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Thursday, March 31, 2011

funny things kids do #1: sleep in random places

This was written yesterday (30/3) but this is the first chance I've had to post it

Well this is just weird.

Alexis woke up from her nap (as I was just about to drift off to sleep of course) a fair while ago. I got her back to sleep but when I went to put her down she woke quite upset. She would not re-settle in bed with me either.  So eventually I gave in and fed her again (weaning is not going well) and allowed her to sleep in my arms.

Keep reading, it gets better.

Her father rung at 5 as he does everyday even though we always have words about him not needing to call me to say he's coming home and that Alexis is often asleep then so can he just leave me alone and I will call him if I need him. He was nicely asking did I need anything from the shops, so I decided to try something different and NOT bite his head off (see my new "tip").
"Bananas please. Thanks for offering, saves me having to go out tomorrow." (We ALWAYS need bananas.) 
Corey: "what? I can't hear you."
Me (frustrated): I'm speaking softly because Alexis is asleep on my lap".
Corey (pissy): "WHAT!?"
Me (curtly) : BANANAS.
Corey (whingy):  oh. So I'll have to actually go to a supermarket".
Me (thinking in head: you offered. Fool) "whatever. Don't worry if you can't be bothered."

Alexis' response to all this was to worm her way down my lap and position herself sitting up ON MY FEET with her head against my knees, and promptly fall back to sleep. 




She is still there, 45 minutes later, despite several calls back and forwards between her father and I.

Call 2;
Me (to msg bank) "I want hot chips. Can you please get some from the fish shop to go with last nights leftovers?" (in my defence our dishwasher is broken and we got pizza last night and in my brain hot chips goeswith pizza. And there's a 10 kg baby asleep on my feet)

Call 3;
Corey (confused): um, yeah. Ok. Chicken salt?
Me: not for me and the baby. Get some separate for yourself if you like.
Corey: nah
Me: want me email you my shopping list to get while you wait?
Corey: nah I can't be bothered sorry
Me: ok forget the chips then, we have packets of chips crisp things at home
Corey: can't hear you

Call 4;
Me: why call and wake us up to offer to get things from shops if you can't be bothered?  
Corey: huh?
Me: forget the chips. We will use up some chips from the pantry
Corey: ok I'm not getting bananas either


So Corey and my phone calls to eachother are incredibly intelligent, NOT. I only wrote it here so you can see how hilarious it is that Alexis slept through it all. Alexis slept on my feet until 5 minutes ago when Corey got home (without bananas). I quickly asked him to pick Alexis up as I could no longer feel my legs. Maybe it's a good thing he didn't stop at the shops after all.

Edited 2/4: It's funny how we spend so much time and energy and willpower on getting babies to sleep and they resist so hard, but sometimes they just crash, here, there, everywhere. It's the funniest times and the funniest places that babies sleep sometimes. Do you have a funny sleep story? Why not leave a comment and share.

If you want to read more of the "funny things kids do" series click on the funny things kids do label under this post for a list of entries.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

night wakings

These night wakings are really grating on me. I have so much trouble sleeping at night. We just got our one year old sleeping through before I fell pregnant, and I had a few blissful nights of 8 hours uninterupted sleep. It was bliss. My excitement was short-lived though because soon after the pregnancy hormones kicked in and I have been waking at least twice a night. At first I would just go to the toilet, have a drink of water and go back to sleep with little drama. Then there were the countless nights of lying there saying "please let me sleep, please let me sleep" for an hour or so until finally falling asleep just before my daughter woke up screaming. She is teething at the moment so she wakes early. I can convince her to go back to sleep after a feed (yeah I'm still breastfeeding even though my doctors say I need to stop) and a long cuddle, but by the time I do that my husband is up for the day. Well his alarm is anyway. His alarm is the mother of all things annoying but of course he has to go to work to pay the bills. Overtired and hormonal, I always feel like he needs me to keep him motivated, off his backside, getting ready for the day ahead. Of course he never appreciates my prompting, but if I don't get up with him he sits on his buttocks until 10 minutes before he has to leave when our daughter senses something is not right and wakes up, then we have the mad rush to get him ready and out the door while juggling a groggy toddler.

This morning I haven't bothered lying there punishing myself for being awake. I have gotten up, had a bowl of cereal and spent some time on the internet. I should do the dishes or something useful but I don't want to wake the baby. I am tired enough to sleep now but my daughter normally wakes soon. I don't want to wait up coz she woke randomly at 1 am so maybe she won't wake early today. I have a big day ahead (everyday is big) and know I need as much sleep as I can get. Listening to the violent snores from my bedroom hubby is on a roll tonight. I should try and sleep through it but I don't like my chances. Wish me luck!

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dreamworld, for anyone interested

Ok, for anyone who is interested in how the Dreamworld adventure went, it was all in all a pretty good day. This is not a paid review by the way, I don't do those. We had golden moments, we had a few panicky moments (I can explain..), and there were boring times where I just sat on my butt waiting for the boys to get back while Alexis slept in the pram. It was fun, but I reckon if Corey wants to go play soldier again (he and his friend were obsessed with this laser skirmish thing) he can go by himself and leave us at home. That's silly to say though because it was a fairly good day, and if Alexis (and myself) had been in a happier mood it might have been even better, but all in all I think you have to either plan to do the kid thing or the adult thing. Trying to mix both is fairly exhausting for all involved.

