Here's G enjoying her daily nap on Thursday. She's taken to sleeping with her head down and her bum in the air, for reasons which aren't entirely clear. But she's still able to get in a good couple of hours every afternoon, so as long as that's the case, she can sleep while doing a handstand as far as I'm concerned.

She was blissfully unaware in this picture that, the following day, she'd be left at a nursery for the first time. I was going to Leeds to give a lecture at my old university, and had booked her in for a few hours in the creche.

On the way to drop her off, I was more worried about how I was going to entertain 40 students for two hours, rather than how G was going to deal with this new experience. Sure enough, there weren't any tears from her as I handed her over to the nursery staff. She didn't even bother looking round to wave at me as I walked out of the door. I didn't expect her to show any separation anxiety, but a little bit would have been quite gratifying for my ego as a dad. I imagine I'll have to get used to G doing the opposite of what I want.

Later on as I walked back, I spotted G toddling around happily in the nursery garden. I thought about going round the block and letting her play for a bit longer, especially as I'd already paid for another hour or so, but I managed to convince myself that I'd better pick her up straight away, if only so we could beat the traffic on the way home. I'll leave her for longer next time though.

Half Term Week Is Boring

It's half-term. Not only does that mean that the schools are out, but it also means that the usual array of parent-and-baby activities aren't taking place. Which has kind of left me and G at a bit of a loose end.

It's not that I make an extra special effort to get along to the baby and toddler groups in the area. But I usually go to one in the local church on a Wednesday, and then a baby singing group on a Friday. Sometimes I make it to the Sure Start centre for the Tuesday playgroup too. It's not a big deal if we miss one, but I've realised this week quite how important these occasions are in giving me a reason to get up and out of the house of a morning.

Yesterday it was dry so I took G to the swings. But today the weather's been dreadful and by lunchtime, even though G was contentendly playing with her toys on the living room floor, I had got bored with hanging around the house, and decided we were going to walk into Uppermill. Even though it was chucking it down.

After picking up a few groceries which probably weren't all that essential, I decided to treat us to a trip to the cake shop. The picture shows G struggling to hide her disappointment at the realisation she was having to make do with a banana while I tackled a strawberry cake. She did dutifully finish the banana, so I rewarded her with a bit of mine in the end. G turned her nose up at the actual strawberry that came with it though. Even well-behaved toddlers have their limits.

I Want What You're Having

Some babies and toddlers are fussy at meal times. They're very particular about what they will and won't eat, and how they'll eat it. G is a bit different. She'll eat just about anything, but only if she can have what you're having first.

Earlier on I got some soup and bread together for my lunch, and cut up an apple for G to snack on. Apples are one of her favourite foods, but she took one look at the fruit, and one look at me shovelling my food into my mouth, and did the thing she does when she wants something. Currently this involves sticking her arm out in the general direction of the required item, a hopeful look on her face, replaced with the beginnings of a tantrum if there's no response.

So I dipped a couple of small pieces of bread into the soup and put them on G's tray. She stopped whining and ate them. Then had the apple as well. Why the apple was suddenly an acceptable food for her wasn't immediately clear, but I'm sure there was some logic to it inside her tiny brain.

As for the soup and the bread, I made them both. The soup was based on the stock from the ham I did yesterday, and I baked the loaf from scratch this afternoon. It's fair to say I never used to have to the time to do that sort of thing before I found myself staying at home with G. I suppose it makes up for all the things I used to do but never do anymore. Like going to the cinema, or drinking in the afternoon.

Mini Tantrums

G is nearly 17 months old, which still puts her some way off the terrible twos. But although she hasn't yet thrown a huge crying fit about anything, she's gradually subjecting me to more and more short tantrums, usually when I take a toy away from her, or stop her doing something she shouldn't. Like trying to eat mud from the bottom of a shoe, which was a narrow escape from yesterday.

These mini tantrums only last a few seconds, and G is always easily distracted by something else, so whatever upset her is instantly forgotten. I was talking about this to Mrs J, and she said it was all because G can't tell me what she wants, so gets frustrated easily. I had to point out that I usually know exactly what it is she wants, and know that whatever it is just isn't a very good idea. Basically, the odd bit of crying is the price I'm paying for a daughter that doesn't grow up considering soil an acceptable snack.

Sunday Times Photoshoot

This picture of me and G appeared in The Sunday Times yesterday. It was illustrating a story about dads and babies, and appeared on page 4, hilariously pushing the article on the revolution in Egypt down to page 28.

The piece was about recent research in the US which suggested men were becoming increasingly keen to have children, as women focus more on their careers instead. As a stay-at-home dad, the article said that I "typified the new type of family setup." Not my words, but the words of The Sunday Times. And who am I to argue?

A photographer came round on Friday to take the pictures. He took some in our house then a few down by the canal in Dobcross, the village where we live. He then kindly sent me all the ones which weren't chosen for the paper.

This led me to think of a handy tip to help beat the economic downturn. People pay good money to have professional photos taken of their families. Clearly, all you actually have to do is be newsworthy enough to get a paper to do it for free. There's probably a limit to how far you should take that though. I don't think police mugshots are generally of such good quality.

(All pictures: Bob Collier for The Sunday Times)

Taking Things Out Of Things

One of G's favourite games is to take things out of things. The other day she was sat quietly on her own in a corner of the living room for a while. I should have realised that this would be cause for concern, because when I eventually went over to see what she'd been doing, I discovered she'd just taken all the wet wipes out of a full packet, one by one, and put them very deliberately in a pile on a nearby chair.

Mrs J, who likes doing little craft projects and has been blogging about her efforts here, came up with a solution. She made a little tissue-sized box out of fabric, and filled it with off-cut bits of material tied together, in the hope this would be an acceptable substitute for G. As the picture shows, it seems to be working, although I think I'm going to be spending large parts of my days putting the material back in the box again.

Stuck Indoors

Me and G have been stuck inside for the last couple of days. It's been miserable and wet outdoors, and I've been struggling to shake off another cold. Coughing and spluttering generally goes down badly with the other parents at mums-and-toddlers groups, so we've been hanging around the house instead.

I'm a bit bored, but G is dealing with this a bit better. She's developed a game which involves taking all of her large lego blocks out of their container one by one, then putting them all back in again. She's getting quite literally hours of fun out of it. Watching her do this, I realised she's now perfectly capable of keeping herself entertained without me having to do anything. This is probably a good thing, but if she grows up to have OCD, I'll know exactly when it started.