Saturday, December 12, 2009

A rather delicate subject...

Over the last 2 weeks Leah's vocabulary appears to have entered the explosive stage that we were warned may happen once they've mastered around 50 different words and animal sounds. She's now happy to have a go at any word we ask her to try (today's entertainment came courtesy of orange and elephant). However we know we're only a heartbeat away from our lovely girl embarrassing us verbally as well as physically - the raging tantrums are well underway and the immunity is building up very very quickly. I've just been "talking" on Facebook to one of Leah's best pal Ruby's moms and was inspired to blog about my dilemma.

Leah is very proud of her newly mastered words and has recently become fond of saying 'wee' every time her father disappears to the loo with Time magazine. After weighing up the options I figured that was probably one of the better scenarios and I've decided not to correct her for now. But I do realise that we are on borrowed time and sooner or later we're going to have to label body parts not covered by the 'head, shoulders, knees and toes' song (which she loves of course).

So my dilemma is, what do I do? All the rage in SF is to be anatomically, biologically and medically correct and to use the correct terminology. Now I have no religious affiliations whatsoever but I always remember my mum laughing at me as I tried to completely hide myself under an enormous beach towel when changing into my swimsuit aged 7 or something. 'You're such a prude' she'd tell me before I was really sure what a prude was, hell I'm not sure I knew what a prune was but I figured they must be related. So perhaps there's a latent puritan in there somewhere that just isn't relishing my little girl shouting out 'vagina' in public, and let's face it, Leah's not the quietest child. However nor can I stomach the cutesy cutesy words that are used over here but if I resort to British words 'tuppence' or god forbid 'fanny' it's only going to cause confusion in the long run. So for the time being it's 'bits and pieces' or, and this started as a bit of a joke but has stuck, 'ladybits' for the time being.

Any advice???

Friday, December 4, 2009

Training for SoccerTots

Mum has signed me up for the SoccerTots class that starts in January. I'm very excited about it and have been getting some practice in. Check me out!

I wonder if Father Christmas will bring me some football boots?

One of the hardest things about being a parent here...

it's not the sleepless nights, not the tantrums and clash of wills, it's not the worry or the non-stop clearing up, nor is it the fact that we're 6000 miles away from the nearest grandparent as bad as that is. It's the toddler singalongwitheverything classes!!!!

Today Leah and I went to My Gym which is a $78 per month children's gym / soft play place (very SF). I'd signed up for a free class before fully reading the ad which I later found out included the dreaded by me two words 'parental participation'. Still, I'll do it for my girl I thought, I'll sacrifice my inner and outer Brit and just go for it. We turned up a few minutes late and found the very large room full of toddlers and their caregivers (also very SF) having a great time just running around the place. There were trampolines, a ball pit, slides and stairs, bars to hang off, crash mats and a whole host of things to fling yourself on or over. 'Not too bad' I thought to myself and Leah clearly delighted with the place started running around laughing away to herself.

And then they cut the music and shouted 'OK it's circle time'. Cue everyone sitting around with their toddler on their lap as the action songs started. Now there's only so long I can get away with 'hmmm I don't know this song' but luckily for me Leah was having none of it. As all the other kids sang something about their chestnuts and happy hands Leah decided to make the most of the free class and check out all the equipment while the other kids were busy. I shrugged my shoulders and gave my best 'what's a mum supposed to do?' face and joined her on the trampoline quietly observing the rest of the mums.

So I've been to swimming classes with compulsory singing, music classes (well I did at least expect it there) and birthday parties. Clearly the kids love it and I know I just need to get over my discomfort and join in with my best cheery voice and beaming smile but boy is it difficult to do. I always find myself looking around for a mum who seems to be feeling the same way that I do, a kindred spirit in amongst all this depraved jollity but I very rarely find her which is why Erika is and will be my number 1 mum-friend over here.

Leah had an absolute ball, in fact she was so excited by the place she spent the entire hour doing what we call her 'fake laugh', this crazy, loud horribly fake sounding laugh as she trampolined, trapezed and somersaulted her way around the place. Then they brought out a large fan which left me very puzzled for a minute or two until I saw an industrial sized bubble wand. 40+ toddlers in a smallish place but all mesmerised and delighted by the bubbles floating through the air, laughing as they tried to catch them was a wonderful sight. I wish I'd had a camera to share a picture on here. So much fun and not one song sung.

We've signed up for SoccerTots starting in January. I had assumed there would be no song singing in a football class but of course I could be horribly mistaken....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Oh it's started all right...

I don't seem to be getting the hang of this blogging, the good intentions, the promising start and as always a la Ruth the bit where she gets bored in the middle.

I was supposed to write a highly entertaining Leah-blog about our new house, but now 2 weeks late I still haven't and it seems a little old news now. I was then going to write a blog about our lovely day today, all sunshine, picnics in Yerba Buena gardens and two rides on the carousel accompanied by photos. But then we topped off a lovely day with dinner out and it all came unravelled, so why not just blog about that? It's not my bedtime so no excuse.

