June 30, 2005

Baby's Got Blue Eyes


Baby's Got Blue Eyes
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
The thing is, punkin, Trish is right. Being a parent is hard hard hard work. She's right also, about it being the most rewarding thing you ever do, and she's right about it being terribly terribly difficult to avoid offering you to any given door-to-door salespeople.

I'm not sure about the evolutionary reason for this extraordinarily long period of fractured and interrupted sleep. I can see that there must be some reason for needing to break down our psychological defences - perhaps it's so you can more effectively imprint on us.

More likely, it's simply that your cute little belly (as I write this, it's round and tight as a drum) can't hold enough food to keep you going for the six hours in a row that I need to sleep in order to function effectively in society.

Tonight, however, is a new night, and seeing as how you've only been around for (see what no sleep does? I can't even multiply eight by seven in my head. Sure, it's one of the hard ones, but really, I'm not at the top of my game kid) 57 nights so far, let's see if tonight we can all sleep tight.

Love you.

.. but I was only eight weeks old!


fatbubba
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Another visit to the maternal health nurse, another couple of entries on your graphs.

I haven't talked here much about how hard it is to look after you. I haven't talked about how frustrated I get with you. I haven't gone into the times when I just want to put you down and walk away and close the door.

Those times happen, punkin, they do. Being as tired as we are (your mother more than I, she's the one who gets up to feed you at 3am when I just snuffle and roll over), faced with the constant barrage of your demands, it gets tough. When we don't know what's wrong or how to fix it, all we have is an inconsolable child, throwing his head back and wailing incessantly.

To put it mildly, this gets tiring. It gets tiring, and frustrating, and maddening, and tough to take. Several times a day, your mum and I perform the 'screaming baby swap', in which the parent who has been bearing the brunt of your cries and grumpiness to that point handpasses you to the other, often without warning. One can be sitting in front of the TV, punkling, or reading a book, or playing videogames, and have a child land unbidden in one's lap. It's some insane parody of the miracle of birth, except there's no doctors there and there's CERTAINLY no midwives who will come and look after you so we can get some sleep.

Having said that, it only takes one look from you, one grin or cheeky smile, and it all melts away. I fall in love with you ten times a day, punkin, and that's never going to change.

Love you.

June 28, 2005

Star gazing


Star gazing
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
You will notice, my darling punkin, that in NOT ONE of the photos from this set that I am currently sending are your eyes closed.

This is likely to be related to the fact that you're currently smack in the middle of what is referred to variously as your 'six-week-spurt', or as here, your 'six week slump'.

Loosely translated, this entails you performing any one of the following at what seems to be entirely random intervals:
  • Feeding until your eyes bulge;
  • Giggling, laughing, making cute noises;
  • Smiling and playing and staring at either the bedframe or the wallhanging, depending on which room we're in;
  • Grunting;
  • Grizzling;
  • Filling your nappy while you smile at me;
  • Puking on me and then smiling at me; and
  • Screaming blue murder.
You will notice, if you're observant, that there's a conspicuous absence from this list.

That's right.

Go to sleep, punkling, please.

Love you.

Booktastic


Pondering
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Punkin, your uncle Nicholas, it should be said here, is one of the members of the "books are awesome" crowd. It is therefore obvious that when he heard that your arrival was imminent, he went to his local purveyour of books and made the effort to purchase what I think are four of the staples, the concrete base, of a life that will be endlessly enriched by an association with the printed word. In no particular order, then, I tell you the following.

Your uncle (and aunt Amy of the USA) sent you some of the books that will no doubt become your favourites, and I therefore sat with you this morning before I left for work and read one of them to you. These books were some of may favourites, and I hope they'll be some of yours.

Where the Wild Things Are

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Green Eggs and Ham

The Cat in The Hat

I'm not yet taking bets on which one or ones will be your favourite - I know that when we visited your mate Sam on the weekend he was firmly in the camp of 'books that I can chew on', but I'm fairly sure that that will change in the not too distant future.

Certainly your Rowdy Grammy will be on the case, I spoke to her on the weekend, and she's decided that when she gets back to Australia she's going to be the grandmother in charge of library visits. Being that she's a librarian, and has been for much longer than you've been alive, you should be in good hands.

The thing that most struck me this morning, as we opened up this lovely package sent from afar, was that it had been posted on the 28th of April, a full week before you were born. Being that your uncle lives so far away, it took that long to get here. You've made such a huge impact on our lives, and changed so much, that it's hard to keep hold of the idea that you've been here for such a short time. My life, it seems, will be forever divided into two parts. Before you and after you. Certainly, now that I'm getting to know you, I feel secure in saying that I never want to go back to being without you.

Love you.

June 27, 2005

peekaboo!


peekaboo!
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
You know, it should be said at this point that, regardless of the number of photos that I take of you, my skill with the camera pales in comparison to your mother's.

