Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Welcome to the final 52 Project photo!

Looking out of tent

It's not a great photo, I admit. Like many families we've spent the week of 18-24 December frantically trying to make sure that Christmas runs as smoothly as possible, balancing routine against festivity, working out meals against supermarket opening times, doing last minute wrapping and so on. Just to make it that bit more challenging we went to visit Steve's mum - only for about 30 hours but that means as well as presents there was all the overnight stuff and all the eating stuff and all the stuff in case stuff gets covered in food before, during or after the digestive process... So there have been few photos and even fewer good photos.

Nevertheless. I'm glad that I did this and I intend to do it again next year. One photo a week is a nice amount to spool through and watch the changes. It's been an achievable blogging target and one I would not have managed without the regularity of a weekly post and the inspiration of just picking one photo from the previous seven days.

Monday, December 19, 2016


I spent all weekend wondering which of these pictures I wanted to be this week's 52 Project photo but I really couldn't decide, so now it's Monday morning and I'm posting both of them.

First up, we have Jamie's second trip to the German Christmas Market in Birmingham. The first time I took him, he was all of about 7 weeks old and spent almost the entire time we were there snuggled up asleep. This time, he's rather more active... we had christmassy songs in the car on the way there and then let him loose in the toddler section of Teenie Weenies soft play (level 2 of the Moor Street car park; totally recommend it). Gave him lunch there as well, and then set out into the Market - upon which he promptly fell asleep in the sling on my lap. But eventually he woke up and seemed to be very interested in all the lights and sounds and smells.

At Birmingham Christmas Market

(Also, I love his reindeer boots. They're warm for him and soft for me.)

The second photo is of Jamie about to read The Shepherd's Crown, the last Discworld book by the late Terry Pratchett.

Mummy's book

No, really. He likes me to read out loud. Usually this takes the form of him selecting one of his rather shorter and more age-appropriate books and holding it up to the nearest adult with an expectant look on his face, but now every so often he'll climb up on me and reach for my current book, pulling it off the shelf if I let him. And then I read out loud while he cuddles up and occasionally gives the book a respectful stroke.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


This is Jamie's current best toy - an empty nappy box.


He needs help getting in and out of it, but he can communicate that. He can also make clear to us which toys or books he wants to have in the box with him. He laughs his head off if you slide him around the floor in the box, but enjoys just sitting in it too, occasionally trying to fold the flaps shut around himself. Carrying it around the room is another box function, and wearing it as a hat, and encouraging others to wear it as a hat. Plus of course the infinite joys of putting Things into it and taking them out again.

It's a beautiful thing, if a little unhelpful at the time of year when people ask "so what is he into?"

Tuesday, December 06, 2016


It's been a while since we had a food picture, so here is Jamie with an apple.


Where practical, I like to prepare Jamie's food at the table where he can see what's going on. He can't eat an apple in this form, but I usually let him handle it for a while before we cut it into slices and share it. I admit that I also enjoy the idea that a single apple is one of my 5-a-day, but that the same apple shared between me and Jamie is one of the 5-a-day for each of us.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


Another indoor photo, this time with bubbles.


We have a book in which the main character is devastated by his balloon bursting, until his friend suggests blowing bubbles, which are supposed to float away and pop. It's often nice to follow it with bubbles of our own and Jamie loves them. I have to be outside the railing, otherwise he just wants to grab the bubble wand. It's much more successful than outdoor attempts - wrangling a powerchair and a just-walking child and a bottle of bubble mix and a wand and unpredictable wind currents was no small task!

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Our days continue to hold lots of trips to parks - or failing that, around and around our back yard - investigating leaves and twigs and mud, and practising walking.

But this photo record of Jamie also needs to include the great love of his life, which is his books.

Jamie with books

Jamie adores books and is getting the hang of taking a book to an adult and gazing up hopefully at them so that they'll read to him. But he also likes to spend time "alone" with his books, by which I mean under supervision but without me interacting or interfering. He opens up several all around himself, as if he's cross-referencing. Occasionally there will be some obvious common denominator between all the open pages, like they all show different depictions of the same animal, or they all have similar colours. Other times, if there is a link I can't see it. In this picture,for instance, we have "that's not my badger! Its paws are too rough," Pip and Posy trying on clean clothes after a Little Accident, Mr Horse going clippety-clop, faster faster with Cat and Dog and Pig and Duck riding on his back, and Little Owl falling out of the nest at the beginning of A Bit Lost. Suggestions of what the link is will be welcome in the comments.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Breastfeeding Myths

All other things being equal, breastfeeding is best for babies. Current WHO advice is to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months, and then alongside other foods for as long as you and your baby both want to, which they suggest could be two years or beyond. There are many good reasons to choose breastfeeding.

There are also a lot of bad and misleading "reasons" that get spewed forth with the good ones.

