Archive for July, 2008

Night Night Time

July 31, 2008

Recently Sam has started requesting to go to bed when he gets upset, frustrated, told off for doing something naughty or just seems to be trying to deal with his emotions.

He did the same today at Leapin’ Lizards after he had an altercation with another boy over a toy he was playing with. He seemed to be having a good time playing on the huge inflatable bouncy castles and drawing on the huge chalkboard wall, but then he turned very insular and only wanted to sit and fiddle with a particular toy.

I think the turning point came when he climbed up to the top of a really big bouncy slide then must have got overwhelmed or something because he burst into tears at the top and refused to go down the slide. I think the other children pushing past him in their eagerness was too much, or maybe the slide was just too tall?

Anyway, he had a little fit when this other child tried to take the toy he was playing with from him. It was bad on both sides and Sam wasn’t blameless as he had snatched back and thrown the toy in anger, but before I could get up and haul myself over to deal with the escalating situation (no sign of the other kid’s parent) they had come to blows and Sam lay sprawled on the floor crying his eyes out. After an admonishment, lots of cuddles didn’t help things and Sam decided it was “Night Night Time” then. He toddled over to the reception area, distinguished my trainers from the many pairs of shoes in the cubbies (Bill reckons he must have done that by smell) and handed them to me. With the most serious voice, “Home!” he said.

We couldn’t actually go home though. I had to take baby Bea for her check up at the doctors. We killed a little time by grabbing something to eat at Our Way Cafe and then browsed the nearby charity shop. I bought him a couple of books there so we had something to occupy him while we waited at the doctor’s. A pop up book about a Little Yellow Digger was a big hit and saved me much frustration from having to chase him around the office.

33 Weeks – Wide Load

July 31, 2008

I saw a different doctor today as my own is out this week. Had the quickest visit ever when she finally came into the surgery. She literally measured my tummy (33 inches), checked Bea’s heartbeat and we were done. I was hoping for a little more time to talk to her and find out her policies regarding delivery in case she is on call when Bea decides to arrive, but she was already backing out the door before I really got a chance to whinge about painful Braxton Hicks contractions, or any of the latest niggles I’ve been having. Still, she seemed pleasant enough.

All is well and on track for September 14th, or thereabouts. I’m now 160.5 lbs (11.43 stone for the Brits, 72.5 kg for the Aussies) and thankfully that means I didn’t gain too much while on holiday, just the expected pound a week for this stage of the pregnancy. Phew.

Thursday Part II

July 30, 2008

Almost a week ago we were on the beach having a great time. After the tremendous thunderstorm in the morning we enjoyed a lovely morning taking turns splashing around in the surf with Sam, and here’s the proof:

It’s pretty scary seeing myself so huge moving around on video! I looked really funny after the first day on the beach though. After only a few hours in the sun, when we got back to the house I looked in a mirror and realised I was very quickly getting very stripy indeed. Half my tummy was still startlingly white, but from the belly button down I was getting a tan. Where my swimming costume didn’t quite cover my belly I was getting a distinct two tone effect! This was even after slathering my belly in sun screen. Very silly. After that I decided to be brave enough to bare my belly, be ultra careful about burning and just keep slapping on the lotion! Didn’t want to be a total zebra laughing stock at the hospital!


July 26, 2008

We got an exciting voice message yesterday and now have a big decision to make.

Sam will be starting preschool in just a few weeks time and back in February we had applied to two local schools. We really liked the Grant Park Co-operative Preschool but had little chance of getting Sam a place. At the open day after being shown how wonderful the school is a (very) large roomful of parents were then told that actually there was only one, possibly two, spots left vacant for the coming year. That they were prioritised to residents of Grant Park or Cabbagetown dependent on which campus you wanted to send your child, and that we had to pay to enter a lottery for those elusive spots. Stubbornly I persuaded Bill to take a gamble and say bye bye to $50 to enter the Cabbagetown drawing in hope of getting lucky.

Meanwhile another local preschool had their registration. This one was first come first served and Bill got up very early that day and joined a queue of hopeful parents. He didn’t get there as early as he had intended thanks to a little bout of morning sickness on my part, but he was still in line outside the school several hours before the doors were due to open. We couldn’t believe he was still something like parent number fourteen in the queue. Luckily for Sam the two year old class was expanding this year and he squeaked into a spot in the second class that was forming.

