Monday 20 February: Max has taken to putting his head close to Nell so she can pull his curls more easily. What a thoughtful big brother! (And he doesn't wail at all when she does pull them.)

He is having a haircut this morning, so there won't be any more curls for her to pull, however!

And he wants Nell to play with him - to lie on his sofa and pretend to sleep, or watch TV, or read books, or play with cars, or play in the "rocket ship" (ie, the cubby house) outside. (Not with his trains, however, that's still completely verboten to small girls. And she's only allowed to read her own books, not his.)

The other day Nell crawled under the coffee table, and Max decided that she shouldn't be under there (dunno why, he spent enough time under there as a baby) and so proceeded to pull her out by an ankle. I wandered around the corner, to find Max holding firmly to Nell's ankle, telling her off while pulling her out from under the coffee table, and Nell going Wheeeeee! with baby delight.

And Nell still thinks he's brilliant and can do no wrong. (Although he has done wrong, in the form of pulling away toys too roughly and making her fall over. But when I got cross at him, he apologised to Nell very nicely, without prompting for an apology.)

Thursday 16 February: More photos!

And a few tidbits I forgot last time: Max has taken to saying that all his toys are his little sisters. I have to be quiet if they're sleeping and he likes carrying them around carefully, as if they're babies.

Also, we've been doing lots of roleplaying lately! He decided that his cubby house was a rocket ship, taking mail to the moon (he got a bit muddled with the Greendale Rocket from Postman Pat, I think). He was Ajay (so he could drive the rocket!), Nell was Pat and Monkey Bear was Jess. But then we had to go inside, because the rocket broke and we needed to ring for a tow truck. Then we got distracted having a tea party upstairs.

And the best bit was Nell was involved in all of this! He got quite cross at me when I suggested that Nell might be a bit too small to play in the cubby house with him!

She's too small to kick a soccer ball with him though. She just wants to eat it, which Max finds quite annoying.

Monday 13 February: Finally. It's only taken about a year, but he's finally worked out to *spit* out the water when he rinses his teeth after brushing them. He tends to spray water all over the sink, tap, handles, mirror, etc, but he's incredibly chuffed with himself.

He also managed to help water the plants (not the pavement) yesterday, and didn't get too upset over the fact that his feet and clothes got wet. He's usually ridiculously fastidious, so we were relieved that he dealt (after a bit of a stern talking-to) with splashes of water on his t-shirt. Meanwhile, Nell was completely nekkid and splashing water everywhere as if her life depended on it.

Last weekend we went and saw the Chinese New Year parade in the city. Max was very good and interested, but it was rather loud and we didn't last the full event. He's still not keen on very loud noises! Some photos of the parade.

Speaking of noise, we're not having much success on the whole "be quiet, or Nell will wake up" concept. He'll be very quiet (and shush me, even!) and then two seconds later, he'll be running through the house at full volume. Oh well.

His swimming lessons have started back up. He's in the Goldfish class, which means that he goes into the pool on his own, and Daddy can sit by the side of the pool and wave occasionally, while reading the paper and drinking a coffee. I don't know who's more happy with this situation, Max or Daddy! Max was also lucky enough to be the only kid in his class, so he got one-on-one attention from his teacher (who he adored, and he hopes that Chris will also be able to teach Nell to swim).

And I reckon he's pretty much toilet trained now. He's had outings wearing Big Boy Undies (they've got dump trucks on them - no pun intended, I'm sure), so he only wears a nappy at night and naptime now. He really is a Big Boy!

Wednesday 1 February: Max has learnt two new concepts recently: "teasing" and "mummy is very very cross".

The naughty boy dangles his toys right under Nell's nose so she (naturally) grabs for them, thinking it's something she can play with. And of course, Max then snatches them away and wails that Nell's trying to play with his toys. And if he wails loudly and long enough, he'll set off Nell. I am less than impressed (although I'm sure I could put a good spin on it being a clever thing, being able to manipulate your younger sibling).

