Why is a blog like a house plant?

Both are likely to die from neglect when they are in my care. Thoughts on feminism and motherhood in my generation are difficult to formulate though and the baby learns new stuff so subtly that sometimes it seems as though he isn't changing or learning new 'tricks' at all.

He is changing though - we visited T and E's new baby on Tuesday when he was just a day old and despite being 1cm longer and 800g heavier than Asher was at birth he just seemed so tiny and delicate. I'm very proud of T for trying to breastfeed too, considering she was adamant about not even trying until she actually had the baby in her arms (which, I have to admit, seems weird to me. So many people try so hard to breastfeed and don't manage it, it's best for the baby, why not give it a go?).

He's growing bigger but he's also learning new stuff. The latest is the whole concept of peek-a-boo games, which I've been told is the start of learning object permanence. I've been trying to get him interested in peek-a-boo for a week or two and I think last night he started to get it. I was in the shower and Sanjay was holding Asher and we were closing the shower door and opening it and I would say 'A-Boo!' and the little guy would grin all over his little face. It was hilarious watching him suddenly 'find' me when the shower door opened and have it a huge surprise each time. So incredibly cute.

I was having a shower because I was getting ready to go to Clare's Formal (not that I don;t normally shower, but this time it was a shower-with-purpose), which meant leaving Asher with Sanjay for evening feed and bedtime for only the second time ever. It all went fine of course and Asher was asleep and Sanj was getting ready for bed when I got home at 10:30. The only small glitch was that Asher wouldn't drink any milk that had been expressed then frozen. Luckily I had expressed around 120ml during the day and Asher had that, but he refused anything that had been frozen then thawed. I remember reading about some kind of weird lipase issue that can affect frozen-then-thawed breastmilk and make it taste soapy which might be the issue. Unfortunately the only way to test if this is a problem is to taste test the pumped then frozen breastmilk and we are all out of EBM cubes here after Sanj's efforts trying to get Asher to eat last night. I guess I should express and freeze some for experimental purposes today, because we don't want to be in this situation again and you never know, I might actually want to go out again without the baby sometime in the next year!



I got Asher one of the mesh feeder thingies the other day thinking that it might come in handy far in the future. I gave it a wash and threw it in the draw with the rarely-used bottles and pumping equipment. Late last week Asher was hot and bored so I put a small ice-cube in the mesh and gave it to him to play with. He seemed to like it, popping it in his mouth then making a face like I was trying to poison him as he spat it out and then working to get it in his mouth again. He ended up covered in water from the melted ice-cube but it distracted him in the late afternoon for more than half an hour.

Today, as we were having lunch he was getting whiny again, probably because we were intent on stuffing our faces and wanting to catch up with the weekend papers rather than spending all our attention amusing him, so this time I peeled a bit of apple and put a little bit in the mesh. He loved the apple more than the ice. He spent quite a while happily sucking away. This allowed Sanjay to get stuck into the sports pages and me to do more of the crossword than I've done in the last five months. Joy.

Anyhow, I didn't really mean for solids to start this way, and I guess he hasn't really started solids because the apple was almost untouched when I removed it from the mesh. Either way, it's OK because apple is pretty yummy and he's almost five months (21 weeks tomorrow, 5 calendar months next Sunday) which is close to the recommended 'six months' for introducing solids.

Back on the Wall

My dear friends Emma and Brendan have resumed their walk of the Great Wall of China, after long tedious months of frustrating rehab. Congratulations! Every step you take is one closer to your goal (more or less).


Asher's 20 week update

I promised an Asher update so here it is, but I'm pretty tired, so forgive my disjointedness.

Let me start with the stats. He was 20 weeks on Monday and I weighed and measured him. He weighed in at about 6.9kg and just under 66cm (putting on 4.25kg and growing almost 18cm in less that 5 months on nothing but breastmilk seems very impressive to me). He is also starting the whole teething thing I can see and feel a tiny white blister on his lower right gum. It doesn't seem to be bothering him much besides making him dribble an incredible amount and chomp on everything within reach.

The first thing people ask new parents about is sleep. I was always able to answer those questions quite smugly as Asher was only waking up once a night which is sustainable almost indefinitely for us. He would also go to sleep pretty much wherever we were so if we wanted to go out for dinner we would bathe him before we left, feed him when we arrived and he would sleep. Now, not so much. It started with him not wanting to sleep when we were out for dinner and then he got sick and we have all been getting even less sleep. Last night, now that he's pretty much better, he woke up four times, and was fed back to sleep three times. I'm hoping that this is a temporary thing and that the sleep thing sorts itself out without further dramas.

His day sleeps aren't really great either. Many days (like today) he has three sleep of only 20-25 minutes each which isn't enough for a little baby. I think it's at least partially a function of him being very alert and interested in the world around him and there's not much we can do about it.

Speaking of sleep, it's time for me to go to bed….


Fortnightly drama

I have a fortnightly arrangement with my girlfriends C and Z. We meet up on Monday, have coffee or lunch with our kids (C's elder son is in childcare on Mondays so we have three little ones with us). It's like a little support group or a mini mothers' group and it's good for all of us. Last fortnight I was a bit stunned because Jill had called me to tell me that she was leaving my dad and this fortnight my bad news was that my mother is going to have major surgery. More news that was not entirely unexpected, but still managed to throw me.

