Adventures, adventures, adventures

WHEN I think back over the last few months and comb through the memories, I can’t put my finger on when it happened. When, my Little Mister, did you become such an independent adventurer?

We have had two little trips away recently and both have made me realise how grown up you are. And that you love exploring . A lot. You, my Little Mister, must be on the move at all times. Unless you are very tired from all the moving about. You aren’t walking yet, but you are pushing around everything you can find that goes. Being outside is also a million times better than being inside. Getting your hands into mucky stuff like cobwebs and dirt and oily car wheels doesn’t bother you at all.

Up north, you loved your grandfather’s dogs. You exhausted them and had no fear. Down south at a wedding, you amazed everyone at how fast you could go, accelerating and then suddenly being nowhere to be found. Where has the baby gone, they would say? I always saw.

You always have your eyes on the next adventure. Usually, you don’t mind if I’m there or not. You can figure out all these games by yourself and, in fact, that’s the way you prefer. I’m glad you’re so brave, and so inquisitive. Your life, Little Mister, is a million miles an hour right now, just in case you miss anything out. It’s so much fun for us grown ups around you – but sometimes we struggle to keep up!

It’s been a special summer. You have two top teeth, and you didn’t complain about them at all. You met your great-grandmother, and you loved her. You discovered garlic bread and it kept you quiet and still in a high chair. You learnt the meaning of some new words – ‘rain’ was your least favourite because it meant staying indoors. But best of all, you showed me that you just want to have adventure after adventure after adventure. And I reckon that’s great.



Look, a bird.

PROBABLY the best view in the house is from the Little Mister’s high chair. Both the window straight ahead and the one to his left look out onto our overgrown trees and creepers. He sees roses, jasmine, the karaka tree, the sky. He watches while the clouds race past, while our washing dances in the wind, and while the birds fly looking for food. I hadn’t realised how much he saw until our first morning back from Australia. We sat him down to have breakfast. Thoughtfully, he looked towards the window and pointed one finger in its direction. “Burrr”, he said in a pensive, high-pitched attempt at talking. There were birds outside.

For the last three days, there has been no end to the Little Mister practicing this new word. He looks for birds constantly through the windows and when we are out. His beady eyes search the sky and trees for movement, will he see one? In the buggy, he points repeatedly at pigeons. We chase sparrows together. “Burrr, burrr.”

I’m pretty sure he knows what he is saying. But I’m starting to wonder how discriminately  or not the Little Mister might be vocalising his new found syllable. We went to the park today, and again, some pointing and “burr”. Maybe I missed the bird, but when I looked, I could only see people walking past.

Do I already have my mummy blinkers on? I’m not sure. Perhaps he does know what birds are, and he is trying to name them when he sees them. Or maybe “burrr” is the sound of the week, and about to be used for everything and everyone he wants me to look at. With my mummy blinkers firmly fixed in place, I’m going to believe for now he knows what he’s saying.

“B” seems to be the consonant of the moment anyway. We also hear attempts at ball and boo and book and blue when we say them first. And what is certain, is that the Little Mister wants to communicate. He loves pointing now that he’s cracked it. Everything he sees that interests him gets the finger. His babble is now taking on the sound of conversations, with intonation and different consonants and vowels all being strung together. One day, Little Mister, you’ll be able to tell me all about what you see, and I have a feeling we’ll be having some very long conversations.

Happy Nine Months

THREE quarters of a year. It’s been that long since you came into our lives and changed everything. For the last nine months, you have made every day better and everybody close to you happier. In such a short time, you have spread so much joy.

Today, to celebrate, we took you to the zoo. Dada bought you a zoo pass, because even though we won’t be here a year, you love that place at the end of the road. It does me good too, to push you around its hills and see the animals on our walks.

You love the roosters, they’re easy to see from the buggy. The one we met today was particularly striking as its feathers were so bright. We got up close to the giraffes, or the big Sophies, and the kangaroos, a goat, and an emu caught your attention too. The big hit today though was a rather angry ostrich, who squaked away right up close to the wire between you two. He tried to get his beak through the fence. You were transfixed by this big, noisy, grumpy creature.

