Archive for the ‘McBean’ Category

What a morning.  Saturday mornings at 11 McBean always has his swim lessons – or more like water familiarisation lessons.  He can’t really swim yet.  Most Saturdays Clark takes him, it’s her things she does with him.  This morning she didn’t want to, so I was up.  It’s always somewhat of a drama.  McBean is a high maintenance high energy little man, and it’s never easy corralling him.  More often than not he will bolt from his lesson towards the infant pool, and a life guard will have to retrieve him.  Multiple times.  It can be hellish on a normal day.

This morning was like a Shakespearean comedy, it was one farce after another.

We have a cloth swim nappy for him, so normally get him ready just before leaving home, strip him as soon as we get there and dump him in the water.  This had been going on for a while, without any dramas.  This morning, McBean does a giant pee in the car seat, so he’s completely wet before we even get out of the car.  Consequently so is the car seat.  And then the pusher that I have to transfer him into.

There were no car parks close by the aquatic centre this morning, so we were forced to park in the shopping centre car park and hike all the way back to the aquatic centre.  In the pouring rain.  Getting even more wet.  Bear in mind that this is in street clothes, and I have no other change of clothes for him, because it’s never been necessary before.

We get there with just enough time to get clothes off and into the water, that’s a positive.  But McBean doesn’t want to go to his swim lesson, he wants to go play in the infant paddle pool.  So for the first 10 out of 30 minutes he was whinging and struggling and refusing to cooperate and just generally being a monster.  Finally he calmed down and participated really well, didn’t run off, floated really nicely on his back for a bit, which was a new thing, and generally did really well from then on.  Okay, so that’s a good thing.  Instructor was impressed, commented he did a 10 out of 10 this week, which was nice.

As a reward we went to have a play in the paddle pool.  McBean was having a ball, splashing around, eyeballing all the other kids, jumping on me.  So we’ve been there maybe 10 minutes when he gets the straining face on.  I was like ‘Holy shit’, whipped him straight out of the water, and sure enough he’d pooped in his nappy.  Thank god I was watching him intently, otherwise it could have got really ugly.  I race him off to the change rooms, and of course there are no family change rooms free, so I have to go into the main change room and keep him contained while changing him and myself.

With a messy wet swim nappy.  Lovely.

And somewhere between the pool and change room it seems that he also managed to vomit a little bit, as when I flipped him over on the towel he had a line of puke dribbling down the corner of his mouth.  Don’t even know what happened there.

Oh, all this and then I had to get him back into wet clothes, because that’s all we had.  Noice, very noice.

I nearly collapsed in a heap by the time we managed to make it home.  God I hope nothing like that ever happens again.


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Two things about McBean

One highly irritating, one very cute.

Let’s get the irritating one out of the way first.  Lately, Clark or I – or FenFox to some extent – can’t sit down without McBean being all over us.  And try using the netbook while he’s around.  The amount of times he’s shut programs, pages or even the whole machine with a few well placed keystrokes beggars belief.  He has a talent.

For the first five minutes it’s not so bad, he’s all snuggly cuddly and there’s lots of hugs and kisses which is always very lovely.  But then after that early grace period it degenerates into lots of throwing things and hitting and climbing and generally being obnoxious.  And god forbid if you’re not focussing your full attention on him.  He’s liable to go and attempt to de-pelt the dog, or tear pages out of the photo albums or something equally and knowingly naughty.

It’s getting a bit old.

The cute new thing that he has picked up is requiring a blanket to go to sleep.  He has, since we stopped swaddling him, been sleeping in sleep sacks, so blankets have never really been essential, and until recently have been something we’ve put over him once he’s gone to sleep.  In the last week or so he now demands a blanket before he will settle down to sleep.  He has no sign for blanket yet, so it’s been a bit of a hit and miss process working this out.  It is somewhat endearing now that we have, that he snuggles down and makes his happy little chuckle when we put on his blanket.  And he’ll call you back and ask for it if you forget.

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McBean is ahead of the 8-ball in many ways.  His physical development is ahead of his age, by as much as 6 months in some respects.  And he’s also a smart boy in many respects, I can see him watching things and trying to see how they work, I’ve observed him problem solving, he is adept at puzzles when he wants to be.  I don’t think he’s lacking in the brain department.

Of coursed, I’m a little biased being his parent, and while I am not impartial I don’t think that my assessment is too far off the mark.

The one area in which he is notably under developed is speech.  This is something that worries Clark a great deal, and me also to a certain extent, but not as much as Clark (FenFox had hearing issues as a baby).  According to many of the guidelines he should have a vocabulary of somewhere in the vicinity of 50 words, should be able to name parts of the body, and use me and you and words like that in context, use his own name and also mama and baba etc.  Now I am well aware that these are guidelines and not something to get too hung up on.  But he is well behind in any of this, and also lagging behind the children in our acquaintance (mother’s group etc), even children a few months younger than him.

