Esther at 15-16 months

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Esther is now between 15 and 16 months old. I want to record what she is like at this moment in time so that I don’t forget.

She can say daddy, boo, hello, bird, poo, tickle, food, bath, thank you, bye, baby, book, shoes, car, look, that, banana, chair, stairs, down, gone, home, fish, spoon and probably a few more that I’ve forgotten. She can sign drink, milk, food, bath, shower, bed/sleep, thank you, more and fish. Her understanding and ability to follow simple instructions is pretty good.

She sometimes uses the potty. She first used it the day after her birthday, when I explained what it was for. She has used it several times since whilst having nappy-free time, including a couple of times completely by herself when I wasn’t even in the same room! She is now beginning to tell me before she goes in her nappy, although there is not yet enough warning to undress her and take her to the potty. I’m not putting any pressure on her at all, we’ll just follow her lead.

She loves music and dancing. She likes to bounce on the bed or sofa. She has lots of little board books with pictures of first words, animals and vehicles which she spends ages looking at. She grabs my finger and points it at each picture to get me to name it.

She dislikes being in the pushchair or trolley when we go shopping and soon starts to scream, which makes shopping trips rather stressful! She sometimes doesn’t want to go in her carseat. It’s an extended rear-facing seat and our car is quite high up, so it can be tricky to get her in while she is trying to fling herself out. However, unlike her two older siblings, she has never shown any signs of travel sickness.

Slides are her favourite thing at the playground and she can manage most of them completely by herself. She is very friendly and will walk right up to strangers, babbling away and pointing to show them things. She is quite happy to sit on the laps of people she has only just met. She is fascinated by dogs and will go up close to them, but is not quite so keen on actually touching them (with the owner’s permission of course).

She is definitely a water baby and loves swimming. She recently learnt to float on her back with almost no support, just a hand ready to catch her if she rolls over.

She insists on shutting the kitchen door whenever we are in there. I tried to prop it open whilst cooking because I was getting rather hot, and she immediately worked out how to close it again! I have no idea why she does this as we don’t normally close the door. When she is hungry she sometimes goes to get a bowl and spoon out of the cupboard as a hint.

She has loved dolls for a while, and is now beginning to play imaginatively with them. She says “poo” and gets me to undress them, puts them in Tabitha’s wooden highchair or cot, feeds them a bottle (I suppose she thinks it’s a beaker) and makes them dance or jump.

She is such a joy to be around most of the time, but she does still have days (usually several in a row) when she just screams for no apparent reason! She hasn’t yet slept through the night and usually wakes up early.

Edited to add: A week later she can now say Mama and Esther. She has also learned to nod and shake her head which she does whenever we ask her a question!

Wrapping up Christmas

I hope you all had a great Christmas! We spent lots of time with family and it was lovely.

My mum arranged an end-of-year piano party for Aaron, Tabitha and three of their friends who also take lessons with her. They each performed several pieces to the assembled parents and grandparents, followed by a buffet lunch.

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Colin had a few days off at the beginning of the week leading up to Christmas. We enjoyed a lovely walk with his mum and one of his sisters and her children.

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We also visited Colin’s parents. This time Esther wasn’t too sure about their dog Misty and she especially didn’t like me giving her attention; she kept crying whenever Misty was on my lap!

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Colin celebrated his birthday on the 23rd. He was working all day so we didn’t do much, plus he has declared that he is now too old to do birthdays.

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He also worked Christmas Eve. Tabitha and I spent the day making napkin rings and placecards to decorate the table. Colin’s sisters dropped some presents round in the late afternoon so we ended up going to the playground in the dark with them, which was a much-needed breath of fresh air.

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As Christmas Day fell on a Sunday this year, we decided to do presents in the morning before church but have a simple buffet lunch and leave the full Christmas dinner until Boxing Day. This turned out really well as Colin and I could just relax and spend time with the children.

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On Boxing Day we had my parents and my granny over for Christmas dinner, most of which Colin cooked. We rearranged the front room a bit so that we could fully extend our dining table for the first time. New books were read and new board games were played, but I somehow managed to go the whole day without taking a single photo!

On the 27th we met up with Colin’s aunt, uncle and cousins from London. Again, I pretty much forgot to take any photos. After a lovely long lunch, we went for a walk at Wistlandpound Reservoir just as dusk was falling. By the time we were half way round it was really dark, although Venus was very bright in the sky.

