Tuesday, February 26, 2008

BBC NEWS | UK | Children 'damaged' by materialism

BBC NEWS | UK | Children 'damaged' by materialism

I dread the thought of Oliver (or Lucy) turning into a head-down game-playing addict on whatever is the latest console or games machine of the day. I went to a Christening recently where a boy walked in and sat down at a table without lifting his eyes from his Nintendo. Nice.

I long for my children to appreciate the less materialistic side of life. My best childhood memories are of hot days traipsing across some mountain in the Lake District or of building dens in the local woods. I feel lucky that I was born before computers became small enough and cheap enough to become such pervasive toys.

Monday, February 25, 2008

My little (sleeping) beauty

Last week I was reading a post that I wrote back when Oliver was a few weeks younger than Lucy is now. It said that he had brought his bedtime back of his own accord. I started to wonder whether Lucy was going to do the same.

This week, sure enough, as she has started to eat 3 meals a day on top of 4 bottles of milk, she has started to go get tired earlier and we have been able to put her down to sleep by 8.30pm for the last few nights. This is a major breakthrough as it means we have got some of our evening back. It does mean that on evenings when only one of us is home we could have two kids both wanting bottles and bed, but hey, I think it's a price worth paying.

Lucy has also started to develop another habit. Or rather it is more Hayley's habit. She hears Lucy wake around 6.00-6.30am and instead of leaving her to see if she goes back to sleep, she brings her into our bed for a cuddle, where Lucy then promptly nods off again for an extra hour (after smacking me in the face a few times, bless her). Not sure if this is a sensible or maintainable habit longterm, but it's certainly delightful for now.

AT some point soon Lucy will move into her own room. Oliver was in his room at 9 weeks, because he outgrew his Moses basket and his cot was too big for our room at our old house. This time Lucy has been able to stay in with us for the recommended 6 months. Of course 6 months is up now and Mummy and Daddy are having a bit of trouble persuading themselves to move her out. I'm not sure who we are more worried about: her being scared on her own or us missing her!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Catching up

I haven't had much time to write here this week. So here's a mish-mash of what's been going on.

Hayley went out to her physiotherapy appointment on Wednesday, leaving me to feed Lucy, then bath Oliver and and put him to bed. As she left she seemed resigned to the fact that Lucy would refuse to eat, she would demand her bottle early and that I wouldn't get Oliver to bed on time. You should have seen her face when she returned at 7.30pm to find Lucy fed (eating ALL her dinner), Oliver bathed and already in bed, Lucy's bottle un-drunk, and me and the little lady (in her Baby Bjorn carrier) happily pottering around the kitchen cleaning up and making a pot of tea. Priceless. But in truth, mostly this success wasn't down to me. It was down to Oliver being such a good boy for me.

The majority of people seem to think Lucy looks like her Mummy these days. I've always thought so. This week she has added another attribute from Hayley: she wrinkles her nose when she smiles a big smile. It's not easy to catch on camera, but as soon as I do, I'll report back.

Yesterday she ate plenty of food and drank 4 bottles. She started to get grizzly and want her last bottle at 8 o'clock last night, that's a couple of hours earlier than her most common bedtime. So Hayley took the plunge, took her upstairs, fed her and put her down. She was asleep in her cot by 8.20pm!

Hayley and I were both quite shattered, so we went to bed too! Unfortunately the phone rang after half an hour and woke Lucy, but after drinking the last of her milk she went back down. She then slept right through (with her usual 4am wriggling) until 7.15am. Fantastic.

If only Oliver's sleep was as reliable and peaceful. His nocturnal shouting has become intolerable. Countless times we have gone in to see him only to find there is nothing wrong with him. I've tried to talk to him and tell him that he should give Julien a cuddle and go to sleep. I've tried to explain to him that he's not being a good boy when he shouts for no reason. (The boy who cried wolf doesn't register.) I've tried all sorts frankly.

This week after several nights being woken hourly and going into him only to find him fine and settled/settling down back to sleep, I have started to turn down his monitor at some point in the night so that my sleep isn't completely broken. If I do wake in the night I check on him. At least that way perhaps I am breaking the cycle of him knowing that I will respond at any time and for no reason, but I can still check that he is OK. Even with the monitor off I can hear him through the door.

