In fact, because she still doesn't have much idea of what Christmas is and why it's incredibly exciting, G actually let me and Mrs J have a lie-in until 9am. That's something that I can't imagine we'll be able to do on Christmas Day for an awfully long time to come.
G also didn't complain as we soon dragged her away from her presents to go into our local village of Dobcross at lunchtime to check out the brass band's carol concert. As it has been for most of the last month, it was well below freezing even in the middle of the day. But under all her winter clothes, G didn't seem to mind too much.
There were quite a lot of families with young kids at the band club, many of them clutching various gadgets and other things they'd clearly unwrapped that morning. G was in the mood for showing off, and crawled all over the room smiling and gurgling. She even bumped into some of her little friends from one of the parent and baby groups I take her to. There was still no proper walking from her though.
G started to get tired so we took her back home for a nap while Mrs J cooked up Christmas dinner. Once G got up later we all sat down to eat. G had a bit of everything on her plate, and happily munched through just about all of it.
The only exception, predictably enough, were the sprouts. As soon as she put one of the little green things in her mouth she made a disgusted face and spat it out. Seeing as me and Mrs J both quite like sprouts, her dislike of them can't be genetic. Maybe we'll try them out on her again next year.
Mr Clegg looks happy and relaxed in the photos, and he certainly seemed it in the flesh too, despite the headlines of the last couple of days. I suspect there were three reasons for this. First, unlike everyone else he met today, I didn't ask him about Vince Cable's unguarded remarks, the current strife affecting the government not having all that much to do directly with Saddleworth.
Then there's the fact that Mr Clegg has three young children of his own, the littlest not much older than G. He was clearly at ease around her, and told me he'd spent some time at home himself looking after his eldest child, adding that the experience has had a long-lasting effect on him.
If that all sounds a bit grown up, the final factor contributing to Mr Clegg's good mood was definitely G herself. She'd been a bit miserable earlier in the afternoon as I pushed her around Oldham in the cold for an interview with the Conservative Chairman (yes, G racked up two Cabinet ministers in one day). But back in the warmth she was on top form as she smiled, gurgled and pointed at the visiting dignitary, then, as the pictures show, looked expectantly at a sandwich he was eating until she got one herself.
After that it was almost a shame to actually have to do an interview. It crossed my mind that, given the impending rise in tuition fees, the man sitting next to me was as responsible as anyone for adding several thousand pounds to the cost of G's future education. But G isn't old enough to mind about that yet. And besides, he gave her one of his sandwiches, so fair's fair I suppose.
Looking at the photos later, it occurred to me that Mr Clegg might simply have been so pleased to see us because he'd seen the drool G had left on my shoulder. If he spotted it, he didn't say anything. I'm sure that's the sort of discretion he'll be urging some of his colleagues to show in future.
This photo demonstrates G having breakfast. She'd already had her morning Weetabix (other cereals are available) and was agitating for a bit more, so I cut off a bit of toast for her and went back into the kitchen for a few seconds. When I returned I found that G had left the cut-off bits and just gone for the rest of the slice. She finished it all too.
As G chomped her way through the crusts, my mum said: "It'll make your hair curl." Somehow I don't think it's likely though. Her blonde hair is still as straight as can be, but then she's clearly stubborn like that.
Her extra-large breakfast probably contributed to what happened later in day. Back at home and back on the by-election campaign trail, I found myself interviewing Labour leader Ed Miliband for Saddleworth News. I managed it while holding G in one arm with my dictaphone in the other. Mr Miliband, who has a couple of children himself, seemed rather more interested in discussing G than talking about whether he would apologise for the campaign conduct of ex-local MP Phil Woolas, but then I don't suppose you can blame him for that.
As she usually does, G gurgled winningly throughout the interview. But then filled her nappy ten minutes later. She's clearly still an undecided voter.
Unsurprisingly, she got a bit bored while I was droning on, and decided to give a gurgle or two. She then tried to grab my mouth. Presumably she wanted me to shut up. I can only hope the viewers at home weren't thinking something similar.
