Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Promised Update

Before I go into how the last couple of weeks have been, I thought I'd announce which of the blognamesI'll be using when I talk about N around here. Thank you all for the suggestions - they were all good but the one I like the best is dg's. So, from here on in, N will be referred to as Cirrus. It's nicely in keeping with the blogtitle and is a pretty good name all on its own. And, of course, it leaves plenty of choices for any other children we may have. ;-)

Anyway, here is a potted history of Cirrus' life so far:


What do you mean you want more? That's all that babies of his age do. Oh, all right, then.

Apart from the first couple of days (which are always difficult as parents and baby have to adjust to a new way of living), it hasn't been that difficult so far. Yes, it has been hard work and very tiring but when a baby is only capable of doing the four things listed above, there isn't all that much to learn.

Probably the most difficult bit so far was getting him to breastfeed properly. That took a few days but we got there eventually. I say we, but really I had nothing to do with it at all - it was all down to L and Cirrus. Since then he has been feeding very well and, when weighed yesterday, came in at 10lb 8oz - 9 ounces more than last Tuesday when he was back up to his birth weight having lost a few ounces in the first week (which is completely normal and not something I knew before). If he carries on like that he'll be growing out of his clothes in just a few weeks!

The realy difficulat part of the day is the late evening. Cirrus is starting to sleep for longer periods overnight, going up to six hours between feeds, but getting him to sleep before midnight is tricky. Over the last two weeks I was staying up with him, while L went to bed, and sleeping in later to catch up. Of course, now I'm back at work I can't do that and L isn't as comfortable doing it as I was.

What follows are a few observations I've made since Cirrus was born.

The first few weeks of parenthood are hard work with very little reward. When a baby's interaction with you is limited to feeding and crying, it can be difficult to find the joy in it. It is there but you have to search for it. You find it in the expressions on his face while he sleeps, the way he stretches as he wakes and the flicker of a smile he gives you every so often. Sometimes that's just wind but at other times it is because he is content.

People think about babies in a sort of anthropomorphic way. They ask you if the baby's behaviour is good. The answer they want to hear is "Yes, it is". They just stare at you blankly when you say a baby can be neither good nor bad, it just is.

When it comes to presents, the baby gets the most and the mother gets some but the father gets nothing (although that's not quite true - I have been given a present but that can wait for another post)

Babies are very funny when they have the hiccups or sneezes

Plus a whole load of others my tired brain is having trouble remembering right now.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

New Arrival

Okay, then, time to put you all out of your misery.

Friday was a bit of a false start as the contractions, if that is indeed what they were died away on Saturday. Saturday night was a different matter entirely.

L's waters broke at 2.45 on Sunday morning, cutting the night's sleep drastically short, and we duly headed off to the hospital (it's very nice driving at that time of night - assuming you can stay awake, anyway). A minor (and quite common) complication saw us transferred from the Birth Centre to the Delivery Suite, where our son, N, was born at about 1.40 that afternoon. For those it will mean anything to, the labour was very short - L was in established labour for only 3-4 hours. I took some time out to get some lunch, thinking it was going to be some hours before anything happened and I almost missed it all! Thankfully, I got back in time to have my hand crushed and my eardrums abused by all the screams. ;-)

We've decided not to put his name online so I'm sorry if you made a guess as to what it was. Anyway, he weighed in at a hefty 9lbs 15ozs (long rather than fat) and is absolutely gorgeous. L stayed in overnight with him and they both came home yesterday afternoon. Now we just have to learn how to be parents!

I'm off work this week and next but I'll stop by from time to time. When I'm not looking after my new son, of course.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Here we go

Okay, then. This is it. L is now in labour (at least, we think so - neither of us have been through it before so we can't really be sure). She has been having regular twinges for over twenty-four hours now, and in the last few they seem to have become real contractions. The question now is whether or not we'll get a decent night's sleep tonight.

Either way, it won't be long now (compared to the last nine months, that is) until our baby makes its appearance and our lives change forever. It's getting very exciting.

While I'm off, feel free to amuse yourselves in the comments box trying to guess the name(s) we have picked and the weight the baby will be.

A couple of hints: The girl's name is in the first half of the alphabet and is reasonably popular and the boy's name is the opposite of that. As for weight, I was nine and a half pounds when I was born. L was more than that and (apparently) babies tend to follow their mothers, weight-wise.

I'll be back in a few days with news and maybe even a picture.

Meanwhile, I'm going to try and get a bit of sleep under my belt...

Monday, April 04, 2005

Future - The Environment

For the second of my series of future-prediction posts, I'm taking a look at the subject that has aroused the most confusion, anger and argument in recent years and is going to be the hot-topic of the next couple of decades, at least. The environment.

The next generation is likely to be the most environmentally clued-up of all and I aim to make sure that my daughter is one of them. I don't want to produce an anarchic eco-warrior, or anything, just a responsible person, who knows the value of recycling, energy efficiency etc and behaves accordingly.

