Thursday, 3 April 2014

Marathon Madness - a message from Mum

Afternoon all!

Mum has asked if she can borrow my blog to ask my lovely readers for a favour. I hope you don't mind, and sorry if you have already heard from Mum but she's spreading the message far and wide!

Ladies and gentleman,

In less than 2 weeks (!) am running the London Marathon for charity.

I am running for a charity very close to my heart - Bliss. 
Bliss aims to ensure that all babies born too soon, too small or too sick in the UK have the best possible chance of survival and of reaching their full potential.
My own son, Arthur, was born at 26 weeks and despite a very bumpy start in life, is now thriving.  Bliss was there to provide us and other families with support and information both during Arthur's 13 weeks in hospital and following his discharge home.  We have been very lucky not to need much in the way of help but other families and babies aren't so lucky.

Any donations would be very gratefully received and can made via the following link:

Thanks in advance for your support and a big thank you to those lovely people who have already dug deep and donated!


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Birthday celebrations and update

Hello everybody - long time no blog!


I've been very busy being 2 and not having to go to hospital; physio; occupational health; speech and language appointments so here is a little update of what I've been up to over the past 9 months or so.

Having started mastering the art of walking I have now perfected the art of running away from Mum and Dad.  I'm quite good at this although I often give the game away by squealing with excitement as I get up speed.

Here I come ready or not..

Of course, I'm not stupid, I have remained a fan of being carried on demand.  This requires me to look supercute and say "carry me" whilst holding my arms up and sometimes even trying to climb up Mummy's leg when she resists my usual puppy dog eyes.  Guaranteed results everytime!!

On the Little Lights Walk for Bliss. 

Along with the running comes jumping and climbing.  Mum always has a certain look on her  face when I try to jump from the top step of the flight of stairs and insists on holding my hands.  I have managed to jump off the sofa or the bottom step without her help and survived.  I think she needs to relax - but I'm sure all mums are protective of their little ones!  

Arty shot!

Mum bought me a little scooter to increase my different transport media.  So far I've managed to scoot up and down the living room and at the park near the house.  Next step is to take it nursery but I think M+D need a bit more practice keeping up with me.

I now go to Nursery four whole days a week as Mum had to work more hours so she could apply for 'grown up' Consultant jobs.  This paid off and Mum had a very good interview and her new job starts in the next few months.  It did mean that I stopped going to Gymboree as trying to fit swimming and Gymboree and shopping and stuff into one day a week was too much for me and Mum. 

Come on; I'm ready to go.

We have been visiting people and people have visited us!  We went all the way (5 hours in the car) to Hebden Bridge for a lovely wedding.  I had a new baby sitter so M+D could have some time to themselves.  When they came back after the party, Alice said she had read the same story to me 10 times! It worked though, I was fast asleep and slept the whole night through in my sofa bed.

Gimmee the keys Grandad and no one gets hurt!

There have new arrivals since the last blog. Florrie, Ella, Matilda, Sebastian and Raef to name but a few.  Some of them have older brothers or sisters to teach them the ropes but I'm here to provide sage advice for parental manipulation as required!

I made my annual trip to Norway (with M+D) and managed to avoid swimming in the fjord but still enjoyed boats and clean air and relaxation.

Boats and fjords

We made another trip to the Caribbean; back to St. Lucia and Cotton Bay.  This time my godparents joined us.  Another set of grown ups to give me attention!  We all spent time on the beach close to the hotel with Dad and Fred competing at sand castle building (Fred won), exploring new beaches close by (Mum losing her sense of humour carrying me there) and finding yummy restaurants.  Before we set off, Mum and Dad had had a conversation with my Nursery about potty training.  We all gave it a go whilst on holiday (fewer clothes) and 24 hour parent access seemed like a good idea.  However, whilst I could sit on the potty and occasionally do a wee when asked, I would only let people know AFTER the event not before so there was a lot of washing!  Thank goodness there was a washing machine in our accommodation and my godparents are sympathetic.

