Tuesday, February 26, 2013

6 months? Seriously?

Hi Everyone...

How are we all? I'm well, Chloe is currently sleeping and I thought I'd take the time to update you all on what is happening in our world.

Can you believe she is 6 months already? Where does the time go? I remember when we brought her home from the hospital and she was so tiny and fresh and new. I remember looking at her and thinking that 6 months felt a lifetime away! But now as I look at her sleeping sweetly I can't believe its here already... It makes me feel ridiculously proud of Jarratt and I that we've 'survived' hehe. But also sad, because I feel like I should of been paying more attention. I guess that's whats great about this blog, I'm able to look back over the entries and photos and reflect on how much she and I have changed and learnt as we continue this beautiful mother-daughter dance!

Since I last wrote, as always, a lot has happened. We have celebrated lots with weddings, birthdays and Chloe's numerous achievements. But lets start where we always do... with Chloe... the most important thing.

STARTING SOLIDS

 
Chloe's most significant achievement to date has been her eating! Chloe started solids just before she was 5 months old and took to it like a duck to water. Since she started eating, just over a month ago, she has eaten rice cereal, carrot, apple, pear, potato, pumpkin, sweet potato, broccoli and by far her favourite, zucchini! Carrot and potato took a little convincing, but generally shes a great little eater.... But with each new food comes the new food face which cracks me up! But after a few mouthfuls she comes around to the taste and starts lunging at the spoon. And unlike the bottle, shes not fussy who gives it to her, sometimes she even cracks up at the efforts of certain Aunties who try desperately to get the spoon in her mouth as she slowly slumps forward. Also since starting solids Little Miss has managed to put on a whole kilo in a month, which still puts her between the 25th and 50th percentile for weight. So that's great and her weight and height is tracking well, as she now weighs 6.9kg and is 68cm long, which puts her on the 75th percentile for height now.


CHATTING

Chloe loves a chat, bit like her mother really, hehe. As I mentioned in the last update she has carried on with the squealing, much to daddy's dismay - she still squeals to get your attention, but also now to let you know she's having a blast. Sometimes she is so loud, I'm sure the neighbours will bust down our door at any second to check I'm not hurting her. Recently one neighbour asked how she was going, I said "Yeah, she's great, she's just very loud" to which he replied, "I know, I've heard her!" .... Whoops!

But her experimenting with sounds is very cute and often has me in hysterics watching her 'communicate' with us. I use to marvel at these mothers who could hear the tinest sound from their child and act accordingly to their need, as if they were magicians or even better mind readers. But now, thankfully, I speak a bit of baby, which makes living with a 6 month old much easier.  If she makes a certain sound I can quickly decipher what she needs whether it be a toy,  she wants to be picked up, receive some acknowledgment of what she is doing or if something is causing her discomfort.... I just cant believe its taken me 6 months to learn her language!

SITTING and STANDING

Chloe has begun sitting, although a little wobbly, unsupported. She still prefers to sit between mine or daddy's legs so she can balance herself by placing her hand on us. Sometimes, when she's distracted by a toy she forgets what she's doing and can sit unsupported for even longer. But we're getting there... More preferably she enjoys holding our hands and standing, often squealing to get our attention so we can see just how clever she is!

GRABBING AND PASSING
 
Chloe has really fantastic fine motor skills, she is really wonderful at grabbing at objects and concentrating hard when she passes them between her hands. She loves to shake rattles and almost has convulsive fits of excitement when you hold a toy just out of reach and lower it into her grasp! This obviously is followed closely, as you probably guessed, by squealing... Its pretty cute!


