August 26, 2010


I have no idea how he got it, and this photograph doesn't show the true extent of it, but this is the most impressive bruise and bump that Ollie has had to date.  He barely seems to have noticed that he has it.  After my initial worry that he might be concussed (lasted about a minute), I decided the only thing for it was to kiss it better and take a photograph of it so that in years to come and he's complaining about his man cold, I can remind him of how tough he once was.

August 25, 2010

in his own time

It's almost as though he knows when I start to worry and wonder whether I should take him to see someone about his speech development because in the last couple of days, perhaps in light of my silent intention to go in for a check up, Ollie's had another mini explosion of words and sounds.  (I won't go into too much detail, but the we can now snort like a pig and have the words 'moon' and 'poo' in our repertoire.)

Maybe it's his way of teaching me to be patient and telling me that he'll do things in his own time but sometimes I get a strangely comforting sensation that he knows me better than I know myself.

August 12, 2010

max's milestones

Compared with all the diary keeping and photographing I did of Ollie and his milestones, poor little Max is left deprived.  So in an effort to make up for some lost time, and given Max is now over 4 months old, I thought I should write down some of the many very sweet things Max does and the milestones he's reached so far.

It felt as though he smiled just days after he was born.  They say that a smile before 4 weeks of age is most likely to be wind, but not with Max.  He would gaze at his surroundings and every now and again hear my voice or look in my direction and smile.  I'm sure of it.

The chuckling followed soon after.  At about 10 weeks he started laughing at silly noises and faces, and he hasn't stopped since.  He's such a smiley, giggly little boy, so ticklish, especially at bath time when I'm getting him ready for his favourite part of the day and 'accidentally' brush his armpit with my little finger, boy that makes him chuckle.  And unlike Ollie, who was a bit more discerning with his affections, Max seems to smile at anyone who will smile back.

Ollie used to enjoy a good sleep during the day but was prone to catnapping.  Max is the same and will more often than not survive on a few little naps, rather than a long rest during the day.  That's ok, but it can make his day a long one.  Ollie was sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, so 6 weeks came and went and little Max was still waking for a feed in the night.  I didn't (and still don't) mind; it's usually a quick feed and then back to sleep, and if I'm lucky, he might be alert enough to offer up one of his dazzling smiles, but sleepy enough to then drift away to sleep.  He mightn't do it consistently but since he was 9 weeks old, we've had many nights when Max has let me sleep until 7am after his dream feed at about 10pm.  To ask for more than that would be greedy.

Just lately, Max has started grabbing his feet and loves to wring his hands and kick, kick, kick his legs until his socks fall off!  At about 12 weeks, he found his toes and they have been more entertaining for him than any toy I can give him.  In fact, he seems to be frustrated more than anything else with toys and prefers a good long chat about his day with whoever will listen.  He loves to be held, just like his big brother and can go reasonably long periods without a sleep, as long as someone is giving him a big cuddle.

Max has lovely, dark brown, wild hair.  His brother did too but Ollie's fell out by the time he was about 3 months old.  It wasn't long before his 'real' hair followed, impossibly even more gorgeous than his baby hair.  Max's hair has stayed thick and fast and shows no signs of falling out like Ollie's did.  It's the one aspect of his appearance that most people comment on.  What wild hair!  He has long eyelashes, Will's nose, lips and brow beautiful big blue eyes, just like his brother's, quite the outcome given both Will and I have dark brown eyes.  To me, he looks just like a little Will, whereas Ollie at this age seemed to look more like me as a baby.  I guess they've followed our personalties too.  So far Max is a reasonably relaxed and carefree little boy, like his pa, whereas Ollie likes his routine and rhythm, like his mama.

Max has found his voice too.  He loves to chat, squeal and sing at the top of his voice.  It's not something you expect to hear from such a content, quiet little baby, but he can definitely make some noise.  It's a lovely sound, even when he's practising his highest shriek, and to me he sounds more and more like his brother every day.  Ollie might be a tough customer a lot of the time, but he's also a delight to be around and there are enough similarities between our two sons to know that we really are very lucky to have them in our hearts.

August 6, 2010

ollie's words

For the last few months, it's felt as though Ollie has been trying hard to talk but hasn't been making much progress.  We know he knows lots of words but he's just not saying them.  Every day we've thought that any day now, his vocabulary will explode and we'll be amazed at how much he can say.  But it hasn't really happened, and if anything, he seems to be getting more and more frustrated with not being able to communicate with us.  So whilst at the doctor for a different problem, we mentioned it to our GP who referred us to our paediatrician.  I didn't take up the referral but I did decide to speak to a lovely lady called Helen-Louise Usher about Ollie's language development.