But when he's not baiting his little sister, he's being loads of fun. He's told me on several occasions that "daddy misses me so much" when daddy is at work (aw, Daddy was most happy to hear that). And he's ordered me to go downstairs and "have lunch" at night (he means dinner, but he's stuck on the word "lunch" just like he's stuck on the word "dress" for clothes). Makes me feel like he's taking charge and looking after me! Practice for when I'm elderly, perhaps? ;)

And he does seem to be worried when Nell is upset or sick, and does like making her laugh. And I'm sure he's appreciating the extra TV time he's been getting while I've had to settle a grizzly Nell! (Although I've had about as much Thomas The Tank Enginge as I can take. I mean, just how many bloody engines are there? Everytime I look up, there's a new one! And the names! Rheneas. Skarloey. Bulstrode. Murdoch. What insane person thought these characters up?)

Toilet training is coming along nicely. I'll spare you all the details (only a parent really cares about the minutae of toilet training a toddler, I have discovered, and some people reckon it's actually gross to talk about such things at the dinner table, how queer), but he's gone nappy-free and done very well most days at daycare and at home. And he gets bribes every now and then, and his toy car collection is bursting at the seams.

Max has picked up on the fact that any present he gets from us as a reward is going to be a toy car. And he doesn't seem to mind our predictability.

And he seems happy to go to daycare, after a long stretch of being very unhappy when we left him. He's in the pre-school room now, and that might have something to do with it, being a Big Boy and all. And learning all sorts of new skills - his counting is getting very good, and he sings a bit of the alphabet song to us now! And he's got to play with scissors at least once, but he's not really a craft boy, he just wants to run and jump and play with cars.

Tuesday 24 January: Max continues to be a brilliant older brother to his little sister. She was a bit sick on the weekend (runny nose and a temperature) and he cavorted about and pulled faces for her and did a good job of cheering her up when she was grumpy. Clever lad!

Monday 9 January: And Christmas is over! Max enjoyed helping to decorate the tree, and helped take down the decorations the other day. (He won't, however, be helping to cut up the tree for the garbos.) And, of course, opening presents. What small child doesn't like opening presents??

He enjoyed eating turkey and ham (although he was rather overexcited, so spent most of his Christmas dinner loudly proclaiming "mummy! mummy! I no like this!" while shoving said "this" into his mouth).

We've introduced him to the local library (and the local toy library, and the local video store). So he's learning about "borrowing", which is a pretty big concept for a three year old. Unfortunately, there seems to be another Thomas the Tank Engine fan in the neighbourhood, as all the Thomas books were out. Hopefully we'll have better luck next time.

And I was hopefully showing him the covers of various Disney movies (Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, Brother Bear, etc) and his eyes alighted on Herbie: Fully Loaded and he would not be diverted. After many watchings, he's now racing car mad. His Grandee gave him some great racing cars for Christmas, so now one step of the staircase is a "dirty road", and the cars get to race, and have pit stops, and jump the other cars, and roll over and crash a lot. If Max ever does make it to the races, he might be bitterly disappointed.

And since Nell's started crawling, none of Max's toys are safe. (She makes a beeline for his toys every time, it's uncanny. And very upsetting for Max.) We're training him to tell Nell "sorry, not your toy", take the toy away and put it out of reach (and two inches further away is not out of reach of a crawling baby), and then give her one of her toys as a replacement. It's a long slow task, but he's getting the hang of it.

But she's definitely in his bad books for drooling all over his toys. She still thinks he's a god incarnate however.

Thursday 8 December: I forgot. He made me skip "like Dorothy" through the local Woolies the other day. I should never have shown him Wizard of Oz.

And his Grandee is coming to visit for Xmas, starting today! Max is really looking forward to having her in town.

And tomorrow, hopefully, we'll be able to go and buy a Xmas tree so Max can start hanging some decorations and getting worked up into a lather over the holiday season. And there's a Xmas party at his daycare tomorrow afternoon, with the theme of Pirates and Princesses.