Getting a preschool spot for Sam was a relief, you have no idea how tightly contested places are, and how expensive it can get to even apply for them. However, I was still hoping to get lucky with GPCP, but on lottery day Sam did not win. He did make it to the head of the waiting list though. This was great, but also disappointing and with no guarantee of an opening, tantalising. With baited breath we waited until the very last moment to pay our deposit and first tuition fee for the confirmed school, but heard nothing and wrote a hefty cheque at the beginning of the month.

Of course, now I get a phone call from GPCP saying that a child has dropped out and Sam has a spot if he wants it! Aaargh! Fantastic news, but it’s going to cost us! We can wave bye bye to the money paid to the other school for starters.

At the back of my mind I am also wondering how long Sam will be able to keep his spot for. Bill’s been pondering a move away from Atlanta again recently. We really need to make some big decisions about our house and where we really want to bring the kids up too. Will we just be throwing more money away on deposits if we make a switch?

The spot at GPCP is also for three mornings a week instead of the two we had originally planned so that’ll be more money to stump up too.

Enrolling at GPCP also requires a lot of parental involvement, which I am excited about as it’ll be fun to have to go in and help out, but I’m also nervous about finding the time with a new baby around too. How on earth am I even going to be able to get Sam up and dressed and ready for school at nine three mornings a week?! This is going to have to take some organisation and waking up in the mornings! We don’t really do schedules very well Sam and I!

I’m dead excited for Sam though, I really think he’ll get a lot out of this preschool experience. Big changes afoot for Sam and I. I really think this school will be better for us. Sam and I visited both classrooms when we were researching and I got much better vibes from GPCP. The other place was good, but felt a bit grubby and more like a day care. The children were a supervised gaggle as opposed to the individual sparks of adventure and enthusiasm at GP. I felt the teachers at GPCP were much more motivational and engaging.

The location and timing of their school day is also a lot more convenient as Bill would be able to help more easily and drop Sam off on his way to MARTA in the mornings.

You know, I think my mind is set. I’ll be calling GPCP on Monday morning.

Thursday Part I

July 26, 2008

I’m not sure what woke me up first, the crashes and booms of a terrific thunderstorm and drumming of heavy rain or Sam’s frightened screams and pleas for mummy. I leapt from my cosy bed and charged into the other room to rescue my little boy. He was sat bolt upright on the bed in tears and yelling “clouds! clouds!” but the anguish all over his face melted when he looked up and saw I had come to give him cuddles. Being a mum can be mighty powerful. I scooped my little precious bundle up, and once we had NawNee, Digger, Sandigger, Daddydumptruck and Bagpuss safely gathered up and ready for a ride, we headed back to huddle with Daddy in the big bed.

A reassured Sam paid no more heed to the storm and his attention turned to his belly. Prompted by Daddy, he decided that pancakes would be a good breakfast on such a miserable morning and so downstairs we went and I was put to work in the kitchen.

After the last pancake was scarfed Daddy and Sam were happily playing together in the lounge Bea and I retreated back to my bed to catch up on needed sleep. Two hours later I woke up refreshed and happily greeted the glorious hot sunny day that had chased away the storm. Daddy wasn’t feeling quite so perky though as those two hours of solitude with energetic Sam had left him quite frazzled and getting grumpy. He was obviously needing a relaxing trip to the beach, and what do you know? We’re on holiday! There’s a beach mere paces from our doorstep! Hoorah!

Swimming costumes were clambered into, a squirming boy wrestled to the floor to apply sun screen, Sandigger and spade retrieved, and we were off.

“Beach! Yes! Ready Mummy!”

Another wonderful morning was spent getting sandy and salty watching Sam digging and splashing. Sam made a four legged friend and enjoyed a game of fetch with a nice black labrador who was as excited to be on the beach and playing in the sea as Sam was.

We had a break in the afternoon back at the house and away from the high sun before venturing out to enjoy a family stroll and watch the sun go down in the evening. This was absolutely magical. Bill and I idly pondered the beach looking for intact shells and then Sam threw himself into the act with gusto. By the time we had completed our walk Bill’s shorts were weighed down with all the specimens that Sam had declared “pretty shells!” and forced into Daddy’s pockets.

Sunset stroll

Sam also got crazy in the water that evening and we were very glad to have made him wear his harness. He kept flinging himself into the surf and seemed to enjoy the waves dragging him away along the beach. Daddy had to really keep tight grip on the reins to prevent our little waterbaby from belly boarding away. Sam had a blast while Daddy and I teetered between concern and hysterics.

