Wow! What an incredible weekend! As you all know, Friday was my first birthday, so it was suitable to pull out all the stops and do nothing but party and celebrate! In commemoration of this awesome day, Dad took leave from work to spend the day with Mom and I.

The day started with major excitement, as Dad was the first to wish me a happy birthday as he came into my room to do my morning cares. We chatted and giggled about how awesome a day it would be, celebrating my very first birthday. Next we headed to the study where Dad fed me my breakfast. Being one year old, I opted to up my game and just wolf through my cereal. Mom was up pretty soon after and there were enormous hugs that went around as Mommy wished me a happy first birthday. I grinned from ear to ear and thought I would get a cramp in my face I giggled, laughed and grinned so much as the first few hours of my birthday were being celebrated with my beautiful family. We opted to open my overseas presents first, Aunty Gillian and Aunty Shazza had really spoiled me. From the USA I got two little outfits and bath toys, Mommy so loved the little baseball outfit that I was immediately popped into it. I wore it the whole day and everyone commented on how cool I looked. Aunty Shazza sent a birthday bag from Australia that had no bottom to it. I got the most beautiful books and toys, even Mommy got a little special something. Mommy must really have liked her new bag, because it went everywhere with her this weekend.

Although it was my birthday, I still had to go for physio, where I had a hectic workout. I kept reminding Di that it was my birthday and that she should go easy on me, but she would hear nothing of it. So I conceded to that fact and I opted to grump and moan through the whole session. Thankfully physio was over quickly and we got back to the business of my birthday celebration.

We headed off to Morningside Medi-Clinic to the ICU ward where I had spent so many months after my birth. Being my birthday, and, after all, having survived so well, I decided to say ‘Hi’ to the nurses that cared so well for me for the first months of my life and bring them a cake in celebration. They were thrilled to see me and I was handed from nurse to nurse for hugs and I even spotted the odd moist eye. They were delighted with their cake, and as an added bonus, Dr Enrico was there as well doing his rounds. He immediately administered big hugs and I could feel he was thrilled to see me, and that he also played such a big part in my arriving at today’s date.

After NNICU we popped in to Dr Ron’s office’s, but he and Gill, his wife, were at Umhlanga for the weekend so we promised to return next week for a visit.

Back home there was much activity around the house as Mom and Dad did the final preparations for my birthday party that afternoon. As the clock struck two, guests started arriving. I was thrilled! Friends from drumming and my mommies clubs started streaming in, as well as some of Mommy and Daddy’s friends. It was incredible, before I could blink, Chloe and Amy were storming up and down the passage. Joshua, Slade and Mathew played on the blanket in the middle of the lounge floor with me. Claire and Samuel were also there, staring at the balloons that adorned the ceiling. The party packs that Mom made up were an absolute hit with Ryan (not cousin Ryan) and Joseph. Nearby, while I was chilling on the blanket with my friends, I could hear Moné playing with Roxy our staffie. Later on, Michael also warmed up to Roxy and Jake, and they both received oodles of pats in the front garden. Cousin Tamsin was also there, and being one of the ‘older’ kids, she helped the Mommies (and some Daddies that were there as well) with dishing out sweets and goodies to everyone, and making sure all were having a whale of a time. The afternoon just seemed to go from strength to strength, and the party roared on. Dad, being mad over soap bubbles, was outside with his new bubble marker, making bubbles that were enormous and more than 2m in length. The older kids (and many of the Mommies) were fascinated.

Back inside the house Chloe, or the Chloester to her friends, felt the party had hit some doldrums so she climbed on the sweets table to liven things up. She was an absolute hit, and we all cheered her on as she traversed the sweets and goodies on the table. Opa also arrived and spent some time on the floor with me, and even Bev arrived. All too soon the afternoon started drawing to an end, as it started getting late for my little friends. Each of my little friends was dispatched with a specially made party pack and a helium balloon. Some balloons managed to escape once in the great outdoors; these were quickly replaced with another balloon, but this time tied to the wrist of the little friend, to avoid any more escapees! I didn’t get to finishing opening all my presents in the company of my little friends, as there were so many gifts. After they left it took me well into the early evening tearing off all the wrapping paper and ogling over the stunning gifts. My eyes were quite teary at the thought of how much my little friends adored and loved me, looking at all the stunning birthday gifts they got for me. Needless to say, their company for the afternoon surpassed the gifts, and I was sad that Gene, Megan and Lieben couldn’t be there. I even received a gift and flowers from Izy in Craddock; speaking of Izy, I’m saddened to mention that she has taken very ill and is back in hospital again so please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

