Archive for March, 2008

Health Visitors

March 30, 2008

In his blog, the guy I mentor at work (poor him), Ian, has commented on his health visitor. Ian and his wife had their first child at the beginning of March, and many congratulations to them.

So overall, Ian isn’t enamoured with his health visitor, or her purpose in his baby’s health progression. I’ve found ours to have been very approachable and friendly. They have always been responsive to questions, for example on Thursday I asked about shoes (not to be worn until baby has been walking for a month) and Hannah asked about good nurseries and childminders. I suppose we had the time when Ella’s wieght wasn’t increasing, and so our visits did involve quite a lot of discussion about avocado and full fat milk and considerations of how much weight Ella would need to put on to avoid being referred to the special baby unit, so we did get our tax money’s worth from our health visits.

Eleri has always been knowledgeable about Ella, we never turn up at the clinic and have Eleri looked puzzled while trying to work out who Ella and Hannah are (maybe if I turned up on my own she would be confused).

Overall I wouldn’t complain about ours, but one thing that is consistent about the NHS is how inconsistent it is.


Nine Month Checkup

March 30, 2008

Ella had her 9 month checkup on Thursday with the health visitor. This comprised a couple of tests for development and some measurements, and is the last of these until Ella is two (which seems ages away). It was carried out by Eleri, who has been our health visitor for all the time with Ella.

The tests were quite simple, as you would expect for a baby. The first was whether Ella was pick up a bead and watching to see whether she used a pincer grip with thumb and finger, and repeated for both hands. I think the object used was one of those small ceramic balls that are used in cooking to press down during baking. Ella dealt with this one fine, but really she was much more interested looking at Eleri than on the ball, so it took a wee bit of time. We mentioned that Ella was crawling, and Eleri said that at this stage she was just looking for the babies to be sitting okay. The other test Ella should have had was whether she passed things between hands, but Eleri let her off that one because Eleri has seen her doing this before.

Ella’s weight was 19lb 8 oz, which means she has stayed just above the 50th percentile, and that is where she was last time, so her increase in weight relative to expected growth may have levelled off, and this point is a good place to do so. Her head circumference was also on the 50th percentile, though her height was on the 25th percentile.

We did discuss the slight squint that Ella has, as Eleri also did a wee eye test to check the pupil reactions to light. Eleri reckoned that as both her eyes reacted the same way to the light she was okay, but just to check Eleri has referred us to the eye clinic at St Marys; a place we know all too well from Hannah’s trips there. Eleri reckoned it could be a pseudo-squint, caused by Ella’s wider than usual bridge. We’ll find out more when we got to the hospital sometime in the future.


March 30, 2008

After I finished my blog updates last Easter Monday, we popped into Newport for a quick trip to spend my M&S vouchers from my M&S credit card, and to pick up a stair-gate that Barbara had bought us. We weren’t intending on being there for very long, as Hannah had a student coming in the afternoon. Halfway through the trip, when we were reparking the car (which was my old Audi A4) to go and get the stair-gate, we noticed nasty smoke coming out the engine . It has been making a whining noise for the past couple of weeks, which we took to be a re-occurance of a power steering fluid leak that the garage had previously fixed. Obviously this had progressed a little. Panic didn’t ensue, but we weren’t immediately clear on a course of action. This led to a rather confused wander around Mothercare while I worked out the phone number of our recovery through the insurers and Hannah rang her student to delay her lesson. Thankfully the recovery option on the insurance was active (and indeed they used the RAC), but apparently there was a high number of calls and it could be 90mins to 3 hours before anyone got to us.

So the van didn’t take quite that long to come, but it did give Ella long enough to pee through her nappy onto Hannah’s leg while we waited in McDonalds. This was just before the van turned up, and I did a rather rushed change of Ella. Hannah braved the wet patch on her trousers. The recovery geezer located the problem as being a hydraulic leak, and we reckoned that was dripping onto something hot, which caused the smoke. He didn’t have the right fluid, a trip to Halfords didn’t find the right fluid, and the RAC technical hotline couldn’t find anything recommended for my car other than Volkswagen-Audi supplied stuff. This meant the car needed to be towed and another wait. Hannah was now in Next having a good browse, so she wasn’t wasting her afternoon.

