Hi all,

Monday was a noteworthy experience, as I went for a professional photo shoot at Avo in Parkhurst. Mom and Dad donned me in my cutest Phoebe and Floyd outfit, and after they themselves donned some decent looking threads we headed off to the photo studios in Parkhurst. There we met Bev whom we invited to be part of this awesome experience, as it was Bev and Claire that got us this awesome outing as a Christmas gift. Unfortunately Claire was already back at work so she didn’t witness the fun we had. First we met Leigh, our photographer. After browsing through the Avo albums to get some ideas of what to do and how we wanted the end product to look we headed into an all white room. Dad started by throwing me in the air, tickling me, and just having a good time. I felt like a celebrity, as I was showered in flashlights and could hear the shutter of the camera opening and closing relentlessly. Mom soon joined in the fun, and we did some loving hugs and again I was put into allsorts of strange positions. Still the shutter and flash kept going. Then we had some family shots where we hugged, kissed, lay on top of each other and a whole bunch of other poses. An hour later the shutter stopped snapping our antics and the shoot was over. We couldn’t believe how quickly the hour passed! Arrangements were made for us to do a viewing of the shoots, and to choose some of the photos to frame or mount. I can hardly wait to see the pics.

A photo shoot demands much energy and we all suddenly realised that we were famished, so off we went to the Full Stop in Parkhurst for a leisurely lunch and lots of chatter. Together with Bev we spent a lazy midday sitting outdoors relaxing under large parasols to escape the heat. Once cold beers and austere luncheons were consumed over laid-back chatter we bid our farewells and went our separate ways. Back home we lazed around the house, and soon the sun dipped away in the west and we were spared from the heat.

Tuesday started off pretty mundane as we headed off to Cresta to do some grocery shopping and run some errands. Mom and Dad had selected a picture of me that Dad had taken on the Day of Goodwill (26.12.2008) which they had planned to enlarge and frame. It met with my approval, so off we headed to the photo shop. Once the order for the photo was placed, my Mom and Dad, as predictable as always, decided it was time for some refreshments! A Seattle Coffee Company was chosen as an appropriate café and as we settled down we serendipitously discovered Johan and Petru at the table alongside ours. Johan, who is an executive at my Dad’s work, was really thrilled to meet and hold me, as was Petru. We chatted for some time and then we settled down to our coffees. Soon we were into the supermarket and filling the trolley with a whole bunch of household goodies. As we were leaving the supermarket we bumped into Jean and his wife Cornellia; Jean is a colleague of my Mom and Dad’s. Again it was nice to stop to chat to people. After collecting a huge photo of me, we headed home. Mom opted for an afternoon snooze, and Dad and I settled down in the lounge where he engrossed himself in some household admin and bills.

During Tuesday evening I decided to show off to my Mom and Dad that I had now fully developed the skill of picking up an item in one hand and successfully swapping it to the other hand. Not to disappoint my parents, I proved that I was fully ambidextrous and did the same with the other hand. To me it was a non-event, as it was really easy, I just had not had the need to do it yet. My Mom and Dad on the other hand (excuse the pun) thought it was off the charts and clapped, smiled and celebrated at this new found skill.

I decided to keep up the surprises and hugged my Mommy on Wednesday. As she picked me up from my cot I decided to wrap my arms firmly around her neck and snuggle. I didn’t realise it would create such a commotion! Mom went straight to Dad, still holding me, and through her (happy) tears said that I’d just hugged her. Dad was just as moved and we all had a huge group hug. Again, if I’d known that my hugging my Mommy would create so much emotion I would have done it ages ago. Amidst the continuing heat Dad and I visited Opa on Wednesday afternoon. While we were there the clouds opened up and there was a welcomed downpour. By the time we were ready to leave Opa, the rain had subsided and the roads were already dry. We headed off home, Dad playing me some of his favourite music en route. Once we were at home there was much activity around the house as Cornel and Bertie were coming to visit during the evening. Once they arrived Dad slapped some awesome looking ribs on the braai and filled the gaps on the griddle with boerewors. It was a wonderfully relaxing evening, and we chatted and had a really good time. Every now and then I called my Mommy from the nursery and asked to join the company, which I did. Sitting outside on the patio in the warmth of the evening was stunning, and I was really keen to join in the conversation, but I kept drifting off to sleep. Eventually I bid farewell and headed off to bed, but I could hear my Mom, Dad, Cornel and Bertie chatting late into the night. Mom and Dad shared lots of baby secrets with Cornel and Bertie, as they are expecting a little girl in the next few weeks. I can’t wait to meet her.

