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Monday, May 01, 2006
Nothing is safe if Jack can see it.
Posted by Doug at 7:53 PM
Jack has gone a few nights in a row now without an
overnight feed, the first time he has consistently done so. I am
optimistically hoping that these are now largely behind us – which is a
big milestone for me.
Now the main issue is that Jack wakes multiple
times a night (whether in his cot or sleeping on me) crying and needing
his dummy put back in. A lot of the time putting the dummy straight back
in means he will instantly go back to sleep. This also sometimes works
in his cot, although the extra time to get to him tends to mean he wakes
up too much and won’t stay there. Picking him up and putting him on me
usually puts him straight back to sleep. The challenge is working out
when he really wants to come to me, and when the dummy would suffice if
we can get there quick enough. As another mother said to me, after
having a baby I'll never again take a full night of uninterrupted sleep
An unexpected outcome of putting the matting under
Jack's upstairs playpen is that it has made it easier for him to push
the playpen around. He gets up on his feet and makes a concerted effort
to push it, with his feet holding their ground and his arms stretched
out. He ends up with his legs way behind him and his arms stretched out
way in front. At this point he steps his feet forward to straighten up,
then repeats the process until furniture, stair railings or walls block
him. I think he is enjoying the process of cause and effect, and it has
got him moving his legs more. In past weeks he has started moving
himself around the edges of his downstairs portacot. Today we noticed
him stepping himself along the couch sideways towards me. The 'furniture
cruising' stage has begun!
Posted by Al at 8:18 PM
Thursday, May 04, 2006
The Camera equipment update is complete. I've put in over 50 hours of
research and effort, and spent a tidy sum of money. It is a long term
I was very mindful of the time I stepped up from a compact camera to a
SLR. I was really expecting to see a huge improvement in the photos I
took, but I remember being really disappointed with the first film I had
developed. Sure there were some good images, but there were also a lot
of throw aways. The compact camera took an average photo fairly easily.
The SLR took a good photo - but required a little knowledge, effort and
experience to do so consistently.
These new lens can take a great photo - Al and I have both been
surprised and delighted by how clear and sharp they can be. They just
take a little more knowledge, and a few new tricks or processes to do so
consistently. There have been plenty of throw aways - but I am really
enjoying the learning process, and Jack is a great subject to practise
Interestingly though, I think probably the best individual item
purchased in this upgrade was in fact the cheapest. That was a flash
unit, which has really improved the colour and exposure of the indoor
shots. If I had of realised I would have picked up one of those many
Posted by Doug at 10:11 PM
Monday, May 08, 2006
Here is one of the first photos of Jack with the new flash unit and
24-105mm L series Lens, taken yesterday. The resizing and jpg
compression doesn't do it any favours (the chair in particular looks
much better in the original photo), but we were really happy with the
skin tone. He has rosy cheeks (we suspect the teeth are bothering him
again since he is chewing furiously on his fingers at the moment), and
he is extremely tired after deciding he did not need an afternoon nap.
We have been rather busy. On last Tuesday and Wednesday Jack was more
clingy and required more hugs than usual, a sign he wasn't feeling the
best. On Thursday afternoon he started to cough. Two hours later he
was making a horrendous grating hacking noise. Al took him to bed early
while I did some reading on coughing and babies. There were good signs
- he wasn't vomiting, he didn't seem overly concerned, he wasn't
struggling for breath, and he was sleeping well. (Much better than his
parents anyway - in particular Al. She kept settling him every half
hour or so when his coughing would wake him momentarily.)
On Friday Al took him to the doctors. The books said not to give a
child anything for a cough without checking with a doctor, and with the
weekend coming up we wanted options to make him more comfortable. He
had seemed a lot better - but that is normal during the day. He got
upset being handled by the doctor, cried, and managed to do a great job
demonstrating his barking cough. To our surprise (and a little
embarrassment, since we had already pegged it as ok), it was diagnosed
as Croup, and a prescription dolled out.
Jack has handled things well. He is not entirely his normal self, has
been sleeping longer than usual, and coughing regularly through the
night. But he is still playing, being cheeky, and demanding things
left, right and centre. Al is doing a great job - but is fraying around
the edges. She has also come down sick in the last two days, and is in
need of more hugs herself. They both have cut back on their social
calendars - and have hermited themselves away for the last few days.
In this same period Jack has added a new word to his collection of
sounds. He is saying Nan and Nana all the time. I asked Grandma Q if she
had drilled it into him while she was baby-sitting, but she assured me
she hadn't. Things are just constantly changing.
