Wednesday, December 11, 2013

it was going to be our turn...

today, the high court ruled that the australian capital territory's recent legislation for same sex marriages were unconstitutional.

i'm gutted for all the couples who got married on the weekend, and didn't even get to have a full week as husband and husband, or wife and wife, before having their unions dissolved.

i'm deeply saddened by the australian attitude to the queer community that this decision is symptomatic of.

but mostly, i'm devastated because it was our turn.

sj and i are celebrating out tenth anniversary in april, and we were going to go to canberra and get married.

we'd booked a fantastic celebrant.

one of our dear friends sisters is making us matching rings that have now been demoted from wedding bands to anniversary gifts.

it was going to be a secret ceremony in nara park, that only our mothers and three closest friends knew about. then we were going to come home and have a big anniversary party with all our friends and family, that would have turned out to be a surprise wedding reception.

we were going to have the bouquets grown and made by my friend lindsey.

i was going to wear a blush lace tea dress.

we were finally going to have the same surname as each other. the same as our son.

... and we were going to be married...

i should have something more articulate to say about this. something more analytical. more political.
but right now i'm just heartbroken, and this is all i've got.

still a family.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

christmas cards

i just thought i'd share our 2013 christmas cards. i debated over whether to take a family picture and use that, but this seemed more appropriate for us...

i took the photo of arty's hand print with instagram, then had 4X4 inch cards printed by printstagram*. it was completely straightforward, and comparatively cost effective. i'm really happy with the results.

they all went out a couple of days ago. i love posting a big fat pile of letters - it feels so satisfying.

christmas really has begun!

(*n.b. this is not a sponsored post, i'm jut sharing my experience)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

a tradition

last year, for arty's first christmas, we started a family tradition. arty chose a present to give to a needy child the same age as him, and placed it under the wishing tree. he was only 11 months old, and didn't understand what he was doing, but it was the start of something.
even though he's still quite young to understand, i tried to explain the idea to him this year. i said that we were going to pick a present for a kid whose grown ups couldn't buy toys for them. a toy for kid who really needed one.
he thought about this, and then i let him roam around the toy section for a while til he found something he really liked (a helicopter). when he showed it to me, i said "shall we give this to the other kid? the one who needs a present?" he said yes, and then immediately went in search of other children in the shop and started trying to give it to them.

after confusing several other children by trying to force them to take his helicopter, i led him over to the wishing tree, and explained that this was where we left the presents for the other kids, and that's exactly what he did.
i was so proud of how willing he was to give away something that he so obviously would have loved to play with himself.
arty's growing up with a great deal of privilege, so i want to take as many opportunities as possible to foster generosity, gratitude and kindness in him. i think this family tradition is a step in the right direction.

Friday, December 6, 2013

family noms: bananaberry swirls

bananaberry swirls


3/4 cup mixed berries (i used raspberries and blueberries, but any combo will do!)
1/2 large banana
natural yoghurt to top up

  • place berries in a microwave for about 1 minute, remove, stir, then microwave for a further minute.
  • berries should now look like runny jam. set aside to cool.
  • in a separate bowl, mash your banana thoroughly
  • once berries have cooled, spoon alternating layers of berries, yoghurt, and banana into your icy pole moulds.
  • with a skewer or a chop stick, give each one a little stir about - you're not aiming to combine the ingredients, just give them a little swirl.
  • freeze overnight, then eat.

these made a nice change from the fruit juice icy poles we've been having so far. arty liked the creaminess of the yoghurt.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

family noms: blueberry, kiwi, and apple icy poles

blueberry, kiwi, and apple icy poles


1 large kiwi fruit
1/2 cup blueberries
apple juice to top up (i have a juicer, so made mine at home, but of course there's no reason you couldn't use shop-bought apple juice)

  • peel kiwi fruit, and remove any tough core
  • finely dice, or mash with a fork
  • place a dollop of kiwi and a few blueberries in the bottom of each of your moulds
  • top up with apple juice
  • freeze overnight

arty's a big blueberry fan, so these went down pretty well. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

family noms: raspberry orange icy poles

the other day, i was eating a frosty fruit on the back lawn, when arty came right up to me, took it out of my hands, and wandered off with it. he ate the whole thing. i was too amused to be outraged, and he loved it too much for me to have the heart to stop him, but this is not the kind of treat i want him indulging in very often. they're far too sugary and sweet. so, being me, i decided to make our own.

