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Celebrity News

Former Shortland Street actress Anna Jullienne's amazing baby boy

The Shortland Street star’s adorable son has turned her world upside down – and she couldn’t be happier about it.

By Kelly Bertrand
Former Shortland Street actress Anna Jullienne's smile couldn't get any wider as she proudly watches husband James Kermode and 11-week-old son Theodore play together on the lounge floor; James jangling toys overhead as he tries to entice a smile out of the sleepy newborn.
It's a perfect moment that makes Anna beam with the best kind of happiness.
"We're pretty sorted, aren't we?" Anna asks, looking around her home in central Auckland and back towards her son, who's finally grinning after Dad has pulled all kinds of funny faces.
Anna Jullienne's partner James Kermode holds Ted.
"I'm not sure when we became so adult. All of a sudden we're all grown up, and we've got something that's so much more important than ourselves – it's the most wonderful thing in the world."
Anna and James, who married in 2010 after knowing each other since they were teenagers, couldn't be more thrilled to introduce Theodore McInnes Kermode, or Ted to his parents, who was born one day after his due date, weighing 9lbs (4.08kg) and measuring 55cm – or, as Anna says incredulously, "almost two rulers".
"Thank goodness he was long, not wide!" she exclaims.
Although he's not even three months old, Ted's proving to be quite the little bloke. He's the spitting image of his dad and, like his parents, loves to be active, kicking his legs as he waves his chubby fists in the air. But as soon as Ted decides he's no longer interested in what's going on around him, he drops his head and has a snooze.
"Such a typical boy," Anna laughs. "I can tell already he's really determined and very active. He just wants to move around all the time."
"He's started to get some personality," adds James, a leasing executive.
"The first six weeks, it's feeding, burping, changing nappies. It's still that, but now you get the smiles too."
Baby Theodore McInnes Kermode
It's those smiles that are the best reward for the 3am wake-up calls, the endless feeding and the excruciating end to Anna's otherwise uncomplicated pregnancy.
"Everything was great, and then two weeks before Ted was born, I got a chest infection," she recalls.
"Because I was coughing so much, I broke a rib. It was really painful – I guess my body was just pushed to its limit."
After a 15-hour, incident-free labour at home, followed by a short trip to hospital, Ted was born on December 30 to the delight of his mum and dad.
"I didn't want him to be born on Christmas Day. I thought that would kind of suck for him later on in life," Anna says.
"I was sitting on the couch all of Christmas Day just thinking, 'Not today' and he must have listened. I started to go into labour on the 29th, and my midwife said to me, 'There'll be a change in you and you'll know when you have to come to the hospital.' At the time, I was like, 'What does that mean?' but she was right. You definitely know! James was napping on the couch and I just called out, 'Help me, I need to go, now!'"
After spending many hours feeling "helpless", fetching Anna wet face cloths, James drove his wife to Auckland Hospital where, after only 20 minutes of pushing, Ted was born.
"It was an overwhelming feeling," James says, smiling as he remembers the moment he saw Ted for the first time.
"I was in awe that we'd actually done it, that our son was finally here."
"I was just thinking, 'Thank God it's over,'" laughs Anna.
The new parents named their son Theodore McInnes because Anna loved the name Ted, but wanted him to have a more formal first name "for when he's a brain surgeon or something – Dr Ted doesn't have the same gravitas as Dr Theodore!" McInnes is a Kermode family name.
After seeing in the New Year in Birthcare maternity hospital, where new dads celebrated with a beer while the mums rested, Anna and James took Ted back to his lovingly designed nursery. It's been hard for them to take their eyes off him ever since.
"The best bit is when he wakes up in the morning and I get to see him," James says.
"And also when I come home from work and I get to see him."
"So basically, all the time you get to see him?" Anna asks James with a laugh.
"Well, yeah," James grins. "Anna sends me videos of him during the day. It's so exciting."
"James is such a typical dad," Anna says. "I bought him a card with all these dad jokes on the front of it, so he'll be whipping those out soon."
As for Anna, she can't quite get over how loved Ted already makes her feel.
"You're in a room full of people, but he's just looking at you," she smiles. "You're the one he wants. He'll burp, and I'll think he's the most amazing creature in the world!"
Anna and James say they feel more connected since the birth of their son Ted.
Parenthood has come naturally for both James and Anna, who take turns changing, bathing and playing with Ted.
"It feels like we've been parents for ages," Anna says. "And James is a natural; he knew what he was doing straight away. I don't know how he knew!"
"Well, you just have to figure it out," he replies pragmatically. "You don't have a choice."
While everything's gone to plan so far, the couple has been relying on advice from their mums to get them through the moments where they're not sure what is happening, as they have a "no Googling" rule.
"You'll end up thinking you've got a bigger problem than you actually have," James explains.
"The best piece of advice Mum's given me is, 'It's not an exact science,'" Anna adds.
"You're used to being in control, now Ted's running the show – he has been from the minute he was born. It's about accepting there's no control."
Since Ted arrived, James and Anna's relationship has changed rather remarkably, with the pair growing closer than ever.
"We feel more bonded," Anna says. "And we're more efficient, aren't we, James?"
"Yeah, there's no more procrastinating," he smiles.
The pair aren't in any hurry to add to their little family, which also includes a rather bemused cat called Olive.
"When Ted was crying the other day, she gave me this look that said, 'It used to be peaceful here – take whatever this is back!'" laughs Anna.
But they are planning to give Ted a younger brother or sister sometime in the future.
"When I gave birth, I was pretty sure there would be a 13-year age gap between my children," Anna says with a grin. "But that's shrinking!"

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