JJ is very busy at the moment learning to talk. He loves Thomas the Tank Engine and can name lots of the engines. Almost any crisis can be diverted by producing a Thomas book. He seems to have weaned himself, more or less, over the last month. He doesn’t feed at all during the day now and won’t let me put him to bed either. This has become Matt’s job now. I’m only useful for those middle of the night wake-up calls, which I think are becoming fewer. So this is all heading in the right direction, ready for baby number 4’s arrival.

He still eats really well, in fact he eats anything really. He loves vegetables. He has also got the hang of drinking from a beaker cup. We had a fraught couple of weeks when he had stopped feeding from me, but refused to drink anything from a cup, and would go two or three days and then have a couple of sips from something, then stop again. I kept imagining we would have to take him into hospital to get him re-hydrated, but he seems quite happy with his cup now. He is the first of our babies to drink cows milk happily. He can use his own spoon now, whereas I seem to remember Bee and Mip wanting to be spoon-fed for as long as possible.

He has become the self-appointed key monitor. As soon as he realises we are going out he insists on holding the keys. If we are going out in the car, he will unlock both doors and then hold onto the keys until the driver is ready, then he hands them over with a big grin saying ‘anku’. This has caught Matt out a few times as he wanted to take the keys and use them.

He parrots indiscriminately everything his brothers say. So, for example, this afternoon he was running around shouting ‘J for jelly’. He loves counting too, again just copying what he hears his brothers say.

Puzzles and playdough are his favourite activities at the moment.He’s a very cuddly boy too – more so than I remember the others being. And things just generally feel easier with him. Everyone always says that this is because subsequent children just have to fit in, but I don’t think this is the reason with Joel – he just has been more of a low maintenance boy than the other 2.

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