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Wednesday, March 01, 2006
From start to end, my workday stretched past 14 hours today. That cuts
into what you can do around the house – both in time and remaining
energy. In a surprisingly short period of time things suddenly start
piling up and looking messy. I’m reminded there isn’t much of a
difference between coping well and getting snowed under.
Jack has his first seriously runny nose. He initially didn’t like having
it wiped – turning away and frowning. He seemed to cotton on fairly
quickly though – and the process has soon become fairly painless.
Al came home from the mothers group catch up a bit unsettled today. Jack
had a red allergic looking rash around his mouth, chin, and on one
thigh. He had pulled a tiny cup of milk down on himself at the cafe, and
30 minutes later he had come up in a red rash with small marks that
looked like bites. Al had another shower with him, and within 30 minutes
it had all cleared. (Resilient little mite.)
We don’t know if his skin was reacting to the milk, the wipe or napkin
she used to clean him up, the sun tan lotion he had on, the huge amounts
of drool and snoot he had on his face, the teething rusk he had munched
on – or a mix of a handful or all of the above. When he is at the right
age, we will have to remember to do a milk skin test on him before
giving it to him to drink, in case he is allergic to dairy products.
Posted by Doug at 12:38 AM
Friday, March 03, 2006
It started at 1, went to 2, then 4, and is now at 8…
… the distance in meters Jack can crawl when you don’t watch him for 5
His movement is looking more and more like proper baby crawling. He
still puts his little frog pushes in at times, but commonly he has his
arms and knees working in unison and scoots along.
He loves it.
Jack was relatively vomit free today. His cold continues to affect him,
but that also seemed to be a little better. Jack has had a string of
illnesses over the last month (mainly caught off his parents). He has
been particularly clingy and demanding during this time. We thought
(hoped) his behaviour related to how he was feeling, but I’m suspecting
this is the new normal for a while.
The new Jack has two thought processes down pat. “I want” and “I don’t
He can be single minded about getting what he wants – he is not easily
distracted from it, and doesn’t seem to forget it, even with the passage
of days. He uses incredible body strength to twist, turn, reach and move
towards whatever he wants. He is also tricky – you think he is at full
stretch, but he hides a bit in reserve to “leap out” and grab things you
thought were out of reach. He also vocalises his desires – from excited
breathing through to tantrum screams.
He is less single minded about what he doesn’t want. Sometimes if you
wait for 5 minutes after he rejects something, he is fine with it.
Sometimes it takes only seconds. Before that point in time however he
makes it pretty clear he is not happy with the direction life is
heading. On good days it is with a sigh, body turned away, or maybe a
whinge or whine. The next level is a half volume UUURrrrrrrrr noise and
mini punches. Next is full volume AAARRRRrrrrrrr noises and accompanying
frowns, glares, and swinging arms. The final level – which he frequently
jumps straight to, is the “OH YOU ARE KILLING ME” screams, with tears,
clenched fists, and feet flying in all directions.
From my reading this is pretty normal. A work colleague agreed and
suggested it lasts until you can start to reason with them a little. She
thought that happens at around 18 months. 18 – 7 equals… Mmmmm…
But having said all that – I am mindful that he is communicating. He is
interacting with his world. He is learning. He is developing.
It is all rather cool – in a sometimes not so cute way.
Posted by Doug at 12:53 AM
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Jack's crawling has picked up in speed and
distance travelled. I can no longer duck out of the room for a couple
minutes as he can crawl half way across the house in that time. He is
enjoying exploring and makes excited noises while crawling about. He
sets his mind on something and takes off. Downstairs he loves racing
right through the entrance hall to a wizard statue and the front blinds
(which he vigorously shakes all about). He sometimes peers into his
dad's study and bathroom along the way and occasionally detours into
them. He was particularly cute this afternoon, peering into his dad's
study and saying 'da da'.
