We’re leaving early tomorrow morning. We won’t be home until next Monday. As we’re going to un-charted territory I’ll be out of contact until then. Carry on as usual.
Rose is showing signs that she’s going to be an independent, curious person. I had her in the sling this afternoon because she was tired of playing in the rocker and her baby gym. It was the last thing I could think of doing to keep her entertained while I got some things done, like having lunch (at 2.40pm, but who’s counting?).
Having Rose facing outward, I noticed her engaging with the world in quite a different way than usual. For example, I opened the door of the freezer to get a bagel out, and her eyes opened as wide as saucers. Then she reached out a little hand. I said, “Rose, you won’t like that, it’s cold!” But she really wanted to touch, evidenced by her tantrum-y whine. So I closed the door to the freezer and let her touch the bagel. She was fascinated. And, I note, she got her way.
Earlier on today she made of a full-on assault on her baby gym, arching her back and swatting at all the toys, and yelping out a very feline-sounding victory cry. She managed to spin a full 360 degrees on her side, too, over a period of 15 minutes. She largely inched her way around by doing side-rolls over and over again. It’s exciting to see that she knows that bodies are meant for moving, and that she has the power to coordinate her body to cause it to move.
Also, to my great annoyance, she’s started grabbing hold of my hair. When I was getting her out of the sling today I didn’t realise that she had a fistful of my hair. The sharp pain in my scalp was completely unexpected. I looked down and saw large blonde strands of hair in her chubby little hand.
We’re all a bit tired today, due in part to Chris working hard on a conference paper, me being under the weather and Rose having slightly odd sleeping hours. I was talking to my sister-in-law Fiona yesterday and we agreed that one of the worst things about being a parent to small children is the fact that when you’re sick (or tired) you can’t take to your bed and recuperate; you have to soldier on. During the day Rose has fairly regular patterns of feeding and sleeping (awake for 1.5 hours, sleep for 40 minutes, feed, repeat), but because it’s regular like clockwork you know that when you put her down you have only got 40 minutes to cram a lot of things in. Right now I’m squeezing in this blogging between laundry, packing for our Dunedin trip, and cleaning up the house.
I’m very excited about the trip to Dunedin (we leave tomorrow), but I have to say that right now I wish I was in bed reading the new Harry Potter.
The last two posts attest to something that seems to go hand-in-hand with child-rearing: a state of near constant, low-grade anxiety-producing bewilderment. At any given time you can think you know what’s going on with your child, but often it’s a deduction, and more usually a guess. Suddenly, without warning, new behaviour and changes in routines happen. And I know from reading the blogs of my friends Laura (shoutout to San Francisco!) and Petra (and to Kiev!) that I’m not alone here. Babies are inexplicably confusing.
Why am I mentioning this? Ah, well Rose has been a little weird again today. She’s been super cranky whenever I’ve put her down (whereas for the last month she’s been happily self-soothing). I’m left wondering whether I’m putting her down too soon, whether she hates her portacot (and quite frankly, who wouldn’t? The thing is uncomfortable and resembles a jail. But her new bed doesn’t arrive until next week and she was able to grab both sides of her crib, so we’ve abandoned that) or again is it random crazy babyness.
But one thing I know for sure: Rose is growing a lot right now. A few nights ago Rose sorted out the “tummy time” thing. When we put her on her tummy, she promptly rolled over on to her front! That’ll teach us. You guessed it, though, we grabbed the camera out and here’s the video:
She’s also managed to grab ahold of toys with both hands lately, and she’s also started grabbing at her clothes. The other development is that she’s started arching her back and swatting at Albert Davies (the mobile on the top of the change table). At first it looked like random flailing; now I know for sure that she’s started a military campaign against the thing. Full-on arching and grabbing is going on, with a defiant look of concentration on her face. There’s also the fact that she’s started holding on to her thighs a lot. I’ve never heard of this as a developmental milestone, but we’re treating it as yet one more notch in the belt of baby cuteness.
Rose was inconsolable this afternoon and had a slight temperature, so I relented and gave her some Baby Panadol. She really hated the taste, but it really did the trick. She fell asleep in my arms within 20 minutes, and then I put her down to sleep in our bed. I lay down beside her and read quietly, to keep a close eye on her and so that if she woke she would know that I was close. I didn’t plan it, but I ended up napping myself, and then the next thing I realised an hour and a half had gone past!
She’s been in much better humour since then. Lots of smiles and cooing, the happy Rose we know so well. So maybe it was some vaccination crapola after all?
Rose had her 4 month vaccinations yesterday and while she was a trooper before, during and after the injections, the hours since then have been a trial. Yesterday afternoon and evening there was lots of uncontrolled crying and screaming. Rose hasn’t been like this since she was a newborn! It’s so horrible. Last night she also sounded a bit wheezy. Again this morning. She still slept really well, though (from 7.30pm until 7am).
I took her back to the doctors this morning. He checked her breathing out and said she was fine and reassured us. It seems that she’s medically okay, but she’s still been crying a lot today. Especially when I put her down for a sleep. Her behaviour may not even be a vaccination issue, maybe we’ve overdone the travelling or something. All I know is that she’s not happy! Poor baby.