depending where you're from these things are called icy poles, ice lollies, popsicles, or somesuch. wherever you're from they're a delicious spring and summertime snack. plus, they have the added bonus of taking a toddler ages to eat, so they're a very good distraction if you need a few minutes to get something done.

raspberry and orange icy poles


3/4 cup raspberries
1 tsp caster sugar (if raspberries are tart or sour - omit if they're sweet ones)
juice of four oranges

  • place raspberries in a small bowl or ramekin, and sprinkle with sugar (if using)
  • microwave on high for 30 seconds, remove, stir, then microwave for another minute
  • stir warm raspberries until sugar has dissolved, and raspberries are reduced to a pulp
  • place a spoonful of raspberry mixture into the bottom of each icy pole mould
  • top up with orange juice
  • freeze overnight, then eat with sticky-fingered abandon.


  • quantities and proportions for this one are a little tricky, because they will vary depending on the size and number of your moulds. ideally, think of this as a 'serving suggestion' and adjust yours accordingly (and if you make too much raspberry mixture, it's very nice on yoghurt or ice cream!)
  • we have icy pole moulds that i used to make these, but you don't need them - read how to make frozen treats without moulds here.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

toddler noms: banana, date, and cocoa smoothies

a new kids' cafe has opened up in our neighbourhood, and we've been a few times in the last week because arty is in love with the smoothies they make.

since he's so into them, i decided i'd try and make our own version at home. they've turned out quite differently to the ones in the cafe, but arty still loves them, so i'm calling the experiment a win.

banana, date, and cocoa smoothies


one banana
5 dates
3 cups milk
1 tbsp cocoa


  • place all ingredients in a blender, and blend (if you have an 'ice' function on your blender, it will make the most efficient work of the dates. otherwise, just stick it on a reasonably high speed and leave it for a couple of minutes).

this makes enough to share among two or three kids.

Monday, October 21, 2013

family noms: banana maple muffins

arty is very much enjoying helping in the kitchen at the moment, so we're making a point of doing a little bit of baking each week so that he can participate.

this week, we had an overripe banana sitting on the bench, so i decided to use it in whatever we made.

this recipe is very easy, and involves many opportunities for enthusiastic young helpers to participate (sifting, pouring, stirring, mashing).

banana maple muffins


2 cups self raising flour
1 cup sugar
pinch salt
2 small eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 large ripe banana
1/4 cup maple syrup


  • preheat oven to 180 degrees
  • put muffin cases into a 12 hole muffin tin
  • sift flour into a medium mixing bowl, and add sugar and salt
  • in a jug or smaller bowl, combine eggs, milk, canola oil, and vanilla
  • pour wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir til thoroughly combined
  • spoon mixture into cases
  • in a separate bowl, mash the banana with the maple syrup
  • place a spoonful of the banana maple mixture on top of each muffin
  • bake for 20-25 minutes


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

is that your grown up?

i often find myself in conversations with kids at the park. precocious and friendly ones come up to chat, shy ones sidle over and want to play with arty and need a little encouragement. however it happens, by virtue of having my own, i invariably find myself in conversation with someone else's small child at some point in my average day.

a lot of the time, these conversations involve some reference to the adult they have with them. for a while, i found myself referring to said adult as 'mummy' or 'daddy', but then i interrogated that impulse, and realised it was massively presumptuous. what do i know about these kids' families? they might have mums, they might have dads, they might be foster kids, in the care of other family members, or out with their nanny. assuming a standard parent/child relationship with people i don't know privileges this kind of relationship over others. if their family doesn't look or function that way, it could make them feel like their own is 'different' or 'other'.

maybe i'm overly conscious of this because our family is a little non-traditional, but i just i don't want anyone else's kids having to justify their family structure to me. if they're safe and happy, it's none of my business.

