So, the picture above probably gives away the biggest development this month – namely that Daph is finally, finally (about ten years behind the baby books) pulling herself up to stand! She still mostly stands on her tiptoes, but puts her feet flat from time to time too so I think it’s just a case of getting her muscles to relax and get used to this new position, and then she’ll be fine. It’s so exciting and cute to see her pulling herself up and bobbing about, all pleased with herself. She also occasionally lifts each foot in turn, as if she’s trying to walk (although she can’t, as obviously she’s still hanging on to whatever it is that she used to pull herself up in the first place). It’s hard to imagine her walking about as a little person of her own accord, and while it’s exciting (because my god is she heavy now and carrying her everywhere gets very tiring) it’s also a bit sad – five minutes ago she was my helpless prone 5lb newborn! Gah!

She’s still not talking in much of a meaningful sense, although she does very often say ‘tea’ when I pour water into my mug of tea, or when she sees me taking a sip from a cup, so I’ve decided that’s her official first word. Ha. She’s also been babbling ‘mama’ for the first time ever (it was only really dadadada before) and also ‘nana’ in the past week. She has a tendency to say ‘dere’ when she’s pointing at something or reaching for it, which sounds very much like ‘there’, so I wonder if that counts! Any speech therapists out there? The doctor said we need to take her for a referral if she’s not using words with meaning soon, but I’m reluctant to now, as I can see her progressing in her own way, and I have faith that she will get there eventually. Anyway, we’ll see how she is next month and take it from there.

In other news, her understanding is coming on leaps and bounds. She can now do terrifying things like turn the telly on with the remote (I mean, seriously, and we hardly ever watch TV!) and also she knows to press the main button on my iPhone and wait for the screen to light up to swipe it. Also quite terrifying, really – these were not the skills I was hoping to foster in my tiny baby. She’s still very good at fetching things you ask her for, or finding them in her toy basket, and she now also puts things back if you ask her to (eg, she has a habit of pulling things off our coffee table, but if you ask her she’ll then pick them up and put them back on it – so cute). She also feeds her doll with her bottle, and also tries to feed me during mealtimes by offering me a bit of chewed up soggy bread, or half-bitten piece of cucumber. That’s true love that is.

She can point with her index finger now, and she also points things out in books if you ask her to ‘find the cat’ or whatever. In the last few days she’s started waving, but not at anyone in particular (yesterday it was at the trees – bastards didn’t wave back) and not on demand. Still no sign of clapping however – she’s a tough crowd.

Sleep went to shit again quite soon after my gloating post about her finally sleeping through, and I realised it was all down to the damn Sleepyhead. She was going through a phase of practising sitting up while she was half asleep and then getting stuck in weird positions and bursting into tears, so… we decided to put the Sleepyhead back. It was tough to go backwards after feeling we’d finally weaned her off it but in all honesty, it just wasn’t worth the lack of sleep. As soon as we put it back, she started sleeping through again, so we’re stuck with it for the foreseeable alas. But the sleeping through has been so epic – most nights she does 6.30pm to 6.30am without a peep. It. Is. Brilliant.

Napwise, she’s still doing two naps, one for about an hour from 9.30am and another for 45 minutes from 2.30pm. I wish she would nap for longer as really it’s hardly enough time to do much apart from pick up the trail of destruction that she leaves behind, but at least she’s still doing two naps and hasn’t dropped down to one yet. I am kind of dreading her dropping to one main nap in the middle of the day because surely it means you can’t go anywhere?! I have to say I do miss the days of multiple naps when she was younger… oh, and her being able to nap in the buggy which meant I could go shopping without having to bribe her not to whine with gingerbread biscuits.

This month she also had her MMR. I agonised over this for weeks, and in the end she had it a bit late. I *think* I’m pleased we had it done – I have read about how terrible measles can be in children – but I still found it incredibly stressful (in fact, I wimped out and made Oli take her while I was at work), and she did have the predictable side effects 10 days after the injections. She woke up screaming hysterically (cue a horrendous 3am googling session of ‘encephalitic cry’ – DO NOT do this), had a really bad tummy and was generally grumpy and whiny for three days. It was so sad to think that it was something I had *done* to her, but thankfully she seems to have recovered with no ill effects.

