bairn blog: a tale of three henleys

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Posts from May 2006

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08:10pm Wednesday, 24th May 2006

The Three Henleys prepare to embark on their intrepid adventure south. Supplies and morale are high but boot space, alas, is low. No one knows what challenges lie ahead on our mammoth expedition to the faraway land they call England but it will be a fun-filled, and no-doubt nappy-filled, journey of joy.

This week Gethin and Peta have again been quite busy. On monday a relaxing day was had at home and with an afternoon visitation of Amy who brought with her gifts of chocolate. Tuesday was the weekly weigh-in where Gethin has advanced to an impressive 12lb 6oz. The health visitor noted that our wee chap was as bright as a button but sadly has developed eczema, the poor fella, so we are to garnish him with cream a few times a day and avoid contact with irritable clothes. Contact with irritable fathers, on the other hand, is to be encouraged!

On Wednesday Peta met up for her weekly blether and buns with the mums from her ante-natal class, at which Gethin was his usual, adorable and well-behaved self. The group had a talk from a doctor (the proper kind, not the Cole variety) about the various illnesses babies might encounter in their first year of life, and how they can be treated. After the mum-a-thon, Peta went for a long overdue and well-deserved crop in town and can now be seen sporting a lovely bob (see snap).

Cole had a trip to the doctor this morning (again, the proper variety) as he has been paid a visit by the dreaded dandruff fairy who has exacted an evil curse upon his scalp. Thankfully, he has been prescribed some hardcore shampoo with steroids so he should be sporting a super-strong bouffant in no time at all!

We will endeavour to get some updates of our antics on here whilst we are away but in case we are too busy having fun we shall wish you all a super week and hope to see you back here in a week or so’s time.

10:02am Tuesday, 23rd May 2006

As promised, a more detailed account of the weekend’s events are due. Saturday was our first BIG adventure out of the house and a good test-run for our several hour drive-a-thon down south on Thursday to see rellys. We embarked to New Lanark to see the fantastic Cotton Mill and industrial village there, a site which Cole had been doing some work on for his organisation’s web site.

It was a fab place and quite ahead of its time. It was set up as a cotton mill in the 18th century on the Falls of Clyde, a deep gorge chosen for its water power. The mill was taken over by a Welsh Entrepeneur call Robert Owen who was keen to establish various social principles for his workplace, including the provision of health-care, education and good quality housing for his workers, and the abolition of poverty and crime. A lot of the buildings had been restored to their former glory and the complex was idyllic, set amongst the wooded sides of the gorge and seemingly a million miles away from the industrial landscapes which surround Lanark.

After a lunch-time snack and negotiation of the changing facilities by Cole, we went on a stroll up the Falls of Clyde to Corra Linn, an impressive 28m waterfall. The walk was lovely, set alongside the banks of the Clyde surrounded by lush woodland, bluebells and diverse wildlife. Gethin enjoyed being carried in the front-facing sling-thing that Ruthie and Ben had lent us for the day (well, I think he did as he seemed to sleep through the fantastic scenery), and the waterfall was super-impressive, like something out of a Victorian grotto.

We set back and the weather decided to take a turn for the worse, throroughly tipping it down as we drove back through the grey, ghost-like mining towns of South Lanarkshire and West Lothian. Suitable weather for our next port-of-call: a Eurovision barbeque in Linlithgow at our friend’s Kenny and Jans. Well, the skys may have been damp but the spirits were high, the burgers suitably carbonated and the music suitably attrocious, although the saving grace was the death metal exploits of Finland, trouncing all in their wake with the (quite literally) explosive song, Hard Rock Hellelujah. Ah, how it took Cole back to his teenage years! A fab night was had by all and Gethin seemed to enjoy his first Eurovision Song Contest, although the excitement proved too much for him and he fell asleep shortly after the Lithuanian entry.

On Sunday we had Neil and Linzi over, from Cole’s dads2b group, for lunch. Cole set about an epic task of Sunday Lunch for four, something he hadn’t done in many a year, and after about three hours in the kitchen an edible dish of roast chicken and rhubarb crumble (not together) was consumed and all seemed suitably replete. A lovely time was had by the Three Henleys, munching and chatting our way through the afternoon, and after the weekend’s excitement we all set about having an early night.

Just wanted to say happy 50th birth-day (not birthday i hasten to add) to Gethin, halfway to the magic hundred day celebration which we will be having. Peta has been told by some Chinese friends from work that this is a massive celebration in China (and 1.4 billion people can’t be wrong!). Also quite impressed that of all the Gethin’s in this world, out wee fella makes it into the top 15 on Google. Go son!

