Posts Tagged ‘Ella’


March 27, 2011

That’s a real American word for the title, nice.

Ella is definitely undergoing transition, from toddler to little child. There’s still plenty of proper toddler behaviour: the occasional tantrum or stubborn episode, weird application of logic, disregard for safety. I suspect, though, that some of those traits will continue long into childhood.

These days there aren’t a great many tasks that she needs help with. Her ablutions are one set, and eating is kind of another, with that she is mostly able to eat with cutlery but can be slow and so gets sped up by a grown-up stepping in. Therefore she has much more independence. She can even turn the television on!

Today contained a first, the sign of the developing school kid: she had her friend, Christabel, from school over for a play, and a trip to see a local amateur production of Alice in Wonderland. The girls had fun playing together and having lunch. I didn’t join them for Alice, and apparently is wasn’t much of a hit with them, so they had some milkshakes instead. For Hannah and I it was the weirdness of meeting other people who you have previously only known as ‘Christabel’s Mummy’ or ‘Christabel’s Daddy’. I’m sure all parents have to do that at some stage. It’s odd thinking of the people who your daughter is getting to know that you don’t. When I walk Ella to school she frequently points out other adults and says “that’s Eleanor’s Mummy” etc.

She makes the usual cute mistakes with some words or phrases, some of which stick. Examples of that include ‘water crystal’ for water pistol, and something else I meant to blog but neither Hannah nor I can remember. We’re working on trying to stop her saying ‘f’ instead of ‘th’ as well.

Also she has a lot more physicality now. There are her dancing lessons once a week, which help her with her balance etc. She will spontaneously break into dance at home, or when we’re out, such as Friday evening having dinner in The Pier View, a pub in Cowes, where she was dancing along to the music. She’s jumping across the sofas in the living room quite a lot, or doing frog jumps in her bedroom, and runs or skips quite a bit on the way to school. At one point she was trying to do somersaults.

So, as you’d expect (and I must have said in the past), changes continue.



February 6, 2011

In a complete turnaround from my last post, we’ve had a great week of Ella going to school. On Monday, when Ma, a former childminder, takes Ella at lunchtime, she texted Hannah to say Ella had skipped to school. On Tuesday, we changed the morning routine, so that Ella got up of her own accord, about half an hour later than we’d been getting her up; we said there’d be no television before school, unless she went without crying; and to ease the trip to school (in case I’ve been force-marching her up the road and hill too quickly), I drove. This seemed to have great results, as she again skipped from the car into school, and apart from a wee bit of clinging at the door, she was fine when I escorted her into class. On Friday, again we let her get up at her own time (which does give enough time to get ready), she did television (because she’d been good) but I did have to walk, because on a Friday I go into work, and I don’t have time to drive home, park and catch the ferry. Nevertheless, she was very good again, even remarking when I was putting her shoes on at home: ‘I don’t want to be late for class’. The other change we’ve made, which Ella calls ‘lesser lunch’, is to put less in her lunch bag, with the aim of reducing the pressure to finish it all off at lunchtime, and increase the chances of reward from the teachers.

So a spectacular turnaround in behaviour, and a hattrick of good trips to school. I hope it continues, and Ella develops a more positive attitude to school and sees it as a happy place to go. There will be enough stresses and strains during her school career in the coming years, without the relaxed early years being difficult.

The Trial of Pre-School

January 30, 2011

Ella goes to pre-school 2 and a half days a week. I take her twice, for the two whole days she goes. As I mentioned in the previous post, she’s been quite resistant to going to school on many occasions. What is most strange is that once at school, she’s fine and enjoys it and plays with the other kids, doesn’t have any problems with the activities; it just seems to be the prospect of school and going there she doesn’t like.

