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Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Jack now loves climbing up onto the couches in his
downstairs play area. He isn't quite tall enough to get up by himself,
and so expects us to put our hands under him to help climb up on, or
give him a slight boost up. He sits around looking quite pleased with
himself and surveying all his toys. As long as I sit him in the correct
starting position, he has also mastered the 'twist and slide' motion to
get down off the couches. (A concept he has become familiar with at
swimming to get into the water from the pool edge).
Jack had his first haircut on Friday. He was in a
bit of a 'rascally' mood before going so we weren't quite sure how it
would go. He was intrigued and sat quite patiently in his Dad's lap as
the hairdresser worked her magic. He did move his head around at times,
making the hairdresser have to work harder! He then happily watched his
Dad get his hair cut, and looked with interest around the salon. He
looks extra cute with the new cut – it is a lot neater, although of
course I loved the little curls he had developed. They thoughtfully put
aside a little bag of the trimmings for us to keep - a special memento.
Doug and I also had a 'first' this weekend - the
first movie we have seen since Jack was born. Grandma Q came to mind
Jack while we headed out to see Pirates of the Caribbean 2. We
appreciated the opportunity to relax and enjoy a movie together. We
also want to ensure Jack continues to develop his relationship with his
grandparents, and that they have the chance for quality one-on-one time
with him. He was in a happy little mood all day, full of laughter and
smiles, so it was a good day all around for us.
Posted by Al at 6:21 PM
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Jack went through the other night with no feeds.
We put the humidifier on in the nursery again so perhaps this made the
difference. He also drank more water during the day - perhaps
indicating he was waking due to being dehydrated at night.
Unfortunately I have had a bit of a head cold the past few days, so did
not really feel the benefits of that full night sleep. (Although I am
sure I would be feeling even worse without it).
Jack has started making a 'brrmmm' noise when
playing with his toy cars. We think he picked this up either from his
videos or from other kids at childcare. This morning when a car ad came
on TV he started making the 'brrmmm' noise also.
Jack was about to cry this morning while I was
drying my hair, so I gave him my hairbrush to play with. He instantly
cheered up, and surprised me by brushing his hair with it - very cute.
When mum visited on the weekend she put out 3 to 5
of his picture cards at a time, and asked Jack which one was the plane,
and he pointed to it. He did likewise with some of his favourite
animals. This took me by surprise - I wasn't aware he was able to do
that. It is a good way to see how much information he is understanding
and retaining. It is interesting to see how other people interact with
Jack to get ideas for things we can try.
Posted by Al at 7:35 PM
Thursday, August 03, 2006
He loves phones.
Posted by Doug at 9:36 PM
Saturday, August 05, 2006
When I arrive to pick up Jack from childcare it is common for me to find
him reclined in a bouncer. I was starting to wonder at just how often
they placed him in it over the day.
Last Thursday Jack was again in a bouncer when I arrived, but smiled and
waved at me when I walked in – no tears or sad look. The carer remarked
as I lifted him up that he had had a great day, and then said that he
loved the bouncer, and kept climbing into it himself. He spends half the
day there chatting away and observing the room, he even drags toys in
I smiled and told her we might have to look at buying one like it for
home, while deep down I was feeling mildly embarrassed that I was just
thinking they might have been neglecting Jack…
Posted by Doug at 4:34 PM
I’m almost too scared to go to bed – Jack has been feeling unwell
tonight, and already had a couple long crying sessions. Breaks your
heart. I hope this passes quickly, and that it is not something that
will leave him feeling unwell for any length of time. We had such a
great week with him, and I’m all ready for another one of those.
I was speaking with a work colleague who, like us, missed voting in the
last local council elections. She has already received and paid her
fine. She suggested that in her experience you are not notified if your
excuse for not voting was accepted. You just never get sent a fine.
Here’s hoping with a little luck that is the case for Al and I.
Posted by Doug at 11:20 PM
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Al has a case of laryngitis that is knocking her about. She was sounding
like Marge Simpson there for a while – but has recently moved on to a
more breathy, hoarse wheeze. On the plus side I find I am being
interrupted a lot less, since I cannot hear her calling me.
Jack hadn’t used his crawl tunnel for over a week, and Al and I were
feeling a little sad that he had lost interest in it so quickly. Tonight
I noticed him about to head into it, pause, then reverse out. There was
a balloon halfway down. I removed it, and Jack then spent the next five
minutes zooming up and down the tunnel. He had obviously been thinking
the balloon was blocking the way!
Another solution hidden by its simplicity.
Speaking of Balloons. Jack has a number of them in his downstairs play
area. They were blown up some 5 weeks ago, survive the worst Jack can
give them, and don’t appear to have deflated in the slightest. They have
a coloured pattern splashed on their side, and were picked up from the
supermarket in a pack of 12 for 98 cents. I can’t remember the last time
I got so much value for so little money.
