Monday, March 31, 2008

Sausage a day can increase bowel cancer risk - Telegraph

Sausage a day can increase bowel cancer risk - Telegraph

"Sausage a day can increase bowel cancer risk

By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor
Last Updated: 2:03am BST 31/03/2008

Eating one sausage or three rashers of bacon a day can increase the risk of bowel cancer by a fifth, a medical expert has said.

The warning involved only 1.8oz (50g) of processed meat daily.

Daily consumption of sausages and other processed meats can increase the risk of bowel cancer.
It recommended that people eat less than 17.6oz of cooked red meat a week and avoid all processed meat.

Researchers found that almost half of cancers could be prevented with lifestyle changes such as a healthier diet, using sunscreen, not smoking and limiting alcohol intake.

The charity World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) said more needed to be done to get across the message that people who eat processed meat regularly are putting their health at risk..."

The idea that such a small amount of processed meat - including ham, which Oliver often enjoys - can increase risk of bowel cancer by 20% has set me thinking about my stance on my children's diet in general.

I don't eat meat. Unsurprisingly people therefore ask me "do you raise your children meat-free"? The answer is "no". I decided to give up meat for a variety of reasons as a young adult and they can choose to do the same if they wish when they are older.

So today they eat some meat and some veggie food too. But given that my own reasons for foregoing meat include health reasons, am I letting down my children by not choosing for them what I have chosen for myself?

Of course it's not that black and white. For a start, Hayley is not veggie and she would have a say in the decision. She doesn't eat much meat though. Consequently Oliver's diet falls somewhere between Hayley's and my own.

I don't see the situation changing in the near future, but just as I periodically review my own diet - re-introducing fish several years ago as a result - I know I will continue to review my children's diet just as closely.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday Breakfast

Saturday breakfasts can be complicated. They involve 2 or 3 courses and 2 locations.

This morning I got up with both offspring and started by giving Oliver some Rice Crispies at the breakfast table. While he ate them I prepared Lucy's warm mushy Weetabix with full fat milk. As I did, Oliver requested additional servings of Rice Cripsies and milk. I then moved to the sofa where I positioned Lucy in front of me in her high chair, so that should Oliver decide to come and read next to me I can see the words in his book and simultaneously feed his sister.

Lucy absolutely loves her Weetabix and can't get it down fast enough, only breaking occasionally for a drink of water or the odd happy smile.


After Lucy had finished her Weetabix (a whole one by the way), it was time to get both kids dressed. As I hadn't taken the good advice of Zenhabits and prepared their clothes the night before, this took so long that by the time they were ready to go out Lucy needed her milk (7 ounces, mixed 4:3 of Aptamil 2 to Aptamil 1). After this we finally got under way and headed for Tesco.

At this point the score is Lucy 2 courses, Oliver 1 course, Daddy 0 courses.

On arriving at Tesco we pick up a few things on route to the cafe, Oliver on foot, Lucy in her car seat in a trolley. Oliver operates the lift, the buttons for which are now just within his reach.

In the cafe I find my favourite cafeteria assistant isn't working and hence no-one has bothered to pre-cook veggie sausages. Drat! Oliver orders 2 sausages, bacon, hash brown and scrambled egg. I get beans (half for Oliver), mushrooms, hash brown and scrambled egg, plus toast for all of us. And a cup of tea for me, finally.

Heading for the table we meet George, about 9 months younger than Oliver and a fellow regular for Saturday breakfast.

I then install both children in high chairs and serve their respective meals, and drinks before sitting down to dine myself. As I'm doing all this, a fellow Dad at the next table with two girls in tow, slightly older than Oliver, comments that my dragging around of high-chairs and conjuring of cutlery are like a military operation, adding that I have the choice of then eating breakfast fast or eating it cold. Clearly, a man who knows the score. As he gets up to leave he comments that it gets easier, but then adds that other problems replace those of today... as he hurries off with his little girl to the toilets.

We all then eat. Great!


By the time we have finished, the score is Lucy 3 courses, Oliver 2 courses, Daddy 1 course... but rest assured I didn't skimp on that 1 course.

As I stand to leave, a woman (another regular) offers to take my tray to allow me to look after the children. It's noticeable just how many familiar faces there are on Saturday mornings. I don't want to sound like an advert for the fried breakfasts of Britain's biggest retailer, but it is a nice atmosphere in there, not to mention a great way to sneak in a bit of essential shopping.

