Saturday, October 30, 2010

And Life Goes On

The Frog's quest to get one (or both) of his feet to his laboratory continues.  He's managed to haul them up to the entrance a couple of times - but they inevitably balk at the prospect of being subjected to 'procedures', and rush off every time to a safe distance.

His vocalisations have been coming on apace.  He's finished experimenting with squealing, and appears to have assigned it mostly to the category 'Noises of Displeasure'.  And when His Nibs is displeased, BOY does he tell us.  It's only been a couple of days and I already miss the kind of low-key grizzle he used to produce when things weren't quite right.

Looking back at old videos of him, I'm amazed at how much he's changed.  And here I am trying to catch and catalogue everything - but I still miss so much.  I think it's all the very gradual changes that slip past.  I know I managed to make a comment about him being 'grabby' in an earlier post - but that doesn't really capture his ever-so-gradual increasing hand control.  Being as explicit as I can - at just over 4 months, he can reach out fairly accurately for things in front of him.  He'll reach out with both hands, or just one.   When he grasps, it's mostly his four fingers which wrap around the object - the thumb is sometimes involved as the opposing digit, but more often than not he keeps it pinned to the side of his hand.  His grasping is also a little exploratory - he'll maybe bat at something first, then kind of stroke it with his palm, curling his fingers around the object a bit, before he decides that he actually wants to hold it.  That said, there's been many a time when I've held something out to him, and bam, he grabs it from me right away.  And he's quite happy to drop things that bore him.  I hope we're not already starting that game of "Frog drops, and mummy/daddy pick up!".  I tend to chain toys to his bouncy chair with plastic links, so that they can't go very far.

I am determined to try to make the Frog some toys.  I have a couple of ideas in mind, and a like-minded mother (in keeping with blogger anonymity, let us call her, say, Snufkin) has also been interested.  I suspect there may be a pooling of resources and time at some point: "Here, I'll watch the Frogs for 2 minutes, while you frantically edge that bit of blanket!".  If I/we ever do manage to make something worthy of bloggery, no doubt I'll post some pictures - as a reminder of how (or how NOT in the case of meringues) to do things.  I think Op-Shopping is about to become my new hobby.  What a good thing we have so much storage space (shhhhh, don't mention it to Hubs!).

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sad Thoughts..

I just heard today that a friend and colleague jumped to his death.  On the tail of that news, I also found out that he suffered from depression.  I guess that shouldn't come as a surprise, but he always seemed like a very with it guy - very health conscious, very sporty, surrounded by friends.  I knew he'd had a sick mother that he needed to look after from time to time, and I can't help but wonder how it is for her, getting this news about her son.

But him.  What makes someone stand on the edge, and look into that foaming abyss, and think "whatever's down there has to be better than what I have here.."?  I suspect that a lack of perspective is often involved.  

And I look at my son, sleeping next to me on the sofa (and yes, it took about 2 hours of grizzling for him to reach this blissful state of unconsciousness), and I hope that he'll never be drawn to that edge.

Oh well.

Adios Amigo.  Sleep well, now.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cause and Effect

Today the Frog made a bit of a breakthrough.  I think he's realised that he can have some impact on the world around him (besides driving his parents to distraction).   There's a little panel in his jungle-gym which plays a few seconds of silly sounds when it's walloped in the right way.  We've hit it a few times to get his attention, but up till now he's been fairly uninterested in taking it any further.    Today, however, I stuck him in while I folded laundry, and suddenly, I heard the sound-board go, and go again, and again!  And the whole thing was accompanied by energetic kicking and twisting and loud squealing, as the Frog worked out that HE could make the sound play!

I've decided to call the Frog's mouth his laboratory, because everything has to go in there for detailed analysis.  He seems to come to one of two conclusions: edible, or not edible - though sometimes an item requires repeated trials in order for him to reach that result (my knuckles, his hands, his toy cat's ear, and so on).

I've finally reconciled myself to his hair loss - his lovely mop is almost all gone, except for a stripe right on top, which is long and sticks straight up, making him look somewhat like a demented cockatoo.  The similarity is helped along by some of the screeching noises he sees fit to produce.

