Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you all!

Well, Christmas has come and gone, thank God! We learnt a number of lessons about how NOT to do the festive season in future, which will stand us in good stead, methinks. However, we did manage (in the midst of all the learning) to have a few hours of fun together with family, which was nice.

Graeme is still not better, and seems to be getting worse again. Part of me feels incredibly fed up with the whole illness situation (if I were him I'd be even more fed up... it's been over a month now that he's been unwell), but as he's been working instead of resting, I suppose it's to be expected. At least he's been taking naps and going to bed early, which is good.

Nellie's walking has come on in leaps and bounds! The problem now is that she wants to walk so much, but doesn't really have the strength of limb or balance to walk long distances, so keeps falling over. Needless to say, she is very frustrated too. She also seems to be teething again, so her hands are constantly in her mouth again. Fortunately, this also seems to be translating into a renewed interest in solid food, and she wants to try everything she sees us eat or drink - a bit of a mixed blessing really.

She is as cute as ever - particularly when she really tries to talk. She's started trying to copy everything we say, and I swear she understands more than we give her credit for. Anyway, here she is walking to Daddy, arms in the air for balance, and here we are celebrating Graeme's birthday with his family.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Will this never end?

Here's hoping that following Christmas our lives will settle back into some sort of normality!!

We were supposed to be going away for Christmas, to house-sit for a friend's mother. But we're still in London and no longer going. What happened? Well, this week is was my turn to be rushed to hospital.

I had a routine ante-natal appointment with my consultant (whom I actually got to see!!!! only an hour and 20 minutes late, but I got to see her!!!) at the end of which, she and the registrar who was with her both thought I looked a little 'blue'. Blueness, for those not in the know, means that you're not getting enough oxygen into your blood, and while pregnant that can have significant knock-on effects for the baby. A quick check of my hands, lips, tongue etc later, and I was being rushed off to St Thomas's for a full check-up. And when the consultant said full, she wasn't kidding!

I had 3 different doctors listen to my chest and give me a physical, an ECG, an ultrasound of my heart (ECO), bloods taken from an artery in my wrist (which thankfully the regsitrar used a local anaesthetic to take because Graeme said his was very sore!), and several lung function tests. Of course, all this was done while being hooked up to a monitor that measured my blood pressure, oxygen levels in my blood (which was between 95-100% the entire time, so really excellent, particularly given that I have a cold, am feeling quite breathless and tired) and number of breaths per minute. The only thing they didn't do was take a chest X-ray, as they ruled out TB from my history. As all of this took about 24 hours to do I was in hospital overnight. And they still don't know why I was blue because everything came back normal (or at least, normal for being 24 weeks pregnant - some slight abnormalities in my heart, but nothing that couldn't be explained by the pregnancy).

Those who know me though, will know that I often have blue lips and fingers. I will admit to getting a fright though when I looked in the mirror and saw a blue tongue. That's a first for me! So I still have blue lips, and blue fingers, but apparently the doctors are now satisfied that that's just a quirk of my genes and has no implication for my oxygen levels. Al the checks of the baby came back fine too - baby is growing well and seems happy, thank God!

The only positive thing I can see in this whole mess is that I got a complete break for just over 24 hours from looking after other people! It was lovely to be able to just lie in bed for a while without feeling that I ought to get up and [insert a typical mother job here - cook/ entertain/ clean/ tidy up/ bath/ fetch someone from somewhere/ run around like a headless chicken/ etc]. I could just lie and read or sleep and not feel guilty at all. That was lovely! It also made me realise just how much these past few weeks have taken out of me and how much I wish my parents were around to help...

On that note, one of the other major stresses in my life has been waiting to hear whether or not my dad's cancer had returned. About 2 weeks ago he found another lump, so was scheduled for surgery at the start of this past week. When the doctors went in, the lump was gone - no trace of it anywhere. Praise God!! Now if that isn't an answer to prayer, I really don't know what is! But needless to say, waiting for news has weighed heavily on us all, and having Graeme rushed off to A&E in the midst of all of that was not easy to bear either. I consider this miracle the best Christmas present I could get this year, so thank you Lord for your grace and favour shown to me and my family!

My only remaining question is - will this be the end, or will there be more trouble to come in the New Year? Either way, I hope to celebrate the good things we have now, while they last, and while we have the time and space to rest. We may not be where I'd like for Christmas, and we may not be as healthy as I'd like, but we're alive and have each other, and that's a lot more than many have.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

And then there were five....

Tooth #5 has made its way out into the world - at last.

Graeme was away for two days in Edinburgh with work last week, so I was on my own with her. This was then followed by Graeme working late several nights this week and being ill (having caught Janel's viral thing). Janel, meanwhile, was pushing out her tooth (with all the ensuing drama that brings). I was busy at work as my Year 9's wrote their mock SATS (which we then had to mark - lovely! 3 papers, 150 scripts for each set, and only 2 full time staff plus me....). Physically I'm getting worse and I suspect I'm developing PSD, which (if I'm right and it isn't halted) may mean I'll be in a wheel chair for the last few weeks of the pregnancy. I'm finding walking very painful, but I'm trying not to let that stop me walking as I need the exercise. To top it all off, Graeme's viral thing then sparked a chest infection resulting in him going to A&E and then being admitted to hospital for 2 days. (He's still recovering, but at home now and on strict bed rest.)

In the midst of all this we've been on tenterhooks waiting for my dad to have his op on Tuesday (he has another lump in the same place as last time....) to find out whether the cancer is back or not.

So all in all, the past 2 weeks have not been fun and we are all exhausted. Needless to say, all I want for Christmas is peace, quiet and as little fuss and hassle as possible, so that the 3 of us can have a lovely Christmas together as a new family.

However, we had a fun time this morning at swimming. What was supposed to be only a 1 week postponement because of the relining of the pool became a 6 week complete refurbishment. But we are finally back for our final 2 lessons (the last one is tomorrow). To say thank you for the inconvenience, the instructor took 2 underwater photos of us this morning. That, along with getting used to the new pool and swimming again after a 6 week break, was all rather intense for Janel. I doubt the photos will come out nicely, but we'll see. If they're any good I'll put them up on the blog.

We'll be away from Thursday, so the next blog will probably only be after New Year, unless something momentous happens before then!

Have a great Christmas! Remember that the real reason we celebrate is because God gave us the greatest gift - his Son - born as a baby (and what new meaning that takes on for me now!) in Bethlehem, and may that remembrance bring you great and everlasting joy. Shalom to you all!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Stupid Doctors!

So today was supposed to be my check-up with the consultant. I got there on time, only to be told - sorry, she's not in today. Would have been nice of them to ring and let me know, so that I didn't have to stress about getting there and finding parking (it was hailing today, so there was NO WAY I was walking to the clinic!) etc etc etc.

This clinic is driving me MAD!! Last time, I waited 2 hrs, only to see the registrar and not the doctor. This time, she's not there either, and no-one rings to tell me.