Verbally he has almost no consistent words.  He can, if he wants to, use words that are somewhat distinguishable as cat, car, poo and baba – but he is not likely to.  He can, on occasion, mimic some words that are said to him – but again there is no consistency and I’m not sure that some of it is not completely coincidental.  When referring to animals, he will more often than not use the sound the animal makes rather than the word – he makes a hissing sound for cats (because we read a lot of Hairy Maclary stories and Scarface Claw does a lot of hissing, and also our cat Leonard does a lot of hissing in McBean’s presence), and he makes a woo woo noise for dogs. And pretty much any other four legged animal.  Again, when he wants to, he can moo for a cow, but he is more likely to fall back on the woo woo.

He has several recognisable signs, which again he uses when he wants to.  He can sign milk, food/eat, finished, water/drink, more, please, and bath/swimming.  He has also developed a couple of his own signs for things, such as bubbles, and unzip (for his sleep sack in the mornings).  He can even put two signs together for a rudimentary sentence such as more please.  He can also use many gestures with great efficacy, such as pointing and shaking his head, throwing his hands in the air for I don’t know, and waving.  He is often able to make himself very clearly understood with a minimum of effort.

But he makes little  effort to verbalise any of his communication.

This is something that crops up again and again between Clark and I, wondering if there’s an issue and what we should do about it.  The MCH nurse was once again less than helpful at his 18 month check up and jabs – it’s like she’s living in the middle of the last century, honestly, and she’s just not that old.  Her theory was that was should stop responding to his needs until he starts verbalising them.  Needless to say both Clark and I smiled and nodded at her and went no damn way are we doing that in our heads.

So our latest decision was to wait until he is two, and if he doesn’t seem to be improving then take him to a paediatrician and get it investigated.  Knowing McBean, contrary little bugger that he is, he’ll wait until just after we’ve started the process of following up and then begin speaking perfectly.  He already has perfect timing and can say things to generate maximum impact.  Yesterday Clark was having a sleep in, and McBean decided he wanted to go and have a snuggle with her in bed, so he said “Mama” very clearly and deliberately, and proceeded to get what he wanted.  Cheeky little monkey, he’s messing with us I swear.

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Regretting it?

So I was at the doctors this afternoon hoping for some relief from this abysmal state I’ve been in for the last 6 days, and as it always does talk rolls around to McBean – no matter who it is, always the conversation turns to McBean.  I said that I’m no longer working and am spending my time running around after a rambunctious toddler, and the doctor (the one who we saw about the infected foreskin, the well meaning but more than slightly vague doctor, who today was more interested in talking about book recommendations than my health) asked if he was “energetic”?  I of course scoffed and rolled my eyes and said that’s one way of putting it.  I think that calling McBean energetic is akin to calling Niagara Falls a trickle of water, but I didn’t say that.  Given how tough it’s been this week, caring for the boy while I’ve been feeling so crappy, I think I must have been projecting some exasperation or something, because he looked at me and quite seriously asked if I was regretting it.  Now, I’m not sure if he meant was I regretting being a stay at home parent, or regretting McBean’s existence.

Naturally I was a bit taken aback by that.  I stopped and thought about it for a few seconds and said no I don’t regret it.  He might be hard work, but he’s intelligent and beautiful and a lot of fun.  And that was that, we moved on to more discussion of books – he did, during all this, check my breathing and ears and throat etc, and manage to prescribe some antibiotics for the sore throat and sinuses, and some eye drops for my gunky eye, so he’s not completely useless, just easily distracted.

But it got me to thinking about it.  Do I regret it, either option?  No, I’d have to say the answer to either is that I don’t regret it.

The stay at home parent thing has been a lot harder than I honestly expected.  I’m so much more tired than when I was working, even the 12 hour days.  Dealing with McBean is so draining in so many ways.  But when he grins his cheeky little grin at you, and runs up and throws his arms around your neck for a hug, you can’t help but think awwwwww… So I’m glad I’ve had this experience, of being his primary caregiver and knowing what that means.  He’s doing a lot of mental development right now, and I’m here to watch him watching things, investigating how things work, how he can use things to his advantage.  How he can communicate more and more, how he has his own little foibles already.

And as for having McBean at all, no I don’t regret that.  I sometimes (okay, often) rail against the constraints of parenthood, wishing I still had the freedom (and the money) to drop everything and wander around Europe for months on end with nothing but a small backpack.  Or to move into a tiny apartment right in the city close to everything, and be able to go to the theatre and out for dinner and stuff like that.  Or zoom up to Sydney for the weekend to catch up with friends on a whim.  So there are aspects of it all that I find chafing, but that was lost to me even before McBean, and even if it wasn’t there’s no point regretting things that can’t change.  Not that I would want to change having had him.  He’s so cute sometimes it hurts, and he’s so aggravating sometimes it also hurts.  But he’s our little guy and I wouldn’t change that now.

