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Thursday, January 06, 2011
We had another quiet New Years – which was nice. The only issue was the
ridiculous volume of illegal fireworks being set off, including quite a
large display right over our house (from the street behind.) The noise
disturbed the kids in their sleep, but they did not wake up. I would
have thought of all things, the Australian Customs and Border Protection
Services should be able to consistently detect explosives coming into
We then headed up to visit my parents, to finish off our Christmas
festivities. This went well apart from a miscommunication between Al
and I which saw us heading home earlier on in the day than I had
Over the last month or so Grace has had a real leap forward with her
speech. She is picking up new words every day, and stringing two and
three of them together into mini sentences. I particularly like her
versions of Baby, Purple and Toast. As with Jack at this age, it can
take a bit of effort to decipher what she is saying.
At the same time Jack’s reading, already quite good for his age, has
leapt forward. Aside from reading his books and magazines, he is
regularly trying to read signs, advertisements, instructions etc as he
goes about his day to day life, and getting it right more often than
not. He has the confidence now to try, and the familiarity to do so
without being prompted.
Overall the household has been enjoying this break; there has been less
cabin fever than the previous couple years, so it has been much more
relaxing. Jack and Grace are also interacting more (although usually on
Grace’s terms), which is nice.
Jack and his new backpack, for day trips with his holiday program,
school and mum. Had to resort to an outdoor hiking store for something
well-made and not festooned with horrible colours or super heroes.
Should also last for years, assuming he doesn’t lose it on his first
Yesterday cleaned out the Garage, Spare room and some of the outdoor
toys and furniture which had seen better days - topped off with several
hundred bricks and pavers left over from the landscaping. Surprisingly,
still mobile today...
Posted by Doug at 12:49 PM
Sunday, January 09, 2011
I put my back out this morning lifting Grace - in the same area as last
time. I suspect this was a consequence of filling the skip. I'm barely
able to walk, and have a heat pack permanently attached to it. Very
uncomfortable, and not the way I wanted to spend my last day off...
Posted by Doug at 2:26 PM
Back still extremely sore and it is a struggle to move. Al will be
working from home tomorrow to take me to the Physio, since I couldn’t
drive in my current state.
After a relatively good period with Jack, for the last week or so he has
fallen back into being hypersensitive. Fragile is a good description –
with instant tears the moment things don’t go perfectly to plan, over
the top tantrums when he doesn’t get his way, and a common and uncalled
for rude tone when answering us. He has a bit of a cold at the moment,
and he might also be stressing about starting his holiday program
tomorrow. As per usual we don’t have much patience for the more
ridiculous aspects of his behaviour, and if he doesn’t pull himself
together within a reasonable time frame, he tends to be sent to his
room, and told not to return until he stops himself crying.
We are horrible parents.
One of the common triggers for Jack’s tears is Grace – either by
destroying something he was working on, using something he wants, or
regularly, hitting or biting him because he was getting in the way of
something she wanted. I feel sorry for Jack in some sense – Grace bites
him, and he gets sent to his room. It must seem terribly unfair. If
only he could stand back and look at himself, hear the unconvincing
drama queen wails and watch the crocodile tears fall.
Grace continues being Grace, a delightful strong little character who at
times makes her parents work hard. Her behaviour however is generally
pretty transparent – you can understand it. She can also pull herself
out of a tantrum when it isn’t working, and frequently uses her cute
cheeky grin to defuse situations or try and sway her parents towards her
way of thinking. There is real enjoyment in watching and interacting
with her as she busily storms around the house. It is not all good
though – we all suffer from bites, head-butts and burst ear drums when
she is not happy, and she has already probably embarrassed us more in
public than Jack has to date. In fact, when she is screaming in public
and being carried under one arm, flaying and thrashing about trying to
kill all and sundry, I see lots of disapproving looks from people. Jack
on the other hand is almost always good in public.
Posted by Doug at 10:39 PM
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
When Al walked into the Nursery this morning Grace was standing up in
her cot and exclaimed “O noes!”
“What’s O Noes Grace?”
“I duna Poo”
When Al then opened her nappy on the change table, Grace exclaimed “Ta
Da!”, then laughed.
