Night Terrors and a change in employment

Updates are somewhat like buses you wait for three weeks for one to come along and then two appear in a week.  What has spurred this productivity?  A week off that’s what: using the remainder of last year’s annual leave entitlement.  Although we haven’t done half of what we have planned to do, but nevertheless it has been an eventful week.

Regular readers of this website will recall how 2013 was one of the most eventful years for this enclave of the Bagnall family. Most years have big events: births, deaths, marriages, holidays, big birthdays, and house moves but 2013 had them all.  However there was one obvious large event that was missing: a new job.  My company did relocate, and then the week before Christmas was sold to William Morris Endeavor, but my job did not change per se.  2014, however has decided to complete the full house.  Before my colleagues cry out in uproar that I have not told them that after 18 years I am leaving IMG, it is not I.

Lucinda has worked for Air Canada for nearly as long as I have worked for IMG, 16 years in total (although with three years of maternity leave only actually worked there for 13 years – I will duck to avoid the right hook now) and she was looking forward to going back after this maternity leave had ended.  Her return date was/is the 2nd April and she received her line (and therefore the days she was due to work – although not the shifts) for the year last week so this week were going to sit down and try to plan our joint leave for the remainder of the year (something one has to do when one has small children).  Somehow we hadn’t gotten around to finding time to do it but now those plans are a little up in the air.

A text message from one of Lucinda’s friends and colleagues from Air Canada alerted Lucinda to the news.  The new Terminal 2 of Heathrow airport is due to open in 2014 and Air Canada is one of the airlines that will be moving to this state of the art terminal.  Lucinda was fully aware of this and her return from maternity leave would have given her a couple of months to get back into the swing of work before the move.  Now that is up in the air (no pun intended).  Air Canada will not be moving.  Actually that is not true.  Air Canada will be moving but Air Canada will/may not have any Heathrow representatives.  Air Canada has decided that London staffing is an unnecessary expense and are handing over ground control to the handling agency ASIG.

What this actually means for Heathrow’s Air Canada staff is still a little confused, for apparently it is not a done deal but a meeting with staff did nothing to allay their fears.  Lucinda is obviously concerned,  job share works so much better for us than part time work and the perks (staff travel for instance) will be greatly missed.  We will have to see what happens and fear not we will keep you all in the loop.

The children are completely oblivious to this, as one would expect and life for them continues to be a big adventure.  However with all adventures there are scary moments and Amélie is of that age where her brain is beginning to appreciate the big wide world but still not developed enough to comprehend it (I still feel like that at the age of 40!).  This has manifested itself in a couple of ways over the last few weeks.  Just after Christmas Lucinda took Éowyn to see Disney’s new film ‘Frozen’.  Amélie is probably approaching the age to go to the cinema for the first time but we didn’t think we would start with this film.   Éowyn thoroughly enjoyed the film (she loves going to the cinema) and related the storyline to myself and Amélie.

Now if you are going to watch the film and don’t want to know anything about it I would skip the remainder of this paragraph now as there is a spoiler alert on the way:  Part of the story involves the protagonist’s parents going to sea in a boat.  The boat hits a storm and is sunk with the loss of all onboard.  As the parents are also the King and Queen of the country it means that the protagonist becomes the queen of the country.  This must have been playing on Amélie’s mind for one afternoon she came up to us quite earnestly and said, ‘Mommy, Daddy please don’t go to sea in a boat.  I don’t want you to die.‘  Touched we assured her that we wouldn’t and gave her a great big hug.  This touching moment was spoilt by Éowyn replying, ‘No, I want you to go to sea in a boat, then I will be Queen!‘  We did have to point out the flaw in her plan:  Lucinda and I are not a King and Queen and so she wouldn’t become Queen.  I think we are safe – for the moment.

The second manifestation of Amélie’s growing awareness is happening at night.  Amélie has had a couple of episodes of Night Terrors.  Night Terrors are very different to nightmares and in some ways a little more frightening for the parents.  Nightmares are bad dreams and occur during REM sleep, Night Terrors usually occur in the first couple of hours of sleep during the transition between one sleep phase and another, and so it was for Amélie.  Three times in five nights about 2.5 hours after falling asleep, she sat bolt upright in bed screaming.  The first (and subsequent times) time we ran upstairs to find her completely disoriented and dripping with sweat.  Not sure what to do I picked up to cuddle her, but to no avail she didn’t seem to be awake and wasn’t being comforted by a cuddle.  After about five or ten minutes (although it seemed far longer) she calmed if a little confused as to why she was not in bed.  Her nightclothes were sodden so we changed her and it was as if nothing had happened, no memory of what had just happened.  She just got back into bed and went to sleep without too much effort.

