Friday, 18 December 2009

Saturday, 31 October 2009

First attempt at pumpkin carving

Sorry, time for some showing off (people with their own fairly pointless websites based on their name can be prone to it). I've been given a few random assignments since becoming a father, and the latest was carving a pumpkin. Being an IT sort and not being familiar with what is cool in pumpkin carving, I hit a certain well known search engine for info.

1 hour in the bathroom with two very incompetent toddler "helpers" later, I was quite impressed with my creation! Okay, so the eyes and nose were as a result of a printed out template but the mouth was all ad-libbed!

Heather suggested the picture might work better with the lights off. Fair point, really.

Naming bath ducks

Oh, to have the imagination of a toddler. We have just bought Harriet and Toby 4 new rubber ducks for the bath, mainly to distract her from her main bathtime occupation of spinning round as fast as she can, which can get dangerous. The ducks caused great excitement, mainly because they change colour when put in hot or cold water (ooooooooohhhh! wow!).

Harriet has since started to name them. They appear to get rebranded quite often, but their initial names were:

- Golden White How
- Bhaji bhaji
- Pointless
- Mars

Toby did not join in this explosion of creativity, but then he only says about 10 words and one of them is "papple" (apple).

Sunday, 25 October 2009

15 months of baby insomnia

Well, last week Toby made it to 15 months. This is an important age as it has been previously voted (by us) as the perfect child age. They are not so old that they either stay out late, smoke, swear or talk all the time about Thomas the Tank Engine (only one of these has been achieved by our oldest, Harriet, so far), but they aren't an immobile baby either. They're walking (or crawling really well - we have a walker finally), saying some words quite badly and generally is peaking on the cuteness scale. The older children (just Harriet in our case - three and a half years of fun) are interested in chasing the newly mobile kid.

But our happy family hides a dark secret. Dark because its about the night - Toby is an insomniac.

In 65 weeks of nightly sleeping opporunties Toby has managed to sleep through on about two occasions, which given we weren't expecting it didn't help us. We have in the meantime tried just about everything, including but certainly not limited to:

  • Co-sleeping (baby in bed)
  • Banning co-sleeping (baby ushered back to cot for excessive crawling)
  • Feeding to sleep (works in the short term)
  • Banning feeding at night (since he started waking for the milk)
  • Controlled crying
  • Constant attention
  • Back rubbing (his, not ours - he likes it but its hard without Mr Tickle hands)
  • Ear plugs (us, not him)
  • Cuddle blankets (him, not us)
  • Dummies
  • Pleading

The main problem appears to be that he is teething more or less constantly. But basically, he appears to have raging insomnia. Maybe he has worries we're not aware of - where his next teddy is coming from perhaps.

Of course, every cloud has a silver lining and in the case of the parent with a insomniac baby its complaining. Its great to list last night's waking times to non-parents and watch their look of horror at what they might have to endure in the future. It can even get competitive with other insomniac baby parents, seeing who had the worst night last night ("Awake from 4am? That's nothing, I went to sleep at 3am and was up getting breakfast 10 minutes later!").

If we've said it once we must have said it a thousand times since last July. Its a good job he is cute...

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Films with no women in.

Dave at work (hi Dave) came up with a very good game this morning - naming films with no women in them. We did not do very well. This was the pathetic list we came up with, most of which we have since debunked ourselves. Feel free to post comments with more suggestions.

- The Thing
- Silent Running
- The Hunt For Red October (damn, forgot Jack Ryan's wife...)
- Saving Private Ryan (apart from a little girl saved from the ruins. Oh, and his whole family in the present day at the cemetary. Damn again)

That's about it. There must be more...

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Toby - one year down...

Well, its been a year since our dreams came true when our second child emerged screaming into our lives in the middle of the night.

Some things have not changed since then.

He's still the lightest sleeper ever (but better than when he was 6 months old and was virtually an insomniac) and is no stranger to 3am. He appears to have been teething more or less constantly since he was 9 weeks old but only managed to grow 6 teeth, 4 of which appeared in the same week. He's a clingy little monster as well, something of a shock after Harriet, who while fond of us appeared to only tolerate our presence rather than requiring it for at least the first two years.

He has come on since birth in some other ways though. Standing happily since 3 months and crawling very well since March, he has finally taken his first step this week, albeit reluctantly. He also appears to be moving away from his inate clingyness copying his sister in having an "adventurous spirit" - i.e. he can cover the whole staircase in under 15 seconds holding a toy car and wants to climb on the roof of the playhouse rather than just play in it.

He has accumulated an impressive vocabulary for one so young. He can now say (in order of firstwordness):
  • Tick tock
  • Bubble
  • Tiger
  • Hiya (as in hello, not a karate chop - though he does seem to like hitting, being a boy)

I'm not sure where conversations can go with just those words. We think he is trying to say "ball" and "book" as well, but they just sound a bit like "baaaa". Give him time.

And he is a cute little boy and good on the photos, which we have found is enough to get us through the bad days as we have lots of nice pictures to look at and remind us of the good bits. Especially with those scary blue eyes. My newhew Matthew told me in great detail how Heather and I (both with brown eyes) must both be "carriers", which sounded quite frightening.

So broadly speaking Toby, well done for getting through the first year, being basically good natured, friendly, interesting and happy and not being a little baby anymore.

