Cameron’s first Christmas

This year Christmas didn’t mean much more to Cameron than slightly sweeter breast milk from all the fudge Mom ate, but he was the star of our Christmas none-the-less. I have always loved Christmas, but this year it suddenly had so much more meaning. Colin and I have spent many hours over the past few days chatting about the things our parents did for us at Christmas, what we’d like to carry on doing for Cam and what new traditions we want to start. For instance, we’ve given a lot of thought to what we want to make for breakfast on Christmas Day. My family always did mince pies, but Colin really hates mince pies, so we’ve decided French toast cut into Christmas shapes will be our thing.

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With the events of November and early December I didn’t even get a chance to think about Christmas cards until it was far too late to send any. But my brother’s parents-in-law sent us this adorable Santa suit from Holland when Cameron was born, so we used that to make a virtual card this year. In the end we couldn’t pick a favourite shot so we just used our top three and posted them on Facebook. (All the wording was added with Over.)

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This year we celebrated Christmas with Colin’s family – Christmas Eve dinner with his mom, and Christmas Day lunch with his dad. In between we went to church. We are members at Hatfield Christian Church where the congregation numbers in the thousands. We weren’t sure how Cam would handle the crowds or the loud music but he spent the hour taking it all in and didn’t make a peep. I on the other hand got all emotional during the worship session, and spent a fair amount of time searching for tissues in the nappy bag!

The fact that Cam lacks the co-ordination to open gifts (or even understand that they are for him) didn’t stop the family from spoiling him! He’s got a whole lot of new toys now – some that he can already use, others that will take a while to grow into. But his great-grandmother gave him something really special – a wooden donkey that his great-grandfather bought in Jerusalem 37 years ago. It’s sometimes hard to keep the real message of Christmas at the centre of festivities and it will be good in years to come to go through the Christmas story with the donkey for a prop!

DSC_0187 DSC_0166 IMG_1577While I love all the traditions and activities that Christmas involves, what is the most special for me is the emphasis on family. With the arrival of Cameron, Colin and I feel like a family for the first time and this Christmas marked the start of many years of our family memories. And at the risk of sounding horribly cheesy – that truly is the greatest gift of all

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Fire in the hole

An hour ago Colin and I arrived home from his sister’s birthday celebrations, our third marathon of festivities in as many days. We were worn out! As we settled on the couch to Skype my brother in Holland we heard explosive sounds from the region of Cam’s nappy. After our standard protocol of a five minute wait, Col went upstairs to change Cam. I soon heard hysterical laughter and shouts of ‘Luce, come and look’ drifting down the stairs. I moseyed on up, expecting to be regaled by my delightfully cute son. Instead I found a war zone …

As Col was changing Cam’s nappy, Cam unleashed a second offensive. Col handled that with ease as it’s not the first time it’s happened to us, and the new nappy was well positioned so there were no casualties. However, while trying to keep the baby-grow clean, Col hoisted Cam’s nether regions skyward by holding up his ankles. And while in that prone position, our son unleashed his missile!

The projectile stream burst forth with all of Cam’s explosive capabilities behind it. Col’s hands, the changing mat, changing station and wall were instantly covered. Casualties of the resulting splatter were three pillow cases, the duvet, the bed frill, the plugs, the nappy bin, the dustbin, the nebuliser and three mobiles I had made. Col reckons that if the wall hadn’t been in the way we would have cleared the two metre mark.

And so instead of putting our feet up on the couch, Col and I have just spent half an hour cleaning the nursery. While Cam observed us from his cot, chortling merrily, all we could do was laugh – at ourselves, the situation, the ironic timing of Cam’s attack and all the new requirements bring a parent brings.

Nearly four months old

I’m so behind on my blog I’m not even sure where to start with the catching up. The problem with a blog is that if you don’t post things as they happen, there’s often not much point doing so later. So some of the items on my ‘To blog about list’ will have to be scrapped I suppose. However, there are a few that are still worth writing about so I’ll work on those when I can, but for now I think an update on Cameron is the most pertinent report to make.

