Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Damn, blast and piddle...

Still no more piddles on the toilet. I am becoming obsessed. I know Looby can do it! I know Looby can do it! A young lady of such science and methodology as Lucy must surely be able to master a quick pee on the toilet. I know it will come but I simply cannot wait. Pathetic I know, a grown man impatient about toilet training. Changing the subject, yesterday I talked about our new tactic of the naughty corner. Now when you are parents, it sometimes pans out that the only time you get to chat is when you are in bed, all is quiet and you reflect on the day. Amy said something very insightful and profound. If we could crack the answer I think we would be very rich. 'The principle of having a naughty corner is all very well, but what do you do if you are in Tesco's. We should invent the portable naughty corner!' ANSWERS ON A POST CARD TO EXTREMELY NAIVE PARENTS, FAKENHAM, NORFOLK. She truly does have a point - can you imagine banishing your child to the corner by the fish counter whilst you finish your shopping. Doesn't really work does it. Just imagine the opinionated looks you would get and the potential calls that would be made about you to social services. We have not yet come up with a way to counteract Lucy's belligerent streak outside of home yet. Watch this space......

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

All hail the naughty corner!

The adult Hammonds are fighting back. In true super nanny fashion we have created a naughty corner. Lucy has a very real habit of not doing what she is told - she can be belligerent and stubborn. Not at all like her parents! If questioned, I would deny it. My genetics have nothing to do with this. I am calm, never opinionated and very easy person to live with. Lucy has already paid two visits to the corner and she simply was not amused. It did work though. Amy and I talked and decided that this was what we were going to do to ensure that Lucy realises that she can not always do what she wants. Call us naive, but we have a plan and we are sticking to it. Wee wee update - Lucy has successfully used the toilet twice. However that stubborn streak has called a halt on proceedings. Lucy will not allow people to show her how to do things and again I can't think where she gets it from. Can't be me, I am always open and responsive to new ideas and instruction.

Lucy develops at such a fast rate, that sometimes I leap ahead in what I expect of her understanding. She still has so much to learn and experience and sometimes I can be too hard on her. We took the girls to see their great grand mother today who is very poorly in hospital. I got really angry with Lucy and she disrupted the visit. How can I possibly think she will understand adult concepts such as ill health and sadness. A toddlers world is so insular and we expect them to comply to ours and this really is a leap too far.

Anna, meanwhile is oblivious to all these social and family politics. She is now 10lbs 4ozs. Get in there girl. Damn those boobies are doing a good job! Boy can this girl poo too. I am really starting to feel that I am building a relationship with her. I have turned a corner in the last few days and feel more confident in the things I do with her. She smells simply scrumptious when you cuddle her. I do however prefer interactive and I can't wait till she starts to interact with us and becomes more animated.Thought it would be good describe Anna in F word style. Breasts, Milk, Burp, Cuddle, Settle, Kiss, Bed, Sleep, Wake, Cry, Sleep, Poo, Nappy, Change, Breasts, Milk, Burp, Cuddle, Settle, Kiss. DONE.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Daddy I've had a wee wee!

I sat Lucy on the toilet before her bath again today. I thought that it would be yet another fruitless attempt of constant praise and no reward. We have been at this for months and she has not used the toilet successfully yet. I walked away and Lucy said 'Daddy I have had a wee wee'. I am afraid that I braced myself for the usual disappointment, I picked Lucy up and much to my delight she had really passed urine on the toilet. Cue much joy, jumping, cuddles, praise and shouting 'yea'. You would have thought she had just won the Olympics. I was ecstatic! I know we have not cracked it, but it is a start and represents a result for months of effort and bribery. Do you know that could be a very good way to sum up parenting - effort and bribery. Anna as you can see was over the moon. Lucy celebrated with mass phone calls to family members and proudly told them about her triumph. I am so proud of her. I can't take credit for it though, Amy has put in all the hard graft. It's a shame that she could not have been the parent to find that she had finally cracked it. There will be many more potty triumphs for us to both enjoy, we haven't even got to wiping bottoms!

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

How can one so small make so much noise!

