The weeks have certainly flown, with the caring of little Rory an ever reminding presence of what it is to be busy, and what can be done with one’s time. It’s amazing to look back over photos for this journal and see the timeline of his early life. I didn’t realise the extent of change that takes place in such a short period. This bearded blog captures the journey so far, in the form of a little montage of moments from weeks 0 to 10, now capsuled and kept, in case my memories don’t. I have also included some of my favourite pictures of Rory throughout, so let’s get into the top 10, before I forget.
TOP 10 LESSONS
Holding Rory – At first, I was handling Rory like the last egg in an egg and spoon race, slow and timid, frantically worrying about supporting the head. Now I’m about as timid as a hungry trucker, demolishing his big breakfast.
Changing Nappies – Leakage is a thing of the past, either Rory has grown enough to fill out the leg space or I’ve become a grand master at the ancient art of nappy-gami. Probably a bit of both.
Noticing the different cries – I must say, my partner is way more adept at this skill, but I can discern between a hungry, trying to poo, wanting to be moved, and wanting to sleep cry. In the early weeks it was all just ear piercing wails, but the subtleties and nuances are now more apparent.
Dealing with Nappy Rash / Cradle Cap – Thankfully, we have only had to deal with this once within the first ten weeks, but it was one of the most worrying situations. We thought we had been changing the nappies regularly enough, but it seems we had not been drying his little bot bot well enough before putting on the new nappy. His little backside had become red raw, so much so, that it had created little carpet burn like marks. We applied Sudocrem regularly and liberally until the redness and sores disappeared (you can see from the picture the drying is now a breeze, and no, I don’t do this every time;). The plan onwards, is if there is even a little hint of redness, on goes the cream. We also try to alternate between disposables and cotton nappies to give the skin a rest, allowing the skin some time to breathe. Cradle Cap on the other hand, doesn’t appear to be preventable, and comes and goes like bad reception. Books suggest rubbing pure plant oil on the area, which reminds me of the great George Costanza, but we prefer using papaw ointment as it seems to clear up pretty quickly once applied.
Make the most of down time – As some of you might be aware, it has been weeks since my last blog. The honeymoon of the always sleeping and easily entertained baby are well over, Rory from about Week 4 onwards has been on a quest for stimulation, like the late Mr Cobain said ‘Here we are now, entertain us.’ We haven’t had the luxury of a baby that sleeps for 8 hour periods, like some of the legends I have heard about, so those small windows of opportunity to get stuff done or just to get a little shut eye for oneself are never to be wasted. Fortunately, as many of my friends would know, I’ve obtained a very good stock pile of downtime from previous years, although this seems a lifetime ago.
Working out his routine – I believe there have been many books written, and money exchanged, to work out the one true routine that binds all others. We as parents, like our personalities, kind of went with the flow and let Rory dictate his routine. My partner was the first to notice that little Rory was tending to go to sleep from 6pm onwards to about 10:30 or so, once this was realised our ‘make the most of down time’ was amplified. I have noticed more little routines pop up through out the day and I try to adhere to them, life commitments pending. A friend of mine gave me a general rule of thumb, 6, 10, & 2 is a way to make it through.
Tummy time – I’ll come out and say this, Rory hates tummy time, he seriously has a major dislike looking down at the world and can only tolerate it for very brief periods of time. A friend of ours gave us a curved cushion that can be placed under his chest to provide more support, this has worked to a degree, it’s now a couple of minutes rather than seconds before he tells us what he really thinks. All the books say Tummy time is very important for development, so we persist, and persist. Another method to try is to put them on their belly before changing them, even if it’s just a brief moment. Slowly, they are supposed to get used to the idea. The tummy saga though is still a major learning curve so any advice in this area from anyone in the know is more than welcomed.
Swaddle, Cuddle, Cradle & a Kiss – This mantra works wonderfully for putting our little guy onto the snooze train. Even if he looks like he’ll never settle down, with flailing limbs, arched back, and letting the neighbours know his concerns, this SCCK method works 99% of the time. The swaddle makes him feel snug and secures the flailing limbs, the cuddle soothes him so he can nestle into your torso, the cradle gets him used to the idea of being on his back, and the kiss, well the kiss is for you. A dummy ( or what we call a Shoosha ) can be used in conjunction with this method.
