Saturday, 31 March 2012

And I Wouldn't Change Him For The World

When I have to go out of the living room and into my kitchen to do something it is now safer to keep the door shut and Joseph on the other side of it. He gets into everything now, he opens the bin, pulls things off shelves, tries to get in the dishwasher and run off with the dirty spoons and plays with the washing machine.
He turns the programme select dial round and round and round until at about eight months old the washing machine had had enough of this and decided that it wasn't going to select any more programmes. It was going to stay on the same one, no matter what I did with the dial.
Still, at less than a year old we got it fixed for free, but if Joseph keeps up his antics I suspect there's a limit on how often they'll replace the same component. The engineer said that the plastic shaft behind the dial had "exploded". Well done Joseph.
So now he stays on the other side of the door at all times. I have to have my ears pricked constantly to work out what he's doing and to be honest I'm less worried when he's making lots of noise, even if it's loud crashes and bangs. It's when it goes totally quiet that I worry.
He went quiet this week. I was tidying up after breakfast, playing the game of tetris with the dishwasher and all the bowls, plates and left over stuff from the night before.
He went so quiet! He's only that quiet when asleep!
I opened the door slowly, just a little. There he was sitting on the floor holding Andys pair of cheap cycling sunglasses with the funny reflective lenses. He was holding them up to his own face and peering through them, gently coo-ing to himself.
It was a relief, I have to admit. Still, it's not like the time he decided to see what was down behind the sofa and he got a little way in and got stuck. I had to shout to Andy not to open the kitchen door or the poor little boy would have got cut in half! Definitely a laugh or cry moment.
He's also taken to moving our doormat. We have a big one by the door and a small one at the foot of the stairs where we sit and put our shoes on. Some days he decides that they really need to be in the middle of the living room and not by the door. Sometimes they need to be upside down. Sometimes almost everything we own needs to be posted through the bars of the stair gate.
Kids, eh?

Friday, 23 March 2012

On the Nose

As days go, it didn't start out too well. Joseph couldn't help but wonder what those green dangly things were and decided to pull one to find out. I come back in from the kitchen with the breakfast I had lovingly prepared for him only to find orchid compost scattered about and a small child wondering whether bark chippings were edible or not.
This meant having to go to my outside cupboard to get the dustpan and brush and the vacuum cleaner. I wouldn't have minded as much if I'd been dressed, but I was still in my pyjamas and that's never a good look.
Breakfast was done and dusted with some griping about the banana. I can feed him big chunks of it on a spoon but he is quite reluctant to feed it to himself.
After his morning nap we were playing about on the sofa. Like any fifteen month old he's boisterous and has very little concept of space. I rescued him from certain injury by stopping him climbing up on the arms many times. He doesn't bother to check where he's putting his feet and that usually lands him in trouble, or at least rather more firmly down on his rump than he would like.
I don't know exactly how it happened. Perhaps I just turned my head the wrong way or perhaps I just didn't see him bounce, but suddenly his forehead collided with the side of my nose with a sickening thud. I think I heard something click as he hit me. I had my mouth open at the time and the force of the blow made me close it - right onto my tongue.
It was so painful I couldn't do or say anything. Joseph slithered off the sofa and while I was waiting for the room to stop spinning he got into his toy box, found the plastic box of bricks, opened it and tipped the contents out in the toy box.
I've never bitten my tongue so hard I bruised it before. I kid you not, the end where I bit it actually turned quite a deep purple. Now it's faded a bit but it's still pretty sore.
Oh, my poor nose. It's had a rough ride in recent weeks, what with a nasty knock in a karate session from someone who had his mitts pulled back to far over his hands so I got a set of knuckles in the face rather than the protective padding of the mitt. A few days later at a karate session I was hit right in the nose again, although this time protective hand gear was being used correctly. It probably wouldn't have hurt so much, but for the previous event.
I decided to take this as a warning and refrain from sparring for a little while, only to have Joseph loving thrust a plastic lid from a lunch box very hard into my face and my poor nose copped it again. This week I had been starting to feel better around the nasal regions. I guess I'm back to wincing when I sneeze for quite some time. Nice one, Joseph.
The real kicker is that despite all the pain, and I am in quite a bit of pain, there is not a mark to show for it! Unlike my tongue, but tongue injuries aren't well known for garnering sympathy. Still, at least it's not worth an A&E visit, it would be more than just a little embarrassing having to explain what happened. At least at 15 months he's below the age of legal responsibility and couldn't be charged with assault.
This evening he got a bit fussy with his food. There was quite a bit of wriggling about and complaining and whilst I was feeding him his fromage frais he made a grab for the spoon. I thought he was being naughty, but he simply stuck the end of the spoon in his mouth and then tried to stick it back in his pudding.
A little stunned, I simply held out the tiny plastic pot and watched him put about five spoonfuls of pudding into his mouth with no assistance from me. A little bit of it went on the tray, a little bit went on his bib but the greater part made it into his mouth. He needed some help scraping the pot, but apart from that he did it all himself. I've tried helping him spoon feed himself before and he's not really shown much interest, it must be something Granny is doing.
Time to get the Red Book out and mark off another milestone.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The so-called Experts