Hannah got the bus home with Ella, while I waited for the tow truck, which couldn’t come into the multi-storey car park I was in, so we had to drive the car out, which was long enough for the smoke to start again. I got home at about 5:30, which was 3 and a half hours longer than planned. There are worse places to breakdown than a town centre car park, admittedly, but the experience is never pleasant.

The car was dumped at the garage we use, and they have subsequently concluded that the steering rack needs replaced, for an estimated £550. The has led to Hannah drawing the line, and saying we need to get a new car. We’ve started the search, and I’ll update on that later.

Funny Video

March 24, 2008

I have uploaded to YouTube a video of Ella laughing at me talking to her. You can watch it here.

Pleasing Discovery

March 24, 2008

Those of you who have known me for a long time will recall that I was once a student of chemistry, and during my PhD I was always disappointed that the good bit of synthetic organic chemistry I did was never published in a journal. I did have one publication, but it was only of a set of anti-fungal activity results in a minor microbiological journal. Yesterday, while Googling myself, I discovered that my supervisor had publish the excellent diastereoselective step that I discovered, and used, during my PhD. I you are so inclined you can read the abstract here in Tetrahedron Assymetry. Nice .

Hauling Up

March 24, 2008

Yesterday evening was another in Ella’s journey of firsts – she pulled herself into a standing position from sitting. As with many of these events for babies, it was using a sofa in our front room (though other babies do this in their own front rooms, not ours, or it would be very noisy and busy in there). She even repeated the feat a couple of times, and appraised the possibility of trying to heave herself onto the sofa itself. I think that would have been a bit much.


March 23, 2008

Happy Easter to all readers. What have we been doing this weekend? Apart from keeping close to lavatories, we’ve been out a few times. On Friday we visited the Flamingo Park on the east of the Island to introduce Ella to many new animals. The place was a little sad, as anywhere that keeps animals in small enclosures is (even Marwell Zoo, in my opinion). Flamingos were maybe a bit advanced for Ella, but she did like the ducks and geese and the goats too. She also liked the fish (as she has a fish mobile above her changing table that always amuses her) and I have attached a photo of her showing her new standing skills looking into the fish pond in the cafe.

Yesterday I took Ella out for a largish walk in her pushchair around Cowes, and went to look at the big waves caused by yesterdays winds and high tide. I got a few good photos of spray, and only slightly wet. It was also rather bracing.

Today we went to the Lakeside restaurant in a village in the middle of the Island called Rookley, which is famous for nothing. We were there with Barbara and Hannah’s Uncle Cyril. It was a pleasant enough lunch, Ella slept for half of it, being of an odd mood, as mentioned in the previous post. Brian, Barbara’s partner, wasn’t with us because he has also caught what Hannah and I have had. We got hailed on as we left, but at the moment I have the curtains closed because it’s too sunny. Definite typical British late winter/early spring weather.

Busy Week

March 23, 2008

I’ve been pondering this blog update for a couple of days because there is quite a lot to put in it and hopefully I’ll remember it all.

First of all and most tragic, was the passing of my Uncle Stewart at the beginning of the week. He was my mother’s brother-in-law, and so soon after Granny’s death, it’s a big shock for that side of the family. Obviously our thoughts are with my Auntie Jinny, and my cousins, Ivar and Dougald. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make the funeral, as it is north of Dundee, and getting back down to the Island on the day of the funeral would be very difficult and risky if any connections got missed.

Less sad is that Hannah and I have both been a bit ill, with a stomach bug that is doing the rounds. I was off work with it on Thursday, and it is lingering over the holiday weekend. It’s not too bad now, but I’d be better off without. We’re hopeful that Ella avoids catching it, as we don’t want to have to deal with a violently puking baby, but she has been in a rather flat mood today. For instance, when I brought her up to our bed this morning, rather than bouncing around and poking at stuff, she went off back to sleep. It could just be teething, though.

