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“I need one”

July 26, 2014

It’s started! She often announces, “me like it” when she sees things that please her in shops, or when we’re playing with friends. Somehow though, until now, she’s not made the association between asking for something, a shop, the act of buying and it being her.

Until now.

Her friend has one with Hello Kitty on it, which makes her mother and I laugh as they are a vintage family, very free of any kind of branding, another friend has a sturdy boy style one, and the children we see in the park have them, with bright orange wheels and shiny handlebars. She looked on with a look of yearning last week, managed to persuade one of the little boys to let her have a turn and beamed proudly as she flew along the path. When it was time to leave she got a little upset, “Me want one, please Mummy please”.

Then it happened, we were in town, walking along and all of a sudden she said, “Mummy carry me”, I bent down and picked her up. She kissed me and said, “love you Mummy”. “I love you too “, I replied, she kissed me again and then beamed, “We go to shop and Mummy buy me scooter? Please Mummy? OK”. I was a little taken aback and said vaguely, “maybe one day”. Which met a stern response, “No Mummy, now, need scooter, need one now. OK?”

I managed to distract her with counting apples on the market stall and we headed home. She had a snooze and I checked my emails. There it was, an email asking me to do a product review, I get them from time to time and haven’t ever done one because the products never seem to be quite right. This time however, there it was, a scooter … and not just any scooter one with Minnie Mouse on it.

Now, I’m not a brand person either, but I was given a stuffed Minnie Mouse at the BritMumsLive conference a few years back by Disney, one of their sponsors. I put it in the bottom of the toy box and forgot about it. Of course Hope found it and Minnie has long been one of our bedtime companions, so the idea of a scooter and her favourite cartoon character combined was too good an opportunity to miss.

I didn’t tell her it was coming.

It arrived today.

We’d already had a busy morning paddling in the sunshine and she was sleepy, but she spotted the big plastic bag it came in (efficient home delivery service), “What that Mummy?”

We opened it up, and she saw the huge pink box and the pictures. “Mummy, it’s Minnie, Minnie in the box”.

Minnie Mouse Move n Groove Scooter box

Minnie Mouse Move n Groove Scooter box

I sat her down at the table and went and got her lunch, and told her that the contents of the pink box were mine until she finished her lunch, she has never eaten avocado, ham and beetroot so quickly, “yummy lunch Mummy, have present now?”

By then I had removed the instructions and the handlebar, “ooooooh”, she said, “pretty”, and promptly started to try to peel off the flower sticker that was on the end of the handlebar.

She then said, “Open it Mummy” and asked me to take off the plastic strip with flowers on it on the stem (wrong word probably) of the handles … it took me a moment to realise it wasn’t tight packaging but actually the decoration, I’m not convinced it will last long as there is an edge which looks invitingly pullable, but she enjoyed counting the flowers while I foraged in the box.

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open it open it

sticker looks a bit too easy to peel off

sticker looks a bit too easy to peel off


easy to assemble

easy to assemble









As it turned out I didn’t need the instructions, there are only two pieces to her new Minnie Mouse move n groove scooter, and they fit together in a really easy insert and click kind of way, and once together the scooter seems very robust.

It was at that point she clicked it really was a scooter, that the scooty party was covered in pictures of Minnie Mouse, and that it really was for her; she was delighted.

“Mine scooter, mine Mummy, not yours, mine.”, she turned to her Grandmother, ” Got a scooter, mine, Mummy gave me scooter”, and attempted to scoot on the gravel. That didn’t work well so she picked it up, it is almost as tall as she is, and carried it very painstakingly into the garden (it is robust and light weight which will be a Godsend when it comes to trips to the park which is a short walk away) … again not the best place to scoot, but she insisted and wouldn’t let go of it. She managed to scoot a little way, testament to the sturdy design and free spinning wheels, and then picked it up again. We headed round to a flatter surface and she gleefully scooted off. “Watch this Mummy, WHEEEEEEEEEEE”.

all ready to go

all ready to go

We spent the next half hour playing with her new favourite possession and then she declared herself to be “me ‘sausted Mummy, my sleepy” … and now she’s having a snooze.

