Sunday, March 29, 2009

All night long

I'm not a huge Lionel Richie fan. But I'm not averse to tapping my feet to that smooth-jazz beat. So, I thought I'd follow Saturday's Richie-related pun, with another today.

Aidan slept, more or less, all night long last night, again. He had a long stretch from 7 - 11:30, fed until 12 and slept for 7 hours straight, waking at 8. If that doesn't make sense, I'll give you a clue.

That's it.

I'll stop telling you the ins and outs of his sleeping patterns now until something major happens.

So onto other things. We met up with Erin's work colleagues and friends at the Westminster School Boat Club this afternoon to watch the annual Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race. We toyed with the idea of going all weekend, knowing from last year, how packed and loud it could get. So as we set out we said we'd just go as far as we could until it got unbearable for Aidan's 13 week old senses.

Would we have to turn around on the 10 minute walk to the station? The ten minute train ride to Putney? The ten minute walk - along the back roads, away from the madding crowd? On the banks of the Thames with the madding crowd, cheering the boats on? Or at the club house itself?

Actually, none of the above. He stayed the whole distance. He screamed when the crowds got raucous at the start, at the boat house when the old boys saw they were edging away from Cambridge, and was a bit wary of new people coming up to him. But the boy did good. Even if it did take us longer to get him to sleep than usual tonight.

Outside the official Oxford University Boat House
Obviously one person in this picture is a lot more excited than the other

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hot stuff

You can't spoil a child with too much love.  That's just one bit of advice from the oodles we've been given since we found out Erin was pregnant.  

But can you spoil them with too much hot water bottle?  Aidan now loves his bath-time but has hated getting out.  We tried a few tricks but the best one seems to be warming up his towels (that's right, plural for each bath) so he feels as warm and cosy out of the water as he does in it. When it's done its job the bottle is then moved into his cot where it warms his mattress and only removed seconds before he's gently placed to where he'll hopefully be for the rest of the night.  It works now but are we setting out an unattainable stall for his future life partner?

On another note...

Even though we spent more time than we planned with each other last night we decided to continue the fun this morning.  Aidan seems more interested in the camera than the book though, but hey, it's hardly Dickens.

Once, twice, three times for Aidy

I was looking forward to the weekend feeds after Wednesday and the breakthrough-sleep-through night.  He did pretty well the following night too, sleeping until 5.  But last night he didn't come close.  The boy seems to be a bit under the weather at the moment with a few extra dirty nappies here and there, not eating as regularly as usual and playing with his mouth. (We know it's early but could he be teething?).

We were up for cuddles and comfort at 1:30 and 5:30 with a long drawn out feed at 3 - not exactly sleeping through.  

I did go to bed at 9pm, though, to prepare for this.  

Friday nights aren't what they used to be.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Good night

Our boy slept through last night.

High fives all round.  

He went from 11 until 6 this morning.  This was in his own bed without any fuss.  We realise this is his first time and he isn't always going to sleep through - tonight might be a whole different story - but it's a milestone.

My initial thought was great, Erin must have got to sleep through too.  It turns out that wasn't quite true.  She apparently woke at 4.  Then at 4:30.  At 5.  At 5:30.  All to see if he was still alive.  And she bolted upright when he started stirring at 6.

We know 6am isn't ideal and an extra hour would be better.  But tiny steps people.  And this feels like a giant leap. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Citizens of the world

After power-pramming through Hyde Park, scraping through security, and a few loud screams (excitement or objection?), we made it just on time for our appointment at the US Embassy yesterday.  Aidan's US passport and social security number are on their way to us.  There are now three limeys and two yanks in our household of three.  Erin and Aidan are officially dual citizens.  

The two yanks (and Brits too)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mother's day?

Over the last few weeks Aidan has gone from taking good long naps during the day to taking shorter ones leaving him overtired and a cranky little monster.  This weekend has been no better.  Today was worse than ever.

Someone at work gave me some very useful advice about babies: 'Never get used to anything, good or bad.'  I'm planning on not getting used to this patch of Aidan not sleeping well.  And Erin and I have spent this weekend wondering how to change this blip in his sleeping.  Unfortunately we deal with things very differently. Very differently. It might be a male/female thing but it's definitely a Jay and Erin thing.

She's been reading every book there is on sleep, devouring Gina Ford's Contented Little Baby book.  Then, not content herself, dipping into Baby Whisperer, then Baby Calming and No Cry Sleep Solution.  Happiest Baby On The Block is on order.  

I, on the the other hand, have not.   I've read everything other than baby books, seemingly distancing myself from it all but actually worrying myself silly about how to deal with it - without saying anything to Erin - leading her to believe I didn't care.  

Probably not the best way to deal with things.

Obviously, this led to everything coming to a head, having a stand-up row, calming down a bit and rationally talking things over.

