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

Tuesday, 4 December 2012


Hello everyone,

Once again, I'm sorry for the late arrival of my post - you'd think I'd be early rather than late given my precocious start but never mind!

More progress at my end to report...
I'm using more words.  This was demonstrated nicely when my friend Artie came to visit.  I called him Ardhee, called myself Ardhur and played peedabooooo (peek-a-boo).  I've also started asking for bordher (water).  I can copy sounds too so M+D have been having fun  helping me say other things like pull, push, cup, dog etc.  I can still say banana, hello, bye bye and potato and blueberry.  The babbling has also increased.  M+D still need more lessons in my language but they are improving slowly.

As well as copying words, I can copy actions.  This has led to Mum teaching me 'If you're happy and you know it'.  I clap my hands, pat my head, pat the floor and stamp my feet in all the right places.  I like stamping my feet the most and sometimes get a bit carried away and forget the rest of the verses.  

The bum shuffling has also been stepped up (see what I did there?) with a vengeance.  I'm super speedy, determined and silent.  I'm quicker at getting from lying flat to sitting upright and I've started rocking onto all fours.  This is a big deal according to my physio as it means my shoulders are getting stronger and I'll be able to start getting from sitting to standing via a kneeling position once I decide I'm ready.  Well, you know me, I take my time!  This new improved mobility has got Mum all excited and she's now taking me swimming, to Gymboree and also to a new group for children with additional physical needs called Small Steps.  I've been on a waiting list and now my name has come up so I've been assessed and they think I will benefit from a 'short but sweet' term of intensive help to get me up on 2 feet.  They are brilliant and help young children, and their families.  I had my first session last week and found it really good, if a little tiring but the physiotherapist and teacher there said I did well for my first session and that my stamina would improve as time goes on.

Cutlery is over rated.

It was Mum's birthday this month and I gave her the best present ever.  I had a Movement assessment and the Developmental Paediatrician said I was hitting all my milestones appropriately for my corrected age of 18 months and that if she didn't know my history (being so premature and having the brain bleeds etc) then she wouldn't be able to tell by looking at me.  This is fantastic news; as I'm sure you know all the negative predictions M+D had been given by my doctors early on in my life.  So far, though, it looks like they've been proved wrong.  If they are anything like Mum or Dad in their jobs, they will be super pleased they have been proved wrong in such a positive way.  It also, shows what a good job all my doctors and nurses did whilst I was in hospital to ensure I really did do the very best I could despite all that I've been through.  It's still early days but so much more positive than before.

Now it's getting colder, Mum insists on wrapping me up nice a warm in my buggy.  This is fine but I don't like wearing hats very much (summer or winter) and gloves are a bit of an inconvenience too.  I don't seem to have much of a choice though.

Snug as a bug and high visability.

Another month has flown by.  Next month is Christmas and then it's my SECOND birthday. Yes folks, it will be a whole 2 years since I took Mum and Dad (and everyone else) by surprise.  Who knows what mischief I can get up to in 2013?

Love to all and bye for now,

Arthur xxx

Sunday, 4 November 2012


Very sorry we're running late this month. I've been a bit under the weather lately - nothing too serious: snuffles and industrial quantities of snot; but I passed it on to Mummy (it's good to share, and all that) and so things slowed down a bit.

Anyway - here's a round up of the October news.
Mum ran her half marathon round the parks of London. She'd told Daddy she'd take about 2 and a half hours and did it in 2hrs 30mins and 9 secs which is rather impressive if you knew she'd done no training! And she only needed to walk for a teeny bit (hardly at all) - so that's good. Daddy and I were in support mode; walking all over Hyde park to make sure we saw Mummy in three different places. I clapped and looked extra-cute to help. Thanks to you lovely people Mummy raised a total of £600 for Bliss. Big big thank you to all of you!!! I think Mummy may be planning to run the London Marathon when I am 3 years old - she may need your help!

I can walk. I don't, obviously. But if someone holds onto my hands, and I like them, and I'm in the right mood then I can walk. This seems to make M&D very excited so they keep standing me up. And I keep sitting back down - one doesn't want to rush these things.

I've learned to sit up from lying and roll over whenever I want. This means I can now get from flat to mobile. Whilst this is clearly brilliant, it does have its downside - I have fallen off the bed. I seem to bounce though.

I can count to two. Strictly speaking I can count "two" as I'm not really interested in single things. I can also say 'purple, bubble, tato (potato), nana (banana), nigh nigh and blueberry'. I also continue to talk constantly but my parents just can't work out what I'm saying. This is really stupid of them as I keep repeating myself to make it easier.