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Is that the sound of trumpets heralding us home? No, it’s the sound of jackhammers working on the apartment next door. Poor Rosie was just having a sleep when all that started up. I swear, having a baby has made me more grumpy about other human beings than I ever thought possible.
Anyway, as I sit here musing on our recent trip I’m starting to come to some conclusions about traveling with a baby. It’s both exhausting and yet much easier than I thought possible. The days when we’re taking plane trips are definitely the worst. It means packing all the last minute stuff (which, with a baby, includes clothes, breast pumps, toys, rockers and strollers, which is pretty much everything), timing the feeds just right so that she’s due for a feed just as you taxi down the runway in the plane, and getting to and from the airport (involving either cajoling a friend to drive us in our car or hiring a taxi with a baby seat). The flights are also tiring. I spend a lot of energy keeping Rose compliant, either by breastfeeding, rocking, holding blankets and so forth over her to de-stimulate her, etc. Yesterday when we were on the plane I looked over at the other passengers drinking coffee and reading the newspaper and I wanted to weep. Oh how I wish I could go back to those plane trips when it was all about sitting back and reading! Yesterday was so exhausting that when we got home I thought I never wanted to leave again.
But we’re getting on another plane next Tuesday to go to Dunedin. This will be our most ambitious travel so far: multi-trip plane journey spread over 6 or 7 hours (Sydney – Christchurch, Christchurch – Dunedin). Today I’m calming myself down about the trip. Rose is so easy to travel with. She sleeps so well at night (currently she goes down at 7.30ish, sleeps until 6 or 6.30am for a feed, then naps for another hour or two), and she’s very obliging during the day. She’s happy spending hours in her stroller and we’ve gotten the knack of feeding and changing her in the most inhospitable of places. (Memorably, Rose desperately needed a feed in Melbourne, so we ducked into a KFC and fed her in the “dining room”. We left without buying a thing. Shameless.)
I’m also becoming much more minimal in my own packing (and I guess, needs). I’ve learnt that as long as I have a pair of black pants and a few T-shirts, a toothbrush and some deodorant, I’m good for a few days. Hey, I never go out looking like Paris Hilton, and I guess I must be exuding “tired mum” chic. But quite frankly, I don’t care any more. I’m really focused on what’s important: my baby, my husband, and the absolute pleasure and joy of experiencing new things with them.
I’ll keep this post short: we got back from Melbourne this morning and we’re all really tired. We had a fantastic visit with Mark, Fiona, Alistair and baby Frances. It was really wonderful spending time with my nephew Alistair and see how he’s grown. Such a big boy – nearly 3 years old! There was a lot of horsing around and playing games. Rose and baby Frances (nearly 6 months old) were quite interested in each other, as the photos I’ve uploaded attest to.
The highlight of the trip was a visit into central Melbourne on Saturday morning to celebrate the publication of the final volume of Harry Potter. It was fun catching the train with Ali (he loves trains). Ali got to touch a snake and there were also some owls there! Seeing the little kids dressed up in their homemade costumes made us all excited for the day we’ll get to read Harry Potter with our kids.
It feels very sad to be home, we really enjoyed our fun and happy weekend with the family.
I’m so excited! Tomorrow we get on a plane (not excited about that part) and go to Melbourne to visit my brother, sister-in-law and Rose’s new cousins Frances and Alistair! It’ll be great to see Ali, he’s nearly 3 now and very grown up! I haven’t seen Frances yet (she’s only two months older than Rose), so that’ll be very exciting too.
We’ll be in Melbourne until Tuesday, and they only have dial-up internet, so I might not get to blog much from there. But here’s my guess of what we’ll be up to: lying around playing competitive “punning”, walking down to Moonee Ponds [Fact: actual name] to see the ducks, eating fish and chips, and getting excited about the new Harry Potter. I’ll fill in the details when we get back.
But for now, I’ve posted another video of Rose – this time showing her success at the “half roll”. I apologise for the weird sound of my voice. Don’t you hate hearing your own voice recorded?
Or go to Youtube directly.
*For those international readers, this is a reference to the quintessentially Australian family movie, “The Castle.” Bonnie Doon is located just outside of Melbourne.
Many times I’ve been sitting eating a piece of pizza or a scoop of ice-cream and I’ve thought about how weird it is that Rose doesn’t know the wonderful variety of yummy food that exists. In Rose’s world the equivalent of hot chips is the high-caloric creamy goodness of hind-milk.
She tolerates fore-milk in a matter-of-fact way. But as soon as she gets to the hind milk she starts slowing down, savoring every minute. Sometimes she rolls off the breast backward with a dreamy engorged look on her face. She binges and binges until she feels sick. It’s true! The only time Rose is ever sick is when she’s eaten too much. And the only time she eats too much is when I let her go back one too many times for hind-milk. If I swap her over on to the other breast she gets fussy and cranky until all of the fore-milk has gone and she’s got to the good stuff.
Maybe that’s why Rose is 6.7 kilos!