Finally, it is early days but Gethin might already have a girlfriend as the lovely Ben and Ruthie from next door gave birth to a smashing wee daughter in the early hours of Sunday morning; the delighfully named Wren. Many congratulations to y’all!

05:38pm Saturday, 20th May 2006

Just a quicky (oo-er) to say that the Three Henleys have had a wonderful day at New Lanark restored mill and village. We borrowed Ben and Ruthie’s fabulous kangaroo sling for some full frontal bairn mobility. It was an amazing day for all three but will have to tell you about it tomorrow as we are off to a Eurovision soiree and BBQ at the lovely Kenny and Jan’s. Bring on the Wogan!

07:08pm Friday, 19th May 2006

Warning. Outpouring of heart and mind imminent! Those of a nervous disposition would be better off here

So ends a cerazy and emotional, but ultimately rewarding, week for the Three Henleys.

As Peta mentioned, I was a bit upset earlier in the week, stemming from a number of factors. Since being back at work I was feeling I hadn’t bonded with Gethin as much as I should have. Getting up with the early feed, getting ready for work, going to work, working and getting back just in time for Gethin’s early evening feed and bed was inevitably restricting the amount of time I was spending with the wee fella, and provided a bit of a skewed snapshot of the full spectrum of his behaviour (usually catching him at his sleepy, grizzly best).

This was making the times we were spending together quite frustrating as I was struggling to understand what was upsetting him when he was upset – coupled with the fact that he was obviously much more at ease with Peta. It was inevitable that being a stay-at-home mum, Peta was going to bond more with Gethin in these early stages but it has been quite a bitter pill to swallow.

Gethin wasn’t even getting particularly upset but there is something inherent in being a dad about needing to know why a baby is crying/upset, when in fact sometimes they just do. It must derive from the same mindset as our blokish obsession with DIY, something which must have begun in our ancestral days of yore:

“Ug. Is broke. Must fix. Preferably, must buy new tool to help fix. Can’t fix. Panic.”

I was beginning to pass Gethin to Peta at the slightest murmer and before we had refined his routine earlier in the week this was happening quite often. I was losing all confidence in my abilities as a father. I think in the first week that Gethin was home I felt completely in control. Super dad! But as you will know, not everything was as it seemed and Gethin had to go back into hospital. Having lost a significant amount of weight I had clearly not been such a super dad and I think at the time both Peta and I had felt that we had failed to some extent as first-time mummy and daddy. Good start to this parenting malarky! I know this is all rubbish but it is something that pops into you head from time to time and had been lurking in my head still.

I had also lost a lot of confidence handling Gethin after the wee accident when he fell out of the sling. Having always been a clumsy oaf – often to comedic effect – I was worried that a similar accident might not be far away and with less fortunate results. Peta had noticed I had been holding Gethin like I was handling a flask of nuclear waste and simple things like putting him in and out of bed, or in and out of the car seat, were becoming quite stressful. I’d be about to lower him into the cot at night and forget how to put him down.

Anyway, a number of things were generally amounting to a quite stressful daddy. What if I do drop him? Why is he crying? Is he ill? Why is he crying when I am holding him but calm when Peta holds him? To make things worse all these things were being stockpiled at the back of my head whilst I was actively putting Gethin quite literally at arms length.

Peta and I had a chat about it on Monday evening which really helped. Talking about things that I had been thinking about for a month but kept to myself was a great relief. Then on Tuesday, after a trip to Edinburgh, Peta bought home a book her midwife had recommended which has been a massive relief: Baby Bliss by Harvey Karp. Reading the book made me realise how normal/common many of the feeling I had been experiencing were.

In the opening chapter it has cartoon pictures of two babies – a sit-up-and-smiling two-month old and a screaming two-week old. Using these pictures it talks about how all newbie parents expect the first baby before the birth of their first child yet on d-day are confronted with the latter baby. This can be quite a struggle for all parents and has certainly been the case for me. Something that is so obvious but I had never quite prepared myself for.

The book also enlightened me to the seldom reported but quite commonplace six-week blip. Apparently most babies have a growth spurt at six weeks and are determined to let all in earshot know about it. That certainly might explain Gethin’s erratic sleeping and moods this past week or so. Baby Bliss also presents some quite interesting ideas about baby development, suggesting that the mental and physical development of babies requires a fourth-trimester but, due to physical necessity, is curtailed after nine months. You will have to buy a copy to find out more but it excellently written and has some really comforting food for thought, as well as some sound tips for settling your crying baby (yet to try them all out).