And, finally, some more photos! Many thanks to Fiona, for giving me some space on her server!

Monday 5 December: The Big Boy went to Sydney Aquarium (and he brought me back a light-up Dory pen!) and his dad says that he did an interpretive dance of Finding Nemo in front of the Great Barrier Reef tank. I wish I'd seen it!!

He's being very good with Nell (still!). Okay, sometimes he wants me to put her down and play with him when she's hungry, but the other day he looked at me sternly as I put Nell in her bouncy chair so I could quickly finish some cooking and said "Nell wants boobie".

And he also filled her crib with all her plush toys! I left her in her crib and him playing in her room, and when I popped back in, he'd taken all her plush toys (including the non-suitable-for-babies ones) and put them in the crib for her. I've barely managed to get her little fingers off her Mr Bananas since then (which was also one of Max's babyhood toys). What a thoughtful big brother!

Thursday 24 November: "I big boy. I three" quoth the Max.

He had a fabulous time on his birthday! Many people, many toys (lots of them with wheels!), much sugar, and he was seriously impressed with his Thomas cake. See the invitation!

He continues to play well with Nell, giving her toys (the second best car, of course) and being rather fascinated by her. And he has been known to say that it's not Nell's naptime yet, that she wants to play more! Cheeky boy.

We had fun playing under the doona the other day, all three of us, making tents and kicking the doona. Much fun! Nell was very enthusiastic with her kicking.

Unfortunately, he's discovered monsters and is getting scared of the dark. He doesn't like having his light turned off at night, and gets very upset at any unexplained noise at bedtime. But he has discovered sleeping under the sheets, where the monsters can't see him. He just needs a monster snorkel now.

Tuesday 18 October: Plans are underway for Max's third birthday! The invitations aren't made yet, but the rough details are it'll be held on his birthday (20 November, a Sunday) at our house. Presents have already been bought, and I'm trying to source a 3-D Thomas the Tank Engine cake for the party. But shhhh! Don't tell him! It's a surprise! (He'll wet himself when he sees it. Luckily he's still in nappies!)

Speaking of which, toilet training continues slowly. Very slowly. He's not at all interested in sitting on the toilet (except at night time, because it postpones bedtime by a few minutes). Even with the added incentives of gold stars for every poo he does in the loo! Oh well, it'll happen when it happens.

He's discovered the tea set he got for his birthday last year. And now he has tea parties with Monkey Bear and Gromit and various cars. The cars tend to end up in the tea cups quite often.

And (at the same time as Nell) he's started blowing raspberries. But he does his on my tummy, whereas Nell just does hers in the air.

He went to Luna Park (or "The Face" as he calls it) the other day and decided he wanted to go on the ferris wheel. First time! He told me excitedly that night that it stopped at the top and wobbled! Apparently afterwards he wanted to go on all the rides...

Another first was his first candy! A little koala shaped jube, which he insisted on playing with as if it was a toy. I told him it was yummy, and he humoured me by pretending to eat it. When I finally convinced him it was edible, he put it in his mouth, his eyes lit up, and he wanted another one! Luckily he seems to think that they're only available from Anna (a little girl he was playing with) so he hasn't hassled us for candy since.

He sings quite a bit - favourite songs are "Eensy Weensy Spider", "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", "The Wheels on the Bus" (naturally) and "Baa Baa Black Sheep" plus various others that he's picked up at daycare that I don't know. And he sings them to Monkey Bear sometimes (aw).

Tuesday 11 October: And another long break! It's amazing how time gets away from you when you've got two kids.

Max is giving the "no" word a real workout. And had his first "time out" the other day. I think he's realised that he only has a few more weeks of being a Terrible Two, so he'd better start acting up. Yeesh.

He's also rather inspired by Nell. Sometimes he wants to be a baby, and be carried everywhere and lie in my lap (he's a bit big for that!). But I tell him that babies don't get chocolate cookies and have to nap all day, and he reconsiders that wish pretty quickly. And sometimes he's Monkey Bear's mummy, and Monkey Bear gets rocked to sleep in his arms and pushed around the neighbourhood in the pram.

