Monday, December 24, 2007

Obligatory festive photo of ThingOne

More ammunition for ThingOne's case against us when she's older:

Have a good Christmas you lot. We'll be at my mum's enjoying what may be the last Christmas of which we have much control.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Too cool for school

Our friend Pete (ThingOne's Uncle Travelling Pete) in NYC clearly knows Anne and I are trendy dudes, as his gifts to us demonstrate:

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Elf dance

I've seen a few people do these, so I thought I'd be original and do our own.

Season's greetings etc.

Click here for our little dance (best with sound).

Sunday, December 02, 2007

D'oh Ho Ho!

We've shown ThingOne some pictures of Father Christmas, in preparation for what is effectively her first Christmas (she was 11 months old last time, and had fun, but I don't know if she was really conscious anything was happening).

She had trouble saying Christmas at first, but now she has her picture of Homer Simpson, Christmas has become "Simpson". SO Father Christmas has become Father Simpson.

Oh dear.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Robot parade

ThingOne went into a bed last weekend. It's gone well so far (she's only fallen off the bed once, and even then stayed asleep) but then I don't think she's realised she could leave her room if she wanted. When she does realise this we may be in trouble.

Somehow, ThingOne knows who Homer Simpson is (she calls him "Simpson" and so sounds like Mr Burns.). I don't know how. It's possible I told her at one point, but if I did it was a long time ago. Anyway, I gave her a picture of Homer that was in a magazine, and she seems to like it. This led to slightly bizarre time this morning as she and I danced (jumped around like loonies) to One Week by The Barenaked Ladies (ThingOne's current favourite song to dance to). As she 'danced' she was shouting "Look Mummy! Look Daddy! Look Simpson!"

The first Saturday of December is the Mill Road Winter Fair in Cambridge, and we took ThingOne down Mill Road this afternoon to see what it had to offer. I'd thought they might close the road to traffic, but apparently not. Still, we saw some good stuff. ThingOne liked going in a church (was amazed by the high ceiling) and danced like a mad thing to a Samba band.

Best of all though, we bumped into a load of Stormtroopers, Boba Fett and Darth Vadar. I told ThingOne they were robots, and she seemed quite impressed. She thought she'd finally seen some real robots. I got our photo taken with them, but ThingOne got a bit upset at standing so close to them.

But then it's not all about making her happy is it. At least I enjoyed myself.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Happy Birthday Anne!

Have a great day Anne. Except it'll be spent helping me put together ThingOne's bed and wardrobe. And what with moving ThingOne into a proper bed it may mean the start of a time of interuppted sleep to come. But still, have a great day!

ThingOne has a message for you too:

Clearly she's being coaxed quite heavily, but the sentiment is there.

For more (better) singing by The ThingOneter, see here. She wanted to go to the pub at 7.30am on a Saturday. Nice upbringing!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Falling asleep at the table

ThingOne was up pretty early this morning, yet at about the time we'd normally take her for a nap she demanded a snack. She'd been ravenous all morning and eating anything we threw at her. We gave her a bit of cake for a snack but she wanted more, so we gave her a banana. As she got to the end of the banana she started 'zoning out' a bit. Soon her eyes started to close a bit. Rather than whisk her off to bed I got my camera out, like any decent parent would. Here's two minutes of ThingOne trying and failing to stay awake at the table. She seems to be fairly drunk.

I'd thought it might be considered rather cruel and unusual to upload the video to YouTube (not that that's ever stopped me before) but in the "related videos" section I found this video of an older kid trying desperately to eat a brownie whilst falling asleep. Worth watching all three minutes of this video, I promise.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Thumbs up!

Thumbs up!, originally uploaded by skenttaylor.

I've been trying for a while now to teach ThingOne to do "Thumbs Up" and she's finally got it, and seems very pleased about it. Now when I leave for work in the morning she stands with her mum at the window like this.

She's very interested in robots at the moment, and I'm trying to get her to walk like one and say "I...AM...A...RO...BOT". She'll get there...

Being a parent is very rewarding, and I like to impart my wisdom and skills to ThingOne.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Time at home

After several weekends in a row away from home, we've just had two weekends around Cambridge. Plus I had four days off work which were spent doing a bit of painting (walls and skirting boards rather than pictures of trees and helicopters) and spending time with 'the family' (this did involve drawing rather a lot of helicopters for ThingOne).

It's been great, and ThingOne has been on top form. Recovering from her illness has meant she's been eating for England, and she's been full of beans. We've been out for walks, swimming, to the park (a lot of times) and to 'Cheeky Monkey's' indoor play area.

ThingOne's latest obsessions include:

- dragon flies. I pointed one out to her last week and now we've noticed that just about every (children's) book we've got has one in it somewhere.

- the moon

- armpits (no idea why)

- baby kangaroos (she has a book featuring one, and spent part of yesterday with a toy kangaroo in the 'pouch' of her dungarees. This could be useful when we try to explain there's a baby sibling coming into her life.

- Letters. She keeps trying to sing the alphabet. I think it's just a song to her, but I'm not too keen on her learning another new thing as she's already counting to ten and learning about numbers. That said, I'm not going to stop her if she wants to talk about them. She's like a little sponge soaking up new information. My concern would be that all these new concepts will get confused with each other, but I guess that could be cleared up later. She really seems to like saying "Double-U". I've also got her running about the house with a plastic L (for ThingOne) held on her forehead. I thought this was funny as this indicates 'loser' in modern youth-parlance. She then had Anne and I with an M and D respectively (for Mummy and Daddy) on our foreheads.

Today when she was trying to ask me to do somethng for her I said, "Do you want me to take the lid off your water cup?". She answered "yes".
Trying to get a 'please' out of her I said "Yes what ThingOne?"
"Three bags full", she replied.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tired and emotional

Oct 07 070, originally uploaded by skenttaylor.