Lately Jack has been much more interested in solid food – to the point
where he has been rejecting baby purees and pointing at the food we are
eating, saying “ta” and “moor”. We are having to ensure he can not see
any alternatives to what we are offering him. This might have just got
more difficult tonight, when it looked like the smell of the cooking
food was triggering Jack’s interest in it. Unfortunately he has also
been rejecting spoons - insisting on eating with his hands. Oh the mess.
Posted by Doug at 10:57 PM
Friday, August 11, 2006
How the tide ebbs and flows.
Jack had a great day at Childcare, and came home happy with a new noise
to repeat over and over. After about 45 minutes the first edges
appeared. He was slightly too quick to get upset, and the cries were
slightly too anguished – even for Jack. I quietly hoped he was just
overtired. Overtired he was, but just he wasn’t.
After a little hard work Al got him down to sleep, and the house went
At 10pm (just as I was getting into a new TV series) the sound of
tormented crying (Jack) and heavy footsteps (Al) came from upstairs.
Jack had woken up for a feed, bit his mum in the middle of it, and then
started to cry. And cry. And cry some more.
We convened at the top of the stairs.
“What’s wrong with him?”
“I don’t know.”
The usual candidates were bantered over - just upset, a sore throat,
blocked nose, stomachache, toothache, headache, hungry, thirsty, or
maybe with all this solid food, constipated.
It was possible that Al’s involuntary reaction to have her breast bitten
hard upset him, and he could have become too confused and overtired to
calm himself. The solution to that is distraction.
We moved into the bathroom, turned on the hot water, and waited for the
steam to rise. (Good for distraction, plus it helps if he is blocked up
in the head.) In the meanwhile we try his dummy (nope) and water (nope).
The room is steamed up, but Jack is still crying. I draw things on the
steamed up mirror – an almost guaranteed winner. Nope, still crying.
By this time his face was a sea of snot, tears and drool. We give him a
dose of medicine and wipe his nose. He still cries.
He does pause in his crying in stops and starts, but quickly returns to
it. Al is still feeling unwell, and not quite awake. I am frazzled. We
snap at each other.
Now he is farting - that could mean his stomach is upset. More likely
though it just relates to him gulping down air while crying. He might be
hungry – but he pushes away anything that is meant to go into his mouth,
Considering how Al is feeling, Jack might have a sore throat. He is
sounding slightly hoarse – but then again he is screaming from the back
of his throat. He doesn’t want water, but his breath smells. Oh, hold
on, no, that was Al’s. His breath is fine. His throat is probably ok.
He is coughing a bit – but at the moment that appears more related to
his crying and what he is swallowing down the back of his throat.
Al takes him downstairs and tries to watch some TV with him. He is
tired, and wanting to sleep, but keeps breaking out in anguished crying.
Maybe he is teething? It looks like one of his front teeth is near the
surface. He doesn’t have the temperature or the very smelly wet nappies
though. He is however drooling a huge amount, and maybe those red checks
are not actually eczema this time. He also did bite his mum during
breatfeeds last time a tooth came through.
Al walks him about a bit more upstairs. Finally exhaustion, medicine,
both, or maybe even the discomfort departing - whatever the reason, he
stops crying and falls back to sleep.
An hour has past, I missed the TV Show, my clean jumper is covered in
baby snot, and we have no clear idea why Jack was so upset. My best
guess is that his teeth are bothering him. He can be overly sensitive to
discomfort - and his crying got to the point where it in itself
introduced more discomfort, escalating things.
It seems to only take a few minutes of Jack being upset for us to feel
frazzled and, dare I say it, confused and a little inadequate.
Overall Jack has been fantastic these last few weeks. He has been really
happy, and his eating and communication seem to have leapt forward. We
are recognising new repeated noises for flower and hello, and he is
stringing “ta” and “nah” together with the appropriate parent (“ta Da”,
‘ta Ma”). His voice inflection is also improving – his “Ta” can come
across clearly as happy, hopeful or forceful.
So much delight in raising a child - and so much uncertainty.
Posted by Doug at 12:47 AM
After walking him around a little last night Al tried to breastfeed Jack
again. She had tried to do this as soon as he had bitten her, but he
refused. This time he drank, fell promptly to sleep, and the rest of the
night passed quietly.
His initial anguished cries must have been because he hadn’t actually
finished on his mum’s breast, and quickly escalated to the point where
he forgot what he was crying about.
Every time he gets into one of these episodes you don’t know if it will
last 5 minutes or 5 days. That is the most frazzling thing about them.
Thankfully most of the time they stop within an hour. It can be a very
long hour though!
His new main noise is BeDar. He does variations of it including DeDar,
MeNar and DarDeDar.
