Who's This?

Not actually as daft a question as it first appears. Usually, when picking G up from nursery, I just look for her distinctive mop of hair, which is particularly long and thick by two-year-old standards.

But one day last week I couldn't see her among all the other toddlers until one of the helpers pointed her out. They'd tied her hair up (to keep it away from her snotty nose, naturally), and it made G look completely different. You could even spot her rarely-seen ears. Proof that she does have them, even though the way she repeatedly ignores my instructions suggests she thinks she can fool me into believing otherwise.

Sleeping Like A Baby

G is still having some difficulty adjusting to a world without a regular nap. This is actually entirely her fault, because she refuses to go down for a daytime snooze in her proper bed, so by late afternoon she's sometimes stomping around the house in an over-tired grump.

During our weekend trip to Aberdeen, she surprised us by dropping off to sleep on Mrs J. It was the first time either of us could remember her doing it since she was a baby. In fact, it left us wondering whether she was coming down with something, although she seemed fine after she'd slept for a bit.

The picture shows what happened back at home yesterday afternoon. After again refusing to get into bed, G was sat on my knee on the sofa when she turned round, leaned over on me and almost instantly started snoring. This meant I was stuck where I was for the next half an hour, something I haven't experienced for a couple of years. At least in the interim period I have acquired a fancy phone, so I was able to pass the time easily enough. Which is of course the important thing.

Little Liar

Don't be fooled. Behind the cute exterior lies the devious mind of a master of deception.

As previously mentioned, G has been learning to sleep in a proper bed, with the help of a useful clock which shows a starry scene during the night, and switches to a yellow sun when it's time to get up. This has worked fairly well so far, with the clock helping to persuade G to go back to sleep when she wakes up during the early hours.

But I got the impression the other morning that G may be getting on top of the system already. About 20 minutes before the appointed time when the sun appears, I heard her fidgeting around in bed, before the familiar clumping of steps. When G came into our bedroom, I asked her to go back and check what was on her clock. I overheard her saying "stars... clock sleepy" to herself. When she returned, I asked what the clock was showing. "Sunshine!" she lied. Outmanoeuvred by a two-year-old, once again.

Tired Monday Morning

Dealing with babies and young children isn't nearly so difficult when they sleep at night. A lot of people have told me this. More than two years in to bringing up G, I have to agree. She's always been a very good sleeper, so on the rare occasions when she's not, it generally leads to widespread tears and whining. From me.

This morning was one such occasion. G seemed to be coming down with a bit of a cold last night, which may have been the reason why she kept waking up. Now that she's in a proper bed, instead of just drifting back off to sleep, she can now get up and toddle about. Which means either I or Mrs J has to get up and put her back into bed. G usually does this willingly enough, but a whole night of it left both her and me rather short of sleep when we got up for good at the shockingly early (for her) time of 7am.

Knowing I'd have to try to bring back the much lamented afternoon nap for one day only, the morning was all about attempting to keep G occupied so she wouldn't realise how tired she was. The picture shows us having a go at her fancy playdough set's "haircut" feature, which was enough to entertain her for quite a while.

Things only went downhill when I tried to get her into some warm clothes so we could go out in the cold to the local Post Office. G didn't want to put her shoes on. When I put them on for her, she took them off. When I put them on again, she lay face down on the floor and delivered her first-ever proper legs-kicking, arms-beating tantrum, which lasted throughout the time it took to get her into the car and defrost the windscreen (this was only about five minutes at the most, although it seemed like about an hour and a half).

G calmed down once we got there, although she wanted to come straight back home after. In an attempt to encourage her to rediscover naptime, I lay quietly on the sofa-bed in her room after putting her in bed. I could have sworn she started snoring almost straight away, but when I looked up I saw a familiar pair of eyes looking back at me, quizzically. I decided to go back to an old tactic of going downstairs, and ignoring her half-hearted cries until they stopped. It worked in the end, but I'm ready for a nap myself now.

Out In The Cold

It's been chilly here the last few days. After G coughed and spluttered her way through most of December, I've been a bit reluctant to take her outside too often, lest she pick up another cold. But we decided to take a bit of a walk along the canal to the local garden centre this afternoon, for a cup of tea and a cake rather than any garden implements. As everybody knows, garden centres have the best tearooms.

This gave us the opportunity to put G in her new snowsuit, a 2-3 years model so still a bit big for her. As shown in the picture, her hands didn't quite stick out the end of the sleeves. This meant that when G was doing her usual 'I want to be carried' signal of furiously waving her hands around, her sleeves just flopped about, which kind of lessened the impact of her mini-tantrums. Obviously I still picked her up in the end though. She's not quite too heavy for that yet.

Sleeping Bunnies

Nursery rhymes, like children's TV and sweets, aren't quite like you remember. Everything seems mostly similar but just that little bit different, and not really as exciting or interesting as when you yourself were young. I suppose singing simple little songs can't really match the highly advanced things grown ups find thrilling, like video games and beer.

Although classic songs like The Wheels On The Bus and Row Row Row Your Boat remain staples at parent-and-toddler groups, the local favourite around here is a new one, Sleeping Bunnies. When I used to take G to a couple of groups every week, they always ended with songs, and the singing always ended with Sleeping Bunnies. At least twice.

G still enjoys doing it, especially now she's big enough to stomp about at the relevant part of the song. You can see her in action in the video above, a video which prompted another thought: I really ought to hoover that rug.

The Afternoon Nap

In the last couple of years at home with G, her daily afternoon nap has been of vital importance to both of us. She's usually been able to manage a good couple of hours every day, and it's helped her stay up late enough into the evening so Mrs J can see her before bedtime, while also allowing me the welcome chance to do some limited amounts of journalism work, something which has helped to keep me sane if nothing else.

She hasn't always gone down to sleep straight away. But when she was in her cot, it was easy enough to leave her fidgeting away, in the knowledge she'd drift off to sleep soon enough.

The arrival of G's proper bed has changed things a bit. If she doesn't want to go straight to sleep, she can now simply get out of bed and toddle back downstairs again, to pester me for another go on her train set.

Besides, as she's getting older, she probably doesn't need quite as much sleep as she used to. She's still prone to drifting off if she's in the car, as shown in the picture, but unless she looks as though she really needs it I'm going to stop giving her a snooze every day from now on. I suspect I'm going to miss G's daily nap more than she does.