Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Tall Boy

Erm, I've been holding off blogging about the Boy because it's probably going to sound awfully smug. Also, I'm worried it may jinx things.

But I'm wondering if the fates have decreed that since we've had such an awful time of it for the past couple of years, we've gotten a fairly easy baby. The only times he really gets upset is if he's hungry and I'm in a situation where I can't feed him straight away, or if he's got a dirty nappy. Or if something hurts him - like an injection - or if he's looking at a very bright light (unusual, but it happened a couple of times on public transport). But it's generally straightforward to anticipate his needs or deal with them if he's unhappy. At least, so far.

I've found breastfeeding fairly easy too. There were days at the start where I was doing really long feeds, and every so often the Boy seems to need to crank up my supply. This means I get a day of doing nothing else but feed (the more he feeds, the more I produce). This does get quite trying and I'm always relieved when those days are over, although I think infertility has made this a fairly small thing to take in my stride. But, the vast majority of the time, it's been straightforward.

I'd expected a breastfed baby to be smaller than a formula fed one, and expected to have the occasional worry about weight. Instead, the Boy is a bit of a bruiser. He's bang on average for weight - so above average for a breastfed baby - and well above average for his height. In fact, he's about to outgrow some clothes that are sized for 6-9 month old babies. I thought the clothes might just be cut small, but I took him along to a baby group for the first time today and he really is bigger than some much older babies.

Also, he's never had problems with taking a bottle. I felt awful when he had to be formula fed after being born because his blood sugar was low. But, on the plus side, he's never been freaked out about having milk from a rubber teat. This means I can occasionally express and go out - I don't do this a lot, but we have had two trips to eat out and one to the cinema since he was born although he goes through the expressed milk really quickly and starts bellowing equally fast if there isn't milk to hand when he's hungry, so I need to leave a lot with whichever relative is babysitting!)

Developmentally, he's been doing well. I mean, I'm not claiming he's a child genius and some websites say he should already be rolling, which he definitely isn't. But we'll get there. Even in the past week, he's made different sounds, has learned to grab, and has got much more interested in different toys as well as the trees in the park and other children. He started making odd shouty noises at the baby next to him at the baby group, which is the first time he's attempted to interact with someone who wasn't making an effort to play with him!

Sleep wise, we're doing good. He sleeps from half past nine in the evening until between half four and half five in the morning. I get up and feed him and he immediately conks out - it's quite funny sometimes! Then he gets up properly at around half past seven in the morning. So he's not sleeping through yet, but between us, we can live with his sleep pattern. And it certainly beats getting up every two or three hours to feed. His instinct seems to be to eat lots in the evening so he's totally full - he apparently doesn't drop off if there's even just a tiny little bit of space in his stomach.

I'm sure it won't always be plain sailing. Watching him kick in his bouncy seat, you can see there's a lot of energy zooming around his little body that we're going to have to find other outlets for very soon.

Perversely, I also worry about him when he sleeps for long periods, or that he may be too big for his age. But I think that's probably normal for first time parents, too.

I also worry that the moment I hit 'publish' he will turn into a milk refusing insomniac, will begin teething, or have some other sort of drama.

I hope I don't sound too smug or boastful about it all... in fact, it's twenty to eleven and he's just uncharacteristically woken up!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Northern soul

I would like to live in Sweden
When my work is done
Where the snow lies thick and even
'Neath the midnight sun

The Divine Comedy, Sweden

As well as Disney having more of an influence in our lives, the Boy seems to have resulted in us buying stuff from Sweden. The Swedes seem to have something of a reputation for producing high quality, well designed but affordable baby stuff. Which, as we shall see, is not always entirely deserved.

Although, we love the Baby Bjorn carrier we got. It's made the Boy much more transportable. It's one of our favourite bits of kit, particularly with the carrier cover. Apart from being endlessly useful, it makes him look like a little hooded hobbit. Later, he will get bigger and face outwards on the sling, and the hood also turns round to look like... a niqab. I can't wait.

Then there's the flip side. Fucking Naty Nappies. We got a big bag of them on special offer. They were cheap, but also because the package promised they were eco friendly, well designed and all those other admirable Scando attributes. They even had Swedish flags on the packet.

Maybe Swedish babies have differently shaped bums, but Naty have been involved in many incendiary nappy incidents in our household. Poo leaking out the sides, up the back. They just don't fit, and any eco-friendliness is negated by having to do more loads of washing. And the special offer was buy one get one free, so we've got endless numbers of the bastard things to get through. We've started alternating them with another, less leaky brand, and my heart sinks whenever I go through to the change mat and there's a Naty at the top of the pile.

