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!