Our first night off

This week has marked a big stage in both Éowyn’s development and our own as parents.  For Christmas my mom, Nanny Fran, bought us a two part present a ‘Couples Experience’ voucher, and while we were taking advantage of that, she would look after Éowyn.  You could say that mom bought a day with her grandchild but she knows that she doesn’t have to do that.

We decided to use the voucher to book a spa day at the Marriott Hotel and Country Club at the Forest of Arden for our wedding anniversary and then on the back of that a night at the hotel.  This meant that Éowyn would spent over 24 hours with Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz but without Mommy and Daddy.  To make this as easy as possible we travelled up to West Bromwich on Sunday.  It had been a while since Éowyn had seen her Nanny Fran but had soon made herself at home and was more interested in her nan and auntie as new playnates than her mom and dad.  We had arrived in West Bromwich a little earlier than we thought and had more than enough time to take Éowyn’s Great Great Uncle Albert out for Sunday lunch.  I think that she amazed him with how much she enjoys her food and how vocal she can be.

Sunday evening, Liz’s friend and Mom’s surrogate grandchildren paid Éowyn a visit.  It was really interesting to see Éowyn interacting with older children.  She loved it as you can see from the photos below and I’m sure that Amelia and Finn enjoyed it too.

So Monday morning came and as usual we woke with Éowyn and after her first morning feed we took her downstairs.  It was quite strange knowing that we were going to leave her for a day and have no way of telling her.  So after breakfast Nanny Fran took her upstairs to get washed and dressed and we left for our day (and night) away.  No kisses or waves goodbye as we drove away.  We were in two minds as whether this was best but listened to Nanny Fran’s advice and hoped that all would be well.

The hotel is a couple of miles from Meriden a village that lays claim to be the centre of England and after a day of relaxation and massages we decided to walk into the village for a gourmet pub meal at the Bull’s Head as we were assured that it was only a 20 minute walk.  Nearly an hour later we found ourselves in the village at the centre of England.  At just over 3 miles we would have needed to have walked at 9 miles an hour to have made it into Meriden in 20 minutes.  That is the equivalent of running a marathon in under 3 hours!  Not part of a relaxing day, especially up hill and down dale.

It was strange not to have Éowyn with us, and Lucinda obviously felt that more than I on the Monday and I had to prevent her from phoning mom and texting constantly.  However, Tuesday morning the roles were reversed and it was me that was anxious to get back.

Our return was a mixed blessing:  Éowyn had not missed us as much as we thought she would.  Obviously this is good, as it means that we can leave her with others and have some freedom and time to ourselves but at the same time a little disappointing that she didn’t miss us.  It is, I suppose, only our egos that assume that only we can possibly know what our child needs and it is good, nay crucial, for her development to realise that there are others that can look after her.  Not to mention good for us as parents to have time for us and our relationship.

Éowyn had a fabulous time at Nanny Fran’s as she was the centre of attention.  They went to the Sea Life centre in Birmingham (about as far from the sea as you can get in the UK!) as well as meeting Nanny Fran’s friends and visiting her Great-Grandma.

The journey back home was eventful too.  Lucinda had bought a rocking horse off ebay (for the grand total of £5.50) from a family in a village near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.  Conveniently this is not too far from our way home, so we decided to pick it up on the way back.  The transaction was smooth but as we left with the horse the call of the bladder and Éowyn’s feed, time beckoned and there was no welcoming hostelry on the horizon.  Sitting on a bench rocking a baby in a pushchair an elderly lady was the only person around to ask where the nearest pub or restaurant was.  ‘There isn’t one near”, she said and Lucinda returned to the car.  Before she had managed to climb back into the car to head home the lady called her back.  “I can’t see you without a cup of tea or the baby without her feed,” she insisted.  “Come back to my place.”  The lady was most insistent and it seemed as if it would offend not to take her up on her offer, so we did.

Her husband did not bat an eyelid that his wife had invited two strangers with a baby back to their house for a cup of tea and the chance to use the loo.  We sat with them for 90 minutes or so, drinking tea from china cups being forcefed kitkats while Éowyn nursed.  They were a lovely couple, so friendly and welcoming.  They were both approaching 90, yet scarcely looked over 70.  It was so uplifting to meet such kind people when there is such a barrage of depressing news in the media.  Marge and Len we tip our hats to you and only hope that we are enjoying life as much as you guys do now when the calendar reads 2060.

