Simple Fact of Boyhood #1

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Pirate pyjamas are

FANTASTIC!

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We got the Decorators In!

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These two pictures were actually taken at the end of 2009 after a particularly messy session involving several pots of poster paint and a large roll of paper. 

Personally, I can’t thing of anything better than hand & foot painting with a 5 year old and a 1 year old.  Especially when there’s no danger of ruining the floors, walls, carpets, etc.

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Bath Time Ad-Venture

Alex Bathtime10x15From filthy dirty to squeaky clean. There’s something about a freshly cleaned baby that makes their eyes really sparkle.  This is one of my favourite pictures of Alex and was taken after a warm bath on a cold winter’s day. 

A little Photoshopping was required to blow out the white towel for a ‘Venture-esque’ feel

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A Little Help Here?

I’m trying to work out how to manage the advertising for a commercial venture. You will notice that several ads have been unstrategically positioned in the least offensive place on this blog and it would be a huge help if you could just click on a few ads that you might find reasonably interesting (or not).


Every time you click on a link, the nice men at Google promise to pay a tiny little bit of money to me (don’t worry, it doesn’t cost you anything). In the unlikely event that I ‘earn’ enough money, Google will send an actual cheque which I can apparently spend on on real stuff!

However, this is not intended as an exercise in earning me money, so I promise to donate any revenue to Oliver’s school, so remember to keep coming back and clicking on those ads. Whatever it makes will posted on this blog for all to see.

Thanks for your help.
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What Doesn’t Kill You…

Where to start? Once again I find myself commencing a blog post apologetically, due to my own poor efforts to submit any kind of timely entries to this site.  So much has happened that I can’t clearly remember the order of events.  The following post therefore, will bring you up to date, in no particular order.

Alexander Update

IMAG0027 No doubt we’ll look back at this blog and wonder why Alex’s first year has been so woefully overlooked. For that Alex, I am sorry.  The inescapable truth is that this has been a very difficult year for our family, financially, domestically and personally.

Alex has, over the past 10 months or so developed a strong, unique personality which ranges from heart-meltingly cute to hair-tearingly frustrating.  An ‘easy baby’ he is not, but of course we love him with all our hearts and we’ll get him back for it when he’s older! 

As you will probably guess he’s walking around now and seeking out danger even in the most unlikely of places; and in the perpetual building site that is still our home, danger is in no short supply.  Whilst he’s not actually speaking our language at the moment, he definitely has a language which, in combination with a pointed finger and raised eye-brows, seems to get him pretty much anything he wants.  He also hero worships Ollie and is a fantastic mimic, copying his every action and sound when the mood takes him.  05042009075 That said, two more different personalities were never seen in brothers.  At Alex’s age, Ollie was already an ‘academic’; entranced by CBeebies on the television, using the computer (with help) and showing extraordinary single-mindedness and attention to a given task. Conversely he was (and to a lesser extent, still is) less than confident on the physical side.  Aware of danger and risk averse to an occasionally worrying degree.  Alex, on the other hand has no such inhibitions.  Danger, as they say, could be his middle name.  He constantly amazes us how physically capable he is and how incredibly strong he is for his size.  Until you’ve seen a 14 month old wondering around the house carrying pumpkin half his size, you haven’t seen anything.  Please don’t misconstrue this as an ‘Oliver’s the brains and Alex is the brawn ’ kind of post.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Alex shows an extraordinary problem solving ability, especially when faced with the problem of how to get somewhere when his path is blocked or how to retrieve something something from a hard to reach place!

It’s fair to say that our boys are chalk and cheese, but the cheese is quite chalky!

Oliver Update

IMG_9094 Ollie finished out his reception year at school still some considerable way ahead of his class mates.  Whilst initially Jane and I both had reservations that the school was not going to ‘stretch’ Ollie’s intellect sufficiently, we eventually decided that the best thing for Ollie was to use his reception year for him to develop his social skills.  This was an area that, until he started school we were hardly aware was a problem.  Before long however, it was evident that Ollie was not particularly keen on building friendships with other children of his age and would rather seek out a grown-up to talk to at play time.  I’m pleased to say that the school has done a wonderful job of building his confidence in this area and he is now a very popular little boy in his class.  Further to the schools credit, they recognised Ollie’s abilities and made provisions such as spending more time reading with him instead of learning phonics with the rest of the class. 

The new school term started in September and again we had concerns that Oliver’s abilities would not be recognised by his new teacher, but I am pleased to say that after a brief meeting with his new teacher, she has identified some of Ollie’s talents and adjusted his curriculum accordingly. 

IMAG0026 This year Ollie gets ‘homework’ every week.  For the rest of the class this consists of a list of simple words which they are supposed to learn how to spell.  Ollie’s home work thus far has consisted of work sheets designed for older children, with more complicated spellings and word construction/deconstruction exercises.  I have only spoken to a couple of the other parents at school, both of whom say they are finding it difficult to motivate their child to do their ‘homework’.  Conversely Ollie really looks forward to doing his homework.  A strange and wonderful boy indeed.

Did swine Flu Save My Life?

