Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oral Fixations

I would have titled this post 'Nipple Confusion', except that I think there's already a similar title.

Anyway, this is just a quick one.  I noticed today that the Frog has a very intense oral relationship with some of his toys.  And no, I don't mean he talks to them.  Anyway, after a close look at the head of his toy cat (yes, it *is* a cat), I think I can see why the cat's nose was so very soggy when he was done with it...

Monday, September 20, 2010


So, on the actual 3rd month anniversary, the Frog gave me a little surprise and performed his first front-to-back roll.  Entirely unintentional on his part, so it'll be interesting to see when he actually makes the connection and starts rolling with intent.

Also, as an aside, I was watching this afternoon as Hubs and the Frog played together, and there's a definite pattern to the interaction.  At the start of the game, the Frog looks slightly bemused.  As the pattern of repetition becomes apparent, the Frog starts hyperventilating in anticipatory excitement.  Finally, he'll start laughing at each game 'climax' (be it having a raspberry blown into his hand, or his chins tickled, or whatever).  After this point though, he rapidly becomes bored, and stops reacting to the stimulus altogether - so we might get 3 or 4 laughs out of him before habituation kicks in, and we need to find something more interesting for the tyrant's amusement.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Nappy Time

So, time to talk nappies.  Hey, you knew it was coming - I mean new mums only talk about baby poo, baby vomit, and the various methods of dealing with those outputs, right?

I was pretty determined to give cloth a go, since I knew that cloth nappies had come a long way from the days of terry-cloth squares.  It wasn't too hard to convince Hubs, particularly after an obliging sales-girl showed us how she changed her 8-month old baby who was in cloth.  (Given what I now know, I realise that Hubs dealt amazingly well with the sight of baby poo, though he wasn't the one who had to clean it up at the time).

When we started looking, we were faced with a barrage of terms which meant NOTHING to us: pre-folds, all-in-ones, pocket nappies, fitted nappies, inners, boosters, liners ..  and heck, we nearly gave up then and there!  Fortunately, Hubs is a research guru, and hit the forums like a pro.  Also, we trawled the selection at the local shops, and again and again had 'Real Nappies' promoted as a great brand.   The forums didn't agree with this, though, so we decided to try 3 different products and styles:

A sized pre-fold (Real Nappies)
A one-size pocket nappy (Happy Heinys)
A one-size all-in-one (Kissaluvs)

To help you out here, some explanation:

Sized nappies are just what they sound like - they come in different sizes from newborn through to toddlers.  I believe that these give a better fit when your baby is at one extreme end of the scale or the other.  One-size nappies usually have snaps at the front which you can clip together to shorten the nappy for smaller babies, or unsnap for a longer nappy for bigger kiddies.  The general idea is that they should last you from birth to potty - in my experience though, they're a bit too big for a newborn.  We seriously started on cloth when The Frog was about 9 weeks old.

With pre-folds, you get a rectangle of absorbent material on which to work your origami mastery - different folds for newborns, little boys and little girls.  The idea is that you wrap your infant's loins in your masterpiece, hold it together with a little plastic grabby thing (no more pins!), and then you get a waterproof cover with velcro tabs as a final touch, to keep everything (especially infant ouput) in place.

With pocket nappies, there are also 2 components - the inner (the strip of material that does the work of absorbing all your baby's leaky goodness), and the outer - which is the 'pocket', the inside of which is a very soft fleecy material that sits against the baby's bum, and the outside of which is the waterproof cover.  So you just stuff the inner into the outer, and hey presto, you're away!

Lastly, all-in-ones are very much like a pocket nappy except that the inner is sewn into the outer at one end - so you can pull it out like a long fluffy white tongue (eurrgh), but it stays attached.  The pocket nappy and the all-in-one were also both fitted, which means that they look and work pretty much like a disposable nappy, with elasticated legs and velcro or snap tabs - no folding required!

Oh, and one more thing - flushable liners - a little papery sheet that you stick on top of the nappy (i.e. next to baby's skin) which catches the solid waste, and lets the liquid through.  These are *awesome*.

