Develop Conference 2013 – Looking forward to it

So the Develop Conference 2013 is happening this week. I’m not attending the first day for Develop Evolve, but I’m really looking forward to the rest of the two days for Develop. I’m all registered up, got my schedule plan sorted on which sessions I will be attending. And even downloaded the app and found the names of interest.

Leaving my family behind I will be off to stay with family the night before heading into Brighton and sorting out registration and getting a good look around.

The sun has been hot hot hot over the past few days, so hopefully there is air conditioning inside the Hilton building keeping the attendees cool so the information is easier to soak up instead of fidgeting in sweaty seats!

A social evening is planned, whether it be with people I know, or new people I’ve met with similar interests where I can gain information and exchange details.

I would really love for some career changing events to outcome from this time away from home networking with professionals. I know it will require effort, but I intend to put that effort in.

For anyone interested, I have put together my first version of my Games Developer Portfolio. You can find it at http://games.shadowpuma.com

Fathers Day 2013

There are times when being a father has its perks. Fathers Day lets me never forget that what I have is special. Two children that are growing to love the same things as I love. My wife has also played a huge part in making Fathers Day great. Gifts are great, but they are not what it’s all about (but they are great to receive). I got hand made cards, sweets, and a new monitor to replace my broken one.

The day so far has been relaxed. Breakfast in the morning followed by watching Disney Princess Cinderella 3 with the children. I guess if we have time then Batman is next!

Later we are off out to spend the day with family.

Family life

I have now been off work (both employed and unemployed) since January 2010 with the sole purpose of being stay at home Father to Samuel and Maisie. There are certainly hard times when trying to keep them controlled and teach them new things when they don’t want to learn, but overall it has been a great experience so far.

We do a lot of things during a week, some typical and some not so typical. Playgroup is the one day of the week we know the mornings are going to be busy, fun and tiring (for them and for me). The Team at the playgroup have certainly welcomed me as a Dad amongst the other Mum’s and it makes me stand out a bit and feel special, but then it’s all about the children and getting them to play, learn and interact with others. It has helped greatly that both Clare and myself have kept in touch with the Mum’s from anti-natal so I at least have people to talk to and meet up with that we both know.
Another activity that has been introduced is a days play over at Nanny’s. This just gives me a chance to get a days worth of studying or web work done. Samuel and Maisie also love going to see Nanny and playing.
Sleeping is getting better too. They are now in their big beds. Samuel has a double futon to sleep on(!) and Maisie has my old single bed with bed guards. So far they have slept well in them and not fallen out! Getting them to stay in bed has also not been too hard. Maisie goes straight down as long as there are Sheep Bears in with her. Samuel on the other hand needs a bit more persuading. He needs drinks, blue bear, pink bear, maybe a car, and if he keeps getting up they all get taken away until we deem it necessary to give one or two of the items back. The “process” is pretty quick and he’s usually down within 30 mins.
Eating is also not much of a problem. They have a variety of foods they like and don’t like. Samuel is more of a meat man and won’t eat veggies unless persuaded. Maisie loves vegetables and savoury but not much of a meat girl. Between them we get all the food eaten.

The next challenge we are going to be taking up is … potty training!

The cutest smile

The family are doing well. Samuel and Maisie continue to grow and become so different from each other. Samuel is still in to his books and loves to investigate things, but he has now begun to show signs of tantrums and throwing things. These usually occur when he doesn’t get what he wants. It’s usually the keys to the front door, he spots me using them and then wants them and most times it’s not convenient for him to have them!
Maisie on the other hand doesn’t really have tantrums unless she is really tired, and these are just at the end of the day when Mummy is upstairs cooking dinner and Daddy is downstairs wanting some help in tidying up the toys. But Maisie has become this little girl that has the cutest faces she pulls when she wants something. I’ve been told that she will have me round her little finger in no time at all! I am sure that will be right.

They have both started to nod in a yes motion when you ask them and question and the response is a positive one. Sam has also learnt to say “No!” and uses it quite well. There are sometimes where he just repeats it over and over to all questions, even if the answer would be in his favour.

There was also another success recently where we went to stay for a week in North Hayne Farm Cottages, down in Devon. It is the greatest of places where children get to feed the animals morning and evening, there are facilities for both children and adults, and the people there are extremely friendly. The accommodation cottages are really lovely and do feel like a home away from home. And this holiday was the first we have seen from start to end and not had to come home early because of illnesses, or sleep issues, or anything else bad. We all had a fantastic time. I really loved watching Samuel and Maisie walk around in their wellies, collect the buckets of food and head off to feed the animals. They fed the rabbits, chickens, pig, alpacas, goats, and even got to go on a donkey ride after feeding. This is certainly a place we will be looking to go back to in the future.

