Peas please



Turns out C is a big fan of sugar snap peas. Seriously, huge.  Who knew?!

She clung hopefully on to this particular pack of peas all the way around our local Aldi, all the while gurgling, laughing and occasionally shouting at our fellow shoppers, and brandishing her precious peas.

See that little tear in her eye? That’s from when I cruelly prised the packet from her hands in order to pay for it at the till.

Yeah, I’m mean, aren’t I?!

It’s ok though, the tears disappeared quickly as soon as the peas were back safe in her hands.

I guess I should be grateful that she takes a shine to a humble (if slightly middle class), healthy vegetable, instead of the sorts of things I take a shine to in Aldi – craft books, kids jodhpurs, wetsuits…

One thing’s for sure, if I could keep my purchases as modest and practical as this we’d have a lot more space in our house!

Stairway to trouble

C is 14 months old now and although she’s not yet walking she’s definitely asserting her dominance in our household.

A couple of weeks ago, her latest ‘thing’ was stair climbing.

It was as if she had some kind of magnetic attraction to our – steep, somewhat dangerous – stairs.  There’s a room full of toys downstairs, but no, it’s got to be the stairs.

And to be fair to her, she’s pretty good at it. If a person could forge a career from infant stair climbing, she’d have it nailed.

But now we’ve foxed her.

One trip to our local major supermarket chain and a little bit of elbow grease later, and voila! One shiny new stairgate was in place.

I promise you C, I won’t always spoil your fun in such dictatorial fashion. 

Well, maybe just a little bit, sometimes.



All night long

2015/01/img_8282.jpg
C has never been a great sleeper. That much is true.

In fairness the main challenge for us as parents has been a lack of consistency – some nights she will wake just once or twice and go back to sleep easily, others she’ll wake every hour and cry no matter what you do to comfort her.

After a string of not-great nights, however, last night C did something I don’t think she’s ever done before.

SHE SLEPT THROUGH!!!!

And I mean properly slept through – from a little after 7 in the evening for a full 12 hours.

I’m under no illusions that this is going to be a new habit, but the childminder has been told that whatever she did with her yesterday she should do every single day from now on.

And obviously whilst she might have slept through, I still ended up going to check on her, amazed and slightly aghast at her sleeping prowess, no fewer than three times in the night.

Of course people forget that babies aren’t necessarily meant to sleep through the night; that it’s normal for them to wake a few times, and in fact it’s pretty normal for adults to wake in the night too.

But that’s not stopping me doing a little happy dance this morning and heading to work with a new found spring in my step.

Long may it continue.

Baby anger management

2015/01/img_8180.jpg
We’ve joked since C was little that she needs to go to baby anger management classes.

She certainly has a way of letting us know what she wants, complete with staring, pointing, shouting and thrashing of arms when she gets really serious. I’ve had many a clout round the head from her already.

Today, she wants my lunch.

The lovingly picked out healthy baby’s lunch with a nice balanced range of fruit and veg that we’ve offered her just isn’t good enough: she wants my juicy, yummy, spicy Nandos chicken with chips instead.

To be fair, I can’t blame her. It really is quite yummy.

Happy New Year

2015/01/img_8139.jpg
We might be past the days when we can go out celebrating New Year at street parties with bottles of Irn-Bru topped up with vodka, but that doesn’t mean that C wants to miss out on the celebrations.

This little minx slept soundly until approximately 11:51pm when she decided she had to come downstairs to join us ringing in the new year.

Listening to fireworks simultaneously on the TV and outside, there really wasn’t that much choice in the matter: we had to treat ourselves to another Jones family new year selfie. I think this might become a little tradition for us.

We might have been missing one child from the picture this year, but I was quite happy that G was tucked up in bed, snoring away happily. Certainly preferable to last year when she was grumpily telling us off for waking her up by having the tv on too loud, when in fact it was the fireworks outside that had woken her.

So, happy new year! I wonder what 2015 will hold in store?

A Boxing Day bike ride

2015/01/img_8066-0.jpg
However impossible it may appear, it really does seem as though every year the excitement about Christmas in our household notches up a gear.