This week has been a case in point. Monday was bad, I don’t know the details because Ma, who has often babysat for Ella, takes her on that day. Then on Tuesday she put on a right performance. Last week she wasn’t well, so she was trying to use this as an excuse on Tuesday, pretending to cough. She started crying when we left the house, and all the way on the 15 minute walk to school. She got worse when we arrived, and while I took off her coat and hat. Then, just as we were going to the door from the hallway into the main classroom, she pulled out a big fake cough, while crying, and choked and vomited. Very embarrassing, quite worrying, but I knew it was entirely because she was winding herself up. Fortunately I had a change of clothes, so got her changed, and wiped her face. There wasn’t a lot of ‘product’. I felt I had to persist, or she’d use the same behaviour in future. So I handed her over to her keyworker and legged it. I rang up the school later in the morning, and they said she was just fine, outside playing happily away with the other kids. Nice. I had been confident that this would be the case when I left her, because it always is.

Friday wasn’t dissimilar – crying when we left the house and all the way along the walk. This time I kind of gave in and gave her a carry. At least during that she stopped crying, but started again when we arrived in school. I also changed routine here, and rather than fighting to hang up her coat and bags while she stood by sobbing, I just chucked them on the floor and took her through to her keyworker, who Ella loves and calms her down quickly and gets her involved in something she enjoys. This was to avoid another chunder event, and it did work in avoiding a repeat of Tuesday’s horror. Again, once there she was fine and came home at the end of the day with a ‘Good Girl’ sticker, showing that she’d done well at school.

So it remains a mystery why she gets so emotional about going. Hopefully this isn’t a 400 evidence sheet on why we’re bad parents. We feel that now she’s going to school (even just pre-school), to stop now would give a bad message about real school. So we’re hoping something finally gives and Ella realises she likes school, and is happy to go.

Half a Year

January 23, 2011

I’ve been very quiet on here, apart from the toilet story (Ella still won’t go back to The Anchor), since summer. I’d like to say there was a particular reason, but there hasn’t, just the usual reasons of work, more interesting leisure and less interesting chores. A lot has changed though, and I thought I’d run through the headlines. If you’re reading this, then thanks for that, but the primary motivation is a reference for Hannah and I (and Ella one day). With Hannah’s little sister, Miriam, having had a baby back in September (an event missing from this blog), we get the questions of ‘when did Ella do this?’, ‘when did Ella do that?’. If pushed, we can refer back to this tome and get a feeling for an answer. So I’m filling in the last six months for our benefit, as much as for my readers’.


Ella has now done a term and bit of the top year of pre-school. She’s going more than before last summer, two and a half days a week. Two of those days are ‘Rising Fours’, for the kids in the year before Reception, where they do some words and numbers and games more about learning. School, while Ella enjoys the time she’s there and is developing well, is a real trial. Really that means getting Ella to school is a pain. She says ‘I don’t like school’, she cries on the way there, needs to be peeled off when we arrive (I take her two of the three days a week). This was at its worst during November and December, and has improved in the past week or so. I hope it continues to. Earlier this week we had our first report from her key worker, Lissie, and she was very complimentary, and happy with Ella’s progress and confirmed she was quite okay during school, so it’s something of a mystery why she’s unhappy going up there of a morning.

At Christmas Ella had an important role in the nativity play. She sang Away in a Manger as a solo, having done it the night before with the Choir. It was a cute nativity, very traditional, and all the kids had impressive costumes. Ella was a chief angel. Both of her performances of Away in a Manger were very good, considering her age. I’m afraid, that inline with several other kids, that she got quite upset after the play, and had to come home early.

In terms of her reading she recognises quite a lot of letters, and she’ll spot her name when written down, or any of the letters from it in other words. She can count at least to twelve, and into the teens and recognise a lot of numbers, as exercised with the advent calendar.

Terrible Twos Threes

She has developed a much more stubborn streak, and we’ve deployed the naughty step and used it quite a bit. Usually counting to three does the trick, and we go a while without needing the step, but eventually it builds and Ella ends up there, remembers she really doesn’t like it, and then it’s a while before the step is needed again. We get the stamping of the feet when she doesn’t like something, thankfully usually dispelled with a stern word. There have been incidences of rolling on the floor, but not recently. Christmas Day was quite bad when she refused to come for the meal, and sulked first in the living room and then her bedroom, and eventually came down when she was promised some potatoes to eat. Overall eating can be the trickiest. She often doesn’t want to eat much, and this is a problem at school where she takes too long at lunchtime and gets chivved along, which she doesn’t like. Breakfast is the worst, as I don’t think she is a morning person, and sometimes she basically has two mouthfuls of cereal or toast and that’s it.

