Monday, December 11, 2017

49/52 2017

Week 49
04 - 10 December

Festive window

Back in the window for this week's picture. The day this photo was taken was the first time Jamie had seen snow, for all it was at the "light dusting of icing sugar" level. He's beginning to draw connections with various books but he's quite fascinated by the way his familiar window views have changed over the last couple of months.

I got him the festive window gels. We don't have much of a tree going on this year - no space to put it! - but we've got decorations on the walls and shelves, and when I saw these window accessories I knew he'd love them. He doesn't like to touch them with his own fingers but he carefully shows me where to place each one, and if one comes off he wants it right back where it was. For £2.50/pack they're surviving much better than I expected.

Monday, December 04, 2017

48/52 2017

Week 48
27 November - 03 December

Steve had to get up silly-early for work this week, and while Jamie usually stays asleep, on this day he woke up, and it's hard to persuade a two year old that it's still night time and he should go back to sleep when he's had nearly a full night's sleep and can hear morning-type sounds.

As a result, the nap that usually happens in the afternoon, happened in the morning, and by 2pm Jamie was fully rested, fully fed, and ready for whatever the world had to offer on this muddled-up day.

Winter playground

What it offered was this: the really good park in Stratford, practically empty and glowing with a winter sunset. We stayed until dark (about 4pm, sniff) and even then he didn't want to leave.

Yes, he did end up having a second mini-nap.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

47/52 2017

Week 47
20 - 26 November

We ventured out to a shopping centre at the weekend and got lunch at an Ask Italian restaurant, a chain which is currently pushing "homemade" lemonade by giving everyone a complimentary shot glass of it.

Steve and I didn't think much of it. Jamie couldn't decide. He sipped a bit, pulled a face, then sipped again as if he couldn't quite believe the taste.

But, he loved the shot glass. And as long as he was being reasonably careful, Steve and I were quite happy to let him drink his water from it.


Bonus video footage (with apologies from Steve for filming in portrait):

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

46/52 2017

Week 46
13 - 19 November


Look at him climb! He still needs a bit of encouragement and reassurance that a trusted adult is there before he'll go over the top of the net and onto the playframe, but he's quite confident getting himself well off the ground. I think he finds it easier in autumn when the playground is more sparsely populated and he can take his time and concentrate.

45/52 2017

Week 45
06 - 12 November

One of our places that we go quite often is the garden centre. They have plants, they have a cafe, they have a soft play, and they also have a lot of tat for sale including this rack of toy vehicles.

Cross referencing

Jamie worships this rack. I let him turn it himself (with a gentleness bordering on reverence) and on this occasion, he brought his I Spy Book of Every Vehicle On The Road (yes, it's a real book) so that he could sit there and do cross-referencing. He was so pleased when he found ones that matched!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

44/52 2017

Week 44
30 October - 05 November

Autumn 2017

A few years back, a couple of very large trees at one of our local parks had to be cut down for safety reasons after they were badly weakened by some sort of arboreal illness. In a burst of creativity and sensitivity, the stump and larger chunks of decent wood were turned into sculptures and dotted around the park, including our friend the hedgehog.

43/52 2017

Week 43
23 - 29 October


My mum got Jamie play-doh for his birthday, along with a lovely big tub of all those tools and accessories which my primary school self had never got a chance to play with. Well, I'm getting my chance now! Jamie's number one request is for "blue noodles" which is lovely squishy crushy therapy for a mama.

Interestingly, Jamie doesn't like to touch the play-doh with his hands. He'll ask other people to do things for him and he'll use the various tools, but he actively resists giving it a good squish.

Friday, November 24, 2017

42/52 2017

Week 42
16 - 22 October

Bath time

Jamie doesn't have a bath every day and he still has mixed feelings about them. If you ask him if he'd like a bath he'll probably say no - but then, two year old children say no to a lot of things that aren't "would you like to continue doing exactly what you're doing right now, indefinitely," so that's not much help. He definitely enjoys playing in the bath. He doesn't like water in his face. He's a bit suspicious of bubbles, which are a fairly recent addition to the bathing experience. He asks to get out of the bath to use the potty, which I'm really impressed about. He likes his yellow duck but doesn't seem to consider it a bath toy.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

41/52 2017

Week 41
09 - 15 October

Jamie's second birthday cake

This is the week Jamie turned two. I'm glad, therefore, to have this picture from his last few days of being One.


