Saturday, October 5, 2013

Happy Birthday Chloe. xxx

Hi there!

How are you all? I'm well, as with all posts little miss is currently sleeping and I'm currently having one of those at home days where I'm going get stuff DONE! I've baked some berry and mango muffins for little miss, as well as steamed some zucchini for freezing, done two loads of washing and organised other bits and pieces. And its only 11am! So I thought, whilst I'm on a roll, I'd get started on this month (and a bit)'s update. So without further a due... here goes:

Not much has changed in regards to the eating situation from the last time I wrote about it. Chloe is still a super little eater. She's eating three meals a day with two snacks. Her food is now much more in line with what we eat. Although we have yet to join her for dinner at 5pm we set aside a bit of our dinner each night for her the following day and so far its working a treat. We are working to push her dinner back to 545-6pm and then have it with her. But will wait til daylight savings for that. And there are occasions when she will have more 'babyish' food, such as when we're out and about or more recently when she started cutting her teeth. But generally she eats what we eat which is great as its created less 'work' for me. She's able to confidently use a spoon and more recently a fork! To stab chunks of fruit and direct it into her mouth. Its a pretty impressive skill and we're super proud of her!

She is also drinking from not only her spout sippy cut but also a straw and .... *drum roll please* full cream milk as her morning AND night feed. *applause*
We originally introduced the whole milk feed at bedtime and had a run of really bad nights (and forgive the overshare, also a run of questionable nappies). So we returned to breast feeding her at bedtime which solved the problem. So we've inverted the system and gave her milk from a sippy cup before breakfast. Once that was firmly established and we figured out the correct cup situation. Seriously, our cupboard is now a sea of 'fallen soldiers', tried and tested cups that did not cut the mustard. But once we found one that she liked we started to give her milk as the bedtime feed as well. She now goes to sleep happily and sleeps through.

And on a more personal note, I'm proud to have made my goal of breastfeeding Chloe for one year... well, 13 months if you count the trial and error's of the last month. But I also feel sad that its come to an end. Whilst there were nights (and days) where I held back tears of frustration due to the monumental commitment breastfeeding takes. The bond and attachment I had each and every feed is unsurpassed and I've given Chloe (if you listen to all the (annoying!) health professionals) the best start in life. I wish I could say that was my main motivation in doing it, and in part it is, but more so to lessen the financial burden that comes with having a baby. I, by no means, judge anyone who chooses to bottle feed, or can't breastfeed. For me I was fortunate to not have attachment issues or milk supply issues or health issues like mastitis, although it was my BIGGEST fear for the entire year, or any of those issues. I had it relatively easy with breastfeeding... But... I DID have a child who refused the bottle and that took a major toll on me, Jarratt, our relationship and social life. But for the most part I will miss it and I did REALLY enjoy it. But in a lot of ways I'm pretty excited about having weaned Chloe onto cows milk as well. For a bunch of reasons like; I can now pass the torch to J a little more particularly in the middle of the night and early morning; I can have wine for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I want to; I get to buy new bras (yay); I can go out for extended periods of time anxiety free and take medication whenever the hell I want! But seriously, whilst I may joke about the constraints on a breastfeeding mum and how it is a huge commitment, if you choose to do it and/or are fortunate to be able to, enjoy the cuddles and connection because once they're gone the bad stuff will become a distant memory and you will miss those special moments of togetherness!
Our little chatterbox is developing a vast repertoire of words including the very popular 'bye', mum, dad, ta, yum, eh?, dog, yay and occasionally bird. Recently, much to my shock she strung two of her words together and correctly used them in context. As Jarratt was leaving for work she waved to him and said 'Bye Dada'. I nearly fell over! Truly!

She still babbles ALL the time (including on the phone) and continues to impress us with her amazing non-verbal communication from pointing to objects she wants to shaking her head to indicate no. And her list of parlour tricks has grown since we last spoke and she truly understands more than she can express. She can now in addition to correctly laying her hands on her head when asked 'where's your head?' and seeking out daddy when asked, is:
- Blowing kisses
- Giving kisses (SO. DARN. EXCITED.)
- Giving high fives
- Waving and saying bye when she leaves and when others leave
- Raising her hand as in 'Where is it/they/him/her/etc?'
- Retrieving an object when we say 'get *insert item here*' i.e. ball, mug, cup etc.
- Coming to the bathroom when told its time to brush your teeth and pointing to her mouth
- Tiding up when asked.
We've staged a few in the vid below, but like all things kid related, they don't ever do what you want them to do when you want them to do it so it's not the best performance of the aforementioned skills, lol.