arty at the park with his oddmother
their matching curls can be misleading :)

so now when i'm at the park, instead of asking "is that your daddy?" i ask "is that your grown up?" because i know that kids can have a whole range of excellent adults in their lives, and that they don't have to be a mummy, or a daddy to be important.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

spotty painting

painting with a paintbrush is marvellous fun, but sometimes it's interesting to try something different.
the other day, we had a go at doing spotty painting with cotton buds.

at first, arty was a little frustrated by the fact that he couldn't use them to flamboyantly smear paint all over the paper, the way he's used to doing, but he came around to the dabbing motion, and enjoyed it in the end.

we sang the "put a spot over here" song as we played, which made it more fun still.

we even did some spotty painting with the paintbrush to see how the same motion with different tools produced different effects

(full disclosure: the above photo is my painting. i'm showing it off because i like it :) )

this activity should be helpful for improving fine motor control, and simply for gaining an appreciation of different ways to work with paint.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

arty's top five ipad apps

we are a nerdy family. we make no apologies for the fact that we enjoy our screen time as much as our out-in-the-park time, and our computer games as much as our board games.
pleasingly, arty is now developing the attention span, and the fine motor control to be able to enjoy the ipad.

if you've ever perused the app store, you'll know that there's no shortage of toddler apps out there. i've downloaded loads of them, only to delete them immediately because they were riddled with ads, or were just badly made. precious few have lived up to my standards, and of those, fewer still have met with the approval of arty himself. however, some have made the cut, and provide excellent education, distraction and relaxation opportunities for our boy.

here are his top five:

this app is full of bright, bold colours, and features animals, vehicles, and funny noises. basically: toddler win. 
it has very straightforward action (the baby can touch any point on the screen to move the story forward), and uncomplicated graphics. this was the first app arty used on the ipad, and it was a very good introduction.

there are 9 mini games in the full version of this app, but you get two of them for free, and then have the option of buying the rest with an in-game purchase. arty's favourite is one of the free ones, called 'tap farm'. it's a screen with a range of different animals on it, and as you tap them, they make their noises. that is literally all there i to it, but it keeps him amused for ages. he also enjoys one of the paid games called 'balloon burst', in which balloons float up the screen and he taps them to burst them - this one seems particularly good for developing hand/eye coordination. the other games in this app are for 2 & 3 year olds, and i look forward to exploring them with him as he gets a bit older.

i love the detail in this app. the artwork is whimsical and very sweet. every time a child taps an object or a character in the scene it reacts by moving, and making a sound. the bus drives away, the man on the corner does star jumps, the dog catches the toast as it pops out of the toaster.
the scale and complexity of the artwork invites the child to peer right in and explore all the tiny details represented. it has a calm and gentle feel to it, with a soft, unintrusive soundtrack.
some concentration and precision are required for the child to get exactly what they're aiming for with this one - screen-mashing doesn't get results. i'm using this one to help arty exercise patience and care when using the ipad!
the first scene (morning) is free, and the second two can be bought in-app. there are other apps in this series, including my zoo animals, and tiny firefighters.

caspar babypants (aka chris ballew of 'presidents of the united states of america' fame) is a kids singer/songwriter. he's taken his songs, and made them even more fun for kids by allowing them to play along. there are four modes in this app - a xylophone, a guitar, drums and percussion, and lyrics and chords. all the instruments are tuned so that as the child plays along, they are in tune with the song, but can strum or tap away in their own way. 
the free app comes with a bunch of great songs, and you can buy more in-app if you want to.

ours is a peppa-loving household. she is absolutely arty's favourite tv character, so a peppa app was a must for us. this one features six mini games, but the original happy mrs chicken is his favourite. it is literally the same as the game you see the characters play on the show. you make mrs chicken lay eggs, and then they hatch. the best bit about it is the excellent farting noise she makes as she lays each egg.
other games include a maze, puzzles, and of course, muddy puddle jumping.

finally, i'd like to give an honourable mention to nursery rhymes with storytime.
it's not one of arty's most favourites, but i really like it. it's a pretty app, featuring well known nursery rhymes, including, three blind mice, the grand old duke of york, and baa baa black sheep. children can not only see and hear the text, but also interact with the images by shearing the black sheep, or knocking humpty dumpty off his wall.

if you've come across some great toddler-friendly apps i'd be very glad to hear about them in the comments!

n.b. this is not a sponsored post, i'm just sharing our experience.