Anyway, I have another appointment booked now, for 2 weeks time. This will be the 3rd time I will try to see her - let's hope that I actually DO get to see her. Otherwise I'm going to kick up a bit of a fuss. They are potentially putting this baby's life and health at risk with all this lack of proper monitoring for risk of a prem birth!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

It's my party!

What a lovely afternoon we had, despite Nellie still feeling ill. Here are some of the key moments.

Here's the fairy princess, wearing a gorgeous dress that was a gift. She didn't want to put it on and we had a lot of tears when we insisted that she wear it! However, she looked absolutely gorgeous in it! You can't see her spots too well here, as they are mostly cleared up by now, but her nose is still very raw and red. You can see it better in this next one.

Here's the birthday cake. I feel like a 'proper' Mommy now that I've made my first real birthday number cake - it's like a rite of passage or something!

It was a special non-gluten recipe so that Madam could have as much as she liked without worrying about allergies, etc. As it happened though, she didn't want a single bite! (Obviously not feeling well!)

She's had a such a lovely lot of presents from people - push cars, toys, books, a dolly, clothes and a lovely African Noah's Ark painting. As woth most 1 yr olds, she wasn't interested in unwrapping the gifts - she was interested in the wrapping paper and boxes that everything came in!

Here she is yesterday, wearing another gift - a lovely outfit from a friend.

She's had a lot of fun this week playing with her gifts, so thank you to everyone who has helped make what would otherwise have been a disasterous week bearable.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Progress report

Well, after all that, it isn't chickenpox after all - just a viral infection that has a rash and blisters associated with it. How frustrating!

However, we've put the time at home to good use, learning to blow a whistle!! Yes, little Nellie can now blow a whistle (not loudly, but you can hear it). So cute!

She's also got a favourite book now - one about a bunch of birthday presents - which has flaps you lift up to reveal the present item. One of them shows a ball (bouncy ball). Whenever we get to that page now, she starts "bouncing", and even if you just say 'bouncy ball' she will start to bounce.

One of her presents was a little car that she sits on and pushes with her feet. We haven't got that far yet - she's too uncertain about it all - but as it has a handle at the back, she is very happy pushing that around the room. She's even learnt how to start to turn it round when she gets up against wall.

Right now I'm baking her a cake (my first attempt in YEARS) which I'm hoping to shape and ice as a big number 1. Not very original, I know, but fun never the less. Although her party was cancelled, a few people have still managed to arrange to come over for lunch or tea, so that will be nice (assuming she isn't asleep or crying!)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sick on her birthday!

This time one year ago, almost exactly, my waters broke. 17 hours from now, tiny Janel was born - all purple, with jaundice - at an incredible 34 weeks.

One year on, and to celebrate her birthday she has contracted chickenpox. Unfortunately, this means that her birthday party on Sat has had to be cancelled.... so not only was her birth itself eventful, but her birthday will be too (or not, given that we're in quarantine!).

Still, she has been, and is, the joy of our lives. Every day I thank God for her and tomorrow will be no different. As we look back and celebrate how our tiny baby fought the odds and survived - to walk all of 13 steps by herself today! - we will thank God even more for her. She is a pleasure to be around, a joy to behold, and a priceless treasure. And to think that God thinks we're the best people to be her parents.... unreal!

Happy 1st birthday my Sugar Lump Lovely! Happy 1st birthday Daddy's Chuckle Monster. May this year be the first of MANY more, and may God continue to protect you and guide you through this turbulent world.

My midwife appointment went well today - No 2 is a vicious kicker, just like Janel was! Some things change, others stay the same. Let's hope the manner of No 2's birth will be as different to Janel's as chalk and cheese.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Children's Zoo & walking

Yesterday we took Nellie to a local children's zoo, which was fabulous despite the wet weather. Her favourite animals were the lemurs (because they performed beautifully for her - leaping and playing games with each other), the Giant British Rabbits (which were anything but giant!) and the Bantam chickens (because both were smaller than she was)

and the sheep (because she thought their wool was just like the carpets in Mommy and Daddy's room).

She was slighly afraid of the goats, but at least not so terrifying that she didn't want to try to touch them. Of course, the ducks were a hit, but they always are, so that doesn't really count.

When we got home, she then proceeded to take 2 steps all on her own. Again, as soon as I got the camera out and tried to get her to do it again, she refused, so sorry - no video of that yet. THEN, this morning at church, she took 3 steps all on her own!! I'm guessing that if she continues at this rate, she'll be walking before Christmas!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


This morning she was in such a mood for dancing. By the time we got the camera out to record her little wiggles, she was nearly bored by the activity, so she doesn't do it for long, but at least you get the general idea.


Had a brainwave - we've uploaded the videos onto Youtube, which allows us to embed them in our blog, rather than you having to view them on Windows Media Player, or whatever, so here they are again...

Walker walking

One handed walking

Tongue games

Opening and closing the gate

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

So much new stuff!!

Where to begin? Janel has realised that she can pull the cushions off the lounge furniture - and then throw herself on them! What fun! Likewise, she has realised she can throw the pillows off the bed, or at least move them across the bed, and then throw herself on them.

She can now use her tongue to make "bdlup-bdlup" noises (goodness know how you spell that!) here's a quick video of it. (We now think we have a way to put the video off the camcorder on the web, but haven't had the time to try, so I've resorted to using our camera again...still, it's better than nothing!) As we no longer have video editing software to resize it - our trial version has expired so many times the website won't allow us to download it anymore I should mention that these video clips will only really work if you have broadband - sorry!!!

Big news - she took her first step on Sunday!!! YAY!!! Very wobbly, and fell down immediately afterwards, but never the less, a step! (Followed within seconds by another step, so it wasn't a fluke.) Sadly, not captured on video, but here are some clips of her attempting to walk. You're going to have to turn your head to see it... And here is one of her walking with the walker.

While we are doing the video thing, here is another video of her opening and closing the gate. I'm also going to try to get one of her shaking her head and wagging her arm, but that will have to wait for another day - she got frustrated enough with me trying to take all these videos today.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

All mine, all mine

Yet another new thing - she's figured out that she can hold more in her hands if she holds stuff against her chest. So now she tries to hold all her stuff in her arms against her chest with one hand, while trying to pick up more of her stuff. Very cute!

Likewise, she's learnt to shake her head 'no', although I don't think she understands what it means yet. She knows that when we say no we usually shake our heads. Her response is to shake her head and then try to do it anyway. The other response now, if we wag a finger at her, is to try to bite the finger and then do whatever it is she's not allowed to anyway.

Hmmm.... I'm detecting a distinct rebellious nature in her.... she's definitely her mother's child!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tough at the top, tougher at the bottom!

Whenever I complain about life, my dad always tells me how it's tough at the top, to which I reply that it's tougher at the bottom. Whoever said that being a baby/ child must be nice has a short-term memory. While it may be tough at the top, it definitely is tougher at the bottom.

My poor little baby - no sooner does she get over one lot of teeth coming through, than the next lot are on their way. She is having such a tough time with them - she's not eating properly, or sleeping properly - and feels miserable a lot of the time. I guess the worst part is that she can't tell me exactly what's wrong or where it hurts. Not being able to communicate must be one of the toughest things in life to have to suffer through - that isolation and frustration! No wonder kids go through the terrible two's!