The exits are here, here and here

On the potty training front, things didn't really improve when we got back from holiday.  Cue weeks of going through 4 pairs of trousers and pants a day, and me becoming very frustrated and quite anxious.  I didn't really know what to do about this but I found some relief by biting myself. Mum and Dad hated it though. I also found I didn't want to sleep through the night and really didn't want to let go of Mum and Dad, even at nursery!  For regular Arthur followers, you will know this is quite out of character for me.  Dad had a discussion with the lovely Nursery manager and one of my Nursery nurses and we have now put potty training on hold for now.  I am now a much happier bunny.  I can sleep through the night, I'm not biting myself or anyone else and I have gone back to running into nursery in the morning with a smile on my face rather than clinging onto Mum or Dad's leg.

Hip hip hooray

Milestones - well grown ups seem obsessed with them so here goes:
Walking, running - nailed it. Stairs - yep. Jumping - sorted.
Playing and problem solving - love it. I've even got the hang of sharing sometimes.
Counting - love it. Objects up to 9, just numbers up to 20. Reading - starting, I adore the Alphablocks and can read 3 letter words. Writing - no. Drawing - um... um... I can do circles!
iPad - I'm a apple-master. I can do things to an iPad or iPhone that even the genius nerds can't understand.

Light reading at the Tate

Bearded dragons

Christmas was spent at Grandpa and Granny Es; Granny W came too, so I was truly spoiled.  We took a slightly unusual route to get there due to huge floods and for Christmas Eve the normal power was out. But I come from a resourceful bunch so we used Grandpa's generator!  However, the electricity board had clearly worked solidly overnight and normal service was resumed for Christmas Day which was lucky given Mum was cooking Christmas dinner.  Dad cooked Christmas Day brunch and it turns out I like smoked salmon and scrambled egg.  The muffins were my favourite bit though - Mum says I'm a carb fiend!

Dad and Grandpa put my wooden kitchen together - power tools and ignoring the instructions.  I helped as much as I could but it turns out hiding screws around the room and not returning them to Daddy is not that helpful!  I like dogs. We all went for a walk in the garden with Cobber the dog.  I learnt to throw his ball and sticks for him and he really enjoyed bounding around bringing them back to me.

So here we are, 2014, 3 years after my birth in Brent and stay in Chelsea.  I still catch Mum and Dad being soppy and saying how much they love me and how glad they are that the doctors and nurses did their job so well and that I didn't know how I was expected to turn out!
Mum will be starting her new job soon, and gaining another set of colleagues and friends south of the River. We will revisit the potty training and then I will be moving up into the pre-school class at Nursery and then there will be new challenges ahead.  Counting beyond 30 and reading and maybe even writing a little.  Watch this space.

 Old habits die hard!

Love to you all and continued thanks and hugs to all of my Wellwishers.


Thursday, 2 May 2013

Amazing April

Good evening everyone!

It's been another busy month; not least because I turned 2 again! To celebrate my 'due date' birthday we went to our local - The Black Dog.  This seemed especially appropriate as it was where we went the day after I came home from Tommies 2 whole years ago.  This time I had my own sweet potato fries and my own chocolate brownie. Yummy

This month has been mainly one of visits:
One of Mum's friends from university came to stay whilst her flat was being sorted.  Jo is also a doctor and has changed jobs and houses, though the job change seemed to have been easier than the home thing.  She was very friendly and gave me hugs and even baby sat so Mum and Dad could go out for an evening - thank you!

Then Aunty Lizzie came to stay for 2 days.  She was very impressed with my walking and talking and my iPad skills.  M+D have found me even more Apps. I can now do jigsaws, pelmanism - matching numbers, colours, vegetables. I can also Skype, FaceTime and rearrange or delete Apps. Lend me your phone at your peril!!

I'm not a complete techno geek.  I like reading with people too.  I sit quietly next to Mum, Dad, Granny etc and listen as they read my favourite books to me.  It is important to be read the right book, so I always may sure I ask for books by name and then go and get them from my collection to show the grown ups which one I meant.

Combining literature with technology

I went to see my friend, Artie and his Mum.  We had yummy food and I played football in the garden and in his sandpit.  It seemed to inspire Mum - so now I have a little sand table of my own. This is huge fun and allows me to spread sand everywhere - which is surely what it was for.

