« October 2006 |
| August 2006 »
Friday, September 01, 2006
It has been another difficult day with Jack.
Posted by Doug at 8:56 PM
Saturday, September 02, 2006
This image was taken back on the 30th, during one of Jack's better
moments of the day.
Here he is sharing his Mum's breakfast - Organic Vita Brits with Malt
Free Soy Milk.
Today wasn't quite as bad as what we experienced during week. We saw
occasional glimpses of the Happy Jack. We resorted to distractions again
- this time a visit to Myuna Farm (where we learnt Jack has started to
say Baa for sheep) and a trip to the local shopping centre. Here are a
couple of the many photos I took during the farm visit.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that most of the photos were of ducks.
We have been trying a few different things with Jack’s tantrums. Al
tries not to interrupt the head banging, and talks calmly to him until
he crawls over and asks to be picked up. Distracting him sometimes
works. We try not to look directly at him during a tantrum, and if we do
respond, we try to wait until there is a lull in the proceedings. We are
pretty good (so far) at not giving in to whatever he is demanding.
Of course there are times where we have to intervene – where it goes
from tantrum to a paroxysm of uncontrolled self-harm. (Usually where he
is throwing himself onto his back, regardless of what is behind him, and
repeatedly hitting his head extra hard against some object, without
bracing, hurting himself but not stopping.) We don’t give in to his
demand – but we will hold him close and start walking with him.
Posted by Doug at 11:08 PM
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Thankfully we are seeing a mainly happy Jack today
(for the first time in over a week) - just in time to celebrate Doug's
2nd father's day. Last father's day seems a long time ago now. Jack had
just started saying 'a-goo'. A year on and he has 10 real words to his
credit, as well as communicating with all his pointing, gestures and
facial expressions. A year ago we could leave him in the one spot, and
he spent most of the day sleeping. Now he wants to be on the move all
the time, and he alternates between having 1 and 2 sleeps a day. I
wonder where he will be at this time next year.
Jack is over the worst of his illness, but still
has a lingering cough and sore throat. His breath is still wheezing at
times also so we are having to decide when it warrants the use of
Ventolin. Thankfully Jack seems to have adapted better than we could
have expected to having the Ventolin spacer mask over his face, finding
it amusing, although at times wants to hold his breath!
Unfortunately, once again, I have picked up part
of Jack's illness with a sore throat and chesty cough. While we were
warned that putting Jack into childcare would mean he picks up every
infection going around, it has been overwhelming for him (and us) to
have so many in such a short space of time. Each time we recover from
one, we hope that is the end of the cycle, only for him to pick up
It has also been a struggle for me on the work
front. I have been under the pressure of deadlines with a couple major
projects I have been managing. I have had to delay one of those, and am
meeting to discuss the deadline of the other tomorrow. I am left hoping
that I am not seen as the only reason for the delays, and that we are
not forced to push ahead regardless of the reality of the looming
After having to miss a fair bit of work in the
past month, and it being a struggle at times to get through the
necessary work when looking after a sick Jack, I feel bad that I am not
able to give my job the proper attention. I feel like I am being less
effective than what I would like. It also worries me that I have used up
most of my sick leave for the year already, so future illnesses may
start eating into what little annual leave I have.
At the same time, nothing at work is as important
as Jack's health, and being able to provide the necessary care and
attention he needs when ill. I remember before going on maternity leave
I thought that working part-time was the 'best of both worlds' -
spending a reasonable amount of time with Jack, and keep up my skills
(and earnings) on the work front. I remember saying to other mothers who
worked part time how great it must be. I now understand what they were
saying when describing it as a very hectic and tiring juggling act that
leaves you feeling as if you are not doing the best of being a mother or
employee. I am sure once we all feel better again I will feel more on
top of things, but lately it really has been more 'survival' than
'thriving' mode for us all.
