Monday, November 09, 2009

Eating like a lady

At a recent trip to Child Youth Health (to check on Madelyn's recent weight loss), the health nurse suggested that I should be letting Madelyn feed herself. I knew that I should be, in fact always let Austin have a spoon himself when we spoon fed him even younger than Maddy is now, but with an almost 4yr old and an almost 1yr old I have plenty of mess to keep me busy as it is, so have so far tried to keep it down to a manageable level.
Tonight I decided to give her a baby fork with her pasta. Just look how well that went down:
Okay, so Mum says that ladies use cutlery to eat there meals. Something like this. Hmmm...

Nope. Cutlery is SOOOO overrated. Fingers work much better. Glad I threw that fork thing on the floor.

And while we're at it, who needs a bowl?

Hang on, that bowl thing might come in handy. If I tip it like this I can POUR the food in. Yum!
Cheesy avocado pasta down the hatch!

Okay, maybe not. I was right from the very beginning - fingers work best. I can shovel it in by the fistfull!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

10 months and counting...

A little overdue, but here's Maddy's 10 month update:
Dear Madelyn,
You are growing into such a beautiful little girl each and every day. You are loving your newfound independence, being VERY proficient at crawling even though at 10m old you have only been doing it for just over a week. It seems you like to perfect each skill before you show us!
Austin is still, of course, your idol, even though he does get a bit rough sometimes now that you can crawl up and take his toys (or yours, which he is often stealing from you first!). You're so very cute when you crawl around corners looking for him and calling "Bwuvaaaah?, Bwuvaaaah?!" when you want to play.
You are an amazing little eater - we are always surprised at how much food you can hide in that little chubby body of yours, often eating more than your big brother at dinner time! You have gone off your milk a bit now though since sleep training means I feed you after you wake up rather than when you go down to sleep, and you are far too busy to stop for a drink when you aren't tired - you just want to keep on moving so you don't miss anything! You are certainly an active little girl now you are crawling. With Austin he wasn't ever in such a hurry, so it was a bit of a shock to us to have you getting around so quickly. We have to shut all the doors or you'd be in the bathroom all the time waiting for some water to be turned on.

You are certainly a water baby and love to swim, and the evening bathtime which is your new routine (rather than the morning shower you used to have with Daddy). At swimming lessons your favourite activity is doing "humpty dumpties" where we sing the song and you jump in. So at home in the bath (also known as the laundry sink - the perfect size and height to bath you in!) you like to get the towelling finger puppets and bounce them on the edge, and sing "Dumdudahdumdumdada" until I sing "Humpty Dumpty" for you and you splash them into the water. So very cute.

I am missing the feeding to sleep as we teach you to fall asleep all on your own. I have always loved watching as your eyes closed, you snuggled in and became suddenly heavy and I'd gaze at you for a few minutes before I put you in your cot. You are not too keen on going into the cot awake, so I need to sit with you for a little while before you decide to go to sleep, but we are getting there (I hope). You blessed us with about a week of sleeping through and I felt amazing as it was the most sleep I had had in months, but unfortunately it didn't last so we are still working hard at getting you to feel safe and happy to fall asleep and stay asleep on your own.
Love as always,
Mum xxx

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The sleep saga continues... hopefully the worst is over

Last night I got brave and decided that I won't wait to implement teh controlled comforting, just do a slightly gentler version of it to help Maddy learn to sleep on her own without making her more afraid of me leaving her.

I read a couple of chapters out of a few of the books to get a broader knowledge and then had a think about my own situation since I wanted to tailor a routine to suit us rather than just follow the books and feel stuck to the rigid instructions. I realised that Madelyn's best sleep is usually the morning one, straight after her shower with Dad (if I can get her down and don't have anywhere to run off to with Austin) so I thought perhaps the water play is one of her sleep cues at present and I should work with it.

We have always showered the kids with us in the mornings - me with Austy and Andrew with Maddy (she's too heavy for me and I'm always scared I'll drop her with the soap and water). Most do baths in the evening and I know that is the "normal" way of doing things, but with Andrew at work in the evenings it's always a mad rush to get dinner on the table with tired children who need extra attention at that time, and to get them both changed into PJ's and read stories and into bed by their respective bed times so they aren't over tired. Austin especially needs to go to bed at 7:30 on the dot as his behaviour gets out of hand if he's up later, and he never sleeps in longer the next day so it has a flow on effect when he's late to bed. So a bath in the evening was just another thing to make me run around in a panic watching the clock. We also figured that after a whole night in the same nappy, a shower in the mornings cleans the nappy area, and it's easy - since we are having showers anyway the kids just play on the shower floor while we wash (being careful not to get soap or shampoo from us onto their faces).

