Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Over the Moon (But No Cows Jumping)

For a long time now Eddy hasn't been growing very well.  He was a big baby at birth (9lb 10oz) but at the age of about seven weeks his growth seemed to tail off.  I wasn't too worried.  He had begun to sleep through the night (not fair, I know, but Gilby took over two years to perform this feat, so I feel like I've done my time).  The health-visitor was not impressed and suggested that I wake Eddy up to feed him in the night.  "But he sleeps through!  Why would you want to wake a sleeping baby?" I protested. 

"Perhaps he's too weak to wake himself up?" she suggested.

I nearly exploded with indignation.  Eddy, of the three, is by far my happiest, smiliest, most contented baby.  There couldn't possibly be anything wrong with him.

Aged 12 weeks

By about ten weeks, the health professionals were suggesting that I give him formula.  "But I have plenty of milk! He feeds very well. Isn't it good to breastfeed your baby?  It worked for the other two..."

Of course, I knew better, and ignored this advice until it was time to return to work and I needed to give Eddy formula.  As he began weaning he displayed a very healthy appetite, and never rejected a single food, often demanding 'seconds' right from six months.  Nothing wrong there, then.  Except that he continued to show poor weight gain until he dropped off the bottom of the chart.  He also didn't seem to want to sit up.  In an effort to get as much fat as possible into his diet, I frantically grated cheese into every meal I prepared for him.

Eventually we were referred to a consultant paediatrician.  I had to concede that there was a problem.  Various tests ensued.  None of which we have had the results for as yet.  Suddenly it all got a little bit scary. 

The consultant suggested that we eliminate dairy products entirely from Eddy's diet for 6-8 weeks, in spite of establishing that he never seemed uncomfortable after meal times, or displayed any of the classic symptoms of having a cow's milk allergy.  So we have a prescription formula free from cow's milk, and all dairy has gone from his diet.  No more manic cheese-grating.

Three weeks in and Eddy has jumped a percentile on the weight charts.  When I say 'jumped a percentile' what I actually mean is that he now registers somewhere on the chart instead of hovering below it in the blank space of nothingness.  He has also, aged eight months, learned how to sit unaided. 

Could it really be as simple as that?  We won't know for sure for a little while longer, but, fingers crossed!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

As Easy as ABC

Gilby has been getting a little fed up with his big sister's reading prowess of late. She has taken over the reading of the bedtime story, to all intents and purposes and is decidedly 'showy-offy' about her abilities, using a really patronising tone to explain which episode of Little Bear they are watching as she reads the credit sequence. Her little brother is not allowed to be the teacher when they play schools as her superior knowledge means that Gertie herself must always play this part.

Gilby, three next month and entirely filled with his own sense of self-importance, (deservedly, as he points out that he can now climb by himself up into his car seat) has decided to take matters into his own hands.

He has begun to earnestly 'write his name' on his drawings as Gertie does. And, although a close inspection will reveal that this is nothing more than a series of zig-zagged lines, we all have to agree that it does, indeed, spell 'Gilby'.

And earlier this week he picked out all the Oxford Reading Tree Stage One books into a big pile, brought them to me and demanded that I teach him to read right there and then. He folded his arms determinedly in a 'bring it on' stance and prepared to do battle with the books. Since he knows all the characters and all the stories inside out, he was able to sound convincing from memory quite quickly and then sat back when he had 'read' a couple, completely satisified with his own literacy progress.

If only it were that simple...

Friday, 15 June 2012

Send in the Clowns, Carefully

Like most families, we spent half term coming up with ever-more creative ways to have fun whilst avoiding the rain. We saw the stage version of The Tiger Who Came to Tea and marvelled at how they had managed to turn 5 minutes of story-line into an hour-long show. (We have been doing tiger-aerobics ever since.) We had lots of friends round to play, and that kept Mummy very busy with the huge amount of tidying-up it seems to generate. We went to Fishers Farm Park a couple of times and monopolised the indoor play-areas. But the big success, and the one that has given me new insight into my daughter's character, was our visit to the circus.

Max Beecher, the impossibly bendy contortionist of 2009 Britain's Got Talent fame, was the star turn. His first act involved him appearing as 'Max, the swash-buckling pirate' and performing balancing feats on an ever-more precariously arranged tower of chairs. He tried to garner the support of the audience, miming the idea of placing a chair even higher for dramatic effect.

"Yes, yes, yes!" chorus dozens of gleeful children.
"No!" shouts Gertie, loudly. "You might fall."

Christie-Jane, performing on the 'silk tissues' high up in the big top, was the next act. Gasps of delight at each carefully choreographed somersault or stretch went round the ring. "How on earth is she going to get down from there?" was Gertie's serious interpretation.

Looking a little anxious?

The clowns were just about acceptable, though Gertie found one or two moments to pause and frown at moments of perceived danger whilst her peers giggled on.

She was very good at comforting her younger brother who burst into tears at the sound of cracking whips in another act, looking at me reprovingly over her shoulder as she cuddled him.

A future health and safety officer, perhaps?

Friday, 8 June 2012

No Smiles

My daughter told me that this week that she couldn't be loved very much because her name didn't have a smile in it! I asked her what on earth she meant. She explained that when you said Mumm-y or Daddy-y or Gilb-y or Edd-y you had to make the shape of a smile with your mouth. When you said Gertrude you didn't. Simple. No one loved her because her name doesn't smile.

I certainly wasn't smiling at Gilby's new game. He has a fascination with rubbing sun cream in - to himself and to everyone else. His favourite thing is to do it with real suncream, but alas there hasn't been a great deal of opportunity over the last few rain-soaked weeks. So he just pretends. I noticed however, that it was really feeling 'moist' as he was rubbing imaginary suncream in to my legs. I looked down to check that he hadn't, in fact, got hold of some expensive facecream from the bathroom. (Not that I own such stuff anymore, should my husband be reading this.)

But no, it was much, much worse than that. He had tried to make the suncream experience as 'real' as possible by using his own spit. Delightful. He couldn't understand why I didn't want him to 'do' my face...