So what makes this a night terror and not a nightmare?  The last part of that paragraph, Amélie had no recollection of the night terror.  Night terrors do not occur in REM or ‘dream’ sleep and so there are no visions to recall.  She simply stopped having the night terror and, once dressed in fresh pyjamas, got back into bed as if nothing had happened.  With a nightmare the visions seem real and it takes a while to calm your child down and allay those fears.  After the rush of night terrors we have not had one for a few days so we will see if it was a short-lived episode or whether we need to consider changing her bedtime routine to try to prevent them.  They do not seem to have bothered Amélie, especially as she doesn’t recall them, but they are certainly disturbing for Lucinda and I.

No such problems with Éowyn at the moment.  Indeed, apart from, what is becoming an unhealthy, obsession with graveyards and little boisterousness she is being well-behaved at the moment.  Her reading and writing is coming along in leaps and bounds and seems to enjoy both.  She is growing into the big sister role although she doesn’t realise her strength and how much bigger she is that either Amélie or Ezra.  She is, however, learning that she doesn’t always have to win.  Usually when she has a race with Amélie she will win quite easily (she is two years older that her sibling), recently she has been letting Amélie win, which is a big step in her growing maturity.

Ezra, too, is maturing at a steady pace.  He now spends a lot on his time on his legs, leaning against whatever will support his weight.  Mainly to see how far his little hands can reach and what delights they can find.  If he is leaning against you and you are ignoring him (for instance you are on the ‘phone) he will bite you to get your attention.  He knows it is wrong because he looks at you as if you say, ‘Well, you were ignoring me!

Sometimes those hands come back with a great treasure.  Lucinda hosted her first little coffee morning in our new home last week and had the obligatory cakes and biscuits on the coffee table (as one does).  While her attention was distracted with conversation Ezra pulled himself to his feet and reached out those little hands of his. Imagine his delight when they came back with a most delightful treasure: A shortbread biscuit.  He quickly realised he had a mighty treasure and headed off to eat it in secret.  By the time Lucinda had realised what was going on, he had already eaten most of it and sat there with a big satisfied smile on his face.

To end the week, and take advantage of one of the few weekends I have been able to spend with Éowyn since she started school in September we headed out on an Adventure.  Painshill Park in Surrey was the destination.  Just inside the M25 and off the A3 it is only a short car journey from Staines-Upon-Thames, however neither Lucinda or I had even been there.  Our interest in Painshill Park had been piqued by the re-opening of the now fully restored Crystal Grotto.  We had sold the trip to the girls as a fairy cave and we were going to look for fairies, with the proviso that fairies are very shy and will only show themselves on rare occasions.  For whatever reason however they were not interested and the beauty of the folly (indeed the gardens as a whole) was lost on them.  Lucinda and I, however, were impressed with Painshill Park (and definitely the Crystal Grotto), even if it was a little pricey to enter.  We may have to have a return visit when the weather is a little brighter and the water level has dropped enough so that the grotto isn’t lit with temporary lighting and the mirror water pool is actually clear rather than the cloudy puddle it was last weekend.  I even think that the girls will enjoy it next time.

We left Painshill Park just as the storm clouds were gathering and arrived home just as an intense thunderstorm hit.  We watched from the comfort of our own home as the sky turned black and rain so heavy that it was hard to see across the street fell on our little corner of England.  The storm was heavy in Staines but at least we didn’t get hit by lightning or a tornado!  That would have been an adventure.

My week off work is now at and end and so I will leave you with some of the latest photos and don’t expect an update anytime soon.

Peace and Love




Welcome to 2014

As we teeter on the edge of (OK, toppled headlong into) a new year (a new year that will see Lucinda and I celebrate a decade together) it is traditional to look back on the year just gone and look forward to the next.  What a year 2013 has been!  Probably the single most eventful year we have known as a family.  Yes, other years have had big events: births, deaths, marriages, holidays, big birthdays, house moves and new jobs but this year has definitely has had them all (apart from the new jobs! – although work did relocate; does that count?)

At the start of 2013 I made some predictions of what we were expecting to look forward to this year and it was already looking busy; not only did they all come to fruition, fate threw a few more in for good measure.  Hence why this site has seen a record-breaking number of updates and a record number of visits, well I do have to keep you all informed don’t I?  And seemingly you are interested.  Or is it just the photos?

So what were the big events of 2013 and what have we learnt?