ThingOne's not been well.

We visited some friends in Battersea at the weekend and the whole time we were there ThingOne was either grumpy or asleep. Not quite true since she did perk up whenever Bob the cat appeared (though Bob soon ran away whenever ThingOne approached him) and seemed a little happier whenever her Maisy DVD was on the TV. It dawned on us that we've been away from home each of the last six weekends, so perhaps we should all have a rest.

Not sure what's wrong with ThingOne, but she's a bit better today. She's ended up in our bed for the last few nights (though generally only after 5am).

It's reminded me that she's actually had a pretty healthy summer, after frequent short bouts of illness before that. Anne thinks her final *baby) teeth may be trying to make an appearance. Part of me think "No, please no!" but part of me thinks we might as well get it over with. Better now than after The Bud arrives I suppose.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Bud's first movie homage

Bud 20 week 2, originally uploaded by skenttaylor.

At just 20 weeks (nearer 21 actually) The Bud is already referencing Kubrik. This is clearly a sophisticated parody/tribute to the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Clever child...

OCD child

Here's how we found ThingOne's toy box after she'd been playing with some blocks yesterday morning. See if you can guess what colour the face on the left side of the box is.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

In which ThingOne makes movie-and-TV references, and her parents hang their heads in shame

1) Gremlins
I'm proud to say I've got ThingOne shouting "Bright light, bright light" like a Mogwai (from Gremlins) when a light is turned on. (Here's a sample from the film. Needs sound, of course. Might not work if your browser doesn't have the relevant plug-in)

That she says "dark light" when we turn a light off is mildly amusing to me too, but since it's not from a film it doesn't count as an inappropriate movie/TV reference.

2) Pulp Fiction
Continuing on this theme, I have accidentally trained ThingOne to shoot her mother with a mchine gun (a pretend machine gun of course) when the toast pops up in the toaster, as in this clip from Pulp Fiction (from about the 50 second mark). I did it one day and ThingOne copied, and now does it fairly often. Her machine gun impression is pretty poor, and really she just waves her hands around and makes a noise, but it's a little disturbing.

3) 300
Having seen and enjoyed 300, I tried to train ThingOne to shout "SPARTA" in a macho way at the top of her voice. This worked to a certain extent, though she generally just makes a very loud noise. She finds it really funny though, and I'm looking forward to the day she gets the word right and can shout it round Sainsburys (when she's there with her mum, preferably).

4) Mission Impossible
Many of you will already have seen the mission ThingOne was sent on when she was just seven months old:

5) 24
This is the embarrassing one that makes us look like terrible parents.

It's Anne's fault. She said "Dammit" when she dropped something on the pavement the other day, and ThingOne repeated it. Anne tried to convince ThingOne she'd actually said that something was "jammy", but ThingOne was having none of it.

And so, ThingOne has now been shouting "Dammit" quite a lot, generally when something is on the floor or is dropped. She's like a little Jack Bauer.

We're torn between finding it very funny and trying to stop her doing it. We don't really know how to stop it though. ThingOne and I were at my mum's today and I went to put a potato on ThingOne's plate. It fell off the spoon and onto her plate, and ThingOne shouted "Dammit Daddy!" My mum and I couldn't stop laughing, but we both tried hard to hide our laughter from ThingOne. My mum had to leave the room.

What have we done? For our own amusement we've created this little imitator, but I feel we've lost control of her. It's Frankinstein's monster all over again!

6) Il Colosso di Rodi (The Colossus of Rhodes)
(I'm referring to the 1961 Sergio Leone film of course)

Here's the Colossus:
And here's how Anne discovered ThingOne the other day after she'd been playing one of her favourite games: emptying out the kitchen cupboards and playing with the salad spinner:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Little Drummer Girl

ThingOne was really well behaved this weekend when we visited some friends in Catford. She's a little actress and loves to play for a crowd, so is generally good value when we visit people. What surprised us was that she was also very good when Anne or I held our friends' new baby. ThingOne often gets a bit antsy when Anne holds babies at the NCT things she organises and goes to, so we were wondering how she'd react with both of us and a baby. Conscious that ThingOne's going to have to put up with competition for our affections from next February, we're trying to prepare her and ourselves gradually.

As it was, ThingOne didn't bat an eyelid. She even gleefully shouted "Mummy hold baby Mimi" (Mimi = Millie). It might have helped that she was sitting on a friend's lap eating a big bowl of fruit salad at the time. That gives us an idea of a possible distraction for when The Bud arrives. Later we put Millie on ThingOne's lap (ThingOne was on my lap at the time so I could ensure ThingOne didn't try to do Millie any damage). ThingOne wasn't entirely sure what was going on, but didn't seem to mind too much. She's been telling us about Baby Mimi ever since, so Millie obviously made an impression.

On Sunday, after returning to Cambridge, we were looking for a wardrobe for ThingOne's room in Habitat and ThingOne took a shine to a toy drum. She'd been so good I bought it for her (soft-touch dad). We had a coffee in Starbucks and I said to Anne that I was enjoying how easy parenting was at the moment, though was aware that things could be tougher once we reach the so-called Terrible Twos. Somewhat predictably ThingOne then screamed ALL THE WAY ROUND THE SUPERMARKET because we didn't let her go on the Bob The Builder ride at the entrance (I'm beginning to resent shops putting these rides in). "BOB!" she screamed as Anne and I tried to stay calm and calm ThingOne. "BOB!!!" I don't really know how she knows Bob the Builder - she's never seen it on TV She saw some Bob toys at her grandfather's house earlier in the year but she seemed to know then who Bob was already.

I was looking out for a helicopter toy for ThingOne in the supermarket and found one for 97p. Since she was such a terror I didn't give it to her that day (and she'd had a drum already). ThingOne got upset that I had left for work early on Monday and wasn't there when she got up. "Daddy's left you a present", Anne said to try to cheer her up. Anne handed ThingOne the helicopter and it seemed to do the trick. "Helitoptop!" she exclaimed. Almost immediately though, ThingOne looked concerned, held up her other hand and said "No plane?"