SWIMMING AND BATH TIME
 
Recently Chloe and I started swimming lessons. I was a little apprehensive to start with, although having a few dips in family pools, she always seemed to be nervous and took a while to warm to the idea. But Jarratt and I were determined to make her a water baby! So last Wednesday (20/2) off we went to the pool for our 9am lesson. The lessons commenced and Chloe was a koala, clinging to me nervously, any time I tried to get her involved in the activities she panicked. About 10 minutes into the 30 minute lesson I decided to just do the activities with her. Instead of holding her out in front of me, away from my body, and bouncing her. I just held her in a cuddle and bounced with her... much more enjoyable for both of us. 
At the end of the lesson the teacher said she had done really well not to scream or cry and that the reason she was probably clinging to me was because she was cold.... the pools heater had malfunctioned overnight and it was 4-6 degrees cooler than normal. She also gave me some homework to complete as part of bath time. So home I strolled with Chloe and that night, like the good student I am, we started our homework. Below is the video.... too cute for words!

video

 
SLEEPING and NIGHT WAKING

Chloe has officially dropped her afternoon nap! She now has only 2 sleeps each day, ranging from 1-2hours, which is great! Don't get me wrong sometimes she'll only sleep for 45minutes, which is frustrating! But now that we have dropped the afternoon nap, there are no arguments, at all! WINNING! But in true Chloe Style now that I've said it out loud, committed it to words, she'll have a wobbly next daytime sleep! Hahaha.

She also never protests at bedtime now, there. I've said it. And if you were paying attention and reading closely the aforementioned paragraph, you know what that means ;-) But Chloe is a superstar at bedtime now, I simply change her nappy whilst singing and then zip her into her ergo bag and its nigh nighs, she'll yawn and turn her head to her 'comfy' side. I leave the room, tears free and smile that she has finally accepted that the cot is the place for sleep.... its all really wonderful now!

We still have issues around sleeps in the pram, I suspect that is due to the fact that Chloe likes to sleep arms splayed out to her sides and she cant do that in the pram. And whilst we've made leaps and bounds in daytime sleeps we've had some issues with her waking at night, at first we thought it was because she was hungry, so we introduced solids, we had 4 good nights then, BAM awake again, we then deducted that she was cold, so an extra blanket, we get another good few nights of sleeping through, and BAM, awake again over night. It really is a game of trial and error though, keep your fingers crossed for us.
 
ROLLING OVER
 

This has been the most amusing achievement to date. Poor Chloe has never been a fan of tummy time, but since its a 'must' for development we've battled to do some daily. Over time she has got much more inclined to be put in this position, but still prefers to be on her back. Whilst at Auntie Nic's and Uncle Naths place we put her down on her tummy and quite quickly and to the surprise to all present she very slowly, safely and calmly rolled over. We all applauded her effort much to her amusement... now, whenever put on her tummy, if she'd prefer to be on her back, she just rolls over. We're so proud of our little problem solver! Ha!

SELF DISCOVERY
 
Chloe has always been a little curious creature, watching her cousins run about, studying each toy with true concentration and gently touching things like peoples faces, hair and so on. So whilst folding washing one day, I put her in front of the mirror in her bumbo to let her look at her self, what unfolded was the funniest thing I've ever seen... but like the bath time thing, a picture tells a thousand words... so here is a video of what unfolded.

video

BOTTLE REFUSAL
 
Unfortunately, Chloe has once more decided her and the bottle are not friends. Which is making life very difficult with weddings, hens and birthdays coming up. This week I have been expressing what I can (10-20mls) and trying to give it to her before her 11am feed. At first she would throw herself backwards in protest, screaming blue murder, but today she just played with the teat, chewing on it and swallowing some milk... I figure I have a month or so before the next wedding and will endeavour to make them friends again! Again... cross those fingers xxx

GETTING OUT AND ABOUT
 
Little Miss LOVES getting out and about... so much so that I fill our weeks with activities from swimming to play dates. By far play dates are my favourite thing to do. As great as my best friends here in Sydney are its so nice to meet up with my 'mum' friends and see their bubs. Its refreshing to safely vent frustrations to women who 'get it'. I can at times feel a little lost being alone in this Mum thing without any of my besties having babies themselves, despite them being ridiculously understanding, its hard to really get into any deep conversation about things knowing that they have no point of reference.

