Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Ins and outs of HE

Today Iona seemed to suddenly grasp the concept and the word "in". She'd been playing with her Noah's ark and small animals, and I thought I'd heard her say "in" when putting an animal in it. Later, she got her teddy and tried to cram it into a (smaller) tin, while saying "in". We then spent some time together testing out which toy animals would fit into which containers, with Mummy saying "in" when we put them in, and "out" when we took them out. It's amazing how quickly she's growing!

I''ve also been astounded over the last week or so that when Iona points to her tummy (while saying "tu") she often then signs "food" and says "f". Likewise, just after breakfast today she said and signed food, then pointed to her tummy and said "tu". The really strange part of it is, I don't remember either David or myself ever telling her that food goes into her tummy! I guess we must have done at some point, and that for some reason it's stuck in her brain.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Happy Talking, Talking

Iona seems to be making huge leaps in her verbal ability at the moment. She's mad about colouring at the moment, and is forever asking for "colour" when she sees a pen. However, this afternoon I had to ask my husband if he'd been using the word "pen" to her, as she suddenly started pointing to his writing pen and saying, clear as a bell, "pen". I think we've both probably been using the word to her, actually, but she suddenly realised what it meant.

Then, just before she went to bed, she started saying "see" very pointedly. I couldn't relate that to any of the words she's been trying to say, so I asked her several times to repeat it and eventually said I didn't understand. She then pointed upwards towards the ceiling, and it dawned on me that several times lately she'd been asking, amongst a score of other things, what the ceiling was called. She obviously had finally remembered our answer. It's amazing to think how even the smallest words, that almost seem throwaway to us, are becoming really important to Iona's quest to understand every aspect of her world!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Potty talk

Yesterday I decided that Iona was old enough to begin seriously teaching her what a potty was for. I had previously bought her a potty training book second hand from the library, and we've looked at it several times. I'd also bought her a potty many months ago, but she'd screamed whenever I put her on it, so I'd given up at that time. Anyway, I brought the potty back downstairs, got the book out to read with Iona, and began teaching her "poo" and "wee". Teddy was also sat on his potty a couple of times. Iona wasn't too bothered to begin with, although by the end of the day she wasn't keen to sit on the potty.

I tried the same procedure again today, and then in the early evening Iona suddenly said "poo". To begin with I wondered what she was referring to, then, thankfully, I realised and whipped her nappy off. She barely sat on the potty, struggling and crying, but when she got away from it I found a "small deposit" left on the side. OK, she did the rest in her nappy shortly afterwards, but I praised her to high heaven anyway for telling me before she did it. It'll probably take a good few months yet, but at least the journey has begun!

Postscript - later in the evening Iona sat sideways on her potty, still wearing both her nappy and a great big cheeky smile directed at me, as much as to say "See, I can do it when I want to!".

Friday, 30 October 2009

The Older Man!

Well, it's been over a month since I last had time to write anything, and in that time Iona seems to have magically transformed from a baby into a full toddler! I can't believe how much she's changed and learned. She's picking up new words (or her version of them) all the time, and some of the Makaton signs for them, too. I've been trying to do a series of activities with her based on the theme of apples, and she used the sign for apple for the first time yesterday, which was exciting. She's also finally beginning to get the hang of walking, and loves to try to toddle all the way across the living room - at the moment it's 50:50 whether she makes it all the way across in one go!

Anyway, we went to the home education group at the soft play centre for the first time in several months today. It was nice to see everyone again, and Iona really enjoyed it, even though it was so busy with loads of other kids (apparently there was a party on, too). She was more confident than ever on the slide, and still loves the ball pool, although as it was the afternoon she was starting to get tired. During one of her stints in the ball pool there was a boy of about 8 playing in it with a younger girl (probably about 3), and Iona seemed to really take to him. She kept smiling at him, which he reciprocated, then when she slid down the slide and landed near him she leaned herself against him, smiling up at him with a winsome look on her face. Luckily he seemed amused, as Iona seemed to think it would be nice to rest against him, and she seemed quite happy to settle herself there, until Daddy and I decided it was time to be off. She definitely seems to have a thing for "the older man" - I think we'll have to keep an eye on her as she gets older!!