1. It is cheaper because it doesn't require special equipment.

Unless, of course, you want to be at all comfortable and retain any dignity while doing it. In that case, you will need a full set of nursing bras, which means sleep ones and daytime ones, and because your body and breasts will keep changing size and shape, you need to get re-fitted every few months. It will cost hundreds of pounds and comes as quite a shock to those of us who, pre-pregnancy, were small enough that bras were more about decoration than support.

Then you need breast pads, to avoid getting massive wet smelly circles of milk soaking through those expensive bras and making stains on clothes and upholstery, and also to try and stave off the risk of infection. A box of 60 decent ones (like other feminine hygiene products, value-brand ones are false economy) is about £6 and lasts 15 days (you use two pads at a time, obviously, and if you have a day bra and a sleep bra that's two sets per day) so for the two years the WHO recommend you breastfeed, that's about £300.

You'll probably want some nursing tops as well, if you want to feed on demand and intend to ever leave the house. In summer it's not too bad, you wear a vest that you can pull down underneath a lightweight shirt or top that you can either open or pull up. The other 40 weeks of the UK weather year, I for one want my shoulders and back and tummy to stay covered. Not just for modesty either, although that's part of it. But hoicking up a winter jumper on one side means trying to feed the baby around a huge amount of smothering, view-obscuring cloth while half of your back muscles scream in lopsided agony from the chill. It's not a nurturing experience! So you need tops. At least eight, to start with, because you need to account for laundry turnaround time and additional changes due to vomit and other fluids. At £20+ each that's another couple of hundred pounds. But eight tops won't see you through two years. I'm embarking on my second winter and the tops I wore last year are... well... they look like they've had a year of hard wear and are nothing like as warm or as presentable as they were at first. Also, after a few months, while a body might not be quite what it was, it's not post-partum shaped so anything that was marketed for pregnancy *and* nursing looks ridiculous, with armfuls of cloth over a bump that no longer exists. People ask me when I plan to stop nursing Jamie and I'm only half joking when I say not yet, I've spent £150 on nice warm nursing hoodies so it'd be a terrible waste of money if I stop now!

You could get a nursing cover, although I wouldn't recommend it. And you're expected to take breastfeeding vitamins as well, at about £15/month that's another £360 over the two years.

Basically I want to bang my head off things when people assert that breastfeeding is "free".

2. It saves a lot of messing about with bottles and steriliser and so on.

True, but only to a point. If you have any intention of outsourcing even one feed over those 730 days, whether that's for your return to work, or to allow you to have a drink, or when you are sick, or to give other caregivers a bonding opportunity, you need a steriliser and at least one bottle set. These cost the same and take up space whether you use them three times a day, or three times a year.

If you want that bottle to be full of breast milk rather than formula then you also need a pump, hand or electric, and storage containers. We got a "breastfeeding support set" which was about £150. You need to find time to pump while also making sure the baby is fed - no good emptying yourself out in the half hour before the baby wakes! The baby probably won't sleep through the noise of the pump if you're in the same room, and once they're bigger, then trying to find a solid fifteen minutes do anything without their interruption is impossible. Finding time to pump if you don't already have childcare is a fine art. And then you've got to scrub and sterilise all the pump components as well... Once you enter the world of pumping, the "messing about with bottles" argument flies out of the window. As soon as there is a bottle, formula is infinitely quicker, easier, and involves less washing up.

3. It's more convenient.

Again, true up to a point. Yes, in the middle of the night it's a marvellous thing to not be trying to mix or warm up a bottle, instead just sleepily undoing your nightie and latching the baby on in seconds. But the real winners here are the dads. Not only does the baby stop crying sooner, they are off the hook for night feeds, because even if there's expressed milk ready to go, no breastfeeding mama is going to be able to lie still while her baby does the Hungry Cry while waiting for daddy to warm a bottle. Quite apart from the noise level, the sound of the hungry baby causes a physical response of milk production. Bottle-feeding parents can share night duties, when the family is sick then bottle-feeding parents can alternate shifts to each get a solid eight hours of rest. Breastfeeding mamas have no such luxury. Exclusive breastfeeding from source is wonderfully convenient for daddies.

4. Breastfed babies don't need burping and don't have reflux.

Bollocks. Go on, ask me how I know.

5. Almost any mother can breastfeed!

Also bollocks and a really nasty line to pull on women who want to breastfeed but cannot. Note please that I'm avoiding the even more awful caveat "for genuine/valid reasons" because, as with disability, who the hell is a stranger to decide what counts as valid? There's so many factors at play.

6. There's lots of support available!

True, but it would be more useful if it was at all consistent. New mothers get conflicting advice even before leaving the hospital, as different midwives have their different ways of doing things. Websites, breastfeeding counsellors, friends and relatives, everyone has an opinion and at least half of them will believe that whatever you're doing is wrong. The price of "support" is a lot of pressure. At least formula has unequivocal correct instructions on the tin.

Don't misunderstand, I feel very fortunate that I've been able to feed Jamie. I believe, even if I can't prove, that it's been instrumental in turning him into the happy, healthy, secure little boy he is. I feel like I've achieved something significant and that I've done right by him. But I feel like the pro-breastfeeding gangs devalue their message by diluting the genuine advantages with silly half-truths that don't stand up to scrutiny, and this fanatical belief that breastfeeding is the only important duty of a mother.

