Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Finding her way or becoming spoilt?

Emily's getting to that age where she's becoming quite independent ... or so she thinks. She wants to walk where SHE wants to walk, do what SHE wants to do and if she can't, we'll hear about it - usually with a scream in our ear.

Up until now, I always thought terrible parents were terrible because they were lazy or didn't care, but I really begin to wonder where the line is with children. Is Emily learning as she goes, or is she testing boundaries? Are these the seeds of an ASBO child that we have to guide, or is it a natural part of development to not want to hold hands crossing the road and spraying the wall with food?

If it is a natural part of development, how do we react?

Last night, Emily threw food on the floor, and I tapped her hand and sternly said no. As she's not an adult, she didn't look at me and say, "Gosh. Sorry dad, what the heck was I thinking?", she looked at me and balled her eyes out, as I picked bits of quiche out of the carpet and surrounding toys. I understand children have the attention span of a gnat, but I firmly believe I need to ensure Emily starts to know right from wrong, or is it too early?

Parenting is hard. I guess bad parents are those that understand this, and choose the easy route, I don't know.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Strop shop and jet lag

The last couple of days Em's really been acting up and I have to put it down to jetlag.

Sue and I have been spoilt as far as parenting goes. Em has been such a great kid, with a wonderful disposition that when she does get a strop on, it's really unexpected. Usually, she cries for one of a few reasons - including hunger or thirst. The last couple of days, she's really turned on the random shrieking, which has freaked Sue and I out, but we can only imagine what jet lag is doing to her.

Too many times we've had toforceably wake her from a VERY deep sleep for food or just to readjust her body clock. When she then awakes at 3am, she's thoroughly confused why we're not up to play.

During this whole jetlag ordeal, I'm reminded of what we might be able to expect when the terrible twos hit, as Em can be quite forceful in her crying and screaming.

I hope the honeymoon period of having a wonderful child isn't over and indeed never ends. This glimpse into a "what if" reality only makes me happier about the Emily we do have.

Friday, 27 November 2009

They're back from Oz!

Went to the airport this monr and picked Em and Sue up.

They're both present and accounted for and doing well. The fear I had of the flights back from Oz being a complete nightmare were, for the most part, unfounded. Which is good.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

She's illin'!

There's something wrong with Em. She's really docile and isn't moving all that much. It could be a number of things - jetlag, heat stroke, coming down with mummy's cold, etc.

It's rough being ill on holiday and she really has no concept of jetlag - although she's gone through it enough, with trips to Europe, Seattle, Toronto, and Oz all under her tiny little belt. We've given her Calpol in the hopes it will keep her (tiny) fever down and bring her back to perkiness.

Watch this space.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

We made it!

After two flights and a 3.5 hour stop over in KL, we made it to Adelaide!

Our worries about Emily acting up and ruining our trip were VERY overrated. On the flight from London we got a bassinet, so she was able to sleep in that for about 9 of the 12 hours we were in the sky. As we took off at 10pm, this made for much relaxed (and sleepy) mum and dad, I can say! We didn't have to have her on our laps for any of the journey, apart from take off and landing.

From KL to Adelaide, there was an extra seat available so we switched with a couple and Em had her own seat. Not only that, they actually gave her her own meal as well! Not bad at all.

The only time she really acted up was the last bit of the flight to Adelaide. She'd obviously had enough and wanted to walk or crawl ... anything but be on that plane.

Now bring on the holiday.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

3D animation of child birth

If you wondered what was actually going on during child birth, this one minute video demonstrates it quite well.

If only child birth actually lasted only one minute!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Winter headwear

If there's one thing Emily hates (and I can think of more than one thing at the moment) it's hats. Or to be more specific, ANYTHING on her head.

She just really dislikes it - pulling and tugging at anything you place remotely near her head. She does this for sunglasses too, but that's not all that much of a concern.

For the past few months it's not really been an issue covering her head as it's been summer. As winter is quickly approaching, I'm starting to be a bit concerned that I'm going to have a baby topped off with a frozen popsicle for a head.

It's been suggested I try one of those hats with flaps that you can tie at the bottom. I can only imagine the feedback Emily will provide on that, but I think a little aural discomfort is worth the trade off of her not coming down all manner of winter related illnesses.

When we solve that one, there's the small issue of she also hates gloves...

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Emily's reaction to "Coraline" and other concerns

Cover of Cover of Coraline
We watched Neil Gaiman's excellent "Coraline" on Blu-Ray last night. Even though I knew it was far removed from a children's film, I thought we could let Em see the first few minutes of it - every film has that peaceful, happy setup phase at the beginning.

We eventually put her to bed about 10 minutes in, but I have no idea what happened in the film as she was laughing so hard. I don't really know what it is about stop-motion animation that got her all giddy, but I couldn't hear any dialogue over her laughter. It was quite amusing.

It did get me to thinking though. What do children actually take in. I was worried that the darker undertones of the film would subconciously scar her for life, but I have a strange feeling now that all she would probably take in (if she watched the whole film) was the quirky animation, a talking cat and some other funny - hysterical - stuff happening on screen. Having said that, the spider woman that "Other Mother" morphs into kinda gave ME the creeps.

I don't really plan on making a habit of viewing R or even PG material with Em (we're happy with "In The Night Garden" at the moment), but her reaction did make me sit back and think.

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Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Toddler Discipline - The beginning

Emily is getting to that stage where she's not a blank slate anymore. She's started to do these little things to test Sue and I. Part of me wants to let her experience things and be free, but the other part, the part that can envision this boundary-free tearaway, wants to stop her at every turn.

It's incredibly hard to know what to let her do and what to put a stop to. Do we allow her to fling her food on the floor or kill that dead? Is she allowed to trace her fingers around my closed eye or will that morph into attacking sleeping children at school?

And then there's the kicking. When we're out and about, Em uses kicking to signal excitement. When we're playing that same kicking sometimes results in a boot to the head for mummy and daddy. Do we scold her and put an end to this (sometimes) painful experience.

I can't help but think the choices we make today will shape the child in the future. With parenthood comes great responsibility. I can't help but feeling our actions now will  help determine whether Em becomes a PhD or an ASBO.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Parental responsibilities

I saw an old silver haired fox (similar to me) getting taken down outside Tesco today for attempting to shoplift a Tesco value brand 17" monitor, and it got me to thinking about the responsibilities of parenthood.

I mean, this middle aged (presumably) responsible pillar of the family? What would his kids think, bailing dad out for shoplifting something that wasn't even name brand?

I think parenthood is the next evolution in our social climb up the proverbial ladder. The single life and the child free wedded years, you have such a different outlook, a different perception on life and your responsibilities are... well, you. Out all hours, spending money on what YOU want, being reckless and answerable to no one else.

You pop a sprog out and it's not about you anymore. You've evolved. You are now a role model. These little sponges take in everything you do, believe you're Superman, want to be you and believe you can do no wrong.

Given this great power, it's amazing how many people completely mishandle this great responsibility and ruin it for their kids.

