Friday, 30 April 2010

apr, 30th - window dressing....

day 82:

limi and A. playing 'who stares wins' (look how good she's getting at holding up her head).....soaking up some time together before i take her on a first big adventure... outside inner London (her playground for the last 82 days). limi and i are off to Hong Kong for 2 weeks!

lets get packing.....

ps. new fragrant window boxes for Summer. lavender on the outside and thyme in the middle. love the scented wafts drifting in!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

apr, 29th - story-telling.....

day 81:

awhile back, i mentioned that i need to brush up on my nursery rhymes (day 51). at the moment, we're still setting limi up for a lifetime of arguing that it's definitely the incy wincy BUNNY not SPIDER who climbed up the spout (i have a bunny prop not a spider and who likes spiders anyway!).

but i've also discovered that i need to perfect my story-telling....limi has been known to hear the repetitive 'exciting tales of toast-making' and 'wonderful fable of checking your email'...they may fool her now but soon she's going to see through what inadequate stories these really are.

today, i decided to tell her the tale of how A proposed (the type of story that i used to love as a child)..... here are her reactions...

so...this is the story of how an Australian boy flew across three continents to propose to a South African girl!

this boy and girl decided to catch a train to Paris one sunny, Summer's day in August. the train was very fast and went WHOOSH [sound effects are always good] through a looong tunnel until it dropped them off in the middle of Paris where people say: 'Bonjour Mademoiselle' and 'Excusez-moi mais vous êtes debout sur mes pieds'.

so, after a beautiful day wandering up and down Parisian avenues and having a lazy, alfresco lunch. the boy suggested that they grab a bottle of Champagne [and aside to limi: something to look forward to when you're older] and head to a famous park at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

now in August, all the Parisians decide to pack their swimsuits, buckets and spades and head to the seaside . So, the boy and girl couldn't find an open shop selling Champagne ANYWHERE. Everywhere they went shopkeepers said: 'Nous ne vendons pas de Champagne ici, c'est une laverie/boulangerie/boutique de lingerie'

Eventually, after a whole lot more walking down Parisian avenues, they found a supermarket that was open. But when you're in Paris, you don't want to buy your Champagne from a supermarket. So, the girl stayed outside pretending that the supermarket was a tiny shop on a sweet avenue with pretty bottles in the window
while the boy went inside the sterile, flourescent-lit shop to buy a bottle from a rack. But alas, there were no cold bottles and there was no ice for a bucket (altho' there were lots of buckets!) the boy had studied Chemistry and suggested that they could use cold milk, frozen peas and salt to chill the Champagne. But neither the girl nor the boy thought that a bottle dripping in peas would be appropriate under the stare of the Eiffel they abandoned the supermarket

but then they walked around the corner and there was a small shop, selling beautiful bottles of wine and cold Champagne. Hooray!

So the boy and girl, hopped into a taxi and said 'S'il vous plaît nous tenir au Parc du Champ de Mars' and soon they were sitting in the park, looking at the Eiffel tower, sipping cold-champagne-without-peas. the boy suddenly got very nervous and pale and so the girl got nervous and started talking too much and then he looked at her and in a brief pause between her chatter he said: 'will you marry me?' and she said: ' YES, YES YES!'

And so they took the train back to London, a very happy girl and boy.


Wednesday, 28 April 2010

apr, 28th - spelling L.....

day 80:

One of the amazing cards that limi received. By a company called made with love by mrs booth. But since you pay by the number of letters, Betsy should have gone with the more cost effective LIMI.

Mrs Booth also does wonderful alphabet colouring books but I'll have to wait a bit until limi can hold a pencil...or hold anything really!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

apr, 27th - bare feet....

day 79:

A friend posted the following:

Meredith's new favorite thing to do is to go somewhere where you can't see her, take off all her clothes and diaper, and jump out to surprise you. We named it, "Superfly Surprise" since Meredith calls nakedness 'superfly'.

Definitely stealing the term 'superfly' for our house!!


Summer at last. and bare toes...

