Where is this year’s snow?

So before we know it the mid-January hangover is upon us.  Christmas is a distant memory (apart from the collection of new toys strewn across the lounge floor) and Summer an eternity away.  Not that this Winter has been that hard, forecasts in the Autumn were indicating it was going to be a harsh winter, but hey weathermen and meteorologists have been wrong before.  The jetstream is sitting much further north than the last few years hence our winter (at least for the southern portion of the UK) has been much warmer than recent years, shame really as I enjoy a bit of snow.

So what has been happening in the Bagnall household in the first part of 2012.  Well it is a case of getting back into the old routines.  Éowyn now goes to school 3 times a week.  She has only be back at school for one week so it is hard to say exactly how she is coping with this.  Unfortunately, Lucinda’s work days fell mid-week on that week so not only did Dad have to take her to school each day, she was at Jo’s (the childminders) on one of the other days and we had to ask Lucinda’s dad to pick her up on two of the days.  Therefore she has not spent too much time with Lucinda this past week (which is unusual and I think she has missed her Mommy).  Éowyn loved being picked up by her Granddad because Lucinda’s dad has a flat bed truck and so, as three year old, it was one of the most exciting things that could have to have to ride home in the cab of Granddad’s truck (she probably will not think that in 10 years time!) and when we told her that on Friday that Lucinda would pick her up from school, she said, ‘Can Granddad pick me up in his truck?‘ which no doubt delighted Lucinda’s dad but is a bit of a kick in the teeth for Lucinda and me.

The main news though from the Bagnall household is the fact that Amélie has been discharged from the paediatrician.  As you know when she was first born she had severe reflux and wasn’t feeding correctly.  With hindsight it was probably part of the same problem: cow’s milk protein intolerance but at the time both aspects were being treated.  She therefore was given drugs to help lower her stomach acid and relax the stomach to help prevent reflux and she was tried with a variety of artifical milks until we hit upon Neocate (which she is still on).  The reflux went away but was that the drugs or was it the fact that her body wasn’t being poisoned with a chemical it couldn’t handle (the cow’s milk protein!).  The Cow’s milk intolerance is being treated under the supervision of a dietician while the reflux was treated under the supervision of the paediatrician.  As we suspected, it appears that the reflux wasn’t caused by any physical issues with Amélie’s digestive tract and was more than likely due to the intolerance.  However, we are extremely grateful that we were taken seriously and she was fully investigated and now given a clean bill of health.  We just have to hope that she grows out of the Cow’s milk protein intolerance, and we will be testing her for that again soon.  The intolerance has not made her a fussy eater though and she has quite a prodigious appetite, quite often eating more than her sister!

Amélie is still not walking unaided, however Nanny Fran bought her a pushchair for Christmas and she can motor along with that at a fair pace.  It is not just in straight lines either, if she wants to turn around or take a sharp left then she swings that pushchair round and tootles off in the new direction.  I think that it is just a matter of confidence and as soon as she realises that she doesn’t need to hold onto something then she’ll be off.  However, for some reason she doesn’t like a doll being in the pushchair and a squashy green ball seems to be her favourite passenger (you can see it in the photos below).  Her vocabulary has also started to increase and I don’t think it will be long before she will start surprising us with words.  She has always been a little chatty and will gurgle and mumble away to herself quite merrily (sometimes at 0300!) but the other day she drank her milk and handed me the bottle saying ‘Here you are,‘ or as close to that for my ears to interpret it that way.  I know my place.

It is strange how the two sisters are quite different in temperament.  Amélie is far more laid back than her older sister but at the same time quite cuddly and will wander over to you give you a kiss and cuddle then go back to whatever it was that she was doing beforehand.  She doesn’t seem quite as intent on sitting down and learning but will quite happily play with you without need of the television.  Éowyn is much more independent (when she knows that you are about) and will rarely give you a spontaneous cuddle but if you are not about she can get a little anxious and is always glad when you are back.  She is always keen to learn and to impress you with what she knows (doesn’t that remind you of anyone?) but will easily waste an afternoon watching a film or just banal television (again, like anyone you know?).  Éowyn does like her home and her home comforts especially when her parents are about.  Lucinda picked Éowyn up from school last week and she said, ‘Are we going home?  I like being at home and when Daddy is there it is the best place in the world!‘  The little sweetie!