Sunday, September 23, 2007

ThingOne's marvellous adventures in France

France 279, originally uploaded by skenttaylor.
We've been back a week now, but I wanted to note (mainly to jog my memory as we forget how ThingOne's developed in future) what ThingOne got up to on our holiday.

She developed a lot over the week. She had just started counting to ten before we left, and by the time we got back was pretty consistent with that and had learned colours too. She was telling anyone that was interested (or otherwise) what colour everything was.

We thought she'd be impressed with the plane journey there, since she always points out planes in the sky. As it was, she didn't seem all that interested. But she was VERY interested when a helicopter landed in a field right next to us on the short walk to the beach, and then took off again (as was I - it's always fun watching helicopters!) She was talking about the "helitoptop" for the rest of the week.

We seemed to spend a lot of our time running around the toilet block near our cabin/static caravan (it was the shower block too, but we called it the toilet block as we found it a funnier thing for ThingOne to plead us to take her to). It was a pretty majestic toilet block to be fair. The main things she liked were all the steps within the courtyard of the toilet block (told you it wasn't a grotty little block). By the time we came home she was much more proficient with steps, and we can now while away a good period of time playing on and around steps.

She developed in lots more ways which are harder for me to put my finger on. She suddenly seems a little more toddler and a little less baby. She still doesn't have an awful lot of hair, so people still often mistake her for a boy (or "garcon" while we were away), but we can really see her turning into a little girl in front of our eyes.

On Monday morning when I was about to return to work, ThingOne sat at the breakfast table saying, "ThingOne Daddy sandcastle, yeah?" and "ThingOne beach, yeah?" It broke our hearts to think that she thought life would be like that from now on, and now she had to face the harsh realities of back-to-normal. I felt bad for having to go to work and wanted to pull a sickie and spend more time with her.

(And I don't know where she's got this ending-every-question-with-"yeah" thing from. We'll have to put a stop to that.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bake it so

DSC03336, originally uploaded by skenttaylor.

We are currently on hols at a Eurocamp in the south of France (Canet Plage near Perpignon). I am typing on a weird French keyboard, and am having trouble finding punctuation marks.

ThingOne is very much enjoying her time in the sun, the pool, the sea and with mum and dad. She has a swim suit (pictured) in which she looks like Captain Picard.

Best of all, she's sleeping well. Over 12 hours each night so far! And since we've kept her on UK time this means Anne and I are getting to sleep until 8.30. Just amazing.

So now we know what to do with the next one: just wear him/her out each day at the pool/park/beach and give him/her constant attention.

How hard can that be?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mole location

ThingOne's become interested in moles, having found Anne has one on her chest, ThingOne has one on her leg, and I have one on my stomach.

Today, with me out at work, ThingOne started pointing at Anne's chest mole. ("Chest mole" isn't a euphemism btw.)

Anne: "That's Mummy's mole. Where's ThingOne's mole?"

ThingOne points to her leg.

Anne (trying to get ThingOne to say "tummy" or indicate a stomach in another way): "And where's Daddy's mole?"

ThingOne: "Work."

Sometimes she makes us feel like we ask silly questions.

In other news, we had five days of potty training and have decided to give up for the time being. ThingOne's made some progress but was getting really stressed by it. If we weren't going on holiday to France on Friday we might have persevered, but we've decided we don't want to fight her all week. She can be a baby for a bit longer. (But had better be out of nappies when The Bud arrives!)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Lincolnshire Lils

Aug 07 250, originally uploaded by skenttaylor.

We went away to Woodhall Spa (Home of the Dambusters) in Lincolnshire to visit Anne's mum and step-dad for a long weekend, involving a day trip up to Bridlington on Friday to visit Anne's grandparents. ThingOne was an angel all weekend, even (surprisingly) during the car journeys.

She wore everyone out with her constant nattering (nothing sophisticated - mainly "Mummy socks, ThingOne no socks" etc etc) and running about. She's certainly full of joy at the moment.

She's also very cuddly all of a sudden, which isn't like her at all.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Dog-sitting weekend

Dogs 031, originally uploaded by skenttaylor.

Last weekend, through a series of baby-related contrivances, we dog-sat at a very posh house in farmland just outside Cambridge. The dogs were two Labrador retrievers called Nala and Tilly (very friendly, lively and good with ThingOne) and the house was just gorgeous (apparently rescued from a derelict state 12 years ago).

The grounds were also great, with pretty gardens, a large lawn for ThingOne to run around on shouting “ThingOne ThingOne ThingOne ThingOne ThingOne!” and lots of nooks and crannies for her to explore. Our friend Pete was over from New York for a few days and visited on the Saturday for a relaxing day.

As we sat for dinner I’d tell Nala to sit as she nosed around for food: “Sit Nala” and, being a good dog, she obeyed. This led to ThingOne doing the same thing: “Sit LaLa!”. The following week, when we’d left the house and dogs ThingOne was still saying “Sit LaLa” at meal times.

There was also a little wooden house hidden in some bushes which ThingOne loved, and played tea parties there for most of the weekend.

We had a great time, and even though we were 20 minutes from home we felt like we’d had a really relaxing holiday. It helped that the weather was fabby. But I don’t think our house will be as nice or as much fun for ThingOne (or us) again.

Lots of more photos here on Flickr.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

...and The Bud makes four

Here's the 12 week scans of The Bud - ThingOne's little brother or sister due in February 08.

You see, we figured we were getting too much time to relax, read the paper, watch movies. Who needs to do that sort of thing?

It's just as well Anne got pregnant when she did, as soon after ThingOne stopped sleeping. If Anne wasn't pregnant by then it'd have been quite a while before we could have conceivably conceived.

