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Monday, 28 November 2011

Tantrums with Style

My wife went away last weekend for a well deserved break with the girls. That left me and my daughter on our own together. One supposedly responsible adult and one minor. This is the first time since she was a baby that I’ve been left on my own with her for an overnight but what could go wrong? Well thankfully nothing did go wrong if you ignore the dress sense I have for my child (luckily she has no ego to speak of that I am aware of). My wife was horrified to see what I had made the poor girl wear when she picked her up from creche yesterday afternoon on her return. She keeps telling me I have no sense of style so she only had herself to blame for the state of her child’s dress. As long as she’s dressed then she’s fine as far as I’m concerned. I don’t recognise style or fashion when I see it I’m afraid.

The notable event of the weekend was an absolutely epic tantrum. Not me mind but my daughter. I can have tantrums, they are rare but they do happen, but the style with which my daughter approached and carried hers out was to be admired. It all happened at feeding time. She just didn’t want to know. I tried every known trick in the book to get her to eat until eventually she just snapped. She was banging her fists on the table, her face went red and then she let out such an angry scream I almost took a step back. Our strategy for dealing with tantrums has always been to ignore them so that’s what I did. This continued for about a minute until eventually she stopped and we stared at each other. She had the good grace to smile at that point and the worst was over. She still wouldn’t eat for me but thankfully normal service resumed and all was well and we were friends again..

Are we hitting the terrible two’s 9 months early? If we are I hope she gets over it soon and the twos will be plain sailing. I suspect not.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Puppy or child?

Thanks for your comments Melbourne Man. Nice to see I have an international audience. On swimming – yes I think we’ll try again but I’ll let her forget her last experience first. She's now afraid of the bath as well...

You raised an important question about whether the decision (I could have used commitment here but I think there’s a difference - making the decision is wholly different from realising what you’ve committed to and the former comes way before your realise the latter!) to have a child outweighs the other needs in our lives that consume our time and money. What do I get out of it and is it worth it? That’s difficult to define and I’m not going to try. I guess you’ll know yourself if you make that decision and go down that road. The only thing I’ll say is that yes it is worth it. I still refuse to let go of all the things I enjoy just because I have a child. I still enjoy these things, only less often, and eventually I hope my daughter will enjoy them to. Things are just different. I have to plan more, I have less money and time and I always need more sleep. I’m not expecting that to change anytime soon.

Why can't you have a puppy and a child and the odd international adventure? I reckon you can.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Swimming Into Trouble

I know what we'll do today, we'll bring the family swimming. Me and the wife and our darling, chilled out, lovely natured daughter. Swimming. What a great thought. She'll love it. We'll all love it. Bring her to the pool, introduce her to the water, I'll show her how it's done. We'll make it a regular thing...

Yeah right..

Started off great. Got the water proof nappy on on. Got the swim suit on her. She looked very cute. I walked her into to the pool area and I noticed the first signs of tension from her. She was walking very slowly and looking nervously at the pristine water to her left. Not a ripple from the water as we were the first in this morning. She stopped and looked up at me with pleading eyes. I could see her thinking "Don't do this dad! I love you and you love me. Why would you even think of doing this?".

Wifey had gone in just before us to pave the way. As I neared the steps into pool she stopped. She looked at me again, then her mum then the water. "No chance I'm going in there!" I could hear her eyes screaming..

I lifted her and gently walked into the pool, down the shallow steps. All was silent. Silent until the moment her feet touched the tepid water. The blood curdling scream that emanated from her mouth cooled the water by a couple of degrees I'm sure. She was inconsolable. For the next 10 minutes we tried everything to get her to enjoy what was meant to be our new regular thing, something we could all do together. I tried the arm bands, various blow up things and the fish float. I don't think she'll ever forgive me for the fish float!

Never mind my daugher, I think i'm traumatised. I think swimming's off the agenda for now. Off to the zoo I think next week.


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Reflections and Memories

I have my first feedback this week which is exciting. People are actually reading this blog which is a relief. Some interesting comments from War and Smiris (thank you!) which prompted some thought on my part.

Smiris made the comment about how I’m going to have some wonderful memories. I have some amazing memories of the last 15 months already although some of it seems as if it happened to someone else. It used to feel like one long sleepless night but now I can reflect a little and remember those little moments of my new family history. This blog is something that I can show my daughter when she grows up. My wife has kept a dairy since our daughter was born and I always recognised the potential importance of that if we had another child but I never really considered, until now, how this blog might serve a purpose later on. This could be something really valuable to show my daughter when she’s old enough. To teach her maybe a little about what she and I were like when she was a young child. This record of the last year will be hers to keep forever if she wants it.