Doug has highlighted in an entry this week that
his mother has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, and as an
immediate first step has had surgery. This puts into perspective that
all the things we are dealing with are minor in comparison. We hope that
she is able to get through all the necessary treatment and her life can
go on as normal. It is too hard and scary to even comprehend any other
scenario. Doug has always been very close to his mum, and I have also
developed a close bond with her. She has treated me as a daughter and a
friend right from the start, and I could not have hoped for a better
mother-in-law. She is also a fantastic grandmother to Jack (and her
other grandchildren), so we really hope that she is able to see them all
grow up, and that they get to grow up knowing her. She is the sort of
lovely person that no one has a bad word to say about, and already
family and friends are flocking around offering their support. We can
all only take it one step at a time, and try to be there for her (and
Doug's dad) as much as we can.
To finish on a more positive note, Jack's latest
development has been to start offering Doug and I kisses on the cheek.
It is really special to receive your first kisses from your son! We
also finally made it to Myuna Farm yesterday (it has taken us a month to
get there from when it was first planned). It was great to see Jack's
enjoyment and wonder at seeing the different animals, and associating
his noises with the animals.
Posted by Al at 3:12 PM
Monday, September 04, 2006
Father’s day was good – got to watch 5 hours of car racing on the TV and
spent several hours playing my new computer game in the evening, all
with only a handful of interruptions. (Which is much better than the
usual constant ones!)
Al was a lovely wife and mother, and worked hard to give me one of the
more relaxed day’s I’ve had since, well, Jack was born. In hindsight it
might seem odd to celebrate Father’s day be minimising your fathering
duties, but I suspect other Fathers will understand.
Jack was pretty good, and seemed on the mend.
Today Jack was even better – I’d say 85% normal. The Childcare centre
reported an excellent day. This was certainly backed up by the fact Jack
seemed more interested in finishing off story time than being picked up
by me when I arrived. (Almost makes me pine for those early days where
he cried at the first sight of me, wanting to be picked up and taken
home immediately. Well, almost.)
I on the other hand am feeling horrendous. I have a greater
understanding for how Jack must have been feeling last week. Aching all
over, swollen glands, including in places I didn’t know glands existed,
a pathetic cough, headache, and feeling cold regardless how many layers
of clothes I am wearing, or what the thermostat is set on.
Except I don’t fully understand how Jack was feeling - since Al hasn’t
offered to take time off work to care for me, drive me to the doctors,
give me medicine, or snuggle up making soothing and appropriate “there,
there” compassionate noises. She has said “there, there”, but it was in
more of a “pat pat” on the head sort of way.
The lot of a Dad. I’m sure this wasn’t in the brochure.
Posted by Doug at 9:12 PM
Thursday, September 07, 2006
In the last two days we have seen the partial
return of 'happy Jack'. It has almost taken us by surprise to see him at
his happy best. We have only seen glimpses of it in weeks. He has
enjoyed a happy return to his childcare and activities routine (although
has been a bit overtired and wanting to stick close to mum).
Summary of latest developments for Jack at his
- Picking up new words and actions regularly.
Yesterday we noticed him saying 'beep beep' while pressing the horn on
his toy car wheel, as well as doing the horn beeping motion with his
hand. This morning I noticed him 'knocking' with his hand along to the
'knock knock' song and saying 'knock knock'. 'Baa' is the new animal
noise of the month for sheep.
- He not only wants to eat what we are eating, but
also use the same utensils. He now enjoys sharing my morning Organic
Vitabrits with malt free soymilk. If I try to pass it to him with his
little baby spoon, he shakes his head and says 'no', and keeps pointing
until I give him my big spoon to eat with. (That is of course way too
big for his mouth, but he persists in trying to use it regardless!)