The scooter has a clever tilt mechanism which turns the wheels, she’s probably a little small for that (the scooter is designed for small folk of 3 and upwards) but she was delighted to watch while I did it and then climbed on and tried to tilt and turn herself.

We will give it a good run tomorrow in the park, and she can whizz along like her friends there.

So there you have it, a pink scooter covered in flowers and pictures of Micky’s friend has made a small person very happy. The scooter sells online at AsdaDirect at £25 which I think is a bargainous price for something that will give her lots of enjoyment (albeit without the stickers which she has now already tried to peel off), and also the skills and confidence to graduate, in time, to an inline two wheeled one.

I’m going to have to buy a pair of running shoes to keep up!

and she's off ...

and she’s off …

Up early

July 25, 2014

I was up early this morning, following a late night working on an important piece of work which had to be delivered today.

I crept out of bed and left Hope, who’d climbed in at some point for a milky repast, fast asleep, a small starfish clutching her stuffed rabbit.

An hour later I heard a noise at the office door, looked round and there she was. Standing in the door all tousle headed with a big grin and dragging her pink ‘blankie’ behind her. She marched over, dropped her blankie, said, “hello Mummy, stop working! Hope love ooooooo. Milky …”, and dived straight under my top for a snack.

What a wonderful way to start the rest of the day, another of those images to store away in my mind for when she’s older and no longer announces her waking up in such a lovely fashion.

Right, time for a snack downstairs and it’s hard to lean over the top of her and type while she’s standing up feeding beside me her hair tickling my armpit and her other arm and very pointy fingers foraging around to see if there’s milky on the other side.

just a little bit

July 22, 2014

I drink goat milk… I prefer it to the cow variety, it tastes whiter somehow, and fresher.

We do have the more conventional kind delivered but more often than not there’s a carton of “Goat” (as she calls it) on the table at breakfast time. There is also a bottle of milk (hurrah for milkmen who deliver on a milkfloat to the house), but it’s not as appealing as the Goat. There are no pictures on the glass and no “turny lid”. The Goat carton, however, has lots of writing, and a white screw up lid and most importantly a picture of a goat, as well as a cartoon image of a goat (I think of  a ram which is rather confusing … or maybe there are female goats with big curved horns).

Hope likes a bit of goat on her cereal; she eats very carefully with her spoon, and then at the end picks the little bowl up and has a “sip”. When she’s finished her sipping she demands to hold the carton, she turns it round prods the photo of the goat and shouts, “Hope see Goat”, or “Look a goat”, or “Hopey like Goat, meeeehhhhh meeehhhh”.

This weekend we visited relations, we had a happy time in paddling pools, walking around castle ruins, rolling down grassy slopes, walking the dog and feeding the ducks. Hope wolfed down a hearty portion of chicken pasta while sitting with her Granny watching Peppa Pig (a big treat she’s normally denied by her mean old mother at home), and then she asked to take the dog for a walk. That normally means she holds the lead on the park areas and someone holds her hand and grabs the lead if the dog speeds up, and she sits on my shoulders and I (or someone else) holds the dog.

We headed out, down the road, along the main road and up a little lane, she sang, she skipped, she ran “very fast”, she grumbled when she couldn’t hold the lead “me do it”, and she danced. She made us stop for bicycles, pointed at cars and got very excited about seeing some orange roses and also a large mound of horse poo, “don’t touch it Mummy, big BIG poo”.

Then we heard bleating, meeeehhhhh meeehhhh, she joined in, her Uncle joined in and pointed beyond the 5 bar gate to a field, “Oh Hope, look at the goats!”, I said to her. I was carrying her at the time, her face close up against mine. She looked intently ahead, listened to the bleating sound and then broke into the broadest of smiles and kissed me.

“Mummy, Mummy, Mummy!”, she hugged herself and let out a little happy squeaky sound, “Mummy, Hopey bit happy”.

Which I have of course put straight to the top of my “I’ve never been happier” moments.

… and incase you’re wondering this isn’t a sponsored post and we drink other varieties of goat as well as the one pictured, but that’s the brand the milkman delivers!!!

the answer is still no

July 19, 2014

Someone asked me today if I’ve thought about stopping breastfeeding any time soon …

the answer was “no” … I mean why would I?

