Sunday, 30 November 2008

Back in Blighty

It's Sunday and our Toulousian adventure is now a distant memory (well, two days ago).

After having gorged on French food and hospitality and mooched around Toulouse while not having a care in the world, the real world has come crashing down upon us.

Yesterday it was back to routine - we took Em to Aqua Tots (only two sessions left!) and then we went to Tesco's where she promptly fell asleep.

Today, she's been a wonderful little thing, playing in her sit'n'step and just being a joy to be around.

The past few days, I've noticed a change in Em - both physical and in demeanour. Something about her nose (I know that sounds odd), but she looks less and less like a baby each day and more and more like a young child. Part of this makes me sad, as my life seems to be speeding by at the rate of knots, but it seems Em's does too (I know to her it doesn't as it's only been eight LONG months that she's been alive).

She's also started clicking her teeth which is funny to watch. I have it on good authority (OK, Sue) that it's not new, but as with all things if it's new to me, it's new.

But back to my original point. I've been with the girls 24/7 for the last week and I'm going to find it rather difficult being away for the day come tomorrow. Thankfully, I only have two weeks left of work then almost a month off (week forced jollies, then three weeks in Canada).

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Road trip!

Today Em and I headed off on the road trip that Sue and her class were going on. We went to some town up a massive hill called Cordes-sue-Ciel, which has been around since 1222 (according to the post card). It seemed to be about a mile UP of cobbled stones, which was great to push a pushchair up.

Sue and her classmates went off for a lecture, leaving Em and I to explore the town. I found out that it's a wonderful tourist spot in the summer and quite "ferme" in the colder months. No tea shop or cafe were open, only a store that sold post cards.

Undeterred, Em and I walked around, took in the amazing panoramic views and really just tried to kill time.

In the afternoon, we went to a town called Albi (the racist dragon?). We dined on moules et frites and then headed off to an industrial estate where Sue and class had another lecture. THANKFULLY, there was a supermarket nearby where I managed - somehow - to kill about 90 minutes of the two hours I had to wait (Em fared much better as she slept for most of the trip around the aisles).

All in all, not the best use of a day on mine or Em's end, but we did get to see some pretty sites, and I got to bond with my daughter, more out of time-killing and trying to stay warm than any actual bonding exercise.

We'll see what Thursday has to offer.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Out and about in Toulouse

While Mummy's been busy in lectures learning about French HR and trade unions, Daddy and Emily chose Monday afternoon to walk the mean streets of Toulouse.

We walked around most of "centreville" finding many interesting squares (or Place as they're called here), and walking down to the river (where this photo was taken). It was a lovely sunny (if not windy) afternoon after a tumultuous rainy morning.

Last night we went to an Italian restaurant and Emily nodded off on the walk there. She slept through the whole meal (even though we asked for "la chaise pour le bebe") and she slept through further drinks at a faux British pub (where daddy was able to watch English footie on the telly).

Mummy and Daddy weren't 100% lucky as Em decided on the walk back around 11pm that nap time was over and the evening was to begin. Thankfully, she was only awake for about an hour and fell asleep with mummy and daddy. As she didn't really sleep yesterday I'm thinking that her evening siesta was to make up for nothing in the morming and afternoon.

Today Mummy has the afternoon off so - if it's nice - we're going to have a look at the double decker carousel.
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Monday, 24 November 2008

Day One of daddy day care

Mummy, Em and I had brekkie this morning in the restaurant here at the hotel. Around 9am, Em and I said goodbye to mummy who is in class all day.

Since then (about two hours at this point), Em and I have been hanging out in the hotel room. Why? Because the weather is TERRIBLE! It's cold and rainy, and as Em has snotty nose and cold, I don't think I should let my curiousity about a new city override my child's health.

As it's around 10am GMT, it's also almost time for Emily's nap which is another excuse / reason not to venture out into the "6C with light rain" Toulouse day.

I think we'll have a go "apres midi".

I'm kinda dreading Canada, as the weather there will be similar except on steroids! Still, we'll have nice warm cars and houses and shopping malls and friends houses and coffee shops and ... toy stores (did I mention, the inner kid in me loves having a child?)

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Bonjour from Toulouse!

We made it to Toulouse, having avoided the hell of the British train system today.

Emily was awesome in the airport and on the plane. She repeatedly tried to eat both her shoes and her socks, removing them and stuffing them in her mouth. We repeatedly tried to make her at least wear socks, as barefoot children in the airport look a bit ... odd.

From tomorrow I will be the "free babysitter" while Sue attends school classes in the hotel.

This evening we are going foraging for food, not forgetting that we are carting round an 8.5 month old child in a push chair.

I don't know how child / handicap friendly the French are, but judging by Toulouse Airport, things are going to be interesting for the next five days.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Santa's grotto

Sue, Em and I at Santa's Grotto Today we went to the local (garden) nursery here in Wallington - Woodcote Nurseries - to check out Santa's Grotto.

It was really quite excellent with animatronic elves doing all sorts of things in the snow. Emily couldn't get enough of the twinkling lights and the elves. She was dressed in her finest red and white to meet the big man himself as well.

When we left Santa's house, the photo man told us that hands down, Emily won the (un-official) cutest baby of the day so far.

Of course, we then parted with £10 for the photo of Em and Santa, so his buttering up of mum and dad worked a treat.

We're falling hard into that trap that all parents probably do of treating X-Mas number 1 as some sort of odd uber experience. I'm sure, in an ironic way, that as the christmases wear on they won't seem so special and unique to us but they'll grown in importance to Em. Sure they'll still be special to us, but baby's first christmas is quite unique.. .like first x-mas as parents... or grandparents for that matter.
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Friday, 21 November 2008

Emily's latest health visit

Sue took Em to the doctor's today for her latest check up. All things are normal.

