Archive for September, 2013


September 23, 2013


As you can see, the potty training is going extremely well.

SATURDAY 14 SEPTEMBER. This is the kind of thing that sounds completely unremarkable to anyone but the parents, but when she came down this morning holding a red crayon and saying “I found a crayon” she suddenly seemed so grown up…

MONDAY 16 SEPTEMBER. We went into town, to the library to check out their Rhyme Time, but it was a bit too young for R. It feels weird to think that some things are too young for her now. It would be good to find a good local storytelling session. Oh, and as we got to Castle Park, it started to rain, and although it wasn’t for long, it was long enough to soak all the equipment, irritatingly.

TUESDAY 17 SEPTEMBER. Another good Play and Sway session at Colchester’s Mercury Theatre, by the ‘Jumbo’ water tower (as pictured below).


She was very happy to get there, but being in a circle, and the whole concept of group activities still enraged her. But by the end of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, she had relaxed a little, enough to laugh when  I tickled her feet. She quite liked dancing around on coloured circles – she liked identifying the colours. Then we moved on to playing with silver foil, which she absolutely loved. The story that followed, ‘Monkey Puzzle’ she was half engaged by, but then got more interested in the exit door. However, the final art activity (drawing her face), had her complete attention. The plate below was a joint effort:


WEDNESDAY 18 SEPTEMBER We were back at the zoo, and had a great time.  As you can see, R loves the sea lions. There are real animals there too, I promise. One day I will take some proper pix of them.


THURSDAY 19 SEPTEMBER . Was a bit of a cold and miserable day, so we never made it to Squidge at First Sight, but we did go for a cycle ride to the park. Once again, it started to rain pretty much as we got there. Here we are going home again.


When we got back, she did some indoor gymnastics, rolling over on the floor and saying “That was so fun” which reminds me, I must take her to the Colchester Toddler Gym.

Later on in the day we started riffing on ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, nodding and shaking. She wouldn’t say ‘Yes’ however much I tried to encourage her, or even tried to trick her, much in the manner that Bob Hoskins tricked Roger Rabbit (“You do!” “I don’t” “You do!” “I don’t “ “You don’t!” “I do”). That didn’t work, but when I asked her: “Are you eating an apple”, although she initially said “Nooo…” she then suddenly barked out “YASS!”, which mades us both giggle.  “That was quite funny” she then remarked

FRIDAY, 20 SEPTEMBER Finally, a trip to a park that didn’t involve rain, and the trip up to Highwoods also involved a lot of blackberries, so it was a real win-win.  Also, as you can see from the pic below, she has now worked out how to climb up rigging, which will be particularly useful when she joins the pirate league. Actually, taking pictures like the one below makes me feel rather conflicted, as you can imagine. You should know that I was right behind her, and the same safety concerns also account for the fact that there’s not a picture of her right at the top.


In general, this week has seen serious advances in language, climbing, weeing, and even putting blocks on top of the potty.  However, she does seem to have entirely given up the afternoon nap, although she’s still happy to go upstairs for a ‘quiet period’, which is how come I am able to write this…




September 17, 2013


Look closely at that blur, and you will see celery. Yes, it’s the beginning of the great celery craze. It  was all thanks to Wonderpets (on Netflix… natch). That was how the week began.

The big development of the week was Rowan’s first session at Play and Sway at the Mercury  on Tuesday – no pictures sadly. But there is a picture of the Bee House we made the next day at Creepy-Crawlies Club at Abberton Reservoir.


When we got to the centre, Rowan said ‘snails’ (which we looked at last time) – she might not always answer when you ask her what she did yesterday, but place and memory are clearly linked.

Rowan is now also able to climb the ladder herself. Getting down not yet so easy.


She also found some EGGS!


That was on Wednesday – on Thursday, we saw the first really successful use of the potty, (whilst waiting in for the plumber, aptly enough) which has continued since then.

On Friday we went blackberrying. Mmm…


Counting to twenty.

Blowing bubbles

Breaking childlocks with her bare hands.

“To the lunch banks!” (for ‘launch pads’)

“Say ‘bye to plane, mummy. Say ‘I love you’ to plane, mummy.”

Calls Horton Hears a Hoo ‘Horten Hoosen Hoo.’

“Can I fall them” she asks, when she wants to spill the letters. Later, identifies ‘z’.

Sadly, no longer says ‘Sydney!” every time she sees a black cat, but rather , that the black kitten on Wonderpets is “like Sydney” [my itals].

A typical fragment of Rowan’s conversations with herself: I not a seaweed, you a whale. You not a whale, you a Rowan. I not a Rowan, I a pufferfish. I not a pufferfish, you a seaweed. I not a seaweed, I’m a penguin!

A typical fragment of actual conversation with me:

Rowan: “Are you hungry?” (Actually referring to herself. Okay, she might not always phrase ‘I’m hungry’ like this, but surely it’s the phrase of the year for her.)

