Archive for the ‘Fraser’ Category

Five: Happy Birthday Fraser!

You’re five now (as you tell everyone regularly). It’s a bit the end of an era really. You start school in August and we’re no longer a family with little ones but a family with kids. Proper kids who get dirty, pick up bugs, ride their mountain bikes, have water fights with all the kids on the street…. there’s no wee little boy left here. We climbed Clachnaben as a family in April with you and your brother biking the approach. On the actual mountain you passed adults and bigger kids without a complaint – then once we were down whizzed back along the trail on your bike at top speed. Cory and I were walking way behind you and I think that’s the sign of times to come – us struggling to keep up with your energy and enthusiasm and speed as you hurtle through life.

Actually that’s not totally true that there’s no sweet wee boy left. Tucked in amidst the biking over jumps and nerf guns is still a lovely boy who loves to be called my angel and likes a good cuddle first thing in the morning. You and I spend a lot of special time together and the fact that you want to cuddle with me when we’re camping makes my heart swell. One of my favourite things this year has been reading The Secret Garden with you and then heading out to the walled garden at Crathes Castle to find our own secret garden spots and looking for the robin.  You’re an absolute delight. I think the next few years are going to be absolutely amazing.

We do forget sometimes that you are still just five and on the small side for your age and ask you to mountain bike all day with us or keep up a busy schedule. You don’t complain though and just do your best until we turn around and find you falling asleep or collapsing with exhaustion. Tenacity is a good word for you – and I’m proud of your attitude when you achieve all these great things, you really are a star.

Things you love:

  • spy kids and playing secret agents (check out the ‘stache – it was a secret agent themed birthday party this year)
  • having friends over to play
  • going out for curry in Aboyne
  • Nanny Kirsty, who you love very much
  • being grown up and five now
  • your Mandeville stuffed toy
  • water gun fights
  • your brother (most of the time)
  • the four of us being all together
  • being outside and mucking about in the garden
  • swimming (and a few years ago I didn’t think I’d ever say that)
  • and most of all…

  • mountain biking, whether at Glentress, Balmoral, or just round the village

four: happy birthday fraser

I think to you, Fraser, it’s felt like you’ve been three and three quarters for a very long time. Not only have most of your close friends already turned four, but this is the first year you’ve been really aware of time and age and even fractions so your birthday was long awaited. The excitement just made it more special, with even Duncan completely hyped up – more so than he seems to be about his own birthday in ten days.
This has been the year that you’ve amazed us all. Somehow starting nursery school convinced you that you were a big kid because all of a sudden you learned all the letters and most of the combined letter sounds, can count to 100, do simple maths, understands phonics, and are this close to actually reading. Some of this is from playing homework while Duncan does his every night but a bunch of it is just your desire to learn – which I hope doesn’t get worn out of you by peer pressure and the institutional nature of real school. You have another year at nursery though before starting primary one which is a good thing socially and physically. You are still my baby (although you hate it if I say that) and need downtime in the afternoons and cuddles on a regular basis.

It’s also been a tough year physically for you Fraser, I think you was sick from our October trip to Canada all the way through to mid-January and beyond. It took months to get fully recovered to your cheeky self and there was a lot of worry in there for Cory and I. You lost a lot of weight around Christmas, weight you don’t have to lose, and I feel like we’ve spent the past four months on a fatten-Fraser-up programme with mixed success. Even though you are still very underweight, I’m trying to step back and not think about it though as I don’t want to put you off the enjoyment of food and mealtimes. And after numerous doctor’s visits and blood tests you are fine – it was just the exposure to illness at nursery since you have only ever really been at home with me and with Kirsty when I’m working.

And it’s been a good year for you physically too – you can ride a pedal bike confidently (without stabilisers). You figured out the basics last June when Duncan’s old bike was passed to you but since you weren’t big enough to get your feet on the ground, you needed help to start and the only way to stop was to have a controlled fall over to the side (which you gamely did). But around Christmas time you grew and now you’re super fast (in your words) and love the freedom your bike gives you. Cory’s just bought you a couple golf clubs too and you’ve figured out a swing – time for some special daddy-fraser time at the golf course we think! But the thing that you’ve loved best is that you’re old enough to climb mountains! You reached the summit of Bennachie in February and Scolty in March and we’re gearing up for a trip up Clachnaben. They may be small mountains, but mountains they are and I think they make you feel like you’re a superhero. We’re pretty impressed to at your perserverance and ability to keep going when you’re shattered. You’re tough that way and that makes us proud (and reminds me of your dad).

