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Monday, September 01, 2008
I spent 4 days last week in Sydney – meeting with the team I work with,
and attending a three day technical course. It was the longest time I’ve
been away from home since Jack was born, and I found it unpleasant not
being able to interact with him through the day.
We all seemed to cope ok - although it worried Jack a touch and he was a
little clingier with his Mum. He knew that I was in “Sid-enie”, and that
I had flown there on an “Air-pain”.
It was good being able to speak with Jack on the phone each evening, and
get updates from Al via SMS and email – but I was glad when I got home
late Friday night and could look in on the pair of them sleeping.
Posted by Doug at 12:00 AM
Monday, September 15, 2008
I took a selfish day.
Aside a short trip out to a nearby miniature railway with Jack and Al, I
spent most of the day playing computer games and watching car racing on
TV. I ignored the washing. I ignored the gardening. I ignored the fact
Al was grumpy and could have done with some help with Jack.
It has been a big fortnight. The biggest aspect was telling Jack that
his mum had a baby growing in her tummy, and then sharing the news with
Family and Friends.
I was quite nervous about telling Jack. We took him into our room and
told him we have very special news for him. He looked a touch worried –
but understood it was important. There is a photo on the wall in our
bedroom of Al when she was pregnant with Jack. We have always told Jack
that he was inside his mum’s tummy at the time – and we used that photo
as the focus of our explanation.
Jack took the news well – and asked questions over the rest of the day
that showed that he was thinking it over. (He asked at one point if Mum
had eatten the baby, and had it gotten stuck in her tummy? He also
wanted to know if we could open up Mum's tummy to have a look.) He also
excitedly volunteered the news to the staff at his Childcare Centre, so
there was even a level of excitement.
It will be a balancing act moving forward – nurturing Jack’s excitement
and interest, keeping him involved and part of the process, yet ensuring
it doesn’t yet negatively impact on his life.
Posted by Doug at 12:20 AM
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Focused on going to the library to look at pirate books, Jack opened the
front door by himself and headed off to the Garage. I noticed him as he
got off the porch and called his name sharply. He took off running to
the garage door.
I went outside and told Jack off in a relatively calm manner while
portraying the gravity of his action, and made him come back inside to
apologise to his mum for leaving the house by himself. Amongst the tears
for having to go back inside (and so further way from the library) –
Jack did seem to understand that he had done something very wrong.
This was only a small incident, and probably useful in reinforcing the
rules with Jack. It did however leave me reflecting on two quiet fears I
have at the back of my mind.
Every so often there will be a news piece about a toddler who lets
themselves out of the house in the middle of the night and gets lost on
the streets. I am mindful of the fact that Jack could do the same. He
can forcefully get through the upstairs safety gate (after watching an
adult do it when they couldn’t work out the mechanism). He is also able
to unlock and open both the front door and the security door. The only
option would be to lock the security door and remove the key – but that
seems to bring even greater risks in the case of a fire.
The other fear is calling for Jack to stop – and have him take off
running into traffic or harm’s way. The moment a toddler thinks you are
trying to stop them getting somewhere they want to go, they will make a
run for it. So focused on that one thing they are oblivious (more so
than normal) to anything else. I remember watching a parent on TV
talking about losing a child in that circumstance. They were tormented,
wondering if their child might not have run if they had not yelled, or
if the child might have altered their direction or possibly seen the
danger for themselves if not otherwise focused by their shout.
Parents have a lot to be fearful of.
Posted by Doug at 2:36 PM
Jack woke up this morning telling Al that he had got a red lolly at
swimming. He then started to cry when he couldn’t find it. Al tried to
explain that he must have just been dreaming, and that it was actually
Ready Steady Go day. Jack cried more.
Initially it was very hard to try and explain the concept of dreaming to
Jack. I remember times when he would wake up and give myself or Al the
cold shoulder for an hour over something he had dreamed about. Now he
seems to understand the idea, but doesn’t particularly like the fact the
good aspects of a dream don’t continue through to his wakeful hours.
Speaking of imaginary type things, Jack’s now often brings in characters
from his DVD’s into his play. Today he was Christopher Robin while Al
played the part of Winnie the Poo.
Posted by Doug at 11:12 PM
Friday, September 19, 2008
Jack was desperately tired last night, but fought tooth and nail to
delay going to bed. It ended with a string of tantrums and one very
distraught little boy who was well past exhausted. Al, sick and tired
herself, decided to stay in Jack’s room so that if he woke up unhappy
she would be close by.
