Post Olympic glow

It is only a short few hours before the Paralympics hopefully picks up from where the Olympics left off.  The whole of the UK still bathes in a post Olympic glow and not all down to the fact that it was our most successful games of the modern era (29 gold medals beaten only by our haul in the 1908 Olympics – also held in London) but the spirit that was generated by the whole event.  Even the football stars are trying to use the country’s love of all things Olympian to try and raise its, sometimes, tarnished reputation.  As a West Bromwich Albion fan I am very content that after 2 games of this season we are still undefeated.  Olympics or no Olympics that makes for some very happy Yam-Yams!

It is August, the football seasons have arrived and as usual i am manically busy at work.  Any regular readers to this blog and anyone that works with me will realise that August is a time when I get very little time for anything and so updates to the cyberworld are usually few and far between and days with my family are precious.  However, two days off around the August Bank Holiday, Amélie asleep, Éowyn playing in her room and Lucinda shopping I thought I would try and take the opportunity and give a little update on the life in the Bagnall household.

As mentioned in the previous update after 3 years, Jo our childminder has given us notice and on the 21st August 2012 she looked after the girls for the last time.  It is quite sad and it makes child care difficult as we have no true alternative, there may be lots of trips to Nanny and Granddad and Lucinda and myself taking days off work when possible.  The joys of ‘family-orientated policies’ of this and previous governments.  Nevertheless we will find a way, it will just require more advanced planning on our behalf.

Nanny and Granddad have spent the majority of the Summer with at least one, and on a number of occasions with all of their grandchildren playing at their house.  Although this must be a nightmare (in a nice way) for them – and they are truly knackered at the end of the day – it is fabulous for the girls for they get to spend a lot of time with their older cousins who genuinely enjoy playing with the two little ones, even if they can be a little bit of a handful at times.  I am sure that Nanny and Granddad enjoy it too and running after them all sure keeps them young and fit sometimes I am not sure how they do it I can be knackered after looking after just Éowyn and Amélie for the day.

Amélie has been worrying us a little of late.  As anyone with kids will recognise (and I am sure ours are no different to any others), kids tend to go through growth spurts.  That is, their growth pattern is not a constant rate but moreover a series of rapid growth spurts followed by a filling out.  It is almost as though they bulk out, then stretch and then bulk out again.  Amélie has just gone through one of these stages but during her growth spurt she seemed to lose and inordinate amount of weight and we were worried that there was something else.  It is something that we will speak to the dietician when we next see her, for we went to see the doctor and the doctor assured us that there was nothing seriously wrong but admitted that it was a specialist question and that she did not feel qualified enought to advise.  I think that is fair enough and since there was nothing seriously wrong and now that her growth spurt has ended she has begun to bulk out once again.

However, we have once again become really strict on removing all Cow’s Milk Protein from her diet to ensure that her intolerance wasn’t having any effect on the weight loss.  Obviously she doesn’t get any dairy products per se but Cow’s Milk Protein is used in many foods that one would never realise, such as flavoured crisps.  In our processed food world milk proteins can find their way into many foods and with one child that loves dairy food, inevitably there will be times when Amélie eats something meant for Éowyn.  Now Cow’s Milk Protein intolerance does not mean that she will go into shock or come out in hives, but it does cause her pain and discomfort and, without painting too graphic a picture, doesn’t make her nappies very pleasant.  A case in point was the other day when Amélie ate a yoghurt intended for ÉowynÉowyn who is acutely aware that Amélie shouldn’t have any dairy, got upset because a) Amélie had eaten her yoghurt and b) Amélie shouldn’t have yoghurt (except her own Soya yoghurts).  All was fine until the night when Amélie woke up screaming and I went into her and she hugged me tight saying ‘Daddy, it hurts.‘  Unfortunately there is nothing you can do except comfort her.  At least when we see the dietician we can categorically say that she still has the intolerance.

Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz came to stop with Auntie Mary for Bank Holiday weekend, unfortunately I was working on that Saturday and Sunday so Lucinda took Éowyn and Amélie to visit their Aunties and Nanny.  Although they were both very happy to see their Black Country relatives Éowyn was a little disappointed that her new best friend, Louise, wasn’t there.  It was while they were there that Amélie first used her new phrase.  She has been bouncing on the mini trampoline that Auntie Mary has and had fallen over.  Everyone laughed and she stood up, pointed her finger at them, stamped her feet and said: ‘It’s not funny!‘ Cue howls of laughter.  This has quickly become her new catchphrase and she keeps using it to the delight of everyone that hears it.

Although Éowyn’s new best friend, Louise, wasn’t at Auntie Mary’s, she does have a new best friend that she quite regularly sees.  You may recall that last year Éowyn had an imaginary friend called Sam that came with us on holiday to Kent.  He was quite a special friend as he could be small enough to fit on your thumb or be bigger than daddy depending on the day.  He spent around a month in her life and then nothing more was said.  A couple of months ago she acquired a new imaginary friend (or quasi-corporeal companion to give them their technical name) a brother (in her words) called Dizzy.  She and Dizzy spend a lot of time together and he often tells her things that they should be doing and apparently they go on lots of adventures together.  She hasn’t really described Dizzy too much and I haven’t pushed it too much as his appearances were very scant but now they are becoming more regular and she speaks of him several times a day I will delve a little more and see what I can find out about Dizzy.

Apologies for the lower than usual number of photos but as I am the photographer in the family (although a number of the photos below were taken by Éowyn and she seems to be following in Daddy’s footsteps) and I haven’t spent much time with the family then I do not have the breadth of photos to call upon.  Will try harder for next time.

Peace and Love



School’s out for Summer

A second write up in a week.  When I get the opportunity I am a fast worker!  The reason for this second write up is due the fact that last weekend I had managed to secure an extra long weekend off work and as this will be the last chance for an extended break from work until at least September (the joys of working for a sports-orientated television company!) so we squeezed in a number of trips.  Unfortunately the weather had not improved and so raincoats and wellies were still the order of the day.

The week started with an unpleasant trip to the doctors.  Éowyn needed her last set of pre-school inoculations.  As we did not know how she was going to react and the fact that she is a Daddy’s girl we decided that I would take her.  We prepared her for the experience as best as we could and promised her a present if she was a brave girl.  Last Tuesday I took her into the nurse’s office and Éowyn walked in all bubbly and chatty, talking to the nurse.  Even though we had prepared her the best that we could I still think that she did not know what was going to happen.  She sat on my lap and the nurse gave her the first injection.  It was think she realised it was going to hurt.  Quickly before the shock could kick in, I turned her around and the nurse gave her the second.  Unfortunately, she tensed up and tried to move her arm which meant that it hurt more and bruised quite badly.  However, all was now over although that didn’t stop her becoming apoplectic for a couple of minutes.  Even stickers from the nurse didn’t help but she did talk to the nurse afterwards and even thanked her and amazingly all was forgotten by the time we got home and as soon as she saw her Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom Magical Playset then nothing mattered.  So she was a brave little soldier and deserved her present.

As I was off from Thursday to Tuesday we took full advantage and Thursday morning saw us heading down the M3 towards Peppa Pig World.  As regular readers will know this isn’t the first time we have been to Peppa Pig World but as Peppa Pig is now Amélie’s favourite television programme as much as Éowyn’s, and now Amélie is more self aware it was fun to see her reaction to the park, especially to the characters dressed as Peppa and George.  We managed to miss most of the wet weather although, as is the norm for this summer, the rain did begin just after lunch and so by 1400 we decided to head back home with two tired little girls.

Friday was the last day of Éowyn’s schoool year and as tradition dictates this was the time of end of year school concert.  Armed with video camera as well as the more usual stills camera we were actually more impressed with the children on Friday than at the Christmas concert at the end of Winter term.  Éowyn sung loudly and enthusiastically ans seemed to be thoroughly enjoying herself.  However we were disturbed to see just how many of Éowyn’s friends will be leaving for their first year at school proper.  Éowyn has another year and not only will she be one of the oldest in her year she will also tower above the others in the class, we will have to be very conscious of this advantage of physicality and she will need to learn to deal with this herself with our (and the teacher’s) help.

