Monday, 11 January 2010

Delia Smith, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay: move along now; your time is up.

I didn't know if I was going to use this old blog any more. But I just had to share this and here seemed to be the ideal place to put it. So here it is. Sorry it's so small.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Time to close this down?

There's nothing worse that a blog that's not regularly updated. Well, okay, so maybe there's a lot of things worse than that. But I find it very frustrating as a reader. And therefore I find myself very frustrated that I so rarely post anything here. Rachael hardly ever did in the first place, and Ainsworth - well, let's face it he always asked me to do it for him anyway. And keen though he is on the laptop he shows no signs of posting all by himself just yet.

I'm wondering whether it might be time to call it a day.

Monday, 8 June 2009

A few snippets of news.

Blog is much neglected, so here are a couple of "growing up" snippets:
  • The cot is now in the loft. After a few changes of mind (Cot? Bed? Cot? Bed?) Ainsworth has settled in a bed and we've packed the cot away.
  • Big. Boy. Pants. Yes, things have started. And not led by us at all. We'd picked up a few pairs of pants a while ago, and occasionally after tea and before bath Ainsworth would have "no nappy time" or "big boy pants time". Last week he asked for big boy pants at bed time, so he had a pair over his nappy. And then the next morning he didn't want to put a nappy on, so unexpectedly we were launched into the world of potty training. And you know what? He's doing an absolutely marvellous job. This is day five.

So there you have it. I do hope to reinstate the photos that were on here, but haven't decided the best way to go about it yet. Maybe one day...

Monday, 18 May 2009

Online privacy and photographs

If anyone looks here regularly, I thought I should let you know I've made a change to the privacy settings on our photos. All my online photos are on Flickr, and until now I've always had them openly available. Rachael's never been especially comfortable with that. So, after a couple of chats over the weekend, family photos (as opposed to all my random shots) are now marked on Flickr as viewable by "Friends and Family" only. So if you click on the link on the right, where it says "photos galore!", you'll still see plenty of photos but none of Ainsworth. They are still on Flickr, so if we actually know you and you'd like to be able to see them, you can either sign up for a flickr account, and I'll mark you as a friend, or ask me to email you a guest pass.

I'd recommend signing up for an account - Flickr is a great service - but if all you want to do is look, then a guest pass will do just fine.

I've just noticed that all the photos on this blog have disappeared as a result (they were all linked from Flickr to here). Not sure what I'm going to do about that yet.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Busy doing everything.

Hello everyone. Daddy told me that he and Mummy haven't put much on here for ages, and it made me remember that I haven't either. Sorry; I know you're all desperate to read about everything that goes on in my life but I've just been so so busy doing, well, everything to get on here as often as I should. I'll tell you more soon, but until then I'll just give you one word:


I never knew Bob the Builder was made of Lego!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Creative thinking.

Ainsworth did something last night that made me run to get the camera. He was playing with some Sticklebricks and suddenly turned to point at what he'd made:

Look what I've made.

And then he proudly told us what they were: "Laptops"

Laptops. As created by a nearly-two-year-old.


Thursday, 8 January 2009

Ainsworth to the rescue!

So here's the story: Rachael was using the jet-wash while Ainsworth sat and played happily in the passenger seat.  (Can you guess what's coming yet?)

The car nicely washed, she went to open the door. Locked. Tried the other doors. Locked. Boot? Locked*. Her keys? In her handbag. In the car. A slight panic. Her mum was due to arrive on the train fairly soon; how would Rachael get to the station to pick her up? Oh, and Ainsworth was locked in the car. 

She ran over to the kiosk and explained. They recommended calling the police to break in, and one of them phoned while Rachael went back to the car to check on Ainsworth. Another member of staff accompanied her, and asked whether he was old enough to open the door from inside. Surely not, she thought. But worth a try. 

She smiled at him, and called through the window: "pull the handle for Mummy". He reached over and pulled on the big handle - the one you'd use to pull the door closed.  "Try the little shiny handle." And to her amazement and delight he reached round a bit further, pulled the handle, and the door swung open. 

He's not two until March.

