|Our Baby Diary
Entries from the previous weeks can be found following the links on the left
First a correction for our assiduous readers. The baptism is on Sunday (not Saturday) at 11 p.m. Just checking to see if everyone was paying attention...
Some good news for Mummy. She has been given the all clear by her doctor who says she is a "born Mum". Strange thing to say. Were not all mums born at some point? [Apart from Eve who came from a spare rib. Which is why men have one extra rib on their right side (the funny bone). Trust Daddy. He works in the Department of Anatomy.] The nice doctor asked Mummy to do a few sit-ups and jamed two fingers into her tummy to see how her abdominals were coming along. Just as well it was Mummy and not Daddy. Imagine him lying on the Doctor's couch. "OK, then. If you can just do a crunch and tense your abdominals.... What do you mean you can't do a sit up? No. Everyone has muscles there." How embarrassing it would be. The upshot is that Mummy can get back to hard training: weights-lifting, swimming or even both at the same time. Hooray. Poor Daddy would have been dragged to prolonged drowning sessions in the pool but with someone else needing constant attention, he will probably be able to get off lightly and slouch at home with Baby instead if he is lucky.
Mummy says that Baby has given her his first (surely his second at least) unambiguous smile. Apparently, he was beaming from ear to ear and it is really obvious and looks nothing like the normal expressions we have seen so far. Daddy was at work at the time and flatly refuses to believe that anything happened.
On a serious note. This is the first day of Baby's seventh week. By a happy coincidence, it is also the first day of his new sleep/feeding regime. This has been the cause of much soul searching for Daddy and Mummy. On the one hand, we have Mummy's assorted midwives and the Health Visitor who tell us that we should always go with what Baby wants. If he demands to be fed every half an hour, so be it. On the other side is arranged an array of Baby experts who say that now is the time to start Baby on a more stable routine. He and his digestive system would appreciate more regularity. Up until now, we have been letting baby dictate the pace, mostly because he was such a young bairn, it seemed cruel to do otherwise. Now that he has passed his first month and a half, it seemed time to take stock and see whether Baby really needs to wake Mummy up every two hours at night.
If we have couched this in terms of a moral dilemma, this is precisely how it is put to poor parents. We are cruel parents if we do not take care of our innocent defenceless child when it is obvious that he needs food, here, now, at once, immediately. To suggest otherwise would imply that Baby is somehow manipulating us. What a nasty and perverse thought. Do we not think he is absolutely adorable and a little angel? On the other hand, if we do not provide a stable routine for the baby we would be neglecting our parental duties. Every time he cries, are his parents not rewarding him by feeding and cuddling him. Rather than be manipulated by our child, are we not precisely training baby to desire a chaotic environment and a mad routine?
There seems to be no "right way" and any parent reading this will undoubtedly have strong opinions one way or another. We are merely trying to do the best we can and to steer a sensible course which will balance the everyday needs of Baby with his development, and also, to some small extent, with Mummy and Daddy's sanity. Our new regime is to try and extend the time between Baby's feeding sessions by ten minutes or a quarter of an hour every day. That may seem ridiculously unambitious, but if there are any volunteers willing to take on the task of distracting a hungry baby at 3 a.m. for half an hour, we would be open to offers.
Is the new regime working? Mummy is excited to report that Baby slept for three and a half hours without waking up this afternoon. But does this mean that Mummy will be able to get some much deserved rest? Well not quite. It is so unusual for Baby to sleep soundly for so long that Mummy spent at least an hour and half of that time fretting and wondering when he was going to wake up. Don't worry. We shall get there. This is a learning curve for Mummy and Daddy as much as for Baby.
Mummy took Baby around to show him off to one of Daddy’s friends who has a four week old daughter: another innocent we have roped in to “ooh” and “aah” over Baby. We were not sure what to think when he told us that his little Francesca was sleeping from 10 pm until 7 a.m. the next morning without waking up. Should we feel aggrieved and nervous, or happy - looking forward to when Baby is going to be doing the same?
Mummy has similar experiences with all her other friends who have had babies. They invariable turn out to sleep, feed and settle better than ours. (At the moment, this is all we care about. No doubt, we shall find other matters to fret about when Baby starts crawling, talking or, help, going to school.) If it were not for Baby’s impending baptism, and the recent reminder of our Christian duties as parents, Daddy would just counsel Mummy to lie. As it is, ahem, a little exaggeration here and there would do just as well. Mummy has two choices: the perfect Baby or the martyr. She can put it about that Baby falls asleep as soon as he is placed in his cot, sleeps for 10 hours at a time, only needs changing when he wakes up in the morning and has been like this since he came back from the hospital. Or she can explain that Baby feeds every half an hour, requires nappy changes 15 times a night, has constant colic and she can wait for the compelled sympathy of her peers. Alas, Mummy’s moral principles are less flexible, and she can only suffer in silence the (unlikely) boasts of other parents with at most, the occasionally quixotic Spanish eyebrow half-raised in disbelief.
This will, we guess, be the last entry most of our baptism guests read before they descend on us from all four corners of the world. We are very excited and really looking forward to have an excuse to catch up with parents, friends and relatives. Actually, we exaggerate greatly, not about the welcome our guests will receive, but the immensity of the occasion. The baptism will be a very modest affair, partly because it is at heart a religious rite of passage, and it seems unfair to force this on those of our friends who do not share our faith and convictions. Partly, also, because Mummy and Daddy are exhausted and cannot summon up the energy either to host a multitude or, in fact, even to contact many of our close friends to invite them. Many apologies to those whom we have missed. We shall miss you too. There shall be a full report in two days time. In the meantime, we are still agonising over Mummy's favourite hymn for the baptism. Mummy only knows how to sing it in Latin but we fear that half of our guests will be stranded. Daddy has googled an English version but the number of syllables is all wrong and doesn't match the music. Help!
A reminiscence for those who remember. Daddy did not have a baptism celebration, but his first full month was marked by a Chinese banquet for 600 in City Hall, Hong Kong. Thank goodness we live in a more modest age. We would be hard pressed even to think of that many friends, let alone organise an event on such a daunting scale.
Baby has been good tonight. He had another three hour session of unbroken sleep. Amazingly, it overlapped with our dinner. Hooray. Daddy is perfecting the Chinese art of steaming fish in a wok. This is one dish we cannot abandon for two hours. Good food. Christmas lights. Pudding. Beautiful Baby (asleep!). Can life be any better?
This site was last updated 02/16/04