« February 2009 |
| December 2008 »
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
My mum mentioned in conversation the other day that the baby was due in
only 8 weeks. It gave me a bit of a start. I hadn't really been thinking
about how few weeks remain...
Jack fell out of his new bed last night, the first time he has done so.
The thud woke Al and I up instantly, and we both knew exactly what the
noise was. We were up and on the way to his room before he started to
cry. It gave us quite a shock, since it is a rather large drop.
Thankfully he ok, although I checked in on him 4 times over the next
hour until I could finally get myself back to sleep.
We will be ensuring his pillow is kept to the safe side of the bed from
now on, and if he is near the edge, move him even if it risks waking him
Posted by Doug at 10:34 PM
Monday, January 12, 2009
The last couple weeks Jack has been back at his tantrum filled and
difficult best. He’s had a real maniacal edge to him. Over happy one
minute, melting down the next.
More than once in exasperation I have exclaimed “You are being stupid
Jack”. That isn’t appropriate language and I need a much better way to
express myself – but his behaviour is at times unbelievable, even for a
three year old.
Added to this he has ramped up his defiance. He’ll try to glare us down
if we tell him not to do something; he’s more prone to throwing /
hitting things if they don’t work as he wants, and he’s started shouting
An angry three year old, face screwed up in a scow, shouting “NO” when
you tell him to stop doing something, is quite a sight to see. He has
even improved on his sulking – lasting 5 minutes at a time.
As Al heads towards the end of the pregnancy her patience with Jack’s
trying behaviour has plummeted. The two of them have taken to shouting
at each other. Except for the fact Al can’t actually yell. Her face
screws up, she hunches over, her tone gets more forceful, the pitch
increases – and then you just get a nasally and squeaky sound coming out
that is easily drowned out by Jack. I have lost count of the number of
times I’ve had to step in a say “JACK, do what your mother tells you.”
And then of an evening, as Jack finally succumbs to sleep and is looking
blissful in his bed, we look over him and feel sad, knowing that in 7
odd weeks he’ll no longer be a single child, and that this world he is
currently trying to shape and structure for himself as he wants, is
suddenly going to be a whole lot different for him.
Posted by Doug at 1:07 PM
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Yesterday afternoon – for the first time in weeks, Jack was an absolute
delight. Today – he was back to being a little shit.
His childcare put him in underwear today – obviously their way to try
and push toilet training. They didn’t volunteer that he wasn’t in a
nappy – I only realised because he was walking around holding up his
pants. When we got to the car I realised his dark pants were all damp –
he had obviously wet himself sometime in the last hour and just hidden
the fact. I got home and kept him in underwear – and again he wet
himself and kept quiet about it. Unfortunately this time it came through
his clothes, the towel he was sitting on, and soaked into the couch.
As I scrubbed the couch I again asked him why he didn’t tell me he had
wet himself, and with his little 3 year old nose upturned, said
defiantly, “Because I’m not going to.”
It has been more than six months, and I think he has only twice
voluntarily asked to sit on the potty, both times to get an offered
treat. Every other time he has deliberately wet himself, even if it has
involved going out of his way to do so by holding it in until after he
is off the potty. It is driving us crazy.
The lying is also bugging me, and his growing rudeness. He just isn’t
particularly pleasant to be around at the moment.
Posted by Doug at 10:31 PM
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Jack’s last months as the sole child seem full of crying and tantrums.
His once relatively patient Mum is snapping at him and is fed up with
his behaviour. It seems we are constantly threatening him with one
sanction or another. If he doesn’t stop throwing the tantrum he is going
to his room, if he doesn’t stop crying he is not going to the park, if
he doesn’t stop getting upset with that toy it will be taken away from
him. More and more he is hearing the stern and sharp tone of the phase
The only way he can be half placated most of the time is by pandering
completely to his whims. When he does get his way there is little
appreciation for it – it is just a temporary lull before he starts his
Funny enough – that is probably what he has been used to – being
pandered to. Now that we no longer have the opportunity to, he is
finding the world he was used to falling apart, and he is fighting the
change tooth and nail.
I guess in that regard this new baby should be good for him in the long
run. It will force him – in some measure – to be a little less
self-centric. I am not convinced however he will come around to this new
way of life any time soon.
I have been disappointed in how we have both handled this so far. I was
fully expecting (and absolutely dreading) a hard period of adjustment
for Jack once the new baby arrived. I just hadn’t realised it would
start so early, or that we would cope so averagely.
Posted by Doug at 8:47 AM
Because Jack refuses to tell us when he needs to go to the toilet, we
are forcing him to go to the potty more frequently. That is not going
well so far.