Alexis is at that difficult age where she thinks she's invincible, but quite frankly she's not. Minding her on my own (while she was awake) at a place like that was incredibly daunting. She wants to walk, not sit in the pram, but she (obviously) wants to walk where SHE wants to walk and stop and play with whatever SHE wants to play with. It doesn't matter to her that someone is coming up fast behind us who could bowl her over in a second flat. It doesn't matter to her that the toy she has her eye set on is being used by a four year old who could punch her out quite easily if he got annoyed. It doesn't matter to her that the little boy she is trying to climb to get to whatever she is trying to reach has infected mosquito bites on his legs that have started bleeding and she has no concept of the diseases that can be transfered through blood. She doesn't understand that trying to climb up the slide, however clever it is, is not wise if there's a five year old (with shoes, in the socks only play centre) who decides he wants to knock her off. She doesn't understand that standing at the top of said slide proud of herself and trying to turn around to slide down is not the best idea when a tribe of toddlers decide she's taking too long and slide down regardless. I tried not to hover over her too closely but I didn't want her to get herself hurt or hurt anyone else. I didn't really know what to do. I found the whole thing awkward.

My discomfort was added to by the fact that the TVs that usually play wiggles DVDs were stuck on the menu only, not the actual DVD. So if you think the wiggles is bad, try listening to the same line over and over for half an hour. I tried to suggest it was morning tea time (an easy activity for panicky mummies, lol) and she had a tiny snack before jumping back into the action. I admire her determination, but her resolve is hard to deal with when I'm busting for a loo myself and it's evident she has a dirty nappy... Let's just say the boys got back just in time.

Lunch was cute though. She would not eat the food, of course, as she doesn't like chicken nuggets and chips but that's what Corey ordered her. He said it was nuggets or greasy burgers, but I know the sign said fish was an option, but hey if the nuggets were that bad (terrible) how bad might the fish had been. She ate half the bun off my burger and half the bun off Corey's burger before we remembered I'd brought a jar of apple and mango with me, so we gave her some of that. If we go back we go for the buffet restaurant like we did last time. It is air conditioned and clean and a much better option, and not much dearer (expensive, but so is glorified grease). The only problem is the line up for the restaurant is about an hour long and I Alexis just was not in the mood. She was clearly thirsty but wouldn't drink out of a baby bottle (I think maybe her teeth were hurting but also she likes to be a "grown up") so we bought her one of the souvenir cups with the removable straw and straw cover thing. We bought it with ice but put our own water in. She thought she was incredibly clever drinking from the straw. We were quite proud of her too. Then she discovered it was faster to pull the straw out, tip the cup out, and drink out of the hole. I love my little scientist, she is so clever, so cute, so funny, and at the time also very very wet.

After lunch we thought she'd have a sleep so we took turns pushing her in the pram around in circles while WA-bloke got his pass activated. We "virtually qued" for a ride that I wanted to go on. Virtual queing is awesome, you hire this device that holds your spot in the line while you go off and do whatever you want then you go back when the device beeps and you take your turn. It's so handy. That's how we got everything done we did. The boys got 3 turns on laser skirmish (the first one during the wiggles disaster, the second and third while bug slept), WA-bloke did a turn on the claw (while we were having lunch), and I dragged Corey on the river rapid ride all without having to line up. I wouldn't have gotten a ride otherwise. It was nice that WA-bloke could mind Alexis for a few minutes while Corey and I went on a ride together. There's no way we would have left her with him for an hour while we lined up though, so it worked so well. If you are going to go with a baby and with a friend, then definitely invest the money in getting a "Q4U" thing. Unfortunately you can't virtually que for the restaurant or the bathrooms or anything at white water world or the big red car ride.

In the afternoon we spent an hour or so at white water world. It was fairly cold by then and I was exhausted by the time we got there because I stupidly left my pass in my other pants in the locker and had to go back to get it. It's not a massive walk as such but when you've been on your feet all day it does take it out of you. When we finally got to white water world WA-bloke went off and did his own thing while Corey and I took Alexis to the baby section. She loved it. She was pointing at these water slides that we thought "no way", but, we asked the life guards and they said, "sure she can go but you can't ride tandem, one of you will have to push her from the top and the other catch her". Anyway, we thought we'd give it a go as Alexis is doing so well at swimming lessons and she seemed really keen. She LOVED it. Repeatedly. Seriously about 10 times. She wiped out a few times but kept gesturing for more and saying "again". Corey was quite proud of his little thrill seeker. Then it got too cold (and we were sick of walking up and down the ramp) so we took her to the heated wave pool. She loved it, but got upset when the waves stopped. We kept her occupied waiting for the waves to come back on by practicing her "swimming" between us. She is doing so well, she is a real water baby. We all got too cold before they turned the waves back on though, so I got her dry and dressed while Corey found WA-bloke and went on a slide.