Leah developed some weird temperature on Thursday that had us trying to get home early to take her home only to be trapped in the 49ers traffic. She had a slightly rough night and a very whingey Friday which left me slightly frazzled. By Saturday she was quite a bit better and we even got quite a few laughs and giggles out of her. But she wasn't eating and she was still very very cranky. In our desperation we were giving her whatever she might actually swallow, all the usual favourites seemed to be out (pasta, omelette, yogurt not out of a squeezy tube) and we even resorted to a chocolate digestive biscuit - the biscuit part has to have some nutritional value doesn't it? Little did we know that while she was unwell Leah was also practicing and storing up her terrible two tactics. After 2 days of giving into her every whim 'because she's not well' she had it down to a fine art and was just waiting to lay it on us.

Today the sun shone brightly and warmly on SF, we walked the now 5 blocks to the wonderful Yerba Buena gardens, we had our picnic on some rocks, Leah running back and forth to pick up a tiny piece of cocktail sausage, 2 goldfish crackers and a fruit smoothie.
We headed over to the children's playground where she merrily plonked on the xylophone and splashed in the stream, then we took her for a special treat - a ride on the carousel which she loves. She proudly chose her giraffe and sat quietly holding on for a good 3 or 4 minutes before the ride started and although she didn't crack a smile the whole ride I knew she loved it. How did I know? Well when the ride stopped she started to screech and do the full body jerk and kick that would have her face down on the floor pounding her feet and hands into the carpet if I wasn't holding her up in the air. The plan was always to give her two rides so I tagged with Paul who first tried her out on a goat:
then a horse for her second trip. Anticipating full melt down I headed off to the ice cream stand as soon as I saw the ride slow down but she came off as good as gold having said goodbye to all the horses.

We ate our ice-creams and tripped merrily home and tucked Leah in for her afternoon nap. We were feeling confident as our beautiful girl smiled her way downstairs after her nap (made a change from the crying of the previous two days) so decided to go do dinner. We chose the quiet and family-friendly Nama (sushi) and ordered food that Leah would normally happily pick at. The first warning sign came as she refused to sit in the high-chair, the second came when she wouldn't even sit on the bench next to me, the third came with our food as she narrowly missed jabbing herself in the eye with a chopstick and was not impressed by our attempts to prise it out of her hands. Paul and I took turns trying to distract her with toddles about the restaurant, even the lovely waitress tried to take her off our hands but stranger anxiety has also settled on our girl at the moment so that was a no go. After several more refusals to eat and shrieks as she was put in and out of the high chair two more times we decided to save our dinner, box it up and take it home (the second time in one week). The tantrum continued the 2 blocks home as Leah protested being held by Paul and not me. We continued our dinner at home with Leah alternating between the high-chair, face down on the floor, face down on my leg, head pressed against my foot and then finally, and most pitifully Leah trying to get some comfort from Dave the zebra, her hiding tent and then my handbag as Paul and I did our best 'ignore the bad behaviour reward the good' and tried to continue our meal. She finally quietened down and was rewarded with a cuddle and some quiet story books with mum and then pyjamas, milk and In the Night Garden with dad.

So all in all that was nearly 2 hours of on / off mini-tantrums. We know they're pretty small in the grand scale of things, we've seen bigger kids lose it completely and utterly, we know that they can be louder, longer and messier. But we've glimpsed the future....and it's not pretty.

At her doctor's appointment last week our doctor's attending did her usual fly-by visit and after running through a number of checks very matter of factly informed us that the terrible twos had started. We re-ran through the checks wondering what in particular had tipped her off, we're in no doubt now.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Well she was always going to be the chatty one

Here's Leah's list of words so far:

Elmer - the first word
Apple (well Aaaah-plll)
Row (as in row row row your boat)
Boobies (thanks to Izabela)
Hide (said in a whisper and often accompanied by a dramatic Ssshhh)

She'll also have a go at pretty much any word you ask her to but this has to be my favourite so far:

She also has quite a repetoire of animal noises, some easily identified, others not so easy - her cat's miaow is pretty much impossible to catch unless you're closely related.

I'm pretty sure I think every phase Leah goes through is the best phase so far (OK maybe not the developing tantrum phase) but language acquisition has always been of huge fascination to me. Little did I know just how much fun it was going to be.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The colour-coding of our children

The shoes on the left are for toddler-girls, the ones on the right are for toddler-boys. But if you can, take a closer look. The shoes on the left are nearly all open-topped Mary Janes and without fail are either pink, or are stamped in pink hearts or flowers. The ones on the right are brown, blue, red and green. There are no opena areas.

So what's the big deal? Well aside from the colour and the pretty-pretty flowers and hearts the boys shoes are practical for playgrounds, sand-pits and splashing in puddles. The girls shoes will get your kids feet wet or full of sand as soon as they're put to use in any of the places kids like to play. The result....the beginning of starting to hold your girl back from running free, exploring and experimenting.