Today we had one of our worst potty times. He started by telling us
there is no wee coming. I replied that he doesn’t tell the truth about
that, so he has to go anyway. Then he cried, then I sternly told him to
go to the potty, then he yelled and plonked himself on the ground, then
I yelled, then he screamed, then I physically carried him into the
bathroom as he thrashed about out of control, then we pull his pants
down as he cried, then forcibly put him on the potty as he continued to
yell, scream and cry. Then he harped over and over that he was finished
now while trying to get up, while we said he hasn’t and push him back
down again. Intermingled in this seesawing are explosions of
frustration, anger and tears from Jack, as we mixed threats of taking
him straight to bed with managed, thoughtful and measured responses, and
of course growling and yelling back in an up and down horrendously
Afterwards Jack wanted to be as far away from his Dad as possible.
Potty time is not usually that bad - normally it is just crying and
complaining from Jack. I wanted to mark and remember this one however.
There has been a great deal of worry, stress and pain over Jack's toilet
training, and it is not bringing the best out in me.
Posted by Doug at 9:08 AM
Two hours of Jack - 9:15 to 11:15am...
09:22 Cries because mum, just out of the shower and not dressed, won't
set up a picnic for him
09:25 Cries for mum - who has quietly gone upstairs to dry her hair (I
wonder if she realises a pregnant woman trampling around upstairs can be
easily heard from downstairs...)
09:43 Cries and stamps feet - because something doesn't go his way (I
didn't leave my room to find out what.)
10:10 Cries because he didn't get to flush the toilet after mum emptied
10:11 Cries because he didn't want dad to help him wash his hands
10:17 Complains and stamps feet because mum goes to the toilet
10:34 Complains and yells because Mum is doing the dishes
10:40 Gets antsy again because Mum is still cleaning the kitchen
10:48 Extended yelling at Mum for not playing exactly the way he wants
10:50 Yells at mum for not playing right
10:55 Yells at mum for not following him immediately, then cries when we
tell him off for yelling
11:05 Antsy response to not getting his way
Posted by Doug at 1:12 PM
The day finished ok. Jack was a bit up and down, but there were no more
full on tantrums.
He had his first ever visit to the dentist today. He was extremely
good, listening to the dentist and doing what he was told. The dentist
indicated the outer layer of his teeth hadn't developed (Al didn't ask
why or if that was common), and that means he will likely have problems
with tooth decay. He has to go back next week for a clean, then back
again the following week for a filling, and then back again the week
after for another filling. The fillings will go ahead depending on his
response (which I don't think will be good). If he gets too upset they
apparently do them while he is asleep. While I guess that is a safer
approach than trying to drill in the mouth of a fighting and upset
child, I'm not sure how I feel about a dentist putting a child to sleep.
Posted by Doug at 7:32 PM
While ultimately this blog is for Jack, it is also a way for me to try
and put a framework around all the thoughts in my head. To understand
and piece together what I am seeing, feeling, and experiencing. In some
ways it is a coping mechanism, in others it is an explanation and
apology to Jack.
I think I have said before that Al complains that I focus too much on
the negative in my posts. That is because when I am finding a situation
difficult, blogging can help. As a result, I blog more when things are
I hope Jack doesn’t read this in the future and think his youth was just
one big battle with his parents. When a period of time isn’t covered
with a blog entry, know that it was likely a pleasant and enjoyable
time!. As I keep saying, Jack is certainly the hardest work I have ever
had to do, but also the most rewarding.
Posted by Doug at 10:40 PM
Thursday, January 15, 2009
We went shopping for two new booster seats today for Jack. His old child
car seats have done a brilliant job, and still look like new. They will
serve the new baby well. We have narrowed it down to three options – but
find the prices a bit hard to swallow.
Jack came home from childcare today in a good and happy mood. He was
delightful – even said excuse me when interrupting his Mum when she was
talking to me. There was such a difference between Jack this afternoon,
and Jack yesterday morning.
Posted by Doug at 10:36 PM
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
While heading home from Childcare on Monday Jack was recounting how his
friend Brayden had to run away from room bully Isaac, but that because
he was fast Isaac could never catch him. I asked if he had to run away
from Isaac too. He told me that he didn’t, because if someone hits him
too many times he hits them back and they stop.