Posted by Doug at 10:34 PM
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Al sent me an email this morning at work... …
Jack just stood by himself momentarily! He was up
holding onto the playpen bars in his downstairs play area. I handed him
one shaker and he started shaking it while still hanging on with the
other hand. I picked up the second shaker, shook it, and then held it
out for him to hit his shaker against. To my surprise he let go of the
bar, stood there for a couple of seconds, then grabbed the other shaker
out of my hand. With both shakers in hand he simply plopped down on his
bottom and happily shaked them! He didn't seem to realise anything
special had just happened (while I of course clapped and hurrahed).
Posted by Doug at 9:45 AM
Monday, May 15, 2006
Having croup overshadowed Jack turning 10 months.
Thankfully he seems very resilient and got over the worst of it quickly.
He still has a bit of a cough that is taking awhile to shake.
Unfortunately the croup virus can be passed onto adults in the form or
chest infection / cold, which I quickly came down with a couple days
after Jack. It has taken me a whole week to recover, with just a little
bit of a cough remaining now. This curtailed some of our usual
activities last week and had us hibernating at home.
Enjoyed my first mother's day yesterday. The day
started well with presents and an early breakfast in bed at around 6am.
Jack then gave me a surprise 'present' by going back to sleep until 8am,
so I got a sleep-in! We went on a small family excursion to the
Botanical Gardens. It was a cold wet day so we all rugged up, and put
the rain cover for Jacks pram to good use. Doug enjoyed taking some
photos with his new lenses, and I enjoyed the scenery and walk. Jack
enjoyed looking around and tapping the inside of his pram cover. We had
hot chips for lunch, which Jack enjoyed munching on. The afternoon was
spent watching Jack having his normal playtime. I took the opportunity
to just sit and enjoy watching him concentrate on his tasks and moving
about freely, and taking in the simple pleasure of seeing his delight
and happiness in his home environment.
Special occasions like Mother’s Day make you stop
and reflect - where we were a year ago (pregnant and anticipating the
birth), to where we are today, and where we might be by this time next
year. I am so happy to be a mum, and it is nice to stop and appreciate
that, and it all it means.
Jack's latest developments:
- As well as emptying containers, Jack is now
enjoying putting objects back into containers
- Jack has started waving. He does so
enthusiastically to himself in the mirror, and sometimes (but not
consistently) to his Dad
- We notice that Jack taps his feet and hands
happily to the beat of music that he likes. He also seems to 'sing
along' to some songs and nursery rhymes. The music teacher today
commented on him doing it, and the childcare centre commented last week
that he was singing. He gets a big happy smile on his face when his
music class CD is put on (usually at meal times).
- He is starting to move further around on the
furniture, so can cover a couple of metres shuffling sideways along the
couches. He has momentarily stood without holding anything a few times.
He is starting to get the idea of taking a few steps towards his dad
when he holds his hands and encourages him to step forward.
- Jack has decided it is more fun climbing in and
out of the shower and wandering naked around the bathroom, rather than
just playing at the bottom of the shower. Hence I have returned to
showering by myself, while Jack plays in his upstairs playpen. (With me
listening for any upset sounds.) As a result he has enjoyed the return
of more regular baths, and happily crawls about, splashes madly, and
keeps standing up around the edges of the spa (with us putting him back
Posted by Al at 12:51 PM
Mother’s Day, my mum being down for the week, Jack being in a
particularly good mood and doing new things… Lots to mention. Instead
I think I’ll go to bed early. I could actually have fallen asleep at
work today – kept having to get up and walk around. Lost count of the
number of cups of coffee and tea I consumed. Yawning so hard at the
moment I'm causing tears to stream down my face. Yes. Sleep. Now.
Would. Be. Good.
Posted by Doug at 10:13 PM
Sunday, May 21, 2006
There was such a long list of things scheduled over the last week that
for self-preservation we had to just concentrate on one thing at a time.
We were at the Aquarium for lunch today – a family day function for my
work. It was the last thing on our list, and all three of us came home
and promptly went to bed for the afternoon. While tired, Jack managed
to enjoy the aquarium. He seems to have cottoned on recently to the
concept of having his parents point to things of interest, and looking
in that direction. Various fish brought grins, looks of surprise and
Posted by Doug at 5:10 PM
I was thinking this evening how commonplace it has become to miss parts
out of TV shows. (I can hear an exasperated Al saying, “Parts – I miss
entire shows!”). Life has become full of baby related interruptions.
It started three weeks ago with those chips. Jack then started to feed
himself sweet biscuits, then chicken, then toast, and today he moved
onto buttered bread. He seems to have gotten over the gag reflex, picked
up the idea of ripping and chewing with his gummy mouth, and as a result
has opened up his world to a whole new array of foods. As usual with the
little champ, he has done this with no fuss, and doesn’t understand why
his parents get excited over it.
