Thursday, December 29, 2005

See the little fishies

I went to every New Age shop in town, as well as several music shops; not a single white noise CD could I find. There were a couple of sleep aid CDs, but these were aimed at adults and were full of tinny orchestral music and Barry White sound-a-likes.

However, I did find Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium, and at 20% off, too.

For the last week, it's been taking us up to four hours to settle Baby down for the night; tonight, we had the aquarium installed on the side of her cot and it was a matter of going back there every 5-10 minutes to turn on the music and light show.

Okay, so it's been one and a half hours now, and she's still pissed off that we've left her by herself to sleep; but at least she quietens down for a few minutes every time I push the button...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Rocking the groceries

The boy sent me out to the supermarket this afternoon, while he stayed home and tried multiple times to put Baby down for a nap (he failed, but not through any lack of skill on his part - he's actually way better at settling her than I am - but because Baby is having an exceptionally wide awake weekend).

Although my shopping list was pretty short, I chose to push a big trolley around instead of lugging a basket.

Every time I stopped in an aisle to look for an item, I found myself unconsciously rocking it backwards and forwards, as if to keep the bag of apples asleep.

In search of white noise

I've read that playing white noise in the background can help a person sleep better, and it's been suggested as an aid to increase the length of Baby's naps. We've already tried having the radio on untuned, but we get this annoying high-pitched frequency in amongst the general hum of static.

So today I had a browse around on the 'Net, in search of some examples of purpose-made white noise. Wow, did you know there's a website devoted to CDs of white noise?

I quite liked the sound of some of the titles on this site; they have Baby's First White Noise, Baby's Vacuum Cleaner, Baby's Electric Fan...

Moving away from the strictly white noise, and more towards the lullaby theme, I also found CDs to calm fretful Christian babies and whiny dogs (that's two separate CDs I'm talking about)!

The boy told me that he finds whale sounds soothing, but I don't think the serenading of humpback whales would put me to sleep, judging by this sample.

Now I'm no New Ager, but the sample I heard from the Raindreaming CD sounds absolutely gorgeous; I'm tempted to search out a copy just for myself.

But for Baby, I think it'll be either rain sounds or waves ; she's heard the sound of rain already so it's nothing new, and the sound of waves lapping at the shore has always worked wonders for my own stress levels.

Oh yeah - has anyone used the Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium as a sleep aid for their baby, and does it work?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Day

I think it's a little weird that the boy is so into Christmas, because he's not Christian. I used enjoy Christmas because of all the parties, but now that I don't get to go to parties, it's all bah humbug to me.

Anyway, the boy says he believes in Christmas because it happens to be Mithras' birthday. I wasn't expecting to hear that the boy worships an ancient Persian deity who just happens to have plenty of similarities to JC, but there you go.

So...that's why the boy likes to give good Christmas presents. Baby's first ever Christmas present was a big and fluffy dragon hand puppet; I think she may have been a little overawed by it (it's almost as big as she is), but it'll probably grow on her.

The boy got a t-shirt with the name of our hometown printed on it. This may not sound cool to you folks who live in tourist-y places like New York or Hollywood. However, in NZ, to wear a t-shirt with our hometown printed on it is like wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Rolf Harris or Hilda Ogden on it. Sort of "so naff it's cool". Anyway, he liked it lots.

And me, well I'd asked for a little ghetto-blaster; one of those small, cheap, compact ones. I really only wanted one because I wanted to try playing white noise in the bedroom while Baby takes her naps. What I got was this sexy wee thing. We tried it at Baby's very next nap, but unfortunately it was tuned to the same frequency as the taxis so it didn't quite work that time...

Baby's present to us was oodles of awake time; this was bad because she's hardly napped at all and it's starting to show; but it was also nice because she gave the boy, who has a cold, tons of smiles to cheer him up.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Not just a grumpy mum

Flying Kiwi and The Editter came by to visit the ever-gorgeous Baby today. Fortunately for them, this time she hadn't just had her vaccinations (they were postponed until January due to a new Ministry of Health directive), so a much more pleasant time was had by all.

If I'd remembered to, I could've gotten out the camera to take some happy group photos, to replace the ones we took last time - the ones where the adults are grinning heroically and Baby is doing an imitation of that famous Edvard Munch painting.

As is usual when I get together in person with fellow bloggers, the conversation turned to what we'd been reading in each other's blogs, and it was noted that the tone of this blog is often a little dour. In fact, it was jokingly suggested that I re-name it to Short and Sweet 'n' Sour. Well, maybe I will.

I can't help writing about all the less-than idyllic moments in my day; if musicians didn't get sad, there wouldn't be the Blues, would there? Besides, few things turn me off more than an overly-sweet, sentimental Pollyanna-ish blog post. You won't come across many of those here.

Which NZ bands?

My friend Mike wants to take some Kiwi music home with him.

I would have recommended Bic Runga, 'Nesian Mystic and Goldenhorse, but his taste runs more to the traditional Seattle sound i.e. Screaming Trees, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam.

So I thought, perhaps he'd enjoy Shihad or The Datsuns?

Anyway I can't really think of any more, what with Baby screaming in the background (yup - she's tired but she won't sleep) and me trying to get by on no REM sleep...

So if you know of some NZ bands or particular CDs which you think Mike would like, leave a comment.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Being a mum of a newborn means never having to say you're sorry...

...that this year you won't be sending any Christmas cards because, hell, it takes enough effort just getting out of bed in the morning

...for not bothering to dress nicely for the family get-together, because none of your party clothes are suitable for breastfeeding

...that Christmas nooky is out of the question, since any block of time in which Baby sleeps is a block of time which could be used for napping or blogging

...for devouring the entire fancy cake which was bought especially for sharing at the family get-together - breastfeeding required calories, you know

...about your inability to talk about anything but the latest theory on infant sleep

...but everyone's getting socks for Christmas 'cos it's too much hassle trying to steer the buggy around the department stores

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What does one get for the boy who has everything?

Once again I have the problem of what to get as a present for the boy. As he's already told me, if there's anything he wanted he would have bought it himself by now.

I was thinking, how neat - in a cheeky, ironic kind of way - would it be to present him with a t-shirt with Baby's mug on it. He's her number one fan, so I'm sure it'd make him smile even if he didn't dare wear it anywhere. And maybe he actually would wear it. But the trouble is, I only thought of it yesterday and it's now way too late to buy the plain t-shirt, select and prepare the image, and wait for the local image shop to do the rest. Maybe for his next birthday, eh?

I can't really think of anything else which:
a) he would like,
b) doesn't cost as much as a TVR sports car and
c) I can get hold of in time for Christmas

bearing in mind that:
d) I'd prefer to be able to get to the shop on foot and with buggy.

Oh yes, and there's the fact that I have no money (having spent all my savings and maternity pay on bills) so technically the boy would be paying for his own present.

Perhaps it's time for one of those sappy but sweet gift ideas, like a coupon book of hugs (or something more x-rated, except he's gonna have to wait a while before he can cash one of those in).

Monday, December 19, 2005

Sleep training update - I'd give myself a "D"

The sleep training is not going so well, actually. At first, Baby would protest for 20-30 minutes before falling asleep. A couple of weeks later, she started to take maybe up to hour to fall asleep. Lately, she often vocalises for half an hour then cry for half an hour and still not sleep. And I'm just talking about naps here - naps which only last 45 minutes...

It's all my fault. I'm afraid I've been a little inconsistent. I've been offering Baby quite frequent feeds - as often as every couple of hours - in order to stop the reverse cycling. This, and her ultra-short naps, means that sometimes she feeds right before she goes to sleep. In one or two out of her four naps, she's being nursed to sleep (and one nap will be in her buggy). That's a big no-no when you're aiming independent sleep.

But I'm not going to do anything about it for at least another three days; Baby gets more jabs on Wednesday and she'll need to be, well, babied.

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Party girl

Baby attended her biggest social function so far, today. She and I, and my two friends from Seattle, went to a pre-Christmas barbeque. In a crowd of probably about twenty other people, ranging in age from about seven months to seventy-something years, Baby managed to be the centre of attention all afternoon.

I'd assumed that she'd want me to hold her the whole time, but I couldn't have been wronger. Not only didn't she mind being worn in the frontpack by Mike, whom she'd only met yesterday, but she even fell asleep on his chest. The hussy:-)

Frankly, I was surprised that being in a big crowd like this didn't freak her out, as she'd done when I took her to the Salvation Army play group. But the boy has a good explanation for her relaxed demeanour. Because I didn't know anyone at the play group, I wasn't all that comfortable. On the other hand, I knew just about everyone at the barbeque pretty well, so I was relaxed and so was she.

I guess that explains why Baby threw a wobbly last time she and I took my mum grocery shopping.