It's not possible to overstate how excited Jamie gets about builders and associated vehicles. As well as gazing enraptured from the window, we also got to know a group of builders who were doing work on several houses that were so close to ours I never even lost my WiFi signal when we went to investigate. For their part, the builders and the homeowners fell in love with this serious little boy who was content to stand quietly out of the way, gripping his mother's hand, as long as he was allowed to gaze at the "mix mix", the "dig dig", and of course the beloved Van.

The last stage on two of the houses was to lay brick paving at the front, and on both occasions Jamie was delighted to be invited to help with the sand (parental pride moment: that's how confident everyone was by then about Jamie's demonstrated ability to be a very good boy, observe limits, and not make us regret it). He was so thrilled, fetching the toys from his little sand tray in our yard and being allowed to go for it with literal tons of sand alongside his very best adult friends.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

40/52 2017

Week 40
02 - 08 October

Artist at work

I try and give Jamie plenty of access to art materials. He's not yet at the stage of drawing actual Things, or colouring in shapes, but he's enjoying being able to make marks and experiment with dots, loops, continuous lines, etc. He doesn't like to have paint on his hands at all (a shame, because last year he "signed" our Christmas cards with paint handprints and it was good), nor does he enjoy stickers (they're too sticky on his fingers), but felt tips, crayons, chalk, pencils, and paintbrushes are all acceptable.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

39/52 2017

Week 39
25 September - 01 October

Too early for festivities

We sometimes go to a garden centre that has a little soft play area next to the cafe. This was the week when they were just starting to set out the Christmas displays, and Jamie was absolutely enchanted by this bench. Just wanted to sit on it amid the pretty lights. No climbing, no fussing, just sitting, until the lure of the soft play dragged him away again.

Monday, November 06, 2017

38/52 2017

Week 38
18 - 24 September

tree inspection

Once again, Jamie is poking the world with a stick.

37/52 2017

Week 37
11 - 17 September

Duplo truck

Jamie inherited a significant Duplo collection from his now-teenage cousins, and this has been added to with new sets of his own. He loves building with it, and Steve enjoys helping... which results in creations like this enormous truck.

Bonus video footage:

36/52 2017

Week 36
04 - 10 September

Watching the world go by

Jamie loves to look out of the window at whatever there is to see. He waves to neighbours, recognises their cars, gets excited about delivery vans, and of course the highlight of most weeks is the bin lorry (although occasionally that's superseded by a volumetric concrete mixer). But he'll also just happily watch the trees in the wind.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

35/52 2017

Week 35
28 August - 03 September

more selfies

This isn't a great picture, but for me it captures what life with Jamie is like at the moment - happy and silly and affectionate, interested to know what you're doing, but a bit of a blur before he scampers off to the next thing he wants to investigate.

34/52 2017

Week 34
21 - 27 August

Water park

I bought Jamie this lovely little beach/water play outfit. Lightweight, UV resistant, suitable for wearing in and out of the water. Sadly what with one thing and another, this was the only time he wore it - at a water playground where most of the water appeared to have been switched off. Not that he minded, there were still plenty of things to twiddle, but he was a bit bemused by having his clothes changed first!

Friday, November 03, 2017

33/52 2017

Week 33
14 - 20 August

Picnic with mama

A slight cheat as this was taken on 13 August, but it's one of only a few photos where he's really looking at the camera. We were out for a drive with Daddy and had stopped for an impromptu picnic. It was a good day.

32/52 2017

Week 32
07 - 13 August

Wet summer

An English summer has to include a certain amount of rain, but to a boy with a bright yellow raincoat and dinosaur wellies, that's not going to stop him poking the world with a stick.

