Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Living a model life.

Hi there!

How are we all? I'm well, State of Origin is on and I've been stripped of my couch commando title and lost all rights to the remote.... it happens every year, but hey! I get the (remote) control pretty much EVERY other night so I won't complain. And it actually gives me a chance to catch you all up on the comings and goings of our little world. Lucky for you Jarratt is mad on the footy otherwise with our current social calendar I don't know where I'd find the time to write this monthly update. But before I get into the segmented update stuff, I need to have a proud mumma moment and share with you the most recent and notable highlight in our world.

The Monday just gone (24th), Cosmo pregnancy was released and Chloe appeared in it.... TWICE! Based on the photo shoot 2ish months ago, two of her photos were selected to appear in the mag and we just could not be any proud of our little superstar. Below is one of the images from her modelling debut....

I also realised re-reading the last blog, as I do before I start each new post, its been a while since I updated you on Chlo's measurements.... So..... here goes:

Chloe has cracked 8kg, weighing in at 8.03 at her last check up. She had gone backwards in her height and was measured at 69cm, but this isn't unusual as each nurse has a different measuring technique and none are perfect... the one measurement that did have a few eyebrows raised was her whopping big head! Her head was measured as 45.5cm, meaning it had jumped a few bands since last check up. So whilst her height and weight sits pretty on its line at the 25th percentile, her head is up somewhere near the 75th. Which had me in hysterics as the nurse consulted the doctor.... I mean what can be done about a giant head really?? Maybe I should put less headbands on her... maybe that has something to do with it, hehe.


So not much has changed on the food front, Chloe is still eating three meals a day, plus snacks. Although her finger food has become more substantial – just today she feed herself a off cut of silver side that we’d had for dinner last night. It was pretty funny watching her chew away on it like a little puppy! Her coordination with the spoon is also improving, despite sometimes feeding herself using the wrong end, hehe. She is also confidently using her sippy cup now with the flow control on, which has helped with spillages and her being more independent in drinking. I can now leave her chloe cup beside her as she plays or on her high chair table tray and she'll pick it up and drink herself. Its wonderful to see her growing in her independence!

Her milk feeds are also becoming shorter and shorter with the 7am feed being the longest and the 11am, 3pm and 630pm being less than 10 minutes, sometimes less than 5. Its bananas how fast she is now with feeding! In the last post I mentioned we were contemplating dropping the 11 or 3 feed depending which she favoured less, but neither has been more popular than the other so for the time being we are keeping both. I plan on phasing out day feeds by 12 months, then once that’s established phasing out boob all together…. So there IS light at the end of the tunnel, hehe.


The squealing continues to be Chloe's main form of communication. She has tonal changes in the ba, pa, eh, etc sounds that indicate her intention and all are pretty amusing! She is also becoming much better at responding to and understanding questions. For example if we are at home and Jarratt leaves the room, I will ask her 'Where's Daddy? Where did he go?' and she will look in the direction he left and occasionally say 'Da da' and point.

Pointing to things is also new, she now points and I do my best to say the name of the object she is pointing to. Sometimes she makes a sound that is similar to the word I have just said, which shows a real intelligence and strength in communication. I truly believe Chloe is going to be a real little chatter box when these sounds start turning into words... I just don't know how Jarratt will live with both of us.

Her non verbal communication is also out of sight, in addition to pointing and looking in the direction of things she has started shaking her head as in she is saying 'no'. She seems to do it when she is excited or having a good time which has confused many people who are unfamiliar. It does however make for some funny videoing as you can see below.

Whilst away in Fremantle, and leaving a BBQ, Chloe raised her hand and waved, a very royal looking bye to everyone. Since then she has become more consistent in waving bye to people and the wave has become less royal and more of a mirror image replica. It is very sweet when we say to her 'say bye' and she raises her hand and waves. She is such a cutie patootie!!!

She has also become more affectionate. In the last week or so I have received my first REAL cuddles, where she'll lean her head against my chest and snuggle in. I have also seen much affection for her little friends when we are on playdates. She's never been the kid that would 'grab' another and lately I've seen her gently lean in and open her mouth as if to kiss another child, or gently stroke their face. This was very evident in her photo shoot for Cosmo a few months ago when the boy who was being photographed with her was deeply distraught, Chloe softly reached out and stroked his cheek, it ended up being the photo they used for the magazine article, which you can see below.