Friday, December 16, 2005

old life / new life

My overseas visitors have arrived in town, after a couple of days on the Abel Tasman track. We won't be seeing each until tomorrow though because, frankly, I'm absolutely knackered tonight.

I'm knackered because I've been up since 6am and spent most of the day trying to get Baby to nap, listening to Baby protest and cry instead of napping, and trying to settled the resulting overtired baby.

Baby must be knackered too, because she slept from 6.20pm until 8.40pm before waking up for her next feed - usually she goes down around 6.30 and wakes up half an hour later for her top-up.

And the boy, well the boy is always knackered on Fridays (unless there's free beer on offer) because it's the end of a long, hard working week.

But apart from being knackered (it's such a good word isn't it, only it can so easily be mis-heard...), I'm also a little nervous because I don't know how well tomorrow's get-together's going to go.

My friend and I have only met up a couple of times.

The first time was over ten years ago (in Florence) when I was a youngish, adventurous backpacker with a fondness for Italian Renaissance art and a knack for chatting up strangers.

The second time we met up (I was visiting his home town) was about six years ago when I was a well-paid culture-vulture with a collection of Prince CDs and a knack for chatting up strangers.

Now I'm a stay-at-home mother with leaky boobs, a frighteningly bad haircut (soon to be masked by increasing hair loss) and an obssession with finding methods for getting babies to sleep.

They know about Baby, of course, so I'm sure they'll understand that when we go out I have to be home again in time for Baby's next booby fix. They probably aren't going to expect late nights over wine and spirits (well, not with me anyway) and dinner at the most fashionable eatery in town, because it's just too for me hard to go out in the evenings if I'm on booby duty the whole time.

So maybe I'm worrying about nothing.

All the same, maybe it's going to be weird meeting up again now that I've changed so much. I hope he and his missus don't get really bored.

It's a Hasselhoff Christmas

The boy came home from work the other day proudly bearing one of his Christmas presents to me - one that was not on my list; it's a David Hasselhoff CD, The Night Before Christmas.

It's not that I'm a fan, but ever since the movie Dodgeball even the mention of his name makes me chuckle.

I've yet to play it, but I will once Baby wakes up. I think it's important to develop her sense of humour early on.

p.s. The boy also brought home a present which was on the list - fresh salad veges for my lunches.

p.p.s. Apparently he also has a copy of Serenity on DVD on order, for my third Christmans present.

I shan't be letting him go in a hurry...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

It was in the stars I know why Baby is so hard to get off to sleep. It's because she's a Leo.

Too hot

It's only 24 degrees Celcius, but it feels oppressive. Maybe it's because it's fairly humid; maybe it's because you can feel the sun burning right through your skin.

I took Baby out for a walk this afternoon in the buggy, because we'd already had one cry-it-out nap in which it took her two hours to settle into a 45 minute nap. Unfortunately, it was so hot out that by the time we'd gone to the beach and back (a two hour trip) I was sweating like the proverbial. I'm thinking that's why Baby only managed to snooze for about half an hour (because it was so hot, not because I was all sweaty).

It's too hot even for t-shirts and capris - it's really singlet and shorts weather, but I'm presently too chesty for a singlet and none of my old pairs of shorts fit.

This uncharacteristic heat seems to be taking it's toll on Baby too - she's only been in bed an hour, and has already woken up crying three times.

I'm thinking about holidays again, perhaps one with air-conditioning and a nice big swimming pool.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

All I want for Christmas

1. some Buffy books, to distract me from my parenting books addiction

2. on DVD, all those movies I haven't been able to go see at the cinema: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Serenity; and The Corpse Bride

3. fresh veges for dinner (we've been living off greens-free ready meals for months)

4. a holiday (accompanied by a super nanny if necessary)

5. a promise from my mum to supply less unsolicited advice, and more practical help

6. a bigger house with a bigger yard

7. perfect napping habits for Baby

8. as much sleep as I need

9. legs that go all the way up to my armpits

10. and world peace

Monday, December 12, 2005

Babytalk for boys

I was pleasantly surprised to find Brand New Dad, a web site all about babies and parenting - aimed at dads. And there's some funny stuff here too, like this Homedaddy article (a regular column) about how a stay-at-home dad's day completely revolves around his baby daughter's nap times (something I can related to).

It's interesting to see what concerns dads have, compared with those of mums.

I suppose Brand New Dad is to BabyCenter (and pretty much any other baby-oriented website), what FHM magazine is to Cosmopolitan magazine.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

no longer a Cosmo girl

A nice neighbour, whom I got to know because she has a three-week-old daughter, remembered that I'm a magazine-holic (as well as a Parenting Book Addict, which is why I really can't pass up a parenting magazine).

Even though we've only met a couple of times and chatted briefly, she was kind enough to drop a small pile of magazines in my mailbox this weekend:

New Idea, which I never buy but always leaf through in search of pictures of glamourpusses without their makeup on;

House and Garden, which I used to buy back when I was going to renovate my house; and

two issues of Cosmopolitan.

I've bought and read a great many Cosmo magazines in my adulthood, and mainly for two things: sex tips and fashion spreads.

But I didn't enjoy these two issues. Cosmo is no longer relevant to my life. It's not just because the magazine is aimed at teens and twentysomethings, because I used to read it in my thirties. I think it's because these days sex is something I look back on with very fond memories, and fashion is something I was interested in when I could wear itty bitty tops without fear of giving myself black eyes ('cos you have to wear 'em bra-less).

Current magazine-buying nowadays is limited to Practical Parenting and Little Treasures (parenting mags, of course), but I still get the odd Empire , because once upon a time I was a total arthouse film freak. I like to think that, however boring I must now seem now, there's an interesting arty-farty intellectual lurking in me somewhere just waiting to re-surface.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

What's worse than having a bad haircut?

It's bad enough having a fringe at the back of my head (it's called "styling" - well, not on fine Asian hair, it isn't), and not being able to just wash and go without fear of looking like a right nong; now I'm suffering from childbirth-related hair loss.

For the last few days, the number of hairs I find entwined in my fingers after my post-shower finger comb, have increased to maybe half a dozen, instead of one or two at the most. So I looked it up in my Baby Love book and, sure enough, I've succumbed to yet another item on the list of "things that happen to you after you have a baby".

According to my book, I'm going to continue to lose more-than-usual hairs for maybe another five months. Then I get to enjoy my scalp's new-found nakedness until approximately twelve months after Baby's birth, before new hairs grow.

Time to go shopping for hats.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Baby's Wot's Hot / Wot's Not list

Wot's Hot:

- Talking to herself in the middle of the night, thereby keeping her poor mother from falling asleep

- Pretending to be really hungry when it's 4am, then flashing a big grin at her mum to let her know she actually just wants to play

- Kicking, whether it's in the bathtub or in the buggy

- Scratching any surface she can get her nails into

- Caleb, the toy doggie that goes "woof woof" when she hits it

- By sheer force of cuteness, forcing her parents to stop whatever they're doing and play with her

- Withholding poo for as long as possible so that when it finally comes, there is no nappy in the world big enough or absorbent enough to hold it in

- Her hands, especially the thumbs

- This strange activity called "rolling over"

Wot's Not:

- Being flipped over onto her front for tummy time

- Taking naps

- Having a boobie thrust in her face when all she wants to do is study the ceiling or find out where that loud noise came from

- People wearing spectacles (for some reason they're scary)

- Being forced to cover those interesting appendages at the end, i.e. feet, with socks or booties

- Being strapped into anything, including the buggy

- Sitting in two day's worth of poo because she held it in for so long and it's now arrived all at once

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Book report from PBA (Parenting Books Anonymous)

Hi. My name is Violet and I'm a parenting bookoholic.

Still attempting to wean myself off books about babies and how to live with them, I've now read several stories in Garth Nix's Across the Wall. I loved Lady of the Lake and Hansel and Gretel, but I can only take so much fantasy at a time.

Then, in a bid to try a different genre altogether, I started Around the World in 80 Dates by Jennifer Cox. Supposedly a true story, it's about a thirty-something career woman's date-around-the world project in search of her soul mate. I'd call this travel writing chicklit. Unfortunately there's not much travel anecdotage and, seven dates in, not a heck of a lot of romance or sex either. Maybe it gets better, but life is too short to read anything which is neither gripping nor useful.

Then, a couple of parenting books came through which I had on hold at the library - Gary Ezzo's On Becoming Babywise and Christopher Green's Babies! A Parent's Guide to Enjoying Baby's First Year.

I had to pay a dollar each for reserving those volumes; to not read them just because of a teeny weeny itsy bitsy PBA pledge is just wasteful.

