Month Forty-Two

Chicken Sculpture (1 of 1)

Dear Husband,

If I had to sum up this month I would say it has been one of broken promises and best intentions. On both our parts. A month where we each took turns being the pot and the kettle as certain things didn’t go our way. You were disappointed and frustrated with both of your jobs this month as the lack of consistency and follow through saw you excluded from a conference you had expectations of attending and denied additional responsibilities that were initially offered to you. I was sorry to see you upset. I know being passed over sucks and even more so, the feeling that you weren’t even considered.

Then there were the general everyday gripes that you had over your jobs. I particularly recall the occasion when you bitched vehemently about some of the younger people with whom you work at the cafe. You dissed their apparent lack of a proper work ethic and railed against their laziness asking “how can they possibly stand around chatting when its busy or walk past a table full of empty dishes and not think to clear it or clean it!?!”. You know what my first thought was though? I would guess the answer to those questions is exactly the same way that you can do it at home. You happily play with your phone when I am tidying around you for prolonged periods without a thought to help. I have also watched you walk straight past tables with crockery and cutlery all over them and watched you not wash up, clear the items away to the sink or even stack them into a neater pile so there is still some table visible. I’m just saying.

And my first thought was the above because this month you promised me that we would take turns with the washing up. Now that there is extra work in the house with the Genibean, you offered to help out more to make it a little easier on me. That didn’t exactly work out though and when I first called you on it, you apologised profusely and promised to pick up your game. I let it go three days however and then did the washing up myself. What I could find at least. I am accustomed to doing the rounds of the house for things that require cleaning but I’m not used to checking the fridge!

As you are aware, we had a bit of an ant problem this month. The little buggers were everywhere and congregated en masse when any food scraps were left behind. There would be lines of ants that were metres long, around windows and over doorways, just to get to a neglected bit of kibble. We obviously tried to keep what we could clean but eventually you decided that from now on, all the dirty dishes would be kept in the fridge. Just like that. No discussion. And whilst I could see the benefit in the very short term, I have to say that it drove me nuts. Just like it does when you fill the sink with water to create a moat and put dirty dishes in there. We only have one sink in the kitchen. What if I need to be able to rinse or drain something?!?

So things often got left behind in the fridge either by oversight because they were missed amongst the food or on purpose. Like the griddle pan that has spent a number weeks on the bottom shelf. This thing is a pain in the butt to clean and ended up getting left out of some washes when it was first dirtied. Since you did cook with it and didn’t wash it when it was your turn however, I decided that neither would I. Petty, I know, but I never promised to be mature all the time. Therefore I could say we are in a Mexican stand off right now as to which one of us is finally going to cave and wash the damn thing but whilst I’m definitely leaving it there on purpose, I’m not convinced that you are even aware that it is still in there. Despite the fact that you open the fridge several times per day at least.

Also on my bad for this month (as well as the washing up thing) was the fact that I signed up for new Internet and phone contracts without saying anything to you first. I know you have nothing against me actually making these decisions but it was a fair call that I had discussed both with you previously and would normally make these sorts of decisions with more consultation between us. I guess in my mind, we had already conversed several times about the internet and the upgrade of my phone. You had done some research and made suggestions regarding the Internet, and I in turn had decided that they didn’t suit either for price, carrier or crap I neither need nor want reasons. I didn’t want to be without internet as I can’t just go to work to be online right now so I accepted the offer for more than twice the amount of data I was currently getting for what I am already paying. That seemed fair enough.

And regarding the phone, since there were no available handsets that you had professed to want on any of the five or more occasions we had been into the phone store, I chose one that I wanted on the plan in my name for less than I am paying now. Since my phone had been playing up, I thought that was fair enough too. I will admit however that it has occurred to me writing this that I asked for your opinion regarding these things, I asked for your wishes and requested your thoughts but I never stated that I needed to do something soon. I also didn’t tell you that I wanted to do something about it in the immediate future and not just chat about it. I know I talk around things so I don’t feel like I’m being bossy or nagging but then think I’ve had the discussion. You on the other hand think nothing of the sort and are subsequently put out when I go off and make an executive decision. Sorry about that. I do actually value your opinion. Just as I value your assistance.