She's the one who, when we walked into the camera store to buy the exciting and wonderful camera with which we take all of these photos (it's a Panasonic Lumix FZ-20 if anyone's wondering), was asking the salesperson all sorts of questions about macro shooting, f-stops, shutter speeds and other such technical wizardry.

I just wanted to know if I'd be able to point and shoot it. Testament to the twin capabilities so present in this tool is the cornucopia of photographic evidence that we have so far amassed of your existence.

To this end, the most recent installment of photos in our photo album were taken by your mum.
In related news, we went to see your mate Sam again on the weekend, and you were kind enough to sleep for long enough to allow your mum and dad and their friends to get through a bottle of ludicrously expensive French Champagne. Of course, as you get older, I'll explain to you how all Champagne is, by its definition, French, and that sparkling wines from other regions should be referred to as m├ęthode champenoise.

Love you.

June 24, 2005

Things your father tells you


Hello!
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
We're halfway through watching a film, pumpkin, and there was a dad and a son in it. The dad in the film (who was, it should be said, not a very nice person) told the boy that he was a disappointment.

I will never tell you, BramBill, that you're a disappointment to me. You may, in the fullness of time and in the general course of human events, do things that disappoint me, and on those occasions I will endeavour to explain to you why it is that those actions (or more likely being my son, INactions) have caused my disappointment.

You, my son, my beautiful boy, my wonderful amazing child, you will never disappoint. You are a constant source of pride. You are the greatest achievement of my life.

Love you.

Now I have to go and finish watching the film, or your mum's going to crack it.

p.s.

due in no small part to the fact that we're the number one google result for the phrase "herro hans brix", we have just hit the 10,000 visitor mark. Say hello to your fans, kid.

June 23, 2005

Taking notes

Every so often, punkin, I think about why I'm doing this.

I think about what prompted me to start it, and I wonder if there's a legitimate reason to keep going, apart from inertia.

Certainly, I feel an obligation to our readers, those people who need to be able to feel like they're part of the process, that they're involved in your growth and your upbringing. I feel an obligation to you, to make sure that you're able to look back on this time in years to come and see for yourself what was going through my sleep-deprived brain.

More than that, though, it's about the writing.

Writing for me represents an absolute. People who know me well will tell you with certainty that I express myself more clearly with the written word than I do verbally. This is not the case for everyone, but in my case I know that, if I'm to be able to reach out across the years and talk to you, this is the best way I know how.

Looking at you now, particularly when you're doing what your mum and I refer to as "the banana", arching your back, kicking your legs and waving your arms, your face contorted with rage and your screams drowning out all other sounds, I wonder if I'm ever going to be able to communicate with you.

You get so frustrated when you can't sleep, I want to tell you that it's ok, that you'll fall asleep eventually, but I can't console you.

Save, of course, for tried and trusted methods. This involves:
- picking you up
- wrapping you firmly
- walking to a particular spot in our bedroom, which, in a suspicious coincidence, is about as far from my side of the bed as you can get in our bedroom (need I remind you, punkin, that it's winter?)
- patting your back in a rrrrrythmic fashion until you drop off
- NOT MOVING for the next four minutes (this is the most important bit, otherwise we have to start all over again)

Having said all that, of course I also must tell you that everytime, without fail, everytime I stand there and rock you in my arms, (once you stop screaming), every time you get quiet and look up at me, my heart breaks and I fall in love with you all over again.

Love you.

June 20, 2005

Peas in a pod


Peas in a pod
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Every day, punkin, I get home from work, and the first thing I want to do is hold you in my arms. Every day I look for the signs that will tell me what I've missed, to tell me how you've grown through the course of the interminable hours that I've been away from you. Of course, that's all poppycock, and you haven't changed a bit, but I have to think of something to make myself feel better for leaving your mum home with you all day every day.

When I got home tonight, the two of you were sacked out on the couch, just like this, watching Buffy. Lucky for you, it was Buffy series one, so you're watching it from the start. I don't know if you'll think that Buffy is cool (you're going to have to stop watching it sooner or later, it's a bit scary) or if you'll reserve the faint derision for it that I feel for many of the entertainment options that were available before I was born. Sure, I think, that's a cool movie, but it would have been better if it wasn't in black and white, and haven't they ever heard of CGI?

This is, of course, sidetracking us from the real issue. The real issue is that I got home tonight, and you were there, snuggled up on the couch with your mum, watching Buffy. That I got home, and the two of you looked so content and so complete that I didn't know where I fitted in. That I felt like, by being at work, I had missed out on everything that the two of you shared during the day. Again, I know this is poppycock, but there you go.

I reserve the right to redress this balance at a later date, by teaching you to do things that your mother disapproves of.