Once coats and hats are re-donned by all, we head out of the shop. On the way out Oliver has a ride on Clifford (the Big Red Dog), while Lucy watches and chuckles.



Afterwards we head off to Borders where Oliver and I read books on the sofa in the children's area as Lucy naps.


Later Lucy joins us and greatly enjoys "That's not my Dolly".

Finally there's time for a quick trip to Toys R Us where Oliver inspects the play-houses before we head home. Not a bad Saturday morning.

Hayley then takes both kids off for a play-date... leaving me at home to sneak in a nice egg and mushroom sandwich. Sometimes Saturday breakfasts can take some time.


Friday, March 28, 2008

BBC NEWS | Health | Six baby cough medicines pulled

BBC NEWS | Health | Six baby cough medicines pulled

Among the medicines removed from sale are Calcold which we have used for Oliver occasionally over the last winter, but more worryingly also Medised which we have given to Oliver on many occasions since he was perhaps 3-6 months old. And we still have them today. Here they are in our medicine cupboard.


Despite assurances that it is their misuse that has caused their withdrawal, it is still a concern. You don't want to have to be a qualified pharmacist and remember the combinations of medicines that can or can't be administered at 3am with a crying child in your arms. It's enough to have to remember what time the last dose was applied and that you can interleave ibuprofen with paracetamol.

Worryingly, I completely missed this story yesterday. Fortunately Hayley picked up on it. Otherwise we'd have carried on using these medicines whose shelf life is several years.


Although I'm not a natural reader of the Daily Mail, I must admit they cover this story rather well here.

BBC NEWS | England | Toll of teenage drinking revealed

BBC NEWS | England | Toll of teenage drinking revealed

Thursday, March 27, 2008

E-fit released of attempted abductor - News - Stockport Express

E-fit released of attempted abductor - News - Stockport Express

Just what every parent doesn't want to read in their local paper.

The flip side

I posted today about Oliver's tantrums. But it's unfair to just paint that side of the picture. It's also true that, like the rhyme, "when he is good he is very, very good...". He can be very affectionate, well-behaved, considerate and polite in general. And he is a perfect big brother to Lucy.

The other night, some time after he had gone to bed, Lucy woke in the next room crying. The monitor is in Oliver's room (as Lucy is still in ours) and we heard him say "It's alright Lucy, we'll get you sorted".

Then again today, not an hour after the most horrendous tantrum, he repeatedly kept interrupting the book he was reading to get down and pick up the toy that Lucy kept dropping. And prior to the tantrum he had been as good as gold this morning.

We both love him to bits, no matter how frustrating and exhausting his behaviour is right now. The only reason we are putting him (and ourselves) through this "tough love" is to lay the foundations for lots more happy days to come in the future.

Nessun dorma

Nessun dorma. None shall sleep. I should play it as my children's lullaby.

Oliver has never been a good sleeper. He goes to bed perfectly, but after 2-3 hours the problems will start. It's not that he wakes crying for Mummy or Daddy or has bad dreams - that I could cope with. He suddenly shouts and screams and kicks his quilt until I appear, then he is fine and goes back to sleep. Realising that he really is fine, every single time this happens, I have now switched to ignoring the tell-tale screeches and then checking there is nothing truly wrong once he has gone back to sleep himself, which he does quite easily. It's too early to tell whether this is really working, but after a few days the signs are encouraging.

Then there is Lucy. She was sleeping so well. But recently she has become more wakeful in the night, needing Hayley to turn her over or re-assure her. While she was poorly with a cold we were happy to do this, but now that she is well and she simply wants us to get her back to sleep we have decided that we need to use controlled crying. Learning to get herself back to sleep is a skill she needs to acquire.

Last night was a first and a worst. She woke at 11.10pm, just as we were going to bed. (I wanted to go to bed at 9.30 but we got sucked into some eBaying for fancy dress outfits - don't ask!) Lucy started to cry. She wouldn't settle. As this was unlike her, we gave her calpol and applied some bonjela in case she was teething. No improvement. We noticed she had no temperature and that as soon as the light came on and we picked her up she was all smiles and wide awake. So we tried the controlled crying, leaving her for an extra minute each time we settled her. By the time all this had gone on she finally fell properly asleep at 1am.

