Winter is going

“Has winter finished, Mamma?” George asked this morning. “Almost, sweetheart, almost,” I replied with a smile on my face and spring forming in my step.

I don’t mind winter at all. There’s something quite comforting about wrapping up and winding down. But spring is when it all begins again and for us that means much more time to spend outside.

We’re quite outdoorsy and the cold’s never bothered us anyway. But when it’s lighter you have more time to enjoy what is around you.

George takes Mamma for a ride around Cliveden.
George takes Mamma for a ride around Cliveden.

Today we visited *Cliveden, our favourite National Trust spot, set overlooking The Thames. Cliveden has vast views and acres of woods to explore, as well as a maze and several landscaped gardens. It also has The Storybook Play Den, a highlight for George and for us.

In here you will find Peter Pan and Captain Hook hanging out with other beautifully carved wooden characters from classic children’s stories. George especially loves the boat inspired by The Wind in the Willows and can often be found here, shooting the breeze with Mole and Ratty.

And then there’s the great big wooden train and tractor to climb aboard for further adventures down the line.

It’s a wonderful place to explore, with or without children, and now that spring has almost sprung, there’s plenty more light to take it all in.

It is safe to say that winter is most definitely on its way out.

*Other National Trust properties are available to visit.

You may also like 50 Things to do before I’m 43 and 3/4.

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Happiness is a warm trampoline

You know those moments, when you are completely ‘in the moment’ and everything around you has been faded to grey? You have become invisible but there you stand in high definition breathing in the happiness that surrounds you.

I often have those moments, in amongst the dilly dally of daily life. They usually come when I am with George. Time spent with him is a reminder to slow down, enjoy the moment and appreciate the little things that make me smile.

This weekend, we went to a local park. We go to lots of parks, but this is one of our favourites because of a particular feature it has.

A trampoline.

Boing

Boing

Boing

Boing

And that is where me, George and his Daddy happily bounced up and down together, keeping each other warm and smiling whilst the world around whizzed past us.

On this cold winter day, happiness truly was a warm trampoline.

Superdank to the Rescue!

“Because he’s the hero Chesham deserves, but he’s not old enough right
now. So we’ll chase him round the garden instead, because he’s just a
tiny toddler.”

I believe there is a hero in us all and so does George, it seems.

Artist's impression of Superdank
Artist’s impression of Superdank

Superdank first made an appearance at the dinner table. George threw down his spoon and fork, tore off his dinner jacket and boldly announced ‘I am Superdank’.

Similarly to Batman, Superdank does not possess any superpowers; instead he relies on his intellect, cuteness and willing sidekicks. Superdank is smart, he will disarm you with a smile.

By day, he paints pictures and plays games with his best friend Niall. By night he sleeps soundly in his cot with Duck the Penguin by his side, but in his dreams he’s fighting off baddies who insist he sits still or keeps his clothes free from food stains. He’s got work to do and there’s no time to behave like a grown up.

Superdank has made a promise to the people of Chesham and he intends to it; fun has been restored and it is here to stay. He will splash through all the puddles in Chesham High Street, whether you like it or not. He will glide in on his Superdank balance bike and mow down anyone with a frown on their face, and he will sometimes jump ahead of you at the bakery when you’re queuing for your Belgian Bun.

But he will also protect you and cuddle you when you are sad. You must not hunt him down, he will appear when you most need him and then, he will beep your nose. BEEP!

And, as his parents, we will do our best to guide Superdank and help him carry the burden of being a superhero. Because with great power and great parenting comes great responsibility, and all that.

Tiny Toddler in concert

‘Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes need fixing,

‘From Scoop to Muck and down the Lofty side.

‘Summer’s gone and Pat’s posted all the letters,

‘It’s you, it’s you must go and I must bide.’

Tiny Toddler gives The Edge a run for his money.
Tiny Toddler gives The Edge a run for his money.

That’s right. George is doing mashups. The artist, also known as Tiny Toddler, has been mixing his beats with his rhymes and creating musical masterpieces.

Recognising the opportunity to bring together the beautiful tones of ‘Oh Danny Boy’ and ‘Ireland’s Call’ with the lyrical genius of the theme tunes to‘Postman Pat and ‘Bob the Builder’, Tiny Toddler has truly made these songs his own.

