To Kai, my little lion,
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Kai - Born 20th March 2014, a day before my birthday.
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I don’t know today’s date, it is somewhere near the end of October. The weather is warm, the days are longer and you have grown out of your floppy newborn stage, and are turning into a little boy with your own delightful idiosyncrasies.

I feel better. I didn’t feel so good for the first 6 months of your life and I hope that you did not notice how unhappy I was. I’m sorry that I wasn’t happier, I should have been. You have been such a gorgeous little person, and you have been happy - even though I have not been myself, or at my best.

Your birth was an amazing experience. I am so happy that I was able to birth you, it was mostly exactly how I wanted it. We were both very lucky that you made it. You were 5 weeks early, which was very scary in itself, and then when you were out, we discovered how little you were – only 1.9 kgs.


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Somewhere along the line I got sick, and your placenta became infected, and the infection stayed in the placenta after the rest of me got better. This meant that you didn’t grow very well, and you adapted to being…starved. ☹

It took me a long time to get over the fact that you were not receiving the nourishment you needed from me. I spent many, many days and weeks dwelling on that. I worried about your future, and whether it had hurt you long term.

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We have had other struggles too. Breastfeeding has been both wonderful but really really hard this time. I guess because of our rough start (being separated immediately after you were born, and you needing to spend some time in the NICU), my supply took a hit right from the beginning and since then I have nursed you around the clock, woken you in the night to feed you when you wouldn’t wake, taken all sorts of herbal concoctions, eaten a million lactation cookies, pumped several times a day…. to feed you. It has been gruelling but worth it. You now weigh quadruple your birth weight and you are so happy, and so so healthy now. I am proud of both of us.

At 6/7 months corrected, you are now:

- Saying “mamamamama” “nananananana” “dadadada” and “bbbbfffffffff”
- Rolling and shuffling along the floor
- Chewing on your feet a lot
- Laughing maniacally
- Bouncing at every opportunity
- Eating very very runny solids and making a mess of yourself
- Reaching and pulling my hair several times a day
- Following your big brother and squealing delightedly whenever you see him
- And sitting on your own. It is very very exciting.

I am very grateful that you sleep. So much better than your brother did at the same age. Most nights we wake once or twice a night, and that is it. There have been nights when you have slept for 8+ hours and I have woken you, worried that you haven’t eaten in a long time, and I feed you. Some nights you are more wakeful than others but you are very peaceful for the most part. Lately, at 5am you wake and refuse to be put back down into your bed, so I pull you into my bed and we snuggle together. I had said that I would not cosleep again if I could help it, but it really is so beautiful and I love having you against me (most of the time - 'cept for when you do that mostly cute kicking me in the face thing).

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It was a long, long winter but we got through it.

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I have accepted what happened to us. I have accepted that I got sick and that you could not grow properly. I can see that it is something that happened to both of us. It is so shit. But that is behind us now. You are growing now, you are so big!

The only thing that I am sorry for now, is that I ever doubted you. You are perfect.


x
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Jem 2 1/2 years
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Hi Jem!

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You are 2 1/2 now. Our relationship has changed a lot in the last 6 weeks or so. You have become very attached to 'mummy' (you started calling me 'mummy' around that time, you had been calling me 'mum' before that). It is all about 'mummy' now, to the extent that you ask Daddy to leave the room, or you insist that 'mummy' needs to do it, ie, give you a bath, or get you a drink, or put on your shoes. I don't think it hurts Daddy's feelings because he was the top dog for such a long time. It is nice to be your favourite again; I love our snuggle times in the mornings where you nuzzle in to me, I love our long cuddles, I love the affection that you show me all the time. We have such a connection at the moment. You must know that things are going to change soon. You refer to your 'baby brother' more regularly now, you seem to understand that there is something weird going on with my body, you stare at my belly when I am getting changed in front of you and you are very aware, and very gentle playing around my tummy.

