Wednesday, 26 May 2010

George is our No 1

It was George's first birthday at the weekend and we all had a great day. The weather was fab and George was happy and we celebrated with a bit of a party.

George received lots of great outfits, books, toys, money and even his first football kit – the red England kit with 'GEORGE' and a big '1' on the back.

To mark this special occasion, here is a video of some of George's special, funny and unforgettable moments we have enjoyed over the past year...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The new routine

Now that mummy is back at work George is settling into a new routine. His highlight, or possibly low point, of the week is the day he spends with daddy.

I must admit it can be top fun but it can also be hard work. Last Friday he did three poos (big ones) in one morning and one of them was a split second after I'd changed his full-of-wee nappy – and he was less than pleased at having to sacrifice yet more valuable playtime in the name of comfort and a rash-free botty.

The hard work though, is finding things to fill the time. We went to feed the ducks – they ate from the footplate of his pushchair, deftly avoiding the swipes that would have given them serious headaches. Then we went to the farm shop for some fresh veg.

The week before, George and daddy went to a country park (for which mummy and daddy have an annual pass) where the goats, kids, sheep, lambs and donkeys all got treated fairly with a chummy bash on the nose – the guinea pig almost got one too, but I managed to swerve it away from George's flailing palm.

As it was a week day, it was nice and quiet and George got to play on the swings and in the sandpit without the crowds or the waiting. There were a few mums there with their babies and toddlers and even though I was expecting the occasional weird glance I didn't really get any.

These past couple of weeks George has learned to press the buttons that do the sound effects on his books – previously, parental control meant we didn't have to listen to the tractor noise at every turn of the page. Now, George pulls all the books off his shelf and crawls around pressing the buttons as if he's spinning plates – we go from the tractor's "brum, brum, brummmm" to "moo, moo, moo" to "woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof" to "the animals went in two by two, hurrah, hurrah" and round and round again.

George is one at the weekend – can't believe where the time has gone, surely mummy was pregnant much longer than that – and we're gearing up for a little afternoon party. It's like being a child again, we're really excited for George but he has no concept of time, years and birthdays yet. We can't wait to see what he makes of it all, but he'll probably just want to sit and press all the buttons on his books.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Time for some serious sucking up

Vacuuming has become something of a mammoth task. Before George came along there was only the coffee table to negotiate – apart from the main items of furniture such as armchairs and bookcases – now there's a playmat, a garage, two big teddies, a toybox, a walker, a playgym thing that plays Puff the Magic Dragon and various sea-shanty type ditties, and a paddling pool brimming over with colourful balls.

After seeing this style of home design at friends who'd started a family before we did, it's a look we vowed we'd never have, but it seems that George goes for bold and brash primary colours rather than the relaxing neutrals mummy and daddy prefer – and the additional embellishments to the living room mean we tend to prevaricate over the vacuuming.

It's not just the obstacles that make the chore a nuisance, the vacuum cleaner itself doesn't help. It's getting on a bit. Not only does the head keep falling off the end of the pipe, the pipe falls out of the other bit of pipe and the head has only got one wheel. As for the suction – it sucks, or rather more accurately, it doesn't. Mummy has been on at daddy about getting a new vacuum cleaner, and now that daddy does more vacuuming it seems like her wish may be granted.

There's one sure sign that the vacuuming needs doing – when George finds a crumb of breadstick that might have escaped his tiny fingers during a previous snack, that could be anything up to a few days old and that's big enough to put in his mouth and have a toothless chew on.

Actually, it won't be long before George is no longer toothless. There's a sharp little protrusion on his left lower gum that you can't see but can certainly feel – especially if he bites down hard while you're trying to ascertain the progress of his dental development with your finger.

Considering he has no teeth, he does quite well with the chewing business, even if he does take an age to munch down an ever soggier piece of toast. The meals we make for him are getting more textured and occasionally he will find a pea or a tiny chunk of carrot that he'll take out of his mouth and examine before replacing for consumption. Of course, we always make sure his food isn't too hot before the spoon gets anywhere near his mouth, and I often check the temperature with my top lip, which can have its drawbacks. Here's a handy hint for anyone else who uses this method: Mashed carrot and swede stain – before you go out, check that your mouth doesn't look like you've been attempting the world carrot-stick eating record.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

George holds the key to our votes

It has been hard to avoid the General Election – bombarded with news and polls on all fronts. George has another 17 years before he is eligible to vote (that's about another four governments) but that's not to say he can't influence our decision.

On one hand, there's the sensible method. Checking each Party's policies on family issues and finance, education and health care – because we'd love George to be healthy as well as clever.

On the other hand, there's the fun way. We line up three of George's favourite toys – a red cup, a blue cup and a yellow cup and see which one he goes for first.

Now I'm not going to get all political, but the Reds' promises all ring a little hollow and desperate – after 13 years in power they've had plenty time to deliver them way before now, so there are no excuses... and as a consequence the red cup will be withdrawn from the line-up.

There has also been a lot of talk about a hung Parliament, and if this is the case then we could do worse than turn to George and his generation for inspiration. I have noticed how he stares a lot – especially at other babies – and I have noticed how the other babies stare back at him. I'm pretty sure that it's not because George thinks he's hard, but it does seem a bit like a 'first-one-to-blink-loses' competition which continues as George strains his neck around the sides of his pushchair to make sure he wins.

It's certainly something misters Brown, Cameron and Clegg should consider, and a 'first-one-to-blink-loses' competition, like boxers do, would be an effective way to settle vital decisions as well as make excellent TV compared with a lot of what's on. Only thing is, Mr Brown might be at a slight disadvantage with his dicky eye... oh well, can't be helped!

Parents give knowing glances too. A sort of secret world of communication that people without children can't see...
George was sitting in the supermarket trolley and after getting a little fidgety we gave him his milk. He holds it on his own now and only needs a helping hand when he gets close to finishing it and can't lift the bottle high enough. As it's milk he rarely let's go, but on this occasion he flung his bottle across the aisle, all the way from the breads to the toilet paper, and watched it skid and roll across the floor as daddy gave chase (could be the makings of a good game). Daddy picked it up just as another couple passed with their trolley and their similarly aged baby. The wry smiles were enough to reassure me that it doesn't just happen to me, it happens to all parents and that I needn't be embarrassed, it's all part of parenthood, that it might seem like hard work but we all love it really and even though our dignity can sometimes be compromised it gives us something to smile about. All that information in a split-second. I gave a little smile back that said 'kids, eh!'