Last month I know you thought it was great to feel important when the Genibean wanted to sleep on your chest. She only seemed to settle at night for you and that made you feel special. This month however, you have been convinced that she hates you because she can spend hours awake with intermittent crying and grizzling and won’t often be quiet and content in your arms. Just because she hasn’t wanted to settle for you as much though doesn’t make you a bad dad! It doesn’t make you a bad husband either. In fact, it has been great when you have taken her, even if she doesn’t stop screaming. This usually gives me just a bit of time to regroup so I can come back to her ready to remain calm and relaxed in the face of an absolute meltdown.

So thankfully yours,

Your Loving Wife

* Photo taken at last yesrs Sculptures By The Sea

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Week 8

Week 8 (1 of 4)

Dear Genevieve,

You are turning into a solid little girl. You were already my little Buddha Belly but now your are my Chunky Monkey too. And thank God you are not sixteen yet or you would be all “far out, my mum just called me fat!”. But I didn’t. Because you are not. Not at all. In fact, you are quite lean for a baby. Now that you are eight weeks old however, you are a lot less squoodgy (that is so a word!) and a fair bit more…solid.

You may have only grown a few centimetres but it feels like you are falling off my lap when I feed you now. You are also noticably heavier as we try and rock you to sleep or hold your body against ours to settle you. I can definitely feel it in my lower back. To pick you up, you seem less fragile and floppy these days too as your strength grows along with your weight and height. You still have what the lactation consultant referred to as your Sharpei Puppy thighs though. You are a baby after all. On the plus side however, as my cousin commented the other day, “oh look, she [you] has ankles!”.

Week 8 (3 of 4)

Even though you still have some pudgyness in places though, you are perfectly healthy. At least that’s what the pediatrician told us. This week we went back to the doctor who attended you in the hospital for a routine checkup. One hundred and fifty dollars later, I didn’t learn anything I didn’t know before. Except that we should put salt on your belly button to clear the last bit of cord tissue up. At the end of the day though, I am glad we went because since you did start your life in special care (more or less), it is reassuring to know that a dedicated professional also sees nothing untoward in your little self. And I think Sparky was relieved to know I haven’t been hosing him.

From time to time, the man who otherwise researches everything, will be concerned by something that you do. He occasionally asks me whether your behaviour is normal and in my great wisdom of hot off the press beginner motherhood, I usually reply that yeah, it’s fine! Which of course your father sees less as knowledge and more of an assumption. You are crying more today than you did yesterday? I say you’re a baby, you’ll do that. You are feeding a lot more frequently now? I say babies do that too. Sparky asked me whether we should take you to the doctor once when something had changed and my immediate response was what for?!? The doctor will think I’m an idiot when I front up with a perfectly healthy baby…

Week 8 (2 of 4)

I am a great believer in the trust your own judgement when it comes to your child mentality. So to date, I have been pretty sure that you’re doing just fine. I’m sure there are signs that you try to give me and I miss still – I am new at this after all – but I don’t think you have been adversely affected by my lack of experience. And it would seem that my judgement is reasonable since the baby clinic and the pediatrician think that you are a healthy little girl. So keep going along that route Kleine and we’ll all be happy. Although that’s a relative term.

Week 8 (4 of 4)

I think we discovered the hard way this week that you really don’t like humidity. We can wrap you up so you’re warm, toasty and sweaty and you’ll fall sound asleep. If it’s humid and sticky however, then you’re not a happy camper. We had a day that was not quite hot enough for the air-conditioner this week so we just ran the fan inside. We couldn’t get you to settle for more than about 15-20 minutes at a time though. Of course, Nanna and Grumps were here as well so maybe there was a bit of overstimulation happening but when we put the air-con on to go to sleep, you passed out for about 5 hours!

Alles Liebe,

Lexelah

I Am Sorry

Reuben

Dear Reuben,

I am kinda sorry that I put you in the car when I went to pick up Sparky. I know you like to be included and we love to have you with us but if you had not been in the car, the incident would not have happened.

