Saturday, 6 September 2014

Juniorette at 5 Months

The month started out with excitement as Juniorette was able to meet my sister, her Auntie Owl (nickname bestowed by Junior). She came for a business trip, and was able to stay with us for several days. We spent a fun day on London's Southbank and walked across Tower Bridge.


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It was a quick trip, but we're looking forward to a week with Auntie Owl, Ankle D, and Cousin P soon...


The rest of the month was mostly spent wiggling...


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chewing...


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and trying sooooo hard to be upright.


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She'll get there soon enough, especially with Junior to help support her.


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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

4 months

Funny how the time passes so quickly, especially with the second child. You already have some expectation of what s/he can and can't do at various stages. By ten weeks, Junior was already holding his own bottle. By seventeen weeks, he started sucking his toes. So it was both surprising and not-at-all-surprising when Juniorette started holding her own bottle, but not sucking her toes.


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Her feet are far from idle, however. By kicking her legs and digging in her heels, she managed to propel herself across the living room floor more than once.


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She enjoys standing up - will she skip crawling and go straight to walking? - and is remarkably steady.


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She is also big enough to wear hand-me-downs from her cousin and brother. Part of me is quite relieved that we had a boy first, then a girl; Juniorette can wear boy clothes far easier than Junior would be able to wear girl clothes. It's sexist and arbitrary - why shouldn't Junior be able to wear sparkly pink outfits, skirts, dresses? - but we have not had to deal with it in any event. When and if Junior shows a preference for "girly" clothes, I won't be the one to hold him back.


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The rest of the month, we have been playing with friends and family.


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The British Museum. Top tip: the family room in the basement is a great place to avoid the crowds (and the art) on a busy weekend.


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But some of my favourite moments are the mundane family ones. Eating dinner. Cuddles in bed.

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We are in a nice routine these days while S is still off work. Junior is settled and is generally helpful around the house, with only momentary (and often predictable) toddler tantrums and mood swings. Juniorette is eating and sleeping well. She barely cries and often gurgles, squawks, and smiles. I am happy not to be at work (especially right now, while they move the company to our new warehouse) and I am constantly reminded of just how lucky we are. Go, Team D!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Rootn Tootn: The Second Time Around

I have been meaning to post this entry for a while, but since it is now World Breastfeeding Week, I decided I should stop procrastinating.


Back when Junior was born, S developed an iPhone app called Rootn Tootn, which was designed to help mums (particularly, me!) track feeds, nappy changes, sleep, etc. Junior's breastfeeds were longgggg and it was hard for me to spot any patterns, so having a way to record start and finish times made it easier to know when to begin the next feed. You can read about my experience with Junior here.


When Juniorette was born, I started using Rootn Tootn from her very first feeds in the hospital. (Note to pregnant mums: this app should be part of everyone's must-have hospital bag items. Download it and put it on your home screen before your baby comes so you'll be ready to go!)


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Rootn Tootn allows you to set as many reminders as you want, and you can format them in the settings. The term reminders doesn't encompass every use case. Some things might be an event, like a nappy change. Some events might not need a timer to remind you when it's time for the next one. Some events might not have a start/finish time. Regardless, the settings allow you to choose whether you want a duration timer or not, and whether you need a reminder or not.


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I have seven timers on my screen, although I have not used all of them yet (Juniorette is now 16 weeks old). I decided to separate timers for Right Side and Left Side, although some women may prefer to time each feed (both sides) as one event. I also have an event for formula, since we are combination-feeding Juniorette (more on that in a different post). I thought it would be useful to track events like wet and soiled nappies - we had trouble with Junior's, ahem, output, but Juniorette has been much more regular. Still, I mark nappies when I remember. Eventually, I plan to use Rootn Tootn as a sleep trainer, tracking her naps and overnight sleep.


One of my favourite features of Rootn Tootn is the ability to see graphs and averages at a glance.


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Unlike Junior's marathon 60- and 90-minute feeds, Juniorette's breastfeeds tend to vary between 5 and 15 minutes on a side. I can also track the number of bottle-feeds she does in a day; currently the average is 4 or 5. (I don't always set it when she drinks a partial bottle).