So recounting our adventures it was quite a good day even though I didn't get to do what I had hoped we could. I didn't get to go on the paddle boat, or the train, or the classic cars, or feed a kangaroo, or pat a tiger, or watch the tiger show, or check out the other kiddy tree-house play thing. Corey didn't get to go on the rollercoasters either. So maybe we will go back again. There is still so much to do. I wonder if next time will be just as exhausting! Even with sitting around for an hour watching Alexis sleep while the boys played I was so tired by the end of the day. Thank the Lord for my parents letting us drop in on them for dinner! It was the perfect end to a busy day, and I don't think my body could have handled any more junk food but I certainly didn't feel like cooking.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

waiting

Waiting until 12 weeks to share the news is almost killing me. I am pregnant. I am very excited and scared at the same time. I have a one year old. So this is my second baby. I am not sure how I'll cope with two babies, or how I'll cope with a baby and a bump. Morning sickness is a big struggle, but so far so good, thanks to my mostly supportive husband. I thought pregnancy would be easier the second time, coz I would know what to expect, however is expecting back, neck, boob, pelvic and joint pain a good thing? Is knowing I will be fat, awkward, uncomfortable, emotional and sweaty helpful? Take a ride with me through pregnancy the second time around.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

of teeth, human and dinosaur

Why is it that when we have a big day planned Alexis happens to wake up at 5 and be miserable? It's not really her fault. At 13 months old she is finally getting her first top tooth.

As we welcome tooth number four it looks huge compared to her tiny little mouth. I've written a post before ('ouch') saying I thought top teeth were on the way months ago, before Christmas I think. Well at last one is finally here. I am proud for my little cherub, but being bitten and headbutted by an extremely grumpy version of herself at 5am is not my favourite past time to say the least.

Today is not the best timing either, with today being the day we escort Corey's colleague from WA to Dreamworld. I mean we are taking a man who is over from WA to Dreamworld from Brisbane by the way, we are not flying to Perth to pick him up obviously. Still, I must be on my best behaviour. (Pfft I shall try.)

I envisage today will consist of Corey and mate hitting the thrill rides while I take bug on the teacups ad nauseum, and possibly watch Dorothy the Dinosaur, if Alexis has decided she is no longer scared of her. That's a big if. Alexis loves her Dorothy doll (bigger than her) and loves wiggles on TV, but a lifesize plush dinosaur walking down the street is a little intimidating to the best of us. I am excited to be going back though because there is much we missed last time. I hope we can go on the paddle boat this time, I don't think Alexis has ever been on a boat. I hope I can stay awake, or find a nice dark safe corner..

Now that I have successfully convinced my little princess she can lie asleep in her cot for awhile longer (instead of on my face or my chest) it's time I wind myself down and try to get another hour's sleep until the alarm goes off telling me its time to go into "supportive wife and doting mother" mode: public edition.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sleep

Since my blog entry about Alexis only having one day sleep she has reverted back to two sleeps. Her going back to two sleeps works well for me as I think she was not quite ready to drop to one sleep, as she was quite irritable by the end of the day after a few days. When she started only having one sleep she was not waking up til after 8am, which was fine at the time because my husband was away on business, but she is waking up earlier now he is back home to make sure she gets to spend time with him. She is not going to bed for the night any earlier so she needs the extra sleep. It also breaks my day up nicely and we are back to eating lunch together which saves time.

The only down side is that it means an extra feed because we are still feeding to sleep. This undermines my feeble weaning attempts (as also discussed in the link above). No doubt she realises this and is probably quite proud of herself for fooling mummy.  It's only one extra feed though so its not a huge deal, and its only one side and not for very long.

I do need to break the feed/sleep habit but I'm still not sure how. I will not leave her to cry to sleep as I personally am too distressed by even the idea of it. For me hearing my baby cry breaks my heart and knowing I can stop her tears but doing nothing is not an option for me. I am hoping that if we can get her sleeping at the same time everyday (or at least mimic a series of events) she will learn to anticipate the sleep and I can pat her off to sleep easily.   We are getting there, slowly, as she is already coming up to me asking me to help her go to sleep. She is just used to doing it at the breast.

Naps are getting predictable, to a certain extent. Usually she has a short morning nap commencing between 9 and 10:30 lasting only half hour to an hour max and then an afternoon sleep sometime between 2 and 4. She can sleep for two hours but needs help resettling in the middle most of the time. It is not really set in stone though, as sleep time and length depends on so many different factors, such as how she slept the night before, when she woke, what activities we have done, where we have been, how much sun she has had, what (and how much) she has eaten,  the air temperature, ambient light, outside noises,  how messy her room is, when she last did a poo, whether I'm trying to have a nap myself (this usually reduces sleep length) and whether she actually wants to sleep or not. There also seems to be some sort of correlation between how long I hold her and cuddle her before I put her down.  If I hold her too long after she falls asleep she doesn't think she needs  a sleep on her own and wakes but if I put her down too quick she feels dibbed and wakes up crying for more cuddles.  If she can learn to fall asleep in the cot even with my help I will then experiment with how long to stick around for. 