I have 16 (yes 16) teeth now and still seem to get new ones. They're really sore to make. but they do make toast easier. I like toast. I also like Nutella. You can make a fantastic mess with nutella. I have also realised that some foods taste yummy (nutella, toast, yogurt, banana, peas and smoothies) and others don't (everything else). Why on earth does anyone eat the non-yummy foods? I am trying to make my preferences known - spitting food out, hurling it to the floor and generally shouting, but they still keep giving me the wrong things. They really are hopeless, still persistence should win this game.

I can draw. Well to be fair, I can make marks with pens or crayons. Now I don't know if you've ever tried drawing when you're 2 foot nothing and sat on the floor - but it's much easier to draw on vertical surfaces than on paper on the floor. Oh, and the pens taste delicious. This tends to lead to Mummy chasing after me to clear up and me with pen all over my face.

God parent dinners:
My god-parents are super. Both sets had me to dinner this month. I have a sneaky feeling that they all stay up after I've gone to bed, but it was lovely to see them all and be generally fussed over.

Um.. That's about it for this month, it's been a bit of a quiet one. So here's a list of my favorite things to keep us going:
Bath time - I love splashing around
Books. At the moment I'm reading "That's not my puppy/Lion/Elephant/Tiger"
Pens - especially to eat
Cables. These are brilliant, and every time you pull or chew on one you get an imediate reaction from M&D
Glasses. I don't know about you, but I think glasses look cool. Every time I see them I want to pull them off whoever's face they're on, and wear them myself!
Planes. I like flying - so naturally I keep spotting planes overhead. And since we're on the way to Heathrow I can see lots of them!
Hugs and chat. Hugs with people I know, and chats with people I don't know well enough to hug.

I'll try and make sure we get the next one out on time
Love and hugs,
Arthur x

Monday, 1 October 2012

September lows to highs

Before I start - even if you get bored by my ramblings please can you read the final paragraph, it's really important to me and babies like me.
Thanks, Arthur x

This month started very well with a family visit to London Zoo to see Marcus, Sophie and Robin; old friends from my time in Chelsea and Westminster. Sophie works at the Zoo so we got the full insiders' tour, with friends of theirs. We had a great time and I particularly liked the Gorillas! And it was lovely to see Robin again.

Daddy went straight off to Oxford from the Zoo. Apparently he needed to be clever for a whole week! Mum decided that one of our special Olympic Mascot photos had been out of focus and so she and I walked across Regents Park and into London. And down through Fitzrovia, past Oxford Street, and into Covent Garden. Wenlock re-found and re-photographed and then we walked down to the river, across and down to home. I'm not sure Mum meant to walk that far but I saw lots of London!

On Monday I brewed up another chest infection and I had a horrid night. At 6am on Tuesday Mum FaceTimed Dad in Oxford and they agreed I needed to be seen by professionals (who aren't relatives) so Mum and I went up to St Thomas' Children's Emergency Department.
First visit Mum bumped into old friends from medical school, one of whom then treated me. Trainee and consultant opinions of how to treat me differed slightly - the consultant won. I went home with Mum feeling slightly better. Sadly I slowly got worse during the day and by the evening I was back in the ED breathing 70 breaths a minute and knackered. Mum found all this quite challenging, lots of memories of my early days. And I spent the night in hospital. I felt really quite a lot better by mid-morning and haven't needed to go back since.

Behind Bars at Tommies

So Mum hit the "help button" and Granny W came to stay a day early to help Mum with me and let Mum go to give a talk at a work course she'd been working on for ages. This would have been enough to make it a stressful week even if I hadn't been ill.  I did my bit by cooperating with my new regime of lots of inhalers and lots of coughing. I let Granny W look after me and didn't have a poo disaster on anyone! Mum coped amazingly given that we'd also chosen this week to have the front garden dug up and new stone paving laid! SUPER-stressful and all without Dad who was still doing his residential course.

Lots of little extras
But I got better, certainly enough to go back to nursery who keep making me stand up. They're even trying me with a walker. Sometimes I will - and sometimes I won't, but they keep trying anyway. The next weekend Mum was on call so stuck in her hospital. Grandad P and Aunty Lizzie came down to London so Dad and I met up with them for a yummy lunch. It was lovely to see them and catch up on the rest of life in Derbyshire.

That Monday we did a "once in a lifetime" when we used Dad's place to watch the Olympic athletes' parade. We were right in front of Buckingham Palace which was brilliant but - big but - we were hanging around for several hours. Mum had chosen to carry me on her back, and I decided not to stay in the carrier. We may have both got a teeny bit fed up at times! That said, we had a brilliant time cheering the athletes, doing the Mobot and listening to Mummy's favourite politician: Boris.  And we were surrounded by men and women in uniform. So maybe I'll think about following my great-grandpas and aunty Lizzie, and consider a career in the Armed Forces?

Well done Team GB!