Monday, 26 April 2010

apr, 26th - look away now....

day 78:

this is the post that i vowed i wouldn't write...the one that's just way too much information. so if you're related to me, married to me, a guy, a child above the age of 4 months, were born in a month with the letter A in it, have blue eyes, have green eyes, have brown eyes,  are a girl still contemplating children or don't have a child under 4 months...then please look away now....

but well, if i'm writing about my everyday adventures...then this was how i spent it...limi still seems to have the mild eye infection (see day 30)....i used the ointment prescribed by the doctor but it doesn't appear to to have made any difference...her eyes are not any worse and only slightly better. the whites are white, they don't seem irritated, just 'gunky' at times and teary. so, given my limited knowledge of eye infections and lack of a medical degree, i would have expected this to either get better with the ointment or worse if the treatment wasn't working. so while waiting to get a new doctor's appointment, I decided to do some research (using google of course). my lay-man's diagnosis is that she seems to either have an eye infection or blocked tear ducts.

blocked tear ducts are very common in babies (1 in 3). it's where the draining ducts that run from the inner corner of both eyes down the side of the nose are underdeveloped and usually resolves itself within 12 months without issue.

so, in doing my research...i also came across various treatments...gentle massage of the area being one and another, recommended for both an eye infection and blocked tear ducts (pretty convenient then), is breast milk...yes breast milk (which will, for the remainder of this post be referred to as BM).

it's the antibodies in BM....the same antibodies that babies absorb internally, when applied topically, is a natural and effective remedy for things like skin irritations and eye issues. so there i was trying to consider how to apply this 'treatment'. option A: i could either sterilise a container, find a dropper, sterilise that and try to get the drops into limi's eyes or option B: i could go the direct route....(i did warn you about the content of this post). so, if you had come up to my window today and opened the shutters, you would have seen me trying to aim BM in limi's eyes which generally landed anywhere but her eyes (we're talking the cupboard door, the floor, all over her face). at the same time, limi decided that this must be some kind of new hunt-the-food activity so there she was, mouth like a baby-bird, twisting frantically to try and catch the food...thereby making the target even harder for me. anyway, needless to say that we ended up with 'treatment' everywhere, a very confused and wet looking limi and me laughing at how my life has changed in 2.5 months....i may go down the more serene option A. next time.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

apr, 25th - times like these....

day 77:

Brunch with friends at the revamped Serpentine Cafe.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

apr, 24th - 11 weeks...

day 76:

11 weeks today. One of my favourite pics of the two of us below!

Friday, 23 April 2010

apr, 23rd - blogging...

day 75:

had such lovely feedback on the blog. thanks everyone! with all our friends and family so far-flung, it's hopefully a easier way to keep up with our limi-adventures (well it does stop me from flooding your inbox). A. has even been known to look at it during a weekday to get an idea of what we are up to while he is chained to his desk.
i'm loving the excuse to exercise my writing brain, get creative and document all the big and small developments.
today, it was time to get the header sorted....

Thursday, 22 April 2010

apr, 22nd - lullabies....

day 74:

[limi at 2 days...sleeping like a baby]

when i was pregnant, we put together a playlist of songs with lyrics that we thought would be sweet for a baby....the idea was that if i (well in fact limi) listened to the songs enough, then they would be familiar and soothing when she eventually heard them without the underwater padding. in this way, we could choose songs that we enjoy and avoid too many repeats of 'you are my sunshine'. (although 'you are my sunshine' would be a welcome relief now after listening to the same soundtrack daily for 74 days.) 

anyway,there does seem to be some truth to the theory because we use some of the slower songs for her bedtime routine and so far.....we've had a pretty easy ride.

so here are my top-ten baby songs:

1. Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
2. Can't Help Falling in Love - Bob Dylan
3. A Girl Like You - Edwyn Collins (obviously better for a girl)
4. Even When I'm Sleeping - Leonardo's Bride
5. Summertime - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis B. Armstrong
6. King of the Bongo - Los Tequila Sharks
7. What a Wonderful World - Louis B. Armstrong
8. All You Need is Love - The Beatles
9. Honey Bee - Zee Avi
10. You Are the Best Thing - Ray LaMontagne

And after all those lyrics the one that really seems to do the trick for bedtime is:

Air on a G String - Societas Musica Chamber Orchestra

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

apr, 21st - summer days....

day 73:

Loving the dappled light streaming in the window today!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

apr, 20th - hoarding memories....

day 72:

London homes may have layers of history (some of which we uncovered above) and plenty of character but, they were definitely not at the front of the queue when space was being handed out.....and babies, come with plenty of space-sucking STUFF!

[new and old...limi demonstrating her latest love....flying!]