<Insert pause while I go help clean up after Jack vomits>
Jack had a conversation with Al last night that went something like
NumiNum Num Num EeEor EeEor Dadidar dar, repeated.
The other new word I forgot to mention is tick tock. He says this when
he points at pictures of clocks.
Posted by Doug at 7:50 AM
I’ve been feeling sorry for myself today, and more than a little bit
grumpy. I was meant to have a relaxed day off at home, but it has been
Jack and I seem to have picked up a stomach bug. I’m just feeling
queasy, Jack on the other hand…
Threw up on Al during his first morning breastfeed. Some of Al’s clothes
went out to the wash.
Threw up in the high chair. Chair requires cleaning, a set of Jack’s
clothes, and some of Al’s clothes out to the wash.
Had a nappy explosion in the upstairs play area. Play area required
scrubbing, another set of Jack’s clothes and more of Al’s clothes out to
Threw up all over the couch. Cleaned couch. Yet another set of Jack’s
clothes out to be washed, along with more of Al’s clothes.
Considering the above, gave Jack a bath. Had to rush because Jack had an
Headed out in the car for Jack’s Allergy test. Left our mobile phones
and Al’s purse behind.
Jack had a nappy explosion in the car. Changed on the side of the road.
Car Seat requires cleaning, and another set of Jack’s clothes needs to
be washed. Out of singlets.
Arrive at wrong address. No mobile phones on us to call ahead to say we
would be late.
Arrived at right address. Fill in forms - then wait for over an hour.
Doctor says because Jack wasn’t well it was best to do the testing
After getting home Jack had a minor spew during his next breastfeed. No
clothes needing changing for Jack – but some did for Al, along with a
Cushion that was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And finally… and I kid you not…
While writing the above list Al took Jack to have a shower. A short
while later she called from upstairs. I told her I did not want to hear
whatever she had to say, but she kept calling. I walked upstairs. Al and
Jack were in the bathroom nude, Jack in Al’s arms. He had just done a
small poo in the corner. As I watched Jack made a farting noise, then a
huge rush of the foulest smelling diarrhoea exploded from his backside,
showering the bathroom floor.
With my queasy stomach, I actually came close to vomiting during the
Jack on the other hand was for the most part, in a pretty good mood.
Posted by Doug at 6:28 PM
Jacked turned 13 months this week. Yet again a
milestone was reached while being overshadowed by illness. In this case
it was my illness rather than Jack's. I started feeling unwell a couple
weeks ago, and the doctor determined last Friday that I had Laryngitis
and a virus.
Last Friday was the first day since Jack was born
that I really felt I needed to just lie down all day. Of course that is
close to impossible, although I did manage to lie as much as I could
with Jack played nearby. It of course happened on a day when Doug was
hit with a new client with no notice, and had to work hard all day.
Thankfully he was able to mind Jack while I went to the doctors and went
out to buy food.
Here we are a week on, and I am still sick. I have
gone through an intense sore throat, difficulty swallowing, partial
voice loss, very congested nose, trouble breathing, and various other
flu like symptoms along the way. Poor Doug has had to put up with a lot
of whinging from me.
Not being able to take anything (due to still
breastfeeding), not being able to rest properly (due to taking care of
Jack and working), and not sleeping properly at night (since I feel
worse and it keeps me awake) has all taken its toll on me. I have not
been feeling well enough to cook much, so we have been eating too much
takeaway and snack meals, which is not helping.
Thankfully Jack had been happy during the days (he
had 3 great days at childcare this week), although has been a little
congested and unsettled at night. He has also shown increased interest
this week in eating whatever I was eating, and has been rejecting jar
foods regularly. He ate some of his first 'proper' meals along with me
- shepherd's pie, toasted tuna, avocado, and soy cheese sandwiches, and
mashed vegies with tuna this week. We were just commenting last night
at what a good sign this was, and how great it is to see him eating
'family meals'. I pulled out the baby cookbooks again with renewed
enthusiasm to look for ideas to try.
How much can change in 24 hours. Doug has outlined
in his entry the day we have had with Jack hit hard by a gastro bug
(although he still seems happy enough, just tired and lethargic), and a
long excursion for allergy testing that only resulted in lots of waiting
and an initial consultation only (due to Jack being sick). All on a day
when I have been feeling terrible and Doug has also felt ill from gastro
type effects, and on one of the few days Doug has had off work since
Jack was born.
Today has been one of the hardest days we have had
since Jack was born. We know all parents go through these types of days,
and our parents must have gone through many with us. Doug and I are
reluctant to ask anyone to help and take pride in our independence, but
we have admitted to ourselves in the past week that it is the first time
since Jack arrived that we would seriously have considered asking
someone for help. (Of course this happened at a time when Grandma Q is
away overseas!) It really is tough to be sick yourselves and look after
a sick baby. We know we are likely to have to go through this many more
times before Jack grows up, which is a daunting thought.
