Monday, July 28, 2008


I believe I may have mentioned Beth's recent mastery of the sippy cup, and my impending FREEDOM BABY YEAH! This was clearly a jinx, as yesterday Beth couldn't figure it out at all and this morning she still wasn't drinking much, a slight problem as (a) I wanted my freedom and (b) she seems to need a few tablespoons of water a day to balance out the digestive perils of her rice cereal breakfast. Aside: why is rice, known to cause constipation in grown ups, a recommended first baby food? Are we as a species on crack or what?

In any case, this morning I figured what the hey, and got out one of her bottles from a previous attempt at my freedom which failed, because she never really took to the bottle. Rather than buggering around, she promptly grabbed it from me and fed herself a refreshing drink of water. GO TEAM US.

Photographic proof that (a) Beth can feed herself, (b) we do read to her and (c) our house is a crapheap, per usual.

Provided that she can do it herself, she's up for most feeding methods, or so it seems.

She is not however up for her afternoon nap so I must be off.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Experimental blogging

What a fascinating modern age we live in...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wii Fit week 10. *ahem*

So, I thought last week would be my worst week ever, but I underestimated myself. No Wii Fit AT ALL, and I missed my long run on Sunday... but it's not all bad news.

I did a weigh in today (at least it's only 7 days since the last one):
BMI: 35.02 (down 0.57)
Weight: 119.7kg (down 1.8kg)
Weight loss to date: 7kg

It doesn't seem right, but I guess the jogging is having an effect...

Chalking up the achievements

This week has been a big one for Beth, if you are her parents!
  1. new tooth. Grant and I were betting on which it would be, and both bet spectacularly wrongly as instead of an exotic upper tooth she got the same old, same old other bottom middle tooth. Two in a row! Twice the cuteness! Twice the incredibly painful biting power!
  2. new smile, complete with exaggerated squinty eyes. Grant thinks she's trying to smile like me. How's that for a backhanded compliment? She seems to reserve this particular smile for special occasions, so it may be the start of her developing into a prize showpony like her mummy.
  3. first swimming lesson. I was worried that she's be freaked out by it all, but clearly the healthful chlorine vapours of our local pool did the trick because she seemed to have a lovely time swimming with her daddy, and didn't even seem to mind when the teacher was grabbing her now and then to show us how to teach her. She really liked hanging onto the edge of the pool and splashing, and sitting on the edge to jump in. If there is anything more adorable than a little baby butt peeping out of a swim nappy, I don't know what it could be.
  4. and (drumroll) the moment I have been waiting for these many months - putting her feet in her mouth! I could not be prouder.
Solids-wise she's now eating pears, sweet potato, apple, pumpkin, potato and rice cereal. She lets us feed her now and isn't quite as determined to use her own spoon (although does still have one clenched in her fist while eating, and shoves it in her mouth fairly regularly). I thought there could be nothing worse than potato mashed with nothing but water, but actually it's quite tasty. We have had to whoa way back on the rice cereal as it was causing backups in the pipes but everything else seems to be going down well. She hasn't rejected anything yet, but then we're not up to the exciting stuff I suppose!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wii Fit week 9 - worst week EVA!

I did so little Wii during this week it barley even warrants a mention. I think it was like 30min on Monday and Tuesday... and that's it! I also missed a couple of jogs. Very bad week. I think I will cut back a bit on the Wii as my jogging is (theoretically) increasing coming in to the City 2 Surf.

The good news is I have since gotten the jogging back on track.

Anyway, I failed to do a weigh in on Sunday, but I'll use the results from Tuesday (didn't do a work out, just a body test!)

BMI: 35.59 (down 0.73)
Weight: 111.5kg (down 1kg)
Weight loss to date: 5.2kg

So, even though I have done very little exercise, and we had some fantastic food at Alex and Michelle's wedding, I still lost weight! Gotta be happy with that...

My task now is to stay focused on the jogging, and aim for 3 days of Wii per week. I'll modify the routines and make it more of a mixed bag.