The only thing we did do is put off her Meningitis B vaccination – at my surgery they give babies all four at once (MMR, Hib/MenC, PCV and MenB), but as MenB is the one that gives them a fever, I thought it would be better to have this once the MMR was completely out of her system. The nurse was apparently quite grumpy about it but they agreed to let her have that in a fortnight’s time, and then it’s no more injections until she’s three and a half, I think. Phew!


CHEESE! As you can see, she looks nothing like me. Ahem

Two more developments this month: cuddling and… biting. The cuddling is lovely – she will now put her arms around me and give me a proper squeeze, but it’s quite often followed up with the less-than-desirable sinking of her teeth into my neck. I am not sure what it’s all about quite frankly – she’s not cross when she does it, and it’s not an anger thing. It’s more that she’s so excited she just wants to take a big chunk out of you. Very weird. And very bloody painful – I have lost my temper with her a few times when she’s caught me off guard, which makes me feel terrible. Most of the time now I can tell when she’s about to do it, and manage to distract her or hold her off, but my god it’s annoying! I really hope it’s a phase that doesn’t last long, and if anyone has any tips for dealing with it (other than saying ‘NO! NO BITING!’ which seems to be what I say most of the time to her – poor thing!) then please ping me a comment here or on Facebook!


Be grateful I spared you the shot of what’s under the bandage…

Sooo, there was meant to be a really fascinating (!) blog post coming your way over the weekend but then on Saturday I decided to shut the car door on my hand. This happened just as I’d met up with a friend and her four-year-old for lunch, and yes of course I had the baby with me and of course it was my right hand and of course I was parked somewhere I shouldn’t have been about half an hour from home. And of course it was a Saturday and Oli was at work until 10.30pm.  So that was quite fun. We made it to lunch in the end, and everyone in Pizza Express was very kind and no one said anything about the fact that one of my hands was wrapped in a muslin soaked in blood. Hope it didn’t put anyone off their pizzas.

The upshot of this moment of clumsiness is that I am now unable to use my right-hand ring finger – I don’t think it’s broken as it’s not wonky and I can bend it without it hurting too much, but my fingernail is clinging on somewhat precariously and underneath it is an interesting black-blue-red pattern, complete with dried blood that I’m too scared to pick off. Oh and it keeps oozing too. Lovely. So, I’ve been trying to type as little as possible, hence the lack of blog post this weekend. I have to say, it’s amazing a) how painful just crushing even one finger is and b) how much you need your bloody fingers. OK, I know that sounds really obvious but even washing my hair in the shower has been a challenge. I also seem to constantly be knocking it on things and it feels as though someone is electrocuting it each time – unbelievable how many nerve endings are bundled up in your fingertip. Ouch ouch ouch.

Along with that joy, I have also caught a cold and given it to Daph. Just last week I was smugly telling Oli that I ‘never get colds’ (while he was sniffling away) and so I am now a walking, snotty example that karma does exist and karma will get you. Daph seems to be faring better than me, but she still has a little bit of a chesty cough which sounds so cute and heartbreaking all at the same time.

So yes, with that cheery update, I will bid you farewell till next week!

PS I am up to 22k words on the novel. Woo!


Look it’s a photo of me for a change! And my sister. At The Last Tango press night 🙂

Hello hello, sorry I haven’t done a midweek catch up for a couple of weeks (and this one is a day late). Sometimes I get all cringey at myself and think, god Charlotte, midweek musings, what are you on about, who the F cares? But then I remember that, er, I care, and it’s nice to have these little diary entries to look back on. Especially since I have the memory of an aged goldfish.

So, yes, it’s been a busy old week or so. Oli opened with his show, The Last Tango. In case you haven’t heard about it, or seen the posters on the tube, it’s another dance show from the very lovely Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone, and Oli sings all the songs for it. On stage. He had to learn 17 songs for this show, which made for an interesting (read: stressful) two weeks when he was in rehearsal… But it’s opened now, and is going well, and he’s had some fab reviews which always makes me all proud and glowy inside. I went along to the press do last week with my sister and it was full of folk from Strictly, who are all universally lovely, it seems. There were also a few slebs there, but I’m pretty shocking at having a clue who people are (I swear I could be stood next to Angelina Jolie in Boots* and have no idea who she was), so my sister had to fill me in. Unlike at the press night for Oli’s last show, she didn’t get drunk and offend Brendan Cole (long story). No gossip, everyone was very well behaved. And everyone I spoke to told me how proud I must be of Oli, and how fabulous his singing is, which is always cheering.