Monday, November 14, 2016


Much as I love the green and blue jacket Jamie has been wearing for the last couple of months, the clocks have changed, the days are shortening, and now there's every possibility of us being outside at dusk or even when it is properly dark.

Combine that with Jamie's growth, and his ever-increasing mobility, and it was time for him to get more visible.

Bright orange Jamie

So, one dazzlingly bright orange jacket in size 12-18 months. What surprised me is how much more relaxed I feel even in the middle of the day, having him this visible.

I am still trying to work out the correct combinations of outerwear: the full body waterproof (but not warm/lined) splash suit, the full body warm (but not waterproof) snowsuit with button-on mittens and soft bootees, or the wellies, or the properly fitting how expensive?!?!? shoes, and when is it time to put tights/leggings under the thick fleecy trousers if he's not wearing the snowsuit and... at this rate I'll need a team of Sherpas to carry Jamie's wardrobe options to go places.

Sunday, November 06, 2016


We're out and about trying to squeeze out what we can of the natural light and fresh air before it becomes too cold/miserable to be fun, but the dim light combined with the ever-expanding walking skills mean it's a tad tricky to get photos that aren't just a blur.

This week's photo, therefore, is of an exhausted lad in his new car seat (which, thankfully, he loves and on occasion fights to get into it), clutching his prize leaf even as he snoozes.

Worn out with leaf

I also present a video of Jamie enjoying autumn leaves in exactly the correct way:

Sunday, October 30, 2016


Here is my happy autumn baby. For all that he might have been present for autumn last year, he was six days old the first time we took him to the park and I doubt he was able to make much sense of his surroundings.

This year, of course, was completely different. Over the last few months he has enjoyed any number of outings to any number of parks and nature reserves and arboretums, plus of course the Eden Project. The boy likes trees. And now, in the glorious part of autumn where it's not properly cold yet, and there's colours and crunchy leaves on the ground as well as on the trees, Jamie is also learning to walk, which means a look of utter delight as he gets set down on the ground and realises he can scamper wherever he wants and really investigate things.

Of course I never get to catch that look on camera because I need both hands to let him down and steady him for a moment while he remembers how to stand and walk in shoes, but then he's off, and even over lumpy terrain can manage a good few metres before stumbling.

Autumn leaves

So instead, I get this look, which I think is "mummy, look at these leaves!" He's learning about it being ok to hold and play with them but not to put them in his mouth, he's learning about crunching them in his hands, he's learning about falling over and leaves sticking to him (along with the mud, dirt, twigs, grass clippings etc, but this is why we have a washing machine and a vacuum cleaner) and he's basically having a whale of a time. Winter and even christmas will have a lot to live up to if they want to rate alongside a park in autumn.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


I make no apologies for this week's post being late, because as some of you might already know, we celebrated Jamie's birthday with his first trip to the Eden Project. Organising our photos has been low on the priority list.

Jamie at Eden

This was the furthest we've been from home and the first time we've been away more than a single night. It took a lot of planning and a lot of work before and during the trip but it was all worth it. Of course, at 1 Jamie isn't quite in a position to understand why it's amazing - for all he knows, massive bubbles full of plants is an entirely normal thing to do with a hole in the ground. But he was certainly in a position to understand that it is a precious space to his parents, and he's always loved trees. He wasn't completely sure to make of a story time with no book but he noticed that other bigger children were watching. This picture was taken in the Citrus Grove of the Mediterranean Biome, on the chair that the storytellers use.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


This week was Jamie's first birthday and hopefully I will be sharing a picture heavy post about that soon.

For now, a pre-birthday picture of a happy upside down Jamie is, I think, a nice 52 Project portrait.

Jamie upside down

Sunday, October 09, 2016


Another Mummy and Jamie week.

Mummy, Jamie, elephant

This was taken at one of the parks in town, next to the river at a spot where, so I'm told, the circus elephants used to be taken to be washed. The stone bench was very cold but the metal elephant statues were sun-warmed and wonderfully tactile.

Sunday, October 02, 2016


Nap time!

Nap time

Steve took this picture and I love it, as it's something that happens fairly frequently (even if never quite as frequently as a mummy might wish) but something I never get to see.

Also, it features our two best blankets. My grey one was a gift Steve gave me when we first started seeing each other. And Jamie's rainbow blanket was hand-knit especially for him by his honourary auntie Clare, given to him at the hospital on his first day, and wrapping us both up in love while we got used to being two people. I'm so pleased that the weather is once again cool enough for blanket-snuggling.

Monday, September 26, 2016


Just a cute silly one this week, of Jamie playing his spoon like a flute.