So these play dates, whilst great for Chloe are also very therapeutic for mummy! Its also wonderful to see these little people regularly and how they change from week to week. As well as what other mums see in Chloe and marvel at, things I had taken for granted. It gives me a bit of perspective and I leave them feeling refreshed and revitalised.... I hope they know how much I appreciate them and their friendship, xxx


In addition to getting out and about locally, we have also travelled further afield and been to Brisbane again for Cousin Thomas' second birthday. The plane thing always looms foreboding over our heads on the trip. We try to do our best to plan the flights so that Chloe will sleep but also so we get the most out of our weekend away! This worked beautifully on the way up with Chloe sleeping most of the way, on the way back not so much. But as a whole she was a wonderful guest at Uncle Adrian's and Auntie Caryn's house and we had a great time hanging out together!



In other news, Jarratt and I got dressed up and attended our best friends Wedding at the end of January. Nic and Nath tied the knot at Cronulla on the 27th and we felt so privileged to not only be part of their day but also, on my part, to have been asked to do a reading. It was a fantastic night and one that will not be forgotten for a long, long time.


But how are you Bec? I hear .... well, not many people ask. Lets face it, you're all here for Chloe. lol. But for those of you interested, I'm.... honestly? Tired! Despite my vow to sleep more, I've done that once. With everything that's going on, Chloes love of outings, how fun she is to play with now, the fact that she's eating food which I'm making myself and other commitments, there's not much time left in the day for seep. Add to that Jarratt now being busy on the weekend I'm often left feeling like a 'single parent'.

But when she shoots me a gummy smile, my heart melts and the distant memory of sleep seems like a very good problem to have! Hehe.

Til next time,
All my love, Mummy

Monday, February 25, 2013

Chloe's First Christmas!

*DISCLAIMER*
I did write this back in the middle of January, but for some reason it never 'published' correctly, so apologies to those that have been left hanging.... here, although a little late, it is. Enjoy, xxx


Hi All,
 
 
How are we? Chloe and I are well, despite the heatwave that swept through Sydney yesterday. We fared pretty well though, using the air con most of the day (shh! don't tell daddy, hehe) and with an afternoon dip in Uncle Brent's pool. Crazy that it got up to 43 degrees! This weather really needs to sort itself out! Anyways... enough about that, onto the fun stuff... Miss Chloe! Yay!
Since I last wrote a lot has changed and to be honest, I don't even know where to start. Normally, I make notes in my iPhone day to day of interesting things that happen to write about each month, but so much has happened in the last month that I havent taken notes and its hard to gather all the points in my head succinctly but here goes...
 
 
Chloe's first Christmas

 
This year, Christmas took on a whole new meaning! I have always enjoyed the festive season, but having a little one in the house really weaved something special into the mix. I guess it all kicked off with her Santa photo. A little anxious, Chloe and I made our way to Roselands one Wednesday dressed up in her best Christmas outfit (she had three in total, thanks Nanny) to have her photo taken with Santa. Well prepped and planned we arrived at noon, Chloe's 2nd happiest time of the day. The happiest is at about 730am, but Santa isnt available for photos then, hehe. I was prepared for tears, screams, everything! But without blinking, when plonked on Santa's lap, she sat there unfazed and smiled for the photo. Well, smiled at me, not the camera, but still a smile nonetheless. Many people have asked how we managed to have the photo of just her, no parent, no tears, no dummy! I can honestly say, its all her! I was so proud of her on the day, and us, I guess, clearly we are raising one confident little lady!
Then came Christmas day, Chloe again was a dream! The day kicked off with Uncle Brent, Auntie Beth and Cousin Leilani coming over for Christmas breakfast and some camera knocking good fun! Then at about 11 we headed to Grandma's and Opa's for lunch and more Christmas celebrations with Uncle Adrian, Auntie Caryn, Cousin Thomas and the Tandeks. It was a loud, busy affair and Chloe sailed through it beautifully. Before we knew it we were back home opening presents then piling into the car to head to Maitland for Christmas the sequel the following day. On Boxing Day, Chloe again surprised us as she backed up better than daddy and mummy after a big day. There she celebrated with more cousins, aunts and an uncle, as well as Nanny and Poppy and was again spoilt rotten! By the end of the two days Chloe had received such an abundance of gifts she could nearly open her own shop!!!!! The remained of 2012 was spent in Maitland laying by the pool in very fashionable swimmers with matching hat, heading out to the wineries for some tastings and decadent lunches, as well as ringing in the New Year with Auntie Nic and Uncle Nath.
 