Now, we are trying our best not to get guilted, by baby mania, into buying multiple 'must-have' gadgets (see day 43) but one thing that I'm struggling to contain is my natural instinct  to pack away every little memory for her (i mean there was even a moment's hesitation on the umbilical cord).

one thing i have kept for her to read one day, are all the cards that we received when she was born, with amazing messages from friends and family.....


Greetings Limi! Welcome to the world.

At the time I write this, you are tiny. So small in fact, that when I look in your pram, it is hard to spot you amongst the blankets. On the night I gave you this card, many people had gathered in the first house you would ever live in to meet you for the first time and celebrate the fact you had arrived. Although you didn't know it at the time, this would be one of the first occasions you would bring joy and happiness to those around you.

Hopefully you will read this when you are older and have an opportunity to reflect on the purity and sincerity of the emotions in the room on that night. You will realise that it really is the small and simple things that truly bring joy to everyone around you!

Love Michael

Monday, 19 April 2010

apr, 19th - you're grounded!

day 71:

I didn't expect to be saying 'you're grounded' so soon. limi and i were meant to be arriving in hong kong today but our flight was cancelled due to the volcanic ash cloud hanging over Britain.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

apr, 18th - summertime, and the livin is easy....

day 70:

Lazy Sunday picnic in the park.......Summer is here!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

apr, 17th - 10 weeks in...

day 69:

When we announced the pregnancy...friends, who has already taken the kid-leap, seemed to relish telling us that our lives would never be the same again....they'd gleefully say:

- no more weekend lie-ins reading the paper!
- no movies at the cinema for at least 3 years!
- no dry-cleanable clothes for at least 5 years!
- no long summer evenings having a few drinks with friends!

Basically a whole lot of no, no, no's.

So yes...things are very different but we still manage to do some of those things...and a definite plus is that Limi gets us up in time to enjoy the WHOLE day!

- trips to the cinema are still okay (we just need to be more prepared with baby-sitters)

- weekend paper reading still happens....

.....and even the lie-in

- the dry-cleaning bill has gone up!

- but social evenings with friends definitely still happen....just with a break, for a group lullaby-sing-a-long, at Limi's bedtime.

now of course, those same friends who are ahead of us in child-rearing are delighting in saying:

'You think THIS is hard.... just wait till she starts teething/ crawling/ eating solids/ dating boys...'

Friday, 16 April 2010

apr, 16th - a limi-rick....

day 68:

A limi limerick...

There once was a girl named Limi
Who liked a bit of a shimmy
She could make you dance
With just one glance

And that's how to get smiles out of Limi

[okay, it's been awhile since I had to write poetry.]

Thursday, 15 April 2010

apr, 15th - telling stories...

day 67:

Limi has become very chatty (anyone's guess where she gets that from) is a snippet of her telling us one of her stories!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

apr, 14th - you give me fever....

day 66:

We have just survived our first night of a sick Limi. I did get warned that the jabs could result in a fever and that this would be a good thing....a sign that her immune system was fighting the vaccine but a fretful Limi still came as a bit of a shock when you've become used to the contented version who seldom cries without reason.

After the initial upset around the jabs (see day 65)....things settled down and she seemed perfectly fine....and even seemed to have forgotten my evil treachery as I was getting plenty of smiles in the afternoon. we did the bedtime routine...bath, massage, 'lullaby' soundtrack and feeding. I had double-checked with the midwife whether a bath was fine and received the all clear but now it appears that I maybe should have avoided both the bath AND the massage:

- a bath can aggravate fever, who knew (well except for the midwife who probably should have told me)
- while, it's also suggested that you avoid massage for about 3 days after any vaccination because massage can stimulate the immune system and for a tiny baby their body can become 'overloaded/ over stimulated'

Anyway, all seemed fine and I was just getting ready to put her down in her cot...when BAM...out of nowhere, she started screaming like she was on fire...which she was...her temperature had suddenly sky-rocketed! So, I stripped her down and managed to slightly calm her using the 'drape-kitten' hold over my arm, whilst calling A. and shouting over the noise to please pick up some Calpol.

We managed to administer the smallest dose of Calpol (her very first taste sensation in 66 days) and after some tag-team rocking we managed to put her down for her first small snippet of sleep. It felt like we were back in day 4 with Limi waking every hour. But eventually...well 11 hours later and into a new day...things were back to normal and we could say that we had earned our first sick-baby-survival stripes.