* At first she assumed the car had locked itself (it does do all sorts of things automatically) but talking it through later it dawned on us that Ainsworth had probably pressed the central locking button whilst playing.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

More video

...and here are a couple more...

Tidying up time: a well trained boy.

Like Father... 

Thursday, 4 December 2008


Originally uploaded by Trevor Coultart
There's so much to say about what Ainsworth is getting up to these days. Here's a wee video of a litle game he invented at Nanna's the other week. More to follow!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

We were right about at least one thing!

When we were choosing a pushchair for Ainsworth, we really only had two main criteria: it had to lay completely flat for when he was tiny and it must be able to be used so that he would be facing us when he was in it. The problem with the latter choice is it simply ruled out all the cheaper options - only the most expensive models had a rear-facing capability. But we were adamant, so we spent the extra.

And now we see we've been proven right! Research published last week has indicated that babies who spend time in rear-facing pushchairs are happier and less prone to stress.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Proud Mummy-Moments!

If I'm not inspired to write something here today, then I never will be!  Someone asked if they could share a 'proud Mummy moment' with me the other week and I thought then what a lovely turn of phrase it was - and I want to share such a moment with all the world right now...

Ainsworth peeled and ate a clementine all on his own this evening!!  Now, this may not seem like much, but he has not liked citrus fruit so far and the route to eating clementines has been slow.  It started a couple of weeks ago with him licking a segment of mine, pulling a funny face then giving it back to me.  He did this every day for a few days then he progressed to biting into it, pulling an even funnier face and giving it back!  He ate a whole segment about a week ago, but did not want anymore.  Today we bought another bag of clementines and he had a segment of mine, then asked for more.  He watched me peel him one then ate it all, and asked for more!  So I got him another one from the bowl and before I could peel it he had taken it out of my hands and started peeling it himself... Trevor and I both watched in amazement, expecting it to become a soggy mess and in need of rescuing if any of it was to be edible, but no!  He peeled the whole thing and ate it all - then signed finished, just for good measure!  How amazed were we?!

At bath time he really made me smile when he took off his trousers, socks, shirt (once Trevor had undone the buttons) and vest (once Trevor had helped him take his arms out of the sleeves).  And I was astonished to see him lay himself down on the mat because Daddy had spotted poo in his nappy and wanted to clean him up before getting in the bath!  And miracle, of miracles, he  told me when it was time for me to clean his teeth and he lay back on my lap to let me do it - astonishing, given the agro we've had some nights!

And then at bedtime I watched him do a new puzzle from the Toy Library and carefully put all the pieces back in the bag.  When it came to putting the base board away, it wouldn't fit in easily, so he took all the pieces back out, put the base board in and then loaded the pieces back into the bag before carefully zipping it closed - amazing!

Children really are fantastic :o)

Monday, 17 November 2008

All his own work.

All my own work
Originally uploaded by Trevor Coultart
Today Ainsworth surprised us by building this track without any assistance from either of us. He surprises us most days at the moment. It's amazing.

Friday, 14 November 2008


Just looked back at the last post. I seem to have forgotten to mention that he's also saying "No". We're hearing that one a bit too often for my liking!

Friday, 31 October 2008

Words, words, words!

People often ask if Ainsworth is talking yet. And I've said for a long time yes! He's been talking for ages. But I know what they really mean is is he using any words yet. Well, yes, he's been using a few more and more lately, and the other night Rachael sat down and made list. this is what we can remember hearing so far (in no particular order): 

Bobo (the monkey in Hug)
Poo (which sounds like boo but usually comes with pointing at his bottom)
Uh, oh! 
Oh dear!
Brrr! (I think this counts as a word. Must remember it next time I'm playing scrabble!)
Bye Bye

As well as saying words, he's still signing, and the amazing thing is he'll still occasionally surprise us by using a sign he's never used before. He signed "orange bus" the other day. He's done "bus" a lot but orange was completely new to us. 

There is so much more I could say. Maybe next time!

(I wonder if it's possible to set up some kind of template that automatically starts every post with "oh my goodness it's been far too long since I've put anything on here"? It would save me the bother of saying so every time.)