I was woken up at 2:30am by Al and Jack climbing into bed with me,
apparently not being able to sleep comfortably in their room. They soon
fell asleep, both serenading me with the most repulsive snoring I have
ever heard. At best it sounded like someone gargling phlegm while
breathing in and out, at worse it was... well... indescribable. By 3:30
I’d had enough and came downstairs to play on the computer.
Jack then spent almost the entire day on the couch watching TV. Normally
on Friday morning he runs to the door when the garbage trucks arrive –
this morning however he solemnly told us that he would just listen to
them from the couch. Every hour or so he would get up and be active for
5 minutes, but it would either end up with him breathing extra hard or
crying over some very minor thing – so he would return to the couch. Al
didn’t bother with Gymbaroo, and spent the day close to him.
We didn’t give Jack any medicine as there wasn’t anything precise to
target it at. We suspect however that he might have Al’s bad cold – she
had a couple very bad days where she felt horrible, but looked and
sounded fine to the rest of us. He was wheezing by the end of the day
though - so we gave him Ventolin, put Vic's Vapor rub on is chest, and
plugged the humidifier in. Tonight Jack was asking if it was nighttime
yet, and the moment we mentioned it was bedtime he grabbed his mum's
hand, lead her to his bedroom, and climbed promptly into bed.
For as great as his vocabulary is, Jack still can’t seem to describe how
he is feeling. We could however be in for a horrendous week.
Posted by Doug at 8:00 PM
Jack woke up crying just before with a very horse cough. We tried to
offer him water or medicine, but he said no and continued to cry in
apparent discomfort. Tiredness then overcame him and his cries faded
into silence as he fell back into exhausted sleep.
Posted by Doug at 9:56 PM
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Jack is becoming more antagonising in public. He is noticing my
reactions to certain behaviours, and pushing my buttons by repeating
them when he knows I am not happy. He lifts his top up around his neck,
jumps everywhere instead of walking, sits on the ground, grabs and
touches everything within reach, or makes silly faces while talking
loudly in baby speak.
I know people would just flippantly dismiss that – it is what kids do
and you just have to ignore them. The problem is I can’t just ignore it
– I get extraordinarily uncomfortable when placed in embarrassing
situations, far more so than is natural.
Today we stopped off at the supermarket on the way home from Childcare.
While standing at the checkout queue Jack (simultaneously) did all the
embarrassing behaviours I mentioned above. I asked him relatively
quietly and politely to stop his behaviour, but that just prompted their
escalation. I then got down to his level and threatened him with not
getting to eat one of the snacks he had picked out for himself, which
calmed him for a short while before he just started loudly saying “No”.
Finally I ended up with a very dark scowl on my face, pulled him up off
the ground (where he happened to be at the time), and said “I am very
unhappy with you – you are a rude, naughty little boy.” I then ignored
About this point in time I looked up and caught a lady in her late 40’s
glaring at me. I am not sure if it was in response to Jack’s behaviour
or how I was reacting to it. She mustn’t have liked the look on my face,
as she quickly looked in the other direction.
After upsetting me more while getting back to the car, I again said
“Stop it Jack, I am very unhappy with you.” He must have sensed he had
pushed me too far, as he reined in his behaviour and said “I don’t want
you to be unhappy with Jack.”
Therein lies the oxymoron. Jack is aware his parents react differently
to his behaviours in public than at home – and uses that fact to
deliberately push our buttons more. Yet, at the same time, he truly
doesn’t like making Al or I unhappy.
As it is, I suspect Jack won’t be accompanying me on shopping trips as
much in future.
Posted by Doug at 9:59 PM
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
A mother’s memory is odd.
Al can remember each and every annoyance about her husband spanning
around 8 years or so, and bring them back up in a flash. Yet after a
hard day of multiple tantrums and testing behaviour from Jack, and
frazzled and testy responses from her, she will look at him sleeping
peacefully at night and remark “Jack was pretty good today…”
Posted by Doug at 12:57 PM
Thursday, September 25, 2008
There has been a long gap in time since my last
The main reason for this has been pregnancy
related tiredness. I have also gotten into a bizarre sleep pattern where
I fall asleep when Jack does, wake for 2-3 hours in middle of the night,
go back to sleep again, but then wake up tired in the morning. Sometimes
I get up in the middle of the night for awhile, other nights I just toss
and turn. This has left me with little personal time over the past few
Unfortunately I have also had a string of minor
health issues in past couple months. I had a nasty sinusitis infection
for a couple weeks, hayfever on and off, and then a bad cold last week.
