Thursday, 28 February 2013


Things change quickly round here at the minute. Nathaniel is powering towards being a school-goer rather than a pre-schooler with gusto and seems to grow in abilities, use of logic, and size on a minute by minute basis. Bus drivers have started giving me a hard time when I expect not to pay for him (he's free until he's five), and Nathaniel explaining patiently and eloquently why they are mistaken in thinking that he is five because its only becuase he is quite tall doesn't really help.

Dorothea is more like a person everyday and is currently calling everything "Daddy". Nathaniel is predominantly "Daddy", but so are other men, nice books, Granny Janni and Grandpa Beard, and desirable cakes. "Daddy" is definitely a good thing, and is normally followed by "Yeah, yeah, Yesss" with firm and exagerated head nodding.

But the most useful developments are our increased options for transport. Nathaniel can cycle pretty much anywhere, and happy cycled to his friend Beth's house and back (a good 6 mile round trip) and wasn't too tired for heart-felt playing. Bike is now our favourite mode of transport, and if it wasn't for the lack of quiet roads/cycle tracks into town, we'd probably always cycle together because Thea loves the bike seat. However, because there is no way of avoiding the bit of busy Holgate Road over the railway (with added steep hill for extra blood-pressure exercise), at present I normally walk so that I can grab him if necessary (not so far!).

Thea is enjoying walking at speed everywhere and we've had to start being really careful about the back gate as she notices immediately if it is not bolted, and the next thing you know she's off round the corner on an adventure. She seems to have understood the road issue, and so far (jinxing it now), I've not had to drag her back from a curb. The face I see most often when outside is her grinning cheekily over one shoulder before taking off at rate of knots. I thought she was particularly keen to go a specific way down the road and was therefore pleased when we needed to go that way yesterday, but no, its just the wrong way that particularly interests her. How she knows which way we're going is a mystery to me (more of that in the next post).

Monday, 18 February 2013


It's half term here which means that Nathaniel has no nursery to attend. So on the recommendation of some friends, and at his request, he has been booked onto a swimming course. A 40 minute lesson every morning.

Today was the first one. He was excited from the minute he got up, and asked whether it was time to go every 5 minutes.

And eventually we went. It was quite a big deal. Its the first time that he has done something totally on his own (parents were always present to help him settle into nursery). And the first time that he has done something that involves interacting with and taking instruction from an unknown adult without a parent with him.

He did superbly! I sat and watched from the gallery and he just got on with it. The teacher is wonderful - an older lady who seemed to have taught most of the parents in the gallery to swim when they were little. Nathaniel jumped in, and swam around with arm bands, and played all the games (yes, he deigned to join in with organised fun!).

At the end, when I met him, shivering, in the changing rooms, he immediately asked "Can the next swimming leson be now?"

I believe it to be a roaring success!

Sunday, 17 February 2013


We were rather pleased when we were able to acquire a house with a study, and once it had skylights installed, we were pretty sure that it was going to make a marvellous music room, even if we had to move the piano out of the living room.

How right we were. Moving the piano out hasn't reduced it's role in everyday life - it's greatly emphasised it. Now a day doesn't go by when we haven't spent some time playing music. There are guitars easily reached from the hooks on the walls, the piano always open with nothing piled on the lid, the violin on it's stand on the top of the piano, and our new recorder stand holding the recorders all ready to be played. Lower down, there is a marvellous basket full of every percussion instrument you could hope for and a ukelele on it's own stand. There are cushions to sit on, a variety of random bits of material to wave, and a selection of cases that can be used to build with.

What child could ask for more?

On an average day, someone will decide that it is time for some music. More often than not, that will be Nathaniel. A guitar or piano or violin will be played and the kids do their own thing (how often does that happen?!!). Nathaniel usually decides to build something complicated - either a building of some sort or a contraption involving rope and pulleys and handles. Thea tends to get out all the instrumemts and play them loudly. Her favourite is the tamborine, but she is also a fan of the shaky egg.

Both kids love the recorders. Nathaniel is starting to be able to play them, but Thea makes up for lack of technique with enthusiasm!

Friday, 15 February 2013


On Wednesday it snowed serious snow and we got quite impressively cold on the way home from Steiner

We made a reasonably sized snowman and failed to take any photos of it.

Then yesterday it was warm, and today it was postively spring-like. The snowman met a rather violent end:

And then we played in the garden.

Thea took great delight in playing with balls ("ba"). She picks them up and carries them around and then throws them and chases after them. I love watching her a)throw and b)run!

Then she decided that it was time to play with the wheel barrow. This was her idea, communicated with a range of firm and persistent squeaks and pointing.

And to be fair, she didn't really cry when she got ditched out sideways onto her head when they tried to take a corner too tightly! Then they hit the sandpit.

And Nathaniel made a complicated assault course using everything in the garden. He fell many times, but was kind enough to have previously laid out spectator stools for me and Thea to use so that we fully appreciated his foolhardy nature!

The rest of the afternoon was spent levering Thea in and out of the baby swing that is still in the garden. I think it may well be time to start to scour ebay for a proper sized climbing frame and swing....

Thursday, 14 February 2013


It is nice now that we have got to the stage that activites can interest both Dorothea and Nathaniel. We're still limited by factors such as Thea not being able to reach the kitchen table easily and thinking that its funny to watch people's reaction when she puts stuff into her mouth and pretends to swallow, but more and more things are becoming fun for everyone.

Today we got the coloured lolly sticks out of Nathaniel's craft box. You can tell that they are engrossed, because there is no hint of a smile on any of the children in these photos!

Nathaniel made polygons and insisted that there were two words for five-sided shapes (???!!), and then sorted according to colour and made up some complicated game (I didn't understand the rules), where he had to sell Thea the sticks in a particular order.

Thea put sticks into various tubs and poured them between them. We made more use of our trusty dishwasher tablet box. It's pretty sturdy, so perfect for puching holes in which to post items. We now have different holes on all of the sides. The most useful is the side for posting block crayons. The stick posting end was ony useful if I held onto the box because otherwise Thea couldn't see where the holes were!

I have a great plan for what to do with them next, but I need to pay a visit to a craft shop..........

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Thea's Car Seat

As a baby, Thea was always surprisingly happy in the car, and cooed contentedly while we drove up and down the country. So it was disappointing when she decided that she wasn't having it any more and that the car was an evil that she did not feel she should have to endure and decided to ensure that we were made aware of her dislike. It's hard to persuade Thea to un-banana when she is determined to arch her back into the most contorted shape possible.

But we remembered how similar Nathaniel was at this age, and also remembered what solved the problem. And so went out to buy some bathroom scales just to make sure, and then declared Thea big and heavy enough to go into the bigger car seat. The one that faces forward so that she can see out.

This is her first outing. I think that we have a success!