Little Miss STILL (FRUSTRATINGLY) shows no interest in crawling, every now and then there is a glimmer of hope as she gets in a crouching position as she reaches for something on the floor. If we encourage her with a gentle manipulation to help get her on all fours, she cries.... so we haven't pushed it. She has, however, got more confident in 'walking'. In order to save our backs we have bought her two contraptions to help and despite really enjoying the version you sit in at Toys r us, she prefers to walk with us .... or with her walker or cruise on furniture. But ... mostly with us, grrrrrrrrrrrr!

She still doesn't have a lot of upper body strength required to pull herself up, except in the bath tub, hehe. But she has incredible balance!!! As a result she has been able to stand without support for a good 5 seconds. She has done it on a few occasions now, and more often when she's not thinking about it. I have to say thanks to a VERY clever mummy friend who taught me that it helps if she's holding something to distract her. I wish I could say that this all makes me very excited - that soon I'll have a mobile bub! But if I'm honest, whilst all this standing, walking stuff looks very promising - it is very possible that this phase could continue for a while and whilst she is not interested in crawling, I am stuck with her frustrated cries when I leave the room and she can't follow me, or when one of her playmates or toys is out of reach. I feel bad for her.... but more so, I feel bad for my back. hehe.
Chloe started turning in her cot this month,
but like most phases it has now past.
Chloe is now having 2 sleeps a day ranging from 30mins (in the pram/car) to 2 hours (in her cot). Her naps happen at roughly 10am and 2pm most days and as much as I don't want to jinx it I'm happy to announce that for the last three nights, Chloe has gone to bed before 7 and slept til 7.... WITHOUT a dream feed. I had done some reading and consulted my clever mummy friends and found that it was possible for bubs her age to last the night without nightly feeds and just being 'resettled'. So we attempted a few nights of Jarratt rocking her to sleep but he could never get her into the cot once asleep and always resulted in me going in to boob feed her to sleep. I was approaching the end of my tether with the whole thing.... 10 months of broken sleep will do that to you! So we applied an approach I read about in Baby Love. Yes, it involved controlled crying, yes, we felt like terrible parents, but yes it seems to have worked! And we haven't looked back.... but, as I previously mentioned its only been 3 from 3 and while I'm hopeful, I'm a realist!

I don't know how I've forgotten to mention this in previous blogs but Chloe LOVES bubbles and when I say love I mean, kick your feet, squeal very loud and stick your tongue out kind of love. It is one of those things I try and find time for each day, its as fun to her as a visit to the park and has me in hysterics each time I crack out the bubble wand. I FINALLY got around to filming her for you all to see. Its simply heart warming....
Since the last monthly update, she has continued to show a love for music and often 'dances' and claps along with songs. She has also started 'clapping' as an applause like response, like we do for her. Recently we attended Rhyme Time at the library and she just loved it, often clapping at the end of each song. She even got her own library card so she can borrow new and different books to read with Daddy. She also continues to enjoy visits with her little friends and to the park, they are truly a highlight of each week for both her and I!

Chloe was a downright super star on our trip to Fremantle for Aunty Kiki and Uncle Mark's wedding. Despite never really coming across to WA time and having 'naps' every day in her pram, she only lost it twice! She had an amazing time over the long weekend and definite highlights were visiting swan valley wineries and playing in the sand, at both the little creatures brewery and on Bathers Beach after the ceremony. We were very proud of her and her remarkable behaviour, particularly on the 5 hour plane flight there and back! She was SO good, it has us contemplating another long haul trip with her again soon..... it was only a matter of time before she got her own passport with well travelled parents like us.

And so ends another monthly update, we hope you've enjoyed reading about it as much as we've enjoyed living it.... xxx

Sunday, June 2, 2013

"It must be so relaxing..."

Hi everyone, how are we? Chloe, Jarratt and I have just bunkered down inside as it's a bit of a drizzly day. She's currently sleeping and I thought I'd make a start on this update that has been hanging over my head like the dark grey clouds in the sky at the moment. I always worry each month as I lack the time and motivation to write the blog that the previous post may be the last... but somewhere, possibly from the depths of my stomach, I muster enough motivation to once again fill you all in on the life and times of our happy little family and it's newest member.