Have you heard the latest?
Apparently mothers who successfully manage to get their babies onto a routine are more likely to end up with a child with a lower IQ. Someone has actually done a study on this and it's shown that grumpy babies who don't want to feed regularly and wake up at odd hours are more likely to be the next generation of brain surgeons and rocket scientists.

So that's me failed again. I started putting Joseph on a routine at six weeks and by eight weeks he was quite settled in it. I only managed to breast feed for six weeks and then switched to formula, he wont drink pure water so he has weak squash, I leave him for a day a week to go out to work and yesterday I let him have some chips.
According to the experts by the time he reaches school age he'll be so damaged he'll be in special needs.
The real irony of this? There was a link to this story from a page all about coping with "Mum guilt".  I also received an email today from the folks at Bounty telling me that at 68 weeks (about 15 and a half months) it's a good time to start thinking about potty training.
Potty training? He's not talking yet! He can say "Mummy", "Daddy" and "No" and he understands the difference between socks and feet. How on earth do you start potty training a child at this age? How is he supposed to communicate with me to say when he needs it?
Oh, I probably should have taken the experts advice and taught him baby signing from when he was a day old.
It's crazy. Everyone I know with little ones didn't start with the potty until about two years old, but no doubt Bounty probably have some statistic somewhere to say that children who are forced to potty train earlier are more likely to go to university or something like that.  It reminds me very much of my brief attempt to try baby lead weaning. All that happened was that Joseph threw the food about and didn't eat anything. He was happy with puréed food to start with and according to the experts that means he has a higher chance of being obese in later life.
Failed again.

Joseph can understand what his socks are and where they go. He does understand the word, he just can't say it yet. He can get all eight shapes into his sorter in less than five minutes, he can stack six wooden blocks in a pile (on top of a bottle cap, as well!) and he can open the box Granny uses to keep his duplo in, it's one of those plastic jobs with the four clips on the sides.
Not bad going for a fifteen month old so I think I'll stop reading all these pointless studies from the so-called experts. I wonder how many of them have their own children.

Monday, 19 March 2012


He can understand more than he seems. Yesterday, Joseph was being his usual squiggly self of an evening and one of his socks had parted company with his foot. Andy sighed and asked Joseph "Where's your sock?" and Joseph smiled and started pulling at the sock that remained on his other foot. Unsure if this was some sort of fluke, a little later we asked him again "Joseph where are your socks?" and he immediately looked down at his feet. I asked him today and the same thing happened. He can't say it yet, but he does understand "sock" and also "feet".
He's also learned that if he stretches up he can reach the door handle and get into the kitchen. Thankfully at the moment, if I'm not in there then he's not interested. However, if I am and I happen to be doing something like getting dinner out of the oven I have to be very careful.
I've learned that he doesn't like sweet potato that much and the absolute best thing to keep him happy is a bag full of groceries. I put them away one bag at a time and he busies himself by seeing what's in the remaining bags. Today, The Cat was quite happy with this as Joseph had found the new pot of cat treats I had bought and being a determined little soul he had got the lid off and opened the seal. Cat treats went all over the floor and it's a good job I noticed when I did because he was about to try and find out just what it was about them that The Cat liked so much.
Still, our moggy isn't too picky when it comes to treats and was quite happy to eat all of the treats that had got baby slobber on them. I suppose there are worse things for him to get all over the carpet, a few weeks ago he got the egg box and twelve ovoids were rolling along the floor. How he didn't manage to break any of them I have no idea.
His understanding of certain words has increased, but there's no signs of him saying anything new yet. On the other hand he's coming up with some odd sounds that almost could be words. "Doodle" is quite a common one, it's come round a few times today. Also "Moider" turns up quite a lot which is a bit surprising as I haven't ever let him watch an episode of Taggart.
In the mean time I'll just sit and listen to our little force of entropy having a bath. It's fun!

