July 31, 2005


Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It should be established, punkin, that you are posessed of one of the world's great collections of grandparents.

In the general sense, it is considered acceptable to have four grandparents, two of each variety, but you mother and I lay in bed this morning, attempting to count your grandparental units and I ran out of fingers and it was too cold to get my feet out from under the covers.

Of course, seeing how prehensile (people keep wondering why I call you 'monkey') YOUR toes are, perhaps I should have borrowed some of yours.

IN ANY CASE, here is the lowdown. You will already know, of course, that you spent today with your Nana Sue, and you already know your Nana Katy and Rowdy Grammy and Fabulous Aunt Jann. But here's the thing, punkin.

There's more.

Lots more.

Around 10 sleeps from now (although that translates roughly to 40 sleeps for you), Grannie Annie's getting here. (I'm fairly sure that's not what we'll wind up calling her, but it will do for now). I spoke to you last time they were here about how scary it is for me when they come over. I worry that they're somehow going to decide that I'm not a good enough husband and take your mum away. It's irrational, sure, but just YOU wait until you start going out with young ladies and find out how terrifying it is to meet their dads.

Of course, I'm also terribly excited. Being that you are the most amazing and wonderous thing that I've ever had a part in creating, I'm always up for an opportunity to show you off, and its hard to find a more receptive audience than your grandparents.

Love you.

July 28, 2005

Quick Study

Of course, being the son of two such fabulously intelligent human beans, it shouldn't surprise me at all to see and hear you being speedy to pick something up.

Nonetheless, let me tell you that I am singularly proud of your achievements in the going to sleep arena. Last night you went down with hardly a murmur, and tonight you cried for a grand total of 12 and a half minutes before you drifted off to sleep. Congratulations, punkling, it looks like you're going to join your mum and dad in being inordinately fond of a bit of pillow sniffing.

Sleeping, and indeed sleeping in, are considered recreational activities in the Peeny-Deeny household, punkin, replete with their own rules, arena and uniforms. Luckily, the vast majority of the clothing that you own falls into the 'pyjama' category, and therefore there's no possibility of you getting a red card for transgressing any of those arcana.

There are, however, some peculiar regional variations of which you should be aware.
  • It is mandatory that one supply one's own reading material. Failing to do so, and attempting to procure a book from anyone else can and will result in being bonked on the nose by a bookspine.
  • In the event that one has failed to procure reading material, it is unacceptable in the extreme to indulge in any form of 'spoiling', e.g. placing one's hand on the page someone else is reading, hitting or otherwise moving their book, or telling them about the vital and earth shattering plot point revealed on page 113.
  • The first person out of bed on a Saturday is automatically in charge of breakfast, and must attempt to meet or exceed the breakfast requirements of everyone else in the house. (nb: this rule will be applied at the discretion of the umpire, i.e. me, until you are old enough to boil a kettle and use the toaster)
Whilst it is true that there are also rules for the couch (mostly revolving around who gets the last TimTam and who gets to hold the remote (the answer to both of these is me)), it's likely to be slightly premature to be going into those now.

Love you.

ps We are working on the design. Please bear with us.

July 27, 2005

Inline Video Test

Share video at JussPress.com

Also, just so you know, we're aware of the formatting problems in IE, and we're addressing them. Service should be returned shortly....

Creative Control

Definition: Controlled crying (also known as controlled comforting and sleep training) is a technique which is widely used as a way of managing infants and young children who do not settle alone or who wake at night. Controlled crying involves leaving the infant to cry for increasingly longer periods of time before providing comfort. The intention of controlled crying is to let babies put themselves to sleep and to stop them from crying or calling out during the night.

Translation: Your mother and father spend a considerable period of time trying desperately to avoid picking you up, to the point of monitoring each other's actions during the carefully timed and incredibly harrowing interval between placing you carefully in your cot and when you drift off to sleep. This period of time encompasses approximately fortyfive minutes, during which you cry louder and harder than you have ever cried before. Your mum and dad hold each other in the other room, both of them also crying, knowing that if you are to reach a point of being able to resettle yourself when you wake during the night that this is necessary.

Your dad, it turns out, is considerably better at this technique than your mother, chiefly, as far as he understands, as a result of genetics. It seems that women are genetically predisposed to pick up and comfort a crying baby. Men are considered more likely to gaze at said baby in befuddlement. Boy babies are not comforted by the things that comfort dads, and placing a cold beer or a playstation controller in your hand appears to have negligible effect on your consternation at the idea that you're supposed to relax and go to sleep.

Nevertheless, after a substantial interval involving many conversations along the lines of 'do you think he's really ok? are we doing the right thing? god he sounds so upset, i'll just go and see if he's ok. don't pick him up whatever you do don't pick him up. oh now he's smiling at me hi munchkin daddy loves you now go to sleep please go to sleep oh no he's crying again i'll just cuddle him for a minute. NO!'

