Come along for the ride!!

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Last night was Josephs' quarterly report update from his nursery. The fact that 8 months have passed since his last report wasn't lost on anyone, including the staff!

That aside, we sat ourselves down on very small chairs to discuss J's progress to date. The good news is that he seems to be thriving. He's a happy, confident child who respects others and is also respected by his peers. His speech, language and basic writing skills are all coming along very nicely thank you. There was a great moment where his key worker said, ".... and he can count from 1 to 10 with a little help". With that J counts up to 12 super fast ........ in French! She was quite surprised you could say!!

The frightening bit is that while we were sat there listening, it suddenly dawned on me that this is it! This is the start of J's progression through the education system. It starts at nursery, he moves to primary school in September and then he has at least 12 years of relentless study, homework, reports (detentions??), etc until he is a young adult. If university degrees are still worth the paper they're written on in 15 years time then it is likely he'll be going down that route too!

Crumbs! 20 odd years of learning stretched out in front of him and he has no idea as yet! Poor little so and so, not to mention his little sister close behind him!

Whatever happens Poops, you did damn well at nursery my boy.

We're very proud of you!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

So, where was I .......?

Ahh yes, our holiday saga. Our first trip with Mark Warner who was highly recommended from several friends; we opted for Lakitira resort on Kos, Greece.

I could waffle on endlessly here but I will summarise both for your sakes and mine.

Overall the holiday was great; food varied and delicious, wine ok, beach wonderful, watersports and windsurfing instruction superb and so on and so forth.

Our accommodation; awful!

Cockroaches on the curtains (which were hanging off by the way), ants nest in the skirting board behind the curtains crawling all the way up to the ceiling, bath plug blocked, water running from freezing to scalding in seconds, no safety plug sockets (this is a family holiday remember), towels taken away but not replaced ...... need I go on? Oh yes, and there's a mix up with the menu for our lactose intolerant 1 year old - sheesh!

We weren't the only disappointed guests. One of them we spoke to (an Operations Manager for Thistle Hotels!!), said that the company had "over promised and under delivered".

I like that!

So, Mark Warners' reply to our rather lengthy letter will determine whether or not we see the inside of one of their hotels ever again.

I'll let you know whilst leaving you with some Ouzo to look at.

Which is nowhere near as much fun as drinking the stuff of course!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Mind what you say!

Never is it more important to choose your words carefully than when you are addressing a child. I'll give you a very good example.

There are times to act the mature adult, the knowledgeable father and there are times when it's ok to act less grown up. I have to admit acting childishly for a greater percentage of the time but hey, that's how I like it and, I believe, so do Joseph and Annabel.

Anyway, while in Greece, we had to wait for a maintenance chap to sort out the blocked bath drain. J was messing about and so I told him that the guys fixing the plug hole had a box of tools containing a pair of "pecker snippers" for whipping off the peckers of little boys that were misbehaving and ran towards him with two fingers imitating a pair of scissors. He screamed and laughed at the same time but over the next 10 minutes or so, I had to ask J several times if he wanted to go to the toilet as he was standing there holding his hand over his bits and pieces. "No" was the answer each time.

Finally the two guys attempting to fix the bath drain (dumb and dumber), announced they had fixed the problem (they hadn't by the way) and J screamed out, "Daddy" and threw himself on the bed face down.

I thanked the guys for their efforts and upon closing the door, J got up and finally relaxed his grip on his nether region. When I asked him what was wrong, he reminded me that as he was being naughty, the guys with the pecker snippers wouldn't be able to cut off his pecker if he had a hand over it!!

"You thought they were going to cut off your pecker?" I asked, half laughing, half ashamed of my threat, albeit a joke.

"Yes", he laughed, realising I was never being serious!!

It was one of those, 'can't get close enough for a big hug' type moments.

Be careful what you say to a child. Their amazing minds and imaginations are capable of visualising just about anything.

Even pecker snips!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

It was great!

Well, I'm back. Actually, WE'RE back from a week on the Greek island of Kos; our first holiday as a family of four.

And it was HOT! It was 42 degrees on Tuesday which would have been unbearable if it weren't for the wonderfully cooling waters of the Mediterranean and a huge swimming pool at our disposal. We went on an all inclusive Mark Warner holiday and I've got a lot to say about it if you're interested?

