Monday, 31 December 2012


Marisca really loved her cracker's free gift. I've never seen a non-golfer be so excited about golf tees. She thought they were pencils.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Sleeping like a baby

I may have said this before, but since having Marisca I've always felt confused by the term 'sleeping like a baby', unless it's used to refer to sleeping at in opportune moments and being awake for the remainder. But Thomas does do a good blissful sleep when he gets going. Better yet, we're in a brief phase (we hope it's not brief but it seems prudent to assume it is) where he's sleeping very well at night: the last 4 nights have had only one waking at around 3 until 5.30 or later. I'm finding it a bit confusing, I think my body is prepared for my sleep to be more broken that than, and I feel a bit tired through oversleep by the morning!

A little family Christmas

It's been quite busy since, but our Christmas itself was a lovely quiet affair. Just the 4 of us, with a trip to church, a nice pheasant for lunch, and presents in the afternoon. We also watched Room on the Broom together, which was lots of fun.

I didn't seem to take many photos this year, too busy with having a nice time with my family. But here are a few: the variety of outfits shows that these were taken over a few days!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

A bit of a worry

Well, we've had our first admission to hospital as parents. But it wasn't A&E for our runabout falloveralot toddler: it was for our little boy.

Thomas was out of sorts on Friday and had a raised temperature when we tested him in the evening. We made use of the family doctor-grandma, and then the local out of hours service, and then the emergency GP at the hospital. We were admitted to the children's ward just before midnight. Nobody could really say what the problem was, just that babies his age shouldn't be having high temperatures at all.

A worrying and stressful night followed. We started with trying to get blood out of the tiny veins in his wrists, it was horrible watching how slowly it dripped out into the tiny bottle they were trying to fill. He was then given what seemed like a huge amount of saline into the drip, and we were sent off for chest x-rays, where I needed to wear an iron apron and hold him down. The worst was the lumbar puncture, which only worked on the third attempt with an awful lot of squealing in between. By then they decided to give him intravenous antibiotics in case in turned out to be bacterial meningitis, some baby paracetamol, and then checked him in for the night.

Elspeth stayed in with him while I came home by 3 in the morning, to be here for Marisca (and relieve the emergency babysitter from next door).

The test results started coming through during the weekend, and he kept being dosed. We had to do a lot of juggling and call in some favours to keep looking after Marisca. By Sunday he was more or less his normal self and his temperature was down to normal. Eventually they let us go at the end of Monday afternoon.

It was a really really difficult night on Friday - so many tests that upset our boy and didn't yield any knowledge to tell us what the matter was. He started to look more comfortable on Saturday but we didn't know that he'd be home for Christmas until lunchtime on Christmas Eve. Not the kind of preparation we had in mind. He's home now and definitely back to normal, and I'm overjoyed to have both him and Elspeth back at home.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


It's definitely approaching Christmas in our house.  Last year Marisca was interested but it all went on around her.  This year she is part of the driving force!  

We put our tree and decorations up at the weekend.  As you can see, Marisca helped with hanging decorations on the tree and enjoys all of the lights we have.  She has a tree of her own in the front room, with  some homemade decorations, which she will periodically go and visit and move the decorations on.  She will line up the crib scene again and again (although sometimes she thinks the ox is a reindeer).  She has been Mary in toddler group nativity.  

It's really, really nice sharing her excitement.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Four weeks

Thomas is four weeks old today: in some ways the time has flown by, while at the same time it feels like he has been part of the family forever. He has fitted into our family perfectly, and it feels so right to have him here and be a family of four.

People keep asking me if Thomas is an 'easy' baby. In some ways that's true, as he feeds well, sleeps well and is generally quiet with not much crying. But I think the real difference is in me and Tim - we are much more relaxed about caring for him, and I think that makes him a relaxed baby.

In the last few days he has started spending more time each day awake and looking around. There's always lots going on with an older sister rampaging around, and he copes very well with the hugs, kisses and cuddles he regularly gets from her, as well as the shrieking in his ears and helpful provision of toys in his face. He loves cuddles in the sling, rocking in his chair and being bounced on the yoga ball. He will tolerate baths but doesn't think much of them, and he hates getting his feet cold, which makes nappy changing fun!