On the plus side, Mommy's getting lots of cuddles!

Still, there are lots of good moments inbetween the bouts of crying etc. And almost every day now she seems to do something for the first time. On Sunday she nearly took her first step, but got her foot all twisted up on a toy, so fell down instead. On Tuesday she waved bye-bye properly (ie intentionally and at the correct moment in time) for the first time that I've ever seen. At some point in the last week (can't remember exactly when now) she started bopping to some music - wriggling her bum and nodding her head - very cute! She's also recently started to put things away (not just take them out!!) - into other containers, or repacking the cupboard (of course, all in the wrong place, but that's not the point now is it?!). She can now also open and close the safety gates (although only when they're not locked - she hasn't figured out how to open the handle yet, thank goodness!) without getting herself squashed in them or under them. And she's started eating Bovril toast (Marmite toast at the childminder's, Bovril toast at home - who knows, she may be the first child ever to like them both!)

Her talking is getting more and more intentional - she now knows how to ask questions and when she sees something she doesn't know the name of, will ask 'dat?', with the correct tone of voice too. Up till recently, it's just been mimicking really, but I think she's getting the concept that words have meanings and aren't just sounds. Her use of 'ta' is getting demanding and loud now, very confident! She's also learnt all about 'no'.

Yesterday when I was at my small group, she knew she was not allowed to take any of the biscuits off the table. When I say no, I usually wag my finger and shake my head at the same time, so that she has 2 visual clues as well. That meant that I could just shake my head and wag my finger at her, without having to speak, and she understood what I meant. Then, for the first time, she tried to wag her finger back at me - but as she doesn't have the co-orination yet it wound up being a wag of the whole arm. It was the cutest thing, and all the ladies in the group fell about laughing at her. A little later, when I wasn't really looking, she touched one of the biscuits with her finger, put her finger in her mouth, and then looked at me to see whether I'd noticed. Again, she looked so cute that we couldn't help but laugh at her. It's moments like these that I wish my parents could share in...

On Baby #2 front, I've definitely started feeling kicks. I've been feeling them on and off for a few weeks now, but it's always hard to know what is the baby and what is just me. It's been odd feeling them, as it's the first real sign that there is a baby and that all this other stuff isn't just the result of something in the water (as it were) making me ill. I have my second scan next week... looking forward to it!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Stuff and things

Definitely talking! Today at the childminder's, she apparently said 'that' and 'bye'!!

We had a fund day yesterday - we went to a chickenpox party! Scary, but true. One of Nellie's little friends has chickenpox and is still infectious, so we went round to play so she can catch it. I'd rather she gets it now than that she has my horrid experience. (I stopped counting spots when I hadn't moved down beyond my face and neck but had already hit 200! I have lots of scars all over because I had spots on top of spots - which then burst, leaving me with scars. Not pleasant.)

The rest of our swimming course has had to be cancelled because while carrying out routine maintenance they discovered that the pool is badly corroded under the lining. This means that the entire pool has to be ripped out and a new one put in. Assuming we get to book onto the next course we'll get our missing weeks tacked onto that course, otherwise I guess we'll get a refund. Still, I think we all really miss it (even though it was at the most inconvenient time!)

Last night Aunty Cath came to visit, with Cousin Trish, as they're both in London at the same time, and so Nellie got an early birthday present of a Hungarian hat. Very cute!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I've been putting off blogging this for weeks now, because it's one of those biggies that marks the shift from babyhood into childhood - for me at least. But today I was given another clear example and so I really don't think I can anymore...

Yes, Janel has started to talk! She's not completely consistent, nor do I think that she has fully grasped the concept of words having meaning yet, but I do think she's made the first few break-throughs. She says 'Dada', and most often when she's looking at or for Graeme (and sometimes just at any random man!). She has also just started saying 'Ta' when she passes something to you, or wants you to pass her something.

And today - blow me down! - she said 'Ki' while pointing at a cat, and then again later as the cat disappeared through the cat flap she looked around for it while saying 'Ki' again!!!!! I didn't think she'd seen enough cats (which I've told her are called 'kitty') to know what they were, but obviously I was wrong. She's definitely seen more dogs, but 'Doggy' hasn't been uttered yet.... clearly she's going to be a cat person! (That's my girl!) I'm a little disappointed that she hasn't started saying 'Mama' yet, but then Daddy is definitely her favourite person, so it's not all that surprising really.

I guess what this all means is that my little baby is growing up!! There'll be no stopping her once she really gets the concept of words having meaning (and once her toungue develops sufficiently to make all the relevant phonics) - she already understands so much of what we say, and seems to have a lot she wants to say back. On Monday we were playing with the ball and most of the time when I asked her to fetch it, she did. When I say 'Where's ...?' she usually looks around, so she's got the concept of 'Where', even if she doesn't know what object I'm asking her to look for.

She definitely also understands 'no' amd is already starting to push the boundaries with this one. We allow her to stand at the bookcase, but not to touch the books (she's already destroyed the jacket of one). So now she looks at us, while trying to stroke the spines, just to check whether we will say or do anything. Sigh! I get so tired of having to say 'no' 1000 times for the same object or action. Consistency, consistency. This parenting thing is exhausting! I can really understand now why so many parents opt for the TV as a babysitter! Actually getting down on hands and knees to play with your kids all the time, and parent them properly, takes a lot more energy and determination than feels comfortable.

I was just thinking that I wish she'd learn after just a few times of me saying something, and then was thinking about the kids I teach at school. At ages 11 plus, they STILL don't learn after a few times, so I can't really expect her to! If I feel like a stuck record at school, with kids who supposedly can think rationally (ha ha ha!!!), then a baby must surely have a lot more leeway in terms of learning experiences. Patience, Nicole, patience!

I'm finding the whole process of watching her grow up so exciting! Every development feels like such a major milestone and I'm so thrilled and privileged to be able to take part in it. The only regret I have is that I wasn't home to take part in this process with my nieces and nephews who are all older than Janel is. It makes me realise just how precious an experience it is and just what I've lost with them..... another reason to be heading home ASAP. (Jem - the flights aren't yet booked, but I promise you we'll be home next year!!!! Definitely before the end of winter, but hopefully well before then!)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Specially for Uncle Philly

Thought you might enjoy this one, Phil! Glad to hear that you're a regular visitor to the site... and sorry, no 'Uncle Philly' noises yet. We'll work on that!

Nice clean shirts

Yesterday Nellie didn't eat particularly well, and the night before she had a really disturbed night. So last night we doped her up on baby Nurofen to get her to sleep properly in the hopes that she was just feeling a bit unwell and maybe in a bit of pain from her teeth.

She slept through (more or less), which was great, and after her early morning bottle (around 5am) went straight back to sleep instead of playing for a while. That should have been a warning bell to us.... Anyway, when she then woke up again around 6.30am, she was very floppy and a bit unresponsive, as well as being slightly hot. We didn't think too much of it, till about 7am, when, without warning, she promptly threw up all over Graeme and herself.