- she loves it

- I love it

- we love it

she eats mountains of other nutritious food, has a wide and varied palate and ontop of the avocado, the prawns, the noodles, the strawberries, the runner beans, the ham, the porridge, the mackerel, still enjoys, and enthusiastically demands “milky”, running over, flinging herself at me and more often than not, shouting “this side” before lifting up my top or diving under it and feasting.

She’ll outgrow the urge one day, I am guessing, but for now the idea of stopping seems absurd. We’re saving money, it’s good for both of us, it provides magical intimacy between us and, well it’s just such a fundamental part of how our relationship has been and how it is developing.

So, just to be clear, “NO”.

It’s up to her when she decides to stop, either that or when it just doesn’t seem right for either one of us. For now it sustains, it warms, it comforts, it nourishes, it quenches, it fills, it calms, it energises, it helps her (and I) sleep, it soothes, and it bonds … and it’s often so much fun.

In the bath, in bed, in the garden, on a bench, in the deli, at the farm, outside the shops, in church, at playgroup, when I’m drying my hair, when water isn’t quite hitting the spot, when I’m changing her nappy, when she’s having her hair dried, wherever, whenever she needs it. I always try to be discreet but that doesn’t always work out, she likes to feel the sun on her face now while she sups, she doesn’t like being covered up, very firmly moving my hand away and hiding it under her heel, kicking off the cover, peering out indignantly. She sits, she lays in my lap, she stands beside me reaching up, sometimes for ages, sometimes a few seconds for a sip. Nobody has ever said anything, people have bought me glasses of water and even cake. It is her decision when she is ready to stop.

So, there we have it, am I thinking about stopping? “No (and yes I did say cake).

I wrote about this over at Huffington Post … it was my first piece there and was widely shared and got a very positive response …


I must do that

July 17, 2014

She’s started standing watching things with her hands on her hips, fists slightly curled, little fingers pointing backwards.

I was wondering where she had picked that up when I realised it was exactly how I was standing as I was wondering where she had picked that up!!!!

She also says, “Oh wow”.

Not an invisible rabbit …

July 17, 2014

We went to the local Botanic Gardens earlier in the week, to a free outdoor concert amongst the glorious trees. We sat with friends, small folk scuttled about and people enjoyed early evening picnics … all very lovely. Hope sat and took everything in, concerned when she heard a baby crying, running over to see what was wrong, wandering back when the baby was settled, coming with me to chat to a friend who was with a lady with a 3 week old baby called Sky.

Sky started to cry so her mother put her in a front carry pouch and folded her hands across the baby’s back and moved from foot to foot in a gentle jiggling way as she talked.

We went back to our picnic, Hope ate a small mountain of steamed carrot and boiled potatoes, a few fistfuls of prawns, a yoghurt and several chocolate biscuits. From time to time she glanced over to look at Sky.

On the way out through the gardens, Hope walked along more slowly than usual. She normally spends ages getting anywhere as she’s so busy looking at everything, but this was different. She had her hands clasped against her chest (at the same time as carrying her little cooler bag), one elbow balanced on the bag, in just the same way our friend had hers, and every few steps she swayed slightly or seemed to do a little dance to herself.

“Are you OK Hopey?”

“Shhhhh Mummy, my baby sleeping, want to see?”

She was carrying her imaginary baby in just the same way that Sky had been carried.

It took us an age to get to the car like that and the whole way she carried her ‘baby’ very carefully and when we got to the car she asked me to hold it so she could climb in and then, once she was safely strapped in she took the baby back and gave it some milky. Just before we turned into the lane, I heard her singing, very quietly, “Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall … shhhhh baby”.

I smiled so much to myself it made my cheeks ache.

We got home and I held ‘baby’ as she clambered out and then she carefully took it back so she could go and introduce it to Granby. I asked her as she walked off up the hallway, what her “precious baby” was called.

She stopped, looked at me and smiled, “my baby call Sun, not Sky, Sun, like on lovely day, baby Sun”.

Then she walked very slowly  in to see Granby and I heard her say, “shhh Granby, baby Sun sleeping. Granby hold, Hope make supper” and then she came running out into the kitchen demanding a snack.

Since then she’s changed baby Sun’s nappy, washed her face with her own flannel, patted her back, blown a raspberry on her tummy and breastfeed her (on both sides) on numerous occasions, my daughter is a caring little mother until she forgets and runs off to do something more pressing like a puzzle or examine a leaf.

