Saturday, 30 December 2006

Trying out the new pram

Today started out as a beautiful sunny day so we tried to go for a walk with our new pram. By the time I got the outside clothes on Catherine and got her into the pram she was screaming and nothing other than comfort of the feed would console her. Our baby doesn’t seem to be fond of clothes specially hats and gloves. We tried again 60 minutes later with the same result. Third time lucky – while she was deeply asleep I put her into the pram, covered her with blankets (instead of trying to get her into a snowsuit - I’m convinced that those things are invented to torture parents and babies), managed to get the gloves and hat on her without waking her up and we were off to the park. The walk was success; she tranquilly slept through all of it and is still asleep 30 minutes after we got home. And we made it home just in time – the sky got covered in clouds and we can now enjoy the peaceful sound of the rain hitting the windows and conservatory roof.

Spoiled by presents

Polina and Jack arrived safely from Berlin on Thursday night. They had a quick peek at the sleeping beauty, before retiring to bed as well. They were lucky - Cat slept really well and the rest of us got plenty of sleep too. On Friday morning we had peaceful breakfast together before Catherine woke up. Polina is all ecstatic about her new niece and is taking million photos. Jack is great at holding Cat on his shoulder (her favourite position), she kept on borrowing her face into his neck, looking very snug, warm and cute.

Our pram arrived in the afternoon and Clive had fun assembling it in the evening. Big thank you to Laura and the rest of South African crew for getting it for Cat. PJs choose this moment to give us presents from them, my parents & Polina’s parents. Last two months were full of gifts and there is no end in sight, I feel spoiled and loved. And Cat would certainly feel the same way if she could comprehend how much attention and love is showered on her by everyone.

Thursday, 28 December 2006

Sleep patterns (again)

Clive went back to work on Wednesday. But Denya spent half of yesterday and today at my place and helped out a bit. It is also great to have someone to talk to during the day and finally to find out what was happening in his life for last year in greater detail.

Last nights visitors were Steve and Mika, who bought present for Clive and me(!) as well as the little one. (Thanks a lot guys).

Catherine is sleeping better through the night, still sleeps fantastically in the morning between 6 and 11 am (I get lots of things done in early hours of the morning) and is wide awake (and demanding lots of attention) between 11am and 2-3pm, which makes it difficult to get some lunch. So I usually end up getting about 5-6 hours of sleep at night, but since I don’t have afternoon nap anymore I feel extremely tired by the end of the day. Hopefully the pattern continues and I’ll get better at getting things done around her schedule.

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

One month old

It’s very difficult to believe that already one whole month passed. I looked at some of Cat's first photos and was surprised by how small she looked. She certainly had grown. I love seeing her grow, develop & change, but already wish I could slow down the flow of time.

Denya arrived from Romania with more cute outfits for Catherine. Her wardrobe is expanding at the alarming rate! He & Julia came over for dinner straight from airport, but all of us were a bit too tired and they didn't stay long. It will be great to catch up properly in the next two weeks.

Monday, 25 December 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I can’t believe it is Xmas day already. Catholic Xmas always catches me by surprise. When I think it is still two months away, there is only one month. When I think it’s still one month away, it is only 1-2 weeks away. And when I think I still have a week, it’s already here. I guess I’m just in denial that another year is about to end and for me Catholic Xmas is the first marker of its end.

Naree & Vihn came for a visit in the afternoon (sadly it gets dark by about 4pm) and brought more presents for our cute baby girl.

Sunday, 24 December 2006

Dunstan Baby Language

My mum told me about new Priscilla Dunstan’s theory on what newborn’s sounds mean:

• Neh="I'm hungry"
• Owh="I'm sleepy"
• Heh="I'm experiencing discomfort"
• Eair="I have lower gas"
• Eh="I need to burp"

Not sure if it works, but on the bad days I’m happy to try out almost anything.

For more info:
Official Dunstan Baby Language Website

Friday, 22 December 2006

Weight Gain

We are back from the Baby Clinic. Catherine is now 4300 grams - she gained 300 grams in one week.

Reluctant Photo Star

Last few nights Cat kept on waking herself up by waving her hands around and to keep her asleep I tried swaddling. It definitely works, but I have to wait for her to fall asleep before doing it as she totally hates being restricted while awake.

Yesterday I managed to photograph her holding her head. Next challenge is to photograph her smile. She was smiling for about 2 weeks now, usually after feed while I’m talking to her and in the light sleep state. My favourite are the lopsided grins.

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Travel & Homesickness

I finally watched The Cave Of The Yellow Dog after missing it in the cinemas. I didn’t enjoy it as much as The Story of the Weeping Camel, but it is still a very lovely film and it was fantastic to see a bit more of Mongolia. Currently Mongolia is the only new place I really dream of visiting (don’t get me wrong there are million other places I wouldn’t mind going to, just don’t have the same strong desire to see). Sadly it is highly unlikely I’ll be able to make the trip there for the next 3 years or longer. The plan for the next year is to try to go somewhere by EuroStar (since I never been and we think it will be easier than air travel), visit PJs in Berlin and maybe go to German Xmas markets (another travel dream of mine) and try to find time, money and courage to fly to South Africa and Australia.

