We have a smiler!

Another update, another month, although a little later than I had planned, 2013 is definitely speeding by.  The first couple of months seemingly dragged as a combination of cold weather and the anticipation of Ezra’s arrival apparently dilated the passage of time, somewhat like the week before Christmas when you are a child.  However since his birth, time has flown and amazingly he is now eight weeks old!  Eight weeks old and 12lbs 12oz (5.78kg).

Thus, as you can guess Ezra is putting on weight nicely and sitting happily on the 75th centile.  The health visitors are very happy with his progress and it appears he has missed the genetic lottery and cow’s milk protein intolerance.  As a coincidence we also weighed Amélie and Éowyn to compare them with their brother’s 12lb 12oz.  Amélie weighed 2 stone 2 pounds (13.6kg /30 pounds) while Éowyn tipped the scales at 3 stone 3 pounds ( 20.4kg /45 pounds); a nice symmetry to their results (in imperial measurements).

You are not here for weight updates though, are you?  You want to know what has been happening in the world of the Bagnalls.  Fortunately we have been blessed with some seasonal weather of late (although looking out of the window at the moment you wouldn’t believe it) and so we have been able to leave the confines of chez Bagnall and take full advantage.  Unfortunately I have not been on all those those adventures (work does get in the way), but there are plenty of photos to give you all (and me) the flavour of those adventures.

We have also managed to complete the adventure that is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Both girls thoroughly enjoyed the book even though it took us best part of a fortnight to read it and they kept up with the story remembering (with a little help from the voice-over guy type: ‘previously on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory‘) all the names and what was going on.  I have now said that since they know the story they can watch the film.  Neither of them have shown too much interest in the sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator though and to be honest neither have I, it doesn’t quite have the charm of the original, it is no Empire Strikes Back.

As I mentioned above Éowyn and Amélie have been taking advantage of the good weather playing in our garden, in Nanny and Granddad’s garden and down the local park, fully sunblocked up (Lucinda and I both have delicate celtic skin that burns easily, even in the poor weather we have had so the kids have no chance) with matching sunhats (the only item of clothing that they will wear that is the same).  The local park (Lammas recreation ground) has, in addition to the usual adventure playground a splash park.  Great fun for little ones (and the little one in adults), water jets squirt large arcs of water over anyone in area and the girls love it.  Fantastic fun on a warm day, so not that often this year.

However the weather doesn’t have to be warm for a Bagnall to go on an adventure, although if it is dry it is a bonus.  The girls have been on a couple of adventures since the last update.  The first was to the Great Cockcrow Railway in Lyne.  It is a miniature steam railway maintained and operated by volunteers and I am a little bit jealous that I wasn’t able to go (that work thing!).  Éowyn thoroughly enjoyed the trains but Amélie, being a little younger, was a initially scared of the tunnel but nevertheless when she was asked if she wanted to go on it again and seeing that her older sister was so keen to go again insisted that she went too.  The Great Cockcrow Railway is only open from May through to October and so if Daddy is going to go it will have to be over the next couple of months.

Daddy did manage to go on the second adventure though a trip around Saville Garden and Virginia Water with Éowyn’s best friend Raine.  It was a little insight into how live will be with three ‘mobile’ children, you really need to have eyes in the back of your head.  For although both Lucinda and I were there, there were occasions when all three would run in different directions and with large bodies of water and people walking dogs you have to be one step ahead all the time.  Not relaxing!  Thankfully there were all well behaved so that when we told them to stop or come back they did and so thoroughly deserved their ice-creams at the end of the walk.

Ezra accompanied the girls on their adventures but obviously was very much a passenger.  However his development is accelerating and he is far more alert now and will sit watching his sisters or mommy and daddy.  However the biggest and most pleasing development is that he has begun to smile and even giggle.  He will sit on your lap looking into your eyes and give you the biggest smile cooing gently at you.  When I come home from work the girls usually run to the door to give me a kiss to welcome me home and now, in addition to that attention Ezra will turn his head and look at me and give me his cutie smile.

Not only is Ezra ingratiating himself with his cute smile and cooing noises he is also giving us as much sleep as one could expect from an eight week old.  He goes to bed as we go to bed and will wake once in the night (as much as seven hours later) but only cries to wake us, has his feed and then goes back to sleep quite quickly.  He was even good the night he had his first set of inoculations.  Obviously he cried and got upset when he had them and was quite disturbed throughout the day and we were prepared for a bad night but as soon as the lights went out and he was lain in his moses basket he went to sleep for six hours. Can we ask for any more?  But now that I have told you have I put the collybosh on it?  We will wait and see.

Work is building to the end of season crescendo so afterwards worklife should calm down a little and hopefully their will be more time for me to take part in the Bagnall family adventures and you dear readers will hear all about it on these pages.  I will leave you now with a good selection of photos below and over 200 new ones on our Flickr (broken link now fixed) pages (I have been busy with the camera), feel free to pop by and check them out.

