Oct 31, 2009

Wearing my baby

We have found a better way!

MrBaby has settled into a cosy new routine. He'll happily sleep in his bassinet (in our room) at night for 3 or 4 hours, from about 10 or 11 pm until about 3am. Then he'll have a long lazy feed (he doesn't feed any other way) and about an hour and a half later will usually settle back into the bassinet for another couple of hours sleep.

That bit of his 'routine' is unchanged - the new and better bit concerns what happens for the rest of the day...

The first feed of the day is followed by an extended wakey time - he's very happy to lie with his pants off and kick for a while on the change-mat - or the babygym for variety - or being held (with pants on) by his sisters, while Merl and I buzz around getting dressed, dressing children, eating breakfast and generally getting started on the day.

I used to then put him back in the bassinet (following the exalted 'feed, wake, sleep' rhythm that worked so well for Miss2). Cue much unsettled crying, which stopped when I picked him up, and started as soon as I put him down, and continued in this pattern until he was obviously out the other side of 'tired' and was now also 'hungry'. This continued for much of the day, while I completely failed to get anything else done as I spent most of the day either on the couch feeding, or standing beside the bassinet trying to get him to sleep.

Now I might have a go at settling him in the bassinet, but if he doesn't settle fairly happily (i.e. still not happy after a couple of attempts to resettle him) I give up, give him another feed and pop him into the baby wrap.

Baby wraps are magic!

If I get the position right, he can feed whenever he wants to have a wee top-up, and he sleeps very happily tucked up on my chest. Instant quiet, instant peace, and I am able to read stories and play games with the other children without continually yo-yoing into the bedroom. And at the end of the day, he still cluster-feeds himself into a coma and I can pop him into bed. Bliss.

Now the girls have got their own babywraps for their own babies...

...and their elephants too. (Miss2 has got a little pink elephant tucked into her wrap in this photo). She then proceeded to jump around like a kangaroo with a baby in its pouch. Extremely cute.

My first foray into baby-slinging involved a 4m length of fabric which I had in my fabric stash. This was long enough to wrap over one shoulder, and around my middle, but not both shoulders. It was okay, but not very comfortable for more than an hour or so, and I felt a bit lop-sided. So I looked for improvements, and found a couple of great websites showing lots of different ways to wear your baby (links at the end of the post). I'm borrowing wraps from a couple of different friends to see what works for us, before getting my own.

This was the first 2-shoulder wrap I tried. A friend made this wrap using a 6 or 7 metre length of muslin. I can see this being a good one for summer, being a lovely open-weave cotton. It is comfortable, but not very stretchy/flexible, so I found I needed to tie it just right or it pulled quite tightly in places.

This one is the Moby wrap, borrowed from another friend. It is awesome. Its a soft, tight-knit cotton which is not very stretchy at all, but is stretchy enough to easily adjust around the baby and myself. Folks, we have a winner. Now I just need to decide whether I can be bothered making one myself or if I'll just buy one (they seem awfully expensive for what they are).

I know, I know 'making' one only involves going to the fabric shop, choosing some fabric, slicing it in half lengthwise and overlocking the edges - but that's possibly more hassle than I can be bothered with just right now. And by the time I have enough headspace or time to do something like that, the baby won't be a baby anymore!

Babywearing sites:
Wrap Your Baby - Very clear step-by-step instructions, with photos, for lots and lots of different ways to tie the wrap.
The Mamatoto Project - Includes instructions for using different types of cloth, including shorter scarves and traditional wraps from baby-wearing cultures. The videos are particularly helpful.
La Leche League NZ - Articles on all things baby, including babywearing
Make a Babysling - instructions for making your own.


Oct 21, 2009

visual catchup

Some photos from the last few weeks. No, Merl and I aren't in them, because we are usually behind the camera - or are too exhausted-looking to be fit for public viewing.

Look below the jump for the pics.