Anna can certainly make it known that she is unhappy. I am doomed, all these women in my life and the latest may have a real temper on her! Last night about 3am - she went purple and literally screamed the house down. I think I am going to have a very outspoken young lady on my hands. I am oddly enough pleased about this. I want my children to have spirit and to question things. I want them to fight for what they believe in. I have never been one for complying and I hope that my girls will continue this. Amy and I are both strong characters and I have a sneaking suspicion our girls will be too. Are you born with your personality or is this something that develops through your environment. I will find out in the coming years! Things aren't going so well at night and I find myself panicking that we are going to have another bad night when Anna is unsettled.On a brighter note Anna simply adores her bath - she is so chilled and relaxed and it is a pleasure to see her and Lucy sharing a bath and Lucy interacting and showing an interest in helping. All Lucy needs is a slightly more gentle touch. You can see by the lovely photo that Amy took on her phone that she is a proud big sister.
A bit pissed off. The weather has started to change and Amy took the girls to the Dinosaur park today and I missed out. We just did not have that opportunity during my time off and I'm gutted. I did enjoy Lucy telling me all about it in her own particular artful dodger toddler way though!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Me and my girls.....

I am gutted that I have to go back to work on Monday. I was really beginning to settle in life at home with my girls. All three of them! Just experiencing day-to-day family life has been delightful. I would be lying if I didn't say at times stressful! Having Amy, Lucy and Anna waiting at home when I get home from work on Monday will make it worth while. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but in recent months I have begun to realise that some things and some people are simply more important. Today we went out for lunch followed by 'pick your own' raspberries. Just to sit back and watch the girls doing it was simply enough for me. I wanted to take a picture, but the camera battery was flat! We were given a lovely comment today when I was told that Lucy was a credit to Amy and I. Very pleased and very flattered. Quote of the day: 'I really love your shoes mummy, they are very nice!' by Lucy 'I am trying to incur my mother's favour' Hammond. She truly knows how to play the game!
Have just been having a row/discussion with my wife about the layout of my blog. I am perpetually frustrated about her need to make everything in our lives Farrow and ball 'new white' - translated posh magnolia and so a compromise has been reached and the layout has now been made multi-coloured. Hope you like it!

Thursday, 17 July 2008

I wish the sun would shine!

Typical bloody British summer. It has been raining or really cold for most of this week. Today for example was simply miserable. Indoor activities have been the order of the day this week. It is really frustrating as my two weeks at home has nearly come to an end and I will have to go back to work. We have had good weather for just a couple of days out in nearly nineteen days that I have been off. Anna is so good during the day, so weather permitting we could have gone out and done some lovely things. I am deeply disappointed. Despite this, family life with two girls has been very tiring but amazing. Now I will have to come to terms with not being around quite so much. (Have not included the day Anna was born (which was beautiful) but we spent it in a stuffy hospital.) I do have to say we are knackered. Lucy is active and needs a lot of focus and stimulation and Anna is still awake at night. Lucy still remains the only person in our house who actually gets a decent nights sleep!
This week has seen a great improvement in Lucy and how she behaves around us. The hitting out has virtually stopped, but I am not going to talk it up. We have worked hard to ensure that she has had so much attention and included her with what we do with Anna. She simply loves Anna, at times she can be overenthusiastic! Anna continues to sleep, feed, fart (she has a delightful windy smile that comes from the corner of her mouth), scream and go really red when she gets angry, sleep more and then wake up when we don't want her to!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

A lovely family day out. Simple as that!

The family Hammond has had a simple yet lovely day out. There is no other way of describing it. We took Lucy swimming and by the end she really was enjoying it. We have been very neglectful of teaching her to swim and she is not at all confident in the water, but today she came on leaps and bounds. I did have a heart in mouth moment as she slipped and went face down in the water, emerged with no tears and went and told her mummy she had been a brave girl. Please see photo attached - note the missing bikini bottoms, they were too big and had fallen down by this point. The rest of the day was spent hanging out with tourists in Sheringham - jewel of the Norfolk coast (or is that Cromer) - we ate fish and chips, giggled, relaxed in the sunshine, ate ice cream and sprinkles, threw stones into the sea, my wife breast fed Anna in front of an army of northern tourists (mainly elderly men who were transfixed! It must be a generational thing), played animal snap in the shade and just all spent quality time together. I can't wait until Anna gets bigger and can play an active part in the general silliness and family life. I am not sure that I can remember a more special day in a long time with my family. Simple. Days like this is what life is all about. Me and my girls..........