Spoon flute

He likes mealtimes. I get a bit twitchy - current command is to just let the baby make a mess and act like that's okay, lest they end up with terrible hangups about food. On the other hand, it is nice to be able to eat a meal with him without constantly mopping him or making it a battlefield. We also seem to have dodged the "we always have to have (insert children's programme) on during mealtimes," and "the baby will only sit in the high chair for fifteen minutes tops," so there must be something in it.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


This week was (probably) the last heatwave of the summer, with "heatwave" being defined in our house as the gro-egg being angry red sad face at bedtime, or to put it in non-baby terms, over 24c/75f indoors at 9pm.

Which means it's probably also been the last outing for Jamie's paddling pool. It's not really what I would think of as a paddling pool - it's more like a puddle - but with an inflatable sunshade and an inch of water it's a good way to cool him down on a hot day.

Paddling pool

Purchased at the start of the summer, the first time Jamie went in it he couldn't really crawl and was only just getting the hang of unsupported sitting for any length of time. It was strange to think of that while watching this strong, confident little boy who at 11 months sits upright without even thinking about it, crawls and furniture-walks anywhere he pleases, and is on the verge of being able to walk unsupported. Just one summer has seen incredible developments.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Late again because this weekend we have been being social butterflies... And then I decided to spend Monday dashing around Doing Things so that Things wouldn't need Doing during Tuesday and Wednesday which are set to be pushing 30c.

This week's picture is from another visit to a park. Access at parks is proving a bit of a challenge, but we have a long list to work through and at least with the bigger children back at school Jamie can take his time investigating.


Jamie still isn't sure about climbing. I think part of it is also the strangeness of having shoes on when we're at the park - he manages much better barefoot but I still feel that the park is a solid soles environment.

Sunday, September 04, 2016


Daddy and Jamie this week, going out in what is teasingly referred to as daddy's shiny red sports car.

Sensible family car

Steve never desperately wanted a convertible, red or otherwise. But with the big sensible Vauxhall Zafira Family Car containing ramps and powerchair and isofix baby-seat base being needed by me and Jamie every day, a second car was required for him to get to and from work, and this was what came up within budget, mostly because it's too old to be exciting, too modern to be a "classic", and frankly, too draughty and leaky to be a decent car to have in the UK climate. But, it was cheap, and there are some beautiful summer days when it's just right.

Jamie didn't think much of it. Admittedly they only went to the supermarket and back. But being able to see everything in bright and glorious summer sunshine was a bit too much for Jamie - Steve said he only settled down when the sunshade hood of the car seat was up and a muslin cloth draped over the handle.

Sunday, August 28, 2016


This week I took Jamie to the splash pool at one of the local parks. It was the first time - we needed the weather to be warm enough to have a splash, but not so warm that we would be toasted alive, and we needed to not have any other commitments, and we needed to not be ill... But it all came together and at last we've done it.

At the splash pool

I wasn't sure how Jamie would take to it but he seems to have had fun. I have the distinct feeling that it was helped along by the social cues of the other children clearly enjoying themselves.

We discovered a few pitfalls that I hadn't anticipated but probably should have, the biggest one being that:
- Jamie needs to be holding two hands to walk
- I can't walk without one hand to support myself
- The splash pool is just a bit too deep for me to be able to shuffle on my knees, unless I'm prepared to get properly wet to the waist, which I'm not, because it's a free facility and therefore lacks luxuries like changing rooms and it's not really the done thing for an adult to strip off in the middle of the kiddie play area.

I settled, instead, for a minor case of Soggy Bottom from sitting on the edge of the pool and restricted Jamie to walking within arm's reach. Next time we'll see about my PA having a skirt or shorts so that she can join us in the pool. But there will definitely be a next time.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Another tent picture this week.

baby smiling in a small tent

The tent previously featured in Week 20 as Jamie's little chill out spot, and it continues to serve this purpose very well. Now that he's a bit bigger, we've put the inflatable mattress back in. He hated it when we first tried it, but that was probably because moving himself about on a stable surface was quite difficult enough and a squishy surface was just beyond comprehension. Now, at 10 months, he seems to quite like it... and, sometimes, he actually has a nap in there!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

If you were a parent you'd understand

One of the things that really irritated me as a childfree adult was being told that I could not possibly understand something - love, tiredness, forward planning, laundry, whatever - because I did not have a child.

As a parent, I'd like to reassure all childfree readers that there are only two things I "understand" now that I didn't before. These are:

1. The impulse to talk about poo. I've resisted the urge to post online about the contents of Jamie's nappies. His business is his business. On the other hand, as with all babies there are days when a particularly remarkable nappy really is the most interesting thing to have happened that day or when dealing with it without needing to nuke the site from orbit is truly an achievement, and at those times it is an effort to hold on to social proprieties.

