Thursday, 25 August 2011


What's with all the weather at the moment?
In the last few years, our summers have been notable by not so much their absence but their general lack of dryness. This year I thought we might get more of a summer and we've had a few patches, but it's been pretty wet. Today is wet, we've had very wet days this week and when it does dry out it gets humid because the ground is so wet.
Why oh why? Sometimes I have a free afternoon and I'd like to take Joseph for a short walk and it tips it down. The poor boy hasn't been outside anything like as much as I would have liked him to be by now. We've had a couple of trips out in is baby back-pack, but that's about it. The poor thing needs to get a little sun and there simply isn't any.
I'm not a tanning fanatic. I have very sensitive skin and I don't like the heat, I actually prefer the cooler weather. However even for me the general sogginess is getting to much. When I was not a mum the weather was an inconvenience but not really a problem, now it's a proper barrier to me getting out and about. For myself I'm not too fussed, but trying to get a rain cover on the buggy is always a bit of a faff and getting him in and out of the car in the rain is very hard, we inevitably end up getting wet. While I'm faffing around getting him in the car seat the buggy gets wet and ends up with a musty smell.
So, what's up with the weather?

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

My Son, the Test Subject

Yesterday we got all packed up and ready and headed off to the university for my son to be experimented on!
No, he wasn't being filled with drugs or anything like that, it was a psychological experiment to see how the minds of eight month old babies work. No, it wasn't the Stanford Prison experiment but with tots!
Apparently babies of his age make a common mistake. They get used to where a certain object is hidden and then even when they've seen it be put somewhere else they try to find it where they're used to finding it. The researcher wanted to know if this still applied if you used a toy that the baby was familiar with rather than just toys provided by the researcher.
Joseph didn't want to to start with and just tried to chew the covers that were being used to hide the toys. He did that a lot. We even tried sat on the floor so he could crawl around as he was getting a little fussy, but all he wanted to do was try and crawl under the swivel chair in the corner of the room.
Eventually he did decide to play along and I hope they got the data needed and that Joseph hasn't managed to screw up someones phd too badly. The researcher did get a cuddle off him at the end, which was quite surprising as he's been a bit fussy with that for a while. He's been ok when people he doesn't know are around (as long as Mummy or Daddy are close) but can't be handed to them or he screams. Perhaps it was because we spend an hour in a small room and he felt a bit more familiarised. Also, she did keep handing him toys which must have helped!
It was an interesting experience and I'll be happy to do others if they come up. I quite like the possibility that my son will contribute to psychological science, even if that is simply by dribbling on it a bit!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Mum's gone all Judgemental

Does anyone else  do this?
I can't help it, but whenever I'm out and about with the munchkin I start doing baby comparisons. I don't mean to, but it still happens.
Sometimes it's just me trying to work out how old the other children are, something I'm a bit rubbish at. I see a child sitting confidently in a high-chair, oh then they must be a bit older than Joseph.  Hum, but they look smaller and are just wearing a baby-gro and not a "day" outfit as I would call it. Now there's a little one screaming, aren't I lucky that Joseph's so well behaved in public, shhh Joseph you're showing me up!
That's usually how it goes. Joseph has no concept of anything like this yet, though I'm sure he will in the future. I still find myself looking at other Mums buggies to see who's got what and if anyone else has the same as me and I've seen a couple. It's hard not to try and exchange a knowing nod with the women who have the same buggy, they'd probably think me odd if I tried! It's hard not to be judgemental when it comes to buggies, every time I see an ICandy I think "More money than sense!" which might not be the case at all, someone might have bought it for them. Still, they're jolly expensive pieces of kit!
It's hard not to tut when you see someone in a restaurant feeding their little one chips. Still, without knowing what they eat at home it would be silly to judge, this might be a once-a-month treat and doesn't mean that they eat nothing but deep fried garbage. After all, I did once spend a happy afternoon with my niece in a garden centre, we looked at plants, coo-ed at bunnies, marveled at some very big fish and ate a LOT of chocolate cake.
It does make me wonder what other mums think of me when I'm out and about. Do they tut if I let Joseph use his dummy? Well, it's that or you can all hear him yell. Do they tut when I feed him his bottle while he is sat in his buggy? Well, I would have got him out but there wasn't a lot of room and he's a bit of a magpie, my cutlery and who knows what else would have been grabbed at and probably thrown on the floor. At home I always cuddle him while giving him his bottle, it's just not always practical when out and about. Anyway, he's nearly nine months now and he's old enough to start feeling what it's like to feed himself. He can just about hold the bottle now, but can't hold it at the right angle to actually drink from it yet!
And then you get into the whole "competitive mum" thing, my child did this young, my child did that, my child has NEVER done that in public, my child knows this.... blah blah blah!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