Grandma (Merl's Mum) and the girls. I am very lucky to have my MIL. We get on very well and she is brilliant with the kids. She came to stay for just over 2 weeks when the little guy was born and was just generally brilliant.

Grandad (my Dad) with MrBaby and Miss2. It's great to be living so close to Dad. And I think he's much more involved with the kids than he would have been were Mum still alive. He used to back off and leave the child stuff to her, but he's been really great - he looks after Miss2 every week while I take Miss5 to her swimming lesson, and tomorrow he's going with Miss5 to the fracture clinic - hopefully to get her cast removed. Yay.

Miss2. Really getting the hang of hide and seek.

Who says the baby gym is just for the baby?

Oh, yes. Remember I mentioned Miss5's cast? Here's the x-ray...

And here's the cast. She fell off the top bunk at 4am. When Ben was still only a few weeks old. Yeah, that was fun. Thankfully she was only in a lot of pain for that first day, and now she even has a super-duper water-proof cast on that she can go swimming in! Very cool.


Oct 16, 2009

Aisling Symes update

At the very time that I was blogging on Monday evening, the Symes family were informed that their little girl's body had been found in a storm drain near where she went missing a week earlier.

There was no foul play, and no abduction - she had fallen in the fast flowing water drain and drowned (there had been heavy rain recently). Searchers had not found her because her body was swept over 20 metres down the drain.

You may think me heartless, but my first thought was "Thank God". The wee poppet was not being tortured by some sick weirdo, frightened and desperate for her Mum. Her parents are now spared the waking nightmare of other parents who never find out what happened to their babies. There is no prowling child abductor stalking suburban Auckland.

All of which is cold comfort for Alan and Angela Symes, who will never hold their small one in their arms again.

My spirit weeps.


Oct 12, 2009

Aisling Symes

This week I've been deeply affected by the disappearance of Auckland toddler Aisling Symes.

Aisling's family were tidying up a relative's house, to get it ready for sale, last Monday afternoon. Both parents were there. Both kids playing happily. Aisling's Mum was doing something with the washing machine, saw Aisling watching her, turned back to turn the tap off, turned around again and Aisling was gone. She hasn't been seen since.

Every parent's worst nightmare.

Police searched the neighbourhood for 2 days, including nearby waterways, but have since concluded that she must have been abducted. But there are no leads, and no ransom request, and absolutely no clue as to where she might be.

They are hoping that she has been taken by someone who has a desperate urge to have and care for a child, and that she is alive.

We can only pray that this is the case, and that this person will have a fit of remorse and drop Aisling off somewhere safe to be returned to her family.

This has struck particularly close to home as we have children the same age as the Symes' kids. Miss2 even looks kinda like Aisling - blonde, cute, round-faced.

We even know what it's like to have a child vanish (as do most parents, at some point). Miss5 wandered out of church one Sunday when my back was turned for a minute or two (she was three at the time). We found her half an hour later in the pet shop at the corner.

That was without a doubt the most frightening half hour of my life.

I spent the whole time telling myself it was OK, she'd be just around the corner, or inside playing with the bigger kids and then I'd feel silly for being so scared. Trying not to think of all the terrible things that could have happened. Trying to walk, not run, to stay calm and not to panic because that might actually make it real.

I simply cannot imagine living for a whole week with that icy cold terror settling into a certainty. It would drive me absolutely over the edge and into the abyss. To know that even if she is now found 'safe and well', that the scars of this experience will never leave the family. That I would never really know everything that had happened to her while she was away.

That sometimes, monsters do exist, and our fears are fully justified.

If you, or anyone you know, is in the North Island of New Zealand, this little poppet may be near you.

Do you know anyone who has had a young 'cousin' come to stay 'for a while'?
Any new toddlers in the neighbourhood?
Anything just not gel, or that feels wrong?
Keep an eye out for wandering kids - if she was snatched that way, she may be released that way too.

And, of course, pray.

'cause only a miracle will give this story a happy ending.

Note:Update post here
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