Tag Archives: music

End of Term Report

Has it really been 14 days since I last wrote something here? People used to say “I’m amazed you have time to write your blog”.  I now realise I don’t.  And probably didn’t even when I was churning out two entries a week. But once you have an audience of more than just your mum, you start feeling a pressure to publish. So in an effort to get something out there, and in the absence of anything apart from teething related grizzling and all round sadness and unhappiness to report, I thought I’d sneak a look at Grace’s end of term report card…

Grace’s early promise in clearly (according to daddy) saying words like hello and daddy from month one has yet to be independently verified and has not yet developed into a fluent grasp of the language. Indeed Grace appears to have an anti-grasp, and when you say one thing to her, she nods in complete comprehension and does the complete opposite. Her vocabulary is limited but should expand rapidly, as daddy gives her an A to Z of different words every day.  It should be pointed out however, that words such as p for polyplopolis probably don’t exist despite how funny Grace finds them, and using floccinaucinihilipilification in any context is likely to see her shunned by her future peers.


Playing the piano in the usual way was just not rock and roll enough…

Grace’s enthusiastic efforts on the piano keyboard have been a joy to behold* , though the sound may be improved by hitting the keys a little less like a bongo. The singing accompaniments to such all time greats as This OId Man and If You’re Happy and You Know it are admittedly of a somewhat lower quality, but maybe we can try and shut daddy up in future. In terms of Grace’s musical education, there have been early signs that the likes of Led Zeppelin and Green Day are gaining traction, and with the ban on Radios 1 and 2 in place, we can only hope the auditory and hair dressing horrors such as those inflicted by the latest boy band we stumbled across, The Vamps, can be well and truly avoided.

*not quite a joy


Pre-historic daddy, when man had not even stepped onto the moon. But babies were still cute…

This area needs a little work admittedly, though when your entire life to date spans less than a football season, it is probably understandable.  Though in terms of football seasons, Grace has already been around long enough to know that supporting Spurs, whilst it may be her destiny, will not be an easy life for her.  However, Grace will have the advantage of daddy’s great age and wisdom, and being able to tap into his ready recall of ancient history when the time comes to research memorable and significant historical events. Such as Ricky Villas’ goal against Man City in 1981 to win the FA Cup for Spurs.

Despite daddy reciting times tables to Grace in middle of the dark morning of her early weeks of life to get her to sleep, there is no sign yet that such knowledge has been retained.  And if it has been retained, it is to be hoped that someone else QA’s the 11 times’.  As the product of two accountants however, I would expect Grace to shun such rote learning and simply fire up Excel to do the hard work of number wrangling for her.  Grace can certainly count in units of milk however, and woe betide you if said units are not delivered to both expected quantity and the associated deadline.

When you’re still at a point in life when you can be put down in one place, and still be in that exact same spot five minutes later, it is perhaps unsurprising that there is still much about geography to learn.  Grace’s current knowledge of geography basically extends to twelve places in the world: Castlethorpe, Milton Keynes, Little Bennington, Kenilworth, Enfield, Kensington, Beaconsfield, Longleat, Hornchurch, Northampton, Olney and Wellingborough. Grace does however have a particularly in  depth knowledge of the geography of Milton Keynes shopping centre, having been there on her third day of life and then again on an exceptionally regular basis ever since.  It is after all, something to do. She has yet to identify the locations of Hollister, New Look or TopShop but I am guessing it is only a matter of time before these are well and truly committed to memory.  Along with daddy’s credit card details.


There is little trace* left following Grace’s demolition of her avocado, chickpea pattie and salad concoction.
* lots of trace

Home Economics
Grace is always keen to get stuck into the cooking….from the eating end of the equation, admittedly.  But once the food is lovingly presented in front of her, it requires a special appreciation of the palette to be able to combine natural yoghurt, toast, strawberry and cucumber for example, into one yummy* mouthful. Work is definitely going to be required on the etiquette of at the table eating – throwing food, plates, cutlery is out, and pooing loudly and ostentatiously every time you are halfway through a family meal-time is frowned upon around most civilised dining tables in Buckinghamshire.  Even some in Northamptonshire I believe.

*unlikely to be yummy


There has been a marked increase in physical exertion from the early days of having to check on Grace’s breathing to determine whether or not she actually was, given how much time she spent still and with her eyes closed. Now, the only thing holding Grace back from springing up and haring around the block is her inability to co-ordinate her legs, arms and head at the same time – all can be managed, just not together.  Crawling is just so passe apparently, that Grace appears to have eschewed this stage of development completely, preferring to be forever held up on two legs so that she can stand up and survey her estate with a slightly disapproving tone of look.  Still, at the end of the day exhaustion kicks in, weary limbs can be rested and the sleep of the just comes quickly. As soon as daddy closes his eyes basically.  What Grace does after this point, only mummy can tell…

Overall – A+
Grace has been a pure joy to work with over the last seven months. She may have started off a little on the quiet side, but she has now certainly found her voice…not to mention the volume of a whole load of others. She knows her own mind, certainly, but that’s better than having to make do with the things coming out of mine.  Most of all she’s taught me that creating a new life, nurturing it, sharing your life, your knowledge, your love…is one of the best things there is to be able to do, and I’m so glad that I’ve been given this opportunity to do so.