He got to go to his first movie the other week (Babes in Arms sessions don't count) - his Dad took him to see Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. And he was gobsmacked. And he got a plush Gromit afterwards which was rivaling Monkey Bear for Top Toy spot for a week or so.

He's still transportation mad and got his first trip on the Manly ferry this week (he's done lots of the inner-harbour ferries already). He was most impressed.

Language and conceptual skills are getting better and better. He'll now ask what he's going to be doing during the day, and every night he'll talk about his day as part of his night-time routine.

And he'll "talk" for Monkey Bear. Monkey Bear will be pushed forward and will squeak "can I come too?" or whatever. And Monkey Bear and Gromit have been having little conversations. Probably trying to work out how to get more chocolate frogs.

Wednesday 6 July: A long time between updates! Mainly due to Max's little sister (Nell Ruby) arriving 1 month early. Yeesh, Max didn't want to come out, and we couldn't stop Nell...

Max was a little puzzled by the sudden arrival of Nell, but took all his sookishness out on me, not on her. I was persona non grata for going off and spending a week at hospital!

He is fond of his little sister now - he will blow her goodnight kisses, and was rather chuffed when she smiled at him yesterday. (Actually, she smiled at some vague spot off his right shoulder, but we told him she was smiling at him. Which she probably was!) And the other day he called up the stairs while she was beginning to stir from her nap and cry: "Go back to sleep Nell! You tired!". If only it was that easy!

Other great phrases of late have been: "I just go upstairs and get car. I be back in a second."

And he can count to ten. Only all cars have five wheels. He's obviously worked out the whole five-fingers thing, and just counts to five, no matter what it is he's counting.

We're not allowed to sing to him any more. Apparently that happens at day care only, not at home. But they've also taught him to say "please" at day care, because now when we ask him to say please he says "pleasemayIhaveit", which is something I'm pretty sure we didn't teach him!

Friday 15 April: Well, I'm off on 6.5 months maternity leave as of today. Hoping to spend most of that time resting (and nesting), hopefully Max will let me have some quiet time!

The clever little bear can now count up to six.

He's used past tense correctly in sentences ("I went to Museum").

And we're starting to teach him the days of the week after he told me that yesterday was Thursday (and he was right!).

And he's sorted out this weird change from daylight savings to normal time and is waking up between 7 & 7:30 most mornings. Wish the cat would learn as fast as he did, she's still demanding breakfast from about 5am.

He's moved up in the world from his car baby seat to a booster seat. He likes his new seat, and the fact that he's that little bit higher and can see that little bit further out the window. And it's easier to persuade him out of the front of the car (where he sits in the driver seat, twiddling with all the knobs and settings, feet dangling, loudly declaring "I driving!") into his booster seat.

He also likes walking now, rather than being pushed in the pram. I find it rather nerve wracking, especially near busy roads or shopping centres, but he's having a fabulous time. And hell, it helps tire him out nicely (and he does listen when we tell him not to run. Well, he pays attention for a few seconds, at least). This morning he walked from home, up the hill, and then several blocks towards the playground. (At normal speeds, that's about a 15 minute walk. I have no idea how long it takes at toddler speeds.)

Friday 1 April: New photos, taken by Jason, from January this year. Some excellent ones too, thanks heaps Jason!

Wednesday 23 March: And now he's made a cake as well, with his daddy! He's going to be quite the gourmet, at this rate.

And last night he chatted to his daddy on the phone (daddy was at work) and actually talked, as opposed to just sitting there and nodding or smiling, at most. He babbled happily about the trip to the zoo we did the other weekend. He remembered that he'd seen tigers and bears at the zoo, and dinosaurs, and koalas in a tree. From no talking on the phone, to full on chatting and even saying goodbye!

