Friday, 29 March 2013


I’m introducing Sophie to the Daleks earlier than predicted.
Ka was out on the town last night with some friends from work, who were celebrating the beginning of their easter weekend, so I was left holding the baby once more.
Sophie is now 14lb 10 and growing well and not always easy to hold. One of the health visitors upset Ka the other week by stating that Sophie would soon have to start attending Weight Watchers classes. I didn’t help the situation over the phone afterwards as I misheard Ka’s retelling and thought the health visitor had said Sophie would be going with Mum to Weight Watchers.
In fact, in under two weeks we will be beginning the weaning process. In other words baby will soon be eating something other than milk. At first it’ll be milky porridge which, I’m led to believe, then progresses into milky rice, which will then eventually, hopefully, moves into the blended foods stage and a whole manner of different coloured sludgy stuff. I suspect the blended food stage should be fun as I’m pretty sure that involves basically bunging everything into a blender and flicking the on switch. Bananas, apples, potatoes, steak and chips. Brilliant. I’ll just have to make sure there’s no bone on that steak before I put it in the blender. You then put all the sludgy results into small plastic boxes and throw them all in the fridge or freezer for later use.
We’ve got books to help us out anyway by an Annabel Karmel, a lady who, whilst presumably bigging up healthy foods and meals for your baby to grow up on, providing he or she with all the proteins and vitamins they need, has a name that reminds you of cadbury’s chocolate or the caramac bar (Remember the caramac bar? Can you still get the caramac bar? I don’t think I’ve seen one in years? I’ll need to check that out…)
Anyway, Annabel Caramel tells you what to make and how, with the help of colourful pages of detailed tables, patronising advice about what spoons to buy and lots of photos of ecstatic mums and dads feeding their supposedly ‘cute’ kids, who smile happily from their feeding chairs, enjoying the slops dribbling from their gobs.
Another challenge will be the cup. We’ve been trying to introduce Sophie to using her baby cup recently. She now has a nozzled, plastic, double handled pink cup. The two handles protrude from and run up either side of the garish plastic making the cup look something like the head of a gay cyberman. The cup holds small amounts of boiled, and cooled, water for Sophie to drink, the feeding parent holding one handle whilst desperately trying to get Sophie to hold the other with her forever moving, searching, fidgeting hands. Unfortunately Sophie has not really been managing to grasp the idea of the cup, nevermind the cup itself, until last night, as the Daleks squawked at Peter Davison on the television before us, she took a hold of one of the cups handles, me holding the other, and successfully took a few gulps of the water down, only minutes after polishing off her dinnertime milk. It may seem minor to you, but this was a success story for my Thursday evening (though I doubt Michael J. Fox would be interested in the script).
It was only a week or so ago that I seen Sophie visibly make a mental link as I winded her on my knee.
Whilst I sat patting her back, waiting on a belch, I watched with interest as Sophie’s big eyes locked on her now empty milk bottle, now standing finished on the coffee table before her. As I gently thumped her back in search of some wind I watched Sophie frown slightly as she turned to watch Ka pick up her own half empty bottle of Strathmore water sitting on the side table. Ka put the bottle of water up to her lips and as she did so Sophie’s eyes followed her with interest. As Ka gulped loudly, Sophie’s eyes then swivelled back to her own empty milk bottle. With a frown, baby then looked back at the water bottle in Ka’s hands. Sophie then turned again to look at her milk bottle with those big, inquisitive blue eyes. Again she turned and watched as Ka replaced the water bottle on the mat on the side table. Sophie’s eyebrows lifted as she turned back to her milk bottle. I imagined her piecing the puzzles together in her head, linking to two containers and understanding their similarities.
In fact I’m sure I wasn’t imagining things. I’m sure she was making the link in her own wee head just as she’s beginning to understand how she can see herself in the reflective screens on the walls of the living room and her own room, that you can lift your arms as a signal to be picked up, that you can indeed talk to your dolls wait for a good while before before getting any kind of reply and that when mummy or daddy take their glasses off it does not make them a different person.
That’s been one thing that’s been confusing her, but something which she’s slowly, but surely, getting used to. One minute she’d be all smiles and wonder, you turn, take your glasses off for whatever reason, come back to her and she’d sit and stare at you with a furrowed brow as if to say “who the hell are you and what are you doing in my house?”
Following her last, evening bottle of milk last night, she sat on my knee as usual, breathing tiredly, slightly weary from her feed and eyes wide, staring at the television as I patted her back for more wind.
A challenge which must surely tire a lot of parents out. The eternal quest for wind. A quest which must be completed, for if not, will result in hours of audible discomfort.
I’d found the old Doctor Who on Virgin On Demand and had switched it on to watch whilst I fed baby. Sophie sat staring, her big blue eyes taking in the Daleks and their troops as they woke Davros up from a 90 year cryogenic sleep. Even at four weeks my baby showed far less fear than I did when I first seen the same episode back in 1984. Sophie especially liked the moving and spinning stars in the eighties end credits sequence, letting her last belch erupt just as the last big white star zoomed up and hit the screen.

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