Obviously the biggest event of the Bagnall year was the birth of our third child and first son.  Ezra John (named after his Grandfathers) was born a week before my 40th birthday.  Now whether it is because he is a boy; or whether it is because he is a third child or whether simply it is because every child is different but he seems to be far more relaxed than either of his sisters.  Amélie had an excuse with her Milk Protein intolerance and we probably spoilt Éowyn, especially initially as we were learning to be parents (and still are!), but he has been the easiest to get to sleep, he cries the least and apart from an aversion to lumpy food has not shown any dislike to his meals.  And although it is a new skill for Lucinda and I to master, juggling the needs of three children, the most important detail is that all three of them are healthy.  Even Amélie’s milk protein intolerance has seemingly lessened.

So with three children our home in Stanwell Moor finally felt a little on the small side.  Thus we decided to make the tough decision to leave the moor, the village that Lucinda has lived all her life!  It did not take us too long to find a house that we both liked.  However the course of house buying ne’er runs smooth.  So let me give you a précis:

Found house made offer – offer rejected; Vendors found house so offered house at a lower price if we could proceed – we can’t proceed as we had no buyer;  We found buyers but so did our vendors and their new buyers offered more that we could afford – we proceeded with our sale; The new buyers chain began to fail so we offered an improved offer (though lower than the other buyers) – the vendors decided to proceed with us.

So far so good – then the twist began.  The government formed an Airports Commission to look into the requirements for expanding capacity at the UK airports and invited proposals from interested parties.  BAA operate Heathrow Airport and one (two) of their three (four) proposals for the expansion of the UK’s busiest airports involved the building of a third (fourth) runway over the village of Stanwell Moor.  This puts a bit of a dampener over the future of a new home and hence our buyers pulled out.

This left us with a dilemma: go back to square one, find a new buyer that didn’t care that their house may not be there in the near future or find a third alternative.  The third alternative was found and now we are the proud owners of a new house and landlords (with tenants!) of our old house.  That certainly wasn’t the plan at the start of 2013 but as we enter 2014 that is where we are.  Will we still be there in 2015?  More than probably, indeed we plan to be in our current abode until we retire and move to the seaside!

Both of those changes to Bagnall family life eclipse the other differences the year has brought: a new car (our 7 seater Ford S-Max) and a new place of work (same company just different premises).

It has been a very important year in the life of our oldest child.  Éowyn not only had the upheaval of moving home (and we kept both Éowyn and Amélie across the notion of moving from the onset including taking them around the house and asking if they liked it and which room they would like as their bedroom) but she also started full-time education.  It was confirmed in mid-april that Éowyn would be going to our first choice school, a decision that was fraught with conflicting emotions.  On one hand, it is a well equipped school, with a new head with lots of new ideas and has had a recent injection of cash; on the other it has a bad reputation and is now far from our new home.

The decision has been made and although we and not too obstinate that we would not consider moving Éowyn at the moment she is loving school.  She loves her teacher Miss Finbow, she has a new best friend and most important of all she is learning.  Her reading and writing is coming along in leaps and bounds and we, as parents, are actively encouraged to help as she gets homework twice a week.

2013 was a big year in Amélie’s development too.  Amélie started pre-school at a private nursery on the grounds of Éowyn’s school (makes dropping off so much easier – and a consideration if we are ever to move schools).  After a bumpy start and lots of tears (Éowyn was the same if you recall) she now runs down the path to school and sometimes forgets to give her dad a kiss before running into the classroom.  It is comforting to know that both of our children enjoy their respective places of education especially with Lucinda returning to work.  We just need to find somewhere for Ezra to spend those days.

2013 also reminded us of the circle of life.  At the beginning of the year we welcomed Ezra into our family and at the end of the year we said goodbye to my Nan.  She was the last of her generation and although she had been ill for a long time her passing was still a shock and obviously upsetting.  The comfort that we have is that she met her first Great-Grandson, that her close family were there in her final hours and her suffering is no more.  She has left us some great memories, more than a handful of quirks and a wardrobe of knitted jumpers!  Sleep well Nan.

One prediction that disappointingly didn’t come to pass was comet ISON.  Even in the days leading up to its perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) we were hoping for a spectacular astronomical display with possibly the brightest comet for a generation.  Unfortunately like an empyrean Icarus it flew too close to the sun and was destroyed and thus became possibly the only disappointment that 2013 brought.

