Radio silence

Apologies for the gap in posts. I was away for a week on my other day job in England, and getting back to things after that has been a little hectic.

Being away from the little one was an interesting experience. I was busy covering an airshow with my FlightGlobal colleagues, which generally means a waaaaay too early start to the day, hectic deadlines to get written pieces turned around, networking events in the evenings, a few hours sleep and then doing it all over again the next day, for about five days. This time was no exception.

All of that meant that while I did miss being away from my small family, in some ways I was too busy to dwell on it. Or too exhausted. Or – in my case – a combination of both.

But I did find it creeping up in strange ways. Hearing a baby cry on the aircraft reminded me of my little baby’s cries. Suddenly, every person holding a little child felt like someone I could relate to.

And, yes, I did find myself looking for the right gift to bring back from the Old Dart, to suitably impress my not-yet-two-month old. That’s a little sad really.

I had planned this work trip a few months back – months before the baby was born. My wife had OK’d it, thinking that by about Week 6 we should have things down pat.

Turns out, that was a tad ambitious. Who would have thought?

That’s not to say that things went pear-shaped. In fact, my wife did great. She was able to stay with her mum, which meant some great grandma time with the little bubba. And overall the little froggy didn’t have too many issues.

I recognise now though that being without the support of a partner, even for just a week, did put additional strain on my wife. I’ve tried to be as helpful and involved in our baby’s care as I can, and although that has limits, not having that additional support is tough. My mother in law was able to fill in the gap, but at the same time, it isn’t the same.

So, since coming back, I’ve been trying to be more mindful of how I can help out. At the same time, my own boss has become an amateur dad too, which means that I’ve been managing the office, albeit remotely. And at the same time trying to manage immunisations, a six-week check-up, giving the wife some rest and all the usual things of life.

I’m not seeking a medal, because this is just the reality of being a parent. It seems like a constant juggling act, hoping that the only balls that get dropped don’t matter too much.

Just don’t drop the baby.

And it’s cliched, but the bubba certainly did grow and change whilst I was away. With the wonder of modern technology I was able to get photos and videos from back in the colony, so there was a way of keeping track of it, but it’s not the same.

Being told that she has started smiling is no substitute for being there. Thankfully, she now does that a fair bit, so I can catch up for lost time.

That trip has made me re-think my work schedule. I used to average a trip once a month, but that is going to be less now – and I think that is for the better. Sure, it may cost me some points at work, but I only get one shot to be part of my little girl’s growing up.

Something tells me that may be worth it.

Embracing the brace

It’s been just over a week since out little froggy was fitted with a brace that will keep her legs in place and resolve her hip issues.

And, so far, it has been going pretty well, on the whole.

The brace wraps around her torso, and pulls her legs up to hold them at a 90 degree angle to her hip, basically so that it grows with the leg in the socket properly. The doctors have said that she has to wear it for 23 hours a day for six weeks, after which there will be a review. It may be OK to come off after then, or she may just have to wear it while sleeping. Or she may have to do another six weeks. We won’t know until the next ultrasound in five weeks’ time.

Although she does seem to prefer it when the harness comes off, the baby seems to be OK with it most of the time. It isn’t too invasive, and is pretty padded so there is no obvious discomfort. We’re now using a romper instead of a singlet, so the brace sits outside that and she can still wear a onesie over that. To the passer-by, the only giveaway is that her legs are a little splayed out, but even then babies tend to do that anyway.

On the plus side, with her legs out of the way it is a little easier for nappy changes.

It does seem though that by the end of the day, she kinda gets over wearing the brace. The last few nights in particular she’s been very grizzly, which abates slightly when we take the brace off. Nonetheless, after the bath routine, she seems to settle reasonably well when we put it back on for the evening.

Of course, we would rather that she didn’t have to go through the whole process at all, but that is academic. On the plus side, her hip displaysia was picked up early, and so with her wearing the brace now, there shouldn’t be any need for further intervention once that has done its job.

And, we must remember, that there are far worse issues that afflict children around the world. We do not have to worry about where we will lay her down to rest, if she will be able to eat, or about who may come through the door at any minute. As I’ve said before, we have won the lottery to be born where we have been, as has our little girl, and she is getting great care to resolve this issue.

So for now, we’ll just embrace the brace.