Mat- og Trebåtfestivalen

Today we took Felix out to the food and wooden boat festival down at the harbour.

The weather was perfect for fluttering flags.

There were plenty of other food options, but Michael had to take a photo of the ubiquitous caravan selling hotdogs.

We went for fish soup. Felix insisted on feeding himself whilst sitting on my lap. The results were … interesting. Here he is tucking into passionfruit panna cotta for dessert.

It was fun to get out and see other families enjoying the first day of the summer holidays.

Hugs

We made it! Felix and I have survived his first five months in the barnehage. Since he learnt to walk, especially, he has really enjoyed it there. Whenever I go to pick him up he’s bumbling around having a great time. I’ve also enjoyed my work a lot of the time. But now, as is Norwegian custom, we are on holiday all July, and I’m looking forward to having my boy to myself again.

Michael took so many sweet pictures last weekend. Felix was laughing his head off because I was trying to take his fingers out of his mouth for the photo. He wanted to chew on them because teeth no. 10 and 11 were cutting through. For some reason he thought it was hilarious.

My sweet sweet cuddly, funny boy.

Toddler’s day out

On my day alone with Felix, we normally go out in the morning, but last Friday he was slightly feverish in the morning, and I was tired, so we went out after his nap instead. We parked at Michael’s work. ‘Dadda!’ he said. ‘He’ll be back tomorrow’, I said. We walked over the bridge over the road. ‘Brrrrm brrrrrm’, he said. We walked past our favourite cafe. ‘Da!’ he said, pointing at it desperately. ‘No, I said, we’re going to the library first today, then we’ll come back’. When we walked through the park he wanted to get out and run around. ‘Ne, ne!’ he said. (I think this might be a version of ned, Norwegian for down.) ‘Later’, I said, ‘after the library, it’s going to close soon.’ ‘Du, du!’ he said, pointing at the pigeons.

We made it to the library. I went to the counter to get myself a library card. I practiced my Norwegian and felt very proud of myself for understanding the librarian with no problems. ‘Ne ne!’ said Felix. He sat patiently for a while but after a while I let him out of the stroller, and the first thing he did was rummage through my bag to find a pouch of fruit smoothie. ‘No,’ I said, you can’t eat that here.’ We chose some books and left as it was nearly closing time. I wish I’d got a photo of him carrying his first ever library book out the door.

Then he saw the fountain. After I surreptitiously changed his diaper on the library lawn and ascertained that it would be difficult for him to climb into the fountain, I let him run around it. I didn’t factor in the wind gusting up, splashing in the water, and soaking his t-shirt. I changed him into his hoodie and went back to the park, where he climbed some stairs for a while and tried to get to an old cigarette packet. Then he played with another toddler for a bit. She dumped handfulls of dirt all over him as he sat on the wobbly horse.

We went back the the cafe and I practiced my Norwegian some more, and ordered myself dinner to celebrate surviving a week on my own. Felix raced up the stairs, straight to the place where they normally kept the highchairs, but they’d moved them. I found him one, and he drank his fruit smoothy and didn’t deign to look at his sandwich or his grapes, then went down on the floor to play happily and quietly with the trains. Ah, I thought, bliss. One of those perfect moments. My food arrived and Felix wanted to come back up to the chair. I had hoped he would like some of my salmon burger, but he was horrified, and made sure that I (and the rest of the cafe) knew it. ‘Please, please, Felix’, I said, ‘I want to eat my dinner’. And then I realised he was incredulous that we didn’t have our normal cinnamon bun. I wanted to eat my salmon burger. So I went and bought him a bun.

As we walked back over the bridge I felt so tired I could barely move.

Digital

Felix is a big fan of our computers.

We try to discourage it, but he loves the keyboard, the skype chats, and the youtube songs, not to mention the way they open and shut.

I love this last photo – it looks like he’s taking a break from composing a novel. For the record, today was the day Felix starting trying to count (or at least imitating counting), pointing and muttering two and three.

This one’s for Michael

I took this photo on Saturday last week, before Michael left on Sunday morning for a week’s work in Florida. The little guy and I have been doing fine on our own – I’m finding it much easier than the couple of times Michael went away while we were in America. Our own house and good friends around the corner help a lot. And I guess the social contact of us both going to the barnehage helps a lot too. I’d even arranged one of my friends to babysit tonight (a first!) so I could go out to dinner with some colleagues, but Felix came down with a fever this afternoon so I had to cancel. I’m disappointed but not devastated. It’s just the way it goes sometimes…

On the way home from the barnehage we drive past the street where Michael works. Yesterday Felix got very distressed and pointed urgently at the street, saying ‘Dadda?’ Not long now, little man.

Exploring

Tonight Felix said, very clearly, moon, star, when I pointed to them in a book. He’s also said, recently, chair, key, tractor, blueberry, pea, bo, for book, so, for socks, uhoh, and eeieeioh, from Old Macdonald. He makes sounds for cows, pigs, bears, snakes, clocks. He tries to say giraffe.

