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...