Today, saw another journey, this time south, for a rocking horse.  Yes Lucinda’s winning streak on ebay listed rocking horses extended to two (well Éowyn does mean ‘lover of horses’).  This one however was in Southampton and was actually a donkey.  In all fairness this second horse (donkey) will last her much longer and is much nicer (although don’t tell the frst one that!)  As we were down in deepest darkest Hampshire we decided that it would be nice to visit Lucinda’s friend Pam in Andover.  It was good catching up with Pam as we have not seen her for a while and to see her youngest daughter Zara who is growing up so fast.

Éowyn took another step in her development too, although not one under her control.  Finally she has teeth.  After what seems like an age her top two front teeth have cut through the gum and are growing well.  However, it is a little strange to see her with teeth after nine months with none.  Our little girl is growing up so fast!

Enjoy the new photos (and I have uploaded more of our wedding photos onto the Flickr pages too)

Peace and Love


Nine months old

It seems a while since I updated the blog, so apologies to all you regular readers.   The heatwave has left us and the weather has returned to a more expected British summer and Éowyn has settled into a really fun phase at the moment.  She is sleeping through the night (let’s hope that hasn’t jinxed it) and her teething has subsided once again, (still no teeth!)  Her separation anxiety has diminished somewhat.  Obviously she still likes to know where her parents are, but if there is someone entertaining her or she is engrossed in play then she is not quite as clingy until she realises that she is not sure where Mum and Dad have gone.   Will keep you all up to date with how that progresses.

There are some incidences in all of our lives when there seems to be something guiding our way, or looking out for us.  Some people regard it the hand of a deity, others: fate and others dismiss it entirely.  I’m not sure exactly what it is but when it happens I get a warm a fuzzy feeling inside, although that could be wind.  The latest example of this kind of coincidence, revolves around our choice of child minder.  As you may be aware, when Lucinda returns to work we will require a small amount of child care.  Unfortunately, as we both work shift patterns this will not be the same day every week and it seems that most nurseries/ child-minders only accept set days each week and we are only looking for around 4-6 days a month.

When Lucinda was a child she would quite often stay at her nanny Vera’s (after whom Éowyn takes her middle name).  Lucinda obviously enjoyed the attention that she would receive from her nan but also enjoyed playing with a girl, Jo who was a neighbour of Vera’s.  When nanny Vera passed away there was no reason for Lucinda to visit that part of Staines and a childhood friendship was lost.  Fast forward twenty-odd years and one of Lucinda’s friends, Liz, that we met through NCT is best friends with Jo.  Jo it turns out is a registered child-minder who maybe able to take Éowyn under her wing.

Liz’s son, James, was Baptised on 12th July and Jo, being a close friend of Liz, was there and so we had an opportunity to meet her.  Me for the first time and Lucinda for the first time since the early 1980’s!  Lucinda and Jo seemed to turn the clock back and were soon catching up on two decades of gossip.  Jo impressed us with her attitude to child-minding and the activities that she does with the kids in her care and she is exactly what we were looking for in a child-minder. So whether is is the finger of fate, nanny Vera keeping an eye on her great-granddaughter or just coincidence we have hopefully found the best answer to one of the major worries when returning to work, who is going to look after your child.

Lucinda and Jenny took Éowyn and Leo to Syon house to play in the Snakes and Ladders soft play area for children and toddlers.  Éowyn thoroughly enjoyed herself especially the ball pit and on the bouncy castle.  Fortunately as the schools had not yet broken for the summer holiday there was space each of the areas for the little ones to play safely.  I don’t think that this will be the case for the next few weeks, so I will have to wait until September until I can have a go!  As you can see from the photos, Éowyn did not want to leave, although it completely wore her out and she slept soundly that afternoon.

Éowyn took charge of her first vehicle.  While we were on holiday in Noss Mayo Lucinda won some Early Learning Centre vouchers and so we wanted to make good use of them.  Therefore after much deliberation we decided on the Smart Trike.  It will hopefully last her many years as it grows from a parent controlled fancy pushchair to a fully working pedal trike.  As you can see from the photos below she loves it and that first journey to Nan and Granddad’s is one that she will make many times on her trike.