Mum's got herself a bicycle - and a sore bum! She's now commuting over 12 miles a day by bike. No room for me yet! My swimming lessons have started again - now with a journey on a train but we do get a heated pool. And I do love my swimming.

Dressing up and dressing down
We had two escapes this month. First a weekend at the Goodwood Revival. Lots of old cars for Dad. And dressing up for Mummy and me. We stayed with Granny and Grandpa E and were shown round Goodwood by Simon and Cathrine. I saw car races and the most amazing flypasts. It was brilliant!!

In ear defenders 'cos it was quite loud

All dressed up

The second was for longer - a whole week in Puglia in Italy. We were staying in a simple Masseria formed from an old Monastery. [ ] They gave me my own room next to Mum and Dad - with a vaulted ceiling and everything! We had wonderful weather: 30C and bright sunshine. The hotel had a deep lawn and an infinity edge pool - irresistable if you're a bum shuffling small. I only fell in once - and wore right through one pair of shorts. Puglia is beautiful with the most dramatically sharp coastline.

Action shot
Arty shot

Those who've been reading for a while will know I'm a seasoned flyer, but not this time: tantrums on the way out and nightmares on the way back. Apologies to my fellow passengers and to my poor M&D.


My talking skills are coming on a treat. Mum and Dad are now insisting I say 'please' before I get any treats. I have exacted revenge by saying it so cutely that they can't resist my charms. I can also say 'bye bye'; and impressed my fellow diners by saying bye bye to each table every night!
M&D are teaching me body parts. I've got as far as: eyes, nose and mouth. Can't do hands and feet yet. Cats are OK, dogs are too tricky.

Pay attention please!
As you know my early months were hard. Mum and Dad were very grateful to the advice offered by Bliss, the charity for babies born too sick, too soon.
Mum's clearly lost her marbles and is running a half marathon at the beginning of October. She's raising money for Bliss. If you'd like to help:

Thanks for reading and bye for now.

Arthur xxx

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Summer celebrations

Evening all,

Like most of the country, M+D have been very excited about sport (new thing for Dad, not so new for Mum) and have already decided which sports I should be encouraged to start learning.  Well, if Laura Trott can win double gold after her premature arrival, then why can't I. 

The Olympic and Paralympic mascots have generated a rather OCD type personality in Mum and I have been taken all over London in order to get my photograph taken next to all the models dotted about on trails in different places around town.  For most I managed a smile or giggle, for others I have perfected a look of indifference and for some I just couldn't keep my eyes open!



Smiley with aunt Lizze

I've made mummy stop at four pictures - we've been to over 60 of the stupid things! Still the walks have been nice and it gets us out of the house.

August has been a fairly relaxed month for us.  We have enjoyed the sunshine, visited friends and had friends and family to stay.  My aunt Lizzie came to say hello and also got dragged to see mascots.  She also baby sat for an evening so M+D could go out for dinner. Thank you!

Stolen aunty's sunglasses!

My standing continues to improve and now my physio wants me to do dynamic standing which involves me standing and Mum or Dad moving one of my legs and me moving the other one to catch up.  I'm not a fan of this hard work and make it known to anyone who's nearby.

M+D also continue to encourage me to feed myself. This is a messy process but the shower curtain Mum has out on the floor means M+D don't worry too much about how much food ends up on the floor as long as enough ends up in my tummy.  The bottles have also been relegated to storage as I can drink from a beaker without any problems.  I'm becoming a proper little man.

The other lovely event for the month was the 'whole Eccles family' lunch. The three of us joined by my nieces, aunty and uncle; all went down to Grandpa and Granny's. The sun shone and we played games in the garden. It was simply yummy.

I've moved up into the Tweenies room at Nursery too. This means I'm a 'toddler' although I think I'm probably more of a 'shuffler' right now but soon enough I'll be mobile on 2 feet and then the world will be my oyster and M+D will have to move even more furniture and laptops and cables out of my reach!

I've been to the park near home to play with my friend Leo, and enjoyed the swings, slides and bum shuffling all over the grass.  Leo showed me how to climb over the climbing frames and introduced me to blueberries.  Yummy!

Mum borrowed a TVR Tuscan from the Classic Car Club and we went for a drive. Then Dad and I went out (it's a 2 seater so no room for extra passengers with me in the front passenger seat!).  Mum and I had a good time but Dad drives quite a lot faster. Lots of grins!  It makes a lot of noise and having the roof off is fun as I can feel the wind in my hair.

Vroom vroom

And I can talk now. Sadly my parents remain unable to understand me. I am trying harder and harder, talking loud and longer and even doing arm gestures. I can't wait until they catch up!

Until next month,
Love to all,
Arthur  xx

Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Greetings eveyone,

I don't need to tell you quite how wet it was for most of July here in London and the rest of the UK!  Fortunately, things have brightened up and the Olympics don't seem to have been completely washed out yet!