These are some photos I took in the Early Learning Centre. After nearly having a feminist fit at pink vacuum-cleaners, washing machines, kettles, food mixers, toasters and tills (cash-registers).

WTF are they making them pink to make them even more attractive to girls??? What kind of sick conspiracy is this? I opened my eyes wide enough to see that right next to the pink home appliance section there's a blue home appliance section. That's great you say, everyone's equal, there are boy vacuum cleaners and girl vacuum cleaners, what's the problem? The question is, why the colour coding and separate sectioning at all? Why not red, black, green vacuum cleaners? Let kids pick the one they want without separating things into a 'boy' section and a 'girl' section.

Now anyone who knows me knows my pink aversion and my decision where possible to not dress Leah in pink. But most people think that I'm being silly, that I'm making a fuss about something trivial, or the worst so far...that I actually wished I'd had a boy. These are the people who told me I'd change my mind once I had a little girl (and that I'd change my mind about not wanting to get married). It's not just the colour, it's the encouraging of our girls to be pretty, to be neat, to be clean and to be tidy reinforced by totally impractical clothes that half the time don't even enable our girls to do the same things as the boys and that's even supposing they don't have a parent cringing in the background at the thought of grass stains, scuffs, tears or wet or sandy feet.

I've also been told on many an occasion that some girls are just born girlie, and that the pink thing is inevitable so bother fighting it? Well until Leah goes to school and the peer pressure really kicks in I want to give her every opportunity to try as many different activities and encourage her to be as bold and as adventurous as possible and I'll dress her appropriately.

I don't wish to offend anyone, particularly my friends who have girls well and truly in the pink / princess phase. If this happens to Leah I hope that I will do my best to manage it appropriately and would welcome any tips from those of you trying to create balance for your girls. Just don't tell me that my feelings about this are silly or pointless.

Roll on Soccer Tots in January!

Monday, September 21, 2009

My happy day

I wanted to tell you all about my happy happy day because I had so much fun and don't want to forget it.

Yesterday was a beautiful sunshiny day and Mum, Dad and Mamgu took me to the beach to splash in the rock-pools, play with the sand and run around. The sand on this beach was very different to the sand in San Francisco and the stones in Gosport. It was all grainy and trickled through my fingers and tickled my toes:

After I'd had some lunch Mamgu took me to my first little rock-pool and I happily splashed around and watched my toes sinking into the softer sand. There were no fishies in that pool and luckily no crabs either:
Dad came along and dropped a couple of pebbles in there that made a lovely sploosh noise and I copied him a few times but then it was time to stretch my legs and show my Mamgu just how well I can run these days.

Mamgu and Mum took me down to a huge stretch of flat sand that had these tiny rivers of water running down them from the rock-pools to the sea. Because it was so flat I could run and run and run and only fell over a few times but I could also splash through the water without my Mum worrying that I was going to snort up a load of sea water and the sand was hard enough that I wasn't going to get it up my nose and in my eyes like I did at the playground last week.

I ran and ran and ran. I ran to my mum who threw me up in the air, I ran to my dad and then at the last minute before he could grab me I'd change direction and run to my mamgu. I thought all of this was very funny and giggled the whole time!

After I took my well earned nap that afternoon I had a smashing supper of fish and chips.  Well the chips were smashing, I wasn't so keen on the fish but then Mum kept taking bits of fish off my plate and replacing them with white fish-like stuff but it was covered in ketchup and tasted yummy so I ate lots of that.  Then everyone decided it was 'time for a walk'.  Boring I thought, but then I didn't realise that I could have as much fun running on grass as on the sand.  Mum, Dad, Mamgu and Grandpa Greg took me across to the common to watch the sunset and to run around on the common that's next to where my mamgu lives. It was great fun too. I had to put up with Mum and Dad bundling me up in fleeces and anoraks because the sun was going down and it was starting to get cold but once I was out and about it didn't matter. We crossed to common over to where the sun was going down and the waves were splashing against the rocks and I ran back and forth between the four of them and got thrown up into the sky loads of times. So much fun!

Grandpa Greg took some smashing photos of me:
He's going to put the rest on his website, I'll post the link when they're there.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The things Leah hates....

  • Having her hair washed
  • Having her hair brushed
  • Clipping her hair out of her eyes
  • Having her hair in her eyes
  • Going anywhere near her hair
  • Hairdressers
  • Having her face washed
  • Having her nappy / diaper changed
  • Putting her clothes on
  • Taking her clothes off
  • Having her sleeves rolled up for her
  • Going to bed
  • Being removed from Early Learning Centre / Mothercare / any shop with a kids section
  • Being told not to touch / kiss the TV
  • Helping her drink from a cup
  • Helping to feed her if she's in the mood to feed herself
  • Taking absolutely anything off her
  • Sitting in her carseat
  • Being strapped into her stroller
  • Generally anything that restricts her in anyway

Ahhh very cathartic

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The trip so far....Part II: The Frenchies & Gosport

I realise this is going to have limited impact without photos but until I get to Wales and get a cable to upload from my camera words will have to do. So what have we been up to this week?