IMAG0129 At some point over the summer, the exact (or even approximate) date escapes me, I managed to contract the dreaded Swine Flu.  At the time, I have to admit that I was fairly scared by the whole affair.  I cannot remember a time in my life when I had ever felt so ill.  Having stubbornly ignored the symptoms until I was unable to bear the pain of the secondary and tertiary infections any longer, I was finally admitted to hospital for a potent course of intravenous antibiotics and pain killers.  The whole episode dragged on for much longer than it should have, as circumstances at the time were not really conducive to recuperation.  Ultimately, I was back in hospital for more antibiotics and a particularly painful incident involving a surgeon, several needles and scalpel in the back of my neck!  Trust me, you don’t want to hear the details.

By now you may be wondering what this has to with the sub-title.  How exactly could sine flu save anybody’s life?  Well, from the day I was admitted to hospital, I have not smoked a single cigarette.  Whilst in the throws of swine flu, it was simply too painful and since recovering, Oliver has made sure that I haven’t taken it up again.  He proudly told everyone he knows that his Daddy has given up smoking (and occasionally still mentions it).  To take it up again would disappoint him so enormously that I simply couldn’t (and won’t) let him down in that way.  Alex, thankfully, will never recall that either of his parents were silly enough to smoke cigarettes. So in conclusion, I suppose swine flu provided the catalyst but it was Oliver who saved my life.

High Days and Holidays

The economy as it is and with our livelihood requiring every hour that we can spare, a holiday was always looking like an unlikely event this year.  Thankfully Granny and Auntie Alice were at hand to provide day after day of entertainment for the boys throughout the summer holiday period.  As a family we did manage to take a notable day-trip to the Isle of White which was all very exciting for Ollie as we rode on the Sea-Cat and did little else once there, other than play on the beach.  Oliver loved it though and that was really the whole point of the exercise.

Other Things

All of our birthdays have been and gone since writing the last entry and whilst Jane and my birthday’s are of little interest to the rest of the world, it would be remiss not to mention Ollie and Alex’s special days.  IMG_9101Obviously this was Alex’s first birthday and noteworthy as first birthday’s are, they are also exclusively uneventful as the routine of daily life relentlessly imposes itself.  Nappy changes, feeding times, nap times, etc, etc, all continue as normal but the times between the routine are tainted with parental guilt that one should be doing something more momentous to mark this special date.  That said, it was lovely to spend his birthday weekend with family.  Grandpa and Grandma Pulfrey travelled down from Sheffield on the Saturday, and we enjoyed a the day eating and chatting in the building site that is our home.  Sunday was spent at Granny and Granddad’s house with family and as is always the way in such occasions, everybody had a thoroughly enjoyable day.  In addition, Alex received more presents than he could be reasonably expected to play with.

Oliver’s birthday was, I’m ashamed to say, even more guilt ridden.  This year it was his misfortune that his birthday fell on a Thursday and, with the business requiring 110% of our attention just to survive, Oliver’s birthday very much took a back seat.  A particular shame considering the number of birthday parties he’s been to this year.  My heart could have broken in two when, at the end of his special day my just turned 5 year old quietly declared to me “I haven’t had a very nice birthday, Daddy”.  What could I say except “I know darling. I’m sorry”?

IMAG0131Thankfully auntie Claire came to the rescue with a special birthday barbeque at her house in Chichester on the Sunday. I cannot tell how grateful I am to her for making Ollie’s birthday special.  When we arrived, there were balloons tied at the door, helium balloons in the house and large ‘Happy Birthday’ banner across the lounge wall.  Not to mention a famous Auntie Claire Birthday Cake!  Claire, If you ever read this blog, thank you so much.

On the home front, you will gather that we are still, 3 years on, living in a building site.  Not that considerable progress hasn’t been made, because it has.  It’s more a reflection of the sheer amount of work required and the almost obsessive attention to detail that we have demanded.  This, I fear, is a luxury that we can no longer support in the current circumstances.  We about to spend or third winter in this house and our second without central heating.  A prospect I am not looking forward to in the slightest.

Well I suppose that’s about it.  Not a lot for such a long period of absence, but its all my sleep deprived brain can remember and my commuting time allows.  Hope you enjoy the pictures.

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Falling Down In Love

(a poem by Oliver – age 4)

Have My Chance of Falling Down In Love
Its Very Hard When Its the Only thing I Can Do
Falling Down In Love So Hard & Beautiful
Chances of Falling Down In Love.

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First Words

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Another historic day in the Pulfrey Baker household as Alex clearly spoke his first word… ‘Mummy’.  Obviously this is not the first time that we’ve experienced the ‘first word’ from one of our offspring, so I’m only slightly surprised by the fact that I’m no less elated by the event and it’s no less significant to me than the first time.

Alex is truly blossoming now and as you can see from the picture, he’s a real cutie!  He’s sitting up on his own and rocking on to all-fours now, so it’s not going to be very long before he’s fully mobile.  He’s also eating baby food from a spoon and chewing on rusk. The only thing he won’t accept is milk from a bottle.  There’s simply no replacement for Mummy!

Oliver continues to be a thoroughly delightful child (albeit, he has his moments!) and is the joy of my life.  School-wise, I don’t think he’s being particularly stretched at anything in particular but he continues to be years ahead of the other children in his class and has made ‘friends’ with other children.  Annoyingly though, his behaviour has been affected by socialisation with peers.  I know this is a necessary part of growing up and building his own identity, but when your super-bright four year old comes home from school making stupid noises and thinking it’s funny because some other child in his class did it, it’s a little disheartening to say the least.  That’s life I suppose.

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