Today however, is not the day for a long winded post on the good and the bad of Mark Warner holidays.

Especially as I appear to be typing like someone who has never actually sat down in front of a keyboard! One week I've been away and I can no longer type - be back tomorrow!!!

It's good to be back. Honestly.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

It's so EXCITING!!!!!

Remember when I discussed doing things for the very first time? How exciting they were? Well tomorrow we - as a family of four - are doing something for the very first time.

What is it?

I'll tell you. Right after we get back from doing it!!

Watch this space.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


I read recently in a broadsheet that "Brit's are boring; when greeting a friend in the street, the first thing they talk about is the weather - either it's too hot, too wet or too cold".

Pretty accurate no?

With that in mind.......

We had a lovely day today - yesterday I admit we did the essential stuff like Mothercare to get sandals for the children (during Englands opening football match - roads and shops were empty!!). Then on to the fruit and veg' shop for a giant watermelon to put in the fridge - but today we spent the whole day in the garden.

In the morning we played and after his nap J helped me prepare a BBQ. We discussed safety matches and we saw how quickly fire caught hold - all good lessons in my book. He then sat patiently at the patio table all on his own with a huge plate of sliced and diced vegetables - cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers and onions which he pushed onto (blunt) skewers. He was sat there wearing his
prize from last weeks competition, frowning slightly through concentration. It reminded me of his momentous achievement when I had just started my blog - see 30th of March here - I think he enjoyed eating them all the more in the knowledge that he had made them.

Fresh veggie kebabs - well done Poops.

I leave you with a piccy taken yesterday evening looking out from our garden doors.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

3 cheers for new experiences

The whole point of this blog is for me to record the small, seemingly unimportant aspects of parenthood but which I don't want to forget. This is proving entirely successful as reading back over the past couple of months brings a smile to my face (and the odd tear to my eye). The other of course, is for YOU, the new parent, the expecting parent to find out just what it is you're letting yourselves in for, while at the same time, it being too late for you to change anything, ha hah!!!

Two things I wanted to share with you. Firstly, I don't think I need to tell you how amazing the young brain is. The way it soaks up new information is phenomenal - learns how to do totally new things, learns from its mistakes, can learn languages - awesome! All in a very short space of time - I mean, I know that learning is ongoing but J is approaching his 4th birthday and it is fantstic to share all that he has learnt over the past 3 and a half years. Anyway, as amazing as his grasp of the english language is, there is the occasional endearing hiccup.

A previous example is when I would read him stories. As much as we avoided the "... and they all lived happily after" type of story, their was occasion when these were fallen back on. Inevitably they start "Once upon a time ..... ".

J asked if I would read him "that story".

"Which one" I reply?

"You know, the one a poncey time story!"

Heh heh....... a small mistake but it has stuck - story time usually starts with the inserted line, "One a poncey time" and still makes us all chuckle. (Let's hope he doesn't think back to his childhood as "a really poncey time though!)

We have been looking through an amazing childrens encyclopedia with loads of pictures, fascinating facts and fun things to do and make. J announced that tonight we would be reading "the sickly spider". Actually, reading back, it doesn't sound anything like encyclopedia but that's beside the point - it made us all laugh and I have immortalised it in print so there.

Yesterday was Day 2 of 2 spent with Missy; just the two of us. Again, it was wonderful. Beside the explosive bowel movements, peeing before I had the chance to get a nappy on, all the while being laughed at by a 1 year old - it's very disconcerting you know - throws your confidence if you're not careful!!

Anyway, we had a lovely afternoon and went for a walk to our local common - Tooting Common. We took bread to feed the ducks even though they're over fed and usually turn their noses up at us by the time we arrive. I turned A's buggy to the water and sat on the bench next to her and started throwing bread to a lone moorhen which had wandered over. They're a jealous bunch, wild birds; within 2 minutes we were being jostled by 3 canadian geese, 2 very tetchy moorhens, 5 or 6 mallard ducks and the usual winged rats - pigeons. I'm no Bill Oddie btw, I just happen to know a few names!