- Giving us kisses on the cheek
- He no longer wants to spend most of his playtime
at home in his play areas. In fact he often refuses to go in there or
protests vigorously. His home play sessions instead now involve crawling
all around the house. He doesn't mind playing with his toys in areas
other than his play areas. He also enjoys playing with real items rather
than toys, such as re-arranging all our CDs and pulling paper and books
- He enjoys pushing shapes into holes (with a bit
of a hand from us to half put the shape in right hole to start with)
- When asked where his head is, he touches his
head. When asked where his nose is, he touches my nose.
- He loves climbing up and down the stairs. He can
now get himself off beds and couches with his 'twist and turn' skill
learnt at swimming.
- He shows an early love of 'programming' anything
in the house with buttons. This includes the stereo, VCR, DVD player,
washing machine, dishwasher, clocks, our computers, and any other thing
he can find with a button to press. Unfortunately this leads to lots of
temper tantrums when we tell him 'no no no' and pull him away.
- He is into the fully-fledged toddler tantrum
stage, including hitting his head against any hard object (floor tiles,
doors, walls, our heads, high chair).
- He has a good attention span – and can sit still
and listen during story time at the library, music class activities,
Posted by Al at 5:48 PM
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Jack’s last illness was passed onto his Mum, and now onto me. I’ve had a
persistent, painful and very irritating dry cough that keeps waking me
up over night. I’ve been feeling miserable.
Jack has had a few really good days – cheerfully chatting and carrying
on. It has been such a relief to see. The tantrums have certainly not
abated, but at least now that he is happier they are a little easier to
We realised he must have had another growth spurt– he seems to be about
an inch taller all of a sudden. One day he was lifting his chin to rest
it on the side of his Portacot, the next he was hanging his chin over
the side. His third tooth is now also through (top front), with three
His capacity to learn (and that of all babies) continues to amaze. I
pointed at a picture of a turtle the other day and said the name aloud.
Jack promptly replied with Tur Tal. Each time I point at a picture of a
Turtle since, he repeats the new word. We also noticed he uses Peeek and
Peeka for Peekaboo, and while he says Bee Bee Bee all the time, he also
uses it consistently while pointing at birds. Bath also seems to have
been added to his vocabulary – although is more of a Ba Ba Ba noise.
(If you haven’t already noticed, Al and I almost constantly refer to
things three times with Jack – saying “Dad, Dad, Dad, Mum, Mum, Mum,
Bath, Bath, Bath” etc. We have done this to help with association, but
find Jack now tends to do the same in return!)
Of course, and as previously raised, a lot of Jack’s communication is
more easily understood by his Parent’s more keen and practised ear.
Having said that, Jack can make appropriate responses through many of
his picture cards or to things on TV, which has allowed his grandparents
to see and share in his early communication.
The pace of constant change still leaves Al and I bewildered at times.
This week Peter Brock, an Australian Motor Racing icon, died while
competing in a Targa tarmac rally. I don’t often remark on current
events here, but I will on this one. Peter was one of the only “real”
heroes I had as a child. Even now I would take note of any event he was
in and how he was going. My other heroes growing up were mostly
fictional. W John’s Biggles (his World War I stories primarily),
Nicholas Monsarrat’s Lt Commander George Erickson and his ship the HMS
Compass Rose, and Douglas Reeman’s Commander Andrew Lindsay and his ship
the HMS Benbecula. I wonder at who or what Jack will idolise as he grows
My thanks to you Peter, you were a great role model.
Posted by Doug at 1:50 AM
A few days after the return of 'happy Jack', and
feeling better myself, I am starting to feel more relaxed and on top of
things. Unfortunately Doug seems to have copped a bad case of the latest
illness, so we are still waiting for a time when the whole household
feels well at same time.