Well done to us (and Anne especially).

Following in her dad's bookmarks

Aug 07 024, originally uploaded by skenttaylor.

I think I've been a bad influence on ThingOne.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Summer at last

Aug 07 092, originally uploaded by skenttaylor.

Finally - it's here!

Since it was sunny this weekend we (of course) went for a barbeque at the house of some friends in West London. ThingOne had a lot of fun playing in the paddling pool, as even had a Mini Milk lolly.

Today we went to Hinxton Mill, a working water mill which is open to the public five days a year. We had cream teas there. How great is summer?

Until tomorrow's post that is, where I complain a lot about the heat and how I'm having trouble sleeping...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Webcam cache makes a half century

The observant amoung you will have noticed our "Geocaches Found" count (top left of our home page) switching to 50 today. That's because, after finding two at the weekend on a Cambridge "caching event"(!) I found another two caches today near Liverpool Street.

Neither were traditional caches (i.e. they weren't boxes full of goodies). The 50th was a Webcam cache. With this, I followed the GPSr to a location visible on the web via some webcams. Anne was at home and took a screenshot of me at the location (we coordinated ourselved via electric mobile telephones). To log the cache as "found" we then uploaded the screenshot (with me circled) to the Geocaching website, and Bob was our uncle. Done!

Here's the image, with me celebrating our 50th find. You can't really see it but I was standing with my arm in the air and my legs spread, looking proudly ridiculous while city workers around me went to work. I'm in the top left hand photo, circled in red. Click on the photo for a bigger image.

That's right: look impressed.

Monday, July 30, 2007

VBA for muggles

I'm on a course (VBA for Excel) in London Monday-Thursday this week. This should be a chance to unwind a bit from work, but it being our month end I'll be doing work in the evenings (and I did yesterday too). On the train this morning though I took the opportunity to make some headway into the new (final) Harry Potter book.

I arrived at the training centre near Liverpool Street to find my instructor's name is Dragoslav. Sounds like I may still be in the Harry Potter book!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Quick update

Here's what's new with us:

1. I am on a productivity drive

In one week I got my inbox at work down from 1400 emails to none. This doesn't mean I've done everything I need to do, just that I'm trying to file properly and I've moved all the emails that need me to do something to a folder called "Action". Whether this will help or not remains to be seen, but at least now I'm not trying to keep all the things I need to do in my head.

(It also remains to be seen whether my inbox will bloat again in a month or six months, but I'm hoping that by boasting here that I'm on top of it I will be too embarrassed about losing face and try to keep on top of things.)

2. ThingOne's been sleeping badly (as, consequently, have we)

We think it's teething and development. Again. A major bout of teething always seems to coincide with significant development, and makes it hard for ThingOne to sleep. First it was crawling last summer, then walking at the start of the year, and now her language is coming on and she's putting new words together.

We try to slow her down, but we go to get her in the morning (5.30 recently!) and she's frantically naming everything she can see: "Door, cat, socks, duvet, zip, daddy, mummy, teeth!" Calm down girl! We've had a couple of good nights, so I hope things are easing off now.

We're also teaching her about the potty using books, chocolate and dancing (ThingOne gets to do The Poo Dance if she does a poo in the potty. The process stresses her out a bit (lots of "uh oh"s if she stands up and there's something in the potty) but the chocolate helps and she enjoys seeing her produce go into the toilet and get flushed away ("Bye bye poo"). So some of ThingOne's development is our fault, but Anne was keen to potty train in the summer so ThingOne could run around nudey and not get cold. And given it's July it IS technically summer, but the weather's been so dreadful that it might as well not be.

3. I have a new camera

Using profits from matched betting I've bought a digital SLR camera (Nikon D40x). I've not had a chance to use it yet as I'm waiting for an SD card to arrive. I've made over £300 by betting on football matches (and I know nothing about football) using matched betting techniques (which, believe it or not, give a guaranteed return) and I was able to use that, Dixon's price matching and some force of will to pick up this natty camera for no cost to myself. Sometimes these things work out. Or course, all the effort I put into saving a few quid here will be for nought the next time I need to call a workman in or get my car repaired, where other people would do the job themselves with minimum effort.

Anyway, the upshot is I'm hoping the quality of my photos will improve. I used to love using my dad's SLR and even got reasonably good at it when I was at uni, but it takes so much trial and error, and my hope is it will be easier when you don't have to wait a week for the film to be processed to see the results.

Here's a photo of ThingOne dressed as a cat for no good reason.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Biker chick

A couple of weekends ago we went to Centre Parcs with my mum, sister and brother-in-law. We did the same last year, and it was good to see how different ThingOne was a year on.

We had a great time, and while the weather wasn't up to much it didn't spoil our break. We fortunately had managed to schedule all the outdoor activities (golf, walks, cycle rides) during the dry periods, and did indoor things (nap, badminton, massages) when it was raining.

Anne and I hired bikes, mine with a child-seat. We weren't sure how ThingOne would take to it, especially the wearing of the cycle helmet. We needn't have worried - she loved it! After she saw a little girl wearing a helmet she was happy to wear one, and she seemed to enjoy being up high and surveying the woodland (especially the squirrels, ducks and rabbits).

Last week I dug Anne's old bike out of the shed (actually my mum's old bike she gave to Anne that Anne has never used) and tightened up some nuts. I got it road-worthy and today we went to a cycle shop on Mill Road in Cambridge (there are plenty of cycle shops here, as you might imagine if you've been to Cambridge) and bought a child seat, a lock, a stand and a helmet each for Anne and ThingOne. It'll be a good way for them to get around, and there are plenty of cycle routes here for them to ride around safely.

