Nearly 3.

The boy will be 3 next week. Hard to believe that the bump that felt like it would never be born, who became Marmite and who was that terrifying, ever sleeping, jaundiced scrap of a baby for so long, is now a wild, walking, talking, dustbin lorry loving little boy.

Highlight of the week, the rubbish truck.

My Timehop from a year ago tells me he was just beginning to gather vehicle words a year ago. Now he’s more or less conversational, at that delicious age where they find ways round what they want to say with the words they have and where the thoughts and words that come out are not the words that or ideas that you put in.

He adores Mr Tumble, Peppa Pig, pirates, all vehicles, stirring up pretend cakes, drawing, endless reading of stories and a large amount of of making willy, bum and poo jokes. And trumps. He does like people trumping.

He never stops bouncing or running and throwing things. He rarely sleeps before 10pm, even if he doesn’t have a nap, which he has pretty much stopped having now. He’s potty trained (but scared of the toilet and of poos!)

A heap of fab presents but the run away success has been the mr tumble magazine & free gift from his stocking.

He really loves his mummy. He loves us all very much in fact. He’s amazing at please, thank you and asking people if they’ve had a nice day. (“Nice day? Nice run? Nice gym? Nice toilet?”)

He’s clearly going to be a gymnast, since he already does dive rolls off the sofa arm.

Pirate Lego is a huge hit!

Lego is a hit. He’s great at imaginative play actually; soft toys are an unexpected hit with him.His detail recall is remarkable; he clearly remembers our holiday last summer and all the people and animals. He’s gone off jigsaws but can count to 10 and is currently obsessed with nursery rhymes, either me singing them, on an app or to listen to at night.

He played Groovy Girls all afternoon.

Just lately he’s started attaching to random objects for a few days. He sleeps in a bed but trots through to me in the night, always with his pillow or blanket or a toy in his arms.

He’s still breastfed, making him the longest standing nurser of all of them. :roll:

And....... Melt.

And he is very, very loved.

Getting up this morning was a challenge.

And very rarely like this.

The boy.

Alarmingly adept at gadgets, for a child with limited access to them.

He thinks this face is very funny.

Really quite mental.

Alarming hair; he seems to have grown a tail and a crest. Does he think he's a moorhen

His hair is slightly ridiculous.

Out on a walk with the menfolk.

He and Daddy are very big mates. Their favourite thing, after throwing rugby balls, is looking at classic car books and seeing who would like which car. He can spot a Bentley and a Ferrari.

He’s just stopped going to nursery 3 days a week (Xmas rush) and gone down to 2 days. He’s going to try out a local playgroup soon because like Fran, he’s really not a big fan of being at home all day. I miss him, but I’m glad he likes it and we have a lot of fun when he is at home.

I’ve tried very hard to make sure he’s grown up in the sun and unencumbered by the shadow of his brother. Last week he sang “Baby Freddie, Baby Freddie, where are you?” and looked at me enquiringly.

It’s hard to know how much he understands of all of that. I am quite sure that he is his own person though.

It’s hard to believe we were ever without him. A few weeks ago the original 6 of us were Xmas shopping at the end of his nursery day. It suddenly hit us strongly how quickly we can drop back into that format of family – and then hit us instantly fiercely how awful that would be.

Love you, Bene boy.



A trip to Narnia.

We’ve not had snow here in our town. The line of settling snow stopped 10 miles above us and we only got the tease of flakes that didn’t stay. It isn’t quite winter without snow; last year never felt right because it never even seemed to get cold.

Today I cashed one of my family wish tickets and we took a trip up to Burghley House. Everyone wanted to see the Sculpture Gardens, which we can’t afford to go into in Summer and have always been a good winter walk. We were really disappointed to find them now closed in winter. I feel swizzed :(

Still, there was snow in abundance, which hadn’t occurred to me when we set off and the kids loved it. It was almost as if we arrived at a magical theme park with snow specially laid on. Or for the more literature minded, Narnia. For Bene it was his first proper experience of the white stuff and he was thrilled. It didn’t take long for him to get the idea and crunch along with everyone and do some snowballing.

Love this

I love this photo. I think it might become my new Facebook header, so long as I make sure it still has the Freddie elements too. I can still see where he would have been, even so. It’s striking me very hard that were are only the cusp now of our eldest no longer being in the ‘child’ photos. This might be one of the last photos of them playing together.


Fran and I spoke today about parenting and knowing how and when to let go. I hope I get it right. I hope I’m doing it right. It can be so hard to know.


The chicks, most of them. Honestly, where did that brood of little ones go. And how many people walk past us and wonder if Bene belongs to one of them, I wonder?

Don't think you can beat the beauty of a   today

The park was beautiful today. It was as perfect a moment for a family wish ticket as I could hope for. We don’t ask for much in this family. I’m not too worried about money or amazing holidays. Cold wintery snow and nobody (else) dead will do me.


Freddie. He’s always there. I could say “even on special days” but of course I mean “especially on special days”. Almost 5 years ago I came here the day before his funeral. The mistletoe bundles were up in the trees, with spring leaves about to burst open across them. Whenever I see it, I think of him, so today I did too.


But the day belonged, quite rightly and most of all, to the boy of not quite three who realised that when his sister bent over to pick up snow, he could throw snow at her exposed back and it would go down her trousers.

Nicely done, Bene :lol:

I’ve had time to think about blogging over this last week. I’m beginning to carve out more of what will be here.