Chloe has continued being a good little eater. She has continued having three meals a day and some snacks. As a result of the increase in solids her milk feeds have gradually become shorter to the point where we think she may be ready to drop a day time feed. At this point we're not sure whether it will be the 11 or 3 o'clock feed as some days she wants one and some days the other. At the moment I'm still offering her both and letting her decide. Its all a bit of trial and error, but being the little diva she is she is pretty clear when she doesn't want it, throwing her head backwards and pushing away from me.

As far as foods go she has now had lamb, bread, pineapple, cucumber, custard, pasta, butter, mandarin, watermelon, rockmelon, milk biscuits, cheese and tomato. I am also a bit less stringent with the 3 day thing. Often I offer her something just to try and if in 24 hours there is no reaction I think great! Hence I'm not so sure how comprehensive the aforementioned list is.

She is also less interested in feeding herself but more concerned with holding the spoon and dragging it through the food in her bowl. Occasionally she'll throw the spoon to the floor which will result in a large bang which amuses her, but also a large mess which, unfortunately does not amuse daddy.  Yet we're powering on as we're sure eventually she'll put this skill and last months skill together and hey, presto! We'll have a self feeding child. That's the hope anyways.

Chloe is quite the little chatter box as you all know. She loves to shout and squeal to get your attention and is very rarely quiet. Since last post she has continued to experiment with sounds and says words like 'ba', 'pa' and so on. She is able to use her sounds or tone of voice to communicate quite clearly what her intention is to the point of amazing, whether it be 'look at me! how amazing am I walking with dad?' or 'I dropped that cool black thing with the buttons, you there, pick it up!' And it works both ways, she now, we believe understands us a bit better... When we praise her for good behaviour she smiles and gets all excited. Equally when we say no or 'uh-ah' she often stops what she's doing and looks at us.... unless of course she doesn't want to, then she just squeals!

She also continues to chant dad dad dad on occasions and on the 15th of May threw out her first 'ma ma'. There are no words to explain how your heart melts at the word. Since the initial time it has now become her 'cry out' sound. Needless to say, I feel slightly ripped off, Jarratt gets the cutest da da da and I get maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. The other day at home, Chloe was crawling around and positioned herself against the arm chair, and whilst looking down the hallway proceeded to 'shout' out to Jarratt which ended with a puzzling look up at me as in 'why isn't he coming?' I didn't have the heart to tell her he wasn't home, hehe.


And its not just her oral communication that has improved her body language and facial expressions have also come on leaps and bounds. She looks for objects that have been dropped or disappear. Like when Daddy or I hide, she looks in the direction that we left. She has also pointed to toys and things she'd like to have or touch. However her facial expressions are hands down the thing that we are finding most amusing! She has become a lot more .... um, shall we say, animated in her face, which is both helpful and delightful all in one.

Our favourite face that has developed, after the scrunched up 'no more' face mentioned in the last post of course, is her WOW! This is AMAZING! face. It's hilarious! If something is deemed exciting to young Chloe, she opens her eyes wide, pouts her mouth into an 'o' and makes an 'oooooooooo' sound. We think she is channelling her inner zoolander as this face kind of resembles blue steel. The really funny thing is that it's impossible not to replicate it back at her and often has J and I, as well as many friends and family, in hysterics!

Furthermore, in the last month or so, Chloe has developed a real deep belly laugh. Its the most heart warming sound ever. Once you get her started, you just don't want her to stop. She's a big fan of Mummy pulling funny faces and daddy tickling her on her belly. It truly is a beautiful sound.

Chloe continues to communicate her affection and love for us by kissing our faces but it has become a little vicious over the last month or so. She will still gently stroke our face but this is now paired with a mad grab for our ears to pull us close and has taken a real shine to poking dad in the eyes.

