Big Girl's Bed

G has finally moved into a proper bed. A previous attempt at taking the sides off her cot was thwarted by her continual insistence on getting up when she should have been taking an afternoon nap, but this week's change went very smoothly.

On the morning after the first night, we wondered whether G would work out that she was now able to get out of bed whenever she wanted. At about 8:30am we heard a bit of fidgeting, then a bump, then footsteps, and the door to our bedroom swung open, pushed by an excited G who was chattering about her "big girl's bed." I suppose there's the risk she'll do it at 3am one of these days. But she seems to enjoy her sleep too much for that.

The only problem we've ever had with her sleeping is on trips away. If she wakes up and can see us sleeping in the same room, she has a habit of thinking it's time to get up, even if it's still the middle of the night.

Before Christmas, Mrs J produced a new clock for G's room (it's the circular thing on the right), which shows a sun during the day and a moon and stars at night time. The idea is that, if junior wakes up in the night and can see the moon and stars, he or she will realise it's not time to get up just yet, and will turn over and drift back off to sleep.

I don't mind admitting I was rather sceptical about whether this would work. But, on our weekend in Shropshire a couple of weeks back, Mrs J set it up in the bedroom we were all sharing. In the middle of the first night, I heard the familiar sound of fidgeting and gurgling, and could tell that G was getting herself stood up in her travel cot. Preparing to get up myself, imagine my surprise when I heard G say "clock... stars... clock sleepy" then lie down again. None of us had to get up before breakfast time, which is just how we all like it.

If it continues to work at home too, having G in a proper bed will be as much of a doddle as sleeping in a cot has been up until now. Next up: potty training. But maybe not quite yet.

Christmas Day

This year was G's third Christmas, but the first in which she has shown more interest in the actual presents than the wrapping paper and packaging. It wasn't quite a morning of full-on excitement for her though. She let us have a lie-in until almost 9 o'clock, and seemed a bit confused when she came downstairs to find a pile of colourful boxes underneath the tree.

No doubt it'll be a bit different next year. But for the time being, G struggles with the concept of the future tense. The general build-up to Christmas had little effect on her, to the extent that, when Mrs J took her outside on Christmas Eve to sprinkle some glitter on the doorstep to attract the reindeer, she threw a mini-tantrum because there weren't any actual reindeer there. The fact we'd all just had venison casserole for tea didn't register either, which was probably just as well. Might have to drop that dish off the meal rota in future years.

G soon got the hang of opening presents, as the picture shows, although she instinctively wanted to actually get each present out of the box and play with it straight away, rather than move on to unwrapping the next one. If we'd let her do this we'd still be sat under the tree now, so we had to briefly hide some of her new toys so she could concentrate on the important task of opening the others.

She did find time to deliver her own Christmas message, of sorts. Not quite The Queen, but she's getting there:

A Very Slow Walk

We were away for the weekend, at a pre-Christmas get-together with friends in Shropshire. Being the only little one among two dozen people meant that G was often the centre of attention, which unsurprisingly kept her happy.

One less happy event was our attempt to get her to the nearest pub for lunch on Saturday. At last year's event, I had used a back carrier to get G there through the snow. But she's too big for that contraption now, so we were left with little choice but to take her pram.

I gave up routinely using G's pram months ago after she made it clear that, as a big girl now, she'd rather walk. This is fine for toddling about our local village where distances are short and we've rarely got to be anywhere in a hurry anyway. But walking a couple of miles is a different matter.

Saturday's trek to the pub started off well enough with G in the pram, but after a while she started fidgeting and whining and asking "Walk?" until we finally got her out and let her toddle. The picture shows G taking a close interest in one of the many puddles we encountered at this point.

But no matter how much fun it was watching G splash about, the facts were that it was very cold, and the pub was still some distance off. G refused point blank to go back in her pram, so I picked her up and started carrying her down the road. This led to a tantrum, accompanied by wriggling, sobbing and more cries of "Walk?" as I hurried along as quickly as I could. The tears stopped as soon as we reached the pub, and G realised there were lots of people besides mummy and daddy to dote on her.

It wouldn't have been so bad, but we went through exactly the same process on the return journey too. I'm looking forward to when she can walk a bit faster.

Yoga For Toddlers

I've written before about G's favourite TV programme, In The Night Garden. It's actually one of two that she particularly enjoys. The other is Waybuloo, and it makes up the first part of the CBeebies Bedtime Hour each night, an hour of increasingly valuable calm-down time which helps get G ready for tea, bathtime and bed.

The picture shows G in action during an episode of Waybuloo. The show features four computer characters who zip about a colourful fantasy world, and spend much of their time doing a form of yoga which is easy for little ones at home to copy. A few months ago, when Waybuloo started being shown as part of the Bedtime Hour, I had no idea she was taking any of it in until I looked up one day and spotted her sitting down and touching one of her feet, just as the characters on the screen were doing.

Now, the toddler yoga is as much a part of the nightly ritual as the Upsy Daisy dance and the bedtime story. The move that G is doing in the photo is called the Windmill. Whether this will help her become as bendy-legged as a gymnast when she's a bit older is hard to tell. Having been a born a decidedly sturdy 9lbs 15ozs, subtlety of movement has never been one of G's strong points. If she grows up into a dainty little girl, I may well have Waybuloo to thank. Or blame, whichever you prefer.

Shopping Bag

Keen to get out of the house today despite the cold weather, I ended up taking G over the Pennines to Slaithwaite, to pick up a few bits and bobs from the Green Valley Grocer. I gave G the basket as I scoured the shelves for something for tonight's tea. When I put everything into the shopping bag, G insisted on carrying it and took it down the street, as shown in the picture.
Predictably, this didn't last very long. The bag was a bit on the heavy side for her, and we were making very slow progress on what was a freezing cold afternoon. So I ended up carrying both G and the bag back to the car. Soon she'll be too heavy for that. But, unfortunately for me, not quite yet.

Blow The House Down

Here's G on the swings at the playground in Uppermill last week. It was the day of the public sector strike, so it was unusually busy, although many of the children were being looked after by a selection of harassed-looking grandparents.

Now that G is at nursery two days a week, we don't go to the playground as often as we used to. Neither of us seem to mind too much, the slides and roundabout would get boring if we went every day, after all. But I'm increasingly becoming aware of things that G is picking up at nursery, which she then surprises me with at home.

The other day G woke up early. Not really that early as it happened, but it was a weekend and me and Mrs J didn't fancy getting up, so G came and sat between us in bed. I could hear her chatting away to herself, before she clearly said: "Big bad wolf... huff... huff... huff... house down!"

I looked at Mrs J: "You haven't taught her that have you?" She hadn't. G had obviously been hearing all about the Three Little Pigs at nursery.

I suppose I could be upset that I'm no longer responsible for everything G learns. But I'm really not. When you've read The Gruffalo as often I have, I'm grateful for anything that's even slightly different. And with G's mind expanding all the time, I'm glad for other things to help stimulate her, whether that's nursery or even CBeebies, the electronic babysitter in the corner. Keeping a curious toddler entertained is a team effort.