On the subject of dancing, someone else in our family has decided to try it (I say someone else, Oli can’t dance for toffee, and neither can I). We noticed this week that little Daph has now started bopping her body about when she hears music – it is SO. BLOODY. CUTE. She can even keep time pretty well – it’s sooo sweet and funny. Especially as she doesn’t really smile while doing it, which makes it seem like some kind of strange involuntary reaction – CAN HEAR MUSIC, MUST MOVE BODY kind of thing. Babies are amazing.

In other news, I started my six-month Writing a Novel course at the Faber Academy last week and am enjoying it immensely. Aside from anything else, it’s so lovely having something to get a bit dressed up for (this sounds wrong, afear ye not, I’m not turning up in stilettos and a ball gown – I just mean putting on something other than stained jeans and a t shirt) and it’s fab to be using my brain again and talking to creative types. We’re in groups of 15, and my group is a really eclectic mix of screenwriters, actors, lawyers, journalists, film producers and even an architect. The best thing about this course so far is that every exercise is focused on the novel you are meant to be writing, so everything is relevant – there’s no pointless academia or tests or anything like that. I’ve been making quite good progress with my novel, and I’m up to 12,000 words now. I’m setting myself a target of 10,000 words a week, which is pretty ambitious, but I’m at home five nights a week alone while Oli is working on this show, so I figure I ought to be able to get 2000 words done each time. Obviously this is creating the very model of a shitty first draft, but that’s OK. I want to get my first draft finished by Christmas, so I can edit it next term. Fingers crossed!

*an unlikely scenario, granted


A couple of people I know who had babies around the same time as me have recently announced that they are expecting again. I have to say, when I found out, both times I was incredibly shocked. The idea of having another baby so soon (or what feels like so soon) after Daphne is terrifying. But as well as feeling shocked, I felt a little jealous. Perhaps it’s something about being pregnant, that kind of special status you get, and the amazing load of feel-good hormones that come with newborns.

When Daphne was first born, within weeks I was thinking about having another baby. I actually said I definitely wanted another one – I loved her so much, and it was such an addictive feeling. I remember telling friends that I’d be happy to do it all again soon. Fast forward a year, and I have changed my mind so completely and utterly that it’s kind of scary. Obviously I still love her so much – in fact, a lot more – but I am no longer under the influence of those new mother hormones and am instead ravaged and slightly beaten by a whole year of sleep deprivation.

There is nothing like sleep deprivation on that kind of scale really. Before Daphne was born I knew I was in for a few months of being pretty tired, but I had absolutely no idea what the reality would be like. And how unbelievably difficult it would be – definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my entire life. It affects everything – your relationship with your partner, your self-esteem, your health, your happiness… your weight! That’s not to say that it isn’t worth it, because of course it is, but it’s still so awful that I can’t imagine putting myself through it willingly again.

Of course, maybe I’d have a better sleeper the next time around. Maybe my next baby would be those so-called ‘easy’ babies that sleep through at nine weeks, breastfeed like a dream and have laid-back, sunny personalities. But what if they don’t? What if they’re even more difficult? What if my pregnancy is just as complicated or even more complicated than last time? I don’t think I have the mental strength.

I’ve never been the kind of maternal person who planned on having 2.4 children etc etc.  Children were always a bit vague in my mind – a hazy idea that I hoped would happen at some point. So I don’t have that over-riding feeling that our family isn’t complete unless there’s four of us. But by the same token, it’s hard to say definitively that I don’t want any more kids. The truth is, I really don’t know.

None of this matters really – if you don’t know the answer, live with the question etc. Both Oli and I are slightly old for first-time parents, but this isn’t enough of a worry to make me think I have to get on with it, or make a decision right now. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about, following my friends’ news, and also because we’ve started packing up some of Daphne’s baby bits – not just her clothes, but bigger things like the Perfect Prep machine, her nursing chair, the Jumperoo, her bouncy chair etc. And I’m not sure what to do with them. Sell them, or keep them just in case? They’re in the garage at the moment.