That is where I think the biggest change with regard to the environment will take place over the next 25 years. In the mind. Whether you're talking about global warming, pollution or low levels of natural resources, it's unlikely there'll be a significant change in any of them in that time frame, assuming things carry on as they are currently. However, by the time we get to 2030, there may well be no way to stop massive climate change occurring. In order to stop that, there needs to be a complete change of attitude among the population of the world.

I'm trying to predict what will happen, though, not rant about what should so I'm going to leave that for another day. I think it's clear that, barring some sort of huge environmental disaster on the scale of The Day After Tomorrow, the arguments about global warming will continue while average temperatures creep up, winters become wetter and milder and hosepipe bans rule the summer. At the same time, incremental changes in public policy, retail economics and societal thinking will all do their bit to combat it. Below are some of what I think these small changes will be.

Supermarkets will add a new dimension to food shopping. Alongside the normal and organic ranges of meat, fruit, vegetables and other staples, there will be a new range, called 'Locally Produced'. The products in the range may be organic or they may not, but they will have been produced and packaged locally (within, say, 10-20 miles) and should appeal to anyone who is concerned about the environmental damage caused by transporting food around the country in trucks. Aside from the green benefits, this could boost British agriculture and give my daughter some satisfaction at having helped out someone in their local area, rather than some faceless person a long way away. Who knows, it could be so successful that it becomes the dominant way to buy those sorts of goods.

My daughter's first car will probably not be fuelled by petrol. The average oil price will probably continue to rise, as stocks of easily attainable oil begin to run low, until it becomes more economical to use a different power source. The technology is already being developed to power cars using hydrogen and, given the better part of twenty years, there's no reason they won't be commercially viable by the time she sends off to the DVLA for her licence. A scaled up version of the process may even be used to generate electricity. What could be better? Getting energy from an extremely abundant fuel source and producing just steam as an emission.

That's still a bit pie in the sky, though. For some thing a bit more down to earth, waste management will change so that more and more of our rubbish is recycled, including that generated by commerce, and what is left will be disposed of responsibly. People will also start to change the way things are packaged as they begin to buy the products that do not come with unnecessary plastic bags, polystyrene and other harmful packaging.

Of course, ideas like this will not be the only way in which people are encouraged to make a difference. Whether it will all be enough, though, only time will tell.

Friday, April 01, 2005


I'm not one of those bloggers that likes to set up an April Fool's Day ruse for their readers (though I did wonder about writing a post saying that L had just had twins, despite us only ever seeing one baby on the scans). Others do, extremely funnily at times, but it's just not me, I'm afraid.

I do, however, have a couple of April Fool stories to tell you about this year's April 1st. One is a joke I feared may happen and hasn't, the other I wasn't expecting at all.

For more than eight months, now, we have known that April 1st 2005 was going to have more than the usual significance for us. You see, it is today that our baby is officially due. Of course, the chances of it being on time are not that great, but you never know and I really didn't want it to happen, especially before midday. Anyway, the joke I feared was that L would ring me up at work and tell me she was in labour so I'd rush off only to get another call a few minutes later telling me it was all just a laugh. That hasn't happened (yet, anyway).

Incidentally, I also wondered whether the baby might get in on the act and make L go into labour in the morning, only to stop at a minute after noon. ;-)

The joke I wasn't expecting was one I played on myself. Yes, you heard me right, I played it on myself. How can you not expect that, I hear you say? Well, let me explain.

My eyelids opened this morning to find it was a little lighter than it should have been. I looked at my alarm clock and it said 7.04. There was a brief moment of incomprehension before the panic set in and I leapt out of bed. You see, on a normal day, I leave the house to walk to the station at 7.10. My alarm should have gone off almost 45 minutes earlier. What on earth had happened? Did I sleep through it? Well, no, because the alarm turns the radio on, which then plays for two hours, and it was silent. Those thoughts raced through my head by the time I'd got round the bed and was heading for the door. It was at that moment that a memory floated up from the depths of my mind.

It was the early hours of this morning and, in a period of semi-consciousness, I looked over at my alarm clock and saw that the alarm was on. So, being of sound mind, I reached out and turned the damn thing off! Why I did that, I'll never know.

It turned out all right in the end. The act of leaping out of bed woke L up and after I'd showered and dressed she threw on some clothes and gave me a lift to the station so I could get my normal train. It was a 20 minute mad rush rather than the usual 50 minute leisurely stroll, though. Thank god it's Saturday tomorrow.

Take a pill - live longer!

It was with some disbelief that I saw this news story yesterday. Apparently, Professor John Speakman thinks that taking thyroxine could boost our lifespan by up to 25%, because that's what it has done in mice.

Thyroxine is the hormone, produced by the thyroid, that controls your metabolic rate. The professor's tests show that the mice with the highest metabolic rates lived longest and thinks that it could mean the same for humans.

Well ,I for one can tell him what it's like to have too much thyroxine in your body and it's not very pleasant. If you go too far you end up at risk of heart failure! That's not going to prolong your life very much, is it? Obviously, he isn't going to advocate taking that enough to put you into that sort of situation, but it's hard to see how much would have a benefit before it tips the scales in favour of harming you. My thyroid is only fairly mildly hyperactive but it has had a dramatic effect on my standard of life. I wouldn't want to intentionally take something that would do that to me.