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




Sleeping’s for wimps!

Welcome to the first post-paternity leave update.  Yes, I am back in the adult word with responsibilities to my employers as well as to the family.  So as many of you are taking time off at Easter to be with your families I am somewhat contradictorily returning from time off work.  Perhaps Ezra has sensed this change in circumstances for he, too has decided to change his circumstances.  For the first two weeks of his life he was unbelievable as a baby.  He would feed and then sleep.  Wake when he was hungry, maybe cry a little and then feed and go back to sleep.  Obviously there would be the regular effect of all that food and he certainly doesn’t like his nappy changed with his bits all on show.  However apart from that he was an almost ideal baby.  Then it changed.

For a week he didn’t sleep.  He fed, he cried and he pooped and that was all he did for nearly a week.  I think if it wasn’t for Nanny Fran Lucinda definitely, and me, probably, would have been in a complete state since I was trying to get back in the working mentality and Lucinda would have had both girls and Ezra to look after on mere snatches of sleep.  Not conducive to keep yourself compos mentis or to be in charge of small children.

So what caused Ezra’s sleepless nights?  It is hard to track down.  He wasn’t ill.  It went on a little too long to be something that Lucinda had eaten.  We are putting it down to a development leap, he was possibly becoming more aware of his surroundings and so his brain was trying to process all this new information.  According to the Wonder Weeks website this was a little too early but if we ignore this little oversight then it seems to tie in quite well.  One thought that did pass through our heads was whether he was developing Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance like his sister.  Therefore we decided that we would take him to get him weighed at the next clinic to ensure he was putting on weight at the expecting rate.

While we were struggling with Ezra alone where were Éowyn and Amélie?  There were 120 miles north-west in West Bromwich at Nanny Fran’s.  Yes, Nanny Fran had offered to look after the girls for the first week of the Easter holidays and we jumped at the offer.  This would tie in with my first week back at work and so, the theory went, Lucinda could get into a routine with Ezra alone before trying to get into a routine with all three children.  As you can guess that idea didn’t quite go to plan but nevertheless was very convenient.

We drove up to West Bromwich in the S-Max, its first proper outing and the first time that we could use the in-car DVD in anger.  Ezra was very good in the car (as were Éowyn and Amélie) and we soon arrived at Nanny Fran’s.  As I have mentioned before Éowyn and Amélie love to go to Nanny Fran’s and this time was no different, they were very excited for nearly a week before the journey.  I am sure that Ezra will be no different when he grows up.  Indeed he realised that he was somewhere different and you could see him looking around and trying to make some sense of the new place.  As a baby’s eyesight isn’t that great it is possible that it is new smells that he is reacting to but whatever it was he definitely knew he was somewhere different and he was quite happy to be there.

This was Ezra’s first trip to West Bromwich, in fairness it was his first proper journey of any note.  News of his trip spread and even though we were only there for a few hours he had a number of visitors who came over to see him.  He also made a visit to his Great-Grandma.  It was the day after her 90th birthday and so there was a double reason to visit.  Great-Grandma managed to have an extended cuddle with her first Great-Grandson and Ezra was very good just lying there in her arms relaxed in his oldest relative’s embrace.

After a meal and a couple more visitors Lucinda and I then headed back home leaving our oldest children with Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz.  So while Lucinda was struggling with no sleep and I was struggling with very little sleep and getting back into work, what did Éowyn and Amélie get up to?

If you ask Éowyn then the answer would be nothing.  It is always nothing as I have mentioned before, but the photos paint a different story.   Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz spoilt them rotten (as a Nan and Auntie should).  They went to a couple of soft play areas, the West Midlands Safari Park and Auntie Liz took Éowyn to the cinema to see her first 3D film (Finding Nemo).

They were both very well behaved (well they were at Nanny Fran’s so they had no choice!) and came back with some goodies and had but one question:  When could they go back to Nanny Frans.

So before I leave you (with a good selection of photos) is Ezra Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerant?  While I took Éowyn to the cinema to see her second film of the week (The Croods – in 2D, none of that 3D nonsense for me) Lucinda went to find out.  Well if his current weight gain is anything to go by, no!  Tuesday morning is the Baby Weigh-in clinic and so Lucinda (and Amélie) took Ezra for the first time.  His last weigh-in was two weeks ago and so we were quite interested to find out how much he had put on.  We were not prepared for the answer.  The little bruiser now weighs 4.97kg (10lb 15oz).  He has put on over two pounds (just short of a kilogram) in less than 4 weeks and now sits on the 91st centile.  That’s my boy!

Please enjoy the photos below and don’t forget the photos on Flickr

Peace and love



Drip, drip, drop, little April Shower

After the glorious weather that greeted the end of March and the subsequent hose pipe bad that has been imposed on our corner of the world, the climate gods have once again shown their sense of irony and since that hose pipe ban has come into force it has rained everyday.  However, it is something us Bagnalls are used to and it does not stop us enjoying ourselves.

Since football stops for ne’er a bank holiday and indeed doth seem to multiple about these days I found myself working the Easter weekend.  However as those days are given in law to us UK citizens I moved them to the following weekend and ended up with a belated Easter at home with the family, beginning on the second Friday 13th of the year!  No sufferers of friggatriskaidekaphobia in this household, which is fortunate for there is one more left before the end of the year (in July if you are at all worried!).