From the good, to the bad, to the ugly. The other big Swedish brand for all things child-related is, of course, IKEA.

The thing is, I've never liked IKEA and, although everyone seems to get their nursery furniture there, we didn't. I like the idea of it, but then, like any sort of home improvement store, I go and then lose interest within about five minutes. I'm just not that interested in house-y stuff and IKEA goes on and on and on, and not even the furniture with names like WNKSTIN or FINJOPOKR is enough to make it tolerable. The thought of wheeling the Boy around one for the afternoon makes my heart sink, even with the allure of the gingerbread houses, meatballs and the novelty ice molds.

I've never been to Sweden, although I'd like to. I always associated with hiking trails, attractive locals, open sandwiches and... that's about it. But now, thanks to parenthood, I also know that it is populated by blond people striding around with their babies in carriers with poo leaking out the sides. We will wait until the Boy is potty trained before we visit.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Gender specific

I did a course in feminist literature at Uni. It was all a bit bonkers and I did it because one of my friends was and I had to fill in a bit of my timetable somehow. The woman that ran it was awfully po-faced and we had all big crushing lectures about the patriarchy and the male canon of literature and so forth. My favourite moment was when, at the end of one of the tutorials, one of the mature students started talking about her problems with finding a nursery. The lecturer said,

"Yes, well, I know what you mean. I've got a little girl - " and then she frowned and interrupted herself.

"Oh dear! I called her a little girl. That's so gender specific of me."

Oh dear.

Anyway, I had read that women who have gone through IVF and infertility become more fixated with a fantasy child, and pick one gender or the other that they want, and then build up from there.

My personal experience is the opposite. I got a bit funny about planning either way, partly out of gratitude I was going to have any child, but also because it felt like jinxing it. A lot of people I know found out the gender at scans but didn't tell anyone, or made a big thing out of the reveal. I resolutely did not want to know. After all the previous losses, you get paranoid about anything that might make another one more difficult.

Anyway, I'm actually not that keen on the whole pink for a girl, blue for a boy thing - although we seem to have vast amounts of blue clothing anyway, mostly given to us. I did find it a bit odd that there's so little unisex baby clothing out there, and even one very gender neutral thing I picked, with a safari print on it, had a label that specified it was for boys. I do have a "Mummy's little boy" vest somewhere, but it gives me the boak. Possibly just as much as a "Daddy's little princess" dress would.

It still feels a bit strange, sometimes. It's good having a baby, of any shape or form, without starting to attach conditions to it. It's very hard not to attach any conditions, though. I'll be happy if any child of mine grows up to be happy, and enjoy reading and travel, and are prepared to stand up against injustices. Those surely aren't bad things to want, regardless of whether you've had a boy or girl.

I think it's a bit different if you've had a late loss and know the gender of the baby that's died. That must be an awful thing to work through.

Rather less sympathetically, I know there are people that want to find out because they have a baby of one flavour and want one of the other. A very irritating colleague, when I was 38 weeks pregnant, told me a big long story about how he had two boys already and wanted a girl, then his wife found out she was having another boy but it was a happy ending, because they were both okay about it really. I think he expected that made him look admirable. I think it made him look like an arsehole, but was too polite to say.

But, for me, although the Boy is the Boy, he might as well be called the Baby. Gender doesn't make much difference at the moment. Although he does do very loud farts.

Associating farts with masculinity? How very gender specific of me.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

You've got my eyes

Ages ago, I read an article in the Guardian written about clinical errors when transferring or creating embryos.

Of course, this planted the idea in my head that the clinics we used could have mixed up our eggs, sperm or embryos, particularly as we had to cart embryos between clinics (that is a very long story, and it was a very odd day).

So, I think more than most new parents, I seize on any suggestion that the Boy looks, or doesn't look like, my husband or I.

"He's getting ginger hair! You've got a ginge!" said my brother in law. There's only one member of my family who had ginger hair, an alcoholic uncle who died estranged from everyone else. Which at least reminds me that genetics aren't everything.

But then -

"He looks so like your husband in that photo." said one of my friends. Phew.

My father in law has confused the issue by insisting to us that the Boy has similar ears to his mother, and then telling my husband's sister that actually, his ears are nothing like his granny's. For some reason, the ears are of particular interest to my father in law. Even though even I can see nothing remarkable about the Boy's ears.