His memory's getting very good too. He'll chat quite happily about all sorts of stuff that happened days ago (having a chocolate sandwich with his Aunty Ann outside and watching cars; going to the zoo; being put to bed by Grandma & Grampa). Only problem is, we're never sure if he's talking about a previous event or asking for the event again! Oh well, one day he'll learn tenses.

He's getting to bed much easier now, thanks to us putting his bedtime back to 8pm (from 7pm). The first time we tried, I wasn't happy with the results, but this time around he's good and tired and often wanders off on his own and then gets a cuddle and tucked into bed, and we sometimes only have to pop in once or twice to adjust the blanket before he falls asleep. What a star!

And anything Max can do, Monkey Bear can do. :) Monkey Bear shares his dinner and his juice, waves goodbye, plays with cars, pulls the toilet paper off the roll, gets tired, needs cuddles, etc.

The other day Max was pushing a ride-in car around, and it ran into Monkey Bear, who was lying in the way. Max told me that "car crash Monkey Bear!" and "Monkey Bear crying". So he picked up Monkey Bear and gave him a fabulous cuddle to make him feel better. Aw.

Monday 21 March: He got to help make his first set of muffins yesterday. I measured, sifted, chopped, spooned and he stood on a kitchen chair and stirred the resultant mess. And he was so excited to be helping Mummy and to be eating muffins, and the poor little guy didn't like the muffins! (I did, I thought they were delicious. Apple and cinnamon, mmmm. I don't think Max liked the texture of cooked apple, unfortunately.) The mess was minimal, which was lucky as he refused to wear a teatowel as an apron. Although he did have a smudge of muffin batter on his cheek for most of the afternoon.

Next weekend, we shall try for pizza.

We had a busy weekend! We cancelled some social engagements, but managed to fit in a bus excursion, a trip to the playground, one picnic, his cousin's second birthday party, some shopping and the aforementioned cooking. And Daddy & I were both out last night, and he was a little angel to his grandparents who had to put him to bed (first time he'd been put to bed by someone that isn't Mummy or Daddy!). Fell asleep almost instantly! Wish he'd do that for me...

Monday 14 March: I remembered what I wanted to say the other day! Max has developed a strong Bronx accent (we're trying to get him to say "cawfee" instead of "coffee" at the moment). He says "toiger" for "tiger" and "moine" for "mine", etc. Note to doubting grandparents: it's not a Kath & Kim "look at moi" accent, there is a subtle difference. My Max can't speak Strine!!

AND, he told his first lie! I'm terribly proud, it means that he's understanding that what I think is different from what he thinks. The story is that we were both sitting on the sofa, I was scoffing my breakfast and he was furiously stuffing a pillow down the side of the sofa (as one does). He then sat back and said in all innocence:
MAX: Where has the pillow gone?
MUM: I don't know! Where has the pillow gone?
MAX: Under the sofa! Down there!
MUM: Did Max put it there?
MAX: No!

My clever little scamp.

According to the lobster scales at the New Marigold in the city, Max now weighs 16.2kg.

We went to the zoo yesterday, and had a great time. He really liked the black rhino this time (last time we took him, the bears had him completely agog, this time the bears were out of it from the heat and were only distinguishable from the rocks by being furry). He also saw koalas, lions, tigers (and bears, oh my!), chimpanzees, gorillas, the pygmy hippo, mountain goats, the komodo dragon, lots of snakes and frogs and turtles in the reptiles house, giraffes, etc. He also got to play with Lucy from his Baby Support Network (aka our parents' group). And eat an icecream.

That night we asked him what he saw at the zoo and he said "crocodile and dinosaur". I missed the dinosaur, dammit!

Wednesday 9 March: And another piece of artwork! No comments this time from the artist (he was too busy having a tanty because I'd neglected to bring sultanas for him when I picked him up from day care. Yeesh).

And now, not only does he dictate what he wants to wear, he dictates what we should wear! I made the mistake of wandering into his bedroom this morning while only half dressed and got a stern "Mummy put on shirt. Mummy put on big blue shirt with green coffee".