But since I want Maddy's best sleep to be at night, not after her morning shower, I decided to give just her a bath in the evening. She's in nappies all day and all night so the nappy thing really isn't an issue like it is with Austin who only wears them at night and quite often soaks through it and gets his PJ top wet and needs a thorough wash. The only trick was to make it fit into what is already a rushed and busy time, and keep Austy happy at the same time. I can't bath her in the big bath or he'd want to hop in too and he takes a LOT of coaxing to get out knowing bed is not far away which often makes him late to bed with all the mucking around a night time bath causes. So I decided that she can have her bath in the laundry trough - it's a perfect size for her, and Austy can stand on his step and help. We did that last night - just a quick bath, a little play and then I got to give her a proper massage, something I used to do nightly for Austin as a baby but never have time to do for her as Austy is usually up to mischief at that time. Austy loved it as he got to play in her bath water while I massaged her and we sang songs together to make it even more relaxing for everyone. I kept the bath short so it didn't really add a lot of time into the night time routine, and hopefully I will still be able to keep it up when I am back at work and have to start dinner etc. a bit later. Austin was very pleased with the new routine and wanted to call Andrew straight away to tell him about it and how he's going to help me bath Maddy each night. It was really nice to see how much he enjoyed helping.

Then, after I let both kids pick a book and read them to both of them tucked into Austy's bed, I said goodnight to Austy and took Maddy out for her feed. I managed to get away with a quick 20min feed instead of the 1-2hr one she has been having, as I took her off the breast every time she stopped sucking and closed her eyes. My first step is to not let her fall asleep at the breast anymore! Then I popped her in her cot awake and the controlled comforting began, but I stayed with her for the first 5 minutes rather than just leaving her immediately and then didn't leave her crying longer than the 6 minute mark rather than letting it build up to 10mins. She was asleep within 45 minutes which was better than how long the breatsfeed to sleep has been taking but she had quite a protest and each time I went back to her she was clinging to the bars of her cot screaming "Mumumumum!" - quite heartbreaking to hear since I've never really left her to cry like that in her life.

I thought we'd had success since she was asleep so quickly but she woke every 40-60mins the whole night through. One to Maddy. None to Mum! The good thing was that the crying sessions got shorter as the night went on and for her morning nap today she was asleep in that first 5 minutes while I stayed in her room (hands on, patting or stroking while she cried, hands off when she was calm so she can learn to sleep without me patting her).

The other thing I have introduced is a snuggle toy - she has always had a little bear in her cot while she slept but since she's now going to be left in there awake more (I have always gone to her moments after she has awoken so there has been no danger in the past) I decided that the bear really isn't safe as it has beans that could come out if she bites it, and she has already chewed off half his nose! She likes to hold my thumb when she falls asleep on the breast so I am now switching the thumb for the bunny blankie's ear or paw. I think I might make her a few simple, washable, identical snuggle toys (quite soon so she doesn't get too attached to the bunny one that I can't replace so easily). With three identical toys, we can have one for the nappy bag to use in the car or pram when out, one for her cot, and one to rotate through the wash.

Hoping for a better night tonight.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's time for sleep

You can never win. Every baby is different, and what works for one doesn't neccessarily work for another. I've learned that the hard way, and after having between 2 and 5 wake ups EVERY night with Madelyn since she was 5 months old, I think it's time for a change.

I am showing every sign of sleep deprivation, especially since she can take anywhere from 20mins to 3hrs to resettle at night. My body aches, I get dizzy spells, headaches, can't remember something I did five minutes ago let alone what on earth it was I was trying to say... getting stuck midsentence plenty of times. I don't like the person I am becoming, I don't like the way I talk to Andrew, I don't like the way I deal with Austy's temper tantrums on a particularly bad day when I am literally a walking zombie. My patience is wearing VERY thin (and when you've got two little ones patience is the most important thing in the world!), my body aches and I feel like the biggest failure of all. Many days I'm on the verge of tears, other days I hear myself yelling at Austin and cringe, especially as parents that take their frustrations out on their kids is something I really hate, and he is, afterall, only 3. There will be times when he does crazy things like bringing the hose inside and squirting water all over the floor. There will be times when he wants to pour his own milk and his own cereal and doesn't seem to understand what my issues are with the mess he creates. There will be times he wants to do things his own way. There is nothing wrong with him - perhaps he is a little more head strong than most and his clever little brain is always ticking away so he always knows exactly how to push my buttons and answer back. I just have to deal with it better. And believe me I try. We don't smack in this house, we TRY not to yell, and always apologise if we loose our cool, and practice positive parenting as much as possible. But on little sleep, those things take oh so much effort and it's very easy to let out frustrations with a short temper.

Even though I am usually the one to get up in the night, I sometimes lose sight of the fact Andrew is waking up too. It frustrates me when he complains of exhaustion when I have been up ten times the night before while he stayed warm in bed or when I let him sleep in after such a night and I deal with the kids on my own and Austy is being particularly challenging. I envy his time out - his 4hr golf sessions (or the whole weekend away a couple of times) when I have always had at least one of the children with me and hardly even get time to eat let alone have some relaxation time. I don't want to stop him having his time out - he is right, my time out is sewing and I get to do that when the kids are in bed at night (but often get interrupted with Madelyn's bad sleep habits), and his time out is golf. We promised when we got married that we'd make sure we kept our hobbies and not hold each other back. So what needs to change is sleep. We all need more.