Sometimes acapella, sometimes acoustic, TT has been wowing the crowds (Mamma and Da Dad) with his talent.

This kid has a big career in the music industry ahead of him.

Tickets to Tiny Toddler’s concerts can be purchased from his Mamma. 

Toddler Tria-thon

So, it was my Birthday last month and Mamma and Da Dad bought me a
bike. It’s blue and has no pedals. It’s what you call a balance
bike. I’m not really sure what that means but I love my bike.

George gets set, ready to go.
George gets set, ready to go.

I can glide along on it super fast – whoosh! Mamma and Da Dad have to run to
catch up with me. I ride along paths, across fields and down slopes,
some of which I’m not meant to. Mamma gets that look in her eyes, but
she need not worry as I have got it covered. I figure the faster I go, with my feet off the ground, is the best way to tackle it. But Mamma and Da Dad are always there to catch me, just in case. Crash!

But all of this got me thinking. I’ve been running for a while now, and swimming, and now I’ve got a bike. I’ve heard Da Dad talking to Mamma about doing something called a ‘Triathon’, which seems to involve all three of these things. The thing is, he’s been talking about it for quite some time, whereas I’ve actually been doing it.

So, I’ve decided, whilst Da Dad continues his search for a suitable
wetsuit, I am going to get on and do it – my very own ‘Toddler
Triathon’. *Cheers from the crowd*

This Saturday, I will attempt:

  • A park run
  • A cycle circuit
  • A splash and swim

I may have to take a short nap in between, but I’m quietly confident I could break some records, or something, along the way.

I’m not asking for your cash, although a bell for my bike would be bear cool. Instead, I just ask that you raise awareness of my chosen charities, which are listed below:

Please also pass on my post to other toddlers who are keen to take on the challenge.

Thank you,

The Buckinghamshire Bullet.

And then you were two

Happy Birthday, George. You are two today and, as is tradition, Mamma and Da Dad have taken a look back at your year to remember what you got up to. Or, as you would now ask, “what’s been going on?”

Well, settle down and we will begin.

You walked not long after your first Birthday and you’ve been travelling ever since, forwards, and sdrawkcab,

up

and

down

and side                                                                                                               to side.

And, in between reading up about dogs that don’t do ballet (or do they?), how to hide lions, and tigers who come to tea, you’ve been burning the night light at both ends. There was a Toddle Waddle, which tested you to the limit. The training was tough but you triumphed and raised £140 to help other babies living with the effects of Meningitis.

There’s been parties, parks, painting and plenty of paddling in pools. You and your penguin have even partaken in a spot of international travel to Portugal. You made a best friend at nursery, Niall, who is also celebrating his second Birthday today, and you met the Queen (well, that’s what you’re telling everyone). More importantly, you helped Ireland win the Six Nations. Ok, so that last part may not be strictly true but your Mamma will always attribute their success to you, her luckiest charm of all. And, filling Mamma and Da Dad’s hearts with even more pride, you’ve been immortalised in a book. George Harris will live on in literature.

To celebrate all of this, we are taking you to the Aquarium to introduce you to some colourful sea creatures that you will no doubt instruct us to draw for you when we return home tired but ridiculously happy at having spent another amazing year with you.

Happy second Birthday, little bear. Your Mamma and Da-Dad love you more and more with each day.

Clap along and celebrate George’s second year with him in this slideshow set to ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams.

What’s going on? And other questions George wants answers to

What's that? George checks out the Daffodils.
What’s that? George checks out the Daffodils.

What’s George Doing? This is a question George likes to ask his Mamma and Da Dad on a regular basis, along with ‘Where’s George going?’, ‘What’s that?’, ‘What’s in there?’, ‘What’s the time?’ and, my personal favourite, ‘What’s going on?’ Usually, I have no idea.

Our little boy is certainly getting curious – curious George one may say – and since we last met, George has been up to all sorts.

As well as putting together jigsaws like he’s on a jam jar production line, he’s been practising his dance moves and counting.

2

6

4

8

And talking. A lot.