Matching shorts!

Mum, Dad and I escaped the weather for a few days by visiting our friends, Simon and Cathrine, in Norway and were blessed by days of brilliant sunshine and 27 degree heat.  It was so warm, M+D even dared to swim in the fjord with the Norwegian jelly fish!  I wasn't very well so I was given a reprieve from swimming.  I'm not sure I'll be so lucky if we go back next year.

Enjoying the view in fjords!

Back on home soil, I've been perfecting my bum shuffling and can traverse the whole living room at home and Blue room in Nursery as well as spinning on the spot a full 360 degrees.  This is keeping Mum, Dad and my friends at Nursery on their toes as I'm not always in the same place when they turn round.  But, as usual, my physio is not satisfied and is now getting me to practice standing too.  No rest for this cheeky imp!  Mum has worked out that I'll stand against the sofa if I'm distracted by my favourite apps when she puts her iPhone on the cushion in front of me.  Devious behaviour by grown ups of you ask me but it seems to have paid off. Now I can stand against the sofa/table etc without someone having to hold on to me and I don't always need an iPhone for distraction anymore.  M+D are very pleased indeed.

Distraction with balls not phones

I've had my kidney looked at again.  It's looking good, and I've grown and gained weight so I'm now 10.4kg and 77cm in length.  My blood pressure is normal and my urine is clear but my Consultant clearly likes seeing me as I'm going back again in 6 months for another ultrasound and review.

We've been busy at home, putting up pictures, changing beds in the spare room so friends and family have a more comfortable stay and fitting stair gates so I can't escape. The gate seems quite effective at slowing down grown ups too.

In time for the Olympics, I've learned another phrase to go with 'hip hip hooray!'.  I can now say 'go' when someone says 'ready steady...'.  It does sound more like 'doh' at present but my Speech therapist, who taught it to me, told Mum that g's are very hard for little people to say and d's are much easier.  She also says I am doing very well, achieving most targets for my corrected age and might even be doing a little better than that!

My eyes have been checked again; I can see and look straight ahead.  The Consultant did offer to see me again but Mum said she'd keep an 'eye' (see what I did there?!) on me and come back if necessary.  That means I've been discharged from Cardiology, Respiratory, Audiology and Ophthalmology.  Still on the books for physio, Speech and Language, Developmental and Nephrology but I keep on doing well and knocking off specialities so I might be removed from under the microscope by 5!  I know M+D will be keeping a close watch on me so I won't be able to get away with anything even if the doctors aren't involved!

Speaking of Olympics, Mum and I saw the torch as it came through Wandsworth the day before the Opening Ceremony.  Lots of noise and crowds.  I cheered and waved and Mum managed to hold on to me as I wriggled and squiggled.

Dad did one better and got to see the Tech rehearsal for the opening ceremony on the Monday before.  He came back full of praise about the security, the Olympic Park and the show.  I didn't manage to stay up for the actual event but M+D did and said it was fabulous and the Queen is the latest Bond girl - brilliant.  Shame the NICUs at Northwick Park, Chelsea and St. Thomas' didn't get acknowledged like GOSH but I know we're all  incredibly grateful to the NHS for my care when I was born and the Outpatient care that continues.

I promise there will be more videos next month.  But I hope you've enjoyed my photos and chat from this month.

Love to all,

Arthur xxx

Saturday, 30 June 2012


Good evening everyone.

More interesting than tennis!

It's been quite a celebratory month - Jubilee, Wimbledon and my own personal triumphs...

My Jubilee started on Friday with a trip to Speech and Language Therapy.  Mum collected me in a bit of a flap having legged (or tubed) it from work after doing her morning list, she hailed a taxi to get me and her to my appointment and we made it just in time. Phew.  I had a lovely time playing with lots of toys and Mum answered lots of questions about my birth, my time in hospital and what I was able to do and say now.  At the end of my appointment, we were told I was very good at paying attention to adults and toys but that I was behind in my word use and comprehension.  This may have something to so with the fact that I'm also behind in my mobility too.  I can't get up and explore like others my age (now 14 months corrected) and that is delaying other aspects of my development.  It seems it's all linked together and all important.  Mum was not surprised but it is a bit upsetting to keep hearing that I'm not 'normal' and that I continue to need additional help.  Both M+D know that I am doing brilliantly in comparison with what they were told to expect way back when I was in hospital and when I had my MRI scan but it is still hard to hear it from specialists.

I've got feet in my book and on me!

We had 2 Jubilee barbeques.  Dad went a bit bonkers with bunting and flags in the garden and made it look very pretty.  I said hello to our guests and then went to bed.  I heard the words Pimms and fizz mentioned and our neighbours' pork chops were complemented highly on Friday and Fred's ribs were complemented highly on Saturday too.  Both sets of my Godparents came round to say hello.  And one set stayed for breakfast on Sunday too which was lovely as I got to play with their daughters.  They selected all my noisiest toys and helped me play with them.  I think the parents found it a bit difficult to hear.  Well, it's not my fault they're getting on a bit and their hearing isn't as good as it used to be! 