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



Back to work

So as most of you are looking forward to speaking some time with your families and taking a break from work I, somewhat contradictorily, am heading back to work after spending a fortnight with mine.  Yes my paternity leave has come to an end and it is time to leave Lucinda to look after the kids alone (at least during the day) and enter the adult world again.  In one of those coincidences that seem to belie an innate consciousness or at lease fortuitous planning the end of my paternal leave coincides with Easter Weekend.

Easter is quite often associated with April, although of course it can occur at any time between 22nd March and 25th April.  (Easter is the only major holiday in the Western world that is moveable since it is defined as the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox.)  So although this Easter is on the early side, although it is only 5 years ago that we saw one of the earliest Easter Sundays on the 23rd March 2008 (and we will have to wait until 2285 until there is one even earlier than that – 22nd March) the weather is far from paschal.  Not only is it cold but the wind is bitter and cuts right through you.  Our corner has missed the major snow event that has hit other parts of the country, with only disappointing snow flurries that barely make it to the ground but last Easter we were on the tail end of an impressively hot March and had organised the first (and so far only) Great Bagnall Easter Egg hunt.    There will be no repeat of it this year, with me at work and Lucinda coming to terms with looking after three children all on her tod in addition to the threat of a White Easter.

So what have we done with these final days of family time?  Not a lot is the honest answer.  I have been fighting some unspecified virus that has knocked me off feet a little.  It is one of those viruses that gradually works its way around you body so you feel awful all over.  Fortunately I seem to be coming out of the other side of it with only a hacking cough as the battle scar.  Unfortunately Lucinda’s mum now has succumb to the same virus, so we wish her a speedy recovery.  Obvious she is blaming me but I am blaming Amélie who has something similar last week.  We are hoping that neither Lucinda, Éowyn or Ezra fall victim.  However, Ezra has been fractious for the last day or so and although he is barely two weeks old this is out of character, so we hoping he is just having a bad day rather than he has the virus or worse still that it is a change in behaviour.  We will keep you up to date.

So with the combination of illness and bitterly cold weather we have stayed in and let people come and visit us.  So although we have been cooped up inside we have not been lonely.  We have had a number of friends pay us a visit over the last week and it has been nice to see so many of our friends that we haven’t seen in a while.  It is one of the fantastic things about a new child, they bring friends and relatives together.  It must be some kind of deep ingrained instinct that predates human civilisations that still has the power to bring communities/ tribes/ collective noun of your choice/ together.  A very powerful force indeed.

The only non-friend visitor of the week has been our first visit from the Health Visitor.  She was a very friendly lady and in addition to being very pleased with Ezra’s progress she was amazed at Amélie’s elocution and could not believe that she was only two and a half.  In fact because the Health Visitor wanted to check Ezra’s hearing and needed silence to do so, I had to invent a task to encourage Amélie to leave Ezra with Mommy and this strange lady and help me collect something from the car.  We timed it just right and the hearing test was successfully conducted (and Ezra successfully passed).  The next major test was another weigh in for Ezra and he topped the scales at 4.14kgs (9lbs 2 oz).  So he has zoomed passed his birth weight in his first fortnight, the boy (and let us not forget Lucinda’s part in this) is doing well!

When I said that we have been effectively bunkered down for the last week, that is not quite strictly true.  Éowyn has still had her last pre-paschal week at school.  It has been nice for the last fortnight taking and picking Éowyn up from school.  I quite often drop Éowyn off at school but it is rare that I pick her up.  I think that she has enjoyed this little bit of extra father and daughter time too.  It is nice to have a bit of time to chat in the car both before and after school looking forward to the day and then reflecting on what has happened.  It is also a time for her to ask questions and on a bright morning it will quite often be, what kind of bird is that daddy?  We are blessed with a number of the more unusual bird species in the village: Ring Neck Parakeets, Kingfishers, Red Kites and Herons rub wings with the more usual Collared Doves, Magpies, Chaffinches, Blue Tits and Mallards but the bird that caught her eye this week was a new visitor: a Little Egret.  I mentioned that we saw one on the day that Ezra was born.  It was looking a little tired and I feared that a fox might get it if it wasn’t too careful.  Now it is flying quite strongly, it is obviously feeding and more than that it is one of a pair.  Yes we have a pair of little egrets.  I wonder if they are raising little little egretlets (I don’t think that is the technical name – but it should be!).

Obviously now that I am back at work the frequency of the updates that I have been spoiling you with will drop back to a more usual once a fortnight (if you are lucky) and for that I make no apology however I promise to post lots of photos.  Also if you are at all interested and I didn’t bore you too much earlier in the update the latest Easter can be is the 25th April.  This will next occur in 2038 so although my children may have missed the extremely early Easter in 2008 (although it was about the time that we announced that we were pregnant with Éowyn) with good fortune we may all see the latest possible Easter occurrence (assuming we all survive the year 2038 problem).  Don’t forget to put your clocks forward at the weekend and I will see you in April.

Peace and Love