With Austin we had a particularly good night sleeper but hardly a good nap during the day. He never slept anywhere but his own cot (not even the car on a rather harrowing trip to the snow and back when he was 18m old and slept all of 20mins for the whole 12hr drive!). He'd lose the plot quite easily in the daytime once he was overtired, and it wasn't until he was 6m old that I started to go with the flow a bit more and feed him when he wanted it (even if it was straight before a sleep) and stop with the rigid feed, play, sleep thing that had been drummed into me from books, advice givers, child and youth health nurses. I threw out the "no closer than 2hrly feeds" rule CYH had told me, and if he wanted a feed sooner, I gave it to him. He was a big baby and seemed to need the extra milk. As a result we got a happier baby who slept at least one good nap in the day and all night long.

So when we had Madelyn, I decided right from the start I would feed her whenever and however long she wanted. This worked fabulously for the first 5 months. She was the happiest baby I had ever known, never cried (except those early weeks with colic), and was very content and easy going which worked in so well with all the running around I had to do with Austy. She slept in the car, in the pram, in the baby carrier (and still does if she needs to when we are out) and slept for a miraculous 12hrs straight at night, from 8pm till 8am. What changed at 5m was that we had just got back from America, with us all feeling the heavy effects of jetlag, including her, and from then on she hasn't been clear of some illness or another (or teething) for longer than a week or two. She still fed to sleep as she always had done and I never thought feeding to sleep would be a problem for us as it was clear that she could resettle since she was sleeping so well at night before then. When Austin was this age, I'd feed him directly before bed, a half an hour rocking in the rocking chair by his cot and he'd finish the feed awake and I'd pop him into his cot and wouldn't hear a peep until morning. With Madelyn - she ALWAYS falls asleep during the feed and when I try to take her off before she falls asleep, the walls almost crumble with her screams.

They say the sleep cycle changes at 5m and separation anxiety comes in at around 8m which may be why for us, the issue has been getting progressively worse not better. We tried leaving her for 10mins before going to her, and when I go in at night I now try to sing, pat her chest or stroke her head back to sleep in the cot but she gets histerical and then I pick her up. I hold her and walk around for a bit but she struggles with all her might. I try to rock her in the chair but the screaming continues and I worry that she'll wake Austin too so I eventually give in and feed her. She's not really hungry, just looking for comfort, and after a quick 10 minute feed, and tiny little sucks, she's back to sleep in my arms. Or is she? I put her in the cot and the screaming starts all over again and we are right back where we started.

In the day time, she generally has two good naps of at least an hour long, but is fed to sleep for both of those too, in her room though rather than in front of the TV where I do her ultra-long feed for bed (I'd go crazy sitting in her room for up to two hours staring at the walls waiting for her to go to sleep at night). But there's another mistake - letting her fall asleep where I don't want her to spend her whole sleep. When she wakes up she is histerical and so hard to resettle.

Last night was one of those particularly bad ones. I have been dreading going to bed at night as it's the start of another torture session for me, so I have been staying up later than my body really can cope with. Then when I get into bed, I just can't settle down to sleep so I toss and turn until her next wake up, or worse, just nod off in time for her to wake me up. Last night the next wake up was at 1:28am (after I went to bed, far too late at 12:30am). I was still trying to resettle her at 3am having been in and out what seemed a hundred times. Now, remember this isn't just one bad night I am talking about, but several... for months... with no outlook of improvement and my return to work date fast approaching. At 3:30am I was back in bed but she was still screaming her little head off and I knew I had to go in there again as it was certainly not just a grizzle. I rolled over and in a plea for help sighed with an exghasperated voice to Andrew "What else can I try? I really DON'T know what else to do?". He said the wrong thing in reply. "You can turn the monitor off and let me get some sleep!" So in my sleep deprived, exhausted, frustrated state, as I threw back the covers and got out of bed I grabbed the @#%$% monitor and threw it at him (intended to hit the quilt in the bed next to him - not him) and then I stormed off to resettle the terrified and screaming baby.

See what I mean? Not a nice wife. Not a nice Mum. Not a nice person. It's time I did something about it.

So today after Austin's storytime and craft session at the library, I sat him at the computer to play his favourite "chicken game" I wandered over to the Family Information Zone (just a few metres away where I could still see Austy) and picked up 4 different books on baby sleeping in the hope that one of them would have something valuable to offer. Of course who has time to read though when you are so tired? I thought perhaps that I'd get some reading time during Madelyn's feeds today, but then I saw that one of the books had a DVD. So I went straight for that one. The book it came with was quite small, not a huge marathon reading session at all, and the DVD was fabulous at showing me how much crying is okay. The book and DVD set is called Time to Sleep by Maree Viotto for anyone out there with babies in similar situations who is interested.

