We started giving her the toy to help her get off to sleep when she had a couple of disturbed nights a while back. We kept it in our bed for a couple of nights to make it smell of us (parenthood does strange things to your bedroom habits) before giving it to G, and she's had it with her every night since. Now when she goes down for a snooze, she always opens her mouth for her dummy and lifts up her arm for her toy. And off she drifts, for anything up to 14 hours at a time.
Having such a well-established sleeping procedure really only presents one problem. What happens if we lose the toy? Will G never be able to sleep again? Actually I'm not sure she'd be all that bothered, but babies are nothing if not fickle. Best make sure we buy a cupboard full of them, then.
I usually can't be bothered taking a flask of hot water around with me, so normally ask the person behind the counter in the coffee shop to give me some water along with my coffee so I can warm G's feed up. This never used to be a problem. But recently, more and more coffee shop people (I suppose I should call them baristas, but that's a bit too pretentious, even for me) have told me I'm not allowed any hot water. "It's elfun safety," they say, apologetically.
I've tried asking a few of them what exactly is wrong with giving me a jug of hot water, when most coffee shops and pubs will do it without thinking twice. Nobody seems to know. "It's just elfun safety," they say. They're all happy to put the bottle in a jug of hot water on the counter for me, they just won't actually give me the water.
Why giving me hot water could possibly be considered dangerous when they're also selling me a mug of hot coffee isn't exactly clear. Once, a coffee shop worker muttered something about how that was different, because I was buying the coffee, and they were just giving me the water. I offered to buy the water for 1p. Apparently I couldn't do that either, because the water was free. When I said I didn't really understand why it was all so complicated, the shop worker looked blank: "It's elfun safety, you see," she said. Of course, how silly of me.
Not that any of this bothers G. She's only a month away from her first birthday now, and that's when she's supposed to switch from formula to proper cow's milk. Given that it tastes a lot better than the powdered stuff, I'm sure she won't mind having it cold.
She certainly enjoyed it a whole lot more than seemed possible when we turned up on the Friday in the middle of a Biblical downpour. They always say that rain is the enemy of revolutions, but that's equally true for festivals. With mud all over the site and toddlers amsuing themselves by jumping around in alarmingly deep puddles, the early signs for keeping G amused didn't look good. But being the lazy, greedy baby she is, once we'd loaded her up on food and the rain had stopped, she was happy enough to snooze away in the pram while we watched the bands.
That bit about not doing things in quite the same way will definitely hold true. For a start we're going to what should be a much more low-key event than our more regular festivals of years gone by, such as Reading, Leeds and Glastonbury. And we can't really get away with drinking industrial quantities of cider all day, interspersed with regular naps, because we've got a little person to take care of. G, of course, is allowed naps, although the cider is still a few years off.
I'm not sure how camping with the wee one at a music festival is really going to work. It might all be a bit of a nightmare, especially if it rains and she can't sleep properly. But there's not much we can do about that until next weekend. In the meantime, we're amusing ourselves by getting G kitted out for her first festival experience. The photo above shows her in her new waterproof suit. We've also got some pink ear-defenders for her. She just needs some wellies, and she'll be good to go.
Mrs J came swimming too, and said because she always takes longer to get ready than me, I should get G changed as well. I've got getting her ready for swimming down to a fine art at our local pool, where there's not one but two proper baby-changing cubicles in the men's changing rooms. I'm possibly the only person that ever uses them, but even so, top marks to Oldham Council for that.
A more traditional pool like Stonehaven isn't quite blessed with the same facilities. On entering the changing room, I realised I was going to have to make do with the bench-type area in the middle. With no strap to keep G tied down, she insisted on crawling about as I struggled to get her out of her clothes and into her fetching new blue cossie.
Much worse was to follow when, after finally getting her into the pool, she took about 3.7 seconds to fill her swim nappy. I trudged back to the changing room with both of us damp, cold and crying. Actually, the last one was just G, but after a good ten minutes trying to get her out of her wet swimsuit and dirty nappy, dried off, and into a clean nappy and her soggy cossie, all to the backdrop of high-decibel screaming, I felt pretty miserable too.
Thankfully it was all forgotten about once we got back into the warm water, and G enjoyed swimming up and down, with a bit of help from me. Next time I go to a different swimming pool I'm going to make sure I scout out the baby changing situation first though. Or I suppose I could just fashion some kind of portable baby restrainer. Possibly out of pipecleaners and chewing gum, like in MacGyver.
As you might imagine, I thoroughly enjoyed dancing with my little girl. Presumably I'll do it again one day at her wedding. No doubt she'll be all grown up by then. Hopefully she'll be in a slightly less multi-coloured outfit, too.