Despite all this illness I was able to celebrate
my birthday on Monday as planned. It was the first full day off (well -
day off during Jack's childcare hours of 9am to 4pm) since Jack was
born, and it was a real shame to be feeling sick on this day. My sister
had flown in from Singapore for 4 days to celebrate with me on the day
(something I really appreciate, since she makes a real effort to fly
home from wherever she is working around the world to be here) so we
pushed ahead with our plans regardless. I enjoyed a spa treatment of
'herbal hot oil body wrap', which I found extremely relaxing, and
exactly what I needed for some pampering. We then met up with my
brother for lunch in Chapel St, saw a movie (a good light hearted
comedy), had coffee and cake, and then my sister came out to our place
to see Jack and have dinner. It was a very full day and made the most
of my birthday (although perhaps in hindsight, overdid it). We had
planned to do a 'family excursion' last weekend to take Jack to a nearby
farm, but we have had to postpone this until we all feel well enough. I
also received many great gifts, phone calls and emails from family and
friends that is always appreciated.
Summary of latest developments for Jack at his
- Pointing at everything. He has shown particular
interest in all the pictures around the house. It is great having this
extra cue - with him being able to show us what he is interested in.
- Fascinated with real and toy phones. He gets
really excited any time a phone rings (even on TV). He puts phones up to
his ear and chatters away in his baby babble, then pauses as if
listening to the response. He loves handing it to us to talk into. He
also makes a hello sound (aa-low) into it.
- Loves crawling away from us, and having us chase
and tickle him
- Loves climbing up onto the couches in his
downstairs play area (with help
- His baby noises are expanding all the time.
Includes 'brrm' for cars, 'tick tock' for clocks, 'te-ti' for teddy, ta,
more (for more food), na for no, as well as a cute range of
multi-syllable sounds that he strings together (like bee-dar)
- Much happier to be passed to other people and
even stretches his arms towards his carers and swim teachers to go
willingly to them for hugs.
- Moving away from purees and mashes onto more
solid meals, and much more willing to try new foods. Particularly wants
to eat what we are eating.
- Still has only 2 teeth
- Looking smart after his first hair cut
Posted by Al at 11:52 PM
Sunday, August 13, 2006
I spent some 12 hours in total cleaning yesterday – and managed to get
through only about half of what needed to be done. The high chair,
bedding, car seat, and piles and piles of clothes were sorted, soaked,
washed and dried, floors and furniture were mopped and wiped, and
shopping and visits to the chemist were completed. This morning however
I can only see what still needs to be done. Today I plan to ignore as
much of that as possible and try to relax.
Jack is currently on a diet of Breast milk, water, cuddles and sleep. He
slept almost constantly for the last 36 hours. He has demanded his mum
stay very close, so she has spent most of that time also in bed. This
morning both are still obviously unwell, but both seem better for their
rest. It seems likely that we will need to take Jack to the doctor
This is probably the most worn out I have felt since Jack was born. On
the positive side, it is surprising at what you can actually cope with.
Posted by Doug at 9:04 AM
More vomit, more diarrhoea, more washing, more scrubbing.
Normally in a situation like this I can bring my situation back into
context by remembering it is nothing new - almost all parents go through
it, many going through far worse. Today however that doesn't help.
Jack seems to be feeling a little better than yesterday - he isn't
sleeping as much for example. He is still however obviously unwell.
Al has been teaching Jack to say 'up' when she picks him up. Just
before Jack was in his portacot, whinging, arms lifted, saying "up, up,
up, up, up". A reminder that parents should be extra careful about what
they teach their children...
Posted by Doug at 12:34 PM
Monday, August 14, 2006
Al and Jack stayed home today. Jack is still unwell, but seems on the
mend. Al on the other hand has picked up the same stomach bug.
At times like this you can forget just how amazing it all is.
I was folding some of Jack’s freshly clean clothes tonight when I was
caught by the size of one of his tops. So small, yet so big. Jack
interacts with us in so many ways, and shows such happiness and clear
love for us. We are so lucky to have the little man in our lives.
Vomit, poo, crying and all.
Posted by Doug at 11:54 PM
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
I drove into work without my keys again – I’ll blame my four hours of
interrupted sleep. It was probably for the best – I ended up working
from home, holding Jack every time poor old Al needed to run to the loo.
I went out this morning for some bread and dry biscuits, and came back
with a full trolley load of groceries. It helped replenished the
cupboards and fridge. I then covered my eight hours of work; hand washed
my car (horrifyingly I think that was the first time since Jack was
born!); and finished off by spending most of the evening cleaning and
doing laundry. The house finally seems in good order, and I’m feeling
the most settled I’ve felt in weeks.