Monday, October 7, 2013

colour sorting for toddlers

among about a thousand other things, arty is currently in the midst of learning about colours (gosh, being a toddler is busy!). he knows how to say most of the basic colour names, and is just beginning to match them up reliably with examples. we're doing our best to help him, usually by describing the colours of different objects that he shows an interest in, and by talking about colours while we paint and draw, but i thought it would be fun to play another sort of game with colours. this one occurred to me last night as i was lying in bed, and we gave it a go today...

what you'll need:

red, yellow, and blue paint
a paintbrush
three pieces of paper
several red, yellow, and blue objects (i used large wooden beads because we had them to hand, but you could use pegs, blocks, spoons, or even fruit, vegetables, or flowers from the garden)

what to do:

  • on one piece of paper, paint a large red circle
  • on the next paint a large blue circle
  • on the last piece, paint a large yellow circle
  • allow them to dry
  • lay the pieces of paper out on a table that is an appropriate height for your child to stand at
  • present them with the different coloured objects you have selected, and help them place each one on the circle of the corresponding colour


  • model the activity for your child before you ask them to begin. as this is an activity for young children who are still getting a grip on language, being shown what to do is going to be more effective than being told.
  • remember that it's a good thing if your child doesn't execute this task perfectly the first time around (arty certainly didn't!) - if they do it's not helping them learn anything. repetition and gentle guidance will help them make the associations they need to.
  • once they've got the hang of primary colours, start introducing green, purple, orange and pink. using a familiar task to integrate new knowledge is a really effective way to learn.
  • make sure you are cautious in your choice of objects, and beware of choking hazards.
  • if you're parenting a toddler, you don't need me to tell you about the limits of their attention span - don't stress if they wander on and off task. while we were having a go this afternoon, arty decided that he wanted to stack the beads instead of sorting them, and that was also plenty of fun

as i was loading these photos onto my laptop this evening, arty sat beside me, pointed to the beads on the screen, and said, "red! yellow! blue!" so it's clearly made some impression. we'll keep playing, and he'll have mastered them all in no time.

p.s. here's a colour sorting game for preschoolers, and here's one where kids sort coloured pompoms through tubes - fun!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

getting over a fear of the bath

a couple of weeks ago, while the bath was filling, the faucet popped off, and water started gushing out. arty was in the room at the time, and it gave him a big fright. since then he's been scared of getting in the bath.

we hoped it would pass in a day or two, but it was quite persistent. bathtime involved him clinging to our necks, as he tried to clamber out of the tub. not a lot of washing got done.

we tried a range of things to help, from getting in the bath with him, to just having a shower instead, but he still froze up and started crying the minute we took him into the bathroom. his heart would start thumping, his whole body would go rigid, and he'd cling to us so tightly that sometimes it hurt. this wasn't toddler theatrics, it was real fear.

then a couple of days ago, i was out shopping with my mum and we spied a set of bath crayons. we thought this might be just the thing to distract a boy who loves to draw just long enough to get him clean.

it worked.

now after dinner, he straight away asks "bath? drawing?" just like that, instead of associating the bath with a scary memory, he associates it with something he really enjoys.

oh, and sj gets a chance to practise her drawing skills, which is just a bonus on the side:

i think we're going to need to buy shares in the bath crayon industry, because we'll be burning through them at our place for the next little while...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

earthwise: environmental crafts and activities with young children, by carol petrash

earthwise: environmental crafts and activities with young children
by carol petrash

since i'm home full-time with arty, i'm always on the lookout for interesting and creative activities we can enjoy together. i love to draw, paint, sew, and craft, and i've always looked forward to sharing this love with my child(ren).
so when i was browsing through the playgroup library the other day, this book jumped out at me immediately.