Ultimately, it is all really silly - I don't honestly believe that the Boy is not ours. People see what they want to see. No-one from one side of the family says he looks like anyone from the other, they all see themselves or someone closely related to them.

Babies look like babies. I did warn the midwife that if he came out a different colour then there probably had been some mistake somewhere along the line. But, even if he had come out bright green with purple polka dots, I don't think I would have complained!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Travelling and arriving

We're packing up what seems like the entire flat to take the Boy on holiday. You'd think we were crossing the Antarctic, but we're self catering about 2 hours drive away, around where I spent many happy childhood holidays.

This got me thinking about other holidays I had when I was little. I think the holidays we had close to home were probably the best. Because out of the more distant holidays, the main things I can remember is the car journeys.

We didn't go abroad, or stay in a hotel, until I was 13. All our holidays were spent in a caravan in Scotland, England, Wales or - after the Troubles calmed and family finances increased - Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. We drove everywhere.

First, we would get the caravan ready. As well as actually packing the thing, Dad had to get it ready to move. This took an age - checking the wheels, lifting the stays (I think they're called stays, anyway!), pushing it out our garden, hooking it up to the car and checking the lights. Then, after what seemed like eons, we would all get told to get in and we would roll off down the little lane at the back of our house, and out into the world.

On the way to wherever we were going, we would stop for a packed lunch. This was usually about when the excitement would dampen slightly. My parents were enormously enthusiastic about getting the jack out, securing the caravan and using the little kitchen to boil water so they could have tea. This also seemed to take ages. And we would always stop on a layby on whatever busy dual carriageway we were on to do this. I remember sitting in the caravan drinking chicken Cuppa Soup, hating the way the flimsy walls shook whenever an enormous lorry roared past. I don't know why we couldn't have just used a hot water flask like normal, sane people.

Another feature of lunches were Mum's sandwiches. They were, to be fair, pretty horrible. There was usually ham, and nearly always a lot of margarine and coleslaw. The sandwiches were usually squashed in cling film and hot. After a couple of hundred miles, the filling looked a bit like sick.

Vomit was a literal as well as metaphorical feature of these drives. I used to get horribly car sick. The fastest route to the motorway south was along a winding hill road. This usually set me off fairly quickly. Then the coleslaw and margarine sandwiches would make an unwelcome reappearance about half an hour after lunchtime. My poor mother tried everything - elastic bracelets with pressure points, boiled sweets, car games to distract me - and nothing, nothing would stop the puking. It wasn't all bad though - I vividly remember throwing up a chocolate and raisin Yorkie bar, and enjoying getting another taste of the chocolate. Eugh.

Thinking about it, I was probably not a good travelling companion. I remember a holiday around Yorkshire where I'd bought The Simpsons' album - which was probably hated by parents everywhere and certainly and vocally hated by my sister - and insisted on listening to it in the car, repeatedly. Later on, the radio was used for either BBC news programmes or a particularly crappy pop music station. My parents must have been enormously relieved when I bought a Walkman.

On the other hand, I liked boats and had no problems with sea sickness. I loved going to the Scottish islands, and the novelty of driving on and off the ferries, and exploring the vessel. Although my sister told me that the white water stirred up in the wake of the vessel was actually jellyfish who were out to get me, which I think of even now whenever I'm on a large boat.

There are actually relatively few bits of the holidays I remember otherwise - just fragments. The awful moment when the doors closed on the Tube leaving me and my parents in the train and my 10 year old sister on the platform and the panicked rush around the underground to get back to her, playing in Appleby where it always seemed to be sunny, the campsite at Chertsey and the warning signs about bathing in the Thames, going to Whipsnade Safari Park and being more interested in the really big conkers than the animals, breaking my arm near Sherwood Forest, going fishing on Lough Key, making a sandcastle on the beach in Dorset and meeting a friendly little boy who told me he was adopted. The holidays mostly seemed sunny, and I didn't particularly mind not going to more exotic places.

I suppose, in the era of cheap flights and expensive petrol, we're unlikely to do long driving holidays with the Boy - partly because I'm not as brave as my parents! For better or worse, it's much easier for us to get a cheap flight abroad than drive to the south of England or get a boat to Orkneys or the Isle of Man. I might make the Boy some margarine and coleslaw sandwiches though, just so he's not missing out.

Friday, 13 July 2012


It started before he was born.

I picked up a set of baby dungarees with Tigger on them from a charity shop.

Just after he was born, we got some 101 Dalmatians clothes. Some Pooh and Friends decorations too.