Sunset stroll

To get to the beach boardwalk you have to pass the beach front swimming pool. On our way back we couldn’t resist a dip. Sam got to show Daddy his real swimming skills and splashed and chuckled his way around the pool clutching onto a pool noodle. Daddy was suitably impressed. Meanwhile I revelled in taking the weight off my beach ball tummy. Bobbing about in deep water felt really good after my ache inducing waddle-trudge along the beach.

Sunset stroll

It was a perfect end to a fantastic day. Sam slept soundly again that night, and so did I.

Wearing Sam out.

July 23, 2008

Uncle Donnie was gone, on his motorbike and probably well on his way home by the time we woke up this morning. I’m glad he came down for a few days, and I hope he enjoyed his stay as much as we did. I think Sam had a good time playing with his uncle.

Sam got brave today and decided to actually play in the surf as opposed to sticking his toes into the wet sand and then skirting the waves on the beach. I really wish we’d taken the video camera down there this morning because he was hilarious. I wouldn’t say he was exactly scared of the water before, he was mainly more taken with digging in the sand, but he hadn’t really wanted to venture in too deep. Today though he was charging into the sea and giggling furiously. The sea was fairly rough but despite having a couple of tumbles and white water encounters, he took it in his stride, yelled for “big waves!” and had a grand time.

After a fun morning watching Sam on the beach we intended to return to the house for a relaxing afternoon and then venture out later for an evening stroll. This didn’t go quite to plan however as Sam woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and was a rather cantankerous handful when he wasn’t distracted by beach time.

After he had had a nap and woken up energised and wound up again I decided to take Sam out to the pool to give Bill some quiet time (and let him cook a superb taco dinner in peace). If I hadn’t done that I think he’d still be bouncing around the house and driving us crazy as we tried to save the rental furniture and knick knacks. I was a little worried about taking him to the pool on my own but I shouldn’t have because he was very happy to come into the water with me. When he wasn’t bobbing around in the deep end with his arms around my neck I was able to sit on a lounger and watch him gently play with his beach digger on the wooden boards around the pool. I managed to tire him out too well and at half past seven he began to have a bit of a melt down and then asked us to put him to bed. “Night night time!”

Our sunset walk just climbed under the covers and started snoring!

Though we were glad the weather took a turn for the worse around then and it started to get blustery and rain. Made us feel better that we had missed out on our family sunset stroll along the beach.

Morning on the peninsula

July 22, 2008

Mmmm just finished having a nice nap to recover from this morning’s fantastic outing to St Joseph’s Peninsula State Park on the tip of the Cape. We picked up some lunch from Cone Heads, the eaterie at the end of the road, and headed into the park to where Sam and Nanna and Dandad played on the swings and watched all the blue one clawed crabs scuttle around last year. There were none of those crabs in evidence this time but instead we were able to wade out into the clear knee deep water and spot hermit crabs, plenty of fish and many winkles clinging above water to the pointy green weeds.

Sam, St Joseph's Peninsula Park
Dandad and Nanna swung a very young Sam here last year.

When Daddy picked up a hermit crab to show Sam it wiggled its little legs and crawled around on Daddy’s hand making Sam shake and squeal in terror. He grabbed my legs and hid behind me, cowering.

Sam and Daddy, St Joseph's Peninsula Park

We ate our lunch on a picnic table in the shade and were soon joined by not one but two beautiful red headed woodpeckers with grey mottled chest feathers. They started off perching on a nearby tree trunk but soon got cheekier and cheekier in their quest for food and were hopping on and off the picnic table beseeching us for tit bits, which we denied them. Sam was fascinated.

It also reminded me that last night at the Owl Cafe we had some gulls flying around the patio and Sam started happily cawing away. For a little while it was the only noise he would make. Caw caw!

The Allens, St Joseph's Peninsula Park

With the sun beating down on us we decided that a stroll through the park would be a bit much and neither Bill or I fancied hauling Sam along so we headed to the beach. The sea was a lot choppier today and the waves were crashing in. There was quite a strong undertow and I had a bit of difficulty keeping my footing as I’m already rather off balance thanks to Bea. I was nervous about Sam but he was kept happy gathering sun warmed shells and carrying them with his spade to where I was beached at the water’s edge. The tide was coming in and no sooner would he drop them to show me than a wave would come rolling in and sweep his treasures away. “Oh dear! My shells!” he would sadly pout, before contentedly wandering off to collect another batch.