You went to sleep.

You stayed asleep.

Until four am, when, during your feed, you farted so long and so loud that you woke me up. Good work, tiger, it's nice to know that you're already carrying on family traditions.

Love you.

July 25, 2005

Contemplation Nation

Hand chewing
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Every day, punkin, despite the fact that you are still less than a quarter of a year old, I catch glimpses of the boy you'll be.

While your features retain their baby qualities, there's hints occasionally of expressions you will use and sounds you will make.

You're grasping at vocalisations at the moment, conscious, I think, of the fact that we use them to communicate, and trying to emulate us. Your hoots and exclamations are a joy to listen to, because I know you're telling me something.

What it is, I'm yet to figure out, but it's this establishment of a dialogue that's most exciting to me. The concept that, regardless of whether we each understand what the other is saying, we're talking, smiling and laughing together.

Making you laugh has now become one of my primary life goals. So far we've discovered that your favourite joke is "Daddy's got a cushion on his head". I hope that you'll continue to find me amusing at least until you're 14 and I become, as if overnight, the daggiest human being on the planet.

Love you.

July 21, 2005

I'm ready for my closeup

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
There is talk around the traps, punkling, that you could very well be the most photographed baby in all the world.

I don't believe that this is true, and surely there are babies of professional photographers, along with the ones who pose for those godawful Anne Geddes photos and fabric softener advertisements and you get the picture.

Certainly, we have taken some photos of you. Probably in the region of a thousand, although with the advent of wonderful modern technology, it's difficult to tell precisely how many, but a thousand's probably a good number to work with.

Given how quickly you are learning, you seem to have accepted the silver snout of the camera as part of your everyday life, in much the same way that you have your mobile, or your cot, or any of the other accoutrement that fill your day.

What this translates into, as far as I can tell, is an acceptance on your part that at some point in the day, someone will take photos of you. The end result of this is that you relax around the camera, and for some obscure reason know that you're supposed to look into it when we point it at you.

I don't know that our efforts are ever going to reach the sort of standard that will have thousands flocking here, looking to sign you up for catalogues and modeling shoots and all that (frankly, after seeing the behaviour of some of the young ladies on Australia's Next Top Model, I'm not sure that that is the profession I'd suggest you pursue), but certainly I'm glad that, as with these writings, I'm going to be able to show you a progression of what you looked like practically every day of your life.

Love you.

July 19, 2005

Cheeky Monkey

Cheeky Monkey
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Pumpkin, we've been over this a million times.

WHEN your mum puts you in your bassinette, it is because it's time to go to sleep. At this point, you are supposed to gurgle, smile sleepily, and drift off to dreamland like the babies IN THE MOVIES.

This concept that you seem to have grabbed hold of, this idea that it's a good idea to FAKE being asleep, so that as soon as your mum sits down or makes a cup of tea you can SURPRISE her by waking up and screaming, this, punkin, is not the way to amuse your parents.

I KNOW that everything's very exciting. In the last week your catalogue of discoveries has included such exciting breakthroughs as Television and Feet. I KNOW that you like to watch Buffy with your dad when he gets home from work, and that you like to play such games as "look at Dad, he's funny", but, really, you need to give your mum a break during the day.

This sentiment has been expressed a million ways in a million fora, but I'll say it again here just so it sinks in. You're growing up SO FAST. Three weeks ago (of course I understand that this is a sizable proportion of the time that you've been alive) you weren't really conscious of people yet. By the time GrannyAnnie gets here in four week's time, who knows what you'll be up to.

Hopefully by then you will have figured out how to sleep during the day.

Love you.

July 18, 2005

Superbaby! or How to find out if you like someone

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Reading the Family Man's blog this morning, punkin, I'm struck by how lucky he is that he gets to go to the hardware behemoth with Superman and Batman.

Of course, as soon as you were born (in fact, if truth be told, some time before that date), I began searching for a Batman costume for you. Batman is, of course, the best superhero, mostly because he's not a superhero, but more about that later. Suffice to say that this did not meet my requirements, and that we will have to wait some time until we find one that's exactly what you need for conducting secret missions in the backyard.

Of course, you already know this, but we spent time with some people from other babyblogs on the weekend. It was an interesting experience, not least because when we arrived, the lovely Rae opened the door and greeted us by name. Not a particularly earth shattering experience, but when one takes into account the fact that we've never met her, it brought home to me the idea that people have been watching you grow on this page.

