New year retrospective of an Olephant handler

Firstly apologies. I got a bit carried away with this post so if it’s all a bit tldr…great year, Ollie talks and walks, we did a lot and all survived.

January – It’s moving and other bits.

Ollie had begun to crawl over Xmas period and had decided with a bit of encouragement and help he’d consider walking. As can be seen in the below video he has nailed the classic Webber ‘drunk at the end of the night shuffle avec hop’. By the end of the month he’d pretty much nailed independent cruising as well which meant we had loads of falling with style. With the power of hindsight I should have been a bit more terrified by the fact that he was now moving. However in those Halycon days I was naive and couldn’t see the constantly moving Egg shaped, Tasmanian devil esque nightmare that would develop. Dad had his op super successfully at this point as well so it was a pretty ace month all around.

February – the boy in the dress.

Olephant got christened which was a little lovely service at the little Rissington chapel. It was extra special as despite mum not being able to be there he wore my christening robe, which mum had made from her wedding dress. Either way it was another generation successfully embarrassed! Len , Chloe and Sophie agreed to be god parents…fools they don’t know what they’ve let themselves in for…muhahaha!

Lydon and I also constituted our first boys club excursion to All Things Wild and Ollie was terribly impressed with everything. I failed as a parent as I forgot…well, everything to be honest. I had to buy some dodgy garage nappies which were too small for our pint sized pachyderm but did the job until we got home. I also forgot warm clothes so dressed him in the only warm clothes I could find which fortuitously turned out to be a bear onesie.

March – Mother’s day/awesome ladies day.

This month kicked off with world book day and this rather apt costume choice for Ollie.

He rocked it to be honest and was astoundingly proud of his stompy feet. Mother’s day also reared its head towards the end of the month and we ventured forth to ‘Fairytale Farm’. I can only apologise to Rosie for this as if 1970’s Soviet Russia did farm parks this would have been it. Terrifying, delapidated, faded plastic fairy tale characters were dotted along the route to the petting farm. Ollie was terrified, Rosie was over compensatingly positive and I had the realization that taking a recommendation from a man down the pub was not my best move. Note to self…do better next year!

April – Rugby and Lambing season.

This was a super busy month for a small man and he was here, there and everywhere! Ollie saw his first two premier league rugby matches at Wasps and Leicester respectively. He was utterly indifferent but did rather enjoy cheering with the crowd…or on his own…or just shouting really. He made it a thoroughly relaxing experience as did Rosie who suffered vertigo at Wasps to the point she used the baby carrier to strap herself into her seat. Such fun!

Wasps was confusing as Ollie was not a Cipriani fan. Good lad.

Leicester we got on with better as at heart Ollie is a prop and he approved of the A, B, C squad.

Ollie also paid a visit to Uncle Len and Auntie Chloe’s farm where he stared in wide eyed fear at the hundreds of new born lambs. Ollie had begun to proto-baa by this point but he couldn’t quite make the link between the cute fluffy white things in his books and the lambs uncle Lennie showed him. He did towards the end risk a shy tentative stroke of one of the cuter ones though. He was delighted by his bravery and kindly gave the lamb a second stroke before calling it a day.

May -30+1 and 1st birthday, also more rugby!

This was a big month as not only did Olephant begin his solo stomping adventures but it was also his 1st birthday, Rosie’s 30th take two and his first rugby international at Twickenham. Ollie has always been…well food orientated is the polite way of saying it. This held true with his solo walking escapades – he was coaxed into walking through the expedient of bananas being placed out of his reach. This frustrated him to the point he decided he may as well get them himself.

This sudden outbreak of solo ambulation came in time for him to show off his tottering at his and Pose’s joint birthday celebration. Rosie in retaliation for him scuppering her 30th, by inconsiderately coming three weeks early, dressed him in a truly offensive onesie/dungaree hybrid with bow tie that will no doubt haunt him in later life.

To round out the month in style Pose snagged some cheap tickets through work for Twickenham for England vs The Barbarians. To say we we’re excited was an understatement and we dutifully scurried to London via train prepared for a day of rugby related shenanigans…we were so eager that we intended to watch the extra matches around the main game. This was all somewhat scuppered however by two things: number one being we aren’t the most experienced parents (one year in!); number two was that Ollie wasn’t the most experienced at being a human being. The net result of these two unfortunate circumstances was that we took it in turns to miss the games entertaining Ollie in and around the ground, all the while Ollie got more and more annoyed at not being able to pick up the funny men running in front of him. The small and far away talk from Father Ted was reeled out but it didn’t solve anything. We really should of planned it better, but in our defence that would have involved some level of forethought.