While Graeme changed shirt, I cleaned her up. I then handed her back to him while I finished off something else, thinking that as she'd thrown up they'd both be fine. Not so. She promptly threw up again, on his second nice clean shirt! Poor chap!

She's fine now (more or less - she's has a slight temperature today and has been feeling very sorry for herself), and fortunately the unresponsiveness disappeared (or I would have taken her to A&E), but I decided to stay at home with her. I'm really glad I did, because I know that if I were feeling as miserable as she clearly has been, I'd want my mommy and the way she's clung on to me today and just wanted to cuddle continuously has just confirmed for me that I made the right decision.

Anyway, now to try to get her to sleep a bit more....

Friday, November 03, 2006

The missing photo!

Here it is. There were some changes that needed to be made to the blog (updating from one server to another) and now it seems to be working fine again! Thank goodness!

At the same time I discovered that there were a whole bunch of comments that had got lost in the ether, so if you've not seen yours and wondered what was going on - SORRY!! They've now been found and published.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Nellie really is the cutest little thing! Today she made me laugh.

She has discovered that she can crawl behind the lounge chairs and that this is where some of her toys are stored. (It saves us carrying them backwards and forwards to her room.) I don't want to encourage her to crawl back there, as there are plugs and wires and things. Anyway, this morning, as she started to crawl behind the furniture I decided to try to distract her by calling out "Where's Nellie?" I used the same tone of voice that I use when we play peekaboo. Surprisingly, she crawled back out and stood up to look over the arm of the chair. When I cried out, "There's Nellie!" she laughed, and ducked behind the arm again.

I called her again, and she reappeared, giggling delightedly as I cried out "There's Nellie!" again. This went on for several minutes. It's the first time that we've ever played this game and she's been the one to do the hiding and reappearing. She was SO cute and so obviously enjoyed being the active partner in the game that I couldn't help laughing! I only wish I could have captured it on video for posterity.

The other good news is that all is well with Baby #2. I've been having a lot of pain is this pregnancy, and because Janel was prem, there's a good chance this one will be too. As a result, I've been given a lot of extra maternity care. I now have a consultant and a specialist, in addition to my midwife and GP, that I need to see regularly for a different set of ultrasound scans and to have more blood tests done. These scans will measure my cervix and the bloods will check for infections, both of which are indicators of possible premature birth. Today's scan gave me the all clear for the moment, which hopefully means that this baby will go to term. Thank God for small mercies! Let's hope and pray everything remains healthy for the rest of the pregnancy.

Because my stomach and pelvic floor muscles haven't yet fully recovered, I'm already experiencing that 'dropping' feeling (like when the baby has engaged and sits low down) whenever I cough or laugh, and my bump is already MUCH bigger than it was at this stage with Janel. Compare this photo to the photo on the post from 28 Oct 2005. That photo is from week 26, and this one is from 18 weeks (taken on Wed night, but I'll be 18 weeks tomorrow), so a good 8 weeks difference.

Well - I tried to upload it... and after 2 days it still won't upload, so I'm going to post this and try to load the photo separately...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

What a week

We've just returned from visiting a friend, Belinda, who lives in Bosnia. (You can view her blog as it's bookmarked on the right of ours.) We had a fabulous time, with the most gorgeous weather!! As an added 'bonus', Janel's top teeth finally cut through. We did have a few disturbed nights, but nothing we're unaccustomed to. One of the constant comments we got was about te fact that Janel was often outdoors barefoot and often without a jersey. In temperatures in the high 20's C, it made sense to us (what glorius weather we had!!!), but apparently in Bosnia it's a big no-no to go barefoot. You see, you get ill that way, apparently. Ahh well, that's foreigners for you!

The other family in the block we were staying in had a baby about the same age as Janel, which was lovely as they had a swing for him. Here she is enjoying the swing. She loves swinging, so this was a special treat for her. We must get one of those when we go home next year!

Over the past month or so we've tried to capture some of her more epic moments on camera, rather than on film. (We're having major problems getting the film we've got converted to CD so we can put it on the web...)

Here are a selection of our favourites: First - eating my feet (I've just rediscovered them!)Second - my 'no thanks' face.And lastly, my newest occupation - unpacking anything and everything I can get into!Well, that's all folks - for now at any rate.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Caught in the act!!

Janel spent this weekend with her grandparents (Tata and Gogo) while N&G went to town to see "Spamalot" and spend the night in a friend's flat. While we were away, Janel had her first brush with the long arm of the law (almost) - Tata takes up the story:

"We had gone for a walk on the common, and had taken a side journey into Tesco's to indulge my whim for a choclatey Aero, as is my wont. I purchased the chocolate, and the checkout lady was cooing over Janel who was cooing back all innocently, with no indication of the scandal that was to come. We were heading for the door and the security check when I noticed that Janel had a bag of Maltesers in her lap and was attempting to break and/or enter them. With the security guard hovering suspiciously, we returned to the scene of the crime to find the Maltesers at an easy-grab buggy's height. I have spread the word at the church, asking Janel's godparents and other significant members of the congregation to pray for Janel and her home situation, as this is clearly learned rather than inate behaviour, and one shudders to think what evil deeds have already been perpetrated!!"

So there you go - an accomplished criminal mastermind already. ;-)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Baby 2 - in the flesh

Here he/ she is! All fingers and toes accounted for, heart beating beautifully. In this one you can just see the knee and the fingers of one hand apprearing through the darkness. The heart is just visible as a light shadow in the middle of the chest.In this one, you can just make out odd bits of one leg stretching up. (It's where the cross is.) You can also see the fingers of one hand. It was odd seeing this one - I wasn't nearly as excited. It was fast asleep though, till it got woken up by the prodding of the scanner. Then it started stretching and moving, and that was when I suddenly realised that this is real and it was all I could to keep from talking to it and wanting to touch it and hold its little fingers and toes!

The nausea continues unabated and with a vengence. The toilet bowl and bathroom sink are fast becoming my friends. I've been referred to a consultant because we still don't know why Janel was prem. Good thing too, as I've been having some rather unpleasant pains. Fortunately, the scans show no cysts, and that this is not an ectopic pregnancy (which I feared it might be, given the pain). Other than that, we are all doing well.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Photos and some video!

Here she is in her PJ's - looking oh so pleased with herself for whatever it is she's just done!
And here is some video (without sound as it's off our camera and not from the camcorder) of her crawling! (Here's the version for dialup people.) Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New stuff!

Yup, she's crawling properly now! How exciting! She loves being able to get around now, and can't be left for a second.

Like most babies, she has no fear and regularly launches herself into dangerous places - like out the back door which has a massive step. Next skill to learn then? Going down stairs backwards! This is the one disadvantage of living in a ground floor flat - no stairs to practice on.

We had a photo party over the weekend. We invited friends and their baby round, and got a professional photographer friend in to take photos of the littleys. It was great and we got some lovely shots of her! We'll put some of them up for you as soon as we get them back.

No news on the video, I'm afraid. I'm coming round to thinking that we should just put it onto DVD even if that means we can't edit it at home. The footage we have is already so out of date....