I'm not immune from it myself - I got a copy of Fantasia, figuring the Boy could hear the music if nothing else, and an Eeyore rattle. (Actually, Fantasia is a bit dull - I think back when it was made, the audiences were blown away by the animations, and now we expect a bit more from the plot).

And so the influence of Walt Disney on the Boy's life has begun. We had a couple of Disney films before he was born - Pirates and that sort of thing. But since he was born it seems to have opened the floodgates to our house filling up with the Mouse and all his works.

I actually don't mind some Disney stuff - I loved Beauty and the Beast, Toy Story, Aladdin, and the Lion King. And Robin Hood, and Sword in the Stone. Actually, I quite like most Disney animations.

I suppose I have three main objections to Disney. The first is that it's everywhere. There is no choice. You must submit to your house being filled up with Disney merchandise. Nowhere on Earth is safe. Mali had a post about the dominance of American culture, and it starts with Disney.

The other is that the Boy will go through a phase of wanting to go to a Disney theme park. I am just not very keen on the idea. We may go to Legoland as a compromise - which is probably no less corporate or crowded or expensive. But Lego is cooler, and my husband wants to go there.

My final objection is that I hate Mickey Mouse. He's a squeaky voiced, wet little shit. He doesn't do anything, for Christ's sake, apart from fucking up with some brooms and getting a row from his boss. How he's ended up being the symbol of a global empire is anyone's guess.

But, as I said, we are stuck with it. I'll enjoy showing him the films. And we'll definitely need to read the originals of Winnie the Pooh, 101 Dalmatians and any other books, so  he grows up knowing that Disney did not author every popular children's tale in the last fifty years. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


Assorted public agencies are always running initiatives to turn kids into good, worthwhile citizens, and targeting parents to encourage them to bring up their children well.

These are sometimes rather hopeless and depressing. For example, there's a poster in the local doctors' surgery aimed at reducing violence. It starts by encouraging parents to speak to their small children and maybe give them a hug sometimes. The fact that people wouldn't do this anyway is awful; that some unit somewhere has decided it can be tackled with a poster is almost as bad.

Anyway, more cheerfully, I got some stuff from one of the better initiatives yesterday. It encourages you to read to your children. You get a magazine about reading (rather bizarrely, this featured an interview with a daytime TV presenter rather than someone you'd associate with reading!), but, more usefully, three books to start you off.

Two of them are ok, but we particularly loved Babies. It's got a mirror at the back - the Boy smiled when he saw himself for the first time - and it finishes up with the line that the baby the reader loves best in all the world is the baby in the mirror. It made me go all sniffly!

Anyway, there's the library for most books - but I want to build up a collection of classic children's books for me to read for the Boy when he's old enough.

So far, the list includes:

The Hungry Caterpillar
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Hobbit
The Dangerous Book for Boys (I keep wanting to steal my nephew's copy)
Assorted Enid Blyton (although my husband says he didn't like these as they were all about posh kids!)
Harry Potter
The Eagle of the Ninth and other Rosemary Sutcliffe books
Roald Dahl - I particularly loved George's Marvellous Medicine (who doesn't like making up potions when they're a kid?)
Truckers, Diggers and Wings

And when he's a bit older, Dragonlance, the Lord of the Rings, the Hunger Games, and the Discworld novels.

That's a fairly short list and I'm sure there are loads I've missed. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I also loved the Tamora Pierce Lioness books at the Mallory Tower books as a kid, but I'm not sure the Boy will dig them. On the plus side, we're probably spared him being into Twilight.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Invalid choices

When I was in hospital having the Boy, there was a woman in the bed next to me who had found out that she needed a c-section rather than having the vaginal birth she wanted. She was a complete arsehole about it, and kept whinging about what an inconvenience it was and how she felt she was missing out on an experience. Nothing about the baby being ok, just about her.

This post was going to be a rant about how people who moan about not getting the birth they wanted should grow up. Then I reflected that, maybe, it wasn't as straightforward as all that.

For most people in the West, female reproduction is seen as a series of choices. You choose to use contraception, or not. You choose the sort of birth you want, whether to breastfeed or formula feed. When you're done, you or your husband choose to be sterilised, permanently. It's all as easy as choosing the Silver Cross pram or the Mamas and Papas, or choosing to stay in skinny jeans and side step the maternity aisle altogether.

Except, it's not really like that, at all.

IFers know this - their choice is taken away from the off, more or less. And dealing with the fact that we can't control our lives is very painful indeed.

