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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for Cygnet

Cygnet Chatter

He now has definite (and independently used) names for his siblings! He’s been wandering around the house, calling for Puggle (2 syllables, just missing the middle consonant… “EEh-un!”).

He Signed!

I’ve been using signing (intermittently, it’s true) with Cygnet. He hasn’t seemed especially taken with it (I thought).

But this morning, he signed ‘More’ (completely unprompted… he likes his weetbix!) and ‘All Done’ (after I asked him if he was all done).

On reflection, he hit me on the chest yesterday when he wanted to nurse (the sign for breast is hitting your own chest!)

Another tool in his communication belt:-)


It occurred to us yesterday, that Cygnet has finally made that transition. He’s walking. He still crawls, but it’s no longer his first thought for locomotion. He prefers to walk—and is really interested in shoes now:-)

Yesterday, we left the kids with their grandparents, Cygnet for a couple of hours and the other two overnight, so we could see a movie for our anniversary (7 years!). I left them with a bag of nappies for Bilby. They were delivered home this morning—with all the nappies still there! She apparently decided to stop wearing them (during the day), and was still without them when she got home! She was even dry during her nap! I’m still not entirely convinced that she’s trained, but she’s delivering a pretty convincing implession of it!

So we go into 2010 with everyone walking, and only one in nappies full time! It is indeed a different year to the last!

Christmas 2009

A couple of years ago, the Advent season was when I started blogging daily (or nearly so). I maintained it until probably May-ish last year, and then a few times a week for about another 12 months. This year? I think I managed a couple of Food Posts through Advent, and that’s about it.

Mind you, this Advent has been lacking in a lot of my usual preparations! I have Ice Cream Plum Pudding in the house, because that’s essentially what I was doing for our family Christmas dinner. I have Gingerbread Dough in the freezer, because I made a double quantity when we made gingerbread houses at Halloween. I have the makings of Fruit Mince Pies (pre-rolled pastry in the freezer and a bottle of mince). We’ve read a pile of Christmas books. We made an Advent Chain. But that’s about as far as any similarity to previous Christmasses goes.

Before I get too disappointed though, I should point out that we have made quite a few presents this year! There should (I hope!) be several individual posts, once I download photos, but Puggle and I have been woodworking, and Bilby and I have sewn. Puggle made a small wooden boat for Cygnet, and a set of stilts for Bilby (as well as a pair of stilts for his Secret Santa, and he helped to sew an apron for Cygnet’s Secret Santa). Bilby made a woodworking apron for Puggle, five balloon juggling balls and a grab bag for her Secret Santa, and some Chocolate Coated Almonds for her grandparents. Me? I have finally finished the Pink Tower and (almost! still have to put the finish on) the Brown Stair. I’ve made (with some help from Puggle) several sets of Tree Blocks for some of the smaller children of our acquaintance. I have made three Bench Hooks (two to suit western saws, and one for japanese saws). And I’ve made a wooden forest (barring the dye-ing and finishing) (like blocks, but shaped like trees, rather than trees made from tree branches). I’ve sewn bags for the tree blocks (I still have one more to go, and a similar bag for the wooden forest), and three apron/chef’s hat sets… with accompanying bag. I’ve also been painting the IKEA abacus we got for Cygnet, to match the colours of the Right Start one:-) We did also make jam as part of our Christmas preparation.

I’m still anticipating doing our usual family calendar, and I’m hoping we’ll get to the cards—but obviously that won’t be happening by Christmas time!

So, a bit of a hit and miss. I keep reminding myself though, we can’t do everything! And we have been doing a lot of French during this time:-) Reminding me of more posts I have been meaning to write!

Hope your Christmasses were all lovely, and that the rest of your Festive Season is safe and joyous!

Bye Bye, Baby Feet…

I was feeding Cygnet and taking the opportunity to look closely at him. I realised that he no longer has the curled up, soft (clean!) feet of a baby:-( His toes have spread and now stretch out to grip the ground, his feet have flattened out as the regularly contact the ground, and they’re suitably grubby on all sides, not just the tops.

I don’t remember really noticing this with the other two, but even though he’s not reliably walking, his feet show the truth of the matter, he is Baby no more, but rather, Toddler.