Naturally, as soon as we walked in the door and got settled (which in this case means that both your mum and K started feeding their respective munchkins), I settled into an exhaustive inspection of Rae and Tony's DVD and book collection. It became immediately obvious that they are Good People.

I'm not sure, punkin, when the historical moment occurred, that people's DVD collections began to tell more about them than their book collections (certainly in my case it's a combination of the two that gives me the most information, but I think that the relative weighting of media types is beginning to shift in my head)

I wonder, by the time that you're ready to walk into someone's house and make snap judgements about whether you like someone based on what's on their shelves, what you're going to be looking for?

I'm sure that you'll think having an entire collection of Buffy is dreadfully boring, especially if it's actually on the original DVDs. I'm sure that you'll be astonished to think that people used to OWN media, that it used to come packaged in pretty boxes and that we, punkin, paid to have it sitting on shelves when we weren't even using it.

With the move away from concrete media, will you run a query on their home media collection from your palm device to see what the last five films they watched were? Will you ever have the pleasure that is cricking your neck to one side to see what someone has got on their shelves? To know how interesting it is to see how someone's got their collections organised?

It will be easy, punkin, for you to click a button and get all of your movies alphabetised, but to actually sit down and do it with your own fair hands?

That, my sweet punkin, is the mark of a couple of cinephiles. A gaggle of obsessives. A bunch of geeks. An Our Kind of Family.

Love you.

July 15, 2005

Bathing Laughing

It's been a constant amazement to me, punkin, the number of people who are interested in your ongoing development and life. To that end, when we videotaped you in the bathtub last night, showing off your fab new skill, laughing, it was with these people in mind.

To them, then, I say this:

Here is a video. Of Punkin. In the Bath. Laughing.

(.avi format, 4.8MB)

Apparently there's some issues with the video. You need to have the DivX codec installed, which you can download here.

July 14, 2005

Rapt Attention

Rapt Attention
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
I was catching the tram home tonight, punkin, and had the privilege of sharing my seat with a young man called Andre. Andre was three years old, and had been to the supermarket with his mum.

Sitting there listening to his rapidfire chatter, I was struck by how much he knew, how rapidly he assimilated information. I'm waiting anxiously for that time with you, for my chance to teach you the things that I know, and my chance to learn with you the things that I do not.

Watching you make progress is astonishing. I see you change with each day, and people who only saw you a week ago are blown away by the leaps and bounds with which you grow. You've wholeheartedly made the leap to communication, and you now make eye contact and vocalise whenever you meet people. Last night when Liz and Harry came over (for Rockstar, a far inferior reality TV show to TOPMODEL), they were astonished at the way you now talk to people.

I'm astonished too, and while part of me is waiting and wishing for the day when I can have a conversation with you, part of me is wanting you to hold on, to wait, to stop growing up so fast, because along with all the things I want to explain to you about hippopotamuses and aeroplanes and mountains and cricket, there's a lot of things that I don't want to have to explain to you.

Like why people blow each other up.

Love you.

July 13, 2005

Three Ring Circus

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Last night, my darling punkling, you took us on an... interesting journey.

I don't want anyone to get upset, or overheated or excited, so I'll preface this discussion by saying that you're fine and happy and healthy as I type this, and that the photo over there ---> was taken not ten minutes ago. (Your mum's very excited because she took it on her telephone).

Enough chitchat, let's get into it.

Last night, after your preliminary outing with the local Mums and Bubs group (and apparently, contrary to your father's directions you had not returned home with any phone numbers), you began to exhibit a rash on the side of your face. Associated with this, your general colour got quite pale, and you felt warm to the touch. You didn't want to go to sleep, and in fact your crying got progressively more agitated.

One trip to the supermarket and three phone calls later, we'd worked out that you didn't have a temperature, but your mum and I were both still unconvinced that you were ok.

So off to the emergency room at the Children's Hospital with us.

Ever since we've been in the initial stages of this pregnancy, I've been consistently pleasantly surprised by the friendliness, professionalism and all around convenience of the people who work with children. Last night was no exception.

After a short wait (in the waiting room, natch), we were ushered in to a cubicle in the Emergency Ward. A lovely, friendly, professional nurse came by and checked your oxygen levels and pulse with a groovy machine she strapped to your foot, and then checked your core temperature using a method that I've promised all concerned we will not discuss, even at your 21st.

A long, long wait followed. Naturally, whilst it was 3am, and we were very very tired, we understood that emergency rooms work on a system called "triage", which essentially means, punkin, that if you're not dying right then and there, you wait.

Eventually, we were visited in our little cubicle (which, it should be said, was comfortable and even had paintings on the walls), by Dr Jeremy.

Jeremy took a good look at you (of course, by this time you'd worn yourself out completely and had been asleep for about an hour), and checked you out from top to toe. Eventually he picked you up and said to us "Well, I think what we've got here is a perfectly healthy baby boy".

