Tuesday, September 25, 2018

29/52 2018

Week 29
16 - 22 July

A slightly bittersweet week. Jamie loves to "help" with vehicles of any kind and Steve includes him with the regular maintenance jobs like checking tyre pressure, topping up the washer bottle, and as pictured here, checking the oil levels. He stands patiently with the kitchen roll, and squints at the dipstick with intense concentration.

Motorbike maintenance

But in this picture, Steve and Jamie are checking the oil on Steve's beloved motorbike... and the following evening, after more than twenty years riding, Steve had his first crash.

Thankfully, Steve is a great believer in wearing All The Gear, All The Time, heatwave or otherwise. Helmet, jacket, body armour, Kevlar trousers, proper boots and gloves, meant he was able to walk onto the ambulance unaided with nothing worse than a broken collarbone and some spectacular bruises. The bike... it's obviously damaged, but until Steve is recovered enough to heave it up onto the centre stand (bearing in mind the handlebars were smashed) and inspect it properly, we don't know if it's reasonably repairable or not.

Jamie is doing better than we have any right to expect of him, when it comes to being gentle and careful and only having cuddles on one side of his daddy.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

28/52 2018

Week 28
9 - 15 July


Here we are again, at a local park, having a good clamber around. This elephant bench is because of a local circus in the 19th century which included elephants who used to be taken to this part of the river to wash.

It occurs to me that maybe I should mention that yes, England did have a heatwave this summer, and no, I am not stupid or cruel to put Jamie in a long-sleeved hoodie and long trousers and socks. Our response to the heatwave was to move the daily routine forward to start earlier in the morning, so we could go out and do things, gradually shedding layers as the day warmed up. Then after lunch the Mama And Jamie Vest And Pants Club could have a good long nap through the hottest part of the day.

27/52 2018

Week 27
2 - 8 July

Tree climbing

If there was ever a tree that grew for toddlers to climb, it is this one.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

26/52 2018

Week 26
25 June - 1 July

Evening climbing

A lot of new housing has gone up around our area recently, and with it, new playgrounds. Access is bobbins and parking non-existent, so I've only seen this one on drive-bys. But Steve made a point of taking Jamie up there as many summer evenings as possible, and they always had a brilliant time.

25/52 2018

Week 25
18 - 24 June


And from inside the cone, a small voice announced with delight and wonder:

"I am orange!"

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

24/52 2018

Week 24
11 - 17 June


We've always taken Jamie to cafes and restaurants with us, and he usually behaves himself extremely well. He doesn't really need a high chair any more, but we give him the choice and sometimes he prefers to have one, possibly because on a normal dining chair he has to keep switching between sitting and kneeling to comfortably reach his food and drink. The novelty of outdoor tables was a source of endless fascination to him this summer. He also rediscovered a love of veggie sticks which has to get me at least fifty Smug Mummy points - he went off them for a while once he no longer needed them as teething aids.

23/52 2018

Week 23
4 - 10 June


Daddy had just got home. Jamie scampered to the door to greet him and then lay on the doormat grinning at him.

22/52 2018

Week 22
28 May - 3 June

Blippi fan

No chronicle of Jamie's toddlerhood would be complete without mentioning Blippi. We don't watch any television at all, but we do have a few YouTube favourites and Blippi has held the undisputed top spot for the best part of a year now. The gateway was his explainer videos about various large vehicles (bin lorries, excavators, fire engines) but with a four year head start on us there's a LOT of back catalogue. Amongst other things, Blippi is at least 50% responsible for Jamie's grasp of the alphabet, he's demonstrated what to do at a trampoline park, he's shown us how apples are processed from tree to supermarket, and he's driven home rules like always wearing seatbelts. In this picture, Jamie is wearing his Blippi t-shirt and playing with his Blippi action figure (in a skid steer, which is a very Blippi thing to do).

Jamie can recognise his own name written down, but I won't be surprised when the first word he spells is Blippi.

21/52 2018

Week 21
21 - 27 May


Jamie is good at climbing and is steadily gaining confidence. He's also good at recognising and testing his limits - going a little bit higher, then checking he can get back down, then a little higher again. Meanwhile I am getting better at a kind of meditation where I tell myself to give him space, and that if he does fall he will most likely just bruise and learn, and if he does need to go to hospital at any point, social services do not swoop down with child protection orders for parentally supervised kids falling off council-maintained play equipment.

