Day Seventeen: A Spoon – Monday 13 July 2015

Day Seventeen: A Spoon – Monday 13 July 2015

Today, and over the weekend, Milo has fallen in love with a white plastic spoon.

This post is not entitled ‘The Spoon’, rather ‘A Spoon’, because there is nothing particularly special about the spoon. It is a plastic semi-disposable spoon, part of a barbecue cutlery set; we have about 12 of them. Milo cares not for the mediocrity of the spoon, to him it is very special. He loves it.

Milo has been dragging the spoon around with him for three or four days now; clenched between his teeth like a pirate’s cutlass while he crawls, or more usually clasped in one hand which slows him down and causes him to crawl as if he has a peg leg; swinging his right hand around in a wide arc while grinning like a lunatic, so pleased with what he has found.

At meal times Milo likes to grasp the spoon in his fist, not as an eating implement, simply as a companion. He stabs it repeatedly into his tray whilst panting and giggling, occasionally tossing it over the edge so he can peer at it on the ground. When it is returned to him Milo shakes the spoon around victoriously in the air before tossing it once more over the edge.

Milo has also incorporated the spoon into his play routines with the cats. He grabs big fists of fur with one hand while playing rhythmically on Huckleberry’s back with the spoon. Needless to say the cats are not in love with the spoon.

It remains to be seen how long this infatuation will last, but certainly for now my shoelaces, the cardboard box, the plastic bottle, the red tennis ball, the weird cube that talks German at Milo, and of course poor Elefun have dropped drastically down the list of favoured toys.

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Spoon again

This is the first post since last Wednesday as Thursday was family fun-day and Friday I was in Canberra.

This morning was uneventful, Milo playing happily by himself (with the spoon) and with the cats (with the spoon). A couple of new developments to report; Milo has over the weekend finally figured out how to sit up which he now does regularly with a great look of satisfaction. He has also already adapted his new skill to incorporate a half seated pose, with his left leg up in the air, left foot held tightly in his left hand. It is rather hard to describe but it is very yoga-like, I think most similar to a side plank pose, left hand grab. I am yet to obtain a reasonable photograph of this move but it looks quite a lot like this:

Milo’s version is a little more languid

While Milo napped his uncle, aunt and cousin came to visit; Milo’s slightly older cousin enjoyed some Weetbix and was far more proficient with the Elefun than Milo has been. Unfortunately Milo napped right through their visit and missed out on seeing his cousin.

Upon awaking Milo was in great spirits so we whipped on the bear suit (miserable day today) and headed out in the pram, with no real objective in mind. I took the opportunity to ring our new internet provider to ask why, after more than a month, we don’t have a modem and therefore no internet. This was a lengthy and very frustrating conversation, and I fear for the first time Milo has heard me raise my voice. I was mindful of all the judgey literature which warns that little brains are far more astute and aware than you think, constantly absorbing everything and filing away in the ‘positive’ or ‘anti-social’ personality trait folders, so kept my cool as much as possible. I was only marginally successful in this objective but did manage to avoid expletives. However, I did use a sternish voice and phrases such as “I am wasting my life talking to you” and “No Natasha that offer is worth less than zero to me” and “I am your CUS-TO-MER, without me you are nothing!”. This whole experience made both Milo and I feel rather deflated, and we still have no modem.

We soothed our nerves with Kuepps’ patented ‘make your own’ quinoa salad for lunch, which Milo (and his spoon) enjoyed greatly. I discovered that quinoa is very difficult to remove from small nostrils. After lunch we treated ourselves with coffee and a chocolate muffin from our nearest cafe. Unsure of the rules (as previously documented) I shared the muffin with Milo. He seemed to maintain his cool for the most part, but did immediately discard his cucumber baton with disdain and grasped my wrist insistently with both hands, guiding it back to the muffin and then, with a small morsel in my fingers, back to his mouth. I hope I have not condemned him to a life of massive weight gain, yo-yo dieting and of course petty crime. Time will tell.

Milo then nestled in for his afternoon sleep and upon awaking his mum was almost home. Today we had our reunion in the lift lobby and Milo was really very pleased with himself. Today’s grin was more satisfaction and pride, akin to “look what I’ve got” as he sat up on mum’s hip.

We all cooked dinner together; Milo chasing a bowl, plastic bottle, some Tupperware, and of course his plastic spoon around the kitchen tiles, before bath and bed.