Anne was worried she wouldn't feel confident enough on the bike. As it was, she may have been a bit over-confident. She popped in to visit a friend and left ThingOne on the bike with the stand engaged as she rang the door bell. The bike fell over on the gravel, and ThingOne went down with it (being strapped in). She screamed a bit, and Anne felt awful (as did I when I caught them up - I'd been following with the pushchair). ThingOne soon calmed down though and just has a bruised arm. Poor thing. I guess that's lesson one learned.

Earlier in the day we'd made the most of the nice weather (the first in a while) and been to a Cambridge "event" on Parker's Piece. There were stalls, a French market and live music. Again, ThingOne liked the music and danced about making us laugh. SHe got a bit worried by people listening to the music who weren't wearing socks - OCD child!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Tair noo noo clip clop - life at Bletchly Park with Sweep

Scene from this morning:
ThingOne: "Tair noo noo clip clop."
Daddy: "Not yet ThingOne - you can have your breakfast when we've got you dressed."

Communicating with ThingOne is like communicating with Sooty's pal, Sweep. Sweep used to just make a squeaking noise and Matthew Corbett would say "What's that sweep? You want to go outside?" (You'd probably put Sweep's lack of vocal ability downto him being a dog-puppet, but then Sue the panda could talk properly, and I imagine Sooty could too, albeit in a whisper that the viewer couldn't hear.)

It's similar with ThingOne, as I say. She's got this language that Anne and I can (often) understand, in context, but anyone viewing us would think we're just making it up and pretending ThingOne's better than she is at speech.

Many of her words are the same. She previously said "bread" and "bird" ok (though generally leaving off the last letter - perhaps she's French?) But since she learned to say "baby" quite well every B word is now "bay-beeee". So bread is bay-beee, bird is bay-beee and bib is bay-beee. So you have to see what's happening in order to understand her in context. If she's at the window it probably means bird, if she's looking up at the kitchen cupboards it more likely means bread. It's easy to get the wrong meaning and takes experience.

It's the same to a lesser extent with C words. Since she learned that a horse goes clip clop the few C words she knew have morphed into that.

Deciphering The ThingOne Code is thus a mixture of experience, frequency-analysis, working out the context, and a little blind luck.

So to explain the title of this post, and my response:

Tair - Chair. Fairly straightforward that one. Especially when she's banging her high chair.

Noo noo - plate. ThingOne's plate has the Teletubbies on it, and Noo Noo (the Teletubbies' vacuum cleaner friend) is depicted around the rim.

Clip clop - crumpet. This is often what ThingOne has for breakfast and given that she's asking for her plate crumpet is the most probable meaning.

So "Tair noo noo clip clop" means that ThingOne would like to get into her high chair and be given her Teletubbies plate with a crumpet on it. Simple really.

Unless I'm wrong and she's actually telling me about her planned U-Boat attack on a convoy of supply ships crossing the Atlantic.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Big Session, Tiny Dancer

Sunday was my second Father's Day as a dad.

After a morning playing in the tumble drier (see photo above) we drove to Leicester to the Big Session, a folk music festival, to meet up with Anne's mum and sisters (and partners).

It had rained for the first two days of the festival and the ground was wet and muddy, but the weather was good on Sunday. ThingOne was in her element. Not only did she have aunts and grandparents to entertain her, there was live music. I don't think she's seen a band before, and she loved bouncing around in our arms (the tents and auditorium were too busy for her to run around much when music was on).

I was elsewhere at this point, but I was proud to hear from Anne that ThingOne went especially mad with her dancing when a band did a cover of the Talking Heads song "Road to Nowhere".

ThingOne even chose a hat at a stall which she insisted on wearing. We've not had much luck with getting her to wear hats, so that's a good sign.

There's some video on my YouTube "channel" (link on the left hand side of the blog) of ThingOne at the festival. I don't think it captures just how much she enjoyed it, but I find it fun to watch her bounce about anyway.

On Monday (while I was away on a course in Staines) Anne was running ThingOne's bath and found ThingOne in our bedroom. ThingOne had turned our radio on, and was listening to I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue on Radio 4. Anne said it was the funniest thing ever to see ThingOne dancing enthusiastically to Tim Brooke-Taylor singing "Teenage Dirtbag" to the tune of The Ash Grove (a traditional Welsh folk song). Anne was laughing so much ThingOne ended up having quite a deep bath that evening.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Wet weekend

Ah, a rainy weekend. We're off to a music thing in Leicester tomoorrow which I understand will be partly outside. I hope it dries up by then.

Anne was at Yoga this morning, and ThingOne and I did our customary trip to Sainsburys, followed by going to the cafe in the supermarker afterwards. I had a coffee and scone and ThingOne had water and a muslei bar. There are a lot of nutters in Sainsburys cafe, but I needed a break after being made to feel like I, and all the other customers, were in the way of the staff in Sainsburys. I used to work in Sainsburys in Welwyn Garden City when I was at school, and in Uni holidays, and I'm sure I wasn't so resentful of customers. (I probably was.)

I think I wrote the word Sainsburys too many times in that paragraph.

I got soaked on the way home, but ThingOne was warm and cosy under the rain cover of her pushchair. I'm now writing a blog entry wearing just pants and T shirt while I wait for my shorts to dry (yes, I was wearing shorts - it looked like it was going to be a nice day this morning).

Blog admin: If anyone uses RSS (or "atom") feeds to read this blog you may have noticed loads of old entries appearing in the feed. Don't fret - I'm not experimenting with time travel ( I?) (no, I'm not). I'm just updating the links to photos. When I moved server in April all my entries still pointed to photos at the old address ( but they should now all point to You'd think there's be a faster way to do this than by editing and republishing every entry with a photo, but I couldn't find one at Blogger. Hrumph!