All in all things are going well.  Sleep is not really an issue anymore. She is still waking once a night at times, and sometimes we think she wakes too early but that's usually because we stayed up too late, not because she isn't sleeping enough. I remember days when she would not sleep at all (for weeks at a time) and that was incredibly draining. The most important tricks I learnt is to let Alexis play outside in the early morning or late arvo so she gets fresh air and sunlight without getting burnt, and to bath, shower, or hose her off if she is covered in food or sweat, as at least in our case, she sleeps better when she is clean. I am scared of jinxing myself here by saying that she is sleeping well, but it's important to note the good stuff. If your baby isn't sleeping well take heart, things can and do get better. You just have to find what works for you.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Where to start?

Does anyone else have a problem getting started with the housework?

So often when Alexis goes down for a sleep I find myself walking in circles scratching my head thinking (apart from oh gross when did I last wash my hair) where do I start?  Do I do the dishes (and risk waking her up) or pick stuff up off the floor (a lesson in futility) or attempt to vacuum (no that will wake her for sure) or mop (no I have to vacuum first) or sort laundry (but she likes to help me with that) or should I get dressed (if I don't shower before Corey leaves for work its quite common I will still have my jarmies on when I get home) or do I start preparing lunch or dinner (but if she needs help going back to sleep and I have stuff on the stove its tricky) or should I empty the bins (so so gross, that's Corey's job, but they are full... ) ... Or...

By the time I get to this point I'm a little dizzy, quite confused, a little hungry and let's face it, most likely to plonk my bottom on the lounge or bed and check facebook or start a blog entry, or lie in bed going "huh? My head hurts.."

I need a plan of attack I think. What do you do? Where should I start? Or maybe I can't decide because I actually do need a rest? Some days I go go go and get so much done. Maybe the indecisive days are a sign that I'm just still tired and its ok to take a break. Maybe. Or maybe I do just need a plan.  I don't know, I just can't decide.  ;)  

It's always worst on Mondays, because we never learn and jam too much into our weekends. A normal Monday: I'm tired, the house is trashed, Alexis misses her daddy ,there are several loads of washing to catch up on, there's no clean cuttlery or plates or bottles or sippy cups or dummies left, there's lasagna remnants on the messy mat (and to either side) and the car still needs to be unpacked.  Corey is all for "just leave the housework and relax, its Sunday", and I fall for it almost every week. Yes, a day of rest is important, but what he fails to see is the impact it has on Monday (and Tuesday, and sometimes Wednesday).

Every Monday I tell myself that on the next available weekend I will get stuck into the vacuuming and mopping and cook and freeze veggies and fruit teethers for Alexis in advance. Every weekend I fall for the "you have had a big week, just relax".  Every Monday I think "oops I did it again".

Does anyone else have this problem?

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

50 random things

I read a "50 things" list on a mummy blog I read so I've decided, in a moment of weakness :p, to do my own. So here you go. 50 things about me you probably didn't know before (and probably didn't need to know).