Yesterday Doug took Jack shopping for a 4-year-old
present while I relaxed and enjoyed a haircut. Jack came along at the
start to get haircut no 2. He behaved well and took it all in his stride
once again. We then all went along to the 4-year-old party for Damon at
a local play centre. Jack enjoyed watching the other kids, and
particularly enjoyed riding around in a little car. At one stage he was
just about to climb into it when an aggressive 4 year old came running
across the room, gave Jack a big shove, and jumped in himself. I told
the boy off for pushing a baby (and had to restrain myself from really
going overboard). No mother in sight to admonish him either. It really
is 'law of the jungle' at times in a play centre, so I find myself
having to negotiate with 4 year olds. When the car was free again later
and Jack was happily riding in it, the same child pouted saying 'that's
my car'. I told him it wasn't his car, and that he had already had his
We enjoyed catching up with the parents of the
birthday boy, and another parent we know well. Doug enjoyed swapping
'Dad stories'. It is also useful for us watching older kids, and talking
to the parents as to what to expect in future. Towards the end Damon
came over to his parents with a blood lip after crashing heads with
another child. I expressed concern, but both parents just shrugged it
off as no big deal, and said he would be right again as soon as the
blood was wiped up. A reminder of how many crashes and spills we are
likely to encounter as Jack grows up, and the importance of taking it in
our stride and not over-reacting. The other parent was a Dad of two,
bringing the kids along by himself to give his wife a break. He said
that the two kids were always run in different directions, so you have
to choose which to watch or run after.
Jack loves playing with little cars at the moment.
He also enjoys tossing his balls down on the ground with loud 'Dah'
cries, and chasing after them. He really is 'all boy' with his play
preferences. At playgroup I have given him a doll to see how he would
react. He threw it on the ground in disdain, whereas Kiara loves
walking dolls around in a little pram. At music class this week the
kids were given another little doll to do actions with for one of the
songs. I observed most of the little girls gently stroking their dolls,
whereas all Jack did was continue to toss the doll away and look annoyed
each time I handed it back to him. He is also not really into 'hugging'
his soft toy collection, and prefers throwing them around also. You do
wonder how much 'nurture vs nature' comes into things like play
preferences, but Jack certainly seems to have a natural preference for
typical 'boy play'.
Posted by Al at 10:53 AM
Monday, September 11, 2006
I seem to be partially on the mend – just in time for work.
I had an annoying start to the day – drove all the way into work, up to
the security boom gate, and then realised I’d forgotten my access key…
again. Drove home to pick it up, and then drove back into work again in
the much heavier traffic. My usual 30 minute commute turned into 100
minutes. (Lets not even think about the petrol I wasted!)
I did get to see Al and Jack up and awake (they are usually sleeping
when I leave), so all was not wasted.
I had a quick meeting with my Boss today (the reason for returning to
work instead of just giving up and working from home). He is based in
Sydney, and is generally only down once a month. He didn’t realise it,
but he probably left me feeling the most dissatisfied I have been with
this company – ever.
The area I coordinate has for 11 months now been inappropriately and
under resourced. I have maintained an acceptable level of service by
juggling, squeezing, prioritising, and many days simply carrying it with
unpaid overtime. It has taken senior management all this time to finally
get new resources organised, which I am about to start training.
Today in the meeting I was informed of senior managements expectations.
I will go from 2.8 resources covering the work of 4, to 3.8 resources
covering the work of 5.
One of the rules I work by is not rewarding bad management. It was bad
management that put my team into this predicament, and it is bad
management that will keep it there. Continuing to work as hard as I have
been is simply rewarding them for that bad management. I have had
enough, and it is time to move on.
But that isn’t as easy as it once was. Finding work shouldn’t be
difficult – I’m very good at what I do, it is in demand, and the resume
looks great. However, if I move to a 9 to 5 job that adversely affects
Jack and Al. If I can’t work from home, that will affect Jack and Al. If
I can’t work part time, or have to do rostered support, or - well, you
get the idea.
As I grew up I can remember my Dad lamenting about being stuck in
certain jobs – “for the good of the family”. I don’t feel trapped by my
responsibilities, but I do feel starkly aware of them.