Every child needs a role model, who leads by example and is wise in the ways of the world..

I thought I would begin a regular slot on Lucy and Anna's extended family. For a child to have an extended family is important in their life. They provide love, affection, knowledge and wisdom, presents so that their parents have less financial burden, they can support the children through hard times and impart their vast life experience and widen their social circle. Role models other than parents can be diverse, but do play an exceptionally important part in children's upbringing, well-being and development. Grandparents for example can provide all this and more, or so you would have thought?!? Exhibit A - Lucy and Anna's Granny and Grandpa. Make of this photo what you will. I am going to sit on the fence and make no comment what so ever!

Friday, 11 July 2008

Being mum ...

I hope you don't mind (materialistic buggy buying wife has invaded my blog) but I thought I would write a little bit on being mum.
The last 9 months have been pretty tough for me and I felt so tired and sluggish for most of the pregnancy. I did hardly anything with Lucy as I just didn't have the energy, consequently she is now addicted to anything on the telly!
Now, after having Anna, I finally have some get up and go! Even though sleep is lacking, it is bliss to be able to get up off the sofa, sleep in any position I like, enjoy all food without acid reflux, get into my old jeans (!) ... the list is endless! And, most importantly, have time for my girls; run around with Lucy, sit her on my hip (I hadn't even noticed that I had stopped being able to do that) and my lap, do some gluing, read her a story without sounding completely out of breath ... I hope things can only get even better.
I wondered how I would feel about having another child. As I was going through the unbearable pain of childbirth I reminded myself how wonderful Lucy is and how exciting it will be to see another little being travel through life. The gorgeous eating/sleeping/crying/pooing Anna will become even more interesting as each day goes by. We even saw her eyes today for quite a few hours!
Finally, I must say a big thank you to my marvellous husband. He has been through a tough time watching me go through a tough time. Thank you for sticking with me x

The war rages on....

I have positioned my troops, briefed them on their duties, homed in on every possible parenting skill I might possess and I am going to win the war. Me and you Looby - lets get ready to rumble. I have had a pretty good nights sleep. I am vaguely refreshed and today is the day I make history and I win round one of 'The Toddler War!' I am learning a few tactics this week and they are paying dividends.
  • If you can't beat them, then hit the male stereotype and leg it down to your favourite pub. Cowardly I know, but the peace and quiet was amazing.
  • If they strike, ignore the toddler, do not give them the reaction they want.
  • Don't always offer choice, lack of understanding about choice can often lead to a severe case of stropping!
  • Play the fool - it can often provide a welcome distraction.
  • Always listen to your wife, even if you don't want to admit it, she usually talks sense.
  • Above all stay calm.

The list above indicates that I am a changed man. Not! But I am trying to learn and there has been considerably less conflict between me and the toddler. It was going well. Going well - until bed time and a very tired Lucy started kicking out. Never mind there have been many positives today. Best Looby moment today - armed with a torch she did an exceptionally good Blair Witch project impression. Tried to get a photo but failed.

Scrumptious Anna slept fairly well last night, we added two bottles to her night time feed. This is one hungry baby! She has had a lovely time on her play mat today and seems to be looking in the mirror. Baring in mind I am not sure about her ability to see.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

I know the more I muse, the more I contradict myself!

In May I made a very naive reference to the fact that I wished that I could go back to having an inanimate baby for just one day. Lucy had run me ragged on that day and I think I was tired. Now I am not so sure. Anna had another bad night and the family Hammond is shattered. One hundred percent cream crackered. Anna - when you read this. Please see picture attached. I know you can sleep. I know you can sleep. In fact she is spark out in the room next to me! The problem is settling her down at 10pm. She will settle at any other time in twenty four hours except this time. Tonight we are going to try a bottle and fill her up. Amazingly despite all this crying (and it is loud) Lucy does not wake up at all. My turn for the nightshift tonight, Amy needs some sleep and rest.
To add to our woes Lucy has decided to drop her sleep during the day and is slightly grumpy with it. Despite this we had a really good day. We went to mega fun and she had a lovely time with a girl called Jodie. Jodie was five and Lucy completely bossed her around! A little boy picked a fight with her and threw the ball pool balls at her. Looby replied with a powerful throw and hit him right in the nose. He promptly scuttled back to his father in tears. That's my girl. Get in there! This should be the way you treat men for the rest of your days.
Had a deliciously lovely cuddle with Anna for about half an hour this afternoon. She fell asleep on my shoulder and I loved every minute of it. There have not been many opportunities for this in the first week of her life and it was good to have this time with her.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Lucy Art!