Rowan: “Shreddies?”

Me: “Not for tea. Shreddies are for breakfast. I’m cooking – “


“ – chicken fingers – “


“letter potatoes – ”


“and sweetcorn.”

“NO! [Sudden facechange] And ketchup?”



September 13, 2013


Bree Van der Kat sporting ‘Kurtain Hoops’ made by Rowan. But are such friendly moments a thing of the past between feline and infant?

Once there was a time when  the cats, Sydney in particular, worshipped Rowan like a greater deity. Not any more. Sydney has been hiding in a box for months.  And the other day I noticed that Bree has taken to sleeping on  a box – to avoid detection from the little one?


These days, if the cats aren’t in or on a box, they’re generally running – and let’s just remind ourselves of why.


The days are gone when Sydney would relax in such close proximity to Rowan, and this despite best efforts to teach her to be gentle – which have not been without results, but it doesn’t matter – as far as the cats are concerned, it’s too little, too late.


Poor kitties.


Impressions #6

September 5, 2013


“Are you hungry in the bag?” now a favourite expression.  (Trans: Is there any food in the bag?).

Often says ‘Thank you’ unprompted. [19/8 entry: gave her toast on ‘proper plate’, by accident – was that why she thanked me?]

“I want an egg, please, Daddy.’ Food update – I can now get her to eat an egg. Sometimes she only wants the white. [4/9 update: She’s dipping!]

“Dad? After dinner, box?” (Reference to ‘Undersea Adventures’ Crayola colouring-book-and-dvd experience that she, randomly, loves.)

More puzzling evidence (of innate tendencies): at the Ipswich Dockside festival on 25 August, we passed a pub band doing Queen covers in a beer garden to an enthusiastic audience. The minute they start We Will Rock You, she starts dancing.

More breakthroughs, 27 August: Counting to twenty (well, with a little prompting); Blowing bubbles.

Sometimes documenting seems a little pointless, as when I wrote she seemed to favouring her right hand for drawing and then two days later you said, and we observed, the exact opposite. However, the following facts, definitely deserve recording and repeating on a regular basis when R is a little older:


–          Didn’t want a doughnut

–          Didn’t want a pancake (with sugar)

–          Wouldn’t eat a chocolate pot (‘Has it got a rabbit on it?’)

–          Didn’t want a shoulder ride

–          Didn’t want cake and cream (You screamed and cried about the idea of either!)

–          Didn’t want ‘One, two and a jolly good three’ [Okay, well after a while you did, maybe]

–          Cried when we ran out of celery



September 5, 2013

Lately I’ve noticed a lot of efforts at placement on R’s part, normally as I’m in the middle of disassembling them. This was redraft of some chalks:




Anyway, it got me thinking about art. 



Is everything art?



Perhaps it’s all about placement.





Yes, probably that


and annoying Mum and Dad.




More beaches

September 5, 2013


The view to Mersea, from Fingringhoe, 31 August 2013


Went to Cudmore Country Park, which has a proper pillbox, and is an excellent place to picnic, although with an annoying ticket machine that requires you to key in your registration number – they’ll be everywhere soon. The low cliffs are grass covered, but the beaches beyond lead to mud at most any tide (it was low), as I remember from interminable trips to a caravan here during my childhood.


We only went out a very little way. The beach is good for exploring, although it is exposed (note  to self: take more supplies) – there are fallen rocks, pillboxes, even a staircase.



PS 01

The beach is a way on from the village, by some holiday camps. There’s free parking, a market on Wednesdays and Sundays. It’s kind of midway between Mersea and Clacton, sandy, but quite stony. Little beaches, good for a wander, and excellent for rocks. It pretty much backs onto Jaywick, which we did drive around, but sadly no pictures. In the other direction is a semi-mythical nudist beach.



I don’t really know why I was resistant to the charms of Frinton – the beach is probably the best (although Walton and Clacton are fine), and when the tide’s out, the water is very gentle, great for a toddler and a pretty, sandy beach, with some fine beach huts. Not much else, but the top of the cliff is fine for a picnic, and there are loos. I thought that Rowan would kick up a big fuss about going back up, but she was absolutely fine.



There were lots of worm casts here, which blew her mind. Here is my attempt to sketch them:



It’s harder than it looks…

It was almost perfect on the beach at Frinton, except that you weren’t there.



There’s nothing wrong with Clacton, but the bottom end down by the Martello tower has a good beach and is perhaps a bit quieter.  Also it was a reminder that for Rowan, it’s all about the ‘fish biscuits’ (trans: throwing lumps of mud into the sea). Anyway, it’s very nice there and being there feels like the moment on this bit of Essex where the mud becomes sand, although I know geographically that doesn’t make any particular sense, but, hey, this is me you’re talking to. All beach is metamorphosis.