Upstairs, he goes the length of the passageway,
looks both ways, and then quickly makes a beeline into the bathroom and
the shower door to bang it open and closed. He certainly has a good
memory for where things are. He also finds the air vents on the floors
and walls to be of interest. We have also had to move the couch and
chair in his general play area downstairs closer together and edge a
soft toy in between to prevent him crawling through the gap to the
At Gymbaroo this week the instructors helped the
babies to somersault for the first time. Jack also crawled all the way
through a couple of tunnels for the first time. He gave me a big happy
grin as he saw me waiting at the other end for him and charged towards
me. He also now enjoys crawling along the 'foot steps' path, and on the
netting (with bean bags and mirrors beneath).
Jack has had his worst cold to date this week, so
has been extra snuffling, coughing a bit, and extra clingy again as a
result. He has got quite upset a few times with his nose being either
runny or blocked. As a result I decided not to take him swimming this
At childcare I stayed with him for 15 minutes then
left him for a bit over an hour. He seemed ok when I was there and when
I left. Apparently he then cried up until 10 minutes before I arrived
back! As soon as he saw me he cried once again, then refused to look at
me or at his main carer when she tried to say goodbye to him. I suspect
he was worse this week due to not feeling well – I can only hope he
starts to be happier there, particularly with only a few weeks now until
I return to work.
We took Jack to another school tour yesterday.
This school also looked a promising possibility. We were shown around by
a student and we both commented afterwards that she models exactly what
you would hope your child to turn out like. Polite, well spoken,
interested, engaged and enthusiastic about her school and all the
activities she was involved in (including the camps and extra-curricular
options), and having a love of learning and trying new things. Of course
that would have been why she was chosen to show parents around! I asked
her what the best thing about her school was, and her answer really
summed up for me what I see as the promise of private schooling. '”All
the opportunities - that you can try all kinds of different things and
then pursue whatever interests you, whether it be sports, music, drama,
extra extension classes, languages, etc, or combination”.
Posted by Al at 9:05 PM
A smile for his Dad has he passes by, heading for the front blinds again.
Posted by Doug at 11:36 PM
Monday, March 06, 2006
On the weekend Jack crawled past my study door, stopped, peered in, and
said aloud “Dada, Dada?”
That makes you feel good in a way you cannot explain.
Al has let Jack crawl around the house exploring. She follows behind as
he scurries from one side of it to the other. We have been surprised
with how well he recognises the layout of the house from a position 25cm
off the ground. Once loose, he has made beelines for objects and places
out of his direct vision, but that were obviously in his memory.
He seems to have picked up his mothers memory, and his Dad’s sense of
direction. Thank goodness it wasn’t the other way around…
We went to another private school opening on the weekend. We found it
definitely worth considering. Jack, although tired, behaved very well.
We had a student show us around the junior, prep and pre-prep areas of
the school. She did an excellent job, and was articulate, polite and
confident. At one point she referred to a program at the school that was
used to support both those in need of extra help in a subject, and those
who were more advanced at it. Out of interest I asked her if there was a
stigma attached to those who might be in the program, but from her
answer and expression she didn’t understand why there would be. It spoke
volumes about the environment at the school.
Posted by Doug at 11:22 PM
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
One of Jack's favourite crawling destinations. (The hat rack in the
background is one of a growing list of objects that are being moved into
the spare junk room).
Posted by Doug at 8:24 PM
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Yesterday Jack turned 8 months old. He had his 8-month check up at the
district health nurse, which went fine. In recounting the visit over
the phone Al mentioned the nurse had said Jack might be a hypersensitive
Turned out the two nurses there had suggested it previously, but Al
hadn’t mentioned it. I’ve been wondering of late with some of Jack’s
behaviour – maybe this was an explanation? Hypersensitive is however a
term with a hundred different definitions – to the point of making it
In simple terms it means Jack might be more sensitive than the “average”
baby. This could be to a variety of things, including foods and anxiety.
We are certainly seeing some signs of that.
To be straight - I don’t see a problem. Jack is a top little bloke, and
we are all certainly coping very well. It just means we should have a
little more consideration for Jack’s environment and his reactions to it.
(What this really proves is that even professionals think Jack’s “Oh my
god you are killing me” scream is particularly powerful.)
Oh yeah, the crawling has continued. Faster, stronger, longer distances.
You think you know what that means before it happens - but you don’t.
You have to experience it. Jack is less interested in his toys. He
tends to bowl over them on the way to some distance room and item he has
stored away in his memory.