31/52 2017

Week 31
31 July - 06 August

First haircut

At the beginning of August Jamie had his first haircut. We went to a small local hairdresser who specialises in toddlers and also autistic children - very relaxed, very calm, very much working around the child's needs. It went incredibly well. I'm half tempted to ask the guy to cut my hair!

We got a certificate and the baby curls in a little baggie. I was warned that it might feel sad but really it was just another proud growing-up moment. The only thing I miss is being able to fiddle with the curls during a feed!

30/52 2017

Week 30
24 - 30 July


In common with many toddlers his age, Jamie likes to play with stones. I had to lay down a rule that gravel/pebble driveways are Out Of Bounds but nevertheless we keep accruing these cairns of Interesting Stones.

29/52 2017

Week 29
17 - 23 July

We visited quite a few parks and playgrounds over the summer. This is one of our favourites, in Stratford upon Avon. Jamie is still developing the ability and confidence for climbing, but sandpits and Things That Twiddle are always acceptable!

Stratford upon Avon

28/52 2017

Week 28
10 - 17 July

I know I'm very late. I miss one week and then catching up is always such a daunting task. But the year is not over yet, so let's see if I can catch up.

Teeth cleaning

I've chosen this picture partly because Jamie is So! Big! standing on his steps to clean his teeth, partly because I love his bathrobe, but mostly because it's a good picture of his baby curls at the back of his head.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

27/52 2017

Week 27
03 - 09 July

A compare and contrast this week. Here is Jamie last July, one year ago, sitting in a laundry basket.


And here he is in July this year, in the same laundry basket:


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

26/52 2017

Week 26
26 June - 02 July


Jamie is still quite the bookworm and the highlight of any shopping trip is the run around Waterstones. Sometimes he spots a beloved favourite from his own collection, and we have to explain that his copy is still at home. The negotiations required to get him to hand over his chosen New Book for scanning at the counter are delicate to say the least. And the idea of waiting until we own a book before thrusting it at daddy demanding "read!" is just silly - what are parents for?

25/52 2017

Week 25
19 - 25 June

Climbing a hill

At Burton Dasset, climbing a steep hill with the aid of daddy. He probably would have managed on his own, but we didn't quite have the confidence to let him scamper freely. It won't be long now, though.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

24/52 2017

Week 24
12 - 18 June


Jamie's confidence and physical ability are continuing to expand, which is an absolute joy to watch. Admittedly his attempt at this cargo net was not entirely successful in terms of getting to the top. The difficulty is a philosophical one; instead of tackling it incrementally and climbing one row at a time, he wants to make a single big step of about three rows and then feels frustrated that he doesn't have the leverage to bring the rest of his body up. As soon as he wraps his head around the theory, he'll be away.

23/52 2017

Week 23
5 - 11 June

Good morning

One of the last pictures of Jamie wearing a one-piece sleepsuit, as this summer we are shifting up to Actual Pyjamas. He's chewing on his hand because his teeth are bothering him at the moment (only four more molars to go!) but he's still cheerful.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

22/52 2017

Last week saw us travelling east for a funeral - and also to see friends and family.

Of course neither of these reasons makes much sense to Jamie, so we told him we were going hunting for dig-digs (his word that encompasses all commercial, industrial, agricultural and construction vehicles, although he also has subcategories).


This picture marks what Jamie probably considered the highlight of the trip: sitting in a Little Chef on the A14. Or in his world, getting to watch a never-ending stream of dig-digs and be given food at the same time.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

21/52 2017

Last week saw Jamie's first barbecue party.

First BBQ party

He had a terrific time running around, and we got home with neither sunburn nor food poisoning, so it was a success... better than that though, it was actually quite relaxing. Of course it was at someone else's house and that always helps.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

20/52 2017

Sometimes a picture needs no captions.


Monday, May 15, 2017

19/52 2017

Before Jamie, and before me, the great love of Steve's life was his motorbike.

Daddy's bike

It no longer gets the TLC it should, but after a certain length of time in the garage it's a roadworthy vehicle once more and this weekend Steve got to do the last little bit of tinkering to get it ready to take him to and from work. Plus, he finally got to sit Jamie on it.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

18/52 2017

This week (ok, last week, I know) is Jamie doing Art.