And whilst her language skills are steadily developing, her main form of communication is *sigh* squealing and dare I use the T word? .... Tantrums. This has been a great frustration for both of us. When things don't go little miss's way, she will squeal to indicate her annoyance at us and/or the situation. It is incredibly draining! We do our best to make light of the situation and encourage appropriate behaviours but she is quite stubborn, set in her ways and not afraid to voice it when she doesn't like something. I have NO idea where she gets that from. ;-)

Just recently we started to use a firm 'NO' and much to our surprise she stopped what she was doing. Since then it has become an effective method of discipline, she does try cutesie things when we say no to still get what she wants. Like the other night I told her 'no' and she smiled and stretched her arms wide whilst walking over to give me a kiss..... I took it, because I'm a sucker. But we figure the time has come to start setting boundaries. Yes she is little, yes she may not always understand us, but you need to start sometime and we think she's ready. We'll see....

She is officially walking.... EVERYWHERE. There is no fear now. Put her down and off she goes. Its great! After months of frustration at our little reluctant crawler, she is now mobile! But she still lacks a bit of confidence in new situations and around her older, more mobile friends, I think for fear of being knocked over. Sometimes she'll get excited and pick up speed and she's quite quick across the floor. More impressively, she no longer needs to pull herself up on furniture to get into a standing position to get her legs going. She can negotiate obstacles too - like ducking under our dinning room table and popping out the other end. But whilst there is much celebration about her walking independently, it does pose a new string of dilemmas.

1. She falls down. A lot. And cries. Its heart breaking.
2. Going to the toilet and/or having a shower requires some serious planning.
3. Dangers are everywhere! And I need to be vigilant, whilst still fostering independence, in her exploration of places around our house. You see, we have chosen, mainly due to the size of our unit, not to shut her out of anywhere. Instead we have simply removed items such as dishwashing liquid, washing machine capsules, knives, all that stuff that may kill her (lol) from her reach. However the lack of baby proofing doesn't stop her occasionally catching her fingers in the kitchen cupboards. Oh and we may need to shut the bathroom door as Chloe's new game is to take magnets off the fridge and put them in the toilet. Which whilst is giggle worthy is not fun to clean up!
4. Getting her to 'come back' is becoming more and more difficult. Her confidence has steadily increased the last few weeks and she has become one cheeky monkey. We try and provide her with lots of new and varied experiences to explore and develop her skills. So when we go shopping now, we often let her 'walk' around the aisle, much to the delight of the customers as she toddles past them. But now she is SO confident she doesn't hesitate to burn around corners and out of sight any chance she gets.

She has also taken a real shine to dancing. Its. the. cutest! Whilst most kids develop a bop. Chloe prefers to sway. Or is it a shimmy? I'm not sure but her legs are planted firmly into the ground and she rocks her shoulders too and fro. I've tried time and time again to get a good video, but she always hears me chuckle and stops immediately. Her current favourites are a cd called Nursery Rhyme Jazz which is what's playing in the video below and (ashamedly) Macklemore's Thrift Shop and I love it by Icona Pop. Too funny! Please be kind in your judgement. hehehe.

I've come to the realisation in the last two months that Chloe is NOT a bad sleeper, despite my continual moaning about her. Shocking I know. Although I had a batch of getting up to feed her overnight a while back. For the last few months she has gone to bed without argument, slept 11-12hours straight and been pleasant in the morning. Her daytime sleep is the same. Zipped into her bag, kiss goodnight and without complaint she is asleep and soundly sleeps for now 1.5-2.5 hours. Of course we have our bad, one off, nights where she is teething or I have a function on for Auntie Lin *wink* but generally, the kid does alright with this sleeping business.

The other night we attended uncle Dean's thirtieth. We had brought the pram and her PJs but in the deep recesses of my mind I knew I would cave and take her home for bed. But I was strong, with the help of Jarratt, and we put her to sleep in the pram in a room right under the (ridiculously noisey) stairs. And she didn't wake up. At all! I was in shock! After about an hour I found myself pacing, I had mentally prepared myself for the fact that she would for sure wake up after 45minutes (her standard pram sleep length) and I would have a bewildered, tired toddler to wrangle, get home and then coax back to sleep. But nope, she slept, the WHOLE time, til we were ready to go home at about 945pm. We then lifted her into the car seat at which point she woke and waved happily to me, drove the 10 minutes home, cuddled her into the house, zipped her into her bag then I left her to nod off..... I shut the door behind me, took a deep breathe and braced for it. The crying. But (surprisingly) nothing happened, not a peep! I then got myself ready for bed and laid staring at the roof, waiting.... waiting for the squeal, the chatter, anything that indicated taking her out and letting her sleep anywhere after 7 than in her bed had been one big mistake. But it never came, eventually I drifted off to sleep and woke suddenly to a sun drenched room. I quickly checked the clock. 730! 720 actually! As Jarratt firmly corrected me later that day. Chloe had actually slept in! I do think it was a bit of a co-inky dink. But I'll take it. I had always said once she was 1, I'd be happy to mess with her bedtime and sleeping situation a bit more. They grow so much in that first year and I didn't want to hamper her brain development by keeping her up late or asking to much of her. But now that we're here I could easily have continued making excuses but with the help of Jarratt's calm nature I'm willing to give things a go.