Her top teeth are also on the move, so sleep is once again a problem, and she more often than not has her fingers in her mouth to chew on (along with anything else she can get in there!). She doesn't seem to be gobbing as much, not that I'm complaining about that though.

On the eating front, she's moving onto proper solids now that she has teeth. The last few days I've been giving her chunks of fruit to chew on at supper time, and she's been getting through quite a bit of them. Most of it winds up down her front, but a significant amount is actually being chewed and swallowed (or probably just being swallowed, if truth be told - I don't think there's much chewing going on). Having said that, she still refuses to eat any puree that has lumps or is slightly coarser.... Hopefully that won't last long!

And she's drinking from a cup if it's held for her (and is relatively full)! We've started brushing her teeth at night, followed by drinking water to rinse her mouth, and she loves this new game! She's fascinated by the toothbrush!

Having learnt how to make kissing noises, she's beginning to realise that adults usually make that noise when they bring their faces close to her - and she's started doing the open mouth kiss thing as a result. I don't think she's quite understood the concept, but she's certainly making a connection between cause and effect. Now if only she could apply that to learning to sign!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Nearly a whole month on

I can't believe it's been nearly a month since the last blog! Time flies when you're not having fun.

So much has happened - where to start? Well, Janel's bottom 2 teeth are properly through now, so she's discovered that she can bite things. Fortunately, so far she's only used them to bite food. Long may that last. On the food front, she's discovered that if we're eating something she can usually eat it too. No longer can we eat in peace. No, madam now wants whatever we're eating. Some of it, admittedly, she doesn't like, but the fact that she's taking a real interest in food is a bonus. As yet though, even with something she doesn't like, she will keep trying it - just to check that its taste and texture are the same as the previous taste.

The other day I was eating fruit salad I'd made for myself, and Madam wanted some. I was rather nervous of giving it to her because the pieces were chunk size, which presented a choke hazard. However, I got my nails into a larger piece of pineapple and gave it to her to suck. No, no, madam decided to bite it, and promptly bit off a rather large chunk. I was all prepared to dig it out of her mouth if things looked like they were heading south. She sucked happily for a while and was clearly enjoying it, when she made a bit of a face and then turned away from me. I immediately investigated, only to discover that she'd swallowed the thing whole! Thank God she didn't choke!

On the movement front, she's also progressing well. She has decided that she does, after all, want to learn to crawl. She can now do two manoeuvres or so, before her legs slip out from under her. She can get herself into a sitting position from a crawling position, and vice versa, with ease. This is fine, as it means she still doesn't move anywhere with great speed.

The only problem it presents is that she can now get herself into a standing position in her cot. If she's decided that she doesn't really want to sleep, or that she wants company while she goes to sleep, or even just that she wants to see what's going on around her while she falls asleep, she will get herself into a crawl position, then into a sitting position, and then pull herself up on the cot bars - and look oh-so-pleased with herself when you come back into the room! Hmm... Mom and Dad are not impressed!

She's also realised that if we leave the room she can follow us now. This has, so far, been a great game for all concerned.

On the walking front she's also made good progress. She can pull herself up on anything that provides good resistance with amazing speed and dexterity. She is also walking relatively well if you hold her hands. Occasionally she still gets her legs crossed over and feet twisted up, but on the whole she's got the hang of this walking thing. She still goose-steps to some extent, but much less than she did a month or so ago.

Her speech is coming on, although slowly. She has just discovered how to suck her top lip, and how to make kissing sounds by sucking her lips! On her good days, she loves to copy you - either making coughing sounds or kissing sounds. She talks non-stop, but seems to forget words she knew a week or more ago. Her favourite this week is "Ph-woar"! Hmm.... definitely a Brit then!

She's also just learnt how to pick small things up with her thumb and forefinger, which I'm led to believe is a fairly significant development. On Thursday I took her to the park with her Gogo (Graeme's mother), and on the way back we were saying goodbye to the trees and waving, and for the first time ever she started to sort-of wave! We've been doing a lot of signing with her, in the hopes that this will alleviate the usual terrible two's thing of being unable to communicate despite knowing what you want to say. Thus far, she's shown no interest in signing, although she recognises the signs for milk and 'all done/ finished'. I'm hopeful that if she learns to wave, and realises what it means, learning to sign won't be far behind. She's already showing frustration at knowing what she wants/ doesn't want and being unable to communicate it to us, so the sooner she learns to sign, the better for all concerned.

The video story has, thus far, been a complete failure. It seems that we can't get the video converted onto CD (we don't have a DVD drive on our computer) so that we can edit it. Getting it onto DVD is no problem, but then getting that onto our computer in an editable form is proving more than difficult. We're still hopeful that we can find a company that will be able to do it for us. What that means though, is that we've been taking a lot of video footage (thinking it would be easy to put it up on the web), so haven't been taking photos.... and now have neither video nor photos to put up! VERY frustrating!

Janel has also had her first proper 'flu. We went away to Wales (Snowdonia area) for the last week of the summer holidays, thinking that we'd go for lots of walks. That was completely scuppered though by the fact that first Janel, and then both of us, got the flu. We think we got it from Graeme's mum, who had just arrived from South Africa and had been ill with flu a short while before leaving. Bummer! I think the biggest problem was that it completely ruined any sleep pattern she was developing again after the saga of teething. The poor thing could hardly breathe and because she's under a year, there was nothing she was allowed to take apart from a bit of paracetamol and ibuprofen (although even that was not recommended). We eventually resorted to good old Zambuk - a South African herbal product which is basically a preparation of essential oils in a green salve.

One of the reasons that I haven't blogged for so long is that I've been feeling really ill. Reason being, I'm pregnant again! Yup - number 2 is on the way! I know why we decided to do this, but there are some days where I really do question my sanity - 2 children under 2! This time round the nausea has been incredible - I can't even feed Janel at the moment because just the sight or smell of her puréed food is enough to make me hurl! (The exception being yoghurt and some fruit purées, which I can handle.)

All the things that worked for me last time, don't this time. Things that sent me running for the bathroom last time, I find myself craving this time - like coffee, oddly! (Of course, I know I can't drink it, so I'm making do with decaf when the urge gets too strong, but I am drinking quite a bit of coke, which I know is just as bad.... but when it's that or spend a lot more time over the toilet bowl, I think coke is preferable!)

Anyway, it looks like the blog will be growing... We're both thrilled, I just hope Janel takes to the invasion of her life well! If this one arrives on time (here's hoping!), they will be 17 months apart. Fortunately, there's no OFSTED planned for this academic year, so hopefully no excuse for this one to come early (although, if it has my impatience genes, like Janel seems to have inherited, it won't need an excuse to come early!).

So, I'm really sorry there are no photos, and I'm really sorry that it's been so long since the last blog - but there are good reasons for that, and I'm sure you can all forgive me for this little lull in writing! Hopefully not long till we rectify the photos issue - no comment on the video thing! That'll happen when it happens.