She has also begun to develop an awareness of 'her people' being Mum and Dad and those that she sees regularly like Auntie Kehlet, neighbours and play date or swimming buddies. Whilst she has never been amazing with strangers and often prefers the company of some people over others. She has definitely reached the age of relationships and separation anxiety from Mum and Dad. We are doing our best to gently extend her circle of carers and by having chats with strangers like shop keepers or friendly Turkish restaurateurs to encourage her to be independent and confident in her interactions with others.
So Little Miss has still shown little to no interest in crawling, if we put her in a crawling on all fours position she will, as she has always done, cry. So we don't force the issue. Although on the 20th of May whilst left on her tummy on our living room rug she shocked the pants off me! I quickly dashed off to bathroom and when I returned I found her a few feet from where I left her and more impressively off the rug. I quickly grabbed my iPhone and filmed what I have since been told is 'commando' crawling, basically using just your arms to push around. And whilst she may have not found any gear other than reverse, we're impressed all the same!
Even more impressive, in the last two weeks or so, she has started 'walking' using Daddy or I as support. Unfortunately, for our backs mostly, it is all she wants to do! Her balance and coordination is out of sight and for all intensive purposes looks very promising for her to walk alone in the next few months or so.... I assume?! But as with everything in this baby caper, I'm not really sure. Just last night (1/6) she stood without holding me or leaning on anything for a good 3-4 seconds before tipping slightly and being caught by mummy. She is growing in confidence each day in reaching for things whilst walking by letting go of one of our hands and in some cases all together and balancing against our legs. Its all very, VERY exciting and slightly nerve-racking as you look around at all the sharp edges and unfriendly baby surroundings.
 Not much has changed since last post... Chloe is still sleeping twice a day and up until 2 nights ago I could count on one hand how many times she'd slept through. But *knock wood* the last two nights she has slept from 630-7 with a dream feed at 9am. About 4 nights ago we tried some tough baby love. It occurred to us that we probably had developed in little miss a bit of a crutch in getting back to sleep overnight by either boob feeding her or rocking her back to sleep. I'll let you guess whose approach is whose, haha. And when a few parents from my mothers group told me that their little ones no longer needed a feed through the night when they woke they just needed to be resettled, we thought we'd give it a go. The first night was hard but the second night not a peep! So keep your fingers and toes crossed for us. But... we had a good run like this a while a go and then went away (to Maitland) and that's when the night waking began. So we may just start getting all the puzzle pieces together, but next Thursday we're off to Fremantle for a wedding.... needless to say I'm a little nervous.

Chloe has become a very alert observer and a keen little risk taker, add to this a longer awake time, she is now a lot of fun to play with! Since last post we have altered the 'where's mummy?' for a 'where's Chloe?' Which is a blast... particularly when she doesn't understand the concept of the 'hiding' instead raising say a cup or a toy above her head and quickly bringing it down over her face.

She has improved in her coordination and can 'throw' or 'roll' the ball back and forth with daddy as well as use her 'pincher' movement to pick up very small objects. As well as remember what certain toys are built for and do such as chewing on Sophie, shaking a rattle, or even more complicated ones like triggering her talking dog to sing by pressing the button in its foot and lifting the flag on her letter box to make the music play. She has shown a real enjoyment for familiar songs and rhymes to the point now that if we sing 'clap your hands' to her she more often than not will clap along.... and sometimes clap spontaneously, even when we don't sing the song ;-)

She can also pass things from hand to hand and understands swapsies and 'ta' when paying with others. Which is great given all the play dates and such that she attends now. I'm on a whole happy with how she 'shares' and takes turns with other kids, as well as how she will assert herself if necessary. Its in these situations that I really see her personality and marvel at the cute, out going little kid she is. I still really enjoy my catch ups with these little boys and girls and their beautiful mummies. I feel really lucky to have them all in my life to share this amazing experience with.

Our visits to the park have become more consistent, each day that we're home we've developed a bit of a routine of going and getting the things for dinner at the local shops... Chloe's now a bit of a superstar down in Penshurst and squeals with excitement each time we walk into IGA ... and then visiting the park on the way home. She's a BIG fan of the swing and slippery dip. She has become more and more confident in using both pieces of play equipment and just recently began leaning forward without any assistance to gather momentum to slide down the slippery dip on her own. And its not just at the park that she's developing this confidence, but also at swimming... She has now done a handful of unassisted underwater swims and will hold onto the wall, keeping her head above water for as long as mummy can stand... it does make me incredibly anxious that her little arms will give way and she'll go straight under. But it's these regular outings and our play dates that make our days so enjoyable.