I'm not perfect, I just try not to screw up too bad. There's a few easy wins though to being the best parent I think - no drugs, not being drunk in front of them, no swearing, treating them with love and affection and teaching them boundaries early on.

I think a lot of today's problem kids have at the root of their issues parents who've disregarded these easy wins, for one reason or another. No one ever said it was easy, and being a parent doesn't come with an instruction manual (if it did, it would have warned me about Emily's penchant for hiding my TV remotes!!).

I just think life's hard enough without giving our kids a crap start to life. I mean, if I was going to shoplift a monitor it would have been name brand and at least 24"! At least being bailed out, they wouldn't be embarrassed by my (almost) plunder.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Danger! Falling baby

Yesterday we put Em in her cot ostensibly to have her afternoon nap, but also to keep her out of the way while we finished the painting in the bathroom.

I went into her room when finished to put some stuff away. As I was knelt down with my back to her cot, I heard a God almighty bang. First thought was she'd thrown something really heavy out of her cot. Second thought was she doesn't have anything heavy enough to make a thud that loud.

Looking round, I realised she DID have something heavy enough to make a thud that loud - herself. It seems like she saw me on the ground and just decided to catapult out of her cot... and well, she missed me, but landed flat on her back.

I really don't know whether she thought I'd catch her, or even see her. It wasn't like she was making noise that would indicate she wanted picking up or removing from her cot.

All the same, she was no worse for wear (as far as we can tell) and a songs later she'd forgotten all about it.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Emily and her guitar

Never too young. They always say that. Never too young to learn manners, to eat well, etc.

On Saturday we went to ELC and bought Emily a child sized guitar, so here's hoping it's never too early to learn to play guitar.

This isn't the first musical instrument Emily's been given. She's got a couple of tambourines, some sort of drum and a microphone that plays songs.

However, the guitar we bought her is a proper small scale guitar, not one of these Rockband style things with five buttons that plays a song when you press it. There's six-strings - E, A, D, G, B and E and it'll take a stronger man than me to keep the bastard thing in tune!

Right now she's just smacking the crap out of it, but I hope she moves on from the end of set Pete Townshend moves and tries a bit more of the during show moves.
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Monday, 21 September 2009

I could throttle her! (or ... my day out at Hever Castle)

Hever Castle & Gardens, Childhood Home of Anne...Image by iknow-uk via Flickr
We decided to embrace Indian summer yesterday by journeying into deepest, darkest Kent to visit Hever Castle. As Sue is on an Anne Boleyn kick at the moment, it was a must that we visit her childhood home.

Emily, on the otherhand, is NOT on an Anne Boleyn kick and would have preferred to stay asleep than to be rudely awoken by the adults, just to roam around a castle that had "do not touch" on everything.

Emily is currently in that "terrible two" phase where she screams in a high pitch whine before going straight as a board when she's not getting her way. Unlike other things she does, there's no real way this is cute.

Half way through the tour of the castle... or large house as it actually is, I decided enough is enough and made a hasty exit with Emily who, by this point, was actually crying with tears from her eyes. Tears, I hasten, of boredom... well, I imagine.

The rest of the day out at Hever was lovely and uneventful. Once outside and in the gardens she was right as rain. Just something about old things you can't touch must have put her tired nose out of joint.

Lesson for next time, let sleeping bubbies lie.
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Tuesday, 15 September 2009

18 months old!

Today Emily is officially 18 months old. There's a lot to expect from a child at this age, the least of which is walking. Thankfully, she's able to walk unassisted and it's really just come on in the last month or so.

She's becoming her own little person more every day now, but she's still a joy to have around - even if her increased mobility has led to increased inquisitiveness (i.e. pulling things off shelves).

"You take the good, you take the bad..."

A quote from The Smiths seems to sum up the last year and a half - "18 months hard labour seems... fair enough". Just hoping the next 18 months are a little easier.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Oh crap

There's times in your life as a parent when you just want things to be nice and not horrific.

On Saturday we put Emily in her crib as punishment for something... being a scallywag no doubt. As I was done prepping the lally for painting, I thought I'd go in a check on her. At first I thought Sue had given her chocolate that she'd smeared everything.

On second glance, it wasn't a nutty buddy, but something a little more sinister being smeared here and there.

You'd hope a child's first reaction to crapping themselves would not be to think "hey, new toy", but to be fair, everytime we've changed her nappy we've kept the crap away from her - for obvious health related reasons. So when she crapped herself Saturday, she must have thought she'd made (or found) some wonderful, soft, warm play thing. Needless to say, she was cleaned up and bathed, while the offending bedding was dealt with in true hazchem style.

We've since realised that the nappy brand, style and size we've relied on are probably woefully inadequate for an increasingly active toddler. What a crappy way to learn THAT lesson!

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Monday, 7 September 2009

Toddler lethargy

With Emily walking unaided almost all the time, a side-effect has set in - tiredness. I think now she's exerting a lot more energy walking and balancing, it's really taking it out of her energy-wise.

Where before she'd go to bed around 8ish, she'd wake around 6.30am. Now she's going to bed at the same time and we're having to wake her around 7ish - teenager like.

I'm not sure where to go on this one. We either feed her more to get her calories / energy up; get her to go to bed earlier, which won't be easy; or just deal with it.

I'm hoping this is common amongst toddlers who start to get more active and doesn't point to something more sinister like toddler anemia or thyroid issues.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

New childminder

A new month, a new childminder.

Having had to find a new childminder due to issues out of our control, we finally started with a new woman, Helen, today. While Katharine was a 20 minute round trip the WRONG way, Helen is actually on the way to work. I have to drop Emily at 8.30 in the morning, so we can leave the house around 8.20am. Leaving at 8.05am for Katharine's we used to get there about 8.30am, so Em and I have got a few more minutes at home.

All this means we need to find a new routine!

As it was Em's first day, she wasn't all too impressed with me leaving her. She raised merry hell, as she did when Ness dropped her round last week for a couple of test sessions. She didn't sleep today either, but I'm sure it's all down to the "new ness" of it all.

It's funny starting with a new childminder with Em around 18 months and seeing the differences from when she started at Katharine's. She's quite the little toddler now with moods and attitudes. When we started at Katharine's she was really quite docile and just went with the flow.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Yelly Emily

She has a new haircut and a new attitude!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Haircuts and such

Suzi QuatroSuzi Quatro via

Sue took Em for another haircut on Monday and it's amazing how much better she looks.

Previously, Em was sporting a middle-parted "flick" that made her resemble a 70s glam rocker somewhat (the Suzie Quatro, as we called it).

Now she's had her back cleaned up a bit and her fringe is tidied up and all one length and she looks quite the toddler.

It's amazing how one little change like this can really make such a visual difference. Em's last haircuts didn't really make her appearance change this much.
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Monday, 24 August 2009

Clifford the big red treat

As a treat tonight, I decided to see if I could find some YouTube fun for Emily. Mainly some Clifford the Big Red dog episodes or some In The Night Garden.
I found both.