It's like a little light bulb suddenly went on in his head, just as soon as he was crawling he was pulling himself up on things - or at least trying to do so. Mostly he ends up propped up on something on his knees, unsure what to do next. Sometimes he will be trying to grab at stuff, sometimes he will simply stay there and try and bounce up and down for a minute whilst attempting to eat whatever it is he's pulled himself up on.
This morning he was trying to pull himself up on the sofa when a small cuddly toy caught his eye. He grasped it firmly in one hand, happily shaking it and smiling. With his other hand he also grabbed the toy in order to give it a a cuddle and yes, you've guessed. He realised too late that he didn't have a third hand with which to hold onto the sofa and quickly went splat onto the floor.
This was not an isolated incident. His poor little noggin has suffered a few bumps in recent days, I catch him most of the time, but not always. Sometimes it's that he's tired and just gives up, but you can usually spot this coming as he cries for a bit first. Sometimes he simply over-reaches himself. When propped up on one object he reaches for a further, taller one and the results are less than spectacular. Thankfully at least his rear end is quite well padded.
On two occasions he's managed to get up from his knees and actually stand on his feet. Alas this is not much of a success story as on neither occasion was he particularly well balanced and the first time he looked like he was attempting to do sideways splits. Both quickly resulted in a little tumble, but I was close enough to catch. He's pulling himself up in his cot now as well and is just tall enough to bash his head on the side if he falls over, so we have to be very vigilant!
Poor Joseph, it's tricky stuff is gravity.
A little tip - a large heap of laundry dumped on the floor after having quickly rescued it in from the rain is not only a very interesting plaything for an eight month old, but is also quite good for keeping him in one place. You can't crawl through a heap of bedsheets that quickly!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Happy Clappy

For a while now he's been happy to let me clap his hands together, in fact he really enjoys it! It took him a little while to get the idea of holding his hands out flat, but as soon as he did he loved the sensation of me clapping his hands. It's been a guaranteed method of cheering him up for quite some time!
This morning he finally had a go for himself. At first I thought he'd got something stuck to his hand, his hands were swiping past each other in a very odd sort of way!
And then he got it, he was putting his hands together and clapping! Well, he wasn't making much of a clapping sound, but the effort was definitely in the right direction. We have played several games of pat-a-cake today and the grin on his face has been quite something!
In other news I have finally managed to get his scrap book almost up to date, I am intending to fill it with pictures and mementos from his first year of life and it's going pretty well. I have used a lot of the cards we were given when he was born to decorate it, which means there's a lot of blue but I think it looks pretty good if I say so myself! I think I'll present it to him on his wedding day :-)
We're also taking part in another scientific experiment. A very nice lady rang up yesterday asking me if I was interested in taking part in a study at the local university. Apparently I filled in a thing saying I was happy to do so, but I can't remember doing it!
It's all to do with memory and finding hidden items, but I'll get more information through the post soon. As far as I could tell, it will mostly involve going to the university and playing with toys for an hour, something that both Joseph and I will quite enjoy! I will write more when I know more.
Time to go, I fancy an espresso from our new machine. Mmmm caffeine!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Moving On

Joseph is officially a crawling baby!
Well, he's been showing signs of wanting to for ages. We've seen him get up on hands and knees and rock back and forth and over the last few days he's managed two or three hesitant "steps" before giving up and belly-flopping forwards.
Today, he saw something at the other end of the living room and crawled over to it. The "it" in question was my washing bin and he wanted to pull it over and have a look inside. This is not something I'm too happy about so I soon got it out of reach, but he'd got the idea at this point and it's been a day full of crawling. When he's bored he crawls to the shoes and tries to eat them, so I've been getting more toys out in the hopes he'll be distracted. He crawled into the kitchen to follow me, which was sweet and he crawled up to The Cat and they indulged in a staring contest, which he won!
Well, serves the kitty right after the present she left us on our sofa this morning. Yeuch!
Right now he's crawled to the nappy bag and has got hold of the pack of wipes to play with, something I am reliably informed happens with a lot of babies, it's the crinkly plastic.
I've spent part of the day putting a few things well out of reach, like my new stepper exerciser, I don't want little fingers getting into it! The old one broke, mid use this week with rather a depressing crunch sort of noise. It's been doing me a lot of good, so I decided to replace it, with a slightly better one that makes me do a sort of twisting motion as I step away, so I get a better work out.
The post -pregnancy diet has shifted focus, I'm not so bothered about actual weight loss any more as I have a healthy BMI, but I am making more of an effort to be generally fitter. This includes plenty of steppacise, some use of small hand weights and other exercises. Joseph finds the sight of someone doing press-ups quite hilarious! One day when he's bigger I'll make him join in, he he!
We went for a nice walk yesterday, up to the Roman remains at Silchester. We put Joseph in his brand new baby carrier, he had a lot of fun! It was a bit damp at times but he stayed pretty dry, the only thing was that he did get quite cold hands! Now it's been broken in I'm sure we'll get a lot more use out of it, he loved patting Andy on the back of his head and trying to grab his ears!
The Tiramisu, by the way, went down very well, but I am at a loss as to what I can do with the left-over mascarpone! Answers on a post-card.....