Monday, August 21, 2006


YES!! They've arrived! The leading edges on the bottom two teeth pushed their way through on Saturday morning. (Needless to say, we've had little sleep since then.) Now we're just waiting for them to push through fully. Thank God they've arrived!! Only another few days of this and hopefully a nice break before we start with the top ones (here's hoping, anyway!)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I wish I'd taken a photo of it - Nellie on the swings for the first time! We went for a walk this morning up to the ponds on the common to feed the geese (which she LOVES doing - I think it's the whole fascination with animals thing because she doesn't have any at home...), and on the way back I decided to stop in at the playground to see what was on offer that she might be able to make use of. The swings had a bar right around, with more bars between the legs and across teh back, so I thought I'd give it a go. How I wished I'd had the camera!! We had mile long smiles and chuckles galore. She LOVED it!

At long last it seems her teeth are coming through. I noticed this morning that you can actually see them, just below her gum - two little white patches. I don't know how long it will take before they break the skin, but it can't be much longer now! No wonder she's been gumming on absolutely everything!

Her walking is developing nicely. Today she walked about 6m, with me behind her. She takes these huge goose-stepping steps, but she's really getting the hang of it now. She's also getting the hang of turning herself around without falling over - as long as there's something to hold on to. Her balance while standing is improving rapidly and she can generally now prevent herself from overbalancing if she's standing playing with her toys at a chair or couch. She still hasn't mastered sitting down though! In fact, getting up is still a problem for her too - she can get about half way now but still needs that final push to help her stand properly.

Her speech is also coming along - at the moment her favourite sounds are a Darth Vader style beathing effect, 'da-da' and 'ti-ti'. She babbles constantly (if she isn't feeling shy) too, which is great!

I'm loving being at home and seeing her develop!! Even from week to week, and sometimes from day to day, I'm noticing new things, or development of things, she's doing. Long may that last!

Friday, August 11, 2006


While this one was taken on Wednesday, with her new 'kitty' Delilah (I ask you! Cuddly toys that come with names and birth dates! Whatever will they think of next?) - we lost her old 'Kitty' while camping, so Mommy had to replace her! - this is how she spent an awful lot of time last week. It seemed to be the only way we could get her to sleep without crying!

It was taken on a visit to Kew Gardens. When we first arrived we went to feed the geese and ducks, and she absolutely LOVED that! The railings at the edge of the pond were exactly the right size for her to grasp nicely and the right width apart for her to stand comfortably. I, however, was not so comfortable as one of the geese was having a go at biting other children's toes. I could feel myself getting into over-protective mother mode!

Here's another one from Kew - we sat and played under the trees overlooking a coot's nest on another pond and watched it feed it's young. The father was definitely in over-protective father mode as any other living thing within a certain distance was chased off with much noise and flapping of wings! Notice how much hair she's got now! That started growing all of a sudden. When she baths or swims now it stands up in a little mohawk - very cute!

As yet, I haven't had a chance to sort out the video stuff, but that will come before the end of the summer (I hope!!) so watch this space for that.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Isn't she cute?!?!

During our 1st swimming course one of the objectives is to get them to hold on to the side of the pool. Not only did Nellie NOT get this concept, but she was determined to only hold on to us. I took her swimming again on Tuesday (which she LOVED!!!!) and she did her horizontal submerge WITH A HOLD!! She actually managed to support her own body weight for 2 seconds (which is a massive improvement), and she seemed to really get the concept that she needs to hold herself up out of the water. She doesn't actually have the upper body strength to do it for long, but that will come in time.

The lack of upper body strength is also proving a problem in pulling herself up on other things. She just doesn't have the strength in her arms and needs a fair bit of pulling from us to get her vertical. She's improving, but it will be a while yet before she can pull herself up - not that she lets that stop her from trying! The poor mite is spending more and more time feeling frustrated because she can't get vertical.

Last night in the bath was just such a moment. As much as she LOVES the water, right now she loves being vertical more. She therefore tried to pull herself up on the side of the bath (at first choosing the side against the wall, which is impossible to hold onto!). This accomplished, she held on and supported her own body weight for several 10's of seconds without too much wobbling. The grins and chuckles of pure delight at this little achievment made me nearly cry, and made both Graeme and I laugh!

Anyway, I promised more photos.... so here are some we took while camping last week... playing in the tent at 5.30am, trying really hard not to wake our fellow campers...

and here she is wearing Dad's hat in the sun...

And now the silly webpage isn't allowing me to add any more photos... will continue on another day.

Monday, August 07, 2006


We've just got back from a week's camping.... I have to say that it was tougher than I was anticipating, but probably that was mostly because of the weather. We had rain and severe wind for the first few days and Nellie was very disturbed by the flapping canvas and noise.

However, we did have fun. The highlight of the week for us, as far as Nellie is concerned, is that she has really started talking now (baby talk, of course). It's such a joy to see her trying to communicate with us verbally! She copies almost any sound you make, and when she's playing by herself she's constantly talking to herself. Last night, when we gave her her last bottle of the night, finished off the entire bottle, smacked her lips, and then made a sound that implied she not only approved of the milk, but was entirely satisfied with it and was now ready to go to sleep. She sounded so grown up! We just laughed and laughed.

I've got some photos, but I'll put them up another time. We also took a lot of video footage, so when I have time to sort that out and put it up, I will.

Being the gorgeous child she is, she made plenty of friends (or should that be admirers?) in the group we were camping with, and we constantly had other children popping over to play with her and talk to her, which she loved (mostly!). One in particular, an ex-pupil of mine, Angus, was a massive hit! I have to say that there was one afternoon where I was ready to pack it all up and come home because I was exhausted and frustrated and so was Nellie, and then Angus stepped in like an angel of the Lord! To say he kept Nellie entertained is an understatement. He calmed us both down, made her laugh, got her to eat her food (she hadn't eaten for nearly a day), and generally ministered the love of God to us. During the rest of the week whenever he appeared, Nellie was full of smiles and laughs.

There's my clarion call. Will finish this later.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

On her head...

Well, it was bound to happen sometime.... She was sitting in her small plastic chair thing that doubles as a high chair on the table, and I went out of the room for a moment and with all her wriggling and straining, the restraining part of the chair came loose and she fell out - onto the floor - onto her head!!

She has a nice red mark there now, still visible 6 hours later. Fortunately, she doesn't seem to have a concussion or suffered any other damage - just this bruise, but I feel terrible!!!! Needless to say, she cried loudly for about 5 minutes, then put her head on my shoulder and sobbed quietly for a further 5 minutes.

Ever since, she's been clingy and cried when I've either put her into her gym or sat her on the floor on her own, or left her in her cot to sleep. The only time she hasn't cried while not being held was while we were out shopping (I think the heat and the bustle got to her) and then while she was asleep in the car seat on the way home. Even when she was paddling in the pool this afternoon (which she usually LOOOOOOOVES) she was tearful and unhappy. My poor baby!

I've now glued the restrainer on the chair with special plastics superglue, so hopefully that won't come off again. I know that sooner or later she was bound to fall off something... but still, I feel awful. I know it was my fault and I should never have left her on her own... Thank God she's okay. I don't know what I would have done if she'd broken something or got a serious head injury!!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

and here's the evidence

And here are some more photos - of her with Ellie-Mae and Bradley, the other 2 kids that go to the same childminder. Ellie-Mae adores Nellie, and calls me 'Baby's mum'. So cute!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

On her back, she did!

