This afternoon the three kids and I walked down to our little beach. Michael had just returned from America and needed to crash for a while, and I was feeling quite chirpy and proud of myself for surviving my first six days alone with them. Antonia wore her new pink gumboots and carried a bucket and spade, Julius fussed a little in the carrier, and Felix loped along beside us, singing a song that was mostly harmless but occasionally a little cheeky towards Antonia. Nevertheless, high spirits prevailed. It’s autumn. We looked at the mushrooms. They are innumerable. Brown, white, orange, red; tiny, shiny, crumbling, smooth, wrinkled, huge. That’s the kind that fairies hide under, Felix said. Antonia slipped now and then on the wet rocks.

At the beach Felix hurled stones into the water. Antonia, however, immediately stripped off in order to have a swim. It was much too cold for the rest of us, but she paddled about bravely, pleased as punch. Felix wrote his name in the sand. Everything was grey. The sky, the water, the forest beyond. And then, very gently, it started to rain. The little drops circled out in the water, all over the water, as far as I could see, and it was the prettiest thing. Felix threw sticks out into the water and Antonia paddled out to fetch them. Then the rain grew heavier and I decided we should go back. Antonia’s clothes had gotten wet and they were difficult to put on again – Julius cried in protest as I bent over to help her. For the first part of the climb back through the forest A and J were both in tears, but we persisted. I promised Antonia a warm bath and Felix a hot chocolate when we got home. As we reached the top of the forest path, Antonia said proudly – we did it! And we did, oh yes we did.

Three months of cuddles

Dear Julius,

You rolled over for the first time this evening. Front to back. You were lying on your playmat, wearing only your diaper after your bath. I’d just finally got around to combing out your cradle cap. So you were lying on your tummy, tipping further and further over, and whoosh, you did it. You looked a little shocked and started to cry. Michael and I were both watching. I picked you up and cuddled you, and we both said ‘Well done Julius, good job!’ And you bobbed your little head and threw Michael a smile.

There. A milestone recorded. I’m afraid you won’t have so many of these written down as your big brother has, but neither does your sister. That’s just the way of it. But if it’s any consolation, you have twice as much adoration directed your way, as all four of us are fairly smitten with you. Whenever we go anywhere with your siblings, everyone always tells them how lucky they are to have a little brother like you, and it is true.

On Tuesday you were 13 weeks and precisely three months old. You had some vaccinations on Wednesday so I even have stats – 7.3kg, 65.5cm, so you’ve grown ten centimetres and just over three kilograms since you were born. You are a cheerful, cuddly, friendly little thing. You love to gaze in our eyes and tell us stories. You love to sleep in the wrap. You’ve just started cheekily hiding your face in my shoulder when people look at you, then peeping back out at them and grinning. You did it with Michael the other night, over and over, laughing ‘Heh!’ each time. If you’ve been crying and I begin to feed you, you utter a sigh of relief – ‘hoooh!’ before getting down to business.

We mostly call you Juju. We sing ‘Hey Jude’ to you. Felix has a funny little rhyme that goes ‘Juju is fast, he needs a bath.’ Darling boy, we love you so.