Archive for October, 2007


October 28, 2007

I’ll kick this post off with this week’s weight report – 11lbs 3 ozs. Another 6 ounces put on (not pounds). This brings her just above the second percentile for the first time in many weeks. So saying, Hannah was remarking today that she thought Ella was getting fat, but relative to most other babies, she is still small. I suppose it is all reserves for a lot of growth to come.

For the past week, since my posting about her bad night last Saturday, I think there has only been one night when Ella has slept through. Indeed, one of my colleagues, James, who just had his second daughter, seems to be having the same number of interruptions as we are at the moment. This, combined with the health visitor remarking that 17 weeks was a big milestone – ‘what milestone?’ – ‘she can take solids now’, has set Hannah on to the route of trying this our. Hannah has a book (that I read, rather than Hannah) on the first year, and it has a checklist of things that show baby is ready for solids. Ella satisfies some of those criteria, but not all. The important one is that the natural reflex of the tongue to push out, in order to get milk from the breast, is being surpassed by baby controlling her tongue. If this hasn’t happened, then baby will just push solid food back out her mouth. The things you never realised you had to learn as a baby, and certainly don’t think about now!

The upshot is that we have had our first few experiments with Ella eating solid food. I say ‘solid’, but I have seen more substantial custard than the stuff we have been making up. Obviously you start your baby on something very simple: you don’t want to shock her with chicken vindaloo. We have got some baby rice, and you take a teaspoon of this and mix it with 20ml of milk. This concoction looks more like milk with grains of dust in it than solid food. The purpose is just to get Ella used to taking food from a spoon. I’m afraid the first two episodes were quite traumatic because both times Ella was very tired. She did brilliantly with the spoon, though, and took immediately to getting the stuff off the spoon and swallowing. She stopped crying every time the spoon arrived in her mouth. The first time we forgot a bib, and learnt that lesson very fast! Tonight I fed her on my own, after Hannah had gone out, with Ella propped up in her bumbo. She did very well, and gobbled it all up.

Today, Hannah’s Dad (Jack), stepmother (Karen) and little brother (Josh) were over, and we went out for lunch to the Lifeboat. Karen was very complementary of the food, and it was very tasty. Back at home, Josh had a bit of trouble trying to hold Ella. Previously he could cradle her as she was a little baby, but now she prefers to sit, or be held up standing, and he couldn’t quite get her into this position without her throwing herself about. Hopefully he’s not too put off. I know as a 10 year old kid with my little brother, Hamish, around, I was a bit scared to hold him in case of dropping him or doing something wrong.



October 28, 2007

Tonight I am babysitting, though I don’t think that term really applies when the father is looking after his child. Hannah is out doing karaoke with a number of grandparents and friends. I hate karaoke so I ‘offered’ to stay home and look after Ella instead. Win-win scenario.

On Friday, Barbara babysat, while Hannah and I went out for dinner with her friend Paula and her boyfriend, Rich. The reason for all these trips out – it was Hannah’s birthday on Friday. It was good to go out, and I think Hannah and I didn’t spend too much time discussing Ella, and Hannah, Paula and Rich didn’t spend too much time talking about school (they are all teachers at the same place). Ella behaved well for Barbara on Friday, and she has been good as gold tonight. Though she was very tired, and it was only as I was putting her down to bed I realised that her body-clock would be telling her it was an hour later (the clocks having gone back last night), and this was why she was tired at 8 o’clock.

En Route from Milan

October 23, 2007

My Mum, Clare, spent the weekend with us, as she travelled between Milan and Glasgow (jetsetter). This was the first time she had got to spend quality time with Ella since August, really, as the last two times she saw Ella was at Granny’s funeral (not the best time, by a long shot) and last month when the family gathered in Peterborough to visit Granny’s house (and Ella was mostly in a foul mood). So it was great that Ella was mostly in a good mood over the weekend (despite the injections mentioned in the previous entry). Clare got to take Ella on a walk and had some good ‘chats’ with her over the changing table. It was, of course, great for Hannah and I to spend time with Mum away from the sadder events of the past couple of months.

Hannah’s Mum, Barbara, has been away living it up with some of her friends in Tenerife, and returned on Saturday. She came to visit Ella (and us), who she missed a lot on Saturday night, which was why the two grandmothers were in attendance. Hannah and I made sausage and mash, using some very nice sausages from the local butcher (including boar sausages). Clare made some “cheat’s” tiramasu for dessert.

Also of note that evening was the fox that trotted past our house, and wasn’t at all phased by people standing looking at it.

