Thursday 29 June 2006

Cold Sydney Homecoming

We’re back in Oz, arriving yesterday at 5am into Sydney’s Kingsford Smith. Let me tell you Sydney wasn’t kind to us, the outside temperature was 7 degrees, Marika & I spent the day shivering, even when the temperature reached 18 degrees. Little Bella didn’t know what to make of the change, she struggled with the concept of wearing more than one item of clothing, she now knows what socks, bootees, mittens, hats, long pants, shirts, jumpers and jackets are and that they can all be worn at the same time over her usual Singapore skimpy one piece suit. And yet the cold feeling still creeps in so we wrap her in the thicker wraps then get her big blanket, now she seems warm. Yesterday Bella achieved some milestones, they include her first flight, meeting her grandparents on daddy side (as they so kindly picked us up from the airport) and last night we had a major sleeping break through, yes she slept for nearly six and half hour straight, of late she has only been sleeping three to three an a half hours stints, Marika & I also managed a six hour sleeping stint at the same time.

Bella was very good during the flight; I think she likes the noise. She slept two stints of two to three hours and the rest of the time she was happy in the crib. The only noise was a quiet-ish scream when she was hungry. We were very happy with how well she travelled; I think the big guy upstairs was looking out for us. She was good with all the relos that came by yesterday and today, she happy to play pass the Bella parcel giving away smiles freely to all, also showing some how good she can fart too! We’ll be in Sydney with Marika’s family until Friday arvo then we are heading north to the lake to visit my family, my sister will also be joining us from Hawaii on Friday night. Hopefully the Bywater clan is ready for the influx of guests.

Tuesday 27 June 2006

On the Frog & Toad to Downunder

Our trip Downunder is almost here, our bags are packed, well mostly packed, some clothing is still in the dryer and some baby stuff still in use. Singapore weather lately has been cool, getting us ready for a Sydney winter. OK by cool I mean the temperature has been below 30 degrees, the estimated high in Sydney for tomorrow is a warm 13 degrees, I guess when we arrive at 5am it will be a little colder than that. Maybe we should have set our air-con to 10 degree for the past few days to get us acclimatised. Little Bella doesn’t know the meaning of cold; I guess tomorrow she’ll get a quick lesson. Theia Penny left this morning for Bangkok, we’ll be meeting up with her back in Oz in a week or so. Let me tell you it was nice to have an extra set of hands for the past week and a bit, I think I only cooked once, maybe twice and my washing up duties were limited too, mmmm maybe we should do the Singaporean thing and get a maid / nanny. We tried to talk Penny into doing it, but she didn’t seem keen, poor pay but great company and free food and board, you would think we would have people lining up for the job.

I guess we are just about ready to leave; our trip preparation over the past week has involved cooking meals that use up the perishables in our fridge, freezer and cupboards. The fridge is bare, we had to go and get some lunch from the local shopping centre. A single chilli & some ginger sit in the near empty vegetable crisper, destined for the garbage chute, the milk is finished and the juice almost gone, (I’m drinking it now). There is some cheese left, but I’m thinking I haven’t undertaken any science experiments lately, so the cheese will stay, it’s locked in a special chilled box at the top of the fridge meant for meats.
Packing for travelling with a newborn is interesting; so much more planning is needed. I’m glad I ended up taking the day off. We would have been awfully rushed otherwise. I started this blog several hours ago, and things just keep coming up that need my attention, one last thing has come up, catching a cab to the airport, being that rather important I should sign off and hit the frog and toad.

Sunday 25 June 2006

Photo Updates

I thought it was time for a few photo updates

Cuddle Time With Theia Penny
Mum & Baby Bjorn Baby
Feeding Time With Daddy

Isabella's Magic Carpet Ride

I uploaded a new video tonight of Isabella on her playmat, just wiggling and making sounds, attempting to swipe the noise makers attached to her mat.

