The great summer continues

The relentless pace of 2012 continues unabated and as if to prove it we have already completed the second week of July.  What has happened to the first half of the year?  More importantly what has happened the summer of 2012, there certainly will not be any Bryan Adams’ songs about this summer.  We have just experienced the wettest 2nd quarter on record (and July already has had its quota of rain – in less than an hour in some places of the UK) aided by a June that was the wettest and second dullest on record and it was also one second longer than we were expecting.  This leap second was added onto the end of June without any pomp and ceremony and they would have got away with it too if it wasn’t for the pesky servers running a number of famous websites that got all upset about it and fell over.

Nevertheless we Brits had something to cheer about this July and that was for the first time in 74 years there was Brit in the final of the men’s single final at Wimbledon. Andy Murray defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to become the last man since Bunny Austin in 1938 to grace the men’s single final at SW19.  Unfortunately Andy Murray has had the misfortune to have been born at the same time at one of the greatest tennis players of all time in Roger Federer who took this year’s Wimbledon crown (for a record equalling 7th time) and at the same time broke the record for the most number of weeks at the top of the ATP rankings (287), so although Murray took the first set, Federer proved his class taking the next three.  In this diamond jubilee year we Brits did have reason to celebrate at Wimbledon which has somewhat been overshadowed by Andy Murray’s achievement and that was for the first time in 76 years we had a winner in the men’s doubles.  Jonathan Marry (and his doubles partner Frederick Neilsen) were wildcard entries but upset many big names along the way to become Wimbledon champions.  One aside of all this was the fact that the last man to lose to a Brit in the semi-final of Wimbledon’s men’s singles competition was German Henner Henkel who subsequently died at the Battle of Stalingrad.  My favourite Wimbledon related fact.

So what has been happening in the World of the Bagnalls?  To be frank it has been relatively sedate with the School holidays rapidly approaching and life continuing in its usual form.  However Éowyn is once again feeling that end of term blues that she seems to suffer.  Not sure why she suffers such but as the term approaches its end she seems to tire more easily and gets, let’s be nice here, grumpy.  The teachers at her pre-school may not be so generous, if asked they may say downright naughty.  She will not suffer fools gladly and will refuse to do things that she does not want to do, which includes listening to her teachers.  She also comes home feeling very tired and often falls asleep on the sofa when she gets home.

The term time for her gymnastics class is also drawing to a close. Éowyn has a love/hate relationship with the gymnastics class.  She really enjoys the class and will happily talk about it and quite happily walk to the gym and get changed into her shorts and t-shirt but as the students line up to enter the hall she begin to freak out and crying that she does want to go to gym.  This is one of the times that you have to be strong as a parent and basically lead her into the hall and hand over to the teacher before quickly closing the door. Apparently the crying doesn’t last long and she quite happily joins in the class and is very happy afterwards it is just the 3o seconds or so before she goes in.

Not sure if this tiredness is adding to the general mood of both our daughters but the last couple of weeks has seen an increase in feistiness between them.  They seem to be winding each other (and thus us) up a treat.  I think it is probably a combination of Éowyn’s tiredness and Amélie’s growing awareness and generally finding her own personality and no longer playing second fiddle to her older sibling.  Éowyn is having to come to terms with the fact that Amélie will not just do the things that Éowyn wants her to do and that Amélie is not one of her dolls and has her own wants and desires and Éowyn is not going to tell her what to do.

Amélie is rapidly catching up with her elder sister.  She confidently counts up to 10 (and on occasion 15!), knows her colours (sometimes) and recites her alphabet (in the form of the alphabet song).  Her vocabulary is increasing by the day and repeats words without hesitation including more colourful language that her sister tells her to say.  Some things will probably never change.  Amélie is much more polite than her big sister and will always say ‘thank-you‘ and ‘please‘.  She also drinks like a fish and will easily drink over half a dozen cups a day. She will down her cup and then walk over to your with her cup in one hand demanding ‘drink!‘ somewhat reminiscent of Father Jack from the sitcom Father Ted.  As long as she doesn’t repeat some of his more colourful phrases!

Amélie is also becoming a bit of a climber and you have to keep an eye on her because she still doesn’t have the balance to get herself out of the trouble she keeps finding herself in.  She will also wander off and come back dressed in Éowyn’s, Lucinda’s or my shoes and a hat before waving at you and saying ‘Good-bye‘. All the time she smiles at you with that cheeky smile of her’s and somehow gets away with it.  She is also still a little swiper.  Things will go missing and you know that Amélie has taken it somewhere, but she will not tell you where it is.  Again, she looks at you with those eyes and gives you that smile and you have lost!

Éowyn has always sucked her thumb.  When she was a baby this was an advantage for she never had a dummy and so we never suffered  from lost dummy syndrome in the middle of the night.  We learned about this when Amélie took to a dummy, probably because of the pain she was suffering from her Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance.  Amélie however spontaneously gave up her dummy at about the age of nine months and hasn’t looked back.  Éowyn however has never stopped sucking her thumb.  We have attempted reward charts and encouragement and even telling her off but to no avail.  Therefore we have resorted to chemical means.  We have started coating her thumb in a foul tasting chemical that is usually used to stop people biting their nails.  It is beginning to work but we are allowing her suck her thumb at night and we have forgotten on a couple of occasions to coat her thumb and she absent-mindedly will revert to sucking her thumb.  It is a habit and it is hard to break so we have to get into the habit of stopping it.  The battle has begun, let us see how long it takes to win.

Éowyn has one other habit that at some point will need to be broken but we are more relaxed about this one.  She is afraid to sleep at night without a light on.  She has a night light and it is on every night, however as all lights are won’t to do, occasionally the bulbs blow.  This happened the other night and a terrified Éowyn awoke screaming ‘I can’t see, I can’t see!‘  To be awoke in the middle of the night for any reason is disturbing enough; when it is your little child crying it is very disturbing and when it is because she has gone blind it is terrifying.  However as the reason side of the brain kicks in you realise what has happened and five minutes later normality has returned and all is well with the world.

I will leave you there as I have waffled enough and there are 27 photos for you to enjoy (although many of them are of a 2012 Summer walk, i.e. with raincoats and welly boots!).

Peace and Love