So, all is well in camp Henley once more. Dad is at long last a bit more chilled and enjoying, rather than fearing, time with his son. We are all going on a mini-adventure tomorrow to New Lanark – let’s hope the weather is on good behaviour.

04:57pm Friday, 19th May 2006

oooooooops – meant to say in previous entry that gethin’s feeding routine is every three HOURS – not years! what kind of parents would we be??? well i don’t think we would be after leaving it that long. I’m blaming it on lack of sleep…

11:12am Friday, 19th May 2006

good grief! where has this week gone? sorry for lack of entries again this week – been too busy! what a change from the first few weeks – I used to feel that i was literally glued to the sofa – life seemed very dull, and I was often too nervous to leave the room let alone go out of the house! but now there’s no stopping me! Geth and I have been out practically all week – having said that we’d do certain things, we actually didn’t, but did other fun things instead!

We went into edinburgh on tuesday and visited some shops, buying some practical bits and bobs for taking geth’s bottles and feeds out and about. we also bought a great book – “baby bliss” – with the tokens cousin stef bought us for christmas – thanks stef! cole found this book particularly useful having been getting quite upset with certain aspects of geth’s behaviour. I hope cole will write an entry later and explain!

on wednesday we went to the wednesday club and met up with other mums and had lots of worries allayed and questions answered! everything that gethin had recently been going through was totally normal – he is currently going through a growth spurt and is the reason behind his new found crying voice ( which is relatively quiet, thankfully!), his increased appetite, and regular waking bouts. we have had to change his feeding routine from every four years to every three. We’re finding it sooo much better to be honest – i was apprehensive, but it is really working and we’re both a lot happier! after the club finished we all went to the pub and had a lovely lunch, and then i met up with all the mums from my antenatal group for a catch up! wonderful!

On thursday geth and i caught a lift with daddy into edinburgh again to go to bookstart’s big scottish rhymetime in princes street gardens! we had a great time catching up with my bookstart buddies and lots of the mums from bounce & tickle! although geth slept through the first rhymetime! it was fantastic to see all the little ones enjoying themselves and seeing how much they’ve all grown. geth was on his best behaviour and got lots of new fans! everybody was amazed at his alertness and how smiley and happy he is – he smiles loads! it was wonderful to hear people saying such nice things about my son – all comments just added to my confidence, which in turn will make me a better mummy! (now we just have to get cole around to hear them too and boost his confidence.) we left the bookstart event (having scoffed lots of cake….) and visited the museum. geth loved it!!!! we sat in the cafe, which looks like a giant three storey bird cage, just happily gazing at all the windows! bliss! we eventually met up with daddy and got home in time for our evening feed! phew! we were pooped!

sleep – what’s that? – geth has been finding his feet again after a hiccup in his sleeping pattern. we were getting quite used to his waking up once for a feed, but since the weekend he decided to wake up all the time and be grisly. on wednesday we decided to try letting him sleep through, which was disastrous! last night he was back on form though, much to mummy and daddy’s relief. but will it last??? hope so…..

08:42pm Saturday, 13th May 2006

another week over, and gethin is fast approaching his 7th week of life. where is the time going? it seems so long ago now that i was struggling with our new arrival, and finding it difficult to cope. I adore gethin now and can’t believe how hard and depressing i found the first couple of weeks. It’s still hard at times, but I’ve moved on from the all consuming cloud that seemed to cover me in utter despair. hurray! Post natal depression is so evil, but i’m glad I got mine under control as soon as it surfaced, and I’m glad that i made sure I discussed the likelihood that i would get it with my GP and midwife. thanks again to Cole, my family, and in-laws, and all my friends for your support and belief in me – that i “can do it”! I love you all!

well this week saw my lovely friend kate come and stay, it was brilliant to see her, and sad to say goodbye. gethin loved having you here! next week I’ve got nobody here – boo hoo, but lots of things planned. monday geth and i are going to the local bounce & tickle: tuesday we’re going back to the weigh in clinic (better get those heavy duty scales at the ready!): wednesday is the wednesday club with other new mums: thursday we’re heading into edinburgh for a big bookstart bash to celebrate scottish bookstart day – and a chance to catch up with all my bookstart colleagues (and pat michelle’s tummy – 24 weeks now is it?): friday – nothing planned actually so any suggestions? if the weather is anything like it has been this week I’ll be outside in the garden!