The real annoyance is on rainy days, like today, when we're stuck inside... but even then, we find ways to have fun... as you can see in the video below.
Teething has continued to be the blanket reason to explain away a lot of crazy behaviour... Restless nights, irritability, fussy eating, just to name a few. But since the last post we have only one more of the pesky things popping through the gum (bottom left central incisor) and whilst it did threaten for a while it only appeared to cut through on the 15th of May. Meanwhile the top front teeth and teeth either side of the bottom central incisors look ominous!
Chloe also, thankfully, avoided a bout of hand, foot and mouth that swept through Sydney. Despite playing pretty much on top of, and in the mouth of, one of her little friends at a play date. As well as it taking down one of her bestest mates at swimming. But that's about where the good luck with illness stops as she has managed to contract an ear infection. Which is just perfect timing considering we are boarding a plane this Thursday for the long haul flight to Perth. But... what can you do?! I took her to the doctor last Wednesday who assured me it should clear up in 48 hours, so if she isn't any better by tomorrow, I'll be going back for some antibiotics... normally I'd let her body do its job... but 5 hours on a plane with a sick baby is not my idea of fun!
She also, earlier in the month had a minor head injury... whilst at a work lunch catch up thing and posing for a photo with another little girl. She fell backwards onto a window frame before I could catch her... the window frame turned out to be steel and thanks to some quick thinking by my friends, we had ice on her and whisked her away to a local medical centre to be looked over by one of the doctors. The doctor was very helpful and saw us even though we weren't patients at the clinic. She took a look at the bump and said Chloe would need to be monitored closely for the next 4 hours but that I could do that at home. She also assured me that Chloe was fine, meanwhile I was a blubbering mess!!!  It was the first time that I honestly felt a wave of being a bad parent... how could I have put her in that position so close to the window? Why didn't I stay closer? How come I didn't move faster? What if she has brain damage from this? Needless to say I ran away with the thinking a little and made Jarratt come home immediately to give Chloe the once over... He took one look at her and deducted that she was fine!
The day of the big fall, I also received a call from a lady at Cosmo Pregnancy to tell me Chloe had been cast in their upcoming June edition of the annual baby checklist. After being referred by a friend and submitting some photos of Chloe on the Friday she had been cast for the shoot the following Wednesday. She was, in a nutshell, a natural. She spent about and hour and a half on set and didn't cry once... she had outfit changes and posed like a pro! Off the back of this I submitted her for a few modelling agencies, three in total. All three came back saying they'd sign her. In the end we went with Bambini, which one good friend referred to as the 'ford modelling agency for babies'. Tuesday, just gone she had her portfolio shoot and despite the ear infection did quite well. Its a bit of a gamble with whether she'll get work or not. Only time will tell.


There have been a few memorable outings recently. The first significant one would have to be my first mother's day which we celebrated with an eating extravagance at Penshurst Deli and Como Hotel. It was a great day where I was showered with love and gifts that have yet to be enjoyed. The other two significant events we have celebrated were Auntie Kehlet's final 20-something birthday over delicious ribs at Hurricane's in Brighton and a trip to Maitland for Poppy's birthday as well as a stop over to see Great Grandma at Cave's beach.

All in all its been a busy month as always. But the most tiring thing about the last month or so has been the emotional toll the title of 'SAHM' is taking on me. And for those that can't be bothered looking up that acronym the first word is Stay and the last is Mum :)
What I mean is, I've started to feel resentful towards the constant statements like 'It must be so relaxing!', 'what DO you do all day?' and 'I'd love to be a stay at home parent'. I know most of these comments are not intended with malice, nor am I trying to make any of you feel bad if you have possibly said any of the aforementioned comments, its just something that is starting to take its toll on me. I think its because not a lot of my close friends have kids and understand the amount of work that goes into what I do. Sometimes I'm not sure Jarratt even understands. And for the most part whilst I love my 'job' it realistically is unpaid, has long hours, comes with minimal support as well as no training and to many is not considered a 'job' - let alone work! And I can't be angry or even annoyed at these statements because, if I'm honest, I use to think the exact same thing. But now 9 months on, I find it hard to get any time to myself and have sort of 'lost' a lot of what made me, well... me! I'm no longer able to dash off to do this or that... this or that now requires ridiculous amounts of planning from a well scheduled nap, a potential feed in the car or scouting a more appropriate location since little miss is not a fan of being covered whilst feeding, educated guesses on appetite and toy preference and the list goes on and on. I feel bad admitting this, let alone publishing it on the inter webs. I don't resent spending all my time with Chloe or being a stay at home mum, please understand what I resent it is the lack of appreciation and understanding I get for what I do. I admit it has got easier in a lot of ways, but in some ways it's got a lot harder! I guess what I'm saying is if you have read this and enjoyed it, please let me know, it took a large part of my 'day off' to write ;-)