1. I don't like coconut
2. As a little girl my dream was to be either a doctor, a popstar or a stay at home mum
3. I like lists
4. I get offended easily by carelessness of others. But I'm trying to give it up
5. I studied maths, science and social studies in bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language) for 3 years
6. I did science at uni to try to get into med. I did well at gamsat but never applied for a place in medschool. I couldn't be bothered. My priorities turned to getting married and making babies and I have not once regretted this
7. It infuriates me when the grass is too long but it rains all weekend so Corey can't mow
8. I don't realise I'm tired until I'm exhausted
9. I worked in retail for five years
10. I felt labour contractions in my back, not my belly
11. I met my husband in highschool. We started dating at 16.
12. I like our year 12 formal pictures better than our wedding pictures
13. I love snickers bars
14. I like post mix coke better than real coke
15. I get frustrated with myself when I can't do something I think I should be able to do
16. I want 3 kids, eventually
17. I played interschool softball at school
18. I like watching "Lazytown"
19. I cooked my first roast tonight and it was yummy (thanks to mum and Corey for helping and dad for entertaining Alexis)
20. I like pie
21. I like Gilmore Girls
22. I am enjoying watching Stargate Universe with my husband
23. I teased Corey for watching stargate for months before I gave in and watched an episode then I bought him the series DVDs
24. My first car was red
25. I cried when we sold each of my cars and "hated" the new ones until I had a few weeks to get used to them
26. I clearly have issues with change
27. I come up any excuse possible to get Corey to change the poopy nappies while he's home
28. I think I suck as a stay at home mum some times coz I'm bad at housework, but the fact of the matter is my daughter is amazing and I'd like to think at least a tiny part of that is because I have all the time in the world for her. Housework waits patiently.
29. I like cooking but for some reason I don't have a lot of confidence I won't poison people or screw it up drastically so when people come over we usually get takeaway or BBQ
30. Right now I think my husband is amazing because he got Alexis to sleep tonight. YAY. In the morning I'll probably yell at him for forgetting to put his crusts in the bin for the billionth time.
31. I'm fickle
32. I like a good debate
33. If I don't understand something I'll research it until I do, or I'll shelve it and never think of it again. It's 50/50
34. Corey just got his haircut and it's really hot
35. No-one is going to actually read this list, surely? 50 random things no-one cares about. How bizzare.
36. We try to go to church every sunday but we rarely get there because we sleep in or we're tired or we get ready to go but run so late we realise it's half over before we get there so we turn around and go somewhere else, like shopping
37. I am somewhat addicted to bubble shooter for android. I think I might have to remove the app, coz it is a real time-waster
38. I subconsciously judge people who use poor grammar and incorrect spelling
39. Some people think all babies are cute but I think some babies are born with rather unfortunate heads
40. I wear sneakers or thongs, I'm not a fancy shoe person
41. I am the sort of person who plays with all the kids at mothers group meetings rather than letting them amuse themselves and having a coffee and chat. This is probably because I often feel I have nothing worthwhile to say. It is also because kids are often more interesting.
42. Yet whenever I talk to my childless friends the subject of conversation is almost always my child
43. I rarely stop thinking
43. I am rarely thinking about what I am supposed to be thinking about
44. Every now and then I feel like "I have all this potential, am I wasting it?" It sounds arrogant to say but I do have a remarkable memory, I really do. Am I being selfish and not contributing to 'the greater good' and all that junk by staying home and not searching for a meaningful scientific job finding a cure for some horrible disease or saving starving orphans in Africa or whatever. I was told as a kid I was destined for "greatness". What does that even mean?
45. I tell myself that if the only "great" thing I'll ever do in this life is give birth to and raise kids who are loved and love others then that is enough for me. That is an incredible blessing and honour in its own right. Is it not arguably what woman was in fact designed for?
46. It frustrates the heck out of me when I do stuff like this because Corey is playing computer games in bed (where and when I would happily be sleeping) and then I finally get into blogging he gets mad at me for taking too long and starts sighing and rushing me to hurry up.
47. He's doing it now, ever so discretely ;). He's just offered to get me a glass of water as a cover story.
48. The most loving thing you can ever do for me (while I'm a mum to a young toddler anyway) is come over and do my dishes. Seriously. I'm not kidding.
49. I've had a random assortment of wiggles songs stuck in my head all week
50. I enjoy reading other mummies' blogs because it's nice to know I'm not the only mad mumma out there :). Plus some of them are quite funny, some are informative, and some, well some are so incredibly inspiring.


There you go. 50 random things you never knew and never needed to know. Fifty things that took time for you to read. Time you'll never get back. Reading over it again this list is not so bad. I hope you learned something interesting. How many random things to we have in common? I'd love to read your comments.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Weaning, slowly

I haven't written a blog entry in over a week, almost a week and a half. That is probably some sort of record for me. It's not that I haven't had anything to write about. My darling daughter, humorous husband and noisy neighbours have provided me with oodles of ammunition "bloggable" moments to keep you entertained for hours on end. I just haven't had the time, energy, or the time to myself. No, no, there's no need to get the chorus of violins out for me, I have had a wonderful week and a bit, but time for blogging has been limited.

So what's changed? Several things really, but for the purposes of this entry, there are two notable changes. One, I am seriously cutting back on breastfeeding, and two Alexis has changed her sleep patterns. Both of these are good things and I think they compliment each other nicely. They do, however, limit the amount of "blogging time", "free time", "me time" or any other time other than cleaning up time!

I have no problem with people choosing to continue breastfeeding their child well into their toddler years. There are so many reasons why I would love to do the same, such as bonding, health advantages to the baby, it's free, babies love it, it puts them to sleep and it's so incredibly convenient. However, for numerous other reasons Corey and I have decided it's best we start the weaning process. We haven't been hardcore about it, she still gets a feed when she really wants it, and I'm still feeding her to sleep (the only other thing that works for me is the car. She'll let Corey cuddle her to sleep but not me, not yet), but we're definitely cutting back.

She's handled it incredibly well so far. We've been working on it for a month or so, keeping her busy and not stopping to give her a feed while we're out and about. When at home, I offer her food or water when she approaches me for a feed. She's old enough to be eating mostly solids, with milk feeds just for comfort. She eats very well so I've put her straight on to cow's milk at this stage, and will only go to toddler formula if she starts looking washed out or losing weight once we finish feeding all together. She loves yoghurt and cheese. She has about 100 ml or so milk to drink with breakfast. She is doing really well not needing "boob" (yes, it's embarrassing, she can and does say "boob" quite forcefully now. I always said I'd stop when she learned how to do that!). She still has a quick feed to get herself off to sleep however she seems to know this won't last forever, as she breaks herself off and puts the dummy in before she actually goes to sleep. I am so proud of my little princess.

