Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The first cut is the deepest

George is feeling a lot happier this week – his teething pains seem to have subsided for the time being and his big cheeky smile is on show a lot more often. He's even got his sense of humour back – when asked "where's daddy", he looked at me and shouted "dad-dad-dad-dad-dad", then when asked "where's mummy", he pointed to a picture of the Gruffalo (I'm sure he didn't mean it).

He's starting to get much more confident on his feet too – happily pushing his Little Tikes car around the garden until it ends up in one of the borders (it's one of those cars that dads try to climb into on 'You've Been Framed' and when we get really desperate I'm going to hand the video camera to mummy and have a go myself).

But even though he's progressing apace, he still manages to fall over sometimes, and that's exactly what he did the other day only minutes before mummy arrived home from work – only on this occasion he caught his forehead on the bolt on the bottom of the door and ended up with his first ever cut.

As daddy scooped up George in a panic and ran to the sink to wipe away the blood that was just about to trickle below eyebrow level, George continued to try to play with 'Doug the Dumptruck', more agitated about the break in continuity of play than the bump that was growing volcanically on his noggin.

I suppose it had to happen sooner or later – I was just so terribly disappointed with myself that it happened when I was lying right next to him, helping press 'Doug the Dumptruck's' buttons, and I couldn't do anything in time to prevent it. It certainly bothered me a lot more than it did him.

Anyway, last week I forgot to mention that while we were away in Wales it was Father's Day. I actually spoiled my Father's Day surprise present by putting it in the shopping trolley about a month before Father's Day and saying "hey, look what I've found, I've been meaning to get one of these for quite a while" (a filter coffee machine, in case you were wondering). The special thing about being away this Father's Day was seeing two cards on the mantelpiece from two sons to two dads – George's to me and mine to George's grandad.

Well, I had to mention it sooner or later... George put on his England kit to watch the game on Sunday only to see his team exit the World Cup in capitulating style. Actually he was more interested in putting bits of fluff in his mouth, and in hindsight I would have got more enjoyment out of doing that too. It made me wonder if I'll ever see England lift the World Cup in my lifetime, and if the next four decades are like the last then the answer is probably no.

Still, sitting on Sunday evening, consoling myself with a glass of wine, I realised I'd actually be very happy if England never won the World Cup – as long as I have the happiness of having George.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Five go mad in Wales

This week George enjoyed a weekend in Wales with mummy, daddy, nannie and grandad and had his first taste of the beach – actually his first time on a beach was back in September last year and it was blustery and a bit chilly and the beach was pebbly. This time the beach was sandy and the sun was out and George literally had his first taste of the beach – a whole fistful stuffed into his mouth as we all lurched for his arm in a vain attempt to stop him.

He also had his first experience of the sea – he loved being pushed along the shore in his little car with the sea spraying all around him and then sitting in the (surprisingly) warm water as it lapped around his legs. He also relished smashing up the row of sandcastles that grandad had built.

Now he's a little bit older, he is really taking in all the things and happenings around him and he made us smile as he pointed at almost everything. Sometimes he used both hands in an attempt to point at two things at once – boats, motorbikes, horses, seagulls, lorries, kites, sheep after sheep after sheep and anyone who had something he liked the look of – such as the little girl sitting opposite on the Ffestiniog Railway who was happily munching on a chocolate muffin. He must have been gazing pretty longingly because her mum asked us if he'd like one, but after a quick calculation of the equation 'George add chocolate to the power of train' we declined the offer.

He got his treat in the end though, the tip of mummy's ice-cream cone filled with a mini scoop of her pistachio ice-cream.

We're all back home now and George has returned with the mementos of a toy Gruffalo, faint t-shirt lines from the sun (good job we regularly smothered him in suncream) and the addition of seagull to 'Old MacDonald Had a Farm', and even though George is happy to see his garage and his ball pool there aren't as many distractions to take his mind off his teething – apart from the vaccinations he had to have this morning, that is.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

We're teething for England

We're all going on a summer holiday – well, a weekend break. Yes, George, mummy and daddy and nannie and grandad are heading to North Wales to stay in George's great uncle's holiday bungalow.

Last night we were making a list – no, two lists – of things to take (apart from the obvious stuff such as clothes, toothbrushes and money). One list was for mummy and daddy and the other list for George. Currently, George's list has 35 items on it... our list has four – and we'll still probably forget something.

The only other thing we have to remember is to arrive in time for the England match and to keep an eye on the World Cup schedule. One of the other teams we'd like to see do well is South Africa, mainly because it's where we went on honeymoon a few moons ago before George came along (actually, George isn't quite so in to the football yet and mummy is more interested in the scores rather than watching the matches).

