James Diary - 3rd Jan onwards

Anne decided to keep some sort of diary of the events around James' birth and onwards. Originally this was being typed in by Mike off the back of various envelopes, but once she got home and upright Anne took over. Editorial comments from Mike are in square brackets.

No more entries were placed after April 9th

Some of this is not, potentially, for the squeamish or easily offended, Birth is painful and messy, and not everyone wants the gory details, we're sure.

For entries from Jan 9th to Feb 13th, click here.
For entries from Jan 6th to 8th, click here.
For entries from birth to Jan 6th, click here.

February 14th - 20th (age 6 weeks)

Woke up tuesday morning feeling fluey. My legs hurt in all the joints and it took me 5 minutes to get to the bathroom. Also my right breast felt bruised and droopy and I did not know where to put myself or it. Took 2 ibuprofen tablets and stayed in bed. James was great and very patient all day, which was good cos I couldn't do very much.

Felt better on wednesday except for my right breast which had now swollen up and was very red. Nana was up for a couple of days, and we looked in the books and decided I had mastitis. I phoned the doctor, but could not get to see a lady doctor that day. Since we were expecting a visit from the health visitor on thursday and James' 6 week check with the doctor on friday, we decided to wait.

The health visitor came on thursday and told me to go directly to the doctor, do not pass go, do not collect £200. The doctor also told me off and said I should have seen her on tuesday and prescribed antibiotics. The major problem with antibiotics is that I am allergic to several types, so we had to resort to Erythromycin. This is ok for me, I am not allergic to it, but it has a tendency to cause diarrhoea and transmits in the milk to the baby and he can get diarrhoea.

When the health visitor came, she was actually very pleased with me - at 6 weeks I am counted as being an established breast feeder, so can now go and give James a bottle occasionally without losing the ability to breast feed. She also weighed and measured him - length 56 cm (birth 49 cm), weight 4.13 Kg = 9lbs 1oz, (birth 3.21 Kg = 7lbs 1.5oz) head circumference 38cm (birth 36cm). All of these are as expected for growth except the length which is twice the growth he should have. Not surprising for a child of 2 tall parents.

When the doctor saw me and told me off, she also did James' 6 week check 1 day early. She was also pleased with him as he did all the relevant reflexes correctly and does not appear to be deformed in any way. (I knew that anyway as I could tell he only had 2 eyes and 4 legs, but it was nice to have it confirmed by a professional who deals with humans).

Saturday - Miranda, Chris and their 2 children came to visit. James has diarrhoea and was feeding every 3 hours. His timing was absolutely perfect. Just as I was about to serve up lunch, he wanted feeding, so we had to delay till after James had had lunch. Luckily it did not seen to spoil the food at all.

February 21st - 27th (age 7 weeks)

Went to stay with Nana and Grandad in Chingford for monday through wednesday. Auntie Jackie was also there with Adam (aged 3), Nigel was at home putting a new kitchen in so Jackie and Adam had gone to stay with Nana and Grandad to get away from the dust. Jan visited while we were in Chingford. James woke up a couple of times each night and Nana got up as well, to check I was ok and to get tea and other lubrication if I needed it. I think she had to feel needed as I am getting quite independant now, and don't need her help like I did in the early days. By the time I left on wednesday and Jackie left on thursday both Nana and Grandad needed a holiday. We did have a good time though, comparing notes etc. Adam was being a little precocious - jealousy of James I expect, and was playing up something rotten especially with Nana, but also with his mum. James was mostly a good little boy and charmed everyone as usual.

STOP PRESS - Jan actually cuddled James and looked comfortable doing it. I never thought I'd see that day, and I wish I had a camera for the occasion. Mind you I guess she never thought she'd see the day when I had a baby so I suppose we were both surprised.

Wednesday evening was spent taking photos at P.O.D.S, and talking to Jane - due to have a baby in a few weeks, and Melanie - mother of a child of 8 months. James was very grumpy all evening so did not show himself in the best light, but then I had driven him up the A1 for 1 1/2 hours earlier and he had his rhythms all upset, so he was excused.