2. The challenge of the nice cup of tea and a biscuit, an interesting combination of relaxation and stress. If you can pull it off, there's few things more restorative than a hot cuppa and a biscuit while the baby sleeps. But the tension is high, as one wrong move could wake the baby, resulting in a shortened nap, a screaming child, no biscuit and a cup of tea which, by the time the screams are quelled, has gone almost undrinkably cold. It's like the most incredibly mundane yet incredibly frustrating computer game ever.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


This week saw Jamie's first experience of an outdoor playground.

baby crawling through a wooden tunnel

At ten months, Jamie is officially still a bit small for most play areas, and with it being the summer holidays as well, the local parks are rather dauntingly full of great big primary-school-age children. But we were able to have a bit of a play on the less popular play equipment and I think he enjoyed it. The slide he was neither scared nor excited about, but he spent quite a while with this tunnel.

Sunday, August 07, 2016


Just a nice morning relax before starting the day proper.


Jamie is a very chilled out baby, on the whole. It is lovely to just be calm together.

In other news, those two top front teeth he was struggling with are through. According to the various books of baby wisdom, the rest of teething should be bearable until we start on the big molars.

Sunday, July 31, 2016


I don't seem to have many pictures this week where Jamie is facing me, which surprised me a bit. So here is Jamie doing his own thing.

Baby sitting in a white box, toys in and around it

He does like this box. It's nominally the blocks box, where his assorted fabric and rubber blocks are kept, but really anything can end up in it. The box itself is a cheap one from IKEAs Skubb range, intended to be used inside drawers to keep them tidy. We've found them invaluable throughout the last year - for organising nappy supplies, for sorting different sizes of baby clothes - but Jamie is opening up all manner of possibilities for them as hats, flail weapons, and as in this example, self-containment.

I'm not sure at what age he will develop the sort of imagination that will see boxes like this become coracles, spaceships, teddy-cots and so on, or for that matter if it develops before or after he gains the language skills to tell me that's what it is today.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


It has been too hot here this week. The Safer Sleeping guidelines say we shouldn't let Jamie's room get above 24c/75f - well, since Monday and despite our best efforts, I don't think we've managed to get anywhere in the house that comfortably cool!

On top of this, teething continues. He has two bottom teeth that are definitely fully out and visible from across the room. Then there's about five pale lumps on his upper and lower gums, with one sharp corner *just* beginning to poke through on the upper gum. He's doing his best, but it's obvious he's quite sore and he's pulling some spectacular faces.

baby chewing a pot of ice and water

But, we've done everything we can to keep him cool, and this is part of the effort. Half a dozen sterile storage pots, filled with water and then frozen. We've allowed them to partially melt before giving them to him, and they seem to have helped a great deal with both the temperature and the teeth.

I hope both issues resolve themselves soon though, and if anyone has any tips we might not have thought of, do let me know!

Monday, July 18, 2016


I'm not sure why this is my favourite photo of last week, but it was.

baby on the floor next to a shoe, looking at the camera in bafflement

Sunday, July 10, 2016


baby sitting in a laundry basket

We've never carried him around in it, we've never left him unattended in it. But every baby should have the opportunity to play in a laundry basket, and be photographed doing so.

Saturday, July 02, 2016


Another Jamie and Daddy week.

a man with a baby on his lap, both smiling, reading a Haynes manual

We are having rather a bumpy ride these last few weeks, and for Steve that turned into a literal bumpy ride when his car started acting up. It was purchased on price rather than reliability - in fact it cost less than my powerchair, although by now it's cost more in maintenance (to be fair I haven't driven the powerchair several thousand miles so it's not really a good comparison).

Jamie really likes being read to and apparently sees no difference between the Haynes manual for a Honda Del Sol, and Dr Seuss. It's clearly not quite as good as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but then nothing is nor could be.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


This week, it's Mr I Love Standing again. But now, with his first pair of shoes!

standing baby in a flat cap, green top, blue trousers, brown shoes, holding onto an adult's fingers

Before anyone says it - no, babies Jamie's age should not be having their feet moulded into shoes. They should be barefoot or at most in socks/tights and soft bootees when it's cold. Quite apart from allowing the feet to grow, having feet in contact with the ground makes balance easier and is a sensory experience and so on... I know that, and 99% of the time Jamie's feet enjoy glorious freedom.

However, Jamie is no longer content to just toddle about on the picnic blanket when we go to the park. And the first time he insisted on stepping *off* the blanket, I had a sudden visual shift, where the park changed from a lovely carpet of fresh green grass and flowers and dappled shade of trees, to a horrific vista of twigs, splinters, discarded peanut shells, urinating dogs, cigarette ends, broken plastic forks from deli lunches...

So. For walking around outdoors, shoes. We went to Clarks, and he was measured as a size 2 1/2 F. At first he was very confused by his shoes. I think maybe he felt like the floor was coming with him as he stepped. But he soon got the hang of it and now, as long as he has a willing minion to provide fingers for him to hold, he can walk metres and metres. It's brilliant and scary, all at once.

Saturday, June 18, 2016


With Father's Day tomorrow it seems appropriate that this week's picture is Jamie and Daddy.

a man looking over his shoulder at a baby in his backpack

We had a sling consultation as a family when Jamie was just one week old. I ended up with the ring sling, and Steve... well, he was confident about *me* having tiny Jamie strapped to my front but never quite got there for himself, opting instead to use the pushchair.