This morning I went in to get him up when I heard him shouting. I found him banging the side of his cot angrily because he wanted to get up and Daddy hadn't come in as soon as he wanted. It's not like he is left for long. We get him up at 7am every day, a few minutes after he stirs. I guess it's all part of the terrible twos.

But it's far from being all bad news. Some days the little man is a little angel. And he is always nice to Lucy. This morning he pushed her around in her rocket-ship walker and then he rode around on his trike calling "Come on Lucy", encouraging her to follow him in her spaceship.

We also had another breakthrough with Oliver yesterday. He decided he wanted to wear "big boy pants" and no nappy. So he was "nappiless" all afternoon. He had a couple of accidents, but he did stay dry for over 2 hours before they happened. It's not ideal weather to start potty training and he isn't asking for the potty when he needs it, but at least a few more of the signs that he is ready are starting to appear.

Later today we are off to see Barney at the Charter Theatre in Preston. I'm not sure what Lucy will make of it, but as Oliver loves his Barney DVDs, I'm hopeful that he is going to love it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Life or Death Lottery

Save the Children UK News

"The Life-or-Death Lottery: inequality and injustice in the fight to save children's lives"

"A major new report from Save the Children today reveals the best and worst performers in the fight to keep children in the world's poorest countries alive."

Friday, February 15, 2008

6 months old today

Lucy has an evening nap on Mummy

Lucy is 6 months old today. Hayley thinks it has flown by. I think it seems an age since she was born. But either way, it has been a fantastic 6 months and she is a little gem.

Yesterday she went to visit her cousin Tom in hospital. The weather was unseasonably warm, so she had her first chance to wear a sun hat. What a doll!


BBC NEWS | Health | More breastfeeding support needed

BBC NEWS | Health | More breastfeeding support needed

The government is introducing a breastfeeding helpline to boost the numbers of mothers breastfeeding. I'd say that the effectiveness of advice given over the phone is going to be approaching zero. In the end, there is just no substitute for a personal visit from a midwife. And right now, there is a huge gap between the number of midwives available and the number needed to make the improvements in pre- and post-natal care that that government hopes to see.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Dinner - Table for three...?


Arriving home this Valentine's Day I found Hayley had laid the table for dinner, sprinkled little red love hearts and chocolate hearts all over it, placed Valentine's crackers and "Love quiz" games next to our places and ordered Indian food. What a gal!

She then cleverly gave Lucy a bath so that although she insisted on joining us for the start of our romantic dinner for two, she soon fell asleep and we had the evening to ourselves. What a star!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The one and only...

I'm not a great fan of reality TV shows. In fact, as a forty-something man I feel it is my right - nay, duty! - to rant about the cheap, tawdry nature of these shows.

Or at least it was until two weeks ago when Oliver caught sight of BBC1's "The One and Only" and decided it was the best thing he'd seen since the time he walked into Somerfiled and was confronted by a whole shelf full of Barney DVDs. The little man now struts around the living room with his toy microphone and sings his renditions of "Stop in the name of Love" by Diana Ross with all the appropriate choreography. He also does a mean "Son of a Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield and "Delilah" by Tom Jones. Watch this blog for me to catch him video.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Can you tell where it is yet?


Lucy and I went for a walk this afternoon. Oliver was asleep on the sofa and Hayley was feeling tired so I took the little lady out to try to help her have a nap.

Well, after we had got some shopping at Somerfield and then bought a trashy magazine for Hayley at Tesco, Lucy was still awake and we needed another destination towards which to walk. The obvious choice (to me anyway) was Room 311, where I enjoyed a swift half of Dublin's finest while the little lady chatted away to me.

From there we took a long stroll down to a local park where she finally nodded off, allowing me to head home. We were probably out for a good hour all in all. I returned home to find that in preference to sleep, Hayley had done a few jobs and then caught up on Eastenders. We then had all of 10 minutes of tranquility before the little man woke.