earthwise has four sections, one for each season, and each contains a range of craft and cooking activities for pre-school and young primary children. some, such as grinding flour, and carding wool, are more ambitious. others are more simple. the aim with all of them is to encourage children to become aware of the seasonal changes in their environment, and engage as much as possible with natural materials in their craft and play.

this book offers a really good range of ideas that lend themselves very much to open-ended play, and creative expression. i'm really looking forward to getting stuck into a few new projects from the 'spring' chapter with arty in the coming weeks.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

baby noms: pumpkin and herb risotto

this recipe has been met with such enthusiasm from arty that i'm not remotely sorry that it made enough for 10 servings. i think he'd happily at it for breakfast, lunch and dinner indefinitely if i let him.

pumpkin and herb risotto


800g pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cubed
2 large pattipan squash, roughly chopped
70g butter
1 medium brown union, finely chopped
2 cups arborio rice
leaves from 5 sprigs of sage, finely chopped
leaves from 5 sprigs of thyme, finely chopped*
2 litres stock (my recipe for baby-friendly chicken stock is here)
200g grated cheddar cheese

(*these measurements are a bit hard for me to quantify, as i tend to go by feel with herbs - they made about a dessert spoon full when chopped)

  • boil or steam pumpkin and squash until tender. set aside to cool.
  • melt butter over a medium heat in the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  • add onions, and sauté until they become translucent.
  • add herbs, and rice, and stir until everything in the pot is nicely covered with butter.

  • add stock one cup at a time, waiting until all of the previous cup has been absorbed by the rice before adding the next. stir constantly as you do this.
  • once all the stock has been added, the rice should be cooked. if it is still chalky, make some more stock, and continue to add it in the same way until the rice is ready.
  • remove the risotto from the heat, add cheese, stir through, cover, and set aside.
  • puree the pumpkin and squash, then combine with risotto.

as you can see form the photo, i served this with some chopped continental parsley on top (because we have some growing in the garden at the moment). it would also be nice with a dollop of sour cream and some chives, but frankly, it doesn't need any embellishment. it's delicious as it is.

Monday, September 2, 2013

what is chronic fatigue syndrome?

it's sleeping off one leaden blanket of fatigue for every two that drape themselves over you.

it's being embarrassed to answer your friends when they ask how you are, because there's no honest way to say you're fine, but the truth is so boring.

it's knowing that every over exertion will cost you a migraine, a nose-bleed, a cold sore, aching joints, mouth ulcers, a stomach ache, a dull mind...

it's catching every. damn. cold.

it's asking for favour after favour, and relying on every ounce of goodwill you ever earned.

it's being full of grief over what you want to be, anxiety over what you have to be, and guilt over what you can't be.

chronic fatigue is a cocksucker. and today i am really angry about it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

baby noms: nectarine, strawberry, & rhubarb puree

we've just picked a bunch of rhubarb from the garden, and it seemed the right colour and flavour to go with the strawberries and nectarines we picked up at the shops today. we shouldn't really have bought nectarines, because they're out of season here, but arty's been eating so many apples and pears lately, that we wanted to give him something different for a change, and they were there!

i've made this into a simple puree, because it's very versatile that way. i'll stir it through yoghurt for afternoon snacks, over porridge for breakfast, and with custard for dessert. it is, of course, lovely on it's own as well.

nectarine, strawberry, & rhubarb puree


1 large punnet strawberries (approx 20 berries), hulled and chopped
flesh of 4 large nectarines, peeled and chopped
3 stalks of rhubarb, chopped
2 tbsp water

  • place water, and all fruit in a saucepan, and simmer until tender.
  • remove from heat, allow to cool, then puree.

suggested variations
  • substitute raspberries for strawberries. you may wish to sweeten the mix a little if you do this, because strawberries have a natural sweetness while raspberries tend to be a little tart.
  • rather than pureeing the fruit after cooking, keep it whole, and turn it into crumbles (see my crumble recipe here)

Friday, August 16, 2013

family noms: potato salad

i love potato salad. it's one of those dishes that every family makes differently, and all the variations make it interesting and fun to try when it turns up as bbqs, parties and picnics.

this goes well with a lot of weeknight dinners like sausages or schnitzel, and to be honest, i could just eat it as a meal in itself.
here’s how i make mine…

potato salad


12 - 15 small potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 fistful of continental parsley, chopped
1 small jar of good quality whole-egg mayonnaise
1/2 a small jar of baby dill pickles, roughly chopped
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
3-4 middle rashers of bacon
1 small spanish (red) onion
at least 1/3 cup of salt (don’t worry! it doesn’t all end up in the salad!)