We'll keep you after all.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Less is more- decluttering in the Internet age

It has taken a long time to get to the point where I'm ready to acknowledge that actually its not more possessions that will make me happy but considerably less of them! Ebay is great here of course (what a good deal - lose the junk, get paid) but there is all the hassle of taking pictures, communicating, staggering to the post office and hoping you get good feedback. The tip is fine too by the hoarder in me just can't throw away things that "might be useful someday", even if they clearly won't be useful to me.

So the "third way" which we've settled on is some tipping, some ebaying and quite a lot of Freecycling. Freecycle is a site where people offer things they don't want anymore and other people ask for it for nothing. No postage, no feedback, no... okay, no money. Its like ebay where everything is collection only and goes for nothing. Anyway, the junk has gone down a lot, I can actually see the cellar now, and I don't feel like I'm wasting things. Freecycle is great and everyone should do it.

We did find that a few people on the site are, well not very clever and just after some good things without either paying for them or being arrested. We offered an old TV table and even went to the trouble of putting up a picture and someone immediately said yes. And then he contacted later and pulled out of this FREE transaction because he had previously only seen it on his damn phone and thought it was solid pine. Actually it was just some cheap MFI thing so he felt he was above it. I think he was missing the point of the site. Anyway, when a few people all ask for something we offered we choose which one to give it to based almost entirely on how good their grammar and spelling. Its eliteist, but it works...

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Ol' Blue Eyes

Really Toby, where DID your blue eyes come from?

Well, they're very cute. And I read that they can change colour (say, go brown, just like his parents and sister, for instance) until up to a year. Which gives him 4 days.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Girl in a Bag

Had a nice trip to Abington Park to watch the Sunday band a couple weeks ago, and after Harriet spent some time pretending the buggy lying on its side was a boat (in her defense the wheel made a pretty good ship's wheel) she decided that she wanted to be carried about (and as it turned out, swung about) in a Tesco reusable bag. The bag is apparently strong enough to carry a three and a half year old child, so I guess that makes it reusable.

I think that in the future that everyone is going to want one of these, they're a great accessory.

* Please don't try this at home

** No children were harmed in the production of this blog posting

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Crawling baby fascinated by floating ball

To be fair Toby, I would be quite impressed if I saw a ball floating 4 inches off the ground as well...

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Northampton lift tower in Gorillaz video?

Was watching music TV a couple of nights ago and "Feel Good Inc" by Gorillaz from a few years ago came on. As I was watching it something looked a little familar about the tower in the video - its the Northampton Lift Tower (or Northampton Lighthouse as its sometimes known!).

With a massive sign saying "Feel Good Inc" and a window with a monkey of course but we have to allow them some artistic license...

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Toby finally gets mobile

After enduring 8 months of broken sleep and a small amount of whinging during the days (it was loads - seriously Toby, we love you, but there have been more content babies!) Toby has finally done what he has been trying to do since about three days old and on his 8 months birthday managed to crawl. I say this as if it was a first, actually he had been crawling for a good week but only backwards - clearly not as satisfying, though he did amusingly keep getting stuck under things. Still, he did cheer up immesurably since he could finally do what he wanted and attack the world, one toy, sister and cable at a time. No more whinging, just time to find the stair gates.

Anyway, since we only seem to only produce intrepid children he was happy for a good 48 hours and is now trying to walk. And climb the stairs.

But they were a happy 48 hours...

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Northampton Balloon Festival cancelled

What an enormous surprise! Northampton takes another faltering step towards being just another faceless boring town as the Balloon festival goes the way of St Crispin's Street Fair and the Northampton Show in Abington Park and gets cancelled by the Council to apparently save an astonishing £3 per council tax payer. So this leaves us with ... yes, the Carnival is the only fun to be had in the town now unless its just snowed or you're out for a curry on the Wellingborough Road.

My New Years Resolution not to moan on my blog is going badly. But my other one not to just use the blog to mention which child has which tooth is going better (Toby has two, and he can give a right nip with them...)

Monday, 2 February 2009

Snow finally arrives and nearly destroys civilization

Thanks to the weather for providing the first proper snow since about 1870 and the chance for me to play in the snow. Sorry, I meant for Harriet to play in the snow, with proper parental supervision. She made a couple of lovely snowmen - okay, so I made them, she is only three and it would have taken ages. Its only a shame that the wet and dull weather has returned and the snowmen have disappeared, leaving their carrots behind of course.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Toby reaches six months and own feet.

Toby (also known as "the boy" or "child number 2" if he is in trouble, which is often) has reached his 6 month milestone - Happy Half Birthday Toby!

In that time he's proved to be a bad sleeper (slept through twice so far - the last time about three months ago) and a clingy baby, but on the upside he has a lovely smile and very bendy legs, as seen in this photo. I'm not sure what career this is going to lead him towards!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Free entertainment for car obsessed toddlers - Coventry Transport Museum

We had a brainwave today about what to do with a toddler who is obsessed with cars, buses, tractors and the like - take her to the Transport Museum in Coventry to run about.

She enjoyed this greatly overall but ran straight past 90% of the cars. The highlight for her was not Thrust 2, vintage tractors, the De Loreon or old Formula One cars. It was a broken old Peugeot 106 with no front doors that she was allowed to climb in. She was in it for ages, giving Heather and I a rare chance to actually read the information on some nearby cars, including Princess Diana's actual red Metro!