Watching Konrad Kiley bouncing on the trampoline he got for his third birthday is a moving thing for his mum Shannyn, who not long ago wondered if he would even crawl.
The curious toddler - who knows cameras 'turn on', having been photographed for many milestones - has come a long way in his few years.
Doctors knew early that Ms Kiley's first baby had gastroschisis, where the bowel develops outside of the body in the amniotic fluid, but they couldn't have predicted what effect that would have.
"For nine out of 10 of these babies, it's a few months in hospital and they'll put the bowel back in, whereas Konrad was the one out of 10 where his bowel burst and got all twisted," she said.
"He ended up with only 27 centimetres of his short bowel, and any newborn baby is supposed to have close to two metres.
"We did expect to be down there [in Melbourne] for a couple months, but not for a year - a year was a lot."
Life on the wards
Born seven weeks early and weighing just 1.3 kilograms, Konrad had three operations within the first four days of his life at the Monash Children's Hospital.
It was a very scary and stressful time for a young, single mum.
Being able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House Monash, and visit the charity's family rooms at the hospital, was a comfort for Ms Kiley.
"I obviously had to leave work to go down there, so financially I was buggered, if I had to find a room to rent," she said.
"Staying in the accommodation did wonders and meant when Konrad went to sleep at night, I didn't have to stay in the hospital - I could go over to the house, watch some TV and just relax a little bit."
Then during the day, the Ms Kiley could step away from the wards and into the family rooms to enjoy the little things.
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"For instance, on the wards in the hospital they don't feed the parents and when you're down there for long periods of time, you can only buy cafe food for so long - and the family rooms have coffee and pancake machines, and volunteers come and make meals for the freezer," she said.
"It's a big base for - there's a lot of people who live an hour away, and even for them, they don't have to travel so much, but we also met so many people there from this area.
"Konrad still has a lot of management by the Melbourne team, so we're quite often in the Ronald McDonald House family rooms at the hospital."
Shannyn took Konrad home to Wodonga one day before his first birthday.
Ms Kiley and her partner Tom Sutter worked with Goodstart Wodonga to ensure Konrad's medical needs would be catered for.
Director Sue Phung said at the time, "It's his right as a little person to feel safe and secure".
Day by day
Konrad's understanding about his condition has changed and will continue to, Ms Kiley said.
"It's definitely a lot harder now that he's older," she said.
"When they're babies, with things like fasting before a surgery, they're a bit more easily distracted.
"Whereas now, when the food trolley comes around and Konrad sees all the other kids getting fed, he's like, 'Dinner time mum?' and I have to say 'Not today, honey'.
"He's about to have a surgery, but you don't want to tell him that."
Trips to Melbourne have been reduced to every three months, as Konrad grows.
"He eats normally but has short bowel syndrome, so he has other means of getting nutrition," Ms Kiley said.
"He has a PEG that goes into his stomach that gives him a top-up overnight, and he has a central Hickman's line that goes into the artery of his heart.
"That's a way of giving him more of a top-up while bypassing the bowels."
Konrad was dependent on his central line seven nights a week when he came home, and now he's down to only two nights a week.
"We go down to Melbourne so he can get iron infusions, and touch-wood nothing happens in between," Ms Kiley said.
"He was born well below the 10th percentile size-wise, and now as a three-year-old boy, he's hovering around the 15th percentile for his weight, but his height is about 50 per cent.
"As much as he's not ever going to be a fat child, he is growing.
That whole first year the idea was to just get home, and then you get home and you have the reality of him being hooked up for 24 hours, and it was quite hard to manageShannyn Kiley
"He was come a long way from where he was."
Where Shannyn and Konrad are today, is living a happy life on a property at Tangambalanga.
Konrad loves being a farm boy with dad, and has his own garden full of silverbeet that he tends to "with poppy".
"Obviously there's medical training that comes with him, but otherwise hes pretty normal," Ms Kiley said.
"You walk down the street and nobody knows [about his condition], which is nice, because we didn't know if we would ever get that at first.
"That whole first year the idea was to just get home, and then you get home and you have the reality of him being hooked up for 24 hours, and it was quite hard to manage.
"But now, with a bit of medical care for me overnight, he can be a normal kid and go to daycare - he starts preschool next year.
"He's a normal little boy, he loves the general cars, trucks and trains, and has the three-year-old attitude now."
And like many toddlers, Konrad will soon have a sibling.
Ms Kiley is expecting a baby girl with her partner Tom, at the start of January.
"Either that, or she will follow Tom's side of the family and be born on a birthday and will come on her due date," she said.
After Ms Kiley's experience in Melbourne, the idea of spending time in the Ronald McDonald House family rooms at Wodonga Hospital is not a sad one.
"You can forget it's a charity and it's done through raising funds, as opposed to a government-supplied thing when you go to the hospital," she said.
"Because Konrad was so early, I had nothing prepared, and I had baby clothes knitted by volunteers and other things given to me - I was absolutely spoilt."
Ms Kiley has shared her story to support McHappy Day, the largest fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Since its inception in Australia in 1991, McHappy Day has raised more than $46 million for RMHC.
RMHC currently has 18 Houses throughout Australia accommodating more than 10,000 families annually.
Other programs include the Ronald McDonald Family Room Program which provides a place to relax within hospitals, giving families a break from the stress of many hours spent by their child's bedside.
The Ronald McDonald Learning Program also currently helps more than 1900 children a week catch up on missed schooling following a serious illness.
McHappy Day will take place on Saturday, November 16 - $2 from every Big Mac sold goes directly to RMHC.