History never repeats

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or, I guess, don’t live in the UK) you’ll know that the Olympic flame is currently touring the country.

Yesterday afternoon it was in our neck of the woods, but owing to circumstances (ie work and nursery) we missed it. We did talk about heading over to the other side of the city this morning, to see it leave for Inverness, but decided it was too early and too far to go for something that would be over in minutes. And anyway, aged 1 and 3, the girls won’t have a clue what’s going on and are unlikely to remember it.

I did stick on the Beeb’s torch cam this morning, to see exactly what we were missing. Megan couldn’t have cared less. Heather was interested, but only for about three minutes. Then she got bored, and asked to put some kid songs on YouTube. Which, I think, backs up our decision not to go flame watching.

And yet, part of me still thinks we should have made the effort. This is probably a once in a lifetime, never to be repeated event, and chances to be part of history don’t come round that often.

Saying that, the Commonwealth Games will be here in a couple of years, and I dare say there will be something similar. Maybe we should start planning now…

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The times, they are a-changing

As I mentioned last week, I’ve decided to take blogging a bit more seriously, and with a bit more purpose than there has been to my efforts to this point.

So, please come over and visit my new site… the only boy in the house. It’s got all the same content you’ve loved/read/ignored here, and it’s where I’ll be posting from here on, with much more focus on family, parenting and the girls.

I think it’s a step forward, and hopefully you will too. Let me know what you think…

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A change is gonna come…

I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about this blog and what I really want to do with it. The catch-ups I did earlier in the week reminded me why I started it in the first place – to document what I’ve been up to, and particularly the ups and downs of fatherhood. I want somewhere I can record all the daft little things that Heather and Megan say and do, the things that in twenty years (or even twenty days!) time will have been forgotten about because our brains aren’t wired to remember them, they’re too insignificant.

Well, I don’t want them to be insignificant. I want to remember as much as possible about how my girls grow up, because they’re changing all the time, and sooner or later this moment, this time, will be gone forever.

At the same time as I was mulling this over, Susan tweeted about her nominations for the 2012 MAD Blog Awards, something she was understandably excited about. So I clicked through and scrolled down the list of nominees, and the further I got, the more I noticed all the nominees had something in common – they were all mums. Which seemed a little… well, odd, given that MAD stands for Mum and Dad. So where were the dads?

I put the question to Susan, who pointed out there are lots of dads up for awards in the BiBs, and suggested I start up my own daddy blog. Which struck a real chord. And then she retweeted me a link to Tom Briggs’s excellent post about the lack of dads in the MAD awards shortlists. If you read the post, and then the comments at the bottom, there’s a real sense that dads are under-represented in the blogosphere, and those that are there need to up their game to compete with the mums. Nice bit of role reversal there!

Anyway, all of that sounded like a call to arms to me, and I’ve decided to step up to the mark, and make a few changes around here. I think the clincher in all of this was thinking up a new name – I’ve never been 100% happy with “Lunch Hour Waffle” anyway, it was just the best thing I thought of when I started up a year and a half ago. So I won’t be sad to see it go.

Not that I’m revealing the new name just yet – first I need to register a suitable domain, and hopefully get all the rubbish I’ve already spouted transferred over. I just need to decide whether or not to include the “the” at the start in the domain – if anyone has any advice on the matter I’ll gratefully take it.

And then, hopefully, I’ll be inspired to post around here much more regularly. Will it happen? Who knows – but I know that if I don’t change anything, all those “kids say/do the funniest things” moments will continue to drift away into the ether, forgotten forever. And that makes me sad.

Watch this space…

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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!

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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!

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