I always thought having two children seemed like a sensible idea because then your little one always has someone else to play with, and I can’t imagine life without my sister, but then someone reminded me that siblings don’t always get on, and sometimes they fight just as much as they entertain each other. And of course, from a parenting point of view, two kids means twice as much attention, twice as little sleep, twice as much money… Is it perhaps better to focus all our efforts and energies on one, especially now that having an only child is becoming increasingly more ‘normal’? Will it be better for Daphne to have our undivided attention? I love our little band of three, and I don’t know if I can face being pregnant and having a newborn again. But then will it be sad for Daph in the future not to have a little companion, and what about when we’ve shuffled off our mortal coils? Who will love her as much as we do?

I’d love to hear what other mums think about this issue and how you’ve decided (or not) how many children is right for you… it’s such a fascinating decision. If you fancy sharing your thoughts, please leave me a comment here or over on Facebook.


My mum had a point when she said there’s a lot of baby ‘stuff’ available today that her generation coped perfectly well without. I remember moaning about her point of view in one of my pregnancy updates, but now, I’m starting to come around to it. There are plenty of things that I can’t imagine doing without – my Perfect Prep machine, for example, has been a lifesaver – but then there are other things, such as the Bumbo seat, which, while useful at the time, definitely wasn’t an essential. But my biggest regret, purchase wise, has to be the damn Sleepyhead.

The irony is that I think I wrote about this ‘wonder product’ in a post when Daph was tiny, calling it one of my most useful purchases. And I suppose it has been useful, but it’s come at a price.

It was the lactation consultant we saw when Daph was about five days old who first told me about the Sleepyhead. She said every mum and dad she saw nowadays had ‘one of those cushion things, so you can have the baby sleeping next to you during the day’. Of course, I went straight on Amazon after she’d left and bought us one (blame the new mum hormones – I was sucking up advice left right and centre like a very dry sponge). And it was useful in that we had it on the sofa with us a few times when Daph was napping. But if I’m honest, I think a MOSES BASKET would have done much the same job. And if I could turn back the clock now, I’d buy a moses basket for Daph when she was first born, which I would put in the Chicco Next 2 Me at night time. If my mum is reading this (hi Mum!) she’ll be rubbing her hands and mouthing I told you so at the screen, no doubt.

But we live and learn. The problem with the Sleepyhead is that you pay a very heavy price for it. Not just in money (and it is stupidly expensive for what is essentially a fancy cushion). But in the future. It’s all very well when you first tuck your little one in and feel pleased that they are all comfy and cosy in their cocoon. But then they get bigger. And bigger. And the Sleepyhead doesn’t. So it starts to be too small for them. So then you try to get them to sleep without it, and all hell breaks loose.


It’s OK though, because you can go back to John Lewis or Amazon and spend EVEN MORE money on a giant version of the Sleepyhead. What thoughtful folk they are! And of course, you get a spare cover for another £493, because you just know there will be puke incidents. Problem solved.

For now.

The next problem arises when you try to get your baby to nap somewhere else – in a travel cot at her grandparents’ house for example, or on holiday – and you’ve neglected to bring the Sleepyhead. No chance sucker. Your baby is now totally used to turning about in her bed and bumping off the sides and without them, she feels lost, confused and uncomfortable. Which means she wakes up a lot. And cries.

It also becomes a pain when your baby learns to sit up and crawl, and thus decides to explore her cot in the night – turning upside down and crawling to the foot of the bed, but unable to settle because there’s no Sleepyhead bumper at that end.

There’s also the small matter of the weather – if it’s warm, the Sleepyhead doesn’t allow the air to circulate around your sleeping child, meaning one sweaty baby (and in our case, super curly hair in the morning – cute but still upsetting to see your baby drenched in sweat).

The covers are a pain to get on and off and wash, and so you try to cover them with a fitted sheet, but of course they don’t fit properly, meaning the whole thing is a big bumpy mess.


The big Sleepyhead is allegedly suitable until they are three, but really, do you want a three-year-old that can’t sleep in their bed without cushiony bumpers surrounding them?

The most annoying thing is that Daph was sleeping pretty well when she was first born WITHOUT the Sleepyhead. She was quite happy to be swaddled, and even though she looked tiny in the Next 2 Me, she seemed to settle just fine those first few days. I agree that it’s probably worth a try if your baby seems very restless and resists being swaddled, but honestly, you DON’T need a Sleepyhead. You don’t.