Posted by Doug at 10:02 PM
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I walked into work feeling rather worn down – only to find things
quickly got worse.
I was asked a number of times yesterday for a resource for a client
issue. As you might have guessed my team is already under resourced,
this week being particularly bad. While sympathetic to the person, I
simply could not help them.
This morning they had made another pleading request for help. After
saying no politely three times yesterday, I responded again in the
negative, and suggested (still relatively politely) that they should
actually be speaking with the resource coordinator.
A manager on the email chain then responded with how disappointed he was
with my comment. He indicated the colleague had already gone to the
resource coordinator, and was coming to me as a final resort. When I
went to interject he put up his hand and said he did not want to hear
That made me furious. I understood the desperation of the colleague –
but I resented being put in a position of having to repeatedly refuse to
help them, and to then be made out as if I was being the bad guy. I was
not in a position to provide them a resource, and frankly it was not my
responsibility to do so. It was meant to be the job of that pious
Anyway, I took a deep breath or two.
I made a mental note on the Manager – who was relatively new to the
role. He seems to play the friendly, reasonable, almost fatherly figure,
who tries to manage the hard issues with guilt trips and avoidance.
I then apologised to the colleague for my mildly inappropriate response.
She said “What? I’ve been working with you for years Doug, you don’t
need to apologise for anything.”
After 11 hard months at work, 5 hard weeks at home, and 5 hard days of
sickness, the sum of my inappropriate behaviour comes down to a
technically correct quip that a colleague should ask for help via the
Gee I’ve mellowed with age. I hope Jack mellows. Maybe by 15 months. Is
that too much to ask?
Posted by Doug at 10:03 PM
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Following that little encounter I sat down and put together resource
figures based on the meeting I had had with my manager the previous day.
Nothing smart – just taking the current contracted and fixed scheduled
work, adding the extra time required to cover the average annual leave,
sick leave and training entitlements for the team, and comparing that to
the resources we had available. It showed the team would be worse off
after the proposed “solution” was put in place.
My manager looked at the figures (I got the impression he was a little
surprised by them), made some adjustments (a resource replaced, a volume
of new work not taken on), and played around until they looked ok.
“There” he said, “That will work.”
“True” I vocalised, while quietly noting that his changes seemed to go
against the perception Senior Management had on what would be happening.
I could see his predicament. Stuck between my view of reality (what was
needed to get the job done), and the vastly different parameters Senior
Management worked within (the measurement of utilisation). He was having
to traverse a minefield while hoping for an outcome that was workable
and left both sides happy.
Due in part to the efforts of my Manager, and in part due to my health
improving, the pressing urge to change jobs was lowering.
In the meanwhile Al kept herself busy and amused by forwarding me
adverts for businesses and franchises for sale (in case I wanted a
change of career), and job vacancies listed in my area of expertise.
Resourcing, scheduling and meetings finally all over and done with, I
then sat down and spent the rest of the day concentrating on chargeable
client work, and answering the questions of the latest two consultants
temporarily assigned to the team. It was a productive, interesting and
My timesheet looked something like:
1.5 hrs – Resourcing Issues
0.5 hrs – Admin (schedules, emails and timesheets)
1.0 hrs – Mentoring and supporting team members
0.5 hrs – Non-chargeable support of Consultants on site
3.5 hrs – Chargeable Scheduled Client work
1.0 hrs – Chargeable Unscheduled Client work
My view - a productive day that covered the cost of my employment with a
positive margin of around 35%, further helped four other Consultants who
were charging their time, and supported 5 or 6 clients.
Senior Management’s view? 56% utilised, substandard performance. No
justification to be asking for more resources.
Posted by Doug at 11:52 PM
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Continued… and end.
There were two reasons for the last few posts – both directed at when
Jack reads this in the future. The first was to show that the
difficulties we have faced over the last month were not just centred on
Jack. The second was to give Jack a glimpse of what his Dad was doing
between the breakfast goodbyes and the afternoon hellos.