My cousin visits

My cousin baby Alice came to visit last week. I think she is still baby Alice although is no as much of a baby as baby Thomas. It was fun to play with her but mostly it was fun to tell her how many of the things she was playing with we're mine. Here we are both finding the smallest person in the room.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Reindeer Stampede

I ran in a 5km race last weekend!  It's something of a surprise really, as I would never have thought myself a runner.  I always liked sport but running seemed particularly pointless.  And when I started running earlier in the year, a race of 5km (that's about half an hour at my speed) with & against other people would have seemed impossible, as I found running for 2 minutes in a row impossible.

But there you go, application of self in the cause of improving fitness and enjoyment, led to this.  And the race itself was rather fun, I even look like I'm enjoying myself in the picture below, although I did select a photograph of me after I spotted the camera...  Probably more a fun run than a race (see antlers below).  

I found myself not last, finishing in 27:26, including carrying Marisca for the last 10 yards!  It was nice to have family support, and they got their reward for it with a chance to sit in the cafe with hot chocolate, and then a free mince pie for Marisca.  

I also enjoyed my post-race mince pie.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Like sister like brother

Aw, what a lovely pair of children!  Marisca still wears sleepsuits (or 'sleep sloots') sometimes, and here they are together in their white sleepsuits.  Aw, again.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Spencers come to play

We've had a lovely weekend with Thomas's most numerous (and largest) cousins. Rachel, David, Sam, Izzy and Elliot came up for two days of fun and merrymaking. We had a nice morning and lunch in Bradford, they all looked after Marisca including a trip to the media museum while Elspeth and I (and Tom) went to see The Mousetrap, and we wrapped it up with parks and playing on the Sunday.

Everyone who wanted cuddles got some, and plenty of photos were taken. That plenty were taken does not imply that I took one which didn't have at least one person squinting or looking like a loon, you understand. That's just the nature of family photographs.

In particular, Izzy and Elliot both enjoyed playing with Marisca, and we had a wonderful 5 minutes of taking photographs of Risky and El posing with Thomas. With, every time, both of them running round to look at the screen of the camera. Poseurs both.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Second child syndrome (part 1 of many, I suspect)

I was sent this lovely poem by Ogden Nash (the poem is by Ogden Nash, rather than me being sent it by Ogden Nash).  First child/second child comparisons abound in this house and in conversation with friends, so I thought I'd share.

First Child ... Second Child 


Be it a girl, or one of the boys,
It is scarlet all over its avoirdupois,
It is red, it is boiled; could the obstetrician
Have possibly been a lobstertrician?
His degrees and credentials were hunky-dory,
But how's for an infantile inventory?
Here's the prodigy, here's the miracle!
Whether its head is oval or spherical,
You rejoice to find it has only one,
Having dreaded a two-headed daughter or son;
Here's the phenomenon all complete,
It's got two hands, it's got two feet,
Only natural, but pleasing, because
For months you have dreamed of flippers or claws.
Furthermore, it is fully equipped:
Fingers and toes with nails are tipped;
It's even got eyes, and a mouth clear cut;
When the mouth comes open the eyes go shut,
When the eyes go shut, the breath is loosed
And the presence of lungs can be deduced.
Let the rockets flash and the cannon thunder,
This child is a marvel, a matchless wonder.
A staggering child, a child astounding,
Dazzling, diaperless, dumbfounding,
Stupendous, miraculous, unsurpassed,
A child to stagger and flabbergast,
Bright as a button, sharp as a thorn,
And the only perfect one ever born.


Arrived this evening at half-past nine.
Everybody is doing fine.
Is it a boy, or quite the reverse?
You can call in the morning and ask the nurse. 

Monday, 3 December 2012

A new grandson

Thomas has had a number of visitors over his first two weeks, primarily all four grandparents.  Thomas is the first boy on the Crocker side since his Grandad, a 'few' decades ago, and the first male Mosedale for nearly 30 years (although that's a bit cheeky as my sister has boys that are half-Mosedales).  

So a lovely event for both families, and here are the doting grandparents all staring into Tom's (usually closed) eyes.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

A nice new blanket

How lucky Thomas is to have such creative people in his family as his grandma and aunt who knitted the blanket he's relaxing on. And that's not to mention his gran and other aunt who are dab hands themselves, just without evidence of it to hand.
Thank you!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Parenting revealed

When Thomas cries Marisca always comes over and says 'I know Thomas, I know' or 'it's alright, it's alright'.  Which are pretty much exactly the things we say to Risky when she's a bit upset herself.  It is enormously sweet to see her take care of her little brother, and a little unnerving to realise how much she's learning from us.