At 8 months old though, Jamie is stronger and heavier and a lot more awake than he was at that first consultation, so we finally revisited the idea of a baby backpack. As you can see, it looks like it will work - he is comfortable enough to fall asleep in it and when awake, he likes the novelty of being tall. We don't plan on him spending hours in it, but hopefully an occasional walk around the block for some fresh air and father/son time will be achievable over the summer.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Almost half way, and this week's picture echoes the picture from Week One.

baby in orange romper suit sitting on a bed smiling

Same bed, same pillow, same baby. But! I love looking at the two pictures and seeing just so many similarities and so many differences.

Saturday, June 04, 2016


This week's photo was taken at Batsford Arboretum, where we went on the basis that Jamie likes trees. It was a really idyllic family afternoon out.

a baby crawling on a colourful picnic blanket

Yep, Jamie is mobile. It's still not quite a full traditional crawl with the arms and legs alternating sides. Instead he gets up on all fours like this, and launches forwards, rinse and repeat, making about three inches progress each time. In this manner he is able to reach all of the toys in his play area, which is great because we finally get to see what he wants rather than making our best guess of which toys he might like within reach.

His "cruising", which is the term for walking along hanging on to furniture, is also coming on slowly but surely, causing some people to speculate that he may skip the traditional crawling phase in favour of being an early walker. We'll just have to wait and see!

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Seven weeks ago I was all excited about the first glimpse of a tooth in Jamie's mouth. Then a day or two later the sharp white dot vanished, the teething symptoms subsided, and I felt a bit silly.

Which is why I've put off this post until I could get an unequivocal picture...

close up of baby with two lower teeth

No ifs, no buts, no squinting in the right light. That's teeth, that is.

He's coping very well, and so far hasn't bitten anything he shouldn't. I admit though to a slight feeling of apprehension every time I feed him...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Slightly late again, this time for reasons of choosing and cropping the favourite photo from a shoot which only took place on Saturday. Because Saturday was our fifth wedding anniversary, and one of the things we do on our anniversary is take a picture of ourselves holding the previous year's picture, which shows the picture from the year before that, and so on, all the way back to our wedding photograph.

baby with daddy on one side and mummy on the other, both kissing his cheeks

This is Jamie's second year in the photograph; last year of course he was present in bump form, and then Steve printed out one of our scan pictures to "actual size" on an iron-on t-shirt transfer.

We wondered whether to have Jamie in the anniversary pictures as we're quite sure that, over the years, we will have anniversaries where he isn't present - perhaps with a babysitter, perhaps being a grumpy teenager who refuses to participate because he thinks his soppy parents are sooooo embarrassing, perhaps at university, or away with friends on holiday, or any number of other possibilities. All that is fair enough, time passes and things change. Right now, though, Jamie is at the absolute centre of our lives and our relationship, so to create an image featuring both of us and not him... it wouldn't be real.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


This week's picture is of Jamie relaxing in his tent.

a baby in summer clothes holding onto his own feet. The baby is smiling, his face is upside down to the camera.

The tent was supposed to be the next phase after he grew out of the downstairs moses basket. We wanted somewhere safe for him to nap during the day, that wouldn't depend on me having support available to bring him up and down stairs. We also wanted something I could get him in and out of unaided, and where I could leave him at least moderately safely on his own for very short periods, for instance while washing my hands after a nappy change. The floor of the tent is at floor level, so no rolling off it, and it has a soft but permanent rim about ten inches high, so it's not easy to roll out. The whole side can be zipped up from outside if necessary, with one white mosquito-net layer and one darker sun-blind layer.

Success has been mixed. He doesn't often sleep in the tent. Even if he's already snoozing in my arms or the car seat, lying him down in the tent is a pretty sure-fire way of waking him up! With the advent of his mobility, we've gated off a big section of the room where he's safe enough for those brief moments, so it's no longer used for containment either.

On the other hand, he does like it in there and sometimes even asks (non-verbally) to go in. It's a little chill-out space of soft light and pastel colour. The only toys which live there are Teddy, and the Crinkly Lion that you can see in the picture - or to put it another way, one thing to cuddle and one thing to chew. It's a space where he can examine his hands or his feet without distraction, and calm down and collect his thoughts when the world has been a bit too stimulating for a bit too long. Steve and I have been known to feel rather envious.

Saturday, May 07, 2016


Efforts to introduce Jamie to "solid foods" - a term which at this stage pretty much means anything more solid than milk - are continuing.

In this picture Jamie is wearing an Ella's Kitchen Spinach, Peas and Pears puree underneath his first taste of strawberry yoghurt. Strangely, or perhaps not, he seems to prefer the spinach.

baby in a high chair, covered in green and pink goo, brandishing a spoon

There's not much to report, really. His spoon skills are doing nicely. My policy at present is that I will keep loading the spoon until he stops reaching for it and shoving it in his mouth, but he can only have bowls once they are emptied. He has been given finger foods - overcooked and cooled sticks of carrot, apple, broccoli, etc - but these are so far being treated with extreme suspicion.