After talking it through we've come to the following conclusion:
  • His lack of daytime sleep has led to him feeding inconsistently.
  • He sleeps well during the night after his bath and bedtime routine.  Let's keep doing that the way we do.
  • He has a little golden hour of smiles and fun between 7 and 8am.  That could be turned into golden hours throughout the day if he sleeps better.
  • This week Erin's going to stay in more - not fair for her but necessary for him - and get him in a routine.
  • We're going to try a few tricks to get him to sleep through his light sleeping cycle.
  • If this doesn't work we're going to try a crying and hushing technique - Gina Ford - during the weekend, when we can work as a team.
Having said this, he's a fun fella and smiling a lot when he's had a good daytime nap.  This is why we want him to have nicer, longer kips. 

Happy Mother's Day (The english one)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Nappy review

We've been collecting various reusable nappies and had a trial pack a few weeks ago.  Here's our review:



For new borns up to 10 pounds, doesn't last long and tying the fastener is fiddly as you have to make a knot as tight as possible. 

Velcro sticks well, no leaks, very thin, fits well, cute.  

Velcro sticks well, no leaks, interior fold which holds the absorbent lining in place.  Only problem is they can still smell of wee after a wash. 

Velcro curled after washing and they come undone making Aidan wet. 

Too wide for our little boy's waist and thighs.

All in ones:

Erin's favourite. Velcro, cute, thin, dry really quickly, the colours stay bright and sunshiny after washing, no fussy wrap to worry about.  Jason says they have leaked for him but Erin blames the person putting them on.

Jason's favourite.  Velcro, compact, absorb well, adjustable for when he gets bigger, and they fit well. Not the cutest but what's the point in that when all is said and done.  Erin likes them less because they seem too high for him at the moment, they take a while to dry, get bobbing on the inside lining after washing and don't look so cute, but good because they absorb.

Hip Hiphooray  

Poppers, not very slimline, have leaked a few times.

Poppers, not very slimline and have leaked.

Hate them. Three times on, three times soaked.

OK, but decided against buying as we had better ones already.

Absorbant Inners:

Muslin Squares - Don't absorb our Olympian pee-er. 

Pre-folds - Super absorbant.

Lollipop Microfleece  

Shaped velcro inner nappy.  Super soft and cute.  Not too bulky, dry almost as soon as he's wet them.

Tots Bots Bamboozle   

Velcro, good fit, absorbant, good material but take eons to dry.  Would only buy if they came with a free back garden, washing line and the Summer sun.

Nature Babies Loveables 

Same as above.  Good but just take too long to dry.

Nappy Nation 

Velcro, they make his backside look sumo size.  And that's not with the wrap.  Also take donkeys years to dry.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mr. Monkey

After spending a few rough and tumble weeks with Sophie, Mr Monkey has been reclaimed by Aidan.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

First smiles

Aidan's been smiling for us for a while but we've not been able to catch it on camera.  Whenever we pointed our picture machine in front of him he seemed to give us an Abercrombie and Fitch pose rather than the Same Difference beamer we were after.  Erin said he had a cranky morning when our friend Karen visited the two of them.  As ever, the smiley happy boy came back as soon as she left.  But at last, he didn't freeze when Erin started papping him.

A full night's sleep

Erin saw how exhausted I was last night - second night in a row falling asleep in the bath.  So she offered to do the late feed, which I usually do, if I got up in the morning and took care of Aidan from 7 - 8.

I feel so good for a full night's sleep.

So good.

Now off to feed and sing nursery rhymes to my boy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Baby yoga

During Aidan's first few days he seemed to be doing a lot of mudras. He does them now during the night too, until he bangs his hand against the crib railings and wakes himself up. It's far from the calm which those who practice them for religious reasons seek to gain.

So Erin took him on his next step today, to baby yoga. They've already been to Baby Massage and The Big Scream so she thought that at 12 weeks he's ready for another big step.

On entering the class, both Aidan and Erin heard a woman yelling over house music. Aidan's eyes almost popped out of his head and his bottom lip lowered until his mum turned him away and entered the correct door they were supposed to go through, not the spinning class next door.

Erin was hoping for a bit of a workout but it was all about the baby. Aidan touched his right leg with his left arm, left leg with his right arm, did the running man, bicycle kicks, butterfly leg kicks, riding on a horse, and his favourite, going from The Superman to diving into a calm place on his mum's belly. Sounds dangerous to me but I'm reassured it was all controlled.

He's usually only up for an hour before he lets us know he needs to sleep. But the boy loves his yoga - he was there for going on 2.

When I got home he looked exhausted. And after a fun bath he cried when he had to get out, and cried in between drinking milk. He went to sleep very easily though. No mudras tonight. He's all swaddled up.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Kicking around

No need to read this time, just watch...

Honestly, this is real time, not fast forward.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Goodbye Moses

We switched the moses basket for a crib this weekend.  He was getting a bit big.

Unfortunately on his first foray his flailing arms woke him up banging on to the wooden bars. We now wrap him up in a swaddle and when he stops trying to be Houdini he sleeps well. 