Here are a couple of photos of ThingOne (now with a little hair!) to brighten up this otherwise-dull entry. Here she is showing her early maternal side:

Here she is showing the folly of her method of eating bread with spread on it (ThingOne's method is to shove the bread spread-first onto her face):

Monday, May 28, 2007

Granny left holding the baby

Anne and I spent Saturday night in a hotel in Saffron Walden - the first night Anne's been away from ThingOne in the more-than-sixteen-months since ThingOne was born. My mum baby sat.

Anne was sad to leave, but once away we had a great time. We ambled around Saffron Walden in the afternoon, Anne had a bath, and then we drank some wine, ate some nuts and watched Doctor Who. We then went for a drink and a meal.

This was very relaxing. We've left ThingOne with one or other Granny before for an afternoon or evening before, but never both. The real coup was the next morning though, where we stayed in bed until after 8am! I've been quite ill since returning from DC and I think my body gave out. I couldn't get out of bed at all! Eventually, by 9am I managed to get down for breakfast, but after that I went back to the room and fell asleep again. Not like me at all!

The weather was terrible on the Sunday, so we didn't get to do much, but we went for a pub lunch and got home around 2.30pm. We expected my mum and ThingOne to be at home, but they were out - ThingOne having been banging on the door with her shoes all morning with cabin fever. Poor Granny having to take her out in the rain! At least ThingOne has a rain cover on her pushchair - Granny doesn't!

He's a two minute video of ThingOne watching In The Night Garden last night. It's a new show from the makers of ThingOne's other favourite, The Teletubbies. She's copying the characters jumping (or at least she thinks she is - she never leaves the floor) and then dancing along with them. Why would we ever want to leave her for a day? (A: To sleep.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hey you sass that hoopy ThingOne?

It turns out ThingOne's a frood who really knows where the towels are.

In one of her daily reports from Cambridge, Anne tells me that ThingOne's coming on leaps and bounds in my absence (marred only marginally by running into door frames and vomiting).

Anne and I (especially I) often forget to take our towels off the banister when we take a shower, and end up either calling for the other to bring it in, or slopping across the bathroom and landing to get it and leaving a wet trail.

Having made this mistake with me away, Anne didn't have the former option, and thought she may be able to avoid the latter by calling for ThingOne.

"ThingOne, can you fetch my TOWEL please?"

ThingOne thought for a bit and then went to get one of the towels from the bannister and brought it to Anne. The idiot - it was the WRONG towel.

"That's DADDY's towel. Can you get MUMMY's towel please ThingOne?"

ThingOne thought, and then fetched Anne's towel.

What a star! This is a whole new level for her, and means we're that bit closer to the day ThingOne can make me a gin and tonic, ready for when I get home from work.

I've been away over a week now, and won't be home until Saturday. I'm missing ThingOne a lot (and Anne of course), but from the look of the photos below, ThingOne seems to be getting on just fine without me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Taxing taxi-meter cabs

I am getting to the end of my tether with the cabs here in Virginia (I know I keep saying I'm Washington, but in fact I'm staying and working just outside DC - I'm lying).

The taxi drivers are terrible!

The hotel keeps randomly cancelling or not booking my morning cabs for a start. This led to them having to get one at short notice for a colleague and I one morning last week. The cab driver was annoyed at having been told to drive to the hotel at short notice and shouted at us for most of the journey, saying he wouldn't pick us up again. I despair! (He didn't get a tip.)

Also, few of the drivers know their way around. They ask you what route you want to take to your destination (I don't know - I've never driven here!). My journey to work should cost $20, and twice it's come to $35 as the driver went the wrong way. It was the same driver both times, and the second time I told him there must be a quicker way since it cost a lot less when other drivers took me. He asked what way that was, and I said it was via the freeway, but I didn't know what road it was. He then went the same way as the last time (the HIGHway, it turns out, not the FREEway) and when I complained about the cost he complained that I hadn't told him which way to go! (He even had a GPS system in his cab but ignored it.)

I've now asked at work and know the freeway number and exit number for my office. Good planning Stephen!

Though not good enough as it turns out. Tonight the cabbie didn't know the way to Mclean, the suburb I'm staying in. In fact he refused to even pull away from my office until I'd tried to set up his Bluetooth headset on his mobile phone. When we did get moving we ended up miles out of the way and I could soon see he didn't know where the hell he was. I turned my GPSr on, and I knew there was a geocache near the hotel, so I could then tell which direction we should be going in. I ended up map-reading and directing the driver to the hotel. I was clearly annoyed, and I ended up telling him to ignore the meter (near $40 by this time) and that I'd pay no more than $20 (he should have paid me).

I was thinking I was just having bad luck, but the people I'm working with acknowledge that the cabs are terrible (especially the Brits who live here and know what UK cabs are like) and you have to know exactly which route you want to take.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mr KT Goes to Washington

It's been mostly a working weekend. I've been working in my hotel suite, but I should probably have gone into the office as the internet connection is frustratingly slow, and I've been using some quite large files. It's more relaxed here though and I can work in just my pants (if I wanted to - I don't: I like to work in a suit and tie).

I did get out to see a bit of DC though on Saturday afternoon. I got off the Metro near the White House and wandered around. I'd loaded my GPS receiver and PDA with all the local Geocaches, so my wandering was driven by that. I meandered around looking for caches. Because I was in an area where hidden boxes of treasures would probably be eyes with more than a little suspicion the caches were all "virtual" caches. That is, instead of finding an object like you would with a normal cache, the coordinates lead you to an interesting place or monument, and you have to answer a couple of questions to prove to the cache owner that you've found it. These aren't as exciting as finding real caches, but was a good way to see the National Mall (to which I've been before) since it lead me to interesting places some of which are off the beaten track.

I went to the Natural History Museum. It was quite good. I first went to the mammal section and that made me miss ThingOne. Every animal I saw I imagined ThingOne getting excited and doing the noise of the animal (or sometimes doing a weird sound which she somehow imagines is the noise the animal makes; for example giraffes seem to make the same noise as elephants).

