Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Season's Greetings!

Has it really been so long since my last post? Blimey... Top of my New Year's resolutions list is to devote more time to the blog, along with finishing our house renovation, setting up the DadsNursery website, disposing of all my old junk on Ebay, playing a few gigs with my band and inventing some kind of device to freeze time in order that I have enough hours in the day to get all of this accomplished.

Still, in my defence I have just written a piece for Avant Garde Parenting's 'Parent of the week' feature after Jamie DeLuna contacted me via Twitter. It was a pleasure to do and now I've dusted off my blogging hat I'll be doing my best to keep up some momentum next year. Here's a link to the article:


Many thanks to Jamie for letting me participate.

Happy holidays everybody, have a great one :)

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Well, that was unexpected.

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Indeed, over the last few weeks my tweeting has been practically non-existent too. So, what was my reason for falling off the social networking map I hear you ask? Allow me to explain:

It’s a few weeks back, the early hours of the morning, a heavily pregnant Mrs D has got up for another bathroom break, got back into bed and mumbled something to the effect of “I think my waters might have just broken”. I’m not a morning person, I’m even less of a 3:00am in the morning person, so in my semi-conscious state I mumble a reply to the effect of “Meh, I’m sure it’s not that, you’ve got a couple of months to go yet…”.

We go back to sleep. Well, I go back to sleep and Mrs D tries to relax, however, at 5:00am on her next bathroom break the same thing happens again. Okay, this is serious. We get up, Mrs D calls the hospital and they tell us to come in straight away. We wake up Little Miss D, put a coat over her pyjamas and get ready to leave the house while she drinks a very early morning cup of milk, looking annoyed and confused - she’s not a morning person either, well unless it’s HER that has made the decision to get up at a ridiculously early hour, then it’s fine.

Mrs D, being the organised person that she is, had already packed her hospital bag so we pick up a few other essentials and bundle into the car for the dash to the hospital. We arrive quickly, an upside of travelling at this unearthly time of day is that there is no traffic on the roads and more importantly, I can get a parking space at the hospital – the staff at the Medway Maritime Hospital are fabulous but the parking facilities are woefully inadequate.

We get to the labour ward and they check Mrs D over. Yes indeed, her waters have broken. They decide that she’ll be admitted to the ward for the forseeable future. It seems a bit unreal, I keep telling myself that she’s not due for 2 months and that Little Miss D was nearly a week late! It’s a lot for both of us to take in, especially when they announce that they will need to inject our unborn baby with steroids in order to help his lungs develop whilst giving Mrs D drugs to try and hold off full-blown labour. Scary stuff… Nanny C arrives at the hospital to offer some much needed support and reassurance and she brings Little Miss D home.

The next few days are somewhat of a blur, I’ve got a bathroom in “mid-renovation” stage that I really need to finish, the way it stands at the moment it should really be called a bathless room. The plasterer and electrician start work and are gradually filling the house with dust, the plumber is on standby for when they’re done, Little Miss D is staying with Nanny and Grandpa and I’m running backwards and forward to the hospital (usually on the bus due to the damn parking issues). Mrs D is doing well on the ward, she’s resting, her blood pressure is the lowest it’s been in ages, Bump D is being monitored and is active and stable. She’s still losing her waters but it’s a gradual thing and the consultants don’t seem concerned.

I spend a couple of nights at my folks’ place, it’s nice to have their company and my mum’s Italian cooking is legendary. We have the mandatory “It’ll be fine, Mrs D in the right place” kind of conversations and my dad helps me try and figure out a game plan for getting our bathroom finished and functional.
On the one night when (for reasons unknown) I decide to turn my phone off, I’m greeted with a voicemail the following morning: “Mr D, this is the hospital, your wife has just been taken for an emergency caeserean”.

(After being on the ward for a week, Mrs D had stopped losing any more waters and the consultant decided that there wasn’t enough left to sustain Baby D and he needed to be out.)

It turns out I missed the call by a matter of minutes, surely I can still make it? I’m out of the house and into the car, it may be a couple of tonnes worth of Volvo but it’s a T5 (the traffic cops used to use them) so I make rapid progress to the hospital (observing the speed limit at all times, of course), only to be greeted with no parking spaces when I get there. Bugger… I pull in a few streets away and burn some shoe leather…

I’m too late and I’ve missed all the fun (if you can call it that), our little man was born a few minutes before I got there and is already in the special care unit. The surgeons are happy with him and the operation, he came out crying, weighs just over 5lbs and all things considered Mrs D is feeling surprisingly well.

I get to see him a couple of hours later in the special care unit, he’s all red and wrinkly and looks a bit like a tiny Winston Churchill! They let me hold him and change his nappy, I wish I could have shared the moments with Mrs D but she’s still recovering from the operation, she manages to visit via wheelchair later that evening.

We spend the next few days backwards and forwards to visit our little dude, he’s breathing on his own, has developed the necessary suck/swallow reflex and is enjoying the milk that Mrs D has managed to express at such short notice. In fact, both him and mummy are making such good progress that they are allowed home, great news apart from the fact that I’ve still got the workmen in and the house is a shambles. With that in mind they spend a week with my folks while I restore a bit of order and finally, after what seems like a lifetime, we’re back together.

Little dude has developed a huge appetite and has now put on nearly 2lbs. Little Miss D has been really good around him too, getting her the dolls to “practice” with was an inspired idea, she’s very gentle with him and is always keen for a cuddle. We try and involve her as much as possible to stop her feeling left out or jealous – “Help daddy get him dressed, help mummy change his nappy, etc…” and so far the toddler tantrums have been kept to a minimum.