Jack is on the mend, and Al appears to have also turned the corner, be
it rather slowly.
This last week has been an experience. Hopefully we are now coming out
the other side. I don’t find myself thinking, “Wow, good to know our
coping skills are better than thought”, instead it is “Crap, hope that
never happens again.”
Posted by Doug at 11:10 PM
Friday, August 18, 2006
My father came down last night. Today we drove in to the Shrine of
Remembrance to attend the Vietnam Veterans’ Day Ceremony. It was the
first time I had attending anything like that with Dad. He answered a
couple of my questions, and I understood just a little bit more about
the time he had spent “in country”. I will have to learn more from him,
so that I can recount it for Jack.
Posted by Doug at 10:05 PM
Saturday, August 19, 2006
The last couple days has seen us cheering due to the existence of solid
poo in Jack’s nappies. Poo seems to be a fairly common topic of
conversation now that we are parents, but the cheering seems to take it
to a new level.
Jack seems to have gotten over his stomach bug, but without pause run
into his next teething period. Vomit has been replaced with tantrums
and knocking his head against hard objects. We went to a shopping
centre today to have coffee and cake, and to distract Jack for a while.
Tantrums? Me? Couldn’t be.
Posted by Doug at 7:30 PM
Sunday, August 20, 2006
We resorted to more distraction today – taking Jack to visit another
local parkland while I took photos.
Jack’s tantrums have stepped up, as have his head banging antics. If he
isn’t getting what he wants he cries hard. If he is being carried, he
throws himself backwards and forwards, and tries to head butt you. If he
is on the floor he throws him self prostrate and starts banging his head
against the ground. If he is standing, he starts hitting his head
against the nearest hard object.
Wow – it is frazzling me. He hit his head so hard against the highchair
table last night he gave himself a blood nose. I’ve noticed he has
braced himself a little more cautiously today before hitting things, but
you can still hear the knocking noise.
And it goes on and on. It isn’t always easy to distract him from it.
After three weeks Al finally seems to have gotten over her series of
ailments, and is handling this latest incarnation of Jack well. After
three weeks of running myself ragged, my tolerance seems to be at an all
I hope this is just the teething Jack, and not some new self-mutilating
Posted by Doug at 10:22 PM
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Jack had a couple great days at Childcare, a good afternoon with me on
Monday, and a bit of a rascally afternoon with his Mum on Tuesday. He
has continued to be extra work this week, but thankfully not as extreme
as he was on Sunday.
The tantrums and head banging continue, but Jack apparently learnt his
lesson after the blood nose. He now braces himself more carefully before
head butting an object, and often tests the objects hardness with a soft
tap or two. I guess I am going to have to get used to this odd mix of
intelligent logic and bizarre irrational behaviour, at least until he
gets into his mid 20s.
We guess this has been a consequence of teething, and behaviour he has
observed at Childcare.
Speaking of Childcare, Al and I were remarking again this week on just
how good it has been for Jack. He has been far more interested in solid
food, interacts much better with others, and is picking up new noises
and actions every week. (The latest are kissing noises and clicking his
tongue in his mouth.)
He has a huge range of new noises and baby babble, but it is the clear
way he communicates with us that has stood out this week.
He says Mum, Dad, More, No, Up, This, There, That, Ta, "Tick Tock" and
Hooray in appropriate ways, often in conjunction with pointing.
“This”, “That” and “There” can be used a little interchangeably.
Generally however “This” is used in reference to an object he has or is
close to him, “That” in reference to an object he is interested in that
is not as close, and “There” as a place or direction he wants to go.
I was feeding him on Monday – after I put him in the high chair he
clapped and said hooray. (Well, he said “raay”, but we know what he
means.) As I carried a jar of food over he pointed at it saying “That”,
and repeating “more, more”. If I wasn’t spooning it in quick enough,
he’d gesture and say “more, more”. When he had eaten enough he put his
hand up in a stopping motion and said “nah, nah, Dad, Dad”.
It is amazing just how well he can communicate with only 10 odd words.
He also laughs and claps at appropriate times, has the animal noises
down for Cow, Lion, Monkey, Elephant and Duck, and follows directions to
lift his arms, waves, and even to turn around. (He has picked up going
down stairs and getting off couches backwards now. If I see he has
forgotten and is attempting to go down face first, I only have to do a
circle motion with my hand and he will stop himself and turn around.)
Add to that are a whole heap of repeated noises or actions for other
animals and objects that he doesn’t quite do consistently enough yet to
claim as “mastered”.
(I hope at some point in time in the future that Jack will really
appreciate reading about these sorts of things.)
Posted by Doug at 4:08 PM
Thankfully we have all finally recovered from the
spate of illness that descended on the household. After being sick
constantly for 3 weeks, I am relieved to be feeling 'normal' again.
