The official naming of baby Herbie

Herbie was good natured despite his shiny suit. Picture (posed by a model baby): Getty Images/iStock

Herbie was good natured despite his shiny suit. Picture (posed by a model baby): Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Do little children really need their grandma to offer them advice for a lifetime - or would they rather she gave them an ice-cream?

It was baby Herbie’s turn to be the centre of attention.

His naming ceremony took place in the presence of around 50 adults and 20 children... about the same number that attended Herbie’s parents’ wedding.

Just one-year-old, he and his brothers, George, six, and Wil, four, were dressed in matching suit trousers, waistcoats and white shirts. They looked so lovely - although Herbie found crawling a bit difficult on a polished wooden floor wearing shiny polyester, two crawls forward; one back.

He seemed pretty much unimpressed by the proceedings until it got to the chocolate cake but one day, he will be able to look at the book in which all the guests wrote their good wishes.

When George and Wil had their naming ceremony, I offered the wisdom of my 64 years to help him through life. The best thing I advised was “moisturise”. If only I had started earlier, I might not have shrivelled up.

It would probably be more appropriate if I were to take lessons in life from small children. After all, Herbie can do loads of things I cannot do. I can’t crawl (due to knees) I cannot easily get up from a sitting position, even when using the furniture to help me. Wil and George sit cross-legged and it doesn’t hurt them at all.

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None of them is keen on meat... now, I urge you to look at Stewart White on BBC Look East. He has been vegetarian since he was a lad and he looks brilliant - remarkably, he is sloightly oolder than oi.

Running up hills - they can do that. I followed them up a big hill on a nearby park and had to stop to take on oxygen half way up (just from the air). George was most concerned: “Do you need me to come down there and help you, grandma?” That was enough to galvanise me into marching up the last few yards, pretending I was fine.

I would encourage them to love books, but they already do. Herbie is keen on a series of touchy-feely board books called “That’s not my (insert name of animal, Christmas character or tractor)”

Each page has a little text plus a texture, along the lines of: “That’s not my rabbit, it’s ears are too furry/bumpy/smooth. I thought I had devised a brilliant idea - rather along the lines of the adult Famous Five titles ? with a series that includes “That’s not my husband©,” “That’s not my wife©,” “That’s not my boss©,” and so forth. For example: “That’s not my husband, his back is too furry.” “That’s not my wife... her legs are too smooth.”

Then I discovered there are already a few different versions of: “That’s not my president,” featuring someone who does not look dissimilar to the current President of the United States. “That’s not my president, it’s hair is too fluffy... it’s skin is too orangey etc.

So, my grandsons don’t need my help to get through life. The best thing I can do is to encourage them in all their endeavours and let them use Play Doh - someone has to.

Other things a diligent grandparent does is to let them make a mess, go to bed a bit late, play Gruffalo on the park; let them be noisy (though not before 9am on Sunday), have a perpetual supply of ice-cream cones, soft-scoop vanilla, and small chocolate flakes; take them on to the beach in January and generally spoil them rotten.

And so, little Herbie, I promise to be an unreconstructed grandma - ie not sugar free - for as long as you need me.

• Last week, I went to the doctor with my leg... not that I had seriously considered going without it. Those who enjoy surgical information will recall I had my left knee replaced about five and a half years ago. This time it was my right leg playing up.

My thigh muscle has been extremely painful and this has restricted my competitive trampolining (Trampolining? That’s a big fib, Lynne, isn’t it? ED).

The doctor had a prod and it seems I may have a problem with my right hip and I will now go for an X-ray and make an appointment with the physiotherapy service.

For a few weeks I haven’t been able to get into the driver’s seat in the car unless I can fully open the door.

I am in my own little hokey-cokey:

I put my left leg in; left leg out, left leg in and shuffle it about,

I grab my right leg in my hands and lift it in, that’s what it’s all about

Oh, hokey-cokey-cokey (repeat twice),

Knees bend, big stretch, ah-ah-ouch!

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