So, things are pretty normal now? Well, not exactly, there’s still the bathroom to decorate, the sleep deprived nights to get used to again, oh, and I need to find a job for 6 months very very soon to cover the shortfall in income from Mrs D’s statutory maternity pay. No pressure then… Ah well, at least life is never boring in our house and I wouldn’t have it any other way :)

At this point I’d just like to thank everyone who helped us at the Medway Maritime Hospital; Kent Ward, Pearl Ward but most of all, our families and the staff in the Oliver Fisher Special Care Unit – you guys are legends, if we ever come up trumps on the lottery then you’re getting a very generous donation from us. Thank you.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Soft toy washing trauma.

But I be done seen 'bout ev'rything, When I see a elephant in a washing machine.

Miss D loves her Dumbo soft toy, It pretty much goes everywhere with us. If she’s tired or grumpy then she needs that elephant and bedtimes are a non-starter if he’s not around… I know she’ll grow out of this phase so it doesn’t bother me, but my only stipulation is that Dumbo MUST have a wash on a regular basis to keep him vaguely fresh and clean.

This requirement stems from a story my wife told me a while back. One of her cousins had the original “Linus from Snoopy” style security blanket, he could never be parted from it and would never allow it to be washed. You can imagine how gruesome this piece of fabric was; I’m sure if it were left alone long enough in a controlled environment, a whole new lifeform would have evolved from the fibres of this dribbly, snot-riddled abomination.

So, with that image permanently engraved on my brain, every couple of weeks it’s bathtime for Dumbo and Miss D’s postpartum tantrums begin. It’s strange, she can leave him on the sofa and forget about him all afternoon while we’re doing something else but as soon as I pick him up she wants her elephant back. I’ve tried the sneaky approach, the quick snatch while she’s watching a favourite TV show but she always manages to catch me.
When I finally manage to convince a (usually) tearful Miss D that Dumbo “really needs a wash because he’s smelly” and that “when he’s finished he’ll smell lovely and clean”, we’ll put him in the washing machine and then spend the next hour and a half going backwards and forwards as Miss D is anxious to check how he’s getting along. The glum expression eventually turns to a smile and the spin cycle makes her laugh as we watch him travelling round at several hundred RPM…

Program finished, door open, and the once grubby, stinky elephant looks and smells like new, albeit a little damp. “Can we hang him up to dry?” I ask. No chance, he’s back in Miss D’s vice-like grip and going nowhere for a while, well, until dinner time when I’ll steal him back and give him a few minutes on the radiator!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Feeling out of practice.

With what? I hear you cry… Well, keeping my blog updated for starters! So indeed, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to anyone that might be reading this! The last couple of months have been pretty manic and I’ve got a lot of jobs to get finished around the house before our next little one arrives (the due date being 19th April). I’m working hard though, whilst generally running around like a headless chicken. Mrs D just spent the week at the in-laws with Miss D, giving me a chance to get ahead with the main project – refitting our bathroom.
Much progress was made although at the moment we have no bath, no plaster on most of the walls, and a “to do” list as long as both my arms. I loved Miss D’s reaction when she first saw it – “Mummy, what happened to the bathroom? Daddy broke it!”. I love that toddler black & white kind of logic, I smiled and told her that “Daddy will fix it” as he does with all the toys and books that Miss D manages to damage or break!

I’m feeling a bit out of practice with the parenting too, which sounds silly as it was only a week on my own but whilst the ladies were away, Miss D’s daily routine was changed a little to compensate for the fact that her New Year’s resolution seems to be “I’m not having an afternoon nap anymore” :(
So, rather that spending a couple of hours running up and down the stairs putting her back into bed for that illusive afternoon snooze, my very clever and very lovely wife decided to bring mealtimes forward a bit and put her up to bed earlier in the evening. I guess I’ve been a little blinded by the “she must have her afternoon nap” mantra and hadn’t really considered the alternatives.

So I’ll stick my neck out once again and say that so far, things are going pretty well. Meal times have been brought forward by an hour, as has bedtime. Okay, a downside is that I don’t get a break in the afternoon to catch up with a few DIY jobs or to just chill out for a bit, but that’s no big deal. Now, when Mrs D gets home from work, Miss D has already eaten dinner and they can play for a bit, then we pack her off to bed and get to eat our dinner at a reasonable hour and have a bit more of an evening together. Miss D’s legendary late-afternoon tantrums haven’t been an issue either – clever mummy!

Still, after a break of just one week and with daddy back at the helm, Miss D has so far developed a nappy rash out of nowhere (she was fine last week, typical!), threw up her yoghurt last night for no apparent reason (she loves yoghurt) and woke up this morning with a runny nose (as did I). So much for 2 year olds testing the boundaries, I think somebody up there is testing me…

It’s not a problem though, I’ll keep on keepin’ on, and always in the back of my mind is the fact that soon there will be another little one to look after and things are only going to get more complicated from then on. I’m looking forward to it immensely though, Miss D got a baby doll and crib for Christmas so she’s been practicing how to feed and hold the baby, it seems to be very instinctive behaviour with minimal input from us and she’s very gentle and caring with the doll, I hope this is a good sign of things to come.

I’d better sign off now, I’m going to take Miss D for a walk to the shops to get a big box of tissues for our runny noses!