So!  The findings?  I didn't give the Real Nappies much of a go, I admit, but I didn't really like them.  They felt so bulky, and the prefold inners were so thick when folded, that I felt I was crushing the Frog's poor little man bits.  It's not that he complained, I just didn't feel comfortable with it.  Maybe with a few more washes, the absorbent material would have softened, but I've been using them to dry him off during changes, and they've seen a few washes and haven't softened appreciably, so I'm not convinced.  That, and they were just a bit of a faff to put on - either you wrap up the baby bum twice, with the inner then the outer covering, or you build them in a little stack: outer topped with inner, topped with liner, and hope it all stays together while your bundle of joy kicks his legs about energetically.  So nix to those.  Though I will say that the Real Nappy flushable liners are great.

The pocket nappies and the all-in-ones were much of a muchness in terms of their ease of use, and quite frankly, I'm impressed at how easy these thing are to use - scarcely more work than disposables.  BUT, I found the Kissaluvs to be much more absorbent and less prone to leaking than the Happy Heinys.  Additionally, you can order factory seconds from the Kissaluv site which are almost a third the price of a new Happy Heiny.  So, I'm guessing that with Happy Heinys you pay a premium for their range of exotic prints.  But come on, folks - this is an item that is regularly pissed and crapped on, so I reckon The Frog looks just fine in his choc-and-pink Kissas.  The absolute clincher is that so far, I've also been able to have the Frog in cloth overnight.  So many people have said "cloth during the day, disposable at night", but I put a booster (another absorbent inner) in his Kissaluv, and I haven't had a leakage problem yet, despite the very heavy nappies I change him out of in the morning.

Just to add a non-nappy-spruik, I surprised myself at how un-icked I was by the whole effluent thing.  One of the few benefits of formula feeding is predictable, not-too-frequent, not-too-runny poos.  The Frog is a once-every-two-days man, and I'm getting pretty good at picking the nappy that needs a liner in it.  Despite this, I've had a couple of sneaky poos from the Frog where I've neglected to line his nappy.  In these cases, I like to get rid of most of the solid gack and rinse it before I chuck it in the wash, but it's really not that big of a deal (no matter how much retching and gagging Hubs does when he's confronted with a pooey nappy), it really isn't.

And best yet, even though we haven't gone the cheapest nappies on the market, this system has cost me far less than 2 years worth of disposables. I have nappies that should last the Frog all the way to the potty, and I can sell them on to recoup a little of the cost, should I want to (yup, internet trading sites are rife with second-hand nappies, as these things are so pricey!).  So even if you don't give a rats about benefits to the environment (which should be apparent), think of your hip pocket and check out just how far cloth has come!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Three Months In

It's weird to think that at this point, the Frog has spent a third as much time outside the womb as he's spent inside. 

So, to celebrate this 1/3rd anniversary, I thought I'd jot down some milestones (not necessarily the ones dictated by the Powers That Be).

I got my first genuine laugh today.  He's been doing a lot of open mouthed smiling, sometimes with accompanying hyperventilation (I know, it sounds a lot like a laugh, but the Frog hyperventilates whenever he's excited so it was hard to tell the difference).  Anyway, today it was a real little chortle when I blew a raspberry into his hand, which he repeated when I did it again, and again, and again ..  and then he got bored with that game.  Still - I was almost as excited as he was, and willing to repeat the same inane action ad nauseum.  I sense that my future is going to hold a lot of this kind of activity. 

The Frog is still grabbing at stuff, but he seems to restrict a lot of his activity to his right hand.  He often holds it stiffly out in front of him, like a wee fascist dictator (actually, that's not far from the mark).  Much of the time, when he holds his arm out, he's not actually making a grab for anything, but seems to be just admiring his hand.  In fact, he gets quite fascinated, and croons lovingly to it.  Whatever floats your boat, I guess?

The Frog is also quite determined to stuff most things in his mouth.  Trouble is, that he's not totally co-ordinated just yet.  This evening, I gave him a bit of blanket to play with while I changed him, and when I looked up from the business end a little later, I found him gripping the blanket which had tucked up under his arms, while he vigorously sucked on his wrists.  The spirit is certainly willing, if only the flesh would be a bit more obedient!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Scattered Thoughts

This is the sort of post that happens when you're trapped under a ravening Frog, with one free hand.