Friday, 11 September 2009

Up and down

I was so proud today - for the first time Iona got the hang of a slide and used it independently! We try to get along to our local home education group fortnightly get-together when we can, at the JJB Sports soft play area, although we haven't now been for a couple of months, as it's been conflicting with the, also fortnightly, toddler group at church. However, due to a mix-up over dates, we went today but no-one else did. It wasn't a total waste, though, as Iona had a lovely time playing in the toddlers' part of the soft play area. As I said last time, she's definitely getting the hang of ball pools, and I've previously put her at the top of the slide for her to slide down into it. I've also tried putting her at the bottom of the "steps" up it, but she wouldn't climb up. Well, this time she did ...

She then turned herself round and slid down on her front, feet first:

Then she "surfed" across the ball pool,

Mummy hoisted her out of the ball pool, and she crawled back to the steps, ready to begin the cycle again. It may not seem like much, but it's the first time she's done the whole cycle (with just a bit of help getting out of the ball pool) herself!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

A Playtastic Day

We had a wonderful day on Thursday, playing at the new Playtastic soft play centre in Sinfin ( We'd been there 2 weeks before, having Iona's photo taken for the local Lots for Tots magazine ( competition, and she really enjoyed it then, but being dolled up wasn't really dressed for climbing. We had to return this week to collect the CD of photos we'd ordered, so I made sure Iona was dressed in trousers this time, and that I had socks on. We arrived at half past 11, had lunch in the cafe there, and didn't leave till about 3:30. I really like this soft play area, although it's pretty expensive, as it has plenty in it for the younger children, even having a little area for babies, which Iona still enjoys. Almost as good, the cafe has women's magazines on the counter, so you can have a little read with your lunch. Lunch, incidentally, is good, too, with crisp, non-greasy chips, ample veggie choices, and lovely, child-friendly crockery and cutlery, although, once again, it's not incredibly cheap.

With a bit of help Iona got into the toddlers' ball pool, then a little girl of about 4 joined her in there. Iona was a bit uncertain of her at first, but quickly accepted her, and I was so proud that she played so well with her. Prompted by me at first, she passed balls to her, and copied the little girl crawling around in the balls. On a couple of occasions I was a bit concerned that her little friend was starting to get a bit rough, and was tempted to intervene to remind her that Iona was only little, but I restrained myself and found that Iona was able to push past her quite well, with no worries on her part. This is really the first time that Iona has properly "played" with another child, really taking notice of her, and not just as another plaything.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

On the uses of reading

Despite my intentions to teach Iona reading by the "look-say" method, rather than phonics (as English is such a non-phonetic language), she has been determined to use phonics - she keeps pointing out individual letters and asking "Tha?". She has been very interested in the BBC logo for a while, and a week ago she spotted the ITV logo and asked about it. On being told it said "ITV" she happily kept repeating "I, T". Yesterday we had an ITV station on, and Iona looked at the little logo in the corner and said "I, T", without any prompting.

As Iona seems so interested in letter sounds, I have begun to help her make her own A, B, C book, using a presentation folder, paper, and cut-out photos. The advantage (besides cost) is that we can concentrate on words that have a meaning for her, so under "B" we have Boots and Backpack, and "D" contains Dora and Diego. 2 days ago we added the Asda logo, as we go shopping there quite a lot, and yesterday when we went shopping she was very interested in the logo. When we read the book she says her version of "Asda" when she sees the logo, so she is definitely beginning recognising written logos, a first step in reading.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

In's and out's of HE

For ages now I've been reading that Iona should be taking things out of containers and putting them back in - well the taking things out has been going brilliantly, but unfortunately not so the putting them in! Well, today we went to the Stay and Play session at the local children's centre and Iona decided to spend most of the time in the outside play area. They'd set up a sink full of water, with squashy fish and boats floating in it, and Iona was one of the children fascinated by this. Unsurprisingly, she started by taking the fish and boats out, and splashing in the water so much that she might as well have jumped in, her clothes were so wet! Then I watched, open-mouthed, as she put some of them back in the water - I was ecstatic! So much so, that I didn't have the heart to stop her splashing. She repeated it several times, so I began to believe that it might not be a fluke. However, I was a bit cynical about her repeating this behaviour at home.

Later, at home, the living room was a total tip where she'd been practising the "taking out" behaviour, so I started putting her building bricks away in their bag and asked her to help me. Incredibly, she put several bricks into the bag, before she got bored and started throwing them around the room. I even managed to persuade her back onto task again several times, before she started trying to empty the bag again. Okay, it wasn't just the bricks she was trying to put in the bag, but other toys too, but it's definitely a major advance in Iona's ability.