There are a lot of things about having and rearing a baby that you can
never – ever – understand until you go through it. Nothing and no one
can truly describe them. Afterwards you half raise it to another parent
and they go “Ahhh” and nod before you can finish. They understand.
Posted by Doug at 12:37 AM
My alarm went off at 4:45am this morning. I was dozing half listening
to the radio when Al came in with Jack at 4:50am. She sat beside me and
started to feed him. Every minute or two Jack would detach from the
breast, lean back and look at me, and say “Dad Dad Dad”. I’d open my
eyes, smile at him, and tell him to get back to his breakfast. This
went on a while and through a couple snooze alarms, so I turned the
radio off. Next second I’m awake, it is 7:30am, Jack is snoozing next
to me, and Al next to him. Oops.
Jack woke up later extra happy. With the timing as it was, Al feed him
and took him down to the childcare centre. He was there for two hours,
90 minutes of it without his mum. Since I found myself working from
home, I went along to pick him up. Jack burst out crying as soon as he
saw his Mum. The carer said he was upset on and off for most of the
time, but that he had shown some improvement.
I think that was his fifth visit. The whole idea was for Jack to be able
to get used to Childcare in measured amounts. Now the time he will spend
all day there is rushing towards us, but we still don’t know if he will
handle it. I don’t know if we have helped, or made matters worse.
“I don’t know”. I’m finding myself saying that a lot in reference to
Things sort of went downhill from there. Jack had a couple short and
interrupted sleeps, and spent the rest of the day in a state of over
tired, or, very over tired. One or the other. Al’s shoulders slumped,
she got a bag lady shuffle going, and by the end of the day had a
temperature and was feeling crap. I spent my day with a headache and was
also feeling average.
Here’s hoping for a great night sleep for all of us, and a better
Posted by Doug at 11:48 PM
Saturday, March 11, 2006
A gummy smile as he scoots down the hallway.
He now has the traditional crawl down pat.
Posted by Doug at 9:46 PM
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Cooked and pureed broccoli about to be frozen in Jack sized half meals.
From the very negative reaction to his first taste however, I suspect
little of it will be eaten.
Posted by Doug at 11:17 PM
Monday, March 13, 2006
Who invented the concept of drops and suction syringe to help clear a
baby’s blocked nose? Was it an April Fools day joke? What a
ridiculous, pointless waste of time trying to squeeze anything up the
nose of an 8 month old.
The runny noses have continued in a sort of family frenetic game of tag,
passing from one to another. Just when you think it is all over, you get
We remarked only an hour ago that Jack seemed to be getting over his
cold – and now we have him up and upset, seemingly caused by the flow of
snot messing up his breathing and making him gag.
The two things that help him are showers and crying – both seem to
loosen and get things flowing. He has been getting plenty of crying
Posted by Doug at 11:22 PM
Thursday, March 16, 2006
We have had a couple excellent days with Jack. He has basically been in
a great mood – has been taken shopping, out to a lunch, out to visit
friends and family in Geelong, and to Childcare, and has been really
well behaved for all of them. He has even spent stretches of over four
hours straight sleeping in his cot the last couple nights. We have just
started to give him some supermarket baby food – maybe when it says
“organic ingredients”, it means “mind-altering additives”?
He has also recently seemed to get a greater understanding of the
concept of specific noises to communicate something. I suspect he
understands half a dozen things we say or more. In his own vocabulary,
he has recently been saying “MmmBa” repeatedly. It happens primarily
when he is a little upset – so wants to be picked up or fed. We know he
is trying to say something specific – but are not sure if it relates to
his Mum (we think it does), Boobie (another possibility since we have
been using that term to refer to food for some time), or he is saying
“get your backside over here immediately”.
I suspect it is being used to refer to his Mum. If I pick him up while
he is saying it, he’ll continue saying it while looking over my shoulder
and around. Once in his mum’s arms, he stops.
... My first half day. Feels odd being finished already. Feels odd not
being a "full time employee".
