Spot The Toddler

Ok, so it isn't all that difficult to pick G out of this picture. But of all the ones I took of her yesterday on our trip to the Brownhill Nature Garden, she was always at least ten yards in front of me, toddling off to explore something else.

I must have walked past the garden dozens if not hundreds of times without ever going in. It's between Dobcross and Uppermill, squished in between the river, canal, railway line and road. But I'm glad to have finally discovered it. It's certainly safe enough to let G run around on her own, something which I'm increasingly reluctant to do elsewhere, given that she always looks like she's about to toddle out in front of a passing truck or something.

The only shame was that we must have been in the garden for the best part of an hour, and were the only people there. A sadly hidden gem in our little corner of the world.

On The Fridge

This is G's first masterpiece. It was the end product of a solid quarter of an hour of determined painting at yesterday morning's playgroup, down at the local Sure Start centre. They only had two colours of paint out, but I'm sure you'll agree G used them to great effect.

No doubt it'll be replaced with something else in time, but this will always be the first artwork of G's to be stuck on our fridge. So I thought it was worth recording. Just in case, you know, it's worth a fortune one day.


Here's G during one of our regular afternoon walks down by our local canal. That's the Saddleworth Viaduct in the background, and even though I'm no expert on flora and fauna, as a Scotsman I have no trouble identifying those things on the left as thistles.

The main reason for posting this photo though is to remind myself that, no matter how often people tell me how much G is growing, she's clearly still pretty small. In the grander scheme of things and that.

Lazy Walker

Taking G for a walk is a twice-daily event these days, to help tire her out for her afternoon nap and night's sleep. Usually I just take her for a toddle about by the canal near our house, but this morning we went further afield, for a walk around beauty spot and pseudo-seaside resort Hollingworth Lake.

The photo shows G starting out strongly, pulling on the lead which we use instead of toddler reins. But after about 200 yards she was already turning around and reaching her arms up, wanting to be carried.

I'm trying not to encourage this sort of lazy behaviour, and at least with plenty of dogs on the path I was able to keep her interested enough to continue walking. G always points and shouts "doggie!" every time one comes into view, although what the dogs make of her I'm still not quite sure, and one or two of them were a bit tentative around her today. Perhaps it's her lead that confuses them.

Bye Bye

G seems to pick up something new every week, if not every day. Her latest trick is saying "bye bye" whenever anyone leaves the room, or whenever she does. And if there aren't any other people, she's happy to say it to any teddies that might be in sight.

This is extremely cute, but it brings its own problems. At a family get-together at the weekend, G insisted on waving goodbye and giving kisses to everyone before leaving. I'm going to have to start allowing extra time whenever I take her anywhere. At least until she learns something else.

Down By The Canal

In order to make sure G is tired out enough to sleep in the evenings, I've got into the habit of taking her for an afternoon walk. I realise this makes her sound a bit like a dog, but seeing as we usually bump into a few dogs when we're out and about, this keeps G more than entertained.

I'm still reluctant to let G walk on pavements too much because she's prone to randomly dashing off in one direction or another, which is a little bit dangerous when there are cars roaring by. So the canal near our house is a safer bet. She seems to know not to go near the edge, but I suppose it's inevitable that one day she'll get her feet wet. At least now the canals have been restored, they're not quite as dirty and disease-ridden as they once were.

A Walk At Dove Stone Reservoir

I decided we should start the week by heading to one of our local beauty spots, Dove Stone Reservoir, for a bit of a walk around. Or, in G's case, a toddle.

She didn't get very far before she got distracted by a field full of sheep, then a succession of dogs which came past at regular intervals, offering several opportunities for G to both stroke them, and then show off her increasing array of animal noises.

Before long, G refused to go any further, and asked to be carried back to the car. Or at least I think that's what she was signalling in the picture above. It wasn't bad timing though, as the almost-inevitable drops of rain began to fall as soon as I strapped her in to her seat.

Once we'd got back home and had lunch, a very tired little girl drifted straight off into a deep afternoon nap. Might have to start making it a regular event. Weather permitting, of course.

Ice Cream

Trundling G through the nearby village of Uppermill the other day, I stopped by the Sweet Memories of Saddleworth shop for a few Vimto bonbons. After all, having been a good dad and taken G to the playpark, I thought I deserved a treat too.

They've started doing ice cream in there, and I was persuaded to try the new lemon meringue flavour. I gave G a lick of my cone, and was both surprised and alarmed when she took it in her hand and contentedly started licking it, as if she'd been doing it for years.

So, courtesy of the shop owner, I got G a (small) one to herself. I had to help her out a bit by eating some of the ice cream when it started melting down the cone and onto her hand, but other than that she polished it off in good style.

Teddy Bears' Picnic

I took G to a teddy bears' picnic last week. Because it was being held in our local Sure Start centre, not only was it free, but specifically you all paid for it. This photo shows G enjoying a taxpayer-funded sandwich. You'll be glad to know that she enjoyed it very much.

Before we left home, I had pondered filling G up with a second helping of breakfast, just so she wouldn't show me up by eating more than her fair share at the picnic. More fool me for not doing so. After polishing off her allocated sandwich and fruit, a mum next to me offered G the sandwiches that her little ones didn't want.

Unsurprisingly, G started chewing her way through a second sandwich. One of the leaders of the group came by and collected the half-finished plates belonging to all the other little ones, but still G ploughed on. By the time she'd polished off half of the third, I finally took it off her, because all the others were getting impatient waiting for the singing to the start.

As for the nursery rhymes, I noticed the woman leading the singing had one or two slight variations to the lyrics. For example, she finished Miss Polly Had A Dolly with "I'll be back in the morning with my bill bill bill" instead of "yes I will will will" which is how I've always done it. Perhaps it's just because I was brought up in the socialist utopia of Scotland, but I was shocked to learn that Miss Polly had apparently gone private. Clearly the waiting lists for dollies with unspecified illnesses are still too long.