At lunchtime on Sunday, M+D and I went for a walk to Lambeth Bridge, where we waited with loads of other people (well, actually I sat on Dad's shoulders for a while, them Mum held me for a bit, then Dad held me for a bit then I sat on Dad's shoulders again) for around 3 hours to watch lots of boats go past.  One boat in particular was very big and had a little woman in a white hat on it.  Everyone cheered and waved flags when it went past.  Apparently it was Brenda and Phil.  Of course, I'd met Brenda before at the Polo but it seems she was too busy to wave to me personally this time.
Despite it being June, it was chilly so we pottered along to The Black Dog in Vauxhall for a spot of food and were not disappointed with a fabulous hog roast with the best crackling ever!

Boing boing

M+D keep giving me new toys to play with. I suspect this is something to do with the 'development specialist' saying I should be playing differently. "Piffle" I say - complete nonsense.
So they gave me gorgeous wooden blocks (thank you to Alicja, Emily and Piotr) and Daddy kept stacking them; and I've had fun banging them together. They gave me hoops with beads in (thank you Granny W) and Mum showed me how to put them back on the post they came on; and I banged them together. And so they gave me random shapes, and Mummy kept joining them together to make a snake - which really annoyed me; and I banged them together. And then they gave me special shapes and a box with a lid you could post them through, and they both kept showing me where the square and the triangle went; and I banged them together.
And I want to know... what is wrong with just banging toys together. I like the noise they make, and it keeps me happy. My parents should just chill out, that's my view!

As part of getting ready for my meeting the Queen, M+D have taught me a new trick. They say "hip, hip" and as we all go "hurray" I stick my arms up as high as I can get them. Well my lovely team at the nursery love this. So whenever someone comes into our room they say "hip, hip" and I do my little hurray wave and everyone laughs. You have to keep your public happy, that's what I say.

Hip hip - whatever!!

And now for two little things before two big ones:
Mum and Dad have finally caught me out with the beaker. I've done my best to keep using a bottle at home but they've managed to work out I can use a beaker - so I'm experiencing a little 'tough love' right now.


And I had my longest ever visit without my parents. They went off to see Don Giovanni at Garsington (and very smart they looked too, dressed as penguins for some reason). I went to see lovely Marlene and Roger who took super-good care of me for nearly ten hours - and I had fun for all of it, so huge thanks.

And in bigger news:
Another wedding! This time for Katie and Blake. Katie was one of my early babysitters but has now moved to Northampton. Which was where we went for a simply lovely do. There were dozens and dozens of children and lots of Simon's colleagues from the hospital - I had a super time. I did lots of dancing on Dad's shoulders watching Mummy who'd drunk lots of special grown-up 'bubbly milk'. Fun for everybody. Huge congratulations to the whole Dunkley clan.

Not the real Mr and Mrs Dunkley!

And my biggest news of all:
I can move!!!!!
I have learned how to bottom shuffle. Many thanks to aunty Julia who gave me some 'wiggly worms'. These are utterly delicious sweeties. And M+D are very good at using them as a bribe to get me to shuffle over. And over the course of June I've got quicker and quicker. I've also learned how to turn, usually without falling over, when I want to go somewhere else. I have had a few goes at crawling but I'm clearly doing something wrong as I seem to get further and further away from whatever has interested me. This tends to make me very cross indeed!

I still haven't mastered sitting up from lying down yet so M+D can still leave me and find me in the same place but I'm practising and practising so I'll keep you posted!!

Love to all,
Arthur x

Monday, 28 May 2012

Wheezy one!

This month started with a trip to A&E with Dad.  I'd had a good day at nursery but as the day went on, I became more and more wheezy so nursery phoned and Dad collected me.  Then Mum got a text message from Dad saying we were in A&E having inhalers and observations, chest X-ray and they were threatening to take blood from me.  Mum sat at work watching the clock until her on call ended and came straight to the hospital where I was giggling and wiggling all over the place whilst Dad looked a bit drained!  After my period of observation (or flirting with the nurses if you believe Dad) I was sent home with inhalers and a special spacer gizmo to help me get all their goodness into my lungs. They seem to be working well and I don't need them all the time.
M + D had more friends round for dinner and we went to Norfolk for a friend's birthday party where there was more coronation chicken than at Buckingham Palace in 1952!  Well done Erika and Rupert on a fantastic bash!

May be a little too much toast at once!?

