Sleeping through the night

I was sorely tempted to use the same pun I used for the first March post on this site in 2009.  For the year is certainly ‘marching on’ with great aplomb, it doesn’t seem five minutes since it was Christmas and we were taking Éowyn to Playbox for the first time.  Now we have experienced our first half-term and have one eye on Easter!

Éowyn is beginning to enjoy Playbox and is apparently coming out of her shell more while she is there.  It must be quite daunting for her as most of the other children are at least a year old than her, which at her tender age is 50% (!) while the oldest are twice her age.  She can, however, hold her own in the intelligence stakes and is not literally dwarfed by the others either, well she does have me as a father!  After a little wobble in behaviour she has begun to turn it around and ‘Pleases’ and ‘Thank-yous’ are back in vogue.  I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I promised her a Gruffalo (there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo) for Easter if she was a good girl.  She even won a star at pre-school for ‘Great Sitting and Listening at Circle Time’. Not sure exactly what ‘Circle Time’ is but very proud of her nevertheless.

Éowyn is great entertainment.  She thoroughly enjoys being read to and will read to you too.  A number of her books that we have read to her regularly she knows the storyline to and can recite great swathes of the story word for word.  If you didn’t know better you would swear that she was reading it.  She even puts the same intonation into the recital as I do.  In fact her ‘reading’ is coming along too.  She now has 31 Flash Cards at her Nanny and Granddad’s, hand made by Lucinda’s mum from cereal packages, and can reel them off without error.  You sometimes forget that she is only 2!  She is also a bit of a practical joker, hiding balls under my pillow seems to be a favourite at the moment.  She also will do impressions occasionally of Lucinda but more commonly of me: she puts on a deep voice and says, “I’ve been at work all day!”

As I have already mentioned last week was our first half term, but it was also half term for Éowyn and Amélie’s cousins.  This is where grandparents that live close by are very handy.  Lucinda’s parents were looking after the older cousins and so Lucinda took Éowyn and Amélie round so that Éowyn could play with her cousins and the cousins could see AmélieÉowyn took her Elefun game round and all enjoyed catching the paper butterflies, although Lucinda did have to remind the older ones that Éowyn is only 2 and they should not crowd her out, even though Éowyn seemed nonplussed about the jostling.  She really loves playing with her older cousins and all four of them are brilliant with her.  Hopefully it will be the same when Amélie reaches a similar age.

Amélie has been making strides of her own in her development.  It is hard not to compare Amélie’s development with that of Éowyn but with a site like this it is hard not to keep having a quick peak to see what Éowyn was doing at the same age.  I will not refer to it in these write ups but if curiosity is a particular weakness of the reader then the Archive section at the side will take you easily to each month.

Apart from two previously described incidents (neither of which Lucinda or I saw), Amélie has not begun to roll, however she does turn herself around if left alone and she is doing all the right things:  lifting her legs up 90° and rolling to her side.  She just doesn’t roll all the way over on to her front.  Still there is plenty of time for that.

After a slow start Amélie is taking to weaning and down thoroughly enjoys her baby rice and her new taste sensation puréed pears.  Whether it is the weaning or just that time in her development but she has begun teething.  Can’t feel anything at the moment when you rub your fingers over her gums but her cheeks are red and anything in her reach is grabbed in a vice-like grip and dragged into her mouth to be gnawed.  Unfortunately this included Éowyn’s little pot of grated cheddar.  If Amélie had been any other baby probably wouldn’t have reacted with quite the vigour I did.  I leapt out of my chair and fished all the little shards of cheese out of her mouth before she could swallow.  It is something that will happen, especially when Amélie becomes mobile but something that we want to be under our control so we can monitor her when she eats her next foodstuff that contains milk protein.

The teething though has had its benefits.  Since birth Amélie has only slept through the night once or twice.  She is usually crying to be fed every3 hours but because she was in pain with her teeth we rubbed Bonjela into her gums and gave her Calpol before putting her to sleep in her cot (she has now out-grown the moses basket).  The combination must have knocked her out because she slept for 7 hours.  Unfortunately, Lucinda and I didn’t fully appreciate that because we were half expected to be woke so still had a restless night.  Amazingly though, now she has realised that she can sleep through the night it has become a habit and she has carried this on for the last week or so.  Long may it continue.

Amélie’s reflux though has not really changed lately.  It is definitely better than it was for the first couple of months of her life however she still can completely soak you through and you have to change her a least a half dozen times a day.  As part of the ongoing investigation Amélie had an ultrasound at Ashford hospital on Wednesday.  Amélie was very good allowing the doctor to examine her.  They had a good look at her stomach and then asked us to feed her so that they could see it all working.  As per the Law of Murphy Amélie quite happily polished off her bottle and refused to throw up.  No reflux at all.  In the words of the mighty Alf Stewart you stand there like a great Galah! The good news was that there was nothing physical they could see and a couple of conditions they were looking for can be eliminated.  It is just one of those things that we have to live with and hope that she grows out of.  The sooner the better for the environment (the amount of electricity and water we are using must be incredible) as well as our sanity.