We've had more dinners with my Godparents- more yummy company and food.  We've had friends round for dinner and gone round to both our next door neighbours too.  I met Cleo the cat. Cats are strange. She ran away when I kissed her then hid under things and stared at me. You can't please everyone I suppose.  M+D seem very impressed by my kisses.  I have perfected toddling over, hugging their legs and then putting my arms up for a hug and leaning forward for a kiss.  I am the master of Super Cute...

And then my cousins came round for lunch (phew I'm popular!)  We played together and got lots of my toys out and ate cake.  Mum and Dad are now allowing me to have bits of my own cake.  I can run off my energy now I guess.

I'm armed and dangerous...

The biggest new of this month is that I've been discharged from Physiotherapy.  This is one of the last specialists related to my prematurity so being discharged is a big deal.  It was said to say goodbye to Amy but it means I'm doing well and that the number of appointments I have to go to has reduced again!  Whoopee.  A massive thank you to all the staff at Sunshine House. You've been a huge help to me and Mum and Dad.

Whilst Mum was busy on call, Dad and I popped up to Leicester to see friends. We borrowed an XKR from The Classic Car Club and Dad had some fun.  It was a bit quick for me but I only had to voice my disapproval a couple of times.  Mum joined us on the Sunday and we had a lovely time in the countryside.  It is nice for us townfolk to get out of the City sometimes.

Now I'm walking with confidence, I've been moved up into Toddlers at Nursery.  To celebrate, I ran down the slope at Nursery and promptly fell over.  I grazed the side of my face but was otherwise unharmed and sat nice and still to be cleaned up.  M+D say I will get a few bumps and bruises as I run around and play.  Mum told me how many scars and broken bones she had and so did Aunty Lizzie!  Wow...they really need to learn to be more careful!

Mummy bought me a very odd shaped ball, but she seemed very happy to see me running around with it:

Granny W came to stay so Mum and Dad could go on management courses.  We went to the park, we played in the garden and did LOTS of reading.  Thank you Granny.

So now I am 2 whichever 'birth date' you go by.  I'm planning to step down my blogging activity.  It's been lovely that so many of you have been interested in my ramblings.  I will still update when something happens but it's going to be a little less often. I hope you don't mind too much.

Love to you all and bye for now


Monday, 1 April 2013


Happy Easter!

No big news this month but lots of happy little things: moving, talking, playing and friends.

I've been walking more and more and am now confident both indoors and out.  I tested my wellies with Dad and Grandpa E and only tripped over a couple of times.  Wellies and my all-in-one snow suit make it quite difficult to stand up and toddle but Mummy was there to help.

I'm also mastering stairs.  Going up has not really been a problem, but coming down them is a bit more challenging. After some encouragement from M+D, I can now shuffle down on my bottom.  Very satisfying although I prefer to have a hand to hold whilst doing this just in case I miss my footing/shuffle.

All this means that my Physiotherapist is seeing me less and less with a view to discharging me provided I continue to progress with the walking like other toddlers (less waddling and less hands out to the sides etc).  I'm gaining confidence on a daily basis so I reckon this shouldn't be a problem.

I've also been discharged from Speech and Language therapy as I can talk and copy and string words together so well.  I'm particularly good at animals and the noises they make: M+D seem to really like it when I say "owl" and "Tee-woo" as the noise it makes.

I can also recognise shapes (my favourite is a triangle), some colours (especially purple and pink) and I can count the numbers up to 20 (well nearly all of them).  I'm now learning the days of the week and lots of bits of the body, singing "head, shoulder, knees and toes". I've also got the hang of 'under' and 'on top', so you can't hide things from me anymore!

Me showing how to do a 'diamond'.

I've now discovered Duplo and can now build all sorts of things.  M+D say that when they were little the bricks were just squares or rectangles but now I have curvy bits and wiggly bits and I can build animals and insects and things.  They even come with a book to help me build things and tell a story too.  How things have changed!

Seeing friends:
This month has been mainly about eating in and out with friends and family...

