Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ready Made Post

My lovely friend posted her aim this afternoon to list her daughter's current words and signs. I've been meaning to write a post about this, as in the couple of months since I last posted (and worried about J-cub's lack of speech), we've had an explosion of words and signs, so much so that J-cub is frequently frustrated by us as he signs clearly and fluently and we look at him blankly, before rushing to search through our signing books, flashcards and DVDs to figure out what he's saying. I've tried to keep a record of them, and have a sticky note on my desktop with them all ready and raring to be shared.

So without further ado, here is my (probably incomplete) list of J-cub's current communications.

(grouped in tens for easy counting)

more, baby, milk, food, apple, hi/bye, Daddy, Nanna, duck, bird

rabbit, giraffe, elephant, lion, tiger, cat, crab, fish, monkey, caterpillar

ants, teddy, cuddles, ball, nappy, where, what, octopus, flower, shush

frog, banana, yoghurt, car, sheep, trousers, shoes, orange, boat, book

grapes, camera, bath, stairs, hat, bee, telephone, listen, look, no

yes, draw, dummy, bed, penguin, Hannah, rainbow, tired, clean, dirty

teeth, drink, music, enough, no/stop, guitar, snake, hungry, yummy, nappy

pain, medicine, sleep

Animal Noises:

Snake [ssssssss]
Dog [ooo ooo]
Monkey [ooo ooo eee eee]
Mouse [eee eee eee]
Cat [yow]
Lion/Tiger/Elephant/Dinosaur [loud roaring/screaming sound]

(this doesn't include words which he used well before a year old but then stopped using)

garden [dardeh]
this/that/down/there [all sound similar but are accompanied by a point to indicate which he means]
dirty [dirdee]
tasty [daysdee]
nice [niiiiii]
knock knock
Dorothy [doradee]
sorry [dowee]
toast [doas]
Bagpuss [bag-puh]
Catey [tateee!]
snowman [do-dah]
jumper [dumper]
blue [boo]

and according to his keyworker at nursery:

Tom Bradley [one of his 'friends' who he's apparently been shouting at all day today ;)]

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Name Is Beth, and I'm a thumbsucker

Yep, at 31 years old I'm not too proud to admit that I still suck my thumb. Admittedly, it's not very often now, and I can't actually go to sleep sucking my thumb any more, as I've trained myself out of it. But all through my childhood, teens and early-twenties it was very necessary, and very hard not to do it when society dictated it to be inappropriate.

I remember sitting on the sofa after school watching television and sucking my thumb, and quickly whipping it out when the local paper was delivered by one of my classmates, who would walk past the front window and nearly always catch me in the act. Going to sleepovers was horrible, because I couldn't get to sleep without it, but didn't want my friends to see. And as for when I grew up a bit and started having sleepovers of an entirely different nature....... well I suppose that's when I really started trying to kick the habit.

As a result, I was adamant in my pre-baby days that I would not let any child of mine suck their thumb or fingers; that it would be far easier to get rid of a dummy than it would be to stop them sucking an always-available thumb. When I became pregnant, I reluctantly bought some dummies, which seemed very alien to me. I was already leaning towards the natural-parenting school of thought, which is most definitely dummy-free, and as neither myself nor my sister had had a dummy I couldn't quite get my head around the thought of using a piece of silicone to pacify my baby. I'd also read about nipple confusion, and knew I should wait 4-6 weeks, until breastfeeding was established, before introducing a dummy.

Then motherhood hit, and I had this hungry little baby, who couldn't or wouldn't latch on to feed, and who had to be fed with syringe or cup for the first 6 days of his life, before a kind community midwife saved my sanity by suggesting nipple shields, which worked like a charm and he started feeding straight away. The times when he wasn't feeding, he was grizzly, and grumpy, and moaned and groaned in his sleep and kept us awake at those times when we needed to try and catch up on our sleep. We told the midwife, who asked if we'd considered a dummy. I mentioned about the nipple confusion but she said that as we were using nipple shields anyway it wouldn't make much difference.

I think I sterilised the dummies ready straight away, but it was about another week before I could bring myself to give him one. I'd also read research from the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) that dummies reduce the risk of cot death, but also once you've introduced one, you shouldn't take it away until after a year old (I can't find that to link to now...).

So we became dummy users, and had a brief conversation at around a year old about whether we should 'do something' about it. We started reducing his use of it, so that he only had it in the car and in the cot. And that was, on the whole, pretty successful (we didn't implement this at nursery, as I figured he needed all the comfort he could get while he was there). Especially when toddler life became exciting and he started trying to talk a lot more, which was easier with a mouth unencumbered by a lump of silicone. Of course we had slip ups - when he was poorly then it's the only thing he really wants (and a Jemaine in each hand), when he's anxious or nervous or scared, and when he's poorly. When he dropped his afternoon nap he started getting tired around 6pm, so we instigated a half-hour In The Night Garden-Jemaines-dummy-Dorothy rocking session.