Since the concert ended at 1030 the rest of the day was ours, so we decided to take the girls to London.  As mentioned many times before we have Merlin passes, and one of the many attractions that one can use them on is the London Eye.  Unfortunately, by the time we arrived in London, the weather has turned cloudy and it was nearly lunchtime.  Rather than queueing up (the queue was quite large) we decided to grab some lunch.  The Merlin pass also gives you a discount of 20% on food at all the attractions and in the Rainforest Café.  So rather than taking the girls to the usual haunts we walked across Hungerford Bridge (from Waterloo train station), skirted along the side of Trafalgar Square through Leicester Square to Shaftesbury Avenue and the Rainforest Café.  The Rainforest Café lives up to its name with a jungle theme throughout the seating area and animatronic animals hiding in the bushes. Unfortunately the girls got a little freaked by the thunderstorm sound effects.  The irony of seeking shelter from the rain in the Rainforest Café was not lost upon us either.

Leaving the Rainforest Café we retraced our steps to the South Bank (of the River Thames) and the London Eye.  However the queue was now even longer and both girls were tired.  The weather was turning even worse and with the low cloud it would not be a good view from the Eye so we decided that we would simply return to Waterloo and catch the train back to Staines (Upon Thames – as it should now be called).  So it was a little unsuccessful as a trip, effectively we headed into London to have lunch and returned slightly soggy.  Still it was an adventure!

We spent most of the rest of the weekend in and around home.  I caught up with my friend Sanjiv who was over from India for 4 days (yes 4 days!) and his children.  It was good to see him but far too short a time although the India meal that we had was delicious.  Lucinda was working early on the Sunday so the girls and I stayed at home.  However it did give me some Daddy and daughter time with both of the girls.  the spectre of a busy August/September is looming so weekends like this are precious.  Éowyn is growing into a little girl (definitely leaving the toddler days behind her) and Amélie is aping her sister in so many ways (not all of them good).

An example of the above would be from Monday.  We decided to head to our local Toby Carvery for our evening meal.  En route we passed my friend’s (and one of my Best men) house and so phoned to ask if he wanted to join us, which he duly did.  We enjoyed our repast and were saying our goodbyes in the carpark (as the girls splashed in the puddles – the new summer sport!) Andy turned to return to his car.  I was buckling Éowyn into her car seat and said ‘Say goodbye to Andy.‘  Éowyn turned to a departing Andy and shouted out ‘Bye, bye Mr Poo-Poo Pants!‘ Have no idea where that came from and it is a phrase that she has not used before but it was such a shock that I didn’t hide my smirk.  Sensing this it encouraged her to say it again and turn to Amélie, ‘Say Poo-Poo Pants.‘  Which Amélie duly repeated.  Obviously it is something that we do not want to encourage but it is difficult to tell her off when you are trying to surpress a laugh!

All of us have managed to avoid the current crop of summer colds but poor Amélie has been suffering.  She had obviously eaten some milk protein and from her reaction over the last couple of days it is obvious that she still has her Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance, so no challenging for a little while methinks!

The 2012 Summer Olympics are nearly upon us and apparently the weather is going to improve dramatically (at least for the South East of England) in the next week and we may even see 30°C.  The Olympic lanes are coming into operation and I am not looking forward to the traffic chaos this will cause, fortunately the amount of traffic will drop as the schools are on holiday.

Before the Olympics begin though British sport has another hero to be proud of.  Bradley Wiggins became the first British winner of the Tour De France and amazingly fellow Londoner Chris Froome finished second and to complete the perfect end to the competition Mark Cavendish claimed his fourth final stage victory.  This took Mark Cavendish to the grand total of 23 stage wins past Lance Armstrong’s total of 22 into fifth place in the hall of fame a truly remarkable Tour for the British team.

It is amazing to think that 7 years ago it was confirmed that London was to host the Olympic games and now it is less than 7 days away it will be Christmas before you know it!  well actually if you are worried about your Christmas shopping you can already make a start as the Harrods’ Christmas shop is now open.