Éowyn had been asking to visit the cinema again after her first visit back in February.  Aardman animations new feature length film: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! was playing the local picturehouse and she has seen the trailer and liked the look of it and I had seen the trailer and liked the looked of it and so the decision was easily made.  So 09:00 on Friday 13th April we headed off to Staines, a bag of pick ‘n’ mix and smuggled bottle of Fruit Shoot, two tickets and £17 lighter we took our seats.  Even though it was the end of the Easter school holidays there were but 15 people in the entire theatre.  I thoroughly enjoyed the film, for most of the jokes were aimed at the adults but Éowyn I think struggled with some of it and was a little scared at some of the scenes.  Although in fairness she is like that with films she knows well.  When I asked her about the film afterwards she did enjoy it and had followed the story throughout (and I always ask her to tell me the story of the films that we see so that it encourages her to remember the story and understand what was going on and why the characters did what they did – I am an evil father sometimes but I do think that there is learning to be had from every experience and by encouraging thought and asking questions is something we should all be encouraged to do).

After the cinema we met up with Lucinda and Amélie and booked our family holiday, an all inclusive resort in Tenerife.  Neither of us have been to Tenerife and the resort looked very child friendly and for the next few years that is what we will be looking for.  Although I am not really the kind of person that enjoys just sitting by the pool with a book, I like to be out and about exploring (although with my new Kindle 4 perhaps I will learn to appreciate the rest) and Tenerife seems to have a number of enticing venues, including the world’s third largest volcano.  Come back in a few months for our holiday report.

So that was day one of our belated Easter Weekend.  Day two was no less exciting.  Last year we discovered the delights of having a Merlin Pass and the fact that they can be purchased with Tesco vouchers.  Last year’s pass ran out on Easter week and so renewed.  Éowyn’s cousins also have done the same and they had planned a visit to Chessington World of Adventures so we thought that was an ideal time to renew the passes and meet up with the family.

Coincidentally Chessington was the venue to obtain last year’s tickets but on that visit we will a little disappointed and thought that there was nothing for Éowyn to go on.  Which at the time was probably true.  However, one year on and there seemed to be a lot more choice for our three year old.  Obviously the older cousins went on a lot of the bigger rides but we all piled on (even Amélie) to the ‘BubbleWorks‘ disappointing for its lack of bubbles but everyone seemed to enjoy it, all except Amélie who clinged on to Lucinda for dear life throughout the ride.  However, both chidldren (and Lucinda) thoroughly enjoyed the Madagascar live show, in fact Amélie tried to get on stage with them!

We decided to take it easy on the Sunday as both kids (and both adults) were a little knackered after two busy days, plus Lucinda was back at work on the Monday morning.  Monday was an inset day and so instead of going to school it was an Éowyn and Daddy day for Amélie was already booked in at Jo’s.  As the morning started with bright sunshine and the promise of a good day we decided to use the Merlin Passes for the second time in three days and headed to our local theme park: Legoland.  Legoland is by far the best of the attractions for Éowyn (and Amélie’s) age range with most of the rides suitable for them.  We arrived at Legoland as it opened and headed straight for the Atlantis ride as we know that is one of the most popular.  Indeed arriving so early was great we had queued and rode on 5 of the rides before noon just as Éowyn started to get grumpy because she was tired.  Most of them were rides that she had been on before and enjoyed but because we were so early we managed to go on a new ride that she thought was fantastic which was the mini driving school known as L-Drivers.  Aimed at three to five year olds L-Drivers allows the smaller children little electric cars which they operate and drive around a circular track (not quite NASCAR!).  At the end of the session they are awarded with their own little driving licence.  She loved it and I have to say after an initial difficulty controlling the car was excellent including one incident when she had to take evasion action as the cars in front crashed.

As we were leaving the park we bumped into a colleague who was just arriving with his son.  The beauty of living around the corner from a major attaction and having a Merlin Pass, we were quite satisfied to leave when Éowyn got tired rather than attempting to get our money’s worth.  Unfortunately Éowyn was being particularly grumpy to say hello to Tim, Gill and Harrison and they were getting on the funicular train known as the Hill Train as we were getting off, so it was a quick hello, goodbye and then off to MacDonalds for a naughty lunch for us.

Amélie is still swiper in disguise, her major achievement was hiding Lucinda’s keys which took the best part of a morning to find (thank’s Éowyn!).  She also still has her Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance.  We went to see the dietician for her six monthly check up and share our findings.  As we suspected she still is showing signs of intolerance but can handle cooked milk (in the form of biscuits).  She said not to challenge for a few months as we need to give her body time to grow out of the intolerance, however to wean her off her neocate as her diet sounded like it was giving her all the nutrients that she needed.  However if we wanted to replaced the milk in her diet that Alpro now do a soya milk fortified with vitamins formulated for toddlers and that they recommend it for children such as Amélie with Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance.  So, as we were parked in the Tesco car park we headed straight into the supermarket to buy some for her and try her with it.  We’ll let you know how we (or more strictly: she) get(s) on with it.  Our next appointment isn’t until the end of October but it would be a nice 2nd birthday present for Amélie if she has grown out of it by then.  Maybe she could have a chocolate birthday cake!

We have to say a belated Happy Birthday to Nanny Fran for last Friday.  Unfortunately as I was so busy at work we were unable to pop up and see her but hopefully that will change next weekend and we can wish her a happy belated birthday in person.

So a busy family week comes to an end with the promise of a busy couple of weeks at work as the football seasons (yes seasons) draw to their traditional May conclusions.  West Brom are safe with the possibility of a top half finish and Wolves already have been relegated so a successful season as far as I am concerned.

Love and Peace