I think this process has been harder for me than her. Breastfeeding is so convenient. Weaning is not convenient. I have to be a few steps ahead of her to avoid tears (hers and mine). I am learning to preempt meal times and have snacks on hand, especially when we go out. Milk Arrowroot biscuits have become a bit of a godsend. This is mostly due to the fact that she is teething. I didn't realise she was about to start teething when I started trying to wean her off me. There have been days when she has been miserable and wanted to feed all day but unfortunately I just haven't had the milk for her anymore. This is ok though because both of us have realised that she doesn't need a feed when she starts clutching at my chest. Either she is hungry, in which case offering a banana or some apple or a biscuit or some yoghurt or some other convenient snack calms her down; or she needs comforting. We have discovered other ways of quiet bonding time that both of us enjoy. We love reading stories. She walks over to her bookshelf and picks out a story (or two, or three) and brings them over to me to read. She also enjoys cuddling up while we watch Playschool or sing songs or watch (and dance to) the wiggles. This stuff is fun but it requires more immediate energy than simply sticking the boob out for baby to do her thing. I've concluded that I used to use breastfeeding as my "emergency mute button" to calm Alexis down no matter what the problem. In the process of weaning I've learned more about her cries/complaints and how to interpret them.

The biggest advantage to this is that Alexis has been sleeping well at night. (Can I hear a hallelujah?) It's been so nice. Corey and I can stay up and watch a movie or something and know with reasonable certainty that we will get some sleep. The extra "us time" has been great. I haven't blogged though because I'm fairly tired at night because Alexis is quite full on during the day.

It's either the increase in food she's eating or the simple fact that she's growing up, or most likely a combination of the two, that has convinced Alexis' body clock to change from a morning and afternoon sleep to one sleep somewhere in the middle of the day. Normally this suits me well because she, for the first time in her little life, is having a decent day sleep. She was the queen of half hour cat naps. Now I can have a nap myself, or do the dishes, or have lunch! I can't train my body to wait until she wakes up to have lunch with her, if it's lunch time and I'm not busy I want to eat. It's a very nice privilege to eat a meal without a small person trying to scab it off you. The problem is, sometimes she wakes up after half hour or fourty five minutes and thinks she has had a nice 1.5-2 hr sleep, and because I don't have much milk and have just fed her she is fussy and mucks around and she is extremely difficult to get back to sleep any other way. If she admits she's tired it's fine to pat her to sleep, but if she won't admit it and wants to play, then there's not much I can do. If she only has a short sleep, or falls asleep early in the day and then is awake by 11 and normally stays up until around 8pm, she is a ride off quite difficult for the rest of the day.

It's all fun and games though. If she's unhappy letting her play in the yard almost always cheers her up. She loves outdoors, and it doesn't require much cleaning up. I check the mail while she explores the front yard but I always have to be on my guard for cars. The backyard isn't safe either, with a steep slope and retaining wall and ants, bees, weeds, mushrooms.. Still it's a nice change of scenery, and fresh air and sunshine is good for both of us. I don't like to let Alexis watch too much TV. I do let her watch some, usually the shows I really like and we sit and watch together, or if I really have to clean up a mess or get dinner ready etc.

These days I seem to spend the vast majority of my day preparing food, supervising her trying to feed herself (hilarious), cleaning up food scraps and mess, wiping faces, arms, legs and doing dishes. Solid food makes so much more mess than breastfeeding. The highchair and floor cop it bad, then there's the cups, plates, spoons, bottles, cooking utensils, it really never ends. Whenever I get in the kitchen she wants to play in the kitchen too, pulling all the goodies out of the plastics cupboard. I can lock the cupboard and I can lock her out of the kitchen but she makes so much noise gets so distressed it's easier just to clean up her mess later. Then there's the indirect effects of increased solids in the diet, what goes in must come out. I seem to spend a LOT of time attending to madam's rear end spoilage as well.

That said though, I am getting more quality time with my daughter in the long run because I'm not spending as much time trying to get her to sleep, I just put her off to sleep when she tells me she's tired. I need to break the link between feed and sleep, but this has me stumped for now. Any tips that don't involve crying? I wish I could convince her she's tired when I'm tired, but it doesn't work that way. That's why the good Lord invented the Wiggles and smart people invented DVD players. I sometimes feel guilty sitting down while she watches the idiot box, but I used to get a lot of time sitting down when I was feeding her all the time. That's when I used to get my blogging done too, while she was having a feed. I don't anymore because the feeds are few and far between and I'm slowly but surely phasing them out, so until then I'm trying to make the most of each and every one. I will make time for blogging every now and then, and I'll find energy, that's why the good Lord invented the cocoa bean and some smart people decided how to turn it into a tasty block of chocolate. I'm not feeding Alexis that much anymore, so the chocolate I eat isn't going to hype her up much anymore, right?

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Big head

Alexis has always had a rather large head. "It's all the brains," my family says. It's not off the charts, and it's  a very cute big head, but it's a big head none the less.

Alexis' cranial abundance  has caused us both trouble since the day she was born. Well to be honest, her big head was putting pressure on me and causing me pain well before the day I was induced. For the last month of pregnancy when I stood up it felt like the baby's head was going to crack me open and find its own way out. The birth must have been traumatic for her as well as me though.  Her head circumference was measured at 37 cm.