Anna was very vocal last night and I did the night shift. I am knackered so consequently there will be no sarcastic comments, lovely comments or typical Hammond analytical clap trap. Without hopefully running the risk of copy right infringement and utilising the name 'Lucy Art' (posh china my wife likes to buy), I leave you tonight with some pictures that Lucy drew in the bath.....

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Beware the emotional wrath of a toddler...

There is no other way of describing this. Lucy is giving me a really hard time at the moment. She continues to hit me and I am finding it hard. She is clearly competing for attention since the arrival of Anna and is taking out her frustrations on me. I have tried telling her 'no hitting', but this has not had a positive impact. Amy and I have talked it through and from now on I am simply going to have to walk away and not give her a reaction. It's really getting me down, but I must persevere. I know she will settle down. Amy says she is a daddy's girl and she is taking it out on the one she is closest too. I think that means I am supposed to be flattered!! Don't get me wrong - she's still my Looby and I love her dearly.

Anna continues to blossom and my wife continues to dazzle. She is such a natural parent and I really do feel it is her niche. Since having Anna she seems happier and more relaxed than I have ever seen her. It is lovely. You can tell by the constant smile and dazed, loved up contented look on her face that she is clearly loving being a parent again. I had a lovely walk with Anna today and despite the fact she was asleep for most of the time, it was nice to share that time with her. She is simply beautiful.

Monday, 7 July 2008

I think I just lost my dignity and credibility...

Being a parent can be an interesting and slightly bizarre experience. You have to do things you never imagined yourself doing. This week for example I have been bathing and washing a plastic doll with Lucy. This is all part of the 'learn about being a big sister' project week. Ably led by Gestapo mummy (my wife) I am undertaking all the parental jobs in this great escapade that involve me looking a bit silly! In short I cannot believe I am doing this. With two girls in my life now there are going to be many more moments like this. Best moment of the day - Lucy lent over Anna's carry cot and bent to give her a kiss. Anna thinking that Lucy's face was a breast, tried to suckle her nose!

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Just when you thought youv'e cracked it!

Anna slept on Friday night for most of the night, but last night was not quite so successful (please denote sarcasm!). You can really pick through her breathing that she is winding up for a big cry. I impressed myself that I let her cry for nearly half an hour, I found if I breathed with her breathing I could block out her shrill cry. We had tried everything else - milk, nappy, cuddle - the works, so we decided to see whether she would settle herself down. Please see the photo attached for the impact this tactic can have on our household. Amazing that Lucy slept through the whole experience without stirring once. The noise was immense! Lucy and I have been watching 'Finding Nemo' this morning. Really nice to hear her speech developing as she interacts with such a colourful and imaginative film. Sentences like 'Nemo's daddy needs to get out of the whale, cause he needs to find Nemo in the fish tank' and 'here comes the scary fish, he's got big teeth!' Have been trying to explain the phrase surfer dude, but she has not quite got it!
It has still been a few hard days and I am looking forward to a day with just the four of us and no visitors. Just me and my family and hopefully I can begin to get to know Anna quietly....Although quiet is not a common word used in this house of late!!!

Friday, 4 July 2008

A little wind bucket!

True to form and family genetics, it turns out that my three day old daughter can fart for England! There is no doubt she is a Hammond! My wife is a parenting god and at the moment I am quite simply stuck for ideas. Amy seems to have remembered everything we learnt from when Lucy was a baby and my brain and powers of retention have turned to mush.The routine that Amy is putting together seems to be working already and Anna is really benefiting. Last night Anna slept throughout the night with one feed. On the night three. I don't know how Amy does it. I don't want to anger the parenting gods and end up not sleeping at all tonight, but credit where credit is due. I have to confess to still struggling. I think work has finally caught up with me and I am slowly winding down to the point that I can begin to come to terms with being a parent again. I think it is going to be a log journey for me.
Looby, despite the angelic photo attached has been difficult with me today to say the least. She is clearly already competing for attention and trying any way she can. She has even developed a habit of hitting out a little bit. It has been very nice to see her slowly building a relationship with Anna though, wanting to be involved and giving her many kisses and cuddles today. It was also a sheer delight to once again see her interact with her cousins and run around the campsite like a free spirit without a care in the world...