So, these are my 6 top tips for baby vaccinations:

1. before you go for the vaccination make sure that you have stocked up on Calpol and bought a baby friendly thermometer (no one warned me)
2. cover your baby's nose in lots of egg white and let that people avoid her in the waiting room (see day 65) ...take a wet cloth to remove egg white before meeting the midwife to avoid a baby bathing lesson
3. don't put on a tough facade as it will all come crumbling down when they haul out that needle...and you will just look silly
4. take along something to distract both yourself and your baby, including food in whatever form necessary. warning: this may start a lifetime of comfort eating.....
5. avoid the evening bath for one day and any massages for 3 days. this applies to baby only!
6. have someone on standby for tag-team rocking or to make you a stiff drink once you do eventually get the babe to sleep

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

apr, 13th - to jab or not to jab....

day 65: It was time for the first vaccinations today: DTaP/IPV/Hib (scheduled for around 8 weeks/ 2 months). These were given in two jabs, one to each thigh (considered to be the fleshiest part on a baby...although maybe they should consider the cheeks). These are the first of three sets of jabs by the time that she is 4 months and protects against the following five diseases:

* diphtheria (D)
* tetanus (T)
* pertussis (whooping cough) (P)
* polio (IPV - inactivated polio vaccine)
* Hib (haemophilus influenzae type b)

There was a moment, after briefly succumbing to reading the dreaded forums, that I was concerned about the jabs and the small percentage of babies who have had horrific side effects ....but then you consider the impact of getting any of the above diseases, and the 'side effects' that they used to have on a large percentage of babies, and it puts things into perspective.

So off we went to the surgery....Now, I'm not big on ranting (usually) but why is it that sick people think that it's completely appropriate to cough and sneeze on their hands and then come along...lean into the buggy...over your disease-free-baby-who-is-just-there-to-get-her-jabs and TOUCH her with those sneeze-covered hands cooing...'are you sick little baby'. Well no she wasn't....but now, well there's a good chance.

Needless to say that by the time we went through for the jabs, I was slightly jittery from all the blocking manoeuvres that I'd had to complete to stop those pesky, germ-ridden digits. This mood combined with a childhood where the motto was 'toughen up princess' and a father who took great delight in treating every small scratch with bubbling peroxide and Merthiolate (the evil burning twin to Mercurochrome) and I was probably coming across to the midwife as fairly cavalier about the whole needle-new-baby thing. [By the way, as a complete looking up the spelling of Merthiolate, I discovered that Mercurochrome and Merthiolate were pulled from the US shelves in 1998 after almost 60 years of widespread use, due to the new discovery of a risk of mercury poisoning. One of the side effects of mercury poisoning is a lack of coordination....and given the quantities that were applied to my roasties....this explains a whole lot.....and also provided a fantastic vicious circle of more Merthiolate treatment.]

Anyway, the midwife said many mums choose to nurse their babies directly after the jabs to soothe which I responded: 'oh she'll be fine...she's already had antibiotics that involved a large needle and she hardly cried.' So, there I am, holding down her lily-white, naked, innocent looking thigh...with her looking up at me with these trusting, big eyes when the nurse hauls out a GIGANTIC looking needle (yes, it was normal size..but boy did it suddenly look big) and jabs it into her thigh with force (okay, she was gentle but it LOOKED forceful) and Limi's eyes get very big and then large tears start forming and then she starts wailing....looking at me accusingly all the time. And then we have to do it ALL again on the other side. Well of course my uncaring facade crumbled fairly rapidly and besides feeling like a battle-axe mother at the tender age of two months the midwife did smile at my lightening-quick nursing response with a look of....Not so tough now princess!

Monday, 12 April 2010

apr, 12th - baby signals...

day 64:

There are of course, plenty of baby books that promise to provide the secret to producing a contented baby or probably more accurately 'a baby that allows for contented parents' ie. a baby who doesn't disrupt parents and their sleep too much. For me, the approaches suggested in most of these books are quite brutal, rigid and not particularly appealing. In fact, Limi may even be starting to think, (perhaps because I have been known to suggest this), that Gina Ford makes up all the less fun rules in our house. 'Blame Gina Ford not me that you have to go to bed' may have been even been uttered over the past weeks.

