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Going for gold?

July 29, 2012

Long post warning!

Enjoying the summer while we have the opportunity

What a week!!! Hope recovered from her cold (which did render her a red eyed and snoring snuffler rather than her normal bright eyed cheery self), she’s spent time with her big half brother (who was amazed at how heavy she is in her car seat), she’s had huge fun with her cousin (my nephew) aged 10, over in the UK from the Far East for the summer, lolling on a blanket in the garden, sitting on the sand in Brancaster on a glorious sunny day and getting covered in green squelchy avocado, she’s seen her Great Aunt, and spent time with some of my dearest friends. She also slept through the Olympics opening ceremony … well to be fair she was awake for the first part but ran out of interest when the countries started with the letter B.

We’ve been so busy and she is growing, thriving, dribbling, chatting and chuckling, and is totally fascinated by just about everything and everyone she comes into contact with. I’m enthralled, excited and exhausted in turn … mainly enthralled, I’m sure no baby has ever been as much fun or as adept with her fingers or absorbing in their appeal. Hope is remarkable…

I’ve been rubbish for not writing up all the wonderful adventures we’ve had this last week, but we’ve been so busy having them and she is increasingly demanding so my time has been rather more than filled!!

The highlights have been:

– seeing her day after day sitting on her Granby’s lap intently examining a tea strainer or a piece of cling film, a cork or an old fashioned salt spoon … with all the rest of the contents of the kitchen drawer on the floor all around Granby’s feet. Her favourite ‘toy’ at the table being a plastic spinning top from a Christmas cracker a few years back (mother never throws anything away), she watches it intently, eyes wide and arms outstretched until the spinning slows and she reaches in and grasps it before waving it triumphantly in the air, and then flinging it happily on the floor and demanding for it to be picked up and spun again.

– listening to Hope and Ben chatting away. I was a bit concerned he’d be bored by her … 10 year old boys have far more to interest them than a small baby cousin, but he was wonderful, lying on his tunny chatting to her and repeating the sounds and coos and gurgles she came out with. In the garden while we played with the Giant Jenga, Hope supervised and chatted her instructions. In between go’s Ben lay down his face right up beside her telling her about all sorts of enthralling aspects of his world. We went to the Maize Maze (yoikes) and spent 3 hours trundling around the twists and turns on the first really hot sunny day of the year, I was so worried about them burning I slavered them in organic, biodegradable, baby friendly sun cream and totally forgot to do me … I ended up beetroot and rather sore, they just had a faint rosy glow! Now I’m not really a maze sort of person, infact I don’t like them very much, unless I’m in the company of my nephew who navigates well and has so many marvellous stories and “Auntie Ellie, why??” questions that it is a joy to be with him… doing the maize maze with him and Hope was doubly fun. Ben eyed up the end result and made sure that we conquered the maze and all the clues on the way round before happily and heading over to the go-Karts while Hope and I sat in the shade and she had her afternoon feed. We also went to Nine Wells with jam jars attached to bits of string (and tied to Hope’s pram), to collect fresh spring water and went to Newmarket to put handprints onto a plate as a present for Granby … and then, as we were driving out we had the most marvellous coincidental surprise as we found ourselves (to Ben’s huge delight) on Granby Street, which clearly was the photo opportunity of the year!!

Out on Granby Street

Chatting cousins

– time at the Big Scream with a friend and her baby boy, revelling in the joy of companionship and a shared solidarity with someone else muddling their way through motherhood (she far more glamorously than I).

– a colleague and friend coming all the way from London for an afternoon (spent outside the cafe at the Botanic Gardens) and seeing his fascination with how much Hope has developed and grown since he saw her when she was about 5 weeks old and watching her examine flowers and chirp with glee at the different textures and colours.

– having Hope’s passport photo retaken … the last one made her look like one of the Kray twins, this time she giggled and grinned and looked the perfect picture of a chubby faced innocent.

– watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics and wondering if one day Hope will be aspiring to compete to represent her country … or if she’ll be far more interested in being a chemist, a bus driver, a musician or a philosopher … I loved the coming together of the flames of the nations, and the fact that they were lit by the future Olympians … that made the hair on my arms stand on end thinking about where Hope’s journey may take her … the way she behaves and seems to be learning now, it seems she will be someone driven and eager to obtain the prize in whatever guise it offers itself.

– going to the beach in Brancaster on the hottest of hot days this year has had to offer, with Hope and her cousin and her Granby … it was a great idea, it was such hard work, and it was so much fun watching Ben making a dam and a sand crocodile, and their Granby collecting shells and for me paddling while watching Hope look around at the huge wide view and blue blue sky and then back at me with the biggest of grins and then seeing out toes wriggling next to each other in the sandy shallows. Then we went to the Jolly Sailors and Hope pretended to pull a pint … a perfect day.

Blue sky in beautiful Brancaster

However, and I know you shouldn’t start a new paragraph let alone a sentence with however, but, however, the ultimate highlight was Hope’s first splash in the new £2.50 paddling pool I purchased, having dropped Ben off with my brother’s brother in law in Kettering, in a dodgy looking discount store … no I know I don’t normally go in them but the lure of the paddling pool was too great on a 29 degree day. It’s small and yellow with a blue ‘floor’ and once filled with water and established in the tiny garden at my house it was perfect. Hope was resplendent in the lovely pink swimming suit with fishes on it her Daddy had given her to celebrate my birthday, and I sat in my pants and baggy top on a blanket beside the pool and held on to her when she looked as if she was about to topple over. Hope sat and splashed and gazed in wonder at the ripples and the lovely light pattern on the water and then kept almost tipping in face first as she reached out for various toys. It was such a happy afternoon. My next door neighbours haven’t seen as much of Hope as we’d have all liked but they were with us to share this happy time and I’ll never forget watching my dear friend sitting and dripping water from an old fashioned tomato shaped ketchup dispenser (that I’ve never used!) onto Hope’s hands as she turned them over and over revelling in the sensation. I don’t think she’s ever looked as delighted with anything.

So there we are, the sun came out, the nation’s spirits seem to have been lifted (apart from the bid by Paul McCartney to topple them again with Hey Jude… what WAS that all about?), and as far as I’m concerned, the role of Champion of the World (which I heard belonging to someone carrying the Olympic flag during the opening ceremony) has been wrongly allocated and should  be given to my perfect girl. As far as the gold medals … I’ve already won them all… I know, the mushy brained mummy hormones are rampaging right now, but I have, I’ve won the best prize that it is possible to win, the privilege to watch a little girl grow in to the world and help her on her way.

Who needs gold medals? I have Hope

2 Comments leave one →
  1. permalink
    July 29, 2012 8:05 am

    you made me cry again!!

    Here’s to Gold Medals. xxxx

    • August 2, 2012 4:40 pm

      Oh Cate … thank you … she is and I’d so like for you to meet her x

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