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not only but also
The further adventures of Fishface and Mr Wriggly 
7th-Mar-2012 09:30 am

A couple of people have asked if we've taken The Photo of the second child - because unlike the ongoing deluge of photos of the first child, the second one only gets one. In our case, the photos are happening, but it's been more that the second one isn't getting the words - I remember writing stuff down constantly for Hamish, but getting to the computer with a functional brain just isn't happening for Kieran. Partly that is because unlike when Hamish was weeks old, we nowhave a three and a half year old that also needs attention and care, and extra care and attention at that.

Nonetheless, things progress! Kieran is now 5 weeks old. We've called him Hamish about 18 times, and Hamish Kieran at least 3. We spent the first few weeks mechanically stuffing Kieran with the required amount of food until the jaundice faded and he started being awake, which involved mostly trying to timetable things so only one feed would be required between midnight and 7am. Being stuck on the couch for an hour or more every 3 hours makes life a bit exciting - I've watched an awful lot of old Time Team we had on the mythtv when Hamish was asleep, and a lot of Sesame Street and Play School... and Olivia, Mr Men, Peppa Pig, Mister Maker, Wot Wots and Pingu... when he was awake. Hamish has seen a lot more of the tv that we'd prefer, but fundamentally there's not a lot else we can do when both parents have their hands full doing a feed (one pumping, one bottle feeding). The fabulous tacomonkey and wrestleful bjj_moves have been a great help with both kids when they've been able to be around, but it turns out that children are a 24 hour job - who knew?

After we got home we had a couple of midwife appointments from Box Hill that went well. They had solid advice on how things could be tweaked to make it easier to keep Kieran warm (which we took with some irony in the middle of February) and things to keep an eye on. Then we had a visit from the Maternal & Child Health Nurse that did not go so well. We had a fill-in attendee, and she seemed to think the house was a death trap. When she weighed Kieran, he seemed to have only put on 10g .. shame she weighed him with the scales on the carpet. Who'd have thought that it might be hard to pick up a 1% increase in weight when the surface you are basing the scales on has some give in it? Wait, everyone else. Unfortunately goldengrove was a bit rattled by Authority Figure at a point where she wasn't getting enough rest and all.

So, at the next appointment, at four weeks, it was nice to see the correct weight - he had put on about 700g (roughly 20% of his birth weight) and about 4cm, bringing him up to 4.24kg and 52cm. That was about 3 or 4 days after his due date, which made goldengrove a bit happier he hadn't gone to full term give that the labour progressed reasonably quickly and she didn't get to the point of being able to have any drugs. We seem to have large babies that come a bit early (he says, basing that on a sample size of two). There's something sort of hilarious about being in the special care nursery with your giant 3.5kg child next to all the tiny 2kg premmies. Tiny, tiny, tiny, GIANT, tiny, tiny. On at least one occasion the doctors looking at him had missed the fact he was 3 and a bit weeks early and were starting to order tests to figure out why he was jaundiced, which it just seems to have been because he broke out before his sentence was up.

Hamish seems relatively ok with having a little brother, and takes every chance to comment on how big he is - "he's tiny! his fingers are tiny!" - and asks if he can cuddle Kieran regularly. He's tried singing lullabies to help Kieran sleep, which is adorable if sadly completely ineffectual. There's been a couple of tantrums about Kieran getting priority, and he totally lost it the first time tacomonkey carried Kieran around, but overall its gone about as smoothly as you could ask for - the odd tantrum or burst of ratbaggery, but mostly good. We were wondering if Hamish was going to start developing attachments to some of his soft toys instead, and there's been a bit of carrying around his Grug doll, and the one eyed alien that anthonybaxter got him, but the real attachment has been to a sewing measuring tape. He drags it around the house, draping it over everything as he goes past, tho we've had to force a couple of exceptions to 'everything' when various bits of crockery went flying off the bench. He'll also take it outside and drag it around and over everything there too. Also to tacomonkey's house, Pinewood, Chadstone and playgroup. He wants to sleep with it, adding the horror of possibly strangling himself in his sleep to the usual hazards. As well as all the fun of carrying it around, it provides an opportunity to sit and practice counting, reading the numbers off ... approximately anyway. For some reason 13 appears after 20, but everything else is reasonably accurate. On the plus side, we have two of them already that are functionally identical, so if he loses one we can easily replace it - it cuts down on the potential for any "I'VE LOST FLUFFY AND CAN'T SLEEP WITHOUT HIM!" moments at bedtime. [Of course in the last 2 days he's put the lie to this and now obsessively carries around a red floppy bunny that Kylie gave him.]

The big event for Hamish in the last few weeks has been going to three year old kinder. The kinder is just at the end of our street, so its nice to be able to ride or scoot down there in five minutes or so. The first couple of sessions were short ones, two hours and then three, to get them up to speed. The kinder asks for each child to have two sessions where parents or adult friends come along, and seeing as how I was home already for Kieran, I signed up for the first two Tuesdays. Hamish sprints in the door and is gone, elbow deep in paint or playdough or toys within seconds. Some of the other kids are a bit less keen to have their parents leave, but it takes 3 goes to get Hamish to acknowledge that we're going home he is so engrossed in his own thing. Sticking around was fun - its basically so the parents can play with the kids at any of the tables where stuff is set up, so it gave me an excuse to play with blocks or play dough or anything. I am yet to work out if being sleep depped at that point was helpful or a hindrance when it came to thinking of different things to do with various toys.