We watched a couple of episodes of both shows and Emily was transfixed.
I don't want to her become a square-eyed boxhead, but I can imagine how cool it must have been for her to see Clifford come to life, having read his book cover to cover almost daily for the last few months.
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Sunday, 23 August 2009

Walking - almost there

Sue and I have really been pushing Emily to walk. Every little trip that we could carry her or let her crawl we've been pushing her to walk.

This weekend, she's actually started to show a lot of the fruits of the labour. She's started walking further and further. Previously, it would be a few zombie steps between mummy and daddy (with arms held out, zombie fashion, obviously for balance). Now, she's wandering off, oblivious to the fact that she's walking. She's also dropping down on her bum mid-walk, but then standing back up, without needing to use anything for help or balance.

They say that by 18 months children are usually walking, and given how indifferent she was we really had no hope of achieving that. However, with the progress of the last few days, I'm placing good money on the "before 18 months" scenario.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Emily's singing

I got home tonight to a neat surprise.

Emily had learned to hum along to "Baa Baa Blacksheep". It's this quiet little hum, the kind you'd do without noticing while busy doing something else.

Sue and I have subjected the poor child to music almost since the day she was born. I play her songs on my guitar and our singing actually soothes her and puts her to sleep. She's started to sing her own little nonsense tunes before, but today was the first time she's hummed anything that sounded like anything.

We've been talking about getting her a toddler's acoustic guitar, looks like she could use it now.

Emily may NOT be walking, but she knows about the black sheep!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Afternoon nap

Clifford the Big Red DogImage via Wikipedia
Being home the last couple of days with an illness I hope isn't pig related, I've been able to see a bit more of Emily.

Part of that has involved trying to get her to stick to an afternoon nap as part of her daily routine. It's never easy to get a child to sleep, especially when they're nosy and they think they might miss something.

Yesterday and today, however, I have hit the magic bullet ... for now. At the first sign of any tiredness (yawn, glazed look, eye rubbing) I put her on our bed with a couple of her favourite board books, Clifford The Red Dog being a current fave. After a few minutes, she invariably falls asleep. She looks at her books so intensely, studying them like a doctor would study a patient, I'm not surprised she nods off.

I hope this instils in her a love of books though, and doesn't make her equate them with falling asleep.

It's just nice that she's taking her afternoon nap and not waiting until 7pm to begin her evening tiredness grizzle.
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Friday, 7 August 2009

Child minding issues. Continued.

With our previous child minder out of action for a bit, we are now currently searching for new services.

Thankfully, we have a stop gap in my aunt, so we can search with a bit more leeway and not take the first child minder that comes along.

We have the first appointment tomorrow around noon with a woman who lives around the corner from us in Wallington. Bonus point here - it's on the WAY to work, not 25 minutes the other way.

I imagine we have a wonderful few weeks of interviews, reference checking and other sundry vetting ahead of us. Oh happy days.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Child minding issues

For reasons I won't be going into we've suddenly found ourselves child minderless. Having processed this information last night, I was trying to find the silver lining to the cloud. The only one really being that Sue and I might be able to source one a little closer / more convenient to my work.

I did a cursory look around NetMums last night and there seems to be a few choices out there. It's just a question of narrowing down, contacting, checking references, etc. Not something we can really do tomorrow and Friday.

Up until this point, I was happy to drive Emily in completely the wrong direction from work as we were completely happy with our child minder and didn't want to uproot Emily from what had become her routine. How fate intervenes.

Today Emily is in emergency childcare at Deutsche Bank and Sue doesn't plan on repeating the trip any time soon, as Emily is getting to the age where her attention span is short and her means of letting you know this quite vocal.

Hopefully we'll have an option surface that will afford us a bit of breathing room. Today I'm feeling all sorts of odd, as I guess it's hitting me that Emily is actually child minderless and we really have no light at the end of the tunnel yet.
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Saturday, 1 August 2009

Almost walking

It's the pre-milestone moments that are the most amazing. The milestone moments themselves are quite bittersweet, as you know your child can finally do something is amazing, but the build up over the previous weeks and months is no longer there. All that work - trial and error that went into the activity is now over, and all you're left with is your child being able to do something they couldn't do before.

I guess this is just natural, or else my mum and dad would call me up every day and a) be amazed I can talk and b) be amazed I didn't kill myself with them not around to look after me.

As I write this, I am currently committing to memory the last few pre-walking milestone days we have left with Emily. She's able to take a couple of steps by herself and then either teeters over or collapses. It's been a lot of work for Sue and I, as well as a lot of work for Emily, constantly being told, "c'mon Em, you can do it", like you'd say to a pet dog or trained chimp.

After this milestone, I don't really know what's next - talking? brushing her teeth by herself? eating WITH chewing?

It's a lot of fun seeing development through a child's eyes and long may it continue.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Resentment? aka wishing I had a summer

For the record, Em is the best thing that's happened to me. Having said that, I do sometimes feel a bit resentful - or maybe remorseful - for a life once lived.

The summer really brings it out. My current evening routine involves picking up Em, playing with her and putting her to bed. I really can't remember the last time I spent a nice evening outside. Part of me believes this is down to me being lazy (as I COULD take Em for a walk, etc. etc.) but there's stuff to do when we get home - dinner, bath, getting ready for bed, etc.

I do miss being able to have nice evenings in the summer, and I imagine life would probably be that much better if we had a garden and I didn't suffer from cabin fever. I guess as Em gets older and she goes to bed later, we can go for walks in the evening.

I think Sue feels a bit of this cabin fever to an extent, as she works overtime to ensure our weekends are spent doing things out of the flat.

I love being with Em, as any dad loves being with his children. I just can't explain why, she doesn't even talk, but playing peek a boo with her has become one of life's great pleasures, as is seeing her big ole grim.

I guess every parent comes to terms with these feelings eventually. It's not like I really miss the activities I used to do in the summer all that much, I just look outside at the dusk evenings and get all wistful.

Oh well, I wouldn't trade it for parenthood so I guess I'll just shut up and deal with it.
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Thursday, 23 July 2009

Boundaries for Emily

At the moment, Emily is pretty much allowed to fun amuck, unencumbered by any boundaries. I realise that as she gets older we need to set parameters and instil in her a sense of right and wrong about a great many things but I really don't know when this should become priority number one.

Case in point - sleeping. At the moment, to get Em to sleep we take her to our bed, play with her, sing to her and read to her. She eventually drops off. All school of thought (and my tingling Spidey sense) tells me she should be falling asleep in her own bed. This is a "boundary" that I'm keen to put in place soon, but I don't know if our current regime is causing her any lasting harm.

I've been reading about boundaries, or discipline, lately and a lot of it seems like common sense, but I feel that as Sue and I get older and get more and more tired, it's just easier to give in. lie out a number of scenarios displaying why discipline and boundaries are needed.

At the moment, Emily is causing havoc in the living room throwing stuff around, but I firmly believe that as long as Sue and I are helping Em figure out right from wrong, we're a good step along the way.

I imagine discipline and boundaries will be a more common theme as Emily gets older and we tread this very long path together. I just hope we tread it correctly.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Menace II The Flat

It's happening and we can see it, like a car crash happening in slow motion. Em's becoming more and more mobile with each day and her increased mobility comes more and more disasters waiting to happen.

