In The Night Garden Live

It's been a packed August Bank Holiday weekend. It's usually a busy time of year for us, but instead of spending it in the mud at Reading or Leeds, this time we've moved house. Of which more another day.

We still managed to take in a gig though. The In The Night Garden stage show is on at the Trafford Centre. Given that it's one of G's TV favourites, we'd actually got the tickets ages ago, and it turned out to be a particularly good excuse to escape all the unpacked boxes for an hour or two.

The format of the live show will be, how can I put it, familiar to experienced ITNG watchers. Unlike some children's shows, there aren't any little grown up references to keep the parents amused. But the repetition is one of the many things that toddlers seem to love about it.

The first sight of the colourful characters in life size caused huge excitement in the room, which only built further over the course of the hour. Frankly, I was surprised the later and much-anticipated arrival of Upsy Daisy didn't provoke a round of stage diving.

By this stage, G had shed any early inhibitions and had moved off my knee and into a space nearby, from where she danced along and waved to all the characters as they came and went. Despite the voice over by Shakesperean luvvy Derek Jacobi, the show itself is not exactly about to transfer to the National. But G hasn't stopped talking about it all afternoon. So if she develops a lifelong interest in the theatre, we'll know where it started.


We're moving house this weekend, and so today was G's last day at her current nursery. She's been there for almost a year, overcoming early tears to settle in, have lots of fun and make plenty of friends. For most of the time she's been doing nursery two days a week, although as I've been working more often it's regularly been full weeks lately. As if to reassure us that it's not a big deal, she often spends her time away from nursery chattering about what she's been doing there, so I've no doubt it's been a great experience for her. I don't do adverts, so I'll tell you for free that the Fire Station Nursery in Mossley is a very good one.

And so today was all about goodbyes. I'd been talking to G over the past couple of days about how she was going to have to say goodbye to her friends and the staff, although I'm sure she doesn't really understand the first thing about it. But it was a weirdly emotional scene when I went to pick her up, and encouraged her to say goodbye to the other toddlers.

She waved cheerily at them all, saying all of their names, completely unaware that she is probably never going to see any of their little smiling faces ever again. I mean, she knew all of their names! Perhaps I'm just going a bit soft, but I had to resist the temptation to burst into tears at the sadness of it all. Although given that I was in a room full of women who probably see this sort of thing every week, I thought better of it.

Next week, G will be at a new nursery with new staff and lots of new boys and girls to play with. Even before she starts she'll probably have forgotten all about the friends she's made here, but I'll remember.

And just in case I forget, they gave me the folder they've been recording her progress in all this time. I think this is the closest thing I've ever seen to those semi-mythical permanent records my teachers always used to chunter about in school.

It's fascinating, in a way that only a collection of mundane papers about your own child can be. There's lots of information in there about G's development, including the revelation that it was about a month before she managed not to get upset after I dropped her off. It was all uphill from then on.

No Pictures

As we left the house in bright sunshine this morning, I went to take a picture of G. She had put her sunglasses on, and Mrs J had put her hair into bunches. Given that whenever G's hair is done up nicely it's usually only a matter of minutes before she takes everything out again, I thought I'd better get in quickly.

Clearly, G wasn't so keen on getting her photo taken. Maybe she was trying to stay incognito for some reason, like she's been involved in a controversy at nursery and wants to keep her head down. If I see her looking at the disguises next time we're at the supermarket, I'll know that something's up.

Silver Medal

G came back from nursery yesterday with a medal that she'd made as part of some Olympic-based arts and crafts. I was puzzled as to why it was a silver medal though. Are they insinuating my daughter is somehow second best? What more could she have done to win the gold? All a bit of a mystery.

Whatever the answer, she didn't look very impressed with the silver. Might need to remind her it's the taking part that counts.


We've been away for a week visiting G's cousins in Sweden, so I thought I'd post some of the photos I took during the trip.

It was G's first time abroad and indeed her first time on a plane, although she dealt easily with the queueing with the aid of her pull-along Gruffalo suitcase, which drew admiring glances from parents and other toddlers throughout Manchester Airport.

There was a good amount of sunny summer weather for us to enjoy once we got there. After accompanying Mrs J on a lengthy search through various shops for a pair of sunglasses, typically G ended up with a pair of her own.
The shades came in particularly handy on this particular drive, when G almost managed to convince us she was actually still awake (she wasn't).
However, she'd perked up in time for the traditional Swedish crayfish feast we had that evening. She liked her hat better than the fish, although she did munch her way through a significant amount of local baked treats:
And this was the highlight of a visit to a playground near my brother's house. Not only was there a sandpit, there was also a piece of miniature farm machinery for her to get stuck into. I may suggest to our council that they take our village playground up a notch by installing a child-sized combine harvester.
We're back home now, but G is still talking excitedly about her "cousins!" and the "orange aeroplane!" Yeah, so we flew EasyJet. No hiding that when you've got a toddler who obsesses over colours.