So, all things considered, 2013 was a good year that brought many changes to this enclave of the Bagnall name.  (And I didn’t even mention the fact that both Lucinda and I celebrated our 40th birthdays!)  Hopefully after such a busy year you will find it in your hearts to forgive us if we hope for a quieter 2014.  Life will change to a new pattern in April when Lucinda returns to work but whatever else happens will be a surprise since the only other plan we have is to finally unpack all our boxes and settle into our new home.  I leave you with this toast to the coming year:

Here’s to the bright New Year
And a fond farewell to the old;
Here’s to the things that are yet to come
And to the memories that we hold.

Peace and Love


PS If you are into your geeky stats then this page is for you (click here).  Also, I have updated a few things in the background which shouldn’t affect you, my dear readers, but you will notice a couple of new widgets in the sidebar to the right.  So in addition to seeing the last three update titles and the current favourites there is a form to subscribe to the website so that you will receive an e-mail whenever there is an update.

The Bagnall Family - Christmas Tree Decoration
The Bagnall Family – Christmas Tree Decoration

Christmas in our new home

Christmas is over and I trust that the festive period has been good to you.  After a hectic year we were determined to make this a good Christmas.  The tenth Christmas that Lucinda and I have celebrated together and the first in our new home is reason enough for it to be a good Christmas.  Add to the mix that it was our first Christmas as a family of five and we were truly blessed.  The fact that Lucinda’s parents were cooking Christmas dinner and that neither Lucinda or I were working (we both work in industries where that is a possibility) added to the fact that this was a good year. The only black cloud on the horizon was the fact that I had to work on Boxing Day (there were 10 Premier League games scheduled), but that was a minor blip.

Football stops not for man nor beast and indeed the Christmas period is one of the most hectic periods for Premier League football and the remainder of the English Football League.  Hence the 10 days to a fortnight that many of you enjoy does not apply to me or my teams at IMG.  However, I was fortunate that I had both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off and the 27th December.  So a little semblance of normality could descend upon the Bagnall household for those days.

One of the Bagnall Christmas traditions is to create a Christmas bauble at Genevieve’s in Englefield Green.  This started when Éowyn was a baby with a simple handprint and each year since we have created a bauble with a hand print of each of the children.  This year though Éowyn asked if she could design her own, to which we agreed.  Not sure what we were going to get we let her loose with the paints.  We were very surprised when she decided that she would paint mommy.  It was brilliant, we were very proud of her.  However there was a pang of guilt in our first born and she conspired along with mommy to go back to Genevieve’s and make one of daddy as a surprise for me.  It was extremely thoughtful and again brilliantly executed.  These will now always have pride of place on our tree (there is a photo below).

Friday night is movie night in the Bagnall household and the girls take it in turns to choose a DVD to watch.  The Friday before Christmas we decided to invite Emma’s (our new neighbour and friend from NCT) kids over to give her a bit of a break and to repay her for the help she has given us over the last month or so.  Five children (and I) sat down to watch Arthur Christmas (very good by the way, thoroughly recommend it) for the last movie night of the year.  They were all very well behaved and it made us all feel Christmassy putting us in the mood for the yule.

The weather wasn’t exactly Christmassy, indeed the strong wind and heavy rains have spoilt many Christmasses around the country.  We got off lightly with the only damage a couple of fence panels that have blown down.  Fortunately the fence is our neighbour’s responsibility and so we will have a chat with them after the Christmas period about the repair – there is no rush.

Lucinda’s parents were cooking Christmas Dinner so we decided that we would do our first bit of entertaining in Bagnall manor by inviting the Cathrall Clan to our house for a pre-Christmas buffet on Christmas Eve.  Before our guests arrived we need to complete a little bit of shopping.  Not for that much food (Lucinda had completed the food shop a couple days previously, with only the perishables to be bought) but for a couple of last minute presents.  The most important being a Barbie Mariposa doll that Éowyn had asked Santa for a week or so ago but had only let her parents know the weekend before Christmas.  Obviously she had told the most important person but it would have been nice for us to be aware of what Santa needed to provide, hence a slight detour into Staines on Christmas Eve morning to ease Santa’s burden by picking up the reserved doll that was sold out across the area.

So with the final presents, spare lightbulbs, fresh bread and the Christmas Radio Times bought, it was time to prepare the meal.  Thankfully it was a minimum amount of cooking, just preparation.  It was good to test the entertainment potential of the house and it was the first time that Lucinda’s brother Steve and his family had visited.  The difference in size between our old house and our new home was ably demonstrated by the fact that it didn’t feel at all crowded with 8 adults and 7 children where it would have been standing room only in Stanwell Moor.