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Ups and Downs

Well, it's been an eventful few days. Joseph is still almost crawling, but the almost is getting smaller, if you get what I mean. He can get up on hands and knees, rocks back and forth and sometimes manages to flap his hands forwards and pull his knees up to meet them. I have never seen this happen more than twice in one go and it generally only happens if we're somewhere with a hard floor, but it's good progress.
It has had some unintended consequences in that on one of his flop forward efforts he forgot to keep control of his arms and did a face-plant forwards into the floor. If only it had simply been floor! Alas, his toy train that plays loud irritating noises when you press the buttons was in the way and he managed to crack his head quite hard on the only corner on the thing.
He had a little red bump on his forehead and I felt guilty the whole day. He did have a teeny tiny bruise on his head, but nothing too big to worry about.
He's also making great progress with sitting up, in that he can pretty much do it now, but it pays to stick close by to support him when he forgets and topples over. He did that today, just as I had taken my eyes off him for a second to look at something and he toppled into the one gap between my hands and I just wasn't quick enough. He now has another little bruise on the other side of his head to match the first one and yes, I am feeling guilty again.
In other news I am taking a sort of break from the post baby diet. I am almost at my target weight but seem to have stuck, so I am having a couple of weeks of eating a more normal diet to see what happens. Yesterday I did pretty well, but today I have eaten two slices of toast, some sponge mix and a lot of digestive biscuits. I am making a pudding for tomorrow, you see and I can't help myself but snack on the ingredients as I go.
In the supermarket I was debating between Tiramisu and Cheesecake, but on finding they had no cocoa power I opted for the latter only to get home and find I had bought the wrong sort of soft cheese. So, I went out again to another supermarket (they of the stack it high sell it cheap brigade, hate them but they are close) to see if I could fare better.
Did get dark chocolate and Amaretto so am heading down the Tiramisu route, but couldn't find cocoa and after I got home I found some "Organic Dark Chocolate Powder" in the back of the cupboard that I had forgotten we had.
I am expecting an evening snacking on mascarpone, sponge fingers and Amaretto coffee, so my balanced diet plan is out of the window today. However, if I snack on a few of the raspberries I am planning on putting in I can persuade myself it's not all that bad.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Nappy Rash

Well, I guess it happens to all babies eventually. Joseph's had the odd little spot, but nothing compared to the horrors unleashed on us this weekend.
I'd cooked up some home made baby food, one with rice, a couple of pots of cottage pie (well, that was leftovers really) and a rather nice fishy flavoured meal. This is the one we think did the damage, especially as he had it two days in a row.
His nappies smelt a bit fishy, I have to admit. They also looked quite vile. All right, baby poop at the best of times is a nasty business but on these occasions the nastiness was off the scale. He must have done a particularly heinous one overnight as it was well stuck to the nappy, and to him, poor little lamb. The net result was a poor little bright red botty and a very very grumpy baby. He's had a couple of days now of being more bad tempered than usual, and as there seems to be a lull in the teething, I'm putting his bottom squarely to blame.
Today I have done a lot of nappy changes, probably more than I used to do when he was a week old and still producing meiconium by the tonne.  Sudocream has been liberally applied and I am hoping that it works its magic as quickly as it usually manages to.
In other news he can now sit unsupported for about 20 seconds before either seeing something he wants and over reaching or just getting bored. He's getting sturdier when you prop him on his feet and occasionally makes little stepping movements with his right foot. I've also had to keep my back door closed today, despite the warmth because he's made a roly-poly bee-line for the outside world more than once and I don't fancy him going roly-poly flop onto our back step and into the gravel that The Cat now uses as a litter tray. I once saw Andy using a hosepipe on the gravel and when I asked him why he was watering plants where there were no plants he replied "I'm flushing the toilet."
The Cat still ignores Joseph and he's still trying to grab her by the tail, but I'm letting him today as it helps distract him from his unhappy nethers.