In the last month Chloe has filmed a commercial for Vodafone which has just been released and done two photo shoots for Big W catalogues out October 28th and November 7th! Its been a very exciting month.
Just before her first birthday, we attended an open casting type thing for the Vodafone Commercial. After waiting for almost 2 hours on the first day (with about 40 other kids), they finally selected Chloe to appear as one of the babies in the commercial. She was SO good on set, both friendly and happy. The crew got their shots from her quickly and were really pleased with how well she worked. They 'established' her as one of the characters and we were to return the next morning to finish filming. The commercial used babies faces and then superimposed them onto the heads of adults for a prefilmed sequence. Chloe was one of the girls heading to and dancing in the club. Whilst the perspective of the heads is a little off, making it a look a bit creepy. I think it is a fun commercial encouraging you to see the world as you haven't in a while - using your inner child. The final commercial is below for you to see. Chloe appears on the far right at about the 36 second mark, from memory, with repeat shots from there on til the end. Always on the far right. :)

The Big W catalogue was a much simpler process. Chloe was cast and sent to dimension studios in Alexandria at a set time. We arrived at our time, she was dressed in her outfit (bonds the first time, a Christmas outfit the second), they shot her for 10 minutes and that was it. It was very efficient and hard to believe she gets 100 dollars for each photo shoot. As yet the catalogues are not out, but I'll be sure to include pictures in the next post of them.

Her Birthday
Jarratt managed to organise a 'day off' for Chloe's actual birthday, thanks to a generous boss. So we made the most of it by heading to Symbio wildlife park. We left just after 10 so she could have a snooze on the way, spend a few hours there and then snooze on the way back. The park, whilst fairly deserted (of both people and animals) was much more manageable than taking her to Taronga as originally planned.

At the park she was enthralled by the crocodiles, patted a koala, pointed at the meerkats and unimpressed with the tigers. Meanwhile Mummy and Daddy were absolutely bamboozled by an over zealous hungry kangaroo. We ended her special day with an attempt at cake smash. Yours truly had gone all out - making a rainbow marble cake which had been cut into the shape of a one. As much as we tried to help her with the concept, I think it was lost on her. She also took one bite of the cake, screwed up her nose and pointed to a mandarin. Glad to see we've established some healthy eating habits.... for now ;-)

Then on Sunday the 25th of August we celebrated Chloe's birthday with family and friends at Evatt Park in Lugarno. We had spent the weeks prior scouting the most appropriate location, a park with age appropriate play equipment, BBQ facilities, a toilet, ample parking, shaded seating area and that wouldn't be overrun with Sunday afternoon sport. Evatt park met all the requirements PLUS had a duck pond!!! So Jarratt headed down at 10:30am to set up camp whilst I waited at home, giving Chloe her sleep before the party started at 12. It was such a fantastic day and while I felt like I spoke to everyone and no one at the same time. I was absolutely floored by the generosity and vast number of people who love Chloe so unconditionally. She is so lucky to have so many people in her life who love her it is quite overwhelming and humbling all at once. We couldn't have been happier with how the party went and we know it was a great day for her as well!


Swimming continues to be a bit of a hit and miss battle. Whilst Chloe LOVES the water and is ridiculously confident, being able to dive under and hold her breath for a very long time. Until this week, although the last two lessons have been tear free may have been a fluke, she was reluctant to do any of the activities in the lessons where the teacher needed to hold her. I've done lots of extra trips to the pool in an attempt to help her but its not actually the water that she seems to be afraid of. Its the separation from mummy. But we have continued to battle on in the hope that she would outgrow it and this week we seem to have turned a corner.... But won't brag too much as I don't want to jinx it! In the interim, I just feel bad for her teacher. I'm sure Chloe gives her headaches.

Special trips away and outings.
We've done two trips the last month and a bit. One to Maitland to visit Nanny and Poppy, as well as Great Gran. Where she experimented (reluctantly) with some finger paint and made music in the park with Daddy.

And the other to Sunshine Coast to met Chloe's new cousin Lucas. It was strange being around a newborn and seeing how much Chloe has grown. I was surprised at how soft and gentle she was with Lucas. Although she did become bored with his lack of interaction and she was much more interested in chasing around her older cousin Thomas. She also had her first taste of ice cream while we were there as well... and she LOVED it.

We also rugged her up and took her to her first Swans game. It was a little bit of a negotiation required as she was due a sleep right at kick off. But Daddy certainly has the magic touch because in a crowd that was tens of thousands strong she had a little nap in his arms. We were also able to take her onto the field for kick to kick which was both fun and frightening as balls whizzed past her.
More recently Chloe attended her first concert. The Playschool Concert with Auntie Nic and her very good friend Ellie. We managed to score front row seats which came in very handy for being picked out to skip with one of the presenters. Yup, that's right! I'm that crazy, embarrassing mother who threw her hand up at the chance to dance with Tao. LOL
And so brings us to another month done and dusted for Team Wyatt. We hope you've enjoyed your visit, xxx