Today she was standing in front of the telly, trying to pry the centre channel speaker from it's home, while simultaneously trying to stab the screen with another piece of electronics. Points for multi-tasking there!

I think we may get to the point where the whole living room is barricaded from her l'il devil hands.

Of course it's not all bad news, this increased mobility WILL result in her walking at some point which is a massive milestone I can't wait to see. Having said that, I'd like it if all my gadgets and electronics could see it as well. Thankfully we haven't had any casualties, but I can imagine the day will come soon when I have half a controller or a DVD player with "peanut butter discs" inside ...

The wallet shudders.

Friday, 17 July 2009


The doctor's went well and Emily has now had all the jabs she'll need until she 3.5 years old.

She had the MMR jab, which attained controversial status a couple of years ago. I really do hope it is as safe as the government is leading us to believe.

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Friday, 10 July 2009

Developmental concerns?

Every child develops at their own rate, and we're recently begun an offensive on Emily to get her development up to scratch.

Having said that, I think we missed the boat on her doing baby rollerskating breakdancing.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The girl who doesn't age

Whenever I complain about Emily, in the back of my mind I know I should count my blessings - she has all her appendages, she's growing well, and doesn't have any physical impairments.

When I read tales like the one about Brooke Greenberg, the 16 year old girl who is the size of an infant with the mental capacity of a toddler, I really feel thankful for Emily.

When you have a child you naturally have the highest expectations for them - they'll cure cancer; they'll colonise Mars; they'll marry the other best person the earth has ever created they'll grow larger than an infant. More times than not, you'll be disappointed in some regard, but to expect your child to grow and mature shouldn't be one of those disappointing "didn't happens".

Apart from Brooke being mentally and physically 14 years younger than she actually is, I can't help feel for her parents. They're not going to be "parent age" for ever, and what will happen when they're in need of old age care and their child is still a two year-old?

I love Emily and her toddler ways, but the knowledge that development and growth is constantly happening is one of those anticipations that parents look forward to. WHEN will she walk? WHAT will her first word be? With Brooke, these expectations will probably never come to fruition and that's sad.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Father's day

I'd be remiss in this blog if I didn't mention my second ever father's day.

Got some lovely dad socks and a couple of iced biscuits from Em. It's funny how much a toddler actually CAN afford ;)

Went out to for a lovely pub meal as well in Coulsden. Em had a child's portion sea bass, potato and veg while mum and dad had the usual Sunday roast.

I'm not too sure what to expect on Father's Day, but the pampering and "no dad, I'll do it" attitude of the rest of the family really is only in my fantasy. Reality was, it was just another Sunday, but I got socks and biscuits at the beginning of it.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Emily not doing so good

Emily not feeling well at Tesco So I DID take Em to the doctor today after all. Katharine called and said that her temperature had shot up, so I went to collect her and raced to the doctor to ensure there was nothing drastically wrong with her.

Turns out she has a mild chest infection. I got a scrip for some meds and spent about 30 mins waiting for her "bag of help" at Tesco's chesmist. This photo was taken as we waited for her drugs, she not a happy or well bunny.

Still, the doc said as soon as her jollop was administered, she should feel much better.

It's been about an hour now and she's cooled down and doesn't seem so listless.
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Potential heat stroke

Em was quite restless in the early hours of the morning and felt hotter than the sun.

Her symptoms, although quite similar to heat stroke as I mentioned previously, could also be down to the fact that Katharine's daughter was under the weather the last week. Kids are prone to picking up everything from everyone, so I don't think it's time to put out the worry stops yet.

I did stop by the doctor surgery on the way to Katharine's today to see if they could see Em and allay our fears. My main fear now is I'm becoming that which I loathe - a parent who takes their child to A&E or the doctor with every cough, scrape and ailment. I need to remember that although she's a wee nipper with a wee immune system, it's going to develop and fighting off crap like this - whatever it is - is an integral part in her development.

Of course, if it gets worse, I WILL eat my words.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Vomit damnit

Em's not really been herself the last day or so. Last night at Costco, she was leaning on my hand in the trolley ready for sleeps. This was around 6.30p, sleeps aren't until around 8.15p. I put it down to just general tiredness.

Today I picked her up from Katharine's, to find out that she'd had three sleeps and had just been woken up when I stopped by for pick up. On top of that she was really really warm.

On the way home, she was gagging a bit like she had a fur ball. I felt this odd, but nothing more. When we got home, she had two blueberries and that gag reflex ended up covering me in a melange of white spew and vegetables.

A quick hose down (and dose of jollop) later, and Em was in better spirits than she'd been for ages.

It's funny now I'm a parent, I really worry about things like heat stroke and the flu, etc. When I was free and single I used to scorn those parents who'd take little Johnny to the hospital for every little thing. I don't think I'd rush Em anywhere for anything, but it's made me think twice about dismissing every ailment that comes her little way.

Update: Based on what Katharine said today, I think Em may have a bout of heat stroke. Consulting the web (as one does), I've found this "Sometimes babies can have a heat stroke due to over exposure to the sun. The common symptoms are vomiting, listlessness, headaches and drowsiness. Give your baby plenty of fluids and consult your doctor immediately."

She DID vomit, and she WAS drowsy. Not too sure about the others.

Having called NHS Direct, I got the "don't bother us if you're not dying, as we're terribly busy" message, so we'll wait out the night and see how she is in the morn.

15 months and counting

It's 15 months yesterday since Em entered our lives and we're still looking for a number of milestones - like walking - but reached a great number of them nonetheless.

Having been a dad for well over a year now, I can't imagine life without her - although sometimes I wish I could, but that's true with anything that gets on your nerves. Count to ten and things seem less stressful.

Em now has more teeth than she did a couple of months ago, she's taller, she's had her first bout of diarrhoea, she's sleeping on her stomach, etc. etc.

It's quite fun and interesting seeing the world through her eyes... especially how she never gets sick at repetition, something I miss, as I can boast I saw Star Wars about 18 times back in the 80s.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

More teeth

Emily has been quite grouchy the last few days. We put it down to the cessation of the evening feed.

However, it came to Sue's attention yesterday that Emily actually has two need teeth. Both on the bottom, either side of the existing middle-four that are there.

This would explain all manner of unhappiness on Emily's behalf, and I'm beginning to feel guilty in that I assumed it was just Em complaining about no milk.

When I picked Em up from Katharine's last night, she asked if I knew about Emily's FOUR new teeth. Apparently there's two MORE on the bottom row nearer the back.

Now I REALLY feel guilty!

Monday, 8 June 2009


Since we've been back from Canada, Emily (and I) have recovered from a nasty bout of "fizzy gravy". Mine was accompanied by a case of dehydration and some aching (I mean aching) kidneys. I'm actually quite happy I went through it, as I have a better understanding of the hell Emily must have gone through, not having experienced diarrhoea before.

Since she's got over it, and to celebrate returning from North America, Emily growing up and Sue and I thinking it's about time, the evening feed has stopped. There have been evenings when she's fallen asleep without a feed and all has been well, but these past few days (I'm counting almost a week here), she's been a little scream monster. It's not a small bout either, it goes on and on and on.