Striking while iron is hot

In my haste to recount the exciting part of the wedding last weekend (sleep!) I forgot to mention the other parts. Most importantly, Grant has long desired to dance with his daughter at a wedding. I should stress *a* wedding and not *her* wedding. Although I'm sure he wants to do that too. In any case, Beth was getting towards bedtime when the speeches were still in full swing last night, and then the bridal couple had their first waltz while Grant was in the back of the hall, putting Beth to sleep in her pram, or so I thought. But instead Beth and her daddy were doing this far far more fun thing:

Milestone #21374213, dancing at wedding using correct hand on shoulder posture: check

Nothing like starting out teary for a bridal waltz and then getting a dose of my two favourite humans being even more adorable than usual.

As you can see, Beth was having a lovely time, and in such circumstances we are finally learning to say to hell with the rigid bed clock and hello life is for living! Grant went on to make everyone in the room vote him Best Father of All Time by taking it out on the dance floor. The song following the bridal waltz was "A Little Ray of Sunshine," so I think the DJ was getting a bit misty-eyed too. Although possibly not, as Beth's awesome outfit contained no pink so everyone assumed she was a boy.

Jan got the above shot, and also forwarded us this very rare apple, namely the SHOT OF GRANT, LOZ AND BETH TOGETHER PROVING NONE ARE FIGMENTS OF THE OTHER'S IMAGINATION!

The shot also proves the following:
(a) Lee's awesome green jumper still fits Beth;
(b) Grant still looks sharp in a red tie;
(c) I was dressing for the wedding solely with regard to how easy it would be to breastfeed in the outfit rather than visual appeal. One has to have priorities, as you can see from Beth's chubby cheeks;
(d) Beth has my eyebrows;
(e) Yes, Grant still has dimples.

It was a wonderful night.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Stroller of Sleeping +8

Ooh, lucky 101st post! Who would have believed we could waste quite so much time :)

Stroller of Sleeping +8

So at the weekend we went to Grant's cousin Anthony's ("oh wait, I mean Alex" - celebrant) wedding in Sydney, which was an exciting occasion but involved a two-hour car trip each way, a late night wedding reception, an overnight stay at a hotel, and a long yum cha the next day, all of which would have been frankly inconceivable adventures with Beth a month ago. So I was slightly anxious about the whole shebang.

But I needn't have worried. Post-babywrangler Beth is a whole different baby. She slept half of the trip down and all of the trip back, waking up only when we drove in the driveway; she slept through the wedding itself in her stroller and more amazingly still slept for almost three hours in a really, really noisy reception, waking only after the dessert course to say hello to the family members present and be a bit weirded out by the noise volume of the Brazilian dancers. It was lovely. All of the people who are usually giving us veiled advice about baby sleeping were instead admiring the Most Awesome Sleeping Baby Ever. I was kind of smug about this because Beth was outsleeping the crap out of the other baby present, who was a Strict Routine child. EAT THAT STRICT ROUTINES! Anyway, this epic snooze was also in her stroller. She then went on to sleep in it for two hours the next day during yum cha, waking at the end of proceedings just in time to smile endearingly at all present.

Clearly the stroller has magical powers, so I am thinking of either buying three more strollers of the same kind (see above for actual real stroller of sleeping) just in case or possibly having this one bronzed in memory of the occasion. I am so so glad Grant's sister encouraged me to give the stroller sleep a whirl weeks ago, because it is FREEDOM, BABY, YEAH!

The only glitch in the whole thing really was the hotel sleep. Beth was reluctant to sleep in the portacot and made this clear. It probably would have been fine within a few minutes, but we didn't want to wake anyone so caved and let her sleep in our bed. Fortunately our bed was HUUUUUUUUGE and she was pretty happy once she got her mummy and daddy cuddles.

She really was an absolute champ all weekend. She couldn't have done much better if she had set out to help my recovery from the Horrific Sydney Trip of March 2008, which included unexplained screaming, nappy blowouts, puking on a train and a few emotional breakdowns at my end, and put me off travelling any further than Charlestown for months. In fact I was so impressed with her terrific attitude all weekend that I felt the need to buy every toy in IKEA for her. She now has sufficient toys to require a box for same. And some of them aren't even improving wooden toys. Some of them are PLASTIC.

In short: awesome weekend. We saw family, we saw friends, and Beth made all and sundry fall in love with her. As they should. No photos - we were too busy having a great time!