Victory for the parents!! YAY!! For the first time EVER in her life, she fell asleep on her back tonight!!!!!!!!!!

To truly appreciate the enormity of this seemingly small event, you have to understand that Nellie is still not sleeping through the night because she turns herself onto her back, loses her dummy, jerks in her sleep, startles herself and then proceeds to wake the entire household. She then won't go back to sleep unless she is on her tummy (which she won't turn herself onto) and has her dummy. She's started learning to put her dummy back in on her own if she's wide awake, so that will come in time, but the sleeping on her tummy thing is another matter altogether! So here we are, at nearly 8 months, and we're still getting up 2-4 times a night to turn her over and get her back to sleep.

AND TONIGHT SHE FELL ASLEEP ON HER BACK! Ok, it took longer than usual, but she did it - and best of all, she then TURNED HERSELF ONTO HER TUMMY!!! Hopefully this brings us one step closer to sleeping through the night undisturbed. I do have a photo of her asleep on her back to prove it, but I can't find the camera cable to download it onto the PC, so that will have to wait till another time.

She's definitely developed stranger anxiety, and for the first time last weekend held her arms out to me to take her from a "stranger"... aaaahhhh! I felt all fuzzy and warm, knowing that she really does know and want her Mommy, but obviously felt awful for the friend I'd passed her to!

Last weekend was full of other firsts too - her first (assisted) step!!! I wish we'd caught it on tape.... And while standing, she also turned herself right around. She's sitting unaided now for minutes at a time. She's eating like a horse - and does NOT like lentils, thank you very much, but LOOOOOOOOVES flavoured rice puddings (apple, banana, pear - etc). Her teeth are also nearly through. Both top and bottom have sharp little ridges, so it won't be long till they're out. (Please God may it happen soon, as that's another reason she's not sleeping well at the moment.)

It's all so exciting - my little baby is growing up!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Oh! Oh! Oh!

Oh! Oh! Oh! I forgot to mention - she's started sitting unaided!! Only for a few seconds at a time, but it's happening. Yay!! Here's a video clip, mostly showing her falling over, but at the start and end you can see that she can sit alone. I had her in the pool this afternoon and she was sitting all by herself for up to 10 seconds! Who's a clever girl then?

Balham Hill Festival

Here's a quick clip of us in the bouncy castle! (I haven't included a version for dial-up folks, only for broadband.) And a later addition - here's a GORGEOUS photo of her taken by a friend of ours. Isn't she so cute when she's laughing?


Break through!! We've figured out how to get her to eat - let her feed herself! That done, we then moved on to actually doing some eating... Presenting: The Orange Monster! So far, she's happily consumed butternut squash, creamy oats porridge and banana. Next feed we will try Mommy's homemade cherry mush...

Last night I got a bit of a fright. We were out. Janel was sitting on my lap at the table and I had a glass of wine. I had put it far enough away (I thought) that she couldn't reach it. However, when I looked away for just a moment, she reached out, grabbed my glass with both hands, pulled it to her and tried to take a sip! She managed to get the glass to her without spilling anything, but then spilled some as she tried to sip it. Fortunately, the friend sitting with us noticed, so she didn't manage to get any wine into her mouth! I was completely aghast though because till now she's shown no inclination towards drinking from a cup, letting along the strength to pick up a full glass, then suddenly - all in one go - she is. So today at lunch she was introduced to a sippy cup, this time with water in it, and she was very happy pulling it off the table and drinking from it!

Here's a lovely photo a friend took of us at our

community festival yesterday - isn't it lovely?!

And here's another one Ashley (our childminder) took last week. Isn't she a happy baby! I was just commenting to Graeme today that I wonder why God has seen fit to bless us with such a lovely, happy, sociable child - we are indeed so blessed to be her parents!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Fun and games

Nellie's settling in nicely with our childminder, Ashley. She's finally sleeping properly, and feeding properly, when she's at Ashely's, which is great. Here Ashley has taken her out to a one o'clock club (for the non-Brits, these are local groups that offer fun and games for children, so called because they meet over lunchtime till mid-afternoon) and she was introduced to a ball pit.

I've edited a few clips of her swimming lesson last week, which should give you an idea of what we do in 30 minutes. See an overview of a swimming lesson. The quality isn't great, but I've had to downsize it for those who only have dial-up. The version for those on broadband is here. It takes about a minute to buffer, but the quality is MUCH better!

The weaning onto solids is not going well - her digestive system is still a bit immature she still hasn't got the idea of how to eat solids at all.... I'm sure it will happen in time, but it is rather frustrating as she clearly is not getting enough calories from her milk (depsite being on the 'hungrier baby' formula). Other than that, she's still a happy baby and charms everyone she meets. I can't wait for work to be over so I can spend my days with her again!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

the story continues...

Thus far in the story: we were sapped of energy...

so going for a swim helped to cool us down...

 did going for a picnic in the park. And everyone lived happily ever after. The End.

There are more videos, but they still need to be properly edited. Watch this space!

Back to work

Well, I'm back at work and so, consequently, everyone is exhausted! These early mornings are really for the birds. I miss my mid-morning naps, I miss my daughter, I miss having time to do stuff, but not in that order.

The weather in London recently has been unbelievably humid and hot (in the 30's), so in addition to losing sleep because I'm not getting my nap, we've been finding it hard to sleep. Nellie's also been struggling to eat in the heat.

However, apart from that (and hayfever!!) we're all well. I'm too tired right now to do a proper update with all our details, suffice to say we've started weaning her onto solids (she's been 100% formula for about 6 weeks now). Although she has days where she loves it, mostly she doesn't like it at all - I think that trying to wean her while she's been settling in to the childminder (which is working out beautifully, praise God!) and with this heat has really unsettled her. We persevere...

So - more photos to keep the fans happy: When Nellie was born, Judy gave her this 0-3 month snowsuit. The week before the heat wave was the first time she wore it - at 6 months! - and you can see how large it still is for her.

We were convinced the cold was going to go on forever!

But then the sun came out, and we got out into the garden - the whole purpose of renting this particular flat!!

But the heat sapped us of all our energy... and now the blogger is playing up and refusing to let me load any more photos or videos... Sigh! I'll have to finish this later.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

... and now in video!

Yes, swimming is fun!

To start off the lesson we do a few laps around the pool with Nellie on her tummy. See me swimming!! Here's a better quality but harder to load version (even with broadband it will take a few seconds to load): See me swimming!! Sadly, our camera only records video, not audio, but it's better than nothing. We want to buy an HDD camcorder (same technology as an MP3 player) but they start at £500! Any donations towards this worthy cause gladly accepted!!

For those who only have dial-up modems and can't see the video, here are some photos of the same events. Firstly, here we are doing a lap around the pool. Then comes preparing for a vertical submerge. Before getting any water on their faces, or submerging them, the parent has to get eye contact and say, '[Name], ready, go!' Janel already seems to recognise the phrase as she was less afraid of getting her face wet this week. Last week we had a lot of tears and crying and I despaired of her ever learning to love the water.