The show was broadcast on ITV straight after the first repeat of the Coronation Street live episode. So within minutes of all those dramatic deaths, viewers in the Granada region were being treated to the sight of me and G standing around in the cold. I think I know which was more exciting.
Given how long broadcasters usually hang on to archive pictures for, I might find that me and G are illustrating political stories on Granada for some time to come. After all, the same poor woman's suffered years of breast cancer screening on the BBC, and I remember during my days working at Sky when someone phoned up to explain that an elderly person who featured in a report on pensioners had long since died. But that's just the magic of television, I suppose.
A Granada crew came back to film us today, only this time to do an interview for a story on the by-election to be shown on Thursday. The reporter was keen for me to give my opinion while holding G, clearly in the knowledge that would add considerable credibility to what I had to say. Unfortunately, G drooled all the way through the first take, so I had to do it again. She must have either been doing a bit more teething, or expressing her general distaste for all politicians. Sadly she didn't elaborate on which it was.
I couldn't resist taking her for a quick walk yesterday afternoon though. I went to the shed to get our off-road pram out, and got back to the front door to find G with her nose pressed against the glass, presumably wondering what I was doing. She seemed happy enough, but that was probably because she had no idea what I had in store for her:
When it snowed last winter and G was still a tiny baby, it was easy enough to cram her into a snowsuit and off we went. Now she's a lot bigger, and lot more fidgety, so making sure she's wrapped up as she should be is considerably trickier. Don't even ask about trying to get the wellies to stay on.
But eventually we made it out into the cold, and my off-road machine did us proud as I pushed G through the snow and down onto the canal towpath for a walk to Uppermill. She seemed happy enough although her face quickly started to glow red. Also glowing was the light of lamps from the odd house, and soon that was just about all that was visible in the murk as the daylight faded:
I imagine that scene hasn't changed all that much since the canal was built more than two centuries ago. In fact, with all the gloom and snow I thought it was all a bit Dickensian, like something out of A Christmas Carol. Although given how her parents and the rest of her family dote on her, I imagine G will have rather more stuff to enjoy this Christmas than poor old Tiny Tim did.
Wikipedia (and who could doubt the veracity of the information contained on that sage website) actually claims that the Tiny Tim character was based on the invalid son of a mill owner that Dickens knew in Manchester of all places. It's probably just a coincidence, but if I start seeing ghosts as we get closer to Christmas, I'll let you know.
I wasn't able to catch the actual moment of her first steps for posterity. But at least for me, grabbing a camera isn't the first thing I tend to think of when something magical like that happens. I did get the camera a bit later, but by then G had done enough walking for one day. In this picture she seems to be pondering what to do next. Maybe it'll be running. Or, if I'm really lucky, shovelling the snow off the drive. That's the kind of skill she really needs to learn.
Seeing as she was being so good, I let her have this Bourbon and then a Custard Cream, which at least helped keep her quiet during the interview too. As the photo shows, she seemed to really savour the Bourbon in particular, which suggests she might have inherited Mrs J's love of chocolate.
I probably should have saved the treat for yesterday. It was time for G to get another couple of injections, including the MMR jab. Even though the controversy about the MMR's purported link to autism has now faded away, it's still fairly notorious for leaving little ones feeling under the weather for a while. I had the Calpol at the ready, but I didn't need it, because after just a few seconds of post-jab tears G had forgotten all about the injections, and has been fine ever since.
She even managed a smile and a wave at the nurse before we left the surgery. G is definitely daddy's little soldier.
I've clearly gone native since becoming a stay-at-home dad, as I took in some chocolate brownies to share around. The fact that none of the 37 mums had done any homebaking only made me stand out even more. I think this was probably in a good way, because everyone who had a piece said it tasted great. "It's all about substituting half the caster sugar for some soft dark brown sugar," I heard myself saying. At that moment, as I looked around the room, it occurred to me that I'd never really expected my life to turn out quite like this.
After the singing, G was playing on the floor with a boy of about her age. The boy had been stroking G's hair, but then picked up a drum and accidentally hit G in the face with it. This led to lots of tears. I tried to explain to G that the only way to deal with boys who do that sort of thing is to punch them back, but to no avail. Maybe that's a skill we can work on for the future.