Missy was beside herself with excitement - she currently is enjoying pointing at everything and squeaking with a
high rising terminal at the end as if her squeak is supposed to be a question which warrants an answer! I did try giving her some of the bread to throw but she promptly stuffed it in her mouth - how un-lady like!

It was wonderful though - here I was, sitting by a large pond on a beautiful sunny day, off work, with my daughter who was experiencing something totally new. The best thing was that most of the birds jumped out of the water and came right over to us.

I stopped throwing bread to the original moorhen when it got all bolshy with a fellow male and chased it off, strutting back looking all pleased with itself. I also went completely against everything I stand for by actually feeding a pigeon (I hate pigeons with passion; almost as much as I hate flies) but this pigeon had one stump and the other "foot" had only one toe. Although he looked in fairly good condition I still felt sorry for him/her/it. Don't get used to it though my feathered friend; I generally hate your kind!

All was peaceful until a huge, fully grown swan decided to show off by running on the water, its enormous wings hitting the water noisily, not even trying to take off but wanting all the other birds to know he/she had arrived from the other end of the pond. It was enough though - the birds scattered in all directions. Time to leave I think, show's over.

I like to think Missy had a good time - she seemed pretty happy! The fact that her pointing at the birds and squeaking made them all flinch gave her some sort of inflated sense of power.

Something I have suffered from for many years now!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Every cloud has a silver lining

For reasons I won't go into here, I ended up taking the day off yesterday to look after Missy. I rarely get to spend time alone with her and it really was great.

The funniest bit was that she did an enormous poo for M first thing in the morning, didn't poo all day (for me) and then, when M was getting her ready for bed last night, she did another enormous poo!

Good girl!

I really do get to see a different side of her when we're on our own. When I'm down the hall with J, I can usually hear her yelling when she's being changed, yelling when she's hungry, yelling when she's tired etc. This gave me a false sense of her being a very loud child but I know that's not true (She has got an ear splitting shriek capable of perforating a human ear drum at 50 paces but that's neither here nor there!!).

Anyway, she decided to sleep for two hours in the morning plus she had an appointment with the dietician in the afternoon which didn't leave much time in between for fun - but we managed.

For the same reasons as yesterday, I'm taking tomorrow off too. I reckon we'll be able to fit in more "us" time tomorrow, more "mano a mano".

The sun is shining. Life is g.........

No hang on!

(see here)

Friday, June 02, 2006

All in the name of parenthood

Well it had to happen. J's nursery have a fancy dress B-B-Q and parents have to dress up too. M was all for this of course because she knew full well that she would be at home putting Missy to bed while I escorted J to the party. Staff at the nursery went on and on and on about what was I going to be wearing that evening. "Only fair" they all said. "We'll be wearing school girl outfits".


Anyway, at the end of the working day, we made our usual trip home so that J could get changed; he was going as Mr Incredible. "Why don't you go as a Doctor?" suggested M. After a couple of futile refusals, she ran upstairs to get one of her white coats (the professional type, not the one for lunatics - oh, hang on....) while I rummaged in J's dressing up box and came up with a stethoscope, syringe, thermometer and medics bag - all Early Learning Centre naturally; perfect! Add to this a face mask and a pair of surgical gloves and the transformation was complete!

Upon arrival at the nursery, it became apparent very quickly that the sum total of parents and children who had bothered to dress up was ........... two. That was me and Poops!

Oh well, I thought, this should make the prize giving a doddle!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, a couple of other parents did arrive in fancy dress - one Mum had turned up in full jockey regalia including racing helmet and another Mum with son wearing matching hula skirts. The hula pair won 1st prize, a bottle of Moet champagne, jockey came 2nd (two boxes of chocolates) and J and I came in 3rd.

I like to think that the 3 judges thought they should give us 3rd place as J wouldn't be able to join me in the champagne and, knowing M is a dentist, they didn't dare give us 2nd place either! Not that I'm a sore loser you understand but several parents came up afterwards to say that our Doctor/Mr Incredible combo should have swept the prizes!!

Alas, it was not to be but J was over the moon at winning a fishermans hat in English colours. Another parent to whom I entrusted our digital camera to, captured our winning smiles perfectly.

Prizes won, we made our way home for a glass of milk and bed. Another successful day over.

Well done Poops - the light saber finished your outfit off perfectly!