After a truly exciting and splendid day the three of us just chilled at home for the evening. Dad did bath me with some of my new toys, and although they were intriguing and new for me, I was too exhausted to fully appreciate them just then – but there will many more chances to get to grips with them.

Saturday morning there was a flurry of commotion in the house. I opened my eyes to see lots of helium balloons still clinging to the ceiling of my bedroom and the moment I announced to the house that I was awake, Dad came rushing in to do my cares and give me breakfast. Afterward we all hurriedly got ready and left for my next birthday party – yes, it’s going to be a weekend of partying and celebrations.

We headed off to The Houghton Boardroom where Mom and Dad had planned another birthday party for me – this one more of an ‘adult’ party, whatever that means! Although the morning air was fresh, it wasn’t too cold, and thankfully the skies were clear. At 9 o’clock the guests were welcomed with champagne and orange juice, and platters of canapés. Personally, I preferred the goodies that were served up at my party the day before – the adults can keep these canapés for their ‘adult party’.

Before long there was a full house of specially selected guests – the invitees to this party represented those people that had been there with Mom, Dad and I through the past turbulent twelve months. The guests ranged from the doctors who saved my life on numerous occasions to those friends who simply, after Mom and Dad had been at my bedside for 14 hours at a time, had dropped off meals for them at home. Once everyone was seated and their glasses were charged, Mom and Dad stood up, with me in Dad’s arms. Dad started his thank yous and I could hear from his voice that the further he went into his speech the bigger the frog in his throat grew. Next Mom finished off with more thank yous, empahsising that every little thing that the guests did for us was meaningful and carried the three of us for those taxing months. Dad also said a special thank you to those that couldn’t be there but had been just as supportive and caring. Looking out over all our friends, there was hardly a dry eye in the house, and the little sniffles continued as people started eating breakfast.

Pretty soon however we were all having lots of fun, telling stories, sharing jokes and sipping champagne. After the dessert cakes were served (yes, breakfast was chased by the most divine chocolate mousse cake), Mom and Dad decided that inhaling the helium from the balloons would serve as brilliant party trick, especially to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me. At the time I was in Robyn’s arms and I begged her to take me away from these embarrassing old dodgers – but they persisted in inhaling helium and singing. As if that wasn’t enough, just for evidence, Dr Enrico got hold of Dad’s camcorder and committed this embarrassing ordeal onto film! By early afternoon we were heading back home, reminiscing about the wonderful morning. Mom and Dad decided that the remaining helium balloons had to come home with us, so I had a wonderful time in the back of the car as 20 balloons bopped all around me! Once at home, Dad must have taken four trips to the car to bring all my presents into the house – I am so overwhelmed at the generosity of everyone. I was not expecting people to bring gifts, I just wanted the most special people on earth, who through their generosity already, had got us to this point, to spend the time with me and my parents.

The afternoon was spent opening gifts and I was in awe of all the wonderful things that were emerging from the most amazingly wrapped gifts that I had ever seen. There were toys, books, musical instruments, clothes and even a bottle of wine for Dad for his first Father’s Day the next day. Exhausted, we all tumbled into bed on Saturday evening and drifted off to a deep sleep.

As if the excitement of my birthday weekend wasn’t enough, Sunday was Father’s Day, and since it was my Daddy’s first Father’s Day, I persuaded Mommy to do something really special for my superhero Daddy. Over the past couple of weeks, Mom and I had been conspiring to set up a paper-chase for Dad. So when Dad arrived at my bedside on Sunday morning to do my cares, I was awaiting him eagerly with six clues that would take him through a fun-filled and adventurous day. After he made me some scrambled eggs for breakfast, he and I sat down to solve the first clue, which led Dad to a new Asterix and Obelix book. The next set of clues led us to the Zoo, where the three of us spent a wonderful morning looking at stunning and amazing animals. I was awestruck with the Zoo, and was excited by the fact that we would be returning often, as Bev and Claire had got us a year pass.