We went to IKEA and made a BIG DEAL out of letting you choose your 'big boy' bed, recently. You helped Daddy put it together and we put it into a whole separate room for you, with your own special 'rocket ship' sheets. You had so much fun putting it together with Daddy, and I watched you both feeling sad. We will have to sleep separately pretty soon, and I feel sad about it. I don't want you to be in a different room to me, but I know that I can't have both of you in my bed and I know that I need to give you enough time to adjust to being in your own bed. It is hard though, for both of us. Right now I am sleeping in the single bed that is opposite your bed in your new room, but soon I will leave and you will be with Daddy, who will look after you until you can share your room with your brother.

You have taught me how to be peaceful, loving and patient. I am getting better at taking my time, at not being in a hurry, at not saying 'no' if I don't have to, at listening, at showing you attention and really tuning in to what you are doing, or what you are showing me. Sometimes it is hard because I am tired, but giving you my undivided attention for even half an hour makes you so happy. Lately, if you are tired or hungry, you get a bit overwhelmed and will cry if things don't go your way. Because I am an impatient person, my first reaction is to be annoyed, especially if I am tired, but then I name your feelings and I just ask you if you want a hug. And you ALWAYS say 'yes'. And then we hug, and it makes us both feel better.

Yesterday you asked your dad 'Why is the sky blue?'. You really did. It was strange, but quite funny because it was spontaneous and a genuine question. 'But whhhhyyyyy???' you wanted to know. Sometimes you want to know where the sky IS (if it is cloudy). You will ask 'where has the sky gone?'. Yesterday you wanted to know why it was blue. You are a funny kid.

You are very into music at the moment. Your Nan-Nan bought you a toy ukele for Christmas, and you haven't put it down since then. Between it and your trucks, you are very happy playing independently, which you never used to really do. Sometimes I hear you making conversations up between your trucks. Tonight, your bus and your garbage truck 'bumped' into each other while out driving, and your garbage truck was very happy to see your bus because "I haven't seen you in a while!" and your bus commented that there had been "a lot of traffic" lately.

I am 31 weeks pregnant now, and I have put on quite a bit of weight (13 kilos already - woops!). I have been going to the gym most days though, and I feel fit, and I feel strong. So that is good. But it is still getting harder to move around, and it is harder to sit on the ground and play blocks with you, and to wake up in the night and help you go to the toilet. We are managing OK for now.

I feel a little bit worried because I know how much the newborn fog sucks. On one hand, I am excited and can't wait to meet your little brother (who we don't really have a name for yet :/), but on the other hand I am really put out that I will be back in the crazed sleep deprived place that I was with you.

I'm sure we will be OK. At least I know now (given how well we sleep now) that there is an end in sight, and that I won't be sleep deprived forever.

I pulled out your baby clothes the other day to sort through them, and wash the ones I wanted to use for your baby brother. It made me so nostalgic. I love that you are a little boy now, but I loved it so much when you were a baby. I miss it.

A Jem & Em Update
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So - I'm pregnant again! Here I am, looking tired and fat:
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This was taken a month or so ago. I am currently 26 weeks and feeling pretty good, but the weight gain is annoying. I think I have gained about 9 kilos so far and it is climbing steadily now... I can't seem to stop myself from shoving chocolate and fast food into my face. I am craving SUGAR and CARBS. Sugar and carbs and jalapenos.

I am still trying to get myself to the gym but have been slack the last month because of the holidays, etc. Getting exercise has been great for me - I never would have imagined speaking of exercise so highly, but it makes me feel amazing and I hate it when I miss out for more than a few days. I start getting sluggish, my mind starts to get foggy, and then I stop feeling good. I am now trying to get myself there every day so that I can build up my strength and fitness for the birth.