It took me 2 days to finish watching the movie in 10-20 minutes intervals during sleepier ones of Catherine’s feeds. The stereotype of the housewives with small children spending all their time on the couch in front of TV seems totally ridiculous – there are too many important things (including feeding oneself and getting some sleep) to get done.

Yesterday Doug came to visit in the morning and brought presents, including some clothes from my mum. He also had photos of Melbourne from his recent trip. There are so many new buildings! and it’s being less than 2 years since my last visit. During that visit (after being gone for just over 6 months) it felt like nothing and no one in Melbourne will ever change. Great (but a bit sad) to be proven wrong.

In the evening Debi and Mark came for the roast chicken dinner. By 10pm I felt totally dead, so retired to the bedroom to feed Catherine and get some rest. This gave guys and Clive a chance to reminiscence about Cape Town and chat about their common friends. So both Clive and I ended up having bouts of homesickness by the end of the day. And we will probably experience few more of them during Xmas/New Year as I have few Australians visiting (so more photos and stories of Melbourne) and Clive is missing out on his usual SA Xmas/New Year trip.

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Best time to sleep (or not?)

Last night was difficult – Cat started screaming at around 7pm. Changing her diaper, feeding her, holding her close, burping her, rocking her, changing positions would stop the screaming only for 5-10 minutes. Eventually she fell asleep, but putting her in her cot just didn’t work – so she ended up spending the night in our bed. It was the only way for me to get some sleep.

It looks like Catherine’s best sleep time is between 6 and 11 am, which is exactly my best awake time. So two Cs are usually sleeping peacefully every morning, while I’m enjoying having slow shower, breakfast and getting few household things done. But today in the morning I stayed in bed to get few extra moments of sleep.

All day today she was back to her angelic self. Lets hope her happy state continues for the rest of the night *knocks on wood*. And since I finally figured out how to use the sling three of us spent early afternoon collected all the leaves in the garden into plastic bags. I’m happy to say that one of our friends is making compost and the leaves won’t go to waste.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Another day

Yesterday Clive went to work and was gone from about 10 am till midnight moving and installing servers. I guess the overtime money won’t hurt as he’ll only get paid statutory minimum for two weeks of the paternity leave. While I managed to survive OK (It wasn’t one of the best days - Cat had mild diarrhoea, so most of my day was spent changing diapers, feeding and consoling her), I’m really happy he took two extra weeks off on top of standard paternity leave. Cat choose a very convenient day to come into this world, with 4 weeks of leave Clive will only have to work for 3 days this year between Xmas & New Year (not counting this Saturday) and by that stage first Denis and then PJs will be here to keep me company.

Today Cat slept like a log between 7am and 11:30am. But when I tried to put her to sleep at around 12:30, she refused by screaming. Until recently she spent almost all of her time eating, sleeping or getting her diaper changed. For about last1.5 weeks she spent some time staring at people, while they make funny faces at her. So it took me a while to figure out that she didn’t want to sleep, be fed or played with – she just wanted to be next to me, staring at me while I make repetitive soothing noises.

I finally managed to figure out how to use the huggababy sling. It still doesn’t feel 100% comfortable - I need more practice with it, which I’m sure I’ll get plenty of. But it helped me to have lunch at the reasonable time and to finally vacuum clean the flat.

After spending most of the morning/afternoon on my own (Clive had to get few things done outside the house) I was very happy to see four visitors – Debi & Mark and Andrew & Kate. Debi and Mark arrived first and were lucky enough to catch Cat in one of her still rare awake moments. Debi hogged the baby for most of the night :-). She works as a nanny, so I was happy to observe her in action and take notes. She is so much better at talking to Cat than I am. I still feel a bit weird talking about surroundings to someone, who can’t respond back and most of the time is not even listening. Was great to catch up with everyone before they go to South Africa for Xmas/New Year.

Proud of Motherhood

From Denis:
“Yesterday I was reading a book about pregnancy and being a mother in the western world, and it talked a lot about how mothers are taught to be ashamed of how baby-centred they are, everyone thinks of it condescendingly, and mothers apologise for it, like its a weakness.

do it without apologising!!! what else are you going to blog about - the fuckin weather?? you just gave birth!! you're the DUDE!”

I guess women are made feel ashamed or at least defensive about many of their childrearing decisions – having no children, having too many children, having an only child without siblings, bottlefeeding, breastfeeding for too long, staying at home, going back to work, worrying too much about their children, not giving enough attention to them, etc. On the side note, I wonder if the fathers feel judge on any of their decisions? Or are most decisions and therefore the responsibility for them still left up-to the mothers?

I’m not sure if I was being apologetic, my intention was to state the purpose of this blog so people can decide if they want to be part of target audience. There are many people, who want to hear minute details about her life. But there are others, who are in totally different space at this time and all the baby info is just not relevant to their lives and therefore not so interesting.