Babies! didn't tell me anything I hadn't already read elsewhere, but Green's writing is charming and funny. I'd read it just for his sense of humour.

has been subject to a bit of controversy, but on the whole I found much of it was common sense advice. His idea of a feeding and sleep routine based on a 3- or 4- hour cycle (feeding, awake time, sleep) wasn't too different from the concept on which Tracy Hogg's Secrets of the Baby Whisperer is based.

Apparently the criticism is over Ezzo's advice to feed to a schedule (as opposed to demand feeding i.e. feed 'em when you think they're crying out of hunger); if that's the case, then I wonder why Hogg's book hasn't been criticized for exactly the same thing.

It was a little distracting that Ezzo kept mentioning church in the book (e.g. as something I'd want to make time for), and there's certainly an emphasis on getting babies to sleep through the night, but I was expecting to be scandalized. No scandals here.

I'm not doing that well in fighting the parenting books addiction, am I?

Oh no!

It's official - the buggy has lost it's magical ability to send Baby to sleep when all other methods fail.

This news is more tragic than you could possibly imagine (unless you too have - or have had - a baby who hates to nap).

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


They say that after you have kids, your relationship is never the same again.

You start calling each other Mummy and Daddy even when your kids aren't around; sex is scheduled for weekends, if you're lucky; the phrase, "Not tonight dear, I have a headache", actually sounds like a plausible excuse for an early night.

On Saturday night, I knew that the boy's and my relationship had changed..

It was 2am and we were snuggled up in bed; he was asleep and I had just woken up to the sound of Baby making little snorty noises in her sleep. I dug myself deeper into the warm niche created by the boy's foetal pose, evilly intending to wake him up.

The boy responded by patting my side and murmuring "Hush hush, Baby; it's Sleep Time".

And I thought my mum was bad...

I now have evidence that my mum's prodigious amount of post-childbirth advice was probably on the conservative side. According to this article Flying Kiwi sent me, I shouldn't have walked around barefoot, eaten bananas or watched television, in the weeks after Baby's arrival.

And yet there's no mention of ginger.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

From one extreme to the other

We were having a rough day with Baby's lack of naps. She no longer goes back to sleep on her own after her 7am feed, something we could always count on to allow us a lie-in in the mornings. She'd already missed the next mornig nap because she just protested and protested for an hour, instead of being a good girl and putting herself to sleep after no more than half an hour of grumbling.

By the time my brother saw me walking up the hill with Baby in the buggy (a failed last-ditch attempt to help her nap), it was well after midday and I looked like hell. He'd tooted his car horn and eventually had to pull over, get out of the car and shout my name, to get my attention. I was in a sleep-deprived fugue and was only conscious enough to avoid getting us run over whenever I stepped off the curb.

Well, my brother told his partner and his partner rang us up later today to offer us her babysitting services next Saturday morning. I really must have given him the impression that I was in a desperate state, because my sister out-law has two littlies of her own and she's busy enough.

On the Shock-Horror front, I'm pleased to report that Baby took a long nap this afternoon. For the first time in at least a month, she slept for the better part of three hours.

I've been reading the Baby Whisperer discussion board you see, and it was suggested that you can extend the baby's nap by creeping in about ten minutes before they're expected to wake up, waiting for them to stir and then gently settling them back down again. So thirty minutes after I managed to get Baby off to sleep this afternoon, I snuck in and hovered around until she stirred, crooned and stroked her and - she went back to sleep!

I nearly did my little dance of triumph, but it would've woken Baby.

Unfortunately, Baby woke up ten minutes later wanting to feed.

Fortunately, she didn't mind being put straight back into her cot post-feed, and slept for a couple of hours(!) - unheard of these days.

It may all revert back to non-napping normality tomorrow, but hey - there's always hope.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Tall and Baaad Like Him

The boy now has his own blog; it's called Born Again Geek. If you'd like to be privy to his innermost thoughts...then good luck to you.

Kicking the habit

When the Plunket nurse told me that Gina Ford's Contented Little Baby book ought to be burned, I initially bristled with a librarian's indignation. Then I had second thoughts about the usefulness of trying to fit my baby into a stranger's vision of how babies work, and have now decided it's time to stop reading parenting books (except for the ones I already have on hold at the library, that is; I've already paid for the privilege).

I'm also going to try avoiding reading novels and biographies about mothering too - that means leaving We need to talk about Kevin on the bookshelf for a few months.

I've started reading Across the Wall by Garth Nix. A book of short stories, the first is a novella which follows on from Abhorsen (a terrific end to a terrific trilogy).

It's going to be much harder for me to stop buying the parenting magazines though, because I have an addiction to magazines in general (unless they are girlie mags, golfing mags or fishing & boating mags). Perhaps if I smoke a cigarette every time I itch to buy a Practical Parenting?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Trying to remember

Once upon a time I saw a Japanese movie - I think it was called Afterlife - which really made an impression on me.

In the world this movie portrays, when you die you spend a few days in some kind of in-between place before you go on to Heaven. Whilst at this in-between place, you are expected to decide upon the one favourite memory of your life on Earth; this is the only memory you can take with you into the afterlife.

So there is this one middle-aged guy who can't think of a single thing. His life has been so boring that for a whole week he can't come up with anything memorable. So the staff lend him a record of his entire life (on videotape, actually), so he can watch the whole boring affair in the hope of finding a memory worth preserving for eternity.

This is where I was inspired. I didn't want to be like that guy, and have a boring life. I also didn't want to be unable to remember all the wonderful moments that I've experienced in my life so far.

Unfortunately my memory is so bad that people have actually pointed that out to me, so I decided henceforth to record worthy moments in a journal.

I kept this up for about six months before I got slack. However, now that I have a blog I can record almost everything going on in my life (except for the really, y'know, personal stuff). When I die and go to limbo-land, I can just read my blog to find my most-favoured moment (at least, as long as it happened no more than about 2 years ago).

Oh, and what happened to Mr Boring? He watched all those tapes and came across a scene in which he and his wife are sitting on a park bench, contemplating the possibility of going to see a movie. Nothing exciting had happened, but it was just an intimate moment between the two of them. And this is what he took with him.

Ear-splitting protestations

Up until today, Baby's sleep training was going fairly well; after 30-40 minutes of protests cries, the baby monitor would suddenly go all quiet, and I knew that she was headed for up to 45 minutes of slumber. During our visit to the Plunket Family Centre yesterday, the nurse considered 30-40 minutes of crying before settling in to sleep as "settling well" (which I was quite surprised about).

Today's naps didn't go so well. Her first nap of the morning was ruined because Baby turned out to have an unbelievably pooey nappy. Because I wasn't sure whether to put her straight back to bed or not (she'd already been there over an hour, fully awake), she ended up getting overtired and having a screaming fit before finally falling asleep. Her second nap was in the buggy. The third nap has been a disaster so far; her screams were, I'm sure, heard across the street, down the road and around the corner. I gave up after half an hour; after a cuddle and a feed, she's now lying on the bed in the study while I'm at the computer.

I'd like to tell her that this is for her own good; that if she'd only let herself fall asleep now it'll avoid another overtiredness screaming fit later. This is where it'd be handy if she could talk. I wonder whether one can say these things in baby sign language?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bad-taste baby gear

Ever on the lookout for "interesting" clothes for Baby to wear, the boy has found some t-shirts of questionable taste. This is one of the more dodgy ones.

I don't think we'll be adding it to Baby's wardrobe.

Woman Worrier

Baby and I went to see the nurse at the Plunket Family Centre this morning, to discuss how we've been getting on in the eating and sleeping department (Baby's, not mine). She confirmed that I should try to feed Baby as often as I can during the day, and that I should keep trying to extend her naps.

The nurse told me I was doing a great job on looking after Baby - I wonder how many times I have to hear this before I actually start believing it?

Her main message to me was, in short, that I should loosen up. My anxious nature and my personal leaning towards organised living, are getting in the way of enjoying life as a mum.

In future I'll try not to avoid social gatherings just because they might make Baby overtired (because she's going to deal with it, as all babies do), and I'm going to have to get over the whole breastfeeding in public thing.

I was also encouraged to put Baby to bed with the minimum of fuss - no prolonged rocking crooning. How liberating was that!

After that ra-ra session, I felt like an ice cream. It was absolutely delicious.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A honeymoon destination?

Woohoo! My friend Mike, whom I've known for more then a decade (yet met only twice), is coming over with his new bride for a honeymoon downunder, all the way from Seattle. Being baby-bound, I'm not going to be able to take them out on the town (since I don't "express"); I'm also too unfit to offer a game of Ultimate (and anyway I gave my frisbee to the Salvation Army) - but I'm sure we can fit in a lunch or two somewhere in the neighbourhood.

The last time we had overseas visitors, it was another friend and his new bride, on their honeymoon (from the UK). Could be a pattern here...