I am aiming for a VBAC this time around and have undergone a complete shift in my thinking about birthing. I don't know what happened to me, but after Jem was born I came to realise that birthing could be really beautiful and did not have to be that scary at all. I know what labour feels like now, so I feel much more confident and really look forward to the next one. My best possible chance for a successful VBAC is a completely natural and epidural free birth I think, so I have booked into the birth centre at RPA and have found a doula to help me on the day. I don't know how it will go, but I feel pretty relaxed about it at the moment (despite the risks associated with vbacs and the really conservative conversations that I will have with the RPC BC Obstetrician and registrars in the coming weeks). My doctor has told me that 60% of women who attempt a vbac are successful. The midwife that I met with at the BC told me a higher stat - 70-80%. She also told me that in her 13 years at RPA she had never seen anything bad happen with a vbac birth, other than the need for a repeat C-section, so I am trying to keep these positive comments in my head, and to stay away from Dr Google (for those of you that don't know, the biggest and most worrying risk is that the uterus will rupture at the old scar site which could have catastrophic outcomes for mum and baby - the risk of this is about 1 in every 200 births, and it depends on a bunch of things which I won't go into... but I meet a lot of the criteria for mums that want to give it a try, and so long as they don't have to induce me, and that my labour progresses, the risk of this happening is very very small).

On Jem: Jem is now 2 years and 5 months old. I weaned him in November - we made it to 2 years and 3 months. If it had not been for peanut2 I would have probably kept on going out of laziness, but it turned out to be the best thing ever as for the first time in 2 years I am sleeping through the night with the J- man. No wake ups, just blissful, amazing, peaceful sleep. It has been amazing. Did I say no wake ups? I still can't believe it. Even though I have weaned him he still shoves his little hands in between my boobs, or under my arms while he asleep, or tired or wanting comfort - a remnant from our bf'ing days.
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I also toilet trained him in November. It took three days - he is a clever little thing! And, remarkably, after only a couple of weeks I think, his body figured out how to stay dry during the night as well. As of the last few weeks, he has not wet a single pull up during his sleeps - not once! I am really amazed by this.

Jem has become a very chatty little boy. I don't really know how he stacks up in terms of language compared to other kids, but he uses rich sentences and interesting words to describe things (words like 'enormous' or 'gigantic', for example). He really is entertaining at the moment - "I have a baby in my tummy, AND FOOD mum! At the same time!".

He is really shy though. While he still attends daycare twice a week, I don't know if he really likes it. Sometimes he still cries when I leave him (like this morning), despite liking his carers. He obviously prefers our company, but I worry so much... Especially now that we will be changing his day care to one that we have been waitlisted for, for the last couple of years. It is a council run, community based centre that is MUCH cheaper ($95 versus $145 a DAY. Yep, a day) and closer to our home. I don't know how he is going to cope with the transition, and I don't know if it is even worth distressing him with it, but I am going to try. I really hope it goes well. :(

We are still co-sleeping but I will begin the 'operation kick Jem out of my bed' in Feb, to give us 2-3 months to get him accustomed to sleeping in his own bed, without me. He will share a room with his dad, while I begin to cosleep with his little brother (yes - turns out I am having another boy!). I did not think that I was going to be such a hippie attachment parent but there you go, that's what ended up happening. Completely intuitively. I miss having Brett with me, but he gets more sleep during the night and wakes up having had a fairly decent night's rest for work this way. And he always, always responds immediately if I need him to help me during the night. It is what has worked for us so far.

Jem's favourite toys are anything transport related (utterly fixated on his trucks), anything musical (drums, his uke, etc) and he loves the bloody ipad to play games like this one or to watch Peppa Pig, which is the big attraction at the moment.

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In other exciting news, I finished my placement and my degree last November. I completed a Master of Social Work, so I am qualified now! (I ended up with a HD, a mark of 90!) I have to say this now because I felt like I could not say anything online during my placement for fear of my placement falling through, but here it is: My Supervisor was a f'ing revolting asshole and I hated her from the beginning to the end of my placement. I dreaded every day that I went there, and it was the longest 6 months of my life (and partly why I did not update much in this time. It was an all-consuming experience that weighed on my mind every single day). I hope that she stalks me online (it would not be unlike her, given the psychopath that she is) and finds this entry so that she can finally realise what an awful person she is, and how hated she is by EVERY PERSON THAT KNOWS HER. I have not met anyone as critical, negative, racist, angry, controlling and just plain mean as her. And that is all I have to say about that.