To be honest there have been far more exciting things going on this week as Jamie has really nailed rolling and continues to experiment with his commando crawl. The trouble is that I don't get much opportunity to photograph that stuff. If he's not asleep or harnessed into something (sling, pushchair, high chair, car seat) then he's a bit of a blur. Maybe I need to ask the PAs to start doing photographs?

Sunday, May 01, 2016


This week's photo is of Jamie having a good post-reading chew on The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

baby sitting on mother's lap, chewing a cardboard book

The reason it's been chosen as this week's photo is because this week, Jamie started to get that bit more mobile. He not only rolls confidently, but this picture is after the first time he managed to, well, not quite crawl, but wriggle and drag himself around.

baby reaching for book, lower body on a brightly coloured play mat, upper body on carpet

And this was his goal. He started with his body entirely on the play mat - it might only be a few inches that he managed to move, but he managed it! I am incredibly proud that the first time he exercised his ability to move independently, he was going for a book.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


This week's picture speaks for itself.

a baby boy with an enormous toothless grin

Jamie is generally speaking quite a happy child. We're getting a lot of these enormous gummy grins at the moment and we're loving each and every one.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

On Practicalities

In the comments a couple of weeks ago was the following query:

"I wondered if sometime you might be able to write something about some of the practical issues around looking after a baby when you're disabled? My wife and I are considering having children soon, but I'm a bit concerned about how I will actually manage a baby with my level of fatigue (I have the same diagnosis as you), and with a wheelchair (how do you even push a pram with a wheelchair?!)."

I really want to answer this, but where to even begin...

Specific questions are easier and the query about pushing a pram with a wheelchair is simple enough to answer. I don't.

Every so often someone will send me a link to a product (which invariably turns out to not be a commercially available product, but a student's one-off engineering project or similar where they're trying to boost their grade on the Helping Those Less Fortunate ticket) that's a sort of pushchair that clamps onto a wheelchair. It's an interesting idea, but I've yet to see one that looks practical for any kind of day to day use.

If we're somewhere like my GP's surgery, where there's parking directly outside, seats inside, and not a lot of walking required, then I walk leaning on the pushchair, but most of the time when I'm out and about with Jamie he's in a sling on my front.

Jamie in sling

To find out about slings, I googled for my local sling library. The lady who ran it was very welcoming, and we had a very useful consultation session trying on different kinds of sling with a doll, and then with Jamie himself. We considered my ability to put the sling on myself, as well as what it was like once it was on. Then I was able to borrow my preferred type of sling for a fortnight to see how it worked for me "in the real world".

The answer is, it works very well. The time it takes me to sit in the back of the car, fish Jamie out of his car seat, shuffle him into the sling, and be ready to go, is about the same time as it takes Steve or my PA to pull out the ramps and get my powerchair out of the boot and round to the side of the car.

He likes being in the sling, especially while we're moving, and often falls asleep in it. Staff at my local Sainsburys have been known to dash over to say hello to Awake Jamie when we've only just entered the store, because he's almost always dozed off by the time we reach the checkouts.

It was also quite useful at home while Jamie was smaller and sleepier, because it meant he could snooze while upright (reflux issues meant he wasn't always a fan of lying down, especially straight after a feed) and I could use the computer, which among other things allowed me to keep on top of the admin of my Direct Payments.

Drawbacks: reduced upper body mobility is the biggie. I still have use of my arms but not as much reach, and twisting around in the chair to get at stuff in the backpack is right out.

Eating and drinking with a baby strapped to your front can be tricky at best and potentially dangerous at worst. My experience so far is that while the baby is pre-high-chair, you either need to have a pram/pushchair to put him in, or you need to be with someone who's happy to take turns for who gets to eat vs who holds the baby.

It can get a bit heavy after a while. It's very inconvenient if you've gone out intending to try clothes on. And personally, I haven't felt comfortable to try going to the loo while wearing him. So if I'm going to be out for a long time, or as above if I'm planning to try on clothes or stop for food, then I ask my PA to bring the pushchair (which is also useful for stashing shopping). It's really important to me, though, that as a rule we don't have a PA pushing Jamie while Mummy trundles off ahead or behind.

Hopefully this helps someone... more questions welcomed, although I can't guarantee they'll be answered!

Saturday, April 16, 2016


Last week's tooth seems to have subsided - apparently this is a Thing and normal. So, Jamie had to cast about for a new milestone:

baby in blue trousers and a yellow top, lying on his front on a brightly coloured play mat

It might not look like much, but if you will observe the space devoid of toys just next to the boy... because this was the week he got the hang of rolling from his back to his front!

He'd had rolling from his front to his back sorted out for quite some time, but from his back, all he could reliably do was get onto his side and then become frustrated about his own arms getting in the way. But now, he's rolling about quite contentedly. Which means we've got that play mat opened up just in time!

