Dec 29, 2012

Jolly Christmas

Christmas was warm this year and on the day in question, after various present-openings and Skypings we drove off into the mountains to Jolly's Lookout, overlooking Samford Valley, for a barbecue.

Santa had in fact delivered the Roller Blades, much to Eloise's delight, and additionally she had been given a multitude of presents the likes of which I can't remember ever seeing before but which I'm sure pale into insignificance compared to the hauls captured by some children at this, the time of Goodwill to All Men. Aside from the blades, and not wishing to embark on a crass listing of every last bauble and trinket, there were painting sets, Attenborough DVDs, books, Lego, CDs, other stuff, and more stuff.

The painting set came up the mountain with us but was trumped by the Roller Blades. Lisa Mitchell was the soundtrack heading up the mountain, the Mumfords on the way down.

We had a plan to watch Attenboroughs in the evening and eat junk food, but there was more Skyping to be done and by the time, etc. etc.

We actually ate less than we eat normally. For shame.

'Tis the Season

'Tis the season, apparently, to be jolly, and so jolly we shall jolly well be.

An a fit of organisational unusualness, we actually got our Christmas shopping done pretty damn toot sweet, with Eloise catered for in varied and unusual ways and packages winging their way England-wards quite well ahead of time.

We even spend a couple of days getting stuff for ourselves, though we might not consider them Christmas presents per se. Nicole jibbed a bread-maker and I did my semi-annual DFO clothes shop, as part of which Eloise emerged with some spiffy new shoes.

Eloise has been play-dating away with various people whilst the school holidays have been on, and has had a couple of little chums over for "sleepovers," a social custom here where little people visit one another and terrorise households for an extended overnight period. I think it's sleep-over as in hang-over or something. All good fun at the time, but you kind of regret it afterwards, with the late nights, lack of sleep etc.

Anyway Eloise wrote a letter to Santa in which she requested Roller Blades, a Fish, and a Whippet.

We pointed out that Santa isn't in the Live Animal Transportation business and that consequently may not be able to deliver pets, but it seems that Roller Blades aren't outside his price range, and as he didn't see fit to consult his parents over the protracted periods of time that might be requested at the Skate Centre, that these may in fact be procured.

Brass Neck

The way she's tossed around by all and sundry round here, a baby needs to get a strong neck pretty quickly.

I can't remember how old a baby needs to be before you start tossing it around the room, but surely it can't be far off now.

Witching Hour

Nicole calls the time around sunset the Witching Hour. I don't know if Witches have a reputation for waking up around dusk and requiring massive amounts of milk from their mothers then refusing to go to sleep until they've drained the udders and reduced their mother to a wisp-like waif, but that's the impression I get of why Nicole might refer to it as that.


Eloise would never really go in a bouncy chair for long, but Lyra doesn't mind for a bit when we're cooking or eating, and sometimes gardening. Eloise and I mowed the lawn the other day and weeded one of the flower beds and tidied up the back bit where the hammocks once went but nothing much happens now except for the falling of leaves. Eloise decided that she was going to sweep up all the debris and I took it away, with Lyra looking on from the shade, contentedly.

Dec 16, 2012


A little smile through the sagging baby fat for you. We had lot of smiles at 4 o'clock this morning.

Dec 13, 2012

Smiles Without Wind

Baby engagement is increasing and I'm getting a little google-eyed and proud fatherly and all that, you know the stage where gurgling starts to happen and you spend hours or at least fractions of hours - well, minutes - gazing into one another's eyes, and maybe you might get a smile that isn't accompanied by seismic activity from beneath, like Mum's being getting for literally days now and you really think you deserve.

Neck strength continues to build as it has to since we aren't gentle with this baby; if she got through the birth canal in one piece then she can stand a little man-handling, so it's in the sling for dog walks and lugged around in arms at school pickup time. "Holy Dooley!" say the mums, "be careful with that child!" to which: "Who's this legendary Dooley anyway?"

And the guzzling continues as Lyra becomes appreciably heavier and larger: I think she looks like a Sumo wrestler and a moon-faced one at that, but Nicole mysteriously doesn't see it.

Dec 9, 2012

Swimming Carnival

Swimming Carnival time again at school. Eloise's last couple of swimming lessons had been devoted to championship heats, and she'd acquitted herself reasonable well, in the sense that she'd swum the proper strokes (e.g. no freestyle kicking in the breast stroke, able to actually swim the butterfly) and won her heats through elimination.

So when it came to the high-stakes, high-pressure, high-heat carnival day itself, in the absinthe of information we thought she might be in for a shout in those two races.

On the day, the hottest of the summer so far, the swimming pool was a heat-trap and we sat and sweltered in the 38 degree heat as things got underway. Some enterprising souls had a water-spray... nice. Otherwise the sun was high, the wind light, the air dry. The war-chants loud, the same as last year, not much originality there... again.

The carnival ran along the following lines: the final for each event (the best swimmers in the year) was held and then all the kids would race afterwards in a set of rapid-fire races that would earn their house points.

Eloise wasn't called up for freestyle, unsurprisingly, or for breast stroke or for butterfly, but was in the final for the back stroke, and though she came fifth out of sixth I'm proud that she made it to the final.

Due to some bizarre chicanery the championships were based on year of birth so the older kids would race in the carnival for the next year up. Who thought that one up is a total mystery, and was very confusing for a lot of people.

But Eloise did OK, her house came last as always, and the sounds of Gangnam Style (good grief) are still ringing in my ears, along with the worrying vision of a hundred and fifty kids (or however many it is) all doing the bleeding dance around the pool.

Dec 6, 2012

Weighty Matters

We popped into the chemist yesterday and while we were there we weighted the Lump, who clocked in a healthy 4.459kg.

Accounting for clothing, including a no-doubt saturated nappy, we reckon on roughly a 1kg weight gain since last checked around a month ago.

I did a rough-and-ready top-to-toe measurement too and estimate 57cm now, but that can't be right as she was only 51cm when born. We'll get the true figure in a couple of weeks time.