Life is so good right now, I get to spend those precious extra days in the week now with Jem, who is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

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Jem - 2 years, 3 months
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Jem drew a bus

Bus
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23/24 Months
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Jem has advanced so much in the last couple of months, speaking wise. There wasn't much except for the signing, for such a long time and then BAM he started talking in sentences. I couldn't believe it, I still can't believe it when he says things like "Daddy come in car" or "Me go up high". I'm like, DUDE, you're talking now! We can have conversations! Also, he speaks in Turkish as well. As of the last couple of weeks, he knows more Turkish than Brett.

Jem is pretty fixated on anything transport at the moment: "Biiiiiig RED bus!!, HUUUGE!". He loves buses in particular, but is also interested in trains, planes, ambulances, taxis and bikes.
Our kitchen carpark:
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He has now (finally) become fairly adjusted to day care, and loves his carers which is gorgeous. There is a big tall bald guy there called Tom, who is Jem's favourite and the two of them are inseparable. Tom is an adorable guy, he will just scoop up the little people, sometimes one under each arm. The kids adore him. [EDIT: I started writing this a few weeks ago now - as of a couple of weeks ago, Jem has changed rooms and has a new carer called Dom, who is equally lovely and who has pink hair. Jem seems to like him a lot. It was supposed to be a gradual transition into the 'big' room, but after spending a couple of mornings in there (and the afternoons in his usual room), we turned up one morning and I asked J what he wanted to do, and he said 'big room'. So in we went, and after choosing a book for Dom to read to him, he waved goodbye happily.]

Jem's sense of rhythm is pretty impressive I think - so much so that his carers have commented on it a few times, and I have noticed it in a big way myself. Of course I am now convinced that he is probably a musical genius and that I probably need to send him to drumming lessons or something.



Things he knows include: Various shapes, he is counting to 10 in english and starting to learn it in turkish, he knows all colours in english, and some in turkish (pink "pembe", blue, "mavi", green "yesil", yellow "sari"). We are trying to teach him letters etc to make him SUPER CHILD. We read a lot. We have some interesting apps that he enjoys, including a montessori letter tracing app, and another app that is aaallll about buses.

I am still breast feeding him. Still on demand. Mostly through the night, but still a couple of times during the day if I am home. It is really beautiful and even though I had committed to weaning at two years I have no idea and no real commitment at the moment to make that happen. I love coming home from work or my placement at the end of the day, and walking through the door to his smiling face, scooping him up and sitting down for some 'quiet time' and nursing for a little while. It really is beautiful and I will miss it when we eventually stop. [EDIT: We started to night wean a week ago - it is not going so well. Jem is really annoyed and now he wakes up continuously to ask if it is 'day time' yet. So anticipating the next bf is waking him. Sigh.]

Also it is real, quality time that I spend with Jem. At the moment I am working full time (until the end of the year when my placement is over) and it is manageable but I regret not being around for the little one. Especially since he is developing so rapidly, and learning and repeating so much. I miss hanging out with him during the week when I was only working in my job and not doing my placement - and having the extra couple of days to take Jem to the park, or to play group, or just to hang out at home. I miss it a lot - I can't wait until I drop back to part time to have that back again.

Jem had his first episode of head lice last week! Yaaaay! It was an impressive infestation, I felt like such a neglectful parent not picking it up. I got a call from his daycare asking to pick him up :/ Happy days. I made up for it by meticulously combing nits out of his hair every couple of days for over a week. Nits go bye bye.

We have baby 2.0 firmly in our minds now. It is time to make that happen, if we can.

Jem had his 2nd birthday a few weeks ago.


He stared at those candles for the longest time!

Here is a cute photo:
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And another one of a pirate:
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Happy birthday, peanut. The wheels on the bus go round' and round'.... xo

20 months - things Jem knows
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Words.

Jem is talking! He has a vocabulary of about 50 words at last count, and still uses the 20 or so signs (with about 5 main ones that he uses most often) that we taught him. Interestingly, he will refuse to say the word that he has a sign for (ie, 'milkies'). He also has some 'sounds' that aren't really words to us, but words to him (ie, 'sssssss' for 'cat' - I know, it's a bit weird). He says new words every day.

Colours. He knows his colours. He says 'fer fer' for 'orange' (!!!), 'per per' for 'purple', 'biiis' for 'green', 'La low' for 'yellow', 'pink' and has even had a bash at saying blue and red at times. He can identify them all.