Paul's friend Chris kindly picked us up from the airport and took us to Weybridge where the lovely V met us with cups of tea and flapjacks. Despite the general lack of sleep everyone was fairly well behaved and managed to keep up a semi-coherent level of conversation. Little Julie was asleep upstairs but Leah wasted no time getting familiar with what she seemed to presume was her new home; toddling from the front room, to the dining room, to the kitchen, out the back door and into the garden only to turn around again and repeat the journey. She was delighted with V's loan of a mini pushchair that she insisted on dragging (not pushing) with her along her chosen route.

Missie J soon woke up and, despite an interloper making herself at home in her territory, adapted fairly quickly and the two girls were soon playing peek-a-boo in the garden shed and generally chasing each other back and forth giggling and shouting and watching their favourite TV program.
The man of the house came home in time for dinner and set about getting some food into both girls, one on each side and happily entertained them in the garden falling over and being climbed on by both while Paul, V and I drank champagne and beer and watched.
We put both girls in the bath and after a few tears of tiredness Leah managed to sleep until 5 in the morning which we were very pleased with, it also meant that she had to come in and snuggle up with me for a couple of hours to give the rest of the house some peace and quiet which I was very pleased with.

We spent the next couple of days hanging out in Weybridge and at the very lovely house in Surbiton that we've been lucky enough to swap our apartment for.
Then, after an amazingly brief but successful encounter with the US embassy where my visa renewal was approved we headed down to Gosport to visit Leah's Nannny, Grandad, 2 aunties and uncle. She seems to not totally hate the car seat we're using and happily fell asleep not far down the A3. She remained asleep when we arrived in Gosport leaving Nanny and Grandad to peer at her through the car window which must have been very difficult for them as no doubt they were itching to get a cuddle and a kiss.

Leah coped with all the attention very well and although she got off to a slow and shy start she was soon running around the house like she owned it (3 houses visited, all three thoroughly checked out and approved by our girl), running in and out of every single room to make sure she'd checked out every corner - not for the first time was I reminded how having a toddler is like having a dog :). She had a lovely garden to play in and was soon chatting away to her Grandad and telling him about all her trip so far. The highlight of the trip was the few hours we spent in Gosport town center on our last but one day. After some play time on the swings we walked into the town center for lunch and then over to watch the ferries coming in and out. Leah was fully warmed up to her Gosport family at this point and ran around laughing, pointing and shouting and really enjoyed walking along holding hands with one parent and one grandparent and then both grandparents. Apart from a slightly embarassing moment where she tried to adopt another grandad who was sat on a park bench it was a lovely afternoon - beautiful weather and great fun.
Our last morning by the seaside was a very grumpy one, Leah grizzled the whole time and was very put out when I attempted to paddle in the sea with her. As I held her she lifted her legs way up so that they wouldn't touch the sea and shouted very loud at me. Thinking all the time about how disappointed Mamgu would be by a grandaughter who wasn't going to paddle in the sea it finally twigged that that nasty molar that has been threatening to erupt for some time now was actually causing her a lot of pain. One dose of Motrin later she was a different girl shrieking with delight as I hid behind the sofa and jumped out at her - each time she'd squeal and cuddle into her Nanny which was lovely and very funny. We waited until we'd tired her out before packing everything, and Leah, into the car and heading back to Surbiton. Leah was asleep before we'd got on the A3 and she snored the whole way home. So fingers crossed, paddling in Porthcawl is still on the table.

The trip so far...Part 1: The Flight

I thought I'd fill you in on the trip so far whilst Leah conducts her nap strike upstairs (one of the lows). We left sunny SF on Thursday 3rd Sept after a long couple of weeks for me desperately trying to roll out phase 1 of my project before my holiday so that I could say I achieved something this year. As we pulled off the 101 I realised we'd forgotten the stroller giving Paul and me approx 90 seconds of 'do we turn around, do we manage without' discussion before we'd pass the terminal. We decided on a middle ground which was to check in and then send Paul back to Kylie's house to pick up their stroller since it would be 30 mins off the round trip.

After that hurdle we settled into life on the plane, after offering a very nice man our two seats for his one we got to sit in the much sought after bassinet position and by 8.30 Leah was cozied up in her bassinet and fast asleep.
We congratulated ourselves, ate dinner (me about 20 minutes before Paul - vegetarians always get their meals first but the 'wine with your meal' usually comes about 45 minutes later), and settled in to watch The Hangover. At 10pm Leah was awake, after a bit of grizzling, following by shouting, followed by screaming she resorted to the killer smile + 'hiya' which always signals the end of nap time. Since the little boy in the bassinet next to her was starting to stir we took her out and she immediately starting running laps around the plane. We played with her in the galley. We took her down to the toilets to show her the not very interesting view outside. We took her into the toilets to play with the paper cup dispenser. We ran many laps around our section of the plane with Leah practically high-fiving people as she passed. We then started operating in shifts so that each adult could get some rest while little miss Ever Ready just kept on running. Four hours later she gave in and went back to sleep. We spent the rest of the flight watching nervously as the seatbelt signs flashed on and off, worried that we'd have to get her out of her bassinet and hold she who cannot be restrained. She managed another 2 hours and then woke up again, this time going straight for the 'hiya' as Paul and I tried to hide underneath her table in a vain attempt to avoid eye contact. A few more laps of the plane and many many 'the wheels on the bus's later we had touched down in Blighty.

