news - 2005

Friday 16th September 2005

Just a brief update with a couple of new things. Grace has manged 6 steps now, at least when she's been aiming for something she can then hold onto. She seems to have got the idea that sometimes it's quicker to do a step or two than to get down, crawl, and get back up again. Going down the landing just now she was also very happy to walk holding onto the banisters, even though it was many times slower than crawling, so there's the will to be upright as well. Today she's also cracked the 'mmm' sound, and has been babbling away at it all evening. We got some video, so may even find time to upload that onto the site at some point.

One other thing that I forgot before was that Isabelle calls Grace 'Gracie Ruey' most of the time - especially when she's talking to her trying to get her attention like we do. I think it just comes from her first two names (Grace Ruth) and since we call her Gracie quite a bit, then Ruey is the obvious change to the second name.

Sunday 11th September 2005

With Caroline's wizzo new camera for her birthday, we should get some more photos on the site now since it's quite a bit easier. It doesn't write words for you though, so I guess we'll still have to do that.

As you can see from the last set to be added, Grace is getting quite adventurous. She's always climbing on anything she can. The fairly steep stairs at home are no problem, well at least on the way up, and the small slide is scaled regularly. In fact both of them take turns to climb up and slide down, although Isabelle's idea of a turn doesn't quite match anyone elses. Grace can stand up just from the floor without anything to hold onto, and has even done a small step once or twice over the last few weeks. She doesn't seem too concerned about trying to take anymore just yet, but I suspect it won't be long - at the moment she's quite happy standing up and dancing (swinging her arms and body round back and forth), or playing with whatever she's holding. She quite into books, with the lift the flap variety still being favourites. Others that get a look-in are the 'touch and feel' ones, where she's very good and investigating the different textures. She's starting on animals too, making 'duck duck' noises anytime she sees a duck on the page. Whilst there are lots of other kinds of noise, what is getting there is her understanding. Obviously context helps, but ask her to find mummy or daddy, or to give them a toy that she's got, and she'll quickly hand it over. She likely playing with cat (that's Isabelle's) and her sheep, giving them big cuddles. She'll hand them over, and is only satisfied when you give them a big hug, then hand them back. Repeat until bored. One game that was great fun, although has died down a bit now, was Grace giving big kisses, mainly to Caroline. And when I say big kisses I mean real mouth open, dribble flowing, snot hanging, looking at your tonsils kisses. I'm not sure, but I think Caroline is secretly okay about that game going out of favour.

One thing they both love is the park. Grace really likes the swings, and has started to climb up the steps to one of the slides. Isabelle wants more to play on all the different things, so gets quite tricky to keep both happy when Grace will cry if you take her away from her swing. Isabelle is starting at pre-school tomorrow - the top end group at her nursery. They still play with the others during the day, but they have their own room with their own drawer. We've been given fairly scary handouts with tips on teaching handwriting. It does seem the start of the treadmill of assessments, reports and marking. Anyhow, she seems excited to be starting, if a little nervous, we've just got to think of something to take in tomorrow morning for their show and tell session.

Looking back on the previous entry, we've now moved on from Isabelle being a baby dalek to being a baby horse (best for galloping, although we get to be daddy horse and mummy horse) or baby giraffe. Other times she's the big sister horse, with Grace being the baby horse. She's also started to play more imaginatively with her toys. She got a simple nursery set with some people to move around between rooms, and they were all going around between the rooms asking the teacher what they were doing. The teacher was saying to all of them 'I'm just looking'. She was quite happy to play this by herself, making up the simple story and playing all the parts. We also had the 'bad baby' and 'good baby' songs, where she's make up what the bad baby was doing, and then what the good baby was doing. We don't know if this came from nursery originally, but it's the first time she's done that kind of thing. The only drawback to a greater imagination is that she is able to play hide and seek whilst standing on the kiddyboard of the pushchair many times on the way to nusery, and still find it enormous fun hiding her head under her hands.