Teething involves teeth actually forcing their way through a baby's gums, and it looks very painful indeed. I'm actually amazed that, beyond the odd grumble treated with a dose of Calpol, G has managed to put up with it so far without crying. Thinking back to how I managed the last time I had trouble with my teeth, I'd have spent most of the last ten months on the sofa weeping bitter tears if I'd had to go through the same thing.
G can't have long to go now though. She doesn't actually let me anywhere near her mouth if she can help it, so I can only check on the progress of her teeth by dangling her upside down over my knees and peering into her gob. As best I can tell, all her teeth are now either fully formed or about to poke through. One day soon, I'll be able to actually show off all of the tops G has to wear, without having to cover them up with slobber-catchers.
Having been on solids for a good eight months or so, she now much prefers feeding herself instead of letting me do it with a spoon. But my early experiments with giving her the cutlery have shown she doesn't have much idea what to do with a spoon yet. So hands it is.
The other change in G's eating habits is that she now wants whatever I'm eating, regardless of what it is. My usual tactic of giving her old favourites like breadsticks to keep her occupied while I get my own food sorted is wearing a bit thin, because G has learned she usually gets something more interesting later. So now she just sits and waits expectantly, and as soon as I sit down starts pointing at my plate, a hopeful look on her face.
Now we've established she's clearly not lactose intolerant, there's actually no problem with G eating whatever I've got. I only have to remember not to add any seasoning while cooking so she can have some too. So I usually put a little bit onto her plate, which she then attempts to tackle with varying degrees of success. She always goes back to the breadsticks once I take her plate away though. G may have grown out of being spoon-fed, but she hasn't grown out of being greedy.
Apparently this is the sort of thing that babies often grow out of. Just because G is blonde now doesn't mean she won't have thick jet-black locks by the time she's 5 or 10, which will in turn probably be replaced by an alarming shock of bright red hair during her inevitable difficult teenage phase. Best enjoy it while it lasts then. Although sadly she's too young to get any of the blonde jokes I keep telling her.
And the two of us have been pretty busy this week, particularly yesterday. We went into Manchester for the day, and first I treated G to a trip to the Aquatics Centre so she could splash around in the toddlers' pool. Then we met Mrs J for lunch. And after that I pushed her up to the hotel where the In The City music conference has been taking place, so I could meet some friends.
I'd put G in her little Converse shoes so she could fit in a bit more easily with all the hipster music industry types. On the way she managed to be sick over them. As it turned out this actually helped her fit in even better, because there were quite a few hungover people still wearing the previous night's clothes strewn around the hotel bar. At least they were all old enough to know better.
G crawled around happily, playing peek-a-boo with random strangers and generally enjoying being the youngest person there by at least 20 years. I wondered whether the industry people thought she was some kind of music baby, such as Mick Jagger's latest love child. Or, as one of my friends suggested, the more likely option for a Manchester music event of a niece of a member of Doves. She was far too well-behaved to be a rock star baby though. Maybe if I take her again next year she'll have worked out how to throw a proper tantrum.
Mrs J: "Hello my little girl!"
Mrs J: "No, that's dada over there, I'm mama. Can you say mama?"
Mrs J (getting slightly exasperated): "No darling, I know you've been having fun with dada all day but mama's been working hard and she wants you to say mama."
I don't think G is doing it to annoy her mum. In fact I'm sure she doesn't really know what she's saying. I think the delighted reaction she gets from me whenever she says dada means she now produces it whenever she gets excited and wants some attention. Which, as anyone who has ever spent time with a one-year-old baby will know, happens quite a lot.
I'm sure she'll extend her vocabulary soon. I certainly hope she does, if only to persuade Mrs J I'm not spending my days secretly training G to say dada and nothing else.
After a while Mrs J drove back to let us out (no crystal required), and I put G in her new trike and took her down to the park in our local village for a go on the swings. That made her forget her cold for a while, and her spluttering was replaced by a broad smile as she swung back and forward. Every time we go she seems to want to swing higher. I can see it ending in tears one day soon, but at least the park has got a nice soft landing area.