Total plane journey time: 9.5 hours
Leah's total sleep: 3.5 hours
Ruth's total sleep: 20 mins
Paul's total sleep: 10 mins

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thank heaven for little girls.....

Ruby and I had our first adventure in a very long time today. After a restless night followed by a lie in and then getting back from the doctor late my nap coincided with Ruby's for the first time in a couple of months which meant the adventures were back on if only for one day.

So our mums seized the opportunity and took us to Aquatic Park. They had a nice idea of sandcastles, ice-cream and a bit of paddling. Ruby and I had other ideas!

The assault on our mums began as soon as our little feet hit the sand. I decided to see if it was possible to cover every inch of me with sand and promptly sat down in the wet stuff. Ruby took a different tack and decided to eat as much sand as possible in the shortest time. She also tried to offer some to me or perhaps was trying to help me cover my face in sand as my body was so well covered.

Ruby's tactic was of course very successful in keeping Erika totally occupied but once I realised my mum had time to take photos I tried a different approach and tried to run straight into the sea as she was putting her lens cap on. This worked much better and mum abandoned the camera in an attempt to stop me from drowning myself. Little did she know it was just a tactic to get her soaking wet and it worked beautifully. I managed to get us both covered in water and sticky sand and then to top it off I decided to stage a walking strike and insisted on being carried over to the grass ensuring maximum coverage of Mum's top half too.

Mum and Erika finally gave in and took us off to the grassy bank where they stripped us off and let us run around naked for a while which was smashing. It was lovely to get to play with my friend again!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Things I'm working on at the moment

I know I've been a bit quiet recently but I've been a very busy girl learning all sorts of new tricks. I thought I'd do a quick video-blog so that you can see what I've been working on...

1. Getting Dressed
I've got the hang of pulling my jacket over the top of my head, sometimes I can even get an arm in a sleeve and taking it off is easy-peasy. I decided to go for something a little more challenge and this week I've been trying to learn shoes.

2. Walking
My friend Ruby got this one down a long time ago but I think I got too used to running around with my lion and my stroller and I found it very difficult to slow down long enough to walk properly but I've been trying really hard over the last week and I think I finally nailed it.

3. Talking
Now I know that I've been talking for a very very long time but Mum and Dad have finally cottoned on to what I've been saying all this time. For those of you who don't know my love affair with Elmer stretches back to when I was first born. I've been saying his name for a long time, calling to him when he's in my crib, chatting away over dinner where he sits on my plate and most recently during bedtime stories. Well last night when Dad was reading to me I finally said it in a way that he understood me. Mum ran around trying to find the video camera but it was bedtime and late and I had to go to sleep so I gave her my best 'Elmer' the following morning (again no camera). Anyway this is me this evening, I'm a little bit tired so it isn't my best 'Elmer' but it'll do for now.

So that's what I've been working on, I think I'll try a few more words before moving on to bicycle riding.

See you later chaps!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Has it really been more than a month since we blogged?

Blimey, I really have been slack. I'm not sure if it was all the excitement of Leah turning 1, Mamgu's coming to stay, the beginning of walking but time has just slipped by this month. As well as this blog I've been trying to write a little diary for Leah - it started as a daily diary of her first 6 weeks of life, then I got more realistic and made it a weekly diary of little notes; things she'd done, milestones reached, moments I wanted to remember. Well in between trying to keep this up to date, and that diary up to date not to mention Facebook and our photo gallery and the job and the commute it all went a bit south recently. Well I made my last entry in Leah's diary which was a bittersweet moment (I wonder if that's why I put it off for a few weeks) - my baby is definitely a little girl now with a great big personality to match. I hope that one day, perhaps when she is beginning her maternity leave with a squirmy, kicking little girl just waiting to announce her arrival, I will hand over this diary to her so that she can get a little insight into the exciting, exhausting, wonderful, terrifying first year of a baby's life. No doubt mummy-memory will have taken its toll on me and I won't remember much so it's all written down for her to enjoy.

Leah post first birthday (cup)cake.

Me and my girl and her birthday party, again post-birthday cake.
Celebrating surviving our first year as a gorgeous, beautiful, wonderful, happy family:
And excuse me while I get a little nostalgic...
thank god I managed to wipe the poop off my head for that one!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Just another day...

Leah's best friend Ruby came to play today having been away on her holidays last week and with friends the week before so it'd been 3 weeks since they'd last spent any time together and 3 weeks at this age is nearly an eternity.