In terms of rolling, he's never really reproduced his tummy-to-back rolls, except in the purely accidental sense, but he *does* appear to be getting the gist of rolling on to his side from his back.  It happens more when his legs are weighted with something, like his bath towel or sleeping sack - he kicks his legs into the air, then the weight of the material tilts him to one side or another.  I have seem him do the roll unassisted, but he has to be pretty motivated to make the effort.  The sound board in his jungle gym seems to be one thing that gets him onto his side!
He's also recently just started enjoying sitting up.  He can't manage it on his own, but he likes to be pulled up to sit by his arms.  I remember when I started doing this a couple of weeks ago, his arms would be dead straight and kind of limp when I pulled him up - I felt like they were going to pop off his shoulders, and I'd be left holding these two little noodles while his torso spurted in grotesque Monty Python Black Knight fashion.  Fortunately they seemed pretty firmly anchored, and now when I pull him to sit, he can actually bend his arms and help pull his torso upright.  Not long till we can stick him in a high chair - woo!

Finally, the last few days have seen me getting a little less sleep - I'm not sure why, because the Frog is still being very good at kipping during the night, but I think I haven't had my afternoon/evening naps.  It's not a big deal, and I only mention it as I found myself filling the coffee plunger with heaped teaspoons of formula this morning.  I caught myself before I poured the water in, but it would have made an interesting start to the morning.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Meringue Update: Fail!

So 12 hours later, I checked on the meringues.  Still bendy and very tacky.  I decided to inch the oven temperature up by 10 degrees or so, and shut the oven door to speed things up a little, while we trotted off with the Frog for a lovely breakfast one suburb away.  Couple of hours later, still no noticeable change.  No matter, I'm patient.  I spent the day alternately working, and playing with the Frog in the garden.

Eventually after nearly 24 hours of desiccation, Hubs says he needs to use the oven, so I tell him to go ahead and turn the oven up - and just take the meringues out before they brown. He said that he'd just take one out now and see how it was (he'd been bothering me all day to try one).  10 minutes later he was back, with the one he'd snatched - and lo, it was crunchy!  He'd done what I had completely omitted to do, and left it to cool a few minutes on the counter.  *sigh*   By the time he went back to check on the remainder, they had all turned a nice dark beige.  And now looked exactly like little dog presents.  If you were being kind, you could say that they tasted like caramel.  Or if you were accurate: burnt sugar.

Oh well, at least they were all crunchy!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I neglected to mention - the Frog's new interest in items below the belt now makes nappy changing even more fraught.  On his last change for the night, not only did I have energetically pumping legs and the leaky hosepipe to deal with, but he'd keep reaching down (I suspect for those darn feet), and grabbing whatever he could (bit of nappy, hem of pyjama), and pulling it up to his mouth.  I'm not relishing having to fight off both legs AND arms on his next soiled nappy. Oh no I'm not!

Finding his Feet

Yes, the Frog has discovered his lower appendages.  He caught sight of them woggling about, and simply had to investigate further.  In his case, further analysis of anything involves sticking it in his mouth.  With great determination, and quite a bit of red-faced huffing and stretching, he managed to grip one foot with both hands, but it wouldn't cooperate, and kept kicking away before he could get it to his mouth.  I guess the Complete Foot Investigation will have to keep.

In the last couple of days, he's also started squealing.  He starts at such a high pitch it bothers the dogs next door, and ends with a kind of creaky voice (which I figure is about as low as he can go).  And he's loud.  I wonder if this is the very beginning of experimenting with intonation - exaggerated variations in pitch and loudness as the very first deliberate imitations of the speech sounds he hears.  I wonder, indeed.

On a completely different note, after Hubs made a meal the other night, we had about a gazillion left-over egg-whites, which he was about to chuck.  I rescued them with a well-placed tupperware container, and decided to try to turn them into the only thing I could think of off the top of my head: meringue.  Okay, so not exactly healthy, but hey.  Well, the gist of a meringue seems pretty simple: beat egg whites, and keep adding sugar until the whites have about doubled in volume, and are pretty firm.  Oh, and a bit of vanilla.  I was just going to splodge them onto baking trays with a spoon, but the Frog was being such a good lad - sitting in his bouncy chair and quietly gnawing on the ear of his toy cat - that I thought I'd try piping.  I don't have an icing bag, so just improvised with a plastic bag with a corner cut off, which seemed to work as well.  The piped end results looked a little like anaemic dog turds. 

Ah well, as a new mother, I'm a natural coprophile, right?  So here's something I didn't know about meringues.  Apparently you dry them out in the oven, rather than baking them.  So, my oven's sitting on the lowest heat setting with the door open with rows of little white coils slowly desiccating inside.  Tomorrow's the test.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Grooming Instincts

So here's something new. I've never been much of a groomer.  I've never felt compelled to sit my loved one down, and examine him carefully for lice or ingrown hairs.  I'm not even very good at telling someone they've got spinach between their teeth (when IS the socially acceptable moment for that, anyway? Do you interrupt them mid-conversation? Wait for a private moment?).  Heck, even my personal grooming could use a bit of work.  But I digress...

