Wednesday, September 28, 2005

How appropriate

Some baby clothes' text just rings so true. I really like the onesie with the words Sleep is for the weak on it. Have a look.

Monday, September 26, 2005


Baby was booked in for her six-week immunisation jabs this morning (diptheria, tetanus, acellular pertusiss, polio, Hep B, haemophilus influenzae type B and meningococal B). Initially I was content to take her to the medical centre myself, but the boy wanted to offer support - and just as well, too.

Held lovingly but firmly by her dad, she had two jabs in one thigh and a jab in the other - each time, Baby wailed with pain. Each time I heard her cry, my eyes burned with sympathy tears. Perhaps this is what motherhood does to you, making you feel someone else's pain. Actually, I was impressed by how well she took it; mere seconds after each injection, Baby stopped crying as though she'd forgotten all about it (though in truth she was probably succumbing to sensory overload).

The poor mite slept poorly until about half an hour ago - about five hours after her ordeal. After she spat out most of her Pamol (Paracetamol for babies) we made an unspoken decision to abandon our sleep training temporarily, and took turns cuddling her to sleep.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sunday outing - foiled

What a gorgeously sunny Sunday it was turning out to be. The boy suggested taking Baby out for a walk in the botanical gardens; the tulips would be out, and a stroll amongst the flowers would be heaps more interesting than yet another schlepp around the local shops.

Unfortunately we forgot that the Spring Festival is on this weekend, which meant that every man and his dog would be at the gardens. It's not that we hate crowds (although I do), but there was not a car park to be found anywhere. We decided to go somewhere else for our walk in the sun.

There's a city beach close by which has a great promenade; on sunny Sundays the place is always packed with families stretching their legs after a lazy cafe lunch. We headed there, only find that road access to the beach was completely blocked off - no doubt it was due to either construction work or some kind of athletics competition. The car was getting hotter and we were getting hungry.

The boy lost heart; all he wanted now was food and a chance for a smoke. So we picked up some greasies from McDonalds and headed home. I was determined to get my walk in somehow, so I planned to take Baby out in the stroller after her next feed.

The next feed came and went. There was a distinct sense of urgency in the air as I hurried to put her jacket on and buckle her up into the stroller. Hmmm...the stroller didn't seem to be moving very smoothly...we had a flat tyre. By the time the boy had managed to pump the tyre up to a usable level, Baby was already making those jerky movements that signal her need for sleep. It was already too late*.

* Sure, I could have put her straight into the stroller and she would still have gotten her sleep. But we're trying to encourage her to get to sleep on her own, so we decided to put her in her hammock instead.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Boring for most,interesting for me

I never meant to be the sort of person who abandons her friendships when she's in a relationship, but that's what I turned out to be. Although I still keep in touch with my mates, the days of every-weekend dinners and movies, and Friday night drinkies were history soon after the boy and I hooked up. Now that we have a young baby, it's even more so. In fact, apart from the occasional evening when the boy has had a few wines and is in a philosophical mood, this blog is now my main medium for talking about movies, books, life and anything else. Is this sad?

Yesterday, in the middle of my afternoon of squawking non-sleeping Baby, I had a moment of success. The frontpack, which I'd bought a couple weeks ago and which Baby hated, is no longer a worthless piece of equipment which I should have traded in for a pair of non-maternity jeans. I tried Baby in it yesterday as a last resort; not only did she not hate it, but she actually dozed off in it. It's a small step for a blog-reader but a huge triumph for this new mother who loathes wasting money.

Another triumph this morning - we put Baby in her hammock as soon as she started yawning, ignored her plaintive cries, and were pleasantly surprised to find that she'd got herself to sleep within ten minutes. What an ego boost.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Angel days and hell days

I just spent 20 minutes writing this blog post, and then Blogger lost it. Nice one, Blogger.

Anyway, Monday was an angel day because, after the initial struggle getting Baby to take her nap, she went on to complete three whole sleep-feed-play cycles in textbook fashion.

Yesterday was utterly different – a hell day. Between 7am and 7pm, no naps were to be had by Baby nor by myself. There was much crying on Baby’s part, no doubt at least partly in frustration because mummy didn’t know what was wrong. There was much consolatory feeding, to stop the crying. By the time the boy came home from work, I was a physical and emotional wreck; I’d had no chance to catch up on sleep and my confidence in my mothering abilities was nil. Obviously this was karmic revenge for the previous day’s sweetness. To me, it was a hell day.