Sleeping – Following on from SCCK, the next lesson for us to learn was to where to put the bub to sleep. Conventionally, we thought cot or bassinette, and had bought both in preparation. One for his room, one for our room. Perfect we thought, in reality…not so much. Rory didn’t like either cot or bassinette, and we stayed up many nights trying to work out what to do. How about I rest my hand in the cot, or maybe if I tape myself to the ceiling he can see I’m still there….it’s a mattress, it’s a cot, why won’t you sleep ?? Finally, at our wits end, we went down the more unconventional (or you did what ??) route of co-sleeping. I was apprehensive of co-sleeping at first, and still am for myself (got a story for this later), but with my partner it works fine as long as it’s safe. Rory’s head is placed higher up the bed than your own ( the pic I’ve shown below is a no no, but looks cosy ) so the covers won’t be pulled over the head, and pillows are placed in positions so he won’t roll off the bed or suffocate. Another method we have is in a swing (shown in pic above), as the rocking motion helps soothe and the slight angle helps with any possible reflux. We also have been given a rocking, floor level, bassinette, which works well for naps and the like, once again the access to a rocking motion helps. There is some great literature out there to ease any of your concerns on these alternative methods, in the end, it is best to keep your options open and use common sense when it comes to safety.
What works today may not tomorrow – This motto is my most important realisation to date. With an ever changing bub where the goal posts of what they require and desire are constantly moving, it is hard to determine what will work this time or the next. This mystery seems to envelope all facets, from food intake, to soothing, to play time, and sleeping. I found keeping all options open is the best mindset, just keep trying all your different tricks of the trade, perhaps read up on some new ones, and sooner or later one will work. Keeping your mind open will help you keep your cool in this trial and error stage, and you will be soon rewarded with a contented, smiling baby in no time.
TOP 10 MOMENTS & MILESTONES
Hearing from friends and family, far and wide. It was extremely touching to receive all the well wishes, congratulations, and general outpouring of love from everyone. It’s lovely to see, and for Rory to be a part of the lives of so many great people.
Wayward sprays. I think I’ve previously mentioned Rory shooting Marilyn in the eye with a jet of wee. So very glad I was there to witness that. Well anyway, Marilyn has had just revenge, the other day a wayward stream of milk shot out from her bosom, coating Rory’s face, he was not as amused as I. At least he could lick the milk off though, unlike Marilyn.
Aeroplane Hand. This game has been one of the constants that Rory and I share. I used it originally to help him focus, and grow out of the cross-eyed chris stage as I called it. He loves following my hand flying through the air, with optional sound effects, and always gets a surprise when my hand whooshes towards him stroking his head as it passes. We can both enjoy this game for ages.
Realising the family bond with smiles, stroking, gripping, and playing. Over the weeks, Rory has been developing his motor skills and personality, and he is turning out to be a lovely, observant, good natured little boy. He is quick to be smiling, laughing, cooing, holding hands…or my chest hair (ouch), stroking mum whilst feeding, recognising and smiling at Netty (my mum) when we first open the door, hugging monkey (which is a present, not a metaphor), and batting at the sun (also not a metaphor but a little toy on his mobile). He doesn’t cry too much, and when he does, we are quick to figure out why and lend a helping hand. Rory is also quite the chatterbox in the early mornings, telling us about last nights dreams at 5am the next day. I would say we could have a cheeky, mischievous little toddler on our hands soon enough.
Sitting up, and seeing the world. Even within the first few minutes of life outside the womb, Rory was interested in his surroundings, always observing with wonderment. He seemed to be quick to gain strength in his neck so that he could easily gaze at everything whilst being up in our arms. He also tends to get bored rather quickly on his back and wants to keep his view fresh and interesting. In the last few weeks he’s always trying to sit up, which he can do with a little help from us. He extends out his arms, grunts while staring at you, I’ll hold out my hands and hold onto his and he does a little sit-up to get into the sitting position, he’s then a happy little munchkin. Pretty funny to watch.
A cute little bottom lip quiver in late august. It was such a cute moment, and I was able to soothe him quick enough before Pandora’s box was opened. Rory nowadays makes many different, thank the heavens that’s over sighs, coos and breaths. It’s so funny how he see’s such magnitude in these moments, when all that took place was a change of clothes.