Saturday, April 09, 2016


On time this week!

Here's the picture...

a smiling baby lying on his front, head up, wearing a green top and holding a cloth book

It's remarkable that he's smiling so much, because this is the week that we saw a little white dot emerging.

a strangely angled closeup of a baby's face. An adult thumb gently pulls down the lower lip and a small white dot is visible on the baby's lower gums

Forgive the funny angle, it's more difficult than you might think to take a picture of a very tiny white dot inside the mouth of a baby who's very interested in holding all and any tech that gets near him! We're pretty certain that it'll develop into a full-blown tooth. At the moment it's just a hard, sharp little corner. I hope it stops hurting him quite so much soon.

Thursday, April 07, 2016


Well, from sitting in the high chair, we've moved along to our first tastes of food.

This is sweet potato.

baby in a high chair, smiling and covered in sweet potato mush

Food is apparently a hit for Jamie, although more as an art material than as nourishment at this stage. He can and does propel his own spoon to his mouth, but while most of the puree makes it to his mouth it doesn't all stay there. Scooping food onto a spoon is also currently beyond his powers but we don't mind helping with that. Finger food, such as slightly overcooked broccoli, is regarded with suspicion even when Mummy is eating it too, and has thus far been rejected.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Late again - I thought, oh, Steve will be here for the four day bank holiday weekend, and then Steve was here for the four day bank holiday weekend and we were Doing Things and I didn't get as far as posting.

But, I did decide when I took it what this weekend's photo would be.

High chair

One of the Things we Did was move Jamie up to his proper high chair. Up until now, he's had a reclined bouncy seat that clips onto the top and that allowed him to be up at table with us for mealtimes even though he couldn't yet sit up or eat. Which has been nice, it's got him into the rhythm of mealtimes as social occasions and also allowed me and Steve to eat with two hands. But now, he gets to sit up properly, and he gets his own spoon too. Occasionally it even has a smear of something on it. We couldn't call it eating, not yet, but as you can see he seems to like his high chair and that has to be a good thing.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


This week's picture makes me smile every time I see it.


It's the wide eyes, the happy surprised mouth, the blur of hands, and above all else, the confidence with which Jamie now enjoys tummy time, pushing himself right up, total head control, using his hands and kicking his legs. I'm putting together a scrapbook of photos (currently only just past Steve's paternity leave, although in my defence there's pregnancy photos and scans in there too, and each picture has a handwritten caption) and among the 0-3 months photos yet to be placed is one of my tiny little scrap of a baby, flopped over a banana-shaped tummy time pillow, looking (a) unimpressed, and (b) unlike a being capable of independent movement. It still bewilders me to think that only a few months and my milk has turned that baby into this increasingly strong little boy.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Or, Mother's Day 2016.

Steve has no great tradition of Mother's Day observance. A phone call or text message, perhaps. In my family, I usually send my mum a card and gift in the "box of chocolates" ballpark. Following our pregnancy losses, it became one of those things that repelled me and I would just try and order the chocolates while mentally holding my breath.

For my first Mother's Day as a mother, I'd be lying if I said it didn't mean anything to me but I didn't want to make a Big (and aggressively pink) Thing out of it.

Mother's Day 2016

So here's Mother's Day. Bed. Pyjamas. Packet of biscuits. Card "to the loveliest mum in the wide world". And my baby, rapidly morphing into my little boy, comfortable and happy in my lap and looking at me as if I am indeed the loveliest mum in the whole wide world.

I'll take it. :)

Saturday, March 05, 2016


If there were ever any doubts about Jamie's paternity...


... I am declaring them quashed.

Monday, February 29, 2016


A silly one this week.


Our little family is feeling much better than we were, but still not 100%.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

7/52 and 8/52

A late update for week 7 on account of illness. After a couple of weeks of soldiering along with what seemed like every cold going, I developed a full-on chest infection with a few less-than-pleasant extras, and spent last weekend - and most of the last week - in a battle to keep hydrated enough to continue breastfeeding. Steve and Jamie have also been struggling, although thankfully with not quite the same spectacular symptoms, and we're indebted to friends, my PAs, and our lovely neighbours, for keeping us going.

Yesterday seemed to turn a corner though, so I'm going to put last weekend's picture into this weekend's post.

7/52 Bath Time!

Bath time

Full-on baths are currently a weekly occurrence for Jamie and it's amazing how it's different every time. The first time, Steve was terrified to drown him (we'd agreed in pregnancy that baths were domain of Daddy) and afterwards he seemed to all but disappear into the hood of this towel. At four months though, Jamie is more robust and Steve is more confident. He still doesn't quite have the hang of playing in the water but he does seem to enjoy it.

8/52 Not Well

Not very well

This is what happens when Jamie is ill. I mean, if he's running a temperature or he can't cope with his snot or something then obviously there's crying and distress and vomit (and Jamie's a bit upset too). But once those things are settled down, it's cuddles all the way, which is cute until your arms give out.