Finally, here we are playing 'Humpty Dumpty'. Sadly, Graeme took some lovely videos of the submerge and the game, and while I was converting them so that I could put them on the blog, I managed to corrupt them and now they won't play! I'm so cross with myself as they were far cuter than the one above! At least we'll have another opportunity next week to record some more....

Speaking of those with dial-up v.s. those with broadband.... A few people have commented on the poor quality of the photos on the blog. We deliberately use poor quality photos to make it easy for those on dial-up to load the pages. If you'd like print quality copies of any the photos, please email us a list and we'll email you the originals.

We recently bought her an activity centre to play on, which she loves! Here's another video of her playing in it - again, even with broadband it will take a few seconds to load. See me play. Again - here's a photo of it:

Thursday, May 18, 2006

...and now in stereo!!

This is a test to see if we can get some of Janel's gurgles posted on this site - if if works, there'll be more to follow.

Click here to download the file

Watch out, Ma

And so it begins.... After putting her down on her tummy last night, when I went in this morning she was on her back. Nellie can now officially turn herself over! I don't know whether, if she's on her back, her can turn onto her tummy or not (as you use different muscles to do that), but no doubt that won't be far behind. No more leaving her on her own on the change table, or on the couch, or on the bed! And so we enter a new phase.

Another first happened yesterday. I've been signing to her for simple things - like milk (rapidly making and unmaking a fist to simulate milking a cow) and nappy (tapping your hips simulating the velcro tabs on the nappy) - and yesterday she tried to make the sign for milk! Of course, because she still can't voluntarily open her hand she couldn't, but she tried. Again, she was copying me, rather than trying to initiate communication, but that won't be far behind either.

Still no sign of these teeth - I think they've settled back down again. Consequently, she's slept through the last 3 nights in a row and been feeding like an angel - between 150-180ml (approx 6 oz.) per feed. Yay! Mommy's got some sleep (which has only made me more tired as my body has tried to catch up on my sleep deficit) and baby's' got a full tummy. What more could we ask for?

Oh! We've found a way to record her making noises - Graeme's going to put the link from this blog to it up so you can hear how cute she is! Watch this space for lots of laughing and cooing.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Ag nee man!

Things go from bad to worse. Graeme had to work the 1st weekend in May, so he did 12 hour days on the Sat and Sun, which meant that while he worked 12 days straight, I also failed to get a break in caring for Janel - which meant we were both exhausted at the start of the week.

As it happened, our little darling had the most difficult week last week - constantly crying, waking up 3-4 times at night again, unable to feed properly, throwing up most of her feeds, etc. - by the end of which I was in tears feeling completely unable to cope and so losing my temper with her, and consequently feeling like a bad mother! What a mess we got ourselves in.

Over this past weekend though, part of the reason became apparent when, after doing no poos for a week (which is normal for her) she proceeded to do 4 in 48 hours - 3 green ones too! Thank God she got them out though - not that it's made too much difference to this week. We had another really bad night and morning last night/ this morning - more frequent waking, more crying, more poor feeding, more throwing up.... All I can think now is that it must be her teeth giving her grief that's causing all the problems, so I think tomorrow I'm going to buy some Bonjela and see whether that helps.

However, on the positive side (must think positive and count blessings!) when she's happy she's become very chatty and interactive. She loves singing with us, and she's starting to enjoy games (tickling being the main one she enjoys). She's also started taking an interest in our food. She had her first smell of fresh herbs last weekend, and she wanted to eat the parsley after she saw me eating it. (I love having a garden I can plant things in - my corn/ maize/ mielies are sprouting beautifully, as are my cucumbers, butternuts, peppers and herbs. I can't wait for harvest!) She also had a small taste of yoghurt today, which she wasn't too sure about at all - so I think this weekend I'll buy a Braun blitzer thingy and start to introduce her to solids.

Another positive is that we've finally found a childminder for Janel for when I go back to work (in 2 weeks!!!! EEEEEEEEEKKK!). It'll just be for the 7 weeks while I'm at work, but it will be full time for those 7 weeks. I'm not looking forward to it AT all, but what can you do?! After the summer, I've found a nursery I want to put her in for 2/3 days a week - just to help her development in social interaction with other babies.

Anyway, Madam needs a bath - it's already past her bedtime (but with all the throwing up there's no way she's ready for sleep yet).


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Don't count your chickens...

After sleeping through for several nights consistently, we're back to waking up every night sometime between 1 and 4am for a feed. Don't count your chickens, eh? Still, I know that this next goal post is on the horizon, so I'm hanging in there.

The good news is that our visit to the consultant yesterday went very well. She's officially been discharged from the prem baby check-ups because she's doing so well! She weighed in at 5.6kg, which is less than I'd hoped, but still a good weight. For those who follow the curves, this is on the 25% curve, which is a drop for her because she was tracking the 50% curve. Still - she's happy and healthy and gaining weight. What more could I ask for?

She is definitely teething now, and has two little white bumps in the front of her lower gum. Fortunately, she's not in pain with it yet - but is chewing on everything and anything she can get into her mouth (which is fortunately not much!). Fingers are a definite favourite, as are clothes and muslins. Her motor control has developed to the extent that there is one particular ring toy she is now able to hold and guide into her mouth by herself to chew on. In the photo she's trying to chew on another of her ring toys, but when this was taken we needed to put it in her mouth for her, and then she would try to hold it in, with limited success.

Which brings us to feeding. Given that she's now getting teeth, I've decided to wean her off breast completely over the next month as I don't fancy being bitten. I don't think we'll start her on solids just yet, although maybe giving her a bit of starch before bed will help her break the sleep-through barrier... hmm... now there's a thought.

While she remains a happy and contented baby, she is much more aware of strangers and unfamiliar environments now, with separation anxiety fast developing. I still don't know what triggers it for her, as sometimes she's perfectly happy going to strangers, but other times won't even go to someone she knows.

I've been visiting nurseries all this week to find a place for her for when I go back to work in a month, and I've been fascinated watching her responses to them. She's suddenly noticed other babies - not children, but babies/ pre-toddlers specifically - and is fascinated by them. We were thinking of getting a nanny or childminder for her, but seeing how taken she was with other babies we decided that a nursery was probably better as she would enjoy the stimulation of other kids, even if she gets more colds as a result.

She's also "talking" now. She loves it when we copy whatever sounds she's making - she's really good at making both the English and Afrikaans 'g' sounds - laughing whenever we do. I wish I could record the sound of her giggles to put on the blog for you to listen to! They are just the cutest sounds ever. (If anyone knows of some free software that allows you to record sounds straight onto your PC, please let me know. We have a mic, we just need the software.)

In the clothes department we've been very fortunate. A friend gave us several bin liners' worth of clothes for her! It's taken me ages to sort through them (they've been used by several children so many have shrunk so you can't go by the age on the label), but we're getting there. It's great as that basically sorts her out with clothes for the rest of the year!

There's the clarion call - gott dash!