Last night he pretended to be a cat during dinner. He meowed several times and then pretended to clean his ears with his "paw". Too cute!

Current favourite books are I Wish I Had a Dinosaur ("dinosaur book!") and Za-Za's Little Brother, all about a little zebra dealing with a new sibling. I hope Max is taking notes! He's having a good book binge at the moment, which is really fun. He won't read them on his own, but it's lovely having him in my lap babbling about the pictures and asking to see certain pages.

We think he's keen to start helping out in the kitchen. He pulls the chair up to the bench and says "I make dinner!". I think I'll try him on some muffins or baking or something else relatively simple as soon as possible. (I have been warned about the mess.)

And some of his roleplaying now involves pointing a stick at us and going "pow!". Not sure if I approve, but he's having fun.

Oh hell, there was heaps more I wanted to say, I'm sure, but Max's little sibling is eating my brane!

Wednesday 23 February: More artwork! From day care, a collage (he's expanding into other media!) and a painting entitled "Red car. Orange car". Our clever boy!

Further evidence of cleverness: he uses the word "I" quite a bit now. At first it was just endless repetition of "I want" and the "I" wasn't all that clear. But the other day he said very clearly "I got car" and "I find airplane book". Not sure what this signifies, but I'm impressed.

And he can clearly count to five. He'll point to his cars and say "one, two, three, four, five". If there are more cars, he'll usually start again with "two" instead of progressing to six. And he also tends to proudly say after he counting effort "two cars!" instead of "five cars" or whatever. But he's awfully chuffed with himself and his new trick.

So, he might be the next Jackson Pollock. Or Einstein. We're keeping his options open. ;)

Monday 21 February: Well, Max has started doing lots of roleplaying! No, not of the Dungeons & Dragons variety (although he does have his own set of dice already).

His daycare centre has set up a "home" corner, with cradles and baby dolls and ovens, etc. While there's no mention of him playing there in the notes (he's almost always mentioned playing with cars, or blocks, or running around), he obviously is at least picking stuff up through osmosis. In the bath, he pours water into cups and says "making cake!". And in the car the other day he was tickling the belly of one of his trucks, and saying it was a baby. (His little sibling is going to be tickled to death! Literally.) And he feeds his plush toys (and cars, sometimes) his food and makes munching or slurping sounds.

Max is also a dead keen tickler of his Mum & Dad. He generally just sticks his finger in my bellybutton and gives me a wicked look, waiting for me to giggle. But he'll also approach us (wicked grin in place), wriggling his fingers and saying "tickle, tickle, tickle!".

He's started wearing the fabulous Tigger backpack that his grandee got him a few months ago. (It's plush, and it was just too hot over summer for him to wear it.) He hasn't worked out that he can store stuff in it (about two cars, and one very small book!), but he loves his "yellow tiger" and he looks adorable with it on his back, and he takes it to bed at night. I will have to get photos of him wearing it soon!

He's also started dictating his dinners - he'll ask for "sketti" (spaghetti) or sausages with sauce or rice, and if possible, we'll serve it up to him. He also asks for certain clothes (although we're not sure which shirt "new shirt" is), or certain activities (swimming, "indoor playground", playground, museum, etc). We can't always do what he wants, but we do our best!

The aforementioned "indoor playground" is an absolute godsend in hot/wet weather. Certain Westfields (Eastgardens & Burwood both have them) have this great clambering climbing fenced off area with tunnels and slides and rollers and and and. And they're surrounded by coffee places that will do table service for the parents who can sit back and relax and just wave at their kids. (We tend to go in with Max as he's still a little small and gets stuck at times, especially if there are bigger kids to watch.) They're brilliant. I love the airconditioning on hot days, and it's great to take him somewhere he can run off lots of energy when it's wet outside. (Of course, yesterday all the other parents in the vicinity had the same idea, so it got crowded very quickly. And the coffee bars were a bit slow getting their machines up and running, which was a bit snark-inducing for the caffeine addicted amongst us.)