Today however, was angel day times two. Not only has Baby slept when she was supposed to, but I had some much-needed nannying help from a friend whom I hadn’t seen in years. Klav, whom I knew from my karate days, turned up with a large number of presents and then offered to look after Baby so I could have a leisurely shower. As if that weren’t enough, she then proceeded to make us cups of tea and do the washing up (no small offer, since there was about three days’ worth on the bench). I was so grateful I considered naming my second-born after her (if there is one, that is – ask me in twelve months’ time).

I’m realising more and more how childcare is not so much an inexact science, as an art. Methods for dealing with sleep, crying or whatever, that worked in the past aren’t necessarily going to work tomorrow. This doesn’t sit too comfortably with me, since by nature I’ve always been more comfy with the security of certainty. (This, and the fact that I’m neither a naturally clucky person, plus the fact that I’m a major grump when I don’t get enough sleep, might make you wonder why the hell I decided to become a mother. To answer that question - I was intensely curious as to how a child with my genes and the boy’s genes, would look.)

Childcare is seems to be one of those fields in which information gathering doesn’t so much result in an increase of knowledge, as an increase in confusion.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Lately we've been trying to get Baby into the habit of getting herself to sleep i.e. putting her to bed while sleepy, but still awake. Some amount of crying was going to be involved.

This morning when it was time for Baby's midmorning nap, I put her in the hammock and went next door to make some phone calls. One postponed WOF appointment and an immunisation appointment later, I returned to the living room to find Baby crying her heart out, face beetroot-red and tears sliding down her cheeks. Her lethally long fingernails hadn't been filed down for several days, and she'd managed to make a deep scratch on her left cheek; it was actually bleeding.

I'm sure that if someone had walked in on me in that moment, they would've thought I'd been beating up my child.

Fortunately, Baby's skin seems to have Slayer-like healing capabilities; by this evening that scary looking cut was already looking heaps better.

There was a happy ending to today's sleep training too - I gave her a feed, rocked her till her eyes were about to close, and was rewarded by three textbook naps.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Slayer Mum

As far as we know only one Vampire Slayer has ever been a mum, and that was Nicky, the Seventies afro-ed black Slayer whose son Robin turns up in Season 7, as the headmaster of the new Sunnydale High.

What I want to know is, how on earth did Nicky manage?

Firstly, there are all sorts of physical limitations on any mother-to-be during pregnancy. Did Nicky just take it easy on the patrolling side of things for nine months? It wouldn't have been easy training while suffering from morning sickness, for instance, and her doctor's instructions to avoid heavy lifting would surely preclude her from most slaying duties. Her third trimester must've been been pretty unproductive; imagine attempting Buffy-style gymnastics at a time when bending over, walking around or even prolonged sitting, are really quite uncomfortable.

I bet being a Slayer would have helped immensely during Nicky's childbirth though. Slayers heal quickly, and probably don't hurt as easily as normal people. Perhaps she would have had to be really careful pushing little Robin out though, with her superhuman strength and all. We wouldn't want her baby scooting out so fast he ends up shooting out the door of the delivery suite.

However, I doubt that the effects of sleep deprivation during Robin's babyhood, could have been avoided - even by someone with Slayer power. Perhaps that's why Spike was able to kill her in the end - the stresses and strains of early motherhood compromised the Chosen One's ability to keep on top of her game.

Maybe this is why only one Slayer ever managed to produce offspring.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Plunket wisdom

Today, on the fifth week anniversary of Baby's arrival in this world, we had our first visit from the Plunket nurse.

My little bean (for that's what she reminds me of when her arms and legs are drawn in) now weighs in at 4.65 kg, now definitely too big for the Babylove brand of nappies but still okay for the Baby Supreme brand of which we've received another shipment of 120. So, despite any breastfeeding problems at my end, Baby is still getting all the food she needs.

Before she left, the Plunket nurse imparted some pearls of wisdom:

- I've been overdressing Baby. Apparently it's a Chinese characteristic to overdress babies, and I thought it was just my mother who was like that.

- We've also been heating up the rooms too much i.e. it wasn't actually necessary to have the heaters on at all (we've had the room temperature up around the 20 degrees Celsius mark, when it only had to be around 15).

- I should be a heck of a lot more patient about getting Baby to sleep. Next time she cries in her hammock, I'll actually try to soothe her for a lot longer (more than 30 seconds) before picking her up and cuddling her.

- Those crusty bits on her eyebrows are actually mild cradle cap, which we can treat by rubbing a little olive oil on them.