It was interesting watching the kinder teacher try to herd 24 three year olds into doing what they should be doing, or stopping doing what they're not meant to be doing for 5 hours. Different kids want to do different things that they shouldn't - Hamish's bugaboos are not unexpected; keeping his head down when its quiet time, and sitting still in his seat when its time for food. He still has no real interest in food, and so whenever he thinks of anything more interesting... which to him is fundamentally just anything... he gets up and wanders around. We have exactly the same problem at home, but apparently muttering "yeah, good luck with that" under your breath is not helpful at kinder.

When Hamish has been doing things we don't want him to do, its hard to not tell him he's being bad or naughty - after all, its the opposite of when he's being good. I've no problems saying that when he's deliberately wrecking stuff or hitting people, but when its just that he's running around being excited when we need to get ready and go somewhere, it feels like 'bad' is overstating the situation. I've been trying to say 'uncooperative' instead, and saving 'bad' for when he really deserves it. Uncooperative sums up the problem a bit better, and gives us other positive spin we can put on his behaviour (like .. er... cooperative I guess, tho 'focus' is helpful too). There are some things he does that drive me crazy, like blowing spit bubbles, but so far we've been fortunately free of attempts to set the house on fire.

Frankly, he's far more willing to be helpful than he is difficult at this stage, tho that presents its own difficulties. He really wants to help feed Kieran, which can sort of be accomodated by letting him cushion the pillow Kieran's lying on while I hold the bottle, but there's just too much potential for disaster to go much further than that. He likes to help cut things up for dinner, or sweep the floor, or water the plants, all of which are lovely but contain the seeds of their own destruction when you don't really understand sharp, or that the other end of the broom exists and wiggles around violently, or that the water should be ideally spread out over all the plants, not concentrated on just one specific plant and your shoes. There's a fine balance to be achieved between not squishing his urge to help out and finding that he's weeded a lot of plants out of the garden.

Physically Hamish is over 16kg now, and was 102 cm a few weeks back which seemed to be a good height to ram his head into me in uncomfortable ways. I think he's even taller now, and definitely heavier. He's definitely getting stronger, to the point where he can suddenly actually hurt people when he's too rough or rambuctious, and we're trying to get it through to him that crashing into people will send them flying. Conversely, when you pick Kieran up, he feels light as a feather. He's still Mr Wriggly tho - when you're carrying him on one shoulder and he's looking about for food there's a distinct chance of him throwing himself off in the process. That's when he's not trying to latch onto my earlobe. Kieran seems more wriggly, my memories of Hamish were that he was more likely to grab handfuls of hair and use that steely grip to look around for food.

Currently goldengrove's car is the child transport vehicle, with seats for both Kieran and Hamish in it. We're hoping that Hamish keeps putting on height so that we can move him into a booster seat soon - amongst the other benefits, it will take up less space in the car so we could actually fit another adult in the back. The pram has also been retrieved from the top of the cupboard and reassembled - the list of places Kieran can and has visited double as a result. He's been to the kinder in a sling and to a cafe in the pram - exciting, wot!

Conversely Hamish's adventures include multiple trips to the beach at Sandringham, and one to Edithvale to make it easier for goldengrove to get to the water line when she was still pregnant; Sam's 4th birthday on a Sunday at a playcentre in Windsor, which included a bonus visit the day before because I got the day wrong; leadgend's birthday party; a steampunked themed picnic in the domain; a night at tacomonkey's house as well as helping her hunt for houses and move to her new house, and then the week or so hanging out with her while we had Kieran in hospital, picnicking in the park or doing arts and crafts; a chunk of time in the hospital visiting Kieran or sitting in the caf; Jells park a few times; hanging out with his cousins then off to the beach with them; Arcanacon for an afternoon; and o-week and a murp infernal at Monash.

Slowly catching up on photos - December with Hamish, and only a few of Kieran. I believe I have approximately 600 unsorted photos from the last two months to go...
6th-Mar-2012 10:47 pm (UTC)
Bad behaviour; good child. Also, a kid who doesn't want to sit still or lie down is basically Normal.
6th-Mar-2012 11:33 pm (UTC)
One of my cousins in a primary school teacher, and had to make a student step out of the class for a bit. When she went to get him back, she made it clear that it was just because he was being naughty, she still thought he was a good kid. Apparently he was gobsmacked, and just assumed that she hated him now... it worries me that these sorts of things bubble away inside kids' heads, so yeah, I try and differentiate between the verb and the noun too.

Oh, I know he's not ADD or anything :-) Its somewhere between frustrating and amusing to have to say "sit *down* and eat" 17 times in one small meal.
8th-Mar-2012 06:11 am (UTC)
My Mum used to say "i love you, but I don't love what your hands are doing, etc" :)
7th-Mar-2012 12:04 pm (UTC)
Cute! On all scores.

I did read/hear from reputable sources (can't remember if it's "Raising Boys" or from a talk from Pinky McKay or something similar) that boys around the 2-4 mark actually physically can't sit still. They have crazyass hormones carousing around in their systems and many just can't do it. It's not that he's bad or willingly uncooperative, it's just that his body is on fire with the growing.

Yay for kitten helpful!

Yay for Kieran growing. (Eeeek for Hamish growing)

Hopefully the feeding has settled down and you'll start returning to a more normal sleep pattern in the next few months. More or less.
8th-Mar-2012 02:25 am (UTC)
Luckily the breastfeeding is getting easier, and he doesn't need so many bottle top-ups. Luckily he'll still take a bottle, so D can sometimes do the 4am feed and I can sleep. He's also been easy to settle...too easy sometimes. I can't help wondering if he's saving up to be a real horror in a few months time.
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