Shapes. He knows the main ones - circle, square, rectangle, triangle.

He knows a lot of turkish - sometimes I ask him a question in turkish, and he answers me! It is amazing.

He knows 'left' and 'right'.

He knows a million different songs and rhymes, and he sings! Arrrgh, it is cute. His favourite songs at the moment are 'row row row your boat', 'open, shut them', 'the wheels on the bus' and a couple of songs by feist ('1234' and 'I feel it all'), and a really annoying song by Katy Perry (Thank you for that, Brett). A fantastic album by Rachel Parkinson (Little Feet Music), Lah Lah Band, Anything by the Wiggles. Urgh. I try really hard not to let him watch TV, but there are times when I cave because I am tired and uninspired. And because I have to make dinner.

He knows the letters 'T', 'S', 'J', 'O', 'Z', 'M'. And sounds them out.

He matches stuff with other stuff.

He loves, loves, loves 'reading'.

He knows lots of stuff.

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At the moment he has developed a preference for his dadda, which annoys me somewhat. I love it, and Brett for being so hands on and such beautiful father, but I am also put out, for all the long, hard nights I put in - and because I wanted to keep him just a little bit longer. His dadda is cool with his gadgets and lego etc, and I am annoyed because I have no gadgets, only boobs. I need to have a daughter. Damnit. I am going to end up in a house full of smelly boys that think I'm boring. ;)

I am only joking. A little bit.

I worry sometimes about my impatience (particularly in the middle of the night when he is keeping me up). Have I pushed Jem away because I've gotten grumpy too often in the middle of the night when I am exhausted and not myself? Have I not spent enough time with him? Did I return to work too early? Should I have stayed at home? Mama guilt is ridiculous and dumb sometimes.

It is beautiful that he and Brett are so connected. It is very special indeed.



He is still keeping me up, haha! BUT starting to improve, even if he is waking up earlier (hellooooooooo 18 month sleep regression!).

Hi Jem! You be so cute. xx


PS: Please do more of this THROUGH the night. KTHXBYE

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So I wrote this a few months ago and didn't finish / post it. Jem - 17 months
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- Jem has started to get into reading books these past few days, in a big way. We prop ourselves up on big pillows in bed, and "read". He only really liked "Orange, Pear, Apple, Bear" for the longest time, which was really cute in itself. But lately, he has been interested in other books, characters, especially Bob from Man on the Moon.

"Bobobobobob"

- He has always been a little fascinated by my vaccuuming, and so I bought him a $10 crappy plastic vacuum cleaner from KMart the other day and he has been enjoying 'helping' me vaccuum the house. Haha.

- He has also been really affectionate lately, suddenly leaping into my arms to hug me, and putting his head down onto my shoulder and being still. Or turning my face to his so that he can kiss me on the lips. Really suddenly and abruptly, for no reason other than he just feels like a smooch. Ooooh, it is so cute. My heart is FULL and HEAVY with love right now.


- He is also starting to say more words, but I can't figure out how intentional it is - sometimes I will say a word and he will mimic me straight away, almost involuntarily and then when I ask him to say it again, the moment is gone. Yesterday we were eating dinner and I pointed to his plate and said 'chicken' and I SWEAR that he said 'chicken' immediately after, but not consciously. Does that make sense? He DID say it, but he did not consciously say it. It is apparently a developmental stage - has anyone else experienced this?

- I've been trying to stay on top of his teeth brushing - occasionally we might miss a night, but he is now pretty good at it, as I can actually HEAR THE BRUSHING SOUND, as opposed to him waving the toothbrush around the air.

- He has also started to really notice the cats lately. Not in a going-to-follow-the-cat-and-pull-its-tail kinda way, but an interested, another being, I want to give you a hug kinda way. His patting has become more gentle, he helps me feed them in the morning and has started to take a real interest in them. Yesterday I watched him pick up cat biscuits individually that Jet had spilled onto the floor out of his bowl, and pop them back in to his bowl, one by one, so that Jet could have something more to eat. And then he gave him a little pat, and walked on. FRICKING CUTE.