Next time you can't get to sleep, punkin, please don't be so alarming about it, the Children's Hospital is fantastic, but I don't want to move in there.

We saw Dr Pete this morning too, but I'll tell you about that another time.

Love you.


Your mum says that I should call attention to the fact that this photograph represents the first time that you have actually grabbed and interacted with one of your toys. Way to go kid, I'll have you playing playstation in no time.

July 12, 2005

All a bit of a yawn

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
You know, punkling, one of the things that i think about when I write this is how I'm going to explain it all to you.

Sure, you're going to grow up knowing that your old man's this bizarre freak who, instead of telling you how he feels, dissapears off to the computer and tells the whole world, and then almost as an afterthought lets you know that you can read it.

But I'm wondering how you're going to feel about the idea that I've chosen to communicate with you in this way. I can't lose sight of the fact that this journal is a method for me as an adult to speak to you as an adult. Of course, by the time you're an adult we'll all have flying cars, and the earth will be ruled by damned dirty apes, but there you go.

I think that, flying in the face of artistic tradition, my most fervent wish is that you like what I have put together here. Certainly, I've spent long enough on it that it would be nice to feel like you appreciate the effort I've put in to keep it up to date.

Having said that, you're a kid, so it's likely that your first reactions to my endeavour will mirror closely your facial expression in the photo herein. Firstly, you will tell me how frightfully uncool my entire creation is, and then it's likely that you will never have time in your busy social schedule to read it. Certainly, having attended your first Mums and Bubs group down at the Maternal Health Centre today, it would appear that your appointments calendar is already filling up.

Love you.

July 07, 2005

Worryworts International

We live in a world, punkin, that has a great deal of uncertainty in it. One of the things that make it uncertain is the propensity of large groups of people to want to blow other large groups of people up.

Unfortunately, punkling, when these groups of people decide to do things of this nature, innocent people get caught in the middle. As I type this, it appears that some people have set off some bombs in central London. Reports are still pretty sketchy, but I should tell you and everyone who reads this that we know that your Aunts Amy and Emma, and your Uncle Liam, are all ok.

I'm sure that all of my wonderful readers join me in sending my heartfelt best wishes to everyone caught up in this calamity.

Love you.

Rowdy Grammy phone home

on the phone
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It's very sad, Bram, that we have to talk to your grandparents like this, but it's good that we get to talk to them.

Your Grammy rang us last night to tell us about the time that she got me vaccinated. She was very excited to talk to you, and you gurgled at almost exactly the right time.

You have really started to talk to us. You make hooting sounds while you try out your vocal chords, and smile when a particularly gratifying noise comes out.

Last night on the phone it seemed like you could recognise your grandmother's voice, but you were slightly confused about how we managed to squeeze her into the telephone.

I'm glad that we are able to use this blog like that, to allow people overseas to feel included in your life and your progress. It was designed partially for that, but more than that it's designed to enable me to talk to you through the years. I know that we're starting to communicate now, but trading gurgles is really no substitute for the permanence and unequivocal nature of the written word.

Love you.

July 06, 2005

Sticking Pins in You

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Last night, punkin, I did something horrible to you. I didn't stick pins in you myself, but I held you down while the Child Health Nurse did.

I think that I wasn't prepared for how distressing I'd find the whole process. I was prepared to hold on to you, I'd taken a deep breath while the nurse explained about the vaccines she'd be giving you. I stood firm while she told us about the probable side effects.

Then she had me hold you in my lap and undo your babygro. Still, I was ok with this. Right up until the bit where she STUCK A GIANT NEEDLE IN YOUR LEG.

Your face screwed up and you looked up at me, asking me with your eyes how I could live with myself for doing this to you. You wailed louder than I've ever heard you wail, and we kept on going. The thing about vaccinations, punkin, is that they inevitably come in sets. Another needle, this time in the other leg, and you were seriously concerned about the commitment of your father to ensure your wellbeing.

Home then, and we had been warned that there could be some side effects, most likely a low fever. Having procured baby paracetamol in advance, we dosed you up and prepared for the worst. You were confused and discombobulated by the way you felt, which made you so unsettled that you didn't feed for a number of hours. This of course made you feel worse, so we spent some quality time with you.

Luckily, Unky Dave was on hand, which for some reason seems to settle you down quite a bit. After the panadol kicked in, you were practically your normal self. It's an astonishing thing watching you grow, and it's now beginning to seem like we're making contact with you.

When you look at me, punkin, you smile and laugh. For some reason you find my face amusing, which makes me feel like I'm the luckiest man in the world. So I'm sorry I held you down while the lady stuck needles in you.

Love you.