It tired you out, the fresh air, the adventure, the new creatures to look at with your big wide open eyes. Those eyes are taking everything in, as they always have done, but now at nine months you have a wise look about you.

You have worked out how to put your stacking rings back on their stand. You have worked out how to make the wheels turn on your toys that go places. You can get onto your hands and knees from sitting, and then rock backwards and forwards. Sometimes you leapfrog forwards. You push yourself backwards, you swivel round and round on your tummy. Just today though, the elusive forward crawling motion was suddenly a step closer. You worked out you must move one leg at a time. And then you started moving your hands too. You must only be days away.

Our days, yours and mine, are filled with smiles, tickles, laughs, toys, songs, stories and games. Your newest game is clapping your hands. At first I thought you were dancing with your arms. You thought it was hillarious and laughed and laughed and laughed. Then I realised, you were trying to clap. Except your arms moved up and down and your hands did’t always meet in the middle. You still think it’s funny, but you’ve nearly cracked it.

You’ve also figured out how to wave. If you hear the words “say bye”, you lift your hand and give a wave just like the Queen’s. Sometimes, if you want someone to leave, you’ll wave at them out of the blue. It can be a little embarrassing.

You still eat very, very little. But we still sit down at least three times a day and try. The spoon aversion has gone, and you no longer only take a metal tea spoon. You will eat pear, which I steam with cinammon, and purée. Mixed with apple or mango it’s o k. But should I try to feed you anything else you look convinced I’ve betrayed you. Anything with bits in it makes you sick. So, we’re still on purees.

I’m enjoying your new-found affection for me. In the morning when you see me after waking up, you want the biggest cuddles. When you’re trying to crawl and it gets too tiring, you want to rest your head on me for a while. When something or someone frightens or saddens you, you want to throw your arms around my neck. I feel like the luckiest person in the world when you do.

Lions and Giraffes and Monkeys

GOING out and about with the Little Mister is becoming so much fun. Whenever we go anywhere new, it’s like a grand adventure for him. His eyes open wide, he looks around at the new place, people and objects, and takes it all in. You can almost see the wheels turning. He’s often a little quiet with concentration, but later, as if on a high, he’ll babble away and tell me all about it.

As far as adventures go, today was all the way up there. Somehow, we managed to fit in a trip to the zoo and a trip to the swimming pool. It was all about getting the sleeps perfectly timed. And now we’re both exhausted.

The zoo is just down the road, but today was the first time we’d made it further than the cafe at the entrance (where we spend a lot of time). I know the zoo well, but walking around with the Little Mister today, I saw it in a whole new light. He loved it. He particularly loved watching all the other kids there, particularly the little ones running around.

He took a look at a sun bear, and the giraffes, who did look remarkably like his Sophie. The lion was perhaps a little far away, but he did see the monkeys. It was the roosters who scurried across our path who were possibly the biggest hit though, because they were the closest and easiest to examine. They were moving around a lot too, and colourful and standing out against their surroundings. The Little Mister just stared quietly, watching, thinking, processing.

Of course it tired him out, but after his sleep, mum and I took him to the pool. I’ve been meaning to do it for ages, but was too scared of the logistics to go alone the first time and then getting the flu set back plans, so today was the day. And we had so much fun.

The Little Mister has always loved bath time, but I was still aware that liking being in a baby bath might not equate to liking being in a toddler pool full of bigger kids. Again, he was quiet, and a little serious, but he really enjoyed it.

In his oh-so-cute crocodile trunks that were way too big, he bobbed around in his inflatable ring for a while, and then I held him as he sat up in the water, stood up for a while, floated on his tummy, and sat on my lap. He found a few balls, which of course went straight to his mouth. He watched the taps pouring water in. He tried to drink the water in the pool. And he copied me when I splashed at the water with my hand. He got it. In the bath tonight, he splashed again. This could be the start of something messy.

In the changing rooms, he was a little bashful and shyly turned away from the Milin baby in the mirror. The very loud shower scared him so much his terrified eyes couldn’t get any wider. But then he was calm, and content, and fell asleep in the car on the way home.

We’re going again next week.