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December 2006
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February 2007


No, not the band.

James has been practising walking behind his wooden bricks trolley for all of oooh, about 3 weeks on and off, but the real sea change has been his ability, and desire to stand on his own. In the last couple of days his need to do that seems to have tripled. Then tonight, James twice took a couple of steps forward, on his own, whilst standing, unsupported.

Get the video camera out, quick, he'll be running about by the weekend!

Something GOOD. Halleluyah.

Sleep.... hold on a minute. Sleep!


Astonishingly, it took *two days* for the sleep clinic's regime to kick in.

This could be because it could be filed under the category "Plain good sense, you idiots".

Basically, if James wakes before 2am, hand on back (well, they're version was head but I knew that would hack him off terribly - we've always done the calming back rub / stationary hand) and keep putting him down to a lying position if he gets up, and only take him out if he's absolutely screaming his head off. then he's allowed 1 feed, which is gradually reducing by 1 minute a day, then the back-hand thing again if he wakes up early.

First night was... er, heh. "Interesting". Second night he woke up once, then fell back to sleep within 20 minutes, then woke up for his feed and that was it third night - last night that is: feed only, no moaning about 8 minute feed then woke up at 6.50!!! and that, with Mackay coughing his guts up with a bloody awful virus all night.

Holy Monkeys!

I am overly fond of the explanation mark, it is true, but really - in this case, I will not retract a single one of them.

So if I go to bed as planned in approx 1/2 an hour, I should get 8 hours kip. In theory. Blimey.

Who put the ape in the Apricot?

At Christmas, one of those extra presents you just can't help but get was an ever so slightly shop soiled edition of "The Wizard of Oz" as imagined by Robert Zabuda, the pop-up brains behind the Dinosaur Encyclopaedia, which has had Nora enthralled for over a year now (it lives on as high shelf and has to be asked for, because of its delicacy).

To say that Zabuda's popups for TWOZ are masterly are such a ridiculous understatement it's like saying my Mother's lemon meringue pie was merely delicious (I've never tasted one better). Nora adores it, and I'd never actually read the book although I have an absolute love for the film, so it's been an excellent treat reading it for both of us. Since getting to the end (and beginning again immediately) I've been singing Noo choice songs from the film, and was absolutely gutted to find that it's one of the CD's that is currently in storage due to too many small humans and too little "above grab height" storage. I had ripped it on to the Mac though so I played it yesterday through our seriously substandard speakers.

Yet another excuse for me to get a serious lump in my throat when Nora asked "What are they doing now?" as the gorgeous and delightful "You're out of the woods, you're out of the dark, you're out of the night... " (etc) wafts from the study.

..and then I realised that I'd put the bloody video tape in storage too! The whole film's way too frightening for a wee'un (those monkeys!) but the whole munchkin sequence and the beginning of the yellow brick road - magical!

..and no, I don't know why I love it so much either.

Sometimes the answer's too obvious...'s there in front of you if you could but think it.

According to my old friend Anita from work (swhe used to edit a parenting magazine), many people find success in getting a sofa bed, and basically moving out of the bedroom (when they're stuck with 2 bedrooms) for however long it takes, to facilitate things like controlled withdrawal and so forth. Oh... can you imagine? A real full night's sleep (kinda) with no babies in the room!

Fucking great idea - now, to convince McK that we need to spend money. Ah.


On Graham's behalf...

you know what? It's great. I can actually name nearly all the readers of this blog. there are 11 regular readers, I can ascertain from the logs:

Owen (hello!)
Mackay (although he swears he doesn't)
Bob (although she's been understandably too busy of late)
...and I discovered recently, Gavin! Hello Gavin :)

God only knows who the other one is. Who the hell are you? Care to explain yourself?

I rather like it, to tell you the truth. My industry profile, partly due to my abysmal employers but mostly own to my semi-retirement from the public scene due to kiddiewinks is *hilariously bad*. for that reason, people who I had passing aquaintance with 4 years ago have literally no idea who the hell I am - and they wouldn't be any the wiser from this blog. The problems of childrearing - oh, how tedious compared to yet another yabber about the new iPhone! (ftr: I think it has too many issues in its current itteration, and it'll be as amazing as the Mac-loons want it to be in about 2 years).