I've got my baby too

While the whole family got a new baby last weekend, Marisca also found some new babies of her own - a pair from next door (pink baby and green baby) and a very happy purple baby from grandma and grandpa. Marisca absolutely loves playing with her babies, and particularly taking purple baby out and about in its sling. How perfect that grandpa managed to find a baby that matches our parenting approach. Marisca even discarded the bottle yesterday, instead getting a cushion out, laying baby on it and feeding from her 'tummy'!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Baking the Christmas cake

We have acquired a tradition of making the Christmas cake as a family, ensuring that everyone gets at least a stir. Marisca is sufficiently accomplished a baker now that she was well in with the weighing and mixing, and we got Thomas to get his hand on the spoon too. Really nice afternoon spent as family.

And how is this photo for blissful family life?

Sunday, 25 November 2012


Here's a pre-Thomas photo of Marisca, doing one of the things she likes best, reading.  She's recently got much more into playing imaginatively with her "friends" (or occasionally "my children"), and it was nice to turn around the other day to see her reading a book to Jemima.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

I'm a big sister!

Marisca has been great with her new brother.  One of the questions that we were asked a lot while Elspeth was pregnant was how we thought Marisca would handle having a brother or sister, and I don't think we could have wanted a better reaction.  She takes so much care over Tom, keeping on coming over and giving him a cuddle or a stroke. Every now and again she asks for a cuddle and sits on the floor with her arms out to have Tom in her arms.  And in the mornings when she comes into our room she immediately asks "where's my baby Thomas?".

She has asked us to put Thomas down a couple of times, and it can be tricky to carry them both at once, but so far we're very happy that Marisca has taken so well to her first week of sisterhood.

Day 1

Day 1 for Thomas was relatively short. At 3:30 in the afternoon we were in the local ice cream shop when the first contraction hit. By 5:30 we were in the hospital, having got emergency cover for Marisca from the neighbours while my parents drove down to look after her overnight. Everything happened rather quickly, and by 6:45 I was in 'second stage' and allowed to push. 9 minutes later Thomas arrived, a bit squashed from his rapid journey, but absolutely fine. 

The hospital staff were all brilliant: calm, confident and friendly, and very happy to leave us alone with Thomas to give him lots of cuddles and get to know him. Eventually, at 11 pm Tim left to go home to say hello to my parents and be there for Marisca in the morning. Thomas and I headed up to the ward for the night with hopes of leaving the next morning. That didn't quite happen (paediatric checks are frustrating, but have to be done...) and we eventually got home just after 6 pm the next day.

Of course comparisons with last time are inevitable. This time round I discovered the joys of gas and air - awesome for helping me through the contractions! This time round the ward was quieter and the staff very willing to help, especially with getting feeding established. This time round the food was about the same, but I was allowed to eat at my bed with Thomas beside me, rather than leaving him behind and having to sit in the dining room. So overall a positive experience, though not one I want to repeat for a while! 

Thomas, the first week

Well, what a week we've had. We're now a family of four, and I think that we all really really love it. I'm tapping away with Thomas on one arm while Elspeth and Marisca are downstairs making a cup of tea, and then we'll be set for another trip to a cafe I think.

Tom is proving to be a lovely baby, so happy and peaceful most of the time.  Comparisons with his sister will plague his life, as I know being second child to a wonderful older sister myself, so I'll hold off on that for at least a couple of posts.

So to think about just him, he's sleeping a lot of the time but has a few spells of awake and alertness each day. One normally in the middle of the night. But after that wakefulness he normally (normally? He's only had 5 nights at home...) has a big feed and sleeps for a few hours.  He's feeding really well too, it's clearly going in and keeping him sustained.  He doesn't like having his nappy changed, although I think this is about getting his poor little legs cold. He's healthy, a little jaundiced, not losing much weight by day 3, and we're having more midwifery this afternoon so will check in again later.

Mum and dad are doing pretty well too.  We're vaguely amazed by how well we're managing so far, and hope we keep going strong. And how is his sister coping? That's a subject for the next post...

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

First trip out

Thomas learned some more about the outside world today. It's not just windy and horrible as it was on the way home from the hospital on Monday, it can be rainy and horrible too!
We took a brief walk to the nearby cafe for Marisca's regular Wednesday breakfast date with Charlotte and Huw. It felt rather normal to be out as a 4, but then Tom was asleep in the sling the whole time so it was quite easy...

