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New Year goals

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Ellen loving the shrouded fountain

I’ve had to alter the strapline of my blog since Ellen’s latest birthday; no longer do I have a teenage daughter – Ellen is now twenty!

This milestone has been a timely reminder to work on my overcompensation:

why am I still brushing Ellen’s hair for her?

why am I putting her gloves on?

Why am I still shampooing her hair?

Why am I still making her breakfast?

Well because otherwise she’d go out with hair like a haystack, freezing cold hands, greasy hair and an empty stomach and we’d be two hours late for everything. But really that’s no excuse, we’ve got to start somewhere, so today she was a haystack with freezing hands.

We’re also trying to work on the concept of ‘something different‘.  This can be as small as sitting in a different chair at mealtimes, ordering a different drink from McDonalds (me obviously, not Ellen who is still firmly wedded to plain cheeseburger, large fries and a bottle of water) or choosing a different activity.

On a Sunday, Ellen always wants to either go shopping or go to the zoo, but this week we suggested to Ellen that perhaps we could do ‘something different‘.  I’m hoping that in the future, she’ll come up with her own ideas, but for now she relies on me and from the paltry selection I could come up with she chose to go and ‘look around a big house’ i.e our nearest National Trust property – Waddesdon Manor.

What I hadn’t anticipated was that the house would be closed for the winter and all the statues covered in protective wadding like something out of a gothic novel.  And it was absolutely freezing!  But, we made a plan. Lunch in the cafe (far too cold to sit outside, even with the hygge-inspired fur-lined chairs), a walk around the outside of the house, Ellen to take a photograph of something she liked and then back on the bus to the car park.

Ellen coped really well with the dynamic situation she faced in the cafe.  It was busy and the cafe was understaffed, so we had to queue quite a long time for a table.  When we finally sat down and saw the menu, the sausages came with mash not chips and her food arrived with  gravy on it (a massive no-no) and had to go back.  Ellen, however coped remarkably well with all this difference, I think she was just glad to be out of the cold and next to a radiator.  She then wanted a slice of chocolate cake for pudding (another familiar choice) but there was no such option on the menu, the ‘amazing’ cake she hopefully pointed at turned out to be a fruit cake (yuck!) so rather than have nothing, she opted for a chocolate brownie.  The texture was rather different to what she’s used to and so I had the opportunity to model how to use the side of her fork to slice little sections off, and she quickly got the hang of it.  The brownie was incredibly rich and sadly she couldn’t finish it all, so I had to step in and help out ;-).

Food/sugar gave Ellen a spring in her step and she skipped up the steep path towards the house before taking photos of things she thought were interesting, surprisingly good I think!

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All three taken by Ellen

On the bus back we talked about returning another day when the house is open. Meanwhile over the next week, I’ll have to put together a list of ‘different Sunday’ activities that are indoors, in order to avoid shopping and the zoo for a bit longer and not freeze to death in the process.

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