Lily in a field

RSPB Sandy

It’s a while since I’ve left the house with the camera in tow. Given that it was a nice day, I thought I’d take Lily over to the RSPB nature reserve at Sandy. Unfortunately, controlling a 16-month old and framing photos wasn’t easy. So I didn’t get much other than blurry pictures on the little one!

Christmas Tree of Hope – Update

I’m pleased to say that the Christmas tree we had outside the front of the house remained until well into the New Year, when I took it in the back of the car to its final resting place. To say that I was shocked it wasn’t stolen is an understatement, as the neighbourhood I live in isn’t the best. To be honest, after the tree was continually knocked over by the strong winds we had in December, I’m not surprised it was left alone.

That said, I am very surprised that it wasn’t stolen by one of the drunks from the club across the road. Maybe there is some good left in Bedford after all.


Eating from the Floor

A baby’s taste experience

I’m the proud father of a 9-month-old daughter who is just coming in to her own. Everything is suddenly turning into a game and there’s almost nothing which doesn’t raise at least a smile in her. Her giggle is becoming infectious, as she starts it learn to communicate with us and starts to take in more of our gestures, tones and even the odd word.

One word she is hearing quite a lot of at the moment is “no”. It’s not easy to teach her what’s right and what’s wrong, when all she really hears is an incomprehensible noise. And why would she obey, even if she could understand? There is no knowledge of consequence or cause and effect, as she’s not made enough mistakes yet to have learned from them. That is especially true of the things she puts in her mouth.

Our living room is much tidier than it used to be. We’ve packed away much of what was out on the coffee table, the lower shelves of the bookcase and on the contents of the floor beside the sofas. We’ve moved everything as far back and as out of reach as possible, which includes placing a small pouffe in front of the TV so that she can’t reach to attack the wires dangling down the back. We obviously can’t remove all dangers, but should we anyway? How sanitised can you make a baby’s world, without them growing up to need constant protection? She still manages to get hold of the remote controls (completely ignoring the fake control we bought to try and appease her incessant desire for the real thing); still manages to pull books down from the bookshelves; and still manages to reach the television to turn it off during our favourite shows.

But that’s all fine when compared to the most difficult challenge of all — fluff.

Fluff is the current bane of our lives and is nearly impossible to irradicate. You can strip out everything that she could potentially harm herself with, and place her in the middle of a completely bare room. But within seconds she will have honed in on the smallest, most infinitesimal objects, which are almost impossible for us adults to see from our lofty heights. There is a constant struggle between us and the forces of nature, attempting to drip feed our child with continual doses of minuscule junk.

I spent half an hour recently, attempting to get something out of her mouth that she was chewing. Every time I put my finger to pull out the offending object, I’d get bitten by two sharp little teeth and be completely unable to locate it. But still she chewed, until a hooked finger finally managed to drag a three-inch piece of cotton from within her cheek. Who knows where that came from? I certainly don’t remember anyone dropping white cotton willy-nilly around the front room. But she’d managed to find it, scrape it from between the fibres of the rug and stuff it into her mouth.

The worst one had to be the lump of cat hair I pulled from her lips. Our long-haired moggy (I call him that, but I think he’s a pedigree) likes to leave the results of his endless licking all over the house. Despite the daily vacuuming, these great lumps still roll around the floor like small, grey tumbleweeds, waiting for a baby to lap them up. And lap them up she does, often with great delight, which is quickly followed by a parental sigh and shouts of “NO!”

I don’t mind toothmarks on the coffee table. I don’t mind the gnawing she has obviously done on the cable remote. I don’t really even mind that she found some old, dried ice-cream stuck to one of the bars on the shopping trolley she was sat in and thought it would be a tasty treat as we walked around the supermarket. But I do mind all the invisible bloody waste she manages to spot on the floor. Do we not feed her well enough? Are the blended home-cooked meals simply not satisfying, or the jars of deliciously lumpy baby food not tasty enough?

The sooner she learns to look with her eyes and not her mouth, the better!