Doing Art

He definitely makes the connection now between dragging a felt tip or crayon across some paper and a line appearing. I'm not sure he's realised that he can control the direction, and there's a 50-50 chance of him trying to use the wrong end of the felt tip, but the basic idea is there.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

17/52 2017

This bunny was in the Easter box from my mum, and Jamie seems to have really taken to it.


He likes carrying it, cuddling it, feeding it (thankfully only the plastic play food) and periodically heaving it over the edge of the playpen with an air of "you can be free, my friend!"

Monday, April 24, 2017

16/52 2017

Perhaps an unusual picture this week. A friend asked how we go about cleaning Jamie's teeth and I felt it wouldn't be inappropriate to include it as a snapshot of everyday life in Jamie's photo record.

We started cleaning Jamie's teeth as soon as the first ones appeared. At the time, he couldn't stand unaided - and even now, although he stands well, he's not tall enough to lean over the bathroom sink even with a stepstool. We don't have a bathroom counter he can sit on, and there's no way I can stand and hold him.

Teeth cleaning

This is our solution. The chair is a cheap plastic booster seat designed to be strapped to a dining chair - the sort of thing you might take on holiday or to grandparents' houses when a full-size high chair isn't available and/or would take up too much room. It's stable enough to be safe sitting on the floor, has enough of a harness that the child would at least take a few moments to escape (call no thing childproof), and is lightweight enough that it can be very easily picked up and moved.

I put a muslin cloth around Jamie's neck and then prepare both our toothbrushes, and we clean our teeth together, me kneeling or sitting on the bathroom floor facing him so that he can copy. After a while we swap hands - I hold his toothbrush in his mouth and give his teeth a last quick once-over, and he holds my toothbrush in my mouth and moves it around.

Then I rinse the toothbrushes and we use them to brush away the excess toothpaste. We do this a couple of times. Jamie mostly just dribbles it out onto the cloth - I'm not sure he's old enough to understand swilling and spitting a mouthful of water into the sink.

I think the thing I like most about this is that it gives me a chance to clean my own teeth!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

15/52 2017

This week's picture skims the wire for being "this week" as it was taken last weekend on the day of wonderful sunshine. But I love it and I really wanted it to be part of this record.


The hat was purchased on holiday, on the day of the trip to the beach. If you ask Jamie where a hat goes he will proudly clasp his hands to his head, while saying something that might be "hat" or might be "head" but is certainly in the right ballpark. However there's a difference between understanding that a hat goes on your head, and actually keeping one there. Winter hats are fine, but I think he finds it hard to see the point of a summer hat. What with the vast increase in his mobility I think assisting Hat Management may have to be added to my PAs job description.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

14/52 2017

This week, we were on holiday in Cornwall, and Jamie had his first ever trip to the beach.

Jamie at the beach

Warwickshire is landlocked and a beach day trip would be no small undertaking. Jamie's experience of sand so far has been small sandpits full of kids, and a sand/water play table in our yard. So having a large area of sand all to himself was a joy.

Not, however, a joy in which I participated. Steve took this picture. I was tucked up in a nearby spa, having three whole hours completely OFF. No household chores to get on with. No trying to get as much as possible done before putting the mummy hat back on. No attempting to relax while knowing that at any moment a plaintive "mama! mama!" will bring things to an abrupt halt. Just a chance to unwind in the knowledge that although I could be contacted via the spa in a "get your clothes on and rush to the hospital" way, I wouldn't be interrupted for feeds, nappies, grumps, teething, tiredness, or boredom. It was the first time in 18 months and it was lovely.

13/52 2017

Daddy and Jamie, going on a little adventure. We live not too far from Chesterton Windmill, and for years it's been a place Steve likes to go and take pictures. I can't get up there - impossible to walk and rather too off-road for my wheels - but with Jamie in his bright yellow raincoat, it's easy to spot them while I wait with the car.