I have to say I feel a little guilty about using the controlled crying when she seems wide awake. I know some people get up with their offspring and entertain them until they fall asleep. Or take them out in the car until they nod off. But as Oliver and (until last night) Lucy have never shown signs of being truly nocturnal, the whole scenario has been alien to me. And the words of the health visitor who told us that babies need to learn to get themsleves to sleep unaided are still imprinted on my brain. So today I'm still in the camp that says she needs to learn to sleep at night, one way or another, and as soon as possible, given that she is well past the 6 months mark. But what if the controlled crying fails us this time?

When I got up at 6.50 this morning I asked Hayley if she still wanted to let me have a lie-in as she'd insisted the night before. She was less insistent and looked exhausted, bless her. I got up.

I am already looking forward to both kids going to bed by 7.30pm, so I can hit the sack myself around 7.31.... with Pavarotti echoing round my brain.

Truly terrible twos

Oliver is having some real tantrums recently.

It usually starts with whinging and crying for something that he wants but can't have and in most cases ignoring this will cause him to realise it is getting him nowhere and he stops. But occasionally he will progress to worse behaviour, persistently being disobedient (sometimes with possibly dangerous repercussions), shouting at people or even hitting them, at which point he goes into time-out.

In the past being put into time-out - which at home involves sitting on the bottom step of the stairs - was enough to make him change his behaviour, but recently his tantrums have just become worse at this point. He can become hysterical, screaming, shouting and physically fighting to get away. The tantrums are so bad that he can't just be put into time-out by himself because he sometimes throws himself around on the floor and could hurt himself.

It is truly a horrible experience for parent and child alike. We remain calm and tell him why he has to have time out and calm down, but it can take several long minutes to pacify him. The parenting gurus tell you not to talk to them in time out, but it is impossible to just sit there in silence the whole time when he is in such a state.

This week has seen him have one very bad day, then a very good day, then again today he has had a really bad tantrum and had to be brought home from a play-date because he hit his friend and shouted at his friend's Mum.

We wondered whether TV is a contributory factor, so in the last 3 days he has been TV-free apart from half an hour of The Wiggles yesterday afternoon. We have also started to put him to bed a bit earlier as his tiredness seemed to be contributing. Then there is nursery: could that be a factor? He seems to like it there, but who knows what behaviour he is picking up.

So in truth we don't know for sure what is at the bottom of it. All we can do is try to be patient, persistent and consistent in our approach and then hope that in time we will see improvements.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Little Hayley?

Of course Lucy is Lucy and she amounts to far more in her own right than just being the product of her Mummy and Daddy. But she does have some traits that are unmistakeably derived from Hayley, the cutest of which is the way she wrinkles her nose when she chuckles. Don't blink at the start of the video above and you'll see what I mean.

PS. I know this video could have been kept down to about 3 seconds in length, but until I find some free video editing software that can handle .MP4 files, you'll be getting unedited clips only.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter round-up

Good Friday


We opted for the traditional walk up Rivington Pike. The skies were blue and although it was cold we were well wrapped up.


Unfortunately the wind was strong once we were near the top and both children's attitude turned from cheery contentment to tears by the time we reached the summit. However, Oliver was somewhat appeased by me taking him to my friend Paul's house where he got to play on a large, electric ride-on Thomas the Tank Engine.


We went to my Mum's annual Easter Egg hunt. The weather was still cold and now raining/snowing, so we were relieved when she had put a good number of the clues inside the house, specifically for Oliver and Lucy so they wouldn't have to go outside.

Lucy took the opportunity to improve her piano playing, while Oliver had anyone who would be lead by the hand join him at the "'puter" to play games on the Thomas and Friends website.

I also spent a fairly fruitless hour up at my sister's house trying to get a USB-wireless key to see a wireless router 3 feet away from it instead of the next door neighbour's router.

Easter Sunday
Hayley and I managed to go to see Man Utd vs Liverpool at Old Trafford (3-0 to Utd for the record). It was nice to finally get to a game and have some time to ourselves without the kids. We don't get much, but when we do it reminds us of who we were when we met and who we still are given half the chance!

Easter Monday

I took Lucy for a walk in the afternoon to try to get her to have an afternoon nap and to get me some fresh air. It was a sunny, clear, crisp and cold day. But by the time she had fallen asleep and I was at my furthest point from home, the clouds raced
in and it snowed on us, quite heavily. She was well wrapped up and under a rain cover so your truly was the only one with snow in his hair. Then it was off to another Easter Egg hunt, this time at the house of Oliver's friend Cara. Good fun. And rather nice Quorn sausage rolls too!

And that was it. Nothing spectacular but good fun nonetheless.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

In my life...