Mothers Day

It wasn't going to take much to make this years mothers day better than last years.
Last year we had a long drive on the motorway the day before. During that trip I began to feel a little uncomfortable. The following day I had to pass up the breakfast in bed and the baby cuddles as I was enduring a very nasty bout of gastroenteritis. There's nothing that puts a dampener on your day more than that. I'd actually rather have a cold or even proper flu than have to dash to the loo twice an hour suffering with terrible cramps. Not even Imodium could help me.
This year.....
Ah! Two soft boiled eggs, cooked to perfection with some toast soldiers and one of those big things with the press down plungers full of fresh coffee. Now, I do know what they're called but I haven't a clue how you spell the name and all the spell check could suggest was "cafeteria". A cafeteria full of coffee is a lot more than I think is wise to be drunk in one go.
Two cards - one from my husband and one from my son, who I suspect had a bit of help to write his name.
The rest of the day I did precisely nothing. Well, that's the way it's supposed to go, isn't it? When it's mothers day I get the day off and believe me I will return the favour on fathers day. Joseph was cute, but then he does that all the time.
For dinner, Andy pulled out all the stops. We splashed out on a nice bit of lamb from the farm shop and he roasted it with spuds, roasted sweet potato, green veg and lovely lovely gravy. For pudding we had pancakes and there was a nice bottle of chianti to complement the meal. I made the usual joke about fava beans and having an old friend for dinner and Andy said he was disappointed that the wine hadn't got a rafia thing going on with the bottle.
Happy, full of food and relieved to be in a good state of health we settled down to watch the formula 1 highlights on the iPlayer.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Separation Anxiety

This Sunday, Andy was rather unwell. I went to church on my own and coped with Joseph to start with, but what with beating a hasty exit as I was running rather late, I forgot to pack any toys.
So, rather than put up with nearly two hours of stress, loud "No!" shouts and chewed hymn books I decided to try him in the crèche. The children all got up to go out to Sunday school and I followed with Joseph in the buggy. Hey, when you're small enough to be wheeled about you might as well enjoy it. If I'm ever an old lady in need of a wheelchair then I shall enjoy every minute of not having to exert myself. Why Joseph makes such a fuss when I strap him in, I have no idea. Doesn't know when he's lucky sometimes.
We got to the crèche room and I thought things would go well. The toys were got out and Joseph immediately went for the big big bag of big big bricks. This will be fine, I thought. He loves bricks and he loves stacking stuff. He got in the shopping this week and started stacking up my tins of mackerel!
 I slipped out and enjoyed most of the rest of the service, believing that a big bag of plastic shapes would prevent me from being missed too much.
Alas I was wrong. Within a few minutes of me leaving him he began to get nervous. He started looking around and generally sounding unhappy. He started whimpering.
Soon, the whimpering became crying and the crying became rather too full on to cope with. They did their best, those lovely girls that run the crèche. They're a calm bunch, but Joseph wore them down. One of them slipped back into the meeting and gently asked if I might come and retrieve my unhappy son who now bore more resemblance to an over ripe tomato than a little boy.
He's been fine every day I've left him with Granny. Perhaps an unfamiliar room with unfamiliar people was just too much to ask, although I really did think the plastic blocks would help. I'll give it another go next week and this time I'll stay with him for a bit.
Today he's been quite demanding of cuddles, lots of arms waved in the air at me. What's annoying is then when I pick him up or sit him on my lap like he seems to want he very quickly gets wriggly and fidgety and wants to get down. As soon as I put him down then up go the little arms and out comes the whine.
An interesting point - when you type the word creche without the little hat over the e then one of the options the spell checker offers is "screeching". Perhaps it's been to a crèche!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Sleep Debt