Monday marked our second wedding anniversary.  Unfortunately I was working but Lucinda and Éowyn paid me a visit and we went for lunch, but not before the girls in the office got to play with ÉowynÉowyn was a little wary, if not scared, at first.  This was understandable as it has been many months since she last came to mediahouse and she has become more aware of her surroundings since then.  However, after a short time of hiding on daddy she soon was entertaining the girls and demonstrating her many talents.  We will endeavour not to leave it quite as long next time.

Please enjoy the new photos both below and on Flickr.

Peace and love

Halfway through the year

And so another month passes us by; it is amazing how quickly this year is going.  However, for the first time in a couple of years we are getting a summer of sorts, which makes it a little more palatable. Yes, for the first time since September 2006 we have had temperatures over 30°C.  I was a little amazed when I heard that, especially with the media driven ‘science’ of anthropogenic global warming and ‘carbon pollution’.  I’m not going to start bemoaning the level of science in the media and egotistical nature of our species in general but when the government start issuing heatwave warnings, telling people that 30°C is hot and they should put suntan lotion on and drink plenty of water I begin to worry about the world that Éowyn will find herself growing up in.

Lucinda’s meeting with work regarding her return appeared to go rather well.  She put forward the hours that she would like when she returns and seemingly, that is possible.  We wait confirmation but all looks good at the moment.  It will mean that we will only need childcare 4-6 days a month when makes it more than financially viable for Lucinda to return to work and re-enter the world of adults (whether she wants to or not).

It appears that Lucinda is not the only one thinking about returning to work and for some of her friends that date is rapidly approaching whether they are ready or not.  It must be a massive culture shock and all in the space of a little under a year.  Your career is one of the parameters that people tend to use to define you and indeed, we define ourselves thus; for that to change, to ‘mother’ and back again tends to put it in some kind of perspective.

Éowyn is going through a couple of phases of development at the moment, some of which are not pleasant.   She is constantly standing and cruising about the furniture.  We think that this is fantastic but it is amazing how far her little arms can stretch and we are finding that more and more has to be moved to higher shelves.  She delights in knocking over the Duplo structures that her parents build.  I love playing with Lego and it gives me a great excuse to sit on the floor building whatever the limited variety of bricks, my engineering skills and my imagination allow.  They don’t usually last very long though and she will quite often demolish them before the full design is realised.  She has also learnt to wave goodbye, which is very cute, especially when she wants someone to leave and begins to wave goodbye to them: not very subtle our child.  But funny!

With every positive, there must be a negative and she is currently exhibiting a couple of frustrating aspects.  Changing her nappy or getting her dressed is becoming more and more of a struggle and more often than not full-scale war.  It does not help to know that it is perfectly normal especially since she is too young to reason (or bribe) to stay still.  She has also begun to start waking up in the middle of the night again.  We at first thought that it was due to the heat, we were struggling ourselves and it must be harder when you have no understanding why it is so uncomfortable.  However, we now think that some of it is related to her teeth and the top front teeth seem very close to breaking through the gums.  Again, the tag-team combination of bonjela and calpol have been our friends.  The worst of the trio of bad habits is her recently developed ‘Separation Anxiety’.  Again knowing it is a normal stage doesn’t help when she become almost inconsolably apoplectic.  Hopefully she will soon grow out of it otherwise it will make it difficult for Lucinda and I to have any time for ourselves as leaving her with a childminder or at nursery would be a nightmare.

Tuesday saw a visit from our friend Alistair.  As you may recall Alistair was the first man to buy her a meal and knowing what a lady likes this time he bought Éowyn a dress.  The plan was to go for a walk along the Thames and finish at a pub (as all good walks should) and a nice pub lunch.  However, the weather was so hot, and all four of us have pale Celtic skin, we decided to forego the walk (and we didn’t need the government to tell us that!) and head straight for the pub.  A good time was had by all.

This has been my short week so I only worked on Wednesday and Thursday, which means I get to see a lot of both my wife and Éowyn.  Friday morning, Lucinda and her mom went shopping leaving Éowyn with me to have some father and daughter time.   I’m not sure who enjoys that time the most!  It will be good practise for when Lucinda goes back to work and I take on more of the childcare, and not just the fun aspects of building Duplo towers and splashing in the paddling pool.

The number of photos taken recently is slowly declining but here are a selection for you to enjoy.

Peace and Love