Posted by Doug at 1:07 PM
Monday, March 20, 2006
We have had a busy few days of firsts. I spent the weekend away for the
opening of the Duck Season. It was the longest I’d been away from Jack,
which was an odd feeling. Luckily he is a noisy little mite, so I could
hear him vocalising away in the background when I spoke to Al on the
Al and her sister attended a Commonwealth Games Gymnastics session on
Saturday night, and Grandma Q babysat Jack for the first time. That
seemed to go well, probably helped by being at home in an environment he
was familiar with.
Last of all Al and I attended a Commonwealth Skeet Shooting session
today, and Jack spent half a day in Childcare. It was his longest
stretch so far. He was upset on and off, but managed a couple short
sleeps and some play sessions. He also didn’t cry when we dropped him
off, or when I picked him up.
All told, there has been a slow but positive improvement in Jack’s
ability to handle being cared for by people other than his parents.
Last of all, we noticed lots of little bruises on the front of Jack’s
legs that we were puzzling over. That was – until we watched Jack
playing this afternoon. He was sitting banging some of his toys down
hard – on the ground, on other toys, and ... on his legs. He is a loud,
and a strong little mite...
Posted by Doug at 9:06 PM
Surveying his downstairs play area. What to play with next...
Posted by Doug at 9:20 PM
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Jack’s activities have been on a break for the
last two weeks, so I have had an opportunity to catch up with more
family and friends. This included Jack's first visit to a play centre
last week, where he enjoyed the opportunity to crawl into some toy
houses and through some tunnels.
This week has been the Commonwealth Games in
Melbourne, so I have enjoyed the opportunity to get out and attend a
variety of events. This was all booked before Jack was born - back in
pre-baby life where I had optimistically thought it shouldn't be too
hard to get to all these events. (How life changes).
Up to now I had never missed a single feed of
Jack's, so had never been away from him for more than 3 hours. Suddenly
in a week I have gone to being away for 4 to 5 hours on multiple
occasions, with a couple more times to go. Jack has been cared for by my
mum for his first baby-sitting effort, 2 half days at childcare this
week, and by Doug another night.
Thankfully overall he is getting better with his
separation anxiety, and being left with other people. That is when he is
feeling ok. When he isn't feeling well, it is still mum that he really
wants. He went ok with the bottle for my mum and with Doug, but hasn't
taken much at childcare. He also has only had minimal food there also,
which is leaving me a little concerned. His diet is still very basic
(I’ve been taking it slowly), so it may be awhile before he is ready for
the types of meals provided. Overall however I am feeling more positive
that he is adjusting more to being without me and will be able to cope
with the time at childcare.
With the Commonwealth Games taking up my focus
this week, the end of my maternity leave has crept up on me all of a
sudden. I was to start next week, but I have to collect a laptop and go
over work requirements, so I am now starting in the office tomorrow. My
maternity leave has effectively just ended. I am feeling sad that my
time at home being a full-time mum is now over. I am really happy
however with how my maternity leave worked out. I have really cherished
this time at home with Jack, being able to fully focus on him, enjoy
spending all my time with him, watching his development, and developing
a really strong bond with him. I will always be able to look back at
the happy memories I have of this time. I have also accomplished most
of the personal goals I set for myself. I feel that while we are not
perfect, Doug and I have adapted very well to parenthood and all it
I have some mixed feeling about returning to work.
I do feel refreshed from the break, and in some ways it will be
interesting to get back into it. (In particular the mental challenges it
provides.) I do worry a bit how much I will remember and how long it
will take for me to get back into the swing of things. From the sounds
of things though it is very busy in the office, so I might not have too
much time to sit around thinking on that.
In some ways it will feel a bit like returning to
the 'real world' from the 'baby world' I have inhabited. It also feels a
little like my 'old pre-baby' life is about to collide with my new
'mother and baby' life, and I am concerned with how I will go with
juggling the two; balancing everything and not wearing myself out in the
I am happy that with the flexibility my job has
provided in initially spending minimal time in the office, and mostly
working from home. I will still be spending the vast majority of my time
with Jack, and that hopefully makes for an easier transition period for
us both. The change of Doug's working arrangements should also help all
of us in this adjustment period.