First Birthday

We don’t do much for first birthdays, we keep it simple. But there is always cake:-)
Cygnet is generally a smiley fellow (although, not so much today:-( ) So we figured this was an appropriate choice!
I’m not a fan of licorice as a flavour—but it is invaluable in decorating cakes:-)

A Blinking Baby Boy:-)

He’s one, he’s sick—but he can blink! At first we thought he was pulling faces because he wasn’t feeling well, but after a while we realised that as part of screwing up his face, he was blinking! Later, he was grinning first and then doing it.

So cute!

Five and Standing and Mixing Colours!

So yesterday, I sent Bilby to go and get three nappies to put in the nappy bag before we headed out. She came back to put them in, but told me she could only find two. I asked to see them and there were actually two! I quizzed her on a couple of other numbers, and she knows her numbers up to five… and most of her shapes (although, she hasn’t picked up ‘quadrilateral’ from Puggle’s maths:-) That got him a few raised eyebrows the other night at dinner:-) ). She has also apparently got most of her colours sorted—all except for black and brown, which Puggle still confuses…

Cygnet has decided in the last day or so that he’s ready to try standing! He’ll randomly let go of things, and although at first he sat pretty much immediately, now he’s letting go and grabbing hold again:-) Then he gets a look of such delight:-) Of course, it usually earns applause from his siblings, which requires even more grins:-)

Puggle has been colouring in and painting. He’s getting much better at staying between the lines. Today, he decided to use the watercolours to paint his History pictures, so I had a delightfully rendered Spartan Warrior—with carefully mixed purple (‘that’s the colour they get from snail shells’), after he collected the colour wheel to help him with his proportions (they are quite fond of the purples, so they’ve used up all that was on the tray:-) )

So It Begins!

Cygnet has joined in the chasey around the house!

Up until now he hadn’t really had the stamina, and the others would lap him before he realised there was a circuit… but tonight? He kept on going:-) (Still being lapped, but not letting himself be distracted from his purpose:-) )


As a reward for that flurry of back-dated planning posts an Up-to-the-minute Cygnet Update! He’s 10 and a bit months old, and has eight teeth (as of about two weeks ago).

He can clap! He’s been doing ‘high five’ claps, with me for a couple of weeks, but he started banging some blocks together, and next thing you know… he was clapping!

In the last week or so, his random hand movements have turned into definite waves (still as likely to be towards himself, as to someone else).

Also, today we were at my niece M’s birthday, and she pushed herself onto hands and feet. Someone asked if Cygnet could do that, and I very dismissively said no. However, he’s just done that, too!

All while being miserable with a cold:-(

Youse Guys are Grouse! (Grubby Nails)

Today was fantastic!

We had 11 adults and 7 kids (plus Cygnet, who pretty much slept for most of it) turn up over the course of the day. So much got done! Far more than I had really anticipated:-)

I put up a list of jobs to do, vaguely sorted in order of preference. This was a good idea for a number of reasons. Firstly, it gave us a real sense of what had been accomplished. Secondly, it meant that people could look at what jobs were going and choose what suited them:-) It also meant that I didn’t have to ‘direct traffic’ all the time:-)

The list
Move pile of rocks from ‘Front’ yard to outside fence. Done!
Spread newspaper and mulch in ‘Front’ yard, from footpath towards road. Mostly done (we ran out of mulch—I was expecting newspaper to be the limiting factor)!
Spread newspaper and mulch from footpath to lemon and grapefruit. This didn’t get done, because there was no mulch left…
(If there is excess mulch, it will be going around the mulberry and apple). Or this.
(If there is still excess mulch, it will be going in the raised beds—once they’ve been whippersnippered.) Or this… although some of the area around the beds did get whippersnippered:-)
Put up a trellis for the grapevine in ‘Front’ yard. Done!
Remove Lantana from near porch. Done!
Prune Broom from near porch. Done!
Plant Red Seedless Grape near porch. Done!
Mount tool racks on the wall next to french doors (driveway side). Marked, but not done owing to a somewhat less than straight drill bit. We’ve borrowed another bit from my dad, but ran out of time. This is top of my list for tomorrow:-)
Plant Jasmine near street end upright of carport. Done!
Prune Roses. Largely done, well, not really pruned, but reduced somewhat so it will be possible to get in and prune them in a couple of months!
Whipper Snipper ‘croquet lawn’ (around roses). Partially done! I need to work out how to re-thread the whipper snipper so I can keep going with this.
Prune/remove Dollica. Done!
Plant dragonfruit (in place of dollica?) Not done, but we’ll do this tomorrow.
Plant peas and beans around teepee. Done!
Plant herbs in pots. Not done. People seemed strangely reticent to plant! The things that did get planted were pretty much the result of me specifically directing someone to do so. Also a job for tomorrow—I anticipate Puggle may be far more interested when there are fewer kids to distract him (although, they were distracting him towards work for a good part of it:-) )
Spread tea and coffee around peas and beans. Done!
(Investigate gate hanging… Not really serious, but if we get this far, it seems reasonable:-) ) Done! I wasn’t really expecting that this would get done, but I thought I’d put it on the list so that if we got through everything (being really optimistic!) we could all stand around the gate and ponder and posit… I didn’t count on a particularly enthusiatic helper:-)