I've lost my patience on a number of occasions (although not in a Christian Bale way... yet) and have to calm myself down before dealing with her. Sometimes I think there's actually something wrong with her and can recall all too well the aching in my kidneys, wondering if the pain is mirrored. However, the screams then can slide right into a smile or laugh and I realise that that kind of pain doesn't turn off like a tap.

She'll get used to it eventually, going to sleep without boob milk. No one can enjoy the sweet delights of bittie forever, else we'd all be clamouring to the teet still and no work would ever get done. I just hope she gets used to it sooner than later, as her banshee-like shrieks are ripping a strip off my hearing.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

The doctor's ... again

Further to the expensive doctor visit last week in Canada, we had a minor emergency yesterday.

Emily was already looking really docile, due to the heat and jetlag. The icing on the cake was the presence of redness in her already soft nappy. Sue picked her up early and headed off to the doctor to get her checked out again.

The doctor was able to tell us that Em is hydrated properly, which usually isn't the case with diarrhoea, and that it may be a virus that should be treated with anti-biotics. This is basically what we were told for $130 in Canada, without the antibiotics bit. The redness in the nappy was food, we were told, and not blood.

We dropped off a stool sample before leaving and await the results by week's end. They've ruled out food poisoning, and Em's back at the childminder's today.

I just want the little blighter to get better as her being ill really is sad.
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Friday, 29 May 2009

Bubby diarrhoea and the cost of medical care

We took Em to the walk in clinic today to get her diarrhoea/pooing problem sorted out. It's come to a head as she's developed a rash on her lower back where the wet effluence just sits there until we change her.

I was hoping the doctor at the clinic would have a magic bullet she could prescribe, or at least give us the assurance that they could sort it out. Alas, they just said to give her the equivalent of baby Lucozade to keep her salts topped up and let the virus run it's course.

Cost for this marvellous advice? $130 Canadian. To my credit, before we went in, I told Sue they'd probably just recommend something keep her salts topped up. I don't see anyone paying ME $130!! On top of this advice, she also prescribed a mixed cream for the rash.

When we went to the chemist and explained it cost $130 to get to this point, they told us to buy the two products over the counter and mix them ourselves, as there's a $7 charge for the chemist to dispense. We got away paying a bargain $24!

Having applied the cream and given Em the bubby-Lucozade concoction, she seems to be in better spirits, but the proof - as they say - will be in the nappies.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Eating with a utensil

This is another one of those baby book moments, up there with sitting up unaided, crawling, first teeth, etc.

Emily fed herself tonight WITH a fork! We jammed some brocolli onto the end of the tines and left the fork in plain view, and Em picked the fork up and jammed it in her mouth. This only happened a half-dozen or so times before she got bored and started grabbing carrots from the bowl with her hand, but it's a definite stepping stone to her feeding herself completely.

I long for the time when she can feed herself cereal and leave me to do other important things during breakfast time... like having my OWN breakfast, shaving, etc.

Something's going on, something's not quite right

Erasure may have some those words, but they apply quite aptly to Em.

Lately she's become quite the fidget, wanting to crawl and move about during waking hours. Today and a little bit of yesterday, she's been quite docile, quite content to lay around and not move. This lack of energy has been punctuated by the wettest, greenest nappies this side of her first month or so.

I imagine she's caught a bug, and we'll have to let it go through her system. Obviously, I'm a bit worried about the implications as we're flying out on Saturday, but most of these things are 24 hours, and children are quite resilient... aren't they?

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Gurning toddler

Emily seems to be growing up almost daily on this trip. She seems bigger, older, wiser, more astute and aware of her surrounding. It's quite odd watching a child go through these "growth spurts".

Her latest initiative is to gurn at people. She has a mild underbite, so scrunching her nose up just completes the face. I can't help shake the mental images of those old gurning toothless drunks whenever she does it. Of course, I don't know exactly WHY she's doing it, but I imagine it's all part of her mental and physical growth.

Be interesting to see if this is a phase or if Sue and I will have to traipse around the country in a few years as Emily competes in gurning competitions.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Emily on the plane = pain

She's been on a plane many times before, but our journey to Vancouver has been - hands down - the worst flight we've had with Emily so far. She was agitated, tired, hungry and ever so slightly dehydrated.

Ten long hours of Sue and I losing our patience repeatedly with her did not make for a fun trip over.

I really, really, really, am not looking forward to our forthcoming trips to Toronto or back to the UK.

UPDATE: Em slept the whole trip back from Toronto. I think we'll have to fly during the night from now on.

Monday, 11 May 2009

BBC iPlayer for Cbeebies

BBC iPlayerImage via Wikipedia
Just in time for Emily, who's actually becoming more aware of her surroundings - including TV - is the announcement that the Beeb has launched a CBeebies-specific version of iPlayer.

It's pretty much the same CBeebies content you can get on the adult player, but "kiddied up" with big images and bright colours.

All the shows I'm sure I'll learn to hate really quickly are all readily available and when the cries of "more more more" come, you can always watch another episode right away. If anything will erode my child's sense of patience and waiting it will be the quick fix that this iPlayer will provide.

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Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Vocal toddler (aka found her voice)

Uncle Herb Powell from The SimpsonsOver the last week or so, Emily's really become quite vocal. She'd cry or shout at random times when there's no real discernible reason for her to do so. All Sue and I can do is offer her comfort - drink, food, nappy change, time for bed?

It's all a guessing game as to why she's being more distressingly vocal, and the more she chatters and yells, the more I wish that baby translator that Unky Herb in The Simpsons was developing was actually real.

On a happy note for Sue, Em has begun to say "mum mum mum mum" over and over again. I also swear I heard her say "bubby" or at least "bub bub" on at least one occasion!

Our little Emmers is growing up!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

See Emily play

“See Emily Play” coverImage via Wikipedia

When we've collected Emily from Katherine's place, Sue and I feel at quite a loss as to what to do with Emily, stimulation and entertainment-wise. Do we continue play time? Do we let her play by herself? Do we read to her? If we leave her to her own devices, are we being neglectful.

It's a worry, as neither of us want her to grow up thick, but there has to be a limit to teaching children. I'd like to think that Em playing happily with her blocks or turning my Xbox on and off with the remote is stimulating enough.

I guess we'll have to read up some more to make sure our little toddler isn't being mentally stumped.

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Monday, 20 April 2009

Some... er (summer) fun.

With the summer on it's way, it's interesting to note the differences from last summer. Even though Em was here and a few months old last year, she really was just a blob or babbling baby. This year, she's a chattering, crawling, walking (with help) little pseudo toddler.

Thinking back to all the things we did last year - the Wallington Proms, Ben & Jerry's, the NCT Teddy Bear's Picnic... Em was really just the passive little baby. I'm really looking forward to her being more interactive with the things we do this year.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

The crawling has begun

She's threatened for the last week or so, but today Emily really took off with the crawling. She was able to leave the living room on her own and go and find her mummy.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Horrifying birth simulator

I was wandering around the internet, oblivious to some facts of life until I stumbled on this video. It's basically how baby dolls are born, but I assume can be adapted to human birth as well.

