Remedial laugh school

The jman has started laughing. His first attempts were about four weeks ago at about 3 months old. At this stage, it was like he’d read about laughing, but had never heard how it actually went down.

“Ha. Ha. Haaaaaaa!” He’d enunciate, clearly.”Ha.”

In truth, it lacked the spontaneous merriment that goes with a good belly laugh. His laughs were reflected on, pondered, planned, considered and pronounced. I love that he “ha ha ha’d”. They were hilarious. Then they stopped.

Babies are weird how they go mad on a skill for a few days and then it disappears. He’s been a bit like that with his mad few days of rolling over.

“Tick. Rolling over in both directions done. Move along. Nothing to see here.”

The new version of jman laughter is brilliant. It started yesterday, thus far witnessed by three people, not including dad.

I haven’t yet captured it on video, mainly because when it happens I am crying with laughter and clutching my sides, tears running down my cheeks. It is a snigger. Like Muttley. Like an old school flasher in an overcoat. If you wrote it, you’d have to spell it “Hnnn hnn hnnnh”. And the more I laugh, the more he looks at me and “Hnnn hnn hnnnh”s. He also gets this goofy look on his face when he does it. And pulls his chin(s) in.

My stomach hurts.

Video to follow.

If he keeps this up, we’re going to have to send him to remedial laugh therapy, so he learns to laugh a little less like a hyena and a little more like a real boy.

I’m hoping he tries out a good snort laugh soon. I LOVE a snort laugh. In the meantime, he can “Hnnn hnn hnnnh” til the cows come home. I’ll just make sure I buy more tissues and hang on to my splitting sides.

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Monday snapshot: Today’s the day

Today’s the day that jman’s life started, in a little petri dish, on the first floor of a nondescript building in Greenwich. Today’s the day, a year ago, that the scientists rang me to say we had 12 eggs fertilised in our second ivf attempt (three embryos made it to day 5).

It is a strange feeling to look at him, laying here attacking his owl on his playmat, and think that a year ago today he was one cell, thinking of becoming two, thinking of being a hatching blastocyst in 5 days, thinking of joining me on the 30th. After all we’ve been through. It’s amazing.

I should have taken his photo, in that petri dish on the camera on day 5, but for the Monday snapshot you can make do with these:

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Mother of invention #7: the leaving the house board game

It’s a freaking lottery, leaving the house with a baby. Not that I’m ungrateful for my hard earned bundle of joy, but in absence of a degree in logistics, how does ANYONE leave home with more than one kid?

I love that all post partum follow ups have appointment times. If these professionals really got it, your appointment would read come sometime on Monday Tuesday or Wednesday. We understand you can’t do anything before 11, you need to be at home by 3, and anythingcould happen on any given day. Just try and come before the kid is two years old, k?

I’ve done more than one set of flow charts in my time analysing business’ internal controls, but these do not even compare to mummy flow charts. If anyone wonders why you’re a bit vague, you need a little peep window into your brain (kind of like the storm cover for the pram), that shows the number of”what if” statements required to achieve forward motion with a baby.

So here, for your leisure pleasure, is the Leaving the house board/bored game. It was going to be pretty colours, using some kind of auto shape drawing colour innerer software, but, then, you know, I had ten minutes over my latte in cornucopia cafe, the jman was snoozing and, well, lets just say this is the budget version. I am aware it is not possible to win, by the way. That will come in the deluxe coloured edition, where the secrets to leaving the house will be revealed. I am happy to incorporate suggestions in a subsequent version 2.0, so leave any other “leaving the house pitfalls” you’ve encountered, or indeed recipes for success, in the comments section below.

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The Monday snapshot: elf yourself

The weekend saw our first family road trip to Canberra, about 3 hours south. The jman turns out to be a great traveller, with only one stop down and a straight run back home, very little whinging and one chilled out little dude in the car.

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As this was a pre Xmas Xmas, complete with turducken, the Jman broke out the Xmas comedy dressing for the fam. Hilarious. I’ve previously discussed our differing opinions on comedy dressing, but I think we won daddy/ hub-in-boots over, in the end.