Wednesday 23rd June 2005

There have been many changes in the Hendry/Granger household since the website was last updated. The most exciting is that Tim and me have a date for our wedding. The venue and the photographer are booked. "The Dress" may have been purchased and the church is probably booked (please don't get me started). Tim is being driven mad by my endless trawling of wedding websites and "What about this?" and "Can I have this?". He studiously ignores all. Anyway that is quite enough of that until I persuade Tim we need a wedding website (although if you want a nice hotel in a 50 mile radius of Birmingham I can point you to a few) when more details will be revealed.

Isabelle is now definitely a little girl with a personality of her own. She is now not a toddler, but a 'play room'as she keeps telling us. She is still loving nursery and we are always the last to leave in the evening. It is so nice to see her start to play with her friends and hear her talk about all the things she has got up to during the day. Nursery do so many nice things with them; from doing lots of playing in the garden, to painting, dressing up, exploring books and recently they took all the play room children to the market (rather them than me) where they were each allowed to buy a piece of fruit to eat (Isabelle choose an apple for Daddy). It is funny the things she picks up from the other children; quite often she and Gracie are baby Daleks and I am a mummy Dalek and Daddy is a Daddy Dalek which involves Isabelle walking round the house saying 'exterminate'. Isabelle is very much a Daddy's girl - he has to get her up in the morning and put her to bed. In fact if Daddy is around he has to do pretty much everything. Tim is such a good father; he is far more patient than I can ever hope to be and he is such a good teacher letting Isabelle work things out for herself, only stepping in when absolutely necessary, as well as answering all her endless 'why' questions. In fact Isabelle's absolute favourite things in the world (with the exception of Abbie) is to go 'superfast' on Daddy's bicycle. Isabelle also loves Saturday morning trips to the library to choose new books which have been read at least twice by Saturday afternoon and going to Ballet lessons. OK she is never going to be a Ballerina, but she seems to love it and spends a lot of time at home dancing (or to be precise galloping) to Bach or Mozart. Isabelle had a fantastic third brithday (which was ages ago now). We had 8 little girls over to make party hats, play with water, paint and generally have a good time. Superdad (aka Tim) made a chocolate hedgehog cake and a chocolate cake for the grown-ups (I am never going to fit into 'the dress') as well as biscuits for nursery (I iced them and made cool sandwiches). Then on the Sunday (due to inclement weather conditions) we all went bowling (including Wanny and Wampa). We were up in Birmingham recently and were able to visit various members of my family. The best bit of that trip was the fact Isabelle got to ride on my Mother's cousin' pony Pickles - Isabelle still talks about him (I also got to ride - thanks Liz!). It is an impossible job to record all of Isabelle's developments and changes - there is so much more I could write. She is such an bright, inquisitive, happy, delightful and kind child - I often wonder where she gets it from!

And as for Grace - one couldn't wish for a more laid back, easy, happy baby. She is always smiling and laughing (still mainly at Isabelle). Grace is what one calls a 'good eater' - all are amazed that one so little can eat so much! Her favourite foods seem to be strawberries and avocado at the moment, but she will eat almost anything. Isabelle is slightly less enamoured with Grace since Grace has started crawling. Hurricane Gracie lets nothing get in her way; with one swoop of her hand bridges are destroyed and trains derailed (all be it Isabelle's Biro. 'Not the Biro Gracie,' Isabelle calls out belatedly). Due to the recent hot weather and little girl dresses, Grace has leant to crawl without her knees touching the floor and this is now the preferred crawling style. She can also pull herself up to standing now (I fear walking will not be far away). Grace has inherited her sister's love for books and her favourite is 'Dear Zoo'. She also loves being sung to, especially if it involves being swung or joggled. Grace enjoys her bath times - she does as much splashing and laughing as possible, although her favourite is to be in the big bath with Daddy and Isabelle. She has started to realise when people are gone; for instance if Tim leaves the room there is lots of tears (OK she is not happy ALL the time). Ohh and Tim says to write she is a bit bigger than she was!

I love having two children - it is a delight to see their friendship forming. OK we have lost our time for hobbies, but I am sure Isabelle and Gracie provide far more laughs than rowing ever did. Everyday I am so grateful for my loving healthy family - all I need now is some more babies and life would be prefect (Oh that and a bigger house :) ).