Sam and Uncle Don, St Joseph's Peninsula Park
Sam and Uncle Donnie

Sam and Mum, St Joseph's Peninsula Park
Pointing out the winkles

Adventures with Digger

July 22, 2008

Another beautiful sunny day at Cape San Blas for the Allens. We had breakfast and headed straight for another round of digging and swimming on the beach. Then lunch and a nap, followed by more beach time. Pretty much the same as yesterday really (including the rapid evening departure to find a potty!), except that this time Bill’s brother Donnie appeared in the house while Sam and I were napping. He’d driven his new motorbike down from Columbus, GA to join us for a few days.

Sam was a little bit uncertain to find a new person on the sofa when he came down from his nap, but he warmed up really fast and was soon chatting away to Uncle Donnie about all his favourite things. That would be diggers, tractors and trucks, beach and sand. Oh and for the past week or so Bagpuss is also getting a look in and lots of attention.

This evening Donnie took us out for dinner. We headed to Apalachicola intending to eat at a restaurant Bill enjoyed when we were here with Mum and Dad last year, only to find it closed on Mondays. As were most of the other eateries in town. We ended up at a place called Owl Cafe. We were told that the only available table would be outside on the upstairs patio, but we have our suspicions that this was because we walked in with a small child. There certainly seemed to be plenty of available tables as we walked through the dining room, and they were still vacant as we exited after our meal. There was also a note on the head of the menu requesting children be kept under control.

The Allen men

I am very happy to say that Sam was yet again an absolute treasure throughout what was a really tasty meal. Despite being tired he was very well behaved indeed. We did have a few moments where he could have started to be a pest but with quick distraction he regained his halo. I’m so glad that we can eat out with him and not be a complete spectacle and horror for the other diners. Sam generally even has pretty good table manners and at intervals will even request a napkin to wipe his mouth and hands as he eats. Wonder how long this will last?!

Unlike myself Sam has no problems sampling all sorts of food and tucked into crab dip, munched on Daddy’s grouper dinner, snacked on my green leafy salad and wolfed down some mustard alfredo penne pasta.

He's a beut

The car ride home was filled with the sound of Sam’s giggles and squeals as he and Uncle Donnie played tickles and Sam was taught how to high five and fist bump.

We’ve been swimming in the sea!

July 20, 2008

What a perfect day!

I woke up this morning terribly confused and disorientated because it wasn’t 2 o’clock, or 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock or even half past five in the morning. It was a lovely reasonable 8 o’clock and somehow I had managed to sleep all the way through the night. No having to toss and turn to get comfortable, or get up to go to the loo every thirty minutes. No hearing Sam stir and cry out for “Mummy!” in the night. No being kept awake by baby Bea practicing tae kwan do. It was wonderful. I hope I’m not jinxing myself for tonight.

So what did we do today? We went to the beach of course!

It was a beautiful morning kicked off with a hearty pancake breakfast and followed by a scramble to slap on the sun lotion, get into our swimming costumes and make the short amble across the dunes to the seafront.

Sam was so excited to take sand digger with him. He loved to dig dig dig and play in the wet “dirt” by the edge of the ocean while Bill and I took turns going in the water or watching him. Of course, he also had a grand time coming into the sea with us and jumping the waves.

The water was glorious. Even Bill agrees and he is very picky about when he’ll go in the sea. He scoffs at us Brits who will make do with chilly temperatures.

Of course, sod’s law dictates that in the first five minutes of being in the water I spotted a jelly coming straight at us. That unnerved me a bit as we had to jump aside to avoid it. But, we went in again many times after that and didn’t see another.

Speaking of wildlife, the dolphins were out in force and you could see them jumping in the surf just a little further out than the swimmers.

We stayed out an hour or so before we began to feel the sun was getting too much and retreated to the beach side pool to desalt and cool off for a moment.

Back at the house we were already exhausted and enjoyed a nice family nap before venturing back out to the white sugar sand beach in the afternoon for round two, more of the same. We asked Sam if that was alright with him, would he like to go to the beach again? He gave Daddy a very stern “what do you think?” look and resolutely declared “YES!”

