When the Snowman brings the snow, well he might just like to know, he’s put a great big smile on somebody’s face

It has been a while hasn’t it? Apologies but I have always had the caveat that ‘sometimes life will get in the way’ and strangely although we have nothing much of note I haven’t found time to spend the couple of hours it takes me to complete one of these updates.

So what has been happening since the excitement of October and the start of November?  Winter has arrived, the wind has a decidedly Siberian feel to it, indeed the north of the country has had it first snowfall (although none around here) and Christmas is around the corner (as is the End of World).  I have been trying to use my remaining annual leave, even though I have still been in at weekends (and a mid-week meeting) in attempt to make sure the house is prepared for Christmas.  The annual Christmas card photo has been taken, the decorations have been retrieved from the loft and Christmas baubles have been decorated.

Since the birth of Éowyn we have unwittingly created two traditions (if five years of anything can be called a tradition), namely a Christmas card photo of Éowyn (and since 2010 Amélie) in suitable Christmassy attire and a self-decorated Christmas bauble.  Genevieve Gallery in Englefield Green allows you to paint your own pottery and at Christmas that includes baubles, angels and reindeer decorations in addition to the usual cups, plates, teapots etc.  When Éowyn was a baby we thought it would be nice to make a bauble with her handprint on, and so we have gone back each year since and thus have a record of her growing hands.  This year however Éowyn rebelled.  She did not want her hand painted and, in fairness to our eldest, her hands are now probably a little too large for even the largest sized bauble.  She did, however, want to paint one.  So a new tradition was born.  Amélie still created a handprint bauble while Éowyn let her creative juices flow and made her own design.  We will see how this new tradition develops.

The former Christmas tradition was altered by Amélie. Éowyn loves to dress up and so convincing her to put on a Mrs Santa Claus outfit was easy.  Amélie on the other hand seems to have an aversion to dressing up.  If you recall she refused to dress up for the Halloween party at the Manor House in Dorset and so it was for the Christmas photo.  We did however manage to get her to wear a red dress and a hairband with reindeer antlers.  You will have to pop back on the 24th December for the annual Bagnall Christmas message, to see the fruits of that labour.

The question that has been occupying our minds of late has been the crucial decision of which school to put down as our first choice for Éowyn.  We have visited each of the schools in the area, we have read the Ofsted reports and we have asked around people we know that have children in each of the schools.  The decision is still to be completely made although we think we are erring towards a decision and it is probably on the side of the school that was at the bottom of the list before we started that process.  Until we fill the form in and find out whether Éowyn has been accepted we will not mention any names but it has been interesting to see how reputations influence decision processes regardless of actualities and how it is actually hard to eliminate that reputation from the forefront of your mind.  I suppose because we realise the importance of education and because Éowyn is bright, we want the best for her.  A school that will push her and stretch her abilities and have the resources in order to be able to do that.  Obviously we will not know until she goes there and she settles in.  Time will tell and obviously you will read it here first.

Lucinda as you will recall suffered from appendicitis back in October and last week saw her six week follow up appointment.  The surgeon was very pleased with the way she was healing and has discharged her from his care.  However he did give her a little more information about her surgery and it was quite worrying.  Effectively the surgery could not have been any later for her appendix was not only at the point of rupture but had already begun to ooze its poison into her abdomen and consequently the surgeon had to ensure that she was thoroughly cleaned out before sewing her up.  It is frightening to think that any extra delay on that fateful day could have had a more serious outcome.

As you may recall that hasn’t been our only medical story of the last couple of weeks.  Amélie has suffered from probably the mildest case of Chicken Pox that our family has seen.  It started with a few spots on her abdomen.  The next day there were a few more so Lucinda took her to the walk-in clinic.  The nurse said that she was 99% convinced that Amélie had Chicken Pox and told Lucinda that it would probably get worse over the next few days but the spots would scab over and then she would no longer be contagious.  Sounds familiar to anyone that has had Chicken Pox or knows anyone that has had it.  Well, that is not how Amélie’s case developed.  The spots had peaked on that second day and then just disappeared over the next couple of days.  So we are unsure if she actually had Chicken pox or some similar disease or whether she just has a really powerful immune system and shook it off without breaking stride.

Amélie’s immune system maybe strong but she is not immune to the terrible twos.  Amélie has always been a cutey and relatively well behaved but lately she has been throwing a few strops and refusing to do things if she doesn’t want to do them.  She is more passive than aggressive preferring to sit down in the middle of supermarket aisle or pavement than throw a tantrum.  She will stand with her arms folded and her lower lip in a pout as a silent protest to whatever it is that you are asking her to do.  Although it is frustrating when you are in a rush but as the same time it is very amusing and I find it hard not to smile.  I can never let her see that obviously.  I will see if I can get a surreptitious photo and post it here for prosperity.

Éowyn on the other hand has been relatively well-behaved but when she falls off the behaviour wagon she really jumps off with both feet.  It is usually when she is tired and not getting her own way however one slight aberration to this wave of good behaviour happened a couple of weeks ago while she was upstairs and unusually being very quiet.  Lucinda crept upstairs to find out what she was up to and there she was quite happily drawing on the wall.  I am sure nearly every child does it at sometime in their formative years but it still not what you want to see.

It may come as no surprise that we are using the threat of that most benevolent of dictators Father Christmas to install a fear of misbehaviour into our oldest. I am not sure that it is working as well as it might but at least her behaviour hasn’t meant that I have to follow up with my threat that if she finds herself on the naughty list (and she likes the song Santa Claus is coming to town so she understands the theory) that Father Christmas will only bring her an orange, an apple and a lump of coal.  I mean where will I get a lump of coal in this day and age!

We have not yet managed to see Santa (although he did visit Éowyn’s school) this year.  Last year we saw him at Peppa Pig World, unfortunately there has only been one non-weekend day so far this year where he has been available (he is a busy man).  With the fact that I now work every weekend I have been unable to take her, however there are still a few days available so perhaps we will catch up with him elsewhere.  Nanny Fran has gone one better though and has gone to visit him in Lapland.  We would have gone too but felt that Amélie was a little too young and it would be unfair on our unborn son.  So we will probably wait a few years and take all three children, depending on the report back from Nanny Fran.

There may not be another update before Christmas but as mentioned there will be the traditional Bagnall Christmas message on Christmas eve so please feel free to pop by to see the girls in their Christmas attire.  Also, give yourself a festive ten points if you can name the Christmas song from which the title of this update has been taken.

Peace and Love