Recently we've had this horrible illness, and he's spent pretty much all day every day rocking on Dorothy with a dummy in his mouth and a Jemaine in each hand. And that means the dummy encroaches into other parts of life, so we end up exhausted at soft-play with a dummy...

And potentially lovely photos are spoiled by having it right there. However much I'm used to it now, I still don't like seeing it. And he knows it too, if he stumbles across one and slips it in, he'll come running straight up to me, thrust his face in mine and point to it with a cheeky grin. "Jacob, have you got a dummy?" I ask in a teasing tone of voice, and he screams and runs away cackling, to 'hide' in a corner and suck it for all he's worth.

All of this wittering is a roundabout way of saying yes, he still has a dummy, and no, I don't really know what to do about it. I think I'd rather wait until he can understand before we take it away completely. There's nothing I hate more than seeing him upset or hurting and not being able to explain what's going on and to help him. If we were to take them away now, he'd be inconsolable. I know it would probably only last a few days, then he'd forget all about them, but I just can't see that it's doing that much harm. Illness aside, he only has it in the cot now, and I'll often go up to check on him and find him sleeping without it. Sucking has been shown to alleviate pain, and it's definitely an innate instinct to suckle for comfort. In an ideal world, he'd be suckling on the breast, but for us that wasn't possible (3 months of thrush and recurring mastitis meant feeding him was hard enough, let alone any extra-curricular suckling).

Really, I just can't resist the cheeky twinkle in his eye when he's got one. It's gorgeous.

Friday, November 19, 2010

November Photo Update

More lovin' between J-cub and Tilly-bear...

A walk around the village to see fireworks (and eat apple pies in front of the village shop, it was awesome)...

J-cub discovered finger puppets and has become very adept at puppeteering...

And there have been far too many days that look like this, as a poorly baby has had to cope with a tummy bug, a chest infection, an ear infection, and his last 4 molars trying to put in an appearance. All at once...

Which has led to countless coughing/panic attacks complete with inconsolable screaming and eyes that don't seem to recognise us, raging temperatures, sleepless nights, a washing machine on constantly, a kitchen knee-deep in vomit-covered laundry, watching Coast at 3am, falling asleep at work, refusing to eat for a week, returning home after driving half-way to nursery before J-cub has thrown up all over himself, and a permanent comfy-area in the lounge for desperately trying to cope with very little sleep...

(Oh and note how the sofa is lower on the left than on the right? The springs broke. We now need a new sofa on top of everything else.)

October Photo Update

We kicked October off with a return-to-pre-baby-life as we DJ'd at Chick Habit in Cardiff. It's been too long since I last DJ'd and I was very nervous, so I enlisted my lovely friend Claire to work with me. After getting told off for playing 'too much heavy stuff' we kicked the boys asses by filling the dance floor and keeping them there. We rocked. It was freaking awesome, and we rolled into bed at sometime around 5am. It was light.

We had a couple of days of Indian Summer, and took full advantage of it with snoozy walks through the forest...

J-cub perfected his innocent 'I'm not touching that dummy Mum, honestly' look...

And was just generally gorgeous...

J-cub and Tilly's relationship went from strength to strength, with her joining us for pre-bed story time...

I re-read all 7 Harry Potter books in preparation for the 7th film, and J-cub got in on the action too...

He's so clever ;)

September Photo Update

We both had the first week of September off, and spent it trucking back and forwards from Cardiff. We had a gorgeous park-picnic with friends, enjoying the last of the Summer sun and chasing ducks and dogs around, then went to the Doctor Who exhibition. J-cub was less than impressed by the Daleks, and was not even excited to see K-9. I had a great time though, and had to stop Jamie smuggling Amy Pond's outfit out under his jumper.

We went to IKEA twice, to get some toy storage for the living room sorted, and a new chest of drawers for our bedroom, and just because it's a great day out (really, it is, J-cub loves all the play areas and I could spend a fortune in there).

He especially loved the cot layouts, I think he would have fallen asleep there if I'd let him...

We spent a day scrubbing the garden furniture and toys, J-cub helping by cleaning his car (and emptying my buckets of soapy water as fast as I could fill them)...

We spent rainy days inside huddling under umbrellas, which also make excellent boats...

We learnt that J-cub's all-in-one waterproof is just that - he stuck both his arms up to the shoulders into a bucket of water and was as dry as a bone underneath...

Saturday morning laundry provides me with 50 minutes of peace as J-cub sits on an upturned nappy box and quietly monitors the washing machine...

I learnt that I can sit atop a toddler swing relatively easily...

We took a poorly boy to soft play to cheer him up, and he conquered his fear of ball pools...