I currently have a week off work (using up the remainder of last year’s leave entitlement) and Lucinda has done the same, so it really will be the best place in the world when they get back from school and Jo’s.  It is not all that exciting for Lucinda and me though as we are trying to fit all the new toys into our already crowded house.  There is a lot of consolidation going on and toys that have not seen the light of day or they are too old for are either heading down the charity shop or being boxed up and put in the loft.  To be honest it is probably something that both Lucinda and I should be doing to our own stuff.  Kids first!

Not the most exciting set of photos below but it is January and the year has only just begun.  Hopefully none of you suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia and if you did you managed to survive last Friday unscathed!  If you do suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia (or paraskevideatriaphobia as it is also known), then 2012 is probably a bad year for you as there will be 3 this year, so keep an eye on April and July!

Peace and love


Peppa Pig World

I promised you a second update within a week, and here it is.  As I mentioned in the previous update, I had worked eleven straight days and so I juggled a couple of extra days around the weekend to recuperate and get back in touch with the family.  Fortunately I timed those days off with a mini heatwave (two days of 30°C temperatures (apparently the warmest day in the UK for 5 years) – nothing compared to the heatwaves of old, but a heatwave nonetheless!).  The first of those days off was blessed with a visit from my family, as mentioned in the previous update.  The next two (the hot days!) were taken up with what we sold to Éowyn as adventures.  So with sun block (not sun tan lotion as we are all fair skinned and the idea of a tan is ridiculous we just need to stop our skins from burning!) on and picnic packed we headed out in the trusted Honda Civic!

Sunday saw us in West London, not that far from my place of work, at Kew Gardens. Lucinda’s uncle and aunt are season members of Kew and thus have a number of free tickets for friends and relatives and hence we took them up on their offer of heading to Kew for a family day out.  It was my first visit to Kew, even though I lived in Richmond for over 4 years and could see the pagoda from my bedroom window.  I hadn’t realised how much ground Kew covered (300 acres!) and how extensive gardens were.  Éowyn, however, was more interested in the Climbers and Creepers and Treehouse Towers play areas.  Although we did drag her away to visit the Xstrata Treetop Walkway.  Unfortunately they are having issues with the lift and so it was a long climb up the stairs carrying Éowyn, although thankfully Lucinda’s mum and dad stayed at the bottom with Amélie and the pushchair which was a bonus.  Whether it was the hot weather or the walking but we felt thoroughly exhausted by the end of the day and were quiet relieved when we got back home.  Overall the children play areas are excellent but Éowyn is a little too young to appreciate the grandeur of Kew Gardens and so we will probably have to wait until she is a little older before we visit again.

Monday, however, was all about ÉowynÉowyn’s favourite television programme is currently found on Channel 5 at 0815.  For the non-parents (or non-UK) readers of this site, the answer is Peppa Pig. For those of you that are not familiar with Peppa Pig:  it is a series (or three series) of five minute cartoons centred around Peppa (an anthropomorphic girl pig) and her family (parents, one set of grandparents and her little brother George).  All of her friends have similar family structures and are all mammals with alliterative names (Peppa Pig, Suzy Sheep, Danny Dog, Pedro Pony etc).  They all live in houses, have jobs (in the case of Miss Rabbit: many jobs!), drive cars and wear clothes.  Éowyn will watch episode after episode of Peppa Pig without getting bored and if I am honest, they can be quite enjoyable from an adult point of view as there is enough in each episode aimed at the parents to keep them interested.

In April (2011) Peppa Pig World opened at Paulton’s Park in Romsey in Hampshire.  The journey is only 60 miles or so and is motorway all the way so it took just over a hour for us to get there.  Éowyn’s friend Alexander was on holiday in the New Forest with his parents (obviously) Verena and David and baby sister Olivia, so we arranged to meet them at Peppa Pig World and make a day of it.