Happy Easter All


Happy Easter All…. apart from the Easter Bunny, who has been captured by Gracie and is about to undergo the soggy ear treatment…


And so it begins….

It seems so long ago when the decision was made to go down to three days a week, and at that time the reality of this day probably never even crossed my mind. It probably felt this day would never actually come…maybe Nicole would want to stay at home…maybe we’d sort out a nursery.

That day has now come though. Nicole has just walked out of the front door, and unlikely to return for 12 hours. And I am here with Grace. Alone. Now what….?


The BEFORE photo….8am and all is calm

I think the idea was to have some practice days, some daddy training , draw up some suggested itineraries …places to go. If that was the idea, it certainly did not see the light of day. I’m here, unqualified, unsure and a little scared.

The day is a blank slate. Well, not exactly blank. We have a washing machine to wait in for. In the meantime, the music education can begin.  Nicole is not a music person, so if Grace is to grow up understanding that there’s more to music than sticking five fit looking blokes singing karaoke to someone else’s words and tunes, then the learning must begin now. Let’s fire up the stereo…

Today’s Music Education Curriculum: Substitute/My Generation – The Who, Good Times Bad Times/ Dazed and Confused – Led Zep

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Baby Walker with a baby walker

Hmmm…slight fly in the ointment of the day.  Wondering where the washing machine has got to, I’ve checked the order.  It’s Thursday you fool!  Grace is currently taking a nap, so for now I can avoid her look of disappointment in daddy.  Checks watch.  Only 10.18am.  Still a loooooonnnnng way to go.

I should perhaps point out at this juncture that Daddy Day Care did actually begin in the middle of the night.  3.30am to be exact.  Grace is still in with us, and Nicole said if Grace woke in the night (as she is still doing), she would feed her.  I would then take charge of the putting back down exercise.  And if your perceptions of exercise are pain, monotony and exhaustion, that is exactly what I experienced.  However, by 5.30am we were all sorted.  Zzzzzz….

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She’s even feeding herself now. What’s my role?!?

Hey, this is easy! I put Grace down at 10am for what I was told would be a short nap …. an hour and a half later, all the washing up done, all the laundry, all the blog updates…Grace finally stirs. We’re currently trying to get Grace used to food that isn’t breast milk, so I take the opportunity to give her a few sticks of cucumber to eat play with, and then try and shovel some pre-prepared sweet potato mush and purple sprouting broccoli mush into her with varying degrees of failure. Back to the milk for now. Even the formula milk is a challenge, but a challenge to which there is no alternative on my days, and I think even Grace realises this and eventually gives in.

I’ve quickly realised that you could easily become a prisoner in your own home looking after a baby if you allowed yourself the slightest excuse to. It was a gorgeous afternoon here, so while I was in a lets do mood, I quickly gathered everything together, hoping I had at least one of everything that I was likely to need, and popped into our local town, Stony Stratford, for a wander.  The wandering lasted as far as Costa’s …not very far…where I decided to practice my sitting with cute baby, drinking coffee and allowing people to coo at her, pose. Not much practice needed there, truth be told.

Note to Stony Stratford Costa’s : thanks for being a welcoming refuge for daddies with babies….but if you must have two halves to your front door, why can’t at least one half be big enough to take a pram…try opening both halves and pushing a pram through at the same time!

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The AFTER picture….a contended smile, and a baby in one piece. SUCCESS!!

It’s now 4pm, we’re safely back home, and Grace has been asleep for the last half hour….When I say safely, this was not for want of me trying otherwise, as I drove off without attaching the baby seat to the car. In my (admittedly weak) defence, I usually have  base unit and the seat just clicks in place…having to use the seat belt is new to me. I spotted my error after less than 10 metres, but I suspect it’s an error I may decide to relate to Nicole at a less adjacent time! Anyhow….she stirs…

The last couple of hours went by in a bit of a daze…if for no other reason than I feel I’ve been up since 3am.  Which apart from two snatched hours between 5 and 7, I guess I have been.  I did manage the daily bath without drama, and we were both a picture of calm and happy, for the return of mummy.  Cue sighs of relief all round.

Can’t wait for Thursday….