Daddy and Jamie at the windmill

Jamie enjoys sitting in the parrot position but I think he impressed Steve with how much of the distance he was able to walk. The biggest problem is convincing him to stay on the path!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

12/52 2017

This week's photo was taken at a rather lovely playground in Stratford upon Avon.

Best playground

The equipment is wonderful, the surface is accessible, and it's worth the drive - but what made it magical this week is the bit in the background, just behind the brightly coloured house Jamie is playing in.

Yes, it's a real-life digger, or "DIG-DIG" as Jamie calls them. I suppose they must have been about to install a new piece of play equipment or something, ​because it was digging away right inside the playground. He thought it was amazing and had to stop and stare at it every time he went over to a different toy.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

11/52 2017

When putting pictures of Jamie online I've tried to be mindful of his future self, and have set a number of "rules" such as not posting naked pictures, or pictures of him unhappy. Teenage Jamie should, in my opinion, be able to look at the public record of his childhood and shrug, or at worst, have a minor cringe - he shouldn't feel teased, shamed, or violated.

Which is a long winded way of reassuring everyone that in this week's photo he's not actually unhappy.


He asked to go in this swing. He's been in it before. I was expecting him to lie down and giggle as it swung. Instead he sat bolt upright, with beautiful poise and this look of really intense concentration. I've no idea what he was processing in that brain of his.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

10/52 2017

Ah, Jamie asleep. It feels like we used to have more pictures like this... actually we did, but that's largely because as he gets older, Jamie gets even better at doing his sleep in one go in his own room, and isn't often having to find that extra hour in our bed before my PA arrives and we properly start the morning.


Tuesday, March 07, 2017

09/52 2017

Jamie in our back yard again, investigating a plant pot full of soil.


I know, I should just be thankful that he's not methodically tipping out the pots that have flowers in them. Perhaps he's searching for the flowers that have mysteriously failed to appear from the pots that didn't contain bulbs...

It seems really strange though, to think that at daffodil time last year, I was being so attentive to sterilising his sippy cups, washing his spoons with a separate brush, keeping dettol wipes handy in several rooms of the house plus the car bag, and now he's so big and independent and can wander around getting mud all over himself.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

1 in 200

I am still breastfeeding Jamie at 18 months old. First thing in the morning, last thing at night, during the day if he requests it.

This shocks some people, because in the UK it's a very unusual thing to do. Which is odd, because it's exactly the recommended path according to the NHS and the World Health Organisation. Exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months, then breastfeeding alongside other foods and drinks, ideally until at least 2 years, longer if mother and child both want to.

And yet.

The trouble with being 1 in 200 this way is that there's 199 mums who believe you're criticising their choices. So I get all English about it and make sure to validate their choices. I nod and smile and agree that whatever difficulties they faced were insurmountable, to the point where it was barely a choice at all. I imply that in their situation I would have likely made the same choice. I make cracks about how I'm only breastfeeding because I'm too lazy to sterilise bottles.

But a bit of me rages inside. I, too, had some difficulty getting started (I recommend the NCT Breastfeeding Helpline 0300 330 0771, and remember to use a phone that you can put on loudspeaker). I, too, would like to have a day off. I'd like my partner to be able to do the bedtime routine once in a while. I've made medication choices based on breastfeeding compatibility to the detriment of my own health. I've ridden out two bouts of mastitis during which, obviously, I had to look after Jamie even while hallucinating with fever. I've been bitten, basically once per tooth. Breastfeeding might be natural but it's not the soft option. I've worked hard at it and committed to sustaining it because every resource not sponsored by a formula company says it's the best and right and correct and most beneficial thing to do for my child.

It really upsets me that I then end up having to defend that choice, that effort. I've had people suggest that I do it because I want to delay Jamie's development. Or because I'm too possessive of him and don't want to let anyone else care for him. Or because it makes me feel important. Or because I don't know any other way to calm him down. Or because I'm an exhibitionist. Then we have the people who aren't so explicit about it, the double-takes, the "you're still breastfeeding him?!?" remarks, the queries about when I'm going to stop. It all grinds me down.