We’ve been suffering the effects of this ridiculous cushion over the past month or so as we’ve been weaning Daph off it. First of all, we took the bumper out of the cover and just put it loose in the cot (this is not recommended, please don’t do this!) but then she managed to pull it over her face and woke up screaming and terrified. So then we went cold turkey, with muslins rolled up and tucked under her fitted sheet to try to provide a similar effect. That didn’t work. So we just decided to go for it and take everything out completely. The cot looked so big and she looked so small. She wasn’t used to all that space and ability to move about at night, and it’s been a real struggle to try to get her to settle without it.

My other qualm about this ‘must-have’ is that it must, surely, stop them from rolling about as much as they might do normally. I know that Daph is behind developmentally in her gross motor skills anyway but I don’t know how much of this was caused by her being effectively slotted into a space every night to sleep. With those bumpers surrounding her, she never had the opportunity to roll about in her cot, and she never had the opportunity to try sleeping on her side or front either (which she does now, finally, at 13 months). I’m sure plenty of babies use Sleepyheads and don’t find it affects their development, but I’ll never know with Daph if she would have advanced more quickly without it.

So yes. That’s my tuppence worth. I probably should have just written an Amazon review but anyway! If you do decide to get one, I suggest not using it every night  – or maybe not using it for naps or something. Just so that your baby also gets used to being able to move about in her bed and doesn’t think the only position for sleeping in is flat on their back, pinned in either side…



My god I am knackered! Oli has been leaving for rehearsals this week at 8.30am and getting home at 11pm (which I am sure is against EU working hours but anyway). And Daph has suddenly turned into Mrs Clingy/Whiny, and now shrieks if I’m not in the same room as her and looking at the exact same thing as her ALL THE TIME.


She’s also started pulling on my trouser legs, which is kind of cute but actually quite painful when she decides to headbutt my shins. I need ALL the gin tonight, I tell you.

I have to say too what an ABSOLUTE IDIOT I was for gloating about her sleeping through the night in my last post, as she has now decided to do the most weird random wake ups ever. Her naps have also gone to pot over the last few days – 20 minute crap naps are the order of the day and then she wakes up screaming. God knows what’s going on in her little brain but I think it must be developmental as I can see her personality changing a lot too. Oh, and she is very definitely pointing – hurrah! And also giving ‘cuddles’ (launching herself at you and biting the nearest piece of your clothing with an impressive intensity as she buries her head in your shoulder) and ‘kisses’ (blowing raspberries against your cheek) if you ask her. Which is just about cute enough to stop me leaving her out for the bin men.

In other news, we decided to sell some furniture on eBay last week and my god, what an absolute pigging palaver it has been. I do NOT recommend it. Not only is eBay’s UI ridiculously un-user friendly, trying to sell something is also the most complicated process ever known to mankind. I just want £300 for this furniture right? I added a Buy it Now price but missed the fact that there’s a ‘Best Offer’ button you need to untick, and so I am receiving offers left right and centre, accompanied by passive aggressive emails from strangers telling me to ‘get back to me soon yeah so we can get this thing sorted’, even though they’ve offered £100 less than I wanted. Then there’s another handful of cheery chaps who keep trying to offer me cash and do it all outside of eBay, excusing the derisory amounts they’re proposing by claiming I’d pay the difference on fees if I went through eBay officially. Then there’s people asking me to arrange couriers for them. I did actually manage to sell one piece for the amount I wanted but now eBay keeps deleting my messages to the buyer because I want to include my contact details (which is fair enough right, when you’ve already sold something!?), causing all manner of bloody confusion.

I just want someone to buy this friggin furniture for the price I have asked and come and collect it themselves. How can it be so complicated? HOW! I want to defect to Gumtree (in hindsight I should have just done Gumtree to start with) but eBay keeps telling me I can’t cancel the listing because I have offers I haven’t responded to or something… I mean, god. Life is too short to spend two hours a night emailing people called chelseaponies354 and cables4u976 haggling over a tenner. How do people do this for a living?!