- We are still nursing around the clock. I made a half arsed attempt at night weaning a couple of weeks ago but then Jem got a cold and I felt bad saying no at night when he was all snuffly, so it went out the window. I am really such a wuss, and so inconsistent. Urgh. Also, it is sometimes just EASIER to say yes rather than say no and deal with the 15 mins of fussing and trying to get him back to sleep. It is so instant to just attach him and go back to sleep - but then I am woken up again a couple of hours later because the booby has gone, and it seems he does not want to sleep without it now. BFing is a beautiful thing, and so good for them, but it is also a bit of a curse. I am certain that Jem would sleep so much better if I just weaned him. It is not the teething, or a developmental leap, or that he is sick, or that I have not let him cry it out and taught him to self sooth, blah blah blah. Sure, all of those things are contributing factors I am sure, but the boy just likes to nurse - all night long. And this is why he is nocturnal. Little fucker. ;)
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15 months
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He's cute, isn't he?
Everywhere I go, people stop me to tell me how gorgeous he is. Or they speak to him as if I'm not there. I feel like we're on cruise control now, our days (when I am not at work) are spent at parks or playgroups, browsing toys at op shops or just hanging out at home with the cats.

I returned to work just over a month ago and it has been great. It is a new role in early intervention / prevention services for children and young people at risk of mental illness, and it is very, very interesting. And exciting. Right now it is the calm before the storm as it is a pilot program being rolled out as we speak, I suspect it will blow out very soon and that I will be a very busy lady. Right now we are just doing a lot of networking, and trying to get referrals.

I'm working three days a week and the balance is perfect - Mostly I like being away from J (does that sound bad?), but I am so happy to see him at the end of the day. I worry about the day being a bit of a strain for mum, who kindly and happily watches him for me (she will never know how much I appreciate this), but she insists that his place is with her for now, so we sit on wait lists for day care, not too anxiously. For now.

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- At the 13/14 month mark, J started walking.
- By then he had a sign for 'milk', 'more', 'again', 'drink', 'all done', 'bye bye', dancing', 'car', 'bath', and sounds for 'cat', 'frog', 'dog' ('woof woof!). He started to shake his head 'no'. Since then we have added signs for 'poo', as in 'ive done a poo', 'walking', 'eating', 'plane', 'kettle', 'washing hands' and that is close to it I think. He started making a gesture / sound for 'hot'. One day, he fell and bumped his head - since then he has generalised the 'i have hurt my head' gesture to anything else that causes him pain. Whenever he hurts himself now, he pats his head to let us know that he is in pain.

It is all very cute and remarkable.

- The only discernable spoken words are 'yes', 'mama' and 'dada'; and 'nannan' for his nana. Sometimes I think that he says 'hello', when he is pretending to speak on the phone. He says 'come' in Turkish. He makes a whole lot of other sounds and there may be a few more words in there, but I don't recognise them ;) It is likely that he is also trying to say turkish words, as mum only speaks to him in Turkish. He understands so much, in both languages.

- He has cut most of his teeth. This has been super fast. We seem to be waiting on his toddler molars now as everything else including all of his canines and bicuspids seem to have cut through. As we speak he is having a rough night and having difficulty staying asleep. I really can tell the difference between the really crap sleep compared to just the crap sleep, now. When it is a bad teething night, he comfort nurses all night long. It is mostly OK, but by 5am I am pretty touched out, and pretty tired. Only four more teeth left I think. Four more and then he will sleep better, right? RIGHT?
- On the sleeping thing. Yes. Still waking every 3 ish hours. Moving right along.
- Today I came home from work and asked him to tell me about his day. He told me that he and his grandma went out for a walk, driving in the car and that he went night night. All in sign. Some people say that signing might delay the actual talking, but I think that his vocabulary is greatly enhanced by his signing. In fact I think I read somewhere that you include those as words that he 'speaks', because he knows them, and uses them to communicate, even if he doesn't speak them with his mouth.

It is late and I can't think of anything else to mama-brag about, so here is another cute video of him being gorgeous. I love him.