Both of us are also a little relieved. Now we don’t need to worry about
the nutritional effects of raising Jack on only pureed fruit. We also
have a new way of keeping Jack quiet while we eat our meals!
Posted by Doug at 7:20 PM
Monday, May 22, 2006
Jack had his induction hour at the new childcare centre today. While he
cried at drop off and pick up, he appeared to have handled it ok. This
centre is rather professionally run, from the programs to the building,
and even the uniforms of the staff. As a consequence it has initially
felt less welcoming. The staff members are friendly – it is just that
the place seems too neat and organised to be the residence of babies.
I was going over the enrolment form this evening, and even that was a
little off-putting. Instead of one change of clothes, they ask for
three. You provide your own nappies, although they only ask for four. If
you use more, they charge $1 a nappy. (I’ll just throw more in.) If your
child is absent you will be charged for the day. Don’t bring your child
if they are sick – but you will be charged for the day anyway. Give two
weeks notice if your child will be away on a holiday – but you will be
charged for the days anyway. While this is standard and normal, it might
have been simpler to state once you enrol your child for any day, they
will be charged for that day regardless of their attendance.
Al seems to have handled this change better; I seemed to have handled it
worse. At the back of my mind I have that nagging and wearing parental
bugbear thought – “Gee, I hope we have done the right thing.” I know we
most likely have, I just wish the hard bits at the start were already
over and done with.
Posted by Doug at 10:42 PM
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Another e-mail from Al...
Swimming went really well. He didn't cry when
doing the mat activity, so they put his eyes under the water today. When
he crawled on the Mat he actually gave big cheeky grins and stopped to
tap along the way. Best effort yet :)
Lately I have been getting out of bed just after 5:00am. Jack has taken
to sitting up groggily and watching as I walk around the room in the
semi dark. Occasionally he makes little hello noises; occasionally he
will give me a tired wave. Once I disappear into the bathroom he
nestles back besides his mum and goes back to sleep.
This morning after I came out of the bathroom Jack stood up in bed
(leaning on his mum) to loudly say hello and wave at me. He won’t
remember the things he does at this age, but Jack does a perfect job
showing love and affection to his parents.
Posted by Doug at 9:31 PM
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
It has been another hectic few weeks. In addition
to his normal activities, the last few weeks have included:
- Seeing a train for the first time. He looked a
bit startled at the sound and sight of it, but then enthusiastically
waved to it from the platform
- Went to a play centre with friends Damon,
Dominic and Isabel. The Mums also enjoyed the chance to catch up, and
have decided to do this as a regular monthly activity.
- Had baby Alyssa come to play. When she was
looking at his books he kept stealing them away from her!
- Had cousins Jorja and Thomas come to play, along
with Uncle Mal, Auntie Sarah, and Grandma and Grandpa Q. They had a good
play session, Jack particularly enjoying Jorja’s puppet show. It was
good to see Thomas taking some of this early steps, and seeing the two
of them playing side by side.
- Grandma C came to stay for a week. She enjoyed
watching Jack's swimming lesson and playgroup, and having some extra
bonding time with him (which also helped me get some extra work done).
- Jack has started to enjoy hiding and getting
into small spaces - under our bed, under my desk, under the kitchen
table, or peeking out of his soft foam box - and giving us his cheeky
smile as he does so!
On a more significant note Jack started at his new
childcare. He had his induction last week (being left for 1 hr), spent 2
hours there yesterday, and is currently there for a little over 2 hours
today. He has cried each time he is dropped off and picked up, but they
reported he settled within a few minutes and has spent the time
interestedly looking at the other kids, and playing with a bead frame
and other toys. He seems to understand the concept from his Thursday
Childcare, and adapted far quicker. Of course it still tugs at my
heartstrings and makes me feel horrible each time I leave him crying and
We will continue with him placed there a few hours
a day for Monday and Tuesdays leading up to when I am in the office more
from July. I am currently finalising my work arrangements with my
manager to confirm how many days I am in the Office vs. home, and
therefore what activities I can continue with Jack.
Even with just the few extra hours free I have
been able to get some clothes and other shopping done, some home tasks,
as well as extra work done. It will make life slightly less chaotic and
more manageable for me over the next month, although I feel a bit guilty
when he is there and I am at home. I keep reminding myself of the
longer-term benefits, and hope that they make up for the pain of
adjusting for both of us in the shorter term. I have adjusted much more
quickly this time. Knowing he has been largely happy on this Thursday
placement the last few weeks (although only sleeping in 15-20 min
bursts) has made me feel more comfortable. I am glad to get him accepted
into this second childcare place after such a long wait. I am feeling
resigned to the fact that he would be spending more time in childcare
and less time with me, although of course I have not been wanting the
day to arrive.
Posted by Al at 2:59 PM