We all decided on Thursday that we wouldn’t go anywhere and chill at home for the day. Being at home didn’t mean no new adventures. As the day progressed, first Mom, and then Dad, took me into the shower for me and them to cool off. It was really fun, and a can hardly wait until I’m old enough to shower on my own. The day was spent doing very little other than reading, and few naps during the day. What a perfect life.

Friday brought another new experience – physiotherapy (outside of a hospital)! To date I’ve had occupational therapy, speech therapy and I’ve been to a chiropractic, but never to a physiotherapist. I must admit that I had some physio while I was in hospital in Unitas, but it was really for my lungs. Friday’s physio was to build up some more upper body strength, and more exercises. Mom and Dad listened intently as exercises were prescribed to me, and in addition they were given some solid advice on how to pick me up, put me down, and hold me when sitting. Its only two days later and I can already feel the difference from Friday’s treatment. I’m rolling from left to right, and vice versa, both from the prone and supine positions! Again, my parents were ecstatic with my actions, and I just figured, “Hey, I’ve not needed to do this, so I didn’t. What’s all the fuss about?”

I suppose I should explain why my folks get so excited by the little things that I do. Considering the condition that I have, there has always been a possibility that there was damage to my brain. In addition to keep me alive, my parents made decisions that included putting platinum in my head and this too can have an effect on the functioning of the brain. Personally I don’t blame them for the decisions they made as I wouldn’t be here today. Of course in addition to this the fact that I am almost 7 months old means nothing in terms of my development… as contrary to my age counterparts I’ve not had the luxury of the first four months of strength building and muscle tone, as most of my first four months were spent on the ventilators and me flat on my back. You have to forgive them for getting quite so excited with me…

During the afternoon Mom had a haircut, and Dad was really worried that I wouldn’t recognise her as my Mommy. I told him to chill, as I will always recognise my Mommy! While Mom had her crowning glory shorn, Dad and I headed off to the Post Office to post some letters. More and more the three of us are realising how extremely difficult it can be negotiating public areas with me in my traveller; doorways are sometimes too narrow, stairs are not complemented with ramps, and elevators are slow or out of commission. It makes me wonder what people in wheel chairs must go through. As a thought, I wonder if the developers, builders, designers and architects out there might not want to give people with wheels more consideration?

Once home, the three of us spent some quality time together, and I showed my Mom and Dad that I had begun to understand the principle of ’cause and effect’. Playing with my toys, I’ve learnt that pushing buttons trigger them to play music, flash a light (or both), or set something in motion. The more I push buttons, the more I’ve begun to discover that I can make the toys do something, the more I’m appreciating cause and effect, and I like it!!

Friday evening was a completely new experience for me and my parents – babysitting! Not of someone else, but me being babysat by my Granny, as Mom and Dad had a birthday party to attend. Mom spent the better part of about 40 mins completing the ‘Notes for the Babysitter’ stationery that my God-mommy Sharon sent us from Australia. Its such stunning stationery, as it accommodates all the necessary info that is needed to baby-sit me. I could feel my Mommy and Daddy’s trepidation, but I kept reassuring them that I would take proper care of Granny for the evening, so before long, they were on their way and it was just me and Granny for the evening. As expected, the evening was uneventful, apart from the multiple phone calls from Mom and Dad confirming that I was ok. I was fast asleep by the time they arrived home, and all had gone exceptionally well.

