Messy Eater

Here's G enjoying her tea earlier this evening. It was meatballs and spaghetti. She seemed to enjoy it, although I think most of the food ended up on her face, in her hair and on the floor, instead of in her belly.

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.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Here's G knocking into her lunchtime milk today. These days she's down to just two helpings a day of cow's milk which she drinks herself out of beakers, instead of the old daily regime of five bottles of formula. There's no sign she's inherited her mum's lactose intolerance, although it means we've now got up to three bottles of milk open at any one time in the fridge. Semi-skimmed for me, lacto-free for Mrs J, and whole milk for G who needs the extra fat. At this point we may be keeping the British dairy industry going on our own.
Meanwhile, G has learned another new skill, clapping. I'd tried to teach it to her periodically over the last few months, but she never showed much interest. Until Saturday that is. Mrs J had Strictly Come Dancing on, and G had stood up and propped herself against the front of the telly, just as lots of people were shown applauding. She then turned round and started clapping herself.
The delighted reaction she got from us means G thinks she's very clever indeed, and has done little else since. I suppose it's slightly embarrassing when TV teaches your child something you probably should have taught her yourself. Good to see the BBC can still educate as well as entertain, though.


G is blonde. There's really no getting around it. She's a fair-haired Viking baby, albeit with her dad's hazel eyes instead of Norse blue ones. This wouldn't be anything to comment about, except I've got dark hair. And Mrs J has very dark hair. Between you and me, if we still got milk delivered I'd be looking suspiciously in the direction of the milkman.

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.


Here's G during a walk along our local canal earlier. As the cover on the pushchair suggests, it was raining, and typically G had managed to poke her feet out of the bottom. Even though G doesn't seem to mind getting her feet a bit damp, I should really work out a better way of making sure the cover actually stays where it's supposed to.

Yesterday I took her to interview the manager of the new local supermarket for one of my other websites, Saddleworth News. I left one of the manager's colleagues looking after G in the next room while I started the interview. During the first question I could see the door move slightly out of the corner of my eye, and then I heard the familiar and unsubtle noise of G of crawling gradually towards where I was sitting. By the end of the first answer, G had managed to stand herself up against my chair, and was listening intently to what the manager was saying.
Although it was sweet that she wanted to see what I was doing, I picked her up and put her back outside with the door shut for the rest of the interview. Sometimes that's all that will keep my nosey little girl in check.

Busy Baby

G can't read yet, but she does have a few cardboard books, and she likes to sit and turn the pages. I caught her earlier staring intently at her Winnie the Pooh story about Kanga and Roo, particularly the page saying that wherever Kanga goes, Roo goes too. That could just as easily apply to us, because wherever I go, G has to come along as well.

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.


G can talk, a bit. She can say dog and duck and mama and dada. Much to Mrs J's irritation, it's the last one she usually says when she opens her mouth. The daily scene when Mrs J comes in from work every evening now goes something like this.:

Mrs J: "Hello my little girl!"

G: "Dada!"

Mrs J: "No, that's dada over there, I'm mama. Can you say mama?"

G: "Dada!"

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."

G: "Dadadadadadadadada!"

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.

On The Swings

This morning me and G were stuck in the house. Mrs J had gone off to work with both her keys and mine, which meant the two of us were locked in. It was like a particularly dull episode of The Crystal Maze, only without Richard O'Brien, but with the a baby who has been coughing and snuffling all week with the first of doubtless many colds she'll get this winter.

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.

At The Zoo

G's birthday last week fell on a Wednesday. Mrs J took the day off work, and we all went for a trip to Chester Zoo. G gets very excited when she sees dogs, cats and even sheep, so we thought she might like to see some bigger animals.
They don't come much bigger than elephants, and G enjoyed pointing and gurgling at them. There was even a baby elephant born in July, so a full ten months younger than G, although even the little one would have towered over her had she managed to get anywhere near him. But the barriers of the enclosure were far too tall even for an intrepid and determined explorer like G.
G also enjoyed the giraffes, the flamingos and the penguins, although she was less impressed by the smaller animals which I think she found it much harder to see. So we only ended up staying for a couple of hours, and took her home before she got too bored of trying and failing to make out reclusive reptiles. Although when she's a bit older the zoo is definitely a great place for a whole day out.

One thing I noticed was the plaques with the names of all the people who have sponsored the particular animals. By far the most popular seemed to be the meerkats, with several long lists of names around their enclosure. They were too small and well camouflaged for G to get much entertainment from, but they're just about the biggest attraction in the zoo these days. Just shows what a bit of TV marketing can do for you.