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Cookery and bubbles

What was that about posting more regularly? Ah, well. Here's a couple of recent short video clips...

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Where have we been?

Last post 1st July? Oh dear. So much has been happening, but we've been rubbish at updating things here. It's not as if I never get online, either; if anything I spend far too much time online, mostly on Facebook these days but that's another story.

Ainsworth has grown up so much over the summer. His walking has developed into running and climbing (and comical attempts at jumping, so far unsuccessful) and his talking remains beautiful. So very very expressive and flowing, full of passion and feeling. Once he actually starts using some words we recognise there'll be no stopping him. We're constantly amazed to watch him learning new skills. He seems to have an incredible perseverance and will sit for a long time trying to work out how to, say, unscrew the lid of a toothpaste tube, or fit that awkward piece into a puzzle. He's developed a love for books, and will often choose some from his book basket and bring then to us to read, or simply take himself off on his own and sit studying them intently. (Recent favourites: We're going on a Bear Hunt, Dear Zoo, Dog, and the very beautiful Hug.)

Well, enough glowing for now. I'll be back soon, but in the meantime here's my favourite recent picture. There are plently more on Flickr.

A new view

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

A new hat

I often wave bye-bye to Daddy when he's on his way to work, and although he looks a bit funny in his special hat I have to own up to a touch of jealousy. Sometimes I've tried it on when he's not wearing it. But it falls off.

So today I got a big surprise when Daddy took my to a special shop where they had lots of hats just like his, and a kind man helped us to find one that fits me perfectly. And it's such a funky colour, too!
Much better than Daddy's. I enjoyed trying it on in the shop so much that Daddy let me keep it on until we got back to the car.

My new hat

But then things just got better. There was a special seat that Daddy had shown me before in the garage, but today it was attached to his bike and I was allowed to sit in it - wearing my fantastic hat - and we went for a little ride
together. It was such fun! Daddy was being very careful (I'm sure I've seen him go faster than we did today) and, as I enjoyed it so much, he says we can go on a longer ride tomorrow: all the way to Sing and Sign! (As long as this lovely weather sticks around.)

Sunday, 29 June 2008

"Where's daddy's tummy?"

Oh dear - once again it's been far too long between posts. I have a couple of things in mind to write about, too, but time keeps running away with me somehow. (Spending too long reading other people's blogs and not enough time thinking about this one!)

For now, here's a fun moment caught on video by no less a filmmaker than my very own mother. Well filmed, Mum!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Singing, Signing, Sliding and Sand

Now there's a tongue twister title for those of you who can talk!

I just thought I should report that my singing is really improving and it is great for getting off to sleep. I particularly like it a Music Train when we do the loud stuff - I'm really good at that. I do sometimes do the quiet stuff, but only at home with Mummy and Daddy. The instruments at Music Train are great too. Recently we've had these long tubes to bash on the floor and hit together - they make a great noise!

I'm still working hard at copying Mummy and Daddy's words and sometimes they get very excited when I mimic them quite accurately, but best of all is signing! It really works! The other day daddy was having a cup of tea but it wasn't his normal mug, which has pictures of birds on it. I had to let him know he'd made a mistake, so pointed at the mug and signed "bird" and "where" repeatedly until he'd understood. And yesterday I added 'hippo' to my repertoire. Perhaps not quite as useful as 'more', 'eat', 'drink', 'thank you' or 'finished', but Daddy was very impressed all the same. Other people have started to notice my signs too and that makes Mummy feel very proud.

Careful with the sand...

Finally, I wanted to tell you about my new sand tray (which sometimes has water in it too!). We bought it from a big shop with lots of toys in, but it was the absolute best thing there. And the lady from the shop had to help us get it into the car because it was so big! Mummy really likes the fact that it has a big umbrella over it to keep the sun off me, Daddy really likes squashing the sand into funny shapes, and I really like tipping the sand from one section into the other. Daddy taught me how to scoop it up carefully and pour it out accurately, so now I am expert at it. And all my friends love to play in it when they come to visit! I should also add that I have now successfully mastered going up and down my slide on my own, so the garden is just the bet place to play at the moment.

Not so careful with the water!