Day after day I’m awed by my daughter, by her imagination, by her mind, by her sense of fun and mischief and by the way she takes on and takes in the world around her, and constantly count my blessings that I’m able to share so much of this incredible growing time with her.

I find it so hard to be around people who don’t listen to their children, who don’t watch them and pay attention to little details, I’m probably too attentive and too absorbed in how she is developing and who she is but I would hate to be missing any of this, and I know how easily I could have just snapped at her to hurry up and keep up with our friends after the concert and not noticed her and baby Sun winding their way home with everyone else…. I dislike ‘new parenting’ terms but I do believe in being ‘present’ for children, for the parent as much as for the child, it’s not always possible but is something I strive to be.

Now, I’ve got to make double pasta for tonight as this morning I was informed that baby Sun wants pasta for supper, “and Hopey want pasta as well”.

Just when you think

July 14, 2014

just when you think it’s impossible to love someone any more than you already do:

- she walks proudly up the stairs in her all in one pyjamas with orange spots on reaching up to hold the banister rail and singing, “Three More Mice” (her own version of the song about the blind ones having their tails removed by some mad old bint with a carving knife)

- she tells her Grandmother that watching the Tour de France bicycles rush by almost arms length away while eating an ice cream with a chocolate flake in it was ” ‘citing Granby but NO horses and no MUUUUSIC, Hopey like feeding ducks” at the same time as gesticulating dramatically on each “no”.

- she says goodnight to her new pink sandals as she puts them by the door ready for morning, “night sandal, night other one sandal”

- she brings you pretend chocolate cake while you’re doing the washing up and when you’re in the bath

- she stands in the hall with her hands clasped infront of her singing “I can sing a rainbow” as if she were performing it to a packed Opera House, just because she feels like it, not knowing anybody is watching or listening

- when her Granby tires to film her singing she puts one hand up and very firmly says, “no video, no picture, Hopey sing Hopey self”

- at the village feast as we walk through the gate to go in she turns round and wags her finger at you, “Mummi listen, Hope want face paint, OK?” So, we went in and found the face painter, “What would you like on your face little one?” “Hope want bicycle” “Ohhh that’s unusual, not a butterfly or a cat” small silence “Okay, Hope want two bicycle AND butterfly” … so she did!

- at the same village feast she went on her first bouncy slide, she bounced up the walkway, hairtuft flying, she scrambled up the stairs, bounced across the top, plopped down on her bottom and hesitated for a split second, concentrated and slid down shouting, “wheeeeeeeeeee”, with the proudest most joyous of grins.

- she plays in the paddling pool, looks across at you sitting dryly on a nearby blanket, splashes herself, chortles and runs full tilt toward you with her arms outstretched, leaps and gives you the biggest, wettest hug which knocks you sideways.

- she has a babyccino (oh yes how middle class, I know I know) for a treat once in a blue moon, a cup of hot frothed milk in a small cup with chocolate sprinkles on top … and she drinks it so carefully, turning the cup to put it back correctly on the saucer and so so proud of herself, all the while with a frothy milky moustache.

- she runs and runs, comes over to give you a hug and says, “thirsty, Mummy, Milky”, lifts up your top (or pulls down the front of your dress) and has a “quick sip ‘ankyou Mummy”, and then when she’s utterly exhausted at the end of the day snuggles up and says, “Milky”, and snuffles and feasts until she falls fast asleep, her arms over her head with a far away smile.

Every single day I think it’s impossible to love so deeply, and ever single day I am struck by the fact that I love her even more, and no not every moment is joyful or fun, we have tough nights when she wakes up beset with tooth pain or having had a nasty dream, she is incredibly determined about what she wants and doesn’t want, she went berserk when she had to get off the bouncy slide, and with reasonable frequency throws handfuls of her dinner onto the floor … but none of it bothers me, she’s just learning, just finding her way and as people seem to say “testing boundaries” and I’m sure I was far worse… whenever she’s fractious or refuses to eat, Granby sits and smiles as if I’m getting my just rewards for being a monster child to her some 40 something years ago.

Hope want bicycle

Hope want bicycle

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bouncing all the way to the top