I then went into the dinosaur section. This made me miss Anne, since I remembered how a few years ago, on a day off from a conference in Washington, she made a bee-line for the dinosaurs in this very Natural History Museum, when a proper girl would have hit the shops, and bought shoes.

I caught a 3D IMAX movie on sharks which was pretty impressive. The intro was a very sincere rant about how mankind is destroying the habitat of sea creatures and driving many species to extinction. As if to drive home just how screwed the oceans are the whole audience was cackling throughout this intro and trying to touch the on-screen jelly fish.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Having lunch with ThingOne

I'm currently having a web chat with Anne and ThingOne. It's so cool. I feel like I'm at the table with them.

Al(l) Gore in Washington

I'm away in Washington with work at the moment. I flew out last Tuesday, and won't be home until next Saturday.

I'm sad to be away from Anne and ThingOne, especially as I hear today that ThingOne's not well. I hate to be away from her when she's like this. I hope Anne manages to get some rest and that ThingOne's better soon.

Anyway, what can I do while I'm away on my own except watch movies in my (little) free time. However, I don't want to watch movies that Anne would want to see. This doesn't leave me with a lot of choice, since Anne likes movies too, hence why I married her.

Anne doesn't like horrors though, so I've watched a few of those. On Wednesday morning I woke at 2.30am local time and couldn't get back to sleep. By 4am I was working in my room. At 6am I was ironing in just my pants watching torture-horror Hostel on my laptop. It was an odd experience in my hazy jet-lagged state. I watched the rest of it that evening, and I have to say I was sickened. I actually felt ill watching it. Unlike a lot of horrors I enjoy it didn't seem particularly entertaining, but was just extremely nasty. And yet I watched it to the end. And am curious about the sequel.

On Friday evening I got a cab to the mall near my hotel. I'd been told this was a great mall, and the one to go to in the area. I got there and was instantly struck by how little I like shopping.

I wasn't there for the shops though. I was there for the cinema. I queued up unsure if I was going to see Spider Man 3 or zombie movie 28 Weeks Later. When I got to the counter I plumped for the latter. I had 90 minutes to kill in the mall before the film so I had some food and went to Pottery Barn Kids and bought some presents for ThingOne. I guess it's hard not to want to spoil your child when you're away from home.

The zombie film was certainly more entertaining than Hostel, but I was still a little sickened. Why do I watch these things when I'm squeamish?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Bank holiday Meldrew

Today Anne saw a car parked outside our house with three people in and vaguely wondered what the people were up to. They'd been there for some time, and after a while the car drove a few metres forward and stopped again.

All curiosity was obliterated and rage took over when the person in the back seat threw a cigarette butt out of the window and on to the grass.

Not wanting to embarrass Anne unduly, I asked if she'd mind if I went out and gave it back to them. Usually she'd rather I didn't make a scene, but was up for a laugh today (and quite annoyed) so she told me to go for it.

I went out, picked up the fag end (and another that was there that the woman in the back seat had clearly thrown out) and passed them through the window, asking them to take their litter with them. They were quite shocked. The woman in the back apologised, but the woman in the front just kept saying that she'd not done anything wrong (I never said she had - it was the woman in the back who'd chucked the butts).

I saw the woman in the front put the butts into their ashtray. I noticed the ashtray was PACKED with fag ends. They'd clearly been parking outside a lot of people's houses. I suppose, in their defence, at least the only litter when their car is full of crap. Some defence!

Feeling I had the upper hand I then asked what they were up to. They quickly showed me some papers and told me it was a marketing exercise (I didn't really care - I just wanted to embarrass them further). I stood behind the car for a bit, pretending to be memorising their number plate (I couldn't even tell you what type of car they were in). As I went back into the house they drove off.

One-nil to me (until we find our windows smashed).

I can feel some of my friends cringing as they read this.

Bank-holiday fun

Tomorrow I'm going to the US on business for a couple of weeks, which makes me sad. Partly this is because it'll be hard work for me, but largely it's because I've not left ThingOne for that long before, and to leave her at this stage when she's so lovely and learning so much will be hard. It'll be hard for Anne too who won't get a break for almost a fortnight.

This weekend though we had Anne's sister Kerry and her man Mark down for a visit. They liked seeing their niece, who was on good form, and ThingOne enjoyed seeing them and getting so much attention. I got to spend a lot of time watching ThingOne learning new things and playing, to get my fix to see me through while I'm away.

ThingOne did a lot of showing off and being purposefully cute, and watered our patio with her little watering can. She had a great time in a local park on the swings and slide, and being swung around by us.

Kerry has taught ThingOne to pull up our shirts so she can poke us in the belly-button. Quite fun, but it could get annoying - especially in public. I'm going to have to start doing sit ups again!

Her first word was "murder"

Sounds like a twisted Agatha Christie novel title doesn't it? It's not true that ThingOne's forst word was "murder". She's been saying simple words for a while, but she's not really said clear two-syllable words before (other than "dada", which isn't a real word). Before this week ThingOne has called both me and Anne (and most other people) Dada. Only this week has she started to realise that one of us is Dada and one is Mama. However, she's often not sure which is which.

She'll sit and point at one of us and say Mama and Dada until she gets it right and gets a reaction from us (we clap when she calls us the right name). But she gets a bit tied up and called us Mada, which comes out just like Murder (or rather, like Taggart saying Murder in a thick Scotch accent).

Let's hope this isn't a portent.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May tricks: reloaded

Having moved the blog onto a new server (and finally properly using our domain, rather than just redirecting it to our web site) I've tidied up the blog a bit. Links down the side have been tidied up, and I've changed colours just for the hell of it. I'm not particularly good with colours, so I suspect once Anne sees it she'll want me to rework it.

I resisted the urge to fully widgetize the site, but there are a few things I'm interested in trying out. We'll see if I have the time.

