A Flock of Robins

March 30, 2011

Around a week ago Althea and I saw a whole flock of robins on our walk.  Instead of just one harbinger of spring, we saw over 10.  Alright, I saw them, she was asleep.  I promptly expected spring to be here immediately, with warm weather, melting snow, and flowers peeping through the gardens.  It snowed every day for the next week.  The temperature was high enough however that we could still get out on our almost daily walks.  We have a lovely paved, plowed walking trail that takes us around the houses to overlook the local coulee, and the river basin and it takes about an hour, or a babies naptime to get around.  I have a comfy carrier for Althea, and really enjoy going on these walks with her.  I also enjoy when Mr. J takes her on these walks, and I stay home and do chores or nap.  At the end of the hour I’m very ready for my little girl to make it home again. 

Aside:  GGM says that carrying your baby, rather than putting her in the parambulator (remember, never touch your baby) is against her religion.  We may as well move back into the caves!  In my opinion however it’s a great idea; you can keep your baby warm, always kiss her head, check that she is okay instantly, and you get a better work out on your walk from carrying your baby. 

Things have changed around here drastically in the last couple of weeks.  The original plan was for Mr. J to work until August, then to take six months of paternity leave, and I would go back to work.  His work had other plans however, and granted him early paternity leave, four months early to be exact.  An okay severence package means that we are going to be able to swing Mr. J staying home until January as planned.  It doesn’t make sense for him to get a job for a month or two, and I don’t want to have to put Althea in day care at six months.  So here we are, all three of us at home now!  I will still go back to work in August.  Our day starts around 9 am when we get up to watch The Daily Show and the Colbert Report (Althea insists on being informed politically) and then we watch the old Star Trek.  Althea eats, naps, plays, we may go out and do whatever, and we try and get a walk in the afternoon.  We’re trying to get going on Althea’s bedtime routine, with bath, stories, and quiet time in her room in order to help her go to sleep.  Life is very pleasant, and we’re enjoying spending time together as a family.  I can’t say I’m getting more chores done, or more off my “to do ” list, but I am eating more regularly, and I’m getting a shower more regularly.  I don’t have to put Althea down as much screaming as I had to, as her Dad can now hold her and keep her happy.  Mr. J now gets to share these early months, and get more little girl snuggles than it would if he only got home at 7 pm every night.  And let me tell you, little girl snuggles are not to be missed.

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FO:L Baby Blanket

March 29, 2011

I finally finished sewing in all the ends on the “L” baby blanket.  The pattern is from the first edition of the Debbie Bliss magazine, and I’m sure it is also in one of her books somewhere.  I don’t know how to get the pattern now if you don’t have the magazine!  The blanket was a lot of fun to make, even though I can’t say I remember much about making it now, as the first month of Althea’s life is such a blur.  The only downfall of this baby blanket:

It is just baby sized!  It could be a bit bigger to be truly useful, but it is nice and thick, and therefore good for tummy time.  Althea is able to lift her head up off the ground now, and is getting better each day!  She is growing very well, and is 24 inches long now.  Her weight is very good, in the 75th percentile, she may even be 12 pounds now,and getting more adorable folds and dimples every day. 

This leads us to what is unfortunately going to be a regular feature on the blog (or as regular as a sleeping baby will allow) called ‘Crazy-a$$ Things Mr. J’s Grandmother says”.  We’ll call her GGM (Great-grandma) for short, as there are a lot of jems coming from that area of the family.  Her final aim appears to be making a case against us in order to get child services to take Althea away and give her custody.  Also, her knowledge of child rearing was formed in the 50’s and hasn’t changed much since.  The latest: Althea should have doubled her weight by now.  She believes in this so passionately that she has volunteered (insisting is more like it, I would bet she has already bought the forumla) to buy us forumla in order to save Althea, and get her weight up!  Of course all medical sources tell us that Althea should only have doubled her weight by month 4-5, or over 2 months from now!  But of course a mother couldn’t possibly provide all that a 2.5 month old baby needs, which of course is bollocks.  Stay tuned for our next installment which is probably going to be called “Never Touch your Baby or you will Spoil Her”.  We’re planning our next GGM visit for sometime in June, at which point I will be insanely preventing her from feeding my baby ground chicken livers.

Sweater Fashion Show

March 15, 2011

Baby surprise jacket in Smoochy sock yarn.  Perfect for a new born to perhaps 3 months.  Easy to get on and off, nice to wear, definitely something good to make for future baby presents.  The butterfly buttons were a bad idea, they are pointy, and catch on the edge of the button holes.

Top down garter yoke cardigan.  Made with fashionable 3/4 length sleeves (I ran out of yarn!)  This is a great pattern (check Rav for the link) and is easy to get her into and out of.  I think it’s going to fit her awhile longer as it is wide.  The worsted weight yarn is so cute, and the colours matches a number of outfits, and spit-up is invisible on it.  A definite good one for a baby present.

This green outfit was a labour of love on my part, as it took a long time to knit.  However it does fit her, and I think it looks great.  The sweater is a bit difficult to get her into, which is not ideal, but once on it is comfy.  I haven’t wanted to tie the ribbons up yet, and will probably just take them out.  Althea likes to hold them and drool on them.  I am of the opinion that a baby looks cutest in a bonnet, and this one especially.  Its starting to get a bit small on her now, and is slipping off the back of her head in this photo.  I need to get some better shots of this ensemble before she outgrows it completely.

Award Winning Blanket

March 14, 2011

I’m very excited that Althea was the recipient of an amazing baby blanket, made by the very talented, and award winning knitter Jen.  Seriously, she wins tons of ribbons each year for knitting at the Calgary Stampede. 

Althea has been using it to stay warm whilst practicing holding her head up (and eating her hand as well).  So talented that girl. 

And this rare sight, Althea sleeping under the blanket downstairs in her bassinet.  These events don’t usually happen very often, or for very long.  Althea still prefers to nap on me when downstairs.  The blanket is just beautiful, and will be treasured always by me, and hopefully by Althea.  However if she wants to love it day and night, and to the point that it gets dirty and frayed, I hope that is alright by you as well Jen, as that means it was really, really loved.  Truly wonderful gifts are used until they wear out!

Or a stolen moment from evening cluster feedings as an alternative title.  In the few minutes Althea slept in the bassinet today I chose to get some work done on my taxes rather than “fun” stuff like the internets. 

This week saw my birthday come and go, as essentially a non-event.  I didn’t leave the house, Mr. J coincidentally was home sick and helped out a bit, Mum came over with Chinese for lunch, and we ordered sushi for dinner, my treat since I hadn’t had it from before I got pregnant.  However the fact that it was a non-event makes me endlessly happy.  In previous years birthdays were reminders of another nail going into the coffin of my fertility, another year without a child, and a smaller and smaller of years left in the bin to have one.  Tic-toc.  This year, all that worry, anxiety, depression is gone with the cuteness that is Althea, who is my darling little girl.  She has definitely healed me of depressing birthdays!

A friend asked me this week if I felt like a mother yet.  I think the feeling comes over time, and not overnight, or at the moment of birth.  So far we are mostly caretakers, feeding, cleaning, and tending to our little girl.  However the other day I had a feeling of being a mother.  Althea and I had arrived back home after a good screaming session in the car seat, and I took her upstairs to the rocking chair.  As I soothed her, and felt her relax, the crying stop, her fast breathing slowing, ending in a state of calm I think I had an inkling of being a Mum.  Soothing hurt, making things better, hugging and kissing the bad things away.  It felt pretty good.