Posted by Doug at 7:03 AM
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Jack amazed Al and I today. He went to the dentist and had a filling,
and while apparently uncomfortable, he stayed still and followed the
instructions of the dentist. He has one smaller filling to do next week,
which might not go down quite so well now that he knows what it all
means. Still, for a three and a half year old, his behaviour impressed
It was 43 degrees here today. The air-conditioning worked ok upstairs
until about 7pm, when the sideways slant of the lowering sun left Jack’s
room too hot to sleep in. Al got Jack to go to sleep in our bed, which
was also obviously his preference. Our bedroom actually gets the worst
of the sun on hot days. Even though it has its own air-conditioning
unit, it still needed an extra fan over the bed tonight to make things
Hopefully we can transfer him to his own bed later.
(As a concession to the global financial crisis, we decided not to get a
separate split air conditioning system for Jack’s room this year.)
Jack continues to be up and down. Yesterday afternoon after Childcare he
was in a relaxed and happy mood, and was an absolute delight. This
morning he was up and down and wanting his mum to be very close to him.
Al sent him to the naughty corner after some particularly bad behaviour
(something he absolutely hates), and between that and the dentist visit,
he seemed to calm down and have a reasonably good afternoon.
Al is just past 35 weeks now. Today she was moving around with a
pronounced shuffle, her shoulders slumped low, and generally an unhappy
expression on her face. While the heat obviously doesn’t help, and Al
isn’t particularly complaining, it is obvious that this pregnancy is
harder work than the first.
Oh - we must have had a cool change, the local temperate has dropped
from 41 to 37 degrees in the last 30 minutes...
Posted by Doug at 8:44 PM
Thursday, January 29, 2009
The upstairs air-conditioning finally got on top of the heat at around
11:30pm last night. I moved Jack back to his own room when I went to
bed at 12:30, and we all managed to get a restful sleep. That is more
than what some of my friends could say in our usual morning email
Today was another 43 degree scorcher. The air-conditioning coped until
the sun hit the side of the house at around 5:30pm – after which the
temperatures inside increased by 3 or 4 degrees. It was still
comfortable – but just as long as the air was moving around you. We
might need to buy another couple fans to cover these half dozen times a
year when the temperatures get this high. Jack is again starting off the
night sleeping in our bed.
Tomorrow is predicted to reach 43 again.
Quite a number of plants in our gardens have been hit hard – new leaves
which were green two days ago are brown and totally dried out. I think
one of our 8 year old conifers has also taken on the color shade that
indicates it has already gone beyond the point of no return. I’ve never
seen anything like it.
After getting assurances earlier in the week that the electricity
supplies could cope with the demand, there were mandated rolling
blackouts today when it couldn’t. This house would be a complete oven
without air-conditioning, so we can only hope things hold up better
tomorrow. I find it embarrassing that our government hasn’t been able to
ensure the electricity supply infrastructure had kept up with the
increased peaks in demand. It seems such a rudimentary requirement for a
modern city. Much like the water supplies – there doesn’t seem to be
enough buffers built into our critical infrastructure. I wonder what
Jack will face when he is an adult. Only being able to turn on his
electricity every other day?
We picked up a booster seat for Jack today. It took a bit of agonising
over – particularly as the prices ranged between $120 to almost $500
each. If it works out ok we will buy another one for the second car.
It is currently 33 degrees outside, and 24.5 degrees in my study.
Posted by Doug at 9:37 PM
Friday, January 30, 2009
Another brutally hot day that reached 45 degrees – the second highest
temperature here since records began. This time the air-con got to
about 4:30pm before it stopped coping. Jack has again needed to go to
sleep in our bed.
I watched water bombing helicopters fight a fire near us earlier – the
third time since we have moved here that has happened. It must stress
those home owners who live on the border of the parklands.
Again the city power supply couldn’t cope, and some 100,000 more homes
spent a couple hours blacked out at the hottest time of day. Then in the
early evening there was a major failure which blacked out some 500,000
homes and business. The mind boggles at the embarrassing ineptness and
lack of true preparation from our government and utility companies. If I
read right, the power demands were the highest ever – but only by around
5%, and they were expected. Who gambles with leaving such tiny buffers
for essential services?
Meanwhile the news is full of stories about thousands of people being
retrenched every day, businesses going into receivership, people losing
their homes after investment advice proved wrong, and in one mad rush
country after country falling into recession. It seems as though the
foundations of the world’s economies have been shaken to the core. One
article suggested 50,000,000 people will lose their jobs this year
around the world.
It is quite frightening wondering what impact this might have on the
world the baby will soon be joining. The other night Al and I talked
about what would happen if one or both of us lost our jobs over the next
12 months – what our options might be, how long we could cover the
bills, at what point might we have to consider starting to sell up if
both were unemployed etc. It wasn’t a cheery topic, but at least it gave
us a little comfort knowing we have a bit of a buffer up our sleeves.
Now if only our electricity supply had the same…
Posted by Doug at 11:10 PM