regular readers may know that I receive a magazine called "FQ", as in Father's Quarterly, designed to make us think we Dad's are still as young, attractive and cool as we were back when we might have read GQ, its spiritual Grandaddy.

To my horror when I received it this week, a rather waxy looking David Cameron adorned its front cover. But worse was to come. When I picked it up to read it tonight, Oliver pointed at Cameron and said "Daddy".

I'm not certain how I responded. The words "that's not [insert subdued expletive here] Daddy" must have been involved, I'm sure. Perhaps he sensed my dismay because he then went on to point at several other men in the magazine saying "Daddy", as if telling me they are all Daddies in their own right. Unlikely? Yes. But preferable to him thinking of me as Cameronesque? You bet!

Final weekends

As we enter the last few weeks before Bummper arrives, we are making the most of the time we have as a family of three and our fairly settled and contented life. The last two weekends have seen us having great fun doing simple things.

Last Saturday we all went to the big Tesco in Stockport for breakfast and then some shopping while Oliver read his Thomas magazine in the trolley. Then it was on to Borders where we read books with the little man on the sofa in the kids area. It was cheap entertainment, except for the fact I ended up getting sucked into buying him "just a couple more books".

Today we took Oliver into town while we bought a homecoming outfit for the new baby. We decided to buy one for a boy and one for a girl (as you can take the wrong one back or give it as a gift), but only ended up getting the one for the girl. There was nothing that caught our eye in either Mothercare or Marks and Spencer. Blimey, we must be getting fussy in our old age!

Oliver enjoyed a ride on the merry-go-round and we all dined in the sandwich bar in the middle of the Mersey Centre (Stockport's shopping parade). Later I cycled to Pokusevski's, a local "Polish" deli which I took him to a few weeks ago. This time Hayley came too (by car though, given her current condition!) and we all enjoyed some cake and some toasted rye bread. Oliver also entertained other diners in the courtyard at the back where we ate. Fortunately they seemed receptive.

OK, by this point we had enjoyed a mini "eating out" spree, but it wasn't all that extravagant or expensive considering we don't do it very often.

The only tricky moment at Pokusevski's was when Oliver thought it would be funny to head out of the courtyard into the shop from where he could then reach the road. I was after him in a moment, but bumped into Hayley, and Bumper, as I set off to pursue him. No serious injury though, I am glad to say. We're still having a little trouble getting Oliver to understand that when we say stop, we mean STOP!!! He still sees it as a joke. We need to get him to register that word as a red light. Somehow!

To be fair he is normally very co-operative. I really do feel lucky to have such a good little chap for a son. I've started to use the word "serious" with him now to highlight when what we are doing is not a game and I really need his co-operation. Thankfully it seems to be having some benefit. Otherwise there would be days when his exuberance could mean I might never get him to clean his teeth or change his nappy or come and put his shoes on or.... you get the picture.

So as we enter the final few weeks I must confess my excitement at Bumper's arrival is tinged with a slight sense of sadness at the passing of our family of three to become a family of four. It's not that I don't think I will love Bumper, like a friend of mine once told me he had feared he wouldn't love his second child as he awaited her arrival. I'm sure I will love him/her instantly just as I did with Oliver. It's just that I sense the loss of a precious time with Oliver as he is no longer our only child but one of two siblings needing our love and attention.

And of course there's an element that this is simply the calm before the storm. Perhaps that is the larger part of my mild melancholy. We all have a part of us that likes our comfort zone. And all three of us are certainly going to be leaving it soon.

Friday, July 06, 2007

How could a man forget? I've got a shed!

Our shed

On Wednesday, amongst the angst of a leaking roof and rescheduling flights, we had our shed delivered and erected. So at least I can clear some more space in the house and get (more) ready for Bumper.

"Don't you dare!"

Sitting in the bath last night Oliver was chatting away, when suddenly he said "Don't you dare!", pointing at the imagined target of his warning and with a serious expression on his face that was an absolute picture.

Hayley and I looked at each other in amused surprise before asking him where he'd heard that. He wasn't forthcoming but after a while Hayley realised we had heard our friend Jo saying it to her daughter earlier in the day when Oliver was in the room.

Like so many things, he had silently absorbed it and stored it away to produce at the most unexpected moment. And once he realised he was making us laugh he played on it for all it was worth.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Right footer

Last night Hayley and I kicked a little ball around the living room with Oliver. He loved it. While he was doing it we noticed he seemed to always faour his right foot. So perhaps I haven't found the solution to England's left-wing problem after all.

It never rains, only pours.

I'm not going to Barcelona today after all. There are gale force winds on the Mediterranean where my Dad is right now and they won't abate for a day or so. So I've moved my flights to go out on Monday instead. It's cost more money, I've lost the money on tonight's hotel and it means the trip is even closer to Bumper's due date. All in all not good news.

But worse than that, last night, following an afternoon of torrential downpour, I found water dripping from the ceiling of Oliver's room, running down the main light fitting. After calling the insurance company we had a roofer at the house within an hour. He did nothing to calm my concerns. Referred to the type of tile on our roof as "Mersey S^&t", said that any damage wouldn't be easy to fix and even suggested it might not be covered by insurance!