Monday, July 07, 2008

A retrospective: 6 months of Beth (Plan B)

Grant has been hassling me to do a proper blog entry, and I'm having quite the galloping writer's block, having written nothing other than shopping lists and legal advice since September last year. But our daughter, she is fabulous, and deserving of written acknowledgement on the momentous occasion of her six-month-aversary. So.

1. The advent of Beth

Beth didn't have quite the introduction to the world outside that we had hoped. Instead of being born in a nice birth centre and being caught by her daddy with Auntie Sue helping, followed by a lovely long snooze at home in bed with us to get to know each other, we spent most of a pretty gruelling 30 hour labour in a hospital ward with me chained to a bed with drips and foetal monitors, and when she was finally born she was whisked away to the NICU for 2.5 days. Not much fun for anyone, particularly as Grant and I had been awake for the aforementioned 30 hours and then got no more than 1.5 hours' sleep at a stretch so that I could do three hourly (and then two hourly, yuk!) feeds in the NICU.

So our "getting to know each other" stage had rather more cables, monitors, and doctors and nurses in attendance than anticipated, as well as a lot more being forced to leave Beth behind in a ward with strangers, and everyone was fairly shell-shocked for weeks afterwards. I think we both found it quite hard to put her down for a while there, and even after she was out of the NICU but in the maternity ward with us, we used to steal "secret cuddles" with her when she was supposed to be in her light bed for jaundice.

Beth was born tall but desperately skinny, likely because of the tummy bug from hell that landed me in hospital at 34 weeks. She didn't actually have a butt, just kind of a flat sheet of skin with a little starfish in the middle; I wish we had documentary evidence of this, because it was freaky, and if people could see it they would understand why watching Beth grow a butt still stands out as one of the greatest achievements of the first week or so of her life and one of which I am immensely proud, since *I* provided the butt fuel, after all.

2. Monkey stage

I remember really clearly Grant worrying when we had been home at Mum's for a couple of days that Beth was "all floppy." It took her that long to relax, I suppose, and I can't really blame her, because I think it took me longer!

Somewhat ironically given the NICU's paranoia about blood sugar and reasonably constant attempts to make us put her on formula, Beth lost all of 23gm of her 3068gm birthweight in the first 4 days of life and by the end of her first week had put on 300gm. For the uninitiated, 10% weight loss in the first week is normal; Beth gained that much, purely through the power of the boob. Normal weight gain is 140-250gm/wk; until she was 12 weeks old, Beth never gained less than 300gm/wk. She went from the 25th percentile for weight at birth to the top by 12 weeks, and now is hovering at the top of the charts for weight, height, and giant skull! So she grew that butt pretty quickly.

Beth spent a lot of her newborn "monkey stage" snoozing on chests (preferably daddy's chest) or in slings while we resumed our busy cafe lifestyle.

And lots and lots of time nursing and cuddling, and not a great deal of time alone in bed - well, she had done plenty of that in the NICU. I barely remember most of this stage to be honest. I was too busy clutching Beth, nursing all the live long day, and being a hormonal wreck. Looking back over the photos, she was a whole different creature. It was really quite a challenge getting to know someone who doesn't do much other than tell you when you're not acting up to spec, and since we were falling over ourselves to satisfy her every need and since (shockingly) she is a pretty easy going kiddo, she was barely even crying.

And then she started smiling and it was a whole new ball game, otherwise known as mummy and daddy three-ring-circus of "oh go on, SMILE!" (later repeated to this day to make her laugh, because we are suckers for her laugh).

3. Oh God, real baby time

While I was a wreck, the newborn monkey stage wasn't really that difficult. She used to only wake up once a night, and at 9 weeks old I scoffed at a speaker at my mother's group talking about sleep deprivation, because *I* used to sleep from 11 to 8 or so with only one waking, and clearly all these sleep deprived people were just incompetent parents. HAH.

The next day, I caught the train to Sydney with her for the second time. The first time had been a breeze really; the second time she puked all over me, blew out a nappy on a crowded train so I had to change her ON THE SEAT, cried and cried and refused to feed, and then when we arrived at Vron's, screamed her head off for half an hour until Grant put her in the sling to knock her out. And then the dreaded breast refusal stage started. She went from feeding for an hour at a time, thus consuming my entire day, to refusing to feed other than in short snatches and LYING DOWN IN THE BEDROOM, thus consuming my entire day and breaking my spirit into itty bitty pieces, for SIX WEEKS. This also meant that she went from waking once a night to waking every 2 hours to catch up on missed feeds, thus turning me into Zombie Mummy. It was rather hard to get any medical professionals to pay attention, though, as despite plummeting weight gains she was still cruising at the top of the weight charts.