Originally found here.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Another milestone - crawling

I just got a text from Katharine, Emily's childminder, telling me she's just crawled.

I wasn't sure when this would happen, or even if it would, but this is cool.

When we were down in Bognor for my gran's funeral yesterday, she was making gestures like she wanted to crawl, but just as she was about to move her leg to get going, she sat back up and gave up.

Well apparently today she's crawling. Hopefully I'll be able to see this in action when I pick her up.

Next milestone... walking unaided? eating with a spoon? potty trained? talking? cursive handwriting?

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Teething. Again.

Thankfully, Em seems to teeth during "business hours" (i.e. when Sue and I are awake). This has occasionally included evenings when we've put Em to bed and she's woken herself up with pain.

Last night was the first night she started teething outside of business hours. It was about 1.30am this morn when we were woken with her pain-induced cries. A bit of drink off mum, some cuddles from me, and some baby Tylenol later and she was back asleep.

We've got eight teeth so far, and I hope this latest bout brings about a couple more at least. I just don't know how much more sleepless nights Sue, myself or Em can take.
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Friday, 27 March 2009

My baby the cling-on

In the past week or so, Emily has developed the habit of clinging on to Sue or I for dear life. I realise that clingyness is a phase of childhood, but Emmers has quite the grip and we're really not sure what's brought it on.

She's also drooling quite a bit at the moment and crying loudly for no apparent reason. We're assuming it's another bout of teething, but can't be too sure.

She's a good kid who has tanties or gets upset only as a last resort, so to be drooling or clingy, we're hoping it's for an obvious reason.
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Saturday, 21 March 2009

Second birthday... or sorts

As the NCT crew all gave birth around the same time, the mums all decided it was best to have one joint birthday than a load of lttle ones - this just meant that we could do what we wanted for the individual birthdays and not worry about leaving people out.

We all met up today at Godstone Farm, just off the M25. Before we went I imagined some hick adventure where they just had a field of animals you could look at while the farm hands went about their business. The reality was quite different. It's truly a place for the whole family, with areas you can pet various animals, tea rooms, and a "Play Barn" for children older than Emily and her cronies. There were a fair few people walking around with presents as well as you can have kids parties here.

The weather yesterday was the icing on the cake. Warm and sunny made walking around looking at and petting animals all that more enjoyable. I'm looking forward to going back so I can take a tractor ride!
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Sunday, 15 March 2009

Birthday is here!

Well, it's been 365 days since we first welcomed the screaming bundle of joy called Emily into the world. I can't believe how quick his past 12 months has gone. We've gone through loads of stuff - ups and down, holidays, parties - and come out the other end a fully rounded toddler.

She had her party yesterday, so today was just Sue, Em, mum and I. Sue was working on some work stuff so mum, Em and I went to Wallington for a coffee. Later we decided to go for a drive to Boxhill, which on a day like today, never fails to impress.

We were going to go for dinner somewhere, but everyone had decided to go out to eat. No fear, we had a nice spag bol at home. I think Em enjoyed her day, especially as we webcammed Australia while we opened the presents they sent. We also opened the presents from Sue and I and my mum, so it was a good couple of days for present receiving for Emmers.

With her birthday here, I vowed I would stop updating this blog. However, as blog worthy events continue, I will document them here - first words, walking, etc. It's only right.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

364 days!

Even though Emily is one tomorrow, we've had her party today. There was enough food and drink and loads of people came - friends, family and BABIES!

Emily also received a lot of pressies, which was nice. I was so preoccupied with making sure the day went well I almost forgot she'd get anything. There were toys and clothes and such, so the last thing we have to do for Em is send out thank you notes and her second year can officially begin.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a nice day weather-wise, so it will be nice to have a low-key family day to celebrate Em's official birthday. At 12.45 (or thereabouts) she begins her second year - an achievement that's come a lot quicker than either Sue or I would have believed.

She's developed so much in the last 364 days, I can only imagine what the next 364 have to offer.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Round and Round the garden

We have discovered that Emily absolutely loves Round and Round the garden, especially done with the actions. As you're tracing your fingers around her palms, you can see her face tensing up knowing that the "one step, two step tickle you under there" is only seconds away. It's quite a treat to watch and a good way to distract her.
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Pre-birthday sorting out

With Sue off today, we decided to do a couple of pre-birthday activities. These included getting some food and a cake tin. More interestingly, we also took Emily to get weighed and measured.

Having undressed the little tyke, we discovered that she now weighs around 24 lb (or 10 kg). Back when she was smaller she was hovering ever so close to the top of the chart in weight. I think now she's slightly more active, she's actually dropped down to mid 80s. When she actually gets to running and being really active I can imagine she'll drop even more. At 81 cm, however, she's off the chart for height in her age group. This bears out as she is probably as tall as kids 6-8 months older than her. We've been told that her face looks older as well.

Emily getting her first haircutOn Friday we also took Em to have her first haircut. Up to this point we'd just been letting it grow from birth and it was getting a touch unruly.

The place we took her was very geared up to cutting kids' hair - they had the small seats, loads of toys, and Emily got a 1st Haircut Certificate as well as an envelope of hair which we can give as party favours tomorrow (I'm guessing).

The haircut's made her look like a proper little girl, as she now has a very noticeable fringe.

Mum managed to find the place as well so the three of us watched as Em sat and very happily (if not a bit fidgetly) let the girl cut her bonce.

Another first for Emmers then.

Sunday, 8 March 2009


With Emily turning one next week - next Sunday - it's amazing how much she has to learn, but also how much she is learning. There are days when it seems she's picking up new skills quite quickly (like looking like Elton John).

This week, she's pretty much learned to self-wean, even with smallish items like blueberries. Up until this past week she wasn't really doing any self-feeding.

We've also got her standing around. Although this is a FAR cry from walking, it's a good step towards balance and stability. Sue's been doing baby steps with Emily too this weekend, so the next step I guess is Emily walking along the furniture.

Emily's also started waving, with what we can only assume to be intent. Previously she'd flail her arms relentlessly and if it was we were greeting or leaving, we'd attribute it to a wave. Now though, she seems to be doing it on purpose.

One of the lesser wanted traits she's developing is the tantrum, or "tanty". Yesterday, her face went bright red and all screamy, as her attempts to get a drink failed ... badly.

I guess we have to take all the good with the bad. I can't wait until she can walk, or talk or read, etc. but I know it'll be tempered with the moods, the tanties and the terrible twos.
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Friday, 6 March 2009

Growings up to do.

Emily and I went to visit the Feakins twins yesterday, as their dad Paul is also off on Thursday. It was a nice dads / babies afternoon. However, whenever you're with other children of a similar age to your own, you always end up comparing "feats".

For instance, when it comes to eating, Emily will attempt to cram everything in her hand into her mouth. She hasn't grasped the concept of ripping toast, etc. with her teeth and having a second bite. The twins however, were sitting quite nicely with a WHOLE rice cracker in one hand a sippy cup in t'other. Emily will drink from the sippy cup if you hold it to her mouth. Although, today was the first time (I've seen) that she took the cup, held it herself and drank while I just sat and watched.

