No particular reason!
About 30 seconds after I wrote the last update we found Tess’s missing contact lense. It was lying on the floor of our study. Since Tess doesn’t go into our study (if one was playing semantics she doesn’t really “go” anywhere!) we surmised that the contact had been rubbed onto my shirt when she was in the front pack, and it had fallen off in the study. We cleaned it up, and Chris got it in to her eye almost first go.
Since then it’s been pretty smooth sailing. It’s come out a few times and Chris has managed to get it back into her eye with nary a fuss. It hasn’t come out at all in the last five days, and the optometrist has been very happy with how her eye his handling the contact – no signs of irritation or infection. He’s ordered 6 months supply and we’ll get those in a week or so.
Some more good news is that Tess has been sleeping like a champ. I don’t want to jinx anything but last night she slept from 7pm until 6.10am. We were over the moon! She’s eating solid food with gutso gusto, and I think that might have made a difference. Her day sleeps have been more reliable as well. We usually have to get her to sleep in our arms, and we often have to resettle her after the first sleep cycle (40 minutes), but it’s been much easier than in the past. I’ve given up agonising about the whole falling-asleep-in-arms thing. It’s clearly not interferring with her ability to stay asleep, it works, she’s needed more reassurance from us (understandable, really, given what she’s been through) and did I mention that it works?
Back to solid food. Tess is such a voracious eater. When she’s hungry she’ll lean forward in the high chair with her mouth wiiiiiiiide open. For most meals she usually eats around a cup of food! That’s so much food for a little girl! She been eating pumpkin, rice, squash, sweetcorn, spinach, peas, apple, apricot, berries, banana, avocado, oats, and probably some other stuff I can’t remember. (All pureed of course.) With Rose we followed all the rules about introducing a new food every 3 days. Not with Tess; If it’s a fruit or a vegetable, she can eat it. She loves solid food so much that our breastfeeding has really dropped back dramatically. She’s having about 4 breastfeeds a day now, and often only little snacks.
This weekend we moved her into a cot (still in our room. Our apartment isn’t getting any bigger!) She looks so little in her new big bed!
She had her 6 months vaccinations on Wednesday. She weighed 7.8 kilos and was in the 75th percentile for weight, 75th for length, and 50th for head circumference. Such a big strong healthy girl! She is so gorgeous.
The first thing the optometrist asked us was, “What do you do for a living?”
When we told him what we did he said, “Damn!”
Now I’ve seen a lot of bored people before when I’ve told them I’m a librarian, but I’ve never actually heard anyone curse. And as for Chris teaching History? Why would that be annoying?
It soon became apparent that he was hoping that one of us had some kind of medical training. Neither of us has any kind of medical training, unless you call spending a lot of time in doctors’ waiting rooms “experience that can be counted towards training”. However, he looked positively ecstatic when he discovered that Chris was not only short-sighted, but a confirmed and experienced contact wearer. “That will do!” he said, pointing his finger upwards. (I was starting to like this guy.)
I was also relieved. This was me off the hook, just like I’d been fantasizing. I’m very competent at many areas of life, but dealing with eyes is one thing I’m terrible at. Chris, on the other hand looked like he’d just been told that he’d have to give birth. But as suspected, he was much better at handling the contact than me.
He still didn’t actually manage to get the contact in the eye. It even took the optometrist three or four goes. He said it’s going to be difficult, but that it would get easier as we get used to it and Tess gets used to it. And we did hear some good news – if her eye tolerates them, these particular contacts can stay in for up to a month. A month! We thought we’d have to take them out every night. And Tess was such a trooper throughout the fitting, even despite the fact that we had to wake her up five minutes into her morning sleep. The last of the good fortune was that the contact and fitting was entirely covered by medicare. We were a bit worried about that – the contact had to be custom made for Tess and I wouldn’t have been surprised if the receptionist had said, “That will be just $1,500 today.” (How lucky is it that I always conjure up a worst case scenario? Means I’m constantly relieved! Or at least that’s how the theory goes.)
The optometrist said we’d have to come back tomorrow, and again on Friday, so that he could check to see how well her eye was doing with the contact in. Chris looked as if he was thinking that he might as well quit from his job he’s taken so much time off. Rose looked like she was thinking, “When are we going on the train again?”And I was thinking, “I don’t have to put the contact in!I don’t have to put the contact in! I don’t have to put the contact in!”
[Addendum: Chris took Tess to her appointment with the ophthalmologist this afternoon. When they got there he discovered that Tess had knocked out her contact. Chris called me and I crawled around on my hands and knees looking for a little shrivelled up piece of plastic. I didn't find it. Chris called the optometrist. He's ordered another one. I suggested that perhaps two might be prudent. He said that while it's a trial contact they can only order one. Once it's been determined that the contact is suitable and Tess tolerates it, we can order bucketloads. Argh! Argh! Argh!]
Tess has really been putting us through our paces lately. At night she’s been sleeping okayish. She usually wakes at around 2.30am for a feed, and again at 6am. That’s not too bad. We could start thinking about dropping the 2.30 feed once she’s eating a bit more solid food.
