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Wednesday, October 01, 2008
A little while ago, with grandiose ideas, we brought a slow cooker. It
hasn’t been a roaring success.
Today I actually managed to put something into it 7 hours before we
planned to eat. Then delays and Jack kicked in, and the post
preparations stretched out so that it wasn’t served until over an hour
late. It was a very average meal.
Jack – over tired and past his food time had a major meltdown,
distraught and unable to do anything but repeat the same thing over and
over again. We seemed to finally get over that, but moving him upstairs
just triggered the next meltdown.
Another day ends with a string of parental failure moments.
I am not coping as well with Jack as what I want, and over the last few
months it seems to have been affecting our relationship. I really didn’t
expect things to have remained so difficult for so long – so many trials
and tribulations that never seem to end. Keeping Jack happy seems to be
so complicated and time intensive – and the moment you mismanage that he
throws another angst ridden tantrum.
I still don’t know if it is our fault – the consequence of pandering to
him so much, or if this just happens to be Jack, and if we were not
making such an effort it would just be day after day of tantrums. (I
guarantee I know what the majority of people think the answer to that
It has been a hard few months – the end of winter colds and a horrendous
hay fever season have impacted on us almost every day. Al’s pregnancy
has been going well, but her extra tiredness impacts on her contribution
to keeping house, and joins with the hormones to make it more difficult
for her to keep on top of Jack’s behaviours. My new job isn’t helping –
Al made the telling remark the other day that even though I now work
from home, I am less available to her and Jack than when I worked in the
office. I am not particularly enjoying the job to be honest, the volume
of work, the type of work, and the conflicting expectations. Management
tells me to do one thing, the team assumes I am doing another, and the
customers are told something all together different again. Someone is
going to be unhappy in that situation - and all too often it ends up
Al remarked on my last post – saying that while she may concentrate on
the good things, I concentrate on the bad. Be that as it may, there
certainly seems to be lots of bad to concentrate on at the moment.
We all need a break.
Posted by Doug at 12:59 AM
Friday, October 10, 2008
It has been a particularly scary few weeks as far as the health of the
world’s financial markets are concerned. It is a reminder that there is
too much hot air in the markets during the good times, and too much fear
and panic during the bad. Regardless, the impact looks like it is going
to be very real and painful for a great many people. Most unsettling –
suddenly people around the world find themselves worrying about their
jobs, their retirement, and the safety of their money in the bank.
Posted by Doug at 6:57 PM
Friday, October 17, 2008
After a relatively good week, Jack woke up feral this morning, throwing
distraught tantrums like they were going out of fashion.
Al finally forced him to the breakfast table, where he ate a bowl of
porridge, some toast, almost a full container of strawberries, an apple,
and some dried fruit (he kept demanding more). Since then he has been
Posted by Doug at 9:21 AM
Sunday, October 19, 2008
One of my favourite TV shows at the moment is the BBC series “Who Do You
Think You Are”. It is basically a genealogy documentary that follows a
celebrity around as they trace aspects of their family tree.
My father had received a book some years ago from a distance relative,
who had traced part of our family tree and given away copies. I asked
about it, and during our visit this weekend he gave the book to me. It
has been a fascinating read.
It starts in Haddington and Edinburgh in Scotland around 1740, with
Jack’s Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents Archibald and
Isabel O’Neill. Archibald was a descendant of the Clan of MacNeill of
Barra - thought to have begun in the 11th century.
Their son George (b.1771) married Anne – and had 7 children.
Their 5th child – Annie (b.1819) married Dr John Cruikshank (b.1804),
and emigrated to Australia in 1859. They landed in Melbourne on the ship
Dione on April 2nd, after an 18 week journey. They settled in Bendigo.
Depending on other branches of the family tree - I guess that makes Jack
up to a 6th generation Australian.
Their 1st child – also Annie (b.1847) married John Sauerbrey (b.1830),
and had 12 children. Annie and John were Jack’s Great Great Great
Their 11th child – Eugenie (b.1885), married John Pierce in 1906. John
died that same year in a road accident, and Eugenie remarried Gordon in
1911 (b.1885). They had 3 children.
Their 3rd child – Kenneth (b.1919) married Irene (b.1922) – and had 2
Their 1st child – Peter, married Barbara – and had 4 children.
Their 1st child – Douglas, married Allison.
Their 1st child was Jack.