  • Progress made on Milo’s ‘sensory garden’ – 0%
  • Current favourite West Wing character – CJ
  • Minutes of garden pruning – 15
  • Number of white plastic spoons currently in the dishwasher – 3
Day Sixteen: Snoozin’ – Wednesday 8 July 2015

Day Sixteen: Snoozin’ – Wednesday 8 July 2015

Here are the ways in which our child is the same as our cats:

  • Both prefer to be trouserless;
  • Both enjoy ‘accidentally on purpose’ nudging things underneath the refrigerator;
  • Both enjoy gently poking their toys until they tumble off the landing and down the stairs;
  • Both enjoy carrying soft toys around in their mouths;
  • Both do not enjoy travelling in the car;
  • Both enjoy nibbling on mystery food morsels they find on the ground; and,
  • Both growl at birds that are audacious enough to venture onto our balcony.

Here are the ways in which our child is different to our cats:

  • The cats poo in one predictable spot;
  • The cats self-settle and sleep for hours in a variety of locations;
  • The cats fight to get into the pram;
  • The cats are always dressed warmly enough; and,
  • The cats always land on their feet.

After a delightful morning playing with the Elefun and dad’s shoelaces, including Milo’ first bowl of porridge, Milo had a lovely snooze and awoke refreshed and giggling. Milo chose his bunny rabbit onesie for warmth before we loaded up the pram and hit the streets.

We strolled about 30 minutes down the road, stopping in for a toasted haloumi sandwich to share, before arriving at our local antique wholesaler. After purchasing a nice box for shoe storage we headed back apace as Milo was getting a little antsy in the pram. About 2/3 of the way home I noticed that Milo’s little eyes were getting heavy so I dropped the angle of the seat down one notch and pulled down the cover. This usually precipitates some significant writhing and squirming from the great man followed shortly by some bellowing. Not today. I could not see his eyes because of the low awning but after another block of silent walking I peered underneath to discover a peaceful, sleeping bunny rabbit; and just to add some personal style he had his right paw jutting out the side of the pram. Kazaah! This is the very first time Milo has ever fallen asleep in the pram (post-bassinet days).

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I was simultaneously excited and concerned as we were mid sleep-cycle, and he/she who messes with the sleep rhythm does so at their peril. After another 15 minutes of walking we were home and shortly after his little eyes edged open. I took the opportunity to whip him upstairs for lunch and then more playtime before a late (short) snooze at 4pm.

Kuepps arrived home just after 6 to a very cheerful boy who even forgot for a couple of minutes that he cannot possibly be out of mum’s arm’s reach of an evening. Milo’s uncle, aunt and two cousins came around for Ashes opening night so Milo was allowed to stay up late, playing with his cousins, chasing capsicum around the floor and being generally charming before mum took him to bed just before the opening ball was delivered.

  • Number of times Milo has fallen asleep in the pram – 1
  • Total minutes playing with Elefun – 10
  • Days until our local wetlands and water reuse scheme opens – 10
Day Fifteen: Elefun Busy Ball Popper – Tuesday 7 July 2015

Day Fifteen: Elefun Busy Ball Popper – Tuesday 7 July 2015

Today saw our first trip to Toys ‘R’ Us. This is a dangerous place and not one I ever want to visit with a child that can speak.

The morning was peaceful enough, Milo desperately practising his new trick of standing on one leg. He clings onto whatever happens to be in front of him, leans at a jaunty angle and then lifts the non-fulcrum leg off the ground, kicking and shaking it about as if he is drying his gumboot. Thus far his balance has been excellent. He is also just starting to ‘cruise’ as Gymbaroo would put it (shimmying sideways while holding onto something). This spells big trouble for the cats, and the Sonos speakers.

Learning from our desperate exile last week we loaded into the car as soon as the cleaner arrived. This week I refused to leave my child at the mercy of the wolves, or the high viz posties, and instead decided on a trip to Toys ‘R’ Us in search of more ‘stimulating’ toys after Milo’s eyes were opened on the weekend.

Well, this was hard. Much harder than I thought it would be; and I thought it would be hard. To start with, why are the lights so bright and cold in there? It is as if that giraffe guy wants to be able to conduct surgery at a moment’s notice if necessary. I also feel the frequency of the fluorescent bulbs is a little low, such that there is a nearly perceptible flicker at all times. Just enough to give you a slight tick in the corner of your left eye, but not enough to satisfy yourself that the bulbs are the reason. We were left with a general feeling of unease as soon as we entered.

Being the amateur parent I am I was surprised to learn it is school holidays currently, so 1130 on a Tuesday at Toys R Us was not as quiet as I had hoped. In fact quite the opposite; petting zoo at the front entrance, soft serve ice-cream everywhere and children hepped up on helium and Pokeman dashing about. Wise parents nowhere to be seen.