(also I am getting clucky again but more on that another time)
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11 & 12 Months (Happy Birthday!)
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It turns out that I don't have to be at uni this semester as they have stuffed up my enrolment and included a unit from my grad cert which they shouldn't have apparently done. This is good for me, as it means that I don't have to do the core unit of Ageing this semester, even though they have urged me to attend class anyway because it is an important unit. Cool! I get to go to class (which I enjoy very much) BUT I don't have to pay for the course or do the written assignments. This is good news. It does have me thinking about going back to work, so I might start putting feelers out this week to see what the situation is at my old job, and whether they will have me sooner. It would be ideal to go back 3 days a week, and then cut that back to two days once my prac begins in Feb. We shall see.

In the meantime, my days with Jem are sunny and lovely. We try to get out into the sunshine most days, and it is certainly very helpful to have a car to get us around in. There are various activities that we get out to, and then by the time you do all of that, eat and sleep (rinse repeat), it is time to make dinner. It is certainly a busy life. Not the same kind of busy I have at work or uni, but busy. And around the clock.

Sleeping is still shit. I don't see an end in sight. Brett and I have started to talk about him taking over some of the night time parenting duties - I will be more open to this once he has finished his prac and doesn't have to continue waking up at 6am to get to school. Last night I was up until 1:30am waiting for Jem to fall asleep without boob assistance. I'd feed to sleep, put him down, he'd wake and be pissed off at me for denying him boob, and we would do it all again. I know that some people think this is stupid and that I really need to start some form of sleep training before I lose my mind, but I just. don't. feel. right. about it. And that's all there is to it. Maybe I will muster the enthusiasm, courage, will, discipline and commitment over the coming months. Or maybe I will just keep complaining. So it's a decision between a shit choice and a shit choice. What would you do? Tell me, I really want to know.

Meanwhile, Jem, at 11 months, started signing even more and developed a rather cute bopping whenever he heard any music:




- He also started 'growling' at things.
- He started to say 'Yeah!' - this was in response to all the work I'd been doing trying to teach him to nod 'Yes'. One day instead of nodding, he just started saying it! "Jem, would you like some fruit?" "Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!" Oh it was cute for a couple of weeks, and then he stopped. Very strange.
- He started saying 'balloon', but it was more like 'Bloo!'.
- He went on his first swing (I know, I was a bit late)
- He had his first play in a sandpit which he LOVED (I know, late with this as well)

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- At 12 months, Jem started to pay more attention to the books I was reading him. Only slightly longer than before, and the last week or so has been the only time when he hasn't tried to rip the pages out or to eat the book. The other night, we got through MOST of a book (lol!) with him engaged and interested.
- He developed a fascination with fire and blowing out candles (he'd been practicing with his Nanna in prep for his birthday party)

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- He started shaking his head 'No' (this is f'ing. cute.)
- Changing his nappy has become a battle. He really hates it and makes it very hard with his flipping over and kicking. Not so cute.
- Yesterday morning I could have sworn that he said 'Mama'/'Mummy' several times while trying to get my attention while I was making our breakfast. I didn't think anything of it yesterday thinking that it was perhaps more babble, but he did the same thing this morning! I don't think you will mind if I brag a little, that I think he is actually saying it. I think he is talking to me!

Last weekend we had a wonderful party at our house with our closest family and friends. It was intended to be a small get together, which stayed small for the most part, and we all had a beautiful time. They say that getting through 1 year is a big deal for mama as well, so happy birthday to you little Jem - and happy birthday to me too!

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Thank you Andy for this photo x
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9-10 Months
emush
emush
A quick, long overdue, update.

Now that uni semester is out of the way (2 HD’s, I am amazing), I get to relax a little and to spend time with the Jeminator doing quality things like rhyme time at the library, and playing at playgroup at the magic yellow bus. Winter has been sunny and just a bit glorious actually, and we have been spending a lot of time out with my mum, or just out driving around or at the park.

The sleeping thing is still crap. He is still waking several times a night, but we go straight back to sleep most of the time and I manage to get about 7 hours sleep most nights. But yeah, bring on a 6 hour block of sleep man. Bring. It. On. Hell, I’ll be happy with a FOUR hour block. Regular three hour blocks? Sigh.