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Gratuitous photo shot!

Am delighted - we got our camera back from the hospital and I can begin a complete celebration of all things Hammond. My neighbour has just popped in with a certificate stating that I am the proud father of the two most scrumptious Miss Hammond's in the land. I need to seek permission from my wife re.whether I can post pictures of her post labour. I think she looked beautiful and she was amazing, but she may not agree. Conversation had and conditional permission granted. Can't get the photo she wants me to post to rotate so shall put on the blog tomorrow.

I'm still shell shocked and coming to terms with things. Anybody would think I gave birth. At times I feel really emotional and tearful. We have been through so much as a family this year to get to this point and it seems like a huge release. I am a very private person and have found it difficult to cope with all the visitors and phone calls. Have spent a bit more time with Anna and have already gained some confidence in what to do and how to help her. She is a real screamer. She had a noisy night till about twelve thirty and that has not helped general levels of fatigue. I know it sounds like I am ungrateful for all our family and friends wishing us well and the lovely gifts/cards. I am not, I promise. I think I just need time to calm down and take stock. I am surprising myself a bit this time though. I have always found crying babies very stressful, but I seem a bit more calm this time round. At the moment. Today had been a slower day and has given me time to reflect. Lucy seems to be finding her feet in the big sister stakes and my wife has already become gestapo mother. So things are going well! Anna had her fist bath today, she clearly was not impressed and expressed it too! Living in a house with all these free spirited and tenacious women could prove challenging! I may need back up.........

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Welcome baby Anna!!!

What a day we had yesterday! Fantastic, exhilarating, exhausting, worrying, amazing and overwhelming. These are just a few words to describe Tuesday 1st July 2008. At 4am my wife woke me up and indicated that she was in pain, as the hour progressed it became very clear that that was the day and we were going to have a baby! I was overcome with fear and excitement. the only thing I could do on the way in the car (I don't drive) was text every single person I know and let them know we were off and running. Amy was brilliant. She was calm and took everything in her stride. Clearly having the tens machine helped and I would recommend using one to any prospective parents out there. We arrived at hospital and the midwives were amazing. Calm and reassuring. After four hours of extreme pain and virtually no pain relief (much respect and completely in awe) baby Anna Kate was born into our family. She weighed 9lbs 6ozs and is simply scrumptious. I say again 9lbs 6ozs. Oh my god that must have hurt. I am truly not sure how effective and supportive I was, but we got through it. I found the whole thing a very emotional experience and a day later I am not sure I can find any words to describe it properly. Two things - I had no choice but to capitulate on the argument re names - the one who had the pain should choose the name. Without a doubt - no argument. At present there are no pictures as we left the camera at the hospital and have not yet got it back. Believe me there will be hundreds for the reader to view!
Secondly, I am going to allow my wonderful wife to buy a new buggy (she has been bugging me for the last NINE months!). My blog has been invaded by the evil and completely destructive virus that is materialistic wife. It's capable of buying anything on the Internet and is not stoppable by any known virus software. What I actually said to my wife is let's take the current buggy we have to beyond the stage where we do not need the car seat that comes with it, then buy a more lightweight one to use with Anna. I am beginning to think she lied and snuck some drugs into the birth process that I did not know about.
Offspring number one Lucy - had an interesting day. She spent the day with granny and must have been a bit confused when she woke and neither Mummy or Daddy were there. When we arrived home at 7pm with baby in tow we made sure that she had the biggest ever cuddles and she was rewarded with a doll as a present. Which she called Bella. So far she has reacted well - although on occasion she does swing into denial that she is not a big sister. It must be a very unnerving experience for her. She will always be loved, as will Anna. My family is complete.

It's not really sunk in yet that I am a dad again. I am sure it will soon. I can already feel that confidence panics again about what to do with something so small. I had to go to work today and make sure all was well. Have felt a bit left out and have not seen much of Anna yet. We have a whole lifetime to get to know each other...There is so much to tell you and I don't know where to start. I am really knackered and am going to call it a day. Picture found courtesy of Anna's Auntie Kate!