Anyway. To return to more serious issues, all we've got so far is a sleep diary, and a wish to feed Snips (the "Don't ask me why" nickname James has currently) in a different room to that in which he sleeps. Unfortunately we can't do that due to a) his total lack of concentration ability anywhere else in the house and b) the fact that he has - get this - *bored a hole in my nip*. Yes. you heard that right. I have to feed him from one knocker in the rugby position (which involves sitting on the bed with 2 pillows to support). If I didn't, then the hole - and I mean hole - nt wound, or, or, scratch or whatever the hell but actual, physical HOLE would get a lot worse.

So the bathroom's out. the front room is out. Anywhere where Nora is, is out.

so Mackay has to go back on Thursday with the diary and explain matters.

Meanwhile sleep has been erratic as ever. i had one good night (5 1/2 hours!) and since then it's been less than 5. I had a couple of hours during the day today, thanks to my delightful husband (and sleeping daughter) hence I'm up and about at God only knows what time. So I must now bugger off before the night self destructs!

The sleep clinic called!

McK's seeing them on thursday late morning.

I think what might help is doing things with a legitimised responsible partner in crime.

I hope.

Slightly better night last night I that James woke at 11.30, then 1.30 and then astonishingly, slept through until 5.15 - and I actually managed to et him to go back to sleep then for a good half to three quarters.

Unfortunately I think the only reason for this improvement was outright exhaustion. And I still of course only had about 6 hours of broken kip. A friend said to me once "You never get it back, you know".

It feels like a bank, from which you're constantly making involuntary withdrawals - where only an actual 7 to 8 hour kip would leave it neutral. One day, it's going to run out of funds.

Meanwhile: good luck to my Dad, who has a very important appt today. Of which, potentially more later.

So we called the sleep clinic

Here's last night's sleeping pattern:

...After a full day's nosh and complement of home grown milk, etc:

Sleep slightly late at 7.40 due to a nasty "trying to get a splinter out of Nora's finger and failing due to her hysterical fear" incident (oh, so, so horrible, don't even go there).
We go to bed at ten, sensibly early - although I didn't en d up going to sleep until about 10.30
11.45 James wakes. Rocked back to sleep pretty quickly, asleep by 12ish, back in cot
Awake at 12.15! Crying head off. no way he's going back to sleep. Ok, I'll feed him.
1.45 awake an crying hard - we try the new concept, which is based on various sleeping solutions we've read ie: if he wakes for a feed, give him a bottle, then gradually over several days weaken the formula to the point where it's actually water - with any luck he'll stop bothering to wake. So - we're tackling the "2nd waking" first with that strategy, rather than both at once. I have absolutely no clue as to whether that's any good - we're working in the dark, as it were, at the moment.
2-ish. Stops feeding. Won't go to sleep. 20 minutes later, transpires he's all wet, poor love, and I didn't realise - fuck, fundamental bloody mistake
3-ish - eventually, drifts back to sleep - ah, I'd forgotten why - because of course, I fed him, in exhausted, agonised "What the fuck can we do?" type decision making. Something more like approx 3.20, I think - of course the homegrown milk zonied him out almost immediately
5.40 - bang, awake. No more sleep for the little guy.

Predictably, although he was wide awake and happy this morning, as soon as I fed him his morning feed at 7.20 he became drowsy, frustrated and irritable, poor love. It's not his fault, but then it's not ours either so at least I'm living in the sane world where a) I harbour no grudges for my incredibly frustrating sleep deprived nitwit of a son, and b) McK and I are not having disastrous, exhaustion led arguments.

So today we left a pained message with the sleep counsellor person, who hopefully will return our call. I also received through the post a nappy insert which I'm praying will soak up a hell of alot of his "too much" wee (which is brought on by his night feeds), which is just adding to the overall disaster zone that is The Night. It is my intention to continue with the bottle, if only because at least it's actively working toward "a" solution, even if it might be a stupid one (who knows?).