- There are other breastfeeding positions I should try, to avoid aggravating the pregnancy-related carpal tunnel syndrome which is affecting my wrists (how inconvenient, since it means that lifting Baby actually hurts).

All in all, a very productive visit for me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Too soon

I got a phone call this morning, from the childcare place up the road. I'd visited when I was about 7 months pregnant, and was on their waiting list to start in late January. They already want me to confirm that I want to enroll Baby into the centre, and the days I want her to be there - but I feel it's still way too early to even decide for sure whether I want to go back to work that soon. I mean, I don't have to tell work until about 3 weeks before I'm due back, whether or not I'm really going back or not.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Pump it up

Baby met my workmates today. We were out shopping for a breast pump (think "mastitis"; think "rock hard boobies"), and my work is just up the road from The Baby Factory, so we popped in for a surprise visit. The women workmates were appropriately clucky. The guys had a look too and probably would've have hung around if I hadn't used the words "breast" and "pump" in my next sentence.

When we got home I had a go at the breast pump. It was going okay, once I realised that you have to create a bit of a vacuum before any milk appears. The only problem was that Baby kept demanding my attention, and it's impossible to pump a boobie and amuse a baby at the same time.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

in public

My life is now being lived in 2-hour time slots. In what seems to be a fortnight-long (so far) growth spurt, Baby has started to demand feeds 2-hourly instead of 3-hourly. So that means that even if the boy is home and able to watch Baby while I go out to get my hair cut/visit my mother/shower, then I have approximately 1 hour, once I've fed her, before I have to get back for her next meal.

The alternative is to take her with me wherever I go, but that brings in different obstacles, like:

-trying to work the carseat-plus-wheels contraption, in public
-getting to grips with breastfeeding and nappy-changing in public
-being in my "mummy" role, including how I deal with a crying baby, in public

On the plus side, I'd have an excuse to dress Baby up in all those lovely girly clothes which friends have given her.

Friday, September 09, 2005

I've fallen prey to the baby gear industry

Wednesday, Baby was a real angel and took all her naps when she was supposed, for as long as she was supposed to. I was able to catch up on sleep, blog and clean the kitchen floor (for the first time since before Baby's birth - that's at least 4 weeks).

But yesterday was the karmic payback day. Between 7am and 3pm she just would not sleep at all. She wouldn't even lie on the floor and entertain herself. I thought that if I had her in a sling or frontpack, then I could keep Baby happy and go about my business at the same time; on our afternoon buggy ride, I went straight to the nearest baby gear shop and bought a little front pack.

$45 poorer, I tried it on and put Baby in it as soon as we got home.

She hated it.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Ethics question

My mate Tama sent me this; I thought it was a very useful guide to my ethical priorities, so here it is...

Now be honest; you will discover where you stand morally -

There is chaos all around you caused by a hurricane with severe flooding. This is a flood of biblical proportions.

You are a photojournalist working for a major newspaper, and you're caught in the middle of this epic disaster. The situation is nearly hopeless.
You're trying to shoot career-making photos. There are houses and people swirling around you, some disappearing under the water. Nature is unleashing all of its destructive power. Suddenly you see a man floundering in the water. He is fighting for his life, trying not to be taken down with the debris. You move closer . . Somehow the man looks familiar. You suddenly realize who it is.

It's George W. Bush! At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to pull him under.

You have two options: you can save the life of G.W. Bush or you can shoot a dramatic Pulitzer Prize winning photo, documenting the death of one of the world's most powerful men. So here's the question, and please give an honest answer :
Would you select high contrast colour film, or would you go with the classic simplicity of black and white?


It's no simple matter trying to figure out how to get Baby to stay asleep, and it seems to be greatly influenced by where we put her down for her nap. For the first couple of weeks, she eschewed her cot in favour of her sprung hammock; now she resists being left in the hammock, possibly because she's resisting sleep itself.

For now, the best place to put Baby for her naps is this cushion. I use this cushion when I'm feeding her, and often she'll fall asleep there after half an hour filling her little stomach. Perhaps it isn't a good thing to encourage this, since it means that she now has two things associating sleep with food - the food itself, and the breastfeeding cushion. However, the only time I get to do anything is when Baby is sleeping, so at this stage anything that encourages her to snooze is okay with me (except alcohol I suppose).

Monday, September 05, 2005


After weeks of successful breastfeeding, I thought that I had the whole process down pat; sore nipples were a thing of the past and I seemed to have escaped all the potential problems I'd read about in Bestfeeding. But on Saturday night, my right boob was throbbing so much that I couldn't sleep during those 2-3 hours periods between feeds, and yesterday morning my joints ached as though I had 'flu or something. Feeding Baby on that side hurt like crazy; the needle-sharp pain was similar to that of a urinary tract infection.