Homeward bound

When I got back for the airport having said bye to Liz and Sophie, Erin looked at me with a touch of sadness saying 'I don't know what to look forward to now'.  It's true.  We've been planning Erin's family coming over here since we got pregnant, and now, those who could make it, have been over. 

We hope we've been a good substitute of Matt for Liz and Sophie since he went back to the States.

This seems like a while ago now.

Sophie has missed her dad but forgot about him on her trips to the park.

Liz has been a really useful extra pair of hands.  
Sophie helped too.

And it's been a fun insight to what life will be like with a toddler in a few years.  Although I don't think I'm going to allow Erin go anywhere near Aidan with nail polish.

It's been two weeks of Dora, PB and Uncle Jay sandwiches (that's peanut butter and jelly to most people), good curry, blowing up a mattress before bedtime, Charlie and Lola; giggles, smiles and a few tears; Dora, crafts; presents and parties; new words and who could forget the legendary karaoke session? There's now a Liz, Sophie and Dora sized hole in our place. 


'It's not this one you want to worry about.  I've just been with my three year old to get his MMR and he kept looking at me with tears in his eyes saying he didn't want it.  It was awful,' one of my colleagues said when he found out Aidan was having his injections on Thursday.

We're not looking forward to him being three then.    Erin said he was asleep by the time he got to clinic, awoke when climbing the stairs and became unhappy, then calmed in the waiting room,  didn't enjoy being stripped in the doctors room but calmed before he knew what was going to hit him.  As the realisation of the first injection took hold there were several sharp intakes of breath, his mouth froze, his whole body turned every shade of purple and he let out a scream to break his mother's heart.  For the second, repeat without any calmness. 

And that wasn't the worst of it.  Around 2:30 that night he woke up with a strange cry.  He was warm and clammy, so Erin informed me when I woke a few minutes later.  He was in a light fever.  We fed him, checked his temperature - four times - then gave him some Calpol.  For the next 16 hours he needed to sleep - preferably on someone - or feed, otherwise the whole of Vauxhall knew he wasn't feeling good.

At 10:30 last night he had a kick about, fed and gave us a few smiles. We worried what the night would entail as he slept a lot during the day. We needn't have. He just woke at 3 for some food and, hopefully, a better day started at 7.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fun fun fun

We've had some fun over the last few days.




And more playing.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Going solo

Roald Dahl's Golo Solo is about his adventures in distant countries. For this post I didn't set foot out of the door, there are no snakes or extravert expats, just a 9 week old and a two and a half year old, both left with me.

Erin and Liz went to Spitalfields for the day.

I had a few ideas of how to get Sophie and Adian through the day but didn't factor in that since I wrote about his routine he wouldn't be sticking to it.  During the weekends, when it's Erin and I working together, we tend to keep to our times.  I presumed it would be the same today.  But with a toddler wanting to help when Aidan woke every 15 minutes, it was tough.  I was either rubbish, am rubbish or Aidan is a little off colour - which his first dose of Calpol, for good measure, hopefully saw off anything too bad.

Despite that we survived.  After the first viewing of the day of Jungle Book, Sophie and I embarked on making a mini-movie.  We had a working title of Sophie Movie but extended that to Sophie De Vos and the Search for Aidan.  Because of filming, lunch-time came quickly. Almost too quickly. This was the first time I felt slightly out of control.  As I put the fish fingers under the grill, Aidan started to squawk.  He shouldn't have been ready for a feed until 30 muinutes - straight after Sophie was due to finish. With Sophie at the table, playing but ready for lunch, it was a bit of  scrambly-multitasking-scramble.  But there were no tears, burnt fingers or burnt fish fingers.  Apart me eating cold fish fingers it was a success.

After lunch, Aidan decided to meltdown and I only got him down to sleep about an hour and a half later.  In between watching Jungle Book for the second time Sophie would come into the bedroom and offer her comfort blanket and words of wisdom like 'Calm down little guy', which eventually he did.  As he did, Sophie wanted to sleep too. I read her a Dora book and she was drifting off when her mum and Erin came home.

It looked like I was in complete control.  I'd passed - with a lot of stress.  Until Aidan woke up half an hour later and Erin asked when he had last fed.  My mind-mush hadn't recovered and I couldn't remember one hour from the other.  After a slight panicky argument about when he was fed last, we fed him and all was well.

Below is the movie we made.  It's no Spielberg production but it entertained a two year old for a while, especially playing it back after performing each scene.  Remember, The only budget we had went on fish fingers.  

Check the ad lib in the middle.  Who needs Kate Winslet?

Aidan slept well last night. I did too. No need for any Roald Dahl.

The long good night

I knew I shouldn't have written about his sleep before I went on the nightshift.  

Aidan woke at 2:30 then 5 and wouldn't go down on his own after the 5.  I lay there mulling over my dreams while I should have been dreaming them.  He, on the other hand, just spread his arms over my chest, drooled over my shirt, and dreamed for the two of us.