Last year was probably the first year that G got really excited about it – something I think the build up at nursery helped with, as well as the arrival, of course, of a new baby sister. But this year it was at fever pitch.

Above anything else, I can’t help but be astounded at the almighty power of one little phrase at Christmas. “Do I have to tell Santa?” really does deliver in all eventualities.

Santa might not have brought our girls bikes this year (their current ones are perfectly good for a while yet) but after a day of present opening, Lego building, eating and playing we decided it was high time we got outside for a Boxing Day bike ride.

It was actually C’s first go on the Smart Trike, so I guess we could class it as a Christmas present. And she loved it. But not as much as G, after we’d raised the seat and handlebars on her bike in recognition of her growth in height since the summer when we last used it.

In good British style we used the opportunity to nip to the local shop to pick up some essentials, because clearly emptying not one but two different supermarkets on Christmas Eve wasn’t enough to get us through a few days.

It’s a bit cold outside for regular trips out on the bike, but now G’s proven she can get to the shop and back safely and without too much moaning I think we’ll be doing it again.

Like sister, like sister

2015/01/img_8032.jpg
I always thought I would never compare my children. After all, they’re two entirely separate beings, with different personalities, interests and most probably skills. How could I compare them? And being a younger sister myself I was never a fan of always being known as “x’s sister”.

But when I was pregnant with C I started thinking about it again. In my head, G was a perfect blend of my husband and I. Surely our offspring would inevitably be like, well, G?

And after C arrived I found myself comparing purely so I could better understand what made her unique and different to her big sister.

But there are times when I just have to accept that C and G have both come from the same tree. Like when I put C in this hand me down dress and realised there was a picture on the wall of G wearing the same dress, at around the same age.

C might have slightly longer and slightly less blonde hair, and have her own distinctive personality traits, but there’s really no denying that they are sisters, is there?

Happy Birthday!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/525/61368884/files/2014/12/img_7965.jpg
So yesterday C turned one!

*insert comment here about time flying etc*

The day started inauspiciously, with me waking up having lost my voice – an apparent additional effect of the cold I haven’t been able to shake for weeks, and which I must say Daddy didn’t try particularly hard to hide his apparent glee at.

C opted, for once, to sleep in, and as G was adamant that she wanted to help open her presents and cards before she went to school, we had to wake C from her slumber to get to the exciting bits. I’m pretty sure that won’t always be the case if G is anything to go by!

Although C will probably moan about it in years to come, one of the benefits of having her birthday close to Christmas is that we were able to use it to kick start our Christmas break early. And with big sis in school during the day C got some rare undivided attention from Mummy and Daddy together.

We’ve developed a bit of a tradition for G’s birthday where we make an annual trip to Chester Zoo. We wanted to find something similar for C, but choosing something that wasn’t Christmassy was a bit of a challenge.

We eventually settled on a trip to our local Sealife centre, and despite being a little uncertain about how wise it was to visit the Trafford Centre a week before Christmas, it actually worked out perfectly – lots of options for lunch, and a chance to finish off some Christmas shopping whilst C had a nap. We pretty much had Sealife to ourselves too – it seems Mad Friday is actually not a bad day to go to a shopping centre!

C loved the Sealife centre, and was fascinated by the lights, projections and of course the fish. Interestingly despite not having yet seen ‘Finding Nemo’ she was most excited by the clown fish, and the Sharks and rays in the underwater tunnel were a big hit too.

It was also yet another occasion when I was grateful to have our sling – C was at the perfect height to view the fish in their tanks, and I got to fully appreciate and interact with her as she cooed, gurgled and clapped our way round.

From this vantage point she also picked herself out a birthday toy from the shop – a cute turtle soft toy which she was particularly attached to until the moment I paid for it, at which point she threw it on the floor – typical!

After picking G up from school we headed off for another annual tradition – a weekend in a holiday cottage in Shropshire with friends from university days. Continuing the fishy theme we saved C’s ‘fish pond’ birthday cake for then, and she seemed suitably bemused at us singing happy birthday and blowing out the candle for her. It didn’t stop her tucking into said cake with gusto mind, which I was secretly pleased at after slaving for 2 and a half hours making and decorating it the night before!