I'm not expecting a cookie - the cookie is knowing I'm doing my best for Jamie, and Steve gives me a lot of encouragement too - but less criticism and incredulity would be so nice.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

08/52 2017

At the park again, and making better and better use of the equipment. Jamie is really getting the hang of climbing, although he's still somewhat overwhelmed by bigger kids. Having my PA able to hover behind Jamie on my behalf is a boon though. I do my best to be alongside, but playgrounds aren't perfect surfaces and I can't always get as close as I'd like.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

07/52 2017

Late hitting post again...

This picture marks a great leap forward in Jamie's eating abilities.

Eating with spoon

Up to the age of six months, Jamie was exclusively breastfed. Then we started to introduce purees on a spoon. We had a rhythm going where we would load the spoon and pass it to Jamie, and he would pilot it to his mouth or thereabouts (as in this post, it was messy but it worked).

Next was finger foods, and then something unexpected happened - he started refusing to hold the spoon and would do any amount of gymnastics to just get his mouth directly to it instead. I consulted the weaning expert at the children's centre and she reassured us that some kids were like this. Having got to grips with shoving finger food straight in his mouth he was regarding the spoon as an unnecessary complication in the eating process. But she seemed quite relaxed about it and said we should just keep eating with cutlery in front of him, let him have the spoon if he wanted it even if only to play with, and not worry.

Well, that's easier said than done, but it seems to have worked. Last week, after several months, Jamie finally reached for the spoon again. What's more, we don't even have to load it any more. He can have his bowl, he can scoop up his food, he can put it in his own mouth at his own pace. He's just suddenly got it, all at once.

Bonus video footage:

Sunday, February 12, 2017

06/52 2017

One of Jamie's christmas presents was this red and yellow Little Tikes car that I suspect most readers will recognise.

Jamie in his car

We finally put it together last weekend and Jamie is still working out how he feels about it.

One significant factor may be that, so far, he can only propel it backwards.

Monday, February 06, 2017

05/52 2017

Snack time

Here is Jamie having his afternoon snack. We sit at the table for most meals, but snack by definition is supposed to be smaller, quicker, and for want of a better word, less formal.

We are having some success getting him to sit on his muslin cloth for snack, although as a result he is developing a technique of scooting about on his backside - for all that he can't speak yet, he is clearly communicating "but mum! I am sitting down!"

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

04/52 2017

Bookstart Bear

I realise this picture of Jamie in his car seat wearing his (ok, my) favourite red jumper and blue bobble hat looks remarkably similar to this picture from November. But the important bit is the little blue teddy bear.

For this is no ordinary bear... This is a Bookstart Bear.

Jamie joined the library at the grand age of 16 days, and was given his Bookstart Bear "passport", which gets stamped every time we use the library, for books or for groups like Rhyme Time. Six stamps gets a certificate. And the tenth certificate, which we claimed this week, has a border of shiny gold, plus one of these exclusive teddy bears. We're quite proud.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

03/52 2017

We don't have much of a garden to speak of, but there's a paved back yard which is a good place for a toddle and some fresh air when we can't get to the park.

I've long had a few plant pots out there, although I must confess that last year they were appallingly neglected due to baby - if the baby is awake, you're too busy to go and water the plants, if the baby is asleep then there's no way you're going to risk waking them by opening doors and wandering in and out!

This year, though, it looks like Jamie will be old enough to participate in tending the plants. I'm not getting overly invested in it, not least because of a story my mother has often shared about how I, as a toddler, pulled the heads off every single daffodil along the length of our garden path. But we might be looking into getting him his own watering can and maybe figuring a way of having a bit of earth that he can dig and poke about in. Recommendations welcome!


Sunday, January 15, 2017

02/52 2017

This week's favourite photo is Jamie being inquisitive in a cafe. Gone are the days when he would peacefully snuggle up in the sling and just look round. That's still fine while we're moving, but if we stop somewhere he wants to see everything and grab as much of it as we'll let him.


However, in the interest of full disclosure I should mention that while I was only having a milkshake, the people in the next booth had cake.