It seems to have been a day of advances, as she was asking during the evening about the ITV4 logo on the TV, and she was so taken with it that she spent the rest of the programme asking about it, then repeating "IT, IT, IT". She also got the idea that mice say "eek", which she also repeated copiously, and was very amused by the piano playing on "Show Me, Show Me".

Monday, 13 July 2009

"We are Climbing up the Golden Stair"

Well, Iona finally made it up the stairs today. She was playing out in the hall, so I thought I'd better check on her, only to find she was on the second step up. We'd got out of the habit of closing the downstairs stair gate, as she'd shown no interest in the stairs up to now, so I hurried over and followed close behind her. In no time she'd crawled up all 13 steps, and was very proud of herself. Now to teach her to come down just as safely!

Monday, 29 June 2009

The beginnings of reading?

I'm hopeful that my attempts to teach Iona to read are beginning to pay off. Although she usually still tends to say "Mamma" when she sees all 3 cards, she is usually quicker to realise what "daddy" says. When I lay 2 cards out and ask her to find a particular card she is now usually able to do so, and on 1 occasion last week as soon as she saw the "head" flashcard she put her hands to her head!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

How to Teach Kids to Swim

From looking at the Brill Kids website ( I discovered that YouTube had some really good videos on teaching your baby to swim. One in particular proved very useful, as I had been wondering how to move Iona on from being comfortable being submerged to swimming on her own.

When we went swimming today I decided to risk trying to persuade her to float a bit towards the side bar. She was a bit clingy generally, so not too keen, but I was thrilled that, with a hint of support underneath, she managed to "swim" virtually on her own a short distance to the side. Now I have an aim for the next few sessions (not sure how many it will take): to decrease the amount of support until Iona is able to float / swim to the side from a couple of her lengths away.

Monday, 15 June 2009

More on reading

I've tried to show Iona the "Mummy", "Daddy" and "head" flashcards at least once a day since my last post. She now says "Mama" as soon as she sees them. Unfortunately, that's true whichever one I show her! However, when I show her "Daddy" and correct her that it's not "Mummy", then prompt her with "Da..." she excitedly says "Dada", so I feel that's some progress, especially at only 13 months old.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

On reading

A month or two ago I came across a website which had downloadable signs to put up around the house (URL to follow), to help babies / children to learn to read. I'd planned to do this for Iona, but not got around to it, so I printed them out and put them up. Unfortunately, several got torn down fairly quickly, but in the last week or so she's been pointing at some and asking "Tha?", so I've been telling her. She's also pointing similarly to page numbers and things like the "DK" logo on books. As she seems really interested, I decided that she's now ready to begin to learn to read, especially as her talking is coming on in leaps and bounds. This may seem ridiculously early, but my Mum taught me when I was 4, using Glen Doman's "Teach Your Baby to Read Kit", which I've inherited. According to this, and the site Brill Baby / Brill Kids (, now is quite a reasonable age to begin showing her flashcards, without any pressure.

Consequently, I got the kit out of the spare room, and found the large, red "mummy" flashcard, which is the one you're supposed to begin with. I showed it to Iona a few times yesterday and the day before and told her what it said. She was very interested, and pointed to individual letters, asking about them. Although I don't want to use phonics, as English isn't very phonetic, I felt I should answer her questions and tell her the letter sounds that she was asking about, while trying to maintain emphasis on the word as a whole. I also broke the kit's rules and showed her "head", as she's been extremely keen on that word for the last 2 or 3 days, and "daddy", which is one of her favourite words. We'll have to see whether that confuses her.

Today I got the "mummy" flashcard out and before I even had a chance to ask what it said she said "mmm"! Mind you, she did the same with the "daddy" and "head" cards.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Water baby part 2

Iona and I went swimming again today and had a great time - she hung on to the bar at the side on her own quite a lot today, and wasn't at all bothered by doing so. She's really come on in her confidence these past few weeks. I think I even saw a bit of a smile of anticipation when I started singing "Ring a Ring a Roses" with her, and she seemed to hold her breath just before we ducked down. Also, I encouraged her to float on her back (she's never that keen on that), and managed to take my hands away from under her for a split second. So that's officially her first time floating in the pool on her own!

It's been a couple of days of physical progress for Iona - yesterday she was standing up holding on to me and a couple of times I managed to let go of her for a very short split second before she wobbled and landed on her bottom!