Now, if the circumference of a circle is diameter times pi, with pi being 3.1415, then the diameter is 37 divided by 3.1415 which equals approximately 11.78cm. Now with "fully dilated" being 10cm, that's close to 1.8 cm needing to be accomodated somehow.  Yes, a lot of pain for mummy and a needle and thread required later (with local anesthetic and lots and lots of happy gas) but I'd guess it'd mean one heck of a headache for poor bubba Alexis. 

Since then our darling's huge halo has made dressing  quite difficult. We need to move up sizes in singlets regularly because they only stretch so far. We do frequently get them stuck, with howls of protest from the head owner. 

Hats are an issue too, with her outgrowing her favourite hat very quickly and it being difficult for us to find a cute enough replacement. She is quite fussy. We ended up going for a bucket hat for ages 1-3, I hope this gets some use.

What triggered all this reminiscence is that I just had to struggle rediculously hard to fit a brand new T-shirt over Alexis' head. Definitely this shirt is a fairly tight-necked shirt, but I undid the two buttons on the side first. It shouldn't be THAT hard.

I guess clothing is biased towards babies with small heads. Alexis head follows the normal growth curve for babies born with large head circumference though. There must be babies with bigger heads out there. What do parents of babies with abnormally large head size do?  Plus Alexis barely has any hair, what about babies with thick curly hair? I've heard of dressing in clothes a size up for height, or weight, but head size?

So I'm asking you for input, does your baby have a large head? Have you found any brands or styles of clothing that are more big-head friendly? I like her to  have her chest and shoulders covered. I'm not into strappy tops where the nipples pop out and too many buttons is too much hassle. I like to dress her in pretty, normal T-shirts, I just don't want to risk decapitating her in the process. Any ideas for me?

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Friday, March 4, 2011

please ma'am, stab my daughter

The subject of immunising children, particularly babies, is a very controversial one. Nobody (well nobody worthy of breathing air) actually LIKES seeing their kids in pain. Nobody really LIKES the idea of their precious angel being injected with live virus or bacteria or synthetic bits and pieces. Nobody (again, no decent human being) would ever consider it fun to physically hold a small child down while someone jabs them with needles repeatedly. Many of us question what is actually in that magic little vial and whether the whole thing is worth it. Is it safe? Is it worth the pain? Is it worth her looking at me like I'm a monster for a few minutes?

Today I took my daughter to the family practice, where a doctor checked her over, measured her and gave her the all clear. We then waited for the nurse, who chatted politely with Alexis a little bit, apologised, stabbed her three times, praised her for being such a brave girl, showed her an amazing windmill, wrote in our book, and sent us on our merry way. We thanked her very much, waved goodbye to the admin ladies, and ordered lunch. We went shopping quickly, picked up lunch, then went to my parents place. Alexis played happily with her grandad for hours before coming home for a nice long sleep. She woke up happy, had a nice dinner, played some more, and is now soundly sleeping again. No nasty side-effects. Not even any swelling at the wound site. Then again, my darling is special.

The whole experience wasn't that bad. The god-honest truth is that she put up more of a fight when the doctor tried to measure her head circumference then lie her down to measure her height. She chucked a mega wobbly when we tried to lie her on the scales. She wasn't very phased by the needles. She didn't cry at all or even flinch for the first needle, she cried briefly for the second, and the third needle's scream was short-lived. I have seen her protest more over nappy changes. She seemed to know it was going to be OK because her daddy, the nice pretty nurse, and I all were calm. "We know it hurts but it's for your own good sweetheart," we said, and we meant it.

Some friends of mine think I'm an ignorant fool putting my child at risk unnecessarily for "conforming to governmental pressure" in vaccinating my kid. I'm sure they have their reasons, and I am not going to judge them for that. However, it is my personal (and dare I say professional? Trust me, I'm a scientist... :p) opinion that it is not only my civic duty to vaccinate Alexis, it is an incredible privilege to be able to do so, and for zero cost to myself. In Australia we are so lucky to have our children protected from diseases that kill. We are so lucky to be "bullied into" taking advantage of free vaccinations that parents in developing countries would do just about anything to get their hands on for their children. Call me a fool? Well then let me ramble a little further.

I studied at uni about bacteria, viruses, and immunology and worked in an infectious disease lab. I learned a bit about the diseases, and how a little exposure can help your body make an "immune response". Basically it preps your immune system, allowing it to form a "special ops" army particularly "trained" to knock out that particular pathogen "bad guy". It means if that "bad guy" ever does come your way you have "soldiers" on the job incredibly quickly. A few minutes can be the difference between life and death with these things. The vaccines are designed to deliver just enough stuff to mount a response but not enough stuff to cause disease. They often use "stuff" that they've changed in some way to make it less dangerous but still as recognisable to your immune system. It's really hard to explain unless you have some idea of how immunology works, but basically there's markers on the surface of bacteria and viruses, that are kind of like a uniform. In a very simplified way I guess you could say it's like sending in a uniform, or a uniform on a dead body, or a uniform on a live bad guy but with no weapons and no arms. You will still know what the enemy looks like next time you're faced with them. It's sort of a bit like that.

