Archive for January, 2009


Friday, January 30th, 2009

In the UK, you have about a month in which to register the birth of your baby. It’s at this point that he or she gets a name, and becomes “official”. It is unclear what happens if you neglect to register your baby. The local government are certainly informed of the birth, so perhaps they send you a reminder… and then a red letter… and then they send bailiffs to reposess your child?

We took Cillian to be registered in Cambridge  this afternoon. Daddy was not in the best of moods, since he had already had to spend almost all of the morning at the car dealership, waiting for a new key to be programmed for the car. In the end, the engineer  found that they had been sent the wrong key by the manufacturer, so it wouldn’t work, and we’d have to come back. Grrr.

Anyway… registration. This was a painless experience, and took about 30mins. The nice lady asked us where we were born, what we do for a living, and please can we remind her how to spell “Cillian”. She hadn’t heard of Senegal (Karyn’s birthplace), and had a bit of difficulty with he name of my Welsh birthplace. Dad’s a web designer, and mum’s a scientist, so that bit’s easy.

In order to get a UK passport, your kid needs a full birth certificate, which is a legal document, as opposed to the short version, which is decorative. The full one cost us £3.50. We bought two, because we’ll also need one so that we can get his French ID card, even though I know a bloke called Christophe who swears he can get us a fake one for 50 Euros :) Just kidding.

So, that’s all done, and Cillian is officially our parental responsibility now. *phew* He’ll be relieved to know that we have to take care of him! While we were at the Registration Office, I asked the lady if we could have called him anything. In France, they sensibly restrict parents to choosing real names… there is some system by which you have to prove that whatever you choose is a real name, and means that your kid doesn’t end up being called, for example (and this is real), Chocolate Merrimount Marmite. Eeek.

Tips & Tricks (1)

Friday, January 30th, 2009

So what have we found to help in the last few days?

1. Feeding him before changing his nappy means that he’s much more relaxed, and is quite happy to lie there and gaze at his mobile, whilst dad deals with the other end

2. Warm romper suit = good; cold romper suit = bad. For the martial artists in the audience, this is the same as the difference between a really cold keikogi and one that’s, well, not cold. Romper suits, being tiny, can be shoved under your t-shirt for a few minutes while you’re changing baby, and then aren’t quite such a shock when you have to wrestle baby’s little limbs into the sleeves and legs!

3. If you’re expecting a baby, you’ll hear lots about “skin-to-skin” contact with your baby. They love, it gives that warm fuzzy feeling inside – everyone’s happy. :)

4. You’ll also be told that when you take a nappy off, the baby’s quite likely to wee everywhere. This is no joke. We’ve got an old flannel handy, which we quickly drape over the danger area. We learnt this after he had wee’d on the floor, the clean nappy, dad, and (funniest of all) his own face.

5. It is important that you recognise your baby’s poo-face, and the difference between “active” and “complete”. Removing a nappy before its done with can be bad news for your carpet (where you might be changing him during the middle of the night… !). Eeek.

6. If you can avoid changing them during the middle of the night, do so. Basically, if you’re baby’s not complaining, then think twice. You’re tired, baby’s tired, and no-one want the hassle. A little empathy will help  -  imagine yourself in bed, 03h. You wake up a bit peckish, so you go and have a bowl of bran flakes, and go back to bed. Moments later, someone has undressed you, and is holding you by your ankles at 45-degrees. Wet cotton balls are hastily wiped around your bare butt, and then you are dressed in new (possibly COLD) clothes. Now go back to sleep.

7.  Projectile vomiting is a) real, and b) can be quite a shock. Don’t drop your baby. Get ready for lots of mopping up, rinsing of clothes / carpets / curtains / blankets / cushions / etc!


Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Karyn pointed out the initials of our little family’s firstnames spell out “KFC”. Yikes. We’re no fans of processed, bleached “chicken”, but it did occur to me that it might be fun to produce a spoof KFC logo in Illustrator, in between burping Cillian, and trying to deal with some real chores.