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Park Life

David wanted to go out for a trip today to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary trip, as it was supposed to be nice weather. Although we fancied the beach, it's such a long way from where we are that we thought a fairly local, but large, park might be nice instead. I'd only been once before, and David not at all, but there seemed to be a lot there so we could make a day of it.

As seems to be usual with a little one (well, that's my excuse!), we didn't get away 'til nearly 11, but it was only a 10-minute drive. We got out all our picnic and baby stuff, paid £2.10 to park all day, and walked across to the play area. It was absolutely packed with screaming kids, and David, in particular, wasn't keen to stay there, but there was so much that Iona could play on if we were prepared to wait for our turn. First we had a go on the see-saw, with Mummy on one end and Daddy holding Iona on the other. Then, after a little wait, Daddy pushed Iona on the swing. I've been to the park with her a few times, but this was Daddy's first time to do so, and I think he enjoyed it. We also gave Iona a couple of goes on the smallest slide, as she can just about go down on her own now.

I'd brought a lunch, which we ate in a shelter by the duck pond, then Iona was very keen to have a go on the panda ride. She'd never tried one before, as I wanted David to see her first time, and all of them around here seem to cost a pound. They also say the minimum age is 3, but nearly 2 years seems a very long time to wait for her to have a go, and this one was only 20p, so I persuaded David to let me try her on it, with me holding her tight. Once she got used to it she really enjoyed it, humming "brrmm" as she rode, and even starting to sing.

Afterwards it was back into her pushchair then we walked through a much quieter part of the park, towards the craft village. There was a lovely view as we crossed a bridge over a little brook:

A little beyond it there was a lovely open space with benches where people were sitting and feeding the ducks and geese, so we joined them. Iona enjoyed watching the birds. although I think she misheard me saying "goose" and insisted on calling them "mmm" (i.e. "moo")! The craft village was lovely, with a honey shop, a gift shop, and some other shops that we didn't go in, such as "Paint a Pot". We passed through, then went to the tea room at the Orangery and bought some ice creams. We sat in a shaded spot by a lawn and enjoyed some lovely soft ice cream, David and I in cones and Iona in a bowl.

Iona then had the chance to crawl around on the lawn, although she preferred to sit, smile at the lady behind us and look cute!

Iona and I have been looking at, and talking about, trees lately, and she's even begun to call them "tr", so this was an ideal opportunity to reinforce it. She pointed at one while we were sat on the lawn, so I reminded her it was a "tree".

By now Iona was beginning to get tired, so we headed back to the play area, where we went past the donkeys and had a look at them. Iona has lately begun to click her tongue in a horse's hooves sort of way when she sees pictures of horses and donkeys, so I thought she'd like them, and she did. When I pointed out what they were she joined in clicking her tongue with me.

I changed her into a swim nappy and tried to get her into the, by now incredibly full and noisy, paddling pool, but as soon as she felt the cold water she screamed and insisted on getting out. She wouldn't even sit on the side with me, but flung her arms around me and wasn't happy 'til she was up in my arms and going back to Daddy at the bench. We were all feeling the heat now, so decided to give up and go home after a coffee. However, there was the world's longest queue at the kiosk, so I suggested we go and have a look at the farm and cafe we'd seen on the way.

Iona was pretty sleepy, but perked up at the cafe, when I gave her her milk. We then walked 'round the farm, which only cost £1 each. It was quite small, though, and smelled really acrid. The animals were lovely, and Iona loved them all, especially the cows (she's always saying "mmm" for "moo" when she sees a toy or picture of a cow). We also saw some gorgeous piglets, one of whom was very lively and mischevious - it jumped up at the sty wall when I held Iona up to it to look over, and almost got her. I don't think it would have bitten her, as it kept sniffing and nuzzling at me, but it certainly surprised us all! We also saw a wonderful, huge Shire horse and her young foal. She was very friendly and happy for me to fuss both the foal and her, but David was quite nervous of me touching such a large creature who towered about a foot and a half over me!

By half past 3 our parking on the road was up, and we were ready for home. We were exhausted, but Iona enjoyed a great day out (as did we), and hopefully learned a bit more about the natural world in particular, as well as improving her physical abilities.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Water baby

Wednesday is our usual day for going swimming. Parent and toddler / baby swimming sessions happen Tuesday to Friday at both the pools in our town at the same time, but unfortunately that time is lunchtime: 12:15 to 1:15. It's a nuisance for babies and younger toddlers like Iona, as at that time she's often either sleeping or eating, but I try to work around it as she loves the water. She's been going since she was about 9 months, and apart from a few times at the beginning when she got upset at swallowing water, she really enjoys it.

