Spent much of the day trying to recreate and understand a couple of puzzling error reports from users. Debugging can be quite satisfying in its own way. One of the pleasures is, I think, the fact that you can finish it and know that you’ve finished it. It’s like solving a puzzle. With coding on the other hand you’re never really done. There is always the feeling that perhaps some part could be done better, added, removed, made faster.

Discovered that Ingrid prefers gravel to grass. No surprise there.

Went to the London Summer Sling Show. Showed off Ingrid in a Connecta during the “fashion show”, lustingly touched other people’s nice slings and carriers, met one or two sling sellers from whom I’ve bought things online but hadn’t seen in real life before, and started to think about maybe buying one more baby carrier. (Just one! Really, I can stop any time I want!)

I’m officially a year older today. As with all my recent birthdays I sort of knew it was due some time soon, but then in the rush of everyday things I lost track of it, and again it took me by surprise when the day arrived. Fundamentally my birthday isn’t that important to me. Even so, it could have been an excuse for a party, but almost all the people I might have wanted to celebrate with are in other countries, so this was just another day. But all this talk about birthdays has made me think about cakes, so I think we might compensate for this tomorrow and buy a small one.

I’m a year older than I was last year, which is of course true for all days… but today the digits rolled over and my new age starts with a 3. That actually makes me feel a bit old. My mental age, the age I think of myself as, has been “mid-20s” for quite a long time now. So inside I’m not aging by a year but by over 5 years, overnight. That’s a bit of a shock.

Another statistic: there will be (or has been) a point some time this summer, I don’t know the exact date, when I will have spent half of my life living outside of Estonia. 15 years in Estonia, 9 in Sweden, 6 in the UK. Hmm, I just noticed: if I wanted to continue the series, I should move to a new country this summer and stay there for 3 years.

This morning the thermometer reported that the temperature outside was –49°C. I think the sensor cable, which reaches the outside world by the crack between the window and the sill, has finally been mashed dead by the window as we keep opening and closing it.

(Warning: boobs are mentioned in this blog post. Many times.)

Ingrid was not even 6 months when I went back to work. She breastfed exclusively until a week or two before I had to go back to work. Our breastfeeding relationship was far too important for both of us to stop at that point, or even cut it to just mornings, evenings and nights. Now over 3 months later the situation hasn’t changed much… The first thing she wants in the morning is the boob. The first thing she wants when we get home from nursey is the boob. I barely have time to get us both free from coats and slings and bags and shoes, and she’s already making her “want boob now” noise (which is a throaty kind of cry, almost like a cough – very distinctive). I sometimes suspect that she spends her entire afternoon looking forward to that moment. And of course there’s the evening wind-down boob-in-bed session, and the cosy quiet night feeds.

At nursery she gets expressed milk from a trainer cup. (She never used a bottle. First there was no need, and at 6 months it would have felt silly – that’s the age when some babies start to wean from the bottle – so a cup it was.) Very conveniently for me, there’s a quiet room at the nursery at work where I can express and store milk. It has a comfy chair, a door I can lock, and a fridge. So for the past 3 months I have been a very steady visitor to the nursery. Twice a day, every day, and no meeting is important enough to make me skip this appointment (although I do flex the times) because if I do skip it, (a) my boobs will explode, and (b) Ingrid will have no milk for the next day.

For the benefit of those of you who haven’t been involved with babies recently, the most common way to express milk is to use a breast pump. There are electric ones and manual ones. If you want to see one in action (sans breast), head over to DadLabs for a video!

However I never got along with either the electric pump we bought, or the manual one I tried. Both hurt me, and the results were puny. So I do it the old-fashioned way, the way cows have been milked for thousands of years: by hand. And it’s given me a whole new appreciation of how much hard work milking is – and a new respect for the milkmaids of earlier times. I wonder if those milkmaids got RSI? I certainly get stiff shoulders and tired hands. Let’s assume, conservatively, that during each 15-20 minute session, I spend 10 minutes actually expressing milk. And let’s say that I do 2 squeezes per second. Well, probably a bit less – say 3 squeezes for every 2 seconds. That’s 10 * 60 * 3 / 2 = 900 squeezes, twice a day. A good workout for the fingers!

BB (Before Baby) I knew in an abstract way that babies eat and drink breast milk, and that it’s good for their health and digestion and all that. So of course I was going to breastfeed. But I somehow imagined that once you introduce babies to “real food” they would prefer that, and maybe just go on breastfeeding a bit for comfort now and again. The reality, as any mother could tell you, is quite different. Most babies are happy to live mostly on breast milk for far longer than the first 6 months. It is possible to wean them despite this, of course, but it takes an effort. Online mothering forums have tons of questions about how to stop breastfeeding.

I used to think that extended breastfeeding (past a year or so) was for extreme mothers, barefoot and with dreadlocks and batik clothes, who carry their babies in cloth slings and sleep in the same bed with them. (Slight exaggeration, but not by much.) Now continuing to breastfeed seems like the most reasonable, natural thing to do. Oh, hang on, I am one of those crazy hippie mothers, wearing my baby and sharing a bed with her… and giving birth at home… missing the dreadlocks though. Do you think I would look good with dreads?

Ran into a film shoot. I just wanted to look at some wooden toys at Wood’N’Things and when I got there, most of the space in the shop (which is tiny and cramped to begin with) was taken up by lights and a camera and a film crowd. Some sort of short film about a king named Jeff, they said. Seemed sort of half-serious at most, maybe a film school project or something like that.

London is a good place for filmspotting. It’s not uncommon to see signs for “xyz set” or “xyz crew” etc (replacing xyz with movie name or abbreviation). Once they were even shooting in Backchurch Lane which is literally around the corner. And another time I saw a scene from V for Vendetta being shot.

Sunday’s observation – that Ingrid will pull herself to standing when she holds onto my hands, but not against other things – is already out of date. Now she tries to stand with the help of the sofa table, the CD shelf, the bookshelf, the wastepaper basket, the pushchair etc. In fact pretty much anything will do. Some of these things are of course more suitable than others – the armchair keeps swivelling so it’s kind of hard to use (but on the other hand it has very chewable leather edges) and the wastepaper basket was a resounding failure (being very light, it fell, and so did Ingrid).

Never one to rest on her laurels, Ingrid’s already taking small steps, learning to stand on one leg and, I suspect, attempting to climb. I think we have a climber on our hands.

(Sorry, crappy photo – she was standing in the narrow space between our bed and the balcony door and left me very little room for manoeuvre.)

Does my bum look big in this?

C# course continues. Today: garbage collection, reflection and XML.

Also the 2nd half of the pediatric first aid course. Today: choking.