Sam made friends with a little girl on the beach and they played very nicely together for some time sharing his bucket and spade. The little girl liked to make sandcastles and then add extra sand on top to make them pointy. Sam liked these and called them rockets! He and digger would then happily bulldoze all the rockets and the little girl didn’t mind at all. She then even went on to show Sam how to jump on them and squash them flat. Sam later happily shared his new skill with Daddy and destroyed all his castles.

I was very proud of Sam when he drew the outing to a close by saying he needed to go potty. We uncertainly packed up and followed him back to the house (yes, followed, he took off to go find his potty himself) where lo and behold he did indeed present us with a ginormous poop.

Good job Sam! Thank you so much for not doing that on the beach!

Sorry for the too much information again but I really do have to record this one in more detail because he totally cracked me up with potty humour…

…I was sat watching Sam potty and making sure he didn’t wander off when he suddenly stood up half way through. He looked down into his potty, pointed and yelled “Ssssnnake!!” He grinned at me, cackled and then sat back down to finish his business!

Sam had a great day today. He is so tired out though that he was actually asking us for his blanket, to brush his teeth and to go to bed before he had even had his dinner. He barely made it through his pasta and didn’t stay up long enough for ice cream. I don’t think he has even moved from where we tucked him into bed and said night night.

Cape San Blas

July 19, 2008

We’re here!

It was a relatively stress free departure from Braeburn this morning. Bill and I had everything packed before Sam woke up, then it was time to rouse him for breakfast, get him dressed and we were off.

Wasn’t such a smooth departure from Atlanta when we realised we were heading down I-75 towards Macon and had missed the I-85 to Columbus exit. After the last miserable journey to the coast when we had gone that way we had vowed never again. Last year we drove via Macon and Tallahassee, while Nanna and Dandad sneakily took the roads through Alabama. Their journey was significantly shorter in duration and they didn’t appear to want to kill each other at the end of it. Bill and I shuddered at the thought of seeing Tallahassee again and so turned right back around to head North until we could get back onto our intended route again.

Sam was an absolute angel the entire drive down to Cape San Blas. He only had a short nap and still kept quite cheerful en route. The number of diggers, combine harvesters and tractors along the way really helped and always got him chattering away happily with a smile on his face as he implored us to look at them too. The best was a train carrying a cargo of diggers…diggers and trains…together…ooooh squeal!

We made it to the coast after around seven hours in the car and Sam got extremely excited to see the sea and sand as we drove along the coastal road from Mexico Beach to Port St Joe. This last stretch was brutal for him as he strained to get out of his car seat and begged us to stop so he and digger could play on the beach. He was really very patient though and we had no tantrums today, just lots of excited bouncing in the back.

Our arrival at the rental got delayed by a detour to Piggly Wiggly for supplies but from then on it was a pleasant drive in familiar surroundings as we continued on to the Cape.

We found the rental with no problems and it’s very nice. We miss the wonderful sea view we had from last year’s house but I don’t think we could have expected much better otherwise. This is going to be a good break.

After a bite to eat at the apartment Sam and I left Daddy to recoup on his own for a bit while we took a stroll. It was getting dark by this point but I had promised Sam we were going to the beach today and so go to the beach we should. Besides, he’d been couped up all day and needed a run around before bedtime.

Sam was overjoyed when I led him up the ramp and over the sand dunes. When the ocean and sand came into view he literally started bouncing and jumping down the pathway. As soon as we hit sand beneath his feet he sat down and started playing. I had to coax him to go any further. Sam also immediately started looking for Nanna and Dandad and Molly, and I had to remind him that they weren’t going to be here as they are visiting Uncle Simon and Aunty Melly. Sam then surprised me by saying “Nanna, Dandad, aeroplane” and doing an aeroplane impersonation while running down the beach.

He then decided it was time to go paddling and charged straight into the sea. Thank goodness I had brought his harness. We spent a short but fun time playing in the warm waves and drawing in the wet sand before he decided digger and Daddy ought to be on the beach too and demanded we go back to get them. It was time to go back and so I promised we’d be on the beach with Daddy and digger tomorrow. Sam happily held my hand and trotted back to the house with me to see Daddy, but not before saying “night night beach!”

Oh, and a weird Sam moment back at the apartment. There’s a telescope in the lounge and I caught Sam babbling away and fiddling with it. I went to tell him off and extract him but was too stunned when I realised what he was saying…”stars! stars!” Now, how on earth did he know that? Bill didn’t know either.