A whole new world

After yesterday’s Megan catch up, it only seems fair that Heather gets the same treatment. After all, one day they might be reading these words themselves, and I don’t want to be accused of favoritism, do I?

So, where to begin? Well, I guess the biggest change in Heather’s life since turning 3 has been starting nursery, which she’s taken to like a duck to water. Just like we knew she would. And not before time either – she desperately needed that extra bit of stimulation that she just couldn’t get at home, especially with a new(ish) baby requiring so much attention that previously had been exclusively hers. It wasn’t so much a question of her being ready for nursery, more would nursery be ready for Heather?

She loves it, though, and would happily go for more than the 2 hours a day, 5 days a week that she does. From what she tells me, she spends a lot of time playing with the sand and water table – water has been something that’s always fascinated her, but the sand is a new thing, not because she’s never seen it but because she’s always hated getting her hands dirty. Not any more, apparently! Other than that I think her time is a mix of stories, arts/crafts and general play, which sounds like fun to me.

Of course, nursery hasn’t just meant change for Heather, it’s been change for all of us. It’s strange to think that she spends so much time now, with people we barely know. I think that’s affected Gem more than me, because I’ve always seen less of the girls than she has, but it’s something we’re both going to have to get used to as she continues to grow.

Which she is, all the time!

Working full-time, on the other side of the city, means I only see the girls briefly in the morning and at night. I get to spend more time with all my girls at the weekend, though, and it’s amazing the difference I can see in Heather (and Megan) from week to week, in her speech, her powers of recall and in her ability to understand the world around her.

Stars and planets are a particular fascination – I installed a planetarium app on the iPad so we could tell what was what in the night sky, and she loves playing with that and learning names of the planets. Visiting museums is another thing Heather loves (I often wonder how much Peppa Pig has to do with that) and Kelvingrove in a particular favourite – and rightly so, because it’s great, and since its refurb a few years ago there are tons of things aimed squarely at kids. Heather’s favourite things to visit are the bees (which Gem hasn’t actually seen yet), the stuffed animals and the Mini Museum, which Megan also had a lot of fun with last time we were there.

Music is something that me and Gemma both get a lot of pleasure from, so it’s hardly surprising that Heather would too, and she’s really starting to develop her own taste. Disney songs are a particular favourite (although, hilariously, she asked me to skip the Hannah Montana song because it’s “not a Disney song”), but she’s also fond of the Beatles, Singin’ in the Rain and even a bit of Glee. And we had a great time dancing in the hall a few weeks ago, at an impromptu 90’s indie disco. Megan joined in with that one too!

I think my favourite Heather moment of the last six months has to be a few weeks ago when we were visiting Gem’s mum. Heather burst into our room about 7am, and announced, wide-eyed and without pause for breath, that she’d just seen an animal in her bedroom. “It looked like a hedgehog, but it wasn’t… and it had a red thing on its head… and it was small… and I wasn’t dreaming, and I wasn’t asleep but I wasn’t awake, and it came in under the door and then it went away and I think it was a Cock-a-doo because that’s the noise it made”.

It was all Gem and I could do to keep straight faces and humour her!

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

Life moves pretty fast

H and M at KelvingroveI knew it had been a while since I wrote about my gorgeous girls, but I didn’t realise it had been 6 months. Six months – that’s, like, almost half of Megan’s lifetime! Shocking. Well, consider this a looooong overdue catchup.

Of course I blame the chickenpox. Not entirely, but it has to share some of the blame, because that’s what delayed poor Megan’s first birthday party (indefinitely, it would seem) and I’d absolutely have written about that. We did manage to mark the occasion amongst ourselves though, with a visit to Calderglen Children’s Zoo and dinner at Frankie and Benny’s, where Megan charmed the pants off the waiters with her beaming smile and chair-dancing.