James has had no diarrhoea since I stopped the antibiotics and my mastitis seems to have gone.

Rika and David were here for the weekend. I cooked lots of vegetarian food and drove them around to various houses to look at to buy. Some of these houses had potential. James came visiting with the first house but he was so difficult to get in and out of the car as he had to be strapped in, in his car seat, each time taking about 5 mins. The best bit of the weekend cooking was, by general opinion, the aubergine stuffed tacos, with the marbled chocolate brownies coming a close second. Minstrel also came on friday evening for supper - we had boiled rat (ratatouille) with ham except Rika who only had rat. On saturday evening we were treated to a chinese meal at the Grain Barge - a floating chinese restaurant with the best crispy duck pancakes in Peterborough. Thanks David and Rika!

February 28th - March 5th (age 8 weeks)

Monday was vaccination day. James had vaccinations for Tetanus,Whooping cough, Diphtheria, Meningitis and Polio. I held him for his first injection into his leg which he hardly noticed, then for his second injection into his other leg which is when he yelled, so the nurse dropped the polio drops into his mouth which shut him up and he didn't cry again. What a brave boy! Apparently the vaccines can cause some reaction and so you can use paracetomol to reduce the fever if he gets any pain. He didn't.

James is smiling more often now, and it isn't always wind or colic. He seems more generally alert and more able to focus and concentrate on activities. He loves his activity arch and spends a long time trying to beat it up. He was fairly clingy on tuesday and wednesday, but this passed quickly. There is supposed to be a growth spurt around about now, and it is noticeable in that I have had to retire 2 of his first babygrows and 2 vests because they do not fit over his head anymore. I might get him reweighed next week.

Went down to London to visit Nana and Grandad on saturday just for the day because Mike wanted to go to a pubmeet in the middle of London to do with guitars and computers, so I took the opportunity to go with him as far as Chingford. I managed to knock the wheel arch of the car on the driveway post when I drove Mike to the station. Oh dear - another expense to get it fixed.

James was a really good boy in church again. He seems to enjoy the music and also quite likes the attention he gets at the end as well. He grizzled in the car on the way as we had to wake him up, but as soon as the organ music started, he went to sleep and stayed asleep until the blessing.

March 6th - 12th (age 9 weeks)

Monday - went to get James weighed and measured. Length now 59 cm, Weight 10.5lbs so all is going according to plan.

Shrove Tuesday - pancake party. I spent the early evening making brownies and pancakes and the we had Adrienne, Kate, Martin, Carolyn, Adam, and Ruth for a party (with Jacob and George). Between us we managed approximately 40 pancakes with a selection of stewed plums, maple syrup, lemon and sugar and jam on top. James spent most of the meal on Carolyn's lap. I think he enjoyed it and went to sleep very well. George is still big compared to James, but there is less of a gap than there was as James has grown in spurts to catch up a little. I got to hold George for a while and he feels so heavy!. My theory is that it is a staged workout for the arms, so you start with the carrycot or car seat just light enough for your post-natal weakened state then, as your arms get stronger, the weight of cot plus baby gets more as well, so by the time the baby is walking, you have muscles on your arms like Arnie (that is of course if you exercise them both equally). This is not a proven theory!

Ash Wednesday - Nana came to spend a couple of days with us and we went to church to celebrate the start of Lent. James did not appreciate this very much and grumbled all the way through the said service. I think he missed the organ playing. We went shopping in the city centre in the afternoon. James was much better behaved here.

Thursday - Uncle Nigel came to visit and to bring a dish washer and a cupboard for the kitchen - left overs from their kitchen refurbishment, then he went off to Birmingham (2hours journey)and we went to Hampton for shopping (5 minutes journey), then mum went home. Mike was in London all day with Cricinfo discussing work related stuff and eventually got back at about 11 pm.