Peppa Pig World is excellent, there are lots of rides for the young ones to go on and because it is in a corner of Paulton’s Park it means that it is self-contained and you haven’t got miles to walk between rides.  Again it was a very hot day (except for the short sharp shower that hit while Lucinda and David were on the tractor ride with Alexander and Éowyn, leaving Verena and me to grab the picnic and the babies and hide under the shelter of a tree!).

Éowyn thoroughly enjoyed herself and I think we will have to go back, as we did not manage to get on all the rides.  We also managed to keep her away from the big Peppa Pig gift shop, as I don’t think I have that much limit left on my credit card!  Again I think the heat defeated us and by 1500 all four adults we were shattered and in fairness so were the kids, so we decided to call it a day and head back up the M3.  Would defiintely recommend Peppa Pig World to all parents out there, and although we didn’t explore it, Paulton’s Park proper also looked quite interesting for older kids.  Pity it’s not part of the Merlin Pass family.

The following day the heatwave broke.  A heavy thunderstorm hit our part of the world (in fact the business park that my company is situated took a direct hit and it has upset a number of pieces of technical equipment).  The weather is now closer to 20°C than 30°C and a lot fresher.  Summer is over.

Before I returned to work we had one more place to visit.  Amélie had an appointment with the paediatrician at St. Peter’s hospital (the place of her birth).  This was a follow appointment regarding her reflux (the milk protein intolerance is being treated by the dietician).  It appears that Amélie has grown out of her reflux and thus we have been told to stop the drugs.  We expressed our concerns that she does not seem to be developing as quickly as Éowyn did (although she was quite precocious!).  The paediatrician gave her a physical examination and is quite happy that there is nothing physically impairing her, it is just that she is taking her time.  Apparently taking after her dad, as I only learned to crawl backwards and decided that it was easier to walk on two legs than learn to crawl.  Taking to two legs much earlier than my contemporaries.  Time will tell.

I will leave you with photos from Kew Garden and Peppa Pig World, enjoy and don’t forget there are plenty of new photos on our Flickr site (link in right hand column).

Peace and love


Put it on the fridge!

Back at work and boy did I hit the ground running?  A first working week of 70 hours meant that I spent very little time at home awake.  This obviously put the onus back onto Lucinda to be primary carer for the girls.  Amélie is too young to understand but Éowyn subconsciously senses weakness added to her own sense of change.  This leads her to misbehave not in a malicious way but misbehaving nevertheless.  This culminated in an incident on Saturday while Lucinda was in the kitchen washing up, she came back into the lounge to find that Éowyn had poured her bottle of  juice onto each of the seats of our sofa.  When I came home Lucinda made Éowyn tell me what she had done.  Éowyn duly told me that she had poured juice on the sofa.  So I asked her why she had done it and she replied, “So when Mommy and Daddy sit down they will get wet bums.”Part of me admired her honesty, her foresight and general japery and that part of me wanted to laugh, but I held it together to explain to her that it was naughty.  “Yes Daddy it is naughty, Éowyn sorry.” How thankful am I that we bought brown leather, it seems to be a most forgiving sofa material.

Éowyn is a thoughtful child though, especially when it comes to her little sister.  Sunday, Lucinda and the girls were invited around her parents for Sunday lunch (I was at work) with Lucinda’s aunties (Lucinda’s mum’s sisters).  While they were eating lunch Éowyn asked if she could leave the table and play with her puzzles in the front room.  She was told that because Amélie was sleeping that she should bring them back to the table and be very quiet when she was in the front room collecting them so as not to wake Amélie. This she duly did but then whenever anyone spoke at the table she would shh them and say “Be quiet, Amélie’s sleeping.”

She also doesn’t like Amélie to be missed out and includes her when she can.  Éowyn was cleaning her teeth the other night.  “Mommy’s toothbrush, Daddy’s toothbrush, Éowyn’s toothbrush,” pointing to each of our toothbrushes in turn. “Where’s Amélie’s toothbrush?” Lucinda explained that Amélie hasn’t got any teeth yet, so she hasn’t got a toothbrush.  Éowyn replied: “Well go to the shops and get them.” Lucinda asked to confirm whether Éowyn wanted her to go to the shops and get a toothbrush for Amélie and Éowyn answered, “No Mommy, teeth!” It is amazing what you can get at the shops these days!