Did I mention we also moved house at this time? Yeah, we did. Because we are just that kind of crazy.

But in between all of these shenanigans she was a smiling, lovely baby; it's just that for everything from 9 weeks to about 5 months I was too sleep-deprived and worried about her feeding to appreciate too much of it. You may notice there aren't so many photos of this particular stage.

Her favourite toy from about 8 weeks to 4 months was the Ladybird Nightmare floormat/playgym.

It took her a while to coordinate the grabbing and bashing thereof, but she pretty soon got the hang of it and by 3 months Mr Froggy was being beaten up at regular intervals. At 3.5 months Beth repeatedly rolled from her front to her back, but after doing three sets of rolls on two separate occasions, apparently she forgot how for another month or so, or maybe just didn't see the need, because she is very much a tummy baby and why on earth would one want to roll onto one's back when the REAL action is in rolling to one's tummy?

The harder, ab-requiring back to tummy roll was accomplished at 4.5 months. I credit our chiro for this, as until we started going to her when Beth was about four months old, Beth really didn't move her legs much at all - she was apparently pretty locked up in the lumbar spine, probably as a result of her not-so-easy entrance into the world. It's a funny thing to see a chiro adjusting a baby, as most of it involves what looks like modified cuddles and swings. Until very recently, Beth loved this, but lately there has been Neck Work which she has not been too fond of. In any case, since she managed this feat, Beth has happily stayed on her belly in a yogaesque cobra pose for ages and ages at a time, and how it isn't destroying her neck I do not know, because mine gets sort of achy just watching her.

At 5 months she remembered how to roll tummy-to-back and now she does it kind of like a synchronised swimmer, putting her arm back and over quite gracefully. She likes rolling forward and back, but only does it in opposite directions, so rolls on the spot. LUCKY FOR MUMMY AND DADDY, because if she works out how to string two rolls together and cross the floor, the game is up, as we are very much not yet childproofed in these parts. She's also very cleverly worked out how to use a front and back roll to spin around on the spot. Now she has modified her technique to a less wasteful roll-only-to-side approach, and has started walking her hands around a bit. It's amazing how much she can figure out even in only a few days

New favourite toys are her books (esp. "That's Not My Teddy" - mmm, furry, and hilarious, especially when Grant reads it as "That's Not My Daddy - HIS EARS ARE NOT FURRY ENOUGH!"), her Selecta wooden rattle and teething ring, and the best toy of all, her Chime Garden, which I bought on a whim at the DJs sale and which has since amused not only Beth 24/7 but also a friend's five year old! And according to said friend, it plays Schumann, so it's educational, too!

4. In which Mummy finally cracks and some sleep is had

The fact is, though, that sleepwise we had a pretty hard slog from when Beth was about 3 months old on. She rarely napped for longer than 45 minutes, required me to feed her to sleep or one of us to carry her in a sling to sleep, and would often not sleep for much longer than it took to get her to sleep to begin with. She was waking at least 3 times a night for feeds, usually didn't go longer than two hours between feeds, and Grant had to take her in the mornings so that I could sleep in just to survive.

We finally admitted that WE NEEDED HELP and hired the local sleep guru, I was sure this would lead to nonstop screaming and even less sleep, but in fact within a few hours of Natalie's visit, and without much pain at all, Beth was self-settling, sleeping for minimum three-four hour stretches at night (and often 6 or 7 hours, woohoo!), wakes twice a night on a BAD night, and would let Grant put her down to bed. Considering that before this it had routinely taken 40mins-2 hours to get Beth to sleep, this was freaking incredible, and made all the better by the fact that I had had such low expectations to start with.