Frog habits:  I've noticed that the Frog likes to tug at his ear or hair when he's feeding.  This happens more at the breast than the bottle.  Fortunately, the ears seem pretty firmly attached, and I haven't noticed any bald-spots on the sides of his head, so it doesn't look like a habit that's doing him any harm.

You know how people say that babies look wise?  I think it's something to do with the fact that without teeth, they look like little old men and women (well, up to a point).  I can't say that I've ever noticed the Frog looking wise exactly, but he has perfected a very disapproving glower.   I'm just waiting for him to tell me to get off his lawn.

The Frog doesn't know what he wants, and neither do I.  We seem to have this ritual, where he grizzles a bit, and I think "Right, food then", and go make him a bottle.  Then when I try to give it to him, he does everything short of walloping me in the face (actually, sometimes he does that, too) to let me know that food is the LAST thing on his mind.  He'll stick the bottle back out with his tongue, cry, give me disgusted looks, screw his face up, etc.  So I put the bottle away, and resort to the pattern of changing his position (gas?), or lying him in the crook of my arm and reciting the Jabberwock (tired?), and while he might burp, fart and close his eyes (sometimes all at once), the crying still goes on, and on ..  and ON.  And he gradually works himself up into this tearful and angry frenzy, little legs pumping away, hands hitting his own face as much as mine.  At this point, usually just with the plan of muffling the noise a bit, I poke the bottle back in, and lo and behold, he latches onto it and tries to inhale most of the contents.  The little face goes from a sort of soggy resentful expression to the cross-eyed milk delirium, and soon after, he's happily nodding off.  I don't see why we can't just skip all that palarva in the middle?

Thinking of sleeping babies...  The Frog laughs, but only in his sleep.  In fact, it's a sure-fire sign of knowing that he's dropped off.  What on earth does he dream about to make him laugh, I wonder?

Bubble-baths.  The Frog makes his own. Tee hee hee.

Baby hallucinations.  I wouldn't have thought I would have had much in the way of them, as I can count the number of times we've co-slept with the Frog on one hand, but I had them pretty continuously until he was maybe 9 weeks old.  By hallucinations, I don't mean that I was plagued by flying green babies during my waking hours, but when I was woken up from sleep, I'd be absolutely convinced that the Frog was in bed with me.  I usually felt that he was lying on my front, and would desperately try to sort through the quilt to find him.  I remember one of the last times I had one of these hallucinations, I was woken by the Frog crying through his baby monitor.  I sat up in bed, and started the ritual of digging through the covers, trying to unwrap and cuddle the non-existent baby, all the while being confused by his nearby crying.  It took me a little while to work out it was the monitor, and a little longer to stop looking, and get up and tend to him.

And my last scattered thought for today: coffee and a hot shower in the morning.  Is there anything they can't fix?

Saturday, September 11, 2010


So, I went to one of the post-natal mother's meetings yesterday.  I'd been once before, and should have learned from my first experience.  I'm not sure why I dislike them so much.  I think I'm not very sociable to begin with, so walking into large groups where several conversations are going on at once around the table always stymies me a bit.   The way to 'join in' appears to be to make eye-contact with the speaker, but is that rude? It feels like just butting in, to me.  But the alternative is to sit, either staring at your lap, or off into space and wait to be invited, and that seems even worse.  After joining one conversation or another, I usually find that my attention drifts anyway, as it's hard to hear, what with all the other people jabbering, so I often find myself in the position of listening to one set of people while making intense eye-contact with another, which usually results in problems when the speaker in the second group meets my gaze and asks "So what do you reckon?"

And it's not like anyone talks about anything except their babies and their post-baby bodies (and yes, I acknowledge that this is totally hypocritical, given my main blog topic).  But it is slightly grating to hear mothers complaining about their child's developments with a proud twinkle: "I can't put little Ezekiel down anywhere now, as he's off like a shot".. or "Sophia just loves to stand at only 10 weeks - we've had to move all our breakables up to higher shelves!" .. or "Madison ate two pages of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, we've had to buy a waterproof copy, she loves it so much!"

And I look down at my bobble-headed boy (yes, STILL, at 12 weeks), who has spent the last 15 minutes trying to stuff both hands into his mouth, and has drooled so much that his entire top needs to be wrung out, and don't comment.  I think the most flattering thing anyone had to say about my Frog was that he was very "chilled".  But frankly, I think his fists muffled any crying he may or may not have been doing.  I have these visions of having to come with him to school and stand behind his desk, holding his head up.  Or apologising to the teacher: "He'd be more comfortable just lying on his back - oh, and if you could draw something bright with eyes on the blackboard? I think you'll find it'll hold his attention better..."