It never rains...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Bob'll Fix It!

Back in the days of my youth there was a programme called "Jim'll Fix It". This involved the eccentric but likable old DJ, Jimmy Saville, arranging for kids to do the weird and whacky things they requested in their hand-written letters that were duly shown on national TV.

THis is not to be confused with the 21st century phenomenon that is "Bob the Builder", who is heard to sing "Can we fix it" frequently in his theme tune.

As Oliver is a fan of Bob, I wasn't surprised to hear him shout "Bob'll Fix it!" whenever the tune or TV show came on. But then I realised that Oliver was actually trying to tell me he could see great potential for a new TV show, "Bob'll Fix It"! And that a career in TV production was the life for him! Admittedly I may be reading between the lines a little here but bear with me.

The show would involve people inviting in a cartoon builder to arrange for weird and wonderful things to happen. Unfortunately, as Bob is a builder, most of these things would get started on time before he just has to pop off to do another urgent job. ANd as Oliver will only be working for a small company to start with, all the stunts will have to involve Dizzy, Lofty and Wendy to keep the costs down. At this point I am starting to foresee law suits resulting from freak building site accidents, but hey, that's reality TV fory you!

Nonetheless, Oliver still seems keen. He still shouts "Bob'll Fix It" on a near daily basis. And let's face it, could his programme ideas be any worse than many of today's shows?!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Nap time

Oliver woke after napping for only 10 minutes yesterday because Hayley had to get him out of the car. He then refused to nap in his stroller. Ten minutes is nowhere near enough sleep for him so he agreed to going upstais to lie on the "big bed" (i.e. our bed).

Once there Hayley tried to rest while he jumped around on the bed. After a few minutes she asked him "Do you want to go for a nap?".
"Yes", he replied.
"In your cot?".
This was quite a surprise as he hasn't napped in his cot for a long time. Certainly not since we moved to this house. He sat and played and read books in his cot for a few minutes before calling out "Mamma". Hayley went in, stroked his head and then left him, quiet and content, to lie down again herself. Within a few minutes he was asleep and slept for an hour and a half.

What's more, when he awoke his usual grizzly self was replaced with quite a chirpy chap. It would be great if he would do this more often. It would let Hayley get some rest in these final few weeks before Bumper arrives.

Moving and grooving

Bumper was really active last night. Hayley sat in bed reading a book and it became obvious Bumper could not get comfortable, which meant Hayley could not get comfortable, which in turn meant she kept shifting around so I (sitting next to her, also trying to read) also couldn't get comfortable!

Apparently the second baby might not engage its head until labour starts. Well, that's what I heard from I-know-not-where. Not sure how that might affect Bumper's movement for the next (and final) weeks though.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Goodbye growbags

About 6 weeks ago there was a significant event that really deserves blogging. We switched from a growbag/sleeping-bag to a quilt. This means that instead of us going in every couple of hours because I'm convinced he'll be too hot I can sleep easy knowing he can kick off his quilt if he needs to.

Well, actually it means we now go in every couple of hours to check he hasn't kicked off his quilt and is lying on top of it getting cold, which by the way he usually is!

But overall it seems to be an improvement. Although we do sometimes have to put him back under it after he has headed to the other end of the bed, he does seem to be sleeping better.

His cot is now at its lowest position so the next stage will be to turn the cot into a bed. But I'm hoping we won't have to do this for a while, because then the blissful mornings we are currently enjoying will come to an end as he realises he can come into our room and interrupt our slow awakening. Then again, we'll be up half the night soon anyway, so why worry.

86cm (2 feet 10 inches) tall

We've started recording Oliver's height on the door between the living room and kitchen. The first measurement was at 19 months. Today, a week before he is 22 months, he has grown a further inch. Today's measurement is about 86 centimetres or 2 feet 10 inches if you prefer.

There's a theory I've heard that your height at age 2 is half your final height. I'm not sure how valid this is. He is supposed to be tall for his age which would imply he will end up over 6 feet tall, but I can't see him reaching 3 feet tall in the next 2 months.

It rains and it pours

It's official. Last month was the wettest June on record. And July has started in the same vein. The last week has seen flooding across the country with many washed out of their homes.

Every weekend recently seems to have been blighted by rain, which is a shame because every weekend has seen some sort of local fair or picnic washed out. Today we went to a Picnic in the Park in our local Thornfield Park, organised by local church groups.

We arrived just in time for a truly torrential downpour. Hayley had a giant umbrella but the rain angled in to soak her skirt. I had a Gortex jacket but I was drenched from the waist down. Only Oliver survived, sitting in his stroller with the rain cover on sucking a lollipop. And even he wasn't happy.

The rain stopped, but no sooner had everyone appeared from under the dubious shelter of the trees, than the heavens opened again. We stood cowering with a couple who had a soaked toddler and a very young baby in their arms, the pram now being a sodden burden.

Finally we got a sunny spell and all had to start abandoning layers and rain covers to withstand the sudden heat. So after Oliver and Hayley had sampled the most burned hot-dogs I've ever seen - and Hayley and I had sampled rain soaked biscuits and luke warm tea - we headed home via the ice-cream van: 99s all round as consolation.