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.

IMG_1571

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.)

1 32

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

DSC_0148

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!

DSC_0019