Sunday, August 1, 2010


The Frog is at 6 weeks now, and while he hardly has even rudimentary control over his limbs things are starting to change.

Eye contact has been improving over the last couple of weeks.  He can track motion and faces, albeit a little jerkily - his eyes are a little more dexterous than his head, which is dragged reluctantly along after the eyeballs.

He's also begun smiling in the last week or two.  Sometimes his facial expression is a little divided: the bottom half will be a tentative grin, while above it his eyebrows will be drawn together in a distinctly worried expression. I have, however, had a couple of ear-to-ear beams, usually lovingly directed at my hairline, but - eh - you take what you can!

He's also started vocalising a little more - and by that, I mean apart from the constant stream of noise he usually produces.  These new sounds seem to be really for the purpose of the noise itself, rather than a by-product of some other process (usually something to do with digestion).  For reference, I'll catalogue some of his current repertoire:

The Grunt: This is probably one of the most common sounds, made on breathing out.  He's typically awake, fidgety, and very often over-tired.  It's a continual "uh-uh-uh" sound, and as far as I know has absolutely no significance at all, besides indicating some glottal restriction during breathing.

The Moan: This could equally be called the 'Sigh', as that's also what it sort of sounds like sometimes.  Again, made on breathing out, the Frog emits these sounds when he's on the cusp of sleep (either going in or coming out).  It's either the sound that typically keeps hubby awake at night via the baby-intercom, or the sound that reassures me that he's not choking when I'm carrying him in the front pack - Although when he's in the front-pack, he's probably trying to use it to signal to me that I shouldn't bump him about quite so much!

The Roar: Typically found mid-feed.  Easy enough to elicit - just remove him from food-source (boob or bottle), when he's got up a good head of steam.  It's pretty much always accompanied by a bodily motion where he tries to curl up like a pill-bug.  If food is not soon forthcoming, he'll briefly settle before deciding that crying would be a more effective means of re-establishing the Frog-Food connection.

The Hyperventilate:  Often a pre-cursor to crying, but it seems to accompany any sort of agitation, like excitement/anticipation/worry etc.  When it's generated by a negative emotion, it can quickly turn into The Whimper (which is really just the Hyperventilate plus vocalising).  This is the noise which I can't ignore - whereas for hubby, it's the full on crying that's the big tug.  But there's something so desperate about his little high-pitched whimper that I can't just let it go.  Yes, probably bad parenting, but there it is.

The Whoop: Another feeding sound, normally made during bottle feeding when we've mistakenly given him a bottle with a two-hole teat, rather than the single-holed variety.  This is really just him gasping after nearly gargling in formula.

The Proto-Babble: And these are the new sounds - as yet, I haven't noticed too many patterns within the proto-babbles.  He coo-gurgles, I suppose, for want of a better word.  There are no recognisable sounds, but perhaps some of the intonation would be familiar - I'm just not convinced that the intonation is copied from anything he's heard at this point, rather than just being coincidental.  The pattern I'm thinking of is where he gurgles something from a high pitch to a lower pitch - in the way someone might say (in care-giverese) "There it is.. "

I'm not going to mention crying, as, well, all babies do it to a greater or lesser extent, right?  The main thing with the Frog is that he typically has a reason for crying at this point which is easy to fix - he's ravenously hungry, he's lonely, or he's having a difficult bowel motion (well, the last one, we just have to wait it out - but it's good warning that a nasty nappy change is imminent!).

As to me?  Well, motherhood is still surreal.  As in, I still look at this completely vulnerable little critter with amazement... When did my life start totally revolving around the well-being of this new person?  Yes, I know, June 20 - I was being RHETORICAL.

My body is taking its sweet time in getting back to normal.  I haven't stepped on the scales recently, but just looking in the mirror is enough.  My stomach resembles some sad, semi-deflated post-party balloon.  My rear-end is also balloon-like, in an entirely different way.  All in all, I think 9 months to lose the weight is looking unlikely.  I am trying, though.  Doing everything with a (now) 4.7kg lump strapped to your front has GOT to be good for calorie burning, right?  Even if just typing?
Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be one of those women who can use milk-production to burn calories - that's the one part of this process that hasn't gone text-book smoothly.  The Frog doesn't care to put much effort into milk extraction, hence supplies are fairly low.  I only really worked this out when the midwife pointed out at the end of his first week how dehydrated he was getting.  So we went on to formula top-ups.  We started with 50ml at each feed, then 100, and now I tend to make up 150ml bottles, and see how much he'll take.  He WAS regularly taking about 120-130ml of the formula after time on the boob, but in the last couple of days his feeding pattern has rather frustratingly changed - from roughly 4-hourly feeds, he seems to feed almost 2-hourly, and takes around 50ml each time.  This is close to driving me barmy, as with feeds 2 hours apart which take at LEAST one hour each, it doesn't actually leave much time to get anything done.  I can't find any way to force more into him, because he tends to clamp his lips together tightly, and if you try to get clever and slip the bottle in during a yawn, he gives you an extremely disappointed look and starts gagging.  So much for that.  The only benefit I can see is that he has the good sense to let me sleep at night.  We might have a final feed finishing around 10pm, and then I'm not usually woken by him till 6 or 7 the next morning.  Be thankful for medium-sized mercies, I guess?

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