Miscarriage, ectopic pregnancies and other pregnancy losses - they're beyond our power to choose, they happen to us, rather than us deciding. The path we thought we were on is ripped away from us, and our lives and futures can be turned upside down by those telltale red or brown spots.

Inasmuch as you can compare experiences, I don't think having a healthy baby at the end of a birth that wasn't on your birth plan didn't want is as awful as a pregnancy loss. But then, going through a bad birth isn't exactly a picnic either. I've had three operations on my stomach and am unfazed about scars or anaesthetics, but can understand that if you're desperate to avoid surgery, then it must be very frightening to be told that you need to go under the knife (Conversely, I went through a phase of being upset about the prospect of a vaginal birth).

And, with anything to do with our reproductive systems, emotions run high. It's not like breaking a leg or catching a virus. Problems with conceiving and birthing are heavily tied into our self esteem. They're also generally badly understood - we're conditioned to believe that we can control them, but also that we shouldn't talk about "women's problems" when they go wrong. It's a dangerous combination that means that we're isolated if we want to talk about how things haven't gone the way we planned.

This all means that the women who do get their choices can be quite smug about it all, and tend to assume that problems with birth or conception or feeding or any one of a hundred other things are because other people don't work as hard/are somehow less deserving, rather than the whole thing being down in a large part to genetics - and for 'genetics', read 'luck'.

The pregnancy industry colludes in the idea that we can always decide our outcome - usually because they want to believe we do and that buying x, y, or z product will enhance our ability to control the uncontrollable . I've seen a birthing gown advertised that claims to make labour more dignified (how?). The packaging on my pregnancy pillow claimed it could help make labour shorter. There's a whole industry devoted to telling women they can buy the sort of birth they want. It's all bollocks. Just like the vast majority of the vitamins, potions, alternative treatments and whatever else you can buy that purports to help you conceive.

Perhaps more seriously, I think that the staff at hospitals sometimes give the impression that we've got more choice than we do. I was a bit surprised at an antenatal class where we all got asked what position we'd chosen to labour and give birth in, and a few people happily volunteered that they were going to use birthing balls then give birth on all fours, or whatever. I didn't really understand how anyone could be so confident about how they'd feel in labour. Fair enough being informed about what you can do, it just seems to be rather setting yourself up to fail to plan that level of detail in advance.

I was more cynical - I remember asking one midwife if there was any point in having a birth plan. She said that yes, it was a "very valuable document". So I wrote one - it had a few things like my husband telling me the gender and cutting the cord, and said I was ok with having a section. The section happened - I think it would have done regardless - and everything else got swept aside, as the staff were concentrating on getting the Boy out rather than making sure my non-medical requests were adhered to.

I'm not that bothered as the main thing is that I have the Boy now, but I am faintly annoyed I spent time writing a plan when I could have been playing Guitar Hero. What was the point? But then, I could equally see why someone might reasonably be upset about their wishes being ignored, too.

Obviously, women should have a choice about their reproductive health whenever possible. No-one wants to have things decided for them by doctors unless they absolutely have to be.

But, equally, it should be clearer to everyone that sometimes there just is no choice. And that being built up to believe you can control something, and then to have that choice taken away, can be very damaging to the mind and soul. We need more understanding and less judgement.

Having written all that, I still believe the woman in the next bed was an arsehole, though. There's being led to believe we have choices we don't and being upset about something that ultimately isn't our fault, and then there's being a madly entitled biatch from hell...

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Phase 2

I was wondering with my husband when a newborn stopped being a newborn. As alarming as it is, I think we may have reached that stage with the Boy.

He's grown out his newborn clothes, and even the 0-3 month ones are looking a bit suspect. He's stopped making those terrifying breathing sounds and jerking movements, and is now reaching for toys and able to enjoy his baby gym. He smiles at us every morning. It's all tiny little things, but they're there.

He passed his 6 week check, the health visitor stops coming soon. In the eyes of the NHS, he seems to have moved on a bit from the 'tiny baby in need of constant monitoring' phase.

It's also a bit of a shift in attitude for us. I think we're a bit less scared than at the start - I used to get completely and utterly paranoid that he would just somehow die in his car seat, cot or in his sling, which I'm a bit more relaxed about now (We got bombarded with information on sudden infant death syndrome, although the odds of this striking are long).

I was a bit sad about the redundancy of his tiniest clothes, but then realised it was going to be a long 18 years if I got tragic whenever he outgrew something, and I'd end up weeping over his 13-year-old's crusty boxers if I wasn't careful. When I get a minute, I'll take down the baby cards.