We also have the possibility of Nora's weekend away coming up, which would give us Thursday  to  Saturday (? I think?) in which to Do Something Radical, which might involve one of us getting a decent night's kip in Nora's room with earplugs, whilst the other goes through a night of hell, for a few nights in a row.

I actually do not have a clue how to resolve this. It's made me ill today, and I spent most of the day in bed asleep with my tonsils flaring like little phoenixes, zizzling away merrily.

But it's beginning to reach crisis point now. We can't go on like this. a series occasionally recognising the wider world

My friend and fellow hardline atheist (member of the Secular Society, which I've never gone as far as doing - respect for that) Spaceboy has pointed out a small item in today's news, "Creationism gains foothold in Schools", reported in The Times.

The difficulty here is that my ingrained Liberal instincts kick in immediately at the beginning of the article (ie: Hmm, well surely it is better to have the teaching of it actively controlled, to include a strong critique, rather than have it left to religious quack groups to be brainwashing kids in uncontrolled environments) until I think... hold on. What on earth kind of controlling influence could there be over what happens in the classroom? You could write guidelines until you were blue in the face - do they really imagine that someone in a school environment that has always wanted to encourage this lunacy would actually follow them? Don't be bloody ridiculous!

Creationism and Intelligent Design propaganda is genuinely disturbing, and part of a hard line religious movement emanating from the US, which it seems to me gains public prominence, taking in the fearful and ignorant as a direct result of the increase in fundamentalism in apparently 'opposing' religions.

Some friends and I were having this debate recently regarding what our maturing and intelligent (we hope) positions are regarding agnosticism vs atheism - my response then is my response now. I believe there *is* a war on the rational position, and if I had the bloody time I'd be involved in whatever educational support anyone can think of to spread the rational position of atheism.  As I also said the other day: people criticise Atheism because it is a belief, in the same way that "belief" in God is, and since both are dogmatic to some extent surely agnoticism is the only real position since how can we know either way?

"Belief" that there is no God is based on the scientific examination of the world around us and as such I 'believe' that that sense of the word does not belong in the same room as the "belief" in a deity. Any deity. You might as well say that belief in fairies is a strong as the belief that there is no God. On the other hand of course, you could argue that to state that you are an Atheist is to say that I free myself of belief. It's not a question of "Belief" since using that word is part of a history including belief in the Egyptian Gods, Zeus or Thor - all of those positions being equal, in faith terms to belief in the present single God. In retrospect, having updated this article, I place my argument in the second part of this paragraph.

There's been an upswell in criticism of Dawkins recently, in saying that he's too strident and a bit too "loudhaileresque", where softer, lighter steps may take the rationalist cause further. Unfortunately for me, I tend to argue anything to do with religion in extremely black and white terms. I support the loudhailer. If  Dawkins isn't saying anything fundamentally wrong, then to criticise him strongly is to support the secreted, slow growth of the brain disease of doubt in rationalism. If one is to criticise him at all, every critique Must begin by saying "I support the position if atheism in its entirety" or... journalistic words to that effect. (if, obviously, they/you do).

Trouble with all this is I'm actually arguing from a hearsay position, having not read his latest rather boring looking tome (I laugh in the face of my complete hypocrisy!) - the next post will explain why. One day, I shall be able to take part in the wider intellectual community again - when my brain can escape the medium-level sapping fug that it currently inhabits.

Meanwhile: support Dawkins and come off the fucking fence. Everyone. It's too important. Look - we're in a world with not only an unprecedented fundamentalist attack on the west (which I will lazily call an attack on western values including Rationalism, but please accept that that's only a shortcut and misses out the quite large number of "What? How about X,Y, and Z" type arguments  - but you know... I can't waffle on forever here), but where climate change is and will be radically changing the environment we live in over the next 100 years. I'm sure that somewhere, some social engineering economist will have come up with an equation that dictates: where x=fear, y = anxiety and z = ignorance, <xy/z = increase in irrational religious concepts / bookburning, lynching, human sacrifice, etc.

