Archive for August, 2008

Little Girl

August 30, 2008

With Ella’s standing and walking skills improving all the time, she is definitely looking less like a baby. Yesterday, when out with Hannah, she walked the entire length of a family dining pub without any support. She’s much steadier when she stands up, with hardly any swaying around. She talks away a lot, and in times when she’s upset says ‘Mummy’ or ‘Dada’. One of her books is about the sounds animals make, and Hannah has got her hissing on the snake page and buzzing at the bee.

She isn’t totally well at the moment, though. She has a very runny nose, which could either be teething (with her molars coming through) or a reaction to her MMR she had last week (no more jabs until she’s at nursery). This has resulted in her being quite clingy occasionally and the odd tantrum has surfaced, which is very undignified. Apparently she was very upset the other day when Hannah took her away from a running bath and Ella thought she wasn’t going to be able to get in it (Hannah was just taking her out the bathroom to change a poo-ey nappy).


Holiday Retrospective

August 23, 2008

We’ve been back for well over a week, and I haven’t said much about our trip to Brittany. Importantly, and thankfully, Hannah didn’t mind camping in a trailer tent, as it had mod-cons such as a fridge, microwave, lights and a loo. The bed was quite close to being a proper one, and I don’t think it came close to Hannah’s picture of a damp, confined, smelly experience rather too close to ants and mud.

The weather was far from perfect, but considerably better than that back in Britain. We had a couple of days of rain, and several days where you couldn’t predict what the weather was going to do, so we didn’t get much time on the beach. Ella definitely enjoyed the beach, as she had on a trip to St Helens on the island just before leaving. She loved going in the water, and had a dip in the sea with her inflatable ring, as well as a couple of paddles. She enjoyed playing in the sand, though the beach the campsite was on was not the softest of sand. On our last trip down to the beach she made several darts for the sea from where we were sitting, crawling across the beach in order to get down to the water. It was quite amusing. She made good use of her first bucket and spade set.

She did a lot of walking, as I posted previously, frequently waving a passers-by in a very regal manner. She did a lot of that on the ferry going over, waving from the high chair we had at lunchtime at almost anyone walking past. It was cute and embarrassing at the same time.

Ella did enjoy her time with her grandparents. Hannah and I went for a couple of day trips on our own, and a couple of nights out, so Clare and Chris got plenty of time with Ella, which I think mostly consisted of taking her for long walks. It was definitely a good break for us, as well as quality time for Ella.

We visited various towns and places around south-western Brittany, such as Quimper, Locronan and Pointe-du-Raz. Obviously Hannah got to practice her French, and many people comment on her excellent speaking and lack of accent. I didn’t speak much French, even though I have a Scottish Higher in the language. Ella experienced some new foods, French and otherwise. She had her first crepes and her first pizza (very healthy).

Our trip home was mildly traumatic. We left the campsite a little later than intented (about an hour) but with plenty of time to get to St Malo. Hannah wanted to stop at a Buffalo Grill, as this was an establishment held in some mirth from her year in France by her friend Leigh. We stopped in one just off our route and discovered it to be rather fly infested. They were all over the place, with ourselves and people in neighbuoring booths swatting away at them. Hannah complained (as any French person would) but our waitress replied that they were everywhere and there was nothing they could do about them. Not our best value meal of the holiday. A while after that stop, we had to pull over as Ella had got a little grouchy, and while pulled over a wasp got in the car, and there was some palava trying to get it out. Once out it actually came and attacked the passenger window, and stuck itself there even while I was doing 90 kph down the road. Eventually it got blown away. I think something about that stop confused the satnav, which had otherwise done sterling work during the trip. About 40 km from St Malo, entering a village from a reasonable Departement road, we took a couple of turns and ended up on a single track road. I was rather nervous and that wasn’t eased as we went passed a sign which I think said ‘interdit – ecole’. Shortly we pulled into a school for the blind and the satnav wanted us to drive out of its car park onto a gravel track. I decided at this point to ignore, turn around and drive back to the village, and take the roughly correct direction until it did something sensible. Thankfully that worked and we got to St Malo unscathed and quite early. We were there quite early, and our long wait got even longer when it turned out the ferry was late. While waiting in the lanes for the ferry we had to feed Ella and change a hideously pooey nappy on the flat roof of the underground toilets (no changing facilities). The crossing, which was due into Poole at midnight, arrived at about 2:30am, where it was absolutely chucking it down with rain. There were plenty of crouchy and loud children on the ferry, Ella occasionally being one of them, but overall she was very good. We got to the hotel we were booked into at 3am, and slumped into bed for a deep sleep (I think Hannah and I were asleep before Ella). The rest of the journey the next day was fine.

Despite that return trip, we did have a good time and Ella enjoyed herself very much. Her walking improved a great deal and her nap times altered while we were there, so that she is now on one nap during the middle of the day. We might even go back next year.


August 19, 2008

The point at which a child walks is definitely a momentous one, and we have seen Ella achieve this milestone, which is very exciting indeed. I won’t say she is a champion walker and she isn’t at all steady on her feet, but she has tottered forward a few steps and done this a couple of times. The first was at the weekend, when experimenting with standing she suddenly decided to shoot forward towards one of her toys. As it was in the direction of the fireplace with its tiled and brick surround I was quite nervous as she did this, and thankfully the few seconds of perambulation ended safely when she bumped down on her bum. She is standing quite a lot now. As standing in itself is of limited use, she doesn’t really do it for great periods: she goes from on all fours, lifts up her knees from the ground and then pushes up with her hands so that she it tottering with slightly splayed legs and usually on tiptoes and then plonks back on the floor. At one point today she was doing a very good Elvis impersonation with waggling legs and pointed toes.

This post makes her sound like an unsafe walker, which is nothing of the sort. On holiday she literally walked miles pushing her buggy in front of her, or holding someone’s hand. On one occasion, Chris cycled the route Ella had just walked with the bike equivalent of a pedometer, and calculated she had done a 1.1 mile walk. She even pushed the buggy along tricky surfaces such as the beach. So she is quite ready to walk unaided, and once she can do it confidently we’re going to have a busy time chasing after her.

Quick Hi

August 17, 2008

Just a quick hello to say we’re back home from Brittany and all is well. We had a good time, with mostly dry weather. Hannah was quite pleased to find the facilities of a trailer tent weren’t too basic and that plenty of the modern comforts were on hand. Ella had great fun with Granny and Grandpa, and enjoyed what time she got on the beach, with even a little swim in the sea (with inflatable ring, of course).
The house was returned to us unbleamished by the renters. All-in-all, that arrangement has gone quite well, though there is still plenty of work to do moving a lot of our belongings back into their correct rooms, otherwise I’m going to be sharing my study with a lot of boxes.