As I mentioned in last week’s update, we were expecting a telephone call from the paediatrician concerning Amélie. Lucinda had prepared a list of examples and questions for the paediatrician in case this was no going to go any further.  At the appointed time the paediatrician called and Lucinda was going to launch into her soliloquy when the paediatrician just said, we have looked at Amélie’s notes and we would like to see her Monday morning.  Lucinda was a little deflated because she had been prepared to justify why they should she her and the wind had been taken out of her sails.  We still don’t know why they had to call to say that and why they could not just have sent an appointment through the post.

So Monday morning we dropped Éowyn off at Playbox (although subdued she wandered off into the classroom without tears or clinging to my leg) and headed to Ashford hospital for our appointment.  Amélie was weighed (she is now 6.0kg (13lbs 4oz) which is dead on the 25th centile) and although she has put weight on she is still not quite following a centile curve.  However this does not seem to be concerning any of the medical staff, as she is putting on weight.

The paediatrician looked at Amélie’s notes and examined her.  She has asked us to return to the GP to reassess the quantities of Domperidone and Ranitidine in light of her weight gain.  She listened to her chest and believes the noisy breathing/ wheezing to be all upper respiratory rather than a problem with her lungs and chest, which is a relief.  She has requested an ultrasound to be taken while she is feeding (we are still waiting for the appointment) and a urine sample.  How do you get a urine sample for a 4 month old baby girl?  With great difficulty, I can tell you!  Our first attempt involved holding her over a bowl while we fed her.  We did this for about an hour with no success, then she threw up in the bowl.  Lucinda moved her to her lap while we retrieved the bowl and Amélie duly urinated on her leg!

As you may know we have started to feed Amélie solids.  However she is not taking to it as Éowyn did.  Then again if her reflux is such then perhaps it is painful, but she doesn’t seem to be too worried.  As I mentioned last time Amélie was not showing interest in food as Éowyn did, so perhaps that is part of the problem too.  We are only weaning because of the reflux and on the advice of the dietician, and the hope that she will be satisfied for longer than the 3 hour alarm call that she currently operates on.

This week we received the photos from the photoshoot and they look wonderful.  We just have to decide on where best to hang the frames.  Lucinda and I were chatting about it and without trying to sound too big-headed many of the photos that I take are just as nice (probably because I can get better reactions out of my children!) but we have never printed them out.  I have over 30,000 photos sitting on my computer but hardly any on the walls or in photoframes.  This is why this site and my Flickr account are good outlets because it allows me to at least display them for others to see.  Perhaps I should begin printing some out?

Lucinda has a very strong artistic streak, and I like to think I have at least a soupçon of artistic talent so it is no surprise that Éowyn seems to be using art as a medium for her imagination.  Drawing, painting, sculpture (O.K. Playdoh) all are part of her répertoire.  However, Lucinda started something with a chance comment.  Éowyn had sat down at her table and drawn a picture.  She gave it to Lucinda and Lucinda said “That’s very good, let’s put it on the fridge.” Well that just opened the floodgates.  A barrage of drawings followed (some of them consisting of only three lines) all with the cry of “Put it on the fridge, Mommy!” We need a bigger fridge!

As you may, or may not, remember a friend of mine, Eilidh Cairns, while cycling to work was involved in an accident with a lorry and passed away a short time later (please read here for my tribute to her).  This weekend marks the second anniversary of that day and since then Eilidh’s mum, Heather, has been working with her local M.E.P. to try and get a E.U. declaration signed to get H.G.V.’s fitted with sensors and cameras to remove their blind spots making the roads a safer place for cyclists (and the general public).  They need your assistance so please pop by to www.eilidhcairns.com or click on this flyer and see how you are able to help.  Thank you.

Peace and Love