There is a lot I like about my job. Stability is not generally the lot
of a consultant – employment can be a project-by-project proposition. I
have stability through supporting two-dozen odd clients with long-term
contracts. Instead of looking after one environment and one technical
platform, I work on a wide mix of landscapes. Over the course of a few
months I might work on 100 different servers, and deal professionally
with 60 different people.
I like that (theoretically) it can be quiet one day, hectic and extra
busy the next. I like the fact my tasks rarely take more than a few
hours, providing relatively instant satisfaction. In the same way –
unpleasant tasks also don’t take too long to get through. You cannot
always say the same when working on projects that can run for 18 months
I generally work with good people, have reasonable management, am left
to my own devices, and am asked for feedback and input into decision
making about the service I provide. I seem to be respected and well
thought of, am allowed to work part time, start extra early and finish
extra early to miss the traffic, work from home a couple days a week,
get to wear smart casual, and am paid pretty well.
I have one main frustration (as seen boiling over on Monday). Management
does not really understand what I do (and have told me so directly).
They know that (aside from resources) the service requires very little
input from them. They know I have a lot of very happy clients. They know
the service is comfortably profitable. They know that they like the
consistent and reliable income stream…
What they don’t seem to know is how to fit the concept of support within
their business model and decision-making– which are very much focused on
Consulting for project work. This means that they commonly fail to
provide me with an environment conducive to doing my job as well as I
would like. The way they interpret their statistics – which ignores the
value of the work being done, or how profitable the individual is, can
be down right insulting some days.
So I am not about to rush out and resign just yet. However this week has
been a reminder that I do need to keep an eye out for what other
opportunities may come along.
Posted by Doug at 10:53 PM
Friday, September 15, 2006
Mum came out of her op pretty well (mentally great, physically ok aside
an infection). The tumour was close to the rib cage, but the lymph node
biopsies and bone scan came back clear, suggesting the cancer has not
spread. She has some more convalescing to do, then starts the “just in
case” chemo. I think she is finding the resting aspect at home
difficult, particularly not being able to do many of the chores.
I am relieved – although in a hard to describe way. I never really let
myself dwell on the possible outcomes – instead just taking a wait and
see approach. Never having anguished over what might have gone wrong, I
am not now struck by the apposing amount of relief.
I have wondered at if I was a little too devoid of emotion – especially
when seeing the reaction in concerned friends and family when offering
their best wishes. This has never been about me though. My Mum – who was
facing and making the decisions on it, has been so strong. It did not
seem right for me to be anything other than strong in return.
Posted by Doug at 10:10 PM
Saturday, September 16, 2006
We are all feeling much better. Jack picked up a cold from this weeks
childcare (which he passed onto his parents), but that is almost
pleasant compared to the previous rounds of illness.
We have had a busy couple of days. Jack caught up with an Aunt, Uncle
and Cousin yesterday, over from Perth on Business. Today he caught up
with Grandma and Grandpa Q, two Uncles, two Aunts, an Aunt to be, and
Enjoying a wheelbarrow ride with a Cousin and Grandpa Q.
He loved the array of outside toys at his Aunt and Uncle's house. We
are going to have to work on our back yard to set up some areas for him.
(The top was changed after a lunch and over active induced vomit...)
Posted by Doug at 9:48 PM
Sunday, September 17, 2006
We have had an enjoyable couple of days of family
catch-ups. My brother and his wife came over from Perth on a business
trip, so we were able to see their son Ryley the day before his 1st
birthday. You really do notice the distance with family when it is
difficult to have the opportunity to share in special milestones.
Yesterday Jack met another aunt and some older
cousins for the first time, visiting from Tasmania. He had a great time
playing outside with them, more cousins, grandparents, and various aunts
When Doug picked him up from childcare on Thursday
he also found him outside with all the kids in a sandpit. Now that
winter is over Jack should have more and more opportunities to be
outside. Last summer he was not yet crawling or able to enjoy the
outdoors (other than by walks in the pram), so it is exciting to seeing
him being able to explore and enjoy it this summer. When he starts
walking it will make it even easier for him.