Growing Up

Before Christmas we ditched night-time pull-up nappies. We do have a bed liner in the bed, because she does have accidents occasionally (indeed I had to stop writing this post to go and change the bed as she’d had an accident, but she’s not very well at the moment). Mostly at night she’s dry and uses her potty if she wakes up and needs a wee. She’s getting big enough that she can get on and off a grown-up loo, so she can self-propel herself to the toilet without any help, which is a nice development to not have to be changing nappies, or emptying potties.

Her eating habits still have a way to go. She’s stubborn about using cutlery, not quite having the co-ordination yet to reliably scoop without dropping food between plate and mouth. Therefore she often resorts to picking up food with her hands, unless is messy food, when she does use her cutlery.

She’s fully mobile. Back in summer we didn’t take a buggy to France, so that’s been a while when she walks everywhere when out. When I take her to school we almost always walk, and it’s rare that she wants a carry at any point, and it’s been a while since that’s happened. She is a bit careless, often tripping up, but mostly because she doesn’t look where she’s going.

In September she started a ballet class in Shanklin on a Saturday. She loves it, and comes out skipping and showing off new moves. It’ll help her co-ordination somewhat. Usually I take here, as Hannah is teaching singing, and before the town shutdown for winter we had a couple of pleasant Saturdays enjoying the seaside facilities.

Her current favourite TV programme is Fireman Sam, and she’s just started to sing the theme tune to it. While last birthday she was really fixed on Alice (from Alice in Wonderland), her plans for this year’s birthday are a Fireman Sam cake with all the firefighters on there.


As mentioned earlier, Ella got a new cousin, called Henry, back at the end of August (nearly September). She’s met him a couple of times, and was very good with him. He’s her first boy first cousin (confusingly my cousin has a son called Henry, who is older than Ella, who is also ‘cousin Henry’). Hannah’s older sister, Rachel, is expecting her first child later this year, so Ella will have five cousins soon. We had a weekend away with my folks and my younger brother, Douglas and his family, and Ella had great fun with her other three cousins. There was a disturbing point when we found Ella, Aliya and Lucy playing at ‘hanging’, which was quickly put a stop to. Other than that, they all played well together, and Ella is very much looking forward to seeing them again.

Granny (my Mum) still comes to visit often, and Ella stays with her Gan-gan (Hannah’s Mum) overnight once a week. Hannah and I went to Bath during the October week (part of Hannah’s birthday present), and Ella stayed in Granny’s campervan on the Island. There have been mixed tales from Ella about that, which is often the case with her, ranging from it being most fun and she wants to do it again, to it being boring.

I reckon that’s about enough for now. I’ll try to post more often to get Ella’s life story into more bite-sized chunks, and maybe add in some other topics too.

Solo Work

December 26, 2010

One of the original concepts of weblogs was for people to post their favourite websites and links, so I’m going make a post which is really just a link to a Youtube video. Earlier this month, the Medina High Community Choir had its Christmas concert (a sell out at Medina Theatre) and Ella had her first ever solo, singing the first verse in Away in a Manger. You can see the footage of it on Youtube.

Enjoy, it was certainly a proud moment for Hannah and I.


Time to Post

December 19, 2010

It’s taken a mildly traumatic event to get me back on the blog, which I thought readers might want to hear about. Fortunately it’s all done and dusted and sorted now, so nothing to really worry about.

Today Hannah wanted to pop out to the new M&Co shop in Cowes to do a bit of clothes shopping for the Choir Christmas meal tomorrow, so we all trooped out into the snow. Once she finished that she suggested stopping off in The Anchor for a drink, and then we decided to have dinner there. As we finished off our food Ella said she wanted the loo, so Hannah took her. A few minutes later Hannah returned and quietly said to me ‘Come and see this’. I expected to find something amusing had happened, but not sure what. In the Ladies toilet, one of the two cubicle doors was shut, and Ella was locked inside. Yikes. She wasn’t too upset, and for a couple of minutes we tried to explain to her how to unlock the bolt on the door, which was one of the traditional kind. Looking at the other cubicle, it was also of traditional stout build, which was worrying. These were proper cubicles too, fully closed off, so there was no going over the top or under the door.