And we found this great fire truck at K-Mart (for a bargain basement price of $10!). It's almost as big as Max, we reckon. He was besotted from first sight, and has spent quite a bit of time just pushing it around making "brrm brrm" noises.

And I, for the very first time, served him a meal of meat, potato and three veg. Well, one veg. And pasta counts as potato, right? He got chicken nuggets (which he enjoyed), bowtie pasta (he ate a few mouthfuls) and a scoop of peas (which were completely rejected). I feel like I've reached some sort of milestone, cooking a "proper" dinner instead of just opening a tin of baked beans. And when Max saw his dinner, he instantly went over to the high chair and asked to be put in it. Greater praise has no toddler!

Monkey Bear had a brief sojourn at the Sydney Doll's Hospital the other weekend, to replace his nose which was bitten off by Max. (We were also going to get a toupee done, but that was too expensive.) Monkey Bear's rhinoplasty worked a treat, and Max is very chuffed with it. On the way home, he bounced Monkey Bear up and down in his lap ("Monkey Bear jumping!") and flew Monkey Bear through the air ("Monkey Bear in rocket ship!"). Aw. Welcome home, Monkey Bear!

Wednesday 9 February: Just as a whim, I found out what our chinese astrology signs are. Max's parents are both earth roosters. Max's little sibling will be a wood rooster. BUT (and this is the really exciting bit), Max is a water horse.

Yup, our little cheeky monkey of a bear is actually a hippopotamus.

Wednesday 2 February: More photos! Been a while since I took some, I'd completely forgotten what was on the film! There are photos of him scrambling over the sculptures at Sculpture By The Sea last November, then some bath photos from last December, and finally some photos of him demolishing an icecream last week at the local Australia Day celebrations.

And our little boy is growing up! He's no longer in the Tiddler group at day care, but is now a Toddler! This just seems to mean that he's in a different room at naptime, he still mostly hangs out in the same area, with the same other kids.

He loves his new Ikea bed, he thinks its the best trampoline ever. (This is not always conducive to a good night sleep, but at least he's sleeping in the next morning to catch up on sleep. Of course, this means that I'm perpetually late to work...) He proudly says at the drop of the hat "Daddy made big bed!" since his dad had to wield the Allen key. He is most impressed with his dad's set of skills (he's also learnt "daddy change tyre!" this week).

We had a lovely Australia Day this year, down at the local park, checking out the council celebrations. There was live music and bouncing castles and pony rides and food stalls. (Max's dad got to join all the queues. But when he got to the food stalls, he discovered that the queues weren't for the sausage sizzle or anything, they were for the beer tent. Very australian. :)

Fiona came along and wrangled young Max for us, so we got to sit in the shade and natter with everyone we ran into (at last count: my sister's best friend and her family; friends from the choir; a fellow mum from our mums' group; an old school friend; and an old Uni friend).

Max had a lovely time, he ended up covered with icecream from head to toe. Okay, nose to chin. But still, it looked hysterical. And he liked watching the bouncing castles, and he was given a toy wheelie bin by a nice council worker, and he likes sausage sizzles. He was not interested at all in the pony rides (thank deity, the queues were ridiculous), and didn't go too close to the live music ("too noisy"). And he was fast asleep in bed by the time the fireworks went off.

Friday 14 January: Well, friends have pointed out that I've missed out on a number of new words! (My usual criterion: if Max uses the word independently, without prompting from us, then it's a New Word.) So, the following are New Words (and have been for some time): stick, rock, turn around, round and round, round (as in circular), pussy cat, grey, noise (as opposed to noisy), mess, climb, climb up, tummy, toes, make, coming, home, swimming pool, slinky (as in the slinky toy), happy, unhappy, crying, box, Fiona. And probably many more!

Oh, and his grandee gave him some Winnie Ther Pooh toys that are springs as well. Max looked at the Tigger one and said "slinky tiger". He's getting inventive with his language!