Anyway, we went swimming today as usual. The main pool was really busy, with half-term, but the teaching pool, where the toddler session is, was quite empty. We met one of the families we know from the Salvation Army, and Iona also enjoyed meeting a 10-month-old girl and playing splashing games with her. Each time we go now I try to play "Ring a ring a roses" with her several times, going underwater with her on "We all fall down". It surprised her the first few times, but she doesn't get upset and today she even seemed to know what was coming. I try to encourage her to "swim" on her front - since the first time she went she's been doing quite a good breaststroke-style kick and occasional arm movement too. Lately I've only had to support her with one arm under her chest, although today she was a bit more clingy. I'd been wondering how to move her to a bit more independence, and today when we got to the side of the pool I encouraged her to hold the bar. She got the idea of that, so when she seemed to be holding on with both hands I tried letting go. She held on, and was pushing against the side with her feet, too. I was really chuffed! I wasn't able to leave her for more than a few seconds, as she tended to let go, but it certainly bodes well for future attempts at independence. Watch this space!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall...

... who's the fairest one of all? Well, Iona knows it's her, and adores looking at that baby in the mirror, so when I saw that our local library was having a "Decorate a mirror" session today, I just had to take Iona along. She absolutely loved it.

The library gave out circles or squares of silver or gold card, and large card pieces to stick them on, then there were plenty of ways available to decorate them. First I put some sticky jewel stars around the edge of the mirror. Then Iona chose some pictures for Mummy to stick on (a cat, a dog, a tree frog, an elephant, and a dragon that Mummy persuaded her to use in honour of her old family name). I tried to help her to stick them on herself, but she tends to prefer to eat pictures at the moment. I also helped her stick a couple of silver hearts on, as she's been fascinated by the heart shape in a shapes book we've just returned to the library. Finally, she chose between a pink and a purple pen, and drew a few scribbles with only a little help from Mummy. To top it off, I used some glitter glue to write her name, and "pretty baby", as that's what I usually end up saying to her when she's looking in the mirror. I've left a little space to print out some pictures of Dora and Diego and stick them on when I can.

The mirror is a great success. She loves sitting with it on the floor, staring into it, and hugging and chatting to the baby she can see! It's great, as it's nice and big, and unbreakable. Best of all, it was absolutely free. Three cheers for our libraries and the activities they run!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

I'm your number one fan!

We had such a shock this morning! We were watching the breakfast news, and I was getting ready to change Iona's nappy. Suddenly, David said "What's happened to the news?". I looked up at the TV and saw it was now set to the first screen of the Dora the Explorer DVD! Looking down, I spotted Iona holding the DVD remote control. Our not-quite-13-month-old daughter is such a fan of Dora (lately she's been keeping on pointing to the TV when it's not on) that she'd obviously got tired of waiting for Mummy and Daddy to put her DVD on and decided to do it herself! Realistically, I don't know how much was deliberate, but I reckon it won't be long before she knows exactly how to do it, and then I'll have 2 people to fight for control of the remote!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

A Day in the Life

Well, this is the beginning of our blog, and I thought it would be an idea to start by looking at what Iona and I do all day.

9:00 Iona was awake in the night again several times - I think her teeth are bothering her again. Consequently, not only were David and I shattered this morning, but she woke up late, too. While I was in the bath, and David had gone off to his New Deal, I heard Iona chatting away to herself, so at 9 I went in to get her up. Very quick breakfast and get ready, then we hurried out at about 9.45. Unfortunately, for the first time in ages, there wasn't time to do Iona's Bible reading and prayer time before we went.

9:50 Mostly Mums Bible study at our church. Today, as it's half term, one of the other mums had her little boy there, too, so Iona had company. He's a couple of years older than her, though, so they didn't play together as such. While we worked through a study on prayer, Iona played with some of the church's toys, looked at a couple of home-made books I'd brought, and crawled up and down the aisle, as well as charming everyone there (the Bible study group and those preparing for the lunch club).