Mosaic-ing with Claudi was the order of the day on Saturday. Mom, Dad and Claire each picked a really awesome project, while Bev and I chatted and watched the ‘artists’ at their craft. I was most impressed at how everyone got into the snapping, cutting and gluing of tiles and mosaic. It wasn’t long before the objet d’art started taking form. Mom diligently worked at a stepping stone, Claire crafted a gothic cross, and Dad slapped together some tiles to make a number for the house. The morning was wonderful, interrupted only by an occasional downpour, and soon we were outside, dodging the rain, grouting the mosaic pieces. They looked wonderful! Mom’s stepping stone still requires a few final procedures, as she did pick a higher-grade (advanced) project. Dad and Claire’s projects were almost complete by the time we left, apart from the polishing off of the excess grout. The afternoon was spent snoozing.

Light rains introduced Sunday morning, but by the time Opa came to visit me the rain had stopped and was replaced by warm and overcast weather. Although I was sleeping when Opa arrived I felt I couldn’t let the opportunity pass by to say hello! So up I was and soon we were all chatting in the lounge. Dad and Opa wolfed down some of Mom’s cheese cake, and then I was presented with my favourite – butternut. Opa stayed to watch me feed, but all too soon he had to leave again. I was very appreciative of the cute little bath toys Opa brought me, and which I used on Sunday evening when I bathed. Not long after Opa left I snoozed some more, and then entertained my Mom and Dad during the afternoon with my new skills: cause and effect, rolling, swapping, and of course, my old favourite, lots of laughter!

During the afternoon Mom blew gently on my leg and behold, I got Goosebumps. I carried on doing my thing playing with my toys, while Mom and Dad took turns blowing on my leg watching my Goosebumps appear. This seemed to keep the old folk entertained for ages as they guffawed with laughter as the tiny little dimples appeared on my leg. It’s really amazing how something so little can entertain them so much. But, they’re my parents and I love them for it!

Later on in the afternoon Dad opted for a swim in the pool. I was really keen and eager to go with, so Mom and Dad relented and took me up to the pool to let me swim too. This was my first swim in a pool, so I was a little weary of the vast expanse of water that suddenly surrounded me; but in my Dad’s hands I felt safe. The water was a little cooler than my bath water, which I’ve become accustomed to, so at first I quivered a little. Dad gently ‘watered me down’ and pretty soon I felt comfortable with the cooler water. Soon my whole body, right up to my ears, was in the water. It was an awesome feeling; I suddenly realised that this felt more familiar than I thought it would, as I spent 9 months totally surrounded by water in my Mommy’s tummy which felt like zero gravity – this was a similar experience. Dad was doing allsorts of things with me in the pool such as letting me float on my own on my back, putting me on my tummy and occasionally holding me close. It was really fun. At one point Dad just about dunked my entire body under water, which was both frightening and refreshing, but it also hurt a little, as I got brain-freeze! I figured the reason for my brain-freeze was that the Amplatzer and the platinum coils in my head got a chill! I recovered quickly, and all too soon I was out the water again and wrapped into the warm towel Mom had on the ready.

Mom and I sat near the water’s edge while Dad splashed about in the water. He really starting showing off by making huge water bombs that made the entire pool creak. Sonic, who was near by, got such a fright that she launched over the wall without even touching the top of the wall! Roxy came to cower with Mom and I, and she watched Dad splashing about wearily. Wrapped in my towel I sat on Mommy’s lap and giggled at my Dad’s silly antics. Once Dad was done swimming he and I wondered about in the garden. I love the enormous trees that are in the garden, and from my Dad’s arms I simply stared at each one in turn. As we moved from the cover of one tree to another, Dad pointed out the birdlife to me. During the short walk about in the garden, we tallied up the following sightings:

  • Olive thrush x 5
  • Grey Loeries x 3
  • Starlings x 2
  • Grey mousebirds x 3
  • Doves x many
  • Pigeons x many
  • Black Ibis x 11
  • White eyes x 6 (although we heard more in the mulberry tree)
  • Masked weavers x 5
  • Cape sparrows x 7
  • Great sparrows x 3
  • Cape Robin x 1
  • In the sky above us we spotted swallows circling, but they were too far away to determine if they were lesser or greater striped swallows (Barrett will recall a similar discussion in the Kloofendal Nature Reserve a few years back)

Bidding the birds and trees farewell, we headed inside where a warm bath welcomed me. Soon after eating I was off to snooze land, but only for a few minutes, as I decided to watch TV with Mom and Dad in the study. Dad had to return to work the next day, so I wanted to try and spend a much time with him as possible.