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You may notice in the screen shots that Rootn Tootn is reminding me that I should have breastfed Juniorette several hours ago. Don't worry - she was fed. Laziness in using the app each time now that she is 16 weeks old (sorry, S!) combined with better understanding of her patterns precisely due to using the app when she was first born shows that Rootn Tootn accomplished its goal: tracking feeds has helped me know when and how long to feed Juniorette. It's similar to how I use my Fitbit: I don't always hit my daily target but the repetition of tracking has helped me recognise patterns. If your baby feeds regularly like Juniorette, but unlike Junior, you might only need Rootn Tootn for a few weeks or months until you establish your routine.


Here is what S has to say about the need for reminders:
Rootn Tootn is not designed as a substitute for paying attention to your child’s needs. The reminders should absolutely not be the only cue you use to decide whether or not to feed (or change a diaper/nappy, provide medication or whatever other reminders you set). I would expect that, in normal use, you would only occasionally see a reminder.


One last feature of the app that might be under-appreciated is the ability to use a photo from your camera roll or photostream as the background image. I chose a photo of Juniorette wearing a dark onesie in order to contrast with the timers better.


Rootn Tootn is a free app in the iTunes Store, but the in-app purchase features give it the full functionality needed to establish your baby's feeding, changing, and sleep patterns in the early days. While it was developed primarily as a breastfeeding aid for women, it can be used to time anything by anyone: medication, exercise, cooking timers, etc. Rootn Tootn is regularly updated with user feedback. What features would you like to see?

Monday, 28 July 2014

Life in a Fishbowl

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Remember my quest for varifocals? After searching online for several weeks, I decided to try some brick-and-mortar shops for glasses.


I started at the big high street shops: Boots, Day Lewis. Day Lewis had a few pairs of interesting glasses by a Danish maker, Prodesign. But I was not ready to commit that much money to something that didn't entirely jump out at me.


I found Kirk Originals online, and saw that they were stocked at McClintock in Covent Garden. (Do a google image search for Kirk Originals to see why they caught my eye). I also wanted to visit Spex in the City in Covent Garden, since one of my friends has bought gorgeous glasses there in the past. Slightly closer to home in SW London, I found Bromptons Opticians in Clapham.


McClintock has a beautiful selection of glasses - and they had Kirk Originals on sale! - but something told me to keep looking. Gillian of Spex in the City suggested an amazing pair of glasses that she said had taken her seven months to source from France, but even they weren't quite right. Then I found Lafont frames at Bromptons. Skip to the end: I am now the proud owner/wearer of a pair of Lafont Greta glasses with Hoya varifocal lenses and Transitions tinting in the sunlight. I was also glad to support a local, independent business with excellent service, who helped me find frames and lenses that work for me.


It takes a bit of time to get used to varifocals - when I walked out of Bromptons, I felt like I was in a fishbowl. Everything is ever-so-slightly distorted at the edges. But after a week of wearing them, I know which part of the lens to use for different tasks, and it is so nice not having to take them on and off. I suppose the real test was taking them off to cook dinner the other night: I felt disoriented and noticed that my eyes were working hard to focus.


I have already received some nice compliments ('they really suit you!') but the best reaction was from Junior: 'Mummy! Your glasses have lights on! Where is the switch?' Indeed, Junior. Indeed.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

3 months

At the beginning of June, we started settling into our new routine as a Family of Four. S was still not working, which made it easier to split childcare duties while enjoying some quality time together.


Junior and Juniorette got along just fine.

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We celebrated Father's Day with matching t-shirts from Twisted Twee.

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And then the grandparents came back! I had a ticket to Britmums Live (more on that in a different blog post), and they kindly agreed to come help with Junior and Juniorette.

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Wearing my "tiara" (Frankenstein bolts from Halloween) for Emma Freud's keynote

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And so it begins: a lifetime of trying to get a decent photo of all of us


Aside from grandparent visits, we had plenty of normal days: nursery for Junior in the morning, followed by naps and lazy video watching. Trips to various parks. Playing in the garden.

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Finally, on a last-minute whim, we took the train up to Wakefield to visit S's family and friends in Ossett. Juniorette got to wiggle on the carpet and look cute...

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...while Junior took over the local playground and commanded everyone to test out the equipment.

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May the odds ever be in our favour for future train journeys: we were lucky both ways to get a table with four empty seats (though we had only paid for two). Traveling with two small children is a challenge, but Junior and Juniorette enjoyed the ride. We should do this more often.