Thursday, 25 February 2010

Poo Update!

He's done one!  Woo hoo!

Apparently all he needed was to have his bowel problems discussed on the internet for all to see.

Maybe Tomorrow

(Hideously catchy explaination of the title.)

Alex is a little blocked up at the moment.  At both ends, unfortunately!  He's managed to combine a stinking cold with an epic bout of constipation.  How bad you ask?  (Well, you probably don't, but tough.  I'm going to tell you anyway.)

He's not had a poo for seven days.  Seven days!  How is there even any space left for food?  How come he hasn't exploded?  He's eating just as much as ever (although he is throwing more of it back up than usual).  Where is it going?  More to the point, what on earth is it going to be like once it finally comes out...?

There's a curious dichotomy to your child's poo.  On the one hand, a day without poo is something of a blessing.  On the other, it does mean that he's saving up a real cracker for tomorrow.  After seven poo-free ("Poo free!  As free as the wind blows!") days, what's the first bowel movement going to be like?  Evil, I'm betting.  Something of a relief for Alex too, I should imagine.

Surprisingly, he doesn't seem in the least upset about it.  I'm sure that if I'd gone seven days without taking a dump I'd be pretty hacked off with life.  Not Alex.  He's just as happy as ever to jump about, eat noses and fling soft toys about.  (Carrot-Rabbit and Mr Lion (pictured at his interview for the position of soft toy (0-6 months)) are the current top toys.)

We've had a quick look on the internet (mmm, trustworthy) and asked JRB (famously missed the fact that I had measles as a baby) and come up with no really good answers.  More fruit seems to help.  Sometimes.  If you can get them to eat the damn stuff.  Alex was due to have mushed pears for breakfast today.  Goodness knows if he ate any of it.  (He's a real junk food addict.  Boxed Heinz baby food or nothing!  (That's an exaggeration.  He likes his home-made cauliflower and potato mush as well.))

Fingers crossed.  Maybe tomorrow he'll want to settle down to a massive dump.  Even better, maybe he'll do it when I'm not there!

P.S.  Google ad on the dashboard of the blog as soon as I clicked "post"?  "Feeling bloated?  Try Activia!"

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Little Man

When I arrived home last night, Nicola and Alex were sitting in the kitchen, watching dinner cook.  Alex was in his high chair, Nic was on a dining room chair.  When I said hello, Alex turned around, gave me a big smile of greeting and then went back to watching the veggies roast.  That little moment was one of the times I've felt most connected to him since he was born.

It can be hard to see babies as people sometimes.  Alex is tremendously cute and I love him to bits, but the same can be said of Ringo.  For the first few months, babies really are like cats in clothes.  They know what they want and they can tell you if they're happy or upset, but beyond that it can be hard to see the person they're going to become.  As adults we don't stuff everything we see into our mouths, nor do we take great delight in holding our own feet.  Babies do.  They're learning about the world, one tiny step at a time.  It's obviously necessary, but it makes them seem like a member of a different species sometimes.

Alex's response when I got home was so obviously human, so easily intelligable, that it really brought it home to me that he is a person.  A little man with likes and dislikes.  Not just a cat in clothes.

P.S. Three updates in a week?  What's going on?  Could it be that I'm doing literature work at the moment and any excuse to avoid it for five minutes is most welcome?  Surely not.

EDITED TO ADD:  Hmm, re-reading this it sounds rather like I was suggesting I didn't feel connected to Alex before.  That's not what I meant, rather that this was a moment of particularly heightened connection.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Mobile Reception

Meet the newest recruit in our war on wakefulness.  I give you the Fisher-Price Precious Planet 2-in-1 Projection Mobile (tm)!  (No, that isn't Alex in the photo.  It's a promotional shot from the Fisher Price homepage. I was way too tired to bother taking a photo of a piece of plastic.)

Basically, it's a fancypants mobile.  Strap it to the cot, place baby underneath it and sleeping ensues.  At least in theory.  To aid sleep, it rotates under its own power (or at least under the power of four 'D' batteries, not included) while (and I quote) "animal friends from around the planet twirl and smile down at baby as music plays and a fascinating light show dances up above".

The "animal friends" are a curious assortment.  They are: Yellow Lion, Green Crocodile, White Polar Bear and Cyan Whale.  Yep, you read that right.  Cyan Whale.  I can only assume he's cyan so you don't mistake him for a 190 tonne Blue Whale.  They apparently represent different environments on Earth.  (Ocean, Savannah, Tropical and Arctic.  No love for the temperate regions it seems.)  The "fascinating light show" consists of slightly fuzzy pictures of the same four animals, plus a couple of friends.  (In wanton disregard to geographical accuracy the polar bear is snuggled up against a penguin.  The lion at least gets an appropriate giraffe and hippo combo.  (All baby toys must have a giraffe on them.  It's the law.))

The music comes in three varieties.  Classical, as rendered by one man and his electric keyboard.  (Assuming said man had lost nine of his fingers in an hideous Casio accident some years back but struggles on gamely with his one remaining finger.)  Nature sounds (a wee inducing collection of waves lapping the shore and gulls skwaking) and inter-uterine heartbeat and white noise.

The very best thing about it, though, is the remote control.  Clearly designed for parents who have not had much sleep, it has a single, massive button (marked with a red arrow, just in case you missed it) and little else.  If all you could manage was to mash the controller with your face you would still be able to operate it reliably.  Amusingly it is marketed as letting you "restart the mobile without disturbing baby".  Ha.  Restart the mobile without getting out of bed more like it.  If I need to turn the bloody thing on it's because baby has already disturbed himself!

