Tag Archives: grandparents



“A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

I was up in London again this weekend, this time with Leigh to catch up with old friends.

It wasn’t really an occasion that Arthur could join us for, so he went to stay with Grampa and Mimi. He was so excited in the couple of days leading up to it. It took us ages to be comfortable with leaving him overnight, and all the while we were warned that our reticence would make him way too clingy. It is really lovely now to see him so self-assured that he relishes his opportunities for independence.

Mind you, when a sleepover with his grandparents involves picking apples and blackberries to make pie, collecting sticks on evening walks in the woods and playing ball games with his doggy friends, it isn’t really surprising.

Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity for The 52 Project. 



“A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

Leigh and I had a very rare trip up to London this weekend, just the two of us.

Arthur stayed with my mum, and though we were only away for a night it was remarkable to see how much he seemed to grow up in just those twenty four little hours. This picture is hers, from a walk in the woods that they took before bedtime. I love the look of wonder on his face, the way he is poised for exploration and adventure.

It took us a long while to leave Arthur overnight. I could not imagine anything I less wanted to do in the first few weeks and months, and as time went on people were full of cautionary tales about how he would never be able to cope without us if we didn’t start to reduce the attachment that felt so natural for us to nurture.

In fact the opposite has proved to be true. We still hang out together an awful lot, but when Arthur is given the chance to be more independent he rises to it – confident that we will return, and full of excited stories to share with us when we do.

And cuddles, of course. There were lots of cuddles too.


Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity for The 52 Project. 

Word of the Week: Dada

Today the word that sums up the week that was is:


After the fantastic family wedding that drew us down to Cornwall, Leigh had to head home pretty promptly to keep up with his medical school commitments. Not having anything in particular to lure us back, Arthur and I stayed in Cadgwith with my parents.

From moments after Leigh drove away Arthur began to wonder where he was, and calls of ‘dada’ have punctuated the rest of our week. Whenever anyone came to the door Arthur’s eyes lit up, and the anticipation when anyone reached for the phone was almost too much to bear. It was dada who was on the other side of the door whenever Arthur heard the shower running, and dada who he cried out for in the middle of the night as I tried to hold him close.

There was a silver lining to all this: over the course of the week having only me as a familiar comforter Arthur has come to trust my parents more and more. From beach fun to sleepy stories it’s been lovely to watch them bond – and to watch Arthur realise that his safety net extends further than he perhaps initially thought.

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Still, though, I think Arthur is going to be overjoyed to realise his dada still exists – and not just on Skype. And without a doubt I’m going to be very glad to have my co-parent back by my side.


The Reading Residence

Arthur’s castle

I have been well and truly spoilt this Mother’s Day. A lie in, a bath, delicious food, gorgeous flowers and some very sweet presents. We may have had words last year after Leigh underestimated how important this day would be to me as a new mum, but he’s well and truly outdone himself this time round. And in the midst of it all, we even had an adventure: we’ve driven past Berry Pomeroy castle countless times, but today we finally went to visit.


Arthur was totally in his element. The picture above shows him taking a break after chasing shadows and older boys around the ruins, pausing every so often to stroke the moss or post gravel through drains. We’d started our explorations in the woodland surrounding the castle itself: there was a particular tree that we passed as we meandered down the muddy path which Arthur was just mesmerised by

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By the time we got back up to the castle, my mum and dad were waiting for us. It’s times like this that I’m very glad my parents are close by: I may have transitioned into the ‘mum’ role myself now but it still feels pretty important to hang out with my own mum on Mother’s Day. Arthur seemed to approve of our choice of companions too: once he’d spotted his Grampa and the woman who still has no name, Leigh and I hardly got a look in.

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It was so much fun for us to explore somewhere new, and to watch Arthur enjoying a brand new environment with people who he has so clearly come to love and trust. I’ve always had a bit of a thing for ruins, and shadows, and dungeons, and contrasts – and today’s adventure offered those up in spades.

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I’m very glad we finally ventured into our local castle: our trip has inspired us to plan visits to many more. There’s nothing quite like the history that is infused in the walls of a building, and though it may be many years before Arthur understands the significance of the stones he marvels over I think there’s an awful lot he can soak up from them in the mean time.


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

What’s in a name?

There’s something Arthur’s started doing recently that is melting my heart.

He’s been saying ‘Mama’ for a few months now. Leigh and I spoke about it when it first started, a couple of weeks after he began to say ‘Dada’, and he asked me whether it wasn’t the most magical, heart rending thing to hear our son say those words. I hummed and harred and ‘sort of’ed, but in truth it wasn’t really hitting me like it was Leigh. Even when ‘Mama’ started evolving from just a sound Arthur made into a name which he clearly associated with me I didn’t feel more than the odd pang – I mean, it’s just what babies do, right?

But now, now he’s started doing this totally adorable gorgeous thing that absolutely is some kind of magic. He looks at me with this expression of total love and, in the calmest, sweetest voice repeats ‘mama mama mama mama mama’. As he says it his little face begins to break into a smile. And I become utterly at his mercy.

It’s almost like he’s trying it on for size. He’s definitely at a stage now where he’s aware of his ability to communicate, and he gets great pleasure from attaching his few words to things and realising that we understand, that our words are the same. I’ve surprised myself (again) by just how deeply I’ve felt this stage in his development – the beginning of naming.

And it’s brought to the surface a niggling naming issue that is as yet unresolved in Arthur’s world.

My Mum – one of his two Grandmothers – has a major aversion to any of the traditional grandparent names she could be called and so still, a year in, remains nameless.

I don’t entirely blame her – she’s still so full of vitality that I can’t quite see her as a Granny, or even a Nanny as her Mum has always been to me. And she’s in good company – many a glamorous grandmother has taken pains to avoid a moniker that will prematurely age them in their own eyes or those of others.

The niggle for me comes in her reluctance to take any name at all and rather to wait for Arthur to name her. I’m not an expert in early language development, but from what I do know I understand that words are acquired by mimicry. It is by hearing a word attached to a thing that a child begins to understand that that’s its name. I mean, obviously my son is a genius but I’m not sure he’s going to be able to pluck a name out of the ether.

It’s proving a little tricky for us too in referring to her. For a while she was ‘the woman who has no name’, but that joke’s wearing a little thin. I found myself addressing a thank you card earlier to ‘Grampa and…’, but the ellipsis doesn’t work so well verbally. When I pushed her on it, Mum’s response was “I’m just me!”, but I think it might confuse things grammatically if that’s how I refer to her for Arthur.

As I type that, I’m wondering if actually she’s pushing for Mimi. Which could work. It has an air of glamour about it…

So what do you reckon? Have you had any experience of babies inventing names for grandparents? Am I underestimating Arthur’s linguistic powers or should we come up with something to fall back on? I’d love to hear your thoughts!