Sunday, 26 July 2009

Sunny Day

What do you do when your baby wakes up at 4am because he is teething?

You spend the next 1.5hrs holding his hand while he drifts off to sleep only to be rudely awakened by the need to stuff his entire hand into his mouth and gnaw on it, and then give up, get dressed and go for a walk in the sun. Then you sit on the bridge, drink your flask of tea and greet all the dogs as they take their owners for a walk.

Much better than mooching round the house!

Playing on the bridge

Appreciating the bridge in the sun

We spent the afternoon in the park sitting around and chatting to a succession of friends. Nathaniel watched dogs, walked, climbed up people, stole jewelery and ate ice creams.

Walking is more satisfying when there are no walls in the way

Dogs are endlessly fascinating

Nathaniel's toys are shared with the older childen!

Saturday, 25 July 2009


Nathaniel has been using everything in the house to walk with. Leave a box or a basket on the floor at your peril, as when you turn around it will have been pushed to the other side of the room and Nathaniel will be standing up against it ramming it against the wall/sofa/other obstacle.

So we decided that it was time for a walker. He was very excited and now his only complaint is that our house is not big enough to get up any speed!


It also carries useful gnawing materials!

Friday, 24 July 2009

10 months

Nathaniel is now ten months old, and I can honestly say that his tenth month has been great fun! He has really become a proper person now and does all sorts of fun things. He understands when things are likely to happen - when he hears the bib song (sung before dinner), will put out his hands to be bibbed. He knows exactly what he wants and will ask to be picked up to "play" the piano, or will crawl to the toy box for a particular toy. He likes handles of things and likes to play with the nappy bucket and the lego bucket.

He really likes books and crawls over to the bookshelves in the bedroom and the living room to pull out all the books until he finds one he fancies. He will then happily turn pages for some time before he wants you to read to him. He likes the books with mirrors at the end, and will kiss the baby he sees in them.

He has become all affectionate and will climb up you to give you a hug and a sloppy kiss and his favourite game is when you lie on the floor so he can rampage all over you.

He can entertain himself for quite a while and will often play with the curtains and the turned-off television (he laughs at his reflection) while I read for 5 minutes.

He talks constantly. This week is being brought to us by the consonants b and m. He likes to sit in the middle of the room, waving his arms above his head and opening and closing his hands while loudly proclaiming "Ba ba ba ba da da daaa!". Its really loud. Seriously. You have to stop talking coz you lose your concentration and forget the end of your sentence!

Crawling has enabled him to find interesting things to pull himself up on. But he has Ian's cautious streak, and will carefully tug on things to assess their pulling up merits, and find the centre of gravity before he stands. He very rarely topples.

He is the jolliest man and has discovered a new smile - a grin that involves squinting and tipping his head up.

In all he is great fun!

Having chased him loudly around the room, Nathaniel sees Slinky out of the door

Nathaniel's favourite grin

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Musical Perils of Movement...

Nathaniel has found the piano...

He also enjoys playing it "properly" when he gets the chance...

All those with pianos in their houses, beware!

Face painting

Kilroy-Silk, eat your heart out! The only way to a good fake tan is pasta bolognese!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009


Today Nathaniel and I ran our first music session. Normally we go to a group called Song Box where we do a lot of singing, but as it is now the summer holidays, this isn't running for a while. This might be handy when you suddenly have older siblings home from school, but when its just the two of you, this sudden lack of groups makes the week a little direction-les.

So we decided that we would sing anyway, and invited all our friends to join us! We hired the local community centre and sang lots of songs, played lots of instruments and had great fun with the Grooving Toddlers' animal masks for "Old Macdonald". Nathaniel was good as gold and played happily all the way through and didn't require any attention at all! Even when he banged his chin on the instrument box, he stopped crying when I picked him up, and by the end of "Here we go round the mulberry bush", there was not a tear in sight!

Now all we have to do is to come up with some fun props that we can create for next week that won't cost money!

I'm afraid that there are no photos to accompany this, but lest we disappoint you all, here are some of Nathaniel and a friend playing later that day. Some babies' names have been changed to protect their identity.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The perils of movement

Why, oh why did I encourage him to learn to crawl?

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The Story of the Ice Cream

Nathaniel had his first ice cream in the peak disctrict, when we paused at Wetton Mill on the Manifold Trail. Keen to ensure he doesn't develop expensive tastes, he had some of Tassy's Almond Magnum...(!)

He seemed to enjoy it greatly.

What's that you're holding there?

Oooh! It's cold!

Yum yum yum yum...

Chocolatey man


Nathaniel has developed a great interest in different accoustics, especially echoey ones. When we went to the art gallery last week, he entertained other visitors by shouting "hah!" and listening to the echo. He enjoyed the tunnel that we went through at the weekend in the same way. But he doesn't insist on long echoes - even sound in a pan entertains him:

Monday, 13 July 2009

Manifold Valley trip

This weekend we went on a camping trip with two of Nathaniel's godparents, James and Beth. Despite the weather forecast of rain pretty much the whole time, on Friday morning we drove to the Manifold Valley in the south of the Peak District National Park.

We had a look at a couple of campsites before we rejected the ones on top of a windy hill and settled on one on the banks of the River Manifold and enjoyed the sun while we set up camp and left complicated messages about not being at the agreed campsite on James and Beth's answer phone.

"Daddy, I think you need more tension on this side..."

"No, I don't know the postcode but I can give you a grid reference!"

We had a good night's sleep - Nathaniel went to sleep on his own at a very reasonable time and then slept until 7am! We felt very smug. Our smugness was increased by the fact that it wasn't raining!