Monday, 19 November 2012

Thomas Michael

Welcome to the family, little boy.

Friday, 16 November 2012

A lesson in eating satsumas

This will not make sense to many people.  It may not even make sense to my brother and sister, who it is aimed at.  Who knows.

I have started teaching Marisca how to eat satsumas.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Going to visit Thomas

We had a really really lovely day yesterday.  We took Marisca out for the day to Kirkless Light Railway. a narrow gauge scenic railway relatively nearby.  It was a special Thomas event, and as Marisca is very, very heavily into Thomas, we decided it would be perfect to take her and have a day out just for her.

It was really well set up - cute little trains that are clearly ready to turn into Thomas and friends at a moments notice, with all the right colours and shapes that then turn into the characters with the addition of numnbers and faces. 

And Marisca had a whale of a time.  Let's see, she went on the big train to the other station and back, pulled by Skarloey both times.  She had a tootle down the platform and back on Toby a couple of times (and will tell you how she rang the bell, ding ding ding).  She got a Bertie tattoo and listened to a story told by the station master.  She went for a ride on a troublesome truck, and a ride on Thomas too.  And twice on the miniature round-the-duckpond railway.  And saw the fat controller.  And had a flag to wave at people.  The only things that didn't happen were face painting (really, you think I'll sit still?  I suspect not), and donkey riding, as they were having their lunch when we were there.

It wasn't a cheap day out but I think she'll remember it for some time.

Sitting on the platform waiting for her train.

With her flag...

...and showing off her Bertie tattoo!
And three trains to ride on too.  No wonder she slept well last night.

A few photos

No great narrative structure today, but here is a happy girl eating a peanut butter cupcake with chocolate icing, made with Daddy for baby Isadora visiting.
And a chilly trip to the park, which also makes Marisca happy.

And an unhappy Marisca.  She tells us sometimes 'I'm sad', and puts on a sad face, then gets up and runs around as happy as can be for the next half hour!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Two small things

Marisca just came into the room carrying a teddy and her Jemima doll, and said 'I've got my children'. And then started singing 'all things bright and beautiful'. What a lovely start to the morning.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The garden of light

We're starting to like Bradford.  It's always been the place that we live on the edge of, but the more we visit, the more we like it.  It clearly has some fantastic architecture but we like what the council spends bits of its money on.  Doing up Roberts Park, down the road, has made a really lovely place for people to spend time.  And they've just finished the City Park in the centre of town, which is perhaps a little odd but also a nice place to go, especially for families. 

For the past couple of weeks the city park has hosted the garden of light every evening, a set of light sculptures.  Sounds a bit artsy, but it was truly marvellous.  We went down on the last day, had dinner out, and then wandered around the park.  It really was a magical hour or so - Marisca absolutely loved running around, with her light 'flower', and the place was full of happy cheerful people.  I managed to get a few photos I like, and then some others that aren't great photos but have my girl in them which makes them great photos!

Nearly a lost photo

I have a new phone, I think I've mentioned it before.  It takes pretty reasonable pictures - and in some cases (particularly low light) actually takes better pictures than my big old Pentax SLR.  The thing is that pictures can get somewhat lost on it, as I don't really think about them when I'm putting pictures here for you all to see.  But I came across this one, from last week when we were in Leeds at the armouries, and have gone to some trouble to get it to you.  Because I think it's lovely.

(And as a late edit I should say that it's a lovely owl tunic top affair that Elspeth made for Marisca)

Sunday, 14 October 2012

A walk and fish & chips

What a lovely Saturday we had last week.  We noticed there was nothing in the diary for forthcoming weekends so are ticking off a few things from our list before the winter.

We went over towards Skipton for a walk in the morning, a lovely stroll up on a bit of local moor.  We were both carrying a small child but for once mine was less wriggly than Elspeth's. 

We then went to Haworth on the way home, to visit the Haworth Steam Brewery for lunch.  They've opened up a little bistro since last time we were in Haworth, and we popped in for lunch and to get a case of their very nice Ironclad Stout.  It really showed how much Marisca has expanded her eating again.  I think she must be having a growth spurt because she put away a plate of fish and chips that Elspeth would have been pleased with.  She also discovered a taste sensation of chips dipped in orange juice.  She assured us it's a taste sensation, we decided not to verify.

We stopped in at Keelham Farm on the way home for some groceries and to visit the animals.  Marisca enjoyed the goats and the chickens, but wasn't at all sure about the pigs.