 
Recent achievements

In the last month or so, Chloe has started doing some really cool stuff. Now that shes awake longer and more animated, she is really starting to 'show off' by:
  • Grabbing and holding things easily, followed by promptly shoving it into her mouth, sometimes so violently she gags, haha.
  • Sitting up supported - thanks largely to her Bumbo, Chloe is able to now sit up supported and loves being able to be part of the conversation.
  • Rolling over, although often assisted, she has done it once independently but may have also been by fluke. 
  • Communicating more, she now 'talks' to you. Often squealing to get my attention, particularly when her headband has fallen down over her eyes. As well as experimenting with sounds, my particular favourite is a long drawn out mumble vibrating sounding sound that I call 'stuck in second', cause that's exactly what it sounds like. 
  • Giggles, particularly when you snort into her neck or eat her tummy. You cant help but feel flooded with warmth when you hear her make a full belly chuckle! There are no words, just love!
  • Recognising Mum and Dad. I'll often leave her under the play gym to put out washing or make food and when I come back and she sees me for the first time she will grin from ear to ear, similarly when J comes home from work.
  • Singing. It was pretty much a guarantee that she would love music and singing given the amount of singstar she heard whilst in the womb. (Thanks to Auntie Nic and Uncle Nath's xbox!) A particularly favourite are 'You are my sunshine' which will always have a calming effect when we're in the car or an instant smile, always handy for photos.
  • No nappy time. Whilst away in Maitland we discoveered that Chloe is a bit of an exhibitionist, which I assure you she gets from her Greek Islands skinny dipping father. She now spends a good half an hour each day being a down right rudie nudie! Thankfully we have yet to cop a spray..... hahaha
  • Going to sleep without crying and sleeping in longer blocks during the day. For a while there Chloe had turned into a bit of a catnapper, sleeping for 45 minutes and then waking, which made it difficult to get anything done!!!! Having pushed her bedtime back 15-30 minutes she now sleeps for 1.5-2 hours twice a day, which is great! She also goes to sleep now, more often than not, without a sound. We have now developed a very structured routine which is performed before each day time sleep, which helps in preparing her for bed without protest! The only exception is bedtime, which continues to be hit and miss. Sometimes she'll crash out no tears, other times she'll turn it on for about half an hour and is a bit of a battle of wills. But I guess she cant be perfect all the time ;-)
  • Taking the bottle.... boy, oh boy! Is this an achievement!!!! Young Chloe and the bottle were pretty much nemesis' until recently, and even still not the best of friends now. Which is a particular problem when you have events coming up that she is not invited to. Up until Monday she had never taken a bottle from anyone other than Jarratt, but on Monday... success! After a bit of a battle, Nanny managed to feed, burp, wrap and put young Chloe to bed whilst we went out for J's birthday dinner!
 
and..... Me
 
As a mum its easy to forget about yourself and put yourself last, recently I was so run down my glands swelled up and I got a pretty nasty cold sore! The following day, I committed myself to not doing anything in Chloe's sleep times except sleep myself, the next day I felt heaps better! But since then, I've always had things to fill my 'free' time such as email updates, hehe. But I am going to try and nap more often, that along with being a less anxious mother, are my New Years resolutions. I also find that only lately have I started to feel like I know what I'm doing and (hand on heart) REALLY enjoying motherhood. For a period of time, I wouldn't admit it to anyone, let alone myself, I was struggling a bit. I now feel like I am emerging from the haze and am no longer constantly questioning if I am a good mother. Dont get me wrong I still have down days and doubts but I recently had an epiphany, something that really has helped me turn a corner, it occurred to me that I dont need to be perfect, I just need to love her, which I do ... with all my heart and soul!!!!
 
 
 
Til next time, xxx