Nap time

Baby never naps for more than 30-45 minutes at a time. When she's awake, she only lasts about half an hour (if that), before looking tired again; I'm sure it's because her naps aren't long enough. Maybe I could try extending her nap times.

Today's strategy was to go in when she woke (first waiting a reasonable amount of time to hear whether she'd go back to sleep again), and try to re-settle her for another round. However, what happens in effect is that she'll fuss a little and spend maybe half an hour looking around and vocalising to herself before going back to sleep again. In other words, instead of having a longish nap of 1 1/2 hours, she'll have two naps of 45 minutes with a long gap in between. Result - Lots of time spent in bed and still only able to stay awake happily for half an hour at a time.

So it's back to the drawing board.

A really sweet thing happened tonight after Baby woke up to have her first proper feed for the day (at 7pm, half an hour after being put to bed for the night). I fed her, wrapped her up in her blanket and put her to bed still awake. Then I lay down on my bed and pretended to go to sleep.

With one eye open, I watched as she turned to see me lying on the bed, turn the other way, and turn back to look at me again. And then she smiled and closed her eyes.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Could you bear the sight of tears on this face?

This morning I put Baby down for her nap at 10.20am. She only just stopped crying and it's been forty minutes. Presumably she's asleep...

(It's a photo of Baby looking at her mummy instead of having her lunch).

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Crying and sleeping part two

I was quite pleased that Baby got to sleep within half an hour of us leaving her to nap on her own. But there would be further naps, and I didn't know how I was going to handle hearing my baby cry every single nap time.

The next nap she was to have today didn't go nearly as well as the first one. This was around 4pm, traditionally a very difficult time of day to get Baby to nap. She started protesting right from the start of the nap routine, when I wrapped her up in her blanket. She squirmed and yelled for a good quarter of an hour before I decided she was actually hungry (it's hard to tell these days, now that she's demolished her old feeding pattern); then I had to start all over again after her feed.

The crying was so much harder to take this time around. Not only did it start sooner, but she escalated from "angry" (my interpretation) to "utterly devastated" really quickly. Also, the boy had gone out to do the grocery shopping, so I was all alone in my vigil. I lasted about thirty minutes, including one walk-in, before deciding that she was too distraught, and anyway it was getting close to her bedtime routine.

As soon as the boy returned home with the groceries I had to quickly hand her over because my eyes had started watering. It actually took a little while for her to settle again, which made me feel even worse. Guilty, even.

Then I remembered one reason I'm so obssessed with reading parenting books at the moment; I need the reassurance that what we're doing is okay.

I'll have to do this to the poor girlie at least three times each day, and during the week I'll have to do it on my own. Thank goodness we have a good supply of tissues.

She cried, she slept

It's just ridiculous that it takes so long getting Baby settled for sleep. This morning she woke up at 7am; I fed and changed her, and played with her for about five minutes before it looked to me that she needed to go back to sleep (probably because she really wanted to sleep in). It took a whole hour of rocking, crooning, patting and stroking before she finally closed her eyes. Thirty minutes later she was wide awake again - awake but still tired.

Something had to be done. This weekend is the start of letting Baby cry to settle. It's not quite Ferberising, but along the same lines. I'll spend 20 minutes settling her before putting her down in her cot whether she's falling asleep or not. Then I'll walk out the door; if she cries I'll wait 20 minutes before going in to calm her down, then leave.

We tried it this afternoon, after she'd gotten by on two half-hour catnaps all morning. It wasn't easy to hear, and I was damned glad the boy was sitting in the lounge with me. The good part was, approximately half an hour after her initial wails (boy, did she sound pissed off at being left alone!), she went quiet. The boy went in to check on her soon after, and she was fast asleep.

You gotta be cruel to be kind.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The family saga continues

Baby celebrated her 15-week birthday yesterday by waking me up for a feed at exactly the time of day she was born - 3am. But she was nice enough to let me sleep afterwards,until 6am.

I think Baby has inherited more than her father's ability to hold her liquor (see the comments to this post) - she is also really good at sleeping in.

I decided that getting her out of bed at 6 or 7am or whatever was pointless because she'd display tired signs very soon after. So now, when she wakes in the morning for her first feed of the day, I feed her and put her straight back in the cot as though it were a night feed. This morning she slept in until 9.30am, allowing me time to shower and have breakfast before she called for room service. Her sleep-ins are good because if I fail to get her to nap well during the day, at least she's got 2 1/2 hours up her sleeve.

My mum continues to harrass me with phone calls to check whether I'm dressing Baby up warmly enough. She really tries my patience, which is already worn thin from having to spend an hour to settle Baby so she can wake up 15 minutes later for a last-minute feed. When she rang last, I'd just got Baby off to sleep again, and told her I really don't have an hour to spare listening to her go on about the same ole' thing yet again - I'd rather have a nap (or blog, but I wouldn't tell her that). Yeah, she means well, but still...sometimes you gotta judge people by their actions and not their motivations.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Well, I never

Despite my natural preference for researching from books (a quirk I share with BtVS's Giles), it turns out that the Internet is the place to go for information about my little problem. There's even a term for it - reverse cycling, and it's common when a baby hits the three month mark and becomes a distractible baby.

So I'm going to try some of these suggested fixes:

1. feed Baby in the bedroom with the curtains drawn so that it's relatively dark and boring for her

2. borrow a sling, and feed Baby in it (it should block out distractions)

3. keep trying to feed her at frequent intervals during the day (so she doesn't have to catch up at night)

4. find and wear what's called a nursing necklace; a necklace consisting of interesting-looking beads so that Baby has something interesting to focus on while she feeds.

I think I'll try 1. and 3. first because they don't require me to go shopping.

Published! Part two

Remember I told you that someone wants to use one of my photos on his website?

I asked him if he could pay me fifty bucks for the use of the photo. He said he'd check with his client, and eventually told me they didn't want to pay me thank you very much.

So...I decided he could use just that one photo on that one website, for free, as long as it's credited to me; any more photos and we have to talk turkey.

I'd put a link to the website on here, but I can't because it'll have my full name under the image. But I this is the picture they're using.

A vacuum in my head

I realised yesterday that I've heard advice from various Plunket staff, about my current sleeping and feeding concerns, on three separate occasions and they've all told me the same thing - but I only really clicked on to what they meant after the third time. It's as though the information went in through my right ear (my phone ear) and out the left. Or that is got stuck in a brain fog instead of heading to where it could do me some good.

What happened to the razor-sharp mind I used to pride myself on having?

I wonder whether it'll get so bad I'll be too scared to drive.

Anyway. It seems that my problem is mostly down to the fact that Baby can now see pretty well, and when it's light she'd rather look at stuff than fill her belly.

Why oh why oh why...haven't I come across this information in the multitude of parenting books I've read?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I'm thinking I should stop telling my mum about the problems I have getting Baby to nap. She stopped by today, noticed that Baby was wearing "only" a long-sleeved winter-weight onesie and fleecy footed trousers (perfectly adequate for a room temperature of 15 degrees Celsius) and asserted that I wasn't dressing her warmly enough. My brother, who was present too, rolled his eyes at me. I rolled my eyes at him.

The phone rang half an hour later, just as I was trying to feed a very distracted Baby - so I pulled out the phone jack. It was my mum, who rang back to give me a very protracted monologue on how Baby isn't napping because she isn't warm enough (she is - I check the warmth of her chest frequently, obsessively even), and how irresponsible I've been in neglecting and spoiling an otherwise angelic baby.

In other words (at least, how I interpret it), she called me a bad mother.

This, from a woman who admits to caging my brother and I in a makeshift playpen made of drink crates - for hours - while she served in my father's shop.


Sleep update

Following the advice I got last week from the Plunket nurse on what to do about Baby's daytime hunger strike and insomnia, I tried not feeding her the following morning at 4am. This was meant to get her extra hungry during the day.

It's not the easiest thing in the world to ignore a hunger cry, especially if she's in the same room.

It's downright impossible to re-settle a baby when she's hungry and you smell like the infant's version of a 12 course meal. (This is where it would be useful to have the boy do the dirty deed, except he's sleeping in the spare room and needs to be rested for work the next day).

The next two days were almost back to normal though. While it was still hard to get Baby down for her naps, she did at least feed properly during the day - like she was had the munchies but not as though she were starving. Then it reverted back to hunger strike levels.

Last night I tried to feed her only from one boob if she cried between mignight and 7am. Well, it didn't work. After feeding her at 2am and 6am, each time from one boob only, she wasn't in the least bit interested in any more food until 5 1/2 hours later; even then, she didn't exactly seem ravenous.

What a miracle it would be if her hunger was like this at night instead of during the day; I'd be getting 5-6 hours of unbroken sleep then.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Eighty-first birthday

Last Wednesday my mum turned 81. At least, according to the lunar calendar she's 81; according to the Gregorian, she's only a spritely 80.