I am quite sorry that i didn’t take the pram base out of the car and bring it into the house. I knew that I would not need it “out” before I was likely to need it “in” but I was lazy. I figured I could always bring it in later.

I am very sorry that when I turned the car around the corner, the pram base that I hadn’t brought inside tipped over onto you who I hadn’t put outside. It (understandably) freaked you out.

I am extremely sorry that when you were freaked out, you jumped up in haste to get away from the falling contraption…because in said haste, you threw your weight into the side of the car and punched out the rear window!

A rear window that cost three hundred dollars to replace, a multitude of phone calls on Sparky’s behalf to arrange and some manual labour (again by Sparky) to clear the debris off the road.

So I just wanted you to know that I was sorry.

Apologetically yours,

That lady you let live in your house

* Photo by David and Claire Oliver

Week 7

Week 7 (2 of 4)

Dear Genevieve,

We cut your nails for the first time this week. Because man, were they sharp! It was a job that took longer than we thought and one that involved you, your dad and I. It was a joint effort. Your nails are very thin and easy to cut, but then I imagine so are your fingers if they get in the wrong place and nobody wanted that. But now they are short again so you can’t gauge holes in my chest whilst you are feeding. Or, you know, scratch your eyes out when you’re tired. That would not be a good thing either.

So this week you had your first immunisation. This involved an oral portion and two injections, one in each leg. I think the nurses were more concerned at how I would handle you being immunised than they were about you though so they offered to do one leg each at the same time. That way, I only had to see you cry once. And you did cry. In fact, you screamed. I imagine the needles were a very rude shock which you certainly let me know about for the next ten minutes. Loudly. You were quite vocal about it. Actually, you were quite vocal this week in general. Although for the rest of the week, I think you were talking to us.

Week 7 (4 of 4)

You are starting to use your voice a lot more. Just to hear yourself I think. I know you’re a ways off speech yet but when you’re both calm and alert and experimenting with sounds, I swear it sounds like you say hello occasionally. Just like I would say “hel-lo” with a mouth full of food. It’s very cute. So every time you do it, we say hello back to you to see if you’ll do it again. If we keep going like this, it’ll be your first word. Not “mum” or ” dad”, but “hello”. Either that or “Reuben!” because you hear us yell that at the dog a lot too.

Also this week, I have been discovering the benefits of close captioning on the tv. Ostensibly, this is there as an aid for the hard or hearing (or those who can’t hear at all) but it is also really useful if I want to have the sound turned right down when I am trying to get your to sleep. Or when I’m trying to watch something and you are in the middle of a meltdown. Never let it be said that I let my daughter get in the way of quality tv watching. Seriously though, you are more important than the tv of course but I’d have a hell of a crick in the neck if I gazed at you in my arms all the time so it does give me something else to occupy myself.

Week 7 (1 of 4)

But sometimes we do just like to look at you when you sleep. Because you do it with such abandon at times. SIDS guidelines say that you should always sleep on your back but I honestly don’t think we could keep you there. You like to bring your knees up slightly and throw your head right back at an odd angle so more often than not, you end up on your side. You have also been less inclined to fall asleep on your father’s chest recently but seem quite content nestled up under his armpit in our bed. You were happy cuddling up to me on my chest after your immunisation though. That was a nice side effect. The diahhorea, not so much. There were a couple of poosplosion/leakage issues which equalled a lot more washing this week. We got you a new swaddle though so now we have three to rotate which makes life easier.

I think I will need to buy you more of the new saddles though cause you seem to really like it. They make it easier to get you to sleep and the new one is easier for you to feed in at night. And it’s no hardship to buy you things. Especially when we have money. Your dad and I went shopping the other day and he kept on picking up clothes and toys for you! I managed to hold him off most things. Anything we buy now is kind of more for us than for you because you’re not old enough to want things other than the boob at the moment. We did buy you some clothes though. And a blanket.

Week 7 (3 of 4)

So my little fluffy duck with the soft fuzzy hair, we have lasted another week together. And this was supposed to be a better week. Everyone tells me about the magic three month mark which is arrived at after going somewhat downhill for six weeks and then uphill for another six. Since we’re now in the second half of your fourth trimester as it were, I’m hoping for good times ahead.