Dad was pretty engrossed in everything at the Zoo, so Mom and I had to coax him to recall the next clues where after we would be heading to Moyo’s at Zoo Lake for lunch, but not before we first picked up a set of juggling sticks that Dad has had his eye on for many months. After he selected a set of juggling sticks we took our seats at the restaurant where we discovered Opa and Barbara waiting for us! We lunched in the wonderful outdoors as steel drums and xylophones played nearby. Each of us had our faces painted with lovely African patterns and shapes; within a matter of minutes I was sporting little footprints up my face. I showed off my dancing skills and when I tired of that I drummed with the musicians. Dad, knowing all to well my love for music, took me right up to the band and I listened with great pleasure as Dad took me within reaching distance to each instrument. I could hardly contain myself, and my body was taken over by rhythm and I danced in Dad’s arms. The band members were encouraged by my enthusiasm and played even louder and harder when I was at arms length to a particular instrument. The afternoon drew to a close and pretty soon we were all heading home again, but not before Dad had a last clue to solve. This one took him forever to understand, but soon he realised he was getting a laser distance measurer. After he opened his gift Mom and I spent the rest of the afternoon watching him walk from room to room measuring the length of the walls, and even automatically determining the area and volume of each room. The two of us thought Dad looked hilarious! Pretty soon he was even outside measuring the length of the house, the width of the gate and even checked the construction that was going on in the front garden!

Well, that’s it for the weekend of partying! I mustn’t forget to mention that I also went for OT this week, chose some new library books, was put in Granny’s care for most of Thursday while Mom went shopping for my party, and on Thursday morning I met Dr Melodie de Jager, author of the Baby Gym series of books, to look into my development progress. She was most impressed with my progress, considering the rough start I had. She complimented my Mommy on all the wonderful work she had done with my development, and I was really proud of the manner in which Mommy was using medical and developmental terms to describe what I was doing. On average, I’m really doing great, with some of the more intellectual things being advanced. My challenge is still crawling, as my lower body muscles atrophied so badly from lying in hospital for so many months. On the up side, it seems that I’ll be mobile in about two weeks – I’ll keep you posted on that.

Just before I close for tonight, I think is worthwhile sharing some of my stats with you, given that I’ve reached the 12 month milestone. I now weigh in at 9.3 kgs, whereas I was born at 3.9 kgs (again those 3’s and 9’s make an appearance – see my blog of 19.03.2009, when I reached my 9 month milestone). I’m now 83 cm tall; at birth I was 52 cm. I also now have 12 teeth, including molars!

Last but not least, it is worth mentioning that tonight is the Winter Solstice, which means it’s the longest night for us in the Southern Hemisphere. On the upside, this means that the days are going to start getting longer, and longer days mean warmer days, and warmer days means Summer!!!!

As I conclude tonight’s blog, my Dad made a special request of me; although he knows this is my blog, he would like to publish a poem that he dedicated to me in celebration of my first year. As it’s Father’s Day, I conceded, so below is my Dad’s prose.

Lots of love, and many many thanks for all the wonderful wishes, SMS’s, emails, phone calls, cards, and gifts,



What I Have Learnt – A Dedication to Jarrod Lederer on his First Birthday

A year ago you popped into our lives, and together we started a journey;

Never did we think the journey would be filled with challenges,

And at the same time with such joy, such tribulation, and such learning.

I am humbled at the fact that, being almost forty,

And having a wall adorned with qualifications and certificates,

That I have learnt so much from you, a mere baby.


The lessons are many and deep,

So where do I begin,

As each valuable lesson,

Compounds the value of a previous lesson.


Let me begin with patience –

Everyone speaks of it,

Everyone wants it,

But few are able to teach it,

But you, Jarrod, taught us the benefit of patience

Since through patience comes healing and growth


You have taught me to trust,

And believe that all things will turn out suitable

But at the same time,

This only applies to things that really matter,

So in learning the lesson to trusting the universe

You have also taught me to know what is worth worrying about,

And what is not worth worrying about.


