The first year

Bright Eyes was a very easy baby from the beginning. He was placid, easy to put to sleep and easy to look after. The only problem I really had was his waking every 3 hours for more food until the age of about 8 months. Because of all the milk he drank he was also the fattest baby I'd ever seen.

He smiled a lot, seemed to be aware and appeared normal. I did notice that if we tried to get his attention to play with him, he would often look away or appear not to notice us. I didn't think about it much at the time - perhaps he was tired, or he wasn't interested.

When he was six months we visited some babies (triplets) the same age. I was shocked at the difference between them. They were wriggly little things, investigating toys, trying to get around the room and intensely alert. By contrast Bright Eyes looked a little like a beached whale - he lay on his back and gurgled! I put it down to there being three of them to entertain each other.

At 1 Bright Eyes was starting to get grizzly and a little hard to get on with. On his first birthday he came out from his nap to find the room full of relatives and birthday cake. He wasn't happy and screamed solidly for about half an hour. We all had to not look at him so he would calm down.

As time went on, that became a bit of a habit: if he was the centre of attention, he tended to scream. He was happiest if people didn't talk to him and didn't look at him. He didn't seem to be able to handle it.

He had all his injections at the regular times and showed no signs of infection or discomfort. He kept breastfeeding madly but started to be a picky eater with his solids.

There were no obvious signs of autistic spectrum disorder in the first year. Looking back I can see some signs that things were heading in that direction, but for the most part Bright Eyes was a happy little chap and we were delighted to have him.