Archive for August, 2009

Growing Ella

August 15, 2009

Naturally Ella continues to grow and develop. Her language is still very good, she picked up a couple of French words on holiday, ie be able to repeat them, but not necessarily know when to use them. She has excellent conversations nowadays, though you have to understand their context to follow what she means, as they don’t always relate to what you’ve just said to her, ie she might suddenly talk about something that happened earlier in the day, or confusingly for people talking to her on the phone, she’ll mention what’s on the telly. She has good sentences, for example the other day she said ‘Come on Gan-gan, come to my garden’ or this morning, ‘My bed messy, Mummy tidy it’.

Something we think she’s got from us is saying ‘bit of…’. So she’ll say ‘bit sore’ or ‘bit sad’, rather than just ‘sore’ or ‘sad’. Another phrase she’s picked up is ‘not yet’. So I’ll ask if she wants to go to bed, or if she needs a pee, or if she’s hungry, and she’ll say ‘not yet’. I think she takes this as meaning ‘no’, as maybe we say ‘not yet’ to her in order to put off some request that she has just made (like for more food, or to play when we’re just going out or something), and she believes ‘not yet’ means ‘no’.

What didn’t develop on holiday was her toilet training. She shows no interest in going to the loo, she is quite happy playing in a wet or pooey nappy. There has been some familial pressure that she is too old to be not potty trained, but many others disagree. Caroline, Ella’s childminder, reckons that Christmas will be the right time for Ella. We did discover that the pull-up nappies are not very good at holding in poo, with several messy incidents on holiday. The less said on that, the better.

On coming home, I’ve taken down the stair-guard at the bottom of the stairs. We haven’t been using it for ages, as Ella is safe going up and down stairs. I have also taken advantage of having to reconstruct her cot (it was taken down to its flat-packed state for Cowes Week renting) by rebuilding it as a bed, so she is now sleeping in a proper little bed. It has to be said she is quite mobile in it, with many different positions and alignments having been observed. What she is very good at is not getting out of it when she’s awake. She seems quite happy playing with the cuddly toys in the bed and doesn’t get up until we go in and get her, whether that’s after her night sleep, or afternoon nap. I’m not sure how long this will last.

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Back home, and it’s safe

August 15, 2009

We’re back home now, having returned on Tuesday. The last few days in Benodet were mostly spent on or around the beach. Thankfully the weather turned consistently good after Hamish and Christine arrived (lucky them), and so we took advantage. We even persuaded my mother and step-father to go to a different beach, and we visited Cap Coz. This was partly a cathartic visit, because last year when we visited, it was teaming down with rain and windy, and we have a lengthy piece of video of Ella pushing her buggy along the beach screaming in delight, despite the horrid weather. This time it was lovely and sunny, and we had a tasty, if drawn-out (French speed of table service) lunch.

On one of these days, Hannah, Ella and I went to visit Quimper. This wasn’t to do anything particularly touristy, because we went last year and saw the major sites (mostly the cathedral). Instead, Hannah wanted to look for a new diary, and we wanted to take Ella to a merry-go-round that is in the cathedral square. There were successes on both fronts, as well as a circuit of the cathedral, after Ella requested to go into the ‘church’. She is very cultured. It was slight embarrassing because Mum’s buggy that we were using needs a good dose of WD40, and the squeaking was very loud in the hushed cathedral. On the outside, Ella did need some persuading to go on the carousel, but eventually did, selecting the tram as her place to sit. The ride in question was based on the travels of Jules Verne, so had a balloon, submarine, horses, cars etc etc, so there was plenty of choice. We tried later in the day to take her on some other, more flashy and noisy rides that are situated on the riverbank, but she said she was ‘bit shy’, and wouldn’t go on, although enjoyed watching the cars going round and round.

The trip back was fine. We stayed overnight in Cherbourg in a pleasant chambre d’hote, which is a French B&B. It had the original name of ‘Chambre d’Hote Cherbourg‘, which didn’t make Hannah’s search for it on Google on my phone in the car to give them a call with me ETA easy. Anyway, it was a lovely place, with a four poster bed, and a conversational hostess. It was also stunningly handy for the ferry port.

As the title says, the house was fine when we got back to it. Nothing appears to be broken or missing, although our tenant did leave some cash and a credit card behind, which I still need to return to the letting agent. Since our return, we have Hannah’s sister, Miriam staying; Hannah has organised a BBQ for some Cowes-based friends (yesterday evening, very successful); attended a cream tea for one of Hannah’s friends birthday; celebrated Miriam’s birthday, my birthday and Hannah and I’s fourth anniversary. So needless to say, there is still a lot of unpacking of the house stuff to do.

It’s sunny right now

August 7, 2009

My last post was from a lovely chateau hotel that Hannah and I spent the night at. It was near Josselin, called Domaine de law Ferriere. We had a big room with view over the lawn and the lake. For dinner we both had steak, which was served sizzling on a hotplate, and you cooked it to your preference. I usually have mine well done, but this was so succulent that I ate quite a lot of it rare. It was also a very large entrecote, and we were both very full afterwards. The potatoes were top notch too.
The next day, we visited Josselin, which is a very pretty medieval town with impressive castle. We had a tour of that: me, so I could see round; Hannah, so she could listen and translate the tour guide’s French.
Yesterday I drove, with my Mum, up to Brest to pick up my little brother, Hamish, and his wife, Christine, who flew in there to spend a couple of weeks in Benodet. This now makes it quite a gathering at the campsite, and Ella is making the most of playing with her aunt and uncle.
The title of this post tells of the weather, which is nice today, but has been very cloudy and sometimes wet. The ladies gone to neighbouring Fouesnant to the market, and if the weather stays fine we’ll make the beach this afternoon.

Latest from France

August 5, 2009

On Monday we were back in Benodet to go to the market. For me, who isn’t a big shopping fan it was an opportunity to walk very, very slowly around some stalls selling over-priced tat. Trying to push a buggy through the angry crowds didn’t make it any more enjoyable. Still, we didn’t stay long, and then all went for a nice crepe. Ella got a ride back to the campsite on the back of her Granny’s bicycle.
The next day, Hannah, Ella and I walked into Benodet to take Ella to some beach amusements, including bouncy castle. She ignored that and played with the wendy houses instead. Unfortunately she got stung while we were there. She did cry a lot but calmed down when her favourite house came free. It has swollen up a bit since, but hopefully will be okay.

Holiday Update 2

August 2, 2009

After the excellent weather when I last blogged, it has become somewhat random. Yesterday it teamed down with rain until mid-afternoon and then was sunny, today has been relentlessly cloudy.
Hannah and I visited Concarnaeu yesterday, leaving Ella with her grandparents. We had a lovely time, with Hannah especially impressed with the mussels she had for lunch at Les Byblos. Today has been spent in Benodet, with more lunch. Ella did get some beach time as well.
What isn’t progressing is the potty training, with only accidents to report.
Tomorrow we are making the obligatory trip to a French market in nearby Fouesnant.