So although not entirely looking forward to it, I
feel ready to embrace this new phase of our lives. I am trying to
approach it with a positive mindset and will do the best I can to make
it all work out for all of us. I keep reminding myself also that it is a
good thing in the long term to keep up with my skills in the workforce.
Also by being able to contribute financially working will create more
long-term lifestyle options for all of us.
With all that, the last few weeks have flown by.
Posted by Al at 8:21 PM
Friday, March 24, 2006
Jack has been able to get up onto his knees for a little while now.
Today I watched as he tried to pull himself up onto his feet using the
bars of the security gate. He managed it once - for all of 0.3 seconds.
The photos I grabbed are not the best, but they show the moment.
I'm not sure that this will be a quick process. Jack doesn't do a great
job holding himself in a standing position when held. It is not a lack
of strength, it is more the fact he tends to stay on the tips of his
toes and deliberately jigs up and down like he is at some frenetic dance
Posted by Doug at 7:17 PM
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Something I don't think I've mentioned before, but for quite some time
now Jack has been helping when you try to lift him. It is more than the
simple arm's being stretched out, for example when he is in his car seat
he arches his back so you can get your hands in under him. He does the
same in his highchair. It is one of the many things I had never
considered a baby would do.
His play time has been getting louder - in particular the wilful and
exuberant smashing of toys together, and throwing things at the ground.
Along with those bruises on his legs, I expect we will start to see toy
Above Jack is waiting in his Highchair for food. Al mades a real effort
to cook and prepare his pureed fruit and vegetables, but he seems to
like the taste and smoother texture of baby food from a jar.
Posted by Doug at 1:32 PM
So I was wrong yesterday. Jack got himself into a standing position at
the gate this evening, and held it for 15 odd seconds, even moving his
feet to stand straighter, and doing a few seconds of jigging (which was
his undoing). Later while in his Portacot I watched him stand twice
again for 10 second bursts. I suspect from the lack of surprise and
excitement on his face, Jack has been standing behind our back before.
Posted by Doug at 8:05 PM
Sunday, March 26, 2006
In the space of a day, 10 seconds of standing has stretched out to 4 or
5 minutes. In fact, it commonly only finishes once his parents notice
him getting shaky and pick him up, or put him back into a sitting
position. Jack seems to enjoy standing - although often in a slightly
nonplussed / nonchalant way.
The transition of horizontal Jack to vertical Jack seemed to happen in a
blink of an eye. I find it hard to get my head around it – there is a
touch of the bewildering in watching a baby developing.
Posted by Doug at 10:05 PM
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Today I watched as Jack was using only one hand to steady himself while
standing, shuffled his feet, stood on one leg only, and then put one
foot up onto the security gate and looked as if he would try to climb
it. Al said earlier she had watched him stand at the couch and try to
reach some colourful cardboard boxes resting on it (holding some of his
spare clothes.) Later Al let him crawl around - which he did at
seemingly twice the pace of yesterday. (Until a door swinging excercise
turned pear shape and crying ensured.) Frankly it is bizarre. How did
this happen so quickly?
Posted by Doug at 12:09 AM
Friday, March 31, 2006
Jack loves crawling. If exploring the house and he senses that you are
about to pick him up, he scoots away at a great rate. He seemingly
tries to grab the floor as you start to lift him, and keeps the crawling
action going until well up into the air.
He is also standing easier. Every time you look around he is up on two
feet. Even the process of getting from standing to sitting seems to be
well advanced – a sort of controlled half twist collapse onto his bum,
using a sliding hand to steady himself on the way down.
It all still amazes me.
Al spent half a day at work last Friday. She then worked half days from
home on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and worked a full day in the
office today. As a result Jack has been in my care a couple half days,
in childcare for almost a full day today, and was babysat by his Grandma
Q on Tuesday. Early days, but it definitely seems workable.
I’m glad to have been able to ease into this transition. Jack isn’t over
joyed with the changes, but is coping better than expected. In fact, he
has surprised us in many ways. He can be quick to yell and cry, but when
that doesn’t work, he will often adapt.
Al has been doing well on the work front, but has been losing a bit of
sleep worrying after the changes for Jack. I think the transition sort
of rushed at her, masked until the last moment by the Commonwealth Games
Posted by Doug at 12:10 AM