Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Coming or going?

Last night George managed a marathon sleep – 7.30pm to 6.30am. Brilliant – especially for mummy because, to be honest, she's the one who's been getting up to feed him with her breasts.

The nights have been getting better, though, and mummy and daddy no longer feel like they don't know whether they're coming or going through lack of sleep.

On the nights when daddy can't nod off, which to be fair isn't that often, he finds himself worrying about the daftest things; dogs on the loose – especially the rottweiler and pitbull varieties, busy roads and runaway pushchairs, the dangers of electric sockets, doors that slam shut in the wind and things that are extra hot like saucepans, kettles and fires.

Daddy used to fall asleep thinking about nice things, such as the plants he was going to choose for his garden.

Just when he is about to fall asleep mummy will break the darkened silence with "I wonder if I've tucked him in properly" or "does that sound like a choking sound or just a cough?". That, of course, is a cue for daddy to count in his head all the things that George might try to put in his mouth one day.

Now, even though daddy is getting enough sleep he still doesn't know if he's coming or going, and he's worked out that lack of sleep is not the reason. It's his t-shirts. Years of struggling with the likes of spaghetti bolognese, slushing wine glasses and a tummy that sticks out a bit means he has got used to the inevitable stain here and there. But George comes along and all of a sudden there are stains on the backs of his t-shirts too.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

High hopes

X Factor starts again this week – that's our Saturday nights sorted up until Christmas (it seems to make Christmas feel a lot nearer than it actually is) – and there will be lots of talented and talentless hopefuls wishing for their dream to come true.

There are phrases and quotes that pop up every year and the truly awful auditionees, when asked "so who has told you that you can sing?", will most likely reply "my mum and dad".

Now, even though I have high hopes for our little George, I'm not going to tell him he's great at something if he's not. He'll only end up as one of the deluded wannabes on Britain's Got Talent 2019.

Actually, we'd probably like to encourage him in a more academic direction – a surgeon or a pilot perhaps or, if daddy had his way, a world-renowned composer, a Formula 1 driver or a Nobel prize winner – much more aspirational than the world of pop, TV or football.

Anyway, the clever stuff goes on apace in our household. This week we bought a Baby Bjorn baby carrier, which took a bit of working out – but we got there. Then there was the lifecast set which involves making a mould of your baby's hands and feet and then casting them into life-size replicas which you can then paint. We managed to do George's foot – mummy got her emergency boob out to help stop George wriggling – now we have his hand to do. We'll probably end up with a 12-week-old's foot and a 12-year-old's hand.

The other clever thing is George's latest babygro. It has pictures of three characters alongside the words "koala + zebra + panda = friends". Now, I doubt koala, zebra and panda have actually met, seen as they live on three different continents, but the subliminal message of intercultural and interracial harmony is definitely there – let's hope George takes it on board when he's closing his eyes and having a think.

Of course, with having a baby comes big changes to your lifestyle and when daddy was at the supermarket this week he realised he would have to make one – and without hesitation he switched from his usual HP sauce to Daddies.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Names and games

Choosing a name for your baby is quite a responsibility. One which is often taken too lightly by the lower echelons of society who give their offspring strangely spelled or quite ridiculous monickers. In our antenatal classes there were six couples, including ourselves, who discussed absolutely everything about babies – except names.

The underlying fear that someone may have opted for the same name made the whole subject completely off limits. As it turned out everyone had chosen different names (all proper), some having been chosen well before the big arrival. Our choice, for instance, was made five months before George arrived, and even though there was no chance of us changing it if anyone else had decided on George, we're glad that he's the only one...

That is until the man who works in the field at the end of our garden acquired a Jack Russell puppy – very cute and friendly and sporting a bandana round his neck and, of course, called George.

Before George was born we used to play him music. Mummy would press the headphones against her tummy and relax. It wasn't that we believed it would make a vast difference or that we were 'new-age' parents, more that we love music and, well, it wouldn't do any harm – after all it wasn't Radio 2.

The other day – 12 weeks on – we decided to play him the music we played him in the womb and the reaction was certainly noticeable. Big smiles, kicking legs, cooing and waving arms instantly replaced his quiet relaxation.

And there are other unusual things that get George excited. The inside of cupboards for one, but mainly light fittings. There could be a reason for this – as George spends most of his day looking up, he gets to see a lot of ceilings and skies with not an awful lot going on for most of the time.

We tried to make his sky-gazing a little more interesting with the introduction of sunglasses, but it's still the light fittings that amuse him. His favourite toy is the mobile above his cot – a bit like a light fitting but with movement and music... and it's much better than some of the views he sees while lying on his back.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

It's a matter of size

There's quite a bit of comparing going on between new mums and dads when it comes to their babies – and much of it is about size.

The first question, after 'is it a boy or a girl?', is inevitably about how much the new arrival weighs. The weight comparison gives way to size comparison after just a few weeks when mums with prams and pushchairs – or travel systems if you like – take a peek as if to check on how their own young one is doing.

And it's surprising how noticeable the differences can be for just a matter of weeks or months. We thought our ten-week old George was a tiny thing when he was born. He certainly looked minute and fragile against our friend's sturdy ten-month-old boy, which is probably why mummy accidently sent a card with 'Now You Are 2' on the front for his first birthday. Luckily mummy's friend saw the funny side.

On a recent shopping trip, our pushchair thingy pulled alongside another one in a lift (we know where all the lifts are now), the occupant of which was a cute four-week-old. Suddenly our little George looks like quite a big fella. In fact, mummy took him out the other day and when she got back daddy was sure George looked bigger than he had done that morning.

All of a sudden George is growing too big for things – one of his first vests is a bit of stretch and looks more like a baby Borat's mankini – and the gifts of clothing that looked like they would fit a four-year-old are turning out to be a perfect fit.

And it's not just size that's up for comparison. Mini achievements – such as sleeping through the night, when the first smile arrives and whether they've rolled over yet – are also subjects of comparison up for discussion.

George did try to roll on to his front the other day, but his arms – which he still hasn't realised he has control over – keep getting in the way. The one achievement that George has accomplished – and that I haven't heard anyone compare – is the ability to be sick and smile at the same time.