I will leave you now to look at the photos (click on them to view them full size) and write to you all soon

Peace and Love

Back in the routine

When I first begun this website with the birth of Éowyn I promised myself that I would attempt to update this website once a fortnight.  Sometimes those updates are easy, so much has happened and I find it difficult to fit everything in.  And then there are updates such as this.  That is not to say that we haven’t done anything, it is just that there has not been much of note.  So I apologise in advance for any ennui induced by what follows.

The cold and the snows of December seem so far away considering the mild start to 2011 (in the South East of the UK anyway), but not only did it close Heathrow airport for 4 days but also put pay to our NCT group’s Christmas party.  We had booked the soft play area of Egham Leisure centre but due to the snowfall decided it would be better not to risk it that day and fortunately Egham Leisure centre were accommodating enough to re-arrange the date for us.  That date was last Sunday, so we had our final Christmas party on the 6th February!  It was good to see the other dads (the mums get together once a week) but was difficult to strike up any conversation since we always had one eye on what they were doing, or were climbing around the soft play area with them.  For those of you unfamiliar with soft play areas, they are basically 3-dimensional mazes with rope bridges, slides, and slopes all padded for extra safety.  Excellent fun!

Éowyn has been settling into playbox a little better.  Still a little clingy when she is dropped off but has been more chatty and joining in more while she is there.  However overall her behaviour has changed since the start of the year.  Now whether it is the terrible twos kicking in, influences from playbox, jealous over Amélie, the fact that I am back at work or a combination of all four it is impossible to say.  Don’t get me wrong she is not an overly naughty child but she is definitely pushing boundaries.  It is ‘I want’ with no manners, she seemingly has forgotten how to say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank-You’.  She even got told off at school for not saying ‘Please’!  Therefore we are employing tough love at the moment and she is not getting anything without asking for it properly.  This has resulting is a number of tantrums and even telling Lucinda: ‘Mommy, I don’t want you anymore, go and put yourself in the bin.’ We thought it was quite an amusing phrase but not that we let her know that!

Amélie has begun to take to eating solid food.  We have begun weaning her early on the dietician’s advice and at first she was struggling to take her baby rice but not any more.  She gobbles her baby rice down but it hasn’t diminished her appetite for her neocate and she is still on her 3 hour cycle.  Baby rice may be a favourite but she isn’t taking to new flavours with the enthusiasm that Éowyn did, but then if you had chronic reflux then maybe you would be wary when trying new foods.  Her weight (6.3kgs (13lb 14oz)) has seemingly settled onto the 25th centile, so our concern over weight loss has lessened but her reflux is still quite bad.  Hopefully after the ultrasound at the beginning of March they will be able to determine what is causing it.  We will keep you updated.

Before I leave you to look at the photos just a quick note about the other love of my life:  West Bromwich Albion.  Roberto Di Matteo has been put on gardening leave and Roy Hodgson has been bought in as Head Coach.  For one game (a disappointing 3-3 draw with West Ham United – we were 3-0 up at half time!) in between appointments an ex-player Michael Appleton was in charge and at 34 became the youngest person to be in charge of a Premier League team, remember that for your pub quiz team.  I had nothing against RDM (we haven’t been in the relegation zone all season) but if Roy can tighten our defence and keep us up he may have a chance to put his tenure at Liverpool behind him.  Come on you Baggies!

Peace and Love


Put it on the fridge!

Back at work and boy did I hit the ground running?  A first working week of 70 hours meant that I spent very little time at home awake.  This obviously put the onus back onto Lucinda to be primary carer for the girls.  Amélie is too young to understand but Éowyn subconsciously senses weakness added to her own sense of change.  This leads her to misbehave not in a malicious way but misbehaving nevertheless.  This culminated in an incident on Saturday while Lucinda was in the kitchen washing up, she came back into the lounge to find that Éowyn had poured her bottle of  juice onto each of the seats of our sofa.  When I came home Lucinda made Éowyn tell me what she had done.  Éowyn duly told me that she had poured juice on the sofa.  So I asked her why she had done it and she replied, “So when Mommy and Daddy sit down they will get wet bums.”Part of me admired her honesty, her foresight and general japery and that part of me wanted to laugh, but I held it together to explain to her that it was naughty.  “Yes Daddy it is naughty, Éowyn sorry.” How thankful am I that we bought brown leather, it seems to be a most forgiving sofa material.