That's not her on the left - it's just a gratuitous Baby photo.

Anyway. The birthday bash was yesterday, and it was Baby's first social outing. Instead of a big meal out in a Chinese restaurant (in which she'd be likely to complain about the quality and cost of the food), Mum wanted a family meal at home.

As it turned out, it was a good call. It meant that we could bring the buggy to wheel Baby around in, in case (okay, when) she started fussing. It also meant that our dinner could be timed sufficiently early to accommodate our respective kids' early bedtime.

The buggy was a damned good idea. My sister out-law and I wheeled our respective daughters down to the shops and back, ensuring at least 45 minutes of nap for Baby and a chance to bond over sleep talk.

When we're trying to coax Baby back to snoozeland in her buggy, that's the moment my hard-of-hearing mum chooses to walk in and shout "OH, LITTLE BABY'S SLEEPING, EH?". Being a Cantonese speaker and a bit deaf sure is a an unfortunate combination when quiet is required.

As usual, there was way too much food; after my brother and I divied up the leftovers, there were enough plates of spring rolls, noodles and roast pork keep me going in lunches for the next few days (which is great because my lunch consists of whatever I can whip up/heat up in about five minutes).

Baby was a little unsettled afterwards, but she got to bed okay. There was hell to pay today though - after a night of 4-hourly feeds, she was mostly uninterested in food between about 6am and 6pm. It took a couple of hours to get her to bed tonight, after she finally consented to cleaning her plate (so to speak) at 8pm. I'm gonna have to get tough on her night time feeds again.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Movies, when we can squeeze 'em in

Last night we started watching Bubba Hotep on DVD. It's got a great story; Elvis is alive and living grumpily in a rest home in Texas. He and the "real" JFK (who's black) realise that something is not quite right at the rest home, and before you know it they're killing over-sized scarab beetles and fighting an ancient Egyptian mummy who likes wearing cowboy hats.

I haven't seen the whole film though, because Baby's been having fussy evenings. Perhaps it's her way of protesting the changes I'm implementing in the way I respond to her early nap awakenings (by leaving her in her cot and trying to pat her to sleep, instead of picking her up and playing with her).

We've gotten into a habit of always recording Veronica Mars and Miracles, because there's a 99% chance I'll get called up for feeding or settling duties in the middle of at least the first show.

Apparently Joss Whedon really likes Veronica Mars too, and Charisma Carpenter is due to appear on the series shortly (Alison Hannigan is already on it). Miracles is pretty good too; it's sort of an X-Files meets Catholic Church mythology, and it's main character is played by the nearest thing to Johnny Depp I can think of (Skeet Ulrich).

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Published! Well, maybe

Someone wants to use a photo of mine on his website. It looks like a commercial site; should I ask for a fee?

the lightbulb went on

After yet another night of frequent awakenings to feed, followed by yet another day of hunger-striking and insomnia, I rang the Plunket Line to get help. The nice woman on the other end of the line asked lots of questions, and in the process I realised that I don't really know what Baby's "hungry" cry sounds like. I always caught the little "cough, cough" noises and picked her up before it developed into a cry; now it looks as though I had it wrong all along.

Her theory was that Baby has indeed got day and night confusion, though only in the feeding sense (rather than in the sleep sense - she still knows that there's no Play Time when it's dark and quiet). Because of my habit of picking her up when she made noises in the night, Baby has been feeding so well at night that she doesn't need to feed much during the day. Obviously, it's better to have it the other way around.

Also, now that she's a little older (14 weeks tomorrow), she can go for longer between feeds; I can no longer assume that she'll get hungry every three hours.


So tonight, when Baby makes noises I'm to stay put in my bed in case she settles herself for another round of Z's. If she starts crying I have to determine whether she's hungry (perhaps by looking for the rooting movement) before feeding her; preferably I'm to try to settle her back to sleep without feeding her, so she'll be nice and hungry in the morning.

Here's hoping...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

"First Contact" meets "A desperately bad housewife"

This morning I went to my first PIN group meeting i.e. the social group consisting of mums of same-age babies. I was looking forward to it, and hoping I'd be able to keep Baby in her buggy for the duration - so I could keep her asleep.

The meeting was held at the home of one of the mums, just down the road a little from my place. Outside the venue, a nice workman helped me carry the buggy over the huge ditch which stretched all the way down the street, and onto the hostess's porch.

Here was a woman whose domestic abilities far exceeded my own. Not only was her house beautifully renovated and decorated, but it was intimidatingly tidy. She could've been a saner version of Bree, of Desperate Housewives.

The group was at the back of the house, in a beautifully apointed sunroom looking out onto a beautifully landscaped garden. Baby was fast asleep, so I parked the buggy under the shade and hoped she'd stay down.

There were about ten women plus their babies, and the ones I spoke to seemed really nice and friendly. However, in the twenty minutes I was there (I had to leave early to go see my physiotherapist) I'd already started to succumb to that infamous coffee group competitiveness I've read about in parenting magazines.

I was jealous that half of the mums there were successfully carrying their babies around in frontpacks, when I've just about given up on using one with my daughter; many of the babies present were already holding their heads up, while mine isn't (not much anyway); the woman sitting next to me had a baby who sleeps all the time, and you already know how much hassle we have getting Baby to sleep...I was a little jealous.

Mind you, none of the babies there were a fraction as cute as mine. Trust me.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Desperately bad housewife

I've been calling myself a housewife lately when I fill in forms; I'm not a wife as such, but there's no doubt that the household chores are now mostly my responsibility. Not that I've been doing a heck of a lot of housework these days though; vacuuming is done probably once a month, and the toilet is cleaned only when I find myself preferring use the public loos next to our local library.

I was in the bedroom crooning to Baby, singing Rock-a-bye Baby for the umpteenth time and desperately hoping to see her eyelids flutter, when I happened to notice how dirty one corner of the room was. Right above where our bed is, the walls were looking pretty filthy. I don't know whether it's mildew or what, but when I saw it I thought How the hell did it get that dirty without me even noticing? So I came back to with a wet sponge to wipe it off, and then I noticed how much dust had accumulated on the back of the headboard. It was an obscenely thick coating of the stuff. Yuck.

I really ought to do something about the levels of dirt and dust around this place. Perhaps I'll have time when Baby starts kindergarten.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Telling it like it is

Until I become bosom buddies with other mums of babies, I have to get my kicks reading about other other mums of babies. So far, I've read two books about mothers.

The first one was We Need to Talk About Kevin. I read this when I was pregnant; it was possibly an iffy choice for a first-time mother-to-be, but I'm actually re-reading it now because it's still a damned good book. Also, I'm afraid to say that I can relate to the character of Eva - specifically, her passion for travel and her ambivalence about giving up her old lifestyle for full-time motherhood.

The other book is Staying Mum by Mara Lee (interviewed here). It's a funny account of the first year of a woman's life after giving birth to her daughter, and reminds me of Kaz Cooke's Up the Duff, without the factual bits. It's light, it's honest and it's stroppy. It would have made a good baby blog.

back to front and upside down

Baby's being a pain in the butt these days. Sure, she's still really cute and has an adorable way of making small talk with those bubbly little noises of hers, but how about being a nicely regular feeder and sleeper for Mummy?

It's been like this since around last Tuesday - she wakes up and won't go back to sleep, but she isn't hungry. By the time she is hungry, it's past her nap time and the overtiredness makes her fuss instead of feed. Then we've got an overtired and hungry wee girlie who can't sleep and can't eat.

Or, she seems happy to go without food for hours and hours during the day (and gets all upset if I try to persuade her to eat), then makes up for it at night.

Last night she got me up at midnight, 2am and 5.30am. That was after a day in which she refused to feed for about 5 hours straight. Her first proper feed wasn't until around 3pm. It's as though her body clock has been set to start her day after midday, and end it sometime after midnight.

After weeks of painfully slow progress towards sleeping through the night, I'm suffering more from the sleep deprivation now than I did in the early days when I was always getting up every two hours.

According to the Baby Love book, this is normal, unexplained and usually temporary. Usually.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

First Contact

I used to think that once I started taking Baby out for walks in the buggy, I'd meet other mums (or dads) wheeling their own precious bundles around the streets. I envisioned us recognising each other as fellow new parents, and giving each other smiles of fellowship - like being instantly member of the same club or something.

Except this doesn't happen. Most of the times when I come across another mum pushing a buggy, she completely ignores my smile, leaving me feel like an unwanted door-knocker. (I told the boy this; he thought that if he were doing the buggy thing, lots of women would would be willing to chat to him. I agree).

I've been dying to do the mum's coffee group thing, if only to be able to compare notes and hopefully stop feeling as though I'm the only one who spends two hours getting her child to take a one hour nap.