It has been a little while since we mentioned the dreaded subject of sleep, but at last we have good things to report! The boy sleeps well! I did read more of the 'No cry sleep solution' and tweeked his bedtime routine as a result. This sometimes involves him actually going into his cot awake and 'singing' himslef to sleep, or he puts his teddy (Honey) into the cot and falls asleep on his bottle as before. Either way, he is going down at 6.30 and sleeping through until 5.30'ish with only one or two wakes that need our assistance. And this has been the case for about a month now! Added to this, he is sleeping a good one and a half to two hours in the morning, which is great for getting stuff (like school work) done.

What a champ!

Friday, 13 June 2008

The Cycle of Life

Every day I look at Ainsworth and marvel at the miracle of life. He amuses me, frustrates me, exhausts me, leaves me feeling guilty, perplexed and amazed. I love to discover something new that makes him laugh and watch him discover something new in ordinary everyday things. (Today he spent half an hour climbing up and down the hill at the back of our house and another twenty minutes putting stones from the road into the recycling box!)

Reflecting on our little bundle of life has added another dimension to my grief over the tragic loss of my brother five years ago and my Dad two and a half years ago. I'm struggling to articulate how his life has put a different perspective on their deaths, but it has. In some respects it has intensified my grief - they would both have loved Ainsworth so much and I would have loved to see him with them. The fact that this will never be so pains me to the core. And yet, in another way, his life coming after their deaths was very restorative for my soul. It was proof-positive of the the never ending cycle of life, and that was strangely reassuring.

I'd like to think (perhaps somewhat naively) that Dad and Dan have some concept of what is going on in our lives and are enjoying Ainsworth from afar. Dan was always on at us to have children because he believed it was the best thing he'd ever done - and I know where he was coming from now!

Saturday, 7 June 2008

What's in a name? Part 2

Some months ago I wrote about how we chose Ainsworth's names.

Before choosing Ainsworth I asked my brother how people had responded to his son's name, which is also unusual, and he said that the response had been "almost universally positive". Well, looking back over the last 15 months or so I'm pleased to report the same. The "oh, wow" that we hear when people first hear the name is a positive one. People tend to like it, and it's been described as very English and very refined. They often ask if it's a family name (it is, but we're not aware of it having been used as a first name before).

A few folk have taken to shortening it to Ains or Ainsy, which doesn't surprise me, and almost inevitably there have been a couple of people who've thought it was Ainsley. One or two call him AJ, which we said we'd use but in fact don't often. What do we call him day to day? We call him Ainsworth.

My one concern about the name Ainsworth is this: I don't pronounce it very well. My enunciation isn't brilliant generally, and this is just one of those words that doesn't easily come out right. "Ains" is fine, it's the "worth" that gets twisted. I've heard myself saying versions that sound close to Ainsuth, Ainswoof, Ainsvuth, Ainswuss and Ainzuss.

I guess I should work on it, because I'm sure I'm going to saying it a lot for the rest of my lifetime.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

DIY - lesson 1 of 1

Lesson 1: choose your materials carefully.

I am not a natural DIY expert. Here's my latest project: a blackboard for Ainsworth to use in the garden.

I think it went pretty well. Three panels of wood sanded and coated with three coats each of fancy and expensive blackboard paint (magnetic, no less!) carefully attached to two batons and attached to the outside wall. It was fairly level. With no drips. And he loved it.

And then the rain came.

Wood warps when it gets damp. Well, cheap wood does anyway. Badly. And falls off the wall as a result.

Back to the drawing board...

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The No-Cry Sleep Solution

This is not really a book review, as I've not read the book. But I do believe that The No-Cry Sleep Solution has miraculous powers. And I really mean miraculous.

A friend had recommended it, and eventually I ordered a copy from the library. When it came in I keenly collected it and took it home. And here's where I believe that the book itself has mystical powers: none of us had even opened it. It was, in fact, still in my bag. But that very night Ainsworth slept all the way through. Its very presence in the house was enough.

Well, okay so it didn't last long, but that was a couple of weeks ago and we're really pleased that he has slept very much better over the last few nights. Whether that's because of the book I don't know (I've still not read it and I've no idea how Rachael's getting on with it) but a slight change in the bedtime routine and he seems to be getting the idea at last.