And I got through a whole post without mentioning ThingOne once.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Anne is ThingOne's play thing

ThingOne's still on top form. I'm off to the US again with work in a week so if things go as they have before she'll get ill just before I leave.

In the meantime we'll make the most of her having lots of fun and exploring everything she can. Here she is having a lot of fun running round and round her mother...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Where did you get that hat? Sainsburys.

ThingOne's been on really good form for a week now, having got over some illnesses. Parenting seems so easy when she's well. Tiring, but such a pleasure. She's toddling around being very funny and has recently started wanting to kiss us quite a lot (but only on her terms - it doesn't work if YOU want a kiss.) This is lovely, unless she hasn't has her nose wiped in a while, in which case it's quite grim.

We spent some of the Easter Egg weekend down near Hastings staying with friends. One of the two couples we were seeing is expecting a baby in July, so we were hoping that ThingOne would be good to show them some of the upsides of parenting (rather than the exhaustion-related bit which we've moaned about a fair bit). I've rarely seen ThingOne better, so I hope they're still up for it! (It's rather too late if they're not.)

Even on top form ThingOne's still willful. I bought her a hat for the summer on Friday from Sainsburys (yes, my daughter is almost as trendy as I am). It's a nice red hat but ThingOne refused to wear it. She delighted in pulling it off her head as soon as we put it on her and throwing it to the ground.

Today though we may have found the solution. I showed her pictures of a baby wearing a red hat in one of her books, and put ThingOne's hat on one of her dolls. I pretended that I thought the doll looked rather dapper wearing the red hat. The next time I put the hat on ThingOne's head, Anne and I clapped for ThingOne, and ThingOne looked very pleased with herself, as though it was she and not me who had had a victory here. She then kept it on for quite a while.

When I later stopped her from walking into the road outside our house she became enraged and threw the hat to the ground, so the victory ended there, but it was a victory all the same.

We're pleased that ThingOne is still fairly easy to manipulate. Heaven help us when that changes...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bouncing baby

It's been a while since my last post (a while since I wrote a post - I only just posted the 16th March one). It's been a tough few weeks as ThingOne's been ill. It's tough when she's ill, not least because we end up smelling of baby sick, but also because it's so sad to see her so unhappy. She reverts to being a little baby, and hasn't eaten much either. It seems like she's wasting away, but I think that's just us worrying - in reality she's got a healthy amount of reserves to get her through weeks like that.

She's been well since the weekend though (when Anne and I started to come down with milder versions of her symptoms). Oh dear, I spoke too soon - she's still got a cough and seems to be waking up coughing as I write this (10.15pm). It might be another long night...

Here's a video taken at the weekend of ThingOne having fun on my back.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Second farm in five days

I said On Wednesday that Tuesday night's interrupted sleep was unusal. After Wednesday and Thursday nights it was becoming less unusual. Grah! We think maybe ThingOne wasn't enjoying being somewhere new. Or she may have been cold (despite the nice weather the cottage was cold). She was exhausting us during the day as she wants to run around everywhere, and then keeping us up during the night. Just not on!

We'd planned to drive up the coast, perhaps to Cromer, on Thursday. As it was we were shattered (Anne and I were - I don't think ThingOne was) so we stayted more local and took ThingOne to another farm. This time it was Junior Farm in Wroxham. It was good fun. Anne got to feed milk to a lamb, and we had a great time watching ThingOne interact with the animals.

Now ThingOne's walking she's having more dramatic accidents than before. She fell over on the concrete in Yarmouth on Wednesday and grazed her head, and then at the farm she fell over on gravel onto her head. Oh dear. She was under my watch so I felt bad, but she didn't cry for long. "Look Anne - there's dirt on her nose", I said. Anne went ballistic: "THERE'S BLOOD ALL OVER HER FOREHEAD!". I'd missed that. Oops.

Here's a photo of her with her new scab.

The pygmy goats were particularly funny-looking, and ThingOne seemed to enjoy stroking them. One of them ate her Junior Farm sticker, which was a shame.

We returned home on Friday, tired. A good first holiday together (let's hope she sleeps more next time).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Yarmouth: Great?

Wednesday, following an unusually interrupted night’s sleep, Great Yarmouth, only about 8 miles from where we're staying. We bought tickets for the Sea Life Centre (taking out a second mortgage to cover it) and showed ThingOne sharks, turtles, fish etc. She was pretty keen on some of it, but again was much more interested in running around (away from us), saying “bye bye” to everyone. We went twice round the centre (we were the only visitors there) before taking ThingOne out for a nap. Anne went to get a coffee and read the paper while I pushed ThingOne in her buggy up and down the prom. She slept for 40 minutes (she generally needs more than this, but gets too excited when we’re out) and then I went to meet Anne.

For lunch we had fish and chips at Harry Ramsden’s. Because that’s what you have at the seaside. ThingOne’s a big potato-fan (as opposed to a big-potato fan), so ate a fair few chips, and impressed us by eating a fair amount of fish too. Plus she ate one pea. Probably by mistake. Mainly though, ThingOne ate bread. She LOVES bread. Any kind of bread. After she finished our bread she pointed at the bread of the people at the next table and shouted “Ba!” We think that means “Bread. Give me bread!”

After some more time on the beach, where ThingOne again tried to run into the sea and had great fun pushing her pushchair down the pier, it was another circuit of the Sea Life Centre (making sure we got our money’s worth). Then it was “soft play” time in their cafeteria. This comprised a ball-pit, some cushions and slide I couldn’t figure out how to get into – I think I was too big. Shame as ThingOne likes going down slides.

After this we made our way back to the car to go back to the cottage, but we’d barely set off when ThingOne flaked out. We walked her up and down the prom a bit as she needed the rest.

She’s having a tiring week. As are Anne and I – we’re shattered.