Unfortunately it is also a very busy and stressful
time at work for me. I managed to take a couple of sick days during the
3 weeks of illness, but otherwise persevered mainly by working from
home. This in turn probably contributed to how long it took me to
recover, and was probably why I succumbed to each illness in the first
It really is tough not having the chance to fully
rest and recover when you are sick, especially if you have to mind a
baby (particularly a sick one) at the same time. I am now focused on
trying to eat more healthily and look after myself better. (As much as
is possible when leading such a busy life.) Jack has also gone straight
back to feeding 2-3 times a day since being ill.
It is also a relief to see Jack feeling better. He
lost weight quickly when he was ill, but seems to be putting it back on
rapidly now that he is back on normal solids again. He continues to be
very interested in eating whatever we are eating, and this week has
taken up sharing my morning bowl of Wheat Bix and Soy milk.
Unfortunately Jack went straight from illness into
teething behaviour (one of top teeth has partially come through the
gum), and beginning to throw full tantrums. It has been very strange to
see him suddenly intent on hitting his head hard against the ground, his
high chair, cot, walls, us if we are holding him, or any other hard
He lay down on the mat at swimming and started to
hit his head against it. The swimming teacher (who has 2 young kids)
informed me it is a normal stage that some kids will go through. Her
health nurse advised her not to worry about it when one of her children
did it. She said her child only did it for about 2 weeks - we can only
hope Jack stops the behaviour this quickly and of his own accord.
Jack is also very intent on being put down on the
ground at the moment, and throws an instant tantrum if we don't.
Alternatively, if we do put him down but he heads straight to the video
or stereo he will throw a tantrum when we pull him off them. It feels
like we are not yet over all the baby issues, and are suddenly
confronted with more 'toddler' type behaviour as well.
On a more positive note, I am enjoying being back
in our 'normal' routine of activities. I think both Jack and I were
feeling quite out of sorts after a whole week of being confined at home
sick together, and are happier being out and about. We also all enjoyed
an outing to Braeside Park on the weekend. Jack gets very excited seeing
birds flying about, and this park had an abundance of bird life. Jack
excitedly points at any birds he sees. He also gets excited at home when
he hears birds outside and points out the window so we have to wander
outside and see if we can 'spot the birdie'. Similarly he points outside
with excitement when he hears any of the neighbourhood dogs barking.
It is also a pleasure watching the enjoyment Jack
gets out of every day things that adults take no notice of. Whenever he
hears the washing machine going his eyes light up, and he does a 'swish
swish' motion with his hand and makes a similar noise. He can happily
watch the clothes swirling around in the washing machine for ages. He
also enjoys going outside to watch the garbage truck empty the rubbish
bins each week. There is some excavation work being done beside our
local shopping centre at the moment (which is keeping Doug and I
guessing as to what is going on), and every time we walk past we have to
halt the pram so Jack can stare fascinated at all the machinery digging
and moving the dirt around. Having a young child (can't really say baby
any more!) does remind you to take joy in every day life.
Tonight - after another dinner where Jack
liberally dispersing all the food options presented straight onto the
floor, Doug reminded me (once again) how lucky I am to have a husband
who cleans the mess up after Jack and I move on to another room. I
whole-heartedly agree! I am well aware of how lucky I am to have a
husband who does all the washing and sorting of clothes, towels and bed
linen, as well as does all the general tidying up around the house. (A
fact really emphasized over the past few weeks of sickness.) Even when
Doug was sick himself, he kept the house turning over with all the
washing and cleaning. Without this help, I would really have been
floundering even more than I already was. Whenever Doug asks me why I
married him, I often reply that it is because he is such a good
househusband! I knew this about Doug before we were married (after
sharing a place together for some time beforehand) but I didn't fully
know just how good he is at it, and what a great quality it is to have
in a husband!
Further on the weekend, after our excursion to
Braeside Park, I also reflected to Doug that it is lucky we enjoy each
other's company so much, and how we are able to do such outings together
as a family. It is easy to take each other for granted, but every now
and again you are reminded how lucky you are in finding a great partner.
Posted by Al at 8:13 PM
Sunday, August 27, 2006
My parents are back visiting this weekend – they came baring some bad
news that I will recount at another time.
I had the opportunity to speak with my Mum tonight about some of my
Dad’s Vietnam experiences. Taking what I already knew, some of what Dad
mentioned last week, and linking in with what my Mum knew, I was able to
piece together a slightly better understanding. I want to note that here
while I remember, so Jack will have it.
Dad was drafted. He was the best shot in the group he trained with – I
assume because of his shooting background. Because of this it was
assumed he would be posted to a combat unit. He went to Vietnam as a
general reinforcement, to be allocated to whatever unit required him. I
think there were five other people that went over at the same time in
that group of reinforcements.