Yesterday I ventured to the Sally Army's play group, which accommodates newborns up to pre-school. Walking into the hall with Baby in my arms (buggys and prams had to be parked in a separate area) was like walking into a party where you don't know anyone, but harder; at least you can tank yourself up for a party, and you're more likely to have had a chance to shower and dress nicely before going.

I did start a couple of conversations, one with the mother of the ugliest girl baby I've ever seen in my life and the other with the South African grandmother of a two-week old, there with the baby's nanny. I had to cut the conversation short though, because the whole experience was just too much for poor Baby, who'd already had yet another nap-less morning.

I've got high hopes for tomorrow and next week though; tomorrow Baby and I are visiting a friend from library school who has a son the same age, and next week is the first coffee morning of the local PIN group (a Plunket-coordinated social group of mums with same-age children). Yippee - peers!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The greatest gift of all

Last weekend, the boy offered to look after Baby between feeds so that I could gallavant around town by myself. I was so excited at the prospect that I could hardly contain myself - all the shops I could go to which are normally too "cosy" to take a buggy into; all the dressing rooms I could try on clothes in, which are big enough only for one or two upright adults (without mobility devices); places I could go to which are feasible only via car (Baby gets agitated in the car seat and anyway my car has broken down)...

Then I remembered I had to be back home in time for each feed, plus allow for traffic hold-ups and the possibilty that Baby is hungry earlier than expected. In other words, I had to do my gallavanting in 2 hour spurts.

My first objective was to look for some nice t-shirts which would both cover my still-flabby belly and be suitable for feeding Baby in. This should have been an easy task, because most clothes shops sell t-shirts, right? Wrong. If you're female, finding a t-shirt which fits properly, is the right colour and has a friendly price tag on it is actually really hard. Why do all the shirts with the most interesting designs on them have such claustrophobically narrow necklines?

Despite my lower half now being slightly slimmer than it was pre-pregnancy, my voluminous boobies put paid to any hopes of fitting into a proportionately small sized shirt. Size "large" shirts are still on the menu. After a morning shopping session and an afternoon one, I was finally triumphant in finding a single soft and squishy t-shirt (in brown, of all colours) from the Max shop.

Next day, the boy made me the same offer, and this time I went to Spotlight and bought some blockout curtains for the bedroom (all the better to get Baby to bed by 7pm, with).

Although I can't say my shopping sprees were relaxing, due to the time constraints, it was still really good to be able to move about baby-less. I don't know if the boy's going to be game enough to do this for me every weekend, but this is the best thing anyone could have done for me.

Monday, November 07, 2005


I just watched tonight's episode of Desperate Housewives (called There won't be trumpets). It's the one where Mrs Solis the elder wakes up from her coma, slips on a wet hospital floor, falls down a flight of steps and dies with her daughter-in-law's secret unrevealed. I thought the nurse looking after Mrs Solis looked really familiar, and then I realised - she's the actress who played Buffy's college room mate in Season 4; the snoring Celine Dion fan who turns out to be a demon in disguise.

Almost enough to hire a supernanny. Or a cleaner.

A little calculator I found on this blog.

My blog is worth $18,629.82.
How much is your blog worth?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The baby, the car seat and the supermarket trolley

I was going to write a short post about the DVD we watched last night, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. However, I didn't find it that interesting (the best part was probably the invasion of the gigantic robots in the first half hour).

I'm not going to post about Baby's continuing post-jab fussiness, which has her calling for room service every 3 hours at night and then not settling back to sleep once she's fed, because you're probably bored of hearing about all that by now.

So I'll tell you about the time I took pity on my mum and went grocery shopping with her.

Of course, I had to bring Baby with me. I'd hoped that she would just sleep in her carseat, but she stayed awake throughout the two hour expedition, wide-eyed at her first glimpse of the Pak 'n' Save supermarket interior.

While my mum carefully selected fruit from the bottom of the oranges bin and olive oil from the back of the shelf (which is where she believes the newest produce is hidden), I tried to steer the trolly back and forth over the bumpier surfaces.

I was thankful that Baby didn't have a too-much-stimulation meltdown, but I was still concerned that she'd be heavily in sleep debt by the time we got home. By the time we got to the check-out, it was already and hour an a half into what would have been her nap time.

Then something rather embarrassing happened - I couldn't get the car seat off the shopping trolley. I tried and tried and tried and tried. The kind gentleman behind us in the queue tried too, but it was looking tricky. He suggested that I remove Baby from the car seat, so he could put a bit more grunt into it without tipping out it's precious cargo. Unfortunately I'm so short that I couldn't reach up to get her out without putting my hands into a painful manoeuvre. So the kind gentleman in the queue behind us had to do that for me too.

Finally he succeeded in removing the car seat from the trolley. It took maybe ten or fifteen minutes. I bet the other shoppers in the queue were none too impressed.

By then I was all hot and clammy from the effort, the pain in my wrists, the embarrassment and the worry about how Baby was going to handle missing her sleep. I told my mum it would be a good long time before I did this again. I told her it would have to wait until Baby either starts dropping off to sleep in car seats again, or is old enough to have longer awake times.

She rang me up a week later asking for a ride to the supermarket...

Last week my car broke down and hasn't moved from it's garage since, but really - I haven't been praying to the car gods.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The god(less) mother

Yesterday we had a lovely visit from The Editter and Flying Kiwi, Baby's god(less) mother. (I'm not sure that god(less) is really appropriate because Flying Kiwi is a pagan rather than an atheist; maybe polygod mother would be more accurate. Maybe people usually mean Godless, not godless.)

Unfotunately Baby wasn't in very sociable mood because she's been suffering from post-vaccination fussiness, but they were very understanding.

So here's a photo of Baby with her god(less) mother, watching season five of Buffy.

Hot child in the city

Gawd, but I hate those immunisation shots. Last time Baby got her jabs, it took at least a week for her to return to her settled self. This last lot has been even worse so far.

For a start, I'm sure she remembered the clinic and what happened to her last time she was there. This time around there were no cute smiles in the waiting room, but an anxious look on her face. The actual injections seemed to have hurt more too, because she cried more loudly and for longer.

Then, after we got home, Baby felt hot right into the night and into the next day. We tried giving her Pamol but she's become pretty adept at spitting the stuff out. There's this trick where you blow into her mouth to bring on her swallow reflex; well, it seems she's onto us because it doesn't work any more.

All the progress we'd made in getting Baby to bed nice and early in the evening, and without too much fussing, has gone out the door. She doesn't even go back to sleep after late night feeds, something she was good at doing up until two nights ago.

I heard that it's the Meningococcal B vaccination which has sparked off these side effects; well, she's got her last one about four days before Christmas. Yay.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Cute Quote

"If your baby's beautiful and perfect, never cries or fusses, sleeps on schedule, burps on demand and an angel all the time, you're the Grandma" - Theresa Bloomingdale

Just a short meme

Wicked tagged me on this one; it's where I look through my blog archives to find the 4th sentence of the 23rd post, and copy it here.

Well, I did that, and it was really boring.

So here's the 6th sentence of my 23rd post, which happened to be a meme question:

Your most horrifying childhood memory of your parents -
Waking up one morning to find Mum really sick with an ulcer and about to be rushed to the hospital

He is the great consoler - not me

It's very discouraging when the one thing I can count on to calm my baby down - feeding her - seems to be making her upset. Feeding seemed to be a real problem today. After each mid-feed burp session, I'd position her for the other side, only to watch her kick and scream. Either she was frustrated by lack milk/too much milk/milk tastes funny, or she was really tired. But putting Baby in the hammock didn't work, because hunger seemed to be keeping her from falling asleep. Aiyaah, what a vicious circle.

In the end, I fed her lots and got only two short catnaps out of her all day. The frequent feeds make me anxious that I was setting her up for an evening of windiness, which is never good (an evening of windiness means heaps of crying and a bedtime of midnight or later).

By the time the boy got home from work I was shuffling around the kitchen like I had chronic fatigue syndrome or something. Thankfully, he took over the task of bathing Baby and rocking her to sleep (yes, we're still rocking our baby to sleep every night). It didn't take him long to get her settled either, which I am heartily jealous of but at the same time pretty damned grateful for.

On the plus side, Baby's been going to bed for the night at around 7, which leaves me time to blog in the evening. Yay.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

touched up

Thanks to Onanymous, an earlier photo of Baby catching z's in her buggy has been beautified heaps.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

baby buggy blues

I was not a happy chappy this afternoon. We've had our baby buggy for about five weeks now, and in this time it's already suffered two flat tires and displayed signs of surface rust. Now, I guess I'm just unlucky with the flat tires, but all the same; we paid quite a lot of money for this thing and the last thing I want is to have to return to the shop every other week because something's gone wrong with it.