The girls were excited as ever playing with their cousins and showing them their new home and their toys, and we let them stay up late to play.  We allowed them to open their presents from Uncle Steve and Auntie Zoe since they would not be at Lucinda’s parents on Christmas day.  So the pre-Christmas came to a close and after the girls had been put to bed and we had tidied up we eventually crept into bed at 00:30, fearing an early morning wake up call.  Fortunately the previous day’s excitement had obviously worn them out and they did not surface until 08:00.  Amélie was the first to wake (as usual) but had just come into our room without checking to see if Santa had been.  It was the encouragement from us and Amélie crashing about the room that had woke Éowyn up.

They were both unbelievably delighted that Santa had been and were jumping around the house and that was even before they opened their presents.  Imagine their faces when they realised that Santa not only had been but had brought them all the things that they had asked for, including the Barbie Mariposa Doll.  We had two very happy little girls and neither seemed too bothered that their brother didn’t seem to have a lot of presents to open.

As anyone with little children can testify, the packaging that modern toys are locked into requires a modicum of engineering knowledge and nerves of steel.  I was fully prepared this year with my trusted Leatherman on my belt (other multi-tool devices are available).  The knife, screwdriver and pliers were all useful at one stage or another to extricate various toys from razor sharp plastic, cable ties and a thicket of cardboard.

After persuading them to eat some breakfast and get dressed they played with their new toys (while Daddy built some of their other ones) until it was time to leave for Nanny and Granddad’s.  Nanny and Granddad were cooking Christmas Dinner for eleven: the Bagnalls, Lucinda’s brother Mike and his family and themselves.  After sating ourselves with traditional festive fare it was time for a third round of present opening.

After such an exciting day it was inevitable that the girls started to wane.  So after presents were opened and played with and the discarded wrapping paper readied for recycling all were herded into the car.  The journey between Lucinda’s parents and our home is less than 10 minutes but 2 of the 3 kids were asleep by the time we had pulled into the drive.  Only Éowyn managed to keep awake.

The following day is known as Boxing Day in the UK and is traditionally a big sporting day so as Head of Live Operations for the World’s largest independent sports production company I was to spend the day at work.  Lucinda and the kids were not to spend the day on their own.  Lucinda’s Auntie Sally and Uncle Bill had invited the family over for a Boxing Day buffet.  Unfortunately before I left for work I had to be ‘bad’ Daddy.

We have had an on-going battle with Éowyn sucking her thumb for comfort.  We have tried many things and none has yet worked and we are getting concerned that it is affecting her teeth so we have renewed our efforts to put a stop to it.  In the lead up to Christmas, we had threatened to call Santa and tell him, but after Christmas Éowyn thought that she could get away with it.  She was wrong.  She had promised me that she wouldn’t suck her thumb so to highlight the importance of a promise when she blatantly sucked her thumb on front of me, I told her that she had to give me something that was important to her.  She tried offering me chocolate or one of Amélie’s toys.  Clever, but not quite what I had in mind.  Eventually I got her to give me her favourite toy:  The Barbie Mariposa doll.  She was distraught and to be fair I felt really bad about taking it but if she is going to understand the importance of a promise and at the same time break a bad habit it had to be harsh and something that was important to her.

After five days she got the doll back (as she did not suck her thumb – even at night! – again).  She does know, however, that if she sucks her thumb again it will be 10 days of no thumb-sucking before it is returned; then the next time it will be 20 days and that will be her final chance.  After that she will lose her doll.  We have said that we will help her but she has to make the effort and that promises are important things.

It feels really bad to do that, especially at Christmas, but we have to break the habit and if we are to highlight the importance of a promise then when we promise to do something then we have to follow through too.  Doesn’t make one feel any better about taking your daughter’s favourite present off her.

With my work schedule leaving me with Friday 27th off it seemed an ideal opportunity to have a second (third) Christmas with Nanny Fran and Aunties Mary and Liz.  However, as that was my only day off I didn’t really want a round trip of 250 miles added to a hectic schedule.  Therefore Nanny Fran came down and took advantage of the bigger house and stayed overnight heading back Saturday afternoon.

The girls were over excited as usual when their Bagnall relatives came down, mainly I think because they do not see them that often.  They were spoilt with presents once again and even seemed happy when they opened presents containing clothes.  However, they were more interested in Ezra’s presents.  Isn’t that the way it is always will be?

So with three very happy children and a new home built for entertaining Lucinda and I can happily say it was a very successful Christmas and we are looking forward to 2014.  I trust that you all had a great time over the yuletide and trust that you will all keep popping back for the latest updates in the Bagnall household.

Peace and Love