We went to my friend, Arthur's 1st birthday.  I had chocolate cake and sausage rolls.  Yummy.  I think I'm getting hang of this grown up food.  I'm also finally getting to grips with drinking from a beaker.  According to Nursery, I've been doing it for a while but it's a trick I've been less willing to show at home.  Well, if you've got parents who'll hold a bottle for you, why hold a beaker and drink it yourself?

The Arthurs and their daddies

Along with my wheeze, I got Hand, Foot and Mouth.  This is a virus completely unrelated to Foot and Mouth so I didn't have to be quarantined and M+D didn't have to dip their feet in disinfectant.  It did make my hands look a little sore and blistered but, since no-one had told me I was ill, I carried on as usual. 

It was then my turn for another birthday party.  This time I had to share the lime light with my Grandad and my uncle for a 121st Birthday.  We had lots of friends round to Granny and Grandad E's and had a hog roast and a magician.  It was brilliant and didn't even rain.  M+D said it was the weather they had wanted at their wedding almost 3 years ago.  Apparently it rained quite a bit on their big day!  Despite M+D asking friends not to bother with presents they seemed to ignore the request but I didn't mind lots of lovely presents, so thank you!

More pressies for me!

Then the sun came out...and we have had lots of barbeques in our new back garden.  Three in a week to be precise.  Dad has bought a lawn mower and is now obsessing with making stripes on the world's smallest lawn.  Honestly, I've got muslins bigger than our lawn.  But it is soft and comfy for me to sit on and safer for me than the pond that was there before.

Me with Granny E

It's been a warm finish to the month and I've been sleeping in just my pyjamas without a growbag.  This has given me much more freedom in my cot and my wiggling has meant that M+D have found me in all sorts of positions by the morning.  Turning 180 degrees is nothing to a growing boy like me.  I still haven't quite got round to using me legs for crawling or standing yet but I do kick them when we go swimming and I do straighten my legs when I'm really angry and want to make a point. My physio has given me more exercises involving Mum's big swiss ball.  It is a bit of a work out for Mum too as she has to concentrate on keeping me on it as I roll and bounce about. 

Only 90 degree shift overnight this time

It's nearly Jubilee time and I've got my outfit washed and ready to go.  Photos to follow...

love to all,
Arthur xxx

Sunday, 29 April 2012

April showers

Hello everyone!

The telly may say it's a drought but it's been very wet if you're my height. Mum has become quite skilled in pushing the buggy with one hand whilst holding an umbrella with the other and I have got used to being under my plastic raincover. 

As I said in my last blog, I had lots of appointments this month.  Most went OK.

My physio said I am progressing at my own pace and still not showing signs of anything abnormal. She showed Mum some more exercises to help me stand and suggested that we give rolling a break as I really don't like it and actively resist attempts to help me do it. But I forgot so managed to show M&D that I can roll both ways, this weekend!

playing with my wooden Ark animals

I had my 1 year developmental assessment.  Actually I was 11 months and 2 weeks old (corrected) but close enough.  The doctor asked M+D lots of questions about what I was and wasn't doing at home and then got me to play with lots of different toys.  He then filled in a VERY long form, did some calculations and came up with scores to give the doctors and M+D an idea of how I'm developing.

It didn't really tell us anything we didn't already know, just made it more official.  I am about 4 months behind my corrected age for 'gross motor' skills (I don't crawl or stand) and I'm about 2 months behind on my speech and language as I've only just started properly babbling but my fine motor and social skills are about right.  The doctor said that I'm doing 'OK' in relation to other 26 weekers and that over time I will hopefully catch up and start walking.  I know M+D found it quite hard to hear but Dad is an optimist and seemed pleased that the news wasn't worse.  At least I am moving both arms and legs symmetrically.  My brain bleed could have meant that my left side didn't work so well, and still might not, but as I get older and I continue to move all my limbs equally, the chances of me being badly affected by it become less and less likely.
So I get to do this again in a year!  Whoopee.  I think Mum may try to train me to do all the tests before then!

But away from such formality I have been trying out some new skills. I've been learning to feed myself. This fabulous fun.  Mum has had to lay a shower curtain under my high chair. But you can flick weetabix a very long way if you're given your own spoon! I have also learned that things still exist even when I can't see them. Mum and Dad were very amused to see me peer round the back of the computer to see where Granny had gone when we disappeared while we Skyped.

Steering Dad with his hair.

Easter was fun and I got to see all my Godparents.  Fred and Sherifa did an Easter egg hunt for me and M+D got quit excited about finding the eggs all over the garden!  I had my first taste of chocolate - I think I need some more before I pass judgement...
Then my other Godparents and their daughters came to say hello and we (not me actually) ate hot cross buns and drank tea.  I tried eating hot cross buns but found pinging bits of buttery baked goods around the dining room much more fun!

Don't interrupt me eating my toast!