But during the day time it’s major work getting her to nap, and she often naps for only short periods of time. This morning she napped for 40 minutes and then I attempted to get her to back to sleep for another 50 minutes (rocking, patting, holding). I thought’d she’d gone back to sleep and started to hang some washing out. When I came back inside I could hear in bed cooing to herself. Lucky she’s so darn cute.
(Yes, leg warmers are back.)
I would so love some consistency and routine at this point. It’s really hard getting things done when she’s so unpredictable. We’re at the point where we’re ready to try putting her in bed and not intervening whatsoever, except for the fact that she’s getting her contact fitted on Monday and it’s going to be very distressing for her, and probably for a few weeks until she’s used to us poking her in the eye (the doctor thought we might even need to use a speculum to put it in for the first while. Shudder).
Rose is so in love with her sister. She gives her lots of cuddles and kisses. She often suggests to us that we give Tess a sticker (Rose gets sticker rewards for eating her meals without throwing food). Rose also likes to hand Tess toys, tickle her, and shake her hand.
(Oh dear, you can totally see that I cut Rose’s hair myself!)
Apart from the odd chocolate crackle on her birthday we’ve never really given Rose chocolate. I used to joke that we were saving it for potty training, but there isn’t really a reason why we’ve kept it from her. Other than the general principle of “it’s bad to introduce something to your kid that they like so much they’ll ask for 10 times a day, every day”
This week Rose’s day care centre was running a cake stall to buy a new water tank. We were asked to make cakes or cookies to sell and I decided to bake some dark chocolate and ginger chunk cookies. Rose was intensely curious during the baking and immediately wanted to try one. Here’s a video of her first taste:
I was sitting bouncing Tess up and down in my lap earlier this evening and she started chuckling. Chuckling! It was throaty, hearty and oh so beautiful.
Did I rush over and pick up my camera to catch it on film? No, I didn’t. I just sat there enjoying every delicious minute of it.
We had our first webcam phone call this afternoon with Granny Anne. People have been telling me to do it for years and I don’t know why it took us so long. Generally phone calls with Rose are one-sided affairs with lots of heavy breathing, and I think it was great for both parties to be able to see and visualise each other. Also, I got to see that Granny was rugged up, so it was obviously a bit chilly in New Zealand, and Granny got to see that we hadn’t put the vacuum cleaner away yet.
Aside from that, nothing much going on here. We had a lovely Saturday morning going to the Everleigh Farmers Market with Ann and Will, a quick visit to the doctor for Rose (she’s had a lingering cough for the last month. Doctor says all okay, but keep an eye on it) and some clearing out of old breast milk stocks from the fridge. Yeah, I’m sure you wanted to know that, but I’m one proud mama of the milk I’ve pumped, stored and fed Tess. I’ve been overproducing milk for months and it was time to get rid of the old stuff. But of course I took a picture first.
The first time Rose shouted “Get out!” and pushed Chris out of her bedroom and slammed the door we were startled. What the heck? Then we realised that every time Rose asked us to get out of her room she had a special reason: she was doing a bowel motion. Some of the old hands out there might tell us that this is yet another sign that Rose is ready for potty training (other signs being that she talks about her bathroom habits non-stop). To them I say, “pssshaaaw.” We’re not ready for it. I’m not ready for it. I’m not ready for the dirty underpants, inappropriate removal of clothing in public places, the hasty rush to find a public toilet when out for a walk, etc. etc.
Anyway, it’s been a pretty busy week around here. My dad was in town for the week helping us out with looking after Rose and doing a few odd jobs around the house. Grandad took Rose to the Acquarium one day and another day we all went to Darling Harbour to have a nose around and take the tram out to Glebe. On Tuesday we had another eye appointment for Tess. Her eye continues to improve and she’s now ready for getting fitted for a contact! Yippee, it’s such a relief that her eye is in recovery and that the worst is over. I’m a bit nervous about the ins and outs of contact care and use (her doctor told us that we would need to use a speculum to put the contact in at first) but I’m excited that there’s a possiblibility that she might gain some sight from this.
Also, some more big news: yesterday we started Tess on solid food! We gave her a little baby rice yesterday morning and this morning. She didn’t eat a lot, and seemed to be a bit weirded out by the texture and the spoon. All that’s pretty normal for a baby that hasn’t had much other than breast milk. She’s getting bigger and more deliciously chubby every day. However, her sleeping remains erratic, especially during the day. Lately she’s been wanting to fall asleep in our arms. I asked the Tresilian nurse that’s been visiting us; she told me that we can’t start sleep training until Tess is well. It’s not advisable to do any kind of sleep training while she’s going to the hospital all the time and being jabbed and having stuff shoved in her eyes every 6 hours as well as taking medication that makes her feel yucky (she’s still on the prednisone).
UPDATE: We have a weird kid. Rose was watching TV and saw a kid eating a chocolate bar. She jumped up and said, “Turn!” and tried to reach into the TV to take the chocolate bar off the kid.