For the sake of the local songbird population we decided to fit The Cat with a bell.
So far this spring we have not had any incidence of the silly moggy bringing in anything vaguely resembling a dishmop with legs. Good for the local birds and good for Joseph. Not so good for us who are now sometimes woken up by The Cat having a scratch at 3am. We banned her from the bedroom some time ago, but you can still hear the noise through the door. Doesn't seem to bother Joseph, though.
He's had a couple of wobbly nights recently. We've got rather used to him sleeping well, he was giving us a good six ours plus a night from eight weeks old and I'm just not used to going without. I don't cope well when I've not had my eight hours.
Last Thursday a week ago, he just didn't want to be away from us. We could put him in the cot but if we left the room he would cry. We ended up with him sat on Andy's lap in the dark, hoping this would calm him down. By 9.30pm he seemed quieter and finally settled off. We slept all right and we just assumed that Joseph had missed me, as I'd been at work that day.
This week the same happened. I changed him and put him down and he seemed calm, but he did not settle. We could not eat our dinner in peace and the same procedure was tried. He did calm down slowly and he did finally go to sleep, but this was not the end of the nights events.
He woke up at twenty to one. I'd managed to get a couple of hours in, but that was to be all. He was crabby to a high degree, only when hugged would he calm down and as soon as he got near the cot again he would scream as if in a lot of pain.
He hadn't done a stealth poo and we couldn't think of any other reason for his discomfort. We gave him calpol which calmed him a little, but not enough. I ended up lying in bed and cuddling him and he seemed calm and happy, as long as I didn't move. As I lay there I couldn't help but think that we were breaking every rule in the Gina Ford book. The problem being that we had let him cry on his own for a while, but he just got more distressed. What do you do when your child just wont calm down?
We were at a loose end because we're just not used to it.
Last night he slept like a log. I slept like a log too, but Andy didn't. For some reason he woke early and couldn't get back to sleep again. I think it was The Cat, having her early morning stretch and scratch.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Just for Laughs

I have no idea what is happening upstairs right now, but it sounds funny.
There are some guaranteed ways to make Joseph laugh. One is to lay him flat and rub your nose on his belly. Don't ask me why this works, but it usually brings out the giggles. Tickling his feet makes him smile, but not always laugh. If he's ticklish in the way I am then there's probably only a small space between funny tickling and tickling to the point of finding it hard to breath and being in pain. I'll not risk that, it's very unpleasant.
If he's sat by the side of the sofa and you lean over and shout "Boo!" then he'll laugh, and the more you catch him by surprise the better. He seems to actually like being made to jump! Today I found out that simply opening your mouth wide and saying "Aaaagh!" at him is a good way to get a laugh.
Standing holding him and spinning round in circles is usually a good one for laughs, but I can't do it or very long as I get quite nauseous. Andy likes to pick him up by the ankles and spin round and even upside down Joseph finds the whole experience side splittingly good. I have no idea why he doesn't throw up!
Chasing him around the living room is also funny and if you stop and kneel on the floor he'll sneak up behind you and push you in the middle of your back. The best thing to do is to fall over forwards in your best comedy pratfall and he'll laugh then all right and he might even try and help you up by pulling on your belt. A few days ago Andy was playing this game with Joseph but instead of just falling over he reached round and grabbed Joseph by the legs, bringing him too. As far as I could tell Joseph thought it was the funniest thing that had ever happened to him, at least until this evening.
Well.... if you can't act the goat with your fifteen month old son, when can you do it?