I was in War’s place once. Thoughts of fatherhood never at the front. Made me think of all those books you’re supposed to read on fatherhood and the first year. I tried and failed to read these much to my wife’s annoyance. I think they’re all well intentioned but there’s nothing like just getting on with it. Most the time you learn but just doing and you learn not to worry about whether you’re doing things the right way.

Monday, 24 October 2011

First Independent Steps

You know we have easy weeks and tough weeks with our little girl. Mostly easy weeks thank goodness and this week was an easy one for me. The teeth have settled down for now and she’s sleeping through and everything’s all right in the world. Sure, she has a few tantrums here and there and she’s taking the pee out of me when it comes to feeding time but that’s ok. No temperatures, rashes, loads of smiles and cuddles. Its good.

She got her first pair of shoes the other day. She’s been cruising for a while and she’s just started to walk unaided, tentativley at first, but she’s getting more confident. Its lovely when we catch her talking a sneeky walk when she thinks we’re not looking. She’ll smile, collapse to the floor, clap, we’ll clap and she’ll do it all over again.

We took her out shopping yesterday. Usually we’d just wheel her around in her pram and she’d be happy enough but yesterday I could see she was itching to get out so we spent a great 20 minutes walking up and down the isles. She’s a fast mover on her own now. She can get about 5 meters before she goes down. That’s going to get better. Great fun. Made us think though, we’ll need a strap or a lead for her or she’ll be gone. She’s a demon for getting back in the pram now but a little distraction usually sorts that one out.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

What lovely teeth you have my dear!

She's teething. Badly. You can tell from her big red cheeks and the constant yomping on her fingers. Oh yes, she's also keeping me and her mum up for hours on end in the wee hours for the last week. It feels like it did in the first 3 or 4 months, that feeling of not quite getting enough sleep. Even with a full 8 hours (rare anyway) you just don't get quite enough sleep. You know you're not 100% in any part of your life because of it but you just have to get on with it.

Her first tooth came through at about 6 months. It was at the front on the bottom. It stayed there on its lonesome for about a month before the top two front ones came along. She was fine, not a bother. A little frozen cucumber to ease the pain and she was happy. Night times were ok, the odd night of interruption because of teeth but we were still feeding overnight at that stage (that's another story altogether). She stayed with 3 teeth for another two months, the second front bottom tooth stubbornly refusing to grow. Eventually it came and there's been a stready stream of teeth since. She has 12 now I think.

This week or so she's been particularly cranky because of her teeth. We're trying our best to minimise the pain for her during this and we know it's not going to last forever but its tough when she has those rare days when she's just not in great form, not eating much and not sleeping enough.

If you have any tricks that work for teething i'd be delighted to hear. Our arsenal includes the frozen cucumber which works brilliantly for the minor teeth but doesn't seem to do much for the canines or the molars. Teethers never held any interest for her and we don't like resorting to calpol unless we have to.

Suggestions gratefully received...please!!!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

My Daughter and Me

You’ll have to forgive me but this is my first adventure into the world of blogging so I’m not actually sure what the protocol should be in terms of language or even who I should be addressing or what I should be writing. I guess my purpose here is to share my experiences of a huge year for me with the birth of my gorgeous daughter and I think I’m just going to write what I feel at the time.

She’s 13 months old now and it feels like she’s been here forever. I do remember life before her though and I must admit to sometimes missing that life. My wife would say to me “miss what?” - i’m not into sport and don’t have any all consuming hobbies but, still, the thoughts of sleeping in until I wake up, being able to go out without planning anything more strenuous than where to go and a rough idea of how to get home again or planning that holiday to the Maldives or New York are so attractive. I really took my freedom for granted then. Would I go back? Not unless I could come back. My daughter means the world to me and I get all starry eyed when she does something new and normal on the way to becoming my little girl. The first time for her is also the first time for me.

None of this is news for any parents out there reading this I know. Just from talking to my colleagues and friends over the last year I probably have an average to easy little girl (i’m not sure I should be calling her a baby any more!). I hope you find this interesting as I post my thoughts and experiences over the next few weeks and months as my daughter grows and develops and I go through the highs and lows of fatherhood.

I would welcome your comments so please feel free to post.