KFC? (more…)

Paternity leave

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Cillian's 24 hours (Jan 26)I have been at home most of this week, using the last of my 10 days of paternity leave. I was in work on Monday, and got some bits and bobs done, and then when my mum went home on Tuesday, I stayed here. The new timetable is odd… everything is shifted about 2 hours forward. So I tend to go to bed about about 01h30 now, having got le petit mec to sleep. Whether or not my night’s sleep is broken, I get up at about 09h, which gives me time for burping (him, not me).

Cillian generally has a feed at about then, so we’re all up. When I am dealing with him, or coaxing him into sleep, K can get some more rest.

Flock of Hedgehogs (Un troupeau de hérissons)

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

... c'est à ça que ça ressemble des fois, au milieu de la nuit, lorsque Cillian est dans son couffin, à côté de notre lit. Il y a tout ces bruits bizarres, ces ronflements, des sifflements, des grognements, des couinements ... on dirait que l'on dort avec une ferme! Des fois il n'y a rie, aucun bruit, il regarde. REGARDE. Il absorbe tout ce qui est autour de lui. Et puis des fois il crit... on a repérer plusieurs niveaux de cris:

  • niveau 1: couinement (alerter les parents)
  • niveau 2: miaulement (parents considèrent se lever)
  • niveau 3: grognement, rochonement (définitivement temps d'agir)
  • niveau 4: braillement (pas content du tout, parents probablement changeant les couches)
  • niveau 5: pleurs (bébé completement abandonné, négligé, c'est la fin du monde)

Ce matin nous avons reçu des tas de cadeaux pour lui: un mobile et des livres avec des formes simples en noir et blanc, censée éveillé les bébés (cool!) et des tas de vêtements de la part des oncles/tantes de Francis. Ce petit a une garde robe plus étendu que nous! Malheureusement, il est encore un peu petit pour les mettre et pour le moment passe ses journées en pyjama.

… that’s what it sounds like sometimes, in the middle of the night. Cillian’s in his moses basket, next to our bed, and now and then, there’s all this snuffling and grunting and squeaking. Flock of hedgehogs! :)

Apart from the snuffling, there’s total silence, like when he is gazing and things, and soaking up information, and then there’s crying (of course).

So far, I have identified five levels of crying: (more…)

Day of the Dummy: The Inauguration

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Là c'est une étape importante alors ça vaut la peine de traduire pour que la famille Française soit au courant. Pas bcp de sommeil la nuit dernière (OK, ça va devenir une phrase recurrante alors nous feront attention de ne plus le dire). Cillian se reveillait tout le temps, suçottait le sein et se rendormait. Le seule moyen de le faire dormir sans ça était de prendre dans les bras. Super! Y'a pas de lit comme a l-hôpital ici, avec la moitié qui se relève ce qui fait que je pourrais le porter ET dormir (OK, pas la solution non plus).

Après une nuit avec 30mn de sommeil, j'ai fini par appeler Françis au secours (il dort dans une autre pièce, comme ça il y en au au moins un de nous deux qui à une chance de dormir) - en portant Cillian hors de la chambre il a mis son doigt (celui de F.) dans sa bouche (celle de Cillian) et celui-ci c'est arreté tout de suite de pleurer ... Ahah ... donc aujourd'hui, direction la pharmacie pour acheter une sucette ("dummy" en anglais). Ca a l'air de marcher plutôt bien... on verra la nuit prochaine.

Day of the Dummy: The InaugurationNot a great deal of sleep again last night. I know that this will be a recurring theme, so I’ll try not to mention it much more! :) Anyway, we’ve found that sometimes, Cillian will mouth and squeak, and look for a breast, and once he’s on, he’ll fall asleep, and not eat anything. Fab.

So at about 05h30 this morning, he had a good feed, and then within 30mins, he was mewling for more. Karyn had just managed to nod off to sleep again, so I thought I’d experiment with something on of the hospital midwives had mentioned, and popped my little finger in his mouth.

Suck, suck, suck. Gaze around the room. Fall asleep. Ah hah(more…)