Éowyn is a thoughtful child though, especially when it comes to her little sister.  Sunday, Lucinda and the girls were invited around her parents for Sunday lunch (I was at work) with Lucinda’s aunties (Lucinda’s mum’s sisters).  While they were eating lunch Éowyn asked if she could leave the table and play with her puzzles in the front room.  She was told that because Amélie was sleeping that she should bring them back to the table and be very quiet when she was in the front room collecting them so as not to wake Amélie. This she duly did but then whenever anyone spoke at the table she would shh them and say “Be quiet, Amélie’s sleeping.”

She also doesn’t like Amélie to be missed out and includes her when she can.  Éowyn was cleaning her teeth the other night.  “Mommy’s toothbrush, Daddy’s toothbrush, Éowyn’s toothbrush,” pointing to each of our toothbrushes in turn. “Where’s Amélie’s toothbrush?” Lucinda explained that Amélie hasn’t got any teeth yet, so she hasn’t got a toothbrush.  Éowyn replied: “Well go to the shops and get them.” Lucinda asked to confirm whether Éowyn wanted her to go to the shops and get a toothbrush for Amélie and Éowyn answered, “No Mommy, teeth!” It is amazing what you can get at the shops these days!

As I mentioned in last week’s update, we were expecting a telephone call from the paediatrician concerning Amélie. Lucinda had prepared a list of examples and questions for the paediatrician in case this was no going to go any further.  At the appointed time the paediatrician called and Lucinda was going to launch into her soliloquy when the paediatrician just said, we have looked at Amélie’s notes and we would like to see her Monday morning.  Lucinda was a little deflated because she had been prepared to justify why they should she her and the wind had been taken out of her sails.  We still don’t know why they had to call to say that and why they could not just have sent an appointment through the post.

So Monday morning we dropped Éowyn off at Playbox (although subdued she wandered off into the classroom without tears or clinging to my leg) and headed to Ashford hospital for our appointment.  Amélie was weighed (she is now 6.0kg (13lbs 4oz) which is dead on the 25th centile) and although she has put weight on she is still not quite following a centile curve.  However this does not seem to be concerning any of the medical staff, as she is putting on weight.

The paediatrician looked at Amélie’s notes and examined her.  She has asked us to return to the GP to reassess the quantities of Domperidone and Ranitidine in light of her weight gain.  She listened to her chest and believes the noisy breathing/ wheezing to be all upper respiratory rather than a problem with her lungs and chest, which is a relief.  She has requested an ultrasound to be taken while she is feeding (we are still waiting for the appointment) and a urine sample.  How do you get a urine sample for a 4 month old baby girl?  With great difficulty, I can tell you!  Our first attempt involved holding her over a bowl while we fed her.  We did this for about an hour with no success, then she threw up in the bowl.  Lucinda moved her to her lap while we retrieved the bowl and Amélie duly urinated on her leg!

As you may know we have started to feed Amélie solids.  However she is not taking to it as Éowyn did.  Then again if her reflux is such then perhaps it is painful, but she doesn’t seem to be too worried.  As I mentioned last time Amélie was not showing interest in food as Éowyn did, so perhaps that is part of the problem too.  We are only weaning because of the reflux and on the advice of the dietician, and the hope that she will be satisfied for longer than the 3 hour alarm call that she currently operates on.

This week we received the photos from the photoshoot and they look wonderful.  We just have to decide on where best to hang the frames.  Lucinda and I were chatting about it and without trying to sound too big-headed many of the photos that I take are just as nice (probably because I can get better reactions out of my children!) but we have never printed them out.  I have over 30,000 photos sitting on my computer but hardly any on the walls or in photoframes.  This is why this site and my Flickr account are good outlets because it allows me to at least display them for others to see.  Perhaps I should begin printing some out?

Lucinda has a very strong artistic streak, and I like to think I have at least a soupçon of artistic talent so it is no surprise that Éowyn seems to be using art as a medium for her imagination.  Drawing, painting, sculpture (O.K. Playdoh) all are part of her répertoire.  However, Lucinda started something with a chance comment.  Éowyn had sat down at her table and drawn a picture.  She gave it to Lucinda and Lucinda said “That’s very good, let’s put it on the fridge.” Well that just opened the floodgates.  A barrage of drawings followed (some of them consisting of only three lines) all with the cry of “Put it on the fridge, Mommy!” We need a bigger fridge!

As you may, or may not, remember a friend of mine, Eilidh Cairns, while cycling to work was involved in an accident with a lorry and passed away a short time later (please read here for my tribute to her).  This weekend marks the second anniversary of that day and since then Eilidh’s mum, Heather, has been working with her local M.E.P. to try and get a E.U. declaration signed to get H.G.V.’s fitted with sensors and cameras to remove their blind spots making the roads a safer place for cyclists (and the general public).  They need your assistance so please pop by to or click on this flyer and see how you are able to help.  Thank you.

Peace and Love