There is a second picture for this week, because it was our wedding anniversary:


I am so happy that we have kept up with the anniversary picture-within-picture thing. We have prints of the current year plus the original wedding picture stuck to our fridge.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

20/52 2018

Week 20
14 - 20 May


Jamie's imaginative play is really starting to develop. Sometimes it's these pirates tangled up in the rigging of their ship, sometimes it's soft toys, sometimes it's vehicles... He narrates little scenes with them, and while I can only decipher about half of what he says, the gist is there. Sometimes I recognise it as an interpretation of a thing that really happened, or a scenario from a book or one of his videos, other times I have no idea where it's sprung from. It is both adorable and deeply encouraging to watch.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

19/52 2018

Week 19
7 - 13 May

First bike

This is Jamie's first go on his first bike. It's a balance bike, which means no pedals - the idea is that the rider can scoot themselves along with their feet and get used to the balance and steering of a bike, without having to manage pedals as well.

Jamie particularly loves this bike because he got to help build it. By which we mean, the store we bought it from are happy to get it out of the box, put the wheels on, get it all adjusted, pump the tyres, etc, and Jamie got to be right up close while that was going on.

I do know the helmet isn't quite properly adjusted. Jamie is patient by two year old standards but he has his limits. It took another few tries before it was right.

18/52 2018

Week 18
30 April - 6 May

Back yard

There's a lot going on in this picture, but it's a pretty accurate depiction of most of our summer mornings. Jamie doing experiments with water, mostly to do with how differently water behaves compared to the sand that's usually in that play set. The camper van tent, a prize for sustained achievement on the potty training front. The picnic blanket that became the preferred location for eating meals for the summer. The scooter, the red car, the orange dump truck, the pavement chalk... I think we took full advantage of having outdoor space this summer.

17/52 2018

Week 17
23 - 29 April

Morning snooze

This is Jamie asleep in our bed, having got up but then dozed off again during his morning mama milk. I'm so proud of him as he grows up, but it's also lovely to still get these glimpses of the baby, in these moments of pure contentment.

16/52 2018

Week 16
16 - 22 April

The weather having drastically improved, we're spending a lot more time out in the back yard again, with toys including the Little Tikes car and some big sticks of chalk. Jamie is really getting to grips with the alphabet and we were playing a game where I would write whatever letters he asked, wherever he wanted. Entirely unprompted, he asked for the letters "O", "D" and "D" on his car door, and then, satisfied, clambered in.


15/52 2018

Week 15
9 - 15 April

Following on from our visit to Fortress Recycling, this week we visited their neighbours on the industrial estate - Dennis Eagle, the factory where they make bin lorries.

Poor Jamie got a little bit panicked as we drove past several bin lorries on the way to the reception office car park, shouting "please! Stop! Look! Bin lorries!" but thankfully he trusted us that we were going to see even more.

He's probably the youngest visitor they've had, but they do give tours for school groups, so they had safety specs that were almost small enough. Jamie wasn't too sure about wearing them, but eventually understood it as the price of getting to go and look at bin lorries.

Safety first at Dennis Eagle

Steve carried him, partly for safety and partly so that he could see. The factory is laid out in stages with a vehicle on each "footprint" at any given time, so we literally got to see the whole build process from chassis to hydraulic lines to engine to paintwork.

The employee who showed us round was called Charlie, and he did an excellent job. He's more used to the school groups or representatives from councils/companies looking to buy bin lorries, so a serious-faced two year old with his parents was outside the norm. One good thing about me being so behind on my updates is that I confirm, five months on, as Jamie gains more language and ability to express himself in ways adults can understand, that he really did grasp a surprising amount of what he was taught that day and still enjoys telling us about it every time he sees one of "Charlie's bin lorries".

The best moment for me was probably when we got back to reception. Jamie went straight to the receptionist and started excitedly squeaking at her about how she had to come and see all these amazing bin lorries that she'd missed out on. It was extremely cute, and I think it confirmed to everyone that the Serious Face was concentration rather than boredom and he was in fact very impressed.

Friday, September 07, 2018

14/52 2018

Week 14
2 - 8 April

Stool, table, who cares

The small wooden table by his elbow has long been "his" table where his snacks and drinks are kept, out of the way of the main play area but accessible to him without him needing to ask. But for some reason, he occasionally likes to be formal, which means setting up his own "table" and chair.