Having watched Ruby and Leah play next to each other and do an amazing job of pretending the other wasn't there it was lovely to see them acknowledge each other with a big smile as they settled down together to pick up and examine pretty much everything. There were even moments where treasured objects were hesitantly offered to one another and then retracted as according to the rules of the game they both love at the moment. Ruby is now standing up and cautiously walking a few steps at a time, Leah is getting much better at the standing without support. They are both babbling away to their hearts content and at times it seemed like one would babble and the other would wait patiently and then answer with a babble of her own. They have very distinctive and unique babbles and it was a joy to sit in the park with them today and hear them chatting away. Of course they're still taking things off one another over and over again but luckily for Erika and me still without any resulting tears. Today's main object of jealousy was a Starbucks cup which was an amazingly funny voice distorter for Ruby and a technical 'lid on the cup' challenge for Leah. Luckily we were able to produce another cup from the depths of one of the strollers to keep them both happily occupied:
We wiled away a few hours sitting in the sun, swimming in our pool and eating lunch in our park marvelling at our smart, funny and of course beautiful girls. It was a perfect San Francisco day.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ooohhh Apricots!!!

Nothing special this one, just one for my grandparents since my mum said no-one but a close relation is going to want to see pictures of a baby covered in food. In fact that's been her pet peeve for the last 10 years - people who show her photos of their baby covered in food, gross! But of course this is me and I'm cute so this is different. So if you're not a direct relation please feel free to check back in another time, I'll understand.

So...let me tell you about apricots, or apriums if you're lucky to live in SF like me and be able to pick up these apricot / plum hybrids. Well they're small enough for me to hold all on my own, they're squishy enough for me to be able to bite with my four big teeth you can see above, they're delicious and sweet and they make a smashing mess all over me when I eat them. Dad got wise to my love of the squish today and stripped me down to my pants before he let me eat one:
I could see he was getting very distressed by all the orange squishiness running down my belly so I picked up a piece and mashed it between my hands and to really freak him out I threatened to put my hands in my hair. Mum was laughing more at Dad's discomfort and distress than at me so I upped my game and squished some directly against my belly and let all the juice run down the side of my highchair onto my plastic Elmo mat.

I figured that after this mess I'd be heading straight for the bath so had no idea why Mum had to give me the wipeover with the cold cloth so I shouted and shouted. I've learned a really lovely new noise that is very high-pitched and very very loud and I thought bath and bedtime would be the perfect time to start trying it out. It took a while to work but Mum stopped wiping me down and we jumped into the bath together to get me clean. I showed her what I thought of the cold cloth treatment by standing up and peeing in the bath that she was sat in with me. Ha!!!!

We had a nice bath and Mum got the flannel into all my nooks and crannies and I came out all shiny. Dad wrapped me up in my dressing gown which I hadn't worn before but I loved because it's so lovely and soft:
Later peeps, I'm off to bed!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Vancouver baby

I thought it was about time I got around to telling you about my trip to Canada at long last. I thought I'd start with a picture of my friend Buck who I met in the Gastown neighbourhood. Mum and Dad were going to walk straight past but old Buck here shouted out to me so I persuaded Mum and Dad to go inside and take a look around. It turned out to be an amazing cowboy boot store, having never seen cowboy boots up close Mum couldn't help herself but try some on, they were actually very beautiful and for a brief moment she considered buying some but couldn't think of anything she'd ever wear with them so she decided not to buy any. Unfortunately the ones she was trying on got very very stuck on her foot and the shop owner had to come and help her get it off. I have to say although it was kind of funny I was a little embarrassed that Mum had to get an old bloke to help her take her shoes off. I'm not sure why Dad didn't help her, I think he was too busy laughing or something.

On our first full day in Vancouver we went to Stanley Park to visit the beautiful aquarium there, I saw lots of birds, fishies, jellyfishies, Beluga whales, turtles and crocodiles.

After the aquarium I figured I'd be dragged around to look at buildings but Mum and Dad had another surprise for me, we found a little children's farm hidden away. These were the first guys we saw, their new haircuts were keeping them cool in the sun and here they are listening to everything I had to say. After these guys I got to play with bunnies, and mini-goats, a chicken and a goose. It was great fun. My mum says that when Mamgu comes over we can go to SF zoo and do it all again. I can't wait!

So after all that fun I figured the folks were going to see if I fell asleep and sneak me off somewhere really boring but I was wrong again, just down from the farm there was a lovely playground where I got to practice my standing up and play peek-a-boo with a very cute blonde boy who came to see me. Unfortunately he was a bit older than me and because he was a boy he couldn't stop running around, I couldn't follow him so I just stayed here looking cute hoping he would come back which he did several times! Dad was a bit slow to work out what was going on but pretty soon he picked me up and took me over to play on the slides and said something about me not being able to play those games until I'm 18 or something. That seems like an awfully long time to me, I'm pretty sure that boy was only 2, not 18.