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Christmas is done, the new year is nearly here.  NYE will be a quiet one for us.  It’s so hot that any even minimal plans we had have been shelved.  The four of us are planning on playing board games (I’m the Mon.opoly C.ity champion!) and eating yummy stuff while just hanging out.  This is assuming of course that our horrible neighbours do not surprise us with another awful party – but we do have an escape plan for that just in case (thanks dad!)

An anecdote to end 2009 with:

Lazyboo just took McBean off to get some champers to at least acknowledge the end of the year.  She was holding him while in the line to pay (busiest afternoon for the bottle-o) when some random guy accosted her and asked her where his blonde curls and blue eyes came from.  Somewhat nonplussed, she calmly replied that blue eyes are in the family (and so they are, we all have em) and that nobody is really sure about the hair.  This is how she recounted it when they got back in any case.  I am mightily impressed at that response – simple, non-committal and without any unnecessary explanations.  McBean looks so different from both of us that it’s a question often asked, but I’m always stumped at how to reply.  Now I know what to say!

ETA Lazyboo just read this over my shoulder and painted this picture:  McBean was actually sitting in the trolley looking all bogan like in his black muscle singlet and sposie, munching on a pilfered apple from Co.les.  Noice!

2009 was a great year for us.  There was many difficulties but much joy and I feel so blessed.  2010 will bring many changes that we are very much looking forward to.

Happy New Year to all, and may all your dreams come true.

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Somebody answer me that.  I’m sure it was McBean’s birthday about 3 days ago, and now all of a sudden it is 24th December.

Of course, this is also a good thing because it means I don’t have to go back to work for 11 whole days – count them.  Yes 11 days.  Am I a little excited by that?  Can you tell?

Christmas is exhausting.  We are having the usual family Christmas Eve dinner here tonight, and so not only have we been frantically baking and finalising gifts edible and otherwise and shopping and wrapping and doing all that stuff, now we also need to frantically clean and sweep and vacuum and dust and mop and wash and then cook.  I’m running on less than empty right now.  Tomorrow I am going to fall in a heap and do nothing except read my awesome new cook book that I am getting while Clark plays her new Sims3 expansion.  No surprises this year, it was too hard to coordinate shopping separately and besides this way we know we’ll love our gifts.   And possibly the same the day after as well.

I am going to attempt to get as much rest as possible over this break.  We’ll see how that actually works out.

McBean had a pretty good day at childcare in the end.  He ate two servings of lunch after a shaky start at morning tea time, had a 1 1/4 hour nap – which is not bad on a mattress instead of in a cot, and was reasonably cheery when we arrived.  He was being held by his primary carer when we arrived and looked perfectly content, and one of the other carers said that he’s always happy to have a cuddle with any of them, so that is good to know.  Not that he’s a cuddly baby, but at least he’s happy to be comforted by them if he needs it.

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And so this is… gastro?

Been a rough couple of weeks in terms of our family’s digestive systems.  McBean started us all off with his fevers and some vomiting, but that was pegged as a random virus.  Then FenFox came home from school throwing up, and we figured she’s picked up a bug at school.  Then Clark had to come home from her third day at work because she came down with it (so not good, and she felt so bad about it).  And now today there is something wrong with me.  It may not be gastro, but my insides are not cooperating today, so it may develop.

In retrospect we think that maybe what was wrong with McBean was actually the gastro bug that he then shared.  He was whingey and drooling madly and inconsolable – all of which could be explained by stomach/intestinal cramps and nausea.  Poor little lad.  I feel even sorrier for him now, knowing how bad it hit Clark.

I’m hoping like hell that the reason I’m feeling so dodgy is just over tiredness and not gastro – there’s way too much to do to prep for Xmas eve dinner for me to be out of commission.

On a slightly more positive note, the reports today from child care on McBean’s second day have been somewhat better.  He cried and cried again when we left, but apparently he has been playing and eating better today, so hopefully that’s a step in the right direction.  He’ll most probably have a break from child care next week (depending on what our plans turn out to be) and I hope that doesn’t set him back to the start again.

Last day of work for me now, 11 days off (not that I’ve accomplished much at all this week).  Then I’m only working through January and it’s adios muchachos.  At this stage.  Who knows what will really happen.  Which means I only have around a month respite left, and I need to start looking for a job.  What an awful prospect.  Haven’t had to do that for nearly 5 years now.  All I need between now and then is to work out how I can work from home and bring in approximately the same as working 2 days a week.  Then we won’t have to worry about child care.  Ah, wishful thinking.

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