Gethin has had a good day today – some nice pyroclastic poos which mummy dutifully cleaned up! not as funny as thursday’s changing debacle though – daddy was “on the case”, and geth thought it would be funny to fart in his face. but it didn’t stop there – cole and i were rolling about laughing when he peed all over cole, and then proceeded to excrete some foul poo poo everywhere to boot! how we love changing nappy times! hee hee, how we laughed. Gethin actually loves having his nappy changed, i think he sees it as “quality time” with mummy and daddy and gurgles away happily – hence the cute latest photos! we’re also currently trying to get rid of a granuloma on geth’s tummy – a bit of umbilical cord regrowth – which is prolonging geth’s favourite time of the day. he also seems to alternate between sleepy days and awake days – and today he really excelled himself! I’m actually quite nervous – uncle marty started to stay awake throughout the entire day from a very early age, and geth was awake from half 2 in the afternoon to half eight this evening! ooooooops – a lively little bundle! at least he was in a fun and happy mood, and a delight to be with, our little cutie smiler!

Talking of uncle marty – found out last night that we probably won’t be seeing him at the end of the month when family henley 2 venture to somerset to meet everyone, which I’m really gutted about. I know martin will be totally smitten with gethin and was really looking forward to seeing them bond together. at least we’ll see him in june when he comes up here to stay with dad.

i think that’s all for now – more to follow at a later date! ciao everyone! xxx

07:23am Thursday, 11th May 2006

gethin had his weigh in on tuesday, the wee welter-weight coming in at 11lb 6oz! a gentle giant we think you will all agree. at his weigh in he was subjected to a variety of necessary but amusing tests, including a walking reflex test where he was held aloft (naked i might add) and his feet take little mini steps, one in front of the other. apparently all babies are born knowing how to walk but forget then relearn it again. it was the cutest thing ever and it seems gethin is about ready for running alongside shelley in the edinburgh race for life-a-thon next month.

peta has been ably assisted over the past few days by her old school friend (a friend from her old school, not an ‘old-skool’ friend so to speak) kate who drove up from norfolk to say hello. the weather has been just about perfect leading to much relaxing in the outdoor sunshine – scorcio! kate, gethin and peta popped into edinburgh for some yummy food and window shopping on monday, which was kate’s birthday, and generally hung out.

on wednesday peta met back up with her mums from antenatal group – and some more mums to boot – and had a groovy time showing gethin off to some new linlithgow mums. on all accounts he was very well behaved but then he pretty much always is!

after the debacle of trying (and failing) to demand feed we’ve got gethin down to a pretty good routine which he seems quite happy with. the ol’ 2.30, 6.30 and 10.30 feeds but we are now putting him to bed at 8 and the last couple of nights he has been going straight to sleep. this morning we actually had to wake him up for his feed so he is quite the content little fella! his new trick is to wake mum and dad up with a lovely, massive smile from ear to ear. bless.

cole has been off work for a couple of days with his annual ‘its summer time, the sun is out so had better catch a cold’. this is quite annoying as being a habitual hypochondriac, cole usually milks it and gets a couple of days in bed but loving his new job and worried about germifying gethin he really can’t wait to get it out of his system. on the plus side he hadn’t had any coffee for three days (until this morning) and not smoked for two days!

07:29am Sunday, 7th May 2006

hello everyone! sorry for the gap in entries – getting told off by oompa. what’s been happening in the world of the henley family 2? gethin is as cute as ever, although his eating routine is getting more and more bizarre. Great uncle michael was here on friday night and we all talked about feeding on demand. I had to wake Geth to feed him before bed, and boy did he scream! he was not a happy bunny! I haven’t heard that before, but luckily he stopped very quickly. Mike was very impressed and said that if that was as bad as it gets then we are very lucky parents and gethin’s a great baby! hurruh! so the demand feeding – it’s NOT working! we tried it yesterday with hazardous results. I can’t cope with this way of doing things – and he was up twice during last night for his bottle, as opposed to the usual one time. And because he is feeding when he wants it’s every 2 and half hours or so, and he will only take a little a time so we have no idea how much to make up in his bottles, and invariably end up wasting half of it. But today I’m going back on track with every 4 hours. It worked for a while so here’s hoping we can slip back into it, even if it means I’m distracting him for an hour or so.