Mum and I had a lovely visit from one of my fellow Chelsea escapees and his Mum.  He is doing really well, standing up and holding his own bottle and other grown up tricks.  I sat and played with my toys, but took in all in for later!  It was good for Mum to chat to another Mum who has had a similar (and harder!) journey.  They 'compared notes' about Outpatient appointments and being back at work.  Yawn. They did bring yummy cakes too.

Granny W (or clapping granny) came to stay.  I call her 'Clapping Granny' as I clap at her and she claps at me on Skype.  She baby sat so M+D could go out and see a theatre company called Spy Monkey with Fred and Sherifa.  They had a really good time and I was well behaved for Granny.   On Sunday, we went for Sunday lunch at The Black Dog.  It was yummy and I had a great time and tasted ice cream and an Eccles cake.  Apparently, M+D had nicknamed me 'cake' when I was just a bump in her tummy, so an Eccles cake seemed appropriate.  It's only taken a year since I was born!


M+D and I went to watch the London Marathon and to cheer on our friend, Sam, who was running.  We had tracked her on our computer but I didn't manage to see her actually running but met up with her and her family afterwards.  A massive congratulations to her and to all the other runners. 

To celebrate my second first year birthday, Mum baked little cakes.  Dad took some to work, Mum took some to her work and I took some to Nursery.  None came home which Mum took as a good sign.  I got to try a bit too - again, I think I need more before I pass judgement but my cousins seemed to like them when they came round with their parents!  M+D also had friends round to help them celebrate.  I stayed up to say hello but couldn't keep my eyes open for long so went to bed so M+D could enjoy the evening.  They were a bit quiet the next morning and there were lots of glasses to wash up so I tried very hard to be good and not to shout too loudly! 

Despite the awful weather, we are having our garden 'done'.  The toddler drowning device (or pond) has been filled in and some grass is being laid for me to play on once the weather improves.  I do feel sorry for the gardeners doing the work.  They haven't been able to do much because of the rain and mud but they do seem to have moved most of the back garden into the front garden in the meantime. 

So hopefully the garden will be finished by my next blog and I'll have become a bit more mobile so I can enjoy it and keep M+D on their toes even more.  More parental training!  Fabulous!

love to all

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

M is for...

...the month of March (obviously)

It is also for...MORE.

I have more teeth.  This month I have sprouted 3 more making 6 in total.  I tend to produce teeth quite covertly and these were no exception.  Mum noticed this time when I was a bit grumpy and then I nibbled her arm leaving more teeth marks than she expected!

I am putting on more weight.  I now weigh 9.5kg, more than 10 times my birth weight!  Apparently, you are supposed to double your birth weight.  That wasn't such a challenge for me but if you count the weight I was when I went home last April (around 4kg) then I'm doing well.  This weight gain has meant M+D cannot carry me in the Baby Bjorn anymore and carrying me in their arms is cuddly but they go all puny and get tired far too soon.  My friend and namesake Arthur, and his Mum recommended a backpack type carrier and I've been nice and comfy in that. M+D can both carry me around for ages now!  Thank you Artie!

M is for Mauritius!

We (M+D and I) went on holiday this month.  None of us had ever been to Mauritius and in celebration of one year since my early arrival and Dad's birthday and Mum having been at work for nearly 6 months, off we flew.  Mauritius is MARVELLOUS.  The sun shone everyday.  I went swimming everyday. I tried lots of new foods including curries, rice crispies and sorbet, everyday.  I got lots of hugs from the lovely staff at our hotel and from many of the guests too.  We went to the 7 Coloured Earths and saw giant tortoises.  Whilst we were there, several honeymoon couples from India came up and asked M+D if they could have a cuddle and picture with me.  I tried to be as accommodating as I could be and didn't complain too much.  Apparently, it is good luck to cuddle a baby on your honeymoon and they thought I was super cute (naturally!!!) and so wanted a hug.

M is for minus too.  (I know it's a bit tenuous but bear with me!)
This week the oxygen concentrator and the cylinders that I needed when I was first home from hospital were finally removed.  The doctors thought it best I hung on to it over the winter in case my lungs didn't cope well with chest infections in the cold weather.  I have managed to survive the winter without a single admission to hospital and I've not needed steroids or oxygen.
I also have less hair having had my first haircut.  Dad had become slightly distressed by the hair growing over my ears and so took me along to meet his barber, Vic.  I watched Dad having his hair cut and then it was my turn.  I only had a little take off the back and sides but M+D both think I look more grown-up for it.  I'm not so sure.

First haircut in a special chair

M is finally for mimicking.  I am now starting to copy facial expressions when Mum pulls faces at me.  I also copy her when she claps at me.  This amuses her no end.  Along with this, I am babbling away and saying 'da da' and 'ga ga' and 'doh-doh' (in honour of our trip to Mauritius).  Still no 'ma ma' yet but that hasn't stopped M+D trying to teach it to me.