The next day it was time for some proper sightseeing so here we are by Canada Place which is now used as a cruise ship terminal.
It was a little bit windy that day but I was in the Bjorn and Mum was telling me rude jokes and making fun of Dad so I didn't mind at all. We were supposed to be walking along the waterfront back to our hotel but Dad had the map and he took us through a building site, up an elevator, across the front of a conference center, back down the elevator, back through the building site then up to the street where we abandoned the waterfront and just went back to the apartment to place chase instead (which I actually thought was a lot more interesting anyway).

The next day was a bit of a disaster. We went to Gastown which was one of the older parts of town but we found yet more building sites (preparation for the Olympics apparently) and a whole lot of dirt. We moved onto a playground which was nice but it really wasn't a nice area, Dad put his sunglasses down and 10 minutes later they were gone. Mum then decided that we would try one last thing to see in the area before heading home, somewhere where we could sit down and relax and get me some food. Unfortunately Dr Sun Yat-Sen's Chinese Garden although very pretty had no grass, just cobbles, so nowhere for me to sit down or practice walking. Mum ducked me into a little room that was pretty empty to give me some lunch but sat around the corner I found this guy:
He told me that it is his job to look fierce but you can see that I wasn't convinced. I just thought he looked smashing and I was so glad my outfit matched!

I had a smashing time in Vancouver, I got to play in lots of playgrounds but really enjoyed the new game that Dad invented which involved chasing me around the apartment growling and grabbing my ankles as I try to crawl away as fast as possible. I get a bit excited and a bit scared and shriek and shriek and shriek. I often had to cool down with a nice cold drink afterwards:
Although for some reason Mum wouldn't let me order the nice sounding 'Kahlua', they mentioned 18 again. Hmmmmm

Friday, May 15, 2009

A not so wanted first...

No adventures today but we did get our first proper tantrum. A few months ago we witnessed Leah shouting at us when we took something off her, today we were on the receiving end of a full body tantrum. We can't even remember what triggered it, something insignificant like Leah not getting picked up the precise moment that she wanted to be and it resulted in her throwing herself onto her belly and kicking her legs and smacking her hands on the floor. Of course being the vigilant and responsible parents that we are we just burst out laughing. Seeing our little baby throwing a "terrible two" tantrum was very very funny but we're quickly researching the correct response so that we can nip this in the bud....any suggestions anyone????

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My first Mother's Day

Several months earlier, in an effort to support a friend who wanted to lose a bit of baby-weight I signed up for a Mother's Day 5km race thinking it would be full of mums showing a bit of solidarity and having something of a fun run together. I persuaded Natalie to join us figuring Erika and Paul could look after the girls while we enjoy a gentle run on a beautiful flat course that would take us along the Marina, through Crissy Fields and back again.....and then the competitive spirit kicked in.

I'd been pushing myself to improve on my Run Wild 5k time which was 27m30ish and completed after a night of no sleep and only 4 months after Leah was born. I'd been pushing it on the treadmill during my lunch hour and was confident that I'd be able to comfortably beat my time. And then I got sick. Oh the joys of early motherhood! Leah has been picking up every cold under the sun and a few weeks ago she developed a temperature and had a miserable miserable few days where all she could do was throw her head back and cry. It was awful. Then as she started to get better she got covered in spots...and then I got it. Fever, shivers, spots and then the cough. I was completely out of action for a week and the cough kept me awake at night for another week so the training went out the window.

Anyway, I did my best and managed a 26min 5k but it definitely wasn't comfortable. I had passed Natalie at my mile 2 and her mile 1 and as a result wasn't expecting her to make it back for a good 15 or 20 minutes after I had finished but clearly the competitive spirit got hold of her and she appeared a mere 8 minutes later. How she managed to increase her speed so dramatically only she knows but I wonder if her warm up routine had something to do with it:
We celebrated in style with a donut (OK OK two donuts for me) then the Linden-Naylors headed home and the Weatherall-Denchs headed off to Sports Basement where Paul was in need of some retail therapy having been the person to watch the sporting event rather than the person participating. Several hundred dollars lighter but me sporting a snazzy new sports watch (thank you lovely) we headed home for a fish and chip picnic and general lazing about at the little park across from our apartment block.

A perfect day.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Let me tell you about someone very special

Most of you will by now have spotted this person dotted around my blog but I wanted to tell you a bit about my very BFF (best friend forever for our grandparents!) - Ruby.

Ruby and I first met back when we were only 2 months old. Our mums tried to form a playgroup but week after week it was just the four of us which looking back I think we're all very glad about. Me because I've been able to spend some great times with my pal Ruby and my mum because she was very happy to meet Erika the sassy, hip and irony-loving chick who also didn't fit in with the rest of the mums round here. Not long after we all met Ruby and I started our adventures. Our very first big adventure was our first swim together.
It was October and a beautiful day, we hadn't learned to roll over yet so we were very easy to get in and out of our diapers and swimming costumes (not like now) and our first swim was a great success. Look there we are over there - aren't we tiny? I think this was one of the first times I heard my mum say how glad she was to have met Erika because she might've been a bit nervous taking me swimming on her own but Erika just got on with it and led the way and it gave my mum the confidence to get in that pool and I'm very glad that she did.