  • slice the onion as finely as you can and place it in a bowl.
  • add all but a few pinches of the salt, and toss so that the onion is thoroughly coated.
  • set aside for at least 15 - 20 mins.
  • place the potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover with cold water. add the remaining salt to the water. bring to boil.
  • when the potatoes are tender, remove them from the heat, drain them in a colander, and then run cold water over them to cool them somewhat. transfer them to a serving bowl.
  • fry the bacon until it is cooked to your liking (i like mine browned, but not quite crispy).
  • you will notice that your onions look very wet, and almost like they have sweated in the bowl. the salt has drawn all the really strong ‘onioniness’ out of them, and left the nice sweet peppery flavour, making them much more pleasurable to eat!
  • rinse the salt off them (i find the easiest way to do this is to toss them in a sieve under cold running water), and add them to the potatoes.
  • add the parsley, pickles, mayonnaise, bacon, and mustard.
  • gently toss until all ingredients are combined.

you can eat this warm, or chilled - either way is delicious.

Friday, August 2, 2013

baby noms: roasted winter veg with chickpeas

this is a warming, filling, tasty vegetarian combo, that can be eaten on it's own, with an egg on top, or as a side to some meat or other protein.

roasted winter veg with chickpeas


420g tin chickpeas
1 medium sweet potato, cubed
1/2 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
olive oil


  • preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius
  • drain and rinse chickpeas
  • place all ingredients in a large roasting tray, and drizzle with olive oil. season with a small amount of salt if you wish.
  • roast in oven for 45mins to an hour, or until all veggies are tender and cooked through.

veggies chopped, drizzled, and ready to go into the oven

depending on your baby's age and preference, you can puree, lightly mash, or leave as-is.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

toddler noms: mini pear and strawberry crumbles

these little crumbles are perfect for breakfast, dessert, or a snack. they're easily transported in a lunchbox for picnics, and can be enjoyed on their own, or with a side of yoghurt or custard to make them a little more filling (and creamy!).
the crumble itself is not particularly sweet - the ample sweetness comes from the fruit.

mini pear and strawberry crumbles

400g strawberries, hulled and finely chopped
3 large pears, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1/4 tsp vanilla
90g plain flour
70g shredded coconut
50g oats
50g walnuts, finely chopped
100g butter
3 tbsp honey

you will also need
12 waxed cupcake liners (the paper ones don't maintain structural integrity after being baked with the wet fruit mix inside


  • preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  • place fruit and vanilla in small saucepan with 2 tbsp water, and simmer over low heat until fruit softens.
  • meanwhile, place flour, coconut, and oats in a medium mixing bowl, add butter, and rub in with tips of fingers until combined. 
  • add walnuts and honey to crumble mixture and mix
  • place a cupcake liner in each depression in a 12 hole muffin tin.
  • using a slotted spoon, distribute fruit evenly between cupcake liners. as you spoon, allow the majority of the liquid to drain back into the saucepan - too much liquid in the cupcake liners makes them go soggy, and makes for very messy little crumbles.*
  • distribute crumble mixture evenly over fruit.
  • bake until the crumble turns golden brown. this took 12 minutes in our oven.

suggested variations

  • you could do these in ramekins instead of cupcake liners. they might be slightly less convenient to take out and about, and a bit larger in size, but they'd work just as well.
  • substitute pecans for walnuts if they're what you prefer or have to hand. to make them nut-free just omit the nuts and replace with more oats or coconut.
  • you could of course use any kind of berry instead of strawberries, but i's suggest sweetening the mixture slightly if you use raspberries, as they can be quite tart.