The problem is that sometimes vaccinations can go wrong. What if the dead bad guy is just sleeping? Or what if he's full of poison gas? What if the "weaponless guy" has a knife hidden in his boot or explosives tied to his body. OK so I'm taking the analogy too far, but occasionally people get sick from vaccinations, or, they are sick anyway and they blame it on the vaccination. It can be hard to tell the difference. Babies get colds all the time. Babies get teething pain all the time. But if baby is difficult after a vaccination, then the parents are going to blame the vaccinations. Also, there is concern about what is snuck into the vial with the "modified bad guy" so to speak, such as immune stimulants (designed to help your body deal with the pathogen, kind of like espionage information I guess) and other components such as aluminium, acids, salt, mercury, and phosphates. Yes, this other stuff they shove in is concerning, however there is more chance of getting mercury poisoning from eating fish, aluminium from cans, or phosphates from the fertiliser on your fruit and veg. For me, personally, it's a case of risk (both calculated and severity) of vaccine complications (which do occur but are rare) verse risk and severity of disease complications.

One of the immunisations Alexis received today was to protect her from Haemophilus Influenzae B (HiB). Some info on this bacteria can be found by clicking here Sure this was not an incredibly common disease, but with complications in 10% of cases including death or permanent brain damage, I'd say it's quite serious. The early symptoms of HiB are almost impossible to detect in an infant: irritability, crying, vomiting, tiredness, fussiness with food, headache/neck ache.

Another one she received today was meningococcal c. This is another terrible disease, to see more click here. More common than HiB, 10% of sufferers die, a further 20-30% have serious permanent damage such as brain damage, kidney failure, or loss of limbs. The meningococcal bacteria is spread by saliva, and babies account for around 66% of cases. Even healthy adults can be dead within 12 hours of the first symptoms, so, you could imagine this could progress quite quickly through an infant. It is also very hard to distinguish early symptoms.
The early symptoms are similar to that of the flu, gastroenteritis, or even a hangover – a severe headache, fever, sore throat, lack of energy. Alternatively, it could start with a sore arm or leg, an aching joint, or pains in the chest or stomach
I've been turned away from the doctors for symptoms like these.

She also got the MMR vaccine, for measles, mumps and rubella. This one is particularly controversial due to an alleged link to the autism spectrum disorder. Apart from the original claim (which was retracted after further study) there has been no scientific evidence to support a link between vaccination and autism. The big-wigs have all concluded that any anecdotal correlation in the increase in autism is due to an increase in autism awareness and diagnosis. Measles and mumps used to be incredibly prevalent. They can have serious complications, and the discomfort is much worse than one little needle. Children die from measles overseas all the time. Mumps in older males can lead to sterility. If a lady contracts rubella while pregnant it seriously harms the baby. Sure these diseases aren't overly common in Australia anymore but this is because of vaccination. It doesn't take much in our global world for someone with the disease to fly in and if we weren't protected it would spread like wild-fire. This isn't scare-tactics, it's true. Measles is spread like the flu, and people are contagious well before any rash appears.

Sure, I agree that the best way to keep your kids healthy is to teach them good hygiene habits and feed them lots of fruit and vegetables, however, I personally am sure glad that I live in a country where my daughter can get a helping hand and receive these needles. She could still get sick from plenty of things I know, but at least I know that I did what I could to protect her against these five nasty diseases. Five nasty diseases that are all transmitted by methods so hard to protect babies from, like sneezes, kisses, respiratory droplets, or bugs living on things (they put everything in their mouths). Five nasty diseases with initial symptoms that are so hard to tell in babies (irritability, fever, sore throat, headache, pain, sniffles).

Do I feel guilty for holding her down while someone jabbed her to try to protect her from these things? No I don't. Do I feel like I put her at unnecessary risk of complication? No I don't. I know these vaccines are safe for her for a few reasons, one I've had them, and my husband had them, and we had no problems. They are vaccines that have been around for decades. I would feel uneasy giving her experimental or new vaccines. I have six months to research further into the chicken pox vaccine (this one still unnerves me, I have to read into it). There's a high chance that Alexis might never have had meningococcal, HiB, Measles, Mumps, or Rubella, even without me vaccinating her, but I do not feel like it's a risk I am willing to take. I could drive her to and fro in the car all day everyday and never have a car accident but I will still always put her in her carseat and strap her in appropriately. There's a good chance my house will never flood, burn, or be broken into, but I will always have insurance. When I worked in the lab there was a very high chance I'd never have a needle stick injury, but I still got the Hep B vaccination. We are a social society, and where there are people there are diseases. When it's so easy to protect our little treasures from these nasties, then I'm gonna do it.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

got a pen?

OI got my phone back. Yay. Unfortunately the repairers reset factory defaults, so I lost almost everything. All my contacts (foolish me had them on the phone not the sim), all my apps, and all my notes. Fortunately my photos were on the SD card. The most upsetting things to lose were journal entries, letters for bub, things I wanted to turn into blogs when I got the chance. Very disappointing. Such is life with modern technology I guess, it can't be trusted. Lesson learned, don't underestimate the value of paper and ink.