Posted by Doug at 11:39 PM
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
On Friday night we stayed at my Parent’s place. Mum setup a fold-out
camp bed next to ours in the guest room, and Al actually managed to get
Jack to sleep there all night by himself. Subsequently on Sunday and
Monday nights Al finally managed to get him to sleep in his own bed a
home . She did it again tonight – but he has been having bad dreams and
is waking up quite distraught at times.
He was pretty up and down after getting home from childcare – and was
being deliberately naughty. Maybe the change is stressing him.
Posted by Doug at 1:05 AM
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Jack has slept in his own bed for the week – expressing his unhappiness
each evening, but overall seemingly accepting it better than we
expected. He did say tearfully early on “I slept by self one time at
Grandma’s only” - indicating he wasn’t happy with this sudden turn of
events at home.
He does get to climb into bed with Al each morning when it is “a little
bit of day time, a little bit of night”, to spend some time cuddling.
It might be related – but Jack has been really hard work this week. He
will commonly have two or three melt-downs a day, and dozens (I meant
that literally) of ridiculous tantrums. They invade all aspects of our
day, causing delay and aggravation.
Al has been looking haggard– and is nowhere near as patient with Jack as
she normally is. I keep finding myself having to drop whatever I am
doing and rushing to intercede as the pair of them bounce off each other.
Tonight Al and I were discussing what the poor baby must be hearing –
Jack’s frequent crying, and Al’s voice getting more and more testy. It
is certainly a stark contrast to the first pregnancy, where for the most
part Al wandered about in a happy frame of mind.
I hope after this hurdle that Al can finally start to get some time for
herself at night that she needs (well, at least until the next one
arrives), and Jack will make another small step towards being a little
more independent. Of course – toilet training is about to become an
issue we force upon Jack (since he is quite adamant that he will not do
it) – so that will be even more crap we have to deal with (speaking both
literally and metaphorically...)
Posted by Doug at 10:38 PM
Monday, October 27, 2008
Yesterday Jack was feral. Today he was a delightful kid. The good days
It might be stating the obvious – but Jack seems to be an overly
sensitive kid. The last few days have been a stark reminder of this.
More than once I heard myself asking Jack incredulously why he was
crying – because there was often just no sense to it. For example - Jack
would do something slight naughty on his own volition, and then without
the slightest look or acknowledgement from us, he would breakdown and
become hysterical about it.
When these tantrums had gone on for too long, the distraction techniques
and calm speaking had failed, and Jack was physically losing control of
himself, we would have to figuratively slap him back to his senses. This
usually took the form of giving him an ultimatum. “Listen Jack, I am
going to count to 3, and if you don’t calm yourself down I am going to
take you straight upstairs and put you to bed.”
I have done that to him already and he knows I mean it. So - with
gargantuan effort, he would quickly gulp air, tense his entire body, and
say (often through sobs) that he wasn’t crying any more. To see him try
so hard was quite heartbreaking. We then had a small sliver of time to
try and distract him away from whatever was upsetting him.
Even with his irrational and over the top behaviour, we keep getting
reminded that Jack has a sharp and perceptive mind. On the way home from
childcare tonight I had to stop off at the corner store. Jack piped up
“I do not like to go into the corner store, I want to stay here in the
“Sorry mate, you have to. I am not allowed to leave you in the car by
“Because someone could come and drive the car and me inside away?”
“Errr, yes, something like that.”
“And I would be all gone?”
“Would you miss me?”
“Oh course mate, more than anything in the world.”
I guess that unexpected topic came up as Al has recently started trying
to introduce the concept of stranger danger. I would have preferred to
have handled it better, with a more balanced and structured response,
but it certainly wasn’t a concept I was expecting him to come out with.
We are involving Jack in the process of setting up what is to become his
new room. He can read between the lines and understands he will be
sleeping in there by himself – but the full reality of that must be
sinking in. Tonight he told Al that Dad would take care of the Baby so
that Mum could still take care of him at night.
Posted by Doug at 11:24 PM
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
This morning when he first woke, Jack asked Al if the scary Rabbit had
gone. Jack then recounted the dream he had had. He was running around
the house with a dog, then a scary rabbit started to chase them. It
made such a mess of his room that he had to clean up afterwards. We
think it is the first time he has recounted one of his dreams in such
detail (although we know he dreams a lot).
Posted by Doug at 9:00 AM