Oh how I wish I could freeze time! 13 months old is the best age yet – hands down. Daphne is so flipping cute all the time that I keep getting ‘cute aggression‘ where I want to eat her/bite her/crush her. Google it (or click the handy link I provided, heh) – I’m not a psycho, it’s an actual thing, a response to when things are so cute you have to rebalance your emotions by feeling violent. Like laughing when you’re nervous or crying when you’re happy – it’s weird brain stuff and totally normal. Interesting eh? But I digress… Here’s how Daphne’s is at 13 months…

So, the biggest and best change is: she is FINALLY SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT. From around 7pm (she goes down at 6.30pm) until 7am. Cue massive hurrahs, loads of gin, and me generally feeling like a normal human being again. I had forgotten what it was like, in all honesty. It’s amazing what a decent night’s UNBROKEN sleep can do. It is bloody wonderful. We no longer have the weird dream feed thing at 11pm, so I can go to bed early if I like and get some proper zzzzs in. Of course, I never do (go to bed early) because it’s too exciting have unbroken evenings to sit around, write blogs, watch TV and read books. Bliss.

I don’t really know what exactly got her to sleep through, to be honest, but I did start to leave her for a bit when she woke at 11pm for her feed, and I did gradually water it down, and reduce the amount, over about two weeks. Eventually she sort of got the message that it wasn’t worth bothering to wake up for, but it did take a while and there were several false starts. I think one of the keys to all of this is giving her a massive dinner, which can be a challenge as she’s generally not that hungry in the evenings (she eats like a starved dog at lunch). But we have managed to get her to eat lots of different things for dinner – finger food works best – which keeps her interested and generally means we can fill her up before she gets too whiny.

However, the sleeping through the night hasn’t been completely consistent – mostly because of the hot weather. The days when we were dealing with 30 degrees outside and 28 in her room she woke up a few times in the night at random hours, which was quite stressful. Settling her when she wakes is actually really hard now because she only semi wakes up – and usually sits up in her cot – and yet she can’t seem to lie back down and go back to sleep. But if I go in to ‘help’, she often gets freaked out and wakes up completely – I think I’m interrupting her in the ‘zone’ as it were, and although she can’t settle herself, it makes it worse if I barge in there and pick her up. She’ll start to scream and freak out, which is pretty horrible. And the only thing that will settle her in that situation is a bottle, which always scares me as I don’t want to start the habit up again…

But now the weather’s cooling down, fingers crossed we won’t have any more sweaty wake ups. Of course, there’s still teething, separation anxiety, learning to stand up in the cot etc etc to keep me on my toes so I am sure there are plenty of unbroken nights to come, but the main thing is the majority of the time now she’s sleeping through and it is bloody marvellous. I’ve aged about five years in the last year and I swear it’s all sleep related. Sigh.

Another achievement this month is that we’ve weaned her off formula. She now happily drinks cow’s milk and doesn’t even mind if it’s cold from the fridge. We’ve got a carton of formula to finish off so she’s still having that at bedtime, but I’m quite confident she won’t miss it. I can’t wait to get rid of the Tommee Tippee machine from the kitchen (although it has been a lifesaver and is highly bloody recommended). Next up, we have to wean her off bottles. I thought it was too risky (read: stressful for me) trying to do both bottles and formula at the same time. She has all her normal drinks from a beaker but milk is in a bottle. I know it’s not great for her speech development and my mum keeps telling me that I stopped using bottles at six months so I *know* it’s something we need to get on top of, but she gets so windy and burpy drinking large amounts from a cup that I’m a bit wary. Any tips appreciated!

Weaning off things seems to be the order of the day at the moment actually – we’ve also just managed to get her to give up her Sleepyhead in her cot. Another great hurrah. I’m going to write a blog post about my issues with the Sleepyhead so won’t go into too much detail here about it, but it’s been another struggle and I’m so glad we’ve got rid of the damn thing. I replaced it with Airwraps – her cot has bars so without the Sleepyhead she can easily get her arms or legs stuck. The Airwraps have gone down quite well – they’re not at all squishy though so don’t particularly protect from bumping herself against the bars. She was a little freaked out at first, not having her nice soft pillowy sides to snuggle up against but she seems happy now. Her latest bedtime habit is sitting up in the middle of the night, turning round and crawling to the other end, so that her head is at the foot of the cot. She can change positions about ten times a night without waking herself up (we have a video monitor so can spy on her) which is rather amusing.