We're also hoping George will sleep well in the unfamiliar surroundings. He usually goes from 7pm until 6.20-6.40am without a blip but this week he has been suffering from a raging bout of teething and has been waking up during the night. At the moment he has one and a half teeth showing in the middle of his bottom gum and as he's a bit late with his teeth in general it seems that all the other gnashers are making a push for the finishing line at the same time.

George, who doesn't whinge much and hardly ever cries with real tears, spent the other evening bawling his eyes out and didn't go to sleep until nearly 10pm. He's been rubbing his ears, cheeks and head in painful frustration and we've been giving him everything we can to alleviate the discomfort – Calpol, Bonjela, homeopathic teething powders, but the thing that worked best was a little dish of ice-cream at tea time.

Hmm... perhaps a little wine will ease the pain!

There is one thing though. George could really help boost England's World Cup campaign – after all, it certainly looks like Fabio Capello could do with an expert dribbler in the squad.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

It's a wonderful world

As I mentioned last week, George has started pointing a lot – albeit with a clenched fist. We tend to follow the direction of his thumb and his eyes and occasionally we'll all be looking at the same thing.

It's great that he's started pointing – even though it won't be long before we're pushing his hand down and telling him it's "rude to point". It's great, because to him everything is new and wonderful and exciting, and in a strange way all these mundane things have become new and exciting to us too.

We visited Warwick Park the other day and the view I got, as I pushed the pushchair, was generally the top of George's head. Lately, though, there is the pointing fist and thumb that catches my eye and I tend to follow its line so I can let George know the word for what he's pointing at.

It's not just when he points – both mummy hand I have found ourselves looking out for all manner of things and calling out their names. "Look George – a kite", "look George, a boat" (actually, it was a canoe but we're not so advanced as to be learning boat types yet), "look George, a puppy".

In a strange way, we're looking at the world through George's eyes and it's all perfect and wonderful – the kite doesn't crash and break, the boat doesn't sink and the puppy doesn't chew your favourite toy or poo on your lawn. And in a strange way, we're loving seeing the world from our new 'vantage' point.

It's lovely that for this short time, as a family, we can enjoy a world of innocence, fun and wonderment without having to resort to some form of substance abuse. That said, the other day we gave George an 'E' and 'LSD' – but then I don't think alphabet pasta has any mind-altering properties.

There has been the odd occasion, when George is with mummy or his grandparents, that I've found myself in the Morrisons or B&Q car park pointing at the sky and calling out "oooh look, a big plane"... and the funny looks don't bother me any more, because I'm seeing everything through the eyes of my little boy and it is, indeed, a wonderful world.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Full steam ahead

George has been feeling a bit glum this week. Since the formula ran out we've moved on to moo-cow milk and the change has left him a little blocked up. This has coincided with a renewed spell of teething, so some days he has been a touch irritable.

He's still eating pretty much everything we put in front of him without any problem at all, especially the pieces of birthday cake from a run of recent parties (which probably didn't help to move things along), but the other day things didn't go so well when he had a bit of an allergic reaction during breakfast.

It's definitely not your favourite when your little boy's face turns red and blotchy and looks like he's just landed head first in a heap of nettles. He was having scrambled eggs – he's had dippy eggs before so we couldn't understand what was going on.

Moments before, Daddy had given the highchair a good wipe with Cif – it was a bit mucky and if it's not clean George will eat the dried-up morsels from the previous night's meal – and we're pretty certain it was this (even though it has a picture of a highchair on the back). Anyway, we stuck him in the bath and changed all his clothes and after his morning nap his chubby chops had returned to their usual, less terrifying appearance.

The one thing that really cheered George up this week was a trip on a miniature steam train. After about five minutes of sitting and waiting he was getting a bit fidgety and fed up. Then, eventually, the guard blew the whistle, the driver tooted the toot and the train chuff-chuffed into motion, and George's face lit up with a big grin and giggles. He peered out of the window and watched the Worcestershire countryside rush past with the wind in his hair.

Things seem to be progressing at a whirlwind rate, yesterday he managed – with a lot of stretching and standing on tip-toes – to reach the living room door handle and almost pull it down far enough to open it. Literally moments ago, he crawled up three steps of the stairs while mummy and daddy were rummaging for car keys – and then laughed as he slid back down on his tummy.

He has also started to wave goodbye and point at almost everything – normally with an all-encompassing, grand sweeping gesture that leaves everyone guessing.

With all the noises he's making, we're now wondering what his first proper word will be – other than the 'mama, dadda' sounds he currently makes. When he comes into our bed in the morning he sits up yodelling with a tremolo that sounds just like Jimmy Savile is under the duvet too. There seems to be a growing certainty that the beginnings of his vocabulary could be "now then, now then".