It is not immediately obvious where one is supposed to go either. Adjacent aisles swing madly from bug catchers to robo-velociraptors. There does not appear to be any age consideration to the groupings, rather the aisles seem to be organised by shades of pink or levels of violence; from ‘simulated’ through to ‘actual’. So we browsed for a while, Milo looking somewhere between disinterested and indignant. Tom Hanks at FAO Schwarz in the movie BIG it was not.

Eventually we found a section that seemed suitable, variations on a single theme; ‘activity centre’ with large buttons that cause vibrations and usually a vastly unnecessary racket. After pushing several of the ‘try me’ buttons and immediately concluding that I did not want to bring such a grating disquiet into our lives we moved on. It is genuinely difficult to avoid ‘gender stereotypes’ in your toy purchasing; there isn’t a huge amount between the pink and the violence except for tractors and other earth-moving equipment, although I was tempted to purchase an enormous model of the Millennium Falcon but thought perhaps my 8 month old son may not be adequately nurtured by such a toy.

Finally we settled upon the ‘Elefun Busy Ball Popper’ which is reportedly good for Milo’s coordination and understanding of ‘permanence’ (how a blue plastic elephant firing coloured balls out of his trunk can do that I am not sure) as well as a combine harvester, my compromised attempt to purchase him a vehicle without surrendering entirely to the gender stereotype; concepts of farming and food production can only be positive I am sure, and transcend gender boundaries.

We then dashed home for lunch (broccoli, capsicum, ham, cheese, bread, egg – essentially an exploded sandwich) and then it was time to unveil the new toys! The combine harvester was straight forward enough, it really doesn’t do anything. Milo tried hard to chew on its tyres and then eventually found a little red button that I had overlooked in the store; needless to say it made a horrific and not at all necessary engine sound. Other than that there’s not much more to say about the combine harvester. Milo quickly moved on to the red tennis ball, which is his favourite.

Of course we did not have the correct batteries for the cleverly named ‘Elefun’ so after a dash to the shop downstairs we were ready. The thing basically uses a jet of air to jettison small plastic balls out of its trunk, which must then be retrieved and inserted into its ear so they can be flung out again. Of course this is accompanied by a cacophony of elephant noises, carnival tunes and children singing; as if they could not decide which sound would be the most enticing and so decided upon all of them.

Milo looked quizzically at the Elefun, Huckleberry looked at it with suspicion. After a few goes of me pressing the big red button to commence the action Milo crawled away to retrieve and ultimately chew on one of the escaped plastic balls. Huckleberry stood watch to ensure the little blue beast was not here to stake a territory claim. Perhaps in days and months to come the Elefun will be a hit, but not today. The rest of the day was primarily spent playing with my shoes.

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Elefun is Ele-lame

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Dad’s shoes are great

After a nice afternoon nap mum was home, dashing in out of the rain. Milo then delightedly clung to her like a limpet until dinner, bath and bed.

  • Apparent number of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle reincarnations – 7
  • Number of Pokemon I know – 2 (Pikachu and Lickitung)
  • Price per minute of toy utilisation today – $17.50
  • Minutes of Le Tour Stage 3 (replay) watched – 45
Day Fourteen: Blue Bear and White Rabbit – Monday 6 July 2015

Day Fourteen: Blue Bear and White Rabbit – Monday 6 July 2015

To quickly recap Milo’s journey into the freezing abyss that is the Nation’s Capital:

  • It was minus 6 overnight on Friday night and didn’t appear to surge beyond positive 6 all weekend;
  • Milo therefore was dressed only as a blue bear or a white rabbit on rotation, both warm super-flammable, all man-made fibre onesies with ears and paws;
  • Milo was not particularly impressed by his first live rugby experience (largely due to the temperature), and dressed as a white bunny rabbit he did not strike a particularly aggressive or intimidating figure; and,
  • Milo enjoyed time with numerous friends and family; he was particularly enamoured of the toy selection offered by his cousin which perhaps made his makeshift collection of empty rum containers, plastic bottles, cardboard boxes and tennis balls look a little second rate. We may need to address this issue this week.



Milo was up early so his nap came around quickly. Once he awoke Kuepps’ cousin dropped by to take care of him while I headed into town for physio pummeling (Milo related injury, more on this later). After his afternoon nap we played with Milo’s now rather pedestrian looking collection of toys and watched an episode or two of the IT Crowd. I fear Milo may be growing addicted to Moss’ antics and we may need to monitor this situation closely.