He’s also drawing. Well, when I say drawing, he’s scribbling, mainly on himself and the furniture. And whilst he redecorates, he’s busy demanding his Mamma and Da Dad draw whatever springs to mind. Duck. Another duck. Hippo. Tractor. Tiger. Grufallo. Basically, we’re playing ‘draw what George can see’. Of course Mamma’s drawing is far superior to Da Dad’s. So what if Da Dad’s got a broken hand? That is no excuse. We won’t mention the meltdown he had over Mamma’s cow not looking remotely like the goat he’d asked for.

And all the while this is going on, George is asking lots of questions. We haven’t reached the embarrassing questioning phase yet, but I expect it’s not far off. He’s been repeating what we say for a while now but worse still, he’s started dobbing us in for petty crimes, Andy being the latest victim of this with George telling the train guard that it was his Da Dad who spilled the coffee and didn’t bother cleaning it up. Uh-Oh Da Dad.

Curious George is on a mission. He will find out what’s going on, even if he has to paint some furniture in between. Mamma and Da Dad are drilled and ready, sort of.

Are you?

You’ve got a friend in me

George loves nursery. He knows what days are nursery days and, whilst he’s waiting for me or his Da Dad to get our acts together, he’s usually waiting by the door with his rucksack, eager to get over there and get stuck in to his day.

George with his other wingman, Duck, the Penguin.
George with his other wingman, Duck, the Penguin.

But now he loves nursery even more because he’s found a best friend. His own friend and not one we’ve made for him through our many meetings with other mums and dads at baby groups. He loves spending time with those friends too, especially little Florence, who was born just a day after George. But his best friend is a friend he made all on his own, and this little boy, Niall, was born on the same day as George and in the same year. Destiny, right?

George’s eyes light up whenever we mention Niall’s name and he’s the first person George looks for when we drop him off at nursery. And it seems George is a good judge of character. Niall has Irish roots, so I approve of course. But what makes me and George most happy of all is that Niall loves George too.

A friendship has begun and who knows where it will lead. But for now at least it seems they are a perfect partnership and long may that continue.

The qualities George looks for in a friend

George is a popular chap but chooses his friends carefully. If you stand a chance of joining his gang, you must share all of these qualities:

  • You love books. And I mean LOVE. This baby can get through fifty a day
  • You share your food. George enjoys a good meal but he will happily break his bread with his family and friends
  • You’re a mover and a shaker. In between reading and building towers, George can be found boogying on down to music. He also sings along to the Pointless theme tune. And, on that point, you must watch Pointless
  • You’re a free spirit. You love being outdoors and exploring new spaces

All requests for George’s time should be directed to his personal secretary, his Mamma.

Prince George of Chesham

So, ‘the baby’ has been born but his name remains a secret. Leading the charge, though, is George. And a fine name it is too.

There is much speculation about what the couple will call their baby; will they choose a name that is a tradition in the Monarchy or one that has been passed down through the Middleton’s. Royal Correspondent Nicholas ‘I never smile’ Witchell seems to think that choosing a name for a Royal baby is harder than choosing a name, for say, a ‘normal baby’. The little Prince may grow up with privileges far beyond most of our dreams but the process of choosing his name is likely to follow the usual course of consideration.

Someone has stolen my crown!
Someone has stolen my crown!

Of course, there’s a lot at stake. But there is for any parent picking out a name that will perfectly capture their child and not leave them having to defend or hide from their name for the rest of their life. Let’s face it, we have all met or know someone who went to school with Richard Cheese.

Most parents find themselves speaking out the names of boys and girls, listening to how they sound and researching their origins. Some rule out the names of people they don’t like or of previous lovers. They wonder what their friends and family will think of the name and whether they will be offended for not choosing a name that runs in the family.

For us, the process was quite straightforward. We did not consider what other people thought of our choice because it was just that, ours. We both had a particular name in mind if our baby was to be a boy and that was the name we gave him.

A lot of people believed we’d chosen the name George because of our love of George Harrison. Not a bad guess, considering we played ‘Something’ during our wedding service. But, as much as we like the fact George Harris is close to George Harrison, this was not the reason. We chose George’s name before I became pregnant. You can find out why in The Richest Man in Bedford Falls, an earlier post I wrote about how George got his name

How did you choose your baby’s name? What does it mean to you? Did your friends or family tell you they didn’t like the name?