Clearly thinking that she was the guest of honour at events, she proceeded to make sure she didn’t miss out on any of the evening’s party, to my mild disappointment having selfishly hoped for a couple of hours child free time. But she was on particularly good form so I really can’t begrudge her!

And so moving swiftly on from birthdays, today is our first ‘christmas day’ – a practice run perhaps, except one with rather more people than our family affair next week, and for which I’ve managed to get out of cooking duties, instead sitting here writing this while relishing the smell of gammon cooking downstairs. And with our annual gathering being boosted this year by the addition of a plethora of babas, both C and G have plenty of little playmates to keep them occupied.

Despite the sleepless night last night, it’s a great way to kick off the festive season.

See, having your birthday at Christmas isn’t that bad after all.

Born and Bred

IMG_7880.JPG
My loose idea of nationality has always been based on the phrase ‘born and bred’.

I was ‘born and bred’ in Wales, with Welsh culture and traditions, so I consider myself Welsh, even though my father is English. And my other half is Scottish given he was born and bred in Scotland, despite him actually having no Scottish ancestors and in fact having stronger Welsh ancestry than me.

So we had to come to terms quite early on that our children were going to be ‘born and bred’ English.

Not that that’s a problem of course. When she was small I still snuck G into a Welsh rugby shirt to cheer on the Six Nations, bought her a Welsh outfit for St David’s Day, and taught her a Welsh nursery rhyme to sing to C. I’m not sure how long I’ll get away with that but I’ll do so happily for as long as she’ll let me.

Recently when it’s come to sporting events we’ve found we’ve had to swallow our respective national pride, for example when G declared that ‘Scotland need to learn how to win better’ at football, and when she announced that what she really wanted was an England football kit.

We’ve skirted round the issue of accent before too, and we were secretly pleased when moving from Oldham to Salford somewhat softened G’s pronunciation of ‘mun-keh’ (monkey, if you weren’t sure) and ‘mum-eh’.

But being brought up in the north of England was always going to rub off on the girls, and it seems it’s already having an effect on little C, who has just this week started using what seems to be her first proper word, in context.

Mummy? Daddy? No, nothing quite so simple as that. C’s first word is ‘hiya’.

Repeated over and over again, complete with beaming little smiles, all she needs is a mini parka jacket to complete the look. She’s already got the slightly drunken looking swagger when she tries to walk, and I’m fully expecting her to follow it up with ‘y’aright?’ any day soon.

I’m tempted to brush it off with the thought that ‘hiya’ is a much easier sound for little ones to copy than ‘bore da’ or ‘ay ay, fit like?’, but I think I’m just going to have to take the plunge and fully embrace the Manc-ness of my children.

Now where can I buy a couple of kids Stone Roses tops?

On the move

She crawls! SHE CRAWLS!

I may have been worried (in the way that mums seem to worry unnecessarily) that I would miss her first moves, but C’s decision to get moving on my Final Days of maternity leave (capitalisation intended) was really a rather apt and beautiful way to send me off.

It’s perfect timing you see – C finally decides the world is a place to be explored under her own volition, and I head back to work and leave the inevitable chaos to ensue at the childminders house. Selfish, moi?

I had debated for a while how we should spend these last few days of freedom – should I tick off a few more on my list of places I wanted to go in the summer holidays and never got round to? Or spend them cuddling on the sofa, savouring the last times I’d be able to crack through half an on demand box set before lunch?

The reality was somewhere in the middle, dialling down the inferred ‘glamour’ just, erm, a few notches.

Instead of cuddling on the sofa we ended up waiting in the doctors surgery for a last minute appointment for the cold-turned-bad which had left C wheezy and sleepless.

And instead of gallivanting around the regions favourite tourist attractions we instead went on a tour of the childrns centres of Bolton (yeah, glamour eh?) distributing copies of our local NCT branch magazine I’d edited.

Yeah you heard that right. I edited a magazine. Two in fact. And I thought the only skills I’d learn on maternity leave were of patience and parenting,

It worked out pretty well really. Poorly C has never napped well in her cot, so got a decent sleep in the car as we drove around, meaning she was full of smiles and cuddles when we did stop to play, and refreshed enough to demonstrate and perfect her new found crawling skills.