No, I won't show you how to make a flamethrower, or a potato gun. Ask one of your grandfathers.


Love you.

June 19, 2005

Grandad Phil


Grandad Phil
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It's Father's Day in The USA today, Brambling. This is interesting from your perspective for one very important reason. There are, you see, significant portions of your family who hail from the United States, most particularly for the purposes of this portion of our narrative, your Grandad Phil.

When I think about the influence that your Grandad has had on me, I'm left primarily with a feeling of ... solidity. Of permanence. Of knowing that when I needed him, (and often before I knew it myself), he'd be there. This is, you'll admit, a good quality to have in a dad.

So, on this American father's day, I say to you that you're lucky to have a Grandad like him. I say to him that I'm lucky to have a stepdad like him.

And I say to everyone else that I hope I'm half the father he is.

June 15, 2005

Fatty Boombah


FatBebe
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
After your six week visit to the Maternal & Child Health Care nurse, punkin, we can see that you are continuing to grow at an astonishing rate. Whilst tracking fairly closely with what should be expected for a baby being reared entirely on boobjuice(tm), it's nonetheless a source of constant amazement to me.

Your existence, the fact that you know who I am, the way you look at me, and the strength with which you grip my hand are all constant reminders to me of the miracle that your mother and I have perpetrated.

We say often, as we gaze at your tiny, perfectly formed limbs and digits, gaze into your deep blue eyes, that we are astonished at the fact that you exist. The fact that you managed to arrive made without duct tape or stickytape continues to surprise us.

People, it is said, often spend many years of their lives trying to make their parents proud. I can tell you now, punkin, that all you have to do to make me proud is hold my hand and look at me.

June 13, 2005

Departure Lounge

Your Grammy and Grandad have gone home, punkin.

It's a sad but inevitable fact that when your grandparents fly in from overseas to visit us, there comes a time at which they have to go home, which is tough on everyone. It's not an ideal situation, but we're all working on it, and I think that it should be resolved before you get too much older. Of course, I can only exert influence on one half of our extended and very much global family, and it's up to your mum to convince the rest of your relatives to make the move Down Under.

I don't know that it's ever going to be possible to get everyone in the family in the same country at the same time, punkin, but that's always been my aim (then again, it's always been my aim to have the whole family live together under one enormous roof and also all of our friends and, well, we all know that your dad wants to build a commune). Having said that, it's a very handy thing, punkling, to have relatives festooned around the globe.

It is theoretically possible as I type this, punkin, for someone of your peculiar heritage to travel almost entirely around the globe without having to pay for a single night of lodging. Certainly, combined with the travel related benefits that can be bestowed upon one by virtue of one's aunt and uncle in the aerial perambulation industry, this can make for some low-cost journeys across the earth.

Of course, this sort of wandering is either best done in the company of your parents (who else do you know, punkin, who can order a beer in 12 languages?), or at least should wait until you're much older. Certainly, given the collective number of miles the people in this family have flown (which, if we count your aforementioned aunt and uncle, would likely rank somewhere over ten million), we can between us provide you with an almost never ending array of amusing advice and anecdotes about aeroplanes.

This, of course, is taking us away from the central premise of this missive.

Your Grammy and Grandad have gone home. They were of great help to us in this time of need, and we will miss them. We are very very glad that they were able to come so soon after you were born, and we hope that they enjoyed meeting you.

I'm not going to talk to you here, punkin, about how hard it was to say goodbye to them, about how difficult it was for me to walk away from the frosted glass doors that lead through to the departure lounge. I'm not going to talk about how, in those final seconds after we said goodbye, I felt something prickle the back of my neck, and turned around to see your Grammy trying to get one last look at you - to fix the sight of you into her mind to sustain her across the long miles home.

That would hurt too much. Be too personal. It's not something you'll need to know about as you grow older. And I'm not going to say the thing that I thought, over and over and over while we drove away. I'm never going to leave you, punkin. Never. I wouldn't have the strength.

I know that when I'm talking to you now, I tell you that you're never going to understand how much I love you, that the force of this particular feeling will be a mystery to you until you have your own children. Know this now. The strength and fortitude of your Grammy should not be underestimated. For her to remain upright and moving, all the while knowing she was moving away from you, is a sign of immense willpower.

Now that I know how much it's possible to love a tiny human being, I can only assume that parental love is reflected by grandparental love.

Love you, and I'm pretty sure that your Rowdy Grammy does too.

June 08, 2005

Time keeps on slippin, slippin

Under the heading of "things people tell you that you don't really believe", punkin, comes many, many line items. The one that's particularly affecting me at the moment is the ancient adage that children "grow up so fast".

Obviously, this is scientifically impossible. Children, it should be said, grow at a rate of exactly one day per day, ad infinitum. Certainly, at the age of 31 and almost a half, I feel like I'm still growing up, and learning new things every day. In your case, however, I'm beginning to believe that it could be true.