I’m endlessly fascinated in the little guy. It’s a funny feeling, hearing new words from his lips. I wonder what it will be like – what he will be like – when he can really talk to us. Because always, the new Felix erases the memories of the old Felix. That is why I am so glad I write some of this down. When he can speak in sentences, how will I remember what he is like now? He only has a few words (I guess between 40 and 50), but he’s constantly expressing himself, with his voice, his body, his face, his energy. When I picked him up to take him home from the barnehage today he was very distressed and pointed desperately at my bag, saying ‘mmmmmmmmm!’ I couldn’t console him. He didn’t want his leftover sandwich or his water bottle. It’s normal for him to point to my bag and demand a banana, but I’d run out of them, and besides, that wasn’t what he was saying. Eventually I worked out that he wanted milk, so I went to the kitchen and got him some. (He’s only been interested in cow’s milk for the past week or so.) When we got home he wanted more, and again before bed. A couple of his books had pictures of sippy cups, and he pointed at them happily, saying ‘mmmmm’, confident that I knew exactly what he meant.

More than ever, now that he can walk, I love watching him explore. He likes exploring, and wanders happily around shopping centres or the very quiet Halden town centre, as I follow a couple of steps behind. He’s not indiscriminate, however, in where he’s happy to go. He’ll wander down the driveway to our neighbour’s house, and then get nervous and want to get picked up. On Sunday I took him to a big public garden with an orchard, and thought he might like to wander down between the trees, but he wasn’t having any of it. He likes stairs, benches, and things to climb. Most of all, however, he likes water. Show him a body of water, a fountain, a puddle, a lake, and he’s off like a shot.

Saturday morning

This past week or so Felix has been so happy. This morning was lovely. Here he is doing laps around me in the kitchen. He still loves pointing to our eyes, our noses, our mouths.

He loves drawers

and he loves the little plastic shot glasses left over from this party, such a long time ago.

Then I built him a duplo castle while he tipped the rest of the blocks all over the floor.

Felix chatted with Whitby

and helped me take some photos. It was pretty much perfect.

Sixteen months: brought to you by balls, bubbles, puddles

In a couple of days, my darling, you will turn sixteen months old. You amaze us every day. You make us laugh. A couple of times this week you stretched your normal 6am wakeup to 4.30 am, which we weren’t exactly thrilled about, but as you smiled at us sweetly, your father had to ask ‘could you be any cuter?’ You took your first steps over a month ago but it has only been in the past couple of days that you’ve been comfortable just walking around everywhere without having to think about it too much. I think it’s made you much more relaxed in general. Today you were running in circles around your father in the kitchen, giggling.

Your latest words are ‘shut’, and ‘keys’. You are quite frustrated when doors are shut, but at least you have a word for it now. You are pretty much obsessed by songs with actions, and there are several we watch together on youtube every day, in addition to songs that go with your boardbooks, songs you learn in barnehage, and songs we sing in the car and in the bath. Some of your favourites right now are ‘Down at the station’, ‘Insy Wincy Spider’, and a very silly one on youtube called ‘Uh-huh’ (actually you really like all the youtube clips from Super Simple Songs). You adore your books and have taken to toddling off to pick the one you want to read next and bringing it back to me. Your favourites at the moment are any with flaps to lift, and any about trains. You love pointing out animals and practicing your animal sounds.

This weekend your parents were a bit grumpy and tired, but together we turned it all around. As it was raining today and we couldn’t think of anything else to do, we went across to the big shopping centre in Sweden again. Your father bought you hundreds of balls. When you discovered them after your nap, you couldn’t believe it. ‘Ba! ba!’ you said, tottering over to them and plonking yourself in.

Later I made us a cake. I turned 33 this week and took two of these cakes to work on my birthday, but I decided we needed one all to ourselves. It turns out a family of three can demolish a sponge roll in one sitting, even if one family member is less than a meter tall. (It’s also probably time a sponge roll featured on my blog again. Our new oven is better for baking than our old one. I’m always tempted to try out variations such as chocolate and raspberries, but I will record here for posterity that you cannot beat a sponge roll with strawberries and cream.) You insisted on eating your piece with a spoon. Mermos was also impressed and snuck in through the kitchen window to lick up the cream.

Just before your bedtime, the sun finally came out, so we headed into the garden. You ran around the trampoline for a while and had a poke in the sandpit, but got frustrated trying to walk on the lawn in your gumboots so I took you over to the driveway. Oh my. We have the best puddles. The cats couldn’t quite work out why you wanted to stand in the middle of them.

I remember a card my Mum had sent me half way through my pregnancy, with a photo of a little boy toddling down a lane. And it’s hard to say exactly what I felt, except that it was somehow momentous, seeing you stamp around your very first chain of perfect puddles, and pick yourself up when you fell.

A flying visit

We had a lovely time last weekend when my cousin Richard and his wife Polina visited from London. Until the day they arrived, we didn’t think they’d be able to come, as Polina’s shiny new British passport had not arrived, but it turned up in the end with two hours to spare.

We gave them a whirlwind tour of the region. I think the highlights were a little bridge to Sweden and a monstorus swedish candy store.

Felix enjoyed the new faces but was a little grumpy about disruptions to his schedule. Richard was impressed by just how much work one little guy creates…

Since they left the week has passed in a blur and I can’t believe that it’s already the weekend again!