Saturday 24 June 2006

Day of the Jab, Immunisation Fun

It’s been a while since my last rant, such is life. Isabella had a milestone day, but not a happy one; it was her first lot of immunisation jabs, one in each of her chubby little thighs. All the screaming she has shown us up until now was just warming up. The pain from the jabs sent her screaming oh so loudly, not that newborn whimper anymore. I was wondering when and how baby migrated from newborn to full blooded baby crying, aarh the power of the doctors jab. Her sad little eyes were looking up at me when the doctor did her nasty work, yes I was suckered into holding her. Hopefully she doesn’t remember that it was me holding her when the pain struck as she has many years remaining to be daddy little girl. The good news is she didn’t scream for long, only a few minutes (I figure it was daddy's exceptional rocking that settled her). She has been a little upset since then when awake, fortunately for us and her she has been sleeping more than usual since the attack on her little legs. Fingers crossed that all continues to go well; we don’t need to experience any of the side effects other than maybe the sleepiness one!

We saw a new newborn today, she was so little. You don’t realise how quickly they grow, it’s only been 6 weeks and she has already grown out of some of her clothes. 0000 clothing is long gone, not sure if she ever fitted into that size, her 0 to 3 months (up to 4.5kgs) suits are heading to storage, we’ll be saying good by to her 000 clothing soon. I’ve noticed that baby clothing has different sizing description, i.e. the zeroes rating I remember from Australia, then here in Singapore they use month rating, or weight rating or a combination of both. The month rating is good for buying for other people kids where the weight rating is good for buying for your own. Yes Isabella did get weighed today, she is now 4.815kg and 55.2cm long, I didn’t note her head size but it is still bent, we have to be more proactive about turning her head, she favours one side about 90 percent of the time. She usually likes to resist when I try to turn her head the other way, and she’ll complain loudly if I don’t let her turn it back. Stubborn little girl, yes she gets that from her mum’s side. But I have to admit the bent head is most likely from my side.

I have a bunch of photos to upload; I just haven’t had time to pick and choose. Not to worry for our Australian family and friends as you’ll be able to meet her in person next week. Our Australia trip is almost here, boy how time flies when you have a baby in the house to keep you occupied. Speaking of, she’ll be wanting a feed soon so I’ll finish up now and get ready.

Saturday 17 June 2006

Theia Penny Arrives – New Video Added

Isabella’s Theia Penny arrived tonight, half an hour later Isabella was showing her how she likes to be a noise maker. Penny is feeding her at the moment, freeing me up to blog and Marika to check the cooking lamb roast (its smells yummy and my tummy is waiting to meet it).

Isabella’s surprise three hour sleep this afternoon enabled me to edit some more Isabella video, I’ve already uploaded it for your viewing pleasure. I was playing with some new editing software, the video is OK, but again the audio is a little out of whack, music is ok but the voice is a little slow.

Friday 16 June 2006

Red Eyes & Magical 40 Days – Religion Oops Bella

I’m starting to think my eye are permanently blood shot, NO I haven’t been drinking it’s from baby enforced lack of sleep blood shot! So why aren’t Bella’s eyes blood shot? The magical 40 days mark is just around the corner, people keep telling us that things should get better after 40 days, we’ll see. Speaking of 40 days, with the Greek Orthodox religion you can’t enter a church for the first 40 days, on the 40th day you have to get the baby blessed then the priest will lead you into the church. This is the story as I have been told; also I heard that it’s different for boys and girls. Is this sexist or are there different special religious needs that newborn boys and girls have? Based on how old this religion is I would assume this is sexist. Sadly many religions are sexist i.e. alter boys, male only priest, marriage services and protocols, Hijab (female Muslim head scarf), maybe I shouldn’t delve to deeply into these differences as I might be missing something, like Muslim female might wear the scarf's because they can grow beards, just kidding but I do recall reading somewhere that some religions require the men to grow beards or not cut their hair. Come to think of it, most Orthodox priests I’ve seen have beards. When I have some spare time I should sit down and read different religions manuscripts so I’m more informed, I hope you can get the Russian Orthodox guidelines & the Qur'an in English. I’ve read about the Druid’s and their beliefs, I watched all the Star Wars movies and read some of the books so I’m up the Jedi religion. I was raised initially generic Christian then Baptist so I have an understanding of liberal Christian religions. I’ve had some interaction with what I call the stodgy Christian religions that is the one’s that are steeped in pompous ceremony. It makes me question the real meaning behind some religions when I see the material wealth contained in their churches, temples, mosques, synagogue, building etc and realise how poor yet how much their parishioner give in the name of their faith. I guess this is a reflection of my church up bring were the only gold thing in the building was a thin ring edging on some donated dinner plates. Yes I am bitter & twisted, but not about any of this. If I have offended anyone with my above topic, it was not meant that way. At times like this I look to my good friend Desmond Tutu for advice. What he would say, the first thing that comes to mind is his South African accent saying ‘Tough titties’. I think more sleep is required for me to return to coherency.

Talk about the running wild dribble, I’ve bounced from one subject to another today. Maybe I should move onto my number one topic at the moment, Miss Isabella. She’s good, her motor skills are improving. She knows how to spit the dummy and how to stop you putting it back in using head movements and forceful hands. She has given up on feeding the natural way and only takes bottles. Her little hands try to hold the bottle but she really doesn’t have fine motor skill required, she’ll whack the bottle away with her hands if she’s had enough. I’m starting to think she might be a stubborn one, I figure that comes form her mother’s side, her mother might disagree. She’s not the best burper but her farting skills are up there with the best in age group, another thing I think she gets from her mother’s side, again there may be some disagreement there. To confuse Isabella even more we have given her an (American) Indian name, roughly it translates into English as ‘Loud of Lungs’. We considered ‘Howls like Wolves’ but that name was already taken by ‘Dances with Wolves’ son. I just received an IM from Marika, ‘Loud of Lungs’ is at it again, yes where did I leave those earplugs.

Wednesday 14 June 2006

Information Underload – Bath Time

I think I must be one of those gushing parents that always talks about their child and how beautiful they are and all that other dribble. When I think about it, I don’t know what gushing means in this sense and generally I don’t like to talk (to anybody). Marika’s a smart cookie, she’s always asking me questions, she knows that’s the only way to find out what I should have told her, you know, stuff like ‘Joe Blow called the other day, OK it was five weeks ago! He wanted me to tell you Jane had the baby’, upon hearing something like this there is usually follow up questions ‘What did they have’ typical response ‘I dunno, a baby I guess’ people always want details, was it a boy or girl, weight, length, shoes size, annual belly button lint intake, etc. On the opposite side of the coin, I can be far from laconic when writing / typing something out. Why is this so, I just don’t know. Maybe it’s just me trying to keep up with the crap rolling through my mind in a documented manner. Lucky for you people reading this little story that my typing speed is not very fast, I top out at about thirty words a minute, if I could touch type look out the dribble would be flowing everywhere.

Marika just told me Bella has been a screaming baby today, just what she needed being she’s not feeling 100 percent today, something to do with my cooking so I’m told! I guess when I get home Bella will be sleeping. When she wakes I’ll give her a bath then a bottle and she’ll most likely want to go straight back to sleep, she’ll be tired after all the screaming generated when I dip her in the bath. She likes part of her baths, she enjoy being in the water when I’m holding her facing down, maybe she enjoys watching the air bubbles coming out of her mouth (just kidding I hold her head out of the water). When I turn her over she starts to whine then usually scream, needless to say, but I will, I leave turning her over until the last possible moment. Maybe I should use my swimming ear plugs to reduce her screams, well her screaming entering my ear drums. Our baby bathing skills have definitely improved from the first week. It won’t be long before Isabella is to big to be bathed in the sink, I guess then we can start bathing her in the kiddie pool, even better idea is down the other end of the pool where the spa is, those jets would be great for cleaning her bottom, belly button and ears. People that know me well might just be wondering how seriously I’m considering this option!

Well I should finish up this blog now as damn MS Windows keeps popping up an ‘Updates Installed’ message, ‘You must restart your computer’ and there’s only two restart options ‘Now’ or ‘Later’ where later appears to be 5 minutes time. There should be a ‘Bugger Off’ option that will allow you to restart when you’re ready, i.e. when you go to lunch or home!

Tuesday 13 June 2006

Isabella’s Website Pictures & Video Uploaded

Amazingly I found time to update our website over the weekend. OK I managed to do it late Sunday afternoon; the rest of the time was taken up with Isabella & Marika. I’ve added some pictures of Isabella’s first month and a video of her time in hospital. The video site upload function was offline until late last night, so if you looked before then you would have only got the cats. The video ' s a little dodgy, I need to work on my sound editing and some of the footage looks like it was taken during one of the earthquakes that have hampered parts of Asia in the recent months. I have some post hospital video for your viewing pleasure, however finding the time to edit is the catch stopping me from uploading it. I’ll try and do this later in the week. I may need to invest in some better editing software to improve the overall presentation. I think the video camera came with some; maybe I should try that first!

As for the Little Miss, she is growing well, or as my sister said the other day ‘like a weed’, yes she can be a little obnoxious at three in the morning but it’s not nice to call her a weed! She is sleeping better at night, we usually get one five hour stint from about 11pm to 4am, and some times another three or four hours after her 4am feed. Not today though, she stayed awake till 6:30am and was ready for her morning feed less than an hour later. Her awake time is expanding, mostly between early morning till early evening. When I’m at work so I get to see her sleeping, Marika get the joy (sometimes challenge) of awake time to herself. I think Isabella’s already living on Australian Eastern Standard Time, which will be good for when we are there later this month.

Friday 9 June 2006

Fencing Singapore – Fighting Fit 4.33kg

This weekend the University I work at is holding a Fencing competition, called Fencing Singapore. Being a country boy at heart that has travelled around the would a little bit, I’m intrigued by the competition title, other countries have tried that, East Germany or was it West, China, USA and others, even Australian states have tried it, Rabbit proof fence, Dog fence, mmmm maybe they are the same fence. I was also intrigued that they would hold a fencing competition inside a building; hey then again I’ve seen fences inside building at the Royal Show and many Government and bank building to corral patrons into an orderly fashion. So I guess it’s not so strange. Getting back to the point at hand, I’m not sure why Singapore needs to build a fence around itself, it’s an island after all and has its on natural fence of sorts, maybe they could train sharks to patrol the waters! Arriving at work this morning I could here this twinging of wire hitting wire, I figured some of the competitors must have been training for the wire fence event, again intrigued I started to wonder what events they have on offer, like palling or picket fence, barbered wire etc, so I wandered over to see what was happening, lo and behold all I find are some pansies dressed from head to toe in white tights, whipping and poking at each other with metre lengths pieces of wire. Here’s me thinking these guys have no idea, no tool belts, no tools and they’re barking up the wrong tree if they think they can build a fence with such short pieces of wire and those lovely white jumpsuit will get rather dirty, hope they remember the OMO.

We had a trip into see the lactation specialist, little Miss has been refusing to feed the natural way; she’s fine with the bottle. None of the specialist’s tricks worked, so the feeding fights will continue, supplemented with bottle when needed. While at the hospital Isabella and I went for a walk to the paediatrician’s office for a weigh-in, she a fighting fit 4.33kg, so we guess that she is eating enough as she continues to grow, both mum and dad enjoy playing with her chubby little arms and legs.

If I have time this weekend I’ll try and update Isabella’s website with pictures and maybe video’s from her first month as a breathing, screaming, feeding, poohing baby.

Thursday 8 June 2006

The Cost of Pins & Needles

I’m sitting here at my computer reading the paper (SMH online) with my formally restless baby girl sound a sleep in my arms. The problem is the arm I was rocking her with has also gone to sleep and the tingling pins & needles feeling is starting to hurt. So what is the catch, why don’t I just put her down and free my arm? Well I don’t want too; I’m enjoying watching her sleep so peacefully so I’ll live with the tingling for awhile. Maybe I’ll just swap arms, why didn’t I think of that before!

Tuesday 6 June 2006

06/06/06 Nothing Evil About This Date

Today’s date is 06/06/06, no matter if you’re from the USA or the rest of the world you shouldn’t get today’s date confused. Yes those people, who like to put the horse on the jockey, won’t confuse those who follow the day/month/year style. Being a document nerd these days I think we should be using the reverse in full, 2006/06/06 with the leading ‘0’ when needed. Why you ask, well it helps keep lists of dates in chronological order, keeps the pattern the same and finally because I said SO! When I was living in the USA, I was asked what kind of birthday cake I wanted, to which I responded; ‘FRESH and preferably in six months when it’s my birthday’.

Isabella Files – Well Little Miss has been testing our abilities to live on minimal sleep, we are surviving. She has learnt a new trick; it’s called waking up screaming and continuing on and on until she runs out of energy, usually about 6 hours later. I think I’ll slap the next person that tells me baby sleep most of the time! Yesterday we moved Isabella’s cot out of our room into her own, Marika wasn’t too happy with this move, and I wasn’t sure about it either. However we were following recommendations from friends and experts. She’s going to need her own space as she gets older and we get better sleep as we don’t wake up every time she makes a noise, and she makes lots of noise when she sleeps. Last night’s experiment was successful, Isabella slept well and so did we, well I slept solid and Marika woke up a few times when Isabella bellowed out her sleeping sounds. Is it a male thing to be able to sleep through a baby' s cry?

I wasn’t planning on getting up at 06:06 this morning to write this blog, and thankfully Isabella allowed us to sleep past this time!

Friday 2 June 2006

Knee Defenders & Tazers - What Fun!

I was reading SMH this morning and I found and interesting article on airplane Seat etiquette & head space, as I’m not the shortest stump in the field, I usually find that either my feet or head sticks out. When flying cattle class (a.k.a. economy) as I usually do! I join the ranks of the bruised knee traveller. And I usually upset the person sitting in front of me trying with much force to get their seat to recline, oddly enough they don’t cotton on to the fact my screams of pain from knee caps being crushed coincide with them ramming the seat back. Maybe I should consider turning my verbal pain release into a physical one and donk them on the head every time they try to put me in a wheelchair. I’m thinking the twenty odd dollars for the Knee Defender is much cheaper than knee replacement surgery.

The little screamer has been up to her usual tricks last night and today, we figure it must be a growth spurt as she seems to be hungry more often. We booked our flight to Australia yesterday, so will be there in late June early July to show off the little screamer, p.s. remember to bring your earplugs. She’ll be about two months old at that stage; hopefully we’ll have a better grip of the parent role and understanding of her screaming motives. We can always dream!

It’s a nice sunny day here in Singapore so I decided to go for a walk at lunch time, there’s The 16th Annual PC Show (expo) on at the convention centre about a mile away, it not just PC’s, it’s many things geeky. I wanted to check out the portable all-in-one ‘Photo - Movie - MP3 – Radio’ players. There are many nice toys, if only I had the time and money to explore them. My visit was rather short, slap me silly and paint me pink, I should have known better than to go to a techy type expo in Singapore, especially at lunch time, talk about crowds, a cattle prod or tazer would have come in handy for moving around and getting to see products, it would have helped keep the sales people at bay too! I wonder if Isabella has been blessed with my geek gene. I call it blessed Marika may call it cursed.

Thursday 1 June 2006

On Our Own Again - Office of Homeland Scepticism

Nearly a week has past since our last posting, yes little Isabella is taking up much of our time. She is sleeping a little better during the nights, the day are a different story, her awake time seems to out strip her asleep time, here’s me thinking bad sleep most of the time. Our girl prefers the struggle against sleep and screams over the peace on snoozing. Marika measured her this morning and she’s now 55cm's, not sure if that normal growth, but we now know she is getting bigger.

We bid farewell to our house guests last Tuesday evening, Marika’s mum & sister winged their way back to Australia. So Marika had her first day at home on her own with Isabella, like a trooper she powered through it, even taking a trip into her office to drop of some paperwork for Isabella’s immigration pass. Our house guests have been sadly missed, I’m using the term guests lightly as they had to work for their keep, cooking and baby duties kept them both busy. In celebration of having to cook our own food again, we decided our first meal without help should be enjoyed at the local food court. It’s nice when other people cook for you!

My parents were due to arrive early next week; however they have been grounded due to an incident where my father has been accused of trying to cut the hand of a national icon, himself! The Office of Homeland Scepticism has deemed this an act of terrorism and him the key terror suspect in this whole disfiguring of an Australia Icon. As a result he has been placed under house arrest, with a side order of bed rest including raised arm on pillows torture. He is keen to get this whole misunderstanding sorted out so he can get back to work. The unsubstantiated incident has left the icon with all fingers intact, still unknown is the level of pain endured.