Monday morning was very different from the past few mornings, and I really felt out of sorts as my usual routine was interfered with. Normally Dad would collect me after I woke up in the morning and we would spend the next few hours together watching TV, or surfing the ‘Net or getting up to some other type of nonsense. But not today; and then I remembered – Dad had to return to work. Mom and I chilled together while Dad got ready. Not long afterward Dad came to say goodbye, and I could have sworn I saw some tears of sadness in his eyes. Mom and I walked him to the front door where we had a group hug and then he was gone. Mom and I were both very sad, and I later heard Dad on the phone to Mom saying that he missed us both very much. I would really love to have him stay home with me all day, like my Mommy, but sadly that can’t happen – yet!

Mom and I spent the day trying to get into a Mommy only sans Dad routine, and it wasn’t easy. Both of us really missed not having him around. We therefore decided to button down the hatches and get going with some exercises. As always it was lots of fun, and pretty soon I was getting a really hectic workout. Amongst the usual schedule of feds and snoozes, the day slipped by quickly, and soon Mom and I were standing on the front patio welcoming Dad home. We group hugged and Dad took me in his arms, followed by some feeding and then a bath. After Dad bathed and messaged my little body with baby oil, Mom decided to feed me some blackberries in a specially designed baby-fruit-feeder that I could hold. They were really delicious, and pretty soon I was not only wolfing them done, but smearing their juices on my face and clothes. I sensed another change of clothes on the horizon!

Well, that’s about it for today. Hope you all have settled into the year nicely, and that everyone is back from their holidays safely. As you engross yourselves in the New Year, please don’t forget that 2009 is the year of two thousand and shine! If that doesn’t work for you, then here are some others:

  • Two thousand and mine
  • Two thousand and smile
  • Two thousand and fine
  • Two thousand and sign
  • Two thousand and wine and dine
  • Two thousand and define
  • Two thousand and divine
  • Two thousand and chorus line
  • Two thousand and combine
  • Two thousand and goal line
  • Two thousand and align
  • . . .and many many more others . . .

Lots of love, hugs and two thousand and nine kisses,


Figure 1 Two thousand and smile!

Figure 2 Frantically playing with all my toys at once

Figure 3 Peek-a-boo

Figure 4 Checking myself out in my mirror

Figure 5 Fish face foot style

Figure 6 That was fun

Figure 7 Feeding myself

Figure 8 Opposable thumbs – love them!

Figure 9 Going in for the second attempt

Figure 10 Yum!

Figure 11 Ok, so I do need a little help every now and then

Figure 12 Baby Goosebumps!

Figure 13 Loving cause and effect

Figure 14 Ok, now let’s try some of that cause and effect on this side

Figure 15 You want me to play what?

Figure 16 Step aside Ronaldo

Figure 17 Swimming with Dad

Figure 18 Awesome

Figure 19 All dry!

Figure 20 Chilling after my swim

Figure 21 Apparently Dad is really jealous of me being able to put my toes in my mouth

Figure 22 Munching on blackberries that are hidden inside my teether

Figure 23 Pretty satisfied with myself after getting blackberry juice all over myself after a bath and a fresh set of clothes

3 Comments on Goosebumps

  1. Claire says:

    Hey there, J-Bird! It looks like you’re having all kinds of fun. I’m looking forward to seeing you later today – lets see what other types of food we can find for you.

  2. Claudi says:

    Hi Jarrod,

    I really enjoyed your visit on Saturday. You are making wonderful progress and I am so proud of you and your parents! What lovely photos. My favourite is the one of you, mommy and the doggy.

    Keep up the good work, love Claudi 🙂

  3. Helen Lederer says:

    Hi Jarrod,

    You are so adorable.

    I love the little bottom teeth and feet photo, that is hard to due, bet Mommy and Daddy can’t.

    You are touching a lot of hearts near and far.

    Keep up the good work.

    Helen in Virginia

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