The Physio suspects I have a herniated disc. While picking up Grace and
filling the skip might have hastened issues, my back problems are more
of a consequence of spending so many hours sitting at a computer, and
not doing excercise or activities in my life which would keep my lower
back strength up. The first visit helped me stand up straighter and
move a little freer. Next visit is later today. Still in a great deal
Posted by Doug at 6:56 AM
Been a surreal day – with the media coverage of the floods and loss of
life in Queensland, and not being able to work or do much of anything
due to my back. Came away from the second Physio visit with my back
taped, and a lot of discomfort. I was told I shouldn’t plan on working
for the rest of the week, need to minimise how much time I spend
sitting, and either be laying around on my stomach, or walking short
distances. I go back again tomorrow for another session.
Posted by Doug at 10:29 PM
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Third visit with the Physio saw them using some strange suction cup
things which zap you (to use her description) “like a thousand pins and
needles”. While not quite as dramatic as that, it was rather
uncomfortable, and has left four red rings on my back. It was meant to
reduce the amount of spasms going through my back, and seems to have
done some good. I have a few more exercises and stretches to do, and go
back again for yet another visit. I will also try to do a few hours’
work tomorrow, to cut back on the sick leave I have to take.
It has been hard not picking up Grace. I wasn't aware of how often she
comes for a cuddle or asks me to pick her up - until I haven't been able
to. She is unfortunately too young to understand, so I have to call
quickly for Al to distract her away.
Posted by Doug at 7:43 PM
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Jack went to Science works today with his Childcare Holiday program. It
was the first excursion like this he has been on – and it was rather odd
for Al and I knowing he was out and about without the supervision of a
It was a good start to the concept of school trips – for both Jack and
us. He was able to go with kids and carers he knew well, in a small
group (4 careers and 9 kids!), practise carrying his backpack and
managing his meals, and to a location he was familiar with and very keen
to revisit. It went well.
I had the fourth visit in four days to the Physio – who delighted in
causing a lot of pain. I go back again tomorrow for a fifth visit. It
is getting better each day.
Posted by Doug at 6:46 PM
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Yesterday Grace was charging down the passageway at a sprint when she
caught the edge of her sandals on the ground and fell forward, slapping
her hands down hard in front of her. There was a stunned half cry, and
we quickly interrupted her with an “Oh no, up you get Grace.” She stood
up with what amounted to a Toddler’s grumbling, literally rubbed her
hands together (which must have been smarting), said “Uh Oh”, and took
off running again.
This morning, in the process of trying to climb onto the couch with 3
books in hand, Grace slipped and landed with a thud on the ground. A
whine / cry started to build, so we quickly interrupted her again with
an “Oh no, up you get Grace.” She seemed to assess the situation,
realise she wasn’t in much discomfort, stood up to pat the couch and
said sorry to it, then climbed back up on it (this time with just 1 book
in hand. )
Resilience in spades.
Jack on the other hand, who is going through a very fragile stage again
at the moment, collapses in a heap, tears streaming down his face, mouth
open in anguished cries, chanting “it hurts so much”, any time he has
the slightest of bumps. He cries so often at the smallest of things
that he literally gets punished for it, threatened to be sent to his
room for crying over something so silly and small.
Posted by Doug at 8:38 AM
Monday, January 24, 2011
We had a failed parenting moment yesterday. Had a catch up with Al’s
sisters, associated kids and husbands, and her parents to mark Christmas
and try out Melissa’s new pool. We allowed the kids to go swimming
during the very worst hours of the day for sun, and were not as careful
with the sunscreen as we should have been. Jack ended up with a couple
nasty burns under his eyes, and on a patch across the top of one arm.
Grace fared better, just turned brown overnight, and Al has a wide burnt
area across her back.
Posted by Doug at 8:56 AM
Thursday, January 27, 2011
It is the last day of Jack’s Holiday program at his Childcare Centre,
and his last day there in any official capacity after more than 5 years
Al and I are both feeling sad for him. He has come such a long way since
starting at the centre, from shy, quiet and never saying a word, to
having good close friends, laughing, and gaining the ability to join in
and play with almost every child there. It is likely he will not see
many of these kids again, and in reality, probably only keep in touch
with one or two of his closest friends.
Jack seems matter of fact about this, and like many kids, lacks in the
sentiment department. I also suspect he doesn’t get the reality of it.
He has however said he is just looking forward to making new friends at
his school. He is not entirely convincing when he says it, but it a much
better attitude than it could be!
Posted by Doug at 3:09 PM