Picnic in the park

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As one of her several birthday activities, Jasmin organised a picnic in the park. We had a similar event at a similar time last year.

The weather was beautiful. We were going to ride down, but we discovered the trailer had a flat – the first time in two years, so not bad.

The boys played cricket, then we sent them on stick gathering expeditions. Sebastian decided to construct an elaborate campfire style construction which he did quite effectively,

Rachel and Jasmin had a bit of head down lying about.

I laughed at the couple I saw on their romantic picnic, with their magazine and laptop with 3G access…..but then considered whether I could ask to borrow it when my boss called me from the middle of Sydney Harbour where she was at the Nick Cave All Tomorrow's Parties festival with work related questions….

We ate cake and dip and goat's cheese and other delicacies, and two and a half hours had passed before we realised,,,,,,

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Teeth cleaning efficiency

Why use one toothbrush, when you can use two?

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Dix Grenouilles

For Christmas, Father Christmas brought Zachary Ten Frogs by Quentin Blake. It has become one of Jude's favourite picks at bed time of late.

When we read it, James reads the English words "One crow" and then I follow with the French "Un corbeau." It feels like the bedtime story equivalent event announcements at the Olympics – for some reason the French Olympics announcer always seems to be a woman… Jude loves it and strives valiantly to pronounce the French words himself. Of course, out of practice as I am, I'm not sure how one pronounces the French word for "wasp" – guepe – but I try my best. Jude has even managed to roll his "r"s once or twice, so there is hope for his French speaking yet….

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Jude moves on

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Jude is starts school in two weeks. So, on Thursday it was Jude's last day at Acton Early Childhood Centre. These are some pictures of his last moments there.

He, of course, took it all in his stride, and was fairly  unphased. His mother felt a little more emotional about the whole thing. He had brought yellow iced cupcakes for morning tea and they sang "Happy last day" to him, which all was rather pleasing for him. His main concern as we arrived to pick him up and found him drawing with his friends Kyler and Ben C was that he hadn't finished his drawing yet.

Jude started childcare earliest of all three – I didn't have a lot of leave at the time and our financial situation dictated an earlier return to work. He began with a couple of days a week at four months, with James looking after him a couple of days, and James' mother looking after him one day for a while. His days eventually increased, although over the whole 4 years, he was probably 5 days a week for less than a year.

When Jude started at childcare, he was still fully breast fed. Unlike Sebastian who went easily between breast and bottle, Jude stubbornly refused the bottle. Absolutely and totally. Knowing I was going back to work a bit earlier, and aware of the expressing issues, I had carefully and purposely built up a big store of frozen milk, dedicatedly expressing every morning while feeding him, which seemed to be the most effective way of doing it. And given the Sebastian experience, we had assumed that it would all be easy. We were wrong. We tried everything – starved him for a day, fed his with me there, with me away, with a scarf or something which smelt like me, with every shape of bottle and teat, with bottles that had been sterilised in solution and ones which had been heat sterilised and nothing. He would refuse the bottle every time. After the stress of the first couple of weeks he was at childcare, where I would be waiting for the call to tell me I had to go and feed him – thinking we were in the clear and he had finally succumbed because it was after 1pm, only to discover he had had an extra long sleep, I just gave in and went and fed him every day for two to three months. That was pretty much my lunch hour for those months. By the time he was 8 or 9 months, we had him drinking enough milk out of a cup to get through the day – and I got to go to the shops again at lunchtime. The funny thing is, unlike Sebastian and Zachary who used bottles, but pretty much gave up drinking milk when they stopped bottles, Jude is still a big milk drinker – the cup habit stuck!

Anyway, Jude our creative boy who never listens but knows everything will start the whole new chapter with school in February and in the meantime has a couple of weeks to chill out.

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In the garden

Jude helps with the planting….

…while Zac does some digging of his own in the sand pit.

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Happy birthday Fred!

This is to say happy birthday to Fred who, despite the inconvenience of living on the other side of the world, is still one of my closest friends – nearly 17 years since we first met.

I love the fact that when we get together – even if we haven't seen each other for years – it is like we talked last week.

Love you lots Frederique, and just wish we could see more of each other!

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Sulky superheroes

Even super heroes like to hide in a corner and sulk sometimes.

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