"There are places I'll remember all my life, though some have changed..." (John Lennon)

As a child I sometimes visited Chester Zoo. Today Hayley and I brought our own children to the very same zoo.

It was a wonderful day. It was summed up for me by a couple of moments. One was when Hayley turned to me smiling as she pushed Lucy in her pushchair (and I pushed Oliver on his trike) and said "we're at the zoo with our two kids". We truly do still have those "pinching ourselves" moments. Maybe it's down to having kids later. I'm not sure. The second moment was when I lifted up Oliver for him to see an elephant repeatedly showering himself with mud which he sucked up with his trunk. Oliver laughed out loud with a screech of delight and cried "again!". The elephant duly obliged.


There were other memorable moments with Oliver: watching the "swinging monkeys!"; coming into the bat enclosure with me; riding on the monorail overhead train (which probably impressed him more than any animal); taking a boat ride past the giraffes; watching the sleeping lions ("can we have a ride on them?"). They were all special.


And then there was Lucy. She has been under the weather for the last couple of days with rather unpleasant nappies which seem to leak at every opportunity, but she never complains. Today she was adorable, alternately napping in her pushcahir or just watching the goings-on around her. She had another horrendous leaking nappy incident at the restaurant at lunchtime that even resulted in Hayley having to remove her own shirt and spend the rest of the afternoon with just her fleece under her coat. And we'd forgotten Lucy's change of clothes, so Lucy spent the rest of the afternoon well-wrapped up in her cosy-toe, blanket, coat and hat, but with no trousers on. Bless her.

But none of this could detract from a beautiful day. The sort of day you dream of spending as a family.

And there were no tantrums from Oliver. Better than that, he had a couple of moments where he teetered on the edge of a tantrum and then, with the aid of just a gentle word or two, he decided to do otherwise. (I think it also helped that he napped on the way there in the morning too, so he never got overtired.) He really was a brilliant little boy all day.

We saw a lot, but there was a lot more we didn't get round to seeing. So we're already looking forward to our next visit.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mmmm... chips

While hayley did the shopping at Tesco today, Oliver, Lucy and I went upstairs to the cafe. Oliver had chicken nuggets and I had fish. We both had chips, but donated a couple to Lucy to keep her entertained.

If it aint broke...

If it aint broke, we probably don't own it. Here's a list of applicances that have recently decided to become non-functional.

DVD Player/Recorder
After several months where the drawer wouldn't open when there was no disc in it (until you tapped it on its top), it finally decided that the drawer was best positioned half open, refusing to open or shut. Maybe it serves us right for buying a Netto bargain. We replaced it with a Philips today at Tesco. Best part of £80. Ouch.


The oven in our lovely looking 6-ring range style cooker now won't work with the fan on, thus requiring higher heat and more expense, even before I call someone out.

Microwave/oven combi
Our microwave was also an oven, which saved putting the big oven on for a couple of spring rolls. No longer. It is in the back of my car, ready for the tip. Thankfully I took the precaution of keeping our old microwave (though it isn't an oven).

Gas fire (and the rest)

The fire died some time ago but on trying to replace it we've now found there are complications. Consequently we have a rather nice gas fire we won't be fitting, still sitting in its box in the living room.

My car
Went out to it yesterday, dead as a Dodo. Thank goodness for free AA Home Start. Another job for tomorrow.

Central heating
After a bit of a saga involving multiple visits from British Gas last month, it appeared to be all sorted.... except that the timer has now convinced itself that it has to leave the hot water on overnight, despite being programmed otherwise.

Washing machine

Still functional but sometimes it decides it can't be bothered to spin so you have to ask it again nicely.

Upstairs toilet
The ballcock isn't set right and a little clean water overflows out into the garden each time the tank refills. Should be easy to sort out, but it's a funny looking ballcock mechanism (unlike any I've tampered with before) so I'm not fixing it outside of B&Q opening hours.

It's not a huge list, but when money is tight it's not exactly welcome either.

If I'm gone for sometime you'll probably find me on the Stockport Freecycle website.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Clapping for beginners

I came home today and found that Hayley had taught Lucy to clap! This makes Lucy a musical genius in my eyes and undoubtedly destined for greatness. What is more, she really likes it. For much of the evening she practiced her new talent. I'll be calling The Halle in the morning. (On second thoughts, sod that, get me Sir Simon Rattle on the phone...)