I nearly skipped over the birth to 6m part since Madelyn is almost 10m now, but I thought it might have some insight for me and watched it too. I was surprised at how short the DVD was, and how easy it looked to follow. As Madelyn has been so upset by the fact I had left her crying for 10 minutes at night each time between comforting, I decided not to go straight to the "controlled comforting" the DVD suggests for her age, but try the settling techniques that I should have used in the first 6m. Remember this baby has always been fed to sleep and has no idea how to fall asleep on her own unless she's in the motion of a car, pram or baby carrier. I also know how distressed she gets when I leave the room so I knew I'd probably pack it in before it worked if I did the older baby techniques. I will quickly move onto the older baby techniques - just not sure I'm quite ready for that yet since I think she needs to know I will be there for her to get over her super clinginess of late.

I decided to get to work on it straight away since Austy was out of the house (and part of the reason I've fed her to sleep is that it's easier with another one to worry about, since I don't have the time to go back and forth in the day time when I'm also watching him, but lately the feed is taking far too long and poor Austin is left to stare at the TV, or get up to mischief only to be told off when it's my fault for not having time for him). Also I figured it would be easier during the day when I'm not trying to sleep too and I could put everything else aside for her. She was due for a feed though... so we had to do that first rather than going back to the whole feed,play, sleep thing the DVD recommends, that I used strictly with Austin. This time though, as soon as she stopped sucking strongly and started her little comfort sucks (allbeit closing her eyes and no doubt ready to nod off at any second) I took her off the breast, took her to her room and tried the settling techniques recommended for under 6m olds. I expected that she would scream for the whole 15mins as she was beside herself the moment I extracted the human dummy from her mouth! Surprise, surprise she was quiet within 8 mins and fell asleep by herself. Instead of her good two hour nap though that she normally has at this time of the day, she woke after 40 mins - exactly one sleep cycle just as the book said. So I went in and resettled - this time it took almost 15 minutes of her struggling and screaming but I persisted and she slept another 40 mins.

She is now happily playing in her playpen, something she hasn't done for a couple of weeks without grizzling and wanting to cling to me. I know this is just the beginning but I'm going to give it a good shot and see what happens. I decided to write it all down here, get it all off my chest and also have it to refer back to when things got tough to remind myself why I am doing this. Hopefully she is one to respond quickly to the change rather than one of those that can take up to a month - especially since I now have to switch her feed routine so that she feeds when she wakes and not when she sleeps. It's going to be a challenge but it needs to happen. Lets see how I go. Tonight is going to be a tough one!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Playgroup photos

Unfortunately Andrew was away for golf when the shots were taken so the family shot is missing him. Dad, one of these is on it's way to you now.

9 months update

Each night as I have laid in bed before drifting off to sleep I have thought "I must do Maddy's 9 month blog post" and even thought out what to write, but now with the blank screen in front of me I have writers block! But seeing as I missed the 8m one I must push forward!

At 8 months old, our darling girl was really starting to show her personality: cheeky, adventurous, snuggly, and sociable. Of course we already knew how placid and happy she has always been since the colic left her months ago. Her newest trick at 8 months was giving people "high fives" and the more tired she was, the funnier this trick became. She started waving and even adding sounds similar to "Hi" and "Bye" when she did it. She got around pretty well by rolling and then from her tummy, walking her hands up into a sitting position. She was also sort of crawling but doing it backwards, which lead to frustration when she found herself "trapped" into the corner of the room and not knowing how to uncrumple herself from the walls. She started putting ehr arms up for me to pick her up, and enjoying being wrapped for sleep, knowing that cuddles and milk were to follow. We still wrap her and tuck her into her covers as opposed to the sleeping bags we used for Austin as she sleeps like me - she doesn't move until she wakes! A snug wrap and firm covers are a comfort to her just as I like to be tucked in tight to sleep. Austy has been a wriggler since the moment he learned to roll and will toss and turn several times, losing covers and quite a hot sleeper, the carbon copy of his Dad!

At 9 months she has started clapping using her "princess clap" as we call it, tapping the back of one hand with the other. It's quite cute, and she is quite pleased with herself doing it. Of course her biggest love in the world (other than Mummy milk!) is her older brother and we even think she has attempted the word "brother" a few times, although it's not completely clear. We are quite impressed with her language skills and her urge to communicate with words. Austy was pretty advanced too, saying Mum and Dad from very early on (5 months) and using themfor the right person, and then "dieda" (tiger) and "durdoo" (turtle) at 10 months. While we can't be sure yet with Maddy, we think she tries to say Princess whenever she wakes up and we see her. It is a habit of ours that when we pick her up from her cot we say "Hello Princess" (Princess was the first thing we ever called her, the moment she was born). So now, before we get in with that, she says "Zez zes!" and giggles. So cute.