Not this week, but last week, Ella went to her first birthday party. This was for Poppy, the youngest daughter of Hannah’s friend, Maria. It was Poppy’s first birthday, and a small party. Apparently Ella had much fun playing the balloons, and Hannah took a picture of Ella trying to kiss one! Ella also got in a bit of a strop with one of the other party-goers because they both wanted to play with the same toy. Nevertheless, she enjoyed it very much, and was fast asleep when she was brought home. I had been stuck at home that day because it was the day of the bad storms in the south of England and the ferries were off.

Last Sunday was cousin Lucy’s Christening, and we took the jaunt up to London to go along. Aliya, her sister, is our god-daughter, so we thought it important to be there to explain to Aliya, as well as see Lucy being Christened and take part. Unfortunately Lucy was quite ill, so we didn’t get to see much of her, and we didn’t see much of Aliya either as she was busy playing with her friend for much of the day. We did get to spend good time with my brother and his wife, Douglas and Joanna, and my folks, Clare and Chris. Ella got to have good plays with them and with Aliya and Lucy’s toys. On the way home, I decided against my Mum’s advice on how to get home, and followed the sat-nav instead. This time I did succeed in following its instructions unlike last time we drove back from their house, but this time we got stuck in loads of traffic in central London and it took ages.

The return was further aggravated during our stop at the ever-exciting Fleet services for dinner. The stop was okay, until we went to change Ella’s nappy. She had pooed, but it had decided to all escape the nappy, and it was a total disaster zone. Hannah would say I ran away, but she did give me the job of rinsing out Ella’s clothes to remove the worst of the poo so they would wash out okay. It was very gross, and the rather unclean and badly stocked baby change unit at the service station didn’t help.

The night before the Christening was amusing as well. We decided to drive most of the way to London the night before, so had booked Ibis at Thurrock. The stay didn’t start well with the news that their system was down and we should knock on the door of the room we had been given in case someone was inside. We did and there was, which was embarrassing. The second room we were given was empty. I think we had failed to consider the difficulties of getting a baby to sleep in a room where the parents are also staying. It meant we couldn’t watch TV and really the light had to be out, and as the room was too hot and the air cooler didn’t work, we had to open the window, so it was a bit noisy. I ended up reading in the bathroom, while Hannah rocked Ella to sleep. Discussing this with Clare the next day, Hannah found out that my Mum and Chris had many similar experiences with Hamish, my youngest brother, when he was small.


March 15, 2008

Having wrestled with the passport service’s application process, Ella is now the proud holder of a UK passport. She has a cute little picture that has to do her until she is nearly 6. I estimate she’ll look quite different by then. Ella will first need to use this passport next month when we got to Spain with my family for a week. That is also the first time she flies, which will be an experience for us all, what with pushchairs, working out whether bottles of milk are allowed onboard, and a restless baby with no seat. Plus we’re going with ThomsonFly to Malaga, and I don’t imagine our fellow passengers will be the most sophisticated of people.

So never mind all that, the point of this blog update is that Ella is free to leave the country when she chooses, and she is practicing well for that with all her crawling.

Watch out!

March 12, 2008

Ella is now almost fully mobile. She isn’t exactly speedy, but she can certainly crawl, though usually only when she specifically wants to get to something. She can make it round a room quite happily. Hannah reported that today she crawled across the dining room to a pile of stuff on a low table, pulled it over, got caught up in a mosquito net and was quite happy for 15 minutes playing in a tangle in the net.

The last couple of days she has been saying ‘dadadada’ and ‘babadada’ etc. It is far clearer as a real word sound than the ‘aaa’s etc she has previously emitted. It will be a long time before the sounds make any sense.

Her favourite game at the moment is peek-a-boo. This evening she was playing peek-a-boo from inside my discarded shirt, rather than a grown-up popping their head around a door. She was laughing her head off as she pulled the shirt off her head and I said peek-a-boo. Very cute.

Today was the latest weigh in, and she is now 19 lbs, and just above the 50th percentile.