And we replaced the faithful Jumperoo with a rocking dinosaur called Dorothy, who J-cub fell desperately in love with...

August Photo Update

When I last posted before the Great Lull, it was just before my birthday. We spent the day at our favourite beach on Gower, just as we had done 2 years previously when I had a tiny bump and very little idea of what was in store.

It was a gloriously sunny day, and it was fab having my new wrap to carry Jacob down the long walk to the top of the cliffs surrounding the bay, and then to carefully climb down the steep path to the beach.

He had a whale of a time throwing sand around, falling face-first into the sea, and chasing seagulls. He got a little bit chilly after a while (his lips started turning blue...) so we sat him on the rocks in the sun and wrapped all 4.6 metres of wrap around him to warm him up. We finished the day with fish and chips and triple-layer Rocky Road cake, it was gorgeous.

The day after my birthday was our 8th Wedding Anniversary, and we celebrated with a play in the paddling pool...

...which concluded with a very cold baby making himself a bed in front of the telly and cuddling his cat for a good hour before he warmed up. Awwww.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Every day I think that if I leave it any longer, it'll be really hard to catch my blog up. But then I can't think how best to catch up the last week, fortnight, month ... 2.5 months ... so I wonder off to look elsewhere on the web, and my thoughts drift away, and I forget again. But the guilt never quite stops niggling at me.

Guilt because I haven't done a proper baby memory book for Jacob, or even printed any photos of him and put them in an album for him - there's nothing tangible to provide him (or me) with memories of these precious first years. And this blog assuaged that guilt a little, giving me an easily-accessible record of the little things that are so important.

I've been reading the most perfect blog this week, with the most perfect momma and her beautiful daughters and life, and the guilt has just overflowed. How have I let this lapse? All those moments that have passed without me recording them...

So I typed 'm' into the address bar, to drag this blog up and make amends. And 'ynameis-beth.blogspot.com' didn't appear. Because it's been that long.

When I'd finally coaxed my fingers through typing the whole address, and logged in, I found 3 comments awaiting moderation. Shouldn't I be emailed about that? Settings amended, comments approved, and here I am. Thank you, lovely Emily, for thinking of me and reminding me what I should be doing. Sorry I didn't hear you earlier.

I love your pics of J-Cub. He'll really appreciate them when he's older. I wish I could remember to take photos of Megan. She's growing so fast, I'm not keeping up with her. Must try harder. 200 posts, that IS something momentous, I'm only sorry I didn't say so earlier! :D
By Glovecat on Day 34 - New boots on 11/7/10
You make me laugh. I love you comment about J's modelling hip and the insistence that there is a tangerine there SOMEWHERE. See, I miss your posts so much that I'm guiltily going back over your old posts and commenting, hoping that you'll put up some new ones. It's been 2 months, according to my dashboard! TWO MONTHS! ;D
By Glovecat on Day 36 - Liony bum on 11/7/10
Wah! Now I see that you responded to my stupid comment. I shall have to see if you've "bumped" me up yet (like the pun!)... You have gone strangely quiet, I hope you're doing well and that you are simply enjoying life too much to blog about it! All is well in babyland, though i find it hard to get much done other than what Megan wants me to do... She's lovely though, we're totally besotted! Big hug to you, mama, will you update us and post something soon? xxx
By Glovecat on Day 41 - He's on the phone. on 10/8/10

Message received, loud and clear. I'm sorry. I WILL do better. I'm going to find photos and updates and thingys and quirks to post over the next few days.

But in a few words...

* Going back to work after the summer holidays was shit. That's initially why I stopped writing. It was horrible, I was accused of some stuff I didn't do, and it was all too hard to deal with. I'm still not terribly happy being there, but there's not a lot I can do about it. I'm learning to take each day as it comes, and to be constantly checking my back and covering my ass so it doesn't happen again. They chose the wrong person to fuck with.

* Jacob has taken to nursery like a pig to swine flu ... we've had illness after illness and it's getting ridiculously hard to cope. Poor poppet.

* Jamie's back/neck/arm/shoulder/hand etc are causing lots of gyp and general day-to-day living problems. We are awaiting referrals to physio and testing for arthritis. Gah.

* The cats are very annoying in winter. Because they want to go out, but it's cold and wet, so they want to come in. Then they want to go out. We don't have anywhere for a catflap, so there is lots of anguished miaowing all the time.

* Jacob is amazing, wonderful, funny, growing, lovely, loving, perfect - each and every day. New words, new signs, new little routines and rituals that make him happy. My favourite of today.... him walking very purposefully around the lounge, then stopping, and very, very, slowly casting his eyes at me from under his fringe, just to see if I'm watching. And when I am, bursting into giggles and falling over.

And my baby seems to be no longer a baby ... he's a boy:

'Hiding' in the corner