And her latest achievement, at 9 months and 3 days she started CRAWLING! No commando crawling for this little princess (of course not, that's not how princesses do it!), but perfect crawling from the very first day she did it. What made her motivated to crawl? None other than her big brother Austin! She looked like she was close for a week or three up to the day as she would get on her knees but then flop to her tummy. Last week she looked particularly energetic and enthused so I asked Austy to sit at one edge of the rug and sat her at the other. She had been watching everything he had been doing and he had just been having a ball crawling in circles around her. I asked him to call her over and sure enough she got up on those knees and made tiny little knee shuffles over to him. When she got there Austy and I clapped and cheered and she squeeled with delight, very proud of what she had done. I tried to get her to crawl to me, but she just put her arms in the air and grizzled - she knows I can pick her up if I want her!

Less than a week later, the world is a huge adventure playground! She is crawling everywhere, into everything and quite frustrated when she can see something but can't touch it. Apparently now she can crawl everything should be there for her to play with! We have already had her tip Austy's playdough toys on top of herself from his little play table in the family room, and therefore start eating the tiny dried up playdough bits that were in the tub. And Austy's coulouring in things are fun to tear up apparently! I think it's time to dust off the playpen and bring it in from the shed to keep her occupied in moments when I have to turn my head. Hopefully she takes well to it, otherwise we will have to put it around Austy's table and put the toys in there that she can't have. When Austy was little we used it to cordon off the TV area and anything we didn't want him to have ended up in there as he didn't like being penned in. We'll see how she goes.

9 month stats
Weight: 11kgs
Length: 76cm
Wearing: Size 1 (12-18m)!
Number of teeth : 8
Newest trick: Crawling!

To finish off, here's a photo that a passerby took of me and the kidlets when we were walking at Waterfall Gully on a lovely sunny day last week. Austy had a fabulous time and it was nice to feel some sunshine agaion before the rain (and hail!) returned to Adelaide.

And here's a couple more cute shots from our walk:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Goodbye Gryffin

Just under 4 weeks ago I noticed Gryffin had lost a little weight. I picked him up and weighed him, and sure enough half a kilo of him was not where it should be. I figured I'd better get him checked since he wasn't a big cat and the news was not good.

An ultrasound showed an unknown mass in his liver. The cost for operating was in the $2-3K range, and even then, it was highly probable that the surgery would be too complicated and he'd not be woken up. If by chance they did remove the lump, the average cat with liver cancer will only live for another year after the initial cancer is removed. We decided that the cost was too high for the low survival rate, and thought it best to keep him home and say goodbye our own way rather than take hm in for surgery and possibly not take him home. Especially since Austin was quite distressed about a year ago when Gryffin had to stay at the vet's for the day to hace teeth pulled (the result of picky eating that meant he wouldn't eat biscuits or hard food and therefore had tooth decay).

Sadly the disease turned him from healthy to emaciated at a very rapid rate and after he started using the whole house as a litter tay and didn't seem to realise he was doing anything wrong, we decided that perhaps his time was up. I took him in, and the vet had a lot of trouble finding a vein since he was just skin and bone with a very low blood pressure. She agreed that we really couldn't let him suffer any longer. So I said my goodbyes and brought home an empty cage, giving Austin his collar on a little toy siamese kitten which he is now snuggling in bed. "Goodbye Mog" is on order at the book shop to read to him. He's taking it pretty well for a not quite 4yr old.

We'll miss you Gryffy. Even Maddy who doesn't know you're gone will miss squealing with delight when she sees you and trying to pull your ears. Austin will miss chasing you for cuddles. Andrew will miss you curling up on his lap in the evenings when he's not at work. I'm not so sure he'll miss you climbing on him to lick his desert bowl clean when we have apple crisp or chocolate self saucing pudding, but he will miss spoiling you with the cream at the end. I will be cold tonight without you to cuddle as I dream.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Look who's rolling now!

Finally, last Wednesday Madelyn decided it was time to roll completely over from her tummy to her back. She has often rolled onto her side but not gone all the way until now. However, not being too fond of tummy time lately unless I'm giving her my arm to kick off from to help her get the idea of crawling, she worked out that rolling was the best way to get out of it. And then straight after, she flipped back onto her tum again. This girl has it sussed!

Two more teeth joined us on the weekend too - she is no longer our vampire baby as the top middle ones are filling in the gap between the other two top teeth, with bottom ones teasing us with a white mark in her gums some days, and non-existant the next. They are on the move so should be there soon too. Isn't she just beautiful?! Of course I am biased, but she is such a doll.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

7 month old Maddy

Oh my, I am not doing too well with the Maddy updates am I? Two weeks late for this one as well, but I promise, I have an excuse!!!