Change in milk formula

The past few days has seen a complete change in Samuel’s behaviour in relation to sleeping and how he is generally. He has gone from a baby that moans and cries out in his sleep, constant wake ups, moaning and biting during the day, and has become a baby that has been able to sleep through two nights in a row (that’s a great achievement for him!), happy and smiley at everything, plays nicely with his sister Maisie, and goes down quicker for naps and bed. He has even gone from biting his sister to hugging and kissing her!

What has caused this change? We aren’t sure exactly but there have been a few changes all at the same time.
Samuel has stopped teething from what we can tell so all Nurofen and Calpol before bed has stopped, he now sleeps on a comfy blanket on top of his cot bed sheet, when having lunch and dinner we try to give him his water beaker after he’s finished eating so his food doesn’t sit on liquid as much, we have tried to give him dairy/milky products earlier in the day (breakfast and lunch) so that there is a longer period for his body to process them before he goes to bed, and his milk formula before bed has been changed from Cow&Gate toddler milk to SMA Lactose Free.

All these combination of changes seem to have resulted in a child that now sleeps peacefully at night. Now that I’ve blogged all this I’ve probably jinxed it all 🙂

Family Life

I’ve not blogged much about my family life so far. It’s mainly been about my course and games. So here is an update on me as a father, husband, and how things are generally working out.

When the babies Samuel and Maisie were first born it was the best feeling in the world. Going from a couple enjoying time together, to a family was a big change. The energy levels dropped and still continue to remain low as the children require constant care. No matter how much sleep, rest, or timeout time I get the feeling of being able to do anything you wanted during a day seems to have gone never to return. But this is just a small price to pay when you look and see what great children we actually have. And I’m sure this goes for many other parents out there also.

Samuel and Maisie are great. Everyone can catch up on their latest photos and videos at the Rayment Family Website. They have grown at an unexpected rate over the past year. Now on the brink of walking fully, Samuel is still the go getter of the two when at home playing. But recently has become a bit of a wuss after some jabs and an illness. No doubt he will be back up and to his usual smiley self soon. There is just one thing I want for Samuel and that is for him to learn how to sleep all the way through the night. At this point I don’t mind him having a night time bottle and a 5:30am bottle. It’s the constant randomness of his waking that I’d like him to sort out. The evenings are the only time that Clare and I get alone, and these are getting shorter and shorter as we go to bed earlier and earlier. By the time we’ve had dinner, washed up, sat down to relax there is about 1 hour left. And even that time gets interrupted by a Samuel wake up call!
If Samuel became more like Maisie with regards to sleep then I’m sure he too would wake up smiling and full of energy rather than screaming and wanting to flop to sleep again. Maisie smiles make any morning a fantastic start. She is happy, bouncy and certainly knows what she wants as she points at things and says “This!”. Sometimes it’s not clear what “this” is, but after a few goes we soon get her what she wants. And sometimes not if the “this” is dangerous or simply not for children!

Talking seems to be Maisie’s specialty. Not interested in walking so much , she rambles on about things and we hope soon to be able to decipher and understand.

Being a stay-at-home Dad I get to spend a lot of time with the children. This is certainly time I enjoy and have been very lucky to get the opportunity to do. During the day we try to stick to routines. Breakfast followed by playing and a bit of kids tv. Then naps gives me a chance to catch up on housework, laundry, and maybe a bit of computer time. Then a bit more playing before lunch. Then the afternoon is open to going out. If it’s a nice day we go play on the swings and then walk round the pond. Some days we may go out to the shops and buy a few things needed for the cupboards/kitchen. And we may also do a bit of visiting. Then at the end of the day, Clare gets home, dinner for the children, a quick play before bath and bed.

I have been a bit rubbish with the socialising bit. I really need to start arranging meet up days so Samuel and Maisie at least get a chance to play with some of their friends and not just each other and their Dad. This is going to happen over the next few weeks for sure!

When we do go out and about I feel so proud of my children as people passing look at them and then look at me and smile. Again I’m so proud of the children when we’re out and they are so well behaved. No screams at the restaurants, no tantrums while shopping. I do sympathise with them a bit when they get bored either in supermarkets or queuing in the bank or post office. But overall they are children with good behaviour and good manners.

I have been writing this while Samuel naps next to me on the bed upstairs. Looking over at him it’s hard not to love the scraggy haired long finger nailed little monster pj wearing boy breathing slowly dreaming of wonderful things. I love Maisie just as much, but she is off napping happily in another room.