Helen-Louise is a speech pathologist in Brisbane who specialises in paediatric speech development.  We talked at some length about Ollie's communication, about his comprehension (which seems advanced for his age) and his language.  We talked about what we are doing right (reading to him - lots, talking to him, encouraging him to point to things in books and teaching him the right words, making lots of eye contact, showing enthusiasm every time he tries to talk to us) and what we could do more of (waiting for him to really try to articulate what he wants rather than second guessing on the back of a whinge, encouraging him to imitate and make silly noises).  I realised while I was talking to her that while it's 'normal' for a 21 month old to know around 50 words and by the age of 2 to be putting two or more words together, a word isn't necessarily a word, more a consistent term of reference for the same object.  So putting this to the test, I've actually discovered that Ollie knows a lot more than we've perhaps given him credit for.

truck - dug
water - ortaa
dog - da
car - car
cat - ka
mouse - ma
mama - mama
daddy - dadgy (also whilst pointing to photos of Evel Kneivel/Robert Downey Junior/Any dashing dark stranger)
dog - da
toast - toe
bin - ba (when pointing at bin)
bus - ba (when bus goes by)
Max - Ma
train - toot toot
owl - oo oo

The upshot of all this is that he mightn't fit into the accepted norms out there for speech development, but Ollie can understand virtually everything we say to him.  He's quite comfortable carrying out reasonably complicated instructions and is even distinguishing between a few colours, even if he's not saying them.  Even in the last week or so, Ollie's speech has really improved and he's understanding that using words rather than whining is a much more effective way of getting what he wants!

I'm glad I spoke to Helen-Louise.  She gave me some peace of mind that each child is different, and while I might want to seek her help if Ollie things don't improve in the next few months, Ollie's doing just fine for now.

August 5, 2010

the end of a long day

It's 6.52pm and I'm listening to Will reading to Ollie.  Max is asleep and I'm about to get started on dinner.  It's been a long, long day.  Max has been uncharacteristically grumpy and restless (I am blaming his 4 month vaccinations) and Ollie decided that today would be the day that he would refuse his lunch and his daytime nap.  At one point, every toy of Ollie's was scattered around the house and our trip to the park resulted mainly in Ollie (and anyone near him) getting completely and utterly soaked from playing with the water taps.  So, it was a cold walk home.

But good things happened too.  Will made it home from work in time to bathe and read to Ollie.  Ollie loved his aubergine and tomato macaroni for dinner.  I managed to stay on top of the laundry.  We met a nice lady and her two babies at the park.  The house is remarkably tidy given the chaos that preceded the evening.  And today I spent a good while pondering over the beauty of our two little boys.  With their blue eyes, soft blonde body hair and fuzzy cuteness, it's a wonder I had anything to do with making them.  But I did, and blessed I am to have done it with Will.

August 4, 2010

note to self

I am very good at making aubergine parmigiana.  Remember this for the next time I am feeling hungry for some tip top hearty vegetarian food.

August 3, 2010

steam train sunday

Last Sunday we went on a steam train ride around Brisbane's railway.  It was, of course, to indulge Ollie's fascination (or even obsession) with all things train/car, but I do think we adults probably enjoyed it more than he did.  We started the day by meeting with our friends and their children for breakfast at Roma Street Parklands, which seemed like a good idea until you remember that going out for a meal involves engaging the kids at the table for at least as long as it takes to eat their food.  In reality it's not quite so easy, so most of breakfast time involved shovelling french toast and croissants while running around after the toddlers in the group.  It was fun though, and I guess if you think about it from Ollie's perspective, it is rather dull having to sit at a table when you're surrounded by parklands.

After a bit more waiting around that I would have liked (it gets a little tiresome trying to keep Ollie away from the edge of the platform when it's the only thing he wants to do), the steam train arrived, toot toot, and we all boarded for an hour's journey.  The train was really very beautiful, gorgeous old coaches, leather seats and painted blue (like Thomas, as every child exclaimed when it came into the station).  Though our journey was cut short to compensate for the train running late, we did manage to go through some leafy areas of Brisbane and not just the warehouse districts.

Ollie loved it.  He loved standing on the railings between the carriages, running around and most of all the old timey latches on the windows.  We all came back home tired, a bit sooty and glad we'd made the effort.  Toot toot!
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