Dad had not been in Vietnam all that long, but had been on a small
number of combat patrols. During one of these a helicopter landed with
the water replenishment, and Dad was told to get on. Once back at camp,
he was told he was being assigned to the Australian Logistic Support
Group (1ALSG). He queried that – having actually expected to be assigned
to Fire Support Base (FSB) Coral, but in the end did as he was ordered.
The five other soldiers were assigned to FSB Coral – three of them
subsequently dying within a couple weeks.
Dad had a difficult time with that – I guess not helped by the fact
those in combat units could be derogative of those in the 1ALSG. (I see
and read that on personal websites even now.)
My Mum worked with my Dad’s Mum. (Nan, who recently passed.) My Nan told
her that she could not stand the stress of Dad being in Vietnam. She
told her Doctor, who contacted the Army to say his patient’s health was
being directly affected. Dad was then subsequently assigned to a
Recently my Father has said that he could not know for certain if his
Mum’s approach had any effect on his assignment in Vietnam. My Mum said
however at the time he was very angry, and had said to her (and me over
the years), that he could never forgive his mother for that. My Dad did
not want to be assigned to a combat unit – but even worse was the
thought someone else had to be assigned in his place.
One thing he remarked on last week was that to him he felt like he flew
into Vietnam by himself (as a reinforcement), and when he left, flew
home by himself.
There is much I need to learn about his time in Vietnam, for it had a
profound and lasting effect on him. Today has seemed like a good start.
Posted by Doug at 12:09 AM
Jack’s teething continues – yesterday joined by a cold. He had a fever,
chesty cough and wheezy breath. Today it has gotten worse - adding
discharge from one eye (thankfully not looking like conjunctivitis),
racing heart and quick shallow breaths. The poor little guy is feeling
miserable, and staying close to his Mum and sleeping lots. Looks like
another trip to the doctors tomorrow, and more time off work for Al.
(I say that easily, but the time off is leaving us uncomfortable, and
might start to cause issues at Al’s work.)
The other day I was talking about the benefits of childcare. This sort
of thing is the negative.
Posted by Doug at 11:18 PM
Monday, August 28, 2006
We seem to have misplaced optimism when it comes to Jack’s medical
diagnosis – I suspect this is the reverse of what most parents have.
Last time we were hesitant to take Jack to the doctor for a cough, it
turned out to be croup. This time the eye discharge was in fact
conjunctivitis, and while he does have a bad cold as expected, the
wheezing and difficulty breathing is apparently asthma. (The doctor
indicated it wasn’t surprising since he has food allergies and gets
eczema easily.) It seems rather obvious now, but we didn’t have a clue
The first dose of Ventolin seemed to help. Future doses should help
more, assuming he stops holding his breath and takes more of it in!
Way to feel like bad parents. Again.
I came home to care for Jack for half a day, so Al didn’t have to carry
the full load. Instead I have been flat out still working, and Al has
had Jack attached to her shoulder, alternating between sleep,
complaining, and wiping all sorts of gunk onto her clothes.
I must remember to take a photo of Jack – green goo in the eyes, green
snot pouring out of his nose, and excess teething drool, all running
down his face. Just the sort of thing he’d like to see as a teenager.
Maybe we can threaten to show it to his friends as a form of blackmail?
Yes – already thinking about strategies to survive his teenage years.
Posted by Doug at 3:57 PM
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
I spoke too soon regarding all being well. Jack is
now sick again, and I have had more time off work to look after him.
Finding out he has asthma has been the worst aspect of the current
sickness. Other illnesses have been a temporary state (although
sometimes it feels like they are never ending). We will have to continue
to monitor how his asthma develops, and have been warned to treat it as
an emergency if he is really struggling to breathe.
It is not overly surprising that he has asthma,
given we had already been told that cradle cap, eczema and food
allergies are all common for asthma sufferers. The same if the family
suffers from hay fever (as both Doug and I do).
While on the one hand I am ready to sigh with
relief that winter is nearly over, spring is also hay fever season, and
the doctor suggested that whatever triggers hay fever in us will likely
trigger asthma in Jack.
It came as a bit of a shock to us to find out he
had asthma. Even though we had noticed his wheezing over the past few
days, we had attributed it to the current illness (viral infection
including bad cough and chest infection). With asthma on top of that, as
well as conjunctivitis, it has been a bad combination!
Now a note of reflection. I have calculated that
today Jack is the exact age I was when my father died (an untimely early
death in a car accident). It is hard to even comprehend the thought of
never seeing Jack grow and develop further if anything were to happen to
Doug or I. On the other hand, I can see that we have shared a great deal
of early development steps to date, as well as seeing his individual
personality emerge. I now have a better understanding of what part of my
life my Dad actually got to share, even if I can't remember it myself.