Posted by Al at 9:03 AM
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Jack is still teething. I know it seems like the perennial parental
catch cry – but I am telling the truth. The second top front tooth
showed itself last week. The next day it had shifted at a 30-degree
angle, two days later is was angled 30 degrees in the opposite
direction, and a couple days later it had receded back into the gum.
Cruel and unusually. We can see another 5 or 6 teeth close to the
surface, so he might have a rush of them. Or then again maybe he won’t.
Jack has handled this round better than previously, and while he is a
little more testy when it is obviously bothering him, he has basically
been a pretty active and happy kid for the last couple weeks.
His new favourite play area is the front entrance hall in the house. I
remember saying that I thought I’d be able to contain Jack’s toys. I am
glad to say I have been able to do so – in buckets and plastic
containers – in just about every room in the house…
Jack has just started to walk if we hold both his hands (or laying our
hands under his arms). In the past he would immediately sit down, but he
now enjoys walking around. It is not a elegant look yet – particularly
as he is prone to standing on one foot dancing or trying to kick
objects. The distance he travels is limited only by the condition of his
I taught Jack "up" and "down" the other day.
I should never have done that.
It is cute when he is in his Portacot watching TV, standing and saying
“up”, then squatting and saying “down” over and over. It isn’t so cute
when he has his parents both standing there lifting and lowering their
arms in unison as he chants “up, and down”. The other day Jack got tired
of lifting his own arms, so stopped. He continued chanting though so his
parents could keep doing it.
So many things you teach a child come back to bite you.
Last night Jack was in our bed using his human mattress, but just not
getting comfortable. Al said after fidgeting for a while he got himself
off the bed (something he is very effective at now), crawled over to the
bedroom door (which was ajar letting in light), pushed it closed, then
crawled back to the bed. Al lifted him back under the covers and he
promptly fell asleep. Al had left the light on immediately outside our
room, something she doesn’t normally do. It might well have been Jack
burning the last skerrick of energy, but it so looked like the light was
annoying him, so he went to shut the door on it..
Life, especially the very young type, is rather special.
Posted by Doug at 10:52 PM
Monday, September 25, 2006
Busy life continues.
Jack finally got allergy tested on Friday. Some $350 and two visits
later we are told he has a milk allergy. And Potato. And that was about
all we learnt.
Jack was very good through the long appointment, but by the end was a
little antsy. Al, tired and distracted, didn’t think to ask many
questions, and the Allergist, for whatever reason, didn’t think to pass
on much information.
I guess we Google search for where to go now, or go back and get further
tests done for things like grasses, and ask more questions then.
During the appointment Jack had spent time playing on the waiting room
floor. Al remarked that he had interacted with other people in the room,
staring, smiling, talking, and making sure they were watching him as he
went about his play.
We then did a long day trip to visit my Parents on Saturday. I’d have
liked to of stayed longer, but I had to work on Sunday. Jack interacted
happily with his grandparents. My mum remarked on how Jack was becoming
a real confident little boy.
On Sunday, in driving wind and squally showers, we went out and
purchased a new microwave. (The old one was damaged after Al dropped a
plate in it.) For some reason everyone else was also out shopping. We
had to give up on a shopping centre as we couldn’t get a car park
anywhere near an entrance. We went to a Harvey Norman but found it only
had six models on display, and was packed with people buying TVs and
whitegoods. Finally however we lucked out by finding a much smaller
electronic retailer that had no customers, helpful and available staff,
and 40 odd different models to check out – all at reasonable prices.