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On the 28th it was back to my parents’ house for lunch with them, my granny, my brother and sister-in-law.

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Tabitha and Esther went down with a nasty cold before Christmas and I thought I’d managed to escape it, but last night I developed a very sore throat and have been aching all over. Poor Esther still has a runny nose and a cough. However, she only woke up three times last night which is a huge improvement! Let’s hope it wasn’t a fluke!

Family moments

We’ve had some very hot weather this week. It amuses me how the British can’t seem to deal with heatwaves or snow; anything other than rain is outside of our comfort zone.

On Monday we packed up a picnic lunch and headed for the public paddling pool in a nearby town. I dipped my legs in and felt very envious of the children playing in the nice cool water!

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I’ve been searching for a better way of carting around supplies for a day out whilst babywearing and discovered that granny trolleys are perfect! There’s plenty of room for baby gear, picnic stuff and swimming things, and I can also use it for carrying shopping back home.

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My mum invited us to stay for lunch after piano lessons on Tuesday so that the children could play in the paddling pool in her garden.

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Tabitha took this photo on Wednesday after we got back from karate. It was Colin’s day off so he drove us there. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that he passed his driving test last week! He has had a few lessons but mostly just lots and lots of practice with me over the last year or so. It’s great having another driver as he can now do things like nip out to the shops or even just fetch the car from the car park.

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It rained most of the day on Thursday. Tabitha re-discovered her Wii dancing game and even Aaron joined in. He is a fantastic dancer but refuses to take lessons!

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Esther was appointed the judge, a job which she clearly took very seriously.

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While I was pregnant I cleared out one of our lofts, and today I decided to make a start on the second. I found a crinkly fabric baby book which Esther will enjoy now that she is starting to tolerate spending time on her tummy. I have to be careful where I put her down now as she shuffles quite a distance on her back!

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We nipped out to Lidl as we had run out of bin bags and I spotted a pull-the-tab phonics book which I thought Tabitha would enjoy. Aaron very sweetly helped her to read it while I was busy making lunch. Her blending is coming along well and she can now read lots of cvc words with a bit of prompting.

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I leave you with big sis and little sis playing together.

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A trip to the capital

Colin’s agency job finished on Monday so we took the opportunity to go up to London for a few days to visit his grandparents, whom we haven’t seen for a year and a half. We loaded up the car and set off early Tuesday morning, stopping to visit my Granny in Yeovil on the way.

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The Travelodge where we were staying had nine floors and a brilliant view. Once we had unpacked our stuff and set up Esther’s hammock, we went over to Great-Nanny and Grandad’s house for the evening.

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On Wednesday, after Nanny cooked us a fried breakfast, we took the overground and underground trains to London Zoo.

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There was a petting area where Tabitha enjoyed feeding and stroking the donkeys, alpacas, llamas and goats.

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It didn’t take long for Aaron to find water and get soaking wet!

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There were several walk-through areas where we could get up really close to monkeys, birds, spiders and other animals.

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This pelican had the letters “AAR” on his ring, which we decided must be short for Aaron.

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Tabitha loved the butterfly house and Aaron was amazed by the huge Atlas moths which were as big as his head.

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Watching the penguins swimming through the glass was great fun. They almost seemed to play with the children.

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Aaron was very excited about seeing the Komodo Dragon. He has been interested in them since we used Komodo Maths a few years ago and has watched lots of videos about them.

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Colin found the aquarium very interesting.

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One of my favourite animals we saw were the giraffes.

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On the way back we walked through Regent’s Park. According to Colin’s phone, we walked 22 km in total that day! Aaron and Tabitha did amazingly well but we were all rather exhausted by the time we got back to Nanny and Grandad’s house for a late dinner.

On Thursday we drove across London to go and visit Colin’s aunt, uncle and cousins. They took us to Brooklands museum where we saw cars, bikes, planes, buses and more. We went on Concorde which was very interesting, and Colin pointed out the engine part that his Grandad made.

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Afterwards we went back to their house for dinner, where Tabitha had a wonderful time with the two cats, five dogs and collecting eggs from the henhouse.

We spent Friday morning with Great-Nanny and Grandad again. It has been really lovely for the children to get to know them better, as they’ve only met them a few times. We set off around midday and finally got home just before 9 pm, after lots of stops and traffic queues!

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