Alles Liebe,

Lexelah

Week 6

Week 6 (3 of 3)Dear Genevieve,

This week, you cried. A lot. At least for the first 5 days. You didn’t cry the whole day of course. You did spare us that however during your rubbish hours, you were particularly difficult! The other 2 days of the week you also cried but not as much. And you probably slept a little more on those days too. Or at least that’s what it felt like. Maybe it’s that something started working…

We have been concerned that you seem to have a lot of wind. For you obviously, because you sound like you’re in a lot of pain but we have also been concerned for us too. That we’re not doing enough for you or not doing right by you. In typical new parent fashion however, we have been applying multiple remedies in the hope that something works. Which of course means that when the situation seems to take a turn for the better, we have no idea what worked.

Week 6 (1 of 3)
Miss Julie, an old family friend said stroking up your back whilst you’re over my shoulder can push the air out. Your grandmothers both said that pumping your legs as though you were riding a bike can help move the air pockets. We also got some medicine that is supposed to help you expel excess air. In consideration for the fact that you can feed for 5-10 minutes at night and go straight back down without a fuss however, I also backed off the dairy in case there is a protein that is more prevalent in the day that you are finding it hard to digest. Maybe my diet affects the day’s milk but the night’s milk is different? And after speaking to a colleague who saw a professional say that there was no such thing as Colic, it is merely the overstimulation of infants, I have tried to feed you in quiet, peaceful rooms (ie. not where the tv is blaring).

As far as I can tell, something seems to be making it better. Or it could be a combination. But then again, maybe it’s just a case of good days and bad days…or the fact that you’re getting older and both growing and changing at a rapid pace. Who knows? Sometimes you cry and nothing seems to console you and sometimes you are quite content to feed, sleep and give us small pockets of an alert and curious baby girl. Sometimes in close succession!

This was the first week that you and I were on our own throughout the day as Sparky went back to work. Since we were left to our own devices, I decided to take an excursion to the city for a lunch date. We took the bus to the station and the train into the city. You were quite content the whole way. And when my colleague and I had lunch outside, I put you down on a cushion in Martin Place and you seemed perfectly happy. When I took you back to my office however, you had a go at screaming the place down. Something you did on the train trip home as well. So I fed you. Again.

Week 6 (2 of 3)
The other days of the week, we stayed at home and indoors. I would have loved to have been able to go out on walks with you but in the middle of a heat wave with 45 degree + days, at home in front of an air conditioner was the only place I wanted to be. So I guess now that its just you and I through the weeks, we will get into a sort of routine together. I have so say things feel sort of new at the moment. When we first brought you home, I felt like somehow you’d been there for a while but now that 6 weeks has passed, it seems as though it was just yesterday when we brought you home! Apparently not though because you’re over 1 month old. Time certainly does fly.

Alles Liebe,

Lexelah

The Good Scissors

Sculpture (1 of 1)

Dear Husband,

I have heard you say that its excessive to have an appliance for absolutely everything. There are a lot of cute gimmicks out there for sure and not all of them are really useful or practical when you think about it. I am beginning to see the need for kitchen shears however.

You and I have a bit of an ongoing battle regarding scissors. I like to always have a pair handy whenever I need them. You like to take them from their designated spot and frequently leave them somewhere else. Occasionally in other parts of the house. This is why there are supposed to be two pairs of scissors in that drawer – so odds are that at least one of them will be there if I need to use a pair. There is a reasonably cheap and crappy pair (which do still cut just fine) and a much nicer pair which I would prefer to use.

Now the phenomenon of “the good scissors” is not just me being pedantic. There are many people who like to covet and protect “the good scissors”. And here is where I think its sad that not more people of our age group remember The Late Show because Tony Martin did a great skit about this…Anyway, to cut a long story short, pardon the pun, we were both in the kitchen one day when I noticed you cutting up chicken necks for the puppy with a pair of scissors (and it was the good ones to boot!) and I gave you a foul look.