But she is in good musical company. Frankly Oliver keeps time when he drums to my guitar playing better than some people I have formed bands with. And that's not a joke! (I daren't name names.)

I do hope they take to music. I play guitar with them and sing often. Since Oliver came along I lost all enthusiasm for performing in public as no audience is ever going to be as vocal and appreciative as him. Or ask for as many encores. Now that he has a very mini piano keyboard of his own I get to reciprocate, which is made easier to do as he turns it off and mimes to Barney. "Keep music live" anyone?


Monday, March 10, 2008

Hurrah for Humphries?

It's not often I find myself praising the interviewing techniques of the ever-interrupting John Humphries, but this morning he found himself interviewing a deaf man, apparently over the phone, with the aid of someone signing for the interviewee. Mr Humphries was therefore unable and/or unwilling to interrupt in his usual fashion and the quality of his interview was all the better for it.

In the interview on Radio 4's "Today" programme, the man defended his claim that he and his partner should have the right to undergo have IVF treatment and choose to have a deaf child. That doesn't mean they choose to keep the child if it turns out to be deaf, it means they actively choose through IVF to have a child that is deaf.

I thought Humphries' astutely delivered argument uncovered the interviewee's reasoning as perverse and nonsensical. You can decide for yourself by listening to the interview.

It is also the subject of this BBC News article.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Weekend highlights

It's FA cup quarter-final weekend. It used to be FA Cup quarter-final Saturday, but with the power of TV (read as money) the games are now played one by one throughout the weekend. We gathered round the TV to watch Man United dispatch Portsmouth, only to see (to our dismay) the first Cup upset of the weekend. Later, delightfully and deservedly, Barnsley dispatched Chelsea, before today Cardiff City got rid of Middlesborough and were then joined in the semis by West Bromwich Albion (or "W.B.A" as Hayley insists on calling them). So the weekend seems to have been conducted to a (radio) soundtrack and/or (TV) backdrop of football.

But the real highlights lay in the details of everyday life. Yesterday lunchtime, having need of some provisions for the tortilla wraps that Hayley was cooking for lunch with Manny, Sara and Jack, I took Lucy over to the shops in her Baby Bjorn carrier. It was a showery, windy day, so I wrapped us both up well and set off with a brolly. Well, nothing of great import happened, but the pleasure of having the little lady attached to my chest to chat to as I did the shopping was a real treat. And of course she's still little enough and cute enough to attract the smiles or endearments of other shoppers. The only hiccup came when I let her take a packet of crisps to play with. I was about to walk through the checkout when I realised she still had them in her hands.

Later yesterday afternoon, as Jack and his parents packed up to leave, Oliver decided to come onto the sofa and snuggle right up next to me, lying his head on my chest. Often he will resist sleep at all costs, but he then happily fell asleep on me. Hayley took Lucy out for some fresh air and when she came back 80 minutes later the two of us had only just woken up. I couldn't think of a nicer way to catch up on sleep.

And boy have I needed some sleep. For a week from last Friday (29th Feb) Lucy had a temperature, on and off, at one point registering 104.9 degrees! She had an out-of-hours trip to the doctor on Wednesday and Hayley consulted the triage nurse every other day. Thankfully she seems to be past the worst of it, but along the way her sleep has gone to pot. Poor Hayley was up for 3 hours on Thursday night and I didn't fair a lot better, despite being granted sanctuary in the spare room so that I could conduct appraisal interviews the following day in a partially conscious state. (One colleague was candid enough to tell me I looked awful the next day.) But last night was better with only occasional stirrings. Unfortunately, along the way this week, Lucy has been coming into our bed (evicting me in the process) and it remains to be seen how easy this will be to correct. We were on the point of moving her to her own room when all this kicked off.

Despite her illness, she's still been a remarkably happy little lady. And she's blessed to have such a loving big brother. I'm so proud of him. Oliver really looks after and entertains Lucy. I came into the living room today to find he had squeezed in next to her to play the toy piano together.


Tonight Oliver and Hayley had the following conversation.
Oliver (on his trike, riding through the kitchen): "I'm going."
Mummy: "Where are you going?"
Oliver: "I'm going to the shops."
Mummy:"On your own?!"
Oliver: "No, I'm going to get Lucy." (And of he went into the living room to see her.)
Lucy adores watching him come down the stairs from her vantage point being carried by me, as he uses both hands to hang on to the banister. Best of all, the other night when Oliver did his usual trick to me of shutting the stair gate quickly behind himself so I couldn't get through to go upstairs with him, Lucy found it hilarious. She really got the joke! How can that be?! She's only 6 months old, but I'm telling you she totally got it and laughed her little socks off. He even repeated the trick for her entertainment with the same effect.