Please note, I am only responsible for the elfing. The Santa -ing was a combo of a present from uncle peter, and a madonna like wardrobe change courtesy of cousin Bec. He seriously looks impressed with himself, don’t you think? It’s only in the past week he’s discovered mirrors. Sure to be a lifelong devotion, methinks.

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Grandma bought him a music box that plays jingle bells, and the snow whirls around when the music plays. Grandma is well known for being obsessed with xmas. The jman is pretty damn impressed with his first music box. This pose lasted for about half an hour.
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It was great to get a fore taste of Xmas with a baby on board…it changes things, or maybe makes us remember things… For example the value of a house full of babysitters and a couple of expressed feeds! Hello, Pinot, my old friend!

I get a feeling from his weekend performance, the jman will be like dad, an introverted extrovert, who starts off quiet til he’s sure of himself, then just loves being the centre of the party. It was great having everyone together on a happier occasion than the last time.

And finally, a word from the Jman about the weekend. It seems in the midst of a very loud family he realised he’d better find his voice, and fast!

Stupid parenting advice

I’m just going to note down the stupid things people say that i have found no help whatsoever in my parenting journey. Then I’ll give you a couple of good ideas I have found useful.

1. Sleep when your baby sleeps.

Hmmm.

And if he doesn’t?

Or, let’s say he sleeps in 45 minute blocks. Sleeping 45 minutes on and off all day makes me
a) look like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards
b) feel like I have a two day hangover

Not to mention the fact that when the little bugger goes down, I might need to
a) go to the toilet because I’ve been holding in a pee for three hours
b) eat something because if he sleeps on me any longer I may start chewing the couch
c) attempt some modicum of personal hygiene ( cleaning your teeth at 3pm, anyone?)
d) shower and remove vomit stained clothing in case there’s a slim chance I don’t win the award for least attractive wife, ever.
e) organise an evening meal as a bunker against the evening screamy session which coincides with meals, like always.
f) attempt to look like I give a crap about housework.

Plus I really hate of hub-in-boots arrives home and I’m drooling unconscious on the couch still in my pyjamas teeth uncleaned and hiding behind a collection of dirty mugs. It just doesn’t look good, you know? I’m always worried he’ll open the front door, take one look one evening and just bugger off.

Maybe we should translate this to drink when the baby’s sleeping?

Update: since this was first drafted, my little hero sleeps about nine hours a night, five out of seven nights. So no complaints here about the micro sleeps all day, I’m drunk on the good stuff… Precious shut eye.

2. Have a plan b day

These are, according to the scary butch dyke clinic sister, days where baby misbehaves and it’s better to throw up your hands and wave the white flag, stay home, and do what baby needs you to do. Which is great advice, unless you have an appointment with the paedeatrician you’ve waited two weeks for, or it is the day of the only social outlet you’ve had in, oh, 11 weeks, or the plan b days start to outnumber all the other days, say, 5:1.

I’m pretty sure this clinic sister has pictures of fluffy bunnies on her desk. At mums group she read out a job ad for a team leader/ counsellor/ cleaner/cook/ teacher, which, quelle surprise, was an amusing ad to be a mum. Oh, the humanity. She even left copies of it for us to take home. So….moving. Kind of like prunes. I am thinking this woman was sans career at the time of her impending parenthood. There was another amusing clever tale too, but you know, it might make you want to gauge out your own eyeballs with a fork.

3. Outsource

Lovely idea, get that cleaner in, peeps! Stupid advice. That whole single income family since January thing. Nannies are also a wonderful idea. Shame about the bank balance.

4. Have a date night. Get time as a couple every week, and get “me time” every day.

Really. REALLY? Are you insane ?

Clearly, if I can see these words coming out of your lips, your kid ain’t like my kid. No no no no no. Date night is the five minutes we sit, three feet apart, unblinking, on the couch together in front of Top Gear, when hub-in-boots has settled jman down, just before the little tacker wakes up again, screaming.

The closest we got to a date last week was hub-in-boots holding up random pieces of my clothing out of the laundry hamper and asking if they had to be washed on normal, delicate, or hand wash. (ha! I remember hand washing). That was quality time together. (We do have tickets to Weezer in January though. Is that too long to wait for a date?).

