Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Sunshine for a special day

Last weekend was a special one for George – and for us. We went, along with family and friends, to the local church where George was dedicated (a bit like Christening but without the water). Then everyone came back to our house where we enjoyed food, drink, good company and sunshine.

The local church, St Margaret's, is a unique building which dates from the 12th century, with additions and alterations being made in the 13th, 14th, 15th and 17th centuries. It's quite a traditional church yet quite contemporary too, neither being too stuffy and ceremonious or too happy clappy. In some ways it reminds me of the church in the Vicar of Dibley, and lots of people commented on how nice a service it had been. In fact, great gran on mummy's side, who is heading for her mid-90s, was so taken with it all she wanted to enquire about a funeral while she was there.

We were really lucky with the weather too. After a week of grey skies and showers, the sun came out – almost as if it was especially for George (seeing how the weather reverted to its usual rainy form the very next morning).

The sun certainly made all the difference. It meant we could walk to church – under the railway viaduct, past the horse-riding school, over the bridge that crosses the River Avon and along the path that cuts through the field of cows and sheep, up to the church gates. It also made for a lovely afternoon when our friends and family could sit and enjoy the garden while the children could play in the sun and have their faces painted.

I don't know how much George realised it was all for him, but he relished all the attention and refused to go down for his afternoon nap.

Once all the excitement had subsided and most of the guests had made their way home, we sat down to unwind with our remaining friends and a glass of wine or two. Then, after George had gone to bed the face paints came out again and daddy ended up looking like a tiger – a very good tiger, I must say... much better than the bear's face I painted on our face-painter friend.

Of course, George, being overtired and overexcited, didn't stay asleep too long and mummy had to go up to see to him. He really wouldn't settle and she ended up bringing him downstairs for a cuddle. He had a bit of a shock when he saw daddy and must have wondered whether the tiredness was making him hallucinate. It was a bit weird for me too – George simply stared in bewilderment – he didn't get upset or scared – and then, when I put my arms out for a cuddle, he decided to cling on to mummy... it sounded like daddy... it was wearing daddy's clothes... but it looked like a tiger!

And in case you were wondering what my handiwork turned out like, here's my friend the bear...

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Walk this way

I may have told you (more than once probably) that George is walking – so here's a chance to see him in action...

Anyway, last weekend's trip to the nursery open day revealed that George is doing pretty well and we don't have to worry about him biting the other children. In fact, he's rather gentle, he's happy all day long and is a pleasure to look after (exactly what we wanted to hear) – but apparently he makes the most noise when it's mealtime, both through impatience while waiting for his lunch to arrive and then in appreciation while munching away.

Tea times are just as noisy at home – George can make a right racket while he's watching you blow on the food on the spoon. Sometimes he's so loud you can hear him outside – with all the doors and windows closed – and the man who walks his Labrador at around 5pm has cast some curious glances in the direction of our kitchen, as if we're pulling George's fingernails out.

The tea time routine is worst on Saturdays when after tea daddy makes the ultimate sacrifice of giving up You've Been Framed so that George can watch In The Night Garden.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

A mind of his own

George is getting a mind of his own. He's off like a shot with his walker and is nearly as quick walking without it, and he knows exactly where he wants to go. Usually he heads for the fridge, the TV or the bookshelf and picking him up and turning him to face the opposite direction no longer confounds him like it used to.

The first thing he points to in the morning is no longer his garage and toy cars, it's not even his usual second choice of the books on the bookshelf – it's the TV. Actually, to be precise it's not even the TV – it's the TV remote control.

He's also getting choosy with his kisses. Now, when it comes to bedtime and mummy says "give daddy a kiss", he flings himself away, proffering the back of his head. I walk round to face him and he flings himself the other way – and laughs. It's not just me who gets this treatment, it's mummy, nanna, nannie and the grandads too.

Yojojo (that's a big-faced, big-eyed cuddly toy based on a character from children's TV) always gets a kiss, as does Mickey Mouse, the Gruffalo and Iggle Piggle (another strange-looking cuddly toy). He has got a couple of books with mirrors in – well, reflective stuff that he can see his own face in – and when he gets to these pages, almost without fail, he'll bring the book up to his face and give himself a nice big kiss. Although sometimes he does it a bit boisterously and we wonder whether he's actually trying to headbutt himself – we put that down to a Scottish gene that's crept in from mummy's side of the family.

This weekend we're visiting the nursery open day when we'll have chance to talk to his key worker and the nursery room leader to discuss his development. It all sounds a bit serious but I'm sure it won't be about how he's lagging behind with his algebra – probably more about his personality and whether he is happy, settled, eating well, shy, introvert or trying to bite the other kids' ears off.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Scaling new heights

Anticipating George's rapid emergence into mobility, we decided to fit two gates at the top and bottom of the stairs – only to find the stairs much too wide for the gates.

It wasn't a silly error in the shopping department as the stairgates were kindly donated to us by one of George's little friends who no longer needed them. So, we've been making do without the stairgates for now, keeping the door to the hall firmly closed whenever George is about.

But the time is now getting close – very close - for a trip to the stairgate shop for an extra-wide gate. Yesterday, George walked about four or five steps – they were tiny, tottery steps and he sort of moved forward only slightly further than he did backwards or sideways. They were the kind of steps Bruce Forsyth would have been proud of (daddy's not a fan, by the way).

The realisation that it definitely is time for stairgate shopping came the other night, though. I'd picked up George from nanna's house and we were enjoying a bit of playtime together before tea. Then the phone rang. George was happily engrossed in flinging books across the lounge, so I picked it up expecting it to be mummy saying she'd "just got on the train and I'll be home in time for George's bath". However, it was a late business call that required a notepad and pen and a lot of listening and writing.

Even George can tell a business call and he certainly knows how to take advantage of the distraction. He managed to bypass his daddy and make his way to the bottom of the stairs – it's surprising how quiet he can be when he's up to something. It was when he was on the third or fourth step that I noticed him from the corner of my eye. I made a mad dash to catch up with him to make sure he didn't fall – phone under chin, pen and paper in hand and still taking notes.

Without stairgates this could be the way I may have to conduct many business calls in the future. I very slowly continued to climb the stairs behind George with my phone, pad and pen. When he got to the top I blocked the way back down again and apologised to my client for the strange noises in the background. George went off into the bedroom and returned to the top of the stairs with a big grin and his cuddly Mickey Mouse which soon found itself wedged between daddy's mouth and the phone.

This was the moment when mummy walked in through the front door, looking up to the top of the stairs and wondering what on earth is going on... I don't know... where do you start?