Paul was also telling me - and I got to see - the twins feed themselves WITH SPOONS! Emily's able to self-wean to a degree, but again she crams in her mouth, etc. and if we give her a spoon ... well, we don't anymore. Put it that way.

Having reported these marvels to Sue, I was told we need to train Emily better. The self-weaning is coming along, as is the teethbrushing (we do it, but at least she lets us). We just have to be as vigilant with drinking, and biting off food, and holding spoons as we are with trying to get her to stand, crawl and wave buh-bye.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Window dressing

Recently, Emily has taken to staring out the front window as a new favourite activity.

I don't know if she's looking at cars, birds or leaves on the trees, but it seems to placate her. The nice thing is she's doing it without the need for toys or other stimulus, which can only be good for her development.

If I put her anywhere near the loveseat in the window, she stands up turns to face the window and starts to grab at the curtains to get an unfettered look at the outside world.

Of course, like any child, she doesn't like to do this for that long as there's just so much else to do in a day, but she can keep herself busy for about 30 minutes, depending on what's going on outside.

This is probably the one and only time I'm happy to live on a busy main road.
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Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Birthday approaches

It's hard to believe that Em's birthday is fast approaching. When I started this blog it was really only a document of Sue's pregnancy. I'm really glad I decided to keep at it and document Em's first year.

There's been so many changes in the last 11.5 months. She's gained eight teeth, started weaning (and self weaning to a degree), she's become more vocal and an actual joy to be around (before she just wasn't all that aware of her surroundings).

I'm constantly amazed how spending time with her can be so enjoyable. She doesn't really do much, can't hold a conversation and is quite dependent for everything - from drinks to replacing toys that have fallen out of arm's reach. For some reason though it works, and she's just a real enjoyable time pit.

I really look forward to what the next few years have to offer. As I've mentioned in this blog time and again, I'm quite cynical that all will be smooth from now until the end of her days.

If there's anything having a child has taught me, it's to look back, not only on my life, but the lives of those I've grown up with and just think about the choices we've made and where they led up to. Whether it's the teen mother, the tearaway junkie who had it all and threw it away or the high school loser who's now raking in the money.

All these futures are available for Em and I guess it's up to us to guide her properly so she can choose the right one.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Fruity little miss

Having picked Emily up from Katherine the child minder's today I was told that Em couldn't stop blowing raspberries. This comes as quite a shock (or very least surprise) as she's never really done this before.

I assumed it was a daytime, with the child minder thing and left it at that. Lo and behold, we're not home an hour before she's doing it for me too, complete with soaking wet, spit-soaked chin. I've heard tell of other children doing this, and I guess it's a developmental stage, but I just don't know what it means.

Will have to investigate further.

Update: Apparently, Emily blew razzies before at around 6 months and then stopped. We've surmised it might be something to do with teething still.
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Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Baby dehydration

Breastfeeding an infantImage via Wikipedia

Just when you think that breast feeding is the defacto best method for feeding your child, a horror story about dehydration, salt build up and gangrene appears in the press.

The BBC (among others) has run with a story today outlining how breast feeding your child CAN lead to - in extreme cases - death. So much for breast is best.

Apparently, in the early stages of life, it's a bit of a crapshoot getting your child to latch on to the nipple correctly. Then you're never sure how much is being taken in. If the child isn't taking in enough, hypernatraemic dehydration can occur. When this happens,"the levels of sodium in [the child's] blood rise dramatically, and if untreated, this can lead to seizures, gangrene, brain damage - and in the worst cases, death. "

When Emily was born we were told that the collostrum that was in Sue breasts (think the crusty topping in a gold top bottle of milk) might not enough to feed the hungry belly of a large baby like Emily, so we supplemented the first few nights with formula until the milk ran free.

Thankfully we never had an issue with Em "clamping on," as it were. There's enough crap out there without having to worry about the "fool proof" method of nourishing your child.
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Friday, 13 February 2009

Crawling... an update

When we picked Emily up from the child minder's last night, Sue and I had quite a shock - she was crawling. True to form, however, Em had decided not to do it the conventional way. Instead, she was crawling backwards. Months ago, she was scooting across the floor on her back backwards, now she's crawling backwards.

Never one to follow societal norms is our baby!

Here's hoping she learns to walk forwards, else watch out walls...

Monday, 9 February 2009

Huge cranium

We've been told Emily's a large girl for her age and we're used to hearing it. This morning, just for fun, I found a measuring tape and decided to do a random measurement - head circumference. 

The measurement - her head is 19" (48cm) around - really meant nothing to me until I searched Google to put it in context. The search results were quite astounding. According to, her head is still off the chart for a 10-11 month old. 

This just re-interates the eye-watering fact that she was NEVER coming out of mummy naturally AND the fact that everytime she tries to crawl she drops her heavy noggin on the floor.

Of course I'm not sure why this chart is published by the CDC in the US. Hopefully huge heads don't equate to some sort of horrible disease.

On the subject of large heads, here's a clip from "So, I Married An Axe Murderer." Suffice to say I won't be berating Emily anywhere near as much as Mike Myers character berates "Head" in this clip.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Drink! Straw!

Apart from the pee-soaked swim nappy incident, we also discovered something cool about Emily today. She can drink through a straw!

At the aforementioned Sainsbury's Cafe, we bought her a juice box with a straw as we didn't have a bottle for her. We thought we'd try the straw on the off chance before emptying the juice box into a cup.

To our astonishment, she sucked it all up and never thought twice.

Our child continues to amaze us!

Been caught "napping"

On Saturdays, we usually take Emily to Aqua Tots to learn the very basics of swimming - kicking, holding your breath under water, etc.

Today, the class was cancelled - we're assuming due to weather which, by now, was not a problem. Usually on Saturdays, we'd swim, change and either go for breakfast or do errands. Today we skipped the first two and headed straight to the latter... much to our peril.

After stopping a couple of shops (including bargain-ladened T.K. Maxx), we decided to take a coffee/breakfast break at the local Sainsbury's Cafe, with Emily still kitted out in her swim wear - bathing suit, waterproof nappies - under her snow suit.

When it came time to go, we got a rude shock - Emily was soaking. First thought was the high chair had some liquid spilt in it that we put Em in. On further examination, we realised that the waterproof nappies weren't actually pee-proof.

I can only imagine the discomfort of sitting in your own urine for any length of time, but credit to Em, she wasn't ALL that upset!

A quick change later (we always have a change of clothes for after swimming, so it was only a matter of getting her into the "street wear") and the crisis was a funny footnote.

As a parent you're continually learning and we learned today the important lesson that waterproof is not pee-proof...that or babies don't like Sainsbury's cafes.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Hey, dummy

We've not really given Em a dummy since she was really little. I think we've missed out on a trick here.

Normally, Sue breastfeeds her and that sends her to sleep. With Sue's imminent return to work, we won't be able to count on this as the magic bullet for much longer (especially for afternoon naps).