You may have read in my last post that our adorable boy was under the weather. We thought he was getting better, but then he got worse again and was falling asleep on the couch, and lucky Andrew got a rare afternoon with him snuggled up on his lap at the computer for a few hours while Austy lay there sleeping as he used to do as a baby. It turned out the poor kid had developed a chest infection, and I had too, having caught his bug off him and having "severe asthma" while I am breastfeeding (something to do with the hormones) it quickly developed into an infection. Just as we were both at our worst and awaiting the doctors appointment (it seems so hard to get in to see a GP these days, and especially with it being winter ad all manner of colds and flus going around), I was feeling rather exhausted one night when Maddy awoke quite upset and burning up. We thought perhaps she had the same bug that gave Austy and I our chest infections as that's how ours started, but when I managed to squeeze her into our appointment with the doctor the next day (after we had several failed attempts to keep panadol in her which we promised her we would never do to her again!) we discovered she had quite a nasty ear infection. It took two weeks to clear up, with some antibiotics, an just as I ditched the bottle, the temp came back this weekend. She was liek a glow worm, you know those cuddly toys that you squeeze and their head lights up? Yep, that was her, poor chicken. Not even teh dymadon that had worked miracles withher fever before, could bring the temp down so off to the GP again. We were told it is just viral and tehy took a wee sample to test to make sure as she was also starting to break out in a horrid rash, that is now blothcy all over her very puffy eyes and nose and can be seen under her fine blonde hair. She can't keep food down so has gone back to just breastmilk for a couple of days and is super clingy and not sleeping well at all. It's not nice to have a sick baby, she never cries normally, so to see her this upset is heartbreaking and Ireally don't quite know what to do with her twhen not even an offering of her favourite boobie juice will calm her down. It took ages to get her to sleep tonight despite her rubbing her eyes all afternoon. I just want her to get better again quickly and I think we've had our fair share of lurgies!

So that's why there hasn't been a 7 month update until now.

Weight: 9.3kg
Length ??
Teeth: 4 - two bootom ones and two "vampire fangs" (no top middle ones yet!)
Mobillity: Launching to tummy from a sitting position to reach things

Dear Madelyn, at 7 months you sit up sooooo well, you have a beautiful posture and love to be on your bottom 99% of your wake time. You are starting to want to move as you have discovered that not everything will automatically be handed to you by your big brother, and quite often he will play with his toys just out of reach and if you do manage to launch yourself forward from sitting to your tummy and grab something of his, he quickly removes it from your grasp. This results in you pushing up on your hands and kicking your legs, as if you are about to crawl, but alas just kicking those legs does nothingto propell you forwards. Sorry darling, that only works in the pool as you have perfected so well as you paddle and kick frantically in your swim ring or in my arms and zoom forwards.

You really enjoy solids and have taken to them much better than your brother did, and Daddy and I are secretly hoping some of your good eating habits will rub off on him someday. So far, we have had no luck with the "Look Austy, Maddy likes [insert vegetable here]" comments. One of your new favourites is parsnip, peas and potato puree. And we are so glad we havefound something vegetable that you will eat happily that doesn't contain any apple or pair. I am steering clear of commercial baby foods just as I did withAusty, mainly because it's cheaper and I know exactly what's in the food I make, but also because so many of them have fruit in everything and I am afraid if we don't ween you off fruit sweeteners you will take after Austy with the eating habits. (Austy has only JUST started eating cereal for breakfast, starting with the milo cereal I wasn't too keen on but bought because he picked it, it was a cereal, and he promised he would eat it, and now moving onto miniwheats that I am MUCH happier with!)

Blocks, stacking cups/boxes and shakers and things that you can have an obvious effect on (especially things that you can crash down when I stack them for you!) are the toys of the moment and you are really taking notice of toys that you can make noises with by yourself. I caught you picking up different rattles and shaking them by your ear just the other day.

You still don't say anything but "Dadadad", much to your Daddy's delight although with all this illness, you have made some cross faces and some unique sounds as if you are trying to tell us something in yur frustration for being tired and sick. Don't worry sweetheart, we're tired too and doing everything we can to get you better. Your sleeping has been attrocious - a real shock as Austy didn't warm us up to bad sleeping patterns and it s a completely new thing to us. We understand though- that ear has been bothering you and you need lots of cuddles when you feel this rotten. The worst night was this past Saturday night when you had us taking turns in the rocking chair as you'd only sleep in our arms.... yawn!

You're still very cute though and when we are shopping and I am carrying you in your homemade sling, you always fall asleep and we get so many comments about how precious you are (we know!). You have started to imitate kissing sounds in addition to your little sniffy trick where you scrunch up your face and breathe quickly in and out through your nose just for a laugh. As you were copying my kissing sounds I thought it was time to teach you how to give kisses. You give me and Austy kisses (normal open mouth baby ones - the kissy lips are reserved for showing off) and even Grandpa scored one the otehr day but poor Daddy has been missing out (well I guess we're even since you still won't say Mum!). You had us in fits of laughter the first few times he asked fro a kiss and you leaned for his face with open mouth, got within about 2cm then flicked your head away and giggled your cute little chuckle. Funny girl. We have a feeling you are going to be a cheeky one like your big brother!