And he's learning "and" as well. As in "Mummy and Daddy bed" instead of "mummy bed daddy bed". And "orange and black tiger" instead of "orange tiger black tiger". Cleverness!

Still no singing at perfect pitch though. I'll let you all know when that happens. ;)

Oh, and last night he said (and I repeated each phrase for reinforcement, so it was quite a conversation!): Poor car. Sad car. Unhappy car. Crying car.

Never found out why the car was upset! But check out the exploration of synonyms!

Wednesday 12 January: Phew! Is Christmas over already? And it's 2005? Well, I never. What a mad rush! Max had a ball, running amok on the day, he thinks he's got the idea behind opening christmas presents (and he wanted to try and open his cousin Jemma's birthday presents as I was trying to wrap them on the weekend...). Oh, and this is one of his Christmas presents from me. And he managed to tear it the first day he wore it! Oh well, at least it looks authentic now.

A new photo of Max, from his birthday party (from Rebecca, thanks Rebecca!).

And Finding Nemo has been supplanted in his affections! He's insanely keen on Toy Story and Toy Story 2, and demands it at every opportunity. And he loves the car chase at the end of the first movie, and he gets quite upset whenever Jessie has to go in a box in the second movie. (He thinks Jessie's a baby, and he knows babies don't belong in boxes, and he picks up on her sadness.)

He had his first unadulterated bit of chocolate just before Christmas, and he liked it (a little chocolate santa claus from our neighbours). And he discovered Nutella, and was in hogs' heaven. Chocolate sandwiches! Could a small boy ask for anything more??

Over Christmas, Max & I got to spend lots of time together as daycare was closed, and my mum did something nasty to her back and no one was happy for her to lift Mr Wriggly at all. It was lots of fun, and I was completely exhausted by the end of it all. Thank deity childcare has started back up this week!

Max's biggest news at the moment is that he can now escape from his crib. Repeatedly. He can throw a leg up and grip the top of the side of the crib with his toes (!!!) and then heave himself over. He doesn't fall or make any big noise, so the first we'd find out about this was him knocking at his bedroom door, trying to get out!!

Luckily we'd put a couple of spare mattresses in Max's room, and he's very happy to sleep on his Big Bed. (Ikea will be getting a visit from us this weekend, and we'll get him a proper Big Bed.) "Sleep" meaning "lie down with bears, then get up to play with toys, get scolded back to bed, repeat until very tired and finally drift off, with a final cuddle and kiss from my longsuffering parents". We're learning some new settling techniques, shall we say. But when he does get to sleep, he sleeps well on his Big Bed. (And he has to be moved back onto the bed overnight every now and then. He rolls off, without waking, and when we check in on him we pick him up and return him to his bears and pillows and blankets while he remains fast asleep.)

He seems to be getting the hang of counting (not counting actual objects, but saying the numbers in order): he seems to be able to say "one, two, three, four" without prompting now.

And he likes picking the dandelions in the front yard. He'll insist on picking one or two flowers on his way out (you can't pick them for him, he'll reject any pre-picked flowers, so you can't be in a hurry to leave the house). The car and his pram have dead dandelions all over the place now. And the fluff ball dandelions (what do you call them when they've gone to seed?) he calls "bubbles" and he wants to "make bubbles" with them. He's gotten pretty good at blowing the seeds off too! (Knew there was a good reason for never getting around to weeding the front garden! More toys for Max! ;)

Finally, we went to a friend's birthday party on NYE, and I told Max we were going to a party, and he thought for a few seconds and then said "lights on the cake?" He knows what happens at parties! There are presents and cake and blowing out of candles!

His dad has a new nickname for him: King of the Monkey Bears, with his faithful sidekick, The Peril Sensitive Cat.

New words: christmas tree, present, santa claus, puzzle, carrot, baby, nappy, sad, happy, sandwich, sleep, wake, poor (usually in conjunction with Stumpy, "poor Stumpy" as she runs away from him yet again), sneaker, sunny, scooter, Arnold (his grandfather's russian blue cat).