Ella started to get upset, so I went out to ask the staff for some help because basically the only option was to knock the door down, which wouldn’t have been good without some ‘official’ involvement. Two lads came to help, and possibly this sort of event wasn’t a first in the pub. We told Ella to move to the back of the cubicle and sit on the loo, which she said she had done (we had no way of telling). She was doing a fair amount of sobbing, but certainly was far from being out of control. I had the first go at trying to kick the door, and it turned out to be quite tough. One of the lads apparently had prior experience of kicking down doors and also had a number of goes, but nothing was budging, except the door frame and the surrounding wall. Ella really didn’t like the noise so we were not very persistent.

One of the lads had the idea of a battering ram and they went off and returned with an empty gas cannister. This certainly gave the door a right good thumping but still it held firm. Ella didn’t like the noise of that at all, so it didn’t last long. At this point we decided to call in the professionals, and the staff called the fire brigade. One of Ella’s current loves in Fireman Sam, and I hoped the thought of being rescued by some firemen might help calm her down, but it didn’t really. We had decided to stop trying the door until the firemen arrived, and Hannah had a sing with Ella, which was actually quite upsetting in some respects with her little voice coming from behind the door.

So the firemen turned up, about four of them piling into the small toilet. They had a couple of meaty crowbars. The initial exploratory jemmying of the door wasn’t too successful, so two of them got involved and eventually the bolt popped and the door sprung open. Ella was obviously out like a shot to have hugs with Mummy, and it was quite emotional. Ella was sufficiently upset that she didn’t take particular notice of any of the Fireman Sams. She got some free ice cream and a round of applause from the patrons in the back room who’d heard all the banging and knew our little girl was stuck. Interestingly several people either said they’d got stuck in loos or had a sibling who had.

So in the end, we got her out. I never doubted we would, it was just a matter of time, but quite upsetting for all involved, and hopefully Ella won’t play with door bolts again before she works out how to unlock them.


August 2, 2010

Just a quick post to say that the Medina High Community Choir has safely arrived at the Quimper B&B Sud and are settling in. Hannah and I came up from Benodet this morning, and unloaded our stuff, and sorted out everything with the managers, who have been very helpful. We bought some refreshments for the choir for when they arrived, and distributed everyone to their rooms. Soon we’re heading out to Quimper and tonight it’s a meal out for everyone in a restaurant in Quimper.

When I find out more about the ferry crossing (there are a few people the worse for wear), I might update the blog.


July 28, 2010

Since the last time I wrote about Ella, she’s come on very well. The two greatest areas of development are i) toilet training (now sorted completely); ii) behaving like a toddler (I don’t want to, no, I’m not tired, I don’t like you etc etc). I think she’s quite late to the latter, we really didn’t have a ‘terrible twos’, instead it’s the threes that are having their stroppy moments. Generally it’s short lived, but she can manage days when everything gets a ‘no’ or ‘I don’t want to’, which is most trying.

She had something of a wobble at school, at least at drop-off time. This was most distressing for me, leaving her behind when she was bawling her head off, after having a walk to school with lots of ‘I don’t like school’ and ‘I don’t want to go to school’. Her key-worker, Gemma, always said that she was great at school and played really well with the other kids, so overally we weren’t too worried. The last couple of times she’s been much better, so the conclusion was it was a lot to do with toddler behaviour of ‘I’d rather be at home watching television than going to school’. Once there, she enjoys is. We’ve planned next term’s schools days, when she starts in the Rising Fours class, in preparation for reception at primary school, and she’ll be doing two and a half days there, so quite a step up in time spent.

She is much more grown-up, and usually is very lovely with people, which is great. In the next couple of days we’re off to France, first to stay with my folks and then for the great Medina High Community Choir tour, and this’ll give us a good comparison to what Ella did while away last year in terms of what she plays at, how much she walks around herself, when she asks to go to the loo etc. Should be fun!