I've known for a while that she has been having dramas with her back and neck, and that she had seen a specialist who had ordered an MRI and had an appointment to go back and see the specialist to discuss the MRI results. In the morning, just after Asher had woken up from his morning sleep as I was planning my day around my lunch with C and Z Mum called me. She told me that she'd just been to see Dr F and that me that the news was not as good as she'd hoped.
The back-story is that my mother has a metal (Harrington) rod in her back, put in when she was around 30. She has early osteoporosis, fusing vertebrae and bone spurs growing into her spinal chord. The doctor had told her the it was likely that she would have a some physio and anti-inflammatories but the MRI showed that there is spinal chord compression and Dr F feels quite strongly that surgery is the only sensible option now. He even went as far as to say that a blow to the head or neck could relatively easily make her a para- or quadriplegic. She had a terrible time with her original surgery (fairly experimental surgery, a 3 year old, a 6 month old, no local friends or family, a bowel obstruction then month of living with a plaster on her torso) and was dreading the prospect of any further surgery.

Anyhow, mum called me because she couldn't get hold of Jim and she had this new and full-on information and she didn't have anything to 'do' with it. She told me she had to go and get a few more x-rays and a CT scan so I told her that I'd meet her at the hospital so I put the baby in the BabyBjorn (the pram was in the car, which Sanj had driven to work) and trooped through the 31 C degree day to the hospital. I made it there hot and bothered but it was good to be able to be there for mum. We joked around as she filled in a few scary details, she had her X-ray and CT scan and we had coffee and chatted. She always takes so much pleasure in Asher's company which always makes me happy. I then caught the bus up to Crows Nest and met with C and Z and their little ones. Later Sanjay, Asher and I went to dinner at the pizzeria for dinner with Mum, Clare, Tim and his girlfriend and mum processed by drinking almost as much as Tim. Apparently she felt terrible this morning but I think that is was a pretty reasonable reaction to such news.

Her surgery is scheduled for the end of January at North Shore Private. I'm pleased that it's within walking distance but freaking out a bit about the rest of it. Next post will be a happy one - I need to give an update on the little one's development!


Milestone: Baby's first cold

The baby got a cold. Now Sanj and I also have a cold. I feel like we are living in a plague house. The little guy is starting to get better (with hot steamy showers, regular application of saline nose drops and attack with the booger extractor) but I think Sanj and I are just starting to feel the worst of it. It would be a lot easier to recover if we were able to sleep for more than abuot two hours at a time. Anyhow, we are all off to the shops now to buy tissues and orange juice and other supplies. Wish us well.


Sleep is for the weak!

Asher's seems to have hit a sleep regression. He was in a lovely routine of going to sleep around 7:30 and waking only once or twice before 6:30am (with the occasional sleep-through) but now it's taking ages to get him to settle (11pm last night, 9 tonight) and he seems to half wake up, cry out, and if we get to him soon enough (and pick him up and bounce him) he doesn't wake up properly and he goes straight back to sleep. Anyhow I'm clinging to the fact it's a normal developmental stage. The wonderfully insightful and wise Moxie calls it the 4 month sleep regression and reassures readers that it will get better soon enough. Until it does, I might have to whinge a lot.


Baby development update

Yesterday I was on the bus with the baby in the Baby Bjorn, and Asher was crying inconsolably. I was standing up, humming to him and jiggling, despite being physically and emotionally exhausted, and he would settle for a few moments then start up again. The poor little guy was so tired and there was nothing else I could do to help him sleep when a very young man suggested that I turn the baby around to face inwards to stop his crying. I thanked him for his suggestion and muttered something about not being able to do that on the bus, knowing Asher's feelings about facing inwards when I'm wearing him. I realised then that the little guy has been crying and unsettled a lot for the last week and a bit. Last Tuesday his unsettledness was a one off, but he hasn't had a good day since then (except perhaps Monday).

So despite all this grizzling and unhappiness his development is coming along in leaps and bounds. His night-time sleep is really good. He generally only wakes up about once per night and he slept through the night for the first time ever on Monday night (from around 7:30 or 8pm to 6:30 or 7am). The other big change is that he can reliably roll from his back to his front, and he's doing it all the time. He's rolled from front to back quite a lot, but it always seemed kind of accidental, now we have to be super careful about leaving him anywhere because he can and will roll off. We tend to put him to bed down one end of his cot and wake up to him still asleep, often on his tummy and usually with his feet right down the other end of the cot.

I'm finding Asher's fussiness really difficult and it is making me doubt what I'm doing with him - is he hungry? Perhaps I should be supplementing with formula or starting to feed him solids? Is there any way I can help him sleep more during the day? I can't tell whether the grizzling is making me stressed and flat or whether I would be having a hard time anyhow? Is the baby picking up my unhappiness and upset because of it? At 18 weeks perhaps he's teething?

Asher and his noisy toy

Originally uploaded by karmakeda.

This toy is one of those things you have to see in person to understand the magnitude of the bizarreness (shit, that isn't a word!). It seems to be aimed at teaching little ones numbers, colours and styles of music. Yes, that's right, blue is for opera, orange is for rock, yellow is for babershop purple is for jazz and red is for reggae. An english voice says the colour then there is a few bars of someone singing the colour-word in the style of music. Very very weird, with a large dose of annoying-but-hilarious thrown in. The little fellow is still pretty unsure of it at this stage, but you never know, that may change.