That said - at nearly 12 weeks, what Frog achievements do I have to relate?  He certainly appears to actually be grabbing at things more deliberately.  I found one new toy for him which is all wooden rods and beads and elastic, which had me intrigued for about 2 minutes, so I reckon it'll get a few months of attention from him.  It's structured in such a way as to be easy to grab and hold (intentionally or not), and several times the Frog has managed to grip a piece of the elastic, and then not been able to let go.  The result being that he's plagued by a giant colourful conglomeration of wooden rods which keeps swinging up to his face and poking him in the eye while he's trying to eat it.

He's still quite chatty, though not really exploring any new sounds, no matter how much I "ma-ma-maaa" and "bu-bu-buuu" at him.  We had a little exchange yesterday which went along the lines of:

Him: Nguuurrr

Me: Nguuuur!

Him: Nguuuuur

Me: Nguuur!

And so on.  You can see how cerebral we are already.

Anyway, he's just managed to get both hands tangled in the elastic of his new toy, so I'd best go assist before he also loses his legs to it in best Brer Rabbit and tar-baby fashion.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Eleventy today!

It's the Frog's eleventh week anniversary, and I may as well give an update.

It seems like the Frog's brain is making all kinds of new connections.  He seems to be much more engaged with his surroundings than he was a couple of weeks ago.  He loves faces, and once his gaze has latched on, it has trouble relinquishing its target.  Like one of those paintings - you know - where the eyes follow you around the room?

He's also starting to enjoy new toys and games.  They don't have to be very exciting toys or games - even a new plush toy will get his interest.  His approach to novel stimuli is fun to watch.  He starts with his hands drawn in, just looking intently.  Then he'll tentatively reach out and bat or grab at whatever has his attention.  His batting gets more vigorous as he gets his confidence up and he works out what happens as a result of his contact (bells, whistles, or merely plush stoicism).

My current game with him is "jelly fish hand".  It's not very gripping: make hand swim like jelly fish, to the accompaniment of 'blup blup' noises.  Once the Frog has his full attention on the jelly fish hand, circle about a couple of turns, then dive down onto the Frog's head, and settle there, pulsating gently and make accompanying slurping noises (this is a baby-brain eating jelly fish).  The Frog is always still and watchful as the jelly fish circles, but starts hyperventilating and kicking as it draws in for the kill.  I suppose, given he can't actually run away from this vicious predator, it must be a bit nerve-wracking for him.  Hmmm.  Perhaps a new game is in order?

Hubs latest discovery with The Frog is that the little guy is starting to explore textures.  Apparently this morning Hubs was wearing a shirt with a bold logo on - the logo was the smooth, shiny surface of some kind of material ink, against the softer, more textured surface of the cloth.  Anyway, the Frog spent a good five minutes, transfixed by the design, and stroking his fingers on the t-shirt, exploring the design, and the peculiar textures.

He's also developing different cries - no, not in the style of "I'm hungry ..waaah!", "I have gas .. waaaah!", "I'm tired..  waaaah!".  Just the distinction between a cry (see before) and a yell.  He hasn't developed the acting ability to fake a cry yet, but he tries, and the result is a cross between a grizzle and his 'chatting' noises.  He tends to make this at about 5:30am when he's woken up and wants some company - or if he's been stuck in his basket when he's alert, and really wants to be in the thick of things.  Either way, we're not fooled into thinking he's really miserable, and these days I don't tend to go into his room until 6:30am at the earliest!  I did feel a bit like a bad mother this morning - he'd been uncharacteristically silent all morning, and eventually with hideous visions of SIDS, I crept into his room at 7:30, to find him lying on his back, eyes wide open, just gazing about at nothing in particular.  He gave me a huge gummy smile when I leaned in to pick him up, and had an awesome play session.  I do wonder if I need to invest in a mobile or give him something else to look at in the mornings - or whether we as modern parents tend to get far too worked up about such things, and he'll be just fine without constant stimulation during his waking hours.  I'm dithering a bit, really.