Love Mummy

Now what is Austy up to? He is so glad that school holidays are over as kindermusik, playgroup and storytime/crafting have all resumed to keep hi busy during the weekdays. We have had a lot of rain here lately, so activities like these break up the housebound boredom that sets in when you have a tired Mummy who doesn't want to take the baby out in the rain. He has taken to the new music songs quickly and tonight sat there with his guitar for about an hour singing them as he strumed away. Then he asked me to sing them too and told me off every time I got the words wrong - looks like I have some homework to do to learn them all myself! He's been asking me to teach him to read as he'll often pick up a book and tell a story with it's pictures. That works fine when he's heard teh story a thousand times (he doesn't skimp on detail either!) but I think he knows he's just making it up when the book is one he's never seen before like one he's just plucked from a libray shelf. So I made up some letter cue cards and then some simple word cards for words that are in his everyday life or appeal to him in some way (like "monkey" since his best friend is a stuffed monkey named Montgomery who has to do everything with him lately, including have his own bowl of cereal for breakfast). after just a few days Austy was getting about 90% of the letters correct when shown in random order, and quite often can tell me what sound they make and a few words that start with that letter. He loves it and always reminds me to cuddle and kiss him if e gets it right and I just move onto the next one. When I show him the words, he looks at the first letter and if he remembers the words on the cards that start with that lettter he will take a guess. Otherwise he looks at the other letters on the card, so he seems to be getting that letters make up words, and when we read books he seems to understand that the words are what make up the story, so I think he's more than ready for kindy now. He likes to trac the letters with his fingers and sometimes will attemt to draw a letter by copying, but I am just happy when he tries to copy a shape or scribble that I draw as it is the start to learning to write. Prekindy starts next term, and I think he is looking forward to it.

No pics tonight - too tired, but I may come back and pop some in later.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Halfway through

As I was holding onto Madelyn tonight after she fell asleep and stopped feeding, I gazed at her perfect little face; her perfectly plump little lips, adorable long eyelashes (just like Austy’s), cute little button nose, and rosy cheeks. She seems so big now, such a little person instead of the tiny helpless baby she once was. I gazed lovingly at her and just as it does every night before I kiss those precious cheeks and tuck her into her cot, a smile took over my face as I wondered how she had grown so quickly before my eyes. Since she is our second baby and planned to be our last, I know how this year will feel like just a moment in her hopefully long and happy life so I try to soak up every second and capture it forever in my heart.

Madelyn is nearly seven months old now, a perfect, happy and placid little girl who loves to laugh and watch the world around her as everything seems to be entertainment to her. Andrew and I can clearly see the contrasts between our two beautiful children, who at times look so similar, as if they were twins born three years apart. Austin, at the same age was a real little joker. He’d try to do anything to get our attention, and when he got it (how could we not look at him when he did funny things like poking out his tongue or chatted nonsensically to himself for hours) he’d giggle and beam with pride at his own cleverness. Madelyn, just fits in perfectly to our little family by adoring everything her big brother does, and just happy to sit and watch and enjoy the smiles we all give her. She doesn’t “chat” as much as Austin did at this age, in fact the only sounds she makes are cute attempts at raspberries, squeals of delight and the usual “dadadadad” baby chatter, that really only just started a few weeks ago. I remember Austy saying all sorts of sounds by now. It’s almost as if Austy was the sort of baby who wanted to make everything happen for him, just the way he wanted it, whereas Maddy is the type to just be amused by what everyone else is doing that she doesn’t need to try and get our attention, we have hers instead! Their personalities compliment each other so well, Austy dotes on her, she adores him, and we know that they will grow up with the best friend they could possibly have in each other. And for that we feel lucky. Our two perfect kids.

I never did get to give you Maddy’s 6 month update, things are always so busy here, and without the laptop working I am spending much less time on the net because I don’t like to be in a separate room when Austy is playing (he doesn’t like it much either – very much a Mummy’s boy, which I am soaking up while I can!). So here are her 6 month stats:

Weight: 8.5kg (90th percentile)
Length: 76cm (90th percentile)
Teeth: Two (bottom middle)
Latest trick: Sitting up unaided
Mobility: Still no rolling, crawling or walking (thank goodness!) but she can squirm around in a 360 on the floor and hold herself up well on her tummy.

Madelyn really loves her solids, however she is taking some time to get used to opening her mouth for the spoon. She tends to try and slurp it off the spoon like a soup rather than open her mouth and take the whole spoon in. So far she has mainly had fruits and vegetables, with her first taste of red meat tonight, which she loved (homemade veal with vegetables and a little apple for sweetness). Her favourite foods are banana, and apple & mango purees. She quite likes the pear and sweet potato combo too.

