Monday, February 27, 2006

Who's a clever girl then?

Yes!! She did it! She slept through the night for the first time last night! What a clever little girl! After a rather bumpy start to the night (she didn't have her usual early night nap, and then had the trauma of doing a poo..., so only fell asleep around 11pm), she slept through till half 5 this morning. Let's hope this is not a once-off, but that she does this every night from now on. I could really use the undisturbed sleep. (It would also mean that, when we get back from SA, she can move into her own room.) Another milestone reached, thank God!

Friday, February 24, 2006

A whole lot of firsts

I was beginning to wonder whether Janel would ever start to do normal baby things - it's been several weeks since her birth, and she still hadn't started really interacting with her world. I know, I know - she's prem and I shouldn't expect too much from her - but it's been really hard watching all the other new mums & their babies I'm in contact with interacting and playing, and not being able to do that with J...

Anyway, it's finally started to happen! She and I had our first giggle together a few days ago - I was so thrilled when it happened! She's also just starting to smile when I approach her - nothing major in the smiles range, but it's starting. Then, just yesterday (while waving her arms around madly as she does - not much conscious control over that yet...) she batted her bug's wings. They have a crackly inner fabric. She must have realised that it was her arm that made the wing crackle, because she then did it again, seemingly intentionally, several times in a row. I was gobsmacked!

Another first was her first injury. On Wednesday I noticed that she'd scratched herself pretty badly (the cut on her face was bleeding). (Because I tend to chew her nails while she's breastfeeding, and because she won't stand to have them on for long, I don't keep her scratch mitts on.) Anyway, I decided to cut her nails with a clipper as they were getting long again. Last time I cut her nails with a clipper, there were no incidents - all went according to plan. Not so this time!

We managed all 10 fingers, and had only 1 little corner on her thumb still to go, when she decided to let out an almighty fart and wriggle. I wasn't fast enough in anticipating it and cut her finger instead of her nail! Poor mite! I felt mortified as she howled and bled all over herself and me. Fortunately, it wasn't too deep, and nothing a little TCP, plaster and cuddle with Mom couldn't fix - although the ordinary sized plaster was MASSIVE on her little finger (covered the entire thumb and wrapped around it 3 or 4 times!). I guess I'll go back to chewing her nails for a while...

The bedtime routine is starting to take shape, although I'm still trying to figure out how much sleep in the afternoon is too much. It's morphed into a bath, feed and then sleep. Of course, she's still sleeping on her front, so sleep time is nerve-wracking and although the baby monitor works fine, every little while I go to check she's still breathing and alive, and hasn't succumbed to SIDS. When possible, I do try to turn her over, but she doesn't always sleep very deeply so sometimes that just wakes her up...

Here's our little cutie.... enjoying a bath.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


This morning our NCT ante-natal class had a reunion, and our instructor came along as well. Sadly, one couple was missing, but we've heard that they are doing fine. It was amazing to see everyone with their little babies - some as new as 2 weeks old! Last time we were all together we only had bumps, and now we all have these amazing little human beings, each so unique. It truly is a miracle!It was also really good for the men to get together and chat. I've been blessed by being able to meet during the day with various women and share problems and concerns, but the men haven't had that. Being able to hear, in person, each other's birth stories was so affirming, and all the more so for the men - being able to share their thoughts, hopes and fears with like-minded individuals is so important. It seems we all had a really horrid time in labour, most being induced or having to have emergency C-sections. Good thing we didn't know beforehand how awful our labours would be!

I'm going to miss this group when we eventually head home. One hears these stories about NCT ante-natal groups who are still in weekly contact years after their kids were born and whose children are all best friends with each other, etc, etc. I'm probably not going to have that.... Sigh! But I'm sure God will provide other friends and support when we get to that.

Bye bye

Tonight my mom flew home, and we're all feeling a bit miserable as a result. It has been such a blessing and privilege to have her, and earlier, my dad, to stay with us. Living in community with family is so special. Fortunately, it's only 3 weeks till we fly home, so this wasn't a goodbye, just a 'see you later'. (Coming back after our trip will be incredibly difficult though, no doubt!)

In the past few weeks Janel has grown so much! Last Monday she weighed 4.12kg (9lb 1.5oz), which is almost exactly double her birth weight! Already she feels like a proper little girl, in comparison to the tiny fragile mite she was (but that isn't saying much as she's STILL tiny!).

We think she's smiled properly once or twice, but mostly she has colic smiles. She spends a large portion of her awake periods crying, so I'm not expecting real smiles to be a feature of her life for a while yet, sadly. She's started interacting with her environment more though - she is fascinated by the geometric black and white pictures we've printed out for her and stuck up wherever I feed her. A few weeks back she learnt to make a fist and now spends her time (while feeding) occupying her mind by repeatedly grabbing at my clothes and hair. Today it seems she also discovered she has fingers, and sat staring at them moving, and touching them with the other hand, in wonder for about 15 minutes. She's learnt that I love to kiss her head, so regularly presents it for kissing, and she loves nuzzling in your neck when she's feeling miserable.

She still hates being away from people for any length of time, so is still sleeping with us a lot of the time, especially during the day (which means getting household stuff done is nigh on impossible without a second pair of hands to work or a second body for her to sleep on; I think I'll have to get into the habit of wearing the sling now that Mom is gone....). At night, once she's more or less asleep, she will tolerate being put into her cot after the midnight and 3am feeds (assuming that she doesn't have a colic fit), but by the 6am feed she wants to be with people again.

I've started trying to get her into some sort of routine, with a feed followed by a bath followed by sleep, but we haven't been able to get that to happen at the same time every night: our lives just aren't that predictable. (I guess they will have to become so shortly unless we want an insecure child on our hands.)

She's finally outgrown her first batch of clothes, which I'll keep in preparation for the next one (?!?!). Fortunately, we've got enough clothes to last her another 3 months (assuming she grows at the same rate and not faster), but after that we'll have to start buying clothes for her again. I've already bought her 2 dresses in preparation for going home, and a swim nappy (given that it's late summer there) to prevent accidents (although I suspect the pool water will be too cold for her - maybe we should invest in a little wetsuit for her?). The summer range of baby clothes is just hitting the stores in the UK now, so hopefully I'll be able to buy a few more items (like a sun hat!!) before we leave. (She hates wearing hats though, so who knows whether it will be used at all.)

It's hard to believe I'm half-way through my maternity leave, and in that just 3 short months I'm probably going to have to leave her with someone else during the day. I'm not sure I want to do that, so the decision about when to return to work is proving a difficult one to make. (I have a contractual obligation to return to work for 13 weeks full time, or pro rata part time.) Longer term I think I'd like to return part-time, but right now I feel that my little one needs me more and she has to be my priority.... aaaahhhh!! Decisions, decisions! Hopefully God will make it clear to us what we should do, and when. Till then, I'm looking forward to going home, seeing the rest of our large clan, and seeing some sun!

Monday, February 06, 2006


What an experience last night was! Especially for Janel...

We decided to have her baptised and because there was an adult being baptised by full immersion on the same evening, we decided to have her dunked as well. Fortunately, we were able to warm the water in the pool to some extent, although it took the verger several trips with water from the coffee urns to get it above freezing! She was asleep just before the dunking, so it was almost all over before she knew what had hit her. There was no screaming at all, much to everyone's surprise and delight.

Only one of her godparents could be there - the others were all the way back home in Pretoria, but were with us in spirit. Family was represented by Cathy and Ross (Graeme's sister and her fiance) and Ouma, but the event was videotaped by a friend so that family back home will at least be able to see things after the fact. Mommy and Daddy were so proud of their little angel who was such a good girl.