Peace and Love





A rainy Bank Holiday May Day

So after the wettest April in recorded history the drought continues and May doesn’t seem to be much of an improvement.  Indeed with the May Bank holiday looming we are living with the threat of ground frosts killing our spring plants.  Glad the Met Office predicted it all (not!) but at least they have updated their prediction for the next few months (apparently there is a great than average uncertainity, i.e. we don’t know!).

Work is still gearing up for its busiest period for me, the conclusion to all the football seasons and the inevitable last day of the season shenanigans.  Hence the lack of exciting trips and a dearth of photos to delight you with this time, hopefully as my busiest period comes to an end I can begin to spend a little more time with the family.

Work was in the way of seeing Nanny Fran for her birthday but not so the following weekend.  So although Lucinda was working until the afternoon the house was full of travelling Bagnalls, as Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz made their way down from West Bromwich and Auntie Mary across county from Woking.  Éowyn is always exciting when Nanny Fran and her Aunties visit and this was no exception.  She even tidied her toys away before they came.  I think as soon as Amélie comprehends the notion that people can plan a visit, (i.e. grasp the idea of the future) then she, too, will get over-excited at the proposal of a visit from Nanny Fran.  With Nanny Fran retiring at the end of the year then it is quite possible that those visitis will become more frequent.

Éowyn entertained her elder relatives with Amélie as support act.  Éowyn even let Auntie Liz plait her hair, something that she will not let Mommy or Daddy do, but it is Auntie Liz!  They also cheated Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz at snakes and ladders,  you have to watch them!

Amélie is going through one of those rapid learning phases.  A couple of weeks ago it seems that her vocabulary was limited to the usual half a dozen or so words, but that is rapidly increasing and it probably will not be long before she is constructing complex sentences, ‘Mater, pray tell your opinion on Boris Johnson retaining the Mayorship of London?‘  Perhaps not that complex.  The current favourite sentence (if you can call it that) is ‘Dad, dad, dad, dad: look!‘  Which is usually followed by her taking a large bite out of what ever she is eating and making a real show of finishing her mouthful. 

She has also begun to enjoy playing with Éowyn, not that Éowyn appreciated it all the time!  Although one game that they both enjoy playing is hide and seek.  Although Amélie’s notion of hiding is to stand by the wall and close her eyes and giggle when you find her.  When it is her turn to hide, she will stand there counting up to 10 (more of a long continuous word onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten than what strictly could be called counting) but with her hands over her mouth rather than over her eyes.  She then runs around giggling while trying to catch you.  She is very good at hide and seek, for an nineteen month old.

Amélie is also very good at eating her food and it is rare that she refuses food or doesn’t finish her meals – unlike her big sister at the moment.  We have been introducing her to the Alpro Soya Milk for Toddlers, mainly with her breakfast.  She doesn’t seem overkeen but neither is she rejecting it out of hand.  It is to be expected and the nutritionist has told us that even if she grows out of her Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance the chances are that she will never be that keen on milk or dairy products.  We just have to ensure that she gets her required calcium from other foods.

Éowyn is back at pre-school and seems to be enjoying herself.  We think she is really going to miss her friends at the start of next term when many of them going up into the infant school, while she has to wait another year.  One can understand why there is a cut off date but surely a staggered start to school would be better, Éowyn is only 6 weeks younger than some of the children that will be going to infant school in September and is equally on a par in terms of development to most (if not all) of the children that will be leaving.  We fear that there will be more displays of naughty behaviour as she will be bored and not challenged, however on the other hand it might do her good for I think she is part of a little gang.  Not that we think that she is being influenced by them, indeed on the contrary it wouldn’t surprise me that she is the ringleader and at the very least there is a lot of mutual influencing.  So breaking that little clique may be a very good thing.  We shall see.

She thoroughly enjoys herself there and I asked her the other days what is her favourite thing that she does at school.  ‘Dressing up,‘ she replied.  So what do you like dressing up as then I inquired. ‘A Unicorn,‘ came the surprising reply.  Although given her name maybe not that surprising.

I will leave you now to shelter from the May cold and perhaps leave you with a timely reminder of the old English proverb: ‘Cast ne’er a clout ’til May be out.’

Peace and Love