You have taught me that time is the greatest gift,

Presents, money and materiality are not the greatest gifts

As the gift of giving of one’s time,

Be it to be with you, or do something for you,

The investment of time is the greatest gift.

At the same time, you have also taught me,

That sometimes, the box that gifts come in,

Make better gifts than the gift itself!


You have taught me that smiles and hugs are universal,

Everyone understands them, and everyone can give them.

They fix insurmountable problems and reassure during the most taxing times

A smile takes away pain and fear

And brings with it healing, friendship and love.


You have taught me friendship and companionship,

And that it comes from allsorts of camps,

Both near and far, known and unknown,

And sometimes the further and unknown camps

Become true friends and companions,

More so than those near and known.

So yes, strangers can be trusted, you just need to let them in.


You taught me survival at all odds,

In you I have seen a greater will to live than in much of mankind

Your tenacity to never give up, to beat all the odds,

To pass every hurdle thrown at you,

To grow, learn and develop despite your challenges,

And to do these things so remarkably well,

Has taught me not to take it all for granted.


You have taught me that one child,

However small or weak,

Can mobilise adults

Across miles and miles of continents.

And that the power of positive thought and prayer

Is awesome.


In you I have learnt to seek answers,

And not to accept what appears to be the inevitable,

To question and question, and to challenge the answers,

For sometimes the solution lies deeper than the immediate answers,

And those answers, are the answers to life itself.


Through you I have learnt the power of real friendship

And that real friendship runs deeper, and is more immeasurable

Than camaraderie and familiarity,

Which are the easier yardsticks

Most of us use to measure acquaintances veiled as friendship

Since real friendship comes from assemblage often unbeknownst


Although your lessons are many, and I’d like to quote them all

I must end my sprawling of words and testify

In conclusion, that the greatest lesson I learnt from you,

Is that love is insurmountable and through it,

Anything can be overcome,

Even surpass the bounds of physics and reality

As it is there always and everywhere.

By Norwin Lederer

Figure 1 My first high-tops!

Figure 2 Getting some OT with Lauren

Figure 3 Swinging at OT – good for my vestibular system

Figure 4 Checking out my new library books

Figure 5 Wrapped up warm

Figure 6 Presents posted to me from across the Atlantic as well as the Indian Ocean

Figure 7 Aunty Gillian sent me the most awesome card I have ever seen

Figure 8 Pressies from Aunty Shazza and Uncle Marc

Figure 9 For me?

Figure 10 Mommy’s All-Star – this candy stripe baseball outfit arrived from Aunty Gillian

Figure 11 Mom’s baking talents par excellence

Figure 12 PARTY!!!!

Figure 13 Some of my friends

Figure 14 The Chloester decides dancing on the table is in order

Figure 15 Dribbling on a Liquorice Allsorts – it was a good party

Figure 16 After a hard day’s partying we didn’t have the energy to make a proper dinner

Figure 17 The setting for the ‘big people’ party

Figure 18 Mom, Dad and I address the guests

Figure 19 Sharing the car with my balloons

Figure 20 Bathing with some of my new toys

Figure 21 My first visit to The Johannesburg Zoo

Figure 22 Swinging at The Zoo

Figure 23 Thank you everyone for the past year – for your support and help, and for following my little tale

3 Comments on Party, Party, Party!

  1. Gillian Lederer says:

    Happy Birthday Jarrod. So glad your parcel arrived safely and on time but aren’t those cars and trucks and the track supposed to stick on the wall of the rub 🙂

    Glad you liked the card – when I saw that I could not resist it – even if it didn’t say happy 1st birthday I thought it was perfect for you.

    You look very handsome in your baseball themed clothing I must say.

    Wish we could have been there to celebrate with you but you were in our thoughts.

    Gillian, Oliver, Ryan and Kirsten

  2. Gillian Lederer says:

    Oops that should have read “wall of the tub” not rub 🙂

  3. […] Photo 18 Dad was at Houghton Boardroom where I had my first birthday party! […]

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