James has been a little pain when it comes to sleeping through the night. On Friday night he seemed to wake up every hour, and the same on Saturday night. In general he sleeps for about 2 hours out of 4 during the day, most of the evening and not at all at night. Why can't we move his clock forward by about 6 hours?

Rika and David popped in for the day on Sunday - still house hunting. They gave me just enough notice for me to shop, cook and feed them, and I still managed to provide a substantial meal. - We had home-made leek and onion quiche, with salad, followed by icecream (mint Vienetta). The salad was bought readymade. The quiche was made with puff pastry defrosted from the freezer, eggs left over from the pancake party, and bought leeks. The cooking involved a little bit of juggling around James, who decided that he did not want to be put down, so I weighed the ingredients and rolled out the pastry while Mike held James and then we swapped and I held (and fed) James while Mike mixed and poured the filling into the tart and then put it in the oven - Brilliant team work!

March 13th - 19th (age 10 weeks)

Father Bill came on Tuesday evening to discuss baptisms. Since our normal Sunday service is 9.30am it was decided that we would not have him baptised then, but in a special service in the afternoon.This is planned for the sunday in the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (May 28th 2000). Anyone who is reading this and wants to come please email Mike or Anne and let them know. (We would love to see some of our US readers!).

Thursday evening I was invited to a meeting at the local Cordon Bleu restaurant by Pfizer to talk about vaccinations (with the rest of the vets). My first evening out! Food yum! I left James with Mike all evening having fed him just before I left ( I fed James and left Mike to feed himself beans on toast) and then hoped that he (James) did not need feeding before I got home. He (James) woke up about 15 minutes before I got home so the timing was superb.

Spent the weekend gardening, feeding James and watching rugby (6 nations championship). Sunday morning service, James was as good as gold again. I am sure he likes the organ music.

James has been generally good this week. We have not had any full nights sleep yet, so I decided to try one feed of formula milk everyday, to try and get him through the night. The major problem with doing this as the last feed of the evening is that then mum's milk supply is put under pressure (literally) overnight and would eventually dry up. I am not sure what is the best time to feed a bottle. The theory is that bottled milk takes longer to digest and so the baby should go longer between feeds. Tried it for 3 nights - no effect so gave up, especially since I woke up with very full breasts and desperate for a baby to suckle. Mike volunteered, but James does not have teeth yet and Mike does.

March 20th - 26th (age 11 weeks)

On Monday we had to get up relatively early as we both had dentist appointments. Trying to get all 3 of us ready at the right time and into town involves logistical wrangling. I had to feed and change James in time to get out of the house by 8.30am. Since James variably takes 15 - 45minutes to feed, it makes it a little diffficult to pasn ahead. Still, it will be good practice for the future when I go back to work.

Thursday - James' first swimming lesson. Got to the gym, exercised while James was in his carseat then changed him into a clean nappy and dunked him. He liked the floating on his back thing but did not appreciate the getting out and getting cold when drying off. Screaming fits afterwards, but in general, a successful first dip.

Friday - rehersal at church for Arthur Somervell's Passion of Christ. James is a music critic! - he did not like the efforts we were making to get the notes right and only got happier when we were nearer to the correct harmonies. We are due to perform this on Good Friday, so I hope we can get it better by then.

Saturday - drove up to see Gran and Grandad Whitaker and spend the weekend with them. We decided to leave when James got up plus one hour, so eventually left at 9.10am. It took 2 hours to get there which James slept through. Sometimes he can be so accommodating! Gran and grandad were pleased to see us and although it rained most of the weekend, so we were not able to take him out for a walk, he played under his play arch (see photos) happily and did not seem to miss it. He was also all charms and smiles for his gran and grandad - little angel! James spent his first night in his travelcot. This is about the size of a normal cot, but folds up into a tent-sized bag for carrying. The mechanics of assembly is incredibly nifty though and can almost be done one-handed while carrying the child in the other arm. James looked so small in it compared with his crib and he rotated overnight by 90 degrees so when I fed him at 4am he was pointing completely the wrong way. Left Hull sunday afternoon and took 2 hours to get home - James slept most of the way home as well.