Happy birthday to be most wonderful four year old we can imagine! Lots of love,
Mummy, Daddy, and your best friend and big brother Duncan

Photos from top to bottom: coffees while camping on the Jubilee weekend, birthday excitement, we did have some nice weather in the garden a while ago, and a favourite hiking photo from February.

Three: Happy Birthday Fraser

tardis Happy Birthday to our super Fraser, three years old! I love how much you’ve grown up this year. At dinner I said “I can’t believe you’re three” and then I realized that I was just saying that because I felt like I was supposed to. It does feel like you’re three; your maturity and skills have advanced so much in the past few months.


But while all three year olds are three, only you are you and you like:

  • riding your bike at the park
  • camping with all of us
  • family hugs
  • nanny Kirsty
  • Dr Who
  • coffee (steamed milk)
  • racing water (from Daddy’s camelback)
  • being outside
  • getting your tears wiped away
  • hugs and cuddles
  • yoga bugs, library story time, and playgroup
  • your friends
  • lego
  • sleeping with so many stuffed toys there’s hardly room for your head
  • tees with homemade applique
  • swimming with Kirsty not Mummy and Daddy
  • going for coffee to a cafe
  • cucumber, sausages, wheatabix, and ham sandwiches
  • being with us (thank you)

Actually there’s a lot of things that haven’t changed in a year, but a lot that have. You’ve friends now, other kids your age that you want to play with and genuinely like. You are independent and confident, ready for nursery in August, and say Duncan’s your best friend. You don’t want me to crawl into bed with you any more, probably because you’re so big that you fill up most of your toddler bed and I end up lying on your legs. I miss crawling in with you at bedtime for a snuggle – but you’ve also turned into a much better sleeper and that’s not to be sniffed at.


And thank you to everyone for the wonderful birthday gifts for Fraser! As you can see in the photos he’s a happy boy – and his scar isn’t too bad after all!

Two: Happy Birthday Fraser

trunkibirthdayboyFraser, you are my sweet, gleeful, cuddly monkey and this past year has seen you grow from a toddler to a child with a quick mind and a bubbly personality. I’m constantly surprised at how much you can do and how much you seem to learn things on your own, either by copying your brother or figuring it out yourself. You can ride a balance bike, count three items, and have memorized your numbers to six. You initiate conversation with us, real discussions that suggest you’ll be very good at parties where you don’t know people. For example today we’ve talked about (at your initiation) the weather, your toys, and going for a walk. You’ve also told me how much you like playgroup, soup, bread, and Fireman Sam (who you’ve never seen).

I think for your second birthday I should tell you things that I love about you:

1) your infectious giggles, especially when we’re all being silly together. As your brother says, we’re a very silly family but I sometimes wonder if we’d be half as fun if you didn’t enjoy it so much.
2) your ability to listen quietly to stories and the cuddles we have then
3) and your inability to sit still the other 95% of the time
4) the fact that you’re 100% different to your brother so that this time around has been a completely new experience. I love that the two of you are so wonderful and perfect in your own ways.
5) the way you and your brother are a team – I hope it lasts for life.
6) the way you ask for songs at bedtime and how you’ll hold my hand while I sing to you.
7) the way you’re the spitting image of your dad sometimes.
8) the fact that like your brother, you’re an outdoors child.
9) and everything else about you, from your head to your toes. Especially just after a bath when you’re not covered in sand and mud!

Things you say/yell (with glee) that made us smile on your birthday:

To the friend at the door who asked: “Fraser, how old are you?”
“Tractor Ted!! Gruffalo” (why bother with my age when we can talk about my presents!)

To Duncan watching TV:
“Let’s play cars!!!”

23. not even two and going on five…

23months Fraser’s 23 months but he thinks he’s at least five. He’s on the balance bike now and loves to ride it in circles around the garden or all over the village. With a complete lack of fear (or common sense), he’s even riding it in the bike park (video below).