So I've been out to a tea house for my friend Leo's birthday party and we had sandwiches and cake.  We played with balloons and wooden cars and trains and I chatted with everyone.  Then it was Mothers' Day and Daddy's birthday so I got to see my babysitter, Diana, because M+D went out for dinner like grown-ups.  I think they had a nice time - I had a lovely time with Diana.  She gives me lots of hugs and lets me watch You've Been Framed.  It makes me giggle a lot!

Aunty Lizzie came to say hello whilst she was in town.  We had a delicious brunch at Village East.  I had pancakes and fruit salad.  I've decided that fruit isn't evil anymore and enjoy grapes, blueberries, banana and strawberries.  I'm still not sure about apples or pears though.  Pancakes have always been yummy.

We all went for Sunday lunch at our local pub; The Black Dog with another friend of mine, Isabella, and her parents.  I just ate bits off M+D's plate and sweet potato fries.  I finished off with cake and ice cream.  Isabella is a girl after my own heart and disregarded most of the savoury stuff and went straight for the sweet treats and snacks brought along by her Mum.  She was very kind and let me share some of them too.  Thank you Isabella!

Next weekend we all got into the car and travelled out of  London into the countryside (well Zone 6 anyway) to see my friend Robin and his parents.  His Mummy cooked food for me and Robin, then it was time for bed whilst his Daddy cooked for the grown ups. But Robin and I decided that it wasn't time for sleep even though it was way past out bedtimes. Eventually we got bored of the grown-up conversations and went back to bed!

Easter has been a mix of Dad doing DIY (wiring, tiling and floor stripping) which has meant lots of things I'm not allowed to touch, even if I look super cute. And then a trip down to see my grandparents which is where I started this blog.
"R is for Rfur". Me doing letters with Grandpa

So another month has flown by and it's April - the month I should have been born in.  I have a feeling M+D will have a little party again to celebrate but apparently once you turn two no one really uses the 'corrected' age anymore so I think this year will be the last of double birthdays.  Humph. I better get extra cake next time!

Bye for now,

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Toddling along

Hello everybody!

Let me start with my big news - I can walk!! They said I wouldn't manage it (actually, the exact phrase was "I'm not saying he'll never walk but...") and, to be honest I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. Having turned 2 'officially' at the end of January, I decided that it was time to try my hand at walking without something to hold on to.  I needed a little persuasion and a trip to St. Lucia to do it but now I'm up and off all on my own!

At the beginning of the month Mum, Dad and I packed up a lot of nappies, Weetabix, raisins, seemingly all the clothes I own, and the odd bit of swimwear and headed off to St. Lucia for a couple of weeks of relaxation and sunshine.  I even got my own seat on the plane as I didn't enjoy the last trip back from Italy on Dad's lap quite so much and this was much more satisfactory.  I had my little iPad and M+D either side of me to keep me safe and sound.  I practiced my charm offensive with passengers and cabin crew.

We spent the first week in a big resort with lots of swimming pools and steep hills.  M+D didn't seem to like having to push my buggy up and down the slopes especially as own room was on the other side of the resort from the Kids' Club and pool.  (Morgan Bay - seriously not recommended) Still, we met some other families and spent most of the time by the Kids' pool and that's where M+D began encouraging to walk on my own.  They started by helping me walk in a pool where the water wasn't too deep but could support some of my weight and off I went.  I was a bit wobbly at first but soon got the hang of it.

Splish splash

We went to the Drive thru' volcano in the south of the island at Soufriere and I splashed about in the warm, volcanic mud pools there. 

Mud, mud glorious mud...

Our first resort was on the Caribbean side of the island and I swam with Daddy in the sea there.
But since it didn't really work for families, we moved to a second resort for the next week and this is where I perfected my skills - on the beach.  The sand meant it didn't hurt if I fell over.  This resort was on the Atlantic side of the island. So I've now swum in the Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean - how cool is that!

Atlantic ocean waves

I learnt a new trick from David one of the bar men.  He taught me to say 'yeah man!' and to make a fist to bounce against someone else's fist.  This makes M&D giggle a lot so they keep doing it with me now we're home too!  Even the Nursery staff are doing it.  Honestly!