Today, a third tooth cut, much to our surprise, the top eye tooth on her right. I can see a little hole where it’s matching left tooth is trying to pop out, but she has no sign of those two middle top teeth, so we joked that she is a little vampire. The tooth is well and truly out of the gum, which caught me quite off guard when I spotted it as I was trying to settle her for her morning nap and she was crying. She had a cold over last weekend and was very unsettled by it, waking 2hrly and sometimes 1hrly (lucky bleary eyed me). We suspected the 6 month immunisations had a role to play in that too, as the rotavirus vaccine is meant to hit its peak reaction at 7-10 days post dose. Her cheeks had glowed on the odd occasion but other than that, the teething signs were pretty minimal. She had been a bit grumpy this morning, trying to chew her toys, which is what made me think to look while she was crying in her cot as I patted her tummy. I expected to see a slight redness, not the sharp little tooth that sparkled at me in all its white glory! We are very pleased that she doesn’t get as upset about teeth emerging as Austy used to.

Austy is really blossoming now too. We had been having some difficulty teaching him that no means no, and in dealing with his constant need for my attention when Maddy needs me too. I borrowed a book from the toy library called “1-2-3 Magic” and followed it precisely, and like magic the monster side of our boy has vanished, and we can enjoy Austin for the bright and affectionate little boy he is. He loves to tell stories, and have them told to him, an extension of his love for books, and his way of interpreting the world around him. His favourite thing to say at the moment is “tell me a story about this day Mummy/Daddy” and then we are expected to recite with detail, everything that has happened up to that point of the day, and then continue on with what is going to happen to the little boy called Austin that is the main character of our story. If we miss a detail, we have to go back and slot it in… there’s no skipping bits! And he thinks I’m a bit silly when I try to encourage imagination, as he’s very much a tell it like it is kind of boy, and imagination only gets to come into play when he chooses it to. For example, the other day I was taking the kids to the zoo and he wanted Daddy’s binoculars. I told him that it didn’t matter as we could pretend we had binoculars. I circled my fingers over my eyes and said “See, look at my fantastic red binoculars! What colour are yours?” He looked at me as if I was silly and said “Mine are the same colour like my skin mummy”, duh!

I have been teaching him to write his name and he loves how I tell him a little sentence to help with each one, like A is “up and down and across the middle” and he recites it every time he tries to draw an A or sees an A on a sign. I am encouraging him to draw using the blackboard as he never has been much of a colour in or scribble type of kid. At the 2.5yr check up CYH said his pencil grip was “immature” and had to be corrected by kindy, so I am glad I have found something that he likes to do with drawing. I draw a snail on the blackboard and he will draw over it and decorate the shell, and he loves to draw over the letters and numbers I draw on the board for him. He loves craft at the library after story time, and is now starting to colour in chunks rather than just scribbles all over the page.

Yesterday Austy came down with a virus of some kind and spiked a fever, but he is the best patient, as long as I sit and cuddle him. Just a little tricky today with Maddy wanting cuddles today too with her 4th tooth on the way. It seems the worst of it is over though and he’ll be back to his normal energetic self in no time.

Monday, June 08, 2009

4 & 5 months

Before Maddy reaches that 6 month messy solids eating milestone, I'd better just fill you in on the monthly milestones we missed with the preparation for and return hom from that big US trip. Madelyn has now been on 7 plane flights, two more than she is months old. So what has been happening in Maddy's little world?

{Pics to add - they are on the other computer}

At four months old Madelyn weighed a hefty 8.3kgs. We didn't get a chance to weigh her properly at the CYH centre as we normally do, so I don't have a height measurement, but believe me when I say she's also quite tall. She started teething symptoms like mad, but for the whole month had no teeth to show - just lots of dribble and a few more upchucks than normal. The patchy dry skin on her forehead that she'd had since she was born dissapeared and now is as smooth an luscious as every other patch of her squishy soft baby skin. She discovered a love for chewy toys she can put in her mouth, and became even more obsessed with her older brother, only he can make her laugh just by saying "Madelyn, laugh!". It's a delight to see her cackling at him as he chats away. She loves library time and has been going with just me on Mondays for a few weeks now, having special Mummy & Maddy time. She also had her first stint in the baby bouncer (similar to the jolly jumper) just before we left for the US.

At 5 months, we're not sure what she weighed (second baby syndrome coupled with jetlag....) as we didn't get a chance to weigh and measure her. No real concern though as she certainly isn't underweight and is absolutely thriving on Mummy milk. Her newest trick is to pull her socks off with her teeth, and she can roll onto her side but not all the way over to her tummy yet. Most of the month was spent being carried around in the baby carrier, spending alot of time sleeping, so not much really to report on new developments, but she has discovered leaves and is fascinated by them. And still fascinated by her big brother, evben though he gets a bit too close and smothery at times. She's such an easy going little girl, quite happy to go with the flow, loves to squeal and giggle, and only started crying more this month due to not being able to be fed whenever she wanted it (the US isn't as breastfeeding friendly as Australia and it wasn't easy to find somewhere discreet to feed), and perhaps teething added to her unsettledness. But still an absolute delight. Oh and she's started to grow some hair, although noone believes us, and it's so blonde it's hard to see in photographs. Trust us - the bald patch is gone and a heathy littl blonde swirl has sprouted on the back of her darling little head.

That's all for now, as it's not too long before the 6 month update.