It's been a fun day. Last night Oliver slept badly and consequently so did we. We expected him to be a real grouch as a result, but surprisingly he's been pretty cheery and tantrum-free. All four of us went to Tesco for a late breakfast and some shopping, before a trip to the park and then a play-date with Jack at home. Oliver and Jack played happily and even spent quite a while sitting on the floor "reading " books to each other which was adorable to see. Oliver has been trying to become a bit of a TV junky recently so it was good to see him playing happily and not going mad when told we weren't putting the telly on! Then this evening he enjoyed the pizza I made him, read books with me and even got down unprompted at one point to give Lucy the toy she had inadvertently thrown out of her reach on the playmat. As he passed it back to her he said "Here you are. Now don't throw it Lucy. No.". He's a great big brother.

Friday, February 08, 2008

How lucky am I?


"Very..." is the answer you're looking for.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Lunchtime fun for all the family


Hayley surprised me witha phone call just before lunch today saying she was taking the kids to the little park near where I work. So I strolled over to meet them. And what a great time we had. It was a sunny, mild day for February, the ground was dry and Oliver played on everything the playground had to offer while I followed him around eating the sandwiches Hayley had made me.

At one point we had both kids on the swings (pictured above). It was one of those defining moments, seeing them both sharing an activity and enjoying it together. Priceless.


"Are you enjoying that Lucy?"


"Yes thanks Oliver."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

My little bouncer


I spent several happy minutes last night with lucy in her tigger bouncer. She bounced vigorously and laughed each time she spun round, losing sight of me then seeing me again.

A few other little snippets about Lucy at the moment...

  • D is for... diamond. But also for demonstrative. And even a little demanding at times! She is starting to let us know her likes and dislikes. For example, no longer will she go quietly into her car seat and stay that way. Some car journeys are punctuated by her protests rom start to finish. She doesn't get very upset. It's more like a stream of protest, a bit like a miniature version of those protests that go on outside Huntingdon Life Sciences. Its probably baby-speak for "just you wait til I get outta this thing, why I'm gonna..."

  • She is not a great eater yet. She barely opens her mouth and spits most food back out. Some mealtimes she protests from the word go. But it's early days so there's no harm in her not taking much in beyond a taste. There are some things she will eat though. After refusing her main course yesterday evening with jaws clamped shut, she had no problem opening her mouth good and wide for ice cream.

  • Little Miss Fidget. Every night at about 4am Lucy wakes up and tries to get herself back to sleep. This involves her tossing and turning for up to half an hour. Hayley confesses that she takes after her in that regard. She, too, is a terrible nocturnal fidgeter. Lucy has outdone her though by adding in an idiosyncracy all of her own. Some nights she can be heard scratching the bed-sheet with her nails. Whatever gets you through the night....

  • Lucy has been babbling word-like sounds for some time now. "Da da da da..." and "Ma ma ma ma..." are not surprising things to hear at her age. But what is surprising is that seems to say "Ma ma" when she is distressed, as if calling for Hayley. It's too clear to dismiss, though I'm not 100% sure she knows what she's saying either. She certainly seems to be calling her Mummy.

  • Last night I sat and played a little drum with Lucy. She joined in quite happily. Then we moved on to a little keyboard. She treated that as percussion too. It's a start...

  • She has the most beautiful blue eyes I ever saw.

  • DSC00192

    Monday, February 04, 2008

    BBC NEWS | UK | Tories ponder baby nurses for all

    BBC NEWS | UK | Tories ponder baby nurses for all

    And the funding for this comes from....?

    I'll believe it when I see it.

    Saturday, February 02, 2008

    We managed a night out!

    Since Lucy was born Hayley and I haven't had a night out as a couple.... until tonight. Our two previous attempts failed because firstly Oliver was ill and then Hayley was ill. But tonight we were successful in our escape.

    We played safe, going to our favourite Indian Restaurant and then to a couple of local pubs, Cassidy's and The Baker's. Cassidy's had a couple of guys playing country music on stage. To my amazement, Hayley was singing along to songs I had never heard before and saying "come on you must know this one...". And I thought that Dolly Parton album was a one-off.

    It was great to get out and we had a really fun time. Hayley seemed to revert right back to the girl I met 5 years ago in a way she really can't do with the kids in tow. And for her part she said she hasn't seen me laugh so much in ages! We already knew we should get out more, but this certainly proved it.