We decided to go for a walk along the Manifold Valley trail, a disused railway track that has been tarmaced as a cycle track. This way, we thought, we would not have too horrid a walk when the torrential rain came down and we would still get to see the sights.

The trail was very pretty - lush woodland and a torrenty river. We enjoyed walking through a long tunnel, and Nathaniel enjoyed the accoustics by making lots of "hah!" noises and listening to the echo. We did lots of evil mastermind style chortles.

We had a brief pause to talk to some people standing by the edge of the trail and looking upwards in a Candid Camera fashion. They were watching peregrine falcons and let us have a look at them with their binoculars.

Eventually we arrived at our destination, Thor's Cave, and began the steep climb up the cliff. It was hard work with a Nathaniel on your back! But it was worth the climb. The view from the top was very pleasing, and climbing into the cave was fun (if you didn't have a Nathaniel on your back).

Thor's Cave in the distance

From inside the cave

We were starting to get a little peckish by now (I think James was ravenous!), and in typical style, Nathaniel refused to go to sleep - it was much more fun admiring the scenery. Being the first time parents that we are, and still obsessive about sleep, we walked and walked and walked, hoping that he would fall asleep. When he eventually did we all suffered from a severe case of "Just over that hill...", looking for a good lunch spot. In the end, we sat in picturesque Wetton churchyard and left Nathaniel sleeping in the carrier.

The rain still refused to appear, so we decided that we couldn't shy away from the inevitable... a circular walk(!) and proceeded to plot a route back across the hills. The path went between the two Wetton Hills, and being open acess land, we couldn't resist the temptation to get to the highest spot. It was all open access land so Ian (carrying Nathaniel!) just charged up the side of it. This wasn't exactly the least tiring of routes so needed a sit at the top! It was a good view.

Slowly (and sometimes quickly when it was steep), we descended back into the valley until we stumbled across a deserted farm. One turn later, we found it wasn't deserted at all and we had in fact reappeared into civilization.

We wanted this house... complete with spire!

The cost of our circular walk with hill climbing was that there wasn't time to barbeque and feed the smallest man from it, so back at the campsite Nathaniel ate the remnants of the previous night's chilli for dinner and we fired up the barbeque. He didn't seem to mind at all! We were all just about full up when the promised rain appeared. We couldn't really complain considering the day of rain didn't turn up until 9pm and it gave some of us a good excuse to go and sample a pint of Abbot in the Manifold Inn, across the road from the campsite!

The rain lashed the tents all night but conveniently cleared by morning, leaving only a couple of drizzley moments over breakfast. As James and Beth had to get back to sunny Basingstoke, we decided to have a short romp over The Roaches, a big pile of rocks looking over Leek, interspersed by a spot of lunch at the top.

We had great fun climbing and slithering down rocks. Nathaniel thought it was all great fun and enjoyed the climbing as well as the slithering!

Tee hee!

Man conquers rock!

Here is the standard photo to demonstrate to Nimmy that people do fun things in the UK - there are good rocks so lots of climbers were there:

An outdoor type

James and Beth left to drive home and the rest of us headed back to the campsite for a relaxing afternoon and another night in the now deserted campsite before we drove home on Monday morning.

More photos are here:
Manifold Valley

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

STOP PRESS: Nathaniel stands alone!

It was all very exciting! We were getting dry after his bath, and as usual Nathaniel was wiggling away and standing himself up using anything that stays still for long enough. Suddenly Ian cried "He's standing!", and sure enough, there was Nathaniel standing up totally unaided and looking mighty proud of himself! He stood there long enough for me to say "Are you not holding him?!.....well done!!".

Then he did it again.

And again.

Then Ian ran downstairs to get the camera and Nathaniel pushed himself up off my knees and did it again.

Then the camera arrived and he stopped.

So you'll just have to believe us when we say it happened.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Its hot!

For those who are not in the UK, its been rather hot here. Not just a little hot, really, really hot! Its been far too hot to do most things and so we have spent much of this week trying to keep cool, playing in the house, and only visiting the outside world in the morning and late afternoon! Nathaniel has had his first paddling pool experience in next door's pool. Here is some video of it for you to giggle at.

Please let us know whether you watched the video and whether it was too slow to bother. We've got lots of other clips if you want them....

Another day, we made a tent in the garden and played with a bowl of water. There was much splashing, and we both got very wet!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

All praise to Google

Never let it be said that I have let having a child interfere with my important internet use! Today I found another wonderful application to add to my repetoire of useful things to waste time with (see!).

It has already been mentioned that I was not keen on the idea of turning back after reaching the top of Place Fell at the weekend. I really wasn't keen on wimping out after what seemed like a short, albeit crazily steep, walk. So I went in search of justification and found a lovely little app which will map elevations for you using google maps (Nim, I bet it would be useful for bike tracks if you ever get that obsessive!).

So here is the justification that we aren't totally unfit. The elevation profiles of the standard walks up Pennyghent, Ingleborough (the highest Yorkshire peak), and finally the walk we did up Place Fell. All carefully rendered at the same scale so you can see quite how steep it was!


At long last Nathaniel has grasped that there might be more to books than just chewing their corners! His favourite at the minute is "This Little Baby". When we get to the page where the "little baby makes lots of noise", he strokes the crying baby's face. However, the "surprise mirror" on the last page isn't really a surprise as about 3/4 of all the books we own have the same surprise! He still has to look round the other side of the page to see where the baby is though!

Corn on the cob

It took Nathaniel a while to understand the point of corn on the cob:

But he got there in the end: