Sunday, April 30, 2006

Viral Blues

Last night, poor Lauren had a really disturbed night and ran a high temperature, despite having had 72 hours of antibiotics. As she didn't seem much better this morning, we took her to see the doctors in A&E. Fortunately, the Paediatricians felt that it was just viral and said that her ears and throat looked really red. They did some blood tests which were normal except for a slight anaemia. They said that this could be because she has been unwell so much in the last little while.

I must admit that I am slightly worried because Lauren hasn't really got any heavier in the last month or two. She weighed 6.5kg at the beginning of the month and is exactly the same weight today. What am I doing wrong? I have been feeding her meat, fruit and veg in her diet but can't get her to eat any solids when she is unwell. So a lot of this month she has only had breast and formula milk; I think she has only been well for 1-2 weeks out of the last 6.

Anyone out there got any ideas?

Anyway, I am going to phone our Health Visitor for a bit of advice next week and to see if we need to see a specialist at the hospital to monitor her growth.

At least she is brighter this evening; she has been laughing and giggling with my mum and dad. I am hoping that she will have more illness-free time soon.

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As an aside, have a look at this news story:
Chiswick Website News Story

Scary? Even scarier when you realise that this happened near our house on an adjacent road!

London is a scary place!!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Earache means No Sleep

We managed to see our GP yesterday who prescribed antibiotics for Lauren. Apparently she has another ear infection. Last night she was waking every two hours crying; she needed lots of cuddles and milk. Her temperature was up again and I think she had earache. I hope she starts to feel better soon with the antibiotics. I have very little sleep this week!



When her temperature is down, she is a completely different baby capable of laughs and play.

Here's Lauren sitting in her new little chair and playing "fetch" with me. This game involves chucking all her toys off the side of the chair and giggling, as mummy picks them all up again...



I think you can see that she's still not quite her normal self though. She has little tiny suitcases under her eyes (and imagine what mine look like!).

Poor baby! I've taken the day off work to look after her. Mum and dad get here tonight so will be able to look after her for me tomorrow so that I can get back to work.

I'm lucky that my work is so understanding and that I can take time off when Lauren is sick. Unfortuantely, all my colleauges say that their children got sick a lot in their first year at nursery. Looks like this won't be the last time for my poor little girl.

Thank goodness the weekend is almost here! Dim sum at the fantastic Royal China in Bayswater beckons!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Night Fever

OK, I admit I spoke too soon.

Last night, poor Lauren woke up whimpering in the middle of the night. I'd already moved her into my bed (Jase got turfed!) earlier on because she was unsettled. When I reached out to her, I realized that she was really hot.

Measuring her temperature, it was 38.8 degrees.

Fortunately, it is coming back to normal with paracetamol and nurofen. She seems a bit more comfortable this morning, but that's now the third night in a row that she's run a temperature.

I've phoned our family doctor, but as usual in London I have to phone back at 3pm in order to book an appointment. No wonder everyone takes their children to hospital to be seen!

It's maybe just a cold. Last time, it turned out to be an ear infection and the Paediatricians told me I'd waited too long before getting her seen. Thing is, there is a fine balance between being a sensible mum and a paranoid mum. So much harder when you actually work for the Health Service too.

Of course, when I phone back at 3pm, there is no guarantee of an appointment!

*sigh*

I may have to join the hordes of mums taking their children to A&E after all...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Quest for Good Childcare, Pt III

I'm pretty tired after working the entire weekend and having a couple of disturbed nights with Lauren. Yesterday, I was looking forward to going with Lauren to her new nursery to settle her in after our false start last week. Bearing in mind last week's events, I had already decided to phone the nursery before setting off to ensure things were back to normal.

Unfortunately, as you can see from Jase's post, we seem to be doomed in our quest to find childcare of any kind (never mind good ones). I spoke with the carers (at present they are all working at the nursery's Fulham branch) and they did not know how long this dispute would continue. They also admit that the nursery could be closed down as a result. For the latest news see this link on the Chiswick website.

Back to square one. At least Lauren seems to be unaware of all the chaos.



Today, she has been playing in her baby gym and chewing some of her plastic covered books.



She seems to caught another cold so isn't quite as cheerful as last week. However, there isn't a high fever this time so I'm hoping it will sort itself out without a trip to the doctor.

She happily ate her breakfast this morning so seems to be coping. This time, she also seems more accepting of taking medicine and nasal drops which is good news.

I have to go now; she is getting tired and starting to cry. She's actually saying "Mama" with the crying! How can I refuse her, my little baby girl?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Nursery Disaster

Serena Wrote:
"I parked the car, paid my ticket for parking and took Lauren to the nursery
door - only to be greeted by the staff from the nursery with the unfortunate
news that there was something wrong with the building today
(not quite sure what, but they weren't letting anyone enter the building)."

Lauren's new nursery has been closed down by the landlord for non-payment of rent.

They have burly security guards turning away the children, parents and staff! I'm not kidding!

According to the nursery management team, the landlord (Hammersmith NHS Trust - irony doesn't even come close) have been paid but have been having difficulties within their payment administration areas and are therefore incorrect about the non-payment.

Anyway the Lawyers are involved and the nursery remains closed.

I've contacted the old nursery asking for a 1 month extension to Lauren's care, and I hope they say that is OK, as otherwise we are carer-less next week.

We must be cursed. We are gutted. :(

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Quest for Good Childcare, Pt II; Fun at the Park

This morning we arrived at Lauren's new nursery for the first of her settling in sessions. The purpose of these sessions is to introduce mum and baby to the carers and the environment of the nursery.

I parked the car, paid my ticket for parking and took Lauren to the nursery door - only to be greeted by the staff from the nursery with the unfortunate news that there was something wrong with the building today (not quite sure what, but they weren't letting anyone enter the building). So no settling in session and a 3 hours' worth of parking paid up.

I was beginning to think that Lauren and I were well and truly jinxed in our quest for good childcare.

Anyhow, we put a brave face on the situation as it was a gloriously sunny morning. Ravenscourt Park is close by, so Lauren and I went for a stroll in the park together.

Fun at the Park

I'd never been in this particular park before. I've driven around it and seen it from the road but had had no idea how big it was or how well equipped for children. There are large play areas with swings, slides, roundabouts, climbing frames and rocking frames. There are areas for ball games. There is even an area with a very large sand pit! And, of course, there is a large pond complete with ducks and geese.

Lauren had her first experience on a swing today. It was probably too big for her but I put my handbag behind her to prop her forward and this worked really well.



She loved the swing. I know she's not smiling in this photo but I think the sun was getting in her eyes! She did chuckle and kick her legs excitedly whilst I was pushing the swing higher.

Whilst we were there, I noticed a rather peculiarly shaped bird fly overhead (its long tail feathers caught my eye). When it settled on a nearby tree, I realized it was a green parakeet.

I thought tales of these birds living in London was an urban legend! I was clearly wrong though, as this BBC news article shows.

Now I can confirm my very own sighting in West London. They are indeed out there in the wild!

Later, we walked around the pond to look at the more usual types of birds found in London. The Canada geese got quite close to her pushchair but she did not know what to make of them. Maybe in a few months she will start to recognize different animals. I can't wait until she is old enough to appreciate a trip to the Zoo!

The Quest for Ducks...

No Ducks but Daffodils are very interesting...



Let's change duck hunting partner...



Ooooh, geese! Is that close enough?



Photos from our Easter weekend trip to York.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Great Rewards

We have spent a great weekend up in York and I am staggered just how rewarding fatherhood is. Who cares if we find little time to go to the cinema or play computer games!

Lauren has certainly recovered from her three weeks of illness, her appetite is restored and she is extremely playful again.

It’s the playfulness that is so rewarding. Just sharing a bath yesterday was great fun. Lauren has started reaching for things that she wants rather than waiting for you to give her things. Playing chase the sponge (who needs expensive bath toys) had both of us in gales of laughter. Seeing her smile like that just warms the soul.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Missing Out

Today, Lauren has been standing up on her own at nursery! We were told that she was holding onto a ballerina rail attached to a wall and looking into the mirror. She has been standing up at home but usually requires support from one of us. I'm sad to have been at work and missed this.

However, I was at home when she said "Mamamama" a few days ago. I was thrilled! Jase is not impressed though; Lauren has yet to say "Dada" yet. He's been trying to coach her since then to say "Dada"!

Yesterday, we managed to brush her two little teeth for the first time. She has two very small lower incisors. At first, she looked a bit puzzled but soon was eating toothpaste quite happily. I had to smile!

She's feeling much better since her antibiotics finished. She is eating better and is laughing and smiling again. When I came home from work today, she was full of smiles and chuckles for me. What more can a frazzled mummy ask for?

As I write this, she is by my side chewing her feet with a big grin on her face. If you look carefully, you can just make out the two little teeth in one of the pictures.





Look at how happy she is! She is just such a joy and so special to us. We love her to bits!!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Frazzled Dad!

Hello one and all....

This is just a short post from me the Frazzled Dad in support of Rena's blogging efforts.

Having Lauren has been life changing. The stress has been amazing at times and yet the rewards are uncountable.

Now I just need to work out how to prevent "Egg Flu" from migrating to me as "Man Flu" when Lauren sneezes on me. Mammas seem to be immune from receiving "Bird Flu" by this transition method! I however have a stinking cold courtesy of Lauren's nursery friends.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Quest for Good Childcare

We've just spent the weekend agonising over childcare options. We got a phone call last week to say that the nursery Lauren attends (she has only been there 4 weeks) is going to close over the next 3-6 months. We were gutted.

I had spent quite some time looking around the nurseries in our area prior to going back to work to find "the right one" for Lauren. Like most mums, I wanted a nice environment with reliable and kind carers who can help her grow in safe and stimulating surroundings. I was really excited to find this nursery near our home with a fantastic and caring group of staff and enrolled Lauren.

I can't believe that they only just found out last week that the nursery was not financially viable; they must have known for some time. I just wish that they had told us this whilst we were being shown around. Now poor Lauren has only just settled in and was beginning to get to know all her carers and we have to pull her out and find a place in another nursery.

I've just enrolled her at my second choice nursery from the set of nurseries I had looked around before. I hope she likes it; my main concern is that it is a large nursery with a lot more children. When I looked around it felt like I was looking around a primary school. She's only 8 months' old and I don't want her feeling lost!

*sigh*

What can you do?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Little Lauren

This is my little girl. She is almost 8 months old and our reason for getting up in the morning. It's funny to think that before she came along, we felt that our lives were already fun and fulfilled. How wrong we were!



Since Lauren was born, we've come to realise that our lives are so much more fulfilled and interesting than before. It's hard to explain this to my friends who don't have children, but our lives have genuinely become richer. Life with her is constantly full of surprises!

She is a really happy baby (I know, we are lucky) and since she started laughing properly we play endless games with her to get her to chuckle. It's such a wonderful sound!

She recently started nursery so that I could go back to work. It was a real wrench to leave her, as I have had her all to myself over the last 7 months. Luckily for us, she loves nursery and the people there. However, mingling with all those other babies hasn't been all plain sailing. She's just recovering from her second cold in 3 weeks, poor girl.

It's really terrible to watch your child being unwell. Lauren is our first, so I suppose our anxieties are greater. At the weekend, we watched her as her temperature climbed to 38.8 degrees. We dutifully fed her calpol and nurofen at the appropriate times and cooled her in the bath with warm water. She was miserable though, and did not understand why she was feeling so awful. She wimpered and cried on Sunday and Monday night when her temperature was high, whilst we could only watch and wait for her temperature to settle.

Thank goodness she is getting better today. Her last temperature was overnight and generally she is brighter. I've had to take today off work to look after her and give her extra cuddles. Hope to be back to our normal routine tomorrow!

Hello and Welcome; The Story So Far...

Welcome!

Draw up a chair and sit yourself down. Did you bring a coffee? Mine's a decaf these days; I'm still breastfeeding, you see...