Yesterday was a good day for me – I went back to bed at 8 in the morning and resurfaced at half two in the afternoon! ooooops, I guess cole was left holding the baby. But the three of them went to the pub for lunch, and I’m sure, more than one boozey drink! as soon as I got up, cole headed off to bed! Talk about tag sleeping! I’ve been getting more things done around the house too – the occasional hoover and dust, and the washing. it all helps me feel normal. all in all I had a fab week, a little tired, but very active. Monday geth and I walked to the train station and met cole from work and headed off to Ikea. On tuesday we went for a walk and had a visit from Gramps. On wednesday I met up with all the mums from my antenatal group for a coffee, which was lovely. and on Thursday we headed into edinburgh again and attended our first Bounce & Tickle and met some other new babies that had been born whilst I was away! all very exciting! Friday was the only day we did nothing, very dull! we tried to go for a walk but the buggy had a whopping puncture and barely made it passed the farm. so in the evening sunshine cole and i sat outside and repaired the tyre with our neighbours alison and roberto! And we opened a smashing parcel from mad aunt elaine and uncle jay – Gething adores his new outfit, especially the dragon booties!!! where on earth did you get them? they’re the best!

Well we’re currently awaiting the arrival of lovely aunt Kate who will be staying for a few days (does she know what she’s let herself in for…..?) eeeep!

off now to make up his lordship’s bottles for the day…ciao everyone!

11:15am Thursday, 4th May 2006

at work but aware of blog tardiness of late so just time to squeeze a quick update out whilst i am on my lunch break.

gethin is still struggling to get those ol’ bowels working properly but has upgraded to his spangly real nappies (as opposed to the landfill inducing ‘fake’ variety) to see if these encourage things to quite literally move along. the downside of real nappies is they are quite gigantic and give gethin a posterior that J-Lo would be proud of, but it does gives us a chance to squeeze him into some of the larger clothes he has been given. gethin is feeding abundantly at the moment and has taken to having the occasional meltdown between feeds. one particular episode last night had dad in a bit of a panic – nappy? check. hungry? check. temperature? check. nappy? checked that already. change channel on telly? check. nappy? now am i sure i checked that already? how do i appease this little bundle of wailing joy?

it turned out in the end that he was hungry and a wee feed calmed him down. the thing is he definitely has a healthy appetite but his eyes are bigger than his stomach, or rather they are around the same size as each other, so he is needing top ups between the four hourly routine we have set ourselves. the steriliser is on overdrive as we always seem to be making up extra bottles here and there, plus we are giving him some water to try and get his fluids up and moisten his poos. saying that, we shouldn’t really be complaining that we are only getting a dirty nappy once every two or three days, particularly having heard about the projectile bowel movements of cousin samuel!

peta has had quite the busy week. on top of being a 24-7 mum and housewife she met up with the mums (and babies) from her ante-natal class for the first time. a fun time was had by all accounts and gethin apparently had a young female admirer in jessica, but a few days his senior the wee toy boy! peta and geth are hoping to meet up with everyone again next week at a mums group in linlithgow, although apparently they aren’t allowed to go to the breast-feeding group in town because peta has to top gethin up with a bottle. all sounds a bit fascist to me!

today p & g are heading into edinburgh so gethin can attend his first bookstart event in granton, sadly having missed the monthly linlithgow meeting. a fine opportunity for peta to meet up with her workmates, show off gethin and see the mums and children from the bookstart groups she has been running, as well as an important chance to get out the house – something of a rarity since cole has appropriated the car to get to work.

anyway. have a meeting to go to sp will say farewell and hope it isn’t as long again until i can put finger to keyboard…

05:55am Monday, 1st May 2006

can’t believe it is monday already. where has the weekend gone! sunday was a lazy one for all concerned. cole got a substantial lie-in until half-past-eight at peta’s behest. can you imagine? half-eight! long gone are the days of yore and am already appreciating an extra half hour’s shut eye, let alone two whole hours! zzzzzzzzzzzz…

for the past week or so gethin has been getting up at the half-five/six mark which is not particularly impressive if you ask me! we cannot figure out whether it is the early light of BST, or his poo-struggles (still quite emminent) which are waking him up so early. i think some thicker curtains and laxatives are in order!

sunday seemed to revolve around sleep for all the henleys. after cole eventually stirred, peta managed to catch up on some well-earned shut-eye with a four hour nap whilst even gethin managed some quality dozing. day of rest indeed! then in no time at all it was the evening, cole had dozed off on the sofa watching miss marple (missing who ‘dun’ it), gethin was ready for bed and the weekend was over :( cole doesn’t even get bank holiday monday off

Images from May 2006

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