Today, after much advice, we decided to break out the dummy again. Magically, it took about 10 minutes and a minimum of crying before her Em-ness was fast asleep.

Here we thought it was the milk sending her off - and sometimes it is, judging from her drunk-eyes. Today, we realised it might also be the sucking motion itself that pushes her over the edge into Slumbertown.

Whatever gets her there is good in the end!

TV make baby dumb

Everyone knows that reality TV turns your brain to mush. The conventional wisdom is that kids TV - the good stuff, the educational stuff can only help.

Having read an article at ParentCentral made me quite aware and scared that even educational, learning stuff like Sesame Street can have a detrimental effect on Emily.

"In one of the most extensive reviews of its kind, the Seattle pediatrician says infant-aimed DVDs such as Baby Einstein, and even award-winning kids' shows like Sesame Street, can do more harm than good to children under the age of 2."

Of course, my parents used the TV as a baby sitter while doing things like laundry and making dinner and I turned out OK. Just wondering if I would have turned out better than OK if I wasn't being babysat by The Count and Grover.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

More food

Visited with friends yesterday and their son is underweight. Made me think of our little food vacuum.

Still curious whether we're under or overfeeding her. She just seems to shovel in everything you give her. There are the warning signs she's not starving anymore, which are also akin to being bored. However, if you take that sign as being full, she can easily be crabby an hour later due to hunger. Best to make sure she eats quickly then? Not sure.

I went to Sainsbury's the other day and stocked up various types of cheeses for Em. A couple had fruit in them, a couple didn't. I realise that some - like feta - are mega salty, so they're out. I don't want her on an all cheese diet (how AWESOME would that be, though), but a nice variety from jars of sludge is nice.

Em also had her first curry the other night. Some tasteless chicken curry concoction for kids from Asda. Added some mango chutney to give it SOME flavour, but was careful not to add too much as it's obviously rather sweet. The chunks of chicken took their toll on poor Em though as she seemed to chew and chew and chew... rubbing her eyes like she was about to nod off.

I've said it before, and I'll reiterate now, I can't wait until she can speak or articulate things, so she can tell us she's full or hungry... or tell us what she likes, doesn't like and why she was choking.
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Thursday, 22 January 2009

First words or just blah blah blah

Em has been "talking" now for quite a while. First there was "da da da" then there was "ba ba ba," you know just getting used to sounds. Over X-Mas she seemed to add "dukka dukka" to her repertoire as well.

The other night cousin Ben was over and as he was leaving we were all saying "buh bye" as you do, but in that annoyingly condescending way you can only get away with talking to a baby. As we were doing what most adults would smack us for, Em actually said "buh bye" as well. Of course, this has not been repeated since and part of me feels that a trained parrot has no idea of what they're saying either (i.e. we said it so much she just repeated it).

Since that "monumental event", Em has now added "ma ma ma" to her vocab, which has pleased Sue to no end. For me, it's signifying that Em is becoming comfortable with more sounds and mouth movements and this kind of development can only be good.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Airlines and the children who fly

Air CanadaImage via Wikipedia
Our recent Canadian oddyssey was interesting airline-wise. We flew Air Transat (or Transhat as many who fly them call them). Emily, being an infact got NOTHING in the way of travel allowance, and Sue and I got a meagre 20 kg baggage / 5 kg carry on. To be fair, Emily was allowed a nappy bag free of charge as well as taking her push chair on.

We've just checked Air Canada for our return to Canada in May. Emily will cost 10% of an adult fair, which works out to be about £58 (not sure if it's 10% after taxes, surcharges, etc.) For this infant fee, she gets TWO bags at 23 kg each, as well as 10 kg carry on. Now I don't know if she gets a nappy bag for free, but this will be over looked given it's an allowance comparison of 56 kg vs NOTHING. Sure Air Canada are a bit more expensive, but when you weigh up the hassle that Air Transat seems to be, it's a no brainer.

Sue and I also get 56 kg each (Carry on might be a tad more). This works out to be well over 150 kg for the three of us, as opposed to what Transat offered us over X-Mas - 50 kg total for the three of us.
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As Emily grows up, it gets rather obvious that she won't be sustained by milk alone. That hit us during the first weaning session back in the summer.

However, as she's still a baby - albeit a 10 month old baby - the issue we now face as parents is how much to feed her. She is still crying for one of two reasons - tired and hungry, sometimes at the same time (which is a good indicator to feed before sleep). When I've fed her what I assume a 10 month old would need, and she gives me indications of non-interest, I take it as a sign to remove the bib, take her out of her high chair and move on to something else.

More often than not, I've been caught out and she let's out either a grizzle or stares with desire at the food I'm then feeding myself. I think the problem stems from the fact that she's a human dust bin - she will eat anything and in any amount that we stick in her gob. I really don't want to put her stomach capacity to the test and report that 'yes, 41 slices of bread was too much,' but she is always accepting of any old piece of edible you wave near her mouth.

As the months wear on and she begins to be able to communicate cohesively, I guess we'll get a better indicator of things like 'I'm full,' I'm hungry,' and 'I hate vegetables.' Until then, the dark art of baby meal capacity is a guessing game I think I'm losing.
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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Dukka Dukka

Emily's not speaking yet, perse, but she is getting more verbal. Apart from the ubiquitous "da da" (always first with the important words!) she's now been known to add utterances that sound similar to "ape" and just today we heard something similar to "ma ma". Of course, to her it's just babbling as she has no clue that we are called mum and dad.

The one phrase she is uttering quite a bit, and it really started in Canada, is "dukka dukka". It's quite cute watching her furrowed brow get to grips with the complexities of a stuffed toy while uttering it in all seriousness. Not quite so cute, when she's saying it behind a wall of crying and tears, but the good and the bad come with the territory.

We're now back from the great white north and Emily had a lovely time. She seems - touch wood - to be coping with the jet lag better than mummy and daddy as it's currently 1am and neither of the adults are ready for bed, yet Emmers is fast asleep.

Having brought her back into her familiar surroundings, it's quite amazing how much she's changed in the three weeks we were away. Apart from uttering "dukka dukka" all the time, she's also noticeably taller, and she's begun pulling herself up when you go to pick her up. We're going to have to figure out quite soon how to drop the floor down a level on her crib.

I was once told to cherish these first few months as they are only that - a few months. I really didn't know how true that was until we got home.
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Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Year!

Went to my mate Matt's place for New Year's Eve with Sue and Em. 

Matt and his wife Clare have a three year-old called Liam. Thankfully they still had all his toys, high chairs, travel cots, etc. (comes with having all the space you get in Canadian homes). 

Anyway, Em was in seventh heaven with all the toys she could play with and it was quite nice to have her play with a slightly older child, albeit a rather loveable rambuncious three year-old boy.

As parents, we're living on a different plane now - our concerns are different, our attitudes are different and our conversations are different. Sue and Clare chatted about being a parent, we all discussed child care and it was interesting seeing in the New Year, only the second year that Emily has known. I kinda wonder what new things she'll be doing when we see in her third year... walking... talking... potty trained... cursive writing... who knows.