Fingers crossed that is the end of the bad run.
Aside from the tiredness and some early minor
nausea, the pregnancy is going well.
Being pregnant a second time is both exciting and
daunting. It is quite different to the 'naïve romanticised view' of a
first pregnancy. Also with the first I knew I could devote all my time
and attention to the baby (which turned out to be very necessary),
whereas with a 2nd you don't have that luxury. I will have to somehow
balance the demands of a baby with looking after Jack. It is hard to
fully comprehend how it will all work, and as with most parents we will
just have to work it out as we go along.
It has been interesting to see Jack's reactions to
the baby news. He is at an age where he asks lots of questions, and the
baby has certainly triggered off of them. How did the baby get in my
tummy, when will the baby will arrive, and what will he be able to do
with the baby once it gets here. A friend provided a few books to help
him with his understand.
From the first announcement he has been insisting
that he wants the baby to be a baby sister, so time will tell if he gets
his wish (this surprised me a little as I thought he would think a boy
was more fun to play with). He has made some of the baby announcements
for us (with mixed results as people don't always understand what he is
telling them, or then ignore him in the rush to congratulate us).
We went to visit baby Sienna (Kiara's new baby
sister) at the hospital yesterday. Jack showed more interest than usual
with the baby. As we left, I explained again to him how mummy would have
to go to hospital when it was time for the baby to come out. He said
'not yet - our baby is still a number 3 baby (3 months) so we have to
wait until the baby is a number 9 baby'. This shows some understanding
on his part, but he also didn't appear in a hurry to have the baby
arrive any time soon!
We seem to have been even more busy than usual in
past couple months. The main events have included Grandma Q's 60th,
Father's day, Lochie's 2nd birthday, Brayden's 3rd birthday, Grandma C
and Great Auntie June staying with us, visiting Dominic and Bella's new
house (including catching some tadpoles), Dad going away for a few days
to work in Sydney, going on a miniature train ride, visiting the
aquarium with Dad (while I caught up with interstate friend), visiting
the dinosaurs at the museum with Auntie Lis and cousin Jorja, and having
a farm visit at his duck room (where he fed a goat all by himself). In
between we have of course had the usual catch ups with Damon, Kiara and
Liana, and Brayden.
I have also been extra busy at work, having
completed a few more work training courses (with Grandma Q on hand to
mind Jack), and having to fit in doctor, OB and blood test appointments.
These will all only increase as the pregnancy continues. Jack has also
picked up my cold in the past week and appears to be suffering from
hayfever and headaches at times also. Thankfully he seems much more
resilient than he has been in the past (and more resilient than we are).
While he has had plenty of snuffles, not too many of them fully
Summary of Jack at 38 months
. As above, Jack is at an age of asking lots of
questions, including the 'why' question. If we don't answer a question
to his satisfaction he repeats the question many times over, or asks it
in different ways. At later times he appropriately includes his new
found knowledge in conversations, so he is obviously learning a lot from
his questions, even if it does try our patience at times!
. Most Mondays, Jack plays with Daniel at his
childcare. On Tuesday, he tells us he plays with 'Brayden and not
Daniel' (even though Daniel is also there on Tuesdays). It isn't good to
see he is already accepting and rejecting play requests based on who he
prefers to play with on a given day. Aside from that, it is heartening
to see that he has established some regular friendships with these 2
boys (and occasional reports of other playmates) at this centre, and he
seems to be enjoying his time there even more as a result. In contrast
he still complains about going to the Thursday centre, never reports
playing with other kids there, and finds it too noisy.
. We found that there is room for him next year to
go to 3 days a week at the Monday / Tuesday centre, so we have put his
name down. Although we felt it was good for him to have a mixture of
carers and kids to interact with, different styles of care, and the
opportunity to know some local kids if he goes to the local primary
school, we want him to be happy in his time at care. This change will
also provide a consistent program for him as he starts the 3 year old
kinder program next year.
. The rest of Jack's ready, steady, go class
disintegrated so he was the only kid left in the group. He was appearing
much more confident to participate without my help by this stage, so we
moved him up into the next class where he participates without me. It is
a large group (about 15 kids) and is noisy at times (when he is extra
sensitive to), but he has adapted well to the transition. The
instructors have reported that he is such a good kid, and really listens
to the instructions and tries hard at everything. Since he is the
youngest and smallest, they also keep an eye out for him, and are quick
to appear by his side if he needs assistance with things like hopping
(he can now do a single hop, but not repeated hops at this stage).