Every day, it seems that I get home from work to find you changed a little bit more. Last night I was changing you and rolled you over on your tummy to .. gain access to more of the devastation. You weren't happy with this plan, and you raised yourself up on your hands to let me know about it. Quite simply, I was astonished. I've not seen you do that before, and it's beginning to make me envy your mum that she gets to stay home with you.

Having said that, I know she envies me being able to go to work and spend all day going to work with people who know how to talk, and don't often vomit on one.

Love you.

June 07, 2005

Surprises large and small.

There are many things, punkin, that surprise me about being a parent. Some are concrete, and would be familiar to many other parents out there in blogland, but I like to think that at least some of them are particular to me.

The first is the way that you smell. Obviously, there are times at which you smell better than other times, but on the whole, your scent has been a constant source of fascination to me. Often, when driving home and thinking about the things that I'm most looking forward to on my return from work, the sweet smell of your breath is something that occupies my mind. Ok that's a bit strange, I know, but there it is. Your smell, if it's possible to quantify such a thing, is somehow connected to both your mother's and to mine. It was one of the first things I noticed when I got home from the hospital, that you smelled to me like me, but not.

The second is that, at the tender age of four weeks and a scant few days, I'm already beginning to feel like you have a personality. That you know who I am, and that you look forward to me coming home. OK maybe that last is a bit of a stretch, but I'm sure that you know that I'm your dad.

Finally, I've been surprised that you've already started smiling. Granted, you're still smiling as often at inanimate objects as you are at me, but progress, punkin, is progress.

Love you.

June 05, 2005

Uncle Daffyd


P1020432
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Contrary, punkin, to earlier threats of legal action, your Uncle David has chosen to come out of the woodwork and be exposed for who he is. David was one of the first people to see you when you came into the world, and was holding you in his arms when you were only hours old. Since then, he's been keeping up a steady rate of visits and calls, to check on "his mate".

He's your Uncle, but he's also your Godfather. Your mother and I chose people to take this special place in your life in the knowledge that we could not teach you everything that we want you to know. We chose people whose skills and areas of expertise complemented ours, and people who we know that we will be able to rely on in times of crisis. David, we chose because we know that he can teach you things that we cannot. Things about spirituality, and how to kick a torpedo properly. Also, it's important that you understand that he drives a Monaro, and is in the posession of some fair to middling nunchuck skills.

He's one of the people that I hope you will turn to when the answers that I give you to the big questions aren't satisfying you. He's one of the people that I know I will be able to leave you with and feel safe knowing that he will care for you as I would.

Love you.

June 02, 2005

Authorationology

It's strange, you know. Looking at this blog and realising that it's been something I've been doing almost every day for such a long time. I'm having a crisis at the moment, not sure what to write to you about, knowing that I want to WRITE you something tonight instead of posting another photo (of which there are many).

I guess that, after your first (almost) month of life, I should feel like there's something profound or wise that I should say to you - some pearl of wisdom that I should be able to produce from thin air.

The bad news, punkin, is that I think only the dads in movies, you know the ones with five scriptwriters, can do that. I think that the only pearls of wisdom I have for you will come with time, and they will be things that I will tell you that have served me well in the past.

Many, many, many times when I was growing up, I remember one, both or all of my parents saying to me that it "wasn't so long" since they'd been a teenager, and thinking that they couldn't POSSIBLy have any conception about what it was like, after all, they were teenagers in the SIXTIES for crying out loud. I can tell you now, that at 31, it doesn't seem like a very long time ago that I was 17, and no, you can't borrow my car.

The things that I will tell you as you grow up will always be designed to help you on the long and difficult journey to adulthood, to give you hints that push you towards the right answers to the stuff that you have to figure out yourself. Stuff like 'don't ever quit a job until you have another one lined up', and 'it's probably not a good idea to take that apart in the living room'.

I don't know what trials and tribulations you'll face in the years ahead, but I want you to trust me when I tell you that your mum and I have faced similar stuff. As have your assorted Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Aunts (of both the Great and Fabulous varieties), Uncles, Godparents and most of the people you meet on the way to the supermarket. Being a kid is hard work, sure, but it's a walk in the park compared to being a parent.

Love you.

June 01, 2005

A Fantastic Four Weeks


Gaining Baby
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
A visit to the Maternal Health Nurse went exactly according to plan. Your four week anniversary was an all-round success, and your weight is continuing to grow. Of course, I'm hoping that you'll choose to taper this off at some point in the future, or by the time you're my age you'll weigh 450 kilograms.

Birth Weight: 3.635 kg (7.99 lb)
1 Week: 3.880 kg (8.54 lb)
2 Weeks: 4.140 kg (9.11 lb)
4 Weeks: 4.454 kg (9.99 lb)