What else what else… on the speech front, we’re no further along, but I wrote about that in my last blog post. She makes loads of different sounds but nothing specific or consistent yet. She’s started pointing, sort of, but she uses her middle finger not her index finger and doesn’t fully extend it so not sure it counts?! But she can follow me pointing at something and she also definitely understands ‘no’ now, and will stop what she’s doing for a second if she hears me do my ‘stern voice’. Although it doesn’t stop her going right back to doing it. Sigh. I read somewhere lately (probably a self-help book or something on PMA) that babies are the ultimate inspiration as when they want something, they Just. Don’t. Give. Up. I guess that’s how you progress through life, and something we forget to do as we age/get lazy? Ha! I’ll leave you there on that unexpectedly philosophical note…


She’s OBSESSED with sunglasses at the moment

Phew! It’s been a busy old week. Oli has started rehearsing for his new show, which has meant childcare musical chairs for everyone so that I can still do my in-house office work. Again, thank god for my mum. It’d be so much easier to get Daph a childminder sometimes but I don’t think anyone would have us with our annoyingly inconsistent hours.

But anyway, the future is looking a bit different (read: exciting!) for me, as I found out last week that I got a place on the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course. I applied a few months ago and it’s been literal agony waiting to hear if I got on – I even googled myself into insanity by finding someone on Mumsnet who had applied for the same course and was offered a place about a month ago. I was convinced, therefore, that I hadn’t got on.

For those not in the know, it’s a six-month course, run by publishers Faber & Faber and based in their Bloomsbury office. It’s spawned a load of exciting writers, including SJ Watson (Before I Go To Sleep) and numerous book deals. It’s not cheap, and even though a few of my friends said I was mad to apply because a) one of its main aims is to get you a literary agent and I already have one and b) I could just spend the money on clothes and write the damn book on my own, I really really love working with others and meeting new people and collaborating and just sharing experiences. I’m a bit of a sucker for training/education in that sense. And it gives me a goal – I’d like to finish the first draft of the new book I’ve just started by the end of the course, and doing it also means I HAVE to take writing seriously for the next few months. It’s so easy with writing to let it fall to the back burner in favour of bread and butter stuff (which is obviously essential!) but I feel a bit like it’s ‘now or never’ for me. I’m really lucky in that I’ve still got money left from selling my business so I can afford to have a career break right now. Although I am still working a couple of days a week too, as well as doing my half of the childcare… hmm, hopefully my social life will still be there when I’m done?!

Oh, and eeep, the course I’m doing is run by Joanna Briscoe. Even more exciting. If a little intimidating.

Anyway, before I found out I got a place I started writing something new. Something a little bit different and a little bit risky but I’m feeling fired up about it which is such a great feeling after so long. I forgot how addictive and obsessive writing can become when you’re excited about something!

In other news, we took Daph for her development check up yesterday. The doctor was pleased with her progression re crawling, but she’s still not pulling up to stand, or standing by herself if we pull her up. She also always rests her weight on her tiptoes – in fact sometimes her feet kind of curl right over so that she’s resting on the top of her foot which looks so painful and wrong! He said she has really tight calf muscles (weirdly so do I) and in fact her muscles are a little ‘too strong’ so we have to massage her feet and ankles to try to get her to put her feet flat. He seems to think she’ll get there eventually, but she may walk on tiptoe for a few months. Like I’ve said many times, she ain’t gonna be an Olympic gymnast, bless her.

He actually said he was more worried about the fact she wasn’t using specific words for specific people/things yet. She’s thirteen months old on Saturday and a few of my friends with babies of similar ages don’t seem to think theirs do either, but perhaps they’re being nice. Daph says LOADS now – makes a huge range of sounds and lots of baby googledegook with mixed consonants/vowels etc. But nothing really specific. She says Dee Dee and Daddy a lot, but not at anything or anyone in particular. She also says ‘Dink’ which my mum thinks means she wants a drink but I’ve yet to really truthfully spot a correlation there. So a bit concerning but I still think she’ll get there – we know she’s running on a slightly delayed schedule but she does seem to always find her way in the end. The doctor even said she might just be a bit shy at trying to do things she’s not good at, which kind of makes sense, she’s definitely a cautious soul! Anyway, he told us to come back in two months if she still wasn’t using five or more words with meaning, and then he’d ‘refer her right away’. So another little target for our little girl – fingers crossed she can do it!