I've finally decided to try out this blogging lark. After all, every man and his dog seems to have a blog these days, so why not a frazzled mum?

Posting may be rather sporadic because of the baby but all things worthwhile take effort, don't you agree?

So much to talk about and so little time!

The Story So Far...

Once upon a time there was a Rena and a Jase.



We lived in Scotland after meeting at Uni in Edinburgh. We were married in Edinburgh in 1998 after finishing our degrees. We lived and worked in Edinburgh until 2002.

We moved to Australia and lived in Sydney for a year. It was an amazing experience and we look forward to going back one day.

Now we live in London. It is busy, noisy, dirty and crowded but we have done our best to make it home.

Last year, we discovered that we were going to have a baby. Initially we found it exciting but also pretty frightening. After all, it had just been the two of us for 14 years.



However, on the day we first saw the baby on the scan we felt nothing but joy and excitement.

I felt really nauseous in the first 18 weeks and survived on dry biscuits and bread. After the 20th week my appetite returned but I felt terribly tired all the time. I had planned to work until week 38 to maximise my maternity leave with the baby.

In week 34, we had just finished painting the nursery at the weekend when my waters broke. At antenatal classes, we had been told about the nesting instinct where mothers feel the urge to tidy and clean the home.

Jase had found me doing just that on the previous weekend at 3am!

We went into hospital and because baby was in breech position and pressing on the umbilical cord, I was delivered by caesarian section.



So, on 16th August 2005 our little daughter was born. We named her Lauren. My parents helped us choose a Chinese name for her. Her name "Ting" means harmony and balance.

She was small but strong and healthy. Although she went to the Special Care Baby Unit initially she did not need much intervention and was soon back with me in the general ward.



We stayed 16 days in hospital because she needed time to learn to breastfeed but eventually she and I got better at it.

If only I had known how difficult it would be I would not have been so disheartened when she would not latch on in the first few weeks.

However, I did not give up and 8 months' later I am still breastfeeding.

When we got home, life was initially tough as I was tired after the caesarian and Lauren seemed to need feeding constantly.



As the weather in September was fine, we took the opportunity to go out and about with Lauren. We went to the local park and to Chiswick on many occasions.

I loved this cute outfit!! She wore it on our first lunch date in Chiswick with Charlotte.

However, building work started on our house so in Lauren's first months we moved to Edinburgh to stay with my parents.

It would have been impossible to stay due to the amount of work being done and it gave Grandma and Grandpa a chance to fuss over the new addition to the family!



Here's Lauren with the Ng family. We can't wait until she is a bit older and we can take her to Hong Kong and Canada to meet the extended family.

Thank goodness for the Internet!

We also made frequent trips to York to stay with Lauren's paternal grandparents.

Jase's family live in a small village just outside York. It's lovely and peaceful there and they have a beautiful house which they have spent a lot of time renovating over the years.



This is Lauren with Jase's mum. They too adore Lauren and love coming to London to see her.

Sadly, Jase's grandma is too frail to travel these days but we are planning to make trips to York to see her and the rest of the Ayers family.

Our next trip is planned for Easter. It takes about 4 hours to drive there from London but Lauren loves the car, so we usually get there without any problems.

I think the motion of the car and the hum of the motor are soothing.

Of course, we get to sing along to our CDs all the way up as well!

At Christmas time, we moved back to our house in London after the building work finished.



This is our first Christmas with Lauren. We are in our new kitchen in this photo, taken on Christmas Day.

We had a fabulous time and a house full of family as my parents came to stay.

We had roast goose with all the trimmings. Maybe next year Lauren will have some too!

Maybe next Christmas, we can think about a second addition to the family...

In the new year, I realised that going back to work was imminent. Lauren and I visited many of the nearby nurseries in preparation. Truthfully though, I did not want the time to end. I loved being a mummy.



Before long, she was beginning to laugh, sit up, turn over and babble half words to us. How quickly they grow up in the first year!

It was lovely to be settled at last with Lauren in our new home. All too soon, maternity leave was really over and I had to go back to work.

This opened a whole new world of juggling home life and working life.

This is the online diary of a tired, hardworking mum!