June – Father’s day and sculpture trails.

Nothing major happened in this month but Father’s day did come at the end of it and with it I was presented with my very own Ukulele. Despite Pose buying me a book of songs and me scouring YouTube videos my musical talent did not suddenly materialise. Ollie dutifully clapped along and Pose made positive noises, but it was clear I was not likely to win many friends if I kept strumming the same three chords for any extended period of time.

We also ventured forth to Quenington – Open Air Sculpture Exhibition. It’s an utterly brilliant bi-annual exhibition held in an old rectory’s gardens.

I’ve been going since I was 8 and absolutely love it. Olliebobs also seemed to rather like it, although I’m not sure he gave a damm about the wonderful sculptures, rather he seemed to appreciate the space to tear around in.

July – it happened.

To be honest once it gets to July for any teacher it becomes a matter of survival. The end is nigh but not quite there yet!

Ollie spent most of this month placing things on his head, climbing in things, climbing on things, making animal noises and just generally being an inquisitive toddler. Albeit an inquisitive toddler with a sense of personal safety that can only be described as Lemming like. We did have a few outings to places like Ragley hall for their food festival but largely this month was a blur. We also bought some bikes with the intention of fitness, family rides etc etc. We have to date (end of December) managed two rides. Still, there’s always 2018!

August – We basically did everything in this month.

Everything included: our anniversary, my birthday, multiple park visits, Cotswold hikes, getting lost on Cotswold hikes, soft play visits, lots of golf, Slimbridge visits, Camping in Wales, Beach trips, Farm park visits, learning actions to nursery rhymes and lots of family time.

This was the most time I’d ever got to spend with an Ollie who’s not a new born/very small baby. I know I can mock the little dumpling at times and he is anything but relaxing but simply put this was the best summer holiday I’ve ever had.

September – Back to school…boo!

Tough for any teacher but especially tough given how ace August was. There were a few redeeming features to the month, these largely involved the weekends. We had the Tour of Britain swing by and Ollie appeared on TV in all his fox coated glory for a nano second as the riders zipped past us.

We also managed an outing to Millets Farm (or rather it’s called something similar but neither Pose nor I can remember exactly what) where Ollie was thoroughly enchanted by the Birds of Prey. The fact they were largely silent disappointed him massively however and the plaintive way he quacked at them was particularly eloquent.

October – Pumpkins, sleep regression, more sleep regression and looking adorable in a dinosaur tail.

In short with Halloween around the corner, Pose talked Ollie and I into going to a Pumpkin patch. She bribed us with the promise of Breakfast and treats. We did get a stupendous breakfast out of it, well Rosie and I did. Ollie got a creative new wardrobe look as he smeared beans into every crevice of his being. Luckily coats that cover a large % of a small person and wet wipes, used with ruthless efficiency, saved the situation somewhat. On the bright side we did get Duncan the Pumpkin (not my choice of name) from the day and being honest it was great fun.

Ollie also decided during October not to sleep much at home, after all he could sleep at nursery during the day or in the car whenever he was in it. Mummy and Daddy survived October on a mix of caffeine related drinks and taking it in turns for a small lie in on the weekends; the lie ins were so small my 20 year old self would laugh at the idea of them being lie ins at all.

November – Talking/Burbling goes wild, meet ups and a hungover over Rosie.

Ollie’s talking/noise making seemed to explode this month. We tended to say a word and he could kind of repeat it. He also seemed to understand what we were saying a LOT more, to the point that asking him to pick up a specific coloured brick to bring to you got a correct response as opposed to a happy gurgle and dribble. He may develop beyond being a pint sized Oaf yet.

We had a lovely meet up with Manabelle in Leicester towards the end of the month. This was strange for me as going back to where you went to uni, with a wife and child, to meet in laws feels just plain mature. Despite my job etc which is quite grown up, this feels one of the more incidental yet significant acts of adulting that I’ve done in recent memory.

Rosie also ended the month in a miserable hungover pile on the sofa after having a ‘cheese and wine’ night at our house. God knows how the other girls looked the next day but Pose was particularly green around the gills and Oliver is a merciless overlord. Enough said on that really.

December – Christmas et al.

Well we’ve just crawled through this month so no need for any major recaps, just a quick post of few Christmas type pics to remember an ace month! It was all about family and friends really, pretty much as it should be.

Any way, it’s been a brilliant year and can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store.

Lots of love Andrew, Rosie and Olephant.


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