Fraser’s entirely fearless when it comes to climbing, jumping, or doing things that will inevitably end up in a bruised forehead. At the moment he’s missing half a fingernail (fortunately the top half), has cuts on the palms of both hands, a small bruise on his forehead, and numerous bruises all over his legs. But trying to stop him would be impossible. Cory’s going bald and I’m going grey – at least we know who to blame it on.

Fraser’s also less easy-going than Duncan, which is probably a good characteristic of a second child. I don’t have to worry about him fading into the background or being outshone, his response is always to find a way to keep up. He’s less keen to accept rules (like bedtime), plans (like going inside), and inevitabilities (like needing to pick up Duncan after nursery school). But other than the occasional melt down, he’s a sunny kid who is generally thrilled to be in the moment.

22. on holiday


This month was the month we went on our annual holiday with Nana and Papa, and for you it was an all-new experience. We missed our trip back to Canada in October because of your hernia surgery so you hadn’t been on an airplane since you were six months old. And this was a great age to fly with you to share your excitement, because you can now tell us in sentences how much you’re enjoying things. Unfortunately it also meant that everyone in the plane could hear exactly why you were screaming on landing “Let me out! Mummy, let me out!”. I was glad it was Daddy’s turn to hold you….

The beach was also another first for you – or at the least the first trip for six months. Keeping you out of the water was a bit challenging, every time we’d let go, you’d dash out to the waves to play. Which would be lovely if the temperature had been a bit higher above freezing…. But even so, it was wonderful to run after you and pick you up at the last second and hear your squeals of glee!

Travelling with an almost 22 month old is starting to get easy too. You slept well in the holiday cottage we’d rented and even decently in hotel rooms with uncomfortable travel cots. Good sleep still means early rising, but combined with the time change, 5:30 became 6:30 and Daddy and I even managed a couple of lie-ins apiece. A neighbouring cottage had a family with two kids a year younger than you and your brother and when we’d bump into them it reminded me of how difficult things were just a year ago. Neither of their girls were sleeping well and we got the feeling that the parents were soldiering on each day determined to have a holiday even if the accumulated sleep deprivation was growing. If I ever get broody – remind me of this.

And finally meals out at restaurants are possible. Maybe only at lunch and we never dare to order a starter, but we did have the chance to have several nice family meals, including this one (photos) in St. Ives. I’m not sure I actually saw a single picture at Tate St. Ives though, as they’d alarm systems set up to go off if you walk too close to the paintings; our visit felt more like an exercise in herding sheep.

The farm cottage we stayed in was fab for you and your brother, perfect for young families. (Young as in children, not parents). A soft-play barn, animal feeding every morning, and even weekly pony rides made this such an easy place to holiday. You weren’t too thrilled with the pony ride though (photo), and barely made it around the corner before you threw yourself off and into daddy’s arms. The amazing thing is how you’ve edited this experience in your memory. When Duncan talks excitedly about his pony ride, you chime in with your story too: “Fraser rode a pony” and if asked if you liked it, respond “yes!”

I hope all your memories of this trip as as wonderful and especially those of Nana and Papa and the cuddles you shared with them at the end of the trip stay in your head until we see them again in August. The only thing that makes me sad about living here in Scotland is how rarely we see family. Watching you get to know them is bittersweet; wonderful that it’s happening, but sad that it needs to happen at all. Maybe in August we can just pick up from where we left off.

21. outside boy


It’s not yet spring here, even though the front garden is covered in crocuses and we did hit 8 degrees on Saturday. The view out the front window is still snow-covered hills and March has a habit of providing at least one more snowfall. But it’s glorious – long light days mean more time to be outside and we’ve been taking advantage of that in full.

outsideboyLike your brother, you’re an outside boy Fraser. You and I go walking while Duncan’s in nursery and the snow-covered routes around his rural school have been stunning. It’s nap time for you and I know you sleep better, and wake happier, when we’ve been out together with the buggy. We’ve walked together in snowstorms and sunshine, often within minutes of each other, as the weather seems to change quickly in the hills around us. I took this picture on the 22nd, the next three days saw more snow and school for Duncan was cancelled until the 3rd with the back roads still slushy on the 5th. It’s been a long while since we’ve managed to get out like this for a walk, but I’m hopeful for this week.