Pox and Birthdays

June 30, 2010

A couple of weeks ago Ella developed some spots, and we quickly worked out that she had chickenpox. Fortunately, she never really had it bad. She did have a good spread of spots, but she didn’t really get under the weather, and only once did the itching disturb her sleep. When she started itching we got some Piriton for kids, and that seemed to stem any itching. It did mean she was off school and away from her childminder, Caroline, for a week. I had to cover one day, working from home, while entertaining Ella with bad parenting, ie the television. She did very well that day, I have to admit.

She recovered in time from that to go to her friend, Tristan’s, birthday party, which was held at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. We all got a ride on the train, and it was a lovely, sunny day, so that was very good. Ella ran around the carriage with the other kids and seemed to enjoy it.

This weekend just gone was Ella’s third birthday, and we had our party. My Mum and stepdad (Clare and Chris), littlest brother and his wife (Hamish and Christine) all stayed the weekend, and I was most pleased that my other brother headed down from London for the party with his two eldest daughters, Aliya and Lucy. Ella’s birthday was on the same day as her school fair, and I went there with Hamish and Christine over lunchtime, and Ella had the opportunity to bounce on the bouncy castle, play in the sandpit and in the water table. This did mean she had an afternoon nap, which meant that she woke up just before her party, and had a barrage of relatives who all wanted to say hello at once. I think she dealt with that quite well, probably helped along by the presents she was receiving. I know she enjoyed getting to see her two cousins, and they did too. Apparently Aliya was very sad to have to leave.

The party was a BBQ, and it did clash with the England v Germany World Cup match. Of course it’s a game that will go down in history, so I won’t say anything about the result. I watched it over my shoulder while barbequing with it on the computer, with a slight lag behind the television in the living room where quite a few party attenders were watching. That meant I had their cheers and groans before seeing whatever the event was on my internet stream.

Ella got lots of presents. She got a lot of Duplo, a significant amount of that from us. The usual supply of books and clothes; a Trunki from her Gan-gan; and a Thomas the Tank Engine wooden train set from Granny and Grandpa. She got some dolls as well, just to keep up the girlie element.

All-in-all, a good day with splendid weather, and excellent catering from Hannah and helpers.


June 6, 2010

I feel bad because the last few posts have been about Twitter projects and I haven’t said anything about Ella for 6 weeks, so I feel a bit guilty about that. It’s been a busy six weeks in her life, and I’ll just talk about two things: potty training (yuk) and school.

I was probably a bit unsure about potty training last time I blogged, but we’ve come a long way since then. In terms of wee, we’re quite safe, and Ella will almost always request to go when she needs to wherever we are. Indeed she can even hold it for a while so it doesn’t have to be a completely mad dash for a toilet. Number 2s or poos are not so good. She’ll occasionally warn us, but it’s still far from reliable. This means she is still usually in pull-up nappies. Maybe we’ll only have to change them once or twice during the day, but it still lingers on. Ella is noticing she is getting too big for the changing table at home, so maybe she’ll finally take the hint from that. In the good weather we’ve had recently, we have taken the opportunity to just put pants on, but as a result a couple have gone straight in the bin to avoid disgusting cleaning up operations.

Since the last blog about Ella she has started at pre-school one day a week. I spent some of her first day at the school with her, and she settled right in and wasn’t all that bothered that I wasn’t around when I hid away for a bit having a cup of tea, so when I left halfway through the morning I wasn’t too worried that she’d be upset I was gone. It was weird watching her in that environment, independent of either of her parents, mostly especially when she was feeding herself her morning cereal snack. She looked just like a proper kid, all grown-up, not at all like a baby. A very poignant moment. Since then we think she’s settled in well. The school says she’s great and they are very happy with her. She can be a bit clingy/moody when I drop her off in the morning, but she isn’t actually that bothered when I leave. I am surprised that it doesn’t tire her out that much, ie she doesn’t need a nap when she comes home (naps generally having gone by the wayside now).

The other point of note is her story telling. She does make up some very strange but cracking stories these days. Birds pecking her nose, swings in the forest which go on fire and the firemen coming, all sorts. Obviously she’s got a good imagination, which is nice but sometimes you need to take what she says with a pinch of salt.