Latching onto his Mum. The start of the trying to breast feed phase was a pain for all involved. Sore nipples, crying baby, upset mum, hovering dad with clumsy fingers, made for too much drama for this guy. It was a tough period but with much persistence and some free lactation lessons, little Rory worked out how to get the pump working on the magical well. It was such a momentous moment that he was able to get his fill straight from the tap, as it is the quickest way to feed and soothe him. We still use expressed milk and formula when required, but the ability to whack him on the boob is a great one to achieve, especially for those 2am feeds.
Morning chats with Mum. Who would have thought two night owls would produce a morning person, but this is the case. Every morning at about 5am, young Rory is up bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready for the day. At this time of day he’s a little chatterbox, and is consistently showing signs of his growth. A lot of his new achievements are showcased first thing in the morning. I must admit though, his mother tends to be the one who is awake with him at this time. The most recent addition to his vocal repertoire is neeeeeeh, he’s loving it at the moment, ooooooooooohneeeeeeeeh. Cute !!!
Bath time. Rory enjoys a good wash, whether it be in the tub with mum, or on his own in his portable bath. His face is a mix of serenity, curiosity, and trust during these bath times. His little arms are extended out holding onto mum with one arm and onto my arm hair with the other. I’m glad the hospital gave us a quick run through on how to bath Rory as I’ve kept to their method. One arm under the head holding his left arm, and my other hand holding his leg, it feels very secure even when he’s kicking about in the soapy water. I love the way he looks up at me with a face that says ‘You got me Dad, I’m ok right?’, I smile down reassuringly, ‘of course I do son.’ He then looks over at Mum with the same question in his eyes before he settles in for a good scrub. Once clean, he’s out, dried and oiled, and ready for his next adventure. Got to love a nude baby bot bot, he actually enjoys it when I give his cheeks a tender slap saying ‘Nudey Nude !’, he giggles each time, wiggling his chubby legs.
TOP 10 USEFUL ITEMS
A good travel bag with change mat.
Tommy Tippee Nappy Bin.
Shoosha / Dummy / Pacifier ( as much as I hate to say it).
A nappy that doesn’t leak. ( I recommend Naty )
Peg Perrego Capsule, Car seat, stroller in one.
A swing and bassinette that rocks.
Well set up change table, with wipes, disposable mats, sudocrem, hand sanitiser, diapers on hand etc.
What a good boy or boogah as we like to call him.
I can’t believe ten weeks has passed but then again it feels like Rory has always been there. It’s a strange feeling having a new born come into your life, it’s a bit like growing up with your parents, in that it was never uncomfortable or foreign as they have always been apart of your life. Having little Rory just fits, there is no awkwardness or clumsy conversations, no need to be someone you’re not, no need to feel like you have outstayed your welcome, no need to tip toe around a personality, just the need for love, care and a helping hand, even though it’s extremely tiring, you can always find that little extra to keep you going. It’s a true love he gives you, as he knows nothing less, and he is authentically appreciative of all the help, probably until he can help himself….then comes the awkwardness, the tip toeing, the outstayed your welcome, I suppose that might not be until the teenage years. Better enjoy this while it lasts, I’ve got another 666 weeks to go till he’s a teenager, even the number seems ominous, oh well, I guess he can’t always be my little angel, but as all parents can probably attest to, and something I’ve heard my nanna and mum say, no matter how old they become, they’re still your baby.
Tip of the Ice-blog # 9
If you are a restless, kick your leg, talk in your sleep kind of person, it probably isn’t best to fall asleep next to your little one. As I hinted at before I’ve had a little incident with Rory whilst we were both sleeping. I should have realised it might not be best for me to sleep right next to Rory, when I first accidentally violently shoved my partner in my sleep, because in my dream I was pushing away a Komodo Dragon that was trying to eat the hypnotic turtle that I was protecting (yup my dreams are lucid and freaky). The incident with Rory, I was being held captive by someone who was leaning over the top of me, and I went to bite his arm to get away, and I awoke to poor little Rory’s cheek in my mouth, and he let out a ‘Why did you do that???’ yelp and cry. It was the weirdest feeling, to go from one world into another to find yourself about to bite into your bub’s cheek. It only left a little mark, and wasn’t serious…this time, but safe to say I don’t sleep next to him anymore, which is a shame, but one I’m happy to live with. I’m sure Mr Freud would have a few words to say about it all if he was still alive.