Today our fourth son, our baby, is one year old! Brendan shares the same gorgeous russet hair and brown eyes as his big brother Conor. He is also the proud owner of the Dooley Dimples. He suffers a little from 4th baby syndrome; the main symptom being a dulled acceptance, as in, what’s the point anyway? I’ll never get a word in over those other 3. He is without a doubt, at the moment, the most placid and chilled out child in the house. He likes to sit and observe but is not averse to letting the odd shout at the boys if he wants to catch their attention or if one of them removes something from his grasp. He has a habit of sticking his head under the press in the kitchen and being clueless as to how to get it out again, he lies there shouting until someone comes to rescue him. He was one day old and his thumb was perfectly placed in his perfect mouth, his little starfish fingers curled over his perfect nose. There is no doubt in my mind that he was a thumb sucker in utero. He is mad about his daddy and big brother Iarla, but when he sees me, all hell can break loose if he’s hungry, tired or upset. He loves to sit in front of the fridge and rearrange the magnets. Playing in the sock drawer is another favourite pastime of his, which suits me as I can lie on in bed and watch him as he sits on the floor. He is a big fan of banana and custard and up until a month ago, before he got the hang of crawling, he liked to slide backwards on the floor. Now that he has his licence, the world is his oyster and nothing is safe. The computer screen, which is perfectly and conveniently placed so he can gain easy access to it, is his favourite target. Much to his older brother’s annoyance as it interrupts their cartoon watching. He has already spotted when the doors to the outside world are open and is off like a rocket to escape. There is a drop onto the ground, both at the back and the front door so until I can (a) beat it into the others to keep them closed or (b) teach Brendan how to crawl down them safely, the summer is going to be along one until he learns to walk and navigate them himself. It took him two weeks to go from the bum shuffle to full on crawling so I’m hoping walking will come to him just as quickly. Brendan likes his sleep but is still fond of a late night snack and likes nothing better than snuggling under the duvet with me for these midnight feasts. He likes to reach across and pat his daddy’s face to have his presence acknowledged, only then is he content to finish his supper and fall back asleep. Thanks to having three older brothers, he is picking up new tricks every day and his latest one is whistling. Purely by luck and chance more than anything else but it’s still cute to hear. Our smallest boy has the biggest and the strangest appetite. When he was coming up to 6 months of age, I was reluctant to introduce solids just because he “was of age.” Brendan made the decision for himself and lunged at a bowl of pasta one day. We never looked back. He thinks nothing of sampling the endless stream of Styrofoam balls that come from the wall cavity. I have spotted a few in one or two nappies. He is also fond of stones, wood shavings and peat moss from the potted plant in the hall. There is nothing wrong with his gag reflex and once or twice, a paper from a crayon and even the bitten off head of a crayon, have been produced via a stream of projectile vomit when they lodged in his throat. This can be both funny and disgusting (for obvious reasons) in equal measures. At the moment, on this, his birthday week, Brendan has the summer cold from hell. Screecher Creature No. 4, the newly Creeper Crawler is now known as The Snot Bucket. I did not know it was possible for a small child to contain so much mucus; he is nursing like a newborn because of his cold and lately has been waking every two hours at night. My appetite, for chocolate in particular, has shot through the roof as a result. He loves to be outside, preferably sitting in the dirt with his brothers but as long as he is in the fresh air, he is happy. On the days we have room in the car, I will put him in the next seat up which is the one behind the driver’s seat and he loves it. He can watch me in the mirror and check out the surrounding country side from the window. It makes a nice change from looking at his brothers and sitting in a seat that is always travelling in reverse, I’m sure. We really must upgrade them all to bigger seats soon. Happy 1st birthday to our happy, chilled out little smiler.