At the shop, I told the owner I was really unhappy about this. Now here's a bit of customer service advice - if a customer complains because a product she bought recently always seems to have something go wrong with it, telling her that she's the only one who's had these problems really doesn't help.

What made me grumpier still was that he wasn't able to supply me with a replacement inner tube because they were out. Unless I was willing to wait until Monday (which is a long time without a buggy when you depend on one to get your baby to nap for more than 45 minutes), I had to trek out to another part of town and pay for a new tube, then return to the shop for reimbursement.

I really wanted to ask for a replacement buggy, but it would have to have been another all-terrain model; I'm sure that all of their all-terrain buggies have exactly the same kind of tyres, so I wouldn't have been any better off even if they'd go along with it.

So I relented, though not without imparting a remark about wanting a six-pack of inner tubes to save myself returning to the shop multiple times in the near future.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Warm 'n' fluffies

Just so you don't think that all I do is grumble about how hard it is mothering a baby, I've listed some of the things which make me go all gooey:

- When Baby gives me a big grin first thing in the morning (she also does it when I'm trying to put her to bed, but you're not supposed to smile back then).

- Baby has graduated from sucking her fists (they call it self-soothing) to sucking individual fingers (which means she now notices they're there).

- The fact that Baby hardly ever cries, even when she's sitting in a pooey nappy or can't breathe because her nostrils are full of snot (I don't know why, maybe I'm not vacuuming often enough).

- Watching the boy playing with Baby. They're so cute together, but he never lets me take a photo because then he'd have to shave first.

- Singing a lullaby to Baby when it's her bed time or nap time, and seeing her try to sing along.

- Turning "ah goo" into a two-way conversation.

Like a tyrannosaurus rex

Lately I've been looking a little like T-Rex. He had those powerful hind legs and puny fore-limbs; I have sturdy legs and two crippled wrists. Actually they don't look that puny, because they're heavily encased in neoprene wrist splints. When I'm hastily trying to put my jacket on before going out for walk with Baby and buggy, it's hard work getting my hands through the sleeves.

My thumbs are not so much opposable, as opposing any kind of activity which requires them - whether it's brushing my teeth or holding up Baby's surprisingly heavy head.

Apparently it's pretty common for women to be afflicted this way soon after giving birth. The fact that this happens at a time when one needs to use one's hands most - for picking up and holding babies etc - is, to me, evidence that there could be no such thing as "intelligent design". Unless it's God's way of punishing Eve's female descendants, that is.

I've heard that it's possible to get cortisone shots which would enable me to regain full and pain-free use of my hands and wrists, but I think I'll try acupuncture first. So I've booked myself in for another session with the physiotherapist for next Tuesday. This is the same therapist who was very understanding when, at our last appointment, I ended up having to do a very messy emergency nappy change in her office.

The best part about my making the appointment though was that the receptionist and I bonded over baby anecdotes. I can understand why mothers' coffee groups are so popular.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Beware of hairdressers with no hair

I got my hair cut yesterday, at one of those cut-price places that charge only $18 for a haircut but expect to be done with you in 20 minutes. The hairdresser was an interesting guy; instead of actual hair, his scalp was covered in tattoos, and instead of the usual chatter about what we're up to in the weekend, he talked about out-of-body experiences and how society would be much better off if everyone was the same.

He suggested that, instead of the usual blunt cut, he give me a jagged edge all around - how it would be more "modern". I was open to new hair experiences so I let him get on with it.

When I looked at the finished product, I wasn't overwhelmed; years of not being able to get the same style as the one I liked in a magazine (usually because I have Asian hair) have made me somewhat less fussy about my hair over the years. What made me worry was when he said that he would have liked to spend more time on my hair but had to stop now because it had already been 45 minutes. Oh, and also when he said something wistful about how this style usually works so well on Caucasian hair.
the other hand it was still better than the 10 weeks of overgrowth I had before.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

You know that saying about being careful what you wish for?

For the last few nights Baby has been "sleeping through". Now, apparently this term means that the baby sleeps from midnight through to 5am without disturbance. Like most adults, I think of "sleeping through" as sleeping for eight hours. Baby seems to think of it as falling asleep at 9pm and not waking until 6am.

On Monday night, Baby did just that - fell asleep at 9pm and didn't wake up until I woke her up, at 6am. Meanwhile, I was waking up every few hours because my boobs were so engorged. By about 4am I was silently pleading Baby to wake up and make those "I'm hungry" noises. At 6am, I decided I couldn't hold out any longer and fed her.

Last night, I couldn't get her to bed sooner than 9.30pm. Then I woke up at 2am and decided I didn't want to suffer from imploding boobs again, so I woke her up, fed her and put her back to bed.

Truly, I never thought I'd been in a position where I'm waking her up. On purpose. There's a good chance that this will change next week, after Baby's next course of vaccinations (they make her really unsettled). Until then, I reckon my best bet is to persist with trying to get her in bed by 7pm so that I can relieve my boobs before midnight.

Photos galore

If, like the boy and me, you just never tire of looking at photos of my darling daughter, all you have to do now is link to this page. Most of these I've posted on this blog but there are one or two which I haven't. The link is also over on the sidebar.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

What I can write in eight minutes

Quickly, before Baby wakes up...

We watched The Aquatic Life with Steve Zisou last night. It was quite funny and very quirky. For example, all the underwater scenes are so obviously fake that they remind me of illustrations in decades-old National Geographic magazines. I got the impression that the plot didn't really go anywhere, but that might have been because I was continually distracted by the need to feed, burp and nappy-change.

It's still taking several hours to get Baby to bed at night. Last night there was a three and a half hour gap between her bath and her getting to sleep; in between there was a lot of rocking and pacing, and some additional feeding. But once she fell asleep , she was down until 7am (score!).

After three weeks of wearing a splint on my left wrist, I have really distinct tan lines around the edges. The untanned parts of my hand and wrist really do look younger than the rest. Scary. It also means I really must get hold of a sun shade for the buggy; I wouldn't want Baby to look old before her time.

Strawberries don't last long, do they? The boy bought me some at the beginning of the week and I only got around to eating them today - I had to throw half of them out 'cos they were all furry.

Friday, October 21, 2005

At her mercy

I haven't been able to blog for a couple of days. Normally, I do my blogging right after we've been out for a walk in the buggy because Baby sleeps on even after we get home. Lately, Baby's sleep pattern has changed and she wakes up at the end of each 45 minute or 1 hour sleep cycle. If I don't time our return home correctly, she'll wake up as soon as we're home and demand attention.

Now that I tend to have Baby and buggy with me wherever I go, I've become much more appreciative of how difficult it must be for the wheelchair-bound to get around the shops. For instance, most cafes are far too small for a buggy, so even if I dared to go for a coffee (risking a hyped up infant to contend with) I would have to sit outside. I decided not to go into the local curtain shop today (to get blackout curtains for the bedroom) because there are steep steps to the entrance. And other shops I just don't bother going into because there's no room to get the buggy around.

Oops, better go - Baby's just woken up from her buggy sleep...

Monday, October 17, 2005

childsafe home

It won't be long before Baby starts crawling around and getting her fingers into rubbish bins, power points and our DVD collection. So the boy suggested we get us a baby cage. I quite like the transport cage, because it'd be easy to get on and off the bus, and wouldn't take up too much space in a cafe.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Baby just loves being in her vibrating baby seat. We love her being in it too, because it makes her burp and calms her down when she's unsettled. The photo was taken by the camera in my palm pilot. She's nine weeks old now.

Yesterday Baby and I walked into town to look at timber cots. We found a nice one made by Genesis, which converts into a junior bed, a settee and even a change table (though I don't see the point of the last one - surely if you're going to need a cot and a change table, you're going to need them within minutes of each other). The cot, along with an innersprung mattress, arrive on Monday morning. Then we can start looking at musical mobiles!

While we were in the shop, the retailer kindly showed me how to make the front buggy wheel swivel. Perhaps she was doing it to avoid my adding to the trail of dents we were leaving at the base of every display stand I tried to manoeuvre around.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Another post about sleep

Yesterday I ran into two aquaintances, both mothers of seven month old babies, and both proponents of the Gina Ford routine-nazi system. Both women raved about how, by following Ford's The Contented Little Baby Book, their babies slept through the night from an early age and the mums actually had social lives.

I was starting to wonder whether we should've taken Ford more seriously. At the very least we're going to have to break our habit of rocking Baby to sleep all the time, because she should really learn to fall asleep on her own.

Freshly inspired to re-try the bath-feed-bed routine, I put Baby through it around 9pm while the Boy was in the next room in a computer game orgy. To my surprise, Baby went straight to sleep after her post-bath feed - no agitation, no pukes and no fretting. She was fast asleep before 10pm (a miracle!) and I was able to have my first early night for at least two weeks.