H and M with birthday cake

At that point, of course, she was rocking cute but slightly comical 8-toothed grin – all bite and no chew. We’re up to double that now – and boy does she make use of them. That girl can eat, in fact it’s not unusual for her to eat her big sister’s leftovers! Shouldn’t it be the other way about?

Mind you, she burns it all off again. She’s been able to climb the stairs since about 8 months old, and a few months after that she was walking about on her own and hasn’t stopped since. Recently, her and Heather have become a proper double act, interacting in ways that only a few months ago we couldn’t imagine. I hope they’re always as good together as they are right now.

She is, of course, very much her own person, and although they look very alike, her personality is quite different to Heather’s. For example, while they both love books, Megan loves flicking through them, at an age where her sister was much more interested in eating them. Also, she’s neater – where Heather would tip dominoes and jigsaw pieces out onto the floor and walk away, Megan will take them out one by one, arrange them into a tidy pile, then put them back in the box.

M with H's sunglasses onAnd of course, she’s starting to grasp technology. Whether it’s playing Happy Mrs Chicken on the iPad, or telling me she wants the TV on by bringing me the remote, she’s really a smart cookie. But then her sister was too, so that’s less of a surprise.

Best of all is how communicative she’s getting. Last week she said “Mum” for the first time, which of course pleased Gemma no end. She does have a few other words (“ta” and “glasses” spring to mind) but of course at the moment most of what she spouts forth is random noise. She is fond of singing, though, and can gurgle a mean Twinkle Twinkle. Which is really, really cute, although not so much when she does it at 3 in the morning, waking us up in the process!

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

The song just keeps on repeatin’, drop the needle again

It seems like every time I post something here I’m apologising for the lack of recent activity, and saying it’s going to be different from this point onwards. And this time is no different – it’s almost two months since I wrote anything of my own (borrowing someone else’s press release doesn’t count, does it?).

Now, it has been a busy couple of months, with birthdays, christenings and anniversaries, not to mention two bouts of chickenpox and numerous sniffles. But with two pre-schoolers in the house pretty much EVERY month is busy, or at least feels like it. Plus, they’re not around when I update the blog (at work), so I can’t really blame them. And all of that stuff should really be fuel for writing, not something that gets in the way. Maybe a catch-up post is in order…

But not today. Today I’m talking music, specifically a few things that have excited me in one way or another recently. So, in no particular order…

The Gaslight Anthem – 45

The first release from The Gaslight Anthem’s upcoming album has been on repeat since I first heard it last night. Gem reckons it sounds exactly like a Gaslight Anthem song, and that’s no bad thing. But it sounds like a progression to me – like Brian Fallon and co. have managed to combine the more grown-up sound of their last album with their earlier punk rock sentiments. Hopefully the rest of the album (due for release on July 24) lives up to the promise of this track.

Eddie Vedder – Skipping

This song is simply beautiful, and the sentiment sums up exactly how I feel about being Daddy to my two girls. Shame the charity album it’s featured on – Every Mother Counts 2012 – will only be available in the US and Canada :(

Listen: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-stream-eddie-vedders-mellow-solo-tune-skipping-20120430

She Makes War – Little Battles

She Makes War is Laura Kidd, a London-based “multi-instrumentalist, visual artist and digital polymath” who we saw supporting the wonderful Chris T-T at the weekend. Gem was so impressed she snapped up both SMW albums from the merchandise stall. And since Gem almost never gets into things on first listen, you know this is good. I haven’t heard this enough yet to pick out any favourite tracks, so why not listen for yourself here:

Beach Boys – That’s Why God Made the Radio

I got quite excited last year, when I heard the surviving original Beach Boys were reuniting for a 50th anniversary album and tour. But the tour isn’t coming to the UK, at least not this year. And if this first single is anything to go by, the album will probably be a disappointment too. There’s nothing wrong with it, as such, but I guess I was hoping for more than just a re-working of the surf n’ cars n’ girls stuff the band were recording when they actually were boys. 

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!