Mrs J had the day off so in the morning we sat with G and helped her with her cards and presents. The fact that she got way more of both than either me or Mrs J did on our own birthdays this year wasn't exactly a surprise.
I suppose I should really write something about the sense of pride and achievement I feel at having brought a baby up to be one year old, especially one as happy, fun-loving and easygoing as G. But that would be tempting fate. So I'll just leave you with this picture of G enjoying her new trike, and say no more about it.
Besides, although G doesn't know it yet, I'm taking her for her 12-month injections this afternoon. That'll soon take the smile off her face.
The weather this month is going to be 'unsettled' according to the forecasters, and 'pretty rubbish' according to the rest of us. Mrs J, who has asked for a fancy new sewing machine for her birthday in a couple of weeks, is keen to run up lots more dresses for G. "This winter is going to be all about dresses and leggings," she said earlier, in the sort of way which made me unsure as to whether she was asking me what I thought or telling me what was going to happen. I'm guessing it was probably the second of those, though.
Since G was little she's often been mistaken for a boy as she regularly wears jeans, partly because we've acquired a lot of second-hand unisex clothes from various places, and mostly because I find jeans a lot easier to deal with than tights, leggings or anything else, having not had much training in handling the latter.
I couldn't care less if people think G is a boy. In fact, I get a sort of perverse pleasure from telling people she's actually a girl, even if I occasionally hear the odd bit of under-the-breath muttering about why little girls shouldn't wear blue tops or jeans. But Mrs J doesn't like it much, and she'd far rather people recognised her little girl as being, well, a girl. Even if it means struggling with dresses and tights when my daughter is squirming and needs a nappy change, it looks as if I'm going to have to take this one for the team. Admittedly, the dresses do make her look pretty, so I suppose it'll be worth it.
We started giving her the toy to help her get off to sleep when she had a couple of disturbed nights a while back. We kept it in our bed for a couple of nights to make it smell of us (parenthood does strange things to your bedroom habits) before giving it to G, and she's had it with her every night since. Now when she goes down for a snooze, she always opens her mouth for her dummy and lifts up her arm for her toy. And off she drifts, for anything up to 14 hours at a time.
Having such a well-established sleeping procedure really only presents one problem. What happens if we lose the toy? Will G never be able to sleep again? Actually I'm not sure she'd be all that bothered, but babies are nothing if not fickle. Best make sure we buy a cupboard full of them, then.
I usually can't be bothered taking a flask of hot water around with me, so normally ask the person behind the counter in the coffee shop to give me some water along with my coffee so I can warm G's feed up. This never used to be a problem. But recently, more and more coffee shop people (I suppose I should call them baristas, but that's a bit too pretentious, even for me) have told me I'm not allowed any hot water. "It's elfun safety," they say, apologetically.
I've tried asking a few of them what exactly is wrong with giving me a jug of hot water, when most coffee shops and pubs will do it without thinking twice. Nobody seems to know. "It's just elfun safety," they say. They're all happy to put the bottle in a jug of hot water on the counter for me, they just won't actually give me the water.
Why giving me hot water could possibly be considered dangerous when they're also selling me a mug of hot coffee isn't exactly clear. Once, a coffee shop worker muttered something about how that was different, because I was buying the coffee, and they were just giving me the water. I offered to buy the water for 1p. Apparently I couldn't do that either, because the water was free. When I said I didn't really understand why it was all so complicated, the shop worker looked blank: "It's elfun safety, you see," she said. Of course, how silly of me.
Not that any of this bothers G. She's only a month away from her first birthday now, and that's when she's supposed to switch from formula to proper cow's milk. Given that it tastes a lot better than the powdered stuff, I'm sure she won't mind having it cold.
She certainly enjoyed it a whole lot more than seemed possible when we turned up on the Friday in the middle of a Biblical downpour. They always say that rain is the enemy of revolutions, but that's equally true for festivals. With mud all over the site and toddlers amsuing themselves by jumping around in alarmingly deep puddles, the early signs for keeping G amused didn't look good. But being the lazy, greedy baby she is, once we'd loaded her up on food and the rain had stopped, she was happy enough to snooze away in the pram while we watched the bands.