Now we have a lot more energy to play with Beth, and she has a lot more fun, and seems to be rocketing through her milestones much faster than when she spent most of her time tired or with me trying to put her to sleep. While she was always a pretty cheerful chicken, she's now a lot calmer, to the point where we went from blaming everything on teething a month ago to not actually noticing when she cut her first tooth, even though in hindsight that did explain two mysterious short screaming fits and some rather unusual (for now - used to be standard) short night sleeps. I really enjoy her so much more now, and I think she's sort of reflecting that.

I also get to do really exciting things like GO RIDING ON MY BIKE! I haven't been riding since April last year, but it turns out that riding a bike is like riding a bike.

So I can say as Beth reaches her mighty milestone of six months: this parenthood caper is all kinds of cool. Our daughter is glorious, and every day more and more her own person, but more importantly, she cracks me up.

5. Summary

Amelie-style, things Beth likes: daddy jungle gym; mummy jungle gym; boob if on her terms; Chime Garden; watching the trees in the wind; rolling around, particularly now we have some end-of-roll lino for her to skid around on (super high quality, apparently); sit-ups; nappy-off time (aka "vejayjay time"); bathtime; daddy's silly songs; chewing things, esp if wooden or a spoon; attacking catalogues.

Things Beth isn't so sure about, but thinks she could grow to like: pureed sweet potato.

Dislikes: not so keen on ointment applied to the face, the five minutes before bed, or people other than mummy or daddy cuddling her, although usually prepared to relax about it after a while. Other than that, she's good with just about everything.

We adore, adore, adore our baby girl. It seems impossible that it has only been six months, and equally impossible that she has not always been here.

So that's where we're at. How have you guys been?


Two milestones to log today!

Beth had a go at solids today. Sure, it made her throw up a little, but she does like playing with the spoon!

So since we hired the baby wrangler and have been a) getting sleep and b) having fun awake times, we haven't been quite so prone to saying "maybe it's teething" and such. In hindsight though, during the last couple of days Beth has had some grumpy moments...

We bought a roll of vinyl for her to practice commando crawling on and she has spent most of this afternoon having fun sliding around:
And I noticed that she was rubbing her gums with both hands - which she hadn't done for a while. I went to put some Bonjela on, and noticed a vicious little spike on the lower gum. That explains a lot!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Our baby girl!

It is probably about time someone posts something about Plan B (is she still plan B? Surely Plan B has been executed already?)... Well, here she is:

She is doing super!

I will now spend the next 2 days harassing Loz into doing a 6-months-old post.

Wii Fit Week 7 and Week 8


What can I say... not a great couple of weeks. I will start with the good news though.

June was awesome. I am very happy with the volume of training I did during June - only missing 1 day when I should have done Wii Fit. If I can maintain this kind of consistency I will be very happy.

The results of the last 2 weeks, however, were not so great. During week 7, I went out and had a "few" beers with Benski. See the result:
23/6 33 min
24/6 44 min
25/6 -
26/6 36 min
27/6 34 min
28/6 35 min
29/6 32 min

BMI: 36.32 (up .9)
Weight: 113.8kg (up .6kg)
Weight loss to date: 2.9kg

30/6 33 min
1/7 10 min
2/7 -
3/7 -
4/7 37 min
5/7 37 min
6/7 33 min

BMI: 36.32 (down .42)
Weight: 112.5kg (down 1.3kg)
Weight loss to date: 4.2kg

Week 7 also had the most variance is weight - generally it is a slow trend down, but it was spiking all over the place. During week 8 I slacked off a bit. I was kind of feeling a bit run down, and may have been over doing the jogging during week 7. I rode the new cargo bike (blog entry of its own to come!) from Mum and Dad's place into Cooks Hill on the Sunday, which was a bit of a strain, and then did an hour long easy jog on Monday. After this my hamstring was fairly sore, and caused most of the right side of my body to be "out". I have mostly recovered from this, and the 60min jog on Sunday was not too bad at all. I think I am going to have to step up the massages and chiro appointments. Damn jogging. I'll be glad when this bloody event is over.

Apart from this small setback, the jogging has been going fairly well. 5 weeks to go until the Ciy 2 Surf... While I have always been confident of making it to the end (hell, I could walk it in about 2 hours), I would like to jog as much as possible, and maybe make it in under 90 minutes. I have not been doing any hills yet, so that might be a bit of a shock to the system. The next couple of weeks will be a challenge, as we have some events to attend in Sydney on the weekends.