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Milo peering intently at Moss and Roy

Kuepps arrived home to her usual warm, excited Milo welcome. We are however noticing a steady increase in Milo’s infatuation with his mother which quickly renders him a whingey mess if mum even moves slightly out of arm’s reach. Heart warming but logistically difficult for poor Kuepps.

  • Maximum temperature experienced by Milo in Canberra – 6 degrees
  • Favourite toy of the weekend – Bouncy hippo ball eating thing
  • Number of Weet-Bix consumed today (combined Milo and I) – 6
Day Thirteen: Return to the Blue Lagoon – Friday 3 July 2015

Day Thirteen: Return to the Blue Lagoon – Friday 3 July 2015

Family fun-day Thursday meant Swim School take two, and this time we brought reinforcements.

Kuepps, Milo and I loaded up the bicycles and cruised our way to the pool. With an extra set of hands, disrobing and robing the slippery noodle was vastly more straightforward and before we knew it Milo was splashing away happily and grinning at mum who was watching from afar. The senior member of the group Lennox was a bit ropy today and looked much less Ogre in the ‘Trojan Horse’ event than last week. However the new benchmark was a first timer named Liam who arrived this week looking very smug.

When it came time for dunking Milo performed 15% better than last week; still shrieking and looking at me with disdain, but with less fury, and with less vigorous attempts to scale me and perch on my head. When it came time for Liam’s turn his mum gave ‘the secret command’ (as she put it) “OK, ready Leo, go” and the 8 month old child closed his eyes, took a deep breath and executed a perfect dive under the water, emerging with a wry smile and I am pretty sure a wink at the instructor. Lennox’s dad and I exchanged shamed glances as our children, looking like cats rescued from the washing machine, yelled at each other and clawed away at our faces.

Soon the class was over and with mum’s extra hands Milo was much happier in the shower and we dried and dressed him with relative ease (ie. he did not escape and crawl like a half-nude lunatic, panting and bellowing toward the exit).

Unfortunately Milo snoozed again in the Croozer on the way home which discombobulated him for the rest of the day, resulting in significant grief for poor Oma who covered for Milo’s gallivanting parents during the evening shift.

So, as per last week, a difficult Thursday evening and night lead to a very peaceful Friday. Milo and I explored plans to convert his little balcony into a ‘sensory garden’ (ie. astro turf and pigeon netting to stop him launching his German books over the edge) and then had a long lunch of Omelette and cucumber together as the fibre internet installers did their work. One of these technicians, a young man from Sunderland, was rather smitten with Milo, said that he was off to South America over Christmas to meet his ‘special one’ and that Milo’s mother must be an “attractive lass” (the very definition of a back handed compliment for me).

In the afternoon Milo and I watched our first episode of the IT Crowd together. Milo enjoyed this very much, hooting and bouncing throughout; it would appear his favourite character thus far is Moss.

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Moss amuses me

I would also like to record two areas of fathering efficiency I have implemented around the house.

Firstly, toe nails. Milo’s finger/ toe nail situation is one of those areas in which I don’t excel. In relation to this subject I have in the past made one of those very foolish parenting comments that only amateurs make like “geez he hasn’t done a poo all day” (when in fact he has done three and I have just highlighted the fact I have just not been involved in any of them). On this subject I commented to Kuepps that it was interesting how slowly Milo’s nails grow (no, of course Kuepps has been cutting his finger nails regularly). Kuepps, quite reasonably, drew a line in the sand and said she would no longer be clipping his toe nails and that unless I wanted a clawed child who would bring shame upon the family at Gymbaroo and Swim School I would need to take over. I sheepishly agreed to this but then did not immediately take any steps to discharge my duties.

One evening this week Kuepps complimented me on finally clipping Milo’s toe nails, which looked terrific. I briefly considered taking this compliment but then thought better of it, conceding I was not responsible. We then presumed Oma was the one who had taken to his claws but quickly confirmed this was not the case. A little baffled we considered other plausible options; somebody, perhaps our strata manager who may have a key to our apartment snuck in during the night and clipped our child’s nails before silently departing as a gesture of good will for paying our strata fees on time? Perhaps the cats, finally accepting Milo as one of their own had groomed him? Eventually we concluded that Milo had in fact ground his toenails down in a free-range fashion due to an increased frequency of crawling correctly on all fours and a greater proportion of the day spent in bare feet. Miraculous fathering efficiency.