Not on the List!
Fixing up paving at the end of the driveway.
Trellising the neighbour’s grape that comes over our way.
Pruning the bougainvillea and honeysuckle (and possibly other things?) in the patio.

So, lots done!
The only problem is that I don’t feel as though I did much gardening myself. I did do a lot of feeding of people. The Gulaschsuppe was popular:-) We went through near enough to 2 litres of that—and the same of the Pumpkin soup:-) We ate all the Chocolate Simplicity Cake, there are a small number of Gingernuts left, and about half the fruit cake. Other than that, most of my time was sorting out tools for people or finding things or answering questions. (There was a little bit of rounding up children in there, but not much… they worked well, because their friends were working. Or the oldest child [13] organised games or something!) Or standing around chatting… I feel as though I did far more of that than really seems fair!


Well, it seems I spoke too soon!

Today, I noticed in Cygnet’s mouth the definite appearance of teeth! Both his bottom ones:-)

Then, we came home, and he proceeded to rock up on all fours (and launching himself forward—narrowly missing a faceplant!):-) And he’s reaching out and pulling himself along/pushing with his toes!

A big day:-)

Six Months

Cygnet has been with us for six months now!

His siblings are still madly keen on him (if anything, they are even more keen than they were originally… now that he grins back at them!)

In the last day or so, he is able to remain sitting up (not with sufficient assurance that I’d leave him unattended, but he doesn’t require support). He’s been doing push ups (and getting into everything!) for the last week or so.

Still no teeth, though!

I find it amazing. Puggle has always been described as looking just like Paddington… Cygnet is the child most frequently likened to me—and yet it’s almost impossible (aside from eye colour) to distinguish between them in photos at the same age!

Adventures in Tandem Nursing

A couple of weeks before Cygnet was born, it suddenly struck me that Bilby would still be nursing… (I had never intended to wean her, she was still less than two—too young for me to be prepared to wean her… but I’d always anticipated that she would self-wean). It occurred to me that I might need to do some preparing!

So I asked a couple of friends (being in the fortunate position of knowing a couple of people who have/do tandem feed) for advice. Specifically, I was after suggestions for preparing Bilby, and also ideas about the logistics of it… Nursing a toddler (with their long legs!) can already be a challenge adding a baby…

One of them (as well as answering my questions) lent me a book.

Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond was a really helpful read! I wished that I had got hold of it when I was pregnant with Bilby herself! I’d ended up weaning Puggle, and angsted about it quite a bit—I probably would have made the same decision after having read this book, but I suspect I would have felt more at ease about it.

It gave me lots of useful information… both about feeding while pregnant, and what I might expect once Cygnet actually arrived (breastfed toddler poo!). There was a good mix of ‘technical’ information and personal stories, and a fabulous collection of photos. I hadn’t considered how Puggle might view things… but that was no problem—he caught sight of one particular photo and started telling me how I would need to hold Bilby and the baby to nurse them:-)

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is currently nursing and might be expecting another baby—or might be considering getting pregnant! I wouldn’t wait until the tail end of the pregnancy… tandem nursing starts before then!

Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’

Cygnet can roll! He first worked out how to roll from his front to his back, but today, he’s worked out back to front… and done it repeatedly! Of course, since then, he has chosen to stay on his front, and simply put his head down and go to sleep when he’s done, rather than roll back.

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