I am happy and proud to f be her mother (It feels like anyone who knows me even the tiny bit knew that I’ll love the motherhood). She is so glorious and magical, like all babies are. At the moment she needs me to be centred on her, she needs me to care for her for many hours of the day. And I’m happy to do so. I wanted to have kids for ages and in a way this is the perfect time. While I love my job, it was going nowhere for the last year and was getting drag with day-after-day predictability. It’s great to have time off to think about different directions I may take in my career and personal life, to do something totally different for awhile, to experience something new and therefore to grow as a person. And it sounds like there are few changes happening at work, so there is high possibility I’ll have few interesting career options on my return to work in one year.

Since I have no previous baby experience there are a lot of learning to do and many difficult moments. I can see how easy it is to develop postnatal depression. So thank you again everyone for your support, kind words, excitement about Cat, presents, emails, questions, desire to meet her in person.

Friday, 15 December 2006

Books, presents & weight

Early in the morning both my orders of Russian books arrived (yep, I’m using my baby as an excuse to feed my book addiction) and now we are out of bookshelf space again hence need to figure out where we can fit another one. Since it didn’t rain in the morning I sat in the garden with Cat and looked through the books. The best buys – Pavel Bazhov and Russian Folk Tales. Both made out of good paper, with good binding and have fantastic colourful illustrations. I love Bazhov’s tales – according to my mum as a child I would agree to do anything if my parents promised me to read from his book. Sadly his books are almost impossible to get in English. There are few other Russian books I would recommend, but sadly they are also hard to get. I wanted to use Roadside Picnic by Brothers Strugatsky as an example, but Gollancz re-publishing it next year (I'm very happy about finally being able to get a copy for Clive to expand his knowledge of russians as he has scary narrow stereotipical vision of us :-P ). The edition from 2000 is going for over £70 on Amazon! Now I have to figure out how many copies I want to pre-order -> makes good present for IT geeks.

We also received the cutest little outfit from Arnaud & Anne. My baby has her first French garment! She is definitely going to end up having better wardrobe than I do. Julia is already asking what type of clothes she should bring back from her January USA trip.

Went to the Baby Clinic in the afternoon. Catherine is now 4 kilos. Not bad for the girl, who had thrush (yeast infection) at the end of last week and wasn’t feeding well for few days. While she is gaining weight, I’m loosing it. I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 60.8 kilos – it is certainly good time to start concentrating on have additional lunch each day before I totally disappear.

Thursday, 14 December 2006

Ups and Downs

Dave and Debbie dropped by after work yesterday and Debbie tried unsuccessfully to wake Cat up. But she was highly successful at amusing the rest of us and making cute still-lives with sleeping Cat and toy animals.

Today our kitten was totally wonderful all day - sleeping well, eating well, staying peaceful during nappy changes. Until evening when she decided to do exactly opposite – waking up every 30-60 minutes, fussing, crying, bring up milk. On the upside she was awake during Julia's visit and Julia was regarded with her best "what type of creature are you?" suspicious look. I feel tired so am off to bed hoping to get some sleep while Clive is looking after her.

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Sleep, banks and birth registration

The wait ended up being about 2 hours (more than 5 hours from the start of her previous feed!). I replied to few emails - she was still asleep. So I decided to call my Australian Bank. I hate banks! They locked my internet account due to suspicious activity, which was transferring money from my savings account to my credit card account to pay annual credit card fee. How is that for suspicious? New problem is that I have no idea what contact phone number they have for me and it is one of their security questions (not sure why they can’t just ask me for my phone banking password). I’ll have to fax them my UK phone number, my signature and copy of my passport so they can establish that I am who I say I am by calling me.

Surprisingly Cat was still asleep and I decided to skype my mum, so she could look at her first granddaughter. Two of us spent about one hour marvelling at how cute she is :-D. Eventually I decided it was time to play with her face and little hands to encourage wakefulness. She managed to catch up on being awake during the day though – don’t think she slept for more than 1.5 hrs at the time today.

Clive went to Brent town hall to register Cat’s birth and was told that he was supposed to contact Westminster council instead as she was born in Westminster. According to the hospital we could register her in the borough of her birth or of our residence. There is so much conflicting information when it comes to almost anything to do with babies, but especially about breastfeeding. I think the first two weeks were more difficult because half of the time I didn’t know who to listen to or who contact for advise. Luckily Brent council took all Cat’s details, going to send them to Westminster and we should receive her birth certificate in about one week.

I give up

Even Julia now has a blog (! So since I can never decide, who’ll be interested in my updates (specially the non-momentous everyday ones), I decided to start one as well.

As mentioned in the description, the blog will be mostly about my daughter and 2.5 week year old human beings aren’t all that exciting. Currently she is asleep after few minutes of wakefulness for a nappy change and I’m having breakfast & waiting for her to wake up, since it was almost 4 hours since her last feed.