Enough cynical whinging though, let's get down to the nitty gritty.  Does it work?

Yes.  Yes!  A thousand times yes!  God bless Fisher-Price!  All hail the mighty powers of Cyan Whale!  (All right, I might be over selling it a bit here.  It's not a magic bullet, but it really does help.  Alex particularly likes the nature sounds.  So far we've had two successful getting back to sleeps with the aid of the mobile, and it's very handy for getting him off to sleep in the first place.  Nicola's hairdryer may finally go back to only being for drying hair.)

So, fingers crossed, maybe we'll get a chance to catch up on some sleep soon.  Then perhaps I'll be able to work out how to operate that damn remote control...

(Photos in this post are from and are used under fair use/fair dealing.  Please don't sue me!  We got our mobile from and I'd heartily recommend any parent to get one!)

Monday, 8 February 2010

Food, Glorious Food...

...Lukewarm milk and baby rice!

Alex is on to solids.  Well, I say solids.  The weird goop that is Heinz First Foods Baby Rice isn't solid in any recognisable sense of the word.  It looks like wallpaper paste.  It smells significantly worse.  God alone knows what it tastes like!

We've started weaning a touch early (the advice is ideally to wait until 6 months) in a vain effort to get Alex to sleep better.  (Still waking up three or four times at the moment.  Urgh.)  The health visitor suggested it would be worth a shot.  If he wasn't ready, he wouldn't eat it.  If he was, it might help him settle over night.  Well, anything's worth a shot at the moment!

Having got used to breast feeding, solid food is a bit of a palaver.  First, boil the kettle half an hour in advance.  Mix tepid kettle water with formula powder.  (You can use expressed breast milk for this too, but that's even more of a pain.)  Create 40mls of foul smelling milk substitute.  Mix in somewhere in the region of 2tsps of Baby Rice.  (A very curious substance.  It's actually rice flour fortified with vitamins, not actual grains of rice.  It looks a bit like artificial sweetener to me.)  Add more rice if required to create a sludgy, slightly lumpy goo of a viscosity somewhere between natural yoghurt and unset cement.

Next, prepare Alex.  Dress child in all over plastic smock (oddly decorated with a picture of a toddler holding a monkey).  Add further cloth bib around neck.  (The rice would just slide down the plastic smock and end up on his trousers.)  Put child in high chair.  Stuff cushion down the back of the chair to prop child up.  (Alex is really a month to young for the chair.)

Feed child.  Because it's just that easy...

Actually, touch wood, so far it is pretty easy to get the food into him.  Alex was clearly ready for a bit of solid food and lunges at the spoon with glee.  Sadly, he doesn't lunge with a whole host of co-ordination, however, and it often results in the spoon ending up in his cheek/chin/nose rather than his mouth.  He's not quite grasped the whole swallowing thing fully either.  Specifically, he's a touch confused as to whether or not you can breathe out at the same time as having a mouthful of baby rice.  (Answer: yes, technically.  It does mean your parents get showered in rice goo though.)

Gods, solids already.  Doesn't time fly?

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Happy Feet

You may have noticed a drop off in the blog rate over the last couple of weeks.  It's not that nothing has been happening, it's just that I've been way too tired to write anything.  Alex is still waking up over night.  A lot.  As much as he ever has, including when he was very little.  Every three or so hours he'll wake up, snuffle and thrash about, then cry.  Sometimes he goes back to sleep just being rocked.  Sometimes he doesn't.  My routine for getting him back to sleep goes like this:

  1. Wake up to thrashing.
  2. Hope he'll go back to sleep. (He never does.)
  3. Ignore first few nyaps hoping he'll go back to sleep. (He never does here, either.)
  4. Wonder if Nic will get up and deal with him.
  5. Admit that it's probably my turn.
  6. Get up.  Freeze.
  7. Shush Alex in his cot, not picking him up so as not to encourage this sort of behaviour.
  8. Pick him up.
  9. Rock back and forth until (if) arms go floppy.
  10. Lower to the inverted prawn position (tummy to tummy, Alex's back arched towards horizonal away from me).  Rock until (if) arms go floppy again.
  11. Put sleeping child in cot.
  12. Take wide awake child out of cot again.
  13. Repeat steps 9-11.
  14. Give up and wake Nicola to feed him.
Poor Nic gets awoken by his snuffles and cries even if I do manage to get him back to sleep (which is getting rarer and rarer).  If I don't, she's up for an hour or so, once the pre-feed, feed, settling time and getting back to sleep time are factored in.  It's not making for the most compos mentis parents at the moment.If anyone has any advice, we're at the stage of trying anything!

*               *                *

In other news, Alex has found his feet.  Strange to think that you have to learn to become aware of your own body.  He is very interested in them.  Any opportunity he gets he grabs them.  (This requires being on his back on a flat surface at the least.  Ideally, he likes to be naked, thus allowing full flexibility.)  He hasn't quite got them in his mouth yet (perhaps he takes after his paternal grandfather in terms of flexibility), but I suspect it's just a matter of time.  Last night they were even more interesting than the duck during bath time, and that's saying something!

Alex's bedtime is also getting earlier.  He's now noticeably snoozy and grumpy by 6:30pm.  This means bath time has been brought forwards to before Nic's and my dinnertime.  On the plus side, it means we get to eat a grown up, adult dinner at the same time as each other.  (Something of a novelty.)  On the down side, my god am I hungry by 7:30!  I've been spoilt by Nic having had my tea on the table when I got home.  Still, I'm sure we'll enjoy it, once we're not so tired we fall asleep in our lasagne.