. Jack's imaginative play continues to develop. He
now often comes up with scenarios for us to act out, including scenes
from some of his shows, or involving characters from his shows, or
animals for us to be, etc. After we visited the sculpture garden a
couple months back, he still likes to set all his soft toys up on an
animal train and take them to see the sculpture he has made from his
blocks. He likes to look at a map (as he sees us looking at the Melways
at times in the car) then pretend to drive to places.
. Even at this age of 3, I haven't yet managed to
maintain a regular routine for Jack's bath or showers. For awhile Doug
was minding him while I had a shower, then he was still having his bath
at night. However, at the end of the day Jack (and I) were often tired
and out of sorts, and he would throw major tantrums about having the
bath in the first place, or getting dressed afterwards. As such I
reverted back to him having a shower with me in the mornings, and
avoiding baths. Sometimes he would happily join me in the shower and be
fine before, during and after, while other times he still would throw
tantrums. After a few particularly bad mornings, I decided that it was
time I had a shower downstairs in the morning while he watches his TV
shows, and get into a regular bath routine at night. Surprisingly he
seems to have accepted this very well, and behaved himself in the
mornings, and even requested baths some nights. It is early days yet but
hopefully we have turned a corner on this issue.
. Soon after turning 3 Jack started throwing a
huge tantrum any time we tried to get him down for a day sleep. It ended
up just wearing him (and me) out even more without resulting in any
sleep. So now, other than at his Monday/Tuesday Childcare, he doesn't
have a day sleep. His Thursday Childcare does report he sometimes tries
to put himself down for a sleep in the book corner, but otherwise he
doesn't have a sleep there either. He does occasionally put himself to
sleep on his way home in the car from his morning activities, and the 20
minute or so sleep helps him get through his day. At times it is
frustrating as he is clearly in need of a sleep, and is harder work at
times during the day due to over-tiredness. In other ways it has
actually made life a bit easier as he goes to sleep easily and promptly
most nights, and other than the later time on Monday/Tuesday nights it
gives a more regular sleep time at night. It also means we can now plan
to do things at lunchtimes or in the afternoons more easily than in the
. We have started telling him he needs to wait in
bed until 7am until he gets up. Sometimes he is calm about this (and
enjoys extra cuddles and chats and continual time checks) while other
times he gets agitated. However, it does seem to give him (and I) a
consistent amount of sleep/rest and again helps to establish more
regular routines with his day and bed-time.
. We have also focused attention on ensuring he
gets breakfast quickly in the mornings, and fairly consistent snack and
meal times. We find the times he is most out-of-sorts is when he hasn't
eaten for awhile, and often after food he is back to normal again. As
Doug has written about, we have also identified some colorings that have
a direct and obvious negative relation to his behaviour, so we are
trying to be vigilant in excluding them from his diet.
. He has become somewhat addicted to his DVDs over
winter, and now enjoys being able to put them in himself, and turn the
TV and DVD on to play them. With winter now behind us, we should go back
to spending more time outside.
. Jack's vocabulary continues to increase, and he
surprises us at times with words we didn't realise he knows. Having said
that he has also been talking more gibberish and baby talk of late. I
don't know whether he is imitating other kids at childcare, or I have
read that changes (such as an impending new baby in the house) can cause
kids to regress in certain ways including speech. Hopefully it is a
. He has picked up a few bad habits in past couple
month. This includes constant nose picking (no matter how many times we
tell him not to, he persists). He is also licking around the outside of
his lips, so they are often all sore and rashed (and the more he licks,
the sorer they get, the longer it takes to heal - a vicious cycle). He
at times yells 'no' at us when we tell him to do things, or says 'sshhh'
loudly to me when I am trying to tell him off about something. He also
at times runs away a bit further from us when out in public, which
particularly worries us near roads (to date, he has always stopped at
the curb, but it is still a scary prospect of him running in front of a
car). He is becoming more of a handful when at shops at times also,
deliberately touching things, making loud noises, or doing things we
tell him not to.
. Whenever the phone rings, Jack insists on
talking on the phone also (which can cause issues when it is service
people or work calls). Family and friends have all commented that he
speaks well on the phone.
Posted by Al at 2:50 PM