While we can see personality traits developing in
Jack, we find it hard to imagine what sort of person he may turn out to
be in the longer term - what he will be like by school age, as a
teenager, and as an adult. It is sad to know that my father never had
the opportunity to see the person I have become, as well as my sister
(who was just over 2 when he died) and my brother (who was not even born
when he died). It is also sad that we never had the opportunity to know
him directly, other than what we have been told by my mother and
grandparents, and been able to observe through his brothers.
It is a reminder to never take life for granted,
and for us to enjoy and treasure the time with Jack each and ever day.
You just never know how long you have. At least by pausing every now
and again to think of my father, his memory stays alive. Although he
only lived a relatively short life, he packed a lot into it, and a part
of him lives on in myself, my siblings, and in the grandchildren he
never had the opportunity to know.
Posted by Al at 2:29 PM
I glanced at my shoulder before to see dried baby snot and drool - the
mark of a parent with a sick child.
We have had some tough times in the last 24 hours, but Jack is finally
showing signs of improvement. At his return doctors visit this morning
Al was told that his heart had been racing at 160 beats during the
previous visit (hence the follow up today). It was still fast today, but
not as high. He still had a fever, but not as high. He still had a
rattly chest and raspy breath, but again, not as bad.
The result was another prescription, this time for the chest infection,
and the extension of the careers sick certificate to cover the rest of
The Asthma medication has also made a positive difference. I feel
horrible that we didn’t realise how laboured his breathing was before.
I had a work phone and IM conversation today that went like the
A> Are you ok for me to take B on Wednesday?
A> But I need B
Me> B is not available
A> But I need B
Me> B is not available
A> What if I give you C on Friday?
Me> Then you could have B on Friday
A> But I need B on Wednesday
Me> B is not available on Wednesday
A> What if I give you D on Wednesday
Me> D is not suitable to cover B’s work
A> Can D cover any of it?
Me> Yes, D could cover 1.5 hours
A> So I can have B then
Me> No, B would still have 6 hours of scheduled work
A> But what if I give you C on Friday as well
Me> B would still need to do 6 hours of work on Wednesday
That was probably one of the stranger resource related conversations I
have had at my currently job, particularly as the person had no control
over the people they were offering, and I already had access to them if
I needed. It seemed to be an amateurish attempt to mimic a common
consulting management trick – asking the same question over and over
again with slight variations so that the repeated no answers make it
look like you are the unreasonable and obstructive person.
Posted by Doug at 11:05 PM
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
It has been another difficult day with Jack. He has been very quick to
cry, especially immediately after coughing. I think he is generally on
the mend from his cold and chest infection, but I suspect his teeth are
hurting him (the second top front tooth is now coming through) and that
he has a sore throat like his mum. We are both looking forward to
getting our healthy Jack back.
I took Jack shopping today to allow Al to get some work done. I
purchased my Father’s day gift (a new wallet). At the counter the
service lady said it was sad that I had to buy my own gift. Since I tend
to keep a wallet for years, I thought it was smart to pick out exactly
what I wanted. A lady waiting next to the counter asked if I made my
wife breakfast in bed on Fathers day. I said no. She indicated she
forced her husband to, to reward her for making him a father.
I think I need to work on being less approachable.
Posted by Doug at 11:54 PM
Thursday, August 31, 2006
It has been another difficult day with Jack. Again he has been very
quick to cry, very demanding, very unsettled. He seems to be a little
better – but that just means his complaints are more energetic and
harder to placate. He spends all night attached to his mum, crying in
fits and starts, and requiring special effort to calm at least once.
I am quietly surprised by our ability to cope, but it just seems to keep
going on and on. Much like my complaining at the moment.
Posted by Doug at 10:20 PM
My Parents visited last weekend. They came to tell us that Mum had been
diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She was operated on Monday afternoon, and
is currently recovering in Hospital in good spirits, surrounded by a
florist shop worth of flowers. There are test results to wait on, chemo,
hair loss, and more tests to come. My Mum is a very strong, practical
person, and is handling this exceptionally well. She is also a private
person, so it would be inappropriate for me to go into detail.
It would also be inappropriate for me not to mention it.
I am somewhat frazzled. All of us kids are very close to Mum. We love
and respect her – she is a great mum and a great person. I know in the
back of my mind I’m just thinking everything will be fine once the
treatment is over. It is not the usual blind optimism I am known for,
but the alternatives are a little too hard to comprehend.
Mum said during her visit that life goes on, as it should. Every time
the situation sneaks up on my consciousness and I pause to ponder, I
notice now life continues to move on around me. I have similar
recollections of the time immediately after Jack was born. I had this
monumental change to my life, but life itself flowed on with barely an
Posted by Doug at 11:22 PM