You immediately got defensive and said that you needed to put chicken necks on top of his normal food or else he might not eat it. You also needed to cut them up so they could be sprinkled across (if one can actually sprinkle chunks of chicken necks) and so we could make sure he wouldn’t choke on them as he might if they were left whole. You were somewhat belligerent at the time but you just didn’t get it. I then pointed out to you that I couldn’t give a rats about the chicken necks, or the fact that you were making them into bite sized pieces – I was just pissed that you were cutting up bone with the general use scissors! We already have a meat cleaver for that and if you insist on snipping them up then we could use some kitchen shears but don’t use my good scissors.

Frustratedly yours,

Your Loving Wife

* Photo taken at 2010’s Sculpture By The Sea

Week 5

Week 5 (1 of 5)Dear Genevieve,

Whilst we still don’t really have anything resembling a routine or even a habit, I now notice some changes and developments because I have something with which to compare them. For instance, you now sem to feed for longer than you did previously. You can still feed for just 5 minutes and then you will be done for at least 3 hours but sometimes you seem happy to feed for longer. I’m not sure whether that means you’re hungrier or that the flow is not all there for you but there are times when you don’t just guzzle it down.

Week 5 (5 of 5)

And after you feed, you are starting to stay awake a little longer. The “good” awake though where you are alert and looking around and trying to get a grip on the world. Not the screaming awake because you’re uncomfortable or over tired or some other reason that I have yet to understand. People say that a mother knows her own baby’s cry and what all the different cries mean. As I’ve told you before though, I’m not supermum.Most of the time, I still have no idea. I’ve not had the opportunity to test whether I’d know your cry over others’ but I am continually baffled as to what is wrong when you’re upset. I think I have the pain cry down though. The elevated pitch which means you’re extremely distressed and hurting. As for all the others, well Sparky and I just keep trying possible solutions till something works.

Of course, when something works once, there is no guarantee that it will work again. You used to scream in the car. All the time. And the first time we took you out in the stroller, you screamed then too. This week, we have had a couple of quiet car and stroller moments though and we’re not quite sure why. We’re more than happy to take them however. We have a feeling that you don’t like to be reclined in a bucket position (as opposed to flat on your back), at least when you have wind and this is why you get upset. Then again, you can be fine one moment and utterly distraught the next so maybe thats not it?

Week 5 (4 of 5)Other things I have noticed are that you make a lot of noises in your sleep. You grunt and wriggle around sometimes, probably because you’re trying to push something out one end or the other. As you grow and develop, you are getting a lot more strength and ability to do what you want. Your leg muscles are certainly strong. The ones inyour neck too. You don’t have real control there yet of course, but you can certainly pick up your head and bob it about when you want. I can’t wait though until you have more control over your face muscles and you can smile properly. It will improve the photos dramatically. I swear, the expression that I get the most of is the grumpy old man face! I catch fleeting expressions of awareness or tranquility at times but the rest of the photos taken whilst you are awake, you hardly seem impressed that there is a camera in your face. You’l have to get used to it though kid. Its kind of a prerequisite of being in his family!

Week 5 (3 of 5)For a new thing this week though (in addition to the fact that you were babysat for the first time – by one of your grandmothers – so Sparky and I could go out), we have discovered that you quite like the shower. Since you didn’t seem to like the bath at all, we thought we’d try to take you into the shower with us. Its a bit of a long process as you’re slipper as buggery when you are soaped up and either Sparky or I will also be sopping wet at the same time as needing to see to you getting dry and dressed but at least you seem a little happier with this arrangement. And when we can manage to do it whilst both Sparky and I are at home it means that one can get you ready and dressed etc. and the other can actually be the one in the shower with you.

So there have been a few new things, a few different things and others that have stayed the same this week. You are still startled by sharp sounds such as cutlery dropping in the sink or the coffee machine clicking. The tv blaring, the dog barking up a storm and people talking don’t phase you at all but those other sounds make you jolt and blink. I much prefer it that way however. Especially as we can’t control when the dog barks. Truth be told, we can’t actually control the dog (I think he believes we merely make suggestions) because we haven’t been totally consistent with him since we brought him home. Maybe he’ll listen to you though when you can talk?!?

Alles Liebe,

Lexelah