Fact is, since I've had the Frog around, I find myself getting in touch with my inner ape.  Every time he's sat down in my lap for a feed, I'll find myself closely examining him, and pulling things off him that definitely Don't Belong (don't worry, though, I don't eat any of them).   I've cleaned out his ears, his nose, and his eyes.  I go over his scalp when there's nothing good on telly. 

I just hope I'll be able to get myself under control before he starts high school.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Packing it in..

Quite a while ago, I was listening to a podcast which had absolutely nothing to do with babies, and the presenter was mentioning how when he went out with his infant son, he never saw the necessity of burdening himself with reams of baby gear.  He didn't have a stroller or a nappy-bag.  He didn't tote about 5 changes of clothes.  He didn't have an action plan, should a massive poonami* occur.   And I confess that this is one of the things that has freaked me a bit about mum-hood.  All the bleedin' clobber! I usually don't carry anything out of the house that doesn't fit in my pockets (phone, check; wallet, check; keys, check; ipod, check!).  This means that I tend to select clothes for their pocketiness, and nothing annoys me more than the faux pockets they like to stick on women's clothes, because heaven forbid you might actually want to USE them, and ruin the line of your pants.  Sheesh.

Anyway, I figured, if this guy could travel light, then I could too!  We researched a bit, and ended up choosing the Ergo Baby Carrier. It seems pretty versatile: can carry babies and toddlers up to 18kg (and I'm thinking that well before he reaches this weight, I'll be encouraging the Frog to start hopping under his own steam); can be used as a front, hip and back pack; has a handy pouch (yay! more pockets!).  What more could you want in a baby-pack?

Here's the Frog enjoying being cuddled up in his pack (worn on the front, in case you can't tell)

Now, I've decided that I'm virtually the only parent in this city who wants to travel light.   I've gone to a few parent meetings where you can't make it through the cafe for the crowd of strollers, slung about liberally with full-to-bursting nappy-bags.  And there's me with a spare nappy (gah! yes! disposable), a couple of plastic bags, and some wet-wipes in a ziploc baggie all in the pack's pouch.
Apart from a bottle of formula stuffed in my bag and the all-purpose burp cloth, that's really all I need for a 4 hour time-slot.   So why do some parents feel compelled to bring so much stuff?  Maybe the Frog is a wonderful exception in the pooing department, but he's managed to vomit copiously all over himself, and I really can't be bothered to do more than sponge the worst of it off (yay burp cloth!), and leave him to air-dry.

I'm sure the stroller fans have a list of pros for prams (and cons for packs), and I'm not arguing against strollers particularly - but I have been impressed that so far, we seem to be doing pretty well with our pack and minimal gear totage.

* term poo-nami is shamelessly pinched from a mate and co-mum. It conjured up a disgusting vision in my mind, so I felt the need to share.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It's almost 15 weeks now, and the Frog is starting to look a little moth-eaten. Yep, despite all our hopes, the lovely mop he was born with doesn't appear to be sticking around.  More and more hair winds up at the head-end of his cot, and less and less is staying on his head.  That said, he still does have a pretty funky mohawk hairdo, so, let's see.

Other milestones? I collected the very first clump of lint from his belly button.  I suppose I should have bronzed it for posterity, but I don't imagine he'd thank me if I presented it to him with great fanfare on his 21st birthday.

He's managed to roll over front-to-back once more, but just another accident. He was squirming forward on his tummy trying to reach a toy I'd stuck in front of him, and managed to get one arm lodged in an uncomfortable position - pointing out in front of him, and sort of diagonally.  He gave a particularly vigorous wriggle, and with no arm to support him on that side, the balance was tipped and over he went! He seemed quite non-plussed to find himself staring at the ceiling when only a moment ago he'd been tantalisingly within reach of a plush toy.

He's been very grabby for the last week or so. Anything within reach: toys; bottle; lips; hair; ears.  Nothing is safe.  It can be a little infuriating when I'm trying to feed him, as he likes to grab the teat of the bottle and then try to jam it (or more usually his fist) into his mouth.  And it becomes problematic for him when his hands find each other.  They latch together with great enthusiasm, and have trouble letting go again.  Velcro has nothing on him.  On the rare occasions when he simply tangles them together (rather than getting stuck), he looks like a small Bond villain plotting the downfall of our hero.  Preferably involving sharks. And lasers.

The only other new development has been the chewing of his lower lip. Well, perhaps the 'gumming' of his lower lip is a more accurate term.  I have no idea what's started this off, but he sucks it into his mouth and then drools copiously. I suppose it's really time to think about bibs.