11.30 Arrived home before Daddy did. Put on a Dora the Explorer DVD for Iona - she adores Dora and Diego, and with some of her birthday money I bought her a set of DVDs, as we now can't get Nick Jr. I gave Iona the soft toy Dora and Diego that I made her for Christmas, and she squealed with joy throughout the programme. As I did Spanish at 'O' level, and I've spoken Spanish on holiday, I'm using Dora the Explorer to begin teaching Iona Spanish, both reinforcing the Spanish used in the show and speaking Spanish to her about it. I also made her the soft toys and am trying to insist that we only speak Spanish to them, to try to make bilingualism less confusing for her. While we watched the DVD I worked on setting up this blog.

12:00 Daddy arrived home, and one by one we had lunch. When I started weaning Iona I tried to insist that she had all her meals in her high chair in the dining room, but it gets quite lonely in there and is less comfortable than the living room. Consequently, most of her meals these days are taken on the run, which is far from ideal. She ate most of her cheese, avocado and potato salad, then carried on playing with her toys, especially her car. She got this from her Uncle Graham and Auntie Hiroko for her birthday, and loves sitting on it, going "Brmmm" while I push her to and fro.

1:45 By now, Iona was getting really tired, lying herself down on her chair, so Daddy took her up to bed, while I continued work on the blog.

3:00 While Iona was asleep, I took the chance to take the dog out for a walk. I try to take Iona out with Lori a few times a week, other activities allowing, but it's not easy as Lori is not keen on other dogs. The path in the local woods is quite narrow, so if we meet another dog we really have to go off the path into the undergrowth. Lori and I quite like doing that, but it's virtually impossible with a pushchair - roll on Iona being able to walk herself!

4:00 After getting a little shopping on the way, Lori and I arrived home to find Daddy had got Iona up, although she hadn't wanted her milk. She was playing on the floor, making mooing noises about her toy cow. This is one of her definite "words" lately, being used consistently for cows. I sat on the floor with her and we looked at the "Farm Animals" book I made for her, featuring laminated photos of animals we've seen, along with some photos off the web, all with hand-written labels. I sang "Old Macdonald Had a Farm" to her, illustrating it with the book and her toy cow, then we read "Poppy Cat's Farm", which we've borrowed from the local library. She enjoys going to the library, and it's really handy, although it's a bit awkward when she now is beginning to get over-fond of any particular book. After all this hard work, Iona was ready to drink nearly all her milk, then back to the serious business of playing with all her toys, with a little help from Mummy.

6:30 David made himself dinner, while I kept an eye on Iona, then I microwaved a chicken stew David had made earlier, for Iona to have. Once again, she ate in the living room, occasionally being distracted by her toys or the TV, which we have on more often than I am now happy with. Pudding was some strawberries, which she loved, and she had a little very diluted red grape juice for a change. After Iona had eaten, David kept an eye on Iona, and played some tickly games with her, while I made and ate my dinner - the problems of having a veggie and a confirmed carnivore in one family!

8:00 After dinner, Iona continued to play with her toys, climb on Mummy, ask for her bubbles ("Bu"), and look at her library books, then it was time for her bedtime milk drink. Virtually since her birth I have tried to sign to her, using Makaton, which I trained in when I worked with adults with learning difficulties for 18 years. It was originally devised, not merely to enable people with learning and speech difficulties to communicate, but also to help them develop their spoken language, so I always figured it should do the same for babies. Then, lo and behold, along comes Baby Sign, saying the same. Anyway, Iona did initially try to sign "Daddy", and it looked like the signing would come on well, but she seemed to decide to go straight to talking! These days, the only word she deigns to sign is "milk", which she does whenever she drinks it. After milk it was time for teeth cleaning then bed, although Iona was still bouncing with energy. For the last few weeks, since she figured out how to stand up in the cot, no sooner have I put her in her cot than she's up holding on to the bars again, while I read her her bedtime story. At the moment we're reading "The Phantom Tollbooth", which I loved as a kid, and which I started with Iona, a chapter at a time, 3 days ago. Although Iona still seemed to be raring to go when I finished the chapter, I said her prayers for her, laid her back down, tucked her in, and got all her teddies to kiss her goodnight, followed by me. Then, fearing an imminent summons from a lonely toddler, I headed back downstairs.

9:15 Finally able to get some time to myself and with David! Surprisingly, Iona seemed to go to sleep really quickly tonight, so David and I were able to watch "Off by Heart", about children learning poetry, and go on the computers. Can't stay up too late, though, as I'm expecting a couple of summonses from Iona during the night again!