We had a fabulous second week (at Cotton Bay), met some lovely other families, met up with M&D's friends Cat and James - I got a babysitter, they got giggly on rum! All to soon it was time to come back. This time I got my own bed - and found it had little switches which made it whizz back and forth. Huge fun for me, slightly annoying for Dad as he tried to sleep, oops!

So now I can toddle along on my own, getting up from sitting without needing someone or something to help me.  It means I'm playing more with the other children at nursery and that I've graduated from the fabulous charity Small Steps, who were such a help to M&D - I got a certificate signed by all the staff!  They have helped me get going and I know M&D are very grateful!

My words have come on leaps and bounds.  I can ask for things by name rather than just pointing.  This mainly refers to the iPad - or Ipider as I like to call it.  Mum thinks this is because I have an App of The Incy Wincy Spider on it and I've muddled the words.   She still knows what I'm asking for though. I can also say some phrases too - 'how are you?'; 'I am fine' and I know my name is Arthur Eccles.  Granny W taught me this last one when she came to baby sit when Nursery was closed.  We had lots of fun and I showed her how to use my iPad and she read me lots of books and watched me walk all over the house including up the stairs.  I need to be watched closely when I do stairs as I'm still not great at going down them and can be a little unsteady.

And did I mention I can count - all the way to seventeen, which is more numbers than I'll ever need I reckon.

Back in dear old London and boy is it chilly.  I've been busy socialising - with Isabella at Gymboree, Artie,  my Godparents and their daughters and with Jill at M&D's favourite gallery: the New Academy and Curwen.  Her space is brilliant for walking practice although M+D did keep stopping me touching things.  Spoil sports!

Bye for now,

Arthur xxx

Monday, 4 February 2013

Birthday greetings

 Hello everyone,

I started the year a troubled soul. We went to my Godparents’ for New Year’s Eve and the three of us were meant to be sleeping in their spare bed. Well I just couldn’t get comfortable, so I had to wake Mummy, then Daddy, then Mummy, then both, then anyone and everyone to explain that I was unhappy. I was perfectly fine the next day. M&D looked tired poor things.

I’m continuing to learn new tricks every week. It’s very satisfying and certainly seems to keep M&D happy. They keep saying well done – and I give myself a round of applause. Mum says I get this from Dad!
New stuff I can do:
Cruising – I can get anywhere in a room if you just give me the odd thing to cling on to.
Standing – I can now stand up on my own. This becomes a bit of a surprise if I do it in the middle of the room as there’s nothing to grab, so I have to sit down again!

I’ve tried walking but you get all wobbly and fall over. M&D and my lovely physiotherapist keep pushing me. I’ll walk when I want to, thank you!
I can climb stairs though. This is new and great fun. I did shock Mum by showing her that I didn’t know how to come down again. I may have bumped my way down but no injuries.
Did I mention I can count? Well I can. Let me show you: Won, too, free, for, fife, seax, nine, ten; bap, bap, bap. That last bit is me clapping ‘cos I’ve done so well. Seven and eight are overrated!

As a result of my obvious genius I’ve been moved up in Gymboree, which means I get to explore a bit more and have more toddlers around me who are walking.  It also means I get to spend time with my friend Isabella who has also moved class too.  She is encouraging me to walk on my own too but I’m quite happy bum shuffling for the time being.

Other things this month – it snowed! In London! I hadn’t played in snow before so M&D took me outside and we built a snowman, then a snow family of three, just like us. It turns out that snow is quite cold and doesn’t taste nearly as good as it looks. Still, it gets M&D very excited.
And Dad went away again for week but I wasn’t ill this time. It did mean he was away for my actual birthday but Mummy gave me extra kisses and I threw my food around slightly less than usual to say thank you.

Helping build our snow family

So M&D held my birthday party on the Saturday. All my godparents came and so did Sophie and Marcus, Robin’s parents who I met in C&W Hospital when he and I were both tiny. Godmummy Sherifa and Goddaddy Fred had made me a cake in the shape of the dinosaur from my favourite book: Dinosaur sleepover. It was quite the best cake ever. So what did they all do. No go on, guess.

Super cool cake and book!

