Six Months

G is six months old today. I could write something reflecting on the beautiful journey we've been on as a family since the day she was born, and talking about all of the wonderful emotions we've experienced. But if you've been reading this blog over the last six months, you'll know that kind of nonsense isn't really my style. And besides, G decided to get up at 4 o'clock this morning and refused to go back to sleep, so I'm feeling a bit tired to do anything creative.

Instead, here's a picture Mrs J took of us last night, as I took G for her first trip in her new carrier. We went for a walk up the hill to the postbox and back, and G smiled all the way.

Dove Stone Reservoir

It looked like a lovely spring afternoon, so I decided to drive G up to Dove Stone Reservoir near Greenfield for a walk around. I say 'looked' like a lovely spring afternoon, because by the time we got up there it had clouded over, and it was a bit chilly in the breeze. But no matter, I put G into her pram and walked her around part of the reservoir, before heading up the path that overlooks Chew Brook. It was there I found a rock where I could sit and feed her, and take this photo.

If G looks a bit windswept, it's because she was. If she looks as though she's got her thumb out to hitch a lift, well, I'm not really sure what that's about. Maybe she was fed up and wanted to go home.

You can just about see the reservoir in the back of the picture. No doubt this'll be the first of many visits there for G and me, because in an area of extremely pretty beauty spots, it's undoubtedly one of the best. Not that the beauty is all natural. The reservoir was actually constructed in 1967, which at least proves that not everything built in the 60s was a concrete monstrosity.

Baby-Led Weaning

Weaning G off milk and onto proper food is turning out to be more fun than I expected. We're having a go at baby-led weaning, which basically involves leaving bits of food in front of her, and letting her pick up and have a chew at whatever she wants. G is demonstrating this in the picture above, with some bits of breadstick, one of her early favourite foods.

We're not ignoring the traditional method of weaning, which involves mushed up bits of fruit and veg, baby rice and suchlike, but G seems to prefer eating real bits of food. She runs through a wide variety of emotions as she puts different titbits in her mouth. Sometimes she chews thoughtfully, occasionally she smiles, but often the reaction isn't so good. I had a go with some apricot this morning, and she produced the sort of face I imagine she'll pull in a few years' time when I insist she finishes her sprouts. Rather than the feeding, I think seeing my little girl grow up is the thing I enjoy about it most.

The G-Dog Meets A Real Dog

I sometimes call G the G-Dog. Partly this is because it seems reasonable to have a selection of short nicknames for her, so I don't have to use her much fancier, proper name all the time. And partly because she's obviously cool enough to have a hip-hop name. I'm tempted to take things further and start putting her in big shades and a medallion, although I think other parents might do more than just look at me sideways if I started turning up to baby groups with G in full Flavor Flav attire.

Anyway, a couple of friends came to stay this weekend and brought their Border Terrier. As the photo shows, this meant the G-Dog got to hang out with a real dog. Both of them seemed to enjoy it, and G spent a lot of time closely watching what her new friend was doing. Mrs J thinks this means we should get a dog, although I'm inclined to wait until G is a few years older, so it can be her pet as well. If I'm feeling generous I might even let G choose the name. At least, unlike me, she probably wouldn't think it'd be amusing to call it Snoop Dogg.

New Toy

Here's G playing with her new toy. It's one of those things that babies can sit in and bounce around, and comes complete with a variety of things which light up and make noises. She loves it.

However, this afternoon I discovered it had an unfortunate side effect. As usual when she's at home, G was in a cloth nappy. When all of the happy bouncing around gave way to the sort of crying which often indicates a nappy change is needed, I took her upstairs to assess the damage. It was pretty epic. What should have stayed in the nappy had escaped through all sides, no doubt helped by all of the energetic bouncing G had been doing. Not for the first time, and surely not for the last, an entirely new outfit was needed in the middle of the afternoon.

Cloth nappies may be better for the environment in theory, but in practice they just don't keep everything in as well as disposables. When you take into account all of the extra washing you have to do not just for the nappies themselves, but also the dirty clothes they fail to keep clean, you have to wonder whether they're really worth the effort. Cloth nappies do save you a few quid I suppose, but that's about it.


This weekend was my first time away from G this year, and I drove all the way to Aberdeen and back for the engagement party of two of my friends. While it was good to get away, by Saturday afternoon I'd already demanded Mrs J send me several photos of exactly what G was doing. Clearly I was missing her more than I expected.

I got back last night to find that G had thrown up her evening feed in epic style and had a bit of a temperature. Very unusually, she didn't sleep properly either, which didn't do me much good following my long and tiring weekend of drinking and driving (not at the same time though, of course). When G vomited up her first two feeds of this morning (the second all over my clothes, which I'd foolishly just put on) and kept whining and crying, it was obvious there was something the matter.

Ever since G was born I've heard people talking about how babies have a character all of their own, but at least in the early months of her life I never really saw it in her. She just seemed to cry and eat and sleep and smile like all of the other babies I've ever seen, often doing all of them in quick succession. But today I spotted her pulling the same kind of feeling-sorry-for-myself faces that I produce when I've got man flu. Not that I'm suggesting G was trying to get sympathy, I'm sure she's not quite devious enough for that yet, but I think it shows she's developing a personality of some sort. This is a very pleasing thing for a parent to experience, even if it is accompanied by large amounts of vomit and a need to keep the washing machine almost constantly in use.

Anyway, today ought to have been a miserable day spent nursing my poorly baby, but, as it always does on these occasions, Calpol came to the rescue. A dose of the purple goo was enough to calm G down for a trip out at lunchtime, and her next feed stayed down after I gave it to her in two separate goes. Then she caught up on sleep for two and a half hours, and now seems back to her usual self. It's fair to say Calpol has now replaced Irn Bru as the one product I would advertise for free.

The Truth About Boys

As well as rolling over, G is also getting the hang of sitting up. She can't quite manage to support herself for long on her own, but she's happy enough if she's propped up against something like our sofa, as in the photo above.

This new ability means she's now able to sit with other, older babies in the soft playpens they often have at parent-and-toddler groups. At this morning's group at the village hall in Denshaw, I put her in the corner of the pen next to a baby boy. They seemed to be getting on ok as they played with some toys and munched on bits of crumpets. G seemed more confused than impressed by her first experience of a baked product, and she chewed and chewed on a bit before eventually spitting it out. I'm guessing that reaction will change before long.

This happy scene ended with G learning a harsh lesson about what boys are really like. The other baby rubbed a bit of his crumpet in her hair, then touched her on the face. This prompted some tears from G. I tried telling her that the boy was obviously only doing it because he secretly liked her, because that's what boys do, but I'm not sure she believed me.

Roll Over

G has learned how to roll over. After a couple of weeks of lying on her back, struggling to get onto her side then falling back again, she's finally managed to get all the way over. This action shot captures her reaction after making it all the way from her back onto her front. She looked ready to get going and crawl off, but that's going to have to wait until she's a bit older. Instead she just lay there looking a bit confused.

This ought to be a happy moment in my daughter's development, but in reality it's one I've been dreading. From now on, I can no longer leave her somewhere, turn my back, then expect her to still be there when I return. I'd consider just strapping her to the floor, but I think that's the sort of behaviour that gets you into the papers. And not in a good way.