Secondly, bottle teat flow-rate. In an effort to thoroughly rinse and wash Milo’s formula bottle this morning I took to the teat with a bottle brush, a little too aggressively as it turned out, ripping a hole in the end of the nipple. Without an alternative we just persisted with the equipment available to us. So, after Milo’s afternoon sleep I offered him this new bottle, modified for speed. Milo did not hesitate and aggressively took to the bottle which delivered the formula at almost gravitational speed. Milo coughed and spluttered, and although a little more milk than usual ended up on his neck, he powered through the bottle in record time, an efficiency of at least 45 seconds over our previous personal best. Again, an admirable efficiency dividend that would make any austere government proud.

On Friday night we braved the highway to Canberra, Milo’s first taste of fiendish Canberra winter.

  • New bottle consumption personal best – 1 minute 15 seconds
  • New internet download speed  – 93 Mbps
  • Current ‘sleep in Croozer’ ratio – 2/3
Day Twelve: Takin’ her easy – Wednesday 1 July 2015

Day Twelve: Takin’ her easy – Wednesday 1 July 2015

After the trauma of our exile, today was a day to take her easy.

Milo was up around 0600hrs and not his usual giggly morning self, in fact he was rather whimpery. Not interested in his weet-bix or chemical milk he wanted to be cuddled, or at the very least cling to my ankles while I shuffled around the kitchen. A quick inspection confirmed two new chompers on his upper gums are all but ready to emerge, likely a strong reason for his malaise. That will make four in total, a fearsome upper/ lower combo that will soon tear barbeque chicken asunder.

In an attempt to ease his gum throbbing I offered Milo some baby Nurofen, which he took with enthusiasm. I certainly read the dosage carefully and administered correctly but the Nurofen really zonked the little guy who fell asleep at 0830 and did not re-emerge until almost 1100. Milo seemed to have the right idea so the cats and I decided to get in on the morning nap, daddy daycare continues to be a tumultuous ordeal.

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A hectic morning

We all re-emerged in great spirits. Milo drank his bottle swiftly and we were soon in the car in pursuit of our daily chores; the bright lights of the shopping centre beckoned. Milo chatted happily to himself in the car and then demonstrated terrific equanimity in transferring to the pram. First stop alterations shop in a second effort to sew the badge onto my tweed, success. Then to the bike shop for D locks to secure the Croozer from thievery, then mega-grocery shop including all of Milo’s favourites; peaches, strawberries, pears, eggs, yoghurt, barbeque chicken.

Exhausted from our impressive productivity we headed home. Milo was ravenous from all of his sleeping and sitting so we tore into the chicken together with our hands, perhaps the purest form of bonding two men can enjoy.

We then spent the rest of the afternoon playing with his eclectic mix of toys. If last week’s favourite was the empty carboard box this week’s is a dead heat between my spare leather shoelaces and the empty presentation box from a bottle of Diplomatico Rum. I enjoyed watching Milo’s synapses firing madly as they tried to plot a path to solve the problem of the Diplomatico box and the red tennis ball. The ball, at the bottom of the box was just out of reach of his eager fingertips. He could tease it a little and it would start rolling toward him but then he would lift it up to look, and of course it would roll back to the bottom. He repeated this process several times with increasing frustration until he simply flung the box across the carpet, and the ball rolled out. An elegant solution.

The Damir Dokic in me is convinced Milo is already throwing the tennis ball back in my direction when I roll it to him; but I think it is more likely the law of averages that flailing arms will, from time to time, strike the ball at the correct angle to send it roughly in my direction. I am sure I will continue this repetition until he decides he hates tennis balls.

A huge development today was the viewing of one episode of Game of Thrones during Milo’s afternoon nap. This comes on the back of two consecutive nights of Kuepps and I watching the West Wing (our first and second ever episodes). This is an indication of increased efficiency, or a decreasing quality of parenting. It is possible the two are inseparable.

Kuepps arrived home shortly after Milo roused and we headed back out to the bike shop to have her inner tube replaced (no, I do not know how to do this myself), in preparation for Swim School round 2 tomorrow. We then gave Milo his first baba ganoush (mixed reviews) while we enjoyed a snippet of adult conversation, picked up the bike when it was ready and strolled swiftly home as Milo’s usual evening crankiness bubbled up.

  • Episodes of Game of Thrones – 1
  • Episodes of West Wing – 2
  • Favourite West Wing Character so far – Josh Lyman
  • Follow up calls to internet company – 0
  • Current internet speed – 3.27 Mbps
  • Cheesey-mite Scrolls from Baker’s Delight for Milo – 1