Sunday, 29 April 2012

Sitting and reading

I have just seen quite the loveliest thing.  I popped downstairs into our bedroom to find the girls, and Elspeth and Marisca are sitting next to each other against the headboard of the bed, both engrossed in the books on their laps.  Quite, quite lovely.

Friday, 20 April 2012


We had a nice Easter visiting no fewer than 11 relatives.  Three days, three parks, lots of cups of tea.

Somehow I didn't take my camera to Alice's house so unfortuantely I don't have any photos of how quickly Risky's smallest cousin is growing, nor of Risky's attempts to teach her the concept of 'share'.  Or, rather, Marisca's concept of 'share'.

In fact I only have a handful of photos of Marisca at park #3, and none of the family at all. Sorry all, you'll have to cope with this delightful girl instead of your own faces.

Ready to walk?

The pictures I mentioned last weekend.  She seems all ready to go when we leave the house, but once we're there in the snow shower and Risky is all togged up, she does look decidedly unsure...

Playing the toddler blues

Monday, 16 April 2012

The first peak

I'm intending to walk the (Yorkshire) 3 peaks this summer.  By myself - I don't think I could manage it with Marisca on my back and I don't think she'd enjoy being there for 12 hours.

As it's less than an hour from home, we're doing some of our weekend walks up there so I get to know the route.  A few weeks ago we drove up in brilliant sunshine to climb Pen Y Gent, until we turned into the Dales, where the mist descended.  We quite often climb hills where we can't see the top for the cloud, but that day we couldn't even see the bottom for the cloud.  We sat in the cafe for a while and came home.  

Saturday was more successful, but only marginally.  I have on my camera a photo of a dubious-looking Marisca when we say the snow on the ground, but we plodded off anyway.  However, despite 5 layers of clothing and a bomb shelter (her rainproof cover) she let us know in increasingly audible terms that she wasn't enjoying it, when we were barely halfway up the flank of the hill.  In the end we decided that Elspeth would head back to the car (and cafe) with Risky while I finished off the hill.  It's a shame they weren't with me as the swirling snow showers in the spring sunshine was really nice.

It was cold.  Although Risky was wrapped up it's hard to tell how cold she found it.  I hope it was that rather than a new dislike of the backpack: I really like us going for walks as a family and the backpack is the only way we can access some of the countryside that we like.  We need to do some tests.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Hidden villains of children's literature

A while since my first book review.  I have been reading a lot of books since then and have got opinions on all of them, but I feel moved to get online set right an injustice that has been plaguing me these past few months.

At Christmas I was given a book called The Elephant and the Bad Baby.  It's a classic that has been around longer than even Mummy and Daddy (although nowhere near as long as any of the Grandpeople). 

A brief synopsis of the plot, which is really quite simple.  There's an elephant, and there's a bad baby, who is bad from the start (in an original sin kind of way, I imagine).  They go through town with the elephant taking stuff from shops and giving it to the bad baby. There's a lot of rumpeta rumpeta rumpeta as they run away from the various shopkeepers.  Then the elephant tells off the bad baby for never saying please, and they all go round to mum's house for pancakes. The rumpetas are the best bits.

In the last part of the book, the point is repeatedly made to the reader that you really should say please.  It's even italicised like that.  Rubbing the lack of manners in the bad baby's face.  But this is my problem.  The elephant has clearly made a scapegoat of the bad baby, and I think it's stuck due to the bad baby's reputation.  In each scene it is the elephant who takes the bun, pie, etc.  It's not under any coercion, and indeed it's always the elephant whose idea the shoplifting is.  The bad baby is maybe at fault for not spotting the pattern by the time they reach the grocers or the sweet shop, and requesting the elephant to return his ill-gotten gains, but really he's only a baby, so he can't be expected to have such advanced logical skills.

I say we start a campaign to rename the book "The bad elephant and the misunderstood baby".  Power to babies everywhere.  I'll talk to Raymond Briggs about it.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Grandparents' weekend

We've had Mother's Day, and Parents' Evening, so this must be Grandparents' weekend.

We spent the weekend up in Harmby with Gran & Grandad and had a lovely time.  We went to the park, we went to the station to see Grandad in the shop & to go on the train, we went to see thousands of daffodils.  Marisca ate a lot of cake, read a lot of books, and played with a lot of grandparents. 

We also tried Marisca out on a big bed as her travel cot is really too small for her now.  That didn't work so well: she spends quite a lot of time after we put her to bed rolling around, chatting to teddy, and reading her books.  She seems to manage this fine when she's in her cot, but having a whole double futon to work with caused her too much concern, and we had to spend over an hour each night lying with her until she was tired enough to drop off.  We'll need to find a bigger travel cot for next time.

I've only got photos of the trip to the park.  Grandad did a good job of shepherding, while Mummy and Gran checked that the swings worked.

It's springtime

The weather in the UK has turned decidedly springlike*.  It has been a really beautiful few days and, even as far north as Yorkshire, the spring bulbs are out in force.  The greyness has returned today, but not before I managed to get a couple of pictures of Marisca enjoying the flowers.  She looks like a spring chicken herself in her lovely yellow coat.  One of the sad things about childhood is how they grow out of the nice clothes, but this 12-18 month jacket has been going strong for a while (first modelled on the blog here: ).

*For all those non-UK readers that I'm sure we have, who may not have noticed.