Sunday, 4 March 2012


I have found myself wondering recently - when do I stop referring to my son as a "baby"? He's right in that join between babyhood and childhood and sometimes I wonder if by still thinking of him as a baby then I am in the wrong.
After all, he no longer just lies there. Ah, I miss those days, when I could put him down and go and do something, safe in the knowledge that he'd still be in the same place when I got back and not knee deep in trouble. He can finger feed - for the most part - and is certainly not the floppy necked, un-focussing, tiny, delicate infant I was presented with on the first day of his life. He smiles and laughs and can get around on his own two feet with only the odd mishap.
He's a toddler, but for all that he still feels like a baby. He still needs two good naps in the day and his mobility itself makes him vulnerable as he simply has no understanding at all of any dangers around him.
Perhaps that's it, rather than physical development I should think in terms of his understanding. When he becomes aware of the fact that not all the things around him are toys and some things can harm him, when he learns the rules of cause and consequence and when he can effectively communicate with me then I can stop thinking of him as a baby.
Unfortunately I have met a number of adults who have not reached all of these goals, especially the last two. Most teenagers fail them, after all.
Indeed, the dividing line between child and adult isn't hard and fast, some teenagers are mature and sensible people and some in their twenties are total idiots. Just because someone has reached their eighteenth birthday they don't suddenly become a mature, suit wearing, sensible person over night.
Perhaps I should stop thinking of him as a baby when he no longer fits in the biggest baby-gro size I can find. It's arbitrary, but then so is everything else.
One day I'll wake up and realise that he's grown up. I'm not sure if that makes me feel good or quite sad.

Saturday, 3 March 2012


This week, whilst sat downstairs with the first cup of tea of the day, I heard Andy say "What a poor deprived little boy!".
Why would he say that? Joseph is not deprived in any way at all, he get as many hugs as we can possibly give him, I always do my best to provide him with fruit and vegetable meals that are cooked in many different ways so he doesn't get bored and boy does he have a lot of toys. I've put a stop to more toy purchases until we can find more space to keep them - by buying a much bigger house.
No, the reason for his deprivation was his baby-gro, which at last had shown that it was too small for him by going at the toe. I was presented with a giggling little boy with the teeny nail of his teeny toe just sticking out. Sadly, that was one of my favourite baby-gros, it was red and made him look like he'd stolen the underwear of a cowboy.
Still, the label did say 9-12 months on it and he's a strapping lad at 15 months, still on the 75th percentile for height so above average for his age. It's not surprising that the baby-gro in question was finally showing the strain.
We dug out the pack of new babygros I bought quite a while ago that clearly state that they are for 12-18 months on the label. Perhaps they were actually for a 12-18 month elephant, they certainly weren't going to fit my son, he'll have to grow another foot (in height, not an actual foot) before they fit him. As I said before he's above average in height so just where did Sainsbury's, for indeed it was from their baby range, get their measurements from?
To make it even sillier he's currently in bed asleep (well, quiet at least) in a baby-gro with a label boasting 6-9 months on it and it's much bigger than the red one we just threw away!
And I thought the sizes on womens clothes were variable and unreliable. You'd think clothing retailers could have some consistency in their ranges, or at least someone getting sizing information for them who actually knows something about the average size of babies.
On the other hand we have more than one top that is the right age for him and fits around him all right and the sleeves are fine, but they're just too short in the body. Does my son have an unusually long torso, or are the clothing designers actually making things for baby orang-utans?
Who knows? After all, if they let Posh Spice have her own clothing label then that doesn't bode well for the rest of the industry.


According to the various helpful emails I get from the various baby clubs I have joined (I did it for the vouchers) my little chap should have "up to eight teeth by now". He's got eight and the points of four molars sticking through as well. In teeth terms, he's ahead of the curve.
He has broken his block stacking record as well, now reaching six in a tall tower - and these were put on top of his squash bottle as well, making it more of a challenge. Apparently on the 2-2 1/2 year check you only need to manage three to be considered "normal".
On the other hand he hasn't shown a great deal of interest in using the spoon to feed himself and even finger feeding still has its bad days. How can a child who can put all the blocks in his shape sorter in less than two minutes find the concept of a spoon so hard to grasp?
Ah, development targets. I have to admit, all they seem to do is worry good parents and be utterly ignored by the bad. How many words should my fifteen month old be able to say? We've got Daddy, Mummy and No is coming along well, but neither of the first two really mean Andy or myself. Daddy seems to mean "What's that?" or "I want that!". Mummy usually means "I need attention" or "I'm unhappy". No, some of the time at least, does mean a negative. The rest of the time I think he just likes the sound. I keep hoping he'll get "Kitty" but no luck so far.
Still, his walking is now pretty much spot on, all he has to learn is that the quickest route from A to B isn't necessarily in a straight line if there's stuff on the floor. He's showing signs of wanting to run now, but so far he hasn't been able to do it.
He'll get there at his own pace which, knowing him, will be a fast walk.