I must admit that seeing them together reminds me of pictures of me at that age with my sister who is 18 months my junior. Oliver looks a lot like me and Lucy has blue eyes as does my sister, but mostly it's the fact that he is always busy doing something and she is almost invariably looking on. I guess it's the lot of the younger sibling.

This evening, after a hectic hour or so of preparations and placating offspring, all four of us managed to have a meal together at the table. Lucy was admittedly finishing off her proper meal with her first taste of garlic bread, which she happily sucked until she fell asleep in her high chair, bib covered in the remnants, looking like Onslow from "Keeping Up Appearances".

But then Hayley, Oliver and I all thoroughly enjoyed the spaghetti bolognaise that Hayley had made. More notably, Oliver was very conversational. For dessert Hayley and he ate ice-pops: a sort of ice-lolly without a stick that you squeeze up out of a long thing sachet. Hayley entertained Oliver by "accidentally" squeezing hers too hard so it popped out as she tried to eat it. The little man laughed that wonderful laugh where he can hardly draw breath before laughing again. And then he said to Hayley "You're funny Mummy". I guess that when we read this back in years or even months to come it won't seem special, but it was a beautiful moment and it marks a change in his language that I have only noticed over the last couple of weeks. No longer does he answer questions in the same terms that they are put to him, he can use his own words to say the same thing. For example, I asked his do you want episode X or episode Y of a TV programme, and he replied "the new one" meaning episode Y. When he told Hayley "You're funny Mummy" it brought tears to my eyes. It's a bitter-sweet feeling to realise that he is really growing up so fast.

The weekend drew to a close with Oliver and I doing something he enjoys: reading together. But this did not involve us both reading the same book. He likes us to sit together and read different books. I read aloud and he "reads" aloud bits of his, turning the pages precisely when I do. After a while he'll start to tell my story too.


So here we are, Oliver exactly two and a half years old yesterday and Lucy speeding towards 7 months. Last night we stood in the kitchen and looked at the two Tommy Tippee plastic bibs on the drainer, one pink and one blue, and pinched ourselves.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Saturday morning

Lucy has been a real cutie this weekend as she recovers from her week-long illness. She has even started to tilt her head to the side when looking at us sometimes, as if trying to be even cuter.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Thank God for Lucy!

There have been plenty of times when I have thanked God for Lucy. Crawling back into bed after seeing to Oliver in the night for the umpteenth time as Lucy slept soundly; looking at her contented smile as other people's babies wailed; seeing her eat every last drop of Weetabix after hearing tales of woe from other parents.

But today we literally thanked God for Lucy. We went to St Pauls church where she will be Christened next month and they included a thanksgiving for her in the service.

We had to stand at the front of the church and in ritualistic fashion answer a few questions from the vicar - a lady called Chris - as Lucy lay asleep in her carrier on Hayley's chest. Oliver joined us at the front, but only after I carried him there with him audibly telling me "I don't want to go. I don't want to go." He'd been having far too much fun in the little play area next to our pews with his friend Cara. While the rest of us were being asked to consider our sins, Cara and Oliver could be heard happily singing "Two little ducks went swimming one day, over the pond and far away...". Actually, now I think of it, he and Cara are a bit of a musical item. The pair of them sing songs together like that perfectly, which is something I haven't seen him do with anyone else. But I digress...

When we reached centre-stage I put Oliver down and after attempting to reach the microphone next to me, he wandered off to engage the first two rows of the congregation in conversation. He had been telling us all morning we were going to talk to God about Lucy. Perhaps he was telling them the same, or perhaps he was telling them about Barney.

Afterwards we went to the church hall next door (where Oliver and Lucy go to a playgroup each week) and had a cup of tea and biscuits, the latter being the only reason I was able to persuade Oliver to leave the church.

I told Oliver this morning that after the Christening we would be having a party with all his friends. "My friends!" he replied with a smile. It's funny to realise that he really is starting to make friends and even has favourites, changeable though they might be.

So Lucy's party will probably be somewhat hijacked by Oliver and all his cohorts. I am already looking forward to the chaos that is going to ensue. I'm not sure St Paul's will have ever seen anything like it.

But no matter what the toddlers do, they won't steal the limelight from the little lady. She is just too adorable for that.