So, another month has been and gone and I am approaching my second first birthday at the end of April.  More hospital appointments to come so I'll let you know how they all go...

love to all

Arthur xxx

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Fantastic February

Hello to all!

I hope everyone has had as good a February as me!  It looks like many of you have been busy checking out my blog.  Over 100,000 hits since my musings began last year.  Thank you.  And thank you to George from the Nursery for my birthday card and thank you to PJ for taking an interest in my story too.  I hope you continue your training to help Mums and babies out there.

I've been very busy with nursery, swimming, visiting friends and family and more hospital appointments.

Splish splash

I've settled in well to 'Blue room' at nursery and I have established my sitting so I can play and reach for things.  M & D are beginning to learn that my reach is further than they think.  Hee hee. The staff at the nursery have helped me make M&D a Valentine's day card and also managed to make sure I wasn't covered in as much glitter as the card.  Dad and I also made a card for Mum too.  Dad couldn't quite manage full handprints but my thumb prints were super cute!

I had another hospital appointment on February 14th.  My kidney doctors say I am thriving and I keep getting heavier and longer and my head is growing too.  It is still a bit behind my length on the centile chart but getting bigger nonetheless.  Mum says that she and Grandad P don't have enormous heads so may be I'm just taking after them.

Another appointment followed the following week.  This time with the Community Paediatrician.  My lovely physio thought it would be a good idea to get me 'in the loop' for community follow up so I, and M&D, can get help with planning my schooling and possible occupational and speech and language therapy.  She said I was 'spot on' with my social skills for my corrected age of 10 months but that my gross motor skills were a bit behind at 8-9 months. Nothing too horrid and she was pleased I wasn't showing any signs of abnormal movements or asymmetry so that's good.

I have started another term at swimming and now we are swimming through hoops and gliding underwater (with the help of Mum).  Apparently, we will do a Mexican push and glide at the end of term when all the Mums and babies push off from the wall underwater, one after the other.  Sounds cool!

We have been busy driving up and down the M1 too.  Firstly, we spent the weekend with some of Dad's oldest friends in Leicester.  It was very pretty with the countryside covered in snow.  I managed to avoid a snowball fight but Dad got beaten by the other children.  It was so nice to see M+D and their friends enjoying themselves and having some time to relax and do nothing.  And I got snuggly hugs and playtime with 5 different new young friends.

Me and snow!  Wrapped up snug as a bug.

Another weekend, we drove back up the M1 to Mum's old school so she could give a talk to students there about being a medical student and junior doctor.  They seemed to like her talk and I got to see where she went to school and to see Granny W and Grandad P and Nana.  We all headed a bit more north the same weekend to Hebden Bridge to visit more friends for the night.  We went for a walk in the Yorkshire hills and I had a bit of roast beef.  Generally I chewed it and spat it out and dropped it on the floor.  I'm still learning how to let go of things in a controlled way and I've only got 3 teeth but I'll get the hang of it soon enough. Then over 4 hours on the M1 home again. But now I have a big car seat which lets me see where we're going so I was able to talk to M&D all the way!

Nice and warm inside after snowball fight

Granny W came down to babysit one day too.  The nursery had a training day so she came to look after me so M&D could go to work.  She brought me some new toys to go with my electric xylophone.  I got a drum, a laptop and a mobile phone.  I like playing with Mum's computer and phone so now I have my own.  They don't seem to let me Skype to people like Mum's but the buttons are easier to press and they all play music and have flashing lights.

Dad earned some man points by demolishing the enormous headboard/shelf thing in their bedroom.  It was attached to the wall by more screws than most people would deem necessary and Dad managed to remove it without taking the bedroom wall down too.  Well done Dad.  The room looks so much bigger now and there is room for more pictures of me on the wall.  Fab. Next task is the garden which has a non-Arthur friendly pond.  Watch this space....

I've now met some of Mum's new work colleagues too.  She and I went to a party in West London for the 40th birthday of one of her Consultants.  There were lots of people and it was quite noisy but I took it all in my stride (and lapped up the attention) and everyone thought I was super cute (naturally).  Mum was very pleased I didn't scream the place down but she did realise that I am now over 9kg and holding me for a while makes her arm ache!
I've had a slight eye infection, probably as a result of rubbing snot from my nose into my eyes.  I've battled on (as usual) even when M+D have had to clean my eyes as my eyelids were stuck together.  To thank them, I have kindly given it to Mum so now she has sore eyes and can't wear her mascara or contact lenses.  This is apparently a big deal in Mum world!

1st March 2011 - times (and weights) have changed
As for me, I've got over my third cold of the winter and my eyes are less gummed up. Still, plenty more bugs at nursery if you look hard enough!!

love to all,