Saturday 15th January 2005

Grace is now just over 3 months, and it's been quite a lot of work to get to this point. With two both of you are busy, so no-one gets anything much done that you actually want to get done. What is not perhaps surprising to anyone else but us is how much Isabelle and Grace are different. Isabelle would only go to sleep when feeding, and when in her baby carrier would fall asleep almost straight away. Grace has always had a lot clearer idea of what she wants to do - she'll stay awake in the carrier for ages looking at you or the passing view, and will actually go to sleep by herself. We actually got her going to sleep in her crib and being happy there for a good deal of the night, before wanting a feed half way through. Mind you, she soon learnt that if she makes a fuss then she ends up sleeping in our bed all night. Add to that Isabelle realising that if she makes a real fuss she can get some of the night with us as well and it gets a bit crowded. Thankfully she's normally too tired so just sleeps right through.

Another surprising thing for us was that Grace seemed to smile a lot earlier than Isabelle, and almost always smiles when she first sees someone. After that, she realises that she's got your attention so doesn't tend to smile much more. She laughed for the first time just before Christmas and is still laughs a bit, although we haven't yet figured out how to trigger it. She got a polartec fleece outfit for Christmas, and also a proper snow suit from Abbie and Sean, so she's been very snug whilst being walked around Stockholm. She got a few more presents, but nothing to compare to the mountain that Isabelle managed to accrue. Lots more to go with her Brio trainset, including some of the Plan City road system which is really good. She does like driving the trains on the road and the cars on the rails though.

Isabelle's really found her feet as a terrible two. Generally she's not too bad, but now really prefers shoulders to walking - cue screaming fits as we try and make her walk 5 minutes to the bus stop... She's still bad at doing poos, complaining for ages beforehand, and requiring many many trips to the toilet before finally (usually with a good few seconds notice) delivering. She's pretty good with wees - her problem now is that she refuses to go at all, so ends up being really moody and grumpy, not wanting to do anything at all, before you drag her kicking and screaming into a toilet. After you persuade her to do a wee she's absolutely fine - loudly annoucing to anyone within earshot of how big her wee was, sometimes information about colour, and whether she did a poo or a fart or not. No shame...

She's loved this holiday in Stockholm, since every day we get to go on several busses (preferably red and bendy), several trains (also preferably red and bendy) and even boats (not usually bendy). She has to sit at the back with her chosen parent or godparent - and if someone else is already sitting on her favourite seat (back row next to the window), she'll sit as close as possible and wait for that person to get off so she can take her seat. She still likes riding escilators ('res-ca-ater'), although is quite nervous about getting on, needing to be carried, but happy about standing and walking off holding your hand. We think she's getting worse about being nervous though - she really complains about police and other sirens and other noises like vacuum cleaners, fireworks, drills, etc. When I was doing some shelves she really wanted to watch and join in, but I'd start some sanding and she'd want to be in another room all of a sudden.

Notes from Abbie:

We have had a fantastic 10 days with the girls, Caro and Tim in Stockholm. It has been great with our new apartment, as we have a separate bedroom for all of us now (inclusing Isapickle). Gracie has grown lots since we last saw her in November. I keep trying to work out if she really is very different to Isabelle, or if my memories are hazy. Gracie definitely looks different to Isapickle - much more like Caroline. She is a very happy little Picklet and makes adorable gurgly noises. She has a real bond with Sean, who CANNOT put her down and carries her in the baby carrier every time we are out of the apartment. He really is besotted and she loves the attention. She seems a bit more alert than I remember Isabelle being - looking aroud lots and watching people.

Isabelle is still the most beautiful god-daughter. She is so adaptable and loving, never aggreived for long. She still wants "my Abbie" to do most of the jobs for her and now spontaneously gives me cuddles and "foot-hugs"(!). She is very chatty and observant - a real little sponge who soaks up every new experience. She even picked up some Swedish on the Metro system listening to the annoucements. She is very proud of her little sister and gets concerned when Gracie crys. She loves stroking her hair and often says "I want Gracie to look at me" when she is doing something funny. She is very confident toiuching her and talking to her and Gracie definitely responds positively to her voice and prods.

We have to be much more careful what language we use around Isabelle now, as she mimics and hears everything. When we talk together and she is not part of it, or doesn't understand she says "What you talking about Daddy?"!! She still loves reading and books, and still hates veggies and fruit.