Today when Al dropped Jack off at childcare he looked around
interestedly at what was going on and was handed over without the
slightest protest. He didn’t look back or cry when Al said goodbye and
left. When I picked him up this afternoon he was happily throwing a ball
in amongst a gaggle of babies, charging off and retrieving it. I waved
as I first arrived and he beamed back, but then returned to his play. I
signed him out, collected his bag, and spoke to one of the carer’s about
his day. Jack continued to play happily, and I had to actually go and
pick him up.
He really seems to like it at that childcare centre - and I think it has
played no small part in building Jack’s obvious growing confidence,
especially around other people. I’ll try to remember that when Jack
picks up the next round of childcare sickness.
Oh – he also seems to have gone from 3 to 5 teeth. The second front
tooth is again back through the gum, and so is one of the teeth next
along in line (an incisor?). Jack has had a couple antsy days related to
the discomfort, but generally has been good.
Yes, life has been busy.
Posted by Doug at 10:42 PM
Friday, September 29, 2006
I think this week was the first where Jack did not cry once at drop off
or pick up from childcare. I guess if we look at the calendar it has
taken a long time to get to this point – but it hasn’t really seemed so.
Going three days (something he has only been doing since July) has
certainly made the process easier.
School holidays this week, which stops most of Jack’s activities. He has
however had two visits to play centres to keep him amused.
It was my turn to be sick again this week – hit with a viral infection
that left me incapable of doing anything but sleeping on Wednesday.
Fever, aching all over, nausea and a severe headache for 24 hours
straight, with no relief from any of the drugs I tried. It was the most
atrocious sick day I’ve had in over a decade. Thursday and today have
been recovery days. I’m still feeling knocked about, but am obviously on
I have felt like I have been burning the candle from both ends for a
long time now. This week was a like a message - delivered by
sledgehammer - reminding me of the consequence.
Posted by Doug at 9:54 PM
Saturday, September 30, 2006
I’ve really enjoyed having a few weeks of 'happy
Jack'. Being school holidays, our schedule has also been more relaxed.
We have had the regular gathering of high school
friends, two visits to play centres to meet up with friends, and last
weekend included a long but happy day going up and back to visit Grandma
C. That also happened to coincide with seeing Jack's cousin Larissa
taking some of her first steps. Jack also enjoyed a wander around their
local market. This morning was another family gathering for brunch with
Grandma and Grandpa Q, and Uncle Mal to celebrate Grandma Q's birthday.
We have really noticed that Jack recognises both our families, and is
enjoying his interactions more with them over time, which is special to
Three months ago when I increased my work hours to
4 days a week my manager stated he wanted to review the situation at end
of September. He wanted me to consider going full time. I indicated at
the time that I was not interested, and he understood my need for
flexibility, but indicated they needed someone fulltime in the role. He
suggested possible options including working one full or two half days
on the weekends. (!)
While I appreciated he was trying to be flexible
and look for solutions that would work for both of us, it has been an
additional stress at the back of my mind over the last few months. He
raised it again this week and I indicated I was not in a position to
increase my hours. Much to my surprise he said he wasn't surprised, and
actually wanted to know if I would like to decrease my hours! My obvious
and continual run down and sick state over the last couple months had
not gone unnoticed it seems.
After discussing with Doug, we have agreed for me
to reduce my hours to 3.5 days a week. This will give me one full day
off with Jack (being the one day I am alone with him). I think this will
make a huge difference – especially allowing me to relax and enjoy the
activities and my time alone with Jack, instead of having to stress
about getting work done.
I already feel better having put this in place.
It is nice to feel that you are being treated as an individual rather
than just a 'resource'. My manager did go on to state that he was very
happy with how my return to work had gone overall, so that was a relief,
and good to know. I think I would have handled the 4 days a week ok if
it were not for all the sickness, and with Jack still having overnight
feeds. The two combined however have left me feeling as if I am not on
top of things. Hopefully this change will allow for more balance in my
life, and allow me to manage things better overall on the home and work
Posted by Al at 12:24 PM