Thursday 26 February 2009

Sleep, Smile Pinki and an unbelievable coincidence

I've been putting off writing this blog entry for a while as I didn't want to tempt fate. Unfortunately I waited too long and fate has not only been tempted but realised.

Two weeks ago Jake had a breakthrough. He would go to sleep and stay asleep until at least 4.30am...then 5.30am and then a string of 6.15's. It really felt as if someone had handed us the key to our cell and was showing us the way to the tunnel! However the last two nights in a row have been proliferated with half hourly crying sessions which need considerable shushing and the odd dummy deployment. It's so frustrating, you think you'd done the hardest bit but then he switches it up to keep us on our toes. Here's hoping it's a blip and normal sleep service will be resumed from tonight.

Next up, congratulations to 'Smile Pinki' which won 'Best Short Documentary' at the Oscars. The documentary is about a poor Indian girl, ostracised from her community, ridiculed and left to a life of solitude and shame until the Smile Train came along and repaired her lip at the age of 7. Pinki was at the Oscars although she fell asleep on her Dad's lap so didn't join Megan Mylan, the director on stage when the film won. I guess making it all the less cheesy and more poignant. I saw an online ad which read 'which Oscar will change the lives of 4 million children?'. A worthy winner indeed.

Which brings me to the coincidence. Yesterday morning I Googled Smile Pinki as I heard it had won and had been following the film's progress since it was nominated. Naturally I was pleased that it had won but after following a few threads I landed on a blog from a guy called Martin. His company it turned out, are very much involved with the Smile Train and organise various fund raisers and have done great things over the years to promote the good things it does. Naturally you can imagine my surprise when I tell you that half an hour later, I was talking to the very same Martin in our office at a sales meeting which had been arranged the week before to talk about his business requirements. As we talked about the coincidence and his involvement and experience with Smile Train, he revealed that not only is he good pals with the founder of the Smile Train, but he is about to join the board!

I've only just started donating to this charity and a week later I have a new contact with a direct route to the founder of it. Weird and spooky but cool too. I'm not sure if I've written much about this cause before but they are an inspiring organisation. They have a total of 43 staff yet have made over 500,000 cleft operations possible, free of charge in some of the poorest and remote communities around the world. There philosophy is 'teach a man to fish' whereby they provide training, materials and support, instead of 'give a man some fish' like so many of the missionary charities who maybe carry out just 200 operations a year. Those other charities do fantastic work but it's so costly flying hundreds of western doctors and nurses out to perform the operations. According to the New York Times, the Smile Train is " of the most productive charities -dollar for deed - in the world." Just $250 dollars is enough to pay for one child to have his or her cleft repaired. I felt compelled to give a monthly donation as I know that every year someone else will also get the operation that Jake had for free instead of suffering a lifetime of despair. Pinki shows me that we're all really the same...doesn't matter whether you're a middle class boy from Guildford or the poorest little girl in India, a cleft's still a cleft.

Check The Smile Train out here...

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Jake got a(nother) girlfriend!

Ahh, little, little one AKA Sadie Tulloch was born but C section at 00:30 on Tuesday, narrowly missing her due date by half an hour. Mother and baby doing just peachy. Massive congratulations to proud parents, Sarah and Hamish. The photo I've seen is pretty blurry but she's definitely a cutie and Jake's going to be pleased with the addition to his hareem!

Going to an all boys school, girls were a bit of a mystery to me as a nipper so it'll be great for Jake to have as many female friends as possible. Of the 8 most recent babies born to friends and family there are 4 boys and 4 girls which seems about right in the natural order of things. In the relatively short time since writing this blog (and not counting the 7 NCT babies), Molly, Jake, Henry, Aniela, Eliza, Rufus, Jack and now Sadie have entered the world and it's going to be great watching how they all grow up. The ups and downs that punctuate their development and shape their personalities will be a source of constant amazement to their families and friends. It's life affirming stuff this parenting lark...Jake screamed for 2 and half hours between 9 and 11pm yesterday and all it took for me to forget it was the wry smile on his face when I went in and turned on the light. I know just turning the light on is creating the cliched rod for one's back, but I don't so much mind the rod if it's accompanied by that smile.

I think that I'm slowly learning that I can't fix everything right away and he will be unpredictable or unbearable at times but that's kind of the point in having a child. After childhood and education, early working life and a lot of reckless partying, we settle down and have kids. It's the next step or even just a change so as to do something different in life. A challenge if you will. As long as the good outweighs the bad (and it always seems to so far) it should be a lot of fun and as the sickening advert says 'there's no greater adventure than having kids'. Cheesy as that sounds the point I'm making is that we shouldn't know exactly what's going to happen, it should unravel slowly so each day or each stage should surprise, engage, entertain us somehow, otherwise it would be incredibly dull and predictable. Once you realise that and accept that your new life is a better life and has been enhanced massively by adding a new person to it you can deal with the crap much more easily and get on with all the great stuff.

How's that for deep!

Tuesday 10 February 2009

Sleep, teeth and two steps backward

Aside from the cleft, sleep, or lack thereof was always my primary concern during Clare's pregnancy. How I would cope on 4 or 5 hours a night was always a big worry. After Jake was born it took a while to adjust but we did adjust and it's amazing how you can actually cope. Then for probably three months Jake would miss out the eleven pm or midnight feed and go to 3am before waking for food. Then he'd sleep until 6 or sometimes 7. We have a clock which projects the time onto our ceiling so know about his waking times and analyse them more than we perhaps ought to but life is about routine and it's how we see him develop. We bore anyone stupid enough not to make their excuses with tales of how tired we are and how he slept last night! Anyway for a long time he was a one-feed-a-night baby and we could probably cope with that indefinitely.

Then his op came along and quite understandably it messed with his routine completely and things haven't been the same since. It's been a month since the lip repair and we've had two of the old nights but the rest have been at best unpredictable and at worst, horrendous.

One of Jake's best habits was passing out at on the dot of 7pm after his food and would be fast asleep without so much as a murmur but now he fights it and quite often needs shushing and stroking and dummying before going to sleep. Then he wakes at 8, 9 and 10. His best trick now is to save up his rage until either five minutes before we fall asleep or five minutes after. If I was crossing my fingers before, I am praying to the East and making deals with God now.

The problem is that, following the operation he got a cold (how cruel is that) and now he's getting teeth. Understandably he's got the hump but he's teething all day long so I don't get it that he only wants to scream at night. We drug him up to the eyeballs before he goes to sleep but nothing really helps. It's just one of those things we have to go through. I'm sure anyone reading this will think this is just a moan and I should get over it but as I've said before, this is my blog and if you don't like it write your own. Or just piss off. Can you tell I'm tired?!

Jake's cousin Jack!

Massive congratulations to Matt (Clare's older brother) and Vee on the birth of their beautiful baby boy, Jack. We went to see the little man on Sunday and although every parent of a six month old says it, you really forget just how small they were and how light they feel. He almost fits in one hand! Anyway he's lovely and Vee's labour was a breeze and they were all home within the same 24 hours so as to avoid the snow.

It's great news and I'm looking forward to seeing Jake and Jack as thick as theives in the years to come. I wished I'd seen more of my cousins whilst growing up so I'm determined that Jake will be friends with his.