I also realised that, as much as I love him, I need about an average of 30-60 minutes every day doing something on my own, even if it's just nipping to the shop. If I don't get this, then I start to feel a bit mad.

And there's the cat. She seems to have gotten over her initial phase of being curious and now just seems bored of the whole thing.

Which she will be until Phase 3: Crawling. Which, going by his leg movements, he's working hard on reaching.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The font of all knowledge

Like most small children, I was curious about everything. I remember interrogating my family and particularly, my Dad, about all sorts of subjects.

I remember when I was little, walking along the street and eating an ice cream and asking him about the war memorial in the park, about why there were so many more names from the First World War than the Second. The answer was that technology changed so fewer soldiers got killed. That led to a whole bunch of other questions - I can't remember what, but I'm sure some must have only been tangentially connected to the original question.

I was thinking about this the other day. I had a bizarre argument with my husband about whether Bonn was in the old West or East Germany. It turned out I was right - I checked on my smartphone. Which I do every time I have a factual question. And if, as so often happens, the answer leads to another question, I click on another link. And waste enormous amounts of time in reading up on stuff that is far removed from the original thing I looked up.

I suppose the point is that when I was growing up, you had to carry information around in your head, like my Dad did. But when the Boy is old enough to ask me about a whole load of different things, I'll be able to check on my phone. Or be able to download an internet page directly into our brains, or something.

It's much easier, and accurate, to be able to check for sure. But, at the same time, I think it'll be a bit of a cop-out. It's much more impressive to know and be able to have a conversation - or at least be able to make up a plausible fudge!

Maybe people in the future will have to spend more time actually learning to talk to each other, rather than learning facts?

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Grunt work

Everyone tells prospective parents that they'll lose sleep. So I came into this knowing that I'd get woken up by screaming and crying for milk or nappy changes.

Actually, the thing we get woken by the most is the grunting.

The Boy is big on grunting. It can happen anytime, day or night. But his favourite time for his nocturnal noises are between about 3am and 6.30am.

I'll put him down after his first feed, and a few minutes later will hear "GRUUUUH".

Then all will go quiet for a couple of minutes. And I will think it's not worth getting up. And 30 seconds later, just when I'm drifting off, I hear "GRRRRUUH - UHH".

And so it goes, for the rest of what should be a period of deep sleep.

It sounds for all the world like someone is squatting at the bottom of the bed, straining to do an enormous poo after a long period on the Atkins Diet.

The health visitor says that the Boy has just discovered how to make grunting noises and is doing it to entertain himself. My Dad says he is constipated - but he isn't. My Mum somehow missed the grunting when they both babysat. Mysteriously, this is about the only behaviour he has that she doesn't blame on wind, but I think is the only thing that she safely might. The doctor said he was fine (and I hasten to add I didn't go and see the doctor specifically about this, he was in anyway).

I've also read that new babies can't co-ordinate doing a poo properly at first, and this grunting is what they do as they work it out. But then, he's been just fine up until about a week ago.

On the plus side, the Boy doesn't cry or wail during all this. He just grunts. Over and over. He's not upset or anything. He's not distressed and even sometimes seems happy to grunt.

The health visitor also tells us that we're just conscientious new parents and soon we won't notice his noises. Frankly, I doubt this - these grunts are loud.

No-one else in my family has had a grunty baby. I think it must come from my husband's side. Or be a bloke thing.

Maybe we'll find a use for it someday.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

I see dead people

I asked my Mum to look out baby photos of me, and my brother and sisters. Since I had the Boy, I've been curious about how he might look when he was older - and I thought the family photos would give me a clue.

Mum hadn't dug out all the photos of us, but she had found a few of me and some of my brother. My brother died 15 years ago in a car accident in a foreign country, when I was 14.

It was sad looking at the photos of the cheeky faced wee boy in the album, knowing his fate. I felt a wave of sadness for my parents, and also the familiar ache I get at Christmas, on my wedding day, and now for my son for never getting to meet his uncle - I'll never stop missing my brother.

My parents both maintain that the Boy resembles my brother. In my heart, I'd like this also - it would be lovely to have another family member who looks like someone who was dearly loved by us all.

In my head, I'm not sure if this is such a good thing. Looking like a dead family member must come with an awful lot of emotional baggage.

I'm not entirely sure whether they look alike. They aren't dissimilar - but then, lots of babies look the same! We'll just have to wait and see.