Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tales of Mystery and Imagination

Recently I have been able to play a part in feeding my eight week old son. After a long day of caring for Reuben, Mrs Hope now clocks off gracefully at 10pm, and is usually able to be in bed earlier due to Reuben's propensity for sleep. So, between the hours of 10pm and 5am, I am on duty: both input and output. I have thoroughly enjoyed this time with him, sometimes before midnight but more often in the 'wee small hours'. I like it - it's private 'us' time.

He feeds well from a bottle, but prefers his food at body temperature rather than room temperature which requires a trip downstairs to the microwave prior to a meal. We aim to move away from this temperature preference, and so we're gradually working our way from warm to cool (and aiming for 'tepid' tonight).

And so I came to find myself groggily making up a bottle of formula at 3.30am Saturday morning. Actually, it was one of the ready-made cartons we'd bought to test his affinity for the bottle. Having carefully sanitised the various components of the bottle earlier, I carefully unsanitised them as I assembled it. Eventually I decanted the appropriate measure of formula into the chosen vessel, warmed it painstakingly in the microwave and trudged upstairs to my audibly-hungry son. He got his chops working furiously on the bottle in no time at all and was quaffing away eagerly when I felt a slight trickle of liquid on my ankle.

Despite being slightly un-focused by the hour, I quickly ran through a list of possible explanations: drip from baby's nappy (answer: no, baby was wrong way round for that), drip from baby's chin (answer: no, muslin was securely in place, and not at all saturated), drip from bottle (answer: most likely yes, given the complex ritual for preparing the meal and the weary state of the labourer). The conclusion I arrived at was that it was a splash of formula from earlier activities, and I was feeling the chill of it slowly drying in the air. Satisfied, I dismissed the trickle from my mind and returned my (limited) attention to my guzzling son. Then the 'trickle' moved up my calf, and all possible explanations vanished in an instant.

There are times when I feel it is appropriate to wrestle with mystery but I was suddenly keenly motivated to inspect my calf and resolve it. My hurried inspection revealed none other than my recently documented nemesis - a slug.

Thankfully, Reuben is too young to remember his father's ungainly reaction to this turn of events; I shall elaborate no further on the matter but simply leave it to your imagination.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Taking on the North Face

Oh yes, the slugs in our house are a brave and fearless bunch, as these pictures testify. They* crawled all over my favourite Nuptse vest, both inside (shudder) and out.

*Okay, I admit I don't really know if it was a gang of slug vandals, or just one inquisitive slimeball, but I think 'they' sounds better. And I did feel violated.

January tales

The Wee Man has kept us busy this month: enchanting us and exhausting us in equal measure as he learns how to live in his little body. It's been tough to share his frustrations and be unable to step in and solve his problems in the main.

His Granny came to visit, and helped us out in all sorts of ways, for which we were all most grateful.

Last week, we were referred to the breast-feeding specialist at Southmead Hospital. Reuben was born with a small tongue-tie which had proved, over the last few weeks, a regular source of frustration for both mother and child at mealtimes. As the tissue anchoring the base of his tongue to the bottom of his mouth was preventing him from moving his tongue freely, he wasn't feeding easily. So, through the wonderful NHS, our health visitor quickly referred us to the hospital in just a few days. Although the wonders of the NHS didn't extend to convenient parking, on Friday morning we ended up in the office of the specialist who - after the briefest of brief inspections - said she would be prepared to snip the tissue right there and then.

Barely five minutes later, Reuben was swaddled and his head stabilised by an assistant. A pair of sterile scissors were produced and the specialist pried Reuben's mouth open and made two quick snips. It was over with only a drop or two of blood and a small (and rather muted) protest from the Wee Man at the fingers in his mouth. He was scooped up and returned to his mother for a feed, which was immediately noticeably improved.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Credit where it's due?

This is a great story about what lengths we go to in order to avoid uncomfortable situations. And I love the ingenuity of children.

I never went as far as glueing my hand to a bed to get out of school, but I did try faking a fever and heating my thermometer up over my bedside lamp. As I, being only eight, had no idea of the normal temperature of the human body I ended up going (rather grumpily) to school anyway; mercifully the glass thermometer hadn't fractured during its mishandling; and (rather gracefully) my mother hadn't blinked as I registered a temperature of only 30 Centigrade.

I like to think it showed some aptitude for creative thinking and problem solving, despite the rather self-interested motive.