I left two messages with the midwife, but by the time she returned my calls I'd already taken myself to the After Hours clinic. I had come down with mastitis. So now I'm on antibiotics, and the boy has opted to stay home today to look after me. Actually, I suspect the boy has stayed home with me because the plasma TV he bought yesterday has arrived, but I could be wrong.

Meanwhile, Baby celebrated the fact that both parents are home by refusing to go to sleep. From around 8am, she managed to follow feeding with pooing, burping and fussing, finally collapsing into a deep sleep at 2.30pm.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

my poor mum

I felt a little bad for my mum today. She's been trying to help me out by making me special post-childbirth foods, as well as food in general, and is hampered by her lack of mobility.

Since her fall three or four months ago, she's been fearful of getting on buses by herself, and she doesn't drive. She seems to have trouble asking her friends to either drive her over to my house or to accompany her on the bus, and my brother is really busy with his own family stuff.

So - she makes all these special soups, full of scary looking fungi, and ends up giving it away because she can't get it over here while it's nice and fresh. I'd offer to go and pick it up myself, but of course I'm supposed to stay indoors for another week and a half. I could ask the boy to go and pick it up I suppose, but he works so hard during the week that I'm really loathe to ask him to drive out there after work.

I don't particularly believe in the usefulness of her soups and ginger preserves, but I do know she's trying to help out as much as she can. If only my Cantonese were much better, I'd try and tell her this myself rather than just blog about it in English.

A sorry excuse for a book meme

Xine has tagged me for a book meme, but I've only just gotten around to this perfunctory effort 'cos, really I can't spare the time. Hell, I sometimes don't even have time to go to the toilet these days.

1. How many books do I own?
I don't know and I won't spend any time trying to count 'em. Let's just say I used to buy books but nowadays mostly get my reading material from the library.

2. Last Book I Bought:
It was probably Bestfeeding, written by four (yes, four) breastfeeding experts (I can't remember their names and I'm not going to the living room to check the book, in case Baby wakes up and demands hours of cuddles again). It got me all anxious, anticipating various possible breastfeeding difficulties. As it turned out, I didn't have much problem feeding the little one.

3. Last Book I Read:
Basically all I'm reading these days is: anything I can lay my hands on about baby care; the fantasy novel I started before Baby was born (Raymond Feist and Janny Wurtz's Servant of the Empire), and The New Zealand Listener (because I got a free subscription through loyalty card points, and it tells me what's on tv for the next week)...

4. Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me (without explanation or apologies):
Remember, I'm suffering from postnatal mental fog; it takes time to think of life-changing books, you know. Okay, how about these three:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy, Lionel Shriver'sWe need to talk about Kevin and Robin Barker's Baby Love.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


I know that on the other side of the world an entire city is practically submerged in water, and that stuff is going on all over the planet...and yet my brain only has room for thoughts about my daughter.

My little darling is growing at an impressive rate; from her birth weight of 3.66 kgs, she went up to 3.75 after a week, which is all the more surprising considering most babies actually lose weight initially and take up to two weeks to get back to birth weight. On Tuesday, the midwife weighed her again, and Baby is now up to a hefty 4.2 kgs. I'd only just that morning made a bulk online order of 120 newborn-sized disposable nappies, so I was a little anxious that perhaps she's going to be too big for them by the time they arrive! The shipment arrived the very next day, too late for me to change my order; however, it says on the package that they are okay for babies up to 6 kgs so we may be able to use half of them at least...

Baby's continuing to be a challenge in the evenings, usually only falling asleep 2 or 3 hours after I myself, have succumbed to sleep-deprived grumpiness. It was particularly hard on the boy 2 nights ago, when I went to bed and left him to sing her to sleep until 1am. In fact, the boy was a wreck the next day. I felt so bad for him that, instead of us all sleeping in the bedroom (which we've been doing for a week or so now), I offered to go back to sleeping in the lounge last night (on the couch), with Baby in the hammock. I didn't get a lot of sleep but at least the boy was in a reasonable condition to drive to work. Brownie points for me.

Baby continues to turn strangers to mush, when we go for walks around my neighbourhood. Today we went to a couple of banks to enquire about savings accounts for young children, and the woman at the Bank of New Zealand gushed over her for ages; we only got away when Baby started protesting that the buggy wasn't moving enough. I can tell she's going to be a real heartbreaker.