They put me to bed. To bed! To sleep! They then ate lots of food, stinky cheese and drank Daddy’s special grape juice and then they ATE MY CAKE. Without me. Humph.  I did get some the next day though.  It was yummy!
I tell you something; I’m not standing for this next year. I did get super pressies though so a huge thanks to everyone for the presents and the cards.  I feel very special indeed and have lots of new toys to play with.

Lots of love to all,

Arthur xxx

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Very Merry Christmas

Hello everyone and I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas.

December has been a very busy month not just for Mum and Dad preparing for Christmas but for me too.


At the beginning of the month I had a Speech and Language appointment.  Another new therapist but not a locum this time.  She was very impressed by my development in my pretend play, word use and understanding as well my bum shuffling! She's going to see me in March but said that I would probably be discharged at that appointment if I continue to do so well.  Since then I've been mimicking nearly all the words I hear.  I can now say 'clap' and 'grandpa', 'highchair' and 'juice'.  All very satisfying for M + D and grandpa E.  I'm working on 'granny' and still filtering out the rude ones. I also say "uh-oh" whenever anything goes wrong. Apparently this is very cute.

More technology with Grandpa

I've also learned the actions to 'Wind the Bobbin up' and 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'.  I look a little bit like a mini Usain Bolt when I 'point to the door'. Well, sort of.

Point to the door

I've been concentrating on my Physio and can now cruise along the sofa and cross the 90 degrees to the other sofa without stumbling.  Along with this little development I then surpassed myself at Christmas in front of the grandparents by walking with the help of my walker (a belated thank you to Alicja) and pulling myself to standing at the sofa and stairs without help.  This has led to much excitement and rapid baby proofing.

We had an early Christmas at Granny and Grandpa E's with my Uncle Toby, Aunt Julia and my cousins, before they went to Sweden.  Yummy food, lovely times reading and watching Pingu with Lydia and Siri and saying hello to the dog, Cobber.  Mum had to leave a bit early as she had a Carol Concert to rehearse for.  Dad and I joined her later for the actual performance.  I loved it and clapped and cheered every time Mum finished singing whether it was the end of the piece or not!

Watching Pingu

We went to listen to the annual open air tuba carol concert at St. Paul's Cathedral with my friend Robin and his parents.  We took tea and they brought mince pies. The tubas were raising money for The Evelina Children's Hospital (where I spent the last couple of weeks in hospital after I was born).  They played lots of Christmas tunes and the conductor told us lots of interesting facts about the tuba and its various friends like the sousaphone.

Then it was time for more Christmas preparations at our house.  We tidied, rearranged furniture, eliminated drafts with chimney balloons and bought a Christmas tree. Mum baked biscuits to decorate the tree. Most of the biscuits made it to the tree. I like biscuits. Mum took me shopping for last minute purchases and we had a yummy lunch in Giraffe.  I discovered tomato ketchup and how to dip chips into it.  Delicious.

We had our Nativity play at Nursery.  All the children in my room had to dress as animals, so Mum and Dad were very industrious and made me a costume.  Everyone has heard of the tiger who came to the birth of baby Jesus?  Haven't they?


Mum has been taking me swimming as my lessons have been on hold over the Christmas period.  Dad and Granny W came to watch.  I had lots of fun diving off the side and splashing around and a little boy raced me and encouraged me to kick after balls floating in the pool. 

Christmas itself was spent at home and Granny and Grandpa E and Granny W came to stay.  Mum cooked, Dad helped and I entertained the Grandparents with all my new tricks.  I got LOTS of presents - thank you to everyone. I played with my new bath drums, xylophone and flutes, my skittles, trains, Jack in the Box, tea set, telephone and many more besides.  Phew.

After the Grandparents had gone home, Mum, Dad and I prepared for a day off.  The BBC had other ideas and Dad spent the whole day doing interviews on radio and TV.  He looked very smart.

Dad's on the TV

Now it's nearly the end of of this post and the end of 2012.  What a year it's been.  Here's to 2013 - may it be exciting and full of good things for everyone.  Happy New Year!

Finishing touches...

Bye for now,

Arthur xxx