* do not discard remaining liquid - it's delicious on top of yoghurt, porridge, custard, weet bix, or similar. 

arty made "om nom nom!" sounds while eating one of these for dessert this evening, and polished it off very quickly. i think they're going to be a favourite.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

dear arthur: 18 months

my dear, clever, funny, affectionate, determined, curious, strong little boy,

you are 18 months old. one-and-a-half. when you turned one i told myself that i would write you another letter at this time, and the task seems huge to me now, because you have grown and learned so much in the last six months. i will do my best to give you a picture of what you are like, and how your life looks right now...

your grasp of language is developing with astonishing speed. you parrot words back to us constantly now, and seem to pick up several new words a day. you can ask for the things you want (apple! cake! bunbun!), and you have good manners, almost always thanking people when you are given something. you're starting to put groups of two or three words together such as "thank you", "love you", "shut the door", "all gone" and a few others. hearing you tell us that you love us is pretty much the best thing in the entire world.

physically, you're developing brilliantly. you're healthy, big (14.8kg, and 88.2cm!), strong, and quite coordinated for your age. you can feed yourself with a spoon, run, jump, stomp, dance, and climb up and down stairs. you're still a toddler, so you're often sporting a bruise on your forehead from one tumble or another, but you're very resilient, and don't let it stop you from getting back up.


you are an affectionate little person, but you don't just give your love to everyone. your most favourite and trusted people (your mamas, oma, josie, josh, katie, uncle jesse, etc.) get "cuggles" and kisses, but they're not freely available to anyone who asks, and you definitely only distribute them on your own terms. your mum and i are really glad that you are judicious in this way - it makes us confident that we're instilling a sense of bodily autonomy in you, and it also makes it extra special when these acts of love are freely given.

you're a tidy chap, and you love to be helpful. you like to help us hang the washing, put the dishes away, and water the garden. you also like to make sure cupboard doors are shut, and will wander around after us saying "shut, shut, shut!" and closing doors if we leave them open. i hope this tidy streak is a permanent one, because we could use at least one neat and organised person in this family!

bunbun is your favourite cuddly toy, and you take her almost everywhere with you. she sleeps with you every naptime, and every night, and when you are feeling fragile you ask for her so that you can cuddle her. you give her lots of kisses, and you often offer her to us to kiss too. this is usually nice, but from time to time she gets a bit grubby and smelly, an then it's a wee bit gross.

though you tend to be a little shy at first, you're really interested in other kids, and often like to share snacks with them, and watch how they play (you're not quite up to cooperative play yet). you have some friends who you see regularly and really like to play with including maisie (2), teddy (3), poldy (6), and harley (17mo).

just recently, you've started spending one afternoon a week with a nanny. she's not just any nanny, but actually our friend sarah, whose company you really enjoy, and whose presence seems to calm and relax you. you guys go to the park together, read stories together, and play other fun games. she thinks you're great, and while you hang out, i take the opportunity to do things like write for the blog, sew, read, or take a nap. it's a good system, and we're planning on keeping it up at least until next year.

for the record, here are a few of your favourite things...

  • bunbun
  • any tractors or trains
  • blocks

  • custard
  • babyccinos
  • apple juice
  • bolognaise
  • cheese
  • apples
  • sultanas
  • porridge

  • mumford and sons
  • paul simon

  • peek a boo (especially behind the tree in the park)
  • pretending to be a bird or a plane and zooming around the yard
  • kicking the ball
  • stacking blocks
  • hiding behind the door and knocking til someone answers
  • "happy mrs chicken" on the ipad.

  • slinky malinki by linley dodd
  • i am a bunny by richard scarry
  • just like my mummy by sharon harmer
  • the very hungry caterpillar by eric carle
  • ...and several non-fiction books with pictures with tractors and trains in them.

  • peppa pig
  • in the night garden
  • abney and teal
  • sean the sheep

i'm going to wrap up now, because trying to sum up all the funny and interesting things you do, and all the many ways we love you is a futile project - there aren't enough words in the world. 

i do love you, my precious boy. thank you for being such a delightful person, and for loving me and your mummy the way you do. 

biggest cuggles and kisses,
mama xxx