Our little man is a few days shy of four months old. I took him for his second round of immunisations on Monday (I opted for the eight week schedule instead of the six week one) and he clocked in at 6.6 kilograms. He is 61 centimetres tall, putting him in the 90th percentile for height (so taking after his dad in that regard). His early arrival means that he is quite a small baby for four months (he is still comfortable in 0-3 month clothing), but in all other respects he is doing marvellously well.

Cam’s personality is starting to really shine through and Colin and I are just utterly enthralled! He remains an incredibly calm and contented little boy. When faced with new people and environments he absorbs it all with an expression of solemn concentration of his little face. However, when in familiar environments he has really started to relax and has become delightfully vocal. When lying on his play mat (or Play Station as we’ve taken to calling it), he will have long conversations with himself, and has even started to chuckle.

Lately I keep hearing about these babies who are sleeping through the night, but Cam isn’t one of them and usually wakes at 1 am and again at 4 am. Whether this is because I’m still exclusively breastfeeding I’m not sure, but as he is still feeding well at night I don’t think it’s just routine. Having Colin on holiday at the moment is great as he’s been helping me with the night feedings, giving me a bit of a break for the first time since September. Oddly I am finding that the more sleep I get the more I want, so instead of feeling more rested on my increased sleep hours, I am feeling more weary. Go figure!

While we generally have a pretty good routine going, we are finding that things change often so we have to be flexible. For example, last week we were really getting concerned as we were rocking Cameron to sleep for every nap and at night. I borrowed the Sleep Sense book from a friend and started keeping a sleep diary with the view of correcting bad habits. And then all of a sudden it was no longer necessary. On Wednesday night Col and I were both too tired to rock Cam, so we put him in his crib and decided to leave him until he started crying. Only he fell asleep all by himself instead and since then complains when rocked. (Bewildered gratitude is how I would describe my response.) With slightly less enthusiasm I must report that his other latest trick is to just start screaming for no apparent reason. There is no build-up of discontent, merely a split-second warning as his bottom lip drops and then he lets rip with an ear piercing wail! My suspicion is that these outbreaks are related to the level of stimulation he is receiving as they often occur after a bath or when we are somewhere new. Overstimulation is nothing new to us, but to keep us on our toes his response to it seems to have become less gradual.

At this time of year I tend to get overly reflective and have spent two days trying to end this post off. Various attempts at describing the joy Cam has already brought into our lives have floundered and failed in the murky waters of incomplete thought. So to avoid getting all maudlin at this happy time of year, I will rather just sum up by saying that life in the Rip household at the moment is generally peaceful, fairly routine, occasionally deafening and utterly underpinned by gratitude, love and contentment. From our little family to all of you, have a wonderful Christmas!

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A watery weekend

Between my Dad’s 60th birthday celebration at the end of November and my husband’s 30th birthday party this last Saturday, my blog has been severely neglected. But as all the parties are now over, I can give it a bit more attention again and write a few catch-up posts.

To start off with, the weekend of 17 November was a watery one for us – Cam had his first swim and first (and last) bath with Col in our bath at home (more on this perplexing sentence in a moment). The swim took place in my father-in-law’s pool which is heated, although the temperature was 35 degrees Celsius so the weather was good for it too. At first Cameron complained a fair bit, but as he got used to the water he began to maybe not enjoy it, but at least tolerate it! Time will tell whether Cam will take after his dad or mom and be a water baby or not.

Our other water-related first, was Cam having a bath with Col. We’ve had a growing damp problem due to a badly installed bath and recently took the decision to take it out and install a shower instead. But we didn’t want to miss out on that classic photo of baby in the bath with Dad (I’m sure you all have one in your baby books), so the night before the plumbers arrived Col took the plunge. To be frank it was a bit of a mission – holding a slippery, soaped-up baby is no easy task!

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If you are wondering about Col’s facial hair – this year he decided to take part in Movember, an initiative where men grow moustaches in support of cancer awareness. The more ridiculous the better, and so halfway through, Col shaved his beard into this absurd handlebars moustache. I wasn’t a fan of the bristly beard to begin with but the fact that these firsts of Cam’s will forever feature ‘Trucker Dad’ hasn’t added to my enthusiasm!