What Might Have Been

October 23, 2007

We both realise that we are lucky that Ella is very easy going and contented. She seems to enjoy many of the pinch points that can become battles between parents and child, such as nappy changing and bathing. It is weird to take Ella to have her nappy changed when she is crying away because she is tired, and then when put down on the changing table (bought from Ikea at Bluewater, you may remember) she suddenly stops crying and beams a big smile at you. One thing we are both very happy with is her all-night sleeping habit. This is the number one question any new parent gets asked, and it is great to be able to say that she sleeps very well. I have wondered why people ask this question, and not about the baby’s health, or the mental state of the parents, or the colour of baby’s poo. I guess it is because everyone expects a negative response, and therefore they are prepared for it, and can cope with that question and answer scenario.

Getting back to the point, on Saturday night we had a taste of what the early nights with Ella were like and what could quite easily still be the nightly goings-on when Ella decided to wake up every two hours, and spend most of the time in-between on Hannah’s boob. It was quite a torrid night, especially for Hannah. The following night, Ella woke at midnight, after being put down on 9ish as usual, and I was a little worried that her reliable sleeping pattern was broken, but thankfully she slept through to 6am last night. Why was she so bad on Saturday? There are two potential reasons. The first is that she had her third set of injections on Friday afternoon, and some after-effect of those may have disturbed her on Saturday night. The second is that her maternal and paternal grandmothers were both here on Saturday evening, and she may have got rather too much attention. I believe there may have been some over-exuberant grandmother-ing during bath time.


October 17, 2007

I am running out of titles for these weekly weight reports. Ella was weighed today and put on another healthy 5 pounds to bring her up to 10 lb 13 oz (my last report had the wrong weight).

She has had a great week with her Auntie Miri, doing lots of smiling. Miriam heads back to Glasgow (the bonnie city) tomorrow, and I think Ella will miss her, and we’ll miss the help she had been. I suspect our trials and tribulations at the weekend would have been far more fraut if Miri had not been looking after Ella.

Unusually, Ella has woken up during the last couple of nights. Apart from that, all has been good. Plenty of smiling, looking about, sticking her fists in her mouth and sucking. She has also been drooling a lot, which may indicate the onset of teething, but no other symptoms of that just yet.

Bad Weekend

October 17, 2007

It’s Wednesday, and now I have the time and inclination to recall the weekend in this blog. Two things broke down – the Audi, and Hannah’s laptop.

At least with the Audi, the effort of towing it from our house, up the hill out of Cowes to the garage was amusing. Hannah’s Suzuki Swift, with its 1 litre, 3 cylinder engine struggled to haul the 2.6 litre Audi A4. Hannah was taken by surprise by the stretchy tow rope, and the first time she pulled away in the Swift, she stopped after a few feet because she thought the rope must have become detached as she hadn’t felt it pull. I was very surprised when she stopped because I could see what was happening. After that, her pull offs were rather like those of a learner, as the weight of the Audi jerked the Swift back as the rope pulled back on it. Nevertheless, with lots of low gear and effort, the little car dragged the big one up the hill. It is now sat in the garage, waiting for them to have the time to look at it. What was wrong? The starter and/or ignition, with absolutely nothing happening in the engine on turning the ignition. Definitely not the battery, because all the lights and stuff came on.

Hannah’s laptop had no amusing outcome. I thought it about time to put Windows XP service pack 2 on it, before upgrading the antivirus/firewall package from an out-of-date Norton to the current Kaspersky (there had been no updates because this is a computer from school, but they have shown no interest in maintaining it). While SP2 was installing, the computer blue screened. Disaster. It wouldn’t reboot, and bunging in an XP install CD and using the recovery console didn’t work because it refused to recognise any hard disk. Arse. I employed all my meagre computing knowledge. I used an Ubuntu Linux live CD to boot into Linux and try and look at the disk, in case it was something Windows was struggling over. I went out and bought a device that allows you to plug-in hard drives to other computers over USB in order to try and recover data. Despite using several tools in Linux and Windows, I couldn’t get to any real data on the disk, and got lots of bad sector errors from it. The reason I really wanted to get the data off the disk, despite having a backup that was a month old, was because Hannah had been writing a presentation for a PSHE workshop on Tuesday. Unfortunately I never got it recovered, and Hannah had to build on the old version of the presentation all through Monday. Fortunately the workshop on Tuesday went well, so there was no long last disaster.

What was a downer was that it meant I spent all of Sunday trying to recover this disk, rather than spending good time with Hannah, Ella and Miriam. Hannah and I did take advantage of Miri’s babysitting skills to go to the cinema in the evening, at least.

Can I Buy That Dolly?

October 14, 2007

Last week, Hannah took a shift in Barbara’s diabetes reseach shop in Ventnor. She took Ella with her, hoping for a well-behaved day, which indeed she was blessed with. Ella slept quite a bit in her pram, and was generally good while away. Many of the shop visitors commented on how lovely and beautiful Ella was. A few were even more confused. One mother in the shop came up to Hannah and asked how much the dolly was. Hannah was a little surprised because she couldn’t think of one in the shop. The woman pointed towards Ella’s pram, where the lady’s daughter was standing. Hannah obviously didn’t accept their offer for Ella, and put them right on the living, breathing status of Ella. There were other people who didn’t realise she was a real baby, but only those were willing to buy. So it’s official: Ella is so cute and adorable, she is like a dolly.