And now we're beginning to have a bit of a battle with food...

Saturday, 24 May 2008


  • The boy is still a bit poorly. His cough has been lingering for over two months now. Doctors have changed their mind as to whether there's an infection or not; currently there is, apparently. We dodn't want him on antibiotics again, which out GP understands, so he's currently on something else to loosen up his airway (but not Ventolin Syrup, which we also wanted to avoid).

  • His signing is coming on and is proving to be a really useful tool. There are moments of confusion, such as when he walks around signing "where?" but we have no idea what he's looking for, but overall it's been a great benefit to understanding each other and I'm very very glad we've done it.

  • Sleeping is still not his favourite pastime.

  • He loves to play "housey" type of games like cooking and playing with a toy tea-set. It's what he sees us doing, I guess. Sometimes he'll sit quietly for ages concentrating hard on sorting things into piles by colour or shape or unspecified criteria, or seeing how many of something he can get into one hand. His concentration levels seem excellent.

  • Our part-time pattern of working - Rachael having him three days a week and me two - is working brilliantly. There are some differences between Daddy Days and Mummy Days (how does she manage to get so much done while she's with him?) but he's developing a relationship with us both as individuals as well as within the family group. So glad we've been able to work things this way. We know several couples who've said they envy us.

  • And much much more.

  • If you've explored the links on this page, you'll have seen that I'm also keeping a separate personal blog, originally about my alleged spiritual life. Well I wasn't posting there much either, so have decided to open that blog up to whatever grabs my attention on any given day. If you're interested, do feel free to pop in for a look. (I'm also using it to see how Wordpress compares with Blogger. So far I can see advantages to both systems.)

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

A welcome break

Hope Park, Keswick.

Just back from a great short holiday in the Lake District celebrating Rachael's Mum's 65th birthday. If you're interested there are plenty more photos here.

Monday, 5 May 2008

All sorts of stuff.

Mums and Dads, eh? What are they like? I've been busy busy busy learning new things and generally being as clever as I can, confident in the knowledge that my Mum and Dad regularly tell the whole world all my exploits by detailing every little thing here, and now I check up on them again and what do I find? Very little. Poor show, Mum and Dad; poor show.

You see, the last few weeks have seen a huge increase in my confidence. My walking, let me tell you, is now super-confident and I like to stay on my feet as much as possible. Until recently I still preferred to crawl if I wanted to get somewhere quickly, but no longer! I am now a man on a mission: to stay upright as much as I can. Unless, of course, I have a particularly tricky obstacle to negotiate.

Stairs are a special kind of obstacle, so I've had to learn a special strategy to manage them, but I'm pleased to report that not only can I crawl up the stairs at super-fast pace, I'm now pretty confident about crawling backwards down them. Mum even leaves the gate open sometimes knowing I'll make my own way down the stairs safely if I really want to. (But she does still keep a close eye on me to check I'm doing it properly.)

Daddy did mention a while ago that I've started to use a few signs to communicate. For some reason I seem to have been born speaking a different language from everyone around me so a few signs are indeed proving useful until I can get them to learn my language. I've recently realised that it might be easier for me to learn their language so I'm trying to copy a few bits of what they say, but my tongue can't quite work out how to do it yet. I'll get there, I'm sure.

Here's a few recent pictures. I'm told there are even more on Daddy's Flickr page.

Here I am taking the sofa to pieces.
I love jumping on the cushions.

Dancing shoes
I loved rocking out to daddy's band at a friend's party!
(That's daddy on the drums, but I was most
interested in all the wires and buttons.)

Scrap Soup
Helping with the cooking is one of my favourite things.
I'm not sure what recipe this was, but mummy gave
me all these bits to use so it must be delicious.

Look how I've grown!
Dad said I used to sleep in this basket and have plenty of
room to roll around. Silly Daddy: baskets don't shrink!

New Recruit
I love to help with the tidying up. Here I am trying
out a new broom at the local garden centre...

...and here I'm tidying the house
after grandma's been for a visit.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008