However, we may not be giving her enough fat or food in her diet as she's not put on any weight as such in the past few weeks. It makes me wonder how much you're supposed to feed a baby.

When Em is breastfeeding she usually falls asleep - that's a good enough sign to me she's had enough. With normal food, if she could talk she could utter "please, can I have some more?" but as it is, she eats what we give her and then goes on to other tasks - playing, pooping, etc.

I've cottoned on, however, that when she cries now it's not neccessarily teething related. She may actually be hungry. A couple of times I automatically reached for the Calpol and teeth powders. In hindsight, I don't think that would have made her very full.

Other news from the doc is that Em is quite tall. 76cm. As 30cm is a foot, she's closer to 3 ft than she is to 2 ft, which is quite good. They say a child at 2 or 3 is half the height they'll be as an adult. Em is clearly on the way to being an amazonian 6 footer.

Other good news is her body seems to be growing into her head, which is now back on the chart (having been off it for a bit). hopefully her head continues to grow at a more chart-worthly proportion or she'll look like one of those odd shrunken heads when she's older.

In other health related news, Sue was told that Em shouldn't go to Aqua Tots tomorrow as her cough is quite bad, and the green groolies won't stop seeping from her nose.

We're still off to the NCT sale and Santa's grotto though!
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Thursday, 20 November 2008

dribbles the clown

The last couple of days going to work, I've had interaction with Sue only, as Emily has been fast asleep. Not that she's slept through the night... oh no. She's happily awoken around 5 am only to pass out from exhaustion long before mummy and daddy have had the chance to catch some zees.

Today, though, mummy rang me to let me know that Em is dribbling a storm. This can mean only one thing - teething. And that's NO fun for anyone involved. With four teeth almost here, I can imagine she's going to have a whole set of pearly whites in no time now! Of course, this will cause no end of trouble for milking mummy.

Having arrived home tonight after a work function, the little dribble magnet was already asleep. I do feel a bit bad for leaving Sue so long on her own with the drooling Emster, but I also feel bad that I miss out seeing the droolster myself. Of course, it would be idiotic to wake her to sate my own desire as we'd be stuck with a half asleep little bag of unhappiness and that doesn't tick boxes in anyone's book.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Lunch with the girls

Sue had to come into town to sort out some stuff for her passport, so it gave me the opportunity to have lunch with my girls.

Always nice, especially when we're not racing about - which is usually the case when Sue and Em are in town (Sue dropping Em dropping off before Uni, me racing to day care before they close, etc.)

Had a nice leisurely lunch at a local Dutch pan cake place (My Old Dutch, here in Holborn). During the meal we decided that we should take Em to Holland when she's older.

I've got my misgivings about staying in London (for Emily's sake) and possibly the UK in general, but I can't deny the amazing opportunities we have of showing her Europe and all it has to offer while we still can.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Ebay trek to Northampton

Today was the day we had booked to trek up to Northampton to pick up Sue's "pick up only" Ebay auction win.

While most people would be going "whaa??", Sue did go to great lengths to explain to me the item in question retailed for FOUR times what she got it for from Ebay. As it ended up, even with petrol, we still only paid half of what you'd see it retail in the shops for.

What is it? It's a wheelie activity centre type thing that is much better described by imagery alone (see to the right).

Sue had the loan of one in Australia and Emily loved it enough that Sue was toying with bringing it back with her, as it promised to "flat pack". Having picked it up today, there is no way in hell that this would have flat packed to anything remotely plane-ready, so it's a good idea we went this route and not the excess baggage route.

When we got home tonight, we put it together (un-flat packed it, as the case may be) and popped Em in to give her a taste before bed. About an hour later she was still all smiles and chuckles and deep looks of concerns over trying to get the toys to do their thing. In a nutshell - she couldn't get enough.

It wasn't the nicest weather going to Northampton, and the idea of a 210 mile round trip was daunting, but seeing the look on Em's face made the whole thing worthwhile... which is good.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Rude awakenings

Today we had a wake up call at about 6.45am. Why? Sue, Emily and I went to work ... at the same time. Sue has some stuff to do for Uni (and was dropping Em in at day care for the day), so thought it would be a good test run to take the same train in to see how it would work when she goes back to work.

It went about as well as when I pick Emily up from day care and come home - i.e. I never want to repeat the experience. It was enough to make me mentally sum up all the pubs in the area and try and figure out if a second job for me would be enough to enable Sue to stay at home with Em. Ikea are open till midnight, I could work there!

Waking early, the stress and hassle of dressing and feeding THREE people, getting on a crowded train that seems to be devoid of anyone under 20 - but filled to capacity. Argh.

We formulated a plan on the way in that we could all leave early, I could say goodbye at Liverpool street, get to work early, leave early and we could all travel home together. This makes perfect sense from a family perspective and takes some of the stress and worry out of what could be a real rubbish experience. Whether it works out or not will be seen in February, but it made me feel a little easier.
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Sunday, 2 November 2008

Now I'm down with the ill

The great thing about having ill kids is you can pretty much assume correctly you'll come down with what they have at some point.

This scares me, as I really don't know if work will be lenient with me taking sick days whenever Em gives me the lurgie. As it stands now, I'm feeling quite wretched today, coughing up a lung as well as hard green stuff. The ills have moved from my head to my chest, which I guess means we're on the mend.

In actual Emily news, she's begun babbling. She continually intones "da da" over and over again. At first, I took it to heart. You only have to hear her in pain screaming da dad to realise you don't want any part of that recognition.

Tonight discovered another tooth popping through, which has caused Em some discomfort. So the count right now is 2 arrived and three on the way, which is cool.