Rolling, rolling, rolling

October 13, 2007

More milestones are being passed. After 10lbs, we now have the roll-over. Ella has discovered rolling from her front to back. Now she cannot be trusted on raised surfaces. She is doing wonderfully well, I have to say (not at all biased). She is sleeping all night long almost all the time. Hannah is putting her down in her proper cot for naps during the day, so she is getting used to that bed, before using it at night. In the main, she is very well temptered, but of course, quite capable of being stroppy, but usually only when tired. Hannah was very proud of herself yesterday, because she felt she interpreted every cry of Ella’s correctly: whenever it was “I’m hungry”, she was fed; or if it was “I’m tired”, she was put down. So we’re in the swing of it now. Of course, there is still plenty of change that can affect that.

Miriam, Hannah’s little sister, is staying, and doing the auntie thing, helping look after Ella. Ella is doing very well with her, which is great. Rachel, Hannah’s older sister, popped across to the island yesterday, so Ella got to spend time with both her maternal aunties. When I got home it was maximum oestrogen in the air, practically a living edition of Cosmo! They both got to take part in Ella’s bathing routine, which we’ve recently altered. Ella’s Poppa Jack and Wicked Step-Granny bought us a sort of bath chair that you put in the big bath, and the baby sits in it. So we tried it out earlier in the week, and Ella seemed much more relaxed in it, instead of being dangled into a baby bath, she could recline in the water. Last night she start to kick and splash, and was definitely enjoying it. I caught some of it on video camera.

At this week’s weigh-in, Ella had put on another 6 ozs, and was up to 10lb 9oz (I think). This puts her nearly back at the second percentile. They also measured her length, and she is up in the 25th percentile now (compared to the 9th at her 8 week checkup).

Hannah is steadily returning to bits of work, taking on some French and singing pupils, and doing health education work with the NHS. On Tuesday, she is spending the day educating teachers and nurses, and Miriam is looking after Ella all day. A lot of late night milk expression has been going on over the past couple of weeks to build up stocks of milk for this day, so hopefully it will all be worth it.


October 7, 2007

I have been fortunate enough to manage to watch three of the Rugby World Cup quarter finals this weekend (Ella has done a reasonable amount of sleeping). Yesterday’s two games were excellent, and gave surprise victories to England and France. The France-New Zealand game was definitely the better, the England-Australia being tense all the way through. Today Scotland had their quarter final against Argentina, and came very close. Too many errors cost Scotland, though we could have snatched it at the end if we had got a try and converted. It’s disappointing to go out, yet again, at the quarter finals. What odds on Argentina beating England in the final to get a near clean sweep of the 6 nations?

Back to dreaming on the behalf of the football team.

Sporting weekends like this make me wonder who Ella will follow (if she follows sport at all). Rod Stewart is English, but he followed his father in supporting Scotland.

Family Get-Together

October 3, 2007

We were away in Peterborough last weekend, together with a lot of my family. The purpose was to visit Granny’s house, and choose some momentoes to take away. That part was sad, and somewhat weird, though it was nice to see lots of things of Granny, and appreciate the life she had, which was varied, and very active.

It was Ella’s first opportunity to spend time with a lot of my family. Both my brothers were there, with their wives, and Douglas with Ella’s cousins, Aliya and Lucy, as well as Clare and Chris, Ella’s Granny and Grandpa. My cousin, Ivar, and his wife, Liz and their son, Henry, who is about a year old, were staying as well. I would like to say that Ella was a very well behaved star, but unfortunately she was quite grumpy all weekend. Whenever someone else took her for a hold, she started to cry, and she was moody during quite a few mealtimes. This was quite in contrast to her behaviour when we went to Aidy and Lana’s wedding in Ireland. Maybe this time she was more aware that she didn’t really know a lot of the people around her, and that she was away from her familiar places. Nevertheless, it was good for her to meet her family, and for my family to see how well she is doing.

A highlight of the weekend was Ella’s first swim. I call it a swim, but most of the time she was floating in a big inflatable. The water was a little cold, which initially she wasn’t too sure about, but after a while she seem quite happy and kicked her legs. She didn’t splash around nearly as much as Lucy, who is four months older, who obviously really enjoyed the water. Ella did look extra cute in her green frog robe.

It was also another tester of the satnav. On Friday the traffic was quite bad around London, and so I decided to go up the A34 and go across country from the M40. The satnav wasn’t too happy about this on the way up the A34, constantly recalculating routes across to the M25, though sensibly avoiding the accident on the M25 between the M4 and M40. Once we were at the M40, it calculated a route up the A43 and A605 to Peterborough. Without it, I would not have worked out a route to avoid the M25, and we would have been incrediably late arriving and extra tired and moody.