Anyway, a book that I did buy and enjoy is the brilliant Baby Sense. Its tag-line is - 'understanding your baby's sensory world - the key to a contented baby'. Yes, it does promise the 'contented baby' but in my own words: it attempts to explain how to read and respond to their body language signals in the early months.

Some signs are easy and I worked these out by myself:

- a wailing baby = unhappy
- a smiling baby = happy (although, can also be wind for the first 6 weeks)
- a baby with their eyes closed = asleep
- a baby with their eyes open = awake
- a worried baby = you are dancing around the living-room and they are concerned that they have inherited your lack of rhythm

But, all my natural deductions aside, what the book does provide, is insight into the stages that babies go through before they reach a point of complete stimulation-saturation or in other words...a meltdown (usually in public places and a LOUD advertisement of your failings as a parent), and provides practical solutions for stepping in and reducing the situation to more of a slight-thawing!

Fortunately, Limi doesn't appear to be easily stressed...although below, I have captured her in a classic Baby Sense 'uncomfortable' stance.....hands in tight fists and arms held close to the body. I'm deducing that she's concerned about being subjected to more posing dressed only in a nappy!! Still I tell have to suffer for your art.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

apr, 11th - daffs...

day 63:

The daffodils are out in force... Summer, blankets, picnics, sunshine....are just around the corner!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

apr, 10th - colour coding....

day 62:

The No Pink baby-shower for Sal got us debating the colour coding of babies. It's not about having a complete aversion to pink but more about the fact that in Western society, it is almost impossible to avoid dressing girls in pink and boys in blue. My choices of mainly navy and grey (I should be bringing up a baby in France) have me endlessly saying 'actually, she's a little girl....just dressed in boy's colours!' Goodness knows what would be happening if I was dressing a boy in pink.

Anyway, the baby-shower theme did prove a challenge as it's virtually impossible to shop for baby clothes without buying from a gender specific section. But we did manage to seek out some of the less pink/polka dotted/floral outfits. Now Sal just has to make a sign that says 'yes, she is a girl in boy's clothing.'

Friday, 9 April 2010

apr, 9th - aussie heritage....

day 61:

Footage of Limi enjoying her aussie sing-a-longs (with the appropriate 'footage')....(I eventually had to steal this from the editing room as A. was not keen on my distribution channels for his early morning version of Waltzing Matilda...)

Thursday, 8 April 2010

apr, 8th - old friends....

day 60:

Mands and Agnes came to visit today. Agnes can teach Limi a thing or two...she's almost a year old. Here she is teaching Limi the popular, playmat game of...Agnes' nose/Limi's nose...not always completely accurate (difficult when you have a moving target)....but Limi clearly loving the tutorial!!

Limi's nose....I mean hand!

Limi's I mean eye!

Haha Agnes...try again....

Limi's, that's a mouth!

Got it! Limi's nose!!!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

apr, 7th - baby altars....

day 59:

Before we had Limi, a friend....who has not yet jumped into the chasm of parenting...I use chasm deliberately as it does sometimes feel like the definition, which is:

- an abyss (that's the sleep deprivation part)
- a definite break in continuity (of spontaneous travelling, dinners, weekends away...well spontaneity in general :)
- a wide difference in interests, feelings (yes, there's only so many times you can 'talk babies' if you don't have your own)

So...the friend said to me: D, I hope that you're not going to buy one of those baby altar prams. Everywhere I look, parents are worshipping their babies in these pedestal prams. This trend is very unhealthy.

Hmmm, well now that I know pram models in the same way that a mad Top Gear fan knows their Italian supercars...

I said: I think that you're referring to the Cosatto Cabi. We've gone more mainstream and opted for the Bugaboo...which yes, is a brand statement and yes, the colour combination did matter. (Grey and desert sand...if you're interested!)

Friend: Okay, so we've lost you there. But please tell me that you're not going to dress your kid in wacky mini-me outfits. If shorts and t-shirts were good enough for us....why are parents today dressing their kids up in mini Chanel dresses, Converse trainers and Paul-Smith-inspired suits?

D: Well....child-branding is not our style, but if you spent spare hours in your childhood dressing up and being dressed up by your sister in tutu's, leg warmers, feathered headdresses and all your mum's costume jewellery from the 60's...then there's a fair chance that you're going to enjoy dressing up your new, compliant doll..I mean baby.

So Huey, this one's for you! Limi dressed up in her does remind me of Bjork....circa Oscars 2001.

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