I was so excited about my success that I was unable to sleep for ages. Oh, the irony.

Baby didn't favour me with a long sleep last night though; my feeding services were demanded every 2 1/2 hours. Oh well, you can't have everything I suppose.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

geek toy

Around about midnight, I realised I was going to have the worst start to a birthday ever - except for that year I got pleurisy. As per usual, Baby start acting up from early evening, and didn't go to sleep until the boy had rocked her to calmness three times, alternating with her need to feed and puke all over herself. It was after 1am by the time she crashed out on our bed, on the side where the boy usually sleeps; the boy having long ago realised that sleeping in the spare room was preferable to being woken up every few hours by the grunts and squawks of a breastfeeding baby.

Someone told the boy about my previous blog post, about him having forgotten my birthday. When he got home yesterday, he indignantly informed me that he'd already pre-ordered my birthday present way ahead in advance. But I had to wait until this morning to find out what it was.

This morning, I snuck out of the bedroom while Baby was still having her cutie sleep, and opened the two packages (as foretold by The Skirt) - inside were a high-tech palm pilot, including phone, camera and web capability and a wireless headset thingy (called a Blue something).

It must have been hideously expensive, and now I'm obliged to wade through the manual and familiarise myself with this gadget's inner workings. While I don't tend to make cell phone calls very often, and am more likely to note down appointments on the wall calender than in a small and easily misplaced electronic device, I reckon it will be useful for reading blogs while Baby's asleep in the lounge (I won't have to risk waking her up by cranking the squeaky door handle to get to the study).

Needless to say, the boy got his apology.

Tonight we celebrate that fact that I am one year closer to mortality (or, on the positive side, one more year of being alive and mostly well), with a restaurant meal - the New World supermarket does a lovely range in pre-cooked roasts and meatloaf...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Baby's bed - to cot or not to cot

Apparently it's not a good idea to put Baby to sleep in a travel cot day-to-day, which is what we've been doing; it says so in all the baby care books I've read (and that's quite a few), and the Plunket nurse told me it would be like asking a grown-up to sleep in a sofa bed or camp bed night after night.

So we're thinking of getting Baby a proper wooden cot, only it sounds like a good idea to get one which is either American sized cot (so she can use it until she's 4 years old - are they called American sized because American babies are bigger?), or one that converts to a junior bed. But is a wooden cot going to make Baby sleep any better?

Getting a proper cot isn't going to make getting Baby to bed in the first place, any easier - if it would, then I'd be out the door and in the shops right now, despite the cold and rainy weather out there.

What I need is more anecdotal evidence either for or against having one's baby using a travel cot every night (can they get bad backs or something?).

He's in trouble

I casually asked the boy this morning whether he'd told someone it was my birthday tomorrow, someone who'd left me an anonymous birthday greeting. I'd expected him to answer that he'd told someone who told someone else etc...but I didn't expect that he was surprised that it was my birthday tomorrow.

Not that I was expecting a surprise party or dinner at a posh restaurant - after all, we've a 8 1/2 week-old dependant to think of.

But he forgot, so he's in trouble.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Which Serenity character are you?

This must be based on the movie, 'cos I don't remember an "Operative" in the series. I would rather be River or Zoe. Found on Casyn's blog.

You scored as The Operative. You are dedicated to your job and very good at what you do. You've done some very bad things, but they had to be done. You don't expect to go to heaven, but that is a sacrifice you've made for a better future for all.

The Operative


Hoban 'Wash' Washburne


Shepherd Derrial Book


Simon Tam


River Tam


Zoe Alleyne Washburne


Capt. Mal Reynolds


Kaylee Frye


Inara Serra


Jayne Cobb


Which Serenity character are you?
created with

Puke water

Every evening Baby makes it hard for us to settle her for her evening sleeps. Often it's because she's all agitated - with quick, shallow breathing and a really anxious look on her face - for some unknown reason.

So-called "relaxation baths" don't seem to help; she'll get agitated as soon as she's out of the water and into the relatively cold air, and sometimes she acts all nervous-like when she's still in the water.

We figured Baby's un-relaxed state was due to trapped wind, because she sure does regurgitate a lot; after a good puke-up she's usually a whole lot calmer. I read about some substance called Gripe Water, which is supposed to be good for wind, so I bought some at the supermarket to try.

I don't know exactly how Gripe Water is supposed to work, since the only instructions that come with the bottle are to do with dosage, but this is how it works for us - squirt up to 3 mls of the stuff into Baby's mouth and close her mouth to prevent it from being spit out. In about two seconds, Baby pukes out what appears to be a stomach-full of pre-digested mum's milk plus saliva. Baby feels much better, and the chances of getting her to sleep before midnight increase markedly.

Has anyone else out there used Gripe Water, or have an effective remedy for infant nervous tension?

Friday, October 07, 2005

"...cardboard box at side 'o' the road..." *

This guy reckons it's safer to put your baby to sleep in a cardboard box, than in bed with Mum and Dad.

I have to say that the few times we've put Baby in bed with us (out of sheer desperation I might add, because she wouldn't settle), I couldn't relax for fear of rolling over and squashing her accidentally. Those times, I'd fall asleep and then wake up, heart pounding, peering around for her little body amongst the duvet.

*Meant to be said with a Yorkshire accent, an homage to that hilarious Monty Python skit, The Four Yorkshiremen.

Sleeping like a grownup

While getting Baby to sleep in the evenings continues to be a challenge, I can now say that she has started to sleep through the night. That is, after we finally got her settled at around midnight, she "slept through", i.e. was quiet, right up until 6.30am.

I'm so proud.

Of course, this might have been a fluke; tonight she might go back to waking me up every 3 hours.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Gmail - huh?

I keep getting these messages from the gmail admin, telling me to go to a specified link and follow some instructions if I don't want to lose my gmail account. But the link only brings me back to my gmail inbox, and there aren't any instructions.

Has anyone else with a gmail account had this ?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Baby photo

Due to popular's another photo of the wee one; this time asleep in her buggy, as all good babies should be. The picture's a little dark, but the girl is still glowing.

Kiwi Gothic

Just for a change, this post isn't about babies at all, mine or anyone else's.

The boy suggested we rent a DVD for Saturday night, and left it up to me to decide which movie to get. Knowing full well that, if we were both at the video shop, we'd end up renting either a car-chase thriller or heist movie, I took this opportunity to look out for a dense, dark ,foreign language movie. Luckily for him, I didn't see one I liked, but I did find In My Father's Den, which I've been wanting to see for ages.

It was bloody brilliant, and what I think is characteristic of pre-Whale Rider New Zealand cinema. This film reminds me a little of Vincent Ward's Vigil, with it's rural NZ setting and creepy atmosphere.

This guy, Paul,returns to his small-town South Island home after the death of his father, after seventeen years away as a war photographer. He befriends a teenage girl who may or may not be his daughter (Celia), and soon afterwards she goes missing. Did she run away to escape her pervy stepfather? Or did the stepfather do away with her? Everyone suspects Paul's relationship with Celia wasn't totally non-sexual, so he's the first person taken in for questioning.

And the great thing iss that the DVD is a 7 Day hire, which means that I can rewatch it to catch all the bits missed when I was busy changing Baby's nappies.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

A suprise visit from the poo fairy

My wrists are suffering terribly from Occupational Overuse Syndrome. My years as a computer programmer, followed by my current obsession with blogging, have resulted in horrible pains around the thumb joints every time I pick up my daughter or grasp anything. I'd planned to tell my doctor about it at the six week check-up; little did I know that the six week check-up is focussed solely on the baby and not the mother. The doctor did, however, find the time to advise that I go see a physiotherapist about getting some wrist splints.

It's damned difficult making an appointment when you don't know where your baby's going to be in her sleep-feed-poo cycle at any given time of any given day. Anyway, I made an appointment for yesterday afternoon.

As yesterday afternoon progressed, I realised that I was going to have to wake Baby up from one of her precious naps, in order to feed her before taking her with me to the appointment with physio. I roused her, fed her about half an hour before she'd normally be hungry, and bustled her into her carseat.

It's shocking how, in a short hour and a half, so much poo could be produced and distributed all over a small human's body.

I didn't even realise it had happened until I was just about to leave the physio's office, and was about to put Baby's little pink hoodie on for the homeward journey. I thought babies always complained when they had a wet or soiled nappy; not this one. Fortunately, the physio was very understanding about it, and let me use her room to do the nappy change.

After so many trips with Baby and baby bag, I finally got a chance to use the baby bag contents - all of them i.e. nappies, wipes, plastic disposal bags and complete change of outfit. I even had to dismantle the carseat upholstery so I could wash Baby's "contributions" from it.