My words for the year are going to be “record” and “legacy”. I’m going to try to get back to recording the things that our family will remember doing together, the house, our life, family. I’m starting to work out what will be written elsewhere. I think it will work.

But the thoguht for the day? Definitely snow down your big sister’s bum crack.

I have no idea how he knows that phrase. It must be a boy thing.

Clever Gifting for 3 Year olds with Older Siblings.

As another Christmas threatens to roll down on the family with the weight of a dumper truck, I do my normal helpless gaze around of the beleaguered mother; first I have to think of new and original gifts for 5 children and then I have to find somewhere to put them.

When a little boy happens to have 4 older sisters, all of who received politically correct gifts that didn’t pander to ridiculous gender stereotyping for the sake of it, there is precious little left to purchase. And with the previously mentioned sisters having been bought good quality, lasting toys and all being hoarders by nature, most toy niches have been filled anyway.

Which leaves me with a problem. He is SO excited and last year he simply loved opening things. This year all the big girls know presents are mostly minimal and ‘need’ things but I do want him to have the magic.

So what to do?

I’ve come up with a plan, a three point plan that solves most of my problems.

  • a) buy things that are disposable
  • b) buy things that go with sets you already have a place for anyway
  • c) buy a main present that will then hold a number of tiny ‘unwrap constantly for 4 hours’ type of cheap items.

1. This month we reviewed the Mega Bloks Thomas 123 Learning Train which he absolutely loved. Not only is it a favourite character of his but he adores construction bricks and had a wonderful time playing with the train and loading it with bricks.

Reviewing the   set

It’s compatible with the other leading brand and had the added fun of stickers for hedges and luggage blocks which made him very happy. Since that has automatically gone in with the box of this we already own, it hasn’t added to bulk of toys particularly and he’s desperate for a Percy too so that will be in his gift pile this year.The train is really detailed and robust and nice to use and the blocks are nice to handle and clip together well.

We were also sent the First Builders blocks to try. He loved making scenery and towers to bash with these but they are designed for the 1-2 age and we can happily pass those on to the gym soon (see, I get to feel good then ;) )

How creepy is the leering pumpkin


2. For disposable I’m going for some Playdoh. He adores vehicles and the bin lorry in particular so that is easily bought, Playdoh won’t last forever and then the main item can go in the sandpit for next year.

playdoh bin lorry

3. Another disposable thing that would make him happy is a mass of cheap colouring books, magic painting sets and chunky pencils. They will soon be used up, they are cheap and I won’t have to look at them for long, plus they will keep him lovely and quiet for ages.

4. Being a lucky boy who has parents with a toy shop, Bene doesn’t go short. He’s already got lots of BigJigs Rail items and a few new engines tucked into the basket won’t cause us too much trouble.


5. His main present this year will be a wooden toy garage. (He’s getting lucky here as a customer returned one with a bashed box so we put it aside for him!) It will take up some space, admittedly, but it means I can buy a whole clutch of single cars, wrap each one separately for him to open and they can all be stored on the garage when it isn’t being used, or in the box of cars we already have.


6. Dressing up. As previously mentioned, Bene is all about the bin lorry. He makes his own one with our paper bin, two small chairs and a big chair and sits in the ‘front’ with socks on his hands for gloves and a teacup (he observes very closely it seems) which is adorably cute. So this year a home made outfit of tiny high vis jacket, bobble hat, plastic flask and gloves will make his week I expect and will go in his clothes drawer when not in use.

My only current problem is stocking fillers. I’m stumped. Any ideas?



The Gallery: Yellow

We went to the library, to see the lady read the books – and she read some books about Spot.

Oh Spot… you and I have been friends a long, long time now.

And afterwards, they do drawing.


And he picked up the yellow pen and, with great deliberation, drew a yellow circle. And told me so.,

He doesn’t say ‘lellow'; he may lisp ‘yeth’ for yes, but he has yellow all sorted.

And then he added eyes and a mouth and said,

Bene drew this very carefully and said 'Smile... Face!'

“Face… Smile!”

And then some fur.

A cat.

He’s growing up so quickly now.

He's nearly 3. I don't get how that is even a thing that can be true.

Entered, due to the serendipity, into The Gallery this week.

Almost 3.








He’s almost three.

It’s hard to believe there was ever a time when he wasn’t firmly at the centre of the family.

The boy who lived. (Which was very nearly the title of the post announcing his birth, but I was too scared to tempt fate by using it).

He talks ALL the time now. When he doesn’t know the word he find a way round it.

When he can’t get us to do his bidding he finds a way round us.

Cheeky boy who had a lovely time at playgym.

He’s the cheekiest, sunniest, happiest, most filled with sunlight boy I could imagine.

'Wow, massive rainbow!' Says Bene, the rainbow baby. (Who is nearly 3!)

“Wow! A massive rainbow. I drawed a massive rainbow, mummy!”

Gymnast in the making I think. (The boy, not Fran!)

he has things he likes to do, places he likes to go. He has memories of trips to the library that he can draw on and talk about.

Show me the cars, daddy.

“Twinkle twinkle little star, Bene and Daddy racing car”. He made up his own little song.

Go higher, daddy!!!

He’s a fearless daredevil.

Last week I took him to playgym and my little boy dashed off and didn’t look for me all session.

He loves his nursery – but hates being dropped off.

On his (!!!) my-pad.

He’s a whizz with an ipad, if I let him have it. I rarely do.


It’s so very hard to imagine a time without him.

To be honest, I try very hard not to.

Almost three, baby boy. Almost three.