So, to recap on the highlights of the last couple of months:


9 Months
At nine months, Jem started pulling up on everything.

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He also graduated from the ‘commando’ / ‘break dance / snake’ crawl to the proper, alternate crawl.

His four top teeth came in at once, almost overnight!

10 Months
At 10 months, Jem started signing! He started with the sign for ‘milk’, which I first thought was a fluke, but delighted in telling everyone that he was signing anyway. Turns out that it was no fluke – he really was signing for milk! Shortly after that first sign, he learned the sign for “finished” and then “more” after that. And then ‘drink’, ‘turn around’ when he wanted to climb down a step, and then ‘bath time’. In the last week (at 11 months) he has also learned “again”.

He started pointing. And clapping.





He really is a little signing fiend. It’s amazing, this signing thing! I wonder how much more difficult things would be for us if he couldn’t sign for what he wanted. I am trying to figure out what other useful signs I can teach him… We are now working on useful nouns… ‘cheese’, for example, and other useful foods / drinks. Anyway, highly recommend baby sign to mums – it is truly amazing, and a wonderful thing to be able to communicate with J when he is so little and without language. At the moment I am trying to teach him nodding for ‘yes’ and shaking his head for ‘no’. We aren’t there quite yet, but we are close.

J also recently developed a rather cute fixation with ‘cooking’. His favourite pastime at the moment is to sit in the middle of our kitchen floor with some pots, pans and spoons, and to pretend that he’s cooking. He stirs and stirs and stirs for the longest time, I watch him sometimes wondering what he is thinking. He has also started to enjoy feeding himself, and repeats the same ‘stirring’ behaviour at meal times – he is just really into using cutlery / crockery /utensils at the moment.

He is quite the babbler, and mimics sounds like ‘mama’ and ‘dad’ and ‘nan’. I don’t think that these sounds are intended words – yet (although they sure do sound like the words - maybe they ARE??). But he certainly likes to pretend he’s having a conversation with me, and we have fun turn taking.



A couple of weeks ago he started to ‘run away’ from me – in that, he’ll take off when I ask him to come to me so that I can change him. He thinks it’s hilarious and giggles as he takes off with a bare butt. It is so intentionally playful, it has been a marked change in our play.

Just now (at 11 months) I noticed him trying to put back together his alphabet playmat puzzle thing, which I thought was very cool! And a few days ago, he started putting blocks on top of other blocks. These must sound like such banal details, but they are so so precious to me. Every day now, he does something astonishing and amazing. Every day. His little brain is a learning machine, its capacity at the moment is incredible. I worry every day that I am not providing the best learning environment, I worry that I am letting him down by not being as smart as he is. Does that make sense?

Jem’s eating has been a bit crap, but we’re working on it. He has been going through phases of spoon refusal and so he has been feeding himself mostly fruit and plastic cheese (could it be because I ate so much of it while I was pregnant?;). He is definitely becoming a fussy eater and I can’t tell if it is because of my anxiety about him not eating enough and feeling pressured to eat which makes it NOT FUN for him to eat. I hope that isn’t the case. Anyway, we are working on this. It is OK. He is not starving, and he is not malnourished. He is skinny, but his dad was teeny when he was a little boy, so I am putting some of this down to genetics. He is still a boob fiend and feeds around the clock.

Mostly it is so far so good. The only thing that puts me out is the sleeping thing. The god damn, f’ing, pissy, shitty, crappy, fucking sleeping thing! I just want some sleep. Some uninterrupted, drooly, snoring, undignified, coma-like sleep. Luckily Jem is 1 in a few weeks and then, shortly after that, I might start feeling brave enough to leaving him with my mum overnight so that I can (once in a while), catch some precious overnight Z’s. That also means one other thing.

Party time bitches.

I am thinking that I might just venture out once or twice before I start to think about the making of baby 2.0. We will see. I don’t actually know if I could be away from Jem for longer than a few hours, but I am willing to give it a go!

I love you, little guy. You are my little friend, and make me so very happy.


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