I can't bear the thought that when a proportion of human endeavour has come so close to attaining wonderful leaps forward, our civilisation (and I use that term to include the destruction of the rationalist position [prior to the supposed holocaust on humanity which may or may not happen]) is sailing so close to the edge of a massive Victoria Falls scale waterfall, which will break it all in to tiny pieces.

So. What the hell do we do about this piece of news. I don't know, but I don't propose to sit back and do nothing.

It's been so long...

...since i posted that the typepad URL has disappeared from my Firefox automatic history er, type-it-in-thingummy.


The total absence can be put down to several things.
1) The usual complete exhaustion (80%)
2) To be honest? A bit bored with the sound of my own voice (12%)
3) General freaked outness re: Dad, etc (8%)

You'll have to forgive the more-than-average level of typos or grammatical nonsense today since I'm a teensy bit tiddly.

So. All the crap stuff I haven't posted.....

Nora's birthday trip to London Zoo.
Was just as great as we thought. It was wonderful seeing her with her friends - it brought home to us what total hermits we are at weekends. So one of our New Years resolutions must be to take Noo on playdates. This hasn't materialised as yet but we've been unusually busy / distracted due to the below amongst other things but, asap: Zara, Marcus, Freda and Lianna round here on sundays for messing about purposes!

Nora's Christmas.
So half of you is feeling terribly guilty because you're basically lying through your teeth to your child, but the other half of you is excited and strangely over engaged in the concept that this is a univeral lie - that a massive majority of people in this country and many others are, with you, at this moment, lying about the existence of Father Christmas.
Nora so totally Got Father Christmas. she was in shock in the morning seeing her stocking all full.
even now, she's still not entirely assimilated her presents in to her lifestyle. the scooter needs work. We didn't get her any safety equipmet and she's still a bit wary of it, so a bycicle helmet is coming in the post (good prep for the springtime stabilisers bike purchase from Ebay!). She also got a "Bilibo" from us - a bonkers swedish wibbly wobbly seat / alien helmet / stylish footstool / er... thing which captured her imagination more immediately. Quite apart from that there were the endless books (including the fabulously illustrated "There's no such thing as a Ghostie"!) and cute small musical instruments. this has to be thev year when we pay for a few sessions with a specialist young kids' piano teacher. She adores music, and sings to herself all the time - most pleasingly, she's already taken up the habit of making up sprawling rhymes that make no sense. She sings them to Baby Roo after she goes to bed, before going to sleep (Baby roo is her "Baby").

She's also grown up again, within the last 8 weeks or so. but she's also taking things from James or ripping them out of his hands with boring regularity. So far it's been determindly getting her to apologise and ask nicely. Pretty soon I can see a graduation to the NC.

James is beginning to stand on his own, and we rescued his pushalong trolley (you know, the old wooden sort with ABC bricks in the trolley part) from our storage locker, so he's also pottering along behind that, wearing himself out at every opportunity. Still waking horrifically in the night, and waking early for about half the time as opposed to 90%, after changing his day sleeps in accordance with several diffrent books all saying the same thing (cut the morning sleep down, he'll make up the time in the afternoon sleep). His babbling is hilarious, charming, and very sweet.

It's so odd living in the middle of this so-short time in his life, knowing how fleeting it is. You're a memory already, wothout even having been fully fledged, you "nearly walking" era, you!

Meanwhile, a whole bunch of good friends left work at once. Ran in too their boss and had an hilarious but too short conversation with him. I've been cultivating someone else at work who seems to be worth 14 (or more surely!) of all of everyone else put together, who thankfully did someting very good last week.

I'd like to talk about work occasionally at the moment because we are (in theory) doing some pretty neato stuff (locally at least - I can say this here, safe in the knowledge that no one from work reads this bollocks) - and whilst I feel I've been stuck pissing my ideas up a wall for at least 5 years of my (grits teeth) prime working years, if we maintain the path we're on right now, i could begin to come out of the tiny baby period in March with some really interesting shit under my belt - begin all that networking again from scratch (ayeesh). and more. I hope.

Anyway. La la.

Happy New Year!

I really, really, really hope it is. For everyone.