We spend a lot of time while you’re awake in the garden too – if it’s sunny I can perch on the bench and read a book while you and your brother play in the muck. Every pair of mittens you own is stiff with accumulated mud and slush from digging, scraping, brushing, and occasionally eating the snow and ice you find. I’ll look up after a few minutes and find you soaking wet and beaming with glee – I’m not popular when we have to go inside for meals or a change of clothes.

It’s been a good month, although the teething wasn’t great (you’ve two new canines since this picture was taken) and I missed you so much while I was in London (the first nights away from you ever, and I’m not keen to repeat it). But you’ve grown up so much; we’ve stopped breastfeeding, we’ve started reading big books with actual storylines, and you’ve started playing on your own a lot more. I know I keep saying over and over that my baby is gone, but it’s starting to feel like you’re rushing through toddlerhood at a tremendous rate. I wish I had the knack of slowing down and enjoying every day fully – I will want to remember every second of these days for the rest of my life.

20. look at me!


If this month has a favourite saying, it’s “look at me!” and we always do. This attention grab is successful because I never know where I’ll find you. Four feet in the air on top of the play kitchen? bookcases? perched on the backs of sofas? And always with a cheerful grin and exclamation of success. The accomplishment is impressive, sentances and scaling heights… just don’t fall!

But you’re sick right now and not climbing anything. We’re down to a diet of bananas and milk, as cleaning up everything else when it makes a reappearance is too much for your parents. (I’m on my third load of laundry today, and about the 7th in the past 36 hours.) I hate when you’re sick, not just the cleaning things up but the nagging worry that goes with it – how sick is he? when do I call the doctor? what if he chokes in his sleep? Your father slept in D’s bed last night so he could hear you (and he did successfully get you to the sink in time at 5am with only minimal mess) and I had a snuggly Duncan in bed with me (yes – I got the good end of that deal).

cheekyfraserMy poor wee man – get better soon sweetie!

Oh wait – sleeping in Duncan’s bed? Yes – this is the month we’ve moved you and your brother into the same room. And sure enough, you started sleeping through. My social little bug, you hated sleeping alone in case you were missing a party. Having Duncan in the room with you seems to reassure you that it is actually night time and you’re sleep habits have been improved greatly. Having a spare room for daddy’s office on work-from-home days isn’t a bad thing either…

19. Monkey


I always mean to update more often, but then run out of time before bed. That’s been more true lately as we’ve shortened our evenings to help us deal with your shortening our nights. Since you’ve had the flu over Christmas, you’ve decided that sleeping alone is not cool. We’ve decided that letting you in bed with us is not cool. So there’s a bit of a stalemate. We have to lie in bed listening to you yell at us and you have to lie in bed. You start by yelling for Mummy, then Daddy, and lately have even been yelling for Duncan to rescue you from the boredom of nighttime.

But now that you’re well and back to yourself (aside from sleeping), you’re flashing your cheeky smile around, chatting up a storm, and charming us into forgetfullness. I love listening to you talk, in sentances now, and the things you yell out (Happy New Year) or sing to yourself (Bob the Builder, Can we fix it!) make us giggle. You’ve never even seen Bob the Builder on TV, but thanks to Mr. D, you definitely know the words and, amazingly, sing it to yourself while you potter around.

17. Fraser in love

IMG_5056I know I shouldn’t post this, when he’s 15 he’ll be horrified and perhaps it is crossing that fine line between sharing stories and sharing too much. But Fraser’s in love, madly & deeply with the four year old across the street. First thing in the morning Fraser stands at the window and looks across to her front room and calls her name. When she finally appears and waves, he giggles with excitement. If he actually gets to play with her, he lets her cart him around the house, carrying him underneath his arms in a way that would involve shrieks of outrage from anyone else. It must be true love.

This month has been another wonderful one, with new words and a growing love of books. Fraser’s still not keen on lasting through an entire story, but we’re getting there and he loves searching for familiar figures in the pages of his books or lifting flaps to find what’s behind. Fraser also loves colouring on the floor, stealing all the biscuits at church, and playing outside. He’s still not so keen on swimming though, I think there’s just not enough body fat to keep him warm.