This is me and Ruby just a few weeks ago back at the same pool being speckled frogs sitting on a speckled log. You can see how much we've grown can't you?

Once we'd hung out locally a few times and our mums had realised that neither of us girls were going to nap in our cribs at home we began to go a little further afield as our mums started walking the length and breadth of the city in the hope that we'd get some good naps. On the left there's me and Ruby in the Marina in November testing out swings for my first time (another thing Erika taught my mum to do).

I loved the swings and me and Ruby would travel near and far to run our extensive swing tests to see which ones were the best.

It was round about this time that Ruby discovered her roar and I discovered my laugh. She made the best roaring sound I ever heard, and believe me with my mum and dad reading me 'That's not my Lion' every night for 8 months I've heard a lot of roaring that's for sure. She doesn't do it quite so much anymore but I reckon that's because she now has a cool chuckle noise that she makes all the time which makes my mum and dad laugh a lot.

The new year brought some new tricks for me and my pal Ruby. We both quickly mastered the art of sitting up which meant that Mum and Erika could take us out and not have to hold us the whole time to stop us from falling over. This brought a whole new set of adventures for us including tea at the Queen's place on Erika's birthday:
I think Ruby was asking me the correct way to drink tea, which hand to use and how to hold the cup. I'm not sure why she was asking me though, I was born in the USA same as her. You can tell we're great pals because I'd lent her my t-shirt to wear that day, my Mamgu had given it to me but my mum tells me that because I started solids a bit earlier than Ruby I filled the t-shirt out a bit more quickly so I couldn't fit in it anymore. I reckon Ruby looks much cooler in purple anyway! Mind you she always looks cool - she has some great shoes including a couple of sets of cowboy boots and some very hip t-shirts.

Over the last few months we've hung out together pretty much every Friday. We usually find a good playground to go to and our mums test us out on the equipment:
We've been on swings, on see-saws, on strange wobbly horses. We've surfed a giant wave and talked to a giant turtle. We've slid down slides (sometimes even get told off). We've played in the sand and we've paddled in the sea. Sometimes we just hang out at my place and play with my toys. I think my mum worries that we might fall out at some point because I always try and grab whatever it is that Ruby is playing with:

but it's only because I think she's so fab so whatever she's playing with must be the best thing in the room. Ruby's never got cross for me for doing this and that's yet another reason why I love her. She's smart, she's funny, she's cool, she's kooky and she's my very very BFF.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

An Alternative Easter Sunday in SF

I thought I'd show you some of the new friends I made today on Easter Sunday down at Mission Dolores Park. Mum told that these two ladies were a very special order of nuns called The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence who were holding this big Easter Party to celebrate their 30th birthday. Here's me and Ruby with Sister Sharin Dippity Reveal and I'm with Sister Mary Timothy Simplicity - aren't they beautiful ladies?

Ruby and her mums had managed to get there on time to take part in the Easter Egg Hunt but as usual my parents were a little bit late so we didn't get there in time to get a spot but luckily Ruby grabbed me an egg just before the bigger girls and boys grabbed every other egg in the park. Our mums said we can go back next year when we're bigger and stronger and can stand up all on our own.

After the egg thing we all went and sat on the grass in the sunshine:
I'm doing my current most favourite thing which is to walk around and around a stroller, it doesn't really matter which one but Ruby's stroller is particularly good for this. It's great exercise and I can do it for about an hour now. Ruby and I compared notes on our night-time sleep sabotage program. I've been going for the shock and awe tactics with repeated attacks within the first hour with last night succeeding in my spending most of the night cuddled up with my mum. Ruby has been trying the more subversive and ultimately more effective tactic by waking her mums up at random times over the last few nights and keeping them awake for a couple of hours each time. We're both doing very well although my nanny comes back on Monday so I probably won't be able to keep it up until next weekend.

Anyway, I thought you might want to see some more of the beautiful ladies that were at the park. I didn't get so close to these two so I'm not sure what they're names are:
They're being very sensible sheltering from the sun aren't they?

Here's me and my mum in the sunshine with the stupid hat they make me wear all the time:
We only stayed for an hour and a bit, the sun was very strong and some ladies started singing some rather interesting cabaret songs - one was about a woman who manages to turn every boyfriend gay and another was an ode to a husband that is too rude to mention. It was very very loud and Ruby had been holding out on her nap since 8 so her mum's took her off so that she could sleep. I stayed with mum and dad for a bit longer just checking out all the sights and sounds.
Can you see that panda just over my left shoulder? And here's me and my dad in front of the mission checking out all the wonderful San Franciscans:
If you want to see some more photos of today as well as the photos of Ruby and me with the scariest Easter bunny in the world you can go to my mum's photo website:

Happy Easter everyone!