“Me time” is eating breakfast before midday, returning one of several unanswered phone calls from two weeks ago, or driving out alone for three minutes to fill up the car with petrol. You stupid stupid people. Enough with the me time.

I have to amend this now, as since I first drafted this post we’ve had two unreal nights out thanks to my fantastic family members and their babysitting services. Eat my words !

5. Forget the housework

This seemed like great advice, til we ran out of plates and clean underwear, and if I’d seen that leaf, on the carpet right in front of where I feed, one more time I would have punched someone.

What they should say is:
1. Can you make it out the front door with bub in under four hours without needing to breathe into a brown paper bag? WIN. Big tick for you.

2. Have you had more than a 24 hour period that has not involved you weeping into a bowl of breakfast cereal or screaming randomly at your partner? You’re a superwoman.

3. How long have you spent researching cities you could buy one way tickets to? Under five hours a week and you’re doing well.

Things that I have found useful:

1. Lower your expectations. About, well, pretty much everything.

It saves a shitload of heartache and worry, and you just might be pleasantly surprised on the odd occasion. (It’s actually good advice for us type A’s for life, not just parenthood).You need new ideas about levels of housekeeping, what constitutes a good day, personal space, cooking, fun, time to yourself. If you keep those expectations nice and low, well, it takes the pressure off. You could view this period as wading through six months of crap. (After my previous six months of crap).

2. They really don’t sleep in two or three hour blocks in the daytime after six weeks of age.

So don’t believe the stupid books. The jman forgot to read the books, and is unclear about what he should do.

3. Believe what they say about night feeds

Keep these feeds dark, free of chatter, and keep it moving. The exception: you’ve just had a sleep through the night miracle. Then just let the little tacker tap dance at 5am if he wants to. He’s earned it.

Try and resist the urge to wash up at 3am after a feed. It’s just, well, insane, really.

And try not to fantasise about smothering your ‘sleep through the night off in la la land partner’ with a pillow in the morning, when he says, geez I’m tired. Explaining that 2 hours sleep + 1.5 hours sleep + 2 hours sleep does not, in fact, equal 5.5 hours sleep, well it’s just going to fall on deaf ears until men have boobs. So suck it up, princess.

4. Swaddle, swaddle,swaddle.

The jman visibly relaxes when he’s swaddled tight. Its a relief not to be responsible for those pesky limbs. If i’m offering “second boob”, i swaddle him first so i can shot him into bed quick smart when he drifts off into milk drunk land.

The timing of nappy changes is also crucial…as they tend to wake the jman up and he tends to fall asleep on the job, we’ve found mid feed is best on most occasions.

5. Dancing

Dancing is tiring, especially when you weigh 6 kilograms. So dance, little dude, dance. Shake your tail feather with yo mama vigorously and often. And then sleeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

6. Tummy time

Tummy time is vital but can so easily turn into a nap if you don’t pick your moment wisely! I get down on the floor beside bub, and use the time to strengthen my core and regroup the chaos that was my pelvic floor.

7. Daddy

Daddy is not a food source. So he’s better at settling, unless bub is scary upset (and then the boob works wonders). His shoulders are better at de-windy-fying. He’s better at bathing (bigger hands), and he can burp bub without the insane tantrums that occur when I attempt to remove the food source from the jman’s vicinity. Like any workplace, we need specialisations to get the most out of the staff.

My sister has also wisely advised to say ” dad dad dad” to the jman a lot. If dad dad dad gets called, it’s dad dad dad that will have to get up to him. Good thinking, 99.

8. Half time, change sides

Never underestimate the value of a handover, a fresh perspective in the “what’s wrong with baby” game. Just get dad to remember baby isn’t a car, so bub isn’t always fixable. Sometimes you’ve all just got to ride it out.

9. It’s a game of changing fortunes

Just when you think you’ve got that little guy figured out, the game changes and the new routine doesn’t work!

And as you despair your lot in life, the jman sits on the couch and laughs in a Machiavellian manner about the next twenty years….but how could you not love this face, eh?

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