Major first - Midnight till 7am asleep Sunday night! Shame it wasn't the first of many in a row.

March 27th - April 2nd (age 12 weeks)

Wednesday, PODS rehersal. Jane and Mark brought their new baby in - 9 days old. Birth weight 8lbs 2 oz, name of Edward. He looks so tiny, which only goes to show that James has grown and you forget that he was once that small. He spent the rehersal asleep but Mark was showing him off like a proud father should. Jane looks well and had about the same length of birth as me, but she used the active birthing room and had no pain killers - Brave girl! Mark was present throughout the birth too - brave man! I thought that James' fan club were going to ignore him as a cuter baby had arrived but James managed to outdo himself in cute attack and he still had his following - not actually as difficult as it sounds since James smiled at everyone and Edward slept.

Thursday - second set of vaccinations for polio, meningitis, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. He cried again but not very much. Also weighed him. Now weighs 11lbs 8oz. still on the right track. Shows that I am feeding him correctly.

Mothering Sunday - Went to spend the day with nana and grandad Rundle. Jackie, Nigel and Adam were also there. We went to church in the morning before we travelled but then James wanted feeding and we did not leave until 11.15am. We took desert with us - Banoffee pie, so my mum did not have to cook desert and only the main course. I cooked the pie on Saturday. It tasted nice but the toffee was a bit hard and difficult to cut, I think I overcooked it. Some deserts do not turn out quite as well as some others. Even Anne is fallible.

April 3rd - 9th 3 months old

James had 2 swimming lessons this week. I accidently tried drowning him on the first lesson - he tipped over the vertical and breathed in a mouthful of water. Not a happy James. On the second visit he floated happily on his back and enjoyed making motor boat crashes at his daddy. So far so good.

P.O.D.S are doing "Half a Sixpence" this week and next, and since we are on the program committee, we are set to sell programs daily. We have arranged to alternate selling and babysitting between us.

Thursday - Went to Birmingham to BSAVA congress. Took James with me. Woke at 4am, got up and fed myself then fed James at 5am and left for a 2 hour drive just before 6am. James slept through the trip - he likes the driving music. Got to the creche which is just outside the congress hall just after 8am and delivered him to the nannies. They had 6 nannies to look after a maximum of 20 children aged upto 5 years old. I was worried about leaving him as I am still breast feeding, but arranged to pop in and feed him during the day. He also had a bottle for lunch. I went back after the first 2 lectures and breast fed (around 10 am) and then went back at around 1pm for lunch. He was being cuddled at 10am, and at 1pm he had just gone down for a nap, so I left the nannies with a bottle to give him when he woke and had a relaxed lunch. I checked up on him at 3.30 and he was being cuddled again. I think he spent most of the day laughing and grinning and being cuddled. Picked him up just after 6pm and he had had another bottle to drink, so did not want mummy, even though mummy wanted him to suckle. Stopped on the way home to breast feed and to eat, and eventually got home at 9.15 pm. It was a long day and James and I both went to bed early.

Friday - James was a miserable grizzly grump all day and was only happy being walked up and down in mummy's arms. I think he was spoilt at creche and thought that that was what he deserved every day. No way!

Babysat Edward in the evening, while Jane and Mark went out to see "Half a Sixpence". James was asleep for some of the time and Edward was asleep for some of the time. These times just about overlapped, sufficiently that I did not have them both crying at the same time, but not such that I had any time to myself. I am glad I don't have twins! Still, it was kinda enjoyable for a while, but it was also nice to give one of them back at the end of the evening. Shame I could not have given them both away.

James woke up every couple of hours during the night to add insult to injury.

Saturday - Went to the Gym - beautifully behaved as usual (swimming lesson no. 2 of the week) and we all went to sell programs for the saturday matinee of the show. We charged people £1.50 for a chat to the baby and threw in a program for free. James thrived on the attention.


Anne Whitaker
Last modified: Fri Mar 3 23:10:10 GMT 2000